Left brain / Right brain

Creativity, Nature, Psychology, Uncategorized

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I will begin with showing this link to a 20 minute Youtube video on the subject of some differences between right brain and left brain activity.

Reading this review of Daniel Kahneman’s book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ has caught my attention. Not for the first time has the subject of duel ways of processing our environment interested me. I am interested in the quick, intuitive ways of behaviour and not so capable when it comes to delibarate and labourous ways myself, so the whole subject is one I am familiar with –
Here is a review of the book in question, see if it interests you too.

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Discussing the famous “gorilla study” kahneman writes,

The gorilla study illustrates two important facts about our minds; we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.

The latter point is an ongoing theme of the book: not only do our powers of observation and reasoning fail us, but we rarely become aware of those failures.

The following words are from the Financial Times review of the book; Kahneman presents our thinking process as consisting of two systems. System 1 (Thinking Fast) is unconscious, intuitive and effort-free. System 2 (Thinking Slow) is conscious, uses deductive reasoning and is an awful lot of work. In Kahneman’s words, System 1 is “indeed the origin of much that we do wrong” but it is critical to understand that “it is also the origin of most of what we do right – which is most of what we do”. Kahneman’s book will help you Think Slow about what Thinking Fast gets very wrong, and what it gets very right.

‘. . . We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment’s scenarios. Pattern recognition.’ William Gibson, ‘Pattern Recognition.’

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Here is another googled image of ‘right brain, left brain.’

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..and other..

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Great Nature

Uncategorized

The emmigration of animals, and birds in particular, is one of, if not the most, amazing events of nature.

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Here is a link to a Youtube video about bird migration;

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A map depicts the migration of 19 sooty shearwaters that were tracked using electronic tags in a recent study.

The research showed that the birds migrated 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) a year, flying from New Zealand to the North Pacific and back. It is the longest animal migration ever recorded electronically.

Map courtesy PNAS/Inset photo courtesy Steve Shunk/USGS

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The Mystery of Migration
Mangrove and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park

Why do birds migrate?
The reasons are complex and not fully understood. But a simple explanation is food and a safe place to breed. Birds which breed in the summer in the extreme north such as the Arctic benefit from an abundance of food as plants and insect life flourish in the long daylight hours; and because few large permanent predators can survive the harsh winter. Many birds that breed in the Arctic simply lay their eggs on the ground. Being able to fly, they can avoid the harsh winter conditions, and be the first to arrive to enjoy the summer benefits. In fact, some have suggested that the question should be why don’t all birds migrate. Flight gives birds a huge advantage in finding new sources of food and good places to breed, that it is strange that not more birds migrate.

How did bird migration routes become established?
Migration is affected not only by food supply, but also by wind and oceans currents. These make some routes and locations easier to reach. While many birds migrate from northern breeding areas in the summer, to southern wintering grounds (mainly because there is more land near the northern pole than the southern), there are many other migration patterns. Some birds breed in the far south of South America, Australasia and Africa, and migrate to northern wintering grounds. Some birds migrate horizontally, to enjoy the milder coastal climates in winter. Other birds migrate in terms of altitude; moving higher up a mountain in summer, and wintering on the lowlands. All kinds of birds migrate, from large cranes, birds of prey, to tiny hummingbirds. Even flightless birds migrate! Emus move from breeding sites in the rainy season to more permanent water sources in the dry. Penguins migrate in the ocean. Auk babies migrate by swimming until they fledge and can fly! Even birds that spend their entire non-breeding time in flight, such as seagulls, also move around on the ocean to follow seasonal food abundances.

How do birds migrate such long distances?
Birds exploit the winds to their favour so they can go the distance by burning minimal fuel. They may shift altitude to find the best wind “conveyor belt”. Winds at high altitude may blow in the opposite direction from wind on the ground, and usually are blowing strongly. Larger birds rely on thermals (hot air) rising from the ground in the mornings to gain altitude by simply soaring. These birds usually migrate during the day. They may also follow strong updrafts along ridges.
The longest migration is undertaken by the Arctic Tern (Sterna paraisaea). It breeds in the Arctic North in the summer, then flies all the way to the other pole to spend winter on the Antarctic ice pack. The shortest distance between the two poles is 15,000km, but the birds usually travel a more circuitous route and can cover up to 20,000km; making a round trip of 30-40,000km!

