He had an attic in a castle with 10,000 books hidden under plastic. He also had a number of icons hidden in a room. Both of them not for display on book shelves or walls. He was rich but lived as an ascetic. At the age of 78 he died alone in Albania leaving behind the 'A.A. Bredius Foundation' as his inheritance. This foundation aims to unlock the Byzantine culture in all its richness and versatility. Not for academic scientists only!
He is Arnold ("Ar") Bredius (1903-1982). A member of a Dutch patrician non-noble family who made their fortune selling (gun)powder. He studied theology but never became a priest. He was on his own. Socially awkward with a communitarian deficit. He was non-communicative about what was on his mind. He was married to Olga with whom he had a relation as brother and sister. Both of them were not interested in lust for sex. Both injured souls. Olga: "Bredius was a child, more childlike than a child".
Was he happy? No, he regarded his life as a burden. A life of duty and obligation. At the same time his life was successful because he left behind his Foundation as the climax of a life in which he was content with himself.
He regarded life as Whole and One. He enjoyed beautiful things. He was interested in the magic ("connectedness") of books, icons, music and places. Things outside himself. It seems that he was not interested in "knowing" himself spiritually.
I think the author and I disagree on this. I personally think that Bredius had had his moments of enlightenment but that he had a hard time to communicate about these in spoken or written words. Was he a mystic? It seems only partly. Is that possible when it comes to propagate enlightenment? The bottomline, for me, is that his Foundation is exactly that: propagate that there is more than senses getting input and that there is magic. Stuff of mystics ...
P.S. Book: Theo Jansen, 'Arnoldus Anthonie Bredius, Schetsen van een leven' (2012).
You might be surprised to hear this from me. Are you? But ... I am very very fond of these posts.
It's me time. It's time for you ... of that what was, what could and should have been. Making up my mind as honest as I can in public. As you know there is a lot of private stuff that you and I only share in our private garden. Noone needs to know! Private versus public garden.
Next to our private garden, I like this public garden too. Make up my mind. Share my dreams, fears, what I read, what I think, ... - there must be more. In a way it is for me a kind of meditation. It cleans up my mind. It sharpens my soul and gives me peace. The older I get the more fond I am that I stored all my public letters in this blog.
What do you think should I publish my blog in a printed book? All posts? By subject? By date of publishing? With index?
P.S. Painting is from David Hockney, 'Autumn Trees' (2008).
When I was eight years young I had two episodes of dreams with wolves.
Episodes one. I was a young wolf in a wolfpack. I ran as they ran. I slept as they slept in the open field on the ground. I ate when they ate. I was one of the pack but young and I had to listen. I felt comfortable being one of the pack but I missed time for my own and I missed human-talking.
I can't remember which episodes were first but I feel more comfortable if one was before two in time.
Episodes two. I was a human being and alone. I had to run for the wolfpack who was after me. There was no place to hide. One of the nights I realized it was a dream so I told myself - me as magician - add a stick into the dream and use it. All the nights thereafter I still dreamed about wolves hunting for me but this time I had a stick in my hand. Ready to use if necessary! I never was afraid again and they never caught me again.
Why am I telling you this? Because in a way I am still that magician.
Indian summer. Autumn with its "small" amount of rain, "lots" of sun and its lovely smells and dazzling colors. For me, an inseparable connection with autumn in The Netherlands. More specific with the garden of my mother-in-law - she died a couple of years ago. I took care of her grass (mowing) and hedges (cutting) and all other sawing, chopping and pruning for more than fifteen years. Year after year. Season after season. All that is gone now. The house has since been sold.
I miss feeling the seasons physically in that garden. The smells and colors close. Raspberries, blackberries, plums, cherries, walnuts, sweet chestnut, beech nuts and ... - there must be more. Mushrooms. And I miss the feeling of having a second home. Mostly we stayed for a night on the weekend, every other week, with the kids. The kids playing in the 1.5 hectare big garden. Having dinner and a few glasses of wine when it's dark outside. Sleep well and deep after a hard day work.
In my second home I had three books of my own on a shelf. Only these three - not one more:
Virgil, Georgica (around 29 BC), in a Dutch translation
Mostly I browsed in these three books when I was in the mood for reading. Read some lines or a couple of pages. I found out that I only was able to understand Virgil when I read out his lines loud.
I don't know where I came from but I like simple, calm and basic. Being comfortable with the imperfect = perfect me. Nothing wrong with cities and big cities. But sometimes it feels for me that a lot of (or most?) people in the "cities" lost track of where they came from and how to stay calm. For me the next lines are stating the obvious but I know for a lot of (or most?) people it's not.
