Carla Drift – Changes and Conflicts

My move to Delft and Amsterdam caused many changes. My world changed and my family ties and friendships took other forms. I met many new people and we lived with each other at a distance or nearby depending on the circumstances.

The changes that I experienced with these moves, were the normal changes that young people encounter when they mature. I still am in touch with some friends from my school time in South-Limburg. My primary school boyfriend is happily married with his “secret” love and they have already children – I’m fond of them. I keep them informed of the usual things in my life and if we meet we make fun or we have a conversation about the developments in our lives. With some friends from my study in Delft, I still have contact. We meet each other occasionally.


According to my friends from Delft, my great love is in the stage of on-off relationships – I purposely keep him at a distance. After the end of our love, I held the attention of all men who were in love with me, at a distance. In Delft female students in the technical studies are scarce: I could have received  much attention, but that was not fair to them and to myself – I was clear on this point. On the other hand I was open for friendship and nice contacts. I had several friends who felt a dormant love for me. In Amsterdam the ratio men – women was in balance. Suddenly there was a lot less attention of young men; I preferred this in the solidified time.

With my family, I have always had a good relation. My two younger sisters have found – in my eyes pretty early – a good life partner; they are happily married and now they have a number of children. However, we still quibble as the three sisters. With my mother, the mutual appreciation has increased and the emotional distance remained. My father and I can get along very well, we visit museums or we regularly travel to cities in the Netherlands or abroad.

With nobody I have talked about the solidified time. Some of my relatives gave me extra attention. Well intentioned, but it had no impact on the intensity and chill; the time remained as endless as always. My father felt that there was something – he thought it might be grief about the loss of my beloved. He said comforting and also painful for me: “You have always been special. Also in grief, you are also special. Fortunately you do not seek comfort in something impossible”.

In Amsterdam at the time, I saw my emotional life as a growth spurt into adulthood – later it has received a name [3]. I was extremely aware that changes in people’s lives were irrevocably, past and present were solidified as in glass. The present is constantly changing – usually smooth and fluent –before starting to get rigid. Occasional conflicts often fizzle out – former quarrels with my sisters usually did not last long. Potential sources of conflicts within the society or between societies are often settled by political decision-making, legislation or channelled by treaties.


Sometimes the conflict escalates and creates a directions fight – at this point Amsterdam has a tradition to have demonstrations, riots, squatting of buildings. Sometimes these conflicts end with broken glass, some arrests and occasionally a few wounded. In the private sphere, there can be some broken dishes and a few clumsy hits can be exchanged between relatives. Other conflicts are settled through case law. The pressure must sometimes escape from the interpersonal and/or social tension.



Some conflicts derail and become nasty and vindictive matters. They can degenerate into massacres and civil wars within a society or into battles and wars between societies. These derailment are surrounded with all kinds of myths and rites so that the causes, the crimes and the consequences of the conflict receive an understandable place in a society. The consequences are always bottomless grief for all parties involved. The grief of the victor is often softened by the loot and the right to amend the history in its sole discretion. The consequences for the loser can result in confinement to a life under a different regime, but it can also result in destruction of every form of culture, in loss of the honour of men and women and even in complete eradication.


Looking for a scapegoat is a special form of conflict prevention within a society. People or groups with a different origin, appearance, culture, opinion and/or religion are easy to stigmatise as scapegoat. A society has the opinion that by removing the scapegoat from public life or from society, the original tension and/or conflict is also vanish.


Within my study Humanities I studied the course of changes and especially the reasons why some changes can derail so seriously. In nature we notice similar mechanisms in ants populations who can turn from a peaceful existence into a war population. These populations can also leave behind a track of destruction.

I studied the conditions under which small and large conflicts derail, the actions of people and their leaders who cause the derailments or contributing to it, the course of the excesses and the impact of these excesses.

The last year of my study Humanities in Amsterdam, I studied the intensities, the chill and the solidified time of conflicts, violence, battles, wars and genocide. I tried to figure out what was the cause of these extreme forms of change. I also studied how the horrors could be prevented.

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[3] See also: Kuiper, P.C., Ver Heen (Far Gone). ’s-Gravenhage: SDU Drukkerij, 1988
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