drugs used as a weapon

A Burmese dealer arranges chunks of jade at a market stall in Mandalay.

There wanton obloquy of people around the world is ubiquitous. At this point, we are forced to focus only on the most extreme human rights violations. But it is important to remember, we all deserve respect, equality, and even assistance. It is troubling to come to terms with the tension resulting from an internal desire to enjoy a blithe existence and the contrition of knowing and not doing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/world/searching-for-burmese-jade-and-finding-misery.html?smid=tw-share#

my first experience with guided meditation

http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22

At first, the meditation exercise seemed fruitless. As is usual during any under-stimulated moment, I started organizing my mental to do list. I began the audio again. This time, I embraced the relaxed mood, and truly felt in the moment. I found it helpful to focus upon my body instead of attempting keep my mind clear. The experience was very peaceful, and even after the meditation coach concluded I remained with my eyes closed for several minutes. My body felt at ease, and my prior anxiety diminished. In this world, experiencing new things is necessary to repel stagnation in writing and in life, and being open to new ways of thinking and being is a prerequisite to experiencing new things.

momentarily stepping out of the fog

tree

As I embarked upon my usual path to the park, I found myself missing the accompaniment of upbeat music. After a few minutes, my thoughts began to wander, and I settled into an unusually slow gait. I found it extremely difficult to focus on the world around me while surrounded by loud activity, but luckily the park entrance was now in sight. I hurried up the steps to commence my peregrination. As I entered the park, the variety of greenery caught my attention. I am not well versed in dendrology, so it is impossible for me to describe the intricate beauty and knotty texture of this tree trunk. After admiring it for a minute or two, I continued down the walkway. Small lizards scuttled across my path, rustling the dry leaves as they searched for cover. I dawdled towards the middle of the park, and found myself facing a huge tree. Of course, I notice this tree every time I walk through this park. Today, however, I took the time to examine this humongous being. Finally, I noticed the vines hanging from the tree were actually roots. The tree produces hanging vines, which over time root to the ground and thicken to form a secondary trunk. As I look around, there are several “trees” connected to the large tree’s branches. I have exercised at this park on countless occasions. Yet, I never took the time to notice the intricate beauty of nature. It’s amazing what you can miss when you’re not looking.

Quote of the Day

“In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies – the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.
In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were “solemn and rare,” there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment – from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In “Brave New World” non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly “not of this world.” Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx’s phrase “the opium of the people” and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

Quote of the Day

composite21

“What happens to people living in a society where everyone in power is lying, stealing, cheating and killing, and in our hearts we all know this, but the consequences of facing all these lies are so monstrous, we keep on hoping that maybe the corporate government administration and media are on the level with us this time.
Americans remind me of survivors of domestic abuse.
This is always the hope that this is the very, very, very last time one’s ribs get re-broken again. ”
Inga Muscio, Cunt: A Declaration of Independence