589 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2019
    1. The machinery that accomplishes these tasks is by far the most powerful and complex of the sensory systems. The retina, which contains 150 million light-sensitive rod and cone cells, is actually an outgrowth of the brain. In the brain itself, neurons devoted to visual processing number in the hundreds of millions and take up about 30 percent of the cortex, as compared with 8 percent for touch and just 3 percent for hearing. Each of the two optic nerves, which carry signals from the retina to the brain, consists of a million fibers; each auditory nerve carries a mere 30,000.
    1. My understanding is that morality, benevolence and art are spiritual aspects, while all other disciplines are learned through human nature. Learning in these disciplines requires a diligent and genius mind, while studying art only requires sincerity and love. Therefore, in a certain sense, learning art is a more convenient passage to the truth. May we work together to make the future of art a prosperous one!
    2. “I am very honoured to be an alumnus of Birmingham City University! The study of art is not the same as other professions. Confucius said “志于道、居于德、依于仁、游于艺”– “let the will be set on the path of duty. Let every attainment of what is good be firmly grasped. Let perfect virtue be emulated. Let relaxation and enjoyment be found in the arts”). The general idea is that art is the last energy or path to the soul, which is second only to morality and benevolence. It is firmly placed in front of philosophy and science.
    3. Jun’s artistry has been described as “paintings that are beyond limits” by scholars, meaning they meet or exceed the expression of oil paint material. His artistic process relies entirely on sketching, rather than photographs, ensuring that every work is vivid and intriguing in its visual effect, capturing the minutest details.
    1. I have done a couple of Bargue copies. I spent 2 months on the first one and about a month on the second. After doing a couple of these, your eye with be HIGHLY trained. You will be able to spot mistakes in your work much easier. Also, you won't be afraid of anything. Taking on a challenge like this makes other drawing tasks seem really easy. I recommend it for anyone who wants to shave a year or two off their training.
    2. This book sounds like an outdated way of training. I was finding out more about it and read a comment describing its history and how its been used predominantly in France's Ecole des Beaux Arts until it "...fell out of favour when those pesky post impressionists stopped worrying about how accurate their drawing was and started worrying about the expression of their personal vision instead." It's no more outdated than studying anatomy. By your logic we should not study anatomy, either. The post-impressionism is just another change in philosophy. If your goal is to learn how to master your drawing tools and copy something with pin-point precision, then Bargue studies will help. if you want to learn to draw an eye correctly, do it by observing and interpreting real life, not by copying exactly another drawing of real life. You don't get the point. Bargue plates are very clear and simplify the forms that would otherwise be harder to read in life. The smooth / flawless gradations allow for clear interpretation of what's in front of you. These plates don't negate from drawing from life, they are good exercises to take before tackling life. The text in that book is very good. @the_allejo05, have you been reading the text, also? It does go over how to do these plates. I can't remember if it mentions what materials to use, though. The huge point about doing these plates is that you do them with exact precision, otherwise there's no real point. Time investment is relative to the objective. You could get more out of one 300 hour drawing than you could 300 1 hour drawings. Quantity doesn't always overpower quality. The plates can take a lot of time to do right, but they'll also build your concentration and patients.
    3. the way they were intended ? they were originally put together by Charles to show kids that for example an eye, isn't just a flat shape on something else that is flat, but actually a 3D form that sits on a plane and which has a relationship with all the other planes surrounding it, which eventually will make another 3D-form. Spending 300 + hours on something like a pencil drawing is ridiculous, especially when starting out. I agree that 2 hours isn't really that much, but it would depend on the size of the drawing though. If you're copying a whole plate, then 2 hours is very fast, and you're saying that this is the longest you've spent ? You might wanna have some more patience with those
    4. CHARLES BARGUE DRAWING BOOK question.. i got the book and i have copied..freehand..up to plate 50.. mainly eyeballing and kinda of making looked like the original drawing..i have use bond paper and well and 2hb so far. .now i got the latest issue of international artist and the guy that is talking about academic methods estresses accuracy down to the last millimeter and making it look exactly like the original..so on my last one i got a bit more technical and was messuring more..although eyeball but being more careful..with shading and all..plate 51 was pain in the arse..hehe..took me like 2 hours to finish it and still did not look exactly right..I have a hard time on keeping my eye on one spot..i wonder around..i use to drawing quick not paitenly , i could tell errors, but is hard to erase with this cheap paper..but im kinda happy.overall .my questions are any tips for doing this better..what kind of materials (vine charcoal or paper?..set up..this book says that the plates have to be copied from a distance on an easel has anyone here done this?...it looks to be very gruosome training..
    5. have you checked this thread? 2 hours for a bargue drawing is an uber rush job if you mean to use them in the way they were intended. it's very gruesome training. Personally, i'm not convinced by them. I've talked to people in florence doing them, and it helps you judge values but it's not gonna make you great at drawing. Getting good at drawing is a case of doing lots of drawings, but there we go. It is extremely satisfying if you do one properly, i did a couple and i don't regret it i just won't do more. rant over...bla bla bla ignore me.
    6. geeza, in my opinion(and I stress: in-my-opinion), i think you should draw how it comes to you. You could, (and may be told by many) to spend several hours 'perfecting' a copy of a Bargue plate, but IMO i dont see how that is necassary. To me, learning to draw, is also finding and defining your inner self, YOUR style, your way of seeing things. Learning is a tool, the computer is a tool, oils, acrylic, charcoal - is a tool - the way you decide to put it down on paper, is your own instinct, your own desicion. By all means take the advice that is given to you here, and dont dismiss it - which i dont think you will - but utilise it, incorporate it into what you see and how your emotions push you. Also, my eye wonders too. But I let it. Im not afraid to let it, because thats just me. If i concentrate on one thing too much, i over work it, and its ruined. So let your eye wonder, go draw the bits you are attracted to, because at least if you get that down, you are able to see it, visualise it and prepare yourself to complete the rendering with ease.
    1. Art, by it's very nature, is abstraction of what is real. So really, every piece of art is abstract art. It's hard to be a good artist and simply shrug off the Jackson Pollocks and the Mondrians of the art world, because there is a lot their work can teach us about composition and color.
    2. I have an unfortunate morbid attraction to such utterly degenerate forums. Pardon me if I dont spend more than a minute of my time chuckling at their simian antics. EDIT: Having spent a few leisurely minutes glancing over their really rather vacuous but pretty site, I have come to a conclusion. These people are narrow minded elitist fools. I present the following quote as gruesome proof of their inability to comprehend the beauty in a simple smear of colour: At best they are craftsmen, with shoddy skills and unmethodical training. Ask yourself with an unbiased mind: What Rothko nebula or Pollock drip painting is more beautiful than a fine Persian rug, a Fabergé egg, or even a finely carved picture frame? The artificers of these three objects are craftsmen - but even they are not fine artists. Where do the legions of modernist smudgers, smearers, and splatterers rank?
    3. ArtRenewal is about as intellectually unbiased as the Pope. Take that into consideration when you read anything that comes from that particular forum. The fact that they can't even accept the fact that ALL art IS and MUST BE by it's very nature ABSTRACT is more than a small problem, and try moving the discussion outside the realm of white western high-realism into other cultures just to see the mental acrobatics they have to go through to pretend to at least grudgingly accept whatever is discussed as "real" art. Tell me to accept only Abstract Expressionism as real art, and you're an asshole. Tell me to accept Frazetta and Stan Lee's output as the only real art, and you're an asshole. Tell me only the Byzantine Cultures produced real art, and you're an asshole. Please note that probably not one member of ArtRenewal would disagree with you if you repeated the three statements above, while they immediately tell you that the only "real" art is White Western High-Realism and its immediate "cousins.
    4. Have you (OP) ever tried to create an abstract peice of art? No? Then I would not lend myself to pass judgment on an aspect of art you've never explored out of curiosity or having the slightest interest in. It's harder than the results brought about. Exploring different aspects of what "Art" is gives one a better sense of what you can do, what there is out there, what you really don't know.
    1. I didn't say it would be good if Bouguereau had died at that young age, but he would have been better remembered. If the Dante painting is anything to go by his earlier work had more bite! (Literally.) It was the later 'sentimental', idealized stuff that the 'modernists' reacted against for a long time. I rather like it myself. It's invariably subtle and sweet, perfectly drawn and faultlessly rendered. I'd rather look at the worst thing Bouguereau ever did than the best Matisse in the world. Matisse's draftmanship is, by contrast, completely inept, his colours vile and garish, his characters monstrous. You can't say he was in any more moral or PC, either, as he did female nudes, too, (including odalisques) but he made them so hideous they put you off your dinner! It was an insult to women. I can't believe anyone's ever held this stuff up as fine art, or that anyone ever paid him as an art teacher. It's just so bad!
