If man plays …

and only then ….

In Schiller’s own words
Therefore, no error will ever be incurred if we seek the ideal of beauty on the same road on which we satisfy our play-impulse. We can immediately understand why the ideal form of a Venus, of a Juno, and of an Apollo, is to be sought not at Rome, but in Greece, if we contrast the Greek population, delighting in the bloodless athletic contests of boxing, racing, and intellectual rivalry at Olympia, with the Roman people gloating over the agony of a gladiator. Now the reason pronounces that the beautiful must not only be life and form, but a living form, that is, beauty, inasmuch as it dictates to man the twofold law of absolute formality and absolute reality. Reason also utters the decision that man shall only play with beauty, and he shall only play with beauty.
For, to speak out once for all, man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays.
 … of course, Schiller, in Letter XV of his collection upon the Æsthetic Education of Man does not fully explain or exemplify what play means. Nor does he tell us explicitly if it is for all of us the same. For the child it surely is not the same as for the philosopher.
One of the latter came across some snippet of information, useless, unimportant and thus being a major temptation to play, offering a break from checking algorithms and their legal meaning. A day in November last year, checking the holidays for 2018, I clicked on a link, to learn about Palindromes. Hardly knowing even the meaning of the term, I quickly learned the basics, namely
In 2018, people who write their dates in the m-dd-yy format will be treated to 10 consecutive days of palindromic dates. Every day from August 10, 2018 (8-10-18) to August 19, 2018 (8-19-18) will have a palindromic date.
Such back-to-back Palindrome Days in the m-dd-yy format are not that rare. Every year since 2011 have had 10 consecutive Palindrome Days. In 2011, they occurred from January 10, 2011 (1-10-11) to January 19, 2011 (1-19-11). In 2012, the same sequence of dates occurred in February. In 2017, this will happen in the month of July, in 2018 in August and in 2019 in September.
Notice a pattern here? As long as you write your date in the m-dd-yy format, every century has 9 years with 10 Palindrome Days in a row.
Play …
Can’t we read these in some way as days where past and future are ‘visibly’ – or is there are term like ’numberly’? – brought together in presence? Capturing the entire time universe in the sequence of just 24 hours? – A recurring ‘big bang’, isn’t it? … – You remember Goethe, contending in the ‘Diwan’ that
He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.
Nothing for boxing people who unlearned to play, leading a triste life, cut off, seduced by nothingness, not allowing the shine of light.

laborious joy

It is a while back already … a small …, well, lets say dispute with Laurent:
A propos, I am very happy with your article. Of course you have problems  to explain your thoughts (you know this) but according to me what you said is very interesting.
I know that you are to some extent right with what you say about my difficulties to explain certain things; however the other half is that we – probably all of us – unlearned accepting that reading and understanding is WORK, the stuff just flying at us is usually unruly rubbish, lacking depth and appearing nicely, deceiving. People jump into the water and … did you ever jump into a pool at the shallow end …, only sometimes you get away with it,
Yes, yes, and in Dutch we should say  tja, tja
Right, reading and understanding is ‘work’. Right. But……it can not be an argument  to write something what can be better articulated.
took a while, Ja Ja …, oder: na eh [that could be Bavarian I guess …]
I think again 50/50, it is too often wrong that things are expressed in simple ways, leaving out the needed provocation, and that was part of that article too. Iin general, from my current experience: we have a major ’translation problem’, actually two problems – and this is important, without joke:
myself, being a hybrid, face again and again the problem that it is nearly impossible to understand things as soon as we ‘leave the box’. There are things in economics we cannot even think, articulate  in law and vice versa. Add political science and sociology and …
Second, I talked the other day with a colleague from Bolivia – she is also working here and asked me for some advise: she has to review an article for a book, the author being from Peru. There we have entirely different understanding of certain legal facts, paradigms etc. The author uses a more or less narrative style. However, somebody else in her project does not understand that and will not accept it, as he is academic in the area of law, strictly. So, while highly qualified, he has at times a narrow approach as well when it comes to putting things into forms. Now, you can do this, it is easy to ’understand’ ,…, and mostly wrong. I guess this is also part of …’s [or who ever wrote it] article on CSR. There had been in the first version [the one I know] at least certain things that cannot be written this way in an international journal: they had been simply wrong – so to be skipped or to be ’translated’ – and such translation would mean: the reader has to work it out. – Sure, in that case, the reader had to be informed about the Chinese context ….
This … had been a more or less great though rare pleasure in China: being together with a Chinese friend, and getting ‘permanently into trouble’, knowing that we need[ed] to work out what we mean. Dictionaries only tell shadows of truth — thus, coming back to the work, somewhat ruthless debate would be good, daring to dispute things, to disagree and speak about it and come to a conclusion …. . It may even end in lasting love if this is the correct term …
—— —— ——
The afternoon of the very day, after sending the last mail I was standing in the Lenbach Haus, the issue returning to me while looking in the one room at some paintings

