Tag Archives: change

Carla Drift – Looking back at my innocence


Before we started the quest for “Who are you”, I told Narrator in a few words about my youth – the years of my innocence.

“There was once a girl that was so clever that everywhere she was an outlier. She surpassed all the knowledge of her environment. This girl was so wise to show this special gift to nobody. Very soon she discovered that this gift completely confused her environment. Now and then she showed a glimpse whereof she thought.

In elementary school children learned to add, multiply and divide. This girl already calculated in the infinite or in the uncountable as she called it. Countable was all that fitted within a box of the “knowable”. Hereby she thought about the matchbox in which she formerly had caught a grasshopper.

[1]

When the class learned to count until ten, the content of the Matchbox was ten for her. For the class innumerable was at that time “ten plus one”. When the class learned to count until one hundred, from then on countable was one hundred; “hundred and one” was innumerable and so on as far as the classmates could count.

The countable and therefore the knowable grew along with the knowledge of the classroom and the innumerable became bigger and bigger. This girl learned that the countable – so the content of the matchbox “L” – changed along the changes of the environment. The uncountable was then still “L+1”. This girl started to add the countable, so when for the class L was equal to ten, the girl decided to place ten matchboxes in a row: for her “10 times L” was equal to one hundred; infinite was then ten matchboxes plus 1. She placed hundred matchboxes in a row and “hundred times 10” or “1000” was countable and infinite was “hundred boxes plus 1”. She did the same with boxes that were getting smaller like Russian dolls. Infinitesimal was one size smaller than the smallest knowable.

[2]

And zero was an empty table without any box or doll. She wrote this as “O”. This was very easy for her.

For simplicity, this girl decided to write the infinite as “L + 1”; This was equal to the largest box plus one or the greatest number of knowable boxes plus 1.

Now this girl was so far that she saw infinitely – or L + 1 – as a matchbox of all knowable plus one. She began in the first class of primary school to calculate with the infinite, which was also an outlier that fell outside the knowable. For infinite the same rules applied, but it the infinite was still outside the knowable of the others: in this way she remained in touch with arithmetic lessons of her classmates. The ordinary multiplication tables were applicable for the infinite and normal division rules applied to the division of the infinite – a piece of cake. Increases the knowable and the infinite is just slightly larger; decrease the smallest knowable and the infinitesimal small is just slightly smaller.

According to her the infinite or L + 1 was the evidence for the existence of God on the Catholic primary school. God could adopt all dimensions depending on the circumstances required, but God himself was larger than the knowable so he remained all encompassing. If the changes increased rapidly, God also increased quickly and vice versa. And because God was all encompassing or L + 1, God took the required form immediately. In this way the girl derived and integrated in the second class of elementary school. The most beautiful thing was that God was no foreigner, he was also an outlier just like her. God made woman and man (as knowable) like his image – also the outliers like her were created like his image. She made the knowable slightly larger because she was an outlier. Later she adjusted her view on God.

In the second class of elementary school she read in a book from the library – that was smuggled through her father – about primes. she decided to look at primes as matchboxes for calculation purposes. According to her new calculation method the core numbers were L, 2L, 3l, 5l, 7l, 11l, 13L, 17L, 19L and so on as primes. With these primes all known matchboxes could be created [3].

In the fourth grade of elementary school she saw in the library at the Department of mathematics a book on Gödel. In this book she read Gödel’s two incompleteness theorems [4]. She borrowed this book via her father. By naming L + 1 she already knew the first incompleteness theorem and with her new calculation method – whereby she used the core numbers L, 2 L, 3 l, 5 l, 7 l, 17 l, 11L, 13L, 19L according to the sequence of primes – she saw immediately the second incompleteness theorem; we can never prove the whole arithmetic L because there will be always a L + 1. This evidence is a piece of cake.

She purposely made a few mistakes in long divisions [5] in order to appear normal.

