Roland Dürre
Wednesday November 20th, 2019

(Deutsch) Die CLOUD braucht keine Gesetze sondern Kultur.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Klaus Hnilica
Monday June 24th, 2019

Tina Tuner and a Democratic Common Pilosophy.

I find both Tina Turner and the US neo-pragmatist Richard Rorty with his book ”Contingency, Irony, Solidarity“

/1 / of 1989 extremely refreshing: both she – see below – and he are really concerned with things and discoveries from real life, instead of all the time seeking the Ultimate Truth that we in Germany like to set as our goal.

The important thing for Richard Rorty is that the truth is not found but made!

Incidentally, this idea was first introduced 200 years ago in Europe, but especially gained influence in the pragmatic concepts of the Americans. Currently, in a more and more digitalized world with its fake news that spread extremely fast, it will probably be hard to control the circulation of information at all.

“But for Richard Rorty, the discovery that the truth is made is like a liberation”.

All of a sudden, he can see how a truth value can be assigned to a historic state of the public perception – or at least there can be an indication of a consequence!

His idea is that, as the history of philosophy and democracy unravelled, there was suddenly the option to change yourself and the society in a positive way, instead of the domination of the metaphysical constructions which saw the truth in things.

Obviously, for the enlightened and rational citizen, his body is the ideal concept. Instead, we now have what he calles the playful and serious “ironical lady“ who understands that contingency (“contingency is something that is neither necessary nor impossible; basically it is what can be but could also be different”, see Niklas Luhmann) is a necessity because she is flooded by the understanding that both her convictions and her everyday vocabulary and the society she lives in could also be different.

And she does not think that this is a deficit!

On the contrary, she uses the new opportunities that result from this and uses innovative vocabulary in order to test new stories about herself and the world and to experience the world anew.

The female ironist leaves everything unsolved, she does not crave freedom of conflicts, but open synthesis.

The female ironist knows what life is really about and what makes contingencies possible:

“the state guarantees freedom for its citizens and the society practices solidarity with those among its members who have been violated and restricted“.

This knowledge turns the female ironist into a liberal person.

Consequently, if you pair liberalism with an ironic concept of the world, you get a mentality that is appropriate for dealing with the modern craving for fixed identities in a democratic way.

Yet, regardless of this addition of irony and solidarity, you have to note that, with a radical-democratic perspective, even though the female ironist will agree with the contingencies of life, there is still the fact that solidarity necessitates that national and religious differences between humans are considered irrelevant if compared to the similarities between pain and humiliation.

The difference between Rorty’s solidarity concept and the rational ethics of enlightenment is that he includes no general principles whatsoever.

He recommends a change towards stories in order to enable literature and the public to develop more sensitiveness towards human misery – and thus generate solidarity.

In this context, however, we need to ask how exactly pain is measured and if perhaps a scale for measuring it is in itself contingent and dependent on the respective social concepts?

And what about solidarity practices themselves perhaps providing us with a concept of what is unsurmountable misery only while they are ongoing and only step by step?

Because what a European discourse in 2019 considers pain is definitely not something you can easily generalize.

Which raises the basic question: is Rorty’s concept is a step towards the solution of the problem or perhaps a symptom for the political situation?

Or maybe Rorty’s approach is more a de-militarization approach for philosophy – just like Tina Turner‘s Popsong ”We Don‘t Need Another Hero“ of 1985 – which means that we do not need counter-heroes to replace the ancient metaphysics. Instead, we need a pragmatic approach towards solving the everyday problems of society?

Which then implies that the typical personality of humans in a liberal democracy is actually boring, calculating, miserly and un-heroic.

If you follow Rorty, then this is basically the price you pay for political freedom!

And, as opposed to Max Weber, Rorty does not fall victim to a cultural pessimism over it. Instead, in typical US fashion, he wisely says “so what?“ and recommends that the words greatness and heroism should only be used in private and never publicly, because: cravings like these will damage the liberal society!

In general, it seems that Rorty’s question of vocabulary to be used in public is stimulating in modern times.

After all, Rorty’s recommendation to leave religious and other identity-based arguments out of the public discourse because they are only conversation stoppers bought him fierce enemies both on the left and right side of the political scale – and also among the religious groups!

Because if you leave these groups out, you are in danger of losing your claim to solidarity and liberalism.

On the other hand, you will have to ask what exactly remains as a common ground for a society that polarises in terms of ideology?

And how can it find a common language – which seems absolutely necessary if it wants to unite?

Today, it seems that doing without ultimate reasons is understood less as a philosophic change but more as a political problem.

