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)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday May 18th, 2017

Falling Down

I no longer remember who told me this story. Perhaps it was the tourist guide when we drove to the ’Manrique Museum’? Or that female professor of geology from Brandenburg? She has been coming to the ’Lanzarote Park Hotel’ in Playa Blanca in March for eight years now and also reads Spanish Daily Newspapers, not just this stupid island magazine Lanzarote 37°. Or was it maybe Pedro who told me this story a one of his inimitable ’language cocktail’ variations at the pool?

I simply cannot recall exactly …

But it was always about that toothless street musician!

He is a true disgrace on the never-ending boardwalk close to the ocean in the south-west of Lanzarote. With his dirty and unappetizing appearance, he should not be permitted to sit there. This is simply not tolerable! Not on this fantastic EU-financed boardwalk! After all, hundreds of people pilgrimage here until late into the night.

Besides, this ’music-playing pig’ does not restrict his appearance to his rusty folding chair in front of the last stretch of fallow land, where hardly anybody would notice him anyway. Instead, he can now be almost exclusively seen on the stone boardwalk balustrade.

What an exhibition: a ’music-playing rubbish heap’ in front of the eternally sparkling, sunny ocean! With a greasy hat lying on the floor and a cap on his sun-burned head! And two watery eyes that look like puddles …

Mostly, he dribbles into his melodica – which is some kind of key flute – from which the same melody is released at all times. But it is strangely alluring! You have to give him that. Perhaps it is even by Mozart? Even if it is perhaps a little too sad? Unfortunately, I was never able to really find out.

Seven years ago, when the concert building Lava-Bubble in Jameos del Agua was closed due to stones falling down from the ceiling, this disgrace had already been playing on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. In those days, he allegedly had a rather rich musical portfolio.

And while the volcano rocks were being glued together with special resin above the roof, he also sat there every day. Perhaps even the occasional cent out of all those six million euros this roof cost found its way into his shabby hat. Who could know? Definitely not the ’music-playing rubbish heap’.

And the inauguration concert given when the renovated concert hall in Jameos del Agua  was ceremoniously re-opened will definitely also have been something he was totally unaware of. As must have been the fact that the famous English conductor John Miguel Smith was going to be at the baton and that even representatives of the Spanish Crown had accepted the invitation.

However, he did notice that the rather pompous John Miguel Smith with his much too young female companion had had a stupid accident where he stumbled right in front of the ’music-playing heap of dirt’ on the day before the concert and fell fully on his nose; yes, that was something he had definitely noticed.

And the Spanish cursing of the noble Brit was probably also something he noticed!
Mind you, Betty had even cried out “attention John“, because apparently he had recognized a strangely alluring melody and consequently only had eyes for the shabbily dressed source of the melody. But at that moment, it was already too late! He fell full-length onto the dignified brown cobbles of the boardwalk here in Playa Blanca…

Ranting, he immediately jumped up, was appalled when he inspected his atrociously grazed hands and elbows, moved his badly ailing fingers like a maniac and kept shaking his head while he smoothed the damaged, bloody t-shirt over his stomach.
He only noticed that he had also torn his rough silver Greek Knot Cross from his neck during his fall when Betty tearfully offered it to him. He gripped it like a bird of prey and threw it into the greasy hat of the street musician, who was totally appalled.

He was quick to pull Betty after him in order to get away from this upheaval among the nosy masses of people as fast as possible. Probably his only remaining worry at this time was tomorrow’s inauguration concert at the “lava bubble”! In Jameos del Agua! And his wounded arms, his injured stomach, his bloody hands and his lacerated chin. And he certainly hoped that nobody had recognized him – the famous John Miguel Smith, when he kissed the boardwalk lying on his stomach like a fallen frog …

What mortification!

However, in at least one case, this hope seemed to have been in vain; because when the ’music-playing rubbish heap’ had overcome his shock paralysis and fished out the cross that lay between the few coins in his hat, there was suddenly a strange sparkle to his alcohol-marked face. A sparkle that even continued when he opened his toothless mouth out of which came a questioning “Miguel?”…

And then again “Miguel – Miguel, is it you?“

The street musician got more and more excited and even panicky. He dropped the soiled melodica and started using his left paw, too, for squeezing the silver cross – and again and again, he croaked: “Miguel !…Miguel !!…Miguel…!!

But John Miguel Smith was far beyond hearing and being seen. In fact, he hurried like a wounded animal along the boardwalk accompanied by his totally hysterical companion. All he wanted was crawl into his lair at the Hotel Vulcano as fast as possible!

Since, as everybody knows, the famous conductor Smith strictly forbids all attempts at finding out about his life and mercilessly deplores even the smallest public assumptions, the desperate calls of an old man, too, were lost in the rippling of the ocean that ran along the lava coast near the boardwalk balustrade.

But still, as I said, I heard somewhere that this incident is the reason and the only reason why the street musician, since that time, only plays this one ’endearing melody’ that, to this day, I could not identify. It is because he still hopes that his Miguel – whom he could not have cared less about when he was a child, in fact whom he even gave away for adoption – might one day pass by and invite him, his alleged father, to drink a brandy ’Carlos III’ with him…

Well, I am not sure if it is really the ’Carlos III’ this rubbish-like musician dreams about, but I would like to invite everyone who can tell me something new about John Miguel Smith to have a ’Carlos I’ with me in the pre-warmed glassed of the Café ’Gilbert’ on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. As I see it, the old ’music-playing piece of dirt’ should get some help, so why not through a good brandy?

PS:
Please note that all persons and activities in this story are fiction. But still, I will continue to look for this melody that caused the famous conductor to fall down. I have to find out more about it …
KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday December 24th, 2016

(Deutsch) Frohe Weihnacht

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

+On Thursday, at 11.50 a.m., in the fully packed “facility cafeteria”, Hubert Spiegel related the strange circumstances that led to the disarmament of the mysterious “mirror devil”. He started a little awkwardly by saying:

img270

“Well, you know, I am not really a patient of this “facility”! But my mom is! At her own instigation, she was admitted here five years ago! You may not believe this, but she liked the pasta soup served in this “facility cafeteria” so much that she refused to go anywhere else. Now isn’t that really mad?

Well- and now I come for a visit as often as I can. But then, you do not always have time, do you? After all, we all have to really work hard. Basically, none of us has a money machine at home, …

Aside from this – even if that may now sound a little strange – I am not one of the loonies residing in this “facility”!

But then – and I admit this quite frankly – sometimes in the morning at six when I am standing in front of my mirror in the bathroom and looking at this “stranger’s face” that smiles back at me, I start wondering if I, Hubert Spiegel, perhaps am mentally handicapped after all!

Neither am I all that sure if the person I see with that huge stupid grin on his face is actually me? Or maybe that is someone else altogether? Perhaps a “Peeper”? Or even one of those “stalkers”, as they call them in America…

Are you also familiar with the sensation that a stranger’s face follows you each day into your bathroom? Until you are standing in front of your mirror? The only thing that has proved to be helpful for me is sticking out my tongue at him!

So!!! Yes – I have to really do some prolonged asshole licking…

Because if the other one also gives me his asshole licking, then I know at least that he is no better than I am, which means there is no need for me to worry about him staying in my bathroom – if that is what he wants, he is quite welcome!

Now isn’t that really cute?

Well, you know, as time goes by, you simply come up with a few tricks, don’t you? After all, one is not totally brain-damaged! But just to be on the safe side, I regularly do the “ear-splitting test”!

Are you familiar with it? Because it is certainly of good parentage …
You would not believe how long this “ear-tip-stranger” needed before he eventually understood about the test and then managed to convince me that he really is not the evil one who wants to harm me! Because if there is one thing I really hate, then it is those poofters: I detest them as much as the devil hates holy water!

Anyway, initially it was always like this: whenever I gripped my ear and simultaneously stuck out my tongue – as did the guy opposite me – and whenever I then took hold of my right ear with my right hand – because I had to know, what the other one was going to do, didn’t I? – then that other devil always took hold of his left ear with the left hand … which means he did exactly the opposite of what I did? Can you imagine? Every single time…

Initially, it really almost drove me crazy! I simply could not believe that this stupid fucker was not capable of mimicking something as easy as this, instead doing exactly the opposite? I really found it unbelievable…

And, to be perfectly honest – I then started taking my orientation only from the lolling tongue. At least there I could be sure that I am really only dealing with the moron I knew…

But it was definitely no easy task!

Because as an extra devious plot, the idiot actually sometimes took his right hand to grip his right ear!

Yes – that is really what he did! But do you know when he did that? He did it exactly all those times when I touched my left ear with my left hand – that was exactly when he used his right hand, the trickster – and at no other times! Not ever at any other time…
Mind you, we are talking at six in the morning, and every morning – except Sundays – because I never wash on Sundays, nor do I even enter my bathroom! After all, Sundays are the days when I use water in the church for getting my skin wet – holy water!

Well – if you experience this kind of shit every day and then do not get mad, you are either completely gaga or – pardon the language – you are fucking way beyond caring!

But then, as I am sure you can easily imagine, I miss nothing. After all, who do they think I am? I am definitely not my mum!

Yes – if it had been my mum, then this devil in the bathroom would have been able to continue until doomsday. She would not have fought it; after all, she always was an easy pushover for all strange populist leaders.

But that is where I am different! I am far too street-smart to become thus victimized …

Would you like me to tell you how I won over this pig last Tuesday?
At six in the morning! In my bathroom! I bet you will never guess, although it is basically very easy if you think about it!

Well – last Tuesday – when I again stood in front of the grinning bastard – with my tongue lolling out down to my tits – and this devil also sticking it out – here is what I, the wise guy, did:
I moved my right hand to my right ear – but when the other one only grinned and moved his left paw towards his left ear – I moved like lightning and got my left hand to my left ear – which meant the stupid guy on the opposite side had no choice but to also grab his right ear – just like he always did…

And, people, I really wish you could have seen the stupid face this idiot with his lolling tongue suddenly made – with both paws holding both ears – exactly like me – and gone were the times of “left” and “right”, etc…

I can tell you, for me, this was an absolute hit on the head for liberty!

Because all of a sudden it dawned on me that this freaking idiot had just been tricking me all the time with his “right – left – turn” – and that he actually had been nobody else! No, absolutely not! In fact, it had always been me and me alone! Yes: me, me, me – opposite of myself – and with nobody else involved.

Can you imagine?

And what do you think how hilarious we found it and how we burst out laughing as soon as we discovered it! We fell over with laughter – both of us – and we truly went overboard and never seemed to be able to calm down… it was truly mad – really!

And now I am sure you will understand why I came here today!
Actually, I absolutely need to tell my mum about it! Even if it means she will start fretting before I start because she wants her pasta soup!

But she absolutely has to know that there has never been a stranger in my bathroom – never ever! It was always only me – and even me alongside me …

So, here we go and good luck to you all – but now I need to go and see her! She needs me!“

KH
(Translated by EG)

PS:
The author will relate this story (in Viennese dialect) during this year’s Halloween event of the “Authors Group TwentyTen” in the Hanau Olof Palme Haus.

Roland Dürre
Monday June 13th, 2016

Project Peace – Roland!

This year, I started the project PEACE. I already told you before mentioning the great   contribution made by Jolly why I think the project PEACE is so important any why I want to focus on this project in the future.

There are so many things this project needs:

A unique logo and the best of all manifestos. A lot of money with the potential to reach a billion persons (which is google’s criterion for its applications). A great “community”. The best partners from all sectors (film, photography, art, marketing, media, music,…), ideas for the coolest activities for peace. And the right kinds of activists!

I am currently thinking about what to put into the manifesto. Here are a few pieces of the mosaic I am experimenting with:

In a very basic way

Peace is the only way!

Peace is the basic requirement for everything else!
Peace has no need to justify itself!

A little longer

YES!
Peace is possible!
We badly need PEACE!
We live in PEACE with ourselves!
We live in PEACE with the world around us!
We work hard towards PEACE!
There are many of us!
It can be done!

AND

If you want PEACE, you need no justification!

Or

Peace beats war!
Humanity beats inhumanity.
Love will always conquer hatred!
Tolerance will always beat intolerance.

Which means

No tolerance for tolerance!
War against war!
Hate hatred!

But these are only ideas and proposals of mine. I look forward to your ideas. Thanks a lot!

RMD

Roland Dürre
Sunday June 12th, 2016

Project Peace – Jolly!

Earlier this year, Jolly and I started the project PEACE. The video you can watch below is a wonderful result of our kick-off meeting.

It is a little longer than 61 minutes for you to absolutely enjoy. You will get positive inspiration and many impulses. So why don’t you take a little time and one of several beloved partners and just watch it? Find a comfortable position and relax in front of the screen.
🙂
You really want to totally relax – for those of us who like their alcohol, why not with a glass of red wine?

Because Jolly is really an exceptional person and first-class mentor. Consequently, his seminars and presentations are the reason why many people have become happier and more successful persons. I am one of them.

The project PEACE is the most ambitious I was ever involved in. We are at the very beginning and what we need is friends, partners and supporters.

I will also constantly write in the IF blog about our progress in terms of ideas, concepts and activities of the project PEACE. So far, all I know about it is that I never did anything more aspiring. For me personally, it is the greatest possible challenge.

The next thing I want to do is publish my kick-off presentation in the IF-blog!

RMD
(Translated by EG)