Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Six Days in Vermont

My latest opus. If the pictures are not as spectacular as those in the Death Valley or Adriatic books, it's because the scenery was not as spectacular (or because I couldn't make more of it). I'm showing the book here anyway because I believe my German friends, in particular, may be interested. Vermont is not on the beaten path, and this was indeed my first visit there ever. But it's only the second continental state I visited in the US (after New Mexico) where I spontaneously thought, "I could live here." (I'm talking about states, not cities!) I hope the images manage to suggest why I thought so.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Word of the month: Lebenslüge

Word of the Month: Index

Here's another addition to Leben ("life") that creates a special meaning: A Lüge is a lie, and a Lebenslüge is a lie people tell themselves in order to be able to live with a clear conscience in spite of the fact that some actions in the past should give them anything but a clear conscience. It appears to be a particular manifestation of cognitive dissonance, which we talked about a while ago. According to the Wikipedia article I consulted, the term goes back to Henrik Ibsen's "The Wild Duck", which means there has to be an initial coinage in Norwegian—I wonder what that would be.

It is interesting to note that in German political discourse, the term has been applied to nations or countries; for example, to countries that go to great lengths to suppress the memory of and references to atrocities that have been committed in the past in the name of the country or were sanctioned by its leaders, or to countries whose self-image or policies are based on false assumptions about events that happened in the past.