NPR Part 4 on Identity | Pico Iyer’s TED talk: “Where do you call home?”

Today I happened to turn on (NPR) National Public Radio, to hear Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episodes on Identity, of which I knew nothing about.

TED, Technology,Entertainment, Design

TED Technology Entertainment Design Ideas worth spreading

This one featuring Pico Iyer’s TED talk about his perspective of “where one calls home”. It certainly grabbed my attention, the topic alone, since I’ve lived in quite a number of different places, among different communities in several countries. This particular presentation by the writer Pico Iyer, regarding “what do you call home?” is quite intriguing because of the way in which he eloquently describes his intimate understanding of the situation of having no particular identification with any one place.

He realizes at one point after living in numerous countries and having had his parent’s home burn down, that “My home would have to be whatever I carry around inside me.”

He calls it a terrific liberation in fact, since he speaks of how his grandparents grew up in a community, in which their whole sense of home, community and enmity, was assigned to them at birth. They didn’t have much chance of stepping outside of this.

Pico Iyer, TEDTalk, Identity

Pico Iyer’s TEDTalk on Identity

Nowadays, some of use can choose our home, create our sense of community and fashion our sense of self, by stepping beyond the black and white divisions of our grandparent’s age.

The number of people living in countries other than their own, is currently 220 million.

It is one thing to have ‘moved around a lot, and quite another, when one is fleeing their country – which is happening at alarming rates these days, with political refugees seeking asylum from the violence in their homelands. Yet, listening to Pico’s smiling voice articulate examples of people who are by birth, of two different ethnic backgrounds; living in a third country that is neither of their parent’s homeland, ads an additional subtle twist.

Perhaps this talk will be soothing to anyone who hears it, to reassure us all that home is what one carries within ourselves.

Iyer’s final statement: “Home is not where I sleep, but where I stand“.

A letter to my sister | preciousness of life | Carl Sagan: freedom through scientific skepticism

I am certainly happy to hear from you. Naturally I think about you every time that I enter the room to look at the lovely paper lanterns you hung for Mother’s birthday party and the teepee you constructed in the yard – which I‘m still raking! Memories of things people share and artifacts that they leave behind imbue all of these things with the spirit of the person. I am sorry that we had difficulties communicating at times. I have not been ‘above’ reacting emotionally to someone’s emotional reactions towards me. However, that doesn’t mean that I can not attempt to move beyond my reactions to reach out with more compassion and understanding. 

I went out with a family friend last night and afterwards, realized that he knows even more profoundly how precious life is, as he has lost both of his parents. Certainly, if we all had an acute awareness of death (sitting on our shoulders) – Carlos Castaneda style i.e. “the Teachings of Don Juan” – in each response to every moment, we would never be anything but kind to all people and creatures, at all times.

That sounds like a pretty heavy way to live. The context is not, to be continually fearful, but rather, continually present with the fact that every moment of life is precious. People need to accept the rights of other’s to be and perceive as they will. It is a rather large task, to put differences and competitiveness, jealousy, envy and judgments … aside. Yet it’s the only way for everyone to get along. (I just read in Salon dot com a rather scathing article about the writer Carlos Castaneda, saying that Don Juan was not only an astounding hoax, but that Castaneda went on to form a bizarre cult.) He nevertheless had strong poetic and spiritual points to emphasize in his writings.

It’s pretty much a life-long task, given the fact that all humans have a tendency to subjectively interpret and judge other peoples’ actions. I do it, we all do it, from personal complaints, grievances, expectations, disappointments on up to community and cultural, political and religious differences of interpretation, that result in the worst cases to prolonged wars and strife between ethnic groups and neighboring countries.

This appears to be one of the biggest challenges and aspirations for humankind; to look beyond differences and strive for understanding, compassion and kindness. The ‘tree-hugger/environmental activist side of me’ is kicking out judgements every time I see people’s actions or material opulence (not to mention hearing about plans for more gas drilling in the arctic etc.) which I perceive as offensive. I put them into a box I label offender/perpetrator; a personal judgement which is my own way of playing in the ‘us against them’ scenario. So, I’m as guilty as anyone. The obvious extreme is the fact that people are blowing each other up in the Middle East …. and that wars and conflicts and ominous actions of manipulation continue to proliferate worldwide, despite the fact that most humans have access to rather extraordinary tools.

We are technologically light years ahead of where we are emotionally!

As Carl Sagan mentions in this interview “A Way of Thinking” in which he delivers insights into the dangers in our present culture; based on the fact that we’re a science and technology-based culture, the inner workings of which few comprehend. That puts us in a position in which we are in danger of being more easily manipulated.

