“Tolerance can never embrace. It suffers differences, instead of being hospitable to them. Though more gentle or discreet, tolerance is merely a different form of intolerance. “Toleration,” Goethe observed, “ought in reality to be merely a transitory mood. It must lead to recognition. To tolerate is to insult.” Hospitality, in contrast, embraces the radical pluralism of reality: the incommensurable otherness of the other. Hospitality means opening your arms and the doors of your heart to those who are radically different.”—Gustavo Esteva, as quoted by Matt Hern in Common Ground in a Liquid City and “In Defense of an Urban Future” (transcription via salted lion)
“These findings highlight the important role of bacteria in the bidirectional communication of the gut-brain axis and suggest that certain organisms may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.”—
The remains of artificial structures that pre-date the Amazon rainforest have been found beneath the trees in Bolivia and Brazil. The forest actually grew up and around their ruins, we read, gradually consuming these structures altogether as the rainforest we see there today slowly spread over hundreds of years and conquered the landscape.
Among the facilities at the Blossom Fields care home near Bristol is “Memory Lane”: a reconstructed 1950s street where residents, many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia, can mail letters in a George VI Post Box, make calls from a restored phone box, enjoy a pint (or, more often than not, a cup of tea) in the White Horse Inn, or pop into the greengrocers for some shopping.
“The solar system is not in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way galaxy is not in the center of the universe. And in case you are one of those people who think that the edge may be a special place, we are not at the edge of anything either.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson (via whats-out-there)
“[Algorithms and heuristics] are very important in cybernetics, for in dealing with unthinkable systems it is normally impossible to give a full specification of a goal, and therefore impossible to prescribe an algorithm. But it is not usually too difficult to prescribe a class of goals, so that moving in some general description will leave you better off (by some definite criterion) than you were before. To think in terms of heuristics rather than algorithms is at once a way of coping with proliferating variety. Instead of trying to organize it in full detail, you organize it only somewhat; you then ride on the dynamics of the system in the direction you want to go.
These two techniques for organizing control in a system of proliferating variety are really rather dissimilar. The strange thing is that we tend to live our lives by heuristics, and to try and control them by algorithms. Our general endeavor is to survive, yet we specify in detail (‘catch the 8:45 train’, ‘ask for a raise’) how to get to this unspecified and unspecifiable goal. We certainly need these algorithms, in order to live coherently; but we also need heuristics — and we are rarely conscious of them. This is because our education is planned around detailed analysis: we do not (we learn) really understand things unless we can specify their infrastructure. The point came up before in the discussion of transfer functions, and now it comes up again in connection with goals. […] Birds evolved from reptiles, it seems. Did a representative body of lizards pass a resolution to learn to fly? If so, by what means could the lizards have organized their genetic variety to grow wings? One has only to say such things to recognize them as ridiculous — but the birds are flying this evening outside my window. This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.”—
Stafford Beer, “Brain of the Firm,” 1972.
1972, folks. “This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.”
When is the last time you watched the sky revolve around us?
Earth rotates on its axis at 1,000 miles per hour (1600 kilometers per hour). At the same time, it flies around the sun at 67,000 m/h (110,000 km/h). And the Sun, with all its planets and rocks and dust in tow, makes its way around the center of the Galaxy, our Milky…
The Seed Keepers
by Palestinian poet Fawaz Turki ( b.1940)
Burn our land
burn our dream
pour acid onto our songs
cover with sawdust
the blood of our massacred people
muffle with your technology
the screams of all that is free,
wild and indigenous.
our grass and soil
raze to the ground
every farm and every village
our ancestors had built,
every tree, every home
every book, every law
and all the equity and harmony.
Flatten with your bombs
every valley; erase with your edits
our literature; our metaphor.
Denude the forests
and the earth
till no insect,
can find a place to hide.
Do that and more.
I do not fear your tryanny
I do not despair ever
for I guard one seed
a little live seed
and I shall safeguard
and plant again.
We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave.
They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better. There was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again. There was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy. There was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again.
Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.
”—~A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression.
From The Moth podcast, ‘Notes on an Exorcism’. (via jacobwren)
“Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?”—Friedrich Nietzsche (via man-of-prose)
“I think our materialism is often totally disconnected from the idea that aesthetics are crucial to our abilitity to live humanely in the world. To be able to recognize and know beauty, to be able to be lifted up by it, to be able to choose the objects in your surroundings…I’ve always been interested in Buddhist room arrangment: how do we place something in our house so that we can be made more fully human by glancing at it, or by interacting with it? And there’s so little of that in our culture.”—bell hooks, Angry Women interview, Re/Search #13 (via organization)
“We are waiting here to see if we are meant to live or die. Every day is another day of fear and destruction. If you don’t die, someone you know is likely to be among the dead. This is no life a human being can accept.”—
A Palestinian commenting on conditions inside Gaza.