Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
Categories: Essay | 3 Comments
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

By Walter Cummins   Life is a Fiction Over a half century ago, shortly before the twentieth-century British literary critic Frank Kermode’s seminal The Sense of an Ending was published, I found myself in a debate with the campus chaplain, a priest named Joe Casey, whom I barely knew at the time. The topic—Life is […]

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John Coltrane, "Wise One" score

By Walter Cummins Distraction and concentration form polar opposites which may be stated as follows: A man who concentrates before a work of art is absorbed by it. … In contrast, the distracted mass absorbs the work of art. — Walter Benjamin, as translated by Harry Zohn   The other day when I asked Alexa […]

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By Steven A. Burr Acquiring the ability to read, it transformed me, man. Like we say it in Spanish, la cultura cura. Culture heals. And that’s what healed me was culture. It made me positive. One thing for sure it did, it helped me to stop seeing my so-called enemy as my enemy and to […]

Essay
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17th century Schandmask (or shame masks) - a German form of punishment

By William Eaton   . . . the intellectuals of the time . . . went on playing with ideas que no tenían más función que la de mascaras—that served only as masks. Octavio Paz, El laberinto de la soledad (The Labyrinth of Solitude)[1]   At a few moments in his recent, fruitful discussion of class […]

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Kalamazoo, Michigan, by race

What happened after Ta-Nehisi Coates visited our city? By Sue Ellen Christian   Everything and nothing, as you would expect. But also, for me, old ideas from the American psychologist Gordon Allport and the journalist Robert Maynard got a new hold on my imagination. The auditorium was packed with 2,500 people and could have held […]

Essay
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Johns Hopkins professor Richard Macksey’s library, said to contain more than 70,000 books.

  By Andrew Bass   Literature is a kind of intellectual light which, like the light of the sun, enables us to see what we do not like; but who would wish to escape unpleasing objects by condemning himself to perpetual darkness? — Samuel Johnson   When asked whether he had read all the books […]

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Do we know what knowledge is, or what intimacy is, or  what matters in our lives?  Well, we could start with the observation that we have plenty of room to maneuver in exploring these questions. The terrain is shifting, and that’s a good thing. I want to shift the long shadow knowledge casts over alternative […]

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RealDoll prosthetic device, leg, being repaired

By Walter Cummins   Second in a series   Last time I wrote of the relationship of various prosthetic devices to the people who wear them. This time my topic is humanoids. At first glance, they may seem to be very different subjects. Prosthetics often and humanoids always, however, do share roots in robotics and […]

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By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

Essay
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By William Eaton   Maintenant, Ethel l’a compris . . . Now Ethel understood: it was the emotion of her great-uncle that was making her shiver. That such a tall and strong man was immobilized; it was because there was a secret in this house, a marvelous, dangerous, fragile secret; the least movement and everything […]

Essay
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On freedom, competition, and the flowering of our species By William Eaton Note: This is the first in a planned series of articles and essays related to conflict—political, economic, social, artistic, internal, . . .   Among the early spring-flowering trees the dogwood, Cornus florida, is unrivaled in beauty. It usually grows 15 to 25 […]

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Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 1 Comment
Asano_Takeji-No_Series-Snow_at_Iwashimizu_Hachiman_Shrine_Kyoto

On freedom, competition, and the flowering of our species By William Eaton Note: This is the first in a planned series of articles and essays related to conflict—political, economic, social, artistic, internal, . . .   Among the early spring-flowering trees the dogwood, Cornus florida, is unrivaled in beauty. It usually grows 15 to 25 […]

ZiR

July 16, 2018

Thanks a lot, Steve. And, continuing the segue-ing, here's an old (and traditional) Gary Snyder poem I just came across yesterday: Seaman’s Ditty I’m wondering where you are now Married, or mad, or free: Wherever you are you’re likely glad, But memory troubles me. We could’ve had us children, We could’ve had a home— But you thought not, and I thought not, And these nine years we roam. Today I worked in the deep dark tanks, And climbed out to watch the sea: Gulls and salty waves pass by, And mountains of Araby. I’ve travelled the lonely oceans And wandered the...

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Categories: William Eaton, ZiR | 1 Comment
Asano_Takeji-No_Series-Snow_at_Iwashimizu_Hachiman_Shrine_Kyoto

On freedom, competition, and the flowering of our species By William Eaton Note: This is the first in a planned series of articles and essays related to conflict—political, economic, social, artistic, internal, . . .   Among the early spring-flowering trees the dogwood, Cornus florida, is unrivaled in beauty. It usually grows 15 to 25 […]

ZiR

July 16, 2018

A very nice piece, William. I am reminded of a Sung Dynasty poem that D.T. Suzuki quotes in one of his books. I'm not sure of its relevance here, but it seems to resonate somehow. Misty rain on Mount Lu, And waves surging at Che Kiang. When you have not been there, Many a regret you have; But once there and homeward you wend, How matter-of-fact things look! Misty rain on Mount Lu And waves surging at Che Kiang.

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Categories: Essay | 1 Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

On freedom, competition, and the flowering of our species By William Eaton Note: This is the first in a planned series of articles and essays related to conflict—political, economic, social, artistic, internal, . . .   Among the early spring-flowering trees the dogwood, Cornus florida, is unrivaled in beauty. It usually grows 15 to 25 […]

Essay

June 14, 2018

The time that takes place in stories compared to the time that we actually live is radically abbreviated. It briskly sweeps aside all the commonplace moments that make up the long stretch of toilsome time and focuses instead on the interesting and compelling. With a mere section break or a simple transitional phrase, days, months, and whole years are disposed of as if they had no significance at all. “Then time passed slowly until the day arrived when….” A lot of important living is hidden in such a phrase. From the moment-to-moment flow of time, the storyteller lifts out only those narr...

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