Roland Dürre
Monday October 29th, 2018

Sugar Coating (Entrepreneur’s Diary #126)

Last week, I learned some new vocabulary – sugar coating.

Following the motto “having a soccer table in your office does not in itself constitute #newwork“.

For me, it is quite clear that, in our social life as well as in our work-life, transparency within the enterprise and the participation of the relevant stakeholders (employees) are very important.


”Sugar coating“ as part of ”culture engineering“?

In my book enterprises are social systems where people work together in different roles for an economic goal – i.e. the goal of offering products and services that they will benefit from to people. Just like the Bavarian Constitution says.

Basically, enterprises are not machines that can be mechanically controlled by “management” that tries to minimize the input and maximize the output. Instead, enterprises are composed of humans.

A Great Team – InterFace Connection GmbH 1986: Celebrating.

That is extremely important. Just like I also consider values such as appreciation, respect and general considerateness when dealing with each other absolutely relevant in an entrepreneurial culture.

#newwork needs just as much communication as it needs civil courage and constructive disobedience. The elite of an enterprise should not be system agents. Instead, they have to be coaches, inspire people and give impulses. And the vast majority of an enterprise also has to try (and be able) to live the values they formulated.

For me, these are the pre-requisites and the basis of #newwork.

Especially in my sector, I discover more and more enterprises that “sugar-coat themselves”. Regardless, they still move at the edges of the German work legislation. And they form their processes and the entire system with an absolute priority on profit. For them, “entrepreneurial health management” is basically just an investment that is supposed to minimize the number of people who call in sick. For them, modern work environments are just a means to save on the rent for office space. And their decor is a sugar coat with great design and life style, both of which are supposed to impress the employees.

If you want #newwork to have any effect, then you cannot make it part of a strategically planned, human resource controlled ”enterprise culture engineering“. Instead, it must be lived by the employees –with intrinsic motivation.

This is what I have been preaching for decades, both because it is my personal experience and because of what I see in many enterprises.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
For more articles of my entrepreneurial diary, see: Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Sunday October 28th, 2018

1969 – 2019: Fifty Years of Computer Science.

It is now autumn of 2018 – which means that, before long, we will have 2019. 2019 minus fifty is 1969. In the autumn of 1969, I had my first intense contact with “computer science”. I started studying at TUM as a mathematics student, minoring in computer science. At the time, TUM was still Technische Hochschule München (THM). In fact, I found that name even nicer that TUM, but that is neither here nor there.

This means that, next year, I will have a very special personal jubilee – fifty years of computer science in my life. In the light of this, it is probably justified that I consider myself an IT pioneer of the third generation. In my view, the first generation was represented by people like Konrad Zuse, whom I was lucky enough to meet in 1985 during the InterFace bike tour to Hünfeld (where Konrad Zuse lived at the time).

The second generation is represented by people like my teacher Friedrich L. Bauer, who, among other things, gave the first lecture in computer science at THM (now TUM) in 1969. I was there.

I think that fifty years of contact with IT are definitely something special. There are so many stories I need to tell.

However, the current digitalization hype is something I am fed up with. For me, digitalization started happening when they came up with a method to write down what you said. And what we today call digitalization is basically nothing but normal progress.

And I intend to tell many stories from those fifty years in 2019. I will relate anecdotes that are quite useful when it comes to understanding how things were done in those days. Without internet and wikipedia. And I will also talk about the influence our entrepreneurial cultures had on society. And how we ourselves were influenced and changed.

It will be a potpourri of individual contemporary stories that go well with each other and that describe many different aspects of change. Since there are many exciting stories, I will make two presentations out of them. Part one will be the first twenty-five years from 1969 until 1994. Part two will relate the time from 1995 with the change of the millennium until today. However, I will not only speak about yesterday and today. There will also be some tomorrow. I really look forward to it and I will see to it that both the audience and the speaker will enjoy the presentations.

Well, I already told some of the stories in the IF blog, didn’t I? For instance when I wrote about Tools Making Tools …  (Werkzeuge machen Werkzeuge …) in 2017 or when I wrote about My First Project (Mein erstes Projekt) in 2015 or My Best Slide… (Meine schönste Folie …)  of 1981 (written down in 2008) – but these are all only examples. Of course, my presentations will not be quite as lengthy as my IF blog articles.

