Roland Dürre
Monday December 31st, 2018

(Deutsch) Und schon wieder geht ein Jahr zu Ende! DANKE!

Another Year is Over! Thank You!

My Dear Friends!

Vivat the New Year!

Here is what I wish you, along with a little wish of mine for 2019!

 

The picture is from Rolo Zollner (http://www.rolozollner.de/). It's under Common Licence

May this piggy bring you all lots of happiness! It has been my Sylvester talisman for many years in IF Blog.

A good start!
Enjoy the new year!
Enjoy the world and honour creation!
Do not shun common sense!
Be free!
Live in lust and joy!
Be autonomous and follow your stars!
Do what you want to do!
Think first of yourself but then also of the others!
And, please, do not become martyrs for a “good cause”!
Do not act right but instead do the right things!
Consequently:
In six words and two sentences:
Enjoy life!
and
Be totally happy!
And I mean every minute of every day and night of your life in the new year 2019!


And here is my wish. Unlike my ”Christmas Greetings 2018“, it is not only for the “old white men“, but for all the people! I would wish that, in 2019, we all act a little more rationally than in 2018 and in the years before, perhaps as I suggest in my DontBuy Article!

Because it is simply a no-go that we destroy the planet with canine madness and kill each other in wars.


But above all
MANY THANKS
To all of you!

RMD
P.S.
The picture is a true click-pig. It is the first thing you get on google. Zillions of people have seen it. It was arranged by my friend Rolo Zollner. He created it for IF Blog and it is listed under Common Licence, which means you can use it if you cite the source and author.

Arrangement and picture by Rolo Zollner.

Roland Dürre
Saturday December 29th, 2018

This Way or That Way?!

We have the choice. Continue as before or continue to live?

Here is something I found online:

Here is the translation:


Buy-Nothing List

  • Do I really need this?
  • How many of the same product do I have already?
  • How often will I actually use it?
  • How long will it remain in working order?
  • Can I let someone else borrow it?
  • Do I have something similar?
  • Can I live without it?
  • Can I repair it myself?
  • Do I really want it?
  • What will I do with it when I no longer need it?
  • Who gets the money I pay for it?
  • How and where was it made?
  • How long will it make me happy?

There are two opinions:

A)
If this Mem becomes common consent, Germany can close its doors in one week. 
The reason is evidently that our system will no longer work.

B)
If this Mem becomes common consent, your children and their children might at least have a chance to live off what this earth could offer.
🌎 The reasoning is that consumption mania leads us away from ourselves. We are part of nature!

We have the choice!
It does not seem to be an easy choice.
Why?
When, on Silvester night, the rockets will again go up, I will think about it. For the new year.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

InterFace Christmas Card 2014.

This year, I again received a lot of mail on Christmas. Some of them were general Christmas Greetings and some were very personal. I tried to reply to all the greetings. If there are persons who did not get a reply from me, I ask their forgiveness.

A highly appreciated friend of mine wrote something special. His greetings started as follows:

The “Online Roland” differs considerably from the underlying human being I know and hold in high esteem.

In this letter, I read many nice and appreciative things. That made me quite happy. Between the lines, however, I quite clearly found a certain helplessness because of my “digital schizophrenia“. Because I seem to betray values in the digital world that are important in my personal world.

Well, reading about my “digital schizophrenia” made me thoughtful. After all, for me, my biggest riddle is my own personality.

The “digital thoughtfulness” started with the IF Blog. You all know that I sometimes strip quite naked . Why am I doing this?

Christmas in 2009

My answer is simple. Basically, I write the IF Blog only for myself. It is a kind of diary. And since I believe that transparency is not just a virtue but a necessary requirement for a better social co-existence, I publish my ideas. I do not want to press my ideas on anybody and I also do not want to be a missionary – even if sometimes you might get that impression on reading my articles. Also, I do not really care about a high number of clicks.

