Raga Piloo

This recording from 1967 is the best track on a superb album. One melodically inventive motif after another, perfectly coordinated between these two geniuses!

Accoring to Ravi’s daughter, Anoushka Shankar, it was composed by Shankar and taught, presumably to Menuhin. Here she performs a version with Patricia Kopatchinskaja 50 years later.

We get to see that one of the two is working hard, playing brilliantly what is on the page in front of her, while the other plays virtuosically without effort, and seems to enjoy her performance as from a sweet dream.


Zhong Fu =Inner Truth

One day, you’ll choose to die. You won’t decide
With conscious mind, but somewhere deep inside
Is knowledge of a portal you’ll pass through.
Another world is beckoning to you.

One day, you chose to live. That was before
You had a brain or corpse. Sensation nor
Cognition were entailed, the barest gist
Of you resolved (corporeally) to exist.

And while you’re here, that essence uncongealed
Remains elusive, its soft whispers drowned
By sound and light and most especially pain.
When you will ask, “Who am I”, when you’ve peeled
Away all thought and feeling, you’ll astound
Yourself in being you again.

— JJM = #61 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

Wind stirs water by penetrating it. Thus the superior man, when obliged to judge the mistakes of men, tries to penetrate their minds with understanding, in order to gain a sympathetic appreciation of the circumstances. In ancient China, the entire administration of justice was guided by this principle. A deep understanding that knows how to pardon was considered the highest form of justice. This system was not without success, for its aim was to make so strong a moral impression that there was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness. For it sprang not from weakness but from a superior clarity.</small>

The People Never Welcomed War

Winslow Homer (1863)

When Union and Confederate troops happened to camp across rivers from each other, it became a common practice for their bands to engage in musical exchanges. They would take turns playing their own favorites, eliciting cheers from both sides, and then the bands would play “Home Sweet Home” in unison. After one such interlude, a Confederate soldier wrote in his diary, “I do believe that had we not had the river between us that the two armies would have gone together and settled the war right there and then.”

— from Alice Ballard’s Work and Working Blog

Read stuff that rubs you the wrong way

Today, the broad consensus trust in science and journalism is in tatters… [The] loss of trust is a clear symptom of a loss of trustworthiness. Our institutions of knowledge production have betrayed public trust repeatedly, as have our political institutions. Now, many people won’t believe them even when they tell the truth. This must be frustrating to the scrupulous doctor, scientist, or public official. To them, the problem looks like a public gone mad, a rising tide of anti-scientific irrationality that is endangering public health. The solution, from that perspective, would be to combat ignorance. It is almost as if ignorance is a virus (in fact, I have heard that phrase before) that must be controlled through the same kind of quarantine (for example, censorship) that we apply to the coronavirus.

[R]eality and belief construct each other, coevolving as a coherent whole. The intimate, mysterious connection between myth and reality means that belief is never actually a slave to fact. We are facts’ sovereign — which is not to say their creator. To be their sovereign doesn’t mean to be their tyrant, disrespecting and over-ruling them. The wise monarch pays attention to an unruly subject, such as a fact that defies the narrative.

To those who categorically dismiss any information that seriously challenges conventional medicine, lockdown policies, vaccines, etc., I would ask, Do you need such high walls around your kingdom? Instead of banishing these unruly subjects, would it hurt to give them an audience? Would it be so dangerous to perhaps tour another kingdom, guided not by your own loyal minister but by the most intelligent, welcoming partisans of the other side? If you have no interest in spending the several hours it will take to absorb the following dissenting opinions, fine. I’d rather be in my garden too. But if you are a partisan in these issues, what harm will it do to visit enemy territory? Normally partisans don’t do that. They rely on the reports of their own leaders about the enemy. If they know anything of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s or Judy Mikovitz’s views, it is through the lens of someone debunking them. So give a listen to Kennedy, or if you prefer MD’s only, to David KatzZach Bush, or Christiane Northrup,

I would like to offer the same invitation to those who reject the conventional view. Find the most scrupulous mainstream doctors and scientists you can, and dive into their world. Take the attitude of a respectful guest, not a hostile spy. If you do that, I guarantee you will encounter data points that challenge any narrative you came in with. The splendor of conventional virology, the wonders of chemistry that generations of scientists have discovered, the intelligence and sincerity of most of these scientists, and the genuine altruism of health care workers on the front line who have no political or financial conflict of interest in the face of grave risk to themselves, must be part of any satisfactory narrative.

After two months of obsessively searching for one, I have not yet found a satisfactory narrative that can account for every data point.

— Read more from Charles Eisenstein


Jean Francaix was born this day in 1912. He composed this little concerto at age 21.

À 11 ans, il rencontre Ravel, qui l’encourage à poursuivre et à développer sa curiosité. Il remporte, à 18 ans, son premier prix de piano au Conservatoire de Paris avec comme professeur Isidor Philipp et étudie en privé la composition avec Nadia Boulanger. Sa composition de jeunesse, le Concertino pour piano et orchestre (1932) connaît un succès immédiat.

