Winter Solstice 2020

Mountains and red sky

Our ancestors celebrated a great festival in these days thousands of years ago. Months of darkness and hardship lay behind them. Mead, wine and brandy flowed in streams, there was feasting, laughter and dancing.

The winter solstice was not only an astronomically significant event, but half of the hard time was over, the nights became shorter from then on, the sun soon blinked over the tree tops early in the morning again.

Quite different and yet the same these days. Hardly anyone, perhaps except the owners of online and e-commerce businesses, and of course those born this year, will shed a tear for 2020. We have not lacked food, but many a time we have lacked social closeness, good conversations in smaller or larger rounds, cheerfulness, inspiring, cultural variety, primordial confidence and a radiantly hopeful vision for what may come.

Our ancestors attributed the hardships and blows of fate that winter brought to them to evil spirits. That is why they drove them away with wild noise, boisterous dances and frightening masks. This is still the custom on New Year’s Eve. And indeed, some evil could be driven out. But today we know that there are no demons and ghosts, we do not need firecrackers and fireworks to chase them away. But our awake mind, our creativity and our courage.

May this be the good that brought us 2020: “Sapere aude”! Let us dare to make use of our mind, one quantum leap more. All the information is there, available worldwide, translatable into all languages. But the temptation is to let artificial intelligence, media that present us with their agendas beautifully framed by algorithms and smartphones that, thank God, are not yet that smart. Yet. And our brain is a muscle that goes limp if it is not used. So let’s use the blessings of digitization as enthusiastically and carefully as we can, but let’s not fall for its aberrations, abysses and the modern pied pipers that come with it. Let’s keep what’s worth keeping, cheerfully cut back old habits, and more courageously than ever seize the opportunities that present themselves.

Then the 2020s can become the launch pad of a golden era. So that in 10 years we can look back and say: the 2020s were tough, but they were the basis for the push that came after. It is, as always, in our hands. Only this time, it’s more important than usual. Let’s tackle it boldly in 2021. Happy New Year!