Tag Archives: separation

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

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You: Man Leben – South Limburg


Die Zeit die man leben nennt [1]

Until the end of 1941 you have lived your early childhood in Amsterdam as a Dutch boy.

[2]

No existing man and place has been model for one of the main characters and places. Their names might be Allman, Everyman and Everywhere.

Just before your eighth birthday you said goodbye to your parents. After a night of staying at your aunt, you arrived by several places in between and with a new name Jacobus Hermanus Maria Leben – they called me “Man”– as Catholic boy on a farm in South Limburg.

On your eighth birthday you ended up in a country where a language extends as far as you can watch [3]. So many foreign armies have set foot on this country that the new regime from Germany brought no shocking change. But the manner in which one lives and who is allowed to life here, the Pruusj – or German – the Dutchman has nothing to do with. In 1942 life went on as it has done for many thousands of years.

You continue with your primary school years:

“A long journey on foot, on a bike, by train and on a carriage followed when I left my aunt. A number of nights I have lodged with different people. In between I am renamed and baptized Catholic. I still use this name. At the end of the trip just before sunset I arrived in a different world; a farm near Valkenburg [4]. I could understand no one. The farm looked like a castle surrounded with walls and buildings and everything smelled unlike anything I was used to. The farmer and his wife – who I have adopted me as their (temporarily) godfather and godmother – and the servants were kind. First I got supper, bread, and many delicacies. I was tired and I fell fast asleep in a strange bedroom. The next morning began the rhythm of the farm, Church and school: first I helped with milking of the cows, then I went to the church – a strange world – had breakfast and then to school. The pastor introduced me in the classroom. Odd looks; I could understand no one. After school I helped on the farm. Later I also played with classmates. I remained an outsider at school: I could learn far too well.

  [5]

After the period of habituation, this is the most beautiful time out of my life. Everything was stable between my eighth and twelfth year. In that time I got used to the seasons, the change of light and the rhythm of nature. I still carry the field flowers with me, the Church with the processions through the fields, and the golden yellow light from that time.

[6]

Soon I was allowed to confess like all children of my school. After some classmates did there confession, the door of the pastor opened, he opened the door of a brutal boy. The boy received several  slaps – in a farmers’ environment this did not really hurt – and he was allowed to carry on with his penance. I actually had not sinned, but I decided to invent a few small sins; my first deviation from the right path – more followed later.

At the age of 10, I unexpectedly fell in love with a girl in the village. It seemed that lightning struck, so fiercely and unexpectedly; Everything was covered in a white glow. From then on life was different with extra feelings and concerns. Nobody has ever known of my first love.

Later I never more helped so open-minded on the fields with ploughing and sowing. The smell of freshly ploughed earth only smelled of growth and bloom. After I left South Limburg, another – sad – smell was added [7].

In between in September 1944 the other regime from Germany was expelled from South Limburg without any clashes in our village. Near Aachen, in the Ardennes and in North Limburg there were fierce fights. A new regime from the West arrived with first the sensation of change and later habituation; life re-took its rhythm.

In the summer of 1946 my aunt came. With her I moved to a village near Rotterdam. I moved from an environment that is completely Catholic to an area that has a strict inner faith and guilt with a sharp “F” and hard “G”. As I look back, this move is – next to having children – the biggest change in my life “, you say.

“These changes should have been shocking for you”, I say.

“In Limburg, it came as it came, it was as it was and it went as it went; and not otherwise. Falling in love was a change. After this lightning struck, life was no longer the same, no longer carefree as before. I have had a very good time in Limburg. Around 1975, I have again lived two years on the same farm: again a good time. The shocking changes came when I moved to Holland”, you say.

The next post is about your grammar school years near Rotterdam.

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

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



[1] Translation: “The time one names life”. There exists a film with a similar title; see: http://www.tvspielfilm.de/kino/filmarchiv/film/die-zeit-die-man-leben-nennt,1318419,ApplicationMovie.html

[2] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AmstelAmsterdamNederland.jpg

[3] In France until the time of Napoleon, the languages did not extends further than one can watch. See:  Robb, Graham, The discovery of France. London: Picador, 2007

[4] No existing farm or neighbourhood in the area of Valkenburg has been model for this post.

