I’m just wondering

NotGovernedByMoneyHi y’all 🙂

Off late I’ve been wondering what would happen if we were to live without money. This comes after witnessing the economic debates, on how to get us out of the crisis and which have been going on for more than 5 years now, and having talked to Charles Eisenstein (http://sacred-economics.com/).

As you may know, money (the digits on a computer at the bank, linked to your name, which will be positive or negative) gets created out of thin air (a few mouse clicks) as interest bearing debt. This necessitates paying back more than you received which means, in shorthand,  finding a product or service to generate the money with and it means necessary economic growth. Right up to the moment where all commons have been taken and everything non tangible (which used to be available for no money as well). I mean for an individual it may still be possible to find a new niche but it’s clear to me that for the entire system this is a dead-end street.

And hence I’m wondering: would really everything collapse and would we revert to being undeveloped, uncivilised creatures? Miserable, sick, starving? Stealing away scarce resources from another? Violently unhappy and perpetually unfulfilled? That would be a case for the money game to start all over again.

Or would we see that we can have access to enough (as opposed to never having (owning) enough)? All of us. And if so: what would become available to all of us? Which is not available now under this monetary-scarcity paradigm?

What are your thoughts?











It’s all about the money


As you probably know by now. I’m quite fascinated (and terrified from time to time as well) by the transformation of mankind and our consciousness which I choose to believe we are facing. Recently I came across the works of Charles Eisenstein (http://charleseisenstein.net) and more in particular his latest book Sacred Economics (http://charleseisenstein.net/books/sacred-economics/) Although I have some idea of how the “new world” would eventually look like, I am looking for clues as to how exactly we’ll get there. It’s clear to me that many of our current practices and institutions will no longer have an added value as they are grounded in an era that is coming to an end. I also found that I like talking about the transformation with both like and not-like minded but that it stays on a somewhat abstract academic level, suggesting that it’ll happen but we won’t notice it that much. Well, by now I’ve started to feel that we’ll notice it very clearly. All of us, as it is inevitable that our current practices, which include a certain way of thinking about ourselves, the world we live in, how we relate to that, our economy etc, will come to an end. Charles Eisenstein’s book Sacred Economics depicts a scenario of how it, or part of it, will come to this end.

The main point he makes is that our economy is driven by money and it is based on interest carrying debt, which necessitates perpetual growth. This has led our society to become (almost completely) monetized, which in its turn forms a natural limit to the possibilities for further economic growth. The system in his view: Banks create money in the form of interest bearing debt. In order to pay back the money a bank lends you (plus interest), you have to make more money. And banks will lend money to those who give them more in return. That’s called a solid business proposition. They won’t give money to people who don’t give it back to them because they would use it to clean up a piece of wasteland for instance. There’s no money in that.

From an individual viewpoint, making more money than you borrowed from the bank, may boil down to working a few extra hours to get some more work done, to find some more clients and/or to change something about what you’re offering (innovation). Nothing wrong with that, it’s how our parents got started and probably their parents as well. But from an aggregated standpoint it means that, as more money needs to be paid back than was borrowed (because of the interest), economic growth continuously needs to be realised. The easy way would be to just increase the price of the offering. But that’s called inflation and will not bring economic growth. So growth is realised by finding new markets for existing products and services and by inventing new products and services. Eventually, this has led to almost everything in our society being monetized. And everybody competing with everybody for scarce money. Our governments like that as they want everybody to engage in paid work as it increases the GDP and their budgets via a.o. sales, profit and labour taxes. But if everybody should be engaged in paid work (either as an employee or self-employed): what are they going to produce? What services and products are left that we need to become available at a price? What more of the commons can be taken away and resold to us? The rotation of the earth? Sunshine? Rain? The air that we breathe?

To me it’s clear that the current crises won’t go away and that they contribute to the money-based system coming to an end. I’m not saying that money will cease to exist altogether but that it can’t go on just like this. According to Eisenstein, a possible alternative for our current economic thinking is the concept of the Gift Economy. I’m not saying it provides the rough-and-ready answer to each and every problem around the world but I think the concept as such is worthwhile to think it over.  Here’s a short video where Charles talks about Sacred Economics and the Gift Economy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZkQv25uEs

Of course, even trying to move away from our current practices and systems is anything but a smooth ride as I touched upon in my novel as well. (www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome) There are so many parties having so many vested interests in maintaining the status quo.  In another video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JKOcb3UygA) of a conversation between international economist, James Quilligan and Charles Eisenstein, Quilligan makes a very interesting point: everything in our current economic system revolves around money. Hence, suggesting it’s time for something else would involve such a radical systemic transformation that makes clear to me that it is extremely unlikely to happen in a gradual process. The old rules are becoming obsolete but new rules are not in place yet. As a practical experiment I asked the employee in the local baker’s shop today under what conditions I could get my bread without paying money. ‘For free?’ she asked. ‘No, not for free,’ I answered. I might offer something else in return, perhaps even just my gratitude. That was, understandably, too much for her and she ended the conversation laughingly by saying her boss would fire her if she start giving bread away for free. A clear point that de-monetizing our society requires a total systemic approach as there are soooo many strings attached. Or some kind of violent upheaval.

So, to sum it up (there’s more to come), what I find fascinating about Charles Eistenstein’s work is that he shows one of the main causes for our current endemic crises and a way towards our new world.

What are your thoughts about this? Let us know, OK?

All Love and Blessings,



Spirituality vs Religion: The Tenacity of Dogma’s

Guten Tag,

Last week I watched a discussion program on German television, called Anne Will. The central theme was something like this: All are looking for meaning (of life) – does the church still has answers? (link) The discussion, or better: coarse debate as such was a disaster; the usual disaster perhaps when spiritual matters are subject of a conversation. It came close to a war in the trenches with most of the participants sticking to their fixed positions. It got hijacked by a man, unconditionally believing and vehemently defending anything the pope and the church come up with. Quite an unpleasant contribution to the discussion, I must confess. The other participants were a psycho-therapist who positioned herself as self-declared atheist, a man who grew up in a strict catholic pilgrimage town in Bavaria and who had suffered the unloving, dogmatic and hypocrite side of that. There was this elderly protestant man who has been seeking regular refuge in catholic cloister for the last 30 years. And there was this éminence grise, also an elderly man who could see and think beyond the artificial boundaries dogma imposes. Last but not least was the 38-year old banker turned nun (at the age of 32) with the order of the Benedictines, who also showed the capacity to talk from an essence connection and transcend the limitations of ancient dogmas.

Dogma is sticking to beliefs.

No one, except the latter two, could leave room for a different viewpoint, the sharing of a different spiritual experience. The four loudest speakers were sticking to beliefs they once had accepted and with which they identify themselves and which, in their view, is the only and absolute truth. And all thinking differently are wrong and need to be convinced of that. To me it seemed those four all live in fear, unable to open up to life and immersed in a relentless need to judge everybody and everything all of the time. And I felt quite sad about that.

In my novel ‘The Glass Dome’ (http://www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome), the main character Peter Woudenberg finds himself seated next to a catholic priest at a dinner party. The conversation they enter addresses some of the issues, related to sticking to old dogma’s by the catholic church. Here’s an excerpt.

“Would you say it’s easy to be a priest in the catholic church today?” Jean didn’t answer right away but was apparently consciously enjoying the lobster salad Peter had prepared.

“Delicious,” was the first thing he said and more guests made similar compliments. He took a sip of his white wine, consciously tasted it and then looked at Peter. “I’m sorry, I did not mean to ignore your question. No, I don’t think it’s difficult at all to be a priest in the catholic church today.” “I’m sorry if I sounded offensive,” Peter reacted to Jean’s answer. “I had no intention of doing so.”

“I’m pretty sure part of the reason for you to ask this question lies in the numerous scandals that have surfaced over the last years.”

“That did pass my mind indeed.”, Peter spoke softly.

“Fair enough but for my work, the work that I’m doing in my parish, the work I know I have been called to, those scandals don’t mean a thing.” Jean took another few bites of the salad which gave Peter time to digest what he just said. With his glass of wine in his hand he tilted his head a bit in order to study the structure and colour of it. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m appalled as anyone by these continuing horror stories of sexual abuse. And it is clear that has nothing to do with what the essence of the catholic faith stands for.”

