“The best antidote to this spiritualist temptation is to bear in mind the lesson of Donald Rumsfeld’s theory of knowledge—as expounded in March 2003, when the then US defence secretary engaged in a little bit of amateur philosophising: ‘There are known knowns. These are things we know that we…
Posts tagged perception.
The world is a higgledy-piggledy place, containing things pleasant and unpleasant in haphazard sequence. And the desire to make an intelligible system or pattern out of it is at bottom a kind of agoraphobia or dread of open spaces.Bertrand Russell, from The Conquest of Happiness (via tragos)
Because we know we can never go back, we feel free to reimagine the past as a haven from of the existential horrors of The Now; dreaming about a holiday you can never take is safe, because you can never be disappointed by the reality. Yesterday’s Now isn’t so scary, firstly because its bad sides are almost unimaginable from our current vantage point of Panglossian privilege, and secondly because our very existence implies it was survivable at a civilisational scale – two certainties that The Now doesn’t deliver.
The past is a poster on your bedroom wall. Hi-ho, atemporality.Punking steampunk | Blog | Futurismic (via m1k3y)
And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
Two monks were making a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of a great Saint. During the course of their journey, they came to a river where they met a beautiful young woman — an apparently worldly creature, dressed in expensive finery and with her hair done up in the latest fashion. She was afraid of the current and afraid of ruining her lovely clothing, so asked the brothers if they might carry her across the river.
The younger and more exacting of the brothers was offended at the very idea and turned away with an attitude of disgust. The older brother didn’t hesitate, and quickly picked the woman up on his shoulders, carried her across the river, and set her down on the other side. She thanked him and went on her way, and the brother waded back through the waters.
The monks resumed their walk, the older one in perfect equanimity and enjoying the beautiful countryside, while the younger one grew more and more brooding and distracted, so much so that he could keep his silence no longer and suddenly burst out, “Brother, we are taught to avoid contact with women, and there you were, not just touching a woman, but carrying her on your shoulders!”
The older monk looked at the younger with a loving, pitiful smile and said, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river; you are still carrying her.”From a very famous Buddhist story my dad used to tell me (via mohandasgandhi) (via constantflux)
These 9 drawings were done by an artist under the influence of LSD as part of a test conducted by the US government in the late 1950’s. The artist was given a dose of LSD 25 and free access to an activity box full of crayons and pencils. His subject was the medic.
I would like to come up with my own summary, but the problem with describing the work of writers is that the work often speaks for itself: “What it is, so far as I can see, is the truth with a whole lot of rhetorical bullshit pared away.”
A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here’s one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centredness, because it’s so socially repulsive, but it’s pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute centre of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real - you get the idea. But please don’t worry that I’m getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called “virtues”. This is not a matter of virtue - it’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centred, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.
If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important - if you want to operate on your default setting - then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren’t pointless and annoying. But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars - compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff’s necessarily true: the only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it.
Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. …The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the “rat race” - the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
…off to find a copy of Infinite Jest…
The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas…
“Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.”
At the University of Michigan, a study found that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued.
Even though people feel entertained, even relaxed, when they multitask while exercising, or pass a moment at the bus stop by catching a quick video clip, they might be taxing their brains, scientists say.
“People think they’re refreshing themselves, but they’re fatiguing themselves,” said Marc Berman, a University of Michigan neuroscientist.
No surprise. Get off Tumblr. Take a walk. Thats what I’m doing right now… I mean now. …like just this second…. … …in a second…
This is not a taxi.
If you think augmented reality is a recent fascination woven from the fabric of the camera phone age, think again — artists, photographers and casual creative pranksters have long been using camera tricks to hack urban landscape by layering additional fascination over the naked eye’s view of the city. Here are three of our favorite photographic hackscapes.
Landscape is inherently about our experience of environment. Our experience, particularly visual, mashes with our assumptions to give us our understanding of a place. What does it mean to superimpose a cultural object in the place of the object that created it?
Carl Sagan had an uncommon perspective of the wonder of the universe and his place in it. His vision of ‘Science as a Candle in the Dark’ is more alluring to me than any religious ideology. For Sagan, science is the highest expression of our gift to ask questions and search the universe. It is the pinnacle of our humanity, and should be treated as such.
Our humanity is embedded in our science, and science is now embedded in our humanity. It was at Sagan’s suggestion that the Voyager spacecraft carry a golden record of the sounds of earth, and that the Pioneer spacecraft carry a plaque - on the remotest possibility that our creations made contact with alien life. Or perhaps he accepted that these hunks of metal would never be seen again, but that they were justified as a message to ourselves, that we explore space as a human family.
In 1990 he suggested that NASA turn the lens of the Voyager I, as its final mission, toward home and take a photograph of earth from 4 billion miles away. This image, this pale blue dot, held Sagan’s attention through is death in 1996. The quote on the image above is from the book inspired by it.
I hope you can take a little pause, to hold on to that wonder for just a moment. That mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam holds the sum of value in the universe.
Much thanks to Granger Meador for a recap of facts and the photo credit (http://meador.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/pbd.jpg)
*** I’m still learning how to use tumblr, but I wanted to include a video also. Click on the photo to link to a video of a communication design book project by Ervin Esen. A beautiful re-imagining of the words.