Roland Dürre
Tuesday July 30th, 2019

Frankfurt in Nauders

 

How I became the victim of violence that I cannot understand.

 

Norbertshöhe – Postcard Idyll in the Alps.

This year in July, I spent some time in Schlanders in beautiful southern Tyrolia, where I joined the soccer players of SpVgg Unterhaching – who were in a training camp – for a few days. We (Barbara, Maresa and yours truly) took the EC from Munich East to Innsbruck and from there we rode our bikes along the Inn cyclist’s path to Martina. Then we continued upwards to the Norbertshöhe.

The cyclist’s path from Innsbruck to Norbertshöhe is really beautiful and you can easily manage it with one overnight stay (we spent the night in Zams). The second day is topped by eleven switchbacks that wind their way to Norbertshöhe over a few hundred metres of altitude. There is an Alpine Restaurant , also called Norbertshöhe, where you can very well rest overnight. After that, it is only a leisurely and quick day to Schlanders.

The only damper on this route is the fact that some of the way on this nice road to Martina, even though it is a cyclist’s path and separate from the street, it goes right alongside the highway.

After a nice and very comfortable night on the Norbertshöhe, we continued in the morning of July, 5th, 2019 on the cyclist’s path to Nauders.

On this day, in Nauders, between 9:03 a.m. and 9:09 a.m., I fell victim to a crime of violence that hit me totally unexpectedly. I remember the exact time very well because I had been using the google maps function “my time axis”.
Today, I heard a lot on the radio about the Frankfurt crime of violence. Consequently, I also remembered what happened to me in Nauders. Let me relate to you what an unthinkable thing happened to me.

The cyclist’s path runs right through the very touristy place Nauders. There are many shops. The street through Nauders is used by pedestrians, cyclists and cars. We stopped in front of a sports shop with a big open space in front. Barbara and Maresa went shopping and I remained outside with the bikes.

According to google, I spent around five minutes in front of the shop. Then my ladies exited the shop, mounted their bikes and continued riding them.

I also wanted to mount my bike and ride after them. That was exactly the moment when I felt a really strong, totally unexpected push into my back. Only with a lot of luck and dexterity, I managed to avoid a fall on my face.

And I saw how a tall and huge gentleman who looked totally normal moved away from me with very quick steps and an extraordinarily upright posture.

I was at a loss. My companions had already left. I really did not feel like following the man and asking him what this had been all about. So I followed my two ladies and told them what had happened.

The general opinion was that something like going to the police would probably not make sense, on top of causing a lot of trouble and wasting time. I would probably have had to see a doctor, too. We already had lost a lot of time and wanted to be on our way.

Consequently, we tried not to let our good mood be dampened and continued. And we really enjoyed the nice way down to Southern Tyrolia. Which was well: the body part where I had been injured still hurt for a few days whenever I made a wrong move, but after about three days, all was well again.

During the rest of the journey, I kept wondering what had happened. For me, the most plausible explanation was that some kind of village fool had been angry about something and consequently let out steam on me. Was it my eBike (they say that some people get angry when they see bikes, especially eBikes)? Had I actively annoyed him (as a bike rider)? Perhaps not, because I had been standing in front of the shop for some minutes already and I make it my rule to always be extremely considerate in these mixed zones, especially when it comes to pedestrians. But can I really be sure? Or was it only my clothes or my nose that he did not like? Perhaps he envied me because I had two beautiful female companions? Or was he mistaking me for an Austrian politician? How am I supposed to know what went on in the brains of my attacker?

Later that day, when we were taking a break in Glurns I had a shocking idea.

Somehow or other, my brains had processed the question: 
”What would have happened if the attacker had used a knife as his weapon“? 
I had a mental concept of myself lying in a puddle of blood, then fighting for my last bit of life in a hospital and having to spend the rest of my miserable life in a wheelchair because of the lasting damage.

But it is probably statistically quite normal that, if you are soon seventy years old, you will also know the experience of anonymous violence. I remember that one of my sons at one time was beaten by public school classmates in an Ottobrunn school without any imaginable reason. Just because he was strolling over the railway station plaza at the wrong time of day. And because he was a student at grammar school.

Except I must not continue with this train of thought. Because if I do, I might get the idea that the probability of an SUV taking me down from my bike is a lot higher and that the consequences of such an event will usually be a lot worse than those of what I experienced in Nauders. Except that it is socially tolerated and happening on a daily basis that someone takes down a person who rides a bike (or, nowadays, an e-scooter). It happens all the time. And then it is considered unfortunate or, at best, treated as a minor breach of law.

