Saturday, 27 August 2016

Art 21: Spawn | drawing

Thought 181: Intellect is not Intelligence

It amuses me how the media portrays Stephen Hawking as being one of the most intelligent people on the planet. 

They fail to see that intellect alone, however great, is not the same as intelligence which includes creative aptitudes as well as logical faculties. 

And even intelligence is still not the same as being enlightened, even though a modicum of intelligence is arguably a necessary psychological component for enlightenment to manifest.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Art 20: Owl and Pussycat | drawing

Romantic drawing done for a girl named Waida in 2005.

Thought 180: Rewards for Psychos, No Rewards for Empaths

Monetary mainstream society rewards those with psychopathic tendencies, be it in law, business, finance, politics, academia or entertainment. 

Being empathetic is never financially rewarding. Money is the devil's currency that ensnares people to living in contradiction with moral law and their own (and others') human selves.

By contrast to money, attention and time are God's currencies. Unlike money, these currencies give rise to care, for oneself and for others (see Meaning of Enlightenment). 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Art 19: Hathor | drawing

Drawing of Egyptian goddess Hathor, done in 2005. 

Thought 179: Empathy and Intelligence

Empathy takes intelligence and a good heart which many, if not most, do not have. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Thought 178: Healing Power of Jazz Music

No matter how dire the world seems to get, whenever I listen to jazz music everything seems to be in order. Such is the power of improvised harmony. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Thought 177: Note on The Shining

Kubrick's The Shining is a much analysed film - from both an academic and an esoteric viewpoint - and I can't do all its suggestive intricacies justice in a short blog post. For that the documentary film Room 237 is a most worthwhile watch.

That said, I think it can be safely extrapolated from the film that the haunted hotel is nothing other than an allegory for the United States of America, built as it is on Native American burial grounds and itself reap with Native American decorations as evidenced throughout the feature. 

The USA strike me as a relatively uprooted nation which was built on land that was ancestral to an indigenous people and has made full of adoption of the technological and ahistorical way of life. 

There are elements of the film that make covert commentary on the history of the United States, such as the Gold Room scene where the bartender refuses Jack Torrance's cash as it is not backed by the gold standard - an important moment in American political history - or even the alleged debunking of the moon landings in terms of Danny's Apollo 11 sweater and the room he is supposed to avoid. 

Is modern day America haunted? I would argue that David Lynch is the great film-making genius of capturing the phoney unreality that lurks under the airbrushed façade of mainstream American culture. What Lies Beneath, the title of a nineties horror flick starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, is the perennial question to be asked concerning the so-called 'Leader of the Free World'. 

Indeed, what lies beneath Hillary Clinton's icy smile and Donald Trump's skin tone? An enlightened land full of morality and justice or a darkened dystopia full of lasciviousness and violence?

Monday, 22 August 2016

Thought 176: The Beatles: What's in a Name?

The Beatles band name was originally spelt the Beatals. 

The Beat-les is a great name for a Rock band because it has the word 'beat' in it, as in rhythm, as well as in the sense of defeating the competition in the music trade: Beat-All.

And of course the beetle is a ubiquitous black insect which fits in well with the black tie outfits worn by the band members early on. 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Art 18: Shiho | drawing

Thought 175: Artistic Statement

As philosopher Martin Heidegger points out in one of his many lecture courses, there is something so immediate and easy about applying the word 'expression' to artistic accomplishments and activities and yet it could be argued to be a hollow descriptor. 

Indeed, expression could be said not just of art, but of someone cursing, of a dog barking, of a child laughing, of a politician talking and so on. It doesn't really capture something essential and specific to artistic creation. 

Of course I'm the first to admit that it is a handy word that captures a basic idea of pressing something outward from within and I suppose artistic creation does involve an element of that. 

However if I were to choose a word that captured the intent and venture of artistic doings it would be the word statement, understood not just politically or verbally, but as a usually autocratic assertion of a quantum of energy and life force that occasionally transcends the destructive element of the creative deed. 

Be it a piece of music, of architecture, a movie, a piece of visual art, a comic strip, a poem, a piece of literature, even a video game, all communicate a ready formed état de faits, that is, a statement occurring within the world that can take on a life outside and beyond the creator's inner life at the moment of inception and completion. 

