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FREEDOM……

In 1931, AugustePiccard and Charles Knipfer flew a balloon from Augsburg,Germany, to a glacier near Innsbruck, Austria. Reaching a height of 51,793 feet during their 17-hour flight, they were the first humans to reach the stratosphere. What freedom do you think they felt in accomplishing this task?
In overcoming obstacles and doubts and ridicule from friends or family in their quest to get to where they wanted in their goals, they obtained freedom….freedom from fear…they tried, and tried again and in the end found a place beyond their expectations….
So,..
Happy Stratospheric day! …and… think on this:
“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom isfreedom from fear.”
— Aung San Suu Kyi

“Escape”–Recommended Reading

February 2, 2011 1 comment

Referred to me during a lunch break at the university, “Escape from Reason” by Francis Schaeffer.
It is called, “a penetrating analysis of trends in modern thought”.

I am looking to delve into the content to do a little analyzing myself. A few things have caught my attention, let alone the reference within the material to art history, one of my most beloved subjects for it encompasses all walks of life through philosophy, political science, sociology, anthropology, etc. etc.
Now, due to the fact I attend a Christian college, the book is, of course, written with the concept of Christianity being a main focus. It relates to how each of these categories, falling under art history, are intertwined with Christian beliefs.
Chpt. 3 touches on sexuality-
“The twentieth-century pornographic writers all trace their origin to the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814). The twentieth century now treats him as a very important man — he is no longer just a dirty writer. A generation ago, if anyone was found with one of his books in England he was liable to have difficulties with the law. Today he has become a great name in drama, in philosophy, in literature. All the nihilistic black writers, the writers in revolt, look back to de Sade. Why? Not only because he was a dirty writer, or even that he has taught them how to use sexual writing as a vehicle for philosophic ideas, but also basically he was a chemical determinist. He understood the direction that things would have to take when man is included in the machinery.”
But how does one view the material if they are of another religion?
What points of intellectual debate are founded for the Gnostic, the Atheist, the children of Modernism?
These are questions I will ask myself as I begin to read.

Dueling Dumas’s

Dumas pere

On this day, 23-year-old Alexandre Dumas fights his first duel. He sustains no serious injury, although his pants fall down in the fight. He’ll later fill his romantic works, including The Three Musketeers, with duels, battles, and daring escapades.
Dumas was the son of one of Napoleon’s generals, Thomas Alexandre Dumas, and a Haitian slave woman, Marie Cessette Dumas. Because he was born of mixed heritage and yet still to prominence, Dumas weas sent to receive rich education, but his family struggled financially after his father’s death in 1806. Dumas went to Paris to find work and was hired by the household of the Duke D’Orleans, who became King Louis-Philippe. Dumas began writing plays, which became huge hits with the public, then turned to historical novels. He published The Three Musketeers in 1844, followed by The Count of Monte Cristo in 1845.
Dumas led a tempestuous life filled with ruinous love affairs. Women loved him for his uniqueness of looks (he was Negro/French) and his attention to detail in ALL areas. He fathered many illegitimate children. His illegitimate son, Dumas fils ( French for son), also became a writer-the two were later known as the “Deuling Dumas’s “.
The son reacted against his father’s lifestyle by writing highly regarded contemporary dramas supporting marriage and family, with titles like “The Natural Son” (1848) and “The Prodigal Father” (1859) .  Dumas fils was almost 10 years old before his father recognized him, but when that happened Dumas pere stepped in with a vengenace and sent his son to the best boarding schools of the day to receive the best education possible.  French law allowed Dumas the elder to remove the child from his mother and in turn, her agony inspired Dumas fils to write prolifically about tragic female characters.  One of his most popular plays was The Illegitimate Son, in which he espoused the belief that if a man fathers an illegitimate child, he has an obligation to legitimize the child in any way possible, either by marriage or by law.  During the 1840’s, Dumas fils wrote the romantic novel The Lady of the Camellias, which in English would be translated as Camille.  Like some of his father’s works, Camille is considered a classic in literature, and serves as the basis for the Verdi opera, La Traviata.
Dumas pere died in 1870, his last known major work, nearly completed, The Last Cavalier(Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine, 1869), was lost until its rediscovery by Claude Schopp in 1988 and subsequent release in 2005.
Five years after his death, Dumas fils was admitted to the elite Academie Francaise. He wrote one more play, Denise, ten years before his death in 1895.
Dumas fils
Such is Passion, and the brighter its blaze the blacker the ruins it leaves after it–the deeper the misery–the wider the loneliness. It devours itself, with no revival like the Phoenix; but Love occupies the whole of life, however extended, and still has the strength and volume to transport its worshipers to the realm of the happy.–Ch.22, The Son of Clemenceau  ~ Dumas fils


        Do You Know?