“What does it stand for?” Peter asked.

“Love,” was the factual answer right away but it didn’t particularly come across as factual. Rather it seemed to come from a place where it had a deep meaning. “Love is for me the essence. Pure love for me is glue for the entire human family across the globe,” Jean stated.

Peter was struck by the natural way his discussion partner talked about love and he wondered briefly if he would ever be in such a position.

“And it’s clear that since the faith started to become a male dominated institution, with countless rules, regulations and conventions that sprung from mental processes aimed at controlling the internal and external organisation, the fluid character of the essence became more fixed and hence the application of the essence dogmatic. In other words: the focus shifted from being love to preaching love and talking about it. Needless to say that this gives different results. Contact with the essence was lost. However, I choose to remain with this essential energy as, at its most basic level, everything in the universe is energy, which changes all of the time but which never disappears. Material manifestations may, but energy not. Energy transforms all of the time but lives forever.”

“You sound, how shall I put it, quite convinced about your viewpoints. How do you reconcile that with being part of the catholic church?”

“I get a tremendous satisfaction by doing the work I’m doing, which is helping people to make sense of the things that take place in their lives. And in return, that helps me to grow spiritually and to try to make sense of things for myself as well. In no way am I trying to convince them that the catholic faith or church or bible is the sole means of support for them. What I do see in these turbulent times is a growing need for experiencing spirituality which is true and pure. And liberated from interpretations of certain events that may or may not have taken place. The experience is the important thing here. Experiencing spirituality is different from talking about it and I have the impression there is a growing number of people seeking this experience.”

Here, Père Jean stopped for a moment. He emptied his glass of wine and seemed to contemplate what he had just said. Peter too drank from his wine and swiftly looked around the room where he saw all in conversation with each other. Most of the guests laughing, he was sure not many were engaged in the type of conversation he was engaged in. Somehow he wanted to go to Isabelle and enjoy the seemingly careless state she was in. But he felt compelled to listen to what Père Jean had to say. The latter put down his glass on the table, laid his hand to rest next to it and looked at Peter.

“The name of the club is irrelevant once you make a connection on essence level. Muslims, Hindus, Jews, whatever are able to experience a sense of connectedness and meaningfulness that goes beyond the dogmatic and artificially created boundaries of what we call religions. When you connect to this essence, there’s neither much room nor need for interpreting. As it is the heart that speaks in its powerful language without words. The heart, or the soul if you like, speaks from deep wisdom and knowing. It speaks from love as it does not know otherwise and when doing so greatly enhances the person’s awareness and peaceful, loving presence. You’ll experience something similar as everyone else who experiences it and that only becomes different when you start using words to label it.”

As Père Jean I choose to believe that giving room for each other’s spiritual experience yields better results than trying to rally all behind some concept where a few men tell all the others what it is all about. I see it as a step towards of being able to really see each other therewith allowing all of us to live in freedom and to have our spiritual experiences in freedom as well. There’s great learning possible if and when we can leave our spiritual experiences and our accounts of those as belonging to whoever expresses them, therewith knowing they have no intention to convince us of their views and opinions. Sadly the current practice is different as we can read in the newspapers every day. Being open and willing to listen to other viewpoints may contribute to the regular maintenance our belief system needs.

The conversation between the two men continues and Père Jean makes clear what he thinks of the church being a male dominated institution, having lost its connection with its true essence and why it cannot sustain that. In the process one could notice he lives his life very much in the moment.

“I guess that makes clear why you did not make a splendid career within in the church,” Peter was too quick to comment.

“When you mean with career ‘moving up the ladder’, my life has been a total failure,” he looked at Peter and burst out laughing. Their glasses refilled, they toasted again while Jean was still laughing. “When you mean with career ‘living what you’re called to be’, it’s a tremendous success and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Besides I have the privilege of working with young talented managers from all over the world as I’m a visiting professor at a business school nearby as well.”


