Sunday, December 31, 2006
People become violent or wicked as a result of circumstance. Democratic values would, as far as I can interpret, say that all people should be viewed as having the potential to change. The death penalty is not consistent with that line of thought. A death penalty is final. Whoever is killed has forever lost the chance to change and the chance to better him-/herself. He/she has also forever lost the chance to somehow compensate or justify his or her deed.
I would further like to question whether the general juridical awareness of a people is to be considered in the matter of decisions regarding the use of death penalty. Should for example a people of which 9 percent wants to allow corporal punishment of children, while 33 percent thinks the death penalty can be allowed, be allowed to decide in questions concerning the matter? I don’t think so. It is very much a matter of awareness and education I think. This is why, in my view, the legislative body has a superior task in this as to actually educate, or maybe even tame, the consciousness of the public what concerns the use of the death penalty.
The balance between the people and the state is of course a delicate matter when it comes to questions of democracy; and declaring the majority incompetent would be against democratic principles. It is obvious to me though, what concerns the death penalty, that the principle of majority might not be one to safeguard democratic principles. I think the principals of democracy always must outweigh the principal of majority. The latter is really just a technical question of administration, and not as many people seem to think the fundamental principle of democracy.
History has shown that leniency towards matters of life and death can have horrendous consequences. If a principle concerning the sanctity of life can do anything, if only in the least, to counteract such circumstances, it will be worth maintaining; a view that would subsequently very much depreciate the utilitarian view of the death penalty working as a deterrent.
Here follows an extract from George Orwells essay A Hanging, Adelphi 1931
It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working – bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming – all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned – reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone – one mind less, one world less.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The trial itself was beset by chaos from its earliest days. Judges were intimidated, lawyers shot and witnesses forced into hiding. The Gingerbread man himself repeatedly disrupted the trial and refused to recognize the court’s legitimacy.
Later he spoke of his preference for facing the gallows rather than a squad of greedy biscuit lovers. Hanging was the appropriate means of execution for a gingerbread man like himself, he said.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Looking for Christmas tunes for class, I came across Roy Clark singing 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!' A real gem!
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
Comforting words indeed!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
“I've always been considered an asshole for about as long as I can remember. That's just my style”. - Gene Hackman as Royal Tenenbaum
The Royal Tenenbaums is highly intelligent and a comedy. A comedy though, with a dark and serious side to it – a tragi-comedy. Further it is a film peppered with fabulous one-liners, hilarious situations and attractive aesthetics.
The cast is fantastic; consisting of a selection of geniuses playing geniuses. Must be one of the most talent-dense films ever made! The big star is of course Gene Hackman, as he gets to do what he does best, namely playing the likeable ass-hole. Angelica Huston is so convincing in her role, I am sure she must be just like that in real life, i.e. intelligent, calm and humbly protective. Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow add true beauty to the set while portraying, in my mind, the two most interesting characters of the Tenenbaum family. Other cast members include Ben Stiller, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson and Danny Glover.
To top it all not only the actors but also the music of the film is very cleverly selected. Tracks include:
These Days - Nico
The Fairest Of The Seasons - Nico
Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard - Paul Simon
Wigwam - Bob Dylan
Look At Me - John Lennon
Lullabye - Emitt Rhodes
Police And Thieves - The Clash
Judy Is A Punk – Ramones
Needle In The Hay - Elliott Smith
Fly - Nick Drake
Stephanie Says - The Velvet Underground
A small selection of quotes to portray the genius of the script:
Royal [after he faked a terminal illness, took residence in the house under false pretenses, tried to instigate a fight with his estranged wife's fiancé, generally lied to his family and was then found out] I know I'm going to be the bad guy here.
Raleigh: [after reading a private investigator's research on Margot background, which includes being adopted, a previous marriage, several one-night stands with other men, and a lesbian affair] So, she smokes.
Eli: [immediately after wrecking his car] Where's my shoe?
Royal: I've always been considered an asshole for about as long as I can remember. That's just my style. But I'd really feel blue if I didn't think you were going to forgive me.
Henry Sherman: I don't think you're an asshole, Royal. I just think you're kind of a son of a bitch.
Royal: Well, I really appreciate that.
Eli: Why would a reviewer make the point of saying someone's *not* a genius? Do you especially think I'm *not* a genius? You didn't even have to think about it, did you?
