October 27, 2012
Posted by on
the berlin wall
The other night I was having a conversation about the early 90s, music was the topic and we were reminiscing about the time when MTV was still worth watching (yes, reminiscing indeed). My conversational partner is a bit younger than I and comes from a different musical background, so I was telling him about the wonders of 120 minutes and getting a weekly input of alternative music. As I was talking it all came back to me, that early 90s vibe of crumbling walls and the European dream. I was 13 years old when the Berlin wall fell and I still remember how I felt when I saw the images on the TV screen. How I looked at my parents with bewilderment and asked them if this was really happening. I wasn’t that old, but I understood that this really meant something, that this would change the world. And it did. And for a few years there in the early 90s it really seemed like a new world was possible. That Europe would now truly become one. In my memories, in the way I understood the world, the early days of MTV Europe was a bit like that; all of Europe in one studio. It was all done in London, that’s where the studio was, but the VJs came from all over Europe, there were even Swedish people, and back then that meant something to me because we weren’t part of the European Union yet, but the fact that we still got to be part of MTV somehow gave me hope. Because I didn’t want to be Swedish, I wanted to be European. Or rather, I didn’t really want to have a nationality at all, so being European at least felt like a better deal. That feeling hasn’t really changed all that much, but back then there were moments were I could feel something almost resembling pride when I though about being European, in spite of all the past atrocities it seemed like being European could actually be an ok identity, but today being European doesn’t induce anything even resembling pride. Not only because of the horrendous political currents surging through Europe right now, but also because the idea of a European identity has almost faded away.
I may be incredibly naive, but I actually think the European Union is a good thing. Not the way it’s actually been implemented, or the way it’s working today, but the idea itself. The idea of creating a unity of nations and have the focus be on working together for everyone’s benefit is good. In fact, it’s brilliant. And if this could be the guiding principle for the whole world, that would be even better – working together to ensure everyone is ok. Not just the rich and privileged, but everyone.
If you really want to do that, make sure everyone is ok, you can’t care about borders or ethnicity because the moment you start focusing on those aspects the basic concept is lost. It’s supposed to be about everyone. Every single individual. And of course that’s an utopian idea, but that’s the whole point of political ideas, they are supposed to be about creating utopia, the perfect world. Anything that has “good enough” as the highest standard requirement is not even worth considering. Stagnation, that’s the end result of such ideals. Only ideas that lead to the best situation for every single individual are even worth considering. Read more of this post
October 21, 2011
Posted by on
pill in hand
When we speak of addiction we usually mean something destructive. We understand the malignant aspects as an integral part of the phenomena. To be addicted to something is per definition bad and something that should be avoided.
If you look up addiction in a dictionary you get the following definitions:
– Compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance
– The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something
The latter is exemplified with fast cars, the former with heroin. And I suppose it’s a pretty accurate way to describe the variations of the phenomena called addiction. Compulsive being the operative word in both cases. But how do you end up there? In the compulsive state? In the case of heroin the addictive qualities of the substance itself is usually put forth as the main cause of the compulsion. Heroin causes addiction, that’s what we’re told. If you want to be a bit more precise the addictive aspect lies in the fact that regular heroin use increases your tolerance level, you have to constantly up the dose to achieve the same effect, and it also causes a physical dependence, your body craves it. When it comes to substances those two aspects are what determine if the substance is addictive; increased tolerance and physical dependence. So how does that relate to the fast cars? Well, I suppose one could argue that you need to “up the dose” here too, it takes more to get the same fix, but the whole physical dependence is obviously not applicable. In the case of the cars it’s all on a psychological level.
Yes, there are of course different types of addictions, some of which have to do with things you put in your body and some that only have to do with experience. The common denominator being the whole compulsive aspect. Compulsive indicates that there’s a lack of free will involved. If we go to the dictionary this is what we find:
– The state of being compelled
– An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation
So it has to do with rationality, or rather the lack thereof. Again a rather fitting definition, because most heroin addicts probably know that their addiction isn’t rational. Especially since there is a definite criminal aspect tied to the use of this particular substance. But what about the cars? Or indeed any non substance related addiction? Or addiction to substances that aren’t actually illegal? The experience and the physical aspects are certainly part of it as well as that lack of rationality, but to me the most interesting part of this is where to draw the line. When does a passion become an addiction? When does use become addiction? Read more of this post
October 6, 2011
Posted by on
"look me in the eyes"
I just found this text and for some reason I didn’t publish it back when I wrote it, but here it is.
