Writing as an Instrument of Resilience

French pedo-psychiatrist and writer Boris Cyrulnik poses on February 28, 2013 in Paris. AFP PHOTO ERIC FEFERBERG

Resilience across writing is a good way to get out of the fog and light up your life” says Boris Cyrulnik, neuropsychiatrist and writer, having lost both his parents at the age of five, is a living model of how one develops resilience and can overcome the major dramas of life.

When the word “resilience” was first used in physics it referred to a body’s ability to absorb an impact. Transformed to the human psyche, it is the capacity to transcend from traumatic experiences.  Brené Brown defines resilience as a character quality “it is how we fold our experiences into our being” and in doing so, resilience enables us to emerge from the trauma more whole. For Boris Cyrulnik resilience is a natural process, what we have to face obliges us to “knit” ourselves. “We might feel that, if a single stitch holds, we can start all over again.” Looking back at our childhood, as we remember, we reconstruct our story turning it into a narrative, give a meaning and rework it in emotional terms.

Faced with the catastrophe of losing both his parents, totally left in void and longing for the loved ones lost, he recounts his efforts to save his parents’ memories vivid by hiding their photographs and intimate objects in a wooden box carved by his father.

In this longing, I have developed a “split personality” as the psychoanalysts would describe it. I was very talkative all day long like a magpie but when the night fell I became silent and switched to writing at a very early age. I wrote both awful and wonderful stories. Writing has become an instrument of resilience for me, it allowed me to choose from the images of the past to act upon my mental world. At the traumatic moment, of course, we only perceive the wound. It is not until much later that we can speak of resilience; not until the restored adult can at last come to terms with the chaos of her childhood.

[…]

There is no such thing as pure unhappiness or happiness. But as soon as we put sadness into a story, we give a meaning to our sufferings and understand, long after the event, how we succeeded in turning our unhappiness into something wonderful. Anyone who has been hurt has to undergo metamorphosis. Our sufferings are not in vain, and victory is possible.

Boris Cyrulnik refers to the neuroimagery records made during psychanalysis which show that when the subject recalls a problem hurting him, the amygdala, the base of unpleasant emotions flames up and consumes energy. When the analyst refines and elaborates on this problem, the amygdala is calmed down and the firings are switched off due to the effect of the elaborated words which would have called other parts of the brain –prefrontal lobe –the lobe of anticipations in particular to join in and consolidate the emotional work. In the same way, writing is also elaborating words, refining expressions in meaningful chunks while the memories get lined up and organized, the healing works through the story. Hope, the major human anticipation in this struggle finds its way through the cracks.

Duygu Bruce
May 19, 2019

Reference:
Psychologies, No. 397, May 2019

 

 

Scientist’s Passion for Music and the Creative Flow of Improvisation

You can think of an experiment like a song — made up of many moving parts, but structured; sometimes very repetitive. Each little piece has to come together to make a bigger picture, or answer a question about the universe.”

Charles Limb, a surgeon, neuroscientist, hearing specialist and musician sets forth, “music is the most complicated sound the brain can process”. He proclaims that the human brain is capable to process such a refined and complicated task due to its innovative capacity. “The idea that one can improvise a jazz solo today is a direct reflection of the fact that our brains have this innate capacity to create and to generate novel ideas, which itself is absolutely integral to how we survived as a species.”

What exactly happens in the brain during improvisation?

This enhanced activity in sensorimotor areas may be indicative of a “primed” state as the musician prepares to execute unplanned ideas in a spontaneous context as if they are projected fast forward on a screen somewhere out there and the musician simultaneously processes them in a feed-forward fashion and brings them to play up on his instrument. A true miracle of inspiration! Meanwhile the parts of the brain related to self-awareness and self-inhibition shut down.

It seems that during spontaneous creative modes there is deactivation in the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex. when people would describe themselves as “in the zone” or in a flow state. There’s less self-monitoring and less self-awareness — these are processes that could impede the goal of being creative, of having free-flow output.

Of course, there’s a difference between low-level creativity that can approach randomness, and high-level creativity, such as between a person plucking randomly at guitar strings and a highly-trained musician improvising.

There are some similarities between the way the brain behaves during improvisation and when a person dreams, during REM sleep.

Again, it’s logical that the two states would be similar, since when you’re dreaming you’re also dealing with unplanned outcomes and free associations. One of our most creative times is when we’re dreaming — we’re not inhibited and so we have the capacity to be incredibly imaginative.

On his loving bond with music since early childhood and what led him  to science, Charles Limb recollects the time his parents bought him the piano: “…I was a teen then when I became obsessed with it. For me, that time was a period when I was trying to understand my own existence, and I found that there was nothing more helpful than music. Nothing more profound, comforting, and beautiful than music. Yet I didn’t feel I should become a musician, even though I was a decent jazz saxophonist for my age.”

