Horror as a wake-up call for Good – an analogy by Stephen King’s IT

‘The greatest trick the Stephen King ever pulled was convincing the world that the Devil does exist.’

(Rephrasing of the quote from movie Usual Suspects about Keyser Söze)

Some time ago I watched Stephen King’s IT again. This a horror story about an evil clown terrorizing a small town in America (it is not about Trump!). When I first watched the movie, I was about 12 years old and it was scary. Later, around my 16th, I read the book (943 pages) and I was intrigued. But after watching the movie 25 years later, I realized a deeper meaning of horror which I had not realized before.

IT describes the story of an unimaginable evil from outer space which has landed in a small town called Derry, USA. This evil has psychic skills: it is able to read the minds of its victims and he uses this to present itself in the others worst nightmare. Its main manifestation is in the shape of a clown called Pennywise which it uses to attract its favorite victims: little children. Although evil is all around and children are disappearing, adults seemed to have accepted IT and choose not to see IT. The movie is about a group of outcast teenagers who become friends and decide to fight IT although they are seemingly unprepared and unqualified to do so.

After watching IT again and finding a deeper layer in horror movies, I had to adjust my initial view towards horror movies. Because to be honest: in my mind, I labelled horror movies to be for teenagers only. At that age you crave for all kinds of things which are gore and very explicit. And thus I dismissed horror as being childish.

However, because struck me when rewatching IT, I started to wonder what horror stories exactly are. Horror stories investigate the deepest depths of our subconscious fears and put them into the light by means of fantastic stories. Horror stories are the stuff that nightmares are made off made concrete in books and movies. By this confrontation you wake up to the potential of a dark and evil reality. Often evil takes the shape of an archetype of something subconscious which resides within yourself. For example: a vampire is a being who is taking energy from others in order to exist. When you are scared of vampires, either you get leached yourself a lot or… you leach on other people too! In this sense horror movies are like a mirror which allow you to become conscious of your own dark sides.

The greatness of Stephen King is that he adds a deeper layer in his horror stories. I will describe it by comparing King with his famous horror predecessor H.P. Lovecraft. King has stated that he is indebted to Lovecraft. But there is an important difference between the two. In Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu, for example, he unveils the story of a monstrous evil lurking in the depts of the ocean. But the story remains open ended. Yes, evil is found, but it is not overcome. The result of reading this story is a horrifying uneasy and anguished feeling.

Stephen King’s horror stories are different. He is not merely describing evil. He is using evil as a means to illuminate the good. This is what Stephen King also does in IT.

As already said, IT tells the story about an unimaginably evil monster whose powers grow by fear and division. As a result the whole town minds its own business and looks away (scarily this is much familiar with our today’s society). This evil is opposed by a group of 7 (lucky 7) teenagers who are outsiders and become friends. Because they are not yet adults, they can 1) still see evil and 2) still believe in great virtues such as friendship, courage, love, faith, and loyalty.

As a result, they are, unknowingly, IT’s worst nightmare and they defeat IT with it’s own means (‘this is battery acid, you slime!’), believe in good and stay together although they are scared.They are able to defeat IT twice (!): once as teenagers and once as adults. Defeating IT the second time is more difficult because they first had to learn to believe again.

By zooming in on unimaginable evil, King brings forth IT’s opposite: unimaginable good. Not the good of a perfect and mature Superman. On the contrary: he presents the good of 7 flawed and uncertain teenagers. Although they were different, scared, and traumatized, within themselves they found the good to overcome evil. And if they can do it…. so can we!

Stephen King convinces us that there is great good within us as long as we dare to confront the great evil within us and not look away. Who could have thought that we could find such great spiritual truths in childish horror stories. 🙂 zyizrxg495xvvl9kivul.jpg

Music as a spiritual guide

“Go Slowly” – Radiohead

‘Go Slowly’ is an intriguing song by Radiohead. It is dreamy and almost depressing. And yet, it is hauntingly beautiful. How can this be?

In my opinion, Radiohead has done a lot for modern spirituality. It’s great achievement is that it dares to face issues such as pain, desolation, fear, etc. as we have them in our modern day society. Radiohead is not about escapism. The other achievement of Radiohead is that it expresses a Great Beauty. There is an otherworldly quality in its music.

This particular song is almost like a Christian hymn sung by a Catholic church boys’ choir.

The lyrics are remarkably simple and consist of two parts. The first part somebody is ‘patiently’ waiting for ‘something’ to come. The song seems to be about a search for meaning in life and about longing for home: (spiritual) homesickness. The second part is a realization: there is a way out. In this part, the music seems to take off and it gets an almost mystical quality.

This indicates that the way out is not to be found in our everyday consciousness. The answer itself is only to be guessed at. Is it death and heaven? Suicide? Or something else?

I think that this song is about the quest for integrating of spirituality in our daily life. At a certain moment in life you long for a deeper meaning and you go on a quest. This is the first part of the song. In the second part of the song he has found the answer. This answer is not escapism a la death or suicide. The true mystery of life is to integrate your spirituality into your daily life by being reborn on earth. When you are able to do this, depression makes way for optimism.

This is the answer of the paradox. The beauty of this song lies in the promise of rebirth.

Lyrics “Go Slowly”

Over here Come slowly Come slowly to me I’ve been waiting Patient Patiently I didn’t But now I can see That there’s a way out That there’s a way out That there’s a way out That there’s a way out That there’s a way out


Een vlucht in kunst

RIP Brands 1. Brands met boeken. In 2011 heb ik destijds deze uitzending gekeken. De ongrijpbare Caravaggio, de voorganger van Rembrandt, geintroduceert als een meester vol licht en duisternis. Zo profaan en zo sacred tegelijkertijd. En zo begrijpelijk beproken tijdens Brands dat een kunstleek zoals ik diep geraakt kon worden. Nu terugkijkend, krijg ik kippevel wanneer de schrijver van het boek over Caravaggio verteld waarom hij zo goed is: “omdat Caravaggio de twijfel Schilderde. De angst dat er niets is.” Vandaag in het Parool zei Theodoor Holman dat ook over Brands: dat hij een angstige man was. Maar dat maakte hem niet gesloten. Nee, hij was juist geintrresseerd. Een vlucht naar voren, waarbij hij ons meenam in zijn gevoelige interesse in boeken. Zo jammer dat die angst hem kennelijk uiteindelijk toch nog heeft weten in te halen. Dank.


RIP Brands 2. Tsja…. Brands die Herman Brusselmans interviewt en op een gegeven moment gaat het over de angstaanvallen die Herman bijna 10 jaar had in de jaren ’80. En dan schakeld de camera even over naar Brands. Stil kijkt hij Herman aan. Maar waarschijnlijk wist hij precies wat Herman bedoelde. En zo lijken ze elkaar te vinden in dit gesprek. Beiden zijn gevlucht in de literatuur. Herman werd zijn angstaanvallen de baas door maniakaal zo veel te schrijven…


Integrating the shards

This week I was in London city trading centre for work purposes. When walking to the office I passed these two impressive towers, very closely located to each other. In the front you see the Southwark Cathedral and in the back you see the glass skyscraper The Shard. The Shard is the 4th biggest tower in the EU reaching over 300 meters. In my mind the Shard represents a decadent peak of materialism and wealth. The name ‘Shard’ for this tower feels correct to me as both a shard of glass and this tower seem to be disconnected from a bigger whole.

I had a similar feeling this week: amidst this much display of wealth, I felt a bit disconnected and somewhat a loss of purpose. With everybody around me being so concerned with work, success and money, I asked myself what the purpose of work is. Is it to make money, to belong to a social group and standard, or is there a sense of purpose?

I felt drawn towards the tower in front: the Southwark Cathedral. I was intrigued to find a cathedral amidst this busy work centre. Thursday morning, before work, I visited the cathedral. I hoped to get some relief from the disconnected feeling which I had. The cathedral felt like an oasis of tranquillity. Sitting in the back, I noticed that in the centre of the cathedral there were stars hanging (Christmas decoration for Three Kings). Looking at the star I noticed that a five pointed star actually consists of 5 shards combined. Then I realised why I had this disconnected feeling. The material world is only the outer representation of what is. Beyond physical reality there are the other three elements. And they all are combined and ensouled by the fifth element of ether. In the tarot the star symbolises the highest vision of hope and trust with the understanding of cosmic coherence.