New Old England

Fairy tales, Illustration, Indigenous culture, Nature, Uncategorized

I want to refind, or redifine my image of England and the UK as a country. There is a broad history, steeped in stories and mysteries. Possible since the Industrial revolution circa 1780 have we lost touch with a more innocent and wonderous inter-personnal relationship with our surroundings? William Blake I’m sure can help start me off on this one.. Leading to more ancient history and times and hopefully, back to the future to a fresher, less dis-illustioned view of this little land.

‘I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.’
William Blake

Samuel Palmer is a favorate English landscape romantist of mine.

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To me, he represents a lost love of the commune with nature

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Click here for an interesting BBC article about Palmer and the relationship of urban and rural life
To me, spending time under the stars at night, seeing sunsets and sunrises, being in nature, can have an awe inspiring effect on us.

Here is a link to St Mary’s church of Warwick which I visited whilst passing through a couple of weeks ago, included is the Beauchamp Chantry, the finest medieval chapel in England apparently.

The church foundations date back nearly nine hundred years, being created by Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick in 1123. The only surviving part of the Norman church which de Beaumont had built is the crypt.

Here’s a link to a youtube video of Tony Robinson’s ‘Maid Marian,’ haven’t seen it since I was a kid – It’s good!

 A great depiction for me with some sense of medieval English life – evocative. Of course, funny, and 80’s too..  A great kid’s program I’m still (re)finding funny now!

Robinson’s scripts were always bursting with wit and imagination, injecting something of the spirit of Blackadder and often involving deliberately anachronistic, explanations of historical events.

The writing was ably supported by both the impressive design and the regular inclusion of funny, original songs.

Unusually for a children’s sitcom, there were no child characters among the main cast but even so kids flocked to a show that was offering a fun take on history, directly aimed at them.

Running for four series it was a triumph for Robinson in a notoriously difficult genre, both garlanded with well-deserved BAFTA and RTS Awards at the time and still warmly remembered today.

Prophetic Dreams

Creativity, existentialism, Nature, Psychology, Spirituality

‘Divine Calling!’ Does such a concept really exist? Mohammed was an illiterate before he heard God talking to him, giving him a task on this earth, a mission to follow through. I will be exploring some more on this topic and finding other referances to similiar stories of humans claiming direct dialogue with God, or a higher being..

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The Golden Rule of Dream Work

Before embarking on the adventure of engaging your Dream Oracle, there is one rule that must be heeded: even when attempting to incubate a question for others, ninety-nine percent of the time, the dream is for the dreamer. As simple and obvious as that sounds, too many dreamers assume their dreams of friends or family are urgent messages for those people, rather than messages coded in symbol and intended for self. While eventually you will learn to distinguish a true precognitive dream involving another person, in the beginning the tendency is to mistake typical dream content as information you need to pass on in real life, to those in the dream.

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Vaticinium Ex Eventu:
The Fallacy of Prophecy

Vaticinium ex eventu is a famous Latin dictum that when translated into English means prophecy from the event. That is to say a the results of an event (i.e. a battle) are attributed and alluded to a prophecy made previously that at the time of documentation did not have a meaning attributed to it. Throughout history, there have been many prophecies which when looked back upon, seem to accurately describe and predict future events. Often times these prophecies come via dreams and in that case the maxim in somnis veritas, in dreams there is truth, comes into play. For centuries, before the technology and the scientific approach of today was used, prophetic dreams were taken to be truth; vaticinium ex eventu would only further prove the theory. Are these prophetic dreams fate, or simply just mere coincidence. In examining three famous premonitions: Calpurnia’s dream of Julius Caesar’s assassination, Joan of Arc’s vision of being captured and killed by the English, and Abraham Lincoln’s prophetic dream of his own death, two critics, Lucretius and Ethan Allen provide an alternate explanation to the nature of prophecy and dreams. Dreams that seem to be of prophetic nature are in fact interpreted in such a way that vaticunium ex eventu is the cause or influences from waking life are found in the dreams, and therefore in sonis veritas plays a role.
In the article “Lucretius on the Gates of Horn and Ivory: A Philosophical Challenge to Prophecy on Dreams”, the author Mark Holowchak examines Lucretius’s stance on prophetic dreams and elaborates on them. Holowchak states that Lucretius’s main theory is that “…dreams, like mirrors, reflect our waking personality” (Holowchak). He goes further to state that “…dreams have no divine character and are not at all prophetic…they originate from the influx of certain images” (Holowchak). Lucretius establishes first off that dreams are the result of images and experiences from out waking lives. The content of our dreams is neither unique nor divine. Continuing with this thought, Holowchak writes, “…he [Lucretius] notes that we tend to dream about our daily deeds and thoughts. Barristers dream of law. Generals dream of fighting battles. Sailors dream of waging war with the wind” (Holowchak). Advancing Lucretius’s point he states that, “The reservoir of images from which dreams would certainly contain a predominance of images related to a dreamer’s daily thoughts and experiences” (Holowchak). Dreams are a random images and thoughts influenced by one’s daily waking life. Because “Generals dream if fighting battles”, it is therefore no surprise that they might dream of a victory against a foe. It is not prophecy but mere coincidence combined with previously conceived thoughts and influences from daily life that in the dream the general foresaw prophecy and it happened to come true. Therefore, prophecies are simply just coincidences based off of experiences, pre-conceived thoughts and ideas, and images from waking life, and are not visions of the future.
Likewise in chapter seven of Ethan Allen’s book Oracles of Reason, Allen states his opening argument on the nature of prophecy by saying

