Roland Dürre
Friday July 12th, 2019

(Deutsch) Glück durch Freiheit!

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Sunday May 26th, 2019

World-Weariness on a Sunday!

Today, we have European Elections. As I see it, this is a sad day. It is about time to think about how colossally we failed.

KYou played extremely poorly, and yet you won – even in chess, this rarely happens. In reality, it almost never happens.

In our times, we seem to suffer from a collective illness: we are permanently under stress and consequently, we cannot give even those things we consider important the time we would like to give them.

That is why my project PEACE failed and also why I do not really seem to make any headway with my soft and active mobility AKTMOBCMP.

As I perceive it, I and many of my friends are actually better off in this respect than many other people. More often than not, only scheduling problems are in our way. At least, we often manage to actually consciously give the right things priority.

As far as my projects are concerned, I am no longer the force I probably used to be. I call this old-age wisdom.

On May, 31st, I will disappear for more than three weeks because I am travelling to Russia and China. Consequently, you will not read a lot from me in the IF blog in June.

After my return, late in June/early in July, I will try and put a lot of energy into AktMobCmp. I would really like to see more people get enthusiastic about the topic.

On the other hand, I often believe that the project PEACE is probably more important than active mobility in everyday life. Incidentally, the latter is a sub-topic of the former, anyway. After all, soft mobility is also part of PEACE if you think in terms of war on the streets and war against nature. And when no cars are left, then it will be about pacifying those who ride their bikes 🙂 (and then those who walk ).

Apart from this, I am mainly sad about what currently happens in this world. Especially because it is a consequence of how my generation failed. When I was a high-school student more than fifty years ago, we already knew about it. We discussed exactly what we are discussing today and what we see happening today. We knew what the consequence would be. Regardless of several nice approaches, we followed the human virtues (?) “protection of acquired possessions” and “becoming rich without having to work hard” as a matter of course. And this is how we generated the catastrophe we are facing today.
Especially in Germany, we had the chance to create a better world after WW-II. What I mean is the creation of a social construct for a sustainable society without armament and military forces and in shared responsibility for life as such. Based on a reasonable education for all.

We probably had the chance to build a beautiful Europe of regions in courage and joy and thus replace the nations.

We did the opposite. Germany in particular divided Europe and thus destroyed it. Brown coal mining is a good metaphor. The European capitalism – pushed by the Euro – destroyed the country in the same way as the huge caterpillars destroyed the soil.

The internet was our second huge chance. Now we destroy it as well.
Naturally, the responsibility for this downwards spiral was our social and political system and mainly the oligarchy of our bourgeois parties. They will now get what they had coming. But even their downfall is far from guaranteed.

However, the destruction of the world is something we all managed together. Greed brought us here and we followed the liars and hypocrites all too happily.

Perfect manipulation for each and every car: 
Title pages Hobby 1957 – 1965 (the magazine for German young engineers).

Another metaphor for what went completely wrong during the last fifty years is the car. It became a symbol for “movement without effort” and for a totally misinterpreted freedom. For most of us, the car was the golden lamb we danced around.

This is how we implemented a “church of reason” the basic principle of which was consumerism as a religion and growth as its mantra. We replaced old superstition by new superstition. Only the feudalism remains the same. And the destruction of the world is maintained and justified by some kind of feudalism for all.

We now slowly realize that we are paying the price. Some ignore it, others flee into the land of dreams and get over-enthusiastic about #newwork“, #agile and democratic enterprises. Yet, all of us are just standing there as the rabbit before the snake when we see the multi-dimensional destruction of the planet.

The extreme increase in carbon dioxide and the destruction of the climate caused by it destroy everything – which would already be more than enough. We know what should be done, yet we do not do it. We do not have the courage to initiate the “huge transformation”.

But I do not wish to spoil your Sunday with my miserable contemplations. I wish you all that is nice and good and beautiful. Lots of sun, courage and joy! Hope is the last thing that dies.

