Julia Hobsbawm on Social Health in Complex Times
In Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequences of the pandemic. It’s our new daily podcast trying to make longterm sense out of the chaos of today’s global crisis.
On today’s episode, Julia Hobsbawm, author of the forthcoming book The Simplicity Principle: Six Steps Towards Clarity in a Complex World, discusses how the pandemic may help us to break free of the endless choices and complexities that we face in the world today.
From the episode:
Julia Hobsbawm:I think we are experiencing a moment of rather brutal simplicity, aren’t we, with the pandemic? Normal life, as you said, has shuddered to a halt as we know it. The irony is that a lot of people, myself included, were craving a simplicity before this happened. They were feeling that modern life, digital life, and professional life was way too busy and too complicated. We saw the upsurge in the mindfulness and the minimalism movements and the beginnings of a serious rejection of overconsumption, and yet everybody is now very freaked out by the fact that life as we knew it has stopped and we’re confronted with being locked down. However, it’s allowing this time to reflect and reset.
Even though my book was finished before the pandemic, it turns out the book is quite practical. The lessons to be learned during this pandemic, which is simplicity above all, is focusing on what actually matters, and it turns out that an awful lot of what we thought mattered doesn’t matter. So from that point of view, simplicity is coming in very much into the spotlight… I think complexity is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Julia Hobsbawm is an entrepreneur and writer who address the problems and solutions of humans in the machine age. She was described by James Harding, former editor of The Times and of BBC News and founder of Tortoise Media, as “one of the most important public intellectuals in the UK.” She is Honorary Visiting Professor of Workplace Social Health at London’s Cass Business School.