I am sure it wont be long until my third viewing!
Now, look at this and try and tell me this is this not the grandad you always wanted!?
Royal Tenenbaum, Esq.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
“OH! And here's a nice bit of news for you! The book you're trying to remember is by John Fowles; it's The Magus. And his other book is The Collector. (It was Michael Caine in the role, too, not Niven or Guinness.) How's that for a nice coincidence? I'm a movie buff and a voracious reader ... both helped me out on this one!”
That was from Brett! Thank you!
I have been to the library today. Unfortunately they did not have the original version of The Magus, only the Swedish translation Illusionisten. I have ordered the original version though, and it is on its way. I also borrowed some other books by Fowles, namely the one mentioned above, The Collector, but also Mantissa and The Tree.
The book The Magus is supposed to have been popularized by a 1960s interest in psychoanalysis and mystical philosophy It has also been recently featured in the Modern Library list of Best 20th-Century Novels. A statement that should make one or two of yous want to read the book, I would hope…
Curiosa would be, Woody Allen concerning the film saying that, if he could live his life all over again, he'd do "everything exactly the same – with the exception of watching The Magus”. This might be an indication on the film being bad, (considering it is staring Michael Caine and Anthony Quinn I doubt if it is that bad) but it might also be an indication on the book being extremely good …
The Collector was filmatised in 1965 starring, among others, Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar.
Seems one has a bit of very entertaining reading and film watching ahead.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I think the story of the book starts of somewhere in Western Europe, to end up on this Greek island. A young man befriends an older man, and is invited to come to Greece with him to stay at the latter’s villa. The whole story evolves around the older man playing pranks on the younger man. Not just little pranks, but seriously orchestrated pranks; where he creates settings to suddenly, repeatedly and viciously crush them. It all ends up with the younger man becoming more and more paranoid, as he never knows whom to trust. There are other people involved in the pranks too, and they often make the younger man think they are on his side to later deceive him. The story’s current setting is always so believable, and often desirable as well for that matter, that the younger man always falls for it, There seems no way he can resist, as every new setting seems like a solution to solve each predicament he finds himself in. The thing is I remember myself as a reader being fooled throughout the book in the same way as the young man; thinking at every new setting: this is real, now everything is ok.
I have a slight memory of the book having been filmatised, and then with either David Niven or Alec Guiness as the older man. I have not, even through vigorous research, managed to find the book through these two actors though
I also seem to remember there was this other book by the same author, a book consisting of two parts. The first part describing the love and worship this certain man has for a young woman living across the road from him; a real love story. Now, the second part of the book presents a very different setting as it is told from the young woman’s point of view, where she lives in total fear of this same man and his obsession with her. As in the first book I mentioned, also here a trick is paid on the reader as one finds oneself taking someone’s part, to then be disillusioned.
In both books obsession, trust/mistrust and paranoia are central.
Now then! Anyone recognise either of those books? I’ll be waiting and hoping ...
Saturday, October 14, 2006
This is what I’ve heard:
Paul Young - Typical Paul Young-sound i.e. very predictable and in this case very boring.
The Cure - He’s never done it for me Robert Smith he hasn’t; and now neither. I do not really get the idea of why The Cure should do a version of the song in the first place; I mean, they've got plenty of their own.
Nouvelle Vague - Joy Division bossa nova style. Refreshinglu mad! And of course very original...
Fall Out Boy - Terrible! Almost blasphemous!
Joze Gonzalez - Nice in it’s simplicity
Nick Cave - Perfect voice for this tune he has. Lovely musical arrangements
Unbroken - YAY!! Love it!! They have made the song their own, and one easily forgets it's a cover.
The King - Irish postman turned Elvis impersonator! Now, this guy is really interesting. He does Elvis impersonations on the pretext of "what songs would Elvis perform today?” On his album Gravelands he does covers solely of songs by dead people. His version of No Woman No Cry is not to be missed btw.
Swans - Michael Gira has the perfect baritone voice for this.
Squarepusher - Hmmm ... as nice as electronic jazz ca get I suppose...
Eläkeläisethttp - This is crazy but not very enjoyable. The tune is arranged as a humppa (trad. finnish polka-like dance). Apparently these guys are always intoxicated while playing and performing. Don’t blame them...
Kaycee - Well, there is always the trance/techno version isn’t there...
