Roland Dürre
Friday March 17th, 2017

We Cure the Symptoms and Ignore the Sources.

Long Live Populism!

or
Talking Instead of Acting?

Charly, the Great Dictator.

Now I witnessed the first (electoral) campaign events with Martin Schulz. Even from the distance, I got the impression that this is another and admittedly talented attempt at using the general uncomfortable feeling of many persons as a resonance body for someone’s own goals and demanding a few improvements where small details are concerned that, however, only equal a treatment of symptoms if you look at the entire picture.

In these speeches, I perceived what is probably generally called populism and what is probably the last remaining recipe for success in the current generation of politicians. Apparently, nobody ever got the idea of asking what caused the problems and then introducing change in a social consensus through political activities.

Consequently, Martin Schulz is the next populist looming on the horizon for Europe. This time it is a candidate for the one “party of the people”. Again, the motto in the speeches I heard is the same:

We are appalled by the symptoms and enjoy to point out what went wrong, but we do not dare to approach the sources.

After all, that would be system-critical and call for change. Which is an absolute no-go. Especially for the SPD. Because that is something the comrades forbade themselves many years ago. After all, they want back to power. And even when they were part of the government, they avoided all “system-critical” issues wherever possible. Because “holy” practical constraints and systemic necessities stood in the way of change.

The environmental catastrophe and destruction of our planet (plastic, climate, …) and the social polarization of humanity with all its consequences such as flight because of destroyed living space and more left them just as untouched. In fact, they would like to just leave these issues out of the government altogether. Because it would only have be a nuisance.

“Social Democracy First” is rhetorically easy to communicate. Except: it is a little harder to actually realize and then to work on the causes. After all, you do not want to be (too) inconvenient and you also would not wish to hurt anybody, would you? These topics do not even appear in the electoral slogans, because bad news are not popular. Especially if you can no longer ignore them.

Regardless of the fact that reality, too, might well be a good topic for populists. See the video below. But if you talk about reality, you cannot be afraid of your own courage. You have to be able to bear the truth. And you are ill-advised if you fear that it might cost you votes. So what you need is courage. But currently, it seems that cowardice is more popular. Fear happens between the ears and it reigns over the world in a truly demonic way.

So here, yet again, I am trying to describe the reasons why our society drifts apart into fewer and fewer rich and more and more poor people. Which is exactly where you should get active if you call yourself a social democrat.

The reasons for polarisation are:

  • The free speculation with everything: currencies, enterprises, food, raw materials, property, copyright, all sorts of rights …
  • A property legislation that protects individual “mental property” in an exorbitant and excessive way;
  • A general understanding of ownership that seems to have totally isolated itself from the maxim of “ownership is also a responsibility”;
  • The social legitimacy of illegitimate influence on common-good interests exerted by interest groups (aka lobbyism as a criminal act of advantage theft);
  • Propaganda, including the seduction and manipulation on all levels, also of the sub-conscious, as a normal business method (aka marketing). Seduction that aims at making the concerned persons behave in contrast to their will and ratio.

Although we know better, we still believe that

  • Growth beats health;
  • Taylorismus beats task-identity;
  • Shareholder Value beats common-good economy.

When will we understand that

  • the interests of the stakeholders (customers, employees, …) should have priority over the shareholder interests and that
  • In a society with a future social togetherness instead of private property preservation must have the highest priority both for all individuals and the entity?

So why do politicians never talk causes but instead only make loud populist noises? And why do they always only write in their programs about minimal corrections and symptoms that need to be cured? And why do these methods actually make them successful?

🙂 Here is an example for POPULISM I rather like. Even if Harald Lesch is only partly correct (and I can easily imagine it), my aforementioned “social fear” might soon no longer play a role at all, because surviving will be more important.

Yes – this is exactly the speech I would like to hear from a politician…

RMD
(Translated by EG)

2036_500Through my friend Thomas Michl, the call for a blog parade on #FutureVision2036
 by Yasemin Akdemir came to my attention.

I do not wish to speculate about what the world might be like in twenty years.

Because since Hans Ulrich of St. Gallen wrote his theories about “Change in Management”, we know that “the future cannot be predicted”!

And it is not at all my style to come up with courageous outlooks.

But I will gladly relate to you what I would the world to be like in 2036!

First and foremost, it would be important for me to see most people being wiser and more peace-loving all over the world.

When I say wiser, I mean that humanity should increase both in its mental concepts and behaviour and that it should push the ever-present enmity into the background, both externally and internally.