In the end, it might become something that supports a philosophy that postulates the “priority of democracy over philosophy“ and does not stubbornly use its former vocabulary, instead applying its vocabulary to the political present – and, if necessary, modifying it!

K H

Roland Dürre
Monday May 13th, 2019

Wikipedia and the Copyright.

The Logo of the encyclopedia

“It is difficult to predict things! Especially if they are in the future “.
Even our Munich hero Karl Valentin knew that.

Consequently, I am thinking about a method that starts with the past and then ends in the future. It is not a prediction, but more an extrapolation.

Let us look at the past and at the history of the media. This business sector found out quite early that intellectual property (as created in the copyright legislation) is far easier to scale than material products or even services. Consequently, this field has been doing business with particular success ever since the printing press was invented.

Trading with intellectual property makes enormous margins possible.

The media moguls knew that you can do business quite well with knowledge and information, provided the property you create and trade falls under the term “property”. They started very early with the creation and installation of laws that made it possible to buy intellectual property from authors and other generators of said material and then earn a lot of money with it.

Copyright legislation is the “licence to print money”.

And they also saw to it that the deadlines for intellectual property were always duly extended. That is why, in the USA, these laws are called Mickey-Mouse-legislation (Mickey-Mouse-Gesetze). Walt Disney succeeded several times when it came to extending the copyright deadline for Mickey Mouse.
.
What is the state of affairs with knowledge and information?

Following the reasoning that the generation of knowledge needs an effort, it was declared capable of being owned. Consequently, the generator is given the right to the intellectual property, which is supposed to give him the material advantage generated by the intellectual property. Well, I, too, think that scientists should be amply paid. But that does not mean that things an intellectual worker creates are actually their property and belong to them. If you accepted that, you would have to call these people “owners of intellectual property”. However, I do not think that knowledge is a property that should be traded.

“Knowledge is the only thing that grows as you share it“.

Which means you should probably share it, doesn’t it? Yet, if knowledge becomes personal property and belongs to someone, then its volume is artificially reduced. That is beneficial for few but detrimental for many.

So I am opposed to including knowledge, information, rights, natural structures, laws, regulations and similar things in the concept of property legislation. Incidentally, this is also true for data – which becomes more and more fashionable.

The motto seems to be: my data belong to me!

Newspapers and books are goods that have been existing for hundreds of years. The editing is an old business sector that grew exponentially with the printing press. And it gave itself ever more optimal rules.

As in all sectors, following the basic concept of capitalism and logics, competition and mergers caused the rise of huge enterprises.
“Intellectual property“ is easier to scale.

This made publishing companies more powerful and richer. Equalled only by the realty concerns thanks to the special trilogy – ownership of the soil and buildings, cheap money and quick price increase – and by other gamblers who bet on raw materials, bonds or currencies – they managed to get rich and powerful in an extremely short time.

Encyclopedia were particularly good business.

For all publishing companies, the encyclopedias were especially important. It was good business, because encyclopedia were mostly high-price products that also needed updating relatively soon. The leading publishing companies always had at least one enterprise in their empire that produced encyclopedias. And the profit they made over the decades was reliable.

Eventually, these encyclopedia were also electronic books. They were distributed on cheap data carriers for high prices. It was truly a licence for printing money. However, it did not take long before someone put an end to it. The internet appeared. And a group of crazy volunteers founded a free encyclopedia, in 2001. They called it Wikipedia.

”Innovation is creative destruction“.

For many, this was a painful experience. It also hit the publishing companies who had been benefiting from the innovations in printing machines and communication for many years. It meant that there was an end to all the great commercial profit they had made in the encyclopedia business. The publishing houses probably suffered enormous losses. They became victims of the internet or of Wikipedia and had to close enterprises or find a new business purpose. It was probably quite painful for the German media concerns.

They say that the internet never forgets anything. That is not true. I have been looking for many things, for instance the first web-pages of InterFace Connection GmbH – and I never found them. It is not the internet, but the concerns that have the excellent memories. They actually never forget anything. And for them, the sentence “revenge is sweet” is quite true!

Now they are a huge step closer. After many years of patient and diligent lobby work, they now managed to get the copyright reform  bill through the European parliament. Immediately afterwards, the VG-Media sent their first bill to google. I am sure the publishing companies will soon follow suit. They say the German way is going to be to pay instead of using upload filters. Let us wait and see.

So how is Wikipedia doing?