Prophecy is by some thought to be miraculous, and by others to be supernatural and there are others who indulge themselves in an opinion, that they amount to no more than mere political conjectures. Some nations have feigned an intercourse with good spirits by the act of magic; and most nations have pretended to an intercourse with the world of spirits both ways (Allen, 51)

Here, Allen suggests the idea of prophecy is of a supernatural nature or if that not be the case, that the idea of prophecy and prophecies in general are a political tool used to advance a particular agenda. He furthers his opening argument by saying that “…prophecy, as well as all other sort of precognition must be supernaturally inspired, or it could be no more than judging of future events from mere probability or guess-work” (Allen, 52). Allen argues that one could “have a prophetic dream” about tomorrow’s weather conditions and be able to predict them. However, if one is already proficient in field of meteorology, than it was not so much as prophetic as it was good guesswork. Additionally, Allen states

…provided some of the prophecies should point out some particular events, which have since taken place, there might have been previous grounds of probability, that such or such events would in the ordinary cause of things come to pass…” (Allen, 55)

Similarly to the previous argument, Allen argues that prophetic dreams are not premonitions if there are “…previous grounds of probability…” that events predicted would be likely to happen. He sights an example from the bible to help support his argument. Allen provides the example by saying, “…it is in no ways extraordinary that the prophet Jeremiah should be able to predict that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, should take Jerusalem when we consider the power of the Babylonish [sic] Empire” (Allen, 55). Parallel to how it was considerably easy to come to the conclusion that Babylon was going to take over Jerusalem ante facto, many prophecies “are dreamt” according to the same fashion.
In conclusion, both Lucretius and Ethan Allen both argue the invalidity of prophecies. Lucretius argues that dreams are reflective of waking life, and therefore if you’re waking life gives you reason to believe an event will come to pass, it could arrive in your dream. In that case, the dream would be recognized as “prophecy”. Likewise, Ethan Allen argues that prophecies could and tend to be more of an “educated hypothesis” nature, rather than divine intervention, as is the case with Jeremiah and the Babylonian invasion.
In applying these two theories to historical accounts, the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE is one of the most famous. According to historical sources, including the famous historian Plutarch as well as many others, the day before Caesar’s assassination, Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, had a prophetic dream that predicted Caesar’s death. The account goes as follows

…the night of 14 March [44 BCE] Calpurnia suffered a nightmare in which she is variously claimed to have seen either the pediment of the house collapsing or that she was holding his [Julius Caesar] murdered body in her arms. Then the morning sacrifices on the 15th were repeated several times, but the omens were always unfavorable. Caesar is suppose to have been surprised because his wife was nor normally given to superstition… (Goldsworthy, 507)