Peace in my definition means that more and more persons manage to live in harmony with their own existence, also by appreciating their own value. The only way external peace can grow and prevail is if people like and appreciate themselves and thus find their own inner peace. It is the only way to make the many beloved enemy concepts disappear and also the only way towards successfully living in peace with nature, other people and other social systems.

Apart from this, I would wish for more neutrality and less moralism, for example also when it comes to sexual prudery. On the whole, the importance of religion should dwindle. How can anybody claim something to be the absolute truth that has been constructed by humans? For example, I also would not wish that children are still injured and maimed in 2036 for “religious reasons”.

There is a great sentence by Frederick II. Of Prussia: “Let all people become happy in their own chosen fashion” and it would be nice if this sentence were still true in 2036. But not the “violation of religious feelings” should be illegal. Instead, the social discrimination of “infidels” by “believers” and the attempt of those believers to “religiously reform” those infidels should be against the law.

In 2036, we should no longer misinterpret peace as a state of affairs where all that is possible is permitted. The meaning of the word must be replaced by an understanding of peace in the sense of “being able and willing to live your life responsibly”.

It would make me very happy if, over the next twenty years, people learned how to become independent of marketing and external control. And maybe they could understand that their most valuable commodity is time. And that we can enjoy our life at the moment in joy – without having to think about it too much. How about a little more sub-consciousness and, to make up for it, less cerebellum?

In 2036, we would like to live in a “fear-free” space. Fear grows between your ears and has nothing to do with really threatening situations and a healthy respect of dangers. It would be nice if, by then, we no longer think we have to define ourselves by our looks, property, success, money….

There is actually one concern of mine for 2036: can we live our lives in harmony with our environment? I would like to be able to breathe the air in the cities even if I am a pedestrian or ride a bike. In order to achieve this, we would have to understand that “individual mobility” it not a concept of the future if it is based on heavy vehicles. Nor does it matter if said vehicles are powered by a combustion motor or an electric motor.

And, in 2036, I would like to live in a society that accepts that I am a human being of flesh and blood who has the right to enjoy his body with lust, which would mean that I am entitled to enough physical exercise in everyday life. And I mean in a way that does not just make me a means to an end. I want to be able to rollick and romp even when I am grown up.

In 2016, I no longer wish to be manipulated by marketing and ruled by lobbyism. Instead, I would like to be what we were created to be: agreeable mammals equipped with a little bit of ratio who can live their lives autonomously.

Another prevalent principle of our economic activity should be “sustainability”. This means the economic cycles would have to be organized and practiced in such a way that the principle #nowaste has highest priority. This is also true for energy – just like with everything else, this has to be done by using “smart technologies”, but also by every one of us limiting ourselves to the necessities.

We humans are not here to serve the economy – instead, the economy should serve us. Instead of a global “predator capitalism”, we need a functioning regional “common-good economy” in 2036. Even if said common-good economy might be a little less efficient – which, incidentally, I do not believe it would be.

Many of our habits have to – and, as I believe, will – change drastically. This will be true both for mobility and the production of goods. One possible solution might be the increase of „shared economy“, individually promoted by “less vanity and egoism”. The success recipe of the future will be “less is more”. “Growth as the solution to all problems” was yesterday (and even then, it was utter nonsense).
Consideration will also have to prevail whenever we actually do something. And we will permanently have to ask ourselves if we really need all the things we buy.

So what I wish for 2036 is an enlightenment 2.0 that we take seriously and develop diligently. It should also be the formative factor of all our lives. And I am and will remain optimistic that, with courage and joy, we will get there. Among other things because we support the new “digital world” and nice blog parades.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 24th, 2015

World-War III

Flag the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

There is a lot one could say about terrorism. But in my personal opinion, people mostly write the wrong kinds of things. For instance, much of what I heard and read in connection with the Paris assaults is incomprehensible to me. Many things annoy me, because they seem so flat and un-thought-through.

Also, I am not happy with the reaction to and the treatment of the events and the current situation by our “elite”.

I find it sad that the reasons for this development are forgotten and not asked about either. After all, we have had a strongly developed colonial situation in this world for centuries. The rich countries rule over the poor countries, they exploit and literally abuse them.

Starting during the “long 19th century”, continuing in modern times and still being the state of affairs today, this never changed. The so-called independence of the suppressed did not really improve matters significantly. True, in the 21st century, the methods perhaps look a little more subtle than they were in the 19th and 20th centuries. But this only means they are no longer as obvious as they used to be. However, they lost nothing in efficiency when it comes to the degree of exploitation. On the contrary.

