It is Killing the Clouds
© ReRun Producties, 1992
1091 DZ Amsterdam
- Ooh dear, dangerous that was a very bad thing, they thought it was the devil. Some of them ran away and never came back. Some of the old people were crying and some were laughing. Some were just making a big joke of it. Some of the old lady's were singing loud, making a big noise you see, they were frigthened.
- Satellite first. One day they saw a star, as if broken in half. He was travelling like an aeroplane. It was traveling at night, right out from the west. It was in the wintertime. We were all out, seeing it. You know what? What they have done? They put all the fire away and go under the trees. A cold night. Ooh, the big devil was coming, that's what they thought.
- Yirkala, the Great Creator, had a fight with Wiewin, the Moon who had challenged Yirkala. In this fight, Wiewin was badly hurt and was expelled by Yirkala to a remote place. He built his home in the sky. The scars of the fight are still to be seen on his face. Yirkala, was so angered, that he decreed that all living matter should once die. But Wiewin cunningly deceived Yirkala: Each month he pretends to die but each time he reappears again. When he reappears, he greedily drinks water from the sea. He grows bigger and bigger, until after two weeks he almost bursts! This makes Wiewin so sick, that he retreats and reappears later. When he travels the sky at night, he carries a torch. The silvery light of the full moon is the spirit of Wiewin.
THE BREAKING POINT
THE CREATION OF A LAKE
Now I will tell you the story about the Quaile family. They had two daughters and a son, who fell seriously ill and died. They were crying, crying, crying. While they were mourning, some people approached. The family thought that they had come to mourn with them. But they just passed by. 'What about us, what are we to do now?' Then the man said to his wife: 'I go and get my wise brother.' The brother came and whistled on a kind of flute: 'tjipiiiieeehhh!' Suddenly the great mountain where they lived came loose and went up in the air and drifted away like a cloud. But they had forgotten the two girls! 'Now there is nothing left, they took away the mountain!' They walked around groggy and started to sing. In the meantime they went further and further. There is a lake now where the mountain used to be. They lost their way, but kept going. 'We will have to cross the water.' They got into the water, carefully, further and further into the water, even further, until suddenly they got stuck. One of them looks north, and the other looks south. Back to back they look out for help. 'My dear sister, here we are, all alone. Let's sing a beautiful song. In that way our memory will stay here, in this place. The water rose higher as they cried and sung at the same time. The tears kept on flowing. Because of this, the lake grew larger and larger. Then they sang this song. It belongs to this lake now.
The world according to the Dutch, four centuries ago. This was the Golden Age of the Dutch East India Company, fervently engaged in charting the unexplored regions of the world. In pursuit of gold and spices, the East India Company opens up remote corners of the world.
The drawings on this map show the fear of the unknown. Sea monsters, giants, and man eaters are lurking everywhere.
The ship "de Duyfken" is commissioned to set sail for the unknown south from the port of Batavia on Java. "De Duyfken" was to be the first ship to drop anchor on the Australian coast. The story of this historical voyage was very nearly lost together with the ship's logs. However, the famous Dutch navigator Abel Tasman wrote the following warning in the ship's journal, for expeditions to come: "During the voyage of "de Duyfken" a large stretch of unused land was discovered south of New Guinea. The country is inhabited by wild, cruel barbarians who killed some of the ship's crew. They called the point at which they left the country "Cape Keer Weer" (Cape Return).
- My great-great-grandparents were standing on that hill there, when they saw something at sea. It looked like a big tree-trunk. Hidden in the shrubbery, they saw strange creatures on the beach. They quickly gathered together: 'There is something terribly wrong, they must be spirits!' A few of them ran away to go for help, the rest remained in cover. It was in the afternoon. When I was a child, my father often told me this story. They called them by the names of spirits, but there was no reply. The Dutchmen gave them clothes, tea and flour. But we did not want that, and we threw it into the sea. Even more stuff was carried off the ship. They wanted us to cover ourselves with the clothes. But we didn't want any trousers! Then they beckoned our women. Some went over to them, but the elder people warned: 'No, stay away from them, they are spirits!' The men got very angry when the women were grabbed. They followed them to the ship to fetch them. The Dutchmen didn't understand. One of them gave us a rifle. Maybe they wanted us to shoot some wild ducks. But he pointed the barrel of the gun on his forehead! Everyone yelled: 'No, no, watch out, you might kill yourself!' Terrified he threw the rifle into the sea and the fighting started. Two white men aboard the ship were impaled by spears. Everyone fled away and disappeared into the shrubbery. Two more Dutchmen were killed on the beach. We fled north, where we crossed the river. On our side were victims as well. After that, they quickly reloaded their boat and sailed away. Everything was burned, but were the white men burned too? Yes, all on the same spot, together with all the stuff they'd left in the hurry. Everything was burned in a great fire. Where did they do that? Not far from here, near Pundung.
- This is the place where my grandparents dug a well for the Dutchmen. First you could see clearly where it was. But four years ago, everything was swept away by a hurricane. The Dutchmen were armed and we had to work very hard for them. The well became bigger and deeper, and they just watched. They wanted us to build a city for them, but we said: 'Leave us in peace, get up and go away.' We spoke very strongly: 'There is your boat, leave now, while you are still alive!' But they had build their huts and were determined to stay. That is the story as it was told to me many times.
- All this land was here long before the Dutchmen arrived. This land was made a long time ago, in the Dreamtime. There are many important places here, with many stories. There is a song for this lake, but I can't sing it now. I will sing it for you later. But a lot has changed here since the arrival of the Dutchmen.
The Australian continent, characterized for centuries by its great stability, has changed drastically in the last 200 years. The traditional diversity was replaced by the monoculture of Western civilization.
The enormous influx of white immigrants transformed the indigenous population into a small minority.
The way in which the European immigrants still regard the country, is diametrically opposed to the respect shown to the land by the Aborigines.
Galarwuy Yuenipingu is the chairman of an Aboriginal organization that has been fighting for years for recognition of the landrights of the original inhabitants. When we ask him why Aborigines consider the land holy, he has trouble finding the right words to explain it in English.
Downtown, in the heart of the city of Melbourne, one tree has survived the invasion. The history of this tree, a holy tree for Aborigines, is symbolic of the attitude European immigrants hold towards everything that is native. Tolerance towards aboriginal culture has now reached the stage where the planned highway was built around the tree, instead of knocking it down.
The tree is a monument now.
In the cities, life for the Aborigines is not as idyllic as the flyers in the souvenir shops would have us believe.
Especially in seaside resorts like Townsville, the few undesirable original inhabitants have been ousted to the city outskirts. Their tents are pitched far from the business centre, out of sight of the hotel guests. Squeezed in between the local cemetery and the airport.
Until very recently, scientists had hoped to find the missing link in the evolution theory by studying the Aborigines. The long sought missing link between the apeman and what we were ourselves, Homo Sapiens.
Aboriginal culture was scrutinized and described from head to toe. Whatever they didn't include in their files and reports, was simply not understood.
Myths of creation related to the land were beyond their grasp. The abundance of narratives fell on deaf white ears. From the very outset, the strangers saw the desert as an arid, hostile, and desolate environment.
Aborigines who lived in fertile areas were driven away ruthlessly. At first the immigrants were not interested in the arid desert or the swampy coastal regions. And so they did not interfere with the traditional tribal area of the Yuenipingu, known for the past four centuries as Arnhemland. Until the hunger for minerals resulted in the discovery of uranium in the soil previously considered useless.
A vast uranium mine was opened, and soon after that the radioactive ore was mined, with disastrous effects.
- We already said NO to you last year. The new road to the mine destroys everything. In this film we want to repeat
it once more. Last week I saw machines again.
Now we are talking in front of a camera again. We hope you'll understand us.
- I'm speaking for my home country. My parents taught me the things I tell you now. I'm responsible for this country, and as such I say to you white people you're not to come in here. With mining we'll get sick. The sacred places, the songs, they belong to us, the Yolngu. You miners are not to destroy my dreaming. Let us live how we wish in our country. Whatever rock it is you are looking for, we won't allow it to be mined.
- Just like it was for our fathers, mothers and grandparents. That means we don't want any mining or whatever breaking of our trees and rocks.
