Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882)
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Symbolism: In Aztec mythology, Ehecatl ("wind") is the god of the winds. He begins the movement of the sun and sweeps the high roads of the rain god with his breath. As another form of the great Quetzalcoatl he brings life to all that is lifeless. He brought love to mankind after he became involved with Mayahuel, a young woman.
The Aztec Sun Stone, a 24-ton sculpture honoring the sun god Tonatiuh, was discovered in Mexico City in 1790. Currently on display at Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology, this massive artifact was carved in the 15th century. It depicts Tonatiuh (center), the four previous sun gods (in boxes around Tonatiuh), and the 20 days of the Aztec calendar, among many other symbols.
Tonatiuh, Aztec Sun God
Aztec Sun Stone mosaic Rose Center for Earth and Space American Museum of Natural History New York City, USA
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
In a moving and madly viral video last year, composer Eric Whitacre led a virtual choir of singers from around the world. He talks through the creative challenges of making music powered by YouTube, and unveils the first 2 minutes of his new work, "Sleep," with a video choir of 2,052. The full piece premieres April 7 (yes, on YouTube!).
About Eric Whitacre
Eric Whitacre is one of the most performed composers of his generation. After creating and conducting the "virtual choir" in 2010 -- hundreds of voices from around the world singing together on… Full bio and more links
About Murray Gell-Mann
In the days following the tragic South Asian tsunami of 2004, the Rev. Tom Honey pondered the question, "How could a loving God have done this?" Here is his answer.
About Tom Honey
The Canon Pastor of Exeter Cathedral, in the UK, is unafraid to take on some of religion's tougher issues. Full bio and more links
Friday, April 1, 2011
Virtue, not technocratic solutions, is what I claimed our world needs more of, but I'm not saying anything new. Virtue goes back at least two-and-a-half millennia.
Western accounts of virtue start with Aristotle, but let's go back instead to Confucius. Depending on what you paid attention to in school, you might remember Confucius by the Silver Rule ("Do not do to others..."), his exotic concepts (e.g., filial piety), or a series of grammar-challenged jokes ("Confucius say...").
Confucius did have a lot to say, but if there is one principle that runs through his philosophy, it's that personal virtue is the way to the good life and the good society. He posed the cultivation of virtue as a superior alternative to the manipulation or coercion of behavior through policy.
Three virtues from Confucius's thought are the basic building blocks for all other virtues:
1. One is rén, benevolence or compassion.
2. Another is self-control, which Confucius believed was enforced and nurtured by adhering to
proper forms of behavior, or lǐ .
3. And, the third is wise judgment about how to turn benevolent intention into action of a kind that avoids the proverbial road to hell.
Confucius, who in referring to ancient role models wrote:
"Because their persons were cultivated, their families were in order. Because their families were in order, their states were well-governed. Because their states were well-governed, the whole kingdom prospered. From the sovereign down to the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides."