And so we near the end of our little tour of Europe, the place where it all started for the white races of planet Earth, way back in the history of time. Only the gods know from whence they originated, but they infested the land like the plague, breeding like rabbits and despite the best efforts by the said gods to eradicate them by Bubonic Plague and pestilence, natural disaster and even a catastrophic deluge, as well as their own best and bloody efforts to annihilate themselves by war and plunder, they not only persist, they even prosper, the moronic sons of bitches!
From the little bit of the countries and the few people that we met so far, one must conclude that it is indeed a fascinating part of the world. From their humble caveman origins as barbaric savages who beat the hell out of each other with crude wooden clubs, they evolved into highly technical adepts with a un-eradicable caveman mind-set, and now capable of beating the hell out of each other with guided missiles and nuclear warheads. They are human, all too bloody human for their own and the Planet’s good. They will be the death of us all.
Early morning and we set off on a blitz visit to Salzburg. Not with the intent of a blitz invasion like old Adolf with his phanzer brigades, but in peace we come to saviour the majestic beauty of Austria, land of uber green mountains and picturesque valleys. We are ready to be awed, to be transported into fairy land.
And again I burst out singing with joy:
“The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
the hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears.”
as we pass this beautiful little church in the middle of nowhere on the green-green meadow below. You cannot but stop and admire. So serene, so quiet, with the whole scene hovering on the divide between dimensions, between realty and eternity. I caught my moron, inspired by the scene, on the verge of going on his knees to pray and slapped him hard on the ear. The fool. How dare he, knowing zilts about the intricacies of the true spiritual life and now all of a sudden to play the holy man. I will not stand for this foolery.
So onwards to Salzburg we go, while a light breeze carries the smell of cow manure from a diary up the hill on the other side of the road.
What a lovely little town Salzburg is, with the fort turned castle on the top of the mountain as dramatic backdrop for the birthplace and humble abode of the world renowned Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. No wonder the hills are alive with music in all of Austria. Just look at the long list of notable musicians born and bred here: Joseph Hayden, Franz Liszt, Franz Shubert, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss Sr and Jr, all of them doing their classical thing in style while the echoes of Thomas Lang’s energetic drumming reverberates through the valleys and over the mountain tops. This is a land alive with high art and culture and beautiful people. This is my kind of land, my kind of people. This is where I, a sophisticated Red Cap belongs. I love it!
And I burst out singing again:
“I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I’ve heard before”
Downtown we trod the ages old streets of Saltzburg. We mingle with the common tourists wandering aimlessly through the streets, gawking at this and that, taking the compulsory tourist photographs, buying the compulsory tourist T-shirts, visit the uninspiring home of the great Amadeus who composed and played such inspiring music on such primitive instruments, and who bathed excessively. It is reported that the Mozart family, in spite of doctors’ warnings of the dangers of too much water touching the human skin, dared take a daily bath. The people and the doctors had reason for concern, it seems. Not one of his five brothers survived their childhood. Were they washed to death?
In the shade of a very big golden ball one ponders Erwin Schrödinger’s insight: “The world extended in space and time is but our representation.” (yes, yes I know, it was Schopenhauer who said it first, but it was the scientist in Schrödinger who saw the truth of it). And one of course wonders if Schrödinger’s cat was still alive and dead in that black box of his after all these years. Schrödinger is of course another great soul born and bred on the fertile, mountainous soil of Austria. Oh man, would I, the famous Red Cap have been thrilled if I could sit on that genius of a knocker even but for a very few seconds. A privilege beyond words it would have been.
A very old joke comes to mind:
Heisenberg and Schrödinger get pulled over for speeding.
The cop asks Heisenberg “Do you know how fast you were going?”
Heisenberg replies, “No, but we know exactly where we are!”
The officer looks at him confused and says “you were going 108 miles per hour!”
Heisenberg throws his arms up and cries, “Shit, look what you have done you fool! Now we’re lost!”
Shocked the officer looks at Schrödinger and asks if they have anything in the trunk.
