Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesdayblog. My 'dutch top 2000' list versus my "real" list.

Since 10 years in The Netherlands there's a yearly top 2000. It started in 1999 as best of songlist for the turn of the year 2.000. It was such a big hit that it is repeated year after year. The complete 2007 list is on my MP3 player. To be honest I hardly ever listen to it because it's too much, too overwhelming.
This year I made for the first time my own list. Quick. Intuitive. Not thinking. Voting for the songs that came first into my mind. Above is my list compared to the "general"  list of year 2009. Observation. I prefer woman singing. 50% oldies and 50% more recent. My choises are not very popular.

Why am I sharing all this to you? The above list of me (JeanD99) is not representative for what I am listening to since I found BLIP-FM via Twitter. If I have to make my "real" list it would be this:

Observation. This list is much longer (22 compared to 6). Still mostly woman. Only song that appears on both lists: Beatles/ Something. Kate Bush with two different songs. Only 1 dutch song (Eva de Roovere). Mostly portugese/ brasilian music. My choises are not mainstream dutch.
Biggest difference for me between two lists is the fact that I choose "relevant" music for the dutch top 2000. Ana Carolina, Marisa Monte and other portugese/ brasilian music is non-existent for dutch ears. Never (really?) any song of any of them on the dutch radio. I could have voted for my real list but it would have been senseless.  E isso ai.

P.s. Search or scroll yourselves? Dutch top 2000 songs. Download list 10 years (1999-2009): artist, title and listposition. Format XLS
P.s.s. Listen to my favourites? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 , 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bookreview Kawakami 'The teachers briefcase'. Lovestory: slowly as a river is fed by water in the yearly seasons

Finished reading Kawakami's book 'The Teacher’s Briefcase' (in dutch 'De tas van de leraar'). Never read a japanese novel before but if this is representative for japanese literature I'm interested. Lovely and slowly moving book. Slowly as a river is fed by water in the yearly seasons. 37-year-old office worker Tsukiko mets her former highschool teacher ('sensei' in japanese) in a pub. Sensei tells Tsukiko that he had seen her a few times before.  She had not seen him.

Slowly. Very slowly they fall in love. Mostly meeting by accident. They let time pass by in bars and restaurants.  Sometimes eating alone. Mostly eating together. Watch people.  Silence. Lots of silence. After a while she realises she is in love with Sensei. She tells him. He doesn't really respond - as readers we don't know why. She falls asleep in his arms. Tired. Very tired.

Distance. Tsukiko takes care that they don't meet by accident for months. One night she enters their favourite pub/ restaurant again, finding out that Sensei is sick. She goes to his home telling "nothing". He is "silent" as well. After a couple of days (weeks?) Sensei calls on the phone. They agree to meet again. They meet. Sensei proposes to have a "real love relation". Tsukiko agrees. After quite some time - Sensei is hesitating because he hadn't made love for a long time - they make love. Finally.

P.s. I wrote about this book before. Interested? Read this.
P.s.s. Bookreview by Janet Ashby.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Postponed encounter

This morning I opened for the first time Hiromo Kawakami's book 'The Teacher’s Briefcase' (in dutch 'De tas van de leraar'). Did not open it before. It was patiently waiting for me  in my study as a little treasure.  I postponed my encouter.

Read first and last page of the book - as always. Aaaaaaah ... that's what I like and love to read. Last two sentences (translation @JeanD99): "On nights like this I open Senseis briefcase to peek in it. An absolute emptiness yawns at me. There is nothing but the desperate, gaping void." Aren't we all surrounded by books, things, dreams and so much more of the ones we love(d)? To be continued ...

99 names we all are very familiar with

Read this long list! Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Sovereign, Most Perfect, Source of Peace and Safety, Granter of Security, Guardian. Still there? Self Sufficient, Irresistible, Tremendous, Creator,  Rightful, Fashioner of Forms, Ever Forgiving, All Compelling Subduer, Bestower, Ever Providing, Opener, All Knowing, Straightener, Munificent, Abaser, Exalter, Giver of Honour, Giver of Dishonour, All Hearing, All Seeing, Arbitrator, Utterly Just, Gentle, All Aware, Forbearing, Magnificent, All Forgiving, Grateful, Sublimely Exalted, Great, Preserver, Nourisher, Bringer of Judgment, Majestic, Generous, Watchful, Responsive, Vast. Patience :) we are almost halfway. Wise, Loving, All Glorious, Raiser of The Dead, Witness, Real, Dependable, Strong, Steadfast, Protecting Friend, All Praiseworthy, Accounter, Originator, Restorer, Giver of Life, Bringer of Death, Ever Living, Self Subsisting Provider of All, Finder, Illustrious, One, Unique, Eternal, All Able, Dominant, Expediter, Delayer, First, Last, Manifest, Hidden, Patron, Self Exalted, Most Kind, Ever Returning, Avenger, Pardoner, Compassionate, Owner of All Sovereignty, Generosity, Equitable, Gatherer, All Rich, Enricher. Only 9 left! Defender, Harmer, Benefactor, One Who Creates the Light, Guide, Incomparable, Ever Enduring, Heir, Infallible Teacher and Knower, Timeless.

Sounds familiar these names don't they? It's the names we give our lover when we are fallen-in-love or are in love. The sweet and sour of love - it's not always perfect. Just pick a random lovesong and I bet you'll find a name in the above list of 99 that resembles it.

The funny thing about the 99 names is that they don't point at our lover. They point at the 99 names of Allah. Allah? Yep, the mono-theistic God of the Muslims. Strange isn't it? I'm personally convinced that the names of JWH, God and Allah are not given to humanity by Him via a holy book but are given by human messengers to Him. Given to Him. Not the other way around. Messengers, messiahs or profets who gave their mono-theistic God names they were familiar with by personal experience. It's the experience all 'homo sapiens' share and know about by personal experience when we are fallen-in-love.