Let us postpone an analysis of the media concern and instead take a look at Wikipedia. At first sight, it is a really beautiful story – a free and independent society of people working on an honorary basis writes down what they know. They finance the entire project totally advert and sponsoring free – exclusively by donations from people who use the system.

This is how Wikipedia, a few years after it was initiated in 2001, destroyed all its competition. Wikipedia has a monopoly and is now the only remaining encyclopedia. That is what makes it so important – but it also makes it extremely fragile. Its only competition is probably the internet itself, which is also threatened.

Shadows loom over the internet and Wikipedia.

As before, knowledge grows exponentially. But the work force at Wikipedia does not. On the contrary: as I see it, Wikipedia has become the club of old white men. Here, too, we pay the price as time goes by.

Young and female people are few and far between at Wikipedia. We are talking the typical next-generation problems we also see for chess clubs, the voluntary fire-fighters and now even the powerful DFG. This is how I and my friends at Wikipedia see it. All statistical data I found are usually ten years old and totally untrustworthy. Mind you, Wikipedia was founded in 2001, which, as of now, was only 18 years ago!

Who among the young generation likes to do the dry work of an encyclopedist, who has to play by strict rules? Especially if the way the old white men treat the next generation is rather unfriendly?

Wikipedia is an infra structure of knowledge.

The knowledge grows, the technology ages. And there are fewer and fewer people who do the maintenance work on the infra structure.

In the extreme model, the work force at Wikipedia will die out.

What will happen then? A knowledge infra structure without maintenance? Even as it is, the quality of the articles gets worse. And there are other problems, such as technological ageing, poor coordination, too little clarity in content and structure, organizational problems. There is a lot that needs to be done at Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is probably the largest user of foreign copyright world-wide.
They felt that they needed to be careful about copyright legislation and demonstrated their concern by turning off their servers.

Those who are in favour of the copyright reform try a placatory approach:
Wikipedia is, after all, for the common good and consequently not part of the reform!

But is Wikipedia really for the common good? As you see above, I wrote: Wikipedia lives from the donations of its users. I, too, only give money to Wikipedia because I want to keep using the service. Wikipedia is more or less blackmailing me:

Pay something and make sure that you will still get your service!

Perhaps the enterprise Wikipedia is not really a common-good-oriented one in the sense of tax-relevant definitions? All those who donate money expect (and get) something in return for the money they pay. Their payment only seems to be voluntary. They depend on Wikipedia and give money because they fear that otherwise there might be an end to what they get in return.

Huge concerns are very patient and think in long-term concepts.

Now the media groups have taken up the scent. The copyright reform showed them that it pays to do lobbyist work. They certainly know that Wikipedia would be an exciting object.

After all, the lobbyists are currently practicing how you can deprive NGOs of their title “common-good”. With such a measure, you could further weaken Wikipedia, or even take away the basis of its existence. And later, you could re-introduce it to the Reich as a common enterprise that belongs to several enterprises. In the sense of a re-unification. I already hear the message:

Lobbyists, let us go and visit the ministry of finance. We will get Wikipedia.

Here are the good news 
At least Wikipedia would survive – even if full of adverts and interest-motivated articles. But on the whole, this would be a good fit for our modern internet world.

Brave new world!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday January 8th, 2019

A Translation Mistake with Consequences ?

Since, after the ‘quiet time‘, we are back to ‘peaceful routine‘, it might be quite interesting to stop and think about all the evolutionary changes that even written texts can undergo. This is especially true for the book of books – the bible /1/:

For instance, in early Hebrew versions of the book Isaiah, there is a prophecy that uses the word alma when it describes the mother of a boy whose name is Immanuel (translation: God is with us).

In some languages, among them the ancient Greek, there is no translation for alma. However, a rough equivalent might be “young lady“ or “young lady who has not yet borne a child“.

When Jesus lived, however, the Jews no longer talked Hebrew. They talked Greek or Aramaeic. Consequently, the word alma became the Greek parthenos, which has a specific meaning, namely “virgin“. The biological term Parthenogenesis (“virginal conception“) is based on it: it describes a reproduction process without male contribution as we find it with some insects and reptiles.

That means that a modified translation of one single word turned a “young lady” into a “virgin” and a child into the Messiah! And the story of how Jesus was conceived suddenly changed completely. …

Matthew and Luke even turn this into a truth in their gospels. And for a billion Christians, it turns into a dogma. Which is exactly what we sing about in our Christmas Carols.

Isn’t it strange?

/ 1 / Adam Rutherford: Eine kurze Geschichte von jedem, der jemals gelebt hat
K.H.
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday September 15th, 2018

Manifesto of Life

Currently, you get manifests like mushrooms sprouting from the soil, for example the Manifesto of New Work (Manifest zur neuen Arbeit) as a Microsoft (!) denomination on #newwork.

