The 2 Minute Interview

Bernd Kolb is mastermind, lateral thinker, visionary and founder of the Club of Marrakesh, entrepreneur and he himself says with a wink: man with a mission. And this is how that came about. As former top manager, entrepreneur of the year and director for innovation at Deutsche Telekom, he began to deal with the great challenges of our global consumer society and looking for possible approaches for a positive and sustainable future. He explored the question why, against better judgement, it is so difficult for us to think and act sustainably and found answers in the encounter with inspiring people who gave him an understanding of the wisdom of ancient Asian cultures. He captured these moments of knowledge and solidarity with his camera and is presenting them as we speak and until the end of September in the exhibition ATMAN at the Malzfabrik Berlin. We wanted to know more and spoke to Bernd about the truly important things: wisdom, the meaning of life and the European Football Championship, of course. A must read! Oh yeah, and what was that going on the year 2046?

Name: Bernd Kolb
Age: 53
Home: Yogyakarta (Java)
Profession: Man with a mission ;)
Show size: 44
Favourite place: Yogyakarta

What is the meaning of life?
The meaning lies in discovering your true self, unfolding it and making it bloom. Then everything we do has meaning.

Who is going to be European Football Champion?
Ha! I have to admit that I find that less interesting than the question itself in relation to the other questions. But it is possible that for some, the question is of such importance that it goes hand in hand with the meaning of life. ;)

What would you change in the world if you had the chance and the power to?„God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” (Reinhold Niebuhr)

What is wisdom?
For me, wisdom means “feeling” beyond thinking. “Experiencing” without judging or classifying. “To be one” deeply within, beyond “me” and “you”. Just pure “being” and solidarity beyond appearances.

Which moment changed everything?
I don’t know if one moment can change everything. To me, each moment is also  development. If I even notice it, that moment. When I am here and consciously experience it. “Panta Rhei”, as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once put it: „Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.“

Tell us a magical place, anywhere in the world!
There is a truly magical place in Berlin at the moment, the Malzfabrik. Now I’m not saying that for marketing purposes, I really mean it.

Do you have a hobby we didn’t know about?
I HONESTLY do not have a hobby – I ONLY do things that have meaning for me and bring me joy. That’s not just a saying, I’m deeply serious about it ☺

You meet your 18-year-old self. Which advice would you give yourself?
That is a beautiful question. Because it assumes that you can actually meet yourself. And in this encounter lies the advice itself: recognise who is meeting who.

What would you like to be better at?

What should everyone have done once in their life.
In a modern context I would advise everyone to go on a sabbatical in the middle of their life. To leave the routines and habits, to give yourself space and time. Dive into adventures, don’t make plans, discover the new, in yourself and around you!

You are re-incarnated – as what?
I believe that we always stay alive and it’s just the form that changes. Which is more important than we think. Because everything we “comprehend” as a form is just a figment of our mind and has nothing to do with life as such. That is also what ATMAN is about. What starts as a concrete image in our cognition dissolves in form and becomes pure consciousness, feeling, empathy – the essence of being human. Those who can feel and feel for others will live sustainably and peacefully. It is a question of consciousness, of recognising that matter is NOT the most important.

You are travelling in a time machine, which year do you set it to?

With which famous person (dead or alive) would you like to go out for drinks?
It’s hard to pick out just one. There are too many that I find equally interesting. But it would definitely be nice to meet my line of ancestors.

What would you cook for us if we came to visit you?

What are you afraid of?
Honestly: nothing. Fear is a bad advisor.

When was the last time you had a good laugh and what was it about?
I laugh a lot and mostly about myself! :)

What should no one about about you?
Untruths and prejudices. Anyone is allowed to know everything true about me, I don’t lead a double life ☺

What question should we have asked you?
Only you can answer that.

Last words:
Thank you.

Photo: Raimar von Wienskowski