SKOJ / Filler Thoughts.

A real superpower saying to a brutal dictator: "If you continue with that shit, threatening us and our allies, we will have no choice but to come in and built you some schools and hospitals and some fucking industry (not actually that kind of industry)." The reason for this being that, in my humble opinion, a truly great nation promotes development not destruction, doing so it offers no (and I repeat, NO) reason for even the craziest of crazies to attack or even think to attack the particular superpower. I mean, if a long bearded turban wearing tribal leader would say, "we must kill America" you could respond, "shut the fuck up, they helped us get out of the stone age" instead of "yes, their soldier killed my brother, my children died in a drone attack, etc". I would also like to redefine the concept of "superpower", it doesn't matter how many guns you have, what matters is how good your population lives (health, education, happiness, general well being).  So... in conclusion, to all superpowers tuned in into this post, start working for your population, give an example to the rest of the world that, it can be done, people can live in a good world.

SKOJ = Some Kind Of Journal, won't say this twice :)


The Golden Verses of Pythagoras I - Practical Virtues

According to Fabre d'Olivet, Lysis of Taras, a disciple of Pythagoras, is responsible for writing the verses that, is unanimously believed, represent the core beliefs of Pythagoras and his school. Their philosophy was secret, meaning that you needed to be initiated into one of the various clubs spread across Magna Graecia. Reading these verses should go hand in hand with reading the commentaries of Hierocles of Alexandria.

I present here the first part named  "Practical Virtues", this part is centered around ethics. The first three verses are difficult to understand by most modern people because of the three levels, the Immortal Gods, the Heroes and the Terrestrial Daemons. For Christian and Muslims alike this sounds more like blasphemy, but don't be scared.

The Immortal Gods are closest to the Creator, for adherents to the Abrahamic religions you can understand them as being Angels, Archangels, Cherubim, Seraphim and so on (depending on the religions and theologists), that's why you need to honor them "as they are established and ordained by the Law", some are higher then others. But how do you honor them? The answer is by accepting the good that comes from them, not by sacrifices because they don't need sacrifices. There are also two Pythagorean sayings: "You will honor God perfectly if you behave yourself so that your soul may become his Image" and "Any man who thinks God needs gifts holds himself higher than God". Also "God has not upon Earth a place more fit for him to dwell in, than a pure Soul" is also worth mentioning.

The Heroes are the good spirits (they occupy the middle part and think and act only in accordance to the Law) while the Terrestrial Daemons are (contrary to the name Daemon having a bad connotation) the souls of men who are adorned with Truth and Virtue, full of Knowledge and Light. Some believe that Terrestrial Daemons evolve into Heroes. Most people sway between light and darkness, light understood as embracing the Law and God while darkness understood as a mind that does not comprehend the beauty of God.

The rest of the Verses in this first part are rather self-explained. If any of you has difficulties in understanding them, write a comment and I will expand on them. I also recommend reading Not Knowing God, in the Muslim esoteric world it is widely believed that Pythagoras was a student of Hermes.

