Perfunctory Cover-Ups

Sometimes a memory hits you, triggered by a momentary sensation. Today, while washing my hands in a small public sink, where you have to have one hand constantly pressed down on the faucet to keep the water running, reminded me of a visit to the former Nazi ghetto and concentration camp in the Czech Republic: […]

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No Need for Translation

Have you ever listened to a piece of music in a language you do not understand, yet are profoundly moved? One does need to understand Spanish, to comprehend the suffering that the children separated from their parents at the US Mexican border are facing. One does not need to understand Arabic, to recognize the plight […]

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The Moments in Between

“The major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its actions; that the perfection of power should tend to render its […]

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Humour

When recognizing the confines of our human rationality, our automatic and mechanized daily routines, as well as our sometimes empty internal thought processes, it can be easy to enter into a dark pit of nihilism. Yet, as Camus maintains in The Myth of Sisyphus, a recognition of the absurdity of the modern human condition, can also […]

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iLanguage

In our age of nearly constant communication – whether it be through the mass media, advertising, or perpetual group chats and text messages – has language lost its content? Is language in our modern era, as Martin Esslin explains in the The Theatre of the Absurd, “devoid of real meaning?” It seems that as methods of communication […]

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Metadata – 21st Century Power

When the wall came down in 1989, one of the most haunting moments was when people peered into their Stasi files. Some realized that those they had loved were spying on them, that intimate details of their life were tracked, recorded, and organized without their knowledge. Some opted not too look, for fear of being […]

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Tomorrow’s Glory

Tomorrow I will post something spectacular, it’s going to be a lovely day. Update from ‘tomorrow’: As Bill Withers predicted, the weather today is certainly lovely. Yet, as I sit inside Senate House Library, reading sections of Vaclav Havel’s Letters to Olga, a series of letters that he wrote to his wife from prison between 1979-1983, […]

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Late Night Zinn

Howard Zinn (1922 – 2010), the influential historian and social activist, has several simple quotes that are particularly adept at explaining the role that the average citizen has played in both horrific and progressive moments in human history. The former: “Historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from […]

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Natural Architecture

There is a quote by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright on the inspiring qualities of nature for the creative process: “Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature everyday for inspiration in the day’s work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain”   While the structures of our […]

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Man in Black

Inspired by his discussions with students from Vanderbilt University in 1971, Johnny Cash wrote ‘Man in Black’. The video below is a true gift – an opportunity to glimpse into the creative process, and premiere of a piece of art so pertinent in its time that still resonates today. Well, you wonder why I always […]

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