Thank you for your friendship!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday April 11th, 2019

Death of the Cook (Part 2) – Dead Spot Hotel

Oh God – how often have I wished I had never agreed to this unholy affair: all the things that came to light because of my meddling, or rather all the things that remained unsolved, only contributed towards me feeling even more sorry about the loss of my friend Sturmius…

It started with the impossible ”Dead Spot Hotel” in the beech woods of O.R.. No halfway sensible person would ever have set foot into this impenetrable wilderness. But, naturally, Charlotte Burns, this dubious self-appointed guide, had to ‘produce‘ a breakdown near this the world’s absolutely most remote hideout with her minibus, four more persons and a driver. And it had to be exactly on Friday afternoon, on our way to the ‘Musikantenstadl‘ that, allegedly for the first time ever, played in the town W. Of course, the usual suspects were to come: Andreas Gabalier, Andrea Berg, Roland Kaiser and whoever else usually is part of the outfit.

Almost miraculously, there was a sign not far from the place where our breakdown had occurred that said that a ‘Dead Spot Hotel‘ could be found three hundred metres from here. However, as it turned out, said hotel had been out of commission for many years and, with the exception of a retiree who was hard of hearing and occasionally had a watchful eye on it, nobody ever went there.

Well – it is hard to believe, but occasionally, the famous TV cook Sturmius von Suppé, too, was part of the outfit. His purpose – typically for the outcast- was to try special cooking creations about which nobody at all must hear anything in this absolute solitude.

Naturally, only a very small and exclusive circle of persons was in the picture about these sporadic visits of his. Apparently, the mysterious Charlotte Burns was one of them: there is no other explanation for this accidental meeting of this bizarre group of tourists and my friend Sturmius.

I, too, had until then not had any idea that he actually used this place once in a while for diverse adventurous activities.

It seems that a regional TV station also used this ‘ancient place‘ for diverse ghost stories and ‘Tatort‘ recordings.

Still, it stroke me as more than strange that the famous TV cook Sturmius von Suppé, of all people, had been told to go there in order to create a suitable “monster dinner” for a “monster binge at midnight”. Allegedly, the motto had been “the less appetizing, the better“: make it an “abhorriminable TV program“!

As I was told, Sturmius von Suppé was not at all fascinated by the idea of having to execute such a lengthy cooking experiment that might well take several days in such a dilapidated environment. But his arguments were beaten; again and again, strict secrecy policy was given as a reason by the responsible parties!

But perhaps even more important for him was that this break-down tourist group turned up at the ‘dead spot hotel‘ totally unexpectedly late at night.

Was this an accidental? Or was it really this impertinent guide Charlotte Burns who had set a few wheels in motion?

Actually, the members of the tourist group were almost an embarrassment. Besides the alcohol addict Raffaela von Suppé, there was a rather dubious music journalist Dörte Hansemann, along with the two “Hessian Babblers” Ernie and Bert Hesselbach.

And, almost as if a button had been pressed, all of them seemed to suddenly hate the son of a bitch Sturmius. However, they did not take to each other, either: the lesbian couple Charlotte and Raffaela made fun of the lamenting Dörte who, after an alleged violation by Sturmius in the basement of the Dead Spot Hotel, admitted that she had a fifteen-year-old daughter with him. And it seemed that Bert Hesselbach had been cheated by Sturmius when it came to the rights for the phenomenal ‘Noggi Aroma‘. He said that a lot of money had changed hands during that affair.

So it came as no surprise that, under these circumstances, nobody could sleep well at night when Sturmius von Suppé was, on top of everything, accused of cannibalism because he apparently had, in a consciously provocative fashion, processed a bloody female arm – which he had ‘constructed‘ beforehand from pigs’ feet with culinary finesse – as part of his ‘fashion cuisine‘ for the ‘monster dinner‘.

As a consequence, there was an unappetizing argument in the hotel kitchen during which Sturmius, instead of being able to continue with his work, heard for the first time about his illegitimate daughter Katharina whose mother was Dörte Hansemann!

But the situation took a truly dramatic turn when the totally ignorant Ernie Hesselbach just drove the hand blender which Sturmius had demanded and which hung next to her over the kitchen counter into the soup saucepan in which he was busy partitioning the chicken mush for the creep soup with both hands. And since the device was apparently truly very deficient, it triggered an electric short circuit in the soup that was accompanied by a noisily whizzing electric shock in the wake of which Sturmius von Suppé dropped dead! And he was really and truly dead! As they wrote in one of those tabloids.

