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Igniting An East-West Globalizing Dialogue


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Juxtaposed Reconciliations: Service (II of II)

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee,
 but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
–Micah 6:8 (King James Version)

Alongside our relationship reconciliation, there is another salient accounting we must also reconcile: our service.  Accordingly, did the philanthropy we inspired, the gratitude we expressed, and the selflessness we extended outweigh or equal our sins?  Or, did we receive more than give?  Did we overextend our demands or ‘look the other way’ just one too many times to those in need?

If your (moral) balance sheet is in the red, what steps would you be willing to do to bring it back to the black?

If your (moral) balance sheet is in the black, what steps would you be willing to do to inspire others to the same?

Infinite Potentiality Theory (IPT) encourages the individual’s highest achievement of ultimate freedom (UF) of and from the self through a realization of his infinite creative potentiality (ICP).  By focusing on realizing his creativity, he inhabits the space of other in absolute objectvity through creative action.  In the pure state of action – of meaningfully positive creating – he becomes free and in turn, occupies a leveraged position of and for the other.

From this position, he is free.
From this position, he can be for other.
From this position, he can do justly.
From this position, he can be love.
From this position, he can inspire humbled gratitude with every step.

And so, dear reader, as you move forward to 2015, what will be your first steps?  May they be blessed, inspired, and inspiring…

–JY

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Juxtaposed Reconciliations: Relationships (I of II)

I think revolutions happen when you distrust anything in its current state, including yourself.”
–Wang Jianwei

As we close out 2014 and prepare for 2015, it is an opportune time to adopt a retrospective reflection and reconciliation of the beginnings we initiated and endings we let go of this past year. With humbled gratitude for each day of 2014, it behooves us all to reflect on the lessons learned, no matter how bittersweet.  During our retrospective, we might not completely understand all the experiences, dalliances, and chance encounters, however trivial.  Of course, that will come in due time, with studied contemplation.

In your self-reconciliation of all your relations this past year, are there any you severed that you wish instead, to repair?  Are there any you are holding onto – white knuckles and all – that you know you must release?  And still, are there any relations you are ‘on the fence’ about and just don’t know which way to turn?

Sometimes, it is best to forgive, as that is what love asks of us.  Other times, it is best to move on and away, if that will empower us in a meaningfully positive and healthful way.  And still at other times, it is best to let go and relinquish all control to regain and restore peace of mind.

The SWF examined:

With a serenity of quiet repose, it is important to give all these matters and relations serious contemplation with a mind towards finality in the decision(s).  The actions and behaviors of those relations serve as micro-reflections of ourself in any given state and snapshot of time.  In other words, against the quiet finitude of our human condition, the relations we reconcile this past year are self-reflections and personal yardsticks respective of that relationship’s specific locus in our life.

This is immediately relevant to each and every individual across time, space, and geography. After all, life qua relationships – within ourself and with others – is more profoundly understood when we realize the autobiographical content of the lesson(s) (to be) learned accordingly.  Through every decision we make with finality, we simultaneously effect a silent revolution forward to our next personal yardstick (of growth and achievement).

And so, amidst the mirth, merrymaking, and celebrations you enjoy, I wish you meaningfully relevant fulfillment with the revolutions you achieve in the most positively healthful way.

Rock on!

–JY


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Art and Architecture: Carrying Forward the Zeitgeist Dialogue

Two unrelated events in Miami, Florida could actually ‘speak’ to each other in meaningful conversation:

At the Miami Book Fair (22 November 2014), Phyllis and Bill Taylor of Architectural Design Firm, Taylor & Taylor, presented their new book: Classic Florida Style: The Houses of Taylor & Taylor.  During their conversation with the audience, they discussed interior design and architectural trends, their response to those trends, as well as their methodology and reasoning behind their projects.  Capturing on form, function, utility, environmental consciousness and leveraging the natural resources indigent to Florida, they inspired a necessary conversation on the role of art, architecture, and meaningful design living spaces.

