Les conceptions de paradis et de l'enfer sont purement spirituelles et métaphysiques. Elles sont conçues par l'homme comme destins finaux pour ceux qui perpètrent soit le bien, soit le mal. Elles sont fondamentales aux religions, mais même pour les non-croyants elles ont une signification essentielle.

L'idée de paradis immortel est cependant incohérente. Toute beauté est vitale et donc éphémère. Sa temporalité détermine justement sa beauté dans toutes ses phases. Paradis sans arbres fruitiers, fleurs, oiseaux, poissons exotiques, cascades cristallines, saisons, etc., et surtout paradis sans l'amour, sans le cycle de la vie, serait donc morne, stérile et naturellement impossible.

La vie est un cadeau extraordinaire. Un emprunt précieux.
Paradis ou enfer est donc ce que l'on peut contribuer à créer pendant notre relativement bref séjour sur terre. On peut essayer de la rendre plus belle et paradisiaque, un jardin de rêve, ou on peut contribuer à la transformer en enfer, la désolation du cauchemar. Mais notre choix ne déterminera pas notre destin final spirituel. Ceux qui essaient de rendre le monde plus beau sont toujours pleinement compensés par le résultat et la satisfaction ressentie par cet accomplissement. Mais ceux qui font tout pour rendre le monde un enfer, ne connaîtront que le cauchemar de ce dernier.

Text and illustrations © Mirino. Novembre, 2015


Quand le monde humain semble plus fou que jamais, incurablement fou et vaniteux, il y a quelque chose de rassurant et donc soulageant qui émane des saisons, surtout celle de l'automne.

On est pris de court chaque fois. Souvent on imagine que les couleurs sont plus éclatantes et lumineuses que jamais. Mais ce qui importe c'est que l'on regarde de nouveau ce spectacle fabuleux avec les yeux d'un enfant, car d'une certaine façon et mesure c'est aussi notre renaissance.

Le crescendo du cycle de la vie.
Le capter un tout petit peu est trouver et conserver un trésor glorieux et éphémère. C'est comme trouver de beaux sanguins dorés en parfait état dans une forêt. Trésors de l'automne pour les privilégiés.


Ce quelque chose de si rassurant est que malgré notre folie et cupidité, l'automne présente son spectacle merveilleux chaque année avec splendeur, grâce et générosité.

Comme l'homme de bois sage et sans âge, vêtu d'une robe éthérée et sublime.
Il est magique. D'abord il nous sourit chaleureusement, puis en baissant sa tête il nous regarde avec un petit air d'ironie et de scepticisme, nous rappelant avec subtilité et gentillesse que c'est toujours lui, ainsi que sa belle femme Gaea, mère de la terre, qui décident. Et comme toujours, depuis la nuit des temps, malgré notre vanité, on n'y est strictement pour rien.

Text and photographs © Mirino. October, 2015

Adventures in Nederland

'Dutch daze'. They were the days that appeared to be constant, especially during the dreamer's first three year period in Amsterdam. Without fully realising it, (naturally) he seemed to be in a permanent daze. This eventually led him to having quite a serious car accident, and no doubt from then on, at least until he left Holland for Paris, reality gradually began to dawn on him.

But maybe there is something about Holland that has a strange, foggy effect on this particular person, even now. He missed his return flight from Rotterdam recently, for example. A first in his lifetime. Dropped off at the airport in good time, he bought a few things, ate a sandwich, and sat near an information panel waiting for the 'boarding' sign to show up. It never did, so he assumed because of the bad weather that the flight was delayed. The next time he Iooked up, 'Departure' was signalled. He rushed to the gate to be then told that he had missed his flight.
At a cost, and even though it was late, he managed to get another flight for the following day, and then pay the extra costs on his arrival for the additional day of the long term parking previously booked.
But this is now, whereas back in the late 60's and early 70's, he was even worse. Up until the road accident, the dreamer seemed to exist in a muffled brouillard.

