Violence Potential

The book (editor Sabrow 2023) and the exhibition “Gewalt gegen Weimar. Zerreißproben der frühen Republik 1918-1923” need a broad European audience. The violence, which in the medium term destroyed the newly founded democracy of the Weimar Republic in Germany, is linked to the immediate aftermath of the 1st world war. The relatively calm abolition of monarchy in Germany did in no way prevent the eruption of violence within the new democracy. Extreme forces prepared in organized ways (Organisation Consul) and some in open public discourses the potential for the use of violence. Armaments left over from war equipped the Freikorps Movements and the potential to use the weapons was present at all times in the aftermath of WW1 in Germany. The contributions to the volume provide a detailed account of these 5 crucial years when democracy was able to defend itself against all odds. The strategies to take control of the country were built on a violent rhetoric which prepared the ground to put violent talk into action later on. This spiral of violence is hard to de-escalate once started. However, democracies have to foster ways to calm the spirits in periods of high potential violence. Elections as well as the campaigns before are the arms of democratic change. They should be used as such to pave the way to compromise.

Exhibition at Topography of terror Berlin 2024-6

Composing Assisted

Before the existence of digital composition tools composers were assisted by “Kopisten”. These persons rewrote the original draft of a composition into a “proper” version of the original document. Musicology has a tough time to deal with deviations from the original. It needs to be clarified which is the final and authorized version. In some instances this is far from evident. Just as an example Robert Schumann made ample use of the assistance of Kopist Otto Hermann Klausnitz (cf Nr 6), sometimes for the preparation of the composition, the finalized versions or the explicit drafting of different voices. Klausnitz himself was a flautist in Leipzig (Gewandhausorchester) and a conductor in Duesseldorf. Overall the debate is still going on, whether the composer’s draft or in many instances the Kopist’s version of the composition (authorized or not) prevails. In the age of AI, which is highly influential in modern music, such questions will most likely be intrinsic to the process of composition as well. AI is influential in evening out rough edges. Anette Mueller (2010) has done a great job to make this work of “Kopisten” much more transparent and her concluding chapter is programmatically entitled “Komponist und Kopist- Aspekte einer produktiven Kooperation”. (Image Mueller, A 2010 p. 340).

Betting vice

Betting is considered a vice. The industry has moved from the local bookmakers to the internet and is spread across countries and continents. Some legal advisers have classified betting as the fastest growing vice industry and it is about time to launch a wake up call for more oversight of what is going on in the sector. As betting like gambling seems to be working in conjunction with other addictions the potential of cumulative risks is quite high. Our brains tend to wire things together which frequently occur jointly. It is difficult to disentangle these co-occurrences later again. The major angle of attack is prevention. Health journals start warnings of the detrimental effects persons and observe that the industry follows similar strategies as the tobacco industry to address as many people as possible. And this is very successful and profitable for them. Hence, prevention strategies should also follow what has been applied to smoking like the ban from restaurants and bars as well as the restrictions on advertising. We will have to accept that betting and gambling should not be as easily accessible as it is currently. Age restrictions have to be applied stringently. I bet this will take quite a long time until Europe and elsewhere the regulations will change. Some of the young get interested in even more stimulating activities like exploring arts (image below class at Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin 2024-6) rather than betting on who is going to win the Euro 2024 football matches.

Smoke Gamble

Smoking is like a gamble. Your input is your health and money. This is not including those who might rely on you or family relationships that might suffer one way or another. The other link has gambling at its source and smoking goes along with the continuous risk taking or the belief to be able to master the risks involved with both forms of potential addictions. Research has accumulated evidence that in fact both smoking and gambling occur frequently in combination with each other. Taking risks against the odds of suffering losses, maybe only in the medium or longer run perspectives like for health seems acceptable for those people. Society has put rather high taxes on both activities to discourage people and invests in prevention of addictions. However, it does not have substantial effects on people as smoking remains around the same level and gambling (poker online) or betting on sports (Euro 2024) are rising rapidly. Vaping and internet gaming have broadened the spectrum of addictive behaviors mostly for younger persons and young adults. The risks are manifold and increasing in their addictive potential since the smartphone is always in some pocket just like the smoking device. The behavioral turn in the social sciences has been well understood by the industries as well. The stakes for human development are high in this endeavor to offer young people equal opportunities at entry into adulthood.

