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There is a light
and they are together. It is not a sad painting!
This is from a most enjoyable visit with a friend at the New Pinakothek. It had been much later that evening, after we had been chatting, nicely, seriously, laughingly over a drink when she gave me this think-piece, and with it came a ‘provocation to live’ …
Recently, my Italian translator, Giuseppe, wrote me an email. It was not a typical exchange, but quite an extraordinary personal query:
“Many see you as a very courageous person. They would like to imitate you at that, at least a little bit, but they feel they are not courageous, say, ‘by nature’ and they cannot learn courage. What do you think about that? Can people train themselves to be courageous?
I do not know how to answer this question in brief, and definitely not in the body of an email, not in just a few words. But the question is important, maybe essential, and so I decided to reply by writing this essay. ….
What we – as teachers and students – have to acknowledge, always and in particular the days of exams, even if we are not any kind of genius.
I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
It is not least a genuine sardino while we are pretending to and striving for living excellence of global imperialism where power and pretension counts more than excellence.
Acknowledging that we are dwarfs, standing the shoulders of giants
, thus finding ourselves in a large machine, we still have to decide for ourselves if and to which extent we want to be a small cog in the wheels or if we want to throw a spanner in the works.
One thing I learned again from my students: Real wisdom is the ability to ask genuine questions and the courage to ask them. So rare in a world of excellence that follows the rule of stating answers we know already on questions that are not relevant. To my students, the wide and brave amongst them:
Thank you all!