Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Ai Weiwei- Never Sorry"

I encourage everyone to learn about and follow the works of an amazing artist-activist in China. Ai Weiwei. On YouTube you can find a snippets of the documentary about him called, "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry." To watch the whole thing you'll have to go to Netflix or some other movie house. It's a perfect example of the kind of action which is desperately needed here in the States!!! Here's a condensed bit of info plus shots from the movie. 

Ai Weiwei's parents were protesters, themselves. His father was a poet who earned himself and his wife more than a few years in a labor camp. Ai spent a few years there, as well. He became an artist which did not graduate from the 'acceptable' academy in China and so his art is known as outsider art. It's all inflammatory, all real, and always relevant. The Chinese government passionately hates him and his international stardom. Trying to rein him in only makes his retaliatory acts more daring.

In 2008 he designed "The Birdsnest" stadium structure for the Olympics. It all went downhill from there because he was finally woken up to what kind of protest was necessary to promote change in China. It's been a battle staying alive since then. 

This  picture below shows the installation art ("Remembering") he created entirely from 9,000 children's backpacks in the wake of the devastating 2008 earthquuake which killed so many thousands. The pictures Ai saw after the incident of backpacks strewn everywhere around these schools haunted him.

"She lived happily for seven years in this world," which was a quote from the parent of one of the victim's mother. This is what the Chinese characters spell out in the installation art. 

Ai and his company were protesting the fact that the Chinese government didn't have an accurate tally of dead and injured. They didn't seem to care at all. The majority of the children killed were in very shoddy government built schools when they collapsed on them. Any time people tried to do compilations of names in these towns the government officials harassed them; obviously something stinky was afoot.

As another form of protest he and his company compiled a list of every child they could find out about. By April of 2009 they had compiled a list totaling 5,385 verifiable names. After he posted their names online the government ripped his blog down. So he had other people post the names to get the word out!! 

Ai is an avid Twitter fanatic. His blog got ripped down a few times by the government so he gave up.  I went to the site and sure enough, it's just a blanket page with a link about the government suing him and a few links. But on Twitter he is a chatterbox.

Here he is eating outside a cafe with a dozen anonymous friends who sat down to eat with him. That act alone was defiance on their part. The police showed up and tried to harass him to leave. He didn't. Everyone finished their meals. The police could only watch and glare at them.

The Chinese government finally got tired of his antics and....

Ai was detained at Beijing airport by police when he was trying to board a plane to Hong Kong. Protests and rallies have helped spread the word of what Chinese officials have done.

They held Ai Weiwei for eighty-one days in an undisclosed location and interrogated him about his 'unlawful activities' within his art. They were interested in his publicity interviews and online activities. They detained him under the guise of investigating his company's finances. He was released after admitting to 'tax evasion(which he later lost in court but is refusing to pay out) and put on probation which prohibited him from speaking to reporters, blogging or tweeting, or leaving the city of Beijing.

The sign above is one which was at a protest rally in China at a police station. Sorry about the movie control area graying out a portion of it. It says, "China Set Them Free!" That is a list of the number of writers, lawyers, artists, teachers, and other intellectuals who were all systematically rounded up around the same time as Ai. 

The artist reappeared over two months later, shaken, and wouldn't talk to anyone for quite some time. He said that he was out on bail and couldn't access his Twitter account or talk about anything that happened. It didn't stop him for long, though. Within weeks he was back at it.

In 2011 the government demolished his art studio which had just been completed. Ai invited people to an outdoor barbecue to celebrate but he couldn't attend the party himself because he was placed on house arrest. Celebrate what, you ask? Friendship!!! Camaraderie! Harmony! The joy of being alive. Later that day the building they celebrated in was demolished by government workers. The party was the only act of defiance they could really make. 

One of his most notable recent works was a short film featuring Ai writing in Chinese characters on a white background and then several people coming to stand before they camera and saying, "Fuck you, motherland," in their native tongue and then walking away from the camera's view. Ai was last. The international art community, along with Human Rights Watch, collectively felt their jaws hit the floor. This was one of his most provocative works. No one could be sure what would happen to him now.

In April of 2012, Ai set up several cameras to monitor him at his house and linked the feed online. His reason was that the Chinese government already had a dozen cameras on him already, 24/7, so what's four more? Forty-six hours after his cameras went live the government demanded he removed them. They received over five million views before being disconnected.  

I'd like everyone reading this to pause for a moment to consider the implications here. The government can watch your every move and it's ok. But if you hook up a live feed to the internet and allow the rest of the world to watch you-- it's NOT ok?  

I know at this point it's not just an act of defiance on his part, it's for his own personal safety.  Still, it is an artist's statement which deserves to be analyzed on a global scale. What would happen if you tried to do the same thing??

And so now we watch and wait to see what happens to this brave man. 

