Roland Dürre
Tuesday October 22nd, 2019

(Deutsch) Ein Hauptfehler unserer Gesellschaft!?

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Sunday December 16th, 2018

Why is Germany so Far Behind When it Comes to Digitalization?


A short time ago, someone asked me during a presentation about the reasons for our (the German) weakness when it comes to digitalization. After all, haven’t we always been the country of engineers?


On this picture, I do not look like a happy person wearing a uniform. I would have preferred to play with a computer.

Well, I had to do some thinking. After all, there was a time when German enterprises, such as Siemens, were the top of the world in technology and IT.

I try to consider the IT scene as a whole over time. I notice that, for a long time now, innovations have rarely come from the technology laboratories of the mega concerns or huge research institutes.

Instead, innovations are introduced by movements that are mostly initiated by young persons with passion. This is especially true for computer science, i.e. the IT and related technologies.

At Siemens, I myself was part of those who developed what I call industrial informatics in the late 1970ies and in the 1980ies. We developed – in an absolutely engineer-like manner – expensive and heavy mainframe computers with the matching periphery.

At the same time, simple computers for at home were thrown onto the market. For example the Atari (1979) or the Commodore (1982). Both in the USA and here, the children “played” with these or similar computers.

We “industrial computer scientists” also took a close look at these home computers. However, we only considered them toys that need not be taken seriously. We never realized what a fascinating potential these systems had.

As I saw it, for instance, the non-existent technological perfection of these systems was irritating. For example, they used a noisy cheap TV set as a screen (we called it data viewing device). Data were saved with cassette recorders on unreliable audio cassettes. And the input keyboards, too, were nothing that could make you optimistic.

Well, I lived to regret that I had given this new technology so little attention. Consequently, the PC wave and later the success of the technologically so weak Windows with its graphic interface and, above all, with its games such as solitaire, were ignored by me.

I already knew the graphic interface from devices such as the Xerox Star, which Siemens sold as an office computer. To be sure, it was a professional machine, but its cost/benefit analysis was extremely poor. Consequently, only very few German enterprises used it. I only know about Lufthansa in Germany who indulged in this luxury. This is why I did not take this technology seriously, either.

The young generation often only knew the world of the new computers – and they really gave them a boost. That happened in the USA – and you can easily read what happened there. For example if you read the biography of Steve Jobs – a book absolutely worth reading.

Back to our initial question:


Why is Germany so far behind in IT?

I do not think that there is one central reason for this German digital weakness. I am sure there are several reasons.

But I can give you one – probably a little rhetorical – answer:


I believe the compulsory service might have been one determining factor.

In the time that was crucial for IT development, we had around 500,000 young men under weapons. That is a considerable part of the male inhabitants of the country – at the best age. The national army was comprised mostly of people who were removed from normal life for 18, later 15, months. Most of them were young men.

Even today, you will mostly find men among the MINT (mathematics, engineering, natural sciences, technology) professions. In those days, it was even more pronounced. And compulsory service only concerned the young men and thus was detrimental for their development.

IT was – and is – a top-performance discipline. You have to stick to it with passion over several decades and, in the process, you have to suffer and understand a ruthlessly fast development. If you are forced to desist for an entire year, you will be at a considerably disadvantage. You can compare it to a young top soccer player who has to pause in his training for 18 months. I would assume that, normally, this would be the end of his soccer career.

There are a number of good reasons that support my theory.

My personal experience
In the autumn of 1969, I started my first semester of “Computer Science” at TUM. On April, 1st, 1970, they drafted me and I served until September, 30th, 1971. In these 18 months, I learned the meaning of the words “drink” and “chill”. The only positive result was that I learned how to survive such perverse systems.

In the autumn of 1971, I again started with the first semester at TUM. This is how I remained in chill-mode. It took until the spring of 1973 for me to finally get rid of this mode, because the interim-diploma was before me and I was woken up a little roughly. It was stressful and I continued with my “training along with studying” (more at Siemens that at TUM with quick learning from books). And I even managed to pass the interim diploma on my first try.

After my diploma, I had a few years of learning at Siemens and Softlab. It took until 1984 for me to establish my own enterprise. I was considerably older than thirty. If the army had not intervened, it would probably have happened several years earlier …

Experiences at InterFace
In the early InterFace AG years, we had many students on board. Some of the people working for us were even still at high school. They were fascinated by the new technology and wanted to get a first impression of what it was like in practice. They often came with a recommendation (for instance as children of our customers).

These young persons did excellent work and soon became important employees. As soon as they were nearing their final high school exams, they started getting nervous: would they have to serve? For us, this would have been a great loss.
We often helped them when it came to organizing a reason why they could not be drafted and thus could continue to work for us while they studied. Without these young talents, we would never have been able to realize our product CLOU & HIT and many other innovations.

The American founders
Looking at Silicon Valley heroes like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others, we see that none of them was hampered by military or similar compulsory service. Instead, they terminated their studies at university in order to focus on the new technologies and their enterprise.

German founders
If you look at the public cv-s of Hasso Plattner and Dietmar Hopp  (both from SAP), you find that they, too, have not served in the German Army. Of a very creative founder like Peter Schnupp, one of the co-founders of Softlab (born in 1934 and thus exempt from compulsory service), I know it because we are friends.

Start-Up Scene …
For more than ten years, I have now been one of the BayStartup jurors. It is probably Bavaria’s leading enterprise for topics such as business plan contest, financing, business angels,…
Depending on my availability, I evaluate around 100 business plans every year. Consequently, I learn a lot about the current technological trends and, above all, I also meet many young people who want to establish their own firms. And I notice that there is no new topic that does not mainly explain its specialty with the software that was developed for it.

It is thus a good thing that all start-ups have software persons on the team. They proudly tell me that they started programming at the age of ten and changed to sensible and modern computer languages and modern technology by the age of 12 or 14. A forced pause of fifteen or eighteen months would mean a huge drawback for them, if not the “out”.

So here you read a few arguments that might give some credit to my theory.


Now I really hope you know me well enough to realize that I would not declare that such an original theory is actually the truth.

However, I am convinced that the re-armament of the FRG after WW-II and the re-establishment of the weapons industry at least destroyed a unique chance for a great and peaceful Germany. And that the compulsory service and militarization in Germany are the reasons for immense economic and social damage.


The people who were responsible for this development, both today and then, were old white men like Adenauer with their prejudices and cynicism. Driven by fear, he had started as early as 1950 to work towards re-armament with criminally subversive methods and secretly.

If you want to find answers to the question “what exactly happened in those days?“, then you will probably want to read the Wikipedia article on the Bundeswehr and on Wehrpflicht.. They are very interesting.

But now I am happy that the compulsory service has been suspended and hope that this service will never again be re-installed.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The history of the pictures 
On April, 1st, 1070 (after having studied one semester of mathematics and computer science at TUM), I was draftet. Roland Dürre became Private Dürre. Unfortunately, this was not a bad April-Fool’s-Day-Joke. After one night in Lagerlechfeld (where you got the six-week mixed basic training for young people who had successfully graduated from high school) and a few nights in Landsberg, I was sent to Ulm. Because I was considered recalcitrant.

In Ulm, they put me into a training unit that was supposed to turn the recalcitrant recruits of the air force into appropriate security soldiers. Since I was the only one in my unit who had a high-school diploma, they kept me as a teacher, which means I spent five quarters among the other teachers.

Each quarter, I had to lead a unit and I also took tasks like company training. For instance, I explained to recruits who had never finished school how our democracy and our constitution work and tried to make them understand the meaning of legislative, judicative and executive powers. Or else, I taught them how to use their weapon (G3, P1, I forgot the name of the machine gun…).