Carl Friedrich Lessing: Eichenwald mit rastendem Jaeger, 1839

Joseph Wopfner: Haensel und Gretel, 1875

Adolph Henrich Lier: Buchenwald im Herbst, ca 1874

I would say ‘nothing special, though lovely capturing for the moment’. And of course it is hopeless to convey the clandestine, inner beauty by reproducing these works. Also as such beauty is one of the moment, the mood: permanent because immortal and nevertheless quickly elapsing as any shadow does with the change of the light by which it is aroused. It is the mood of the spectator that is part of the spectre.
The question of the said moment, linking paintings and the conversation is somewhat straightforward, presuming that the reader accepts that reading is more than the deciphering of sequences of letters – extensively discussed in semiotics anyway.
Paintings do what academics are expected to do – isolating certain matters, cutting the environment off in order to be able to cut the matter itself into pieces. That is what we see in the paintings: it does not give us any idea of the forest – where it is, its seize, its location in the universe … this way a lot of information is cut-off: not accessible.
  • It is like the surgeon – during some heart surgery the heart is somewhat disjoint from the body, its functions taken over by an artificial machine …, it is no problem, for some time …
  • It is like the economist who calculates opportunity cost when looking at the feasibility of the investment in a new technology – calculations may be for instance conjoined with what is called demographic scenarios, or with an estimated behavior of a competing investor or with any other variable. Even a Richard Thaler or Eleanor Estrom are depending by and large on such contractions – stimulating and still it remains cut off realities.
  • It is like a lawyer, looking at what exactly was happening, but taking it as action, at most as behaviour without being able to understand the entire ’scene’ as part of complex societal practice.
—— —— ——
Have a look at the paintings then – though isolating a small scene, delving enormously into details [especially the one by Lessing applying an extremely fine brushstroke; but also Bear’s, seemingly presenting a broad lash] maintain somewhat magically the universe within the painting
Fritz Baer: Abend im Walde, ca 1914
— the light, the movement … , magically, and requiring to work, with this arriving at the real joy of being spectator and magically e-merging as part of the spectre, playing in the best of its meanings   …
… yes, it may well be that this made life so laborious before the disenchantment, so-called at is still left us with its own bifurcation. And this work makes some prone to populism, and others obsessed to pretended clarity, in particular clarity dressed up in digits.

Easily ending in the death of the theorist and the emergence of data and algorithms in digital social researc.and then in boxing humans.

truth, the small and the large …

Let us go with what is good. First there are the portraits. They dominate in terms of value and numbers. Exhibitions are in danger to alter, being increasingly galleries of portraits only. ‘Art goes for bread.’ The words Lessing suggested to be said by his painter Conti, about 100 years ago, is today even more true. There are not many orders, or even none; and to paint a huge wall painting at a venture …, there are few who can dare doing so. Everybody escapes into the small and family life, because the large and general condemns to starvation. Actual arts is at the loosing end, the portrait on the winning side: the mere effigy emerges occasionally as portrait of an epoch.

