Roland Dürre
Thursday October 30th, 2014

Soon to Be: Dornbirn PM Camp

logo-dornbirnAgain, the Dornbirn PM Camp is supposed to be a great event. The orga team: Eileen, Eberhard, Marcus, Stefan and yours truly very much wish for this. We want all participants to make many new experiences on the PM Camp and, as every year, we want you all to go back home especially satisfied with what you did.

In order to make our wish come true, I will be permitted to say a few things on the first day after the impulse presentation by Gebhard Borck and before the “barcamp rules” are repeated and the subsequent session is shaped.

Here is what I plan to say:

In November 2011, the first Dornbirn PM Camp took place. The initiative had lain with Kornelia Hietmann, Dr. Eberhard Huber, Jens Hoffmann, Dr. Marcus Raitner, Dr. Stefan Hagen and myself.

Since then, the PM Camps found their way into many towns, based on a rather strong “grass root movement”. PM Camp, however, is not an institution and consequently is not after making a profit. In a PM Camp, people who like sharing their knowledge make acquaintances and friends. They will meet totally free and without constraints!

Again, we want all the participants to go home and enjoy the rest of the weekend after the Camp totally happy and content. In order to make this come true to the best possible extent, let me voice a few requests for us all:

  • We all wish to spend the next few days at eye-level. Consequently, we propose that everybody thou and thee everybody else.
  • Be considerate and friendly – do not give enmity a chance!
  • Treat the other party with respect, as you would wish to be treated with respect!
  • Initially accept other ideas as they are!
  • Give a trust advance and avoid making others look small!
  • And even if you are ever so enthusiastic about your own discoveries: do not forget to “listen”!

This sound a little like morals – but that is not what is intended. On the contrary! What we want is a totally free and unrestricted PM Camp party. Two days we enjoy together and from which to take home as much as possible. Positive emotions, retrospection and enlightenment, friendships!

Neither is a PM Camp a fair or a display of products. Consequently, we would like to ask you to not abuse the sessions for product or service adverts.

Most importantly: we all want to feel really well. Consequently, it makes sense to avoid all that might be destructive. Why not enjoy the trust and tolerance of all of us, just like you give them back to us?

PM Camp has become a huge movement. Many will also participate from a distance. Here are two more requests:

  • Do a lot of constructive twittering!
  • Wherever suitable, write a short documentation of your session for openPM!

This would be nice because it might lead to us perhaps having a few more barcamps in 2015, for instance in Bremen, Dresden, Hamburg, Leipzig or even totally other places!

Now let me wish you all a lot of joy and fun – simply two wonderful days. 

Well, this is approximately what I have in mind.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

I already wrote a few PM Camp articles some time ago. Here are the links:

Geschichte von und Leitfaden für PM-Camp (und barcamps allgemein).

barcamps und PM-Camp (2) – warum sie so erfolgreich sind.

Barcamps und PM-Camp (3) – “Typologie der Sitzungen”.

Barcamps und PM-Camp (4) – Twittern gehört dazu.

Barcamps und PM-Camp (5) – Regeln.

Here, I relate my personal experience and why I am such an enthusiastic PM Camper. Read my 
life-long education story – Personality Promotion, Seminars, Workshops, barcamps (Weiterbildungsstory – Perönlichkeitsförderung, Seminare, Workshops, barcamps.).

Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 29th, 2014

Going by Bike/Going by Car – or Of Analysts and Think-Tanks

I am a very serious and practicing biker and whenever it is possible at all, I go places exclusively by bike. This is true for all weathers and up to a radius of about 30 kilometres. If I go anywhere inside this radius, I hardly ever use public transportation.

For longer distances, I usually take the train or a plane, but only if it seems absolutely necessary. Only very special occasions motivate me to use an individually steered and hand-controlled vehicle with a combustion motor. During an entire year, this happens very rarely.

