Tag Archives: Abraham Joshua Heschel

Iconoclasm


Mid-afternoon Carla and Man are seated on bench before Atheneum bookshop on the Spui in Amsterdam near “Het Lieverdje” [1].
Spui_Amsterdam[2]
“Were we not too outspoken in our opinion on the Reformation and the schisms in the Reformed church in Netherlands during and after the second world war in our discussion this morning?”, asks Man to Carla.

“On our quest we have arrived at intensities and associations and at the Reformation of the Christian faith; This is not a gentle topic.

During the Reformation, a Eighty Years’ War of independence had raged in Holland with all the characteristics of a religious war. Every war is terrible – although I know least one author who is not averse to a good fight [3] – also a war of independence and a religious war. In the first half of the twentieth century a modus vivendi was established with the pilarisation [4] between the separate religious groups in the Netherlands. The schism in the Dutch Reformed Church of 1944 did not cause bloodshed, but the separation was no less painful and inevitable for those involved. There is Narrator”, says Carla.

“Shall we walk to the Begijnhof and continue with the iconoclasm there”, says Narrator.
“This afternoon during my rest hour I read the following paragraphs [5] on iconoclasm in “The prophets” by Abraham Joshua Heschel that I have borrowed from Man:
Marc_Chagall_Isaiah[6]

The prophet is an iconoclast, challenging the apparently holy, revered, and awesome. Beliefs cherished as certainties, institutions endowed with supreme sanctity, he exposes as scandalous pretentions.

The prophet knew that religion could distort what the One demanded of man, that priests themselves had committed perjury by bearing false witness, condoning violence, tolerating hatred, calling for ceremonies instead of bursting forth with wrath and indignation at cruelty, deceit, idolatry and violence.

And:

To the people, religion was Temple, priesthood, incense. Such piety the prophet brands as fraud and illusion. [7]

These paragraphs are from the description “What manner of man is the prophet”. Next to a ”rebel” [8], the prophet is a man with a sensitivity for the evil that is expressed brightly and explosively – preferably an octave too high – in rigor and compassion; the prophet wants to change the apathy of the others into a pathos with a direct connection to the One – or God in our language.
Profeet[9]
I think the Protestants in Holland had studied the texts of the Old Testament on the prophets and they had derived therefrom an engagement to regaining the sense of a true faith from the early days of Christianity”, says Carla.

“I am certain that the Protestants knew the text regarding the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus from the Gospel of John:

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found livestock traders and moneychangers. Jesus drove the livestock traders with their sheep and cattle out of the temple, he threw the money of the changers on the ground and overturned their tables and shouted: “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then responded to him: “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”. Jesus answered them: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied: “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”. But the temple Jesus had spoken of was his body. [10]

At the temple of his body, I think of “et incarnatus est [11]” from the Credo.
In the first half of the 16th century, the churches were places of devotion stuffed with devotional objects that each had its group of supporters in the local population. Some devotional objects were relics of saints whereupon the status and value of churches was based. For example, the St. Peter’s Basilica was built on the site where according to tradition the tomb of St. Peter – one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and for the Catholics the first pope – could be located. Between 1940 and 1949 excavations had been conducted under the floor of St. Peter’s Basilica uncovering a tomb with the presumed bones of Peter. This claim cannot be scientifically substantiated [12].

With the widespread use of literate information by the rise of the printing press, the always lingering doubts about the authenticity of the relics changed in a simmering uncertainty and sometimes in a proof of inauthenticity of the origin of these devotional objects located in devotion sites.

Within the Catholic Church the role of saints had many similarities with the position of former local Gods. Because the believers began to study the Bible themselves, the role of these saints – including their prominent place in the local churches – was questioned.
The forces against the iconoclasm were not only caused by the Catholic clergy, but also by the (wealthy) individuals and groups that had provided donations to the creation of statues of saints and to images of religious events in paintings on walls and ceilings and in the church windows.

In the course of the 16th century the people’s devotion to saints and devotional objects changed to an outright rejection of these forms of belief in some parts of Europe – mostly in areas just outside the border of the Roman Empire more than 1,000 years ago. In 1535, a iconoclasm took place in Geneva. After seditious sermons the altars in the church had been destroyed and the church windows smashed; later young people had taken the remaining devotional objects from the church [13]. Previously there had already occurred an iconoclasm in 1522 in Wittenberg, in 1523 in Zürich, in 1530 in Copenhagen, in 1534 in Münster; and later in 1537 in Augsburg, in 1559 in Scotland [14].

