Srecko Horvat
Philosopher and author, most recently of "Poetry from the Future" (Penguin, 2019). One of the co-founders of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25). 


 

There is no infinite amount of hope, but there is still hope for us

 

There was once a conversation between Max Brod and Franz Kafka about the state of Europe in the last century.

 

It perfectly captures also the current state of Europe.

Perhaps, humanity was only a bad mood of God, a bad day of his.

 

Kafka said that humans are perhaps the nihilistic thoughts, suicidal thoughts that come into God's head. "Perhaps, humanity was only a bad mood of God, a bad day of his".

 

When Max Brod then asked if there is any hope at all? Kafka smiled and said "Oh plenty of hope, an infinite amount of hope - but not for us".

 

Today, the situation might be even worse than Kafka's nightmare. There is perhaps still hope for us, but what if there is no hope for the generations to come?

Yet, the next 20 years will be the epoch, perhaps the last epoch, in which there was still hope for us.

 

Just take the summer behind us, record-breaking temperatures, wildfires from the Amazon to Africa, rapidly melting Arctic ice, Brexit and rise of authoritarian politics across Europe and the world, refugees still dying in the Mediterranean Sea while captains who help them are being put in prison; microplastics in the Oceans and thousands of species going extinct; so many signs from the future which seemed like science fiction only a few years ago.

 

Yet, the next 20 years will be the epoch, perhaps the last epoch, in which there was still hope for us.

 

Perhaps there is no infinite amount of hope, but Greta sailing over the Atlantic was an act of hope, the Green New Deal gives hope that a different economic model, using the already existing technology, could really exist in the 21st century, people uniting and protesting authoritarian politics and people helping refugees - bring back hope.

Europe obviously has to go through a profound political, economic and democratic transformation if it wants to survive.

 

In the next 20 years, as global challenges (from geopolitics to climate crisis, from technology to sovereignty) will come with even higher stakes, Europe will have to radically reinvent itself or it will disappear.

 

In the next 20 years, as the climate crisis becomes worse and sea levels rise, Europe will be faced with millions of climate refugees mainly from the global South, will the answer be more walls and more borders?

 

Europe obviously has to go through a profound political, economic and democratic transformation if it wants to survive.

 

There is no infinite amount of hope, but there is still hope for us and we have the responsibility to create hope for those to come.