Is there anyone who still believes in growth? Well, I do not. When it comes to noise, for instance, then I feel that growth is just a nuisance.
Let me first tell me what, when I was a child, I remember having been taught from those who educated me.
As I remember it, (nearly) all I ever did when I was a child was wrong if you listen to my parents’ feedback. I was often noisy, even if only as part of a game, but it was not understood as such. It was totally unacceptable if you were loud (and having fun). I was forced to always be considerate. Because you cannot disturb other people, especially not grown-ups. And you also must never be a burden to them. Especially not by displaying childish, i.e. wrong, behaviour. The mantra was always: BEHAVE!
Actually, being too noisy is really a bad thing. At night, it was out of the question. But the same was true for the daytime. Because our neighbours had to work night-shifts regularly. After all, we were living in a suburb mostly inhabited by railway employees. And an exhausted railway employee has to get his sleep in order to be fit for the next night-shift.
I was also supposed to speak upper German – and very distinctly. I always had to look clean and nice, had to wear shoes even when the weather was extremely nice in summer and, of course, my hair was always cut extremely short (after all, dirty children without shoes and with long hair were gypsy children)!
As a German child, I was supposed to always tell the truth and have a straight and upright posture. If I met an adult person, I had to greet them first and then I was only allowed to speak when spoken to. When talking, eye-contact with the person I was talking to was mandatory. Naturally, I also had to behave well in all other areas. Later, I had to wear the Nyltest-shirt and US Blue Jeans were a NOGO!
Since I mostly was not (nor did I want to be) the model child out of the picture book, there was plenty of grumbling and defiance. That did not have nice consequences for me – I often was the evil non-obedient child. I was often at the receiving end of physical violence, confinement to my room, punishment and forced tasks. Not being allowed to go out, just like the abolishment of what was held to be special privileges, such as playing soccer, getting out of the house, listening to he radio,… (we were very late buying a TV set) happened on a daily basis. At the time, my friends were more or less in the same situation. Many of us felt that they were treated very unfairly – so that the trust between us and our parents was always in steep decline. This was often standard procedure in the 1950ies.
It worked – my education. To this day! Even today, my super-ego sometimes causes me to flinch. For example, as soon as I make too much noise or do not behave well, my super-ego will lift its strict index finger and reprimand me!
In retrospective, this also has advantages. For quite some time, my conscience has now been bothering me whenever I sit behind the wheel of a car. I no longer like driving through the land and producing noise. Consequently, I now only use cars in very exceptional cases – as driver or passenger. In my late defiance phase, between 40 and 50, I drove a C1 (motor roller with BMW roof). Both my super-ego and Barbara always scolded me because it was so noisy. Consequently, I sold it. I am still very happy with this decision.
Last Monday, I celebrated the Day of the Beer in the “Forschung”. We talked about the destruction of the world and the glorification of growth. It was typical regulars’ talk, as men will have them when the company is right and one (or more) “Sankt Jacobus” beers have been consumed.
One of my friends in that company told us that, now, he has no noise-free minute left in his garden. Even though his house is certainly situated in one of the upper-class suburbs in the South-East of Munich, the noise never stops, day and night. You constantly hear the noise from the motorway (although the motorway is basically not close), the SUVs drive through the “speed-limit-of-30-km/h“ zones with their fat all-weather tyres, and the motorbikes roar their fuel song. In the sky, planes keep droning and the helicopter makes a lot of noise as it takes its input from the motorway to the Harlaching hospital.
I know what he is talking about. In spring, small special vehicles try to remove the gritting material that was delivered by noisy vehicles in winter. The Diesel trucks of the many parcel services – they all take their own vehicles – are constantly driving through a neighbouring alley in order to deliver the many internet-ordered gadgets with big wrapping as big parcels. Even at night, motor sports lovers celebrate the sound of their many PS bolides with sports exhaust.
