VIIIAll social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.IXThe highest point reached by contemplative materialism, that is, materialism which does not comprehend sensuousness as practical activity, is contemplation of single individuals and of civil society.XThe standpoint of the old materialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human society, or social humanity.XIThe philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
Attributed to Johann Caspar Lavater, the words
Those who do not strive to move forward, are not taking themselves seriously
are at the House of Science in Bremen. It is the venue of yesterday’s symposium to honour Rudolf Hickel.
The symposium is aiming on addressing the
Herausforderungen für Politik und ökonomische Wissenschaft im 21. Jahrhundert/ Challenges for politics and scientific economic disciplines in the 21st century.
In particular André Heinemann put a huge effort into compiling an interesting programme. – And actually he brought me back to Bremen, to the university, from which I obtained my doctorate. A long way if you want as André and myself actually met on occasion of the Shanghai Forum.
Importantly, the sessions and the overall event aimed on creating some space for really reflecting on some of the issues, allowing for more than presentations and Q&As only, and furthermore crossing borders. This did not (only) mean to look at wider issues of political economy but also emphasising the need of developing questions. The evening before we had been actually sitting together, mocking about parts of the current mainstream:
It is not really so important to have a question. Relevant is having data – and then you can define a question from calculating the data in some way that allows you to arrive at some interesting result.
Of course, some answers had been given during the event; and many questions had been raised. For my part, I was continuing [here and here frequently updated information the work] to ventilate the issue of precarity, in this case in close connection with the challenges posed by ‘Industry 4.0’. Soon an update will follow – linking to a text with some background considerations on the topic, titled
Beklagen von Prekarität oder Forderung nach neuen Sicherheiten/Sicherungsstrukturen – Herausforderungen durch Industrie 4.0
the audio recording of the presentation of during the symposium is available and another, more extensive presentation, to be given in early next week in Changsha will follow.
First, back to my students in Vienna … – teaching European integration at times of increasingly disintegrating pressures an interesting topic.
Making life difficult by complicated, complex thoughts …! – This is the image academics have the bear with quite often – the absent-minded professor is the common proposition.
So the scene:
Imagine there is a train station, you receive a mail message on the phone and it is important enough to receive immediate attention: you want to download it on your tablet, allowing you to work on the issue while travelling. Free internet available as service of the train station, so you try … the annoying process of registration (big data needed, even from a small aunt like you) … the connection fails … – well, that’s life and you have to assess the text (some peer reviewing) later, other work to do during the train journey.
Sitting in the train, a few minutes later, a mail on your phone tells you the user name, different from the one sent via SMS.
As you are still in the area of the train station you want to connect … – big data, all is connected in the global village … – but now you are required to register for another network, not the train station int the railway company …, of course registration is free, zero marginality, the time you spent doesn’t count, i.e. the value of your time is considered to be equal to zero. Curiosity lets you do stupid things – so you register again, fail again …
… The voice out of the speaker reminds you in a very clear, not to say sharp and loud – voice: keep your mobile phones low level, don’t upset your neighbours … – pick and choose, the announcement is made n different languages, all in the clear and loud voice:
BE QUIET, DO NOT UPSET YOUR NEIGHBOURS!!
Isn’t this something that has to bring the day’s trinity to my mind, the one is the presentation heard earlier, dealing with data robbery and the working customer as new type of consumer, and the Un(der)paid Innovators: The Commercial Utiliza- tion of Consumer Work through Crowdsourcing.
The other thing coning to mind is a phone call made earlier, chatting with a Hungarian friend about the near-to-impossibility of living globally in a narrow-minded world where national sentiments are put higher than moral sentiments, even conflating them under the hegemonic meaning of the idea of a “commonwealth” of the Wealth of the Nations.
The dream you still have and of which you receive with all this the confirmation that it is a dream, something you just imagine, thus being a bit interpreting the world without (having the power to) changing things.
Escaping the world of dreams, of the supposed holiness of the trinity capturing your mind, you add a fourth element (which actually leaves father, son and Holy Spirit behind, overcoming them): a beautiful day, a beautiful landscape through which you pass, and possibly some readers from different countries wondering if this is a story that happened in the “own” country, wherever this might be … and where the only “academic” to the little tale was that the train left exactly 15 minutes later than scheduled – the academic quarter. – Perhaps to is not about academics making life complicated but the injustice of a narrow-minded system, extremely “diversified” = uncoordinated by privatisation, a world that suggests sharing as means of encapsulating (within) large “social networks” that loose their democratic dynamics.