Koranic Recitation

24 02 2009

Somewhat related, I found the following poem on a new blog that you all need to visit. Here is a taste:

When in a vision I saw
A mullah ordered to paradise,
Unable to hold my tongue,
I said something in this wise:

‘Pardon me, O Lord,
For these bold words of mine,
But he will not be pleased
With the houris and the wine.

He loves to dispute and fight,
And furiously wrangle,
But paradise is no place
For this kind of jangle.

His task is to disunite
And leave people in the lurch,
But paradise has no temple,
No mosque and no church.’

-Muhammad Iqbal





Alban Berg’s Wozzeck

29 01 2009

The opening of the opera





Corrido de la Muerte

16 01 2009

“Ven, dame un beso, Pelona…”

Es muy padre este corrido.

Esto muestra que la Muerte es una figura muy personal en la conciencia mexicana.

(This shows that Death is a very personal figure in Mexican consciousness. Note: “Pelona” means “bald woman”, a title for Death in Mexican folklore.)

santamuerteub8





The Problem of Evil in Neoplatonic Thought

18 12 2008

But it is as if two people were living in the same well-built house; one of them criticizes its structure and its builder, although he keeps on living in it all the same. The other, however, does not criticize; in fact, he affirms the builder has constructed the house with consummate skill, and he awaits the time when he will move on, and no longer have need of a house… He who finds fault with the nature of the universe does not know what he is doing, nor how far his arrogance is taking him. The reason is that they do not know about the successive order of things, from the first to the second to the third, and down to the last things; nor do they know that we must not abuse those things which are lower than the first, but gently acquiesce in the nature of all things.

-Plotinus

Boys cannot understand the counsel of their elders, nor peasants the thoughts of the wise. However, with unbecoming arrogance, the earthly creature Man often presumes to fathom the reasons of divine nature, and search into the purpose of its providence. And, what is worse, men of all ages blasphemously discuss the divine mysteries at banquets, even in brothels. Pythagoras justly prohibited speaking of these mysteries without divine insight. No man, but the divine, Campano, perceives the divine… It should therefore be enough for man to know that the beautiful working of this single universe is governed by a wise architect, on whom it depends. From goodness itself only good can spring. And what proceeds from that can only be ordered well. Therefore, everything should be accepted for the best. Who thus understands the divine, and loves it, is divine by nature, good in practice, joyful in hope, blessed in reward.

-Marsilio Ficino

Of the most ridiculous of people who pretend to be philosophers, the most foolish are those who toil over the “problem of evil”.  This most of all is like chasing your own tail. If you want to understand evil, look at yourself, at your own fears, and your own mortality. The chaos in your own heart is the cause of the chaos outside of it.

The only satisfactory resolution to the problem of horrible things happening to us is, to echo Plotinus, to realize that this house that we live in now is only a temporary stop in our pilgrimage towards eternity. We are, as both of the divines say, called to a higher life, on the cusp of eternity and time, eternal life and temporary death. There is no other way to make sense of the atrocities and tragedies experienced here; providence is beyond the grasp of the human mind. Only the invoking of the divine in ourselves can save us and bring back light from the darkness. The only way to escape the evils of our animal existence is to leap over the human towards the divine. This is more a ritual, a surrender to the One using the things of this world to recognize our own falleness, than a puzzle to be solved by the humanly clever.





L’Après-midi d’un Faune

5 12 2008

As danced by Rudolf Nureyev. Music is of course by Claude Debussy





Satyagraha

21 11 2008

The opening of the opera by Philip Glass

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed…

If, however, you do not perform your religious duty of fighting, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter…O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get up and fight with determination.

Bhagavad Gita

gita-001





Stravinsky’s Renard

31 10 2008

part 1

part 2





Jean-Philippe Rameau – Platée

22 10 2008




Robert Ashley

17 10 2008

The beginning of a film on avant-garde composer Robert Ashley’s magnum opus, Perfect Lives. It is the American “opera” par excellence.





Heitor Villa-Lobos

3 10 2008