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.

Annunci

Scales falling from the eyes

Of course, change is undeniable, everywhere and at any time. And the same can be said in regard of things not changing at all, being the same everywhere and at any time. – It seems to be true for the big and also for the small matters. And sometimes we are not really aware of any of these; and/or we are not aware of the details, the question of the real meaning. Sure, there cannot be any clear answer, as there is always the perspective as decisively intervening variable. At stake here are at least issues as form, substance and perception: looking at the rainbow fish we see the sparkling scales,

https://www. worldwidefishandpets.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/boesemansRainbow2-1-1-1.jpg

though we have to ask what happened to the fish after he gave them away. Is it the same fish or not, and what – if anything – changed.

It is the question also if we look at language: so often we take words dispassionately, just as they are so well known – as it happened the other day, or I should say night, walking along the Leopoldstrasse, seeing the bakery’s light, the word Strassenverkauf – Street Trading: of course: the window where they would sell during the opening hours bread, roles and cake to the passerby – of course also the coffee to go: wiki-food for wiki-lives in a wiki-world where everything is possible:

I am expected to see the social and, to a large extent, even the real environment as a contingent. Everything could be different – and almost nothing I can change.[1]

wikiwiki – an invitation to play — wikiwiki – kiwi kiwi – Kipukapuka

Few meters on I hesitated, returned, reading it again, in a different way now – getting the impression of scales falling from my eyes: Isn’t there really some more truth in a reading that suggests that shops like this are trading in streets, shaping very much spaces, public spaces?

Here space is about living in permanent transition – space where pace matters …, as faster as better …, as further as worthier …

“Everything could be different – and almost nothing I can change“ is also about the paradox of a new world, suggesting

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, as Evgeny Morozov titles in his critical review.[2]

The paradox is that everything becomes transitory – and in the knowledge of this we make things to be replaced. The earlier Phoebus cartel meant to shadow light bulbs

The Phoebus cartel had an ambitious agenda. First, it stabilized prices at a fairly high level. The demand for lightbulbs was inelastic—that is, it changed little with the price of the object. Because as a rule consumers spent far more on electricity to power bulbs than on bulbs themselves, the price of electricity was the chief factor determining the demand for lamps. European producers reasoned that higher prices on bulbs would not depress sales while boosting profit margins per unit sold. General Electric particularly liked this policy, which allowed it to keep prices in the United States lower than European ones and so discourage challengers from the continent. In addition, the cartel provided for licensing technology among members, a system that earned GE substantial royalties. Finally, Phoebus pursued a far-reaching program of technical standardization. European firms had been producing electric lamps with a dizzying variety of voltage, longevity, brightness, and socket size. The cartel sought to regularize bulbs, setting up a central laboratory in Switzerland to which all members had to submit their goods. Few objected to the policy, as standardization lowered production costs as well as confusion among consumers. Another initiative, however, did not earn such universal praise. Phoebus (and in the United States, GE) systematically changed bulbs to allow them to produce more light per unit of electricity. This also cut the average life span of bulbs by about 20 percent, forcing consumers to purchase more of them. The cartel did not advertise the change, but when called to account, managers pointed out that the new bulbs provided more light per unit of power and so benefited customers. It was not clear, however, why consumers could not have chosen for them- selves between the new, brighter bulbs and the old, longer-lasting ones.[3]

The new cartel is about more. It is about making us to live lives in transition  – instead of furthering enlightenment, shadowing the being itself.

Occupied – being busy is the new and ultimate way … tired is the new stoned.

****

The other day I went with two friends after lunch around the corner – who could have resisted the question ‘We’ll go for an ice-cream?’ – ’Sure, best gelateria in town’ I smirked. There had been a more or less long queue, people well ordered entering the small place, ordering, being asked which ‘top-up’ they wanted to test – just a spoon full, moving on to the cash register and then we stood more or less in the way, enjoying ice-cream and company under the little awning – indeed, there is room in even the smallest cabin.

This is the pleasant of being caught in a machinery of shops, eateries, service centres …As it is a pleasant way to go for a cuppa in the shop next to the Institute – where they have coffee to Gogh.

****

…all trading in streets, highly social in their orientation on shaping spaces in which we move, or in which we are caught, not feeling in a position to move. Sure, supposedly we are acting purely as individuals, like the Smithian butcher, brewer, or baker of whom we know he following:

Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chuses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens. Even a beggar does not depend upon it entirely. The charity of well-disposed people, indeed, supplies him with the whole fund of his subsistence.[4]

Even if we really behave like individual butchers, brewers and bakers, nolens volens we create spaces and publicness – being occupied by our occupations — and confronted with the challenge of occupying them – on this level the choice of ice cream in the small place around the corner and grabbing a sandwich at the window, ops Strassenverkauf – Street Trading.

****

Perception matters – perception of things, beings and being. And perception is not least about perceiving historical truth, truth of history, of change and stability and how it is seen. Martin Walser, being interviewed as one of the Zeuge des Jahrhunderts, states pointedly

As long as something is, it is not what it will have been at some time. – Solange etwas ist, ist es nicht, was es einmal gewesen sein wird.

And the same, cm grano salis, can be said when it comes to language:

As soon as we use words, we may use them in a way that is different to what they meant when they had been used originally. Yes, there is movement as well of language and its use and understanding.

Moving – Heraclitian movement is also about moving oneself, not (primarily) as self-movement for the sake of oneself, instead as actively moving oneself in order to move society in order to build a society that allows to move …

… indeed it is about the butcher, the brewer, or the baker.

Sure, so far

[w]e address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

But is it entirely true? Aren’t we also at times go to a craftsperson who is clearly distinctive from the replaceable machine, tool or vending machine – who ‘is what s/he works and works what s/he is’? Isn’t s/he like most of us hoping to be able and encouraged (today one would say empowered) to live in a society

where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.

A passage that is still appreciated, even if Marx wrote these words in the German Ideology already in1845.

***************************************************************************************************

[1]       (Mir wird zugemutet, die soziale und weithin sogar die dingliche Umwelt als kontingent zu begreifen. Alles könnte anders sein – und fast nichts kann ich ändern.)

(Luhmann_Politische Planung-Aufsätze zur Soziologie von Politik und Verwaltung_1971_VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.pdf: 44)

[2]       (public affairs, 2013)

[3]       Wells, Wyatt, 2002: Antitrust and the Formation of the Postwar World; New York et alt.: Columbia University Press: 21

[4]       Smith, Adam, 1776: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations [The Wealth of Nations]

 

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.

The fish and her friends ….

So our fish glided his little body past the angry neighbours who could not believe their ears. No one, certainly never an insider, had ever insulted them so by questioning the ways of their idyllic stream. But for everything there is a first, and for that mossy stream this little fish was indeed a first. And now, swimming breathlessly away from the mob, he was trying to reach the waterfalls and the big, unseen world under it. The little black fish looked down and saw his friends, who soon would go back to the same old life. What a thought! He took heart and said, ‘Farewell, my friends. Do not forget me.’

(Hakakian, Roya, 2004: Journey from the Land of No. A Girlhood caught in revolutionary Iran; New York: Crown Publishers: 31 f.)

“CHANGE GREECE – CHANGE EUROPE – CHANGE4ALL!”

Please, find in the following an initiative addressing the situation in Greece … and in Europe.

This is a call which you can sign when following the link

“CHANGE GREECE – CHANGE EUROPE – CHANGE4ALL!”

 

Syriza’s potential victory in the forthcoming elections in Greece is of the utmost importance for all those who want Europe to change course. Such a victory would be an expression of the demand for dignity and justice: for hope. The threats and pressure applied by EU leaders, the Troika and financial circles to influence the electoral choice of the Greek people are unacceptable.

Throughout Europe, we will defend the right of the Greek people to make their decisions freely; to break with austerity; to say ‘no’ to the humanitarian crisis which has plagued the country; to pave the way for a real alternative for Greece – for a social and democratic reorientation.

Most political forces in Greece bow down to the Troika, but Alexis Tsipras and Syriza decided to do the opposite. They have created, working closely with the social movements, a broad coalition whose dynamism may well win a majority. Syriza and its allies propose to fight back against the humanitarian crisis, to restore collective agreements and labour rights, to create a fair tax system and to democratise the political system. A Syriza government will make Greece a credible player and will make the survival of the country and the people a precondition at the outset of any negotiations. The government will commit the country to a new path, rejecting corruption and patronage, opting instead for a new type of development in the interests of all. It will propose a European Conference on Debt to partially cancel the debt. The reimbursement modalities for the remaining part can facilitate an economic recovery through a large public investment programme – which should not be included in the Stability and Growth Pact – and a response to urgent social needs. At European level, it will propose a “European New Deal” for human development and environmental transition. Throughout Europe, we need to break with the rationale which is destroying Europe’s collective social gains and fuelling the rise of nationalism and right-wing populism. We need a new project, based on inclusive development, cooperation and democracy.

Throughout Europe, we believe that such a change in Greece will not affect the future of the Greek people alone. A victory for Syriza will allow Greece to escape from the current catastrophic situation but it will also represent green shoots of change for Europe. Breaking with austerity policies would be a signal, a source of hope for those who want to stand tall. At the same time, if Syriza is voted into power, its government will need massive support from the people of Europe in the face of the pressures from the financial markets and political forces which fear any departure from the obsolete framework of capitalist globalisation.

Across society, from wide political and social forces, from many organisations and walks of life: we do not accept the pressure brought to bear to prevent the Greek people from exercising their free choice. Those exerting this pressure today share responsibility for the perpetuation of harmful ‘shock therapy’ at all costs.

Throughout Europe, we are assuming our responsibilities, supporting those engaged in struggle, changing the balance of power, waging the battle of ideas and uniting all those who want to build – alongside the Greek people – a social, environmental and democratic Europe. We stand with the Greek people because their battle is also ours.