In May 2016, during our last evening spent in New York a strange, confused man in Times Square inspired me and my friends to ask him a question which we believe is the most interesting one to ask. After he got kicked out of the Starbucks because of his loud and wild conspiracy rants, we decided to approach him and have a conversation with him. He annoyed people and wasn’t taken seriously, but he did have a story to tell. This individual had thoughts that made perfect sense in his head, but sounded like nonsense to others. He was probably considered mentally incapacitated, but to himself he was a sophisticated man. This individual was a book, constantly judged by its cover. So we decided to ask him the question: “What do you seek in life?”
After quite some stubbornness (and repeated questioning on whether we worked for the cops or not) he revealed his ambitions and thoughts in life. He wanted liberation. He wanted a free system and did not want to be imprisoned by the rules set by those who controlled the system. He explained his answer using mice, science and New York as examples. His answer was a bit odd to be honest, but truly interesting. He showed me a different book than what I’d expect from the cover. Having learned from this situation, on Times Square I continued to ask people what they sought in life, together with my friends.
We got the most interesting answers that night from one of the most diverse cities in the world and I decided to keep on going with it. I brought the question home and wanted to explore the thoughts and ideas of one of the most open-minded, culturally diverse and crazy cities in the world: Amsterdam. I set a goal and started a personal project to ask 101 people in Amsterdam what they sought in life: Project Declenimo. The name Declenimo derives from the old-fashioned Gaelic word ‘Declan’, which means ‘Full of Goodness’. 101 strangers to interview. 101 different perspectives and views on life. 101 different people to get inspired by. There is so much to learn from the people that pass by you everyday. Never judge a book by its cover. So see here what Amsterdam has to answer on: “What do you seek in life?”
“Ask a man a question, and he’ll think for the moment. Make a man ask you a question and he’ll think for a lifetime”