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It’s pretty weird to be born on February 29th, as Java is. He doesn’t have a birthday for three years out of every four and so, although he quite enjoys the ‘non-event’, it does get confusing for family and friends and he usually gets wished on both the 28th, as well as on March 1st –   “weeeiird sheeet maaan”, as far as he is concerned.

How this phenomenon came to be is kinda interesting as it had to do with astronomy and the movements of celestial bodies which directly affected the calendar that was devised in the early days of ‘civilized’ man. Actually it was Julius Caesar (this guy was all over the place!) who developed the ‘Julian’ calendar in 46 BC by amending the existing Roman Republican one. The reasons for this are complex and on the boring side, but suffice it to say that the ‘Gregorian’ calendar replaced old Julius’ effort and this is now the one we are stuck with.

As Wikipedia explains: The Gregorian calendar, the current standard calendar in most of the world, adds a 29th day to February in all years evenly divisible by 4, except for centennial years (those ending in -00), which receive the extra day only if they are evenly divisible by 400. Thus 1600, 2000 and 2400 are leap years but 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100 are not.

The reasoning behind this rule is as follows: The Gregorian calendar is designed to keep the vernal equinox on or close to March 21, so that the date of Easter (celebrated on the Sunday after the 14th day of the Moon that falls on or after 21 March) remains correct with respect to the vernal equinox. 

There’s more shit on this – all sorts of mathematical stuff which is great for those who are turned on by numbers, but for the rest of us who go with the flow it is all pretty meaningless.

Aaannnyway, getting back to Java’s take on his birthday:

Sheeet maan, when I be a wee lil ol kid, ma mamma be havin dis party sheet on da 28th an bein one day earlier dan it really be, I be kinda trilled bout it. Den later as I be growin up, it dint make a whole lotta diffrence – know what I mean maaan? An den as dose years rolled on by an folk be aksin bout how old I be, I jus tell dem dat I be havin jus so many birtdays, witout tellin dem dat each one of dem came every four years. Dis got dem all shook up and dey be tinking dat Java be kinda flipped out or jus plain fucked up – not far from dat truth huh? Aaanywaay, I guess weird sheet be happenin to weird dudes an we folk dat be born on dis leapday fo shurre be excepshunal – one way or anodder!

Like Java said, There are many instances in children’s literature where a person’s claim to be only a quarter of their actual age turns out to be based on counting their leap-year birthdays. And if you are familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan’s well known musical production ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, you would remember a similar device being used in that plot.

So that’s that. And Java will keep on keeping on with those ‘once in four years’ birthdays and keep on wondering if that leap-year thing was good for him – or good for him.

Shheeet maaan, like I say – it be kool!

Those of us who check kottu out on a regular basis would no doubt have also been swamped by the ‘spam ‘n jam’ from the promoters of that Daytripping effort put on last week at their favourite venue. Java was among the audience – for a couple of reasons, he said.

Shuurre maaan, I be goin to see dose young folk do dere thang an besides dat sheeet, I be tinking dat Daytripper chick be havin som real talent in dat ol head of hers. An waaaz more, she be one of da few theatre folk aroun dat put her money where her mout be and be doin som regular ass producshuns an not jus be bullshittin aroun like som odder folk we know – all da worse fo us, caus dey be a talented bunch. So I get ma ass down dere wit Da Dancer and dat Sibling, who be seein a whole lotta opera, theatre and shheeet like dat where she be comin from an wanted to see what dis place have to offer. An so we sat our asses down an waited. Eight o’clock came an went, so we be checkin out dat audience – mosly teenybopper types, wit a smatterin of older folk. So we sat an I be wonderin how many of dese cats an chicks be blogging on kottu. I know fo shuurree dat at least William, Emily and Jim be bloggers an maybe dose odder tree as well, but in dat audience…? Den dat riiiinnnngggg to signify ‘curtain’ – only dere weren’t any – just dat bare-ass stage wit dose six red chairs jus waitin to be ass-warmed. An soon dey were. But before all dat sheet dat audience be subject to som unadulterated toro-pupu (se habla Espanol?) in da form of some borin-ass commercials dat com on to dis captive bunch sittin dere waitin for somting else! Aaannyyway… in da turd world, I be tinkin!

I be guessin yo folk dat read dis sheet on kottu an be into dese players an da Daytripper would shurrely have seen dat review by dat Groundviews dude – right? Weeelll, yo know how dat dude be havin da gift of da gab and a pretty good pen to boot, huh? An he did his thang wit dat review givin us readers da benefit of his wisdom, dissectin an interpretin and showerin a bit of praise here, an a touch of ‘could be better’ dere. An all bein said an done we be guessin he like it – in his own write he be callin it a “transcendent dramatic exploration of some of the most pressing issues online and in the real world today” – how bout dat sheeet???!!!