Previous to this serious accident, (caused by his being lost as per usual, in the lookalike labyrinth of the then modern suburbia of Amsterdam, after a drinking spree, driving slowly late at night in an old Standard 8 he had recently imported from England, and hit very hard by a flying Dutchman who had the legal right to speed across the junction from a smaller lane from the right) the dreamer had a little Fiat 500. Slowly motoring down a long, newly gravelled lane in the country during a rain storm, he made out the vague distant image of a large lorry coming towards him at full speed. The image was vague, not only because of the sheet of torrential rain, but also because of the cloud of gravel the lorry's tires were throwing up all about it and high into the air. Naturally there was no escape, no way of avoiding the inevitable. Even stationary, the cloud of heavy, wet gravel put paid to the windscreen of the poor little wine-red Fiat with a resounding shatter. The Dreamer's memory of the incident is frozen there and then. What happened following this, is no longer memory banked.
It would seem that during those years he wasn't blest with the best of motoring experiences.

In Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam, there used to be an antique market. Perhaps it still exists. The dreamer still has an old sewing machine that he bought there way back then, and it continues to work perfectly. On another occasion he bought a crocodile skin. It was about two metres long and included the head without the top jaw teeth. Almost a complete skin. It couldn't have cost a lot because the dreamer never had much money in those days, or any other days for that matter. For some reason he had this crocodile skin in his car when he was driving to Munich. Perhaps he was going for the beer fest. Whatever, it was for something he was determined not to miss. Unfortunately however, his car broke down in Arnhem. He managed to get it to a garage, but as he didn't have enough money to pay for the reparation as well as get a return train ticket to Munich, he offered the crocodile skin to the mechanic as payment. The mechanic considered it a fair deal, which no doubt it was.

The dreamer had surprising success with women, seemingly without too much effort, probably because he never did any of the initiating.
In the very first room he rented, he had a weird, one off with the owner of the flat whose husband was a tennis instructor. It's probable that she was simply seeking to even the score of her husband's alleged unfaithfulness on the courts. The dreamer was taken aback, so to speak, but at that time he didn't really object to being so used.

He remembers also a pretty Surinamese girl. It lasted for about a week. Maybe she too had planned it all prior to her leaving Holland, so it was brief but great fun whilst it lasted.
The next affair was more serious. She was married but her husband always seemed to be absent. She spoilt her young lover with delicious grilled steaks, and they blissfully listened to classical music. No doubt it was a very pleasant experience. He never stayed the night, but they had plenty of time to get to know each other well enough. She needed this perhaps more than he did. Their relationship came to dramatic end when she was obliged to have, or so she claimed, a 'termination'. Although he was sure that this was inconceivable, he nevertheless pretended to be noble enough by offering to 'do the right thing' but of course this too was impossible. She, an attractive women, was much older than he was. She already had two children of around 13 years old. The dreamer was insensitive and foolish enough to return to her apartment a few days after the alleged intervention to retrieve an ugly denim coat he must have prized. He then had the vivid impression that she was about to try to massacre him.

By that time being tired and wary of the suburbs of Amsterdam, he had the good fortune of finding a boerderijtje (little farm house) which he was able to rent. It was further out in the country, but not too far from his place of work.
As the rent was more than he could comfortably afford, he proposed to share it with a Bavarian girl that he had met where he worked and got on well with. He considered their relationship to be purely platonic. In fact for him she was more like a sister. She was good company, spoke English with an American accent, and she deep-fried battered chicken (southern fried) to perfection.
He was therefore quite unprepared, and as always naive, when one night after a few weeks, and not long before she was due to return to her Bavarian homeland, she slipped into his bed. One thing led to another, and this perhaps in more ways than he would like to imagine.

Next door to his farmhouse lived a skilled mechanic who worked for Fokker Technologies. He was very kind enough to offer to repair the dreamer's Fiat 850 coupé after the crankshaft broke. A friend of this mechanic was very fond of the Bavarian girl. There was a tangible feeling of tense animosity that this friend had for the dreamer, and innocently the latter wondered why this was so.

Years later he accepted an invitation to the 50th birthday celebration of an English artist friend who lived in Munich. At the party there was German artist he also remembered from his early Amsterdam days. The artist was with his wife, and if looks could kill, she would have done away with the dreamer then and there. Again he wondered why. Could there be a reason that he continues to be quite oblivious about?