[5] Examples of farms in South Limburg. Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Houtemstgerlach.jpg

[6] Source image: http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1361079

[7] This may remind of the title of a novel by: Pavese, Cesar, La terra e la morte.

Introduction to the second part of our quest.


– “Who are you – Part 1” is ready for download –

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

We are now at the beginning of the second part of our Odyssey to “Who are you”. At the beginning of the first part, you and I have experienced the complete oneness. Then we have undergone the separation of air and Earth [1] and afterwards all of the following separations: we have completely fallen apart. After a unimaginable long time we have again adopted a human form. Then we have visited stage three. Here we have experience how people try to overcome doubt and separation by placing “people, objects, offerings and the word in the Middle” between themselves and the uncertainty. In preparation for the continuation of our Odyssey, an intermezzo is included.

[2]

On the second part of our Odyssey we will visit the following five common realities [3]:

o   Facts and logic

o   Intensities and associations

o   Emptiness

o   Change

o   interconnectedness

Now we will enter the everyday world. No existing human being has been model for one of the main characters. Their names may be Allman and Everyman. It is the time to give you and me – a fictive – name and – a fictive – place in our society.

Your name is Man Leben, my name is Carla Drift and the name of your “storyteller” is Narrator. In following posts, we introduce ourselves with a brief description of our lives so far.


[1] See also: Wick, Gerry Shishin, The Book of Equanimity – Illuminating Classic Zen Koans. Somerville MA: Wisdom Publications, 2005, p. 54: “If there is even a hair’s breadth of difference, heaven and earth are clearly separated”.

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

[2] See also the posts “Intermezzo – Five skandha’s” en “Intermezzo – Five Realities and Five Skandha’s” of  26 June 2011 en 6 July 2011.

“Who are you – Part 1” is available for download


All posts from February until September 2011 are available for download as Pdf-document.

On this page you will find two Pdf-documents – Small and Big – including all posts from February until September 2011 about the search for “Who are you – Part 1” comprising the chapters 1, 2 and 3.

The future two parts of “Who are you” will cover the chapters  5, 7 and 0.

The following improvements need to be made in this concept for Part 1:

  • Including an Index
  • Editing of the text
  • Reviewing all images on possible copyright
  • Including the Publisher
  • Including an ISBN number
  • Improving lay-out of front, side and back

The first file “Small” includes the images in low resolution and comprises 7 MB.

2011-09-18-Who are you-Part 1-Small

The second file “Big” includes the images in high resolution and comprises 63 MB.

2011-09-18-Who are you-Part 1-Big

These files may be downloaded and stored on a computer by right-clicking with the mouse. Choose “save as” to save the file on the hard disk of your computer under documents or downloads.

This document includes 247 pages: printing for own use or for education purposes is permitted.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photos, images, renderings and quotations in the text may be copyrighted by third parties.

Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – part 2


At our first stage [1] we have met ancient stones in the landscape. These stones have for our ancestors a special importance as landmarks for interpretation of the knowable and the unknowable. The Catholic Church has tried to incorporate the role of these stones into the Christian faith by placing field crosses at these places.

In the previous post you and I have reported on the “object in the middle” as a metaphor for mutual trust and a symbol that the metaphor of the object surpasses and transgresses into the tangible reality that the “object in the middle” originally depicted. In this message we continue this exploration.

People visiting each other, exchange gifts in order to express and maintain mutual trust. In special circumstances, special gifts are given to commemorate and perpetuate the mutual relationship. Examples of these special circumstances are important changes in life such as birth, baptism, birthday, marriage, death of parents. Often these gifts are jewelry that – when wearing the jewels – symbolise the mutual bond and the special status of the wearer of jewels. Occasionally these jewels are buried with the owner in the grave after her or his death, so the owner may also show with the jewelry in the afterlife the confidence and status in the previous life.

[2]

In the graves of Neanderthals jewelry is never found [3]. Perhaps they did not use “objects in the middle” to demonstrate and consolidate mutual trust. Maybe they did not need interpretation in their lives, since they were fully confident? Didn’t they have known any interpretations or didn’t they make any image of these interpretations? We do not know.

