Friday, August 31, 2007

Where is the Wisdom


T. S. Eliot on Wisdom lost

Where is the wisdom

we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge

we have lost in information?

- Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965), poet, dramatist and literary critic

"La injusticia me hace hervir
la sangre"

- Fernando Botero, Colombian painter and sculptor

Dam ist der Name der ersten und bekanntesten Rap-Band Palästinas. Auf Arabisch steht das Wort für "ewig", im Hebräischen für "Blut". Seit 1998 rappen Tamer Nafar, sein Bruder Suhell und ihr gemeinsamer Freund Mahmoud Jrere aus der palästinensischen Siedlung Lod in Israel gegen den Frust über die Situation des palästinensischen Volkes und für ein größeres Bewusstsein für dessen Schicksal.

Palestinian rap group DAM (Da Arab MC's) created this Hebrew music video about the struggle of Palestinians in Israel. Living in Lod, a town between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, they are Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, so-called "Israeli Arabs".
DAM's music is a unique fusion of East and West, combining Arabic percussion rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies and urban Hip Hop.


[See also: Uncensored Testimony]


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hermann Hesse on Learning

CROSS CULTURAL OUTLINE recommends the novels by Hermann Hesse

Lesen ohne Liebe, Wissen ohne Ehrfurcht, Bildung ohne Herz, das sind die schlimmsten Sünden gegen den Geist.

- Hermann Hesse, deutsch-schweizerischer Lyriker, Essayist, Erzähler und Kritiker (1877-1962)

Reading without love, knowledge without tribute, education without heart, those are the worst sins against the mind.

- Hermann Hesse, German-Swiss poet, essayist, novelist and critic

(Translation by Ana Elsner)

Published in many languages, Hesse is best known for his works:

Siddhartha, an allegorical novel about the search for enlightenment, first published in 1922,

Steppenwolf, a demonstration of the duality of human nature, pub. 1928,

and The Glass Bead Game (Das Glasperlenspiel), a futuristic novel, describing how people construct, deconstruct, signify, encode and program their perception of reality, pub. 1943.

"The above quote of Hesse reminds me of his novel Unter dem Rad, where the protaganist's spirit is crushed by the rigid educational system of the day.

Hesse's short stories called Märchen deal with the artist's struggle to create great art. They are told in painstakingly beautiful detail and sometimes with humor and irony.

Hesse is one of the greatest psychological novelists since Dostoyevsky. He was a manic-depressive who was not afraid to delve into the depths of his soul. One can clearly see the influence that Jungian psychology had on his work.

In his novel Narcissus and Goldmund, the two protagonists embody the two necessary components of the creative spirit: logic/abstract thought balanced with intuition/emotion. Narcissus, the ascetic monk, is of the Father world coming to terms with the processes of individuation through his intellect. Goldmund, the woodcarving icon artist, is of the Mother world feeling his way through life in the quest for discovering his true Self. This novel is literally steeped in Jungian archetypes and dream symbols on just about every page.

Applying the Riso-Hudson enneagram personality theory, Narcissus represents the five (the Thinker) and Goldmund the four (the Artist) on the scale of personality types. It is no surprise that Hesse, himself, was a four with a five wing."

Vincent Russo, Composer, Orchestrator and Conductor

[Take your own Personality Test]


Monday, August 27, 2007

DAWN by Ana Elsner

Dawn A Poem by Ana Elsner

Suddenly and uninvited Dawn appears

and reaches deep inside of you

piercing your outer shell

of eyelid skin and flesh cushion.


Mercilessly it jolts your mind

out of its cocoon of amniotic Suspension

which transcends all laws, natural and man-made,

out of blissful Disembodiment from self,

out of Fantasy beyond description,

where that palpable state of Omnipotence resides.


Now dreamscapes evaporate under morning sun's invasive glare,

Sleep-drunk torpor gives way to the inevitability of purpose

Synapses twitch into brain-controlled efficiency.


When the bathroom mirror reveals a light crusty stain on your cheek,

the tracks of your tears cast a slip-shadow of remembrance,

as fleeting as the hummingbird darting away,

of that un-chartable nameless territory,

where your subconscious mind is a nightly Explorer,

pouring out and being replenished,

shedding the tears of Pain,

shedding the tears of Ecstasy.


