De-Margin-Alisation

Yesterday we went to an exhibition n the theatre museum here in Vienna, from my side not expected to such an extent: a treasure.

AnnaReisenbichler, 2018: SdB; (Seidenfaden in Papier gestickt)

In fact, much had been written about those at the margin, presenting the ambiguity of the outsider. This “positive side” had been something that employed my thinking the last weeks already, reading about family businesses etc.. It surely will guide my future work, looking more on the margin: victim in terms of having to carry the burden of all the stuff that is externalised by the ruling classes; but also preventing the advantage of having nothing to loose, being already there where not only new varieties int also entirely new plants may grow.

Annunci

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?

The Price to be paid

Much has been said about the price to be paid for success … and often the German’s are praised: zeal, diligence …, though Protestantism was and is not necessarily dominant amongst the Germans, this tribe is often presented as incarnation of the protestant work ethics (as Max Weber analysed it). Topics for many discussions; many topics for discussion.

One aspect, often forgotten, had been mentioned by Immanuel Kant, though emerging from a possibly unexpected, even unrecognised context (English below):   

Die vorzügliche Achtungsbezeigung in Worten und Manieren selbst gegen einen nicht Gebietenden in der bürgerlichen Verfassung – die Reverenzen, Verbeugungen (Complimente), höfische – den Unterschied der Stände mit sorgfältiger Pünktlichkeit bezeichnende Phrasen, – welche von der Höflichkeit (die auch sich gleich Achtenden nothwendig ist) ganz unterschieden sind – das Du, Er, Ihr und Sie, oder Ew. Wohledlen, Hochedeln, Hochedelgebornen, Wohlgebornen ( ohe, iam satis est !) in der Anrede als in der Pedanterei die Deutschen unter allen Völkern der Erde (die indische Kasten vielleicht ausgenommen) es am weitesten gebracht haben, sind das nicht Beweise eines ausgebreiteten Hanges zur Kriecherei unter Menschen? ( Hae nugae in seria ducunt. ) Wer sich aber zum Wurm macht, kann nachher nicht klagen, daß er mit Füßen getreten wird.[1]

Preferential tributes of respect in words and manners even to those who have no civil authority – reverences, obeisance’s (compliments) and courtly phrases marking with the utmost precision every distinction in rank, is something altogether different from courtesy (which is necessary even for those who respect each other equally) – the Du, Er, Ihr and Sie, or Ew. Wohledeln, Hochedeln, Hochedelgeborenen, Wohlgeborenen (ohe, iam satis est!) as forms of address, a pedantry in which the Germans seem to outdo any other people in the world (except possibly the Indian castes): Does not all this prove that there is a widespread propensity to servility in men? (Hae nugae in seria ducunt) But one who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him.[2]

Worthwhile to think about it, not least as it reminds a bit of Mills, thinking about the dissatisfied human and the satisfied pig.

It may be worth to mention that, looking for the text on the internet, usually quotations omit the last sentence, thus, I would say, omitting the price to be paid for such success.


[1]    (Kant, Immanuel, 1793: Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft. Die Metaphysik der Sitten; 437)

[2]    (Kant, Immanuel, 1793: The Metaphysics of Morals; Introduction, translation, and notes by Mary Gregor; New York et altera: Cambridge Univesity Press, 1991: 232)

World Teachers’ Day

The 5th of October, since 1994, the World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. The 1966 Recommendation provides the main reference when it comes to teachers’ rights and responsibilities on a global scale.

 

Worthwhile to remember what Alfred Marshall said in 1890.

The schoolmaster must learn that his main duty is not to impart knowledge, for a few shillings will buy more printed knowledge than a man’s brain can hold. It is to educate character, faculties and activities; so that the children even of those parents who are not thoughtful themselves, may have a better chance of being trained up to become thoughtful parents of the next generation. To this end public money must flow freely. And it must flow freely to provide fresh air and space for wholesome play for the children in all working class quarters. (Marshall, Alfred, 1890: Principles of Economics; MacMillan and Co., London, 1930: 718)

It seems that with the “refeudalisation of society” we face the situation that the positions of the revolutionaries of the olden times, whose authors had been yesterday’s conservatives, are becoming joining on the side of the revolutionaries again. In this light there is also something about the illustration, ensuring to sin – surely not catholic-literally but to accept that pupils and students are partners.