Nothing can compete to fallen-in-love. Lover = God = One. 1 step further, nothing can compete to a distant and unreachable Love. Question: is there something that can?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Observation KaDeWe

Berlin march 2009. My wife and I spend a long weekend in Berlin. Sightseeing and shopping. After shopping for a few hours in KaDeWe we went to the restaurant in the top of the building for someting to eat. 2 cafe latte macchiatto, 1 soup (for me), 2 sandwiches and 2 coleslaw. Alltogether almost EUR 30. "Pfff , pretty expensive here", I told my wife. We sat on a table near (5 meters?) the cash desk. Small talk. Observe people. Enjoying our lunch.
A family of 6 at the cash desk. Man, wife, 3 kids and an older lady. He: nice elegant  long man 40-50 years old in a grey business suite. She: very beautiful  elegant woman with long dark hair 35-45 years old. Kids: girl 10, boy 8, girl 6. Older lady: her mum. I observed this succesful and beautiful family. Asking myself: diplomat family from France? Is the older lady her mum or is she a south-american nanny? The way they talked  and looked to eachother and the kids convinced me it was her mum.
I couldn't hear him talking to the cashdesk lady. I only saw that he was not content. It was pretty bizzy and noisy in the restaurant. I only saw him talking and couldn't hear his voice. Was he talking German or English? With an French or Spanish accent? I can't tell because I couldn't hear his voice. This beautiful family had 2 trays loaded with french frites, steaks, coca cola and sandwiches. She had to pay the bill. I saw a few minutes before that he gave to her 2  EUR 20 notes. Was that all she had? Didn't she have a wallet herself? More noise from him. More not being content signs with his hands and eyes. The cashdesk lady had to recount the items on the bill. 2 minutes passed. The sum seemed the same. He got very angry. He signalled to her, "let's go!" The youngest girl was just nipping on her coca cola. There they went with the 6 of them. As little ducks following their mum they went downstairs stepping behind him. He with his head in the sky and full of selfconfidence. Or was it only a mask? The cashdesk lady was in shock and giggled to her colleague. The loaded trays abandoned.

I couldn't keep my eyes off all this. It's was just too beautiful. In retrospect ofcourse. Still puzzling where the family came from. Still puzzling why they didn't pay the bill - just like me. Lack of money? Cultural differences? Shattered expectations?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stick to Epicurus' concepts

Sometimes I feel as if I throw away my life. Once in a while I feel so without dedication, ambition and drive to be the best in whatever. There's no need, voice, or demon in me that tells me: climb the mount Everest, become next years gliderchampion, write a book or write an article about Old Egypt's concept on happiness.

I always stick to Epicurus' (341 - 270 BC) concepts "Live hidden and stay away from politics" and "The cry of the flesh bids us escape from hunger, thirst, and cold; for he who is free of these and expects to remain so might live in happiness even with Zeus." All the rest is vanity.

Am I too dutch to feel an expert in nothing? Am I really excelling in nothing? K. Anders Ericsson tells  us that excellation is above all more than 10.000 hours of transpiration. The key to excel in anything or to become an expert  is above all transpiration. Not 1 hour or 1 month but at least 6 years and 3 months.

What did I do with my life? In which subjects did I invest more than 10.000 hours?
  • Books. I must have read thousands of books. To be honest all I learned from them is that I know "nothing". There's is so much more to read, to discover and to experiment. When I read a book I always discover thousands of things and details I never thought of before. Details that shift my opinions, judgements, prejudices and assumptions. It's like a floating river. Never solid ground.
  • Lover, husband and father. Being loved and loving. It's what 'homo sapiens' all share. We all know by personal experience all about "love". To be more precise it's the foundation under our species' procreation. It's the reason why I was born and the reason that my four kids were born. And I hope it's the reason that my grandchildren (till eternity) will be born one day too.
  • Let time pass by. Above all I am an expert on just doing "nothing". To read a little, to dream a little, to write a little, to tweet a little, to blog a little, to blip a little, to look out of the window a little,  to smell a little, to think of you ... a little. Nothing more and nothing less.
When I am dead all the above, all ones ability to live ones life, all the "knowledge" and "wisdom" will fade away. Blown away with the wind.

Question: where did you invest more than 10.000 hours in?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


On days like this I miss most:
* Eyes - your eyes ofcourse
* Drinking hot choclate with the two of us
* Your mouth and tonque everywhere
* Write with you a poem in our bed
* See you smile
* Your smell & my nose in your hair
* Fact that the amount of days like this rapidly decrease

Friday, December 11, 2009

Interested in Dulce M Cardoso. Just because of 1 sentence

Sometimes I read a book just because of 1 sentence. Sometimes I’m interested in a writer because of just 1 line he/ she wrote. Right now I’m fascinated on Dulce Maria Cardoso. I read last week a review about her new book ‘Os meus Sentimentos’ (dutch ‘Violeta en de engelen’). The strange thing is I don't want to read this book. It’s about a very fat lady who looks back on her life while dying after a car accident. It’s about the dishonesty and cruelty in which “we” treat other human beings who are “ugly” & how they feel themselves. Well … ‘e isso ai’. For me no reason to read this book. I’m not interested in the subject.

