Top 14 Best Film Scenes

14. 2001: A Space Odyssey (The Dawn of Man)

13. Platoon (When the Machine Breaks Down)

12. Network (The Natural Order of the World Today)

11. . . .And Justice For All (There Is Something Really Wrong Going On Here)

10. Apocalypse Now (Real Freedoms)

9. 12 Monkeys (Plague of Madness)

8. Devil’s Advocate (The Goof of All Time)

7. North Dallas Forty (Winning’s  Gotta Be More Than Just Money)

6. Easy Rider (Bought And Sold In The Marketplace)

5. Margin Call (Fingers On The Scales)

4. Good Will Hunting (Don’t Do That)

3. Scent of a Woman (Principles)

2. Crumb (Cultural Homogeneity)

1. Planet of the Apes (The Eve of Man)

 

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QOTD Whoopi Goldberg

English: no original description

English: no original description (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started examining my own trip. What are my day to day worries? I mean, what grinds my ass to the bone on a day to day basis, man? Things like why can’t I get an American Express card? Why can’t I find a hairdresser to mess with my coif? I mean, these are my big day to day worries, man. But then you go into a room like this [Anne Frank House] and you hold up your coif and your card against life and death and you know the true meaning of trivial pursuits. ~”Fontaine”, character by Whoopi Goldberg Direct From Broadway show 1985

Act Locally

Grow things in the garden of your mind. . .

 

Across The Universe no.49Let us talk a bit about Locality. There exists now a famous slogan making its rounds around the earth: “Think Globally, Act Locally.” But what does that mean? Local? Is that your household, your street, your neighborhood, your township or borough, your city, your state (or province as the case may be), your country, your continent, your planet, the Milky Way Galaxy, the Universe, the 3rd dimension? Which of these is local?

What the internet has done is to reinvent AT&T’s wheel. Despite distance, the internet suddenly tears through the limits of distance and someone in the US can talk to another one in the UK through Skype in what is called “Real Time”. A bored mother, while her husband may be at work and the kids at school (or a bored father) can sit and talk to her BFF on the other side of the planet through instant messaging. A teenager curious about the how the latest video games work (or perhaps the day it will be released) summons the great oracle Google and knows 1 million anwers from all over the globe in Other Worlds (NASA, Sailing With NASA, 10/24/09)nine-tenths of a second.  So, what do you think when you think local? When you think of your friends, are they all offline? When you think of your aquaintances, do they all live in the same town as you?

If we cannot truly define “local”, then how is it possible to truly define right or wrong? What is against or for law? Or how do we define law?

Mom’s gonna fix it all soon.
Mom’s comin’ round to put it back the way it ought to be. ~”Aenima” by Tool

FantasiaUnfortunately, such philosophical wanderings belong to the future of humanity, where (perhaps through or with the help of advancements in technology and perhaps because through the internet one mind can read another) boundaries (which are not unlike prisons in some way, are they not? Imprisoned by one’s definition or opinion of locality?) are not prisons, but recognized as illusions, nothing more than shadows on Platos’ wall.

What of humans who realize without indoctrination or neuromarketing or teaching or conditioning that locality does not mean a space where one shares likeness of nationality, ideology, color, mentality, or philosophy?

What does that future hold?

Ours is a journey toward simplicity, toward quietness, toward a kind of joy that is not in time. In this journey out of time to “NowHere,” we are leaving behind every model we have had of who we thought we were. This journey involves a transformation of our being so that our thinking mind becomes our servant rather than our master. It’s a journey that takes us from primary identification with our psyche to identification with our souls, then to identification with God, and ultimately beyond any identification at all. ~Ram Dass

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Across The Universe no.49” by Derek Davalos
“Other Worlds (NASA, Sailing With NASA, 10/24/09) by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
“Fantasia” by spitfirelas
“the guardian” by Chris Tarnawski

QOTD Ervin Laszlo

All things are global, indeed cosmic, for the memory of all things extends to all places and all times. The physical world is a reflection of energy vibrations from more subtle worlds that, in turn, are reflections of still more subtle energy fields. Creation, and all subsequent existence, is a progression downward and outward from the primordial source. ~Ervin László