According to the source by Plutarch, Calpurnia had terrible nightmares and when she recounted them to her husband they all mentioned his murder. As one can see, multiple sources confirm Calpurnia’s premonition regarding Caesar’s assassination. To the untrained eye, it would seem that Calpurnia’s dream was in fact prophetic, for the next day, Caesar was found on the senate floor with “…twenty-three [stab] wounds to his body” (Goldsworthy, 508). However, upon closer examination of the context of Rome in March of 44 BCE, the word “prophecy” and “premonition” might be unfound.
At this time in Rome, it was not unknown that Caesar was not popular among all citizens. In fact, “there is little reason to doubt that in the weeks before his death the atmosphere of Rome was somber in the extreme” (Bradford, 286) and furthermore, “…small groups of men were known to be meeting behind closed doors in private houses, and the air was full of rumors” (Bradford, 286). With these ideas in mind, it is not so unusual that Calpurnia dreamed of her husband’s death. According to Lucretius, experiences in Calpurnia’s waking life i.e. rumors of an assassination plot would have lead her to her premonition in her dream. Similarly, according to Ethan Allen, Calpurnia’s dream of a collapsing house, if we take it in the more symbolic approach, could be hypothesized to have meant Caesar’s death, especially if educated guesswork was involved due to the political environment at the time. In that case vaticinium ex eventu would be an appropriate conclusion. As one can see, Calpurnia’s dream, although accurately predicted Caesar’s death, is most likely the result of influences from waking life and other factors that would lead her to draw the conclusion and have a “prediction” when in fact it is merely coincidence.
Another example of a prophetic dream is that of Joan of Arc. During the latter part of the Hundred Years War between England and France, France was in desperate need of a hero, or in this case a heroine. Driven by her visions and prophetic dreams of saints and other Christian figures, Joan of Arc went from an unknown farmer’s daughter to the general of the French armies. Joan of Arc died on the 30th of May 1431 sentenced to burning at the stake. Before her trail and execution by the English, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians and later sold to the English.
In a prophetic dream Joan had in March of 1429, she foresaw her own capture and death by the hands of the English. Recounting her dream as well as her interpretation to her king Charles VII, Joan of Arc tell him, “ ‘I shall last a year, and but little longer. We must think to do good work in that year.’ Later, she elaborated by saying that she would be captured by mid-summer day…” (Sullivan, 152). Only fourteen months later, as predicted, Joan was captured by Burgundian soldiers. During that year, she was sold to the English and put on trial, the affirmative argued that “

the accused [Joan of Arc] had performed, composed, participated in, and enacted numerous sorceries and superstitions not only this year but from childhood…she prophesized the future… (Hobbins, 125)

On one hand, it would seem that Joan’s dream was indeed prophecy especially considering that throughout her life Joan of Arc claimed to have visions and prophecies. Additonally, “During the late Middle –Ages, when Joan of Arc claimed to have voices speak to her, women visionaries were increasingly prominent…” (Sullivan, 21). However, in view of Lucretius and Ethan Allen’s critiques of prophetic dreams, perhaps it was mere coincidence. Like the context surrounding Julius Caesar and the political and social atmosphere engulfing the city of Rome in 44 BCE, France during the Hundred Years War was also in an unstable setting. Due to this atmosphere, it would not be unusual for people to dream of their own demise in some fashion, particularly those of high rank and of great importance, like Joan of Arc. Furthermore, it was not a hidden truth that the English and the Burgundians despised Joan of Arc, as she was the one who had turned the war around. Therefore, because of this knowledge and experiences in Joan of Arc’s waking life, it is not surprising that she had a dream of her capture and death and moreover that she could have easily hypothesized such events. In conclusion, when taking in account the events surrounding Joan of Arc’s waking life, it is clear that it was influential in her having a dream where she prophesized her death and therefore the fact that she was captured and killed post facto is a coincidence.
A final example of prophetic dreams as mere coincidence is the story of Abraham Lincoln prediction. According to a source, “Lincoln accurately forecasted his own death only a few days prior to his actual assassination on Good Friday, 14 April 1865” (Brennan, 51). In his dream, Lincoln recounts that

…he heard sobs…I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight…where were all the people who were grieving…I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered…[there] rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments… ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded… ‘The President…he was killed by an assassin!’… (Brennan, 52)

It is clear, similar from the other two dreams of Calpurnia and Joan of Arc , that the message behind the dream is the ultimate death of Lincoln .Three days after he prophesized his death in a dream, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilks Boothe on April 14th 1865.
In examining the context of Lincoln’s life and the atmosphere of 1865, it seems quite plausible that the environment and waking life influenced this dream. First off, Marcia Brennan in her article “Tragic Dreams and Spectral Doubles: The Metaphysical Lincoln”, Brennan states that

viewed aethetically, Lincoln’s apparitional visions can be seen as expressions of memento mori, or remainders of death as projected through the prism of an overarching fatalism (Brennan, 52)

