Ulrich Beck, 2012
15 May 1944|
Stolp, Germany (now SÅ‚upsk in Poland)
|Died||1 January 2015(aged 70)|
The basic assumption of the secular society is that modernity overcomes religion.
In the first instance, therefore, global terrorism created a kind of global community sharing a common fate, something we had previously considered impossible.
When they come to Europe, they are confronted by still closed borders. Thus, the concept of open borders is a very selective concept, one that is not taken seriously at all in the experience of non-Europeans.
You cannot make peace with terrorists. The normal dividing lines between war and peace do not apply.
This experience actually means the very opposite: the largest military power was unable to stop such a sensitive attack and will be unable to rule out such a possibility in the future. Precisely this is the background to the United States' military interventions.
The idea that you surrender your identity when you relinquish national powers is unhelpful. No, indeed, precisely the opposite is the case: if done in an intelligent way, you attain the sovereignty to better solve national problems in cooperation with others.
Accordingly, globalization is not only something that will concern and threaten us in the future, but something that is taking place in the present and to which we must first open our eyes.
I held a conference in Harvard where Americans said they didn't believe in risk. They thought it was just European hysteria. Then the terrorist attacks happened and there was a complete conversion. Suddenly terrorism was the central risk.
Initially, the horrific images of September 11th triggered an enormous wave of solidarity.
Western countries in particular can today no longer be separated from Muslim societies, because they have them within themselves. They are themselves internally globalized.
Nonetheless, we continue to be obsessed with finding or inventing a European nation which, as in the nation state, guarantees homogeneity and thus an appropriate form of democracy and centralized government.
All theory of modernity in sociology suggests that the more modernity there is, the less religion. In my theory we can realize that this is wrong: atheism is only one belief system among many.
I forced myself to think what is the new concept and it became clear to me that it was risk, not only in technology and ecology, but in life and employment, too.
Global conditions are far too complex to be able to imagine that they could ever be really controlled by one power.
And it also became clear that these conditions of inequality and historical injustice have given rise to a feeling of hate in the world – a deeply felt hate that cannot easily be overcome with a few good words.
And therefore we must seek dialogue in this networked world. We must ask which voice was actually attempting to make itself heard and saw no other possibility of gaining a hearing. To that extent, for a while this also represented a forced opening of a cosmopolitan view.
In the final analysis, terror is also another proof of the fact that the superpower is not really a superpower. It was vulnerable.
We do not yet have the solutions to these questions, but the awareness that we live in an endangered world is present in more and more life situations.
The world has become so complex that the idea of a power in which everything comes together and can be controlled in a centralized way is now erroneous.
Neither science, nor the politics in power, nor the mass media, nor business, nor the law nor even the military are in a position to define or control risks rationally.
Relinquishing apparent national sovereignty does not have to entail a loss of national sovereignty, but can actually be a benefit.
That was the first major social sciences conference at which social scientists from all cultures wanted to reach a consensus on whether we can continue to pursue a national course in the social sciences or whether we need a cosmopolitan path that also connects us in a new way.
But it then very soon became clear that the response of a war against terrorism, initially conceived of in a metaphorical sense, began to be taken increasingly seriously and came to entail waging a real war.
You need education. You need subsistence protection. We need jobs and social security. These are preconditions under which it will perhaps be possible to deal with these complex circumstances.