The Raping Bull

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?

TheRapingBull_BotanicMind

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.

Carpe DiEM!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.

(»Pallaksch. Pallaksch.«)

Hölderlin-Pallaksch

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
D.B.

 

Mountains of Madness

It’s a mad world – don’t you think that sometimes? But what exactly is madness? When you consult Wikipedia, the word »madness« refers to insanity, mental disorder and also anger. It tells us the dark history of asylums, straightjackets and so called »euthanasia«.  What is madness? Being schizophrenic or killing people for being schizophrenic? Am I a madman, just because I have a disability or an eccentric behavior? Madness fascinates us and scares us as well. Mankind always wanted or even had to define what is normal and socially acceptable. But who is making the rules? And why are we willing to accept most of these rules unquestioned in our everyday life? We have always been afraid of otherness, but at the same time modern men desperately want to be different. Nowadays we romanticize madness as a marking for creativity, we equal it to personal resistance, but we also use the term to insult and redline others. What is madness? A desirable quality as long as we can decide on it? After all, the question what is considered appropriate manner seems to change permanently, you just have to follow current world politics. It’s confusing, because the perception of madness has so many different faces… It’s a mad world – don’t you think?

MountainsofMadness

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
Today I just say: It’s all in the collage. Take some time for contemplation. Search for traces and patterns in the chaos. Gain knowledge within the madness and feel free to add your own thoughts.

Derange your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.

Dying is an art

The aim of this new collage is to provoke new thoughts about the works of Sylvia Plath and suicide. Are artists more likely to struggle with mental health issues or is it just the myth of the mad genius that endured for centuries? A conclusive link has never been made between mental health issues and creativity. But for the first time reliable data* has recently shown that in the UK the suicide rate among people working in creative roles is significantly higher than the national average. But how reliable are such studies really? Of course under special circumstances everyone can be at risk and e.g. clinical depression is a serious illness which can affect anybody. Regardless of whether someone is an artist or not, there will always be help for broken souls. It is just important to analyse the individual causes…

*Office for National Statistics: »Suicide by occupation, England: 2011 to 2015«

DyingIsAnArt_BotanicMind

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
The semi-autobiographical novel »The Bell Jar« (1963) by American poet Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) and her poetry collection »Ariel«. Ariel was originally published in 1965, two years after Plath’s death by suicide. The poems in the edition, with their free flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes, marked a dramatic turn from Plath’s earlier poems. In her writing Plath was exploring a dark, taboo, personal subject matter. Sylvia Plath was clinically depressed for most of her adult life. In 1953 she had already tried to commit suicide. Her father, a German entomologist, died when Sylvia was only eight years old. Plath had a troubled marriage with the English poet Ted Hughes. In 1961 she miscarried their second child. In 1963 the couple had two children, who slept next door when Sylvia put an end to her young life.

Analyse your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.

 

Dearest Father

This new collage takes a closer look at the psyche of writer Franz Kafka (1883–1924). But it also connects Kafka’s past to our present. Time to question father-child relationships… According to a report in »Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-Being«: »Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.« But what if a father is constantly over-challenged? What if he is psychologically unstable, abusive or violent? What if his expectations towards his child are far too high? Kafka suffered many psychosomatic disorders… Having children always will be a great responsibility.

DearestFather_Botanicmind

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZER:
Franz Kafka’s »Letter to His Father«. Kafka wrote to his father Hermann in November 1919, indicting him for his emotionally abusive and hypocritical behavior towards him. The subjects of the letter include the contrasting characters of father and son, sexuality/marriage and judaism. Kafka hoped the letter would bridge the growing gap between him and his father, though in the letter he provides a sharp criticism of both. Kafka actually gave the letter to his mother to hand on to his father. His mother never delivered the letter but returned it to her son. Kafka’s sisters had to cope with their choleric father as well and weren’t able to help their brother. The father-son relationship also influenced Kafka’s famous novella »The Metamorphosis« (1915).

Emancipate your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.