Cannabis Alcohol

The use of cannabis and/or alcohol is yet another question where we are used to ask questions in the form of: either the or the other? Over generations we have gotten used to no longer ask for each do you or don’t you. With the controlled liberalization or legalization of cannabis in some Western European states the framing of the question is more like you do the one or the other, particularly for many younger persons.
Decriminalization of both drugs in small quantities is apparently reducing crimes link to drug use and drug dealing. On the other hand, the thresholds for doing drugs are lower than they used to be. In inner cities it is therefore no longer a surprise to find both kinds of drugs with addictive potential next to each other (see image below). We know that it is a slippery road from regular drug use to uncontrolled dependency and personal disaster. For cannabis a study published in the Lancet (Petrilli et al. 2022) added the importance of the potency of tetrahydrocannabinol to the estimate of risks. This is similar to the studies that differentiate the level of alcohol in drinks consumed. The higher the concentration, the higher the risks. A simple proportional relationship prevails in both drugs. The cumulative effects of consuming both together might have quite surprising non-linear effects.
The big issue is the risks of mental health related to these drugs. However, the causal direction is not easy to detect. Drugs induce mental health problems, but also mental health issues lead to drug abuse. This remains quite a puzzle for scientists to disentangle.
Additionally, the link to smoking and addiction to nicotine is a frequently observed corollary. Studying just one single source of health problems and addiction might be too restrictive to learn about the whole set of causal effects and casualties. For the time being we seem to jump from one field of attention to the next one ignoring the multiple interrelated factors at hand.

Smoking Vaping

Both smoking and vaping are big business. Nicotine is well known for its addictive capacity. Once started, it is very hard to give it up again. For many decades we devote considerable efforts and costs to encourage people to give up on smoking or, better, not to start smoking in the first place. The young are particularly vulnerable as damages persist for a longer time. Progress has been made to reduce passive smoking of children and people in restaurants, at work and public spaces. The relatively recent trend of vaping instead of smoking is considered less harmful, but scientific long-term evaluations, whether these effects are lasting for several years, are still missing.
A repeated cross-section study in England (Tattan-Birch et al. 2024) has revealed that the declining trend of nicotine use has already been reversed among youth due to the rise in vaping. Vaping seems to move from the fashionable niche product to the popular mainstream among youth. The addicts are only cost-sensitive on the margin. The relative prices of smoking and vaping might play a role to put people on different health trajectories. The question is not between either smoking or vaping, but for some it is both, although it should be none of both. The question of smoking yes/no is likely to be framed as either vaping/or smoking.  The re-framing of the question shows the harmful potential in the longer run. We shall have a hard time to convince people and particularly youth not to be tempted by either/or but to focus on their long-term health trajectory and potential. (Image: Extrait from Arnold Böcklin, Self-portrait with death playing the violine 1872, Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin)

Gas light

Even if it sounds crazy from today‘s perspective gas lights once were the symbol of progress. In the middle of the 19th century gas lights started to lighten and brighten the boulevards of major cities in Europe. The historic evolution of the various designs can still be followed in Berlin in the open space museum of gas light in the Tiergarten area near Zoologischer Garten. These gas lights were brighter than candles or petroleum lights and needed less maintenance. The CO2 footprint was no concern at that time and also safety concerns have been tolerated. Mechanical maintenance was relatively easy and sufficiently qualified personnel still abundant. All this has changed and the lamp posts powered by gas are mostly a part of industrial history now. The image below shows a fine example from Amsterdam. The solid construction shows nice ornaments on steel. The rounded shape remained quite unique.
Unfortunately, the accessibility of the museum has contributed to the loss of many nice examples of gas light designs. Many were destroyed during the football world cup in Berlin in 2006. Let’s hope the Tiergarten survives the Euro2024 better than the previous huge football events and Love parades. Serious precautions have been taken with quite solid fences to protect the inner city wild life.

Berlin Gas Light Museum

Aussensicht Innensicht

Die Sicht vom Skulpturengarten der Neuen Nationalgalerie auf die laufende Ausstellung „Zerreissprobe…“ erlaubt einen tiefen historischen Einblick in die 1980er Jahre. Die Sammlung von Postern des Künstlers Klaus Staeck zeigen die bewegenden Themen der achtziger Jahre. Frauenrechte, Umweltschutz, Sicherheit sowie Medienwirtschaft. 40 Jahre später beschäftigen uns weiterhin, Lösungen für die plakatierten Themen zu finden. Images können Themen so zuspitzen, dass Anklagen daraus werden. Texte sind im Vergleich zu der Eindrücklichkeit der Bilder ein vergleichsweise stumpfes Schwert. Es ist aber gerade die Verbindung von Bild und Text, die Eindrücke verstärkt. „Meme“ Creators sind ein standard tool das die Kommerzialisierung und die Promotion weiter befördert haben. Kunstformen hatten diesen Trend bereits vorweggenommen.

