Tag Archives: love

Narrator – my origin


Unimaginably long ago I arose from the sound of falling rain in the blowing wind and the clattering of tumbling pebbles. With the rain the rhythm was created, by the wind my voice arose and with the tumbling pebbles the applause started. Stories emerged from the rhythm and the wind. Esteem started by the applause with the urge to seek the attention again and again.

My entire life I tell stories about life and death, about wars, greed, courage and loyalty, about love, revenge, honour, glory and wrath, icy wrath that brought countless horrors.

Since I was saved by Carla Drift from a dream in which I almost slipped to another world, I tell stories for improving discussions and insights on the interfaces between philosophy, literature and religion. Thus, I hope to contribute to a better world, peace and happiness for everyone and everything. This is the summary of the biography of my life.

In this summary my first remembrance is missing in which I heard my father singing in a language from the country from where he had left to Africa. This song sounds so familiar as if I already knew it  from the beginning of time. My father has told me that this chant is called the īśāvāsya [1] upaniṣad or the Isha Upanishad [2] in his country of origin. When I was four years old, my father taught me the text while I sat beside him [3].

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥
ॐ शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः॥

Ôm, Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnat Purnamudachyate;
Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnameva Vashishyate.
Ôm shanti, shanti, shanti

Ôm, that is overall. This is overall. Overall comes from overall.

Take overall from overall and thus remains overall.

Ôm peace, peace, peace.

The chant of the  īśāvāsya upaniṣad can be listened via an annex to this post on the website of the publisher: http://www.omnia-amsterdam.com [4].

My father is dark as the night. He was born and raised in a poor southern part of India. At school he fluently learned Sanskrit: the language of the Gods in the world of women/men. All my grandparents and grand-grandparents spoke this language. As a young adult man my father travelled to Kenya in Africa to wander as storyteller and to have a better life. In this country he met my mother.

My mother is a proud woman from the Maasai nomads tribe. She does not know any borders; all the land is for everyone and the cattle needs food and care. She met my father as a young woman. He was starving and she took pity on him. Between them a love arose that transcends our existence. They go together through life; my father remains wandering as storyteller and my mother gives care and shelter when he is passing by. Here-from I came on Earth.

My first name is Kṛṣṇa [5] because I am dark as the night like my father with my black blue skin and because I was born during the dark period of the moon. My parents expressed the hope that I may awake every night again like the Moon and may not die like all other people [6]. Later in my life I changed my first name in Narrator, because I wish to belong to the mortals. My family name from my father’s side is Nārāyana. This means in the language of my ancestors: “Son of the original man”. [7]

[8]

Around my sixth year, my father brought me to school. There I learned to read and write. I never ceased reading. I read Gilgamesh, Iliad, Odyssey, Mahābhārata, Shakespeare in the last classes of school while the other students played warrior. Many of my stories stem from this time.

[9]

Until my 16th birth day I stayed at school. Then stark dark pages came into my life.


[1] Īśa means among others in Sanskrit “God in the heaven of the Gods”, “one with almightiness”. “Avāsya” means “putting down”. Hereby īśāvāsya can be understood as a description of God in the heaven of Gods. Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[2] A literal translation of the Isha Upanishad in Dutch can be obtained via the following hyperlink: http://www.arsfloreat.nl/documents/Isa.pdf

[3] Upanishad literally means: “Sitting down near”. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanishads

[4] The author doesn’t know the origin of this mp3 file. When the owner makes her-/himself known to the author, the post will be amended to the wishes of the right holders in this question.

[5] Kṛṣṇa means amongst others “black”, “black blue”, “the dark period of the moon cycle”. Source electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[6] According to a Maasai myth the God Engaï gives cattle to the people and he brings people to life after their death and each day he lets the Moon die. After a sin wherein an opponent was desired death, Engaï lets people die and each night he brought the Moon to life. Source:  http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masa%C3%AF_(volk)

[7] Source electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[8] A Maasai woman. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_people

[9] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasa%C3%AF

Advertisements

Carla Drift – Changes and Conflicts


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

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

[1]

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

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

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

[2]
In Amsterdam at the time, I saw my emotional life as a growth spurt into adulthood – later it has received a name [3]. I was extremely aware that changes in people’s lives were irrevocably, past and present were solidified as in glass. The present is constantly changing – usually smooth and fluent –before starting to get rigid. Occasional conflicts often fizzle out – former quarrels with my sisters usually did not last long. Potential sources of conflicts within the society or between societies are often settled by political decision-making, legislation or channelled by treaties.

