Can You Hear Agnes Martin’s Serenity in John Zorn’s Frenzied Music? – The New York Times

via Can You Hear Agnes Martin’s Serenity in John Zorn’s Frenzied Music? – The New York Times

Two of my favorite artists brought together – this is a major even for me. Both pushed hard on the boundaries of what art could be and both succeeded. Listen to the embedded music while reading the article. Consider what these works have to say about art as an AoK. Or just enjoy.


A banner day for ideas

I started this post by wanting to say something like, “Somedays there is a lot that strikes you and …” but then I thought – that isn’t really the case. For me teaching ToK has been a way to heighten my awareness of ideas, it is something I ma learning to do a better job at and as I practice, I find more and more stuff interesting. For example, these have struck me recently:

digital connectedness – good or bad? – more on the role of our digital devices in the world

Perceptions of Americans – we often think about Others but how about when the Other thinks about us?

Tibet-China-Buddhism – what is the role of a religion in politics? or, what is the role of the State in religion?

David Foster Wallace and geography – on this one I can’t help myself. A new way of looking at one of my favorite authors and my home state. All of which leads to the question: what is the role of place in the person we become? is place more or less significant than our language in shaping our thought?

Waiting – embedded in this fascinating look at waiting in line is the idea that yet again, we don’t know ourselves like we think we do.

See, and to think I thought it was just a Tuesday.


This is in reference to my post on Nov 21 about reading Portrait. I insinuated that reading the novel (or really any work) is a lot like living because you never know when the big stuff, the meaningful parts are going to take place – so you endeavor to grab everything. A couple people responded and their basic feedback was that there is never enough time. I agree (I’d rather have more time than more money any day), nonetheless, wishing does not make it so which leaves us still trying to grab hold of all that we can, whether reading or living. And then today I saw this which puts the whole issue in an interesting light. Check it out.

The One Moment

ps. just for the record, I am not a fan of the band/song (too many words, too much harmony, melody, etc….) but I thought the conceit, concept, and execution were pretty great.

Thanksgiving cheer

So I have thought about it and I would like to give you a kind of gift (though it will be something that you will be required to use in the future). Here is a link to possible questions that should help guide you through the book – the entire book. The instructions are included so do with it what you will though you will be seeing some of these again.

The link is: Portrait quiz questions complete set

Have a happy break.

Portrait, movies, and more

Re: Portrait and difficult reading in general – I had this thought this weekend. Reading is a lot like life. In life you never know what the important moments are, you never see them coming, and you can’t plan for them so you just try to be aware as much as possible of what is going on so that you can look back and say, “there it was, I didn’t see it coming but I am glad I was aware for it.”  Similarly, in reading you never know what the important moments are so you just try to take in as much as possible. Live for life’s sake, read for reading’s sake.

Treat yourself this Thanksgiving weekend. Look up the showtimes for Arrival, look up the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, read a quick blurb about it, then go to the theatre discussing it with friends. See Arrival and come out contemplating language as a means to knowledge and the ways in which language shapes our world. (“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein)

Make sure you have your copies of Descartes, Fish, and Kuhn ready for after Thanks break. And don’t forget to check out the articles for December on the previous post.

Dec readings

Gird up your loins kiddos, we are going to examine the self and how we know – anything really. To that end I have a short list of articles that I would like you to take a look at and read a couple of them. The only really long one is “The Possibilian” but it is pretty mind-stretching if you are brave. My favorite is the last one – it will make your head hurt in a good way.

We are going to start with these and then go to some others that explore if we are the only ones who know. And you thought knowledge would be boring.


A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required)..

The Possibilian – The New Yorker

The Core of ‘Mind and Cosmos’ – The New York Times

Consciousness Isn’t a Mystery. It’s Matter. – The New York Times

Why You Don’t Know Your Own Mind – The New York Times