Continuing their conversation forward, I offer the following points from their presentation:

  • Modernity Flows
    1. Dining Room Optional: There is a growing trend of dining rooms becoming an optional consideration for the home. While this might not be so shocking for an apartment or condo in major metropolitan areas where real estate is scarce and/or exceedingly expensive (i.e., San Francisco, Manhattan, Tokyo, etc.), this trend is surprising in areas where the design is for a (traditional) dwelling and the space is relatively abundant (i.e., Ohio, Texas, Illinois, etc.).
    2. Multiple Flows: Responding to the ‘dining room optional’ trend, Bill Taylor makes it a point to design at least two entries/exits for each room whereby the dining room is pivotal. Indeed, he positions the dining room in such a way as to receive central exposure from all rooms of the house.  Further to the multiple flows concept, he also creates and designs multifaceted living spaces accommodating all aspects of the individual’s life, from his (multiple) homes to his (mobile) work location(s).
  • Interior Exposure/Exterior Incorporation: Continuing with a consistent fluidity between interior and exterior elements of the house, the Taylors incorporate natural light, ‘living’ materials indigenous to Florida (i.e., keystone), and even a little ‘wink and nod’ humor to the design details of chairs, upholstery, lights, and wall accessories. Furthermore, through covered verandas, extended covered terraces and patios with the subtlest of delineations between interior and exterior, they encourage active participation with the exterior surroundings.
  • LEED: As with most top design and architecture firms of the world, Taylor and Taylor hold themselves to LEED (Leadership Environmental and Energy Design) standards, proving their sensitivity to modernity while preserving meaningfully significant traditions of the past.

 At Art Basel (Miami, 4-7 December 2014), artists from around the world showcased a brilliance of their creative imaginations.  Through every conceivable medium, the exhibition of each installation, collage, tapestry, sculpture, and painting fused a coherent tapestry individually and as a whole.  Some notable mediums used by artists are as follows:

  • Jim Lambie: acrylic and potato bags, aluminum, polished steel sheets,
  • Adam McEwen: cellulose sponges,
  • Scott Myles: lambswool,
  • Elliott Hundley: foam, wood, oils, linen, paper, fabric,
  • David Altmejd: spools of thread, quartz crystals, plexiglass,
  • Yayoi Kusama: stainless steel spheres, fiberglass, plastic tiles,
  • Heague Yang: ball bearings, and
  • Barbara Chase-Riboud: polished bronze, silk ropes.

Alongside the modern art pieces were classics from Picasso to Pollock.  To summon Art Basel in a single statement is virtually impossible.  However, for the purpose of Infinite Potentiality Theory (IPT), we offer the following:

Bordering on sensory overload, Art Basel 2014 inspired a critically refreshing iconoclastic irreverence piquing the eclectic imaginations of its global audience.

Indeed, there is a necessary repositing of the images, tones, and undercurrents to the present zeitgeist that have been agitated to the surface.  No longer can we ignore this wave.  An active engagement is required of us all, especially in today’s globalized reality.

The SWF examined:

Architecture shares many commonalities with art.  Both reflect a particular locus, whether local, general, or global.  Similarly, both are respective legacies of the architect and the artist.

However, unlike art, architecture is to be used.  While the building, dwelling, or structure might be subject to multiple interpretations, at the end of the day, it is streamlined towards a single end-goal of service to its owner, occupant, or user.  And user is the operative word here: architecture is designed to be used while art is created to be reflected upon, observed, intact and unused.

Indeed, intrinsic to art is a tension between reflection and expression, form and function, observation and use. At its best, it is a critical reflection of the times, inspiring active engagement from the observer.  Accordingly, it is a catalyst of meaningful change.  In a manner, just as art is a catalyst, architecture is a response to the catalyzing effect of the times containing that art.

The products of our creative imagination abound, omnipresent.  Whether in architecture or in art, we are continually surrounded by our creative manifestations.  This is our (objective) legacy.  The question becomes what we do as a response and how we proceed to the next step, wherever that may lead.

–JY


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From Chopra to Einstein

During his conversation, “The Future of Well Being” (13 November 2014, Congregation B’nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL), Deepak Chopra refuted what he defined as Einstein’s realism.  Indeed, Chopra stated that for Einstein, “…the universe exists independent of consciousness,” and this realism of Einstein’s is incorrect.  Instead, Chopra suggested that the universe does not exist independently of consciousness because of the inability to experience that consciousness when we no longer exist.  In other words, the universe’s existence is dependent on the conscious experience of it.  He went on to state, perhaps as further justification for his claim, that “...another name for consciousness is spirit or awareness.”

Accordingly, we suggest three immediate considerations regarding Chopra’s claims:

1) Einstein was not a realist.  In Einstein’s own words:

It appears to me that the ‘real’ is an intrinsically empty, meaningless category (pigeon hole), whose monstrous importance lies only in the fact that I can do certain things in it and not certain others. […] I concede that the natural sciences concern the ‘real,’ but I am still not a realist.”