And the occasional missing story will also become an IF blog article. And, of course, I will also tell you in the blog where and when the presentations will be given.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Friday October 26th, 2018

(Deutsch) Anzug oder Dirndl?

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Thursday October 18th, 2018

Childhood Memories – Waste, Potable Water

Perhaps, as you grow older, you start thinking a little more about how life was when you were small?

Eating a snack with my sister in the backyard of our flat at Rosenaustrasse 18 in Augsburg (behind the central station).

I was one of two children of a middle-class family. My father was a tenured officer at the German Railway and my mother was a teacher who, due to having children, no longer worked in her job. To this day, I still enjoy meeting my sister who is five years younger than I.

I forgot most of the things that happened during my childhood, but a few memories remained with me through my entire life. And they are still quite vivid.

One of these memories is about washing your hands. And about our relationship with water.

Our parents took cleanliness very seriously. Which meant that we had to wash our hands as often as possible. Here is how we did it: turn on the tub, wet your hands, use some soap, rub vigorously, use more soap, rub vigorously… as long as necessary, and then, finally, turn off the tub.

On weekends, we often went to Thannhausen (in Swabia) and met our grandparents on mother’s side, as well as the families of my mother’s sisters. We spent much time in the open. And I often returned to the grandparents‘ flat looking quite dirty. So, again, I had to wash my hands.

Which I did. Once, my grandfather saw me wash my hands. He scolded me because – as was normal for me from at home – I never turned the tub off during the entire procedure. He explained to me that water is a valuable commodity in our lives and that you should never waste it.

I immediately agreed with him and I believe that this short episode had a huge impact on my life. And if I see today how, in the public swimming pool, some grown-up men activate the shower and then chat with someone in the ante-room, I do not find this so great.

Thinking of Thannhausen, Augsburg and those times, I remember many other things that were not so great.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 17th, 2018

Arcis Vocalisten Will Sing the Mozart Requiem

I always enjoy advertising the Arcis-Vocalisten Concerts!

This time, it is the famous Reqiuem by Mozart!

Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I consider it the inner beauty of the universe itself (Albert Einstein)
In Mozart’s mysterious legacy, his last composition, the masterpiece “Requiem”, his steadfast faith is just as ever-present as his constant preoccupation with death. The Requiem is probably Mozart’s most humane work – a kaleidoscope filled with emotions: hopeless and hopeful at the same time.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

It has now been almost fifty years since I was first permitted to vote. And, as far as I can remember, I also always took part in the elections. Because my super-ego always ordered me to go and vote – even if I did not feel like it.

Only a few days ago, I discovered that the voting procedures (and consequently also the rules) are quite different for federal elections, state elections and district elections.

Initially, I was outraged about my deficient political education. Then I asked friends I consider wise democrats – and it turned out that they, too, were quite ignorant. During the electoral campaigns and from the messages on quite a few election posters, I discovered that even some of the parties and their candidates, at least partly, do not know the differences between the federal, state and district electoral systems.

That was a consolation, but it also motivated me to describe two important differences:
As opposed to the federal election rules, the Bavarian State Elections are organized in such a way that the first votes, too, will be counted following the proportional representation (see: Bayerisches Landtagswahlsystem and Bundestagswahlrecht)!

When it comes to the district elections in Bavaria, the five-per-cent rule is ignored. Conversely, there is a minimum rule for the Bavarian State elections (until 1973, the Bavarian rule said ten per cent for the district level. Since 1973, we have now had the state-wide five per cent regulation as written down in Art. 14 of the Bavarian Constitution. Since the Bavarian Electoral System has no Basic Mandate Clause as we have in the Federal Electoral Regulations, this also means that persons who won their seats might actually not receive a mandate).

What does that mean?

First and foremost, the voter in Bavaria should, when giving his first vote, not apply the same reasoning as he would in Federal Elections, because he might do something he had not intended to do.

Secondly, if you give your vote in the district elections, you can also elect “small parties” without the risk that these votes will practically be cancelled and titled “others”, as would be the case in State Elections.

You remember?

Tomorrow, we have both State and District Elections. And remember: there are different rules for the two although you vote on the same day in the same election office.

