Thomas Maurer: The good news

Photo: Ingo Petramer

“One development in recent years is the attempt to equate faith (in whatever) with knowledge. This is, of course, bullshit and extremely dangerous. But faith has an advantage in such a situation because we are all insecure people in a world that is increasingly difficult to control. The longing for certainty is understandable. But giving in to this longing is not much wiser than giving in to laziness and never getting out of bed again. This is difficult and only works if you have enough money to lead a corresponding Oblomow existence. But sealing yourself off watertight against thinking and thus insecurity, that apparently works quite well. After all, we’ve seen some very successful political movements in recent years that thrive on precisely that.

A society in which faith replaces doubt is doomed to failure in the long term, but can cause inconceivable damage along the way that is almost impossible to repair. Insanity, violence and the blindness of entire societies have always existed. But until the recent past, the human species did not have the capacity to truly ruin everything. That is over.

Why people are the way they are has always interested me. How do thoughts get into my head? How much of it is conformity and peer pressure? Is it even possible to make abstract judgments? The good news is that yes, it is possible. The process is called science. The not-so-good news: the process is very tedious because all findings are provisional until they are replaced by new findings. I’m a big believer in the idea that it was science and technological progress that got us deep into the morass that is contemporary society. But – and this is crucial – without science and technological progress, we won’t get out of it.”

Thomas Maurer is a comedian. For the Falter newspaper, he is “probably the funniest man in Austria”. With his current program “Zeitgenosse aus Leidenschaft” he is currently touring the local cabaret halls. The current dates can be found here: