I thought I agreed to give a keynote talk in Copenhagen. It turned out to be in Utrecht. Glad I noticed it in time to book my flights. But I lost two days of work and I had to again travel to my absolute un-favorite country in Europe. After 15 years, I could barely recognize much of Utrecht. Perhaps it is just as good.
Fortunately, my hotel room was large enough to fit an entire dance floor. And there was a tub so squeaky clean I could not resist. Do you know what happens when you pour bath foam into a bubble bath? By surprise, I do now. Bubble overload.
(Utrecht, the Netherlands; June 2018)
After 6.5 years I was back in Amsterdam. It was beautiful, as always in spring, and every cell in my body screamed “get me out of here!!!”. For four days I stayed on the South side of the Singel, and mostly even on the South side of the Amstelkanaal. At least I got to explore areas new to me.
I am currently reading a book on existentialism (Sartre, Beauvoir and the likes. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche if you are liberal). Existentialism as a philosophical movement claims that nothing has a purpose and that everything just Is, until you yourself make a choice and thus make meaning out of chaos. While existentialism is not my cup of tea, I can see how liberating it is to just let go of every meaning, memory, and association to pain: simply stating that I am free to choose and if I do not choose to make meaning out of it, it does not exist. It never did. Pain only exists when we choose to give it existence and meaning in association to something else important in our lives. If we just choose to be free, pain is gone. Poof. Neverwas.
(Thank goodness I could return home after just 4 days)(Amsterdam, The Netherlands; March 2018)
What do you think, is this photo beautiful? Do you see light, color, and fluffy clouds matching the fluffy smoke? Or do you see a planet in destruction, no trees and no Nature anywhere?
Is there a collective, pan-human sense of esthetics, or is what our mind considers beautiful conditioned by the surroundings we are subjected to? How much of our sense of esthetics is objective, focusing on for example form, color, and light; and how much is subjective, weighed down or lifted up by our personal values, memories, and associations?
Complicated thoughts one morning above the Netherlands.
(The Netherlands; March 2018)