After being discharged from hospital several weeks after his car accident, another 'friend' and his wife kindly offered to put him up in their apartment where he could convalesce for a while. Although he had been advised by the hospital not to drink any alcohol, they nevertheless drank a few beers one evening. This caused him to have a splitting headache. He was tired and wanted to sleep. During that night however, his friend's wife came to his bedside terribly distressed. She claimed that her husband was sleeping with another girl who was also staying with them at the time. In spite of his splitting headache the dreamer was nobly considerate, or naive enough, to want to console his friend's wife. He had absolutely no intention of helping to even any scores on this occasion. He would have been completely incapable in any case. He was less sure about her intentions, but he just wanted to sleep.
After half an hour or so, suddenly the person whom he thought was a caring friend simply being unfaithful, made a dramatic leap up from under the bed where he had been hiding, no doubt falsely imagining that his wife and the dreamer were in the throes of adulterous acts, and a theatrical scene then took place. It ended with the dreamer getting a black eye and a late night taxi ride home. Needless to add, it wasn't the most appropriate manner to convalesce, but it's another authentic episode of the dreamer's early, fateful history.

The dreamer's hazy period lasted into the first winter months in Paris. He drove his Fiat 850 coupé down from Amsterdam. The drive down was hair-raising enough because there was black ice on the then cobbled roads of Belgium. This caused him to skid hard into a curb, and the shock broke the right front disk brake. It meant that he had to drive the rest of the way, even on the motorway, without being able to use his brakes. The only means of eventually slowing, if not stopping, was the hand brake. Miraculously he arrived safely at his destination, thanks also to the fact that it was very late in the evening.

In Paris at the Alliance Française the dreamer studied French on certain days of the week, whilst he tried to freelance during his remaining time. He had some success. There were kind employers and unkind ones. At that time in Paris one would either be helped or hindered. An example of being hindered would be in trying with one's last, precious 'jeton' to get in touch with a would be employer via a telephonist perhaps more interested in varnishing her nails than doing what she's paid for, and totally unaware of one's desperate situation.

He met a pretty Spanish girl who was also studying at the Alliance. They got on very well. She rented a very small chambre de bonne for the short period she was in Paris.
Unaccountably he contracted a severe throat infection. So severe was it that he was unable to continue his diet of baguette, tomato and sardine sandwiches. Tomatoes and oranges, etc., cause him so much throat pain, that he was barely able to eat.
Eventually he had such a high fever that he needed urgent medical treatment. Somehow, blindly, incredibly, he found a doctor who graciously received him and cured him totally free of charge. It's probable that just the mere glance of the forlorn young figure at his front door was more than enough information for this most considerate French doctor. Yet the dreamer was at that time in no condition to know who the doctor was, or where he was located. And to this day he still hasn't got the foggiest idea.

All this may sound like strange scenarios for a soap drama series, but unrecorded memories that represent a particular period in one's life, especially when it's the life of the dreamer, might otherwise be long forgotten.

Text and image © Mirino. September, 2015


Everyone has seen the tragic photo of the little boy on the beach. It can only move the world into trying to do the right thing. But there is a conflict of opinions regarding precisely what is the right thing to do regarding the desperate efforts of migrants to reach Europe.

Angela Merkel and F. Hollande believe that preset quotas of refugees should be obligatorily accepted by every member State of the EU. But there is nothing yet full proof established to differentiate refugees who have the right to seek temporary refuge, from migrants who seem to be taking advantage of the opportunity to get to Europe in the hope of being able to reside there permanently.

The Schengen agreements don't seem to fully insure the security of the European member State confines, and is it not more the responsibility of the European Parliament to establish the necessary laws and to finance this control and security, rather than just rely on the member States concerned (whose laws differ) to try as best they can to contend with an increasingly difficult situation and all the tragedies that the problem is constantly generating?

Is declaring such an open invitation by heads of State the right thing to do? More than 2600 migrants have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean. According to UNO, between 22,000 and 72,000 migrants have perished in the last two decades trying to get to Europe.

It has been said that Germany needs "manual workers". This may be so, but I would be more inclined to believe that Angel Merkel is mainly motivated by sentiment and personal experience. F. Holland, however, appears eager to display his concern more for demagogical motives. He closely followed Obama and made very thoughtless decisions regarding the Ukrainian crisis. Now he appears to be just as blindly following the German Chancellor.

It seems to me that if those who pretend to represent us do nothing to try to counter the problem by its roots, then the tragedies are bound to increasingly continue.
Obviously this doesn't mean a joint military engagement in Syria. It's far too late for that. But nevertheless, a considerable amount of responsibility for this human tragedy is certainly Bashar al-Assad's. Without referring to any possible future charges of crimes against humanity, shouldn't Assad be eventually obliged by international law to financially assume at least part of this responsibility?

