On (Mon) 2009-02-23, I … umh, say, attended a wedding. A wedding of my 4WD truck and its box body (German: “Kofferhochzeit”). That’s at least the jargon in my favourite 4WD truck forum. Then, on (Wed) 2009-02-25, the vehicle with its new body moved places and is now just below the window of my li’le flat. Very cool, because now I can work thereon whenever I’m bored of programming!

I’m gonna show you some pics of the “wedding”, but before, I need to place an “honorable mention” here: Micha, a friend of mine, really helped me in the substantial portions of preparing and executing the box body mounting. All the things that I either am not able to do or had too little experience yet: re-welding the box body subframe after decreasing its width, helping in the mounting procedure with that crazy lift station you see in the pics etc.. And, what was also very cool, he let me use his workshop and tools whenever I worked on the body or vehicle. And let me use parking spaces for the truck (for 3 months) and its body (for a year) before finally both went off together. Not to mention that he found both these perfect offers (box body and vehicle) on his journeys through mobile.de resp. autoscout24.de.

Well then, the pics:

This one shows the setup before the start of the body mounting.

Yay, cool lift. Comes in very handy.

Finished, but all the tools laying around in a total mess still … 

The truck just before it left its place on (Wed) 2009-02-25. The back flap came in handy already, to load all my tools and stuff in it.

I’ve wondered once and again why I have such a little level of motivation in my life, when comparing to others. It seems that I’m slowly getting to recognize the causes now. As, one cause seems to be: I did not allow me to be passionate about anything.

Why that? As a rational thinker, my worldview is very analytical and decompositional (it comes through e.g. in my post “Logicians also should accept themselves”). That is, the right way to live seems to me to do in every single moment what is “adequate”, where I mean with adequate: being the fitting answer or activity when taking into account the whole context. And the whole context includes: the world, a fallen one; God, a graceful one; ones own abilities; ones social contacts, … .

Now, this way of thinking is successful as far as this: it answers what is the best thing to do currently. For example, the whole Second Acts project thing developed that way … it deems me to be the most pressing question to answer. But: this mode of finding decisions does not necessarily lead me to do things that I’m passionate about. While I find the Second Acts project to be deeply necessary, I’m not passionate about it. I would not do it for its own sake if there would be no necessity to do anything at all.

Even more strange, my attempt to do what is “adequate” made me even unlearn what is “being passionate about something”. I’m not passionate about computers. While I can program and could be good at it, it’s only a tool for me to do something else. I’m not passionate about money. It means nothing to me, and therefore I’m also unwilling to do a job that does not fit me. I’m not passionate about community. I once was (see my posts on Xpedition Community). But due to non-collaborative people and not finding any fellow members here in Germany, this passion “sleeps” now. I’m not passionate about women. (Well, ok, I readily admit there are exceptions 😉 ) But generally … how could it be adequate in a dying world to have a partnership as ones life content? And I’m not really passionate about God. That’s sad, yes. I mean, God is very important to me and I’d really really like to get closer to God and get to know him better. But I don’t have the passion to deal with spiritual things for their own sake all day long, like praying, talking with people about God etc.. Simply, it currently does not seem to me to be “paying off”, i.e. to be rewarding or of any effect that would indeed make me know God better. It can even leads to more frustration … like seeing and experiencing the non-ideal, all-too-human state of the church first-hand.

Now, how comes that I’m talking about passion when I say here that I dunno what being passionate is all about? Because, I made an interesting experience in, say, the last two weeks: at times, when building my expedition vehicle, there was a strange feeling inside me. Yesterday, I realized it is passion … to build an expedition vehicle and live in it life-long. This passion keeps me going to build this thing, providing all the patience and force to do it! It even kept me up until 4:30am this morning, reading in internet forums about 4×4 trucks. I’m stunned …

Umh … and now? Until now, I did not allow me to be passionat about material / non-spiritual things, as I would not think it to be adequate to work so intensively for stuff that will pass away along with this world. But, seeing that being unpassionate leads to a lack of motivation, and, that way, to not working at all, I’m not sure about this whole thing now … . Also, I don’t know anymore what God would recommend … . So, comments welcome, as every time.

