Tag Archives: property

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


Introduction: Three – Dubio transcendit

You and I arrive at the third stage on our Odyssey. Now we will give a first interpretation to – and derive a first meaning from [1] – the complex universe around us. By making sense and derive meaning from the things around us, a creative process starts. Most of this process of creating and recreating is beyond our perception [2]. This invisible creative process goes its own way. We can only trust in the good event of these developments beyond our control.

The tiny part of the creation and recreation that you and I may control, we try to change to our advantage. We think that we need this advantage for our survival. Here we act selfish. Later, you and I will encounter more complex forms of ethics. Now we start at the beginning of conscious creativity and our opinion about it.

Our selfishness is often overtly and socially acceptable in our society. We hunt and gather, we perform farming, we work in factories or offices, or by mutual agreement we will prevail over others. All these actions are questionable: later we will come back to this. But sometimes this selfishness is unacceptable and is obtained by force or by law suits.

In specific cases, we camouflage our selfishness by adding appropriate images to acts that are not acceptable on its own. Around wars and the conquest of land linger all sorts of myths and rituals [3].

In one particular case the number three is also used to justify the theft of cattle in a myth: it is the Trito myth followed by the myth of the cattle cycle [4] [5].

In the Proto-Indo-European world, the creation of the world is interpreted by the Trito myth.
The twins Manu – related to the word “man” [6] – and Twin travel through the universe accompanied by a cow. The two brothers decide at a certain moment to create the world. This requires that Twin must be sacrificed. From the remains of Twin, Manu creates with the help of the gods the separate parts of the world. By this act Manu became the first priest [7] and the first inventor of the ritual sacrifice by which the world was created.

When the world was finished, the sky-gods gave cattle to the “third man” named Trito. But the cattle was cleverly stolen by a three-headed snake. With help of the storm gods, Trito killed the snake and freed the animals. Some of the cattle were given to priests for a smoke offering to the sky gods. By this act Trito [8] was the first warrior. He restored the prosperity of the people and his gift of livestock to the gods ensured that the cycle of gifts between gods and humans continued.

The second myth – the cattle cycle [9] – is a continuation of the Trito myth. In the cattle cycle, God [10] gives cattle to the farmers who in turn take care of the cattle and and increase the herd. Foreign men raid the cattle. The warriors seize the cattle back and give a part of the cattle to the priests for smoke offerings to God who in turn thanks for the sacrifices by giving cattle to farmers again.

The raiding of cattle has obtained a central place in this culture by both myths.  It is an essential act to acquire property. With the acquisition of livestock by raiding, warriors may obtain means of exchange for acquiring one or more women [11]. In the Proto-Indo-European world, women represent the only real property of value [12]. Only by holding the highly regarded medium of exchange – cattle – warriors can get women for posterity.

The cattle cycle provides a basis for a ritual of mutual trust – Credo (I believe) – between gods, priests, men and classes of people themselves. In this case, cattle are a metaphor for mutual trust, a role that money has taken over in our society.

In the following messages you and I will encounter the “person in the middle, “the object in the middle” and the “spirit in the middle”.


[1] See : Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Phénoménologie de la Perception

[2] See also: Eames-Charles&Ray, Powers of Ten (1977) and the post on this subject.

[3] See also: Keegan, John, A History of Warfare (2004); Goldsworthy, Adrian, In the Name of Rome (2003); Crefeld, Martin van, The Culture of War (2008).

[4] See: Anthony, David W., The horse, the Wheel and Language (2007), p. 134

[5] See: Mallory, J.P., In Search of the Indo-Europeans, p. 137

[6] √man: means “think” in Sankrit; “manu” means “intelligent, thought, wise”. Maybe this name already refers to the division of mind and matter similar to the division of sky and earth.

[7] In Sanskrit √pṛ means: “be able, show”; Ish means: “ruler, god”; and √tṛ means: “cross”

[8] kshatriya means warrior in Sanskrit.

[9] See: Mallory, J.P., In Search of the Indo-Europeans, p. 138

[10] “go” means “cow or bull” and “da” means “give”

[11] See Anthony, David W., The horse, the wheel and Language (2007), p. 239

[12] See: McGrath, Kevin, STR women in Epic Mahâbhârata. Cambridge: Ilex Foundation, 2009 p. 9 – 15

[13] Source image: Povray – Float Cloud JvL

Introduction: Rituals – part 2

In the previous post, we had a first glimpse into the role of rituals as “rites of passage”. Now you and will look a little further into the role of a few rituals in our daily life. These rituals often consist of a number of conventional acts.

One of the oldest documented myths is named the cattle-cycle[1]. In the cattle-cycle, God[2] gives livestock to farmers who in turn take care of the cattle and let the herd increase. Foreign men steal the cattle. In return the warriors steal cattle again and they give a portion of the stolen cattle to the priests for smoke offerings to God who in turn thanks for the sacrifices and again gives livestock to farmers.

The myth of the cattle-cycle tells of rituals that form the basis for mutual trust between gods, priests, and people. Cattle are a metaphor for mutual trust; a role that money has taken over in our society.

Looting of cattle has a central place in this culture. It is a necessary act for warriors to acquire property. With the stolen cattle the warriors have a means of exchange to obtain one or more women[3]. In Proto-Indo-European world, women represent the only real property that is of value[4]. Only by holding the highly regarded medium of exchange – cattle – a warrior can acquire women for obtaining offspring.

The myth of the cattle-cycle sanctions looting of cattle if accompanied with the prescribed rituals to come to terms with the gods and society.