(Even though it makes me quite happy that my short Christmas Greetings (Weihnachtsbotschaft) – according to a rudimentary measuring – has already been read by several hundred persons, even if wordpress, due to technological specialties, counts less and less readings (since it only counts the direct number of downloads on an IP address)).

Seite downloads
/rd/einen-guten-rutsch-und-ein-gutes-neues-jahr/ 214

This was yesterday

I consider this happiness a very normal human trait.

What is important to me is that, at least in my own perception, I mutated from idealist to egoist. Because I believe very strongly that I can move a lot more if I feel well myself. Consequently, my first duty is perhaps to do well by myself. After all, only those who treat themselves well can treat others well (incidentally, you can exchange “treat well” with many other terms, for instance: only if you appreciate your own value can you appreciate another person’s value).

And since the coming year is the last year before I turn seventy, I believe my time is too precious to waste it on being against something or getting annoyed with someone. Or even worse: getting angry with someone or something.

So the ideal of my life lies in the serenity I will need during the next few years in order to be able to die in peace. In the IF blog, I created my own categories What I dislike! (Was ich nicht mag!) and What annoys me (Ärger), where I wrote articles about what I find frustrating.

I learned that frustration is not something that agrees with me. Just as it helps neither others nor myself if I am against something. Both concepts will make me smaller. Mind you, this is not resignation. It simply means that there are more important things than getting annoyed or hating something. I am always mindful of the paradox of hatred:
”If you hate someone, you do not harm him/her, but you ruin your own life”.
Naturally, I really like all the things in this world. This is especially true for the consequences of “technological advance“. And digitalization, which some people love much and others condemn with a passion, is only a current manifestation of said “technological advance“.

In 2019, I will celebrate my fifty-years-of-digitalization. It will then have been fifty years that I played an active part in digital development. That is something I feel very comfortable with. To be sure, I, too, detest such results as “military drones” that come down from the heavens and kill people and destroy their homes. The nuclear bomb, too, is basically a digital product, and I do not like it at all.

On the other hand, I feel quite comfortable with social media, etc. One of the reasons for this is that, by now, I think I am autonomous enough not to buy things I do not want. I believe I have now become resistant against marketing. This is true for the Fang-Gang (FANG is short for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google – I am sure you need include a few others, too). And the discussion of yesterday and today during the 35th Congress of the Chaos Computer Club – Hashtag #35c3 – which, incidentally, I think is among the best German social discussion platforms – is also something I like. Even if, as far as I know, politicians shun the 35c3. I wonder why.

Talking of how technological advance is a danger, the first thing that comes to mind which I really find threatening is the MIV (motorized individual traffic). On top of my life, I feel that my lungs, too, are in danger. I only need to leave my house and approach the Putzbrunner or Rosenheimer Land Straße, and will immediately get gas poisoning. Ask any lung doctor for the facts! For me, those who drive a car are like smokers who blow their poison into my lungs.

But then, what good will it do to become upset? I live my life without using individualized vehicles and thus I demonstrate that you do not really need them. It is quasi the inherent “thank-you” when I experience how good this is for my health.

I have exercise in fresh air. I get extra time that I know how to use well. Basically, I try to find routes that are as far away from poisoned air as possible. Even if this occasionally means a detour. But at least I do not have to get annoyed with the fat old men and women driving their SUVs.

And that is exactly what I also do with other things in life. I detest fascism and nationalism, but I am not categorically against the AFD or other forms of latent fascism. I believe that God and religions were invented by people. And I cannot understand how anybody can consider something “the highest” if they themselves invented it. But I know that this belief of mine, too, is just a belief and nothing else.

So how can I oppose people who firmly believe that God created the world a few thousand years ago exactly as it now is and that he made the strict rules which turn around the world and which he clearly communicated through his ministers and diverse messages (the stories of humanity)?