        December 21, 2010 2 comments

        Today is the birthday of Snow White and the Seven Dwarf. Released in 1937 ,between the end of the Depression and before the Second World War, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”was the first full-length animated cartoon with color and sound. This was at a time when Hollywood stars would thrive in the motion picture industry, in restoring thoughts of glamour to the everyday society of men and women, and Disney would begin its rise to the multi-faceted monopoly it is known for today. Trivia buffs: The dwarfs’ names were chosen from a pool of about fifty potentials which really included the names of Jumpy, Deafy, Dizzey,Hickey, Wheezy, Baldy, Gabby, Nifty, Sniffy, Swift, Lazy,Puffy, Stuffy, Tubby, Shorty and Burpy.

        Do you know any of the societal and political meanings hidden within the movie?

        Here is a link to my friend’s sight:

        http://thewitcontinuum.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/the-real-snow-white/

        The Wall

        November 9, 2010 5 comments

        Hopelessness…..

        This is a word that has been known by many through the shifting sands of time. No nation is unaccustomed to the reach of the spiny cold grip. Even the nations who have risen to great heights can fall to vast depths. These feelings of hopelessness are usually brought about by our own hands, are manifested in humankind through sickness, poverty and war. It is the true nature of mankind in his lust for power, greed, which couples with his inability to see beyond our differences and gives birth to his desperate need for control that builds the wall between our hearts and earth’s peoples.
        Last year on this day we celebrated 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
        The Berlin Wall stood for nearly 30 years, splitting the city of Berlin into communist East Berlin and democratic West Berlin. It was built in 1961 during the middle of the night, with street lights turned off so citizens could not see what was being done. Born of the splintering of Germany by the Allies at the end of World War II, the wall was a symbol of communist authoritarianism, the most visible element of the Iron Curtain. It separated families and cut off people from their jobs.

        Today, we are still seeing the walls built by Corporate Capitalism and ignorance in our world, clearly so in the Middle East. 

        Just think what the world would and could be like if the leaders of our world’s nations stood side by side with no financial or power-hungry pretenses in their hearts.

        Can mankind ever rise out of the darkness of the “cave days” to look beyond the war games and see into the hearts of fellow mankind as simply that, other human beings who share in the gift of life?

        Hope restored, the wall was broken and crumbled allowing families and friends to embrace after decades of separation.

        Categories: History

        Science of Murder

        Is there a science to murder? Is evil real or folklore?

        William Blackstone (citing Edward Coke), in his Commentaries on the Laws of England set out the common law definition of murder as:

        “ when a person, of sound memory and discretion, unlawfully killeth any reasonable creature in being and under the king’s peace, with malice aforethought, either express or implied.”

        The elements of common law murder are:

        The killing—At common law life ended with cardiopulmonary arrest—the total and permanent cessation of blood circulation and respiration. With advances in medical technology courts have adopted irreversible cessation of all brain function as marking the end of life.

        of a human being—This element presents the issue of when life begins. At common law, a fetus was not a human being. Life began when the fetus passed through the birth canal and took its first breath.

        by another human being—at early common law, suicide was considered murder. The requirement that the person killed be someone other than the perpetrartor excluded suicide from the definition of murder.

        with malice aforethought—originally “malice aforethought” carried its everyday meaning—a deliberate and premeditated killing of another motivated by ill will. Murder necessarily required that an appreciable time pass between the formation and execution of the intent to kill. The courts broadened the scope of murder by eliminating the requirement of actual premeditation and deliberation as well as true malice. All that was required for malice aforethought to exist is that the perpetrator act with one of the four states of mind that constitutes “malice.”
        Now, these are only a few mentionings of the legal aspects of murder.
        What are some of the scientific factors involed in one human being coming to that snapping point of murder. What actually happens in the brain?

        The Killer’s Brain
        What makes a murderer? Can malfunctions in the brain compel someone to commit acts of extreme cruelty? Are killers born or made? From Columbia University, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone has created journeys to better understand why people kill and shows this information on Discovery Channel’s Most Evil . He talks with a variety of scientists about their work and examines possible scientific explanations for violent behavior. Here is a small video excerpt:

        Do you think that committing murder is only a matter of choice? Does everyone have the capability of preventing that snap in the brain? Is it all just chemical imbalances, lack of one chemical or too much secreted of another that causes the switch to flip in the mind of a murderer?

        To argue agains chemical imbalances, Elliott Valenstein, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan who rejects the simple-minded ‘chemical imbalance’ theories. He challenges the conventional assumption that mental illness is biochemical.
        In his 1998 book, “Blaming the Brain: The Truth about Drugs and Mental Health”, Valenstein agrees that while psychotropic drugs sometimes do work, they do not even begin to address the real cause of mental disorders. They are still considered an “unproven hypothesis” used as pocket-padding marketing practices of the drug industry.

