Posts tagged ‘Intellektueller’

Simulacrum und Twitter

Nachdem ich heute gnadenlos daran gescheitert bin, das Simulacrum (Baudrillard) zu erklären, möchte ich es jetzt nochmal hier versuchen — und zwar in Verbindung mit Twitter:

Baudrillard’s These: Das Simulacrum verschleiert, dass es gar keine Wahrheit hinter einem Bild oder einer alltäglichen Situation gibt. Zum Beispiel: Wir denken wir sehen Kriegsbilder oder die Freiheitsstatue, doch wir sehen nur ein Simulacrum. Warum? Unsere Wahrnehmung ist im Medienzeitalter derart verzehrt und vorstrukuriert, dass diverse Bilder, also in meinem Beispiel ein bloßes Bild vom Krieg oder von der Freiheitsstatue deutlich reeler (hyperreal) sein kann, als die scheinbare Realität in der wahrhaftigen Begnegung.

Was passiert mit Twitter? Ich merke, wenn ich das Ding häufig benutze, dass meine Gedanken Tweets ausspucken — permanent, auch wenn Twitter aus ist. Twitter formt also meine Gedanken so, dass sie griffige 140-Zeichen-Einheiten ausstoßen. Alles was man sieht oder hört muss ge-tweetet werden. Ein Drang, ein Zwang, hohes Suchtpotenzial (was den großen Erfolg von Twitter erklären mag)

Doch sieht und hört man wirklich noch, wenn man so derart Twitter-holisiert durch die Welt läuft? Bilden diese Tweets wirklich eine Realität ab, was ja die ursprüngliche Intention von Twitter nach der Web 2.0-Formel connecting people, sharing personal things, networking 24/7 etc. ist? Nein man shared nicht seine Realität beim Twittern, sondern man kreiert eine Scheinrealität, kann also garnicht mehr ablichten, was man gemeinhin als die wahre Realität bezeichnen würde.

Twitter, wie das Simulacrum verschleiert, dass es keine Wahrheit gibt: Twitter stülpt eine Schein-Realität und -Relevanz über das große Loch der Nichtigkeiten des Alltags.

(Sorry an die Kenner des Simulacrum-Textes: Ich kürze und verallgemeinere sehr stark, aber das muss auf diesem Blog sein. Soll ja auch nur ‘ne Anregung sein, den Text nochmal genauer zu lesen — auf Googlebooks findet man ihn auf Englisch.)

April 21, 2010 at 1:27 am Leave a comment

The Crazy Philosopher

What’s philosophy all about?

To make yourself feel better? To find a justification for everything? To make an impression in a party-chat?

If you positively answer these questions, then you are not talking about radical philosophy – or I would say, not philosophy at all, because I think philosophy needs to be radical. And if it is not, then you’re probably talking about the daily philosophy-substitutes to affirm the ideas you already had and just label your thoughts with a seemingly intellectual name.

Therefore I think craziness is the main criterion to recognize philosophy: evoking discomfort, maybe laugther, maybe non-understanding or a strong rejection. Philosophy, as “Philosophy in the Present” points out,  should not directly give political answers but rather construct problems and invent or reorder categories (for example misleading contrasts of everyday propaganda such as “war on terror” or “islamic fundamentalism vs. liberal democracy/capitalism”). People so often take categories for granted and consequently affirm the cause of a problem rather than solving it, like a doctor giving the patient poison and then looking for the symptoms (Bush’s terror propaganda was terror itself, to give a well-known example).

I think a good example to illustrate the “Crazy Philosopher” is  Slavoj Zizek, a controversial figure in academic as well as public circles. He is so crazy (in my above stated, positive sense), that filmmakers shot many films about him, thus millions of snippets or whole documentaries are found on Youtube. The best Zizek-feature I came across was a Dutch documentary. Quite a political one (Financial crisis/”living obscenity” Berlusconi/China human rights…), but Zizek does not give direct political advice, but advice about the popular advice — and by this, revealing propaganda. The concept  concept of the documentary is innovative: Zizek is only sorrounded by screens and a cameraman. A disembodied, digitalized voice tells him the questions.

This center on the philosopher, the only “living voice” in this film, is a vulnerable point: Isn’t this too superstar-like?

I call the concept of the Dutch show (if not the whole self-marketing of Zizek) a subversion and undercutting of a superstar-crazy world, where pseudo-stars need to comment  and engage in everything (take recent charity shows as example). I guess it is quite dangerous (“You are a cynic!”, ” You don’t have solutions!”) too comment on the daily mainstream going on in our social network world, that sees charity, joining Facebook-groups and opening up Twitter-Accounts as a solution, instead of serious involvment and thinking about real, radical solutions. Probably people feel strongly the pressure from  (I admit, I feel so) daily discourse and crowd-intelligence (unfortunately, only a superficial intelligence). Zizek calls himself a “Communist” to attract attention, but he means a different communism and admits that the real-existing communism failed (recently in BBC – Hard Talk). Who else has the media attention and thus power to say that he is a “Communist” and actually thousands of people listen to his arguments?

