Robert in his adolescence and early adult

In the family house, there were always guests coming and going; often international guests from far away and with quite a certain erudition and style. On occasion, security was around or in the house to protect the guests.

From a certain age on, Robert was allowed to sit in the corner of the living room or his father study, and listen to the dialogues, being developed among the people present. When there was a more formal dinner, Robert was allowed to sit at his own and smaller dinner table in the other corner of the dining room under the condition that he would be absolutely silent. That was a huge feast for Robert as he could be exposed to new ideas and concepts he would never hear about otherwise. On occasion, he could not follow the discourse because of language barriers, but on the whole, he felt he was able to get the essentials. And what struck him most was the fact that several of these well-educated intellectuals from countries far away from Holland, would say incomprehensible things. He was puzzled by this phenomenon: “how could well-educated people have completely different opinions about important things then he was familiar with?”  and “How can seemingly reasonable and gentle people be so in conflict with `common sense`?” And thus, the urge in Robert slowly emerged to read and to study how man can obtain knowledge and how many different ways to knowledge there are anyway. Once studying medicine at the University of Amsterdam, he studied in addition philosophy: “Theory of Knowledge” or, “Erkenntnisstheorie.” (At that time, the Faculty of Philosophy was very much Marxist- or Existentialism-oriented which did not fill his needs. So in part, he studied, besides of course Aristotle and Plato, on his own philosophers as Spinoza, Kant, Fichte and Hegel. Also he discovered Johann Wolfgang Goethe as a philosopher and scientist for which he failed an oral exam, as common judgment at the university at time was that Goethe was a writer but not a philosopher and for sure not a scientist).

image051 Robert at age 16 , living in two worlds; one of a regular teenager of his time, and in another world, where he was submerged in his absolute conviction about reincarnation and karma and therefore, studied Buddhism, Sufism, Theosophy and Gurdjeff/ Uspensky. At this age, he was also fascinated by astronomy and built his own mirror telescope. After homework, often late at night, he would work for hours to polish a 6cm-thick glass window from an old ship, to turn it into a 30cm-in-diameter stable and perfectly curved mirror for his own telescope. His telescope easily magnified 1.000 to 2.000 times. After half-a-year, he looked through his first telescope and could observe all planets and their moons, a sun eclipse, and many more phenomenons. Once, Professor Jaap Kistemaker, a famous Dutch physicist who invented the ultra centrifuge to enrich uranium, and a very close friend of the parents (Kistemaker was also a free mason) had looked once through the telescope and was extremely impressed by the quality of this telescope. And when he heard Robert talk and explain about mass and velocity, distance, the moons and many more details about the planets and the solar system, he told his parents later, that it was his strong conviction that Robert had the correct mind and attitude of a true scientist and that his questions Robert was struggling with, were mind-blowing to him. Kistemaker: “He has a set of mind which is unusual for a boy of his age, and is very untraditional”.  At age nine, Robert had a significant experience, when he saw Buddha statues for the first time in his life (more about this significant experience later in his biography and by another member of our group).  

Robert at age 16 , living in two worlds; one of a regular teenager of his time, and in another world, where he was submerged in his absolute conviction about reincarnation and karma and therefore, studied Buddhism, Sufism, Theosophy and Gurdjeff/Uspensky. At this age, he was also fascinated by astronomy and built his own mirror telescope. After homework, often late at night, he would work for hours to polish a 6cm-thick glass window from an old ship, to turn it into a 30cm-in-diameter stable and perfectly curved mirror for his own telescope. His telescope easily magnified 1.000 to 2.000 times. After half-a-year, he looked through his first telescope and could observe all planets and their moons, a sun eclipse, and many more phenomenons. Once, Professor Jaap Kistemaker, a famous Dutch physicist who invented the ultra centrifuge to enrich uranium, and a very close friend of the parents (Kistemaker was also a free mason) had looked once through the telescope and was extremely impressed by the quality of this telescope. And when he heard Robert talk and explain about mass and velocity, distance, the moons and many more details about the planets and the solar system, he told his parents later, that it was his strong conviction that Robert had the correct mind and attitude of a true scientist and that his questions Robert was struggling with, were mind-blowing to him. Kistemaker: “He has a set of mind which is unusual for a boy of his age, and is very untraditional”.  At age nine, Robert had a significant experience, when he saw Buddha statues for the first time in his life (more about this significant experience later in his biography and by another member of our group).  

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Robert at age 20 with Nel Breteler, the girl friend of another student at the University of Amsterdam, leaving the house of Robert’s parents (by then, they had moved into a smaller house when all children had left the parenteral house) on their way to the wedding of his sister Ellen with Hans Geluk an engineer at Phillips in Eindhoven.