Well, you can rest assured that nobody had intended this outcome!

With the possible exception of Charlotte Burns who could not escape fast enough, followed by Bert Hesselbach with his totally clueless and confused wife Ernie.

Raffaela, who turned out to be Sturmius’s sister, was probably anything but unhappy about the sudden death of the brother she despised. She definitely did not take long to find consolation in her Schnapps bottle. …

And Dörte Hansemann, who, at long last, got a signal in this dead spot, was able to tell her daughter that she had just turned very, very rich through a substantial inheritance!

Dörte Hansemann was probably also the person who had called the local police. They came surprisingly fast und officially announced Sturmius von Suppé dead. They also sealed the crime scene for the coming securing of evidence. Dörte Hansemann and Raffaela von Suppé gave their statements in the same night, not even demanding to see their rightful lawyers.

Charlotte Burns and the Hesselbach couple were interviewed two days later, but none of these statements brought forth any changes in how the accident was judged!

After an initial ‘light storm‘ in the usual dailies – which was due to the popularity of my friend – it took surprisingly little time for everything to return to normal. I am sure it was partly because none of the concerned parties was interested in pursuing the matter further.

I was the only one who did not really find peace: somehow or other, my journalistic gut feeling told me that there was more to this alleged accident that met the eye. Since, however, I had no tangible proof, my hands were bound and I was left alone with my nightmares and musings for the time being…

K.H.

PS.
Let me express my gratitude to those who helped to shed a little light on the darkness of Sturmius‘ death: in particular, I would like to Christine Bruckmann, Gabi Nelges, Martina Tornow and Detlef Knoll. Irene Weingärtner, however, refused to discuss the matter.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday January 23rd, 2019

Emphaty, Respect, Appreciation, Fondness, … Love!?

I did it?! The nicest mountain pass I ever rode up.

I read (think and write) a lot about leadership topics. And I think we have come a long way. And I notice something that is a surprise even to me:

It was a fantastically long way we went from fiefdom until we arrived at the current concept of #newwork. We managed this in just a little more than a hundred years. That is exceptional, even if the path was at times a bloody one!

It is a good example for a utopian idea becoming reality.

However, all the things we dream of and we can read in all the great blogs on #newwork are not restricted to leadership. No! They are generally valid as a concept for how we treat other people.

It does not matter if we are talking a relationship, a family or some other kind of social system that unites people for a certain time. It is our life!

What I want to say is that the philosophy on which our life is based should be exactly the same as   what we call leadership philosophy. There is no difference. Both in the family and in the enterprise, I am dealing with people.

So we have now come to the general agreement that the guidelines in life should be empathy, joy, respect, appreciation, fondness, courage, optimism and love. And not chilliness, frustration, arrogance, non-appreciation, hatred, fear, reservations and hatred.

Also, I have come to the conclusion that this philosophy of life and leadership should not be restricted to human interactions. No, we also need to meet social systems with empathy, respect, appreciation – and we need to move therein with courage and love. And it is also true for how we treat our environment and all of nature with all its creatures!

If I want to live sustainable, then I also have to love myself and EVERYTHING else. That means all other people, nature and the entire world.

Otherwise all we have is infatuation. That is also a nice feeling, but it never lasts long.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

16 Landmarks for Free and Agile Schools.

 

Roland’s first day at school.

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

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

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

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

So why don’t we do something about it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

 

Being open while walking and thinking in springtime.

16 landmarks

 


 

Landmark #1: Individuality in Schools

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

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

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

School management

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

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


 

Landmark #2: Ways of learning at school

Pupils

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

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

Pupils

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

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

Pupils

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

School management

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

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

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


 

Landmark #4 – Activity and Co-operation

Pupils

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

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

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

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

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


 

Landmark #5 – Self Effectiveness

College

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

Pupils
I will ask the bus driver.

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

College
I do not appreciate this kind of manners.

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

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


 

Milestone #6 – Social Competences

Pupils

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

Parents

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

Teachers

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

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


 

Milestone #7 – Knowledge and Competences

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

Parents
It always surprises me to hear his stories.

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

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

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


 

Milestone #8 School as an Environment for Experiences

Teachers

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

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

School Management

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

Teachers
Let us analyse why this project failed.