I’m on my way home from a friend’s house. It’s about 2 o’clock on Easter Sunday. I’m at the very end of Torstrasse and the combination of having no clue what the S-Bahn situation is like since it’s a public holiday and the fairly warm evening, makes me decide to walk to Alexanderplatz. Walking down Oranienburger Strasse is the fastest way to get to Alexanderplatz from where I am so it’s very much the natural choice, but I still hesitate. I’m not really sure I want to expose myself to that walk tonight, but the option of taking another route isn’t all that appealing either. Especially since Mitte tends to play tricks with my head and make me confused about where I am at times, something that has every potential of leading to rather time-consuming detours and I really don’t feel like that either right now. So I go with the natural choice and start heading down Oranienburger Strasse. The first few blocks are easy, they always are. There’s too many restaurants crammed into too little space for there to be anything but eating and drinking going on in that part of the street. But as soon as you get close to the Synagogue it starts. And I brace myself, try to prepare for what’s to come.
I see her coming towards me. Dark hair, white tights, no heels, that’s unusual, and the ever-present fanny pack. Worn on the front of the body, never on the hip like in the techno crowd. She appears to be somewhere in her early twenties but she’s wearing too much make-up to really be able to detect any age. We don’t look at each other, we just pass like the strangers we are, pretending not to see each other. As she walks away behind me I can feel my anxiety levels rise. I look up and in front of me I already see the next one. She’s having a conversation with a man clad in pastel colors. He looks very gay, nothing like the usual punter, and I catch myself wondering if he’s her pimp. A few steps away there are two more. Blonde hair extensions, dressed in white and with corsets. They all have corsets and hot pants. It’s like a uniform. And at that point I just feel like crying. Across the street there are two more girls, also blonde, they are surrounded by a group of teenage boys and I’m happy I have my iPod so I don’t have to hear anything of the conversation. What is going to be the outcome of that situation? Is this the night when these boys will learn that you can buy access to a woman’s body? I want to throw up when I think about it. Read more of this post
July 2, 2011
Posted by on
Remember the Crisis? You know, that big crisis that threw the whole world off balance and made lots of people lose their jobs and cost everyone lost of money. Remember that one, back in the 1990s? Or was it 2001? No wait, there was one 2007 too. No, I mean 2009. In fact, is it over yet? That crisis that started some time in…uh 1900 something and went on till… well it’s actually still going on, isn’t it? All this talk aboutThe Financial Crisis. Yeah sure, but which one?! Because it’s not like there’s been only one in recent decades. In fact, once could argue that it seems to have become a permanent state, this whole financial crisis business. If one didn’t know any better one might think that there was actually something fundamentally wrong with the whole system, but one does know better, right? Because surely we’re on the right track, we’re real close to fixing it all now, aren’t we? Yeah, for sure… I mean just the other day the spanish prime minister said the growth is positive, just very slow. And I’m sure the people of Spain agrees, right? Real close to fixing it now you see. We have a solution you see.
But it’s rather interesting to notice how the solution is always to sell off the rights of the citizens. A more flexible labour market, selling state-owned businesses, upping the retirement age etc. It’s all very much in line with the commandments of capitalism: money talks and he who has none shall shut the fuck up. And it’s always promoted with the propaganda of fear. “If we don’t fuck you over a little bit now we’ll all end up being totally fucked later. So bend over people!” But are they really telling the truth? Read more of this post
May 17, 2011
Posted by on
I’m sick right now. Not as in suffering from a life threatening disease or even bedridden, just your average cold and fever. One of those everyday kind of things that happen to most people a few times a year. At best it allows you to just relax and lie on the couch and watch movies or read books and drink tea, and at worst it annoys the hell out of you because you can’t do anything but lie on the couch and watch movies or read books and drink tea.
When you enter that latter stage of frustration there’s pretty much nothing that will prevent your mind from running amok on you. You start thinking about all the things you could do if only you weren’t sick right now, and the fact that you probably wouldn’t do even half of those things if you weren’t sick doesn’t really matter. It’s the illness that prevents you from doing them, not your own lack of motivation or engineering. At least that’s the case in the initial thought loop. But then, as frustration grows, so does the thought clutter in your head, and you start reevaluating every single aspect of your life. Read more of this post
As long as I can remember I’ve occupied my head with thoughts about femininity vs. masculinity. Not in the sense of gender confusion, or as in the feeling of having been born with the wrong genitalia, but as in not being comfortable with the assigned role. I was just never very good at being a girl. Not only in my own head but also in the eyes of others. It was, and still is, frequently being pointed out to me that my behavior wasn’t very ‘ladylike’ and that girls “aren’t supposed to like/be/say/do/act like that”. As a kid this type of comments would make me quite uncomfortable and I would spend a lot of time trying to figure out why. What I couldn’t get my head around was what they actually meant because I was a girl, I was very much aware of that, so why wasn’t my behavior or interests considered appropriate for a girl? If I, as a girl, was doing it or into it, didn’t that then by definition make it ‘appropriate for a girl’? The unanimous answer was no. It wasn’t appropriate to like horror movies, metal and dirty jokes, and it wasn’t acceptable to burp and take long strides when you walk, nor was it ok to sit with your legs far apart or state your opinion loudly. And laughing too loud or getting in fights was also off the agenda. It was ok to play with dolls as long as the dolls didn’t get involved in sex or violence and it was ok to play dress-up as long as you dressed up as a princess and not a pirate. But I did both. That was the thing. I actually played princess and pirate. And I liked horror movies and Nancy Drew books. I could never understand why I had to choose. Read more of this post
April 15, 2011
Posted by on
berlin street art - if you know who the artist is, let me know!
A couple of months ago I had a discussion about friendship versus family. In that discussion the argument was raised that family means more than friendship. That family is more solid, more reliable. I vehemently disagreed. Just like I always do when this topic comes up. Just like I do when the same topic comes up in the constellation friendship versus romantic love. I truly value friendship. In fact, it is quite possible the most important thing to me.
I don’t know if I have a lot of friends, I don’t know what constitutes normality in the number of friends you have, but I have a bunch of people in my life that I call friends. People who are dear to me, people I love. That’s how I define friendship, as a special kind of love. Essentially a friend is someone you forgive for being who they are. A love that is, in that sense, unconditional. It has nothing to do with demands and duties. Friendship just is. Of course you have expectations, but it’s only when those expectations get completely adjusted to the character of a person that friendship emerges. The expectations become realistic. That’s how the love is sustained. Loving exactly what you have and accepting what you can expect. Read more of this post
April 12, 2011
Posted by on
A friend of mine got pregnant a while ago. Nothing special about that, women get pregnant all the time. But in this case it wasn’t planned nor was it desired. Also happens all the time. All part of life. Reproduction. A fact of life. But mainly for women. And don’t get me wrong, I know the XY people also have to relate to the reproductive issue. For instance the almost complete lack of control in relation to your own reproductive contributions. A woman always knows if it’s her baby, a man doesn’t. Being pregnant and giving birth is an exclusively female activity. Something that doesn’t actually have anything to do with men. Men are only in on the actual conception, beyond that point they really have nothing to do with it. In fact, they don’t even have to be there in person, a sperm donation will do just as fine. The manufacturing of babies is something that takes minimal male involvement, but requires a tremendous investment for a woman. In a lot of parts of the world it can even be lethal. As ‘natural’ as it may be, giving birth is a dangerous activity. According to the WHO 1500 women die every day due to pregnancy or childbirth. That’s more than half a million women a year. Of course the danger is greater in the so-called ‘developing countries’ but women actually die of pregnancy related issue even in the ‘developed regions’ of the world. Baby manufacturing isn’t without risk. But we don’t really like to think about this here in our part of the world, we like to think that having babies is all about happiness and anticipation. Of course we are at some level aware of the fact that it’s not all fun and games, but we prefer to actually not think about the risk it poses to women’s health. And if we add abortions in the equation the situation becomes even grimmer. Because when the anti-abortion crowd, the so-called ‘pro-life’ band of idiots, are getting louder and gaining more influence, the dangers of abortion increase for the simple reason that the medical supervision and assistance for these procedures are decreasing. Read more of this post
March 18, 2011
Posted by on
I am fully aware what I am about to write, the ideas and the stance I’m taking, may be considered offensive. Some people would probably say it’s politically incorrect and some would deem me down right sick in the head. But I don’t really care. Since I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the world where I am actually allowed to express my views fairly freely I intend to do exactly this. There’s no law that prohibits me from doing so, but there are plenty of prejudices and social rules that do. Convention as we like to call it. But fuck convention. And fuck prejudice.
A lot of people cling to the idea that our sexual preferences as human beings are determined by our biology and that they therefore are guided solely by our instincts of reproduction. Yes, it’s very naive, but never the less it’s a widely embraced belief that this is all part of our nature. By this logic anything that doesn’t serve the reproductive goal is deemed sick. Such as homosexuality. Strangely enough many of the people who advocate this idea has no issue with “sexy” lingerie, plastic tits or viagra. I suppose they are all to be considered as part of the reproductive effort. Read more of this post
March 11, 2011
Posted by on
On more occasions than one I have said that I would be a very happy hermit, and sometimes I actually think that’s true. I like solitude. I need solitude. I’m not one of those people who need, or even like, to always be surrounded by people. I crave my alone time. Writing obviously has a lot to do with that. But if I am to be perfectly honest, I don’t actually think I would be a good hermit. Or at least not a happy one. For the very simple reason that If I never saw other people I would miss out on all those life changing encounters. Those interactions that so fundamentally change who you are forever. And those have everything to do with a real face to face encounter. As much as I love books and ideas, and as much as those have also changed me, there is just something about the real world interaction, encounters in the flesh, that I actually wouldn’t want to live without. Moments of transformation.
I have had a few of those in my life by now. People I’ve met that changed my life forever, who lead me on to new paths and showed me new horizons, new ways to relate to the world. People without whom I wouldn’t be who I am today. And I am not talking about lovers or friends, I am talking about people who just made a brief visit in my world, people who I didn’t necessarily have a close relationship with, but who through that moment when our paths crossed, made such an impact that I walked away from that meeting a different person. Read more of this post