From this, one can see that Lincoln had a taste for works of a dark nature. Taking that into account combined with the background knowledge of the era, the Civil War, where there undoubtedly countless threats from Southerns against Linocln, it is not surprising in the least that Lincoln dreamed of his assassination. As Lucretius would say, influences from waking life attributed to Lincoln dreaming his assassination. In conjunction with Ethan Allen’s view that hypothesized guesses and the situation that Lincoln found himself in (i.e. enemy of the South, subject of distaste by the South, etc.), it is clear that Lincoln’s premonition is chance and not fate.
In conclusion, although prophetic dreams seem to foretell future events, and as the past three examples have shown, accurately predict the future, there are other forces at work. Two philosophers, Lucretius and Ethan Allen, both have presented alternate views to prophetic dreams, other than the obvious prophetic dreams predict the future. Waking life experiences, combined with other factors such as educated guesses and understanding the context of the socio-political environment, directly influence dreams. Perhaps therefore, dreams are not fate but just mere influxes of images which in a strange occurrence of events are manifested in a vision that seems to be of the future.

Works Citied

Allen, Ethan. “Chapter VII.” Reason. the only oracle of man; or, a compendious System of natural religion, by Col. Ethan Allen; to which is added, Critical remarks on the truth and harmony of the four gospels, with observations on the instruction given by Jesus Christ, and the doctrines of Christianity, by a Free Thinker. 51-68. New York, NY US: G W & A J Matsell, 1836. PsycINFO. EBSCO. Web. 28 Apr. 2011.

Bradford, Ernle. Julius Caesar: the Pursuit of Power. New York: Morrow, 1984. Print.

Brennan, Marcia. “Tragic Dreams and Spectral Doubles: The Metaphysical Lincoln,” PN Review 188 (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2009), pp. 49-53.

Goldsworthy, Adrian Keith. Caesar: Life of a Colossus. New Haven: Yale UP, 2006. Print.

Hobbins, Daniel. The Trial of Joan of Arc. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2005. Print.

Holowchak, Mark. “Lucretius on the Gates of Horn and Ivory: A Psychophysical Challenge to Prophecy by Dreams.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 42.4 (2004): 355-68. Web. 14 Apr. 2011.

Sullivan, Karen. The Interrogation of Joan of Arc. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1999. Print.

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Retreat

Creativity, Nature

I am off on holiday as from tomorrow, on a canal boat – obviously the attraction is being peaceful, relaxing and just generally cruising along. I wonder thus what other extremes a person might make to find a higher state of peace from the general speed of life. It seems natural that humans should feel the need to bond closely with nature, to benifit from getting in tune with her. ImageClick here for a link to a website offering such an experience as retreating into nature to recharge ourselves.

Why did Henry Thoreau live in the woods?

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Thoreau wanted to get the most from his life by determining what was really important, and he did that by removing himself somewhat from the normal life of Concord, Massachusetts in the 1840’s. One side of this was economic: he reduced his material needs by living simply, so that he would not have to spend much time supporting a lifestyle that he did not need or care about. The other side was spiritual, not unlike the spiritual retreats of eastern and western religions.
And it worked. Thoreau liked it so much that he lived in his cabin for more than two years, and came back with a great story. He worked on this story for several years after leaving the Pond, until it became the Walden we know today. Image

It’s definitely getting me thinking about doing something beyond an ordinary relaxing holiday – I would like to enrol on a retreat such as this one – Where creativity and calmness can come together in a synthesis: The Art of Stillness.

This is an interesting link to a Guardian interview with a guy who went to a primitive cultured
people with the intention of converting them to Christianity. He ended up being converted by them.. Check it out here

20120526-114836.jpgAnd here is a nice interview with Daniel Everett on the excellent organization ‘Future Primitive.’ http://www.futureprimitive.org/2012/03/daniel-everett-the-grammar-of-happiness/

Bluebeard

Fairy tales, Illustration

The fairy tale Bluebeard is a dark one! Here is a great explaination of it by a fellow WordPressor..! Click here for link:


Once upon a time, in the fair land of France, there lived a very powerful lord, the owner of estates, farms and a great splendid castle, and his name was Bluebeard. This wasn’t his real name, it was a nickname, due to the fact he had a long shaggy black beard with glints of blue in it. He was very handsome and charming, but, if the truth be told, there was something about him that made you feel respect, and a little uneasy…
Bluebeard often went away to war, and when he did, he left his wife in charge of the castle. He had had lots of wives, all young, pretty and noble. As bad luck would have it, one after the other, they had all died, and so the noble lord was forever getting married again.