1. First honor the Immortal Gods, as they are established and ordained by the Law.
2. Reverence the Oath, and next the Heroes, full of goodness and light.
3. Honor likewise the Terrestrial Daemons by rendering them the worship lawfully due to them.
4. Honor likewise your parents, and those most nearly related to you.
5. Of all the rest of mankind, make friends the ones distinguished by virtue.
6. Always listen to his mild exhortations, and take example from his virtuous and useful actions.
7. Avoid as much as possible hating your friend for a slight fault.
8. [And understand that] power is a near neighbour to necessity.
9. Know that all these things are as I have told you; and learn  to vanquish the following:--
10. First gluttony, then laziness, luxury, and anger.
11. Do nothing for which you should be ashamed, neither in the presence of others, nor privately;
12. And above all things respect yourself.
13. In the next place, do justice with your actions and your words.
14. And in any circumstance don't behave yourself without thinking.
15. But always remember that man is destined to die.
16. And that wealth as it is acquired, so too it is lost.
17. Concerning all the calamities that men suffer by divine fortune,
18. Support them with patience, be it what it may, and never repine at it.
19. But endeavor what you can to remedy it.
20. And consider that fate guards good men from many of these misfortunes.
21. People say good and bad things
22. Don't show to these words too much appreciation, nor reject them.
23. Even if you hear lies, endure them with patience and kindness.
24. Observe well, on every occasion, what I am going to tell you:
25. Let no man either by his words, or by his deeds, ever seduce you.
26. Nor entice you to say or to do what is harmful for you.
27. Consult and deliberate before you act, that you may not commit foolish actions,
28. for only a miserable man speaks and acts thoughtlessly.
29. But do that which will not afflict you afterwards, nor oblige you to repent.
30. Never do anything which you do not understand;
31. But learn all you should know, and by that means you will lead a happy life.
32. Do not neglect the health of your body;
33. But drink, eat and exercise with measure,
34. and through measure I mean what will never hinder you.
35. Accustom yourself to a way of living that is simple and decent without luxury.
36. Avoid doing that which will bring envy.
37. Do not spend beyond measure, like those that do not know where good is found.
38. Neither be selfish; a due measure is good in all things.
39. Do only the things that cannot hurt you, and deliberate before you do them.
40. Don't let sleep to close you eyelids,
41. until you had examined with your reason all your actions of the day.
42. With what did I go wrong? What have I done? What have I omitted that I should have done?
43. If in this examination you find that you had done wrong, admonish yourself severely for it;
44. And if you had done good, rejoice.
45. Practice thoroughly all these things; meditate on them well; you ought to love them with all your heart,
46. And you will be on the path of divine virtue.
47. I swear it by him who has transmitted into our souls the Sacred Quaternion, the source of nature, whose cause is eternal.


Anton Grigor'ev (visual) and Spitfire (audio)

Let's see what we have here comrades, a Russian ska band and an equally Russian photographer. Changed the country but remained in the same language family (Croatia was previously). Spitfire started doing concerts in St. Petersburg in the first half of 1993, in fact, for more details check out their very interesting website. I first heard the song Tanzen on a compilation but it seems that Thrills and Kills album from 2004 was the birthplace. Press play and enjoy the second part of the voyage.

It's enigmatic for me how I finally decide on what artists to present because the world is blessed with beautiful and creative people. Anton Grigor'ev is my pick for this duo. You can subscribe to his Facebook page here.

Red and Black
Glass 3
Spoon 3
Moscow City


Simple Formal Logic by Arnold vander Nat

I have no way to figure out how many of you master logic or how many of you even know how important it is. For those in the first category this book may not be anything new but I still urge you to go through it if you haven't already. For those of you who did not study logic before I believe this is the perfect time to start. In the introduction, Arnold vander Nat  says:
Logic is the study of correct reasoning.
The study of correct reasoning is the most important study there can be.
Therefore, logic is the most important study there can be
The purpose is to attain truth and that's why I think that each and every human being must master logic. Many people do not know how easy they believe lies and how hard they can be guided to see the truth. Enjoy Simple Formal Logic by Arnold vander Nat.


Buy: Amazon
Download: Ubuntu One

I recommend you buy the book, but if money is a temporary concern, you can download it and buy it at a later time or donate a sum directly to the writer. Keep knowledge free.

To Americans About a War With Iran

The world does not need such a war. I admire America, for the declaration of independence and the constitution, to begin with, but as a foreigner I no longer see these two documents respected. More than that, America developed into some kind of global police although no one asked her to do that. I understand you want to secure your interests, but don't kill innocent people while doing that... Is there a difference between someone bombing one of your buildings and you bombing villages in Pakistan hoping to kill a terrorist who has not been sentenced by any court or changing governments like furniture? It all rests in the hands of the American people, if you don't do something, soon, there will be peace... the deadly kind. 