So, sigh. It seems that I’ve that hard tried to override my human behavior with logic behavior that I lost passion on the way, and motivation with it, for anything whatsoever. I seem to be in an impasse: I neglected that humans need motivation to do anything, and that real motivation comes from passion only, not logic.

By the way, what exactly is being passionate? People say, you can only be really good in the things you’re passionate about. Basically, being passionate is having a hobby: you care for something that is not yourself, and feel well if it is well. So, caring for something else “falls back” on you and helps in your emotional well-being. Part of this effect, of course, comes from the fact that the things you care for can indeed help you do better in the physical world (in my case: an expedition vehicle provides accomodation, transportation and shelter).

To conclude, something for you to chew on. Let’s take the above definition of being passionate and transfer it to the pair relationship topic. You can only be good in a pair relationship, only have a good pair relationship, if you care for your partner for her / his own sake, that is, because you’re passionate about her / his well-being. If your partner is well off, you feel well; not only, but also because your partner then has the strength to do you well. This might be what they call love.

Through all my education I’ve thought that people with good technical and intellectual abilities are in an enviable situation when it comes to utilizing the world and influencing it.

That’s one of the reasons why I invested here. The result: a guy with a relatively broad range of education in computer hardware, software, programming, Internet technology, technical communication in German and English, publication technology (incl. photography, typography etc.), some mechanical engineering, some vehicle technology, craftsmanship in metal and plastics. Yea, and some other stuff.

Now, during the last two years, I learned, and during the last few days I recognized, that the whole idea of mastering the world through technology is crap. Why? As a technician, you think thus: the world is a technical system, quite complex, but if you look deeply into it it will be manageable. Because technology is basically logical. Now, the error is here: the world is basically not a technical but a social system. Bummer.

And social systems are not logical. So that the highly qualified technician with all his logic simply has not the tools to successfully interact with the social system. He’s left in a dark corner with all his technology, tampering around with that and having some fun, but without money and with just a few friends. I mean, real friends, not those with just technical needs or technical abilities. Because, both money and community are acquired through social means, not technical.

I’m now gonna detail out the profile of some of the “real masters of the world”. Which does not mean that I would want to acquire all of these abilities. It’s basically a sad thing that the world is not logical, as this means basically that you’ve gotta be an actor of one or another kind, to be successful. (As for me: yes, I’m gonna learn some social stuff to live out better community, but I don’t care for monetary success. My technical answer to the latter has been in the making for a decade now, which is about self-sufficient technology. Zero need. Full stop.)

But, regarding the socially successful qualifications that I wanted to detail out:

  • The charismatic person. A person who triggers to be trusted and followed. As it has nothing to do with logic, charisma can be used for any purpose whatsoever, not just for the correct purposes. Hitler was a charismatic person who used his charisma for the wrong ends. Barack Obama is a charismatic person who’ll use his charisma for the right ends, I hope.
  • The beautiful person. How different would the world look today if Cleopatras nose had been one or two centimeters longer (said C.S. Lewis).
  • The affable person. Here, I don’t mean being nice, patient and friendly towards people. This is no social ability that would grant any success in this world. The affable person is one who can contact foreigners without any problems, and quickly makes new friends among them. And as most business between companies is arranged on the basis of personal connections (German Kontakte / Kontax, Chinese quanxi), having many friends in the business world normally means to have many customers. You don’t even need to be high-qualified in your profession to have monetary success … .

Here are some funny images that I captured around 2008-05-01 with my small (and bad) mobile phone camera, from a disaster that took place in an abandoned basement toilet of my church at that time. After the waste water conduit had got stuck and people in the first floor, unaware of it, kept shitting.

I’m right now in the “lucky” situation of getting paid by a customer, for some programming I did for them in the last months and weeks. The invoice is slightly overdue, but at least the money is coming (it’s needed over here …). In my experience as a year-long self-employed, it’s not clear if and when customers will be able to pay the invoices you write. The bigger the invoice, the more insecure … .

