Sybe Starkenburg was trained in navigation for the Merchant Marine. Much of his life was spent sailing the oceans, from the rank of Cadet to the rank of Captain, on cargo ships, bulk carriers, tankers and tugs. For fifteen years he managed marine diamond mining vessels on the West Coast of Southern Africa.
He is now retired and joint bookstore owner with his wife of 40+ years. The bookstore is situated in an idyllic village on the grounds of a farm, i.e. in the middle of nowhere.
The shop is his reference library, his office and source of inspiration.
His specific interests are science, philosophy and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Not knowing where to find Truth after abandoning religion, and wanting to share the experience of his search, he decided on writing the ‘The Tightrope of the Absurd’.
You say that your book has been in the making for a very long time. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
At some stage I became disillusioned with religion. I’ve always been an avid reader of literature and philosophy and started taking notes of all the books I read. The thought came one day about what I was going to do with all those notes? And with that thought the book was born! The book is my journey, as Dante’s was in his Divine Comedy, but a spirituality without God.
The question then arises: what if God does not exist. Please continue with that thought, surely religion is all about spirituality?
Yes and no. Spirituality is in the mind, an illusion so to speak. What is in the mind is not reality! A life only has value if it is lived to the fullest. To be able to live it to the fullest we first have to strip ourselves of all those imposed values of our conditioned upbringing. I have used the theory of Abraham Maslow about Self-Actualising. Maslow was intrigued by people who stood out from the pack. Why were some people more actualised than others? That theory is very similar to the theory of ‘Individuation’ or personal growth as advocated by Carl Jung.
The author has created a unique path to understanding the third dimension of life. Acknowledging the role of religion in life, he says that one does not have to be religious in order to find spirituality or the third dimension. Through the conditioning of our upbringing, religious beliefs may even be a stumbling block to finding ones true self, free of pre-conditioning or opinions.