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Category Archives: Rationalism

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.

Next: Endzone- A World Apart: Beginner's Guide to Expeditions

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

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Marginal art is placed at the center of great museums | Culture – Explica

Posted: at 7:53 am

In the white of Ceija Stojkas eye (Kraubath an der Mur, 1933-Vienna, 2013) one can look out into the abysses of horror. The gloomy barbed wire, the chimneys spitting their black smoke, the crow that predicts the worst omen. That same eye has been reflected in one of the artists paintings, which also attempted to shake off the pain by means of long autobiographical texts in which she described the passage from a nomadic and happy life to an existence chained by torture. Born into a Roma family, Stojka lived to tell about Nazi terror. Out of a 200-member clan, only she, her mother, and four of her five brothers miraculously managed to shake off the extermination. The testimony of this creator, the writing and the one represented in tables of energetic, overwhelming invoice, has been substantial for the subsequent revision of the Holocaust beyond the Jewish people.

Stojkas work is perceived today as canonical even though she never received any training. He had no teachers, no patrons, no career in the most solemn sense of the term: when he started painting he was 56 years old and had raised three children. Her first brushes were her bare fingers. Your own intuitions, your guide. Formerly situated on the obverse of that hazy notion of official culture, the work of the gypsy artist is now celebrated with the highest honors: the Museo Reina Sofa presents her first retrospective in Spain, Esto ha passo, which will remain open between 22 November and March 23, 2020.

Stojka, who passed through the fields of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Ravensbrck and Bergen-Belsen, is not the only marginal artist who has made a name for herself on mainstream circuits. The Casa Encendida (LCE) in Madrid hosts until January 5, 2020 The Electric Eye, a collective curated by Antonia Gaeta and Pilar Soler that brings together works by 41 of these so-called outsider painters from the early 20th century to the present day: mentally ill , spiritualists, enlightened and solitary instructed by themselves who, in their radical difference, share imaginary that encompasses authentic cosmogony, wonderful worlds full of magical and revealing elements. Marginal art is a term that could make sense at the time, but now I am against its use, says Soler, who places the moment of full integration of these creators at the 2013 Venice Biennale, where they were exposed pieces by Guo Fengyi, Anna Zemnkov, Augustin Lesage and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, all present at the LCE exhibition, where names such as that of todays renowned Swiss painter Adolf Wlfli also stand out.

Austrian artist Ceija Stojka. christa schnepf

Intellectuals began to take an interest in these artists in the mid-nineteenth century, at a time when there was a crisis of rationalism, says Commissioner Soler, who raves about the return to the same reasons to explain the renewed attention for these artists. Hans Prinzhorn, a German psychiatrist, published Expressions of Madness: The Art of the Mentally Ill in 1922, a compilation of paintings by patients that fascinated the forefront of Eluard, Picasso and Klee. In 1945, after Hitlers presentation of his Degenerate Art exhibition with pieces of lunatics (his intention was to propagate his idea of moral decadence), the Frenchman Jean Dubuffet coined the term Art Brut to refer to the plastic devised by madmen . The designation was later extended with the notion of marginal or outsider to other types of exotic or naive creators, who in Spain find one of their greatest exponents in the figure of the Catalan peasant and fortune-teller Josefa Tolr (1880- 1959), whose esoteric and clairvoyant painting, which at the time powerfully attracted the attention of the artists of Dau to the set, is preserved today in museums such as MACBA or Reina Sofa.