This caused a lot of explosive energy in the world. The politics of the last few decades – incidentally, I am not only talking the West, neither only the USA – served to enrich said explosive energy with fire accelerators. And the time when everything was set on fire with matches was certainly no later than the reaction of the “western world” to 9/11.

But what are the French doing now? Making the same mistakes the West has been making all the time. They throw their bombs with gusto. And probably they will also (and maybe even primarily) bomb civil buildings and hospitals. And consequently also children, women and innocent citizens. As this is always the case with these kinds of attacks. This is how you give extra air to the fire and guarantee new recruits for terrorists.

I also find it annoying to see how different standards are used. Not long before the Paris assaults, the IS bombarded a Russian airplane. More than 200 persons died. Yet, the human fatalities in the Russian airplane were treated with quite a bit of serenity. Where were the shock and the minutes of mourning – and the Russian flags in Europe? To be perfectly honest, until then I had not even known Russia’s colours. After all, I grew up west of the Iron Curtain.

Other attacks, for instance in Beirut, are not even noticed. Because the only reason why we would be interested in those is our yearning for sensational news and catastrophe.

But the attacks in France were totally different. Why? There were huge numbers of solidarity addresses. Silent minutes of mourning were happening all over the place, the avatars on the internet were illustrated in the French colours. Because we are afraid that the same could happen in Berlin or in Munich?

Even as early as on the morning after the attacks, the newspapers boosted it. They talked about World-War-III now being on our doorsteps. When I went to the bakery on Saturday morning, I read a number of these headlines. And the day before yesterday, I read that “the world is now uniting against terrorist“ (SZ of November, 22nd).

In my life, there were many people I knew well and liked who died. Some died of old age and illness. Others remained in the Alps, one never returned from a flight trip.

Ever since my childhood, however, people dying on the streets keep accumulating. They were the largest number and losing some of them really moved me deeply. For instance, I remember a young woman full of life who had spent a very short time at InterFace Computer. No longer than one week into her employment with us, her workplace remained empty on a Monday morning. She had spent the weekend in her home in the Saarland and on the way back, she had suffered a car breakdown. When she exited her car, she was simply overrun on the motorway exit. Just like this. Like an animal.

Are traffic fatalities less painful than war fatalities? Isn’t it strange how we forget traffic fatalities? Why don’t we mourn for the deaths in traffic on a daily basis?

You certainly cannot calculate or balance the pain you feel when a person close to you dies. But I do not think there is such a huge difference between a beloved member of the family being overrun on his way home and the same person being killed in a terrorist attack in a coffee bar.

Consequently, I feel that, indeed, we do have a “World War III“. In fact, we have been having it for many decades. All traffic areas are the current battlefields. Because on the streets of this planet, between 1.3 and 1.4 million people die every year. They come from all social classes and nations. In addition, we have many times as many seriously wounded and wounded. Now if that is not a war, then what is?

In Germany, we still have more than 3,000 traffic fatalities every year. When I was young, there were some years when we had more than 20,000 – in West Germany alone. That means that we in Germany actually made some progress in this war. But we are still far from peace. 3,000, too, are too many. And the number is now again increasing.

If you want to understand what a huge number this is, just go and watch a soccer game with 3,000 spectators. And then imagine all of them lying dead in cars on the streets!

It is quite likely that, in Europe, both fans and players die on the way to the soccer match on each soccer weekend. But who is interested? A few weeks ago, there was at least a minute of mourning at the Augsburg WWK Arena for those FCA fans who had been injured in a car accident on their way to the stadium.

But why do we not have a minute of mourning for our traffic fatalities and those world-wide? Because nobody is interested in the carnage on the streets. And because business has priority. Which, incidentally, is also true for terrorism.

Consequently, there is no international outcry and no important speeches are made by politicians for a more humane traffic. As opposed to the fight against terror, “no world is now uniting” against all the people who died in traffic accidents. And the national governments could not care less, which is totally incomprehensible to me.

There is one exception: the small country Sweden actually takes it seriously and started a Vision Zero, with which they want to definitely reduce the number of traffic fatalities to zero – I bow before them!

The IS, on the other hand, consists of madmen who want to conquer first the Near East and then the world. They built up a terror regime that reminds me of the Nazis. However, regardless of them currently probably being the strongest terror formation, they are quite weak. It would be quite easy to dry them up.

But what do we do?

We buy their crude oil. Because it is less expensive. Thus, every filling of our cars metaphorically contains some IS fuel. They also get their weapons and equipment from us. This is how we get our “oil money” back. And we also provide those criminals with recruits from all over the world. Isn’t that a scandal?

But we block the realistically existing third World War out and also trivialize the climate change. Which actually might easily trigger the fourth World War!