When you love music, and you love the arts, you can’t think about anything else. That’s how I am with music, I can’t think about anything else … It’s actually been my whole career, the reason I’m a hearing specialist, the reason I run a lab, the reason I look into creativity is because I’m obsessed with the musical arts … it’s what my whole life has been about.

He recounts how his passion for music led him to the science of hearing, neuroscience and a surgeon: “You can think of an experiment like a song — made up of many moving parts, but structured; sometimes very repetitive. Each little piece has to come together to make a bigger picture, or answer a question about the universe. Or, you can think of an experiment as a simple process to make sense of the world around us…Science is, in many ways, its own art form. I think that there’s a lot of creativity in science. When it’s done well, it can be very elegant.”

Charles Limb plays up the finely tuned string in his work so artfully pursued a scientist and as a musician :

The joy of a good data set has an aesthetic all its own. Humanity itself — could not survive without creativity, without finding patterns out of the randomness.

On a more metaphorical level, both science and the arts are seeking the truth, to me, that’s the link that really connects them.

 

Duygu Bruce
12 May 2019

 

References:

https://littlevillagemag.com/dr-charles-limb-explores-how-creativity-affects-the-brain/

https://www.ted.com/talks/charles_limb_your_brain_on_improv/transcript?language=en

 

 

The Fox and The Grapes

A most wonderful example of cognitive dissonance theory of psychology, written in such a delightful fable by La Fontaine.

Rosy and ripe, and ready to box,

The grapes hang high o’er the hungry Fox

He pricks up his ears, and his eye he cocks.

Ripe and rosy, yet so high!

He gazes at them with a greedy eye,

And he knows he must eat and drink or die.

When the jump proves to be beyond his power

“Pooh!” says the Fox. “Let the pigs devour

Fruit of that sort. Those grapes are sour!”

 

Translated by: William Trowbridge Larned

 

May 1, 2019

 

Sustaining Happiness in Life

Happiness is defined for ages since the beginning of time. It is a lifelong quest for us human beings. For some it is an activity, for another it is acceptance, for George Sand it is to love and be loved, for Marcus Aurelius it depends on the quality of your thoughts which should be sound and aligned with virtue…and for some people happiness is sustained simply by helping the other…The list of definitions is much longer than what is written here.

To bring it down to the practical habitual life, many psychological studies were done on people who could sustain their happiness in different life scenarios for relatively longer periods. Here is the synthesis of longitudinal studies.

The ten characteristics of people who can maintain their happiness in the ups and downs of life are defined as:

  • Eager to learn
  • Sociable
  • Willing to help others
  • Realistic in their to-do-lists
  • Resilient, accept mistakes and failure
  • Grateful
  • Use sound reason
  • Attentive
  • Perform their duties with commitment
  • Self-reliant and effortful

According to research, such individuals fairly know themselves, and this self-knowledge furnish them with a pragmatic approach as to what they can do. They know how much to expect from themselves and they aim to attain it which in turn brings them contentment at the end of the day. In general, they do not allow themselves to breed negative thoughts and they are long distance runners. The source of their motivation lies in the harmony between their characteristic values, life goal(s) and what they actually do in everyday life.

Duygu Bruce
April 28, 2019

The Oceanic Feeling

The French Nobel laureate writer Rolland, having read Freud as early as 1909, long before Europe recognized his seminal work on the human psyche, regarded Freud as a fellow pilgrim on this black continent, courageous and genius navigator, and recognized the huge power of Freud’s findings at the turn of the century in 1909.

When he later visited Freud and his daughter Anna Freud in their apartment in Vienna in 1924, they would exchange their views on the 19th century including the topics such as the power of man’s instincts, morality, fear, peace of mind, and hypocrisy. Rolland would describe Freud’s room as: “filled with small gods, fetishes, amulets, hallucinated projections of the erotic and religious dreams of humanity.”  Though Rolland found Freud on the pessimistic side “about the future of humanity”, he was moved by Freud’s experimental analysis of the unconscious. Rolland’s personal findings in his interior voyage (Le Voyage Interior) on the opposing forces of the self were on par with the id and superego in Freud’s analysis of the human unconscious.  Based on his experience, Rolland believed that:

A psychological equilibrium of the mind’s structures was attainable, even though the balance could be tipped easily by the violent oppositional forces that he detected in himself. The “monstrous” and “abnormal” excesses of his temperament were restrained by conscious activity, specifically the duties which he imposed by means of work and moral discipline. In his interior voyage, he realized that the opposing forces that divided man could explode any moment, that the repressions of instinctual impulses might overwhelm the psyche. Equilibrium was at best precarious.

