Mankind:
a wonderful balancing organ on the
boundary between Nothing and Everything
from: De ingewijden by Hella Haasse (a Dutch novel)

Using six main characters a story is told about unavoidable confrontations with the meaning of life.
The thread of the story is told in six chapters using a different character each time. In this way you see the truth constantly being changed and made acceptable. But you also see how fluid and elastic the dualistic truth is.
The motto is a beautiful initiation to the book:
Happy is he who is initiated before he goes into the ground, because he knows the end of life and the beginning sent by Zeus.
[Pindarus]


[...] 'This can't,' he suddenly said. 'This just cannot exist.'
'What?'
'Now, everything, the whole situation, this house, and thou, you I mean.'
'Why can't it exist?'
'I don't know. Such things simply don't happen'.
'You have to get off that. We would like it if everything coming out of us were explainable as so-called rational and logical. It is good that we are reminded now and then that we are also part of the pattern.'
'But I can only see things out of myself?'
'I believe that there are moments, maybe strange situations, that your normal understanding plainly resists to your becoming conscious, to say it like that, of another connection. Becoming conscious is expressing it too strongly. You don't see through it. You don't understand it. Just something in you that sits deep, out of reach of your thinking and acting 'I' feels it. If you knew how to weave you would understand what I am saying. The underside where all the threads are wound and twisted around each other, is no less real than the side we habitually call good that has neat figures stitch by stitch, color next to color... Sometimes we suddenly get a glimpse of the backside of...ach... '. She shook her head and hit herself lightly on the cheek.
'What is it, why do you do that?' asked Marten.
'Yesterday I told you that I am someone who is trying to become a person, and I challenged you by throwing the accusation at your feet that you don't dare that. Do you remember? But I couldn't tell you what that is, a person. I can't rest with that. It makes no sense that I talk about keeping up your courage and having the will to become a person, when I can't even give you an answer to what I mean by 'a person'. I don't know if I can make that clear to you now. But I'll give you what lies within my reach. Sometimes I think that the person is a wonderful balancing organ on the boundary between Nothing and Everything, chaos and cosmos. Our entire existence on earth, as a sort and as individuals is a long fight to hold the middle between blind animalism and a just as absolute surrender to what we, with help from our deceitful intellect and our deceitful emotions, call believable... Being a person; that is for me: always, everywhere, exerting all our power and never slacking wakefulness, towards this balance. Being a person: an organ in existence that can preserve balance thanks to inborn properties of reason and intuition. And all that overcomes us in our life, day and night, without pause, from within and without, is a call towards functioning...
'Do I understand what she means?' thought Marten. Sometimes he thought he did, and then again he thought he didn't... [...]

[from: De ingewijden by Hella Haasse. publisher Querido. 1957]

[selected by: Kees Schreuders]