Dubuffet demonstrates that there are other perspectives beyond the European and the normative: there are also children, the marginalized, even women, issues that today have been extended to more open postcolonial visions, which take into account the racial minorities , illustrates Jos Miguel Garca Corts, director of the IVAM in Valencia, which until February 16, 2020 exhibits a selection of pieces by the French sculptor and painter under the title A barbarian in Europe. Like Soler, Garca Corts insists that talking about brut or marginal art in our time lacks the meaning it once had. Art does not have to be in a drawer, he says. I am reluctant to put labels. The question about the legitimacy and the growing disaffection with such a classification was already being asked by Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the Reina Sofa, in the presentation in 2010 for the first time in a museum of contemporary art of an anthology of the Mexican journeyman Martn Ramrez (Tepatitln, 1895-Auburn, 1963), self-taught incarcerated much of his life in American sanitariums. What theoretical and conceptual turns will the presentation of the work provoke in this framework? Is his art better understood in relation to underground channels that exceptionally have become, for this institution, main stories destined to answer the dominant? .

French sculptor and painter Jean Dubuffet.

Artists such as those that make up Under the hat, a collective made up of people with intellectual disabilities, currently reaffirm the closing of the gap between the creative spaces that once delimited the center and the periphery. Andrs Fernndez, one of the members of the group, exhibits these days his work in the collective (D) writing the world. Approaches to language and knowledge, open until February 12, 2020 at the MUSAC in Len. The margins are always very diffuse, there is no clear border, says the director of the institution and curator of the exhibition, Manuel Olveira, who also stresses that he refuses to resort to the prejudice of the categories.

People like Fernndez or [la poeta] Mareva Mayo are at MUSAC because they are artists. Their work is good: it is born from an inner world that pushes them, and that they execute with high doses of freedom, without being subject to rules , concludes Olveira. If this creative impulse detached from trends remains one of the few qualities that continues to make a difference for these creators, another could be a certain disconnection from the market: while some of the historical names are already an integral part of the economic fabric of the industry (As Soler says, Adolf Wlfi is already a totem), other modern ones, like Fernndez, although they are not amateurs, they do not have a professional career. Some of these people are neither interested nor probably aware that they make art, summarizes the director of MUSAC. But that makes them really powerful doses.


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Yes, Christianity offers answers about the coronavirus – Christian Post

Posted: May 24, 2020 at 3:24 pm

By Joshua Steely, Voices Contributor | Monday, May 18, 2020 Joshua Steely | Courtesy of Joshua Steely

At the end of March, Time published an essay by distinguished New Testament scholar N.T. Wright, with the rather brazen title Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. Its Not Supposed To. The title is wrong, and the essay is strange, to say the least. But it serves as an interesting catalyst for asking what answers the Christian faith does have regarding the present pandemic.

Dr. Wright reflects on the privations were experiencing, which are indeed painful not to mention the many who are sick and have died. He notes that a pandemic makes for an unusually severe Lent, And this Lent has no fixed Easter to look forward to. We cant tick off the days. Then he begins to muse about the Christian response:

No doubt the usual silly suspects will tell us why God is doing this to us. A punishment? A warning? A sign? These are knee-jerk would-be Christian reactions in a culture which, generations back, embraced rationalism: everything must have an explanation. But supposing it doesnt?

For Wright, those who try to offer explanations are silly, rationalistic, and acting in a pseudo-Christian manner. Now, I dont doubt that some of those offering explanations for the coronavirus are silly, that some of the motivations for offering answers are pseudo-Christian, and maybe even that rationalism has some onions in the soup. But I hardly think that a charismatic preacher declaring coronavirus is the punishment for x sin is showing heavy rationalistic influence. Nor is it really the case that the desire to explain a pandemic is a sign of the Enlightenments footprint; the search for answers is a characteristically human trait, and can be found in similar circumstances in other times and places. Rationalism is an ideological bogey-man in this situation, and Wrights conjuring of it is significant.

Wright doesnt think that offering an explanation is the appropriate Christian response; nor does he think that offering concrete hope is: What if, after all, there are moments such as T.S. Eliot recognized in the early 1940s, when the only advice is to wait without hope, because wed be hoping for the wrong thing? Instead, he exhorts Christians to embrace lament, and in the strongest part of the essay, he points to sections of lament in the Psalms. He then turns to theology proper, and is apparently no friend to classical theism and the doctrine of divine impassibility.

Having noted Jesus grief at the tomb of Lazarus and the testimony to the Spirits groaning, Wright drives home his main point: It is no part of the Christian vocation, then, to be able to explain whats happening and why. In fact, it is part of the Christian vocation not to be able to explainand to lament instead. As the title says, Christianity offers no answers.

Now, there surely are bad ways to offer answers in a time of crisis. People do offer trite and unhelpful words to those who are suffering. People go well beyond what God has revealed, and declare that the disaster is a punishment for x sin, and will go away if people do y. Lament is certainly a part of the Christian response to the suffering of the world, and at times it may be the only response: mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15, NIV). But has the church really no answers, no hope to offer?

The church does not have a specific answer for this specific disease. But the church does have an encompassing answer that applies to this disease as to every disease of this world, the people on it, and our souls: the sufferings of this world are the result of sin. And the church does have a hope, and should Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). God has provided a wonderful answer to all suffering, the gospel of Jesus Christ: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Is the coronavirus pandemic a punishment? Yes, for our world is in rebellion against God Almighty. Is it a warning? It should be. Every disaster and disease is a memento mori, urging us to remember that we should use this short life to prepare for the life to come. Is it a sign? It signifies that this world is broken, and our time here is short. But does that mean the only advice is to wait without hope, because wed be hoping for the wrong thing? Not if were hoping for the Parousia.

T.S. Eliot has good things to say, but I prefer the apostle Paul on this one (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 16-18):

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hopeFor the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

But in offering these answers, are we manifesting some silly, pseudo-Christian rationalism that has sunk into our bones? This is where the church must correctly reconnoiter the culture. Generals are always fighting the last war, the saying goes; rationalism is the last war or maybe a few wars ago. We are dealing now with a late-modern or post-modern culture that is allergic to truth, answers, and certainty. Indeed and this is the salient point Dr. Wrights essay fits in Time because it offers the message our time wants to hear: we dont know any more than you do. But what our time needs to hear is the Christian message: a pandemic is the result of sin, it should be taken as a memento mori, and there is certain and eternal hope in Jesus Christ.

This harsh Lent is bad, and we should lament; but remember Easter.

Joshua Steely is Senior Pastor of Chatham Baptist Church in Chatham, Illinois.

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How non-religious worldviews provide solace in times of crisis – The Conversation UK

Posted: at 3:24 pm

The saying There are no atheists in foxholes suggests that in stressful times people inevitably turn to God (or indeed gods). In fact, non-believers have their own set of secular worldviews which can provide them with solace in difficult times, just as religious beliefs do for the spiritually-minded.

The aim of my research for the Understanding Unbelief programme was to investigate the worldviews of non-believers, since little is known about the diversity of these non-religious beliefs, and what psychological functions they serve. I wanted to explore the idea that while non-believers may not hold religious beliefs, they still hold distinct ontological, epistemological and ethical beliefs about reality, and the idea that these secular beliefs and worldviews provide the non-religious with equivalent sources of meaning, or similar coping mechanisms, as the supernatural beliefs of religious individuals.

The number of non-believers is growing, with at least 450-500 million declared atheists worldwide about 7% of the global adult population. But since non-believers can include not just atheists but also agnostics and so-called nones the religiously unaffiliated, who might tick no religion in surveys this number is likely to be much bigger. Here, we use non-believers to refer to individuals who do not believe in God, and who do not consider themselves religious.

The idea that beliefs or worldviews support us in difficult times is the foundation of Terror Management Theory. This holds we fear death because we are consciously aware of the future and therefore our own inevitable demise. This fear can be so great that it can paralyse us when we try to live our everyday lives.

But we can manage this fear through belief in God and the afterlife, for example, but equally through the knowledge that death is natural. Knowing that one day we will die, worldviews reinforce our beliefs and the identities that we build around them, and can provide comfort by providing us with so-called symbolic immortality, for example, or feelings of connectedness to something bigger than ourselves. Here, it is the meaningfulness of the belief rather than its (religious) content that is important: among non-believers, increased stress and reminders of ones mortality are associated with an increased belief in science.

