L’Isle-Jourdain (Vienne) inspiring development of language

Passing the Viaduct near to L’Isle-Jourdain, I asked …

– indeed it is not a viaduct, as far as the term itself is not only about leading [ducere] a way across some kind of valley but it is also specifying the character of the lead: it refers to the via, i.e. road.

In this case, it is – I had been told – in actual fact not a viaduct but a pediaduct and a bit of a velo- or bikeduct.

Shouldn’t language try to advance things instead of maintaining old concepts, ant thus also ways of life. Shouldn’t it be – perhaps provocatively – in the present case be used as instrument that fosters walking and cycling?

Language-reformers of all countries unite, be brave … – use your power as means to change consciousness – towards a conscious way of living – towards innovation, instead of clinging to past and outdated models.

Meanings of a Term – Global Village

Bizarre, n’est-ce pas?
Turning away from teaching at a university in a more or less large city [well, a city with 9 million people is in China not considered to be really large …], in a country that is classified as ‘emerging economy’ in a setting of a joint venture, i.e. the collaboration of a Chinese and Welsh university to debates in a small village in France – 1.200 inhabitants allow to speak of a village.
What makes it bizarre is not so much the huge difference in the settings but the fact that the teaching in the supposed global setting had been very much about  narrowly understood economy, suggesting individuals acting rationally on transparent markets, being completely informed, whereas we discuss in the village – really transparent, a real market with all its imponderables, including that of non-market performances, solidarity, neighbourly support etc.- strategies hat are suitable for new politics and policies in a globalised world.
The internet is there and used in both cases and one wonders if it offers a net sufficiently strong to absorb the tension?
*****
The one meeting is relocated – we go on the river.
The reflection of the trees and bushes in the water make me reflecting on the actual meaning of the relationship between base and superstructure.
The roots as base, more or less rigid in the ground, the stem and strong branches, the leaves … – not moving this calm evening – the firm regulatory framework that is completed by the actual ‘governance’ and mode of life and living regimes [and here].
Or is it the other way rond, the accusation regime being the flexible part, adapting to the changing conditions of utilising capital? Perhaps such ‘flexibility of the accumulation regime is just a temporary matter – during phases of massive change as we see them at the moment?
Bizarre – and interesting – how short the way can be between trees, reflected in a river and ventilating for instance matters of digitisation and sharing economy. surely much shorter than the reflections teaching model economics in the modern ivory tower of wrongly understood curricula.

The cat’s tale – the difficulty of academia then and now

It seems to be relatively easy to deal with Schroedinger’s cat – the question is well known:

[1]

Schrödinger wanted people to imagine that a cat, poison, a geiger counter, radioactive material, and a hammer were inside of a sealed container. The amount of radioactive material was minuscule enough that it only had a 50/50 shot of being detected over the course of an hour. If the geiger counter detected radiation, the hammer would smash the poison, killing the cat. Until someone opened the container and observed the system, it was impossible to predict if the cat’s outcome. Thus, until the system collapsed into one configuration, the cat would exist in some superposition zombie state of being both alive and dead.[2]

The one way of dealing with it is to open the box in order to see if the cat is alive or not. However, it is a way of dealing with the problem by actually denying it as checking, giving ‘empirical evidence’ in actual fact changes the conditions to such an extent that, what had been the question at the outset is actually redefined: the conditions from which the question emerged are not anymore given.

The other way is to admit that there is no answer and that there cannot be any answer for ever. One could see this as a purely academic issue – though this is probably seen differently by the cat – being eternally in a situation of not knowing if her is dead or alive which must admittedly a hugely unpleasant state of existence. And both ‘easy answers’ prevail when we are looking at academia, in particular universities: researching, studying and teaching. One question may be asked though: what is if we simply look at the tale, not the entire cat but also not something that exists only as chimera?

Some reflections on the development of third level education today can be found here, impressions and reports, resulting from having worked in China for two years at a ‘joint venture’ between a EUropean and a Chinese university, and reflecting more general trends than really anything like ‘this is China’. And also reflecting on a general trend of supposed academic education where one learns not to agree with but to follow rules, where you have to like numbers but yu do nit have to like maths … – at the end where you should end with a major that makes sure that the cat is dead while the mice are dancing a bubble dance, appealingly majoring in accounting without understanding the economy of which it takes account.