    1. I think Bouguereau would be better thought of if he had died before he was 30 and was only remembered for Dante et Virgile au Enfers rather than all those prettyfied nymphs and children.
    1. Bouguereau did about 30 paintings a year so a little less than two weeks per painting. it was actually less time for each painting than that though because he also taught at eh atelier and practiced drawing from casts every day as part of his regular routine and he was working only until sundown or a little after that. Same for Gerome. Skill means not constantly correcting your work. Academics had the skill it takes to get it right on the first sitting. Nowadays people fake their skill by tracing but tracing can't mix color for you or apply paint so people back into their finish by endlessly correcting it to get it right because they lack the knowledge and ability to do it right during the first application. N. C. Wyeth, Sargent, Zorn, Sorolla, and Chase regularly finished large-scale paintings in one or two sittings.
    1. I tend to see this kind of art as a way for painters to talk back at the camera. But beyond that, I think it takes the subject matter of the photograph into another realm. Camera pictures being everywhere; magazines, television, ads, the internet... we don't pay much attention to 95% of them. But like JFierce said, walking by a gallery and seeing a giant photorealistic image painted on canvas really ought to catch your eye. So when a guy like Denis Peterson reproduces a horse race photograph with paints what he does is allow that image to be given fresher attention through a medium which is less crowded with similar imagery.
    2. I had a professor at a community college who was a photo realistic painter. The detail was astounding. Various sizes, but he did seem to have the same bland taste in the subject matter. Like one was a gas pump. Although he did shift around the hue in some of them while keeping it realistic. Eh you don't get the feel as well through the internet. Seeing a giant canvas over 6 ft tall where it's still hard to distinguish it being done with brush strokes I found astounding.
    1. Our videos focus on the most creative parts of the process - so you can watch and learn the most important part! To ensure you’re seeing the most creative part of the process we make the artists do all their sketching and doolding on video
    1. Andrew Loomis created the Ideal Male and Female references over 70 years ago and since then generations of artists have used them to understand the complex proportions of human anatomy
    2. It's was his designs that made Rackham miniatures an international sensation. Watching him sketch in the studio below was like magic! He explained to us why the sculpts based on his drawings were so appealing. "sculpting and drawing is the same - it's all about the silhouette. Details and realism are secondary, they only get in the way; the silhouette is what really matters." It was a revelation!
  2. Apr 2019
    1. Doanh nghiệp Xuân Trường, đại gia Xuân Trường là ai, có sức mạnh gì mà dám làm những chuyện kinh thiên động địa, dời non lấp bể như dời cả trại giam Ba Sao để xây chùa tầm vóc quốc tế, biến vùng Bái ĐÍnh với những ngôi chùa nhỏ thành siêu chùa, biến Hồ Núi Cốc thành quần thể chùa hàng chục nghìn tỷ và mới đây nhất là đề xuất để biến vùng chùa Hương phong thủy nghìn năm thành quần thể chùa công nghiệp cùng dự án 15.000 tỷ đồng với tứ bề trạm thu phí… Doanh nghiệp Xuân Trường là ai mà có thể để cho doanh nghiệp khác vào phá nát di sản thiên nhiên thế giới nơi mình quản lý, dựng lên điện chùa giả mạo rồi phải tháo dỡ mà không hề bị liên đới trách nhiệm? Doanh nghiệp Xuân Trường là ai mà có thể đề xuất nạo vét 14km kênh Sào Khê ban đầu 72 tỷ đồng sau nhiều năm lên tới 2600 tỷ đồng từ tiền ngân sách mà làm mãi không xong, ứng tiền tới 700 tỷ về vẫn không làm nhưng vẫn chẳng mảy may bị xử lý? Một dự án nạo vét mà đại biểu Quốc hội phải thốt lên “”quá sức tưởng tượng”” còn một chuyên gia kinh tế thì kinh hoàng nói: nạo vét, xây bờ kè của một con sông dài có 14 km mà tính ra 185 tỷ đồng/km (tương đương 8 triệu đô la Mỹ) còn đắt hơn cả đường cao tốc có 4 làn xe?!”. Doanh nghiệp Xuân Trường là ai mà đám tang vợ ông có thể cấm người dân trên cả một tuyến đường dài nhiều km, chùa Tam Chúc Ba Sao đầu tư bằng dự án phần lớn là nguồn vốn nhà nước mà có thể đưa bàn thờ vợ vào thờ khi chùa còn chưa hoàn thành? Doanh nghiệp Xuân Trường là ai mà nhận tiền rất nhiều tại các dự án 1000 năm Thăng Long Hà Nội nhưng làm chậm, làm ẩu, thanh tra chỉ ra rồi để đấy chưa xử lý? Doanh nghiệp Xuân Trường là ai mà từng bất chấp quy định tài chính, in vé thu tiền du khách cao gấp mấy lần, ngành tài chính địa phương cũng chỉ thổi còi rồi…cho qua? Doanh nghiệp Xuân Trường là ai mà đất nước còn nghèo, người sống còn bao việc cần lo cơm áo gạo tiền, bao dự án điện đường trường trạm, y tế đợi chờ đồng vốn ngân sách thì lại có thể vẽ ra hàng loạt dự án hàng chục nghìn tỷ đồng cho người chết cho tâm linh như: quần thể Bái Đính – Tràng An (hiện chưa xong nhưng tầm cỡ cả chục nghìn tỷ đồng), Khu du lịch tâm linh Tam Chúc – Ba Sao – Hà Nam (11.000 tỷ đồng, có tài liệu ghi 21.000 tỷ đồng), Khu du lịch tâm linh Hồ Núi Cốc – Thái Nguyên (15.000 tỷ đồng), Khu du lịch tâm linh Cái Tráp (Hải Phòng) 9800 tỷ đồng và mới đây nhất là đề xuất dự án khu du lịch Tâm linh Hương Sơn – chùa Hương (Hà Nội) 15.000 tỷ đồng. Một chuyên gia cho biết khi phản biện dự án Hồ Núi Cốc mới hay dự án 15.000 tỷ thì doanh nghiệp chỉ bỏ ra vài trăm tỷ, còn hơn 14.000 tỷ là tiền từ ngân sách trung ương và địa phương. Dự án nào doanh nghiệp cũng xin nhà nước đầu tư làm đường, làm hạ tầng, còn xây chùa, xây khu vực tâm linh, dịch vụ để thu tiền thì doanh nghiệp đảm nhiệm…Đất nước còn nghèo mà đầu tư kiểu đó, lại rơi hết vào Xuân Trường làm toàn bộ thì quản lý đầu tư, đấu thầu để đâu? Có đáng lo ngại không?
    1. Đã đến lúc các bộ ngành, đặc biệt là Bộ Kế hoạch và Đầu tư phải siết chặt việc này. Công bố công khai, minh bạch các dự án khu du lịch tâm linh đâu là phần vốn của nhà nước, đâu là phần vốn của doanh nghiệp. Việc giao diện tích đất lớn cho doanh nghiệp cũng phải làm rõ".
    1. Dư luận cũng mong sự điều phối tỷ lệ giữa doanh nghiệp và Nhà nước về phí tham quan vì Nhà nước đầu tư cải tạo, nâng cấp các hạng mục trong khu vực Tràng An là rất lớn cho nên với 10% phí danh thắng Nhà nước được hưởng thì quá nhỏ so với tổng vốn đầu tư ở nơi này. Doanh nghiệp Xuân Trường chỉ là đơn vị trúng thầu khai thác dịch vụ chở đò cùng một số công việc khác, song lại được hưởng tới 90% (trong số 80 nghìn đồng/vé) phí danh thắng là điều bất hợp lý khi biết rằng Nhà nước đã phải đầu tư vào đây gần ba nghìn tỷ đồng. Qua đây, thấy cần có sự chấn chỉnh và điều chỉnh lại để phí danh thắng phải được thu vào ngân sách của địa phương với tỷ lệ hợp lý.
    1. This huge spread reflects the difference between two groups of people giving different answers to a highly innocuous question: ‘Is it more important for a child to be considerate or well-mannered?’ The answers sound almost identical, but social psychologists know that ‘considerate’ taps other-directed emotions while ‘well-mannered’ is about respect for authority. People’s answer to this question matters for Trump support because it taps into a cultural worldview sometimes known as Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA). Rather than RWA, which is a loaded term, I would prefer to characterise this as the difference between those who prefer order and those who seek novelty. Social psychologist Karen Stenner presciently wrote that diversity and difference tends to alarm right-wing authoritarians, who seek order and stability. This, and not class, is what cuts the electoral pie in many western countries these days. Income and material circumstances, as a recent review of research on immigration attitudes suggests, is not especially important for understanding right-wing populism.
