Thursday, 28 October 2010

I can't just wait for the muse ...

I can't just wait for the muse, I have to do something about it.

In our house we have this choice for the main meal: take it or leave it.

The lemon I cooked with last night almost ruined the fish - especially as I poured the lemon butter over the rice so the whole dish was sour. Luckily the broccoli salad was OK, the balsamic vinegar didn't bully it into submission. How come sometimes I am so heavy handed with seasoning and at others I get it just right? I can't remember which celebrity chef or cook called balsamic vinegar "the kitchen bully". I like that, it makes sense and if I remember in time, I don't use as much.

Apropos of nothing that has gone before, here are some notes I jotted down in the dim and distant past to clarify various concepts for students.

Be suspicious of claims of absolute truth.
Relative truths are another matter.
You cannot assume that your worldview is the same as anyone else’s.
Rationality is usually with people who share the same rules (ideology) that you do. That is why rationality does not always work—consider, for example, the situation in Israel and Palestine.
Claims of absolute truth terminate the argument and close down social enquiry.

We seldom say exactly what we mean and we seldom mean exactly what we say and, in some instances, this is used to manipulate.

What is ideology?

Ideology is identifiable by its systematic nature and models of belief.
Ideology offers a general account of the world.
Ideology has an essentialist theory of the nature of humanity.
Ideology will diagnose what is wrong and give a prescription to address the wrong. This agenda is often vague and has an unspecified timeframe.

Ideology is maintained by presenting a normative theory that appeals to implied standards of a social order as if it were part of the natural world.

Ideology is held dogmatically and is a ‘closed’ system – no evidence is allowed to count against it and it answers criticism using its own theoretical concepts and by analysing the critic’s motives.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Books, dreams and yoga

I'm reading Tinkers by Paul Harding which, incidentally, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and that is quite an interesting story in itself. Why I'm blogging this is because the book is affecting my dreams. Ever since I started reading it, my dreams have become more and more vivid. The novel is less than 200 pages and normally I would have read it in an afternoon. This isn't going to happen, I have to stop and digest the words, really, I mean that ... visceral.

Wikipedia tell us that The New York Times failed to review the novel before the Pulitzer Prize announcement, noting that it was the first novel since A Confederacy of Dunces in 1981 to come from a small publisher and win that award. The NY Times called it "The One that Got Away" - worth having a look at their apology!

Anyway, back to why is this book affecting my dreams? In a sense my dreams are becoming more lucid, I know when I'm dreaming and can actually change things that are happening. For somebody who tends to have fairly strong dreams, this is a breakthrough. Dreams of the ocean, clear and I can see through the waves to the sandy bottom. I can be high above or on the rocky shore. And then I dreamed I was in my mother's house and the window was open. My mother wasn't there but I could feel her presence.

However, the cat that visits me is not visible and not to be changed. I have a feeling that it is not a dream but an entity. It visits not every night, but occasionally, I feel it on the bed, cuddling up on my body but when I try and shift it, it digs its claws into me and that wakes me up to find there is nothing there.

Tinkers does have a dream-like quality although the characters are extraordinarily intense. As the book unfolds, the son, the father and the grandfather merge, or so it seems to me. Maybe it is their lives that merge?

I stood on my head yesterday and that is something I'm not really meant to do anymore, as osteoporosis limits such yoga asanas. It felt really good but I didn't stay there for long. I may do it again soon. I didn't go into a full headstand (Sirshasana) but my preferred headstand 'little bird' where the crown of the head rests on the floor, between the hands - also flat on the floor, and the knees are on the elbow bones - I can only find it listed as 'The Elbows-Knees Headstand'. The similar 'Patient Crane' (Baka dhyansana) where the head is lifted is beyond me as it entails more strength in the arms and also a finer sense of balance than that which I am capable.