Our social conscience

I know… the journey did not go all the way. But in the end, time was running through my hands like sand on the beach. Basically, after a lot of stress, it all came to an end. It was not perfect, but I am convinced it was the best I could do in the time given. And that there might be a continuation of it next year means it went alright for the people that pay the bills…

A different subject and perhaps more on the lines of our BLS philosophy thinking. On the weekend something very rare happened in Hamburg, Germany. The people there had the possibility to vote against or for a reformation of the school system in Hamburg. (Hamburg is not only a city but also one of the German federal states.) Why is that a rare occasion? Well, usually we don’t get the chance to vote for a lot of things. We elect our government, the government of the state we live in and also the local council. But that is about it. The German constitution gives the people the right to engage in a popular petition. For this to work, you have to get a certain amount of people (min. 1%) to sign the initial petition first. If this works out, the petition will then be legally granted and everyone allowed to vote will have the right to do so. But because the Germans (and a lot of other Europeans) are lazy when it comes to work for their own country, this method of direct democracy is not seen very often.

Lately it won a little more attention as the population of Bavaria voted for a much more stringent non-smoking law than the one in place. (To be honest, they had to vote for the one in place to be finally executed as the lobby of smokers managed to undermine the laws in quite a lot of ways.)

So in Hamburg now, people were asked to vote for or against the reformation of the current school system. The government worked together across all parties – and the usually “natural” boundaries a different party brings with it – and managed to find a decent and up-to-date solution for one of Hamburg’s biggest problems: The ever growing gap in eduction between kids from a poor and rich background. At the moment the pupils go to school all together for 4 year and after that they will split up into three different types of school, depending on their knowledge and skills after these 4 years. This ends in a social gap. A lot of the kids from the poorer end of town basically end up with the lowest educational level. Simply because a lot of them do have an immigrant background. So it was found, that if you would give those kids more time together with others, better educated kids, they would have a chance to also climb up the ladder of higher education.

The government changed the current system for it to be 6 years for all kids together before they would split up and go to different schools. This would give a lot of kids the chance to reach a higher qualified graduation and therefore better chances on the markets of tomorrow.

Well, the people of Hamburg don’t want their kids to stick together for too long. They voted against the new system and it will now not be executed. It seems, they don’t think it will help everyone that we grow together as one society and that everyone we leave behind will in the end be causing us more trouble than helping him to find the right way himself. We push people into their role as the social underdog and the result can be seen in the mega and large cities and metropolis around the globe and in Europe. In Berlin as well as in Paris or London, people with lower social status are forced out of the city. They form their own community, which is then not part of the overall community. People of different skin colour, religion and with different language live together in their own little cities within the city. Is that what we want? Apparently it is…

In Hamburg the people showed no sense for the greater picture. They proved themselves to be self-seekers for their kids. Is it wise to bring up children with such a narrow mind?
Oh and by the way… guess who voted the most? Yes, the population in the richer areas reached 57% voter participation whereas the poorer areas only had around 20%. Interesting, isn’t it? Apparently a lot of the people in the poorer areas lacked the understanding for what they are voting for and in the chaos of options quite a significant amount of people voted for the wrong thing, because they didn’t understand… but I am sure we don’t need higher education for everyone…

Something is wrong with our society

notes on living

I find that for most of my life I have taken breathing for granted.

Today I sat with my great uncle in hospital just listening to him breathe, there was a machine beeping (not in the Hollywood heartbeat way) in the room and there was the desperate rasping sound of him not doing anything but attempting to just keep breathing, he was on so much morphine that he couldn’t communicate and I don’t know whether he was awake or not or whether he could hear me or not, so I sat and I held his hand and I told him about what I’m working on, and about my brother and my sister and about the weather, about the books I’m reading, anything, everything just in case he can hear me. So he knew he wasn’t alone. I talked and he breathed.

In some ways I find it embarrassing to say, and I don’t mean it to sound like I am thoughtless or cold or cruel. But I had a moment when I sat there in silence listening to him breathe and I thought to myself, ‘ this is a unique experience to not only observe someone at the end of their life, but also all of the people surrounding them’.

I am not uncaring, I love my uncle very much, but the scientist… or psychologist in me was intrigued. My main observation was the ability of us, to swing incredibly from one emotion to another, and normally the more intense the emotion the faster the swing. One moment we’re crying and we can be laughing before our tears have dried.

The closest thing I can compare it to is like feeling sick, when I feel sick I try and concentrate on something to get my mind off of how I feel, and it generally works so well that I forget about it, until I stop working, just for a moment, and then I feel ill again.

I think that’s why in Films and Theatre silence is the most tragic sound of all, because it’s what’s not being said that is suddenly loudest of all.

My grandfather said the most interesting thing to me about a year ago when his best childhood friend died that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. What he said was ‘At this age it’s not sad when someone dies, it’s sad when we get left behind.’

This got me thinking about the differences between life, and living and this lead me to the people we are (yes again). I think I understand what my grandfather was saying, if we are who we are because of everyone else, when they’re all gone, what is left of us?

Then I thought about what I thought was the lighter side, which is, if everyone we meet affects us, then when they’re all gone we are all that is left of them. I find that a much more tragic thought.

I wish I had a better way of wrapping this up, as it’s all gone a bit depressing, tonight I will sleep, and while I’m not thinking about it, I will breathe.

If Uncle Ike wasn’t asleep nor awake in the daytime, what is he now? Is still concentrating so hard on his breathing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-49G3jJP5Q

Hope

Sometimes you stumble across something when you least expect to. This morning I read the online newspaper and quite far down there was a video about “hope”. I was wondering, what this has to do with our everyday business. Before I found that video, I could read about the oil spill, the economic crisis in Europe and dead civilians after a horrible suicide bombing in Afghanistan. And then “hope”?

Well, the video was made at the German church congress and they simply asked random people: What is it you are hoping for? The answers seemed quite diverse at first, but eventually, they all had one thing in common. All of the people wished for peace and love in their life. And that the world would eventually find a way to come together and be the long wished “world community” without all the war and hate we see all around the globe every day.

So, I think this is what we are all looking and longing for: Peace and love in our lives. Am I wrong? What is it you are hoping for?

Give me some of your ideas…

And not an entirely different thing: If you wanna see one of the really beautiful masterpieces in current film making, off-side the ever so present action-dolby-surround-explosion cinema you should really watch “A Single Man”. It is an extremely aesthetic film, with wonderfully captured images, brilliant actors and an impressively silent and moving score. Have a look, it is worth it.

The man who wasn’t Georg

There is this man, and contrary to me wanting him to have been Georg, he wasn’t. He was German… from Munch in fact… in fact he was even from Bobingen before Munch. He had a way of starting a sentence and finishing it off with ‘well… you know’ and having you actually know. He had a laugh that made you feel like he had just discovered jokes and loved them!

This man’s name is Peter, and as much as I wanted him to be Georg… he wasn’t.

Peter was touring a show to a Theatre I work at and we instantly struck up a rapport, mainly because I just get his humor and we both enjoyed making fun of each other. He instantly reminded me of Georg, which in one way made me miss being back in the Lodge throwing a ball back and forth and not worrying about dropping it, but in another way made me happy to meet this new person who I get on with so well.

I find myself meeting a lot of people these days, on shows, in auditions, at the theatre, all people who are wonderful and friendly and kind and I find that I consider them all my friends no matter how short or long I have known them. But they all go off to do their own things and live their own lives and we shall most probably never meet again. I was working on a touring comedy show two weeks ago and their touring manager was a guy called James who was very good at his job but completely overwhelmed, so I designed and programmed his show for him and put all of the paperwork together as well as convert the show file into half a dozen different formats so he can use it on all sorts of desks. When his show went I got forwarded an email from my manager from him that was just glowing with praise and thanks to me and my team for being so amazing, and this made me feel really quite special, so after his show went I was excited to meet the next people who came to the theatre, which was Peter.

