East-Germany (did your home-country also disappear?)
2006 Bachelor-like studies in Philosophy and General Linguistics in Halle
2011 Master in Philosophy, Linguistics and Sociology in Cologne
2018 PhD in Philosophy in Pittsburgh
Lecturer for British and American Literature and Western Civilization in China, Jinan.
- Throwing philosophy into all areas of thinking and practice
- As almost anyone swimming with the stream against the stream (see my page description)
- The rivers name is ‘becoming what you have been’
- Gaining a super-army of insightful, witty and non-judgmental commentators
- Discoursing as the intellectual opportunity to prepare yourself for unworldly tasks
On contradicting myself: I perceive philosophy as the insane maneuver of connecting all thoughts systematically. At the same time, there is enough rationality in any insane philosopher left so that he knows: the idea of systems is the result of a superiority complex. Knowledge is always clouded and limited by empirical experiences and thoughts. Knowledge is limited by the contradiction we are.
Song of Myself, 51
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman – 1819-1892
Why I write so oddly
A blog is a web of unruly, temporary, preliminary thoughts. These thoughts would have disappeared in the unrecorded, infinite nothing of time. Within the ocean of time, as the great bearer and destroyer of everything, a blog is a blip of thoughts. A blog may be swallowed and turned into nothing itself. So a blogger should be aware that all of his efforts may be in vein.
Read with regard to one’s minority complex, a blog is close to the neurological book we are. It turns the anarchic brain to an electronic outside and integrates us with the transhumanist tradition.
Beyond the natural spectrum of chaos that is displayed in this blog, however, you might also notice this unnatural thing that pulses in my writing. It is German that shines through the English facade. Most my odd writing style comes from my amateurish English skills. In France, an amateur is a lover and so I declare my amore to the English language like others declare war.
Of course, the other part of my odd English lies in the strange relationship Germans unfold to humor. As German, humor is just not efficient, so my preference is an old-fashioned dad-humor that even Dad’s would be ashamed of.
But in all honesty, I also have always felt uncomfortable writing in English. After having received my PhD in the US, however, and while teaching in China, this feeling has changed slightly. I feel that I am not yet English, but also not entirely German anymore. Far from being perfect, I see this blog as an opportunity to become an English writer and I hope that my readers will support me. I am very happy about any suggestions how I can improve my English, about any corrections. Grammar-Nazis Welcome!
As you have already noticed there is still another oddness in my writing. Although Germans tend to vacuum their sidewalk, I am still an unruly associator. Although I admire analytical thought, I prefer the wild brushwood of thoughts that get synthesized in an ecological system of metaphors. It is a yet unrecognized system of thoughts that live in symbioses, are enemies or friends, that hunt each other, nourish each other and finally build a system that births life.
A Note on Language Learning
So far I have started to learn many languages. At the moment, I elaborate on Chinese with poor results. Once, I will have learned Chinese on a sufficient level, I will share my secrets.
So again what is this Blog about?
As I already said this blog is a discourse opportunity, potentially only with myself and an imaginary audience. Projecting my imaginary friends into the world wide web sounds like a genuine beginning for an introvert. In general, I attempt to publish better researched articles and am satisfied if they just find a few trustworthy readers.
Besides what I consider well-enough-researched, I will also publish a lot of less well researched notes that only include some messy thoughts on different subjects, loosely connecting thoughts and turning them from my inside to an outside of letters. Of course, I hope that it does not invite the rage of the internet and attracts hopeless, unconscious Zombie-Trolls on this page. You find these under Notes, the better researched texts will be filed under Blog.
Who am I?
Born in the lonely valleys of communist East-Germany, my childhood was dominated by the early communist education and the transition into a Western social market economy. With the crumbling wall, I also saw many biographies falling apart. My parents had to adjust to a new economic reality while having three little children. Their education was, of course, not really suitable for the new system. While we were all adjusting, politically extremist positions were thriving in the country. Living in a standard communist housing block, our doors were simple and unlocked most of the time. From one day to the other, we replaced the old pressed paper-door with a stable wooden door and also installed a “safe” lock. From that moment, we had to ask through the door when somebody was knocking: “Who is there?”
