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Carla Drift – Study Humanities 2


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Carla Drift – Study Humanities in Amsterdam


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carla Drift – Years of Flourishing


The spring Sun shines

abundant and generous

Her Smile for us

From an environment where “Yes” could mean anything depending on the circumstances – from a straight “no” to a “yes” said by Molly Bloom in Ulysses by James Joyce – I moved to a country where “yes and no” divided the world completely in half. It was a land that was incredible flat and where each group of people had its own church and faith based on a specific paragraph from the Bible. Only the water was omnipresent. Water was equal for all and everyone lived with it and fought against it. It was constantly pumping or wet feet – many floors of houses along the canals are well below the water level in the canal.

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Later I understood that this pumping listens very closely. If too much water is pumped from the polder, the bottom of the polder will irrevocably drop further down. There must always remain sufficient water in the canals and the bottom of the polder.

In this country, I went to live and study, and here I met my great love – in that order.

As flat as the polders were in my view, also as flat were the manners of the inhabitants of that country. I was invited at a birthday party for coffee – including a small piece of apple pie for each visitor and later in the evening in answer to the offer of a second beer everyone said: “It is time to leave”. I remained seated with my second beer that I drank quickly. At festivity in South Limburg 24 fresh fruit pies were baked for the visit – one did count on several pieces of fruit pie more or less for every guest. And there was always sufficient beer and food.

My room in Delft was near a citizen Rowing Club. I visited the Club: the Club and I liked each other. My three years in Delft I was in a female crew for boat racing.

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In this direct environment I started my study: it matched the straightforwardness of mathematics and physics. Later I noticed that the topics of my study and the inhabitants of Holland what less straightforward.

My study was still as easy as on the gymnasium. Many false securities disappeared during my study. If I had to design an amplifier in a practicum; there were too many unknown variables in the formulas in order to obtain an unique outcome. The solution consisted of adopting a certain bias current – based on experience or daily practise – and if this initial bias current did not fit, the bias was altered slightly.

Determining the results of Lab. tests consisted of measuring several times and then statistically calculating the outcome with a certain reliability interval – also daily practise, but structured and reproducible daily practise within a statistical sound reliability interval.

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In the lectures philosophy we learned the falsification theory [4] of Popper and Kuhn as a criterion for science: an idea or model was only science if the idea or model in question was susceptible – and open – for other ideas/models that stood a chance to refute the first idea. Ideas and models that were not susceptible to falsification, fell into the category of dogma or religion.

During the lectures human sciences I learned the hierarchy of needs described by Abraham Maslow [5]. According to this model I had made a start with self-realisation with a huge hole in love – until then I had played hide and seek with my feelings of love.

The lectures social sciences about the “Milgram” [6] and “Stanford Prison experiments” [7] increased my concern and uneasiness that was arisen at the reading of the oeuvre of Jef Geeraerts and Erich Fromm. A very significant part of humanity was – often by circumstances – very easily moved to lewd, docile and even abject behaviour. In my last year in Delft I made acquaintance with theory of “bad faith” and “the look” of Sartre [8]. By this way of seeing people were severely hampered in their freedom. According to “bad faith” people become an instrumental thing by adhering a stamp to the people in question: a free man with all possibilities is solely by his role as for example a waiter reduced to a limited instrumental serving object. A similar mechanism is acting in the theory of “the look” in which a free man – with all possibilities – is in a glance reduced to a despicable creature. E.g. a man is looking through a keyhole of a room, a second man sees this: by the look of this second person the first man is reduced to a lewd peeper.

These colleges in philosophy and human sciences have influenced my entire further life. Later I will continue my study in a complete other direction in Amsterdam.

First I followed a technical scientific study for three years with amongst others the topics: electromagnetic fields, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, relativity, quantum mechanics and mathematics about matrices and vector fields.

Of course I kept visiting libraries. The general library for literature, general development and relaxation and the technical library for deepening and enhancing my scientific knowledge.

In the second semester of my first year in Delft, love came in my life all-encompassing and inevitable.