“I understand my viewpoints may sound conflicting with the laws and rules of the church as you may have come to know them. In that respect it’s no different from working for a company. If you don’t share the same attitude and beliefs, you’re no longer part of the inner circle and your career won’t advance. I’m sure you know about this yourself.”

Peter acknowledged what Père Jean just said and wondered if he thought the institution of the church would be around much longer.

“You know, some say a process of de-institutionalisation can be expected based on the belief we’re moving into a new cosmic era, with different characteristics and values which will change the way people treat each other.”

“I don’t know much about cosmic era’s but I could see the church, as the fixed materialised institution it has become, will be falling apart. Not the essential energy, as energy is always conserved, but rather the fixed forms that have been constructed over the past 20 centuries or so with all its well established interests. As science progresses and the results of that become available faster and faster to more and more people, it’s difficult for me to see how we can seriously continue to see the pope as God’s sole representative on earth. I mean, we elect this male member of the organisation through a dim process of voting. And why should senior church management be privileged to men? Are women worse managers? Do they lack the ability to lead? Do they have limitations, we don’t know of, that prevent them from having spiritual experiences?” he sounded undignified.

Peter liked his clear viewpoints and somewhat militant attitude and intuitively felt there was much truth in what Jean was saying.

“Let me ask you,” Jean addressed Peter and looked inquisitively at him from his brown eyes. “Do you believe in God?”

Peter felt uncomfortable having to answer the question and many thoughts raged through his mind trying to come up with an answer as neutral as possible. “Uhhh, yes, well, I guess I do.”

“Whoa, that’s a struggle to answer that simple question,” Jean laughed. “You strike me as an intelligent man, so tell me: Where does God live?” “It sure is fun to ask questions that no one knows the answer to,” Peter tried.

“Oh come on, Peter, you can do better than that: now, where does she live?” Jean probed.

“I don’t know,” Peter shyly said.

“Suppose he would live within you,” Jean said.

“Within me? Yeah, right.”

“No, seriously, suppose she would live within you, how would that affect the way you view yourself? Your friends? All of us here celebrating? The world? The universe?” Jean drew widening circles with his right arm as he spoke.

“I would…,” Peter tried to find an answer.

“Now wait a minute, let me add something. Suppose he lives with you as much as she lives within me,” Jean interrupted him.

Peter looked at him in utter concentration, asking himself what trap Père Jean was leading him to. One point he had noted is the changing use of the male and female form. A thought sprang to mind and in spite of his attempt to stay somewhat at a distance he released it without further processing it.

“We would all live in God’s energy field as he would live in ours. Then all would be one. All would be one,” Peter answered without hesitation which actually surprised himself.

Jean looked flabbergasted, his eyes staring at Peter, his mouth half-open for a second. Then his face relaxed, he smiled and put his hand on Peter’s shoulder.

“Yes, we are all one,” he finally quietly said. “All is one. A truth many ancient spiritual traditions all over the world hold high. A truth modern science is starting to prove. A truth meeting much resistance from scared and confused people. And sadly those will cause much grief.”

“Why do you think so?”

“Partially because they have vested well established interests in things staying the way they are. There’s quite a bit of power involved. And partially because they’ll just panic.”

“Don’t you find it unsettling, the insights science is leading to?”

“On the contrary, what will happen is a meeting of science and spirituality as in essence they talk about the same things. And in a way it’s funny to see so many respected women and men struggling to prove something I have been knowing all my life. And many great thinkers did so before me.”

Peter carefully acknowledged what Jean said.

“When you can accept that God resides within you as much as she resides within Didier, Fabienne, Isabelle, me, everyone…..there’s no difference in religion anymore except for your personal experience. But if you could leave that to be your personal experience, and allow others to have theirs, and do not try to convince each other which one is the right one, one major obstacle to world peace would have been removed.”

