Tuesday, 28 February 2012
'' I'll tell you a secret, something they don't teach you in your temple. The gods envy us. They envy us because we're mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now, and we will never be here again.''
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The Most Unhappy of Pleasures - Sugar In All Forms!!!!!
The Most Unhappy of Pleasures: This Is Your Brain on Sugar
The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. --Isaiah 3:9The Bible teaches us that pleasure doesn't pay. If you don't destroy yourself, then God will do it for you. Four thousand years later and the rules are still the same. The only thing that's changed is the vehicle.
When did the world become so obsessed with pleasure? Scripture argues that the goal of a righteous life is happiness, not pleasure. The Declaration of Independence affords us the right to "the pursuit of happiness," not pleasure. But pleasure has taken center stage in virtually all human pursuits. Delayed gratification is so 20th century.
Yet we are, by all accounts, not happy. You may have heard of the gross national happiness index, an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more psychological terms. Despite the fact that the United States has the highest gross domestic product, we score 44th on the happiness index. Who's #1? Denmark. The home of Hamlet, the most unhappy character in all of literature, the country that was overrun by the Nazis, where they freeze half the year, where they nurse one Carlsberg all night and eat rice because they can't afford a steak. Money can't buy happiness. But it sure can buy some pleasure.
In fact, pleasure and happiness might just be opposites. As we have spent the last 30 years pursuing sugar for pleasure, we have become most decidedly unhappy.Substances of abuse used to be the subject of much hand-wringing. It started with opium dens, moved to speakeasies, then to crack houses, then to "smoking permitted" anterooms. Since Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No," the war on drugs has taken a back seat, but not because it has been won. Rather, because a different war has cluttered the headlines -- the war on obesity. And a substance even more insidious, I would argue, has supplanted cocaine and heroin. The object of our current affliction is sugar. Who could have imagined that something so innocent, so delicious, so irresistible -- just one glucose molecule (not so sweet) plus one fructose molecule (very sweet) -- could propel America toward economic deterioration and medical collapse?
The brain's pleasure center, called the nucleus accumbens, is essential for our survival as a species. We learned how important it was with the introduction in 2003 and subsequent removal in 2007 of the anti-obesity drug rimonabant. This medication blocked the effect of endocannabinoids, molecules that affected the pleasure center like marijuana -- sort of like the anti-munchies. Patients lost interest in food and lost weight, but 20 percent became clinically depressed, and many committed suicide. Turn off pleasure, and you turn off the will to live.
But long-term stimulation of the pleasure center drives the process of addiction. Rich people are addicted to money, power, gambling; middle-class people are addicted to cocaine, amphetamine, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heroin. The poor, well, all they've got is sugar.
Pleasure is exciting. Happiness is transcendent. More importantly, pleasure is dopamine. And happiness is serotonin.
When you consume any substance of abuse, including sugar, the nucleus accumbens receives a dopamine signal, from which you experience pleasure. And so you consume more. The problem is that with prolonged exposure, the signal attenuates, gets weaker. So you have to consume more to get the same effect -- tolerance. And if you pull back on the substance, you go into withdrawal. Tolerance and withdrawal constitute addiction. And make no mistake, sugar is addictive.
By all estimates, obese people are not happy. The question is whether their unhappiness is a cause or a result of their obesity. At this point we can't say for sure, but it is entirely possible that both answers are correct. Here's how. The serotonin hypothesis argues that deficiency of brain serotonin causes severe clinical depression, which is why serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Wellbutrin and Prozac, which increase brain serotonin, are effective.
Not by chance, these medications are also used for obesity. Serotonin is made from an amino acid called tryptophan, which is the rarest amino acid in our diet. And the amino acid transporter that gets tryptophan into the brain is easily perturbed. If you're serotonin-deficient and depressed, you're going to want to boost your serotonin any way you can. Eating more carbohydrate, especially sugar, initially does double duty -- it facilitates tryptophan transport, and it generates a dopamine response for pleasure in the short-term. But as the dopamine signal down-regulates, more sugar is needed for the same effect, driving a vicious cycle of consumption to generate a pleasure that withers in the face of persistent unhappiness.