I think am beginning to be able to live with the idea that I will never be able to hear Johnny Cash do his version of the song...
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
The crayfish season in Sweden used to be regulated by law. Apparently the Swedes likes the ideas of the government telling them what to eat, and when, as they pigheadedly sticks to the tradition. Anyway, an excuse for having a party is never a bad one, so we had one. This is a while back; I just haven’t got around to writing about it untill now.
I will now, for the benefit of my foreign friends describe the set up of a so called kräftskiva:
The main food is of course the crayfish. If circumstances are good you can count on each person eating about one kilogram of crayfish at a sit down dinner. Accompanying it will be: toast, matured cheese, snaps and beer. Often you’d also serve a pie with it, to make way for a lot of snaps to be drunk, without your guests falling of their chairs.
A song accompanies every slug of snaps – a so-called snaps song. Before and after the snaps are downed, everyone around the table looks each other in the eye. To some people a true measure of etiquette - or not. (Incidentally, I just hate etiquette-snobs …)
In 1921 there was a referendum in Sweden on the issue of prohibiting alcoholic drinks. The propaganda machine for yes to alcohol presented the following poster. Famous writer Albert Engström declares the need for alcoholic drinks to stay as: “Crayfish craves these drinks”.
The result of the referendum ended up with 51% saying no to the prohibition.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
Second time around I was likened to someone, was a matter of horror to my teenage ears, and really bothered my vain self. I was on this bus and I realised the girl in front of me was whispering to her boyfriend about me. What I overheard was “looks like Hotlips”. This was of course when Mash was very much on the agenda. As much as I liked Hotlips for her straightforwardness, I disliked her looks. ( I am sure my psychologist friend M would give me some down to earth explanation as of to why). Anyway being likened to her was not something I liked in any way.
Logging on to msn the other day I notice one of my msn-mates calling himself 60% Charles Bronson. Asking him what this was all about I was referred to this site where one can have ones face matched to that of a look-alike celebrity: “Find the Celebrity Within You”. Being one for weird internet pass time opportunities, of course I wanted to have a go. Thing was though ... somewhere at the back of my mind lurked this … was there going to be any connection to my horror look-alike Hotlips … !?
Thing is it did not.
Thing is, do I feel any better for it?
Saturday, August 26, 2006
The story reads as follows: Ernest Scribbler, a struggling writer, creates the funniest joke in the world. Having done this he dies laughing. The paper on which the joke is written is then found by his mother, whom imagining it being a suicide note reads it, and of course dies laughing.
Attempts are then made by others to read the joke. For example is very sombre music used as an aid.
The British army eventually gets hold of the joke and decides to use it in it’s warfare against the Germans. The lethality of the joke makes for extreme carefulness, of course, while translating it. The translators are thereby only allowed to translate one word at a time. A translator who accidentally reads two words at one time is hospitalised for weeks.
The fate of the joke is, to at the end of the war, be buried under a monument bearing the inscription: “To the Unknown Joke”
World's Funniest Joke
Saturday, August 05, 2006
This is so cliché, but I’ve just got to use it anyway: If I had to choose the one music album to bring to a desert Island, what would it be? It sure would not take me long to opt; no doubt would it be The Band’s ‘The Last Waltz’. This album is like historical documentation to beat even the Dead Sea Scrolls! The Band on their own is good, but on this album they are joined by some of the absolute great: Bob Dylan (of course), Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Paul Butterfield, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison … And the tracks they play … better than …. you name it … So fabulous!
PS I would very much like to bring Robbie Robertson along to that island as well, if possible.
Now, allow me to choose my favourite tracks. But please let me safeguard myself by saying I do like all the tracks! I mean who could not like Muddy Waters singing ‘Mannish Boy’!? Well?
My favourite tracks:
1) ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ (Robbie Robertson, vocals: Levon Helm)
“I took up all of my winnings
And I gave my little Bessie half
And she tore it up and blew it in my face
Just for a laugh”
2) ‘Helpless’ (Neil Young)
“There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory
and in my mind I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there”
3) ‘Coyote’ (Joni Mitchel)
“Locals were up kicking and shaking on the floor
And the next thing I know
That Coyote's at my door
He pins me in a corner and he won't take "No!"