Rolland’s method of exploring the unconscious self was through music that he believed was the language of the subconscious. “…Alone, without a guide, pushed forward by music –my master and myself,” he linked music to the soul and the soul to eternity. He would describe the sensation of being one with the eternal and with the entire universe the “oceanic feeling.”

What I mean is a sensation…  totally independent of all dogma, all credo, all Church organization, all Sacred Books, all hope in a personal survival, etc., the simple and direct fact of the feeling of the eternal… a prolonged intuitive feeling of contact with the eternal, a feeling of vastness, derived from the same subterranean source …I, myself, am familiar with this sensation. Throughout my whole life, I have never lacked it; and I have always found it a source of vital renewal…Thus I carry on simultaneously, freely a “religious” life (in the sense of this prolonged sensation) and a life of critical reason which is without illusion…

Rolland called the experiential self as “new science of the mind” and proclaimed there is nothing occult in it. It is the vision of Self which penetrates all living beings…the spiritual realization of the all-permeating presence which he called her by the name “Ocean of Being” and the awareness of this presence as the sensation of the “oceanic feeling”.

Duygu Bruce
April 14,2019

 

References:
Romain Rolland, Le Voyage interior, Songe d’une vie. Paris, 1959.
Fisher, D.J. Sigmund Freud and Romain Rolland: The Terrestrial Animal and His Great Oceanic Friend. American Imago (33)1, 1-59. The Johns Hopkins University Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26303019

 

 

 

 

 

The Creative Imagination of Harold and the Purple Crayon

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious, the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.       —Einstein

Years ago, Harold and the Purple Crayon was on the bed time reading list of my children. Every time we read this little book containing only a few handmade purple drawings, and yet we found it as fascinating as the first time. It is the story of a 4-year old boy Harold, and his creative imagination, who with his purple crayon has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it.

Harold figures that he wants to go for a walk in the moonlight, but there is no moon, so he draws one. But he has nowhere to walk, so he draws a path under the moon. Then he takes an adventurous path with dragons and sails across the waters looking for his room. In the end, Harold reaches his room and his bed warm and safe in the house that he draws and peacefully goes to sleep. The simplicity and the ease of creative powers was the enchanting part of this little book.

More than a decade after the book of Harold was published, the ingenious professor of computer science and games at NYU, Ken Perlin, started drawing the future which he calls the “Holojam”, an untethered virtual reality experienced with a headset which creates a 4D space-time sculpture. He speaks of “future reality” –rather than “virtual reality” and believes that future reality will take the place of the virtual one. The goal of holojam is “to prototype what will be the ordinary future…” making of the ordinary scenes from our daily lives. “So, we want to understand how people interact with each other in that future that’s coming when visual things will be able to float in the air between us. It will permeate our lives and culture just like writing has and hand-held computers still are. The everyday will become magical.”

In an interview that Gallagher made with Perlin, about our timeless interest in virtual reality:

We are all interested in virtual reality, every single one of us. We just may not call it that. When I was little, I read Harold and the Purple Crayon, which was written well before I was born.

The little boy Harold starts to draw and he creates entire worlds: That’s virtual reality. Kids who grew up, say 15 years ago, grew up reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books—all about this stuff: It goes back centuries. No matter how far you go back, everybody is interested in the things we see in our dreams, and if we could do them, what would we do. I don’t think that being interested in this is a question of technology. You use whatever available tools to explore the possibilities in our heads—whether it’s novels, or theater, or movies, or putting on headsets.

It is all a question of how effectively we are using our brains and bodies, or are whether if we are stuck with them.

Can virtual reality be an art form?

We haven’t got great virtual reality artists yet because it’s too soon… brilliant content makers and designers will emerge for this media.

 Can it transform improvisational music and dance?

We are working on it. Dancers provided the visual enhancement through our tools will be able to see what is behind them or in 4D space…they will benefit from the holojam.

 Perlin is working with Carr Institute of Art and Design to create an improvisational dance party by using the holojam technology, to create a free moving experience where the other people in the room might actually be 3,000 miles away. The creation of this dance and music experience –the future reality of Perlin may redefine the conventional concepts of time and space.

The world Harold wanted to create for himself with his purple crayon and the future reality Perlin wants to project through his holojam are similar in the way they both aim to bring reality and creative phantasy all in one experience to be lived in the present.

In the same epoch as Harold and the Purple Crayon was printed, Einstein was unriddling the illusion of time and space, putting forth the conviction that there is no time and space variable as we perceive it to be. He believed in something else which he expressed ever so beautifully:

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious, the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science

 

Duygu Bruce
Date: 3 April 2019

 

References:

Harold and The Purple Crayon
https://www.amazon.com/Harold-Purple-Crayon-Author-Crockett/dp/B010BA3Z0K/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_1/141-6153218-0482205?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=C7JJV1DXD5ZNG2XJANCM

http://nautil.us/issue/32/space/ingenious-ken-perlin

 

 

The Therapeutic Effects of Music

“Sacred sounds charge the cortex of the brain and stimulate health and wellness.”
—Dr. Alfred Tomatis

Fifty years ago, the French scientist Dr. Alfred Tomatis was asked to find out the reasons for fatigue and lack of vigor among the monks in a Benedictine monastery. He found that the monks who regularly chanted Gregorian Chants had exceptional memories, coupled with higher energy levels, compared to those who did not chant.

