About 24 hours ago: The day’s end nearing – I mean the end of the working day in the strict sense. Looking at the “official part”, it had been actually a short day only: about 6 hours meeting of attac’s scientific council, working on this very simple question:
How to change the world.
Measuring the length of the working day in this way, I disregard the correction and commenting on students’ papers before going to the venue – they are understandably anxious, facing the submission date coming up soon. Looking at the other mails received the morning and quickly answering what is necessary. And looking at the working time, I do not include the time after the meeting – the same old story: mails … – one only that really deserves special mention, congratulating me to my new job as postman, and asking
But where is the social?
Surely such a simple question in some way, and I like the proposal that is entailed in the question
Did anyone ever make a study comparing personal contacts over a week in 2012 to 1982?
It reminds me at the fact that Goethe supposedly wrote letters …, to his neighbour next door – imagine: writing letters to somebody who lives next door rather than walking the few steps there: writing, every single word thought through, thoroughly considered …, and possibly changed. And the latter meant at the time: beginning afresh – paper does ot have the simple delete option ….
After all these things that emplyed me during the day I go for a short walk, the monument of the previous day – the one in front of the German Parliament needs to be complemented. Sure, it would be most apporpriate, here in Frankfurt, to go to the Paulskirche; instead I go to a meeting I have later at the Willy–Brandt–Platz, not least as I am actually somewhat obsessed by the search for the new music I mentioned, still resisting the idea of being an iron postman.
Instead of standing in front of the famous church, I face the monumental building of the ECB, the big Euro-logo did not fade away by the recent developments, though it is accompanied by another …, well, not a logo but a camp, dwarfing if seen against the height of the ECB-high raiser, even more dwarfing in the suggested light of the reflecting glass of the two other towers with the logo of the Commerzbank. Probably one of them belonged earlier to the Dresdener Bank, the two of the large cartel of the small group of major banks in Germany merged since sometime already, moving even more to a superpower. Themselves also ‘bailed out’ at one stage, all the members of this cartel are now bailing out, like vampires sucking the blood out of what is called PIGS: Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain (“oink oink” said the little pig that had not been named here, dressed himself in green and tried to hide). – Of course, vampires are not pigs, they are …. vampires. And the force of a Vampire’s Kiss may be alluring at first sight, unveiling the deadly smell only after its dazing force.
Recently I saw a photo, capturing three manager-like lads, dressed in their pinstripe suit, though walking in a somewhat military style. Somebody, posting this photo, asked: “What do they think? Can they still sleep at night? How do they explain their job when they come home to their kids in the evening? How do they think and speak about the fact that they are responsible for literally destroying the existence humans?”
For me, slowly crossing the camp, talking to some of the indignados, listening to the music gushing out of one of the tents, another question is germinating: what do these people think: those coming pinstripe-suited out of the office buildings of Frankfurt’s City, walking across the path that is cutting through the camp? Do they actually feel like humans. And doesn’t feeling like a human mean – under these conditions – to feel like a machine? Being trapped in the self–braided spider web. To paraphrase Ernst Bloch we can point on the fact that capitalism makes sick – and it makes even the capitalists sick (and surely some horded enough money to tur sickness inyto suicide)
In a nutshell all the topics we had been discussing earlier during the day’s meeting: Greece, the role of the banks, the danger of a war zone developing, spanning from Afghanistan to the states of the north of Africa – not a war by way of a regional or local conflict, but a possible new epic centre of a world conflict. … And most importantly the fact that we are not at all dealing with nation states and corporate actors in the strict sense. As much as they are that, they are even more roles, function within a system, or as Marx states in the first volume of Capital (in chapter 10, section 5)
looking at things as a whole, all this does not, indeed, depend on the good or ill will of the individual capitalist
This does not at all allow exculpation, it does in no way suggest the rejection of the urgent need for individuals to accept personal responsibility. However, it is very much a reason to try getting things right, seeing them in their complex relationships.
There is a general theme, underlying and accompanying all other issued we had been discussing during the short-ish 6 hour meeting earlier the day: The new division of the world, seemingly one between national and regional power blocks, striving for and defending their role of being a centre or being close to the centre, one of the centre-peripheries rather than peripheral-peripheries – I elaborated on the different layers of centre-periphery when revisiting globalisation [see Globalisation revisited; Society and Economy; Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 32(2010)/2: 255-275, also Globalization Revisited; in: Andreosso, Bernadette/Herrmann, Peter (eds.): The Transformation of Asia in a Global Changing Environment; New York: Nova Science, in print]. And it is actually a new division of the world in terms of determining an entirely new mode of production – redefining and reshuffling it’s elementary segments and timespace (by the way, something that is also mentioned especially in Paul’s contributions in the book “All the Same – All Beging new“).
My thoughts return to the e–mails, to students’ work – I know I am reasonably demanding, at least trying to challenge their thinking, going beyond description, taking an analytical perspective without neglecting the need to give answers – acknowledging the need for immediate change. Fernand Braudel comes to my mind, the interweaving of the three different perspectives of and on history. And the need to act – if we want to start from here or not, we surely do not have a choice. Sure
Men make their own history
Having stated this, Marx continued in his Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte from 1851/52
but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.
The magic sound, the social not disappearing: drums from the occupy–camp, the chime of a tram … – after a moment silence, accompanied by people chatting with each other, the sound of the flute …, a magic flute, melodising about being captured and capturing, being occupied and occupying ….
… a seemingly never ending play – and of course, we still know from the last post – and from Schiller’s letters that it
is play which makes man complete
Train – flight – another train. More magic sounds: languages coming to me which I know, though even the English, German, French …., they sound odd, alien at times, when emerging as individual ‘cases’ within an environment to which they actually are alien. They may even sound alien to me if I am at a very particular moment not “thinking in them”. And languages which I do not understand – though sounding so familiar – queuing in the middle of a group of tourists, speaking the very same dialect as I know it from my stay in Taipei: I have to stop myself listening to what I cannot understand and turning around to one of them, speaking what I cannot speak.
Finally, St Patricks Day …, I turn the key, open the office door: I returned to the place called home – home as I can walk without a ticket, without the suitcase … . When I left for the recent journey, a little bit more than a week ago, Seamus, the taxi driver, asked me how I would like Ireland – all the travelling and then living here?
At least more relaxed he, isn’t it? Easy going, just taking life easy?
I nod, affirmatively
And I am thinking that this beautiful Ireland often makes me feeling so far away from anything like home with it irremovable stubbornness of acceptance of the loss of the postman, even chasing him away, while aiming being major participant in the rat race, aiming on taking part in a centre which, long ago, lost any right to claim being paradise. Paradise is lost, indeed.
Still, it is not the loss of the social – it is testing the resilience – re-silencing the different elements of this complex system of society of which Niklas Luhman once said that it is impossible, at least extremely unlikely to happen. But the turn we are facing, is a re-turn. A matter of finding a new balance, new ways of appropriating the environment and ourselves in it. Making sense and making thing “owned by us”, developing power: control-abilities. And with all this finding out who much we really need to control others to control ourselves. And, on the other hand, how much we can control ourselves to emerge as a new social power: new way of dealing with the huge potentials, the abilities which can so easily be developed further, multiplied if they are not used as matter of countering abilities. Surely also a matter of fostering …. – well, as small success, reading the mail of student
my brain usually doesn’t go so deep!!!
Good to see that I made it doing so – and hopefully it is not the last time – in any case: it is just the social …, here it is.