Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Bits and Bobs.

Early this morning, I meandered about my late Summer garden. The gardenias are flowering again, their perfume saturating the air around the pizza oven. The roses are jurassic, and will need a stern pruning come Winter. Not that I'll be here to do so. The scarlet runner beans are ready at last. They're a bit late, as it's nearly the end of Summer, (can you imagine how much delight I take in saying that???) But we're finally seeing some beans. Their sweetness is remarkable.

There is a definite nip of Autumn in the morning air, and in the evening light; and a frog is singing the blues near the pond (always a sign to me that Autumn is nigh). The pumpkins are growing plumper by the day. One of my butternuts (don't you love the colour of butternuts?) has been attacked by native rats, and I found it writhing with millipedes. It was quite a disturbing sight. Who knew that gardening could be like your very own Gothic Horror show?

Now for the linky bits and bobs...

This. Because I have long loved Don Quixote

Zoe Keating's cello playing is sublime. Tragically, she lost her husband to cancer recently. If you'd like to give her a bit of support by buying some of her gorgeous music, then please visit her here. The Bloke actually interviewed her a couple of years ago for radio, and they had a lovely chat. 

Image source.
Melbourne has one of the best music scenes in the world. Which is a major reason why we live here. Here's some electronica from local artist Planete. I like 'Helix'.

I've always thought gerbils were evil-cute. I'm not surprised they were the culprits.

I got Witch Doctor...
 "when you were young (back in the year 1457) you enjoyed rebel acts and some mysteries until you've found the dark and bewitching art of witchcraft. Now you use your special set of skills to help and heal other people around you. Thank you, Doc". 

Happy weekending compadres! xxx

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Merleau Ponty has got me Thinking.

Merleau Ponty, and his enormous coffee.
Of late, Merleau Ponty and I have been burning the candle at both ends. Monsieur Ponty, being a French philosopher, requires espresso when he works. He finds my tea-drinking "ineffective". Which I think is actually a little snide. You have to imagine the way he says it - his whiskers turn down slightly in disgust; and his tone with a subtle hint of derision. I don't actually wish to overthink that one right now. We get on for the most part.

Long...loooong day. Je suis très fatigué. It was by turns both comical and nail-biting, (more anon). But when there are children, animals, and work involved I suspect most days do resemble a mood-swing.

And because I've been with Merleau Ponty, I find myself thinking. Singular, I know. I've been thinking about how there seems to be a rising culture of ignoring who or what we don't like; or what we find uncomfortable. The not-pretty, the not-happy-and-shiny. Ignoring seems to be a form of avoidance, rather than confronting, or looking directly at someone or something, in a straight-forward, honest fashion.

Children are taught to ignore the negative and focus on the positive. This is perhaps very good a point. Perhaps at times, it can be a way of preserving one's dignity and not harming others, as well as maintaining a positive frame of mind. But it can also be used in sinister ways, and as a form of control, and exclusion. Case in point, excluding another child they don't like.

I wonder if this culture of ignoring (I read somewhere that ignoring is the new "no"?) is at all healthy? Is it a peaceful way of dealing with situations, or is it simply dishonest? Repressive or simply civilised? Is it taking the high road, or is it intellectually regressive? If we don't question or examine our own points of view, if we seek to control our world view through rejecting or ignoring another's, how do we build empathy?

Ignoring seems to be an increasingly acceptable strategy, even a cultivated social skill. I notice how inhibited others may be when it comes to stating their feelings and opinions when there is this stone-walling. It holds a quiet tyranny, it's unnerving, and requires conformity.

Maybe this happens more in Australia? There is an unhealthy dose of anti-intellectualism here. And many feel threatened by intellectual debate, as though it's somehow a personal attack upon them, or upon others. Perhaps it's a question of milieu? A lack of confidence? Maybe it's also a symptom of New Age culture where the positive is focused upon almost to the point of obsession? Are we losing our courage to state points of difference and disagreement, to enjoy debate, or critique, and not feel threatened by intellectual and aesthetic diversity?

I must away and prepare some dinner, (may the dinner gods inspire me quickly), before I hit the keyboard by candlelight. I hope your week is going swimmingly.