Democracy Enemies

Discussions in the social sciences about the fate of democracy have a long tradition. With the results of participation rates in elections for the European Parliament in 2024 weeks need to take up the challenge again. The book by Bryn Rosenfeld “The Autocratic Middle Class …” stated already in 2020 that autocratic regimes tend tp buy off democratic intentions through providing lots of jobs in the public sector which promise stable living standards and pensions to regime conformity. If the public sector crowds out private sector jobs this creates a tendency to lock in the current political system of autocracy. The analysis, however, lacks the explanation of the micro level sociological mechanism that made the “color revolutions” plausible in many parts of the world. Even the recent success of a government change in Poland in favor of pro European Donald Tusk would have been impossible if the buying of the middle class through public sector jobs is the overriding mechanism to avoid democracy to win the upper hand. Withholding funds to make public sector expansion more difficult or risky in for the longer term stability of an autocratic regime might do the trick. Autocrats have many enemies not only externally. The enemies from inside the society have multiple options for opposition as well. The other perspective that there are many enemies of democracy to be found within the public sector is another known challenge to democracy. Low turnout in Elections is a warning signal that we have to take very seriously and continue to act upon. (Image: Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin 2024 Extreme tension, explation on Ewa Partum)

Broken Promises

In a library catalogue, the entry of « broken promises «  returns more than 3000 times that the title has been used. « Promises kept » is almost as popular. A rapid inspection of titles reveals that the former titles suggest more factual analyses, whereas the latter is frequently used in the form of an imperative in combination with “should be kept”. The book by Fritz Bartel “The Triumph of Boken Promises …” (2022) demonstrates the importance of the concept of broken promises in the social sciences. The rivalry between socialism, capitalism and the rise of neoliberalism is strongly influenced by the way they handle the breaking of promises made to their respective societies. The promises of increasing wealth and wellbeing have been part of all political regimes. To keep these promises is a completely different story. Especially since the first and second oil crises and many other kinds of crises, it has become much harder to keep these promises. Working hours, retirement ages or minimum wages are all at risk to no longer live up to the promises made in earlier periods. This has put welfare states under pressure that millions of voters perceive politics as a “game” of broken promises. Socialist political regimes like Russia are ready to use physical violence to shut up people that remind leaders of these broken promises. In democracies the ballot box is often used to sanction governments that do not live up to expectations of previous promises. A lot is about public infrastructure which is failing people. Migration, education, social and labor reforms are on top of the political agenda if it comes down to broken promises. The elections of the European Parliament gave many a chance to express their discontent about various broken promises. Maybe democracy is better in providing forms of letting off steam early and protracted protests rather than the Russian way to suppress any critical analysis, let alone opposition movements. Just like the move from industrial production to services as production models, with AI we are likely to see similar problems and probably also broken promises. The challenge is huge and promises should be made with an eye of what promises could be kept.

Public swimming pool closed for reconstruction 2024

EURO 2024

Before the EURO 2024, (European soccer championship) has even started, the host country Germany and the DFB- foundation for culture joined forces for a remarkable exhibition. In the “National Gallery of Contemporary Art” and next to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof a provocative video installation is mounted that uses the imagery of soccer (football) to portray the life and atmosphere associated with soccer. Injuries on the playing field, but even more so injuries caused by violent groups among the spectators create an emotionally charged representation before, during and after the match. The role of the umpire is central in the match and in the cultural project. Shattered dreams are part of the game for players as well as spectators. Visual impressions have contributed enormously to spectacular success of football on television. The masses of viewers has created a big business of television rights and merchandising products as well. The DFB Kulturstiftung undertakes great efforts to open up the discussion about soccer in a critical way through art projects. The entry into the installation resembles the entry of players through a tunnel into the huge stadium. The world of soccer has multiple links to physical and psychic violence. The installation “Winner” signed by Marianna Simnett challenges the media’s largely beautiful videos about the world of football. In the ocean of enthusiasm this exhibition is just a tiny grain of salt, adding spice to life.

