Sei ganz ruhig

Sei ganz ruhig. So heißt das kurze Gedicht von Angela Krauß und auch die erste Zeile. Es hat mich seit einiger Zeit schon begleitet.
Gerade der Eintrag zum Himalaya und den Besteigenden des Mount Everest hat mir die Zeilen erneut in Erinnerung gebracht. Für einige wenige besteht das Leben immer noch aus Sensationen. Immer höher, immer weiter, immer schneller. Dabei wissen wir, unser Planet hält das nicht aus.
Unsere Einkaufsmeilen suggerieren uns ein Übermaß an verpassten Gelegenheiten, wenn wir jetzt nicht zugreifen. FOMO (fear of missing out) ist allgegenwärtig und ein viel zu erfolgreiches Marketingkonzept, dem sich kaum eine Person entziehen kann. Die Selbsteinschätzung der Zeit, die uns verbleibt bis zum Tod (perceived time till death) oder unseres spezifischen Sterblichkeitsrisikos bezüglich Vermeidbarkeit oder allgemeinem Risiko, beeinflusst „unbewusst“ unser Verhalten. In Vergangenheit verhaftet sein, ist keine Lösung. Das Leben wird vorwärts gelebt, und rückblickend verstanden.
Bei einem gelegentlichen Rückblick wird vielen bewusst, es hat sich viel angesammelt (nicht nur im Keller). Aber mehr, muss es nicht werden, anders schon, besser vielleicht. Als Hommage an Angela Krauß mal ein 7-Zeiler, beeinflusst von der Konferenz im Europäischen Parlament „Beyond Growth“ im Mai 2023. Ruhig werden und ruhig bleiben, sollten wir beständig versuchen.  Klein- statt Großschreibung, flache Hierarchien, Gleichstellung bei Wörtern und Sätzen. Warum noch Satzzeichen? Denk dir deine Welt, wiedewiede wie sie dir gefällt.

bleib ruhig
bleib einfach ruhig
la vie est belle tel quel
hab keine angst was zu verpassen
es bleiben jahre zu verweilen
schau mal umher
da ist viel

Indigo Waves

Indigo“ is an almost mystical colour. Its deep blue nature refers to profoundness and in combination with oceans to a surprisingly still largely unexplored world of biodiversity. Additionally, in association with endlessly forthcoming and retreating waves, indigo reveals its many possible shades. Oceans separate or link continents and it is this feature of Oceans which is explored in the exposition “Indigo Waves and Other Stories” (Gropiusbau). Beyond our all to common focus on the transatlantic relationships, “Indigo Waves” explores the links between the African and Asian continents. Embarking on a new narrative for the Afrasian Sea, i.e. the Indian Ocean, we are taken to new horizons through the continuous challenge to our value systems, comprehension of art, poetry or culture more generally. The exposition, through multiple challenges, succeeds in displacing us into the context of other perspectives. Following Oscar Murillo, imagine to view the water roses from Claude Monet (Les Nymphéas) from below the surface. What do you expect? In Europe? Near a barrier reef in the Indian Ocean? Beauty is often not visible at first sight, yet it is co-determined by the currents that build and potentially destroy it (compare photo from exhibition below). The balance of social ecosystems is easily messed-up just like the beauty of ecosystems in nature. “Indigo Waves and other stories” tells us other versions of the colonial stories most of our history books told us for centuries. It is an eye-opening exposition, but probably not the way we expect. Following a poem towards the end of the exhibition by Tishani Doshi “Do not go out in the storm”, we are drawn into the ambiguity of our existence irrespective of the continent of origin. Jack Beng-Thi preserves a poem from Jean Joseph Rabearivelo in his artistic book creation and installation to bring to light “indigo waves”. “vos yeux clignotent dans l’azur, et je les appelle : étoiles. ” (Translated suggestion: “your eyes blink in the blue sky, and I call them: stars).


The Archer is a recurrent topic in art. We find lots of examples around in Berlin just as in front of the National Gallery. Historical references are manifold, too. The exhibition in the Martin-Gropius-Bau with works by Daniel Boyd adds temporarily 3 paintings. But wait, beyond this shared anthropological phenomenon across continents, this exhibition challenges our western, imperialist perspective on human existence.
Please take of your shoes, at first entry into the museum entry hall. Unsettling for most of us, we are continuously confronted with our narrow perspectives on perceptions. Poetics, philosophies, perceptions and cultures are all to easily classified and devalued.
This exhibition achieves to surpass our traditional western concept and empathy for land, room, light, air and water. Eurocentric narratives still dominate the world of art and art history.  Daniel Boyd manages to unsettle this through his relentless effort to differentiate from this narrow perspective. Aiming for a difficult to accomplish solidarity across resistance movements, he highlights the common injustice “First Nation People” had to go through. These original inhabitants of continents claim their right to own languages, customs and spiritual or spatial perception. It remains a challenge to start to like the notion of opacity (Éduard Glissant) rather than our western aim for transparency, associated with the enlightenment philosophical tradition. The archers in Boyd’s work aim into the, maybe opaque water, maybe clouds, maybe into the twilight. It sometimes seems more like a ritual than a weapon. Family histories find their way into his works based on photographs of grandparents. The images are different from our conventional depictions of First Nation people, just to highlight the limitations of our western photographer’s eye and mind.