[4]

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

[5]

[6]

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

[7]

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

[8]

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

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

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

[1] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship
[2] Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introversione
[3] See also: Kuiper, P.C., Ver Heen (Far Gone). ’s-Gravenhage: SDU Drukkerij, 1988
[4] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics
[5] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribunal
[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot
[7] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War
[8] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scapegoating

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

Carla Drift – Years of Flourishing 2


Suddenly at the beginning of my first spring in Delft, my great love came in my life. I turned around and there he stood. A friendly smile in a moon face, with a lot of blonde curls. I opened my mouth in surprise and his smile became much larger; I started to laugh. He studied architecture, was several months younger and he lived on the other side of the city. It seemed like we knew each other for ages. He invited me to drink coffee together – I invited him to dinner after my rowing training. In the evening we visited an organ concert in the “Nieuwe Kerk” in Delft with music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

[1]

After a few drinks in the “Waag” [2] we said goodbye; two days later he would come to me for dinner.

At the beginning of that night I could not sleep; I felt tingling all over my body. In the middle of the night I fell asleep. The following two days I felt myself floating; everywhere I went, I felt a warm glow around me. At the beginning of the evening I prepared my best meal; he had a bottle of wine with him – I sinned against my rowing training. Long dining with lots of talk and laughter and during the preparation of the dessert he laid his hand on my shoulder, I turned to him and smiled happily. After finishing diner, we listened music and kissed. Everything was familiar, our hands and tongues found their way by themselves: experience of a lifetime of many millions of years.

[3]

We slept in my bed – spoonwise – underwear still on. The following afternoon he went on study trip for one week; before his departure we promised to meet again a week later.

This week I used to explore my body and to get the contraceptive pill. Better not to play hide and seek on this point. As the oldest, I preferred a small advantage: some control over the intimacy between both of us. From the library I borrowed several books about physical intimacy. In a few evenings I found out what I certainly liked – after some tries, I discovered that orgasm [4] seemed to me like making turns while biking – the rest would follow later.

A week later after the rowing training, I was waiting for him at the beginning of the evening. He beamed when he saw me. We went to his room. He slept while I ate my dinner. I read in his books about architecture: Ernst Neufert-Architects ‘ Data and some books about the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. By the end of the evening I woke him; he looked sweet and vulnerable. I put up a record and I laid myself next to him. Slowly we merged together on the flow of the music. A number of times I was completely one with everything. I felt an infinite love; a transcendence of the “I”. Later we slept for a few hours. The next morning I sang while I made breakfast for us. We lived alternately in each other’s room. That spring, summer and autumn lit up in a golden glow. In addition there were the necessary practical matters: study, rowing, holiday, meeting each other’s family. And, of course, living together with other students.

Around my rowing, we went away on weekends – camping in Belgium, staying with friends in other cities, visiting musea and buildings.

During Ascension we stayed at my parents in South Limburg. We met my primary school boyfriend. He mentioned that he had fallen in love with a female school friend. The next day we met her. She was very surprised to see my great love and me together. She thought that I had a relation with my primary school boyfriend – she really liked him. At Pentecost we invited them both in Delft. That was the beginning of their later marriage.

[5]

The summer holidays, the four of us moved through Europe by train. A carefree summer.

Around the autumn holiday his attention for me diminished; it first showed with small things. There was a small forgetfulness – for example: an appointment for a weekend away coincided with another appointment – may happen. Then I felt increasingly in all kinds of gestures, that our fully togetherness was no longer mutual. Not much later he asked for more freedom and he soon fell in love with another fellow female student. This transition took him trouble and it caused a landslide for me. The landslide was not caused by his interest in other women, but because we started drifting apart and an increasing disharmony crept in our relationship. It was just if the left and right hand, eye, ear, foot began a life on their own. Before, we felt one with each other and with the world around us. Around the autumn holiday our relation slowly split in two. First we tried a love triangle. At that time the relations between men and women were already on drift for a while. The second women’s emancipation golf was in full swing in our environment – I think I was not easy at that time. From a love triangle we drifted to an intimate friendship for more than a year with a lot of talk about life and about ourselves and very occasionally we had intimacy. Halfway through my third year in Delft, a students’ psychologist said to me the honest and very painful words: “Wrong partner choice”. After this visit, I wished to shout over the canal: “The only true partner choice”. Now looking back – so true. After my great love, occasionally I had several vague relations that can be described with a line from a song by Joan Armatrading [6]: “I’m not in love, but I’m open for persuasion”.

