Categories for World

The Value of Science

by Richard P. Feynman

Of all its many values, the greatest must be the freedom to doubt.

“The Value of Science” was given as a public address at the 1955 autumn meeting of the National Academy of Sciences. held on the Caliech campus November 2, 3 and 4.

FROM TIME TO TIME, people suggest to me that scientists ought to give more consideration to social problems – especially that they should be more responsible in considering the impact of science upon society. This same suggestion must he made to many other scientists, and it seems a be generally believed that if the scientists would only look at these very difficult social problems and not spend so much time fooling with the less vital scientific ones, great success would come of it.

It seems to me that we do think about these problems from time to time, but we don’t put full‑time effort on them – the reason being that we know we don’t have any magic formula for solving problems, that social problems are very much harder than scientific ones, and that we usually don’t get anywhere when we do think about them.

I believe that a scientist looking at non‑scientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy – and when he talks about a non‑scientific matter, he will sound as naive as anyone untrained in the matter. Since the question of the value of science is not a scientific subject, this talk is dedicated to proving my point – by example.

The first way in which science is of value is familiar to everyone. It is that scientific knowledge enables us to do all kinds of things and to make all kinds of things. Of course if we make good things, it is not only to the credit of science; it is also to the credit of the moral choice which led us to good work. Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or had‑hut it does not carry instructions on how to use it. Such power has evident value – even though the power may be negated by what one does.

I learned a way of expressing this common human problem on a trip to Honolulu. In a Buddhist temple there, the man in charge explained a little bit about the Buddhist religion for tourists, and then ended his talk by telling them he had something to say to them that they would never forget – and I have never forgotten it. It was a proverb of the Buddhist religion:

“To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven ; the same key opens the gates of hell.”

What then, is the value of the key to heaven? It is true that if we lack clear instructions that determine which is the gate to heaven and which the gate to hell, the key may be a dangerous object to use, but it obviously has value. How can we enter heaven without it?

The instructions, also, would be of no value without the key. So it is evident that, in spite of the fact that science could produce enormous horror in the world it is of value because it can produce something.

Another value of science is the fun called intellectual enjoyment which some people get from reading and learning and thinking about it, and which others get from working in it. This is a very real and important point and one which is not considered enough by those who tell us it is our social responsibility to reflect on the impact of science on society.

Is this mere personal enjoyment of value to society as a whole? No! But it is also a responsibility to consider the value of society itself. Is it, in the last analysis, to arrange things so that people can enjoy things? If so, the enjoyment of science is as important as anything else.

But I would like not to underestimate the value of the world view which is the result of scientific effort. We have been led to imagine all sorts of things infinitely more marvelous than the imaginings Of poets and dreamers of the past. It shows that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man. For instance, how much more remarkable it is for us all to be stuck – half of us upside down – by a mysterious attraction, to a spinning ball that has been swinging in space for billions of years, than to be carried on the back of an elephant supported on a tortoise swimming in a bottomless sea.

I have thought about these things so many times alone that I hope you will excuse me if I remind you of some thoughts that I am sure you have all had – or this type of thought – which no one could ever have had in the past, because people then didn’t have the information we have about the world today.

For instance, I stand at the seashore, alone, and start to think. There are the rushing waves . . . mountains of molecules, each stupidly minding its own business . . trillions apart . . . yet forming white surf in unison.

Ages on ages . . . before any eyes could see . . year after year . . . thunderously pounding the shore as now. For whom, for what? . . . on a dead planet, with no life to entertain.

Never at rest . . . tortured by energy . . . wasted prodigiously by the sun . . . poured into space. A mite makes the sea roar.

Deep in the sea, all molecules repeat the patterns of one another till complex new ones are formed. They make others like themselves . . . and a new dance starts.

Growing in size and complexity . . . living things, masses of atoms, DNA, protein dancing a pattern ever more intricate.

Out of the cradle onto the dry land here it is standing . . . atoms with consciousness . . . matter with curiosity.

Stands at the sea . . . wonders at wondering . . . I . . . a universe of atoms . . . an atom in the universe.

The grand adventure
The same thrill, the same awe and mystery, come again and again when we look at any problem deeply enough. With more knowledge comes deeper, more wonderful mystery, luring one on to penetrate deeper still. Never concerned that the answer may prove disappointing, but with pleasure and confidence we turn over each new stone to find unimagined strangeness leading to more wonderful questions and mysteries – certainly a grand adventure!

