Lokaha Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

May all beings everywhere be happy and peaceful

Possano tutti gli esseri, ovunque, essere felici e in pace

A Sanskrit prayer for universal peace and happiness. Una preghiera universale nella linga sanscrita per la pace e la felicità.

Move Beyond Appreciating Art to Experience Art

Many words to insufficiently describe the difference between appreciating and experiencing art.

The vast quantity of art available online during the Pandemic of 2020 is amazing. Museum collections from the greatest archives in the world; concerts, plays, dance, tours of artists studios, and more, all available in our very own rooms. We don’t even have to dress for the occasion!

The disadvantages of this treasure trove of online art are the same as the advantages: The treasures are online, and vast. The photographs of a painting, the depiction of a weaving, the streaming concert are all wonderful and to be appreciated — but the overwhelming quantity of material, and the arrival of digital art on our gizmo means we see an image or hear a sound much differently than we would experience the actual masterpiece in person. 

I wrote about this in the previous piece, The Experience of Art, and I’d like to offer a few more thoughts, specifically about how you can use a single piece of art you find online to deepen your appreciation of art and whet your desire to experience a masterpiece in person. 

As mentioned in the previous post, rather than making viewing a quantity of art your goal, seek the appreciation and experience of art. And while you can’t fully appreciate a piece of art via the computer, you can become acquainted with a piece online, and then, when the world calms down a bit, seek the art in person, so you can experience it, for the experience is beyond appreciation. 

First, let’s clarify what appreciation means in this context. Appreciation is not liking. You can understand something, and how and why it was made, and perhaps something about its context and history — you can appreciate it — without having a personal inclination towards it, without liking it. 

Appreciating something, especially a work of art, takes time. You can practice appreciating art on your computer, tablet, or phone with a masterpiece you find online — we’ll use a painting as an example — over the course of a week.

Find a well-known painting from an online museum collection, and bookmark a high-quality image of it. Set aside 10 minutes each day to look at and contemplate the painting. Yes, that’s 10 minutes, each day, for a week. There’s a great deal to look at, really!

For starters, look at the painting from a distance: Set the size of the replica to fit in your screen so you can see the entire piece at once. What’s the feeling overall, especially if it’s an abstract painting? How do the colors feel together? Look at the shapes, where the light comes from within the painting. Do you imagine a story or background to the the images? 

Zoom in on the replica. Look at how the colors, the shapes, the shadows are constructed. Are brushstrokes or pallet knife markings visibile? Can you tell what type of surface lies below the paint? Are there cracks? Is paint perhaps discolored? And is the paint watercolor, oil, acrylic? Do you know the difference? 

Some of these details may or may not be visible depending on the quality of the replica — and if they are visible, they are seen but not experienced as you would in person, standing in front of a painting the artist actually touched and worked. 

Looking at details is not all you can do. Contemplate beyond what you see: How were the paints made? And from what? Hundreds of years ago, paints were mixed by hand, from natural materials. Imagine matching paints from one day to the next!

How long did it take to make the painting? Was the painting done from a live model, or sketches? How did the painter get a consistent model, consistent shadows, that degree of detail in an era before photo cameras?

Think of the skill of the artist; the task of painting day after day and week after week; making and procuring materials, and more. What’s the context, the story behind the painting? Is the painting from a specifici period in the artist’s life? Do some research about the artist and their life — the time, the country, the social, political, artistic environment in which they lived and worked.

There’s so much you can see and appreciate when you view a replica and consider how it was made, the artist, the history, the context. 

All this helps you gain appreciation of a work of art, yet appreciation does not give you the experience of that art — and hopefully, the appreciation engenders within you a desire to experience the masterpiece in person. 

The appreciation gives you intellectual information, the experience gives you. . . the experience. 

And yes, you can experience a painting, a work of art in person, without having first gone through the intellectual appreciation. The appreciation doesn’t really even prepare you for the experience; at best it can foster the desire to have the experience of a painting. (See the previous post for my description of experiencing, for the first time, a painting which I knew by replica.)

Now you’ve read way too many words suggesting you learn how to appreciate art, hopefully with the end result of motivating you to experience art. 

Dare I write that if you’ve read this far, you’re becoming a student of the Humanities — which for centuries were considered essential, teaching us how to live? 

Stop reading, find a masterpiece to appreciate, and when you can, go to a museum, gallery, or studio to have the experience of a masterpiece.

###

A note on the image in the header: Yes, it’s mine, and obviously, it’s a take off of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans, with visual commentary relevant to 2020: Rather than tomato or chicken soup, we have vegetarian vegetable soup, a photo of which appears on the requisite monotonous smart phone, duplicated as in Warhol’s work. The upside down can, an attempt at differentiation, is barely noticeable. I could write more about this, but I won’t — at least not now! ~ KMK

If you like the free articles, videos, and content on this site and feel so inspired and able, please consider a gratitude gift to help support them.

The Experience of Art

My breath stopped. My mind went blank. My head jerked up slightly then froze, as did my body, motionless from the zap of powerful energy I did not expect. I stood and stared.

I had encountered, for the first time in person, a painting by Georgia O’Keefe. 

This experience is important. It’s not just about O’Keefe’s art: I’ve had this experience when I’ve encountered paintings by other masters; original photos from great photographers; and magnificent art from other disciplines. And the experience is not about me.

It’s the experience that’s important. And the experience is important to consider now, in the Pandemic of 2020.

To explain, I’ll go back to the O’Keefe painting.

It was about 1985, and I was walking through the University of Arizona Art Museum’s permanent exhibit, which I knew housed an original painting or few of O’Keefe’s. The piece I mention, Red Canna, is famous. I had seen it on photographs, postcards, calendars, and other reproductions. In fact, reproductions of O’Keefe’s work abounded in the popular culture of the United States in the 1970’s and 80’s. Flowers and desertscapes were seemingly on everything, and even non-artists would call out “that’s an O’Keefe” when viewing posters, sometimes even naming the image. People thought they “knew” her art.

What I experienced in that first viewing of an original painting by O’Keefe was something I did not expect, despite the years of preparation: The lectures, the experiential lessons, the papers written, the books read in English classes (thanks J.C.); the hours of art history classes; the years watching my mother create; the shelves of philosophy I had read; and dozens of replicas of the painting I had seen.

Yes, I had heard of, mentally understood, written about the experience of art. I had contemplated the question “what is the difference between a work of art and a really good forgery, a copy?”

I had not experienced it so profoundly until that moment. 

A true work of art has a presence. It has life. It conveys the spirit, the anima, the experience and feelings of the artist. 

You can feel a work of art.

Yes, a poster, a high-quality digital photograph, a 3-D image can transmit the look, the colors, the detail, the intricacy of a work of art. However, no matter how good, how clean, how sharp the copy, the replica will not convey the same presence as the original masterpiece created at the hands of the master. 

It’s similar to what spiritual teachers and mystic poets say: “If you write the word honey and lick the paper, is it the same as tasting a spoonful of honey?”

Honey and art must be tasted, experienced, in person.

It’s especially important to remember this at a time when we’re all at our computers, often for more hours a day than usual, and when, through those computers, we have the amazing opportunity to virtually visit great museums, concert halls, and artist studios. That the Pandemic of 2020 occurs at a time when we can shelter-in-place while viewing and hearing great works of art is absolutely amazing. I’m personally grateful, and thankful also that so many virtual halls and archives are now allowing us free entry.

So, yes, let’s use this opportunity and the online resources offered us to visit museums we may have always wanted to see — or perhaps never knew existed. Let’s listen to the orchestras of the world, see how potters work, view weavings we did not know were so intricate, look at the work of Gentileschi, Bonheur, Caravaggio, Anni Albers, and more, oh so many more. We can even read about the artists on Wikipedia, find their studios on Google Maps, and follow the rabbit hole of links to historical trivia of the artists’ lives. 

All this is good; all this helps us expand our awareness of the world of art and intellectually understand artists and their context. But don’t make viewing quantity your goal. Don’t make intellectual understanding your goal. Don’t even make recognition your goal (apologies to all the art history teachers!). 

Make experience your goal.

And to really experience a painting, a photo, any work of art, you must be with it in person. The experience is tangible, yet beyond the intellect, beyond quantification, beyond description. 

So yes, use this time of online exploring to visit the museums, libraries, galleries, concert halls streaming to you. Peruse the images, the sounds. And let the online viewing and recognition kindle within you a desire to experience, in person, at least a few of the places, a few of the masterpieces, a few of the museums. 

After the travel bans and the quarantines end, seek and have an in-person experience of a masterpiece whose replica you discovered online. If you can’t travel to a distant place to experience the great work you found online, at least start by visiting a local art museum or gallery.

And for now, continue the online discovery, and perhaps enjoy a spoonful of honey!

###

If you like the free articles, videos, and content on this site and feel so inspired and able, please consider a gratitude gift to help support them.

The Power of a Name: Let’s Use This Wisely

In many ancient traditions and healing methods, it’s understood that when you name something, you give it power. 

A “label” acknowledges and empowers something — anything — and gives it form, animating it in our minds and thoughts. This is true for everything, no matter if we think it “good” or “bad”. For this reason, the ancient traditions of many lands teach that we should not name, or call by name, illness and disease.

When we name something, the label solidifies and calls into form the energy behind the name. The naming empowers the physical manifestation of that which is named, a tangible demonstration of “our thoughts create our reality”.

It’s very important that we don’t call the virus circling the globe right now by name. Simply call it “the virus”.  Better yet, call it “the pandemic of 2020”.  Calling it a pandemic acknowledges that this is circling the globe, and opens the way for all to be healed. Naming the year establishes a time constraint. 

And who says we’ll even need to the end of the year? 

With prayer, healing — miracles — can occur in an instant. And the effects travel farther and longer than we imagine.

###

If you like the free articles, videos, and content on this site and feel so inspired and able, please consider a gratitude gift to help support them.

Triage: A Human Level of Understanding the Virus

93-year-old uncle who has diabetes and asthma falls ill with the virus. You take him to the now-overloaded hospital, where you’re told that because there are higher priority cases and limited resources, the hospital can’t treat uncle. However, because uncle has the virus, he must go to the emergency quarantine ward, where there’s no medical intervention, but if hospital staff has any time after treating higher-priority cases, they’ll provide basic care. Because it’s a quarantine ward, you’re informed the family can’t visit uncle, so he’ll be isolated, alone in his last days. Or, perhaps worse, uncle may turned away for lack of space, sent home for you to care for as best you can until he passes.

Scenarios like this are reality when the health care system is in overload and triage is the most basic.

Understanding triage helps us realize at a very human level what’s happening with the spread of the virus, and why each and every one of us needs to take steps to contain its spread.

Developed centuries ago on battlefields, triage is “the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately”.

Medical personnel use triage to quickly assess and classify cases — injured or ill persons — during wars and disasters so that the greatest number of individuals can be saved with the resources available when medical personnel, supplies, and time are limited. Triage assigns each ill/injured person to one of four levels, often indicated by a color: Red, yellow, green, or black, to be treated in that order. 

The definitions and wording of the triage levels may differ slightly depending on country or institution. However, no matter the system, because triage deals with the reality of limitation, the actual triage level assigned to a case varies depending upon the resources and situation

For instance, at the start of a catastrophe, medical personnel may use the following triage classifications and criteria: (these are summaries of different classifications; see Wikipedia or talk with a doctor, nurse, or paramedic to learn more.)

  • Red: Those with life-threatening illnesses who require immediate care in order to survive. 
  • Yellow: Those who have non life-threatening injuries or diseases, yet require care soon. 
  • Green: Those minor injuries or diseases, who do not require immediate care.
  • Black: Those who are dead or presumed dead after a basic check of vital signs. 

