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Category Archives: Rationalism

Art on the move: responding to crises – Oregon ArtsWatch

Posted: June 17, 2020 at 1:52 am

WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF LIFE-CHANGING TIMES, and in the faceof multiple crises remarkable work is being done. How do artists fit in? Sometimes, smack in the middle of things. Many news organizations have been doing excellent work of discovering the artists speaking to the moment and bringing their work to a broadaudience. Oregon Public Broadcasting, for instance, has been publishingsome sterling stories including the featureThe Faces of Protest: The Memorial Portraits of Artist Ameya Marie Okamoto, by Claudia Meza and John Nottariani. Okamoto, a young social practice artist who grew up in Portland, has made it her work not just to document the events of racial violence in Portland and across the United States: Shesalso, as OPB notes, crafted dozens of portraits for victims of violence and injustice.

People get so attached to the hashtag and the movement of George Floyd or Quanice Hayes, Okamota tells OPB, they forget that George Floyd was a trucker who moved to Minneapolis for a better life, or that Quanice Hayes was actually called Moose by his friends andfamily.When individuals become catalysts for Black Lives Matter and catalysts for social change there is a level of complex personhood that is stripped away fromthem. In her work she strives to give that back.

Okamoto also, radically, makes her work available to anyone who wants it. OPB notes that sheoffers her work online freefor nonprofit use,with a$10 suggested donation to the activist group Dont Shoot Portland.

In a piece by Eric Slade,Street Artists Transform Portlands Boarded Buildings With Murals,OPBalso has documented a movement to bring beauty to the streets in trying times. And inPain Fades, but Murals Remember People Killed by Police, The New York TimessZachary Small gathers images and meanings of artists responses to multiple slayings over multiple years across the nation.

MEANWHILE, AMY WANG of The Oregonian/Oregon Live has had two fine stories published in recent days. She wrotea moving memory of Portland writerRamiza Shamoun Koya, who died last week of breast cancer at age 49, and whose novelThe Royal Abdulswas published earlier this year by Portlands Forest Avenue Press. The novel, Wang wrote, is an elegantly multilayered and deeply moving story of a Muslim American family caught in the fissures of identity, immigration and race that were deepened by 9/11. And in35 books about race, recommended by black Portland writers, Wang talked with writers Intisar Abioto, Walidah Imarisha, David F. Walker, and Emmett Wheatfall to produce a small library of essential reading about Americas great divide.

MORE GOOD READING, FROM THE PARIS REVIEW: The literary quarterly magazine has unlocked several of its in-depth Writers at Work interviews from past years, offering free access to lengthy conversations with such important black writers asMaya Angelou(1990),Ralph Ellison(1955),Charles Johnson(2018),Ishmael Reed(2016),Edward P. Jones(2013), andSamuel R. Delany(2011). Ellisons comment from 65 years ago seems particularly pertinent to now: I recognize no dichotomy between art and protest. DostoyevskysNotes from Undergroundis, among other things, a protest against the limitations of nineteenth-century rationalism;Don Quixote,Mans Fate,Oedipus Rex,The Trialall these embody protest, even against the limitation of human life itself. And Reed, speaking of the highly politicalAmiri Baraka, whom he calls a great writer, also homes in on the importance of artistry and style, and how black artists have helped shape an American expression: He did for English syntax what [Thelonious] Monk did for chords.

THE STRIKING NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL UPRISING against police brutality and racial injustice has been dominating the news, even though the Covid-19 pandemic still rages, and indeed, is more destructive in the United States right now than almostanywhere else. In Oregon and across the nation lockdown restrictions, which have taken a huge economic toll, are easing, and no one knows what effect themassive public protests of the past two weeks will have on the potential spreading of the coronavirus. But reported cases are on the rise, and many health authorities are warning of a second wave of infection that could be worse than the first.

Such things have been on the mind ofHenk Pander, the Dutch-born and -trained painter whos lived and worked in Portland since 1965. On Wednesday morning in his Southeast Portland home studio hefinished his newest painting and signed his name to it. Maybe hell do a little touchup here, maybe a little change there, but probably not. I dont like to overwork these things, he explained over the phone on Wednesday afternoon.

Much of Panders work carries forward the rich tradition of history painting, and in a wayPlague Ships Fleeing the Burning City of Caffa. Ca 1347does, too. It reimagines an actual devastation during the Black Death years of the 14th century in the trade-center city of Caffa, on the Crimea, in what is now Ukraine. The seeds of the painting were planted a few years ago when Pander picked up a copy of John Kellys 2005 history of the Plague yearsThe Great Mortality, at Powells City of Books, and then took bloom with the rise of this years pandemic. We should be grateful that this is notTHEPlague, which began in eastern or central Asia and spread across the Middle East into Europe and beyond, killing by varying estimates 30 to 60 percent of Europes population, Pander commented.

Learning more about the historical calamity, Pander said, gave him an opportunity to make a painting about the current Covid-19 crisis without including such things as face masks: Its a vision, a fantasy. Youve got the burning of Rome in it, for crying out loud. He studied etchings of the ruins of Rome by the 18th century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and looked up the designs of Plague flags from ships during the Black Death. What he was looking for was a sense of devastation and ruin, and that included adding the year 1347 to the paintings title: By giving the date it gives it a kind of authenticity. You can look it up and discover the full story, he said.

Still, this is an unfinished story. Panders painting may be finished. The pandemic is far from it.

THE PANDEMIC AND THE AMERICAN RACIAL CRISIS, along with a tense and unsettling political season, have shaken business-as-usual in many ways: The sense that the new normal, whenever it emerges, will look very different from the old normal is strong. This holds true in the arts world as much as in the culture at large. Weve seen in recent days nationaluprisings in the world of theater, where major artists of color including Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Henry Hwang, Viola Davis and Quiara Alegra Hudes have signed a letter decrying racism in the industry, andin the world of poetry, where the president and board chairman of the richly endowed Poetry Foundation have resigned after an open letter signed by more than 1,800 poets and others criticized the Foundations response to the Black Lives Matter movement. As poets, we recognize a piece of writing that meets the urgency of its time with the appropriate fire when we see it and this is not it, the letter said in part.

OTHER FALLOUT HAS BEEN MORE PERSONAL, particularly in the case of pandemic-imposed isolation. InFocusing in Isolation, Portland photographer Pat Rose talks with five prominent Oregon photographers Ray Bidegain, Jamila Clarke, Jim Fitzgerald, Heidi Kirkpatrick and Angel OBrien about how the lockdown has or hasnt affected their lives and their work. How can we all not be changed by this? OBrien comments. The whole world has been upended, and any sense of stability has been erased..Now we are all having to deal with these innumerable humanitarian crises, but without hugs, without the closeness of friends and family. This is the first of two parts: Look for the words and works of five more photographers next week from Rose.

THE WORLDS TURNED VIRTUAL DURING LOCKDOWN, even more than it already was, and inAccounts to follow: Irresistible colorsShannon M. Lieberman continues her exploration of the Instagram accounts of Oregon artists, this time coming up with some colorful recommendations in the work ofDon Bailey, Ernesto Aguilar, and Meghan NutMeg, a trio of artists who, Lieberman declares, draw viewers in through their irresistible profusion of color.

