The virus not only leaves thousands of dead – the most painful and serious – but a trail of physical and mental destruction, creating such uncertainty that there is no future. The most optimistic talk about a very different future coming, one that is very new, but perhaps more supportive and ecological. The apocalyptic ones see an immediate future of unemployment, closure of activities, hardship and pain. There will be everything in that future that we cannot intuit or understand, but the key to making it better than what we expect lies in one attitude: trust.
The work of people, institutions and companies will have to be based on the premise of creating trust. Trust between people to overcome the barrier created by the threat of contagion; trust towards institutions based on the credibility of the data and the solutions provided to overcome the great crisis; trust in the world of work to generate the appropriate consumption of goods and the provision of services that make us a secure society to create that future that has now escaped us.
Many things will change, others will return to what they were because we are highly evolved societies, much more than the doomsayers of the time sing about, whatever their sign may be. The best thing about the future is that it is about to be created. And perhaps we will emerge from the great crises with fresher, more positive and freer attitudes to forge a new vital adventure. Having confronted as a society and as individuals the certain threat of illness and even death, indiscriminately and without any logic, may make us respect more the simple and daily values that we sometimes overlook. Will we be more spiritual, more respectful, more aware of the limitations of humans? We certainly will. We will therefore have a more humane society, and our political or business leaders will have to be more dedicated to the virtuous. In this way we will all be able to generate confidence.
Right now we have been denied the ability to move and we have learned what some societies have suffered for other reasons, generally political ones, that the greatest value of human beings lies in their freedom, and that their best abilities are born from this. We have limited ourselves – no walks, no trips, no consumption, … – to win the future. We will only achieve this when the ways of travelling, of relating to each other, of working are effectively safe. When we have achieved the confidence that they are.
I do not believe, therefore, that there is any other more delicate and important issue to work on in the field of communication than that of creating that supreme value that we need for exchanges of all kinds, and on which it is based from the exchange of knowledge to the economic one. Let us create the bases of security, and from there let us strengthen the mechanisms that give us back our confidence as free societies.
Citizens and companies have lost confidence in the future. Therefore, from now on, it is essential to strengthen the mechanisms of communication that will restore our confidence. Self-confidence, without predetermining whether the future will be like this or otherwise, because if we have confidence we will also have the freedom to make it the best of the future.
In the case of Spain, the trust that nearly forty million visitors placed in us – as a cultural and leisure space – may have been shattered with a temporal scope that can destroy an entire industry. This is the most striking example. If at one time we sold the world that “we were different”, perhaps today the value of trust is to restore that “we are all on the same level”. Only in this way will we be safe in a future that is again prosperous.
President of the International Press Club. Correspondent in Washington, New York and Tokyo for Radio Nacional, TVE and La Vanguardia in Barcelona. Master’s Degree in Communication from New York University The New School for Social Research. Film and television producer, communication consultant and senior executive of audiovisual companies, he was director of thematic channels and secretary general of TVE. He has directed the Seville Film Festival.