- I've said this before, but I'll do it again. Why is it that you don't believe us? This is my grandfathers country. We've been here from the beginning. And yet you come to argue with us. You've kept asking and asking for a long time now. And still you come at us. What are you going to give us? You can offer us nothing! And still you keep asking, asking and pushing us all the time. Thinking that we'll crack and give you our land. Then you'd become rich, and we poor. What rubbish! How stupid of you, you and your tricks. We don't play games, not like you. We see it all so clearly, so don't argue with us anymore. This has been your tactic for a long time, like you did at Yirrkala. You approach us and start talking, and keep running after us with your promises. Really, do you think we're so silly or mad? We watch each other from a distance. We've had enough talk, now you white people listen to us! You think by pestering us, we'll become confused and lose our senses. You must think we're idiots! How bloody wrong you are. We don't long for your stuff, keep it. We don't want it. We'd rather be poor. At no time in the future do we want you to approach us again. Look at this film and understand. Don't keep coming back year after year. Why would we give in? We understand how you behave, you and your dirty tricks. You would make a road, then explore and interfere with this place, bringing sickness upon us all. Then your doctors would come to operate us, to chop us up. Because there are great dangers and illnesses in this place. We understand the need to be careful and not disturb this place. We want to live in a healthy place. This wouldn't be your way. You'd disturb and mess up the land. Then the spirits of the place would settle us all. You're to ignorant to know this. We Aborigines know these things. You are white people and we are Aborigines. Don't come and argue with us again. Let it rest here, please. That's it.
THE END OF A DREAMTIME
Looking people straight in the eye has not always been considered the normal thing to do. It's a victory over longstanding traditions. For generations, people looked each other in the eye only under exceptional circumstances. Not looking someone in the eye was not a sign of shyness as is generally thought. Rather it was a part of a tradition of showing mutual respect. Direct eye contact, was too straightforward and therefore improper. Eyes not only looked, they also spoke. Maybe even eyesight itself was of minor importance. There was a world view in which the eyes had their own place. They were referred to as 'the mirrors of the soul'. But the all-encompassing unity was shattered and the eyes were set apart. The eye, thrown back upon itself, came to stand on its own. The meaning it once had from a distance, was obscured. The closer one came to the eye the more it turned out to be composed of different parts. Our former 'insight'turned away from that sort of vision. But the fascination that replaced it merely concealed the loss.
The light in the eyes was very sensitive. It was supposed to penetrate into the depths of life. But now the eye was exposed to images, which before it had been able to protect itself from. When touched, it filled with water and retracted. This is how the eye came to be dissected. People hoped to find out what was going on inside the person dying. But the separation of parts grieved the eye even more.
No one ever wanted this, deliberately. Separating the eyes was such a gradual process, that no one had ever been directly aware of it.
Nowadays our eyes have no trouble looking directly at other's. There is no image left that can evoke shame. They are the eyes of an animal, petrified by the approaching headlights of a car. Only the older generation had noticed that the eyes had transformed into a void. They were referred to as 'the black void, surrounded by fat'.
Now that their grandchildren also used their eyes for no other purpose than looking, a new silence had come into being. People were not able or did not want to discuss the loss. For the new generation, the fat in the eyes had become a god.
Research conducted at Cambridge University monitered the development of a 52 year old blind man, who was able to see for the first time in his life after eye surgery. It was remarkable that, after some time, the man began suffering from severe depression. He loved to look at colors, but was hypersensitive to the sight of colorlessness or flaking paint. He was afraid of crossing the road, which before he had crossed without hesitation. He started to revert back his blind life again. He did not turn on the lights at night and sat aimlessly in the dark. Three years after the operation that given light to his eyes, he died.
- They said: "Hey, look..." They couldn't believe their eyes. "Look at that, they are white!" They whispered: "They must be spirits." They all gathered together. Then everything went wrong, for they couldn't understand each other. The fighting started when they took the women. Spears and bullets were flying about everywhere, tuup, tuup. One of them was hit in the back, another in his neck, tuup. Men were hit from a great distance. The Dutchmen had guns. They abandoned everything, flour, rice and sugar. This was all burned in a great fire. Only a long bar of soap remained and we tried to eat that. The rest was burned, all the flour and the sugar. Later on the ashes of the dead were buried and everyone cried.
- They didn't show up until the white men had disappeared. The bags of sugar and tea were thrown into the water. All the stuff from the huts, all the clothes: they wanted nothing. After that a lot of things remained, which they burned. There was an great fire, towering up in the sky. It burned throughout the night.
Four hundred years ago, ships bound for the East Indies, set sail from this fortress on the Zeeland coast. Driven off course, they happened upon unknown regions which they called New Zealand and New Holland. Native peoples like the Aborigines, were just one of the obstacles the crew had to overcome during the long journey, whose main objective was to find out if the new land contained any natural resources.
