Tag Archives: Unknown

Fear Spiders

If I dream about fear, my own fear, it is often embodied by a poisonous spider. The spider in my dream frightens me especially on moments when I cannot see it.

In real life, spiders only scare me if they are larger than my hand and faster than my arm. In dreams they emotionally disrupt me. They often co-occur with the collapse of my house. In a recent episode, there are giant moths involved, about 30 cm long, which have been eating the foundations of a wooden top floor. They live symbiotically with a black widow in her nest made of half composted, tar-smeared branches. The spider is hiding somewhere deep inside, behind the eating larvae which quickly evolve and fly off. I know I will encounter it when I clean up this nest. And it won’t be happy.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who, albeit below the surface, has a fear for spiders. I do wonder what causes that because honestly, they’re not that dangerous. Only a few exceptional specimens could kill you, but you’ll have plenty of time to find the antidote. It would make far more sense to dream about poisonous snakes or about an aircrash or a bulldozer falling un top of me, because those events are far more threatening. Why the spider?

A spider is generally blackish and has eight legs with which it runs rapidly and with a very light tread. More often, it sits still, hiding in a dark corner, or somewhere on its self-built sticky and artistic web. Most spiders have beautiful patterns on their back which deserve a better look. They are hunters. Top of the food chain. Prevent the blood from clotting, then suck their victims dry. To humans mostly harmless.

My mom and sister used to panic when there was a wolf spider in the house. Motioning after them, I did too. As the man of the house, I had to gradually learn that the easiest way to get a spider out of the bathtub, is to let it walk onto your arm, get outside and push it off the place of your body were it felt comfortable to stay. A spider is most scary when it runs, because we don’t know where it is going. The aspect of the unknown. I think her sudden speed also reflects the suddenness with which our fears present themselves to us.

Do spiders in my dream reflect my mothers fears from when I was a kid? The explanation is interesting in combination with the collapse of my house. The loss of control over my limited, constructed understanding of myself and reality. Is this fear culturally inherited? Is it psychologically entangled with the cognitive challenges of our childhood?

There’s another hypothesis I’d like to propose; one of more mystical nature. It’s connected to the number eight. The sacred geometry of it. In semi-dream mode I sometimes have visions of octangular, tunnel-like structures that seem to be a passageway to a certain insight or to my subconscious. The vision sometimes evolves into spider shapes, and even into highly detailed images of spiders with nice, colourful back patterns and fangs. It seems meaningful sometimes, as if these spiders have something to do with the access to my subconscious. Hiding in the dark, unknown corners of my mind.

The spider. A small, powerful entity that makes our imagination go wild. One day, she’ll trap the bug that ate from my corpse.

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Psychoindustry – II

This is a school.

More precisely, it is a secondary Montessori school, which is one of the freer kinds of Dutch schools, where children are supposed to follow their own curiosity and where the role of the teacher is to facilitate that. This school hosts about 4000 people, who spend the majority of their adolescence here. It’s where their minds take shape.

In 1973, Edward Relph wrote his dissertation on ‘Place and Placelessness’. In it he worked out a theory on how the place we find ourselves in shapes our feelings, our beliefs and behavioural patterns. We identify with our places, and partially become them. The theory is used by some architects, and proof for it is accumulating in psychological studies.

Take a look at the school again. Straight, squared lines, regular shapes. The rooms enable just distribution of space, equal for all students. The place is fair, overseeable, easy to cope with, efficient and justifiable to whichever authority paid it. An efficient school to efficiently educate kids into efficient members of society. It does look a bit like an industrial grid, doesn’t it?

Without looking at important factors such as the educational rules and programs of this school, or the structure of society in general, I think this building has huge impact on the development of the personalities of the younger generations. To speculate: it may increase a person’s preference for a predictable life where he or she feels in control. It may subconsciously decrease creativity, openness to the unknown and innovative thinking, but strengthen skills such as the capacity to structure data, perceiving people as numbers and following rules. I believe that school buildings such as this one stimulate more machine-like, cold and lifeless attitudes than, for example, a school composed of little huts in a forest. More industrial minds, capable of more industrial decisions. In that sense, the building fits the age.

Pointain

Because it (still) is World Animal Day today, I’d like to tell you a story about a meeting with a cat. It really happened.

Paris, halfway August, 2009,

This must be the third metro I’ve seen go away, from my seat at the metro station Bonne Nouvelle. It’s interesting to see them come and go, they remind me of my thoughts. Yesterday night, I did the same thing with tourists in Montmartre. Observing lives pass by, as if they were never lived.

I was at home two days ago. My friends were gone, and I had little to do, so I hitch hiked to Paris in an impulse. Beautiful drivers, crazy drivers and boring drivers. Same old freedom, still fresh. Ended up on a couch at a juggler’s festival. Went on in the morning, and arrived in the early afternoon. I love Paris.

As I see another metro go, I write in my diary that I’ll take the next one. I keep putting down words, but within a few minutes, I hear the next one come. I stand up and see it slow down as the compartments pass in front of me. It almost stands still. Inside, in front of the door in the back, stands a darkish girl with thick black dread locks, not entirely unattractive, but not extremely well taken care of either. She is surrounded by a great deal of backpack-like luggage. Yet what strikes me most, is the black and white baby cat standing on her shoulder. I follow her compartment for another ten meters, then it halts. I get in and sit down in the hallway, a bodylength away from her and her little companion.

The metro accelerates. Everybody else seems to know quite well where they’re going to. I look at the cute little creature. It’s completely relaxed, looking around, then it looks at me. The girl picks it of her shoulder and holds it in front of her. It miauws. She starts shaking it in the air, and tells it how cute it is. It miauws harder, and lifts a paw in her direction as if it wants to scratch her, but she is several armlengths away. The scene breaks my heart.

“You should not treat a cat like that.” I tell her. She looks at me, then does it again. It pisses me off.
“Give it to me.” I say.
She does not react.

The metro moves on, stations come and go, surprised passengers half ignore the situation, while I get more and more pissed off. The cat looks at me sometimes as if it wants to come towards me. I’d swear it even reaches out to me with its paw.
“Give it to me.” I repeat in the exact same tone. My own calm determination surprises me. “I’ll take it to cat paradise.”
No response. More people start to be annoyed about her behaviour.

A few more stops go by, then she turns to me.
I hate her.
“Do you want a cat?”
“If it’s that cat, yes.”
“I’m going on a long trip.” she says. “so I can’t take care of it. Here it is.”
She hands it over. The little fella steps on my hand and instantly starts licking it. The metro slows down. The girl picks up her many bags and walks to the door. The metro stops.
“What’s his name?” I ask.
“Félix des Trois Points.” (Felix of three dots).
“Ah… Félix du Pointain…”

She steps outside. Without looking back at me, she walks off and exclaims a long high pitched yell. Sounds like release. The cat is calm, still licking my hands. I lift its tale. It’s a boy. Okay, now what? For one thing, I won’t get out of the metro here. I call my housemates and ask if they mind if we have another cat. They’re surprised, but they don’t mind. Good. I send a message to a friend to ask if she minds if I stay over with a cat. Stations keep coming and going until we reach the final one. Well I won’t get out here either, so I just keep carressing this little cutie. The metro goes back. Stations go by.

Looking back, I still wonder how he knew. At some stop, I couldn’t tell you which one, Pointain – that’s how I call him from now on – gets very restless, as if he wants to leave me. All I can do leave the metro with him in my arms and walk up the stairs together. Maybe he wants to go somewhere in particular.
We meet a middle aged lady on the street.
“Awww… that’s such a cutie, why do you have it here?”
I explain the story.
“Ow, that’s very good of you,” she lets me know. “I always find abandoned cats in Paris and take them into my house. I’d welcome this one, but I have nine already. What are you going to do with it?”
I explain that because the friend doesn’t respond to the SMS, I’d hitch hike back, but with a cat that could be troublesome because I might not make it before sunset and it could walk away while I’m sleeping. Instead, we will probably go pay a visit to my mom in Luxembourg, that’s not very far. We could look for the closest railwaystation.
The lady answers that I should wait here, goes into the nearest shop and comes back with a bagfull of baby cat food. She gives me fifty euros for the train.

