The Juggler

he is standing there since about a week now – every time I pass, thus it means very different times. Sure, it may be by accident that he is just there – arriving short time before I do arrive, and leaving just the second i am around the corner. More likely is that he has longish working hours – where? motor highway 100, going to Hamburg … the rich cities of the former West, exit Tempelhofer Damm, turning to the right, direction Platz der Luftbruecke, once thought to be the square linking Westberlin to the so-called free West, the rich Uncle Sam bringing presents.

I do not know the juggler, only know that he is free to stand there, performing his art.

juggling – and he seems to be a cheerful nature, nearly forgetting over his play to stop, collecting money some of the drives give. The traffic light switches, he plays again – a cycle like that of the economy of the country, and that of the global economy – here it is smaller, of course, manageable.Also – I guess – the money he has at the end of the day is most likely manageable.

Also – I guess – the money he has at the end of the day is most likely manageably 

 

The modern building, mostly men, white, middle-aged though far from belonging to the middle ages, upper-middle class though not thinking about classes and class interests, not even thinking about nations, while far from accepting “nationality human being”,  wearing their suits to make them suit into the smooth ivory towers, though those may be of glass .. – they aren’t elephants, are they? — all spruced up though looking a bit chivy … 

… finally it is 11 c’clock, nobody to blame: not the traffic – that might change anyway when the bureaucracies do not undermine the  use of helicopters for short distance flights anymore; not the driver – finally there is public space between the gated community and the fortress of the business-tower – public space that requires accepting public rules in order …, yes, in order of maintaining law and order; not the attendant at the golf tournament which had been finally a matter of meeting business colleagues  … – some time now to be spent in the office: brief meetings with other CEO’s, with secretaries, a call “No, I have to speak the minister personally …” – at the end of the day this juggler writes on the personal flag: the day’s turnover amounts to …, well, there are amounts mores suggest it is better not to mention them; this day’s regular income …, there are figures that cannot be imagined anyway; this day’s additional income, gathered from some private consultancy work … psst, not everybody has to know, some would even say it is income gathered in the shadow economy … isn’t shadow the natural companion of the bright sun they make shining everyday?

Despite the bright light many of them look grumpy, the kind of official face matching the severity of the job …the serene mind they have to employ to set the, to their algorithms into notion.

Jugglers, one job, one society, one world — gosh, such a difference … 

Annunci

Differences

Zhouxiang – we had been sitting together for breakfast in 芜湖 – looked at me, somewhat sincere – we had been taking out some professional issues and editorial work – saying:

People of your age …

and in the following he appreciated my experience, positioning them in a positive way against the way things are done today…  I admit, my first (inner reaction) had been .., I felt a bit upset, not feeling old though this is what he openly meant by “pope of my age”. Learning Chinese means also learning to feel and appreciate the deep respect behind his words – and again and again, when we meet I feel this as such an asset of our friendship.

****

Our chauffeur brought us – there had been two of us – from the airport for this three to four hours drive to the congress venue. Not knowing each other we presented ourselves, just in an informal way, talking about the work and a bit about the failure of striking a balance with life. In my case it meant taking out being in different places, giving presentations, teaching at different universities, and even in different countries and continents. May I ask how old you are … “No problem” and I revealed the middle 60s. She smiled

Isn’t it great then, being still able to do all these things.

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/120623104830-tall-ships-01-horizontal-large-gallery.jpg

Funnily enough, during our talk I also talked about China, the respect older people experience: an appreciation of experience. And I said, I would not know about something like it in the West”. If old age is respected, it is the respect towards somebody “who did his job, deserving to retreat. It feels different than being respected – and perhaps even challenged – with the experience one gained. It is a bit the difference between a shipwreck and a windjammer.

Another time …

another time – moving from one place to another, some suggesting “moving home” though a passport, indispensable in some respect and for some as well expressed here, does not mean anything in and for others …, so it is for me, indeed, just ‘moving from one place to another’, wondering if and when it comes to a standstill … 

The weekend busy with putting things into place which; while massively downsizing, it had still been a huge amount of work, also mental work. Will happen, what had been promised, when and where I left some time ago: the work on the project in Łódź, the projected cooperation between the colleagues in Munich and Moscow, the ‘foundation-library’ in Rome, which had been promised such a ling time ago, and saddening every time I think about my books still behind bars …

… but it is also about the other dimension, letting Hans Bender, while tidying up, state

here some letters, manuscripts, mostly fragments, photographies – but who, after I left, will be able to call the by name?

look … said the blind to the seeing

This is as well an expression of the survival of empathy, of humane parts within the entirety of human existence – the words with which Peter sent a link to a piece of music: the survivor of Warsaw.

A Torso

I said.

I cannot see – I cannot walk or talk …, I cannot even hold something

said the torso

Negativity?

I dared to ask.

There is no real life in the wrong one …, and still …

The Torso continued saying

Perhaps I can make you ask, offer you some light so that you can see yourself offer you the missing limb, the imagination of which gives you the strength to stand, holding with a firm grip what needs to be …moved.

time…s

There is a paradox when it comes to the greatness of life, there is the challenge of the unbearable lightness of being, taking up up on Kundera.

Life, with all its beauty, cold be so great, could offer a real lightness of being ….


yet before becoming great for all and everybody it still needs

Peace to the cottages! War on the palaces!

Are they really learning?