I enjoy my new freedom and I can also give you quite objective reasons and examples of how this change increased my joy in life and inner contentedness.
The more did the following item of news I read in the SZ newspaper supplement “Mobile Living” of October, 25th, 2014 surprise (and a little shock) me:


No End to Car Boom
By Joachim Becker

They say that by the year 2030, the cost of driving your car will be less. The world bank’s prognosis is that the oil price will remain stable over the next few years. This is why the petrol prices in Germany, too, are supposed to climb only from 1.60 Euros in 2013 to 1.81 Euros in 2030. Innovations in the motor drive mechanism will probably minimize the gas consumption while the average income will increase. Consequently, private cars as a means of transportation will become more and more attractive.

One of the downsides of the growing traffic will be the more than 30 per cent additional costs caused by traffic jams. This is the result of a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). The study’s prognosis is that the direct and indirect costs caused by traffic jams will climb from 25 billion (2013) to 33 billion in 2030. This means a growth from 1,647 Euros (2013) to 2,203 Euros in 2030 – which is more than two per cent each year and thus more or less on the same level as the expected inflation rate. Poor consolation: I the USA, they expect the costs caused by traffic jams to increase by 50 per cent.


Going from one place to another under your own power is probably the best you can do for the bio system of the human body. It is probably a good way to slowly glide into a life full of reflection dominated by the simple necessities.
Whenever I go places by bike, I move, win against my “weaker self” (which, incidentally, gets smaller each day), enjoy the fresh air and experience nature around me. I counter rain, hail and heat – also by wearing the right kinds of clothes. I learn to practice patience and leisure.

On top of this, I do not burn oil, do not produce exhausts, make no noise, am a far lower potential risk to other traffic participants and even save money. Using public transport, I win a lot of time when going long distances. Time which I can use for myself. Just remembering how many years I spent hours in my car every day is painful for me.

And then I have to read this kind of study … and ask myself what has been happening:

  • Is it possible that the prognoses in the article are correct?
  • What will people think when they read this kind of thing?
  • Might this really be our future?
  • Or are the analyses completely wrong?
  • Why don’t more people follow my example?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

By now, I made further progress: I now work on my “new mobility program”: replacing the bike by hiking short distances. This is quite a challenge.

Roland Dürre
Monday October 27th, 2014

Tolerance & Religion

Currently, I am thinking a lot about morals and ethics. One of the reasons is that I discovered how, for almost all persons, moral rules dominate almost all their decisions. This is especially true for all my wrong decisions.

Until recently, I believed that decisions are usually based on either rationality and common sense (brains, ratio) or intuition and heuristics (gut feeling). I thought this was also true for my own decisions.

And now I discover that I was profoundly wrong in many cases (and had to suffer consequences). Simply because I believed: “this is how I had to decide, because this is what you do”. Or in other words: I was incapable of resisting (too cowardly to resist?) the “this is how you do it” or the “this is not what you want to do”. Because my decisions (especially the bad ones) were influenced by morals and moralizing.

Besides morals and ethics, you will also find some ingredients in the Hotpot of philosophy which are hard to digest, such as “religion” or the virtue “tolerance”.

Because:
“For us, religion is sacred!”
and
“You have to be tolerant!”

I, too, believe tolerance is a precious value. The ethical person will say:

You should always be tolerant!

Tolerance beats morals!
The only thing you should be intolerant about is intolerance!

Well, one might counter that intolerance against intolerance is again intolerance, isn’t it?

Let us take a look at tolerance in practice using the example of religion. Both our Federal Constitution and the Bavarian Constitution give the “Freedom of Religious Practices” very special protection. It is almost conspicuous. And the law drawn up in accordance with the constitutional regulation strictly prohibits the violation of “religious sentiments”.

Instead of just demanding tolerance and respect, it actually means you have to subjugate yourself before the religious sentiments of others if you really strictly want to abide by it.

For me, this requirement is too much. Who is to decide what is a religion and what is not? A mass takes upon itself an absolute obligation towards theories and rules they basically themselves invented. In doing so, they cite a special, higher, external non-explainable instance. And then they systematically hand this “belief” on from generation to generation – which eventually leads to the creation of such systems as churches with all their advantages, but also with very significant disadvantages.

