Playlist of the Week

Dierks Bentley   —   My Last Name
Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss   —   Whiskey Lullaby
Tim McGraw   —   Candle for a Cowboy
Faith Hill   —   It will be Me
Shania Twain   —   When you Kiss me
Rascal Flatts   —   Ellsworth
Alan Jackson   —   Pop a Top
Paul Overstreet   —   Seeing my Father in Me
Alan Jackson   —   Here in the Real World
Mary Chapin Carpenter   —   Quittin’ Time

This week’s playlist is available on iTunes and Spotify. I hope you enjoy it

Bruno Munari on Bringing Order to Chaos


Interviewer

In your book, you wrote: “…we try to discover whether it is possible to bring a sense of order to the chaotic images that make up today’s world…”. We live our daily lives in a civilization that is so overloaded with signs and languages that it not only causes a visual saturation, indeed a saturation of the senses in general, but is also profoundly disturbing. The sense of reality becomes lost, life becomes a sham (television is a plant that damages the eyes). Can all this be counterbalanced, combated?

Munari

Bringing order to chaos means distinguishing, classifying, memorizing. When this material is used creatively, it becomes possible to intervene by designing more human objects.

Interviewer

You’ve said that art is not about technique. But an art that fails to take account of the techniques of the past and seeks to create techniques or invent new ones is an art in pursuit of freedom. And unconditional freedom often confounds and generates fear, forces us to call things into question, makes us insecure. Do you believe experimentation, research and art are closely interconnected with one another?

Munari

Yes. All of us are insecure, there is much more we don’t know than what we know. Each of us marks out his or her own path in an attempt to make our way into reality and try to grasp it. Then we come upon Lao Tse, who tells us reality does not exist. As individuals, we have no resources to understand what is around us, unlike other living creatures (bats have radar, dogs sense an impending earthquake…). The reality we are aware of regards instruments. Some insects only live for a season. Plants are the real inhabitants of our planet: there are more of them, they are able to adapt to the climate; they could live without us, while we couldn’t live without them.

Interviewer


You have theorized the concept of subtracting instead of adding, of simplifying, or focusing on the essential. This is a principle that appears by and large to be valid, and applicable to a huge variety of problems, from those regarding the aesthetics of objects to those typical of bureaucracy. This invitation is both theoretical and at the same time eminently practical: can it represent a starting point for the creation of art?


Munari


Subtracting instead of adding means focusing on the essential, on the core to operate on. So once we reach that core, all we need to do (depending on our aim) is either leave the essential as it is (an example is the Pythgorean theorem; it’s timeless), or play around with it, transform it, introduce endless variants. By adding subjective values to the essential, art is created; art is made of subjective values, while research seeks objective values. When the two terms are combined smoothly, art may emerge, perhaps, as rules meet coincidence, or inspiration.

Interviewer


You wrote: “An audience is more inclined to evaluate the manual effort required to create something complicated than to recognize the mental effort required to simplify, since this is not ultimately visible”. Your relationship with the public’s tastes has never been a happy one; even your latest works, the oils on canvas, are a slap in the face of current tastes. A famous critic believes that in the 20th century an unbridgeable gap has been created between the aesthetic tastes of the masses and the research efforts of the artists. What do you think?


Munari


I believe artists engage in research in order to discover new avenues for visual art or other forms of art. The masses go to football matches, and then want to understand the work of an artist, and are irritated when they see things that are too distant from the norm. They feel they are being derided. It is up to them to make an effort, to keep abreast with developments in order to understand. Think of Van Gogh at the time of Leonardo Da Vinci. What would the public have had to say about such “unfinished” artworks, works in which the brushstrokes of such a madman were so strikingly, vulgarly evident? Yet in time…

Interviewer

Do you believe that oriental culture is still able today to act as a beacon for our civilization? Can you imagine culture travelling in the opposite direction, moving from the East towards the West? Today, more than ever before, we feel we are citizens of the world.


Munari

It’s not a question of imposing western civilization on the East and vice-versa, but of blending the two cultures into one. This is what the Japanese are doing. For a thousand years now, they have had a sense of community, while we remain individualistic. An individual’s value lies in what he or she is able to contribute to the community, not for what he or she takes from it. A sports team composed of individualists, in which everyone does as they please (for fear of losing their personality), would never be a winning team.