Wow.

On day one back in the Netherlands, Pointain explores the entire house.
On day two, he climbs a tree, but doesn’t dare to get out, so I pick him.
On day three, he climbs the tree again. This time I wait with picking and he clims out himself. Step by step, face down, from three meters height (Cats usually descend tale down because their claws piont inwards. It’s a control thing).
On day four, he drinks French wine from the ground. I notice he has three dots on one side. Aha.
On day five, he learns to climb a ladder, the steps of which are as far away as he can reach. He never falls.
On day six, he still jumps on the face of our other cat Willem, even though he has many significant bashes by now and will again.
On day seven, he walks on a 2,5 meters high ridge, looks me into the eyes, wondering, I say “try it”, and he jumps down. A one time stunt I’ll never forget.

I’ve lived with Pointain for a year. People ask me why I didn’t take him with me when I left. I think he belongs to the place. He steals food from the neighbours, goes on strides in the region, takes on the local dogs… He gets love from the students around him. It’s rural there. I couldn’t bring him back to the city and see him locked in a house or poisoned by a neighbour for his unstoppable attitude. He is not my property, he’s my friend.

I saw him again last week. It was same old. Carressed him a little, he climbed on my shoulder, we had a nice chat about our lives. Then he left to play in the garden. He’s fierce sometimes, but very sensitive to those he loves. Great tiny being. Today, my love goes out to him.

 

Laziness

This post was written somewhere in June. The situation is different now. I post it anyway, because of the target of this blog: to explore and share myself and society.

Summer is never my best time to write on a regular basis. Right now, I have to sort out my life. I have no house, no real job and no bio-rythm to hold on to. I have stuff lying around in three old homes, two articles to work on, some volunteer work, and a whole bunch of ideas, goals and concerns flying around in my head. I imagine this is how a phanthom must feel.

Friends. they are a pleasure to be around, great people to hang out with, but my relationship with many friends poses pain in my heart, simply because I’m often unable to spend time with them. The same is true for my family and even for my pets. I’m scattered.

The situation I am in faces me with what I consider to be my greatest weakness. I’m lazy. Laziness is just a word, it is my way of understanding that even though I sometimes want to undertake something, I don’t, because I’m stunned. It starts with getting out of bed. Not my thing. So I wander back of into the soft and comfy world of dreams. When I finally leave that, the computer hypnotizes me. This time I really don’t like the trance, so I avoid diving in, doing what I need to do and climbing out. I stick to the surface. To my next thought. But when I arrive at that next thought, my thought is somewhere else again.

And I blame myself for that. When I reach a goal, I barely enjoy it, but when I don’t, I torture myself mentally. By writing this down, I want to solve it. But I can’t. So a part of me blames it on laziness. I might just be confusing things. Man, there is a lot of unknown.

On Rubber Soles

Timothy wants to escape. Not that he doesn’t like it here. No. He just wants to escape. His friends tell him there is nothing there, outside. But Timothy does not believe them. He thinks that every time the circle opens and the eye looks in, there is something more going on outside. A different world we do not see.

When Timothy walks to school in the dark – it’s always dark – hands in his pockets, looking at the dark round sky, he imagines how it is to be out there where the light comes from. He imagines a world where the shiny dots are all around. Where people dance with them in circles.

When Timothy gets to school, hands in his pockets, he does not understand what’s going on. The other children are playing, but they do not seem to enjoy it that much. They seem to be fighting for something, but there never is a prize. When there’s a ball, they all want the ball. When there’s no ball, they chase each other back and forth in the dark. If there’s a pool, they push each other in, but no one likes to get that wet.

When class starts, Timothy thinks the teachers are making fools of themselves. They talk about molecules they have never seen as if they were true as their left hands. When Timothy asks them how they know, they answer no more than: ‘some wise men made that up in the past’. And everybody believes they are right.

