Roland Dürre
Sunday March 31st, 2013

Easter Holidays on the Internet

Tonight, I woke up twice from the ringing of church bells. It was during the time frame that actually did not exist: between two and three in the morning. In Germany, this is possible, because it is Easter time and due to a very old tradition, you are permitted to make noises for everybody to hear in the middle of the night.

This morning, I browse through the internet and find in Google+ a citation published by Marcus Raitner which he found in the blog die ennomane:
“Freedom of faith is the freedom to even believe in absurdities. Freedom of opinion is the freedom to call precisely those things absurd. In this spirit: Happy Easter to You!”
There is nothing Marcus wants to add to this sentence and I, too, can only agree.

Here is the rest of the story:
In her blog, “die Ennomane” informed us about a sarcastically written text on the Christian Easter Cult. Said text had appeared on Good Friday in Der Postillon. It seems that the author was reprimanded for what she wrote in the article and felt she had to justify her words. This also led to a few comments. In my eyes, the comments were quite interesting, because they revealed a few patterns of thought that are typical for “believers”.

I copied some short phrases from the comments and will then relate my own ideas on those words I marked “bold”:

  1. Antje Schrupp
    Comment by Antje Schruppp | March, 30, 2013 at 22:55:28
    I started associating the sarcastic, anti-religious jokes currently published all over the place with… a long time ago…

    However, the manner in which it is exposed to ridicule adds up to being a mere power struggle, that is: to the question who will finally win against whom.    
Of course, being a Good Christian, I could decide to remain totally untouched and just turn the other cheek.    
With respect to the global perspectives, however, I dare to predict that “you” (that is: those who consider religion “gaga per se”) will be the losers in this power struggle. And that is something that gives me a little pause, because there actually are quite a few things about religions, especially their institutionalized forms, which badly need criticism and reform.
  2. Enno
    Comment by Enno | March, 30, 2013 at 23:06:19

    Hmm… well, threatening that we are going to be the losers in a global power struggle is really a great argument, isn’t it?
  3. Antje Schrupp
    Comment by Antje Schrupppp | March, 30, 2013 at 23:23:25
    You do not really believe that I was threatening you with anything, do you?
  4. ….

Of course, the entire stream of comments can be read here: die ennomane » Blog Archive » Es hat einen Grund.

So here are my comments:

Personally, I found the article in Der Postillon rather negligible. All it did was re-kindle some well-known facts that had already been better formulated in a sarcastic and humorous but original way. The only novelty (and perhaps this was actually worth criticism) about the article was that he called religious rituals mostly “gaga”.

I am sure one could argue about when or under what conditions something is “gaga” or simply appears to be so. But then, who is to decide what is “gaga” today and what is not? To me, plenty of what I experience today seems “gaga”.

But what I find particularly noticeable is the choice of words in the arguments of the commentator Antje. Apparently, she represents the position of a Good Christian.
The first term I find worth noting is “Good Christian”. That is what Antje calls herself.

Basically, I can only excuse the “Good Christian” as a manner of speech, or else as some “thoughtlessly spoken flowery phrase”.  As soon as I take a closer look at the term, questions come up:

What exactly does it mean to be a “Good Christian”? Does it mean you have to have given up your autonomy and willingly submitted to rules set by someone else? Is it even possible for a human to give up his or her autonomy autonomously? Or is a Good Christian someone who just adheres strictly to the Christian rules while having kept his or her autonomy? But then, is that possible?

Or is a “Good Christian” just meant as the opposite of a “Bad Christian”? And then, what makes a Bad Christian – from whom Antje distances herself?
Linguistically spoken I find the “Good Christian” at least better than the “Believing Christian”. That is a term I often hear: I am a Believing Christian. So what would an “Unbelieving Christian” be?

And secondly, I am always personally concerned when I hear someone mention that a power struggle will be lost or won. It is what I hear quasi automatically from people who admit to a religious belief.

Incidentally, tolerance means that “everyone may believe in what he chooses to believe”. Why do the “believers” – who need this tolerance and claim it for themselves – keep talking about a power struggle that will have to be “lost” or “won”?

Incidentally, I would include all those in my definition of “believer” who think they know the truth, including the atheists. And how can mammals, even though basically capable of reason, but otherwise equipped with rather limited characteristics, think they know all the truth? What is God except a special metaphor for a special higher meaning, a term invented by humans?