With a team of international collaborators, I designed an online survey to ask non-believers about the worldviews, beliefs or understandings of the world that are particularly meaningful to them. We gathered 1,000 responses from people from the UK, US, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Turkey, Brazil, Canada and Australia.

We found that across these ten countries, the six most common beliefs and worldviews were those based on science, humanism (or belief in humanity and human ability), critical thinking and scepticism (including rationalism), being kind and caring for one another, and beliefs in equality and natural laws (including evolution).

This overlap was striking. Despite huge geographical and cultural differences, we found these categories came up over and over again. Frequently mentioned worldviews included statements like: I believe in the scientific method and the ethical values of humanism. I reject all beliefs that are not evidence based, and We have one life. We have this one opportunity to enjoy our brief moment in the sun, while doing the most good we can to help our fellow creatures and protect the natural environment for future generations.

But we also found variation. While responses from countries such as the Netherlands and Finland focused particularly on caring for the Earth, responses from countries such as the US and Australia focused on the general improvement of human well-being.

We also asked non-believers to think of challenging times in their lives: when someone close to them passed away; when they or someone close to them had a serious injury (an accident) or discovered they had a serious physical illness; when they felt particularly alone or disconnected from others; and when they felt particularly down or depressed.

Asked to recall whether any of their worldviews were helpful at the time, we found that what helped most often were worldviews based on science, detachment and acceptance. These included beliefs in the naturalness of death, the randomness of life, humanism, free will and taking responsibility. For example, people suggested knowing that family members live on in their descendants, through personality traits and memories helps when dealing with a bereavement, while enduring an illness was just randomness. Stuff like that happens.

Beliefs about the nature of life and death helped many, including the view that suffering and isolation are universal experiences, and that these states will pass: Things change, and this situation isnt always going to be like this. Many indicated that a humanistic worldview was highly important to them, valuing my relationships with those close to me, and understanding that life can be all too short so we must value the one life that we know we have.

But how do these worldviews help in times of crisis? Most frequently, the respondents said they helped cope with the situation, reduced anxiety, created an increased feeling of control and sense of order, and explained or gave meaning to the situation.

Many participants indicated that understanding a difficult situation proved paramount to accepting it and coping with it. One said that understanding the process of loss and moving on via understanding psychology helps. Others stated that my belief in science explained what was happening and I also trusted in modern medicine that we could overcome it, or that it helped to consider that depression [is] a condition that responds to time and care.

What this research suggests is that worldviews and beliefs, whether religious or secular, can provide comfort and meaning in even the very toughest situations.

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The Lord of the Flies and the Lord of All – National Catholic Register

Posted: at 3:24 pm

Herein lies a difference between the Catholic worldview and the secular one.

Rutger Bregmans excellent article The Real Lord of the Flies: What Happened When Six Boys Were Shipwrecked for 15 Months was published in Londons The Guardian a few days ago. The article explored the real-life case of a group of schoolboys who were marooned on a deserted island in 1965. Fortunately, life doesnt always imitate art as the real case of the marooned boys turns out well and not all like British author William Goldings magnificent 1954 bestseller, The Lord of the Flies.

Goldings book centers on a group of British schoolboys who, having been evacuated due to a war, are subsequently marooned on an uninhabited island. The situation is at first idyllic no school, no adults, no rules and as much food as they can catch. But things go awry when basic rules such as tending to the signal fire are ignored, allowing it to go out. Ultimately, the band of boys descend into anarchy, losing their civility and, indeed, their humanity. Two factions form one group made up of boys who strive to retrieve and secure their humanity, and the other group whose members wish to descend into brutality and self-destruction.

Just as the latter are about to kill the former, a British officer shows up to rescue them, stopping their murderous rage just in the nick of time. The boys start crying and the officer responds, I should have thought, the officer says, that a pack of British boys would have been able to put up a better show than that. At that, the officer turns and spies his warship in the islands inlet.