my own translation of the following words by Fontane, from his ‘A summer in London

Doch halten wir uns an das Gute. Da sind zunächst die Porträts. Sie prävalieren an Wert wie an Zahl. Die Kunstausstellungen drohen mehr und mehr zu bloßen Porträt-Galerien zu werden. »Die Kunst geht nach Brot.« Was Lessing seinen Maler Conti vor fast hundert Jahren sagen ließ, ist heut mehr denn je eine Wahrheit. Bestellt wird wenig oder nichts; und auf gut Glück hin ein mächtiges Wandbild zu malen, wie wenige dürfen’s wagen? Alles flüchtet in das Klein- und Familienleben, weil das Große und Allgemeine ihn verhungern läßt. Die eigentliche Kunst verliert dabei, die Porträt-Kunst gewinnt: das bloße Bildnis wird gelegentlich zum historischen Bilde.

All this had been written a long time ago …, and is still so true.

While reading those lines a couple of weeks ago, I remembered just the day before: the exhibition

FABIENNE VERDIER MEETS SIGMAR POLKE. TALKING LINES at the Pinakothek der Moderne, including the Musical Intonation in the St. Markus church, with Christoph Reiserer, Saxophone & Michael Roth, Organ.

some more info here and here.

Can one say an erotic intonation, music of epochs merging, drawing lines just in order to dispute, to cross each other, even breaking them open, to solve tensions in complete relaxation…. as the communication of the lines of Verdier and Polke.

Sure, things are easily over-interpreted, and also admitted that not everybody needs to have the same sense and sensation. Still, as I pointed out in my contribution to the debate: we may easily overcome the metaphysical suggestions, taking things as they are – the repercussions of calligraphy in Verdier’s work, far from being ‘closed’, finished and finite; and reflecting in the things, in the expressions, in the ‘Chinese characters’ and for what they stand the as much as the need for a provocative approach to the virtues:

  • Magnificentia
  • Dignitas
  • Honor
  • Gloria
  • Ratio
  • Velocitas
  • Moderatio

virtues that are perverted by the Emperor Maximilian claim to be their personification, perverted by the fact that they are ‘closed’, defined as finite.

And with such provocation – and opens to it – the supposed tension and impossibility to understand: fir instance the east and the west, is easily overcome …, if we allow us to engage, to come close and ‘touch’

Is it true that Karl Jaspers said the following?

True philosophy needs communion to come to an existence


Uncommunicativeness in philosopher is virtually a criterion of the untruth of his thinking.


We surely need more philosophers – in arts, in economics, in law and in life …, those who allow themselves to touch and to be touched – a pity that all those are in danger of being starved to death as soon as they attempt to paint beyond the portrait … – is that the reason behind some faiths demanding

Thou shalt not make thee any graven image.

The fear of distraction from the reality – the fear of non-communication by tighten it in a strict framework of phrases? Doesn’t it then remind us of

The Other Christmas Story

two years ago posted here on the blog?

Magic small numbers

Friday I returned from Berlin to Munich – apparently I was going the new route [though still not the new speed] which is today opened with new trains and new time schedules this had been celebrated on the eighth in Berlin.

From the tenth of December it takes less than four hours to go that route. Going on the sixth to Berlin, the ‘back route’, was a bit more ‘the old style’: slower, especially through some mountainous areas, nice especially where there had been some snow veiling the trees …

From yesterday then: Berlin – Munich in less than four hours. New trains I assume, tightened rails I suppose, new schedules for sure, new staff may be …? Of course that shortening of the journey is a great disadvantage. On the other hand, there is no opportunity, no reason to look out of the window. The magic four: every four years elections; every four month amending laws; every four weeks a new diploma; every four days we may get a new job …, if we get one; every four hours we read entire libraries, summarised in some wiki.

– May be think about some new expression: to wiki a book = put it into a easily digestible format that does not need long intellectual chewing. Al this is about even on earth even? Trains with heavenly speed as their is no reason to fly? Thoughts flying into the brain like roasted pigeons flying into the mouth in the land behind the gingerbread-wall of paradise … – Mind, the synonym is to veil a book. As mutes the synonym for the paradisal pigeon may just be fast-food.

