Am I Lost? Fallen Out of Time?

Updated: Nov 14

I am lost. I wanted to tell. I wanted to connect and contextualise thoughts, worlds, experiences. That's what I got into, over a period of time, To want to find contexts and to show them. Through text. Preferably together with matching photographs of my own. I love this form of flowing language, where text and image merge. Especially nowadays, when photographs are omnipresent. Instagrammed, and lost so much of the power and forcefulness inherent in photography. It has become a race for attention. Pic. Pic. Pic. Like. Like. Not like. Like. Faster and faster. Shorter and shorter.

I am lost. I wanted to write a text. Emil, the consultant, gave me the cue. A quote from Warren Buffet was the trigger. I started writing, and the thoughts rolled in: "When I read this, my brain burst into a flurry of excitement. The synapses kept transmitting messengers. Why?" And a little further on in the text: "At the words xy, this crazy synapse game starts up in me: a cosmos of thoughts and experiences and demands opens up."

I wanted to capture this cosmos, In a text. But cosmos are just cosmos. It is in their nature to be 'cosmic'. To describe this in "thoughts and experiences and demands" takes space. And time.

So I wrote what I wanted to capture. I became more and more uncomfortable. There are just too many thoughts, Words, Contexts. I thought: Not like. Not like. Not like.

I wrote Ricarda in addition to that: The “Lady Blue Mango”, our Blog Manager of 25onehundred. I had another thought, Or more: a text I had already written. In it, I have connected Luisa Neubauer (25 years), In short the “Greta Thunberg of Germany”, with Gro Harlem Brundtland (82 years), abbreviated – even more abbreviated! – “Grande Dame of Sustainable Development”.

Without Gro, there would be no Luisa.

I asked Ricarda: What do you think? Wouldn't the text be something for Blue Mango? She was pleased. She also said: shorter and worded differently, yes. I asked: Why, actually? Knowing that I knew what she was thinking. Short. Short. Short. Crispy. Fruity. Juicy. Would be great.

The result was not a dispute, but a good dialogue. Online. About our bling-bling attention culture.

I know that, I have experienced it, I live with it, I adapt to it, I think myself into it, I empathise, Because I work with younger people. Because I have been counting on the youth for a long time. Because I co-founded 25onehundred with others; The Youth Empowerment Platform for Education and Innovation. Which only works with intergenerational cooperation.

And next to that, the appetiser culture: I have known this for a long time, From younger people and many older people too. It's bothered me for a long time. Life is like a prolonged aperitif. A nip here, An appetizer there. And indeed, enough of it, you get full of it. But the central question: Is this food enough for life?!

For me, I feel a strange sense of dissatisfaction, with too many sips and nibbles. I need a real „Guuga“ (very Grischun word): a really good bottle of wine. And a real meal to go with it. With all the trimmings.

A plate full of satisfaction, A plate that nourishes me from top to bottom, Not only the belly, Also my head, My heart.

In the online chat with Ricarda I also get … ... political. I am always political. On 'meal' and 'political', a quote from Carlo Petrini, co-founder of Slow Food, fits well: "Every meal is a political act." Why? I would now need space and time for that again.

I myself wrote a book with the subtitle: "On the pleasure and joy of the political." That is much more than politics, by the way. I would need more space and time also for that.

But now the political example in the chat with Ricarda: "Without protection and support and fostering of democracy, it will have no future for those who enjoy a liberated way of life thanks to it. Here in Switzerland, where I live, we as citizens are invited four times a year to vote at local, cantonal and national levels: on less important and very important issues. Unique!

However, a few seconds or a few minutes of attention are not enough to understand what is at stake, to form an opinion, and then to cast a vote for one thing or another. This means far too many young Swiss people stay out of direct democracy. They have no desire to prepare the "meal of life" for themselves. No desire for the efforts of democracy. And afterwards: Complaining and lamenting that "the old people" have determined their future. Result: more and more conflicts. Often irreconcilable. That's just not the idea of democracy."

Meanwhile, in England – June 2016 – there was a party. Just sips and nibbles. And when they got up, hangover, the referendum was over, and the younger generation had been "brexited" against their will. They wanted to overturn the result, to change it. Is it possible that someone has misunderstood the idea of democracy again? Well then, the hangover was at least twofold. And it continues.

