neulich in der sbahn

holy night at c's

c wanted to have this big christmas eve dinner, but unfortunately her parents, uncle, aunt and 3 cousins weren't able to make it, because their flights were cancelled. so in the end it was just three of us. c was very disappointed but we ended up having a really great dinner anyway. i must say it was probably one of the most relaxed christmas dinners so far and i kind of like the idea of celebrating christmas with friends or maybe a mixed group of friends and family.

our menu:
vegan pumpkin soup
lamb's lettuce with fried pear, walnuts and balsamic vinegar
goose (or veggie schnitzel), mashed potatoes with garlic and red cabbage mixed with chopped chestnut
vanilla ice cream
(we were not able to eat the last two courses though...)


new discovery

my friend nele showed me this show last night. sarah haskins is absolutely funny! nele and i were wondering why there don't seem to be any german feminist comedians or why german feminists seem to have no sense of humor, but seem to be extremely bitter. sarah's analysis and commentary on gender roles as shown on tv ads is just brilliant! too bad she quit the show. her successor erin gibson's show modern lady is pretty funny as well. you should check it out! tv definitely needs more chicks like these two!


why philosophy?

i just love the ny times!
great photos and statements of contemporary philosophers. please pay attention to zizek's statement!



every single year the christmas industry seems to be flooding our shops earlier and earlier and earlier and earlier and earlier and earlier and earlier and earlier.
it’s a scheme!!! and it’s annoying as hell! who wants to eat chistmas cookies in june or drink mulled wine in august? nor do i want to see christmas lights or decoration before the 24th of december. ok, i might be a hater! yes, i do hate christmas! i am a harmless version of the grinch, slightly less green, but strangely enough with rudolph’s red nose when it’s too cold outside. and no, it’s not the eggnog that makes it red. as if i would drink eggnog, yuck!
anyhow, most of my friends are non-practicing christians. some of them say they are practicing. they want to get or have already gotten married in church but that seems to be one of the only moments in their adult lives they enter a church. the other moments will probably be funeral services, maybe even only their own ones. but when it comes to christmas they all have the urge to celebrate the birth of jesus christ. some of them get the urge to donate money to charities, cause that’s what good christians do…remember: thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself! but where is that love during the rest of the year? don’t get me wrong, this is not meant to be an indictment against christians. no christian bashing intended, muskelpferd! non-believers also use only the holiday season as an opportunity to donate or for doing good deeds.
i was raised an atheist, well at least i was raised by atheists. my mother wasn’t baptized. her father was a true socialist. he was even buried at the friedrichsfelde central cemetery, close to the memorial to the socialists.
my father on the other hand was raised by a protestant mother and an atheist father. my grandfather would drop her off at sunday service and pick her up afterwards, but would never enter the church. my father confirmed his faith when he was 14 but later apostatized.
anyhow, i know we all celebrate christmas, because it’s a tradition in western society. but to me this whole tradition seems kind of meaningless. we are supposed to celebrate the birth of the messiah! but i don’t believe in that messiah! i might constantly be going back and forth considering myself an agnostic or whatever, but i am fairly sure that i do not believe in jesus christ. the only thing i’m not a hundred percent sure of is, if there is a higher force or a surpreme being. i mean, who am i to know, right?
christmas with my family is just getting together and having dinner and exchanging presents of course. for a few years, it was just mom, dad and me hanging together. my brother, his wife and their children wanted to celebrate on their own. so my dad and i rented a few dvds. after dinner we watched them and my mom would fall asleep. usually during the first one. that’s kind of a tradition, i guess … anyhow, it could have been just some other sunday or saturday night, where i would go over there. nothing special. after dinner i usually have drinks with some of my friends.
in 1998 i celebrated christmas in the us with my host family. that was the first time i was not with my family. two years ago i was israel visiting my boyfriend at that time. he is jewish but wanted to go to church with me! that was kind of a funny thought, cause i’ve never been at a christmas service. but we didn’t do the whole christmas thing and celebrated chanukah instead. and you know what, i didn’t miss a thing!
this year will be the first time i will be in berlin but not celebrating with my family. my parents are going to celebrate with my brother’s family. but i think i can predict the future and that’s the reason i’m not going with them. oh no, bad case of a delusion of grandeur!
nonetheless i decided to be with friends, because - and now listen to this - even though i’m not a fan of christmas, i don’t want to be alone on christmas eve!!! thinking everybody else is with people they love makes me scared of being home alone. so is this the point of christmas? when celebrating with people you love, it makes you feel appreciated and shows you how good life can be and when alone, you are a sad, sad human being? strange thing is though, that suicide rates don’t increase during the holiday season … so i guess that thesis is just invalid.

