The Best Four Minutes of Alan Watts

…(minus an intro from the double-rainbow guy), in which you are reminded that “what you are basically — deep, deep down — far, far in — is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.”


Kensho from Aaron Paradox on Vimeo.

Short film dreamt by Aaron Paradox.

Narrated by Alan Watts audio courtesy of alanwatts.org.
Music: “The Way” by Zack Hemsey.
Sound design by Jacob Thomas Czech.
Additional 3D Animations by Mike Winkelmann.
Dreamer’s voice by Paul “Bear” Vasquez.
Visuals and animation by Aaron Paradox.

Kensho poster: https://www.flickr.com/photos/133149322@N02/19264316153/

“This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief.”
— Rumi

Youtube version: https://youtu.be/bPJ5AjlPt4M

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Did my brain make me do it? Neuroscience and Free Will (1)

Brain make me do it

This post originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions.

Consider the following passage from Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement. It concerns one of the novel’s characters (Briony) as she philosophically reflects on the mystery of human action:

She raised one hand and flexed its fingers and wondered, as she had sometimes done before, how this thing, this machine for gripping, this fleshy spider on the end of her arm, came to be hers, entirely at her command. Or did it have some little life of its own? She bent her finger and straightened it. The mystery was in the instant before it moved, the dividing moment between not moving and moving, when her intention took effect. It was like a wave breaking. If she could only find herself at the crest, she thought, she might find the secret of herself, that part of her that was really in charge.

Is Briony’s quest forlorn?… Read the rest

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Obama Unveils ‘Biggest Step Ever’ In Climate Fight – Today

What could this biggest step ever be? (Hint: it involves emissions from power plants.) President Obama is set to unveil a major new strategy to combat climate change today, per AFP:

US President Barack Obama will Monday unveil what he called the “biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken” to fight climate change, a sensitive issue central to his legacy.

Coal-Fired-Power-Plant_Smoke-Stack-Emissions__15414

The White House will release the final version of America’s Clean Power Plan, a set of environmental rules and regulations that will home in on the pollution from the nation’s existing power plants, setting limits on power-plant carbon emissions for the first time.

Plants will have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Laying out how climate change is a threat to the economy, health, wellbeing and security of America, and adding that time was of the essence, Obama said in a video released early Sunday: “Climate change is not a problem for another generation.

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Ashes & Thugs

taxi

Friday

4:15am:
I’m back in the office of Citizen’s Cab. And there’s drama.

Ol’ Kojak is alone working the office and dispatch, as drivers the likes of me are all milling about the small space waiting for our keys and medallions, and poised to throw Koj our $5 bribes in the hopes of securing an airport. But Koj is all preoccupied, frantic, while he’s trying to appease some irate passenger phoning-in a complaint about how they were just badly berated by a driver. All snicker and make fun as gathered ’round the speakerphone like a warm fire. Well, all snicker, but Kojak!

“I’m very sorry that happened to you, sir. Yes… Yes… No, that shouldn’t happen to you, sir. I’ll tell the management he called you a ‘fucking bitch’, sir. But you should know, sir, that 130 is a lease driver. No… We just rent lease drivers their taxi monthly. Citizen’s Cab has very little affiliation outside of that.

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How brand-new words are spreading across America

You may be “unbothered” by the rash of new words sweeping America, but just keeping up with the meaning, let alone the etymology, of words like boolin, baeless and on fleek is exhausting. Amirite or what? Quartz explains why it’s happening so fast:

Words spread like weeds—seemingly at random but actually governed by invisible forces. Look away for too long, and suddenly new ones are emerging from who knows where.

The uncertain and gradual growth of words makes it nearly impossible to pinpoint where they started or how they caught on. But that is starting to change, as linguists draw on a wealth of data about word usage from social media services like Twitter.

words

Jack Grieve, a forensic linguist at Aston University in Birmingham, England, has been examining a dataset of nearly 9 billion tweeted words to identify the new American vocabulary. In a forthcoming study, he looked for words that were rarely used on Twitter in late 2013 but became common throughout 2014.

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Belgian Man Shuns Civilization to Live as a Hunter-Gatherer in Slovenia

Angelo-Valkenborgh

Angelo Valkenborg abandoned his normal life in Belgium and moved to Slovenia to live in the forest and live as a hunter-gatherer.

Sumitra via Oddity Central:

Angelo Valkenborg had it all – a good job, a marriage, and a nice home, but at one point in his life, he realised that none of that made him truly happy. So the 31-year-old Belgian left his old life behind and moved to a forest in Slovenia to live like a hunter-gatherer.

Angelo had always been fascinated by the great outdoors and started getting into survival techniques in the wild. But his work and family life didn’t exactly go hand in hand with his favorite pastime. It was after returning from a three week expedition in the wilderness of Northern Sweden that he learned his marriage had failed. His “intense passion for the outdoors” was apparently too much for his wife to handle.

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The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

Narrated by Caden Clegg

Via Chilling Tales For Dark Nights on YouTube:

“The Dunwich Horror,” written in 1928 and first published in Weird Tales in April 1929, is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, and takes place in the isolated, desolate and decrepit village of Dunwich. It revolves around Wilbur Whateley, the hideous son of Lavinia Whateley, a deformed and unstable albino mother, and an unknown father. Strange events surround Wilbur’s birth and precocious development. He matures at an abnormal rate, reaching manhood within a decade. Locals shun him and his family, and animals fear and despise him. All the while, his sorcerer grandfather indoctrinates him into certain dark rituals and the study of witchcraft. Various locals grow suspicious after Old Whateley buys more and more cattle, yet the number of his herd never increases, and the cattle in his field become mysteriously afflicted with severe open wounds.

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UN Report Card Gives US ‘Failing Grade’ on Human Rights

"These low grades suggest the U.S. has a long way to go before it is in compliance with international law," said Faiza Patel of the Brennan Center for Justice. (Photo: amboo who?/flickr/cc)

“These low grades suggest the U.S. has a long way to go before it is in compliance with international law,” said Faiza Patel of the Brennan Center for Justice. (Photo: amboo who?/flickr/cc)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s articles here.

A United Nations committee of independent monitors this week released a damningassessment of human rights in the United States, showing an overall dismal performance on issues from Guantanamo Bay detentions to mass surveillance to accountability for past atrocities—earning what the U.S. Human Rights Network called a “failing grade.”

The United Nations Human Rights Committee’s investigation was one of a handful of periodic reviews aimed at evaluating countries that have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights established in 1976. In particular, the assessment measured U.S. implementation of the committee’s recommendations for improving the country’s human rights record.… Read the rest

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