Opinion makes blind

When I say, “I don’t have an opinion on anything,” people usually laugh and say, “But you have an opinion on everything.” Most regular readers of my blog seem to share this view, at least that’s what I infer from what those who do comment say.

It would be more correct to say: “More and more often I succeed in not having an opinion”. Because I can only have no opinion about something if I focus. It is impossible to be concentrated on everything. So it’s only selected things that I don’t have an opinion on, for example the things I write about in this blog. I don’t write (at least not anymore) about things I mean. Instead, I try to describe the things I see. Even if I myself disagree, even if they don’t fit my own thinking. Because I no longer give a damn about my opinion.

I have no opinion on everything that is important to me and on which I have concentrated since I learned not to have an opinion.

On everything else I still have an opinion and it is on most things.

Having an opinion seems to be the default mode of the human being, and that to the extent that the human being develops language. Language is opinion. This would also explain why opinion can be expressed so well in language, while no opinion is so difficult to express in words, and why no opinion expressed in words leads so reliably to misunderstandings.

Since I started to look at things increasingly without opinion, I see more and more. Because I not only see what I mean, but I also see what I don’t mean. And I see what I don’t mean as real as what I do mean. So I can no longer deny what I don’t want to see, nor do I want to. Because the world is much bigger and truer when I perceive not only what I mean, but also what I don’t mean, don’t think, don’t want to perceive.

And every time I succeed in seeing what I don’t mean just as well as what I do mean, opinion becomes more and more irrelevant, uninteresting, undesirable. Because opinion collapses the world to the section of one’s own opinion.

No opinion allows to see much more.

The future will be interesting

Fire

Climate change is a wonderful problem, because climate change is pushing humanity with great force further in a direction it has always been going.

Humankind will have a manifold more energy at its disposal than ever before. Humans are the only animals that have systematically learned to tap energy beyond their own muscle power. This has enabled the human being to do things, to think things, to attain consciousness, like no other living being on this planet.

Most of the energy available on earth comes from the sun. Without the sun, the earth would be an ice-cold planet. Fossil energy is nothing more than coagulated solar energy, created over millions of years. It is relatively easy to collect this coagulated energy and release it again. Humans have managed this trick by harnessing fire. It is much more difficult to collect energy directly from the sun and make it usable, because you have to redirect the solar energy from day to night, from one place to another. This requires technology that could only be discovered and developed with tools that required enormous amounts of energy to produce and operate. To be able to harvest and store the energy of the sun, you not only need the energy it takes to build solar, wind or hydroelectric plants, distribution and storage systems, you need a million times more energy to be able to conceive these technologies in the first place. In this sense, one could say that in every single wind turbine there is embodied energy that has been released at all times in human history.

We have not wasted fossil resources, we have used them to get to a new level. We are now able to become independent of the energy that is lying around clotted on the earth.

Non-coagulated energy from the sun and energy from the splitting of the atom has opened doors for humanity to much more energy.

And what is the point of all this?
I have an opinion on that: it is the energy that humanity needs to get closer to understanding.

It is only the last sentence that I would like to discuss.

Large and small animals

It may be due to being catholic, or to the fact that one believes in God in general, in the paradise of heaven, where one wants to go at all costs and where a camel has to fit through the eye of a needle. Where I come from, people have made it a habit of making themselves small. But only to those who are bigger. We are modest and, when in doubt, we hide our light under a bushel. That’s how I learned it from my father.

In balance, you show what you are to those who are smaller – or at the very most, the same size. To your neighbors, for example, or to your employees. You mow the lawn, show up in a suit on Sunday, put up a freshly washed car in front of your door. “What should the neighbors think otherwise?” was the question. “What do you want the neighbors to think?” would have been the right question. And one wanted: just don’t show any weakness!

That is a foolish strategy. Only much, much later and only long after I had given up my faith in God and also no longer even secretly wanted to enter the heavenly kingdom, then I realized: one should keep it exactly the other way around. Make yourself tall in the face of those who are tall. Towards the doctors, the professors, all those who are smarter than you. One should make oneself big towards those from whom one wants to learn. Not that one should puff oneself up, because those who exaggerate look ridiculous and are not taken seriously. One should show oneself as one is. Emphasize your strengths and be strong enough not to want to conceal your weaknesses but instead make them widely visible.

Showing one’s strengths opens the first door: to those who have to decide to whom they want to direct their attention. One must make oneself visible. You have to show that it’s worth paying attention to you.

Showing your weaknesses, on the other hand, opens the second door: you make it possible for those from whom you want to learn to see where they can help most effectively.
Towards those who are smaller, on the other hand, one should be modest. In a way that they are not intimidated and can speak honestly without hesitation.