    1. Despite widespread worries about their ability to compete, Filipinos bought the theory that their farmers' lack of good transportation and high technology would be balanced out by their cheap labor. The government predicted that access to world markets would create a net gain of a half-million farming jobs a year, and improve the country's trade balance.It didn't happen. Small-scale farmers across the Philippine archipelago have discovered that their competitors in places like the United States or Europe do not simply have better seeds, fertilizers and equipment. Their products are also often protected by high tariffs, or underwritten by massive farm subsidies that make them artificially cheap. No matter how small a wage Filipino workers are willing to accept, they cannot compete with agribusinesses afloat on billions of dollars in government welfare.
    2. Harvesting Poverty; The Rigged Trade Game
    1. The role of the IMF and World Bank is also of concern. The conditions placed on their loans often force countries into rapid liberalisation, with scant regard to the impact on the poor.
    2. On the other hand, there are an increasing number of countries in which full-scale trade liberalisation has been applied and then failed to deliver economic growth while allowing domestic markets to be dominated by imports. This often has devastating effects. Zambia and Ghana are both examples of countries in which the opening up of markets has led to sudden falls in rates of growth with sectors being unable to compete with foreign goods. Even in those countries that have experienced overall economic growth as a result of trade liberalisation, poverty has not necessarily been reduced. In Mexico during the first half of the 1990s there was economic growth, yet the number of people living below the poverty line increased by 14 million in the 10 years from the mid-1980s. This was due to the fact that the benefits of a more open market all went to the large commercial operators, with the small concerns being squeezed out. The evidence shows that the benefits that would flow from increased international trade will not materialise if markets are simply left alone. When this happens, liberalisation is used by the rich and powerful international players to make quick gains from short-term investments.
    3. Just look at some examples. Taiwan and South Korea are often held out as being good illustrations of the benefits of trade liberalisation. In fact, they built their international trading strength on the foun dations of government subsidies and heavy investment in infrastructure and skills development while being protected from competition by overseas firms. In more recent years, those countries which have been able to reduce levels of poverty by increasing economic growth - like China, Vietnam, India and Mozambique - have all had high levels of intervention as part of an overall policy of strengthening domestic sectors.
    1. But there's also this: Neither America nor Britain nor the other major Western powers became rich by following these rules themselves. Indeed, China's current strategy is basically a mishmash of what Western countries did from the early 1800s through the end of World War II. "Between 1816 and the end of the Second World War, the U.S. had one of the highest average tariff rates on manufacturing imports in the world," the economist Ha-Joon Chang noted in 2003. Add in the inherent costs of oceanic trade, and "we can say that the U.S. industries were literally the most protected in the world until 1945." It was none other than Alexander Hamilton who made the case for protectionism and direct industrial policy, to lift a young America's living standards. Over its history, the U.S. has used subsidies and industrial policy to support everything from agriculture to transportation to health research. Once it gained its freedom from Britain, America was absolutely shameless about snatching technology and intellectual property from its former colonial master. British entrepreneurs and inventors were paid to resettle in the States, bringing their ideas with them; Americans copied British plans and industrial designs under cover of diplomatic tours; occasionally, America rewarded people for outright stealing tech from Britain. By comparison, China's "forced" technology transfer is pretty tame: It's simply a condition placed on any foreign investor who voluntarily decides to do business in China's domestic market. As for Britain itself, it built up its wool manufacturing in the late 1500s through primitive industrial policy. In the 1700s, it lowered tariffs on imports of raw materials, but raised them on imports of manufactured products — it wanted to keep the resources coming in, but protect its own supply chains. In the mid 1800s, Britain pulled off the original "technology transfer" with China as its victim: Britain sent agents through the country to gather tea plants and seeds and agricultural practices. That allowed Britain to marginalize China in the global tea market and laid much of the economic foundation for the British empire. There's a similar story with different variations for France, Germany, Sweden, and others. In 1885, the German economist Friedrich List acerbically noted that great powers tended to grow their own industries through protectionism, until they were big enough to be basically invulnerable in the global market. Then the they "kicked away the ladder" by converting to free trade policies, and demanding others do the same. That phrase provided the title for Ha-Joon Chang's article. (And later a book.) It also raises the final question: Under the modern free trade regime, is development for poorer countries even possible? The answer appears to be no. Opening up their economies to foreign investors tends to trap developing economies in a pernicious cycle: Investors don't want to turn these countries into industrial powerhouses; they just want to extract cheap labor and natural resources to feed already existing supply chains in the West. That leaves poorer countries providing the world low-cost exports, while importing expensive end products. They get stuck in permanent trade flow imbalances, build up big debts in currencies they don't control, and then the foreign investors panic and pull out. The developing country's economy crashes, and it goes through a decade or so of crushing austerity to pay off its foreign debt and rebalance its trade. Then the whole cycle starts over.
    2. Edit China isn't cheating at trade. It's just running America's old plays.
    1. Important skillset that can be used for direct work in a wide range of causesWeb design is a skill that’s in-demand in many types of organisations, from charities to startups, giving you great flexibility and the opportunity to work on high impact projects.Organisations that are especially high-impact to work at or volunteer for include:Government departments, such as Obama’s US Digital Service and 18F or the UK’s Government Digital Service.Effective non-profits, such as those recommended by GiveWell, Giving What We Can and The Life you Can Save.Innovative for-profits, such as Google, which now has seven products with over one billion monthly active users (Search, Gmail, Android, Chrome, Google Play, Maps and Youtube)1, or AirBnB.For-profits focused on the global poor, such as Sendwave.Effective Altruist organisations.
    1. Part-time advocacy journalismDue to the rise of online publications it is becoming easier to get published, which opens up the opportunity to pursue advocacy journalism part-time, as a freelancer alongside another job that pays the bills. We know of several people who are successfully pursuing this option.
    1. Documentary film-making seems like a form of art with a good chance of direct and advocacy impact, in that it resembles investigative journalism. It also appears stronger in terms of network and transferability of skills. As a result, we would expect a career profile on documentary film-making to be more positive than this one.
    1. So if you’re choosing between several options, it’s helpful to do your research ahead of time. But eventually you need to actually try things. The closer you can get to actually doing the work, the better. For example, if you’re considering doing economics research, actually try some research and see how well you do, rather than just think about how much you enjoy studying it – studying a subject is very different from actually doing research.This is true whether you’re at the start of your career or near the end, and whether you’re planning what to do long-term, comparing two offers, or considering quitting your job.So, if there’s a job you’re interested in, see if there’s a way to try it out ahead of time. If you’re considering three long-term options and aren’t sure which to take, see if you can try out each of them over the coming years.
    1. 5. It’s better to figure out philanthropy yourself. You say: > “My only hint is: be a Hannah Smith. She wants to help war orphans in the Congo, so she helps them. I would wish Hannah luck but also I think it would be useful for her to be linked in with informed people with similar goals to her, so they could bounce ideas off one another about how each could do their jobs more effectively.” You say “let your own brain and heart be your guide”. I’d say: don’t go it alone. Figuring out how to do good philanthropy is an enormous problem, so whether or not it’s from within this particular community, get support so that your goals are effectively realised.
    2. FLAW #5: There’s an Alternative to EA that’s Far Superior: I call it “DIY Philanthropy” Effective Altruism provides too much advice and too many judgmental opinions on who, how, or why to fund. This renders us passive because EA insists that it’s already done the research and ethical thinking for us. Compassionate people don’t need Big Brother informing them what right or wrong, how to help others. EA is just an obstacle in the path of a far better activity: DIY Philanthropy. I won’t provide your with lengthy instructions detailing how to accomplish this. being a DIY Human means figuring it out yourself. My only hint is: be a Hannah Smith. She wants to help war orphans in the Congo, so she helps them. You don’t need Peter Singer and EA telling you how to be charitable. Let your own brain and heart be your guide.
    3. Effective Altruism has Five Serious Flaws - Avoid It - Be a DIY Philanthropist Instead
    1. Oedipus, “Not to be born, O man, is the highest, the greatest word. But if you have seen the light of day, then consider it best to depart as quickly as possible to whence you came.”
    2. “It is a pretty nasty world”: Why more Indians choose not to have kids
    1. Hedgehog & Fox You have emphasized ethical action, but a worry I always have about traditions which emphasize renunciation and detachment is what that means for politics and political engagement and the ability to effect any change. Now, both traditions would say the world is so far from perfect and everything is so impermanent that we’re never going to achieve a perfect political state of being. But is there a danger that if we’re attending too much to this kind of advice that we may just think all sorts of wrongs will go unrighted. Can you say something about how you see going beyond the ethical into a more political arena? Antonia Macaro Again, it’s a difficult one. Definitely there’s a tension in both traditions between detachment and action. The Stoics did have an ‘action streak’, as it were, which was about fulfilling your duties and doing what you could, given the circumstances you were in. But yes, it is definitely a tension and maybe this is the sense in which maybe I’m a bit more of an Aristotelian. I think in the end it’s the Serenity Prayer, which is about having the courage to change things that you can change and the serenity to accept the ones that you can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference, which is actually very hard to do. But I think it’s certainly worth trying to change things in the world that you think is possible to change, maybe sometimes even if you don’t think it’s possible to change. Some things may be worth fighting for anyway. It’s a question of finding a balance between that and not getting too attached to things. I suspect that that balance may be a personal, individual choice.