Nobody wants war except the few that profit from it. We have to stop them!

image from The Economist


Albums / Angra - Rebirth (2001)

Today I will start a new category on this blog dedicated to music albums that I consider to be important artistic achievements, much like my book recommendations. I will try to keep this project as diversified as possible because, if I learned one thing from my former musician days was that diversity is encouraged when it comes to art. Keep your ears open to jazz, electro, rock, classical and whatever I find through my disc collection. This is not a list and there is no order for the albums. The criteria are endurance (the "playback" value), legacy (for older albums), musical composition, lyrics (if any), and overall experience. Now, let's start !

Angra is a Brazilian rock band from Sao Paolo that was founded in 1991 with the original lineup consisting of Andre Matos (vocals), Rafael Bittencourt and André Linhares (guitars), Marcos Antunes (drums) and Luís Mariutti (bass). Only Bittencourt survived from this original lineup.
Official web-page: http://www.angra.net/


Rebirth is their first album featuring  vocalist Eduardo Falaschi so this partially explains the title. We can see strong influences from progressive rock bands like Dream Theater, also, neo-classical rock influences abound (for example: Acid Rain). You can't get bored of these songs no matter how much you listen to them, with every play you submerge into a realm not like any other. The excellent dialogue between all the pieces (guitars, bass, drums, vocals, keyboards) also denotes high production values.

Acid Rain (live, low quality)


American Dream: Introduction and the Past

America is an important part of the world, how could it not be? The scientific developments mesmerize us, its military power makes us tremble and its culture inevitably changes everyone else's culture. All this power demands great responsibility and control, decisions must be taken for the good of mankind more than the good of its citizens.


"We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This is a fragment from the Declaration of Independence, unanimous signed by the thirteen American colonies. Too bad this fragment did not make it into the US Constitution, adopted in 1787. An amendment was in fact needed (The Bill of Rights) in order to specify the actual status of American citizens and their liberties.

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The important word here is citizens, the ones who did not fit into this category were exposed to the possibility of having no rights. This possibility was, as we all know, a hard reality.

We can clearly see a great difference between the two texts when it comes to the ideas and the power of the words. "All man are created equal", if these words were the start of the US Constitution then yes, America would of been the land of the free and home of the brave. We should also look at the profound religious implications of the text, the word "Creator" stands for God, a universal God. The promise of a new and better form of government, a just state fundamentally different from what was seen in Europe was just that, a promise, hardly followed by concrete action.

The abolition of slavery was finally decided in 1865, through the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. Prior to this, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, under his war powers. For 78 years, and many more decades after that, the black population was seen as something sub-human, too underdeveloped to make it on their own and too primitive to be set free because of fear of rebellion. The example of Haiti is indicative of the situation in that time, a former colony of France, recognized by its former master in 1825 and by America in 1862.


Chances are that the colonists would of never succeeded with the revolution if they did not have the support of France. This help had a cost, both the Americans and the French found an alliance rather tricky, imagine becoming a friend to a former enemy, nonetheless, France had only to gain from weakening the British Empire and the prospects of improved commercial activity with the US were a great bonus. The colonists managed to secure the support of one of the powers of the time and doing so, to secure their independence, theoretically.

What started as a fight for greater recognition of the colonies inside the British Empire transformed in a full fledged revolt against monarchy and the "old ways" of Europe (may I remind you that France was still a monarchy when it all started). There is a man that, in a way, changed the future of the world, or in a less mythical way, changed the destiny of the new world, he is Thomas Paine. He fought for some things not many people even bothered to think about, anyway, he was not the first of his kind nor the last but he managed to influence the people that started a revolution.