Our friendship diluted, but my inner loss remained. The full moon of love that first shone from his face, had now passed in a new moon. It was painful to see him in Delft – I wasn’t kind anymore. I had no permission from the faculty of the University to pursue my study in a direction that I wished. In the next post more on this development.

In the last semester of my Bachelor I sat next to a charming middle-aged man during colleges philosophy. Since some time he was a senior scientific researcher in architecture, but soon he would start helping his godmother on the farm about ten kilometres from my village. A number of times we had lunch together. I had told him my plans for the continuation of my study in Amsterdam. He arranged my first room in Amsterdam with friends of him. Occasionally I visited him in South Limburg when I was at my parents. I helped a little on the farm and we ate together.


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

[2] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waag_(Delft)

[3] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amour

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

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

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

Man Leben – interview 3


The previous interview is about your move from South Limburg to Rotterdam. This interview includes several questions about love.

“In the description of your life, you mention that there have always been women in your life. Your mother, your godmother and your aunt have a clear role as caregivers and educators. My place as companion during our Odyssey does not raise questions for me. I find it striking that from your 10th year until recently, there have been nearly always loves and lovers in your life. I started around my 18th year with a vague love. From my 19th until my 20th year I have known my love of my life – the man in my life. Then I have had feelings of companionship with men and men were in love with me, but I have never had real loves and lovers in my life again: I was never open to love after the love of my life. In the description of my life I will give more details. How did you deal with these changing loves?”, I ask.

“If I might choose, than I would prefer to remain with my first love during my entire life; the love that I’ve felt as an intense glow on my 10th year.

[1]

With her I would like to marry on my 18th and grow old. This was not possible for several reasons: I moved to Holland and I was not really at home in Limburg. And later – when I was able to have contact with her – her life had taken another turn by an engagement with a nice and caring man. They still have a happy marriage, have many children and grandchildren and become old and happy. I have often met her: she has never been aware of this blinding love in my young years. Now, when I look back, I see that my love is always directed at one woman: one woman in different manifestations. Of course all loves have been different, but there was always one constant, the constant of intensity and intimacy in diversion. The feelings of intensity and intimacy for all my beloved did change in the course of the time, but it never disappeared. Maybe you and I have here one point in common; your love of your life – the man in your life – is one man of all men. My loved ones are one woman in different forms”, you say.

“I will reconsider this resemblance. How did you experience the finiteness of the seperate loves”, I ask.

“The women in my life have always treated me well. I have also tried to treat them well. With my wife I was not successful; I am still regretful and shameful about this inability: I should have known better. Also two separate relationships with German loves ended resolute and abrupt; they probably had in mind: finished is finished – no more fuzz. If the ways between my loves and I began to separate, than I always left the decision of the separation to my beloved. I think I have unconsciously felt that the ending of a relationship is easier for the loved one who starts the separation. By my life I’m probably better equipped for painful separations. When possible I keep in touch with my former loved ones. Sometimes only through letters and Christmas cards, with others I have stayed or travelled together”, you say.

“I think the separation with your wife seems more a separation of a way of life than a separation between two lovers”, I say.

“You may be right. In the area of intimacy and love we drifted apart due to all kinds of reasons and circumstances. Then the time of our free [2] marriage did start. This other way of our marriage has increased the difference between us: my wife flourished and she wished to start her own lives with her new lover. This last development I have noticed too late. Too long I tried to maintain a family house. The sale of our house and the separation of our possessions – including the small capital for our children – marked the end of an era: a goodbye to a reality that already a long time ago had changed in an unsustainable illusion. With the settlement of our marriage and possessions, I operated fare too one-sided and rigorous. I made nobody happy; my wife and children are completely estranged from me”, you say.

“The end of the love of my life was impossible for me and it was a painful process. In the description of my life I will give more details. I find your poem about the “petite mort” in the post “Love” quite nicely. In the love of my live I also experienced the all-encompassiveness of the small death.

[3]

How did your life go further after the great death of your beloved companion?”, I ask.

“Her family and friends have seen me partly as an intruder. I can understand this, because in addition to a small apartment in Amsterdam, many books and a state pension – for me a great possession – I have no other possessions. She had significantly more possessions. The family and friends have insisted to arrange the funeral and the further settlement. I have kept in the background. From the legacy, I have received several books. In a recent book, she has underlined a passage on love: “The biggest mystery are you yourself”. After her death I moved on with the feeling that I was ripped in half – invisible filmy in half – straight through my heart. Everything was cold, endless and painful. The third surprise of simplicity gave me a new balance”, you say.