On Thursday the show had finished and Peter and his team left and I found myself although briefly consoled by him being around, now feeling a little sad, not that he had gone, but because he reminded me about how much I enjoyed being around you guys. And how of all the people I meet I don’t think I’ll come across friends quite like you.

So this takes me back to the age old discussion in my mind. Peter was like Georg in so many ways, and yet nothing like him at all. I could meet four people tomorrow called Jans, George, Henrick, and Mich, and they could be exactly like you in every way, except for one.

They did not share the experiences that we did. We are the people we are because of the experiences we have. And because I’m quite into my Bonsai Trees at the moment I’ll compare us to that, two seeds that are completely identical will grow into completely different shaped trees based on where the sun is, how much water they get, how much space their roots have, if there are insects and if there are other plants sharing their space with them.

There is this man, and contrary to me wanting him to have been Georg, he wasn’t, and for that I am thankful.

Ever Interested

A toast.

A toast to my friend. A toast to a good man. A toast to a warrior of light. A toast to all of you who venture to live your dreams. It seems today is that day. I am so happy right now, because you still walk among us, the few. I am so happy right now, because this means you still follow your heart!

follow your Heart and all will unfold Perfectly

This is my life.

Sleeping ’til the sun is high in the sky. Dreaming about the future. Eating breakfast with the best girl I know while reading the paper. Working on incredible, fantastic, boring, exciting, exhausting and extremely challenging projects. All of them at the same time. Drawing my own house. Making plans for the future. Thinking about my friends. Wishing I could fix all the worlds problems. Listening to great music. Attempting to play the piano. Planning a wedding. The best one ever. Chocolate. Red wine. A Vesper Martini every now and then. Cooking good food for good people. Enjoying the little things in life. Learning every single day. Always. Finding new places. Meeting new people and making new friends. Some not so good friends too. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Not so much the drugs and we could do with some more rock ‘n roll. Setting up a new company. Longing for my girlfriend. My fiance actually. Climbing mountains. Walking in the woods. Sleeping outdoors in summer with a starry sky. Watching clouds drift by. Eating straweberries with cream. Caviar and Vodka. Barbequing in Switzerland with Georg. Going to the theatre in London with Eyal. Answering Hendrik’s Hog questions. Building lego. Getting up way to early in the morning after staying up way too long the night before. Beeing free and cruel. Loving someone. Loosing some battles. Winning the rest. Making three mistakes in one day. Screwing up the Schnick Schnack patch plan. Fixing the Hog. Drawing trees. Photographing beauty. Sleeping nude. Holding Signhild’s hand. Kissing. Running in the high and wild grass. Forgetting to be afraid of worms and bugs. Forgetting to be afraid of anything. Thinking I should rule the world. Ruling the world. Having the best friends ever. Ever. Seeing my family. Spending time with my brother, planning some great adventure. Realising there’s always a bigger fish. Beeing the bigger fish. Saving the day. Or screwing up all the plans everyone had. Keeping secrets. Sharing them. Knowing things. Showing off. Creating just one little bit of magic. Saving someones life. Saving the world. Wishing you could all be here. Now.

This is my life. It isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have to be.

tHis is my Perfect life.

Relative Phrog.

And I’m not thinking about that green thing you supposedly can control lights with… I just liked Eyal’s title. Speaking of whom, fish? You’re more like a giant ant in a giant colony… just let me explain.

Wikipedia has this to say about ants: (I didn’t write this one…)

Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and certain remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems, and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass. Their success has been attributed to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships.

If we just replace the word Ant with Eyal and do a bit of paraphrasing, we get this:

Eyal have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking a indigenous Eyal are Antarctica and certain remote or inhospitable islands. Eyal thrive in most ecosystems, and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial population. His success has been attributed to his social organisation and his ability to modify existing in house rigging systems, tap resources from local crews, and direct others. His long co-evolution with other specialists has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships.

See, anyone would instantly believe this is you. What I’m trying to say is – you go get ’em bro’!

pusH for Progress