Some more information:

In the 2013 district elections, the CSU did not have the absolute majority in any of the seven Bavarian districts. In the district parliaments, we do not only have the representatives of the well-known parties CSU CSU (89), SPD (38) , FDP (6), FW (21), Grüne (18), but also representatives of the Leftists (5), the BP (6), the ÖDP (6), the Franken (2) and also the Piraten (4). I took the numbers of the 2013 elections from Wikipedia.

I do not understand why the parties that know they will hardly have a chance to top the 5% in Bavaria do not tell their potential voters that there is no 5% clause for the district elections. Presumably, quite a few voters would probably elect a small party.

I would propose that we standardize the voting procedures – and we could at the same time reform it. To might make it easier for the citizens.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

16 Landmarks for Free and Agile Schools.

 

Roland’s first day at school.

With each year I gain in age, there is a growing belief that we experience such a huge amount of unconceivable nonsense, enmity and cruelty in life because we are socialized as young persons in such a way that we will later, as adolescents and adults, do all these stupid things. We are enveloped in our socialization.

The first diapers immediately after we are born might well serve as a metaphor for such a development. We need the diapers because otherwise we would leave too many tracks. And with every day of our young lives, the development continues. We learn what we should and should not do, what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong, what is bad and what is nice,…

In order to de-velop autonomously, we must anti-en-velope ourselves – which, naturally, is difficult or even impossible.

I have the hope (or illusion?) that, as parents, along with the parents and supported by the external instance that we call school, you could do a far better job making the future generation happy than it happens now.
As a reaction to my article on “schools“, I learned that I am not the only person who starts getting impatient with educational politics.

So why don’t we do something about it!

In my IF-Blog, I wrote how I experienced my visit at Marbach Christophine  (Cristophine I), as well as how school could and should work, My next article (Christophine II) on the topic had some arguments why I consider a new form and implementation of school absolutely necessary.

I recently discovered an old paper buried under other papers that deals with the Freien Schule Christophine (FSC). The paper describes sixteen landmarks for positioning the FSC. For me, every one of the block we call landmarks named in the paper is a metaphor for a dimension of thinking that a free school needs to have. Since I feel that it is a waste if such precious ideas sit in drawers unread, I will now publish these sixteen landmarks.

Every one of the blocks/landmarks describes a dimension of thinking and the sum of them is the mind-set that a free school must have. They show how pupils, parents and teachers as the important stakeholders of a free school, but also the school management and school college as relevant councils think and feel.

I found the landmarks as the structured establishment of this special school, the marbacher christophine (marbacher christophine). I assume that the landmarks, too, have been written by Lorenz Obleser, who is the father of the “Marbacher Pädagogik“.

In this article, the “Christophine“ is a metaphor for a “free, agile school that is self-organised by teachers, parents and children”. I assume that there are quite a few of them and that many educational experts would like to proceed in the same way. This makes me quite happy, because before long the first of my grandchildren will start school.

In the sixteen mile-stones listed below, pupils, teachers, parents, but also the teaching college and the school management will be heard. To me, what these stakeholders of the school say sounds authentic. They provide a story about the standard defined in the landmarks of the FSC (Freien Schule Christophine) which, for me, is an exceptional model for a functioning, agile, self-organized and free school. The landmark is a block that tells you about the stakeholder – and at the end of each block, the importance will once more be summarized (inversely) .

Now let us just read the landmarks and let the impression sink in. it might help if we switch off our brains and just be open for the messages.

 


 

 

Being open while walking and thinking in springtime.

16 landmarks

 


 

Landmark #1: Individuality in Schools

Pupils
I learn mathematics, write a story, work in my exercise book, practice orthography. We do some research, observe a cat. I go upstairs to dance, play outside with Diabolo.

Parents
If I were a teacher, I do not think I would be able to react adequately if a child behaved like my son. He is certainly very special.

College of teachers
The solutions the children find are very different. Two children have never been the same.

School management

Who of us knows what they are really talking about when we say ”individuality”? For far too many years, it was an unknown quantity.

