March 28, 2012
I don’t believe in dogmas and theologies. I just believe in being a good person.
When I work, and in my art, I hold hands with God.
I see things like they’ve never been seen before.
Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it is made.
I need somebody who I can really communicate with.
When I have sex with someone I forget who I am.
For a minute I even forget I’m human.
It’s the same thing when I’m behind a camera. I forget I exist.
Quotes by Robert Mapplethorpe
Photographs by Lilla Szasz
March 28, 2012
The Biggest Cat on Earth: The Siberian Tiger
by Clara Lehman
The Panthera tigris altaica, Siberian Tiger, or Amur Tiger as it is also known, is matched in size by no other wild cat. The Tungusic people of North China and Russia regarded the animal as a deity, and gave it names such as ‘Grandfather’ or ‘Old Man.’ There is no denying the majestic nature of this special animal, and even when looking at contemporary Chinese culture the Siberian tiger is seen again and again. Adult Siberian tigers can often reach lengths of 3.3 metres long, and a weight of 300 kilograms, but there have been recordings of animals larger than this. One Siberian tiger, called ‘Jaipur’, who was kept in captivity, reached a staggering weight of 465 kilograms.
Their Natural Habitat
Right now the Siberian tiger is mostly confined to the cold birch forests of eastern Russia, but they can be found in China, and also Korea. In centuries past these magnificent creatures were much more prevalent across a large area cutting through Russia, China and Korea, but in modern times their numbers have dwindled. Siberian tigers prospered in the isolated habitats away from human settlements, but as the human race grew and spread, the Siberian tiger began to lose its territory.
In a rare instance of the natural world, these animals sometimes engage in a losing battle with humans, often after being provoked or from an attempt to capture them. While they are not considered to pose a specific threat to humans, they have been known to defend their territory, and are more than capable of killing a man. These wild cats are so strong and powerful that they can successfully hunt brown bears, and make it difficult for wolves to exist in the same environment because they dominate the food source.
They hunt alone, without a pack to help them catch prey, and their technique is to sneak up on their next meal. They hunt a variety of different animals, but their usual diet consists of deer, wild boar, fish, and birds. Their habit of occupying areas with the lowest human density is a great advantage, because it offers them the most complete natural ecosystem where they can reign supreme.
The Strive to Protect
The Siberian tiger is currently in the endangered bracket in terms of conservation. There are no definite figures as to exactly how many still exist in the wild, but it is estimates from 2005 put the figure at between 300 and 400. There is a large effort to protect these now rare animals, but still they succumb to the poachers and deforestation, especially in China. The extent of poaching is surprising considering how dangerous these animals can be, and the damage they can inflict. Opportunist poachers with cheap van insurance really are risking life and limb when attempting to capture and transport a Siberian tiger.
One instance in 2002 saw a man from Jilin province in China survive an attack by a Siberian tiger. He claimed the tiger attacked him without any provocation on his part, but his story raised suspicions, mainly because Siberian tigers very rarely attack humans. It was later revealed that the man had actually set traps to catch the animal, and he was only attacked once the tiger in questioned had a snare around its neck, causing it untold pain. The damage and infection caused by the snare eventually killed the tiger, even after desperate surgery to try and save it.
Rarely thought of as a man-eater, the Siberian tiger now benefits from a large conservation effort that strives to protect the animal and ensure that their numbers stop declining. The majority of Siberian tigers, maybe as many as 95% of the wild population, live in the Russian Far East. The World Conservation Society Russia has a Siberian Tiger Project that focuses on collecting scientific information connected to Siberian tiger ecology and using it to help conserve them. They have been tracking the animals through the use of radio collars since 1992, and are building a complete understanding of how Siberian tigers live, their eating habits, preproduction rates, social structure, and use of territory. From their research they have concluded that around 80% of Siberian tigers die because of human influence. It seems that only increased efforts to keep deforestation and human expansion away from the environments that Siberian tigers inhabit, along with stopping poachers, will stop their numbers decreasing.
March 26, 2012
March 21, 2012
March 19, 2012
And if the muse of Plato speaks the truth,
Man but recalls what once he knew and lost.
When something is done for some purpose,
and for certain reasons something other than what was intended happens,
it is called chance.
