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Read | The Secret Diary of Nina Simone

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http://longform.org/stories/I-Wish-I-Knew-How-It-Would-Feel-To-Be-Free

This article is about Nina Simone’s secret diaries kept by her ex-husband Andrew Stroud. Never previously released because he refused to talk to her biographer.

Through various diaries she wrote we can read her lucid and candid thoughts on various things, her marriage, friends and musical career. What is most striking throughout all of it is the honesty and eloquence with which she writes about her experience of depression, an undiagnosed condition at the time.

An insightful and often heartbreaking read of how an incredibly talented powerhouse of a woman  dealt with societies prejudices, artistic expression and sometimes crushing self-doubt.

Complement with two rare live performances from 1961-62

Read | Proust

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Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past is of course a classic text. Epic in length almost no one has actually read it. This doesn’t stop innumerable situations, works of art, encounters and anything else being described as Proustian.  Well now you can download and read all volumes of it for free thanks to www.openculture.com.

  • Swann’s Way
  • Within a Budding Grove
  • The Guermantes Way
  • Cities on the Plain
  • The Captive
  • The Sweet Cheat Gone
  • Time Regained

http://www.openculture.com/2013/11/free-ebooks-read-all-of-prousts-remembrance-of-things-past-on-the-centennial-of-swanns-way.html

 

Read | How long, not long – Harry Belafonte

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“What I did,” Belafonte says, “what made conscious political sense, was to say, ‘Let me have you love me because I will show you my deeper humanity.’” He beats out the “Banana Boat” rhythm on his desk. “If you like this song so much that I can engage you into singing it, delighting in it, I’ve sold you a people, a region, a culture. If you look more deeply into that region, that culture, those people, you’ll see a lot of things that have to do with oppression, with slavery. The song is a work song. It’s a protest song.” Calypso is Trinidadian music, derived from West African kaiso by slaves who used it to mock their masters. Belafonte tilts his head back, eyes half-closed, and opens his palms, becoming a Kingston dockworker. “ ‘I want to get home. I want to drink a rum. I want to get out from under.’”

Harry Belafonte is  an iconic actor, musician and activist. He also outsold Elvis. Read this fantastic interview about his life and struggle alongside his good friend Dr Martin Luther King Jr HERE

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2013/fall/sharlet-belafonte

Truly inspirational.

Read | At the Judgement Seat: Faith and Wonder

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Killing the Buddha Site

This is an  article written by a woman who grew up an evangelical christian but then lost her faith in that religion. It’s insightful to read a first hand account of someone’s loss of faith. She calls for more stories of loss of faith that are beyond the well known reason overcoming faith explanation.

What if we had different kinds of stories of faith lost today, beyond the usual narrative of rationality trumping emotion?  What emotions would become possible then?  Awe—without the undergirding dogma of the evolutionary biologist or a purpose-driven God.  Gratitude—to nobody in particular.  An aliveness to a changeable and often uncertain world as it is, at this very moment.

It links to previous posts on the subject of Wonder and Awe.

Read | How Wonder Works

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One emotion inspired our greatest achievements in science, art and religion. We can manipulate it – but why do we have it?

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/oceanic-feeling/why-wonder-is-the-most-human-of-all-emotions/

Read | The Cosmogony of David Lynch

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First let’s start with a definition of Cosmogony from Wikipedia:

Cosmogony (or cosmogeny) is any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence (or origin) of either the cosmos (or universe), or the so-called “reality” of sentient beings. Developing a complete theoretical model has implications in both the philosophy of science and epistemology. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model of the early development of the universe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmogony

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/features/remain-light-mulholland-dr-and-cosmogony-david-lynch

This article examines the Vedanta inspired spiritual philosophy that underpins David Lynch’s work.

Read | We Aren’t the World

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http://www.psmag.com/magazines/pacific-standard-cover-story/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135/

Joe Henrich and his colleagues are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics—and hoping to change the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture.

The research this article discusses has significant implications or rather, should have. The article explains why people from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic countries are the most unusual in the world and why researchers have been doing the equivalent of studying penguins while believing that they were learning insights applicable to all birds.

Humans share the same cognitive machinery, the same evolved rational and psychological hardwiring. These are fundamental assumptions upon which the entire fields of psychology and economics are based.

It has taken until very recently to realise these assumptions are wrong.

Consider this, a 2008 survey of the top six psychology journals found that more than 96% of subjects used in psychological studies from 2003 to 2007 were exclusively Westerners – 70% from the USA. This means that 96% of human test subjects came from countries that represent only 12% of the world’s population. I’m sure you’re able to figure out that making generalisations on human behaviour based on this is problematic.

 

 

 

Do We Need a New Environmentalism for a New Age?

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The Anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth‘secosystems. The term was coined recently by ecologist Eugene F. Stoermer, but has been widely popularized by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemistPaul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth’s atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological epoch for its lithosphere. To date, the term has not been adopted as part of the official nomenclature of the geological field of study. – Wikipedia

http://science.time.com/2012/12/18/do-we-need-a-new-environmentalism/

Interesting discussion on Environmentalism and whether a slightly different approach is needed.

How do we fall in love?

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Author Jeanette Winterson answers the big question for the benefit of kids. Personally I think its entirely appropriate for all ages. Taken from the book  Big Questions from Little People & Simple Answers from Great Minds.

 

You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)

And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.

PS You have to be brave.

Another super discovery of www.brainpickings.org

Read | The Origins of Django Unchained

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Read this article written by a professor of history to find out which films Tarantino borrowed from this time. It provides an intriguing history of the origins of the black “bad man” figure which still exists in some form in popular culture today.

http://chronicle.com/article/Django-Untangled-the-Legend/136643/

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