#oslove

I will tell your story if you die. I will tell your story and keep you alive.

Some die old. Some die young. Some die for their beliefs. Some die for their country. All death is meaningless.
Thus it becomes our job, as survivors, to give meaning to death. To look for a purpose or a consequence to this endless void.

One year ago we decided to love each other again, to remember what we built our society on and that we are together in this world. One year ago.
One week ago, I saw poeple wanting to kick foreigners out of our country on the gneral basis that “their kind” are nothing but thiefs and beggars. One week ago, I saw mothers and fathers yelling at each other, one word stronger than the other. One week ago I saw 15 common people suddenly fill their whole with hate. One week ago.
One day ago, I saw the same people remember one year ago.

I hope that tomorrow, they still do.

We survived. We have to tell their stories. We have to give meaning to the pointless. We have to remember what they believed in, and to keep struggling for that belief that we are all here in this world together. If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we can show.

We survived. We have to remember and find meaning.
Some die yoUng. Some die old.

the ghost in the machine

As we wander through the abyss that is history, we all leave our mark. We all leave something behind on our journey to somewhere else. Be it a thought, a story, an object or just a whisper, we all influence history in one way or the other.

Once, there was a miner working in coalmine somwhere in the world. His work was hard and his life had little joys besides his family. From 6 til 8, every day, every week, for years, he worked in the mines. Breaking coal from stone from coal. His fingers gripping tools made by man, carving lumps of black rock that would someday fuel someones adventure or dream. As drops of sweat fell to the floor, as his coughing could be heard in the neigbouring tunnels, his very soul stayd behind in the cave. He left, he quit his job and never returned, but his soul, or at least a very tiny fraction of it, was always there. Somewhere in his heart, he was always there. As he left this world all that remained of him was lost to us, his face, his name and his thoughts forever lost in the void of the universe. But the tiny fraction of his soul that stayed behind in the mine, it lingers on, a spirit left behind in the created constructions of man. A ghost in the machine.

The factory worker working on the model T-Ford in 1908, his name and face is forgotten by all but a few remaining relatives, but his spirit and soul, wether he wish it or not, is forever imprinted on the work that he did on the black automobile. If he polished the headlights or was responsible for tuning the gearbox doesn’t really matter, something of him was stored in that machine for all eternity. For as the machine dies, the impact it left on history, and thus our factory worker, lingers on.

The SkunkWorks engineer working on the SR-71 Blackbird, his pencil drawings dictating where the wings should bend, and exactly at what angle the tail rudder should be placed. He is remembered more for his work than the factory worker, but still, his most important mark on history is the spirit he left behind in the great blackbird. And as long as the machine is remembered, the ghosts of those who built it will remain in our cognitive memory and intelligence.

Computer programmers in the number of hundreds worked on the system on which this text was written. Alon the way, the implanted bits of themselves into the system, unknowing, unwilling or deliberate, some minute parts of their creative intelligence lingers on in thousands of systems around the world. Tiny strings of code, random or by purpose, they form unwanted behaviour, they create new or just sit there idle, they are perhaps machine in essence, but created by soul, they will always remain ghosts of their creators.

As we cross ways with inventions, creations and impossibilities throughout our journey, we leave behind something of ourselves at every waypoint. Every time our energy is focused to creation, every time we pour our creativity into something, we leave something else behind. Unnoticable, minute pieces of our will, tiny fractions of our soul, whispers of our ideas, they stay behind and inhabit our creations. Giving them life and sometimes soul themselves. Thus, we are all creators of ghosts. Thus, all creations are ghosts.

a gHost in the machine?

Men

Eyal’s post has once again left me deeply impressed. This final speech of Charlie Chaplin in “The great dictator” has always been something extraordinary in filmmaking ever. When I first watched the film, I could not believe it had its premiere in 1940, right in the middle of the biggest and most devastating crisis of mankind ever. The wisdom that is in this speech is impressive. It is ever so sad that it didn’t help to end what happened during the years to follow.

As Eyal said it, we as people can reach great things if we stand together as one. We can make progress beyond the imaginable. We can free the world and we can make the world a better place for everyone. How much talent and cleverness, how much humanity and peace is buried and killed every day in slavery and inhuman working conditions somewhere in the world? How many people suffer for our wealth? It is Christmas time and the marketing campaigns do a great job of showing us how horribly wrong the balance on earth between all people really is. We get asked for money and this is the time when most people are more willing to give something for charity.

But the day after Christmas, the old treadmill is starting again. We cannot completely escape our own barriers and borders in life. Our life gives us our problems to solve. But besides us, we have elected other people to fulfill our will. And it must be our will to help everyone on earth to reach a life in peace. Without hunger, thirst, disease, fear and war. We are all men, no matter what colour of skin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

I have created a new category for this post: “us”. Because only together, we will be able to change something. Europe, United States… whatever. These are man-made borders. But mankind should not know any borders.

I refuse to be your enemy.

You did great damage to our country, you took 77 innocent lives for your so called cause. You have ruined families, lives and you took our very innocence away. You proved only that terror has no religion and no race, you tried to bring us down and make us afraid.

You failed. You made us stronger, you united us in a way no one thought possible. You made hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets. Not in anger, not in despair and not for a want of revenge. But in love, in hope and in belief. You have strengthened our democracy, our love for each other and our society and nation. We will answer terror with more openess, more democracy and more peace. You have only strengthened what you sought to destroy. The 77 people who died because of you, they did not die in vain, they died because they believed in a better world – a belief we will honor to the very last.

And you don’t get it, we refuse to be your enemy.
We will not enact vengeance, but our law will try you, find you guilty and convict you. You will serve your sentence, and we will forget you. We will never forget what you did or the day, but you, you will be forgotten, left to the darkest parts of history, the world will forget your name and your cause, and because of that, you have already lost.

Love and peace will go on. Stronger than ever. The world will go on, a better place.
We’re winning, yes, there may be riots in London, poverty and hunger in Etiopia and war in Iraq, but we will make it, we will make the world a better place.

The world will go on, a better place.

and tonigHt, triPoli falls.

Yes… but

You see, actually I wanted to write about something completely different today. Something that I have been thinking about lately – especially since the time we all were together in Norway for Hans and Signhild’s wedding. But I shall write about it next time. It simply isn’t the right answer for what Eyal wrote.

The past days of riots in London and also Liverpool started quite a few discussions amongst colleagues and friends about why this is happening in England. People that know me will know, that I might not always paint the brightest picture of the country. That is simply what happens when you live somewhere foreign for a longer period of time than just for holidays: You make your own picture of the place. You gain an insight into how the system works. And that ultimately leads to a decision about whether you like the place or not. So my opinion is that there is a lot of positive things, especially when it comes to people, in England. But the system in general failed long ago and it seems that nobody ever realized the days of the Empire are over.

But now: the generation of people that get left behind. This is our generation ladies and gentlemen. And everyone following up on us! When did that happen? And why?

It was very late a few years ago even, when I did my apprenticeship in Munich. I came home after one of those usual jobs. Very late, very tired but couldn’t sleep right away (as always after work late at night). I switched on the TV and there was a documentary on about unemployed young people. All the kids there quit school. No degree, not even finished school. My parents – as Eyal mentioned – would not have allowed for that to happen. (We think – coming back to that point). So there is this guy who get’s a chance to get work at a local place that does removals and furniture transportation. Obviously this is physically heavy work and you don’t have to be very bright to do it. Therefore the pay is not great – but it is payed work. This guy gets offered to work there and if he doesn’t do too bad, may become a full time position. But for now, he only has to come with them for half a day, 6 hours in total.
When he comes back, he says this work would be absolutely stupid, everyone could do it, it would be too hard and would not pay enough. And that he would not go there again. Asked what he would expect from a job, he says that is has to pay well. He wishes to have a house, garden, car, pool and so on. He would need about 3000 Euros a month to even feel he has a quality life.
So I sat there, after 16 hours of work, that payed me around 500 Euros a month and thought – what the fuck?
(I had to check again, but that really was the salary… 😉 )

Another story: In the gymnastics class I used to coach, there was a really talented you boy. When he came to our club, it became quite clear after no time, that we were not the right place for him. He was too talented not to make something out of that talent. We wanted to send him to the Olympics team that trains in Augsburg. And they wanted to work with him – but he didn’t want to. He wanted to stay. So he did. He was about 9 years or so (cannot remember) and his parents used to bring him to training as they lived several towns away. They cared for him, where always there, went with us to competitions and events and so further. I watched him grow up and he was a nice guy and remained the best one of the group.
During my time in Liverpool I was home for the summer and on a train from Augsburg back home. A guy that somehow looks familiar comes in the train and passes me. He was a punk, with all the usual accessories, like the spiky collar, run down clothes, coloured hair – the whole enchilada. Somewhere in my head, this little man was saying: You know this guy. But I could not work out where from.
A few days later I meet a friend from my time at the gymnastics club. She is a social worker now and told me the story that this guy I once knew has basically abandoned his family. No contact what so every. Lives on the street and became a punk. So what happened with this guy? He was the one on the train. At some point in our lives, our paths crossed and there was a chance to possibly change his life. To divert it into a different direction. His parents did everything they thought was good for him. They cared and they were strict. And now?

You see, the thing with the blaming is really difficult. I agree with Eyal, completely. The parents are to blame. But, it isn’t that easy. A lot of the kids of the lost generation have really young parents. Especially in England there is a trend to become a Mom at a very young age. To gain some perspective in life again. As everything else is useless. No job, no money, no perspective. Why not have a baby. Thinking does not always go much further as the next few weeks. And the fact that having a child means lifetime commitment is not the first thought that comes to mind.
So now, kids having kids is a problem. Kids with no perspective in life, no money, no job, no education having kids themselves… who do you blame now? When does the chain start? Where in the line is the one person that we could blame? The one that had a proper job, was clever, raised a family and made it through? There must be someone to blame..?

