Nicolae Tanase: Mr. van Kooten, what is the meaning of life?
Victor van Kooten: This is a dangerous question to ask! If you were siting on your nice carpet, it has now been pulled away from under you!
This question is often used to stop anyone in their tracks and when I received this as an invitation to write a few lines about that subject, it kept me awake at night for some hours. For suddenly I had to come up with some valid excuses to be here and I normally take no time to think about this at all!
The next morning I went into the garden watching the olive trees, asking them about their meaning of life. I got no answer. We were seemingly unable to communicate. Even the cats, laying around under the morning sun, only seemed to be interested to check me out if I brought them something to eat before continuing doing nothing. They did not have any comments either…
It is a pity that it is only now you asked this question and not 76 years ago, when I was just born! I could not have answered you then and it would be fully up to you to find the answer. Now after having all these years behind me, there are so many answers I could come up with. But sitting here in the Garden, all these answers seem to laugh at me.
Of course we have to support our life, for having this urge to live, eat and drink.
And since we need money to do so, we have to choose a livelihood in order to support us in society. We simply can not live in cities without the means to pay for all our expenses of our up-keep.
The difficult thing is that in some professions you are supportive of your own life by killing the life in others. Take for example the exterminator, who comes to your help destroying the ones you considered “pests”, in order to erase any guilty feelings….
And to be honest: that is all of us living on this earth. Exterminators of the life in plants, cattle, birds and fishes in order to eat and drink purified water after killing all living creatures out of it, in order to be here and multiply!
Now Dutch people, like myself, pronounce “the” as if was written “dee”, changing the whole meaning of this question into: What is demeaning of life?
To me this is the centerpiece of the American Dream: money.
But we can not do without it anymore and every thing is measured by the cost. We can, maybe, change our attitude at least…….?
~Victor van Kooten, yoga teacher, artist living in Eftalou on the Island of Lesvos. He drew four handwritten books, “From Inside Out”, yoga notebooks from the teachings of Angela and Victor.
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