[Proj] Completely off-topic

Jan Hartmann j.l.h.hartmann at uva.nl
Wed Mar 4 18:48:12 EST 2009

Hi Gerald, List,

I hate to disagree for once with the most eminent person on this list 
and the one we have all to thank for PROJ, and, even worse,  on 
something completely off-topic, but as it as about the signature he has 
appended to all of his postings, I hope I may forgiven.

The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due
to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.
-- Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) British psychologist

There was no asylum in the *old* Jerusalem, but there certainly are 
several ones in the *new* one, the city of Rembrandt, the city were the 
persecuted Jews of Europe found their home until 1940, and the city were 
I happen to live: Amsterdam. See: 
http://www.codart.nl/exhibitions/details/1225/ . The madhouse was more 
or less *invented* in Amsterdam. I work in one myself. Here is a 
world-famous study about the development of madhouses from the equally 
eminent French philosopher Michel Foucault: Madness and Civilization - 
History of Insanity. There is a Internet translation available at


but I would advise you to read it from a paper book, if you are really 
interested and have lots of time. Foucault is one of the greatest 
philososphers/historians of this century, but his style is *not* easy, 
especially if you have to read it in French. When you take the trouble 
however, he is fascinating (like projections).

Of course, one could debate whether Amsterdam is really the new 
Jerusalem. Some people would say it was the successor of another 
Old-Testament city, or perhaps even two. Personally, I don't believe 
that, although I can't prove it.



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