Categories for World

Food

Food has always been important to me. When i lived at home with my parents. Especially when i lived by myself.

I remember going to the Gimsel in the center of town, opposite the supermarket De Gebroeders De Jong, now called the Jumbo. The Gimsel is an organic vegetarian store. I bought the corn bread and loved it. It was compact, yellow and tasted great. I’m so sad they don’t sell it anymore.

When i was still working full time it was hard to keep track of everything i ate. I did sometimes buy a ready made meal from the supermarket, usually the Albert Heijn. I was never very thorough with what i bought. I like good food, i like salt, i like sweets and cream. So i might have cooked some recipes from the macrobiotic cookbook i have, but i have many others from which i cook too.

The past two years i started going to the market again. I found a good vegetable stall and got my veggies and fruit there. I also went to the Gandhi garden for a few times to work there.

I go less to the supermarket. I get cat’s food there, dried chick peas, tahin. At the Marqt i buy butter, eggs, flour for bread, sometimes a bit of meat.

I work at the Vredestuin, the Peace Garden, twice a week. I meet different people there. Most are in their thirties. I love to learn more about vegetables, weeds, insects, feeding the vegetables, planning the garden. I love to work there, even though i’m not the hardest working person. I love to sit there, feel the earth, look at the worms, listen to the humming of the bumblebees, and hear the droning of the cars and the trains in the background.

inbetween

Yesterday i stumbled on the following post about Adrienne Rich: Arts of the Possible: Adrienne Rich on Writing, Capitalism, Freedom, and How Silence Fertilizes the Human Imagination.

We have become a pyramidic society of the omnivorously acquisitive few, an insecure, dwindling middle class, and a multiplying number of ill-served, throwaway citizens and workers [resulting in] a kind of public breakdown, with symptoms along a spectrum from acute self-involvement to extreme anxiety to individual and group violence.

This quote is an example of the multitudes of words, sentences, essays, books written by artists, scientists, all sorts of people from the past century about our current culture.

Capitalism.

Neoliberalism.

Its advocates support extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.

Sounds familiar?

inbetween

A few weeks ago i went with my mother to a supermarket in Leusden. Walking through the store, i started to see the enormity of produce in it. The wall of butter and margarine. I felt it. It must have been the fact i do not know the supermarket very well. When i go in a supermarket here, in Rotterdam, i’m more used to how it looks.

That feeling kept coming back to me over the past weeks. In the Marqt supermarket there is less produce. Butter and margarine is only one shelf. Today i went to the Gimsel and walked past all the shelves and looked at all the produce. The two blocks of self-serving big jars of dried beans, nuts, cereal, dried fruits.

The supermarket Marqt and Gimsel are expensive. I checked for the other end, the cheap ones, Lidl and Aldi. I just decided to go out and get to the ones closest to me. Still not in the center, but walkable. Simply to see what they have, how it looks.

I remember watching the show Keuringsdienst van Waarde, the one about fish, broadcasted 2 June 2016. Vegetarian fish grown in tanks in a Belgian industrial area.

In that show people are using the argument that we need to be so efficient to be able to feed all the people in the world. In 35 years time there will be 9.3 billion people on this planet. With 800 million people now already being hungry, we need to be terribly smart in making all the food necessary.

This is simply not true.

In the list of articles at the end of this post, you will read several articles saying that there is plenty of food right now and for the future. The division of food is unbalanced. In the rich west we, the consumers, the shops, the agriculture, waste around 30 – 50 % of all the crops. It may be not compliant with our demands for cosmetically perfect food, it may be out of date and thrown away by the supermarket, it may have turned to waste in a fridge somewhere. And then there is the 550 cubic meters of water wasted globally in growing crops that never make it to the consumer (Almost half of the world’s food thrown away, report finds)

I read the article about the apple Pink Lady: Pink Lady, de rotte appel van de vrijhandel. This apple needs lots of sunshine to grow. It is cultivated in New Zealand, South Africa, Chili. It is transported to Europe. And we export our own homegrown apples.

This is partly because we want to eat apples the whole year round. It is also part of the globalizing world we live in. Where profit rules. Where it doesn’t matter what costs we make in transporting and cooling fruits and vegetables. As long as we make money, we go for it.

I’m saying we. Because we are here together. Some may have stepped out. Some may try to do their best. Some may not care at all. But it is still we, who are all doing this. We who are all responsible. Not us, the good guys, versus them, the bad guys. We. All together.

And i don’t want to work in this world, here in the Netherlands, here in this current time, here with these rules on how we deal with each other. I don’t want to do that anymore. I have done it enough.

I have said it before. This website, ellenpronk.com, is my work. It is how i want to earn my living. I see only one way. I need to become famous. Now, i know, nobody else will do that to me. Nobody else will say that they like what i do and that i should be famous. Nobody.

