A more or less recent decease pattern may be called APPSISM, it is transferred by a virus that comes along with different subtypes, as e.g. kakao, telegram, WeChat, QQ and not least WhatsApp. All the details are not yet known, also it remains open if the virus itself originates the symptoms or only activates something that has been there in a dormant state. The following lists the main single features:

  • communication via network sites, even small thoughts are fragmented
  • there is some quantum-theoretical asset: as smallest units of a communicative act they can be applied in different contexts  in other words: communication becomes arbitrary, potential empty; but also: they are potentially all-encompassing, suitable for universal statements
  • any contact should be organised in first arranging to meet, even spontaneous phone calls are expected to be arranged in advance.

The problem is not primarily the short span of attention (an often discussed issue nowadays), but the lacking readiness to take dining decisions, formulated in a positive way: the claim to be as far as possible in control of situations – who would deny that this is at most for seconds.

— What, taking hypothetically, there would have been a god, and not that only, but the that god would have created the world with this attitude …, or knowledge? – But perhaps god and the followers are guilty, asking for obedience, asking for avoiding risks, asking for permanent calculability.

— I was watching Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (Der Himmel ueber Berlin), right at the beginning there is a scene, the two angles talking to each other, one expressing his wish being expressed in words like “to be normal again, visible, not observing but living.” Mind the paradox: While he is observing, it is him who is observing those of which “heaven” demands to observe every step they do.

circularity of madness

New technologies – the other day I bought a new phone card – life without such gadgets as mobile phone with connection to the world wrapping weirdness seems to be barely possible even if there is the internet-connection in the office. Arriving at about 17:00 it took about 1.5 hours.

Oh yes, fortunately I did not come during peak hours …

Still, time enough to wonder how such technology initialises a momentum of a certain …, well perhaps we can speak of “circularity of madness”:

First we are mad to avail of the new junk; and having it, we are becoming mad, being busy with maintaining it … installing the upgrades and updates; adding the credit card to an account, adding the account to the social network, installing the security apps, going back to website of the bank in order to fix a bug that actually occurs only with this bank … And then being told that this card would not be accepted anyway ….

It reminds me (for good reasons I guess) of the often quoted passage from Marx’ Capital

Capital is said by a Quarterly Reviewer to fly turbulence and strife, and to be timid, which is very true; but this is very incompletely stating the question. Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated.

(T.J. Dunning, l. c. [Trades Union and Strikes], pp. 35, 36; in: Marx, Karl, 1867: Capital; Volume I; in: Karl Marx/Frederick Engels. Collected Works; Volume 35; London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1996: 748, footnote 2)

In fact we can make out that all this is part and parcel of the capital circle: the need to continue, even accelerate – like a bike, falling as soon as we stop cycling … 

Add my name to it, say it is Herrmann’s circularity of madness, named after the person who first formulated it … , it may make me famous one day, having found one of the diseases of our times … (mind, not being founder …)

A short step

The plan for Sunday: visiting the “Mittelmeermonologe“, it will be performed in the Heimathafen in Neukoelln. It is about people, daring the risky way across the Mediterranean Sea, hoping for a better life in Europe.

Sunday … Wednesday I walk to therein train station, going the rest to the airport by bus. At about 4 a.m. I am in the area Brandenburger Too, US and UK embassy. For reason of completeness I have to mention the French embassy, though it is kind of hidden – the time around “Je Sui Charlie” had been the only occasion that it had been really visible. Anyway, waking there that morning I was getting aware of the number police force.

12.10. landing at Dublin. Only elders of the Irish ID and European passports can go through the automated border control. Technology … but standing there in the queue, now being “all other passports”, I get a fright, my own Mittelmeermonolog, my personal talk of the past is coming up, more or less a soliloquy.

Berufsverbote the political control of people orating in any public service, the political refusal of people who did not want to go military service, the roundups – sure, justfied in some respect but not by way of starting from the assumption everybody being terrorist, threatening everybody by holding a machine-gun against their chin …

And now, instead of opening the places, increasing closure, and closure directed again everybody – positive reading: there is no We and Them. All are We, though Them …, well, they are those who tighten control …, closing borders and trying to spread parochial thinking ….

Leaving the terminal, buying the Busticket to Maynooth, the “Hi, dear” mutates, blurs to something like “Hei deer”, thinking about the old bull defending the little empire, maintaining a war that is lost already for a long time … -A saddening welcome, a saddening reminder of the state of Europe.

See here for another lecture on the topic.