– No, I am afar from praising any good old times, times that never really existed anyway … I am leaning back, quite comfortably … – the …, well, once these people had been called rain conductor … walks along the corridor.

‘Coffee …? Anybody want a coffee ….?

I do not ask for one, thinking about one often quoted passage from Keynes, that surely will also be present in the wiki-libreria:

But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task, if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us, that when the storm is long past, the ocean is flat again. [A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923)]

Looking at Keynes unwikied, didn’t he mean implicitly: of we only look at wikied policy measures – short and short-lived, we are not able to solve the underlying problems. And there are good reasons to look out of the window – or read entire books – before writing and boxing. Well, all this is surely also about skills and knowledge.

Well, there is a difference between expresso and espresso. And ever trust anybody who promises to make a nice expresso, very quick.

Between Worlds – Between Times

It is some time ago now, I made a trip which was a bit like time travel – France – Catalonia – France and going on from there …
Well, I can say I escaped those days that massacre of Barcelona, though having been very close to the crime scene. At stake is, however, not spatial closeness – what makes me still trembling, and at times near to crying, is something else – it is the same shock that followed me for some time, after having left the French embassy in Rome on the 7th of January 2015, the day of the ‘Charlie Hebdo shooting’. It is a bit like history condensing, being forced into a nutshell, feeling the need to discard the fetters that are lurking around the corners of uneven development.
Indeed, it is some time ago now,I made that trip which was a bit like time travel, leaving the massacre for a while aside …
Two days or so after what happened …  sitting in the TGV, the Train à Grande Vitesse, … everything went according to plan, and I am sitting on the prenotated seat, looking a bit out of the window, trying to accommodate myself in the passing life … – again and again startled by the rattling, caused by some parts of the train. I remember the first trip I made with a TGV, many years ago: fast, not mentioning the slightest movement – and those days not the noise of neighbours playing with or loudly speaking over their phone: pling .., announcing arriving — swoosh …, accompanying the sending of a message. Then it had been a brand new train, with all comfort, cleanness and newness [today’s TGVs had been inaugurated in 1981]. I remember a friend, while looking out of the window, asking:
And when will it be driving with this amazing speed?
I replied
Don’t look out of the window, look at the speed-announcement over the door.
Yes, it had been over 300 km/h.

A few days later: the Thalys from Brussels to Amsterdam, later again, the ICE bringing me to Munich …: all of them smooth trips, comfortable actually, as they had been launched later than the TGV, a bit cleaner, still a bit more comfortable … Still, using now the CRH in China – very clean, the train seems to ‘stand still’ while driving its constant 307 km; quiet – though one has to cope with phone …. announcements of food for sale, the latter standing a bit in the way of the claimed  和谐号 – harmony, as the name of these trains suggests. – The new generation, i heard, is now moving smoothly with 400 km/h …

Possibly I will remember at some stage, several years ahead, a train trip between Wuhu and Najning, everything going according to plan, while I will be sitting on the prenotated seat, looking out of the window, trying to accommodate myself in the passing life … – frequently startled by the rattling, caused by some parts of the train when it will then be a somewhat old train, old as in some parts of the world already completely other means of transport will be in place … – or it may be more likely that I do not remember it anymore, actually it may take long enough that I do not remember anything anymore and only some people remember me, while now sitting there, thinking about the old 和谐号 – harmony, perhaps then sitting relaxed in a train called 超验 – transcendence … – seemingly transcending time and space, rarely being aware of the fact that the time we live in is already past time as soon as we are getting are of this worldly dimension if transcendence.


Isn’t part of being between worlds also about being between times, experiencing the accords and discords that are at the centre of globalisation that depends on unevenness, of which contradictions are permanent and necessary part – where welcome is supposed to be a threat. Yes,

we in the West need to think about a whole new relation to the so-called “Third World” if we want to prevent hate, hostility and attacks. This can also effectively contribute to fighting the reasons for flight and escape.

