no end …

There is no end to progress I suppose …

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

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

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

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

made to measure – setting the standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am grateful for support and also for interest.

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

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

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

preparing the end of humankind ?

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

Translated from Goethe’s original:

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

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

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

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

Too tiny to think about it?

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

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

better – different – less — what is more?

a tiny riddle – or living with contradictions by ignoring them?

One of the global players, stating “invented for life” under its name and probably claiming inventing for life, commencing business with a

Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering

and subsequently really moving into the area of the various areas that are connected to electricity, promises (= advertises) by suggesting to

become carbon neutral from 2020.

Appreciating the efforts of this and other companies to work towards more “environmentally friendly technologies”, there are so many promises that must evoke suspicion, for example provoking the question how electricity – the production and consumption of it – can be carbon neutral.

At least one ad I see these days is remarkable in this context, really remarkable. It is an ad from a shop, selling groceries — with one simple message:

Buy less

Jesters today

Again this one:

Dear Mr HerrrmannYou received new messages in the postbox of … [name of health insurance]. Do you want to have a look right now? Then click on the following link …With kind regards your [name of health insurance]

Is it appropriate to reply sth. like

(By William Merritt Chase – The Athenaeum: Home – info – pic, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2060164)

Dear [name of health insurance], thank you so much for your kind message which I could read after about 5 mouse-clicks and successfully digging out my insurance number, followed by another mouse-click … – I have to admit that i could have saved the energy (my personal and that of running the computer) as the message does not in any way engage with the message it supposedly answered …
Are you interested in my detailed reply right now? Please, come to my flat, I have written it down and may even help you to decipher my handwriting, assuming that you lost some part of your reading skills over the years – as said, the message you sent suggests something like it.
此致

I am serious, especially today, after having met the last group of my students for examination. Part of the discussion had been the question how it is possible that we are apparently all (forced to) moving around in a system that makes us to something worse than jesters? The jester at court had been asked to be critical and provocative, transporting the critique to the kings and lords, the modern jester is being asked to accept eighteenths fooled and to pass critique on to those below … to those below …

Remedies …

So many letters at the moment, and some including information on legal remedies.

– of course, as even the purchase of a box of matches is a legal act even if undertaken with the purpose of an illegale action, life is really tricky wherever we go, and the same applies if we stay.And there are also letters, websites, mails … they offer the entire range of contact options: chat, FB-site, helplines, and of course the “community”, so often just a collection of earlier asked questions with easier given answers …, leaving visitors as helpless as they had been on arrival. Now, looking at all the customers’ rights I am missing one:

easy contactable real person who is nice/friendly/understanding AND knows what the problems really are

– beyond the information taken from some database.

hitherto – now – and then?

It had been well stated that

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.

but so far “it changes” and philosophers and others are in a touristy mood, moving around and watching enjoyable spots.

I suppose, we lost even the ability to ask the right questions – and have to start from scratch …