    2. Hedgehog & Fox One point you make a number of times in the book is that our understanding of the mind and the brain, our processes, what’s actually going on beneath the surface, our understanding of that has changed radically. Not just from two-and-a-half thousand years ago but in the last ten years, five years. How recuperable do you think therefore the kind of wisdom traditions are within a framework where we have a very different understanding from they did of how the human mind works? Antonia Macaro Yes, that’s quite a difficult one because especially the Stoics put a lot of emphasis on only thing we can control being our moral choice. Hedgehog & Fox And rationality is well to the fore, isn’t it? Antonia Macaro Yes, yes, exactly. So I certainly think they were wrong in that, in the sense that we are told that a lot of our functioning is unconscious and that we don’t even know our motivation very well; sometimes we act thinking that we are acting for one reason and in fact we’re acting for a completely different reason. There are a lot of studies in social psychology that show that. So I certainly think we shouldn’t overemphasize those abilities because we need to be aware of the fact that we don’t really understand ourselves. But on the other hand, they are good aims to have, to be rational. That is a very good aim to have. It’s true that we have probably more choice on our reactions to things and the way we act than on actual things that happen in the world. So in that sense I think they were correct. So it’s good to remind ourselves of that, because we do get very worked up about how things go for us in the world and a lot of the time it’s good to remind ourselves that we don’t have any control on on that, so focusing more on our reaction. I think it’s good as an inspiration and as a kind of ideal, but not in that extreme way that they were they were saying.
    3. Hedgehog & Fox In your final chapter you distil some of the wisdom which you think is applicable in a secular context. How did you go about doing that? Were the things you ended up with things which you have personally found useful in those traditions? Antonia Macaro Yes, I think I just approached it in that way, just looking at things that I found useful. We haven’t talked yet about the ideal of equanimity, which was quite important for both of them, although it was tempered by compassion, there is a bit of a tension between equanimity and compassion in both traditions. But equanimity is an important ideal and I personally don’t think that pure equanimity is a realistic goal. I’m not entirely sure it would be a really good goal, because it would mean in a way that we’re too detached from certain things that give life meaning, like personal relationships and other things. But I think we can certainly do with a bit more equanimity, so some of the things that I have there are things that maybe aim to put things in perspective. That’s an important thing to do, although I am a bit suspicious of chasing states of mind because they come and go. And I don’t think that they’re the things that really matter. But yes, we could be a little bit more detached and a little bit more tranquil and that would be a good thing. So some of the things I have in there probably have that aim. And there are some thoughts about how to deal with with people, which again is an interesting one because for the Stoics, for example, you had to be realistic about what you were going to encounter in your daily life and people can be very annoying. So there are quite a lot of really nice quotations about that. But at the same time there is the thing of being compassionate and understanding that everybody has flaws and trying to understand that people act badly because they don’t understand things and that’s the same for us and it’s the same for everybody else. So there’s a lot about trying to be compassionate.
    4. Hedgehog & Fox Because certain of the ancient writers you quote, if you were to apply them strictly, the level of radical detachment would be quite hard core. You quote Bernard Williams calling Stoicism ‘lethal high-mindedness’. It would be quite a strong prescription, wouldn’t it, hardcore Stoicism? Antonia Macaro I think a lot of people who consider themselves Stoics probably aren’t quite. Obviously people do adapt it in modern life, but I’m not sure that they’d even be considered Stoics. I can’t remember the exact quotation but Epictetus does say that a lot of his students, a lot of the people studying Stoicism, if they really examined themselves would find that they are maybe Aristotelians or Epicureans, but not really Stoics, because Stoicism is very, very extreme and I don’t think that many people really live like that. I personally don’t think that it would be necessarily a good thing to be that extreme, so it’s always a modified Stoicism that I advocate. Hedgehog & Fox And maybe even the Stoics were modified Stoics. I did smile when Epictetus was suggesting you shouldn’t have more than you need to eat, and you shouldn’t have a bigger house than you need, and you shouldn’t have more slaves than you need! And then you’ve got Seneca, a very wealthy man wrestling and not quite resolving his problems [with wealth], and I thought maybe there’s a little difficulty there even with the early practitioners of Stoicism applying it rigidly. Antonia Macaro Yes, I definitely think that’s true; maybe some more than others. I don’t really know what Epictetus was like in his daily life. He’s certainly quite extreme in what he says. In fact, if you read Seneca’s letters, there are some things that are more Epicurean than than Stoic. So he was a much more rounded individual and had, as you say, his fair share of dilemmas about how attached he should be to wealth and material comforts.
    5. Hedgehog & Fox Tell me about your title, More than Happiness, because the casual observer might think you are aiming at some greater state of bliss. But tell me what in fact you’re pointing to there. Antonia Macaro It’s about what I just said really, that when we look at the wisdom of these traditions, we shouldn’t really aim just at happiness, we shouldn’t focus on happiness all the time anyway. Hedgehog & Fox Because we miss it because it’s a byproduct rather than a target. Antonia Macaro Yes, for a start it’s counterproductive; it raises our expectations about what things should be like in the world and they’re not going to be like that. So the higher our expectations, in a way, the less happy we’ll be, so it’s not a good thing to aim for. And also it’s quite self-centred, just thinking about being happier; we should think more about how we are in the world and how we act towards other people and so on.
    6. Both traditions say that the real joy that we can get isn’t from things going well in the world, because that’s quite unreliable; it’s from things like thinking clearly about things, accepting things the way they really are, and acting ethically. Doing the right things. That is the way to be happier, not relying on the world giving us what we want, because a lot of the time it doesn’t.
    1. A discovery I and my team published in Science is that the strength of a culture’s norms isn’t random. Though they were separated by miles, and in some cases centuries, tight cultures as diverse as Sparta and Singapore have something in common: each faced (or faces) a high degree of threat, whether from Mother Nature – disasters, diseases, and food scarcity – or human nature – the chaos caused by invasions and internal conflicts. Strong norms are needed in these contexts to help groups survive. And when we look at loose cultures, from classical Athens to modern New Zealand, we see the opposite pattern: they enjoy the luxury of facing far fewer threats. This safety is used to explore new ideas, accept newcomers, and tolerate a wide range of behaviour. In contexts where there are fewer threats and thus less of a need for coordination, strong norms don’t materialise.
    1. Meaning of life?Love and meaningful work.What makes work meaningful?When you apply your unique abilities to something you regard as worthwhile – especially if you know that no one else would have done it in quite the same way.Wait. Can I have 40 more years to work on my answer?
    2. What do you do in your spare time?Hang out with family, walk and hike, play piano, read speculative fiction and popular non-fiction (esp. history, psychology, technology, and cosmology).
    1. In fact, hundreds of new-to-science species of plants and animals have been discovered in Vietnam during the last three decades, and more are recorded each year. The antelope-like saola, for example. Its gentle, streaked face looks as if it has just escaped from a jungle-dream painting by Henri Rousseau. Heralded as “the last unicorn” for its rarity, the saola is the largest land-dwelling animal discovered anywhere since 1937.
    2. Despite long and tragic wars with the Japanese, the French, the Chinese and the United States during the last century, Vietnam is a treasure house. It is one of the world’s hot spots of biological diversity, according to the science research. There are 30 national parks in a country a bit larger than New Mexico, and about as many kinds of animals as in those pre-eminent safari destinations, Kenya and Tanzania.
    3. Vietnam’s Empty Forests
  3. Mar 2019
    1. Notice that the Rawlsian Theory of Food Culture is different from my Airport Principle of Food. The Airport Principle says that, in an area which is really good at Food X, the airport version of Food X will probably be better than the very best version of Food X at many other places. The fish tacos in the LA airport, which are just part of a local SoCal chain, are better than the best fish tacos in all of New England. The chili dogs in the Detroit airport are better than any chili dog I’ve had on the whole of the West Coast. The Chicago deep dish pizza in the Chicago airport is a pale shadow of Chicago’s best, but so many leagues beyond the best Californian attempt that it blows my mind.
    2. Anthony Bourdain wrote that that, after a lifetime of bouncing around New York and having his fill of crappy, thoughtless food, his first trip to Saigon almost shredded his soul. Every single bite of food he had was amazing. Every single person he could find selling food had made it with care and attention and sensitivity.
    3. Let me suggest a corollary: the Rawlsian Theory of Food Culture. The Rawlsian Theory of Food Culture says that, if you want to judge the quality of a food culture, don’t look at its finest restaurants and best food. Look to its low-end. Look to its street carts, its gas-station snacks. Look to what you can get in the airport at 2 AM. Any community can spit up a few nice places to eat, if they throw enough money at it. What shows real love for food, and real caring, is when people make good food when they could get away with making crap.