But even more so, we, who are ready to take globalisation seriously on the agenda, have to think about a whole new relation between the real people of the real world if we want to prevent hate, hostility and attacks. It must be a world where fighting the reasons for flight and escape equals fighting for the freedom to explore the real variety that is emerging from unity and commonality. Not simply as matter of being together but by accepting being one in time – which then also means overcoming claims towards superiority of ‘some time’. Leaving the many facets aside that stand behind massacres, some calling their own massacres unconvincingly ‘war against terror’, there is one thing that strikes me: the difficulty of historising issues. One of the explicit arguments of the murderers of Barcelona was about reclaiming part of the old Islam empire – and indeed, the Islam plaid a major role in Spain – but can that serve as foundation of any claim today? A similar notion had been put forward in Paris, rejecting the touching of the untouchable – while Charlie Hebdo claimed the right to touch, even if only with the stroke of the pencil of a cartoonist; and the various wars against terror following very much the same idea of defending a world order that is historically obsolete and moreover: of which the underlying criteria of nationality, economic growth, private property, hegemonic rights, charity etc. definitely lost their foundation [if they ever have had a stable foundation]. The good old times did not exist anywhere and need to be confronted with a world that has open eyes and ears.
Il silenzio mi aiuterà a smettere di pensare a te che sei fatto di vento.- Silence will help me to stop thinking about yourself as being made of wind. – Something cultures have to accept when looking at their history …, something that is valid and where the new generation of TGV-trains changes only very little.
L’oscurità chiude gli occhi, non mi permette di vedere e di apprezzare che le lettere di oggi saranno presto le lettere dei tempi antichi. – Darkness closes the eyes, not allowing me seeing and appreciating that the lettering of today will soon be the lettering from ancient times.
… Come together, real and close – that is what time needs – everytime …, also in order to find a way that allows dealing with the fact that some of the perpetrators are simply victims themselves, requiring to overcome the terrible pain at least I carry with me again; and even being ready at least to ask if and to which extent we as victims may be perpetrators … – we, the good-doers, teachers, administrators, opinion leaders …, not least we, who easily hastily come to conclusions and easily forget …
having difficulties to act in a genuine way …
Reflections made just before leaving the PRC, while waiting to move on to Moscow, theФГБОУ ВПО “РЭУ им. Г.В. Плеханова”
The short presentation, I made on occasion of the
International Conference of Indigenous Sports Culture in Asia Wuhu, Anhui Province, China
under the heading
The Particular and the Universal – Indigenous Sports for the Integrity of the Global Village
will soon be announced on this blog as recording should be available.

hunter and gatherer

Towards the end of chapter 42 of Montaigne’s essays we read

In Anacharsis’ opinion, the happiest state of government would be where, all other things being equal, precedence should be measured out by the virtues, and repulses by the vices of men.

When King Pyrrhus prepared for his expedition into Italy, his wise counsellor Cyneas, to make him sensible of the vanity of his ambition: “Well, sir,” said he, “to what end do you make all this mighty preparation?”—“To make myself master of Italy,” replied the king. “And what after that is done?” said Cyneas. “I will pass over into Gaul and Spain,” said the other. “And what then?”—“I will then go to subdue Africa; and lastly, when I have brought the whole world to my subjection, I will sit down and rest content at my own ease.”

“For God sake, sir,” replied Cyneas, “tell me what hinders that you may not, if you please, be now in the condition you speak of? Why do you not now at this instant settle yourself in the state you seem to aim at, and spare all the labour and hazard you interpose?”

“Nimirum, quia non cognovit, qux esset habendi           Finis, et omnino quoad crescat vera voluptas.”       [“Forsooth because he does not know what should be the limit of     acquisition, and altogether how far real pleasure should increase.”       —Lucretius, v. 1431]

Reading it, I remembered the story explaining the Irony of the Rat: the Mexican fisherman, who was approached by the highly business-qualified American tourist who knows all about how one gets rich by working enduringly hard over many years …, finally accumulating enough wealth to relax … at the beach of a small Mexican village.

