Tag Archives: humanities

Carla Drift – Nomadic existence 2


A new nomadic existence began after the (temporal) goodbye to the village of my youth – now an existence without purpose. Since my childhood I always had a motive to an end. In elementary school I read adventures about knights and adventurers and I wanted to know everything about the universe and about biology. In high school literature, mathematics and natural sciences were added. As the oldest daughter it was my duty to set an example. In Delft, I was preoccupied by my study natural sciences and I lost myself in a love affair; both were a dead-end path. With humanities I found a new point of focus in Amsterdam. My work in this area occupied me completely, and research in the tropics took a part of my health. Behind the wheel on the tractor I suddenly had no goal, except the road ahead.

Spring had started and I drove to the South in the direction of the sun. The road went to France via Belgium. The first few days my new nomadic existence occupied me fully. In my student days I had made long treks on my bike to South Europe. The humming of the bicycle tires was my companion, now the rumble of the diesel engine was my company. After a few hours this monotone sound along with the vibration of the tractor was quite tiring. With my temperate health I had to look for accommodation after three or four hour drive around mid-afternoon. Sometimes it was a camping place, often I camped in the wild.

[1]

Almost always I met nice and helpful people; I spoke with them about my trek and sometimes we told about each other’s lives. Travelling on my own I saw many special things: a cock between a group of ducks. A few days I travelled with a woman with a parrot on her shoulder. We went the same way this part of our journey. Her bike was placed in the caravan and she and her parrot sat next to me on the tractor. She started to drift after her divorce and the death of her ex-husband. So hard for her to choose between the relief and the grief of losing. The Parrot was her companion for conversation and together they did performances on market places for their living. I think they were for another part dependent on charity and begging, but we did not talk about this.

[2]

This extraordinary woman gave me the idea to juggle for some earnings. During daytime I started practicing. Over time I mastered the art of juggling with three balls and three clubs. With these acts I could do the beginning and middle of my performance; the apotheosis was the dancing stick [3] with burning tips.

[4]

By a helpful man who helped me with a flat tyre of my caravan, I came in touch with a board of a school that immediately needed a lecturer mathematics until the summer holidays. A day later I was teacher of mathematics.

The first lesson I asked who knew what a derivative and an integral meant. Fortunately, many students could tell how it was done: luckily they had learned it well. But no one could answer me what these actions meant. I explained that these particular mathematical acts were addition and subtraction in a specific manner. The students laughed at me in disbelief because they thought this statement was absurd. A derivative is the manner whereby the change of a function is reduced or increased over a certain way/time – so it is a special way of addition and subtraction. An integral is the manner in which the increase or decrease takes place over a certain way or time – therefore also a special way of addition and subtraction. After some examples from physics and everyday life, their curiosity was aroused for mathematics.

[5]

The next school year there was a need for a teacher for physics. This class did not like physics at all. Several opinion leaders preferred computer war-games. I kept hidden that I knew the consequences of wars far too well – again playing hide and seek.

I chose a different approach; I asked what they knew about physics. In response, I started a round of arm wrestling with the strongest boy: fortunately I won. The warmongers I showed a photo of a fighter plane that passed the sound barrier emerging with a lens-shaped condensation cloud. The ecologists I showed photos of solar cars. These topics nicely fitted within the subjects for physics for that school year.

[6]

After half a year the solar cars was calculated, the warmongers knew what a bullet trajectory, energy and impact was, and they learned the meaning of momentum with arm wrestling. At the end of my year in this class I had another round of arm wrestling: now the young man won, as it should.

[7]

A short time after the second interim period, a dark page was written in the history of my life. Someone attacked my honour and my life. By self-defence I saved my life. According to my feeling and reason this act was legally and ethically permissible, but I crossed the border of moral crimes investigator to a person committing such an act. Emotionally I stood between doers of these crimes. I had lost my innocence; a part of me had died.

A winter followed in which I met Narrator.

News

My publisher has its new website available:

www.omnia-amsterdam.nl


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

[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papegaaien

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

[4] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jongleren

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

[6] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natuurkunde

[7] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zonnewagen

Carla Drift – Study Humanities 2


In line with psychology and history, I studied the history of legislation and the limited role of language in the field of emotions, culture and character.

I studied the history of Law to receive a better understanding in the organisation of the society and the relations between individuals themselves. Long ago, everything was private and group law. In birds, the occupant of a territory has just a little better chance than an intruder – usually the intruder disappears unless the occupant is careless or is unable to defend his territory. The occupier needs the  territory to have sufficient food for the young birds.