Here is an anecdote from those times: 
During the basic training (the first three months), the recruits were only allowed to leave the barracks wearing their uniform. That was also true if you went home for the weekend. Well, at least they allowed us to go home every other weekend after the first few weeks in the barracks, but this trip, too, had to be in uniform. Most of us were the opposite of enthusiastic about moving in public in their uniforms and then having to turn up at home in it as well. Even though our parents rather liked it and everybody wanted to take pictures of us wearing our uniform. This is also how the two photos in this article came about.

Some of the recruits were especially cute. They went to the toilet at Ulm Railway Station wearing their uniform – and when they came out again they wore their civil clothes. However, they did not know that the army had positioned spies (in civil clothes). They immediately confronted the disobedient young soldiers and took them back to the barracks. Thus, the weekend trip was cancelled, along with that of the next weekend.

Mostly, the spy duty at the railway station was not something you wanted to do. It was probably a little like having to be one of the shooters in war when the enemy is lined up for execution. During the remaining 15 months, I avoided this duty because of my teaching position.

During my first trip home in my parents’ living room.

P.S.1
Impulse
This article was triggered by the current discussion about § 219b and the attempt at questioning the reform of § 218 (which, given certain stipulations, still allows a punishment-free illegal abortion). I heard from the right side of the “bourgeois centre” that “we would not have needed guest workers if we had not had abortions”. I found this theory so appalling and inspiring that I decided to postulate: “without compulsory service, we would not be digitally retarded in Germany”.

16 Landmarks for Free and Agile Schools.

 

Roland’s first day at school.

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

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

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

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

So why don’t we do something about it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

 

Being open while walking and thinking in springtime.

16 landmarks

 


 

Landmark #1: Individuality in Schools

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

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

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

School management

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

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


 

Landmark #2: Ways of learning at school

Pupils

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

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

Pupils

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

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

Pupils

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

School management

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

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

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


 

Landmark #4 – Activity and Co-operation

Pupils

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

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

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

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

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


 

Landmark #5 – Self Effectiveness

College

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

Pupils
I will ask the bus driver.

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

College
I do not appreciate this kind of manners.

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

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


 

Milestone #6 – Social Competences

Pupils

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

Parents

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

Teachers

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

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


 

Milestone #7 – Knowledge and Competences

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

Parents
It always surprises me to hear his stories.

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

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

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


 

Milestone #8 School as an Environment for Experiences

Teachers

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

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

School Management

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

Teachers
Let us analyse why this project failed.

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

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


Milestone # 9 – School in the Context of the City

Pupils
It is about time that we visit there again.

School Management

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

Pupils

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

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

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

Parents

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

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


Milestone # 10 Fear-Free School

Parents

My son is always unhappy when the school is closed.

School Management

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

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

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

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


Milestone # 11 – Role of the Grown-Ups

School Management

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

Pupils

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

Teachers

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

Pupils
These things have all been self-taught.

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

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


 

Milestone # 12 – Common Reflexion in the Assembly Hall.

Teachers

What can we change to improve matters for next time?

School Management

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

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

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

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


 

Milestone # 13 – School Celebrating

School Management

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

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

School Management

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

Pupils

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

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


Milestone # 14 –  School versus Family

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Milestone # 15 – Diversity at School

School Management

I certainly want to represent diversity.

Parents
Basically, the families come from various milieus.

School Management

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

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

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


 

Milestone # 16 – Great Expectations and Modest Pretences

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

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

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

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

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


Here is the source of my ideas:
CHRISTOPHINE – marbach – free school
Freie Schule Christophine e.V. · Ludwigsburger Straße 24a · 71672 Marbach am Neckar · 07144/305 80 98
info@freie-schule-christophine.de · www.freie-schule-christophine.de
Kreissparkasse Ludwigsburg BLZ 604 500 50 Konto 300 520 11· GLS Gemeinschaftsbank BLZ 430 609 67 Konto 700 5615 700


I published the milestones because I think they are an excellent and rather commonly acceptable inspiration for all those who are interested in school life and yearn for an agile and free school!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Here is a famous joke:


On his way through the universe, planet EARTH meets another planet. The other planet asks the EARTH: “How are you?“ EARTH replies: ”I am not well, I suffer from Homo Sapiens“. The other planet has words of consolation: “Do not worry, this will soon be over”.


