Categories for Books, films and TV

14. Celebrating mystery

Look at it: nothing to see.
Call it colorless.
Listen to it: nothing to hear.
Call it soundless.
Reach for it: nothing to hold.
Call it intangible.

Triply undifferentiated,
it merges into oneness,
not bright above,
not dark below.

Never, oh! never
can it be named.
It reverts, it returns
to unbeing.
Call it the form of the unformed,
the image of no image.

Call it unthinkable thought.
Face it: no face.
Follow it: no end.

Holding fast to the old Way,
we can live in the present.
Mindful of the ancient beginnings,
we hold the thread of the Tao.

Source: Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin

Published on December 8, 2021 at 6:00 by

The Princess and the Pea

The princess and the pea
A fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen

Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. He travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. There were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. There was always something about them that was not as it should be. So he came home again and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have a real princess.

One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a knocking was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.

It was a princess standing out there in front of the gate. But, good gracious! what a sight the rain and the wind had made her look. The water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. And yet she said that she was a real princess.

“Well, we’ll soon find that out,” thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses.

On this the princess had to lie all night.

In the morning she was asked how she had slept.

“Oh, very badly!” said she. “I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It’s horrible!”

Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down beds. Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.

So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess; and the pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it.

There, that is a true story.

Published on December 6, 2021 at 6:00 by

1. Taoing

The way you can go
isn’t the real way.
The name you can say
isn’t the real name.

Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name’s the mother
of the ten thousand things.

So the unwanting soul
sees what’s hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.

Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.

Source: Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin

Published on December 2, 2021 at 6:00 by

Time passing

Reading the book Guns, Germs and Steel made me aware of the continuous speeding up of time worldwide. As figure 1.1 shows, human beings came into existence aruond 7 million years ago. Six million years later they spread out towards South West Asia, India and the south part of China. Half a million years later humans spread out towards Europe. Time is counted in millions of years, then ten thousand years, than thousands of years. Now in 2021 it is counted in days, seconds even.

We have spread out all around this earth we live on. This green and blue planet, this fertile soil we claim as our right, our property. Ours to do with as we please.

It is not right. We have to take care of this planet with so much more care. We lost our innocence a couple of hundred years ago, and i’m taking a rough guess here. It’s greed and selfishness which does make things worse. Unbelievable.

Published on November 5, 2021 at 6:00 by

Guns, Germs and Steel

Today i got up real early, around five in the morning. I made some keto coffee and i watched the Expeditie Robinson episode sent out yesterday. I do enjoy watching this show, but i would never participate in it. The whole division in groups, the making of ‘bondjes’ is nothing for me.

After that i watched two (or three?) Silent Witness episodes. It was still early days.

Around half past nine i went to the supermarket to get a few things. Coffee, cream and pedal bin bags. I spend the rest of the morning reading further in Guns, Germs and Steel. I do enjoy reading this book. I will need to read pros and cons for this book though.

Around one i went out again, this time to empty my compost bin in the school gardens close by. I made a short walk in the Essenburgpark. The sun was still shining. Right now, around a quarter past two, clouds are slowly covering the sky. It will rain later on in the day.

Published on November 2, 2021 at 6:00 by

53. Insight

If my mind’s modest,
I walk the great way.
is all I fear.

The great way is low and plain,
but people like shortcuts over the mountains.

The palace is full of splendor
and the fields are full of weeds
and the granaries are full of nothing.

People wearing ornaments and fancy clothes,
carrying weapons,
drinking a lot and eating a lot,
having a lot of things, a lot of money:
shameless thieves.
Surely their way
isn’t the way.

Source: Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin

Published on October 26, 2021 at 6:00 by


Today i went into the cinema Cinerama and watched Dune. I’m a bit unsure of what i feel about this movie. The beginning is a bit bombastic, well, up to halfway really. But it is all in the books, which i have read like ten times ever since i first bought them when i was like fifteen years old. So i’m happy i did see this movie, bombast be damned. Curious about the follow-up for sure.

I also enjoyed sitting in the cinema. It was quiet, i went to the 13:00 showing. There were like ten people sitting in there. When i left there was a short queue at the counter, but of course i don’t know what movie those people were going to.

When i was outside for a short time i felt like i was watching another movie. The movie of Rotterdam, in September 2021, with a bit of sunshine and clouds mixed up and quite a few people. Lovely!

Published on September 30, 2021 at 6:00 by

i’m not lonely

i’m not lonely
sleeping all alone
you think i’m scared
but i’m a big girl
i don’t cry or anything

i have a great
big bed to roll around
in and lots of space
and i don’t dream
bad dreams like i used
to have that you
were leaving me

now that you’re gone
i don’t dream
and no matter
what you think
i’m not lonely
all alone

From The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni: 1968–1995 (public library)

Published on September 28, 2021 at 6:00 by