16.10.10

The 64 Arts of Krishna

Confucious had his Six Arts.  Roberta Smith identified six forms of contemporary installation art.  Krishna has them both beat, more than ten times over, with the Kalā, a Hindu catalog of the 64 arts.  As extensive as they come.

The Goddess Meenakshi is the upasana murthi, or Hindu patron deity of the fine arts.  Her little parrot knows each of the 64 Kalā and can recite them for you.

I have generated the following custom list from several web sources.  They each have specific Hindi names, but here we list them in English.


1. singing  2. playing instruments  3. dancing  4. theater  5. painting  6. body-painting  7. rice and floral decoration  8. making a flower blanket  9. personal grooming  10. jewelry  11. bedmaking  12. creating music woth water  13. splashing water  14. color mixing  15. garland-making  16. coronets  17. dressing for bed  18. tragus decoration  19. aromatics  20. applying ornament  21. juggling  22. secret mantras  23.  magic and illusions  24. food preparation  25. beverage prepartation  26. weaving and cloth-mending  27. embroidery  28. the lute and small drum  29. making and solving riddles  30. tongue twisters  31. recitation of books  32. enacting short plays  33. solving enigmatic verse  34. preparation of shield, cane and bow and arrows  35. thread spinning  36. carpentry  37. engineering  38. silver  39. metallurgy  40. sexual arts  41. mineralogy  42. medicine  43. lamb and cock fighting  44. maintaining conversation between men and women  45. perfumes  46. combing hair  47. communication with the hands  48. impersonation  49. knowledge of dialects  50. prediction  51. mechanics  52. use of amulets  53. conversation  54. composing and reciting verse from memory  55. training parrots and mynas to speak  56. shrine-building  57. lexicography  58. concealment with clothing  59. gambling  60. the dice game, akarsha  61. mastery of children's toys  62. personal etiquettte  63. understanding of dharma 64. awakening the master with music at dawn

8.7.10

rhythmical discharges from subcortial structures


Three different words for three different kinds of gibberish, a simple path to primordial pasts, perhaps a link to the divine:

lalation: "ga ga goo goo gaa ga"
(babytalk)

embolalia: "um...uh...um....errr..."
(meaningless syllables)

glossolalia: "ehbu ondu wan akka rar"
(speaking in tongues, and similar phenomenon)

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. / And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. / And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. / And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
-- Holy Bible, King James, The Acts of the Apostles, 2:1-4

"It is, then, this pattern of essential ingredients, the strong cognitive imperative of religious belief in a cohesive group, the induction procedures of prayer and ritual, the narrowing of consciousness into a trance state, and the archaic authorization in the divine spirit and in the charismatic leader, which denotes this phenomenon as another instance of the general bicameral paradigm and therefore a vestige of the bicameral [pre-speaking] mind."
-- Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, 1976. 

5.7.10

The Nine Roles for Management Teams

British administrative researcher and management theorist Meredith Belbin described nine archetypes for the roles played by members of project teams. Belbin's 1981 book, Management Teams, describes this model in depth, and later publications revised it.
A good management team generally contains at least one person for each role; however, there are particular tasks for which other combinations work better.  Incidentally, Belbin denies that these roles can be cross referenced directly to Jungian or enneagram personality types.
  • Plant: A creative, imaginative, unorthodox team-member who solves difficult problems. They sometimes situate themselves far from the other team members, and return to present their 'brilliant' idea.
  • Resource Investigator: The networker. Whatever the team needs, the Resource Investigator is likely to have someone in their address book who can either provide it or know someone else who can provide it.
  • Chairman or Co-ordinator: Ensures that all members of the team are able to contribute to discussions and decisions of the team. Their concern is for fairness and equity among team members.
  • Shaper: Loves a challenge and thrives on pressure. This member possesses the drive and courage required to overcome obstacles.
  • Monitor-Evaluator: A sober, strategic and discerning member, who tries to see all options and judge accurately. Contributes a measured and dispassionate analysis and, through objectivity, stops the team committing itself to a misguided task.
  • Team Worker: Ensures that interpersonal relationships within the team are maintained. Sensitive to atmospheres and may be the first to approach another team member who feels slighted, excluded or otherwise attacked but has not expressed their discomfort.
  • Company Worker or Implementer: A practical thinker who can create systems and processes that will produce what the team wants.
  • Completer Finisher: The detail person, possessing a good eye for spotting flaws and gaps and for knowing exactly where the team is in relation to its schedule.
  • Specialist: In 1988, Belbin appended a ninth team role, the "Specialist", a person who brings 'specialist' knowledge to the team.

7.6.10

Diggers Ranters Consociates

Representative writings from three intentional, nearly-autonomous, common-creed communities of the 17th Century.