In the fifth and sixth class of primary school a new schoolmaster let her read the book “Cosmic View, The Universe in 40 Jumps” by Kees Boeke. With her father she studied astronomy and microscopy. She calculated the Kepler orbits on her own. In a course mechanics within theoretical physics [6] at the University of Technology in Delft, she saw these calculations again. One of the two authors was an outlier [7] in the field of mathematics and physics.”

[8]

After this brief description of my years of innocence in elementary school, Narrator and I decided to start the quest “Who are you” together. During the preparations we invited Man Leben – after the death of his second life companion – to go along. He accepted the invitation “With hope and consolation”.


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

[2] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Floral_matryoshka_set_1.JPG

[3] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_number

[4] See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_incompleteness_theorems

[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_division

[6] See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Course_of_Theoretical_Physics

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

[8] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Course_of_Theoretical_Physics

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Carla Drift – Travelling


After submitting my thesis on the subject “Preventing Excesses during Change and Conflicts”, I gave a presentation on this topic two weeks later. The attendees asked critical questions about the need for defence of property. They were sceptical about the possibility of words – ultimately chats do not fill gaps caused by tensions and stress. During the examination, fundamental questions were asked about the balance between the races of developments of the material prosperity and the development of the arms industry that has produced devastating instruments including atom bombs. Luckily, I had an example available on the transition from the Bronze Age [1] into the Iron Age in Greece and Asia Minor around 1200 BC. At that time, many cities were destroyed by sacking and fire. Until recently, this destruction was attributed to drifting people – the so-called Sea People [2]. Now there is more nuanced thought about this period. It is believed that the improved military technology and population growth – by use of iron agricultural tools – made it possible to sack cities and defeat  classic armies equipped with bronze weapons and chariots.

After the exam and the diploma ceremony, there was my graduation party – a beautiful party. Everyone who was important in my life, was present. My father beamed, my mother and sisters were happy for me, childhood friends from South Limburg wished me luck, but they warned me for the dangers of the human world. They asked when I would come back home and they had taken vacancies of posts at the Municipality and the Province. My student friends asked what my plans were: a post – or a journey around the world. Also my former great love was present – the magic between us was gone. I saw him as an ordinary beautiful nice young man, who easily falls in love with women – not my type. We gave each other kisses on the cheeks and promised to keep in touch with each other. Not much came of it. Through acquaintances I occasionally heard something about his life.

After receiving my Masters, I had no interest in PhD. Then I should specialize too much during the investigation and an academic career did not attract me with its hairs-splitting including a strong competition with other scientists. Before I might accept a post, I preferred to see parts of the world. I prepared a world tour of about a year. I disposed of many of my belongings and I left the special items at my family, friends and acquaintances. I only owned the contents of my backpack: 10 kilogram or two sets of spare clothes and a little more.

Backpack with belongings [3]

I planned to go to India to first. The overland journey was too dangerous with the war going on between Iran and Iraq and uncertainty about Afghanistan.

During the elaborating of this plan, I received an invitation for a paid study trip to Central Africa. A human rights organisation wished to investigate excesses in a dictatorial governed country in Africa. Before I participated in the research, I could make a three weeks tourist journey at my own expense in parks in Kenya and Central Africa.

On this tourist travel I met many dear, nice and helpful people. Their hospitality exceeds far beyond the good hospitality in South Limburg. In this environment men still know – according to the first college philosophy by Prof. Dr. W. Luijpen – the art of half an hour work for eight hours sitting in the sun. An art that I could only acquire during short periods much later in my life. I was open and people were open. They protected me – as one of their small children – for the dangers of the environment and for dangers of robbery and worse.

Savanne in Africa [4]

In Central Africa I noticed remnants of former cities. I was reminded of the ancient cities in Asia Minor during the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Several hundred years ago, this continent had undergone a similar forced revolution by the invasion and colonization of a more advanced civilisation from Europe.