UNIVERSE OF ENERGY*Image Credit (work used with permission through CC license)–
“UNIVERSE OF ENERGY” by Joe Penniston

Laws of the Earth

 

Law.A rule of action prescribed by a superior, which an inferior is bound to obey: 36 C.J. 957

 

laws for atoms

laws for atoms (Photo credit: Will Lion)

What kind of world do we live in when sesame street has gone from ABCs and 123s to My Mommy/Daddy is in Prison and My Daddy/Mommy Broke a Law? How does this not scream crisis emergency epidemic to the world? How has humanity become so complacent that the existence of parents/people in prison has become so common place that Sesame Street has taken to incorporated it into their television programming and offering Incarceration Tool Kits. I’m not sure if that makes it better or makes it that much more tragic. It has become so normalized and such a standard (incarceration, breaking laws) that a progam dedicated to children is now using it. Let us forget for a moment about the abstractions that are laws and what it means to break an abstraction, let us play around in this reality for a while. The comic tragedy of it is no less severe. Watching the videos on Sesame Street’s website play out like a skit from SNL or perhaps MADtv or even The State or some parody on YouTube. Yet, sincerity and seriousness must be acknowledged. The US has stepped over yet another line in the consciousness, there are now so many people in prison (and not all of these prison sentences are just, but let us save that for another essay) that it is now not an HBO special or a trumped up, sensationalized multi-million dollar CGI Hollywood film, but a Sesame Street program. Has human existence sunk this low? Are there way too many laws anymore? According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, perhaps there are. The number of federal laws in the united states for which anyone could be indicted for are innumerable? Does no one else find this disturbing. I’m sorry, what was freedom again.

Shouldn’t we be embarrassed? Shouldn’t we be raging against such an onslaught of obvious mockery at humans being? Shouldn’t there be crying and gnashing and clenching teeth in the streets that there never was any freedom, that the promises promised were never meant to come true, that EVERYONE is bound for the mental electric chair?

Yet, many too many line up voluntarily for the noose and consider themselves lucky to be given the soft rope, and place firmly their hands upon the plough. What mental holocaust should abound now that humanity has leased his grounds to the corporate teat?

No more, I say, shall I kneel as a coward before the sheep clad in gold. No more shall I walk with head bowed into the belly of an iron beast and shame my self esteemed great. I ask for no other to walk with me flat feet upon the earth, as I shall walk regardless, with my toes digging into the soft dirt and plush grass. I shall hang my hat upon a low branch, and I build my home among the upturned roots of a fallen tree.

Outside of the local conundrums of Schrodinger’s box can there be any concept like free. Until people realize the obviousness of this,  humans will continue to be incarcerated by laws so innumerable the only solution will be the creation of a paralyzed Utopia, intent upon the destruction of uncertainty, the murder of unknown, and the jailing of infinity in the name of human insecurity, fluttering away Life for what is sold on TV.

“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals.” ~Alan Watts

Body Ritual among the Nacerima

The anthropologist has become so familiar with the diversity of ways in which different people behave in similar situations that he is not apt to be surprised by even the most exotic customs. In fact, if all of the logically possible combinations of behavior have not been found somewhere in the world, he is apt to suspect that they must be present in some yet undescribed tribe. The point has, in fact, been expressed with respect to clan organization by Murdock.  In this light, the magical beliefs and practices of the Nacirema present such unusual aspects that it seems desirable to describe them as an example of the extremes to which human behavior can go.

Professor Linton first brought the ritual of the Nacirema to the attention of anthropologists twenty years ago, but the culture of this people is still very poorly understood. They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, although tradition states that they came from the east….

Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which has evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the people’s time is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity. The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such a concern is certainly not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy are unique.

The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, man’s only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of ritual and ceremony. Every household has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more powerful individuals in the society have several shrines in their houses and, in fact, the opulence of a house is often referred to in terms of the number of such ritual centers it possesses. Most houses are of wattle and daub construction, but the shrine rooms of the more wealthy are walled with stone. Poorer families imitate the rich by applying pottery plaques to their shrine walls.

