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Midas Dekkers

Midas Dekkers - foto Jeroen Mantel
Midas Dekkers - foto Jeroen Mantel

(Harlem, 1946) is a biologist. As a student he published small articles on animals in among others NRC Handelsblad, de Volkskrant and the VARA radio/tv magazine. The greater part of Dekkers' oeuvre consists of collections of columns on man and (especially) animals. He has read these personal sketches from 1980 in the radio programma Vroege vogels (Early Birds). The unique and far from pedantic way in which he takes on his themes forms an organic whole with his abrupt, expressive style. The same self-willed tone emanates from his children's books, for which he received four prestigious awards. In 1985 he wrote the children's book week gift Houden beren echt van honing? (Do Bears Really Like Honey?). Followed by his impressive books Lief dier (Cherished Animal) (1992), an essay about bestiality, and De vergankelijkheid (Ways of Dying) (1997) in which Dekkers makes a hilarious study about death, decay and the unstoppable advance of time. He had a lot of success with De larf (Larvae) (2002), about children and their parents. In his latest book, Lichamelijke oefening (Physical Exercise) (2006), he explains in an ironic way that all the effort in the gym is 'umsonst' and that it is better to walk to the pub or a bookstore rather than drive to tennis courts and football fields in order to work oneself in a sweat.

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  • Winternachten 2007 – WINTERNACHT 2

    In search of the soul. Part 1: Science

    'Your soul is something holy, she has been breathed in by God and as she gets older she grows little hairs.' That's how the soul was thought of in the Middle Ages. But what is the present state of affairs, is she still breathed in by God, and if so: by which one? Can the soul be explained biologically, even if we can no longer count on it that she weighs 21 grams? Is the soul only to be found in art, or is it that devitalization yields better art? Writers, scientists, philosophers, religious experts and artists were in search of the soul. An expedition in three parts.

    Strictly speaking there is no evidence whatsoever as to the existence of the soul. From three scientific disciplines a quest for the soul therefore is an impossible task. Midas Dekker lead the way. He did so with a story about body and soul which he has written specially for Winternachten. Douwe Draaisma, professor of the history of psychology and writer Désanne van Brederode did each react from their own field of study. The three of them came to a better understanding of the biological, neurological and ethical values of the soul. Dutch spoken.