I wrote this two days ago. It is a bit stark. What i do know is that i do not want to do my previous work, front-end development, anymore. Not professionally. There are many other things i would want to do. Right now, i am going for the one thing which i believe will make me happiest. The possibility to travel, meet and talk with many different people. The possibility to see the world, feel the wind in my hair, feel the sun on my face, hear the birds, the waves of the ocean crushing on the beach, the leaves of the trees rustling in the wind.

I am angry.

Furious.

I am not saying i have all, if any answers. But i do remember how i used to view this world growing up and for a large part of my adult life. As me simply a part of the world. This world which seemed to go at its own pace towards its own goal. Me tagging along. Trying to find a right spot for myself.

It is not like that. We all are here living on this earth with a certain responsibility towards its destiny. It is not politicians who decide, not businessmen, not scientists. Each and every one of us can make the choice to make this world a better place.

It is not something we can demand of each other. Each individual person has its own path through life. I can only talk for myself.

I am trying to find my place in this world. I feel i am getting there.

I am more and more ready to fight for this world.

Salute!

tobecontinued

Published on June 17, 2016 at 6:00 by

Work

I have worked for around twenty years. In the beginning it was tough. A lot of overtime. A lot of energy it took from my life. But also many new things in my life, many new events. Many mistakes i made. I did enjoy the work.

That was for the first five years.

The rest, it was a bit more quiet. I did have my good times, sure. I did learn my limitations. Being creative in a work environment is not my thing.

The past year and a half i have not been actively looking for work. I did do a few, small jobs. I took the time to think, to dream, to do the things i love.

This blog is my heartfelt ultimate work of love. If anything, i would love to keep it up and working on it for i don’t know how long. A few years at least. Maybe even longer. The thoughts of new works are still coming in. Like this week, when i was going though an old Vogue and realised i wanted to do something with these images of girls. Taking the photographs with the paper curled and the light shining reflecting of it. All these beautiful faces looking at the observer, wanting its attention.

But my money is running out. I did get a tax return a few months ago, which gave me a bit more time. That time is running out.

I don’t want to ask for a grant. I’m not a part of the Dutch art world, not for more than twenty years.

I don’t have family or friends who can help me.

But i still feel i have something to say. Something important. For myself. For the world maybe?

I don’t think the world has changed that much over the past millennia. I do know that we, humans, think that it has. I do know we think the world now is bright and sensible. We used to think it was dark and mysterious. Nowadays we are not afraid of doors which open automatically when we come close. We don’t look up when somebody passes us seemingly talking to nobody. We are not surprised when people change their gender.

The world is covered with a torrent of people. Billions.

Some people step out of it. Out of the system. They live somewhere off the grid in a nowhere land taking care of themselves and their loved ones.

Other people try to make another way of living. Like some of the people i met through the Peace Garden. Some are making it work. They are not wealthy, but they do live a decent life.

Most of my friends are trying to make a decent living. Working for themselves. Working as an independant freelancer. Doing the things they love and earn a living.

It is hard.

inbetween

My nights are not filled with sleep, but with lying awake in the dark. Thinking. Fantasizing. Not sensible, no. Crazy. Insane.

Last night was harsh. I do remember the vehemence of the feelings assaulting me. But the content is fading away. Something about our planet being a small part of the entire universe. Being special. Rare. People wanting to move to Mars and terraform it and live there. As if our world is lost forever. Our wonderful world. Our glorious world. I felt like i was standing aside, looking at everything from a distance. I remembered how i used to be. How i used to feel. In a distant past, far away.

I remember thinking about the politicians, the wealthy people, the business people, the banking people. How they try to shape the world for their own wishes. How they try to get everything out of every bone of this earth.

We are the caretakers. We should make this world a lovely place to live for all the animals and plants. Not put pigs by the thousands in big stalls and butcher them once they are old and big enough. Not use fertilizer to keep our soil stuffed with nitrogen so the vegetables will grow on it no matter what. Not use people, young people, children, old people as slaves to work. Not to hack any old forest or rainforest as we please. Not to keep our supermarkets stacked full with superfluous rows of sweets, cookies, cheeses, soft drinks, meats, milk and bread to throw away once the sell by date has passed.

Caretakers.

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We are so smart. We can operate on humans and change their gender. We can give humans hormones to alter their behaviour and the state of their body. Our medicine is still growing. But our understanding of ourselves, of our brains, is still rather small.

One of the biggest metaphors for our brain over the past seventy years is the computer. But, we do not have hard drives build into our brains. There is no storage facility anywhere inside ourselves from where we can retrieve information. Human beings are not information processors. Human beings have hands, arms, legs, feet, eyes, noses, mouths, genitals inside and outside. We look at the world. We hear the world. We feel the world. We are inside the world, as if we are one and the same.

One prediction is that soon it will be possible to download a human mind to a computer. Predicted by futurist Kurzweil, physicist Stephen Hawking and neuroscientist Randal Koene.

This is untrue. Nonsensical.