I would argue further that the more successful an artistic creation, the more it transcends the individual creator and reaches the imagination and sensibility of the spectator or listener, giving him a moment of self-release, of losing him or herself in the (hopefully) open-ended statement that has been made by the artist, perhaps in a fleeting perception that all things are connected and our lives, however disparate, are interlocked and intertwined as members of the human species. 

Artistic expression or, as I prefer, artistic statement would thus contain in the best of cases an element of expanding consciousness, which is none other than the force of love as opposed to fear (which in opposition to love is the force that shuts consciousness down). 

Great artists could therefore be argued to be light workers in the sense of bringing illumination to the darkened minds of individuals trapped in conventional ways of thinking. It was indeed Heidegger who defined art's task as setting truth to work, truth being understood widely as that which is, Being itself. 

To be sure, not all art is light work expanding consciousness and sometimes art can be used to darken minds and contribute to the obscurantism, i.e. the general state of unenlightenment, of the world. Thus, artistic statement can be employed both to reveal or to conceal; in the first case the statement smacks of magic which influences change to occur with higher will (natural law) and in the second of sorcery which influences change to occur with selfish will (ego).  

As students of the occult will know, symbolic knowledge can be used for good in the sense of expanding people's consciousness in which case it is light occultism or, on the other hand, can be used to manipulate and control others in which case it is dark occultism. 

This is all very Star Wars I'll admit but the dark and light sides of the force exist here on earth for those who have understood the allegory of those movies allegedly set in a galaxy far, far away. Art does not escape this duality in nature and can partake of one or the other or even both sides of the force depending on whether it springs from the polarity of love or the polarity of fear. 

So, to conclude, even though art may initially be a form of expression for creators, it is ultimately the statement it represents in the world that determines its position regarding the love-fear polarity, the light or the dark side of the force, the illumination or the darkening of men's minds. 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Thought 174: Enthusiastic Amateur

The word amateur is regularly used disparagingly of individuals who are less proficient in a given art form, ignoring the fact that we all start out as amateurs in whatever walk of life we choose to get involved in. 

But the word amateur does not, etymologically, mean a noob for the Latin root of the word, amo, means to love. If you're an amateur in a given trade you are, linguistically speaking, a lover of that trade (but presumably not professional and disabused enough). 

I should know. I'm an amateur pianist, an amateur poet, an amateur drawer, an amateur philosopher but I feel no less worthy for all that. In fact I prefer the word enthusiast to the word amateur because it captures the original sense of the word amateur (which derives from the Latin amo, to love) without the negative connotations. 

In short: enthusiasts of the world unite!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Thought 173: Relaxation as Remedy, Means and Goal

If neurosis is the enemy, as I've written below, relaxation is the remedy. It is both the means to overcome neurosis and the goal in the sense that the best results in any activity, creative or mundane, are achieved whilst being relaxed. 

In other words, making effort is a good start but if you manage to combine effort with being relaxed you're on to a winning ticket in so far as execution and performance are concerned. 

Of course, in order to be relaxed you need to first fully accept yourself for who and what you are, in both your strengths and weaknesses.

And accepting oneself requires, to a degree, knowing oneself.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Thought 172: Time to Conclude: Neurosis as Number One Enemy

I will repeat myself because this is the one insight I think this entire blog - which covers all my work as a thinker and artist, introspectively and creatively - has been building up to. 

The number one enemy of humanity is neurosis.

After a decade and a half of plumbing the depths, of studying myself and others, of looking into the darkest corners of human existence, of undergoing my own mental health problems, of testing society's and my own personal limits, the statement above is the conclusion I have reached concerning the human condition. Mental and emotional well-being should be the number one priority of every living man and woman. 

For the record I use the word neurosis in the broadest possible way as including all forms of anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt, self-loathing, delusion, superstition, tension, obsession, envy, control freakery, hang up, awkwardness, trauma, mania, bigotry, hatred, rage, depression, suicidality, loneliness, resentment, lethargy and addiction (which is often symptomatic of neurosis). 