As I see it, there are good reasons to believe the scientists. Especially if varieties of disciplines and schools come up with identical results. It looks like the detrimental effects caused by the climate change will be even more fundamental than the perhaps 75 million traffic fatalities since the end of WW-II.

The resulting environment war would probably be WW-IV. It will probably bring deprivation on two levels. The sacrifices nature demands from us through ever increasing numbers of catastrophes on various levels. And the others, those who will fall in the war between the “early losers” and the “not yet losers”.

And, of course, yet again we hope that we will not be among “early losers“. After all, we are luckily living in a rather “fortunate climate zone”. Now isn’t that rather reproachable? And are you sure that this is not perhaps a misconception?
Yet here, too, there is no chance for shared programs and mutual agreements. Nowhere. Neither nationwide, nor world-wide. Mind you, the environment conference starting in Paris in a few weeks is probably the very last chance to avoid the worst case scenario.

But we ignore the really existing third world-war on our streets as we also ignore the threatening fourth world-war caused by the climate change. To make up for it, we wet our pants with fear of terrorism from an IS that, basically, is actually quite ridiculous. Instead of simply drying them up and dealing with the really important issues.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the picture of the flag from Wikipedia. It is black, the colour of death. The picture was entered on October, 15, 2006 and downloaded by Russavia.
As I see it, we should beware of black flags. Incidentally, I do not like any kinds of flags. But if you absolutely insist on a flag, then I would prefer the lively, multi-coloured ones!

Roland Dürre
Monday August 10th, 2015

Complexity & Cat Food.

Between September, 10th, and September, 12th, I will be in Berlin. Why? Because there is another PM Camp! This is already the third of them. The Berlin PM Camp is about Complexity. To be more precise: this year we ask the question: “Complexity – should we reduce it or increase it?”

Here is my contribution to the Blog Parade of the Berlin 2015 PM Camp – and it is especially for Heiko!

20150810_150437_resizedCats are well off.

They need not work and can do what they want all day long. Consequently, they stroll all over the place or sit at their favourite spot enjoying the sun while looking around. Once in a while, they play “bad cat” with a mouse or a bird. As soon as they start purring, there will always be someone to stroke them. They get their food in the morning and in the evening. Without having to do anything for it.

The “cat mother”, too, has a better life than formerly. Because today, the cat food comes in sacks or cans. Once in a month, you buy a sack or a crate full of cans. That is it. Or if you want to be very modern, you buy baggies, as you see on the left picture. That is the typical contemporary cat food. Even if nobody actually knows what is inside. To make up for it, they are a little more expensive. But then, our cat is worth this extra money, isn’t it?

Let us analyse what “people” did for the cat in order to make it possible for cat-mom to just take the bag and thus make her beloved cat happy.

Let us start with the wrapping.

It is made of extremely thin sheeting, as produced, for instance, with the technology provided by Brückner of Siegsdorf. It is quite impressive to see how these kinds of sheeting are pressed into huge machines to become extremely thin – and then how, during the production phase, both the machine and the product become broader and broader. And how much effort and, above all, brains, the quality control and control mechanisms in general require.

To make this sheeting capable of becoming a container for the food, you need several steps for metallically steaming and further layering and treating it. You need enormous and very special engineering competence in order to do this. Subsequently, the sheeting is printed in many colours. That, too, is a special technology. Incidentally, the image processing for the pictures is done with graphics software. But then, gluing or welding the sheeting together so that you get a water-proof bag is the next sensational thing. Like much of the filling process, it often looks rather unbelievable.

Now let us look at the content.

The world of chemistry makes it possible: it makes both humans and animals believe that something precious is inside. The stuff has a surprising consistency, a very special smell and it even retains its shape for a time. Well, this is all science. It also has a surprising best-before date and a setup of many ingredients will guarantee that the cat, regardless of all this, will not immediately become sick but instead look healthy at least from the outside. It is a miracle – also only possible due to enormous scientific efforts.

This is how they do the mixing, brewing and filling at automated animal food stations. In fact, the entire process is computer-controlled, always with the same quality and with no variations. As an input, the containers with the raw material will be brought to the plant. The output is standardized cartons. And still, mostly our German middle classes are parties in charge, because our “hidden champions” have exactly the right know- how. They build the best machines in the world for exactly these kinds of processes.

Marketing and logistics

The entire affair can only be sold if a world-wide marketing machine is activated. You will see the happy cats enjoying this food on the internet, on TV, in colourful magazines. It is a truly fabulous manipulation, a mixture of emotional images and digital marketing. We understand the message – the right brand will make the cat, and consequently the human, happy.