ANINEVITABLE CHANGE IN THE ARTS LANDSCAPE WILL BE A SHAKING-OUT and reorganizing of organizations and how they go about their business. On Thursday the Oregon Cultural Trust reported results of astatewide survey of arts groups that reveals a devastating impact of Covid-19: The majority of Oregons cultural organizations are facing suspension of operations or permanent closure, the Trust declared. The Trust projects a revenue loss of more than $40 million statewide to arts groups by the end of June, with the arts & culture sector of the state economy being hit disproportionately hard by the crisis, especially in rural communities with little access to relief funding.

WILL BIG AND LITTLE ARTS GROUPS BE SCRAPPING for the same vastly reduced pile of money? Former Portland Opera General Director Christopher Mattaliano, inWill Portland protect its Big 5?, his essay for ArtsWatch thats spread far and wide,argues for a big picture look beyond the pandemic. Hecriticizes the citys smaller is better ethos and argues that the major groups the opera, Oregon Symphony, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Center Stage at the Armory should be considered anchor institutions that establish a strong cultural foundation for the city and provide an anchor for other important, smaller-scale arts organizations and local artists to coexist within a rich arts ecology. Mattalianos essay feels like the beginning of an important conversation that almost surely will reveal sharp differences of opinion: Expect to hear counter-arguments soon.

EVEN WHEN THE NEWS IS GOOD, IT SEEMS, ITS ALSO PARTLY BAD. Last week the Portland Art Museum, which has been closed since March 14 and bleeding money because of lost income,announced plans to reopen the second week in July. At the same time, it also announced that because of the hole already shot in its budget, it will lay off 51 full-time and 72 part-time workers. The museum hopes that many of the layoffs will be temporary.

Composer and vocalist Damien Geter, performing with Portland Concert Opera.

PORTLAND COMPOSER AND SINGER DAMIEN GETERS newest project, his large-scale workAn African American Requiem, seems to have one foot in the Black Lives Matter movement and the other in the pandemic crisis. Its deeply concerned with the roots and meanings of the black experience in America and its world premiere has been delayed because of the coronavirus. WithBlack music is the center of American culture, Charles Rose begins a three-part interview with Geter on what the music is and why it takes the shape it does. The Requiem, Rose declares, remains poised to become a landmark achievement both for Portlands musical culture and for American music as a whole. Commissioned by the choral group Resonance Ensemble, its a full-length choral and orchestral work that was to premiere in concert with the Oregon Symphony, along with Resonance, the gospel choir Kingdom Sound, and poet S. Renee Mitchell,and was to be broadcast live by Portlands AllClassical radio andNew Yorks WQXR. After the Symphony was forced to cancel the remainder of its current season, the premiere was rescheduled for January 22, 2021. But the Requiems here, ready and waiting, and the anticipations building. On adding texts to the standard mass, Geter says in part: I wanted to use something that related directly to the black experience and the experience of black Americans I chose I Cant Breathebecause its such a prevalent thing in this world. Whenever someone says it you instantly know what theyre talking about.


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Eucharist: The Most Important Transformation | Fellow Dying Inmate – Patheos

Posted: at 1:52 am

Image by Marek Studzinski from PixabayEucharist, the source and summit of our Christian lives, concerns unity and transformationbut what is being transformed?

Eucharist is where everything comes from and goes to in the Cosmos according to Catholicism. What is it? And what does it do? And what is transformed in Eucharist? Who is transformed by it? And what transformation is the more important?

Today is a day drowned in terrible homilies and pooled ignorance. Together with Trinity Sunday, on this solemnity the ground cries out to Godthe homily sucks! And God hears the cry of the poor.

Today heard in many American Churches is talk of mind-boggling Eucharistic wonders and scientific proofs confirming Catholic beliefs as true, and first, and best, and only. Holiness will be relocated to the bizarre and extraordinary, far removed from the people.

By definition, a homily always explains a biblical text and applies it to life here and now. Sermons, speeches, lectures, rants, song-and-dance acts, and comedy routines have never been and never will be homilies. Ranting on about Eucharistic Miracles in neo-orthodox apologetics is an abuse, not a homily.

It is likewise a very popular abuse to turn todays Gospel (John 6:51-58) into fodder for Catholic triumphalism and anti-Protestant invective. In contrast to the many failed homilies heard today, todays Gospel itself presents the Johannine Jesus as giving a real midrashic homily. Likely, the Scriptures the Johannine Jesus explains and applies is the Palestinian Targum of Joshua 5:56:1 bound up with Numbers 21:6-9. (PLEASE NOTE: those Aramaic texts are QUITE DIFFERENT than NABRE translations!) These sections speak of Israels manna tradition and the Exodus experience.

In todays Gospel, the Johannine Jesus group (using Jesus as their mouthpiece) explains how Jesus himself fills up what is lacking in Moses bread from sky vault. Put simply, forget about Judaean society and their explanations of Torah. The Sky Vault Man Jesus explains everything. Ultimately, to experience this light you have come out of the world (i.e., the dominant society Israel) and embed yourself into Jesus (i.e., the Johannine Jesus anti-society).

Another section of Scripture many Catholics enjoy terribly abusing is 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. Some twist and re-contextualize these verses into a prescriptive to go to sacramental Reconciliation before partaking in Eucharist. Thats not what 1 Corinthians is saying. Paul is talking about group-awareness, namely, being attentive to the poor in the Jesus group and to not exclude or mistreat them. Thats where condemnation originates, not how many times you masturbate before Sunday.

And with all these weeks in COVID-19 shut down, lay Catholics watching Mass on video have been reminded by current theological trends that they really dont matter. All that matters is a demigod called priest, an ontologically-changed supercreature. Thats not official teaching, mind you. But that is how many parishes and diocese walk the faith.

We have to be honest in the Body of Christ. In many places, the priest is falsely presented by many Catholics to be not unlike Dr. Octopus in Spider-man 2. Someone who holds the power of the sun in the palm of his hand.

Speaking about the Catholic predilection for Eucharistic wonder-workers and miracles, Thomas Aquinas does speak about Eucharistic wonders. The Angelic Doctor claims God can manifest real physical change in the consecrated elements, turning the bread into physical flesh and blood or the appearance of a recognizable face. However, Aquinas maintained that even in such wondrous cases, the blood and flesh manifested cannot be the real properties of the risen Jesus. The risen Jesus bleeds no more!

Lets not betray Vatican I, either in fideism or rationalism. Fides et ratio, brothers and sisters. The well-meaning performers below arent exactly what Vatican I had in mind

The icing on the cake is how they react to something like Black Lives Matter. Not a peep for George Floyd and countless others tortuously murdered. Silence on the issue, except prayers for their beloved POTUS who is under constant attack from the Devil. But lets not drift there.

I also know brothers and sisters involved in such liturgical ministries without the ignorance or lack of sensitivity to justice. I know daily communicants and adorers who are transformed. They are examples in my life.

If such a devotional practice suits you, thats all good. But lets not force our youth and young adults into it, demanding that everyone must take part in it, and if they dont, therefore that shows something defective about their faith-walk. Dont try to legislate private devotional forms. You cant.

Super-Catholics might be astonished to realize that for one thousand years of Christianity there was no practice of Eucharistic adoration. Nothing. Zip.

