There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
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we all work on what we wish to work on
(those genuinely under coercion not included)
i happen to think that creating the res publica of a people, the establishment (or re-establishment, or restoration) of a country in the sense of a nation state is an outmoded enterprise with little merit
in order to find more timely and glorious work, it is expedient to review the situation that we find ourselves in first from a larger (global), then from a narrower (personal) perspective
none of what i will say is new
one earth, seven billion people
roughly one tenth of that number do not eat their fill every day of the week
at the same time, ten percent of the population dispose over eighty-five percent of all earthly wealth
within that number, the richest one percent control forty percent of the wealth
man does not live by bread alone
over half the population of the earth live in cities, though mostly not cities in the european sense
and well over half the population strive to realise, in their personal lives, the ideals of the welfare consumer society
lots of food, lots of channels, lots of clutter
estimating the size of the autonomous, adult population who hold their lives and their hands and thus purposefully form them is harder
after a small, highly subjective and far from representative opinion survey and a great deal of pondering i have concluded that such people occur in higher proportion in the third world (brutal existential uncertainty is a strong selection pressure at both the individual and the social levels)
the transitional margin between the autonomous and the slave/slaver group is quite wide and gradual along a number of distinct dimensions
globally, the proportion of autonomous, self-governing adults is somewhere between 0.1 percent and 10 percent
as an incorrigible optimist, i would wager around 1 percent
one in a hundred people
i posit that only sovereign, adult people, who know their own lives and hold them in their hands in order to shape them are capable of authentic political action
i posit that in the present situation authentic political action is impossible without first letting go of all sorts of national or racial phantasmagories, imaginings, emotional tangles
i posit that today, authentic political action may be aimed at the following two targets (possibly among others, i am not making an exhaustive claim here):
firstly, moving fellow humans in the transitional stages between being robots and being people (or half-asleep, or what have you) towards sufficient levels of sovereignity
such actions include raising children, clarity of thinking and speech and the exemplary practice of authentic ways of being
secondly, the strengthening, supporting, mobilisation, vitalisation of the networks, the systems of interrelationships of autonomous people
this includes tribal enterprise, active community building and maintenance, trust-based barter trade and the promotion of communication and cooperation between small sovereign communities
thank you for your attention
What do Interstate 5 drivers see as they peel off the freeway and head down the chute that leads to the Morrison Bridge and into downtown?
Yes, the glittering towers of concrete and glass, nestling on a bed of greens. But there's also a guide sign with puckered white lettering that reads 'Washingon Street' on a backboard that instead of the usual green looks like a piece of toast. Why?
About 100 feet farther on there's another, hanging from a rusty support. Next to that is an empty space where another sign used to point to the turnoff to Naito Parkway.
The reason they've been there so long is no one knew who was responsible for it. The 'Washington Street' guide signs are usually the City of Portland Office of Transportation's territory, except when they are on river bridges, which are the responsibility of the county.
Just to confuse things further, the state maintains signs on state highways - and Naito Parkway used to be one. Until five years ago the state also maintained signs pointing to state highways. When the state stopped caring for them it removed the Naito Parkway turnoff sign. But only that one.
- Invitation to submit text -
American artist Jenny Holzer and the office of Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State, seek text to be included in a permanent artwork for the new American Embassy in London. Students are invited to submit short, powerful writing on any topic relevant to British-American relations or statecraft. Cultural exchange is crucial, so students from both the US and UK are encouraged to participate. Selected texts will be carved into stone on highly visible walls around the Embassy, and collected on a web platform.
Researchers may have found the location of sense of humor in the brain, according to their presentation at the 86th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, Illinois.
Humor appreciation appears to be based in the lower frontal lobes of the brain, a location associated with social and emotional judgment and planning, according to imaging research. That might explain why people who have suffered strokes involving the lower frontal lobes of the brain may have alterations of personality which include loss of their sense of humor.
"A small part of the frontal lobes appears critical to our ability to recognize a joke," said Dean K. Shibata, MD, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York, and principal investigator of a study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map activity in the brain while it is registering humor. "Although the purpose of humor and laughter is still largely unknown despite 2,000 years of speculation, having a sense of humor is a key part of our personalities and it can play a powerful role in balancing negative emotions, such as fear.
I had a very interesting encounter today. I was sitting in the Malcolm X Lounge, a study room at the University of Texas that’s dedicated to African-American studies, but open to anyone. I was on a couch and had my feet up on a small table. When a girl came and sat down on the couch to my left, I jokingly made a big deal about moving my legs. She responded with, “Stop being so lazy, light-skin.”
I really wasn’t offended by the light-skin reference, but I was totally caught off guard by the way she used the term. See light-skinnededness (no that’s not a real word) has been the target of black humor for a while now, but usually people just say...