As the number of cases increases and/or the resources decrease, the classification criteria adjust to reflect the diminishing ability to provide care. Thus, as a situation worsens, the criteria may be more like this:

  • Red: Those with life-threatening illnesses who require immediate care in order to survive.
  • Yellow: Those who have life-threatening injuries or diseases and require care soon in order to survive.
  • Green: Those with minor injuries or diseases, or non-life threatening injuries, who will not receive immediate care. 
  • Black: Those who are dead, presumed dead, whose injuries/illness/condition make survival unlikely, and/or for whom providing care will compromise the ability to provide care for those with a higher chance of survival

As case numbers and severity increase, as resources decrease, the fewer the people who can be helped. And when fewer people can be helped, those who are most likely to survive and need immediate care are treated first.  People who might have been helped during a non-crisis time won’t/can’t be helped — including those who may need surgeries for cancer, diabetes, transplants, or conditions that would normally be considered curable .

Think of this now in human terms.

93-year-old uncle, mentioned in the first paragraph.

A 63-year-old sister who had been scheduled for surgery two weeks from now to remove a tumor on her breast. Will the hospital have time for the surgery? Will sister’s health be compromised by potential exposure to the virus while she’s in the hospital?

A son in an auto crash. An auntie who fell down the stairs. A friend who dropped the knife on her foot chopping veggies for dinner. Will they get emergency care when the health care system is overstressed with a pandemic?

Heartbreaking and beyond comprehension, for those needing care, families, you, all of us — including for the doctors, nurses, medical support staff, and those making triage decisions.  

People are fragile. The health care system working to treat people is also fragile, both here in the United States and in most other countries. 

On normal days, health care systems run at near maximum capacity. Add multiple cases of a virus and more patients to the system, and more basic triage becomes necessary. Medical systems, doctors, nurses, staff run on overdrive, yet still the cases increase. Levels of triage, levels of care become even more basic. People are left untreated. Eventually, the system may be completely overwhelmed.

This is why, to the best of our ability, we need to contain the virus. 

People are at risk, the health care system itself is at risk, and the systems of our contemporary lives are at risk: Small businesses, large businesses, travel, trade, the economy, governments and societies are all fragile, not just in one country, but across the world. 

The virus does not stop at political, social, or ideological borders. Itself a part of the contemporary interconnected world of instantaneous communication, the virus is global and pervasive. And it has the ability to topple systems, those of healthcare and those beyond, in a way perhaps no other means save massive warfare has.

We can mitigate the effect of the virus by increasing our awareness, applying our compassion, making a change of our habits, taking common-sense steps to contain the spread of the virus, and by helping those in need, in the ways we each and all can.

Note from Kelly: 

I’ve found that discussing triage is the clearest, most concise, simplest, and most human way to understand and explain what the imminent danger, need, and actions are around the virus. 

Discussing triage goes beyond charts and statistics, which are impersonal, imprecise, and can be skewed. Talking about triage demands immediacy while still honoring discussions of how disasters can be manipulated by governments and big business. 

Triage gets to the point: It brings discussions of the virus to a very human level. 

This is why understanding triage is so important: We need to think of people. Not just in one country, but across the world. And we need to realize that as one system fails, related systems can fail — not just in one country, but across the globe. The virus is not bound by borders; neither are our economies, our air, our water, our hearts. 

And we need to consider how, after mitigating the immediate threats presented by the virus, we can work together to rebuild systems, hearts, lives in a manner that respects and sustains all.

If you like the free articles, videos, and content on this site and feel so inspired and able, please consider a gratitude gift to help support them.

The Little Goat

A story of self-confidence and persistence told in traditional cultures across the world.

High in the hills above the village, the goats kept an annual tradition known only to themselves. 

Each spring, on the first full-moon day after the grass sprouted, the one-year-old goats would gather at the foot of the highest mountain. At the sound of the elder goat’s signal, the goat-kids would all charge up the narrow, rocky mountain path, in full view of the herd. This was a test of their goat skills: They were to climb the mountain as an initiation into the next stage of life in the herd.

