..."Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humor."
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
To boldly go where no man has gone before…

This quote will sound familiar to many of you, but I would like to disengage the sentence from its obvious connotation. No doubt, many 'trekkies' whisper these words to themselves when falling asleep and, accordingly, will have sweet and brave dreams.

I, on the other hand, with this quote would like to honor (honour if you prefer) the 'founding fathers' of the Royal Society in getting together at Gresham College, London on November 28th, 1660. Today, exactly 356 years ago, this meeting after a lecture by the astronomer Christopher Wren, was a memorable stepping stone for (experimental) science and reason. The journey which they embarked on, and likewise many of their colleagues all over western Europe, meant: they boldly went where no man had gone before…

It hasn't been an easy path for these 'elitist' enlightened pre-modern scientists. I doubt whether the phrasing 'elitist' had the same ominous, dishonorful meaning as it has today. Science is suspect nowadays, facts hardly matter anymore. Science has been hotly debated upon by many church officials  over the centuries who had difficulties in matching the latest discoveries and scientifical theories with the word of god. After the decisive 18th century Enlightenment and the progress made in de 19th and 20th century most bystanders would have guessed that science had been victorious. Science gave us vaccinations, better crop yields, the automobile and a cell phone. Does one need more than this ?
The rapidly developing 'suburbs' of the City of Science virtually swallowed up all of the City of God, to the dismay of many believers who were struggling to uphold Genesis and their faith based morality.

Science is no threat to religion per se, they are just 'working' in different ways. If you are capable of distinguishing between what comes from the head and what comes from the heart, then it should be no problem. Problems only arise when you try to bring god into the scientifical equasion. Then you're mixing up things. Do not try to prove god with science, it simply just doen't work.
Unfortunately creationism and intelligent design, or whatever you call them, is making a remarkable comeback lately, especially in the United States.

The motto of the Royal Society Nullius in verba (take nobody's word for it) fits nicely to these modern times. Although probably meant in 1660 to incite the scientifical 'play' of formulating questions and theses, and trying to solve these riddles in either verifying or falsfying them with experiments and peer reviews, I would like to suggest to read them like this. As an exhortation to be very cautious in trusting the ones with the biggest mouth. History proves these guys wrong, usually.

Nullius in verba, nullius in verba....

Act of Settlement 1701 Revoked By Dutch States-General John Cleese Sucks
The Hague, February 18th 2017
Preamble: John Cleese, go back to history class with your fake biased allegations.

On behalf of the fine-tuned machinery of the States-General of the Netherlands we hereby revoke the Act of Settlement of 1701, issued by the so-called Parliament of England. The rule of the House of Stuart-Orange is herewith being reinstated. The German House of Hanover was never supposed to rule over England anyway. The Germans have proven throughout their history that they are unfit for creating any coherent form of government in the first place. The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which lasted roughly from the 10th untill the early 19th century, was a mix of territorial entities gone madly wild in clinging to local disputes and strange traditions. The Swiss left the empire because they considered themselves to be more or less normal. And look what kind of instruments the Swiss are playing. It really says it all, doesnt't it ?

Because of pressing matters at home His Royal Highness William-Alexander, by the grace of God, King of Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau etc. etc. etc.,  will appoint a stadtholder for England and the other royal dominions, including the territories known these days as the United States of America. Stadtholder will be Piet Hein Donner, currently acting as vice-president of the Dutch Council of State, a man of impeccable reputation.

Most of England is of German origin anyway, so how can this 1701 Act of Parliament ever have been a truly democratic act? Although some say the Dutch are of German origin themselves, we would like to present alternative facts: does Atlantis ring a bell? Newly found evidence from below the Zeeland mussel banks clearly indicates that this ancient civilization has to be located in the realm of the Dutch. Even etymology provides further evidence for this case. According to Grimm's Law the shifting of consonants and vowels from At- to Hol- is fairly obvious and also otherwise well documented. Atlantis, Hollandis….. Need we say more ? Because Plato was the first one who wrote about Atlantis, Plato clearly was Dutch, and as a consequence, all of philosophy a mere footnote to Dutch clear-thinking.

Concerning the English dominions

The States-General call for the handover of a couple bunders (a bunder is one-twelth of a manse) of land on the Medway river banks, in order to create a new Dutch naval base over there. We have been there before in June 1667, and will commemorate this event, exactly 350 years ago, in June 2017. As a token of good will we'll give back the stern piece of the HMS Royal Charles, showing its coat of arms, which we have preserved for you in the Rijksmuseum for some time.
An invoice for the cost of the 1667-operation by Michiel de Ruyter and Cornelis de Witt as well as additional costs for the preservation of the stern piece in the Rijksmuseum, will follow shortly afterwards. In the end, we are Dutch…

Concerning the American dominions

All acts and measures preceding and following the illegal Declaration of Independence of 1776 will be re-evaluated by a Dutch parliamentary commission, so this may take some time to work out.  Some things are clear already. We will list them for you, otherwise you'll be confused :

Concerning our Dutch hinterland

This separate tract deals with the Dutch hinterland of mainland Europe. To keep it short: we lay claim to the extensive territories, formerly belonging to the Holy Roman Empire, as of 1248. In 1248 the Dutch count William II was elected (that sounds democratic, doesn't it?) Roman German King. Although he somewhat untimely passed away, being clubbed to death by a couple of insurgent Westfrisian farmers in 1256, the States-General are confident that they have a strong case for the territorial claims and legacy of William II.
A small map of the meant territories is shown to the right side. It roughly covers for the area between Kiel and Palermo. We like to stay modest, or as we say in Dutch: doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg!