    1. Thanks, SM. I, too, want to emphasise that there are excellent philosophers who are outside the academic system. Publishing in journals, working in a university, etc., is only one way to philosophise; it has many advantages, most obviously that of providing a social and material infrastructure for enquiry. But there are other ways to philosophise, too!
    2. Saying what makes a good philosopher is complex and always arouses disagreement, not least since the characteristics of a good philosopher depend a lot on what one considers to be the aims of philosophising, and those are highly plural. The ancient Indian philosophies regarded metaphysical theorising as crucial to the ‘liberation’ of humans from the ‘wheel of suffering’, a conviction largely rejected by classical Chinese philosophers, for whom abstract theory was a distraction from the spontaneity characteristic of a properly ‘harmonious’ life, something apt to be threatened by self-indulgent ‘cleverness’. Within modern academic philosophy, one finds many different conceptions of the aims of philosophy, ranging from the modest to the momentous. Common candidates may include advancing social justice, enhancing scientific enquiry, informing public policy, or the solution of local intellectual problems or, at the other end, the development of ‘big picture’ accounts of life, the universe, and everything.
    3. Second, success in being good at philosophy often requires a very different set of epistemic, practical, and interpersonal competences, many of which are often classified as vices. ‘Playing the game’, in terms of institutional and disciplinary politics, typically rewards traits such as aggressive ambition, insincerity, and self-interestedness. Not always, for sure, but to play that game is to step into an arena with ever-finer lines between legitimate self-interest, pragmatic acquiescence, and more Machiavellian traits.
    4. A person can be good at this thing called philosophy without also being good at this thing called academic philosophy, which is one historically recent, institutionalised form taken by philosophy. Think of how differently philosophy is conceived and practiced in a medieval Christian monastery, a Zen Buddhist temple, or a 21st century British university.
    1. Magic is an art, as capable of beauty as music, painting or poetry. But the core of every trick is a cold, cognitive experiment in perception: Does the trick fool the audience?
    1. the most important secret in magic is that most people believe there’s a safe somewhere that contains all the magic secrets that’s heavily guarded and carefully locked. The biggest secret magicians have to keep is that that safe is empty.
    2. Anyone who claims they can watch a piece of magic without trying to figure out how it’s done is lying. One of the fundamental joys of magic is it’s an intellectual art form at one level, and as a viewer, you’re trying to reconcile what you see with what you know
    3. In Tim’s Vermeer, our friend Tim Jenison believes that he has discovered the method by which Vermeer got such photo-realistic effects. Knowing that does not in any way diminish my astonishment at looking at a Vermeer painting. Alexander Pope wrote, “A little learning is a dangerous thing/ drink deep, or not taste the Pierian spring.” He’s talking about exactly that. A little learning can spoil magic. A lot of learning enhances it.
    4. Magicians get into magic because they’re seduced by the feeling of amazement. The ironic thing is, the deeper they dive into magic, the less often they get fooled. That seems immeasurably cruel.The deeper you get into magic, the more profound your amazement becomes. There’s an intermediary stage where you go, “Oh, is that all there is? It was just a thread?” And then when you work with a thread for four years, and you work out what must exactly be done to make that thread into something that is profound and difficult to imagine could be the cause of whatever it is you’re doing to it, you veer right into a different kind of amazement. It’s the amazement of the knowledgeable person. It’s the amazement of the astronomer who has studied everything about the stars that is available, and who sees and understands the mechanisms that we know about, but is able to appreciate how mysterious it all is in the larger picture.
    1. High-quality protein The reason why animal proteins are generally considered “higher quality” when it comes to building muscle is down to the type of amino acids they contain. Amino acids, in particular one called leucine, are thought to be key to driving muscle protein synthesis. In general, animal proteins have a higher proportion (9%-13%) of leucine than plant proteins (6%-8%). Plus, animal-based proteins usually contain all nine essential amino acids whereas most plant-based proteins are missing one or more of these amino acids. There are exceptions such as maize protein, which boasts a 12% leucine content, and quinoa, which has a full complement of all essential amino acids. So it may be that certain plant proteins are just as effective as so-called “higher-quality” animal proteins. We can potentially increase the “quality” of a plant-based proteins by fortifying them with extra leucine, combining different sources to make sure the food has all essential amino acids, or simply increasing the recommended amount of a plant protein source. As a note of caution, the latter option could require as much as 60 grams of certain plant proteins (for example seven large potatoes) – a dose that some people may struggle to consume. The search continues for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly source of protein that can offer similar muscle-building potential to animal proteins. But based on currently available evidence, vegan bodybuilders will have to pay particular attention to their diets to achieve the same results.
    1. Eun Heekyung cho biết hiện nay công chúng Hàn Quốc đang đắm chìm trong văn hóa đại chúng là các loại hình nghe nhìn. "Trong khi văn chương có tác dụng làm cho người ta nhận thức được giá trị cuộc sống, làm người ta hạnh phúc hơn khi đắm mình vào cuộc sống".
    1. An inconvenient truth If you’re keen on your flat whites, yoghurts and cheeses, the truth behind conventional dairy production is not an easy one to face. Most people perhaps are not aware that to produce the milk we desire, cows are kept almost continually pregnant, with calves taken away from their mothers within 24 hours so that milk can be harvested for human consumption – a process that leaves both mother and baby deeply distressed and bellowing for each other for days. Palmer (and animal welfare groups) estimates between 400,000 and 800,000 of male calves (known within the industry as ‘bobby calves’) are sent to slaughter, as is a significant portion of females and while a cow has a natural life expectancy of 20-30 years, most dairy cows are slaughtered around the four-to-five-year-mark once their milk dries up.
    1. Dairy cows add substantial amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In some places they contribute to the conversion of natural habitat to agricultural land due to the increasing demand for feed crops such as corn, alfalfa and soy. Dairy operations can also be significant contributors to water pollution and soil degradation when manure and feed crop production are poorly managed. Farmers can significantly reduce environmental impacts through the use of better management practices and technologies. Climate change Dairy production has a considerable effect on climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide. In the US, the greatest sources of these emissions in milk production include feed production, enteric fermentation and manure management. Air Airborne emissions of ammonia can damage downstream habitats, resulting in the loss of species diversity. The output of particulate matter and odor from on-farm activities can negatively impact air quality. Water Dairy operations can consume large volumes of water to grow feed, water cows, manage manure and process products. Additionally, manure and fertilizer runoff from dairy farms can pollute water resources. The increased nutrients in local waterways contribute to the growth of algae, which reduces oxygen for aquatic plant and animal life. Habitat Currently over two-thirds of the world's agricultural land is used for maintaining livestock, including beef and dairy cows. One-third of the world's land suffers desertification due, in large part, to deforestation, overgrazing and poor agricultural practices. In some circumstances, dairy cows can contribute to healthy habitats through well-managed grazing. Soil Health Livestock farming is one of the main contributors to soil erosion around the world. Turning forests into pasture or feed crop production areas, overgrazing and soil impaction from cattle’s hooves can lead to extreme loss of topsoil and organic matter that could take decades or centuries to replace. On the other hand, well-managed manure application and grazing can improve the soil health of pastures and crop lands. Animal Health and Welfare Improper handling of dairy cows decreases the productivity of cows due to stress and ill health, and leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Disease in cattle can limit export options, pose supply risks and contribute to production inefficiencies.
    1. Dairy and EggsIf you eat dairy, eggs or both, your protein options are a lot more extensive. Eggs are said to be among the most bioavailable sources of protein in the human diet. According to a 2004 review in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, egg has a biological value of 100, second only to whey, with a value of 104. One large egg has 6 g of protein. Milk, with 8 g of protein per cup, has a biological value of 94, making it another high-quality protein source. Other protein-rich milk products include: Cottage cheese: 15 g per 1/2 cup Yogurt: 10 g per cup Greek yogurt: 22.5 g per cup Including eggs and dairy in your vegetarian diet also offers more protein powder options: Whey: 22 g per 28-g serving Casein: 26 g in a 30-g serving Egg: 24 g per 32-ounce serving
    2. Plant-based protein powders are often more concentrated sources of protein. Using these in smoothies or to stir into oatmeal will help you get more protein than you could from whole foods alone. Some choices you have when choosing a plant-based protein powder include: Pea protein: 21 g per 28-g serving Hemp protein: 12 g per serving Pumpkin seed protein: 18 g per serving Brown rice protein: 22 g per serving Soy protein: 22 g per serving
    3. Seitan (made from wheat gluten): 25 g in 3.5 ounces Tofu (made from soybeans): 9 g in 3.5 ounces Garbanzo beans: 15 g per cup Quinoa: 8 g per cup, cooked Lentils: 18 g per cup, cooked Hempseed: 9.5 g in 3 tablespoons Almonds: 8 g in 1/4 cup
    1. This research supports the idea that the more fruit and veg you eat the better – at least, up to 10 portions (800g) a day.