But if we have pointless violence by someone who is probably in some way mentally unfit, then this is communicated as a national catastrophe. And all of Germany is concerned and everybody cries and even the Mister Federal Minister of the Interior interrupts his vacation.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday July 26th, 2019

Sheepshead, School and Digitalization,

 

Card Playing Stories.

 

Laub(?)-Solo on Position 3 with 4 Ober, beaten in the Bock Round with Contra. />

Once in a while, I leave the competitive Sheepshaed rounds and play with elderly gentlemen. This hand of cards is totally fictional. Similarities with real hands are purely accidental.

The “elderly gentlemen“ are no older than I. I gave the circle this secret title because it is a very contemplative sheepshead round. The stakes are low, there is no knocking and there is plenty of gossiping.

The “elderly gentlemen“ are mostly retirees or financially independent persons. In general, they built a family and can look back upon a successful professional career. Their lives were full, they always knew right from wrong and achieved a lot as upright citizens. They live in a world that is free of sorrows and peaceful, but they have many irrational fears. Today, they play the roles of good grandfathers and support their children in a particularly model-like way when it comes to caring for the grandchildren.

The hand of the enemy on position 4, who killed my solo.

They also invest a lot of time for this goal of theirs. As helping angels, they constantly travel for other people. And they always know better how to improve matters.

I think that people need to solve their own problems and prefer to support people in finding their own way to deal with their problems. And I also believe that everybody should live his or her life in self-responsibility.

I tried to kiss moral and other dogmas good-bye for good. I also kissed my bad conscience good-bye. If I had not done this, I would think of myself as a totally bad family father and human being when surrounded by these people.

So here is the story. It is about school. Incidentally, one of my daughters is a teacher. She also often tells me stories that surprise me. It is really quite sad how school and education in Germany deteriorate.

The following story is from the world of state schools. However it is not a story my daughter told me. It is from a sheepshead friend of mine, one of the “elderly gentlemen”.

As the end of the school year comes, all teachers have more work than at other times. That is not only due to the fact that they have to write all the reports. Consequently, the grandfathers must have a watchful eye on their “grandchildren whose parents are teachers” in order to give said teaching parents room and time they need for this important end-of-the-year work.

One of the important and time-consuming tasks it taking back the books. They are all free. So the teachers who have (had) to be responsible for all those books now need to get active. And since this takes a lot of time, grandpa has to babysit.

As with all regulars‘ tables, the sheepshead stories are also always value-oriented. Consequently, the story about how school books are returned also gets morally judged. This is also an example that nicely illustrates what Socrates found out: the young generation gets worse and worse. And the wise heads go left and write as they signal how they cannot understand how society deteriorates, as you can clearly see from the condition of the books. What a nuisance it also is to check what papers are hidden in the books. Sometimes even with secret data. You can also lament about the loss of power and authority in modern times and school.

I, too, move my wise head right and left. Because I cannot understand why we need school books at all. Don’t we live in the 21st century, i.e. in the digital era? But that is not what I say. Because I know that every one of the men assembled around this cards table will consider a school life without normed school books for all the subjects the end of our occidental German culture.

My ruminations stray to a series of emotional pitches at the Business Competition BayStartup, where young start-up teams pleaded for a digital school. And they also showed what little technology you need if you wish to realize it. And what huge advantages on several levels this would have. However, I also remember how these – admittedly very young – teams were given patronizing smiles by the majority of jurors (and given poor grades). This was a few years ago – and I had hoped that something might have changed by now.

But we live in Germany. My colleagues in the jury – mostly old white men like myself – were not really enthusiastic about such revolutionary ideas. Because even the protagonists of change do not yet understand that innovation is creative destruction. And that school books are a means towards a standardized education.

And even technologically simple things are the opposite of politically easy to realize. Especially not if they are about change. And I probably better do not say what I think about this.

After all, in my sheephead circle, I want to play cards and not discuss digitalization. In the past, my experience was too often that digital life, along with the internet as a fair participation system, is not really understood among the powers that be in this country.

And unfortunately, I must agree with Sascha when he writes:
”The greatest German competence is the competence to remain. It is administered by habit.“

(Sascha Lobo in an article about micro mobility)

And all I can do is warn the old white men (and also the evil female wise-guy ladies):

If you continue in this way, then there will soon be an end to prosperity and the life you love so much in this country. That serves you right! And it is well!

RMD

P.S.
But at least there is good news from Bavaria: They now offer sheepshead as a school subject. It is perhaps the only subject that makes any sense.