While each family has at least one such shrine, the rituals associated with it are not family ceremonies but are private and secret. The rites are normally only discussed with children, and then only during the period when they are being initiated into these mysteries. I was able, however, to establish sufficient rapport with the natives to examine these shrines and to have the rituals described to me.

The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept the many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured from a variety of specialized practitioners. The most powerful of these are the medicine men, whose assistance must be rewarded with substantial gifts. However, the medicine men do not provide the curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in an ancient and secret language. This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm.

The charm is not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but is placed in the charmbox of the household shrine. As these magical materials are specific for certain ills, and the real or imagined maladies of the people are many, the charm-box is usually full to overflowing. The magical packets are so numerous that people forget what their purposes were and fear to use them again. While the natives are very vague on this point, we can only assume that the idea in retaining all the old magical materials is that their presence in the charm-box, before which the body rituals are conducted, will in some way protect the worshiper.

Beneath the charm-box is a small font. Each day every member of the family, in succession, enters the shrine room, bows his head before the charm-box, mingles different sorts of holy water in the font, and proceeds with a brief rite of ablution. The holy waters are secured from the Water Temple of the community, where the priests conduct elaborate ceremonies to make the liquid ritually pure.

In the hierarchy of magical practitioners, and below the medicine men in prestige, are specialists whose designation is best translated as “holy-mouth-men.” The Nacirema have an almost pathological horror of and fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a supernatural influence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them. They also believe that a strong relationship exists between oral and moral characteristics. For example, there is a ritual ablution of the mouth for children which is supposed to improve their moral fiber.

The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-rite. Despite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of the mouth, this rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger as revolting. It was reported to me that the ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures.

In addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out a holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. These practitioners have an impressive set of paraphernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and prods. The use of these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbelievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man opens the client’s mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes which decay may have created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into these holes. If there are no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large sections of one or more teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be applied. In the client’s view, the purpose of these ministrations is to arrest decay and to draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of the rite is evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy-mouth-men year after year, despite the fact that their teeth continue to decay.

It is to be hoped that, when a thorough study of the Nacirema is made, there will be careful inquiry into the personality structure of these people. One has but to watch the gleam in the eye of a holy-mouth-man, as he jabs an awl into an exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain amount of sadism is involved. If this can be established, a very interesting pattern emerges, for most of the population shows definite masochistic tendencies. It was to these that Professor Linton referred in discussing a distinctive part of the daily body ritual which is performed only by men. This part of the rite includes scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument. Special women’s rites are performed only four times during each lunar month, but what they lack in frequency is made up in barbarity. As part of this ceremony, women bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour. The theoretically interesting point is that what seems to be a preponderantly masochistic people have developed sadistic specialists.

The medicine men have an imposing temple, or latipso, in every community of any size. The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat very sick patients can only be performed at this temple. These ceremonies involve not only the thaumaturge but a permanent group of vestal maidens who move sedately about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and headdress.

The latipso ceremonies are so harsh that it is phenomenal that a fair proportion of the really sick natives who enter the temple ever recover. Small children whose indoctrination is still incomplete have been known to resist attempts to take them to the temple because “that is where you go to die.” Despite this fact, sick adults are not only willing but eager to undergo the protracted ritual purification, if they can afford to do so. No matter how ill the supplicant or how grave the emergency, the guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian. Even after one has gained and survived the ceremonies, the guardians will not permit the neophyte to leave until he makes still another gift.

The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or her clothes. In everyday life the Nacirema avoids exposure of his body and its natural functions. Bathing and excretory acts are performed only in the secrecy of the household shrine, where they are ritualized as part of the body-rites. Psychological shock results from the fact that body secrecy is suddenly lost upon entry into the latipso. A man, whose own wife has never seen him in an excretory act, suddenly finds himself naked and assisted by a vestal maiden while he performs his natural functions into a sacred vessel. This sort of ceremonial treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by a diviner to ascertain the course and nature of the client’s sickness. Female clients, on the other hand, find their naked bodies are subjected to the scrutiny, manipulation and prodding of the medicine men.

Few supplicants in the temple are well enough to do anything but lie on their hard beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of the holy-mouth-men, involve discomfort and torture. With ritual precision, the vestals awaken their miserable charges each dawn and roll them about on their beds of pain while performing ablutions, in the formal movements of which the maidens are highly trained. At other times they insert magic wands in the supplicant’s mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing. From time to time the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh. The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men.

