The 2022 Munich Security Report in less than 500 words

On Feb 15, the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) released the 2022 Munich Security Report (182 pages, 8MB).

As the title suggests, the theme of this year is — Unlearning helplessness.

Below is a synopsis of the report in less than 500 words.

*The 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) was held in Germany from Feb 18 to Feb 20, 2022.

Key concepts

1. Learned helplessness

Learned helplessness occurs when an individual continuously faces a negative, uncontrollable situation and stops trying to change their circumstances, even when they have the ability to do so. –Psychology Today

In layman’s terms
If a person believes nothing can change the situation, they will stop doing anything even if they can.

Watch this short video (1:35’’) to understand collective helplessness.

2. Collective helplessness

“Societies that have concluded that they cannot solve humankind’s most challenging problems might no longer even try to turn the tide.” — The Report.

In layman’s terms
When more people, countries, and societies have acquired the learned helplessness, it becomes collective helplessness — the whole world will be ‘lying flat,’ giving up on anything or hoping to make a change.

3. Self-fulfilling prophecy

A self-fulfilling prophecy is the psychological phenomenon of someone “predicting” or expecting something, and this “prediction” or expectation coming true simply because the person believes or anticipates it will and the person’s resulting behaviors align to fulfill the belief. — Wikipedia

In layman’s terms
What we believe influences what we do.What we disbelieve decides what we don’t do.

In the end, we do nothing at all.

4. Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the clock is a metaphor for threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technical advances. — Wikipedia

In layman’s terms
How near are human beings to Armageddon triggered by either a nuclear war or climate change?

From 7 minutes to midnight (1947 original setting), the clock was set at 100 seconds to midnight in 2021.

Our World Today (Status Quo)

A feeling of “loss of control” in the face of the world’s problems:

  • Climate change
  • Vulnerabilities of an interconnected world
  • Geopolitical tensions

The collective feeling of “loss of control” resulting from the so-called “crises fatigue” may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy for the whole world.

The Ultimate questions

How to unlearn the ‘helplessness’ and relearn ‘options?’

In other words, how does the world regain its momentum and restart from here and now?