********

[1]            https://i.stack.imgur.com/Of40B.jpg; 27/07/17

[2]            IFLScience – The lighter sight of science: Schrödinger’s Cat: Explained; http://www.iflscience.com/physics/schrödinger’s-cat-explained/; 27/07/17

Shedding light … at least a bit

In some way at least the following may shed a bit more light on the direction of the move, of the strives … – at least it does shed light on the words at the end of the last entry here … Va, pensioro

Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate;Va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,Ove olezzano tepide e molliL’aure dolci del suolo natal!Del Giordano le rive saluta,Di Sïonne le torri atterrate…Oh mia patria sì bella e perduta!Oh membranza sì cara e fatal!Arpa d’or dei fatidici vati,Perché muta dal salice pendi?Le memorie nel petto riaccendi,Ci favella del tempo che fu!O simile di Solima ai fatiTraggi un suono di crudo lamento,O t’ispiri il Signore un concentoChe ne infonda al patire virtù! Go, thought, on golden wings,Go, alight on the cliffs, on the hills,Where waft the warm and gentleSweet breezes of our native land.Greet thou Jordan’s banks,The fallen towers of Zion…Oh, my fatherland, so beautiful and lost!Oh, remembrance so dear and fatal!Harp of gold of prophet bards,Why hangst thou silent from the willow?Rekindle memories in our breast,Speak to us of the time that was.O [harp], like Solomon to the fates,Draw out a sound of harsh lamentation;O may the Lord inspire in thee an accordWhich might infuse our suffering with virtù. Vojagu penson, per viaj oraj flugilojVojagu kaj pozu sur klifoj, sur holmojkie varmete kaj milde parfumasl’auron dolcan el la propra teroSalutante la bordojn el Jordaniokaj la detruitajn turojn el CionoHo, Mia patrio, tre bela sed forlasitaHo, memoroj, tre karaj sed fatalajOran arpon, de la profetaj poetojkial silente de la saliko pendas?la memoriagojn en nia brusto revivaskaj parolas al ni pri la estinta tempoHo, simila al la Jerusalema fatokreas krudan lamentan sononHo, lazu la Lordon inspiri melodionkia infuzu virtecon al nia sufero

 

Or is it  another confrontation with windmills?

Which means?

Which means?

— the standard question when working in several countries, across continents and a meeting has to be arranged: 12:00 o’clock — meaning nothing if it is not referring to a specific time-zone which, as context, makes it possible to answer the question ‘what time is it there?’

Which means!

— this time, after having returned to Europe — it is stated with an exclamation mark … : being [w]here again, means at the moment at least being in a place that causes exploding in the stir of feelings of extreme ‘alienation’, while not being sure about the cause[s]. It is about learning as ‘Foreigner in the own country – viewing from inside or asking: Are we serious at all?[1]

  • alienation …. , land- and city-scapes that are as distant from each other that it cannot be grasped as something real;
  • alienation, looking at the involvement in academic work of different levels, the distance between them going beyond the distance between the ground level of a cottage and the top level of Burj Khalifa as the world’s highest building;
  • alienation when it comes to different love stories: teatrale e tragico but also other fun stories … , divertente, sull’amore platonico, preguidica la vanità — as long as one sits solely in the audience it makes them simply enjoyable, while standing on the stage is at times difficult;
  • alienation, when standing in the shop, looking at the price tags, calculating: it may be ‘cheaper’[2] to buy a new shirt …, coffeemaker … not bringing the one already owned to the dry cleaner …, not going to the coffee shop for a cuppa …
  • alienation, when seeing someone taking keys out of the handbag, highlighting the ‘own’ as proper part of the proper life, though contradicting the reality of the loss of property, the accumulation by dispossession, characterising life in societies of which the social is defined by its dissolution
  • alienation when thinking about representatives, figures whose work consists of representing and presenting, flying first class while others do not find the mere resources to go to work or to study …
  • alienation when receiving e-mails, using addresses that actually do not exist, institutions and institutes pretensions: people mentioned although they left for other positions, large statutory bodies sending replies to inquiries after many weeks, with the surprising ‘signature’: sent from my blackberry …
  • alienation when looking at the stabilities: the same places hosting the same begging, pleading faces: ho fame …., the same churchy-type hypocritical nuns, surely loving — meaningfully loving by giving, though too often missing it by not taking, where taking is understood as

grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality

  • alienation when feeling obliged to ‘defend the other’ — too often simply as reply to ridiculous prejudices that would even in a mediocre cartoon simply stupid, and unfortunately also dangerously igno-arrogant
  • alienation when accessing the web: fast, unVPNdisturbed, free and uncensored and then getting aware of the very personalised notions, all defining the rhythm of the web-movement … — algorithms of another VeryPersonalisedNotions.

Isn’t this all about expectations of meaning where one wonders if there is any meaning that can be defined as matter of humanity, let alone in humane terms, all this and much more opening the way to alienation, meaninglessness and …

… and where the only meaning seems to be the ability to adapt, adopt, into the world of hypocrisy,

stirring the pot just for the sake of stirring

in the illusion that it may end as it did in the case of the frogs, the one surviving as he resisted to stop floundering after falling into the milk jar so that finally

the frantic moves of his companion had churned the milk into butter.

All he had to do was to jump out of the jar

What Brecht grasped as matter of the work and exploitation process

Dig away!

Major Chung owns a wood

See it’s cleared before tonight

That’s orders. Understood?[3]

In the original German version

Trabt schneller!

Herr Dschinn hat einen Wald

Der muß vor Nacht gerodet sein

Und Nacht ist jetzt schon bald!

is now body-soul-snatching the entire life, reflected in terms as care-work, relationship-work, love-work even where it should not be a matter of the supposed ‘oldest profession’ – life-work, where, as known from Goethe

to nonsense reason turns,

and benefit to worry.

… I saw this earlier, at Roma Termini, the central train station

It seems then there is nothing we ACTUALLY ARE and overcoming alienation may really be a matter of ‘being what you want’ … and the Kiko Milano, the shop, advertising this way, is surely only one of many shops, designers, political forces, think tanks … that will tell us.

Sure, the question that needs to be asked is the following:

****

What is new, what is different …?

Those olden days, so often presenting themselves as golden ways on which life trotted along, it had been the priests and the dignitaries of the villages, those power holders, hegemons who changed the labels, and with it the matter that enables …

Isn’t all this locating us in both cases — the traditional and the contemporary society, and also in the old world and the new world — in the middle of The Lonely Crowd,[4] allowing some variation, but not allowing escaping loneliness, leaving us in different ways alone with Man’s Search for Meaning.[5]

Locating us as alie-loners[6], though all of us akin to a similar underlying sentiment so that Frankl could indeed suggest that every era needs its own therapeutic paradigms.

The time where we are increasingly forced alie-loners in a world that provides the freedom of being what we want, as it makes it difficult to be what we are, ‘undesigned’, but loved and loving as reflected in Frankl’s words:

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.

Alienation as designer-life in designer-dresses with designer-bags, knowing the time from the designer-watches takes place in gated socio-spatial realms in which language is reduced on information about models and their functioning about which Erwin Chargaff wrote:

The more limited and circumscribed the question, the more likely a definite and comprehensible answer, i.e., one that adds to, and fits into, a previously conceived system or model. In limited sciences, such as physics or chemistry, which are surrounded by boundaries, as it were, the multiplicity of frequently overlapping answers, collected in the course of centuries, has produced a broad area of understanding, though even here much is still obscure.

But biology is limitless, and our experiments are only drops out of an ocean that changes its shape with every rolling wave. Because our questions must skirt our fundamental ignorance of the nature of life, the answers we receive can be no more than a travesty of truth; a truth, moreover, that may be so much of a plural that we can never comprehend it. The manner in which questions are asked, i.e., experiments designed, is either completely random or conditioned by our ideas of a preestablished harmony, a harmony that we seldom recognize as a contract with God that He has never signed.[7]

And it has as its very consequence either hyperactivity — the rat running in the wheel because it is running in the wheel because it is running in the wheel, and the only reason is …, running in the wheel, maintaining the movement, mistaking it for development.