Inspired by #PMCampBER and beautiful discussions in the last few days, I now came up with a manifesto of life. Naturally, the agile manifesto (this time you get the link to the English version), stood in as a model.
Here is how my proposal for a manifesto of life:

 


 

Manifesto for Life

We are looking for values that make it possible to live in joy and with courage
and we try to live said values in our own lives and when in contact with others.
Looking for these attitude of mind, we learned to appreciate:

  • Self-responsibility and self-organisation beat being controlled by others and immaturity!
  • Values and positions (mind-set) beat morals and dogmata!
  • Love and peace beat hatred and war!
  • Freedom and abstinence beat suppression and extravagance!
  • Trust and transparency beat distrust and secrecy!

Signed by


Now all we need is a few equally minded people who wish to sign!?
(recommendations for improvements welcome)

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
A short time ago, Dr. Marcus Raitner came up with 10 google theses for “good leadership” (10 Thesen von Google für “Gute Führung). They might be a good basis for a “leadership manifesto”.

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 24th, 2018

Why the DSGVO is moving in the wrong direction.

Roland als Insel-Philosoph mit (sauberer) Wäsche in Sifnos (Kykladen, Griechenland).

A philosophical analysis.

My theory:

We have too much property and too little common land.

We strive too much after ownership and too little after shared social life and survival, experiences, …

Here are a few facts that support my theory:

  • 62 super rich people practically own half the world.
    (62 Superreiche besitzen so viel wie die halbe Welt)
  • Why is it a matter of course that humans (“natural persons”) can acquire (buy) soil and property to their hearts’ content?
  • Why is everyone allowed to own a car that causes considerable damage to the common good? Or a yacht? Why can huge social systems with an economic goal be completely owned by few people or other social systems?

Something is rotten with property. To be sure, I understand to some extent – and even wish for myself – that people, who in our legal system are called “natural persons”, can own property to a reasonable extent.

But why do “legal persons” like capital companies (GmbH, AG, Company Limited … – in French, they are called  “society anonyme“) have the same rights?
If a “natural person” dies, the problem of inheritance is added, which strengthens the polarisation of “poor and rich”.

“Legal Persons” will not die naturally. But they can become bankrupt. And what then? Even with our modern bankruptcy laws, the protection of those who are owed something has priority over saving the enterprise.

In addition, money will usually increase by itself. That makes property more and more powerful and power richer and richer.

Now let us look at the components of ownership.

Initially you own objects. As I see it, that is ok as long as we are not talking objects that should belong to the community and as long as the situation does not do any damage to the common good.

It gets harder when we are talking the ownership of rights. Is it really fair that someone who, with his team and in a fortunate communication system, developed a patent and therefore has a huge income over many decades, can buy any property he feels he wants in Munich City every year? That the authors of bestselling novels or soccer stars will be billionaires after a few years?

To be sure, I understand that the effort of an artist should be suitably paid for. But why is the right to mental property given in the same way to “legal persons” as to “natural persons”? Why does the music of Bob Marley or of the Beatles not belong to all the people of this world, rather than to a few concerns? The same is true for the dramas of Bert Brecht?

And now we also have ownership of data? Isn’t that totally grotesque? As I see it, we do not need data security but the obligation to be transparent! And that we should not try to protect ourselves against institutions that manipulate us. Instead, we should abolish them.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Friday July 21st, 2017

The Power and the Glory

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday July 12th, 2017

Why We Need Christophine! (I)

On June, 21st, I went to the “Schiller-Town” of Marbach. I spent the night in Freiberg/Neckar and on June, 22nd, I continued towards Marbach. A friend from long-ago days – Thomas Kleiner – was nice enough to accompany me during travels. Thanks to him, I met Lorenz Obweser and Ruth Martinelli and almost 20 children aged between six and ten. Because I sat in a classroom of the Free School “Christophine“ in Marbach. However, the term is misleading, because in the Christophine, nobody just sits the entire morning. On this morning, I experienced something so beautiful and great that I was moved to tears.

I experienced how

SCHOOL

can function in such a way that you enjoy going there! Even the children and teachers!

But first the bad news:

I have now spent some time being a little sad. My grandchildren are wonderful and rather wise small persons. But in a few, or a little more than a few years, they will start school. And then the sad part of life begins for them. I, too, do not know how to protect them from the destiny that most German children have to endure after they are six years old.