Printing is a more than 5 century-old industry. The invention of the printing press is mostly attributed to Johannes Gutenberg from Mainz. However, the Asian precursor of mobile type letter printing of Cai Lun of the Jikji dates back to 1377 in Korea. These early masterpieces of the inventors of print can be inspected at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). The summary term for this technical innovation by historians is the “age of start-ups”. The procedure for Gutenberg to have 2 financing rounds with his “business angel” Johann Fust, who is later claiming even almost the full rights of the printed volumes, resembles the start-up spirit of today as much as that of the 15th century. Not belonging to the Patrician families, it was very difficult to defend your rights in courts of the gilds. The printers also became a very powerful intermediary themselves. They either sold pre-ordered books or had to take the risk of assessing the market for their product. The editors of today do much the same in the trading world of books and rights of authors and translators. Merchandising products of the church and later churches (protestants Luther Bible) had a particular value to both the clergy and its devotees, not to mention the shop keepers in-between as well. Pilgrimage business was another start-up industry still going strong in the 20th and 21st century and popular in all religions. The early prints and typographs applied are fascinating  in themselves, but there is a lot to be learned about the foundation of a new industries that still employs millions of people and is at the origin of learning revolution similar to the one we are living with the digital technologies today. The European languages with respect to printing had a certain competitive advantage, based on 26 letters of the alphabet, far fewer types were needed to print books than the more than a thousand different signs for printing a Korean text. In terms of printing this is cost-reducing and probably you do not need to be able to read yourself to be a printer or it makes proof reading more accessible favouring benefit margins. After all, the age of industrialisation probably had a precursor in the printing industry. The potential of the printing industry was only exploited much later to the full extent. Comparable to “peak oil” we hope to have reached “peak paper” at last as well for the sake of our planet and our own survival.


Architecture is all around us. However, we rarely consider the build environment as “conditioning” feature of our life. Architecture is contributing extensively to our perception of “social space” (Bourdieu). Inner cities, suburbs or spacious residential areas have diverse impacts on our perception of, for example, security, modernity, health or sanitary sensations. The corona-crisis has made it clear to most people that a healthy environment is a very essential part of our perception of comfort. Here the psycho-social perception of living and/or working space enters into the co-creation of housing people. Technology is a big driver of change in housing, urban spaces and rural imagination. In order to avoid corona infections a new culture of working from home for the masses become a health-driven imperative. Payment without contact, home delivery of meals, food, books, medicine have changed the living style of many people. Too little movement for our bodies has caused another silent pandemic of obesity. Enough reasons to rethink architecture from a sociological perspective on it. This probably starts with speaking of architecture as architectures. By this we mean to think of architecture from its social origins, functions, impacts and perceptions. Great historical examples of architects have implicitly or explicitly formulated a social theory of architecture or space as the basis of their “concrete” realisations. The sociology of professions of architects and the many construction-related professions needs empirical foundation beyond the cliché of socialisation as artist versus technician. Still recent forms of participatory democracy as part of urban and rural planning as well as realisations. Participatory individual or community housing are likely to stay with us. People want to get involved in co-creating their living and working space as their social environment. Architecture as social process and specific layer of the network society will be the new mantra. It has always been there, implicitly. Up to us to strengthen the social discourse on architecture.

Wasser im Wald

Wasser im Wald hat viele Funktionen. Historisch erleichterten Wasserstellen an denen sich Wildtiere genüsslich im Morgengrauen laben, die Jagd des erschöpften Monarchen. Einfache Ziele, die jeder Jagende sich zu nutzen machen kann. Kleine Seen dienen aber auch als Wasservorrat beim Löschen von Waldbränden und nicht nur den Badenden im Sommer. Viele kleine Seen in Frankreich leiden an erheblicher Wasserknappheit. Wasserstände, die sonst im Spätsommer erreicht wurden, nach Trockenheit und Verdunstung, sind im Frühjahr 2023 berreits erreicht. Ein Waldbrand könnte kaum mit vor Ort vorhandenen Wasserreserven gelöscht werden. So hängen Feuer und Wasser im Wald recht eng zusammen. Austrocknende Seen vernichten zusätzlich die Biodiversität im Wasser, denn weniger Lebensraum im Wasser hat Konsequenzen. Das heizen mit den Motorrädern im Wald, hab ich selbst gemacht vor vielen Jahren, ist heute eh schon verboten. Aber Verbote und Jugend sind ein eigenes Thema. Wir haben der Jugend die Freiräume geraubt, die wir noch hatten und jetzt beschweren wir uns über die stubenhockenden Jugendlichen mit ihren Computerspielen und Social-Media-Aktivitäten!?! Ein völliges Überdenken des Wassermanagements ist von Nöten. Das sind wir den nachfolgenden Generationen schuldig. Welche Arroganz besitzen wir, dass die Jugendlichen von Heute viel klüger und noch schneller erwachsen sein sollen als wir selbst in diesem Alter. Aus Fehlern lernen wir, aber wir scheinen das Lernen, den späteren Generationen überlassen zu wollen. Leider funktioniert das so nicht, wir müssen schon an unser Verhalten ran und von uns verursachte Schäden selbst reparieren. Das Fegefeuer brennt schon, ob wir es noch rechtzeitig löschen können?   


