Freedom is a need. I have a cat. People feed this cat; they pet this cat; they give the cat everything he needs. But every time the window is open just a little, he runs away.
Freedom is a fundamental need for humans; and controversial in terms of geopolitical refugee issues. We might ask ourselves why people are running away from their homeland; why they are so terribly unhappy in camps/detention: why they don’t return home; why they want to don’t want to change their way of life/traditions or even their attitudes – part of the answer to this, is freedom. Freedom of choice.
It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.
~ Unknown Proverb
How often do we lament about our own country’s regulations preventing us from actioning something we want to do? Bureaucracy sets us more and more rules and society exacts unwritten ones.
Emerging nanny states ignore the need for personal freedom and decision-making. Machines and technology perform routine or repetitive tasks that eliminate the need for us to think, to choose, to do. They even decide for us how many steps we should take each day, the routes we drive, they eliminate the need to remember facts, as Google knows all. Is technology in a sense, preventing physical freedom whilst giving us a kind of intellectual freedom. Many folk today are addicted to checking email, notifications and their phones, and do not allocate time to just be, to self- reflect, to enjoy the liberty of a human on this planet.
If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbours. There is no other.
~Carl Schurz (German revolutionary and American Statesman)
Picasso’s quote hints at liberty in a metaphorical sense. How do you interpret it?
“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”
~ Pablo Picasso
Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog.
I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.
Mostly anonymous, proverbs are a portal through time to generations past and echo a diverse range of cultures.
They speak of the experiences of many lessons learned and the wisdom from thousands of lives already lived.
They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.
Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below. Everyone’s opinion is important. What is yours?
Proverbial Friday – always Something to Ponder About
Many people feel that they are not at all artistic. Yet there are many things you can do to create artistic flourishes or decorations, on objects in your world, with a few simple household tools and very little artistic technique. If you can hammer in a nail, you could paint a primitive, and delightful, border design.
A border can provide structure to a loose, flowing design. It will frame the design which pleases the eyes’ sense of order. Not only that but a line or motif border can direct the viewer’s eyes to the rest of the design, whilst still allowing for “breathing room” – negative space around the design itself. This, in particular, applies to primitive or folk art/ traditional art.
Beginners can easily create borders by combining a few basic strokes with dots made with the handle end of a brush dipped in paint, or press a series of dots with a Q-tip cotton bud, or a worn pencil eraser to form a four or five-petaled daisy.
Here are a few ideas:
Elongate the dots made form dipping the handle of a brush into oval shapes to make flower buds.
Place two dots of paint side by side, pulling each to a point, with a fine brush or brush handle, to form a heart. Use the chisel edge of a flat brush to make carefree straight lines. These irregular lines result in a more primitive look, less rigid and more free-flowing than lines carefully painted with a liner brush.
Children can begin to develop an appreciation of border art by dabbling decorative edges on photo frames or the cover of study books. Cover the books with plain paper or card stock and arm the kids with a q tip or paintbrush as a “dotting tool.”
Rule some lines in pencil as a guide and let them create patterns in rows across the paper with Q-tips or brushes. You will be surprised as what they come up with. They are limited only by their imagination. And you can even incorporate apply a bit of mathematics at the same time, teaching division skills.
Something to remember when painting strokes and border designs is to aim for a flowing design. Otherwise, the rhythm of the design will appear disjointed and the eye will not flow smoothly from one section of the design to another.
Decorate an object with one colour and then add a solid, contrasting colour border design
A solid contrast border colour can be further embellished with geometric shapes, dots, stripes or swirls.
As your confidence and ability grows, build up each row upon row, to form an intricate border designs, based on basic shapes and form such as can be seen in this preliminary sketch below.
What would you rate as the single most important thing in your life?
Family, your passion/hobby, right? Of course! So what would rate second to this? What do you spend most of your time doing? What would you find hard to live without?For most of us, especially the young, a truthful answer might be their Smart phone. Why? Because it is has become the primary means of communication, in daily life. And humans, being a gregarious, social bunch, thrive on communication. Whether one is verbal or non-verbal, whatever language one speaks, communication is essential, vital and pretty impossible to live without.
Whilst the PC has given us a global communication and information portal, the Smart phone is now our PC. The smartphone’s portability gives us that freedom to communicate wherever we are, but also but the power to source information worldwide, when we want it. Even in third world countries, children easily access information from anywhere in the world, without being in ‘cooee’ of a school or library, (provided there’s a cellular communication tower nearby)! Fantastic, isn’t it?