Following this research, Tomatis developed his method of sound therapy addressing children with a range of childhood disorders including auditory processing problems, dyslexia, attention deficit disorders, learning disabilities, and autism. He also treated adults to improve both creativity and attention spans, to fight off depression, and to learn foreign languages faster. Some musicians, singers and actors, such as Gerard Depardieu and Maria Callas, have also said that they found Tomatis’ method helpful for fine-tuning their tonal and harmonic skills.

“Certain frequencies are very healing for the human body. Of course, there are further frequencies, many of which that are not even within the human range of hearing, but they are healing nonetheless,” stated Georges Lakhovsky (1870-1942), the Russian engineer and scientist who believed in healing cancer by using high frequency oscillations to intervene in the communication between living cells. He invented the multiple wave oscillator, which produces high frequency sound vibrations, to heal the living cells in cancer patients. The oscillator proved successful on numerous occasions.

The same cell before and after the frequency oscillation treatment. The picture on the right  shows the healed cell.

Along with Tomatis and Lakhovsky, Einstein also pointed out that “future medicine will be the medicine of frequencies”.

Psychoacoustic laboratory experiments and NASA research have already reinforced this hypothesis. Psychoacoustic tools are now used to boost attention spans and creativity, and to alleviate both mental and physiological illnesses.

I came across these findings about the therapeutic effects of music when I was searching for a way out of a chaotic situation, when despite all my efforts I could not concentrate on my priorities.

Many of you have probably experienced the buzzing noise of everyday life, where there are plenty of distractions and information comes flooding in from every direction. At times, maintaining a focused attention even for a minute is too difficult a task. I believe that in such moments one requires extra energy to concentrate. Personally, I need higher energy levels to focus on even one thing for more than five minutes, let alone actually completing a task. So where do I find this energy?

One answer I found is in high frequency music, when I came across the renowned musician Ostad Elahi’s music. Known as a master of the tanbour, his outstanding music[1] was recorded by Advanced Brain Technologies. It combines psychoacoustic techniques with improvisational music and nature sounds, allowing one to be “swept away on a journey to another time and place”[2]. So, I set up a daily schedule to listen to Ostad Elahi’s Music for the Mind for 10 minutes a day. I continued this daily program for one month. Day after day I noticed that the music resonated with my inner being, and I felt more vibrant, focused, and stronger. It helped me keep my buzzing mind quiet and cleared away the noise of unnecessary thoughts. Only then did I find it possible to dwell in this pure energy, and to get in touch with my creativity. My vision got clearer and I felt more empowered to pursue what I wanted. In this state of mind, it transpired that I could even find the answer to a question I’d had at the back of mind for so long that I had almost given up searching for an answer.  Throughout the period, I kept up this 10-minute attention program while listening to Ostad Elahi’s high frequency Music for the Mind, and I observed the positive effects on my mental capacity, my psyche, and my daily energy level. I noticed that I was more in harmony with myself, I was more positive, and I found it easier to cope with chaos.

What about you? Has there been a composer, a melody, or an instrument that has deeply affected you? You can go ahead and share your thoughts or experiences below.

Duygu Bruce
March 2, 2019

[1] Specifically, Music for the Mind
[2] Music for the Mind booklet, back page.

 

 

The Medicinal Herbs of King Solomon

How the Medicinal Herbs Grew in the Temple of Solomon-the Farther Mosque when Solomon entered it daily for worshipping and to guide the worshippers

It was ordained by the Divine to David that the Farther Mosque would be built by his son, Solomon. When Solomon began the building the Farther Mosque, also known as the Temple of Solomon, it was like no other building seen. Every stone in the building that was broken off from the nearby mountain –was saying clearly,

  “Take me along!”  Those doors and walls had become living. Like the door and the wall of   the body, it is endowed with intelligence and it is living for it belongs to the King of kings. This edifice resembles its foundation –which is knowledge and action. The excellence of that mosque which the prophets build is not from earth and stone, but (because) there is no greed or enmity in its builder. (IV, 470-480, 1138)

 After its completion, when Solomon went into the Mosque “to guide the worshippers in the right way, sometimes by speech and melody and harmony, sometimes by act –a bowing or a prayer. The act which draws together people more powerfully, for it reaches the soul of every one that has hearing and the deaf.” (IV, 480-485, p.298)

Temple of Solomon, archives of Bibliatunalmany, Hungary

Every morning when Solomon came and supplication
in the Farther Mosque,

He saw that a new plant had grown there; then he would say,
“Tell me thy name and use.