Père Jean’s face shone with happiness and he took a firm drink from his wine. “And you know what? All of the so-called world religions are struggling with this. I have friends from various major denominations and when we get together we manage to create a special sacred space. Just by gently and quietly focussing on our hearts and atuning to our being together. Not by adhering to a strict and fixed order of actions. But just by being open-hearted and present to the moment. What results is an atmosphere of refined energy that all experience as very uplifting. You cannot summon God to be present and participate in your conversations the way you would like her to. She will still be there but perhaps more at a distance. When invited, rather than ordered, she may show up and her presence will give different results. A famous fellow countryman of yours, Erasmus, wrote this once ‘Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit’, which means ‘Evoked or not, God is always present’.”

If you like what you just read, you can find the entire novel here (http://www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome). I would also love to hear what you think about what you just read.




Beliefs, or the stories we create ourselves

Beliefs: our head is full of itHowdy!

From many sources we can learn about beliefs and how they shape who we are. That applies not only to you and me but also to the main character of my novel “The Glass Dome” (http://www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome), the executive Peter Woudenberg.

What are beliefs anyway? Beliefs are the stories we create ourselves about ourselves, about the world and how we relate to that. They determine everything about us: how we dress, who we like to hang out with, the kind of career we’re pursuing, our family life, where we live: the list is endless. But also, more importantly, do they define what possibilities for advancement we see for ourselves. They define what options are available and what options won’t even be considered.

These stories are nourished by our experiences, that range from our upbringing, early childhood, experiences at school and later perhaps university. The culture in which we were brought up plays a role in this as well of course.  Everyday our world proves us that our beliefs are right. Talking about experiences: our beliefs also determine the experiences we like, and therefore will choose to have,  as well as those we don’t like to have. For instance: in the western world most people like to dine out in a restaurant. They may even be open to different styles of cooking. But once a restaurant would only serve insects and worms, it will probably find itself out of business before long. In spite of the useful proteins insects possess, not many of us (me included!) would volunteer to eat those creatures. And therewith forego the experience.

Our beliefs manifest themselves through behavior and language.

“I can’t eat insects”

“I’m not good with numbers”

“I don’t like to present in front of other people”

“I need coffee to get started in the day”

“I’m not a dancer”, etc

Many of our stories are based on assumptions which rarely get checked or examined. No big deal as such as our beliefs help us to navigate through life and to make sense of it. And it’s probably so that we couldn’t even survive without them. The problem starts when some of them reach their best-before-date. That’s the point where we get out of sync with our environment (relationship, work, whatever). As our beliefs feel like our home we start looking for explanations for what is happening outside of us. “It’s the new boss, who does not understand how we work here.” Or: “If only my partner would give me more space.”

In a “coincidental” meeting with their carpenter, Peter Woudenberg, who sees himself faced with an unexpected loss of his high level executive job, gets explained how our belief system is built and how we adhere to it, even when some of those beliefs we adopted stop serving us.

“Your confusion is clear to me,” the carpenter said in a soft tone. “And that’s OK. Just like everybody else on the planet you choose to believe certain things as you choose not to believe other things. And don’t get me wrong here, the same applies to me. I too choose to believe certain things. But at the end of the day they’re all just beliefs. You are who you choose to believe you are. And our beliefs form an elaborate, complex interwoven pattern. Every belief is like a masterfully applied brush stroke to a painter’s linen. As such each single belief is but a brush stroke. But together they form a masterpiece of a complexity one could only begin to describe, comparable to a painting made by Rembrandt or Vermeer. All brushstrokes are all connected and they all need each other to form the painting in its entirety. They show themselves in everything we do: the way we dress, we behave, the work we choose to do, the people we like being with, the activities we like undertaking, the restaurants we go to and so on and so on. When they’re shared on a collective level they define what we call culture. But they manifest themselves also as the thoughts we allow ourselves to have. Now something funny happens: because we have become so deeply familiar with our painting, and we have come to like this painting so dearly, we are very reluctant to change one or two of those brush strokes as we somehow know that this would imply changing the entire painting right away without us knowing if we would like what we get in return. In other words: even if our beliefs start hindering us and our functioning we still cling on to them. We seek explanations and justifications for us to stick to our beliefs, vainly trying to prove that they’re right, a task becoming more and more difficult over time.”

I’ll talk a bit more about this in my next post. In the meanwhile, if you want to check out the entire story: http://bit.ly/t3XLtZ

Stay well!