But how to decide which kind of belief that has become a system is a religion? And who is fit to decide? If I carefully read the chapter about religion on the Bavarian Constitution, then I get the impression that the fathers of the constitution mostly meant the Christian religions. And among those only the “better” variant.

So is this absolute tolerance demand for “religious sentiments” really acceptable? Especially if people who are victims of their religion believe themselves to be in possession of the absolute truth and consequently demand things which in the worst but frequent case violate humanity?

Perhaps this is why the beautiful term tolerance has now deteriorated to become a “buzzword” – just like, unfortunately, did the words freedom, common welfare and sustainability.

A short time ago, I demanded tolerance in my commentary on a blog. I also called it a basic “primary virtue”. And the reactions told me that there are actually some moralists who already seriously demand a “tolerance police”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

For the time being, this is my last post on morals and the like. After all, opposing morals and moralization is already some kind of morals and moralization.

😉 Starting tomorrow, I will again write about whatever comes to mind from everyday life.

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday October 23rd, 2014

Halloween in Hanau or ‘Viennese Blood’

A vampire’s vicious circle

spanish-riding-school
Elias Hupka-Hürlimann has now been living in Hanau for quite some time. Because it is Halloween, he finally wants a wish he has long had to come true: for the first time ever, he organizes an elaborate vampire party in his big flat, which is part of a Hanau Old Town Villa. This is going to be one party where nothing has been forgotten! Especially not first quality blood! His girl-friend Susanne advises him to order the famous ’Vienna Blood’ offered by a famous Vienna agency situated in the Blood Lane of Vienna’s First District! Elias calls them on a Tuesday; after the second ring, a young voice answers:

• International Vampire Party Service ’Blood Lust’ – this is Gottlieb Bissinger speaking – how can I help you?

• ………………………………………..

• Well, Mister Herr Hupka-Hürlimann, I am truly delighted to hear you are calling us at the recommendation of someone else. It means we are probably often doing the right thing and our customers are happy with what they get, doesn’t it?

• ………………………………………..

• May I ask where this German city of Hanau you are calling from is situated?

• ………………………………………..

• Ah – it is near Frankfurt on the river Main – yes, of course, everybody is familiar with that! However, Hanau is a city I have never heard about. But that is certainly not a problem – in fact, isn’t it nice to know that even townships like Hanau have their own vampires? That gives us hope?

• ………………………………………..

• Well – you see, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann, in Vienna, we do not only have Heurige and Coffee Shops, but also a very dignified ’Vampire Blood Service’!

• ………………………………………..

• Actually, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann, you should not forget that we here in Austria have a century old vampire tradition.
• ………………………………………..

• Certainly not England – the first documented vampire ever came from Istria in Croatia, which as early as 200 years ago became part of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. This is a fact!

• ………………………………………..

• Prey, do laugh – after all, we all need some fun, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann! It is rather nice to know that we already understand each other well enough to share a good laugh. That is the kind of thing that makes everything a lot easier, isn’t it?

• ………………………………………..

• Naturally, Vienna is a fantastic place for Vampires! To tell the truth, here in this city, they do not only appreciate the occasional sip of wine, but also the tasty suck of blood! Especially if it originated with the right kind of bunny and has the desired flow to it!

• ………………………………………..

• No, no – there is certainly no shortage! You see, we have all those retired persons in Vienna, an ample supply of choir boys and masses of Lipizzaner horses! Now this is something you will probably not believe, but the very young suckers, that is to say, the ’bloody young lollers’ really like to first practice with one of those dripping retired necks before proceeding with particular lust by using the white young necks of choir boys or choir girls! Well, and for every day, they sometimes take a Lipizzaner horse – this is simply a fact of life!!

• ……………………………………….
• Of course not during the performances of the ’Spanish Riding School”, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann, that goes without saying! I mean afterwards, when the Lipizzaner horses have been taken back to their stables and are tired and hardly able to move. …
• ………………………………………..

