Tag Archives: Michelangelo

Five common realities – facts en logic 16

Carla and Man are waiting for Narrator to walk by the covered Vasari Corridor along the river Arno via the Pont Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti.

Feiten en logica 16a[1]

“After we had yesterday briefly looked into the role of a Bodhisattva in the mind of a warrior, I had to consider what active role a Bodhisattva can fulfil as warrior in a conflict or war. Do you have an idea?”, says Carla.

“I think that a Bodhisattva will try to take care within the possibilities and circumstances. During the Second World War, several Japanese Zen masters were – as young men – conscripted as young men in the Japanese army. In their brief biographies they mention among others meditating while standing guard [2] during their obligatory military service. I hope that they as Zen monks have fulfilled their role with compassion during battles and skirmishes; the concise biographies leaves this – perhaps wisely – unmentioned. The metaphor of Indra’s Net has within the brilliance of glass pearls also a deep darkness.

In the brilliant glare

Of the pearls in Indra’s net

Flashes the darkness

There is Narrator”, says Man.

“This covered walkway from the Palazzo degli Uffizi via de Vasari Corridor [3] and the Pont Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti shows the endeavor of the Medici family during the first half of the 16th century to the outside world.

Feiten en logica 16b[4]

By the acquired possession and wealth, the family could walk – sheltered against weather conditions – from their new residential palace outside the city to their Palazzo degli Uffizi (or their working palace) in the city. At the beginning of the 16th century, the de Medici family had come to power again in Florence around 1512 A.C., and Giovanni de Medici had been elected as pope in 1513 A.C.. Hereafter Giovanni – as Pope Leo X – to his brother written: “God has given us the Papacy, let us now enjoy it“. [5]. As a Pope, Leo X had been a disaster, as a renaissance Prince a success; he commissioned Michelangelo – coming from Florence – to redesign and finish the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and he ordered an extremely expensive carpets series for the Sistine Chapel [6]. To finance this luxurious lifestyle, he introduced indulgences within the Catholic Church: by donations to the Catholic Church, the giver could shorten the time in purgatory for the beneficiary – for example deceased family members. As a response, on 31 October 1517 Martin Luther distributed his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” in Wittemberg in Germany [7] that became the start of the Reformation. After his death in 1521, Pope Leo X was succeeded by Pope Adrian VI – coming from Utrecht in the Netherlands – who inherited an empty Papal Treasury and was also not welcome in Rome: he died in 1523 [8]. In that year, Giulio de Medici was elected as Pope Clement VII; by his clumsy and undiplomatic actions he caused the spread of the Reformation in Northern Europe and  the excommunication of King Henry VIII in England. His attention was focussed to art and culture; he commissioned Michelangelo in to build the Medici Chapel of the San Lorenzo Basilica in Florence – that we had visited a few days ago.

I tell these historical facts during the construction of the Vasari Corridor and the Pont Vecchio, because the building style reflects the hope of a continuous bridge for the de Medici family to the riches of the world. We know that herewith also the voidness for the de Medici family – in the form of vanity – and the decline of the Papal pontificate had started [9]; herewith as well the Catholic Church had fallen in a deep crisis”, says Narrator while they walk to the middle of the bridge.

“The word bankrupt [10] has started around that time on this bridge. When a trader could no longer meet his obligations, the counter (or “bank” in Italian) whereon he traded, was broken”,  says Carla.

By the Via de Guicciardini they walk to Palazzo Pitte.

Feiten en logica 16c[11]

“This palace had been built in the 15th century as the residence of the merchant Luca Pitti. In 1549 the Palace had come in the possession of the de Medici family where after members of the family have lived here to the extinction of the family in 1737. The palace became a treasure house in which the different generations of the family collected many of their paintings, jewellery and luxury possessions [11]. In addition, the family wished to show with this palace the grandeur of a nobel family to the outside world. During our tour we will see that the design and interior especially aims at impression of the visitor. Here shows the warrior his conquests to – a select part of – the outside world. Let us go inside”, says Narrator.

Feiten en logica 16d[13]

After the visit to the Palace, Carla, Man and the Narrator are sitting on a terrace on the Via della Sprone.

“in my eyes, Palace Pitti is a transition from the Renaissance to a different time, and for us a connection between “Facts and Logic” within the emerging reason in the Renaissance to “Intensities and Associations” in the personal development by religion, art and science, that we will visit in Amsterdam as the next stage on our Odyssey to “Who are you””, says Man.

“During our visit to the Palace, I was reminded of a passage from the Icelandic Egils saga centered on the life of the 10th-century farmer, warrior and poet Egill Skallagrímsson [14].

‘Thus counselled my mother,
For me should they purchase
A galley and good oars
To go forth a-roving.
So may I high-standing,
A noble barque steering,
Hold course for the haven,
Hew down many foemen.’

Or adapted to Palazzo Pitti:

“Encouraged by my parents,

Who won for me

Capital and power

To go out robbing.

So may I stand high,

Above the earthly turmoil

To eternal heaven,

And crush all opposition”.