But it has its downsides too. Smartphones makes us information rich and time poor. Smartphones mean work can go with you, 24/7 and may lead to extra stress. For some children, smartphones give bullying a new dimension, unless they are strong and bold enough to turn the phone off. To be offline or ‘disconnected’ with the world today, and all the latest happenings, is a concept totally alien to youth and could even brand one an eccentric or a hippie!
For me, the Smartphone means that checking my emails and notifications from Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress and other social media platforms, has become a fixed part of my daily routine, almost akin to a ritual. This information overload and constant switching between apps, drains my focus and my concentration levels. It makes time vanish and is so insidious, it can even make me late for work!
How frustrated can we become if our battery dies, we discover there is no internet connection, or wi-fi is horrendously slow, right? In an evolutionary sense, our brains are hard-wired to seek new information, so this led me to thinking: is this incredible invention a powerful freedom-giving communication device, capable of fulfilling all our information needs, or simply an electronic panacea, capable of dizzying, visual and auditory enslavement? Does it bring happiness, contentment, or stress and anguish, or perhaps even, a little of each?
Did the inventors of the telephone, glimpse for but a moment, the addictive nature of facilitating global communication and the smart phone’s omnipresent infiltration in modern life? Cartoonists, it seems, had a small inkling as early as 1907!! Punch Magazine published a cartoon entitled “Predictions for 1907” in which he showed a man and a woman in London’s Hyde Park, each separately engaged in gambling and dating, on wireless telephony equipment.[Source: Wiki] And Karl Arnold drew this visionary cartoon about wireless telephone use, in 1926!
Who was it, I pondered, that actually, started this juggernaut of communication? Generally, I’ve got a good grasp of trivia, so I was initially thinking/blaming Edison? He certainly contributed to the phone, inventing the carbon microphone, but the electric light was his brainchild. It was really Alexander Graham Bell, wasn’t it? Well, yes, but not exactly. Even in its infancy, this communication device was so enticing, so highly sought after, the person who would clam the title of inventor of the telephone became dogged in controversy. I decided to investigate, a little further, if for no other reason, than so I could point the finger of blame at his/her feet.
My Smart phone told me that Bell has widely been regarded “as the ‘inventor’ of the telephone outside of Italy, where Meucci was championed as its inventor. Meucci, Manzetti, and Gray have each offered fairly precise tales of a contrivance, whereby Bell actively stole the invention of the telephone from their specific inventor. [I] Mmm, it seems complicated, I thought. More reading and sorting facts, was required, so I constructed a rough timeline of events to help my understanding.
Timeline of Events
1843 – Antonio Manzetti first mooted the idea of a “speaking telegraph”, or telephone, but doesn’t pursue the idea
1860 – Antonio Meucci demonstrates his apparatus “teletrofono”, in New York in 1860
1864 – to give his automaton the power of speech, Manzetti is reported to have invented his speaking telegraph –some reports state that he didn’t actually get it working until the following year. Although he didn’t patent his device, it is reported in Paris, and likely publicized, in the press, around the world.
1865– Scottish immigrant, Alexander Graham Bell visits Antonio Manzetti and examines his “device”
1871 – Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci submitted a patent caveat for his telephonic device to the U.S. Patent Office, but there was no mention of electromagnetic transmission of vocal sound.
1874– Elisha Gray develops a harmonic telegraph apparatus using vibrating reeds that could transmit musical tones, but not intelligible speech.
1874 – December – Gray demonstrated his device to the public at Highland Park First Presbyterian Church.
1876 – February 14 – Gray lodged a Patent caveat at Us Patent Office shortly after it opened, a few hours before Bell’s application, but Gray’s application remained at the bottom of the in-basket until that afternoon.*
1876 – February 24 – Bell traveled to Washington DC. Nothing is entered in his lab notebook until his return to Boston on March 7.
1876 – March 7– Bell obtains patent for “apparatus for electromagnetic transmission of vocal or other sounds by undulatory electric current”* (see more on this below)
1876– March 8 – Bell and Watson, his assistant, finally got his model to work and recorded this an experiment in their lab notebook, with a diagram similar to that of Gray’s patent caveat.
1876– August 10 – The first long distance telephone call made by Bell to his assistant located some 10 miles (16 km) apart.
1877 – Hungarian engineer Tivadar Puskás develops an idea for a telephone exchange which built by the Bell Telephone Company in Boston
1908 – a Professor Albert Jahnke and the Oakland Transcontinental Aerial Telephone and Power Company developed a wireless telephone. They were accused of fraud and the charge was then dropped, but they do not seem to have proceeded with production
1918– German railroad system tested wireless telephony on military trains
1926– Telephone service in trains of the Deutsche Reichsbahn and the German mail service on the route between Hamburg and Berlin offered to 1st class travelers.