“A cat,” Schrödinger replies merrily.
The cop opens the trunk and yells “Hey! This cat is dead.”
Schrödinger angrily replies, “Well thanks, now we all know.”
But because the cop is now contaminated with radioactive radiation, they put him in the trunk with the cat.
So we know that the cat is dead, but what we do not know is; is the cop in the trunk dead or alive, or dead and alive?
“It’s not funny. What’s with this bloody cat in the trunk?” my moron wants to know. “And why were those fools lost?”
“Schrödinger’s thought experiment, and Heisenberg’s uncertainty pr….” I try to explain but am rudely interrupted.
“Oh I see,” he says. “They were experimenting with thought altering stuff. They were smoking weed, that’s why they got lost!”
Why do I keep hoping that the fool will someday come up with some profound statement like Zen Master Hui-neng ‘s “What mirror, what dust?!” “What cat, what box?” I suppose I must accept; he prefers profane to profound, and most of the time confuses profane for profound. Idiot.
Back to beautiful Austria. I am quite positive that it is the clean air, crystal clear water and breath taking mountainous surrounds of Austria that helped in the formation of such brilliant minds as that of the famed scientists/philosophers known as The Vienna Circle. It is only logical (or maybe not, one must remember their dictum: “A proposition has meaning only if it can, in principle, be true or false”). But what do I care, I can imagine that even the genius of Schrödinger’s assertion as mentioned above would not have survived the Logical Empiricist scrutiny of either Ludwig Wittgenstein or Karl Popper, another pair of famous philosophers spawned by this fertile country. (My moron thinks that the Vienna Circle has something to do with sausages on a pizza!)
I am but a humble Red Cap, but to my muddled mind so much logic permeating the very air you breathe must eventually have dire consequences. Mix that with a vigorous dose of the occult seeping through the dark cracks in the valleys and marshes, and you find yourself with a little man with a little moustache, dragging that big black swastika of destruction behind him, emerging out of said cracks and playing havoc on an unsuspecting world. And he is followed closely by the likes of Adolf Eichmann, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and A Seyss-Inquart, all spawned from the same fertile soil, all infused by the logical (for them positive)proposition that the total eradication of the Jews, a total genocide, will make the world a better place. As you can clearly see, the same proposition can be true for one person and completely false for the poor sod of a victim against whom the proposition was formulated, which is probably why Wittgenstein, in the end more or less concluded that all propositions are just so much bull.
I propose that you take my advice and scrutinise such propositions with the heart and an open mind to determine the truth of it. Me thinks a lot of lives could have been spared by such an approach before the gas chambers and incinerators were fired up.
Wax the Red Cap sentimental here, damn. One should not do that in the presence of fools. What would great minds, brilliant sons of the same beautiful country like Sigmund Freud (you have a sexual problem perhaps?), Alfred Adler (it is an inferiority complex?), and Victor Frankl (perhaps existential anxiety at play here?), have to say about a public unburdening (“entlastung”?) like that? Disgusting!
In the streets of picturesque Salzburg we meet musicians (and go through the prerequisite moronic ritual of me adorning a head), and then we meet this beautiful, shy lady in her little flower shop on the market squire. I swear she must be the re-incarnation of Maria von Trapp. So beautiful, so calm and composed and almost saintly serene. But she wouldn’t smile for the picture my moron wants to take of her surrounded by her lovely flowers. For once I would not have minded to be placed on that angel-like head. And for once my moron does not even think of doing me that favour. Does he feel the almost sacredness of the moment? Does he indeed have a soul? You must be joking. He takes his picture and rudely turns his back on the faintly smiling Madonna and walks away. I could have/should have killed him then and there. Dummkopf, knuckle headed insensitive fool.
We go home and I softly hum to myself:
“My days in the hills have come to an end, I know.
A star has come out to tell me it’s time to go
So I pause and I wait and I listen for one more sound, for one more lovely thing that the hills might say.”
Oh, I just love it. Love the country, love the people and above all … the hills that are again alive with the sound of music, after the madness and thunder of war has faded away.