Something I made to amuse myself while everybody else was watching the football this evening.
Stephen Fry at the 2014 Hay Festival, speaking about Shakespeare’s sexuality, sonnets and the disputed authorship of his works.
TED : http://on.ted.com/g0Ghi
Amazing GIF image created using images from a scanning electron microscope:
As the incredibly powerful microscope zooms in, it goes from showing an amphipod (a type of shell-less crustacean), to a diatom (a type of algae) that’s on the amphipod, to a microscopic bacterium that’s on the diatom that’s on the amphipod. It’s life, on life, on life:
The GIF was created by James Tyrwhitt-Drake back in 2012, when he captured the images at the University of Victoria’s Advanced Microscopy Facility and posted the final product to his Tumblog, Infinity Imagined.
Psyblog reports on an interesting study that suggests that non-directive meditation has more beneficial effects than focused meditation.
All the different types of meditation can be split into two main types:
In non-directive types of meditation, people focus on their breathing or a sound, but also allow their mind to wander where it will.
In concentrative types of meditation, people try to focus closely on their breath, or something else, in order to suppress other thoughts and feelings they experience.
“The study indicates that nondirective meditation allows for more room to process memories and emotions than during concentrated meditation.”
“This area of the brain has its highest activity when we rest.
“…types of meditation that allow spontaneous thoughts, images, sensations, memories, and emotions to emerge and pass freely without actively controlling or pursuing them, over time may reduce stress by increasing awareness and acceptance of emotionally charged experiences.
“…mind wandering and activation of the default mode network in general may serve introspective and adaptive functions beyond rumination and daydreaming.
Potentially useful functions would include mental simulations, using autobiographical memory retrieval to envision the future and conceiving the perspective of others.” (Xu et al., 2014).
…The situationists’ desire to become psychogeographers, with an understanding of the ‘precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals’, was intended to cultivate an awareness of the ways in which everyday life is presently conditioned and controlled, the ways in which this manipulation can be exposed and subverted, and the possibilities for chosen forms of constructed situations in the post-spectacular world. Only an awareness of the influences of the existing environment can encourage the critique of the present conditions of daily life, and yet it is precisely this concern with the environment which we live which is ignored.
I live here in a village house without
all that racket horses and carts stir up,
and you wonder how that could ever be.
Wherever the mind dwells apart is itself
a distant place. Picking chrysanthemums
at my east fence, I see South Mountain
far off: air lovely at dusk, birds in flight
returning home. All this means something,
something absolute: whenever I start
to explain it, I forget words altogether.
No. 5 from Drinking Wine; T’ao Ch’ien (365-427 CE)
Translation: David Hinton
‘Untitled (Solar Set)’, Joseph Cornell, 1958.
Kaku tells a good story.
A young Alan Watts.
The temperament to which Art appeals … is the temperament of receptivity. That is all.
If a man approaches a work of art with any desire to exercise authority over it and the artist, he approaches it in such a spirit that he cannot receive any artistic impression from it at all. The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art. The spectator is to be receptive. He is to be the violin on which the master is to play. And the more completely he can suppress his own silly views, his own foolish prejudices, his own absurd ideas of what Art should be, or should not be, the more likely he is to understand and appreciate the work of art in question.
Oscar Wilde, via BrainPickings.
AIR AND LIGHT AND TIME AND SPACE
”– you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems
It’s an old tradition in the West among great poets that poetry is rarely thought of as ‘just poetry.’ Real poetry practitioners are practitioners of mind awareness, or practitioners of reality, expressing their fascination with a phenomenal universe and trying to penetrate to the heart of it. Poetics isn’t mere picturesque dilettantism or egotistical expressionism for craven motives grasping for sensation and flattery. Classical poetry is a ‘process,’ or experiment—a probe into the nature of reality and the nature of the mind …
Real poetry isn’t consciously composed as ‘poetry,’ as if one sat down to compose a poem or a novel for publication. Some people do work that way: artists whose motivations are less interesting than those of Shakespeare, Dante, Rimbaud, and Gertrude Stein, or of certain surrealist verbal alchemists—or of the elders Pound and William Carlos Williams, or, specifically in our own time, of William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. For most of ‘The Moderns,’ as with the Imagists of the twenties and thirties in our [last] century, the motive has been purification of mind and speech.
—Allen Ginsberg, from ‘Meditation and Poetics’, in Going on Faith: Writing as a Spiritual Quest, edited by William Zinser (Marlowe & Co., 1999).