#rp24 speaker Maren Urner: Radically emotional

19.02.2024 - Politics and society are in an emotional crisis mode. At #rp24, we will discuss how to get out of this with the neuroscientist and bestselling author.
Maren steht vor einer hellen Wand, ihre schulterlangen Haare trägt sie offen.
Photo Credit
Lea Franke

Debates about the climate crisis, identity politics or world affairs have one thing in common: they are almost always emotional. What's more, the louder the demand for rationality, the more emotionally charged the discussions become. 

Neuroscientist, bestselling author and professor of media psychology Maren Urner sees politics as a process of negotiating different emotions. At re:publica 24, she invites us to tackle this dilemma at its roots in order to learn to deal better with our omnipresent emotionality. She demands that we rethink our rational understanding of politics: in the face of advancing crises, we must finally stop separating reason and emotion. Only if we think about both together – and act accordingly – can we constructively shape politics. In her #rp24 session, Maren not only shows us why politics is a deeply private matter, but also gives us practical tools to help us on our way.

Maren Urner is a neuroscientist and a professor of media psychology at HMKW University of Applied Sciences for Media, Communication and Business in Cologne since 2019. She studied cognitive and neuroscience, among others at McGill University in Montreal, and received her PhD in neuroscience from University College London.

In 2016, Maren co-founded the first ad-free German-language online magazine "Perspective Daily" for constructive journalism, making her a pioneer of this international movement. She was editor-in-chief and managing director until March 2019. She has been a columnist at Frankfurter Rundschau since September 2020.

For Maren, every change towards a better world begins with people and individuals - and in their minds. Her two books are SPIEGEL bestsellers: In "Schluss mit dem täglichen Weltuntergang" (An end to the Daily Doomsday, 2019), she deals with the attention economy, better media hygiene and the critical thinking required for this. In "Raus aus der ewigen Dauerkrise" (Ways out from the perpetual crisis, 2021), she contrasts habit-driven static thinking with her concept of dynamic thinking, which requires not only curiosity but also a dose of leniency - with "the others" and with oneself. It is precisely this message that she brings to society as a speaker, workshop leader and discussion partner. Because she is convinced that we have to change (almost) everything if we humans want to have a future worth living on this planet. Maren's new book will be published on 2 May 2024.

At #rp24, we look forward to inspiring food for thought and exciting discussions with Maren about how emotions shape politics.



#WhoCares: An interview with Maren Urner.

The Motto of re:publica 24 is „Who Cares?“. Whom or what are you currently caring about?

I try to look after people who are important to me – and that means I automatically look after myself too.

What do we care about too little as a society?

About our connectedness – not only with each other, but also with everything we like to call the "environment". We have become accustomed to a strange distance that not only makes us dissatisfied, but can also make us ill.

Is there a person that inspires you because they care for a particular issue? Or maybe a book, article or podcast?

"The Way Out Is In"! In this podcast, former journalist Jo Confino and Brother Phap Huu discuss the thoughts and works of the great Thich Nhat Hanh, who died in 2022.

What would you like to talk about at re:publica or what are you currently working on?

I've just written my third book, which will be published at the beginning of May. Without revealing too much: It gets down to the nitty gritty – above all, it's about radical honesty towards ourselves and others.