It is true that few unscientific people have this type of religious experience. Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray this remarkable thing. I don’t know why. Is nobody inspired by our present picture of the universe? The value of science remains still unsung by singers, so you are reduced to hearing – not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.

Perhaps one of the reasons is that you have to know how to read the music. For instance, the scientific article says, perhaps, something like this: “The radioactive phosphorous content of the cerebrum of the rat decreases to one‑half in a period of two weeks.” Now what does that mean?

It means that phosphorus that is in the brain of a rat (and also in mine, and yours is not the same phosphorus as it was two weeks ago, but that all of the atoms that are in the brain are being replaced, and the ones that were there before have gone away.

So what is this mind, what are these atoms with consciousness? Last week’s potatoes! That is what now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago – a mind which has long ago been replaced.

That is what it means when one discovers how long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms, to note that the thing which I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance. The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, then go out always new atoms but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday.

The remarkable idea
When we read about this in the newspaper, it says, “The scientist says that this discovery may have importance in the cure of cancer.” The paper is only interested in the use of the idea, not the idea itself. Hardly anyone can understand the importance of an idea, it is so remarkable. Except that, possibly, some children catch on. And when a child catches on to an idea like that, we have a scientist. These ideas do filter down (in spite of all the conversation about TV replacing thinking), and lots of kids get the spirit – and when they have the spirit you have a scientist. It’s too late for them to get the spirit when they are in our universities, so we must attempt to explain these ideas to children.

I would now like to turn to a third value that science has. It is a little more indirect, but not much. The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize the ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty – some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.

Now. we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to he unsure – that it is possible to live and not know. But I don’t know whether everyone realizes that this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle. Permit us to question – to doubt, that’s all – not to be sure. And I think it is important that we do not forget the importance of this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Here lies a responsibility to society.

We are all sad when we think of the wondrous potentialities human beings seem to have, as contrasted with their small accomplishments. Again and again people have thought that we could do much better. They of the past saw in the nightmare of their times a dream for the future. We, of their future, see that their dreams, in certain ways surpassed, have in many ways remained dreams. The hopes for the future today are, in good share, those of yesterday.

Education, for good and evil
Once some thought that the possibilities people had were not developed because most of these people were ignorant. With education universal, could all men be Voltaires? Bad can be taught at least as efficiently as good. Education is a strong force, but for either good or evil.

Communications between nations must promote understanding: so went another dream. But the machines of communication can be channeled or choked. What is communicated can be truth or lie. Communication is a strong force also, but for either good or bad.

The applied sciences should free men of material problems at least. Medicine controls diseases. And the record here seems all to the good. Yet there are men patiently working to create great plagues and poisons. They are to be used in warfare tomorrow.

Nearly everybody dislikes war. Our dream today is peace. In peace, man can develop best the enormous possibilities he seems to have. But maybe future men will find that peace, too, can be good and bad. Perhaps peaceful men will drink out of boredom. Then perhaps drink will become the great problem which seems to keep man from getting all he thinks he should out of his abilities.

Clearly, peace is a great force, as is sobriety, as are material power, communication, education, honesty and the ideals of many dreamers.

We have more of these forces to control than did the ancients. And maybe we are doing a little better than most of them could do. But what we ought to be able to do seems gigantic compared with our confused accomplishments,

Why is this? Why can’t we conquer ourselves?

Because we find that even great forces and abilities do not seem to carry with them clear instructions on how to use them. As an example, the great accumulation of understanding as to how the physical world behaves only convinces one that this behavior seems to have a kind of meaninglessness. The sciences do not directly teach good and bad.

Through all ages men have tried to fathom the meaning of life. They have realized that if some direction or meaning could be given to our actions, great human forces would be unleashed. So, very many answers have been given to the question of the meaning of it all, But they have all been of different sorts, and the proponents of one answer have looked with horror at the actions of the believers in another. Horror, because from a disagreeing point of view all the great potentialities of this race were being channeled into a false and confining blind alley. In fact, it is from the history of the enormous monstrosities created by false belief that philosophers have realized the apparently infinite and wondrous capacities of human beings. The dream is to find the open channel.

What, then, is the meaning of it all? What can we say to dispel the mystery of existence?

If we take everything into account, not only what the ancients knew, but all of what we know today that they didn’t know, then I think that we must frankly admit that we do not know.

