Photo: M. Heidingsfelder

Der Spiegel writes in its current issue: “Economic integration alone can no longer steer world events in the right direction, neither politically nor morally.” Isn’t it amazing that people still talk like that – they know what is politically and morally right and what is wrong?

Such sentences are truly ‘opinionated’. I don’t like mere opinions like that.

Our ally Pörksen claims that constructivist and systemic thinking is a long established paradigm and ‘normal science’. These Spiegel authors have obviously never heard of it …

If that is so, you are in the vapour spheres of middle-range theories. I believe that hardly anyone shares non-controllability – this idea. Polycontextuality, heterarchy, hypercomplexity … only a fraction of our species can relate to such terms. But Pörksen is, after all, criticising this when he puts it like that.

He warns that epistemological Biedermeier is looming.

Fortunately we have permission for theoretical curiosity. Besides: Biedermeier, that was quite cosy, wasn’t it? Something like restrained passions, bourgeoisie in fact. But Pörksen is right: Paradigms denote the need to resolve them.

Politically and morally right, says Der Spiegel, is ‘freedom’. So and so many states are free, Germany for example, but many are ‘not free’.

You know that I think ‘freedom’ is a clever pathos formula. I don’t know anyone who is free – in general, as it were. Billionaires are also subject to harsh constraints, I guess.

How is it, I wonder, that these people still so naturally and confidently carry a banner in front of them that says ‘right’? And point to others – mostly China –  who are supposedly wrong?

When someone behaves like that, it’s obvious that the opposite is the case. This reminds me, as if by chance, of: Power is like being a lady if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.

What could they mean by ‘painful realisation’? Der Spiegel says: What hurts so much is the realisation that one was wrong – no change through trade. The rest of the world is not becoming ‘free’, ‘democratic’.

Incidentally, the word ‘democracy’ is, as is well known, a harsh paradox: ‘the POWER of the PEOPLE’. And if one appeals to the power of reasonable argument – also a power -, this is, in my view, already empirically untenable.

Change of subject: Kassel. Did you follow the debate about the ‘anti-Semitic artwork’? What were your thoughts on it?

I only know it from photographs. But my first thoughts were simply that it’s about the revitalisation of old schemes of art, for example the form of the ‘grotesque’, the ‘topsy-turvy world’ … roughly as if someone had painted the ‘magic of war’ or ‘an ‘idyll’, or was oriented towards the fact that evil in any guise is simply evil – interchangeable.

According to Der Spiegel, Germany is ‘free’, after all. But not so free as to endure the freedom of art. What’s going on?

Let’s just let Der Spiegel be Der Spiegel. But one should know what ‘art’ is. It is sometimes said that its function is to make the invisible visible. I tend to think of it differently: its function is to ‘make the visible invisible’. That succeeds or fails. That’s that. Freedom is another dance floor.

As a systems theorist, how would you approach the subject of ‘anti-Semitism’?

The term is self-explanatory. This wound has not closed for ages.

Finally, the question of ‘deglobalisation’. What are we to make of this idea? Can globalisation be reversed, as Spiegel suggests: ‘The age of international interdependence is now coming to an end. It is being unbundled.’

We could be dealing with the de-differentiation of functional society. But talking about this presupposes a massive amount of theory.

Peter Thomas at his home in Lugano, January 2020 (Photo: A. Martin)

My friend, master composer and ‘muzikbeater’ (as he called himself) Peter Thomas dies at the age of 94. The photo shows him holding up one of John Cage’s graphic notations (which he interpreted for my new documentary, along with 4’33” – a performance worthy of the great Buster Keaton).

I am sharing one of his last emails to me, where he announces to send me four newly recorded tracks (in his words: “die gegenständliche Antwort”). It shows him as the man he was – as unique as his beautifully-bizarre music. The PS refers to my remark about his Keaton-like performance of 4’33”.

Our plan was to meet more often from now on: “Ab jetzt machen wir die Abstände shorter”. I was very much looking forward to that.

In an interview with him a few years ago – also to be found on this website, he had just turned 88 – I asked him wich drugs he had been taking, beyond alcohol. His answer:
“None. Music is drug enough for me. Beyond alcohol is funny, by the way – I haven’t been drinking a drop for ten years. According to the motto: Youth is drunkenness without wine. But in the afterlife, nobody knows. Maybe I’ll have another glass there.”

Cheers, Peter! Thank you for the music.

Peter Thomas
<music@peterthomas.ch> 29.01.2020, 02:29

an mich

Sehr lieber  M a r k u s 

hab viel-lieben Dank für Dein Mail,

Das TOLLE:::als Du mir in LUGANO

/mit Mütze/ gegenüber standest: War so,

als haetten wir uns 2-3 Monde nicht gesehen.

Und d  a  s  

passiert heut nimmer. Ich geniesse es,

ab jetzt machen wir die Abstände

s h o r t e r.

>>> Tutti Paletti <<<

                      **************************

also, Markus,

dies hier vorab,

die gegenständliche Anwort °°°kimmet°°°

fresh aufn >Tesch<

U  n  d  :

mir hat das W e r k e l n mit Dir best-gemundet…..

like °°°SPASS in SPACE——-°°°

Schöne Tage in HH

stets Dein

                        P  e  t  e  r 

mit UMAERMELUNG

PS

Ich freu mich übers  P e t e r  meets 

B u s t e r

Peter Thomas

Via Riviera 28

CH 6976 Castagnola

Tel. 0041-91-972 77 74

Die Auffindung des heiligen Sebastian wurde zweimal aufgefunden. Ein Professor für Kunstgeschichte bevorzugt die sogenannte ‚Berliner Fassung‘. Er zieht sie der sogenannten ‚Pariser Fassung‘ vor. Als ich ihn darauf hinweise, dass es sich im Falle des Berliner Bildes lediglich um eine Kopie handle, eine technisch weniger aufwendige Variante, erwidert er:
“Dennoch ist die Berliner Fassung das bessere Bild. Zwar ist die Bildfläche in Paris insgesamt heller, weil der Maler durch erhebliche Beimischung von Lapislazuli für einen dauerhaften Erhalt der blauen Farbe gesorgt hat. Im Berliner Bild, das materiell weniger ambitioniert ausgeführt wurde, hat das Fehlen von Lapislazuli zu frühzeitiger Verdunkelung geführt. Aber dadurch kommt der Chiaroscuro-Effekt weitaus stärker zum Tragen. Und für nichts ist Georges de la Tour bekannter und zu Recht mehr geschätzt.”
Bitte was für ein Effekt?
“Das spektakuläre Helldunkel. Die Berliner Fassung stellt eine Steigerung dieser Kontrastmalerei dar. Sie ist gleichsam helldunkler. Und das kommt meiner Meinung nach dem Charakter der de la Tour’schen Werke als auch der auf dem Bild gezeigten dramatischen Episode näher als die Pariser Fassung.”
Das Bild ist also nicht etwa deshalb besser, weil es das bessere Bild ist, sondern weil es – selbst wenn es nicht von der Hand des Meisters stammt – sozusagen mehr Georges de la Tour ist als die Pariser Version?
“Ganz genau.”
Wenn aber doch der Materialverschleiss für dieses ‚Mehr‘ an de la Tour gesorgt hat, dieses Mehr also dem Macher unterlaufen ist, wenn das ‚Helldunklere‘ sich der Einwirkung der Zeit verdankt und nicht der Intention des Bildherstellers…
“Das ist kein Einwand.”
Nicht?
“Nein. Es ist in seiner unmittelbaren Wirkung das bessere Bild. Allein darauf kommt es an.”