© Ana Elsner

From 'Ciphers Of Uncommon Origin - Poems By Ana Elsner'
(InstaPLANET Press 2007)
Reprinted by permission

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Adjusted Pie Chart

What is a pie chart

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report, nearly one in ten of the nation’s 3,141 counties has a resident population that is made up of more than 50 percent of so-called 'minorities' when sorted by (age,) sex, race and country-of-origin. This demographic brings the total number of minority-turned-majority counties to 303. The most recent counties added to this statistic are Denver County, Colo., and East Baton Rouge Parish, La.

So, now what? Hadn’t the U.S. Homeland Security Department better put up fences around each of these 303 counties in order to control the spread of this 'alarming' trend? (Heaven help us...!)

"Luckily," America's wealth, resources, corporations and polticians are still owned and controlled by 2% of the white male population (hello...!). Imagine what these new upstart majorities would do if they ever took over, a prospect unfathomable to the rich ruling class which considers itself omnipotent and uncontestable.

Flex your political muscle for positive changes in our leadership: VOTEIn some areas, minorities and others who were equally marginalized have gained a foothold in the new political power structure.

While it took hundreds of years before Blacks in America made the slightest political impact, they now have an opportunity to vote into office a candidate from their own ethnic background.
American women finally gained the right to vote in the 1920's. It is only now that they are in a position to support one of their own for president.

The question is, whether or not these formerly unempowered segments of the population will assert themselves at the ballot box in large enough numbers to cut the as yet unbroken chain of white male dominance in the White House.

Some of us dearly hope so, while others don't...


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sit and ponder this

-:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:- -:-

Silent Despair

I Sit and Look Out

I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world,
and upon all oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done;
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children,
dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate;
I see the wife misused by her husband -
I see the treacherous seducer of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love,
attempted to be hid -
I see these sights on the earth;
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny -
I see martyrs and prisoners;
I observe a famine at sea - I observe the sailors
casting lots who shall be kill’d,
to preserve the lives of the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations
cast by arrogant persons upon laborers,
the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
All these -
All the meanness and agony without end,
I, sitting,
look out upon,
see, hear, and am silent.

-Walt Whitman, (1819-1892),
American humanist, poet, journalist, editor, teacher, and clerk at the U.S. Department of the Interior

Visit the world of Ana Elsner, a contemporary poet who was inspired by Walt Whitman


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Have you forgotten yet

Aftermath by Siegfried Sassoon

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon (1886-1967) was a British poet, diarist and author, known for his anti-war verse which resulted from his own experiences while in military service during World War I.

Horrified by the brutal realities of war, Sassoon's writing took a drastic turn away from the romantic sweetness of his early verse. This new stark and unembellished war poetry was intended to disclose the ugly truths of the trenches to an audience that had been seduced by patriotic propaganda.

Graphic descriptions of mangled limbs, rotting corpses, horror, depravity and despair are the trademarks of Sassoon's poems about WWI. These word-paintings are rendered in a rich and compelling language and with the utmost candor.

Siegfried Sassoon Poem
In 'Aftermath' the poet admonishes us, not to be lulled into complacency, to always remember "the slain of the War" and to "stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'"

World War I: Out of the trenchesSadly, since Sassoon's time in WWI many more wars have been unleashed on mankind right up to the current U.S. war with Iraq.

Yes, Siegfried, it did all happen again, is all happening again and will continue to happen again...

[Related: Looking back on World War II ]


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Personality Cult

Stalin personality cult adapted to post-election parody in the US in 2005

This 'Official Inaugural Cover' envelope is an acerbic spoof about the narrow election of Washington State Governor Christine "Chris" Gregoire who won by a mere 133 votes and only after two recounts and several court challenges at that. The Stalin image and quote "It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes" is employed here in a sadonic way as a post-election jab, most likely attributable to her right-wing Republican opponents.Stalin coverThe cancellation stamp spells 'Olympia, USSR' in cyrillic letters with the date mark of 12.01.05, the Russian/European version for January 12, 2005, the day of Gregoire's inauguration. On the postage stamp itself is a montage of Stalin flanked by Lenin and Gregoire with the caption "Democratic People's Republic Of King County" and "All Hail The Selection Of Commissar Gregoire" and with a 'Provisional Postage' value of 37 Kopeks.