Because school – both as I remember it myself and how I experienced it when my seven children were there – is atrocious. Not only in Germany and many European countries, school is something really backward-oriented and truly evil. With few exceptions, this diagnosis is true for the entire world, and especially for Asia.

School, as we have it today, will damage our children just like it damaged us. That ruins our society and is detrimental to our future. Many persons only recover step by step when they are adults, some never.

In the following, I will relate to you what I find so evil about the classical school system and give reasons why we need to change this system if we want to gain social progress in the form of peace and more justice.


Everyday life at school in Germany (and perhaps world-wide) is worse than sad!


In our system, education means “trained authoritative learning in a quasi-military format”. Knowledge -bulimia prevails. It starts as early as primary school. Luckily, it is no longer quite as bad as it was in the times of the German pedagogue Dr. Moritz Schreber.

Roland on his first day at school (with the bag of sweets).

But they still drill students. You have to sit and cannot unfold. An hourly scheduled is pressed upon the children. Self-organization and self-determining are prevented. There is no way for the children to learn and practice when and what they want.

Agile, slim and transparent are words schools do not know. There is a clear hierarchy between teachers and children. Incidentally, the mechanism goes from bad to worse. This is why school has more and more problems. If that happens, the children are blamed and their poor socialization is cited as a reason. The parents get the blame.

Because they failed in their duty to bring the children up properly. Well, once in a while, this is probably true, but in the majority of the cases, it is not true. In those cases, parents suffer under school just as much as their children.


At school, achievement is the absolute maxim, often even worse than in real life.


The achievement-oriented society is already practiced. Everybody is evaluated, graded and judged. In primary school, it is all about achieving grammar school level. That will only work if the child adapts to the system “school” and submits to it. The ordering principle of school is clearly hierarchical. The magic word is authority. You learn obedience.

The children learn that you have to more or less accept everything you learn, along with the process.


Whenever school does not function, the teachers and society blame the parents.


Because the parents never taught their children how to respect others. Especially the teachers. As I wrote before: sometimes that is true, but usually it is not.

In order to enable the children to manage the transfer from primary school to grammar school in this miserable situation, there is an army of – mostly black-clad – private tutors who, during the few free hours, give the children an extra hard time. And thus – mostly under many tears – they are pushed more or less successfully over the threshold to the grammar school level.

I was often a “child that had no respect”. And I often doubted what they told me, and I also said what I thought. And time and again, I was punished for it. Because the teacher is always right. At school, there is collective obedience. After all, an order is an order you need to carry out. I, too, made that experience.


More than once, they also gave me accusatory feedback about my “being different”. Mind you, all I wanted is: be me.


Later in life, I reversed the roles. I justified the “bad habits” I had also been punished for in an intellectually tricky way, calling them “civil courage” and “constructive disobedience”. Those were attributes that made me exceptional.

But, basically, the school system is based on suppression. There is an order. There must be an order, because humans need order. However, it is not there for the student but for the system, and therefore against the student.

Because this is the only way for the system and the teachers to make students a homogeneous mass (that is at least what school thinks). Between eight and nine, everybody has to do calculations and between nine and ten, everybody has to read. Between ten and eleven, you have physical exercise and from eleven to twelve, you write. And between twelve and one, you get religious instruction. At school, you have to sit and “behave” most of the time. Otherwise, you get punished.

All this is justified by postulating that there is no other way of doing things. It is the only way you can learn efficiently. But that is a huge lie!


The full-time school makes matters even worse. All those free afternoons in our youth that should be reserved for playing, thinking, experiencing and living are no longer available.


Now we get the full-time school. More and more often, children will also be transported to have lunch and “levelled-out” with convenient food. The schools look like barracks and are not places where you can flourish and meet at eye-level.

Schools are organized and managed following military examples, the small persons are administered, their value is the same as that of recruits during basic training in times of compulsory service. The new buildings at grammar schools (or rather: educational plants or barracks) I know at Neubiberg, Ottobrunn and Höhenkirchen-Siegertsbrunn also reflect this attitude in their architecture.

You have long corridors with many doors that lead to the many classrooms like hoses. You often cannot open the windows and the air conditioning creates bad air that gives the “teaching staff” headaches. Looking at these educational plants, you are reminded more of barracks than of free places where you learn something and practice for life. And since these buildings have been constructed with little money (during the bidding, the price is the most important criterion, which means the cheapest architect will win), it will not be long before you notice the first signs of decay.

To make up for it, the administrative overhead grows and grows. This is how education becomes more and more expensive – but not much of it reaches the “final customer: child”.


