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This tag is associated with 11 posts

On being unbalanced

Balance is one of the master metaphors of health, life and of nature (nicely sidestepped in Mark Zuckerberg’s recent plan to engineer a disease free future). The seminal book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, identifies balance as a ubiquitous concept easily traced back to the human body. After all, from an early age, the … Continue reading

Pokémon Go versus Ingress

Everyone is talking about Pokemon Go. So I may as well join in. While on holiday last week in the town of Menton in the south of France I aimed my mobile phone camera at a cat in a laneway. Two young men glanced in my direction as they walked by, and I distinctly heard one of … Continue reading

Thinking naturally

Does nature make you think, or at least help it along? Consider first work environments. The world of work is filled with tools that help us think through and solve problems: notepads, pens, networked smartphones, and computers. Effective thought relies on such cognitive prosthetics. Expert professionals are so dependent on tools to aid their thinking that it’s difficult to … Continue reading

Moods and movies

Many scholars are interest in films and cities. Cities feature in films, people make films to explore city spaces, and tourists visit film locations. Artists create multimedia interactives about cities that also have a filmic aspect to them. Take a look at Night Walk in Marseilles. It’s a slick art piece featuring the sounds, music, atmospheres and graffiti of Marseilles … Continue reading

Music makes it better

“A child in the dark, gripped with fear, comforts himself by singing under his breath.” This is the opening sentence of an essay by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari called “1837: Of the Refrain.” Then follows an exposition on the power of rhythm and melody to mark a territory: “The song is like a rough sketch of … Continue reading

Turning the corner

“…a turn in the drive; and suddenly a new and secret landscape opened before us.” This is Evelyn Waugh’s account of arrival at the Brideshead estate in Brideshead Revisited. I recall something similar when I once approached Blenheim Palace from the narrow streets in the village of Woodstock. Turning the corner from the Market Square … Continue reading

Morphic fields

The kids at Hogwarts learn to move objects about at will without having to touch or grab them. According to philosopher David Ray Griffin, the mechanistic philosophy of Rene Descartes helped counteract the belief that minds can control objects over distances. This insight eventually reduced the persecution of people labelled as witches. For good or evil the … Continue reading

Enchanted places

Who can deny that there are places whose “numinous nature” is best sensed “in the peace and tranquility of the atmosphere that surrounds them, simply by sitting still and quietly letting the energy and power of the place slowly seep over you.” I’m quoting from a book on ley lines by Christopher Street (p.3). Can people … Continue reading

Absence of melancholy

The muted joy of autumn melancholy: who can resist the temptation to be lyrical in such a season? By all accounts melancholy is the feeling you get in the event of loss or absence, as in the passing of summer. Melancholy is also absent from classifications of mood and emotion as devised by experimental psychologists. For … Continue reading

Why music reaches the parts that architecture can’t

Physical spaces are charged with meaning and emotion for most of us — some spaces more than others. But it’s rare to enter a building or encounter spectacular scenery and experience the same intensity of emotion many of us feel on hearing a piece of music, particularly music that fits the mood of the moment, … Continue reading

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