• No, we do not exclusively staff our company with vampires! That would be something the inspectorate division would not permit! Here in this country, everything is well regulated, as everybody knows. Even the vampire quota! In fact, it is quite possible that this regulation originated as early as the monarchy?

• ………………………………………..

• Of course, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann, all must always be in order! In our delicate blood business, anything else would be unthinkable. What do you think how many ’Good People’ constantly are on our backs, wanting to let something stick with us! We have to be extra careful at all times …

• ………………………………………..

• Exactly! And since we have these restrictions for our employees, Mister Hupka- Hürlimann, we only employ true vampires in very limited numbers in our party service – everything else would be much too expensive, anyway!

• ………………………………………..

• No way! What do you think! We at the party service ’Blood Lust’ are organized in such a way that 70% of the employees are so-called NVP-s, that is ’Non Vampire People’! And of the remaining 30%, 20% are HVP-s, that is ’Hetero Vampire People’, which means that they are sometimes this and sometimes that. Only 10%, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann, are true PVP-s, i.e. ’Pure Vampire People’! As you see, the ratio is truly minimal!

• ………………………………………..

• You are perfectly correct! The press makes far too much ado about it! If you are honest, you really cannot say there is a vampire excess here in the entire EU. In fact, we have a sad lack! A few more would actually be quite a good thing for all this ’SpinTopGame ’, you can believe me…

• ………………………………………..

• Correct – as you can see in our team! We here in our optimized service department ’Blood Lust’ are no more than six people!

• ………………………………………..

• What? You are asking if only six out of ten employees are true vampires?

• ………………………………………..

• Yes, that is absolutely correct, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann! I see you must be a true mathematician, otherwise you would not have done the computation that quickly! Congratulations!

• ………………………………………..

• How we handle the six out of ten employees?

• ………………………………………..

. Well, it is very simple: it means that Hubert, our only vampire, only works and acquires after midnight – that is how easy it is!

• ………………………………………..

• Certainly, sir. As you see, sometimes matters are easier than one would have assumed? But now, what about your order, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann? What exactly can we provide for you?
• ………………………………… ..

• Leiwand – well, it certainly facilitates things if you already informed yourself on our homepage about all the products and services we offer.

• ………………………………………..

• You definitely can order everything immediately via telephone! We are used to not making much of a fuss about things!

• ………………………………………..

• Just tell me all you need, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann – and I will enter everything in our central computer:

• ………………………………………..

• I understand – you want 50 litres of bio blood type A and 30 litres of bio blood type AB, but none of blood type B! Your German guests are not keen on this one! Well, this is interesting information, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann!

• ………………………………………..

• Yes, you are right! Blood type B tastes a little stale, doesn’t it? Your experts in Hanau will probably call it furry! Now tell me, are you particular about the Rhesus Factor?

• ……………………………………….

• No! Well, I can easily understand that! Yes, you are absolutely correct: as far as taste is concerned, the Rhesus Factor really is not a big deal; especially if you serve it sparkled on lots of ice! You will taste practically no difference between the rhesus factors: neither in the bouquet, nor as you swallow it!

• ………………………………………

• Is there anything else you would like, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann?

• ………………………………………

• What? You want to know what the ’bio ’ in our blood product label means?

• ………………………………………

• To be sure! Basically, you can say blood is always bio! But in our case it means that it is really the purest quality, still having this inimitable blood smell! After all, ours is a certified brand – if you know what I mean.

• ………………………………………

• Well – as I am sure you read in our prospectus, we also deliver blood products in totally different flavours!

• ……………………………………….

• Yes! That is blood we mostly get from passionate wine drinkers. It smells just a little bit of ’Blauem Zweigelt’ or ’Grünem Veltliner’! Or of Riesling! But we are talking really only a very tiny bit of flavour. This is something for real gourmets! You have to be blessed with an extremely fine-tuned tongue, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann! Incidentally, currently we also have huge quantities of blood with a delicious Vodka flavour for the not quite so fine-tuned tongue! I would very much recommend it if you want something really noticeable – not just some subtlety!

