I am writing a book, ‘Magic Against Capitalism’, in which I gather my views on spirituality, reality and society. So now and then I publish parts of it on this website. Read my preface, a small life story.
Preface, a Small Life Story
A storm is coming and the air is full of power
I remember standing in front of my open window in my bedroom. I was fifteen and was watching the sky that colored red and yellow and on the horizon dark dark blue of heavy clouds. A storm was coming. It rolled over the horizon, chasing the last sunbeams away. Not only the view was stunning. My whole being reacted to the electric tension of power that can be felt in the smell of silence everywhere in the world, in the dark dancing trees, in the last chirping of a bold bird, in the power of the muscles of the horses galloping through the fields, in the goosebumps on my back, the warmth through my hands and the tingling on my crown. A storm is coming and the air is full of power.
I was overwhelmed by this power, but also felt secure, determined, at ease. Looking at a sunbeam piercing through a last gap in the clouds I suddenly knew that I have come from somewhere else, another world. I am here on this earth for a reason, a mission. I have been here before. And after this life I will come back, perhaps several times, to complete this mission, before I will return to this other world, this place beyond place.
The Wind whispered of forgotten worlds
During this period, I became strongly aware of the magic in the world. I went through great ecstatic moments, when I ran through the forest during night-storms, when I began speaking with the wind high in the mountains on a summer holiday, when my skin touched the skin and my eyes met the eyes of the girl I believed to be ‘the one’. My love for nature grew hand in hand with this magical awareness and with a fierce romanticism. Through gazing at the river I was in love with her. Through looking at her eyes I was in love with the wind in the mountains. I was being caught up in an animistic way of seeing the world. Everywhere there was soul. When the world falls asleep at dusk, the trees in the forest came alive. Between the trees spirits were watching me while I passed by. I spoke to the wind and the river and the spirit of the place. They whispered of forgotten worlds of fairy in the air, under water, between the stars, in the depths of the ground.
The scientific worldview is a snake on the bottom of the ocean, waiting to devour the world.
But because of the nascent awareness of this raw magical romantic power in myself and in the world around me, I also opened my soul to be touched by the corruption, oppression, destruction, denial and rape of all this soul power in the world. I found out that because of our consumptious life, other people, magnificent people, lived in poverty and great rain forests were cut down. I felt the agony of the world deep in my heart.
I became aware of the oppressive nature of rationalism and materialism. My parents were true liberal atheologists who rejected the truth of everything that could not be scientifically explained. This scientific worldview is also laying as a snake on the bottom of the ocean of our educational system. Children, like myself at that time, eat and drink materialism and rationalism at school on a daily basis. If not consciously, this is unconsciously implied in every subject taught at school. I felt what rationalism and materialism did in myself. I felt how it reduced my sense of magic in the world to ‘fantasy’. It oppressed my animistic experience. And it gnawed at my romantic love. There is nothing wrong with rational thinking, nor with science. But it is not true that only rationality and sense-experience will give you true knowledge about reality. That view oppresses spirituality. It oppresses a magical and animistic awareness. And thereby it oppresses the essence of our soul.
I will get back to these themes extensively in this book. But when I was 15 in a raw manner I already started to discern the destructive nature of rationalism and materialism. Not only inward. I began to suspect that this oppression of our spiritual and magical nature were also at the root of societal corruption, poverty and the destruction of nature. I began to discover a strong relation between
(1) what we experience to be true and real (ontology),
(2) how we daily strive to live a fulfilled life (spirituality)
(3) how we daily interact with nature and other people (way of living) and
(4) how we build societal structures (society).
I could not yet formulate it in this way. Finding words for my experiences was one of the most daunting and frustrating endeavors. I hated to speak. I felt the utter impotence of words to come close to my magical experience. I was completely wrapped up in turmoil, in this inner storm of conflict. The conflict between my heavenly ecstatic experience of a magnificent magical world on the one hand, and of these forces of oppression and destruction on the other hand.
Warrior for the Earth Goddess
When I was 16 I made my first sincere vow in life. On one of my stormy night-walks, I vowed to the Earth Goddess that I would devote my life to fight for her. But I did not have the means to fight. My weapons were not sufficient. I could not yet win discussions with my parents, with my teachers, with my friends. I could not convince them that there is truth in magic and that there is reality in the soul of the wind. And I could not start to understand what economic structures were the cause of poverty and climate change. So I decided to dedicate my life to study these themes, so that one day I would not only be able to come into action against poverty, climate change and rationalism, but that one day I also could explain and ground my fight in truth and reality.
A bike, Krishnamurti and edible wild plants
From this youthful time of awakening I began a life-long spiritual adventure and at the same time a societal inquiry into the workings of our global economic system. My path led me first to Buddhist types of meditation and to a more sceptic postmodern point of view. After I finished high school, I took my bike, a book of Krishnamurti and a book about edible wild plants and I travelled across Europe, testing my abilities to survive with as less stuff as possible. After a year of travels I started studying. While studying history I took every opportunity to study the development of the societal structures underlying capitalism: the development of the state, and the state monopoly of violence, the development of individual exclusive property over land, the market system and it’s globalization, etc. During my master International Development Studies I specialized in changing property regimes. During my studies I also rediscovered a Christian-Hinduist worldview and I outright began to reject magical forms of spirituality.
Utopian spaces, glimpses of the Otherworld
During the following years I did anthropological research into the spiritual grounds of Scotland’s modern land reform. But I also developed a spiritual critique of capitalism from the viewpoint of a Christian-Hinduist-Buddhist spirituality of self-sacrificing love and compassion. I manifested this spiritual critique by starting practical projects in the city of Rotterdam: food-producing community gardens. Our gardens are build on the principle of inclusive property (instead of exclusive property). Our motto is ‘the garden is owned by everyone who participates and everyone is welcome to participate’. I saw, and still see, these projects as utopian spaces in which a glimpse can be seen of ‘the otherworld’, a heaven on earth, in which people could experience complete different (non-violent) economic structures. They functioned (as the theologian Walter Wink calls it) to ‘name the powers, to unmask the powers and to engage the powers’. Our projects multiplied into the garden ‘empire’ of our growing organization GroenGoed.
Spirituality = changing the world
But my spiritual quest also evolved. And I became aware of a fundamental flaw in my Christian-Hinduist spirituality of love. I became aware that a focus on the centrality of ‘love’ puts our emotions in the center of attention. It is bound to have us locking ourselves up inside ourselves. We turn only towards the world, not because of its intrinsic worth, but because love can turn towards it. But through these eyes of a spirituality of love, the world in itself is not important, only our feeling and actions towards it. The awareness grew that (1) this is not true, (2) this is detrimental to our spiritual fulfilment and (3) this is detrimental to the world. What followed was a radical spiritual soul revolution. It resulted in a rehabilitation of my youthful magical spirituality. I never stopped being aware of the magic in the world. But many years I did not give this awareness much credit. Magic existed for me, but I thought it had no role to play in my quest to live a fulfilled life. But now I began to see that magic is central to a fulfilled life. Spirituality is about having a relationship with the soulful world. Spirituality is not about changing yourself and your actions. Spirituality is about changing the world. This, perhaps, is the most radical opposition to modern forms of spirituality imaginable.
With this recovered magical spirituality everything changed in my life. I began to come alive again to the wild romantic force in my soul and in everything around me. After a couple of years this even led to divorce. But it also resulted in a new view of liberation, nature and society. That is the subject of this book.
I am not a writer, I am a fighter.
I am not a writer, I am a fighter. I have put my views into practical projects that address the fundamental structures of our culture and society. My writing is sometimes slightly poetical, but most of times it is brutal, barbarous. But I think I have an important story to tell. I think I can show how our culture is being led astray by the hegemonic philosophical and social scientifical viewpoints of our time. Our Earth is not only being destroyed by unwilling people. It is in the vast majority of cases being destroyed by people following unknowingly false viewpoints. It is being destroyed by you and by me, because we are being oppressed by our own false assumptions about reality, truth, fulfilment, and social structures. It is destroyed by our own daily illusions. Fighting for the Earth means building another world. I do this with my practical projects and social movements. But it also means fighting the enchantment of our misconceptions and illusions.
This writing is shamanic work. It is traveling to the other world, the world of magic. This work is meant to create a portal between our modern rationalist, materialist world and the world of fairy. I hope you dare travel with me. It is opening up this world to everyone. And hopefully you don’t get lost. Because Faery, the world of magic has this effect. Time flows differently. The spell of the creatures you meet can keep you forever feasting with the beasts of the forest. But I try also to guide you back. Because we need you in this world. We need magical warriors. We need magic against capitalism.