Author Archives for Ellen

Contagious

I am not afraid to get infected with the corona virus. Most of the time i am alone. I make walks outside all by myself. I work in the garden outside where there are limited possibilities of infection. Inside i’m rarely with other people.

The COVID-19 virus is contagious. Most of us have learned in the past year what the the letter R stands for in epidemiology, if it is above 1 the disease will spread, if it is below 1 the disease will diminish. Right now there are several mutations spreading which have different contagious affects, the British, South-African and Brazilian mutation right now. The virus itself is constantly mutating. A new one can be around any time.

The current de-missionary minister of Health Hugo de Jonge was on the Dutch television answering questions about one of the current scandals in the Netherlands, the one about the security issues with data concerning people who have been tested for corona. He said that this is an unprecedented pandemic. Unprecedented.

There is a Wikipedia page with a list of all known epidemics sofar called List of epidemics. Some are small, like the 2020 novel bunyavirus outbreak in China with only 7 deaths. Others are big, like the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide with 2.2 million+ deaths so far.

But the COVID-19 pandemic is not the biggest one. There is an even bigger one currently. The HIV/AIDS pandemic from 1981 till the present has cost 35 million+ deaths so far. The influenza pandemic (‘Spanish flu’) from 1918 till 1920 cost 17 – 100 million deaths. The Third plague pandemic from 1855 till 1960 worldwide cost 12 million+ deaths. And then the one still lingering in our memory, the Black Death. From 1346 till 1353 in the areas Europe, Asia and North-Africa the Bubonic plague cost 75 to 200 million deaths, 10% till 60% of the European population.

To say the current COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented means an unawareness of the major role diseases have played in human history for the past thousands of years. A role which will grow with the current globalization, flight movements and the destruction of nature worldwide.

Feeling safe and secure seems to me the leading motive in the current medical governmental strategies in the Netherlands, in western Europe and worldwide. This is war! We fight! We will not let this virus thingy win!

All the voices appear in the current channels of transmission: the news, twitter, facebook, the papers, the talk shows. It is extremely difficult to make up your own mind is this deafening cacophony. Me, i do my best. That is all.

I remember in April or May 2020 while walking on a street i smelled a lovely scented rose. Someone on a bike passed and yelled to me ‘hey! you will get corona from that!’ I was dumbfounded. In what world do we live where in we can not enjoy the flowers blooming and smell their enchanting scent.

Life is so worth living, so valuable, so ultimately enjoyable, so full of surprises. Yes, life is also full of failures and decay and rottenness. Life is a treasure to be cherished in all aspects.

It is difficult, of course. Not to me to make decisions. But i do think about current events and try to understand what my position is in these.

I am not closing this post with a cheering shout out yelling ‘this is the way to go’. No, i keep on thinking and puzzling. There are more thoughts hidden inside my head. Happy to see them coming outside!

Published on February 4, 2021 at 6:00 by

Under the spell of technology

Monday morning i watched this video from De Nieuwe Wereld (The New World). While i watched this my mind did wander a bit. Fantasies about me being in a talkshow and asking a politician what he had learned the past year 2020. But i tried to keep myself focused on this video.

Halfway i decided to make a post about this video. I posted several other videos from this channel before. I do enjoy the tone and content of these people most of the time.

This video does center on Heidegger and his view on technology most of the time. I just did a search about this and found this Wikipedia page on his article titled The Question Concerning Technology.

I must confess, Heidegger is difficult to read, for me anyway. I never was able to really understand his work. I actually bought his book in the Dutch translation Sein und Zeit and was never able to get a grip on this content. But i persevere!

The text posted under this video, translated into English by me:

Marlies Dekkers in gesprek met filosoof Ad Verbrugge over zijn werk en de coronacrisis. “We dreigen voorbij te gaan aan allerlei facetten van het leven.”

