Category Archives: humanism

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Mr. Brainwash

art is a great vehicle for a message to take a ride in,
and then get to you

a couple links here to some kickass documentaries featuring some awesome artists:

Ai Wei Wei, Activist, China Critic: http://www.aiweiweifilm.org/en/ 

Banksy, Graffiti Art, Exit Through The Gift Shop: http://www.banksyfilm.com/


The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

“Nightime & he had gone out to the water, high on grass, & sat down & the light from the electric signs – Coca-Cola? – in the town came across the bay, and every line of light came off straight, the primitive line, Stone Age, the line of grass

CUT TO

nighttime, same spot, high on acid, and lines come off not straight but in perfect half circles, the acid line, the line of the present, the perfect circle, like the spiders they injected with acid and they wove perfect little round webs

CUT TO

nighttime, same spot, high on opium, only time he ever took hard dope, and the lines came off starting into circles and instead finished with a little hook, like the little hook even in the lines of that strange comic strip, The Spirit, and this was the line of the future, completing the circle without having to go all the way every time, getting there by knowing the beginning of the trip

CUT TO

Nighttime and an electrical storm in the Mexican heat flashes, high on acid, the lightning breaking out – there! – there! – and the electricity flows through him and out of him, a second skin, a suit of electricity, and if the time was ever now it is – Now! – and he hurls his hand toward the sky to make the lightning break out where he points – Now! – we’ve got to close it, the gap between the flash and the eye, and make it, the reentry into Now… as Superheroes … open … until he falls to the beach and Mountain Girl finds him holding his throat and choking as if he is gagging on sand…

   Beyond acid. They have made the trip now, closed the circle, all of them, and they either emerge as superheroes, closing the door behind them, and soaring through the hole in the sapling sky, or just lollygag in the loop – the loop of the lag – Almost clear! Presque vu! – many good heads have seen it – Paul telling the early Christians: hooking down wine for the Holy Spirit – sooner or later the Blood has got to flood into you for good – Zoroaster telling his followers: you can’t keep taking haoma water to see the flames of Vohu Mano – you’ve got to become the flames, man – And Dr. Strange and Sub Mariner and the Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four and the Human Torch prank about on the Rat walls of la casa grande like stroboscopic sledgehammer Cassady’s fons et origo ::::: and it is either make this thing permanent inside of you or forever just climb draggled up into the conning tower every time for one short glimpse of the horizon:::::”

– pages 322-324 of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe (1968)


I Shall Not Pass This Way Again

Through this toilsome world, alas!
Once and only once I pass;
If a kindness I may show,
To a suffering fellow man,
Let me do it while I can.
No delay, for it is plain
I shall not walk this way again.

– — anonymous (?)


Universal Declaration Of Human Rights

was passed by the United Nations 60 years ago today

http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

“…THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”


Joseph Rotblat

was born 100 years ago today (in Warsaw, Poland)

blog post: 4.November.2008

(photo taken in Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.)


Network

a 1976 movie, a movie which I watched a little while ago, fictionally based on the UBS television network at the time, to be considered a classic, in my opinion, & not just for “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” – Howard Beale (character played by Peter Finch)

other main characters: Diana Christensen (played by Faye Dunaway) & Max Schumacher (played by William Holden)

satirical enough not be taken as seriously morbid or disturbing (or perhaps contrariwise, as exactly that), it still makes one think, about TV & how money makes the world go ’round, & does slightly put us on our guard, &/or make us wonder what can be done for the better, the frequent rapid dialogue and fervor of the characters in the film make it run along quite entertainingly

after all is said & done, if the movie does in fact strike sever angst in some of us, it is notable that it is from the middle of the 1970s, & the attitudes & concerns expressed then are similar to ones now, over three decades later, so I wouldn’t be predicting a dooms day of sorts (the dawning of the programming era, & the end of humanism) just yet, however there is plenty of room for improvement on TV.


Free Rice

food for thought turns into thought for food as well

“FreeRice is a sister site of the world poverty site, Poverty.com.