The logistics are not bad, either. Because, naturally, the modern cat mother will buy the heavy sacks with the dry food and the cartons with the many colourful bags online. With a single click. Because only old-fashioned and mostly elderly persons who still drive their cars will carry the heavy sacks home from the “Fressnapf” in their SUVs, the trunk of which will, however, open and close after just a slight foot gesture, seemingly by itself.

Consequently, Amazon will do its job. They drive the products to their delivery centres with their heavy trucks that dutifully pay their polls in one of the best poll systems of the world. And if the customer orders in the evening, then DHL or the like will deliver on the next day and the cat will have her breakfast on time. How easy to live in the world has become…

And basically, it is all for nothing.

In fact, the cat would very much prefer eating cooked heart or lungs from the butcher. But then, a cat life, too, is not perfect, is it? And we all have to subjugate ourselves under the modern world – humans as well as animals.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Now don’t say the bag with the wet cat food is not a complex product…

AutobahnkleeblattOn January, 4th and 5th, 2016, we will host the first 
Active Mobility in Everyday Life 
Barcamp in Unterhaching. The hashtag will be #AktMobCmp. For me, this topic is extremely important, because I believe that, by now, we have definitely reached the stage where motorized individual traffic has turned into a huge meander.

Not only does this kind of mobility cause 1.3 million traffic deaths each year world-wide, along with several times as many more seriously and lightly wounded.

In addition, this lifestyle, along with (useless?) transport of products and an excessive air travel, probably contributes hugely to the emissions that cause the rise in temperature and thus the climate catastrophe. Which means that they are a massive threat to at least human life on this planet.

In other words: it causes huge environmental damage and also generates no end of noise. Especially in the cities, the car avalanches permanently travelling the streets minimize the quality of life considerably. But the car is also detrimental to the physical and psychological well-being of the driver. It makes you dependent, obese and lazy, at the same time generating social isolation and a foul mood.
Consequently, I am now writing down a few personal theses on the topic of “motorized individualized traffic”.

“I no longer have enough time to go by car.“

This statement surprises many people. Yet it is true. I can easily prove it. And being an elderly person, time is my most precious commodity.

“Most people do not really need their cars.“

Your dependency on your car is just an imagined one. If you analyse critically, there are only very few cases. And even in those cases, a change in habits and situation that would make the car obsolete would be beneficial for the person concerned.

“How is anybody who cannot even manage his or her own mobility supposed to manage his or her entire life?“

A similar sentence might be: “How is anybody supposed to get a grip on their life if they cannot even manage to get a grip on their TV-watching habits”. In our society, the danger of living a second-hand life is too great. You easily miss real life. That is also what happens to drivers of a car.

“Cars will make you immobile and unfree!“

This is the sensational experience of all those who do not use a car. You will feel more independent and free, as well as a lot more mobile than before. Because cars fail to make us mobile, just as cigarettes do not make us free. As soon as you do without a car, your mobility and freedom will increase considerably and you will gain time for what is truly important in life.

“Driving a car is a threat to your character.“

Sitting behind the wheel of a car gives you the feeling of omnipotence. With the least bit of strength, you overcome physically almost insurmountable obstacles and distances in the shortest possible time and quite easily. At the same time, you get lazy and comfortable, the social isolation and the permanent (conscious and unconscious) effort without the physical balance often also makes you aggressive.

“Driving a car is detrimental for your health.“

A burnout, for instance, usually happens for various reasons. Taken together, they also cause some sort of special depression. A strong feeling of dissatisfaction in your private or work-life might be a reason. Everyday life lived in the wrong way, inappropriate life rituals and much more can be another reason. One of those inappropriate life rituals that promote dissatisfaction is driving a car. I can easily imagine that your foul mood as you are stuck in the traffic jam, as well as being incarcerated inside the tin box, will increase your frustration with everyday life.

“Your new car is not the joy you should be looking for.“

I know many people whose biggest joy is looking forward to getting a new car. You look forward to owning a new luxury gadget and status symbol. And as soon as you own it, as always with such commodities, you will slide into the next depression – because now you have nothing left to look forward to.

I think I could find many more theses like the ones stated above. But for the time being, I will abstain.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday July 6th, 2015

My “Destina”

🙂 From the South-Sea Island of Runit to Munich Rosenheimer Straße.

„Runit Dome 001“ von US Defense Special Weapons Agency

”Runit Dome 001“ by US Defense Special Weapons Agency

In the SZ weekend edition (July, 4th and 5th, 2015), I found two articles that horrified me. And I posted them as often as possible in Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

The first article appeared in the “knowledge” sector and was titled: “Dome of Death”. It is about what the 67 nuclear bomb tests executed by the USA between 1946 and 1958 on the atolls Eniwetok and Bikini left behind.