He drags me out on the dance floor
And we're dancing close and slow”
4)‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ (Robbie Robertson, vocals: Levon Helm)
“Like my father before me, I'm a working man
And like my brother before me, I took a rebel stand
Oh, he was just 18, proud and brave
But a yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the blood below my feet
You can't raise a Cane back up when he's in defeat”
5) ‘Caravan’ (Van Morrison)
“And the caravan is on its way
I can hear the merry gypsies play
Mama mama look at emma rose
Shes a-playin with the radio“
6) ‘I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Met)’ (Bob Dylan)
“I wish she'd tell me what it is, I'll run an' hide.
Though her skirt it swayed as a guitar played,
Her mouth was watery and wet.
But now something has changed
For she ain't the same,
She just acts like we never have met.”
7) ‘I Shall Be Released’ (Bob Dylan)
“They say ev'ry man needs protection,
They say ev'ry man must fall.
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above this wall.
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.”
8)’The Weight’ (Robbie Robertson, vocals: Levon Holm)
“I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead;
I just need some place where I can lay my head.
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No!", was all he said.”
9) ‘Mystery Train’ (Herman Parker/Sam Philips, vocals: Paul Butterfield)
“Well I went down to the station, meet my baby at the gate
Asked the station master was the train a-running late
"Son, if you've been waiting for the four forty-four
I hate to tell you, boy, that train don't run here any more"
"The Last Waltz is the name of The Bands's final concert, the Martin Scorsese concert film, and the album of the concert.
The Band, consisting of Levon Helm on drums, Rick Danko on bass, Garth Hudson on organ, Richard Manuel on keys, and Robbie Robertson on guitar, had been touring for 16 years before deciding to disband.
They held their final concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, and made rock music history by compiling one of the most extensive lineups of prominent guest performers at a single concert. The venue was chosen as it was the first venue the group played under the name "The Band". The concert was not so much a farewell show, but more of a celebration of the group themselves and their close friends and biggest influencers."
The Last Waltz at imdb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077838/
Thursday, August 03, 2006
A Model of the Universe
What we want is a model a model of the universe
That includes everything leaving nothing out
Yet is completely different fresh unique holding nothing in
With any of its constituent elements
Yet is not strange exotic and does not make us feel
What we want is a model f the universe that we can
Read about in a magazine article with pictures
Yet it can’t be just another magazine article and it can’t
Be in a regular magazine this magazine will glow as
it shimmers before our eyes
What we want is a model of the universe that will answer all
To which we can refer for all sorts of advice
To foretell the future cure bursitis get rich quick aphrodisiac
And will be absolutely foolproof one hundred percent of the
What we want is a model of the universe
That we can talk to coyly we can drop our eyelids at
Plump our lips begin the sniffle
And it will pat our shoulders say “there there dear” grow
sad and droopy itself
But without ever really losing it’s composure or assurance
What we want is a model of the universe so complex we can
never understand it
So simple we can grasp it in a glance and explain it to our
friends via a few simple sentences
What we want is a model of the universe
Which once in our possession becomes identified so
strikingly with us
That we become internationally famous with our names
Household words the meaning of our doing and saying
An eternally living legacy around which all subsequent
culture is organised
What we want is a model of the universe we can count on
time after time
Yet is never tiring never predictable eternally new
What we want is a model of the universe that is better than
someone else’s model of the universe
That makes their model of the universe look really pale by
Only we realize this we and our intimate friends
But our model of the universe is also better than the
Model of the universe of even our intimate friends
Although the fact of the matter is that no one but us really
Posseses a model of the universe it is our own little secret
However we write poems about it that strike others as
Infinitely suggestive and profound but since this makes us
We want a model for the universe that everyone understands
We want a model of the universe that explains everything
Yet doesn’t take the mystery out of anything in fact adds
Even to the simplest of daily actions a model of the universe
Keeps us fit and eating delicate and healthy foods
A model of the universe in which we appear never
overweight nor old
Yet we don’t want to actually appear in this model of the
We want to be beyond it holding it in our hand looking at it
from a distance
Yet we don’t want to feel alien from it either we want love
We want a model of the universe in which we can always
Yet be able to travel whenever we want to remote places
Where all foreign languages are actually English
Though they never lose their ethnic charm
What we want is a model of the universe
Contiguous with the total shape of time
So that it neither begins nor ends is neither something nor
What we want is a model of the universe in which
This poem therefore never ends and in which it never began
- NORMAN FISCHER
(From: "What Book!? Buddha Poems From Beat to Hiphop", Gary Gach (editor), Berkley, California, 1998)
Friday, July 21, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
“Suppose you travelled back in time and killed your biological grandfather before he met your grandmother. As a result, one of your parents, and you would never have been conceived, so you could not have travelled back in time after all. In that case, your grandfather would still be alive and you would have been conceived, allowing you to travel back in time and kill your grandfather, and so on.”
