Dick Hillenius

Dick Hillenius (1927-87), a biologist, poet and essayist, was an expert on the taxonomy of chameleons, frogs and toads, and was keenly interested in behavioural psychology. His playful, not to say light-hearted treatment of Darwinism (natural selection) and of ethological ideas (territory, aggression, hierarchy) sometimes raised other academics’ eyebrows. Hillenius’s publications include Tegen het vegetarisme (Against Vegetarianism; 1961), De vreemde eilandbewoner (The Strange Islander; 1967), Het romantisch mechaniek (The Mechanics of Romanticism; 1969) and Een klein apparaat tegen rechtlijnigheid (A Small Machine to Fight Consistency; 1975).

Exercises for a Third Eye

Exercises for a Third Eye

(Hillenius Estate, 1965, 144 pages)

Dick Hillenius wrote on biological subjects with an infectious enthusiasm and single-mindedness that are rare in research scientists. He was passionate about frogs, toads, and chameleons, but wrote with equal facility about music, literature and the visual arts. It would not have taken much for him to become a composer. He was a great sceptic, convinced that the whole of science is hypothetical and that the truth keeps shifting. He conducted mental experiments, broached new themes in an original way and was always keen to connect what was still unconnected.

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