This is not a new idea; this is the idea of the age of reason. This is the philosophy that guided the men who made the democracy that we live under. The idea that no one really knew how to run a government led to the idea that we should arrange a system by which new ideas could be developed, tried out, tossed out, more new ideas brought in; a trial and error system. This method was a result of the fact that science was already showing itself to be a successful venture at the end of the 18th century. Even then it was clear to socially‑minded people that the openness of the possibilities was an opportunity, and it that doubt and discussion were essential to progress into the unknown. If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar.

Our responsibility as scientists
We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. There are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions and pass them on. It is our responsibility to leave the men of the future a free hand. In the impetuous youth of humanity, we can make grave errors that can stunt our grow for a long time. This we will do if we say we have the answers now, so young and ignorant; if we suppress all discussion, all criticism, saying, “This is it, boys, man is saved!” and thus doom man for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination. It has been done so man lines before.

It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress and great value of a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress that is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom, to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed, and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.


Published on April 6, 2017 at 6:00 by


The Action shop, a shop only 50 meters away from my house, i don’t visit that much. Only last week, some people i walked by and smiled to said to me it was good i lived so close to it. I shrugged.

I had this post as a draft for a couple of weeks. And yes, i didn’t use it. I just remembered. So i will delete that draft and keep this one in place.

I did buy two bedsheets in the past year. The ones i had were torn. I tried fixing them, but it all got loose once more. So i bought new ones. I did do a search for the cheapest ones i could find. The ones in the HEMA were 10 euros. The ones in the Action were 6,95. So yeah. Action.

A few months ago there was a television program on Dutch television about discount shops. That was what woke me up. I never thought people would buy so many things in there. But yes, they do. Whole houses filled up with things bought there.

Jinek interview with Roland Duong about discount shops (Dutch)

Earlier I bought plastic containers in the Action. Like a year and a half ago, not sure. But that is it. I did go into the shop once before, but i left a bit flabbergasted with nothing. So many things, all very cheap.

So today i went in specifically to make photos. I did worry a bit beforehand. There could be guards there, that could try to prevent me from taking the photos. Not that i will do anything with them. But that didn’t happen. Some people saw me taking the photos, but nobody said anything.

I was actually taking in everything that was there. I liked the paint brushes, the paint, the papers, the insect hotels, the coloured feltpens, the metal boxes, the plastic containers, the glass containers, the toothbrush sets for electrical brushes, the hair colourings, the candles, the gardening gloves, the underwear, some of the the food, like the bio nut paste. More than i had imagined.

Ooh, the name. Action. Another bolt in my piece about language. Remember!

Anyway, here are the photos. Enjoy!

Published on April 5, 2017 at 6:00 by

Dutch elections

Next week, Wednesday 15 March, the Dutch elections will be held. In this election all 150 members of the House of Representatives, the Tweede Kamer, are chosen.

No single party has ever managed to win a majority of the votes, good for 76 seats in the house. The Dutch government has been a coalition of several parties for more than a century.

I grew up in a left wing labour family. We had a Vara tv magazine, we listened to the Saturday radio show In de Rooie Haan. We watched the VPRO on Sundays and had the newspaper Het Vrije Volk, the Free People – which no longer exists. The first party i ever voted for was the Communistic Party. I was eighteen years old.

I never was terribly interested in politics. For convenience, i settled for the Dutch Labour party, the PvdA. I did vote most of the time. I might have skipped a few. I don’t remember.

The past two years i have changed, my life has changed. My thoughts about many things, like politics, have sharpened. These last weeks before the elections the debates and discussions on television are on almost every night. I don’t watch them all. The one thing that stuck was a question somebody in the audience asked Pechtold (D66) about his death wish. He was only in his late 50s.

We are all born free in this world with our own responsibility for our lives. The government has nothing to do with how somebody would like to end his or her own life. I’m really baffled by the question, as if the man was waiting for approval for his going away. The answer uses the word dignity. Death is simply the end of your life. I’d love it to be dignified for everybody, but i do see that it is not the case. To me, this drives the responsibility of our government too far. You can simply slit your wrists and be done with it. Not that i wish anyone to do this. But if you want to go, simply go.

I’m also thinking about the importance of money and economics. The way the future is projected. Plans of the parties are calculated through with an horizon of 60 years. So many things can happen in that time. It is impossible to know everything, or rather anything about these events. But it still goes through. Most parties parade the apparently good results.

Once i have a little money myself, i will donate some to the Peace garden. I will try to find people who are working on school gardens. I think every school, for children aged between 4 and 12 years old, should have a school garden system. With gardeners working with the children.

