If life were only like this… Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall

Related imageImage result for marshall mcluhan booksAccording to The Independent:

Marshall McLuhan might have been one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century. But he was one of its most terrible actors.

As well as being famous for his theories, many of which are known by catchy phrases like ‘the medium is the message, Professor McLuhan was also a guest star in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

Marshall McLuhan: Remembering the philosopher’s bizarre, unplanned Annie Hall appearance

Here are a few quotable gems from the McLuhan archive:

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”

This is a good one to think about when you’re texting your friend while walking across a crowded crosswalk in an intersection.

Image result for Marshall McLuhan“Art is anything you can get away with.”

The latest David Lynch resurrection of Twin Peaks 25 years later, for example. Or most stuff in art galleries.

“The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.”

Yes, he was the one who came up with the idea of the ‘global village.’ Hello Internet.

“All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.”

Image result for marshall mcluhan books

 

“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.” – Adrienne Rich

 

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Adrienne Rich, as a poet, essayist and feminist activist, held strong to her convictions. Here is some ‘life advice’ from her, which has resonated even more crucially as counterbalance to the current political climate.

“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work … you don’t fall for shallow and easy solutions…”

Life Advice from Adrienne Rich – LitHub

The Brave New World is more Huxley’s than Orwellian

The ascent of the latest U.S. president has proved Neil Postman’s argument in Amusing Ourselves to Death was right. In a very readable article in The Guardian, Andrew Postman (Neil Postman’s son), gives his take on the similarities of our current reality to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World rather than George Orwell’s 1984. Basically, it’s not about Big Brother watching you, but people chasing entertainment, no matter how infuriatingly ridiculous or ‘fake’ it might be.

As Postman writes:

Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture..Image result for amusing ourselves to death

Where will we go from here? Postman argues:

Who can be appalled when the coin of the realm in public discourse is not experience, thoughtfulness or diplomacy but the ability to amuse – no matter how maddening or revolting the amusement?

My dad predicted Trump in 1985 – By Andrew Postman 

 

How would the Stoics cope today?

 

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“Stoicism is a school of philosophy which was founded in Athens in the early 3rd century and then progressed to Rome, where it became a pragmatic way of addressing life’s problems. The central message is, we don’t control what happens to us; we control how we respond.”

Want to know more about the stoics? Marcus Aurelius’s rather humbling Meditations is a key to understanding Roman Stoic philosophy. He said:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

and

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

and

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…”

 

How would the Stoics cope today? By Ryan Holiday

A Kite is a Victim – Leonard Cohen

A Kite is a Victim

By Leonard Cohen
From: The Spice-Box of Earth
March 1965

A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;
because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.

A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won’t give up,
or the wind die down.

A kite is the last poem you’ve written,
so you give it to the wind,
but you don’t let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.

A kite is a contract of glory
that must be made with the sun,
so make friends with the field
the river and the wind,
then you pray the whole cold night before,
under the travelling cordless moon,
to make you worthy and lyric and pure.

“Yet another thread unraveling from the very fabric of society.”

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Legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen passed away on November 10, 2016.

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love

The Crack In Everything Widens: A Dirge For Leonard Cohen By Sezin Koehler

Photo from: www.leonardcohen.com

How to be a writer: 10 tips involving joy, suffering, reading and lots and lots of writing

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According to Rebecca Solnit on lithub.com:

“Write. There is no substitute. Write what you most passionately want to write, not blogs, posts, tweets or all the disposable bubblewrap in which modern life is cushioned … The road is made entirely out of words. Write a lot.”

“At any point in history there is a great tide of writers of similar tone, they wash in, they wash out, the strange starfish stay behind, and the conches.”

“It’s all really up to you, but you already knew that and knew everything else you need to know somewhere underneath the noise and the bustle and the anxiety and the outside instructions, including these ones.”

How to be a writer: 10 tips by Rebecca Solnit