If then a fanatic who is particularly receptive to this kind of indoctrination kills a few people, then I find this no worse than the daily killing that happens on our motorways, highways and other streets. And even these killings on the streets are not a reason for me to categorically oppose all SUVs and their drivers. And for all those who kill (some even say: murder) carelessly, I do not feel hatred but compassion.

It is clear that I am in favour of both a reduction of speed in the MIV sector and a reduction of religious indoctrination of children and other people. And that is also how I live as a model. Just as I am in favour of peace and love. And I find it good to always question what is allegedly the truth or what goes without saying. And that is what I try to do myself, as well.

Except: I no longer want to be “against something“. Just like I also never again want to be angry with anyone. Because both sentiments just make me feel miserable. And that is not at all what I need in life.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday December 24th, 2018

Merry Christmas (2018)

Most of us know the Christmas Story (Weihnachtsgeschichte) by Charles Dickens.

The story tells us how Christmas cures the old miser Scrooge. What a nice Christmas Spirit! Is there anyone among us who, on listening or experiencing this story, did not have tears in their eyes?

Consequently, I would wish for this Christmas that the miseries of the old “white men and women” may be cured. Whatever their names: Seehofer, Trump,….

This is the spirit in which I wish everybody freedom and wisdom for 2019!

But for tonight I wish us all a Happy Christmas. And on December, 31st, I wish us all a Good Start of the New Year! And always all that is good and well and beautiful.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday December 23rd, 2018

TWITTER.

The article Hans Bonfigt wrote as a reaction to my ideas about Old White Men (alte weiße Männer) is a kind of ”torrent of hatred” against the Green Party and against Twitter.

😉 Basically, I am not sure that I understand the connection between Twitter and old white men. Perhaps it is because the current President of the US is very active and a certain CSU Minister of the Interior also announced that he will become active? Both of them are more the exception than the rule when it comes to “old white men”.

Let me name a few positive aspects of Twitter. In a later article, I might well voice my personal opinion on the danger of a fascist eco-dictatorship triggered by the Green Movement and Parties.

For Hans, Twitter is a No-Go. Well, I am fine with that, because I think I know Hans quite well. Although this in itself is an absurd statement, because nobody should profess to “know someone else quite well”. Mostly, we do not even know ourselves well.

I believe Hans is never on Twitter and consequently does not know much about the service. At least I never found his name in twitter.

Back to the “short-message-service”, which, according to Hans Binfigt, is the “toilet wall of the internet”.

Let me try to describe it rationally: 
In Twitter, you only see your own timeline, i.e. what people whom you follow have published on the internet. In other words: you decide what you see in Twitter by what you select.

Occasionally, I also follow people who publish nonsense or hatred. Simply because I am curious. But mostly, I do not stay there long, because it is really unnerving.

Consequently, one might say that I live in a Twitter bubble of like-minded persons – which means I restrict my choice of persons to those that have the same set and system of values as I. They are quite compatible with me. But then, is that not what we always do in life? We all know the proverb: Birds of a feather flock together . We like to look out for like-minded people. That is also true for the regulars‘ table.

To me, the people I like following on Twitter seem to be very constructive and critical persons. And I receive a huge number of clues and great articles and blog contributions from them. If I wanted assistants or personal reporters to deliver it in the same quality, I would need quite a bit of qualified manpower.

Screenshot of my twitter account in the morning of December, 23, 2018.

Screenshot of my twitter account in the morning of December, 23, 2018.

In my timeline, you will find media, the international press, publishers, the police, enterprises – among them the Deutsche Bahn – and many people who, like me, use the internet as a network where they can participate. I seem to remember the definition of WEB 2.0, where participants become people who contribute. This is definitely a change that also happens in real life – as is demonstrated quite nicely as classical conferences become Barcamps.

Above all, I follow people who do what I do: as soon as there is something they believe in or something they like, the share it in their timeline. This is how I get a huge number of clues and pieces of advice: they point me towards well-written articles or blog contributions, interesting statistics and facts. And it makes me feel that I am a Prime Minister or politician for whom the assistants select what they think he will find interesting in the world.