Sagan points out that science is a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. And that it’s dramatically important for each of us to ask skeptical questions about everything, particularly to those in authority; otherwise we are up for grabs to the next charlatan, political or religious, that comes along. He mentions that Thomas Jefferson said that people need to be educated in order to practice their skepticism, otherwise ‘we don’t run the government, the government runs us’.

a Splash of ColoR to lighten up my blog & tribute to Steve Jobs !-))

You can read some interactive highlights about the life of Steve Jobs in the Guardian and The New York Times.

In the New York Times interactive feature, there’s a speech that Jobs gave to the graduating class of Stanford University, in CA, which has some very fun and inspiring points. He gave this commencement address on June 12th, 2005 (in the time line, where you can watch the video). He talks about doing what you love, and not settling for less. Following your heart, and never letting yourself become complacent; but always staying on the edge/remaining hungry for new things and keeping a foolish streak! He also talked about a (Carlos Castenada style) of awareness of death, so that if you are to ask yourself each day when you wake up and look in the mirror “is what I’m going to be doing today something that makes me happy and is satisfying, and is this what I would like to do (potentially) on the last day of my life”…that if you find yourself not satisfied with your answer, then make the necessary changes!!

He has offered through his life, a love and devotion to technology and creative design, which has resulted in affecting millions of peoples’ lives for the better!! I and many people were shocked to hear this news this morning!

Featured is some kid’s art I discovered on a bridge in Berlin and some paintings I did in a gallery on the street of my previous residence.

I happened to go onto the sidewalk of this bridge I’ve bicycled over many times, and for the first time, checked out all these painted cylinders. A project instigated by a grade school; Neumar Grund Schule. It’s fun & playful artwork. Most are done by kids, whereas a few appear to be too intricate to be just child’s play !-)

At the end are some paintings I did in “Galerie Ardes”, Willmanndamm Strasse 16, 10827 Berlin. They hosted an ‘open canvas’ weekend long party. They offered blocks of paper on two easel’s and acrylic paints/pastels, for anyone to join in the interactive experience of painting. At the end of the process they held an auction. It was very fun!

By the way, on this same street on Friday evening, a painting school was holding their 2nd year Anniversary. At one point as the evening was winding down, a hedge hog appeared, waddling it’s way under the parked cars. It was adorable, and seemed to be oblivious to myself and another girl, giggling as we followed it and watched it disappearing and reappearing under the cars. I’ve seen red and blond foxes in the middle of Berlin a number of times, finding myself astonished to see them literally in the middle of the city. Berlin has an enormous amount of green; trees in many of the streets and loads of parks. It’s one of the most green cities, if not THE most green city in Europe. Apparently there are a lot of wild boars surrounding the city too! pretty cool!

I just moved to a new hood, and have much more to show and tell, coming up!

Oh yeah, the Bareback Karaoke in Mauer park was another fun filled entertaining event this last Sunday, in which the park was as usual, packed with people. The karaoke as well as the Sunday flea market draw in the crowds.

the crowd at Bareback Karaoke in Mauer Park, Sunday afternoon in Berlin


Mauer Park is one packed park with people, especially on Sunny Sundays!

If you want to see some great art, check this out. I’ve attended a few Italian art gallery openings, among which http://www.emilianobaiocchi.com/index.html Emiliano was featured. He told me recently that he made a commitment to himself to post a new picture daily on his Facebook page, which is a great way to discipline oneself to keep kranking out new work!! Here’s his website which shows his lovely works.

Tuesday night I went to see my friends in their band, “Jah of York” perform among some other musicians, hosted at http://www.tausendberlin.com/.

Jaheed and his band also perform regularly at the Friday Neo-nights jam sessions, (which he hosts). The stage opens up to anyone who wishes to play music, throughout the evening. I play bass guitar there pretty regularly. http://www.facebook.com/n3onite

Wednesday evening I headed over to the http://www.king-kong-klub.de/ to check out a few English speaking poets I’m acquainted with, doing their thing at the Beatstreet poetry night.

And Thursday I’m going to hang out with some French folks drinking some French wine in the Mitte district, should be delightful !-))

By the way, the one cylindrical ball that was merely tagged with this “Monsanto Stinkt zum Himmel / stinks to the sky”.

I’ve written about and referred to this greedy multinational corporation with its dubious practices, as well as Halliburton previously. I was therefore happy to see this ‘politically accurate’ forecast!

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/repercussions-of-monsanto/
http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/the-future-of-food-ouch-halliburtons-globalization-chess-game/