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

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


Milestone # 9 – School in the Context of the City

Pupils
It is about time that we visit there again.

School Management

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

Pupils

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

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

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

Parents

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

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


Milestone # 10 Fear-Free School

Parents

My son is always unhappy when the school is closed.

School Management

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

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

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

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


Milestone # 11 – Role of the Grown-Ups

School Management

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

Pupils

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

Teachers

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

Pupils
These things have all been self-taught.

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

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


 

Milestone # 12 – Common Reflexion in the Assembly Hall.

Teachers

What can we change to improve matters for next time?

School Management

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

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

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

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


 

Milestone # 13 – School Celebrating

School Management

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

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

School Management

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

Pupils

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

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


Milestone # 14 –  School versus Family

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Milestone # 15 – Diversity at School

School Management

I certainly want to represent diversity.

Parents
Basically, the families come from various milieus.

School Management

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

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

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


 

Milestone # 16 – Great Expectations and Modest Pretences

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

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

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

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

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


Here is the source of my ideas:
CHRISTOPHINE – marbach – free school
Freie Schule Christophine e.V. · Ludwigsburger Straße 24a · 71672 Marbach am Neckar · 07144/305 80 98
info@freie-schule-christophine.de · www.freie-schule-christophine.de
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I published the milestones because I think they are an excellent and rather commonly acceptable inspiration for all those who are interested in school life and yearn for an agile and free school!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Sunday January 28th, 2018

Pouring Water on Hot Stones

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment # 56)

Basically, the year 2018 had begun quite well.

At least for Carl. And the same was true for Gerlinde.

Visiting the sauna as early as the third Sunday afternoon of the month, which actually was in January, had been an absolutely great idea of Gerlinde’s.

Naturally, when Carl finally came strutting into the overheated cabin, she had already been lying naked on her sauna towel and luxuriating for quite some time.

The critical glimpse she gave him when he arranged his towels on the sauna bench were not really something new – he knew and felt it …

If you continue to refuse more exercise, you will soon need to wear my brassiere, was her uncouth – and perspiring – comment.

Are you saying that you consider your own bosom too small and consequently we are looking at plans for a beauty operation? Carl sanctimoniously asked – he was not yet perspiring.

No, that is not what I am saying. I am totally satisfied with my bosom, thank you very much.

So there is not going to be a breast expansion, including skin smoothing in the near future, Carl murmured while he kept rearranging his already perfectly arranged sauna towel. The small towel that lay at the top end and had been folded several times, too, was perfectly arranged.

No, Carl – but looking at you, I find that your body offers quite a bit of potential for smoothing.

Well – then why don’t you look the other way …

That is what I do most of the time, anyway. But there are times, like this one, when I can hardly avoid looking at you. And then I notice that you are no longer what you used to be, Carl.

At long last and without another words, Carl very diligently took his place on the very meticulously arranged sauna bench, after having given Gerlinde an unnerved grin.

Especially your breasts go more and more south! Gerlinde insisted.
Hm – and that is why I should wear your brassieres? Carl asked as the first beads of perspiration appeared on his face, on his stomach and between his buttocks.

No, that is not what I suggest – but how about shovelling in less chocolate?
Well, you know, Gerlinde, not everybody has to have your slimness mania and wants to look as corpse-like as you!

No, that is absolutely true, but then, nor does everybody need to be so lazy and overeating as you have become in recent years, my dear Carl.

You are rather snappish today, aren’t you, said Carl. He made his cumbersome way from the sauna bench and poured four ladles of water over the sauna coal. He knew that this would soon be too hot for Gerlinde.

She actually gave a short moan, but then she said: well, Carl, go ahead. After all, you are the one with the more sensitive heart condition!

Do you know, Gerlinde, what I would like best right now? I would really like to place you under the cold shower and keep you there until you have returned to being your normal and peace-loving self.

Why don’t you? You can also flagellate me, chain me to the cooling bed or torture me in some other way, but …

But what?

But alternatively, you could activate your cervix and ask yourself if, maybe, it would be a good idea to torture your own Apollo-like body, instead of always just …

What exactly do you mean when you say torture? Carl’s comment when he interrupted sounded somewhat tormented.

All I mean is that you might decide to exercise more and develop healthier eating habits.

