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This movie directed by Ingmar Bergman is not what you’d call upbeat. It’s a sad tale of repression of human emotions in the presence of a terminal illness of one of three sisters. Only the maid servant freely expresses her love for the dying sister. Reconciliation of the two living sisters seems to occur at one point only to disappear again at the end. Bergman clearly doesn’t think much of well healed self-satisfied people who he believes often live inauthentic lives of hypocrisy and repressed self-hatred.

There is an interesting interview of Bergman and his friend, Erland Josephson, done in 1999, on the DVD. I enjoyed this discussion very much between the two wise old artists (Bergman was 82 at the time and Josephson was 77), and the interviewer, Malou von Sivers, was very good. She asked them probing questions about their lives, loves, and views on death. Ingmar was not so concerned about his own death whereas his friend Erland was not at all looking forward to it. Bergman died in 2007 and Josephson in February of this year, 2012.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview that says a lot to me:

von Sivers: I think of Strindberg, whom you both love, of his play Thunder in the Air. There are in the accounts of ageing a feeling of reconciliation, together with the pain. I get the same feeling when listening to you. I don’t know if this is just my impression. Is it wishful thinking on my part, that ageing brings reconciliation?

Bergman: (To Josephson) Do you want to start, or shall I?

Josephson: You start. I can carry on.

Bergman: We should talk in chorus, as we both feel the same way about growing old. We were never told it would be so hard. It’s hard work. It’s very hard work. Especially when you feel yourself waning, and your ailments begin to take over. Ridiculous, slightly humiliating ailments begin to take over. Before you get used to this, and they become part of your life, you have a hard time. Ageing is strenuous work. It isn’t something often talked about. We should talk more about it. Ageing in itself is a full-time job. Making yourself function in a reasonably dignified manner. We’ve talked about this.

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I really enjoyed Bill Moyers interview with John Sexton, the president of NYU, last evening. He’s a fascinating and likable guy. Of course he believes in God, being raised a catholic in Brooklyn, NY, and apparently never straying from that belief. But I think I grasp what he’s trying to say, this thing about cognitive limitations, and different dimensions.

Here’s a portion of his conversation with Bill Moyers, taken from the transcript on the Moyers website:

BILL MOYERS: By ineffable, you mean?

JOHN SEXTON: I mean that what we’re discussing now is something that’s approached through music and poetry and mythos in the best sense of that word. You know, Americans talk about myth as falsehood. It’s become a synonym for falsehood, whereas myth speaks– I mean, Lisa had never reasoned to me to the fact that she loved me. I never reasoned her to the fact that I loved her.

It was something that was an experience truth, the deepest truths in life, including what we’re talking about here, including what I tried to get at in that course. Baseball is a Road to God, with its kind of, you know, a frolicky title is there’s something very serious. But it’s not something that you get to through cognitive processes.

This is why the war between science and religion seems to me is a false war. There’s no tension between science and religion. They’re different dimensions. So everything I’ve just said to you I know is a matter of faith. There are people out there on the NYU faculty that are embarrassed to have their president say this and I delight in that, you know. I mean, but it is something that’s real in my life and affects me day-in and day-out. It– it’s self-evident that there are important things that are not reducible to the cognitive. You know, now, the neuroscientists would like to map, you know, even the poetic parts of the brain. And so on. We’ll see where that goes. But the fact of the matter is that when I listened to Rachmaninoff’s second at the Philharmonic a couple of days ago, there was an ineffable transportation to another plane that undeniably became part of my experience.

I mean, I think Keats would say, at this point, that there’s a coalescence of what we’re talking about here, about transcendence and beauty and truth and faith.

Again, whether all this about different dimensions and knowledge beyond the cognitive, is true, or just a happy illusion, just more chemical effects on our endocrine system making us feel “transported” and into a false reality, I’m still undecided upon, terribly mixed up about. The new atheists, the Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, etc., have put religion in its place, the opiate of the people, the awful hypocrisy of it, the source of much of the world’s evil. But still, there are cognitive mysteries, like the “turtles all the way down” paradox. Of course, it appears that Rebecca Goldstein thinks Spinoza has explained all this rationally. Or perhaps not.

