Thoughts about history
by Roland Fakler
History should be a textbook to us. This textbook has a blemish however: it shows us above all how people have made mistakes. In order to act differently and better in the future, we need our reason, our fantasy, our creativity and our moral concepts of a better and more human world.
Whoever wants to draw an end-line under a chapter of history does not want to learn and to make anything better. There must never be an end-line – whatever that may be – under the Stasi-rule nor under the Nazi-rule nor under the inquisition. History has to find out what had really happened, whether after ten, after hundred or even after thousand years. It is committed to the truth independently if this truth pleases or not.
What had happened cannot be made undone as much as one might often wish so. It must be assessed again and again.
If one looks at the history of the last ten thousand years, it is hard to believe that man had been created by a wise God or that history is guided by a wise God. It seems much more likely that he has developed from wildlife, because as it is there in the history of mankind its all about eating and being eaten too. However one must hold the animals of benefit that no pig would probably get the idea to funnel another its believe or ideology under murder-threats. Only human-beings manage to do that.
The human being is a problem. He is the most serious problem on this planet. If somebody is very strong and he manages to organise great power, the problem usually turns into a catastrophe. One could have even the suspicion that the so-called „Great“ of the world history considered themselves as greater the more terrible and more extensive the disaster was, that they have brought on their blind-obeying followers and their opponents. (Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao…..). Committing great evil is no sign of greatness.
Other strong men vice versa have been persecuted (Mohammed) by their fellow human-beings, they have been humiliated (Jesus) and rejected (Cezanne). Many great artists have not at all been successful during their lifetimes, (Mozart, Schubert). Many have fled into the alcohol (Turner, Toulouse-Lautrec), many have fallen into mental derangement ( Nietzsche , Hoelderlin) and many have committed suicide (Van Gogh, Kleist ).
After their death they have been celebrated. How could this be explained?
As I am myself a strong but educated and loveable man without dictatorial intents and have also lived through a very difficult development, I believe I can contribute something to the elucidation of the problem. I want to explain and to clarify to augment the knowledge about the human-being, above all about the strong human being. This knowledge is very important in order to prevent on the one hand catastrophes and to show a way on the other hand how to develop strength into personality. This is my topic.
Already at school, I have become conscious: the whole plight of world history actually lies in the fact that the ones, who have shaped the world history decisively, the sovereigns, dictators, ideologists and also the religion-donors, have not been great enough to make anything good, that means that they have not been so great that one would have been able to come to them, that one would have wanted to have them. They don’t work liberating but depressing. They don’t work tolerantly but dictatorial. They want the force into line of all brains, not the mature human being.
To this I have the following explanation: the human brain is furnished completely madly. It is constructed so crazy that no human could make it up being more madly. One however only notices that, if one is very strong. One causes a tug-of-war. The other people try to play him all possible antics and they try to make a strong man as small as they possibly can. However this is not meant evilly. Nietzsche speaks here of the „fight of the herd against the exceptions .“ That is nonsense. It is rather a typical reaction on the condition of my brain. They can respond hardly different. They respond all in the same way or similar, and it seems as if they would have come to an agreement among themselves or would have conspired against me. A strong man works, – as long as he is not yet sufficiently great – dictatorial and depressing on others. One doesn’t want him. And one shows him this. The danger is now that he misunderstands these rejecting reactions, that he feels persecuted and threatened and that he strikes back with all methods available. This can cost millions their lives, if one has already managed to come to power. (Think of Stalin’s prosecution-mania )
The most important qualities that a strong man needs in order not to cause a catastrophe, are self-control, self-knowledge and endurance with a lonesome way of life. Usually it is the strong man who determines the rules of the fight, especially as the others react only to him and imitate him. I can only warn from the dictatorship of strong men, because I myself know how crazy things are in such a brain and because I know the deeds or better the atrocities of strong men from history. Although I am very thoughtful and reason-oriented, I had to go through a quite dark world of thought for years. At that time approximately between my 20. and 30.year I had lived through an absolute megalomania. My brain was mastered in day- and night-dreams by scenes of fight and force. I can only shake the head over it today, but I had to go through. Since I have experienced similar things from others, for example from Goethe or Shakespeare, I believe that that has not only something to do with the nature of my brain but that I make a statement with it about the nature and dangers of the human brain at itself.