In the USA – November 2016 – a lack of desire for politics also contributed significantly to Donald Trump being elected as the worst president in the country's history. A beacon for all those who understand democracy as passive membership. With fatal consequences for the actual young generations and the generations yet to come. Fatal also for those outside the USA. We will be haunted by this legacy for a long time to come.

Bling-bling and madness took its course. And my heart came close to madness too.

But then, in the late summer of 2018 when a group of people were also getting ready to start 25onehundred – something happened. Something I hoped would happen. Something I imagined in a longer story, in an attempt at a novel, not exactly like this, but by feel. Something earth-shattering happens. It has to happen. It will happen. Something young, something that unites generations. This was the hunch. Or was it more of a yearning? Regardless, there it was, Like a liberation! Honestly – after a quarter century of dealing with sustainable development, I thought only one thing: Finally! I was moved. Very moved. Again and again. Greta. A girl from Sweden. Zero hunger for appetizers. Desire for complexity. Yes, complexity is her thing; Wanting to understand the complex, and make it understandable. Without a party. Without the bling-bling. Full of seriousness. Every time I watch her speech at the climate summit in Katowice in December 2018, I am deeply touched.* How is this possible? Fifteen. Genius!

This girl was the key. She managed to do what many couldn't, because they weren't the right ones to listen to either, or even had to. But Greta could no longer be ignored, So she carried it out into the world, all that was already there. But apparently it was she who was destined to give something to the whole world: MOMENTS OF CLARITY!


So it had to come as it came. Something changed. A lot changed. Rapidly. Almost out of nowhere, there was global youth on the streets who apparently only needed this one key that Greta put in their hands. All over the world they were suddenly there: many Gretas!

Like the aforementioned Luisa Neubauer in Germany: incredibly competent and rhetorically brilliant. And like Greta, incorruptible. Committed to the truth. And to everyone’s future, Not only hers.

What unites all these Gretas is striking: They took and still take a lot of time and effort to learn the facts from scientists, to assimilate them, to exchange ideas with researchers across generations, and to connect with them, “unite behind science!”, to draw conclusions and to move forward patiently and determinedly. No shouting for seconds, but painstakingly worked-out depth of facts. Deriving clever slogans from this. A simplicity, born out of complexity.

And I, today, after chatting with the blog manager had my own Brexit hangover. Gro and Luisa are probably too complicated to explain. And I originally wanted to write about Emil, about Buffet, about "Two letters that could change all our lives", about my experiences: To be part of something bigger, of the Europe of united youth, of the most enigma of all wines, of 25onehundred "without limits", of "Clima – The first Climate Youth Fund", our icebreaker project, and of my personal message to the youth.

A bit excessive. Yes. Sure!

I had a good friend. His name was Theo. A whole sixteen years older than me. He fell to his death five years ago during a mountain hike. He was so excessive in his interests, in his passions, in his desire for mountains, in what he did. I loved him for his immoderateness and his boundless curiosity.

That's also why I have a conciliatory, even good relationship with excessiveness. I do. But I realised that my "Two letters that could change all our lives" text is far too excessive and has no place on a blog as one imagines one today. I used to be a blogger too.* 2015-2017.

What long texts!

Today it has to be shorter and crisper.

I, however, am neither short (187 cm), nor crisp (a little over optimal). I am lost. Lost my audience. I am out of time. I wanted to say something, Had the desire to write. I am instead silenced. Almost.

I'm actually still writing...

... this!

What now? Is this now my beginning and somehow also the end of my Blue Mango career? Is there still room for excess? For somewhat more complex contextualised texts? Or is this out of time? Let me know.

Best regards, your Thom


After massless – up to here 9'443 – characters.


About the author:

  • Thom Held (*1963) is a co-founder of 25onehundred and lives in Zurich. He works or worked as a biologist, spatial planner, researcher, photographer, 'political' blogger, book author, publisher, creative entrepreneur, democracy promoter, social impact company co-founder. He loves wine, good wine, and much more.


  • photographs: Thom Held © 2021 All rights reserved

  • drawing: by pigwire

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