29.12.23

Personal Revelation: Happy Birthday Post (To Me!)

Today is my birthday. I will not reveal my age because you could do a quick Google search and figure it out for yourself. However, I feel young-ish. Happy birthday to me!

Greig Roselli is a happy egg.
I won't reveal when this photograph was taken.
---

🌱 Have you ever caught yourself apologizing for simply being who you are? Today, I had a powerful realization: I often say sorry when I'm my most authentic self. It's as if there's a part of me that wants to "correct" my behavior, to put me back in the "proper" place.

🔗 Why? Because that's how I was raised. Growing up, I was told—either explicitly or implicitly—that being "me" wasn't always acceptable. That showing my true colors was somehow a disruption, something to be muted or hidden away. 

🎭 We carry these learned behaviors into adulthood without even realizing it. They become automatic, a reflex. But the question is, why should we have to apologize for being authentic? Why should we dampen our own light?

🤔 It's time to break the cycle. Instead of apologizing for who I am, I'm choosing to embrace myself fully—quirks, idiosyncrasies, and all. After all, it's those very characteristics that make each of us unique, valuable, and irreplaceable.

✨ So if you've ever felt the need to apologize for being yourself, remember that you're not alone. But let's make a pact right now to stop saying sorry for being the amazing individuals we are. Because authenticity is something to celebrate, not apologize for.


28.12.23

Exploring Jackson Pollock's 'Number 50': A Journey into Drip Painting and Abstract Expressionism

Let's talk about Jackson Pollock's 'Number 50'. Dive into the world of action painting, a subset of Abstract Expressionism, developed mid-century by Pollock, where he set out to explore a blend of chance and precision in abstract art.

🎨🖌️ Dive into the dynamic world of Jackson Pollock’s ‘Number 50’, a 1950 masterpiece of drip painting. This piece is not just paint on canvas; it’s an iconic example of action art and abstract expressionism. 💫🌌


Pollock’s method? Using house paint and a stick to let each drip and swirl take its own course, creating a symphony of controlled chaos. But how much control did Pollock really have? 🤔🎨 Each splatter and line raises questions about artistic intent versus randomness.
Reflect on the nature of art itself: the choice of colors, the angle of the drip, and the artist’s movement around the canvas. It’s a dance of chance and precision. 🕺💃
Ever written about art and received unexpected feedback? Share your experiences and thoughts on this captivating form of expression. Let’s delve into the depths of drip painting together! 🤓✍️

26.12.23

Exploring NYC's Hidden Power: ConEd Steam Pipes - A Journey Beneath the City Streets

Dive into NYC's unseen marvel: ConEd's steam pipes. Discover the city's underground energy network creating urban steam art, transforming streets into a city sauna.
One more special post for tonight: New York’s underground steam pipes are putting on a show! Walked into an epic steam cloud today - it’s like a city sauna. The streets are calm, making it easy to admire this steamy spectacle. Con Edison’s doing its thing, creating urban steam art. #NYCSteam #CitySauna #UrbanWonders 🌆💨🔥

25.12.23

The Miraculous Tale of Saint Nicholas and the Resurrected Children: A Christmas Legend

Discover the astonishing story of Saint Nicholas, the inspiration behind Santa Claus, and his miraculous rescue of three boys. This Christmas, explore the rich tapestry of legends that shape our festive traditions.

During my thousandth visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2023, I had a memorable encounter with Saint Nicholas. His feast day, celebrated in early December, reminds us of a tradition where children leave a shoe out on December 6th for him to fill with sweets. Saint Nicholas, known for saving three children from a butcher's sinister plot, exemplifies generosity and wonder. In the 4th century, Saint Nicholas, the kind bishop of Myra, now Demre, Turkey, became a beacon of hope and inspiration. A grisly tale connects him with three unfortunate boys. A malicious butcher, intending to sell them as ham, met his match in Nicholas, who, upon discovering the crime, miraculously resurrected the boys. This story, while gruesome, highlights the enduring kindness and miraculous power of Saint Nicholas, a figure who continues to captivate our imaginations and hearts during the Christmas season. His miraculous intervention not only saved these children but also redeemed the butcher who repented of his evil deeds and turned to Christ. How un-pickly of him!
Today, children look forward to delightful surprises, a far cry from the perils of the past. As we revel in the festive season, let's remember the rich stories that weave through our traditions. What's your favorite Christmas legend?