I’m fascinated in the writer Cardoso because she said “I love just let time pass by” (dutch “ze houdt ervan haar tijd zo’n beetje te verdoen”). That is exactly how life feels for me. Just read a little, write a little, tweet a little, look out the window a little, watch a movie a little, think of you a little … just let time pass by. Not because I’m bored or not interested but because that’s what I like best. I don’t have to climb the mount Everest. I’m not interested to become next years gliderchampion. I just love to breath in and breath out. Listen to my own thoughts. Let the flow of my life float.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lost world: the smell of woodfire

The world is full of little treasures. The world is full of lost worlds. If - and only if - we take the time to take a closer look. I descent from a family of farmers. My grandfather was a farmer. My grandgrandfather was a farmer. My father was the first one who broke the line. I descent from a christian family. My father is a christian. My grand(grand)father was a christian. I'm the first one who broke the line. I remember sitting alone with my daddies mum in the old kitchen of her. Silence. The clock tapping. The smell of woodfire. The smell of food on the stove. Jesus on a cross.

The smell of wood and the yearly routine of christians. It's lost for me. Ofcourse there is Christmas and ofcourse I light a big woodfire a few times a year but the necessity is lost. For my daddies mum it was just the way it was - without realising it - day in day out, year in year out. Wood had to be cut into pieces to light up the stove for warmth and cooking food. Going to church 4 or 5 times a week to celebrate her inner belief.

The world of woodfire is lost for me. Gather wood. Store up cut wood. Store up the twigs. Dry and wet wood. Wood of pine, oak, birch or aspen. How to light up a fire in an stove. How long a piece of oak or aspen burns. The smell of wood when it's wet. The light pinewood gives. How to regulate the stove for cooking. And ... - there must be more hidden treasures in the world of woodfire?

I like to take a walk in the fall and winter. Pass old houses where a woodfire burns. Mostly remembering my daddies mum and the world that went with her death.

P.s. I was talking about my fathers side of my family but the story is exactly the same for my mothers side.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What's your amount of being a stoic? Or on the stupidness of the #red tag.

I am always very afraid for 'Democrats' and other mono-theistic believers. Remember the #red tag of yesterday on Twitter for World AIDS Day? Still remember it or already lost it in a cloud of tweets? I considered the #red tag as stupid! It's fake and words only! I always get shivers for "movements" like this. It's too mono-theistic. Two weeks ago I wrote about 'Democray as a mono-theistic religion'. I'm not afraid for democrats - I consider myself as one too. I'm not afraid for discussions - I love to. I'm afraid for democrats who see their belief as the One and Only. What I'm most afraid of is the fact that they don't want to talk or discuss about their belief. They don't really want to discuss. For them it's not a belief. For them it's the One and Only way of life that does Right to all human beings. They simply can't imagine that not everyone shares their fair, honest, right, sincere, human and down to earth point of view.

To be more precise I'm afraid for democrats who see their belief as God = Democracy. I'm afraid for the stoic kind of democrats. The ones who say "All or Nothing". Read the quote below. After reading it you will find out that I'm an epicurean. I belief in the little and in small steps. The strange thing is I'm a mixture sometimes. Sometimes I'm in an "all or nothing" state of mind too. Well that must me the epicurean in me too. What about you? What is your amount of being a stoic (All or Nothing) or epicurean (step by step)? Did you test your future/ present partner on it?

P.s. If you can smile :) on this week's blog you are my friend. If you can't or feel like sending me hate mail -you will be my friend as well- than consider this blog as your mirror and please check your amount of being too stoic.

"Some thoughts about the Stoics and the Epicurean
Who are nowadays the Stoics and the Epicurean? How can you recognize them? What do they look like? That isn’t hard at all. A stoic is an individual who obstinately beliefs in his moral mission: a mission he has to fulfil. He always is in need of a Great Plan that gives his life meaning, but in fear that it will actually be fulfilled, he chooses a very difficult, probably not fulfillable plan, that above all can not be fulfilled by normal human beings. What counts is to suffer in name of something that has moral meaning.
Everybody who believes in the one, eternal, indissolubable Great Love is a stoic. It is clear that they will never find that, but that doesn’t keeps them from furiously searching for it without compromising. There motto is: ‘Everything or Nothing’.
Christians, real christians are stoics. There final destination is Paradise and they will reach that by purification of the body and elevation of the soul. Their favourite slogans: ‘We are born to suffer’ and ‘The first will be the last’. Marxist are stoics: their destination is Justice for All, without any exception. They are also confronted with a destination that will not be fulfilled on short term: the Sun of the Future, the word tells it all, will be catched in Future. In expectation of it revolutions, dictatorship of the proletariat and other equally difficult phases are on the program.
Marco Panella is a stoic: he wants above all to solve the problem of Hunger in the World, in the whole World. If we would propose a less ambitious program, e.g. the hunger in the Napolitian quarter San Carlo all’Arena, he would refuse that immediately, probably because the target could be reachable. And because he lives in a country where tortures hardly exist, he is forced to torture himself and that is the reason why he fasts, he ties himself and suffers.
The epicurean is made of other stuff: because he is aware of the fleeting of life, he is targeting for goals who are reachable on short term.
An epicurean is an employer who will ask for raise of salary to solve a problem within a year.
An epicurean is someone who prefers to vote on a party who doesn’t promise him Justice, Freedom and Happiness, but a gradual improvement of his life, through a policy of step by step.
An epicurean is someone who will continue his relationship with his partner although he is no longer really in love, but who arranged living with his partner in which they agree to differ.
The advantages and disadvantages are equally divived between the two worlds of thought. On the whole epicurean are more serene, more in peace with the world, almost always cheerful. On the other hand stoic work hard: when they play cards they will do that with much dedication. Epicurean do hold politics in contempt and they will almost never succeed as big industrial: he cares more about his private-life than about society. To become Pirelli, Pirelli must have been a stoic: an epicurean would have been satisfied with a little tire-store.
It would not be a bad idea when partners, before they get married, instead watching the stars and there constellations, they would measure the amount of being a stoic or epicurean of their future man or wife."

