Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thoughts on Pussy Riot

Some years ago I too had a band and it so happens that I also thought about a thing not very different from what Pussy Riot did although in my case I also wanted to have marijuana instead of incense and some rather provoking nuns dancing around. This may come as a shock to most of my readers, I know, but the idea is that I never went through with the plan, something stopped me and I am glad it did. Why Pussy Riot went on to defile sacred ground is the question. First of all you want to do such a thing mostly because you are a teenage moron that thinks the world is his/her and nothing is sacred, you can also be motivated by a need to promote yourself.

I watched various respected artists trying to be on their side, an attitude which attracted a popular reaction from some of their fans and other people who want to promote themselves on behalf of the two years jail term of the three Russian "teenage rebels". I also want to mention that all these so-called artists which think it's normal to go and mock God (or Putin in the "house of God") have discredited themselves in the face of their religious fans and their atheist fans alike. I'm weird enough to admire their imagination yet we must condemn such acts because the only reason those three girls walked into a church and shouted (sung) anti-Putin phrases (songs?) was because by doing so they would end up on the front page of the newspaper. Well, they became famous, that's for sure... yet nothing in life comes for free and now it's time to pay.

However I would of supported a different kind of protest, like storming into the Israeli Embassy and demanding they stop the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Now that takes guts because you won't see all those "artists" jumping in and being on your side then, nope, most probably you can end up as a terrorist suspect in Guantanamo for the end of your, soon to be, short life. 

In conclusion, my advice is to keep things in perspective, the three Pussy Riot members deserve some time to cool off in a Moscow cell, however the world will not stop here and we should try to create a united front (like that in favor of Pussy Riot) on more important issues.

PS. Now that I think about it... what stopped me from doing a similar mistake was my brain and a good dose of proper education.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Curiosity

Great news for the science community, space enthusiasts and the future of humanity, Curiosity, the latest NASA rover, landed on Mars. Even though gas prices won't change this technological achievement needs to be marked in the calendar, at east till humans actually walk on the red planet. I am following the space developments from all major players in this game, I wish I could say I am amazed with the speed of these developments, the reality is that at least from my perspective we waste great sums of money on military equipment instead of investing in space exploration and innovations. I'm not naive, the main reason science is supported by governments in the first place is because of the potential killing/destroying effectiveness of any scientific development.

August 6, 2012 was the big day when all those who worked and still work on the mission held their breath, constantly checking and analyzing data. Although our achievements pale in comparison to the beauty of the Universe, it was nonetheless a great moment and we should be proud of the great minds that are the fathers and mothers of Curiosity. One could ask what is so extraordinary in sending a rover on Mars, humans did that already. We should know that missions to Mars have a predisposition to go wrong (although things had improved with time), just remember the disaster of Fobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 which were launched at the end of last year but burned up in Earth's atmosphere at the beginning of 2012.

This rover has all the latest technology built in it, the landing mechanism was revolutionary, I mean a sky crane is pure science fiction turned science reality, but that's not all. The sensors and cameras will offer excellent info to both scientists and the general public.

Curiosity is nuclear powered (radioisotope thermoelectric generator) which gives it great autonomy on the dusty Martian surface (previous probes and rovers accumulated dust on the solar panels). It's mass is 899 kg and has 2.9 meters in length while the width is 2.7 and the height 2.2 meters. The maximum speed will be of 90 meters per hour. The on-board computer is also greatly improved from previous missions which means greater processing power and much more and better images, to be expected are also some video footages from Mars, that would be exciting.

MSL official site: http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/

Monday, August 6, 2012

Marjatta Cajan (visual) and Johnny Hollow (audio)

I don't remember how I discovered Johnny Hollow but most probably it was part of my "musical education" back in the days when I composed music on my own. This band is much more than music, it even surpasses all standards of emotion because what you will hear is something totally different. Depending on your own musical preferences you will find "This Hollow World" as either revolutionary, intriguing or weird. The band members are: Janine White (vocalist), Vincent Marcone (digital artist), Kitty Thompson (cellist) and Steve Heihn (guitarist). The song is the fourth track from the 2009 album entitled "Dirty Hands".



