a wonderful balancing organ on the
boundary between Nothing and Everything
from: De ingewijden by Hella Haasse
(a Dutch novel)
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.
[...] 'This can't,' he suddenly
said. 'This just cannot exist.'
'Now, everything, the whole situation, this house, and thou, you
'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
[selected by: Kees Schreuders]