Read more here


Bruno Munari (October 24, 1907 in Milan – September 30, 1998 in Milan) was an Italianartist, designer, and inventor

On the Sublime





The Sublime refers to an experience of vastness (of space, age, time) beyond calculation or comprehension – a sense of awe we might feel before an ocean, a glacier, the earth from a plane or a starry sky.

In the presence of the sublime, we are made to feel desperately small. In most of life, a sense of our smallness is experienced as a humiliation (when it happens, for example, at the hands of a professional enemy or a concierge). But the impression of smallness that unfolds in the presence of the Sublime has an oddly uplifting and profoundly redemptive effect. We are granted an impression of our complete nullity and insignificance in the grander scheme which relieves us from an often oppressive sense of the seriousness of our ambitions and desires. We welcome being put back in our place and not having to take ourselves quite so seriously, not least because the agent doing so is as noble and awe-inspiring as a ten-thousand-year-old ice sheet or a volcano on the surface of Mars.

Read more here

Food for Thought



“A country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak and a powerful one too powerful.”
― Primo Levi, If This Is a Man / The Truce

Primo Michele Levi was an Italian Jewish chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor.

Playlist of the Week

Kari Jobe   —   I am not Alone
Darlene Zschech   —   Your Presence is Heaven
Mark Schultz   —   He’s my Son
Phil Wickham   —   Mercy
Francesca Battistelli   —   Holy Spirit
Sinach   —   Awesome God
Jonathan McReynolds   —   Make Room
Nicole C. Mullen   —   Redeemer
Elle Limebear   —   Maker of the Moon
Michael W. Smith   —   Sovereign Over Us

This week’s playlist is available on iTunes and Spotify. I hope you enjoy it

Happy The Man by John Dryden

Kneller, Godfrey; John Dryden (1631-1700), Playwright, Poet Laureate and Critic; Trinity College, University of Cambridge



Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call today his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul or rain or shine
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

—John Dryden

Booker T. Washington on Helping Others



On Sunday evenings, Booker T. Washington always gave talks to the students of Tuskegee Institute on moral values and character building.

In one of those addresses, he counsels his students:


“This institution does not exist for your education alone; it does not exist for your comfort and happiness altogether, although those things are important, and we keep them in mind; it exists that we may give you intelligence, skill of hand, and strength of mind and heart; and we help you in these ways that you, in turn may help others. We help you that you may help somebody else, and if you do not do this, when you go out from here, then our work here has been in vain.”

Then goes on to tell them what to do in moments of misery:


“I want you to go out into the world, not to have an easy time, but to make sacrifices, and to help somebody else. There are those who need your help and sacrifice. You may be called upon to sacrifice a great deal. As the institution grows larger, we do not want to lose the spirit of self-sacrifice, the spirit of usefulness which the graduates and the students who have gone out from here have shown. We want you to help somebody else. We want you not to think of yourselves alone. When you feel unhappy, disagreeable and miserable, go to some one else who is miserable and do that person an act of kindness, and you will find that you will be made happy.”



Booker Taliaferro Washington (c. 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. 

In a Word

destiny (n.)

mid-14c., “fate, over-ruling necessity, the irresistible tendency of certain events to come about; inexorable force that shapes and controls lives and events;” also “that which is predetermined and sure to come true,” from Old French destinée “purpose, intent, fate, destiny; that which is destined” (12c.), noun use of fem. past participle of destiner, from Latin destinare “make firm, establish”

Although often used interchangeably, the words “fate” and “destiny” have distinct connotations.

  • Fate is about the present, where every decision an individual has made has led them to their present scenario. However, Destiny is the future scenario determined by decisions an individual will make.
  • Destiny is used with regard to the finality of events as they have worked themselves out; and to that same sense of “destination”, projected into the future to become the flow of events as they will work themselves out.
  • Traditional usage defines fate as a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events. Fate defines events as ordered or “inevitable” and unavoidable. This is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed natural order to the universe, and in some conceptions, the cosmos. Classical and European mythology feature personified “fate spinners,” known as the Moirai in Greek mythology,[3] the Parcae in Roman mythology, and the Norns in Norse mythology. They determine the events of the world through the mystic spinning of threads that represent individual human fates. Fate is often conceived as being divinely inspired.

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