Winner by Marianna Simnett 2024 Berlin

European Voters

Elections of the European Parliament are more about a learning and participation experience than about crucial political influence. This seems to be the lesson learned from the relatively low voter turnout in many countries in 2024-6. Belgium reached by far the highest percentage (90%) of participants, but it had federal and regional elections at the same time. Croatian voters could not be bothered with these elections with just 21% of turnout. Many countries hovered around the 50% participation mark like France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Sweden. Germany reached almost 65% which is relatively high, but due to its population size, it sends the most MEPs to Brussels later on. The most surprising result is the extremely low turnout in the former Eastern, Southern Eastern and Baltic states of the European Union. Apparently, the voters in these countries care little about their political option to vote for MEPs. This should worry all other parts of Europe profoundly as we invest billions in infrastructure and social cohesion to keep the European Union an open house for all East and West, South and North. The challenges for the next 5 years are huge. The expectations are high, but the commitment to democratic procedures like voting and decisions through the ballot box are not to be taken for granted throughout Europe. (Image European Parliament 2024-6-11)

Adaptive Expectations

In economics it is important to understand the concept of adaptive expectations. We all form expectations about prices and inflation, but there is more than just simple expectations. These expectations guide our behaviors in many domains. If we expect a drastic price change for goods and/or services we shall most likely modify our behavior in response. We might want to advance a purchase to take advantage of currently lower prices in the expectation of higher costs later on. Most people would follow the price changes on a regular basis and adapt their expectations according to the updated information. It is an important process as there are millions of people who do this and this process drives price levels in many countries. In Europe we would like to see not only inflation, but also expectations about inflation to be around the target level of 2% per year. After the high price rises of energy and food (Putin’s war) as well as the disrupted supply chains (Covid-19 crisis) we were unsure, whether we would have to adapt our expectations for the coming years. The credit crunch in the last few years forced people to adapt spending plans and expenditures. We seem to have overcome these major crises due to rapid adaptive expectations. The crucial mechanism to achieve this is a timely and open communication of changes. Media have a role to play to not only spread the information, but to explain underlying reasons. This contributes to a widespread understanding of basic economic principles that helps countries to navigate stormy weather. It is like players of chess who adapt their strategy after the other player has acted or not according to their expectations. It’s simple, isn‘t it?

Co-authorship Kafka

In science Co-authorship is a tricky issue. Therefore, many higher reputation journals list precisely who has contributed what to the paper. In the teaching and supervision of bachelor, master or doctoral dissertations it is imperative to scrutinize the original contributions of authors to the subject. There are huge differences between universities to the amount of innovation or originality that is required to award degrees or the publication of the research and results. Rüdiger Safranski published with Hanser 2024 an essay on Kafka which has 224 pages, but a 16 page long list of the sources of the copy-paste citations used from the orignal Kafka writings. By scientific co-authorship practice Kafka should claim co-authorship of the book and the costs of the „Process“ should be paid by the publishing house. However, I enjoyed the many links between comments and the originals next to each other. It is like a data analysis that sticks plausibly to the original data. AI still has a hard time to rival with these skills, although AI is catching up faster than many of us might believe or want to believe. From a social science perspective we might say the original work of maybe only 180 pages is inflated to make for a longer text of 240 pages. This justifies, probably, the publisher’s price (€26) and the marketing costs. On the other hand it becomes evident that Kafka has an enormous impact on writers and seems to take possession of them in an encompassing fashion. You move with him, but rarely beyond him. Tough lessons indeed from the publishing world.

Marketing bicycles

The marketing of bicycles has changed considerably over the course of history. Today’s narrative is more about the eco friendly impact of it. Historically the freedom aspect of free movement and emancipation of women was at the forefront. The collection of images in poster formats presented at the DTM in Berlin is impressive. The focus on women on bicycles is quite surprising for this early time around 1900. Few of the companies from the early days have survived until today. Bicycles are still fascinating children and adults today. The experience of a fragile equilibrium, your own strength and weakness in muscle power, cardiac or pulmonary strength is always challenging. It is you who is in control of speed and direction. This should be easy to sell to the masses, and it was and still is. “Bikenomics” is here to stay. Artists had the same impression and created a whole universe of promises for riders of bicycles. The long run health benefits were not even known at the time, but it was unthinkable that humans would spend most hours sitting in offices, cars and on their couches. The biking story needs to be retold to encourage people to take up the emancipating storyline again. Get on your bike again!