Many Twitter partners of mine attend congresses and share (twitter) the most important content of the presentations on a hashtag. That is when I leave my timeline and go into a topic mode. For instance, during my Caribbean Trip in November/December, I found it quite easy to follow the Munich IT summits. The same was true for the CDU party convention.

And many people were there live (either physically or watching TV) and they wrote very diligently. That was very exciting and a lot more efficient than having to spend the time in front of a TV set (which is not easy on the Caribbean, anyway).

On reading the articles, I notice that the quality is extremely high and that many good people are taking part. I would say that, especially on Twitter, you will find the elite, rather than the lowest of the low.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday December 22nd, 2018

TOLERANCE and CONFORMISM.

Hans Bonfigt wrote a comment about my article on “Old White Men“ (Alte weiße Männer). To be sure, you can disagree about what he writes. However, for me, his article was an important impulse.

This picture was taken on October, 3rd, 2012 in the forest restaurant. I am wearing the cap I just imported from China (this is also my Twitter calling card picture).

When he said that “we tolerate everything except intolerance”, he really hit home. As I understood Hans, the important question in his article was: who exactly is allowed to define tolerance (or fascism, racism, colonialism)?

I believe there is an answer to this question. Let us first take a closer look at the terms:

Intolerance is the opposite of tolerance (Toleranz). Tolerance (forbearance) is a virtue, consequently, intolerance (the opposite of tolerance) is an anti-virtue, the opposite of a virtue.

”Fascism“, “Racism“, “Colonialism“ (Faschismus, Rassismus, Kolonialismus) are not virtues. They are systemic concepts of the world that describe ideologies and governments.

Ethically, “tolerance” is easy to define. If you want to judge if a statement or an attitude is tolerant or intolerant, you have to do a personal and independent weighing, following “ethically responsible values”. “Ethically responsible” means that the values you autonomously found must be in accord with the global community, for instance with the UNO Convention or the “Golden Rule” (Goldenen Regel).

Social systems depend on CLARITY. That is true both for enterprises (social systems with an economic goal) and parties (social systems with a political task). The problem is: what happens if the clarity becomes the collectively shared concept?

That is exactly what we want. We find it nice if the enterprise where we work or the party we give our vote emanates a “collective clarity“. “Collective clarity” is conformity. It is the small (subversive) sister of clarity. And conformity is a nice basis for “fascism”, “racism”, “colonialism” – just as it is also a good basis for “slavery” and “fiefdom”. That makes everything a little complicated.

I think we want to be careful. We need to see to it that the VALUES of our CLARITY are in accord with the world-wide consensus of values. That is also true for tolerance. And if and when the time comes that the world’s conformity will bring forth a world-wide fascism (no matter what kind of fascism), then the only thing that will probably help is resignation or resistance. Which will then trigger the interesting (ethical) question if such a resistance must be non-violent or if violence is the only way to make such a resistance a success.

Once in a while, I get the impression that this world-wide conformity is what we already have in the economic dimension.

Consumptionism and capitalism have spread throughout the world like a religion. Some also call it a predator capitalism that, by using its weapons marketing, lobbyism and corruption, has already conquered the world. And here, too, we again have the tricky situation that we must decide if non-violent resistance is enough.

I am convinced that the only way to counteract the upcoming world-wide conformity is diversity and variety.

Many thanks to Hans Bonfigt, who inspired me by sending his ideas.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday December 21st, 2018

(Deutsch) Weihnachtsgrüße

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Hans Bonfigt
Wednesday December 19th, 2018

Ich bin gern ein weißer alter Mann

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Monday December 17th, 2018

Old White Men.

Next year, I will be 69 years old, which means I have been one of the “old white men” for quite some time.

Well, “old white men“ are the opposite of my idol. It is not what I want to be. So what should I abstain from if I do not wish to be an “old white man”?