It wasnt until the 1300s that Eucharistic adoration began in the West, and never the East. While the Eastern Church believed in the Real Presence, it did not develop this devotional practice. I once reminded this to a young Storm-trooper of orthodoxy Roman priest in light of ecumenical talks. Without blinking, he informed me that Eastern Christians, whether O Orthodox or Uniates, are less developed in understanding Christ than we Latin rite Catholics.

What an asinine thing to say. An asinine man who expects head-nodding from everyone, all day long spouting unchecked asinine things in his echo chamber surrounded by yesmen.

So why did this happen in the 12th century West? Some rejected the Real Presence of Christ. Others misunderstood it due to horrendously bad education. Peasants would go Church to Church on Sundays looking for the Host to be raisedmaybe it would give them good crops or fix the illness in their eyes.

Human beings dont stop being the capacity for God when they poorly understand the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. In such a sad state of affairs, they seek to fill their God-shaped hole with private devotions. So in such situations, private devotions flourish.

Hence, some Medieval folks promoted devotions like Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in order to reaffirm the faith.

Time passed. Unfortunately, adoration and other Eucharistic devotions evolved in a disconnected way from the Eucharist itselfmeaning the liturgy. Many Catholics forgot that Eucharist IS GREATER THAN the consecrated species. Jesus can never be Emmanuel (God-with-us) without the us.

Sadly, even today, over half a century following Vatican II, faulty thinking persists. It eliminates the relevance of us. We tend to place all of out focus on bread-transformation rather than us-transformation. Read the Gospels. Jesus was about metanoia.

We Catholics should askwhen exactly does the Eucharist begin? Is it when the presider says the words of consecration? No. Indeed, the Church officially accepts as valid one Eucharistic Prayer which completely lacks the words of institution at all! Officially, the Church recognizes that Jesus becomes sacramentally present in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari.

So when, therefore, does the Eucharist begin? The Eucharist begins when the people gather.

So when is Christ present? When the Body of Christ, the people, gathersthats when. Jesus is really present in the community. Sadly, U.S. Catholics tend to miss this, and I would say it is far more devastating than being mistaken about the consecrated species.

Surely Catholic teaching on the Eucharist speaks about the sacrament of the Eucharist also. There has been a transformationbread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. But this cannot be all that Eucharist is and means. That transformation is just one part of the entire action called Eucharist. It is such a sadness that devotional extremes have made Catholics lose sight of this.

Considerif the Eucharist were nothing more than the consecrated sacrament, what the hell is the point of the ceremonial rite? Why not just line up the laity outside the steps, have the priests confect Hosts beforehand, and distribute them? Why all the Scripture readings, prayers, sign of peace, songs, and other elements? It must be that Eucharist is more than priests making bread turn into Jesus, huh?

The purpose of a rite, whether ritual or ceremonial, is transformation. But who gets transformed? Our liturgies evolved to transition people out from regular, culturally ordinary reality into alternate reality. Ceremonial rites are like regular timeouts in the football game of life. They are for the benefit of the social group. For Eucharist (Mass), that would be the Church.

Jesus does not get lonely in our tabernacles. He is not our holy prisoner. Diosito doesnt need a chorus to sing him to sleep each night. And if you scratch the Host, it will not bleed. Enough with the gross and crudely physicalist notions, fellow Catholics! Note well the adverbs used to describe the Real Presencetruly, really, and substantially. Do you see physically there? The Church, throughout its history, condemns devotional extremes and bad thinking.

Our world desperately needs our transformation, us Christians being really present. Are we really present? The signs of the times say otherwise.

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Javed Akhtar becomes first Indian to receive Richard Dawkins Award – The Tribune India

Posted: June 13, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Mumbai, June 7

Veteran writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar has won the 2020 Richard Dawkins Award for critical thinking, holding religious dogma up to scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values.

Akhtar has become the first Indian to be given the honour, which recognises distinguished individual from the field of science, scholarship, education, or entertainment, who publicly proclaims the values of secularism and rationalism and upholding scientific truth.

Akhtars wife, veteran actor Shabana Azmi said the awards relevance becomes more prominent especially in the current times when secularism is under attack.

I am thrilled. I know what a hero Richard Dawkins has been for Javed. The award gains all the more significance because in todays time when secularism is being attacked by religious fundamentalists of all hues, this award comes as a validation of Javeds long service to rational thinking, Azmi told PTI.

The award is named after world-renowned English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Actor-comedian Ricky Gervais received the honour last year.

Bollywood celebrities Anil Kapoor and Dia Mirza took to Twitter to congratulate the 75-year-old writer for the recognition.

Knowing that Richard Dawkins has been your hero since you read The Selfish Gene, the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award must be extra special for you @Javedakhtarjadu Saab! Its a truly incredible honour! Congratulations! Kapoor tweeted.

Dia said Akhtars win is a proud moment for the country.

Javed Akhtar Saab has won the the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award 2020 for critical thinking, holding religious dogma upto scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values. He is the only Indian to have won this award! @Javedakhtarjadu Congratulations! You make us proud, Dia wrote. PTI


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Javed Akhtar Calls Himself As An Equal Opportunity Atheist In Light Of Comments On Azaan Ban – Filmibeat

Posted: at 3:06 pm


oi-Srushti Jayadev

Javed Akhtar is a proclaimed atheist, who doesn't mince his words when it comes to criticizing religion. A while back, the lyricist-poet had commented on the use of loud speakers during Azaan, and received a ton of backlash for it. Stating his stance once again, Javed recently tweeted that he is 'an equal opportunity atheist who is against all kinds of faiths.'

Javed took to Twitter to respond to the criticism he received for his comments on Azaan ban. He wrote, "Recently when I commented that AZAN should be banned on loudspeakers Muslim bigots cursed me that I would go to the worst place in hell.On the other hand Hindu bigots call me a jehadi and an anti national.I am an equal opportunity atheist who is against all kinds of faiths."

On May 11, he had written, "In India for almost 50 yrs Azaan on the loud speak was HARAAM. Then it became HaLAAL n so halaal that there is no end to it but there should be an end to it. Azaan is fine but loud speaker does cause discomfort for others I hope that at least this time they will do it themselves."

When a netizen had asked him about the use of loudspeakers in temples, he had replied, "Whether it's a temple or a mosque, if you're using loudspeakers during a festival, it's fine. But it shouldn't be used every day in either temples or mosques. For more than a thousand years Azaan was given without the loudspeaker. Azaan is the integral part of your faith, not this gadget."

Javed is the year 2020's winner of the Richard Dawkins Award, which is bestowed upon those who proclaim and uphold the values of secularism, rationalism and scientific truth.

ALSO READ: Shabana Azmi 'Feels Sad For Pathetic Trolls' Who Doubt Javed Akhtar Receiving Richard Dawkins Award

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The Matrix Trilogy: D&D Alignments Of The Main Characters – Screen Rant

Posted: at 3:06 pm

The Matrix owes a lot to the sci-fi masterpieces, from books to anime, that have come before it but what it does with the source material is refreshingly spectacular. Although fans didn't quite enjoy the sequels as much, thenarrative tapestrycan only be complete withthreads from each movie in the trilogy.

RELATED:10 Reasons Why The Matrix Revolutions Disappointed Fans

In essence, The Matrix follows a more-or-less standard storyline (identical versions can be found in both Abrahamic and Vedic mythologies.) The specific moralitiesof the characters remain unclear, as they all have their own inner demons to contend with, often forcing them into uncomfortable positions. However, they can, with some effort, be classified according to their alignments; as per the system employed in Dungeons & Dragons.