DTM Berlin 2024-6

Bikenomics

There is a whole cluster of enterprises associated with bicycles. Selling a bike is only the first we might think of. Repair works are the most tricky part of bikenomics, a bit like bidenomics. In many cities during spring and summer it is even more difficult to get an appointment for bicycle repairs than for a doctor’s appointment, and that can be hard at times. Shortages of skilled technicians are pervasive in this sector. DIY for do it yourself is the best alternative. With the arrival of e-bikes and the digital connectivity the skill set has been enhanced recently as well. Insurance for bikes, lockers, helmets, airbag system or clothing including spectacles are part of the standard safety and security set of bicycle riders nowadays. Many, many job opportunities there and the willingness to pay for bicycles has steadily increased over the last years.

Berlin has just seen its 48th bicycle demonstration in 2024-6 on roads including 2 motorways with several ten thousands of participants. In a star like fashion multiple tracks met at the city center. The final meeting with stands and information was at the Deutsche Technik Museum with refreshments and repairs. The exhibition of cargo bikes and taxi bikes or “rickshaws” was another highlight. We need to rethink our mobility concepts and try to get the sharing to work more comfortably. For different purposes and activities you need a different bike. Ownership of each is no longer adequate as for example with aging alone your preferences for mobility with bikes also changes. Sharing is caring and this is also part of bikenomics.

Cars electrified

It is not only cars, but the whole automotive industry that got somehow electrified. The U.S. have imposed a 100% tax on electric cars produced in China recently. Europe is feeling the heat as well (compare Fressoz in Le Monde 31.5.2024). Production of cars is not a for fun activity. It is firmly embedded in our economic system which believes in profit maximization even at high environmental costs. Therefore, the production of cars follows the logic to build cars that generate the highest profits. Bigger cars yield bigger profits and this has been known for decades. Why should we expect our car producers to deviate from this logic. Investors push hard in this direction as well. Small e-cars generate small profits. This can only be economically valid if large numbers are produced. China’s home market has the market size and air pollution levels that make this a viable strategy also for the lower income people. If not sold in the US or Europe, the home market is able to absorb huge amounts of electrified cars. Downsizing of cars needs to happen particularly in inner cities. The implementation of this is not going to be easy and without resistance.

Portable Grundgesetz

Celebrating democracy in Germany is rare. We take it for granted that democracy persists, as most of us have not experienced it otherwise in Germany. This is grossly mistaken as the opinion polls show repeatedly in recent years. Therefore, it is welcome to find the “Portable Grundgesetz” at the “Demokratiefest” in Berlin and Bonn at the event to celebrate 75 years of democracy in West Germany and 35 years in East Germany.
The century-old tradition to produce miniature books has been revived and the miniature books have been widely distributed at the event. A side effect consists in the eco-friendliness of this version, which saves a lot of paper. It is fun also fun to turn pages rapidly and discover some paragraphs which we would not have read otherwise. “Daumenkino” is the German word for versions that contain many images. Maybe next time, an illustrated and/or animated version of the Grundgesetz could encourage youth to celebrate using the texts, §s and images to discover the fundamentals of our constitution.
325 years ago, Weigel the Elder has illustrated, edited and published such a tiny edition of the Bible. It is currently exposed in the treasure museum at the “Kulturwerk” in the “Stabi Ost” in Berlin. “Back to the Future”, lots of ideas we get by taking archives seriously. By chance inspiration is undervalued. Search algorithms have a hard time to replace this in an effective way so far.