anyhow, get through it and get good presents at least. you deserve it after having to listen to all these corny and annoying christmas songs and stuffing your body with a monthly amount of food in just three days!


brrrrr even colder

this must be some sort of a joke!


low - point of disgust

it's one of these days, where you ask yourself, why the hell did you even get out of bed? it's freezing outside. with every step you make you could break your neck, cause the ground is so slippery. instead of doing something useful like reading the books you need to read for your exams, you just lie on your bed and watch mindless tv-shows or keep yourself occupied with other useless crap. the worst part about it, you can't even convince yourself that you are just trying to relax, cause with every minute that passes you feel more tired and exhausted. so why can't you make yourself get up and do something???
anyhow, i just heard this song and i think it really captures my mood
today. and the video is just beautiful.

brrrrrrr cold


whatever happened...

…to suicide?!

it is interesting how the perception of suicide has changed throughout the course of history, well in some ways at least.

while studying for one of my exams i stumbled upon two speeches supposedly held by eleazar ben yair, the leader of the sicarii during the siege of masada. he held these in order to convince his fellow sicarii to commit collective suicide.

he argued that suicide is the right thing for them to do, because they have sinned and brought a lot of anguish upon their fellow countrymen. it is also better to die as a free man than live in slavery.

it seems to have been a theme for ancient historians to tell about mass suicides during times of war. in order to escape slavery, imprisonment, punishment or murder by the opponent, people have committed suicide and still do.

among ancient historians suicide seems to have been regarded as a brave and heroic act. the protagonists showed how much they valued their freedom, faith and honor.

the abrahamic religions condemn suicide as a highly sinful act, an act against god. one of the reasons they condemn it, is that god is the one who determines how long one lives and not the human being. christianity was pretty bias for a while. though suicide was prohibited, martyrdom was admissible for quite some time!

many philosophical schools have strongly opposed suicide. some have made exceptions for certain reasons. plato for example, whom flavius josephus must have read when he wrote the speeches for eleazar ben yair, generally disapproved of the act, but accepted it, if the individual in question had been part of wrongful doing.

the views on suicide of philosophical schools have obviously undergone some change in the last centuries. there have always been schools, e.g. the stoics, who have permitted suicide.

the question still is, is it just or unjust? is life sacred, making suicide morally wrong? is it allowed under certain circumstances to kill oneself? do we have a right to self-determination? is suicide wrong because killing is generally wrong?

according to the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy it is - among other things - personal feelings that influence modern perception of suicide as well as the ideas of the roles we are supposed to play in society. so if a family member does it, it is considered to be harmful to the other members of the family and is thus wrong!

a person close to me has seriously attempted to commit suicide two or three times minimum. x suggested to me that there have been more attempts and that those were no cries for help. x also told me that he/she did not think about the consequences these attempts could have nor how it would affect those close by, how it would change their lives forever, how they would never stop worrying that it might happen again for the rest of their or x’s life.

nowadays it is often seen as a cowardly act, the most egotistical thing a person can do. the person, who chooses to kill her/himself is considered to be running away from life’s challenges. the people, who are left behind are often left behind with nothing but emptiness or shock and guilt. they feel forsaken.

we also judge suicide on different grounds. someone, who has been terminally ill and committed suicide will be seen in a different way as someone, who’s suffered from depression. in the first case the people left behind will sometimes not even describe it as a suicide.

but what is suicide? the encyclopedia states, that an act can only be classified as suicide if it is completely intentional. though it must not result in death necessarily.

there are of course different motives for choosing to kill oneself. i found it very interesting, that among others one motive is revenge! but isn’t revenge only fulfilling when one can undergo this feeling? and considering one doesn’t believe in afterlife choosing death out of revenge seems kind of pointless. it shows how little we understand about death and its finality.

almost winter

my fogged kitchen window. thursday it is supposed to be snowing!



thanks to z. for making me appreciate this so much.




i was dead. now i'm alive.

first of all...the german translation of the movie title is thou shalt not love. my friend nele says it's because it was made in the holy land the germans expect it to have a biblical sounding title. germans are so strange when it comes to translating movie titles.

back to the movie. eyes wide open / עיניים פקוחות was haim tabakman's first movie. it's set in an ultra-orthodox neighborhood in jerusalem, maybe mea shearim?

aaron is a married man and father. he inherited his father's butcher shop and falls in love with ezri, a yeshiva student who got kicked out and has become homeless.
 aaron hires ezri and allows him to stay in a room above the shop. they become friends, study torah together and eventually develop feelings for each other.
 ezri has a reputation and the men in the neighborhood warn aaron, ask him to get rid of ezri. to not even bring him to shul. when aaron doesn't listen, they threaten him. tell him that he and his family would have to leave. tell him that his wife might not be even leaving with him. tell him that he will lose everything.

