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“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”
― Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes
Joseph Conrad (December 3, 1857 – August 3, 1924) was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. Wikipedia
The rules–based international order can generally be described as a shared commitment by all countries to conduct their activities in accordance with agreed rules that evolve over time, such as international law, regional security arrangements, trade agreements, immigration protocols, and cultural arrangements.
and the rules-based international order
The young people gathered are in their twenties, dressed in oversized tee-shirts, hoodies, chains and durags. In short, they look like any young people immersed in rap and hip hop culture. But when they launch into their flow, the words are in Persian. Rap has been popular in Iran for the past twenty years but, recently there has been an increasing number of rap battles staged in quiet streets and parks, and videos are popping up online.
This battle between two young rappers was filmed in Tehran in 2019. “You come in here like a gangster and the rap becomes a bit like gossip. You come around here, but you see that I’m the best,” (noise) says one. “I talk and I make noise (….) You pretend that you’re a man but you are just… you can’t do anything,” says the other. According to our Observers, the rapper wearing a black tee-shirt was later arrested during a protest against an increase in the price of gas in late 2019.
Most Iranian rappers never get approval from the Iranian Ministry of Culture to broadcast their songs and have to record in underground locations. Several well-known rappers have been arrested, including Bahram (who was arrested and held in detention for a week in 2008), or exiled, including Pishro (who fled the country after authorities released an arrest warrant with his name on it in 2018) and Hichkas (who continues to record while living abroad). Even so, rap has been on the rise for the past 20 years in the Islamic Republic and many say that it is the most popular style of music amongst young people today.
The rapper “Hossein Spy” participated in this rap battle in Ispahan in September 2019. “I live my life and I rip up the tarmac with my shoes and my evolution, life is like that. This here is Ispahan and its flag flies high.”
More and more rap battles are being posted on Instagram and Telegram. Ama is the administrator for “Rapid,” an instablog about Iranian rap. He’s been keeping close tabs on the scene for the past 14 years.
“Persian rap is extremely rich because we don’t rap just to talk about one girl or another” Young Iranians hear rap all of the time and, like young people around the globe, they try to write their own lyrics. The bravest ones, who believe the most in themselves, take part in battles.
The two major towns where battles take place are Tehran and Mashhad [Mashhad is one of the most religious cities for Shi’a Muslims]. Rap fans know the battlegrounds in their town. Most of them take place in parks. Some of them are pretty spontaneous. If you go to a specific place, you know you’ll find other rappers there and you just go for it, pairing up with someone and launching into a battle. There are also more organized battles that are invitation only. You go to a specific place at a specific time and see two rappers face off.
Rapper Ezzat takes part in a battle in December 2018 in Tehran. “Everyone gathers here. It doesn’t matter if you are from east Tehran or west Tehran, we’re all friends. Here, it’s 021” [The area code for Tehran]”.
Most of these rappers are between the ages of 15 and 30. Most of them are men. There aren’t a lot of female rappers, which is pretty typical in rap scenes around the world. But often there are girls in the audience.
Some Iranian rappers have been arrested, while others have been exiled. But it is hard for police to control freestyle rap. What are they going to do– station an officer at all the park entrances? To date, we don’t know of any freestyle rappers who have been arrested.
“There’s no money in rap here, you do it out of pure love.”
READ ALSO ON THE OBSERVERS: “Taxi Driver,” rap song vents about poverty in Iran Rap battles have become fairly established over the past five or six years. Everything you rap during a battle has to be improvised. At first, people would show up with scripts already written, but, more and more, we have real battles where people create in the moment. In my opinion, Iranian rap is more advanced and more comprehensive as compared to the other countries in the region, including the Persian gulf countries and Afghanistan.
In his freestyle, rapper “Big head” makes fun of a conservative teacher who thinks that women are to blame if their husband cheats on them. “Maybe it’s you that isn’t doing well / Maybe it’s how you behave, he doesn’t want you / (…) you can’t go out often / Call your “marja” [A high official within the Shi’a clergy] and see which side he chooses / They won’t say if your husband is a good guy, they won’t even say anything if he is a thief, they won’t say if he’s an ass (can we say that?), they won’t say if he has a fiery temperament / Maybe it’s your fault”. This video was filmed in Tehran in 2019.