Again a group of Dutchmen disturbs the peace at Cape Keer Weer. This time they are not looking for new land. They have been lured by a story. A story that had never been written down, but has been passed on orally for over four hundred years.
We have reached our destination and find the story. The cables are connected, the lens is cleaned, and the meters are checked. The story's already started, even before everything is properly set up. There are three versions. Three families have their own interpretations. We will not be allowed to leave until we have heard them all. The story comes naturally, the camera records. Recording the story is easy. Translating it is another matter! And for us it might very well be impossible to understand. After hearing the stories, the bare facts emerge. And yet these facts are probably least essential to a real understanding of the story.
- They were both naked, but not ashamed of themselves. The woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes. The tree was to be desired to make one wise. She took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons, for they were ashamed of each other.
- Now the whole earth had one language and few words. As men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another: "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they'd brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said: "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens. Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." And he came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And he said: "Behold, they're one people, and they have all one language. This is only the beginning of what they'll do. Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So he scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.
The tower marked the beginning.
Where did the need come from, for man to want to build structures in which he could take leave of the earthly realm? Human hands built something that could be seen for miles around. The tower that symbolized the connection to the higher realm offered security in an environment that came to be regarded as increasingly hostile. Small bells were used to dispel evil. These were attached to the horse's halters, so that the jingling of the bells would drive evil demons from the woods. During a storm people would ring bells in their homes, in order to protect it and to ward off the evil spirits of lightning. The invention of casting bells in foundries made it possible to make even larger ones. These bells were mounted at the highest point, so that the sound would carry as far as possible. This is how the holy tower got its bell. When the air was fraught with thunder, lightning and hail, and the crops were in danger, the bells were tolled with great urgency. The resounding bells were meant to take evil's breath away until it choked. Church bells in the spire purified the air over the fields.
Saviour is my name
Lightning I dispel
The dead I mourn.
Man was determined to bring bells to every remote corner of the world and break the silence there. Only then would evil be dispelled from the face of the earth forever.
The church had rejected pagan rituals, that used to connect people to their environment, regarding them as primitive forms of superstition. The loss of contact with their natural environment, grieved the people deeply. The quick transition made them feel lonely.
In the Middle Ages people felt a strong need for direct contact with the sacred. A new and concrete form of the sacred was to be found in the relics exhibited in places of pilgrimage. The embodiment of the divine was enormously inspiring. A mediator had to be found between the human and the divine. In places of pilgrimage people used mirrors to take some of the divine back home with them. A mirror's reflection was considered magical. By gazing at the relics through the mirror, the glass absorbed the divine, which gave the mirror a sacred value.
The explorers that unveiled the earth four centuries ago, set into motion an irreversible process with each and every people they encountered. However, the spectacular accounts of their travels also caused commotion in Europe. The mythical and religious world view had to be adapted frequently to the new discoveries. The old views were gradually replaced by the emergence of a scientific world view.
In 1606, the same year that the crew of "de Duyfken" sets off for unknown southern territories, a voluminous book is published under the title "The Advancement of Learning". In it, the philosopher Francis Bacon was the first to argue for a new, objective science. He writes: 'God hath made all things beautiful, or decent, in the true return of their seasons: Also he hath placed the world in man's heart, yet cannot man find out the work which God worketh from the beginning to the end. God hath framed the mind of man as a mirror, capable of the image of the universal world, and joyful to receive the impression thereof, as the eye joyeth to receive light; For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full off superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.'
Bacon also thought that science should be set free of all superstition. The odd invention had already lifted part of the veil behind which nature itself hid. But Bacon wanted to go further than that. Nature was to be put on the rack, to force her to disclose all of her secrets.
Reaping the harvest, robs the field of its fertility. During harvest time, the last stalks to be brought in were woven into sheaves known throughout Europe as "the old woman". This "old woman" was to be brought back to the farmer, so that fertility would stay with him until the next sowing season. Bringing in the old woman was a magical ceremony. In order to drive evil from the crop, a lot of noise had to be made. The last stalks once sacrificed to the pagan gods, were now offered to the church.
The superstitious practice of tolling bells during a passing thunderstorm had to be abandoned in the new reality. The old tower, symbolizing contact with the divine, also kept up with all the new changes. In this way it remained at the centre of people's attention in a new age. Natural rhythm was replaced by mechanical time. Man was intent on proving that nature was there for people, and not the other way around.
