Embracing Beauty and the Dance of Life in the Face of Violence

Embracing Beauty and the Dance of Life in the Face of Violence

There is a great need within the human condition to embrace beauty in the face of horror. We live in a troubled world. It has always been a troubled world. It seems a bit more troubled, of late, with terrorist attacks upon innocent people by groups who are nihilist by nature and enjoy killing more than living. The desire to seek beauty in life goes back through recorded time. This desire precedes recorded time; far earlier cultures drew on cave walls and painted their own bodies and faces with the juice of berries and plants before written language existed. Killing can be traced back just as far. There is killing on a smaller tribal scale – where warriors in one tribe hunted down their tribal enemies, cutting off the heads of the opposition and subsequently kicking those heads around the campfire, or posting them on assorted spikes and trees. We have, as well, killing on a far larger scale in World War One and World War Two, clearly showing us that killing runs deep in human beings. The nearly successful attempt of the Nazi regime to kill all the Jews of Europe illustrates this point quite well. One must also consider the crusades, which ran for decades and in which many were killed in the name of this or that god. And yet, all through human development, individuals have sought beauty in the visual arts, music, dance, poetry and film. We are a complicated species capable of much love and grace and at the same time capable of much horror and destruction. When Matisse painted ‘the dance’, his great...
Have Your Cake And Eat It Too: Happiness & Komarin Cakes

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too: Happiness & Komarin Cakes

The concept of Happiness, or the desire to seek Happiness, is a relatively new construct in human development.  All people want to be Happy but few understand what it means to be Happy and how Happiness, or the idea of seeking Happiness, has changed over time. Few people in the Modern Age realize (or appreciate) how very difficult the simple act of survival was in a world without fire, where Humans either ate food they could forage or food of larger, sharper-toothed creatures. Humans, of course, also ate each other; early forms of Cannibalism were more widely practiced around the world than many realize. The Buddhists focus more on a life of peace and simplicity and harmony than they do on seeking Happiness. To quote an expression that I have long liked: Hope for the best, expect the worst. In more recent times Thomas Jefferson, when writing the Declaration of Independence, was very influenced by the writings of John Locke and by the Greek philosopher Epicurus. In the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote of the individuals right to: Life, liberty and the pursuit of property. The terms property was changed last minute to the pursuit of happiness, which was a newer term in the lexicon of the time, and one that was not as widely considered, recognized or appreciated. Owning property in the 18th century, to an aristocrat like Jefferson, was extremely important. Jefferson, as well as many of his comrades who were forming this new nation, owned a great deal of property (which was not necessarily theirs to own, as it was already owned by Native Americans, but...