Quote. Source: Luciano de Crescenzo, ‘Storia della filosofia greca, da Socrate in poi’. Translation by @JeanD99 from dutch into english.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book review. Pamuk's Museum Innocence. Aren't we all surrounded by thousands of tiny little things of the ones we love(d)?

"What a bore is life and how predictable: to be born, live and die." This is what I told my grandma (from my mothersside) at the age of eight after reading next weeks TV-guide completely. She looked at me with a little mysterious smile and said "Yes, you are right". I was old at the age of eight. The strange thing is this feeling never really left me. In retrospect my opinion back than was only a part of 'homo sapiens' life' truth. In life it's not about milestones it's about all the days in between. It's not about being born, learn to ride a bicycle, fall in love, graduate at highschool, buy a house, become a (grand)parent and die. It's about the 26.000 days in between. Sometimes we think we will never really fall in love. Sometimes we are in doubt about the love we feel. Sometimes we hate our lover. Sometimes it feels as if we are not good enough for our lover and need above all affirmation. Sometimes it's a perfect day, full of love and being loved. Sometimes we don't think at all about our lover - and feel guilty when we realize that. What I'm trying to say is, we (better: I) live our life one day after another. In retrospect we can put milestones in our personal life but it's hardly sensible in the days we are living one by one. Yesterday is one day. Today is one day. Tomorrow and all the other days are one day.

All bookreviews tell more about the reviewer than about the writer of a book. I'm completely aware of that. Last weekend I finished reading Orhan Pamuk's (1952-) book 'The museum of innocence' (in a dutch translation). From a milestone point of view this book is a bore. 30 year old male Pamuk falls in love with 18 year female Fusun while he is going to be engaged in a few weeks with 26 (?) year old female Sibel. The setting is Istanbul, Turkey in the seventies (of the 20th century). Pamuk and Sibel are both rich and are the perfect couple. Fusun is poor.

I was completely addicted to the book after reading the first 20 pages. I knew - not really but I guessed how it would end otherwise there would have been no reason for a "museum" - how the book was going to end but I loved all those thousands and thousands of tiny, little, lovely details of a love. A love between Kemal and Sibel. A love between Kemal and Fusun. All the hesitations, the anger, the insecurity, the perfect moments, the jealousy, the lack of affirmation, the tears, the smiles and the feeling of happiness when you just can touch her or finally see her smile while she looks at you. I loved to read about all the "normal" days when Kemal was surrounded by things of Fusun: touching the saltshacker that once stood at Fusun's house, smelling at the red dress Fusun wore on the day of Kemal and  Fusun's engagement and drinking from a glass Fusun once drank out of.

This is it. This is life. For me it's a book of love in all it's tiny little elements. It tells it all: the hesitations, the good and bad moments and all the feelings in between. It's not a book of milestones. It's a book of all the days in between. For me personally to found a museum for the love-of-my-life is too much. It would be too neurotic. I'll never found a museum for the ones I loved so much and the ones I love right now. I'll never found a museum for the love-of-my-life but aren't we all surrounded by hunderds of things, books, smells, songs, thoughts and dreams of the ones we love(d)?

P.S. More bookreviews of this book can be found here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Democray. It's a mono-theistic religion. History proves in the end it's: or belief in "our" God or extinct & die.

Let me first say this. I’m always fascinated on religion, on what the Book or books say, how texts are interpretated etcetera. Always fascinated and full of wonder! They are my others in whose mirror I look at myself and who tell me who I am.

A few weeks ago I filled in a test on ‘What’s your religion?’ My testresult: I’m an “atheist”. The result doesn’t surprise me but ... it’s only part of my opinion. I don’t believe in a jewish JWH, a christian God, or a moslim Allah. For me no mono-theistic religion! Why? Because it can’t explain the pluriformity of the human experience concerning God, gods and religion in general. For me religion in general is an invention of the species ‘homo sapiens’. One way or another a lot (most?) human beings need some external “being” to give their lives direction and meaning.

What do I believe? There is no God. There is no external “being” that created the world, that gave humanity “devine laws”. We are made out of tiny little elements when we are born and collapse piece by piece when we die. That’s all. We survive as species by reproduction: kids who become parents themselves etcetera. For me there’s no reason why we do need God or gods. It’s a dream. It’s an illusion. It's a human made construction.

What do I believe? I believe in the species ‘homo sapiens’. We do whatever we do -it’s just as simple as that- trying to survive as individual, as family, as group and as species. For me Democracy is another mono-theistic religion. We invented it! There is no ‘democratic inborn faculty’ in us. Democray is groupthinking and groupacting. Mono-theistic religions are dangerous because it's followers hate non-believers, non human at all or others. At first it always starts the smooth way, the non-believers are "invited" to step into their "perfect way of life" too. When there is too much hesitation slowly more group pressure. And in the end? History proves in the end it's: or belief in "our" God or extinct & die.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A boss' toolbox & personal mission statement 'fatherhood'

Last year I took Covey’s course '7 habits of highly effective people'. One of the things that had to be done was '360-degree feedback'. I had to fill in a list of questions. The same questions had to be answered (in my case) by a few of my staff, my boss and my wife. As predicted my self-image differs partly from the “others”. No big differences. No real surprises. Nice to have a mirror once in a while! I wrote a letter to my feedbackgivers in which I explained my point of view as a boss and as a human being. For me the most important thing in life is: my family. I want to give my children: food, love and a set of values ‘how to behave as member of our society’. To give them fish and at the same time learn them to fish themselves. I want to be a scout leader who gives his kids a toolbox and learn them how to use it in order to make it possible for them to live their lives independently from their parents.