“Sire,” someone would ask now and again, “what did your wives die of?”

“Hah, my friend,” Bluebeard would reply, “one died of smallpox, one of a hidden sickness, another of a high fever, another of a terrible infection… Ah, I’m very unlucky, and they’re unlucky too! They’re all buried in the castle chapel,” he added. Nobody found anything strange about that. Nor did the sweet and beautiful young girl that Bluebeard took as a wife think it strange either.
She went to the castle accompanied by her sister Anna, who said:

“Oh, aren’t you lucky marrying a lord like Bluebeard?”

“He really is very nice, and when you’re close, his beard doesn’t look as blue as folk say!” said the bride, and the two sisters giggled delightedly. Poor souls! They had no idea what lay in store for them!

A month or so later, Bluebeard had the carriage brought round and said to his wife, “Darling, I must leave you for a few weeks. But keep cheerful during that time, invite whoever you like and look after the castle. Here,” he added, handing his bride a bunch of keys, “you’ll need these, the keys of the safe, the armoury and the library keys, and this one, which opens all the room doors.
Now, this little key here,” and he pointed to a key that was much smaller than the others, “opens the little room at the end of the great ground floor corridor. Take your friends were you want, open any door you like, but not this one! Is that quite clear?” repeated Bluebeard. “Not this one! Nobody at all is allowed to enter that little room. And if you ever did go into it, I would go into such a terrible rage that it’s better that you don’t!”

“Don’t worry, husband,” said Bluebeard’s wife as she took the keys, “I’ll do as you say.” After giving her a hug, Bluebeard got into his carriage, whipped up the horses and off he went.

The days went by. The young girl invited her friends to the castle and showed them round all the rooms except the one at the end of the corridor.

“Why shouldn’t I see inside the little room? Why? Why is it forbidden?” Well, she thought about it so much that she ended up bursting with curiosity, until one day she opened the door and walked into the little room… Of all ghastly horrors! Inside, hanging on the walls were the bodies of Bluebeard’s wives: he had strangled them all with his own hands!

Terror stricken, the girl ran out of the room, but the bunch of keys slipped from her grasp. She picked them up without a glance and hurried to her own room, her heart thumping wildly in her chest. Horrors! She was living in a castle of the dead! So that is what had happened to Bluebeard’s other wives!

The girl summoned up her courage and she noticed that one of the keys – the very key to the little room – was stained with blood.

“I must wipe it clean, before my husband comes back!” she said to herself. But try as she would, the blood stain wouldn’t wash away. She washed, she scrubbed and she rinsed it; all in vain, for the key was still red. That very evening, Bluebeard came home. Just imagine the state his poor wife was in!

Bluebeard did not ask his wife for the keys that same evening, but he remarked, “You look a little upset, darling. Has anything nasty happened?”

“Oh, no! No!”

“Are you sorry I came back so soon?”

“Oh, no! I’m delighted!” But that night, the bride didn’t sleep a wink. Next day, Bluebeard said:

“Darling, give me back the keys,” and his wife hurriedly did so. Bluebeard remarked, “There’s one missing, the key to the little room!”

“Is there?” said the young girl shaking,

“I must have left it in my room!”

“All right, go and get it.” But when Bluebeard’s wife put the key into his hand, Bluebeard turned white and in a deep hoarse voice demanded:

“Why is this key stained with blood?”

“I don’t know…” stammered his wife.

“You know very well!” he retorted. “You went into the little room, didn’t you? Well, you’ll go back again, this time for good, along with the other ladies in there. You must die!”

“Oh no! I pray you!”

“You must die!” he repeated. Just then, there was a knock at the door and Anna, Bluebeard’s wife’s sister, entered the castle.

“Good morning,” she said, “you seem rather pale.”

“Not at all, we’re quite well,” replied Bluebeard.

His wife whispered in his ear, “Please, please give me ten minutes to live!”

Bluebeard replied, “Not more than ten!”

The girl ran to her sister Anna who had gone up to one of the towers and asked her,”Anna, do you see our brothers coming? They promised they would come and see me today!”

But Anna replied, “No, I don’t see anyone. What’s wrong? You look agitated.”

“Anna, please,” said the shaken girl, “look again! Are you sure you can’t see someone?”

“No,” said her sister, “only one or two peasants.”

Just then the voice of Bluebeard boomed up to them, “Wife, your time is up! Come here!”