Sagt die Lehrperson zur Schulklasse: Stellen wir uns alle jetzt mal alle eine Schaukel vor. Wie sieht die Schaukel denn so aus? Was gibt da so drumherum? Könntet Ihr nun bitte versuchen, die Schaukel auf ein Blatt Papier zu malen? Jeder hat seinen Bleistift und einige Buntstifte dabei. Einfach mal versuchen, es gibt keine Noten dafür. Es soll Spaß machen und wer möchte kann sein Bild anschließend den anderen zeigen. Schön, sofort wird es ganz laut in der Klasse und alle legen los. Naja, fast alle, das stille Mädchen aus einer der hinteren Bänke stockt und wirkt unruhig. Sie ist erst seit einigen Monaten in der Klasse und spricht noch nicht wirklich wie die anderen die Ortssprache. Da liegt wohl an der langen Reise, die die nicht mehr ganz so Kleine hinter sich hat. Die meisten Jungen und Mädchen erklären zugleich recht lautstark welche Schaukel sie malen werden. Die vom Garten hinterm Haus, vom Spielplatz nebenan oder sogar die Schaukel unterm Baumhaus im angrenzenden Waldstück. Bei den meisten Kindern steht rasch die Schaukel nicht mehr im Mittelpunkt der Kurzgeschichten, sondern die Freunde oder Kinder mit denen sie gemeinsam schaukeln. Nur unser stilles Mädchen erinnert sich mehr an ihren Reiseweg, bis sie dort in dieser schönen bunten Schule angekommen war. Das waren viele Stationen, von denen sie gar nicht erzählen möchte oder gar ein Bild malen möchte. Die meisten Erinnerungen war so, dass sie diese lieber für sich behalten wollte. Zu weit weg waren sie von den aufgeregten Erzählungen und fantastischen Geschichten der anderen MitschülerInnen. Doch dann hatte sie doch ein Bild vor Augen. Ein Spielplatz in einer großen Stadt, Berlin genannt, ist ihr in Erinnerung geblieben. Als sie diese Schaukel grob, ohne Farbe nur mit Bleistift auf das Blatt skizzierte, keiferte der Banknachbar schon: So sieht doch keine Schaukel aus! Die Neue kann noch nicht mal eine Schaukel malen. Das stille Mädchen blieb weiter still, wusste sie doch genau, dass ihre Schaukel eine Überraschungsschaukel war. In der großen fremden Stadt war ihr diese Schaukel aufgefallen, denn sie war fast so schön, wie die Schaukel an dem starken Ast des Baumes, im Garten ihrer Großeltern. Dadurch verknüpften sich ihre vielschichtigen Erinnerungen zu einem Bild. 

Monitor SDGs7+

The complete monitoring of the SDGs of the UN for global development shows a surprisingly large coverage of topics. The search function is indiscriminate of some contradictions or returns the same entry twice like in sustainable industry. However, the simple check reveals frequent and less frequent entries. Entries  1 = Poverty, 6 = Water and 14 + 15 = Life on  Land and in Water received less attention. The agenda for the coming weeks is set.


Goals SDGs

The Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) date back to 2015 for their enactment. The goal setting is a routine procedure for the UN and its subsidiary international organisations. This makes a lot of sense, because if you do not name the problems, you are unlikely to address them in a systematic fashion. Quantifying the goals is then a much more difficult task and that then already part of the ensuing discussion about idealist, illusive or realist goals. Most diplomatic exchanges focus on this goal setting and scheduled monitoring as well as more comprehensive evaluations of goal achievement. The SDGs comprise another strategic twist. Rather than concentrating on national governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses were encourages to actively participate in the implementation of the goals. After more than 7 years the achievements of intended improvements should become visible. Well, goal setting and monitoring over the last seven years is likely to reveal failure on several of the 17 indicators. Covid-19, disruption of supply chains, wars causing recessions and high inflation are major factors to explain failure. However, knowing the reasons of failure is a substantial part of improving in the next coming years. Returning to cooperation rather than confrontation could do the trick. Even after wars cooperation to organise relief is the only way forward to come closer to achieving the SDGs.
Bold initiatives like the Marshall-Plan for Europe in the 20th century made it possible to rise from the ashes. Countries that have been in ruins at that time, now have important roles as financial contributors to support other regions. The goals remain the same, the challenges as well.


Der vermessene Mensch ist im Kino angelaufen. Die deutsche Kolonialmacht im südlichen Afrika weilte nur kurz, aber überaus grausam. Das ist mit aller Härte im Film von Lars Kraume dargestellt. Zu viele explizite Gewalttaten im Film erlauben nur eine Zulassung ab 14 Jahren. Das sollte ernst genommen werden. Die Kolonialgeschichten der Imperialmächte sind alle mit abscheulichen Verstößen gegen Menschenrechte verlaufen. Da darf nichts beschönigt werden. Der Film bietet daher eine gnadenlose Abrechnung mit den Verbrechen der damaligen Zeit. Und das ist gut so.
Die Wissenschaft und viele der Wissenschaftler haben sich in den Dienst der Machthaber einspannen lassen und nicht nur die Wissenschaft, sondern auch sich selbst verraten. Karriere, gesellschaftliche Stellung und Ansehen winkten den Kollaborateuren. Da wurde viel für die späteren Greueltaten und abscheuliche Praxis der Nationalsozialisten vorgeführt. Wichtig und sehenswert, aber keine leichte Kost mit Safari -Atmosphäre. Die Vermessenheit des Menschen, als seine Selbstüberschätzung gemeint, ist nahezu ein biblisches und religiöses Thema. Das passt in die Fastenzeit und den Ramadan. Dieser ausgesprochen gute Titel bleibt mir jedoch beständig als “Der vergessene Mensch” in Erinnerung. Wir haben lange so getan, als ob wir die Verbrechen mit Vergessenheit abmildern könnten. Verdrängtes kommt jedoch meist mit größerem Bumerangeffekt zurück. Der Mensch und die Angehörigen hinter diesem Mensch, alle Opfer des Verbrechens, werden zu dem vergessenen Mensch. Auch Wissenschaftler vergessen oft den Mensch hinter ihren Theorie und Datengerüsten. Für jede Person, die das Vermessen vergessen hatte, kommt der Bumerang noch heftiger zurück.