We learned early on that capitalism was the kind of joke in which East-Germans were the butt. So when the first Burger King opened its doors, we were inspired by shiny commercials to have our first-in-a-lifetime burger. The commercials promised golden slices of toasted bread sandwiching fresh salad, tomatoes and perfectly bbqed meat. Arriving in the newly-built mall, there was a line that came out of the shop and went all the way through the hallway. After hours of waiting, we got two sponges with a lump of meat and a slice of cucumber inside, while paying an east-German child’s fortune for it (had I just invested it in McDonald’s back then). The burger was created with the magical, secret ingredient: “no love”. For real, I never ate a burger before, but I immediately learned that the taste of capitalism was about its message not about its content. Well, the East-German cantinas had that ingredient too, but we didn’t turn it into a secret and hid it behind commercials. As school kids we got every Friday a meal that everybody even the cooks called “dead grandmother” (Tote Oma). It was disgusting, luckily the tables in the dining hall had drawers. Once, I opened it and it was filled with this sort of dead grandmother. Ok, it was kind of okay that we buried the GDR there.
When I was born, America was a far-away country. Not only it was far, it occurred like an impossible fantasy island, a world that only existed on TV. I remember how my parents were watching Dallas barely recognizing the picture on TV since the signal was disturbed by the East-German government. Western TV was forbidden in the east and so everybody installed little antenna on his balcony to reach out to the unfiltered world of commercials. America was like a myth during my childhood, mostly a paradise of toys and cartoons. Had somebody told my grandmother that I would be teaching in the US one day, let alone receive my PhD from an American university, she would have talked about what she would do if she won in the lottery.
With the reeducation after the fall of the wall, I have learned that there is no political position that cannot shift in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, Neo-Nazis and punks were roaming the streets, youngsters exploring the freedom of ideas, dangerous and less evil-eyed than Americans usually imagine the evil Nazi-villain of their own mythological culture. Born into the left-leaning lower middle-class, we were usually afraid of skinheads and sometimes beaten up by children “performing” ideology. I became sensitive to all ideologies. At school, we still performed German Vergangenheitsbewältigung, dealing with the past in order to understand German crime in the aftermath of WWII. Yet, on the playground, football fields and in the shopping malls where teenagers hung out, it was mixed with a fashionable economical mind-set of free ideas. Who was on the right one day could be easily on the left the next and vice versa. More as an ideology it became the desperate question of East-German identity.
After my civil-service at the age of 19, and long periods of dealing with psychologically ill people, born with East-German shyness and German Angst, I studied in Halle, a beautiful but small city. It was the city of Händel when he was not famous and also of Husserl before his success. Halle was the city were people lived but had no success. Only later, I transitioned to West-Germany, Cologne. The east-German complexes remained.
21 years after the fall of the wall, my father was visiting me by train. During his train ride, he sat at the window watching carefully the landscape. At some point, he said to himself: “This must be West-Germany”. For East-Germans, not only America but also West-Germany had been a far away place. His former French girlfriend that he met in one of the East-German summer-camps spiked his dream to go to Paris one day. But since his mind was far away, he never made it. For East-Germans, the world itself was far and the world began 40 minutes away from their small city.
My English remained poor but with some travels through France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal I improved. Finally, I applied in the US for a PhD and was luckily accepted.
Pittsburgh was a life-changing experience. I studied Continental philosophy with an American perspective, yet, at the same time, I could take seminars at Pittsburgh University that was considered to be the number 1 address for philosophy at that time. Finally, I wrote my dissertation about Robert Brandom (back then, the most reowned philosopher in the world).
After having studied philosophy from an East-German, Continental and American perspective, I decided to learn Chinese. Right now, I am lecturer for British and American Literature, as well as for Western Civilization in China.
