I was – of course – not asked by someone from the great God-survey, held in the Netherlands. But if I would have had a say, this is what I would have proclaimed: I believe in Mary – after all the woman whose name originates in the Egyptian word for ‘love’ or ‘lover’.

Phrased even sharper: I believe in the Madonna of Caravaggio.


I believe in the mother who loves her child, as I hope she would have loved me, if I would have been her child. Precisely trampling the head of the evil serpent, just in time before her son with the playful foot would have been bitten!



I believe in the woman who, in arid times and face to face with former Puritans, had to exonerate an act of love and the child in her womb. This woman, with all her well-deserved pet names.

Maria Stella Maris – Star of the Sea.

Maria Consolatrix Afflictorum – Comforter of one who needs consolation.

Mater Dolorosa – The Mother, the Sad one…

I believe in Mary. With the courage of despair.

I believe in the symbol of all that is good. As I believe in snooker, in chess, in love and above all in music, in which I always hear Her singing.

Maria Intacta – untainted by churls and frills.

This is what I would have told the interviewer – nothing else.

Sierksma 15/03/16


Author: rjsiersk

Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats.

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