Dienstag, 31. Juli 2018

Chronicle of the 20th Century

Past weekend, I have read some chapters of a large book called "Die Chronik des 20. Jahrhunderts". It is a book about the years 1900 to 1982, published in 1982. In my opinion, it is highly interesting and educational.

My conclusions from this reading: In general, the tendency in the course of the decades since the beginning of the 20th century has been anti-monarchist and anti-capitalist. As we can learn from this book, the Social Democrats were the strongest party in Germany even in the days of the Emperor. But the voting system discriminated against them, as votes from ordinary working-class people counted less than votes from wealthy people and aristocrats. In fact much of what the German government was doing those days was to keep down the Social Democrats and keep them away from power.

After the end of the First World War, the Social Democrats finally rose to power. But they did not get an absolute majority and so had to make compromises. Otherwise Germany might have become a socialist state similar to the Soviet Union.

The Nazi party actually turns out to have been an anti-capitalist party as well, at least initially. I read in the book that the first event of what would eventually become the Nazi party where Hitler was a guest was a lecture with the topic "How to overcome capitalism". Hitler probably rose to power because he managed to combine pro-worker rhetoric with an anti-Marxist stance that appealed to national conservatives as well. In some way, this might be regarded as a clever strategy. Of course I did not make this statement with the intention to praise Hitler's policies.

The hostility between Germany (supported by Austria) and the Entente was clearly obvious right from the beginning of the 20th century. Tensions grew bigger and bigger. It was to be foreseen that one day, a big war would commence. My impression, however, is that war can be avoided by installing democratic governments. The Emperor was an autocrat, and so was Hitler. It was these autocrats that led Germany into war. By contrast, the reason why Germany has enjoyed peace since 1945 is clearly that (Western) Germany has had a democratic government ever since.

One must not forget that the circumstances of living were different than today for most of the people back then. Many people were close to starvation. There was much more poverty than in today's Germany. While many of the "problems" German people complain about nowadays are actually just small problems, the people in the Weimar Republic actually had to struggle to survive. This must be considering when assessing the political development of those days and Hitler's popularity as well.

Donnerstag, 26. Juli 2018

Pathological Anatomy

Today, out of interest, I read a chapter from a textbook for a subject I did not like in my studies, namely Pathological Anatomy. It was an amazing experience that Patho can also be interesting.

I also have a book at home with an example test similar to the test for medical studies that was previously used in Germany. If I have enough time, I would like to take this test to see how well I will perform. Since I already did a reduced test of this kind on spiegel.de years ago and achieved the full number of points, I believe that I will do quite well in this test as well.

In medical studies, understanding was never a problem, but always only that one had to learn the material in such a way that one kept the factual knowledge down to the smallest detail, because it was tested in this way. I'm afraid that's not in me.

All in all, it was pointless for me to have studied medicine, apart from the doctorate I received. But I could certainly have obtained a doctorate in a more pleasant and useful way.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Pathologische Anatomie

Ich habe heute aus Interesse ein Kapitel aus einem Lehrbuch für ein von mir in meinem Studium ungeliebtes Prüfungsfach, nämlich die Pathologische Anatomie, gelesen. Es war ein erstaunliches Erlebnis, dass Patho auch interessant sein kann.

Ich habe daheim auch ein Buch mit einem Beispieltest ähnlich dem Test für Medizinische Studiengänge, der früher in Deutschland verwendet worden ist. Wenn ich genug Zeit habe, möchte ich diesen Test einmal machen, um zu sehen, wie gut ich abschneiden werde. Da ich auf spiegel.de vor Jahren bereits einmal einen abgespeckten Test dieser Art gemacht und die volle Punktezahl erreicht habe, glaube ich, dass ich auch in diesem Test ganz gut abschneiden werde.

Im Medizinstudium war nie das Verstehen ein Problem, sondern immer nur, dass man den Stoff so lernen musste, dass man das Faktenwissen bis ins kleinste Detail behielt, weil eben so geprüft wurde. Das liegt mir leider nicht.

Insgesamt gesehen, war es sinnlos, dass ich Medizin studiert habe, abgesehen von dem Doktortitel, den mir der Abschluss eingebracht hat. Aber einen Doktortitel hätte ich sicherlich auch auf angenehmere und nützlichere Art und Weise schaffen können.

Dienstag, 24. Juli 2018

My relationship to the people in Austria

Since my childhood I have always had the impression from the people in Austria that most of them are strange. Only people of my own generation made a slightly better impression on me.