In dit gesprek bespreekt Verbrugge op filosofische wijze het discours waar we ons momenteel in bevinden, en dan met name in relatie tot de coronacrisis. Hij schetst het moderne mensbegrip dat vanaf de 16e en 17e-eeuw opkomt. “Daar speelt techniek een belangrijke rol in, ook samen met wetenschap.” In de moderniteit heerst een bepaalde mentaliteit en een manier van leven. In navolging van Descartes en anderen beschouwen we de werkelijkheid primair als mechanische uitgebreidheid dat we naar onze hand kunnen zetten. Verbrugge: “Je ziet een homogenisering optreden in de manier waarop wij kijken. Alles wordt eigenlijk berekenbare materie.”

Verbrugge vertelt dat dit volgens Heidegger een voorbode is van wat hij ‘het gestel’ noemt, “een benadering waarin de sturing en beheersing van de werkelijkheid als bestand leidend wordt.” In de geest van Jünger spreekt Verbrugge over een ‘technisch collectief’ “waarin je ziet dat de werkelijkheid in dat collectief proberen te sturen [..] dat wij daarin de neiging hebben daarin te automatiseren.” Ieder tekort moet worden opgelost, een drang naar perfectie. “Ook het lichaam wordt onderdeel van die machinerie.”

De moderniteit heeft ons veel gebracht, maar heeft een keerzijde. Verbrugge: “We worden geconfronteerd met onze eigen eenzijdigheid op het moment dat die perfectie [..] niet goed kan toelaten dat de dingen gaan naar hun eigen aard.” Dat zien we nu bij de coronacrisis: iets breekt in. Dat proberen we met maatregelen en vaccins, het technisch collectief, weer beheersbaar te maken. Refererend aan complotdenkers en ook de rellende jongeren stelt Verbrugge: “Ik denk dat er een groeiend wantrouwen is ten aanzien van dit technisch collectief.” We dienen de eenzijdigheid te erkennen, anders leidt ‘het gestel’ tot destructie. Verbrugge: “Het gaat er niet om dat je techniek vaarwel zegt, maar wel dat je onderkent in welke mate we voorbij dreigen te gaan aan allerlei facetten van het leven”

Marlies Dekkers has a conversation with philosopher Ad Verbrugge about his work and the corona crisis.”We threaten to go past several facets of life.”

In this conversation Verbrugge discusses philosophically the discourse we are in at the moment, especially in relation to the corona crisis. He sketches the modern human understanding emerging from the 16th and 17th century. “Technology plays an important part in this, together with science.” In modernity a certain mentality and a way of live reigns. After Descartes and others we consider reality primary as a mechanical expanse we can shape with our own hands. Verbrugge: “You are able to see a homogenization in the way we look. Everything becomes computable matter.”

Verbrugge tells that according to Heidegger this is a harbinger of what he calls the Gestell, “an approach in which the steering and control of reality as file becomes leading.” In Jünger’s mind Verbrugge speaks of a ‘technical collective’ “in which you see that reality in the collective tries to control. [..] that we have a tendency to automation.” Every shortage needs to be resolved, an urge to perfection. “Even the body becomes part of this machinery.”

Modernity has brought us much, but it does have a downside. Verbrugge: “We are confronted with our own one-sidedness the moment this prefection [..] can not allow things to follow there own nature.” We see that now with the corona crisis: something breaks in. We try to control this with regulations and vaccins and the technical collective. Referring to conspiracy thinkers and also the rioting youth in the Netherlands Verbrugge claims: “I think there is a growing distrust with regards to this technical collective.” We do need to acknowledge the one-sidedness, else the Gestell will lead to destruction. Verbrugge: “It is not about saying farewell to technic, but to recognize in which degree we threaten to go past several facets of life.”

Published on February 2, 2021 at 6:00 by

A view from afar

Thinking back on my life so far is one of my main occupations the past few weeks. Or rather, years. Some moments stand out.