The second artikele  is titled “Extensive Human Tragedy” and tells us about a declaration by the Nobel Prize winners they published during a meeting in Lindau, demanding a fierce fight against the climate change (Klimawandel).

In the first report, the extent of the catastrophe happening in the South Sea truly horrifies me. It again brings back to my mind what a huge danger radioactive waste is. And how small-minded and futile the current attempts to find safe disposal zones in Germany are. Again, politics terminated a project that, de facto, is destined to fail.

I can well understand both the people and the counties opposing a disposal zone. After all, it seems to me that contaminating even more regions on this earth is the biggest possible mistake. Because, naturally, there can be no safety in this area.

Here is another note. The aforementioned article also again mentions that plutonium is one of the most poisonous of all radio-active materials and has a half-value period of up to 24,000 years. Well, in times when we are constantly confronted with billions, 24,000 years seem almost negligible, don’t they? Except – it has been only 2,400 years ago that the first human cultures invented writing – and that is one digit less.…

However, the second article made me almost more furious. In all fields of our lives, we trust science. When we eat food, we trust that science guarantees us healthy nutrients. When we fly, we are sure that, thanks to physics, we will not fall down. We get vaccinations and trust in science. When driving cars, we trust our airbags and even when we ride a bike we follow the laws of science.

But whenever said science provides us with matching results from different disciplines and sources, we do nothing if we do not like those results. My special fury is directed to our current government.

Regardless us of being bankrupt ourselves, they stage a “Western Community of Values” that costs hundreds of millions of Euros in Elmau. And all they can show for it in the end is a few “programmatic decisions” – all of which, even a few days after the declarations, turn out to have been nothing but lip-service.

Germany’s government actually celebrates itself for being the teacher and guardian of public virtue for all Europe and does not even hesitate to come up with slogans such as:  “If the Euro dies, Europe will die”. Incidentally, this is a statement that, like many others from the same source, will not survive dialectical questioning.

For the Greeks, she has a program even the IWF finds totally counterproductive, demanding that they must reduce the retirement money they pay but that they cannot under any circumstances reduce their military budget.

And much more of the same.

Except that she is not doing her homework, for instance by introducing a general speed limit in Germany. She does not put a stop to the gigantic subsidies of company cars. Putting taxation on plane kerosene, too, is something she cannot even allow herself to think about.

And she bathes in self-praise, looking on as infra-structure and education in this country go south. How profits are privatized and losses are socialized and thus how the rich get ever richer while the number of the poor increases along with their dwindling property. To make up for it, she is number one in Europe when it comes to indoctrination and coming up with stupid dogmata.

That is when I occasionally start asking myself if my “destina” might not be to fight all this stupidity and counter-productivity. But that would mean I have to stop doing what I am currently doing, namely linking and mentoring persons and supporting start-ups. And I have not yet quite reached that stage.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Tonight will be the first time in many years that I will again be part of a demonstration. I will sit on my bike and ride it for a fair distribution of space on the Munich Rosenheimer Strasse: Radel-Demo Rosenheimer!

P.S.1
I took the picture “Runit Dome 001“ by US Defense Special Weapons Agency from Wikipedia:– http://sonicbomb.com/albums/album61/runit.jpg. It is licenced under “common property” through Wikimedia Commons –

Roland Dürre
Sunday May 24th, 2015

The Mumbai MonoRail.

11348857_10206989802848252_348583267_o

In the street facing the Dodha complex – which is the skyscraper I am currently living in – a lot of concrete is being used for building the MonoRail tracks. Over the narrow street, a two-lane concrete line is snaking its way through many very different houses. Eventually, it is supposed to prepare the way for the Mumbai monorail train through the city.

The only other project of this kind is the “Fly Over”, probably the most important higher-level street in Mumbai, part of which also detours onto the ocean, thus connecting the city districts and their skyscrapers. As I already wrote, you can categorize the skyscrapers into three classes: “already finished”, “still under construction” and “not finished, but no longer under construction”. In fact, I am sure you could find quite a few other exciting categories, as well.

Somewhere in Mumbai, the MonoRail is already active, connecting it to a not-yet finished future city. It has almost become a tourist attraction. However, one cannot really call it a tourist attraction in the same league as the magnetic levitation train to Shanghai Airport.