I suspect that I could do little with the people in Austria because I have a different disposition to them. In conversations between my parents and other people, I often had the impression that, on the one hand, they were concerned with what I thought were completely unimportant (for example, immigration issues) and, on the other hand, they were tormented by problems that I never had (for example, whether their child would write a positive grade on the next exam, which was a matter of course in my case).

I was never xenophobic and could never understand such views, which was certainly due to the fact that I could do little with the Austrians either; therefore it made no difference to me whether someone was Austrian, Yugoslav, Turkish, etc.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Meine Beziehung zu den Menschen in Österreich

Seit meiner Kindheit habe ich von den Menschen in Österreich stets den Eindruck gehabt, dass die allermeisten von ihnen komisch seien. Lediglich von Menschen meiner eigenen Generation hatte ich einen etwas besseren Eindruck.

Ich vermute, dass ich mit den Menschen in Österreich wenig anfangen konnte, weil ich anders veranlagt bin als sie. In Gesprächen zwischen meinen Eltern und anderen Menschen hatte ich oft den Eindruck, dass sie sich einerseits mit Dingen beschäftigten, die ich für völlig unwesentlich hielt (zum Beispiel mit der Zuwanderungsproblematik), andererseits sie Probleme quälten, die ich nie hatte (zum Beispiel, ob ihr Kind auf die nächste Schularbeit eine positive Note schreiben würde, was in meinem Fall eine Selbstverständlichkeit war).

Ich war nie fremdenfeindlich und konnte solche Ansichten auch nie geistig nachvollziehen, was sicherlich daran lag, dass ich auch mit den Österreichern wenig anfangen konnte; somit machte es für mich keinen Unterschied, ob jemand Österreicher, Jugoslawe, Türke etc. war.

Mittwoch, 18. Juli 2018

Christopher Langan

I have read a couple of online debates about Christopher Langan and the CTMU at Quora, MarkCC's weblog and other places, and all in all I think people treat Christopher Langan in a very unfair manner. First, they ridicule him for boasting with his IQ, then they mock at his theory and dismiss it as nonsense without even thoroughly analyzing it, and the conclusion is, basically, that Christopher Langan is a worthless individual who has not done anything reasonable in his life. This is highly unfair and speaks of a bad character. As Christopher Langan has not earned any academic credentials, he must point out features of his that make him credible. So that's why he insists so much in having a high IQ. But not only does Christopher Langan have a very high IQ, he has also earned a perfect SAT score. In a perfect world, a person with a perfect SAT score would not be neglected by his academic teachers, but supported and it would be seen to it that he would make a great career in academia. The way Christopher Langan was treated by his academic teachers (I read about it in Malcolm Gladwell's book) is a real shame. It is perfectly understandable why Christopher Langan loathes academia and the academic establishment. In a perfect world, Christopher Langan would be the Supreme Professor who teaches and evaluates the others.

What Christopher Langan probably has not realized yet is that although I have a couple of academic degrees, I am in a similar situation as he is and can fully sympathize with him! I have always earned excellent grades throughout my school career, from grade 1 until grade 12, and I have graduated from high school with a straight-A record. Was anybody at uni interested in this? No, the only effect this had was that fellow students were jealous of me, and professors were stricter when examining me than when examining other students. In the end I passed all the exams and was allowed to graduate, but nobody was interested in getting me as a scientific collaborator and enabling me to make a career at university myself. Academia as I perceive it is a closed community of closed minds who want to stay away from the real world and live in their own detached fantasy realms. That's why despite having academic credentials I sympathize with people like Christopher Langan more than with fellow academics.

Sonntag, 8. Juli 2018

Interview with a Board Member of Mensa Germany

"Bayerischer Rundfunk", a German TV broadcaster, aired an interview with a board member of Mensa Germany on July 5th, 2018. This interview can still be found here:

https://www.br.de/mediathek/video/mensa-netzwerk-fuer-hochbegabte-interview-mit-vorstandsmitglied-peter-hellmonds-av:5b3c1a6fc7d5c1001825b9a1

The interviewed person, a member of the board of Mensa Germany, addresses some important issues. For instance, he states that (potential) Mensa members are often considered outliers by ordinary people. As a matter of fact, I was considered an outlier within Mensa when I was a member. The primary reason for that is what Michael Ferguson calls "intellectual sophistication". Most Mensa members are quicker on the uptake than ordinary people, but they are not "intellectually sophisticated". As my late friend and mentor Dr. Uwe Rohr noticed, Mensa members behaved towards me in a way similar as ordinary people behave towards Mensa members: they bullied me for being "different" and tried to force me to adapt to them.

However, I would like to state that the situation in Mensa Germany is better than in Mensa Austria. Mensa Austria is an ochlocracy. This is not the case with Mensa Germany (yet), fortunately.

Freitag, 6. Juli 2018

The Phenomenon of Racism

I have recently pondered over the phenomenon of racism. Nowadays it is common to insult others for being racists. But a real racist is not just somebody who states that there are different human races with different attributes and features. A real racist is somebody who has an inborn sense of disgust that overcomes him or her when he or she encounters a person of another race. In effect, even if the racist has had a good upbringing and tries to remain polite, he or she will have a hard time dealing with the person of the other race as an equal. In effect, racism is similar to a paraphilia. It is an inborn condition which the afflicted person can hardly escape. - Contrary to what some people occasionally claim, I am definitely not a racist.

Dienstag, 3. Juli 2018

Gedanken - Teil 5

Ich habe mit meiner Mutter über meine vier Postings mit der Überschrift "Gedanken" zu diskutieren versucht und dabei leider festgestellt, dass sie den Sinn dieser Texte überhaupt nicht verstanden hat. Möglicherweise waren die Texte einfach zu lang. Ich werde deshalb die entscheidenden Passagen hier ganz kurz zitieren:
Tatsache ist jedenfalls, dass es in den Medien zu der Zeit, als ich mit meinem Studium anfing (2001), eine starke Meinungsmache in die Richtung gab, dass sich die Leute bemühen sollen, möglichst schnell zu studieren. Argumentiert wurde damit, dass die Firmen Absolventen mit kurzer Studiendauer und guten Noten bevorzugen würden.
Das führte unter Leuten meiner Generation zu einer Hysterie, weil nun viele glaubten, dass sie nach dem Studium keine Anstellung bekämen, wenn sie für ihr Studium zu lange brauchten oder ihre Noten nicht gut genug wären, und sie dann ihr Leben lang auf die Sozialhilfe angewiesen wären.
Wenn es wirklich so ist, wie die Medien schreiben, dass die Wirtschaft heutzutage derart kompetitiv ist, dass nur die Besten eine Chance haben zu überleben und alle anderen elendiglich zugrunde gehen müssen, habe ich dann eine Chance, im Leben zu bestehen?
Denn ich habe aus der Tageszeitung "Die Presse" herausgelesen:
Die Wirtschaft sucht nach "Wunderwuzzis". Durchschnittlich begabte Arbeitnehmer sind nicht willkommen.
Die vier Original-Postings findet man hier:

Sonntag, 1. Juli 2018

Artificial generation of stress

The reaction of the human organism to stressors is a temporary increase in performance with simultaneous impairment of the immune system. This increases susceptibility to infectious diseases, cancer and mental illness.

Performance is work per time, and in the economy, employees are expected to perform to the maximum. Since employees in stressful situations perform better than usual due to what has been said, some management work is done to create artificial stress. However, this is detrimental to the health of workers. Many diseases - such as those already mentioned - would be avoidable if workers were not exposed to stress.

In my view, therefore, the question arises as to whether the artificial generation of stress should not be made punishable.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Künstliches Erzeugen von Stress

Die Reaktion des menschlichen Organismus auf Stressoren ist eine temporäre Leistungssteigerung bei gleichzeitiger Beeinträchtigung des Immunsystems. Dadurch erhöht sich die Anfälligkeit für Infektionskrankheiten, Krebs und psychische Erkrankungen.

Leistung ist Arbeit pro Zeit, und in der Wirtschaft wird von Arbeitnehmern erwartet, dass sie maximale Leistung erbringen. Da Arbeitnehmer in Stress-Situationen aufgrund des Gesagten mehr Leistung erbringen als sonst, wird teilweise im Management damit gearbeitet, künstlich Stress zu erzeugen. Dadurch schadet man aber der Gesundheit der Arbeitnehmer. Viele Erkrankungen - wie die bereits genannten - wären vermeidbar, wenn Arbeitnehmer keinem Stress ausgesetzt wären.

Somit stellt sich aus meiner Sicht die Frage, ob man nicht das künstliche Erzeugen von Stress unter Strafe stellen sollte.