Friday, June 11, 2010

Cornelis Verhoeven 1928 - 2001

It's been nine years today.

"When we think about death, we make an endless detour around a given that we can't digest. But on that detour we discover in the light of our mortality also everything that is connected to it: our powerlessness, fears, faults, passivity. The thought of death must teach us not to experience these things as merely negative values. They are an essential part of our brief life. When we try to turn them off, we do ourselves an injustice. Our powerlessness also means that we can be overwhelmed by wonder or enthusiasm. Caving in can be an elemental joy. Thinking of death teaches us also that life is a gift over which we can't willfully command. We are in at least as strong a measure a witness to it as its possessor."

~ Cornelis Verhoeven, excerpt from the essay 'De betekenis van de dood in het leven' (the meaning of death in life), in the book 'De resten van het vaderschap' (The rest of fatherhood), Ambo, 1975



nadine said...

how did he react when his father died?

dadc said...

Physical (inevitable) mortality leads me to ask "do I not waste the gift received?". During last moments I've spent with my dad in January this year I know he did not waste anything.

SeBiArt said...

I remember many years ago when my grandmother died I preached a very similar philosophy to my mother, and to myself: face the loss, embrace the pain, experience the passing, so as to be filled by this brief yet real expansion of one's self, sense, and soul in this life. I believed this also to breathe new life into the memory of her.

I still believe this, as a philosophy, and your father advises beautifully here, and you his son, seem to 'walk' his words in a most valiantly active way. Is this in part because of time?

In action, I must admit...I'm not there yet. I block, I deny, I repress, and look away. It's been 4 years nearly - I think this should be long enough, but apparently not...

Arthur said...

Dag Daan,

ik ben Arthur Franssen, voormalig student Wijsbegeerte aan de UvA. Ik wil je laten weten dat ik heel veel geleerd heb van je vader: zijn gedachtengoed maar ook zijn persoonlijkheid. Hij is nog steeds een voorbeeld voor mij. Hij leeft dus nog steeds!

Veel groeten van Arthur