a second story line shows the relationship between engaged sarah and israel. aaron has heard the gossip on them but seems sympathetic when he sees both of them leaving her family's store together. later though he and a few other men go over to israel's home and threaten him to end this inappropriate relationship. is aaron doing this because he wants to cover up his own inappropriate relationship or is it because there always seems to be a discrepancy in judging your own doings and those of others?

eventually aaron ends the relationship. he goes home to his wife, but decides that he can't continue living like this.

a great scene in the movie is showing aaron and is wife getting intimate. she says: "i went to the mikwe today". he starts moving their two beds together while she keeps brushing her hair. then both start undressing themselves under the sheets. there is no passion. a few minutes later the two men have their first intimate moment together. it is the absolute opposite of the earlier scene, it is full of passion and lust.

it makes you wonder how one could live in such an oppressed society? where you are torn between your faith and your sexuality as well as your environment. where there is so much pressure because you always seem to be watched by the people around you.

eyes wide open was one of the most depressing movies i have ever seen. it was a quiet movie and i prefer it to most movies who pick up a subject like that, brokeback mountain for example. i can’t really explain why. i just remember falling asleep during brokeback mountain and thinking that there were so many clichés in it.
one shouldn't watch eyes wide open while being in a bad place. there is no hope whatsoever to be found in the movie.

where i grew up


harry mulisch

harry mulisch died last night.
it seems to be the year of the passing of some of my personal heroes.
it started with j.d. salinger whom i obsessively - i know, it's so cliché - read in my youth. some months later theatre director and social critic christoph schlingensief died way to young. last night it was mulisch's term. he was not too young, he was 83. but like schlingensief he died of cancer.
harry mulisch's novel de ontdekking van de hemel / the discovery of heaven was the first book i read in dutch. a few times i doubted if i would have the strength to finish it. but i did and i actually enjoyed the struggle. harry mulisch was an elitist. he expected his readers to be able to read latin, french, english, german and obviously dutch. but his use of the dutch language made it totally worth to overlook this - in my opinion - character flaw. i don't think i would have been able to learn to appreciate and love the dutch language had it not been for him.


i sometimes detest modern art. maybe i just don't get it, but some of it is just pretentious crap.
today i went to künstlerhaus bethanien. after watching a video called 'komm stirb mit mir' by via lewandowsky i most certainly had the urge to buy a gun and shoot myself.
a little girl sings 'komm stirb mit mir' ('come die with me') for about eternity...at least it felt like it went on forever. it also seems kind of sick to me to have a small child sing these lyrics. but who am i to judge, right? the video itself did not really impress me. it was kind of strange i guess. lewandowsky used lots of filters to intensify the colours and there was also a lot of movement in the video. somehow it made me feel a little sea sick. i couldn't convince myself to watch the whole thing, but sitting in the gallery, i was still able hear the girl's voice and it was quite nerve wrecking. maybe a little creepy even. it made me think of all those horror movies i have never watched.
so the question that keeps popping up is...why? what is your point, via? do you want to disturb us, shock us? there isn't that much that can shock this society these days. we've been polluted by shocking images since we were born! so please, please, please help me understand!

luckily i also had the chance to watch a video i actually did enjoy! daniel beerstecher's work "50°60'59,50"N / 8°40'35,30"O" can be found here.


my friend

just recently i read a blog entry by one of my dearest friends. my friend was wondering about the purpose of her existence. she took some test she found online. but, of course she didn't really get an answer to her question.
but what is the purpose of life? is it changing the world? i guess not. besides it's super naive. is it influencing the people you love or the people who are around you? i guess that's much more it. it made me really sad to read my friend's words, cause she is one of the most knowledgeable people i have ever met and she has opened my eyes on so many occasions. she is so very gifted when it comes to explaining the world, it is very unpretentious and that is what i like. people who are smart and don't feel like they constantly have to brag about it are just the best.
but this friend is way more than being intelligent. she's an excellent and caring person and has the most amazing hair ;)
in yiddish you would call her a mensch.
i guess at some point or another we will all ask ourselves what the purpose of our existence is and we will probably be unsatisfied with the answers we might find. of course there are always these few exceptions. people who always seem to know what they want to do in life. god, i envy and hate them. they are not my friends.


thesis? - done!

it's finally been done!



"The word 'despair' is overused and banalized now, but it's a serious word, and I'm using it seriously. It's close to what people call dread or angst, but it's not these things, quite. It's more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable sadness of knowing I'm small and weak and selfish and going, without doubt, to die. It's wanting to jump overboard."

David Foster Wallace