Ah, Carl moaned while turning left on his sauna towel with a lot of perspiring and moaning. Now, for the first time, he actually had Gerlinde in his line of vision.

He continued by asking if, with this, she wanted to hint at ’modern times’ now being ahead for them, too!

You really tend to be extremely drama-oriented when something does not work exactly as you wanted it to, Gerlinde lamented.

Well, isn’t that inevitable if now I am threatened with lactose intolerance, veganism and Helene Fischer, rather than sex, drugs and Rock’n Roll!

What strange slogans you always come up with, Carl!

Yes – yours truly and his slogans.

What is so evil about people being health-conscious and taking good care of their body? Gerlinde murmured to herself.

Well, if you do not understand, my dear Gerlinde, then I cannot help you, either – in fact, now I have to get some fresh air, otherwise I will really go crazy with all this over-heated nonsense …

But be cautious, Carl. Our overweight neighbour is always eyeing your bacon hump, or whatever!

And you will keep a watchful eye on her wire-haired dachshund – who will never say no to a bone…

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday December 31st, 2017

2018 is around the corner! Best Wishes!

Dear Friends!

Hail to the New Year!

Here is what I wish for you and what I would like to ask of you!


Das Bild ist von Rolo Zollner (http://www.rolozollner.de/). Es steht unter Common Licence, Ihr dürft es mit Quellen-/Autorenangabe frei nutzen.

May this little pig bring you lots of luck!

A good start!

Enjoy the day!

Let your hair hang down!

Relish everything you otherwise never give yourself up to!

Annoy others to your heart’s content!

At the same time, love and respect them all!

Enjoy the world and honour creation!

Do not throw common sense over board!

Be free!

Live in joy and delight!

Do not let anything distract you!

Be autonomous and follow your star!

Do the things you always wanted to do!

Think first of yourself but then also of others!

And do not become a martyr for a good cause under any circumstances!

Do not do everything right, but instead do the right things!

In six words and two sentences:

Enjoy life!
and
Be totally happy!

And I mean every day and every night of the year 2018 – 100 %!
I am writing this with love and great thankfulness for all the good and beautiful things I was allowed to experience so far. I assure you that, regardless of many depressing news and insights, I will continue to live with great joy and full of courage! And that is exactly what I wish you, too!


Here is a small advice for your lives. Please always remember:
“There is no MUST!“

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The image is a true click-winner. It is at the top of the list in Google. Zillions of people already saw it. The design is by my friend Rolo Zollner. He created it for the IF Blog. It is available under Common Licence, which means you can use it if you quote the source and author.

Arrangement and picture by Rolo Zollner.

P.S.1
Basically, the greetings are the same as 2016. I liked them so much that I made only minor changes. Did you notice?

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 19th, 2017

The Road as a Metaphor für our Life.

So far, I already had the pleasure of giving the wedding speech for four of my children. When preparing these speeches, I am always (particularly) diligent and I try to formulate important ideas.

More often than not, they include ideas that helped me in the past. Which makes them probably worth handing on to others. That is especially true for the bridal pair, but also for as many other persons as possible
Consequently, I will now publish a few central ideas from my last marriage speech. Also because today is Sunday.


The road as a metaphor for our life.

The road through life starts with our birth and ends with our death. The most precious commodity on this road is the time we spend as we travel it. The reason why time is so precious is because it will never come back. If you lose friendship or money, they might come back, but time never will.

The beginning of our road is our birth.

We make our appearance in the world and are part of a social unit. We meet people who accompany us on our road, and we do not know them in advance. We have not selected them. As a general rule, they are our family.

Roads will converge and diverge.

As we grow, we will meet more people who will travel part of the road with us. The kindergarden mistress, the teacher, our first friends, …
This is how we walk on our road: some part of it with more and some fewer persons. New faces will be added, many roads diverge for longer intervals or even forever.

We are “gatherers and hunters”.

On this path of life, we collect all kinds of “toys”. Some of them are our joy and some of them might actually hurt. Many of these toys come from the past. They might be memories, disappointments, losses, injuries, etc….

Others point towards the future and are just as hard to accept in life. Among them are dreams for life, hopes, fears, expectations, projections, etc….

We do not own things, things own us.