Now, being (largely) free of neurosis may not be the purpose or even the meaning of life but it is the sine qua non for the emergence of mental appeasement and the ability to engage in magic, that is to say, the art and science of influencing change to occur in accordance with (higher) Will (i.e. Natural Law) which is the only counterbalance to the use and abuse of sorcery by the powers that (should not) be, sorcery being the exact opposite of magic, namely the art and science of influencing change to occur with (selfish) will (ego). 

That, if nothing else, is the essence of my contribution to the so-called wisdom of the ages. Become well and as un-neurotic as possible, which is to say as relaxed as possible, by whatever means (intellectual, financial, social, cultural) at your disposal. What worked for me was looking at truth square in the face, making my peace with it, learning how to be relaxed, and moving on from there. Perhaps this is the route to be favoured but I can't claim that what worked for me will work for everyone. Discover your own method of getting well (method coming from the Greek for '(along) with the path, the way' - μετὰ όδός) and you will appreciate what I'm saying.

It could be surmised from what I've just argued that serenity and relaxation are directly proportional to one's level of enlightenment and it may be that the one true purpose of enlightenment is the attainment of what is commonly known as peace of mind. Without peace of mind little to nothing of value can be accomplished and made to manifest in the human spiritual world. 

On that note, to use a French expression, avis aux amateurs! (send out to the fans!)

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Thought 171: Life's a...

bitch... errrr typo... people are bitches.

Thought 170: Having Children

The thought of having children weirds me out but nice picture anyhow.

Thought 169: Time Well Spent

Time creating is time well spent. 

Thought 168: My Top Ten Piano Composers and Why Chopin is Last on the List

Piano music, be it classical, jazz or pop is one of my life's great loves. However Chopin's piano music does very little for me, even though I acknowledge that it is beautifully crafted and the love affair of many talented pianists. 

I can't entirely put my finger on why his music largely leaves me cold but, for want of a better way of putting it, I'd say it lacks a certain tonic crudeness that I love to hear in the compositions of a Bach, a Haydn, a Mozart, even a Schumann.

Music is about energy and I for one tend to derive more energy from works of the baroque and classical periods than the romantic and contemporary periods much as I adore some pieces from these last two artistic developments in classical piano.

I would rank my top ten (classical) piano/keyboard composers as follows:
  1. J.S. Bach: I simply have derived so much energy, inspiration and cheerfulness from so many of his pieces that this is a no brainer.
  2. Haydn: Haydn's piano sonatas have a purity, a playfulness, a clarity that I find more appealing somehow to Mozart's or even Beethoven's, which carry some of their characteristics. 
  3. Beethoven: Beethoven's early piano sonatas are what I like to call "Haydn on steroids". My favourite Beethoven sonata is the Pastorale (op.28). I also like Sonata no.24 Für Therese and the all famous Pathétique, especially the first and last movement. I also love the middle movement of the Moonlight. However there is plenty in the Beethoven piano sonata corpus that I find inordinately dull. I only like one of his Bagatelles, the B Minor one.
  4. Mozart: I like the early Mozart piano sonatas for their cheer and classical purity but, as I said, I take more to Haydn's classical period sonatas than Mozart's. I do have a weak spot for some of Mozart's more famous (and ever so slightly cheesy) sonatas as well.
  5. Schumann: Schumann produced an inordinate amount of bland piano noise but occasionally generated true gems such as the first Fantasie stücke Des Abends as well as a very invigorating piano sonata (his first). And of course I'm rather fond of Arabeske and the first four pieces of his Symphonic Studies suite.
  6. Mendelssohn: Mendelssohn gains a place on this list by the sheer beauty of the first Song without words (which I intend to learn) and I also love the Midsummer Night's Dream Wedding March, a piano solo transcription of which I happen to have in my collection of tunes to learn
  7. Schubert: I don't care much for Schubert's piano sonatas (apart from the pearls that are the A minor one, no.16, and the B flat one, no.21) as I find that he constantly repeats chords making them beyond dull in some cases. But I love a couple of his impromptus (the second one from the first series and the first one from the second series) so he's earned a place on this list.
  8. Berg: like Mendelssohn this is on the strength of a single piece, namely Sonata Op.1
  9. Liszt: I love his first piano concerto perhaps second only to Bach's first keyboard concerto and the Sonata in B Minor contains some exquisite moments. I also enjoy his transcriptions of Beethoven symphonies, as I've heard them played by Glenn Gould. 
  10. Chopin: Chopin is last on this list but I do have time for some of his Etudes as well as his first Polonaise. His first Ballade also contains an amazing passage even though I don't take to it that much in its totality. Most of the Nocturnes are also delightful and I for one prefer intimate Chopin to virtuoso Chopin. I find that I have long overdosed on the Preludes and never much liked them to start with. 
Addendum - Having recently discovered the sonatas of Scarlatti and some keyboard pieces by Handel I would have to add those composers right after Haydn, thus demoting Liszt and Chopin at the bottom to 11th and 12th place respectively.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Thought 167: Intelligence and Neurosis

