19 more taken
in this summer of slaughter.
19 more taken
in this summer of slaughter.
Wie Teelichter auf einem Fluss der Vergessenheit
entfernen sich die Wörter
Langsam aber sicher
entgleiten sie uns;
unmöglich das Verweilen.
Im Streit der Gewässer
eilen sie flussabwärts,
sie geraten ins Schwanken,
manchmal erlischt das Licht, es riecht
nach flüssigem Wachs,
wenn sie umfallen
besiegeln sie ihr Schicksal,
stummer Rauch steigt auf
und sie ertrinken.
Die Vergangenheit hat der Gegenwart
nichts zu sagen.
Allein die Zukunft glüht noch,
brüchig und schön wie das Unerreichbare.
Wie lange bevor sie in Dunkelheit versinkt,
Ein Kiel voller Löcher.
Von weit her nimmt man ein schwaches Flimmern wahr,
man sieht ihre flackernden Geister erleuchten
Wir bleiben zurück.
Manchmal kommen die Lichter an einer ruhigen Bucht stehen:
Dort, wo der turbulente Fluss einen Bogen macht
um eine riesige alte Eiche,
dort summen sie noch, die überlebenden,
dort geben sie Laute von sich,
sich gegenseitig suchend und gegenseitig
Ich sitze hier am Ufer und zähle
die kalten Sterne am Nachthimmel,
die vielleicht so gar nicht mehr existieren.
“The good life involves much beside virtue—intelligence, for instance. And conscience is a most fallacious guide, since it consists of vague reminiscences of precepts heard in early youth, so that it is never wiser than its possessor’s nurse or mother. To live a good life in the fullest sense a man must have a good education, friends, love, children (if he desires them), a sufficient income to keep him from want and grave anxiety, good health, and work which is not uninteresting. All these things, in varying degrees, depend upon the community, and are helped or hindered by political events. The good life must be lived in a good society, and is not fully possible otherwise.”Bertrand Russel – What I Believe, 1925
“In all stages of education the influence of superstition is disastrous. A certain percentage of children have the habit of thinking; one of the aims of education is to cure them of this habit. Inconvenient questions are met with ‘hush, hush’, or with punishment. Collective emotion is used to instill certain kinds of belief, more particularly nationalistic kinds. Capitalists, militarists, and ecclesiastics co-operate in education, because all depend for their power upon the prevalence of emotionalism and the rarity of critical judgment. With the aid of human nature, education succeeds in increasing and intensifying these propensities of the average man.”Bertrand Russel – What I Believe, 1925
Anyone else out there feeling guilty about doing what they like? Anybody else afraid of indulging their needs, constantly second-guessing their decisions and sabotaging themselves? Anybody else under the impression that they have to be productive at all times, useful to all, monetizing every opportunity, mentally enslaved to duty every waking moment, anybody feeling that they need to ace everything to prove themselves worthy of their time on this earth?
Yes? Well, then this articles is for us:
Ok, I’m not saying get being useless down to an art, but can we please break this overpowering utilitarian cycle? (“…at least once in a while…” squeals the timid voice inside my head).
When you chase a goal obstinately, you become its instrument. We are more than tools. Can we remain fully human without leisure, joy, and time to reflect?…
Die Kirchenglocken haben eine Weile geläutet.
Jetzt nicht mehr.
Die Leute essen zu Mittag hinter
jeder für sich oder
in ganz kleinem Kreis,
kein Gesang hörbar.
Über die Auen und Felder,
die Einsamkeit schwebt wie eine Nebelwolke,
saugt alle Gedanken auf.
Allein ein Vogel durchsticht das Grau,
wie ein Friedenslicht leuchtend.
It’s that time of year again,
time to crawl under my blanket and set out
on pilgrimages of forgetfulness.
North of here is the tomb of simple goodness – vandalized.
South of here is the mausoleum of easygoing fun – in a pile of rubble.
I mourn them both with a solemn bow,
angry visitors pass me by with their bows
and their arrows, pointed, pushing.