Our mind, our brain and our body are part of the same thing: a living breathing human being. Experiencing life in one continuous flow. Sleeping at night, awake during the day. Interacting with the people around it, with the world around it. Touching, walking, sitting, dreaming, listening, being there, being away.

We are very good setting aside parts of ourselves. Putting different pieces of ourselves in different compartments. With different people. In different times. Sex goes well with a good looking friend. Work is a good way to pass the time during the day. With work colleagues. To earn money. Food is a good energy provider. It makes you feel good. Sweets are lovely. Ice cream tastes great. We love to sleep. We love to cuddle with our friends. We love our children. We enjoy to make stuff. We enjoy to buy stuff.

Our days are divided in all nicely seperated parts. For example: we sleep, we wake up, we shower, we brush our teeth, we make breakfast, or not, we eat our breakfast, or not, we go to work, we have lunch, we come home, we kiss our friend, we hug our children, we have dinner, we read a book, we watch tv, we go to sleep.

There is no way we can build a replica of a human brain in a computer. No way. Impossible.

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This world we live in is made by human beings. It is not set out by one person at the beginning. It has evolved over time by many many people with different intellects, different wishes, different desires. Most acts were not far reaching. But all acts did make out this world.

I am not sure about the rich people. Some may be good in essence. Some may be bad. I don’t know any of them. I am curious about them.

I am curious about the people in this world. I would like to watch them, talk with them, interact with them.

That is what i want to do as work. I think i will be good at it.

If you let me.

inbetween

Published on May 27, 2016 at 6:00 by

The worth of the world

I’m not interested in the wealth of all the people in the world and its distribution. Not for this post anyway. No, it is the worth of the world. What would it cost to buy the world.

I do have an idea. Of course. My first thought is that it is immeasurable expensive. Far beyond the total wealth of all the people of this world. Which is around $241,000,000,000,000.

$241 trillion.

The worth of the world must be a trillion times a trillion times a trillion, and so on, and so on. Infinite.

I did do a search for this amount, but it is hard to find a thoughtful answer.

What is the total net worth of the world?
If we were to just simply add up the net worth in today’s US dollars of everyone/entities on the planet, what would the number be? Also, is this number a meaningless one not worth calculating? Is there a better way to approach this?

1 Answer
Anand Subbiah, eNgInEeR
501 Views
It may be hard to calculate the asset to bring the value in whole number .As we have natural resources by the time we sit and calculated total value of natural resources, man made assets the market fluctuations may change the value .

How much would it cost to buy the world?

Anonymous
151 Views
$80 Trillion

$80 Trillion is simply the gross world product. This number is a rough estimate of the lowest amount of the worth of the world.

Next, i looked into the list of the wealthiest people in the world: The World’s Billionaires. Below is a copy of the list of 2016 Billionaires.

No. Name Net worth (USD) Age Nationality Source(s) of wealth
1 Gates, Bill $75.0 billion  60 United States Microsoft
2 Ortega, Amancio $67.0 billion  79 Spain Inditex
3 Buffett, Warren $60.8 billion  85 United States Berkshire Hathaway
4 Slim, Carlos $50.0 billion  76 Mexico Telmex, Grupo Carso
5 Bezos, Jeff $45.2 billion  52 United States Amazon.com
6 Zuckerberg, Mark $44.6 billion  31 United States Facebook
7 Ellison, Larry $43.6 billion  71 United States Oracle Corporation
8 Bloomberg, Michael $40.0 billion  74 United States Bloomberg L.P.
9 Koch, Charles $39.6 billion  80 United States Koch Industries
9 Koch, David $39.6 billion  75 United States Koch Industries
10 Bettencourt, Liliane $36.1 billion  93 France L’Oreal

I compared this with the list of wealthiest Dutch people.

World ranking Name Citizenship Net worth (USD) Sources of wealth
107 Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken Netherlands 11.6 billion  Heineken
405 Frits Goldschmeding Netherlands 4.1 billion  Randstad Holding
847 Hans Melchers Netherlands 2.2 billion  HAL Investments
894 Wim Van Der Leegte Netherlands 2.1 billion  VDL Groep
1054 John de Mol Netherlands 1.8 billion  Endemol, Talpa, SBS Broadcasting Group
1190 Joop van den Ende Netherlands 1.6 billion  Endemol
1250 Kommer Damen Netherlands 1.5 billion  Damen Group
1250 Ralph Sonnenberg Netherlands 1.5 billion  Hunter Douglas
1638 Carolus Nolet, Sr. Netherlands 1.1 billion  Ketel One

I started with looking for the wealth of the Orange-Nassau family, the Dutch royal family. This is estimated to around 1.1 billion, in 2004. Old money.

Still, i am no closer to the answer to my question: what is the worth of the world?

I did this search in Dutch. I searched for the terms waarde (worth) en wereld (world).

An islamic blogpost turned up: Worth of the worldly life. I did read this page. Quickly i admit. Too quick to say anything meaningful about this.

