Translation from german by Silviu Druma

Thoughts about present

When in the year 1492 Rodrigo de Jerez landed on Cuba with Columbus, he was probably the first European who came into contact with the tobacco. Returning to Spain, he became the first victim of a habit, which would split mankind over the centuries. He smoked in public and the Inquisition imprisoned him rapidly whereby he was still kept imprisoned, even though the smoke habit had continued to spread.

What a fateful discovery tobacco was in the long run.

Tobacco always found opponents, forbidden under threat of death penalty, overtaxed and socially outlawed but nevertheless its triumphant advance was not to be stopped. It was used as a cure for various ailments. It was sniffed, formed to the cigar and, finally, reduced to the cigarette. Historically in this last form the tobacco was most successful. At first, the Revolution of 1848 brought to Germany the freedom for people to smoke publicly and drink beer. From then on, it went again downhill. Today, we mentally return to the stage of the Inquisition.

It is remarkable that totalitarian political systems have historically sought to particularly form themselves in tobacco opposition.

We haven’t learned anything? Can’t we humans deal with freedom?

Many things have happened in the 150 years since we gained the freedom to smoke. Wars have killed millions of people, minorities have been annihilated brutally, political systems have been bloodily established and again come to pass, the technological progress has been enormous and also medicine has considerable successes to show. The science explains some things but, nevertheless, revolves in each case around power and money. Every few years a new sow is driven trough the village, it begins with political ideas or with management methods and evolves into philosophies and uncle Dagobert’s fairy tale hour for clever profit. The intervals become more brief, giving the cycle a certain inertia once a system is established; but the human memory is porous with limited adaptability. Particularly, if it concerns the collective experiences. After perhaps 10 years the politician has been used up, the managers worn out, then there is a place for new experiments.

After the fall of socialism, we live like we are in the age of restoration. Why do we need a free-market economy, if the focus of the conflicting systems, the iron curtain, has failed? Why do we need democracy, if the old persons, who can perhaps remember it, are no longer here?

A marvelous play meadow with only one engine: power and money. If a new technology comes, it is used regardless of whether is good or bad. New scientific breakthroughs are marketed, whether good or bad. New economic methods are used, whether good or bad. Is there any no-cost, democratic science? Is there an economy that serves the people?

Is there a medicine which is committed only to the Hippocratic’s oath?

Past are the times when one was given the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and said with joy that it was perhaps a small step for science but a large step for mankind. An entire arsenal is available for the individual who feels disconcerted and threatens to escape the system, to eventually go in opposition. One gives him McDonalds, Mickey Mouse and the soap opera. If that is not enough, then one tries the car, the all inclusive vacation pack or the entertainment park to deliver the remaining individuals. Then up with the helicopter on the last snow field. But, what if these temptations aren’t enough? Then we give him some money for the establishment of a personal corporation and leave him to work a little, as long as the system functions; the next clown already waits. He needs perhaps some more power, and that can be arranged if and as long as he fulfills expectations. Are the enticements ever enough? – Hmmm.

Oh, in former times, there was the church, which unfolded a beneficial effect with hell, death and devil. One still hears those themes echo today? Now, one can invent religious-like sects, such as terrorism, climatic disaster, passive smoking chicanery, Political Correctness, and finally give everyone a common, evil enemy, undoubtedly he who manufactures secret weapons of mass destruction. Thus the circle closes again to the Middle Ages and we wonder why nothing has changed. If someone pursues a goal, then he first thinks of the simplest strategy.

We must first realise the global strategy: there was a time, in which few knew everything. This is the highest point in a diagram of today’s stage on which none of us knows anything. This picture illustrates marvelously the intended condition. Now, one strews the idea, and leaves it to the compliant scientists to support it statistically, e.g., that the new economy has finally interrupted the usual and threatening cycles: it served only for collecting of money from those who believed in it. Or that hedgefunds are useful for the national economy: they serve only for siphoning off the national wealth. Or that genetically changed grain will solve world’s nourishing problem. They serve only by means of patent protection monopolizing the food production. Or that passive smoking is the admission of the worst poison at all is: Whom does that idea probably serve?

