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  • Writer's pictureNikko Norte

Zen and the art of serving no purpose …

Cold air bites into my lungs as I stick my face out of the hood of my sleeping bag. Man, I slept well, and I eh... coffee is what I want. With her back against me, Moos the German shepherd is lying on her side under a blanket. She senses my being awake and pushes the back of her head into my face. To even put a hand out of my sleeping bag seems like a bad idea, so I move my nose over Moos’ head as I amazedly look into the glittering darkness surrounding us until I realize that the grass in the meadow wherein we lie is covered with frost on which moonlight reflects.

I turn onto my back – my frozen sleeping bag creaks – and among not even that many stars, I see the Great Bear shine in a way I never saw it shine before, no moon. The soft snoring of Moos, who didn’t waste time to get back to sleep. The crisp, cold air. The bright stars, sucking me into the universe, stirring up some anxiety. Futile I suddenly feel, and once again, I realize I serve no purpose whatsoever, realize I can only pretend to serve a purpose. Even as a child, I remember well as I close my eyes to suppress my anxiety, I was aware of my futility, and equally aware I was of the unpleasant yet precious truth that I served no purpose and would never do so. Above my futility I was willing to elevate myself slightly, but I refused to pretend to serve a purpose, and thus, I treaded some social boundaries early on in life. Elevating myself above my futility, even if it was only slightly, was unheard of, and as long as I tried hard at school, I would surely one day serve a purpose.

What, I wondered time and again when grown-ups tried to force me into trying harder at school, what if teachers tried harder? But it could have been worse. I could have been born, say, some five years ago, it being a fait accompli for parents to share the custody of their children with the state, teachers acting accordingly. Those teachers would misuse my time teaching me that I affect the climate, that eating crickets is healthy, that I might not be a boy, and ... good heavens, it’s not yet half past five ...

Moos, truly awake now, bites the hood of my sleeping bag and pulls at it. Not much choice but to give in, so I wriggle an arm out of my sleeping bag to quickly tuck it under Moos’ blanket. But Moos doesn’t feel like playing after all. She yawns, turns onto her stomach, gets up, stretches, her blanket still half on her back, and disappears into the glittering darkness. I get up on my knees and grab a stove and the bottle of gasoline from the box at the head of my sleeping bag. I connect stove and bottle, pump pressure into the bottle, open the valve on the stove, and try to light a match, shivering with cold now.

WOOSH, it sounds when I hold a lit match near the stove. Our car, a few meters away, lights up in the glow of an orange flame, which, I smell, burns a few hairs on my hand. I eh... I don’t like the smell of burned human hair, and via some fast mental detours my thoughts end up in Ukraine, where young Ukrainian men in and around the town of Bakhmut count the minutes until their death in Polish Leopard tanks. And there’s Hemingway! Not the man himself, but his naive idea that war is the wrong way to end international disputes.

An international dispute between Ukraine and Russia! What a joke. Ukraine is being sacrificed on the altar of a global coup d'état staged by a wealthy elite that has been manipulating life on earth for decades on end. Enthusiastically, Western governments are contributing to the sacrifice, and few Westerners elevate themselves sufficiently above their futility to realize they’ll be the next victims of that coup d’état. Crisis left, right, and center. Anyone pointing out that those crises are instigated by an elite whose wealth increases per crisis is a conspiracy theorist. Digital passports and digital money will be the solution to most of the crises. Thankfully, we will soon embrace those digital passports and that digital money – like we recently embraced negatively effective and life-threatening vaccinations as the solution to a pandemic that was not a pandemic.

After digital passports and digital money have averted our inevitable demise, the doors of a digital prison will close behind us, and only then, will we realize that the internet, that great step forward for humanity, is the utmost efficient weapon of totalitarianism, and ... war. I had my fair share of it, I reflect as I fiddle with the valve on the burner until the orange flame dwindles and turns blue and screw the cap off our water-filled Stanleythermos. Water in the kettle, kettle on the stove. With two hands, I reach into my sleeping bag for my clothes.