In the next post I will continue with several questions about your simplicity.


[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:HaloIJsselmeer2.jpg

[2] The verb root “Vraj” means in Sanskrit “go, walk”. Source: Egenes, Thomas, Introduction to Sanskrit – Part Two. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2005 p. 395. According to the electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta, “Vraj” also has the meaning “to go to (a woman)” and “have sexual intercourse with”.

[3] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orgasmus

Man Leben – love


Liebe muß man leben, sie wächst und sie kann auch wieder vergehen

Love one must live, she grows and she may also perish again

You continue the story of your life:

“After my journey to Auschwitz in the beginning of the autumn in 1993, there are three surprises in my life. The first surprise is working in a design office to introduce a modular industrial way of building. This work is unexpectedly successful.

The second surprise is completely unexpected. I have previously told that I have suddenly fallen in love at the age of ten on a girl in the village in South Limburg. It seemed that lightning struck, so fierce and unexpected; I only saw a white glow. In grammar school I have fallen in love several times. Nobody has ever known of this love. After my studies I have met my wife through my work on the architectural office. The first time I saw her in a white charming glow. We have had a happy time until our roads slowly split. The divorce was not easy; I should have shown more wisdom and compassion. At the end of our marriage until the start of my trip to Auschwitz, there have ever been women in my life, but always at a certain distance.

After Auschwitz, love has adopted the form of compassion and sympathy in my life. These feelings are expressed in the poem “Bani Adam” or “Opening of all Gates“, which is composed about 700 years ago by Abū Muṣliḥ al-Dīn Muḥammad bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī-– better known by his pen name Saʿdī  (or Saadi):

“The children of Adam are limbs of one body

Having been created of one essence.

When the calamity of time afflicts one limb

The other limbs cannot remain at rest.

If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others

You are not worthy to be called by the name of “Man (or Woman) [1]

 This poem is addressed to me personally; I wear the name Man.

[2]

Not so long ago, I read that an old zen master once said: “If there would be no suffering and no sentient people, then there would be no finger, no eye, no ear, no hand. Everywhere and One would be empty and deep, deep. There would be no loss and no gain” [3]. These sentences also express my form of love at that time. Buddhism has the word “Karuṇa” which means in Sanskrit compassion. The word Karuṇa is associated with wisdom. [4]

In the summer of 2003 I turned my head and I saw her face full of furrows of life, bottomless eyes, wrinkled hands. As companions we have admired each wrinkle and scar of our life. Later I have written the following short poem:

Your eyes bottomless

Together in eternity

Tender little death

Two years later we met Her big death. The following message more about the third surprise – simplicity – in my life”, you say.

The following post is about the third surprise in your life


[1] See amongst others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love en http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saadi_(poet)

[2] The tomb of Saʿdī in Shiraz, Iran. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saadi_(poet)

[3] Source: Wick, Gerry Shishin, The Book of Equanimity – Illuminating Classic Zen Koans. Somerville MA: Wisdom Publications, 2005 p. 170

[4] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love

You: Man Leben – the first years


Wie kann man leben, wenn man nicht sterben will [1]

In the previous post you have told in a nutshell the history of your foreparents and parents – until the moment you came in their lives. No existing person has been model for one of the main characters. Their names could have been Allman and Everyman. Now you will continue with your first years of life:

“On the evening in March 1933 when I came into the life of my parents, they decided to leave Frankfurt am Main. They moved to Amsterdam with abandonment of many of their possessions. They have never told me, but I think I am conceived during that night within a cocoon of love, hope and consolation.

First a sketch of the time and area wherein I came to life. After the defeat in “A war like no other, a war as everyone”, Germany fell into a deep economic crisis with high unemployment. In 1923 due to the reparations, the hyperinflation of money – the confidence inspiring “object in the middle” – was so enormous that the salary earned at the end of the morning had to be converted in one bread, because in the course of the afternoon that money became worth only a few slices. At that time my grandparents have based a small capital in sound currency in Switzerland and the Netherlands.

[2]

My foreparents and parents have always been outliers in every society – also in Germany – with all consequences thereof. In the second half of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s Germany created an overwhelming dynamism, hope and wrath – icy wrath [3].  Motorways were built, industry flourished, an huge urge to life came into existence and the soldier’s boots were prepared for a mars forward. “Everything on the puff; who is going to pay”, said the grandmother of Hermann Simon in Heimat – Eine deutsche Chronik [4] after visiting her family in the Ruhr area. The future price was still unimaginable [5].