According to an old saying each property is acquires by an initial crime. Today the obtaining and transfer of possession is still surrounded with many rituals. Are today’s rituals still necessary in order to sanction the initial crimes? We give the following reflection from the New Testament: “How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich[5] to enter the kingdom of God[6]. Chapter 5 reports our experience with the handling of property and ethics herewith.



In today’s society and on the workplace rituals are repeated again and again for retaining mutual cohesion.

During lectures at the late seventies of last century, Prof. Dr. W. Luijpen – professor of philosophy at the Technical University in Delft – made three remarkable statements.
The first statement is: “We have decided to work for our existence. We will work at least eight hours in order to sit for fifteen minutes in the sun. We will not work fifteen minutes to sit for eight hours in the sun as in some other cultures “.

To this statement you and I add the following anecdote of the South Seas fisherman as illustration:
An American saw a man sitting on the beach of a sunny island with a fishing rod.
The American gave the following advice: “You must use five rods. ”
“Why?”, said the fisherman.
“Then you may catch more fish and earn more money”.
“Why?”, said the fisherman.
“Then you may buy a boat.”
“And then?”: said the fisherman again.
“Then you catch more fish and you may buy a bigger boat and earn even more money”.
“And then?”: said the fisherman again.
“Then you will earn so much money that you can sit the whole day in the sun.”
The fisherman smiled and made an arm gestures to the blue sky and the Sun


The second statement was: “We have decided that our official relationship between each other will happen through a legal order and our conflict will be settled by legal procedures. In case of a disagreement or a conflict we will not settle the case unilateral by brute force, but we will settle these disputes through our existing legal system.”

Examples have already been found in ancient Irish law. For example: an exile, is sent in a boat on the sea [​​10].

The third statement was as follows: “We decided that we believe in a God father. We do not believe in a Mother Goddess and our religion is not poly-or pantheistic. Other societies have a different way of believing. “


We will describe in each chapter of the book the various ways of religion that we encounter on our Odyssey.

After this trip to myths and rituals we continue with the introduction of the separate chapters.

[1] See: Mallory, J.P., In Search of the Indo-Europeans, p. 138

[2] “go” Means “cattle” and “da” means “give”

[3] Zie Anthony, David W., The horse, the wheel and Language (2007), p. 239

[4] Zie McGrath, Kevin, STR women in Epic Mahâbhârata. Cambridge: Ilex Foundation, 2009 p. 9 – 15

[5] Probably this concerns all richness and property in any manner.If we all dispose of all our wealth and property here and now, that will probably cause major problems. Perhaps a middle position is better: let us for the time being be good care takers of our wealth and property.

[6] See Bible, New Testament, Marcus 10:24-25

[7] Source image: http://henk50.web-log.nl/onderweg/2009/07/de-kameel-door.html

[8] Source image: http://theoleenders.blogspot.com/2010/10/het-oog-van-de-naald.html. After closing time of the main gate in Oriental cities a narrow port remained open to give people and animals stripped of luggage the opportunity to enter the city: this narrow gate seems to be called “the eye of the needle”.

[9] Source image: http://nl.dreamstime.com/stock-foto-s-tropisch-eiland-in-de-stille-zuidzee-image15390673#

[10] See: Kelly, Fergus, A guide to early Irish Law. Dublin: Dundalgan Press, 2005 p.219

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

Introduction – Myths

The book “Who are you” is a contemporary myth telling a quest in which you and I are seeking who you are. This quest takes us along endless perspectives and realities. In the book we describe several crucial realities that we have encountered during our Odyssey.

In the ancient, myths were passed on from generation to generation to convey wisdom and experience of life. These myths do not tend to cover facts and logic, but they recount stories about the origin of our existence, about the meaning of life, the relationship of our ancestors with each other, with the gods and with their environment, about motives of our ancestors and about trust and distrust.


Probably our ancestors did not take the facts and logic told in the myths literally. But for our ancestors, the intensity and associations in the myths appear very recognizable. They derive much wisdom from the myths to provide clarification in elusive conditions, under psychological conditions and during tragic events[2]. We have partly lost the active use of the language of intensities and associations in the myths and dreams[3]. In the chapters five and seven, you and I will describe our experiences with this lost language.

During our quest we will derive meaning and give meaning to the life of you, me, everyone and everything around us in the past, present and the future. Several of these points of view are difficult to express in our contemporary language. Due to this fact, we will occasionally use poetry, imagery and mythic narratives. The report of the quest has the character of an essay and of a contemporary myth.

Myths now have a connotation of stories that are not true. But today we also create contemporary myths. Money is a metaphor for trust.


According to a common contemporary myth, money provides a carefree happy eternal life; bank officials and stockbrokers guard as demigods over this heaven, and as gate keepers they provide access to this dream world. The banking crisis is not only a crisis of confidence, but it caused an existential crisis questioning the role of the contemporary demigods and gatekeepers of dream worlds.

Sport is also a contemporary myth as a metaphor for real life. The athletes are role models who are revered as demigods and/or tragic heroes based on the outcome of the match. Sports coaches and reporters show some resemblance with high priests.

Another contemporary myth covers property, legal bodies and the National State that have a life of its own in our mundane and universal reality. During our Odyssey we will encounter the origin and consequences of this myth.


In the next post we will cover the roles of rituals.

[1] Cover of book

[2] Amstrong, Karen, The Case for God – What Religion really means. London: Vintage Book, 2010 – page 2 – 4

[3] Zie ook: Fromm, Erich, The Forgotten Language. New York: Rinehart & Co, 1951

[4] Source of image unknown

[5] Source of image: www.freefoto.com