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To me, the MonoRail looks like a prestige object of Mombai. In terms of public transportation, I doubt that it will be all that beneficial. But then, a MonoRail is definitely something special and therefore a good means to improve the reputation of Mumbai as a modern city. Besides, the project will also mean that some very rich will become even richer. In India, a few always means a few more. And whenever a huge project will increase private prosperity, then it is definitely justified.

A short time ago, a new government was installed. It is leaning towards right-populist. Instead of dealing with apparent problems, the first thing it did was forbid the consumption of beef, making it punishable most severely. And before the elections, they promised to install air-conditioning in all those many old Metro trains with open doors and windows. Because AC is always something people are in favour of. This intent is probably something totally impossible to put into practice.

In another district, they want to introduce an identity card for every cow. In order to guarantee that the cow has a happy life. Regardless of the fact that India is one of the world’s biggest – if not the biggest – beef exporting nation. However, it seems more like these measures are meant to oppose Muslims, who allegedly are the powers behind the Indian beef industry.

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To me, it also seems the women are still treated rather strangely in India. They do not seem to be met at eye-level, there is always the insinuation that they are second-class persons. Sexuality is rather absent from public life, so it seems that the society is a rather prudish one.

And apparently, this causes friction, at least among the male population. In order to avoid escalation, you get separated compartments for women in the often over-crowded metro. Just like there are compartments that may only be used by disabled persons or cancer patients. These are easy to recognize by the symbol for cancer, which is a big circle with a huge crab in the middle and the handicapped symbol we, too, are familiar with.

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We, however, being Westerners, mostly go places by car (a white Toyota six-seater) and consequently spend (too) much time on the streets of Mumbai. Somehow or other, there is no alternative. Even if we go only short distances, it takes quite long, because of the traffic jams. The ever-present AC makes it bearable.

Our driver works for a company that is a sub-company of a sub-company of a very big company. They also drive for Western companies. Formerly, these enterprises had their own cars and employed drivers. But that was expensive – although objectively it was very cheap. And then they started saving money and outsourcing.

Now, the combination driver/car is supplied as a full service by huge enterprises, using various providers. Some provide the cars, others the drivers and again others the service. The drivers get less money, the customers are less happy, but the enterprises make a mint. Basically, all services seem to be provided by huge service enterprises.

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Foreign companies in India mostly produce things that probably nobody will need any more in the near future, for instance turbines for steam engines. They are for coal-fired power stations. In fact, they mostly do not produce the high-end products. After all, who wants a steam turbine from India for his nuclear power station?

As early as May, the temperature is higher than 40 degrees Celsius, even in the office buildings where the engineers work and where the quality management and similar things take place. You have propellers on the ceilings, but no air conditioning. Because electricity is expensive in India. So it is no surprise that the customers are not always satisfied with how the projects are finished.

The representatives of the state are all friendly and eager to help, which is true for most of the people I met in this country. Allegedly, however, corruption has gigantic dimensions: they say that, without small or larger contributions, nothing goes.

Some families are incredibly rich. The truly rich persons can afford everything; the high import tax on luxury articles does not make the slightest difference. In some underground car parks, you will find a collection of the newest cars with the logos we know quite well, next to some vintage cars that look like they were new. The rich live in fenced communities. In the underground car parks of these areas, you will see entire brigades of people giving their luxury state coaches a new polish after each outing. I have not often seen so much car tin polished to high-gloss and shining chrome as during my few days in India.

More and more people get poorer and poorer. They live on streets that, to my perception, seem even dirtier than they used to be. People live in circumstances that almost defy description. As soon as, two weeks from now, the monsoon will arrive, their homes will regularly be under water.

Live is considerably better in the mostly self-administered slums. But it is not at all easy to get access. Especially if you have absolutely nothing.

At the crossroads and noisy streets, beggars are aplenty. Among them are women and children, elderly persons and handicapped persons. Some women carry a toddler or small child in their wraparound garment while begging. Strangely enough, those children always seem to doze. I never saw any of them cry or sob. Someone told me the babies get medication in order to make them peaceful when the beggaring is under way.

All of Mumbai has a funny odour. You could say it smells. Leaving the plane is not the only moment when you realize that this is so. It seems like the rubbish and dirt increases every year. And Mumbai is a noisy city.

On the 29th floor of the skyscraper, the smell of the city is a little less obvious, but, regardless of the so-called “sound proof window”, this is not true for the noise. On the cars, it often says “horn me” – and that is how it sounds, too.

In between all the common noise, both in the day and at night, you will occasionally get the shrill trumpets of the railway and the loud humming of the helicopters. They drive and fly both by day and night. The noise of the trains comes from below, that of the helicopters from all sides as they fly over or between the skyscrapers. And from above, the noise of regular air traffic will add to the ruckus. All of these contribute to, again and again, robbing me of my sleep in the hot Mumbai.