[1]
A similar mechanism plays a role when people assert right on an area. In addition, people have developed customary law and hospitality for visitors. This hospitality is sometimes confined in guest law [2] – often exchanges of gifts as “objects in the middle” take place to achieve and consolidate confidence between inhabitants and visitors.

[3]
A long time ago, rulers already used law to show who had the say – was the boss [4] – in a given area. One of the oldest laws is the codex of Hamurabi [5]. With the dissemination of this Codex in cuneiform on pillars within his empire, Hamurabi showed who had control over the habits and the order within his reign. This codex of Hamurabi was a long list of penalties for infringements – most sentences had characteristics of “eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Almost all penalties could be bought off with an “object in the middle” to restore confidence – the penalty on accidentally wounding the neighbour at work could be bought off with transfer of cattle to restore mutual confidence.

[6]

In addition to the right between people, there was also law that was aimed at the general interest. A part of this public law was included in treaties between kings and rulers themselves. The difference between these kings and rulers and the contemporary warlords is in many cases only gradual. The difference shows in the degree of cruelty and tyranny; occasionally the rulers and kings are wise and moderate. These treaties usually start with a recital that included the order and the habits already established between the parents or ancestors of the rulers; after the recital followed the agreements built on the former order and finally the provisions for non-compliance were mentioned in the Treaty. These sentences ranged from war statements to full eradication of family and populations.

Another form of public law was the law of war in which the habits for war and sieges were determined. A few examples. A city may usually prevent siege and looting by handing over a ransom until the time came when the city was completely surrounded; then only a complete surrender was acceptable. The looting of the city after the surrender or sacking took a set time of usually a few days. After that time the booty was distributed among the conquerors; after the conquest the inhabitants of the city were usually without rights for a certain time – sometimes they fell into slavery.

In addition to these forms of public law, there was also Community law – for example the use of common pasturage. By the end of my studies I read a study about old Irish law [7]; It is surprising how common this legal form – with many forms of mutual duties of care – still is. Much attention was given to preserving the general interest. Recently in our world, the Community law also includes the right of education, development and deployment for betterment of society. In the interest of the community, punishments such as “eye for an eye” are often changed in, inter alia, education and social reintegration.

In the field of language I studied how language reflected the relationship between people and how the world view is reflected in language. Later on our Odyssey we will encounter many examples.

Erich Fromm [8] has stated in one of his studies that we have lost the language for intensity and association. During my studies I noticed that our language is also very limited for expressing emotions, culture and character. In our contemporary society we cannot express ourselves adequately on emotions, love and culture. We do not discus much about these topics – language was not an adequate means for communication about deeper emotions between my great love and I. We always could communicate our emotions much better by using behaviour, movements and body language. The important decisions between my great love and I were always made intuitively – our underbelly was far more important than our thoughts and words. I once read that when French ask “Comment ça va?”, this “ça” relates to the lower abdomen – a beautiful thought. Probably we communicate in the field of emotions, culture and character more by behaviour such as body language and hospitality, openness and acceptance on the one hand, and ignoring, excluding and aggression on the other hand. In Holland until about 30 years through the pillarisation, the inhabitants were absolute masters in living next to each other with complete different religions. Nowadays ignoring between children is seen as a form of bullying – maybe this modus vivendi in Holland prevented far worse actions.

In my job I kept myself busy with statistics and correlations between results of investigations; staff and students in the Humanities could use some help in this area. As a limited intellectual challenge, I followed the developments of population mathematics; later I used this knowledge in different studies about crimes against humanity. This intellectual challenge I kept for myself – it seemed to me a good idea to play hide and seek at this point, because this form of mathematics was not included in the curriculum for humanities.

The next post is more about my daily life in Amsterdam – also a kind of hide-and-seek.
________________________________________
[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogels
[2] See also: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastrecht
[3] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastfreundschaft
[4] Man Leben would have remarked that “bhâsh” has the meaning “to speak, to name” in Sanskrit.
[5] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Hammurabi
[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Hammurabi
[7] See also: Kelly, Fergus, A Guide to Early Irish Law. Dublin: Duldalgan Press, 2005 (first edition in 1988)

Carla Drift – Study Humanities in Amsterdam


After my third academic year, I moved in the beginning of the summer holidays with the help of study friends from Delft to Amsterdam. I had found my new room with support of the charming man with whom I had followed the lecture series philosophy in Delft that were given by Prof. Dr. W. Luijpen. Halfway through the lecture series I understood that his name was Man Leben. He introduced me to friends of him who lived in the inner town of Amsterdam; they had a room available on the first floor. My whole study time in Amsterdam I lived in this room; I soon changed from a lodger to a housemate with my share in the overall domestic life – cooking, cleaning, a drink at the end of a busy day and very occasionally a feast. The friends of Man were happy with a nice person in their house and I needed this domesticity after I had left Delft with empty hands. Later more about this.