Socks, pants, and fleece. Only when I put on my Northface jacket, which served me as a pillow until five minutes ago, I warm up. Pleasant, but the thought of war doesn’t let go of me. Never, I feared a direct confrontation with whoever the enemy was – and who never was my enemy. What I feared, truly feared, was an indirect confrontation with that enemy. Bombs. Rockets. Grenades. Mortars. Anything that could whiz toward me out of nowhere to explode on impact and against which no elevating myself above my futility would protect me ...

French Leclercs and American Abrams’ are also on their way to Ukraine, and only a grumbler points out that the Russian T62 and T72 tanks with which Ukrainian soldiers are familiar relate to Leopards II, Leclercs and Abrams’ like Pac-Man relates to Nioh 2. Five months is the minimum training period for crews of those modern tanks, and to be effective against an enemy such as Russia, those tanks should operate on the level of a division. The Polish, French, and American tanks together just make a company – and do not operate together – and happily, we ignore that a Ukrainian soldier could, in an e-mail, call on his mother for a new toothbrush. When it comes to keeping his Leopard II rolling, he is down to his own resourcefulness. And eh... what does that matter? Our tanks are going to Ukraine. That has been thought through! Of course it has. Not by Western politicians however. Western politicians do what they’re being told by an elite staging a coup d'état while going to lengths to convince their electorate that Putin is the nasty one and needs being halted. Meanwhile, young Ukrainian men wait in our tanks for what whizzes toward them out of nowhere to explode on impact …

Related to Russia’s capabilities, Putin invaded Ukraine without much enthusiasm. Not surprising. No Russian, certainly not Putin, was eager to invade Ukraine. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s air defenses have been eliminated. In addition, Russia scaled up the production of its Kinzhal missiles. There was little to stop those precision missiles. Now, there is nothing left, Bakhmut the last Ukrainian stronghold, and ... the water in the kettle has come to boil. From the kettle, I pour water into the filter, which I placed on the edge of the thermos and filled with two spoons of ground coffee without realizing I did.

End of February 2023. For two days, Heidi and I house-hunted in the North of Spain, after I cancelled the rent on our house in England last week. We opted for the shortest detour to the Netherlands, where tomorrow, we will shoot the first episode of a series of videos supporting my latest book, The Caveman Code. Too often, we halted at beautiful places in the French Ardèche to walk with Moos or to brew coffee. Too late, we arrived at the campsite we had in mind and so, we ended up in this meadow near Besançon.

From the thermos, I pour steaming coffee into its cap. No bird yet awake, the silence massive. Grass glittering in the darkness. Zen and the art of serving no purpose. What drove us to Spain? Chances are slim to there escape digital passports and digital money, even though a law in Spain bars the abolition of cash money. But Spain is far from Ukraine, where peace will be signed as soon as the Ukrainian crisis has sufficiently contributed to the growth of the capital of that coup d’état staging elite – whose members seem convinced to serve a divine purpose. Ukraine will be rebuilt according to the blueprint that elite developed for it, and Ukraine, according to members of its parliament, will be digitally indestructible after having been rebuilt. No parliamentary opposition, for Volodymyr Zelensky made short work of it, as he did with his country’s free press. Like an ink blot – if necessary, with the help of what will be left of the Ukrainian military – the principles of that Ukrainian utopia will spread around the world, and ... my sleeping bag beeps. I pick it up, shake it until my phone falls out, and turn off the alarm. It’s half past five.

Staring at the stars, I enjoy my coffee. No anxiety. Neither do I feel futile any longer, but I wonder what purpose algorithms will assign me, once the doors of that digital prison have closed behind us. If I do not serve that purpose to the satisfaction of the computers controlling me, my digital passport will restrict my freedom of movement, my digital money will lose its value, or … Moos pushes her head against my leg.

‘Let’s find Heidi,’ I whisper.

With a joyful jump, Moos turns to then walk to our car. I follow and stealthily open the sliding door. Moos puts her front legs in the car, and quickly, I lift her by the hind-legs and push her into the car. Some roaring, then laughter.

‘Have you made coffee yet?’

‘Does a rocking horse have a wooden dick?’


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