Joseph Stalin (Иосиф Сталин), 1878-1953, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee, turned dictator, initiated an unprecedented campaign of lethal propaganda, political repression, persecution and executions which cost the lives of millions of Russians.
Stalin, much like Hitler, created a personality cult around both himself and Vladimir Lenin, who was the first head of Bolshevik Russia.

[Related: 'The Solution' by Bertolt Brecht]


Looking back on 1945 - Memoirs of a US Soldier

...The City Square (in Leipzig) looks a little like the square I was in with the 69th. We were at the near end and a Kraut ran across the far end. We all shot at him, but I don't know whether he got out. It was almost dark.

Some time after that, Dan Carey and I captured one. I just recall Carey talking with the guy in his high school German. The Kraut seemed to be a decent guy so we treated him well.

In Leipzig April 1945

I have a picture of a few guys from our squad sitting on a curb waiting for orders to move out. Carey was the one who liberated a camera and took the photos I have. He had a German print copies for some of us.
He's also the guy who shot his rifle right next to my ear and left me with the ringing I still have after all these years.

Carey really was some piece of cake as was a guy he used to pal around. (I think the guys name was Rowe.) Once they went kind of crazy and went into a German home and ripped it apart for no reason whatsoever. The only German Rowe knew was, "Guten tag. Fraulein. Haben sie Kinda?" (For John: Ich weiss. "Kinda" hat Recht nicht. When he saw a Fraulein, he would ask her that stupid question, looking straight at the woman and rubbing his hands together. (That wasn't in Leipzig.) ...

One other thing I remember in Leipzig was being in a large cellar
with booze all over the place. Don't remember how or why I was in there.

[Military humor: How to prepare for Deployment]


Now as Then - A Message

Bible Quote

In Ephesians 6:12 the Apostle Paul (A.D. 10 - A.D. 67) wrote:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

[See also: Learn From History]


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Engineering Consumerism

The following is a documentary about mastermind Edward Bernays (1891-1995), the grand-daddy of mass manipulation and propaganda. It shows a glaring exposé of his systematic manufacture of a brand new avenue for the benefit of corporate gain by shamelessly exploiting the principles of psychology and behavioral science. (Via Google Video)

Synopsis of Episode

In the 1920s Bernays was hired by the American Tobacco Company to break the existing taboo against women smoking in public. In a bold move he made an announcement to the press that the female women's-rights marchers in the New York City parade would light so-called 'Torches of Freedom'. Then, on his signal, a group of young models, hired for maximum effect, lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers. Predictably, from this moment on, it was considered 'chic' for women to smoke in public which increased cigarette sales exponentially.

Engineering Consent - Bernays postulated: "If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?" He went on to prove his point in the most skillful and amoral of ways.
Not surprisingly, one of his biggest fans was Hitler's propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels.

[Click to see more film footage at AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES]

[Related: The Corporation]


Saturday, August 11, 2007

How to pick and choose


It's that time again in American politics: The candidates are atwitter, the campaigns are abuzz and the debates abound. Even if you are a diligent voter and make an effort to follow all the hype, you will soon find yourself buried under an avalanche of (mis)information.

Who is your candidate for President?

It is a common strategy, employed by campaign managers everywhere, to comingle political issues with popular culture in order to attract even the most a-political of citizens.

Many like to think that our personal lives, our family concerns, our health issues, our financial matters, our social contacts, our recreational activities, our private pursuits, our religious affiliations, our choice of entertainment exist in a separate sphere from our town halls, our state houses, our courts, our Congress and our president.

This widespread misconception is being exploited by skilled campaign strategists who wrap their message inside more popular and innocuous slogans and images so it will penetrate down to "where we live".