Mangel Armut

Herta Müller hat bereits 2012 in „Das Chinesische Glasauge“ sehr treffend die Funktion von Mangel und Armut in Diktaturen beschrieben. Sowohl der ständige Mangel als auch die Armut dienen als Instrumente der Macht. Sie sind quasi die Fortsetzung von Ideologie zur Beherrschung der Massen. Zusammen bilden sie die Umgebung, den Kontext in dem dort gelebt wird. Die Herrschenden jedoch haben Privilegien, die sie von der Allgemeinheit absetzen. Diese knappe Beschreibung und Einleitung zur Kurzgeschichte haben eine große Portion Allgemeingültigkeit. In Mangel und Armut können kleine Vergünstigungen eine viel größere Wirkung entfachen. Sehnsüchte nach mehr werden nahezu zwingend hervorgebracht. Allein die Aussicht auf ein teilweises Stillen der Erwartungen oder nach mehr entfachen weiteres „höriges“ Verlangen. In Diktaturen werden die Personen, die unaufhörlich auf die Armut und den Mangel hinweisen meist geächtet oder sogar ins Exil gezwungen. Solche Störenfriede sind nicht gern gesehen. Das Russland unter Putin braucht Leute der herrschenden politischen Klasse zujubeln und bereitwillig in den Krieg ziehen oder an der Kriegsmaschinerie mitwirken. Wir sind mehr als eine Dekade weiter, aber diese Zusammenhänge bestehen ebenfalls weiter. Schmuck in der Mangelwirtschaft ist bereits eine Provokation. Das offene Tragen der Provokation kann im schlimmsten Fall das Leben kosten.
(Image: Herta Müller, 2023, Eine Fliege kommt durch einen halbern Wald, Carl Hanser Verlag, “Das Chinesische Glasauge”, S.50-61)

Democracy celebrates

With all the bad experiences of Nazi-Germany and the failure to defend democracy in Germany against its fascist enemies in the 1930s, it was a pleasure to celebrate democracy in Germany together with a huge crowd. 3 days of information and party around the major institutions of democracy Parliament, government, federal governments, constitutional court and all ministries joining in with pavilions in the parks nearby allowed a bottom up feeling of democracy. Visiting the chancellery as well as the parliament in a single day shows the openness of these institutions and the ease of access to our political system. People of all ages and all walks of life strolled around and enjoyed the day. Freedom to voice your opinion was easy and many took their time to do it. Civil society organizations were a natural part of the show. We seem prepared to stand up for our democratic values and principles. This will be tested in all the forthcoming elections.

Freiheit aushalten

Frei von Zwang zu sein, ist eine tolle Erfahrung.
Frei zu sein, das zu tun, was man möchte ist die Fortsetzung des Gedankens.
Eine lange philosophische Tradition (freedom & democracy) lässt sich inetwa so kurz zusammenfassen. Negative Freiheit, also nicht irgendwelchen Zwängen zu unterliegen, frei von Religionszwang oder Zwang zur Arbeit, war über Jahrhunderte das überragende Ziel der Freiheits-, im Sinne von Befreiungsbewegungen.
Wir haben diese “passive” Vorstellung von Freiheit durch eine “aktive”, positive Form von Freiheit ergänzt. Die Freiheit etwas zu tun oder der aktiven Teilhabe an der Gesellschaft ist zu einem weiteren leitenden Gedanken des modernen Freiheitsbegriffs geworden. Entwicklungschancen von Kindern zeigen die Bedeutung der aktiven Gestaltung von Freiheit für die kindliche Entwicklung und die Bedeutung der Teilhabe an Gesellschaft auf. Alleine frei zu sein von Zwang führt noch nicht zu einer altersgerechten Entwicklung von Kindern. Positives Gestalten ist notwendig, damit Kinder ihre Potentiale über die Zeit Die Freiheit des Anderen selbst aushalten zu können, ist eine weitere notwendige Bedingung von Gesellschaft und unserem Freiheitsbegriff. Das fällt zuweilen recht schwer. Die Bienenzucht des einen kann dem Bienenstichallergiker buchstäblich zum Verhängnis werden. Wieviel freie Rede ja, aber Hassrede nein, müssen wir aushalten. Dürfen sich diese Konventionen über die Zeit hinweg verändern? Wenn ja, wie weit? Wir haben viel Gesprächsbedarf, um ständig unserer “kommunikatives Handeln” zu beraten und zu überprüfen.
In Zeiten von Wahlen und Wahlkämpfen ist das Schild “Freiheit aushalten, eine Aufforderung doch öfters mal hinzuhören selbst wenn uns vielfache Aussagen bereits als abwegig erscheinen.
Von “Ausfahrt freihalten” hin zu “Freiheit aushalten”.