Some minor issues will be dealt with, as far as the Dutch Hinterland is concerned:
Why is everybody making such a big issue of North-Korea? We know that you have sold them some early 1941 Werner von Braun sketches as state-of-the-art rocket science. That's why it's taking them so long.

Chameleons & Charlatans

My middle-name has always been chameleon until quite recently. No one could better rephrase your opinion and the opinions of all the others present than I could, no matter how contradictory these opinions may have seemed. Standing somewhere near Rembrandts Night Watch, I simply became part of the painted entourage of Frans Banninck Cocq. Fading-out is my master skill. This strategy of course greatly increased my popularity, because many people just love to be the centre of attention and adore fade-outs. But in the end it was somewhat less satisfying with regard to my own emotional and psychological development. Time for a game change.

Now as these happen to be the days of the post-fact era which allows for opinions, no matter how preposterous they may seem, to be poured out all over the available multi-media channels, this will be my moment of grandeur! I can fade out or in no matter what I say…. Unless this is all a bad dream where I've mistaken reality for some kind of perpetual carnival where the harlequins have gained control over society, I'm more or less free to speak , everybody does…

This year it is exactly five hundred years ago that Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 theses to a Wittenberg church door. This enormously changed the course of history. Till then, Luther was a kind of chameleon on his own merit, an augustinian monk safely contemplating the prefab dogmas that had been seeping through centuries of medieval theology and philosophy. Maybe Luther had his personal St-Paul-on-his-way-to-Damascus-moment as he was reading too much of The City of God by Saint Augustine: Fall of man, perpetual sin, singular or double predestination, grace, faith…. ingredients that, when getting mixed up with the decay of papal authority and the political and civil unrest in early modern Europe, would unfold into an explosive cocktail with lots of burning stakes & bonfires. In the age of humanism, as we call it today, humanity was trapped in a no-win situation.

Does this remind us of the current state of affairs?
(This is a so-called rhetorical question, very nice indeed for seducing your audience into the hidden cavities of your own very fixed opinions. Note the 'us' in the question, there is no way getting out of this anymore, we're in this together…) So y'all agree then? Yes, it reminds us of the troubling present situation. Hugely reminds us… Period.

Whereas Luthers theses proved to be such an incendiary in the sixteenth century, I modestly nail five  theses to my personal church door, skipping ninety from the original listing. Not as an incendiary, but as a pathway to catharsis, to the cleansing of the soul. Which sometimes is being preceded by a tiny little fire… whatever.
Ninety five was way too much by the way. Ridiculous. People barely mastered reading in those days. So be concise or forever hold your peace. Proverbs 13 :3. Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who twitter rashly will come to ruin.

So, let's grab them by the parchment:

1.        Trading in emission rights is like trading in indulgences. The Supreme Being doesn't fancy working with greedy subcontractors. So the amount of carbondioxide a person emits equals the amount of oxygen being used in purgatory to fuel your auto-roast.

2.        trias politica
was not one of the leading female characters in Jurassic Park III. For those who do think so, some Hindu geek from the Indian subcontinent worked out the concept of the numeral zero (the Arabs stole the word…), just for the sole purpose of accurately measuring one's IQ. Press secretaries holding the press accountable for exposing alternative facts range in the realm of the imaginery numbers, IQ-wise. That's beyond measuring. Ask them to square-root a negative number and give or take a couple of minutes they autocombust.

3.        Check for difficult words like indulgence, purgatory, Hindu, IQ, square root and autocombustion. Despite the fact that US-built cars (of non-German brand) tend to spontaneously autocombust, it doesn't mean that it has something to do with cars. Unless you prefer alternative dictionaries of course.

4.        Schweigen im Angesicht des Bösen ist selbst böse: Gott wird uns nicht als schuldlos betrachten. Nicht zu sprechen ist sprechen. Nicht zu handeln ist handeln
. These words are from the Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who challenged the nazi regime and was put to death in the very final stages of World War II. Despite their difficult legacy, which Germany has  surmounted in the last seven decades, the Germans remain the Kulturvolk par excellence, so every serious piece of writing just needs some German phrases. One more German word that needs being actively promoted worldwide: Zivilcourage.

5.        I adore books. They are great! I just love them. Couldn't be better… But one must never forget the admonition of Christopher Hitchens: everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay.