Roland Dürre
Monday May 31st, 2010

UTB #64: On Our Way – From Orvieto to Bolzano

Tonight, we start: we board the night train to Rome at 9.03 p.m. at Munich Central Station!

We were going to ride our bikes through Switzerland during the second week of the Pentecost holidays. The low Euro and the bad weather forecast, however, made us modify our plans.

Bella Italia is our new goal. Pasta and truffles. mehr »

Roland Dürre

Everyman

Incidentally, FDP party Chief Birgit Homburger said yesterday that we might think about an increase of one or the other now reduced added value tax rate. But additional tax burdens for Everyman are definitely out of the question.

I did some research and here is my conclusion:

There is nobody fitting the bill of “Everyman”!

Consequently, I am assuming that now taxes can and will be increased without further ado.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre

Economic Warfare

I just read that Horst Köhler has resigned. After having worked on this post yesterday, I was going to put some finishing touches to it today. Due to current developments, however, I am now publishing it in its original form.

Before departing for Afghanistan in the last week of May, our Federal President, Horst Köhler, gave an interview. In it, he voiced his opinions on military intervention abroad by our Federal Armed Forces.
And he said military intervention abroad is necessary, because

… for a country as big as ours with the respective foreign trade orientation, military intervention, too, is necessary in order to keep trade routes open …

and also, because

… we have to prevent regional instability, which would reflect negatively on our chances, whereby we are helping commerce, as well as the employment and the income situations…

Now he is being criticized for his words by the opposition and the media. And the government said he was talking about our military presence in Somalia, although there was no doubt he had been asked about Afghanistan.

I believe Horst Köhler simply had a fit of civil courage and said the truth.

As I see it, the truth is that the military involvement of the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan, of course, only ostensibly serves humanistic ideals and defends human and female rights (which, incidentally, will not be possible in that century, anyway). Neither do I believe we can succeed in our fight against terrorism (the way it is being done will certainly not be a success. On the contrary: we are going to achieve the opposite).

Afghanistan is probably just one of many arenas where a highly complex economic war is waged. A war in which the privileged part of the world tries to conserve its position through a very strange distribution of tasks.

My comment is: now for a change someone spoke the truth – and then he is met by criticism to such a degree that he wants to resign. …

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Humans never generate problems
they themselves cannot solve, says Marx.
And Friedrich Hölderlin thinks that
where there is danger, the potential for averting it grows.
Today is the annually recurring day 
when smokers are saved.
It is the world non-smokers day.
Now we look forward to:
The world overpopulation prevention day.
The world anti religious fanaticism day.
The prevention-of-drowning-in-tax-and-dues day.
And we sincerely hope
that Marx and Hölderlin were correct.

KJG/SIX
(Translated by EG)

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Roland Dürre

Oil

Why are we so horror-stricken after the environmental catastrophe at the Gulf of Mexico?

Because we can see the damage!

Yet there are things happening that are just as bad, except we cannot (and do not want to) see it. These things also happen a lot closer to home.

Here is a citation from the “Welt” (Science Section – Wissenschaftsteil):

“Looking for oil in the North Sea in 1990, the English oil company Mobil North Sea Limited did some drilling and accidentally hit a gas pocket that stood under huge pressure”. The pocket finally burst on November, 21st, 1990. Since, regardless of several attempts, the drilling hole could not be closed, it is still open after 16 years (that would be 20 today). On the international oceanic charts, it is marked as a zone of danger.”

Incidentally, the site of the accident is located about a third of the way between Scotland and Denmark.
You really should read this “Welt” article . It also informs you:

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By rights, the title of this article should be:

Vote. Now!

🙁 But wordpress does not give me the red colour for a headline.

Like all the others, the June magazine, too, has a principal topic: Deciding As We Go

And again, both titles sound extremely attractive to me – decisions and deciding as we go. Decision making is currently my most favourite theme in presentations.

After all, I understand better and better that a decision is only a decision if three requirements are met: a) you must be free to decide; b) the consequence of your decision must be significant and lie in the future and c) the decision must be made with an absolute degree of uncertainty.

To be sure, those requirements are not easy to meet. Ever since I know them, I shun from calling myself a good decision maker. But just deciding as I go does not seem like a solution to me either – not to mention thinking as I go.