One of those people was Thomas Jefferson (a good friend of Paine). During his presidency, the United States saw their first foreign war, the Tripolitan War, a doubling of the territory and a few other things. Before independence, American merchants were protected in the Mediterranean by the British Navy, this security was lost after the war and so America was left without any real method of protecting its commercial route. The prior presidents, Washington and Adams, opted for ransoming the prisoners instead of fighting, creating a navy and maintaining it was thought to be much more costly. At a cost of 1 million dollars, the US signed treaties with Morocco, Algiers and Tripoli guaranteeing in return of an annual tribute, the security of American trade. Needless to say, the newborn country was weak.

The war lasted from 1801 to 1805 but the result was not satisfactory and a new war was needed in 1812 to secure a decisive battle. This relatively long lasting conflict is of great importance because it marks the consolidation of the state and the creation of the navy. It would take much more time however before America would become the dominant force on the sea.

Although Jefferson was openly against the "old world" looking in retrospective we see his actions as nothing really new to a country in expansion. The Louisiana Purchase was a doubling in territorial size of the United States. This vast land was bought from the French for the price of 15 million dollars. Napoleon managed to get control of this land from Spain as a result of a treaty between the two powers. Florida remained in the hands of Spain and soon became a target for both Jefferson and his successor, Madison.

A major war broke out between the United States and Britain in the year 1812. The situation has been presented in such a way that the American people basically demanded war, this made Madison to ask Congress to engage in armed conflict with the British Empire. They were not prepared to face such an enemy and surprisingly, the Congress even rejected expanding the navy. The main reason for this war might have been the desire of some to take control of Canada. This ended up being known as the Second War of American Independence although it clearly was nothing more than a desire to take Canada while the British were in war with France. Taking advantage of the general situation, the United States went the second time into war with the Barbary States securing commerce in the Mediterranean.

The next important moment was the declaration of the Monroe Doctrine which was actually written by John Quincy Adams (who succeeded him as president), a man who dreamed at more than a republic from the Atlantic to the Pacific, he visioned the entire continent speaking one language, having one currency, one culture. In a meeting with the British minister to the United States, Stratford Canning, Adams said: "Keep what is yours and leave the rest of the continent to us". This is also an example of the type of arrogance America blessed the world with.

On December 2, 1823, in his message to Congress, Monroe declared: " (...) the occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers (...)"

Nations in both American continents were declaring their independence, these were events that promised much for the United States, from commercial benefits, to security and spheres of influence. Surprisingly, all this was done with a type of tacit British approval, the old master, turned enemy was now beginning to look more like a distant relative if not a friend. My purpose was not to give a complete history of America, an impossible undertaking for an article of this size but I needed to go through some key moments in time that steady began to create an American culture. We have seen that the promises from the Declaration of Independence were not followed by hard facts, civil rights movements continued till mid-late 20th century for example. The black people initially were perceived as too underdeveloped to take care of themselves, albeit many good and enlightened people from the northern states fought for the banning of slavery. The American Indians on the other hand were perceived as primitive but could be civilized, God knows how many of them got civilized in that period.

The United States turned up being like any other European power of that period with one important exception, the American Dream. This was why so many Europeans fought to get to the new world, to live a decent and happy life, black people and Asian people were not welcomed. The Chinese Exclusion Act which lasted till 1943 expressly stopped any Chinese immigration, a similar law was also applied to the Japanese.

Read Part 2


Not an interesting day (Journal)

Today it was a cold and rather foggy autumn day in Bucharest. Didn't do much except reading, learning Persian and cooking some potatoes and rice. Wanted to go to the movies with Alexandra but nothing worth the price of the tickets was on. I'm reading an interesting book about the Ch'in and Han dynasties and when finished I'll sorely do a review here and present it to you all. Being at the Warring States period I remembered watching a Chinese movie with the same name some time ago, it was amazing, I recommend it.


