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.