Well, back to the magazine: this “brand eins” edition, again, offers plenty of reading material. I am glad that I am starting my vacation on Monday evening.

During my first quick look through the journal, three articles caught my attention:

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Roland Dürre
Saturday May 29th, 2010

(Deutsch) Selbstbetrachtungen

Self-Reflections
Here are some texts by Mark Aurel I heard this morning (Saturday) on the radio program “Bayerisches Feuilleton” on “Bayern 2”. Wonderfully declaimed by Martin Hofer, they were the thread during a report on Bavarian-Italian Views. The text went right to my heart. Consequently, I wrote down what was said during the program and am now publishing it in the IF blog:

There is no such thing as objectivity as in “the one truth”. All is subjective. Everything is a matter of perspective. Yet you should notice everything around you. You cannot say: “Now I only want green things.” That would make you a case for the optician. We also have to be receptive towards what you can hear and smell. We should be prepared to take in everything that exists.

When enjoying delicacies or food in general, never forget that what you are eating is the corpse of, for instance a fish, a bird, or a pig. And that the Falerme is the juice of a grape. Take a close look at everything you see. What is it? Why is it as it is? What is its purpose? Also ask yourself the same questions when dealing with people.

Accept the circumstances you have been born into, as well as the people it will be your destiny to meet.

Accept, respect and hold in high regard all humans. And maybe even love them – but genuinely. Yet make yourself neither the master nor the slave of anybody else.

If someone despises me, let him feel free to do so. It is his concern. My own concern, however, is to do and say nothing contemptible.  If someone hates me, then that is again his own affair. As opposed to this, I must aspire to be amicable and benevolent towards everybody, especially towards those who despise and hate me. I want to make him see his errors without abusing him. Neither will I carry my charity towards his behaviour before me. Instead, I want to be upright and kind-hearted.

Ii is quite easy to ward off all that is aggravating and be absolutely serene.

If you want to indulge in your own well-being, only see the nice characteristics of your contemporaries. Admire somebody for his energy, someone else for his modesty, a third person for his largesse and a fourth person for other virtue. After all, there is nothing that will make you happier than all these virtues which, incidentally, abound around you. All you have to do is want to see them.

A branch that is cut from its neighbour is by definition also cut from the entire tree. Consequently, a human being who cuts himself free from one of his contemporaries is also cut off from the entire society. At least, the branch has been cut off by a remote hand. The human being, however, who is motivated by hatred, cuts himself off from his neighbour and society.

As soon as someone convinces me that I am wrong in my judgement and behaviour, I will gladly change. After all, I am looking for truth and justice. So far, nobody suffered because of truth and justice. However, you will certainly suffer if you persist in error and ignorance.

Who can change people’s basic maxims? And what benefit is a change if those maxims are not modified? All you might get is slavery suffered with sighs and counterfeit obedience.

I see myself as a reasonable person. Someone who wants to the general public to benefit from his activities. My home and my fatherland is Rome. But as a human being, my home is the world. Whatever is good for the world is good for me.

From the Self Reflections(Selbstbetrachtungen) by Mark Aurel (* April, 26th, 121 in Rome; † March, 17th, 180 in Vindobona or perhaps Sirmium).

Mark Aurel was Roman Emperor from 161 until 180 and at the same time the last important representative of the “Younger Stoa”. Being the “princeps”, adopted son and successor of Antoninus Pius, he called himself Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus.

So much on Mark Aurel. Isn’t it just great? Every single one of his sentences deserves to be read again and again.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The entire program can be downloaded at “Bayern2.de” as podcast. I saved it and am quite happy to share it with you. It is worth listening to.

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Willi Streit
Friday May 28th, 2010

Deeply Moved

When our forefathers started making their homes – or rather their caves – their castles, it was not possible for them to improve their knowledge and competence in a hurry. Looking back on the last ten thousand years of human development in all due fairness, you notice that “homines sapienses” (incidentally, the meaning of the word is: knowing – so what does that tell you about scientists finding terms to specify something) have hardly changed at all. Fewer teeth due to us eating less raw meat are just about the only change. We are even more or less the same to look at. We are and will remain for a long time the same moving animal that wandered through the forests and steppes. And that is why we are only motivated by things that are deeply moving.

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