These are my personal dreams. If ever i get the money of course!

As for our country, my vote goes to the Partij van de Dieren. I like their thinking about economics. We do need to find a way to change the buying habits of so many people, buying all this nonsense junk in the shops. We do need to take care of our planet. It is a magical place with so many animals and plants sharing this world with us. We need to take care of all of it. Not kill and pollute.

Plan B (English)Plan B (Dutch).

I am still thinking about who i am going to vote for. Marianne Thieme is the main front person of the Partij van de Dieren. But i am also following Ewald Engelen on Facebook and Twitter, he is on number ten of the list. So my vote might go to him. Still thinking!

I am following my own dreams, my own thoughts, my own ideals. I’m happy i found a good party to place my votes with.

I do hope you will find a good place too.

Published on March 7, 2017 at 6:00 by

Life is wonderful

“It’s amazing what you can get if you quietly, clearly and authoritatively demand it.”

Meryl Streep

This quote from Meryl Streep i saw this week, most likely on facebook. It stuck in my mind. Quietly. Clearly. Authoritavely. Demand.

We are all born in this world, changing continuously. Some of us are lucky. Some of us are not. Some of us don’t even get born at all. Some die from a disease. Some from violence. The lucky ones? They get an education. They get a job. They get children, reasonably happy.

Our world is actually doing better. The past century the worldwide average life expectancy has risen from 32 to 70. Infant mortality has dropped from 19,5% to 3,69%. We earn more, averagely. We read more.

On the other hand, temperature is rising, the ice on the poles is melting, sea water is rising. Rain forests are being cut down. Animals loose their life habitats.

It is simple, we should control ourselves and our actions a bit more. Not consume that much anymore. Buy things only when really needed. Don’t throw away so many things. Be careful with plastics. Don’t buy that many clothes.


I do try to do this as much as possible. I separate my garbage into paper, glass, plastic and the rest. I bring my compost to the garden compost heap. I make many things myself: toothpaste, detergent, cleaning liquids, body butter. I work in the garden two days a week and get vegetables through that.

But i do understand i’m still part of a rather small group of people doing this. I read the blogs, i watch the videos. I love to see people tone down their life. Doing the things that makes them happy. Not for money.


This is my life now. I have set out this course myself. Nobody is forcing me to do any of this.

And i am thinking. Watching this world pass by. Watch the news, not the whole time, but a little bit at a time. Read the newspapers, not every single day, only once a month or so. Read blog posts, facebook, twitter, watch youtube videos.

There are so many sides we can pick. It seems like it doesn’t make a difference what we choose. But set all together, it does change the world.

I can only do my bit here. And talk about it on this website, of course.


So, what about my life?

Once i had a talk with someone at the garden. I said to him i didn’t feel it would go all wrong and bad with me. I said i felt too stable for that. I still believe that.

I am not sure of why i have picked this path for myself. I’m not even sure i picked it myself. It is just, i talked about it here in an earlier post, i remember around two years ago, i felt a sledgehammer hit me so hard. And shortly after that i was busy posting on That was not my choice. That happened to me. It is like, when you give up fighting yourself, fighting this thing beckoning you. Then there comes an easiness in you, a way to work, a way to communicate. I do feel i was conflicted before, and less conflicted now.

I am not saying that things are easy now, that i make no mistakes. I do make mistakes, and things can be really hard. But inside me, there is no innner conflict, not anymore.

So yes, my life is wonderful. Magnificent. Glorious.

“You’ve got to tell the world how to treat you. If the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble.”

James Baldwin

My best wishes to you.

I will see you again in 2017. Enjoy your final days in 2016.


Published on December 23, 2016 at 6:00 by

The world of finance

Yesterday i watched the VPRO Tegenlicht documentary about the truth of the financial system. The main person being interviewed is Joris Luyendijk. Luyendijk is a journalist whose book “Dit kan niet waar zijn” (Swimming with sharks – the English title), about the financial world, was a huge success in the Netherlands.

So today i watched some more. I collected most of the clips i had seen in this post. Most of these clips are about the financial crisis and its aftermath in 2008 – a wikipedia article i still need to read carefully. Truthfully, i was hardly aware of this crisis when it happened. I was working at the time, i had a monthly paycheck. I read the newspaper, i watched television talking shows. But it was very distant, it felt like it hardly had an impact on my world here in Rotterdam.

