The ambiguity of the psychological limitations of globalization Or: an uncanny cocktail of viruses

Virus crisis Globalization Panic Narcissistic omnipotence Resilience Tolerance of ambiguity


  • Ulrich Sollmann
    Guest Professor, Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, Beratung und Coaching; Höfestr, Bochum, Germany
Vol 7, No 1: 2020
Theoretical Study(ies)
April 21, 2021
April 16, 2020


The Coronavirus epidemic has become a pandemic. The induced crisis has had a global impact. Moreover, there is an uncontrollable interplay between the coronavirus, panic as an emotional virus, viral communication, and the economic and political borderline experience. The world is facing an unprecedented factual and psychological challenge. People are therefore seeking emotional orientation and protection above all in their own group, family, close friends, and nation. However, this often leads to radical dissociation from other groups or nations. This functions in the sense of a psychological defense as a group and is a normal process during an epidemic. In the past two decades, globalization has focused on boundless performance and efficiency increase. In doing so, it has not sufficiently taken people into account; one could say that globalization does not respect humans as humans. It is in danger of succumbing to a narcissistic fantasy of omnipotence. The current virus crisis is holding up its own mirror to the world. It therefore functions as a psychological disillusionment that seems to have the entire world under control. People and nations feel the limits of what is possible. They experience their powerlessness and fall into a state of panic that seems to paralyze people. There is no doubt that medical, economic, and political action is absolutely necessary. A far greater challenge is to reach people with their very own concerns and needs. This cannot be achieved through political war rhetoric. It can only be done if people and nations become aware of the competence of ambiguity tolerance. This, combined with the development of an experienceable and visible sense of community, strengthens resilience, namely, one's psychological resistance.

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