• ………………………………………..

• Indeed, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann, this blood is imported from the Ukraine on a daily basis, which makes it excellent quality, since it has been directly flown here from the war zone!

• ………………………………………..

• Yes – I am sure you want to try it – it is truly delicious and extravagant. I am sure your party guests will relish every drop of it. …

• ………………………………………..

So here I am adding another 10 litres of AB with Vodka flavour and another five litres AB with ’Blauen Zweigelt – body’ to your order. Great, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann! This is such a well-balanced order that I can only congratulate you in the most sincere way in the name of our house! Truly!

• ………………………………………..

• What? Who are our suppliers? Well, we do it all through the very professional Amazone Drone Service! They are just top! Their deliveries are reliable and always on time! Never any problems!

• ………………………………………..

• You are right! This is another sector where Amazone cooperates directly with the NSA. Consequently, they always know practically in real-time where and when the latest blood sources can be tapped …

• ………………………………………..

• Yes, it is truly a great thing! There is no other way to say it! At long last, they found a use of modern technology that absolutely makes sense! Apart from this, they only use technology for nonsense, don’t they?

• ………………………………………..

• Yes – so again many thanks for your order, Mister Hupka-Hürlimann! I hope you will soon again be our customer! And as I said: delivery will be prompt and discrete! Just like is always our custom in this house!

• …………………………………………..

• And a special greeting from colleague to colleague! I guess you are also one of those true blood suckers, just like I am?

• …………………………………………..

• You know, something always tells me immediately! This kind of similarity makes you a nice person in my eyes, even if you are a Piefke! No offense meant! And greetings again…

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday October 18th, 2014

Summertime – A Question of Morals?

As you can easily see in the IF blog, these days I like discussing morals.
Today, I was wondering about summertime. Or rather: about the switching from summertime to wintertime. It is also meant to be a “use case” for my topic “Deciding under Morals”.

Next Sunday will again be the time to do it: all of a sudden, the light of day will come earlier and, of course, darkness will fall earlier, as well. And as always twice each year, I will again feel a little dizzy for a few days because of a mini Jetlag. Unfortunately, however, this will not have been caused by a move from one place to another.

And I asked myself why everybody seems to have such a huge problem with abolishing something that is apparently nonsense, both for me and many others.

Let us remember:
The introduction of the summertime was again initialized in Germany in 1978. Yet it took until 1980 before it was reality. I said “again” because summertime is a legacy from the war and post-war days, both of WW-1 and WW-2. As always, you will find good informations on the topic in Wikipedia.

In the late 1970ies, we had “what felt like an energy crisis”. There was the general belief that changing to summertime would save energy. And since “saving energy” is such a good thing and morally so very correct, they decided to introduce the summertime.

Now it seems clear that the statement “summertime will save energy” can be neither proved nor disproved. Now “they” could decide to abolish the summertime.

Rationally, the entire affair would be easy – because the yearly change causes extra work and damage. For example because there are more traffic accidents. The same is true intuitively (emotionally). After all, who wants all this stress caused by the change of time zones.

But we also have morals. As you all know, I believe they often the main reason for decisions. And this is where I see poor chances for abolishing the summertime:

  • “After all, nobody can decide this single-handedly”.
    
(Like evil Putin, who – as we all know, – abolished the summertime)!
  • “How to justify such a step in the eyes of other European countries?”
    
(Well, we no longer want to be part of this nonsense.)
  • Maybe such a decision would have disadvantages we have not yet thought about?”
    (Maybe it will save energy after all?)
  • We had the summertime for such a long time! Why change it now?

Lacking the courage to change things, doubts and fear are all about morals. More often than not, they will slow down decision processes and prevent reforms and change.

In the “theory of decision making”, it says that it no longer makes a lot of sense to judge all other rather minor and non-relevant reasons if you have two major reasons why to decide in favour of something. I presume this is also true for collective decisions like this one.