The other day I walked into a coffeeshop, a bit off the main road, a bit multiculti and hipster – yes, one of these things I like: paradoxes: off the main street, on the main trends …

Anyway, I looked around, found it OK and put my stuff down, before going to to order …

An espresso …,

I know hipster, snob …, call it as you want – instead of pronouncing it in proper German

Einen Espresso …

Part of the “einen” was shortened to an/un, the pronunciation of the “r” of espresso …, Gosh, it would make every Italian blush.

Ah, the answer had been clear …, at least clearly Italian.

A brief chat …, sitting down and working away – working away with a smile, coincidentally on identity, for the presentations later this week on Maynooth.

Then, walking away I am smiling even more, hearing at every table the sound of “one of my languages”, thinking back, having often been located between many chairs, but finding so seldom chairs that are growing with the number of cultures, walks of life … of the people sitting down. Perhaps it is because the chairpeople are always walking away. multiculti presenting itself as multifailure.

It is not long anymore, wondering since a long long time if I am leaving more behind or will be finding more ahead. – Gracias. Realmente disfruté conociéndote.


The official document arrived Monday, it means that I am accepted by the government as High Level Foreign Expert – this does not change my opinion when it comes to ranking, excellence and special personal merit. Here as in other cases it is what it is.

Wednesday then – I arrive at the airport, already checked it. The special jacket kept me warm on the scooter tough it is getting nippy, with little signs that it may be a stormy autumn. I left it in the “boot”, walk in may civilised cat to the terminal building.

A short while later: I put all the stuff into the boxes, pass the security, also the second “special” security check, go to the belt to got ready: pockets stuffed, electronics put back into place …. nearly there, just last box .. “Is this yours as well?” Nodding, I haste a bit, thinking that he wants to take it in order to return it with the other boxes … “Can you come with me, please?!” I follow, the small room, the frequent test for explosives. Of course, nothing found: ”Thank you, Sir … and please accept my apologies for any inconvenience” – “I thank you” – finally it is an exercise to protect myself and others. About two hours later – I just reply a text message, clarifying what I wrote earlier: that it is so often that I receive that special treatment. And I add “But what is really worrying: here at Paris airport everybody gets special treatment now: they reintroduced passport control … – all are equal.”

I am moving with the crowd through the halls of the airport, the RER, ligne B. Instead of changing the train to go to St Denis, I walk the short distance from the Stadium. Half way, the phone rings .., – unknown number, 030…. – it takes some time: “Yes, of course .. yesterday we talked about the visa …” – “Everything is OK, it is a visa type …, the letter does not mean anything to me, only when she explains I am asking myself about the different meaning something may gain, depending on the concrete conditions. The different meaning for instance of “freedom of movement.”

– Well, the外国高端人才确认函 means as well that I am going to fill the position of professor at the Law School of Central South University, Changsha, PRC, part of the remit will be concerned with Human Rights.

Sure, some things happen by accident; but it may well be that small accidents happen in order to avoid major averages.

joining or not

The rally – not climate is out of control but life and living … or the other way round?

Vienna, September 19th;
Finally on the meeting Roland gratefully says in a short “impulse statement” for the debate: I do not have an answer, a solution …, I just know that we have to do something, namely look for the right question. Everybody agrees …, and so many say “but we know the narrative”

Berlin, September 20th, around 10 a.m.: traffic congestion on the highway 100 – I leave after a while, even with the scooter I am ore or less stuck

Berlin, September 20th, around 2 p.m. walking at the back of the metro/S-Bahn Friedrichstrasse, many years ago the place of “crossing” from one oa of the city another, divided by a wall.
Today crossing arms with strangers, building a wall – nobody has the answer, many have some answer and some may even think they have THE answer.

An old point comes to my mind – I am full of fear:

Ci dicono, in molti, in queste ore: non dobbiamo avere paura. Io invece ho paura. Voglio avere paura. Non dell’ineluttabile possibilità che questo orrore possa colpire me, o i miei cari; credo che per questo dovremmo affidarci alla nostra collettività, abbracciarci, dalla piccola alla grande, fino su in alto alle istituzioni che ci rappresentano e che dobbiamo aiutare a proteggerci.

Ho paura di chi dice: non sono umani. Ho paura delle risposte semplici alle domande complesse. Ho paura delle espressioni come: Parigi brucia. Ho paura di quello che può succedere: delle mamme che benedicono sulla porta i figli pronti alla guerra, ho paura dei numeri che prendono il sopravvento sulle storie, ho paura delle lacrime sulle bare che voglio altre lacrime su altre bare su altre bare su altre bare. Mi fanno paura i politici che hanno paura. Le frontiere europee chiuse unilateralmente senza logica apparente. Ho paura dei coprifuoco, dei concerti annullati, delle cene al ristorante con un occhio sempre fisso sulla porta.