For the inhabitants of Palazzo Pitti, the tool in the form of “weapons and people” as extension of the Viking Warrior – who still stood at the front of the battle order himself – was already replaced by the tool “capital and power” of the modern distant Warrior. The modern Warrior has withdrawn himself from the turmoil of battle; he stands as a solitary ruler high above daily life. This lone fighter beats the opponents at a distance with a “clean kill” [16]; in reality of daily life this manslaughter is always very grubby with the stench of decay. In Amsterdam, I hope being able to show more hereof. Palazzo Pitti is for me deathly and stilled in the hang to – the classic pitfall of the Warrior – lasting exceptional glory”, says Carla.

“So true. At your view of the solitary ruler, I am reminded of the Almighty God in heaven. Does the Christian Divine Trinity also have this classic pitfall of the lone fighter? I read somewhere that even Gods are engaged in a struggle for survival. In Amsterdam we will investigate during “Intensities and Associations” inter alia the personal relationship with God – and its consequences – within Christianity after the Protestant Reformation. How may a Bodhisattva get around this classic pitfall? By humility? I do not know. Shall we – tonight during the last supper on this part of the quest – look back on our short visit to Florence? We can also make some plans for the continuation of our Odyssey”, says Narrator.

“That’s all right. I suggest that this afternoon we go our separate ways”, says Man.

“That is good”, says Carla.

[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponte_Vecchio

[2] For example: Wetering, Janwillem van de, De Lege Spiegel. Amsterdam: De Driehoek, p. 40; in English: The empty mirror

[3] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corridoio_Vasariano

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

[5] Source: Norwich, John Julius, The Popes, A History, London: Chatto & Windos, 2011, p. 279.

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

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

[8] Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paus_Adrianus_VI

[9] See also: Norwich, John Julius, The Popes, A History, London: Chatto & Windos, 2011, p. 279 – 298.

[10] Bankrupt is in Italian Bancarotta – derived from “banca” meaning counter, and via latin “rupta” that is a conjugation of the verb “rumpere” meaning “to break, to disrupt”.

[11] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_Pitti

[12] Source: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_Pitti

[13] Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_Pitti

[14] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egils_saga

[15] From chapter 40 of Egil’s Saga. Source: http://sagadb.org/egils_saga.en. See also:  Marlantes, Karl, What it is like to go to war. London: Corvus, 2012 p. 69 – 70

[16] In the mind of the warrior a “clean kill” – with an effortless blow of two knuckles of the fist – is aesthetically preferred above clubbing with a stone. Even more aesthetically is shooting with a fine shotgun from a distance in a duel, or in our modern times with a laser gun. In our century this led to a president who personally gives orders to kill opponents by computer-controlled  drones in other countries. See also:  Marlantes, Karl, What it is like to go to war. London: Corvus, 2012 p. 71 – 72


Five common realities – facts and logic 7

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

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

feiten en logica 71[1]

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

feiten en logica 72[2]

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

feiten en logica 73[5]

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



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

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

feiten en logica 76[8]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five common realities – facts and logic 2

“On my trip on foot from Rome to Amsterdam, I had stayed a few weeks with friends in Florence. One of my friends had taken me to Piazza del Carmine to show the Santa Maria del Carmine Church containing the Cappella Brancacci”, says Narrator.

“On the outside it looks like a weathered warehouse, although the main entrance suggests otherwise,” says Carla.

“Many churches in Italy look closed on the outside; the beauty is shown inside, “says Man.

“For the tourists the access to the Chapel is through the door on the right side in white stucco wall of the monastery, but first we look at the Church,” says Narrator.

Santa Maria del Carmine[1]

“It is true, the wealth is inside the Church. This abundance is too much for me “, says Carla.

Feiten en Logica 2[2]

“I brought you here to show the ceiling in combination with the walls. By the painting on the ceiling, it seems like the Church passes directly into the heaven. In this part of the church heaven and earth are joined together, with the transition of the walls to the ceiling as separation”, says Narrator.

“The ceiling is a half cylinder, but by the very cleaver “trompe d’oeil” [3] in the painting on the ceiling, the spectator seems to be drawn into heaven. The medieval scholasticism is shown in all its splendour on this ceiling”, says Man.

 “Artificially, but cleverly made”, says Carla.

Feiten en Logica 2a[4]

“The Cappella Brancacci [5] is on the right side of the altar; for our visit to the frescoes we must enter the chapel outside via the monastery’s entrance on the right side of the Church”, says Narrator.

“That is done to limit the visit of this Chapel and with the revenue the maintenance of the chapel can be paid”, says Man.

“I show you these frescoes in the chapel, because the two main painters of this Chapel personify the transition from the Medieval to the Renaissance. Masolino da Panicale painted the people to ideal images according to the Scholasticism in a medieval style, while Masaccio depicts the people as individuals in all their glory and wealth. On the upper part on the right wall of the chapel, both styles can be seen in one fresco”, says Narrator.

Feiten en Logica 2b[6]

“I prefer the ideal images of the people made by Masolino; Masaccio’s individuals are – in my opinion –  also ideal images, that wish to show their profane opulence and earthly well-being too obviously,” says Carla.

