Monthly Archives: September 2010

Anaxagoras: Introduction
We chosed to dedicate one booklet to Anaxagoras, from his role in “bringing” philosopy to Athen, his intuition about arising and separation of aggregates, and for giving a scientific account of natural phenomen. Also, for his theory about the flateness of the earth. That shows that every person who choses to be great, is also a part of the context where she/he lives; we should admire innovators, but also remember to think with our own mind. It is never a matter of accepting totally, or rejecting everthing, what one wise person says; it is about listening, readind, and making our educated opinion about what is said and shown.

Anaxagoras: Biography
Anaxagoras was a Pre-Socratic (or, rather, pre-platonic) Greek philosopher. Born in Clazomenae in Asia Minor, Anaxagoras was the first philosopher to bring philosophy from Ionia to Athens. He attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the sun, which he described as a fiery mass larger than the Peloponnese. He was accused of contravening the established religion and was forced to flee to Lampsacus.

Anaxagoras is famous for introducing the cosmological concept of Nous (mind), as an ordering force. He regarded material substance as an infinite multitude of imperishable primary elements, referring what is usually generation and disappearance to mixture and separation respectively. Anaxagoras wrote a book of philosophy, but only fragments of the first part of this have survived, through preservation in work of Simplicius of Cilicia in the sixth century AD.

Anaxagoras was arrested by Pericles’ political opponents on a charge of contravening the established religion, or for simpatizing with the Persians. It took Pericles’ power of persuasion to secure his release. Even so he was forced to retire from Athens to Lampsacus in Troad  (c. 434–433 BC). He died there in around the year 428 BC. Citizens of Lampsacus erected an altar to Mind and Truth in his memory, and observed the anniversary of his death for many years.

Anaxagoras: Quotes
Appearances are a glimpse of the unseen.

Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock, and the sun a hot rock.

It is not I who have lost the Athenians, but the Athenians who have lost me.

Men would live exceedingly quiet if these two words, mine and thine, were taken away.

The descent to Hades is the same from every place.

Anaxagoras: a controversial enquiring mind
From Answers.com: “Anaxagoras did not believe that the sun and moon were divinities, as the Greeks did, and he was prosecuted for his teachings. He returned to Asia Minor to a town allied with Athens, Lampsacus (now Lapseki, Turkey). Here he was treated with respect, and his memory was still honored a century after his death”.

“The most spectacular was his discovery that the moon does not shine by its own light”.

“Anaxagoras believed that the earth was flat and floated on air, but he understood that the heavenly bodies rotated”.

Sources
Special thanks to Wikipedia, which provided the backbone of the main content of this booklet, and allows to distribute it under a Creative Common licence.

Just breath it

September 25, 2010

We forget to breathe during challenging transitions; yoga teaches us to connect to sources and resources by focusing on the breath.

The Century of the Self: is a British television documentary film that focuses its attention on Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays, Anna Freud, Wilhelm Reich,‭ ‬who exerted a surprising amount of influence on the way corporations and governments throughout the‭ ‬20th century have thought about, and dealt with, people.

To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?


The Century of the Self: Part 1, Happiness Machines

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the human mind and its workings. His influence on the twentieth century is generally considered profound. The series describes the ways public relations and politicians have utilized Freud’s theories during the last 100 years for the “engineering of consent”. Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in public relations, are discussed.


The Century of the Self: Part 2, The Engineering Of Consent

Freud’s daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in the second part, as is one of the main opponents of Freud’s theories, Wilhelm Reich, in the third part.


The Century of the Self, Part 3: There is a Police Man Inside All of Our Heads- He Must be Destroyed

Along these general themes, The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy, commodification and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitudes to fashion and superficiality.

The business and, increasingly, the political world uses psychological techniques to read and fulfill our desires, to make their products or speeches as pleasing as possible to us. Curtis raises the question of the intentions and roots of this fact. Where once the political process was about engaging people’s rational, conscious minds, as well as facilitating their needs as a society, the documentary shows how by employing the tactics of psychoanalysis, politicians appeal to irrational, primitive impulses that have little apparent bearing on issues outside of the narrow self-interest of a consumer population. He cites Paul Mazer, a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in the 1930s: “We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. […] Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”


The Century of the Self – Part 4

In Episode 4 the main subjects are Philip Gould and Matthew Freud, the great grandson of Sigmund, a PR consultant. They were part of the efforts during the nineties to bring the Democrats in the US and New Labour in the United Kingdom back into power. Adam Curtis explores the psychological methods they now massively introduced into politics. He also argues that the eventual outcome strongly resembles Edward Bernays vision for the “Democracity” during the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It is well-known his series was inspired and informed by a book written by the American historian, Stuart Ewen, “PR! A Social History of Spin.”