Sara Murk (visual) and Bijelo Dugme (audio)

By pure coincidence this art moment stands under the sign of Croatia (and by extension Yugoslavia).
What you are hearing now is Ako Ima Boga which means... i don't know really, it has something to do with God and an "if" (maybe "If there is God" but don't quote me on this one). I'm sure the lyrics are great but for those who don't understand a word of Croatian we will simply rely on the music. The band is called Bijelo Dugme which according to Wikipedia is translated as "White Button" (Google translate indicates Elvis Presley... dunno what the hell is that about). Many people know about Goran Bregovic, he is a legend of sorts in the Balkans and Europe in general. When the band was up and running he played the guitar and in fact composed much of their repertoire, this explains the excellent quality of their songs although, let's be honest, a band is not made up of only one member. The song is from their 1988 album entitled Ćiribiribela.

Sara Murk

For some reason I found that Sara's works go well with this song even though I don't think that their starting points are the same, I may be wrong. This could possibly be the first time I present an artist who does mainly portraits. Before now I had a general resentment when dealing with portraits, especially in paintings, but now, oddly enough, when it comes to photography I have seen the unbelievable expressiveness of the human figure.
Can you see us?
Wrong turn
New born
Holding you tight
Lots of curves

Bijelo Dugme on Facebook, don't forget to like
Sara Murk on deviantART and Flicker


An Introduction to Philosophy by George Stuart Fullerton

This book was published for the first time in 1906 and this means that more than one century passed. What could it possibly have to offer for those wanting to embrace philosophy, because, let's be honest, the last one hundred years can't be overlooked... in any field. George Stuart Fullerton was an American philosopher and psychologist. He graduated in 1879 from the University of Pennsylvania and in 1884 from Yale Divinity School. Fullerton is considered a realist, among his books I mention:  A Plain Argument for God (1889), On Sameness and Identity (1890), The Philosophy of Spinoza (1894) and A System of Metaphysics (1904). He died in 1925 due to health problems caused by 4 years of imprisonment in Austria during the first world war.

Coming back to the question of what has this introduction to philosophy so special, I can only say that from a general perspective much of what philosophy is, was created during antiquity although there are a number of new discoveries in the field and many detailed analyzes of older concepts and ideas. It's a great book and easy to understand. This is also a free/public domain ebook, so another reasons I chose it is for it's 'legality', feel free to share the text to anyone you wish.

Manybooks - I prefer this link because it has many file formats to choose from
Gutenberg - Where it all started

Stay smart.


Michael Manalo (visual) and Will Holland (audio)

It's time for another incursion into our artistic souls, people, so close the lights and lean back on the chairs or couch or whatever, start the following song and continue down, down on the road. This time is Michael Manalo and Will Holland.

Quantic with the song "Time is the enemy". Quantic is the "stage name" of Will Holland, a musician from England that masterfully creates music by mixing electronic, jazz, funk and a couple of condiments. "Time is the enemy" is the 10th song from his 2001 "The 5th Exotic" album.

Michael Vincent Manalo is according to his own description a self-taught digital mixed-media artist, photographer and musician. In his artist statement he ends with "I will try to free people's minds and allow them to withdraw from reality and give them the opportunity to dig into a wild roller coaster of a vivid dream", congratulations Michael, you succeeded. 

You are not alone
Gospels of the sand
Tales of the plane walker
The tale of the king maker
The Titan
The arcane tower

See you all next time.


Hard Work for Knowledge

For the past weeks I worked hard at AWIL magazine and a couple of other projects along with the day job and I must say that I am overwhelmed with all the activities. The release date of AWIL 7 was changed (again), you can expect the issue to be on-line till the end of November. As I see the situation, the magazine needs at least 10 writers to ensure normal activity, at the moment we are 5 (yours truly included), two in the art department, two in the socio-political and me. I don't like to talk about something that is not finished yet, but number seven will be fascinating.