At Chrisophine, the children are constantly encouraged to try what they can do, to find new formulations and to be creative. In this culture of self-education, everyone, regardless of intellectual potential, can learn about his or her individuality and maintain his or her identity. That is true both for the pupils and the adults. If this is how you treat each other, the respect for the individuality of the other party will grow. This honesty will enrich daily school life, because all parties concerned with school can productively contribute during the various learning processes.


 

Landmark #2: Ways of learning at school

Pupils

I will do this later. First I want to read something.

Parents
Luckily, a look at the mathematics exercise book will tell you what the children already learned.

Pupils

Too easy? Well, I did this for N. He is a first grader.

College
Why do they say “continuous learning” when you are talking about adults but “additional learning” when you are talking about children?

Pupils

Now I want to learn how to write with a pen.

School management
Activity-oriented? That sounds quite well. For me, it is more important to make children understand that they can actually act.

Not only from the physiological viewpoint, learning is one of the most individual and personal processes. It always happens in cognitive, aesthetical and social connections. The school Christophine accompanies the children on their way towards finding successful learning approaches. They can make experiences through all the sensual channels because, after all, stored knowledge, too, will be retrieved in different ways. The individual learning approaches characterize the different types of learners. Through our individualized work in open classrooms, we help the children to find and also move to a higher level of frustration tolerance thresholds through experiences of success.


 

Landmark #3: Self-organization as a goal of learning

School management
Please write on your work cards what you do.

College
I have to do all the documentation, the children will forget.
School management 
It has been a long time since you last did any mathematics, hasn’t it?

Pupils
Today, I did some mathematics because my mother told me to. Otherwise I would have had to do it at home.

School management

If a child tells me he/she find something boring, I will not respond. If it asks for recommendations what to do, I say: do your mathematics. They like procrastinating.

Parents
He always does his homework, there is never a problem.

At the Christophine, our work is based on findings that show that children have enough creative potential to notice their learning situation and to also make themselves part of the formulation of said learning situations. Children can form their environment quite well in a structured and creative way in order to adopt them to their needs. The school Christohine supplies the pupils with the tools they need in order to give them the necessary room for self-projection. At the Christophine, all parties concerned can find their own structures because structures developed in this way can have more stability. This is true both for learning and being together.


 

Landmark #4 – Activity and Co-operation

Pupils

Come here, I will show you how you can easily find out about this.

College
If N says he does not want to do anything, or if he does not even say anything, then this is always initially shocking for me.

Pupils
Why do you ask if I enjoy this? At school, I only do things I enjoy. That is why, once in a while, I also do nothing at all. We are the same age and our birthdays are in the same week. But what grade are you in?

Parents
Again and again, we hear during parent interviews that he is not working at all. I asked you before: do you think our son learns enough?

Christophine clearly and pointedly counts on the initiative of the pupils. Starting from such initiatives, questions that often lead to other work will develop. Sometimes there will be a call for employees or corrections, for motivators or partners that share some of the learning experience. The fact that pupils like to rely on familiar things in the form of structured work materials shows that they like to know that they actually made some progress in learning.


 

Landmark #5 – Self Effectiveness

College

Why don’t you go to the city council and tell them about it?

Pupils
I will ask the bus driver.

Parents
We then went to all the bakeries in town and asked them for their pasta recipes.
School Administration 
Well, you are correct. It was not a good idea of mine to say this.
Parents
It is not important that he attends grammar school. The only thing that matters is that, in the coming months, he gets his balance back and can again enjoy school.

College
I do not appreciate this kind of manners.

Pupils
Why don’t you let him have his say …

As the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk says, learning is not a step towards a later state but joy in the current state: “Learning means looking forward to finding out about yourself. This state of looking forward to the next phase in your life is what matters”. The Christophine school insists that the original joy of learning and the creativity and self-effectiveness remain important during the learning process. Even if the ease with which a person used to learn is lost later in life: if he remembers that learning was always a joy, he will still be able to learn later in life.


 

Milestone #6 – Social Competences

Pupils

Take a look at the school compass. At this school, that is our sixth finger: togetherness.

Parents

I was truly impressed by how self-relying and strong every child looked as they stood there.

Teachers

However, you can also see how they all constantly get stuck in dependencies.
School Management
Our school thrives on doing things together. That includes playing together and sharing your knowledge. Everything else can actually easily be done by private tutors.