24.12.23

To Philosophize is to Learn How to Die: Thoughts I Had While Attempting to Clean My Domicile

Exploring life's depths through philosophy while tidying up. Discovering life's value amid chaos and guessing the philosopher - not Nietzsche!

Embracing life’s chaos, rearranging not just my room but perspectives 🌀. Philosophizing from the floor, amidst a mess, because delay syndrome’s real. 🕰️ Understanding death’s inevitability teaches us to value the in-betweens. 🌌 Room’s a mess, but so is life, right? By the way — let me know in the comments if you can identify the philosopher whom I mention in the video. Hint — it's not Friedrich Nietzsche.

23.12.23

Meditations Aboard the Saint Charles Streetcar

On Carrollton and Claiborne the Streetcar begins about three blocks from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.
The streetcar that I ride is classic Christmas green with brown edging. Usually once a week I’ll walk down to the streetcar stop to take a ride. My destinations vary. Yesterday I took the streetcar to visit a High School religion class on Saint Charles Avenue. I spoke to all four classes and at the end of the day got back on the streetcar, a train that does not care about race or sexuality, education or gender. We all sit in the same car (thanks to Rosa Parks) and commence on our respective journeys.  One little girl about as tall as my knee told her girlfriend how she couldn’t wait to get home to eat cornflakes, take a hot bath and get a nap in before her momma got home. On another day, the driver spoke to me about the Presidential elections. He was very passionate about his election choice, warning me about the next four years. I thanked him for his observations and got off at the Latter Library. Another time some tourists in front of me were murmuring about how loud it was and how they should have stayed at the hotel to take a nap. I sat on the seat clutching my bookbag, protecting my laptop so it wouldn’t fall. Streetcars are bumpy, you know. The benches are hard so your body feels every movement, every shock of electricity. The lights will dim off and on near Carrollton and Willow. No one announces the stops. You just have to know. There are no maps in the car, just the signs from the windows. As I ride along, I watch the people get on and off and sometimes I hear the driver announce the next stop. She’ll even announce a good place to eat if you listen. This is journey. I’ve learned you have to listen if you want to reach some kind of spiritual maturity. It is a spiritual journey because it is humanity gathered together  I see it as nearly as I see my own hand typing these words. It is humanity in the fullest sense, an existential snapshot of the human condition right there on Carrollton and Claiborne.

20.12.23

Medieval Majesty: Exploring the Intricacies of 11th Century Ivory Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Journey through the Metropolitan Museum's medieval wing with an insightful look at a unique 11th-century ivory carving of Christ 'The Door' and a plaque featuring the Four Evangelists, unveiling the rich tapestry of Byzantine, Islamic, and Norman art influences.

Christ the Door
I find myself in the medieval wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, standing before an exquisite ivory carving of Christ. This piece, likely intended as a book plate for an illuminated manuscript, originates from the 11th century CE. During this period, particularly in Southern Italy, there was a flourishing of art influenced by a confluence of diverse cultures — Byzantine, Islamic, and Norman, to name a few.


Such ivory works were integral to the trade networks linking the Islamic world and other regions across the Arab world, serving as a testament to the cultural intersections at the Mediterranean crossroads. This is evident in the variety of objects within this display case, all crafted from ivory, symbolizing this rich cultural exchange.

Interestingly, this particular depiction of Christ is unique. He is shown holding the gospel book, referencing a passage from the Gospel of John, Chapter 10: ‘I Am the Door.’ It’s a fascinating symbolic choice, as Christ is not commonly portrayed as a door, despite the theological significance of the metaphor — representing the doorway to salvation. This element adds a distinctive layer to this already remarkable artifact.

The Four Evangelists
In the same display of ivory works, I stumbled upon another mesmerizing piece of history - an ivory plaque dating back to around 1050 CE. By the way — in the following video, I apologize for the audio quality; the museum is busy today!

🛡️ A Journey Through History at The Met’s Arms and Armor Gallery 🏰

Explore medieval combat and chivalry at The Met's Arms and Armor Gallery. Discover the impact of 'dexterous' warriors and the art of jousting.
 

I’m up early this morning, y’all. Today’s adventure brought me to the awe-inspiring arms and armor room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here, amidst the relics of the Middle Ages, I found myself pondering the art of warfare and chivalry.










From the magnificent European suits of armor to the exquisite samurai gear of Japan’s Edo period, the collection is a vivid tapestry of history and culture. 🗡️🎎

16.12.23

Snapshot of History: Unveiling Maxime Du Camp's Salt Print Masterpiece at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Discover a rare Maxime Du Camp salt print at the Met, a pioneering work of travel photography with ties to Gustave Le Gray and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

I’m in the Metropolitan Museum of Art today; I am captivated by a remarkable piece of photographic history - a salt print from the French photographer Maxime Du Camp. This print, possibly developed in Gustave Le Gray’s studio, holds a rich narrative beyond its visual allure.