But then, what exactly is an “old white man”? Historically speaking, we have had these “old white men” for a very long time, indeed. And they have always brought misery over their micro-cosmos and/or the entire world.

I count the Prussian Emperor as much among the “old white men” as the generals of the courageous armies. The same is true for the upper echelons of the Catholic Church.

Nowadays, I count the German “National Hero” Konrad Adenauer among the famous examples, or, to be totally up-to-date, Donald Trump, the “America First” president of our most beloved ally, the USA, also known as “God’s Own Country”.

Among the German and Bavarian politicians, too, you can find a number of them. Most of us suffer under them. I leave it to you to imagine whom I mean.

Even “God” was presented to me during my catholic education as an old wise man. Basically, this is no surprise if you read the (man-made) “Holy Scriptures” of the monotheistic religions (Christendom, Islam, Judaism). What you read will fit extremely well with the “old white man” as a deity.
Let me try to define what exactly an “old white man” is. Here are three special characteristics shared by all “old white men“.

“Old white men” have three characteristics:

  • Old white men are afraid!
    Although they actually have made it in life and could in theory live without sorrows, they are very much driven by fear. Their fears happen between the ears. The reasons for the fear change with time, but they will always return. For example: at one time, the evil Russians are the enemies, then the immigrants, and then again the evil Russians. And so on. 
Due to their fear, they cannot stop and let the power go.
  • Old white men judge and condemn.
    Because they know everything. If they meet someone, they will immediately know if the other person is competent or not (mostly the other person is not competent). They also know why this is so. Whatever someone says or does will be judged and condemned without much contemplation. 
They always know what is right and what is wrong. And that is why they think they need to make sure that the others, too, do the right things. Of course by their definition. 
Thoughtlessness is closer to their lifestyle than consideration. Experience is used selectively to prove their prejudices, counter-arguments are ignored.
  • Old white men are cynics.
    A long time ago, I learned the sentence “cynicism is the emotional manifestation of the intellectuals”. I think this sentence is still true. However, its meaning has turned around. “Old white men“ have often lost their emotions. They believe they can compensate this loss with cynicism. Naturally, this cannot work. Because cynicism is the opposite of emotional empathy.

Now you might say I forgot the characteristic “male“. Well, that is not what I think. In fact, more and more often I see women who think and act like “old white men”. Besides, stating that they are male would be a tautology (Tautologie) when we are talking old white men, it would sound like a Pleonasm (Pleonasmus). Which means it is no good as a criterion for defining anything.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
In Otto Scharmer’s Theorie U, I read that the three highest barriers against finding yourself are “permanent judging, cynicism and fear”. Well, doesn’t this sound a lot like the “old white man”.

Roland Dürre
Sunday December 16th, 2018

Why is Germany so Far Behind When it Comes to Digitalization?


A short time ago, someone asked me during a presentation about the reasons for our (the German) weakness when it comes to digitalization. After all, haven’t we always been the country of engineers?


On this picture, I do not look like a happy person wearing a uniform. I would have preferred to play with a computer.

Well, I had to do some thinking. After all, there was a time when German enterprises, such as Siemens, were the top of the world in technology and IT.

I try to consider the IT scene as a whole over time. I notice that, for a long time now, innovations have rarely come from the technology laboratories of the mega concerns or huge research institutes.

Instead, innovations are introduced by movements that are mostly initiated by young persons with passion. This is especially true for computer science, i.e. the IT and related technologies.

At Siemens, I myself was part of those who developed what I call industrial informatics in the late 1970ies and in the 1980ies. We developed – in an absolutely engineer-like manner – expensive and heavy mainframe computers with the matching periphery.

At the same time, simple computers for at home were thrown onto the market. For example the Atari (1979) or the Commodore (1982). Both in the USA and here, the children “played” with these or similar computers.

We “industrial computer scientists” also took a close look at these home computers. However, we only considered them toys that need not be taken seriously. We never realized what a fascinating potential these systems had.