On Noise

The 3 authors Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, Cass R. Sunstein have published in 2021 the impressive attempt to sell statistics to non-statisticians. The grip on the topic: “Noise. A Flaw in Human Judgment” is a bit misleading. Even the German translation (“Was unsere Entscheidungen verzerrt”), in my opinion, is grossly misleading. The work deals with judgment, or arriving at a sensible judgment. Decision-making is only the next step with a lot of other intervening processes. The German philosophical term since the enlightenment period has been “Urteilskraft“. We are all more or less familiar with the notion “bias” in judgment. Me, originating from the Moselle, will always be biased in favor of a Riesling compared to other vines. In addition to this naive bias I may apply a more professional judgment on wine. Testing several wines even from the same small area from the Moselle valley and then repeating the tasting I might make a noisy judgment.  “When wine experts at a major US wine competition tasted the same wines twice, they scored only 18% of the wines identically (usually, the very worst ones).” (p. 80). In addition to the previously defined form of “level noise, pattern noise and system noise” (p.77), we have occasion noise, when judgments vary from an overall statistical perspective.
Having received a second dose of a vaccination yesterday and having spent an unpleasant night my judgment for this review might be biased, because of impatience. So in order to reduce bias and variants of noise I shall repeat the review at a later stage. Let’s see what this returns. But for today, the Epilogue “A less noisy world” (p.377) appears rather odd to me. It is probably an illusion to believe that we can create a less noisy world, even with the best of wishes. The authors abstract from any strategic use of noise to influence judgments. The political form of choosing judges for Constitutional Courts in the U.S. needs to be dealt with. Noise in judgments is an important element, but strategic use of bias might be more influential to impact outcomes. Noise, when faced with a judge who has a reputation to be very tough in sentences might be overturned in an appeal court decision. There are plenty of procedural ways to overcome noise in judgments. I agree with the authors that you better know about the noise in judgments than ignore it. Awareness of random errors and noise involved in grading exams and recruitment decisions have determined many excellent “failures” to leave historic contributions to our world. In music, maths or literature some splendid talents probably have been impeeded at earlier stages of their life to make average or normal careers. Some of them left us with fantastic pieces thanks to the noise in judgment of others.
There seems to be an age bias in the tolerance of noise in the acoustic sense. Noise in the statistical sense has left a strong mark on me when I learned about white noise as error or stochastic process.
Image Kahneman, Sibony, Sunstein 2021. p3.


Over the 20th century technology has pushed forward in many fields. As there were huge investments needed the public campaigns to support new technology without much further reflection of potential consequences have pulled many western societies into risky technologies. Except the Club of Rome there were very few to question the naïve beliefs that technological change will make societies rich and potentially even more equal. The recent report “Climate Inequality Report 2023: Unequal Contributions to Climate Change” has debunked both of these claims. More flying across the planet, particularly short city hopping, has allowed few persons to reap the benefits of the jet-set world, but contributed to climate change in excessive quantities. This is a fact when we compare major world regions among each other as well as within each country. It has to be the wealthy countries that have to shoulder the biggest share of the costs. It has to be the wealthy that pay higher contributions for their pollution. Society has to reign in technology more than ever before. Moreover, we still have to get the income and pollution distribution organised in a better way. It is not only an implementation challenge, but the major question of the 21st century to repair the damage largely caused throughout the 20th century.

20th Century

The 20th century has told us many lessons. History does not repeat itself, but it appears that new variants of old themes keep coming back. Slowly passing the century like a movie in decades instead of episodes, we witness socio-emotional tides. The first decade, the 00s intensify the beginning of urban planning and social revolutions. The 10s show the arousal and subsequent extinction of masses of people in trenches. The 20s were described as the Carefree Twenties. In the 30s we observed the rising tides of fascist organisations followed shortly afterwards by the disastrous 40s. After the Shoah and the World War the 50s were fabulous viewed from the U.S. and Western Europe. The 60s propagated sex, drugs and rock n’ roll spreading across continents. The wild 70s became almost inescapable through the continued rise of mass media. The 80s were depicted as the colourful 80s as the 2 previous decades had set the scene for psychedelic colours. The 1990s have been coined as the gay 90s by some. Coming out as a gay person became easier and Western societies more sensitive and open to diversity. The back cover of the recent publication by Aurélien Bellanger “Le vingtième siècle” (The 20th century) speaks of the book as “roman polyphonique virtuose”. I look back on the 20th century as “polyphone” in many respects. It would be an illusion to believe we can only keep the nice sounding harmonies without the tensions or dissonances.

Aphorismen L2

“Man soll öfters dasjenige untersuchen, was von den Menschen meist vergessen wird, wo sie nicht hinsehen und was so sehr als bekannt angenommen wird, dass es keiner Untersuchung mehr wert geachtet wird.“ (Lichtenberg S. 50). Eine eindrückliche Warnung sich nicht nur den großen Wellen und Wogen der Öffentlichkeit oder der Wissenschaften hinzugeben. Wo viele nicht hinschauen oder bewusst wegsehen, da gibt es meist einiges zu ergründen. Die Soziologie der kleinen Dinge, der Alltagsgegenstände bringt faszinierende Erkenntnisse hervor. Nehmen wir nur einmal die Bekleidung beim Kochen. Von der Kittelschürze zum gestylten Outfit für die Kochshow zum Gesellschafts-cooking“ haben sich Kleidungsstücke und Berufe in ihrer Funktionalität gewandelt. Dem Anlass entsprechend wird sich gekleidet. Kochen ist von den Hinterzimmern mancherorts ins Zentrum der Gesellschaft mutiert. Wertschätzung von Handwerk und delikate Zubereitung sollten Rekrutierung erleichtern. Bleibt nur noch die Arbeit drumherum. Einkaufen, Einräumen, Einweichen, Abtrocknen, Aufräumen. Die Arbeit geht uns nicht aus, sie verändert sich nur. Wertschätzung der kleinen Aktivitäten, desjenigen, „was von den Menschen meist vergessen wird, wo sie nicht hinsehen“ kann so aufschlussreich sein. Hinschauen und Verstehen lernen bleibt angesagt. Lichtenberg weiter: „Man frage sich selbst, ob man sich die kleinsten Sachen erklären kann; dieses ist das einzige Mittel, sich ein rechtes System zu formieren, seine Kräfte zu erforschen und seine Lektüre sich nützlich zu machen.“ Aphorismen können ein ganzes Forschungsprogramm auf den Punkt bringen und so die kleinsten Beiträge noch als nützlich erweisen. (Foto: Schreibatelier von George Sand in Nohant).