The iconoclastic in 1523 in Zürich had been initiated by Ulrich Zwingli – prophet, dictator and champion of purity of the church that in his opinion shall be traced to the Bible and partly based on the reason according to Erasmus – who almost simultaneously and in imitation of Luther in Germany had begun a Reformation in Zürich. Zwingli’s revolt was initiated by social injustice in Switzerland – including young men who had to perform military service as mercenary for foreign powers – and altered social relations with an emerging literate citizenry and a peasantry who wanted greater independence from the governors. In 1519 Zwingli opposed the indulgences in the Catholic Church, and from 1520 he left the Catholic Church. In 1522 he had married Anna Reinhard in secret – a young widow with three children – who was known for her beauty , faith and allegiance to the Reformation. On April 2, 1524 Zwingli had married her in a public service, whereupon they had received four children between 1526 and 1530. Zwingli’s radical followers took advantage of the situation in Zürich to remove the statues and icons from the church, to change the liturgy and to simplify the Mass. By the end of 1524, the monasteries in Zürich were abolished. By Zwingli the entire church doctrine and religious ceremonies in Zürich were brought in accordance with the bible. Zwingli had issued a ban on interest on loans and usury. Opponents of Zwingli could count on a relentless persecution. From 1526 to 1531 Zwingli ‘s translation of the Bible – the Froschauer Bible – was printed . On Thursday in Holy Week in 1525 the Eucharist was celebrated according to Zwingli’s new liturgy. For the first time the men and women sat on opposite sides in the church along a long table on which stood bread on wooden plates and wine in wooden cups. The difference with the Catholic Holy Mass was enormous. For Zwingli and his followers the bread and wine refers – even after the consecration – to the body and blood of Christ; communion is a confession of a symbolic union with Christ. Communion in the liturgy of Zwingli is a memorial celebration similar to the Jewish Passover [15]. Hereby Zwingli differs fundamentally from the Catholic Church wherein the bread and wine during the consecration through transubstantiation [16] change in the body and blood of Christ. Herewith Zwingli also differs fundamentally from Luther and Melanchthon who believed in a form of consubstantiation [17] in which Christ is present during the celebration of the communion by (or in addition to) the bread and wine.
Avondmaal[18]

Zwingli succeeded in letting Zurich declare war to the Roman Catholic cantons in Switzerland hoping to spread the Reformation throughout Switzerland; he dreamed of a Swiss / German alliance against the Habsburg Holy Roman Catholic Empire. In October 1531 the Catholic cantons committed a joint attack on Zürich. Due to the suddenness of the attack, the Protestants were hardly ready to defend themselves. Zwingli had led the way with sword and helmet in the Protestant army. In Kappel the army of Zurich was finally defeated and the Peace of Kappel was signed. Zwingli himself was slain in battle, his body quartered, burned and his ashes mixed with manure [19].
Zwingli_gedood[20]

The iconoclasm that had raged over North France and the Western Netherlands in the late summer until October 1566, began on August 10, 1566 in Steenvoorde (today’s Northern France) where the images in a monastery were destroyed [21]. In these three months many churches were violated and the interior destroyed. The intensification of contradictions that amongst others became visible through this iconoclastic, indirectly led to the outbreak of the Eighty Years’ War and the emergence of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.
Beeldenstorm[22]

In Zeeland in the Netherland, the route of the iconoclastic can be followed to some extent. On August 22 in 1566 the first church buildings were destroyed in Middelburg. The citizens of Middelbug went to Buttinge, Poppendamme, Arnemuiden, to the monastery in Aagtekerke near Serooskerke, to the monastery Sint-Jan ten Heere under Domburg. From Veere and Vlissingen iconoclasts were on their way to the rural communities and the rural churches of Walcheren were destroyed. The citizen of Vlissingen performed demolitions in Oost Souburg, West Souburg Koudekerke Biggekerk, Zoutelande and Oud-Vlissingen. [23].

This iconoclasm in the western part of the Netherlands was an expression of dissatisfaction with the obsolete social relationship in society and religion. At the same time the iconoclasm was the start of the Eighty Years’ War [24] – a terrible and inevitable revolt against the then Spanish king of the Western Netherlands – and the beginning of the first modern Republic”, says Narrator.

“Shall we visit the Begijnhof tomorrow?“, asks Carla.