Or it is the mentioned

stirring the pot just for the sake of stirring

Alienation as pain, pain that does not find a cure

Nicht alle schmerzen sind heilbar, denn manche schleichen sich tiefer und tiefer ins Herz hinein, während Tage und Jahre verstreichen werden Sie Stein.[8]

In my translation

Some are getting deeper and deeper under the skin, into the heart, and over the years they establish themselves as stone.

****

And the religion — aren’t Frankel and Chargaff, and so many others returning to it. Arriving in Rome the other day: there had been the churchy-type hypocritical nuns as a kind of welcome, at the airport a high concentration of these globalists, ranting against the fundamentalists of other origin, without considering the own religion possibly being fundamentalist … — Perhaps the attraction is a reflection of the commitment to integrity, the holistic character of the world which surely is needed. And still, I refrain from it. I once heard a friend, speaking about a book that was deeply coined by the Indian religious thinking, saying:

Yes, I don’t buy into it. I just read it as general reflection, stepping across the religious part.

And it means to face the paradox of reality, to accept the contradiction and tension that accepting the holistic character of the world does not mean to accept that there is one world only.

 

Pánta rheî

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[1]            Ausländer im eigenen Land – ein Blick von innen Oder: Was machen wir denn bloß?; in: Nachrichtendienst des Deutschen Vereins für öffentliche und private Fürsorge, Frankfurt/M., Issue 11/2000: pp. 376 – 382 (based on a presentation on the 75th Deutsche Fuersorgetag, November 2000 in Hamburg)

[2]            in inverted commas as this is of course only a matter of the mney paid here and now, not considering externalisation, social ‘meaning of exploitation’ that defined such prices along the different levels …

[3]            Brecht: Good Person of Szechwan. Song of the eighth elephant.
https://books.google.de/books?id=kPc0DQAAQBAJ&pg=PT128&lpg=PT128&dq=song+of+the+eighth+elephant&source=bl&ots=S6Wjpszmg6&sig=Qd6o4q4Z2z4aVca7-eqbXE5XXvg&hl=it&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiorOPi_qXVAhWpI8AKHVRYCdw4ChDoAQhGMAU#v=onepage&q=song%20of%20the%20eighth%20elephant&f=false

[4]            David Riesman/Nathan Glazer/Reuel Denney, 1950: The lonely Crowd. A study of the Changing American Character

[5]            Viktor Frankl, 1946: Man’s Search for Meaning – original title: …trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager

[6]            as composite of alienation and loner

[7] Chargaff, Erwin, 1978: Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature, New York: The Rockefeller University Press: 169

[8]            Poem by Ricarda Huch

STRAIGHTFORWARDNESS ….

straightforwardness – it could well mean not to follow the straight line …

Taking the words from Keynes’ General Theory we have to see:

The classical theorists resemble Euclidean geometers in a non-Euclidean world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight—as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions which are occurring. Yet, in truth, there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels and to work out a non-Euclidean geometry. Something similar is required to-day in economics.

And even beyond geometry and economics, the seemingly simple solutions, bringing us forward ling the straight lines, may be fatal, especially while standing next to the abyss.

… another time to say good-bye …

Saying good-bye as permanent state of living?
Moving to one place, just to Say Good-bye again?
… and again it is time to leave …, or to move on … because …, well, it is simple, ‘it is me‘.

And for the others?

You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismay’d: be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vex’d;
Bear with my weakness; my, brain is troubled:
Be not disturb’d with my infirmity:
If you be pleased, retire into my cell
And there repose: a turn or two I’ll walk,
To still my beating mind.

(From: Shakespeare, 1611/12: The Tempest; Act 4. Scene 1. Before Prospero’s cell)

… the way to go …. – from where, to where, with whom?

 

.., along the river, though against its stream ….  va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate …

[I will soon publish a link from here to some replique, looking back on two years, trying to draw some conclusions for the two-hundred years to come …]