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But history has some downsides.  Without it we would approach everyone as a probable equal and, possibly with some caution, as a potential friend, without preconceptions; like an open-minded fool. It is history that confers such attributes as ethnicity, religion, and social status.  It is also the origin of our fear of strangers; and of known enemies.

History is also the basis of special pleading or treatment on the grounds of the past: some previous injury justifying current vendetta; or the converse, special privilege, often based on some claimed inherited status.  

In an ideal world we would disregard the history that precedes a birth.  All children would be given an unbiased start in life, through equitable education, nutrition, and parenting; to live their lives according to their ability, irrespective of historically imposed stereotypes or privilege or disadvantage. 

Like many if not all ideals this is obviously unattainable in the real world. New children are born all the time and the concepts of 'property' and 'truth', among others, are bound up with the past. But moving society in the direction of this ideal; and opposing attempts to move it in the opposite direction; seems to me to be a good principle.





January 2011



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We were to drive to Poland from Berlin.  In September and October 2014 were in Berlin to meet and spend some time with my new grandson, Leander.  But because we were concerned that we might be a burden to entertain for a whole month-and-a-half, what with the demands of a five month old baby and so on, we had pre-planned a number of side-trips.  The last of these was to Poland. 

To pick up the car that I had booked months before, we caught the U-Bahn from Magdalenenstraße, close to Emily's home in Lichtenberg, to Alexanderplatz.  Quick - about 15 minutes - and easy.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Now I am seventy

 On the occasion of an afternoon tea to mark this significant milestone...


When I was one, I was just begun;
When I was two, I was nearly new;
When I was Three, I was hardly me;

But then I was sixty, and as clever as clever;
Wouldn't it be nice to stay sixty for ever and ever?

(With apologies to AA Milne)


Hang on!  Now I'm seventy?  How did that happen? 

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Opinions and Philosophy

Adolf Hitler and me



Today Adolf Hitler is the personification of evil. 

But without him my parents may never have married and I certainly would not have been conceived in a hospital where my father was recovering from war injuries. 

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