The Vienna Academic Press/Wiener Verlag fuer Sozialforschung, after a complete relaunch, now being under new management, I met yesterday evening in Vienna the new chief manager who took on board the republication of my PhD-thesis – a reprint without changes:

Die Organisation. Eine Analyse der modernen Gesellschaft

The Organisation. Analysis of Modern Society

In the following the forward is published, in German and English language. Thinking back the line of my academic work since then, I have to say that I never did what so many of the colleagues said oder the years: I closed this chapter once and forever. I did not even think this would be tempting

Scroll for English

Die Organisation. Eine Analyse Moderner Gesellschaft – Vorwort zur unveränderten Wiederauflage

Organisationen sind, so wird gesagt, lernende Einheiten. Sicher ist dies in mancher Hinsicht nicht zu bestreiten, aber doch lässt sich auch schnell zögern, denn die Frage ist doch zunächst sehr grundsätzlich, ob denn Organisationen überhaupt als handlungsfähige Einheiten bestehen. Ihnen einen solchen Charakter zuzusprechen bedeutet letztlich, dass man sie als vollständig verselbständigte Einheiten sieht, die Menschen darin im Grunde zu unselbstständigen Ausführungsorganen degradiert, und zugleich die historisch-gesellschaftlichen Bedingungen zu Randglossen verkommen (sind).

Das mag tatsächlich oft durchaus so erscheinen – und die persönliche Erfahrung des Engagements in den fast dreißig Jahren seit der hier unverändert aufgelegten Studie, gesammelt in verschiedenen Bereichen und verschiedenen Ländern, gaben oftmals Anlass zu solchem Gedanken an ein „Vergib Ihnen nicht – sie machen sonst doch nur, was sie selbst wollen“. Zugleich aber ist doch ein Punkt hervorzuheben, der in der Arbeit gemacht wurde – vor allem mit einem Zitat von Antonio Gramsci belegt: bei solchen scheinbaren Detailbetrachtungen wie Parteien, Organisationen etc., muss man die ganze Geschichte der relevanten Länder mitdenken.

Tatsächlich kann daran wohl der Kern gesehen werden, der allen Zweifeln entgegensteht: die damalige Analyse hat sicher manches voreilig verallgemeinert. Aber die grundlegende Unterscheidung der handlungstechnischen Dimension der Aneignung einerseits, der verwertungsmäßigen Dimension andererseits ist eine sinnvolle Handreichung vor alle auch bei der Entwicklung strategisches Handeln und bei Überlegungen, innerhalb von Organisationen ein solches zu entwickeln. Dies gilt es dann eben konkret in den historischen Analysen zu entwickeln. Und wird dann auch schnell deutlich, dass „Verselbstständigungen“ schlicht morbide Erscheinungen sind.

Das ermöglicht auch, Organisationen in einem gesamtgesellschaftlichen Rahmen von doch immer noch modernen kapitalistischen Gesellschaften zu verorten. Intermediär ist ihre Rolle nicht nur als Vermittlungsinstanz verschiedener „Ebenen“ gesellschaftlichen Handelns, sondern auch im Sinne von Vermittlungen zwischen verschiedenen Möglichkeitshorizonten. In diesem Sinn muss man wohl sagen, dass der Sieg der verselbstständigten Organisation nichts anderes ist, als der Sieg der konservativen Kräfte auch in einer Zeit des Interregnum, jener Phase, von der Antonio Gramsci schrieb, dass die Krise darin bestehe, dass das Alte zwar im Sterben liege, aber das Neue noch nicht geboren werden kann. Die morbiden Erscheinungen, die bei dem italienischen Hegemoniekritiker betont wurden, sind eben nicht zuletzt Organisationen, die ein „Heim“ für jene bieten, die den Weg in die Neuzeit verpassen.

Dank gilt dem Wiener Verlag, namentlich Herrn Heribert Renkin. Nunmehr hat der Verlag unter neuer Leitung dieses Projekt übernommen.

Łódź/Berlin, March 2019

The Organisation. An Analysis of Modern Society – forword to the republished original work

Organisations are, it is said, learning units. Of course, in some respects this cannot be denied, but one may well hesitate, because the initial question is a different, and a very fundamental one, namely whether organisations do exist at all as units capable of action. To attribute such a character to them ultimately means that they are seen as completely independent units, people being basically degraded to dependent executives, and at the same time the historical and social conditions made to marginalia.

This may indeed often seem to be the case – not least the personal experience of engaging during the almost thirty years since the study had been originally published, experience made in different areas and different countries, often gave rise to he thought “Do not forgive them – they will otherwise only do what they want to do themselves“. At the same time, however, one point should be emphasised – made in the study itself above all by quoting Antonio Gramsci who suggested that in such analysis of detailed phenomena as parties, organisations, etc., one has to think along the line of the entire history of the country in question.

In fact, we can see the core of this demand indeed also in the presented work: while the analysis certainly generalised some issues prematurely, one point proved to be valuable: the fundamental distinction between the technical dimension of appropriation on the one hand, and the exploitative dimension on the other. This is a meaningful help, especially in the development of strategic action and when it comes to considerations of developing change oriented action within organisations. This must then be developed concretely in the historical analyses: it becomes quickly clear that “autonomies” are simply morbid phenomena.

This makes it also possible to locate organisations within the overall social framework of still modern capitalist societies. They are not only intermediaries in their role as mediators of different “levels” of social action and classes; they are so as well in the sense of mediation between different horizons of possibility. In this sense, it must be said that the victory of the independent organisation is nothing else than the victory of the conservative forces even in a time of interregnum, the phase of which Antonio Gramsci wrote that the crisis consists in the fact that the old is dying, but the new cannot yet be born. The morbid phenomena stressed by the Italian critic of hegemony are not least organisations that offer a “home” for those who miss the road to modern times, some kind of zombies.

My thanks go to the Vienna Press, namely Mr. Heribert Renkin; he has taken over this project in the publishing house which is now under a completely new management.

Łódź/Berlin, March 2019