A project worth supporting

My friend Anna Kipervaser, is an artist of great talent, who is working on a film with her partners at On Look Films.

The movie is called Voices of the Adhan: Egypt, and it aims to be a sensitive look at aspects of the culture and Islamic religion in Egypt involving the “adhan”, the daily call to prayer that is an ancient tradition.

Her work deals with issues of the underlying humanity we all share, exploring issues that she and her family faced as Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who experienced suppression for generations. She explores lessons from her past in moving to the United States at a very early age, integrating and trying to see beyond the issues of discrimination they faced as individuals.

Her work is focused on transcending and piercing cultural barriers, finding cross-cultural connections, and exploring with sensitivity that which is common, and unique, in the human condition. This is done from the perspective of a white US citizen, with an Eastern European Jewish background, with a love for the Arab culture. A belief that “uniting cultures can only occur when people put themselves on the line past the fear that has been created by popular media” is her ethos, and the ethos of her partners and associates at On look films.

I really believe this film is worth supporting . Good art helps melt the barriers between us, and open us up to or basic common humanity. Please consider visiting their websites at:

History, Slavery, and Pecking Orders

About a year ago I was standing, hanging on the corner, with a friend, notorious thinker and man about town, Khalid Bey, when he threw out a provocative little line:

“Kemal, there are two, and only two, types of people; Masters, and Slaves. Whether this is for better or for worse is irrelevant, it’s a fact that must be understood if you’re going to do anything about your own place in these categories…”

Well, after some introspection and thought I have to agree. If “slavery” means working for others, putting their benefits before your own, then you can argue that our whole society is skewed towards a subtle form of slavery. You get paid? Well, fine, through history many slaves have gotten paid. In pre-modern Arab and Turkish lands, urban slaves generally received wages for their labor. Sometimes they were paid poorly, sometimes they were paid quite well and used their wages to purchase their freedom. Sometimes (historically documented fact) they invested their wages into enterprises and attained some measure of wealth even whilst remaining slaves.

They were still owned, quite literally property, however.

Who owns you? One not-so-astute reader totally misunderstood my point in this. Where do you stand? Are you owned? Or are you a free man or woman?

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Equality of Men and Women, in the Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

Something interesting I stumbled across. Sexuality during the Renaissance is a very interesting, and complex, topic. The roots of the modern world and modern attitudes lie in this period.
Charles and Jennifer Upton’s “Shadow of the Rose: The Esoterism of the Romantic Tradition” deals with the spiritual aspects of pre-modern traditions of Romantic love, also Julius Evola’s Metaphysics of Eros has some interesting chapters on male/female relations in renaissance Italy..

Excerpt from The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, by Jacob Burckhardt, translated by S.G.C. Middlemore, 1878

Equality of Men and Women
To understand the higher forms of social intercourse at this period, we must keep before our minds the fact that women stood on a footing of perfect equality with men. We must not suffer ourselves to be misled by the sophistical and often malicious talk about the assumed inferiority of the female sex, which we meet with now and then in the dialogues of this time, nor by such satires as the third of Ariosto, who treats woman as a dangerous grown-up child, whom a man must learn how to manage, in spite of the great gulf between them. There is, indeed, a certain amount of truth in what he says. Just because the educated woman was on a level with the man, that communion of mind and heart which comes from the sense of mutual dependance and completion, could not be developed in marriage at this time, as it has been developed later in the cultivated society of the North.

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To master and ride our nightmares

“The Feeling of Power must be projected in a thrust towards the future. To feel it in the present is to come to a halt…

Man synthesizes in himself that which in the world has unfolded in time. The synthesis of the events assembles in him and becomes an actual event in his consciousness – thus he overcomes the limitations of time” – “Leo of the Ur Group”, in the chapter of Aphorisms, Julius Evola’s Introduction to Magic

Dreams are tricky things. Silk like smooth, ethereal, they settle lightly upon us and slide away when we try to catch them.

What are dreams… really? Some believe them to be random misfires of our neural circuitry, simply random play of brains at rest. Others believe them to be attempts by the mind at a cognition of reality, but a mode of cognition simply different from daytime perception, in which the brain explores what it has seen, gathered, and stored, of the world, without logic’s bounds. And still some believe they are glimpses of other worlds, or other dimensions of reality.

Whatever dreams are, they are, however, meaningful. Even amidst their contradictions. It is possible to see the relevance of our dreams to the external world we live in, and experience, whilst awake.

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Tibet, Afghanistan: The Empires Russia, America, and China – Musings on a new century.

a jolly map“I shall go far and far into the North, playing the Great Game….” – Kim, by R. Kipling

Once, during the Cold War, the Soviet ambassador to Pakistan gave Pakistan’s president a slender leather bound book. When asked what it was the Soviet answered that it was a statement of the USSR’s foreign policy. The ambassador respectfully said the following to Pakistan’s president.

“Your Excellency, this is our foreign policy. You can take this book and read it one hundred years from now, and nothing will have changed. Your American friends change policy every year. Russia’s policy never alters. you should remember this.”

Russia’s policy never alters, we should remember this.

There can be only one master of Asia.

Contention: much of what we hear in the news; regional conflict, terrorism, and war, is the result of competition between world powers acting to secure their geo-political and geo-strategic imperatives.

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