Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Unsure Identity Essay

One of the more clever German ministers in Berlin.....Thomas de Maizière....the interior minister....made a remarkable comment today:

" Despite economic prosperity, Germans don't know who they are and what it represents.  Although we are doing economically well as rarely seen before......we are ourselves unsure about our identity.  We no longer know exactly who we are and who we want to be. What makes us as a German."

It is one of those million-Euro quotes because you have to sit back....sip some coffee and really think about the implications of what he is suggesting.

What exactly makes a German.....a German?

Germans are clever.....driven toward thinking beyond the next step....continually striving toward a process of improvement or solving problems.....and always pushing creativity toward the next level.

Germans understand the concept of mercy, and balance their laws in various ways to give society a constant feeling of fairness.

Germans are good stewards.  It's not just the environment but the infrastructure that exists.....the schools and universities built over the decades and centuries....and social support systems that help the lesser in society.

Germans have a rich history in innovation.  If you look at foods: the gummy bear, the Bratwurst, Buamkucken, and the Stollen are all great examples.  Talking about chemistry?  They invented the Petri dish, the Bunsen Burner, and Polycarbonate.  Talking about computers?  They invented the MP3 format, and the Binary number system.  Cruise missiles and the machine-gun were invented by the Germans.  Plank's Law was written by Max Plank.

Germans were standing there when the Romans headed north, and patiently put up with the rules of Rome.  Between troubles with the Catholic Church, and regional conflict.....a land emerged out of the 1800s with districts, city-states, empires, and kingdoms coming together under the Prussian umbrella.  Through the incompetence of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Austrian-turned-German corporal....Germany has put up with some very high ups and low downs.  It's been rebuilt a dozen times over.

If you asked ten Germans what makes them a German....most will look at you and just say their "pass" (ID) or their birth in the country.  They can't explain why a German is really a German.  Nor can they get this remarkable feature about German culture and society across to someone who just arrived and intends to pretend their way into being German.

I'm not even sure that Merkel herself could say in two-hundred words or less what it takes to make a German.....a German.

Yes, quiet a problem....a national identity that ought to be worth a 10,000 page novel, and you can't really lay the blunt nature of this culture or society down to it's own citizens.  It is a remarkable problem.

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