The restlessness of time never rests
Time changes, but never again will it rest.
THE CREATION OF A LAKE
- And then, finally, the moment when the dike is closed. 28 May 1932, the connection is made. The Zuiderzee is closed off. The former salty Zuiderzee has become the freshwater IJsselmeer. Seafish can't live here anymore. The lake is inland water now. Eel is one of its main products. Former coast towns are situated inland now, others have become towns at the border of a lake. A new era has begun. A new era with new demands.
But did this not happen before in the Netherlands? The reclamation of the Zuiderzee is just another step in a tradition of peaceful territorial expansion by technical exchange and steady work. Over the centuries the Dutch have repeatedly changed the layout of the map of their country. They keep doing that, even now. They force the water back, everywhere!
The water is gone. Wild and empty, was the world in the story of the Creation. Empty is the seabed, laid bare by people. Pioneers move in to make an end to this emptiness. They make their first steps there, until a polder develops. Full of people who have forgotten about these initial steps.
The locality of the villages is not haphazard. It has carefully been planned, or rather: calculated. Every residential area has its own range of influence that is not to be thwarted by that of a neighboring area. In fact, the polder should be a unity of ranges of influence that closely fit together, situated around the main range of influence of the capital Emmeloord.
As soon as the water is gone, schools spring up. The children are cheering under the limitless sky. The cemetery still shows not more than a few crosses. Churches were built immediately, and during mass the same piety is preached as on the main land.
In the evening tranquility comes over the land. The sense of security behind the heavy dike which is the symbol of the Dutch desire to live.
The quest for higher realms has not ceased. The desire to escape the mundane, has not been satisfied. But the old and holy refuge has turned into a deserted monument in a hostile environment. There is not a single church which wants the latest invention erected on its spire. The spires seem to be frozen in time. What's more: the latest inventions do not wish to be identified with the church anymore. Modern clocks have found their way into our present sanctuaries.
To make up for the loss of the chimes, they now also indicate the temperature as well.
Work and Pleasure
A Future was Born Here. Build on!
THE BREAKING POINT
ARBEIT MACHT FREI
There is one road to freedom.
Its milestones are: Obedience, Diligence, Honesty, Order, Cleanliness, Temperance, Truth, Sacrifice and Love of one's country.
WHAT AND HOW WE REMEMBER IS DETERMINED BY THE CULTURE
FULL METALL JACKET
GO TELL THE SPARTANS
THE GREEN BERETS
THE ODD ANGRY SHOT
GOOD MORNING VIETNAM
THE BOYS IN COMPANY C
TOUR OF DUTY
MISSING IN ACTION
RAMBO FIRST BLOOD
DON'T PLAY WITH FIRE
SLAUGHTER'S BIG RIP-OFF
GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK
SOME KIND OF HERO
WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN
THE DOMINO PRINCIPLE
GARDENS OF STONE
BACK FROM VIETNAM
A People That Lives Works at its Future
The Struggle Against The Sea Remains a
Struggle By and For Man
Aspire for the Higher
- It all started here in Kiev in August 1988. Look, first she had long hair down to here. Suddenly I saw a spot here, to which I applied some ointment. She kept shedding her hair. Then I cut her hair, but it didn't help. On the 3rd of November she was admitted to hospital. And towards the 15th of November she was completely bold. I look at her every night. I can't get to sleep anymore. I visit her at night and look at her. It is terrible! I can't face it anymore. Sometimes she has fits of hysterics. Yesterday night she kept us busy until 3 o'clock. She covers all the mirrors. She wants them out, so that she can walk around without a wig. It's terrible. I wish to run away with her, to a place where I can feed her and where she can breathe fresh air for a couple of months.
Four centuries have passed since Francis Bacon portrayed the human mind as a mirror through which reality comes to us. A mirror, but an unfaithful one, that distorted the nature of things and ought to be purified. Meanwhile the mirror has become purer than Bacon could ever have dreamed of. There is no difference anymore between what we see, and what is actually there. Reality and the mirror have been short-circuited. No mythical barrier obstructs our reflections on nature anymore. We are immensely fascinated by the limitless possibilities of manipulating nature. It is a spectacle, and we turn a blind eye to its artificialness. Images that are true to nature, as if they were real, have become our new magic mirror.
