the red of the black

Black Friday, another bad import from ‘big brother’

– the following doesn’t even look at the small print let alone at what seems to be so small that it is not even printed: such day we are bombarded with goods — all those ‘special offers’ the sale of which, I am sure, still allowed to make a profit good profit: whatever the historical background is, that special day was not made a tradition of making loss. Besides this probably everybody reading these lines had been bombarded with e-mails, many unwanted SPAM-mails

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44458281

, aiming on convincing us to buy buy buy …

Leaving aside the wasted time – deleting all the unwanted mails and getting upset …- there is another, actually real cost: According to the Guardian

The sending, sorting and filtering of spam email alone accounts for 33bn units of electricity each year

According to another source – PhysOrg

Sending even a short email is estimated to add about four grammes (0.14 ounces) of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e) to the atmosphere.

To put this into perspective, the carbon output of hitting “send” on 65 mails is on par with driving an average-sized car a kilometre (0.6 of a mile).

And furthermore they calculated

The global carbon footprint from spam annually is equivalent to the greenhouse gases pumped out by 3.1 million passenger cars using 7.6 billion litres (two billion gallons) of gasoline in a year.

Of course, it is difficult to draw a line and perhaps such blogs as this should not exist. But leaving this aside, Black Friday was surely a red day, a warning lamp switching on such day when looking at the environmental question: a huge cost for the environment …, rarely considered or calculated; a huge “contribution to the GDB”, proving that in capitalism production of waste is considered to be valuable.

Annunci

Disenchantment …

or enchantment …?
In sociology we know latest since Max Weber about the disenchantment of the world. And still we cannot completely grasp it … – You may remember an entry some time ago, when I wrote about a chat with a friend, looking at The Other Dimension.

There it was about emotions, the exceptional and the part of life we cannot and do not even want to explain. There is again another dimension, the enchantment and fascination we overlook so often for which we do not have the time. The enchantment by something that seems to be just routine, perhaps even left to the autopilot, and as it is part of daily life we forget to approach it – sure, not least a metaphor, but there is indeed some fascination in so many things that may seem so very ordinary, from approaching a another country by plane to the landing, looking into the eyes of friends. Don’t we do it nearly every day, and don’t we easily forget about it ?

Quoting again from the mentioned Other Dimension:

To take it from Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment

Bourgeois society is ruled by equivalence. It makes the dissimilar comparable by reducing it to abstract quantities. To the enlightenment, that which does not reduce to numbers, and ultimately to the one, becomes illusion.

There is surely some Madness of Sincerity of which I learned again – finally

Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death. So long as you are alive, your case is doubtful; you have a right only to their skepticism.”

And isn’t the ease with which we are forgetting this also one of the major wrongdoings when we as teaches stand in class, not fully respecting the performance of the students, also by not teaching them that failing in the courses does not mean “to  be a failure”? And moreover, to teach indeed fascinating innovations, making easily forgetting the foundations that are needed tallow them to evolve? In a recent lecture, part of the teaching BA-students at BCC, I tried to do exactly the opposite.

“There is no right life in the wrong one”

a friend of mine recently mentioned “stupidity” while talking about the situation that emerged after somebody passing away and the bereavement and non-bereavement  … – unfortunately I see stupidity increasingly in life itself, not in death and surrounding it; it is about permanent hypocrisy, death being somewhat part of the solution. There we are teaching, excellence (the new general trend: we all are “excellent” and we are easily forgetting that, if everybody is standing on the tiptoes, nobody can see better), and we are accepting  non-excellence, swimming in and with the  stream because swimming against it, ends most likely in drowning, and this way we are drowning in the stream with which we swim …., dead already while still breathing, not allowing for alternatives, paradoxically by claiming that only we – as individuals, as Asians, as Europeans, as Latinos, as men or women are the alternative. Establishing false identities as individuals or groups that define us not by saying who we are but by saying that there is “the other”.

*****

… “one of the girls”, one of my students was in the office last week, handing in an admin document. I never really talked to her throughout the entire year (no surprise – excellence is a mass product) and invited her to sit down for a chat. … “actually I know, I have to study harder [though she is one of the “good students”] and I will do what I have to do in order to finish my education. But then …, I do not know … My dream is to open a bakery shop, be happy and pass my happiness on to the customers”. It sounds familiar? I heard similar stories from a couple of students … – and in some I really saw the deep sorrows and I also saw the real excitement – in some way I felt the joy and happiness they were talking about …
…, knowing that there are illusions and romanticisms, knowing that the argument I put forward, stating that there cannot be excellence for and by all”, is in danger of being close to elitism, I still think there is some cause for consideration (re-consideration I should say as we ventilated this issue so often). Why are we pushing towards “higher education” in this way if the result is that

[a]ccording to one analysis, fully 43 percent of Chinese workers already consider themselves to be overeducated for their current positions.

Mind, I am not talking about China and robots. But .., how to say …? Is it correct saying that I am talking about this world in which education is dominated by administration, encapsulated in the iron cage Max Weber was talking about and offering little space for the development of personalities, replicating itself by forcing everybody to follow the supposed wisdom  of “if you can’t beat them, join them”, a fatal motto as we all know that

*****

And how then can we settle …?
Chatting with Yi, Xiao, Tricia, Tomi, Liu and Lv and Steph of course  … to name a few from the many years; working with the few who are really ready to co-work; and thinking about just meeting friends for a good and “innocent” laugh. Traveling recently with Jiaying to 岳陽 (Yueyang)  was nice, and so are meetings with 邹, talking about “uncombed ideas” (to use her words), flowing in the stream to change its direction …

And nice was the trip to the Forum in Shanghai. Actually the meeting itself was “just OK” – some really exciting discussions, but then too many screenplays of presentation of the “we” against the other, but it had been nice to come back to 上海 (Shanghai), to do the boat trip and chat with interesting people – and to make the 5(ish) hour trip from Changsha to Shanghai and back by train – I really like it, being able to work a bit, but also to look out of the window: the beautiful landscape and its variety, letting the thoughts flow …, thinking about the people living there along the route, making their living but also making their life …

Well, and then it is so strange when we are teaching and studying, we are supposed to forget all this, we are dealing with forms and matrices and equations … and we are forgetting what studying is about: helping us making their life and, of course, then making a living …

… a strange world, indeed,, while sitting other time in an “excellence centre”: strange is a world that is turning things around, and  excellence is actually flat …, and reality claims to exist in perfected algorithms

I remain skeptical, and still think with Bohr that

[w]e must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images and establishing mental connections.

But still, and I admittedly did not fully theory of relativity or quantum mechanisms , we have to acknowledge that

E = hf
is superior over
E = mc²
In this way we have to make sure that the sentence that saying
Isolated material particles are abstractions, their properties being definable and observable only through their interaction with other systems. (Bohr)
also means changes we aim for have to go beyond changes of particles. A theory of revolution – in science and society – wi be inspired by quantum mechanics and we may consider the need to establish a theory of quantum mechanical economics and quantum mechanical social quality.

我院教师参加上海论坛2016年会

中南林业科技大学班戈学院, 2016

2016年5月28-30日,我院教师彼得.赫尔曼(Peter Herrmann)教授参加了在上海国际会议中心举办的上海论坛2016年会。

彼得.赫尔曼教授在 “中国与拉美:跨越太平洋的发展伙伴”高端圆桌会议上发表了 “增长和发展——互补还是矛盾?全球议程面临的挑战”(Growth and Development – Complement or Contradiction? Challenges for a Global Agenda)的主旨演讲。他指出,在面临国际发展挑战过程中,需要重视经济学教学的作用;呼吁政府在大力发展经济的同时考虑环境问题,出台长期的可持续经济政策;同时,他还提到,近期一些服务贸易协议文件的泄露可能会对中国经济发展造成严重的威胁。