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
All this makes for some peculiar mathematics. For example between the year 500 BC and the year AD 500 there are not 1000 years; there are 999 years! 500 of those taking place BC, the other 499 AD. This is how historians number the years. Astronomers are of course in need of mathematical accuracy, and have therefore added a leap year zero – equal to 1 BC. ISO is for obvious reasons also in need of accuracy, and has added a zero, which in turn is written as 0000, equalling the historical year 1 BC. This will, as far as I can understand, funnily enough make historical events designated to a certain year, different in astronomical or ISO count, compared to the commonly used Gregorian count. For example would the first Roman invasion of Britannia have happened in year 55 BC according to the historians and the Gregorian calendar, but in 54 BC according to the astronomers. Would it be –0054 according to ISO …? Well, yes I suppose so.
Another thing about the count starting on one, instead of on zero, is that this would make the first decade of a century nine years, and the last decade eleven years. Of course they aren’t even fit to be called decades in such case.
Now, to the really interesting bit! As far as I can understand we must have celebrated the turn of the century a year to early! Surely two centuries would not have elapsed until AD 2001 if the count started at AD 1 … Shame I didn’t come to realise this some five and a half years ago, as I then could have been in for another big millennium celebration!
And now to the calendar of political correctness: The Holocene calendar. This is a suggestion for a new calendar, on the premises of the Gregorian calendar being offensive to non-religious or non-Christian people. The counting of the current era, according to this calendar, would start with the approximate beginning of the current geological era, 10 000 years BC. 1 BC will be year 10 000 HE, AD 2006 will be 12006 HE. No big deal: just put a 1 in front! Apart from us getting away from the religious aspect of the Gregorian calendar, using the Holocene calendar, we would also make rid of the problem of the missing year 0. This calendar would not be very popular with the US Evangelistical neocons though, I am sure ...
Some curiosa: The difference between the Gregorian calendar and for example some Hindu or Buddhist calendars, is that those will count elapsed years, such as one does when counting a persons age. Thus, they will start the count at zero, and therefore of course have a year zero.
I love you Wikipedia!
Monday, July 10, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
what about that, eh! I just spilled a load of beans!
well it’s an expression isn’t it …
10 minutes pass
Did you spill the metaphorical beans or … regular?
und so weiter ...
Having posted the above, I do get a bit paranoid when stumbling upon the following statement, in the blog of an Alex Blagg NYC
“I don't usually like blogging about blogging, but I keep noticing this trend that is annoying the everloving shit out of me and it must be ceased at once. Bloggers, listen to me, and listen good: STOP POSTING YOUR FUCKING INSTANT MESSAGE CONVERSATIONS.
Like most things in life, everyone thinks what they and their friends have to say is unique and amusing. I assure you, it is not. If you manage to make some clever IM joke in the long, boring desert of banality that is your IM conversation, you really don't need to cut and paste the transcript and share it with the world. Seriously, we'll live without it. The truth is, they always sound pretty much the same: […]”
But ... I wanted to do it, only this once ... And further: It’s my blog and I do what I want to … do what I want to ...
Monday, July 03, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Oscar Wilde would not have been pleased.
Luckily before I stopped watching, I had had a fair share of Sir Henrys cynical statements. That man is cool!
“I can sympathize with everything, except suffering.”
“It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But . . . it is better to be good than to be ugly.”
Monday, June 26, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
On my way to mindfulness I have decided to change paths. I will leave Buddhism and get on to Hollywood instead. Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) might be on to the core of the matter …
“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and … this incredible benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse. But it helps me remember … and I need to remember … Sometimes there is so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart is going to cave in.”
Monday, June 19, 2006
Yesterday I was strolling along the shoreline, water up to my knees, listening to some fabulous music. There was a beautiful play of sunlight reflexes on the water, and everything was just so lovely - perfect in every way. Still, in this ideal situation, I realise I am not able to enjoy it for what it is, as thoughts on other things constantly distracts me. Seems like such a waste of a lovely moment, not being able to cherish it fully!