The question: - How do we separate fact from fabrication?
The answer: - Focus on the issues that matter to you, and examine each candidate's stand on them.
Here are some examples of what might, or should, be of importance to you, your future and the future of your children and grandchildren:

* Assault Weapons Ban
* Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling
* Iraq War
* US Patriot Act
* Universal Healthcare
* Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change


[Picture THIS]

(Sidebar: 'Democracy' by Leonard Cohen)

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Human Body Plastination - Science or Exploitation

A flayed and plastinated human corpse

Thanks to a technology called plastination, the general public now has a chance to physically view what only doctors and scientists could once see: the very real and intricate architecture of human anatomy and individual organs, unaffected by decomposition.

Actual human bodies are preserved by a process called polymer impregnation,whereby water and lipids in biological tissues are replaced by curable polymers,silicon rubber, epoxy resin or polyester (all commonly known as plastic).

Curing a plastinated body with gas The plastic is initially pliable, enabling the bodies to be placed in different life-like positions.Depending on the plastic used, it can be hardened by heat, light or gas (see image right) so to retain their shape.

It takes from two to six months to transform a cadaver into a full-body plastinate. Organs are identical to their pre-preservation state down to the microscopic level, providing durable specimens invaluable for study and analysis.

Properly plastinated specimens are completely dry and odorless.

Before plastination, the only method for preserving human cadavers was by storing them in formaldehyde.

[Further reading: Body Worlds]


Science or Outrage
The 'Universe Within' is a travelling public exhibit of plastinated human bodies that has been shown in Europe, the US and Japan, presented by the Chinese Society for Anatomical Sciences and the Museum of Life Sciences in Beijing.

It is allegedly supported by Beijing University and the University of Vienna.

The human bodies in this display were said to have been donated to the Museum. Nobody knows who they are.

Posing a human cadaver for public exhibition
The assertion by the exhibitor is that these corpses were unclaimed and unidentified at the time of death. Non of these claims can be verified.

One may question whether the cadavers had been properly obtained in a nation where individual rights are not always respected.

With ticket prices ranging from $15 to $20, with a discount for children (!!!), to view the preserved remains of real people, this exhibit of flayed and dissected human corpses artfully exploits the technique of plastination:

One male body stands holding his entire skin draped over a hanger like a coat, his mustache and beard still on the flayed face.

Another, muscles exposed, is poised to throw a baseball.

Down the hall, a man sliced down the middle, so that his internal organs will be displayed, is in an odd minuet with himself, one half reaching out to the other.

What was once a 5-foot-10-inch woman is cut in pork-chop-thick wafers from skull to toes and stretched out to 20 feet in what is essentially a CAT scan made real.

This exhibit and others like it, where bodies of dubious provenance are used for commercial exploitation purposes, have met with huge regional and international outcries of protest on moral and ethical grounds.

[See also: Gunther von Hagens' website with online store]


Inadvertent Discrimination


"Most people, no doubt, when they espouse human rights,

make their own mental reservations

about the proper application

of the word 'human',"

Lafollette, Suzanne (1893-1983), American Journalist


Get a grip on Time

CROSS CULTURAL OUTLINE is on all continents and in all timezones
Clockface hip-hops away the hours, dancing to the rhythm of day and night.

He skips and jumps from continent to continent, humming a different tune, telling a different time. To pin him down on his journey around the globe there is a handy device, the Time Zone Converter.

Say, you're in New York and want to know what time it is in Tokyo, click here.

For an overview of local time in major cities and countries around the world at any given moment, consult The World Clock and...

... Get a grip on Time!


Thursday, August 9, 2007

MOKU - The New Haiku by Ana Elsner

Moku stands for "modified haiku" and was established by contemporary poet Ana Elsner. It has three lines, the same as haiku, but allows for more syllables per line. Ana Elsner's moku present rich and condensed imagery, illuminating moments in everyday life or interpreting existing conditions or human nature at large, - Commentator

Window Number Nine

screeching siren ambulance

rents in half congested one way street

trailer of uncertain fate

© Ana Elsner

Ana Elsner's website
to see her biography, read her poems and watch video clips of her readings.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New Window

! Operating System Alert !
Use caution when editing your Life Template
Warning: Do you want to navigate away from this page?
Your edits have not been saved.
You have not been saved.

- - -

[See also: The Baptists]



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