Like the boys in the story, the reader weeps for the loss of innocence and the darkness of mans heart.

In Goldings view, humans are monstrous beasts enshrouded in a thin veneer of civilization that is little more than an illusion. Given the opportunity, humans would cast off that lie in a second and show the world what he really is.

Im very grateful I went to a Catholic high school. I was given a list of 500 classics on the first day of school and was told I had to read 100 by the time I graduated. Its commonplace for me to meet recent university grads whove never read a book in their lives including the ones with degrees in English Literature.

Herein lies a difference between the Catholic worldview and the secular one.

For Catholics, truth or more specifically, Truth really exists. Beauty exists. Justice exists. Catholics call these three eternal truths, transcendentals (Latin: transcendentalia). They correspond to three certain aspects of the human experience. To science belongs truth (i.e., logic). To the arts belong beauty (i.e., aesthetics). To religion belongs goodness (i.e., ethics).

If youve been paying attention in church, to the Bible and keeping up with your commitments to yourself and others, the existence of these transcendentals should be apparent to you. I was reminded of them when I read Rutger Bregman article The Real Lord of the Flies, which then directed me to an historical account of an actual situation of boys shipwrecked on an island.

Goldings The Lord of the Flies was just a fictional piece that told only one side of mans nature. There is another. One of peace and cooperation and respect and kindness and compassion as is exhibited by the case of the Catholic Tonga kids in Ata. A real-life example to discredit what naysayers and doomsters when about. But there are by far more examples of altruism and self-sacrifice

Apparently, in 1966, 13 years after Golding published his The Lord of the Flies, six boys from a Catholic school in Nukualofa on the island of Tonga half European and the other half Pacific Islanders, ranging from 13 to 16 years old thought it would be better to ditch school one day and venture out on a lark on the ocean without a map, without a plan and without a clue. (Coincidently, this perfectly describes my childhood. You gentlemen know what Im talking about.)

Their plan was to make their way to Fiji (500 miles away) or even to New Zealand (1600 miles further). They liberated a boat and took with them little more than some bananas, coconuts and a small gas burner. A storm overtook them after the boys fell asleep and they drifted for eight days without food or water. They carefully shared the water they managed to collect. They were shipwrecked for 15 months on a deserted island named Ata.

The boys in The Lord of the Flies starting fighting simply because they allowed the signal fire to burn out. These actual kids managed to keep the fire burning for more than a year. The Catholics kids on Ata agreed to work in teams of two, creating a work schedule. They sometimes quarreled, as boys do, but all problems were resolved with a timeout. Every day began and ended with songs and prayers.

Disaster struck when a boy fell off a cliff and broke his leg. The other boys tended to the injury and managed to set it like professionals, according to the physician who examined the kids after they were brought home.

Captain Peter Warner was en route home when he encountered Ata. As he swung by it, a young boy leapt from the tall cliffs and swam to his ship. He introduced himself as Stephen and explained that he and his schoolmates had been on the island for more than a year.

When Captain Warner examined their camp, the boys showed him their huts, vegetable gardens, chicken coops, gym, badminton court, chicken pens and a permanent signal and cooking fire. They survived initially on fish, coconuts, seabirds they drank the blood and ate the meat and eggs. The boys later discovered a village that had been abandoned a century earlier, chickens and gardens of wild taro, and bananas still growing.

Captain Warner ferried the boys home and they were reunited with their families.

Golding later explained in interviews that he drew the idea of the dark, beastly nature of man described in The Lord of the Flies from his own life experiences. He admitted he was an alcoholic who often suffered from depression and would beat the students in his care. I have always understood the Nazis, Golding conceded.

For centuries, Western culture has labored under a Manichean dualism that we never could completely excise from Western culture. People affected with this outlook celebrate death and destruction and have brought about some of the worse anti-humanistic ideas our species has ever birthed communism, nihilism, occultism, Freudianism, feminism, gender theory, extremist environmentalism, positivism, scientism, fundamentalist atheism, postmodernism and anthropological structuralism all of which embrace anti-rationalism and anti-scientific outlooks.