–25 September 1917, Letter to Eduard Study in response to reading his defense of realism, Die realisticshce Weltansicht und die Lehre vom Raume (1914)

Though Chopra is not claiming Einstein to be a realist, his mention of “Einstein” and “realism” in the manner he does is distracting.  It detracts from the overall message of his conversation to begin in such a manner.  Like all great communicators, he has a responsibility to his audience to be as accurate as possible, especially with all details.

Understanding, this might be far too trivial to quibble over, I move on to the more salient consideration:

2) Regardless of Einstein’s own position on realism, Chopra’s claim (that the universe’s existence is dependent on the conscious experience of it) is itself problematic.  The object – the universe – exists independently of the subject and the subjective experience of that object.  For example, on a smaller scale, an author’s works – his writings, manuscripts, written thoughts and ideas – can be his legacy, surpassing him in time because they are memorialized on paper, in ‘black and white’.  Those works – the object – exist separately from the author’s or any other subject’s experience of them.

In the philosophical (specifically, hermeneutic) forum, this  continually resurfaces as the subject-object, phenomenological-metaphysical argument.  From Hegelian hermeneutics qua Redding, the metaphysical experience of the object as a ‘thing-in-itslef’ is so mediated through the subject’s phenomenological experience of it.  Regardless of the fact that it is not the object itself, but the subject’s phenomenological experience of the object that exists for the subject, the object exists nonetheless, metaphysically as an objective object.

If you disagree, think on this:

After a person passes, does not the ground (as an object) within which he is buried still exist?  If he is cremated, do not his ashes and the urn containing his ashes exist?  If not, then the world and by extension, the friends, family, and colleagues surpassing him at his funeral also do not exist.  To a greater extent, the world and all its inhabitants stopped existing after the very first human being passed away.

 Moving on to the greater consideration:

3) Though consciousness might be a state of awareness, it is not spirit.  Again, I defer to Hegel who stated it best:

The life of the ever-present Spirit is a cycle of stages, which, on the one hand, co-exist side by side, but, on the other hand, seem to be past.  The moment which Spirit seems to have left behind, it still possesses in the depth of its present.”

–Hegel, Reason in History

Historically, “spirit” takes on different meanings depending on the philosopher, writer, or religion.  Deceptively innocuous, it is a troublesome word with loaded connotations especially qua the ‘mind, body, soul’ triad.  To lump it in such an  indeterminate way with “consciousness” is again, distracting.

Finally, I would like to end on a point Chopra makes about happiness, specific to his proposed ‘happiness formula’.  During his conversation at Congregation B’nai Israel, he informed the audience that happiness is the sum of “S” (set point in the brain) plus “C” (conditions of living, i.e., financial) plus “V” (values and choices we make everyday for personal pleasure):

H = S + C + V

On this last factor – the “V” – he advised that man’s ultimate fulfillment is in helping others.  That ultimate fulfillment provides lasting happiness, over and above shopping, food, and other avenues of instant gratification.  Not only do I agree with this last point on others above the self, I would take it one step further in honor of Einstein:

The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.”

–Einstein, Ideas and Opinions

Furthermore, I offer the following as final consideration regarding happiness (from my blog post of 10 June 2014 , “On Happiness“):

Some of the most brilliant philosophical minds from Aristotle to Shakyamuni Buddha propose the ultimate achievement of man is happiness.  With all due respect to them, I humbly, politely, and vehemently disagree.

Why limit man to such a fleeting goal?

On the nature of happiness propria, it is by its very essence a fleeting experience.  It can be sustained only within a finite period of time.  Furthermore, after happiness is achieved, what else is man to do if happiness is the end goal?  In other words, it is not happiness itself but what happiness brings us to accomplish that is the ultimate achievement.  So what does it bring us to accomplish?

I suggest the achievement of meaningful impact.

The space of happiness centers around ‘self’.  The space of meaningful impact focuses on ‘other’.  Between the choice of ‘self’ and ‘other’, it is the space of the latter that allows and enables a legacy of meaningful difference – the human imprint.

Over and above the sphere of the self is a world of infinite potentiality in the other where the true miracle occurs…

As a counter to Chopra’s “ultimate fulfillment“, I offer ‘ultimate freedom’ of and from the self through the individual’s realization of his infinite creative potentiality.

And so I ask of you, dear reader, as you enter 2015, what will be your ennobling legacy?

–JY