  [6]

In order to establish this mutual trust in the German society, a “person in the middle”, “objects in the middle”, “myths” and “rituals” [7] were necessary. Also a scapegoat in society was quickly found; my grandparents, parents with other descendants of my ancestors were identified as collective bearers of evil. By the sacrifice and removal of the scapegoat from the society, the German people thought to remove all evil from society. It started with destruction and small harassments and it continued with smoke offerings wherein Synagogues and books were burned in the Kristallnacht in 1938.

  [8]

When in March 1933 the other government in Germany had obtained all powers, my parents decided to leave: they didn’t want to be sacrificed. My grandparents remained.

I was born in Amsterdam in early January 1934. Also Amsterdam was in a financial crisis. With the small base capital deposited by my grandparents in the 1920’s, my parents could start anew in an district similar to the Rivierenbuurt [9]. My father went into trade. I grew up as a Dutch boy in Amsterdam.

In May 1940, the other government from Germany also engulfed the Netherlands. Some acquaintances of my parents committed suicide in despair, because they did not know another way out. My parents continued their lives. In September 1940 I went to elementary school. Except the “J with yellow star” on my clothes, life continued as usual until the end of 1941. On a night before I went to a sleepover at my aunt, my parents told me that I would stay away for a long time, but that eventually everything would be fine.

I stayed at my aunt for one night. Via several intermediate stops and a new first and family name I ended up on a farm in South – Limburg (The Netherlands). From that time my official name is Hermanus [10] Maria Jacobus [11] Leben; I was baptised Catholic. They called me Man – a name that against the wind carries far over the fields “, you say.

“I originate from South – Limburg. I recognized your first name “Man” right away. In South Limburg there are so many names that carry far over the fields. Mat of Matthew, Wiel of Wilhelmus, Sjraar of Gerard,  Sjang or Sjeng of John, Joep of Joseph, Pie of Peter, Nant of Ferdinand, Sjier, Sjoef. In all these names have faces for me”, I say.

“I also carry these names and faces with me”, you say.

“And your parents?”, I ask.

“I always carry my parents with me. In 1942 – nearly a year later, a sister was born named Carla [12]. That is the only thing I know about her. Still always if I see women of her age with some similarity in appearance with my family, I look if it is her. Once I read: “If there is even a hair’s breadth of difference, heaven and earth are clearly separated” [13]. There was also written: “The Supreme way is not difficult, it simply dislikes choosing”. Later more”, you say.

The next post is about your school time in South – Limburg.

– “Who are you – Part 1″ ready for download –

– Please, see page: “Who are you – Part 1”


[1] Translation: How can one live, when one doesn’t want to die.

[3] See also: ”Wrath, icy wrath that brought countless horrors” in the post of 31st of Augustus 2011: A war like no other – the leading players

[4] Source: Reitz, Edgar, Heimat – Eine deutsche Chronik. 1984 See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimat_(Edgar_Reitz)

[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ List_of_wars_and_anthropogenic_disasters_by_death_toll and for the toll of the Spanish flu at the end of the Great War: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic

[7] See former posts with the same titles.

[8] Photo of the fire in the Synagogue in the Börnestraße in Frankfurt am Main during the Kristallnacht on 9th of  November 1938. Source of image: http://www.frankfurt.frblog.de/ostend-industrieviertel-mit-juedischen-wurzeln

[9] Description of the history of refugees from Germany in Amsterdam during the Second World War: http://www.zuidelijkewandelweg.nl/tijdtijn/razzia%27s.htm

[10] The name Hermanus consists of “Herr” and “Man”. Possible the German word “Herr” is connected to the verb root “√hṛ” meaning “to offer, sacrifice” and “take, take away” in Sanskrit. Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta. See also the first Chorus in the Cantate 131 of Johann Sebastian Bach: ”Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir. Herr, höre meine Stimme, lass deine Ohren merken auf die Stimme meines Flehens!“. Translation: “From the deep, Lord [3], I cry to you. Lord, hear my voice, let your ears hear the voice of my doubt!”.  “Man” “man” means “think/consider/observe”.

[11] Probably this name is closely linked to the verb root “√śak” meaning “be able/capable” in Sanskrit.

[12] The name Carla is composed of “car” meaning “to move, to wander” in Sanskrit and “la” meaning “undertake or give”.

[13] Bron: Wick, Gerry Shishin, The Book of Equanimity – Illuminating Classic Zen Koans. Somerville MA: Wisdom Publications, 2005 – case 17, p. 54.