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Predicting Crisis: Dr. Doom & the Black Swan!

Ya gotta watch this! Here we have a bunch CNBC talking heads — need I say, clowns? — firing stock-tip questions at two heavyweight economists who are trying to explain to the talking heads the nature of reality! Reality: the world is on the threshold of a total financial collapse, and you ask for stock tips? Sheeesh!

Nouriel Roubini, Dr. Doom: The recession is in danger of becoming L-shaped, rather than U-shaped, meaning it stays a recession for a loong time. Even if we do everything right, i.e., monetary easing, fiscal stimulus, fixing banks, we could still end up with the L-shape. Stock tips? Cash is king!

Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan: People who got us into this mess are still around; they should be thrown out and replaced by people like Nouriel who saw the crisis coming. Stock tips? 100% to 200% in cash!

Go HERE to watch this amazing video.

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OK, I know I said I’d never do it again, but this is just too good to pass up. I think it’s really Tina Fey being interviewed by a Katie Couric look-a-like!

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Oh boy, some more wonky boring stuff out of SeevsPlace. ha ha Well, what the hell, I think I’ll make a post on this anyways. I just got through listening to what I thought was a very interesting and truthful, as against the bullshitty “truthiness” that we usually get on our media here in the good old USofA, discussion by two knowledgeable persons, as against bullshit artist, mainly Republican, politicians and gutless media persons! It’s refreshing to hear people give facts and opinions uncolored by the usual, oh boy we may have to bomb Iran they’re bad guys we’re good guys better vote Republican things are either black or white and they’re black in Iran so we better bomb ’em right away, vote McCain! ha ha?

Gary Sick (unfortunate name?) of Columbia University is one of the most reasonable and knowledgeable foreign policy experts around, a great personage who has written many books (none of which I’ve read) and the other guy is John Hostettler, a former Republican congressman who was against the Iraq war. So, this isn’t a case of the usual on-the-one-hand on-the-other-hand type discussion, typical of our gutless, corporation controlled media unwilling to point out what’s reasonable and what isn’t. Anyway, this video is a real good discussion of where we are, where the world is, in terms of us, the US, and Iran. The interviewer is a reasonable guy by the name of Riz Khan, not your typical smarmy Tom Brokaw type, which is refreshing in itself! Hey, if you’ve got over 12 minutes, but less than 13, to waste, take a look at this thing. 😀


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No, he’s not taking an aphrodisiac to avoid choking later on a Viagra pill, he’s just confused about who Zapatero, the Prime Minister of Spain, is. He evidently thinks he’s one of those South American bad guys. Josh Marshall proves this quite nicely in this video of the confused repartee between McCain and an interpreter from a Spanish language radio station:
Josh points out that Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s top foreign policy adviser and full fledged neoconservative, says McCain was not confused at all, and was simply refusing to commit to a White House meeting with Zapatero as part of policy. So, who is running the McCain campaign, McCain or his handlers? Does McCain know what’s going on? Does the rain in Spain fall mainly on McCain? (I read that on somebody’s blog comment today.)

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From Juan Cole this morning: A couple days ago Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) interviewed Joseph Christoff, Director, International Affairs and Trade, for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The Texas Democrat was trying to get Mr. Christoff to admit that the benchmarks Bush laid down for success of the “surge” in Iraq have still not been met. Mr. Christoff kept saying his report was not about benchmarks, but the questioning by Mr. Doggett ended up showing that there has been no progress on benchmarks. This five minute interview is what you might call “wonky” but it’s interesting nevertheless and shows that the so-called surge has not been a great success.


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I can’t believe this! But I have to give Obama credit for going on this guy’s show. Below is part 1 of a 4 part interview. I think Obama holds his own against, Bill O’Reilly, the greatest slime merchant alive today outside of Sean Hannity. Why Barack is bothering to do this, I don’t know. Will he win over any of that 88% Republican viewer crowd of FOX News? I doubt it, but this at least shows Obama is not afraid of talking with the enemy. He may in fact win a few undecided votes? But I haven’t watched the other three parts of this interview.

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