    1. Many countries - including Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand - recommend five portions a day. Some others - including Canada and Japan - recommend seven or more. France goes as far as recommending 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. In Australia, they say the emphasis should be on eating more vegetables than fruit and recommend five portions of vegetables and two of fruit per day.
    1. Twin blowsPainting has been declared dead so many times over the past 150 years that it can be hard to keep track. But in her introduction, Hudson pinpoints two developments in the history of art that shook painting to its foundations, in both cases almost fatally. One was the invention of photography in the 1830s. Photographs did more than just depict the world better and faster than painting; they also made entire painterly languages defunct, from military painting to academic portraiture. (“From today, painting is dead,” the academic painter Paul Delaroche is purported to have said after seeing a daguerreotype for the first time.) Ever since, painting has in some ways functioned in dialogue with the camera. In some cases that dialogue takes the form of rejecting photographic realism, such as in the unnatural colour of Van Gogh. Or the dialogue is between equal partners. That can be via the use of silkscreened imagery, most famously by Andy Warhol; via a hyperrealism of Richard Estes or Franz Gertsch, whose paintings are ‘more photographic’ than photographs; or via more painterly effects that nevertheless advertise their photographic source, as in the art of Gerhard Richter and Chuck Close.After photography, the other body blow to the primacy of painting came in the 1910s, when Marcel Duchamp elevated a bicycle wheel, a bottle rack and an upturned urinal to the status of art. Even more than photography, the ready-made object struck at the heart of painting’s self-justification. Not only did Duchamp recalibrate the terms of artistic success, privileging ideas over visuals. He also eliminated the need for the artist’s hand in a way photography never entirely did. (Indeed, many photographers of the early 20th Century, from Ansel Adams to Edward Steichen, consciously imitated painting techniques.) Duchamp’s insurrection removed technical skill as a painterly virtue, and by the 1960s an artist like the minimalist sculptor Donald Judd could confidently say, “It seems painting is finished.”
    1. Simplicity is a state of mind. It dwells in the main intention of our lives. A man is simple when his chief care is the wish to be what he ought to be, that is, honestly and naturally human. And this is neither so easy nor so impossible as one might think. At bottom, it consists in putting our acts and aspirations in accordance with the law of our being, and consequently with the Eternal Intention which willed that we should be at all. Let a flower be a flower, a swallow a swallow, a rock a rock, and let a man be a man, and not a fox, a hare, a hog, or a bird of prey: this is the sum of the whole matter.
    2. I despair of ever describing simplicity in any worthy fashion. All the strength of the world and all its beauty, all true joy, everything that consoles, that feeds hope, or throws a ray of light along our dark paths, everything that makes us see across our poor lives a splendid goal and a boundless future, comes to us from people of simplicity, those who have made another object of their desires than the passing satisfaction of selfishness and vanity, and have understood that the art of living is to know how to give one’s life.
    3. Herein is summed up the experience of humanity, and this experience, which each man must remake for himself, is more precious in proportion as it costs more dear. Illumined by its light, he makes a moral advance more and more sure. Now he has his means of orientation, his internal norm to which he may lead everything back; and from the vacillating, confused, and complex being that he was, he becomes simple. By the ceaseless influence of this same law, which expands within him, and is day by day verified in fact, his opinions and habits become transformed . . . The necessary hierarchy of powers is organized within him: the essential commands, the secondary obeys, and order is born of simplicity. We may compare this organization of the interior life to that of an army. An army is strong by its discipline, and its discipline consists in respect of the inferior for the superior, and the concentration of all its energies toward a single end: discipline once relaxed, the army suffers. It will not do to let the corporal command the general. Examine carefully your life and the lives of others. Whenever something halts or jars, and complications and disorder follow, it is because the corporal has issued orders to the general. Where the natural law rules in the heart, disorder vanishes.
    4. Need we say that one does not rise to this point of view without a struggle? The spirit of simplicity is not an inherited gift, but the result of a laborious conquest . . . But by dint of action, and exacting from himself strict account of his deeds, man arrives at a better knowledge of life. Its law appears to him, and the law is this: Work out your mission. He who applies himself to aught else than the realization of this end, loses in living the raison d’etre of life. The egoist does so, the pleasure-seeker, the ambitious: he consumes existence as one eating the full corn in the blade — he prevents it from bearing its fruit; his life is lost. Whoever, on the contrary, makes his life serve a good higher than itself, saves it in giving it. Moral precepts, which to a superficial view appear arbitrary, and seem made to spoil our zest for life, have really but one object — to preserve us from the evil of having lived in vain. That is why they are constantly leading us back into the same paths; that is why they all have the same meaning: Do not waste your life, make it bear fruit; learn how to give it, in order that it may not consume itself!
    5. Art is the realization of a permanent idea in an ephemeral form. True life is the realization of the higher virtues — justice, love, truth, liberty, moral power — in our daily activities, whatever they may be. And this life is possible in social conditions the most diverse, and with natural gifts the most unequal. It is not fortune or personal advantage, but our turning them to account, that constitutes the value of life. Fame adds no more than does length of days: quality is the thing.
    6. confounding the secondary with the essential, substance with form. They are tempted to believe that simplicity presents certain external characteristics by which it may be recognized, and in which it really consists. Simplicity and lowly station, plain dress, a modest dwelling, slender means, poverty — these things seem to go together. Nevertheless, this is not the case . . . No class has the prerogative of simplicity; no dress, however humble in appearance, is its unfailing badge. Its dwelling need not be a garret, a hut, the cell of the ascetic nor the lowliest fisherman’s bark. Under all the forms in which life vests itself, in all social positions, at the top as at the bottom of the ladder, there are people who live simply, and others who do not.
    7. At no epoch have the exterior conditions which man has made for himself by his industry or his knowledge, been able to exempt him from care for the state of his inner life. The face of the world alters around us, its intellectual and material factors vary; and no one can arrest these changes, whose suddenness is sometimes not short of perilous. But the important thing is that at the center of shifting circumstance man should remain man, live his life, make toward his goal. And whatever be his road, to make toward his goal, the traveler must not lose himself in crossways, nor hamper his movements with useless burdens. Let him heed well his direction and forces, and keep good faith; and that he may the better devote himself to the essential — which is to progress — at whatever sacrifice, let him simplify his baggage.
    8. We must search out, set free, restore to honor the true life, assign things to their proper places, and remember that the center of human progress is moral growth. What is a good lamp? It is not the most elaborate, the finest wrought, that of the most precious metal. A good lamp is a lamp that gives good light. And so also we are men and citizens, not by reason of the number of our goods and the pleasures we procure for ourselves, not through our intellectual and artistic culture, nor because of the honors and independence we enjoy; but by virtue of the strength of our moral fiber. And this is not a truth of today but a truth of all times.
    9. we have in abundance that which, if must be, we can go without, and are infinitely poor in the one thing needful.
    10. When one passes in review the individual causes that disturb and complicate our life, by whatever names they are designated, and their list would be long, they all lead back to one general cause, which is this: the confusion of the secondary with the essential.
    1. What really matters is . . . what really matters.There are lots of reasons why people aren’t doing what they want to do. For one thing, many of us don’t know what that is. When I was still in real estate, I met with a career counselor. The counselor said, “Why don’t you take a year off and figure out what you really want to do?” The suggestion was mind-boggling. My schedule wouldn’t let me take a day off – let alone a year! But that suggestion, as crazy as it sounded at first, forced me to ask basic questions about my professional life. In fact, I did spend a year away from my job. And if I hadn’t taken that time, I would have been in real estate forever.If you’ve spent years not knowing what you want to do – in your career, in your family life, with your civic obligations – it can seem like an impossible challenge to figure it out. For many people, it’s easier to keep doing what they know they don’t want to do, or what they don’t mind doing. Simplifying your life frees up time for you to figure out what really matters.
    1. Asked which of his films are his personal favorites, Kore-eda — in characteristic fashion — expounded upon a familiar adage until it felt new: “It’s like asking someone which of their 10 kids you like the most. You may have one child who’s just ridiculously successful and making tons of money, and then you have this other child who’s living in poverty, but they’re just so lovable.” He grew silent for a moment, and then went on: “I would say there are two children who are most similar to myself. ‘Nobody Knows’ is the film that I became a director to make. ‘Still Walking’ is special to me because I made it shortly after losing my mother. Having said that, I also have to mention ‘Like Father, Like Son,’ because that film took me to the next level, to the point where I couldn’t believe this was really my career.”