Iranian rappers talk about the world around them, about liberty, equality and politics. They don’t hesitate to criticize the regime and religious conservatives. I think Iranian rap is truly rich because we don’t just talk about one girl or another or about drugs or the theme of “look at how great I am and how bad the others are.” Even if we do of course talk about those things, too… like all rappers in the world!
There’s no money in rap here. There aren’t official concerts and you can’t sell albums so you have to have pure love for rap to do it.
“A better day will come,” a track by the exiled rapper Hichkas, was written in 2009 during a time when the government was violently cracking down on the protest movement demonstrating against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s contested presidential victory.RAP / IRAN / YOUTH CULTURE
Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Krishnamurti’s Last Public Words
Craig Hamilton Attend Craig’s FREE 90-minute audio workshop: https://EvolveBeyondEgo.com In this 8-minute guided meditation excerpted from one of his virtual meditation workshops, Craig illuminates what it really means to be free from the mind. Rather than asking you to quiet your mind, he guides you to the discovery of who you are beyond the mind and invites you to rest in the depth and freedom of your true nature.
Are you in control of your choices? Magic tricks might reveal otherwise, says scientist and illusionist Alice Pailhès. Watch closely as she performs magic tricks that unveil how your brain works, how you can be subtly influenced and what that means for free will and your day-to-day life. Did she guess your card right?
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
THE FUTURIST PROGRAM
In an address last June at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Glenn Seaborg suggested that if the democratic idea is to prevail, everyone must to some extent become “a philosopher and futurist” before he becomes an activist. Following is an excerpt from Seaborg’s remarks:
What kind of future do we want? One of our greatest problems now is that many do not know, some who think they know have not really thought as deeply nor as far as they should, and still others who may have considered the matter more thoroughly have not shared their thoughts widely enough, if at all. In short, we have a desperate need today for dialogue, discussion and debate on the most fundamental issues of life. And these should not take place only in the class room or the conference room. There must be the broadest public examinations and airings of these issues on the highest level.
In a number of my speeches over the past several years I have repeated the thought that our scientific-technological age, with all its rapid change and social implications, is forcing us into a new philosophical age, an era when we must think more deeply than ever before, gain and share more human insights and wisdom than the wisest sages of the past, in order to survive, no less to improve and grow creatively. The events of recent weeks and months convinced me more than ever we must enter such an age. We must think through where we are, where we would like to go and how we should get there.
This does not imply that the “there” is a final goal, a future Utopia to be achieved, or a past paradise lost to be retrieved. But it does mean that we need some vision of the world as we believe it should or might be. And the idea of that vision as only “visionary” or of its planning being the domain of a chosen few must not prevail. If we believe at all in the democratic ideal, and particularly in the “participatory democracy” we hear so much of today, every man must to some extent be both philosopher and futurist before he becomes an activist. If he is not, he may find too late that the “different drummer” to whose beat he is marching is leading him and the thoughtless legions who might join him not to Utopia but to oblivion.
I realized there are many who see in what I am saying the ultimate “cop- out.” “Enough talk, enough thinking,” they say. “Seize the day, and the power.” But have we had enough of either thought or communication in the real sense? Haven’t we been talking at rather than with each other? Hasn’t our thinking been more the reinforcement of comfortable, time-worn beliefs—often outdated, irrelevant ideas—rather than the mind-probing and soul- searching we need? And haven’t we been seizing the day—and the power (and even each other’s buildings and lands)—for centuries, often with disastrous results and today in the face of what some consider impending doom? What we must seize now is something which is far greater than anything we have ever known before. It is the opportunity given to us through centuries of work and growth and knowledge, all culminating in today’s science and technology, and in our instruments of government and education, all of which give us the only real power that counts—that with which we can build physically and spiritually a world and a mankind that could exist only in men’s minds in the past.