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your vocabulary can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide. Thank you.”

http://www.freerice.com/

I’ve been at the website today, got to 1300 grains of rice, with my highest & current vocab level at 36


Adam Smith

was born 285 years ago today, in Scotland

“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.” – from The Wealth Of Nations

Bishop of Norwich in Scotland to him:

“Upon the whole, doctor, your meaning is good; but I think you will not succeed this time. You would persuade us, by the example of David Hume, Esq., that atheism is the only cordial for low spirits, and the proper antidote against the fear of death.”

if that really was his message, then I truly do hope for Adam Smith to succeed

as for a quote by the man himself though, I note this one:

“The robot is going to lose. Not by much. But when the final score is tallied, flesh and blood is going to beat the damn monster.” – Adam Smith


Keith Haring

born 50 years ago today, in Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

http://www.haring.com

“I don’t think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it.”


Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

by Kathleen Norris

a book I read last summer, a good read

noted excerpts/quotes:

page 11-12:

     “… and I asked him if the angel had visited him here. “Don’t you know?” he said in the incredulous tone children adopt when adults seem stupefyingly ignorant. “Don’t you know?” he said, his voice rising, “This is where angels drown.”

page 14:

     “Reading is a solitary act, one in keeping with the silence of the Plains, but it’s also paradoxically public, as it deepens my connections with the larger world.”

page 16:

     “Silence is the best response to mystery.”

page 18-19:

     “We know it won’t last, not in Dakota, and we stay anyway. That is our glory, both folly and strength.”

page 19:

     “Many farmers I know use language in a way that is as eloquent as it is grammatically unorthodox.”

page 23:

     “Rather, it is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person.”

page 24:

     “Desert wisdom allows you to be at home, wherever you are.”

page 26:

     “The Dakotas are America’s empty quarter…”

     “Say what you will about our climate, in Dakota we say it keeps the riff raff out.”

page 35:

     “It may be odd to think of living in Dakota as a luxury, but I’m well aware that ours is a privileged and endangered way of life, one that, ironically, only the poor may be able to afford.”

page 36:

     “Our odd, tortured landscape terrifies many people. Some think it’s as barren as the moon…”

page 37:

     “In western Dakota, as in few other places I’ve seen in this country, one realizes the truth of Gertrude Stein’s remark, “In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is.” Eleven counties in South Dakota now meet the traditional definition of frontier, places having two or fewer persons per square mile.”

page 38:

     “The Plains are not forgiving. Anything that is shallow – the easy optimism of a homesteader; the false hope that denies geography, climate, history; the tree whose roots don’t reach ground water – will dry up and blow away.”

page 41:

     “…my blood so like the sea in chemical composition, my every cell partaking of air. I live about as far from the sea as is possible in North America, yet I walk in a turbulent ocean. Maybe that child was right when he told me that the world is upside-down here, and this is where angels drown.”

page 95:

     “As Emily Dickinson once said, “You know there is no account of her death in the Bible, and why am I not Eve?””

page 104:

     “Shadows ‘n’ Owls: A Message From Jim Sullivan”

     “Dairy farming made an empiricist out of me. When I was a little boy I had to walk alone at night with bucket and lantern, down throught the trees by the river, and milk cows in a dark barn. There was no room in my life for bogeymen or poltergeists, anything I couldn’t explain. There were shadows ‘n’ owls, that’s all.”

page 107:

     “When you get the feeling that the whole world can see you but no one is watching, you have come to the grasslands of North America.” – Dan O’Brien In the Center of the Nation

page 108:

     “Where I am is a place that does not readily render its secrets or subtleties.”

     “Where I am is a place where Native Americans and whites live alone together, to paraphrase David Allen Evans, a South Dakota poet.”

page 110:

     “Where I am is a place where the human fabric is worn thin, farms and ranches and little towns scattered over miles of seemingly endless, empty grassland.”

     “Some have come to prefer the treelessness and isolation, becoming monks of the land, knowing that its loneliness is an honest reflection of the essential human loneliness. The willingly embraced desert fosters realism, not despair.”

page 117:

     “The West River of Dakota encourages you to either make or find deserts for yourself.”

page 121:

     “The irony and wonder of all this is that it is the desert’s grimness, its stillness and isolation, that bring us back to love.”

page 122:

     “For one who has chosen the desert and truly embraced the forsaken ground it is not despair or fear or limitation that dictates how one lives. One finds instead an openness and hope that verges on the wild…”

page 127:

     “I’ve come to think that one thing that distinguishes a frontier is the precarious nature of the human hold on it.