[1]

In Delft, I had followed the compulsory courses of humanities and philosophy. In addition, I chose to follow many additional courses in this area. I could not continue my technical scientific study in the direction I had in mind. After discussions with many people about my motives, I chose to continue my study in the field of humanities in Amsterdam – already the second mainstream of my study in Delft.

With my Bacholor in a technical study, I hardly receives any exemptions for subjects in the humanities. I read quickly and fortunately I could pass the compulsory courses in a high pace. Within a year, I had caught up with my study to beginning Masters level.

My study included psychology, especially focused on the development of people and behaviour of people in their daily life. In Delft, I had already studied the hierarchy of needs described by Abraham Maslow. Additionally, I studied how people learned to look and see; what processes play a role in imprinting and imaging. Imprinting and imaging can take place by looking at examples of parents and opinion makers, but it can also happen physically by eating spoiled food – afterwards the food that is associated with the sickness, will never taste pleasant anymore. I studied greed in relationship to survival of people; in doing so, I read many studies on the role of individuals in conflict and warfare, the consequences of these conflicts on individuals and the interactions between both. By glorification and honouring of heroic deeds during the warfare, individuals and societies are made ready for acceptance of the horrors of warfare. According to the inprinting in people and society, these horrors are required to achieve a higher goal in the field of religion, survival, prosperity or overcoming of basic fears; often these horrors are even glorified. Later, I followed a special topic on the interaction between literature and art on the one hand and warfare violence on the other hand. After following this subject, I always looked different at certain expressions of art. A number of Dadaist and surreal artists have acquired their visual language in the trenches of the first world war; they literally have seen the horrors – corpses and horses – hanging in the trees.

[2]

[3]

In the field of sociology, I studied group behaviour with my special attention to imprinting and imaging by initiation rites and groupthink. Also changes within groups – caused by the corresponding group dynamics – and the impact of these changes on the personal life of group members were studied by me. During the beginning of the first World War, the participation of young men was voluntary, but if this “voluntary” participation was not done, than the young men and their families were physically and mentally completely excluded from the local community – more examples follow later during our Odyssey.

[4]

I studied how history took shape over time under the influence of prevailing images of reality within a society. Often history was written by the victor or by the ruling class. By tradition the ruling class imposed upon society whether hunting of animals was a noble activity – a privilege of the nobility – or ordinary poaching – by people without privileges. The same way of imaging determined when a conquest had to be seen as a triumphant benefit for society or vile robbery of legal property. The reality and the associated image were often adapted to the needs and wishes of ruling class or to the emerging new class of rulers. One hundred years ago, the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin has noted quite rightly that within a year the revolutionaries in Russia would be worse than the tsar in their imaging and in their actions [5]. By the end of my study, I studied with great interest “The History of the personal Life” composed by Philippe Ariès [6] and George Duby [7]. This study showed that although everything changes, very many old elements remain active in a modified form. According to old Roman law, a father has the right to accept or reject a child after birth: the baptism of a new-born baby may still be a remnant of this old patriarchal law. The Roman Empire persisted in Belgium and the southern Netherlands in the Church provinces of the Roman Catholic Church. The chasubles of the priests in the Catholic Church still show strong resemblances  with the prevailing mode in Rome in the fifth century after Christ.

In the following post more about my study of the history of law and language.


[1] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam

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

[3] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrealism

[4] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eerste_Wereldoorlog

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

[6] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_Ari%C3%A8s

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

Carla Drift – Years of Flourishing 3


My study at the University of Technology in Delft progressed smoothly. The mathematics was still addition and subtraction – sometimes in a slightly different manner than counting at the primary school. I was fascinated by infinite times [1] addition and subtraction of very small numbers. Depending on the properties of a certain tiny number, the outcome of infinite times adding of this tiny number may be:

  • Infinite tiny;
  • a specific number
  • extremely slowly moving to infinity
  • very fast moving to infinity.

Especially the point where the additions changed from a huge number to infinity, captivated me.

Infinity is quite funny, because it is beyond our comprehension. If a monkey types at random on a typewriter, than after a long time this monkey will produce the full Ulysses by James Joyce [1]. Infinity is so huge that this monkey also will produce it a number of times in succession – it will take an extreme long time before this may happen.