What medicine are you? What are you? What is your name?
To whom are you hurtful and for whom is your usefulness?”

Then every plant would tell his effect and name, saying,
“I am life to that one and death to this one.

I am poison to this one, and sugar to that one: this is my name
inscribed on the Tablet by the pen of the Divine Essence.”

Then by hearing from Solomon about those plants, the
physicians became learned and wise authorities on medicine;

So that they compiled medical books and were relieving
the body from pain.

This astronomy and medicine (knowledge) is given by
Divine inspiration to the prophets: where is the way for intellect and sense

Where is the way for intellect and sense
to advance towards that which is without (spatial) direction?

The particular (individual) intellect is not the intellect
capable of production: it is only the receiver of science and is in need of teaching.

This intellect is capable of being taught and apprehending but only the man
Possessed of Divine inspiration gives the teaching which it requires.

Assuredly, in their beginning, all trades (crafts and professions) were derived from
Divine inspiration, but the intellect added something to them.

Consider whether this intellect of ours can learn any trade
without a master.

Although the intellect was hair-splitting (subtle and ingenious) in inventing,
no trade was brought to mind without a master.

If knowledge of a trade were derived from this intellect,
any trade would be acquired without a master.

(IV, 1290-1300)

The Mathnawi of Jalâlud’dîn Rumi translated by Reynold A. Nicholson, Sang-e Meel Publications, 2nd Ed. 2007.

 

The Divine Comedy

 

But already my desire and my will
Were being turned like a wheel, all at one speed,
By the love which moves the sun and the other stars.

Dante Alighieri
[1265 Florence-1321 Ravenna]

Considered as one of the “chefs-d’oeuvre of literature” by Gustave Doré, the French painter,  Dante’s epic story describing the fascinating voyage to the afterlife is never outdated. Written in Italian at the time when Latin was the literary language, The Divine Comedy  has become timeless. Dante’s voyage, which he started to write at the age of 35 when he was sent to exile, is more than an individual voyage. It represents a communal journey on becoming human, and on the immortality of the soul. Unfolding the meaning of life and death, of this world and the other world, and of the ephemeral and the eternal, it shows what awaits us in the other world and how human beings contribute to their eternal destiny.  

Throughout the book, the scenes are played up with such strong and vivid imagery that I naturally stepped in and witnessed the realms of the other world –Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The effects of the scenes and the characters were striking as real as if in real time, arousing in me a variety of feelings from awe, astonishment, to dread, bliss and elation as the settings changed from a terrifying circle of hell to a sublime corner of contemplation, and further on to an exhilarating realm in paradise.

The journey has its dangers but Dante is under the assuring supervision of the two guides whom he knows from his life on earth –Virgil and Beatrice. Virgil leads him through the gates of Hell and on to Inferno and Purgatorio. Beatrice, Dante’s platonic and mystical love since childhood, and who died at an early age, greets him at the outside border of Purgatorio to guide him across the stages of Paradiso.

Upon leaving the earth, Virgil and Dante meet Charon, the boatman, to get across the river Acheron to the gates of Hell.

                                 Michelangelo, The Last Judgement, Sistine Chapel
         They cling to the boat to be saved from hell but are thrown back by Charon’s oar.

The next terrifying scene takes place at the gates of Hell where sits the leopard, the lion, and the wolf, representing lust, pride and avarice respectively; wanting to subjugate Dante and Virgil but Virgil masterfully outwits and eludes them.  

  The Gates of Hell, Gustave Doré

After passing the gates of Hell, Dante and Virgil enter Inferno. Inferno is shaped like an inverted funnel comprised of 9 circles; each circle represents a different vice or weakness of human nature, and its retribution.

    Inferno, S. Boticelli

1st circle : good pagans and leaders
2nd circle: sexually promiscuous
3rd circle: the gluttons
4th circle: thieves and spendthrift wasters
5th circle: the angry ones
The gates of lower hell, the city of Dis
6th circle: heretics
7th circle: violence: the violent ones against nature, property and body; murderers, tyrants, the blasphemous, sexual perverts, the ones who commit suicide
8th circle: fraud and corruption: false prophets, hypocrites, fraudulent advisors, politicians, seducers, flatterers, swindlers, sorcerers
9th circle: treachery: traitors to family and friends, to guests, to law, to country and to God.
Center point of the earth: the evil –Lucifer (Satan), who was originally created with the highest intelligence but was rejected from heaven because of his rebellion, and pride (Purgatorio XII.25).

