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Theory

Genius is not something you are.

“In its earliest meaning in private cult, the genius of the Roman housefather and the iuno, or juno, of the housemother were worshiped. These certainly were not the souls of the married pair, as is clear both from their names and from the fact that in no early document is there mention of the genius or iuno of a dead person. The genius and iuno were probably the male and female forms of the family’s, or clan’s, power of continuing itself by reproduction, which were in the keeping of the heads of the family for the time being and passed at death to their successors. In this as in all forms of his cult, the genius was often conceived as appearing in the form of a snake, although he is also shown in art as a young man, generally engaged in sacrificing. At every wedding a bed, the lectus genialis, was made for the genius and iuno of the husband and wife, and its presence in the house was a sign of matrimony.

Owing to the rise of individualism and also to the prevalence of Greek ideas concerning a guardian spirit, or daimon, the genius lost its original meaning and came to be a sort of personification of the individual’s natural desires and appetites. Hence the phrases indulgere genio, genium defrudare, signifying, respectively, to lead a pleasurable life, and to lead a stingy life. The development, however, did not stop here. The genius came to be thought of as a sort of guardian angel, a higher self; and, as the Greek daimon was sometimes rationalized into the individual’s character or temper, so also the poet Horace half-seriously said that only the genius knows what makes one person so different from another, adding that he is a god who is born and dies with each one of us. This individual genius was worshipped by each individual, especially on his birthday. A few inscriptions even mention the genius of a dead person, as Christian epitaphs sometimes speak of his angel.

To show reverence for the genius of another or to swear by it was a mark of deep respect; hence, it is not unnatural that the genius of Augustus and of his successors formed objects of popular cult. Thus, to worship the genius Augusti avoided affronting the feeling against worshipping any living emperor, which remained fairly strong in Italy; for, of course, all genii were divine and might properly be worshipped.

As with the Greek daimones, there was a vast variety of genii, or guardian spirits—those of places, genius loci, including buildings (genius balneorum, etc.), and of corporations of all sorts, from the state (genius populi Romani) to small bodies of troops, guilds of tradesmen, and so forth. A very curious development is that one sometimes heard of the genius of a god, even of Jupiter, or of the iuno of a goddess.”

(https://www.britannica.com/topic/genius-Roman-religion)


Spiritual/artistic technique of First get to practice then be inspired. 

Trance dance is a ritual where shamans dance as women clap the rhythm and sing special medicine songs. The San believe that these medicine songs are full of a supernatural potency. This potency comes from god himself, but it is also in the stomachs of shamans (medicine people).

“The dance can take several forms. Women can sit around a fire and clap while shamans dance, or shamans can dance in the centre while the women stand around them. As the trance dance increases in intensity, the women’s clapping and singing combine with the men’s persistent dancing to cause the potency to ‘boil’ and to rise up the shamans spines. When it ‘explodes’ in their heads, they enter trance.

For the San, trance is the spirit world; it is here that they heal the sick, remonstrate with malevolent spirits, and go on out-of-body journeys. The now-extinct southern San also believed that shamans could make rain and guide antelope herds into the hunters’ ambush. Moreover, the San saw parallels between the behaviour of a dying antelope, especially an eland, and a shaman ‘dying’ (dying is used in a metaphorical sense, meaning to enter the spirit world) in trance.

In  parallels drawn from trance behaviour, shamans and  dying antelope tremble, sweat profusely, stagger, bleed from the nose (RSA WAR1 1R , RSA LOM1 26) lower their heads (RARI RSA GAM1 5R; RARI RSA GAM1 102) and eventually fall unconscious. The San also believed that hair grew in a man in trance, and this feature is also seen on antelopes and on shamans with hair standing on end (RARI RSA GAM1 5R, RARI RSA RSS1 2R, RSA HEL1 2), bleeding from the nose (RARI RSA FET3 5R, RSA WAR3 1R, RARI RSA CAP1 1R, RARI LEE RSA GEE1 16), staggering and lowering their heads. At times in the art, shamans are placed next to a dying eland (RARI RSA WID2 171) because an antelope is believed to release its potency when it dies.

The trance dance is the San’s most important religious ritual, and an understanding of its various features and purposes is an essential key to appreciate the art.”

(http://www.sarada.co.za/subject/trance_dance/)


Picasso

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“Spontaneous Evolution: Our  Positive Future (and a way to there from here)” is a book written by Bruce Lipton PhD (whose research and ideas I’ve encountered and taken inspiration from before, see Humanity as One post)  and philosopher Steve Bhaerman.

