Wandering in Woodacre – 8 September 2020

This Date in Art History – Died 8 September 1954 – Andre Derain, a French painter and sculptor.

Below – “Landscape”; “The Drying Sails”; “Charing Cross Bridge, London”; “The Table”; “Still Life”; “Self-portrait in studio.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 8 September 1947 – Ann Beattie, an award-winning American novelist and short story writer.

Some quotes from the work of Ann Beattie:

“People forget years and remember moments.”
“Any life will seem dramatic if you omit mention of most of it.”
“It seems to me that the problem with diaries, and the reason that most of them are so boring, is that every day we vacillate between examining our hangnails and speculating on cosmic order.”
“Clichés so often befall vain people.”
“I think that I’m serious, but I don’t think that I’m inordinately bleak.”
“The real killer was when you married the wrong person but had the right children.”

Contemporary Austrian Art – Marie Ruda

Below – “Carp koi”; “Lady Mermaid”; “Koi carps”; “Taste of pomegranate”;“Flower-ballerinas (butterfiles) in a vase of a swan”; “Z-1.”

A Poem for Today

by Marty Walsh
“The snow’s/feet slip”

out from
under it
and down
the mountain
slope it comes
flat on its back
white skirt
and billowy
petticoats
blowing
back over
its head,
whiplashing
rickety
pine sapling
as it passes,
bowling boulders
left and right
until it comes
to a juddering
sudden heart-
thumping stop
just shy
of the little village
in the valley far below.

Below – Andrew Lever: “Avalanche 2”

Contemporary American Art – Gregory Radionov: Part I of II.

Below – “Spinoff”; “Wakey, wake…”; “house by the lake”; “Stearns Wharf”; “she threads on me”; “home alone. rainy day.”

This Date in Intellectual History: Born 8 September 1954 – Michael Shermer, an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society and editor-in-chief of its magazine “Skeptic,” and author of “Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time,” “Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design,” and “The Believing Brain: From Spiritual Faiths to Political Convictions – How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.”

Some quotes from the work of Michael Shermer:

“Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”
“Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not.”
“Finally, from what we now know about the cosmos, to think that all this was created for just one species among the tens of millions of species who live on one planet circling one of a couple of hundred billion stars that are located in one galaxy among hundreds of billions of galaxies, all of which are in one universe among perhaps an infinite number of universes all nestled within a grand cosmic multiverse, is provincially insular and anthropocentrically blinkered. Which is more likely? That the universe was designed just for us, or that we see the universe as having been designed just for us?”
“Myths, whether in written or visual form, serve a vital role of asking unanswerable questions and providing unquestionable answers. Most of us, most of the time, have a low tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. We want to reduce the cognitive dissonance of not knowing by filling the gaps with answers. Traditionally, religious myths have served that role, but today — the age of science — science fiction is our mythology.”
“How can we find spiritual meaning in a scientific worldview? Spirituality is a way of being in the world, a sense of one’s place in the cosmos, a relationship to that which extends beyond oneself. . . . Does scientific explanation of the world diminish its spiritual beauty? I think not. Science and spirituality are complementary, not conflicting; additive, not detractive. Anything that generates a sense of awe may be a source of spirituality. Science does this in spades.”
“We want to be open-minded enough to accept radical new ideas when they occasionally come along, but we don’t want to be so open-minded that our brains fall out.”
“Checking a box on a form for race—‘Caucasian,’ ‘Hispanic,’ ‘African-American,’ ‘Native American,’ or ‘Asian-American’—is untenable and ridiculous. For one thing, ‘American’ is not a race, so labels such as ‘Asian-American’ and ‘African-American’ are still exhibits of our confusion of culture and race. For another thing, how far back does one go in history? Native Americans are really Asians, if you go back more than twenty or thirty thousand years to before they crossed the Bering land bridge between Asia and America. And Asians, several hundred thousand years ago probably came out of Africa, so we should really replace ‘Native American’ with ‘African-Asian-Native American.’ Finally, if the Out of Africa (single racial origin) theory holds true, then all modern humans are from Africa. (Cavalli-Sforza now thinks this may have been as recently as seventy thousand years ago.) Even if that theory gives way to the Candelabra (multiple racial origins) theory, ultimately all hominids came from Africa, and therefore everyone in America should simply check the box next to ‘African-American.’”
“What is the probability that Yahweh is the one true god, and Amon Ra, Aphrodite, Apollo, Baal, Brahma, Ganesha, Isis, Mithra, Osiris, Shiva, Thor, Vishnu, Wotan, Zeus, and the other 986 gods are false gods? As skeptics like to say, everyone is an atheist about these gods; some of us just go one god further.”
“My hope is that whatever it is you decide to believe about whatever subject, you have thought through carefully each of those beliefs and at least tried to make sure that they are your beliefs and not those of your parents. It matters less to me what your specific beliefs are than that you have carefully arrived at your beliefs through reason and evidence and thoughtful reflection.”
“Evolution is not a religious tenet, to which one swears allegiance or belief as a matter of faith.. It is a factual reality of the empirical world. Just as one would not say ‘I believe in gravity,’ one should not proclaim ‘I believe in evolution.’”
“I’m a skeptic not because I do not want to believe, but because I want to know.”

Contemporary American Art – Gregory Radionov: Part II of II.

Below – “Rooms with the views”; “swamp”; Santa Barbara pier”; “horse”; “swing”; “Studio tour.”


A Poem for Today: Izumi Shikibu (Japanese, c. 974 – c.1034)

translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani

Although
the cricket’s song
has no words,
still,
it sounds like sorrow.

Below – Jan Schmuckal: “Where The Cricket Sings”

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