Ho paura del Bignami della Fallaci. Mi fanno paura nella stessa frase “vaticinio” e “Sottomissione”. Quelli che pensano “scappiamo finché siamo in tempo”, come i bambini che chiedevano a Primo Levi: perché non siete scappati prima? Ho paura di chi mette tutto insieme nello stesso calderone, di quelli che non nascondono l’entusiasmo di pronunciare la parola “guerra”, ho paura anche del Piave che pure non ne può nulla e stava lì quando ero più felice. Ho paura di saperne troppo poco, di non trovare le parole o di dirne troppe, e fuori luogo. Ho paura della rabbia istantanea sulle notizie non verificate, una rabbia che rimane attaccata sulla pelle come una crosta, un trasferello nella testa anche se la notizia è smentita. Ho paura dei paragoni a capocchia, della banalità del male che non mi ha mai convinto, del sentirsi estranei, come se l’umanità non fosse sempre una e una sola, nel bene e nel male.

Mi fa paura anche “il tuo amico ti fa sapere che sta bene”. Si, ho una paura fottuta del tasto “sto bene” appeso sempre al collo come un salvavita per anziani, come una nuova coperta di Linus collettiva che non potrebbe che toglierci il respiro. Io non sono buonista. Non sono buono, sono cattivo. Proprio perché sono cattivo ho paura: perché in fondo, alla fine, a farmi paura siete tutti voi, siamo tutti noi.

I am to least afraid that we do not really know the answer, that we are moving without getting anywhere …

And a comment – the reproduction of a letter by Enrico Galiano:

Caro Ministro dell’Interno Matteo Salvini ,
ho letto in un tweet da Lei pubblicato questa frase: “Per fortuna che gli insegnanti che fanno politica in classe sono sempre meno, avanti futuro!”.
Bene, allora, visto che fra pochi giorni ricominceranno le scuole, e visto che sono un insegnante, Le vorrei dedicare poche semplici parole, sperando abbia il tempo e la voglia di leggerle. Partendo da quelle più importanti: io faccio e farò sempre politica in classe. Il punto è che la politica che faccio e che farò non è quella delle tifoserie, dello schierarsi da una qualche parte e cercare di portare i ragazzi a pensarla come te a tutti i costi. Non è così che funziona la vera politica.
La politica che faccio e che farò è quella nella sua accezione più alta: come vivere bene in comunità, come diventare buoni cittadini, come costruire insieme una polis forte, bella, sicura, luminosa e illuminata. Ha tutto un altro sapore, detta così, vero?
Ecco perché uscire in giardino e leggere i versi di Giorgio Caproni, di Emily Dickinson, di David Maria Turoldo è fare politica. Spiegare al ragazzo che non deve urlare più forte e parlare sopra gli altri per farsi sentire è fare politica. Parlare di stelle cucite sui vestiti, di foibe, di gulag e di tutti gli orrori commessi nel passato perché i nostri ragazzi abbiano sempre gli occhi bene aperti sul presente è fare politica.
Fotocopiare (spesso a spese nostre) le foto di Giovanni Falcone, di Malala Yousafzai, di Stephen Hawking, di Rocco Chinnici e dell’orologio della stazione di Bologna fermo alle 10.25 e poi appiccicarle ai muri delle nostre classi è fare politica.
Buttare via un intero pomeriggio di lezione preparata perché in prima pagina sul giornale c’è l’ennesimo femminicidio, sedersi in cerchio insieme ai ragazzi a cercare di capire com’è che in questo Paese le donne muoiono così spesso per la violenza dei loro compagni e mariti, anche quello, soprattutto quello, è fare politica.1
Insegnare a parlare correttamente e con un lessico ricco e preciso, affinché i pensieri dei ragazzi possano farsi più chiari e perché un domani non siano succubi di chi con le parole li vuole fregare, è fare politica. Accidenti se lo è.
Sì, perché fare politica non vuol dire spingere i ragazzi a pensarla come te: vuol dire spingerli a pensare. Punto. È così che si costruisce una città migliore: tirando su cittadini che sanno scegliere con la propria testa. Non farlo più non significa “avanti futuro”, ma ritorno al passato. E il senso più profondo, sia della parola scuola che della parola politica, è quello di preparare, insieme, un futuro migliore. E in questo senso, soprattutto in questo senso, io faccio e farò sempre politica in classe.

Enrico Galiano

Yes, I am afraid – and even if I am especially afraid saying what I think is the truth, saying that I have doubt and that I do not know but want to search, honestly, with others – Camminiare insieme – I will try to do, even if walking may mean building a wall. Not knowing the answer does not suggest moving on with giving the old and wrong answers

Berlin, 20th of September, about 5:00 p.m., I am waiting in the canteen – we want to go to the new performance of Brecht’s Baal …

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 … 


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.

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


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.