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World Philosophy Day (each year, on the third Thursday of November) proclaimed by !

Article: "Why the name change from 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' in the UK to 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' in the United States?" (, , , , ):

Zen in Kyoto: tomorrow (Nov. 15th), no class at the temple. Next Zen meditation class and Dharma talk in English is on Nov. 16th at 9:00 am ()

Therefore - Scenery: The Oasis, The Twin Pyramids (Work in Progress) / Therefore - Escenario: El Oasis, Las PirΓ‘mides Gemelas (Trabajo en progreso)

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‘The beautyful ones are not yet born’ - by Ayi Kwei Armah (Yes beautiful (in this books title) is spelled that way)

was one of my favorite reads this year. If you enjoy existential ponderings, among many other very relevant topics id suggest grabbing a copy if you can find it.

We have always had a ton of things that our government did not make for us. And artists can continue to think about how we can have [such] things.

-Sharon Louden, in episode 5 of the Magic Praxis podcast. 

This really struck me since this very thing is what I am exploring with regards to public art. Is it possible to make public art – that is good by the standards of public art, so not just aesthetically good or whatever, but also safe and significant for the public – without being commissioned by the government? This all ties to my wider interests/questions about public space, whose is it, who gets to decide what’s in there? And how can we take over it more so that we own it and get to decide what’s in it? 

[From the beginning to the end of his work, and without exception, Roussel’s language has always been double. Only one possibility is excluded: a language without process, rhyme, duplication - cont’d]

1. This double language superimposed on itself recalls:

The counterpoint that is constant in Locus Solus, which is heard beneath the visible discourse of the dead, Canterel’s low voice explaining in prose

  • what poetic repetition is being accomplished on the other side of the glass pane
  • what rhyme is made to echo between life and death.

– Michel Foucault, Death and the Labyrinth: the World of Raymond Roussel (Chapter 6: The Surface of Things), Translated from French by Charles Ruas, 1963

Who said you’re supposed to survive?

Who gave you the idea that it’s a gas to go on and on and on? And we can’t say that it’s a good thing for everything to go on living.

In very simple demonstration that if we enable everybody to go on living, we overcrowd ourselves and we’re like an unpruned tree.

And, so therefore, one person who dies in a way is honorable because he’s making room for others…

Although each one of us, individually, will naturally appreciate it when anybody saves our life, if we apply that case all around we can see that it’s not workable.

We can also look further into and see that if our death could be indefinitely postponed, we would not actually go on postponing it indefinitely because after a certain point we would realize that isn’t the way in which we wanted to survive.

Why else would we have children? Because children arrange for us to survive in another way by, as it were, passing on a torch so that you don’t have to carry it all the time.

There comes a point where you can give it up and say, ‘now you work’.

It’s a far more amusing arrangement for nature to continue the process of life through different individuals then it is always with the same individual, because as each new individual approaches life is renewed.

And one remembers how fascinating the most ordinary everyday things are to a child, because they see them all as marvelous – because they see them all in a way that is not related to survival and profit.

When we get to thinking of everything in terms of survival and profit value, as we do, then the shapes of scratches on the floor cease to have magic.

And most things, in fact, cease to have magic. So therefore, in the course of nature, once we have ceased to see magic in the world anymore, were no longer fulfilling nature’s game being aware of it.

There’s no point in it any longer. And so we die. And, so something else comes to birth, which gets an entirely new view. And so nature’s self-awareness is a game worth the candle.

It is not, therefore, natural for us to wish to prolong life indefinitely. But we live in a culture where it has been rubbed into us in every conceivable way that to die is a terrible thing. And that is a tremendous disease from which our culture, in particular, suffers.

Alan Watts

“Science is more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility.

If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then, we are up for grabs for the next charlatan (political or religious) who comes rambling along.”

Carl Sagan

I am Martin Luther, nailing my 95 Theses to the church door

I have a weird relationship with Christianity.  I was raised Southern Baptist, and while I do believe in God, I reject organized religion.  The modern church is evil, it is a political machine that pushes itself on everyone in ways that no other religion does; modern church leaders push a story of hate and vindictiveness that goes against everything Jesus spoke about.  The Bible as it exists today was written by fallible humans and re-translated over the years to fit the narrative of whatever group happened to be in power at the time.  I do not believe for one second that it is a definitive and wholly accurate history book; I take my Christianity with a nice hint of Jewish skepticism (not skepticism that Jewish people exist, I mean that Judaism has a healthy bit of skepticism built in, and I respect that).  I used to reject Christianity as a whole because of all the evil things people do in the name of Christ, but I realized that that’s not on Christ, that’s on the people.  I’m not gonna let asshole Christians give the whole religion a bad name, even if the assholes are the ones calling all the shots.  My job is just to be better than the assholes.

I am a follower of Christ, in that I live by Christ’s teachings, which can be summed up in one sentence; “don’t be a jerk.”  Short and simple.  Be good, treat others the way you want to be treated, love everyone, don’t be an asshole. The modern church says “if you’re not one of us, God hates you and you’re going to hell.”  God doesn’t hate anyone.  God cannot hate anyone or anything because He is love.  (Side note: God also can’t create a rock so big that even He couldn’t lift it. That’s not a paradox, that’s just a dumb logic puzzle philosophers liked to debate about for no good reason)  That’s not to say that God approves of everything everyone does everyday, but He didn’t create us so He could punish us.

The American church takes its moral philosophy from Calvinism, meaning that it believes everything is predestined, that God has given us specific paths to go down, that everything we do was always supposed to be done, and that we can’t change that.  Calvinists believe that God has his few chosen people, and everyone else is destined to go to hell.  For this reason, I am a staunch anti-Calvinist, I do not subscribe to that hot nonsense at all.  We have free will, we can do whatever we want, God didn’t say “I’m gonna make some humans now; these ones are cool, those ones over there are not,” He doesn’t play favorites like that.  If God is good, then why would He create people just to damn them from the start?  It doesn’t make sense.  And even the concept of eternal damnation is harsh; I happen to believe that damnation, if it exists, could only be temporary.  That’s not to say that everyone gets a pass, that the worst of humanity gets a free ticket to heaven on a technicality, just that God is forgiving and people are inherently flawed because we live in a flawed civilization; nobody is born evil.  Those that choose to do evil things will get what’s coming to them, I just don’t think infinite suffering a fair punishment for finite aggression.

I used to describe myself as a Deist; I believed that God and set the ball rolling, but has been playing hands off ever since.  I no longer believe that; I think God does interact in our lives in different ways.  That said, as a man of science, I have no way of reconciling that belief with observable facts of reality.  I have faith, but that’s not proof of anything, so I don’t try and shove my ideology down other people’s throats.  I know the universe was created 14 billion years ago, and that life on Earth has evolved over the eons to fill the various environmental niches.  Those can be proven, those things are observable and justifiable, while my belief in God is inherently subjective.  I have my reasons for believing, and I am unwavering in them, but I can’t possibly expect someone else to take my word for it that I have experienced legitimate proof.  If I can’t show it to them, they have no reason to trust me.  I don’t proselytize or evangelize, I don’t try to convert other people or talk down to them in a holier-than-thou manner.  I believe what I believe, and if asked I will defend my position.  The only message I push on people is a message we all should have learned as children;

Vaya con Dios; Go with God.  Don’t be a jerk.


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