However, the herd elders knew, absolutely knew, that it was impossible to climb all the way to the top of the mountain. 

Before the event, in secret, the goat-parents conveyed this message to their goat-kids. 

“The tradition states climb the mountain, but really, no one ever reaches the top. It’s impossible. Just get as far as you can by midday, then turn around. Everyone will have seen you, and we’ll have a nice lunch waiting when you return.”

And so it was, year after year. 

Until one year.

The herd was especially large that spring, with many kids jostling one another at the starting line, all trying to gain the best starting spot — all except one, that is. One kid on the edge of the bunch seemed a bit slow at the beginning, not minding that the others charged ahead when the elder goat gave the starting call. 

After the first few frantic minutes of the course, the goat-kids spread themselves along the trail winding up the mountain. From below, the elder goats cheered the kids, urging them higher and higher. 

Several large kids ran as fast and long as they could before slowing to a trot. Most goat-kids alternated their pace, run-walk, run-walk. A few goat-kids walked together, talking the entire time. The little goat-kid who had the slow start walked alone, sure-footedly yet steadily up the mountain, still trailing the others. 

As morning stretched towards midday, the faster kids reached a prominent ledge halfway up the mountain, and felt that they had proven their ability. They had received lots of cheers, and were getting tired. They wanted lunch and a nap. Turning around, they headed back down the mountain.

As the returning kids passed those still climbing, each of the climbing kids used the encounter as a signal to go a few more steps and then turn back. They, too, were tired and hungry, and looked forward to lunch. 

Each time a goat-kid turned back, they paused briefly to look at the crowd and toss their head, reveling in the wild cheering from the adult goats below. The kids had gone far enough. No goat had ever gone to the top of the mountain; it was impossible. 

Finally, down towards the herd and lunch, laughing and playing, came the all goat-kids. 

All but one, that is. 

The goat-kid who had started slowly was still climbing up the mountain. In fact, she was now higher than the spot at which the fastest goat-kids had turned around — and she was still climbing. 

The adult-goats had turned their attention from the mountain to the lunch preparations, thinking all the kids were headed back. Surprised, they heard the elder goat calling loudly.

“Come back, come back, you can’t go any higher, what are you doing?”

The heads of all the goats at the base of the mountain turned, following the gaze of the elder goat. The lone kid was still climbing. 

“Come back, come back! You can’t go any further,” called all of the adult goats. “No one climbs that high, it’s impossible, you can’t go any higher! Come back!”

The lone goat kid continued to climb. 

“Come back, come back! It’s impossible, you can’t go that far, come back!” shouted the adult goats, milling about.

The goat kid continued to climb, more slowly than before, yet steadily. The path before her had all but disappeared, as certainly no goat in the history of the herd had ever climbed that high.

The adult goats continued to call up the hill, joined now by the kids who had finished their descent. 

“Come back, you can’t go any higher!” shouted the chorus of goat-voices. “It’s impossible! Come back!”

The little goat continued to climb. She was a tiny speck, nearly invisible even to goat-eyes. 

The other goat kids were annoyed. They wanted their lunch, which would not be served until all the kids returned. The biggest, fastest kids were also upset because the little she-kid had climbed higher than they had — and she was still climbing.  

The commotion at the bottom of the mountain continued. The little goat continued to climb. 

When she reached the top of the mountain, the little goat paused briefly and looked down. The crowd at the base of the mountain fell silent for a moment — and then roared with cries and stomps of respectful applause for the goat-kid who had reached the top. 

As the cheers subsided and the little goat headed back down the mountain, the adult goats and the kids jabbered amongst themselves, asking “How in the world did that little goat do that? Every goat knows that it’s impossible to climb to the top of the mountain.” 

One of the adult goats who had been unusually quiet during all the cheering spoke up. 

