At some point during the Covid crisis, someone wrote on Twitter: What if instead of vaccinating ourselves we could expose ourselves to a weakened form of the virus, so we could build up antibodies to fight the real virus?
The author of the tweet has been congratulated. He has now escaped vaccinations so badly that he has cut a full circle and reinvented the principle of vaccination. Exposure to modified forms of the virus is already a great concept for protecting people from infectious diseases.
I was reminded of such a movement when I spoke this week at the opening of the academic year at the Protestant Theological University. The question was whether I wanted to think about the role of theology in a secular society. The domain was once again beginning to think, to re-source, to search for oneself, to evaluate its position and to reinvent itself. This has now become an essential part of Christian culture. They sit over and over on the sofa. What is wrong with us?
Perhaps it is a logical reaction to the sects and theological institutions that are shrinking more and more. Meanwhile, the number of people who consider themselves to belong to a religious sect or an ideological movement is in the minority. But if you look around the top coaches, influencers and sciences, you wouldn’t say so. They are reinventing all kinds of rituals and forms of spirituality, whether in groups or not.
Take the popularity of gratitude for example. As part of your morning or evening ritual, write down three things you are grateful for. Gratitude can be practiced, made a habit, and its amazing effects on your health and psyche have been demonstrated time and time again in an entirely new scientific field, positive psychology.
I think theologians pull their hair out. They still look in one direction, as the fleeing mob vanished from sight forever a few decades ago. But this group almost circled the circle and on the other side appeared on the horizon again. Some of those newly grateful have even considered that adding something direct to their gratitude makes their attitudes more effective. They have thanked the universe now. or creative energy.
So you’re really about to get there.
It was the new gratitude Evidence-based And he had a great one ROI. Despite this kind of new scientific and capitalist streak, everything seemed very familiar. Who knows, next year hipsters may think they can express their gratitude to the universe in a brief moment of silence before each meal. They may think that it is a good idea to leave the screens behind on a specific day of the week and rest and dedicate the day mostly to family, community and connection with the universe. Choral singing also appears to have positive effects. You can score karma points by sponsoring neighbors. Spiritual cleansing is achieved by regular fasting. Perhaps the new grateful will find a suitable vacant building to meet in.
Sometimes life seems like one big one. We look again and again for the same solutions to the same problems.
Wouldn’t it be beneficial if someone alleviated real structural poverty? If someone has a solution for the poor workers, for the new lower class. Shall we create a new party that sees this as its primary mission?
PvdA raises her hand hesitantly. Have you heard of democratic socialism?
Wouldn’t it be nice if the worker got more rights? Less juggling with people, fewer unpredictable contracts on demand, and unacceptable work pressure. And the shrinking union says, “Maybe we can do this job?”
And we inevitably fail at that, too. And we run in a circle. Until twenty years from now, when we look back at that bigger and more emphatic government, with support package after support package, it suddenly starts to shock you how ridiculous and ineffective that government actually is. How little community. How much are the overheads for these schemes, how slow they are, and how many Dutch are actually receiving undue subsidies.
Then VVD says: Oh my God, what a surprise.
Roseanne Hertzberger He is a microbiologist.
A version of this article also appeared in The Sep 3, 2022
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