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

[2] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rowing_(sport)

[3] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rijnhuizen_(FOM)

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

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

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

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

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

Man Leben – your study time


Traume soll man leben

You continue with your years of study in Delft:

“After receiving my grammar school diploma, I hiked with two friends for four weeks in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. My aunt encouraged me to study and to life on rooms in Delft; she liked to see me following the footsteps of my father. Due to the rebuilding after the war, I got interested in architecture and as a consequence I started studying architecture in Delft. I settled in a small room in a house at the “Oude Delft”. I enjoyed my student life, my student association, two year rowing as oarsman, jazz, trips to Amsterdam, Paris, and of course architecture. The shock of the new: “Amsterdamse School”, Frank Lloyd Wright, “De Nieuwe Zakelijkheid” or “New Objectivity”, Glasshouse.

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[2]

[3]

[4]

Just after my 21st birthday a disillusion followed. My aunt explained to me how she had managed the legacy of my father and mother. She had done well, but the time was not well-disposed to her.

She explained how the small base capital – that my grandparents had deposited around 1923 in Amsterdam – was used by my parents in 1933 to make a new start in Netherlands. With part of this capital they bought a house in Amsterdam; the rest was used as reserve capital for trade. The trade was rather successful until the other regime from Germany installed barriers of trade for my parents. During their deportation to Germany, all our movable property was seized or has disappeared. Their house was confiscated for housing of others.

The first letters that my aunt in 1945 received on her return in Netherlands, were tax bills from the Dutch Government for recovering taxes not paid by my family during their absence due to their deportation to Germany. My aunt understood that after the war the Dutch Government had to rebuild everything from the ground, like everything and everyone. As heir and guardian, my aunt had to look after the obligations of the deceased relatives and for me. All possessions were gone or not accessible. My parent’s house was inhabited by other people. Many bills for maintenance were not settled or were paid by others. The ownership of the house was also disputed. By transferring the property of the house officially to new owners, all debts and tax bills could be settled.

Luckily my aunt got a post at a Trade Office with which she could start a new life. From this base she could get access to the other base capital my grandparents had deposited in Switzerland. With this base capital my aunt was able to cover my the costs for me and for my study. She wished that I had a good time in Delft and that I enjoyed myself without a worry during the first two years of my study.

One wish of my aunt I could only fulfil much later, when I was in my 50’s. She requested me to honour my father and mother not only with my life as I had done before my maturity, but also to honour my parents with the traditional remembrance of the dead. First I thought of “Dies Irae” [5] – or “Day of Wrath” – as a commemoration of the days of doom and horror that befell on my father and mother during the war. The request of my aunt went further: she asked me – when I ready to do so – to honour my parents according to the Jewish remembrance – named Kaddish [6] – with the opening lyrics: “You are praised, and holy is your name in the world – created according to your will”. This text is very similar to the Christian equivalent “Thine Be the Glory” [7]. Many years later I finally reached the maturity and humbleness to say these texts for one year and thus to fulfil the wish of my aunt. I could only start this task after a monk in a monastery saw that I had trouble with bowing down. “Do you know for whom you bow down?”, he asked. I replied that I had trouble to honour God in this humble way. Thereupon the monk said: “These bows are bows for yourself”. The meaning of this answer dawned upon me years later.

After this disillusion following up on my cheerful first two years of study, I received my engineering degree at the University of Technology four years later. My final thesis involved utility-building: a reasonable good job, but outside the level of the best architects”, you said.

[8]

“I do not have this maturity and humbleness. I am still full of rebellion “, I say.

“It took me a lot of trouble to get it”, you say.

The following post is about your fruitful years in the society.

 

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

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


[1] Surce image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Scheepvaarthuis5.jpg

[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Michel_de_Klerk_Spaarndammerplantsoen_Amsterdam.jpg

[3] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Wrightfallingwater.jpg

[4] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Glasshouse-philip-johnson.jpg

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

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

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

[8] “Ketelhuis” near the “Rotterdamseweg” in Delft. This “ketelhuis” is an example of the “New Objectivity”. The design is made by the architecture-office van den Broek en Bakema – see also: http://www.broekbakema.nl/. Source image: Screen-print from Google maps.