The dream i had in my early twenties, or it might have been my late teens. I am not sure. In that dream i was a small child. I felt very happy. My hands were on the warm stones of a one or tow tiered steps. My mother pointed to something behind me. My father, with a camera in front of his face. Click. At that time i still had the photograph that my father made. I actually looked a bit grumpy. I couldn’t see the happiness i knew i felt. A vivid remembrance dream.

Almost a year ago i moved out of my old house. I still miss it. But i also feel it is a step i needed to take. To get myself loose from this life i was leading, stifling myself. Setting my life open to other things happening. Something unexpected. Of course, so far nothing out of the ordinary has happened yet. I still hope. I still hope i can find within myself the courage to go through with it. To do something all by myself.

I have made many mistakes.

The week in 1986 in February, the week in which i made the drawings i ended up giving to Green Gartside 5 years ago is etched into my mind. The week in which i bought the album Songs to Remember, the week in which i heard the song The “Sweetest Girl” for the very first time. While i was listening to this song i threw the coins for the I Ching and got the following lines.

Life leads the thoughtful man on a path of many windings.
Now the course is checked, now it runs straight again.
Here winged thoughts may pour freely forth in words,
There the heavy burden of knowledge must be shut away in silence.
But when two people are at one in the inmost hearts,
They shatter even the strength of iron or of bronze.
And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts,
Their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.

Source: 13. T’ung Jên / Fellowship with Men ° Nine in the fifth place

I tried to get away from this week, i tried to keep my head clear. I often failed. And sometimes succeeded. Not sure which one i prefer now.

Those years i spend all alone, between 2007 and 2014. The years in which i had given up. These years made me stronger in the end.

Just a few moments of the things which to me are so personal and so important. I talked about them before. They are still with me.

Enjoy the weekend! Salute!

Published on January 29, 2021 at 6:00 by

Curfew

I am not sure why the boys and young men – very few girls amongst them – are rioting in the Dutch cities. I don’t even know if the people participating in these riots know it themselves. Some might be joining because of the excitement, the fun of it. Some might be joining because they are spoiled little kids. Some might be joining because they do not feel heard.

It is easy to judge these people. I hope we will be able to hear them one day.

Published on January 28, 2021 at 6:00 by

Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”

“We’re each of us alone, to be sure. What can you do but hold your hand out in the dark?”

“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.”

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”

“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?”

“Light is the left hand of darkness
and darkness the right hand of light.
Two are one, life and death, lying
together like lovers in kemmer,
like hands joined together,
like the end and the way.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

Published on January 27, 2021 at 6:00 by

Clean clothes

I don’t buy that much to be honest. My basic clothes, like leggings, t-shirts and tank tops i buy at the Hema. Price is the main factor in this decision. The other brands on this page are a bit more expensive. I try to be aware of what fabrics are used and where the clothes are made.

I have bought clothes at the shop from Joline Jolink from around 8 or 9 years ago. In the beginning she had a shop in Amsterdam, around seven years ago she moved to Rotterdam. Most clothes are made from rest parties of fabric. A year ago she made vegan trainers. I especially love her dresses.
Sofar i have never bought anything from Toast. I do click on the ads i see on Facebook and sofar i have loved most thing i see. On my list of things to buy for sure.
I once walked into the store of Jux on the Meent in Rotterdam. I liked some things i saw in there, but i did find it a bit expensive. Still, once i have a bit more money, i will be tempted.
Published on January 25, 2021 at 6:00 by

Looking back on Oct 29, 2015

More than five years ago i made this video. I used the beginnings and thoughtless pieces i had filmed. The moving in past the floor and the window and the ceiling of my old house. This is a piece of work i love.

I just watched it again.Seeing the parts of my old home, seeing my face, my eyes as it was five years ago. It brought tears in my eyes.

I am still not sure how to turn my life around. I hope i will manage it.

Salute!

Published on January 22, 2021 at 6:00 by