Is it not also crucially urgent to put a stop to the criminal pursuits of traffickers and smugglers who are inciting migrants to cede to them all their resources before risking their lives by boarding whatever unseaworthy craft the traffickers provide?
If Libya has any national control regarding this, then it must also assume its responsibilities.

One is reminded of Oscar Wilde's assertion that altruism becomes an essential part of human tragedy, simply because it encourages and perpetuates it. One cures an illness by finding the essential remedy. Is the German and French solution the right cure? Or could it not be the best way of insuring that the illness becomes even more uncontrollably contagious?

Interesting to learn from Valeurs Actuelles an editorial written by Yves de Kerdrel.
According to information revealed by The Wall Street Journal this afternoon, the family of Aylan, the little three year old boy found lifeless on a Turkish beach, was not fleeing from Syria, but had been living in Turkey for three years. The aunt of Aylan who lives in Canada had financed their voyage to Europe in order that her brother can benefit from dental treatment there. Aylan died uniquely because of this (during the crossing between Bodrum and Kos).
Yves de Kerdrel concludes by reminding his readers that this by no means depreciates the gravity of the tragedy, but it should cause us to reflect a little more regarding the difference between refugees fleeing from war, and migrants whose object is to reach Europe for reasons far less avowable.

Text and image © Mirino. September, 2015


'Shadowlands' is the title of Richard Attenborough's beautiful film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. It's based on the true story of how the famous writer and Oxford University professor, C. S. Lewis, falls in love without really knowing it, or initially wanting to admit it, with an American writer, Joy Davidman, who, with her young son, wish to reside in the UK.

When Joy is eventually diagnosed as having terminal cancer, C. S. Lewis then realises how much he loves her. His love for her engenders the moral boost that gives her a lease of a few months more of life, in the most poetical way, for Joy Davidman has been in love with C. S. Lewis perhaps from their very first meeting.

The romantic beauty of the film is determined by its sensitivity, the truth of how the power of love often creates relative miracles, and of course, the magnificent Oxfordshire countryside. The performances of Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger and Joseph Mazzello, the little boy who plays her son Douglas, are wonderfully sensitive. All the supporting actors' performances are splendid.

It was produced in 1993, but like all fine works, the poetry lives on in the most moving way.
From experience one can be most aware of the truth that emanates from this film, and how time is relative.

When we are young, a day seems endless. I remember the perfume and the hiss of the grass on special summer days. The smell of the seaweed, the salt and sand on sea-swept beaches, the tar on the stones and the brick-red sandy cliffs. Those sights, sounds and scents still seem more vivid than any other similar recollections since, even though with time we develop far more discernment and become more aware of our environment.

As we grow older the days fly past and we tend to lose track of time. But love seems to defeat time in the same way as time has no hold on art.
The last scene of the film seems to illustrate this thought gloriously.
C. S. Lewis is striding contentedly along the path in the valley of the breathtaking English countryside. Then, coming into view from the foreground we see young Douglas gaily running down the hill to join him, followed by an apparently new member of the family, an equally happy young dog.

Naturally it's always heartbreaking to lose a loved-one, but however short, the time spent with that person is still a lifetime, precious and unforgettable.
Texte and image © Mirino. Title from the film, with thanks. August, 2015 

Fruit défendu

Humilité. La conviction que, par rapport avec le grand tout, l'univers extraordinaire et son mécanisme fabuleux, on n'est rien. Mais malgré notre insignifiance, forcément on fait partie intégrale de cette merveille grandiose dont on connaît si peu. Si cette conviction est l'essence de toute religion, alors on est parmi les croyants.
Chez ceux qui ont la foi véritable on voit la sérénité, la confiance, la générosité, la tolérance et l'amour.

Dernièrement en France il y a eu une agression perpétrée par cinq filles contre une jeune fille en maillot qui prenait un bain de soleil dans un parc public. Selon les agresseurs le motif de leur colère (reporté dans un article de Le Figaro) était la tenue "immorale" de la jeune fille.

Cette histoire a provoqué un tollé considérable, car les commentateurs de Le Figaro ont naturellement conclu que l'agression a été incitée par des motifs religieux. Si c'était vrai, ce serait un exemple de plus de comment on assume le droit d'imposer sa culture et ses valeurs en Europe où elles sont hors de place, hors de contexte et point les bienvenues.
Beaucoup de commentaires, y compris certains proposés par moi, ont été censurés. Mais après plus de mille cinq cents commentaires, Le Figaro semblait vouloir montrer davantage de tolérance, un brin moins de zèle pour défendre le politiquement correct.