     The severe climate of Dakota forces us to see that no one can control this land. The largeness of land and sky is humbling, putting humankind in  proper perspective.”

page 140:

     “I know that Thomas Jefferson, who first read Plato’s “Republic” in Greek at the age of seventy-one and found it overrated, believed that the independent farmer was a foundation stone of American democracy. But, knowing that the words for liberty and library come from the same Latin root, he also believed that the farmer had to be well read for democracy to work.”

page 153:

     “It’s a dangerous place, this vast ocean of praire. Something happens to us here.”

page 155:

     “The midwestern landscape is abstract, and our response to the geology of the region might be similar to our response to the contemporary walls of paint in museums. We are forced to live in our eye.” – Michael Martone

page 157:

     “Maybe seeing the Plains is like seeing an icon: what seems stern and almost empty is merely open, a door into some simple and holy state.”

page 159:

     “There is the Zen of it: “When you come to a place where you have to go left or right, ” says Sister Ruth, “go straight ahead.””

page 168:

     “If this process of leveling down, of making everybody alike… is allowed to continue, America is doomed to become the most impoverished land spiritually on the face of the earth; out of our highly praised melting pot will come a dull… smug complacency, barren of all creative thought… Soon we will have reached the perfect democracy of barrenness… Dead will be the hidden life of the heart which is nourished by tradition, the idioms of language, and our attitude to life. It is out of these elements that character grows.” – Ole Rolvaag Giants of the Earth

     “If we’re to accomplish anything worthwhile, we must do it as Norwegians. Otherwise we may meet the same fate as corn in too strong a sun.” – Ole Rolvaag

page 170:

     “Ghosts don’t exist in some cultures.” – Martin Broken Leg

     “They think time exists.” – Martin Broken Leg

page 171:

     “I said that telling a poet not to look for connections is like telling a farmer not to look at the rain gauge after a storm.”

page 173:

     Bible: Isaiah: “All flesh is grass.”

page 182:

     “I recall a saying of the desert monks: If a man settles in a certain place and does not bring forth the fruit of that place, the place itself casts him out.”

page 190:

     “I was reading one of the old ones who said, “One who keeps death before his eyes conquers despair.” The little girl calls me, holding up her paper for me to read:

When my third snail died, I said,

‘I’m through with snails,’

But I didn’t mean it.”

page 193:

     “A Newsweek reporter captured the essence of the communities…

     “…Some are sophisticated and scholarly, others are earthy and well-balanced, a few are simply God’s fools.” “

page 197:

     “True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person.”

page 207:

     “At another, when I remarked that my stereotypes had been shattered, expecting monks would hate women, a monk replied, “You came at the right time. We had one like that, but he died.””

page 210-211:

     “She said, speaking of the relationship between Benedictines and the Vatican, “We’re a very decentralized order, and the popes don’t like that, because when they want to tell us what to do, they can’t find us.””

page 211-212:

     “All monasteries have their characters, and in taking to heart Benedict’s admonishment to “support with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses in body or behavior,” monks often sense that their homes are the last refuge of the eccentric.”

page 212:

     “Of course our laughter came, as all true humor does, from a displacement of context.”

page 213:

     “The point is not to avoid having fun but to keep in balance one’s need for food, work, prayer, rest, and play. Moderation is essential, for, in the words of Amma Syncletica, a fourth-century desert nun, “lack of proportion always corrupts.””

page 214:

     “Like country folk everywhere, monks develop an ability to party simply but well.”

page 215:

     “What sets monks apart from the rest of us is not an overbearing piety but a contemplative sense of fun.”

page 220:

     “Unable to sleep, I’ve been reading the words of a modern monk: “You have only to let the place happen to you… the loneliness, the silence, the poverty, the futility, indeed the stillness of your life.””


Council For Secular Humanism

http://www.secularhumanism.org/

I’m a current subscriber to Free Inquiry