I usually eat in a hurry. I hardly drink alcohol. Eat much candy. I like to take a 20 minutes shower. Try to watch 20.00 o’clock news everyday. My favorites on TV are 'Spoorloos' (in English ‘lost track of’) and 'Memories'. Love to watch a comedy. I read a lot of books. Usually books on a historical topic. I never analyze why I read the books I read. For me it's a long trail of books that bring up other books. When I read a book I always discover thousands of things and details I never thought of before. Details that shift my opinions, judgements, prejudices and assumptions. The details make everything fluid. One of my favorite books is 'Bello Gallico' by Julius Cesaer. It’s his report of his conquest of Western Europe. A beautiful and exciting story with it’s ups and downs. If you realize what happened to Rome, Cleopatra and the child of Julius and Cleopatra when Julius was murdered … everything blown away with the wind.

As a boss this is my toolbox:
1. There is not 1 way of organizing. How to organize depends on the organizational configurations, the life cycle of the organization and the environment it lives in.
2. There is not 1 way of leadership. Depending on the situation a certain style has to be chosen.
3. There is not 1 human being. All people are individuals and are therefore different.
4. Fog. Decisions always have to be taken with information that is not perfect, well balanced and completely validated. Sometimes I have to decide in foggy weather. In retrospect information can show up that tells me that in hindsight I should have taken a different decision.
5. People are people with their own dreams, hopes and fears. People act on their level of consiousness. Some come for the money. Others look for a teacher. Some look for spiritual challenges.
6. A constraint solved? The next constraint pops up. Not all constraints and problems have to be solved.
7. Final end. All people die. I will one day die too. I’m your boss now but will I be your boss too next year? The show must go on when I’m no longer here. The show must go on when an individual staffmember moves on.

The above toolbox ensures that I am not very straightforward in my conduct. Pragmatic or situational acting sometimes seems "old school" but it suits me very well. Sometimes I do this. Sometimes I do that. Sometimes I want to find out every tiny little detail of the incident. The other time I only want to talk about the proces to ensure that next time the same incident won’t happen again. To be short: let us keep on communicating. I’ll tell you what I’m doing. You tell me when something happens you don’t like.

Mission statement. Next to the 360-degree feedback a personal mission statement had to be made. I've been thinking a lot about it. One statement came back every time: "Fatherhood". For me this is the only meaningful image and metaphor of my life. Biological father to my children: one who gives and receives love, someone who teaches them ... and then set them free. Father to my staff: someone who gives priorities, makes decisions and takes care that the show goes on when I am gone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On old stuff or Playmate of the year 1323 BC

Old stuff: old stories, old things, old maps, old landscapes and old people. That's what I like. I don't dislike the modern world or new stuff - I simply don't.
I love to look at the old stains, old cracks and wrinkles ... on all the properties that things or human beings get by getter older. Much older. Things that once were fostered, a few generations later neglected and end as "garbage" because "it's out of date".

Look at the goddess Serket. She was one of the four goddesses who stood outside the shrine of pharaoh Tutankamun' (1341 BC – 1323 BC) mummified internal organs. An unkown craftsman made this statue out of wood more than 3.000 years ago. Look at her! Look at her face, nose, breasts, belly and hips.

In my country 'homo sapiens' was making spareheads out of stone, put the ashes of their deads in cookingpots and burried them and were (totally?) unaware of any alphabet or written records. And in old Egypt? Some crafts(wo)man made a lovely goddess out of wood. A goddess that almost lives behind her gold coating. For me she is so real, so lifelike ... so much more interesting than a lot of worlds most highlisted "beautiful woman of the world". Why? It must be the wrinkles.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For man only: womanlike questioning & manlike problemsolving

It took me (a male) a long time. One universe. One planet Earth. One god. One democracy. One life. One species 'homo sapiens'. It took me a long time realizing that man and woman talk differently. For a long time - in retrospect too long - my assumption was that man and woman communicate exactly alike. I learned it the hard way that we don't communicate alike.

Man listen in a conversation to identify "what is the problem?". Woman listen in a conversation to find out "what is the question?" Example: my wife comes home from her work to complain about her boss. When I "listen" to her from a male point of view I'll ask question after question to peel off what the "key problem" is & finally proudly presenting her how to solve the problem. After done so I'll find out to my greatest surprise that she is dissatisfied with our conversation because "I didn't listen to her". Leaving me behind in wonder and being frustrated "Why?".

How to solve this - this is indeed manlike problemsolving? Listen to her. Really listen to her. A woman doesn't want to have her problems solved. She is perfectly capable doing that herself! She wants to talk to a man as she talks to a woman-friend. Question after question. Sharing the same old stories you heard at least a thousand times.

For man only. A woman doesn't want to have her problems solved. A woman wants to blow of steam! Listen to her. Ask questions. Listen. Give only your solution to the problem if she begs you to tell her your point of view.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dance. Dance with you in this dance of loneliness

The music I listen to is filled with songs in which the singer shares his or her emotions of love. Listen to Ana Carolina 'Mais que isso', Luiza Possi 'Coração de papel', Chiara Civello 'Un passo dopo l'atro' or Maria Mena 'Just hold me'. 4 songs that touch my heart. Make me sentimental. Make me fragile. Thinking and dreaming of the ones that I once loved so deeply and the ones I love right now. Dreams of meu princesa distante. Everything passes. This includes falling in love with another human being. What is left if falling in love fades or faded away?

What I don't understand is how the singer feels if she sings for the 467th time 'Mais que isso'. Since 4 years I'm listening to the music of Ana Carolina. Listening and feeling the emotions of Ana Carolina. Wondering if the lover she talks about is still there? Was it a him or a her? Did they ever become a couple? Are they still a couple? Does Ana Carolina still dream of him/ her?