Mazu Daoyi

September 24, 2010

Mazu Daoyi, first Chan master to use unconvential forms of teachings, like “illogical” conversations and shouting (by this time, written records of discussion between master and student were already common practice and kept in high consideration), considering the success of such approach, his own disciples sticked to these techniques which then became common in Chan. Mazu was a Ch’an Buddhist master in China during the Tang dynasty. In dharma-succession through Nanyue to the Sixth Patriarch, Mazu Daoyi contributed far-reaching insights and changes in teaching methods regarding the transmission of awareness. His innovations became widely recognized as characteristic features of Ch’an in China and of Zen in Japan.

The Venus Project is dedicated to confronting all of these problems by actively engaging in the research, development, and application of workable solutions. This is a schedule of its 2010 lectures around the world, as published on its official website:

Date Country City Confirmed
6th April Colombia Bogota yes
15th April New Zealand Auckland yes
17th April New Zealand Wellington yes
21st April Australia Brisbane yes
23rd April Australia Sydney yes
25th April Australia Melbourne yes
29th April Australia Perth yes
8th May Japan Tokyo yes
20th May India Bangalore yes
5th June Slovenia Ljubjana yes
11th June Greece Athens yes
20th June (Second Lecture) Greece Athens yes
26th/27th June Netherlands Eindhoven yes
3rd July Portugal Lisbon yes
10th July Spain Valencia yes
24th July Sweden Stockholm yes
31st July Denmark Copenhagen yes
7th August Scotland Glasgow yes
14th August Ireland Dublin yes
21st August England Bristol yes
28th August Germany Munich yes
11th September France Paris yes
25th September Canada Montreal yes
2nd October Canada Toronto yes
9th October Canada London yes
23rd October Canada Vancouver yes
29th October Canada Calgary yes

Life is beautiful

September 24, 2010

Life is beautiful, let’s enjoy the beauty and spread our love!

Nothing comes into being nor perishes, but is rather compounded or dissolved from things that are. So we would be right to call coming into being composition and perishing dissolution.
Anaxagoras

Huineng

September 22, 2010

Huineng who, according to tradition, received Bodhidharma’s robe and bowl. Hui Neng had hundred of monks with him who translated together – it was more a school than one single person. Two main sources for Huineng’s life are the preface to the Platform Sutra and the Transmission of the Lamp. Born into the Lu family in 638 A.D. in the town of Xing in Guangdong province. Huineng was from a humble family, and did not have the chance to learn to read or write. He may have been a Hmong or a Miao. One day, while he was delivering firewood to an inn, he heard a guest reciting the Diamond Sutra and he had an awakening. He immediately decided to seek the Way of Buddhahood. The guest gave him ten taels of silver to provide for his mother, and Huineng embarked on his journey. After travelling for thirty days on foot, Huineng arrived at Huang Mei Mountain, where the Fifth Patriarch Hongren presided. “I then went to pay homage to the Patriarch, and was asked where I came from and what I expected to get from him. I replied, “I am a commoner from Hsin Chou of Kwangtung. I have travelled far to pay you respect and I ask for nothing but Buddhahood.” “You are a native of Kwangtung, a barbarian? How can you expect to be a Buddha?” asked the Patriarch. I replied, “Although there are northern men and southern men, north and south make no difference to their Buddha-nature. A barbarian is different from Your Holiness physically, but there is no difference in our Buddha-nature.” Hongren immediately asked him to do chores in the rice mill. Huineng stayed to chop wood and pound rice for eight months.

Healing From Rain Forests: The Value of Traditional Knowledge” a very promising lecture by Dr. Memory Elvin-Lewis, at the Vancouver Institute on October 2, 2010 at 8:15 p.m., Lecture Hall No. 2 in the Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, University of British Columbia.

Dr. Elvin-Lewis’ multifaceted scientific career has encompassed aspects of virology, epidemiology, microbiology, ethnobotany, and ethnopharmacology. Her studies have been worldwide with particular emphasis on plants used in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the West Indies and North and South America. Her research focuses on understanding the therapeutic rationale behind plants selected for a wide variety of maladies, particularly those of infectious origin. Dr. Elvin-Lewis also continues to be interested in the risks of inappropriate herbal formulations and/or use. Her original 2001 article, “Should we be concerned about herbal remedies”, enjoyed more “hits” on the Ethnopharmacology’s website than any other publication at that time.

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