1930s – Telephone sets developed combining the bell and induction coil with the desk set, obviating a separate ringer box
1950– “Hexagonal Cells” early radio telephones created by AT&T and Bell Labs
1973 – Martin Cooper placed the first cell phone call (with a 1G mobile phone)
1991 – the first GSM network (Radiolinja) launched in Finland
1993–IBM Simon introduced the world’s first smart phone. It was a mobile phone, pager, fax machine, and PDA all rolled into one
2002 – US Congress recognises a little-known mechanical genius, Antonio Meucci, as a father of modern communications, 113 years after his death.
2009 –1.26 billion fixed-line subscribers and 4.6 billion mobile telephone subscribers [Source:Wiki]
Billions of subscribers!!!! The proliferation of this fantastic invention is so widespread, it permeates many aspects of life, today. Will books and television sets soon only be found in a museum, I thought? When I start to think like this, I had to chide myself and remember that no one would not be reading this post without the use of telephone technology!!
It is clear the history of the telephone is nearly as complicated as the device itself, involving a variety of people, patents, lawsuits, and finally, legislation. It is ironic to think that if Gray’s patent application was time-stamped or lodged with smart phone technology, he would be the classified as the original inventor of the smart phone’s precursors. Did it come down to who had the better lawyer or legal advice? Well, only until the US government legislated in this regard, in 2002. Who do you regard as the original inventor and how much do your let the smart phone dictate how you spend your time? That is Something to ponder about.
*** Additional Notes
The water transmitter described in Gray’s caveat was strikingly similar to the experimental telephone transmitter tested by Bell on March 10, 1876, a fact which raised questions about whether Bell (who knew of Gray) was inspired by Gray’s design or vice versa. Although Bell did not use Gray’s water transmitter in later telephones, evidence suggests that Bell’s lawyers may have obtained an unfair advantage over Gray.
It is alleged that Bell bribed a patent examiner, Zenas Wilber, not only into processing his application before Gray’s, but allowing a look at his rival’s designs before final submission. Bell’s application was filed shortly before noon on February 14 by Bell’s lawyer who requested that the filing fee be entered immediately onto the cash receipts blotter and Bell’s application was taken to the Examiner immediately. Late in the afternoon, Gray’s caveat was entered on the cash blotter and was not taken to the Examiner until the following day. The fact that Bell’s filing fee was recorded earlier than Gray’s led to the myth that Bell had arrived at the Patent Office earlier. Bell was in Boston on February 14 and did not know this happened until later. Gray later abandoned his caveat and did not contest Bell’s priority.
In a letter of March 2, 1877, Bell admitted to Gray that he was aware Gray’s caveat “had something to do with the vibration of a wire in water [the variable resistance breakthrough that made the telephone practical] — and therefore conflicted with my patent.” At this time, Gray’s caveat was still confidential. In 1879, Bell testified under oath that he discussed “in a general way” Gray’s caveat with patent examiner Zenas Fisk Wilber. When patent examiners investigate possible interferences between applications, it was not uncommon for them to ask questions of the inventors directed at the places of possible interference.
In a affidavit from April 8, 1886, Wilber admitted that he was an alcoholic who owed money to his longtime friend and Civil War Army companion Marcellus Bailey, Bell’s lawyer. Wilber says that after he issued the suspension on Bell’s patent application, Bailey came to visit. In violation of Patent Office rules, he told Bailey about Gray’s caveat and told his superiors that Bell’s patent application had arrived first. During Bell’s visit to Washington, “Prof. Bell was with me an hour when I showed him the drawing [of Gray’s caveat] and explained Gray’s methods to him.” He says Bell returned at 2pm to give him a hundred-dollar bill.
Slow Tech by Joe Kraus The effects of Smart phone technology on our future lives.
“The ability of our brains to pay attention to anything will be lost”
The more we multi-task, the worse we get at it!
Average of text messages sent by teenage girls a month: 4000
Changes to our brain. The long term attention, contemplative, thinking part of our brain atrophies or dies, whilst the fast thinking distractible part of our brain is stimulated to grow :
Result: Decline in creativity and insight
Intolerance of, or feeling anxious when bored
Decline in manners or consideration or attention to others
Take a break as smart phones are here to stay and are helpful when the matter is urgent.
1. Taking a walk without your phone, practise meditation, just “be”
2. Have some phone/technology down time ( one day/evening a week) Joe Kraus claims your level of focus will be much better afterwards.