The Art of Science – interesting sounding book/article

“It was a shock to discover that the field of psychology had, during my 18-year absence abroad, been wiped off America’s intellectual map. I remember the precise moment when I realized this, an evening when I sat across the dinner table from a psychiatric authority from Yale University.

Not a single psychological insight passed the professor’s lips that evening. The learned woman talked about brain waves, what happens to this or that lobe under extreme stress and how pharmacology works, but she seemed absolutely tone-deaf to the human psyche. The nodding heads around the table made it clear no one else thought her approach to mental illness was in any way out of the ordinary. So my eyes were opened: Psychology in America had been consumed by the hunt for the perfect technology in pill form. We were on a psycho-pharmic Holy Grail.

The experience serves as a relevant introduction to Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel, Never Let me Go….

..I do not want to reveal here what drives the plot in Never Let Me Go, but a horrific vision of science and its role in society lies at the heart of this book. Ishiguro’s message is clear: A society obsessed with science eventually tramples humanity. ”

read more

might be worth a look!

rar. post-postmodernism

“People who cling to paradigms (just about all of us) take one look at the spacious possibility that everything we think is guaranteed to be nonsense and pedal rapidly in the opposite direction. Surely there is no power, no control, not even a reason for being, much less acting, in the experience that there is no certainty in any worldview. But everyone who has managed to entertain that idea, for a moment or for a lifetime, has found it a basis for radical empowerment. If no paradigm is right, you can choose one that will help achieve your purpose. If you have no idea where to get a purpose, you can listen to the universe (or put in the name of your favorite deity here) and do his, her, its will, which is a lot better informed than your will.

It is in the space of mastery over paradigms that people throw off addictions, live in constant joy, bring down empires, get locked up or burned at the stake or crucified or shot, and have impacts that last for millennia.” (from an article on systems leverage points, oddly
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I spent quite a long time panicing about life and my lack of “framework”, the result of too much thinking, philosophy, and generally tearing everything apart. Relativism very easily takes me to a deer-in-headlights mood of “well fuck it what do I do now?!” followed by a “there’s no point I might as well just sink into my own apathy and die” mood.

But I’ve remembered. Clearing away the frameworks is not a bad thing. It’s a scary thing, yes. But it allows the space to *create your own thing*. Which manifests most obviously in your life and what you make of it. Yes; there are constraints, but these just make it all the more exciting. What I need to know is what I knew all along. What I need to know is inside my own body and mind, not on the other side of the world. What I need to know is held by those who see me when I’m being authentic, and remind me gently those moments when I’m lost.

There is movement. There is change. And I’m high right now, high even more so because I know I will be low again. Life fucking amazes me. Bring on the joy and the pain, because I’m lucky to be here at all.

The price of stupidity : £61.68 and a runny nose

It’s one of the moments, when time goes slow and you hope for a terrific second that maybe, just MAYBE it’s not true.
“…..Marc….Marc…I think I’ve just done something REALLY stupid.”

The scene : middle of dartmoor, looking for a castle ruin, sunday morning. Rain.

I’m standing outside my car door, having just released the handle to lock it without the key. And through the window, I see the car key, still in the ignition. Crazily, I check my pockets anyway. Nope. I try opening the locked door. Nope.

I’d be embarressed if it wasn’t so funny

Update on Job searching and general shennanigans

What a crazy week this has been.

Thank you for all the comments on my last post, very helpful! (And Rob – hope you get somewhere with the I.T Charity jobs!) I just thought I’d update you to where I’m at.

I took some “time out” from work yesterday and today, which has been a good chance to step back and take a look at where I’m at. It also stopped me confronting the management in a highly frustrated mood; I’ve calmed down somewhat since Wednesday.

With regards to the Art/Nature centre job – I’m not so much interested in the job as the place itself. I cut down and reworked that personal statement and sent it off with a covering letter, CV and such – I’m applying anyway but I mentioned in the email

“I am glad to have discovered the existence of the Centre through your
job advert, and I would like to say that even if you do not feel me
suited to the role, please let me know about possible volunteer
opportunities, freelance research work or other ways I might help
your project.”

