Archive for September, 2012

amazing detail on stone

Look closely at this rock, see the ripples and waves which make it up. Honestly, it looks more like water than a rock at times.


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The other day there I came across a reference to an Alan Watts teaching about the limitations of reductionism. I’ve tracked it down –

You cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it.  Indeed, you cannot grasp it just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket.  If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run.  To “have” running water you must let go of it and let it run. ~Alan Watts from “The Wisdom of Insecurity”.

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The New England Journal of Medicine reports this week that GSK has just been fined $3 billion, and that since 2009, drug companies have been fined $11 billion! Wow! Colossal sums, huh? However, it turns out these figures represent only about 10% of annual profits and should probably be considered as just the “cost of doing business” ie these fines won’t change behaviour.

Should we be worried about these crimes and misdemeanors? You bet. However, as Ben Goldacre points out in a Guardian published extract from his upcoming book, “Bad Pharma”, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Of more concern is routine distortion of the evidence base which is manipulated in a variety of ways by those who pay the piper – the drug companies. Read the Guardian article, then answer the following two questions…..

How confident are you that the drug companies act in your best interests?

How confident are you that “evidence based medicine” is based on objective, relevant scientific evidence?


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I mean, where you see a path like this? And where you find a “moss garden”? Because that’s what this is – a path through a moss garden in Nara.
Doesn’t it inspire you to think about the paths we make and how we all make such different ones?

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We are in a transition time to a more ecological way of understanding our place in the universe. Here’s a short video where Thomas Berry explains why we are at the junction of era change

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Wow! Look at the shape of this tree!


Look how it has wound its away amongst the stone lanterns. Isn’t that amazing? Did someone train it this way? There’s no sign of that, but maybe all the training was done years ago and the ropes, ties and poles have long since gone…..but maybe it just made it’s own way amongst the lanterns.

Either way its beautiful to look at, and quite breathtaking to see just how utterly entangled it and the lanterns have become.

Verlyn Klinkenborg wrote in The International Herald and Tribune

I grew up thinking of nature as a collection of species, each one self-reliant and independent, the way a good farmer was supposed to be. It’s an illusion we cling to. But nature is nothing like that, of course. It knits and unravels and reknits. At times, it looks to me as though organisms conspire, as when a weaker vine climbs a stronger one to get to the clapboards sooner. The one thing no species can ever be is self-reliant. Because entangled is the condition of life itself.

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Leaves and light

light and leaves

I love to look up and see how sunlight shines through leaves, and creates an intricate pattern of colours and shadows.

leaf light

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There’s an interesting change happening in Spain. They are calling it “rurbanismo” which is a term they’ve invented to describe the reversal of the long term movement of populations from the countryside into cities. It seems the Spanish are starting to move out of the cities and into the countryside in significant numbers.

Many have made the move for lifestyle reasons, and the ability to work remotely using new telecoms and internet technologies has contributed to that. But the economic crisis is forcing others to the same the move. There are old abandoned houses and hamlets scattered throughout Spain and although its tricky to track down the legal ownership of these properties, entrepreneurs are buying up clusters of houses and whole hamlets to create new communities.

One example is around Villanueva where a community of artists has developed from people who have restored farm buildings used to dry tobacco and peppers in the old days, and even bringing back to life the village’s dance hall which is now being used by a new circus theatre company.

Interest in organic farming and renewable energy production is contributing to this growth in rurbanismo, and some interesting innovative economies are developing, including an increased use of barter and the creation of “time banks” where hours of labour can be exchanged for goods and services.

This mix of entrepreneurship, innovation in local economic structure, value-driven movement towards living in small communities, growing organic food and using renewable energy resources to be at least partially self-sufficient feels a very human level, creative response to the current economic and social crises.

There are echoes here, too, of the “eco-villages” movement in Russia as popularised in the Ringing Cedars books.


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This is one of my most favourite activities – to stroll around the temples and shrines of Kyoto and Nara…..




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Now, to me, these shadows look like some form of kanji (secret messages from the ice?)

shadow crystals

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