“I’m coming!” she called, but then said to her sister: “Oh Anna, aren’t our brothers coming?…”

“No,” replied Anna. Again Bluebeard shouted up.

“Come down at once! Or I’ll come up!” Trembling like a leaf, his wife went downstairs. Bluebeard was clutching a big knife and he grabbed his bride by the hair…

“Sister, I can see two horsemen coming!” called out Anna from the tower that very moment.

Bluebeard made a horrible face, “They too will die!”

His wife knelt to implore, “Please, please don’t kill me. I’ll never tell anyone what I saw! I’ll never say a word!”

“Yes, you’ll never say a word for eternity!” snarled Bluebeard, raising his knife.

The poor girl screamed, “Have pity on me!”

But he fiercely replied, “No! You must die!” He was about to bring the knife down on the girl’s delicate neck, when two young men burst into the room: a dragon and a musketeer. They were his wife’s brothers.

Drawing their swords, they leapt towards Bluebeard, who tried to flee up some stairs, but was caught and killed. And that was the end of the sad story. Bluebeard’s poor wives were given a Christian burial, the castle was completely renovated and the young widow, some time later, married a good and honest young man, who helped her to forget the terrible adventure. And that young lady completely lost all her sense of curiosity.

Here is a link to Clarissa Pinkola Estes website.

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The nineteen stories which Estes uses in “Women Who Run With Wolves” convey the traits of the natural instinctive psyche shared by the wild woman and the wolf. Bluebeard is used by Estes as an example of this.

“Bluebeard” demonstrates to the reader the naive woman who finds a need to call up her instincts. It is a tale which uses an evil being who wishes to snuff out the light innocent of souls.
Similar to William Carlos Williams and other poets who also worked in the health or other professions in tandem, Estés is a poet who uses her poems throughout her psychoanalytic books, spokenword audios, and stage performances as expressive therapy for others.

In Kurt Vonnegut’s 1987 book ‘Bluebeard‘ the protagonist is a person who is betrayed yet simultaneously, the betrayer.
The nature of the books character’s relationship is defined by Vonnegut’s use of the Bluebeard fairy tale. In the novel, Rabo has a huge potato barn that is his painting studio. “Right after my wife died, I personally nailed the doors…and immobilized [them]…with six big padlocks and massive hasps,” Rabo writes (43). When Circe’s incessantly curious nature demands to know what is inside Rabo’s potato barn, he snaps and says, “Look: think about something else, anything else. I am Bluebeard, and my studio is my forbidden chamber as far as you’re concerned” (51). This represents, despite the two position’s philosophical marriage in Rabo’s act of writing, the essential gap between the traditions of high art and popular culture. Rabo has secret places where either Circe cannot, or he will not let her go. This image is strengthened by the curiosity on Circe’s part about that which is forbidden her.

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The suppressed

Colonisation, Feminism, Indigenous culture, Psychology

This post is starting off as an information on ideas and themes of certain oppressed peoples in the modern world, from women to ethnic minorities. One initial interested is to make efforts to understand how psychological warfare is possibly the most potent and dangerous means of an oppressor. If this could be understood more then the down trodden would have the beginnings of reclaiming their own minds and self government.

“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.”
― John F. Kennedy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_Party

The Denial of Death

existentialism, Psychology

Click the image below to get the link to about Ernest Becker’s 1973 Pulitizer prize winning seminal book, ‘The Denial of Death.’

A review of the book by ‘A wayfarer’s notes’ can be found at this link;

http://perpetual-lab.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/denial-of-death-by-ernest-becker.html

Click here for link to about the documentary ‘Flight from Death,’ a film inspired by the work of Ernest Becker

‘Flight from Death’ uncovers death anxiety as a possible root cause of many of our behaviors on a psychological, spiritual, and cultural level.

Following the work of the late cultural anthropologist, Ernest Becker, and his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Denial of Death, this documentary explores the ongoing research of a group of social psychologists that may forever change the way we look at ourselves and the world. Over the last twenty-five years, this team of researchers has conducted over 300 laboratory studies, which substantiate Becker’s claim that death anxiety is a primary motivator of human behavior, specifically aggression and violence.