Intelligence as a conductor for neurosis? 

Thought 166: The Enemy is Neurosis

Having long thought about it, I'd say everyone's number one enemy should be neurosis. I know it is mine.

Thought 165: Social Media and Mental Health

I can imagine social media being bad for people with low self-esteem and who are vulnerable to political toxicity. 

Thought 164: Pointlessness of Voting

I don't vote because someone always gets voted in.

Thought 163: Political Views

Political views = neurotic views

Thought 162: Brown Fingers

If it's true that everything politics touches turns to shit, then politicians must by definition have brown fingers. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Thought 161: Internet Spying

Person: did you know that your blogger account is being spied on?
Me: Please, that's so 2013...

Friday, 5 August 2016

Thought 160: Classic Composers: The Short View


was a musical prodigy, and

a passionate genius, with

as their creative father, then

was a god of composition. 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Thought 159: Piece of Satan

I've never been turned on by smartphones until today, having received a brand new iPhone 5s. It genuinely makes me feel like I've got a pocket-able piece of Satan at my disposal. 

Let me use this space to thank the exploited wage slaves in China who manufactured it and the exploited corporate slaves of California whose brainchild it is. 

Let me also thank Mother Nature for offering her resources to the self-indulgence of a consuming prostitute like myself, contributing to his own technological enslavement, thumb print and all. 

P.S. Did I mention that I love it?

Addendum - The 'piece of Satan' joke is more apposite than I originally thought given the logo of Apple.

This is an apple outline that has been partially eaten, just like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. And who is it that tempted Eve to take a bite out of the apple that sprang from the Tree of Knowledge? 

Beelzebub himself!

Thought 158: Choice and Outcome

There is said to be a universal paradox in the shape of being free in one's choices but never free when it comes to the consequences of those choices. The reasoning has it that a good choice will have good effects and a bad choice will create bad consequences. 

Yet bad consequences may follow from a choice that was a good one to start with - such as dropping out of university leading to more free time and better mental health - and what is more precious than well-being? - but with the result of monetary troubles rearing their head years down the line due to a lack of qualifications. 

Alternatively, as the author of points out in one of his comic strips, you may have made a choice to bet on the most likely eventuality - thus, an objectively rational, good choice - yet the outcome, by an unlucky roll of the die, fell against that outcome taking place and thus harmed your interests.

To take the same university example, someone may have decided to complete a course and not drop out and get indebted and mentally unhappy as a result with the hope of getting a career out of it - because that is theoretically a more likely eventuality if you have a degree qualification - only for that prediction and ambition to fall through at some later stage due to fierce competition and labour market scarcity.

This pinpoints the role of luck in the positive or negative outcomes of choices that were good ones at the time of decision-making but potentially turned out to be rife with bad consequences at a later stage due to the role played by factors outside one's control which were initially unforeseen or unknown. 

As a rule, speaking from my own personal preference, I am loath to sacrifice present well-being for a reward in a future that exists only as prediction and in the imagination. Nonetheless I consider present well-being as including restraint from instant gratification, because self-control is immediately rewarding. This choice of mine may yet still prove to be my undoing, however, due to externalities outside my control, including the role of mass perception. 

Ultimately, however,
"Nobody comes out of here alive"
and that is a consoling thought when caught in the fatalistic nexus of choices and their consequences. 

Thought 157: The Other WTC

When I see mentions of WTC by political activists I immediately think of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier rather than world trade centre buildings that fell into a million pieces.

I must have a classical music bias against world events. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Thought 156: Re-pe-ti-ti-ve

It just occurred to me that the word repetitive is onomatopoeic: re-pe-ti-ti-ve.