I was invited to speak for the “Kollegstufe” Ethics course at Ottobrunn Grammar School late last Thursday morning. Our idea was: “Business Meets School”. The initiative had come from Frau Plank, who is an extremely dedicated teacher at Ottobrunn Grammar school and constantly tries to do the best for her students. For instance, she also helps when it comes to organizing events and external presentations on career and university choice.

So I had the pleasure to speak in front of the “Kollegstufe” students of the Ethics course at Ottobrunn Grammar School about

Community – Humans – Society.

For me, it was a special occasion, because this was the first time I adhered rigorously to my presentation method “OpenSpeech”.  Following the title, I divided my presentation into three parts

Part 1: From communities to social systems

Goal: Making the audience understand social systems by using the example of the socio-economical system “enterprise”. We had no problem coming up with terms like family, groups, teams, enterprises, communes, clubs, federations, churches, countries and the world as potential social systems.

Looking for characteristics of a society, we found the following attributes to attach to them: social, economical, cultural, goal-oriented, and historical. It did not take us long to realize that communication plays a central role. But we also agreed that social systems develop their own set of values and culture.

Part 2: What exactly are humans? What exactly defines the relationship between a human being and the community?

Goal: Discover the role of the complex human being in all kinds of social systems.

Here, too, we came up with valuable insights in no time: the human as a product of evolution, a social creature determined by values, full of expectations, with multi-dimensional interests and various needs. (VEIN). It is all very diverse and complex. And emotions, along with our sexual drive are not much of a help, either.

We also discussed socialization and cultivation of humans at great length, finding out about the importance of morals and virtues in the process.

We found out that there are primary virtues (civil courage, constructive disobedience) and secondary virtues (obedience, honesty, reliability, punctuality). And that the so-called secondary virtues – no matter how important – may well also have a detrimental effect when not combined with living the primary virtues actively.

And we saw that all humans have certain needs in social systems:

Security, freedom, trust, openness, reliability, safety and many more. And that we humans are social creatures who like living in a community and need a personal “other”. Yet we also agreed that it is difficult to balance individual and collective demands.

Our discussion was about common values as a requirement for our own, ethically responsible value system.

Part 3: Society

Goal: I had planned to shed some light on the social interactions of humans and social communities together with the students.

Unfortunately, there was not enough time for this part of my program. I had prepared to talk about:

  • Our shift in mobility (from the mobile society to the i-mobile society).
  • The permanent change in society.
  • Consumer society, knowledge society, join-in society…
  • The role of the internet, Web 2.0, blogs, twitter, social media,…
  • New WEB 2.0 topics, such as “crowd sourcing”.
  • “Mass Intelligence” and wisdom of crowds in social systems.
  • The social basis of a new (improved) democracy

I truly regretted that we could not finish what I had planned. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it immensely. Unless I am mistaken, the audience also enjoyed it. I would therefore like to thank you, dear students very much, indeed! You were an excellent group to work with and stayed with me all the way. And, of course, I would like to thank Frau Plank very much for her invitation

(Translated by EG)

The pictures were also taken by Frau Plank. Many thanks!

3 Kommentare zu “Presentation on May, 20th at The Ottobrunn Grammar School on “Community- Humans – Society””

  1. Elisabeth Plank (Monday May 24th, 2010)

    Lieber Herr Dürre,

    so war nicht nur der Vortrag interessant, sondern auch die prompte Entstehung eines Eintrags mit dem Vortrag + Bilder. Sehr spannend und für die Schüler sicher auch höchst informativ.

    Vielen Dank für Ihr Engagement!
    Es grüßt

  2. Chris Wood (Wednesday May 26th, 2010)

    I found this posting very irritating. I did not like it, partly because there was nothing I could really criticise. After much thought, I decided to react spontaneously. I decided to accept Roland’s criticism of my exaggerated rationality and to criticise emotionally.
    I dislike this “Open Speech” concept and suspect that it resulted from lack of preparation. Probably some of the audience were disappointed that they did not learn anything despite having a live successful entrepreneur standing there by the blackboard. But the majority probably were happy to churn out their wishy-washy ideas picked up at school, and be told that the group had “found” these ideas. Of course it is wonderful to discover the meaning (meanings?) of “Moral und Tugend”.
    Getting slightly more serious, how on earth were these virtues divided into primary and secondary, and what does this division mean? It hardly fits with “better” and “worse”, nor with “earlier” and “later”. Consider also the damage to be caused by civil courage and/or disobedience in the absence of honesty.
    These victims, all meekly agreeing to the need for independence remind me of the scene in “Life of Brian” where one man in a crowd insists that he is not an individual.

    When I moved near to Ottobrunn, one of the motivations was that the “grammar school” had a good reputation. Despite their immigration background, my daughters went there, along with Roland’s children. (That is how I got to know him). Ottobrunn of all such small German town then had the highest proportion of graduates in the population. (Starnberg has most millionaires). Does anyone know of any dramatic successes produced by this school? My daughters are still working towards it. I do not regard Hr. Thalhammer as an example, although W. Churchill started as a liberal.

    There is a trend towards direct democracy, mainly in the form of political reaction to opinion polls, and to popular media campaigns that are expected to influence coming voting. There are also occasional plebiscites. Angie Merkel seems to have recognised the danger of this. She is leading her regime to improve education. This may help to get moderately rational decisions when she is no longer in power. In particular she recognises that the early years are what really matter. (Guido wants to put money into university education, although now anybody with a good start in life can educate herself to degree standard using internet. He has his discriminatory clientele). We are lucky to have Angie, after the crook Helmut. Her background as a scientist, daughter of a clergyman, growing up under communism, puts her in a different category from other career politicians. She is so respected by the Americans, that when she prohibited selling short, they believed she must know something they do not. Of course it really makes no sense. A great deal of business is effectively selling short. When Siemens sells a power station, it cannot be taken from the shelf. This is just a promise to deliver it at the agreed price at a future date, (i.e. selling short). What is needed is a system to prevent too many “silly” risks, when setting the price. Those selling must be setting prices at their own risk. Either their money or their careers and reputation must be sufficiently at risk.
    Modern government is based on “checks and balances”. More political control of banks (etc.) is needed, just as TUV controls cars, and there are controls on food. As in other cases, this control should be financed by those being controlled. So she is right to call for a tax on these banking activities, even though it will require world wide coordination, and nobody yet knows how the controls should work.

    I should really produce this stuff as a posting, to spread my pearls to a wider herd. But writing German would waste even more of my time than this English. I am convinced that those searching for wisdom will diligently read my comments, and the others would have even more trouble working out what I am on about.

  3. rd (Wednesday May 26th, 2010)

    Hi Chris,

    um ein OpenSpeech zu halten, musst Du extrem gut vorbereitet sein.

    Und ich glaube weiter an die Intelligenz der Masse, an”crowd sourcing”, an Schwarmintelligenz und so auch an direkte Basisdemokratie.

    So geht auch die Macht der Regierungen zu Ende und die Kraft von “zivilen Bewegungen” nimmt zu.

    And please don’t call Mrs. Merkel Angie!

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