Narrative economics

Narratives have been with us as long as mankind exists. They just take different forms and content nowadays. Whereby narratives have first spread orally, then much later through written words, images and movies, they are forceful ways of communicating. Robert Shiller wrote a good story about narratives related to the field of economics. Referring to the writing of the polymath David Hume (1742), main proponent with Adam Smith of the Scottish enlightenment, contagion like in pandemics is mentioned for the first time to explain that “the multitude will certainly be seized by the common affection and be governed by it in all their actions”. (Shiller 2019, p. 58). In order to understand narratives going viral Shiller mentions the importance for narratives to be embedded in “narrative constellations”. Holding truth against spreading false narratives might not be enough in itself. Strong, catching narratives seem to bypass or override even truthful information. Additionally, narratives never die, but rather offer opportunities for repetition. On content of economic narratives Shiller exemplifies stock market panic, consumerism, financial stability, automation and AI fears, speculation bubbles, evil business and labour unions. Topics like lazy unemployed persons, too early entry into retirement, too late entry into the labour market for youth, women or migrants, all have endured stigmatising narratives across time and/or across countries. With emotional and powerful economic narratives all around us, trust and authenticity become a very important meta-currency. The instantly printing camera now serves as proof. Beware of the scenery, actors and action chosen. Medieval painter Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667 Leiden-Amsterdam) had chosen the economic narrative of the “women baking pan cakes and the child as beggar”.  Ending up in a museum instead of the White House is probably the opposite of going viral. The same Photo in black and white might have more of a trustworthy documentary character than the suggestive colours.

Economic Narratives

Joseph Stiglitz (2003) provided a detailed description and interpretation of the economic history of the 1990s in his book on the roaring nineties. As a member of the Clinton Administration serving as a Chairman of the Council of economic advisers, he had first hand access to the information, debates about interpretations and conclusions drawn during the period. In the preface (2003, p.XII) he provides some of the lessons this work has provided him. “Today, the challenge is to get the balance right, between the state and the market, between collective action at the local, national, and global levels, and between government and non-governmental action. As economic circumstances change, the balance has to be redrawn. Government needs to take on new activities, and shed old ones. We have entered into an era of globalization in which the countries and peoples of the world are more closely integrated than ever before. But globalization itself means that we have to change that balance: we need more collective action at the international level, and we cannot escape issues of democracy and social justice in the global arena.”  The surprising approach by Stiglitz, as a winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize, to present no data in tables or figures demonstrates the need for telling convincing stories beyond throwing images and shuffled data at your audience. However, this is probably only feasible once you won a quasi-Nobel prize to not lose credibility among economists. Nevertheless, the issue is larger. Stiglitz manages to address the much larger audience of non-economists who construct or constructed their own “collective memory” of the legacy of the nineties as the “global 90s”.
The narrative of the 1990s grossly neglected the value of the biosphere. Asymmetric information (his shared prize winning issue) was and is still used in the market of natural resources to keep polluting the planet and push ahead with careless deforestation. The Exxon case is just one piece in the puzzle of asymmetric information and misinformation. Misguiding economic narratives play a powerful role. Maybe we need to write more about the “roaring failures” of economics and public policies across several decades in the 20th century. (red dots = forests lost on our planet A early 2000s, and there is no planet B)


The social sciences deal with time either as part of social theory and as part of social measurement in the broadest sense. The entry of time in “The encyclopedia of social theory” (Ritzer, 2006, p.837-41) reminds us that since the age of Augustinus, believing that time is a God-given concept, we have evolved with Kant’s notion of the “Ding an sich” that time exists within our experience, but also beyond our experience of it. It is Durkheim who sees time as a social institution and raises the issue of a social construction of the concept(s) of time. In the process of civilisation, Nobert Elias leads us to think of time as an evolving social process which allows us to reach higher levels of civilisations. Despite wars and other backlashes, the basic premise remains an eventual improvement on previous situations (Time 3). The phenomenological method applied by Husserl points at the “inner time consciousness” of persons, which finds its literary expression for example in Proust’s writings.
In addition to time as the object of social theories, we find frequent implicit use of concepts of time as a component of social theories. Life courses, social change, social mobility, social integration, learning, all these concepts are conceived with “time stamps” attached to the them. Their temporality, i.e. location in time and space, durations, sequential orders and interlinkages form huge fields of research. Whole societies have attempted to define when is the “normal”, “right” or “best” time to do something for the individual or the society as a whole. Social desirability is linked to time and space and varies accordingly. The 1960s probably were a decade where the questioning of social desirability was most obvious.
Social measurement of time and the location of social phenomena in time leads us to the empirical field of studying time or the treatment of time as a basic dimension in and of social processes. “The encyclopedia of social measurement” (Kempf-Leonard, 2005) list the sampling of time as a basic entry to the topic. Frequency of sampling, (yearly, quarterly), level of sampling (person, household, region, country), repeated surveys (prospective, retrospective) of same person or rotating samples of persons have their specific strengths and weaknesses. Analytical methods rely on the concepts of the measurement of time. It seems to be a fair observation that (Clarke and Granato, 2005, p.836) the future of time series analysis lies in the linkages to theory. After all, the 2 worlds of theory and empirical measurement are linked through the concept of time, despite the tendency to abstract from it or assuming a large overlap in the concept of time (and space) referred to. Clocks seems to be ticking differently in different places.
Image: Dali Paris. R. & N. Descharnes Salvador Dali Sculptures & Objects. Eccart. Ref. 615, page 238.