To them, humans are wayward genetic accidents spawned by a violent and uncaring universe. Christians, on the other hand, have Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself for us (John 3:16). Hes been our model and standard all these centuries.

Whereas Goldings The Lord of the Flies is a dark, twisted and depressing view of unredeemable human nature as barely above that of a beast, the story of the Ata castaways is a testament to friendship, hope, altruism, devotion, Christianity, the goodness of human nature and the innocence of children.

Life or death. The choice is set before you. Choose life! (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed calls for end to ‘culture of excess’ to protect food security – The National

Posted: May 11, 2020 at 11:28 am

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, said the UAE must rein in its "culture of excess".

The Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces called for needless overspending and food waste to be tackled and the natural resources of the Emirates to be protected.

Hosting his online Ramadan majlis with Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, he said he believed the public would be receptive to the need to move away from unwanted habits.

Food security is a holistic ecosystem that pertains to not only food production, but also addresses the culture of handling food or the culture of rationalism and avoiding overuse and waste," Sheikh Mohamed said during the video conference.

We have a habit of excess that we need to restrain

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed

"We have a habit of excess that we need to restrain. If this excess or overspending is for a good cause, like charity, it is good and we support it, but overspending for no reason is bad.

"This is a key part of the food security strategy: how to think of our various natural resources such as water, food sources, energy and others.

As we talk about rationalism and eliminating overuse, I would like to thank you for your efforts in educating people, because as you know, brothers and sisters, it is a cultural habit one that comes from traditions that is hard to move away from without some challenges.

"We want to part ways with such traditions that are not useful to us and not Islamic as well.

"This requires work in homes, schools and through different media outlets to raise awareness.

"UAE citizens and residents are very receptive and responsive. We can raise awareness about this issue to our people in the UAE and we will witness change very quickly."

The majlis, titled Nourishing the Nation: Food Security in the UAE, gave insight into the measures being taken by the ministry to tackle the challenges posed to food security by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UAE at this time was not and will not be affected, whether its local produce, stockpile or imports," Sheikh Mohamed said.

He said the country was passing the test presented by an outbreak that has affected the lives of billions of people across the globe.

He said the UAE was playing a key role in supporting other nations by delivering essential aid.

Coronavirus was a test and I would like to stress in front of the others, that it was a test for you [Ms Almheiri] specifically in terms of food and we passed it due to your plans and your level of readiness.

"Surely, there might be some shortages but you are feeding a country, a nation of nearly 10 million people, without noticeable change.

"Some countries were impacted. We wish them well and sympathise with them, and that is why you saw how your country, the UAE, rushed to send them aid.

"The UAE sent aid to nearly 10 countries every week. It is our duty towards our brothers, allies and friends as we see some countries in a difficult situation."

Ms Almheiri said the UAE took steps to ensure it had ample food supplies, including setting up the Emirates Food Security Council to help co-ordinate a national effort.

As soon as the global pandemic hit, the council held an extraordinary meeting to develop an early mechanism system to monitor food imports and local food production capacity potential," she said.

"The council also connected with the Food Security Alliance companies in the UAE to best prepare for all scenarios.

In a way, going through this crisis is testing whether we have set up robust systems, and it has shown that this strategy has set the right foundation to be able to overcome this crisis.

We get our food through imports and local production but because of the harsh environment we import large amounts of our food.

Ms Almheiri said many did not realise that the UAE grew so much food.

Last month, it was revealed that close to 6 million tonnes of food was produced in the UAE each year, reflecting a growing shift away from a dependence on imported goods.

Local farms have ramped up production and more local produce has begun appearing on supermarket shelves.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, said stores in Abu Dhabi would now dedicate a section to promote locally grown produce.

Updated: May 7, 2020 11:17 AM

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