I know this is a very provocative line of argumentation. But it is what I spotted a while ago. And since then, I keep wondering all the time how to solve that riddle.

To be fair, you know how my thinking is. I might be too idealistic and have a very pragmatic view on things. But I do honestly ask the question: How do we want to go on as a society? We cut down jobs in constant strive for more money, the better paid job. We cut down the money for anything that is not related to economy and its constant growth. Did anybody ever think about, that constant growth is something unnatural? And that within our physical restrains infinite growth will never happen – no matter what we are looking at. But we built our society on the basis of constant economic growth… That is odd.
So, what do we do with all the kids that have no perspective in their lives? Do we go to them and tell them: Learn something, you will find a job and be happy? Well, there won’t be any job. We all know how hard it can be to find A job. But everyone strives for THE job, the one that makes you happy, pays well and has short working hours…

I honestly am furious about rioters like the one we have seen in England lately. There is no excuse for this.
But there is the unsolved question of whom to blame. I don’t know. But I feel it is time that people – young people in particular start to become more present in the minds of the people that do leave them behind. We have the right to speak freely what we think. We can demonstrate for the good cause. So, why not organise some useful things with a Blackberry and march for a good thing. To really change something…?

It is only us, human beings, that are able to change the way our world goes. At the moment, we are heading for the ice-berg, straight ahead and with full speed.

Maybe we should go and slow down a bit.

The world we live in…

Not always and not for everyone, the world we live in is a beautiful place to be. There have been a series of suicides of teenagers in America a few months ago. According to what there was to read in the news, they were bullied heavily in school for the fact that they were gay. We tend to not see these kind of things, as we all live in such a peaceful world. And yes, compared to other countries, we do have rights (especially the one to live) and don’t have to fear suppression by the authorities. On the other hand, I am not entirely sure if the next generation of kids does grow up with the same peaceful mind that the current generations have. When you look around, you can see that the world is changing for a more radical and less open minded view. Foreigners are more and more looked at with suspicion, the right wing parties are growing and becoming more votes at elections. Whole countries saw a drastic swing to the political right at last elections.
With all this in mind, I am not entirely sure if we are living in such a wonderful world as we tend to think. So where are we going with this?
There is a project that I have been following over the past months since I learnt about these suicides in the US. It is called the “It get’s better project”. It all started as a small video campaign for tolerance and freedom for everyone and as a direct reaction on the suicides. Some really well known faces joined the campaign and recently Google also had it’s part in it. I usually would not advertise for their Chrome browser, but the video is worth showing. So here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7skPnJOZYdA

And by the way, here is a collection of countries that do have a law against homosexuality. The punishment reaches from minor fines, to several years or a lifetime in prison as well as the death penalty:
Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Marocco, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Niger, Sambia, Senegal, Seychelles, Simbabwe, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Birma, Brunei, Georgia (the law is no longer executed but exists), Irak, Iran, Yemen, Katar, Kuwait, Laos, Libanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, West Samoa, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, Guyana.

There are some countries that don’t officially have a law against homosexuality any more, but they use given law that they bend in order to still punish homosexuals (e.g. Turkey). I think we are quite privileged that we as a society have come so far. I fear that in some regions where religion has a very strong position against homosexuality, it might never be possible for the people to be really free. Let’s just see that we don’t go backwards but forward, so it get’s better.
www.itgetsbetter.org

the people of today

I wonder what the people of tomorrow will think about the people of today. Will they read about us in history and think in awe about the great things we accomplished. Will they read about the ones who conquered all plagues, erradicated war and brought humanity into a new era of compassion and peace. Or will they read about the generations that destroyed our homeworld, that spent all the resources and ruined international relations for all forseeable time.

Will they look at our technological revolution as the beginning of the end, or as the beginning of the new world? For this is where we have come now. We are at a point in our evolution, technological progress and interhuman relations where we, and I mean we; the whole of humanity, must make a choice. Do we stand back and watch, let the chaos and carnage happen? Do we let the world fall to the problems of our fathers? … or do we act now, do we let our anger and rage change the world forever?

I’m 25 years old. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 12 months time. But I will do it with all my passion and energy. I did not create the problems of today, but they are my problems, and I have to solve them. I didn’t bring the world to this state of terror, but it is my world, and I have to live in it. I will do it with all my passion and energy because this is the only way it will ever work. We all have to do what we do, as good as we can, as persistent as our will lets us, and as arrogant as our courage tells us.

I see people my age everywhere, dreaming great dreams and willing something with their life. Don’t you see, we are a genetation of dreamers, visionaries and we will change the world. We have started to fix all that is wrong, all the things you did before we came, we will fix it. Just give us some time. And don’t try to stop us.
I did not create the problems. But they are my problems. And I will fix them.

I wonder what the people of yesterday would think of the people of today.

for yesterday and all tomorrows, we dance the best we know.

tHe Problem?