The residents of Inferno are called the dead, they live the shadows of the mistakes they have committed in life. They perpetually endure the same “bad acts” they have done to others on Earth, being fully aware of their situation, and yet imprisoned in their own wrongdoings. The punishments have strong physical representations which intensify the reality of the experiences, in settings such as dark forests, deep swamps, ice or rugged mountains. 

Each circle of Inferno felt so frighteningly real that in the end I was relieved to be out of that realm with the take away question: what if one prepares his own Hell by his conduct? The sharp effects of Inferno lasted in my thoughts as I kept pondering about the truth of the circles and how to avoid the everyday temptations of life in order not to end up imprisoned in the big circle of my own defaults, and how to practice becoming a true human being …

   Gustave Doré
  Virgil addressing the false conselors in the deep abyss.

Passing the point of contemplation, mixed with somewhat relief, the journey continues to the evil’s residence located in the deepest center of the earth where a strong gravitational force is pulling the human beings down. Evil is never apart from mankind since the day God has granted human beings freewill making them susceptible to the temptations of evil (Inferno XXXIV. 110-111). Such was the story of Adam who was naturally disposed to the good, before he fell from Eden by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Paradiso VII.26).  The residence of evil and his proximity to us humans kept me wondering: as much as I enjoy my liberty and my freedom of choice, what a huge responsibility it is to have freewill placed in the hands of mankind!

Leaving Inferno behind, one enters Purgatorio which is the realm of purification from the worldly mistakes and sins committed with a hint of greed, envy, insatiable pleasure seeking, or anger. The sensations of remorse and love envelop the spheres of Purgatorio, and the hope of salvation remains.

Among the many educative scenarios of Purgatoiro, I found the valley of whispering thoughts daunting because the ceaseless whispers created a chaotic and hesitant mind, confounding reason and causing one to be imprisoned in the unnerving trap of “what will I do now?”  In response to the bewilderment of Dante, Virgil describes it as one of the worst situations humans can fall in, for too much thought can be dangerous, and it may paralyze action:

Why is your mind so caught up in a tangle,”
My master said, “that you slacken your pace?
And what does all this whispering matter to you?
 
Come on behind me, let those people talk;
Stand like a solid tower which does not shake
Its top whatever winds are blowing on it;
 
Because the man in whom thoughts bubble up
One after the other, goes wide of the mark,
Because one thought weakens the force of the another.
Purgatorio V. 10-16.

Another lesson from a scene in Purgatorio has made a deep effect on me. It was in the  allegory of humility against pride, as strongly vivified by Gustave Doré who did most impressive paintings and illustrations for Divine Comedy. As I read through the beautiful allegory, I tried to find the answer to the question what it takes to be humble, and took it further to when and to whom to be humble? Another take away question…

                                                                    Gustave Doré
Allegory to humility; the proud bow and bend their knees under the weight of the stones they are carrying

The residents of Purgatorio endure their trials, in the shadows of their tainted thoughts of the past, and make effort to purify their souls. The hope of gaining back the dignity of the soul is at stake…On the summit of the Purgatorio, the river Lethe is situated. It is the river of forgetfulness, the waters of which remove painful memories of past mistakes and sins, and vivify the soul. The redeemed souls who finish their time in Purgatorio wash in this river and pass on to a stage in Paradiso.

Paradiso, ruled by justice and reason, is filled with love and the grace of divine benevolence. Among the cardinal virtues which bring people to Paradiso, Dante distinguishes pure faith, altruism, prudence, and courage. Souls naturally have different constitutions by creation. Their potential capacities are different, but God treats them with equity, in the sense that his grace fills the individual souls in proportion to their innate capacities for love and for reason (Paradiso III.89-90). 

Now you are wondering and wondering, say nothing;
But I will loosen for the hard bonds
In which your subtle thoughts are tying you up.

Within the length and the breadth of this kingdom
There is no such thing as a place left for chance,
Any more than there is sadness, thirst or hunger;

For whatever you see has been established
By eternal law, so that everything fits
As closely as the ring does to the finger.

The king by whose power this kingdom stays
In so much love and in such delight
That no one dares to will anything beyond it,

Creating all minds in the happiness
Of his own sight, endows them with grace
Differently, as He pleases; and that is enough.
Paradiso XXXII. 49-64.

 

           Salvador Dali

Beatrice is entrusted with the mission to guide Dante across the stages of Paradiso, in the higher realm located outside the earth. It is shaped like an amphitheater made of 9 circles. Each circle is represented by a planet and the highest of them arches to the realm of infinity.  