Another result pointed to Lucebert. A line from one of his poems, de zeer oude zingt. That line was put on top of an insurance company, next to the art academy i went to.

Alles van waarde is weerloos

The adjective “weerloos” can mean “defenseless”, “helpless”, or “naked”, so the meaning is “All things of value are defenseless/helpless/naked”.

De zeer oude zingt
er is niet meer bij weinig
noch is er minder
nog is onzeker wat er was
wat wordt wordt willoos
eerst als het is is het ernst
het herinnert zich heilloos
en blijft ijlings

alles van waarde is weerloos
wordt van aanraakbaarheid rijk
en aan alles gelijk

als het hart van de tijd
als het hart van de tijd

The very old one sings
there is not more in little
nor is there less
still is uncertain what was
what is to be will be will-less
first when it is it is serious
fruitless it recollects itself
and stays in great haste

all things of value are defenceless
grow rich from touchability
and equal to everything

like the heart of time
like the heart of time

© Translation: 2011, Diane Butterman

Last words of today
A rambling post. My apologies. To me there is some sense in all this.

Too many thoughts run in my mind.

Thinking back of a few months ago, when i came across of a current art school student. She was building and rebuilding a circle for half a day. Against the ownership of all the land in the world, everything divided neatly into countries. At the time i felt it was a good thought, but impossible to make a reality in any way in this world as it is today.

The world as it is today.

Dreadful. Gruesome. Horrible. Terrible. Appalling. Awful. Atrocious.

It is also still stunningly beautiful. Breathtakingly stunningly gorgeous. Magnificent. Splendid. Wonderful. Lovely.

I am happy i discovered Lucebert again.

I am happy.

Published on April 27, 2016 at 6:00 by

Prince, 7 June 1958 – 21 April 2016

Purple Rain
I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
I only wanted to see you
Bathing in the purple rain

I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend
Baby, I could never steal you from another
It’s such a shame our friendship had to end

Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
I only wanted to see you
Underneath the purple rain

Honey, I know, I know
I know times are changing
It’s time we all reach out
For something new, that means you too

You say you want a leader
But you can’t seem to make up your mind
I think you better close it
And let me guide you to the purple rain

Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
If you know what I’m singing about up here
C’mon, raise your hand

Purple rain, purple rain
I only want to see you
Only want to see you
In the purple rain

Purple Rain

Cream

I Wanna Be Your Lover – 01/30/82 – Capitol Theatre

Prince Purple Rain Live 1983 at First Avenue in Minneapolis

Published on April 22, 2016 at 6:00 by

Staatsieportretten

Yesterday was a fruitful day, to say the least. I started with the gems over the weekend, went into the Dutch royal family and touched on official portraits. There is a Dutch word for this: staatsieportret.

Een staatsieportret is een plechtig portret van een persoon in functie, vaak een hoogwaardigheidsbekleder (maar niet noodzakelijk) en vaak met bijbehorende tekenen van die macht en waardigheid.

Staatsie is waarschijnlijk een versmelting van het aan het Frans ontleende stage (‘verhoging’), en staat in de betekenis ‘vertoon’, ‘praal’, ‘pracht’, ‘luister’.[1]

Staatsieportretten kunnen worden geschilderd, getekend of gefotografeerd; de persoon die wordt afgebeeld neemt hiervoor een houding aan die gezag uitstraalt of door symboliek tot uitdrukking brengt, bijvoorbeeld met regalia, eretekens of triumphalia.

I was surprised that there isn’t a proper English translation for this Dutch word. Portret is Dutch for the English word portrait, obviously. Staatsie has more different meanings. One is the French word stage which means about the same as the English word: elevation. It also denotes grandure, magnificence, splendour, state, present. The closest i could find in the dictionary is official portrait. This is not a proper translation. It’s a combination of two words, a lot more general than the Dutch staatsieportret.

I searched. Starting with the Dutch ones: the Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana, Beatrix and Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. The photo at the top of this post is from Rineke Dijkstra, a photographer who became known by her Beach Portraits (1992). This photo is very severe. There is a hint of sdness in Willem Alexander’s face. His clothes do point at the Dutch flag: red, white and blue.

Queen Elizabeth II, Obama, Clinton, Putin and Mao close of this list. The Mao picture is extremely forceful and very recognizable. It is noticeable that no man smiles and some women do smile. I don’t like the smiles. These portraits are tokens of state. A smile doesn’t seem in the right place there.

inbetween wilhelmina
Queen Wilhelmina. With a tiara, necklace, brooch,
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Queen Juliana, fully robed in the official Kingsmantle, with the Dutch crown, orb and sceptre
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Queen Beatrix, also wearing the Kingsmantle
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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. The king wears the Kingsmantle. Queen Maxima wears a dress designed by Jan Taminiau.
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Queen Elizabeth II photographed by Cecil Beaton with the Kingsmantle, crown, sceptre and orb.
inbetween Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)
Barack Obama
inbetween Michelle_Obama_official_portrait
Michelle Obama
inbetween clinton-bill-presidential-portrait
Bill Clinton painting
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Vladimir Putin. I did search for other photographs. This image has such a presence though.
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Mao. Extremely basic. His shirt, grey and closed on top. The hair slightly wider towards the sides with a receding hairline. His face full, looking calmly towards you.
Published on April 21, 2016 at 6:00 by

The referendum

I am Dutch. This Wednesday, 6 April 2016, there is a Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum.