In this way, one can learn from all of them, from the big animals and from the small ones.

We should celebrate!

Our neighbor has ranted terribly because of the the virus. That there would be no vaccines everywhere, or at least far too few, and now they had spilled 2,000 doses somewhere, those idiots! They only care about money, he said. He used to work in the chemical industry, he said, and he knows exactly how it works and how much money you earn there.

Well, I said, if you think back just one year, we hoped and said that it would be a miracle if we would even manage to have a vaccine in one year. This has never, never, never been achieved in the entire short time that mankind has been able to produce vaccines. Ten years had been the best so far. And a year ago, we didn’t even know if we would be able to find a vaccine against the virus. Now, a little over a year later, there are how many different vaccines against the virus? The whole world has made a decision and incredible resources have been thrown in one direction. Yes, money too. And then mankind made it and now all of a sudden it’s not supposed to be a miracle to be happy about, but a failure all along the line because everything didn’t always just work out fine?

I would say that mankind is obviously on a new level. We should celebrate!

I know you can always look at a thing this way or that way, and I very often get to hear how incredibly positive I am (and what is meant is naive). But if you can look at one thing either way, why do the vast majority of people tend to focus on the negative, no matter how small it may be?

It must be incredibly fun to be in a bad mood.

My No Covid-19 Vaccination

A story from two points of view at once

View on the detail (the story)

On Easter Sunday around noon I was standing on the driveway to Tegel airport. Actually I had thought that I am the coolest dog, because I drive up to my Corona vaccination with the motorcycle. In fact, however, there were many even cooler dogs, because much older and with even bigger machines. At the checkpoint at the entrance to the airport there was a traffic jam. Car drivers, motorcyclists and some who came on electric bikes. Pedestrians were checked at another entrance.

I was turned away. I had expected that. I had been happy to get a vaccination appointment – happier than I had expected. A few days before my appointment, however, it was then decided throughout Germany that under-60s should no longer be given AstraZeneca, the vaccine that had been scheduled for my appointment, because of complications in some cases.

Looking at the big picture (the data)

Women were more affected than men – in Germany, there were exactly 2 in men. Two complications in one million men who had been vaccinated. The probability that I (a man) would have complications was therefore 1 in 500,000. That is very, very unlikely.

Looking at the detail (the story)

I had read somewhere that in Stuttgart people who already had an appointment could get vaccinated if they would do it at “their own risk”. I would definitely do it at my own risk, 1:500,000 seems a small risk to me, compared to the risk of getting severely ill with corona. But in Berlin, other rules apply, and so I could watch men with big beards as they sped towards the airport, which had been rededicated as a vaccination center. I drove home again.

The next morning, while brushing my teeth, I had something like the following thought: Some other monkey got my vaccine yesterday. If I get Covid now, it’s the fault of those up there, the politicians, who make stupid decisions beyond mathematics because they’ve been so rattled by the people’s voice (or at least 10% of the people’s voice) that they no longer look at the numbers but at the impact it could have if stories of vaccine complications spread (which, no matter how unlikely they were, were sure to come). Gasoline on the fires of the believers of know-it-alls.

So the vaccine dose landed not in my arm the day before, but in another. And another monkey (the one belonging to the other arm) is thus protected.

Looking at the big picture (the data)

Since the vaccine is not dumped, but simply distributed in a different way, nothing happens from the perspective of the whole. Instead of one group, another group is vaccinated first and the first group is vaccinated later. At the moment, the goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible, given limited capacities. It doesn’t matter who they are. You just have to set an order and because you don’t want to do it according to the size of their wallets or the number of connections (like recently with the accesses to the hip app Clubhouse or at an earlier time to Gmail), you just do it in the order of how at risk someone is to fall ill with Corona. Something like that, at least.

Looking at the detail (the story)

I personally don’t feel so much at risk, I have to say, but I ended up on this list.

Looking at the big picture (the data)

The politicians who were responsible for this decision (i.e. not to vaccinate under 60-year-olds with this vaccine) had to decide. – Ok, there is a certain risk (a very small one in men) that complications could occur with this vaccine. So what does more harm, if the decision makers change their ‘opinion’ and thereby unsettle the people – or the politicians stick to the given direction and through the inevitable stories coming over the country (2 stories for every 500,000 vaccinated) the people are unsettled. Either way, the people will be unsettled (perhaps other groups in each case, but anyway). In the matter it makes no difference, because no matter how the decision turns out, the number of vaccinated increases.

And so the politicians simply decided the way they did.

Looking at the detail (the story)
Of course, this is rather stupid for me now.

View on the whole (the data)
Actually, it doesn’t matter.