There’s something about the word ‘Leader’

The Leader on top of other people?


This may be a cultural thing and therefore I may be attaching too much value too it. But there’s something that strikes me about the self promoting guru’s in whatever field. They all seemingly find it incredibly important to continuously state that they work with Leaders. Not just with anybody, no they work with leaders. Never mention ordinary folks, nope it’s about leaders. I’m not so sure that they understand what they communicate with that. Of course there’s more than a fair chance that they try to say that whatever it is they want to say, is something that is appealing to leaders. Which leads to them thinking that being amongst leaders makes them a leader too. So they’re amongst like-minded people and other friends now.

As I said, attaching importance to the word ‘leader’ may be a cultural thing, especially pertaining to the US culture. But I can’t help thinking when I read about some guru claiming to bring leaders together (as if…) : what’s the shouting all about? Why do you need so speak in such a loud tone to make yourself heard? What does that tell me about your message? That there are two kinds of people on the planet? Leaders and losers? That there is a distinction between leaders and the rest, which makes the leaders better people? That it is not true that all is one? That it is not true that everything in the universe is connected? That your worldview is still that of the pyramid: one at the top telling all the others what to do (and all the others should listen to that person, fit in, adapt to the context never mind what their unique contribution may be)? Those days are gone as can be read from a previous blog: http://bit.ly/rOWtzk What does it tell me about you, the person from which the message originates? How self-confident are you? To what extent to do believe what you are preaching? To what extent are you your message? To what extent can you really identify yourself with your message?

So in as much as they’re trying to preach a message of love and unity, in actual fact they’re communicating rivalry, distinction and them being better than all the others. Exclusiveness as opposed to inclusiveness. And that makes me sad…… Of course, this too is just a mere transitory phase in the development of mankind but still…. What kind of transformation is required to move to the next phase? And what will that look like? Any thoughts on your end you want to share?





On Jante’s Law


Some time ago I read in Paolo Coelho’s blog about Jante’s law ( http://bit.ly/zPKn5j ) I have to admit I hadn’t heard of it before but it does resonate with me when I think back of my Dutch background. Especially in the part above the rivers splitting the country in two  (as if Holland were so big that one could speak of different and distinctive parts! :-)) I found it to be rather present in daily life and hence a part of the culture.

Just to freshen your memory: here they are, the 10 (well now 11) commandments:

  1. Don’t think you’re something
  2. Don’t think you are worth the same as us
  3. Don’t think you’re smarter than us
  4. Don’t think you’re better than us
  5. Don’t think you’re wiser than us
  6. Don’t think you’re more than us
  7. Don’t think you’re good at anything
  8. Don’t laugh at us
  9. Don’t think anyone cares about you
  10. Don’t think you have anything to teach us
  11. Don’t think that there is something we don’t know about you.

It may be true that long ago these rules had some relevance in the scandinavian countries and Finland. But I take the liberty to assess them at face value here and now. And I want to share my thoughts with you.

1) Don’t think you’re something

Why not? How would that help any kind of personal development? One of the thing I teach people in my work is to start loving themselves because they’re the most important person in their life.

2)Don’t think you are worth the same as us

That is nonsense in its purest form. We all have equal “worth”, that is if “worth” is the word to be used here.

3) Don’t think you’re smarter than us

Well I might be but that doesn’t make be better than the rest, now does it?

4) Don’t think you’re better than us

Indeed, there’s no point in that. Although I get the feeling that “they” mean to say that “they” are better than “you”.

5) Don’t think you’re wiser than us

Again, probably true: all men are equally wise, well potentially they are. It’s their behavior that causes me to doubt man’s wisdom from time to time.

6) Don’t think you’re more than us

Again a huge chunk of fear seems to permeate this. No I’m not. Neither are you. Could we just leave it like that and not wage war on that one?

7) Don’t think you’re good at anything

What on earth could be the benefit of thinking this? Great: let’s all tell each other we’re fish that try to climb trees. Double loop failure guaranteed: no fish will manage and we will all feel miserable about it. Gosh!