I do feel different now. More open. More aware of things going on. I also know i need to learn so many things. There is no way i can have an informed opinion about the specifics of things going on. The world is extremely complex. It has always been this way, but with globalization and the news and facebook and twitter and whatever new technique all stories move in dazzlingly fast ways all around.

Well, i do enjoy watching these videos. I have no idea how you, dear reader, will like these. Truthfully, i only watch around one in two or three clips in a blog post. Still, i do hope you will like some of these. Enjoy!

Most of the clips are in Dutch.

Published on December 8, 2016 at 6:00 by

The paper

This morning i went to the Coffee Company on the Meent and bought myself a medium latte with an extra shot of espresso and a piece of cheesecake. The cake is divided up into twelve pieces. Twelve! I would have divided it into eight pieces. Man, these companies really want to make a lot of money. I did say something to the girl helping me, but of course she can’t do anything about it. She only works there.

I sat inside drinking my coffee, watching out onto the Meent. I started to read the paper, the NRC Next. I used to have a subscription to the NRC, but stopped a couple of years back. The primairy reason is the lack of money, but hmm, i’m not sure now. Reading this news, every single day, all these parts of the world stacked next to each other, all these headlines, all these articles. Not every day is the same, not all the news is equally important, but in the paper they all seem to glide into each other.

But, it is still my favourite newspaper in the Netherlands. So when i go out and treat myself to coffee, i do read it. Not every article, but still. Today, i made some photos of the paper. Yes!

The main front article: Thanksgiving, with a focus on politically divided families. To be honest, i don't know why this piece takes up such a big part of the front page. Not that i'm not interested, but it is a difficult story with many different sides to it. Also on the front page: Geert Wilders, our Dutch populist politician who had the last word yesterday at the lawsuit going against him for what he said a few years ago: Minder Marokkanen! (Less Maroccans!). Also an article about television programs providing help to people who need it in many different areas. The inset paper has I Daniel Blake on the cover.
An article about the meaning of the word populisme. The title: Rather do not use the word populisme anymore. A bit lackluster really. Why not try to define the word with the help of dictionaries and etymologists. The title uses a very simple tactic, stop using the word. Which is an easy way out.
Another article about language. This time about the use of the word black, zwart. In the Netherlands for some years there is an upcoming fight against Zwarte Piet, Black Peet. Slowly this will most likely be faught out of our Dutch custom of celebrating Sinterklaas with his Zwarte Piet, on 5 December. I'm still not sure how i feel about this myself. I haven't celebrated a Sinterklaas with a Zwarte Piet for around thirty years or so, and i don't have a small child. Still, i should give this a bit more thought.
The outcome of a European process: research about pesticides needs to be made public. Good one.
Another article about Trump. Conflicts of interest surrounding him, his company, his family and other people he has given jobs in his upcoming government. Maybe one day i will write a bit more about Trump and his upcoming government. I am worried, yes.
A process against wearing a burka, the islamic way of clothing for some women, which also covers the face. Really, the covering of the face, making a person anonymous, unrecognizable gives me a very icky feeling. I don't like this at all. I know that in the Netherlands there are only a couple of hundred women who wear these coverings, but still, i find this going against everything i believe in.
An extensive article about television programs made with people who need help in some area. This article is critical about these programs. Not everyone is helped by participating in a program like this.
Around one million watchers for a program.
Bad Santa, the new Christmas movie for this year. The death of the Christmas movie. Terrible really.
The article about I Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach. Five star review! This article made me very mad, extremely pissed of. How our society has so little freedom for people to try to live their own life. Even with all the little differences between the western European countries, most of these countries are similar. The way bureaucracy depersonalizes people doing their work as they they should, with managers behind them makes me sick.
Published on November 25, 2016 at 6:00 by

A grey Sunday

Today, Sunday, it was a clouded day. Not wet no. But cold and grey. Only a few people turned up at the garden. It was still good. Further on we went with the wood chips. I filled a path between the rows. Soto filled the bit at the compost heap and the newly dug path at the side, between the hop and the newly planted raspberry plants. It was warming. I did keep on my fleece sweater, but it did get warm while working. I do feel my body right now, yes. Nothing that hurts much, it’s a good feeling.