本次圆桌会议旨在加强中国和拉美国家的多边合作,谋求两国的共同发展。会议邀请了政府、学术界、智库、企业机构等不同主体,共同研讨中国与拉美合作的前景和合作的模式,建言如何提升中拉整体合作水平和促进中拉多边关系发展。会议由复旦发展研究院金砖国家研究中心主任、复旦大学国际关系与公共事务学院副教授沈逸担任主席,巴西前驻华大使Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves先生和中国前驻巴西大使陈笃庆担任会议嘉宾。

“上海论坛”是目前在上海举办的最具国际影响力的品牌论坛之一。论坛创始于2005年,由复旦大学和韩国高等教育财团主办,复旦发展研究院承办,迄今已成功举办了十届。论坛每年5月在上海举办年会。

本次论坛的主题为“互联互通与创新:迈向亚洲命运共同体”。上海市常务副市长屠光绍、复旦大学校长许宁生、教育部国际合作与交流司司长许涛、韩国SK株式会社董事长兼首席执行官崔泰源出席开幕式并致辞。开幕式由复旦大学党委书记魏小鹏主持。来自全球智库、高校、政府、企业、媒体等机构的代表和嘉宾共700余人参加了论坛。

sustainability manifesto

IASQ and ISS to publish sustainability manifesto

At the approach of the Climate Conference in Paris IASQ and the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) will publish a manifesto, pressing for the crossing of existing borders in academic action on sustainability and inspiring state leaders to support this. The document will focus on the urgent need for universities to address increasing unsustainability of living conditions on our planet.

The manifesto proposes

  • a comprehensive approach to the study of sustainability, overcoming traditional dividing lines
  • the creation of academic ‘change-agent centres’ to develop a common work plan and start the implementation of this plan
  • support of governments all over the world for establishing these centers and facilitating their work
    . here for more …
    …..

Opening Views against the Closure of the World

New Publication, open for preorders

Opening Views against the Closure of the World

Author: Peter Herrmann (EURISPES – Istituto di Studi Politici, Economici e Sociali, Rome, Italy, and others)

Book Description: 
The chapters of the present book analyze contemporary societal challenges and changes in light of the social quality approach and French regulationist thinking. This means overcoming as much as possible existing boundaries of social science in some main areas:

  • interdisciplinary approaches are important, but should be pushed beyond the mainstream concept, aiming at an integrated social science approach
  • critique of economism is important, though we should not forget that the question is not about “how much” but about what kind of economy
  • increasingly obvious is the lack of social integrity of contemporary growth policies, but less obvious is what is needed to fundamentally change the scene
  • treating globalization as a matter that goes beyond widening and deepening relations of countries and regions around the globe, seeing it as a news stage of world systems

By working along these different frontlines, the chapters take up important issues that can be found in different areas as ”growth beyond GDP”, human development”, “quality of life”, “world systems” and the like. In the end, it is about looking at the current political-economic patterns and the possibilities they entail when it comes to the claim that “another world is possible”. (Imprint: Nova)

for further information

Surely a beginning only

It is surely not a complete analysis of the encyclical letter which is due to be published today. But one thing seems to be striking: it continues to dichotomise economy and ecology, only demanding taking responsibility FOR nature. 

Quando si analizza l’impatto ambientale di qualche iniziativa economica , si è soliti conside- rare gli effetti sul suolo, sull’acqua e sull’aria, ma non sempre si include uno studio attento dell’impatto sulla biodiversità, come se la perdita di alcune specie o di gruppi animali o vegetali fosse qualcosa di poco rilevante.

(Para 35)
Shouldn’t we move further, looking for responsibility IN nature?
Indeed there are several instances in the letter that suggest a too technical understanding to the real social responsibility, i.e. a responsibility that sees nature as an inherent part of the social existence.

Difficult questions and the surely important contribution of the 

LETTERA ENCICLICA

LAUDATO SI’

DEL SANTO PADRE

FRANCESCO

SULLA CURA DELLA CASA COMUNE

will offer many impulses for a hopefully productive debate.
… Camminare insieme … 

con tutte le nostre differenze