It’s been a while since my last update, which made me feel like writing another stream of consciousness.

I’ve been participating in an acting course at Düsseldorf’s English Theatre group. I’m very much enjoying having the time and space to fully immerse myself in different roles, emotions and situations. So far, I’ve found improv acting especially fascinating, but also challenging: There is no script, no defined setting and no fixed characters, so everything is made up by intently listening and reacting to others. You have to be open and receptive to others while also being at ease with expressing a full range of emotions in front of strangers. It takes practice to feel comfortable with this, but I find that there is an enjoyable thrill in not knowing what happens next. I always feel quite exhilarated afterward and already signed up for the “Adults Acting for Stage” course, which starts on April 19th.

Besides all of the general busyness going on, I’m using my downtime to read Andrew Robert’s monumental biography of Napoleon. (Listing all of these diverse, mostly unrelated issues that have been swirling around in my orbit is somewhat funny).

Next to philosophy, history has always been a keen interest of mine. I suppose I had an itching need to understand the military and political genius behind Napoleon’s campaigns and his subsequent rise to power, alongside his strengths and obvious flaws. More than just Austerlitz and Waterloo, I want to understand his rise to prominence after the French Revolutionary Wars in Italy and how he became a soldier-statesman of the likes that history hadn’t recorded since ancient times. (Perhaps with the exception of George Washington.)

The book is doing a splendid job of satisfying my curiosity so far. For some inexplicable reason, I find myself reminiscing about the intimate, intense discussions on philosophy, history and various related topics that I had with friends during my time in Leuven. As Bertrand Russell expressed it so vividly, we were sinking through layer after layer of what was superficial, till we gradually reached the central fire.