All social systems need structure. Both children and grown-ups look for something to lean on. But the structure of schools should support children, instead of working against them.


At school, nobody considers the great diversity potential that small people have. For reasons of efficiency and because of limited budgets, it is neither possible nor desired. They scale and measure, certify and grade. What is taught is achievement.

In short: they indoctrinate you because you need to function. After all, society needs consumers. Autonomy and the ability to criticise are not welcome.

Once in a while, something happens that gives you hope. Because the teacher is really a nice person. But the best teachers are few and far between and sooner or later they will capitulate in front of an educational system that has de-personalized itself. And the best they can hope to do is perhaps minimize the damage that the system produces. And teachers will be selected for their good grades. However, those with the best grades are seldom pedagogically the best. The best will then try to find a job in a private school or drive a taxi or do some private tutoring.


Children, too, should be treated as if they were humans!


I actually once heard this lapse of the tongue (although it was not from a teacher but from an entrepreneur who did not say “children” but “employees”). To be sure, I certainly was only a lapse of the tongue. However, I strongly believe that, deep down, it was what the person who said it believed and felt.


Economy is now learning that motivation will only work intrinsically . At school, they practice 100% extrinsic  patterns. That cannot end well.


Today, everybody, be it Allianz or Siemens, wants to change work-life. #newwork is fashionable, promoting a more innovative and creative approach. One of the protagonists of this movement is Thomas Sattelberger, the “Saul/Paul” of the #newwork-movement. He promotes himself like no other and runs through the country with his message of salvation. After his concern career, the thing that made him most famous was “Augenhöhe, der Film“.

Now he visits everybody and criticizes what he witnesses in local enterprises. Justly so. He would like to crown his life’s work with a seat in the German parliament – for the FDP (is that a fitting combination? FDP and #newwork?). It will make me happy if Mr. Sattelberger, as soon as he sits in parliament, promotes agile and humane schools. But that is another thing I do not really believe in.

For instance, most of the enterprises would like to become more agile, slim and transparent. At least that is what the colleagues of HR (Human Resource – another one of those ugly terms used in the modern working environment) preach. They look for innovative employees who are creative in order to enable their enterprises to manage the transition caused – among other things – by digitalization. At HR, they talk about eye-level, #newwork, intrinsify.me, democratic enterprise, common-good economy, “shared mobility“ & “shared economy“ and many similar issues. They dream of a network of self-organized teams, of a new entrepreneurial culture and communities of shared values. The latter are also quite popular in politics. There are many more catch-words of this type in the new world of old enterprises.
Except how do you expect that to work out if our offspring is trained to do quite the opposite as soon as they start school?


Enterprises want agile, critical and creative people. Yet that is exactly what schools beat out of the young students?


But nobody talks about #newschool, about self-organisation at school, about democratic classrooms, about teaching at eye-level and similar things. At least in Germany, this is not desired. It is taboo!

Terms such as #home-schooling, #un-schooling #no-schooling gain popularity in Europe. They find more and more supporters. More and more people “school” their own children (see also the video of a presentation by Bruno Gantenbein for me).

In Switzerland and some other EU countries, home-schooling is a process that is well established and supported by the administration. Germany is the only EU country where home-schooling is prohibited! Because in this country, they fear alternative schools and alternative thinking as much as the devil fears holy water.


Perhaps there will soon be a disproportionally high number of self-owned and free schools in our country.


But perhaps that is a good thing. Because it creates huge pressure. If there is no chance to escape, then there might possibly be more willingness to change something than in other countries.

Roland without the bag of sweets.

But back to the enterprises. How are we supposed to find these new agile, creative, open, … employees if agility, creativity and openness are the very characteristics that our schools kill most efficiently?

Because in our schools, children are treated as raw material that needs to be formatted. The input is curious and free creatures. The output is small professionals. They function as an obedient and easily controllable society supposedly needs them to function. Consequently, the first thing they will be is: diligent labourers, brave consumers and law-abiding citizens – whose first priority it is to always accept what the upper echelons decree.


We demand elites who solve our massive problems, but at the same time we are content with mediocrity and foul-mouth populism. And we promote mediocrity in schools.


Why is it that children must realize very early that life is no pony-farm and that they are part of the achievement system if they wish to make something out of their lives? That they must follow practical constraints, just like their parents and all the other grown-ups?

They are measured and graded. It is always about being better than the others. Success is everything. It is all about managing to reach the next step in the ladder of an irrational career. No matter what it costs and how it is done.