City wall in Zimbabwe [5]

All the maritime countries of Europe tried to take possession of a part of Africa to assert their influence and to acquire riches. According to an old saying, a crime is underlying each possession. This occupation was accompanied by violence against the original inhabitants and with violence between the maritime countries themselves. Around 1885, Congo still had to be divided between the high-profile countries in Europe. In 1885 during the Conference in Berlin, Congo was awarded to King Leopold II of Belgium: he made Congo his personal property and named it ‘Congo Free State’. For the original inhabitants of this part of Africa it was certainly no Free State.

From the West Coast of Africa, many original inhabitants – after being captured – were traded as slaves and deported to South- and North America. Below is a photo of their symbolic gate – called “Point of no Return” – for their forced departure with an excessive unpleasant journey to the “promised” land, where a slave existence awaited. Only much later, after many hardships and strive, they would legally receive an equal status in the United States of America. In practice, the status of many people from Africa is still not equal to people originating from the maritime countries of Europe.

Gate of Point of no return[6]

More than a century ago, Africa was divided by Europe into many parts with artificial borders. The population within these parts was not homogeneous. Coherent groups were divided over different areas. After the Second World War, Europe had no longer the power and influence to keep its colonies in Africa occupied. By negotiation or after a freedom fight, many former colonies received independency along  the former imposed artificial borders. Serious underlying tensions often existed within this new independent parts and between these parts. These tensions found their way in mutual conflicts between tribes and between the new States. A number of new States had great internal tensions to establish a new public administration. Some countries fell into dictatorship with a reign of terror in order to stay in power.

Map of Africa [7]

In Ethiopia in 1974, parts of the skeleton were found of a woman who has lived approximately 3.2 million years. She is called “Lucy” [9].

Australopithecus afarensis or a woman of 3,2 million years old named Lucy [10]

By conducting this paid study, I started a dangerous career. This first paid study focused on the causes and consequences of genocide in Central Africa. I have never been very convinced of the existence of homogeneous people. I think it is better to speak of small or large groups of people with reasonably similar habits and culture. Within these groups, the differences can be significant, but outsiders often focus on the similarities. Based upon this framing, special characteristics are attributed to this group. When tensions arise, certain characteristics are used for stigmatisation of a foreign group; the own group is glorified based upon certain other characteristics. Tensions can pass into conflicts with sometimes fatal consequences and excesses for groups or parts of the group. My study focused on the process and the consequences of this stigmatisation and on the responsibility for excesses.

For the safety of the interviewee, my co-researchers and myself I can give no details about this study.

[1] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Age_collapse
[2] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Peoples
[3] Source image: Zie ook:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backpack
[4] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa
[5] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Zimbabwe_Closeup.jpg
[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa
[7] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa
[8] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_(Australopithecus)
[9] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australopithecus_afarensis
[10] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide

Carla Drift – Changes and Conflicts 2


My last year in Amsterdam I had a beautiful spring, a spring like no other. The solidified time started to flow. Never before I saw more beautiful flowers and blossoms. Nature smelled like life.

Spring flowers blossom[1]

Life beamed and I beamed back. Everything around me still was as intense as in the three years as three centuries, but the icy chill thawed and stiffness disappeared in the warmth of the spring sunshine. I floated in a golden glow. “Life is a continual death of the now” – the sentence during the solidified time – changed in:

For our Self is
making and destroying one
and the same act

Sun shining in a cave

[2]

In the following summer and autumn I resumed my normal life. I still miss the intensity and the endlessness of the here and now.

The thesis for my study Humanities was “Preventing excesses during change and conflict”. The first part dealt with the circumstances in which excesses preferably manifest itself; the second part described the factors that have a damping effect on the occurrence of excesses.

Almost all changes pass silently. These silent changes are like breathing, blinking of the eyes or turning the head. The reason for the change can be reading the newspaper, seeing a picture or hearing a story. Afterwards our world is never the same. This kind of change is as natural as life itself.

The subject of my thesis focused on changes that cause tensions. In this post a few aspects of my thesis.

As starting point for the research I chose seven different perspectives for studying changes.

