Tag Archives: Albert Camus

Five common realities – facts en logic 17


Carla, Man and the Narrator meet at seven o’clock in the evening on the Piazza della Repubblica..

“In this part of Florence we see exceptionally lush fashion in most beautiful shop windows. We have hardly discussed contemporary wealth and luxury. May I invite you for a luxurious dinner tonight? Narrator, do you know a good modern restaurant for the last supper on this part of our Odyssey?”, asks Man to Narrator.

“Nearby – on a courtyard of a Palazzo – is a very good contemporary restaurant of a worldwide chain with a menu of relatively simple Italian dishes made with quality local ingredients. A few days ago I had lunch there with an Italian friend on his invitation; the dishes are exceptional”, says Narrator.

“May I invite you to go there”, says Man.

“It is a pleasure to accept your invitation. I come back on what we did not discuss and see during our stay in Florence. We have not seen how ordinary people live, work and think in this city; this is mainly because I only speak a few words Italian. We have visited the many sights in this city volatile – or not at all. In this city we might easily accomplish a seven-year Odyssey to “facts and logic” in our search for “Who are you”. On the other hand, within our limitations we have seen an awful lot. What do you think?”, says Carla.

“Through this gate we enter the courtyard of the Palazzo. Man, did you already read the “Six memos for the next Millennium” by Italo Calvino? Maybe we can use the titles of the six memos as a beginning for looking back on our visit to Florence; a visit that includes a large part of the history of mankind”, says Narrator.

Feiten en logica 17a[1]

“We are early for diner, where shall we sit, inside or outside?”, says Man.

“I like the cosiness of a real table”, says Carla.

“Then we will request a table inside”, says Man.

After ordering their dishes, they continue their discussion.

“Coming back on the titles of the six memos: I think we may agree that “Lightness” and “Quickness” are applicable on the way we have covered “Facts and logic” in Florence. What do you think of the third title “Exactitude”? Have we met this title?”, asks Carla.

“The third memo from Italo Calvino begins as follows:

For the ancient Egyptians exactitude was symbolised by a feather, that served as a weight on scales used for the weighing of the Soul. This light feather was called “Maat” [2] – Goddess of the scales.” [3]

Feiten en logica 17b.jpg[4]

Then Italo Calvino aims to define “Exactitude”:

“To my mind “Exactitude” means three things above all:

  1. A well-defined and well-calculated plan for the work in question;
  2. An evocation of clear, incisive, memorable visual images (εικαστικοσ ín Greec) and
  3. A language as precise as possible both in choice of words and in expression of the subtleties of thought and imagination.

Within the limitations of “Lightness” and “Quickness” we have – in my opinion – satisfied these criteria during the discussions regarding “Facts and logic”. There is our starter. Enjoy your meal”, says Man.

feiten en logica 17c[5]

“Enjoy your meal”, says Narrator.

“Enjoy your meal. I agree with you that – in our opinion – these criteria are met, but others should determine within their framework and with their background whether – in their view – these criteria are met”, says Carla.

“That’s right. I am satisfied, but my father would have told a different story about “Facts and logic” as the manifestation of the “All-encompassing One”, that certainly would have perfectly met these three criteria. Within our framework and our background we have excellent met the titles of the fifth memo “Multiplicity” and the sixth – never written – memo “Consistency”; others should look for themselves whether our report does meet multiplicity and consistency. I’m not sure if we have done right to the title of the fourth memo “Visibility”. Of course we have had a very rich impression of sights in Florence and we have given these impressions a visible place within the framework of “Facts and logic”, but in the context of “Intensities and associations”, an additional completions is necessary to fully meet “Visibility”, zegt Narrator.

“Italo Calvino begins his memo “Visibility” with the verses:

Then rained down into

The high fiction of mind

of rising people[6].

These verses come from the part of the Wrathful and Rebellious in the Purgatory by Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy”; the last line I have added myself. Reading the Wrathful from this part of the purgatory I must think of two verses from Ephesians 4: 25-32 – a letter from Paul on unity and diversity – from the New Testament: “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still wrathful” and “Be kind, compassionate and forgiving on each other“.

According to Italo Cavino: ”Rains the “Visibility” – or images – down from heaven; that is, God sends them to the rising people”. As clarification of imagination, Italo Calvino quotes the following lines from the Purgatory by Dante:

You, imagination, that prevented us

Many times to perceive the world,

Although around may sound a thousand cymbals

 

What moved you, outside our sense?