Incidentally, I would continue with the summertime, because it simply is the best match for the geographic length we live in .And if the “old” wintertime returns, I will simply reset my rhythm of life to start one hour earlier.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday October 17th, 2014

Morals & Ethics over Values & Virtue ???

There are many people in my limited world who I appreciate and like a lot. Some of them think the meaning of morals is “behave in such a way that you always follow the shared values and virtues as a good person”. Personally, I do not really see morals as something all that positive. Consequently, here is what I reply when I hear them talk:

So what exactly are morals and ethics? What exactly are values and virtues?

And then I come up with examples and ask them what is “morally” the correct thing to do:

  • “Being in favour of order and peace” or “openly demonstrating for freedom by marching on the streets”?
  • “Progress and change are a good thing and come at a price” or “Progress or change must never be an end upon itself”?
  • “You have to go and vote!” or “You can refuse to vote if this is how you voice your protest”?
  • “It is a human right to drive your car as a matter of course!” or “It is a basic human obligation to do without a car altogether, because too many resources have been destroyed already.”?
  • “Let everybody feel free to fly as much as they desire!” or “Going by plane can only be the Ultima Ratio.”?
  • “In sexuality, freedom need have no limits” or “You only should do it with one partner and your sexual practices should be limited”?
  • “Women have the right to dress loosely” or “Women have to cover everything that is not supposed to be seen in public”?
  • “Prostitution must be forbidden” or “Demanding fairness for those who prostitute themselves.”?
  • “Women must have long hair, men must have short hair” or “Everybody may wear their hair as they wish to!”?
  • “Removing body hair is hygienic and beautiful” or “Removing body hair is amoral(!)”?
  • “Shorts are a normal thing to wear, even in business” or “Wearing a suit and tie is obligatory in business!”?
  • “Strike is a NOGO when public interest is violated” or “Going on strike is a social obligation.”?
  • “You have to have a fence around your property” or “You should not fence in your property.”?
  • “Everybody must be willing to die for his fatherland” or “You have to become a deserter when war is threatening!”??

I could easily come up with many more examples.

But then: WHO can, should, must, may decide what is wrong and right?

Ethics try. They want to find a compromise between various positions by seeking a consensus that matches both the society and the times and try to legitimize said consensus. But ethics, too, always fail.

There are even “ethics commissions” which want to and are supposed to answer the difficult questions of life. Instead of consensus, however, all they ever come up with is compromises – which are just as flat as their attempts at justification. Yet those compromises are then heightened to become “new” morals.
Morals almost always will turn out to be (either consciously or subconsciously) “know-it-all” behaviour driven by interests.

“You” simply know what is right and wrong. “You” basically own the “truth” and can tell others what they should do. “You” can therefore assume you are better than your fellow citizens.

As I see it, “morals” will mainly generate enemies and frustration – and it will also cause defiance. All too often, the “moral rules” are nourished by questionable sources, such as religion and its equivalences. The collective constructs of systems that put themselves beyond and above human beings with their dogmata decide what is “morally correct” and what is not.

The consequences are hatred, arguments, conflicts, fear, intolerance – and war! Both on a small and a large scale.

Well, those are my arguments against the firm belief in morals by some people. Yet I can well understand those who are in favour of morals. Because if you no longer believe in morals, then this is like someone took away the carpet of life you have been walking on. After all, we all have been “morally educated” and have become more or less victims of our own moralism.

As soon as we leave the protective gear of morals, we must go and look for a meaning in our personal lives and behaviour. And it is not always easy to find a balance between what you found and what you perceive as social reality (and its morals).

RMD

P.S.

I wrote this article for the community “Strategische Moral” in Google+.

Roland Dürre
Thursday October 16th, 2014

The Arcis-Vocalisten will sing Mozart – the “Requiem”.

A short time ago, I watched the Arcis-Vocalisten perform. It was in the Loisach-Halle in Wolfratshausen.

