Sunday, December 26, 2010

M.K. Gandhi on Akash

The following is an abridged version of Gandhi's chapter "Akash (Ether?)" in A Key to Health. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1948. (p. 77-81).

…The first lesson to be learnt is this, that we should not put any partition between ourselves and the sky - the infinite - which is very near and yet very far away. If our bodies could be in contact with the sky without the intervention of houses, roofs and even clothes, we are likely to enjoy the maximum amount of health… To understand this truth is to become indifferent to the dissolution of the body. For to lose oneself in the infinite is to find oneself. The body ceases to be a vehicle for self-indulgence. He will make use of his body for the realization of this unity with the infinite. In the course of the attempt he will discover that he is part of and one with all the life that surrounds him. This must mean service of mankind and through it finding God.
To return from the high flight, this train of thought will make the thinker keep his surroundings as open as possible. He will not fill the house with unnecessary furniture and will use the minimum of clothes that are necessary. Many households are so packed with all sorts of unnecessary decorations and furniture which one can very well do without that a simple living man will feel suffocated in those surroundings. They are nothing but means of harbouring dust, bacteria, and insects. Here in the house where I am under detention, I feel quite lost. The heavy furniture, chairs, tables, sofas, bedsteads, innumerable looking-glasses, all get on my nerves. The expensive carpets on the floors collect large amounts of dust and act as a breeding place for insect life… [M]y desire to be in tune with the infinite has saved me from many complications in life. It led not merely to simplicity of household and dress but all round simplicity in the mode of my life. In a nutshell, and in the language of the subject under discussion, I have gone on creating more and more in contact with akash. With the increase in the contact went improvement in health. I had more contentment and peace of mind and the desire for belongings almost disappeared… He who will establish contact with the infinite possesses nothing yet possesses everything...
It follows that one should make it a point to sleep in the open. Sufficient covering should be used to protect oneself against the inclemencies of the weather… For the rest, the starlit blue canopy should form the roof, so that whenever one opens one's eyes, he or she can feast them on the everchanging beautiful panorama of the heavens. He will never tire of the scene and it will not dazzle or hurt his eyes… To watch the different starry constellations floating in their majesty is a feast for the eyes…
Let us descend from the akash above to the akash within and immediately about us. Thus the skin has millions of pores. If we fill up the empty space within these pores we simply die… Similarly we must not fill up the digestive tract with unnecessary foodstuffs. We should eat only as much as we need and no more… The vast space surrounding us is the standing testimony of the truth.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On Democracy and Inequality...

"We cannot call our country a democracy when 1 percent of the population controls nearly half, and the top 20 percent controls 91 percent, of the wealth and the access to power that wealth produces."

-Paul Kivel, Social Service or Social Change?

but if reality is an illusion...

...then how should we live?

time has no beginning or end - whether a circle, or a point, or some other crazy ideas physicists have -

humankind proves it by repeating history again and again:

...society, growth, sex love and pleasure, exploitation growth and pleasure, power and poverty, revolution, war devastation and destruction, revolution, reform, society, growth, sex love and pleasure...

destruction is here, more devastation is on its way, and our revolution is coming.

it might not end up quite like this video, but the (r)evolution is indeed on its way... i know you feel it...

there is no reality

this is an illusion...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Through a Closed Mouth the Flies Enter
by Pablo Neruda

Why with those red flames
are rubies ready to burn?

Why does the heart of the topaz
have yellow honeycombs?

Why does the rose amuse itself
by changing the color of its dreams?

Why does the emerald grow cold
like a drowned submarine?

And why does the sky turn pale
over the June stars?

Where does the lizard's tail
buy its fresh paint?

Where is the underground fire
that resurrects the carnations?

Where does the salt get
that transparent gaze?

Where did the coals sleep
that they got up so dark?

And where, where does the tiger buy
stripes of mourning, stripes of gold?

When did the honeysuckle begin
to know its perfume?

When did the pine tree realize
its fragrant effect?

When did the lemons learn
the same catechism as the sun?

When did smoke learn to fly?

When do the roots converse?

What is water like in the stars?
Why is the scorpion poisonous,
why is the elephant benign?

What does the tortoise meditate on?
Where does the shade withdraw?
What song does the rain repeat?
Where do the birds go to die?
And why are the leaves green?

What we know is so little
and what we presume is so much
and we learn so slowly
that we ask and then we die.
Better to keep our pride
for the city of the dead
on the day of the departed
and there when the wind goes through
the hollows of your skull
it will decipher those enigmas for you,
whispering the truth in the space
where your ears used to be.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

On Science (and other matters of life)...

"Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible."

"We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Kerouac On Being...

On Summer...

(of course, the obvious question is why am I posting all of this?)

-May 29-

A sign in Harvard Yard reads: Every life is big to the person who is living it.