For me the star represented the integrating potential of all which surrounds us. Yes we life in a material world, but the challenge is to include and align the other four elements in our life as well. This is what the symbol of the star in the Southwark Cathedral achieved this for me. I felt a bit as if I was falling to pieces, but in reality I was opening myself up again to a bigger understanding.

Spiritual lesson from tennis: active consciouness

Het leven is net als tennissen. Het leven schiet allemaal verschillende ballen op je pad waar je mee moet dealen. Een goede tennisser laat ballen niet zomaar lopen of kijkt de ballen over het net. Hij ziet de bal op hem afkomen, loopt om de bal heen voor de beste positie en vervolgens slaat hij de bal zo moeilijk mogelijk terug voor de tegenstander. Zo gaat het ook met de dingen die op je af komen in het dagelijkse leven. Wees geen chaoot die zich laat leven door alle ontwikkelingen die op hem af komen. Wees ook geen goeroe op de berg die alles begrijpt van alles wat langs hem vliegt, maar er niets mee doet. Dit is passief bewustzijn. Wees als de tennisser en ga voor actief bewustzijn. Plaats de dingen die op je af komen in een kader, maak je eigen analyse en durf terug te slaan. Natuurlijk is er de kans dat je op je bek gaat, maar alleen door vallen en opstaan leer je. Zo ga je voor game, set en match!

The Orphic egg and epigenetics

Epigenetics is the study, in the field of genetics, of how external or environmental factors affect changes in the DNA sequence. DNA is wrapped around a histone. When the DNA unwraps itself, its information becomes available and the DNA sequence changes. Histone has a tail and this can be affected by epigenetic factors (environmental, exercise, nutritions, and emotional health). This can change the wrapping of the DNA string and activate it. The DNA itself does not change, but the unwinding of the histone makes the potential of the DNA available.

The wrapping of the DNA string around the histone reminded me of the image of the orphic egg surrounded by a serpent and interestingly there are some similarities.

The Orphic egg is a symbol from the ancient Orphic Mysteries, the egg representing the cosmos, the serpent the creative spirit. The egg is also the soul of the philosopher, the serpent the mysteries. At the time of initiation the philosopher’s soul hatches from the egg, ie is reborn from physical into spiritual existence.

The Hermetic maxim ‘As above, so below’ states that the microcosm is oneself, and the macrocosm is the universe. The macrocosm is as the microcosm and vice versa; within each lies the other, and through understanding one (usually the microcosm) a man may understand the other. From this perspective the Orphic egg is on the macrocosm the DNA on a histone the microcosm scale.

The uncoiling of the serpent (creative spirit) on the orphic egg releases kundalini energy. Similar, the uncoiling of the DNA string (also creative sprit) from the histone makes the DNA available and the gene active. Both ways of uncoiling of the orphic egg and the DNA string (by the histone tail!) can be achieved by spiritual development. And both processes release dormant existing potential.

Hermetism – where spirituality and analysis meet

Een definitie van ‘bewustzijn’ kan zijn: het hebben van een concept / kader van hoe processen werken en samenhangen om zodoende grotere doelen te kunnen bereiken. Klinkt vaag, he?!

Deze definitie is een overeenkomst tussen mijn werk en spiritualiteit, omdat ik voor beide ik een model als kader (context) gebruik om processen (content) te begrijpen en te duiden.

In mijn dagelijks leven gebruik ik voornamelijk drie modellen (zie bijlage). Eén verklaart niet minder dan het Universum, één verklaart handelsstromen en één verklaart de structuur van een ERP software pakket. Kun jij herkennen welk model wat verklaart?

Wanneer ik de achterliggende principes en verbanden van elk model ‘ken’, word ik ‘helderziend’. Voorbij de toevalligheden en chaos van alledag ben ik namelijk in staat om orde en regelmaat van grotere systemen te zien. Op deze manier kan ik efficiënt en gericht oorzaken oplossen en grotere doelen bereiken.