Sunday, November 26, 2017

Content with Himself

He had an attic in a castle with 10,000 books hidden under plastic. He also had a number of icons hidden in a room. Both of them not for display on book shelves or walls. He was rich but lived as an ascetic. At the age of 78 he died alone in Albania leaving behind the 'A.A. Bredius Foundation' as his inheritance. This foundation aims to unlock the Byzantine culture in all its richness and versatility. Not for academic scientists only!

He is Arnold ("Ar") Bredius (1903-1982). A member of a Dutch patrician non-noble family who made their fortune selling (gun)powder. He studied theology but never became a priest. He was on his own. Socially awkward with a communitarian deficit. He was non-communicative about what was on his mind. He was married to Olga with whom he had a relation as brother and sister. Both of them were not interested  in lust for sex. Both injured souls. Olga: "Bredius was a child, more childlike than a child".   

Was he happy? No, he regarded his life as a burden. A life of duty and obligation. At the same time his life was successful because he left behind his Foundation as the climax of a life in which he was content with himself.

He regarded life as Whole and One. He enjoyed beautiful things. He was interested in the magic ("connectedness") of books, icons, music and places. Things outside himself. It seems that he was not interested in "knowing" himself spiritually. 

I think the author and I disagree on this. I personally think that Bredius had had his moments of enlightenment but that he had a hard time to communicate about these in spoken or written words. Was he a mystic? It seems only partly. Is that possible when it comes to propagate enlightenment? The bottomline, for me, is that his Foundation is exactly that: propagate that there is more than senses getting input and that there is magic. Stuff of mystics ...

P.S. Book: Theo Jansen, 'Arnoldus Anthonie Bredius, Schetsen van een leven' (2012).

No comments:

Post a Comment