It hurts

The old man looks beautiful, sitting in the spring sunshine, smoking a cigarette. In passing I greet him briefly and when I pass him again 10 minutes later, I take a heart and speak to him.

Which means I walk past him first, stop, think for a few seconds, turn around, go back and talk to him.

It’s not easy for me to talk to people. That is the reasons why I usually do everything myself. I do not like to ask for help.

Lately I have gotten into the habit of watching myself think. To look at what’s going on inside me. I observe what I feel, focus my attention on the thoughts and feelings that rise up inside me and try to hold them for a moment to be able to look at them. In this way I sometimes succeed in perceiving things in me that normally pass away so quickly that they escape my consciousness.

He looks so beautiful as he sits there in the sun, whether I may take a photo, I would like to draw him later, I ask.

The man answers “No“.

I turn around and leave. When I walked about 20 metres, I notice a pain rising in me. I turn my attention to the pain, look at it carefully. It is the pain of a small child who has just experienced rejection and cannot understand why.

It would be easy to push the feeling aside. Pushing the feeling aside happens normally automatically, but I focus on the feeling. Without judging, without taking sides. And I notice how the feeling becomes more and more overwhelming, I see how I would love to cry out in pain.

I’m a 47-year-old man, I don’t just start crying in the middle of the street because I’m being turned down by a grandfather I don’t even know.

But for this brief moment, when in the world around me probably less than half a second has passed, I can catch a glimpse of the fear of pain that keeps me from asking someone for something.


The old do not understand what the young do. And because the elders have learned so many things in their long lives and know so much, and yet all this knowledge cannot really explain what the young do, the elders are at a loss for a moment. And then the old people explain that what the young are doing as nonsense.

The young themselves cannot really explain what they are doing, either. The young have not yet found the right words. Because it takes a long time to find the right words. Finding the right words to describe something new, something that did not even exist in the past, takes years and decades. So the young cannot yet have words to describe the new. But the young feel that what they are doing is not nonsense.

They just don’t have the words to explain to the monkeys, who need words to understand.


Things Waiting

A few days ago a man in Lübeck walked through the pedestrian zone and suddenly laughed out loud.

How absurd!

All those shops. Everywhere things waiting to be needed. Everywhere houses with shop windows in which things are displayed, waiting for someone to come who wants them. And all the people who are busy draping things and placing them in pretty light – and who, along with the things, are waiting for someone to come who needs them.

Behind the shops there are storage rooms where more things are waiting, and behind the storage rooms there are warehouses, warehouses of wholesalers, warehouses of transport companies, warehouses of factories; everywhere people who are busy managing things that are waiting to be needed.

Instead of doing it the other way round. Starting with someone needing something. That a person becomes aware of needing something, a jacket or a computer for example, and then making the jacket or the computer and carrying it around. You wouldn’t need all those stupid houses where stuff is just sitting and waiting around.

And the people who spend their time putting the goods in a nice light, they could focus their attention on life instead of focussing on dead things.

People who pay attention to life would be able to know by themselves what they need. But since the vast majority of people do not know what they need, some item has to be constantly held in front of their faces:

It costs energy to permanently seduce people to buy things. You have to constantly present things in a beautiful light and praise them. Otherwise things will clog up warehouses, storage rooms and business displays. “Everything must go!” is written in big letters on posters, because space must be made for more things waiting for someone to come who needs them.

The man laughed for a moment and continued.


The colour Red


There are people who can see a color that is invisible to the vast majority of people. Let’s call this color red for simplicity’s sake. For a person who can see this color, this color and everything that has this color is unmissable. But when this person tries to talk to other people about what he or she sees, the other people don’t see anything. Red and everything that is red is simply not there for most people, it is transparent, invisible.

A child who can see the color red quickly learns to prefer not to talk about it, so as not to be considered an outcast, as someone who sees things that are not there. It takes persistence and courage to talk again and again with unknown people about something that nobody else sees. If one is lucky, one will eventually find someone who can see red and has not gotten into the habit of ignoring red.

One must first find common words to be able to talk about what one sees. Then and only then can one can begin to trust that red exists; can you become sure that you is not just making up red and everything that is red.


How to overcome bullies

A bully can see the world from only one perspective, from its own. Therefore the bully has no doubt about what he or she sees. If the bully is talented to formulate his or her view, the bully becomes convincing for people who like to follow a leader.

Bullies need people who follow them.

People who have the talent to doubt will not follow a bully. The bully knows this and uses the people of doubt as targets. This makes him appear stronger in the eyes of his or her followers.

People who doubt have the talent to see things from more than one perspective. People who see more than one perspective doubt the bully and often doubt themselves. This makes them look weak and indecisive in the eyes of those who follow, compared to the force of the simple truth of a bully.

Recently I had an encounter with an intelligent bully. It went on for quite a while, but in the end I – we – succeeded.

What I learned – five rules to overcoming a bully

  1. Trust other people.
  2. Say what you see.
  3. Don’t be afraid that what you say doesn’t make sense to other people. Don´t simplifying just to tell a convincing story.
  4. Do not be afraid to say things that are not correct, but be aware that you might perceive things that are not correct.
  5. Listen to others. Most likely you can’t see all the relevant aspects yourself. Spend energy on understanding what others mean, even the tyrants themselves.

The key is communication. And remember, communication is not just speaking, the biggest part is listening.