Over time, people make images of “objects in the middle” in order to symbolise the original trust that the object depicts. For groups of people, these symbols become important to express the nameable and unnameable feelings within the group. The symbols receive their own dynamics in the form of flags and pictures with accompanying music and with rhythm in time. The Catholic Church shows many images of God and the saints. Group identity and national feelings are reinforced by flags and emblems.

[4]

In addition, these symbols raise distrust to outsiders. This distrust often takes shape as outright hatred: the outsiders are determined to completely extinguish the strange symbols – and everything that these represent – so all traces are erased. Many wars have begun in this way with their own dynamics: the flags, music, sound of boots and women placing flowers in the barrels of the guns do the rest. The group pressure to destroy the outsiders is so strong that outliers, who do not want to engage in violence, are threatened with expulsion or even execution.

In some cultures the unnameable and the higher is so overwhelming that it cannot be displayed. In the Islamic culture depictions of Allah are not allowed; also images of beings with a soul are not desirable. Yahweh in the Jewish faith cannot be displayed. In the Protestant churches no images of God are present. Do these ways of religion have surpassed the value of symbols and images? And have they overcome the aversion to strange symbols and images, because they have transgressed the value of symbols? Probably not, golden calves [5] are still revered and contested.


[1] See the post “One-Pantheism” in this weblog.

[2] Source image: http://www.rmo.nl/actueel/tentoonstellingen/archeologie-van-nederland/midden-nederland – Olst, Goud van de Goden.

[3] Arsuaga, Juan Luis, Het halssieraad van de Neanderthaler – Op zoek naar de eerste denkers. Amsterdam: Wereldbibiotheek: 1999

[4] Source image: http://home.scarlet.be/~hlvb/het%20land%20van%20beveren/heiligen/heiligen%20in%20Groot-Beveren.htm

[5] See previous post: “Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – part 1”

Introduction: Three – Person in the middle


During our third stage on our Odyssey, you and I have encountered the Trito myth and the cattle-cycle. These myths – with rituals – are a first way of restoring confidence between the gods, priests, men and classes of people themselves. Livestock is a metaphor for mutual trust, a role that money has taken over in our society.

After the first all-encompassing division between earth and air, all is disintegrated in innumerable parts. Then an initial structure is arisen, after which a start is made ​​with a creative process by giving a first meaning and deriving a first order from this initial structure.

You and I remain entirely separate from the complete oneness. It probably disappeared during the separation of earth and sky. Or is this oneness still present in the background? We do not know, but we will investigate this during our Odyssey.

In the Trito myth about the origin of the world, you and I have met the gods: Manu creates with the help of the gods the world from the parts of Twin. In this myth, the gods are necessary for Many to create the world. Who are these gods? You and I do not know. Are there more Gods or is there only one god? We do not know; each society has given different answers to this question. Is there a world without gods? We do not know. Are the gods an integral part of the complete oneness? We do not know. But you and I will investigate this later during our Odyssey. Let us provisionally accept that the gods exist. For now, they are necessary to create and maintain the world.

Following the creation of the world, the sky gods give cattle to Trito. After the storm gods help him during his adventures with the three-headed serpent, Trito sacrifices cattle to the air gods to restore and consolidate the mutual trust.

[1]

Within the cattle cycle, priests sacrifice animals to the gods in order to restore and maintain the confidence between gods, priests, people and categories of people.

According to these first myths, you and I have seen in the Proto-Indo-European world, the gods are needed to create and maintain the world. The trust and aid of the gods is vital for these people. How the people in this Proto-Indo-European world perceive the god in their daily life, we do not know. Though in this society, soon persons emerges who create and maintain the connections between the world of humans and the gods.

The forerunners of people who are not able to live without  a connection between humans and gods, we already have encountered in both myths.

The priests [6] have a role to establish and maintain a connection between the sky gods, the world and the people by preforming smoke sacrifices and rituals. This connection is of paramount importance to maintain and continue the rhythm of life. This connection maintained by the priests in the pre-scientific age, also gives a first answer to the questions where mankind comes from, why they are on the earth and what future awaits them. In the Catholic Church the pope acquires a role of Pontifex Maximus – or the great builder of bridges – between heaven and earth. In this church the Pope is – as first among his peers – the “person in the middle” who maintains the connection between heaven and earth and/or between God and humanity.

