This is an experiment. It’s a challenge we trust our readers will rise to. In search of a form that does justice to its age, it lays bare the horizontal dimension running through any set of conversations.
A simple swipe is all it takes to navigate: up or down, left and right.
Every conversation stands for itself and can be read in full as usual. Yet whoever dares foray to the left or right will rediscover the same subject through a different lens. These links interpenetrate our conversations like a weft traversing manifold strands of warp. A simple swipe is all it takes to navigate: up or down, left and right.
These connections are sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious, and always handcrafted. They sedulously uncover a fundamental layer common to all discourses where silent assumptions reveal themselves and contradictions come to the fore, where ideas betray their provenance and, possibly, even that which isn’t said becomes transparent. Thus arranged, the figures assembled here appear in their two roles simultaneously: as both spectators and actors in the world theatre – “Zeitgeister”, if a German pun may pass unpunished.
To forestall any misunderstanding: An enterprise so youthfully presumptuous is destined to fall short of its noble ambitions and can be a productive failure at best. And needless to say that – as with all invitations (ours at least) – any gathering of 21 people will owe no less to chance than to choice.
First published in German on 1st February 2021, this volume will be amended throughout the year and beyond.
And yet, the questions perturbing us not only since last year do not lend themselves to definitive answers and tend to be drowned out by the present. To investigate and explore them without inhibitions or prejudice is a privilege of youth, perhaps. First published in German on 1st February 2021, this volume will be extended throughout the year and beyond until we have compiled the eponymous twenty-one minds.
In 2020, a preceding project on the European elections called »Das kleine Einmaleins der Europawahlen« (German only) was awarded the Altiero-Spinelli-Preis by the European Commission. We thus found ourselves in the fortunate position to be able to cover the minor expenses incurred with our own independent funds. All else has been taken care of by our spare time and effort.
These conversations have been a most gratifying pastime that only our readers’ joy can duly requite. Those willing to delve into it may find, if nothing else, delight.
& Simon Nehrer
Lucius Maltzan & Simon Nehrer
Sophie Lin @ie_soph
Simon Nehrer & Jakob Wonisch
Apart from his achievements as a pianist, Daniel Barenboim has also held the baton at the Orchestre de Paris, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Staatskapelle. He is an Argentinian of Israeli descent and a co-founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
Kevin Kühnert gained widespread recognition as leader of the German Social Democrats' youth wing. He is now a party vice-president and member of the Bundestag for Berlin.
Felicitas Hoppe is a German author. She was awarded the prestigious Georg Büchner Prize in 2012. Recent publications include “Prawda” and “Hoppe”.
Peter Sloterdijk is a German philosopher and author. His work ranges from the legendary “Critique of Cynical Reason” published in 1983 to the recently released "After God”.
Hartmut Rosa is professor of sociology at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and a leading protagonist in the tradition of critical theory. His opera magna are called “Social Acceleration” and “Resonance”.
Gregor Gysi is a German lawyer and politician. He was leader of the East German Socialist Unity Party (SED) when the GDR collapsed. Today, he is a long-standing parlamentarian of the socialist party "Die Linke" and a widely respected elder statesman.
Joseph Hader is an Austrian cabaret artist and national treasure. His performances, acting, and directing are popular across the German-speaking world.
Ursula von der Leyen is the current President of the European Commission. A German Christian Democrat, she had previously served as Minister of Defence, of Family Affairs, and of Labour.
Paul Collier is a British development economist and director of the International Growth Centre. “Exodus” and “The Future of Capitalism” are among his most successful publications.
Giovanni di Lorenzo is a German-Italian journalist. He has been editor-in-chief of Germany's renowned weekly “Die Zeit” since 2004.
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