Now let's go to some more interesting things. I was just reading "The Dogmatic Aeon" by the Romanian philosopher Lucian Blaga, a book that is part of his "Knowledge Trilogy" and wanted to share with you the fact that having read "The Early Christian Doctrines" by John Norman Davidson Kelly more than a month ago really helped me understand the present book. I undoubtedly recommend it (the Dogmatic Aeon) to all those interested in epistemology and metaphysics but sadly I am not aware of any English version on-line. I'll get back to you after I go through the other two books of the trilogy and after i eventually understand the texts in a satisfactory manner. I just couldn't stop myself from starting it even if I know I hadn't actually finished with the Golden Verses of Pythagoras and all the related texts... eh... I'll manage.

I found some time for a little entertainment here and there and now I'm hooked on Supernatural. I really enjoy this TV show but for its genre, X-files is still the best. Just started season three, hope it won't get shitty with time like Lost did although it has a lot more hot chicks that's for sure. Oh, and before I throw my head to the pillow I like to thank my girlfriend for being so understanding.

And some really good music for you people reading this blog, "Rock and a Hard Place" by The Rolling Stones.


Annemarie Rysz (visual) and Martin Freeland (audio)

Annemarie Rysz is a young Canadian artist that hypnotizes the viewer with simplicity, understood as minimalism. The reason I didn't say minimalism from the very beginning is because i feel that her art has something different and complex and in a way "simplicity" is also a bad choice. You need to take some time to understand the many levels present in her works, this generally depends of everyone's background. The colors are strong, expressive and well balanced, creating unique sensations and emotions also individualized with help from her choices of imagery. Her facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/AnnemarieRysz

I also recommend you look at the pictures while listening to this song from Man With No Name (his name being Martin Freeland) entitled Azymuth. His official website is: http://www.manwithnoname.co.uk/ 


And don't forget, like our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/awil.online and you will find even more great things.


Our cultures are accidents

A version of Matteo Ricci's map created at the request of Wanli Emperor
I recently met with an old friend who I haven't seen for a good couple of years and the only thing I remember after that encounter is the silence and awkwardness. He went to another country to study and we could not keep in touch by email or something like that. This (the lack of communication), in the years that passed, transformed us into two different people and because all our separate experiences could no longer be linked we tried desperately to dig deep into our memories and find the things common for both of us. If we succeeded or not is no longer relevant to our discussion.

Think how humanity spread across the globe many thousands of years ago, long before the existence of Sumer and Ancient Egypt without any possibility of communicating between distant settlements. A look at the history of China and Europe is enough to exemplify the importance nature and geography had on our development. European culture is much more diverse than Chinese which anyway is regarded as one single civilization even if it had its own share of internal struggles. During antiquity and most part of the Middle Ages, Europe was a vast forest which meant that traveling was an adventure not many felt comfortable in embracing. China was mostly the opposite, great plains and the discovery of rice fostered a large population of mostly settled as opposed to migratory workers. 

A typical human migration map, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Europe knew a great degree of unity during the Roman Empire when the Mediterranean Sea became a "Roman Lake", cultural elements flew in that period from one place to another, from Egypt to Greece, from Greece to Rome, from (former) Carthage to Rome and so on. That was a Golden Age for Globalization, believe it or not. All this was possible because the Romans built very good roads, you may even still drive on some of them these days (little bit of an exaggeration) and because, maybe most importantly, in the middle of their territories there was water suited for navigation and commerce. 

Roman Empire at its greatest extent, courtesy of University of Calgary.
We now mostly fly over everything and keeping the proportions we can now do what the Romans did on a global scale. Just to play around a bit think what will happen if we send settlers to Mars and let's say, a good thousand of them manage to live there and suddenly all communication between us and them stops and we can no longer go there and they can no longer come here for... i don't know... two hundred years, what then? Will a war start or would we still be able to sympathize with one another once we are able to communicate again.

Nothing new you could say, in which case you agree with me (and those who stand as a foundation), in fact, most good and real things are not new. Antiquity discovered many basic principles but because of the limits in technology these remained in the realms of philosophy and theory. Even now science is filled with theories waiting for someone in the future to prove them right or wrong. I strongly believe humanity has a chance to unite once again, embracing the differences just like in a large family you can find totally different individuals sitting at the same table during Christmas, Ramadan or any other occasion.  