A flash of light, created in heaven,

By itself, or by the will of God. [7]

Imagination includes science, the mind of the Warrior, mercy and compassion. Reading a flash of light and heaven, I had to thinking of the pearls game within Indra’s Net.

In Florence we have seen the world of Scholasticism changing into the imagination of reason and of the individual, with new possibilities and limitations. The mind of the warrior had adapted itself to the new conditions: the individual warrior fought no longer for overall glory of his society, but fought for glory of himself and his progeny.

In Amsterdam – during “Intensities and associations” on our Odyssey to “Who are you” – I expect to perceive the imagination during and after the Reformation – and the iconoclastic in response to Scholasticism and the excesses of the Renaissance – of the rebellious in Holland. “Then rained down into the high imagination of rising people”:

  • a direct relation with God within a compartmentalised society;
  • an unprecedented imagination in painting linked to an iconoclast within the religion;
  • a wealth, small-mindedness and embarrassment obtained by trade and exploitation;
  • a modified mind of the warrior focused on steward of God, and on efficiency and profit as outlook on the hereafter.

A first glimpse of this imagination of the rebellious, we have seen in the blue halls of the Uffizi Gallery with paintings by Dutch masters of the Golden Age. This is our last supper in our contemplation of the renaissance in Florence during our Odyssey to “Who are you”. Let us now enjoy our main course”, says Man.

Feiten en logica 17d[8]

“In overseeing the history of mankind within the appalling wealth of imagination of Indra’s net, and within the scope of our quest, we have – in my opinion – succeeded to keep “Maat” or measure at the weighing of the Soul during “Facts and logic”. We might have endless erred in the depths of hell,  wandered on the flanks of the purgatory, gone up in heaven – as tonight at this dinner. But we have completed this part of the Odyssey with hope and consolation. Let us continue the second part of “Visibility”–” The rain of imagination of rising people “– in Amsterdam during “Intensities and associations”, says Narrator.

feiten en logica 17e.[9]

“At “Oneness and diversity” in the letter of Paul to the Ephesians and at “Imagination that prevented us many times to perceive the world“, I think at the same time that all of us in our urge to survive – in one form or another, for example as manifestation of the “All-encompassing One” – are connected to the “mind of the warrior” with its imagination that in a frash of light creates and transforms. We cannot avoid this mindset when we ask the questions how we will continue our life [10]; how we can acquire and maintain a place under the sun, stars and hereafter. We – living humans and Gods (?) – are rebellious when we rise for a new day with its new imaginations. Maybe we can avoid this mindset by directionless merging into the infinite “All-encompassing One”, but this completely surrender – that completely surpasses the conscious action of suicide – is not given to many of us. I think, we as living creatures, cannot escape the mind of the warrior; within this mindset we can only keep “Maat” or measure – with compassion and care – at the weighing of the Soul”, says Carla.

“You are right for this second part of our quest. Maybe “Emptiness” and the third part of our Odyssey will include surprises”, says Man.

“I’m curious. There is our dessert. Tomorrow morning Man and I will leave very early to the airport. How will you travel to Amsterdam?”, says Carla.

“I travel over land and I decide at the last minute which train or bus I will take. Although I had left the mirror world of secret services many years ago, I must keep in mind that these services still have interest in me; I try to avoid as much as possible access to my identity. About a week I expect to be with you in Amsterdam for the continuation of our Odyssey”, says Narrator.


[1] Source image: https://plus.google.com/photos/at/105332456211449523631?hl=nl

[2] Maat – as Goddess in ancient Egypt of the early pharaos – was the personification of truth stability, justice and cosmic order. Later Maat became the “Maatstaff” (or measure staff) for the mean role of the pharao. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maat

[3] Source: Calvino, Italo, Six Memos for the next Millennium. New York: Vintage Books, 1993, p. 55

[4] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma%C3%A4t

[5] Source image: http://obika.com/portal/IT/it/dove-siamo/ristorante-firenze/tornabuoni/

[6] Source first and second line: Dante “Purgatorio” XVII.25. The third line is added by Jan van Origo.

[7] Dante “Purgatorio” XVII.13-18; translation derived from: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri trans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a publication of the Pennsylvania State University.

[8] Source image: http://obika.com/portal/IT/it/dove-siamo/ristorante-firenze/tornabuoni/

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

[10] See also: Camus, Albert, The Myth of Sisyfus. (Le Mythe de Sisyphe) (1942), first page of Chapter One.