I move through this world
A headclouded wandering.
Experiencing mostly in this mindworld:
I am a dust-covered being.

-June 11-

there is a coming together.
it is slow.

-June 17-

how am i to you
just another walking down the street?
can you look me in the eyes
and not see?
do you not feel these rays of light
exploding from my being?

-June 20-

there were God-clouds today
charging forth from behind
these red brick buildings,

massive and
elegant and

rosy- and halo-trimmed

so profound that they make you
stop and stare,
catch your breath and say,


-June 26-

we are all walking bodies of knowledge and experience.

-June 28-

How is it going,

-July 3-

"A homesickness which home cannot cure." - John Burroughs

-July 4-

My being
is half-woman,

I now find myself
stretching up, and
opening out, and
letting go, and
coming alive.

Align my hips and shoulders,
pull this thread from the crown of my head,
breathe deep and wide
and open your eyes

wake up!
wake up!
be here!
wake up!


I had dinner
with a man,

He is beautiful.

Deep eyes,
far back,
piercing blue,


Adams Apple, guzzle,
grey short stubble
sprinkled on your


smooth - kindness
divine glacier,
I want to touch


the fingerpadtip
of my ring finger
has been buzzing
all day.

and today
during yoga
something opened in my chest
and I felt my heart.

-July 7-

Brands and logos are so strange! If someone is wearing a shirt with only a Nike symbol swoosh on it, they are moving through the world literally branded. They are doing nothing but being an advertisement for them, for that company. Their self/identity/beinghood becomes owned by that company! How bizarre!

So what does that mean about our interactions with others? How are we not judging them based on their costumes, their habits, their thoughts? "Oh, you are this type of person. You are this." But that is false, that is fake. That is part of essentializing others.

In fact, is our perception of all matter and being not simply as symbols? All action and interaction is symbolic action and interaction. We attribute a certain meaning to it all, we have an understanding of it as something. But it is never the thing in itself, and it is never being perceived outside of our own minds.

-July 9-

I realized that my knees are joints.
Now when I bike
I try to draw strength
from the core my being.

What is at the core?


Upon accepting
the illusion of reality -
crazy all amess
where going
nowhere I don't know
here they are
and I cried
still self-conscious of the fact that I
was crying
--why am I twisting my face so?
--why do I believe in this pain?


Everything we do is symbolic - we are always acting, performing, playing, making meaning out of our actions.


I recognize, I realize, that this existential stagnancy is stupefying, deadening, stopping or maybe just slowing, it is just slowing down, because I know! I already know! My sick soul is self-induced, vanity. It is true that it is all false, but as much as Itry to think my way into the falseness, I remain in this reality.

-July 11-

Summer is passing:
Opressive heat bursts -
sweatsticky bodies are cleansed.


Here we are in this crisp
world that resounds with dripdrippings
and the hollow swooosh of tires
splashing through puddles
and we are shuffling side-to-side,
wasting time, nervous, waiting awkward...

In this after-dinner dimness-lit-by-streetlamps
world of wet and
slick dark ground and
big, cool sky
we are kicking quietly at the ground and
looking into each others' eyes and
waiting to kiss.

-July 12-

Screen door swings open:

Candles, wine, fruit flies, and
Two twenty-one-year-old Woman-kids
--out on the back porch
--sitting on the wooden steps
--legs crossed, sandal-tanned bare feet,
--flowy skirts and tank tops;
farmer's market dinner
late-time on a summer night.

Talk of the world -
all of the sad things,
what needs to change-
only ever ends
Heavy, Huge
of impossible, of smallness,
of a deep despair
that plunges arm, twisting, down, into mouth, pink throat tubes clenched between flingerslits and fist, you are - hands to neck - choking. why can't you disappear from the world?

But talk is talk.



You know those dreams
that you have right before bed
about everything you're gonna do tomorrow,
and also about how you're gonna change the world?

Well, where have they gone when you wake up the next morning?

-July 25-

"I was no longer myself, or to be more accurate, no longer as I knew myself to be, a small point of awarenes confined in a body, but instead was a vast circle of consciousness in which the body was but a point, bathed in light and in a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe." - Gopi Krishna, Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man

-August 1-

It's that lavender and rose petals point in life,
or the sweet smell of supple peaches stage

jeweltones against ripe honey-colored limbs,

movement like a soft evening rain -
delicate, dangling, firm.


Life's pupil
Shedding self.


Releasing my story has become my story.
Indeed, my path to not-self is one of great self-absorption.

