Essentials …

staunliches waltet viel, und doch nichts ist erstaunlicher als der Mensch

it is written across one of the doors in the Niobiden Rooms, and so often forgotten in daily life

so many things are astonishing, and yet nothing is more amazing than man


Who gets the third phone, I ?

The Networking-effect, not anything else than spiraling what does already exist ….

… though here as with any kind of this effect the fundamental question is about hen, egg …, and the rooster, at some stage pretending that he (yes, he) is the real creator of everything. One may reword the question and ask:

Who gets the third phone?

In case this sounds strange, a brief explanation will do: the network effect is often explained by making reference to the phone:

  • Having one phone, just being the first and only one, is surely an exiting thing in terms of holding a device in your hand that is potentially a world changer, though it is equally frustrating as it value depends on somebody else also having a phone.
  • In actual fact, being the second having such device is …, well, it is probably the same person as the one who has the first because it is necessary to have two devices to test and proof that “it works” – From Ray Tomlinson, who had been working on this, we learn the following:

The first message was sent between two machines that were literally side by side. The only physical connection they had (aside from the floor they sat on) was through the ARPANET. I sent a number of test messages to myself from one machine to the other. The test messages were entirely forgettable and I have, therefore, forgotten them. Most likely the first message was QWERTYUIOP or something similar. When I was satisfied that the program seemed to work, I sent a message to the rest of my group explaining how to send messages over the network. The first use of network email announced its own existence.

These first messages were sent in late 1971. The next release of TENEX went out in early 1972 and included the version of SNDMSG with network mail capabilities. The CPYNET protocol was soon replaced with a real file transfer protocol having specific mail handling features. Later, a number of more general mail protocols were developed., there with courtesy Dan Murphey.

  • Being the third who owns a phone, makes a decisive difference: it is the step “beyond the idea”, the moment of take off: if it is …, well, we may call it a “social decision first order”, it is the want to be in touch with somebody even if that person is not physically present; we may say there is another option, let us call it “social decision second order” – this is the want to change the world by initialising a new way of communication, namely communication across a long distance, limited to the participants of the communicative act (many people can hear fanfares or see smoke) – it is communication across the world, or at least within the village or the community – mind, this community is already a changed one if compared with “the original one”: it consists of more people than those being in the immediately (= without mediation) reachable present presence …. – but we may also find a different background, namely an economic one: again, one of first order: the need to maintain in touch to execute a specific business; the other of second order, which is about establishing a large network that can execute one task, composed of different sub-tasks that: if you want the institutionalisation of the six degrees of dependence, focused on  a special, though not entirely pre-defined “undertaking”.
  • Many of these in fact implying the need of going beyond the overall use of three phones. And this opens the way for a another reasoning, can we say it is a social-economic one? Or on of anticipated surplus-value? Or one based I a felt or assumed further process of socialisation? Surely different aspects play a role, and surely it is difficult to find the exact and reliable answer. And surely, in hindsight motives are coming to the fore that are in the meantime completely overgrown and changed by
    • mechanisms required by running the show – academic networks that change focus due to the requirement of financing the work
    • people who joined and take over with different interests
    • or we find a shift towards using nice wrapping paper with beautiful ribbons – perhaps the ribbons made of the ropes with which people could have hanged in other eras as their acts are just ordinary criminal offenses.ón-de-Pinocho-e1470486261161.jpg

Clarity …, and what undermines it

Sometimes, just near to publishing something, or sending it to the printer, I envy a bit other authors – everything they write is so terrible clear easy to understand — and then I remember what a colleague one wrote, Kant, it is some comfort …

many a book would have been much clearer if it had not been made quite so clear. For the aids to clarity helpb in the partsbut often confuse in the whole, since the reader cannot quickly enough attain a survey of the whole; and all their bright colors paint over and make unrecognizable the articulation or structure of the system, which yet matters most when it comes to judging its unity and soundness.

Kant: Critique

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

The grass is always greener …

The grass is always greener on the other side …

… that is what they told him, that is what he looked for …, until one day he awoke in a desert as there hadn’t been any other side left.

photo credential:; Di James Rickwood – Flickr: P*ssed again!, CC BY 2.0,

searching …

Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov**



A lonely sail is flashing white
Amdist the blue mist of the sea!…
What does it seek in foreign lands?
What did it leave behind at home?..

Waves heave, wind whistles,
The mast, it bends and creaks…
Alas, it seeks not happiness
Nor happiness does it escape!

Below, a current azure bright,
Above, a golden ray of sun…
Rebellious, it seeks out a storm
As if in storms it could find peace!

La vela

Biancheggia una vela solitaria
Nella nebbia azzurra del mare!..
Cosa cerca nel paese lontano?
Cos’ha lasciato nel paese natale?..

Giocano le onde – il vento sibila,
E l’albero si piega e geme…
Ahimé, – la fortuna non cerca
E dalla fortuna non viene!

Sotto ha la corrente azzurra,
Sopra – del sole l’effige dorata…
Ma essa, inquieta, cerca la tempesta,
Come se in questa la quiete fosse data!

Das Segel

Wo Meer und Himmel sich vereinen
erglänzt ein Segel weiß und weit
Was trieb es aus dem Land der Seinen
Was sucht es in der EinsamkeitEs pfeift der Wind.- Die Wellen drohen
Es knarrt der Mast. Das Segel schwebt
Nicht vor dem Glück ist es geflohen
Es ist nicht Glück, wonach es strebtStrahlt auch in Gold der Himmelsbogen
Und glänzt auch noch so blau das Meer
Das Segel lechzt nach Sturm und Wogen
Als ob in Stürmen Ruhe wär.

see as well

again – sometimes just an occasion to look further back

Well, right now we are preparing to leav – heading where ? Can we really now it or isn’t more in retrospect that we learn from where we came – and from where is more then


On occasions of leaving, I fondly remember these two stories – mentally larger good-byes than the present one – though time will show and this may become a kind of time to say good-bye – préfinale. Or I may say it actually is, entering a new status of settlement.

Time to Say Good-Bye

September 20th 2009 – a short walk through the busy city of Brussels: Journées du Patrimoine and Dimanche sans Voiture – though using the car is apparently not forbidden it is widely accepted not to use it. Nevertheless, the streets are crowded.

The sun is shining, and it is ideal for people from the Belgium and European capital to enjoy lovely day outdoor. Not just the Grand Place is reminiscent of a (continued here on Rozenberg Quarterly)

Time to Say Good-Bye . Again

You are cordially invited to read the following notes – but please accept: though reading the reflections is hopefully at times entertaining, the notes are not easy to comprehend, presenting thoughts as they are: interconnected, being a complex structure that cannot be easily deconstructed without doing damage to the overall existence. It had been the easy ways of looking at history that allowed the total demonisation of Zarathustra – in the postscript you will see the reasoning behind this reference. Having said this, you should allow the postscript to be a postscript, as I would otherwise made it myself a Prologue or a Prolegomena.

Looking once back, aiming on a huge leap forward – or: Luhmann’s Strawberry Cake (Continued Here on Rozenberg Quarterly)

Una terza cosa non è data ??
No è ancora arrivato …

Not even tiny desk …, though the rocking chair is …