        So, are all of the murderers in our prisons considered to have a chemical imbalance/mentally ill?
        Just eight years ago, there were 148,300 persons in America’s state prisons who had been sentenced for the crime of murder. Within these confines, approximately 16 percent of the population had been diagnosed by doctors, prescribing chemical lobotomizing drugs, as having mental illness. Thirteen percent of incarcerated persons who were mentally ill had been sentenced for murder. Based on these rates, and a recent state prison population count of 1,255,514,1 it is estimated that more than 26,000 persons with a mental illness are currently incarcerated for murder in the United States. Despite the magnitude of these counts, surprisingly little is currently known about prisoners with severe mental illness who have been incarcerated for murder. a high school education or equivalent, were living in stabilized housing, and, to a lesser degree, were involved in significant intimate and familial relationships. Rage or anger, sexual perversions and issues of control were overwhelmingly directed toward intimate or family relations and were frequently mentioned motives for murder. The use of a firearm or sharp object, were the widely used tool of choice . Most of those who were chosen to be studied had been raised in households with significant family dysfunction, had extensive histories of substance abuse and criminality, and had received little treatment for their mental and substance use disorders.
        Some like to blame the quick-to-prescribe-a-pill psychologists and their sidekick pharmaceutical companies for creating these monsters. Others want to blame the actions of these twisted minds on the social impacts of poverty, alcohol and street drugs. And still, scientists are saying that they now have a way to prove the makings of a murderer through new technologies which can measure aspects of the human brain.
        Is evil real and can science prove or disprove its existence within us?

        REAL PHOTO OF A SERIAL KILLER’S LETTER TO POLICE:

        Evolution of Politics in Fairy-tales

        September 23, 2010 4 comments

        Once upon a time,….Long, long, ago, in a faraway land, it was a time of political censorship, where women had few rights and fairy-tales were one way that they could make their opinions known. The fairies themselves in the tales often stood for the aristocrats, having power over many but often caring little, bickering amongst themselves, concerned with their own power struggles. The heroines would comment on the double-standards of the times, arranged marriages, and the false glory of war; the tales also illustrated the authors’ ideas on the standards of correct manners, justice and love.

        The tales were also written in opposition to the literary establishment at the time, which championed Classical literature as the standard for French writers to follow. Fairy-tales were modelled on French folklore and the courtly love of medieval literature. When Perrault joined them in writing fairy-tales, he was taking a stand for the modern style and for women’s tales (although his tales did not exactly feature liberated females– should have been around in the 60’s. I wonder how the stories would play out now?). The “Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns” was part of the society which the fairy tales rebelled against – for most women there was no choice over which side to take, as they weren’t considered worthy of eductating in Latin and Greek anyway. Instead of being forced out, they formed their own style.

        Today, there are those who still feel the reformation of socially political statutes/harnesses regarding the female gender should have remained in place (yet secretly they still go to strip clubs and buy Maxim or Playboy).  They teach that women’s talk has been frightening and dangerous since even before the Church taught that Eve’s words (heh, heh, body language most likely) tempted Adam to eat that damn fruit ( which we all know to be a figurative form of speech and not actually partaking of real fruit was the sin- wait…. I can go off on a tangent with this, so, I will stop here) and led to the “fall”.  They preach how dear St. Paul even wrote that women should be silent, and warned others against their idle gossip. The talk of women was seductive and wicked (yeah, I am sure that is what every man is thinking…. how they love their woman to NOT be seductive or a little wicked… Pfffft!!!)

         But politics have changed. Women are able to have their own voice, thoughts and lead other packs of women in this rat race.

        The sun came out on the Dark Ages ” long, long, ago”.

        The only fairy-tales of today would include that Cinderella is a multimillionaire, married to none other than the owner of Mr. Clean company products and she works in interior design. Sleeping Beauty decided 16 was way too young to get hitched, never cared to learn homecrafts, like sewing/spinning, got the  alarm setting fixed on her iphone and teaches kick boxing at the Rec.  Snow White lives in a studio flat out in Beverly Hills and has changed her name to Katy Perry (she still thinks she is marrying a prince….must have nibbled a bit more on that apple).  

        Today, women no longer believe in fairy-tales, even if we are still spoon fed the sweet, “happily ever after’s” as children (except for on our most down of days, when we are hanging on to the last threads of hope, there might still be a real fairy-tale out there waiting to be lived). For the most part, it’s always later on in our lives the real world monsters of politics get us, we run through a slew of broken hearts/dreams and grit our teeth to become the dragon slayers. It is just as much a woman’s world as it is a man’s. If there happens to be a real prince or princess warrior who rides up next to us, they are welcome to join in for the battle and follow up with dinner and a night cap.  We are forced to make our own ways.  We evolve in the limelight of our future to exceed beyond our past expectations of fantasy.

        Categories: History, Literature, Politics