Roland Dürre
Saturday December 20th, 2008

Dementor Alarm!

Children like their parents to read to them. So, being a father of seven, know many fantastic, beautiful stories. There is Lotta (Astrid Lindgren), who can do almost anything, even get a Christmas tree when there is none left in the entire city, the small polar bear (Hans de Beer) who lives at the North Pole and is constantly in trouble, (unintentionally) journeying and winning many friends in the process, and the little witch (Otfried Preußler) and many, many more.

Now my children are grown up. They read their own books. Only Maresa still loves to read her. Now that she is twelve, Harry Potter is on the agenda. So these days, I read a few pages of Harry Potter to her twice or three times a week. I read a few pages, then continue after skipping dozens of pages, because the pages in between have been read without me. So, I shall never know the entire story, but it is enough to make me appreciate the world of fantasy created by Joanne K. Rawling. And I discover breathtaking similarities with our real (?) world. When I last read to my daughter, the dementors made a huge impression on me.

Here is the definition by wikipedia.

Dementors are wraith-like creatures in the Harry Pooter novelsnovels who can suck the happiness and soul out of a person, make them feel like they will never be happy again, feed on peoples’ happy emotions, and force them to recall the most horrible memories they have had in their lives.

The name dementor probably derives from “dementia” (madness).

When reading to my daughter, my perception of the dementors is as follows: their very closeness makes the room go cold, deprives you of courage, makes you feel hopeless and absolutely powerless. A dementor is the opposite of a good mentor. Rather than experiencing a dementor, you “feel” it (But that is an addition to the official definition not worth entering into wikipedia :-). Anyway I would also have a problem citing sources).

Unfortunately, in my everyday life, I detect more and more dementors and dementorism, both in my environment and in our entire society.

Impersonal systems, global developments that cannot be understood, incomprehensible laws, senseless rules and absurd processes, an inhuman bureaucracy, and much more take away our courage and strength. Unproductive but powerful departments of big enterprises have taken control. Attitudes that cannot be texplained develop from a strange mixture of fear, mistrust and the compulsion to conserve an advantage that is often just imagined. And in the end there are only losers.

Systematic rules override personal promises, yesterday’s agreements are forgotten, trust and reliability dwindle. We try to guarantee moral and ethical behaviour by “compliance” regulations using formalism and processes but achieving the opposite. Lies prevail and insincere behaviour alone makes survival possible. Corruption is replaced by pressure, blackmail gets to be a favoured way to achieve one’s goals.

Individually, we suffer from non-individualized leadership and behaviour that apparently runs contrary to rational thinking. The prevailing disorientation makes us fearful, panic generates conflicting and inadequate attempts at problem solving. And often we are liable to become agents of the system ourselves and act against our innermost conviction. Excess reigns, even when it comes to the use of our intellectual resources.

I therefore have a wish for the New Year: may InterFace like my own personal environment and that of my friends be spared such dementory in 2009. And here are two Christmas aimed at my readers: if you know a dementor or find dementorism anywhere, write a comment to us. Wouldn’t it be nice if the IF blog brought a sort of “gallery of dementorism” into being where we could occasionally de-mask a dementor, thereby taking away his power. And here comes another wish: if this (or any other) of our articles appeals to you, why don’t you recommend it (along with the IF blog)?

Many, many thanks!


(translated by Evelyn Gemkow)

1 Kommentar zu “Dementor Alarm!”

  1. Edwin Ederle (Sunday December 21st, 2008)

    Die Idee, Dementoren zu ächten gefällt mir. Ich fürchte, es wird unterschätzt, wieviel Schaden durch unmenschliches Verhalten erzeugt wird!

    Ein Beispiel ist ein großer deutscher Automobilkonzern, wo wir für eine Abteilung (laut deren Aussage) sehr gute Arbeit (in time, im budget) abgeliefert haben. Nachher versucht die Einkaufsabteilung über Monate hinweg, den Preis zu drücken und die Zahlung aus formalen Gründen zu verzögern. Viele Formblätter wandern hin und her … bis dahin, dass sich meine Kontakte in der Fachabteilung für das Verhalten Ihres Arbeitgebers (den sie als “Saftladen” bezeichnen) entschuldigen.

    Was für eine Verschwendung von Resourcen und was für eine Zerstörung von “Moral”!

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