Replying to LO28492 --
Dear At and LO,
a gentle brief reflection on...
> Dear Organlearners,
> Alan Cotterell <email@example.com> writes:
> >I suspect wisdom is the ability to know when to
> >keep one's opinions to one's self. I certainly don't
> >have it.
> Greetings dear Alan,
> Not with my five children, now grown-ups themselves. When i keep
> my opinions to myself, they often get mad at me. When they ask me
> for my opinions and i give it to them, they often get mad at me.
> When i tell them my own opinion, they often get mad at me. When i
> reflect to them their own opinions (after careful observation), they
> often get mad at me. I must be the most unwise father possible.
> >The whole thing seems to depend on values.
> Perhaps you are right because i see it differently. For me wisdom
> depends on respect for creativity. My dear wife and i tried to guide
> our children to think creatively -- now it is back firing upon us,
> especially me. Andrew Cambell has met two of them as well as my
> grand daughter. He is in a better position to observe where my
> guidance went wrong.
> Anyway, you are right because creativity has value while respect
> for creativity is a value.
How funny knot;-) that the day that 'lesson' arrived there was open on my
table a letter of some length by Vincent van Gogh to his beloved brother
Theo, though in this family ensemble the 'mad' one is the son Vincent. (15th
December 1883) He starts..."Dear brother, I sense what Father and Mother
instinctively (I do not say intelligently) think about me. They shrink from
taking me into the house as they might from taking a large shaggy dog who is
sure to come into the room with wet paws..." and then inevitably he speaks
within the tensions of fraternal bonding with deep gratitude..." you do
realize don't you, that I am sure you have saved my life and I shall never
forget that. Even after we have put an end to relations which, I fear, would
place us in a false position....snip...I shall also owe you an infinite debt
of loyalty because you held out your hand to me and because you have gone on
helping me...Money can be repaid, but not kindness such as yours. - So, leave
me to carry on by myself. " Then At, in the very next line is the source of
that lovely little popular song about the painter Vincent van Gogh, " I am
only sorry a complete reconciliation has not proved possible, and wish it
might still come about, but you people do not understand me, and I am afraid
you never will." It is important to recall that in1883 Vincent has scarce
even begun his greatest outpouring of love into the world. He is still moping
around locally 'finding himself' as personality and artist being shaped by
the calms and storms of his life. In the very same letter though he appears
to be setting Theo away from him he still asks for 'funds' and explains
dutifully what he had done, almost guilder by guilder with the funds he'd
received a few days before. Toward the end of his letter Vincent vents the
pain of being (feeling) treated as a child. "Allow me to tell you that I
never knew someone of 30 was a 'boy', particularly when he has more
experience of the world than most during those thirty years. But do think on
my words as the words of a boy if you want to. I am not responsible for how
you view what I say, am I? That's your business. ... snip ... it has always
seemed to me that sincerity is a duty, especially for a painter - whether
people understand what I say, whether they judge me rightly or wrongly, is
neither here not there as far as I am concerned....Well, brother, even if
there is a separation in whatever way, know that I am your friend, perhaps
more than you realize or understand - even Father's friend. With a handshake,
Ever yours, Vincent." Of he then goes with the peasants and the dark fields
filling up with compassion, sowing seeds, giving his clothes away and drawing
things like "manure heaps".
Ilse-Marie presented us with a beautifully worked ink drawing, like a
mandala. We have put it up in the small hall. I took her gift as an
opportunity to work with Ilse-Marie at some painting in the garden, as I
happened to have some colours and papers around. Ilse-Marie created five
images, one of which I conjoined with one of mine and called 'garden duet'.
They are all most stunning and being quite spontaneous emergences are full of
truthfulness. I am spending a lot of time contemplating all her images. You
have perhaps now seen one that I played with and put beside a 'master' (Juan
Miro) in contemplation. I could go n and on about Ilse-Marie's creativity
potentials as I see them. But first from some tiny seeds she will see them.
Everyone knows now and loves now Vincent, even the mighty Picasso bowed
before him. Picasso said something strange, that while he could imagine
almost any great master like Rembrandt driving around in a rolls royce,
Vincent never ever. But anyone who knows anything about Vincent's life knows
that is was only possible through the reality and living out of innered
humility, in the face of nature, in the face of peers, in the face of family,
in the face of friends, in the face of enemies real and imagined and through
the handshaking of the world each day newly found at the expense of a dear
beloved Theo into his ever diminishing pockets;-) and sometimes patience
In Vincent's last letter to his sister and Mother he wrote from Auver that he
was becoming/being 'absorbed' by the landscape.
I can only say that I found Jo', Ilse-Marie, dear Alicia and little Jessica
absorbing teachers, and that occasionally in them I touched/glimpsed the
heart of the Afrikaans people in their immense contemporary struggle to
become reborn. To build a house of calm.
Andrew & Anona
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