[2]

The warriors – and over time their chiefs in the form of emperor, king or general – get the role to establish and perpetuate order in society by conquest and military operations (with its rituals and practices). Later – as a representative of the gods – they regulate the affairs of the society on earth. For earthly matters, they increasingly act as the representative of the gods on earth. In this form they become a “person in the middle” between on one hand the complete oneness and on the other hand society and humanity. According to this way of thinking, society ceases to exist without this “person in the middle”: Roman legionaries fall into despair – their entire existence on earth falls apart – as a general of a legion threatens to leave the legion to its own fate [3].

[4]

The arrangement between priests and warriors – or between church and state – is usual sensitive. The hierarchy between these two roles changes continuously. Sometimes balance occurs: the pope crowns the emperor so the profane role of the emperor receives recognition by a sacral ritual performed by the pontifex maximus, while the role of the Pope – as a bridge between heaven and earth – is recognised and perpetuated within the same ritual.

[5]

The next post is about “the object in the middle”.


[1] Source of image: POVRAY – Clouds JvL

[2] Pope Gregorius I

[3] See also: Goldsworthy, Adrian, In the Name of Rome (2003)

[4] Charles Magne

[5] Coronation of Charles Magne as Emperor by Pope Leo III

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

Introduction: Two – Night at the beginning of spring


You and I have tried for several years to see the first rays of sunlight on the first day of spring. Many generations before us have looked for the moment the sun rose above the horizon on the first day of spring at exact six o’clock in the morning. To date you and I have not succeeded to experience this, because once it rained all night, another time it was foggy, or one of us was sick and other years we had our work commitments.

[1]

For you and me, this moment is so important because our ancestors needed this moment to determine the time of the year. This time served as a benchmark for e.g . determining the sowing time of wheat [2].
The importance of this time for our ancestors was evident because in all Catholic churches the altar faces east – the center of the windows above the altar receives the first ray of sunrise exactly at sunrise at 6 o’clock in the morning on the first day of spring. The sermon is always held in the direction of the morning light – the light of the resurrection (of nature).
During funerals, the deceased are carried with their feet forward towards the altar, so that the first thing  the dead will see on the day of the resurrection, is the morning light. Many graves of ancestors also have this direction [3].

Now we are sitting on a peninsula with water all around us. Just to the north it is connected to the land. There is little wind but it promises to be a cold and beautiful night.

After diner in twilight we prepare for the night at moonlight:

[4]

“Did you see my flashlight?”

“It is full moon, no flashlight needed.”

“I like to set the alarm correctly.”

“The alarm is set at five.”

“Enough time to wake up.”

“I hope the night and dawn will be clear. Then we may see the sun rise nicely.”

“We’ll see.”

“It will be a cold night.”

“That is the reason we have warm sleeping bags.”

“I hope there will be no fog and mist.”

“What is wrong with fog and mist.”

“It will spoil our view of the sunrise.”

“You want the sunrise with fireworks and Clarion blasts?”

“Better than waking up in a thick fog.  After so many years we have deserved it. We are not that often in the open air at the onset of the spring.”

“From primeval fog we originate, perhaps it is more realistic to look at the fog.”

“I’d rather see the view that many people before us have looked at. There is good reason for the orientation of the altars to the East.”

“OK, then a beautiful resurrection tomorrow morning. But don’t worry if it we have a different view.”

“How shall we lie, head over to the West and feet to the East?”

“Similar to our funeral. With the feet to the altar.”

“I don’t want to think of my funeral. I’m needed at my family and at my work.”

“I prefer to live. But I would like to be unique by following the footsteps of our ancestors. Who has done this before?”

“No one is as crazy as us.”

“It is nice to look at the sky during a clear night. Our ancestors have done this so often. When you snore I’ll have a view at the universe. Tomorrow I hope to share the unique view that our ancestors have seen. We deserve it after all these years”

“Will you also share the day of resurrection your ancestors?”

“I don’t know. Sleep well, have a nice dream.”

“Dream of dreams”.


[1] Source image: POVRAY – Sunrise JvL

[2] Calvin, William H., De Rivier die tegen de Berg opstroomt – een reis naar de oorsprong van de aarde en de mens. 1992

[3] Depending on the latitude, graves are oriented to the East or to the South. Source must be retrieved.

[4] Source image: POVRAY – Moonlight JvL