Maxime Du Camp, a journalist with no prior experience in photography, learned the craft under the tutelage of Le Gray shortly before embarking on an ambitious journey to Egypt and the Near East in 1849. Accompanied by Gustave Flaubert, Du Camp set out to meticulously document ancient monuments and archaeological sites. Their expedition, which extended up the Nile and into Palestine, Turkey, and Greece, culminated in the influential album “Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie,” published in 1852. This collection, showcasing 125 photographs, was a pioneering effort in the field of travel photography and earned Du Camp instant acclaim.

What makes this piece at the Met even more intriguing is its possible provenance. It is thought to have once belonged to the esteemed architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The print in the Met’s collection, part of a private printing that goes beyond the published edition, is notable for its warm color and luminescence, traits that enhance its historical and aesthetic value.

13.12.23

Embracing Humanity: A Personal Journey into Understanding Suffering

Join me in a candid exploration of personal dysphoria, as I delve into the universal nature of suffering and its deep-seated role in our psyche.

Hello everyone! It’s Wednesday, just before our significant holiday break. Christmas is approaching – exciting times indeed! I hope you don’t mind a more personal touch in today’s video. Lately, I’ve been grappling with feelings of dysphoria – this sense of being stuck. It’s a deep-seated part of my psyche, and acknowledging it is crucial for me.



In sharing this, I want to highlight that pain and suffering are universal human experiences. Often, we perceive these feelings as intensely private. For instance, when I express that I’m sad, suffering, or feeling down, words somehow seem insufficient. It’s challenging to convey the depth of human suffering through language alone. Think about it: when doctors ask us to rate our pain on a scale of 1 to 10, they’re attempting to quantify something inherently subjective.

As an educator, especially in the humanities, I believe it’s essential to deeply understand and contemplate suffering. My role isn’t just to impart knowledge; it involves exploring the complex representation of suffering in art, and sharing it in a way that resonates and provides catharsis – a concept the Greeks profoundly understood as the purging of emotions. In a sense, this video is my way of seeking a purgation of emotions.

We’re almost at the break, everyone. Hang in there, and thank you for listening. Take care. Bye!

3.12.23

Imminent, eminent, or immanent? (What are the differences in meaning between these three words?)

A view from immanence
Commonly Misused Words:
What is the difference between imminent, eminent, and immanent?
I read a blog article on the "eminent" release of the iPad 2. Is there a problem here? While the iPad is an eminent tablet device, no doubt, the correct word choice should have been "imminent."
Differences in Meaning
    The two words are understandably confusing since the difference in meaning relies on the placement of an "e" or an "i."
    Imminent simply means "coming soon," or, "on the way," as in the phrase, "the imminent demise of the laptop in a tablet-crazed world."
    Eminent (one "m") means noteworthy or deserving of esteem, or recognition. Prince Charles has the eminent title of Prince of Wales.
Differences in Pronunciation
    Note there is a slight pronunciation difference. The two words are not homophones, meaning they sound alike but have different meanings. The "em" in eminent is the em sound in M&M (the last "m"). The "im" in imminent is an "im" sound as in the vowel sound in "him."
    Both words, imminent and eminent, also have noun forms, imminence and eminence. So watch out for those too when they pop up. A Cardinal of the Catholic Church is called, "Your Eminence," in a formal address. Not Your Imminence.
    To make it more complicated there's the word "immanent" which sounds like imminent. If something is immanent, however, it means it's "at hand."
    I can say that my existence is immanent, "within reach," and not in a far-away sky out of reach.
Special Meanings, Too
    In philosophy, we use the opposing pairing of immanent, "at hand," with "transcendent," beyond reach.
    Immanent can also have a noun form, "immanence."
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Got that? Eminent, imminent, and immanent. They're different.

2.12.23

Skeeter Explains Kant's Use of the Word "Apodictic" in the Nickelodeon Animated Series Doug


When filmmakers (or in this case - animated television show creators) want to show that a character is super smart, the go-to prop must be a copy of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason! A few weeks ago I posted a video of Lorelei Ambrosia, a villain from the film Superman III, reading Kant's book. In that scene, Lorelei does not read from the book's text, but she does give a glossy summary of transcendental categories that may or may not make sense depending on how you look at it. In the above scene, Doug's friend Skeeter does a pretty good job of explaining Kant's mission to solve the problem of what constitutes a universal foundation for all knowledge!