In duerre.de, my intentions for this year have been written down as follows:


Presentations & Activities in 2018:

Wake up! The bell rings!

For me personally, the main topic in 2018 is how ruthlessly we destroy our environment and what are the consequences thereof. Besides, I am also concerned about the massive change due to the extremely fast technological progress, also known as “digitalization”.

In particular, I notice the social change in the world of adults. However, it seems that this change does not affect children and adolescents in their situations during day-care, kindergarden and school. We force our children to live a life that is the opposite of what we demand for ourselves.

As I see it, the destruction of our environment is an existential threat. Consequently, I feel rather convinced that humanity will only survive for a few more generations. I do not know if I should consider this a good thing or a bad thing, but I believe that, as long as we still exist, we should at least try to live in peace and happiness. And there is a little hope left in me that, in a digital world, we can limit the massive destruction of our environment a little bit.

So now I try to share my experience and knowledge during my presentations and interactions and to help especially young persons towards a happier and more successful life. Because this might be a small contribution towards a “slightly improved” world.


Let me give a short explanation and justification:


 

  • Grown-ups want self-determination and respnosibility. Children must obey.
  • The time spent at work decreases for adults, it increases for students.
  • Grown-ups want to move around, children have to sit still.
  • Leadership wants to make grown-ups look bigger, school makes children look small.
  • Grown-ups get flexible work hours. Children must be on time and get all-day schools.
  • Grown-ups want to be motivated intrinsically , children are motivated extrinsically.
  • Grown-ups want to share their experiences and learn together, children are trained and must learn by heart.
  • Grown-ups want to find self-fulfillment at work and joy. Children have to learn things that nobody ever needs and that the grown-ups themselves, too, can no longer master. 
(I will write a separate article on this).
  • Grown-ups live active lives, they strive towards work-life balance. This is unknown in day-care centres, kindergardens and schools.

#andsoon!


Perhaps we would create a more peaceful and less evil world if we treated our children like human beings. Maybe then they would turn into happy adults who can do without consumption and wars. And perhaps they would stop damaging our planet in the self-destructive way in which our generation is currently doing it.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Here is a presentation by Bruno Gantenberg on „unSchooling“. It makes many things clear.

Roland Dürre
Thursday April 5th, 2018

Can We Be Saved?

In 1999, it was played on the IF-Treff: our drama “Can We Be Saved?“. That is why we called it the IT-Treff Satire (1734) – you can read and play it here. The work was created and written down by Norbert Weinberger and yours truly – on our way to India in the overnight plane. And later, we polished in during many hours of fine tuning, before we finally played it in the Munich Schlachthof before an audience of more than 700.

In those days, we, as amateurs, were part of a good tradition from previous years during which the IT-Treff had celebrated through long nights with such famous protagonists as Gerhard Polt and Django Asül. The arena was always full, it was a hot summer. And in 1999, there was a wonderful finish to the legendary IT-Treff at the same location. We decided to stop because it was so beautiful. In my personal experience of many years, it is actually a wise rule to terminate something when it is best.

In those days, I – and I think the great Gerhard Polt thought the same – I still believed that something might be salvageable. Today, I am no longer so sure. Because too many things that I cannot at all understand happen.

A useless war in Syria that nobody can and wishes to stop.