The first angle covered the scope of the change. The scope of the (directly attributable) impacts of the change – and the tensions it can cause – can vary from one individual, one family, one community, one city, one country, one continent, the world or the universe.

The second angle covered the intensity, strength and intensity of change. The severity and intensity can vary from a small ripple in existence to a tremendous event changing a whole life.

The third angle was the period in which the change took place. The duration can vary from a shock of impact of a large meteor or the explosion of the volcano on the island of Krakatoa in 1883 [3]. The effects of these explosions and impacts are still felt many years later, and can erase societies. Other changes have a long lead time: e.g. the onset of World War II or the introduction of literacy in Western society.

The fourth angle include tensions caused by changes of human needs. Here I used the hierarchy of needs by Maslow [4] where I divided the fifth hierarchy into three separate hierarchies: the need for knowledge, the need for religion and the need for self-realization. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a model for human needs ranging from Self-preservation to Self-realization. Our Odyssey to “Who are you” is a quest for the Self in all its immensity and finiteness – we encounter Maslow’s model at a number of stage during our Odyssey. Tensions can manifest themselves in transitions from one hierarchy to another hierarchy – human growth is often accompanied by shocks. Tensions also occur in regression of needs by changing circumstances such as famine, insecurity, hardened conditions, attacks on the honour and/or obstruction of freedom of speech, of expression, creativity, religion and/or self-actualization.

[4]

The fifth angle included the stage of development of society. Generally a hunter-gatherer society has less resources for extreme violence then a highly developed agricultural/industrial society with a huge reservoir of surplus in people, food, resources and knowledge.

The sixth angle related to the degree of social stratification within a society [5]. With an extremely stratified society, the role of absolute ruler – for example, a pharaoh or emperor – is all decisive. In an oligarchy group, a dynamic process within the small ruling class is decisive. A non-stratified society has its own – for people seemingly chaotic – dynamics. Further analysis shows that this kind dynamics can often be displayed in a few parameters, but around bifurcation-points the outcome is very dependent on tiny trivial coincidences. Many people feel insecure in chaotic processes: quickly a demand for leadership arises.

The seventh angle was the manner in which changes and tensions are handled. This seventh angle represents the response of individuals, groups and/or society to changes/tensions. The reaction can range from ignorance, acceptance, compassion, objection, anger and/or resistance. This seventh angle was mainly covered in the second part of my thesis, where I discussed the factors that had a damping effect on the occurrence of excesses.

A full description and study of these seven angles was not possible within the framework of my thesis. These seven points of view were used in a case study covering the changes and tensions caused by men who only defended their habitat, via an initial growth of mankind – caused by better food – resulting in a surplus of men who temporarily moved around as brethren looking for self-affirmation by conquests, via a second growth of mankind – by further specialization in society – with men living in wandering armies who made fighting their profession, via a third growth – by increasing prosperity – with permanent armed forces endemic embedded in society. Here I examined the consequences for the organization of public order: the armed forces are a power factor in public policy which needs direct access to people (soldiers) and resources (horses, arms, food and feed, housing and room) for its existence. More than 10 years after my thesis, John Keegan has made a very readable study on this subject [6].

[7]

A year ago I read a nice observation on the attenuation of the “Word” in “An Iliad – A Story of War” by Alessandro Baricco [8]. As a footnote to his story of the Iliad, Alessandro noted that under the skin there is always the desire to stop fighting. He noticed this desire in the Iliad in dialogues, discussions and meetings – he calls it the feminine side of the Iliad. The debates and meetings – instead of fighting – go on endless ad nauseam. According to Alessandro, these discussions are a way to delay the fight as long as possible – it is like a dialogue by Scheherazade who survives by telling stories. The word is the weapon that solidifies the time during war. Even if the heroes discuss the way of fighting, they do not fight – thus they stretch their lives. The heroes are doomed to death, but they make the “smoking of their last cigarette, smoking it with the words” as long as possible. If they start fighting, they change into blind fanatics with full dedication to their honour and duty. But first: first there is the solidified time, female, a time of conscious delay and backward looks at the past. A solidification of time, that had similarities with my three years as three centuries.