“That’s my kid. She’s deaf. She couldn’t hear your cries calling her back, and she can’t hear your applause. She thought the objective was to climb to the top, so she did.”

The photo is not mine — it was found it online and uncredited. Thanks to the unknown photographer!

If you like the free articles, videos, and content on this site and feel so inspired and able, please consider a gratitude gift to help support them.

Seeing Beyond the Fear

During this time, as always, acting with common sense is essential for our health, ourselves, and our communities. And how we act, what we do, how we maintain ourselves has consequence beyond the realm of the pandemic of 2020.

Absolutely, we’re all doing our best to follow common-sense guidelines about containing the spread of the virus

We also need to follow common-sense practices for how we handle ourselves during this time. These practices are simpler to state than do, yet they are essential.

Don’t fall into fear. Don’t panic. Stay centered. Follow practices and do exercises to maintain inner equilibrium, which is essential to maintaining outer health, be it of the body or the world.

Practice whatever focusing activity centers you and clears your mind, body, and spirit, be it running, pottery, meditating, or something else (of course, these may need to be adjusted if you’re ill/under quarantine).

Have discernment and use your own mind for positive purposes. Be in the present moment. Serve others. Remember the power each one of us has within.

And again: Don’t fall into fear. 

This is essential within ourselves, and within all levels of our community. 

While the virus can be dangerous to at-risk populations, fear can mentally and physically immobilize even otherwise healthy people. And while the dangers of this virus are more than health-related, fear is ultimately more dangerous than the virus.

We understand some of the health dangers of the virus. We understand the huge economic implications of the virus, especially for countries, businesses, and individuals already financially unstable. Yet what is often unrealized, or forgotten at times of crisis, is that governments, corporations, and power-seeking individuals always leverage, for their own benefit, critical events such as the virus and the fear these events create. 

I could write at length about this, and probably will in the coming days and weeks. 

For now, I’m posting below a very few links to news stories currently buried in the media, and related references. My intent is to increase your scope of awareness and discernment, encourage you to stay centered and strong within no matter what, and to maintain and use common sense in all thoughts and actions.

U.S. sending 30,000 soldiers to Europe for military exercises for DefenderEurope 20, the largest deployment of U.S. troops in Europe in 25 years (In Italian; title only translated here).

In Russia, A new constitutional amendment would permit Putin to remain in power until 2036 (In Italian; title only translated here).

Apparently, this has passed the lower house but not yet gone to the next step of voting. Related articles mention that Putin initially sought to extend potential term limits until 2024, but then with the “opportunity” caused by the virus, he sought a longer extension, until 2036.

Trump “joking” about serving a third term; many articles including this one on Huffington Post.

Twitter discussions about the virus and power grabs

Martina Navratilova (who, like many women pro athletes, is far smarter than most people realize, not to mention she was raised in and left a communist regime— both reasons I mention her specifically) has many insightful comments on her Twitter feed about the virus, U.S. response, and politicians.

In a post on March 11, she wrote “I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump turns the COVID-19 will just magically disappear into declaring martial law instead and cancelling the election. . . if there is a path to that, he will take it…”

This echos concerns many of us have had since his election. And the virus would be the perfect entrée. 

As we know, perhaps the most effective means of assuming power and control is to do so gradually. Similarly, eroding rights and abilities is generally more effective than cutting them outright. 

America already has issues with the validity of the election processes, election results, and the judicial system. We have non-physical money, transacting instead with credit cards and apps. Big businesses and the government have detailed information about individuals, more than most people realize. People are used to being tracked for marketing purposes, for health reasons, and in general.

Politicians disparage and discredit the media. Lobbyists have long paid experts to put groomed messages on media/social media, encouraging fear and other desired attitudes in the public. This is especially easy when most of the public is isolated, and/or obtains their information through sources that are easy to control and monitor.

Now, in the cause of maintaining public health, we’re limiting individual contact between humans, further tracking people, and, in some instances, locking down movement. In China and Italy, they’ve used police/military to enforce the lockdowns.