As I saw it, for instance, the non-existent technological perfection of these systems was irritating. For example, they used a noisy cheap TV set as a screen (we called it data viewing device). Data were saved with cassette recorders on unreliable audio cassettes. And the input keyboards, too, were nothing that could make you optimistic.

Well, I lived to regret that I had given this new technology so little attention. Consequently, the PC wave and later the success of the technologically so weak Windows with its graphic interface and, above all, with its games such as solitaire, were ignored by me.

I already knew the graphic interface from devices such as the Xerox Star, which Siemens sold as an office computer. To be sure, it was a professional machine, but its cost/benefit analysis was extremely poor. Consequently, only very few German enterprises used it. I only know about Lufthansa in Germany who indulged in this luxury. This is why I did not take this technology seriously, either.

The young generation often only knew the world of the new computers – and they really gave them a boost. That happened in the USA – and you can easily read what happened there. For example if you read the biography of Steve Jobs – a book absolutely worth reading.

Back to our initial question:


Why is Germany so far behind in IT?

I do not think that there is one central reason for this German digital weakness. I am sure there are several reasons.

But I can give you one – probably a little rhetorical – answer:


I believe the compulsory service might have been one determining factor.

In the time that was crucial for IT development, we had around 500,000 young men under weapons. That is a considerable part of the male inhabitants of the country – at the best age. The national army was comprised mostly of people who were removed from normal life for 18, later 15, months. Most of them were young men.

Even today, you will mostly find men among the MINT (mathematics, engineering, natural sciences, technology) professions. In those days, it was even more pronounced. And compulsory service only concerned the young men and thus was detrimental for their development.

IT was – and is – a top-performance discipline. You have to stick to it with passion over several decades and, in the process, you have to suffer and understand a ruthlessly fast development. If you are forced to desist for an entire year, you will be at a considerably disadvantage. You can compare it to a young top soccer player who has to pause in his training for 18 months. I would assume that, normally, this would be the end of his soccer career.

There are a number of good reasons that support my theory.

My personal experience
In the autumn of 1969, I started my first semester of “Computer Science” at TUM. On April, 1st, 1970, they drafted me and I served until September, 30th, 1971. In these 18 months, I learned the meaning of the words “drink” and “chill”. The only positive result was that I learned how to survive such perverse systems.

In the autumn of 1971, I again started with the first semester at TUM. This is how I remained in chill-mode. It took until the spring of 1973 for me to finally get rid of this mode, because the interim-diploma was before me and I was woken up a little roughly. It was stressful and I continued with my “training along with studying” (more at Siemens that at TUM with quick learning from books). And I even managed to pass the interim diploma on my first try.

After my diploma, I had a few years of learning at Siemens and Softlab. It took until 1984 for me to establish my own enterprise. I was considerably older than thirty. If the army had not intervened, it would probably have happened several years earlier …

Experiences at InterFace
In the early InterFace AG years, we had many students on board. Some of the people working for us were even still at high school. They were fascinated by the new technology and wanted to get a first impression of what it was like in practice. They often came with a recommendation (for instance as children of our customers).

These young persons did excellent work and soon became important employees. As soon as they were nearing their final high school exams, they started getting nervous: would they have to serve? For us, this would have been a great loss.
We often helped them when it came to organizing a reason why they could not be drafted and thus could continue to work for us while they studied. Without these young talents, we would never have been able to realize our product CLOU & HIT and many other innovations.

The American founders
Looking at Silicon Valley heroes like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others, we see that none of them was hampered by military or similar compulsory service. Instead, they terminated their studies at university in order to focus on the new technologies and their enterprise.

German founders
If you look at the public cv-s of Hasso Plattner and Dietmar Hopp  (both from SAP), you find that they, too, have not served in the German Army. Of a very creative founder like Peter Schnupp, one of the co-founders of Softlab (born in 1934 and thus exempt from compulsory service), I know it because we are friends.