In the south of France lives the sociologist Jacques Ellul. He has dedicated a substantial part of his life to a critical study of the modern western society. In his view, the most characteritic aspect of our day an age is the development of modern technology and its compelling influence on all aspects of life.
Technology, as described by Ellul, is a social and an abstract phenomenon. It is not concrete, such as the technique of a machine or of photography. Technology is an integral whole of separate, but mutually connected technological modules. They make up, as he says, a system.
- Regarding technical objects, there is no true symbolizing in the primary sense anymore. What we have now is the creation of a fictional world in which our religious sense incarnates itself. Objects like television, computers, bikes and rockets acquire a fabulous dimension by reason of the sense of their power, their ubiquity, domination the unlimited acces that they give their secret which remains strange to us and the sacred awe that we experience face to face with nuclear fission. This complex is typically religious. The religious and the sacred that we have chased out of nature are now transferred to objects.
Be it noted that the transfer is not quite the same. We originally related our religious feelings to our natural environment. The tree, the fountain, the wind, the animal were the focus. We invested them with a formidable greatness and they became sacred. But the things that compose our human environment now play this role. We ourselves have not changed. We still relate our sense of the sacred to what constitutes our environment. We adore and use with joy and fear that which forms our environment, making sacrifice to it. It is the environment that has changed.
But how far we are from the supposed dedivinization of the world! It is simply that the world we now know bears no relation to the human world which up to half a century ago seemed to be eternal.
- It's very hard to be responsible particularly in our society. I will give you a simple example. Suppose that a barrage bursts who is responsible? There are the geologists, who inspected the area. There are the engineers, who designed the barrage. There are the workers, who built the barrage, and the authorities, who decided to build the barrage on that site. Who is responsible? No one is. There is never someone responsible. Nowhere. This is typical for the entire technological society, because all tasks are so specific that there is never anyone responsible. But nobody is free either. Everyone is locked up in a small part of the work, and that's all.
I'm thinking of the terrible excuse one of the most horrible things I have ever heard of. The head of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the Neurenberg-trials was asked, about Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen: 'But all those corpses, didn't they horrify you at all?' He said: But what do you want? We didn't have enough furnaces. I wasn't able to burn all the bodies. I didn't have the time to think of all these people who were dying. I was busy with the technical problems of the furnaces in my crematory. That is an example of an utterly irresponsible human being, who has nothing more than a technical assignment to think of and is not interested in anything beyond that.
Arbeit macht Frei. Yes, that is typical of our technological society to give people the illusion that they can accomplish themselves and become free through work. This is very important, because it is a marxist idea. Marx says: man has become man through his work. And he has become man, through the development of work. So man is made while he is working. Voltaire shared this opinion. Some 80 years before Marx he said: It is through work, that man constitutes himself. And he exists to the extent that he is free. But, the work of an elephant hunter in Cambodia has no bearing at all to the work of an employee at Renault's. What happened here is an absolute deformation of labour.
In most of the aircrashes that recently took place analysis of the black box always gave evidence of a human error. There was nothing wrong with the machine. There was no technical failure. It was man who did not do the right thing to control the plane. But if you would see the panel that one or two pilots must control during a flight you realize that it is impossible for one person to keep track of 50 or 60 signals on the dashboard all at once. That is not possible anymore. It is this very efficiency of technique that increases power, but it also increases the risks involved. In our pursuit of efficiency, and nothing beyond that, we increase the risks. While we increase power and increase the risks we have to change and become master of ourselves, in order to control this power. And maybe refrain from using it all. Also to avoid the risks involved. In other words, we must change quickly if we want to use technique in the right way. Not efficient, but right. What should take place is something the French philosopher Bergson said a long time ago, in 1930 the more the power of man increases, the more important it is that man augments his own soul that his soul improves in a certain way. But if we proceed and do not think about power at all and we are given the tools we will presently use them without taking anything into account.
Technique forces us to go faster and faster. Technique replaces reflection with reflex. Reflection means that when I have an experience, I will contemplate that experience, think it over. A reflex means knowing immediately what to do without contemplation. All technique insists on, is that people do not think. If you are driving a car at 100 mph, and you take time to think, you will crash the car. In that case you need reflexes. That is what technique demands of us reflex without reflection.