Moon –represents inconsistency: place of those who are good in heart but could not complete their vows
Mercury- represents love of fame, those who did good works but for glory and fame remain here.
Venus –planet of carnal love, for ones who are in the grip of strong material attractions
Sun –symbol of God’s illuminating grace, ultimate wisdom
Mars –courage
Jupiter – justice
Saturn – moderation and restraint
8th heaven –of faith, hope and love. Ladder of contemplation from Saturn reaches up here
9th heaven –Crystalline, the fastest sphere and the furthest of the material heavens; time, space and nature begin here
10th heaven –Empyrean, the Essence which is beyond space, time and matter

The descriptions become more abstract and symbolic as one advances in Paradiso. It is lucid, it is light and the level of happiness increases as one goes higher up. The voyager can attain Bliss, the eternal happiness of the soul, by being righteous, by practicing virtues and by purifying the soul. Obstacles in the pursuit of happiness are nothing but human faults and weaknesses. Spiritual maturity can only be gained with practice, knowledge, reason, and love. 

We are all naturally endowed with the instinct of love and that is our primal will granted us by the Creator. All created things have implanted in them an instinct or “natural love” (Purgatorio XVII.91-94) which carries them to the pre-ordained place: for example, that in fire draws it towards the sphere of fire, and that in matter draws it down towards the central point of the earth. But man’s instinct as a rational soul is natural love or “primal will” (Purgatorio XVIII.49-60) that draws him back to the “intellectual light, full of love” of the Creator in the Empyrean.
Paradiso XXX. 40.

A renowned verse that I like for the meaning is deep but lucid, the words are short but melodic:  

E’n la sua voluntade è nostra pace.
(And in his will we find our peace.)
Paradiso III. 85

Dante describes the blessed souls as the ones who could reach the level of comprehending the Truth and who acquired the merit to be in the presence of God. They are to remain there eternally in absolute felicity of being in His union. Empyrean …It is the sea to which everything flows is the 10th and the final stage – where all is encompassed in pure light. It is the seat of God and the archangels who are close to him. It is here in Empyrean when, under divine illumination, Dante sees the face of God in Beatrice.

I saw rain down upon her so much happiness
Borne by those holy intelligences
Which were created to fly at such high altitudes,

That all I had seen before that
Did not keep me so suspended in wonder
Nor showed me so much of what God was like.

And that love which came down to her
Singing “Ave Maria, gratia plena”
Spread his wings out before her now.
Paradiso XXXII. 88-94.

 

              Salvador Dali

 

Duygu Bruce
January 18, 2019

 

Translated by: C.H. Sisson with an introduction and notes by D.H. Higgins, Oxford World Classics, Oxford University Press, 2008.

 

 

Sources of Compassion and Happiness

 

I have been pondering on the question: Is compassion inborn or can it be acquired through learning and practicing in a lifetime? Though I easily recognize compassion when I see it in another person, it is difficult for me to evaluate how compassionate I am as a person or if the degree of my compassion varies depending on the context. When I observe the people (more…)