In such an atmosphere, and with a complacent, distracted public, it’s especially easy for the media, politicians, and public relations experts to turn attention the way they want to. And yes, at a primed moment, a politician could declare martial law, or state that he’s not going to step down even if elections say otherwise.

Here are a few more links to expand your thinking.

*** ADDED 2020 03 14: The Guardian published this piece on March 14, 2020: Be Careful. Trump may exploit the coronavirus for authoritarian ends. ***

*** ADDED 2020 03 23:

Edward Louis Bernays, the father of propaganda

If you haven’t heard of Bernays, at least read the Wikipedia article above. Among other projects (some more palatable), he worked for big tobacco and quietly pushed the practice of having doctors endorse cigarettes as a way for women to remain thin, a trend he also pushed to sell cigarettes.

See Project Gutenberg and Amazon for his books.

Virus privacy concerns: Data from Sardinia sent to the U.S (In Italian; only the headline translated)

As a virus-containing step, yes, it makes sense that everyone entering Sardinia since 14 February must complete an online self-certification, noting when they arrived, address, uploading a copy of the ID Card, etc, so Sardinian/Italian health services can keep track of folks moving about on island. Similarly, now there are laws/forms that must be completed even when someone goes from one town to another, and ships and aircraft landing on the island must provide more detail to lists of passengers, baggage, and cargo.

However, the process of self-certification includes major violations to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR): The data is collected by a U.S. company and stored in the U.S., and a note on the upload site states data may be transferred to other companies and/or used for marketing purposes. 

A Sardinian attorney is investigating and challenging the privacy violations.

Race is on for health data in Eastern Europe as healthcare companies seek to increase private market

Data about individuals is especially valuable to businesses for marketing and other purposes. Health care data is no exception. Even though data is ostensibly “anonymized”, individuals can be identified by combining data. Some uses of data we may judge helpful; other uses we may not consider so beneficial to the common good. As a small exploration, see the website for the company LiveRamp, which offers “Identity Resolution products” and “HealthVerity” data tracking.

Hershey pulls ads with hugs and handshakes amid coronavirus concerns

This is just a very simple example of the extent to which advertisers consider their ads, the virus, and the message they convey.

Yes, it’s important to take common-sense measures to preserve health and limit the spread of the virus. It’s also important to not fall into fear, the False Evidences Appearing Real.

Stay centered and calm, be aware, and live and act with awareness, discernment, and love. 

###

If you like the free articles, videos, and content on this site and feel so inspired and able, please consider a gratitude gift to help support them.

Things You Don’t Think About

I recall reading that Greta Garbo, upon walking into the United Nations building in New York, looked at the carpets and exclaimed, “Think of the girls working in the factory making that!”. *

My respect for Greta only deepened, reading this. 

Now — in a time much different from the period when Greta made her comment — her words need some explanation. However, the insight and truth of the comment has not changed. 

At that time, wall-to-wall carpeting was still relatively new (and there’s a history of how and why it became so popular in the United States, but that’s for another writing). Factories, particularly those making carpeting, were mechanized, yet of course far less automated that factories of today. Workers still did much by hand, moving not just alongside, but within huge machines — dangerous, loud, crushing machines — with few, if any, safety regulations or equipment. The work was dangerous, even more so because it was boring and rhythmic, both enemies of safety. Then, as now, textile workers were badly paid, usually female, and seemingly invisible to the world. 

That anyone — especially a famous actress — would think of a textile worker, especially when walking into the esteemed halls of the United Nations, was shocking. 

However, Greta grew up poor, knowing girls and families who worked in the textile mills of her native Sweden. She understood the difficulty, the tediousness, the invisibility of the work. She saw and understood much about “little people” and their lives that most people of power and wealth — including many of the middle class — didn’t, and don’t, perceive and therefore cannot understand.

The seemingly little things that can and do affect a life, many lives, have always been of importance, and have often been invisible to those not imminent to the conditions. 