Aphorismen L

Lichtenberg hatte den späteren ausufernden Individualismus spekulativ in seinen Aphorismen vorweggenommen. Im ersten Band der Sudelbücher schrieb er bereits: „Je länger man Gesichter beobachtet, desto mehr wird man an den sogenannten nichtsbedeutenden Gesichtern Dinge wahrnehmen, die sie individuell machen.“ (1976, S.25). Unsere Fototechnik und soziale Medien haben eine wahre Revolution durch die Flut der allgegenwärtigen Fotos geschaffen. Was früher der Spiegel war, ist längst der schnelle morgendliche Blick in die Kamera des Handys geworden. Intelligente Spiegel wären also die durch Kamera aufgenommenen und direkt auf einen größeren Bildschirm übertragenen Bilder. Das Hautscannen auf Melanome oder checken von depressiven Phasen könnten eine frühzeitige Erkennung ermöglichen. Sollten wir das wollen? Aus derartigen Hinweisen lässt sich sozial invasiv Gefahren für den Einzelnen, die Einzelne ableiten, aber eben durch Bezug des Einzelfalls auf verallgemeinerungsfähige Vergleichsfotos. Gesichter länger anzusehen, das hat seine sozialen Grenzen. Mit Breughel durften wir das dann. Kindern wird früh erklärt Personen nicht anzustarren, dabei trainieren sie so, was das einzelne Gesicht so singulär macht, die Augen, Ohren, Mund, Zähne, Nase oder Schattierungen. Donatello, gepriesen als der Erfinder der Renaissance, spielte schon mit den Details der Gesichter. Mehr Mut zum längeren Hinsehen sollten wir aufbringen, auch beim Hinsehen auf einfache Charaktere, auf Armut statt Wegsehen. Oft ist David interessanter als Goliath. Die Rahmung des Bronzolino verstärkt geschickt eine zeitgenössische Analogie zum 24.2.2023.

Berlin Wahl 2023

Wähle Wähler, sonst hast du die Wahl verloren. Die wiederholte Wahl geht sicherlich in die deutsche Wahlforschung ein. Murks bei der Durchführung einer Senats- oder Landtagswahl dürfte in etablierten Demokratien nicht in diesem Ausmaß vorkommen. Solche Versuche, demokratische Systeme zu delegitimieren, kennen wir aus demokratiefeindlichen Umgebungen. Die angeordnete Neuwahl hat eine um ca. 150.000 Stimmen geringere Wahlbeteiligung ergeben, bei einer Anzahl von ca. 1.500.000 abgegebenen Zweitstimmen von ca 2.500.000 Wahlberechtigten. Neuwahlen bringen also nicht unbedingt ein faireres Ergebnis im Sinne der Beteiligung an Demokratie mit sich. Im Gegenteil, Frustrationen äußern sich an Wahlurnen in Form von Denkzetteln statt Wahlzetteln. Die Summe der entschieden für Demokratie eintretenden Wählerstimmen, die im Senat vertreten sein werden liegt nur bei 1.170.905 Stimmen. Das ist keine absolute Mehrheit der Wahlberechtigten mehr. Damit sollten die demokratischen Alarmglocken klingeln. Während sich Rot-Grün-Rot im Zentrum behauptet ist der Speckgürtel deutlich schwärzer geworden. Die Neuwahl hat ca 1 von 10 Wählenden abgeschreckt. Sogar die Protestwählenden und ungültigen Stimmen sind rückläufig. Meinungsäußerung über das Parlament wird dadurch weniger repräsentativ und das kann auch gefährlich werden. Interessenvertretung findet dann mehr auf der Straße statt als im Parlament. Partikularinteressen, die Tierschutzpartei hat 36.233 Zweitstimmen gewinnen können, die FDP nicht einmal das doppelte davon, können Parlamente bereichern, in dem sie kleine Gruppenmeinungen ermöglichen. Das fordert die Koalitionsfähigkeit und den Koalitionswillen aller demokratischer Parteien heraus. Allzu knappe Wahlergebnisse von 105 Stimmen, wie zwischen den Grünen und der SPD in Berlin bei den Zweitstimmen schüren kontraproduktive Glaubwürdigkeitsdebatten. Der Gerichtsbeschluss zur Neuwahl 2-2023 ist gültig, verloren hat aber eher die Demokratie als Ganzes, die das Gericht zu schützen glaubte. Vielleicht am Überraschendsten von allem ist, dass die Skandalpresse nicht wirklich von diesem Ereignis profitieren konnte. Die noch Lesenden sind wohl auch von der belehrenden Berichterstattung dazu eher angewidert gewesen. So schreitet das Auseinanderleben der Stadt und der Gesellschaft weiter voran. Solche sozialen Prozesse sind lange bekannt. Sie heißen „Schelling’s process of segregation“. (genauer Gentrification) Eine fortschreitende Entmischung einer städtischen Bevölkerung ist die Konsequenz. Schelling’s Modell ist ein gutes Beispiel. Der Markt alleine, auch mit häufigen Wahlen,  wird die Gesellschaft nicht zusammenbringen oder zusammenhalten. Bund gegen Stadtverwaltung gegen Bezirksverwaltung bringt noch mehr Unzufriedenheit in die Stadt. Es ist Karneval und die Berliner Bären tanzen noch gemeinsam, hoffen wir mal. (Datenquelle: Wahlleiter Berlin)