Thus, the backpack we carry through life becomes bigger and heavier all the time. Both the backpack and its content will become ballast for us that might occasionally be quite hard to carry.

There comes a day when we marry.

“Marriage Ceremony” is a conscious decision for me – a commitment – with which we state that we will now share our road through life with another person in a very special way. It is a mutual declaration: “come with me”.

Something new starts. Consequently, a marriage is certainly not a bad time to empty your backpacks, or, better still, to leave them sitting off the road.

Get rid of your backpacks!

Because: life happens in the here and now. If and as long as the past and the future determine what we think and how we act, we do not really live.

So me plea to the bridal pair is: think also about if and how you wish to (and can) make use of today. Why don’t you shed all the ballast from the past. Here is what I would like to wish you:

Spend every day of your lives in continuously growing joy and with more and more courage!


Some of these ideas have also been inspired by the book Ein Tag mit der Liebe (Ein Tag mit der Liebe) by Moshen Charifi; it is a book I highly recommend. In this book, Charifi presents a dialogue during a hike on LOVE and INFATUATION in a wonderfully considerate and violence-free language.


Designed for Katherina and Martin on October, 27th, 2017. And for all the people of this world. In love!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday November 9th, 2017

Get Yourself a Beer…

Miriam was a minx!

Everybody knew it – so Hermann, too, knew it.

But, being the youngest, the farm was going to fall to him. It was the biggest farm in Erleinsbach, but it was rather run-down and indebted!

On Sundays, when everybody – except Hermann who stopped going there a long time ago – met in the surrounding pubs for their regulars, the state this farm was in was simply commented with “yes, Hermann does not have an easy life!” – if you were lucky. More often than not, these words were then accompanied by either a sleazy grin or embarrassed silence. There were even some who actually spat on the ground whenever the farm was mentioned.

Hermann’s brothers and sisters were only too happy that, after having been hesitant for many years, he had agreed to be the heir of the farm. None of them would have wanted to burden himself with it. His older brother Korbinian preferred working as a carpenter in the neighbouring village of Kopfing and Annegret had married into a respectable and profitable farm when she was very young. For farmer Leitner, Annegret was a stroke of luck: she might not be the most attractive and snugly person, in fact, she was perhaps even a little frog-eyed, but she was as industrious as a honey bee. Her mother-in-law herself said so with pride whenever she wanted to show off in front of the neighbouring farmers. Annegret could work like no other. No haystack was too heavy for her, no tractor too big, no manure spreader too smelly – and even when she was round with a baby inside, she milked all the cows and cleaned the stalls.

My old lady is a true ’working animal’, the red-cheeked farmer Leitner would often contentedly say to the regulars at the pub before toasting his friends around the table with a full stein of beer.

But Miriam – she was not a ’working animal’!

Regardless, Hermann married her! Actually, he married her even though she was no longer the freshest fruit on the market and came with a fatherless child. Said child, however, was well cared for in Grieskirchen by Miriam’s aunt. So it was not much of s surprise that, under these circumstances, it was not easy for Miriam to find someone to marry in the vicinity of her home place Natternbach, where everyone knew everyone. Hermann actually fit the bill quite well!

Luckily, Miriam only saw her offspring Paula at funerals and marriage ceremonies. That was more than enough! Because whenever she laid eyes on Paula, Miriam was disappointed and angry to notice that her daughter looked just as unattractive and worn-down as her father who, as always, was still working as a butcher in Wels: why had Paula not inherited at least a little bit from her mother?

Yes, she knew how you made yourself up to look sexy and how you turned men’s heads with a high bosom and a steep bottom. Every one of the farmers turned his head when she appeared. But Paula? Perhaps a blind man would turn if she called something friendly after him …

Hermann rather liked Miriam’s Paula!

He had occasionally seen her at family gatherings and he had also once in a while pinched her well-rounded bottom! It was all, of course, in a very friendly manner – which meant her only reply was a laugh. He also knew Paula’s less-than-elegant father Josef. And, as opposed to all the others, Hermann was truly proud of her mother Miriam!

Yes – as proud as a peacock!

He would never ever have dreamed that such a ’nice lady’ would want him for a husband: him, who did not know how to behave, never looked very attractive and never had enough money. What could he offer to a lady like her?
Well – a farm – and a lot of dirty work along with it. From morning to night!
Miriam came from a family of craftsmen!