There are patterns in the occurrence of the eye, they say. Mathematical regularities. They heaven’t learned to predict them yet, but they believe that one day, a brilliant mind will stand up to capture the pattern of the eye. Timothy’s parents tell him he should try. That’s what all parents tell their children. It’s the ultimate challenge of this time to know how to foresee the eye. The one who does will be richly awarded. But Timothy believes it makes no sense. There is no pattern, Timothy believes, just frictions of collective imagination.

So Timothy wants to escape. He is fed up with fleabread and bugbites. He thinks there’s better food outside. Sometimes, when the eye peaks in, he smells warm hominess enter. He would not know how else to describe than “the scent of delight”. Others don’t like it. Think it is too strong. A curse from the eye. A warning to tell them that if they don’t behave, they will be suffocated to death with poisonous gasses. Timothy thinks they’re nuts.

He’s fed up with collecting moist from the air with brushes of flea hair. He finds it smart, though, to hang the brushes out and wait for drinks to collect themselves. Very bright, his people, but out there there must be an easier way. He knows, because sometimes when the eye appears, the water just runs in. They think it’s a warning. Behave, or I’ll flood you, they hear it whisper in their heads. But Timothy doesn’t believe the eye is that bad. Besides, he likes the taste of that water better. But no one else dares to try it.

Timothy’s parents are mostly blind. They see the eye as a vague blur. They don’t admit it, but Timothy knows. He can tell by the way they walk. Bumping in the dark.

His little sister is dull. She keeps a mite as a pet. She calls it Henry. Cuddles it. Strokes its hairy legs. When she takes it out on a walk, it pulls the rope very hard, as if it wants to escape. But Timothy’s sister loves it too much to let it go. She’d never let Tim call him the mite. ‘He has a name, you know?’ Sometimes they’re adorable together, and Timothy is moved.

But Timothy wants to escape. He has a plan. One day, when he feels the time is right, he will walk up towards where the eye comes out. Then, he waits until the eye takes a look, and he will walk into the other world and dance between the dots of light. When walking up, he will wear rubber shoes so that he does not slide of the slippery slope. He will wear his black coat so that others will not see him walk away. After all the penalty for walking up is high.

“Look there’s Tim!” say the boys of the class. They run towards him and surround him, but Timothy does not care. He just walks on. “You’re in my way” he tells one. They just want to play with him, but Tim’s not in the mood. The boys are astonished while they see him walk away.

When the teacher talks about the eye’s gaze, back in the days when the Grand Timathon still inhabited this place, Timothy listens with just half of his brain. Today’s the day; he feels it now. “The Grand Timathon was chewing on his fleapie when suddenly, the sky opened and the eye looked in. The Grand Timathon shouted: ‘who are you?’ But the eye did not reply. That’s when it dawned upon him that the eye could not hear. Otherwise he would have been an ear. We now take this knowledge for granted, but it was the Grand Timathon who discovered it. A genius, wasn’t he?” All children agree. “Timothy, as his descendant, would you agree?” “I’m not sure mister Wrats.” “See, class, this is how intelligence can be lost over generations. Timothy doubts that something as plain and clear as an eye cannot hear.” Now Timothy’ sure: he wants to escape.

He has to be quick. When school ends his parents wait for him at home. He cannot be home before dark, it is already dark. Impatience is not uncommon in the world under the eye. He should not be seen by the crowd. When school ends, he walks at the back of the line. “If I play this well, they will not miss me” so he thinks.

Thus, when the whole group passes the slope, Timothy hides in the dark. It goes unseen, there goes the line. On and on towards their homes. He cannot see them, or smell. He can only see white dots and smell warm hominess. So he walks up. He doesn’t slide because of his rubber soles. Step by step he walks. It is a long walk up. Very long. If you’d ask him, Timothy would not be able to say how far it is up. But he walks, step by step. He can not go back now, he has to go on. He cannot get tired, but he will.

