My fall of the wall
At the time of the fall of the Wall I was employed as an assistant at the Humboldt University. This university was the icing on the cake of the GDR scientific enterprise located in the capital Berlin. It goes without saying that the greed of the West ruined career at this alma mater not only for me, but also for almost all Ossis. However, as the saying goes: always forwards, never backwards. Moreover, what was the Ossi's dream? The dream of unlimited freedom, which he understood as freedom of traveling. The freedom that was once lived in the East was quickly over: the nudist beach on the Baltic Sea gave way to the dog bathing beach and the administrative dictatorship of the West spread like an iron handcuff over the East. Deprived of the freedoms of the East, I wanted at least make the most out of this new freedom. The freedom of traveling the world - perhaps even combine it with a job, because hardly an Ossi could fall back on an inclined bank account.
Then I had it: a job in a laboratory for Infectious Diseases in Sydney, and at some point I finally found myself straight in the outback. Outback, ... yes! Although at the time I was walking around the laboratory with my lab coat on, I hadn't forgotten the butterfly net and the botanizing drum from my undergraduate studies. Both had their peak in the 19th century and are now completely out of fashion. Apart from a few museum freaks who haven't given up hunting and gathering yet. Alternatively, perhaps even more useful in the search for a forgotten jungle drug that made the insufficiencies of self-domestication more bearable. Anyway, close to nature - as it is always called - that was my goal. Australia was a well-considered professional destination, even if I only get two days off per month here.
Fortunately, in my position, I would come out of the lab from time to time to scrape a new pathogen from some outback tree. Outback, what do I always talk about - that's a tourist term. The Australians call it Bulamakanka and that is far, far away.
Anyhow, on Cape York, in the tropical rainforest - more bearable in winter by the way - we met it. I had been waiting longingly for two weeks, but unfortunately in vain. A number of monitor lizards and bush turkeys had already fallen onto our tent. By then we had already fed hundreds of kangaroos, wallabies and possums, day and night. A chubby skink had stuck out his noble blue tongue for us. We had already escaped into a safe car from a snot-venomous taipan. And then? We finally left! But on the river we had to turn back because the ferry was damaged. One last forced night at Cape Kimberley - someone tell me that Voltair's providence is nothing more than lies and deceit!
Clouds of morning mist.
Mood like in a Russian fairy tale: Masha and Dasha are going to collect mushrooms in the forest. The mushrooms already reach the child's breast, suddenly the trees start to speak and Baba Jaga is not far anymore. - Suddenly, slowly but unstoppably, this human-sized bird enters this atmosphere from the thicket on the right, wades over the sand path and disappears into the thicket on the left.
A mirage? In front of our excursion car! - And yet every detail is visible for the moment. Much too dark for taking a photo! Thicket left and right, and low position of the sun in the morning - as I said - and of course only ISO 100 film in the camera. Nevertheless: an indescribable primeval bird, armed with dangerous dinosaur paws on which lizard-leather covered, sturdy legs have grown. Dinosaur claws - chunky and large - much too big for the animal. The plumage on top, like long shaggy hair - dark, almost black. The broad beak and the open ear give the bird's head something human! From the long, shimmering blue neck, pairs of bright red sacks float into the fur-like plumage. Plus, the incredible crowning glory: a shovel-shaped bone! In the middle of the dome. You would think with the head against the wall.
And indeed, the bone allows the escape into the thickening undergrowth of the rainforest. Only once before - when I was still a boy - had I seen such a being: dead and stuffed in a museum display case of a Polish naturalist who had long since lost his soul. The man must have carried the cassowary on a long passage from Cape York to Europe.
What an experience! Human-independent-nature-pure; ... past the daily struggle between the New World mentality of the Americans or the Aussis and the reflective European gravity. Europe's sun, moon and stars - overcast with depression and filled with history that was also humanity and enlightenment. The sky is crystal clear here under a fresh Pacific wind - frugal lightness remains the way of life under the ozone hole.
Let me admiring Down Under a little more. On one tour, I drove 7346 km by car and did not even leave the east coast: Sydney - Cape Tribulation - back and forth. We even took shortcuts that were an adventure in themselves: the asphalt road ended directly at the exit of the village to be replaced by a gravel road. Often these mapped locations were just an intersection with gas station, hotel and grocery store.
