Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Perhaps the best definition is, "Learned helplessness is a phenomenon in which individuals gradually, usually as a result of repeated failure or control by others, become less willing to attempt tasks." It may occur in everyday situations where continued failure inhibits an individual from experiencing faith in the future. Apathy and submission prevail if and when life circumstances cause the individual to experience life choices as irrelevant.
It's my belief that all of us, regardless of station in life, success or ambition, experience moments and days that reinforce our feelings of helplessness, and a percentage turn to addiction for relief. Those of us who have done just that, and later discovered that the addiction itself had become the focus of our helplessness, are in a special quandary. We turn to other forms of relief--some write, some sing, some dance, some medicate--because, in the words of Blaise Pascal, "Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in... without passion, without occupation, without diversion, without efforts. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness."
Pascal was a mathematician and physicist in the 1600s; he invented the world's first calculator, the pascaline, and throughout his life was plagued by ill health. He struggled with LHT long before it was defined, and of course, he was French.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Secrets locked in tiny boxes
Buddhist monks, lonesome Christians
Online scammers, politicians.
One day soon you’ll know them all
At the rise and at the fall
All companions, all good friends
Who’ll stay with you til the end.
Or maybe they’ll just mosey on
Humming a much different song
Than you thought you should be hearing
Song of sorrow, song of fearing.
May your friends and may your lovers
Be like music that discovers
Memories of better times
Better notes and better rhymes.
Just one thing you should remember
Keep a bullet in the chamber
Turn your back, they’ll rob you blind
Of money, love and time.
One last thing you should remember
Keep a bullet in the chamber
To be sure, they’ll rob you blind
Of money, love and time.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
sadness in Italian is tristezza
sadness in Norwegian is sorg
sadness in Spanish is tristezasadness in Swedish is sorg, vemod
Why is it that sadness, of all emotions, seems to be able to outlast so many other feelings?
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Part of an incredibly ambitious, years-in-the-making project, this is just the first volume of a series of novels that will all take place during the combustible Weimar era of the titular city. Drawn with clean lines and an attention to architectural detail that pays homage to such European comics as Hergé's "Tintin," City of Stones follows a young woman art student who starts an affair with a weary leftist journalist against a background of boiling politics and decadence. Filled with rich characters and period detail, even if the follow-up books never come, it will still be one of the premier works of historical fiction in the medium.
This semi-autobiographical novel set in the snowy hinterlands of Wisconsin tells the story of a lonely, artistic young man who struggles with his fundamentalist Christian upbringing when he falls in love. Fluidly told over 582 pages, Blankets magically recreates the high emotional stakes of adolescence. Thompson has set new bars for the medium not just in length, but breadth.
One of the best-selling graphic novels of all time, this black comedy version of Batman's latter days masterfully combines satire with superhero antics without betraying it's central character's core of danger. Along with Alan Moore & Dave Gibbon's Watchmen, it redefined the concept of "superhero," and helped spark the first wave of "serious" interest in comics.
Although best known for his book Ghost World, thanks to the movie version, Dan Clowes' David Boring, about a guy in search of a woman while the world may be ending, marked his first truly novelistic approach to graphical storytelling. Peerless in his ability to create offbeat characters and write sardonic humor, Clowes has lately gotten more experimental in his form, but David Boring remains his most readable and unified book.
The most perfect novel yet seen in this format, Ware innovates in form and in content to create a uniquely American story, both tragic and gut-splittingly funny. Neither smart nor a kid, Jimmy reunites with his long-lost dad, finds him a great disappointment, and discovers an African-American sister he never knew about. Confronting race, history, and family this book proved incontrovertibly that the form could be as deep and complex as any prose novel.
A kind of über graphic novel that collects a series of smaller graphic novels all situated in a small town "somewhere south of the U.S. border," this giant tome by a seminal comic artist will likely be the author's magnum opus. Part of the creative team behind the deeply influential "Love and Rockets" comic book series (along with his equally talented brother Jaime) Gilbert has created a pan-American epic that spans multiple generations of a family run almost exclusively by women. Hernandez' Palomar combines the look of Archie comics with Faulkner's richness of character and place into the melodramatic sweep of a sexy soap opera to create one of the most remarkable works of any narrative art.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
What is it, then, that dies? I believe that when this physical body is no longer capable of functioning, the energies within it, the atoms and molecules it is made up of, don’t die with it. They do indeed take on another form, another shape. Is this another life? Probably not, since according to the most basic Buddhist thoughts, there is no permanent, unchanging substance and nothing passes from one moment to the next. If that's the case, nothing permanent or unchanging can transmigrate from one life to the next. Being born and dying continues unbroken but changes every moment. The force that propels this continuity is karma, another Asian concept often misunderstood. Karma is closer to a simple action of cause and effect than it is to the Western idea of fate, the notion that man's life is preplanned for him by some external power, and he has no control over his destiny. Karma, however, can be changed. Because man is a conscious being he can be aware of his karma and thus strive to change the course of events.
The force that propels this continuity is karma, another Asian concept often misunderstood. Karma is closer to a simple action of cause and effect than it is to the Western idea of fate, the notion that man's life is preplanned for him by some external power, and he has no control over his destiny. Karma, however, can be changed. Because man is a conscious being he can be aware of his karma and thus strive to change the course of events.
Up to this point, I can lay a modest claim to understanding. After this, it gets too complicated. Luckily, Buddha reportedly left 84,000 teachings so as to reach the mental and spiritual capacity of each individual, from the smartest to the most humble. Being somewhere in between, I can still hope that something happens in the next world. Life is a struggle, and it really would be a great waste of effort if nothing was to remain from it.
OK, so I've had a bad day, which always leads me to musings about better days elsewhere. Hip hip for Buddhism...
Monday, August 10, 2009
The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Archilochus (7th century BC)