“Brand Smit” and a better life


If someone should ask me at this moment, “The whole truth, nothing but the truth, how are you?” what would I say?

If I say it is going well, it will be a positive response that I myself will appreciate. The truth is that I would ignore certain things with such a statement: I need to get to a dentist quite urgently; my bicycle might make it to the train station one more time, but it probably won’t make it back; it’s been months since I’ve had enough money to spend on enjoyable activities such as going out to dinner or seeing a movie.

On the other hand, if I say things are going badly, it will be an extremely negative statement that will ignore something very significant: I have found a partner, a woman who loves me, whom I love very much, and with whom I want to spend the rest of my days on earth. In my book, the presence of such a person in your life contradicts a general statement that it is going “badly”.


“And so we come to the end of yet another day in the life of Brand Smit. Today has been the most recent in a series of thousands of days in this man’s life, some similar to today, some much better, other days – much worse.”


Funny how it seems that my brain is working overtime when I am slightly feverish. My calculations also seem to always be the same at such a time: I pretend as if life is worth living, because to face the truth would simply be too much to handle.

My non-feverish, sober opinion on this so-called calculation is simple: to hell with it. Fight against this idea when you are healthy, and fight against it when you are sick and feverish.

If we accept such a pessimistic view as the sum total of our calculations, we are the victims of trickery. The hand was quicker than the eye. We didn’t look hard enough, didn’t pay enough attention, and the result is that we missed something.


You can make a positive difference in people’s lives – specifically in the lives of people who struggle to keep going on a daily basis – by taking certain actions, without actually being physically present in a particular community.


I need to believe in a better life. This belief must be based in reality. For this belief to be grounded in reality, I have to work to make this reality real.

Therefore, if I am not working, I undermine the attempt to ground my belief in reality. If my belief is not grounded in reality, I cannot hold on to it. If I don’t have this belief to hold on to, I fall.

That is how it is. My job – writing and other work – is my religion, in the most practical way possible. I am the pope, the high priest and the pastor of my own religion. Work is the ritual that must confirm that my belief is more than mere fantasy.


A few possibilities:

a) There is a predetermined plan and purpose for my existence – which means each and every human life of the last 30,000 years plus had to be planned in the minutest detail to produce (among others) “Brand Smit”. This means nothing could have been left to chance, and no factor that could spoil everything, like free will, could have been allowed to any significant degree. Which means no one is guilty of any actions they commit that are not “good” because everyone is just playing their roles. (A so-called criminal is therefore just as guilty of his or her crime as the actor Anthony Hopkins is guilty of murder in the film Silence of the Lambs.)

b) There is no predetermined plan, but it is possible that a plan and purpose were set up after my birth, taking into account known facts about my existence (background, ethnicity, language, etc.) as well as statistical possibilities.

c) Free will, which means I define the purpose and reason for my existence, and pursue it as well as I can, according to my abilities and conviction of my beliefs.

(I did not plan to end the note on the “free will” possibility; it was simply the third option. There may be other possibilities.)