Our reality is a fragmented cosmos, full of attracting and repelling debris, positively and negatively charged, bi-polar sentiments. Closer examination yields engraving duality, no revelation. Unity is a conjecture, sustained by our aspiration for unity. It does not require confirmation, nor realization, nor entanglement. It only hopes to face love, not to confront a stranger in a world of conflicts. Our aspiration is an orchard to meet the harmonious other as harmonious otherness.

Bram D’Hont, 01-05-2020


In Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism life on earth has always been, in whatever form. Abrahamist religions prefer ready-made packages. Man, elephant and other creatures were magically conjured out of nowhere. Though scholars agree that this is highly improbable. Let’s just say that the causal field is oceanic and fluid and has a comfortable temperature. And that the first conception took a very long time. Father unknown. And that we, as his children, have an irresistible wish to get in touch with Him.


Above the blue-green ocean the sunlight scatters reflection. From the deep ultramarine above us to the superficial cerulean on the vast horizon, our thoughts play with the ‘unbearable lightness of being’. Lying on our backs, among the flowers in the field, every thought dissolves into the cobalt universe of innocence, making us feel as if we are in the middle of it.


Nature reflects in silence a desire of the self. All attempts to grasp it are doomed to fail. You’d better be quiet. In West Flemish, my mother tongue, life means noise. So occsionally that includes speaking out what we desire. But there isn’t much we can expect from this. About the other and all the otherness, we’d better be quiet. The best alternative is art.A song about love, that’s fine. There has to be some ‘life’ anyway.


Our desire does not limit itself to pure diĆ«gesis towards love, we rather fall for voluptuous bodies, full of coveting instincts, beguiling us with all the magic tricks nature gave them to guarantee the mimesis of nature. How are we supposed to see through what’s behind the horny masks of procreation, when we are young and innocent. And should we? Life is not a narrative. Or a piece of art. Life is the embodyment of love.


Of all the painters I admired as a student, I valued Gustave Courbet the most. And of all his works, “L’origin du monde” was my favourite painting. Unfortunately it had already been painted once and after extensive studies it slowly became clear to me what was lacking at first sight: imitating reality gradually became inadequate. On the threshold of existential exploration, I longed for undiscovered territory. I followed unpaved paths, got lost in unknown territory, met a lot of strange people and one big love. After fifty years I am at the same crossroads. Not on my knees, trying to flag a ride. I will stay here and work.


Our life starts as spring. With blossoms on fruit trees, fresh grass full of daisies and marguerites, the purple spreading bellflowers and yellow dandelions, ragged robins and red pimpernel for the complementary touch, no matter how insignificant they are, they intensify the green colour of the orchard. Now leave. One day you will return.

Every spring reminds me of Daisy, whose eyes told me stories about the future, waiting for me and one day coming true.”Don’t be afraid,” she said, “wave, when you go out, wave as long as you can, to shore. Remember I’m waiting there. Now go.


Before the sun rises, birds start singing. They are without doubt her most loyal audience every morning. So now and then we forget that we due our lives to her. The night often plays tricks on us. Lost in darkness or even deliberately wasted, we avoid her strength, afraid that her strong character will drive away our melancholy. Rather than enjoying her warm strength, we prefer to muddle our minds with alcohol and pills, tighten up the laws to make daily life complicated. How strange is that.

I remember the storm that raged over us. We left our bikes in a ditch and sheltered from the rain in a barn. Hell broke loose. Lightning strucked, the hay on the meadows swirled high into mid-air. I saw fear in your eyes. Then sunshine flooded the trembling earth, you laughed like the larks, which climbed up in the sky again. We pedaled on, in a different universe, as if the earth had not been shaken. But she did. I heard a churchbell struck four times.


As brown rust on Corten steel, as growing algae on the bollards or like basalt weathers, so does time pass. Tied with thick cables to what appears to be indestructible matter, the small mini-cosmos of the harbour floats on the melancholy waves of her nature. Wood stoves are fired, fish is smoked, you can smell the scent of alder wood and mackerel all the way into the fields. At the shipyard, a ship is tarred.

The heavy floodgates never open again. In the pub the trumps fall. Someone swears, another shrugs his shoulders.The men drink gin and smoke cigars. They stopped watching the tides a long time ago. Only Daisy occasionally walks up to the lighthouse and stares at the horizon.


Love is without anxiety, only power creates fear. Power is controlled hate, love is dying instantly in her neighborhood. So if we want our heart to push our love desire, we recklessly must pass it.

What do I have to do to gain your heart? Nothing? Nothing at all? I don’t understand. That’s all right. Let silence do its work. Just like you did last time, you know. The script was written centuries ago. Everybody knows it by heart. And besides, there isn’t an audience apart from me anyway.


Love passed, desire parried, we prepare for the final performance.Whatever we have done or wanted, the path through all fields of life was capricious and unpredictable, winding past kitschy motifs and begging us with a role full of conflicting statements. On stage, with a heart beating, we stare into the depths of the dark hall.Whatever we have done or wanted, the path through all fields of life was capricious and unpredictable, winding past kitschy motifs and begging us with a role full of conflicting statements. Someone ’s out there.
Someone is out there.

Years ago in the small village of H, almost forty years ago, I met a goddess. She was bound to the earth by a broken foot. We had a chat. It had disappeared in the summerish murmur of the elms, if not for a spot on her iris that attracted my eye and carried me beyond the horizon of a world from which I could not escape.


We were already here. Then I said that of all the painters I most admired Gustave Courbet and especially that banal painting of his. Well, that’s changed. Of all the works of art in the world, I love ‘the Jewish bride’ of Rembrandt the most. When I’m in the Rijksmuseum, I prefer to sit there and watch other people admire it as well. Of course, there are countless paintings that I haven’t seen or misjudged, and all those works that I think are magnificent too, I am doing no justice to them. But the Jewish bride surpasses everything in tenderness. And of all the human qualities, this is the one that is most dear to me. That is why.

Tenderness is necessary to make the next step. In nature, in science, in religion and certainly in art. Politics can use some of it, it takes less energy than we now waste on social error and consumption and in relation to love tenderness is the only candidate to undo hate. Our desire to protect cultural life from all the downsides of our actions only strikes when we expose our vulnerabilities to all the violence that comes our way. Overcoming our fear is therefore our highest task.


Back with the cherubs. No, not the lace-making nuns from Bruges, I mean back with the real ones, those with their flaming swords, blocking our way back to paradise. Who gave them the power to stop us. Have we travelled that very difficult road to be refused at the door. Who decides we’re not allowed in? We angry citizens go in anywhere, whenever we want. We destroy nature, turn the green world into one big paved desert until no single daisy grows. We flush all the rubbish into the sea and once full of oil and plastic, a hundred-thousand cruisers blend through the mire until it’s one big teil of soup. Spoon it up, there’s plenty. And in our minds we dream of a paradise from which we are banished. Doesn’t that ever stop? Let’s start over. Without being angry. Without listening to the people who forced us into this situation. Only to have power. Maybe we can make a deal with those dangerous cherubs. Courbet-wise.