And finally, it annoys me to read that believers who talk about winning or losing a power struggle show complete incomprehension when their words are perceived as threatening.

But here are a few personal thoughts:

When I was a small child, Easter was just great. We were allowed to seek Easter Eggs. Our joy was immense when we found some. The Easter Bunny symbolized the coming spring. I must have been five years old when I was given a second-hand children’s bike. The joy about this was of a very long duration.

Once I remember from my childhood that Easter was cold and snowy. We had no Easter-Eggs-Seeking in the garden. But we made the best of it: we carried the snow into or house with bowls, poured hot chocolate into moulds and let the figures get hard in the cold snow bowls. That was nice.

Then school started and that was the end of my joy. Easter became similar to pain, a symbol of human cruelty, of guilt and atonement. You had to fast in order to become clean. We learned about the Holy Grave. And that we are bad and someone else had atoned for all of it.

Today, we have another white and cold Easter. And since it is no fun to go out and there is no Easter-Eggs-Seeking either, I browse through the internet. Where I am confronted with enlightenment that never happened.

On the radio, I hear about the religious super festival as it is celebrated with a huge amount of ego-centrism. Including great patter. Except: that is not what reality is like. Yesterday, the agreement on weapons transfer failed, the environmental facts get more depressing each day and today they again talk about love and humility.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday March 29th, 2013

Zarah Leander – Life is Full of Surprises!

A short time ago, Andreas sent me the following email:

Hello Roland,

today, I write about a totally different event. I occasionally manage my girl-friend’s affairs and therefore sometimes organize a concert for her. Being an “opera singer poaching in diverse genres”, she also – along with opera pieces and classical concerts – has an evening about Zarah Leander in her program. Knowing that you are rather interested in art, I thought maybe I should not leave you in the dark about the evening on April, 13th, in the Gasteig “kleiner Konzertsaal”. I would be truly glad if you found the time and inclination to go and see the performance!
Andreas

Andreas Lehmann is an old acquaintance of mine. Time and again, our paths met. Decades ago, it happened at IXOS – that was during the “wild times” of the “new economy”.  IXOS was a very special DAX- and NASDAQ enterprise. The last time chance brought us together was during the “ISARNETZ – die Münchner Webwoche” in 2012. All of a sudden, we sat facing each other on the board for deciding who was to get the “Isarnetz Award”.

Of course, I will follow his invitation. Here is the text informing about the event. I find it truly exciting!

Zarah Leander returns to Munich!

To be sure, it is not the Diva – whose Munich performances probably were more than 70 – herself. Standing in for her, the ”Duo InterMezzo!“, starring singer and author of the work Tatjana Conrad, are preparing to back-trace the great star under the German heavens of the 1930ies.

On Saturday, April, 13th, 2013, Tatjana, whose adopted home is Berlin, will present her theatrical jewel „If you want to see a star, look at me! The light and shadowy sides of Zarah Leander“, directed by Philip Lüsebrink in the Gasteig Kleiner Konzertsaal. The role of Arne Hülphers, who was the third and last husband of the great chanteuse, will be played by David Grant.

Who was Zarah Leander? Mythos. Diva. Well, that much is certain. Culprit? Victim?

<The two artists invite you to investigate those questions together with them and finally, perhaps, not really come up with an answer, but a little more understanding for the star who graced the heavens of the “Third Reich”. You will not have any reason for sadness – on the contrary: Conrad and Grant want to tell you in words and sounds how this woman captured her audience and they wish for her humour, charm and wisdom to also spread a little shadow and light over the evening.

Besides musical surprises, earworms such as ”Eine Frau wird erst schön durch die Liebe“ and ”Yes, Sir!“ will contribute towards ”Ufa Nostalgia“ in the same manner as ”Waldemar mit dem schwarzen Haar“ and evergreens like ”Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder geschehen“ and ”Sag’ mir nicht Adieu“.

This and some more “hurly-burly” will await you on our concert evening. We want it to be a musical- historical “red carpet” that might reach the audience via memories of the great Zarah Leander.

Consequently, I will be at the Gasteig Kleiner Konzertsaal on April, 13th, and I look forward to a very special evening. It would be doubly nice if I were to meet a few friends, as well! So why don’t you come – I am sure it will be a great evening.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Werner Lorbeer
Thursday March 28th, 2013

Federal Bankruptcy: What is Normal?

It is really surprising what surprises some people!

If you trust your money to a bank, you are the debtee of the bank. There is no way the bank would keep “my money” safe. It is only insured up to 100,000 €, the remainder is subject to the usual insolvency procedure in case of a bankruptcy. Of course, the capital that used to belong to the owners is gone and the same is true for those who bought “bonds” from the bank that were insured, such as bank loans or derivates, etc.

Now this might be boding ill, but it is not really a surprise: if a state is bankrupt, then so are its banks. After all, huge parts of the federal debt were bought up by the banks using the money their customers had given them. Or would it be better if banks refused to finance the state? Basically, private debtees can only get rid of their debts inside the legal order. That makes the private debts safer – which is a fact mirrored at the bond market during the last years.

But then, how else could the enormous savings capital of the citizens be invested if not through the state and administrative units? To be sure, the citizens might invest in naturals, but especially in Germany, this is done less often than in the rest of Europe. For example, we have less property owners than Cyprus.  So what really matters – be it savings for old age or for one’s education – is that states are kept in good solvency in order to organize an important characteristic of money: maintaining its value.

If a state spends more money than it gets from its citizens through taxes, fees, customs, etc., then its solvency is reduced. But he has the right to fall back on the fortune its citizens have built up. Because we democrats gave all our rights to the sovereign.

So what options does the state have in order to create a basis for a new currency after said state went bankrupt (= nobody was prepared to give it any more money)?
Here is a list of torture instruments, I am sure it is nowhere near complete:

  • Currency cut at exchange ratio;
  • Obligatory mortgage on property;
  • Obligatory loan for all bank accounts and deposits;
  • Exchange control regulations;
  • Replace money by coupons;
  • Forbid the ownership of gold;
  • Property taxation;
  • Compulsory expropriation;
  • Inheritance taxation;
  • All property goes back to the state;
  • Increase all taxes and other fees;
  • Inflation;
  • Debt cut through refusal of paying back state loans;

What an impressive list!

wl
(Translated by EG)

Here are my tweets of last week on:
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

130411 Too many dogs will kill the rabbit – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130412 Plenty of rain is a downpour – that is true for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130413 Many individual grains will make up a heap – especially true for blogging and twittering! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130414 Plenty of art means plenty of folly – also true for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130415 Mach ado about nothing – also occasionally a phenomenon when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130416 Too many sermons will give you a headache – not to forget, twitterers and bloggers. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130417 Many preachers do not live by their own sermons – be careful when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See twitter.com and “follow” RolandDuerre!

Enjoy!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday March 27th, 2013

… or How Poor the Rich Are?

In my last article, I wrote about the “average wealth of a German household. According to the Deutsche Bundesbank, it is around 51,400 Euros net value and surprisingly low when compared with other European countries”.

The issue kept haunting me. Consequently, I informed myself about our total federal debt. According to Zeit , the country, states and communities were indebted to the tune of more than two billion Euros in 2011. That is 24,711 Euros per citizen. During the last year, the number increased again. Neither does it take into consideration the probable liability caused by the gigantic guarantees of the “Euro Rescue Fund”.

The assumption that every German citizen has to stand up for 25,000 Euros of federal debt is definitely on the low side. Moreover, the number might very well increase dramatically in the near future. Getting back to the “average” household fortune of the Germans at a net sum of 51,400 Euros and assuming that every household has an average of more than two persons, then the “average” household debt is already considerably higher than 50,000 Euros.

In a nutshell:

Statistically spoken, the German households are ”publicly” higher indebted than what their private net fortune amounts to.

Poor, rich Germany?

As I said earlier: I am glad I never studied economy!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday March 26th, 2013

How Rich the Poor Are …

Here is part of a discussion I came across as some kind of “exchange of letters on the internet”.

In the 1950ies and 1960ies, science fiction was a much-loved genre imported from the USA. Among other works, Frederik Pohl, representing a mainstream I will – for reasons of simplicity – just call “Social Fiction”, published a story titled “The Midas Plague”. It is based on a consumer society busily trying to sell products and services produced in over-abundance by robots to the people. The citizens have rationing cards: the lower their social position, the higher the minimum consumption they are allowed. In other words: if you order something on yourself, the others will have to pay.