Along with numerous soloists (among them “Stofferl” of the Well-Brothers), the wonderful orchestra “Ensemble Nymphenburg” and the great Irschenhausener Brass Band, they staged an enchanting performance of Johann Strauß’s “The Bat” under Thomas Gropper. I was truly thrilled – not just because Evelyn (EG) was one of the choir singers.

MozartYet the “Arcis-Vocalisten” will not sit down and rest. Because only a rolling stone gathers no moss.

Consequently, the Arcis-Vocalisten will sing Mozart’s Requiem on November, 1st at 7 p.m. in the Herkules-Saal of the Munich Residence. They will be accompanied by the L´Arpa festante Orchestra and the soloists are Monika Mauch (Soprano), Ulrike Malotta (Mezzosoprano), Andreas Hirtreiter (Tenor) and Martin Burgmair (Basso). Again, the conductor will be Thomas Gropper.

»Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I consider it the inner beauty of the universe.« 
(Albert Einstein)

In Mozart’s mysterious legacy, his last work and masterpiece “Requiem”, both his firm belief in God and his constant attempt at coming to terms with death are always present. Consequently, when Graf Walsegg of Stuppach commissioned the Requiem in July 1791, Mozart wrote his own requiem.
Numerous legends surround the work. You will also find them in the “Amadeus” film. The Requiem is one of the most stirring works of religious music ever written and generally considered unique and fascinating mostly because of its religious depth and narrative drama.

»I smell the taste of death on my tongue. I feel something that is not of this world.« 
(Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts – his last words on Dec, 5th, 1791)

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Not too long ago, there was a huge uproar. A leading decision that said circumcision is unlawful had been handed down. Consequently, circumcisions were now violations of the law. However, this could not be made official policy, because, after all, you had to consider “religious rites” and “religious freedom”. Thus, they quickly made a new circumcision law where circumcisions for religious reasons are again legal in Germany.

And now, nobody says anything. As I see it, too little is said. To be perfectly honest, I do not even know if the new law was actually passed or if now they are only permitted to do what it says in there because everybody thinks it has been passed. One of the reasons is that so many new laws have been introduced and that our “big coalition”, as well as the EU, passes law after law.

For me, however, what matters is not laws. What matters is humanity. Meaning: common sense, philosophy and psychology. They deal with taboos which, as we all know, play an important role in our lives as rules. For instance, sexual activities committed by a father with his own daughter are taboo. Nature did well in this respect. In this case, the taboo is very useful in order to avoid an undesirable sort of reproduction (inbreeding).

Cannibalism is another taboo. The very idea of eating human flesh will usually cause disgust, both individually and collectively. I presume this taboo is because probably none of us would appreciate being eaten.

If I remember correctly, then the new “circumcision bill” was passed at high speed. The reason was: “We all want religious freedom, don’t we?”. I am sure it was another one of those situations where no alternatives existed. The question comes to mind why we still need parliaments and politicians when there is no alternative for social decisions?

Thinking back to the discussion of the time, I can find lots of arguments against this law. It is not in accordance with a developed society and cannot be reconciled with a constitutional democracy. It means a huge regression in terms of enlightenment and humanity. Unfortunately, it seems that most people in our country do not really seem to care. After all, it does not directly concern them. Besides, the archaic rites of religious communities are not something most people are even slightly interested in.

Matters would probably be totally different if circumcision violated a true taboo, rather than just damaging life.

Consequently, I will now come up with an artificial situation. In order to illustrate both the absurdity of our social mentality and of religious circumcision, I will extend the religious circumcision ceremony a little in my mental concept.

Let us assume that there is a totally newly discovered African tribe where all children – both boys and girls – are circumcised. For boys, this means the “totally normal” ceremony as practiced in several religions and cultural circles. Let us take the harmless variant for the girls – in order to minimize brutality (where only the outer labium is removed). Basically, the procedure as such is quite cruel and unreasonable.

