Once again, Zeit-Fragen will be present at the Leipzig Book Fair this year. The booth is located in Hall 4, stand A 105. In addition, Zeit-Fragen invites within the framework of “Leipzig liest” to 3 events at the fair and to 3 evening lectures with discussion.
Numerous “school reforms” of the past years have led to an enormous reduction in education. More and more children and adolescents cannot even read properly, nor can they write or calculate. Parents in different European countries are not inclined to accept this any longer. They therefore formed parents’ initiatives to stand up for good schools. This is based on an education, linked with what was successful in European educational tradition. All these considerations are based on a personal conception of man and consider man as a social being, which needs education. Thus, education is not a mere instrument for maximising a Homo oeconomicus, but the concern to fulfill the requirements of an ethics based on reason, social connectedness and common good. Young people should have the possibility to develop their personality according to their dignity and so be able to contribute in profession, family and state. For that, children and young people need educators and teachers which introduce them into reality and the knowledge about it. The best way to do this is by learning together in a class community. There, compassion and social interest can be developped and deepened.
In November 2016, the “cooperative idea” was declared part of the Intangible Cultural World Heritage of UNESCO. By inscribing this idea to the Representative List, it shall be protected and at the same time, it shall be promoted as an economic model. Therefore, we want to appreciate the potential of the cooperative idea in an event. Participants of the panel discussion: Dietmar Berger, president of the Mitteldeutscher Genossenschaftsverband for many years, Dr Eva Föllmer-Müller, psychologist, editorial staff Zeit-Fragen, Prof Dr Markus Hanisch, owner of the Raiffeisenprofessur Humboldt University Berlin (“Economy of rural cooperatives”), Jean-Paul Vuilleumier, president of the cooperative Zeit-Fragen, Prof Dr Richard Werner, Economist. The ethical foundations of the cooperative idea are valid since 150 years and still relevant today. They should be preserved and enhanced for generations to come. UN already announced 2012 as the “International Year of the Cooperatives” and thus appreciated the cooperatives with their 800 million members worldwide in over 100 countries. Cooperatives do something against poverty; they create jobs and promote social inclusion. Reason enough to deal with cooperatives and their historical, social-ethical, economic and practical foundations.
We already discussed it last year: Not every person with a difficult childhood and/or adolescence will suffer a terrible fate. People are not marionettes of whatsoever kind of destiny. Many children develop unforeseen life energy, despite negative living conditions, or even because of these bad conditions, if they are able to overcome them with the help of valuable confiding relationships. However, what exactly are we supposed to do if children are already antisocial, sexist, and the like, so that we almost grow desperate? If they live out what our time offers them in terms of perverted role models for their already weakened self-esteem? What do helpers need? Are courage, determination, and outrage against “this society” enough? How can one give love and hope in our time? How can we be a “companion for life in difficult times”?
Reading is not just an elementary cultural technique. Reading enhances imagination and empathy to an extent no other medium does. In particular, the reading of humanly appealing, literary texts is now crucial. Children and young people who read such texts experience a piece of the world with the eyes of another person. In contrast to films, videos, or comics, plunging into a merely textual story is an indispensable training for brain and soul. For every occurring picture, every event, every emotion has to be reproduced, imagined, envisioned and comprehended by the reader. Matured empathy is not just the result of an intellectual effort; it also is an emotional achievement. Where this elementary training of empathy is nurtured and cultivated, real understanding of, real tolerance towards other people can grow – a challenge for school, parents, grandparents (!) and our cultural public.
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