Friday, September 23, 2005

Modern physiologies - Lebenskünstler / Bonvivant


I dream of working (at the most) part time when I turn 40. That would be in 2009.

That would mean either my family and me we reduce our standard of living or my wife works more than now. She has already started working again (she's a teacher) for two days a week after taking care for Emma full time for almost nine month.
I would love to have more time for reading, playing music, educating my daughter and working honorary. I would like to get involved in Greenpeace or Bund Naturschutz more than now. Maybe I could get more into politics. I could acquire the licence for coaching youth soccer teams. We could travel more, we could waste time.
I have a lot of ideas in my mind to become a Lebenskünstler. I don't know if there is a English word for this. I only know the french word Bonvivant. If somebody can enlighten me, go ahead!

How could we define Lebenskünstler?

Lebenskünstler - one who recognizes opportunities in life and takes advantage or makes use of those opportunities to make the most out of one's own life; one who lives life deliberately and to the fullest capacity (concept from Henry David Thoreau of “living deep and sucking out all the marrow of life”); one who gambles with the outcome of his/her own life by seizing opportunity; one who makes living an art (I like this best).

The best from Google:
  • Lebenskünstler - artist of life
  • Lebenskünstler - an architect of his own achievements
  • An actor, therefore, must be very resourceful if he wants to make a living; usually, actors have several sources of income in order to make ends meet between jobs. There’s a German phrase, Lebenskünstler. Literally translated, it means “an artist of life,” and certainly every actor I know is a brilliant Lebenskunstler. They have to be able to survive, and they’re usually happy and proud of their chosen profession. They have a joy in living that exudes from every pore; it is this quality that sets them apart from the pack and makes them attractive to watch.
  • The Germans have an interesting concept: "Lebenskünstler" (life-artist). This means that some people make of their own lives a work of art, by chosen experience and behavior. Not only are they creative, but their art is something which they can best appreciate, at the very moment of its creation! I think that is a very wise and useful idea, for it reveals that we do have the power to direct our own lives, within the context of our environment, whether our lives are long or short.
  • Lebenskünstler. It means something like "someone for whom life is an art form".

There are also several homepages:

http://www.lebenskuenstler.net.tc/ (very questionable contents)
http://www.der-clevere-lebenskuenstler.de/ (dito)
http://www.lebenskuenstler.org/ (not better)

Maybe some people are Lebenskünstler because they are forced to do so. But I think mainly the concept is voluntariness. You want to be a Bonvivant. Normally you don't have to be.

The fight against unemployment has led to some funny form of employment in Germany. We have the famous Hartz IV law and the new jobs:

  • Ich-AG (me AG)
  • Ein-Euro-Jobs (one-Euro-jobs)
  • Mini-Jobs

A new form of Brot und Spiele, panem et circenses? Or the state-aided form of being Lebenskünstler?

Let's become Lebenskünstler!


4 Comments:

Anonymous jayred said...

Maybe the closest translation in English would be "free spirit" ("someone who makes living an art")? Am not sure.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Actually, we often say "Bon Vivant" in English, too. Sometimes in the middle of the night, we wake up repeating it.

"Bon vivant, bon vivant, bon vivant. . ."

2:12 AM  
Blogger Catrin said...

I think you're thinking in the right direction, Konrad. Just know that a lot of people will be weirded out by your choices not to participate in the cycle of work, spend, and conspicuous consumption. As for me, I don't plan to take on a job that monopolizes my time, unless that job is exactly what I want to do- and we all know the chances of that occurring. In the end, I might have to work some of my time in a semi-satisfying job while volunteering the rest of it for the really worthwile causes.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Ralft said...

Well you could also call him a Bum. And I mean that in a good way. I wish I had the guts to just go part time. I am a German ex-patriot living in the U.S. and after 12 years have finally found a level of success and financial freedom that would be hard to give up. Everything I own and do are direct results of hard work and nobody gives you the time of day if you can't participate financially in this society. While I was able to become rich here, I had to give up a level of social connectivity that I grew up with. Anyway, Konrad follow your ways and become a Bonvivant. It sounds so much better then in English :)

12:38 AM  

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