Roland Dürre
Saturday July 20th, 2019

Musings at Night

 

„Thinking of Europe at night
Gives me such a sleepless fright“

 

Our new logo is at least more attractive than the black-red-gold!?

Here is a small text that might also sound strange and disappointed.
But then, things are as they are, which is why I will try to make my musings at night sound totally joyful.

And I hope that nothing will be served as hot as it is cooked
Before this, I will bow to Heinrich Heine and cite from Wikipedia:


Nachtgedanken is the twenty-fourth and last poem in Heinrich Heine‘s  cycle: Zeitgedichte of 1844. The famous first verse
„Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht, / Dann bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht“
has become a winged proverb  (geflügeltes Wort).


A short time ago, I had a stupid idea at night. It was about “getting old”. After all, I am not really very young any more. So I had an idea that made me thoughtful:

My age also has an advantage: the chances that I will have to fight in a war are dwindling all the time.

The idea of having to serve has always been a very uncomfortable one for me. Because this idea makes the option of war a real option. This seemed to be over for us. But is that really true? 
To me, war seems to be the worst of all scenarios. And since now women are also trained as soldiers, I hope that at least the elderly will no longer have to serve in a war. In other words, they will only be part of the collateral damage.

Let us look at the current political situation:

A short time ago, they elected the German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen into the job of EU Commission President. Regardless of the fact that the EU citizens had shortly before voted for totally other candidates. Apparently, those other candidates had not been to the liking of the national European countries.

The new EU Commission President is also said to be the most important lady in Europe and the “Chancellor of Europe”. She outed herself as a “Glowing European”. In my book, she is more a „European Nationalist“. And I certainly do not like nationalists, neither European ones nor those on other continents.

As I see it, “Vive l’Europe!“ is just as bad as “Vive l’Afrique!“ – and I do not at all like inter-continental nationalism like in Europe against Asia or Africa. We need peace and have to save our planet – or else we have to look for other planets together. Mind you, I am rather sceptical about the second option – but given the choice between investing our scarce resources in spacecraft or in wars and armament in order to avoid wars, this is probably the better investment.

Von der Leyen was probably also elected by the European Nationalists. And they are said to be the enemies of Europe. At least that is what they say themselves. Isn’t it strange: you are not supposed to vote Right because they are too nationalist, but you need have no qualms about having them vote for you.

But we do not know. Perhaps the Rightists lie – after all, they are often accused of lying anyway – and they did not vote in favour of von der Leyen. The election was secret. Which is also something I do not understand. As a citizen and a democrat, I would really like to know whom the representative I elected voted for. I would like to see this somewhere in a protected environment. Please make it happen by the next European Elections.

If I were a European Congressman, I would also like to know who gave me his or her vote. Maybe some votes ended up in favour of someone I never wanted?

Secret elections have the disadvantage that they are easier to manipulate than transparent elections. Before the elections, they pointed out massively what damage Europe (the EU) stood to suffer if she is not elected! Isn’t it, then, easy to imagine that an ethically responsible person who weighed all the values against each other sacrificed himself for Europe and switched a few votes for the noble cause. Just as it was when they tried to murder the tyrant on the day the anniversary of which we are again celebrating. It can be seen as an “election modification”, as an act of special civil courage in order to save a continent – I am sure it would count as a heroic deed.

The first thing Frau von der Leyen did was to thank all those who had voted for her. She used the expression “nobody is perfect“ to trivialize the violations of human rights and contractual agreements of the EU members. It is all not so bad. And she also said she wanted to avoid punishment for those who misbehaved, at least as far as the financial sanctions are concerned. It sounded like some general amnesty on the day of inauguration. Doesn’t that sound like a fair amount of self-esteem.

I, too, believe that none of the European countries is perfect. Germany certainly is not. Just look at how we treat EU rules. And how we treat other EU countries. Or, especially painful for me: how we produce arms and distribute them all over the world. Isn’t that also some kind of violation of the laws of humanity.

And the new European Chancellor also understands our strong ally France, which is why she wants to promote the project European Army. I am a little older than Frau von der Leyen and was often in France as a young person in the 1960ies. And I understood how hard it was for the French to accept that they are the losers in colonial politics. This is how I developed some compassion for the ”Grande Nation” that had totally lost its role as former world power.

The new government wants to make France a world power again and delights in nuclear weapons and aircraft carriers. Can’t you understand that? Since it is not possible to do this alone, they are now trying to do it with their ex-arch-enemy Germany as a new ally – and to be on the safe side, they do it under the European Flag.