P.S. Page 'The World' is from Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive (2015). Check out the quotes: here. WOW!
Any idea what it is? Answer: a tear under a microscope! To be more specific, it is an "Emotional Tear" from Claudia (source): "An emotial tear of sadness, because she was struggling to get a trough [sic!] time in life".
What a beautiful universe on its own. Things like this make me cry, emotional and ... - you know.
P.S. More on this project of Maurice Mikkers can be found: here.
P.P.S. Did you know that it's not possible yet - if ever - to reproduce the same (kind of) tear? Currently there are too many variables. May be it's not even possible ever because some say, "human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. So since we largely consist out of water (just like the tear fluid), maybe this human consciousness is also influencing how the (emotional) tears are shaped".
Work. I am back at work again after four weeks of holiday. I finished my Cape Verde Islands translation (Hessel Gerritsz' rutter from 1628 remember?) and I painted the four windows in the front of the house and the front door.
Next to that I read most days around two hours. I finished Bob Marston's book 'Harrier Boys. Volume Two. New Technology, New Treats, New Tactics 1990-2010' (London 2016).
Lovely read those two volumes. I guess for most readers it will be too technical but if you read in between lines it gives a great insight into the history of the Harrier Force.
New for me:
1. Sites for field operations were, if needed, changed every 48 hours.
2. The Harrier was never perfect. It was a continuous process of evolution of the aircraft, its equipment and the (wo)man inside and outside the cockpit. They always wanted to have the best. And to be the best. In war there is no place for being second!
In 2010 the Harrier Force was disbanded as cost-saving measure in the United Kingdom (UK). Replacement? Yes, the Harrier will (probably) be replaced by the F35B. The Ministery of Defence of the UK took intentionally a gap in their V/STOL (vectored trust) air power.
P.S. Not for Argentine eyes ;) the English are not able to defend the Falklands since 2010 and will not be able to for the next five years. Since 2010 more militairy power (marines etc) on the islands themselves?
P.P.S. Link to Youtube video 'The Best of Harrier Jump Jet History': here.
I was sitting on a bench, in the sun, at the back of my house. Nothing special. Looking at fat clouds passing by. Suddenly I realize that the world will move on and planet Earth will keep turning around its axis. Every day one round. Keep on turning when "I" am not here anymore. Better: "I" will be shattered in tiny little pieces and be re-grouped in other different "things". I knew but somehow I lost track of it.
Donde encontrarás con el pan al sol y la mesa tendida"
P.S. Translation of quote from Spanish into English: "One is insensibly saying goodbye to little things (...) Take your time here, in the light of this noon. Where you will find the bread in the sun lying on the table."
P.P.S. For next four weeks no letters from me. I will be on holiday. Working on my Cape Verde Islands translation. Read a little. Simple cosas.
(1) Gold had no economic importance. It was only
important for their religion. With their eyes we are supposed to "see" divine, indestructible (color of) sun and not a huge
pile of money.
(2) Silver was more precious than gold.
If fact (1) and (2) are both valid for the Ancient Egyptians the question is: what are we supposed to "see" with or for silver? Moon (color of)? Sun (another color of)? Primeval mond where the first rays of the morning sun rise or shine (benben stone)? Or ... Is there or could there be have been some religion in Ancient Egypt that worshipped the moon?
The source for (1) is found on The Internet (here) and is not substantiated with source references. On the other hand there are numerous source references for (2).
More details on silver. According to 'Shaw and Nicolson' silver was in the beginning of the Ancient Egyptian civilization, in the Old Kingdom (2681-2181 BC) more precious than gold. In the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650) gold was more precious than silver. It seems that they regarded silver ("white metal") as a variety of gold.
Sun, moon, other five known planets ("stars that know no rest") and stars what were they for the Ancient Egyptians? Answer: all of them travel during the night through the body of goddess Nut. They represent the unchangeable, undistinguishable and reciprocal cycle of birth and death. All this is painted, in great details, on the ceiling of the tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses VI (KV9 in the Valley of Kings):
Detail of the journey of the sun in her body:
Born as white sun in the morning:
Swallowed as red sun in the evening:
For the Ancient Egyptians the cycle/ travel of the sun was the cycle/ travel of life.
Sunrise was rebirth
Morning was childhood
Afternoon was maturity
Evening was old age
Night was death and renewal
Thoth as ibis or ape is the god of the moon. He is the shipper and the writer of the gods. He regulates the times and seasons. He makes eternity and everlastingness.