Flotow Europa

In der späteren Aufführungspraxis des Werks von „Fritz“ von Flotow, wie ihn seine Mutter in MeckPom nannte, sollte es für den in Frankreich ausgebildeten Jugendlichen einige Fallstricke zu überwinden geben. Bereits seine erste Oper „Alessandro Stradella“ hatte mit Produktpiraterie zu kämpfen. Der Übersetzer Gustave Oppelt (1844 Autor zu Stradella genannt BNF), mit Erwähnung auch von Alphonse Royer, hatten die Rechte des Librettos inne (Stempel des Dépôt Légal 1859 Nr 1139). Anlässlich der Erstaufführung in Brüssel am 2-3-1859 au Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie erschien das gedruckte Libretto versehen mit einem Echtheitsstempel. Bereits 1860 gab es dann Anlass, dass Gustave Oppelt mit der Unterstützung von „Frédéric de Flotow“ für seine Übersetzungsrechte kämpfen musste und dazu eine Notiz in der „La revue et gazette musicale de Paris“ veröffentlichen mussten. Autorenrechte waren und sind keine Selbstverständlichkeit. Die Lebensgrundlagen vieler Künstler, besonders der KünstlerInnen, auch heute, bleiben meistens prekär. Flotow war bereits beteiligt an Vereinen, die die Kompensation von AutorInnenrechten vertraten. Die „Dédicace“ an die königliche Hoheit  Madame la grande Duchesse Douairière Alexandrine de Mecklembourg-Schwerin, née princesse de Prusse (Link Stammbaum), versteht sich dabei wohl auch als Dank für die Berufung von Flotow als Intendant an das Theater von Schwerin, gleich neben dem schönen Schloss. Mäzene konnten wohl über Stellenbesetzungen KünstlerInnen ihr künstlerisches Arbeiten weiterhin ermöglichen. Flotow brauchte auch die Unterstützung, die ihn zu seinem Lebensende nach Darmstadt umziehen ließ.


The years spanning from January 1940 to December 1949 are probably the worst to cramp into one decade. However, there are a few historians that use this approach to throw new light on a distant series of historical events in the 40s. The European perspective is dominated by war years and still has to deal with the unimaginable atrocities committed by Nazi-Germany until the end of the Second World War. From a more global historical perspective the war in the pacific also leaves lasting political changes, which are important to understand international politics and affairs of today. After a disastrous beginning with war for the USA for the decade, on the 10-12-1948 the United Nations (Charter Ratification 24-10-1945) General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On the timeline at the end of the 40s we find the founding of NATO (4.4.1949) and (12-8-1949) the Geneva Convention which specifies internationally accepted laws of warfare. The beginning of the Cold War (Yalta and Potsdam Conferences in 1945) with strategies of containment and confrontation (Thomas Tandy Lewis, 2011 p.220), Berlin blockade determined a long-lasting concern for a balance of power across the world. The 40s were a market period of de-colonisation as well. The U.S. enabled struggles for independence to succeed with a sticks and carrots politics towards their wartime allies.  The Marshall Plan for European Recovery is the most prominent example of this period. Ronald Goldberg (2012) includes a chapter on the home front in his summary of the forties in the U.S.A. After the 2nd World War all countries had to re-establish their societies and economies that had suffered due to lack of sometimes even caring for the most basic needs. Important lessons have to be learnt from the 1940s (Dave Renton, 2000 p.144) concerning how Fascists could rise and why, for example Britain, could resist the fascist movement. Anti-fascism in Britain during the 1940s and the importance to stop beginnings of an undemocratic political movement early and with the help of the police are 2 elements of the lessons learnt. Goldberg argues that it is less the Fascist ideology that conquered the minds of people, but the organisation as a political and para-military movement that is the more important threat to democracy.

Affordable Art

The affordable art fair in Brussels 2023 has different rules than other art fairs. First of all, well behaved dogs are allowed to visit. Underdogs might have a problem. The entry fee is an astonishing 20€, only 5€ less than “Brafa”. Inflation hits affordable art apparently more than the prestigious fair, at least at first impression. It remains questionable, whether artists represented as affordable art can actually afford to make a decent living from their art, now and at retirement. Taking into account the cost of rent, material and working time of artist, gallerist and transportation, art is frequently the art of minimalist approaches. The “garbage cycle N18” by Alessandro Gerull presented by WinArts challenges our habits of endless production of garbage by use of recycled material for making art. Not an entirely new idea, but still intriguing at affordable prices. Similarly, from the same gallery the work from Golsa Golchini invites us to “Remember to water the plants” as we might have asked somebody to help us out.
Re-use of material or innovation in photography are present at many places. Discovering new talents at affordable prices is a feasible feature of affordable art around the globe. The thresholds of entry are considerably lower than at Brafa. The surroundings of the old Tour & Taxis Logistics Centre in Brussels are an interesting excursion in modern renovation of old industrial sites as well. Not many skill-shortages in arts, except the more critical and provocative artists probably have still a hard time to find their way into galleries and art fairs. Other cities dare more daring art, be it affordable or not. The concept is a bit like coffee or “art to go”, quite many people walk away with a nice, little parcel in their hands. Even participatory art is represented, a kind of do-it-yourself, or finish it yourself drawing. It is fun to experience and to be part of affordable art of that kind to leave with some positive vibes (Roxehga). Enjoy!

Art Un-Fair

The Brussels Art Fair (Brafa 2023) with its long tradition is certainly a major highlight in the world of art in Brussels. In view of the languages spoken at the fair, mainly French and Dutch, some English with here and there a word in Spanish or German, the international reach is probably still not at the level of before the corona crisis.
The availability of established, internationally recognized art over many centuries on the art market is remarkable. Whereas before the crisis speculators bought art to shield their fortunes from a high inflation and/or politically instable period, nowadays it seems to me, that some art is returning to the market due to the need for liquidity of speculators or risks of confiscation in case of dubious previous acquisitions or ownerships. Renowned galleries, of course, provide impeccable certificates or information on them, a tricky business in itself. Anyway, the tour on the fair is a “parcour” through the history of art, mainly through the Western or European arts across centuries rather than decades. Most persons will find splendid examples according to their preferences of art ranging from paintings, sculpture, prints or other artefacts. Beyond the impressive individual art work, the arrangements and “mise en scene” of art is another learning experience at the fair. Whereas most public museums are happy to make accessible as much as they can of their collections and archives, the private art market has another objective. Effective and convincing presentation of the artefact is likely to “enrich” the value of art work as well as the seller and the dealer. Technology allows great lighting and some otherwise “sombre” artwork becomes a shiny little piece catching eyes, hearts and wallets. For some visitors it works probably the other way round.
For persons overly stimulated by art, I recommend to close the actual or virtual visit with a look at the little bit cheeky artwork presenting Belgian chocolate next to royalty (Gallery Delaive, showing Peter Anton’s “Paradise Variety” next to Andy Warhal’s depiction of a Queen, see below or their Instagram presentation). A sublime moment to repeat the experience at home at moderate prices with your very own box of chocolates. At a price of 10€ each box you can enjoy roughly 2000 of them for the price of the art work. The question is: What is more healthy? Think about mental health as well. Alternative question: Art on a Fair is fair, unfair or fair traide?


