People of poets and thinkers

Das Volk der Dichter und Denker (people of poets and thinkers) — an often used phrase to characterise the Germans. While there is always the thought of the nearness of Richter und Henker (the judges and hangmen), something else employs since some days my mind. Properly understood only when using the German language, the reflection behind it may be worthwhile to be spelled out, not only these days and not only characterising the German way of thinking. It is about news, in German frequently the term Nachrichten being used as synonym.

So, in German language … – we may think of the following

Nach-richten als Richten des Neuen in das Vor-Gedachte.

The English equivalent is about news as adjustment of what is new in line with what had been thought before. Well, in German language it is more like a pun, still the meaning should come across … valid nearly everywhere (as we know from Wittgenstein, anyway).

crocodiles tears

Of course, it is easy to get it wrong – especially as we all tend to look for the confirmation of what we know and think … – so, this blog post surely is in danger of being born out of …, well, let me say hesitation to accept the US role as world gendarme, securing peace and democracy.

Be it as it is, and surely not accepting war as means of conflict resolution (which does nit say anything about the conflict as such):

Up to recently, there had been only very limited security at and around the Russian embassy in Berlin – just 2 cops walking up and down and having a good or not so good day. Since the outbreak of the war against Ukraine this changed, and in the meantime several police guards are standing there and the area is secured by security fences.

It is worthwhile to compare this with the US-embassy, since years the areas has something of a fortress, an entire road blocked by heave iron bulwarks, only cyclists and pedestrians being allowed to pass, permanently observed by quite a number of guards, not only on that street but also in the surrounding and elsewhere.

This marks the situation today, and even historically it says a lot — doesn’t it make the talk of the Traenenpalast (palace of tears) a matter of showing crocodiles tears? (btw. also forgetting those who indeed travelled freely … – “forgotten” parts of history).

moving Globalisation further …

making globalisation more userfriendly for those who work with others ‘across the time line’: establishing a “global time”.

It is like coming from here

and moving towards “unity”

Now, think about

  • unity and entity — and the difference between them
  • the increasing independence of work, as consequence of electric light, climate independent energy (agency climate independent does not mean that climate is not influenced, on the contrary)
  • the indifference towards time shown by a virus travelling around the globe
  • the hurdles the vaccines have to overcome because of borders and differences

He did not even have Blue

Is it fair to say that Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (yes, I mean THAT Rembrandt) had been a great artist? Ever thought to buy one of the paintings ? Most likely not, not easy to get the money you would have to pay.

It is said that he did not have enough money to buy blue pigments – and indeed he did not often use it.

Still, he managed to paint these amazing pieces of art. – What would he do today?

no end …

There is no end to progress I suppose …

Recently, after booking a hotel, I received a mail from the inn in the park, telling me that I would find the bed linen in the room, just next to the safe. I should activate the hoover so that the robot-thing would start with doing some of the cleaning. also it said:

In case you enjoy one of our excellent snacks, please, clean the dishes afterwards — you are not supposed to dry them as we do not change kitchen towels anymore.

Finally, if there is anything you need, please contact the helpline … after pressing several numbers for the different options you will most likely be disconnected, or in the worst case connected to a bot. Unfortunately, training them to be friendly, did not leave much capacities for training them to be usefull.

Well, that still may be the future – at the moment only offering online ceck-in. Still, it may be just one of the many steps towards the ultimate future of customers’ participation.

made to measure – setting the standards

Data tracking, as referred to recently, is one point; the apparent impossibility to avoid, due to the lack of knowledge; another point …

Well, let me tell a little story here:The other day I called a company, regarding the delivery of a parcel. Though I said who I am … as one does, making a phomem call (here is …/… speaking), I did not provide any other details, not even saying what I ordered. “I will check it with the warehouse and will send you an email … “- and that is what he did. – Do I have to state the reason for being surprised about receiving a mail without having provided proper informatio that makes identification possible? Is it likely that somebody picks up the my name even if I mentioned it only en passant, not emphasising it, clearly stating it? ???
Anyway, without denying the severity of the tracking issue, there is another point that makes me think:

Didn’t we standardise our own lives already for a long time, making it easy to be cloned? Aren’t we too often behaving like sheep – you may remember Dolly, the sheep. Or put it differently: didn’t we double or even multiply ourselves, following trends, fashions, mainstream thinking … resisting resistance? Aren’t we all little tyrants against ourselves? Sure, there are the inescapabilities – having no money isn’t funny; but that isn’t an excuse for everything.

