We all end up with half faces. A look upon history and the mankind it has driven.






I am standing in a Greek museum on Samos or another one of 3000 islands in the Aegean. The museums here all look alike anyway; with a big sign that says that the EU gave the Greek a nice cheque to decorate their ancient treasures with wheelchair lifts and marble floors. The sign is in front of every insignificant museum you enter, whether the town is touristy or not, as if it’s sort of a repayment, the acknowledgment that it’s not their treasure. I must say I don’t mind; Greek antique is holy, it couldn’t be preserved too good. So again: I ‘m standing there and I look at another of the tens of hundreds of thousands of forgotten statues that I saw passing in front of my eyes those three weeks on Greek soil. Still, this one doesn’t pass in a glimpse or in a hasty photo; it fascinates me like unknown discoveries in quick visits of another museum sometimes do. I’m looking at the face of what clearly had to depict a woman, but time has made it a ruin, leaving only half the face. At once, sometimes this happens to me, a sentence pops up in my head, one I luckily will not forget: ‘’History all leaves us with half faces.’’ It might not sound right in English, it’s translated from Dutch, but there’s no other way that says it right. I let the sentence roll through my head in a brainwave a second time and I love the way it tastes. There are sentences that just make sense, inexplicably. Though they may not make real sense and yet in that little sniff of non-sense, they reveal something, which captures a whole lot of understanding, a bundle of wisdom, ‘’rightness’’.  You can’t explain it; you can only feel it, feel it! Counts for all of life’s best tricks.


I will rethink this phrase over and over (I can’t get enough of the syllables when I create linguistic pottery that’s actually good) and it stays fresh and clear. I think it is a great title to an academic publication by some professor who tries to hide his serious work behind a title that might get everybody to start the first page and to perhaps read even further. But I’m not an historian and I might have a look upon our condition humaine that swings between the Buddha and Jesus version about that there are so many good people that keep the world on turning, there’s hope and everybody just needs love and Rorschach’s vision from Watchmen on the other hand of the doomed and evil billions of ants killing and torturing; that powerless, sick feeling. It depends by the daily fait divers, the people you meet in a flash and the mood. Even if my cynic thoughts are proven wrong every single day by the wonderful, simple beauties I witness, on the other side there are also always proven by a message from outside my bubble or –scarcely- inside of my pretty little world; the image of failing, dreadful species.

The body full of cancers resuscitating itself vigorously with every new sunrise vs. the pure and wide ocean with a few poison drops that do not affect its peaceful stream at all.  

It has been said for a long time that humans made history and although some people surely had their impact it looked more like a blind man throwing paint at a canvas than Vermeer depicting a pearl. We all throw our drop on the paintbrush, willingly or not, on the big drool of past souls and still it always surprises me that in this total confusion of merely things, those random machines actually function. The law of entropy tells us that chaos is much easier as a result than order (because it has a far greater change of existence) and however, my dear, it works. There is network for fixing my bike, teaching me physiology, feeding me, making sure I have toothpaste… It’s remarkable that in all this chaos, this wild stream of an unguided river that rages to an unknown next point, in all this mess, there are quiet organised places, oases of rest and peace. Without all the paranoia, the heartache, the anger, the false hopes and the weakness or with just a sparkle of all that.

Back to my stone cold, carved, half-faced woman. Preserved, yet destroyed, forgotten, yet here for new discovery. A ghost of a past which we will never know, no matter how many of its stones we recapture from the sand with the gentle movement of an archaeologist’s brush. She tries to tell me something, but although I have studied her alphabet, have laid the same words in my mouth as she must once have, we cannot communicate for too much milliseconds divide us, too many gulfs have raised up from the shallow water since she last said the words I hear myself saying. Nevertheless, we do not hear the same words, because we do not have the same ears.

She whispers to me, in a self-created wind of whisper, that you can stumble to live on in history, to mean more than the couple extra genes you mixed, to mean something to someone somewhere sometime, but that your splash of paint is always just half a face. 


22:11 Gepost door Virginia in Essay, Filosofie, Gedachtenspinsels | Permalink | Commentaren (1) | Tags: history, greece, ancient |  Facebook |