[3]

This addition – with positive, negative or imaginary numbers – could take place over a certain distance on a line, on a surface or in a given space. The distance across the line, the surface or the certain space can vary from tiny to infinity, depending on where is looked at.

The way these additions behave across a line, on a surface or in space – from different points of view –, can be examined with vector-analysis [4]. This analysis examines the direction in which the addition increases the fastest – gradient. Also can be examined how much the increase or decrease is at a given point – divergent – for example: how much heat is radiating from a point or how much heat is taken from the environment at this point. Also can be examined if at a given point the closest neighbours change faster – curl.

Sometimes there are irregularities in the additions. This is the case if at a certain place one divides by nearly zero. If above the line the number also is nearing zero, then the outcome can range from very small to infinity. Around this particular place the outcome can change from minus infinity to plus infinity, depending on the direction in which this given point is accessed.

In my second year of studies, the results of investigations into behaviours of the weather by Benoît Mandelbrot became known. To do this, he used rather simple equations. The results of these equations showed after many repetitions fascinating images. Black are the places that will fit neatly within the equations. The blue colours fall outside. The edges are extremely complex and interesting: zooming in shows an ever greater complexity.

[5]

To zoom in further into the transition between black and blue, increasingly complex images are shown until the computer can no longer handle the calculations.

[6]

The equations of the Julia-set show a same complex and familiar image:

[7]

The results of the equations for the behaviour of the weather on Earth show, that tiny differences in the initial value in critical areas can – within a few days – influence the weather over the entire earth. E.g.: the flight of a butterfly in the Amazon region can directly affect the weather in Europe a few days later and the other way around [8].

In that time I tried to establish a link between the results of the pioneering work by Benoît Mandelbrot and the content of Kees Boeke’s “We in the universe, a universe in ourselves” [9]. Each scale left a universe with a very intriguing and complex environment that was determined by relative simple equations.

The equations for the (sub) atomic physics were relatively simple. The results were complex where particles can have a wave and a particle nature. The particle was with great chance in one place or may be in a few places, but there was also an extremely tiny chance that the particle could be anywhere and nowhere. I had seen the microcosm in her wealth through a microscope. Anyone can see our world. A glimpse of the splendour of the macrocosm I had seen through a telescope.

In the third year of my studies I was planning to study an universal field theory with equations that were as simple as the equations of Manderbrot-sets [10]. These equations promised in a similar manner at critical places to show large differences in outcome with very minor differences of the initial condition. The equations also promised to provide a coherent wholeness when viewed from all separate points within the field. Most shifts from this point of view were smooth and predictable, but some shifts showed big jumps that occasionally could be infinite. An explanation for the big bang [11] may be possible, because a small part of all local energy may conglomerate in one place simultaneously and then this nearly? infinite energy could distribute in a big bang. According to this proposed universal field theory, a big bang may occur anywhere, but the chances are extremely small.

Hereto remains the question of the total energy in the infinite universe:

  • zero – than there may be one or more “mirrored” universes with mirrored energy
  • a fixed number – than the question for the explanation of this number arises
  • infinite – hereto the question arises whether there exist infinitely many other universes resembling our universe, and/or there exists a layering in universe where one infinite universe is a part of many other infinite universes; a solution may be the “powers of ten” whereby every scale meets the equations for this universal vector field

This idea [12] was very ambitious. The elaboration of this idea exceeded my possibilities within three or six years of study; it had to be studied in a group. The University of Technology could not offer the necessary support. The idea did not fit within the existing research programme of the University.

In the second half of my third year in Delft I was empty-handed in my study and empty hands in love. Now I noticed the disadvantage of being the oldest in the real world: I could not control everything that happened around me [12]. I was forced to say goodbye to my great love and to my ambitions in my technical study.

After discussions with many people I decided to continue my study at a University in Amsterdam in humanities. Fortunately I could – with a recommendation of tutors at the University of Technology – get a post at the University of Amsterdam in mathematics in humanities.


[1] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity

[2] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem

[3] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Monkey-typing.jpg

[4] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_calculus

[5] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrotverzameling

[6] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrotverzameling

[7] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juliaverzameling

[8] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

[9] See: Boeke, Kees, Wij in het heelal, een heelal in ons – Twee tochten: door macrokosmos en microkosmos. Amsterdam: J.M. Meulenhoff, 1959. This book has been published in English as “Cosmic Viewthe Universe in 40 Jumps”

[10] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrot_set

[11] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

[12] The described idea is fictional. The author has not checked all implications of the idea on sense and nonsense.

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