“Good idea. Tomorrow we may continue with the iconoclasm. I would like to highlight a iconoclasm of 2000 years earlier in Jewish history. I think that iconoclasm also influenced the emergence of Protestantism. Shall we have a drink in the pub across the street”, says Man.
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[1] At “Het Lieverdje” in Amsterdam started the Provo movement in the 1960s. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provo_(movement)

[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spui_(Amsterdam)

[3] See Introduction in: Creveld, Martin van, The Culture of War. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008

[4] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verzuiling

[5] See: Heschel, Abraham Joshua, De Profeten, Vught: Skandalon, 2013, p. 38

[6] Image of Isaiah – a painting by Marc Chagall – on the cover of the Dutch edition of “The Prophets” by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Source image: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/marc-chagall/prophet-isaiah-1968 (see “fair use” on this website)

[7] See also: Jeremia 7:4

[8] See also: Camus, Albert, The Rebel.

[9] Painting by Benjamin West Isaiah’s Lips Anointed with Fire. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophet

[10] Free rendering of: John’s Gospel 2:13-21

[11] Strophe from: “Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto (en hij is vlees geworden uit de Heilige Geest)

[12] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Necropolis

[13] Source: Fernández – Armesto, Felipe & Wilson, Derek, Reformatie – Christendom en de wereld 1500 – 2000, Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Anthos, 1997, p.122, 123

[14] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeldenstorm

[15] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover

[16] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transubstantiation

[17] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consubstantiation

[18] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consubstantiation

[19] Sources: Fernández – Armesto, Felipe & Wilson, Derek, Reformatie – Christendom en de wereld 1500 – 2000, Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Anthos, 1997, p. 131, Vries, Theun de, Ketters – Veertien eeuwen ketterij, volksbeweging en kettergericht. Amsterdam: Querido, 1987, p. 575 – 582 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huldrych_Zwingli

[20] See banner with image of Maria. Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huldrych_Zwingli

[21] Source: Noordzij, Huib, Handboek van de Reformatie – De Nederlandse kerkhervorming in de 16e en de 17e eeuw. Utrecht: Uitgeverij Kok, 2012, p. 414

[22] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeldenstorm

[23] See also: http://www.regiocanons.nl/zeeland/vensters-op-zeeuws-erfgoed/tachtigjarige-oorlog

[24] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighty_Years%27_War

Five common realities – facts en logic 9


Carla, Man and Narrator are walking around the Piazza di Santa Croce.

“I will come back on the synthesis between the world of the Upanishads and the Mahābhārata that Narrator has highlighted. Do you realise the difference between the “Thusness”-aspect and the “Concourse  of Things”-aspect?”, asks Man to Carla and Narrator.

“I have understood your explanation of this difference, but I wonder if in reality there is a difference between “thusness” and “concourse of things”. It seems to me that the “concourse of things” is another way of looking at “thusness”, or do I overlook something?”, says Carla.

“Carla may be right”, says Narrator.

“Carla is right. In my explanation, I have underlined the difference between both aspects to create a look on “Thusness” in two different ways. In the introduction to the “Awakening of Faith” initially the “Thusness”-aspect is indicated by “Thusness in essence (in emptiness and form)”; and “Saṃsāra – or Concourse of Things” is described as “Thusness in manifestations and characteristics”. After that, in the introduction the concepts of “Thusness”-aspect and “Concourse of Things”-aspect are both used to clarify both manifestations of “Thusness”. After reading this introduction I have fully realised what is meant by “evam” as first word – and also as summary – of all the Buddhist Sutras; “evam” includes everything, nothing is excluded”, says Man.

“Also with “evam” I have my usual question about the definition of this fundamental principle. When “evam” is finite, then Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem is applicable on “evam” [1]. But in case “evam” is infinite and all-encompassing, then nothing may exist outside “evam” to prove it or discuss “evam”; in case of infinity and all-encompassiveness, “evam” is by definition complete, because outside “evam” nothing exists. I will leave this question for the time being, because I think the answer is located in the inconceivable”, says Carla.

“It is an introduction to the “Awakening of Faith” and not an introduction to the “Awakening of Science”. The question of “evam” is a religious question; a question to the origin where people can fall back on when they don’t know or they cannot know. I think Carla is right; the answer probably lies in the inconceivable”, says Narrator.

