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The delicate life of roses and humans

Sometimes a link is enough : A rose will bloom...  
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We are all window dressers now

 It used to be the Sunday morning rush, tidying up the front-room, sweeping, dusting, plumping up cushions. Guests would arrive soon and we had to present them with an acceptable environment, avoid post-visit gossip. It is every day now, having guests coming into the digital front rooms of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and all the others. Eyes are greedy and attention flickers between the best-looking vase in the house filled up with fresh flowers, always fresh, and a small unidentifiable shiny object. Glass of wine or cup of coffee, a couple of books, immaculate surroundings, good lighting provided by a smartphone's camera.  Does it matter that this camera is equipped with something called High Dynamic Range (HDR)? Oh well, it does. Unruly pixels and impossible contrasts are tamed into a picture that looks good, forever. Is this Feng shui in tidbits?  Faced with the impossibility of clearing the mess in every nook and cranny of life, we may find comfort in posting beautiful photos.

The old amulet and the oak tree leaf

 Google Lens is a magical tool, or should I write "magickal"? It's a very short story. Rummaging through old boxes full of long-forgotten objects brought to surface this pendant. No idea at first what it was and no memory of getting it, as a gift or an impulse buy.  Google Images did not work because it the snapshot was not in the right format. Giving up was not an option, the pendant was definitely an amulet of some sort, what if giving up the search meant giving up untapped powers? Random clicking through drop-downs has never been appealing, but curiosity is the best engine.  The photo opened in Chrome, right-click, noticed 'Search images with Google Lens' and here it was, in its full copper and bronze splendour. A Shri Yantra charm or talisman, sold by at least ten different online shops. I could get myself other kinds of Yantras or read at length about them online. Could I?   Of all possibilities opened up this morning I chose to retrace my steps and test Goog

Time -out for kids? How about time- in?

Prequel (as they say in the movie industry): a few days after publishing this post, I came across an advertisement   that contained the very idea I had written about. Actually the very phrase, 'time-in'. Synchronicity is very real. Glad to find out others think the same. The missing toy Child has a tantrum. Child starts screaming. Parent has no idea why and prosecutorial interrogation does not work.  "Why are you shouting? Why are you not listening? Why?" Most adults don't have any trouble explaining why they are moody, irritable or simply unpleasant. "I'm stressed" is the generic label for a variety of deeper feelings and emotions, as well as pure biological reasons, such as lack of sleep. Are grown-ups being told to have a time-out when they behave like their children? God forbid, they're grown-ups. Kids are not basketball players. Time-out, shouted by the coach and meant to break a free fall in players' tactics and successive mistakes, is

What would Epicurus say about this pandemic?

I have to apologise to Epicurus for misinterpreting him all my life. I blame it on popular culture and philosophy teacher, who should have made me retake the exam. Fortunately, with such a resurgence of interest in classical antiquity, the often misquoted and misunderstood philosophers of yore got another chance. The Internet created a repository of writings accessible now to everyone, not just academics and bookworms. Take the  Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy  for instance, the equivalent of Github  and its treasure trove of open source. The article on Epicurus has a specific reference to friendship.  He thought so highly of it that he set up a community of the likely-minded. It was called The Garden. The Epicurean view on friendship? A blessing, a source of pleasure, a fortress of tranquility, a fountain of trust. A great fortune can never give us what friends do. Bickering and occasional bitterness, the hallmark of every family relationship, are notably absent among friends. The

Death, statistics and reality

 They are usually buried deep in official statistics folders, far away from awareness.  Death figures are not something anyone likes looking at on a regular, let alone daily, basis. Not even actuaries, presumably. It changed with Covid-19 (why 19 when the pandemic started in 2020, but that's another question). Daily death figures are everywhere. They do not make comfortable reading, listening to or talking about. For anyone who lost a relative or a friend, they are horrifically painful. If not, fear for one's own fate is a powerful enough trigger. Starting with the ancients, not just classical Greece and Rome, death was a topic to ponder and draw wisdom from. Every thing that was left undone, all the words that could have been spoken, the impermanence of life, they were brought to the forefront of consciousness, or so we like to think. It's not modern philosophers who invented "Memento Mori", nor are these two Latin words widely quoted. How could they be? They are

Why are cats so popular? It's envy, guys

  Question of the day: how come cats are so popular on every social media platform?   Answer of the day: popularity is just disguised envy. Cat owners, more acutely, and the rest less affected, due to lower exposure, all wish they were like cats. Free, independent, vaguely domesticated. Doing what they please, when they feel like it, and unflinching when confronted with an obstacle. All of the above has been already said, written and read many times. I claim discovering the feeling behind general fascination with cats.  Envy, that is. Without going all biblical about it, let us agree envy is one constant layer of human composition. This one ingredient is lurking behind an adoring gaze: if only we could be like cats.