So we will see what happens.

I’ve also come across a full time job with the NHS being an information analyst – essentially what my current job should be, and with £3-£5k PA more to boot. I would also quite like to work for the health service because I’m a masochist like that. I am intending to make a *serious* application for that one, the due date is April 27 so it gives me a chance to let things settle down at work.

——————–

Some point this week, I finally cracked. I really DO have the skills to do a fucking good job at something, rather than a lame pathetic job where I whinge all the time. I’m going to stop settling for crap.

I’ve had several people point out the problem with flitting from one job to another. But I can’t help but wonder, what SHOULD you do if you’re stuck in a dead-end job you don’t like with people you can’t talk to? It’s a tricky one. I know I’m quite naive and child-minded still about the responsibilites and ways of the adult work. OTOH I am only 23, no real responsibilites, and I don’t want to get all miserable and cynical yet.

What I have realised in the last couple of days is that I can’t completely retreat from this job. If I’m going to leave, I need to do it in the right way, and the right time and I need to have the resources ready to go. In the meantime I have to keep attacking the job, get the managers to pull their socks up and generally see what I can make out of it.

The rest of today tho, I will eat, sleep and draw.

Dreams are for living. FUCK EM

I’ve decided that if I don’t at least apply for the part time job at The Centre for Contempory Art and the Natural World then I will hate myself forever. The job I’ve currently got is mired beneath layers of corporate bullshit, the “team” is non-existant and the end of my 3 months probabationary period is coming up. so. The plan is if I get this other job I will try and wrangle part time work with Torex. Else I’ll find some other job to do. One with human interaction.

Plan:
I will send them a nice normal CV (the one that got me this job) and then an application letter of Doom (possibly mine but it’s worth a shot). My main goal with this application letter (email) is try and make the grasp how MUCH I support their vision. I thought I’d post the draft here for comment or simply because it gives you some insight of who I am and what I’d be doing in an ideal world.

The main reason I’m applying for this position is one of passion…

Tigerwomen grow wings

With no motivation for the last 15 minutes of work, I googled “how to grow wings” which led me to a synopsis of rather intriguing film about women in Taiwan : Tigerwomen grow wings. In a strange way it did help me grow wings because for 15 minutes I was taken out of my little self-absorbed box to actually learn something about the real world out there.

Should do that more often. I’ve now gone from knowing sod-all about Taiwan to knowing a tiny piece which intrigues me enough to want more. It’s an interesting read if you’re into changing/mixing cultures.

I’d quite like to actually watch the film, I wonder if it will get over here?

I feel like I should know more about China..

—-

“China is leaving all other countries behind with its enormous economic growth rate. The ‘hidden dragon’ has turned into an aggressive demon. Nobody dares to question the state of human rights in China any more, too dependent has the global economy become on the Chinese boom. In front of our eyes, a dramatic change is taking place in international politics.

“The People’s Republic of China is re-arming in an alarming way. In 2004 the military budget grew by 12% more than 2003, and these are only the official figures – the real growth rate is likely to be much higher than that. The rearmament is directed at Taiwan. Round about 600 cruise missiles are aimed at the island, which defines itself as an independent Repulic, but which the Chinese Communist Party regards as a ‘renegade province’.

“Light” sources

“Light always starts on its journey from a light source. Light sources can be usefully classified into threetypes: direct or point-like, diffuse, and ambient. Each type of light source gives a picture specific characteristics. The fabled “good light” largely means a balanced mixture of the three.

Direct (point-like)

Direct light is emitted by a small, bright, and point-like source, and shines directly onto the subject. Some important point-like sources are the sun, a flash gun, and some forms of interior lighting. Direct lightcauses sharply defined, deep shadows and flattens out three-dimensional detail. A cylinder bathed indirect light will look very similar to a box next to it: the line dividing light and dark is sharp, and there’s little or no gradation from fully lit to fully shadowed. Multiple point-like sources cast multiple shadowsand result in multiple zones of varying darkness.