Trinity will gladlygive her life to save her One, and she even does it at the end of Reloaded. The fact that Neo brings her back minimizes none of the magnitude of her sacrifice. Trinity is a classic Crusader: she puts everyone, including Zion and Neo, before herself.

This is made clear by her insistence that she go with Neo to the Machine City, even if she will not survive the journey (and she doesn't.) Fate was kind to Trinity, though, allowing her to be the only human in centuries to gaze upon untainted skies.

Morpheus is partially blinded by his own visions, taking The Oracle's words literally when told that he will find The One. His journey is fraught with incessant attacks, from The Agents on one side and Zion's military leadership on the other. Nevertheless, he firmly believes in his own righteousness, as any Benefactor would.

Morpheus is proven, time and again, to make the correct choices, whether in terms of his mentorship of Neo or his aggressive stance against the Council Morpheus is driven solely by the desire to protect his home.

Neo has never found entertainment in sitting still;he lives a double life within the Matrix, as a respectable programmer who moonlights as a hacker. Being a Rebel, Neo hesitates only slightly when Morpheus offers him the pills, before choosing the far more dangerous route.

RELATED:5 Reasons The Matrix Has Aged Poorly (& 5 Reasons It's Timeless)

In fact, his defiance of the norm extends all the way to the real-world, choosing to go directly to the source of the Matrix. Neo is the first, and only, incarnation of the Prime Program who refuses the option that The Architect insists on, insteadchooses to find his own way to finish the game.

As a Judge, Seraph's personality is coded in such a way that it matches his job description perfectly. He is an authentication program instituted by the matrix, who staves off hackers by insisting on physically fighting them.

Seraph's unbiased nature is made evident when he willingly leaves The Merovingian for The Oracle, considering the latter's cause considerably more unselfish than that of his previous "employer". His meditativeabilities allow him access to the inner recesses of his mind, making him one of the few programs, or humans, who comprehend the essence of consciousness.

The Deus Ex Machina is technically a villain, at least to the people of Zion (Neo being the only one not to mistrusttheir intentions.)Their main drive is to survive and maintain the AI ecosystem thriving in the real world. At the same time, due to human malice, the machines are cut off from their only source of energy, the Sun.

Therefore, they decide to employ humanity's bioelectric capabilities to generate power that they can then use. Given that the Deus Ex Machina accepted Neo's reasoning,they clearly make its decisions based on utilitarian logic and has no moral preference either way.

Unlike the Deus Ex Machina, The Oracle's Undecided personality is not rooted in rationalism, but rather in seeking equilibrium between machine and human consciousness. She cannot make a choice herself, but she can guide others on their paths (as long as she doesn't get herself involved.)

RELATED:The Matrix: 10 Underrated Characters That Quietly Saved The Day

The Oracle expresses no emotional highs and lows, her expression is as inscrutable when she is absorbed by Agent Smith as when she watches Sati's beautiful sunset made as an homage to Neo. In fact, one might argue that The Oracle is more logical than The Architect since the latter displays a clear contempt for humans.

In his backstory, Kid is rescued from the matrix by Neo, explaining why he's such a clingy fanboy. He is a Free Spirit, following only the path that his own conscience takes him on. For instance, when Neo tells Kid that he saved himself, he refuses to acknowledge it,reiterating his hero-worship.

In the Battle for Zion, he submits himself as an underage volunteer who finds himself in a pickle when Captain Mifune's APU is knocked down by the Sentinels. Kid takes up the demanding task of opening the Gate for the Nebuchadnezzar, performing it with a heroic precision.

The so-called "father" of the matrix is The Architect, a pure Dominator if there ever was one. He tells Neo that his first construct included a utopia in which humans were allowed to live their finest fantasies. It failed, which seemed to confuse him, so he creates the second as a dystopian nightmare, growing even more resentfulwhen people reject this version too.

The Architect, unfortunately, cannot see beyond the choices he makes, as he cannot get past his hatred of humans it falls to The Oracle to show him that the world does not work well in binaries.

Cypher is out for himself; he is a victim of his own ego, strongly believing that he deserves more than the miseries of the red pill. To that end, he is comfortable selling out his entire crew to the Agents just so he can reenter the matrix (as someone powerful, this time.)

RELATED:The Matrix: 10 Hidden Details Fans Completely Missed In The Original Movie

Cypher's Malefactor nature is responsible for his cold-blooded murder of Dozer, as well as the failed attempt on Tank's life. He is perverse even in victory, taunting Trinity's unconscious body for choosing Neo over himself while threatening to unplug Neo from the matrix.

A program, originally installed to catch any stragglers outside the matrix, goes rogue when it tastes the freedoms available to humans (that it is forbidden from experiencing.) Agent Smith runs amok in full-on Destroyer mode, creating infinite copies of itself and consuming other programs, like The Oracle.

He has lost sight of his directive: he develops, through his rage, a clearly emotional bond with Neo. Smith does not care for his coding anymore, preferring to seek out his own personal vendetta a sign that he is more human than he thinks.

NEXT:10 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About The Matrix

Next Harry Potter: The 15 Most Powerful Patronus, Ranked

In real life, Ajay disguises himself as an academic, mainly writing textbooks for children who all hate him for making their lives more miserable. He also writes about TV and film, strewing his opinions across the internet to see if people care (they don't).

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A Simple Stoic Weighs the Sanctity of Place: Thoughts on the Art of Kathryn Keller –

Posted: May 30, 2020 at 9:50 pm

Kathryn Keller, Inglewood House, 2016, oil on gessoed paper, 18 x 28 inches


Rationalists, wearing square hats,

Think, in square rooms,

Looking at the floor,

Looking at the ceiling.

They confine themselves

To right-angled triangles.

If they tried rhomboids,

Cones, waving lines, ellipses --

As, for example, the ellipse of the half-moon --

Rationalists would wear sombreros.

-- Wallace Stevens, Six Significant Landscapes

One place understood helps us understand all places better.

-- Eudora Welty

The simple, selfless stoicism and haunting cadenced silences of Kathryn Kellers landscapes and interiors evoke the South in all its richness and with something like earthy rapture. She dilates on our relationship with Nature with eloquent understatement and unrivalled technical finesse. That the poet Wallace Stevens was a fellow traveller in this respect is clear from the poem excerpted above in which he touches upon our relationship with Nature with righteous lucidity and humour.

Indeed, the sixth significant landscape of StevensSix Significant Landscapesis an insouciant romp with its image of a philosopher wearing a sombrero, having left rationalism behind for the intuitive fluency of poetic thinking. Keller is a supremely intuitive artist who reads and renders -- the Book of Nature in similarly arresting, non-rational ways.

Kellers interiors and landscapes bespeak humility and understatement. Her interiors often focus on the contents of her own studio spaces, with loving fidelity, as an incubator of her visions and a full platter of her materials, instruments and supports. In this regard, she reminds me of Michael Merrill, the Montreal-based representational painter who has used his own studio as creative alembic for establishing the primacy of the imagination over reality these last many years.