Emotions, erotic, life, love, the competence to solve conflicts, being able to listen … all those things play no role in the curriculum. You have to become a professional resource for the fight on the business front. And you learn that it is better for your wealth, growth and safety not to say what you think and perhaps not even to think.
And as soon as they understand this, they visit the tattoo factory just to protest, because there they will finally get something permanent. As a last substitute activity before they give up their own lives. …


Good entrepreneurs (leaders, managers, … ) will want to make their employees look bigger on a daily basis, rather than smaller.


I rather love the principle of “acting in a biophile way”. That means (in my own words):
Always behave in such a way that what you do will contribute more towards the lives of other people becoming more, rather than less, in many dimensions.

Perhaps the Golden Rule (Goldene Regel ) is even easier to live than the biophile maxim:
“Treat others the same way you yourself would like to be treated“
Or in the negative form:
“If you do not want it to happen to you, don’t do it to others!“


“Biophile Maxime of Behaviour” and the “Golden Rule”? Why don’t we use it for our children? Why don’t we make them big, instead of small?


From early on, children are made to look smaller, rather than bigger. Not just by the teachers, but also by their parents. I witness all the time how children are massively instructed by their parents about what is right and what is wrong. Ranting mothers scold their children for totally normal behaviour. There is stupid moralizing and indoctrination. What is appropriate and what is not! What you do and what you do not do! What is possible and what is impossible. What you can see/hear and what you cannot see/hear under any circumstances. What is evil and what is good.

For what behaviour you will end up in hell and for what in heaven. And as soon as a child is six and enters school, matters continue in the same way, only more professionally.


Nobody is interested in hearing what small people want and do not want.


At school, you undergo formatting in that they form you according to the current image of a good grown-up. Children have to fit into our world. They learn to survive traffic. They become young consumers who define themselves by what they own and how they look. They have to function, but they are not allowed to be and do what they themselves want to do and be.

At school, ratio and your IQ dominate, they are always in the foreground. It is all about developing an understanding of all the absurdities our life offers. You have to accept the absurd as a matter of course and thus become part of the absurdity.
Social life and the common good only play a minor role. Emotions and eros, love and friendship are not practiced, the same is true for the competence to solve conflicts. Because our systems are based on adaptation. They survive by interchangeability, uniformity, (financial) metrics and the fact that the citizens follow social patterns blindly like lemmings. The ability to criticize things and be autonomous in all you think and do will only be a hindrance.


We will only reduce the latent enmity inside us if we socialize our children differently.


School is one of many places where the old role-plays prevail. Boys still have to be small heroes and cannot cry. Girls are expected to be humble and tolerant. Today, you can show emotions, but it is better not to do so.


If you want to be a success, you have to become Mr. or Mrs. Poker-Face!


Emotions are something you should not allow to get too near, it is seen as a detrimental and annoying weakness. You have to be strong and may never show your weakness. This is how the heart is surrounded by iron rings. If you like someone, it is better not to show it, the universal love for creation is considered a crazy idea. Standing upright as your outer shell is part of the education, but unfortunately not taught as a higher inner value.

This stupid socializing of our offspring will never minimize the wide-spread sickness Alexithymia. A short time ago, a man my own age cried next to me when he told me how his grandchild had died during her birth. I am not sure if that is something I would still be capable of. However, if I watch a sappy film, I start to cry. Isn’t that terrible?

As many others, I fear that I am dependent on “second-hand emotions”. That is doubtless a result of my early and long upbringing. Consequently, I now practice consciously opening myself to real emotions. At the age of 67, that is not easy.


Humans are the crown of creation. But they have to fit into the world.


I am glad that the world changes – at least in the developed and privileged societies I know. It seems to me that more and more persons have a yearning for new “social success patterns”. Well, they are something we badly need, because the old patterns are exactly what brought great misery to this planet.

Schools are the only places where this news has not yet found its way into. And the situation also gets worse and worse at the universities. There are numerous #newwork but no relevant movement #newschool. Many people who work in the educational industry (active teachers and administrators of the educational bureaucracy) told me that the situation has been getting worse for many years.


Schools must serve the children, not vice versa!


Curricula and rules given by the educational ministries make it harder by the year to do justice to the small persons. Additionally, you have an ever increasing administration that eats up the time that should have been spent with the students. This is how the system also becomes more and more expensive and more and more inefficient.


This was the bad news. Here is the good news.


In my next article, I will write how the citizens fight back and create totally new things. Because they actually exist: the Christophine.

