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Halcyon In Kaleidoscope

On Leonard Cohen

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"So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear."

Happy posthumous birthday, Lennie.

You tried, in your way, to be free. Thank you. Now go join that great gig in the sky.

'We Love Leonard Cohen' celebrated his 81st Birthday, and then, for his 82nd and final birthday, Leonard gave us a present. "You Want It Darker" is the title track to last album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. (See also Leonard Cohen Makes it Darker.)

"Leonard Cohen offers the possibility of living with grace, dignity, and integrity, without submitting to illusions, without succumbing to indifference, and without indulging in denial of our own failures and flaws, in a world that is too often corrupt and malevolent" - Allan Showalter

On Progress Halcyon In Kal… 21 September 2017

The Social Progress Index argues, that to truly advance social progress, we must learn to measure it comprehensively and rigorously. When everyone uses the same vocabulary to describe challenges, it's that much easier to overcome them.

Halcyon's own emerging Ethical Development Goals (EDGs) are being developed in a similar spirit.

On Space
National Geographic
Halcyon In Kal… 20 September 2017

 

Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight up - Fred Hoyle

Some emerging ideas/thoughts about/reactions to space that you might find to be of interest...

Universe

The cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself - Carl Sagan

The oldest stars found in the Universe are nearly pristine, where almost 100% of what makes them up is the hydrogen and helium left over from the Big Bang. They come in at over 13 billion years old, with the oldest at 14.5 billion. And this is a big problem, because the Universe itself is only 13.8 billion years old.

Earth

On Dante

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Is it possible to appreciate fully Dante’s work without understanding the man himself and the society in which he lived?

On Freedom

Freedom

The Wikileaks saga presented a dilemma around freedom and transparency vs. security. I was initially rather gung ho in supporting the march towards transparency, even signing an Avaaz online petition in defending Wikileaks, which I promptly withdrew from my Facebook profile after being flamed by someone whom I had no wish to upset, nor to engage with in a debate about the the finer points of freedom as they might look to people outside e.g. the U.S. In any case, as time has gone on I've become increasingly convinced that this is a very nuanced debate. For example, the "Open Source revolution" is led by an ex-CIA agent who trained more than 66 countries in open source methods and who calls for re-invention of intelligence.

 

On Utopia

Can utopian visions change the world? The 2017 IAI TV debate, Dreaming the Future discussed how we all want a better world, and we seemingly make progress, with more technology and less prejudice. Yet ideals and utopias are strangely difficult to imagine, let alone achieve. Is it that we just lack imagination or are leaders inherently corrupt?

On Sun(s) Halcyon In Kal… 30 July 2017

The weird idea that Earth could be getting a second sun, at least temporarily, if Betelgeuse, one of the night sky's brightest stars, goes supernova, recalls a dream, many years ago, of climbing a ridge in the desert and seeing a dawn uncannily like this photo...

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On Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas
Halcyon In Kal… 30 July 2017

Another beautiful example of the villanelle form is Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas, a poem I first heard as a teenager, recited not by Thomas himself but by Richard Bebb, on a record of poetry in which, inter alia, he shares the reading with Richard Burton of Under Milk W

On Henry David Thoreau

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In the 1840s Henry David Thoreau swapped his busy schedule in Concord, Massachusetts, for a wooden hut he built himself near Walden Pond. We had the privilege to visit Walden, five years ago, in July 2012; it exceeded expectations in its tranquility and beauty - and the swim in the pond itself was unforgettable.

See also:

On Incompleteness
Sagrada
Halcyon In Kal… 24 July 2017

In 1883, Antoni Gaudí began working on the Sagrada Família in Barcelona and before his death managed to complete the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity facade. Work slowed during the 1930s and 40s, then picked up again in the 1950s and a series of architects carried on Gaudí’s work, completing new towers and facades.

On Beltane
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Halcyon In Kal… 1 May 2017

"See Pan the Piper dancing in the greenwood dawn...Earth, Water, Fire, Air, dancing round the Maypole...at Beltane", light a Beltane fire, high on the skyline" - from Ancient Dream, Aeolian Songspell

On Robert Pirsig

William Morrow/HarperCollins

Robert M. Pirsig, who inspired generations to road trip across America with his "novelistic autobigraphy," Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died in April 2017 at the age of 88. Pirsig wrote just two books: Zen (subtitled "An Inquiry Into Values") and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, both of which moved and influenced me deeply.

What I am is a heretic who's recanted and thereby in everyone's eyes saved his soul. Everyone's eyes but one, who knows deep down inside that all he has saved is his skin - Robert Pirsig 

On Lions

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I have been a proud member of Lions Heraldic in Brussels since 2006. 2017 sees the centenary of the global Lions movement, started by Melvin Jones in Chicago.

Highlights include:

On Hieronymus Bosch Halcyon In Kal… 7 March 2017

For the 500-year anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch‘s death, the MOTI Museum in Holland commissioned a modern re-interpretation of the Dutch painter’s famous medieval painting, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.

On Pan

Pan

I have long been entranced by Pan, probably inspired - as I'm guessing many others have been too - by the beautiful and haunting passage in The Piper at the Gates of Dawn chapter of The Wind in the Willows.

On T.S. Eliot

East Coker

T.S. Eliot died over 50 years ago now. His legacy remains profound and his poetry moves me deeply.

In August 2016 I had the privilege of visiting his final resting place, East Coker.

I listen to the peerless Little Gidding at least once a quarter, sometimes more often, and almost every line entrances, as if peering through a veil at something once known, but half-forgotten because not looked-for.

On Humour

We often assume that laughter occurs when we hear something funny, but research has shown that it is the people doing the speaking who laugh the most - 46% more than their audience.

On Imbolc

Imbolc, imbolc, the light will soon return, warm the Earth this winter's night and let the candles burn.

A time of purification (hence spring cleaning), this is a hopeful time of year, with the days drawing out and even the mornings slowly lightening. Later this month, the first snowdrop and crocus should visit, suggesting that Spring is not far behind.