Diffuse

Diffuse light emanates from a large light-emitting or light-reflecting surface. It causes soft shadows andan even gradation from light to dark, emphasizing three-dimensionality and shape. A cylinder in diffuse light looks clearly cylindrical, with the fully shadowed areas completely black, the side directly facing thelight source completely white, and the in-between areas shades of gray. The size and softness of the shadows depend on the size and distance of the light source: a diffuse light source that is very far away turns into a point-like light source.

Ambient

Ambient light is usually something of a theoretical concept: the sum of all the light that gets reflected around the scene. For example, there is always some light in the shadows even on the clearest day, due to reflection from surrounding objects. Ambient light casts no shadows; instead, it fills them in. A cylinder illuminated purely by ambient light (you would have to place it inside a milky-white sphere lit evenly from the outside) would appear completely featureless and flat – and so would a cube.” (more from here

🙂

Thoughts & experience on the perception of women’s bodies

My friend the Osteopath:i am having to think about two presentations i am giving.
the first is on the Symbolic Body – which is pretentious if anything is !!
For this i am looking at the different ways in which the body is seen by
different cultures historically and now. you might have some ideas about
this. also the way the body is seen energetically ie kundalini yoga, taoist
yoga etc.

I was thinking about gender issues today_ how the different sexes
see each others body. Anorexia, bulaemia etc also mythologically some of the
stories and legends that relate to the body etc etc

let me know what ideas or experiences come to mind
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Hi Mark,

I’ve let some ideas mull around a bit and talked to Michael(previously known as Zak)
about them yesterday. The question that came to my mind when I read this was “well, I
wonder what “stories and legends” are influencing us now?”

on learning to be a woman, wolves and bodies

Strange moon

I’ve been lurking lately, watching women on my friend’s list go through questions on love, direction, decision, choice and creation..all very familiar as I myself question what is really important for me, challenge the pressures to career-pursue against the biological whispers of becoming a mother, commiting to the deathly real loves of my life knowing that to follow my passions means the risk of being dragged down by them.

The last couple of months, and particularly the last couple of weeks, have been very very strange. Assumptions have been shaken, viewpoints scattered and strange moods abound. I’ve been very quiet because I’ve been trying to DO, and simply I just don’t quite know what to say without sounding like an insane person. I still don’t trust my words.

One day Zak announced he wanted to reclaim his real name, Michael, that he was sick of being Zak, a created character, a fool, a scorned one, and whilst his general public demanour is similar, when we are alone the difference has been remarkable, and very positive. The whole thing made me dizzy, since with discarding the name, so goes all these memories and associations, mostly negative, I have attached to the name. If Names have a power at all, it lies somewhere here.

Last night I cried emotion; just raw emotion, he always tries to stop me but I have to tell him – sometimes I need this. It realeases monthly tension rather than winding it up into a tight ball, and I am not ashamed. I’ve been thinking about love, and loyalty, and that sacrifice might be involved to be with a person or to develop any one talent or direction. No-one can have everything, at least not at once.

I feel both at the top and bottom of a mountain. Standing on the fence between civilisation and wilderness,madess and sanity, child and adulthood, underworld and light.

Last night I found myself crying “the life I have to sacrifice to be with you is the one I don’t even want!” what-where did THAT come from!? Life is a strange unpredictable thing indeed.

It’s very hard to explain where I am now. The image that comes to mind is holding a moth in tightly cusped hands, feeling it battering and crawling inside. I’ve just stopped feeling I should crush that moth, wipe my hands on my jeans and carry on with things, forgetting all about it. But yet my fingers are stiff from tension and knuckles white from fear, and I’m not sure how to open my hands..it should be easy. All I know is one thing – I want to see the moth flying again.

That probably sounded pretentious but I dont write this for respect. I write because maybe one day I’ll see the words echo what I really mean.

As I said, strange moon. This month has been an odd one. I wonder who will replace the pope?