Others may experience these aggressions in other or softened form maybe. I would call this phase apt: fight-war-death phase. Besides fight and war the continuous thought of death plays an important role too. (Longing for death of Jesus)
Every strong man is in the first place a big problem, a problem for himself and for his fellow-men. One must not be mistaken, there will be strong men again and again and this problem will appear again and again.
How can it be solved?
If one is very strong there is actually only one right and there are countless wrong ways of living. The right way is to retreat into loneliness and to lead a concentrated life on oneself. For twenty-five years I have been living many hours a day with ear-plugs often lying on my backside. That is the strongest way of living that I can think of and that is the way of living with which I develop most quickly to a personality. In this position my brain is so tense as it is never the case while standing or siting. So and only so, one can succeed maybe in finishing the struggle. This will namely go as long as one has archived to become so great that others want him, respectively one can come to him. Only then he can make something really good and lasting.
But whoever has completed that? Who survives that?
In the course of world history only a few people have archived that goal, but I cannot tell any names. They are relatively unknown, because they have done nothing what would have had continuance until today. The philosopher Diogenes, who is said should have lived in a barrel, could have been that. I can express only suppositions over it. The greater one is, the smaller he wants to be and vice versa; if Ludwig XIV would have been greater, he would not have needed such a big palace. Now as he was not such a great person he needed Versailles in order to appear great. If somebody has archived to rest in oneself – that is it what I call greatness – he does not want any more but having his silence. The greater I grow, the smaller I want to be.
The ones, who have shaped the world history decisively, such as: Buddha, Alexander, Jesus, Caesar, Mohammed, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao….. have not been so great, that one would have wanted to have them. They could even never be that judging on the basis of their way of life. There is no greatness without loneliness. Greatness is relative of course. Anyway one cannot succeed in becoming so great that the others can come to someone. That is the crucial point, that has to be archived. One had to have them, with all the scare, the sorrow, the terror, that they needed, in order to come to power and to hold on to power. One didn’t want them, one had to have them.
The epithet „the great“ before Alexander, Constantine, Charlemagne, Otto, Frederik, Peter, Catherine …tells nothing about the greatness of the personality but must be rather understood in the sense of „important.“ I suspect that Constantine and Charlemagne have got this title from the church, because they have helped bringing the church to power in the Roman – as well as in the franc-empire. In retrospect, many, like for example Richard Lionheart, who in reality was a bloodthirsty beast, were stylised to heroes. The truth is often sobering very much, why people rather believe in legends. They believe what they wish. The need of the people to entrust in a leader and their victim-willingness on the one hand and the imperfection and unscrupulousness of these leaders on the other hand have often led to gigantic catastrophes.
I also consider it dangerous to put down a monument to a man like Napoleon, who has primarily prepared an all-European disaster. That could have tempted Hitler to believe that he will receive another even bigger monument, if he prepares an even bigger disaster. Similar is applied to Fredrik the Great, who has plotted wars, from pure greed and power-greed in the middle of peace that have cost the lives of thousands of young men, women and children. One should raise up no monument for him but should make him the process before a war-criminal-tribunal late.
Of course, we must make use of the past, but not only of the Nazi-past but of the whole past. There may never be an inquisition, a Gestapo or a Stasi in Germany again. The people should be allowed to speak and believe freely what nobody harms.
In Germany there have been not only two dictatorships but three: the Catholic church, the Nazis and the communists. All three of them have in common there intolerance and the prosecution of dissidents. If I hate the Gestapo, then also the NSDAP, if I hate the Stasi, then also the SED and if I hate the inquisition, I must probably hate the church, in its name and commission it has pursued people. One must admit that the church has improved itself under the pressure of the enlightenment. One can forgive sins, – the history however may never be forgotten.
The intolerance of the church towards the Jews, already in the first centuries of our calendar, and Luther’s hat-speeches have smoothed the way for the holocaust. The authorities-state education, the education to blind cadaver-obedience and to the militarism was very favourable for a smooth execution. If people march in step, one has to assume that only the trunk-brain is active, – and that is dangerous. (SS, SA) The militarism in Germany and with it that brain- and heartless form of heroism was developed in the Prussia of the soldier-king Fredrik William and was exported by the predominance of Prussia to Germany and into other continents. (Japan, America)
The craziness of world history consists of that, that always one man or a party or a religion has tried to stipulate all human beings how they have to live and to think. The solution is called tolerance in a pluralistic society. People are not identical but different. They can become happy in very different ways and because much we don’t know but can only suspect, it must probably also be allowed to think differently. Whoever would like to bring all people under a hat, rapes the best part of them, namely the ones, that have their peculiarity and think independently.