Technique is intolerant, it only accepts itself. All myth, all wisdom is being eliminated. So how can we think that technique results in freedom? Technique represses all freedom. Of all cultures ever developed by mankind only the technological culture will survive. I will now end my argument about this destruction of freedom with a remark of great importance. Technique does not tolerate a judgement. That is people involved in technique do not tolerate a moral judgement on their work. But being able to make ethical, moral, spiritual judgements was the highest form of freedom of mankind. So I am deprived of my highest freedom. I can say anything I like about technique but it does not affect the technicians. They won't change what they are doing, what they decided to do and what they are conditioned to do. Because the technician is not free: he is conditioned by his education, his work and the goals he sets himself. He is not free at all in the application of technique, he just does what technique demands of him.
If man loses a profound motivation for living two things are likely to happen. He rarely takes it for granted, accepts it as a fact. In that case he may consider suicide. Or he tries to escape into amusement or becomes depressed and starts taking drugs. If man realizes this, if he acknowledges how the majority of people in the Western world live, depressed and demotivated, then he prefers to turn a blind eye on his environment and just proceeds with what he is doing. We're going faster and faster. Nobody knows where, as long as we go fast.
This is one of the few areas we still approach with respect, without somebody having to telling us to. They are the last areas where the old respect has not yet been replaced by something new. The mystery of death has not yet been unravelled, and so silence still prevails. The mystery has not been completely solved yet, or maybe it has been, but we don't want to accept it. No matter how much we may want the final elusive aspect of life to remain shrouded in mystery, we will not succeed. Without anyone consciously wanting it to happen, the last myths are being destroyed. We cannot leave the mystery of death alone, just like we can't leave the Aborigines alone. It is precisely among traditional cultures, that we will start searching for rituals, in which the mystery of death might be hidden. The mystery of death could give direction to the way we think in terms of our very existence. But contemplating the meaning of life, and the moment at which we will no longer be here, seems to be getting more and more difficult. An inner quest seems to be at odds with the speed our life has taken.
- Holland is a very nice country, the people are friendly the shop windows are full. There is so much for sale much more than at home. You should film over there!
- No doubt smoking is bad for your health. Everything I sell here may cause heart diseases. But everyone is free to buy want he wants, isn't it? I do not force it upon them, do I?
- I agree with you that driving fast is too expensive. This sportscar easily does 100 mph, but we advise people not to drive that fast. In their own interest and for the environment.
- Everyone should learn to deal with alcohol. If you see how much people drink in one night then you know there is something wrong.
- We have films in stock that are not suitable for young people. But you cant blame videos or television for that. People should be more selective, not only amuse themselves.
- Yes, in the end it is meant to eliminate people. This new system is not designed for combat against tanks. We only practice, so that we never have to use them.
- I can give you at least three reasons for the downfall of communism. But their greatest mistake has been that they had no respect for human beings as individuals. That is what I think, and I hope you think so too.
- Few people, I don't know how much but very few, will be able to tell the difference between real plants, plastic and silk. There is hardly any difference. Personally I prefer real plants.
LOOKING SETS YOU FREE
Young, fast, and wild, isn't that
what you want too?
We must now consider the question if there is a possible meaning. But trying to find meaning is not a purely intellectual activity. It implies a radical questioning of modern society. In order to find meaning again we must scrutinize that which has no meaning. We are surrounded by objects that are dynamic and efficient but that have no meaning. While a work of art has a meaning, or multiple meanings or gives me an emotion that has a meaning to my life this is not the case with technical products. Besides, we have to recover fundamental truths, that disappear as a result of technique. Important, essential values so that life becomes worth living for us again. The problem is not primarily philosophical but becomes a moral problem I prefer the term ethical and a theological problem in the true sense of the word that is: a true word. We have to find a 'logos' a word which contains truth that otherwise will be erased completely by technique. This is why I consider the question about the conflict between man and the technological world as an absolutely fundamental question, bearing in mind that not all philosophy is preoccupied with this question.
- You normally find Buddhas like that, real ones, on a temple but they removed this one because the temple was renovated. There are also statues which have a symbolic meaning in burial or marriage ceremonies. Those kind of things.
- That boomerang? It's from Australia. No we never know how these things came here. I'd rather not think about that or I won't sleep a wink tonight.
A boomerang. You throw it away, and then it comes back.
- Cashpoint three! How much are those pillow-cases?
- Just a moment, I'm being filmed.
1090 BA Amsterdam