Thoth is the black eye of Horus. The moon in all its appearances (from black moon to full moon).
According to 'Shaw & Nicolson' gold was the flesh of gods and silver their bones. The Ancient Egyptians had no coinage but gold could also serve the living by melting it down as exchange and as reward for individuals ('golden fly of valour' in New Kingdom).
Preliminary conclusion/ hypothesis. Sun and moon travel for the Ancient Egyptians both through the same unchangeable cycle inside the goddess Nut. A reciprocal cycle of birth and death. Gold represents the flesh of gods and silver its bones. There seems to be no indication that silver represents the moon, the color of a silver moon. The moon as representation of god Thoth makes time and the seasons. Read in month the 'moon'. Better: moonth.
1. Wallis Budge, E.A., 'The Gods of the Egyptians, studies in Egyptian Mythology', volume I (New York 1969) page 400-415.
2. Betrò, Maria Carmela, 'Hiërogliefen. De beeldtaal van het oude Egypte' (Baarn 1999) page 153, 176 and 245.
3. Shaw I. and Nicholson P., 'The Illustrated Dictionary of Ancient Egypt' (Cairo 2008) page 46, 131, 150-151 and 304-305.
'If you want peace, prepare for war' (Latin: Si vis pacem, para bellum). Some say it's based on Plato, 4th century BC (source).
My personal crest is: Sword down & Rose up. It's my image that "we" can't live and enjoy love if we are not prepared to make war. Without the warranty of safety there is no room or space for love. Literally and figuratively.
Safety and love are in turn the prerequisites for getting even higher in Maslow's staircase. Higher as in ... - it's a Chinese Garden.
There is no road access directly to the beach. It was the private beach (1) of the Cawdor family of Stackpole Court. For easy access to the beach of Barafundle bay they made steps and a wall. The house 'Stackpole Court' (2) was built in the 1730s. At the start of World War II most of the Stackpole Estate farmland was requisitioned for training ground for British troops. This made the estate unviable for the Cawdor family and they returned to their Scottish estate, in Nairnshire, in the early 1940s.
Stackpole Court in 1935
Crippling taxes and lack of money on the empty house meant it was demolished in 1963.
Leaving behind the estate's outbuildings, parkland and beaches which are looked after by the National Trust since 1977. What remains is a remembrance stone.
The bigger picture is that after the imposing of death duties (1894), drop of income from the estates, raising of servants' wages and materials, and World War I (1914-1918) the backbone of the country house in the UK was broken. Too expensive. More than a thousand country houses have been demolished since 1920. More (with a lot of details): here.
Soko sings 'My Dreams Dictate my Reality'. Dreams dictate reality? Really? Not what you say? Not what you think? Not how you act? I'll come back to this later.
Between the age of 17 and 23 I kept a handwritten diary. Hesitatingly at first. Looking for a format and words. What I learned fast was that I had to be honest looking in the mirror. Honest as in beyond "normal", "stupid", "unfair" and "acceptable". I learned to face reality, in the safe and sheltered corner of my diary. My reality and the reality of the Others. To accept and embrace - it sounds easier in retrospect than it was for me back then - the real world of individual 'homo sapiens'. To accept my own and others' jealousy, aggression, misbehaviour and all the other adjectives that don't belong to a "perfect" planet Earth. (We are citizens of planet Earth first and citizens of the Cosmos second.)
In retrospect, the above is one of the seeds that make me sensitive for fringe people. I accept all behaviour of other homo sapiens. All! Including the behaviour of killers, of sadists, of suicide bombers, of mafia, of society their free-riders. For me their behaviour is valid too. It belongs to the real world. It's real. Don't deny!
I accept reality of (dis)behaviour. At the same time I accept the laws of my country. These laws define what must and shall be punished. In punishment we trust. Realizing, accepting and embracing that these laws are culturally and historically biased.
What's my point? I think that the biggest pitfall of human communication is the 'Say-Think-Act-trap' (STA-trap).
In a perfect world the sets of Say, Think and Act are one and the same.
In a never-perfect world the sets of Say, Think and Act don't have any intersection at all.
In the real world there are intersections between the three sets. "Perfect communication" is the intersection between all three sets (colour 'yellow' in the Venn diagram). "Noisy communication" is the intersection between two sets (colour 'orange'). "Deaf & Blind communication" is the symmetric difference between the three sets (colour 'white').
Example one. He says to an acquaintance that he will pay back the loan
of 25,000 Euros as soon as possible. He thinks I'll not be able to pay
back the money before I die. He borrows the loan - not telling his acquaintance - while knowing he will die in two months of incurable cancer.