Kathryn Keller, A Storm Approaching, 2015, oil on gessoed paper, 13 1/2 by 20 1/2 inches

In herIdes of March(2019, oil on canvas the orderly assortment of brushes and bottled oils and paints is a tasty invocation of her studio life. InA Storm Approaching(2015, oil on gessoed paper) the suggestive torpor in the upper atmosphere and the delineation of the house inInglewood House(2016, oil on paper) enjoy an unlikely radical equivalence. The house as guarantor of security and sanctity, for instance in herInglewood 11-19-18(watercolor on paper), is counterpoised with the forbidding grey trees seen from within the window, Her palette is sumptuous yet restrained, her mark-making like breathing. Long and short exhalations of pigment summon up her circumstances and surrounds with diaphanous passages that carry the viewer along with them into the heart of perceived and remembered place.

Keller paints from Inglewood Farm in Alexandria, Louisiana, at the geographic centre of the State and of the South. She is a child of her region, but she has spent time in El Dorado, Arkansas, went to college in Tennessee at the University of the South, studied at the Arkansas Art Center, lived in NYC for a period of time with her first husband, raised her kids and spent a lot of time in New Orleans in the Garden District of New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina she settled back full time in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Kathryn Keller, Studio 2-21-19, 2019, oil on canvas, 30 by 30 inches

The flat land thereabouts is riddled with nodes of remembered place, ritual emplacement, familial investiture, love. It is here that Keller feels most at home, even when she limns painting with the surpassing strangeness of the everyday. Her optic moves restlessly across the full array of what is seen in those places. Her watercolors are tremulous enclosures suffused with a soft luminosity, tactual and true. Keller seizes upon a room and invests it with a porous ligature of pure light. She exerts a transient ownership over things seen, the living tapestry of the South, and communicates it with something like love.

Her gaze is attracted by groves of trees, disturbances in the atmosphere, the comforts of home. That she is the product of her environment is clear from her loving dilation on its particularities as they come under her purview. Keller is a painter of deft and simple means, and her selfless stoicism always shines through, a beacon of truth and perseverance. We have no doubt that this artists familiarity with and love for Southern place and remembered place is deep, sustaining and true.

Walker Percy, inThe Moviegoer, said: Nobody but a Southerner knows the wrenching rinsing sadness of the cities of the North. Keller remains a scion of Southern place, and palpates with genuine joy the inherent magic of the land with the casual authority of her own hands. All her teeming relationships with specific places are layered there in her work, and the depth and duration of those relationships are as important to her as the physical sites themselves.

If she puts paint to place, Keller also paintsrefuge. Her houses, so lovingly adumbrated, enjoy great quiet and a sense of erotic melancholy that draws the viewer inwards. Keller is no narcissist or show-off. Still, the amplitude of mood in her work is such that it casts a widening net that effortlessly catches us up, offering a gratifying emotional experience that transcends all the trappings of the built world.

Kathryn Keller, Inglewood, 11-19-19, watercolor on paper, 20 1/2 x 14 inches

Kellers paintings have been called elegiac, but the elegiac strains in her work never reach the level of outright or strident lamentation. Perhaps because she is a believer in place and its sanctity, commemoration and celebration. Notably, she is also one allergic to dramatic license for its own sake. One commentator noted a family resemblance with the cemetery scenes of Louisiana photographer and pioneer Surrealist Clarence John Laughlin. To embody silence meaningfully is surely no mean feat. Keller is able to do so with understatement and brio -- and without resorting to needless plangency or rationalistic excess. To return to the poem by Wallace Stevens, we would not be surprised to find that Keller wears a sombrero both in and out of her studio.

Kathryn Keller whole oeuvre is a profound meditation on place. What does it mean to be a Southerner? What does it mean to luxuriate in those landscapes as natural to you as your own flesh jacket? She would surely agree with Eudora Welty Beauty is not a means, not a way of furthering a thing in the world. It is a result; it belongs to ordering, to form, to aftereffect. Keller has shown she can excavate an ennobling measure of beauty from the landscapes of her present and past to exalting effect. As Welty also once said: One place understood helps us understand all places better. Kellers remarkable landscapes make us understand the restless nomenclature of all places better, but those of the South particularly when it is understood as a small paradigm of the terrestrial paradise. WM

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Kathryn Keller is represented by LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 2021 LeMieux Galleries is doing a two-person show with Keller and the artist Shirley Rabe Masinter. The show will open January 8th, 2021 and will run through Saturday, February 27th 2021. To see works that are currently available at LeMieux Galleries check out the link below.

Kathryn Keller is also represented by The The Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art in Charlotte, North Carolina. To see available works at the gallery click the link below.

Kathryn Keller is also represented by Moremen Gallery in Louisville, Kentucky. To see available works click the linkbelow.

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Enlightenment, the Ghanaian dream and renaissance –

Posted: at 9:50 pm

The sole focus of an enlightenment programme is to instil, in the breasts and psyche of Ghanaian citizens, a consciousness of fidelity to the Republic; pride in our culture, traditions, institutions and achievements; awareness of civic rights and responsibilities; and an African identity. We seek to stand out as a powerful and highly influential Republic that, with the divine help of God, shall build a better universe for mankind.

Our academic mission and curriculum is the most potent antidote for poverty, disease and various other social obstacles that continue to deprive the average free citizen from realising a dignified life in Ghana thus service, first and foremost, to God and ancestors duly; family and enterprise; district and province; and the Republic to which distinctive duties are owed.

The Ghanaian Dream and Renaissance

The Ghanaian Dream is to be an erudite and moral law-abiding administrator of your household and an industrious entrepreneur or public servant; a proven catalyst of district development; an accomplished statesman and, or, innovative industrialist to the province; and above all, a distinguished architect of the Republic.

The Ghanaian Renaissance is a full expression of our traditional aesthetics in beautifying our public institutions and private enterprises a form of ultra-nationalism and love for our Republic that crystallises the diverse cultures of each clan and nation-state.

Centres of Scholarship

It is the paramount responsibility of government to ensure education, at whatever cost necessary, is provided to all Ghanaians, wherever they may find themselves on the map, without regard for their individual social and economic circumstances.

The quality of indigenous scholarship and excellence of educational institutions ought to be a great source of national pride, a worthy continental export and our rightful claim to global fame.

To each Province, a model deluxe primary and secondary centre of scholarship which is culturally aesthetic inspired by a fine blend of indigenous ancient African architecture and modern technology must be constructed in its Provincial capital. Each monumental structure, an edifice that evokes fascination, must be furnished with a baronial public library; palatial classrooms; resident halls; a banquet hall and private museum; athletic facilities; a grand theatre hall and state-of-the-art science and technology labs.

The government must make provincial funds and bursaries, at secondary and tertiary education, available to students proven exceptional in academia; sports and theatre.

Centres of Scholarship should be separated, administratively, from institutions of dogma such as traditional shrines/temples, mosques or churches. The educational curriculum should include, at the conclusion of secondary school education, optional service to either the government or military as a prelude to university studies.

Our Republic must unswervingly aim at, and strain our treasury to procure, despite the ever-present question of finance, quality education for our citizens.

The Era of Enlightenment.

In an era when multiple esoteric fraternities were established on the Gold Coast G. H. T. Lyall inaugurated, in 1874, the Masonic Club; the Good Templars founded, in 1877, by the General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Mission and Commanding Officer of the Castle garrison, with the support of Lodge Deputy Grand Chief Templar, J. P. Brown; and the Odd-fellows was instituted in 1880 the Mfantsi Amanbuhu Fekuw, also known as the Fante National Political Society, was established in Cape Coast, Central Province, Gold Coast in 1889 to deliberately to revive African literature, fashion and music.

