Primum non nocere

“First, do no harm.” If you have no access to good things, then strive for the absence of bad ones. A logical short-term choice but no permanent way to live. Good things have to be too. If they’re not present eventually you’ll have to make them, somehow.

In cultures that brew bad beer or e.g. confuse sediment and microbial contamination with personality you might be able to get by for a while by drinking beer that’s as watery as possible. But that’s no way to live. You can’t not talk about religion and politics forever, especially when people are taking advantage of the vacuum to make culture war. Another example: women readers probably can’t enjoy science fiction from fun thinkers such as Robert Heinlein unless it’s a work with no female characters, just humans and aliens. But as tempting as a modern moratorium on female characters sounds, it would create more generations of… uninformed writing about women.

Fortunately, the world’s goodnesses are multiplied by good discussions. Useful ideas shared are solutions doubled and time/effort halved. As we get older the problems we haven’t solved yet seem impossible, and yet one entertaining lunch with a curious friend can save you five years of frustration.

Miniatur-Wunderland

“Miniature Wonderland,” a flabbergastingly extensive, ambitious, complex, technically impressive and beautiful model train exhibit in Hamburg. They recreated the Swiss Alps, the Frankfurt Airport, a floating Scandinavian cruise ship, Las Vegas and Florida. There are dozens or perhaps hundreds of tiny jokes to hunt for. The sun rises and sets every fifteen minutes, with lights coming on in all the little villages. Visitors can watch the Wunderland artist-engineers at work in their glass cubicles, while they can watch you enjoying the show.

(Min ee ah TOUR   VOON da lond.)

“Denk mal nach”

Means both “monument afterward” and the more obvious “give it some thought (for once).” Scrawled in chalk on the pavement at the protests before the largest remaining piece of the Berlin Wall, sections of which are to be torn down to create accessways to new luxury apartment buildings in the former “killing zone.” Berliners were very upset at destruction of this last, art-covered piece of the Wall; they protested and the teardown was temporarily halted after removal of one section. At the protest, the handmade signs, chalk graffiti and interview comments of artists and demonstraters were excellent. Protesters also created and painted a replacement section out of Styrofoam to fill the new hole.

(Dengk moll nochh.)

Erfahrung, Entdeckung, Gestaltung

“Experience, discovery, creation.” Gerald Hüther researches brains in Göttingen and talked about (non-extreme cases of) ADHD recently on ZDF heute journal. He emphasized that children are in a development process and said they require experience, that not getting enough of the right experiences and too much of the wrong experiences can lead to ADHD symptoms. “There may never have been a time when children had so few opportunities to show what they can do, to work together with others to solve tasks and problems.” He said in schools that are getting it right “children learn to set off together and discover things or create things or, even more important, to work together to handle/take care of something [sich um etwas kümmern]. Children want to be important. Boys especially. I think that’s why boys have more problems with ADHD, because in contemporary society they scarcely have any opportunities left to simply show that they can do things, that they are important.” When asked to suggest solutions for parents who might not be able to send their children to the most ideal schools, Hüther said one thing caregivers can do is think about what they can undertake together with children, “not so much hobbies as working together with children to handle/take care of something/fix an issue. Going together with children on expeditions of discovery, creating together with the children. Kids who are in the Scouts have lower incidences of ADHD. Kids who live in rural areas where there’s lots to do, where they can work with others to take care of something, have lower rates of ADHD.”

(Er FAR oong,   ent DECK oong,   ge SHTOLT oong.)

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