It needs figures like Zizek to break out of the circle. Using popular culture against itself and thus making money from it. Profiting from capitalism to promote a different kind of communism, so to speak.  Here we are again in the trap of postmodern self-reflexivity. I just say: Stop.

February 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm 2 comments


The Blog-entry: “How Starbucks might kill freelancing – or the other way around” inspired me to set coffeeshops in a larger frame and constitute a coffeeshopcentric-worldimage, just as some other guys did in a different way (whose names I forgot).

Anyway: Let’ start with that well-known Globalization-everywhere thesis: Just as people are travelling more, national and cultural borders erode, goods are shipped from any place to your house, so is a working place not a local place anymore. And it doesn’t need to be: communication is possible via phone, blackberry, skype, mail, (corporate-) wikis, video-conferences. Information isn’t even anymore local on your notebook’s harddrive: Data is stored and edited on servers around the world — cloud computing, driven by Google-Documents, for example.

Skimming several centuries: Agriculture, Industry, Service, and now the Information age. And information is not bound to any place, they are in, with and between people, not in shabby offices.

And now you have the decision to work where?

Yes, in a coffeeshop.

Coffeeshops are cosy, nicely decorated, and if not so, they draw at least interesting people. The TAZ-Café in Berlin with the proximity of the editorial office is a good example for that: Cool, self-considered-“somehow”-left-wing people are just sitting around. With or without notebook. People, definitely with notebook, are what you meet in St. Oberholz, also in Berlin (picture says everything). The most important thing is, that there is a current influx of people. And W-Lan.

Starbucks is out! It is extremely expensive. But they probably were the first with reliable W-Lan-connection, years ago. I think that Starbucks today draws rather established businessmen- and women. And tourists.

But working in a café is nothing new, although the hippy trendy terms “coffeeshop” and “freelancing” suggest so. Also, this is not a new phenomenon of the information age.

Philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote in” The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere” that coffee-houses are a sign of a new openess, bringing forth enlightnment. This characterizes the 18th century — No W-LAN and Starbucks around, can you imagine that?

Around the same time (18th cent.) the Tatler-Magazine (still existing today in a modern form) even had categories such as White’s chocolate-house (for gallantry, pleasure, entertainment) and Will’s coffee-house (poetry). Of course, the 18th century allowed only elitist groups to be in the coffee-houses that often.

Coffehouses, not yet coffeeshops were basically places for an exchange of ideas. A social place, that constantly remind us of the world outside, and isn’t this important for a constant flow of ideas? On the other hand, you are observed and need to look at least a bit busy. Seeing and to be seen! I guess this was extremely important for intellectuals and writers: Influence — giving and taking — and self-positioning among elitist circles. Networking and Self-marketing, as we call it today.

Let’s jump to newer times: Harry Potter was written in The Elephant House I once visited in Edinburgh. As I remember from a JK Rowling documentation, she just flet from her massive problems at home. This is the escapist-notion of coffee-houses: fleeing from problems, being among coffee-drinking, chatting people with the illusion that live goes on in a coffee-drinking-way.

So, would we have great literature such as Harry Potter or older books, whithout Coffee-houses? Or the other way around, are there coffee-houses because of creatives like JK Rowling? The Blog asks, what was first, the person or the institution:

“I’m wondering how it actually happened that freelancing is now so closely associated with coffee shops? Was it coffee shops first and suddenly everyone thought, “Oh, brilliant… let me freelance, now that I can hang out at this coffee shop all day and night”. Or was it freelancers first until one morning over a cup of coffee some business school graduate thought “Oh, brilliant… all those freelancers want to hang out at a coffee shop all day and night”. Hen and egg thingy, I guess.”

My answer: If we translate freelancers with free-thinkers and coffeeshops with coffee-houses there is a clear answer: Free-thinking within the enlightnment period allowed for coffee-houses. People just wanted to have an exchange with other people and not to read alone in their bedroom. Thoughts kindle things, not reverse. Coffee-houses then promoted free-thinking further and further. A transformation of the public sphere, speaking in the terms of Habermas ,was taking place.