A legal colossus, eminent political reformist and publisher who hailed from the Central Province, as well as a pioneer of the Fante National Political Society, John Mensah Sarbah joined the Fante Public School Company, a missionary enterprise which in 1903, founded the Mfantsi National Education Fund that, by 1905, financed the Mfantsipim Secondary School.

Sarbah, an altruistic person, embodied the values of a true patriot dedicated to enlightenment and renaissance. He set up a scholarship for students and staff members to protect the perpetual success of Mfantsipim.

It is through the ethics and values of our centres of scholarship that the Republic could harness a meritocratic Ghanaian society where there is equal opportunity for all citizens, abundant reward for ambition with an emphasis on individual freedom and national unity.

There is, therefore, still an urgent need, as bluntly expressed by the Gold Coast Aborigines Protection Society in 1902, for educated Ghanaian citizens, and not westernised Africans, committed to the ideal of a Republic with a revered and ethereal civilisation. While our indigenous institutions must meet internationally acceptable standards, our enlightenment programme must be devised on the basis of Ghanaian exceptionalism.

I cannot emphasise enough; this is Ghanas Space Generation. This is the generation of rationalism, freedom of thought and enquiry.


The author, Vincent Djokoto, is Business Executive and Columnist. Twitter/Instagram @VLKDjokoto

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Artists, Writers, Musicians, and More Explore the Intersections of Art and Ecology – Hyperallergic

Posted: May 28, 2020 at 7:53 am

Adam Chodzko, O, you happy roots, branch and mediatrix (2020), screen 2, two-channel video, Hildegard von Bingens lingua ignotae, and image recognition algorithm (image courtesy the artist)

In the last few years, the humanities have seen a marked shift in interest towards nonhuman forms of intelligence. The recent vegetal turn in eco-philosophy and curatorial practice, for example, attempts to recognize the central but overlooked cultural and ecological presence of plants and to find imaginative ways of engaging with them. The upcoming exhibition The Botanical Mind: Art, Mysticism and the Cosmic Tree at Camden Art Centre, London, looks likely to be a high point on this trajectory towards using creativity and criticality to reveal and correct a modern tendency towards what scientist Monica Gagliano has called plant blindness.

The show was scheduled to open in mid-April, but when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic caused its postponement the Camden Art Centre team worked to create alternative ways of accessing the ideas and imagery touched on in the exhibition. The result is The Botanical Mind Online, a dedicated website exploring the key themes of the exhibition combined with new commissions by artists, writers, musicians, and philosophers.

The Botanical Mind Online opens with an introductory video narrated by curators Gina Buenfeld and Martin Clark, offering an impressively succinct summary of the projects journey through a series of complexly interconnected topics including plant intelligence, patterns and geometry, music and harmony, psychedelia, and the notion of the tree as an axis mundi. Together, they suggest, these aspects point to an encoded intelligence in the patterns of nature a botanical mind.

The online platform draws on perspectives that offer alternatives to Western rationalism: outsider artists and philosophers, Indigenous cultures from the Amazon rainforest, and recent investigations into plant sentience. As such, it hints that an understanding of the vegetal can help to challenge the destructive dualistic divides that characterize much Western post-Enlightenment thought.

Moreover, The Botanical Mind is a laudable attempt to achieve what eco-philosopher Michael Marder describes as encountering plants on their own terms while maintaining a recognition of their radical alterity. This can be seen in Adam Chodzkos new digital commission O, you happy roots, branch and mediatrix (2020). The film uses an algorithm to scan footage of a forest for ciphers visual traces of a secret language created by the 12th Century Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen. Chodzko has assigned the ciphers a sound from Hildegards choral compositions and uses them to spell out the names of plants both real and imagined. The website features a clip from the work which, in the curators words, attempts to become an idea of botanical transformation at once both a process and its experience.

Elsewhere on the site, ideas and imagery are collected under a range of tantalizing headings, such as Sacred Geometry, The Cosmic Tree, and Astrological Botany. The chapter on Indigenous Cosmologies explains how the patterns found in nature are the basis of sacred geometries found in the visual cultures and music of Indigenous Amazonian communities, many of whom believe these patterns weave the universe together. There is a particular focus on the Yawanaw people, a group of whom Camden Art Centre had been working with to develop a new artwork for The Botanical Mind in collaboration with Delfina Muoz de Toro, an indigenist, visual artist, and musician from Argentina. As the Yawanaw collaborators are currently self-isolating in their village (Indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable to foreign diseases), The Botanical Mind Online presents artworks related to their community. These include two experimental ethnographic films and a series of atmospheric sound recordings by Priscilla Telmon & Vincent Moon, which are presented alongside photographs and musical compositions by Muoz de Toro.

Meanwhile, the chapter on Vegetal Ontology picks up on the theme of patterning and applies it to the biological functions of plants. Gemma Andersons Relational process drawings, for example, are made in collaboration with a cellular biologist and a philosopher of science. They re-imagine the dynamic patterns of plant life by expressing the relationships between processes on molecular, cellular and organismal levels as musical compositions or dance choreographies.

Much has been made of recent research which shows that plants send each other electrical signals and nutrients through strands of symbiotic fungi, dubbed the wood wide web. The Botanical Mind Online effectively makes use of this parallel between plant communication and the internet, using the branching nonlinear structure of a hyperlinked website to subtly hint at plant forms and create a resource rich in multidirectional thought. During this period of enforced stillness, the curators argue, our behavior might be seen to resonate with plants: like them we are now fixed in one place, subject to new rhythms of time, contemplation, personal growth and transformation.

The Botanical Mind Online continues at The online platform and related upcoming exhibition at Camden Art Center, London, are curated by Gina Buenfeld and Martin Clark.

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In Search Of A Grand Unified Theory Of Free Expression And Privacy – Techdirt

Posted: at 7:53 am

from the time-for-a-gut-check dept

Everytime I ask anyone associated with Facebooks new OversightBoardwhether the nominally independent, separately endowed tribunal isgoing address misuse of private information, I get the sameanswerthats not the Boards job. This means thatthe Oversight Board, in addition to having such an on-the-nose propername, falls short in a more important wayits architectsimagined that content issues can be tackled substantively withoutaddressing privacy issues. Yet surely the recent scandals that haveplagued Facebook and some other tech companies in recent years haveshown us that private information issues and harmful-content problemshave become intimately connected.

Wecant turn a blind eye to this connection anymore. We need thecompanies, and the governments of the world, and the communities ofusers, and the technologists, and the advocates, to unite behind aframework that emphasizes the deeper-than-ever connection betweenprivacy problems and free-speech problems.

Whatwe need most now, as we grapple more fiercely with the public-policyquestions arising from digital tools and internet platforms, is aunifiedfield theoryor,more properlya GrandUnified Theory(a.k.a. GUT)of free expression and privacy.

Butthe road to that theory is going to be hard. From the beginningthree decades ago when digital civil-liberties emerged as a distinctset of issues that needed public-policy attention, the relationshipbetween freedom of expression and personal privacy in the digitalworld has been a bit strained. Even the name of the first bigconference to bring all the policy people, technologists, governmentofficials, hackers, and computer cops reflected the tension. Thefirst Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference was held inBurlingame California, in 1991, made sure that attendees knew thatPrivacy was not just a kind of Freedombut its own thing that deserved its own special attention.

