Tuesday 24 September 2019

ALS: 'Noorse oppas'

12.11 norwegian babysitter

In 1986, Nico Scheepmaker hears a story about a girl that was frightened by a malicious Norwegian babysitter who tells her that each human being is only granted a limited amount of voice during his or her lifetime, and that you thus end up with a shortage of voice if you talk too much. The story seems familiar to Scheepmaker, he has read it somewhere only recently. He searches in his impenetrable room full of books, files and loose papers – metres high. He is obsessed by the story of the girl and her Norwegian babysitter. He is quite sure he has read it not more than two days previously. He looks in all his books, newspapers and files of the last two days. Finally, he suddenly recalls Conversations with Jean Piaget, the famous Swiss child psychologist. Apparently, Piaget has a room just like Scheepmaker’s, he says to his interviewer: ‘As you know, Bergson has established that disorder simply does not exist! There are only two types of order: geometrical order and vital order. My order is clearly vital!’
The interviewer asks if he is actually able to find anything in that utter shambles. Piaget says: ‘If you have to search, you search. That takes up less time that tidying every day.’
The interviewer asks: ‘But what if the room is cleaned?’
Answer: ‘This room is never cleaned!
‘Never?’ ‘Never!’
‘But your wife?...’ ‘She is kind enough to leave it alone!’

I have no proof, but think that Nico Scheepmaker has probably frequently searched through his chock-a-block room for the girl and her babysitter. With the support of Bergson’s two kinds of order and Piaget’s certainty that no cleaning will ever take place.

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