Fear is a bad companion if one tries to find the right way or the truth. People who fear the hell, the concentration- camps or the Stasi, speak differently than they really think. Dictators often cannot assess themselves correct, because the people respond differently, as they feel because of fear or minority. With many thinking people it can hardly be done that all think the same. Same thinking can only be archived, if one dictates and the others stop to think. Propaganda is always suspicious: what is convincing, must not be propagated.
Every dictatorship is bad. I would even go so far to say that even the dictatorship of Roland Fakler would be bad.
The foundation of the United Nations, the charter of the united nations and the erection of the international court of justice in the Hague are big advances in the history of mankind. War-criminals don’t believe in a divine judge, therefore it is important that they must pay for their actions with real earthly penalties. Values and goals must be set up. The world may simply no longer be left to the coincidence and to the capriciousness of individuals.
The liberal democracy offers the best guarantee that no longer whole people are sacrificed to the power-greed of single megalomania-y dictators. The history of Germany after the war is a success-story. Humility often shows better ways as arrogance. Democracy is the state-form in which a strong individual can develop itself best. Weak people make the varieties of orientation in a multi-cultural society soon feel uncomfortable. The deputies in a democracy however are also not as independent as they might believe. They must think of their party-career, of interest-groups and of the next elections. Therefore, there must be also independent spirits, the artists and authors. Authors are signalmen. Unfortunately, they have often been victims of the propaganda themselves (for example of Stalin’s) and are only suitable to detoxify derailed trains on the scrap metal-place of history.
Basically man is neither good nor bad but he is weak, therefore he is quite a big imitator in the good like in the evil. The spiritual surroundings and the models are decisive for his behaviour and thinking. The educational value of a positive model weighs a hundred times more than a negative model. If one shows a child for a hundred times how the pigs have behaved (Nazis), one may not assume in the end of this education, that they now behave in courtly manner. Much more likely is, that they fart and will grunt, as the pigs. (Neonazi) How otherwise should they behave. They have no positive model.
Democracy must be strong and defence-ready too, inside and outside. He who wants preserve his human rights must fight groupings in originating, that want to restrict these. One should not be tolerant towards people, who aim to abolish freedom. Outside the defence-systems become only then superfluous, if there is a world-police. Unscrupulous dictators understand only the language of the force and if one cannot speak this language one loses everything of value: the freedom, the human rights, the peace. Nato has preserved peace and the freedom in Western Europe during the cold war.
Democracy is always in danger of incitement or people-seduction, because most people are not strong but weak and underage in reality. It actually gave nothing for what people could not be excited. One could win them for the total war with equally enthusiasm, like for Jesus‘ crucifixion. There is nothing more stupid than an incited mass.
The goal of mankind must be to create a just and live-worthy world for all people. Only that means world-peace. Nobody should be allowed to be exploited and suppressed. Capitalism and the unfair distribution of goods cannot be the last word of history. Extreme waste here and poverty and hunger there should no longer be allowed. The environment is not longer allowed to be exploited and further destroyed on the expense of future generations. We must strive for a stable balance, not for economic growth. The population-explosion must be stopped. The more people there are, the more difficult it becomes to create a just world for all.
Everyone should have the right to decide on his living and thinking himself. Whoever limits the freedom of thinking prevents an advance of thinking too. Everyone is a sovereign individual within a liberal democracy and has to respect others as sovereign and mature individuals. Nobody may dictate, everybody should have the possibility to contribute to the thinking and shaping. Privileges are always bad the worst however are those which are granted by birth. It is no merit to be the son of the father.
There will always be dispute. Maybe it is not at all desirable that there is no more dispute, because dispute can work enlivening and development-promoting very much. It is crucial how dispute is delivered: with words with sticks or with bombs. One recognises the level of a culture by it.
It is good if as many people as possible think about how the state is reigned best and it is good if they may express these thoughts frankly. If people would think more over the right action in the present then they need not constantly manage their past. But considering only what will cause headache to the next generation is not enough – there must follow actions.
Copyright © November 1999 Roland Fakler