Buddha’s idea of even the loveliest experience being tainted by worry of loosing it seems relevant here. I therefore had the idea I might try some Buddhist meditation to see if it makes a difference in my trying to get to grips with my awareness problem. Having consulted the internet I have found some really cool stuff; Zen Buddhism being especially tantalizing. Zen is concerned with what actually is, rather than what we think or feel about what is. Zen is not a philosophy or a religion because Zen is not words. Zen tries to free the mind of the slavery of words and the constriction of logic.
By chance my friend the psychotherapist has been able to give me a scientific angle on the matter. In psychotherapy they talk about “mindfulness” as a way of mastering situations by seeing them for what they really are. (To master a phobia a patient is, for example, trained to view a situation exactly for what it is there and then, as a means of controlling it. When we experience something that frightens us the autonomic nervous system is triggered. Our mind then reads this as we actually should be scared and thus the panic is set on. The body fools the mind in other words. If we just calmly feel the here and now we peel of all the excessive thoughts that might fool us into being scared.)
And now for some audio files on Buddhist meditation ...
Friday, June 16, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
That snake is highly poisonous. I encountered it yesterday while walking in the woods near my home. This would not have happened in Iceland, and that is not only because of the lack of woods; I would have met a snake over there as little as I would have met a train.
Excerpt from “News From Nowhere” by William Morris
Said I: "How do you manage with politics”?
Said Hammond, smiling: "I am glad that it is of me that you ask that question; I do believe that anybody else would make you explain yourself, or try to do so, till you
were sick of asking questions. Indeed, I believe I am the only man in England who would know what you mean; and since I know, I will answer your question briefly by saying that we are very well off as to politics, - because we have none. If ever you make a book out of this conversation, put this in a chapter by itself, after the model of old Horrebow's Snakes in Iceland"
... an allusive phrase ...
Saturday, June 10, 2006
I like the fact that I’m always able to interact; such as when it’s too late, or early for that matter, phoning people. I like being able to keep track of people at my own leisure. I also like the fact that I am able to have the choice of being available for interaction or not. I suppose in the real world I have that spy eye on my front door, but then people can still see if I’ve got the lights on or not, so that’s it for not opening the door … Blocking is a lot more discreet and of course also risk free when it comes to offending people or not. I like the fact that one on the Internet one is able to be a lot more selective about with whom one mingles, than one is in real life.
Another weird thingy is those Internet friends one has. I have people I consider close friends, living in far away parts of the world; people I've never met or have spoken a single audible word to. Those people are like dots here and there, spread out across the planet ... Often they feel at least as close as ones real life friends, but for obvious reasons more difficult to grip... Very unreal, but also intense relationships goes on. I am amazed at the apparent possibility of falling in love with people over the net, just through exchanging words. What I find weird, and interesting, is that you can be very close to someone without being part of a person’s family and friends-network. I have friends that could go and die on me, without me having the faintest, because of no other connection then the one-to-one dialogue.
When it comes to real life friends there is always a lot of linkage, as in people and places. This makes for obligations. With Internet-friends obligations are a lot more uncomplicated. When someone adheres to them, though, I find it comes across as nicely genuine and honest. I like virtual relationships.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I was supposed to have celebrated the Swedish national day today. But, as it goes ... no ... I don't think so ...
Celebrating nationalism seems to me a somewhat suspect pass time, considering its dubious record. Surely we can agree on the fact that the phenomena of nationalism has had a tendency to create conflicts here and there during the last century; having on false pretence, started people of thinking in terms of us and them. That the Swedish government suddenly in this day and age, decides to make the national day into a public holiday; well what can I say other than: It sure puzzles me!
So, what am I expected to do on a day like this. Walk around feeling grate about our social welfare system? Or maybe think about how beautiful it is in the Stockholm archipelago. I do both things quite often as it goes. Should there be a special day for this, so that we can all do it at the same time …? I don’t see the point.
National days seem to me like something hopelessly obsolete. I even envisage something a bit nastily unpleasant about it; something reminiscent of past days, when values told people to worship the sovereignty, while looking with suspicious eyes at the rest of the world.
So, why this sudden need to wave the yellow and blue again? Is there for some reason once again a need for using abstract symbols in the identification process? Seems to me very reactionary indeed ...