Examples two. An extremist Muslim (according to the Islam 'Taqiya' principle) says he accommodates himself to the laws of the country he lives in. He thinks I'll apply precautionary dissimulation for my plans to kill as many Islam-unbelievers as I can. He blows himself up as a suicide bomber.
Example three. He says he wants a tree in his garden. He thinks of a 50 year old oak with leaves and roots. He plants in his garden the expensive tree he thinks of.
Dreams dictate reality? Yes, your dreams. Yes, my dreams too. Yes but also what we say, what we think and how we act. Depending on the (lack of) intersections between say, think and act we have a serious communication constraint. Better: we have communication noise. Observation: I see a lot of noisy and deaf & blind communication on planet Earth.
Virginia Vallejo (Columbia 1949) and Pablo Escobar (Columbia 1949-1993) were lovers for four years (1983-1987). He a drug lord of the Medellin cartel with a modest background. She a journalist and TV anchor(wo)man from the upper class.
Yesterday I finished reading her book 'Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar' (2007) in a Dutch translation 'Ik was de vrouw van Escobar' (2017). I wanted to read about the story behind their love. Her story. Her images. What she says and what not. Her details.
For me this quote is the key to the book (page 305-306). Ana Bolena Meza: "Virginia, you were the greatest star of this country [Columbia] and the Narcos ended your career and your good name. I am just a humble actress who wants to make her living with hard work. Say to that Gaviria that I don't want, for any gold, to live your life, certainly not because I see how the media treats you. Say that woman as me despise man like them. That I prefer to die rather than being touched by the dirty hands of a Narcos." Who is who? Pablo's nephew Gustavo Gaviria was fallen in love with actress Ana Bolena Meza. Gustavo asked Virginia to arrange a meeting with Ana. Ana refused to meet.
Why did Virginia fall in love with Pablo? Pablo built 2,500 houses for the poor of Medellin. Pablo saved her life. Both were student and teacher. Mutual attracted to their huge intelligence. Magic. Attraction and rejection. Pablo fell for Virginia's beauty. Virginia fell for Pablo's insight and predictive ability. They had an equal relationship. Virginia always refused the sugar daddy side of Pablo. She wanted his love not his money. Later she asked Pablo for money (for education and investment in a company) then he refused because Virginia was the only woman in his life that did love him for free. He wanted to maintain that dream.
They talked a lot about the "inheritance" of Pablo. He wanted the world, via the only woman who really knew him, to know who he really was. A psychological and historical accurate portrait.
Nice read. No book for sensitive souls.
P.S. The Spanish title translated into English 'Love Pablo. Hate Escobar', covers the content of their relationship better. Better than the Dutch title translated into English 'I was the woman of Escobar'.
And then, live happily forever after? Well no, most people do at first not understand and have words for what has happened. It came out of the blue. Important is that they find a buddy or authority that teach them what they felt and how to deal with it. Sometimes it takes years - if ever - to learn what has happened. And sometimes it can make people suicidal ... the world was so beautiful and now everything is lost ... how to deal with that?
What is most important of all the above: peak experiences are natural experiences of healthy people. It makes life magical, blue and whole. :)
P.S. Info in this blog is loosely based on Wikipedia Peak Experience. Mark that the content in English and Dutch is materially deviant.
P.P.S. I wrote many times about this subject. Via label 'Enlightenment' you have all posts in one list.
Talking about how much I enjoy and love life, is as if I've to talk or post about drinking water. Of course. Naturally. Is there any other way?
I enjoy ...
smell of cows
watching colour and components of flowers
listening to the sound of birds
look at airplanes flying over and wondering where they come from and where they go to and why
to give and receive love
be a teacher and student
wonder what the names are of all those little insects
colour and smell of grass
sound of wind in trees
looking at people how the walk and talk
dream of countries and places I'll probably never visit
hay in pastures
clouds in the sky
you, me and us
look in your eyes
you in your ... - not telling you
freshly washed linens
early morning and late evening sun
smell of woodfire
use all my senses
Last Saturday I went with my daughter L and one of her best friends to a Agnes Obel concert in Liège (Belgium). I expected one lady behind a piano but it was a band of four woman. One on drums. Two of them playing on string instruments. Agnes singing and playing piano or keyboard. I loved their cloud of music very much. For me something between: Kate Bush, piano, mysterious, poem, sounds of nature and simple. In one image: warm cloud of voices, music and down to Earth words. Lovely!
I made a couple of pictures. Not of great quality but just to give you an idea how it looked like.