A Germany that, as an heir to the Third Reich, again gets really into the leading role when it comes to producing weapons and the always predictably failure-doomed attempt at solving problems with armies. For me personally, this is extremely bitter, because if there ever was a country that had a good reason to never again have an army, then it is exactly this said Germany. Yet that is not what we did – and thus we missed a historically unique chance.

A language that suggests wars are harmless, because it continuously uses words like information war and economic war.

  • A world-economy that is more and more centred around betting and has long ago liberated itself from the real economy.
  • And as a by-product, we ruin the planet to such a huge extent that it probably no longer makes any difference if more and more people get poorer and poorer while very few get obscenely rich. Because all will be over very soon, anyway.
  • A world where, in the wealthy countries such as the FRG, one ton of car probably is no longer balanced by 100 kilograms of humanity. Regardless of the fact that the people – especially those who drive cars – are far from light-weight.
  • With people in this world for whom it is more important that their cars have space than that they themselves have space.
  • With a principle that systematically puts growth that is impossible over “less is more”.
  • And much more that nobody can understand, yet in some way or other everybody does. …

Mind you, I am basically not a sad or pessimistic person. On the contrary: I enjoy life and have lots of fun. In fact, sometimes I almost have a bad conscience because I am doing so well. Said conscience is then pacified by me writing these stupid articles. Or by me doing things like in the video below. How sad that I get the impression it might all be in vain. And regardless of the fact that, basically, everybody I meet agrees with what I say, the opposite of it is done collectively.

So – thank you for reading it! And perhaps even for watching the video recording. And if you enjoyed the video, here is another, even better one! It is even more worth watching!

Sorry, I just cannot quit!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The theatre play (IT-Treff Satire) was so great that I would like to see it again? Does any of you feel like performing? I would willingly support a re-run. Maybe in a potpourri with several short and quick pieces, as part of a nice party?

Roland Dürre
Wednesday November 1st, 2017

About Authenticity and Identity in a Real and Virtual World.

 

A Tightrope Walk

 

Stone mask from the pre-ceramic New Stone Age around 7,000 before Christ. One of the world’s oldest masks (Musée Bible et Terre Sainte, Paris)

In this article, I formulate ideas I got during my current work on “block-chain technologies” in general and “crypto currencies” like Bitcoin in particular. Actually, my own ideas rather surprised me. Because many things that had not been clear to me before have become clear during the process.

Let me start with terminology: WORLD, REAL and VIRTUAL.

For me the WORLD is all that is around me – humans, social systems, … My dealings with the WORLD are through interactions and transactions. My activities not only touch me, but also instances from WORLD. On the other hand, events from WORLD also concern and touch me.

For me, the REAL world is always what I can see, touch, feel, experience. Or what I can eat. The same is true for the firewood I feed into my oven in order to get a cosy warmth in the room. The warmth from the central heating was also REAL for me. After all, I know its origin, which is either from the outside as long-distance heating or from my basement. Even money was REAL for me – but is that true?

I would say that everything I could picture myself was the REAL world for me. But newspapers were also REAL for me, and the same was true for telephone conversations. Even watching TV was part of the REAL world for me. Is that still the case?

The VIRTUAL world included what was “socially” offered, along with the products of the digital WORLD, the creation of which I myself took part in. There is no need to go as far as a mental concept of “second life“ or similar things. My first VIRTUAL worlds were forums and chat rooms where diverse, often technological, topics were discussed.

Today, social media, such as twitter, facebook and many more, could do that job. Or is all of this also REAL?

Let us now consider the terms AUTHENTICITY and IDENTITY. The first thing I learned here was how careless I (and our entire society) treat the term IDENTITY. I used to believe that the identity of a person is a singular thing. At least as far as the VIRTUAL world is concerned, this is nonsense. Because (so far) you have anonymity in the virtual world.

Anonymity means that 
a person or a group cannot be identified. If you want more or less the same meaning as anonymous, you can also say incognito. You will also find unknown, camouflaged and nameless (Wikipedia 10/2017).