On Day 18 of his sojourn through Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock confides that he is sick and unhappy -- then he starts eating, and he feels "great; so great it's crazy." Not crazy, just addicted. McDonald's most recent campaign says it all: "Crafted for your craving." The food industry knows what it's doing. Why don't we?
In fact, pleasure and happiness might just be opposites. As we have spent the last 30 years pursuing sugar for pleasure, we have become most decidedly unhappy. Our society has lost sight of the difference. Coca-Cola's most recent marketing tagline is "Open Happiness." Couldn't be further from the truth. As our obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and dementia rates continue to skyrocket due to our sugar over-consumption, the idea that a bottle of Coke holds the key to happiness is nothing short of pulp propaganda.
So what is the key to happiness? Roko Belic's recent indie movie Happy traces the roots of happiness through the slums of India to the deserts of Namibia to the streets of Okinawa. And food isn't mentioned once. Rather, the ties that bind are family, community, and doing something to make the world a better place. I think back to World War II, when Denmark saved the Jews by smuggling them to Sweden. In Judaism, it's called tikkun olam. Healing the world. Just what the Bible teaches. Now there's a reason to be happy.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Zenos’ statement about his vision of the sculpture
I wanted to create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free. This sculpture is about the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process.
Although for me, this feeling sprang from a particular personal situation, I was conscious that it was a universal desire with almost everyone; that need to escape from some situation – be it an internal struggle or an adversarial circumstance, and to be free from it.
I began this work in a very traditional sculptural manner by creating a small model in clay called a macquette. The purpose of beginning in this manner is to capture the large action and major proportions of the figure within the overall design without any details to detract from the big idea. Another reason for not having details and for working on a small model only a few inches in height is that the small armature within it, holding the clay, is more easily manipulated, allowing for much greater flexibility in developing a concept. For example, an arm, a leg or a head can be pushed around without any concern for obliterating details, such as a nose or a finger.
The macquette is the original mass of clay where a concept is born and from which it grows and develops. This was important later when I enlarged the sculpture from several inches long to 20 feet long, and I retained in the larger work a sense that all the conceptual material, its forms, focus and development sprang from this rough idea. The work metamorphosized, in the way that we do.
Although there are four figures represented, the work is really one figure moving from left to right. The composition develops from left to right beginning with a kind of mummy/death like captive figure locked into its background. In the second frame, the figure, reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s Rebellious Slave, begins to stir and struggle to escape. The figure in the third frame has torn himself from the wall that held him captive and is stepping out, reaching for freedom. In the fourth frame, the figure is entirely free, victorious, arms outstretched, completely away from the wall and from the grave space he left behind. He evokes an escape from his own mortality.
In working on the large scale sculpture, I was satisfied that those who drove by getting a quick look at it would see the big picture: that it was about escape. I was also concerned that those who worked in the building and who passed the sculpture frequently would have something more to see. There was a lot of empty space between the figures on the wall, which I saw as an opportunity to develop further ideas.
It was important to me that the sculpture have more than one theme going on at once. One of the other major ideas incorporated in the work is that the very process of creating the sculpture is clearly revealed in the work itself. The maquette is cast into the sculpture in the lower left hand corner. In the lower right corner is the cast of the sculptor’s hand holding the sculpture tool with two rolls of clay also cast in bronze. Throughout the background of the Wall, I have rolled out the clay and pressed it with my fingers so that my fingerprints are all over the sculpture. I have not hidden how I have made the piece. In fact, the whole idea of the macquette is enlarged so that all the figures in the background look like a giant macquette. And at the same time, as the figures move from left to right, I have shown how figures are developed when you are sculpting from the rough to the more finished product.