The invisibility only grows as technology increases. Yes, there may be an app on your smartphone that enables you to schedule a food delivery, a house cleaning, a refill of gas delivered to your parked car. But individuals, each with their own life, family, needs, desires, difficulties, perform the work your app orders. Someone is delivering the food, cleaning the house, filling the gas tank. And an individual wrote the code that made the application, and that person was hired by an individual. . . And so on.

What about each of those people? What happens if the person delivering food has a flat tire on their car, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle? What happens if the girl who worked in the factory years ago had cracked fingers from working long hours with her hands in near freezing conditions? Was it merely painful, or did the blood from the cracks in her fingers stain the carpet, meaning she would be fired? Or did her manager have awareness and kindness, and give the girl salve, bandages, and a gentler job?

Little things no one thinks about. Small acts, passing thoughts, random words, physical things that matter. Little things that contribute to the anima, the spirt within what you use, what you encounter, within you. Little things that together form communities, companies, nations, our world. Our lives. Our selves. Our self.

~ KMK

* The exact quotation is not one I can find at the moment. I believe it was in Walking With Garbo, by Raymond Daum. I had thought it was in Greta Garbo: A Life Apart, by Karen Swenson, but I can’t find “United Nations” in the index. Daum’s book does not have an index. 

I’ll be writing various pieces under the category Things You Don’t Think About and posting them here and on the Sardinian Arts website. 

If you like the free articles, videos, and content on this site and feel so inspired and able, please consider a gratitude gift to help support them.

Bird on a Twig

Be like a bird on a twig.

This saying is a reminder to us: “Be like a bird on a dry twig, always ready to fly away, because the twig may break at any moment.”

We generally consider this to mean “Life and any situation can change at any time, be vigilant, be detached, be willing to let go and move on.”

Yet do we consider how the bird leaves the twig?

The moment the twig cracks, the alert, mindful bird discerns what to do, and uses her own wings to soar off. 

As Above, So Below—Programmatically So

So many teachers and so many texts have stated it: 

What you think creates your reality.

What you feel inside magnetically attracts the same to you in the external world.

As above, so below.

What you see behind your eyes creates what you see in front of your eyes.

A reminder often stated with these truths seems obvious: Watch your thoughts, watch your words. 

A related reminder is: Watch what you Google, watch what you search for online.

Programmatic advertising is the immediate, technological proof of statements such as “What you think creates your reality”.

These days, when you think about something, especially something you want, you most likely Google it. You search for it online. The next time you log into Facebook, your favorite news site, or even a random website, you see the very thing you thought about and Googled. Not just one ad, but many. Ads promoting what you searched for appear everywhere!

These ads are “programmed” to display according to data captured about you from various sources — your insurance provider, credit cards, the music you listen to, and much, much more — including what you search for on Google and Amazon. 

Advertisers argue programmatic ads are helpful to you (the “consumer”). Advertisers say these ads guide you to items that fit your profile, based on things you searched for — thought about — previously. Advertisers can even predict other “related” items you might want, based on your current search, previous searches, and your profile.

So: you search for something; a little later you see an online ad for that same item; you click and explore the offering. Even if you decide not to purchase the item at that moment, merely clicking the programmatic ad triggers more ads of a similar vein to be displayed to you. Soon, something that was a little thought, a Googled item, manifests everywhere in your online world — and even your offline world.

Programmatic advertising now extends to platforms beyond your computer, your tablet, and your phone. You could encounter related ads on electronic billboards, radio/streaming services, and more.

What did your one thought, your one search, trigger? 

Can you get away from that item, the ads, and your thoughts about it? Or are they reinforced by what you see “out there”?

Are you waiting for the ads to change, so you can have a different selection of items from which to choose?

Or do you have to change what you search for before the ads you see “out there” change? 

Ah.

I’m always amazed at how technology mirrors what we humans have the capability — or need — to do within ourselves.

We have to change what we search for first.

We have to change what’s inside, before we can change what’s outside.

###

If you like the free articles, videos, and content on this site and feel so inspired and able, please consider a gratitude gift to help support them.