But you will read more about this in my article Christophine 2, which I will hopefully  publish here soon. I will describe a school that, as far as its motto and its practical work is concerned, has absolutely convinced me. A school that proves that things can work differently – and work quite well, too.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Eugenie Wirz with Christian Mendoza (young entrepreneurs from Poland) at the UTUM-Hackathon (2016)

During my work – or should I say hobby – as a mentor for UTUM (unternehmerTUM) and TUM, I had the privilege to accompany a number of young persons for a time out of their life. I also met many nice people who are very active, both professionally and socially and who promote young persons (some of whom have fallen upon dire times) and start-ups with a huge amount of idealism.

I particularly enjoyed working with Eugenie Wirz (her friends call her Jenna). I first met Jenna several years ago, when she was still in charge of the UTUM mentoring program and worked particularly hard for “her” mentees.

Now, she has a new task at unternehmerTUM in the European context: the program “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs“. It brings many ideas and fresh perspectives (Ideen und frische Perspektiven) to the UTUM world. In the magazine TUMcampus 4 | 16, on page 12 , you can find a “special” under the title “Learning from Successful Enterprises“. The Exist-Founders’ Program (Exist-Gründerprogramm) is also among those who promote it.

In the Wirtschaftswoche, you will find an article that describes how “you can learn abroad how to be a founder”. For examples of successful projects, click here.

In my role as the one who accompanied quite a few start-ups, especially with very young founders, I now understand that, more often than not, it is exactly this program that is an important chapter when it comes to writing your own entrepreneurial script. Consequently, it was my pleasure to write this article for Jenna and her program “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs”. So if you know young founders, why don’t you give them this information?

And if there are questions about the project, do not hesitate to contact Jenna via email.

RMD

Or is that already true for the present?

On January, 3rd, Franziska Köppe interviewed me for her blog FAHRRADkultur.
Here is the result:

Franziska’s message is “bike-riders will live longer lives”. Consequently, I certainly hope that she is right and that our life will not be terminated ahead of time by some motorized vehicle. And that it will not happen that, to make up for it, one more white bicycle will be sitting on a street or crossroad.

I hold Franziska in very high esteem. Consequently, I was a little cautious during the interview. My worst provocation was perhaps (citation from the interview):

“Car drivers are the coachmen of our times. Coachmen were not very well-liked, because whenever any of the common citizens were in their way as they drove through the narrow streets of the cities, they used their whips to beat them out of the way. In those days, coachmen were considered “scum and riff-raff“?!

I abide by all I said in the interview. Let me add that the more I live (and I mean “live” in the truest sense of the word) without a car, the more I am aware of how stupid and irrational it is to drive a car.

And that is true for many dimensions:

  • For the lie behind the image and reputation you subconsciously want to gain through owning a car.
  • For the challenging work you have to do as you sit behind a steering wheel, although you have grown used to it and thus ignore how strenuous it is. More than this: you actually lie to yourself and claim that you “enjoy the experience of driving” or “relax behind the steering wheel”. Your car is perceived as your “best friend” and a place where you “feel at home”.
  • For the horrendous deprivation of exercise and fresh air you subject yourself to as a car driver. That is also true for the physical damage caused by constantly sitting and the negative consequences, including spinal problems.
  • For senselessly wasting time, especially if you drive a car. Using public transportation, you could take far better advantage of that time.
  • For the physical (considerably more than one million fatalities and far more seriously and not so seriously wounded persons) damage world-wide every year, as well as the psychological risk (double stress for instance when using the telephone while driving a car).
  • For how unfree a car makes you – it is the millstone around your neck – because you always have to go back to where it is parked.
  • For how you depend on the car: whenever there is a problem and it does not work, your personal world is under threat of destruction.
  • For how much of a burden a car is: How often do I hear people say – I have no time because my car needs to be picked up from the service/taken to the service. And the weekend is spent polishing it because you love it so much.
  • For how ruthless car drivers treat their environment and society. Neither pollution nor waste of energy are considered, the external additional costs of mobility are considerably higher if you drive a car than if you go by any other means of transportation. And we all pay the price.
  • For the fact that you accept the risk that you might kill or injure people, doing enormous damage to yourself in the process.…
  • … and for a lot more …

For me, driving a car thus gets more and more synonymous for living your life the wrong way. But:

Life is too short to live it the wrong way!

I know from personal experience that people who consider their car part of their own body like a wheelchair that has become essential to their life will under no circumstances agree with many of the points on this list. I can also relate from personal experience that it was very similar with smoking for me … you only really understand how bad it was when you no longer do it. But you know how hard it was to break with the habit.

RMD
(Translated by EG)