DuBois on Double Consciousness

"It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness, - an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn assunder." - From The Souls of Black Folk

Ali Farka Touré

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

thoughts of recent...

march 29 - with the budding of spring
i awaken refreshed.
roots of suffering reach deep.

april 14 - still amazed by all of the ways in which we perform "ourself." through our clothing/appearance and through our actions. what is genuine and real?

april 14 - and it's interesting that when i see this hupd (harvard university police department) guy on his bike, decked out in his gear, he becomes a "hupd guy" - he no longer has an identity, or a personal one anyhow.

april 16 - soaking in dim off- eggshell-white library light, with a touch of yellowy honey in it, but not in a sweet way - in a way that makes you feel pale and soul-stifled, in a library light way.

april 20 - realized last night that my fear of making art - visual, musical, dance, etc. - is a fear of making something beautiful. **truly beautiful**

april 20 - gnats hover, bunch lazy
tucked in corners
brick red beautiful
neon green fresh spring leaves flutter
sun opens, shines warm.

april 21 - still spending most of my time halfheavy-sleepyeyed


i told him -
when i think of him it feels like late-afternoon sunshine - when it filters golden through trees, light breeze glitter-glimmer through green spring leaves.. and you've had a really good day.

he told me -
you are saturn, you are a snowy mountain, you are buddah.
hoolah hoop buddah hoolah hoop.
sometimes we kiss in my dreams.

and i thought - he spelled buddha wrong.
and my heart fluttered, first time in a long time, even though i don't want it to, not to him, anyway.
and i wanna say, like -
mannnn, you sure know how to make me smile.

big laugh at 30 seconds :)

not sure if i think this is cute, or if i'm offended...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

thoughts on reality, and nina simone - i wish i knew how it feels to be free

ok, so what i'm having the hardest time wrapping my head around is how separate we are.

social interaction has felt so bizarre and strange and strained and hard.

as dharma action figure formerly rocketman has said, we tell these stories to ourselves, we give ourselves stories that we play out in our heads.... even now, as i write this, there is a tape going in my head recording and rerecording and interpreting

i'm just so confused and surprised... walking by people in the street, or watching people on campus, everyone going somewhere with these stories in their heads. if you zoom out from street level, out to space and watch the planet spin and spin - we are like these objects moving through space with some recording playing before our eyes, interacting and creating this giant web of connections and movement and stories and shapes and understandings throughout time - as time spins forward this great understanding morphs and changes and grows - and then you can pause and zoom that back down to us.

we are these blips. we are so short. yet we get consumed by ourselves.

our worlds are ourselves. and it's weird because we do shape that by being alive, by being able to shape this "idea" that carries forward through time to another person's mind. i only have a picture in my mind of living in ancient greece or maya because somebody did live that (and then archaeology and technology come into play).

we play out these lives, and we will never fully understand what it's like to live another person's life. i just want to splash into peoples' heads and inhabit their bodies and understand what it is to be them, what it is to think in their heads. i want to escape my own being - it feels heavy, it feels like a burden, it feels empty. and to even say that where am i speaking from?

so where do we connect? where do we see each other? where do we meet?
and how? on what?

Monday, February 15, 2010

honey suckle - corey harris

Terri Timely

dope films.

check 'em out - hilarious short films, brilliant music videos, and commercials here.

mil grazie a vino e bowties.


Synesthesia from Terri Timely on Vimeo.

late-night bikerides

late-night bikerides
sprinkledom silent stars
shining showerdown
silver glitter sparkling
falling from the sky
silent whooosh
silently pushing pedals
silent hum of empty streets
of lonely trees
of dim n dark corners
streets to somewhere
icy cold
and breath
and song
to no one and myself
and that cat dashing
and stars shining
all around
to void

courtesy of my homie yitzhak:

Sunday, February 14, 2010


gotta get back to ethiopia soon... this summer?... and find these fools...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

words from aldous

from his "doors of perception"

We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies--all these are private and, ex- cept through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On a Hip Hop Trip

i'll be honest: i don't know that much about hip hop. for that matter, i don't know much about much of anything. but i do know that de la soul is dead is one of my favorite albums to listen to. it's a piece of art. it's hilarious and witty and smart. it's so creative.

so searching for old de la videos on youtube (where there aren't that many) i come across this jewel of de la soul performing "buddy":

ok, well uhhhhh, hey, excuse me, but is that girl rapping at 3:00 queen latifah?! so then i'm searching google images for old pictures of queen latifah, from the 90's, from her rapping days... i probably went 25 pages back but they were all of her glitzed and glamoured up - her hurr did, all golden pressed, makeup caked, bosom-full dress or skin-tight shirt - and i realized the makeover, the total transformation that she has undergone. her image now is so... "refined," or "dignified." she became so easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl. how sad.