Here is a link to his Twitter account. It's in Chinese.  Does anyone know how I can translate that whole page to English??  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Nearness of God

Why would the nearness of something so divinely beautiful make you feel unease?

Some fundamentalists/literalists claim to get queasy from his presence. Some feel a bit of fear. Some say "No! It's not fear its... awe." I ask you to further probe that 'awe' and take a big step toward truth. This 'awe' is simply fear in disguise of your shaking knees and loud Hallelujah's. Once you quiet your own voice and turn to really, truly listen, then you hear it. Him. Really listening means that you're not hearing yourself talk. It's a difficult concept, even for those who've studied meditation for years.

Is all the talk getting in the way? 

Is this perhaps a fear of going higher than what you can perceive of as being available currently? 

Is it the fear of lacking structure and getting lost? Why would you think he would let you flounder?

What would it take for you to release your inhibitions; not like a drunkard grabbing yet another bottle and increasing his or her lacking control, but of an adult making the decision to grow and expand beyond what they currently know? 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Electric Universe and other Nerdy Goodness

This title is said with much love. My house is the only house I know of that thinks reading about quantum physics is fun on Sunday morning after a bowl of cereal-- and that's including both kids. Hearing the screaming fights over chess matches which end with spurting bloody noses.. ye gods. My kids are not geniuses but they have been raised to think outside the box.

I tripped over an awesome site and wanted to let you know that it's now been added to Gnostic Unrest in the Alternative News Sources list.!! SPECTACTULAR site jam packed with stuff for everyone to drool over who is of a mathematical/science mindset. Great pics, too! Check 'em out.

The Smallest Particle of God?

The earliest 'God particle' to be conceived of is in this equation: 

 \epsilon = \frac{h\nu}{ e^{\frac{h\nu}{kT}}-1} + \frac{h\nu}{2} 

This is the residual energy thought to be contained within a single energy radiator or a 'vibrating atomic unit.' 

Albert Einstein and Otto Stern wrote about Zero-Point Energy in 1913.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Repentance and Guilt

Guilt = self flagellation  

I've been reading the Songs of Solomon and contemplating the nature of dogmatic driven guilt which is hammered into the mind of every person within ear's reach of a fundamentalist church. 

Also, my own thirteen year old son inspired this post when he said Friday afternoon, "I wish I could just punch myself until I quit doing what I'm doing wrong!" He got a B on an Algebra quiz for criminey's sake. I asked what he thought beating himself up was going to accomplish and he said, "I'd wake up." That was an interesting response, and not one I was expecting. I told him that I'm not going to feed him coffee intravenously and maybe he just needed more sleep and/or to study a bit more. That didn't pacify him and he went off on a rant. Later, we read the following scripture together and talked about it.

Part of Song 11

"I threw off vanity and turned to my god,
and his bounty made me rich.
I threw off the madness of the earth;
I stripped that madness from me
and cast it away.

And the lord renewed me
in his raiment
and held me in his light.
From above he gave me uncorrupted ease,
and I was like land deep and happy in its orchards, 
and the lord was sun on the face of the land."


My conclusion is this: Not for god's sake- but for YOUR sake... stop beating yourself up!

He knows you're going to falter in your resolutions to change(and you're not always going to remember precisely how to solve a quadratic equation by factoring every time you're asked to) and He knows the past deeds you regret and are still trying to come to terms with. He knows you're human. He knows. He knows. He knows. He knows ALL. So cast off the guilt and plant his happiness in your heart and soul. That's right where he belongs.

You can move forward, accepting your stumbles along the way. The Good God doesn't want you to feel heavy hearted if you've learned a lesson thoroughly. Shed your guilt. He's not going to beat you up like a boxer on the other side of a ring. He is not an opponent! He is our closest friend, our lover, our dearest everything. He's the pure gold fondant cake topper on the thickest fudge cake in the world, a la mode with Godiva icecream. He's fine caviar, baby. He knows he's the best of everything and makes no issue of hugging the bejesus out of you any time he feels like you might need it and sometimes just because he's thinking of you. He asks for very little in return.

The chains of dogmatic based guilt are heavy and only need to be worn as long as you need to. But growing past that stage is essential. That is what he asks of us.

Have you ever held a colicky baby? Or how about had a friend or loved one who constantly beat themselves up and had nothing else to say but, "You'll never believe how I screwed up now. You gotta help me dig myself out of this hole!" There's only ever going to be a steady stream of crying and unhappiness coming from those types of people, little or big. Victims. Victims of themselves, but victims nonetheless. Victims of their short sightedness and victims of the world itself.

Growing in gnosis means growing up, period. Holding the perpetually crying infant isn't fun. Don't get me wrong, he's not going to drop your or shake you because he's annoyed--(I don't think he gets annoyed)-- but try to see things from his perspective sometime. Like a parent with a whiny kid.

No human being is ever going to be 'good enough' to see god until they shed that guilt of simply being what we are-- human.