Saturday, June 03, 2006
My extremely courageous, strong, indefatigable and disciplined brother has today run the Stockholm Marathon. I was there, and it was great. These people run 40 kilometres; and that is a looong way to run. My brother was determined to beat the 4 hour mark, and he did, with eight minutes to go. When I think of all the things we got up to, within the four hours he was running, it seems incomprehensible that he was jogging along all that time! While he was running, we were visiting people, we were leisurely strolling in and out of hundreds of shops, we were relaxing at cafés and we were sightseeing. Four hours is a long time to be running constantly; on asphalt … in the beating sun …
And now folks; this is how he justifies this madness: My brother trains a lot because training does your wellbeing a lot of good. Training makes sure one feels better physically for obvious reasons, but it also covers the mental wellbeing, as one is able to walk around feeling pleased with oneself for training. To go out running for long stretches several times a week, further goals are needed though, and Stockholm Marathon provides one of these to my brother. Thing is while he trains for the marathon he is not really training for the marathon. He is training to feel good, but he fools himself by telling himself he is training for the marathon.
The outmost perk of running a yearly marathon is, according to my brother, to be able to establish that one is at present, in as good a shape as last year. This probably explains the “really to old to run a marathon”-people you see along the track.
In case he should catch himself red-handed during the marathon, having fooled himself this is what he is training for, his trick up the back sleeve is to just tell himself “This is just another training round for the next marathon…”
We had a good laugh on the way back home in the evening, reading his tabloid horoscope: “Aquarius: Today you are taking it easy, just letting time pass.”
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
the next time you are doing something absolutely necessary, such as pissing, or making love, or shaving, or washing the dishes or the baby or yourself or the room, say to yourself:
"So, it's all come to this!"
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I became conscious of an overwhelming feeling of happiness while exercising the other day. Puzzled I decided I’d have to check this happiness-business out.
Happiness can be defined as emotions experienced when in a state of well being.
People often show that they are happy by smiling.
There would be pleasures for the moment, and a more static happiness.
Defining happiness - Try define "green" to a blind person! Internal experiences are subjective by nature.
Non human animals are happy when they have achieved a goal concerned with the motivational system of the organism. It would be the satisfaction in doing something deliberately to achieve these goals – repeating actions of success. So - only animals with the ability to learn, should be able to feel happiness. (Scratching an itch would be enough though) (Talk about short term happiness!!)
Of all the animals, only man can sit and contemplate reality. Aristotele would say this would make him happy, in the same way as it would make a bird happy to fly, or a fish happy to swim.
Zhuangzi would say though, that mans ability to distinguish between things and form dichotomies, would make him unable to find true happiness, as all would be divided into things to like and not to like.
Now, what about my feelings of happiness. Zhuangzi might be right, but I think I’ll spurn his ideas. If we cannot possibly experience true happiness, we cannot know what it is, and why contemplate the unachievable. Aristotele’s down-to-earth theories has always attracted me in their simplicity. My happiness at exhausting myself would, I reckon, fall into the category of had I been a bird flying this would have made me happy. And now here I am still happy contemplating it. Humans certainly have the best of two worlds. That’s cool.
Look! Footnotes! :
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
A friend just back from the US, has today told me that the absolutely most dangerous animal of the Grand Canyon is the squirrel! Those little fluffy tailed animals are so full of bacteria that they are highly poisonous. They often even carry the bubonic plague! Craving for food they are fearless of people, and they use their razor sharp teeth to slice through anything - yes, even the hand that feeds them!
Having red painted toe nails, is according to my friend, a very bad idea as those would look just like candy to any little chipmunk.
At night one can feel safe though; then there is no activity on their side. But ... don’t get to comfortable - night time is just the changing of the guard!
I was also told, that in Vegas there are escalators moving in circles! Must have been an exciting trip!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I have just spent a few days in the woods. I saw a dead hare floating right next to the canoe. That was a bit horrid. A bloated hare in murky waters … I wonder how it died. Sitting at a fire under a tarpaulin, the rain pouring all around it, definitely wasn't horrid! Watching the shape of the whirls in the rapid water, to be able to determine where the rocks would be to be able to avoid them, was exhilarating! I saw quite a few beaver building-sites, but no beavers. Quite a lot of different birds nevertheless, which incidentally doesn't do a lot for me. Frogs do though! I think they are the cutest! It was to cold for the adders to show up. Nowhere for them to sunbathe. Not a lot of stairs at night; a few though which was nice.