I recommend you read one of my older articles entitled Making a Bigger Tribe in order to get a better overall image about this issue. 


Paul Barlow's art and Bassically by Ryan Farish

Triumph (Small Tree)
It's amazing how many good things we discover by accident, this is the first though that came in my mind after seeing "Triumph" by Paul Barlow. Only after I began to control my amazement I started to go through a list of his works and didn't find one that I didn't like. Most often I try to console myself with the idea that a particular work by a particular artist will someday and somehow grow on me, but this is not the case with Paul's artistic achievements.

He was born in 1988 and is from the United Kingdom. He says:
In my work i choose surrealism because of the freeness, the mysticism and the depths of the subconscious. My main goal is to create and realise unknown worlds, feelings and thoughts which are higher than words. My work is also a kind of spiritual journey, by playing with the world and materials i am createing something higher than mere physical existence. Feelings of beauty, life, lonliness, wonder, happiness, existence all feelings that i cannot put into words are spilled out into my images.
The Kite

To go with the pictures we also present to you Bassically by Ryan Farish, from his album entitled Daydreamer. If you are into electronic music you will love this, if not, you will undoubtedly get the taste of it.


MICHAUD, Michael - Contact with Alien Civilizations

Humanity was never alone, it had its gods, angels, demons, but wanting to understand life forms that are not from this planet is something very new, through this we might even learn some things about us.

"Over the millennia, our thinking about extraterrestrials has evolved from metaphysical speculation to scientifically testable hypotheses. Yet we still have no proof. At the philosophical and scientific levels, the most durable feature of the controversy has been the split between “Copernicans,” who argue that Humankind does not occupy a special place in the universe, and “Aristotelians,” who believe that we do. During the Enlightenment, philosophical speculations wrestled with another fundamental question. If there are intelligent beings beyond the Earth, some of them might be more intellectually advanced than we are. How, then, could Man be the measure of all things?"


Whatever Makes You Happy (personal thoughts)

Today we will talk about happiness. Merriam-Webster defines happiness as: 2.a. A state of well being and contentment: joy ; 2.b. a pleasurable or satisfying experience. Most people limit themselves to the second definition which reflects a limited understanding of their own self and that is why the term happiness is coined to this basic meaning. The act of buying new things, this consumerist heaven, just to get that feeling that you are good, you are finally happy after all that hard work is only an illusion and it grows in a mind that is not given access to equilibrium. 

Many of us chase temporary changes in a continuous sadness that resemble the idea of well being and believe that's all to it. One of the first decisions someone must take is to start a "war" with dependence, of any kind. To kill a dependence on something is not never doing that thing, but controlling when you want and how much you want. For example if someone has a problem with alcohol and suposing his health permits, he must try to control his urges and never make a habit but drink moderately. Sure, the idea is not to be dependent of anything, period and never do conscious harm to one's health.

Health is very important because it keeps our body "operational" as a vehicle for our life/soul/mind, spiritual or not, you get the picture. One of my concerns is the inequality in the world because few have plenty and many have little. In most western countries vegetables and fruits begin to have no smell and taste because in the process of growing them, farmers use chemicals that hastens their growth and so many Europeans actually eat fruits and vegetables that have little or no vitamins and minerals and above all, could lead cause cancer. In Africa thousands, millions die from starvation even if there is plenty of land to feed all the population of Africa and even double that sum. We should always choose nature. Another health problem is sedentariness. What do all these have to do with health? Well, imagine a fat person sitting on a couch and eating junk-food while buying useless things on ebay, now think of a child with no food, almost no water, trying to survive in a war-torn country searching for work in order to live. The first will be happy when his new things are delivered and the child will be happy when he will finally eat something. To be poor and to be wealthy are the same things dressed in different clothes.

