The face of the Other

Discover new angles to your view of life

Sometimes a red thread becomes visible in life. I realised some years ago that meeting people is a the constant and actually the most important element in my memories. The scenario appear to be similar regardless of the setting.

All humans struggle with the same questions: what is the meaning of life, what determines how we live, what is the basis of fundamental choices in life, what are the constraints that keep us from doing what we really want.

Encounters with other humans give me insight in their answers to these questions and  make me more aware of social structures, the effect of personal choices and their influence on ones daily life.  By being confronted with them I have a chance for selfdevelopment.

Stories on Insights are “monades”, a look through a window, a snapshot of a human in his or her context.

The photografic material is in essence street photography.

I agree with the philosopher Levinas: “I become I in the face of the Other”. Human encounters form an essential element in the proces of becoming “complete” that never ends. In other words: I have to change in order to stay the same (or rather to become myself..).

The solitary wolf feeling.

Personally my encounters (and the travel associated with them) make me feel like a lone wolf venturing through as yet unexplored land, aware of new sounds, smells. Ears up and nostrils open. I call this the solitary wolf feeling. Horses even draw up their upper lips to smell more intensely. In a known environment my brain and senses go into the economy mode. Let’s call it the travel mode, the experience mode, where small things are noticed and have one by one be judged on relevance, interest, meaning, In philosophical terms maybe a real Dasein or “Etre” to quote Heidegger and Levinas. It is the feeling of being in a moment with all senses. A solitary wolf.

My name is Jan Smit, I live in the Netherlands and travelled all my life, which now spans many decades. My education is chemical engineering and business and that is also how I make my living. One might say I am a “white man from the Netherlands”. The stories should speak for themselves but it is useful for the reader to know my background.

I would like to thank Ivana Ivkovics for the inspiration she gives and Piere Crom for his guidance in photography. Also I am indebted to Lina Smit, my niece for her clever remarks on history, writing, journalism and the use of the use of social media.

Guestwriters are welcome to contribute to Insights, please contact me.

Belgrade Jan Smit
courtecy Lina Smit

Jan Smit
De Dreef 32
1741MH Schagen
The Netherlands

0031 6 55 333 165

Author, editor and publisher

Insights is a totally independent platform with no ties to any organisation or institution. It is has no commercial objectives and is privately funded.

Insights is open for sponsoring and advertisement however without influence on the editorial decisions.


Moose Färg Swedish paint for wood