I love spending nights outdoors. Knowing I'm going to spend the night, I am able to eliminate thinking about the experience ending, and thus enjoy it so much more. When I have that night in front of me, I sort of put everything worldly out of my mind; and that is just the greatest state! Bliss is to me when the biggest "worry" is finding a suitable place to make camp, or cook, or some other survive-for-the-moment kind of thing.
The very handy thing is that when that outdoor day comes, which hasn't got an outdoor night in front of it, it normally feels quite ok. This is when a warm shower, a nice sofa, a bit of Internet or going to the pub, suddenly seems like the most eternally wonderful thing ever.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
The ethics of democracy says that every human life is equal in value. If every human life is equal in value, each life must have a consistent value. This consistency in one life’s value is in proportion to one human. One human - one life.
My assumption is that there is a conflict between this supposition and utilitarianism. The utilitarian theory would, as far as I can understand say that it would be a better deed to save ten lives than one.
My hypothesis though is that, because of the constant value of life, in proportion to each human, ten lives is not more worth than one.
(The fact that one human’s life can enhance the life of another human does not come in to this discussion)
Thinking about this I found it really hard to understand what I was actually after. While trying to understand, I thought maybe it can be explained in mathematical terms … I therefore phoned a friend of mine, whom is very clever with maths, and I explained my problem. He was actually the first one to seem to understand what I meant, and this rather swiftly. He then gave me a mathematical formula for explaining the phenomena: He said we have to start with a constant and this constant being one life. x in the equation is the number of lives.
The equation would be: “The constant times x divided by x equals the constant”
The motivation for this equation is that the life of one human being can not be more worth than a human. This is independent of if you talk of one human being or one hundred human beings it is still one life.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
What about that, eh! I have just stumbled on this parable dealing with the justice of utilitarianism. Just as I was gonna let go of the subject …! Ah, well then; just a little bit more …
The story is “ The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and it gives the setting of the town Omelas, a utopian place of happiness and delight. Everything at Omelas is pleasing and lovely, apart from the one thing: The happiness of the citizens is dependent on an unfortunate child being kept in filth, darkness and misery. All adult citizens know of the child, and they all know it has to be there, as all their good fortune is dependent on its misery.
Some of the people walk away from Omelas, as does the author by allusion, and the story ends.
"The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas."
Read Ursula K. Le Guins story at http://teacherweb.ftl.pinecrest.edu/crawfor/apcg/Unit1Omelas.htm
Le Guins story is variations on a theme by William James (1842-1910). He writes:
“Or if the hypothesis were offered us of a world in which Messrs. Fouriers's and Bellamy's and Morris's utopias should all be outdone, and millions kept permanently happy on the one simple condition that a certain lost soul on the far‑off edge of things should lead a life of lonely torture, what except a specifical and independent sort of emotion can it be which would make us immediately feel, even though an impulse arose within us to clutch at the happiness so offered, how hideous a thing would be its enjoyment when deliberately accepted as the fruit of such a bargain?”
It seems to me, that we should not be content until all are in Omelas. Further I don’t see what the big deal is. Why should it not be possible? For everyone to strive for the same thing there has to be a common principle. If the common principle is achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, it always allows for the miserable child of Omelas. If the principle is the idea of every life’s equal worth, we can not allow for any scapegoats.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Dostojevskij was not very impressed with utilitarianism either. The grounds for his resistance towards it though, was as far as I can understand, rooted in romanticism, and thereby his arguments for rejecting utilitarianism very romantically influenced. He suggested people accepted the greatness of the country, the people and the tsar as part of the divine; an order to be accepted, with no room for rational questioning. I can’t say this is where I want to get! Rationality in truth-seeking is fun, and why not even desirable! D is not interested in any such nonsense. He reckons obedience and subordination is the only way towards good (as in vs. evil). He says further that we must rejoice in naivety in what reaching goodness concerns. He describes independence and rationality as the greatest hindrance in this.
D. apparently and further, sees man as the child of eternity, whom being lost was turned into the “desperado of eternity”. I sure wonder what he means by that!
Ah, well, it seems I will have to look further than Dostojevskij for an answer