It is important that the children learn to orient and assert themselves in society. If you want to gain technological competence at school, you cannot get it without cooperation. Remarkably, many children grow up without siblings. Since, simultaneously, many spaces of freedom for children away from school have been abolished, school as a social space for learning has gained importance. Just as the children have to assert themselves at school, so the entire school system has to manifest itself in the educational environment.


 

Milestone #7 – Knowledge and Competences

School Management
Please ask R., he tackled the same problem yesterday.

Parents
It always surprises me to hear his stories.

Pupils
There is nobody who has no competence anywhere. Everybody can show you something.

Teachers
Well, we do want a child to succeed at a higher school without him/her having to take extra private tuition.

We give the cultural achievements mathematics and writing a huge priority. Our school is a place full of challenges. Learning and working both enjoy a huge amount of appreciation. In this sense, our school wants to be an actual space where there is a lot to realize and to enjoy but little to just consume. The high degree of motivation is supposed to inspire not only the pupils, but also the grown-ups.


 

Milestone #8 School as an Environment for Experiences

Teachers

If that is what you want, then start organizing what you need. I will gladly help you. You only need to let me know.

Parents
We parents do not even know how the school gained its experience.

School Management

Well, the school is, after all, a place that learns, too.
Pupils
I cannot do this. I do not want to do this. This was a failure.

Teachers
Let us analyse why this project failed.

Pupils
I want us to vote … but there is already a rule. Basically, we said … I am the circle leader and will decide how we do it. You can change this procedure if you are the circle leader. I want to include this in the final discussion.

It is not at all true that, in order to make learning possible, we exclusively take advantage of original situations. Enlightenment does not have to strike quasi epiphani-like in the lecture hall. A lot of experience is necessary during all those many strenuous moments of everyday school life. In this sense, we also consider the usual work a practice that can expand our possible courses of action.


Milestone # 9 – School in the Context of the City

Pupils
It is about time that we visit there again.

School Management

I am sure that the children will be taken seriously wherever they go. Because everybody knows our Christophine School.

Pupils

“Dear Mayor, we would like to see you and talk about the defunct traffic lights“. – “Dear Police, could you please come and visit our classroom. Three four-graders need to do the bike test.“

Teachers
At long last, we managed to visit the museum again.

School Management
The sports club offers us their facilities during the third hour of the school day.

Parents

Parents always have to make some kind of contribution. Basically, the school cannot do everything. I take my son to painting and sports lessons.
Thank you so much for taking the children on the outing.

Our city of Marbach and its regional environment are the topsoil on which our school will grow and on which our lives will succeed. The pupils either come from here or go by bus or train. We can climb the city walls, jump around in the castle ruins or read poems in the house where Schiller was born. Here, we have neighbours who get angry with us if we sneak into their gardens and take the strawberries.


Milestone # 10 Fear-Free School

Parents

My son is always unhappy when the school is closed.

School Management

I am not always free of worries when I enter the school building. But in the assembly hall, I always see that we are actually quite well equipped.

Teachers
Well, it is normal if you see the coming school day with respect, isn’t it?

Pupils
If someone acts around with a wooden stick in the garden, I get scared. But only if he/she hits me. Whenever someone hits me, I will see to it that he gets one week of stick ban.

We should not fear fear. However, we must not make anybody fearful. We are a school that encourages, we are capable of enjoying mistakes, of making a glitch the reason to take a break and of once in a while laughing about minor errors. Emotions regulate the quality of teaching in the lecture room. However, sometimes our feelings can also be our own impediments.


Milestone # 11 – Role of the Grown-Ups

School Management

See what I found for you. It seems that you still have a problem or two to solve.

Pupils

I need a certain tool. Do you know where I can find it?

Teachers

I take up what the pupils suggest. If there is not enough coming from them, I will start doing something, produce something in the sense of our definition of work.

Pupils
These things have all been self-taught.

Parents
I presume you accompany the children more when they learn?

We only have one teacher. But everybody is sometimes the master, the school master and the one who accompanies them when they learn. Some persons are players. Some have responsibility. They are the boss. But that is not a question of age. It is more a question of standards, competence and desires.