And neither do you have to take it very seriously that the people in France actually do no longer want to be the Grande Nation. And that the young Germans, too, are fed up with the army, is also of no consequence. A short time ago, I attended an Armed Forces event and heard that, unfortunately, the uniform is not something that is very popular, because the civil society has become “violence averse”. Well, I used to believe it was our shared social goal in this civilization to reduce violence? See the monopoly of the executive power,….

Now you could ask who the new European Army is supposed to fight. I hope it is no longer the Russians. Mind you, Barbara found Siberia quite nice when we travelled through on our train trip to Peking. Allegedly, they also have plenty of mineral resources – and perhaps AM and EM together will manage what Napoleon and Hitler alone could not do.

Perhaps Europe with its new army will also have to defend itself against the sick man on the Bosporus or the evil Islamists with their powerful army? And perhaps they have to protect us against all the future migration from Africa?

After all, you will find it hard to use an army to fight the climate catastrophe or the pollution of our climate through waste and the destruction of this planet. On the contrary: armies will exacerbate and speed these processes.

So what if I now add that, on one of these recent black days, I went to sleep in the evening thinking of nothing bad – and when I woke up in the morning I heard that we now have a new Federal Minister of Defence.

This is my personal Europe Logo. Let us put it on all the tanks and bombers.

It is Frau AKK, who, a few weeks ago, talked about not considering certain things taboo, such as a re-instalment of the only sleeping obligatory army service – perhaps this time as a fair deal for both sexes.

And then I ask my friends to understand why I have such sad moonlight ideas. And why I believe that currently the direction is far from good.

But then I know that everything will in the end turn out differently from what you imagined – and I remain totally relaxed. And I will put up a brave front.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday July 12th, 2019

(Deutsch) Glück durch Freiheit!

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 10th, 2019

Emptiness – Writer’s Block.

Roman copy of a Greek Platon portrait, perhaps by Silanion. It was positioned in the Academy after Platon’s death, Glyptothek München.

The misery started with this gentleman.

Currently, I am suffering from writer’s block because I understand too much – or maybe because there is too much that I do not understand. For me, it is the same thing. Because everything is absolutelyl clear and yet nobody understands it.

Around me, much is happening that makes me uneasy, both in my private life and in society, politics and the world. Much of what I used to believe has been proven wrong. And I would really like to comment on it. However, all comment just seems ridiculous to me. Consequently, I refrain from commenting.

Also, I believe that all the talking and even initiatives will not really help. All the noise we make about wrong systems with corrupt and competent system agents is just as useless as the activity of all the students on Fridays for the Future.

Similarly, it will not help if I get upset about something and try to fight it. The system has come to its end. And it has deserved no better. This time around, the downfall is different and – at first sight – not as bad as after the Third Reich. We should have been warned. However, we ignore all warnings and instead act with stupidity.

Well, at least this time we managed to destroy the planet. The perfect tense is correct, because we have already reached the point of no return. Even if, due to our human irrationality, we refuse to accept it.
Neither ratio nor dialectics nor debates will help. Even enthusiasm and emotions will not help. As I see it, there is also no right or wrong, no good or evil. It is as it is and it will come as it will come. It does not really matter.

Probably the human race understood this, because all they do is make noises, instead of actually doing something.

Generally, a new insight causes the loss of other competence. Innovation is always some kind of creative destruction. Just as ratio kills empathy, specialization and Taylorism destroys the understanding of entities, closeness to reality robs you of your dreams, individualism kills what we shared (and vice versa) and what is fast will win over what was slow.

Just as more cultural world will naturally imply less natural world. And in the end, only cultural world will remain – and the natural world is a thing of the past, and along with it life.

We are all part of this development. Nobody can flee – just as nobody can avoid digitalization. It is just like with auto-mobilization. Nobody escaped it – even if some never drove a car themselves.

Consequently, nobody will be spared the climate catastrophe and the destruction of the planet, even if some people actually behave ideally. The destruction of the planet is a collective process that is irreversible in human dimensions and it probably was part of the evolution.

And since those who pretend that they took responsibility yet actually only thought of their own advancement (we call them politicians) did nothing, it just happened.

Here is my recommendation: just accept what you cannot change anyway and live peacefully to the end. In peace with all the creatures of nature. And maybe you can avoid additional nonsense. Perhaps then we have a chance of avoiding the worst.

I am at the end of my teeters – and I feel ok with it. Emotionally, I know that the best way to live is as an anarchist or hedonist. Provided you do not clash with the powerful and moralistic people. Because if you do that, you will soon be miserable. And that is not what I want.

RMD
(Translated by EG)