“As stepping stone to “God in search of Man” – the book title includes my first name –, I use the book “Ich und Du” (“I and You”) from 1923 by the religious philosopher Martin Buber [2] (honorary professor in Frankfurt am Main) who in 1938 had escaped from the other regime in Germany by fleeing to Jerusalem. “In the beginning is the relation [3]” according to Martin Buber. Man can only say “I” due to “you” (or “it”), the relationship with others (and things) is dialogical. “I” and “you” are not separate objects or things; there is no “I” without “you”, there exists only a reciprocal relationship to one another. By interpreting this religiously – “In every You, we call the infinite all-encompassing [4]” – the relation with God is dialogic: in the all-encompassiveness we cannot describe God, but we can only appeal; our live is an existential dialog with the infinite all-encompassing “You”. Science together with religion offers no doctrine according to Martin Buber, but wisdom.

feiten en logica 91[5]

I read an example of this wisdom founded in science and religion on the backside of the book “God in search of Man” where the words of Baäl Sjem are mentioned as guidance:

If a man has seen evil, may he make no fuss.

Let he be aware of his own evil, and work hard to avoid it.

Because what he has seen, is also inside him.

Within the framework of the “Awakening of Faith” the words by Baäl Shem are crystal clear; all the good and the evil is – just like you and me – included in “evam” or “Thusness”. All the good and the evil is within us. Would Martin Buber see good and evil as manifestations of “Ich und Du“, as dialogical relationship between me and God, or would he place good and evil into his second dialogical relationship “Ich und Es” (“I and It”) ? I do not know; I’ll leave this question for the time being until we will arrive at God in the shape of a human being during my introduction.

When reading the first chapters of “God in search of Man” – in Sanskrit “Man” means amongst others “to think/consider/observe” – I was struck by the similarities in structure with the “Awakening of Faith”. Abraham Joshua Heschel had chosen the following three ways for this quest for God:

  • God – for Abraham Joshua Heschel this is the unspeakable all-encompassing One from the “Awakening of Faith”.
  • Revelation (unveiling or disclosure)
  • Resonance (respons)

The last two ways for the quest for God show similarities with “evam” where the “revelation” looks like “Thusness in essence (in emptiness and form)” during the transition to “Thusness in manifestations and characteristics” that looks like “resonance”. Is this coincidence or is this a fundamental resemblance with the “Awakening of Faith” of man?”, says Man.

“I think there is a fundamental difference between your introduction to the “Awakening of Faith” on one hand, and the reciprocal relationship between I and you by Martin Buber and the quest of God to human beings on the other hand. In Hua-yen Buddhism there is in principle no other, because all appearances and illusions arise from and are interwoven with “One”. Martin Buber and Abraham Joshua Heschel search and/or experience a dialogue with an everlasting all-encompassing You: there is a certain separation between I and You. This is similar to one key question on our quest: “Are you and I connected or are we separated“. I don’t know the answer, but it seems necessary to investigate this question more in depth”, says Carla.

“Maybe both ways of seeing are two manifestations of one and the same within Indra’s Net. Shall we first visit the inside of the Basilica di Santa Croce. Inside is the crucifix that was seriously damaged during the flood in 1996. This may offer a transition to God in the shape of a human being in our world”, says Narrator.

feiten en logica 92[6]


[1] See for a simplified explanation of the evidence of this second incompleteness theorem: Nārāyana, Narrator, “Carla Drift – An Outlier, A Biography”. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 154

[2] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Buber

[3] Source: Buber, Martin, Ik en Jij. Utrecht: Erven J. Bijleveld, 2010 p. 24; see also the first sentence in the Gospel of John.

[4] Source: Buber, Martin, Ik en Jij. Utrecht: Erven J. Bijleveld, 2010 p. 110, 111

[5] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Buber

[6] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilique_Santa_Croce_de_Florence

Five common realities – facts and logic 7


Carla, Man and Narrator have visited the inside of the Baptisterium San Giovanni and they are now standing outside for the closed Eastern door of the Baptisterium.

“This is according to Michelangelo the “Porta del Paradiso” or the gateway to paradise. On the top panel in the left door, “Adam and Eve in paradise”, “the fall” and “the expulsion from paradise” are shown. Paradise and the fall are beautiful metaphors for the human illusion of the paradisiacal possibility to an all-encompassing knowledge of the organised chaos. After Gödel had eaten from the apple of wisdom with the proof of the two incompleteness theorems – whereafter the illusion of omniscience of “facts and logic” was basically unreachable forever – the scientific world knew that humanity has forever no access to the paradise of omniscience.

feiten en logica 71[1]

It is absolutely right that the “Porta del Paradiso” is closed and there is a fence before this gate”, says Carla.

feiten en logica 72[2]

“I have read in my city guide that both doors are copies of the original doors that were severely damaged by the ravages of time and the flood of the river Arno [3] on November 6, 1966. Because of this flood, several panels were torn from the Porta del Paradiso [4]. I think the flood of the river Arno was also a manifestation of organized chaos”, says Man.

feiten en logica 73[5]

“Certainly. The river has exceeded the banks to a nearly equal height in 1333 and in 1557 AD. Perhaps this is the reason that the living quarters in the Florentine palaces are located on the first floor.