Here is the transcript* of Doug and Skeeter's conversation on The Critique of Pure Reason:

Doug: [Reading the book's title] Critique of Pure Reason? What's this?


Skeeter: [Tying his shoes] Oh. Just some book. It's pretty cool. 

Doug: [Trying to pronounce the word] The possibility of apodic-, apodic-?

Skeeter: [stressing the pronunciation] Apodicitic!

Doug: Apodictic principles? What's that?

Skeeter: Well. Kant is using the word oddly here because he wants to prove an apriori body of synthetic knowledge is exhibited in the general doctrine of motion .... [soundtrack goes whacky and spoken voice is difficult to discern] .... apriori knowledge can't be reached by empirical processes but apriori [unintelligible] must use strict universality or apodictic certainty ....

[Doug's eyes go into a psychedelic headspin and mathematical equations circle him in vertigo like fashion. We all see a screenshot of Skeeter's bookshelf which also includes Isaac Newton's book The Principia Mathematica. Skeeter's head balloons to suggest that he has a ton of knowledge]. 

[Back to reality] Doug? Doug? Are you OK, man?

Doug: Uh. Yeah. I think I better go.

Skeeter: OK. See ya!

*I had trouble transcribing Skeeter's analysis of Kant but I think I got most of it. The soundtrack becomes muddled between the 35 and 53 seconds mark.
Doug © 1991 Nickelodeon
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1.12.23

Analysis: Freud, Derrida and the Magic Slate

Do you remember playing with a magic slate as a child? Learn how Sigmund Freud uses this device to talk about the unconscious mind.
Photograph of “Iki-piirto” writing pad, a Finnish variety of Printator, known in German language as “Wunderblock”, as described by Sigmund Freud in his essay “A Note upon the ‘Mystic Writing-Pad’” from 1925. This writing aid has allegedly been used in Finnish schools circa 1950s when teaching mathematics, as there is a multiplication table on the backside (not pictured).
A Finnish Version of Freud's Wunderblock.
Do you remember this toy from your childhood? It’s charmingly called a “Magic Slate” or an “Etch-a-Sketch”. In German, the Wunderblock. I had a version of this toy as a kid. The novelty of the apparatus consists in the ability of the pad to retain impressions, such as drawings, and like a normal slate, the impressions can be erased, not by an eraser but by simply lifting the page. Presto. Freud and Derrida loved this thing. Freud liked it because the Magic Slate is a model for the human mind. Psychoanalysis! Derrida liked it because Freud's reading of it seems to suggest the unconscious is inhabited by writing and is prior to speech acts. Deconstruction!
Deconstruction!
The stylus is used to write, scribble, or draw on the transparent plastic sheaf which creates an impression on the middle thin layer. The magic slate I had as a kid was a simple plastic, red stylus. The slate itself was a flimsy plastic backing with the “magic sheaf” part lightly affixed to the backing.

When the sheaf is lifted, the thin papery layer which exists beneath it is erased of its impression. At the bottom, a resinous wax layer exists which retains etched into the resin the residuals, or traces of all the previous impressions.

Freud on the “Magic Slate”
Freud wrote a short seven-page essay called "A Note Upon The Mystic Writing Pad." He wrote the essay to explain his theory of memory via the working apparatus of the Wunderblock. The outer coating represents the protective layer of the mind. The layer protects the mind from too much excitation. Notice if the thin paper layer is torn or contaminated the Wunderblock ceases to work in the same way that trauma can irreparably damage the psyche. The stylus represents a stimulus from the outside world. The papery layer is the conscious mind and the wax resin is representative of the unconscious.

The memory of the present can be erased, but like the mind, retains the impressions in the unconscious. The Wunderblock can both destroy and create.

Freud thought the Magic Slate was the closest machine-toy resembling the human mind. The only difference between the Wunderblock and the human mind is the mind's waxy resin layer can come back and disrupt the psychic life. Notably in dreams and trauma.

Derrida On Freud
Derrida, in an essay called "Freud and the Scene of Writing" was astounded that Freud, as a metaphysical thinker, could have inadvertently stumbled upon a machine that is a metaphor for the techné (production) of memory.

Derrida wonders how Freud could have imagined the Wunderblock to represent the psychic life while not realizing that the fundamental essence of the toy, like the mind, is its reserve of graphical traces, not phonetic signifiers.