An so we got into dat play maaan and foun ourselves enjoyin it. Shhuurre, dere be weak spots an som overplayin here an dere, but on da whole – entertainin – wit a bit of a ‘message’ trown in for good meashure (dat suicide be fo losers an dat som folk get a kick outta sheet). Da Dancer and Da Siblin liked it too, so it be an evenin well spent an judging from dat mosly young audience – dey had demselves a good ol time too. For shuurree dem players had demselves a ball – an good fo dere young asses. So we be hopin dat da Daytripper keep on keeping on wit dese stagey thangs an we can spend more evenings in a better time an space.

Java was right – about The Dancer and The Sibling liking the production. I don’t know how right-on he was about the play itself, but judging from a few folk I spoke with about it, looks like it garnered far more positive responses than the other way around. And so the next time Daytripper trips out with another one of her efforts, I will be sure to join Java and whoever else we can gather to go on and check it out

Saw Rohan de Saram perform with the Symphony Orchestra last night at Ananda College’s Kularatne Hall. Conducted by Ajit Abeysekera, the Orchestra comprised around fifty plus musicians on violins, violas, cellos, bass, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, saxophones, horns, trumpets, trombones, tuba and timpani.

The programme began with the ‘Overture to Oberon’, composed by C.M. von Weber (1786 – 1826) and described as having “….a magical horn call opening ….suggestive of the fairy-world… way to a work of great buoyancy and energy”. In the view of someone who is by no means a specialist critic of classical music, but who does listen and appreciate it, I found the orchestra to be pretty good in patches – but never able to sustain the quality it did reach on rare occasions. The string sections were valiantly led by Ananda Dabare, but alas, it was virtually a lost cause.

Rohan’s entrance was like a breath of fresh air as he eased into Tchaikovsky’s ‘Variations on a Roccoco Theme, Op. 33, for Cello and Orchestra’. Once again it was a valiant effort on the part of Ajit Abeysekera and his players, but the support was hardly what should have been there for a virtuoso Cellist like Rohan de Saram.

A brief review from one of many pages on Rohan on the net: “Rohan de Saram began studying the violoncello at the age of 12 with Gaspar Cassado at the Accademia Chigiana and with Pablo Casals in Puerto Rico. Among other prizes, he was honoured with the prestigious Suggia Award. As a soloist, he has played throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the Soviet Union with the major orchestras and leading conductors of the world. More recently Rohan has become increasingly involved in the performance of contemporary music over the years and has worked personally with a number of leading contemporary composers.

Other than solo recitals, he performs new repertoire in duo concerts with Garth Knox in such prominent venues as the Ars Musica Festival Brussels, the Traiettore Festival in Parma and the Saarlandischer Rundfunk. He has also made a special study of the drum rhythms and melodies of Sri Lanka”. There’s tons more stuff on him but time and space will not permit here and now!

An interval followed Tchaikovsky and after the audience was seated for the second half of the programme, the conductor, Ajit Abeysekera made an announcement that due to numerous requests Rohan had agreed to perform a solo piece. Loud applause resulted from this, accompanied no doubt, by many heaved sighs of relief!

Rohan announced that he would play part of a half-hour long work by the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly (1882 – 1967), who was, amongst his other musical achievements, also a PhD in philosophy and linguistics. It is also said that “Kodály made a considerable contribution to chamber music also: notably a virtuosic sonata for unaccompanied cello, and a half-hour-long Duo for cello and violin”.

I’m not certain of the title of the solo for Cello that Rohan played, but it was a masterful display of his technique. The music itself was notable for its dissonant chord structure and broken rhythms and I got totally carried away with it. Unfortunately all too soon it came to an end and was followed by the Symphony Orchestra performing four movements of Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 Eroica’.

The brass section killed what little there was to appreciate and really, no excuses are acceptable. We are all aware under what tremendous odds against which this group of musicians must work to stay together and perform classical compositions and the effort is admirable and the results – well, commendable in a relative kinda way. But …what can one say? To get an orchestra consisting of top-class musicians of the calibre that could accompany a sublime Cellist, is a big ask in this country.

And that is the pity of it all.