[6]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[7]

This flood is an outstanding example of the organised chaos. Within reasonable certainty it can be stated, that once every few hundred years a similar flood can occur in Florence, like – within certain limits – all other water levels in the river can manifest themselves at any given time with a certain probability – this is the ordered nature of the organised chaos. But no one can predict on which day in the future a similar flood as in 1333, 1557 and 1966 AD will happen – this is the chaotic nature of the organised chaos”, says Carla.

“Good example. Yesterday I was looking for more information about Gödel. I read Gödel’s ontological proof of God. I have a copy of this proof for you”, says Narrator.

feiten en logica 76[8]

“I can rarely accept a first definition without questioning. During my study at Delft University of Technology I had always asked my teachers where the first definition was based on. Initially teachers could give a limited answer to my question, but by asking further questions the answer always came down to the platitude: “We must start somewhere“. This answer remained unsatisfactory for me, I was actually always asking for an answer to “Why” while at best teachers could give an answer to “How – within a certain context”. Looking back, my change from my study of Applied Physics to the subject Humanities can be traced to the fact that Applied Physics has no answers available to why facts and logic manifest itself in a certain manner to us. Coming back to the first definition in Gödel’s ontological argument: why has God-like only positive properties and no negative characteristics or imaginary properties – as imaginary numbers in electrical engineering [9]? Based on the lack of an answer to my last question and based on Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem, Gödel’s ontological proof cannot contain a complete system – or a complete description of God-like. In the case Gödel’s ontological proof would contain an all-encompassing system – which is not the case in my opinion  – the consistency of the axioms cannot be proven from within its own system according to Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem. For completeness, I must say that my statements are based on scientific logic – and not on religious principles [10]. I think Gödel’s ontological proof is only a first exercise of Gödel in the field of religion and no more”, says Carla.

“I think you’re right”, says Narrator.

“Sounds convincing. During lunch I would like to hear your opinion about facts and logic of the look on God as described by Abraham Joshua Heschel in “God in Search of Man” [11] and the two aspects of “One” in the “Commentary on the Awakening of Faith” by Fa-Tsang [12], says Man.

“This fits nicely with Gödel’s ontological proof. My introduction to the mind of the warrior can wait for a while. Shall we look for a place for our lunch? ”, says Carla.

“I know a nice place in the Piazza di Santa Croche”, says Narrator.


[1] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Baptistery

[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptisterium_(Florence)

[3] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966_Flood_of_the_Arno_River and http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alluvione_di_Firenze_del_4_novembre_1966

[4] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptisterium_(Florence)

[5] Source image:http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alluvione_di_Firenze_del_4_novembre_1966

[6] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Cberschwemmung_in_Florenz_1966

[7] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966_Flood_of_the_Arno_River

[8] Source image/text: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del’s_ontological_proof

[9] Calculations of electronic circuits are considerably simplified by use of imaginary numbers with a real value equal to zero. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imaginary_number

[10] See also the statement made by Prof. Dr. W. Luijpen on the scope of science in relation to religion referred to in the post “Five common realities – facts and logic 6”

[11] See also: Heschel, Abraham Joshua, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976 (Reprint – original published in 1955).

[12] See also: Vorenkamp, Dirck, An English Translation of Fa-Tsang’s Commentary on the Awakening of Faith. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press. 2004

Five common realities – facts and logic 4


“May I come back to our discussion of last night before you will tell us more about organized chaos and the mind of the warrior?”, asks Man to Carla.

“All right, it’s better to finish a topic before starting a new subject”, says Carla.

“Last night I read in a book with Buddhist questions (a recent copy of the bundle that Narrator received from his American friend as farewell gift) the passage “All sentient beings just have active consciousness, boundless and unclear with no foundation to rely on“. As example is given:

When a monk passes and he is addressed with “Hey, you”, then right away this monk will turn his head towards the caller. When this monk hesitates upon the second question “Who are you?”, then this monk has an active consciousness, boundless and unclear without foundation to rely on”.

This fundamental affliction of ignorance in itself is – according to this question – the immutable knowledge of all Buddha’s. The verse accompanying this question is:

One call and one turns her/his head –Do you know the self/Self or not?