    2. The truth, as always, is more complicated. Kore-eda cited the formative experience he had with “After Life” in 1998, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival after a programmer sent the director a handwritten fax proclaiming his love for the movie. But a gala debut wasn’t enough to get the movie sold. The director sighed: “I received very blunt information from the agent saying that this isn’t the kind of film that people want — they didn’t want to see people in heaven, they wanted the kind of typical Japanese film that would be representative of a national cinema.” Emotionally inhibited parents drinking sake on tatami mats, rogue samurai wandering the countryside, geishas scuffling around the Gion, that sort of thing. It could have been a devastating moment, but Kore-eda chose to see it as a call to action. “That process made me realize that I don’t have to make what other people want,” he said. “‘After Life’ led me to have confidence that if I make something that I love, there will be fans and critics out there who will love it also, and won’t start putting labels on it.” To his point, “After Life” now regularly appears on (American) lists of the best films of the ’90s. “I feel really fortunate that I’ve been able to find those people,” Kore-eda continued, “even when I’ve wanted to make films just because I liked them.”
    3. “The traditional concept of family was already being dismantled or destroyed in Japan, and 3/11 just made it obvious that was happening. I believe you can no longer interpret the true value or purpose of family based on the antiquated traditional tropes of Japanese society. In ‘Shoplifters,’ I was looking at three generations living together, because that’s typically what you’d find in a Japanese household. But I wanted to play with that, and show that even within those terms the nuclear family is undergoing a permanent change.”
    4. To watch Kore-eda’s films — and certainly to hear him talk about them — it’s clear that he’s not interested in judging this perceived degradation of traditional norms. These movies don’t lament what’s been lost so much as they wonder about what’s been found, a dynamic that allows even the most devastating pieces of Kore-eda’s work to feel intrinsically hopeful (his thoughts on the ending of “Shoplifters” were too spoiler-heavy to share here, but they made it clear the director savors that bittersweet aftertaste). His films are less concerned with passing a verdict on the state of things than they are in studying the various mechanisms that bind people together, and the performative elements required to keep us that way.
    1. That’s exactly right. What’s the technique to avoiding that stance?I don’t think it’s a technique. I don’t think that’s something you can make up, or trick people into believing through your filmmaking. It comes from the fundamental worldview, the sense of humanity. It comes from the depth of the work’s creator. If you have that empathy, you won’t go down the road of voyeurism. You can’t just sympathize; you have to make visible what is invisible. Make visible the factors that have brought the impoverished to this point, so that the audience can see them in a fuller and more complex way. That skirts the trap of poverty porn. Regarding your initial question: I don’t want to present the film in such a way so that when the audience leaves the theater, they say, “Well, it’s the government’s fault! It’s the system’s fault!” That’s not what I’m trying to portray. They’re part of it, but the people watching the film are part of it, too, and they need to feel that by the end.
    2. I’ve read that you visited an actual orphanage while researching this subject. What sort of emotional response did you have at that time?I did not go to an “orphanage,” per se. I went to a facility run by the government that houses children with parents who are dysfunctional in some way, through alcoholism or domestic abuse or something like that. Just wanted to clarify that first. While I was there, a young girl in grade three had just come back from school, and she read for me the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni. I happened to be there in time to witness this. The people who worked at the facility went, “Oh, no, don’t bother him; he doesn’t want to listen to this.” But she completely ignored them and kept reading this book right to the end. And at the very end, I applauded because she had done so wonderfully. The girl was absolutely thrilled by this, and she smiled a big smile, and it occurred to me that it was her parents that she wanted to have witness this reading of Swimmy. This moved me. That was the feeling I took with me when I made Shoplifters. The young boy in the film reads Swimmy, to show to his parents that he’s reading. That sense of pride and joy that the little girl had was something I held with me.
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    1. Sakura Ando gives a phenomenal performance as Nobuyo. Can you talk about your collaboration with her? I agree that she is phenomenal. To answer quite honestly, I first heard about Sakura Ando through actors or cameramen who are friends of mine or who I worked with. They all said she was amazing. I was still unsure she’d be right for my film because the part of Nobuyo was written for someone who’s in their 40s. However I ran into her in the neighborhood and we just talked for a little while. And then I ran into her a second time. After that I thought she might be the best person for this role [despite her age] and I offered her the job. You are a director who has successfully directed children in many of your films. How do you work with them? Thank you saying they are successful. For 15 years the way that I have worked with children is I never give them a script. They have no idea about the full story. Everyday when they come on set, I tell them each individual line when they need to know it. So I whisper in their ears this is your line, this is what you are going to talk about, sometimes they choose their own words. But also during auditions I choose children who specifically seem to respond to that method well. Once I’ve chosen them I organize activities to create trust and a relationship with them. My goal is to have them come to set every day smiling, excited and looking forward to the work. That’s my approach.
    2. There is a density and depth to your stories and characters that’s reminiscent of novels. I’m interested in your writing process and how you come about it? That is a difficult question. First there's the person, a human. Then the situation and what if that situation causes the human to do something? I don’t know if it’s right or wrong but I don’t actually sit down and write all the details about each character, their whole history. If you were to attend a screenwriting course, often they’d tell you to sit down and define each character before writing the script. I don’t believe in that, I don't think character development is the way to go. For me it’s the relationships. The relationship between one person and the person standing in front of them. It’s the way they move, the way they react, and how they relate to each other. That’s what defines them. Take for example the character of the father Osamu, he’s defined by the context of the relationships around him. The story comes out of the numerous interactions between these different people.
    1. Thinking of happy accidents, it looked like Miyu Sasaki, who plays the young Juri, really did lose a tooth. Is that something you had to incorporate into the script? On the first day of shooting, we were shooting the scene where she’s discovered on the veranda and it just happened that the tooth came out. [And she yelled] “Oh no, my tooth came out!” We talked about fixing it so there was a fake tooth there, but then I thought I might as well write a scene about losing her tooth. [SPOILERS AHEAD] Then I thought what would be really interesting would be to write a scene where the grandmother who has no teeth dies and the granddaughter loses her teeth and then you throw the teeth up on the roof, so I thought the combination of those two things would make it very interesting and I wrote it into the script.
    2. Was the family’s home on screen a set or a real location? We did use a real house [for exteriors]. There was a small house that existed within all those high-rises, but most of the interior scenes were shot on set. There’s a scene where [you see] the entrance to the home [where] they’re on a little corridor or a little porch outside and when I went to see the house, I was just looking around it with my crew. it’s very near Sumida River, which is very famous for the fireworks coming up, so I just thought, “Oh, it’s very near the river, but [the family] would never be able to see the fireworks,” [which] stayed with me, so I decided to write a scene about it.
    3. Is it true you got to shoot the first scenes of the film in the summer and then go back later to shoot the rest of the film, after you had an idea of how they might interact with one another? Yes. When we started shooting in the summer, the truth is the script wasn’t really finished. I hadn’t really had a complete script by that point and we shot it anyways because we thought we might need it. I told all the actors we may not even keep this scene and Kiki Kirin [who plays the grandmother] said, “Well, in that case, it probably won’t stay. It won’t survive.” [laughs] But then there’s the scene where it rains suddenly and where [the family] finds the cicada, so it was fortuitous when those things all happened. And then when I went back and wrote the script properly in the autumn, I incorporated some of those things in it.
    4. There is a bit of a fantastical quality to the film, which comes through subtly through the score, and I loved how visually, there are often boxes created throughout the frame, particularly inside the family’s house. How did you go about getting the tone right aesthetically? In terms of the visual, in terms of Kondo [Ryuto, the cinematographer], when he talked to me about how he viewed it, he really wanted a poetic state, so visually we were looking at poetic images around their lifestyle and after about a certain amount of filming, I just let Kondo-san go — he was the one that decided the framing, so it was his sensibility that created those lines that you’re talking about. With Honoso [Haruomi, the composer], it was more the image of swimming, so the family were like a bunch of little fishes at the bottom of an ocean swimming around and they would look up at the surface and see the sparkling night, but the sound of that sparkling night would come down to the bottom and twinkle around it.
    5. You’ve acknowledged that “After the Storm” marked a bit of a turning point where you’d start making films about broader Japanese society. What inspired that shift? I look at it a little bit differently because for me, from “Still Walking” to “After the Storm,” that thread was really very much about me looking at what went on inside of a family, inside of the home, [with] a narrow and deep perspective. But that was more the exception. With “The Third Murder,” I felt I went back to where I started, which was with “Nobody Knows” and looking at the family within society. That’s the thread I was following and then I got disrupted by my own personal inquiry.
    1. Shoplifters’ question of whether this family counts as a “real” one does occasionally feel belabored. But its exploration of the layers, and limits, within this unlikely clan is so moving and observant that one can easily overlook that foible. Like nearly every mystery in the film, it isn’t meant to be resolved anyway. To spend time with the Shibatas is to make peace with a lack of answers. In so doing, Shoplifters achieves that ultimate goal of art as expressed by the artist Robert Filliou: It’s art that makes life more interesting than art.