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Carla Drift – Years of Dawn 2


My first day at the gymnasium began with approximately 10 kilometres cycling on a hilly road. The school was much larger than our village school. New classmates and many new teachers. Learning remained easy and I made sure not to show it. I remained an outsider as a student from a distant small village with another dialect who cycled alone every day 20 kilometres on my bike.

After some time I was included in a group of girlfriends and I was more at home at school. The lessons were boring and homework was not needed: it had to remain a little exciting. In our village I played music in the harmony; I also had several  girlfriends from the primary school. With a primary school boyfriend I explored the forests and experienced all sorts of adventures. By cycling every day I had an excellent condition – many boys could not follow me until halfway high school they had received sufficient male hormones to exceed me with body strength.

As the oldest of the three sisters I had an advantage: I had control over everything that happened between us. I mothered them; this caused sometimes conflicts with my sisters and my mother. Being the oldest also had a downside: I thought I might control everything that happened between us [1]. I noticed in the third or fourth class that I was the only special daughter. My sisters were ordinary normal pupils; my tutoring for their high school lessons had not much extra result. I was and remained the only outsider in our home.

My second sister was once asked in her class at school how many books were read every year at home. Most families read about 10 books. One classmate mentioned 50 books. My sister said that we read about 500 books. That was fully right: I read about 300 books – also easy books, my father 100 books and my sisters around 50.

In the second half of the gymnasium we had to read books for our final exam. For English I had chosen Ulysses by James Joyce. I had to amend that choice, because our English teacher found this book too complicated [2]. As alternative I chose “Lord of the flies” by William Golding – a novel about the derailment of a group of boys on an island. Of course I also read Ulysses from cover to cover – later when I was older, I understood this book better after a second reading. At a very abstract level the book Ulysses has been model for the structure of our Odyssey to “Who are you”. Yes, from the monologue by Molly Bloom I have learnt a lot about the earthly views of women on men: certainly yes. Again I played hide and seek – now with my feelings of love, until I met my great love a few years later in Delft.

[3]

For Dutch I read among other books the entire oeuvre of Hugo Raes and Jef Geeraerts. By these authors I became sensitive for institutionalised crimes against humanity.

The French existentialists and phenomenologist – Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus – I also read. Simone de Beauvoir was at that time for me a model of a self-conscious intelligent woman – she wrote wonderful books such as “Tous les Hommes sont Mortels” and “Les Belles Images”. Albert Camus with “Le Mythe de Sisyphe” and “L’Homme révolté” showed me far-reaching choices by humans – we will encounter these books later on our Odyssey.

In an overview of world philosophy I read a reference to the Tao Te King by Lao Tse. This book fascinated me because I could not give this book a clear place in my mind set at that time. We will encounter this book in chapter 7 on our Odyssey.

Women’s emancipation and pop music had a limited place in my life at that time. My loves were untouchable and vague; the boys in my area were naive or stupid – except my primary school boyfriend. We made all sorts of wanderings – at the end of the high school we also made distant wanderings of many day. My mother was opposed; my father agreed and began a conversation about the contraceptive pill – this was not the case. We went hiking in Belgium, a few days hitch-hiking to Paris and also to Taizé for the sense of communion – not for the religion. The last summer holiday at high school we travelled through Europe by train for one month. I am still in touch with my primary school boyfriend.

[4]

I learned science – mathematics and physics – without any effort all; I receive a nice outcome at a Mathematics Olympiad. I read the Scientific American in the school library – it was fun to solve the puzzles by Martin Gardner [5].

In the summer holiday after my final exam I read almost all the books of Erich Fromm. His humanism against the current, I found worrying [6] and encouraging. Later, we will encounter his books on our Odyssey.

In my last year of the gymnasium, I decided to continue my life with a technical study at the Delft University of Technology. My father was very proud of me. Together, we quickly found a room in Delft. A new era in another culture dawned.

[7]


[1] See also: Brown, Eleanor, The weird Sisters. HarperCollins p. 121

[2] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_(novel)

[3] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_(novel)

[4] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Paris_Night.jpg

[5] See also: Gardner, Martin, The colossal Book of Mathematics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001  

[6] See also: Fromm, Erich, Escape from Freedom. New York: Rinehart & Co, 1941

[7] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Delft_stadhuis.jpg