I'm wondering if the singer still thinks of the one she thought of when she originally wrote the song? Is it healing if you sing a song for the 467th time? Or just the opposite? My heart would break if I have to but how does a "professional" singer deal with that? Life is more than music on a CD or a song sang but what happens to Ana Carolina, Luiza, Chiara and Maria when those 2 worlds meet. Two worlds? When the "professional" singer sings on stage (world 1) her own most intimate song (world 2). First few times bit nervous I presume. What does she feel when it's the 467th time? What does she feel when the lover she sings about is passed long ago and replaced 5 times by another newer lover? What's my point?

Question: What does a professional singer feel singing a very private and intimate self written song of a love that passed - a song that's so successful and that has to be sang everytime on stage. Indifferent? Professional? Filled with gratitude? Embarrassed? Filled with love? A mixture? Or ...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cursed, coined & crusified. Footnote on a song

Listen to the instrumental song 'Cursed, coined & crusified' from Gorky's Zygotic Mynci.
Did you listen? Where does the cursing starts? Any sounds of coining? Anyone hear the sounds of a hammer nailing someone on a cross?

'Cursing, coining & crusified'? Who are they talking about? About JC? JC as Jesus Christ of Nazareth ... but he was first cursed after that crusified and finally coined. It can't be him. JC as Julius Ceasar ... but he was coined first, after that cursed and killed but never crusified. It can't be him. I have no idea who they are talking about. Is there somewhere in history someone who was cursed first, made it then to the top and became coined and finally literally crusified on a cross? Spartacus ... but he wasn't coined. It can't be him. I have no idea about the history of crusifying and (worldwide?) use of this instrument of deliberatly let another human being slowly die.
Or is it only a joke? Is it a mirror? Is it an invitation to all of us to reconsider the way human beings ('homo sapiens') treat other human beings? If we skipp the christian terminology and translate it into "our" hedonistic and egocentric terminology of 2009. What would the title of the song be:"You are a stranger & I hate you by bias. I love you as myself. &Fuck up"?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Surprise! Human morality is based on our innate morality and not on religion. Religion is not the rock. Our innate morality is.

5th of october 2009
Read article Marc Hauser's 'Morality without religion'. It contains more details on the empirical "evidence" that religious believers and atheists and agnostics share the same moral faculty. All human beings share the same moral faculty that guides our intuitive judgments on right and wrong. Our own nature, our own human moral faculty is the source of our species morality. Religion is not necessary for judging what is right or wrong. We don't need God!
29th of september 2009
Do we need religion to behave good? Answer: NO we are born with a universal sense of right and wrong. Our inborn moral sense is the rock of all our human behaviour. The rock on which religions are built on. Shocking - to me it is? Who says so? Well ... it's not something I invented or dreamed last night. It's "proven" by serious (still ongoing) science by Marc Hauser. Do you want to participate? Fill in The Moral Sense Test.
28th of september 2009

Translation quote from dutch into english (by JeanD99):
"Hauser' research [to the innate human morality] brings up lots of questions, and often outrage. "Yes, it's an issue everyone has an opinion on," he laughs. People in religious circles are generally not very happy with him. "I have shown that atheists have the same moral scores as deep believers" says Hauser. It seems undeniable that religion is based on our innate morality and that religion doesn't found our morality.
It doesn't matter who they are, is Hauser' clear message. Even psychopaths have the same scores in the Moralitytest. That is very recent research. Hauser also shows that our intuitive moral judgments are not based on emotions. "From psychopaths we know that they hardly feel anything while doing terrible things. But they know what is right and wrong. Their scores don't diverge. ""
Original quote from Liesbeth Koenen in dutch. NRC Handelsblad, 26th of september 2009 in article 'De intuïtieve mensenmoraal'.
"Hausers onderzoek [naar de menselijke aangeboren moraal] roept wel meer vragen op, en ook nogal eens verontwaardiging. "Ja, het is een onderwerp waar echt iedereen iets van vindt", lacht hij. In gelovige kringen is men meestal niet erg blij met hem. "Ik heb laten zien dat atheïsten dezelfde morele scores hebben als diepgelovigen", zegt Hauser. Het lijkt hem daarom niet onaannemelijk dat onze aangeboren moraal als bodem onder religies dient, in plaats van dat het geloof die bodem aanbrengt.
Het maakt niet uit om wie het gaat, blijkt Hausers boodschap. Zelfs psychopaten vullen de Moralitytest niet anders in. Dat is heel recent onderzoek. Het laat volgens Hauser ook zien dat onze intuïtieve morele oordelen niet op emoties gebaseerd zijn. "Van psychopaten weten we dat ze bij allerlei vreselijke dingen heel weinig voelen. Maar ze weten wel wat goed en fout is. Hun scores wijken niet af.""

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Knowledge of history benefits evolutionary fitness

Translation quote from dutch into english (by JeanD99): "Knowledge of and interest in history in general can certainly benefit evolutionary fitness. If you understand a little how the world works, and realize how you've become who you are, you clearly are slightly more fitted than those who don't." 

Original quote from Chris Buskes in dutch: "Kennis van en belangstelling voor de geschiedenis kan zeker evolutionair voordeel hebben betekend. Als je enigzins begrijpt hoe de wereld in elkaar steekt, en ook beseft hoe je bent geworden wie je bent, heb je onmiskenbaar een streepje voor op individuen die dit alles ontgaan." NRC, 30/8/2009 in article 'Met ons historisch besef gaat het fantastisch' by Hans Goedkoop.

People don't realize everything disappears. Including feelings

Original quote from Orhan Pamuk in dutch: "Wij mensen willen niet vergeten worden. We willen niet beseffen dat het leven tijdelijk is, dat alles verdwijnt, ook gevoelens." NRC, 4/9/2009 bookreview 'Het museum van de onschuld' by Margot Dijkgraaf.

Translation quote from dutch into english (by JeanD99): "People don't want to be forgotten. We don't realize that life is temporary, everything disappears, including feelings."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Do I have to redefine my definition on communication? Footnote on 'Twitter a killer application? No! But ...'

A few steps back.

I joined Twitter on 17th of july 2009. Just lurking a bit. From the very beginning I try to understand what Twitter is about. I try to define if Twitter is a killer application – like some say. I try to predict from the inside if Twitter is really going to change our human lifes. Last 2 weeks I was thinking on the followers and following statistics on Twitter. How is it possible to follow (‘following’) more than 43.000 twitterers and to be followed (‘followers’) by more than 74.000?

Desmond Morris tells in his book 'The Naked Ape' (1967) that our human behaviour is largely evolved to meet the challenges of prehistoric life as hunter-gatherers who lived in groups from 40-60 people to survive. This “40-60 people group” concept is according to Morris still alive and something I always recognize in my personal life. But what I do not know is how this 40-60 people group concept works in relation to Twitter.

(a) Is 40-60 people group a correct concept of our human survival?
(b) Is internet since 20 years, step by step, changing our human lives?

(c) Is it possible that Twitter is going to change our human lives?
(d) How can someone communicate with more than 43.000 people who he is following?
(e) Do I have to redefine my definiton on “communication”?

Gartner's hype curve. Is Twitter at the point ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’? Or already passed that a long time ago?

My comment on Meg Pickard's blog 'The many ways in which the experience of Twitter’s development and growing popularity is very much like the experience of early blogging'.

Nice clarifying timeline AND Gartner’s Hype Curve! When I think and rethink about it I’m not sure where to put Twitter right now in the Gartner’s hype curve. Is Twitter at the point of ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ (that’s how I feel about it right now) or already passed the point ‘Slope of Enlightenment’? Should we not devide the Twitter users into a couple of groups? My assumption is that each groups rounds the timeline with a different speed and at a different time. The group ‘early adapters’ already rounded this timeline a few times. They had their own early adapters, media, experts, celebrities etc.

The groups I see: early adapters, new users and their friends, small media, mainstraim media, celebrities, experts, people you never expected, everyone (= it became a killer application = we can’t be a social human being without it).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Twitter a killer application? No! But ...

A newby. That's what I am in the world of Twitter. Heard of it a couple of years ago - when it first started - but I was not interested. I had had my share of online social networking (WAYN, Hyves and couple of others) and was tired of all the small talk and triviality. Instead of spend too much time small talking with others somewhere else on Earth - who I hardly learned to know any better - I'd better read a book.
I'm convinced that we as human beings are still living in small groups of 40-60 people. Thousands of years ago we knew all of them in person and we were able to use all of our senses concerning them. Those groupmembers were physical near us. All this changed, step by step, since 1880: we have telephones, radio, TV and since 20 years internet. In our time "our group" is spread out over the world. In my case: my neighbours, my brother with his family 80 km away living in another city, a friend that moved for his work to London, my best friend who still lives in my hometown and a couple of internet friends - whom I never met in real - living all over the world. Our "hometown" is the world but we still live our lifes in our small 40-60 group. In this respect I can't grasp how anyone can possibly really follow and communicate with more than 1.000 twitterers.

Some statistics on Twitter. How many users? 14 million users (march 2009) of whom 60% never come back after 1 month. How much do they talk? The median number of lifetime tweets per user is 1; 10% of the twitterers generate more than 90% of the content. Why do they tweet? 29% promoting own company, 26% networking career, 25% finding new stuff, 9% to talk about anything except business, 9% other and 3% promoting non-profit organisation (source july 2009).

What's the point? Why do I tell you all this? Because I try to understand what Twitter "is" or "should be". Because for me Twitter is not a killer application. Nor for the internet nor for human beings in general. (If there's something a killer application on internet past 20 years than it must be the web browser and e-mail. They change(d) our lifes because they make it possible to share and consume information and to communicate 24/7 real-time all over the world.) Twitter is 1 way to talk/ tweet with other human beings. Next to 10's of other ways. Mostly small talk. Sometimes something that makes me wonder, smile or cry. Only sometimes. Deepness? Hardly any ... just as less or much as all our other ways to communicate with other human beings. Why don't I quit Twitter? Because I don't want to quit. I want to meet new friends/ members of my group. I want small talk. I hope I never have to use Twitter in an case of emergency (e.g. disaster, airplane crash, terror attack or riot). I'll patiently wait for a nice song, quote or a new friend passing by once in a while. May be a follower. May be a follower of a follower. Just passing by accidently. It's all about expectations! Welcome accidently passing by stranger ... let's tweet a bit.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Definition on compelling content on Twitter

Question from Darren Rowse (@problogger on Twitter): What is Compelling Content to You?

My answer on july 27th, 2009:
At first I think “compelling content” is highly personal. Dependent on mood, balance between work and sparetime, situation at home and the way you think, feel and act in life (e.g. Maslows hierarchy of needs).

What’s NOT compelling? RT too much newsfeeder kind of stuff.
1. Things that make me think and reconsider my points of views in life, concerning history or the “others” in general.
2. New killer app kind of stuff.
3. Pointing at interesting people (not necessary twitters). To be a guide in the world with all it’s wonders and triviality.
4. Max of 6 tweets a day!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Epicurus on happiness: escape from hunger, thirst and cold

Epicurus: "The cry of the flesh bids us escape from hunger, thirst, and cold; for he who is free of these and expects to remain so might vie in happiness even with Zeus."