- Persönlichkeiten entwickeln, für mich selbst an und für sich, Grenzen ausloten, Berge in die Nähe von Propheten versetzen, Bäume ausreißen, Urwälder anpflanzen, Ethik bedenken, Warnen, Lehrer belehren, Warnschilder aufstellen, Steinlabyrinthe einreißen, Systematizität, Nachsitzen, späte Rache durch Erfolg (?), die Eule der Minerva in der Dämmerung zähmen, fliegen lernen
- Genaue Prüfung verschiedener Lerntheorien
- Analyse von Bildungsideen
I have held more than 20 Seminars in the Bereich Philosophie, unzählige Tutorien:
- formale Logik, transzendentale Logik
- Ethik (über das Teilen und Herrschen in Platons Staat, dem Hobbeschen Krieger bis zur Gesprächsethik)
- Übergroße Portionen an Kant serviert, mit Hegel ausgehegelt und existenziale Abgründe von Heidegger in mich blicken lassen
- Mal ehrlich: Meine Studenten glaubten einem Chemieprofessor, dass es wissenschaftlich möglich wäre, dass „Big Foot“ existiert. Die seltenen Sichtungen wurden dadurch erklärt, dass er durch Wurmlöcher reisen würde. Der Professor hatte dies mit angeblicher Quantentheorie erklärt und einige Physikhobbysportler haben sich dann damit unnötiger Weise auseinangergesetzt
- Im Gegensatz interessiert mich vorrangig, was wir wirklich wissen können, dabei ist die Pseudowissenschaftlichkeit auch unter Leuten, die an der Universität arbeiten, erschreckend
- British Literature
Ich denke gerne über das Lernen nach und möchte mich selbst gerne noch weiterentwickeln.Meine „Karriere“
Meine Lernerfolge habe ich leider nicht im schulischen Bereich sammeln können. Ich bin in Englisch sitzen geblieben, im Folgejahr knapp mit 4,45 versetzt worden. Knapp hätte ich das Abitur verpasst. Englisch in der Schule ergab für mich wenig Sinn. Im Abi habe ich mich dann angestrengt und mit Mathe und Musik (Klavierspiel), einen doch guten Abischnitt hingelegt (1,8). Von da an habe ich mehr und mehr verstanden, worum es eigentlich geht.
Obwohl mich also Schule dennoch niemals so wirklich interessierte, war ich immer interessiert, zu lernen. „Lernen“ habe ich versucht, auszubauen, bin allerdings an viele Grenzen, vor allem an institutionelle und soziale Grenzen gestoßen. Auch meine Motivation war immer eines der Hauptprobleme.
Dieser Blog soll sich mit diesen Grenzen bei allen Phänomenen und Themen rund ums Lernen auseinandersetzen und vor allem die Grenze des Lernens erweitern. Dabei möchte ich nicht irgendwelche Plausibilitätsargumente in den Mittelpunkt stellen. Es soll nicht allgemein darum gehen, dass ich unbewiesene Behauptungen so wie etwa die Lerntypentheorie von Vesters anführe, sondern darum einen Zugang zum Lernen zu schaffen, wobei wir dabei schon lernen. Es geht also auch darum herauszufinden, was wir überhaupt über das Lernen wissen können.
Ich habe in Köln Philosophie, Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Soziologie und Musikwissenschaft studiert. Ich fotografiere in meiner Freizeit.
Es geht jedoch auch um prinzipielle Methodenfragen, wie wir schneller bestimmte Inhalte lernen können. In diesem Sinne geht es um eine doppelte Bewusstmachung: Sowohl das Lernen als auch die Frage, was wir über das Lernen wissen können stehen im Mittelpunkt.
Natürlich stellt sich die Frage, warum ich befähigt bin, über das Lernen nachzudenken. Ich glaube, dass ich mit dem breiten Studium, was Wissen sein kann (Philosophie), einiges an Kompetenzen erworben habe, um die Frage nach dem Lernen überhaupt zu stellen. Selbst habe ich darüber hinaus meinen Magister mit Auszeichnung abgeschlossen und promoviere mit Stipendium an einer englischsprachigen Universität. Ich glaube daher, einiges an Selbsterfahrung mit einbringen zu dürfen, auch wenn ich angesichts anderer Größen wie Tim Ferriss oder Steve Pavlina eher schüchtern sein sollte.
Soviel erstmal dazu. Ich hoffe Sie begleiten mich und abonnieren meinen Blog per E-mail, RSS oder Facebook.
Meine anderen Blogs:
www.pusteblumenbaby.de (zusammen mit Maja, wo es um Erziehung ohne Gewalt geht)
www.entgrenzen.de (ein popularphilosophischer Blog)
www.kunst-und-gedanke.de (Kunstblog mit Veronika)
www.fibonaccie.blogspot.de (mein philosophischer Blog, auf dem ich Argumente ausprobiere)
Ich habe noch viele andere Blogs zu kleineren Themen, aber dies sind wohl die ausgereiftesten.
Hier noch eine kleine Galerie meiner Bilder