Maurice Ravel said of the young [11] Françaix to the boy’s parents, “Among the child’s gifts I observe above all the most fruitful an artist can possess, that of curiosity: you must not stifle these precious gifts now or ever, or risk letting this young sensibility wither.”[4] They did not, and he flourished: Françaix was a prolific composer, writing over 200 pieces in a wide variety of styles.

— Wikipedia


Plaint of the Grasshopper


La cigale, ayant chanté,
Tout l’Été,
Se trouva fort dépourvue
Quand la bise fut venue.
Pas un seul petit morceau
De mouche ou de vermisseau.
Elle alla crier famine
Chez la Fourmi sa voisine,
La priant de lui prêter
Quelque grain pour subsister
Jusqu’à la saison nouvelle.
Je vous paierai, lui dit-elle,
Avant l’Oût, foi d’animal,
Intérêt et principal.
La Fourmi n’est pas prêteuse ;
C’est là son moindre défaut.
« Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud ?
Dit-elle à cette emprunteuse.
— Nuit et jour à tout venant
Je chantais, ne vous déplaise.
— Vous chantiez ? j’en suis fort aise.
Eh bien ! dansez maintenant. »
— Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695)
Fiddling the summer long,

Cicada came to rue his song.

With the winter’s snow and sleet,
He had not a crumb to eat.
“Famine!” cried he at the door
Of cousin ant, “I’ll starve for sure.
Please to lend the season’s food
Which I’ll repay — my credit’s good.”
Famous for his frugal ways,
The ant recalled his summer days.
“You might have worked a good deal harder
Stocking up your own great larder.”

“I was busking, you’ll recall,
Through the summer and the fall.”
“Your regrets have come too late.
Eat the song that’s on your plate!”

— tr. JJM (1949 – )

To generations of French children, the hero of this fable is the industrious ant. But Bernard Suits (1925-2007) saw the situation from The Grasshopper’s perspective, and he wrote a philosophical novel explaining his ideas.

“But that kind of justice,” exclaimed Prudence, ‘is only the justice of ants. Grasshoppers have nothing to do with such ‘justice.’,”
“You are right,” said the Grasshopper. ”The justice which is fairness in
trading is irrelevant to the lives of true grasshoppers. But there is a
different kind of justice which prevents me from accepting your offer.
Why are you willing to work so that I may live? Is it not because I embody in my life what you aspire to, and you do not want the model of your aspirations to perish? Your wish is understandable, and to a certain point even commendable. But at bottom it is inconsistent and selfdefeating. It is also — and I hope you will not take offence at my blunt language — hypocritical.
…the whole burden of my teaching is that you ought to be idle. So now
you propose to use me as a pretext not only for working, but for working harder than ever, since you would have not only yourselves to feed, but me as well. I call this hypocritical because you would like to take credit for doing something which is no more than a ruse for avoiding living up to your ideals.”

At this point Skepticus broke in with a laugh. “What the Grasshopper means, Prudence,” he said, “is that we do not yet have the courage of his convictions. The point is that we should not only refuse to work for the Grasshopper, we should also refuse to work for ourselves. We, like him, should be dying for our principles. That we are not is the respect in which, though no longer ants, we are not grasshoppers either. And, of course, given the premise that the life of the Grasshopper is the only life worth living, what he says certainly follows.”

“Not quite, Skepticus,” put in the Grasshopper. “I agree that the principles in question are worth dying for. But I must remind you that they are the principles of Grasshoppers. I am not here to persuade you to die for my principles, but to persuade you that I must. We ought to be quite clear about our respective roles. You are not here to die for me, but I for you. You only need, as Skepticus put it, the courage of my convictions up to a point; that is, courage sufficient to approve rather than to deplore my death. Neither of you is quite prepared to grant that approval, though for different reasons. You, Prudence, because, although you believe the principles are worth dying for, you do not believe they need to be died for; and you, Skepticus, because you are not even sure that the principles are worth dying for.

…it is possible that with accelerating advances in technology the time will come when there are in fact no winters. We may therefore conclude that although my timing may be a bit off, my way of life is not wrong in principle.”
“The operation was successful but the patient died,” put in Skepticus.
“No,” replied the Grasshopper, “it’s not quite like that.

…The ideal of prudence, therefore, like the ideal of preventive medicine, is its own extinction. For if it were the case that no sacrifices of goods needed ever to be made, then prudential actions would be pointless, indeed impossible. This principle, knowledge of which I regard as an indispensable first step on the path to wisdom, the ants seem never even to have entertained. The true Grasshopper sees that work is not self-justifying, and that his way of life is the final justification of any work whatever.”

John Danaher makes the same point less joyfully in the context of automation and UBI.