Elements of the sculpture trade beside the tools that are cast into the sculpture are calipers both for their use in measuring and their reference to Protagoras’ words “Man is the measure of all things.”
Also cast into the sculpture is an anatomical man, traditionally used as a reference by sculptors. Many of the heads and figures on the wall, some in the round and some in relief, are shown partially sculpted, revealing the process of creation.
Something else I have done with the sculpture is that I have created a one man show of my work. I have always admired Rodin’s Gates of Hell. I similarly thought I would incorporate many sculptures into the wall where it was suitable.
Like T.S. Eliot and other artists, I have put many personal elements in my work. My friend Philip, a sculptor who died of AIDS, created a work that I included in Freedom because he often expressed his wish to have it in a public space. He did not live long enough to accomplish this himself. My cat, who lived with me for 20 years, my mother, father, and my self portrait are in the work. It is obvious which face is mine because there is a ballooned phrase coming from my mouth with the word “freedom”, written backwards, making it clear that the face was sculpted in a mirror. I see the whole Wall sculpture as a kind of illusion akin to Alice’s Through the Looking Glass.
The sculpture contains an original Duane Hanson -- a bronze cast of my own hands that Duane cast for me as a gift.
Much of what I did with this sculpture has to do with taking traditional forms and combining them in non-traditional ways, forming a postmodern sensibility. For example, I dropped a wax cast of my father’s bust from two or three feet in height so that it broke into large pieces. I cast those into the wall in a fractured manner over another face, an old work I found in a vat of clay purchased from a sculptor who had long ago died.
I have hidden many things in the background for people who see the sculpture more than once to discover, such as a cast of coins – a nickel and two pennies, another nickel and two pennies, and two quarters and a penny. These represent not only the relationship between money and art, but the numerals 7-7-51, my birth date.
It is important to me that the public interact with the sculpture, not just intellectually and emotionally but physically. I have created a space in which I have written “stand here” so that people can place themselves inside the sculpture and become part of the composition.In the end, this sculpture is a statement about the artist’s attempt to free himself from the constraints of mortality through a long lasting creative
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
- If you’re not getting fresh organic lemons into your diet, you may want to reconsider after reading the many health benefits of lemons, lemon juice, pith (the white part), or zest (skin).
Here are 13 amazing healing powers of lemons:
- Bowel-Cleansing: The bitter taste of lemon gives these fruit the ability to increase peristalsis–a pumping-motion in the bowels–which helps to eliminate waste from the bowels and improve regularity. Add the juice of one lemon to warm alkaline 9.5pH water and drink first thing in the morning. You can also add mineral salts to increase the efficacy of bowel cleansing. Add 1 to 3 teaspoons in a glass of alkaline lemon water.
- Cancer: Lemons contain 22 anti-cancerous or anti-acid compounds, including limonene—a naturally-occurring oil that slows, halts and buffers the acids that breakdown healthy tissue causing the formation of cancerous tumors in animals. Lemons also contain a substance called flavonol glycosides which stop the acids that spoil healthy cells causing a domino effect which creates more cancerous cells.
- Colds and Flu: Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work in conjunction for a serious punch against the dietary and metabolic acids that cause the body to eliminate these toxins through the bowels, the pores of the skin, urinary tract and sinuses by inducing a fever or creating a so-called cold.
- Liver: Fresh lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier. You can also drink 1 liter of salt water at 6pm adding 3 tablespoons of epsom salts and then at 9pm drink 1 liter of 500ml of lemon fresh juice with 500ml of cold pressed olive oil. You then go to be and sleep on you right side.
- Nutrition: Lemons contain vitamin C, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber which help to maintain the alkaline design of the body.
- Balances Body Chemistry: While lemons are acidic at a pH of 3.5 they contain an alkalizing compound of potassium bicarbonate which interacts with the body’s metabolic acids to have an alkalizing effect on the bodily fluids helping to contribute to a balanced alkaline body pH.