Consequently, a person who wants to hang around in the internet “anonymously” (for instance as a bitcoin owner in the respective money community) needs more than one identity! He will need more or less one for every purpose. There is always only one person behind all these identities. It is one unique and undoubted existence. But none of the identities will lead to it. So there are singular images of the “authentic person” leading to diverse identities, but no way back – i.e. it is impossible to find the person behind the scene through the identity. I find that rather exciting!

For me, authentity is something like an exceptional form of identity, i.e., the unique and true “original identity” that is hidden behind several identities. Incidentally, I cannot find the term AUTHENTITY in Wikipedia, but I can find Authenticity. Since it is so important for the topic I discuss, let me cite it:
Authenticity (from gr. αὐθεντικός authentikós “true“; spätlateinisch authenticus “reliable”) concerns the truthfulness of origins, attributes, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions. (Wikipedia 10/2017).

Consequently, I would say that identities are nothing but anonymous alias instances for one singular authentic instance that I would call authentity. In the VIRTUAL world, they are just masks or Avatars . The owner of the mask/avatar remains anonymous and you cannot find out who he/she is, yet he “automatically” (guaranteed through technology and algorithm) has ownership of everything that belongs to his mask/avatar as part of the “community”.

For a Bitcoin, you would have the following scenario: all bitcoin owners are part of a special community of identities, all of which are anonymous. The surprising thing about it is: it works (or is supposed to work) through “peer2peer” interaction. So you have no central instance!

However, the used (necessary?) technology costs a lot, which means this currency is rather impractical as a means of payment. Which means that bitcoin will only be used for speculation (betting). On the other hand, what is special about that? After all, more than 90 % (99 %?) of all currency business, such as the exchange between EURO (€) and DOLLAR ($) and vice versa, are only made for reasons of speculation. They have nothing to do with the exchange of goods! Maybe normal money is also a VIRTUAL commodity today?

Back to the topic: I used to believe that my IDENTITY is actually my AUTHENTITY. But now I know better. The opposite is true: in the internet, I hide my AUTHENTITY behind various IDENTITIES. And no way must lead from them to my AUTHENTITY.

The AUTHENTITY is as unique as my DNA. It would be a good “key” (as a biometrical data set), since the probability of two identical DNA’s is practically zero (due to the quasi endless quality of DNA-s.).

So far, for instance, I still have to fill in the registration form at all hotels, i.e., I must give my surname, first name, place of birth, nationality, home address and passport number. As an entity, these data make me uniquely identifiable. I testify to their truthfulness by showing my passport and giving my signature. …
🙂 The hotel, too, has an address, although it would probably be more precise (and easier?) to just take the GPS coordinates.

But let us go step by step and start with the REAL world: the first thing I did was look for “truly anonymous identities” in the REAL world.

Here are the examples I found:

  • Numbered account: 
Formerly, and especially in Switzerland, it was possible to open an anonymous bank account. The account only had a number, but the bank did not know who owned the account (and the money deposited on it). Legitimation happened by giving a number (cipher). And everyone who visited the bank branch and had the account number and cipher could (anonymously) draw money from the account. It worked quite well for many decades.
  • Classified advertisements
    Formerly, you could publish classified ads, for instance personal ads, anonymously in daily papers. You had a cipher and said cypher was assigned to a key. With this key, the incoming replies were correlated with the advertisements (through the cipher).
    🙂 I remember how, at school in the 1960ies, we (especially the girls) were warned against marriage frauds that took advantage of this anonymity …
  • Car number plates, telephone numbers … 
If you think of traffic, car number plates come to mind. They, too, used to be anonymous – although there was a central agency (some kind of “man-in-the-middle“) who knew who was hidden behind the number plate. Today, only number plates for cars driven by federal security agencies and similar institutions are anonymous – even the police has no way of getting hold of them. The same used to be true for telephone numbers. Of course, the postal service, as “man-in-the-middle” knew who was hidden behind the telephone number. But if you had a good reason, you were not listed in the telephone book and could basically only be traced by being called.
  • Prepaid and Email 
In the REAL world, you could remain anonymous thanks to prepaid cards. And you could also open an email account without giving any personal information. But is that the definition of the VIRTUAL world? As I see it, there is currently a huge process of change, at least in Germany. These things can be done less and less easily. 
They want the darknet in the VIRTUAL world (?) to make less and less accessible. But that is not something I personally know. I would have to investigate in order to find out more.

So:
Currently, I cannot think of any existing anonymities established through identities in the REAL world. On the contrary: in my perception, ANONYMITY is not desired in the REAL world – and consequently it has been/is being more or less totally abolished by the legislators and the administration.

But then, is not the VIRTUAL world part of the REAL world? And isn’t the VIRTUAL world rather schizophrenic? On the one hand, everyone dreams of “anonymous currencies and communities” and on the other hand they do everything to abolish anonymity!

For instance, the postal service advertises its POSTIDENT-service, which, basically, has one goal: to abolish anonymity in the VIRTUAL world, as well.


Close to the customer – tailor-made identity management!

Here is the individual legitimation check for your customers – now online!
The Deutsche Post offers the tailor made identification concept for your business model. With our online and offline POSTIDENT method for legitimacy control, we identify your customers quickly, securely and without violating the statutes Geldwäschegesetz and Datenschutz (postal advertising).


Isn’t that hot stuff? Note that they use words such as – identity concept and legitimacy control.

But regardless, the service – which is definitely questionable and easy to abuse – is used by many internet providers who want to know who they are really dealing with.

For me, the following questions arise:

Isn’t it paradox if anonymity is completely abolished in the REAL world but can flourish in the VIRTUAL world? Regardless of the fact that the VIRTUAL world is basically part of the REAL world?

What if technological leaders like CHINA abolish anonymity? Would not the consequence be that, through the technology we import from them, we automatically forfeit our anonymity?

What sense does it make if the functionality of the “good old Swiss numbered account” is again realized through anonymous crypto currencies? Do we even want that to happen? Or isn’t it just a question of time before, for instance, the bank secret, too, will soon no longer be socially trendy?

Is it not so that the entire affair is just a special tool for speculation – just like “betting in the internet” becomes more and more popular and is already a massive business as far as turnover and profit are concerned?

As I see it, these issues should be discussed in the context of social ethics. But what do we do? We establish an ethics commission that deals with artificial intelligence and driverless cars. Yet we do not discuss the important question whether or not we should leave certain parts of society anonymous. We make noises about absurd data protection laws and get enthusiastic about it, although we know full well that it will not work in the way it was demanded, and in doing so, we get lost in a network of rules and laws that paralyze us and from which there will probably eventually be no rescue.

Incidentally, the solution to this problem is rather simple in my concept:
As soon as we have a (world-wide) guaranteed rule of law, anonymity is no longer needed. That is also true for an anonymous currency.

If and as long as, however, the rule of law is threatened or non-existent, we are well advised to keep “anonymous areas”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Now I hope what I said is more or less understandable. I would not wish to have confused you with AUTHENTITY and IDENTITY. And as a post scriptum, here is another story:
In my carelessness, it happened that my purse was stolen from me early this spring in Athens when I was riding an underground train. It contained EVERYTHING. Consequently, I also had to apply for a new passport. They asked me if I wanted it with my digital signature. It is free whenever you apply for a new passport, whereas, if you want it later, you need to pay 20 € extra.
Naturally, I asked what advantages this digital signature would have for me. My advisor at the municipality was unable to come up with very much – except a strange professional register the purpose of which remained unclear to me.
So I asked him if the signature would at least be an option for the electronic tax declaration (Elster). When he said no, I declined – perhaps out of defiance – and I believe this decision will not be detrimental.

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…