The increasing knowledge in single areas obtains an obscure complexity in the cooperation of all systems and thus a confusion of the individual. They require whole armies of experts, advisors and specialists, but the Tree of the Knowledge disappeared in the impenetrable brush. Everything becomes that obscuring brush, from the cradle to the grave—the society, the medium-size economy, the intelligence—everything is atomized and only a few structures will be spared. Aimless accumulations of disconcerted individuals – as it were the new primordial soup of human existence. An Eldorado for the dance around the golden calf for the wrong prophets.

Each absurd idea probably finds supporters that carry these ideas with verve and almost religious eagerness into the world and, nevertheless, their modest realisation remains in the prison of their knowledge , as long as they are fed only with the correct one. And there are always those, who control the strategy and have fun with it, to feed these people so long as they are helpful to the goal. The time intervals become shorter, in which new ideas and strategies are brought, and there is a method. There is only a certain time window in which the restoration will be effective. The ideas of socialism are discredited and sunk in the helplessness by the globalization. The achievements of the social state, which developed in 100 years competition of the systems, can be reduced unconditionally only during a certain time, but the questions will arrive—the questions about the responsibility, about the politics, which cannot react fast enough to new ideas and strategies.

Then we still have the European Union, a most unfortunate combination of legislative and executive, in a deeply undemocratic, increasing authority. The players also recognized for a long time and, in fact, set that this circumstance is not accepted as God-given. At the same time many organs, instrumentalized in the mean time by the European Union, would not have withstood democratic control. On the one hand, large business enterprises talk about a standardization machinery, which would suffocate small enterprises in a sump of European Union regulations; on the other hand, politicians of any colour use the European Union to the achievement of their own political goals, which failed on national level. Both phenomena are extremely comfortable, one can hide himself behind the European Union and withdraw himself from the responsibility, unfortunately with unforeseeable consequences.

Less democracy? Here we have the dynamic process, as it is with smoking. In 1848, the people were in a democratic process, which brought in a new freedom. We are moving today in the opposite direction. In a propaganda battle unparalleled in recent history, some few threw at smokers everything which social dirt could muster. These few understood how to throw us all into the social scum pot. They understood how to put themselves in the foreground with the help of selective perception in such a way that they are perfectly blind about their own instrumentalization. They believe that they must save the whole world and put everyone under pressure and do not recognize how their mean fight becomes a test for democracy.

If they had the certainty to become the leader they would completely forbid smoking. Some political calculation would unfortunately offer to them a scapegoat. So, they set themselves once more to the executing aide of large concentrations of power, by sacrificing the middle class. They eliminate the market regulation, being able to understand and control the consequences.

The ghost of the passive smoking is not scientifically proven, but merely semi-statistically inferred with assumptions based on American "studies" – perhaps just as unreliable, like the weapons of mass destruction, which were never found? It serves only to pressure the smoker still further into the tightness; do these people really believe that the percentage of the population, who may be sensitive due to its physical arrangement to whatever kind of narcotics, will stop using it due to substantial interference in the democratic freedoms?

The business of pharmaceutical industry, in addition to the cigarette companies is accelerated. By inciting different subpopulations against each other, they believe that social pressure of supposed "well being" will increase and in their limited horizon they don’t notice what bad seed they’re planting. Where are our intellectuals and progressive thinkers, where are the critical journalists who ask the hard questions? Or are we already again so far along that nobody dares to take a position anymore? Do we have to be prepared for worse? Everything points to the fact that we stand on the eve of enormous challenges, and we do not have anything better to consider? But we didn’t know anything about it!

Perhaps everything is only a normal economic war and the result will be that pharmaceutical industry with their nicotine patches and chewing gum will penetrate all the same in the market. Even if that is doubtful, because one must put the legislator under pressure in order to launch new products in the market. Also cigarette companies are conceivably going in this direction, e.g. Philip Morris demands a multiplicity of legal regulations, according to the slogan from the Saulus will a Paulus, in order to thereby save their own skin.

Beautiful new world.>

Philipp Schuster
February 2007



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