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Willem Jacob Gorter and his wife Jansje on their way from home to the wedding of their daughter Ellen to Hans Geluk.image057

 

Willem Jacob around age 58, when he was still head of the police force in Haarlem.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Willem Jacob and Jansje Gorter at a much older age; they must have been living already in Dorwerth or Oosterbeek near Arnhem in the very east of the country close to the German border, and it must have been in or around the year 1980.

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Robert’s father, Willem Jacob Gorter, in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, where he stayed with his first daughter Rita almost every summer. He must have been 88 or 89 at this picture. He was always very fit and never sick. He would travel all alone around the world (Hawaii!) till his early 90’s.

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Robert’s father, Willem Jacob, at age 89 or 90, in Hawaii, where he would travel almost yearly all on his own

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These are the ashes of Jansje Dingena Gorter-Dik. Her ashes were spread out one day by Willem Jacob in a park close to his home in Oosterbeek. Jansje died from a stroke in their own house in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA; it should have been a quick and painless death but because of modern medicine with all its life-support devices, she was not able to die in the Netherlands until 8 months later after her massive stroke.

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Robert at age 20 in the back yard of the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Amsterdam. He was offered there a room to live while studying. Still at this age, he was very much involved in Theosophy and there were expectations from elderly Theosophists that he might be a leader of the next generation. Robert was extremely well-read in all the Theosophical literature and lectured already at that age for larger audiences on various topics, which needed to have thorough understanding of the body of knowledge of Theosophy

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Here is a picture of Robert with Maria Dias, a young Indian woman, with whom he had been corresponding all through his teenage time. One day, when Robert was about 20 years old, she came and visited him in Amsterdam. She started studying art at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. From others, we have learnt that she left disappointed (?) and fell in love and got pregnant right after she left Amsterdam. This picture was made at the Dam Square in Amsterdam, in front of the Royal Palace. We know very little about the nature of this friendship between Maria and Robert. Maria was a daughter from a very well-known Indian Brahma family with a long tradition and at time, her father was the Minister of Agriculture in New Delhi. Also her sister visited Robert that same year. Maria was an absolutely astonishing beautiful woman, and people would drop off their bicycles in Amsterdam when she walked around.

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Robert at age 20. At this time, he was a medical student at the University of Amsterdam and probably in his 3rd year of study.

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Robert at age 20 as a medical student in Amsterdam.

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Robert as a photo model in the period that movies like “Bonnie & Clyde” were a hit!

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Robert at the end of his medical studies at the University of Amsterdam at age 23 or 24. Obviously, the 1960’s had left their marks. But remember, although Robert was always there where the action was (he often initiated action), he never ever touched a drop of alcohol, smoked, used Cannabis. From outside, he looked like a hippy; from inside, he knew what he had to do and never left his track he had set for him at age 9.

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Robert in the same period at age 23 or 24, but with a beard but in the same blue jeans jacket.

image081 Robert at age 22 and still living at the Overtoom, in the center of Amsterdam at the edge of the Vondelpark, in a commune with 8 other students, and which he had started at age 21.

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Robert at age 23 and a typical picture of a child of the 1960’s; the period of the Flower Power, which started in San Francisco (Haight/Ashbury District): Do not make war but make love! This picture was made in Zandvoort. (From the early 1980’s, Robert would then live in this Haight/Asbury District as an Associate Clinical Professor of the University of California San Francisco Medical School)

 

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Robert at age 23 at the beach of Zandvoort, taking a deep breath and watch the sunset during high summer time. On occasion, and if possible time wise or financially, Robert would go to Zandvoort to the beach and meditate at sunset and/or at night time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Robert at age 26 at his first anthroposophic medical seminar.

 

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Robert at age 25 or 26 and a bit adjusted to his freshly started job as a physician in private practice at the Weteringschans in the center of Amsterdam.

image091Robert with two nurses (lesbian couple) from the Jellinek Kliniek in Amsterdam. In 1971, Robert had set up the very first methadone detox and maintenance program for heroine addicts on the European continent. A few years later, this initiative was formally incorporated into the Jellinek Kliniek, a large clinic for alcoholics. Here, Robert became one of the staff doctors (besides running his own doctor’s office and restaurant!) and got among his collaborators, these two wonderful women. This picture was taken at a Gay & Lesbian Liberation Festival in the Vondelpark in the center of Amsterdam.

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Robert at age 32 or 33, at the beach of some Greek island. He went with a few friends (all medical doctors in crisis with their relationships but  not Robert!). Robert hates beach vacations and doing nothing. It probably shows in his face at this picture…….

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