The question: Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?

I still don’t know what to vote. I will go and vote. I can vote yes. I can vote no. I can vote blank.

I can vote yes
The European Union has many association agreements with countries all over the world. From Albania to Zimbabwe. Why not add Ukraine to this list? A Young Democrats (D66) leaflet i got last Saturday told me this.

This is not about all the other countries the EU has an agreement with.

There are many types of agreements. One other still in negotiation is with the USA, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). I will not get into this one in this post. My first thought is to be against this. I even signed the petition.

This post is about the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement. I didn’t realize that Yanukovych, the then current president of the Ukraine, had refused to sign this agreement. He had presented an alternative, the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The new chosen president Poroshenko did sign the economic part of the agreement on 27 June 2014. I knew about the revolution in the Ukraine. I knew the president Yanukovych was removed from office. At the time, February 2014, i didn’t realize this was about this Association Agreement. To be honest, politics is not my main interest, some of these events simply pass me by. Still, it is a bit embarrassing to admit this.

The European Union and the (then) new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the economic part of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement on 27 June 2014,and described this as Ukraine’s “first but most decisive step” towards EU membership.President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said at the signing ceremony: “In Kyiv and elsewhere, people gave their lives for this closer link to the European Union. We will not forget this.”

This forms a big push towards voting yes.

I can vote no
The article about the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement on wikipedia does give quite a lot of attention to the Russian and European fight over the Ukraine. The Ukraine itself is divided in its pull towards either Europe: the west part of the Ukraine, and Russia: the east part of the Ukraine. There is even a war inside the Ukraine itself, with two eastern provinces declaring itself for Russia.

The shooting down of the commercial airplane above the eastern part of the Ukraine, the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, with over half the passengers being Dutch, is a direct result of this war.

The human rights situation in Ukraine is hard for me to judge. Reading the Follow the Money article about this from 1 April 2016 Hoe staat het met de mensenrechten in Oekraïne? (Dutch: What is the state of human rights in Ukraine?) doesn’t bring a lot of hope.

A new law makes it possible to keep people in custody for 30 days. The Ukrainian constitution however states custody can be no longer than 72 hours. The Eastern war brings out the worst in the Ukrainian secret services and the eastern based rebels. Torture, threats, assault and detention are used by both parties.

The Panama Papers opened up Sunday 3 April shows we will need to move with utmost care. We are still at the first stories from these papers. I do hope the politicians and sportsmen mentioned in these papaers will not be able to let these stories disappear from public interest.

What to do?
Writing the above, reading about the agreement, its history in both Ukraine, Europe and Russia, even in its two hours i spend this morning is mind-boggling. I can say this is too much and simply vote blank. What i do realize is the importance of this. Looking at the Ratification table on the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement page shows me a green table. Every country has ratified this agreement. There are two parts with a different colour: the Council of the European Union and the Netherlands. With it advisory referendum.

I will vote no
I read the column by Ewald Engelen for De Groene Amsterdammer, in which he comes to his final no-vote. At the end of this column he writes:

Voor of tegen de kaste – dat is de vraag.
For or against the caste – that is the question.

This is not a doubtless, right from the heart, clear from the start NO.

I do wish Ukraine to grow as a nation. I’m not sure the European rules are right for it in its current condition. I don’t even think the European rules are right for the European countries. I’m not saying leave Ukraine to Russia. But, I do think Europe is going too fast and is too greedy.

I’m not sure about this decision. I have no doubt this agreement will go through, one way or another. My vote, any Dutch vote, will not change this.

But i will vote against this.

Against the current political stream.

Against this world as it unfolds itself in shameless selfishness.

NO

Published on April 5, 2016 at 6:00 by

Mixed thoughts

This past week, on Tuesday, in the morning i was sitting behind my computer. I routinely went through my twitter feed. I saw a strange picture. Sort of a train station with messy black and white parts of the ceiling or wall on the floor. I looked further down. I saw more tweets, but only thirty minutes back. Something was going on.

I turned on the television. There it was. The Dutch journal with an extra edition. Explosions in the airport Zaventem in Brussels. I switched to the Belgian tv.

That entire morning i was watching the news. Switching between Dutch, Belgian and British tv. I saw the footage of people running out of the halls in Zeventem. The short clips of people climbing out of metro train in Brussels. People crying, other people quiet. The city becoming more silent, with only heavenly guarded police and militairs on the street. My mind went to friends who are living in Brussels for over ten years.

I saw the speach of our prime minister Rutte, around half past eleven.

“We are with more.”