 

Milestone # 12 – Common Reflexion in the Assembly Hall.

Teachers

What can we change to improve matters for next time?

School Management

Our school needs an institutionalized place for doubts. I mean doubts about the pedagogical concept, the things we do, our teaching material, our policy, everything we get upset about.

Teachers
Innovative? The children are more conservative than I am.

School Management
Our school is now in its third evaluation year. I will not continue in the same way as before.

Even our furniture shows the importance of communication. We have a meeting corner, the quadratic shape of our pedagocical circle. Here is where our community has a place to meet, here is where we discuss difficult situations and here is where we meet friends for easy leisure. The role of discussion moderator changes all the time. This guarantees an e.ducation that is not only supposed to lead towards a democratic understanding, but that also has its place in interdependencies made aware through discourses and democratic circumstances.


 

Milestone # 13 – School Celebrating

School Management

Welcome to our big festival in May, our show at year’s end, our big party on the first vacation day. …

Pupils
Today, we must celebrate three birthdays: the birthdays of J. and C. were during vacation times.

School Management

If someone managed to do something great or discover something new, that in itself is worth celebrating. I say: that is a reason to celebrate.

Pupils

Why don’t we sing the other song again? Oh, no!

Taking the citizen society as a model, people meet at Christophine in order to take charge of their affairs and thus contribute towards a successful school life. Both the management of everyday problems and the planning and realization of school parties or excursions are part of this concept. The grown-ups motivate this process of management by pointing towards future events or problems during discussion time.


Milestone # 14 –  School versus Family

Teachers
Basically, we highlighted the partnership with the families quite well in our school contract.

Parents
This is what I keep telling everybody: they talk a lot more with each other at this school.

Pupils
You have no right to order me around. You are not my mother.

School Management
However, I do not consider chatting on the corridors a binding exchange of ideas between school and family. It is more like the lubricant for common pedagogical activities.

Pupils
Last Saturday, my mom took me along when she went to clean the school building. I had the run of the entire house.

In many school situations, you can observe a family spirit. It is responsible for all parties concerned feeling comfortable in their groups. They also know that there is a feeling of belonging in what they do. There are intimate situations full of self-recognition and also affection. Since, however, our school, too, is an independent institution, i.e. an institution of learning, we will not allow families to delegate their jobs to us. School and family are two fields that need not follow the same rules.


 

Milestone # 15 – Diversity at School

School Management

I certainly want to represent diversity.

Parents
Basically, the families come from various milieus.

School Management

We motivate everyone to visit us in the assembly hall. And if you want to visit, you will have to bring something in return. Because we also want to benefit from your visit.

Teachers
Starwars, Ninjago and James Bond. More often than not, you do not get too many diverse ideas.

Having to make decisions at all times is quite demanding for all parties concerned. The plurality of school work and stimulations you get as a consequence will guarantee that the content is multiplied and that you get quite surprising friction areas and points of contact. It is the duty of the school to enable the students to get a good grip on their own strength and their own images in order to offer them an alternative to the one-dimensional consumption society.


 

Milestone # 16 – Great Expectations and Modest Pretences

Pupils
The children decide by themselves … you said so yourself.

School Management
The pedagogic development and the economic growth are harmoniously intertwined. If you do not need to pay back debts, it is easier to learn.

Parents
The way we follow their progress is always linked with the development of the children. There will come a day when they will have to attend another school…

Teachers
The Christophine is our place of work. Where everything grows, you would expect that, some day, perhaps you could earn a little more than now?

The School
 Christophine was built into the educational environment because there was a huge political impatience in the educational sector. By now, it has four years of experience. The supporter has four years left to pay off the initial debt. There is still room for eleven pupils in the building. That is how long the wish of the parents to get a secondary school will have to wait. …


Here is the source of my ideas:
CHRISTOPHINE – marbach – free school
Freie Schule Christophine e.V. · Ludwigsburger Straße 24a · 71672 Marbach am Neckar · 07144/305 80 98
info@freie-schule-christophine.de · www.freie-schule-christophine.de
Kreissparkasse Ludwigsburg BLZ 604 500 50 Konto 300 520 11· GLS Gemeinschaftsbank BLZ 430 609 67 Konto 700 5615 700


I published the milestones because I think they are an excellent and rather commonly acceptable inspiration for all those who are interested in school life and yearn for an agile and free school!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday October 5th, 2018

Is Democracy in Danger?