There remains one other kind of practitioner, known as a “listener.” This witch-doctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in the heads of people who have been bewitched. The Nacirema believe that parents bewitch their own children. Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while teaching them the secret body rituals. The counter-magic of the witch-doctor is unusual in its lack of ritual. The patient simply tells the “listener” all his troubles and fears, beginning with the earliest difficulties he can remember. The memory displayed by the Nacirema in these exorcism sessions is truly remarkable. It is not uncommon for the patient to bemoan the rejection he felt upon being weaned as a babe, and a few individuals even see their troubles going back to the traumatic effects of their own birth.

In conclusion, mention must be made of certain practices which have their base in native esthetics but which depend upon the pervasive aversion to the natural body and its functions. There are ritual fasts to make fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat. Still other rites are used to make women’s breasts larger if they are small, and smaller if they are large. General dissatisfaction with breast shape is symbolized in the fact that the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee.

Reference has already been made to the fact that excretory functions are ritualized, routinized, and relegated to secrecy. Natural reproductive functions are similarly distorted. Intercourse is taboo as a topic and scheduled as an act. Efforts are made to avoid pregnancy by the use of magical materials or by limiting intercourse to certain phases of the moon. Conception is actually very infrequent. When pregnant, women dress so as to hide their condition. Parturition takes place in secret, without friends or relatives to assist, and the majority of women do not nurse their infants.

Our review of the ritual life of the Nacirema has certainly shown them to be a magic-ridden people. It is hard to understand how they have managed to exist so long under the burdens which they have imposed upon themselves. But even such exotic customs as these take on real meaning when they are viewed with the insight provided by Malinowski when he wrote:

Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in the developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic. But without its power and guidance early man could not have mastered his practical difficulties as he has done, nor could man have advanced to the higher stages of civilization.

Originally written by Horace Miner

*Source

Medicinal

“Medication Time! Medication Time!”

Fig. 1My music is a kind of poetical literature in instrumental form. In each piece, I attempt to tell a story.

This experimental, ambient piece tells the story of before, during, and after taking medication. In the past (a long ago past), I was highly against taking any kind of medication as part of treatment, as I considered medication a form of mind-control and I did not want anyone mucking about with my mind, despite the fact that, at that time, my mind was quite unfriendly towards me and regarded as monstrous. I explain this, to further illuminate the influence behind this particular piece and why I created it.

The beginning of the music portrays what triggers the (almost daily) psychotic episode (the affected part of SchizoAffective Disorder) and a depiction of the resulting mood and state of mind/consciousness (which is why the music grows from dark to a kind of chasing feel, as if the mind were chased by the impending psychosis). The middle of the piece/story portrays taking the medications (I no longer hold the same beliefs I did when I was younger about medication, I can now see its use and I now comprehend much more about the beneficial chemical effects it can have on the brain, which has an effect on the body and state of mind) and how differently the mind is affected and the semblance of peace it brings afterward (which sort of explains the lyrics in the middle, “Little did I know. . .”). But the medication lasts only a while and is not impervious to further triggers (shown in the immediacy of the return to the psychosis). The end portrays the return to the psychosis. . . and time again for medication. Basically, this piece illustrates the endless daily loop of life for a mind schizo affected (the reason behind the ending looping back to the beginning, although not exactly, because not every episode is the same).

This is the second track off the new album I am currently working on titled, From The Mind Of A Schizo, Affected. First track, Melvin, is here.

Features: (all samples are used with permission through CC license or public domain)
“Ghostpocalypse – 7 Master” & “Digital Bark” by Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
“Awair — Forever Yours” & “Spooky Hallowe’en Sound 02 FX” from BeatsRoyaltyFree
“Traffic” & “War” sound effects from SoundBible
Free samples from ACIDplanet

Untitled*Image Credits (all artwork used with permission through CC license)–
“biTteRNeSS bEfoRE bREakFASt” by Sippanont Samchai
“Fig.1” by Vacon Sartirani
“Untitled” by Andres Yeah