Notes from chapters:

1. What everything you know is wrong

Considering the possibility that science can be interpreted in different ways. The same data can in reality be interpreted in multiple ways. See image:

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(…) before we go out to change the world, we must first look inward to change ourselves. Then by changing our beliefs, we do change the world. (page 26)

True power to the people is understanding that our beliefs are fundamental for our development. We are actually “in control” of our bodies.

 

2. Act locally evolve globally

Our body is a community of cells that through co-operation and technological advances developed into our human form. Which makes us a superorganism in ourselves.

Communal awareness

 The collective awareness afforded in a community of cells was ar greater than the that of an individual cell. Because awareness is a primary factor in an organism’s survival, the communal experience enhanced the opportunity for its citizens to stay alive and reproduce. (page 30)

Can the brain control the subconscious, only that it’s preoccupied with the self-conscious? Through meditation humans have proved to control involuntary functions. Self-conscious and subconscious works as a team. (page 33)

3. A new look at the old story

Western civilisations 4 basal paradigms:

  1. Animism
  2. Polytheism
  3. Monotheism
  4. Materialism

Monotheism –> Enlightenment –> Materialism

Enlightenment philosophers such as Rousseau influenced by animism! Noble Savage….

So in western history you can roughly say that the time before polytheism (hunter gatherer societies basically) and for a brief time during the enlightenment we where in harmony with the world, equally emphasising the spiritual and the material realm. But could we, as we discover more and more flaws to our scientific answers, be on the verge of a new paradigm.

 

Uncreative Writing by Kenneth Goldsmith

What is the difference between appropriation and collage?


Maya Conran introduced in her seminar on October 25th:

Appropriation is using an element from outside to strengthen one’s personal agenda (?)

Collage is simply putting one element from outside together with another one, that does not necessarily make sense or build a narrative (?)

Compilation is putting together elements from outside in attempt to make sense or tell a story (?)


Bob Marley & climate/culture

I’m not interested in mapping out different cultures’ differences but rather the ways different climates shape us as social beings. Everything that makes up our surrounding affects how we will go about our lives and after generations that becomes a culture.

When I had my first mp3 player I listened to Bob Marley to relax and tell myself, “everything will be alright”. For me the reggae classics represented a faraway culture of spontaneity, authenticity, simplicity and warmth. Very far from Sweden – a place for sincerity, depth and dramatic contrasts etc.

US court backs family over Bob Marley shirts


El Perro Del Mar

KoKoro – El Perro Del Mar (Sarah Assbring) – Video by Nicole Walker & Hedvig Jenning

A dream of utopia where our differences in language, tradition and appearance is truly of equal value and the globalisation means exchange and confusion of the concept of nations. 

To me this work inspired to look at a basic human experience: needing to survive, wanting to progress, being steered by love and fear of not belonging, of not being meaningful.

By playing freely with non-european images and materials as white western people they are not accepting the idea that doing so is automatically privileged and disrespectful.

What is cultural appropriation?

Cultural misappropriation is when members of the majority group uses elements of a minority group that is strongly related to their singularity and cultural identity in a way that is ignorant of the minority’s status in society as underprivileged. Minorities in western cultures often have histories of being systematically oppressed, whether it is by colonisation, slavery, law enforced discrimination or simply xenophobia. (Wiki)

As a white westerner I have to be aware of the privileges I have. However being silent is not always the solution. As Roxane Gay’s saying in her “Bad Feminist: Essays”

“We need to stop playing Privilege or Oppression Olympics because we’ll never get anywhere until we find more effective ways of talking through difference. We should be able to say, “This is my truth,” and have that truth stand without a hundred clamoring voices shouting, giving the impression that multiple truths cannot coexist.”

and

“To have privilege in one or more areas does not mean you are wholly privileged. Surrendering to the acceptance of privilege is difficult, but it is really all that is expected. What I remind myself, regularly, is this: the acknowledgment of my privilege is not a denial of the ways I have been and am marginalized, the ways I have suffered.”

Is there a way to celebrate our wholeness through juxtaposing wildly with body types, attributes etc?

Is there a reason to not be celebrating our similarities rather than our differences once in awhile and can we do it, without disregarding the fact that a lot of people have been brutally oppressed through history based on their cultural and physical attributes?

As a white european I need to interview people with other origins to find out.