Fondazione della biblioteca per l’apprendimento profondo – Foundation of a library for deep learning

When I left Rome a couple of years ago I decided to leave my books there, making a donation so that the books and material can be accessed by the public. EURISPES kindly accepted this and took it as opportunity to establish this small collection (so many books I lost over the time due to moving from one place to another and also due to political attacks from the extreme right; not least, university libraries did not accept earlier offers of material which means many EU-(project-) documents from pre-internet times are lost as I could not store them privately) as a foundation for which I propose the name

Fondazione della biblioteca per l’apprendimento profondo – Foundation of a library for deep learning.

Admittedly there is only a small number of those books, I owned during my lifetime, left. Still, I hope that those books left can serve as a foundation stone for an increasing number of books donated by others, offering what educational institutions unfortunately offer less and less: access to books including such books that are not mainstream and not topical in the sense of offering little space for independent thinking behind catchy titles, in other words books that allow studying beyond the usual textbooks. The small and hopefully growing collection contains study material that allows developing independent and critical thinking. Saving space in my own accommodation, socialising the means of production of knowledge and avoiding further damage while moving on had been  important reasons. Furthermore, it had been the experience I made in Rome: the joy of reading in public libraries, being together or at least feeling together with others, experiencing the production of knowledge as a social, collective process. It may sound pathetic, but indeed it would be a great satisfaction for me if I could contribute a wee bit in the creation of such orientation from young scholars (and old peers too, of course).

The library including reading space is located adjunct to the office of EURISPES

  • Istituto di Studi Politici Economici e Sociali, Via Cagliari, 14 – 00198 Roma
  • +39.06.6821.0205 (ra) +39.06.4411.7029

It can be assessed during office hours and I sincerely hope that many people make use of it and also get support and an open space for debate when visiting the library. I haven’t seen the place and do not know if I will ever see it. In any case the satisfaction of knowing about it is great.

I am grateful for support and also for interest.

——-
Peter Herrmann. Prof. Dr. habil.; Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center. Law School at the Central South University, Changsha, PRC

Affil.
IASQ (The Netherlands); CU (Hungary); IPE (Germany); LU-MSU (Russia); MPISoc.Law (Germany); NUI-M (Ireland); UEF (Finland)

Lushan South Road, 410083 Changsha, Hunan, PRC/
湖南省长沙市岳麓区麓山南路中南大学南校区文法楼219

preparing the end of humankind ?

Ratio turns into nonsense, benefit into menace  
Woe unto you, that you are grandchild!  
The right, that is born with us,

Translated from Goethe’s original:

Vernunft wird Unſinn, Wohlthat Plage;  
Weh dir, daß du ein Enkel biſt!  
Vom Rechte, das mit uns geboren iſt  
(Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1790: Faust. Ein Fragment; Leipzig: Goeschen: 32)

Well, this could be written today without changing any substantial issue. Online teaching will remain if not dominant so at least as co-player on the agenda. To discuss respective issues, I attended recently a meeting for lecturers and casual lecturers. One of the issues had been the problematic that students are reluctant to switch on the video. Of course, there are many sides that can be discussed in this context. One point that came up, and been about obliging students to leave the video switched on – confirming the decision would not be recorded for the purpose of publication. However, such a proposal was harshly rejected, the reason being concerns with data protection. 

You may kindly ask them, but not oblige them … doing so, would be a serious issue of breaching the right to privacy.

Indeed, ratio turns into nonsense, benefit into menace. , If we continue thinking this way, we have to be afraid that one day attendance in the class is equally problematic in the light of data protection. Going even further anything, that forces us to show up in the public, can be seen as problematic in the light of data protection, in the light of breaching privacy rights: going shopping, taking a means of public transport, going to coffee or pub, and of course even going to the public administration as for any service becomes seriously problematic. And the service workers ???? — sure, seeing this as a matter of privacy rights and data protection; equally true is, however, another interpretation: we have been fighting to be heard, to have a say in public matters, however, the result of a conservative turn is complete individualism, the loss of any rights that could be considered as social rights. Finally, MargaretThatcher succeeded — there will be no such thing as society. Taking Aristoteles, Marx, Durkheim and the many others who said that humans are social beings, seriously, we are thus preparing the end of human existence.

Too tiny to think about it?

Are the labels on the bio-lemons, organically grown apples etc. made from recyled paper and biologically degrading? Is the glue used to stick them on the fruit edible? If not, what is about the extra water I may need to clean the fruits from this rubbish?

Sure, these are tiny things – but then, seriously, think about the seize of a virus and the harm it can cause