Last week many thoughts crossed my mind. I finally went through the party program of the Party for the Animals, Partij voor de Dieren. I still need to read it more carefully. But i do think this party is closest to my own thoughts about our planet, about us humans, about all the animals and plants living here. Our current economic system is too much focused on making a profit. We humans, we are clever, we are knowledgeable. We have our science, our desire to learn everything about all the details of life, of the inorganic world around us, of the universe and the stars surrounding us. But i do think we need to learn how to control ourselves. How to take care of ourselves and everything around us on this still beautiful planet.

So yes, teaching our children about nature, having them learn by working in a small garden themselves, is one thing that crossed my mind. There are already schools doing this, there are already people working on getting this done and working. I’m also thinking about schooling older children and young adults get. I’m not sure, but i do think it is too much focused on making children learn skills they could use in our current working environment, not make them learn their own specific skills and broadening them with the help of their teachers and other students. Make work less taxable and make profit of companies more taxable. Return our working culture back to a more regional area, make all farmers work ecological, make communal vegetable gardens all over the country. Those are simply first thoughts in my head. Nothing is fixed yet, and so many things are already being worked on by so many people.

This is all so much a bunch of loose ideas, tumbling over each other. It’s good, thinking these thoughts. They will settle down a bit more over time. I’m happy i am thinking them.

More later. Salute!

Published on November 14, 2016 at 6:00 by


The past months i experienced this extreme dislike of the entire expedition to Mars. Elon Musk, one of the main initiators said the following:

An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: an engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Humankind evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years atomic weaponry created the potential to extinguish ourselves. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct.

I do understand this. An asteroid can always hit us. It hit the dinosaurs, and it wiped them out. Atomic weaponry can wipe us out, yes. Global warming can wipe us out, yes.

If we continue the way we do right now.

The odds are against us. We have a large written history of being selfish, greedy small people fighting to get the best out of life, no matter what. We have an even larger unwritten history with those exact same characteristics. Times of peace have been rare. Times of humans living in harmony with the world are rare.

There are many, many people fighting against this scenario. The people in the garden, the people i work with twice a week, are doing exactly that. One of them i called a warrior, one of the coordinators. Not a fighting knight, no, but still, fighting each day to make this world a little bit better. And there are many more people like that. In the Netherlands, in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

I don’t know precisely who is at the other end. The Kochs is one family which my eye fell on. There are a few more of those: Here Are The Corporations And Right-Wing Funders Backing The Education Reform Movement. Dark Money, a book written by Jane Mayer:

Mayer believes that the Koch brothers and a small number of allied plutocrats have essentially hijacked American democracy, using their money not just to compete with their political adversaries, but to drown them out.

I don’t know enough about all the people in the world to pinpoint a certain group. I do think some people in this world don’t care about our earth, about the animals living here, the plants living here. But mostly it is people simply not thinking things through. People too busy with their own lives. And it is hard. Yes.

I am 52 years old. I have worked around 20 years, earned my own keep, paid for my own computer. And now i’m thinking. Thinking hard. Thinking about what we do, in this time. Thinking about where we are going to, where this world will lead us.

So yes, war.

Not a wild fight, not a massive battlefield with dead bodies. Not that, i hope. I do hope for a getting together of like minded people prepared to fight for this planet. Like so many people are already doing right now. I feel like i’m the last person to join this fight. Which is not true, of course. I’m in the middle part.

So yes, minimize your waste, try to work at a vegetable garden close by, and if there isn’t any close by, try to start one. Eat good food, with little already prepared meals. Eat less meat. Compost. Don’t buy clothes each month. Don’t buy much at all.

For me, i would like to travel a bit more. Get to know people trying to make things work right. Get to know other gardeners. I would like to have my own garden, grow my own vegetables and herbs. And some flowers too! I don’t know where. I have no idea.

For me, my future keeps shrinking. My life is becoming richer. For me, i feel happy now. Terribly happy. With everything that worries me, everything i think about, everything i know i should know about more, with all that, i feel happy. And sometimes sad, and sometimes mad, and sometimes angry.

So yes, war! Wake up all the sleepy people! Gather everybody! Make them all shout NO! Not any more! We love our planet! We love our earth! We love our animals! We love our plants!

This willful destruction of our plains and our woods and our oceans stops here!

And yes, i actually mean this. And i can say it here, on my website, with no shame at all. Yay!


Published on November 4, 2016 at 6:00 by


No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!

Source: Nietzsche on How to Find Yourself and the True Value of Education

The real value of a real education [has] almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

‘This is water.’

‘This is water.’

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime.

Source: This Is Water: David Foster Wallace on Life

Published on September 1, 2016 at 6:00 by