The three useless things (english version)

Mr. K, a well-respected man from Switzerland, had sent his only son, who didn't seem really fit for anything, to be apprenticed to a well-respected master at the art academy so that he could at least learn the artistic craft. After his freshman year, the father asked the visiting son, "Tell me, what have you learned in your long absence?"

The student proudly said, "We have formed different things out of earth!" When the father heard this and saw the pitiful results, he said, "You seem really good for nothing and you want to be my son!" and sent him into Master's care for another year. When he came back to Switzerland at the end of the second year, the father asked again: "What did you learn?" and the son told him: "I made a drawing every day!" When the father heard this, he became hopeful that that the son might still go his own way and had the drawings shown to him. "They all have the same thing on them, you really aren't good for anything!" the father exclaimed and he sent him away again. After the third year, Lukas returned to Switzerland because he had now completed his training. This time, too, the father demanded information about the results of the study, and his son proudly said: "We froze water and carved sculptures out of it!" However, since the son didn't even have photographs of it and the sculptures had long since melted, the father shouted at him: "Get out of my sight you good-for-nothing and don't come back!" So Luke set off and traveled through the country. He found his first job in a pottery workshop, where he introduced himself with the words "I worked with clay for a year!". However, when he was supposed to form even vessels on the electronic potter's wheel, he failed miserably and the lumps of clay just flew through the workshop. He was chased away to loud laughter from the employees. It was only a year later that he found work again in a graphics company, where he introduced himself with the words "I worked in graphics for a year!". However, the young man was overwhelmed by the rapidly changing tasks and disappeared before his superior could throw him out. After two years of searching, during which he barely managed to keep his head above water, he found another job. In a cold store, he had to stack heavy blocks of ice for little pay. But he wasn't up to the physical work, and when his boss caught him in a corner of the cold store cutting a block of ice with a knife and making strange shapes out of it, he yelled at him and threw his tools after him. So Lukas traveled around the country for a while until one day he couldn't go any further and collapsed exhausted against a house wall. When he regained consciousness, he got up and looked around. The house where he had been lying seemed derelict and uninhabited, so he entered. "I'll settle down here!" he said to himself, "I'm tired of moving around." So he lived in the most impoverished of circumstances in the deserted house and resumed the activities that had been taught to him. It was at that time that a terrible disease swept across the country. All the work that had to be done was increasingly done by machines. People had the whole day off. They were terribly bored and didn't know what to do with themselves. Even the production and preparation of food had been taken over by machines. Interpersonal contacts, including romantic relationships, had largely been replaced by machines and artificial intelligence. People just hung around. Senseless acts of violence and outbursts of pent-up aggression became more frequent. Boredom spread like a disease across the country. The people who ruled the country also got bored and saw that things couldn't go on like this. When they happened to learn of a young man who was living aloof in an abandoned house and reportedly doing odd things all day and didn't seem to be bored one bit, they immediately sent people to fetch this man. So Lukas had to appear before the high lords and tell them about his life. After the gentlemen had convinced themselves that this young man was really not doing any meaningful work and was not suffering from boredom in the slightest, he became an adviser to the government and a beacon of hope in the fight against the great disease. Thus, on Luke's advice, a three-year education was prescribed for all people in the land, such as Luke had received. Because that also made sense to the high lords, boredom could not be overcome in one day. So schools were set up where Luke, with helpers who lent a hand, put the new measures into practice. So it happened that his father, marked by boredom, also found himself in one of the courses that were touted everywhere as a salvation. It was extremely difficult for him to find his way around, as the lessons seemed too stupid to him. His displeasure turned to anger the next day as he attended his son's award ceremony for his honorary doctorate. He didn't recognize his son after all these years, but he deeply resented the honoring of a young man who didn't seem able to do anything. So he had to watch as he was appointed Professor of Boredom in front of a huge crowd in the school auditorium and he was awarded an honorary doctorate for useless things. His yawning at the moment the certificate was awarded was applauded frenetically by the whole crowd, who had already internalized the new teaching, and the figure that Lukas folded from the certificate he had received on the spot, in front of everyone, was admired for a long time and later exhibited in a display case in the entrance area of the school. These stories quickly spread across the country and the fame of his teachings continued to grow and people came to his schools and emulated his example. In old age Luke gave up these activities himself. From then on his life was one big look and amazement.


Years later, a yellowed note was found in his simple cell. There it was written in German:

Ich möchte euch einen Rat geben und mir damit denselben, zu mancher Zeit da braucht man sie - tragikomische Helden.

Gewillt sich eine Blöße zu geben und alles zu ertragen, werden sie uns, wenn die Zeit es will, um Längen überragen.

Marc von Criegern, Dusseldorf, 2023