Here is what I think about the Bavarian Elections in a little more than a week.

Between ruins (South Georgia – whaling).

Democracy in Danger?
I hear this question more and more often.
And my answer is:
Yes – but it has been in danger for a long time already!

The democratic idea includes that people who live in a country (and therefore are this social system) elect their representatives who then find social consensus in parliament and realize said consensus in the form of prudent legislation. But this has not worked well in a long time.

My friend Detlev Six writes:
Liberal democracy is the most sensitive creature of the world. Nurse the baby!

Well, I, too, think that democracy is a rather tiny plant that should be well tended. However, that is not what we do. Instead, said plant has been threatened and harmed by various pests for decades.

I identified the following reasons why democracy in Bavaria and many other countries has been in the decline:

  • A general weakness in education and learning.
    Schools and universities produce consumers and workers who are more and more adapted to what the system needs, instead of autonomous persons in an ethically responsible awareness of values.
  • Party oligarchy.
    The parties no longer work towards the “social consensus”. They do not want the best for the people but continuing power. For said power, you need votes, which they want at any cost.
  • Interest associations and lobbyism.
    
The citizens see that the government, the parliament and the parties are ruled by foreign powers where the individual interest has priority over the interests of the people.
  • Marketing makes elections ridiculous.
    
How electoral campaigns are organized irritates the people and de-values the elections. You can now again see it in Bavaria. What nonsense you read on the posters that have been distributed all over the streets? Neither do the manifestos of the parties convince anybody. You get the impression that the party where most money flows into marketing and where people are best manipulated will win the elections.
  • The candidate selection and the internal party sleaze.
    
Again and again, party members that have never been elected into top positions get them.
  • Feeling powerless.
    
Huge parts of the population see themselves as powerless (either because that is how they feel or because they really are).

However, the “democracy in danger” question is now asked because the populists in Europe have such success and because of the imagined – and perhaps also real – threat of rightist movements and nationalist tendencies in Germany.

However, I believe that these problems are just a consequence of the factors I listed above and other similar developments. For me, this means that we ourselves caused the entire dilemma. By democratic failure. Both actively and passively.

And, as so often, those that lament most about what is wrong are those who caused it. We will probably have to accept that it is all our own fault, if we like it or not.

So whom am I supposed to give my vote?

I do not yet know. I do not like the Green Party because they were the ones who, along with the SPD, made it possible for our armed forces to be stationed abroad. CSU and SPD do not look electable to me. As far as the CSU is concerned, this is not only because of the current protagonists. The SPD did not understand #newwork at all, although this could (should?) be their topic. The FDP covers its clientele policy by promoting an “educational push“ and is millions of miles away from a “liberal“ policy, which means I cannot give them my vote. As I see it, the Left Party has some nice and good things in their program, but they also say many adventurous things. When it comes to “work life”, they are just as bad as the SPD. The AfD is not at all my world. That leaves only the ÖDP, which looks honest to me, or the “Die Partei”, which at least does not have a manifesto that makes you laugh as much as that of the other parties. Well, and ever since they tried to write a common political manifesto (see IF-Blog five years ago), I no longer like the Pirates either.

But here comes what is most important: 
Many of us are really well off. Let us enjoy life and give a little bit of our strength and nourishment (and nursing) to the little plant “liberal democracy”! And the first step is probably to actually go and vote.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 3rd, 2018

BUSINESS Visualisation

THE BOOK by
Botta/Reinold/Schloss

Behind this really harmless title, you will find a truly exciting non-fiction book. I would call it a book for people between six and ninety who want to have more joy and success in life.

The sub-title

A tour guide for curious and visionary persons
already gives an idea about the book being something really special.

Special? Well, I read it and I would call it revolutionary. It is about a trip into a new world I very much love and cherish. It is a world full of creative and appreciative communication and of “living together”. And it leads into a world that will continue to change and grow.

Basically, it is not a book you will read, but more a book you will feel your way through. In an exciting and humorous way, the trip of a young lady whose name is Barbara (Babs) into an agile adventure is described. This trip brings her through the world of modern communication, beginning from listening and understanding and ending in a very rounded way via the creative when the results are documented.

For me, it is quite clear: communication is the basis for all kinds of “social systems”. And communication will work better if we make use of innovative formats (some of them are actually very old). Part of this concept is the use of images and haptic – as part of a new and very sympathetic mental frame.

During my activities, I am often surprised to see how many people simply ignore the “agile change” that takes place around them, or else they are almost overrun by it. The book, which was written as a co-operation project between Botta, Reinold and Schloß, could be a solid introduction to this “new world“ for non-experts. But also the “experienced agilest” will find quite a few innovative ideas.

I can guarantee that this book will remain exciting from the first to the last page. It is not one of those works where the message is clear after the first fifty pages and where said message is then artificially lengthened and repeatedly proven in a boring way. No – you will find something new on every page. It remains full of humour at all times and the joy of reading will never end.

I would wish that the authors were to write more books about more trips, because the wonderful world of modern communication is endless. The book really contains a lot of it – but naturally not all of it. Barbara (the hero an inspiration of the authors in real life) could easily take us with her on many more great trips.

That would be nice. But I already very much recommend the first trip. For entrepreneurs and (project) managers, the book is a must.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre

DIESEL

Selfie: “I cannot understand it.“

For many days, the main topic in the media and news has been nothing but “The Diesel”. I find this rather frustrating, because there are so many much more important social issues that need to be tackled. It is all Greek to me  (Ich verstehe nur noch Bahnhof).

Basically, it is very simple:

If I buy a low quality product, then I have a claim. If the transaction was a fraud, then I can try to bring the claim forward against the fraudulent salesperson.
That is something the rule of justice in a country should guarantee. If this no longer works because the concerns have become too powerful, then that is just too bad.
This is probably true for all goods, no matter if we are talking food or other products and also for services – and it should also apply to cars.

There are many things I no longer understand!

Why has nobody come up with the idea, especially when we are talking the current Diesel discussion, to simply abolish the subsidies on the Diesel tax? I mean, if the Diesel is such a bad product? After all, it is 22 Euro-Cent per litre in subsidies (in Germany, you have to pay 22 Euro-Cent less for Diesel than for petrol) that lets our “greed is great“ society crave for Diesel vehicles. Regardless of the fact that, in general, the “Diesel car” is more expensive than the competition, but in a state of greed, you do not tend to be very good with calculations.
Isn’t it normal, rather than a national emergency, if the greedy people will, once in a while, be the losers? Mind you, this is not meant to be gloating.

Neither do I understand that there seems to be nobody left who introduces a speed limit. Both on motorways and highways, this would considerably economize on fuel (and on human lives). And it has been obvious for a long time that, in cities, the rule of “driving 30” should be a matter of course. And that the “50” and “60” should be the exception to the rule.

I also do not understand why the Diesel is now such a huge topic. After all, we have a situation where, de facto, all combustion motors in individualized traffic (and, so I hope, not only where cars and motorbikes are concerned, but also where lawnmowers and leaf-blowers are concerned) will (hopefully soon) face their exodus.

Don’t we agree that, today, the discussion is not about whether my SUV has a Diesel or a petrol motor. Instead, it is all about whether you still drive a car at all. Because a) perhaps the climate catastrophe is real after all and b) I do not wish to have all those exhaust fumes in my lungs. It is not even necessary for me to ride my bike on the Rosenheimer Strasse in Munich during rush hour if I want to suffer. Even riding to the bakery on a Sunday morning on the Putzbrunner Strasse in Ottobrunn will do the job!

Neither do I understand that kerosene for airplanes and heavy oil for ships is taxed in the same way as petrol, although we know full well that we need to fly less. And why do they want to build still more runways? And why do we still burn brown coal (Hambacher Forst), thereby making life unnecessarily hard for alternative energies.

And I also do not understand why we celebrate the German Unity Day today. Wouldn’t it be better to use the day for working towards a decent Europe of Regions where people can live in confidence and courage?

These days, there is a lot I do not understand. Not only with respect to mobility, we are surrounded by mania. Is it already too late for our planet (Permafrost). I almost tend towards resignation?

RMD
(Translated by EG)