This quote of Epicurus (341-270 BCE) is my favourite definition on happiness. Simple. Easy. It's something all of us (better: I) sometimes seem to forget.

Anyone read 'The Pursuit of Happiness' by Darrin McMahon? Why should you? Because it tells all of us that the definition on "being happy" changed a few times through history. It's only a definition, it's not a natural law of the human species.

Question: What's your definition of happiness?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kate Bush. Mystic on 'Aerial'. Invitation to be nondualistic

To be honest - I always feel a bit uncomfortable sharing this side of me - I think Kate Bush is a mystic. Someone who knows by direct experience that the world is 1 and nondualistic.

When I listen to her CD 'Aerial' and look at the booklet and CD-itself I know she is a mystic. Why? Because every song is an invitation to us to look and see that the world is not (a) black or (b) white but ... something in between.

1. King of the mountain. Elvis (a) dead or (b) alive.
2. Pi. Putting (a) a number to it every time or (b) infinity.
3. Bertie. ?
4. Mrs Bartolozzi. Your (a) shirt on washing line or the (b) real you.
5. How to be invisible. (a) Visible or (b) being invisible.
6. Joanni. Joan of Arc (a) married woman or (b) god inspired woman with no ring on her finger; who is that girl? (a2) Joan of Arc in song or (b2) Kate Bush in picture.
7. A coral room. (a) Above the water or (b) underwater; Bermuda traingle (a1) crashed planes and everybody drowned or (b2) living underwater in a different world.

1. Prelude. Songs of birds that sounds like (a) soundwaves or (b) words.
2. Prologue. ?
3. An architect's dream. (a) Accident/ mistake in a painting that becomes the (b) best mistake.
4. The painter's link. (a) Painting that runs beause of the rain and becomes (b) wonderful sunset.
5. Sunset. (a) Sea or (b) Sky of honey.
6. Aerial. (a) Song of a blackbird or (b) is he/ she talking.
7. Somewhere in between. In between (a1) talk about what happened to 'we' or (b1) be silent about it; (a2) day or (b2) night; (a3) waxing or (b3) waning wave; (a4) singing a song or (b4) what the silence says; etc sleep-waking up, breathing in or out, night-morning.
8. Nocturn. (a) sea or (b) sky; (a2) dreaming or (b2) waking.
9. Aerial tal. I can't (a) hear a word you're (b) saying in your language.
In the booklet the boat named 'Aerial' is literally in between the lyrics of (a) Sea of honey and (b) Sky of honey.
CD itself
When you look at the cover of the CD itself  (a) picture of cloths on a washing line. When the CD starts the picture becomes (b) one white dot as if it's in a washing machine.

Somewhere in between: invitation to be nondualistic
Well ... lots of duo's. Lots of things that seem black or white at first site but that become something in between when you "..." For me the key to the 'Aerial' CD is the song 'Somewhere in between'. "We" stand on the top of the highest hill and there we had "...". The 3 dot's represent enlightenment, a direct experience of unity or oneness of the world. The 3 dot's represent "that" what cannot be expressed in words. "That" what we should be silent about. "That" what is so beautiful. What does all that mean to us (better: me). What do you feel when you put your hand over the side of the boat (named 'aerial'), when you are literally in between the sky and under water? Then you are living your life in a boat. You can fly into the sky. You can dive into the sea. Whatever you do it's OK. Live life!

Friday, July 24, 2009

For me new. KT with 'This woman's work'

More on Kate Bush.

Today I checked out katebushnews and wikipedia concerning KT. I'm overwhelmed by all the details, all the links etc. Lots of songs I never heard of. So much I never read before and never realized before. There is a whole universe behind the music I listen to now and then. A world of "fans" who like this or that, who are hungry for an answer of their hero or goddess, who live in a world where Kate is the alpha and omega of the universe.

Well all that's my observation. It's the world of the "others". It's OK!

How about me? I'm hungry too but only for a while. Just lurking a bit. Listen to KT music. Feel and observe what it does to my emotions and thoughts. I loved this song: This Woman's Work. Never heard (of) before. I'm so greatfull of having found this! Thank you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Venice: beauty born from death, greed and triviality

Translation from dutch into english of article 'Death in Venice' by Louise Fresco. Source: NRC Handelsblad 21-07-2009, page 7.

Death in Venice

(...) At the height of the epidemic, in 1576, the then Doge promised that there would be a church built in honor of Christ the Savior, Il Redentore, on the island of La Giudecca. (...) We can not imagine how bad the plague has been. The disease, which by trade ships from the Far East was brought and spread throughout Europe, was alone in Venice more than 50,000 casualties in less than two years. In total, one third of the population of the city wiped out. (...) Our civilization is like a Gothic church before the girders were invented: beautiful but inherently fragile, threatened, but not hopeless. Not over-estimate and artistic pretensions to great civilizations, but technically perseverance. In the light of the unknown future, common sense and foresight ultimately our best option. And thus we can estimate the value of Venice: beauty born from death, greed and triviality.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Music "fan": Kate was my first

Well ... what to say? I love music. It makes me laugh, smile and gives me tears. Only sometimes. Most of the time it just blows away ... while living my life. I love lots of music. My first love in music was Kate Bush. How I loved her when I heard her first two elpees when I was 16 or 17. I can't remember which songs I liked best back then. Now I like 'Symphony in blue' and 'Feel it'  best.

I'm not a "fan"! I grew up together with her. I love(d) her voice. Some emotions and lines of her became mine too. Did I got them from her or did I find the emotions underneath it myself living my life? I can't tell anymore. Most important: does it really care? I love and loved her because what she gave. I'm very very gratefull. Music? Life is more than music on a CD - thanks to Ana Carolina.