anyway, i finally found her in this rolling stone gallery of images from janette beckman's book of photographs of "the golden age of hip-hop," the breaks: stylin' and profilin' 1982-1990. the gallery's increeeedible, featuring pictures of run-dmc, eazy e, grandmaster flash, salt n peppa n the likes from back in the day. to really get the "glory days" feel peep the picture of rick rubin totin a pistol and then look at this picture here. (oh, and uhhh, who's rick rubin, you might ask, as i did, this random white fool? only the original dj of the beastie boys, co-founder of def jam records with russel simmons, and co-head of columbia records, the "oldest surviving brand name in pre-recorded sound" and corporate music giant - his glory days never ended... oh. ok. err, kinda...). anyway, here's queen latifah:

now, i'm obviously not familiar with lots of the artists featured in this gallery, including 2 live crew, so i look them up on wikipedia... who knew, these fools were involved with hellllllllll of controversies! dude in canada was going to jail for selling their album (according to wikipedia, "he would later gain fame as a marijuana activist")as nasty as they wanna be, and some guy "in alexander city, alabama was cited for selling a copy to an undercover police officer in 1988." no joke! the selling of this "obscene music" was taken so seriously that there were undercover cops! now, this whole thing is especially interesting because "it was the first time in the United States that a record store owner was held liable for obscenity over music." ok, but, AND the american family association took 2 live crew to court!!! for their obscene music, especially their RIDICULOUS song "me so horny":

this is even more interesting because esteemed critic, Harvard professor, and luminary African-American intellectual Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "was an expert witness on behalf of the defendants. he argued that the material that the county alleged was profane actually had important roots in African-American vernacular, games, and literary traditions and should be protected." hmmmm, now that's super interesting... i'd like to chat with you about that, good sir. the icing on the cake with 2 live crew's 3rd album as nasty as they wanna be is that their clean version was titled as clean as they wanna be. ha!

ok, but... that's not all with 2 live crew. remember how i said they were "helllllll of" controversial? well all of this publicity regarding their controversial cd led to them selling over 2 million copies and making #29 on the billboard 200 and #3 on the top r&b/hip-hop albums chart. well, van halen caught wind of their album and guess what - they sued 2 live crew for an uncleared sample of one of their songs. THEN, yes there's a THEN, george lucas sues the record producer/manager/lead vocalist luther "luke" campbell "for appropriating the name 'skywalker' for his record label, luke skywalker records."

wow, so all of that led to their 1990 banned in the usa (and they did get permission to use an interpolation of Bruce Springsteen's born in the usa, ha!):

yeeeeeeesh! whew! anyway, sucks for them...

this does raise a ton of interesting questions regarding our rights, though - should there be limits to free speech? who is to judge what is "obscene"? or, i suppose, should censorship of "obscenity" ever trump our right to individual expression and free speech? is enforcing said censorship (undercover cops... really?) a misuse of social funds, or too firm of a hand of the government by limiting our speech? and in terms of all of the lawsuits, i'm suuuuuper fascinated by the notion of intellectual property, especially in terms of music - sampling may be "theft," except for the fact that you're taking someone else's music and turning it into your own so that it becomes a new, different being... and just this idea of so removing music from its creative element and turning it into this object, this thing that you own, this thing that is yours, goddamnit, it belongs to you, and you will make the money for it that you deserved because it was yours first! ....y'know? and then there's the whole race thing - white people stealing black people's music while they get no credit for it (come on, let's all just be people!) whereas, dare i say, here black people are gettin sued before they even get the chance to do it to white people. and this may or not be related, and it may or may not be a huuuuuuge stereotype, but what is the cultural phenomena of overprotective, suburban white parents creating an "association" to combat the presence of this obscene, oversexualized filth and keep it away from their children? what is the cultural phenomena of overprotected, suburban white kids idolizing that obscene, oversexualized filth? what is the intersection of power of influence and cultural/individual expression when it supports negative or misrepresentations of that culture - as in, sure, 2 live crew, go ahead and write and rap those songs, but what stereotype is is it filling, what skewed image will it convey to those suburban folks? what is a cultural identity and what is the danger of cultural appropriation, or bastardization, or genocide? and professor gates, is "me so horny" truly a representation of african american culture, or is that not a bit of a stretch given, not the sexual matter of the content, but the representation of women?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010



love the light n shape. on the lighter side of das dubstep.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coffee Expert - Nico Muhly and Teitur

long drive to the chiropractor for a long wait in a sterile waiting room just for a few minutes of back cracking but mannnnn, the drive home sure feels shorter and i feel a lil taller.

so i don't really listen to the radio anymore, just kalx. sometimes, though, when they're playing bad music, or more likely there's some cal sporting game that they're airing i listen to kzsu.

so my brother and i are driving home, shorter and taller, listening to kzsu and this awesome song is playing by nico muhly whose impressive resume includes composing the soundtrack for the 2008 film "The Reader" and composing for Grizzly Bear's album Veckatimest. The song is called "The Only Tune: I. Two Sisters" and has three parts, II. and III. Ha.

well, i can't find the only tune online, but this is pretty impressive... on some wine & bowties shit...