8) Don’t laugh at us

Why not? Laughing is very healthy as I heard on many occasions. If it helps: you can laugh at me (and I’ll probably wave and laugh back at you)

9) Don’t think anyone cares about you

Although a lot of non-caring seems to be going on: if it helps: I Care About You!

10) Don’t think you have anything to teach us

How can I tell if we don’t talk because of rules 1-9? You probably have something you can teach me and the same may be true for me.

11) Don’t think that there is something we don’t know about you.

Ah, the ultimate blackmail. Shut up or else. It’s what tabloids are good at, right? I remember this BA pilot landing his Boeing 777 safely after the engines failed to respond.  Although he landed short of the runway, only 3 people suffered minor injuries. Job well done, I thought. To my surprise some tabloid reported that the pilot liked women to lick chocolate off his body. Indeed: just in case he might have thought to be someone special (which he is like all of us), we’ll show you just how sick he actually is.  And that is the real sick part of it.

So in summary: as far as I’m concerned most rules of Jante’s law can go right into the trash bin as they deliberately fail to recognise each person’s unique value and worth and the fact that we all have a destiny on the basis of whcih we want to (and need to) make our contribution to the world.


See ya,




Religion vs Spirituality

Today this facebook post by the Dalai Lama caught my eye:

“More fundamental than religion is our basic human spirituality. We have a basic human disposition towards love, kindness and affection, irrespective of whether we have a religious framework or not. When we nurture this most basic human resource – when we set about cultivating those basic inner values which we all appreciate in others, then we start to live spiritually.”

I don’t know what it means to you (perhaps you want to share?) but for me it gets down to the essence. Following the french philosopher Pierre Teilhard the Chardin (We are not a human beings in search of a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings immersed in a human experience) I too choose to believe that we as humans carry this basic human spirituality with us. It shows itself in this willingness to help others or in this sense of curiosity when we meet each other. The systems we have been creating over the past centuries lead to different outcomes and often take us away from our very nature: the desire to connect and share in freedom.

In my view religion invariably becomes dogmatic and filled with people, who are leading and managing the organisation that gets built around it by sticking to and expanding the dogma. Where for some dogma may have some advantages, I see four major disadvantages:

1) to quote the famous 2005 speech by Steve Jobs: dogma is the result of other people’ s thinking. It blocks a flow of energy that is needed to keep the essence and the connection to it organic and alive. It tends to make interpretations of accounts of historic events fixed, not leaving room for more accurate interpretations, based on scientific research for instance.

2) religious dogma forms a disconnect from the original essence. For instance in my novel “The Glass Dome” this is illustrated by the catholic priest telling the main character during a dinner party that nowadays the catholic church preaches love and talks about it whereas the essence is being love. And that contact with that essence has been lost. Quite a difference. Oh, and of course ‘being love’, does not require to be talked about as it just is.

3) because religious dogma tends to be fixed, leaving no room for different interpretations (or to put it differently: it’s not open to change) it gets intolerant with the risk of becoming fundamental and (extremely) violent. This is the stage where even groups of people of different factions of the same religion start waging war on each other because of the differing interpretation of a written document for example.

4) it enhances the illusion of separation as the dogmatic communities are exclusive. It introduces right and wrong (based on dogma that is) which means that we and those who are with us are right and all the others are wrong (and should be stopped from promoting their viewpoints; see pt 3 above)

What might be the way forward? Well, it won’t come as a surprise when I tell you that in my view ideally all religious dogmatism would be reevaluated and judged on its connection with the original essence. In order for the original essential energy to surface again. How different would it be when we all allow our own individual spiritual experiences to be what they are: our own individual spiritual experiences, still knowing that we are connected of course. I would enjoy my experiences and you would enjoy yours. Of course we could share them but preferably without one trying to convince the other of the supposed superiority of his experience. Learning from your experience could possibly enrich mine and vice versa. As long as we present our spiritual experiences as our own and merely as an invitation to observe and learn if we want to. Our experiences are different but they stem from the same source. As we do. What a peaceful world would result, or?

All is one. We’re all God’s children and no one is a child of a lesser God.