And every time when I’m waiting for some bigger invoice to be paid, I’m thinking about what it means that God will “supply” for us. First, he promised to supply for the basic needs of those who “care foremost for His kingdom and His righteousness” (Mt 5:33 I think). I’m stumbling already here: I’m not sure if I fulfill the prerequisites. Do I care for God’s kingdom? Foremost?

Second thing is, God and us spoilt Westerners seem to have different definitions of what are the basic needs that are mentioned in Mt 5:33. Jesus mentions food, drinking and clothing there. Which means, we are in God’s supply if we need to live from Hartz IV. Sounds strange? This just happened to somebody from my Jesus Freaks homegroup, who, after his studies of theology, lived for some time on Hartz IV (before getting a job via a temporary employment agency, and making progress there).

Now, I find this option problematic. Because, no, I don’t want to live from Harty IV. It’s not because I’d be poor then … I did live and can live on even much less (330 EUR a month pure net income) without feeling bad. It’s because I’m too proud not to earn my own money, and, even more important, because I want to retain my freedom. I simply don’t want officials or a “chef” to tell me what meaningless job to do for them, where to be when etc..

The result: Because of our different definitions of “basic needs”, it can happen that I feel uncared for while being fully supplies by God with the things I need. That’s indeed a problem. And I think not just mine, but ours.

Here’s a line of thought that caught me and accompanied me through the last days.

I always wondered what it practically means that “God sanctifies his people”. I did not experience to be subject to any curriculum that would exhibit itself in the situations that occur in my life (even worse, I was successful in avoiding the situations where I could learn something …). Also, I did not get teachers assigned (those in your congregation don’t get assigned to you, it’s more like an optional course in university, and so is the outcome). One could argue that it actually is the task of brothers and sisters in faith to educate each other (Mt 28:20 ?), but while this is not the case we need to get another solution … .

The effect was this: I just saw these fine behavior standards in the Bible, and was unaware that I lacked the proper education to live these out. And because I was unaware, I thought I’m undisciplined not to live out what’s written. But when I tried to be disciplined, it did not work. And I was unaware that I just tried to do stuff wherein I was never educated, and thus failed … .

But, it’s now coming to me how sanctification can work: educate yourself. If the teachers are too few or too busy to really get you successfully through the education process, you need to do it yourself. And, you got the manual (called “Bible”).

The difference between self-education and self-discipline is, you start with the small steps. You recognize that “discipline” is not a decision, an effort or good performance on the human side, but a custom. And you acquire a custom of behavior by education … .

Currently, I’m thinking to use this autodidactic sanctification (of course, always in conversation with God …) as my non-religious flavor of Bible time.

My first experiments with this education thing are also in place. I realized that this kinda education is a moment-by-moment challenge for adequate personal behavior. For “adult” behavior, esp. in the spiritual sense. For holiness, resembling God more. And really, moment-by-moment: in every moment, there is at least one adequate thing to do, according to the Manual, but it’s not always comfortable.

The adequate thing to do no (or better, half an hour ago …) is to go to bed. It’s already 1:10am, and going to bed that early is a first step to go towards learning discipline … . 😉

There’s currently a very funny thing happening in my favourite 4×4 truck forum. A young woman wants to buy herself a Magirus Mercur 4×4 truck, to live in it. She asked the forum for tips how to check the vehicle and how to drive home, and got a deluge of tips, hints, help, private phone numbers, addresses, help offers, everything, really.

Now the long thread got really funny when she said, she got no co-driver as her boy-friend had to take care of her dog. One guy in the forum then teased “If there are some ‘disappointed hearts’ now?”. And another one: “Yea, jus’ wanted to say, this is probably the longest and most diplomatic getting-a-truck thread that has been in this forum ever. Before the concerned person even started to drive … . To other people this forum had surely answered in the sense of: If you’re driving willingly without tools, engine oil and stuff, a sleeping bag etc., you don’t need to call us up if things are gonna be a cock-up.”

Which proves, probably, that women can have a pretty easy life if they learned how to ask for help. If they’re really good, everybody will have fun helping and nobody will get disappointed. I know that kinda relationship myself, with respect to a young women, now also a friend and a long-term neighbor. We have this hey-it’s-fun-to-help-ya style of relationship for six years now. No flirtation implied. It’s just nice to see her doing fine.