By now, Timothy has no clue how long he walked. It has been a while. He’s breathing loudly. His heart beats with force. But he sees nothing. He cannot go back. The bells are ringing, down there. They wouldn’t appreciate his adventurous return. Nail him to a pole and ignore him for a week or so, until dim Tim would wonder if he ever existed at all. It is said at school that in the past, some have ceased to be. By now, there is no way back. Timothy has to escape. So on he carries on his rubber soles.

He thinks back. There was little fun down there. They were strange. Insane. He misses them. He loved them. But he doesn’t think they’ll miss him. Now they do. But they’ll forget Timothy like they forgot all others when they talk about the past. No. They never cared. Timothy disappears in the dark.

So he goes. On and on. Every step as slippery. He cannot sit, that would take away the effect of the rubber soles. He’d slide back down to them, faster and faster, unable to stop he would. End up in their claws of vengeance. Ignored, rotten. Fading. The slide itself would be cool, though. But he has to step on. Stands still when he’s tired, but not for too long. You never know when the eye turns up. If Timothy wants to escape, there is where he’ll need to be. He must be almost half way now, but what does he know in the dark?

He pictures the white dots around the eye. They shine and spark in the dark, with all the colours of the rainbow. They speak to Timothy. Ask him to come and spark along. They have been nice to him. He is getting closer to belonging to him. Closer by the step. Wondering what’s behind that occasional gaze into the depths of the abyss. He cannot slide.

As the bells sound further away, Timothy feels alone. There is nowhere left to return to. His home is no more. Timothy’s step to escape has made him orphan of the prison that is society. He’s loose into thin air, except for his rubber soles on the slippery slope. Soles he inherited from his grandpa Timathon the third. He fabricated them just before he passed away. “Take good care of these soles, Timothy” he said. “One day they may hold you on to places others dare not go.” Timothy misses old Timathon. He wonders if maybe he could be found near the eye or the sparkling dots.

It seems like the longer he walks, the slowlier he goes. But Timothy has no watch, nor can he see any progress. He feels like spurt has left him, wonders if it is for good. He’s calmer now, supported by his rubber soles, there’s no more need to run from his thread on the slippery slope. Old grandpa walks along.

“Am I there yet?” he wonders sometimes. And sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he hears the fading far away of the panic down there. Sometimes he doesn’t. He pictures the eye and forgets how it looked. It will show. Will it show? Timothy’s mind plays tricks while his feet take steps in the dark.

But – clunk – his forehead hits the edge. No more walking. He takes a few steps back. Now what? Now wait. No, wait! He sings a song of the darkness with a mellow voice. OoooOoooOoooO OoooooO, the song goes a, the song goes e, the song goes i. His voice trembles and can be straight as a line. But nothing happens.

Timothy dares not move as he stands here at the edge. No dots to be seen. His legs are tired as he stands. Now he knows. There is nothing to be done but wait and see. Timothy thinks that is not doing something. So he fights within. He wants to sit but can’t: he’ll slide. Back down into the dark. Back into the arms of those who must panic by now.

The gate opens. Timothy loses his balance. One step back, two steps. He falls and slides. O dear. There he goes back down. But Timothy doesn’t want to go down. Timothy wants to escape. The name of his grandpa echoes down the Tube, while Timothy presses his rough rubber soles on the slippery slope and gets his grip back.

Now that the eye beholds, Timothy notes that the shiny white dots call also from below. Is it a trick? Are they luring him back? But how? They see the eye now.

Dots down and up. Now what? The hesitation is brief. A wave of euphoria crosses his sense. This is it! Don’t thread to quickly, step at the time. Step-step, step-step on his rubber soles. Timothy stands on the edge.

This is new for Timothy. He’d never seen an edge nor space nor proper light. He’d never seen ground nor roof, or eternal air in all sides. The shiny white dots are all around now, but far away as ever before. What to do with this world all around? Timothy cannot go back, he should go, and he’d better do it soon.

Timothy on the edge. The step out of the dark is a step in the unknown. It smells good, but there will be no way back. He sees the unknown. Feels it breeze on his face. There is no way back.

And so he goes.