I think this movie is a nice way to relate this post too
The film was inspired by Emilio Estevez’s own son, Taylor. It started in 2003 as a project when Taylor, at the time 19 years old, and Sheen, whose The West Wing TV series was in hiatus, took part in the pilgrimage route. Taylor, who served as an associate producer on the film, had driven the length of the Camino with his grandfather. On the way he had met the woman who would become his wife; thus, the Camino held special meaning for him. After the trip a series of discussions started between Sheen and his son for a movie about the Camino de Santiago. Sheen originally suggested it be a low-budget documentary, but Estevez was not interested in such a small project, wanting instead a bigger experience.
Estevez also found inspiration in his vineyard, Casa Dumetz, where he wrote much of the dialogue for the film. Exploring the universal themes of loss, community and faith, he saw parallels with the characters of the film The Wizard of Oz. The script took six months to get a first draft.

The following is an interesting article I have pasted onto here;

VIENNA, AUSTRIA – For the first time, the exhibition “Eros & Thanatos – Drives, Images, Interpretations”, on view at the Sigmund Freud Museum and in the Historic Library of the Liechtenstein Museum, thematizes Freud’s theory of drives through exceptional works of fine art. Paintings, drawings, prints, enamels and sculptures by artists including Dürer, Rubens, Bellucci, Klimt and Schiele illustrate the interplay between the life and death drives. The exhibition’s team of curators and scientific advisors includes Monika Knofler, director of the Academy’s Graphic Collection, Johann Kräftner, director of the Liechtenstein Museum, Hannes Etzlstorfer, and Jeanne Wolff-Bernstein, a psychoanalyst based in San Francisco and former president of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. On exhibition 12 June though 13 October, 2009.

In his late work, Freud’s theory of drives centered on the opposition between the death drive (Thanatos) and the life drive (Eros). He sought to explain the diversity of psychical life through the interplay of and conflict between these two primal drives. “Eros & Thanatos” is the first joint effort of the two museums, and it represents a continuation of the Sigmund Freud Museum’s cooperation with the Graphic Collection of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

Inge Scholz-Strasser, director of the Sigmund Freud Museum, elucidates: “In this exhibition we have brought together a controversial psychoanalytic theory with two internationally renowned and art-historically significant collections. It is the first cooperation with the nearby Liechtenstein Museum, which has provided key works on loan to the Sigmund Freud Museum.”

Johann Kräftner, director of the Liechtenstein Museum continues: “With this exhibition we would like to bring together the energies of the two museums, providing a new impulse in a district that has repeatedly been the birthplace of great cultural achievements in Vienna. Through the cooperation of two great antipodes, the home and workplace of Sigmund Freud in Berggasse and the Liechtenstein Palace, working together with the Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts, new realizations are opened by the integration of a transdisciplinary perspective into the consideration of themes of which one might have thought there was nothing new to know.”

The exhibition illustrates Freud’s many-sided theory of the life and death drives using paintings and graphics from antiquity, the Renaissance and the fin de siècle. During Freud’s life, artists such as Schiele, Klimt and Kokoschka devoted great attention to the theme of sexuality without ever having read Freud’s theories on the topic. Conversely, although Freud felt himself misunderstood by his adherents in the question of Eros and Thanatos, he also did not seek contact to the artists of his era, instead only taking heed of the resonances he found with his revolutionary theories in the writings of the pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles.

In “Eros and Thanatos” the Sigmund Freud Museum and the Liechtenstein Museum use Freud’s texts in exploring the tension between life and death, between violence and passion in the work of artists of various epochs – from Dürer through Giordano to the Vienna Secession.

Eros and Thanatos in the Work of Sigmund Freud
In Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) Freud introduced the life and death drives for the first time, whereby he declared that his earlier conception of a duality between the self-preservation drive and the sex drive was no longer sufficient. Although a number of psychoanalysts expressed doubt regarding his new theory, Freud remained an energetic proponent of this theory for the rest of his life.

According to his essay, the life drive – Eros – strives to lengthen life and makes connections to objects, while the death drive – Thanatos – yearns for a return to an earlier stage of life, a tension-free and almost lifeless state, and does not strive to enter into object relationships. In Freud’s last years, his theories of Eros and Thanatos found increasing resonance before the background of the violent and selfdestructive nature of political and social developments worldwide. In his 1932 letter to Albert Einstein, Freud linked Eros to love and Thanatos to hate, while at the same time warning: “(…) we must be chary of passing overhastily to the notions of good and evil. Each of these instincts is every whit as indispensable as its opposite, and all the phenomena of life derive from their activity.” The exhibition “Eros & Thanatos” shows how continually relevant the struggle between external storm and inner drive has remained for humanity over the centuries.

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