Ce qui a été aussi frappant c'est que plus tard dans la même journée il paraît que le parquet ait été sommé pour confirmer que le motif de l'agression n'ait rien à voir avec la religion. Mais comme ce motif était toujours fondé sur l'immoralité, l'objectif absurde de cette affirmation n'était que trop voyant.
On aurait pu donc continuer à imaginer cinq corbeaux malveillants en train de donner des coups de bec cruels et vindicatifs à une jeune fille en maillot qui voulait simplement prendre un bain de soleil.

Pourquoi tant d'intérêt pour un tel article assez anodin? Parce que les français ont la nette impression que l'actuel gouvernement socialiste- qui s'acharne à faire croire que l'intégration culturelle et religieuse est une belle réussite en France, et que les français sont tous des privilégiés qui, un jour, vont bénéficier de cette magnifique Utopie hollandaise- les prend pour des sans cervelles.
Evidemment il s'agit d'un autre mensonge d'Etat, et en pleine connaissance de cause, car les socialistes ne sont pas à ce point stupides pour croire que l'intégration multiculturelle marche. Le produit c'est plutôt le communautarisme sectaire, et malheureusement l'une des conséquences c'est l'endoctrinement des jeunes et leur radicalisation. Mais les socialistes ne voient que leurs intérêts à court terme. Persuadés que tous les immigrants clandestines ou non, et toutes les ethnies diverses ne peuvent que trouver la béatitude en votant socialiste, ils parient sur les chiffres, comme toujours.

La plupart des européens sont bien conscients du fait que l'Islam est incompatible avec la démocratie. Essentiellement les Musulmans soi-disant 'modérés' doivent faire des acrobaties intellectuelles pour pouvoir prétendre à s'intégrer dans des pays démocratiques. S'ils respectaient fidèlement ce que l'Islam préconisa, (et depuis 1400 ans personne n'a pas encore eu assez de poids pour oser proposer un nouveau testament/édition nouvelle des lois Coraniques) ils renonceraient carrément à vivre en Europe à proximité des infidèles que selon l'Islam nous sommes sans aucune ombre de doute.

Certains alors essaient de trouver des compromis par imposer leurs valeurs, leur culture et leur religion en espérant pouvoir influencer les uns et les autres. Mais parfois on dirait que ce soit aussi pour provoquer, ou pour se faire valoir.

Mais revenons à cette agression intolerable.
Même si le motif n'était pas 'religieux', cette agression pour cause prétendue d'immoralité met en question ce qui est 'immoral' culturellement et religieusement.
Si c'est généralement entendu que les prophètes ne sont pas des divinités, la plupart des religions, et bien évidemment les trois religions monothéistes, sont d'accord qu'il existe un seul et unique Dieu.

Dieu nous a façonnés comme on est, donc où est l'immoralité lorsqu'on expose une partie de son corps au soleil? La beauté même, est-elle immorale? Si Dieu a voulu que toutes formes de vie soient laides, c'est ainsi qu'il les aurait créées, sans exception.
Il n'y a rien d'immoral dans le corps humain comme il n'y a rien d'immoral dans les corps de toutes formes de vie saines créées par Dieu, la Nature ou le cosmos. Par contre ne peut-on avancer que ceux ou celles qui voient l'immoralité où elle n'existe pas entretiennent une forme de pensée négative qui est totalement incompatible avec la vie, la force miraculeuse du Paradis terrestre que Dieu, la Nature ou le cosmos a créée? On peut même affirmer que cette forme de pensée y est carrément opposée. Dans ce cas nous voyons encore les corbeaux haineux ainsi que la mort.

Si donc on préfère se cacher entièrement, aussi du soleil, sous un sac noir imaginant que après notre pénible mais heureusement bref devoir de vie sur terre, on sera récompensé par immortel Paradis quelque part là haut au ciel, quelle manière ignoble de louer et honorer la beauté et la magie de la vie, ce don précieux confié gracieusement par Dieu! La vie ainsi que la tolérance et l'amour. Car c'est grâce à ce dernier que la création de Dieu, la vie même, avance et évolue.

Text © Mirino. Image (modified) from, with thanks. July, 2015