welcoming flowers in the face of fear

These days, many sad and worrisome things are happening in various places all over the planet. Human beings are committing arbitrary (or non-arbitrary) acts of violence, hurting and killing other human beings – from random individuals to groups of dozens and hundreds[1]. Political structures that we were accustomed to consider solid foundations for a free society are crumbling[2] – from erosive tendencies across Europe and the European Union[3] to the political rise of obviously unpredictable and most likely dangerous individuals in a growing number of countries around the world.

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Of maps, mobs, and mind: Navigating the puzzles of unchartered times

Our world is pretty much in pieces, coherence mostly gone[1]. The big problems we’re facing – such as terrorism and tyranny in their horrifyingly versatile appearances, climate change and the economy’s quest for sustainability, digitisation with all its blessings (and threats), or migration with its unpredictable ramifications[2] – are multi-faceted and highly interdependent. Finding answers to these problems is a non-trivial, non-linear task.

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Triggers, trips, and troglodytes: A paleo-psychology of blogging

A little less than a year ago, my first blog post went online[1]. Since then, I published 26 posts with an average of almost 200 views and around 120 visitors for each single piece, cheerled by one article with more than 1,200 views to date[2]. On the one hand, this puts my page nowhere in a global context[3]. On the other hand, it paradoxically also means that whatever I post on this blog is most likely read by more people than any of the books or articles I published in print in the past[4]. Neither observation worries me much.

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Kritik der leisen Vernunft: Ein Versuch über die Flüchtlingsdebatte in unseren Köpfen

Wer dieser Tage in Deutschland lebt[1], wird – gewollt oder ungewollt – zu einer Stimme in der Diskussion darüber, wie wir den Menschen begegnen, die bei uns ankommen, weil sie dort, wo sie herkommen, nicht mehr so leben können, wie sie es als menschenwürdig empfinden. Ob der Arbeitskollege aus Süddeutschland die Norddeutsche fragt: “Kommen nach Hamburg im Augenblick auch viele Flüchtlinge?”[2], ob beim Elternabend im Kindergarten darüber diskutiert wird, wie und was für Flüchtlingskinder gesammelt werden kann

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When someone calls you schtroumpf: Reflections on judgments, syllogisms, and responsibility

I have a judgmental mind[1]. As soon as something appears at the edges of its apprehension, it sets into motion its ceaseless mechanics of (re-) cognizing, classing, assessing, perceiving, exploring, absorbing, ruminating, embracing, consuming, (re-) forming, shaping, and spinning its tales of past, present, and future lives. And comes up with a firm understanding of the “something” that, just a moment ago, was nothing but a spark, a glitter, and a dewdrop.

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Acknowledging absence: The mental demands of our digitised world

“The demands of modern adult life”, wrote Robert Kegan in 1994, “may require a qualitative transformation in the complexity of mind every bit as fundamental as the transformation from magical thinking to concrete thinking required of the school-age child, or the transformation from concrete thinking to abstract thinking required of the adolescent”. Kegan wrote this when the internet was barely learning to crawl[1]: In 1993, only 1 percent of information flowing through two-way telecommunication went through its channels

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