Start-Up Scene …
For more than ten years, I have now been one of the BayStartup jurors. It is probably Bavaria’s leading enterprise for topics such as business plan contest, financing, business angels,…
Depending on my availability, I evaluate around 100 business plans every year. Consequently, I learn a lot about the current technological trends and, above all, I also meet many young people who want to establish their own firms. And I notice that there is no new topic that does not mainly explain its specialty with the software that was developed for it.

It is thus a good thing that all start-ups have software persons on the team. They proudly tell me that they started programming at the age of ten and changed to sensible and modern computer languages and modern technology by the age of 12 or 14. A forced pause of fifteen or eighteen months would mean a huge drawback for them, if not the “out”.

So here you read a few arguments that might give some credit to my theory.


Now I really hope you know me well enough to realize that I would not declare that such an original theory is actually the truth.

However, I am convinced that the re-armament of the FRG after WW-II and the re-establishment of the weapons industry at least destroyed a unique chance for a great and peaceful Germany. And that the compulsory service and militarization in Germany are the reasons for immense economic and social damage.


The people who were responsible for this development, both today and then, were old white men like Adenauer with their prejudices and cynicism. Driven by fear, he had started as early as 1950 to work towards re-armament with criminally subversive methods and secretly.

If you want to find answers to the question “what exactly happened in those days?“, then you will probably want to read the Wikipedia article on the Bundeswehr and on Wehrpflicht.. They are very interesting.

But now I am happy that the compulsory service has been suspended and hope that this service will never again be re-installed.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The history of the pictures 
On April, 1st, 1070 (after having studied one semester of mathematics and computer science at TUM), I was draftet. Roland Dürre became Private Dürre. Unfortunately, this was not a bad April-Fool’s-Day-Joke. After one night in Lagerlechfeld (where you got the six-week mixed basic training for young people who had successfully graduated from high school) and a few nights in Landsberg, I was sent to Ulm. Because I was considered recalcitrant.

In Ulm, they put me into a training unit that was supposed to turn the recalcitrant recruits of the air force into appropriate security soldiers. Since I was the only one in my unit who had a high-school diploma, they kept me as a teacher, which means I spent five quarters among the other teachers.

Each quarter, I had to lead a unit and I also took tasks like company training. For instance, I explained to recruits who had never finished school how our democracy and our constitution work and tried to make them understand the meaning of legislative, judicative and executive powers. Or else, I taught them how to use their weapon (G3, P1, I forgot the name of the machine gun…).

Here is an anecdote from those times: 
During the basic training (the first three months), the recruits were only allowed to leave the barracks wearing their uniform. That was also true if you went home for the weekend. Well, at least they allowed us to go home every other weekend after the first few weeks in the barracks, but this trip, too, had to be in uniform. Most of us were the opposite of enthusiastic about moving in public in their uniforms and then having to turn up at home in it as well. Even though our parents rather liked it and everybody wanted to take pictures of us wearing our uniform. This is also how the two photos in this article came about.

Some of the recruits were especially cute. They went to the toilet at Ulm Railway Station wearing their uniform – and when they came out again they wore their civil clothes. However, they did not know that the army had positioned spies (in civil clothes). They immediately confronted the disobedient young soldiers and took them back to the barracks. Thus, the weekend trip was cancelled, along with that of the next weekend.

Mostly, the spy duty at the railway station was not something you wanted to do. It was probably a little like having to be one of the shooters in war when the enemy is lined up for execution. During the remaining 15 months, I avoided this duty because of my teaching position.

During my first trip home in my parents’ living room.

P.S.1
Impulse
This article was triggered by the current discussion about § 219b and the attempt at questioning the reform of § 218 (which, given certain stipulations, still allows a punishment-free illegal abortion). I heard from the right side of the “bourgeois centre” that “we would not have needed guest workers if we had not had abortions”. I found this theory so appalling and inspiring that I decided to postulate: “without compulsory service, we would not be digitally retarded in Germany”.