Her father had been a roofer. Her mother had always been particular about there always being a good meal and two bottles of beer on the table when he came home after a hard day’s work. But still, she could not prevent his death, one morning when it rained and he fell from one of the steep church roofs. Cervical dislocation – and a multiple broken spine!

Subsequently, Miriam’s mother had had to feed herself and her daughter, who more and more grew into a beautiful, well-rounded thing, by cleaning and cooking for others. Small wonder that said Miriam swore to herself that she was absolutely going to marry a man who could offer her more than her clumsy father had offered to her mother. Or than this fat Josef who had given her Paula in a state of total alcohol stupor but could barely pay the alimonies for her.

And it was absolutely out of the question that she would one day clean after others as her mother now had to do all the year round. That was not for her. No, she would rather remain by herself and dry out slowly – as her mother had predicted!
Perhaps Miriam looked so attractive to Hermann because she neither looked like a farmer’s wife nor ever wanted to become one?

Hermann had always had a certain tendency towards wanting to feel superior to others. Even at school. Korbinian and Annegret had shown the same tendency and had often been ostracized by the other farmers.

Above all, Hermann admired Miriam’s satiny, light skin! Her face never showed the frost bite marks that shone when you danced and were so common for farmers’ wives. She knew how to dress and would not have looked out of place as a salesperson in Linz.

While he kept telling his siblings and other stupid folks that he certainly could not have cared less about this ’roofer’s daughter Miriam’, Hermann – regardless of some warnings – probably was less than alert when the decisive moment came: it came as a total surprise to everybody when, one day, and in the middle of harvest time at that, he stood in front of the altar with Miriam at his side.

From day one she made it clear to a not really surprised Hermann that there was no way she was going to play farmer’s wife and, perhaps, later even wipe his bottom.

Miriam had other plans and saw to it that she was immediately entered into the register for Hermann’s farm in order to, at long last, get the loan from the Grieskirchen bank she needed for fulfilling her life’s dream: opening a bar in Wels!

Her counsellor at the bank had, during very personal conversations, drawn a very rosy picture of the goldmine that was sitting here waiting for her if she was willing to approach the affair with him and the right power, provided she did not allow the always tired little Hermann to interfere.
The farm as a security made everything possible, the industrious gentleman from the bank assured her. And Miriam, outfitted in her nice Dirndl dresses, did her best to keep him in line!

However, the initial euphoria did not last long: to be sure, the Dirndl dresses were still looking pretty good, since she mostly worked only wearing her underwear or even less, but the bar dream had become pure fiction and she had received quite a few not too nice ’scars’. Thanks to her youth, however, said scars were still something one could camouflage if nicely dressed and wearing full war paint.

Besides, Miriam was not stupid. From her bank consultant, she had learned between all the cuddling, sweaty moaning and the occasional slab in the face how, even through heavy waters, you could find a safe haven for your nest-egg in various tax paradises.

And, soon after the strange bank guy, Dario, whom she had first met in the Linz ’Rosenstüberl’ showed her all the things she could do with her nest-egg in Southern Spain.

Since Hermann’s shabby farm had never brought the profit he had predicted, it was only fair that he now remained back having to deal with the debt!
When Dario gave her an ultimatum about delivering and eloping with him, she called to Hermann that, for her, time was definitely too precious to waste her best years with his kind.

Looking at how he, Hermann, ran his farm and made one mistake after the other, she was sure that, even in a hundred years, he was not going to make a success of this ’pigsty of a farm’ – those were the words she hissed at him as she stood in the front door wearing her red pantsuit. Meanwhile, Hermann was busy on the farm throwing the freshly produced dung in ever higher arcs onto the dung- heap – and, as always, he said nothing!

“Why don’t you throw yourself after the dung right into the dung-heap, Hermann? After all, that would be the right place for a loser like you”, she screeched hysterically before driving out of the farm in his old Mercedes. All that was now left on the farm were three pigs, two old cows, one sheep and some remaining straw that also already started getting mouldy; all other income had been sold immediately after the harvest in order to at least pay the most pressing parts of the debt to the bank.