Kenneth Goldsmith’s lecture on Uncreative Writing, 2014

“It’s crucial to know that language is loaded with expression and emotion and it doesn’t take much to draw that out […] Writer’s are working with loaded material”

“contemporary writing is the evacuation of content […] the future of writing is the managing of emptiness”


 

Susan Sontag’s essay Against Interpretation, 1964

“The fact is, all Western consciousness of and reflection upon art have remained within the confines staked out by the Greek theory of art as mimesis or representation. It is through this theory that art as such – above and beyond given works of art – becomes problematic, in need of defense. And it is the defense of art which gives birth to the odd vision by which something we have learned to call “form” is separated off from something we have learned to call “content,” and to the well-intentioned move which makes content essential and form accessory.”

“[…] In fact, a great deal of today’s art may be understood as motivated by a flight from interpretation. To avoid interpretation, art may become parody. Or it may become abstract. Or it may become (“merely”) decorative. Or it may become non-art.”

“I am speaking mainly of the situation in America, of course. Interpretation runs rampant here in those arts with a feeble and negligible avant-garde: fiction and the drama. Most American novelists and playwrights are really either journalists or gentlemen sociologists and psychologists. They are writing the literary equivalent of program music. And so rudimentary, uninspired, and stagnant has been the sense of what might be done with form in fiction and drama that even when the content isn’t simply information, news, it is still peculiarly visible, handier, more exposed. To the extent that novels and plays (inAmerica), unlike poetry and painting and music, don’t reflect any interesting concern with changes in their form, these arts remain prone to assault by interpretation.”


The escape from art having to justify itself, to have content.

 

 

 

Thomas, 21st of November 2015:

The terrorists of IS are currently prepared to die for their islamist beliefs. We on the other side of the conflict, do everything to spare our own lives. We develop new expensive techniques to attack from far distances and without human presence. So in this secular western world, what is our ideology? Putting our own lives over the bigger cause – individualism? Lacking a bigger cause – capitalism? 


A dance floor: An image of individual creativity joining together, creating a community.

Soul Train Lines

 


 

In “Spontaneous Evolution” Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman provides this model:

“Civilisations” (western world’s) 4 basal paradigms:

  • animism
  • polytheism
  • monotheism
  • materialism

The western world today is super materialist, which means we acknowledge only matter and not spirit in our belief system.

The islamists are offering a monotheistic world view where the godly, in fact the spiritual realm is the only important and the material world is just a transport, a stepping stone for an after life in paradise.


Artist used to be master.

I learn a job from a master, become a master and teach someone else. / I invent my own unique work that no one will ever be able to make again.


 

In Defense of the Poor Image by Hito Steyerl

Steyerl suggests that there is a hierarchy of images where resolution decides rank. But what if its accessibility was as relevant in the classification of an image?

I keep this statement in mind in everything I do.

The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.

The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletarian in the class society of appearances, ranked and valued according to its resolution. The poor image has been uploaded, downloaded, shared, reformatted, and reedited. It transforms quality into accessibility, exhibition value into cult value, films into clips, contemplation into distraction. The image is liberated from the vaults of cinemas and archives and thrust into digital uncertainty, at the expense of its own substance. The poor image tends towards abstraction: it is a visual idea in its very becoming.

(…)

… perhaps one has to redefine the value of the image, or, more precisely, to create a new perspective for it. Apart from resolution and exchange value, one might imagine another form of value defined by velocity, intensity, and spread.

/Hito Steyerl

What if you identified as part of humanity rather than an individual human. Everything ever done by humans was done by you. Not you as an individual but you as part of a community. Without the other parts of the community you wouldn’t even survive. So why only identify as your individual self?

How would the news sound like? When there is no point referring to people as ‘them’ or ‘others’ but as ‘we’ ‘you’ or ‘us’.

The thought of humanity as an organism.

“The individual in his sociological aspect is not the complete organism. He who attempts to live without association with his fellow dies. Nor is the nation the complete organism. If Britain attempted to live without cooperation with other nations, half the population would starve. The completer the cooperation, the greater the vitality.” / “The Great Illusion”, Sir Norman Angell,1909

Biologist Bruce Lipton: “We are not humans until we create humanity”


Amoeba, slime mould – sharing membrane, becoming one cell – a supercell.

Cells – evolution –> human body

Humans – evolution –> specialising, building communities/societies/nations/enterprises

NEXT STEP? Humans becoming one organism – a superorganism.

When humanity is united as one is that when we’ll be ready to connect with other worlds?


– Cells in our body are physically connected, don’t we need to be too to become a superorgaism?

Yes or maybe we could communicate through internet. We become cyborgs with built in connection to the universal consciousness (the smart phone is already becoming part of me).


When Gaia Vince writes in a BBC article about humanity as a superorganism she refers to it as a ‘he’ called Homni.