Where is international finance capitalism taking Europa? How democratic and social is the EU really? Most European citizens feel increasingly forced into a structure that serves the rich and powerful. »Geld regiert die Welt« (»Money rules the world«) is not just a saying, it is the reality we live in – today more than ever. Europe should be a union that protects all Europeans as equals and ensures their well-being. But transnational solidarity is extinguishing, member states are leaving the EU, a political shift to the right is sweeping through all countries. The elites increase their wealth and the 99% fall further behind. This has radical consequences… How do we save our European community? How do we overcome the debt and banking crisis, social inequality, climate change and increasing migration? Certainly not by carrying on as before. Do we really want to surrender Europe to neoliberalism? Shouldn’t the EU institutions become more transparent and accountable to the citizens? Shouldn’t we finally put the well-being of the people first? Shouldn’t European politics control the banking and financial sector more strongly and no longer let its decisions be influenced by big business? Don’t we as Europeans share the same democratic and social values? Then it’s time to stop riding the financial bull and save Europa! Don’t you think so?
BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
Charging Bull: Charging Bull, sometimes referred to as the Bull of Wall Street or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze sculpture that stands in the Financial District of Manhattan in New York City. The 7,100-pound (3,200 kg) bronze sculpture, standing 11 feet (3.4 m) tall and measuring 16 feet (4.9 m) long, depicts a bull, the symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. The sculpture was created by Italian artist Arturo Di Modica in the wake of the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash. Charging Bull has been a subject of criticism from an anti-capitalist perspective, such as in the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011.
The Rape of Europa: Titian’s Rape of Europa, painted in Venice ca. 1560–1562, is inspired by a story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Infatuated with Europa, Jupiter—king of the gods—transforms himself into a bull. Europa, close by with her companions, approaches the beautiful creature with hand outstretched. Finding him tame, she plays with the bull in a meadow and entwines flowers around his horns. When she climbs playfully on his back, the mischievous god seizes the opportunity and springs into the sea, spiriting away the target of his affections while she clings to him in terror. Although the act of sexual violence is not depicted in the painting, it is implied through Europa’s open-legged posture and her expression of fear as she is dragged off by Jupiter.
THE MIND BOTANIST
What makes a poet fall silent? Too high ideals and disappointed hopes? Existing power relations and lack of freedom? What makes a poet rebel and become creative, what ultimately silences him? A lost love, a prison cell or the oppression by a performance-oriented society that forces one into a tedious bread-and-butter job? The alienation from (one’s essential) nature? It is a fine line on which artists balance. Today as in Hölderlin’s time. Pain gives birth to something new, but it can also kill. To be struck by Apollo* (von „Apollo geschlagen“) can mean a great, ecstatic inspiration, but also a spiritual visitation. The direct path to madness? How can an artist, a human being, endure the inner and outer tensions without being torn apart? When does one start to become another in order to protect oneself? Is it worth it to be oneself – without any compromise and with all the consequences? The artist identity is fragile „und wozu Dichter in dürftiger Zeit.“
*Apollo(n): the roman/greek god of poetry and divination
BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
The works and thoughts of Friedrich Hölderlin (20 March 1770 – 7 June 1843). Hölderlin was a German poet and philosopher. The poetry of Hölderlin, widely recognized today as one of the highest points of German literature, was little known or understood during his lifetime, and slipped into obscurity shortly after his death. Hölderlin had high hopes, but was disappointed by society and politics, struggled to establish himself as a poet, and also lost the love of his life Susette Gontard. He was plagued by mental illness, and sent to a clinic in 1805 but deemed incurable and instead given lodging by a carpenter, Ernst Zimmer. He spent the final 36 years of his life in Zimmer’s residence in Tübingen what is today known as the “Hölderlin Tower”. Hölderlin’s major publication in his lifetime was his novel Hyperion, which was issued in two volumes (1797 and 1799). In the great poems of his maturity, Hölderlin would generally adopt a large-scale, expansive and unrhymed style. Together with these long hymns, odes and elegies – which included “Der Archipelagus” (“The Archipelago”), “Brod und Wein” (“Bread and Wine”) and “Patmos” – he also cultivated a crisper, more concise manner in epigrams and couplets, and in short poems like the famous “Hälfte des Lebens” (“The Middle of Life”). His shorter and sometimes more fragmentary poems have exerted wide influence too on later German poets, from Georg Trakl onwards. He also had an influence on the poetry of Hermann Hesse and Paul Celan. Celan wrote a poem about Hölderlin, called “Tübingen, Jänner” (“Tübingen, January”) which ends with the word Pallaksch — according to Schwab, Hölderlin’s favourite neologism “which sometimes meant Yes, sometimes No”.
Europe: The European Union, the European Culture and the European Thought.
Write down your mind!
THE MIND BOTANIST