“Then the spirit looks neither ahead nor behind. Only the present is our happiness.” In this verse from Goethe’s Second Faust, we find an expression of the art of concentrating on and recognising the value of the present instant.
The story narrates the life and death of titular councillor Akaky Akakievich an impoverished government clerk and copyist in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. Akaky is dedicated to his job, though little recognized in his department for his hard work. Instead, the younger clerks tease him and attempt to distract him whenever they can. His threadbare overcoat is often the butt of their jokes. Akaky decides it is necessary to have the coat repaired, so he takes it to his tailor, Petrovich, who declares the coat irreparable, telling Akaky he must buy a new overcoat.
Russian author Nikolai…Read
When primitive human beings attempted to account for mysterious natural phenomena, their initial explanations could only be invented, usually through liberal applications of fantasy and imagination. There was no way to come up with an answer, at least not until the invention of clever measuring devices extended human senses.
-- Avarice and Love-- what different feelings these two terms evoke! Nevertheless, it could be the same instinct that has two names-- once depreciated by those who have, in whom the instinct has calmed down to some extent, and who are afraid for their “possessions,” and the other time seen from the point of view of those who are not satisfied but still thirsty and who therefore glorify the instinct as “good.” The love of our neighbour--is not a lust for new possessions? And likewise,…Read
Paul Dirac is an enigma. Unquestionably the greatest British theoretical physicist of this century, a Nobel Laureate at the age of 31, he ranks alongside Newton and Maxwell.
In 2009, Graham Farmelo published ‘The Strangest Man’, which won the 2009 Costa Prize for Biography and the 2009 'Los Angeles Times Science and Technology Book Prize'. The book was chosen by Physics World as the physics book of the year in 2009, when it was selected as one of Nature’s books of the year.
"I found the best ideas usually came, not when one was actively…Read
Today (Sunday) I went to see the musical, “West Side Story” playing at the Civic Theatre. My reaction was that it was intensely emotional. This was attributable to the wonderful music of Leonard Bernstein and with expressive lyrics by Stephen Sondheim’s, and breath-taking choreography by Jerome Robbins.
West Side Story is an award-winning musical adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, "Romeo and Juliet". The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs, the white Jets led by Riff and the Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo. The two gangs…Read
“A living organism is a system which continually re-forms itself in order to remain itself, interacting ceaselessly with the external world. Of such organisms, only those continue to exist which are more efficient at doing so and, therefore, living organisms manifest properties which have suited them for survival. For this reason, they are interpretable, and we interpret them, in terms of intentionality, of purpose. The finalistic aspects of the biological world are therefore the result of the selection of complex forms effective in persisting. But the effective way of continuing to exist in a changing world is…Read
Steppenwolf; by Hermann Hesse is about one man's spiritual journey towards self-knowledge. Nearly 90 years on, its message to readers retains a religious intensity: we must explore ourselves and keep doing so. If we don't, then our lives become living deaths.
In writing Steppenwolf, Hesse drew on his own spiritual crisis. After leaving his wife in the mid-1920s, Hesse lived an isolated life in Basel, reaching suicidal depths of despair. This might explain Harry's painfully accurate descriptions of depression, which have perhaps been matched since only by William Styron's Darkness Visible.<…Read
Carlo Rovelli uses the work of Anaximander to tell us what science is, and where it comes from.
He goes on to explain that : ”the reliability of science is not based on the fact that its answers are certain. It is based on the fact that its answers are the best available ones. They are the best available ones because science is a way of thinking in which nothing is considered certain and therefore remains open to adopt better answers. If better ones become available. In other words, science is the discovery that the secret of knowledge…Read
When we talk about the Big Bang or the fabric of space, what we are doing is not a continuation of the free and fantastic stories which humans have told nightly around campfires for hundreds of thousands of years. It is the continuation of something else; of the gaze of those same men in the first light of day looking at tracks left by antelope in the dust of the savannah – scrutinizing and deducting from the details of reality in order to pursue something which we can&rsquo…Read
Hedonism is the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life. Michel Onfray constructs a positive, hedonistic ethics that enlarges on the work of the New Atheists to promote a joy-ful approach to our lives in this, our only world.
A Dialectic of Politeness
Michel Onfray explains that, “ethics or the moral principles that govern a person's behaviour are a matter of everyday life and of subtle appearances that arise in the complex fabric of human…Read
The story of two strong men who come face to face in a hotel, shut down for the summer, on a sweaty Florida key. One is a hard-bitten fellow, ex-Army and ex-idealist, who is visiting the wife and father of a buddy killed in the war. The other is an old-time gangster, run out of the country years ago, who is set upon making a comeback with the old cruelty and arrogance.
John Huston, the director has obtained stinging performances out of most of his cast—notably out of Mr. Robinson, who plays the last of the red-hot…Read
Helen Czerski’s engaging debut book seeks to demystify physics in everyday life, so whether you know your refraction from your reflection, or find the entire subject incomprehensible, this should be an invaluable primer. Dealing with the everyday – such as what really happens when you spill a few drops of coffee, or how magnetism really works – is a winning ploy.
In an age of string theory, fluid dynamics and biophysics, it can seem as if the science of our world is only for specialists and academics. Not so, insists Helen Czerski – and in her new…Read
Filmed at his home, in Greece, Yehudi Menuhin tells the story of his life, which is the musical history of the century.
To leaf through Yehudi Menuhin's photo album is to cover the musical history of an entire century. He tells us about his life, "commenting" about himself based on the documents we show him: the departure from Israel for the United States, his birth in 1916, his dear pianist sister Hephzibah, his teachers Louis Persinger (first violin of the San Francisco Orchestra) then Georges Enesco and Adolf Busch, the first time he played with the…Read
We have been born into a world where science progresses.
It is generally thought that science, by its very nature, must always progress. But this is not so. One day, fundamental science will come to an end. Not when we have discovered everything, but when we have discovered whatever is open to us to understand - which is not the same thing. Limitations as to what the human brain can comprehend, together with practical considerations to do with the need for ever more elaborate and expensive equipment, are likely to ensure that our knowledge will remain for…Read
Moonlight is a serious film about a boy (Chiron) aged 10 who lives with his mother on a Miami housing project. The film reveals how other boys at his school tend to influence the identity of Chiron by bullying him. He displays a shy demeanour and does not mix well. However, he is befriended by Juan (Mahershala Ali) the local drug dealer who acts as a father figure to Chiron. He teaches him to swim and improve his posture when sitting in a chair.
The underlying reason for his lack of integration with other boys…Read
This film is about a woman (Juliette Binoche) who is asked to feature in a stage presentation of a film that she appeared in 20 years previously. She agrees to do it and together with her assistant (Kristen Stewart) she goes to the Waldhaus hotel overlooking the Alpine village of Sils-Maria in Switzerland to rehearse for the role.
During the summers of 1881 and 1883 to 1888 philosopher: Friedrich Nietzsche visited a nearby house in Sils Maria. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyNYtVW9TH0
La La Land is a 2016 American musical romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The film's title refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality.
A movie that has attracted a lot of attention although I can’t really see why. It seemed to me that the story line about following your dream was not enough to pick…Read