Hidden cause confounds the human heart.
It is time for healing, not lamenting.
Fate is the ever-changing web…
Quotes from The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
Photographs from Framework
March 18, 2012
March 17, 2012
Those who do deny are dense like stone. They block the flow of energy, and that is fine—for them. But for me, it is like being stuck in a castle, or a prison, or simply behind a wall. And the more I tear down my own, the more open my soul becomes.
Ever since that fateful day that I told Mr. Brown, “You inspire me to find the divine and bring it to life,” everything has changed. It is normal, even admirable, to speak the words, “I found God,” although it took me some time to let go of my own prejudices. But opening my heart to God brought me to something else. For years and years, I have had psychic abilities. But I dismissed them, because I feared… that life was like a movie and I would see bad things.
But life is nothing like a movie. And there are no bad things. And this was proved to me the day I knew two people had been hit by my subway train. And nothing about it scared me, because I was told to watch and to listen very carefully. And because I did, I was given the understanding that the spirits will not harm me. But other people, they are not listening and insularity can be a painful and anxious thing. I was on the train and, other than the police and the conductor and the dead, no one else knew what had happened. But, as typical New Yorkers, eighty five percent of them grew irate with having to wait five—ten—fifteen minutes to go on with their lives. But God has blessed them because they have lives to go on. And I said a silent prayer because I knew the dead were at peace but that so many others would feel left behind, that two families would be in shock and mourning in a matter of moments.
In writing this today, I know that no longer shall I judge those who deny in order to protect, imprisoned by their own (demons) (fears) (lies) (self absorption). And because of their walls, they refuse the beauty that awaits them at every moment they walk this earth. I don’t fault them for any of this because I am no better. I am no worse. I am perfectly flawed, just like you are.
Only now I try to be conscious, because I have removed the greatest walls from my life, and on doing so, the spirits have returned to my side ten fold. I was laughing the other day, saying it is okay for me to say I have found God but when I talk about spirits, I know people want to look at me sideways. Only, here’s the thing. I reached out to God. I called to Him. And in doing so, He appeared. And that is easy to understand. But I never call to the spirits. The spirits come to me. And I have learned things I never asked to know, and I have seen death in many ways.
I never ever seek them out. That is why I trust them. Why I believe. Because they know I am a writer, a publicist, and something of an iconoclast. And for being this, they know I will speak on their behalf. Without fear. With love. And humility. Because I know that the spirits speaking to me does not make me special. In fact, it does just the opposite. It reminds me that I am exactly like everyone else. That we all possess this gift. Some of us just… deny it.
It is funny, as in sad, that I had to learn what would happen when a spirit was denied. I was told to tell someone something, and it was flat out rejected, and the result was the spirits stopped talking to me as long as I allowed this person into my heart. Not that they took it personal, or were punishing me. I think they understood that I was dealing with a nonbeliever, and they wanted to leave me in peace.
But the thing that is sad is that I had a message for he who does not believe. And he didn’t want to hear it, and that is okay. Because the spirits didn’t fault me or fault him. There is no judgment among the dead.
March 17, 2012
March 17, 2012
Watch, watch your body walking, sitting, lying down,
and you will be able to see that you are the watcher, not the body.
Watch your mind in anger, in hatred, in love, in greed, in misery, in joy,
and you will become aware one day that you are not these things that happen in the mind;
you are the watcher. Slowly slowly the watcher becomes crystallized.
That is the birth of the soul. That day you are really born, that day your real life begins.
From that moment God is a reality for you, and the only reality.
March 4, 2012
Nature is the art of God.
A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.
Art, as far as it is able, follows nature, as a pupil imitates his master;
thus your art must be, as it were, God’s grandchild.
Beauty awakens the soul to act.
Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories,
and still your eyes are on the ground.
Quotes by Dante Alighieri
Art from Divine Universe
March 4, 2012
For two days, hot tears have fallen from my eyes. It is like this, letting go, freeing myself of the demons that have haunted my soul. Tears fall in a baptism of sorts, holy water from the Holy Spirit, cleansing me of the dark forces that have stolen my life, of living death without being dead. Tears fall to set me free, to force me to let go of the lies I believe, of letting me be with what is most ugly in myself and in others. Tears fall to remind me that I am human, fallible, flawed, but most of all—full of hope, of infinite possibility, of knowing that it is only the truth that shall set me free.
In the past two days the most amazing thing has happened. I discovered what the word “friend” truly means. I always thought myself a good friend, only to find out that many of the people I had taken as friends were anything but. Wolves in sheep’s clothing for so long, they had taken themselves for sheep, but the trail of blood suggests otherwise.
But don’t get me wrong. Wolves have their rightful place. Nature designed them to thin the herd. They belong amongst themselves, in a pack. They hold together and feast upon others, and that is what gives them life. But me, I am a sheep. I eat things green and have fluffy hair. I prefer to be docile, I prefer to be calm. I know that when I am not, it is only because I am in the presence of a wolf. I am unconsciously highly alarmed.
But back to the sheep, back to where I belong. This is a metaphor, so I don’t want to string it along. I do not mean to suggest that I am a sheep in the sense of a follower, though I do take God, the Tao, and Nature as my guiding force. I trust in energies larger than me because I am an animal and I am ruled by biology, chemistry, physics, and beyond that—the mysterious.
Spirituality is something I have begun to discover, something I have begun to investigate, on my own and with people who are receptive to greatness. To be receptive to greatness means to be humble for it is only in the state of humility that we can grow. To think we have all the answers, to think that as we are is all that there is, is to be a member of the living dead. For there is no life where there is no growth, there is only self importance blocking out all hope. And having, once upon a time, been filled with this, for having been a sheep in wolves’ clothing, I know for myself that this is not living as it is meant to be, but quitting life long before you die.
Ahh, but none of that. Not today. The tears are gone and I am okay. Not okay meaning healed , not okay meaning that the pain is gone, but okay as in, I accept everything as it is, for what it is. I accept that I did not listen to the words that were howled with the anger of a thousand wolves. The Walls Stay. Sheep Be Gone.
I accept what could never be. I accept that I deluded myself into dreaming of love because I believed that no one would choose to suffer at their own hand. But I was wrong. And for that I pay. I failed myself as only I could fail. I lead myself to believe lies rather than walking away. But this has served its purpose, a greater one than I could ever imagine for it has only been a matter of three months, but everything has changed. I am not the person I was before, and I see this in the air I breathe.
This morning I rediscovered something about who I am. I am a collaborator, I believe in connection. My girl, Miss Jong, she has her first solo New York City exhibition coming this June. And we met the other day to discuss the project. And while I first met her under one context, that is as an author in my imprint, my imprint is gone but we are still here, both of us growing, expanding, reaching beyond who we once were.
In speaking with Miss Jong I was reminded of who I am, for it is she that said the words I quote more often than not. Two years ago, she said to me, “Your gift is articulating other people’s ideas.” I love that. I love her precision with words, her ability to say exactly who I am and for me to embrace it to the fullest. Because she has reminded me of what makes me human—of our need to connect intimately, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually.
What we need—as animals—is to be part of a loving community. What we need—as artists—is to build a community based on our truths. Miss Jong has an exhibition and I have this blog. What I write, the images I publish, the quotes I discover, the artists I revere—this is my interpretation of myself and I speak for no one else. No longer am I fraught with having a legacy, of leaving a mark after death—because death is no longer a fear. Life, life is what is scary. And this is what it takes to face down my fears: speaking my truth, finding my voice and using it. To sing, to scream, to giggle, to hum, to moan, to growl, to laugh, to sob.
Emotion is the core to all human connection. What makes us go beyond our boundaries is trusting ourselves in order grow and expand and move towards other people. I know this is true for me, and I take some of my more deeply ingrained psychological truths as universal.
But I also accept that though I am right for me, I am not you. You know your truth. Let go and find the place where you can go deeper into yourself. What is beautiful is that we all work in complementary mediums. My skill with words serves your ideas. Your skill with ideas serves my words. This is what I love most about collaboration. Discovering myself in the space between us.
February 28, 2012
A part of you has grown in me, together forever we shall be,
never apart, maybe in distance, but not in heart.
Lonely is a man without love.
To be loved is to live forever in someone’s heart.
You will find as you look back upon your life
that the moments when you have really lived
are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.
all quotes are anonymous
photographs from Dead Boy’s Poem