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Worthwhile a note on the world and China: on September the 10th I received a mail from 张伟, a former student of mine – well, she would say “a student of mine”, skipping the word “former”. She sent her congrats and best wishes for the teachers day. First I was puzzled – did she mix up the date? 2018, the Chinese teachers’ day is on the 10th of September, the world teachers’ day on October 5th, a simple explanation. I checked later on the web and found something that is … – well, I leave it up to you to think about it:

10 September is an official holiday in China. This day the whole country fetes educators and teachers. This holiday, in its different interpretations, has been existed in China as early as the Middle Ages. Teachers and coaches have always been honored and respected in China. Very often teachers acted as mentors throughout the whole life; especially it is true for the traditional Chinese martial arts.

It also says something on the reason of making it a public holiday: the official acknowledgment of teachers – as intellectuals – and their important role in boosting the development of the country. Also

Since the school system in China is based on the Western model, many old traditions in honor of teachers have not been preserved today.

One may have different opinions on this, the political background …, well. But at least it seems to be worthwhile to mention that there is a deed in the one part of the world, and that there are just words, probably widely unspoken, unwritten, unheard, unread … in another part of the world.

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Worthwhile a personal note:
Only recently, visiting with a friend the Kunsthalle in Munich, I remembered one point of all this, when standing with her in front of one of Emmanuel Maignan’s works, the “Anamorfosi San Francesco di Paola”. A pleasure to experience the amazement of both of us. Though it had not been about a visit with a student, it is very similar anyway: Something of learning together and admitting that it is about the experience of being caught by what one sees – in this case actually being caught by what one does not see: the praying person only visible from two specified angles, the sides. It reminded me of having used Holbein’s equally magnificent  work “Gli Ambasciatori” for showing the same effect: the hiding of something, the fact of leaving something invisible for those who lack the enlightenment – an enlightenment that is emerging from the standpoint, the perspective. Never having seen the original of Holbein’s work, seeing something similar entailed still the experience of being amazed. – What foolish teacher would say s/he knows the one and only perspective. Doesn’t such perspective emerge only from putting together experiences, that may at some stage get stuck, paralyse the experienced if it goes together with closing the eyes, blocking off, not allowing new experiences to be made; and even more: not allowing looking at something “known” through new spectacles and of course forcing looking at the new through the old glasses.

Teachers’ Day – an opportunity to congratulate students, and to thank my students for allowing me to learning together with them.

Utilitarianism against Utility

 

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Obviously there is no answer to the question which Lessing once put to the utilitarian philosophers of his time: “And what is the use of use?” The perplexity of utilitarianism is that it gets caught in the unending chain of means and ends without ever arriving at some principle which could justify the category of means and end, that is, of utility itself.[1]

[1]            Arendt, Hannah, 1958: The Human Condition. Introduction by Margaret Canovan; Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1998: 154

social policy … and the value of values

Hum, in general Augustine is classified as theologian and philosopher … – and in general one can suppose that people’s remarks are based at least to some extent on personal experience. If so, and thinking for example about extremely high fees students have to pay, university administrator’s incomes increasing more than that of lecturers, and then looking at the fancy dresses of many priests, I am wondering what to make out of the following:

[I]t was Augustine who proposed to found not only the Christian ‘brotherhood’ but all human relationships on charity. But this charity, though its wordlessness clearly corresponds to the general human experience of love, is at the same time clearly distinguished from it being something, which, like the world, is between men: ‘Even robbers have between them [inter se] what they call charity.’

(quoted from Hannah Arendt’s Human Condition, with reference to Augustine’s Contra Faustum Manichaeum)