At this time all seminars, with an exception of the second seminar are written exclusively in Dutch.

II. Het pad van de Aarde

12 september 2009

Introducties door prof. Peter Westbroek, Jan Kallenbach, prof. Fons Elders

Moderator drs. Marco Oostdijk, procesbegeleider (

Peter Westbroek

TERRE! Des menaces globales à l’espoir planétaire, een publicatie van Peter Westbroek, emeritus hoogleraar Universiteit Leiden, verschijnt medio oktober 2009 bij Éditions du Seuil, Paris.

Earth! Fear and promise
We have almost forgotten that the greatest result of NASA’s Apollo program in the late sixties was not the man on the moon, but the view of the Earth from deep space, with the barren lunar surface in the foreground. The ‘Earthrise’ photograph created a new worldview. We saw that our role was not to master this planet, but to participate in its dynamics. This message brought promise. The solution to our problems seemed within sight: one day humanity would be united and one with the planet. But the new worldview also had a dark side. We became aware of overpopulation, climate change, the exhaustion of natural resources and globalization. Presently, an epidemic is rapidly spreading of global anxiety, nationalism and xenophobia. This fear is the most dangerous of all our predicaments. To approach the problems ahead, we must nurture an attitude of detachment.

In this presentation I show how this attitude of detachment may be fostered by science, in particular the science of the system Earth as it emerged following the earthrise photograph. To illustrate the development of this planet from its beginnings, some 4.580.000.000 years ago to the present, I shall briefly discuss two important developments: the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere and the mechanism of anthropogenesis. We shall discover the very special nature of everything around us, of this planet as a whole and of ourselves in particular. The more we advance into this science, the deeper we are impressed with the Earth’s majesty. This brings us in the proper position to overcome our fears and to adept to our newly discovered role.



De sleutelbegrippen in Aarde! Vrees en belofte, zijn: Oriëntatie, vooral in tijden van collectieve angst. Dat vereist een lucide, afstandelijke en toch ‘verbaasde’ attitude, ofwel een innerlijk licht dat zijn oriëntatie zoekt in de werkelijkheid. De queeste roept de vraag op naar de relatie ‘wetenschap’ en ‘mythe’.
“Ja, wetenschap demystificeert, maar doet dit met als ultiem doel de ontdekking van meer omvattende en tot heden onontdekte mythologische realiteiten.” (Terre, 10, vert. fe).
Het ontstaan van regulatieve mechanismen leidt tot de metafoor van een planeet, in staat om te leren van zijn ervaringen.

Discussie over vragen als wetenschap en mythologie; het sublieme en de culturele evolutie van de mensheid worden op verzoek van Peter Westbroek in eerste instantie ingeleid en van commentaar voorzien door Fons Elders.


2nd Meeting A.L.A., Saturday February 8, 2009

The focus of the ‘ Academie Libre Ambulante’ is towards our world view(s), to all intents and purposes in order to grasp the underlying values and ideas of the personal and collective ‘ identities’, itself probably a misleading concept.
The central question is how we might unveil the hidden ‘evidence’ in the back of our minds, that determines our perception and reflex to the ‘unknown’ . And, as we all know, the ‘unknown’ is larger than the Pacific Ocean.
The actual crisis is a challenge that requires thorough analysis and a profound transformation of the prevailing paradigms, with the aim to realize a more integrated, holistic world view.

The meeting was an experience. In the words of Geerd Schlangen: it reverberated several days. The brief presentations were special. Each introduction showed a direct link with the own discipline, professional activities and the endeavor to act accordingly. The bio-stories revealed the inner cohesion between theory and practice; between the personal and the public world.

The performance by Bjorn Aris embodied the act of seppuku, the ritual suicide of a samurai, at the request of the Shogun. Seppuku as the realization of life and death, within a strict protocol of honor and self-control, was breath-taking.
In the words of Bjorn: ‘The sword is the Self, cutting through matter and time and penetrating to true insight.’
Spinoza would say: ‘Meditation about death is meditation about life’.

We realized that such a performance brings us to the limit of our understanding. The clash of paradigm’s between the vision on suicide by Herman Hesse, brought forward by Tatjana, and the code of honor of the Japanese samurai caste, became evident.
Conclusion: if we reach the limit of our understanding, new questions arise. Such a creative experience is a central aim of A.L.A. It also reveals the meaning of an integral experience of body and mind: ‘the body doesn’t lie’. (B.A.)

The question was raised: are we planning in the near future to include an audience from outside the small circle of A.L.A.-participants, as a first tryout?
The answer: let’s discuss the question concretely in the next meeting while reserving a date for such a ‘public’ encounter, in case the answer is ‘yes’.

With thanks to Colette for the lunch, and to Marco for moderating the meeting quietly and effectively, and above all to Bjorn Aris for his performance which brought us to the edge of our imagination and comprehension.

Fons Elders

Kapberg, Warder, March 7, 2009


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