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Caminin önünde ve iki yanında geniş cami halısı dış avlusu olup bunun çevresi pencereli duvarlarla çevrilidir. Bu avulya 3 ü cephede olmak üzere, 8 kapıdan girilir. Şadırvan avlusu, 26 adet granit mermer ve porfir sütuna oturtulmuş, 30 kubbeyle çevrili geniş alandır. Mermer döşemeli bu geniş sahanın ortasında 6 mermer sütunlu şadırvan, sahanın azametini gösterir. Şadırvanın kemerleri, kabartma olarak Rumi geçmelerle ve köşebentleri, kabartma, lale ve karanfil motifleriyle bezelidir. İç avluya, biri cepheden ikisi yandan olmak üzere herbiri merdivenli 3 kapıdan girilmektedir. Bu kapılarla dış avlunun cümle kapısı, ozamana kadar benzeri görülmemiş bronz kapılardır. Kubbeden aşağı doğru indikçe mekan yayılmaktadır. Bu piramidel yükselme ve yayılma sonucunda göz yanlara ve yukarıya doğru aynı mesafelere ulaşmaktadır. Bu özelliklerden dolayı, mekanın neresinde olursanız olun, bütün mekana hakim görüş sağlarsınız. Kubbe yaklaşık olarak 43 metre yükseklikte ve köşeleri pandantifle doldurulmuş 4 muazzam kemer üzerine oturtulmaktadır. Caminin su basmanı üzerinde olması ve kubbe yüksekliği nedeniyle pencereleri oldukça fazladır. Böylece caminin içini süsleyen binlerce çini ve kalem işleri tatlı ışık altında görülmektedir. Caminin içindeki en önemli unsur, ince işçilikle yontulmuş mermerden yapılma mihraptır. Bitişik duvarları, seramik çinilerle kaplanmıştır fakat çevresindeki çok sayıdaki pencere onu daha az ihtişamlı gösterir. Mihrabın sağında, Caminin en kalabalık halinde dahi olsa, herkesin imamı rahatça duyabileceği şekilde dekore edilmiş mimber bulunur. Caminin içi her katında alçak düzeyde olmak üzere 50 farklı lale deseninden üretilmiş 20binden fazla çini ile döşenmiştir. Alt seviyelerdeki çiniler, geleneksel galerideki çinilerin desenleri çiçekler meyveler ve servilerle gösterişli ve ihtişamlıdır.
Onlarca birbirinden farklı ribon çeşidiyle firmamız, sizlere en kaliteli ürünü en uygun fiyatlardan vermeyi amaçlıyor. Resin ribonlar daha çok sentetik ve plastik etiketler için uygundur. Fiyatları Wax Resine göre daha pahalıdır. Resin ribon en dayanıklı ribon çeşididir. Aşınmaya, kimyasallara ve yüksek ısıya maruz kalacak etiketlerde tercih edilir.Tekstil baskılarında en ağır yıkamalara dayanıklı ribon olan resin ribon alkol testinde de çıkmamaktadır. Resin ribonla polyester, polimid, polipropilen ve polietilen etiketlere baskı yapmak mümkündür. Reçine oranı diğer türlere kıyasla en yüksek seviyededir. Karışımında karbon, bazı kimyasallar, reçine ve balmumu kullanılır. Wax Resin ribonlar adından da anlaşılacağı üzere wax ile resin kalite ribon arasındadır. Fiyat olarak wax ribonların ortalama olarak 2 katı fiyatında resin ribonların ise yarı fiyatındadır. Bazı barkod yazıcılar normalde kağıt bazlı etiketler üzerine baskı için wax ribon kullanılması gerekiyorken wax resin ribona ihtiyaç duyarlar. Bu durum barkod yazıcının baskı kafası ile alakalıdır. Wax ribon, genel amaç ile ekonomik olarak termal transferi yapılmasını sağlayan ribon çeşididir. Kağıt bazlı etiketlere baskı alırken kullandığımız wax ribonlar uygun fiyatları ile de baskı maliyetini düşüren ribon çeşididir. Plastik bazlı etiketler hariç diğer tüm etiketlerin %90′ ına yakınına wax ribon ile baskı alabilirsiniz.
mide küçültme ameliyatı, zayıflamak isteyenler için kesin bir çözüm sunuyor. Üstelik çok kısa bir süre içersinde hayal ettiğiniz kilolara kavuşabilirsiniz.
En güzel cami halısı burda.
Caminin önünde ve iki yanında geniş cami halısı dış avlusu olup bunun çevresi pencereli duvarlarla çevrilidir. Bu avulya 3 ü cephede olmak üzere, 8 kapıdan girilir. Şadırvan avlusu, 26 adet granit mermer ve porfir sütuna oturtulmuş, 30 kubbeyle çevrili geniş alandır. Mermer döşemeli bu geniş sahanın ortasında 6 mermer sütunlu şadırvan, sahanın azametini gösterir. Şadırvanın kemerleri, kabartma olarak Rumi geçmelerle ve köşebentleri, kabartma, lale ve karanfil motifleriyle bezelidir. İç avluya, biri cepheden ikisi yandan olmak üzere herbiri merdivenli 3 kapıdan girilmektedir. Bu kapılarla dış avlunun cümle kapısı, ozamana kadar benzeri görülmemiş bronz kapılardır. Kubbeden aşağı doğru indikçe mekan yayılmaktadır. Bu piramidel yükselme ve yayılma sonucunda göz yanlara ve yukarıya doğru aynı mesafelere ulaşmaktadır. Bu özelliklerden dolayı, mekanın neresinde olursanız olun, bütün mekana hakim görüş sağlarsınız. Kubbe yaklaşık olarak 43 metre yükseklikte ve köşeleri pandantifle doldurulmuş 4 muazzam kemer üzerine oturtulmaktadır. Caminin su basmanı üzerinde olması ve kubbe yüksekliği nedeniyle pencereleri oldukça fazladır. Böylece caminin içini süsleyen binlerce çini ve kalem işleri tatlı ışık altında görülmektedir. Caminin içindeki en önemli unsur, ince işçilikle yontulmuş mermerden yapılma mihraptır. Bitişik duvarları, seramik çinilerle kaplanmıştır fakat çevresindeki çok sayıdaki pencere onu daha az ihtişamlı gösterir. Mihrabın sağında, Caminin en kalabalık halinde dahi olsa, herkesin imamı rahatça duyabileceği şekilde dekore edilmiş mimber bulunur. Caminin içi her katında alçak düzeyde olmak üzere 50 farklı lale deseninden üretilmiş 20binden fazla çini ile döşenmiştir. Alt seviyelerdeki çiniler, geleneksel galerideki çinilerin desenleri çiçekler meyveler ve servilerle gösterişli ve ihtişamlıdır.