In Times Which Seem Like Self-Psychotherapy He Says To Himself:
Oh, Vienna

Novel: Times 1–4, Chapter 48 She talks about the scientific approach

Niet van der Zand
3 min readMay 21


I pick Hildemar up at five, we are walking through the marshes to her chalet by seven; all is quiet, I want to tell her what a bitch her little sister has been, but I don’t. I light the wood burner, Hildemar boils the kettle on the small calor-gas hob, we have bread, with cheese, with fruit; we are a proper, simple little couple.

Hildemar tells me that her thesis is nearly there; she thinks philosophy has a good future, that we are in an age when mankind wants to know more about himself. Also we are in a time where we have the wherewithal to understand how to develop the hypotheses; she says that this is unique, never before has this bridge been reached.

She talks about the ancients, where the knowledge was with the limited few, and those few were often deep in argument, or disagreement. She talks about the scientific approach, when those in the know became more certain of their basis, although, partly through their mind-boggling jargon, they almost obliterated their audience.

Finally Hildemar says that only now, when the professionals understand the need for subtlety, for engagement, only now when the audience has reached a critical mass of understanding, only now can the philosophical stars collide.

Only now can the incredibly beautiful benefits of philosophy be truly reaped. I applaud her speech, not mocking in any way; I agree entirely with all that she says, I wish I had said it myself.

We have our food, we tidy the dishes away, we settle down on the sofa; now tell me about solitude Hildemar says to me, tell me what you discovered about yourself. I go over the weekend, minute by lonely minute, hour by desperate hour; after a while I see that Hildemar is dozing; come on I say, it’s bedtime.

We are up at first light, watching the sun come up, watching the birds over the water, watching the sun burn off the mist. After an hour of watching, of doing nothing but sitting silent, simply watching, I say to Hildemar: this is the peace which I was looking for in the solitude, this is the real peace, right here, right now; thank you, for inviting me to Vienna.

We fry a pan of bacon, we boil a pot of coffee; we sit outside to eat, though now we are busy with conversation, we are chattering faster than the thousands of birds which swarm over the lake.

After eating, drinking and cleaning up we wander about the marshes, Hildemar shows me some of her favourite places from her childhood. I say to her that I think Hildegarde is going to be ok, but that we are going to give her a rude awakening, we are going to point out a few home truths.

Not before time is Hildemar’s instant and powerful response; that girl really needs to know that the world does not owe her one single thing!



Niet van der Zand

words often hidden from ones inner self