E.There are questions that almost everyone asks themselves: Can I do it? How do I avoid mistakes? Who can I learn how to do right from? Angela Merkel spoke about this in 1995.
She was 40 and Minister of the Environment. So already come a long way from the point of view of the time. Viewed from today, it is still at the beginning. It was June and Merkel was giving a speech in Hamburg at the Evangelical Church Congress. Its motto was: “You have been told, man, what is good.” As a greeting, Merkel said that this motto went well with the topic of her lecture: the role models of her life. Because to do what is good you need help, and such help could be role models.
But she didn’t mean heroes. Merkel rather described patterns that arise under certain conditions, and those conditions themselves. A role model, said Merkel, could save us from making mistakes. So it is already in 1 Corinthians. She quoted from the Luther Bible: “But this has been done to us as an example, so that we do not enjoy our evil as they did.” From this she concluded that the past could be something like a manual for the future: Here please watch out, this has already gone wrong, this worked under those circumstances. “History – as I understand it – means that a lot has already happened that can serve as an example for us. We are embedded in a course of history in which others have made mistakes before us, from which we should learn, but with the knowledge that we will also make mistakes. “This is” very reassuring “for her.
Merkel was impressed by Curie’s determination
So what can a role model be? A person who preceded us and from whose mistakes we can learn so as not to commit the same. So someone who is like us in his weakness. But it could also be someone we admire for what he has achieved despite all his mistakes. Merkel broached the subject of a woman whom she had taken as a model when she was still a girl. Because she saw herself in her for who she was and at the same time how she wanted to be: Marie Curie.
The first thing that interested her, said Merkel, was that Curie came from Poland – “one of my grandfathers also comes from Poland”. Poland was divided at that time. Warsaw, where Curie grew up, was under Russian occupation. Just like the country in which Merkel grew up. That was what caught the girl’s eye first.
Curie left Poland to study in France. She became a physicist and discovered radium. But not just like you discover a forgotten 10-euro note in your jacket pocket. Curie cooked tons of pitchblende, a mineral known to contain uranium because she suspected it must contain a much more radioactive material. The work was dangerous and extremely strenuous; and then Curie was looking for something no one had ever heard of. “But she did it,” said Merkel in front of the visitors to the Kirchentag. Curie discovered pure radium in the pitchblende. “What impressed me about this woman was her determination, her perseverance. If you believe in an idea, even if you are alone, if you pursue this idea and torment your way through many ups and downs, you will eventually reach the goal, if the idea was the right one. “
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