25 - God, Genes & Grass

Sundial in Telgte
Originally uploaded by francessa_Rich.

Papers and magazines are full with research findings about something like a "god gene". According to Dean Hamer from the US National Cancer Institute'€™s Gene Structure Regulation Unit he studied 2,000 DNA samples, interviewed 2,000 people and looked a the spirituality of the persons. He found that the VMAT2 Gene was significantly more common among people who believed in a higher spiritual being. Therefore, Hamer concludes, the tendency to be spiritual, is part of the genetic makeup.

Church representatives are not really enthusiastic about these findings.

Speaking of God, spring is a favoured season for going on pilgrimage. During the Whitsun-Weekend we were in Telgte, the church of St. Clemens and the Chapel of Pilgrimage being centres for pilgrimage from spring to November.

Telgte has become famous as the setting for the novel "The Meeting At Telgte"€ by Nobel prize winner of 1999 Guenther Grass. He recounts a - fictional -meeting of German Baroque writers (such as Simon Dach, Gelnshausen (Grimmelshausen), Gryphius and more during the Thirty Years'™ War€“, with Germany a ruined and starving battlefield. Grass contrasts two events: the negotations for the later Peace of Westphalia, and the meeting of the intellectual elite with the intention to discuss the state of poetry, fatherland, and religion. But the meeting is not as noble, as it may seem.Very soon personal rivalries and vanities as well as excesses and gluttony take over. In between thewriters realize the invalidity and insignificance of their doings and compose a peace resolution, which is destroyed by a fire because they had forgotten it between the fishbones.

The Meeting at Telgte is a complex description of both, literature and politics of that time, the writers are portrayed very fondly and in great detail. Besides, it is a tribute to the "Group 47", a loose asscociation of politically committed writers, and its head, Hans Werner Richter.

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