[ by Charles Cameron — as some of you may know, my nephew Daniel Harding is a celebrated orchestral conductor — but did you know he was also a qualified commercial pilot? — he’s been planning on taking a year’s vacation to pilot for Air France ]
I’m very fond of ‘air conducting” music I’m listening to — but that’s just my mode of “dancing while sitting down” as one of my teachers called it. Much more wonderful, IMO, is the work of my nephew, the conductor Daniel Harding. Today I ran across his performance, some years ago, of three Beethoven symphonies with the orchestra he loved and worked with for years, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
I’ll share them — Beethoven, Symphonies ## 5, 6, and 7— such bodily enthusiasm, so fresh the well-worn music:
Here, more recently, is Daniel‘s Beethoven #3, the Eroica, with the London Symphony Orchestra:
And how could I not offer you Daniel conducting Beethoven #9:
Daniel, who holds a commercial pilot’s license, was going to take a year’s sabbatical from music to work as an Air France pilot, but .. coronavirus. If I get any news, I’ll pass it along.
[ by Charles Cameron — I wish to acknowledge the impact Prem Rawat has had on my thinking during the course of this lockdown ]
A sequence of headlines says it all:
To be Specific:
Science gives a patina of the factual, the tested, the proven, the real, and fiction allows both the extrapolation of strict science to future possibilities (Larry Niven, Ringworld, if I remember correctly), but also the intrusion of the magical (RA Lafferty, Narrow Valley).
The question is both obvious and pressing, but of all those writing about it, and the essays above are a decent sample, Kim Stanley Robinson is the one with heart and mind most attuned to possible futures — so of all the above essays, hers is the one I’d trust, and would offer you for your consideration. Her thesis, in the small italic print above:
What felt impossible has become thinkable. The spring of 2020 is suggestive of how much, and how quickly, we can change as a civilization.
Chew on that for a while.
I suspect this is likely to become a series: I’ve accordingly labelled it #1. This is just setting the scene.
A hint from Maa Ganga, the goddess of India’s most sacred river Ganges:
The ganga, which flows through five states and is most polluted in Varanasi — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency — is now regaining all its lost glory, slowly. Pollution in the sacred river has come down by over 40 per cent and is likely to increase as the lock down continues across the country. Though successive governments including the present Modi government spent thousands of crores in cleaning the ganga and still failed miserably, looks like nature always finds its own way of healing.
Offered here so you can read in detail according to your interests and time
I had the pleasure of joining Break it Down Show host Pete Turner in interviewing Dr. Alexander Cooley and Dr. Daniel Nexon, authors of Exit From Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order. Cooley is Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College and Director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute of Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies while Nexon Associate Professor Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (Dan also blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and was the founder of the well respected group blog, Duck of Minerva). The two IR scholars have written a tightly argued, scholarly book regarding the potentially seismic shifts underway in the American-led liberal order and the potential directions a “post-hegemonic” world may take.
Without spoiling the show that I hope you will tune into below, Exit From Hegemony blends theory with contemporary geopolitical trends, strategic threats to “exit” the status quo posed by illiberal great powers of rising China and a waning Russia, transnational far-right (and far-left) populism and the role of America since the end of the Cold War up to and including the Trump administration. It’s a fascinating read an illuminating conversation.
[ by Charles Cameron — two book compilations on the virus — one about Christianity, one about world religions — and a handful of articles, plus one paper on cartel use of coronavirus, non-religious but still of interest ]
I was introduced to two books on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on religions via the New Religions Movement mailing list. The more interesting by far, from my own point of view, since it is more diverse and yet precise in pinpointing many of its topics, is:
Freedom of religion is certainly one of the areas in which the coronavirus confronts religion, and in which on occasion religion may confront the coronavirus — as the breadth of papers here clearly illustrates:
Note in particular, of very specific Christian interests:
Enrica Martinelli, Orthodox Easter Covid-19: Israel allows the opening of the Holy Supulcher to receive the “Light of Resurrection
Pierluigi Consorti, Coronavirus emergency in the monastic autonomous republic of Mount Athos. Contagion without covid-19
Matteo Carni, Vatican City State and Covid-19 emergency
And addressing non-Christian religions:
Caterina Gagliardi, Saudi Arabia’s caution in times of health emergency
Chiara Lapi, The Saffron Wave Against Virus. The Hindu Nationalists and the Covid-19 Emergency
Vasco Fronzoni, In Pakistan the mosques will remain open for Ramadhan but with restrictions
Enrica Martinelli, The Talmud teaches: “When pestilence is in the city, stay inside”
This, as you might imagine from its title, is exclusively concerned with Christianity, albeit globally and across denominational boundaries:
Contributors to this eBook come from ten different countries—within North America, Europe, and the Antipodes—and represent 12 different Christian denominations including Mainline, Catholic, and Nondenominational churches.
It remains only for me to list a few articles from news sources detailing Saudi and Indian responses to COVID-19:
The Hajj — the major pilgrimage to and circumambulation of the Kaaba in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, obligatory on all Muslims with the means to support it — has been cancelled this year on account of the coronavirus. The most useful account I have run across is:
Perhaps the most significant disruption of the Hajj occurred in
One of the earliest significant interruptions of the hajj took place in A.D. 930, when a sect of Ismailis, a minority Shiite community, known as the Qarmatians raided Mecca because they believed the hajj to be a pagan ritual.
The Qarmatians were said to have killed scores of pilgrims and absconded with the black stone of the Kaaba – which Muslims believed was sent down from heaven. They took the stone to their stronghold in modern-day Bahrain.
Hajj was suspended until the Abbasids, a dynasty that ruled over a vast empire stretching across North Africa, the Middle East to modern-day India from A.D. 750-1258, paid a ransom for its return over 20 years later.
Also of note is the hadith quoted:
If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.
Compare the title of Enrica Martinelli‘s piece above: The Talmud teaches: “When pestilence is in the city, stay inside” — DoubleQuote !! The hadith is “agreed as authentic” and found in two of the central collections of ahadith, S?ah?i?h? al-Bukha?ri? 5396, and S?ah?i?h? Muslim 2218.
I have sung aarti myself in Haridwar, one of the sacred cities beside the Ganges: “Twameva Mata” — “You are my Mother” — appropriate for Mother’s Day. Ah Well, Aarti in Varanasi, the ceremonial depicted above, has been shut down by reason of the coronavirus.
Also largely stopped in Varanasi is cremation at the burning ghats — taken to be a sure route to paradise, with bodies brought in from around India. The Ganges, which carried away
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