Vaguely, like the moon [1] through ivy, a crescent at that.

The child of riches, as soon as she/he falls

On the boundless road of destitution, has many sorrows. [2]

feiten en logica 41.jpg[3]

Upon reading this question and verse, I thought of our last discussion about God as “another, a stranger”, who is separated from “the Unspeakable”, ” the Supreme Astonishment”, “the ultimate question that exceeds words”. Before the separation [4] were God, the people and everything around us in this fundamental affliction of ignorance, as a healthy human body without ailments also forms a coherent entity without separate parts? Had they a foundation to rely upon and what foundation was it, or was the lack of a foundation the source of an active consciousness, boundless and unclear? I don’t know the answer to these questions. And – after the fall, after the separation – wherefrom arrives the boundless road of destitution with many sorrows? Heschel continues his essay “Man is not alone” [5] with the topics: “faith”, “one God”, “beyond faith”, “strive for oneness”, and “common actions are adventures”. Would Heschel have seen “One call” and “One turns her/his head” in the category “common actions are adventures”? I think so; but would he finally have seen “One call” and “One turns her/his head” as “one” or as “separate”? I see it vaguely as a crescent Moon through ivy”, says Man.   

“At the strophe “boundless and vague without foundation to rely upon” from the Buddhist question, I was reminded of “śūnya” – meaning “empty” – from the Heart Sūtra [6] in which “form is emptiness as emptiness is equal to form”; in emptiness is no Dharma – or world order or duty. Now I invite you to visit the Cappelle Medicee [7] in the Basilica of San Lorenzo [8]. This Chapel – located behind the Basilica – is a symbolic mausoleum of the family De Medici. This family was a “child of riches in the Renaissance that has known many sorrows once it had fallen on the boundless road of destitutions“. In my opinion the mausoleum superbly shows the immensity of the sorrows and the coldness of the destitution of this family”, says Narrator.

Carla, Man and Narrator visit the Cappelle Medicee.

feiten en logica 42.png[9]

They continue their discussion outside seated on a bench in the Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini.

“Everything in the Cappelle Medicee aims to create distance to the spectator. I expect that in the past visits to this mausoleum were only allowed on invitation by the family. I think this mausoleum sought to remind the descendants of the Medici wherefrom they owed their wealth and to show visitors which “children of wealth” were commemorated here. At each grave in the mausoleum, I wondered “Who are you?” and “Do you know the self/self or not?”. I think “Vaguely, like the moon through the ivy”, but the abundance of the many types of “Ivy” will not be helpful to see the Moon”, says Man.

“May we visit the Basilica of San Lorenzo now? This building is austere outside, but the Basilica will show its beauty inside”, says Narrator.

feiten en logica 43[10]

feiten en logica 44[11]

“I am pleased that we have continued the discussion, as this – and certainly the visit to the Basilica – creates a nice stepping stone to the separation between science and religion in the Renaissance. The transition in style of the choir dome toward the ceiling of the main and side aisles nicely showed the wish to change science – emerged from the Medieval Scholasticism – toward an orderly science that explains everything in case we know and apply the basics. May I continue on this subject the next time, because now I need to rest?”, says Carla.

feiten en logica 45[12]

“Please do”, says Man.

“During dinner?”, says Narrator.

“That’s fine”, says Carla.


[1] See also: Drift, Carla, Man Leben – One Life, A Biography. Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 71 – 72

[2] Free rendering of a part of the Zen dialogue “Guishan’s Active Consiousness” from: Cleary, Thomas, Book of Serenity – One Hundred Zen Dialogues. Bosten: Shambhala, 1998 p. 163 – 166.

[3] Source image: http://www.shambhala.com/book-of-serenity.html

[4] See also: The parable of Adam en Eve expelled from paradise after the fall in Chapter 3 of Genesis in the Old Testament.

[5] See: Heschel, Abraham Joshua, Man is not alone – A Philosophy of Religion. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1951. See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Joshua_Heschel. In “The Long Discourses of the Buddha. Massachusetts: Wisdom Publications, 1995 p. 38-39”, 32 abodes are mentioned for sentient beings; including 22 abodes for Gods. Are Gods also “children of riches” within this frame of mind?

[6] See: Leben, Man, Narrator – One Way. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2013, p. 110 – 112

[7] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medici_Chapel

[8] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_San_Lorenzo,_Florence

[9] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medici_Chapel

[10] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_San_Lorenzo,_Florence

[11] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_San_Lorenzo,_Florence

[12] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_San_Lorenzo_di_Firenze