Monthly Archives: October 2012

Words of wisdom: Sasha Grey

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It is time for spreading some high culture over this blog. By which I mean, of course, porn – the greatest cinematographic and audiovisual art ever made by any sentient being.  Continue reading

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Tips for becoming an ignoramus. How to study without learning anything?

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In order to become an ignoramus, there are nine basic steps you should take or guidelines you should follow. If you sincerely will follow these, I promise that you won’t learn a thing and will successfully waste your life. Moreover, by adopting these principles and implementing them thoroughly you may bear the honor of becoming the living proof of natural selection (is there any greater honor to have than that? Dare to challenge me). Your name may disappear from the annals of history, but your influence and example, will certainly have left its decisive mark on countless future generations.

Now, let me introduce you to the commandments you should know by heart. Continue reading

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Lego ergo sum

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Why do you read so much? Why do you like reading? People usually give the following reasons:

– I want to learn more about the world and people around me. Reading is the short-cut to knowledge.
– Reading expands my horizon and challenges me. It makes me smarter and more interesting to talk to.
– Learning from the mistakes of others allows me to avoid committing a mistake of my own.

No doubt, much of what is mentioned here rings true to us. This is because we use the same alibi. And it’s flattering and seems plausible, does it not?
Now, allow me to muddle the water just a little. I have a slight suspicion that the actual reasons for our great delight in the art of reading have much less to do with acquiring new knowledge than with satisfying our basic egotistical urges (this might appear as an artificial dichotomy as the first might include the second and vice versa. Perhaps our greatest egotistical urge is precisely – to acquire knowledge ). Anyway, here’s why. Continue reading

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October 19, 2012 · 11:39 pm

Music and religion

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Music (and perhaps art in general) has this wonderful power to uplift one’s mood and change one’s attitude towards life (even if only for a brief moment). In this, it reminds me a little of the promises of religion. Both religion and music actually act more in the realm of human feelings, passions and irrationalities, than in the realms of cold logic, reason and scientific precision. Hence there should be no surprise that many good musicians are actually quite religious folks (with notable exceptions, of course). Bob Marley was a Rastafarian, David Bowie – a Buddhist, Prince – a Jehova’s Witness, Madonna – an esoteric Kabbalist, Michael Jackson – a non-practicing, eclectic Christian of a kind . Being a musician makes you naturally more attuned to the religious lingo and more open to the spiritual experiences of any kind (see for example – http://www.adherents.com/people/100_rock.html). Continue reading

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Childhood, Dreams and Ignorance

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When I was a little child of 3 or 4, I dreamed of growing up. In fact, I could not wait for becoming an adult. I thought to myself, what kind of a man I’ll be, when I have all grown up? What will I look like at 20, 21 or 22? What will I be doing? Naturally, as every other kid, I envisioned my future in rosy colors (and to an extent still do). Continue reading

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Mormons

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What would you do if a young American in a black suit approached you on a street and offered you his spiritual advice? Would you take the gamble and return the act of kindness (his invitation for an interaction with you) by sacrificing a couple of minutes of your valuable time? Would you listen to what he has to say and offer? Now, imagine, that this young and ignorant punk were a Mormon, would this make any difference to you? I can answer only for myself. In the past two weeks I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting three youthful Mormon lads – Reeves, Fox and one other guy, whose name I don’t remember (all American – from Washington D.C., Texas, Utah respectively). This is a remarkable accomplishment in itself of which I am quite secretly proud, amazed and amused at the same time. Ever since my early 20s I have had a fervent desire to discuss matters spiritual with the convinced knee-benders, involved shareholders and serious gamers of any self-congratulatory sect or religious enterprise. From then on, I have had many stimulating and boring conversations with all sorts of people – self-proclaimed gurus, notorious avatars, serious meditatiors, legion of New Agers, Micky Mouse Zen-masters, country priests and pastors, monks and nuns, psycho-babblers and herbalists, even with a guy who managed to convince himself that he had a direct communication line with God himself and his heavenly hierarchy. Continue reading

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Book review #1 Werner Bartens “Wie das Krankenhaus uns krank macht”

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I have skimmed slowly through the pages of a book by German journalist Werner Bartens “Wie das Krankenhaus uns krank macht”. Here’s my two cents on it: Doctors as well as medical scientists all over the world make many mistakes, some of which have lethal consequences. Medics are especially prone to rationalization – they cannot simply admit their mistakes and live happily ever after. Ergo a culture of lies and taboos have cropped over the medical landscape. Some doctors can even get away with a murder (provided it is disguised as a scientific experiment for the benefit of future generations). Continue reading

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From Mark Twain’s “What is Man?”

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There have been innumerable Temporary Seekers after Truth—have you ever heard of a permanent one? In the very nature of man such a person is impossible. However, to drop back to the text—training: all training is one or another of OUTSIDE INFLUENCE, and ASSOCIATION is the largest part of it. A man is never anything but what his outside influences have made him. They train him downward or they train him upward—but they TRAIN him; they are at work upon him all the time. Continue reading

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October 11, 2012 · 3:08 pm

Gray Matters: Brain Science in the 21st Century

Fascinating and enlightening panel discussion on the human brain. All nice and clean, though, in my mind, where it gets tricky (and for that matter, sticky)  is when some of the honorable scientists start to flirt with various forms of spirituality –  transcendental meditation, Zen, mindfulness training or even the old-fashioned Catholic prayer being the paramount examples. (See the segment from min 47. to approx. 50) Meditation and other so-called spiritual exercises are not a Wunderwaffe.  In fact, they are terribly overrated. In terms of the “beneficial effects on the brain”, I believe there are no substantial difference between meditating on a Zen koan, watching a horror movie or reading Plato’s dialogues. In all of these cases, one’s attention is being directed to a particular image, thought or activity. Thus the universal aspect, which they all share is – enter the magic word –  attention. Now, we have a choice to make here, either you read a book and actually learn something new or watch a stupid movie and have a good laugh or sit silently for 20 minutes focusing on the inhalation of air in your bodily system. Now, why would you want to meditate? You may say: “But I want to find my inner bliss, I long for happiness, –  (or to put it more pompously) – I seek enlightenment. And to attain these lofty goals of mine, every now and then, I meditate for 20 plus minutes.” You could argue even further and state what the brain-scientists have discovered over the past decades, which would presumably give the scientific validity card in your hand to play. Continue reading

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October 11, 2012 · 12:42 pm

The silly beginning

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So here it begins. My first very awkward step in the great unknown land of blogosphere. Having no original thoughts and no talents to showcase, possessing no good qualities – except the widespread snobbery and the all too common megalomania – , and even more crucially, writing in a vulgar English lingo that has little resemblance to the poetic verses of King James Bible or William Butler Yeats, I might anger and bore to death the potential reader with some presumptuous and arrogant nonsense. Of course what I have written in the previous sentence is already a claim of preposterous magnitude as it promises much more than it may deliver. I apologize in advance for all the wasted time you will spend here. But if you have time to waste, you might as well waste it here. In this way we will be wasting time together. If love means anything, its meaning is precisely this – wasting time together -, is it not so?

“It is as I have said: the mind is independent of the man. He has no control over it; it does as it pleases. It will take up a subject in spite of him; it will stick to it in spite of him; it will throw it aside in spite of him. It is entirely independent of him.”  – Mark Twain

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