The fifties are remembered as the prosperous and booming years in the 20th century, worthy of nostalgy for some. Indeed, after the 2nd world war and its destruction the time of re-construction had come already some way, thanks to the Marshall plan of the late 1940s. Most countries had to turn huge military equipment industries into civil uses. After the Schumann Declaration, the European Coal and Steel Community was a first successful and lasting institution building in Central Europe. A mass production boom of cars, civil aircrafts, radio and the beginning of public television were landmark changes in the relationship of technology and society. The U.S. became a leading force in this evolution pushing for free trade between countries and consumerism. The deprived generations of the war period in the 40s welcomed the “fabulous fifties” (Arleen Kelin, 1978) as a dynamic and prosperous decade, despite dramatic speed to innovate new more deadly weapons. The atomic bombs were tested from superpowers and nuclear energy started to surface. Solar cells and optic fibres were also inventions of the mid-50s. Strange that we had to wait for another 70 years and multiple crises before these resource-efficient technologies achieved popular success. Integrated circuits, micro-chips, the laser, Tupperware, Coke, Lego, Mickey Mouse and global cinema came upon us during the 50s. The Sputnik effect re-opened an arms race as part of the cold war including outer space beyond airplane reach.
Families longed for and indulged in an as normal as possible family life. Unfortunately, this meant for many women, who had worked outside home during wartimes, to return to a role of housekeeping. Rock n Roll and increasing consumption of mass produced products could compensate for some of this deprivation. Higher divorce rates in the 60s and/or lack of own pensions were the dire consequences for many women. Showtime, and showing-off were the mantra of the 50s. Glamour (Magazine) rose to cult status and prepared popular culture and art. Following fashion and awareness of design spread across societies enabled by the easier access to “sewing machines” allowing more home production for the middle-class persons. The “people of plenty” (Andrew Dunar, 2006 p.167-8, referring to David Potter, 1954) were effectively sold a car culture with the automobile as an agent of change.
The atomic era was believed to continue prosperity for more decades (Expo 58 in Brussels) and a delicate, but relatively stable balance of power restricted open wars. “The End of Ideologies” during the fifties (Daniel Bell, 1960) lead to focus on Realpolitik and a race for prosperity, oblivious of the ecological consequences for many decades to come.


In studying the 60s we still come up with a number of remarkable ideas. Not only concerts moved the masses but also new ideas flourished. Many subcultures developed specific forms of protest. To implement new ideas, new forms of protest were applied to advance civil rights, to overcome established routines and to raise awareness for inequalities and injustices. New forms of participatory democracy were tested and some reached public attention and/or approval. Burner (1996, p.162) even goes as far as defining freedom as “continuing exercise in decision-making” which hinges on the taking-in of all voices across society. The coming together of freedom and community constitutes the cross-roads of politics. Besides terrible effects of violent abuses, peaceful forms originated in Gandhi’s peaceful resistance in 1930. Martin Luther King and later Nelson Mandela reached historical milestones through peaceful forms of protest. In 1967 in Oakland, California, the form of “action protest” took place. The basis of protest was civil disobedience going beyond sit-ins as the civil rights movement had applied. “They involved blocking roads and entrances to buildings, peacefully inasmuch as the demonstrators used no force beyond the presence of their own bodies or other obstacles to passage.” (p.163). The new feature was, that protesting persons take the risk of being a victim of violence without a violent response from themselves. The intention is to “convert temporary antagonists into permanent friends”. Through the repercussions in mass media protesting persons can reach larger audiences and touch “uninvolved or possibly sympathetic bystanders” (p.163). Such new forms of participatory democracy, acting in the public arena, are stretching the idea of peaceful protest to its limit, where the freedom of others might be impinged. Participatory democracy, therefore, is a balancing act. Some recent forms of protest, in fact, have their origins in the 1960s or the year 1968 a focal point. They continue to be influential 55 years later in many countries and at all instances where basic freedoms or minority rights are violated or threatened.
Protest has also moved online. Internet sites are not only used for simple communication, but they serve as port of entry to prepare and organise protest. High-jacking of company or political adverts in the public arena can be taken online as well. Challenges to conventional politics and media representation is enacted through webpages like or the latter page comprises a whole network of local activist groups. Brian D. Loader (2003, p.1320) has added activist approaches against particular corporations to the list of online protest forms. Through public shaming of brands these activists attempt to raise awareness of the public for abusive employment practices, cruelty towards animals, environmental disasters or fake information using online channels like social media, email-lists or chatgroups via mobile phone numbers. The funding of protesting persons is another relatively new form which ranges from crowd-funding initiatives through platforms as well as forms of corruptive practices applied by states or corporate interests. Protest against protest is online and offline the next round of activist forms of protest. Democracy, law and the police have to balance out these new forms of protest. Learning about the way democracy functions is a continuous task, some would say a continuous struggle. Evaluations of the short-term or long-term effectiveness of protests yields important insights about the functioning of democracies and autocratic regimes. New forms of protest need new forms of measuring impact as well.