DIGGER
The Diggers were perhaps first and foremost a social justice movement in that their membership was comprised of landless common folk determined to work and farm common lands in the English countryside, claiming this was their God-given right, and their only escape from the oppression of serfdom, against strident opposition.  The made-for-BBC film, Winstanley, is a fantastic depiction.
from The True Leveller's Standard Advanced... (April 20, 1649). [aka the First Digger Manifesto]
The Work we are going about is this, To dig up Georges-Hill and the waste Ground thereabouts, and to Sow Corn, and to eat our bread together by the sweat of our brows. And the First Reason is this, That we may work in righteousness, and lay the Foundation of making the Earth a Common Treasury for All, both Rich and Poor, That every one that is born in the land, may be fed by the Earth his Mother that brought him forth, according to the Reason that rules in the Creation.

RANTER
The Ranters were an anarchistic tribe of English radicals who held fast to the apparently heretical belief that God resides in all things and all creatures and that the laws of humanity are superseded by a self-actualizing understanding of the cosmos.  They were never able to stay in one place for too long.  Today we might think of their philosophy as bordering on moral nihilism.
I saw various streams of light (in the night) which appeared to the outward eye, and immediately I saw three hearts (or three appearances) in the form of hearts, of exceeding brightness; and immediately an innumerable company of hearts, filling each corner of the room where I was. And methoughts there was variety and distinction, as if there had been several hearts, and yet most strangely unexpressably complicated or folded up in unity. I clearly saw distinction, diversity, variety, and as clearly saw all swallowed up into unity. And it hath been my song many times since, within and without, unity, universality, universality, unity, Eternal Majesty, etc. And at this vision, a most strong, glorious voice uttered these words: The spirits of just men made perfect. The spirits, etc. with whom I had as absolute, clear, full communion, and in a twofold more familiar way, than ever I had outwardly with my dearest friends and nearest relations.


CONSOCIATE
Thomas Morton's scandalous erection of a Maypole in the settlement of Merry-Mount (Mount Wollaston, what is now Quincy, Massachusetts) is described in William Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation and formed the basis for Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1836 short story, The May-Pole of Merry-Mount. Morton and his colony were clearly inspired by the nature and the natives of the New World, and temporarily maintained an autonomous pagan utopia.  Here is Morton's account of the revels at Merry-Mount.
from Revels in New Canaan, by Thomas Morton (1637)
The Inhabitants of Pasonagessit (having translated the name of their habitation from that ancient Savage name to Ma-reMount [MerryMount]; and being resolved to have the new name confirmed for a memorial to after ages) did devise amongst themselves to have it performed in a solemne manner with Revels, and merriment after the old English custome: prepared to sett up a Maypole upon the festivall day of Philip and Jacob ; and therefore brewed a barrell of excellent beer, and provided a case of bottles to be spent, with other good cheer, for all comers of that day. And because they would have it in a complete forme, they had prepared a song fitting to the time and present occasion. And upon Mayday they brought the Maypole to the place appointed, with drums, guns, pistols, and other fitting instruments, for that purpose ; and there erected it with the help of Savages, that came thether of purpose to see the manner of our Revels. A goodly pine tree of 80 foot long, was reared up, with a pair of buckshorns nailed one, somewhat neare unto the top of it : where it stood as a faire sea marke for directions; how to finde out the way to mine Hoste of Ma-reMount.

1.6.10

Literature encoded in DNA

The J. Craig Venter Institute this year managed to build a complete genome sequence--artificial DNA-- and install it into a bacterial cell. The strand took over operations of its host cell and began reproducing. Many have claimed that this event might be remembered as a major step toward artificial life.


There is something sinister about the entire enterprise, to me at least, but there is one aspect of the story that reminds us that even the mad scientist bent on playing God harbors a latent artist within.  The Venter team apparently encrypted several literary passages and coded them into otherwise unused portions of the DNA sequence.  This is actually something of a trend nowadays amongst that small group of actual artists (harboring latent scientists within) for whom genes are a primary medium.  See, for example, artists Joe Davis and Eduardo Kac.


The quotations encoded onto the bacteria's DNA:

See things not as they are, but as they might be.” -- Robert Oppenheimer
What I cannot build, I cannot understand.”  -- Richard Feynman
To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, and to recreate life out of life.” -- James Joyce


I would like to learn that the Venter Institute folks have given up their Frankensteinian hubris and have instead chosen to devote their time to a hunt for encoded poetry in the unused portions of existing creatures.  Could there be alien Kabbalah the strands of my own cells?

13.4.10

Facial hair and high office

We've conducted a thorough survey, and, of the forty-three men who have served as President of the United States, only five wore beards. That's less that 12 percent. Abraham Lincoln was the first, and the other four were all amongst the seven office holders that consecutively followed him. Another three U.S. Presidents wore moustaches, all during those three decades that followed Lincoln.




Only two Presidents dared alternative hair styles, both during the early 19th Century. Martin Van Buren wore amazingly huge mutton chops, and James Polk wore a mullet (admittedly I'm no expert on fashion history, and these may have been popular styles for their days--we know mutton chops and mullets come and go in style).