Consequently, luxurious residential areas represent the slums and allotment holders’ colonies are some kind of Beverly Hills. At this time, it is irrelevant that the author does not really do a lot with this ingenious idea of his.

I remembered said story when one of my friends pointed me towards an article in the “Welt”. It says:

According to a study by the Deutsche Bundesbank, the fortune owned by private households in Germany is a lot less than that held by private households in Euro crisis countries like Spain or Italy. Last Thursday, the Deutsche Bundesbank, at Frankfurt/Main, informed us that the average wealth of German households amounts to 51,400 Euros. In Italy, the sum is 163,900 Euros, in Spain 178,300 Euros.

In France, so the Deutsche Bundesbank, the average wealth of a household is 113,500 Euros. In Austria, it is closer to the German sum with 76,400 Euros. In Germany, the citizens living in the East own a lot less than those living in the West: 21,400 Euros as opposed to 78,900 Euros.
[There are more interesting numbers to be found in the same article about what people are worth in diverse EU countries]

That means that, compared with the highly indebted crisis country Spain, the forerunner and highly productive Germany is as poor as a dormouse  when it comes to property (fortune minus liabilities). Even the French who, after all, statistically work six days per year less than the Germans, are far better off than the Germans. Maybe that is because the real incomes sank by 4.5 % between 2000 and 2010. Or maybe the Germans prefer spending their money at Malle, rather than practicing “build your own house”?

I prefer leaving comments on the informative value of these average numbers (what age exactly is it and where aver is it going?) to the statisticians. However, the logical conclusion seems obvious:

The poorer the countries, the richer the citizens, and the poorer the citizens, the richer the countries.
Or
Countries that fail economically will create wealthier citizens.

Well, the EZB saw that a long time ago, didn’t they? But then, only the rich will get rescue funds.

Now I know: wealth will not come as a result of thriftiness and hard work. It will come as a result of debts and spending. It is an innovative, realistic and economical concept.
So why did I ever study economy? Errrare humanum est!

I know the author of the text quite well. He likes pointing our noses towards contradictions. To me, considering the current situation, the numbers look at least exciting. However, I would certainly not wish to stir evil between us and our European neighbours. But still, in some way or other, these numbers, too, show that things have gotten into a real mess, haven’t they?  And we will hardly be able to avoid a huge reform, because otherwise the “great reform” will come and catch up with us without our consent.
Personally, I am actually glad that I did not study economy.

However, I, too, believe you will never accumulate riches by hard work and thriftiness. It might be better to indebt yourself…

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday March 25th, 2013

Get In Shape! – IF-Academy – March, 21st, 2013

“Get in Shape!” held on March, 31st at the IF Academy is now over. It was a truly nice presentation by Johannes Schmidt. As soon as the video recording is finished, we will make it available to you.

After “Get In Shape!”, we will present

“Ubuntu & Android Usage in Business”

The test in practice – what can Windows alternatives really achieve? Features, problems and solutions. An overview.

On May, 16th, 2013, Alexander Jachmann of the IF-Tech AG will update us on the current state of affairs. It will, again, be very well worth watching, so write down the time! And the other scheduled presentations can also already be seen on the poster.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday March 24th, 2013

“I like” & Facebook or “WiTuN”

I like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and many more …

I constantly hear sentences like…

“… all those Facebook and twitter affairs are evil … personally, I absolutely boycott social media … virtual friendships are rubbish, because you have to see each other face-to-face, anyway… and worst of all is, after all, this stupid: I like!”

… from persons who are otherwise basically to be taken quite seriously. I mean people who climb into their cars and drive off at high speed or go back to watching TV – which means they actually use technology that used to be quite modern and relevant.

I prefer to keep quiet on hearing their comments. After all, I know that any and all of my attempts at explaining things (social media) to them is totally useless. There is nothing you can ever do about dogmatic know-all manners, especially if those know-alls do not even know what they are talking about and consequently cannot understand it. This is actually true in general.

In the last ifcamp (barcamp at InterFace) on our BlueFriday (of March, 22nd, 2013), I introduced one “knowledge management” session. It was about how we can set knowledge free and then share it. In order to then evaluate it together and identify what is relevant. With the goal of finding the right and probably better decisions for the future from the “crowd”.

In the course of our discussion, the Facebook phrase “I like” also came up. And we concluded that this is probably a first and extremely simple tool for social feedback. You can use it if you want to show people that you like something. Or that you appreciate them. Or that you simply are sympathetic. …

During the session, we came to the mutual conclusion that there is a need for a refined and neutral “feedback technology” for applications intent on using the crowd and the good social web. For these systems, this would be an absolute necessity. Without this technology, these kinds of projects cannot succeed.

We spontaneously found ways to improve on “I like”. Here are some examples.

  • Give a limited number of “I like”-s to each participant;
  • Assign a certain amount of them each month;
  • The participants get dynamically more “feedback units” as the social relevance increases, perhaps similar to klout;
  • Or maybe there could be something like a “Page-Rank” for members of a social system;
  • It might also be a good idea to introduce “feedback units” with different weightiness…

In a nutshell: I believe the “feedback technology” is a very important and central component of all kinds of crowd and social web applications. But this is not at all a trivial topic; it is well worth dealing with in great detail. I am sure there is also a considerable number of scientific works with good ideas which one might be well advised to take a closer look at.

Here is an example from another field that surprised me:
I like writing in stenography. So I had this idea that the technology of “writing quickly and ergonomically (instead of tense) by hand” – which has been developed and perfected over hundreds of years – could be used for text processing on tablets or with gesture-controlled systems. And then there was a friend of mine who works among the Academia who found it a wonderful bachelor theses topic, so it was very thoroughly analysed.

So – let us get under way;
Let Us Share Knowledge – and Use It!
(LUSKUI)

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Note:
This article does not suggest that I find everything Facebook or Twitter does agreeable. If, for instance, I will notice certain tendencies towards tampering with “social metrics” at Facebook, you will have seen the last of me there sooner than you might have imagined.    
But such a turn of events at FB will not change my opinion that social networks and shared knowledge applications mean social progress. In fact, it would be one more reason to rekindle the old philosophical and ethical discussion: how can we get to a stage where the production of articles and services will be done decently? After all is said and done, this will again end up in a discussion about privatization or the social responsibility of those who own all the production goods.

Roland Dürre
Friday March 22nd, 2013

The Country Needs New Knowledge

… and so does the enterprise 3.0

I am currently preparing a presentation on “knowledge in social systems”. After all, as I see it, enterprises are just one variant of social systems with an economical goal and generally special dependency-structures that have been regulated by legislation in a particularly elaborate way (I am trying to use an unbiased formulation here).

My first thesis in said presentation is that “new knowledge” has to be

  • Free of dogmata; and
  • Free of truth claim.

Knowledge is changing all the time. “Knowledge gained from life”, in particular, can always only be a snapshot. It changes all the time and always only has limited validity.

Well, it sounds a matter of course, but yet it is too often not lived up to.

My second thesis is that we will only be able to do this

  • In an environment of transparency; and
  • If we meet each other at eye-level.

Consequently, knowledge – as well as willingness – can never be caught and locked away in data bases. Instead, it has to be free and changed dynamically through permanent learning.

This is a pity, because knowledge is the most precious of all raw materials we have – not to mention the nice characteristic that it is the only raw material that will increase if you share it.

So what we need is not just an “economy of sharing”, but also “communities that share knowledge”. And we also have to dramatically change the way in which we share knowledge.

And this is where I still see no end of contradictions with still current but totally antiquated system rules and transfer practices, as well as with our economy-oriented way of thinking.

Knowledge must at long last be liberated!

Consequently, I will write about “new and free knowledge” more often in the future.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday March 21st, 2013

Tweets on Twittering and Blogging #159

Here are my tweets of last week on:

Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

130404 Many feathers will make a bed – also for the twitterer and blogger? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130405 Many prayers, few works – something that happens easily when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130406 Much noise and little wool – especially true for blogging and twittering!  #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130407 The more laws, the more crimes – this is hard to avoid when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130408 Many hands will make a huge burden light – is that particularly true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130409 Many hands will soon finish the work – something I also already experienced as a twitterer and blogger. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

130410  Many hands will break down walls – especially when twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See twitter.com and “follow” RolandDuerre!


Enjoy!

RMD

(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.