Deep in his heart, Hermann actually shared Miriam’s analysis, although seeing her leave in such a shabby way cut right into his heart.
Without much thought, Hermann simply tried to continue as before after this disaster with Miriam: during the day, he moonlighted for some people he knew in the neighbouring villages as a mason, and in the evenings, he crawled through the shabby remainders of his farm with little enthusiasm and in an even worse mood.

Once in a while, at least his sister Annegret came for a visit. She did his laundry, cleaned his kitchen and, twice a year, cleaned the windows in his bedroom and the big living room. Without her, he would have drowned in his own dirt.

The only light at the end of the tunnel of this sad existence for Hermann was – Miriam’s Paula – who, for some strange reason had taken to him. Or maybe she simply wanted to make her stupid mother angry!

Fact was, Dear Paula, as he called her, still appeared on his front door in Grieskirchen every few months and stayed either a short while or a little longer, depending on how she liked it. And grumpy Hermann would always suddenly feel better: he even shaved, washed himself, wore a clean shirt and one of the two pairs of jeans he owned and drove to Natternbach with Dear Paula to go shopping. After all, she would always cook something delicious for him in the evening and afterwards sit with him over beer and egg liquor.

She also merrily told him about her work as a hairdresser, asked extensive questions about his ailments and watched whatever nonsense he wanted to see on TV.

And three times a year, she even persuaded him to have his hair cut by her – a procedure that always ended with terrible fuss and laughter, especially when, regardless of his most intense opposition, she relished in treating the abundance of hair in his ears and nose.

She also tamed the wilderness above his eyes! And as far as his sparse top hair was concerned, there were literally the most violent discussions and rounds of giggling about the appropriate length of every individual string of hair. And when, afterwards, his eyelids fell down from sheer exhaustion, she guided him into his smelly bedroom next to the big living room before taking her seat in her car and again making herself scarce …

They never talked about her mother – that was an unspoken, silent agreement that was strictly adhered to, no matter how much they had imbibed.
 
But then, after what felt like a hundred years – on a November evening – Miriam suddenly appeared in the big living room! She looked as bent as an old wardrobe and as dry as her already dead mother …

Hesitantly, she said:

“A good day to you, Hermann!“

The no longer slim Hermann – with a damaged hip and a hurting knee – lay on the sofa in front of the TV set in a strangely contorted way, glanced briefly at her, took a huge gulp from the beer bottle that sat within easy reach on the floor next to the sofa and kept looking exclusively at the TV screen…

“Do you no longer know me, Hermann?“

“Oh yes, I know you!“

“And you have nothing to say?“

“Naa…“!

“May I sit down …?“

“Take the stool near the oven.“

“Thank you, Hermann.“

“And help yourself to a beer!“

“I no longer drink beer, Hermann!“

“All of a sudden?“

“Aren’t you not going to ask why?“

“Well, I guess you will tell me!“

“I! – I – I – have cancer …!“

“Is that also my fault?“

“Naa – it is not why I am here …“

“Then why?“

“Because I do not know where to go?“

“Why?“

“Because I am ashamed – because of all I did!“

“Hark, hark …“!

“Well, you know, I am really ashamed, Hermann.“

“Before whom?“

“Before your siblings – and Paula – and all the others.“

“And not before me?“

“No, Hermann, not before you!“

“Aha.“

“Well, it is the truth …“

“Well, if that is how you feel?

“Yes, that is how I feel …“

“You do not look too well!

“I know, Hermann!“

“Are you hungry …?“

“No – I cannot eat normal food any more.“

“Where is the problem?“

“The intestines …!“

“Hm – I understand…“

“I no longer have any strength …“

“Me neither!“

“Stupid – with me, this is really true …“

“With me, too …“

“Are you going to send me away?“

“Naa – you can make up your bed in our bedroom, if that is what you want!“

“Thank you, Hermann“.

“I assume you know where to find everything?“

“Yes – Hermann…“

“I can help you if you want me to …?“

“Not necessary, go ahead and drink you beer …“

“Okay“…

When Miriam had made her half of the shared marital bed, she lay down in it, pushed the cover over her head and after this day never rose again.

And when, on Christmas Eve, she kept moaning and crying out loud with pain, Hermann patted her with his rough hands – until she became very still …

KH
(Translated by EG)

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)