Renunciation made easy
Never before has a "Gehirn&Geist" issue been so overtaken by reality as this one. Months ago, when we editors conceived the three-part series "Everyday Morals", the conclusion of which is the cover story from p. 12, nobody could have imagined the space that renunciation would soon take up in the thoughts and actions of all of us: renunciation of social contacts, of Spring picnics and sporting events, theatre, concerts and the fundamental right to freedom of assembly and freedom of movement. Although the corona-related restrictions are only temporary, the current pandemic is currently putting our coexistence to a hard test. At the same time, she makes old questions seem explosive again - such as the moral value of taking things easier.
Of course, the measures regarding Covid-19, from not having grandma's birthday party to the canceled vacation trip, serve a good cause. Above all, saving lives. This applies very similarly, albeit less obviously, to the appeal not to fly so much to protect the climate, to eat more vegetables instead of meat and to leave the car at home more often. Regardless of how right all of this is from a sustainability standpoint, giving up for a higher cause always has a psychological dimension as well. Thus, private abstinence is often strongly moralized, i.e. it is made compulsory for everyone.
Surely there are umpteen arguments for doing without; however, most people tend not to acknowledge them. Let the others start! The world will certainly not perish on me - and anyway, I don't live that harmful to the climate. With such thoughts, some crawl deeper and deeper into a defiant business as usual. There is hardly a more effective trick to enhance yourself than to demonstrate self-control and a sense of responsibility here and there - even if it is only towards yourself. That's why the art of renunciation involves far less effort and sacrifice than most can imagine.
I wish you good reading