Mrs. N. is busy packing her suitcase for her upcoming European tour. In a little over a week it’s off to The Netherlands for the Spring Tulip Festival and a visit to Keukenhof Park, the worlds largest flower garden. Anyone who has read anything on this blog knows full well how Mrs. N. feels about her flowers. If we have time, since we are in the area anyway, we will try to make a short visit to Holland.
Mrs. N. chose to begin her “Tour of the Absurd” in The Netherlands because it was the home of “Tulip Mania”. Back in 1637, a single tulip bulb sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. You have to wonder what they were thinking. It is generally considered to be the first recorded speculative bubble. The Dutch, it appears, had never heard the phrase… “What goes up must come down.” They have that in common with Wall Street Bankers.
The people of The Netherlands are known to be an unfriendly people. They are also known for their “Coffee Shops” that openly sell dozens of different kinds of marijuana, hashish and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Mrs. N. is having a very hard time understanding how a population of people could simultaneously be unfriendly AND be enjoying the benefits of inhabiting what should be a perpetual Woodstock. Something is amiss. Even the popular phrase… (“You know what they say about the Dutch… they don’t amount to much.”) doesn’t explain this curious phenomena. Mrs. N. intends to get to the bottom of this no matter how many “Coffee Shops” she has to visit, or, how long the research takes.
From there it will be off to Heidelberg, Germany to visit the childhood home of the greatest epistemologist of all time.
René Descartes in an early example of the internalist approach to justification wrote, because the only method by which we perceive the external world is through our senses, and that, because the senses are not infallible, we should not consider our concept of knowledge to be infallible. Sergeant Hans Schultz, going one critical step further, fully recognized the fallibility of our senses and stated the obvious. He is widely considered today to be the Father of the Anti-evolutionary Psychology Movement. It is also believed that Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “The Denial of Death” was but the culmination of work originally begun by Hans Schultz. Both men were known to be avid bowlers.
After paying our respects to the work and memory of Professor Schultz it will be on to Dusseldorf and the Neanderthal Museum. Neanderthals had something called an occipital bun. An occipital bun is a prominent bulge, or projection, of the occipital bone at the back of the skull. Occipital buns are important in scientific descriptions of classic Neanderthal crania.
When Mrs. N. was a teenager she knew a person with an occipital bun. He, lets call him Rudy, was 18 years old while the rest of us were younger. 18 was the magic age for purchasing beer and hard liquor in New York State. New York State was 3 miles away at the time. Rudy, occipital bun and all, became a very valuable person in spite of his curiously shaped head. Indeed children can be cruel to those who don’t quite fit in, and jokes like… “Hey, do you have to get an estimate before you get a haircut?” must have stung. But, that’s life when you come into the world with a head that looks like a watermelon, I guess. Unfortunately for Rudy the rest of us eventually turned 18 too and he found himself in the same position the tulip speculators did when the market went bust. My visit to the Neanderthal Museum in Dusseldorf will be a way of paying my respects to an unfortunate individual who provided me and my teenage comrades with beer and hard liquor during our formative years. I was thoroughly snookered on alcohol he procured for us the night I met my mate of going on 45 years. If it were not for the liquid courage he provided I might never have made that first move that resulted in a wonderful marriage. In return for his kindness he was made fun of. There was no justice. No one was equal then. No one is equal today. No one will be equal tomorrow.
Rousseau tells us… “The one who sang or danced the best, the handsomest, the strongest, the most adroit, or the most eloquent became the most highly considered; and that was the first step toward inequality…. Social imbalances occur because of differences in personal merit and the recognition of that merit by others.”
Immanual Kant wrote… “From the crooked wood of which man is made, nothing quite straight can be built.”…
Sigmund Freud wrote… “The tragedy of evolution is that it created a limited animal with unlimited horizons.”…
There remain a few days before my departure. Should any of my readers have suggestions with regard to my itinerary, please feel free to comment. …And NO, I won’t bring you back any seeds.
Because I don’t want to end up here