Some developments I seem to remember from home. Well, not quite as strongly as here. But at home, we also have notices for building contracts concerning public transport where providing the vehicles and the drivers are separate affairs. Especially as a biker, I notice that the plastic waste along our streets constantly gets more. Just like I discover more and more prestigious projects and a tendency towards gigantism by our administration. I also know laws that make no sense and politicians who are incompetent in Germany. And the fact that society drifts apart is not something unknown, either.

It seems like we are learning from the Indian example. But then, as I see it, this sort of “progress” and “growth”, which I am not at all in favour of, seems to happen all over the world: in India and Cuba, China and the USA, Italy and Portugal… And also in Germany.

Luckily, we at home have not yet reached the dimensions I witness in Mumbai. Yet the tendency seems to be the same. The question is: will we manage to turn around? In India, I see no hope that it might still happen.

When I last visited India late in 2013, one Euro still changed into more than 80 Rupies. Currently, I get 70. I ask myself how many Rupies I would still get for my Euro late in 2016? Perhaps only 60? However, since my last visit, life in India has not become any cheaper.

This makes me thoughtful. Perhaps the Indian society is actually the pattern after which the future will form itself –in our country, too?

And yet!

So far, our days in Mumbai were very nice. To be sure, we had a privileged life. I was annoyed to witness the circumstances as I related them. Because noise, smell, sitting in the car during traffic jams and similar things are not at all the world I feel comfortable with.

Yet it was a good time with very happy days. It was nice to share and experience so much with Barbara, my son and his family. And I was lucky enough to see many “Shiny Eyes” in the faces of many simple and certainly in those of poor people on the streets. That is also something to make me happy.

It is probably both the sad and nice thing about being human that we can stand and endure so much. And absurdly enough, we find it easier to be happy when we have less. And when we have to suffer a little. As soon as we are too well off, the shiny eyes disappear in expensive pubs and bars. And near the swimming pool, more often than not, the only shining eyes you sometimes see are among the children.

Consequently, you get happy eyes more often in Mumbai than on the streets of Munich. Basically, this is incredible. But then, I got the same impression during my bike tour through the west of Cuba a few months ago.

RMD

P.S.
I learned the term “Shiny Eyes“ from Nadja. With her work, Nadja wands to contribute towards “more shiny eyes”. As I see it, this is a wonderful idea.

The wrappings look nicer and nicer, yet the content gets weaker and weaker“

Airbus_A380-841 -LufthansaYesterday, I flew LH from Munich to Mumbai. Regardless of the GermanWings crash of Barcelona, the fear I felt was limited. The direct connection was uneventful – perhaps the landing was a little more robust than usual. Other than that, everything was as always.
But: one riddle has been solved for me.

I am not a frequent flyer, nor do I care very much about entertainment on board. As a general rule, what I have on my screen while dozing is the “flight info”. That is an image where the position of the flight and data such as flight altitude, outside temperature, speed and more is (used to be) displayed.

And consequently, I never understood why, among the passengers on board the Barcelona crash flight, there was no panic or uproar. Because if I imagine myself looking at a flight altitude of 1,000 metres on my flight info screen – and that directly before the Pyrenees – then I can easily imagine myself being bathed in cold sweat.

As of yesterday, I know that the new entertainment system of LH no longer makes such a thing possible. And that probably the crash flight already had the new system on board. Just like yesterday my flight from Munich to Mumbai had it.

The new system will provide the user with only very little information. You have a menu with four items to choose from: the display of connecting flights, two cameras you can watch and something called SmartFly whatever.

The screen for connecting flights had a notice that you will be able to see information on connections shortly before the end of the flight. As to the cameras: one of them probably was tilted downwards and the other towards the front. Neither of them rendered special information yesterday – there were clouds underneath and darkness up front. The fourth (smart) item showed virtual images – beautifully designed with a Lufthansa plane in the middle – about the area we were flying over with occasional names of cities. However, there were only three items of information.

Well, we are talking distance from destination, remaining flight time and current time. No flying speed and altitude. …

I am only writing about this because, to me, this development seems strongly representative for what generally happens in our society. There is less and less transparency, information is kept secret from us, everything is wrapped in cotton wool and delivered… and then we are told this is all in our best interest.

I do not like it. I would like to know what is happening, instead of always only being made a fool of. Even if facts are not pleasant. Just like I do not appreciate constantly being spied upon.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the picture from Wikpedia – but we flew a smaller Airbus.