Feb. 24th, 2011

pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
Lots of stories seem to focus on this idea of someone wanting to rule the world/universe.

I've never figured out this particular power fantasy. Beyond your basic needs, why bother? Ruling the world doesn't sound fun. It sounds like a hassle. What's it even mean? That you don't want for anything and can have anything you want? Well... Anything within the confines of things that exist in the world and really limited only to physical goods. So that implies that there will always be things you want beyond your ability to get them. Or, more to the point, that you'd never really be more satisfied than someone who is middle class and, all things considered, it seems less likely that you'd have that level of comfort. The middle class can just tune out and ignore reality. The person who controls reality cannot.

Bumping it up a level to time travel. I was thinking about what one does with a time machine. Generally one of people's first answers is something uninspiring about how they'd get rich. I admit it's a pelasant little fantasy that I've also engaged in. But thinking more seriously about it... I don't think I actually would. As a time traveler, what value is money really? I mean sure, you need to cover maintenance of your vehicle and fuel, disposal of waste, and your basic needs of food and shelter but after that, you can go anywhere and anywhen. So much you could study and learn and think about. Yeah. There are points in time where I'd be tempted to attempt to change the past but would I really? Probably not. Even ignoring paradoxes, I think that despite our best efforts, mankind is still stumbling slowly forward. To change that and play the hand of God would be wrong. Much as it pains me to watch, I think mankind must bumble forward at their own rate. Trying to hurry them along would only result in stupid monkeys with more advanced technology and that's probably not a great thing. Besides, the journey is more the point than the destination.

Adam

Feb. 24th, 2011 09:43 am
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
A few days ago I was looking at "Dynamic Anatomy" ... Now that I'm a more experienced artist I see a lot of flaws in both his work and his teaching method. What instead kept catching my eye the most were instead the included photos of various renaissance pieces.

Of the well-known works, Michaelangelo's Creation of Adam really caught my eye. In some senses, it is no more technically proficient than many of his other pieces but there's some really interesting stuff going on in it. Take a long look at it:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Creation_of_Adam_Michelangelo.jpg (And be sure to look at the original, not cheap knock-offs like http://www.onlyoilpainting.com/the-creation-of-adam-by-michelangelo-buonarroti-italy-p-2525.html which I will come back to later.)

Adam's pose and his eyes. They don't say love or fear so much as casual indifference. His he reaching out to touch god or brushing him off? Submissive or bored? What really makes this piece so fascinating is exactly that. It is masterful expression. I think, looking closer, it really is Adam who is in power in this piece. He rests alone ont he ground, naked and unafraid. His body is firm and strong and he is very slightly larger than God.

God's hand is ever so slightly withered, showing his age. He is a bit doughy around the middle. God is clothed, though I suspect that was not the original design. It takes dozens of cherubs to keep him aloft and the cherubs look either disinterested or at Adam. They seem nervous even afraid of him, not filled with joy.

It's an interesting image. I don't think that Michaelangelo was a heretic. Far from it. I think the way he painted this is profoundly true to his faith. This is Adam in the bible. He is a god, created in God's image. Adam is not meant to be a lesser being or subject. He is meant to be someone God can talk with and better understand himself through. I think this is the greatest achievement of this painting. I think, in looking at it that Michaelangelo probably understood God better than the people in the building below because it's apparent in his work that he had no fear of God. Fear is the root of all evil and to fear God would in fact be to profane God. In this moment, Adam is perfect. He has no fear, no shame. He is a newly born god.


-- knockoffs --

In looking for a good photo of this online I of course ran across several knockoffs made to be stuck on the wall of the house of someone who wants to feign culture. The example above is a typical one. They have copied the pose but not the muscle tension, the action the expressions or anhy of the subtleties that make this piece what it is. The result is something vastly inferior watered down and ready for mass-production. Unlike the original, it does show fear. Everyone has to wear a happy face. Adam must love god. God is timeless and powerful, all the cherubs are smiling. Everyone is artificially happy, the mood is clearly defined, not set to make you pause for thought. It is tedious, tasteless, and pointless. I can barely stand to look at it, and contemplating the sort of people who would buy it just makes me sad.

Tiny homes

Feb. 24th, 2011 04:25 pm
pasithea: trippy dippy hippy (hippie)
Ignoring their lack of insulation, I really like some of these:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/garden/24tiny.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&src=twrhp

They make our < 900 sqft house seem like a mansion.

Honestly though, I'm growing to like smaller space living a lot. It's amazing how much clutter we accumulate in our lives. We've shed a lot of stuff in the past year and so far I've not really missed any of it. Most of the things I've let go of, I don't even recall what they were. Just that I once had a lot more stuff. Funny thing is, I know of many more things that I can reduce or let go of. The biggest ones for me are using up art supplies (and I mean stuff that's been sitting around for > 5 years, waiting to be used) and books. I won't ever let go of all my books but I've been getting more things from the library instead of the bookstore and when I get stuff at the bookstore, I try to take some things back to sell as well.

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