Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 269

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Martinshof Story - Happiness - Awareness - Black Forest walks - Camino - Dolmen Tour - Travel

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Tuesday - Saturday, January 1 - 5 2013 (diary)

Dinner for One, with Freddie Frinton After the now traditional Dinner for One on SBS TV on New Year's Eve, I watched a delightful documentary about Paris during the early 20th Century. It featured of course the now giants of art like Picasso, Matisse, Rousseau, Satié, Hemingway, Joyce and others.
For a brief instant a statement by Gertrud Stein (the eccentric and dominant intellect in Paris at the time) was displayed on the TV screen :

"If it can be done . . . .
If it can be done . . . . why do it ?

Over the top ? Yes, of course, but immediately a resonant echo brought back a memory of a dilemma I faced myself towards the end of my University studies.
For the Faculty of Science (I did geology) at Dutch Universities in those days you first studied 4 years to complete your "Candidaats exam".
This was similar to a present Bachelor degree, but it did not qualify you yet in your profession.
For that a further 3+ years of study were required, which included exams on key subjects and the writing of two theses, one of which based on field mapping and research of a specified area (in my case in Galicia in NW Spain).
After the successful completion of this you became qualified in your profession and received the title of "Doctorandus" (Drs), which acknowledged that you had the necessary skill and knowledge to successfully complete a Doctorate degree (PhD).

I received my Doctorandus degree after some 8 years of study, and my father urged me to continue and complete my PhD. But I decided (very much in the spirit of Gertrud Stein's statement above) what was the point of wasting 3 more years by doing something I had already proven I had the skills and knowledge to do.
So I left Uni, did my 2 years stint of National service, then migrated with my wife and daughter to Australia. Totally new experiences and challenges every step of the way.

A fellow student who had done his field work on an area adjacent to mine, combined the two areas for his PhD study and after 3 years of drudgy research only confirmed that the theory I had put forward in my Doctorandus thesis (3 years earlier) had been correct.

The moral of this story is clear : expanding Gertrud Stein's statement :

Don't keep doing what you know you can do,
but instead switch to something you believe you can't do, or rather can't do yet.

Of course economic, family or social circumstances may prevent you from doing the above in all aspects of your life, but try it wherever possible. It is a sure way to grow and move forward as a confident and unique individual. How is that for a New Year's resolution ?

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Sunday - Thursday, January 6 - 10 2013 (diary)

Charlotte Rampling I watched an interesting recent documentary earlier this week about the movie actress Charlotte Rampling (called "Walking with Charlotte" I believe). Born in the UK she grew up and went to school in France. After initial successes in films made in the UK and USA, she moved to Continental Europe, preferring (she said) the character and culture driven movies made in Italy and France, over the story driven films produced by English and American film makers.
Like Jane Fonda ("I am never lonely because I am always with myself.") Charlotte clearly is another genuine introvert amongst the movie stars. I wonder how many more of them are that by nature.

Strong introverts I believe (and as you know I am one of them) have two things in common.
(1) Above all we need nourishment of the mind, for thinking is our main daily occupation.
(2) Also, although we mostly prefer to be alone by ourselves, we realise that contact with other human beings is still essential, in order to maintain contact with the outside world. But we do hate social chit chat and feel uncomfortable and out of place at social gatherings.

During our working life human interaction comes easiest through the work environment, but once retired one has to find other ways to maintain the human connection.
I myself have done this through my various interests over time : in music with band and orchestra members, with sailors while helping in the running of yacht races, and at present with fellow bridge players and the many students I interact with. In all these situations it is possible to talk about our shared interest and experiences, rather than just exchanging empty social chit chat.

Charlotte Rampling, in her recent (documentary) interview, clearly revealed the two aspects I stated above.
(1) When it comes to movies, reading, etc. she does not wish to be entertained, but instead wants to be "provoked, mentally or emotionally" : nourishment of her mental faculties.
(2) The connection with humanity Charlotte has found through her work, the friendships she made at the various movie sets during filming. Some contacts have withstood the test of time over many many years, she reveals.
I wonder what she does now, being retired, still living in Paris, where she appears to be happy.

Perhaps the most important thing for an introvert is to consciously realise that you are one. Once you take this on board you start to recognise the same nature, attitudes, reactions in others. And although you may never ever meet that person face to face, you do feel a strong and wonderful bond, for you (to a large extend) know how that other person feels, thinks and reacts. It is almost like being twins.

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