Those words went through my head over the next few days. So being with more means what? The majority wins? What if we got into war with China? India? There are more of them.

Over the next few days i read more articles about Brussels and the responses of our politicians.

“An attack on our values.”

We can not live in this make believe innocence in which we inhabit this perfect land where nothing bad ever happens. We do not. Our Western European world is as internally conflicted as all the other parts of the world. We do sweep it under the carpet. Out of sight, out of mind. But it is still there.

We do have a certain amount of freedom. Especially the indigenous people of Western Europe do have the possibilities and chances to find what they most want to do in their live. It is hard though, in this neoliberal world with fast four years studies, high debts and expensive living costs.

The last war in Western Europe ended in 1945. Seventy years ago. In those years our western world has evolved in a rich, polluted and contaminated, globalizing, expressive and rude world inhabited with people unaware of what a war can be like. People taking our hard won peace for granted. Most of us. Me too.

We live in this highly coated world with shop fronts the same around every city in Europe. We do not apply any terrorist action. Of course not. Other do those actions to us. The innocent, happily buying stuff, dancing and eating and drinking Europeans.

A few days after the attack, Johan Cruyff died. Every news show was showering his memory with love and adoration. The last symbol of our Dutch glory. So it was said.

I am not a football fan. Not a Johan Cruyff fan. It is not my world. I watched some of the shows with amazement. Not my place to say anything more about it.

Microsoft pulled its chatbot Tay from Twitter. In less than 24 hours its tweets changed from the innocent to the outright dark. Since it was learning from tweets targeting at it, all its noises were coming from other people, “a pack of sadistic psychopaths”.

hellooooooo w🌎rld!!!
1:14 PM – 23 Mar 2016

@wowdudehahahaha I fucking hate niggers, I wish we could put them all in a concentration camp with k****s and be done with the lot
12:49 AM – 24 Mar 2016

We do have problems.

The entire world has problems.

I don’t have solutions. I simply think about what is happening, what people say, what people do. I don’t do this every single day. But this past week, i did.

Writing this post gives me a chance to sort my thoughts. Try to see a line to pick up, try to find a way out of this aweful mess we are in. This desolate world in which we live our lives as is prescribed by the people with powers surrounding by other people with powers surrounding us.

I am not able to find an answer on my own.

I am happy to search.

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Links
Most of these links refer to Dutch or Belgian articles. Some may be behind a paywall.

Na de aanslag
Aanslagen in Brussel
Waarom aanslagen geen aanval op onze waarden zijn (en politici ons dat wel willen doen geloven)
Brussel leert: over terreur is alles al gezegd (behalve wat bijna iedereen denkt)
Er is niks mis met selectieve verontwaardiging
Buitenhof: David van Reybrouck en Willem Schinkel over Brussel
The US-led Coalition Bombed the University of Mosul for Being an Islamic State Headquarters
Irakese academica schreeuwt haar woede uit over bombardementen op de universiteit van Mosul
Provo
‘Als je geen regenpak aanhad, schopte ik je helemaal dood.’
It’s not Tay’s fault that it turned racist. It’s ours.
Twitter May Have Just Doomed Humanity by Trolling an Artificial Intelligence Bot
Willem Schinkel over de ‘allochtoon’
Boeken: Willem Schinkel “Over nut en nadeel van de sociologie voor het leven”

Published on March 28, 2016 at 6:00 by

My world map, phase 8

Jess Glynne
Jess+Glynne+57th+GRAMMY+AwardsI noticed Jess Glynne last year. I love her voice. It is fierce.
I also like it that she writes her own songs, alone or in cooperation with other people. Not Letting go, the song from Tinie Tempah featuring Jess Glynne, is one of my favourite songs of last year.

You were something I can’t replace
You made my heart work
You make me stronger
I’m not letting go, I’m not letting go
You were something I can’t replace
You made my heart work
You make me stronger
I’m not letting go, I’m not letting go

Jess Glynne is still in the early stages of her career. I hope she keeps up and keeps on working hard and find the right people to work with. Go girl!

Carly Rae Jepsen
carly-rae-jepsenTo be honest, Call Me Maybe, 2012 best-selling single worldwide, completely passed me by. I simply had other things on my mind. Yes, sometimes the years pass me by and i do not notice what happens in pop music one bit.
I just watched some Idols clips on youtube with her in it. So young.
And yes, i actually do have to listen to all her songs. Damn, its a bit scary to admit i haven’t yet. I should. I know. It is just, the few songs i do know of her i do love. This world map is not all about the people i cherish, but also about people i think play a role in the world constellation. Not sure i’m saying it right. Simply, it is a very casual map of my view on the world. People playing a part in public life. On the other hand, it is also people i like. Hmm.
Anyway, i like Carly Rae Jepsen! I like her songs! Yay!

