Phantom Earthquakes

I wrote this post while enrolled as a guest in the philosophy department at the University of Tübingen in the summer of 2012 after graduating with a Master’s degree from the University of Tokyo that spring. I had just spent the previous seven years living in Japan and hadn’t lived in Germany for 15 years despite my own German background. Perhaps that feeling of alienation from a place that should be my own home played a role in my mind as I wrote this piece.

Rereading and lightly editing this during the COVID-19 pandemic has me wondering how Germans think about natural disasters now. I could not have foreseen the pandemic when I wrote,

Life in Germany seems to be, for the most part, without any threat to life in general. No major disaster might suddenly kill thousands.

A younger me in 2012

And that inability to predict or even imagine disaster is exactly what I had in mind when I wrote this post.

Edited on January 26, 2022.

The castle of Tübingen, which was supposedly damaged in a 1970 earthquake. Photo by H. McGaughey

Tübingen, Germany A lot has been changing and happening in the world around me because I moved to southern Germany in March and began studying at the University of Tübingen. And with getting used to all the changes, I have not been able to find a perspective on things to be able to write anything interesting on the blog. But that state of affairs can’t last forever. Perspective eventually arises in the chaos, a focus will at some point be found. . . even if its interest dissipates within moments of its having been uttered. The following is about a strange sort of experience I’ve had a few times since coming here.