Marjatta Cajan is an amazing visual artist from Helsinki, Finland and as you will see, her works are like puzzles, mysteries waiting to be discovered. You are going to enter into a land of secrets and symbols. First and foremost you will sense the strangeness of it, maybe not even understanding what it all means but take some time and go through the ten pictures with great attention to every element. Let the atmosphere overwhelm you and take you into the land of dreams, of endless possibilities, but be careful, the land of dreams also contains nightmares. No doubt you will recognize such things like the fight between good and evil, decline and rebirth, search for wisdom and search for knowledge. "Dove and Raven" and "Light Returns" have the clearest dualism of this set.

"Lilith" most probably is about the first woman, I'll have to explain this one. Some mystics believe that prior to Eve, Lilith was created along with Adam but because they couldn't get along she left and only after that did God create Eve, much more loyal and not as independent. Well, this is what the image made me think at, although to be honest, to achieve a message like this we would also need an Adam drinking his sorrow away in a makeshift bar.

"Privacy", another great image, this time the artist exploring an area of eroticism with great ease and mastery.  "The Chaser" and "Confusion" although different share a feeling of unknowing, in "Confusion" pay attention at the rays of light.

Birds are an often used symbol, most of the time as crows, although as you can also see doves, swans and maybe even seagulls. We should not forget to pay close attention to colors, in fact this is useless to mention because colors clearly play a huge role in each and every image. Marjatta Cajan shows a great ability in combining colors to achieve an optimum effect along with the use of symbols and evidently the underlying themes.

These are my opinions but I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Clerk

The Chaser

Faithful affiliate

Privacy

Confusion

Light returns

After Midnight

Almost Tragic

Dove and Raven

Lilith
Johnny Hollow website: http://www.johnnyhollow.com/
Marjatta Cajan website: http://frama.deviantart.com/

Saturday, August 4, 2012

GILSON, Erinn - Vulnerability, Ignorance and Oppression

It's my honor to present to you this admirable article which digs deep into our muddy minds. After reading it I remained with the impression that the main idea is actually a recommendation to stay true to oneself. Also the fight against ignorance should not be underestimated. We all have vulnerabilities, everything in a constantly changing world has vulnerabilities, otherwise nothing will ever change.

Click here to read the paper

Ignoring our vulnerabilities with the desire to comfort ourselves is a type of ignorance identified by Erinn as being a willful ignorance. I like the fact that she discussed advertisements as working on our perception of vulnerability. This perception isn't the normal, lucid, type of knowing but is the very easily manipulated mentality of vulnerability as something needing to be erased from one's life. She gives the example of anti-aging treatments as silently scratching on our need to be in control. But I was wondering, we have to agree on the role aging plays in our lives, I mean there are numerous reasons to eliminate it while very few in favor of aging, who really wants to experience the breakdown of his/her body with organs ultimately failing one by one. If these treatments do what they say they do, then everything is alright, if not, then we're screwed. I don't really think women buy anti-aging creams just because the advertisement acts on their inherent need to be in control, but just that people want to keep what good they have or simply to gain something good.

Vulnerability also has a more sunny side, as Erinn tells us when talking about falling in love or taking pleasure and finding comfort in the presence of others. However, as life constantly teaches generation after generation, we always screw one another into the grave because we all are vulnerable, sometimes more than other times. I don't know how your society is, but from my experience, the moment someone senses in another a level of vulnerability which he can control, he will inevitably do so if, for him, that leads to something good. The economic crisis was in a way created by men and women who thought like this, who took the will to power like Osama understood Islam.

One of my favorite parts is where the author talked about epistemic vulnerability as leading to the need to learn. In a way we can understand philosophers as possessing a high level of epistemic ignorance awareness. I also strongly support her thoughts that "one must be open to altering not just one's ideas and beliefs but also one's self and sense of one's self". Change is something constant. "The ability to put oneself in and learn from situations in which one is unknowing. Acceptance of the genuine value of discomfort" is something that sounds rather Christian but said more in a Sufi manner, pure wisdom nevertheless.

Her Academia.edu page: Erinn Gilson