“I’m stupified by this transition of style, world view and display within a fresco”, says Man.

Feiten en Logica 2c[7]

“Now I will take you to the Uffizi Art museum on a 15-minutes walk from this Chapel. There I wish to show you a self-portrait by Albrecht Dürer. I already bought tickets, so we do not need to stand in the line”, says Narrator.

“May we visit the Basilica Santa Maria del Santo Spirito [8] designed by Brunelleschi? This early Renaissance Basilica has beautiful dimensions”, says Man.

Feiten en Logica 2d[9]

“Is there the Crucifix of Michelangelo?”, asks Carla.

Feiten en Logica 2e[10]

“That is correct, let us first have a drink on the square in front of the Basilica,” says Narrator.

After visiting the Basilica Carla, Man, and Narrator go to the Uffizi Museum [11]. First they look at the Renaissance paintings, including “The birth of Venus” by Botticelli.

feiten en logica 2f[12]

Then they arrive at the self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer.

feiten en logica 2g[13]

“I wish to show you this self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer, because with this painting Dürer ignores the Scholastic ideal image of a man at the end of the Middle Ages; he transcends in this self-portrait also the individual presentation of earthly wealth and profane splendour of the Renaissance. Here is a man that we can meet in the streets in Germany today. This self-portrait has the characteristics of a contemporary photo; It looks like a snapshot “, says Narrator.

“Marvellous, except his clothes, I might meet him today on the street in Germany. After many centuries with images of people like the painter and the spectators thought they looked like or thought they should look like, Dürer and his contemporaries noticed how people looked like in reality and they had the skills to depict it in a painting. When I see this painting – that actually is a picture or snapshot – I am reminded of the essay “On Photography” by Susan Sontag [14]. She states in this essay that people feel the reality so overwhelming, that they need the framing of a picture to be able to observe and process an image of reality. This self-portrait is quite familiar, but at the same time I still miss an awful lot. I would like to ask so many questions to this man; I really would like to meet him for a few days and to live with him together in his world. This self-portrait gives a glimpse of the man Albrecht Dürer and at the same time the portrait deprives my image of him. Susan Sontag in her essay did go one step further: she states that the reality is so inconceivable and overwhelming, that people need the use of a camera to shield themselves from the environment; only through a picture or photo, people can experience and digest the framing and stillness of the really; holidays are really experienced at home while viewing the photos”, says Man.

“I have the same mixed feelings: wonderful to see Albrecht Dürer and at the same time it is unreal. When you mentioned the essay by Susan Sontag, I was reminded of the “Theory of the look” by Jean Paul Sartre [15]: by my look at the self-portrait, I make a thing of Albrecht Dürer and thus I deny his person and memory a large part of his freedom. This portrait is for me a “pars pro toto” where the part – the self-portrait or picture of Albrecht Dürer – takes the place of the whole. My question upon seeing the self-portrait remains: “Who are you?”, says Carla.

“My American beloved had studied on the question “Who are we?” in Sweden and later in a monastery in America. Maybe he had found an answer to this question by solving Buddhist question [16] and maybe this “pars pro toto” – that people need in their observations – fits very well within the metaphor of “Indra’s Net” [17]”, says Narrator.

“Perhaps you are right with this metaphor; people look at a glass pearl within Indra’s Net and they experience in this – indirect – manner the entire interconnected Net of glass pearls that reflect in each other. Tonight at dinner, I would like to share with you my view on “facts and logic” of “Who are you?”. Today we have a wonderful start on this part of the search for “Who are you?” didn’t we?”, says Man Leben.

“Later I’d like to show you the world of ordered chaos, but now I’m tired. Narrator, thank you for this tour and both of you, thanks for your company. I need my afternoon siesta. See you tonight at dinner”, says Carla.

“I’m glad you appreciated my preparation. I’m going to visit a good friend this afternoon”, says Narrator.

“Then I will visit two book stores this afternoon”, says Man.

[1] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_del_Carmine,_Florence

[2] Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_Santa_Maria_del_Carmine_(Firenze)

[3] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trompe-l’%C5%93il

[4] Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_Santa_Maria_del_Carmine_(Firenze)

[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brancacci_Chapel; the frescoes in the chapel can be seen on this Web page.

[6] Fresco on the upper part on the right wall of the Chapel. Source image: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaplica_Brancaccich

[7] Detail of the Fresco on the upper part on the right wall of the Chapel. Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappella_Brancacci

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

[9] Floor plan of the Basilica. Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santo_Spirito_(Florenz)

[10] Crucifix made by Michelangelo. Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_Santo_Spirito

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

[12] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffizi

[13] Self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer. Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albrecht_D%C3%BCrer

[14] See also: Sontag, Susan, On Photography. New York: Dell Publishing Co. Inc., 1978

[15] See also: Nārāyana, Narrator, “Carla Drift – An Outlier, A Biography”. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 34

[16] See also: Leben, Man, Narrator – One Way. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2013, p. 99 – 136

[17] See also: Origo, Jan van, Who are you – A survey into our existence – 1. Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 65 – 67