Thetensions emerged early on. It seemed self-evident to most of us backthen that the relationship between freedom of expression (and freedomof assembly and freedom of inquiry) had to have some limitsincludinglimits on what any of us could do with the private information aboutother people. But while its conceptually easy to define infairly clear terms what counts as freedom of expression,the consensus about what counts as a privacy interest is murkier.Because I started out as a free-speech guy, I liked thelaw-school-endorsed framework of privacy torts, whichcarved out some fairly narrow privacy exceptions to the broadguarantees of expressive freedom. That privacy tortssetup meant that, at least when we talked about invasion ofprivacy, I could say what counted as such an invasion and whatdidnt. Privacy in the American system was narrow and easy tograsp.

Butthis wasnt the universal view in the 1990s, and itscertainly not the universal view in 2020. In the developed world,including the developed democracies of the European Union, thebalance between privacy and free expression has been struck in adifferent way. The presumptions in the EU favor greater protection ofpersonal information (and related interests like reputation) andsomewhat less protection of what freedom of expression. Sure, theinternational human-rights source texts like the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights (in Article 19) may protect freedomto hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impartinformation and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.But ranked above those informational rights (in both the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civiland Political Rights) is the protection of private information,correspondence, honor, and reputation. This differencebalance is reflected in European rules like the General DataProtection Regulation.

Theemerging international balance, driven by the GDPR, has created newtensions between freedom of expression and what we loosely callprivacy. (I use quotation marks because the GDPRregulates not just the use of private information but also the use ofpersonal information that may not be privatelikeold newspaper reports of government actions to recoversocial-security debts. This was the issue in theleading right to be forgotten caseprior to the GDPR.) Standing by themselves, the emerginginternational consensus doesnt provide clear rules forresolving those tensions.

Dontget me wrong: I think the idea of using international human rightsinstruments as guidance for content approaches on social-mediaplatforms has its virtues. The advantage is that in internationalforums and tribunals it gives the companies as strong a defense asone might wish in the international environment for allowing some(presumptively protected) speech to stay up in the face of criticismand removing some (arguably illegal) speech. The disadvantages areharder to grapple with. Countries will differ on what kind of speechis protected, but the internet does not quite honor borders the waysome governments would like. (Thailand'slse-majestisa good example.) In addition, some social-media platforms may want tocreate environments that are more civil, or child-friendly, orwhatever, which will entail more content-moderation choices andpolicies than human-rights frameworks would normally allow. Do wewant to say that Facebook or Google *can't* do this? That Twittershould simply be forbidden to taga presidential tweet as unsubstantiated?Some governments and other stakeholders would disapprove.

Ifa human-rights framework doesnt resolve thefree-speech/privacy tensions, what could? Ultimately, I believe thatthe best remedial frameworks will involve multistakeholderism, but Ithink they also need to begin with a shared (consensus) ethicalframework. I present the argument in condensed form here: "ItsTime to Reframe Our Relationship With Facebook.(I also publisheda book last yearthat presents this argument in greater depth.)

Cana code of ethics be a GUT of free speech and privacy? I dontthink it can, but I do think it can be the seed of one. But it has tobe bigger than a single companys initiativewhich moreor less is the best we can reasonably hope Facebooks OversightBoard (assuming it sets out ethical principles as a product of itswork on content cases) will ever be. I try not to be cynical aboutFacebook, which has plenty of people working on these issues whogenuinely mean well, and who are willing to forgo short-term profitsto put better rules in place. While it's true at some sufficientlyhigh level that the companies privilege profits over public interest,the fact is that once a company is market-dominant (as Facebook is),it may well trade off short-term profits as part of a grand bargainwith governments and regulators. Facebook is rich enough to absorbthe costs of compliance with whatever regimes the democraticgovernments come up with. (A more cynical read of Zuckerberg's publicwritings in the aftermath of the companys various publicwritings, is that he wants the governments to get the rules inplace, and then FB will comply, as it can afford to do better thanmost other companies, and then FB's compliance will be a defenseagainst subsequent criticism.)

Butthe main reason I think reform has to come in part at the industrylevel rather than at the company level, is that company-levelreforms, even if well-intended, tend to instantiate a public-policyversion of Wittgenstein's "privatelanguage" problem.Put simply, if the ethical rules are internal to a company, thecompany can always change them. If they're external to a company,then there's a shared ethical framework we can use to criticize acompany that transgresses the standards.

Butwe cant stop at the industry level eitherwe needgovernments and users and other stakeholders to be able to step inand say to the tech industries that, hey, your industry-widestandards are still insufficient. You know that industry standardsare more likely to be adequate and comprehensive when theyrebuttressed both by public approval and by law. Thats whathappened with medical ethics and legal ethicsthe frameworkswere crafted by the professions but then recognized as codes thatdeserve to be integrated into our legal system. Theres aninternational consensus that doctors have duties to patients (First,do no harm) and that lawyers and other professions havefiduciary duties to their clients. I outline howfiduciary approaches might address Big Techs consumer-trustproblems in a series of Techdirt articles that begins here.

Thefiduciary code-of-ethics approach to free-speech andprivacy problems for Big Tech is the only way I see of harmonizingdigital privacy and free-speech interests in a way that will leavemost stakeholders satisfied (as most stakeholders are now satisfiedwith medical-ethics frameworks and with lawyers obligations toprotect and serve their clients). Because lawyers and doctors aregenerally obligated to tell their clients the truth (or, if for somereason they cant, end the relationship and refer the clientsto other practitioners), and because theyre also obligated todo no harm (e.g., by allowing companies to use personalinformation in a manipulative way or to violate clientsprivacy or autonomy), these professions already have a Grand UnifiedTheory that protects both speech and privacy in the context ofclients relationships with practitioners.

BigTech has a better shot at resolving the contradictory demands on itsspeech and privacy practices if it aspires to do the same, and if itembraces an industry-wide code of ethics that is acceptable to users(who deserve client protections even if theyre not paying forthe services in question). Ultimately, if the ethics code is backedby legislators and written into the law, you have something muchcloser to a Grand Unified Theory that harmonizes privacy, autonomy,and freedom of expression.

Ima big booster of this GUT, and Ive been making versions ofthis argument before now. (Please dont call it Godwin-UnifiedTheoryhaving one lawnamed after me is enough.) But here in 2020 we need to do more thanargue about this approachwe need to convene and begin tohammer out a consensus about a systematic, harmonized approach thatprotects human needs for freedom of expression, for privacy, and forautonomy thats reasonably free of psychological-warfaretacticsof informational manipulation. The issue is not just false content,and its not just personal informationopensocietieshave to incorporate a fairly high degree of tolerance forunintentionally false expression and for non-malicious ornon-manipulative disclosure or use of personal information. But anopen society also needs to promote supporting an ecosystemapublic sphere of discoursein which neither the manipulativecrafting of deceptive and destructive content nor the manipulativetargeting of it based on our personal data is the norm. Thatsan ecosystem that will require commitment from all stakeholders tobuilda GUT based not on gut instincts but on critical rationalism, colloquy, and consensus.

