Monthly Archives: July 2012

Declaration of Love to the Children and the Parents of this World

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Here I tried an adaptation of Bettina Wegner’s song lyrics “Kinder” (“Children”). Please listen to the original at the end of the text.

Children

They have tiny hands
With fingers so little
We must never beat them
They may break, so brittle.

Are such tiny feet
With toes so slight
We must never step on them
They won’t grow up right.

They have such small ears
So sharp and so clear
We must never shout at them,
Make’em fear what they hear.

With such lovely mouths
Talk straight, not round about
We must never shut’em up
Fear the truth, it comes out.

They have such clear eyes
They allow everything,
We must not blindfold them
Nor block sight of good things.

They are such small souls
So open and so free,
We must never torment them
Lose this treasure’s key.

They have such a small spine
Not defined yet or clear.
Must never bend or break it
It’ll bring them to tear.

Straight and clear people
Would be a nice goal.
Hence people with no backbone
We’ve too many to behold.

The German Original:

“Kinder”

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On Communities Now and Then

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For thousands of years people lived in communities. It was simply impossible to survive alone. In the community, usually a small group, people helped each other to survive. The rules and regulations were fixed.
When members trespassed a community rule they were confronted by honorable elders and a solution was found to reestablish balance. Even if there was a dispute which led to injury of another person, a way was found to make amendments to the injured. Only the most severe offenses against the community would lead to exile.

In modern communities rules and regulations still remain a vital part of our social structure, likewise, help for survival is granted, especially in European countries with social aid systems. The rules and regulations are more complex now, however. There are entire legal systems dedicated to overseeing these issues.

In ancient communities the members used to feel bad conscience when violating the rules and regulations of their group. The bad conscience was accompanied by the fear of being expelled and exiled. An exiled member would find it very difficult to survive alone. Being expelled was equivalent to being sentenced to death.
Nowadays people are being expelled from society when sent to prison which many times means their (social) death, as well.

Today it is possible to live without active participation in any community life and still receive social aid. The dissociation of material support from human relationships seems dangerous to me. There are reports about people who have been lying dead in their homes for months before being discovered. Why? Since their bank accounts had enough money to keep paying their rent, nobody missed them.

But there are also limitations to what communities can offer: Since our society lives a life alienated from nature the rules made by modern communities lack the strength of the ancient ones. What if a particular community had cruel practices? What if a member wanted to leave because s/he felt that the rules of the community were out of sync with his/her inner truth?

As much as being expelled from community could previously mean being sent to death, in contemporary communities the opposite case, the voluntary breaking out, might be punished by death as well. Such a break out is then considered as treason. Then we hear about brothers or uncles taking revenge on their sisters or nieces who did not agree to an arranged marriage, tragic stories we can read about such cases in the newspaper.

Personally, apart from my own, wonderful, extended family, I have chosen my own “community”, a group of likeminded people who don’t live physically together but whom I stay in constant mental and emotional contact with. I strongly feel a part of this community, at the same time I would meet no external difficulties if I ever decided to quit and move on.

6.8 kg per Day

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While sitting back on one of the comfortable seats of Eurocity 155 train that connects Salzburg with Munich, I started browsing a women’s magazine. It was Sunday evening. Behind us was a fabulous week-end shared with extended family. The children were happy to have seen grandma and great-grandma (who repeatedly beat me at Rummy) and now we were on our way back home.

The magazine at first glance seemed to be nothing special. One of those dealing with fashion, diets, relationships, and cooking recipes. One of those you quickly pick up on a train station when there’s only five minutes left till the departure of your train. A magazine merely purchased for relaxation and possibly some light entertainment.

However this time I was really surprised. Among the 15 articles at least 5 were interesting. One that especially caught my attention was titled: “How green was your day?”

“Hmm, what is this about”, I thought as I started reading. It stated that in order to keep Mother Earth alive – long term, every human was allowed to produce a CO2 emission of 6.8 kg per day. But how can we fully comprehend the implications just by hearing this number? At first, I could not grasp the big picture. The article gave a few explanations: When you drive in your VW Golf for 64 km, you have used up your daily healthy quota; equally if you use 45 diapers or buy 37 roses from Kenya, or if you eat 1.8 kg of milk chocolate (God beware!). The same rule apply if you buy a pair of jeans and toss them after only 5 days.

The article gave additional examples that would go a long way in helping us to understand whether we were within our limits or not. It divided fundamental activities of our lives into four categories:
1. At Home
2. Shopping
3. Eating and Drinking
4. Moving Around
Each activity was assigned a certain amount of points. If we remained below 100 points per day, it claimed, we were good consumers; we didn’t exceed the 6.8 kg of CO2 emission.

1. At Home: No surprise, heating and dryers consumed most energy. So we should switch off everything we don’t need and consider drying our laundry in the sun (weather permitting).
2. Shopping: The longer we use the items we purchase the better. We should try to avoid wasteful transactions. Imported goods produce more pollution than locally produced ones (although they might be cheaper).
3. Eating and Drinking: The shorter the distance from the place of production/ harvest to the store the better. The less processed food the better. Wait a minute; I have heard that before… Right! I have heard that already in connection with healthy nutrition: Seasonal fruit and veggies are best for the body, as well as freshly cooked food.
4. Moving Around: I’m sure you’ve guessed already that walking or riding a bike causes less pollution (although they are more energy consuming for ourselves; on the bright side fitness is anyway needed, isn’t it?) Riding a motorcycle or going by train does not raise our quota excessively; the same can not be said for flying or driving luxurious vehicles.

The author of the article claimed: “You might notice that on the days you produce less CO2 emission you feel more relaxed!”

Well, I will watch that for myself and see if it is true!

http://www.eingutertag.org/