Patient Empowerment

The empowerment of patients is a well-established practice in the treatment of diabetes. Measuring your own blood sugar and adjusting your medication to the self-monitored data is common practice. For patients with high blood pressure this patient empowerment is less prevalent. A medical study carried out in Valencia (Spain) by Martínez-Ibáñez et al. (2024) has tested the effects of such a self-monitoring and self-medication experiment.
The results publishes in (JAMA) gave rise to considerable attention in the profession as the empowerment of patients is one way out of the likely increasing shortage of medical professionals in aging societies. Whereas other studies found that total costs to the medical system might increase, the study in Spain provides evidence of the cost-reduction effect of such an empowerment. 24 months after the beginning of the trial. After the establishment of a “medication based on an individualized prearranged plan used in primary care” the self-administering participants achieved a significant decrease in their blood pressure that lasted until the end of the study after 2 years. The drop-outs of the study seem to follow a random pattern.
The conclusion gives support to the potential of patient empowerment in the widespread treatment of higher blood pressure beyond the regular visits of medical doctors. The monitoring of changes in lifestyle add to this to keep the costs of health care under control in aging societies.

Schinkel Winkel

Was wäre Berlin ohne Schinkel. Die Berlinerin sagt sogar, „in jedem Winkel steht ein Schinkel“. Das trifft das historische Berlin schon recht gut. Am Charlottenburger Schloss mit seinem schönen rechteckigen Parkanlagen, ganz nah, steht das sogenannte „Schinkel Palais“, genauer heißt es das Neuer Pavillon. Wenn Könige reisen ließen sie schon mal ganz gerne eine Kopie einer schönen Architektur in ihrem Park anfertigen. Das Vorbild eines italienischen Palazzos war hinreichend eindrucksvoll, um Schinkel mit einem Nachbau zu beauftragen. Viele rechte Winkel ließ der Schinkel mauern. Die verhältnismäßig kleinen Innenräume sind heute mit zeitgenössischen Bildern ausstaffiert. Da darf der Caspar David Friedrich natürlich nicht fehlen. 200 Jahre nach Beginn des Bauens am Schinkel Pavillon lässt sich noch recht gut sozusagen in die Epoche eintauchen. In einem etwas abgelegenen Winkel vom großen Schloss lässt sich somit die Zeitreise architektonisch Fortsetzen und mit weiteren Kunstgegenständen verknüpfen. Es ergibt sich so eine „dichte Beschreibung“ der Berlin prägenden Epoche.

Schinkel Pavillon 2024-5

Jury Competition

We can enjoy a lot of competitions in the field of the arts. In each of these competitions there is a different kind of rationale about how to judge the performances of candidates. The composition and competence of the members of the jury are of particular importance. We all tend to agree on this. However, the basic aim or direction of the competition needs to be defined or even redefined from time to time. Some perceive a competition useless if for example nobody takes notice of the results or the event. A good fight or drama within the jury helps to attract attention to it even if candidates suffer at times. The Belgian Music competition „Concour de la Reine Elisabeth“ has an annual major competition of young musicians competing for the beginning of a career as soloist. All phases of the competition are up for streaming so we all can watch and form our own opinions on the many candidates. It is not just the solo performance which counts but also the team performance with orchestra and the openness to new compositions in the realm of classical music. There is no vote of the public (yet?) like in the widely followed „European song contest“ but public acclaim does not leave a jury unmoved I believe. Tough work for jurors to single out small differences of fairly high standards to even enter the competition. The success of a jury has probably another evaluation criteria which consists in the follow up of candidates 5 or 10 years after the event or the awards. The making or destroying of careers as solo performers might hinge on very small differences on a single day. One competition with several prizes awarded is an encouraging way to promote musicians or other artists.

Concours de la Reine Elisabeth 2024 RTBF

Dietrich Gabin

In French cinema Jean Gabin is a much adored person. Equally, Marlene Dietrich had, probably an even more far reaching international career. Both were accomplished and successful actors long before the 2nd world war broke out. In the U.S both fell in love and had a long lasting romance together. Their war time activities and “engagement” in fighting Nazi-Germany were extraordinary. It meant that both took active roles to use their charisma to mobilize people and soldiers to fight for freedom.
Shortly after the war then, both made a last attempt to work together in a movie production, but it could not unite the couple again. The “Deutsche Kinemathek” displays currently a page from the Diary of the “Diva” to underscore to what extent “Dietrich” was depressed about the break-up of their longer lasting love affair. Some say Gabin was the only person who quit her, all (most?) other relationships were terminated by the Diva. The junctions of biographies are hard to predict. The circumstances of the 2nd world war and internalized civic obligations to fight for freedom and democracy were wholeheartedly shared by both, but eventually they grew apart nevertheless. Tough experiences even for the much adored persons on the forefront of the stages worldwide. There seem to be many instances of repetition of the same story not only in movies, but also in real life.
Image: Deutsche Kinemathek Museum 2024-5