Mr. Seaborg believes that the complexity of man’s social and physical system necessitates development of people educated to deal with such complexity. In another address before the Manufacturing Chemists Association at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, he said:
We are faced with a staggering task in education and public communication in the days ahead. For to share more fully and effectively in the work and planning of the extremely complex social and physical system we must create today a “participating citizen” who will have to become something of a “super-citizen,” one who has been educated, in the fullest sense of the word, to understand and evaluate today’s facts of life and the web of complexities in which they are woven. This is a far cry from what industry thinks of today as merely “the consumer.”
It seems to me that one of the greatest tests that we face today is the making of such a citizen as the mainstay of our society. Participation will either start to become meaningful and productive in our society or it will degenerate into senseless noise and destruction. We must do everything possible to prevent the latter, as history has shown repeatedly that the resulting chaos always leads to a repressive society.
Another lesson we have been learning, and its impact is falling on us very harshly in many ways, is the need for more and better planning, for a greater degree of constructive foresight. And in a sense we may find that the computer is our new crystal bait, helping us to project alternative futures and choose the best to strive for.
We are seeing today in an increasing number of areas—our natural environment and resources, our cities, our transportation systems, our social and governmental institutions—how we are becoming the victims of our own shortsightedness and self-centeredness. The laws of the marketplace can no longer be the principal guide of the affairs of man. Many natural limitations and manifestations of human stress are already indicating that we are going to have to take a larger, longer look at human affairs on this planet and try to determine more rationally where we want to go and how we want to get there. Thinking and planning on such a cosmic scale, as this implies, are naturally frightening to most of us. We have learned well the lesson of human fallibility in planning. Planning has always implied restrictions on individual freedom and the need to forego some immediate gratification to achieve a future gain. Often such a sacrifice did not seem necessary.
We had other reasons for not taking the longer view. We have always had new physical frontiers to move on to and substantial margins for error to fall back on when our gambles on short-term gains didn’t pay off. But as our earthly frontiers—our space and resources—are diminished, and as our activities—social and physical—increase in scope and power, we must grow both wiser and more confident in our dealings with the future. If we cannot conceive, agree on and work towards many long-range goals in this country and this world we may he in dire trouble as a nation and as a species. We have come face to face with this realization of what we broadly call our environmental problem
I believe that this problem—more accurately, a whole series of complex interrelated problems—may be the one that starts us thinking and acting more as a comprehensive society in this nation, and, hopefully, as a single mankind on this planet.
January 8, 1971 Hollywood, California
Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology: The Classic Guide to Modern Astrology
by Alan Oken
“Our job is to lovingly and consciously cooperate with the forces at work on this globe at this time. Astrology provides a way to link the individual with a conscious attunement to the planetary forces that are part of and affect the whole.”
More than fifteen years ago, Alan Oken pioneered the development of New Age astrology with the publication of three books collected in this comprehensive edition.
Now, newly updated, Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology charts the cosmological pathway to greater personal fulfillment and spiritual attunement through a deeper, more intuitive understanding of our own power–and the age we live in. Featuring state-of-the-art astrological charts and diagrams, line drawings, charts of contemporary celebrities, an exhaustive bibliography and much more, this new edition of the classic trilogy is one of the most accessible and informative guides to the heavens ever written.
For beginners and experts alike, Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology is your key to understanding the laws of the new planetary age.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have taken a “major step” toward a potential drug treatment for COVID-19.
Pitt School of Medicine researchers discovered the smallest biological molecule to date that “completely and specifically” neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a report published Monday in the journal Cell.
The scientists reported that a tiny antibody component — 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody — can be used to create a therapeutic and preventative drug called Ab8 and found it to be “highly effective” in preventing the SARS-CoV-2 in mice and hamsters.
The molecule’s tiny size could be advantageous for its movement through the body’s tissues to neutralize the virus and for administering the drug — for example, through inhalation, according to the university. MARILYNN MARCHIONENIAID-sponsored study: Anti-inflammatory drug, paired with remdesivir, may shorten COVID-19 recovery time
“Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections,” co-author Dr. John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UPMC and Pitt, said in a Monday press release. “Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune.”
The work was done in conjunction with scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the University of British Columbia and the University of Saskatchewan.
Pitt researchers are expected to discuss their work in more detail Tuesday.
First Published September 14, 2020, 12:51pm