Filed under: chronotopes, departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: demonstrations, John Berger, revolution, spectacle
What good is it to speak out, much less demonstrate: things won’t change, the world is too big and the issues too complicated. Underlying this common argument is rank conservatism masquerading as enlightened rationalism and common sense. You have to plan and speak if you want change.
Demonstrations are rehearsals for eventual revolution; if the element of rehearsal is missing, it’s probably not a real revolution but merely a spectacle. Think, act, speak, live.
The truth is that mass demonstrations are rehearsals for revolution: not strategic or even tactical ones, but rehearsals of revolutionary awareness. The delay between the rehearsals and the real performance may be very long: their quality – the intensity of rehearsed awareness – may, on different occasions, vary considerably: but any demonstration which lacks this element of rehearsal is better described as an officially encouraged public spectacle.
A demonstration, however much spontaneity it may contain, is a created event which arbitrarily separates itself from ordinary life. Its value is the result of its artificiality, for therein lies its prophetic, rehearsing possibilities.
A mass demonstration distinguishes itself from other mass crowds because it congregates in public to create its function, instead of forming in response to one: in this, it differs from any assembly of workers within their place of work – even when strike action is involved – or from any crowd of spectators. It is an assembly which challenges what is given by the mere fact of its coming together.
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations, John Berger
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: friendship, fun, networking, reassurance, self knowledge, The Purpose of Friendship
The purposes of friendships are to share interests, to reassure one another, for fun, and for learning about our selves.
But we waste time with proto friends who basically distract from some or all of these purposes.
[4:40] One side affect of getting a bit more precise about what we’re trying to do with our social lives, is that we’re likely to conclude that in many cases we’re spending time with people for no truly identifiable good reason. These proto friends share none of our professional ambitions or interests, they aren’t reassuring and may indeed be secretly really very excited by the possibility of our failure, we can’t be cathartically silly around them, and they aren’t in the least bit interested in furthering our or their path to self knowledge. They are, like so many of the people in our social lives, simply in our orbit as the result of some unhappy accident that we’ve been too sentimental to correct. We should dare to be a little ruthless in this area. Culling acquaintances isn’t a sign that we’ve lost belief in friendship, it’s evidence that we’re starting to get clearer and therefore more demanding about what a friendship could really be. In the best way, the price of knowing what friendship is for may be a few more evenings at home in our own company.
Alain de Botton, The Purpose of Friendship
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: freedom, how to live, ideology, Leaves of Grass, love, poetry, Walt Whitman
Here is an uncorrupted description of the idea of American individualism and freedom, which of course has been so utterly debased to be unrecognizable: randian selfishness, libertarian isolation, war and hate and poverty.
It’s a recipe for a lovely dish. Do these things: love all beings, commune with the marginalized, spurn ideology, read poetry, resist authority; and you will become … a great poem: distilled calm, revealed truth, aspect of beauty, before your tribe, for people to see.
This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
—Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass,” 1855
Filed under: the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: beauty, Diotima, lust, morality
Why Socrates believed that sexual desire is the first step towards righteousness
Can sexual desire lead us to something that transcends the physical act? Socrates seemed to think so. In Plato’s Symposium, Socrates recalls the words of his apparent teacher of erotics, the priestess Diotima of Mantinea, who instructed him that lust was the first rung on a ladder leading upwards towards an appreciation of the form of beauty itself and, further, to morality and virtue.
Script: Nigel Warburton
Animator: Andrew Park
from Aeon magazine
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: Bhangra, Peggy's Cove
Filed under: the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: Alain Daniélou, animals, Gods of Love and Ecstasy, pasha, pashu, Pashupati, pati, Rudra, vegetables
Shiva’s flock is all living beings: gods, animal, human. Each of the three differ by role and level (in a hierarchy) but aspects of each are evident in each of the other two.
Pati are people in which the god element predominates. Pashu are people in which the animal element predominates. Pasha is the bond that connects all living things.
Pasha is the natural divine law to which all other human laws and conventions must bend. All morality hinges on the pasha which is the bond between god, human, animal and vegetable species.
Wherever the Shiva Dionysus cult spread the pasha respect for the animal and vegetable worlds can be seen.
“Rudra lives in forests and jungles. He is called Pashupati, Lord of the wild beasts.” (Shatapatha Brahmana, XII, 7, 3, 20.) Shiva’s flock comprises all living beings, including man. The difference between beasts, men and gods is only one of role and level in a continuous hierarchy. The various aspects of being are present in varying degrees in all forms of existence. No god is without animality, no animal without humanity, no man without a part of divinity. Three components are distinguishable in all men: pati, pashu and pasha. Those in whom the pati (master) element is dominant are the wise, who are close to the gods, understand the rules of divine activity and creation, and take part in it. Men in whom the animal element predominates are called pashu (cattle). The abstract element, pasha (bond or snare), expresses the unity and interdependence off all forms of life. Pasha, the bond is the body of laws connecting the various elements of matter and living being bound up in creation.
There is no morality other than that of respecting the pasha, or bond, meaning the interdependence of the animal world, the divine and ourselves, and of realizing the place we occupy in the overall plan of the divine work, the affinities which bind us to the animal and vegetable species and the responsibilities which are implicated thereby. Pasha may be defined as the natural law, which is divine law. All other moral law is only social convention, which can have no value on a universal level. All true morality must confirm to these basic laws on which creation is founded. Social conventions established by human laws have nothing to do with religion. Wherever the influence of the Shiva-Dionysus cult has spread, great importance is given to the animal and vegetable world. The aspect of religious history seems often to have escaped the modern scholars of the ancient world.
Gods of Love and Esctasy, The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus, Alain Danielou
Filed under: the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: civil rights, human rights, John Trudell, natural rights
Human rights preclude the rights of animals, plants, the earth etc. Civil rights are political and preclude anything that is not a part of that narrow civic definition. Natural rights encompass all of these including the human and civil; but they make the human position smaller and enlarge the rights of the earth.
“We must go beyond the arrogance of human rights. We must go beyond the ignorance of civil rights. We must step into the reality of natural rights because all of the natural world has a right to existence and we are only a small part of it. There can be no trade-off.”
– John Trudell