Even love is not true happiness. We like the idea of being in love because it creates an imbalance in our bodies, wonderful as it may seem, in the end it will fade away. Guess I am trying to get to inner peace as the best definition for happiness, I wonder why not more people search for this because even the quest for it gives many benefits. I sometimes feel happy when I am sad, it seems like a contradiction but you must go through the experience to really know what I am talking about. I recently went to a concert of Yasmin Levi and she practically said the same thing, nice to see another human-being enjoying his/her sadness. Don't be afraid to let go of your illusions.

Once again I finish with this: time is the most important thing you have, don't waste it, learn, think, evolve.

Ryan Farish - Aran

Article image by Alice vel. Hazel


Lesley Hazleton, on reading the Quran

I really enjoy browsing through the long and attractive list of TED speakers and once in a while I find one that I feel I must share with as many people as I can. This is the case with Lesley Hazleton, a British-American writer that focuses especially on the history, religion and politics of the Middle East. Some of her books are "After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split" and "Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother". What's interesting about her is the openness she transmits when talking about subjects largely perceived as "taboo" at the moment. Enjoy this very enlightening video about the Quran and the process of studying it from a non-Muslim perspective. As Lesley points out, there are even some Muslims that do not actually understand the text, referring here to fundamentalists.


Avantasia - Dying For An Angel

Germany rocks and this song is part of the evidence which I recommend you all examine immediately. Avantasia is a project started by Tobias Sammet who is also vocalist at Edguy. To make matters worse, Dying for an Angel features Klaus Meine known as being the frontman of Scoprions, a band everyone on the planet knows and most love. Rock is universal, rock is forever.


Joris Delacroix - Take Your Time (feat.Nancy)

It's time to relax with a nice electro song and a good video. Enjoy.

Find Joris Delacroix on MySpace and Facebook.


SOUTHGATE, Beverley - What is History For?

Most of the books that we will present here will be historical in nature so it makes sense to start with a text that addresses the question of what history really is.

Charting the development of historical studies, Beverley Southgate examines the various uses to which history has been put. While history has often supposedly been studied ‘for its own sake’, Southgate argues that this seemingly innocent approach masks an inherent conservatism and exposes the ways in which history has, sometimes deliberately, sometimes inadver- tently, been used for socio-political purposes.

This copy is for educational purposes only, help spread culture and human development.


The Iranian Miracle

For the past few months I watched the news amazed at the speed at which Iran is catching up with the 'western world', the country is now the largest industrial and knowledge producer in the Middle East and all thanks to sanctions. This reminds me of China when one hundred years ago it also realized the importance of modernization, I am confident that as in the case of China, Iran will undergo a similar social transformation adopting a more egalitarian point of view, eventually becoming a 'secular theocracy'.

Many people believed that when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power he would of become more like a guide, not imposing sharia. The threat of American intervention in Iran transformed his role in a more authoritarian one. I would like to remind all of you that the history of this nation, like the history of many other countries rich in natural resources, is filled with interventions from foreign powers seeking privileges. Think how far Iranian society would of advanced if the Persian Constitutional Revolution was not repressed by Russia and if the 1953 coup supported by Britain and America never happened. History is a box filled with infinite amounts of treasure and we must open it before looking out the window.

Iran is expanding its non-oil industrial sector at an ever increasing speed with a dozen new factories and power plants opening this year and an estimated total of 2 million workplaces to be created in 2011 alone. The country started an enthusiastic space program and the defense industry, while not too technologically advanced, is becoming self-sufficient and adapted to the needs of the region. The IMF congratulated the Iranian government for its economic reforms, almost every month festivals of all kinds are held to promote culture and science while abroad Iran is making a strong presence in these fields. As far as foreign relations are concerned, Iran is making many friends, among them are Iraq and Egypt.

With all the sanctions, this country seems to enjoy an economic boom and that is why I want to say again that the West needs to take Iran serious and start a real dialogue that can lead to progress and peace on both sides.