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By Koen Wastijn
In a book by Pierre-Paul Grassé, a French biologist that deals with stigmergy =incitation to work (the way for example termites work in a sort of mixture of random behaviour leading gradually to more organized behaviour through a system of trial and error stimulated also by pheromones), I found the name of a German pro-nazi biologist, Karel Escherich whom Grassé strongly criticizes. The book mentioned a famous speech of his entitled 'Termitenwahn' (Termitenwahn, eine Münchener Rektoratsrede “über die Erziehung zum politischen Menschen”, Albert Langen/Georg Müller Verlag, München, 1934). In this speech presented in the University of München in 1934, the author proposed a world similar to that of the termites where free will in a strictly organized society would be reduced to the minimum acceptable. The logic implies that similar to the termite society, human society should be considered as one organism where the individual as such is of no importance whatsoever. I bought the original speech through from an antiquary in Hamburg and then typed it in a more readable form of German (alphabetically spoken). I gave the entire text to Nicky, and a pleasant female machine voice of my speech computer . She is programmed to speak American English and reads the German language with a total lack of expression and content, almost as the Pope reads phonetically more than 30 languages. The final speech read by the female computer voice Nicky tends to a complete babelism-closer to nonsense than to sense. Termite society is no human society-definitely not. The text and sound piece isn’t a political pamphlet. It rather ridicules the phantasm of human projections on any other form of life and above all the tendencies of typical human weaknesses or 'incitations' to succumb to an unavoidable anthropocentrism.