Filed Under: data protection, facebook oversight board, fiduciary duty, free speech, grand unified theory, greenhouse, multi-stakeholder, oversight board, privacy

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Civilization 6: How to Play as the Mayans | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

Posted: at 7:53 am

The Mayans and their Leader, Lady Six Sky, are the latest newcomers to Civilization 6 in the New Frontier expansion. They have a unique play-style that favors tall strategies, which means settling fewer cities with a high population as opposed to having an empire with many less developed cities. Their civilization and leader ability both lend themselves to this playstyle with Lady Six Skys leader ability, Ix Mutal Ajaw, that grants 10% yields to all cities within 6 tiles of the capital and -15% to all cities not within 6 tiles. In addition, all units within the 6-tile parameter gain +5 combat strength. Lady Six Sky only rules a limited area on the map but will certainly dominate it. With their unique campus district and play-style, the Mayans are well suited for peaceful science victories.

Related:XCOM: Chimera Squad Review - Breaching Simplicity Through Strategy

Because of the special 6 tile radius, planning out where to settle Mayan cities is of utmost importance. Using the in-game pin tool, players can easily place notes to plan out where they will settle cities. There are a few obstacles that could potentially hinder this ring, such as natural barriers like oceans and mountains, or harsh climates like deserts or polar regions. Areas like this mean that the ring will include less area for the player to create cities. If a players spawn location is near one of these, then moving a few tiles away before settling the capital is advisable to establish the parameter in a more optimal location. Resetting the game for a better start is also an option, but restarting repeatedly until getting a perfect start can be a never-ending pitfall and is unavailable in multiplayer games. Even if the placement isnt 100% perfect, it is still playable thanks to the bonus yields.

When settling, keep the Mayan Mayab ability in mind: cities dont gain housing from water but gain additional housing from farms to make up for it. This means players dont have to worry about settling near rivers and can find areas more suitable for the 6-tile area instead. Mayan cities also gain a +1 amenity for every luxury resource adjacent to the city center, which can help keep the massive cities happy later. Dont forget that cities cant be placed within 3 tiles of other city centers, but borders can touch. Its also important to consider the Mayans unique science district, the Observatory. Instead of gaining adjacency bonuses from mountains and jungles, they gain +2 for every adjacent plantation and +1 for every 2 farms or districts. Because farms cant be built on hills tiles until later in the game, settling cities or building districts on hills saves the flatland for farms. Planning out where the Observatories are built is as crucial as planning cities, so keep this in mind.

Its possible there will be other entities within the 6-tile radius, like neighboring civilizations or city states. Thanks to Lady Six Skys +5 combat strength and the unique Hulche unit, it can be easy to ensure the 6-tile zone becomes under Mayan control. Hulches replace the archer and gain +5 combat strength when attacking a wounded enemy. Through these bonuses, these strong units can easily gain +10 strength. Archers normally have 25 ranged strength, but the Hulche, having base 28, can reach a whopping 38 under the right conditions. The drawback is that they are less effective at attacking cities, but are still serviceable; especially against barbarians. Whether players plan to complete their 6-tile circle or defend it, the Hulche is an important aspect of the Mayan early game.

Now that the city placement is planned out, what should be built and researched? There are a few options to keep in mind, but there is no perfect path and the situation will alter depending on the starting location and the players own strategies. Scouting out the 6-tile ring as soon as possible is important for properly planning Mayan cities and training a scout can help accomplish that. Slingers upgrade to archers or Hulche in this case, so training a few will help set up an army of them once theyre unlocked. It takes 60 gold to upgrade slingers on Standard game speed, so make sure the Mayans have enough in their reserve when taking this path. What research paths to take is also important; the Wheel unlocks the Hulche, Writing unlocks Observatories, and Irrigation unlocks plantations which must be built to grant the +2 adjacency bonus. If there arent any threats around, the Hulche can wait in favor of the Observatories which would help research the other techs quicker. There are 2 notable civics that Mayans can utilize well: Agoge, which increases infantry unit production, or Colonization which increases settler production. The former will help to develop an army of Hulche quickly, while the latter helps the player set up their cities earlier on.

Players in Civilization 6 have the ability to found their own religion, which has numerous benefits, but Lady Six Sky has few situations where she would want one. Mountains and natural wonders in their starting location provide strong adjacency bonuses for Holy Sites, which allow for more missionaries and in turn more religious spreads. If the player starts near a location that would yield a strong Holy Site, then they might consider investing in Religion. Founding a religion requires researching the Astronomy tech and spending production building a holy site for great prophet points, and the Mayans have more important uses for their early game research and production as stated above. In addition, building their unique Observatory has a higher priority than a Holy Site, as cities can only build one district for every 3 population.

By Mid Game, a lot will have changed in the Mayan empire. Their core cities should be settled by now and their many farms, which gain bonus gold, will have grown their cities to high population levels. Most, if not all, of their cities, will have Observatories which will gain another boost once the University building is unlocked. If Mayans arent ahead in science now, they likely will be soon after. The 10% bonus yields can help build Wonders a tad quicker, so check to see if there are any available ones. Oxford University, which grants 20% science in its city, 2 free technologies, great scientist points, and Great Writer slots, is a great choice for science victories if the player is able to build it before other civilizations do. Also keep an eye on the Civil Engineering civic, unlocked in the Industrial era, which allows farms to be built on hills. This will further improve the Observatory adjacency and the tile yields of nearby farms but might take longer to research if the player isnt investing much into culture. The Rationalism policy can also improve Mayan science output drastically, so keep an eye out for the Enlightenment civic.

Even if Lady Six Sky does best around the capital, it is still important to explore the outside world. Every new civilization you meet is a new potential ally or trading partner, and there might be city states with strong bonuses that suit your victory path or play-style. If the player has the Rise and Fall expansion, these events also trigger an era score which is vital for obtaining golden ages and avoiding dark ages. While exploring, the player might come across a natural wonder in a secluded location or an island with strategic resources on it. Even if they lose 15% of their yields, this should not deter the player from settling there. Aluminum, a resource discovered around the late game, is essential for Science victories which the Mayans excel in. There might not be Aluminum available in Mayan territory and trading it from other civilizations requires them to have researched it. They might not be willing to trade it away so easily either. It is still wise to settle a few satellite cities to obtain these resources even if the city itself isnt too strong. These cities can also be used to builddistricts to increase trade route capacities for more gold, like Harbors and Commercial Hubs.

If the cards are played correctly, Mayans should have at least one city with 20 population and will be among the furthest ahead in technology. The player should start eyeing some flatland for the spaceport district, which is required for science victories. Spaceports are where the space race projects are built, like the satellite launch, so determine which cities have the best production to help build the rockets. Building more than 1 is a safe option so multiple projects can be worked on at once, and ensure a spy is stationed in the spaceport so foreign spies have a harder time sabotaging the rockets. If the player hasnt been warmongering, which is likely as the Mayans, then other civilizations will possibly befriend the player if they havent already; especially those that value high population and science. Trade routes with allied civilizations can increase production significantly when the Arsenal of Democracy and E-commerce civic are enacted. However the player chooses to lead the Mayans, they are a solid new addition to Civilization 6s cast.

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Sid Meier's Civilization 6is available for PC, Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and App Store.

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Civilization 6: How to Play as the Mayans | Screen Rant - Screen Rant

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