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Halcyon In Kaleidoscope

On T.S. Eliot
East Coker
Halcyon In Kal… 14 February 2018

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

In 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 Dante
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Halcyon In Kal… 13 February 2018

Is it possible to appreciate fully Dante’s work without understanding the man himself and the society in which he lived? A recent book attempted to shed new light on what some have called the greatest of all European poems.

See also:

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.

On the Self
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Halcyon In Kal… 24 January 2018

 

The Ego Trick looked at the 'bundle theory' of the self, and argued that we don't have a permanent essential self, but instead are a bundle of thoughts, sensations and impulses.

Meanwhile, a Harvard clinical psychologist and Tibetan Buddhist scholar, examined the nature of awareness and self.

 

On Christmas
Xmas
Halcyon In Kal… 25 December 2017

"Wings are for flying, not frying" ...nice quote, nice sentiment.  Animal-friendly consumerism could be a major future trend.  Until 12 years ago I too gorged myself on turkey every Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 27th...and my mouth watered long after at the remembered taste of turkey soup on the 28th or 29th, a meal which constituted one of the culinary highlights of my year.

Now, though the smell of meat still does not repulse me, some thoughtless things just can't stand up to an onslaught of values, so, all the trimmings, certainly...but no turkey (nor ham, despite the photo) for me once again this year.

On Meat

Beef

Our current meat-heavy system of food production seems to many unsustainable, a waste of resources and a source of pollution in the form of pesticides and hormones as well as methane gas from livestock manure.

On Campion

Campion

December 1st comes around again. Grateful to witness it once more. So many memories - the most vivid from Campion Days of old...pushing for almost glory or just plain survival through fields of mud, up frosted hills, leading or trailing friends of yore.

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, Lenny.

You tried, in your way, to be free. Thank you. Now go join that great gig in the sky. So I wrote a year ago, when Lenny left us. However, the legend lives on - listen for example to How the Light Gets In.

'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 Samhain
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Halcyon In Kal… 2 November 2017

A beautiful seasonal quote from the inspiring Damh the Bard.

"It’s nearly here...the major Sabbat of Samhain will arrive, bringing with it dark evenings and opening the door to the cold of Winter. Lanterns will be lit and placed in windows. Faerie Bells will ring and doors and windows will be opened to allow the spirits of those departed back inside, to share a meal, so we may remember them. Photographs of loved ones will be placed on altars next to the slowly drifting smoke of incense, tears will be shed, and smiles will be shared. Candle flame will be caught in the reflecting water of the cauldron, and Journeys will be taken. Magic will be cast, and the names of those gone before across the bridge into the Otherworld, and the many more lives that lay beyond, will be spoken into the wind, letting them know that they are never forgotten."

On Progress

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

 

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 Freedom
Freedom
Halcyon In Kal… 10 August 2017

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)

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...

S-TWO-SUNS-large

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.