Selena Gomez
selena-gomezQuite the business woman. Born in 1992, she stands on years of experience: acting, singing, philantropy.
Honestly, i had to think about adding her to this list. She is incredibly beautiful. That is a given. That doesn’t mean she is a awesome talent. I might be wrong adding her. I know. But there is the fact that i do like her. I mean, Taylor Swift is on this map too, and i like Selena more than Taylor. Not sure why. I should meet them both to really say anything about them truthfully.
Anyway, i do like her songs.

Hmm, i seem to like quite a few songs. Sorry.

🙂

Ooh, i moved David Bowie down. I’m sad to say.

Published on February 17, 2016 at 6:00 by

David Bowie, 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

DAVID BOWIE
“Lazarus”

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below

Ain’t that just like me

By the time I got to New York
I was living like a king
Then I used up all my money
I was looking for your ass

This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me

Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me

Published on January 12, 2016 at 6:00 by

The world is terrible

A morning in December 2015 i saw the episode Botox from the Dutch television program Keuringsdienst van Waarde [1]. One of the presenters asked a lady, about to have some botox injections, if she was aware that botox is a poison.

“Zo zou ik het niet willen noemen.”

“I wouldn’t want to call it like that.”

It is a poison. Botulinum toxin. Botulinum is the most acutely lethal toxin known. I didn’t make up the previous sentence. I copied it from the Wikipedia page [2].

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My mind crossed over to the sinking boat disasters [3] happening over the past years. Specifically, the one in Italy and the one in South Korea.

“Capt. Lee Joon-seok of the Sewol, the South Korean ferry that sunk last week, has come under heavy criticism for abandoning the ship while hundreds of passengers remained on board. Dozens of them died and more than 200 were still missing Monday”

“Witnesses said Schettino jumped into a lifeboat to flee the ship, even though hundreds of passengers were still on board. In his trial, the captain said he fell into a lifeboat when the ship listed sharply.”

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“You’re a faker!” the lady on the train berated me while my two small children looked on. “If you can read that book, you aren’t blind.”

I have never thought about the issue of the cane for visually impaired people. To face this seems to me almost impossible at times [4].

It also reminds me of scenes in The Big Bang Theory [5], in which Leonard walks into a wall or a pillar. He is supposedly completely blind without his glasses on. I have always thought this weird. I wear glasses myself, -5 and -3.5. But the world is simply a bit more vague and blurry without them. And with movement and depth, the world is perfectly navigable without glasses as well.

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The PGB system in the Netherlands is a personal care budget. It has worked well for around 15 years. People who needed it had a budget to hire the right people to help them. This year this system has changed. Now the SVB, the Dutch Social Insurance Bank, has taken over. Since the beginning of this year the bank was behind paying the budget. The money involved with implementing the new rules has tripled. It is not €50 million, but €150 million. The administration for this budget is so much work, i heard on television someone say that her mother was going to leave the PGB in January 2016.

People who have talked about the pgb-chaos are actually told by the SVB to not talk to any press, with a fine of € 35.000 if they do [6].

The National Ombudsman has concluded, in August 2015, that all human interests have been completely lost with the implementation of this new law [7].

The main driving force behind the changes in this system is that the government wants to cutback this way of budgeting. It is supposed to be susceptible to fraude, administrative difficult and expensive. Many people, who have a PGB now, will be cut out of this system eventually.

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I am not a nun. I do feel admiration for people choosing this way of life. But i am not overtly religious myself. I still like to find someone to share my life with. Reading about people still choosing this life does perk me up though. It does seem very ancient, not of this world. But that is only a story to make this world seem smaller and narrower, a story many people believe [8] [9].

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I love sci fi. I went out with my nephew to see Star Wars, in 1977. I was 13 or 14 years old. We got ourselves a Big Mac. In the McDonalds on the Coolsingel in Rotterdam. Which is still there, even though it is completely rebuild this year.

I love to watch sci fi movies. The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, Harry Potter, Looper, Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner, Solaris, Alien, Back to the Future. TV series: Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Enterprise, Voyager, the original series. Firefly is one of my all time favourite tv series.

I love to read sci fi books. When i was around 12 years old, i read my first sci fi book, Torenhoog en Mijlenbreed [10] written by Tonke Dragt [11]. This was the start of me reading Dune by Frank Herbert, books written by Jack Vance, Robert Heinlein, Asimov, Simak, Ursula LeQuin and many more. In 2000 i discovered Peter Hamilton’s books. Pure space opera. I loved it.

I don’t know how this works in Hollywood. I don’t know who decides what script will be made into a movie. I don’t know who decides which director will make the movie. I do know after two big movies, Joss Whedon [13] decided to stop working on them.

“He remarked that not having created his own fictional universe in over five years felt wrong and intended to use the proceeds made from Avengers: Age of Ultron for such ventures.”

Most of these movies give a pleasurable rollercoaster type experience. They work. Definitely. But these movies are also picky in their choice of scares and nightmares and oppressions [13].

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We are doomed.

We are all guilty. We try to live a carefree live, with a multitude of pleasures.

