March 2, 2011


Multatuli = 191 + Dutch elections

As people who know me well or who read me carefully and with intelligence may know, I like titles which may seem a bit strange. Here is the explanation of today's title:

Eduard Douwes Dekker

Strictly speaking, the title is nonsense, but it is true the Dutch writer Multatuli = I have suffered / born / tholed much = Eduard Douwes Dekker was born today in Amsterdam, 191 years ago. (So he would have turned 190, had he lived.)

If you are not Dutch, you probably didn't know of him, but he is best described as Holland's Shakespeare, in prose:

He wrote an amazingly beautiful Dutch, had many interesting ideas, and was one of the few true geniuses writing in Dutch.

If you do not read Dutch, there is a translation of "Max Havelaar" by Multatuli in Penguin Classics, while a considerable amount of his work that he published himself has been translated into German.

Of the "Max Havelaar" - a classic attack on Dutch colonialism, first published in 1860 - there are many translations in many languages, including French and Korean.

Also, you'll find the seven volumes of his Ideas on my site, with my comments. Here are some possible starting points, though I should say here that you need to know Dutch, and Google will not translate Multatuli's (or my own) prose in any useful sense:

It seems that the parts on and with Multatuli's Ideas on my site are the most visited and download, with considerable justification: He was the greatest Dutch writer; an original mind; a courageous character; a great satirist; with many interesting ideas about many things - and all of his 1281 ideas (plus considerably more: There often are several ideas with letters added to the original idea) have been commented by me, also in fine Dutch.

I did last year translate a few of his ideas:

but this will not give you an adequate idea of the man, his prose, and his role in Dutch history, which was of considerable importance in the 19th Century, especially, because he argued for many changes in Holland; did battle with Dutch colonialism; tried to help emancipate the working class and women; and was the greatest opponent of religion and superstition.

Last year I wrote on the occasion of his 190th birthday in Dutch, and everything I said then still holds, and I don't feel like doing it again, either in Dutch or in English:

The second item is added because there are elections today, in Holland, for the provinces and the senate, and the item includes an interesting point of view about a democracy of 12 million voters of Dutch average human - moral, intellectual, artistic - capacities, that is quoted from a translation from Machiavelli's friend Guiccardini, that I reproduce here lest you miss it, since it should be quite instructive - if you are not morally, intellectually or artistically blessed or blighted like an ordinary Dutchmen, to be sure:

"Guidantonio Vespucci, a famous lawyer and a man of remarkable intelligence and skill, spoke as follows:

'If, most worthy citizens, a government organized in the manner proposed (..) produced the desired results as easily as they are described, it would certainly be perverse of anyone to wish for any other form of government for our country. It would be a wicked civilian who did not passionately love a form of republic in which the virtues, merits and abilities of men were organized above all else.

But I do not understand how one can hope that a system placed entirely in the hands of the people  can be full of such benefits.

For I know that reason teaches, experience shows and the authority of wise men confirms that in so great a multitude there is not to be found such prudence, such experience and such discipline as to lead us to expect that the wise will be preferred to the ignorant, the good to the bad, and the experienced to those who have never handled any affairs whatever.

For as one cannot hope for sound judgement from an unlearned and unexperienced judge, so from a people full of confusion and ignorance one cannot except - except by chance - a prudent and reasonable election or decision.

Are we to believe that an inexpert, untrained multitude made up of such a variety of minds, conditions and customs, and entirely absorbed in their own personal affairs, can distinguish and understand what in public government wise men, thinking of nothing else, find difficult to understand?

Quite apart from the fact that each person's self-conceit will lead them all to desire honors - and it will not be enough for men to in the popular government to enjoy the honest fruits of liberty - they will all aspire to the highest posts and to take part in the decisions on the most diffciult and important matters.

In us less than in any other city there rules the modesty of giving way to the man who knows best or who has the most merit.

But if we persuade ourselves that we must be by right all equal in all things, the proper positions of virtue and ability will be confused when it rests with the judgments of the multitude.

And this greed spreading to the majority will ensure that the most powerful will be those who know and deserve least; for as they are more numerous, they will have more power in a state organized in such a way that opinions are merely numbered and not weighed.'"

And thus it remained to this day....--

For more political rational enlightenment, see my Political Texts, Machiavelli, Ortega y Gasset, and ME in Amsterdam and 119.

P.S. Corrections have to be made later, if any.

A little addition on the Wikipedia-link for Multatuli : I find it pretty sickening, if also very typically Dutch - dishonest backstabbing - that my extensive work on the Ideas is not mentioned in either the English or Dutch Wikipedia pages - where it has been linked for several years - whereas rather worthless collections by Dutch so called "literary scientists" are, as indeed are commercial ventures that having nothing whatsoever to do with Multatuli, except that his name or the name of his best known book have been pirated, for monetary or propaganda reasons.

But indeed, ever since the Dutch got rich with colonial exploitation, piracy and slave trading, the only two Dutch moral values that are effective in the Dutch masses are monetary greed cloaked in hypocrisy - which also explains ME in Amsterdam, and the billions that are yearly traded in illegal drugs in Amsterdam and Holland, actively tolerated, protected and assisted if not ruled and surveyed - nobody knows, for since 40 years all Dutch parliamentarians, Dutch mayors, aldermen, council members, ministers, policemen, and bureaucrats have looked upon Dutch drugsdealing as decent citizens view the clothes of the emperor: "drugs corruption is totally impossible for real Dutchmen" - all for monetary gain or from cowardice or conformism.

It should and could be legalized in Holland. It is not because keeping it illegal is hugely profitable, to very many in the Dutch city governments and bureaucrats, since tens of billions of dollars are illegaly turned over in Holland's illegal Dutch drugs trading each year.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything uponinsufficient evidence".
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)

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