Their eyes overcast, not a drop of kindness trickling down,
just a grey drizzle of me, me, me…
Maybe we simply mourn in different ways, I tell myself
and I turn on an old Romanian Christmas folk ballad.
It fills me with sorrow.
It fills me with loss.
It is like listening in on paradise past.
When was the last time we sang to each other and felt
like living matter that needs
to be kept warm and fed –
– fed as in nourished?…
Nothing but machines, now, between us,
nothing but machines between us and everything,
coldly feeding us
to their anger.
I close my eyelids and let the tears roll,
roll on down,
until I’m drained and the pillow is soaked
I drift into visions of the vanished
I forage through conjured-up hereafters
I dream things of glory
I sleep, sleep, sleep…
You know you live in a wholesome place when you bump into a grey heron at the employment agency on a sunny December afternoon in Upper Bavaria… and a handful of people stop their errands simply to watch and congregate.
All of this on December 1st, the National Day of Romania.
It was very calm, for a very long time. Slowly and quietly, I got within 10 feet of it. It explored me with inquisitive eyes, then it took flight and settled on the opposite bank of the rivulet. What splendor!
It’s like my two identities are finally at peace with each other… 🙂
#birdwatching #herons #wildlife #industriallandscapes #nature #sunnyafternoon #specialmoments
“(…) safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives. (…) Social support is the most powerful protection against becoming overwhelmed by stress and trauma.
Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love (…).
Isolating oneself into a narrowly defined victim group promotes a view of others as irrelevant at best and dangerous at worst, which eventually only leads to further alienation. Gangs, extremist political parties, and religious cults may provide solace, but they rarely foster the mental flexibility needed to be fully open to what life has to offer and as such cannot liberate their members from their traumas. Well-functioning people are able to accept individual differences and acknowledge the humanity of others.“Bessel van der Kolk – The Body Keeps The Score – Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma (Penguin Books, 2015)
Do we suffer from too little reciprocity? From too much selfishness? Is the hyper-individualistic lifestyle of autonomy at all cost, isolation, and “every man for himself” making us miserable and sick?
How many of us feel truly seen, heard and understood? How many feel forsaken? Trapped between anger and absence? How many of us self-medicate (or are medicated!) just to cover basic human needs like safety, forgiveness, acceptance and connection?
How many live a life without rapture, life as rupture, as opposed to the healing powers of love, kindness, joint experiences, of breathing, movement and touch… What does it take to feel agency, to overcome duress?
This book has been a revelation and I cannot recommend it warmly enough. You’ll understand your body and brain like never before.
“Totalitarian propaganda perfects the techniques of mass propaganda, but it neither invents them nor originates their themes. (…) Everything hidden, everything passed over in silence, became of major significance, regardless of its own intrinsic importance. (…) Mysteriousness as such became the first criterion for the choice of topics. (…)
They (the masses) do not believe in anything visible, in the reality of their own experience; they do not trust their eyes and ears but only their imaginations, which may be caught by anything that is at once universal and consistent in itself. (…)
What the masses refuse to recognize is the fortuitousness that pervades reality. They are predisposed to ideologies because they explain facts as mere examples of laws and eliminate coincidences by inventing an all-embracing omnipotence which is supposed to be at the root of everything visible. Totalitarian propaganda thrives on this escape from reality into fiction, from coincidence into consistency. (…)
The masses’ escape from reality is a verdict against the world in which they are forced to live and in which they cannot exist (…)
Before the alternative of facing the anarchic growth and total arbitrariness of decay, or bowing down before the most rigid, fantastically fictitious consistency of an ideology, the masses will always choose the latter and be ready to pay for it with individual sacrifices (…)”Hannah Arendt – The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), Penguin Classics pp. 459-461
A possible explanation why Eastern Europe is rife with conspiracy theories and a distrust of the state and its official communications, especially during this pandemic. Communist regimes have always played the game of blaming their failings on some Western or world conspiracy against them, “fitting reality to their lies”. In some parts of the world, this has become a reflex.
Words that connect. Across cultures