The Artwork of Michael Divine

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Posts from October, 2007

Skepticism in Buddhism

October 27th, 2007

One of the most important tenets of Buddhism, beyond the four noble truths, the eightfold path, the three jewels, is one simple suggestion of the Buddha: try it for yourself. Try it on, see how it fits. Keep what fits. The parts you throw out may fit later, so put them aside. The parts that fit, see why they fit. examine them. Meditate on them. As a view point, as a point of departure. As a meditation. try it in your life. Be skeptical…

Transmission MandalaConsider attachment. Consider envy. Consider aversion. Consider greed. Consider illusion. Consider form. As you go deeper and deeper, uncovering multiple layers of meaning around each element, you may find some truth. Some core relevance. When a thought arises, consider it’s source. Be skeptical.

Be skeptical of your own mind. Of your own belief systems. Of your own right and wrongs. How did all of this come into being, you ask.

They say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. You can give a person countless treatises on how the world works, how we as humans relate, etc, but unless they see it for themselves, then whatever you are dishing out is as worthless as the paper it is printed on or the breath with which it is spoken.

We are not dishing out religion here. No Virtue. No Dogma. No spiritual come-uppance. Just trial and error truth.

Then, when you look at other religions, try them on too.

We are not interested in stories, although there are many. We are not interested in Histories, as varied and colored as they may be. We are interested only in this now and how we relate to it. And this Now. And this Now. And the continuance of this Now. Which, also, may be a complete illusion. Try it out. See how it fits.

Live in Love.

Fires

October 23rd, 2007

Fires down here… kinda crazy when i think about it.. towns just north (at the end of the stretch of beach) of Torrey Pines have been evacuated. Our own things are packed… paintings still on stretchers, but if we had to leave, they would all be taken off. They sit in a pile by the door. What a weird feeling. Instead i try to envision not having to leave here. Maybe I kinda like it here! Smell of ashes and fire since Sunday… a layer of ash on the car, outside on the ground, on the plants…. Poor Fi, our great regal black and white tuxedo kitty, snoring at night because his delicate little olfactories have been irritated. With our stuff out, our bags on the floor, he sleeps on top of them and gives us this look that says: You’d better not forget me! And then there is just the consideration of where we would go. Do we drive north to LA if need be or do we go and stay with friends in San Diego? A slight fear the the fire that has come up from the border will connect with the fire that is north and east of us. They’re close… maybe within ten miles of each other.
So we hope for the best.

Radiohead and Innovative Business Models

October 10th, 2007

Radiohead In Rainbows

I hear terms like “new paradigm” and “paradigm shift” and the like quite a bit these days. Sometimes it is regarding some hokey new age phenomena regarding quantum this or cleansing that. And sometimes it is in the case of business models and the like. We’re going to talk about the second manner of new paradigms here. Business models and, more specifically, the business model of the record industry which, like more industries, including our very own U.S. government, has become a bloated beast that mostly subsists in a parasitic self serving manner.

So many people talk about “changing the system” or something of the like. They talk about new modes of sales like the Amazon.com mp3 store which has another version of same shitty TOU that so many other online music stores have. Whether it is the ZUNE or iTunes or whatever, it has this DRM feature that limits your usage and is one more cap on that illusory thing called freedom.

Make no mistake about it, there are many little doorways to freedom and there seems to be someone who always wants to cap them, charge a fee for them, etc. You have the record industry which would like to cap how you use or share your music. You have the internet providers like AT&T who would like to cap how you get access (and by what speed) to the internet. You have the US government which would ultimately like to watch where you go and limit what you can see.

So removing one obstacle may lead us encounter another. But not removing any obstacles will lead to a pretty limited existence.

Remember those mix tapes you meticulously made when you were a kid? Rewinding the tape a mere inch or two with your fingers just so you get the cut just right? Remember the copyright notice inside and we all laughed at it because god this was going to be the best freakin mix tape ever?

Well, the same kind of mixing goes on today (as we all know), but it has been discovered that you really can limit the use of a music file now by inserting small nefarious bits of code that will govern how you use it. So much for sharing music. So much for owning what you purchased.

So this brings us to: business models.

The old business model had a record company controlling the rights and distribution to an artists work. Nuff said. And the artist usually got very little.

Now let’s say the artist was pretty huge and let’s say they were done with that contract they had signed so long ago. And they’d made a new album. And it was a great album. And they wanted to connect with the fans directly. What if they made it available on-line at a price anybody could afford. That is: a price which the consumer could dictate.

All things considered, if the consumer dictates that they want to give the artist a dollar for the album, then that is really most likely more than the band was going to get from the record company anyhow. So you realize that some people will give ten, some one, some nothing and some will likely give twenty or thirty because they love you. And the music you give them has no copyrights. No nothing. Your fans can play it anywhere, share it with anyone. Sounds like the band not only respects you as the consumer but also wants to work with this whole “new paradigm” thing. Rather than change the system internally, they figure they’ll start a new system.

What if every band did this? How much did the LCD Soundsystem get from their record label on a per album basis? I would have gone to their website and given them a few dollars for it but go into a store and pay 15 bucks for a CD? Or go to iTunes and pay 9.99 for something that they control? No way. Very little of that money goes back to the artist.

So check it out:

In case you didn’t know there is a new Radiohead album available online. It costs, well, it’s up to you what it costs. It is a new system and I think we will see other bands following suit.

www.inrainbows.com (what a lovingly simple website)

What I have been

October 9th, 2007

blue buddha3.jpg

I AM

I have been a visionary, a writer, an artist.
I have been the one, sitting in cafes, doing absolutely nothing but passing the time.
I have been in love.
I have been the one with the crush.
I have been loved.
I have been hated.
I have broken hearts.
I have been a typical guy.
I have been a liar, a cheat, a thief.
I have been honest, a helping hand, a guardian angel
I have been laughter and joy, a bright shining light that gives hope
I have dashed that hope, been a sarcastic, cynical bastard
I have been a hiker, a driver, a passenger, a gypsy
I have been a renter, an employee, a business partner, a buyer, a seller, an interested party, a disinterested observer and a casual passerby.
I have been a complete stranger to many people, more than I could count.
I have been a best friend to only a few.
I have been an acquaintance to far more and a friend to many.
I have been a library assistant, a bookbinder, a dishwasher, a ski bum, a graphic designer, a painter, a poet, a janitor, a cook.
I have been a child, a baby, a thought, a dream.
I have been a boy making farting noises and annoying my sister.
I have been a teenager growing his hair long in defiance of the “system”, mowing the lawn on the weekend.
I have been a stoner, a tripper, the one in the corner you hoped was ok.
I have been a dancer, in the middle of the fray, opening and opening and opening to the never ending effulgence of the divine.
I have been Shiva, Buddha, Christ.
I have been a shaman, a mosaic worker, a healer and a sage.
I have been a fortune teller.
I have a revolutionary
I have been completely apathetic.
I have been a yogi, a meditator, a student, a teacher.
I have been the darkness.
I have been the light.
I have been NOW
Forever.

The Artwork of Michael Divine

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