Now I will construct my mental concept further and assume that this African tribe takes all the flesh from these circumcisions as ingredients for a celebration soup – which later is consumed by the tribesmen as part of the festival. This is just some superstitiousness they believe in.
And all of a sudden we are disgusted. We would witness an outcry of indignation throughout the entire country. Mind you, this would not be because of the circumcision, because nobody is interested in it. Instead, it would be because of something that everybody considers absolutely “disgusting” and “abnormal”. Totally amoral…

And everybody would be in favour of telling this small African tribe in no uncertain terms that they just cannot do this kind of thing and have to stop it immediately. Even if it is a habit they have been practicing for millennia.

Well, I simply chose this example – which some readers might find tasteless – in order to point out the following:

It is not the cruelty of circumcision practiced on children and the life-long damage for the parties concerned that will activate persons. Disgust, however, would immediately make all the people protest.

And that is something that gives me pause.

And I find it even more appalling if eventually “circumcision” is called moral. Currently, we have almost reached that state of affairs.

Besides:

The “circumcision law” I mentioned before could easily also have been formulated differently. As they used to do formerly with abortion laws. For instance by continuing to consider circumcision illegal, yet not punishing it in religious cases if certain requirements are met. That would have been a clear prohibition with exceptions when it comes to prosecution. At least, it would have guaranteed that the behaviour as such is considered illegal.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Here are some more comments on the subject:
P.S. 1

In Egypt, every other woman between 16 and 30 has been circumcised. What do the “keepers of freedom” in the West do about it?

P.S. 2

As far as I know, the disposal of the results of circumcisions is not explicitly regulated in Germany. It is probably considered medical waste.

P.S.3

Eating human flesh is a taboo. Regardless, persons who ate the corpses of their comrades in an emergency situation (plane crash) in order to safe their own lives are sometimes described as heroes.

P.S. 4
When I was staying in Peking, I ate duck. Duck brain is considered a big specialty and the prerogative of the oldest person sitting around the table. That was me. Thanks to the friendship of my hosts, it was tolerated that I did not eat the brains.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday October 7th, 2014

Ethics and Morals: Two Evil Sisters…

I used the last long weekend – it started with the German Re-Unification Day – for philosophising: along with a not very small group of very young students and experienced entrepreneurs and leaders, I went to the Grashof – a small conference hotel about 25 kilometres west of Fulda. My friend Klaus-Jürgen Grün held a “philosophical colloquium” supported by the “Ethikverband der Deutschen Wirtschaft e. V. (EVW)”.

For me, those three days were extremely important. Let me give you a short account of what I learned.

Morals and Ethics

I understand more and more clearly that morals and ethics are two evil sisters. To be sure, the younger of them, “ethics”, tries to dampen the detrimental effect of her older sister “morals”. Yet far too often, all she does is make matters even worse.
What I am saying is that morals are the cause of much that is evil and the concept of ethics doing better does not work.

Morals and Decisions

Up to now, my view of the world made me see decisions basically as the solution of the conflict between ratio (facts, evaluation, consequence, brain) and intuition (emotions, sensation, gut feeling). During this colloquium, however, I suddenly understood that there is a third – often extremely powerful – factor: morals!

The more I listen as persons find a consensus, the more I discover that the arguments they exchange are of a moral nature, rather than rational (common sense) or intuitive (heuristics). I find this a terrible thing.

Morals and Regularisation

Thirdly, I am now aware of how often we moralize even in simple speeches or when we talk, think and discuss things, and how much we are determined by morals. The systems we live in build massive collective constructs which further influence us morally.

The consequence of unimpeded morals is over-regulation. This is something we secretly demand (in order to have the others at long last do the right things), yet we do not really want it. Such a process will be detrimental for freedom: in the extreme case, we will lose said freedom. That is a scenario I do not like.

I would like to live in freedom in a developed and enlightened society. There is nothing wrong with reasonable rules. More and more often, however, I get the impression that, especially in our hemisphere, this development does no longer take place. What is worse: we are regressing and unnecessarily relinquishing our hard-earned freedom step by step. And this is something that must not happen.

RMD
(Translated by EG)