Through this observation by Alessandro Baricco, we arrive at the consistency of public affairs – with the use of the word, dialogue, legislation, treaties and case law – and war – with its blind fanaticism, anger, hatred, revenge and unfathomable grief. According to Von Clausewitz [9], war is a continuation of politics by other means. John Keegan has noted that war is much older than politics and government.

With this thesis I finished my student’s life in Amsterdam. In autumn I entered everyday life.

 

[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lente
[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zonlicht
[3] See also:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakatoa
[4] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs
[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_stratification
[6] See also: Keegan, John, A History of Warfare. London: Pimlico – Random House, 2004 and an earlier study on Admiralty: Keegan, John, The Price of Admiralty. London: Penguin Books, 1988
[7] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_organization
[8] Source: Baricco Alessandro, An Iliad. Edinburgh: Canongate, 2007 p. 153 – 154
[9] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_von_Clausewitz

Introduction: Five realities and five skandha’s


In the previous post your Narrator has given an introduction about the consistency between religion and science. In this post your Narrator will explore the question whether the five skandhas include everything that we may need for our spiritual development.

During the following stages on their Odyssey the two main characters will continue with their quest for who we are, where we come from and where we shall go to. First we will visit the five common realities:

o   Facts and logic – scientific reflection and consciousness

o   Intensities and associations – intuitive reflection and consciousness

o   Emptiness – mode of consciousness

o   Change – mode of consciousness

o   interconnectedness – mode of consciousness

How do these five realities relate to the five skandha’s from the Mahâyâna Buddhism and with the emptiness of these skandhas according to the Heart Sutra [1]?

The answer to the second question is easy at this moment: the two main characters will look for the answer at the third stage at the reality – Emptiness.

The answer to the first question is also quite simple. The five realities include the five skandhas whereby the five realities better reflect the contemporary consciousness.

The fifth and final skandha – consciousness – constitutes the other four skandha’s and at the same time is derives from these four skandhas [2]. Consciousness underlies the five realities and consciousness is formed by the five realities. As far as your Narrator is aware, there is no difference between the fifth skandha – including emptiness – and the five realities.

The first skandha – form – in contemporary form, coincides with the five realities, because form takes shape by facts and logic (or lack of it), by intensities and associations for the experience of form, by change because everything changes and by interconnectedness because a form exists in relation to other forms.

The second skandha – feelings and sensation – coincides with the second reality for the experience, with the fourth reality for the change of feelings and with the fifth reality for the experience of feelings within and by a society.

The third skandha – perception, recognition or distinction – coincides with the first reality as far as its nature of  facts and things, with the second reality insofar as the distinction of intensities and associations concerned, with the fourth reality for the change of distinction and recognition, and with the fifth reality for the distinction and recognition relative to other things, facts, entities, living beings and events.

The fourth skandha – mental impressions, impulses, imprinting – is reflected in a similar way as the third skandha in the first, second, fourth and fifth reality

As far as your Narrator is aware, the five skandhas – including the emptiness – coincide with the five realities which the main characters will visit.

At the end of the Odyssey, the two main characters may in retrospect perhaps conclude whether the five skandhas provide everything that is needed for our spiritual development.

The following post will be available within a few weeks. One of the main characters is still recovering from the efforts and the other main character has made the first part of the report on “One”, “Two” and “Three”; this report is almost ready to be published. The version in the English language is not ready yet. In about four weeks the main characters will resume their Odyssey.

   [3]


[1] See several translations of the Heart Sutra, e.g. by Red Pine (Bill Porter), Edward Conze, Donald S. Lopez Jr.

[2] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skandha

[3] Source image: http://www.gralon.net/articles/art-et-culture/litterature/article-l-odyssee—resume-et-episodes-mythologiques-1415.htm