    1. All well and good, but what makes Kore-eda's movie so quietly devastating, the work of a master in full command of his art, is that its emotional rewards stem from a deep engagement with the world rather than a retreat from it. It's the rare movie indeed that can unite a jury without even remotely smacking of compromise.
    1. As for why the West has done even worse than Japan, I suspect that it’s about the deep divisions within our societies. In America, conservatives have blocked efforts to fight unemployment out of a general hostility to government, especially a government that does anything to help Those People. In Europe, Germany has insisted on hard money and austerity largely because the German public is intensely hostile to anything that could be called a bailout of southern Europe.
    2. So there are really two questions here. First, why has everyone seemed to get this so wrong? Second, why has the West, with all its famous economists — not to mention the ability to learn from Japan’s woe — made an even worse mess than Japan did?The answer to the first question, I think, is that responding effectively to depression conditions requires abandoning conventional respectability. Policies that would ordinarily be prudent and virtuous, like balancing the budget or taking a firm stand against inflation, become recipes for a deeper slump. And it’s very hard to persuade influential people to make that adjustment — just look at the Washington establishment’s inability to give up on its deficit obsession.
    1. Did Japan actually lose any decades?
    2. Household consumption, rather than total GDP, is an even better comparison, since that’s a closer proxy for living standards of actual people
    1. Deforestation to blame for Beijing's pollutionXun Zhou says the smog and dust that now plague Beijing can be traced back to the massive deforestation during the Great Leap Forward that left China scarred by environmental disaster
    1. L.A. has this amazing Koreatown and the most Korean Americans anywhere in the states. At the same time, the industry that you wanted to break into when you arrived is extremely white. What were your impressions of L.A. when you first got here, and has your relationship to the city changed in any significant way? Koreatown at first became a safe haven for me where you can go to not feel othered. I wasn’t cognizant of [being othered then]. I was aware of me being an Asian actor, but I was not thinking about anything but just working within the system, whatever that meant. I wouldn’t take roles that would be bad as an Asian person, but I was looking to just get work. So you do that on the daily and then you come back, and for some reason you always just keep gravitating toward K-Town. It’s comfortable. Then you start to let it go for a bit. Because you go, “Oh, I don’t need the security blanket of this place.” And then you find it again, where now you’re approaching K-Town not from a place of fear. Rather, now you’re just going there to go eat some bomb food and celebrate your culture. That’s the confidence that you build over time, or you hope to.
    2. What do you feel like that gaze wants you to do? I won’t speak for other Asian American actors, because I don’t know what they’re being offered. But for me, it’s like: nice guy, dependable, supportive, benign. Beige. And as a Korean man, I am not beige. And I felt that when I was over there [shooting Burning].
    3. Do you think of yourself as a heartthrob? Ay-yi-yi. I’m at this interesting point of not rejecting it, because I want to be representative of the idea that anyone can be that and feel that. For that reason, I don’t want to reject it. But definitely I want to reject it. Why? Self-hatred. Maybe when I was young, I wanted that. I was like, “Why not me, why can’t an Asian man be this?” Then you try to find that through systems that aren’t native to you. You’re like, “I know what it means to be hot. It means you work out. It means you drink a ton of milk, so you get huge. It means you’re mean to people. Toxic masculinity.” Then you realize it’s so stupid. Just be comfortable with yourself.
    4. You’ve worked with heavyweights in the Korean film world: Joon-ho Bong on Okja and Chang-dong Lee on Burning. They’ve given you meaty roles, as well as the opportunity to work with art-house auteurs. What do you make of the fact that these opportunities seem to be primarily coming from the Korean side, rather than the American side?  Sometimes it’s tough. I’ll come back from Burning, and I’ll be like, “Will I ever get this experience again? Will I ever feel this free in a character? Will I ever feel like they’re looking to get my best performance? Down to the lighting, the makeup, the boundarylessness that they project on me?” I feel like there’s a mold here in America, that even in my daily walking around I feel subjected to. Someone’s projecting, like, “This is how you’re supposed to fit in this world.” It’s this generic Asian man mold that pervades.
    5. I like to joke that Korean cinema, which is known in part for its intensity of emotion, is 5,000 years of suffering condensed into an art form. Yeah, that’s real.
    6. Yesterday, when you were introducing the movie [at a screening], you called Chang-dong Lee a “film genius.” What draws you to him? He reached out to me through his films first, obviously. Peppermint Candy helped me understand why I have this han [an untranslatable strain of sorrow that makes up a pillar of Korean national identity] in my body that I can’t explain. I couldn’t explain how me being a 5-year-old immigrant in America was filled with so much rage. It wasn’t just the fear of my environment, or being an Asian kid in America. That probably stoked it a little bit, but I didn’t experience war, I didn’t experience trauma. You don’t know where it comes from, but then you watch [the movie] and you go, “Oh my God, there’s a whole level of Korean experience that I’m missing out on.” There was this deeper level that I couldn’t access, and that film helped me get there.
    7. Are you disappointed that American or international audiences won’t get all of the nuances in the dialogue? No, because we’re talking about one layer of this story, and really the human layer is the thing that binds it all together. Do you mean the romantic triangle in the film? I mean the feeling of unrequited loneliness. The feeling that we’re all alone. We can try to put labels on ourselves and try to separate each other, but really, we’re all fucking alone and that’s what it is. And it’s scary, and it sounds terrible, but really, it’s OK.
    1. The whole movie is about the tension between three people, just like a ghost story at certain points. And in the middle, there’s this chilly sequence where they just hang out during the magic hour. How did you approach the structure of the film and how did you shoot this particular sequence? _________________   After the dance scene, something had to change. That’s what I felt, and the audience can feel that we’re heading to another road as well. The scene itself is in the middle, storyline-wise, and also it’s a quarter of the film. A lot of people think of it as a thriller that it’s mostly about finding Hae-mi’s whereabouts, but we’re not doing that: we’re doing something that’s more about what she was looking for and who she really is. We wanted to shoot the dancing scene after sunset, and so that we could emphasize the boundaries between darkness and lightning, as well as the mixture of reality and surrealistic reality. And when you look at the set, you can see the Korean flag which reflects Korean politics, you can see a dirt, the grass and nature elements, where on the other side you can even see cars passing by. So it’s a mixture of all kinds of life around us, in the scene, and in here Hae-mi is looking for the meaning of life. She is dancing with great hunger. We tried to film that scene without any artificial light. Also, I wanted that scene to show the freedom which she’s getting through and the spontaneity she’s also getting through. That’s the most important thing I wanted to capture in the scene.
    1. Though this genre has existed for quite some time, it really blossomed the decade following World War II thanks to so-called “sun tribe” youth movies (these featured teens interested in violence and sex, similar to America’s Rebel Without A Cause). In the decades since, seishun eiga have generally focused on the ups and downs of adolescence, particularly high schoolers. “Seishun eiga offer the sort of clear window into Japan’s national culture, society and psyche that other, more internationally popular, genres don’t. Most Japanese survived high school; relatively few joined yakuza gangs,” the Japan Times film critic Mark Schilling has written. Since these movies can be loaded with cliches and melodrama, the laziest iterations of this style are often deeply formulaic.
    1. Theo bà Ngô Phương Lan, năm 2017, Việt Nam đạt 3.250 tỷ đồng trong lĩnh vực điện ảnh. Trong đó, doanh thu từ phim Việt chiếm 28% nhờ quy định số suất chiếu phim Việt ở mỗi rạp phải chiếm 20% trên tổng số (theo nghị định 54). Tuy vậy, phim trong nước vẫn bị phim ngoại lấn át về sức cạnh tranh.
    1. “Korea is very dynamic, it is undergoing social and political change. Its culture reflects that. Its films are rooted in change,” Rayns said. “In Japan I don’t see that. I see stasis. I still see same right wing politicians denying the existence of comfort women, the same old stuff we’ve heard for 20, 30 or 40 years. Until we see some challenge to the establishment [in Japan] I don’t think you will see the same dynamism as in Korean cinema.”
    1. The situation today is much less dynamic. Filmmaking in Japan has largely polarised, with very high budgets (by Japanese standards, i.e. US$ 10 million or a multiple of it) on the one extreme and no-budget indie (or amateur) filmmaking on the other. Films in the former category seek to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster formula and are produced by "film committees": consortia of production partners, the majority being television stations, advertising agencies and talent agencies rather than traditional film production companies. Each partner has a stake and a say in the filmmaking and the result more often than not literally comes across as something made by committee rather than artistic vision. It is a type of filmmaking that takes no chances: all the stories are based on hit properties (TV series, manga, novels) and the lead actors are pop musicians or TV talento, while the important share of media companies in the production committees is resulting in self-censorship and/or conservative political stances in line with the policies of Shinzo Abe’s government.