Saturday, March 1, 2014

What's the worst that could happen?

St. David's day today. Eat Leeks.
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Ballard Street.Statue of Justice at the Old Bailey.
Another person living on the street is beaten by citizens.
There's a lesson in it: When the state is not unjust ...
... the people are obliged to do injustice with their own hands.
"The brain is important, of course, but it now plays a mere supporting role to a cognitive system that is primarily located in materials entirely outside of the body — books, computers, paintings, digital stores of data and so forth. There are, of course, our capacities for empathy, mind reading and social interaction that no digital computer is ever likely to replace. But I doubt if these today are very different to those of our early human ancestors living several million years ago. Indeed, if anything, I suspect they have deteriorated through lack of use as we have become dependent on material items as the source of social information."

"Indeed, the capacity of modern humans to act without recourse to empathy, mind reading or any other feature of social intelligence is a key defining feature of the modern mind. All too often we have acted as the most socially non-intelligent species on the planet."
Exactly what he means by 'mind reading' is hard to say, but, being a scientist it is probably approximately literal rather than with a side of woo-woo spiritualism.

Paul Gaugin, Where do we come from? What Are We? Where Are We Going? 1897:
Paul Gauguin: Where do we come from? What Are We? Where Are We Going? 1897.
The painting above figures centrally (as it were) in Edward Wilson's ‘The Social Conquest of Earth’ (which contains several footnotes pointing to Steven Mithen). Wilson calls it Gauguin's 'master work' and maybe it is - it is a huge canvas and perhaps cannot be appreciated on the Internet.

Edward Wilson manages to make his science look murky, his athiesm insincere, and his art appreciation superficial - these appearances may lead to unjust conclusions but I have no way of getting through or around them.
Gauguin, 1892: Aha oe feii? / What, are you jealous?Gauguin, 1892: Manao tupapau / The spirit of the dead keeps watch.Gauguin, 1892: Tahitian women bathing.Gauguin, 1892: Te aa no areois / The seed of the areoi.Gauguin, 1893: Ea haere ia oe? / Where are you going.Gauguin, 1897: Nevermore.Gauguin, 1899: Deux Tahitiennes.
I prefer Gaugin's nudes. It's in the expressive eyes. Grant you, a theory I have heard of cognitively links breasts & nipples with eyes. Some little boys just never grow up eh?
Voina/War 2008 Fuck for the heir bear cub.Voina/War 2008 Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.Pussy Riot 2014, photograph by Vanya Berezkin.Pussy Riot 2014, photograph by Vanya Berezkin.Pussy Riot 2014, Maria Alyokhina & Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in NYC 14-02-05.Pussy Riot 2014, Maria Alyokhina & Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in NYC 14-02-05.
The energy of Voina & Pussy Riot describes some kind of arc - U-shaped or -shaped remains to be seen. Madonna (aka Louise Ciccone, born 1958, age 55; 'ciccione in Italian is 'fat person') is neither mentioned nor pictured to avoid the temptation of jumping to conclusions.
Cossack whips Pussy Riot in Sochi.Tom Toles: If you can't beat them, beat them.Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: Anybody can be Pussy Riot.
"Anyone can become a member of Pussy Riot, including any one of you. The only thing you have to do is be passionate about politics, make up a song, record that song, find a place, put on a mask and perform. Anybody can be Pussy Riot." (From Vice News.)

World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland:
Klaus Schwab & George W. Bush 08-05-18.Klaus Schwab & Stephen Harper 12-01-29.
One good thing that can be said about Barack Obama is that he has not had his picture taken with Klaus Schwab (as far as I can determine from the Internet). As for "Committed to improving the state of the world," - except as a play on 'state' it ain't hap'nin'.

"The crux of the matter is not only whether the human species will survive, but even more whether it can survive without falling into a state of worthless existence."
(The last sentence of 'The Limits to Growth', 1972.                                                          
Authors: Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers, William Behrens.
The Club of Rome: Alexander King, Saburo Okita, Aurelio Peccei, Eduard Pestel,
Hugo Thiemann, & Carroll Wilson.)                
Country girl looking straight at you.City girl looking straight at you.
What Steven Mithen says above about the modern mind seems to me to apply more to city than country folk.

There were three jovial Welshmen, as I have heard them say,
And they would go a-hunting upon Saint David's day.

And all the day they hunted, and nothing could they find
But a hedgehog in a bramble-bush, and that they left behind.
The first said it was a hedgehog; the second he said nay;
The third it was a pin-cushion, and the pins stuck in wrong way.

And all the night they hunted, and nothing could they find
But an owl in a holly-tree, and that they left behind.
One said it was an owl; the other he said nay;
The third said 'twas an old man, and his beard growing grey.

(The Nursery Rhyme Book, 1897.)
Which segues (if you permit it) into a few lines of Blake on the flyleaf of Northrop Frye's 'The Double Vision':

William Blake: Ancient.
For double the vision my Eyes do see,
And a double vision is always with me:
With my inward Eye 'tis an old Man grey;
With my outward a Thistle across my way.

In my eyes 'forever' gets shorter & shorter and 'never' gets longer & longer. In the eyes of the world I guess I inhabit a fantasy. Oh well. Sei la!

The truth is simpler: I don't know what to do? Even though I know it can't go on like this for long.

"There won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore."
Momma don' allow no eutrapely 'round here!
Carl Zahradnik: Muselmann.Jan Budding: Muselmann.Carl Zahradnik: Muselmann.
For some (almost certainly unjustified) reason I was offended when I came across a reference to 'Musselmen' early on in Will Self's 'Umbrella'. I skipped around a bit in his book after that - the last dozen pages seem powerful - but I soon put it down and have not picked it up again. I'll take it back to the library and before long it will be forgotten.

 :-)Looked at another way, being transformed to Muselmann could be like ... pneumonia 'the old person's friend' ... and not the worst after all ...

... stay tuned gentle reader, feels like I'm gettin' there.

Yatemim, 2003.Yesterday was Yatemim's birthday.

I sat on the bench smoking, wishing her well.
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