I had never seen the Milky Way before, least of all in stinking Europe, nor on a clear night in California. No, it needed to be absolutely deserted - not a house within 50 miles, the only light: the headlights when the car was driving. The engine turned off, stepped out into the night cut up by cicadas and crickets. About us ... this amount of stars! The Milky Way: a tail of twinkle. Even the moon was going crazy! A new delicate sickle placed on his back. Moreover, the Southern Cross replaced the only constellation I knew from Europe, the Big Dipper. Really a canopy of heaven!
A vault for Doctor Faustus! Such a deep impression! How it must have had an incessant effect on people before industrialization distorted priorities. What must have been going on in the Middle Ages! Galileo pointed the telescope at the stars in the sky - they must have hit their heads - in the dead of night - to watch this natural spectacle. It must have been like owning a television in the 50s. Sure, the Inquisition was excited. It was not fitting to look over God's shoulder. It went too far.
My illustrious father calls me the hedonistic generation that never went through a war. Wanderlust, sexual exuberance, lack of concern, amusement. Nevertheless, it is not this generation; it is the cyclical return, the touch of doom as in Poe's "Red Death" or Merkel's "SARS CoV2", before a new quality emerges. A new species after the extinction of the dinosaurs; a new Mayan calendar after the old one had expired.
Turning autumn in East Berlin: Hackescher Markt: fall, decay, torn open streets, house walls with fifty-year-old gunshot wounds. Just as old minks push their way into the rear theater, one after the other, driven by curiosity and lust; Muddy puddles, dog poop, rat holes, cat-pissed stone piles, ignoring the poverty of the gutter. But, the avant-garde needs this productive background, millions in the bank account wither ingenuity. - Where does the gospel live? In the black churches of the southern states, while damp mold grows white-Victorian wealth at the same time.
And, didn't the turning point usher in the end of a two-thousand-year Christian era? And, isn't something new emerging? Who cares what kind of stupid talk politicians snort into the airwaves. Fire air! What else counts family, ethics, morals in the sense of Christian dogmas? The behavior of the individuals of the newly erupted epoch is determined by a rapid and extreme gain in pleasure. You look at me questioningly. Don’t know what I am talking about?
Maybe an example. On the outback tours, the car radio remains the only connection to so-called civilization for a long time. Unexpectedly a direct broadcast from Berlin - my hometown! Suddenly the eucalyptus trees are shaken by the techno sound of a love parade - no wind, just the sound from the speakers of my car radio. In the sun-drenched loneliness, interviewees gasped something in broken English here to me in the southern hemisphere. A kangaroo is just pooping in the sloping sun where at the same time thousands and thousands of half-naked people went to Berlin to fidget and to fuck in packs of rum. Tens of thousands, the whole Tiergarten is ragged and spread out. No ethics, no morals, quick lust instead. And outside of the season, thousands of guys under 30, bald, tight rubber, bomber jackets, uniform, swallowed one or two E's meet in the Bunker, Eimer, Tresor, Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk until the weekend has met twice. The cocks bulging with perseverance drugs in the techno intoxication. In the dark of the compartments between artificial fog, real piss, amyl nitrite and sweat-soaked leather and rubber, it is all about naked or wrapped satisfaction. Nothing matters more than the loud, driving beat. The senses torn to pieces, the pseudo morality of the last epoch put aside, whose huddled souls are still trying to keep the glimmer of their epoch shining with parking boxes, investment ruins, administrative dictatorship and financial transactions without noticing that the end of their epoch has long been heralded. The counterpart is an apocalyptic effervescence with body madness. Like when, in the last quarter of the moon in October, the ocean begins to iridescent, a glow from billions of tiny living beings, which spout their sex products into the water that night and keep evolution going. Bioluminescence from jellyfish, worms, hoppers, flagellates, shrimp. An infinite world here and yet the end of a two-thousand-year epoch there: no more God, no faith, except in oneself, its body, its strength and quick lust cuts out Catholicism and subsequent religions.
While I still think I am alone between the eucalyptus trees with my car radio, the roar of motorbikes comes along. Three, four, five enduros motorcycles rattle past me across the country. The enduro riders' colorful leather-gore-tex suits are dusty and smeared with mud. To the limits - to the limits of your own abilities, the last stretch of desert is riddled with a thirst for adventure; someone hangs from the cliff by two fingers and maybe a nylon thread and does not feel the fear stoked by hundreds of meters of nothing below him, but is adventure-satisfied. An S-Bahn surfer claps the signal mast. His partner ducks his head and shouts after the dead: "Take care of your ass!" The turning point is over!
Adapted excerpt from: “Genlabor - A journey through sex, drugs and ex-communism” by Marcus Schütz