Early in the morning, just when the night is preparing to settle down, the street service machines and garbage collectors come. They are replaced by lawn-mowers and construction machines. You always start early if you work on construction sites – and there is always a construction site in the neighbourhood. You get the entire arsenal of noisy machines, from the compressor to the tile saw to the simple hammer. And no matter how small the country residence is, you can never build it without using a crane. In between, you get the noise from the leaf-removal blowers, the active time of which is no longer restricted to autumn.
So basically, I am in the same boat as my friend. I suffer under the noise. I like sleeping with open windows, but that is no longer possible in our house (regardless of the fact that it is “situated rather quietly”). I wake up too often because of some noise or other that disturbs me. In fact, I would probably like to move, but I cannot find an alternative.
A short time ago, I slept with open windows near the Baltic Sea. It was just wonderful. But it was Saturday night. With Sunday night and Monday approaching, the entire noise started again fairly early. And that was it as far as undisturbed peace and quiet at night was concerned.
Mind you, we all could live totally differently. All it takes is a small portion of wanting the right things. It would also be less expensive and healthier. Without cars and all the luxurious waste. But already I hear you lament: “Nobody can live without cars”. Naturally, that is not correct. You live a better life without, but we are just used to it.
Noise gets worse and worse and the lack of consideration increases all the time. We live in Neubiberg in the Kufsteiner Strasse. Until two years ago, a noble old house with an extremely big garden was facing our property. An old couple was living in the house. The nice gentleman cared for his handicapped wife in an adorable way. Then he died and his weak wife was transferred to a nursing home. The beautiful house was soon sold and torn down in no time. In record time, two “villas” were built on the property. Just as you see it quite frequently in the suburbs that surround Munich as a concentration measure.
A few days ago, I returned from shopping with my bike. There was an unusual grumbling. I was surprised and looked for the source. After about fifty metres, I found it. Just behind the fence of one of the two villas, cemented into the earth, there was a device that looked rather futuristic. It made a considerable grumbling noise.
I do not know if the device is for heating or for cooling or for both. Perhaps it is only for saving energy. On our property, I achieve that with no noise through solar electricity and sun-warmed water. The new villa does not have either. To make up for it, it has an outdoor swimming pool – which makes the not too big garden look really negligible. Perhaps the new device is for the swimming pool? What do I know? Well, I cannot really say that I care – after all, I am a Nimby.
Luckily, the noise does not carry as far as our house. We have a fantastic property with a drive of about fifty metres. Thirty metres before our house, I no longer hear anything. I relax. Lucky me. And I feel that this is well. Because, for me, too, the St.-Florian Principle applies:
“Not in my backyard“
The acronym for which is Nimby
? As you can see, the “by“ in Nimby has nothing to do with Bavaria (Bayern).
Later in the afternoon of the “day of the beer”, I rode my bike to a workshop in the East of Munich. My audience lamented about the heat. This is April. And some of them think they will soon have to get air conditioning. Because of the climate catastrophe. This is how they are replacing one evil with another.
The memories of my visits to southern areas give me pause. I always had hotel rooms in the most beautiful places of the world – they were well situated in quiet areas. Only the air conditioning on the right and left, as well as above and below us, was always singing its songs. For me, this is a harmless form of hell. True hell will come one or two generations from now – and it will have been caused by us. The deities GROWTH, AVARICE, EGOTISM and COMFORT will have demanded their victims: gigantic masses of carbon dioxide have been emitted, the oceans have been destroyed, the world is awash with waste, the environment is polluted. With all this, we destroyed our source of life. We followed our Christian call “assume lordship over the earth“ – and now we get the very un-Christian results.
Seen under this light, a little noise is really not worth mentioning. However, my super-ego also tells me not to buy and use products with unnecessary wrappings, i.e. no tins and no drinks in plastic bottles or 2Go cups. Tetra-packs are totally out for my super-ego, just like cosmetics articles (because what is wrong with good old soap?). I am supposed to not eat too much meat and try to produce #nowaste!
Thank you, my dear super-ego. This is how I made friends with you and even became your ally. Mind you, it is all nowhere near as easy as it sounds and as it could be. We can only succeed together.
(Translated by EG)