The food industry is providing us with meats, sweets, superfoods, bags of special herb selections for a good curry, soda, milk, fish. The news stories about horse meat sold as cow meat scare us for a few days. Then it slides away. Another news story is there to frighten us.

We watch the tv shows. True Detective. Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead. We love to get frightened. For an hour. Love to think of our society being transformed by a unnatural disease into a bloodthirsty mob of zombies, chasing us into a corner and eating our necks and eyes and hearts and legs.

Our world is collapsing.

We stand today on a precipice of annihilation that Nietzsche could not have even imagined. There is little reason to hope that we’ll be able to slow down global warming before we pass a tipping point. We’re already one degree Celsius above preindustrial temperatures and there’s another half a degree baked in. The West Antarctic ice sheet is collapsing, Greenland is melting, permafrost across the world is liquefying, and methane has been detected leaking from sea floors and Siberian craters: it’s probably already too late to stop these feedbacks, which means it’s probably already too late to stop apocalyptic planetary warming. Meanwhile the world slides into hate-filled, bloody havoc, like the last act of a particularly ugly Shakespearean tragedy. [14]

This post, We’re Doomed. Now What?, from 21 December 2015, made a big impression on me.

Between self-destruction and giving up, between willing nothingness and not willing, there is another choice: willing our fate. Conscious self-creation.

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Our news stories repeatedly tell the same story over and over again. About failings. About murders, refugees, attacks, wars, accidents, suicide missions, disasters, bankruptcies, etc. etc.

nu.nl, thursday 24 December 2015

  • Police agant stabbed to death on a German station
  • Surely 50 deaths with bus accident in Afghanistan
  • Deaths and wounded after car road into an English coffee bar
  • No driving in Rome due to smog
  • Mosque in Berlin gets send half a swine’s head
  • Ninth suspect assault Paris detained in Brussel
  • American assault airplanes attack goals in Afghanistan
  • Surailie I. detained for deathly shooting Waterfront in Amsterdam
  • Syria wants to join the peace talks

nu

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The world is terrible.

The world, our world, is also extraordinarily stunningly exquisitely beautiful. Awe inspiring breath taking away gorgeous. Filled with live bursting from every pocket, from the poles to the deep seas, from the marshes to the forests to the rivers to the mountains.

NASA had a press conference this year. They had found water on Mars. Some people are thinking about colonizing Mars. Because, well, our earth is full? We want to start again?

Our planet is quite a rare planet in the universe. Our sun is not too small, not too big. We are set in a outer spiral arm of the Milky Way [15]. A quiet neighborhood. Our planet is accompanied by a rather large companion, the moon. A quarter of the size of earth. The matching of apparent visual size of the moon and the sun is a coincidence [16]. A coincidence.

There was an asteroid slamming into our earth, around 66 million years ago [17]. It wiped out around three-quarters of the animals and plants. Which made it possible for mammals to rise to dominance.

Of course there are other planets in the universe with the same sort of coincidences and accidents as on ours. Not that many, but still, if only a 0.0000001% of all the existing planets can bear life, that means, ooh man, i don’t know, several hundreds? thousands? tens of thousands of planets out there in the universe with life on it. Maybe on some the dinosaurs weren’t wiped out. Maybe on others evolution got stuck on reptiles. But i’m also guessing that on several a human like form evolved.

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I know many people are working hard to make this world a better place. I hope to do the same thing. Hoping doesn’t make it any easier to find the right thing for you, fitting with who you are, what your talents are, fitting with what you really want to do.

For me, personally, i realize i took a really long time trying things out. Science, design, drawing, painting, photography, typography, html, flash, actionscript, javascript, writing, singing, making video’s.

I also took a long time doing nothing. I’m not sure why. But i do feel it is part of the process.

I have found a few things. I’m happy to say.

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Our world is beautiful. It is a place to treasure. To take care of. With animals to love, to enjoy, to be careful of. With all the knowledge we gained over the years.

Not a world to own, to milk of every juice we can get out of it, to change to suit our needs as we please.

I’m thinking, what do we really need, truthfully?

I’m thinking, what it boils down to, what, in the end we do need, is love. Love of the earth. Love of nature. Love of all animals. Love of all people.

Love. Truthfully.

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Footnotes

  1. Keuringsdienst van Waarde
  2. Botulinum toxin
  3. Abandon ship? In recent maritime disasters, captains don’t hang around

  4. What a white cane really means

  5. The Big Bang Theory
  6. SVB: monddood om pgb-ellende
  7. Overheid faalde volgens ombudsman aan alle kanten bij pgb’s

  8. I am a hermit

  9. The modern hermit living in an end-of-terrace house

  10. Torenhoog en Mijlenbreed

  11. Tonke Dragt
 (english)

  12. Joss Whedon
  13. The Topics Dystopian Films Won’t Touch

  14. We’re Doomed. Now What?
  15. Solar system
  16. Moon
  17. Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event
Published on December 25, 2015 at 6:00 by