And today? The Measuring the World takes new forms again, it is about data, the collection of everything that can be counted, and the deformation of everything in order to make it countable …. entire libraries, galleries, landscapes and cities, people alone and in their encounters … all is just a mouse-click away.


It was Sunday morning, when I read Montaigne, remembered the Mexican fisherman’s story and thought about the new turn of human-kind’s perpetuated existence as hunter&gatherer to data-obsessed beings …

… it was the very same Sunday in the tenth month of the year, well deserving the name golden October, when I met later the day a friend, should I even say: a golden encounter, ‘autumnous spring’** – not counting minutes or hours, going to the gallery, taking account of the non-digitalised treasures of the gallery, the original paintings and joining the special exhibition that brought music and the magnificent painter Botticelli together

– an encounter of people, bringing centuries and continents together.


Well, when it comes to numbers and accounting, there are surely Limits to Cheating History and there is surely the need for Changing the Reference. Check for a revised and edited version of the article the International Journal of Social Quality.



Botticelli’s painting reproduced below is titled Primavera

Off, perhaps some mooncake left just after the Chinese holidays

But in any case there is something when it comes to the moon …

… Is it perversity – or a dormant and clandestine wisdom? I was recently listening on YouTube to Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, seeing the German advertisement link to a game: manufacture your own tank – the screenshot from the youtube-site

Digitisation … Perversity? Wisdom? Strange coincidence? ….- Knowing the text of O Fortuna and seeing this ad connected to it one wonders …
There is much to the entirety of the texts found in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria. And part of it is surely the tension in the ‘O Fortuna’ of which the text reads as follows – below in EnglishItalian and German – always posing the challenge to live a veritable life, even if it is often against the odds:

O Fortune

O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
always waxing
or waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it;
and power
it melts them like ice

Fate – monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel,
stand malevolent,
well-being is vain
and always fades to nothing,
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through trickery,
I bring my bare back
to your villainy.

Fate, in health
and in virtue,
is against me,
driven on
and weighted down,
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating string;
since Fate
strikes down the strong man,
everyone weep with me!

O fortuna,
A guisa della luna
Nell’atteggiamento dell’incostante
Sempre tu cresci
O vai diminuendo
La vita detestabile
Ora perdura salda
E proprio ora (la fortuna)
Occupa l’ingegno con un gioco:
La miseria
Il potere
Dissolve come ghiaccio.La fortuna immane
E vuota
Tu ruota che giri
Funesto stato
Futile benessere
Sempre dissolubile
E velata
E su di me chi più si appoggerà,
Ora che per un gioco
Il dorso nudo
Porto per la tua cattiveria?La fortuna del benessere
E della virtù
Ora a me contraria
È un desiderio,
È una debolezza.
Sempre in corsa obbligata
Ora per di qua
Senza sosta
Sentite il battito nel cuore
Poiché a causa della fortuna
(Egli) acquieta la forza
Piangete tutti con me!
Oh Schicksal,

wie der Mond
von veränderlicher Position,
immer wächst du
oder schwindest;
das grässliche Leben
ist jetzt hart
und heilt dann
die Geisteskraft spielend,
die Armut,
die Macht
löst es auf wie Eis.

Monströses und
leeres Los,
du sich drehendes Rad,
üble Position,
unzuverlässige Gesundheit
immer auflösbar,
und bedeckt
Du stützt dich auch auf mich;
jetzt trage ich
deinen Schandtaten zum Spiel
den Rücken bloß.

Los der Gesundheit
und Tugend
jetzt gegen mich,
es ist beeinflusst
und beeinträchtig
immer im Frondienst.
In dieser Stunde,
ohne Verzug,
kommet zu jenem, der im Herzen geschlagen wurde4;
denn durch das Los
breitet es den Zufall aus,
klagt alle mit mir!