In the W-LAN-coffeeshop-era there is no barrier anymore to communicate worldwide. Interestingly people seem to feel isolated in their rooms, even though facebook, skype and twitter allow for a communication overdose. No, people still want to got to coffeehouses or special Webmeetings (I blogged about Webmonday Hannover or SocialBar for example.) Being physically at a communicative place and being simultaneously virtual around the world; this needs training, otherwise it is extremely exhausting, as I myself figured out when doing everything but fulfilling nothing.

“Wir nennen es Arbeit” (We are calling it work) describes how the digital Bohème challenges a new formulation of what work actually is. The French term “Bohème” also stresses the fact, that this “class” of people was and is still a minority that live excentrically and financially insecure.

Working with the absolute need of W-LAN in coffeeshops is just the consequence of the extremely flexible We-are-calling-it-work in connection with the instant possibility of real-life as well as virtual communication. This new Bohème also hopes to find new projects to work on and to connect worldwide. Or to rephrase an old slogan “Bohèmians unite!”

To come to a point: Freelancing and coffeshops with W-LAN are a great supplementation. Coffeeshops will search for the audience of the creative class, this is just a free-market mechanism. Otherwise competitors will attract the creative class.

Dear, there is no reason to think that freelancing will die without coffee-shops with W-LAN (As this WallStreetJournal story suggests). And yes, I think the consequences of a — however improbable — dying of coffeehouses with W-LAN would be extremely severe in a creative and cultural sense.

August 14, 2009 at 1:53 am 1 comment

Intellektuellenalarm im Internet

Ich war ganz glücklich als am Mittwoch das Holzmedium “Die Zeit” auf postalischem Wege reingeflattert kam.  Twittern, Mails und Facebook machen mich müde nach einer Weile.

Heute las ich dann den Artikel “Das Netz als Feind – Warum der Intellektuelle im Internet mit Hass verfolgt wird” von Adam Soboczynski,im Feuilleton — immer ein Garant für hochgeistigen Spaß und gewagter Schreibe.

Der Titel an sich ist schon eine steile These, regt aber zum nachdenken an. Nach dem nachdenken dachte ich dann: These leider falsch. Weil zu pauschal. Und weil hier ein “Netz” als homogene Einheit hochstilisiert wird.

Der folgende Satz aus dem Artikel widerspricht leider doch dem reißerischen Titel, der Blogger doch recht schnell die “hysterische Reaktion” der Blogger in Gang setzen wird:

Überschrift und Unterzeile verlangen nach einer hysterischen Zuspitzung.

…und dank dem zugespitzen Titel finde ich dann auch schon 78 Kommentare auf der Zeit-Internetseite — etliche mit Hass gegen den etablierten, bezahlten Artikelschreiber.

Aber auch andere Kommentargoldstücke wie diese

Die etablierten Intellektuellen, wie der Artikelschreiber zeigt, werden genauso überflüssig in ihrer gesellschaftlichen Relevanz wie unsere ahnungslos in Ideologien verstrickten Politiker. Im neuen Raum des Wissens definiert sich Identität jetzt neu. Es gibt keine Trennung mehr dann von Exploration und Konstruktion. (Jeder erschafft sich durch seine Gedanken seine Wirklichkeit.) So wird die Unterscheidung zwischen Ich und Wir aufgelöst und wir treten aus einer Kultur der Macht und der gegenseitigen Ausbeutung ein in eine Kultur des Miteinanders.

Ach, so war das!

Ist es nicht großartig, dass das Internet eine Kommentargrundlage bietet, so dass sich Intellektuelle artikulieren können und “Hass” gleich entgegenschleudert bekommen — und dann, angefeuert von dem Blog-Mob, eine Grundlage für weitere Intellektuelle-Infragestellungsspielchen bekommen? Ohne Gegner haben doch die meisten Spiele keinen Sinn! Und ganz zynisch geantwortet: Der Autor Soboczynski, der 78 Kommentare und etliche Seitenklicks mehr hervorgerufen hat, dank seines schmissigen Titels, finanziert doch sicherlich ziemlich gut sein Intellektuellenauskommen.

Ich bleibe weiterhin Feuilleton-Fan, gerade weil ich solche Grundsatzdiskussionen mag. Und Intellektuelle erst recht! Wer sich von niedergeschriebenen Kleingeist-Kommentaren als Intellektueller angegriffen fühlt, ist vermutlich gar keiner.

Nach Shakespeare und Soboczynski könnte man antworten: “Geh doch in ein Intellektuellenforum!” Schade wär’s. Für mehr Intellektuelle in öffentlichen Debatten!

May 23, 2009 at 12:26 am 1 comment

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This Blog has no real mission, but it is just a place for me to publish stories.
I like to have the pressure to simply write something down for an abstract audience. was another attempt of me to do this when I was in Bristol. See below.

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