Sunday, August 10, 2014

On Avoiding the Middle East

When the United States was discovered for the Anglo Saxon world, Colombus came here on a mission, he was trying to find a way to India by avoiding the Middle East. Now this was 500 or more years ago. They were avoiding the Middle East. Shouldn't we learn something?  
And Colombus was willing to defy science because at that time they believe you could fall of the Earth because it was flat. But he was willing to fall off the Earth rather than go through the Middle East.  
Jesse Ventura

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Epicuro en español

The first Spanish-language review of my book has posted, and it’s very positive and foreboding of good things to come. The Spanish version of the book is available inpaperback and Kindle editions. Additionally in recent weeks, a Spanish-language webpage for Society of Epicurus has been created, as well as a Spanish-language facebook group for the Sociedad de Amigos de Epicuro. 
The review was done by Alan Furth, who resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is a blogger for Las Indias. He gives an extended overview of the key points of my contemporary interpretation of Epicurean doctrine:
El libro es una resumida pero muy completa introducción a los principios básicos y la práctica del epicureísmo. Pero también brinda una interesante interpretación de las enseñanzas de Epicuro desde el punto de vista de la psicología positiva, la neurociencia y otras disciplinas científicas que hoy en día corroboran gran parte del legado del maestro. 
”The book is a summarized but very complete introduction to the basic principles and practice of Epicureanism. But it also brinds an interesting interpretation of the teachings of Epicurus from the perspective of positive psychology, neuroscience, and other scientific disciplines that today vindicate great part of the legacy of the Master.”
Read the entire review. Use google translate (or any other online translation service) if you don’t understand Spanish.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Occupy Love!



“THIS WOULD BE THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, IF THERE WERE NO RELIGION IN IT!”

John Adams

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Conchita Wurst Rises Like a Phoenix

I finally got around to watching the video by the winner of the European musical contest, the amazing Conchita Wurst who takes Queer aesthetics and politics to a whole other level. The power of imagery! Society finds the transgression of wearing a beard in drag hugely subversive, yet her effortless talent and her confidence won her the award and the admiration of millions.

Conchita is a political brand. She was bullied as a youth and her appearance is a political act, an affront. Perhaps the prevalence of red in the Rise Like a Phoenix video is meant to symbolize her flaming glory, the blood, the life, and the violence suffered by Queer people daily. Michelle Rodriguez has argued that in most movies with gay characters, the gay character ends up dead of victimized, that this is usually the only way that society will accept a lead gay character: if he is punished for his existence, if his narrative is tragic. This is a curious observation about Queer public figures and their pop culture narratives. But Conchita, she's not a victim: she's resurrected from the violence suffered like a phoenix. 

Conchita is beautiful. Also, the curious choice of her stage name adds another layer of semantics to the androgynous imagery: conchita in Spanish means small shell and is an euphemism for the female sexual organ in some Spanish-speaking countries. And the wurst, well, it's a bratwurst. Although not overtly sexual, the imagery and semantics of her sexuality are artfully and proudly in display. Conchita Wurst did for talent competitions what Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the Rocky Horror Picture Show did for musicals.

Having a gender-bender as a central figure does not redefine normalcy, but it reminds the culture of the presence and visibility of the Queer fraction or percentage of our humanity that is usually silent or ignored, but every now and then rises like an epiphany. For every aspect of human experience, like with magazines and book series, invariably there is periodically a Queer issue. Sometimes, it happens to also be fabulous.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tending the Epicurean Garden

My new book Tending the Epicurean Garden is now live on amazon. I am very thrilled that, after the many months of hard work that went into the book, I’m finally able to take others on this adventure with me to discover Epicureanism on its own terms.
There are sources on Epicureanism, but many are indirect and some are hostile. It’s important for us in the Epicurean movement that there exist Epicurean sources for our tradition that explain it on our own terms.
Another reason why this book is extremely important is that there is a huge body of interdisciplinary research that vindicates the teachings of Epicurus, which calls for an update to how they’re presented. This includes not just research by social scientists but also in fields as varied as diet and neuroplasticity.
Epicureanism is not a fossilized, archaic Greek philosophical school but a cosmopolitan, contemporary, scientific wisdom tradition that is alive and changing. I hope you find as much pleasure in reading the book as I found in writing it!