There have been quite a few posts in the past few weeks on religion and aspects of religion, generating a number of interesting comments on the nature of the universe, God and on religion and religious practices in general. A couple of posts on the political and other similar activities of the Buddhist priests in this country have also attracted points of view that could well have remained unstated had it not been for the blogs. I find the comments of those who have obviously investigated – or at least have read on – other religions and philosophies to be far more interesting than those that are on a ‘defense of my religion’ trip and whose responses do nothing but cast aspersions on another religion or system of thought. One in particular sticks in the memory as it dealt with the sexual improprieties of that particular clergy, which to me is inane and a waste of time and only reflects the limitations of the commenter. One really can not blame a religion for what its practitioners do – whether they are part of  the clergy or otherwise. There are ‘deviants’ in all walks of life and their actions can in no way tarnish a system of thought. A more thoughtful response with some value in terms of inducing some thought or reflection is far more productive and much less likely to generate a banal exchange of insults and crap – a waste of time to even get into.

Anyway, reflecting on this, I remembered Alan Watts.  Watts was an Englishman who became an Anglican (Episcopalian in the US) priest and lived his later years in California. Interested in Buddhism and Zen even before he entered the Anglican clergy, he left the Church and got more into the eastern philosophies and the natural sciences – from Zen, the Vedanta, cybernetics and semantics, to natural history and anthropology. In the 1950s he also began experimenting with psychedelics, initially with mescaline, a psycho-active drug derived from the buttons of the Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii) and later with other mind-altering substances, which experiences he describes in his book ‘The Joyous Cosmology – Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness’. He found a parallel between his mystical experiences and the theories of the material universe proposed by modern scientists and he later equated the experiences with ecological awareness. In many ways similar to Aldous Huxley’s ‘Doors of Perception’ (after Huxley’s experiments with mescaline), the foreword to Watts’ book was written by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (aka Baba Ram Dass), both Professors at Harvard University at the time (1962) and begins:

The Joyous Cosmology is a brilliant arrangement of words describing experiences for which our language has no vocabulary. To understand this wonderful but difficult book it is useful to make the artificial distinction between the external and the internal. This is, of course, exactly the distinction which Alan Watts wants us to transcend. But Mr. Watts is playing the verbal game in a Western language, and his reader can be excused for following along with conventional dichotomous models.

External and internal. Behavior and consciousness. Changing the external world has been the genius and the obsession of our civilization. In the last two centuries the Western monotheistic cultures have faced outward and moved objects about with astonishing efficiency. In more recent years, however, our culture has become aware of a disturbing imbalance. We have become aware of the undiscovered universe within, of the uncharted regions of consciousness.

In my understanding of Alan Watts’ attempt at resolving the matter of the individual consciousness in relation to the ‘total’ consciousness – call it ‘God” or what you will – is the underlying understanding that the ‘higher consciousness’ he experienced whilst on psychedelics was a glimpse of what would be possible to experience without the ingesting of any substance. What is described in ‘The Joyous Cosmology’ is a brilliantly vivid series of short pieces on Watts’ psychedelically inspired experiences (it has ultra-close-up black and white photographs of nature – leaves, water, branches and other similar stuff accompanying each page) relating to his understanding of ‘God’ and I guess one would have to have had similar experiences to ‘see’ what he meant, but it made a whole lot of sense to me. In his own words:

To make this book as complete an expression as possible of the quality of consciousness which these drugs induce, I have included a number of photographs which, in their vivid reflection of the patterns of nature, give some suggestion of the rhythmic beauty of detail which the drugs reveal in common things. For without losing their normal breadth of vision the eyes seem to become a microscope through which the mind delves deeper and deeper into the intricately dancing texture of our world.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make in this post is that in order to comment intelligently on a subject like ‘religion’ or ‘God’, it would be necessary to have at least some knowledge of other systems of belief and/or other experiences which may possibly enable a fuller understanding of one’s ‘place’ in the universe and possibly even a glimpse of what may well be ‘nirvana’.

To end this – another Watts-ism whilst pondering on “working on the most delicate epistemological puzzle: how the brain evokes a world which is simultaneously the world which it is in, and to wonder, therefore, whether the brain evokes the brain. Put it in metaphysical terms, psychological terms, physical terms, or neurological terms: it is always the same. How can we know what we know without knowing knowing?

It’s that time again – to head back to the chaos that is Colombo – from the sublime to the ridiculous! The dogs don’t know it as yet, as it is quite early in the morning, the rest of the folk are still curled up under blankets and the dreaded bags haven’t made their appearance as yet. The morning is misty, the coffee is steaming and Buzzy and Rock are dozing by me whilst WorldSpace has got some dirgey classical stuff going.

It’s weird how a change in the music changes the vibe. I just switched WorldSpace to RIFF the incredibly good jazz station and now there’s a honky-tonk piano doing a very jazzy number with just drums and bass for accompaniment – and the mood just lifts! The DJ tells me it’s Gene Harris doing ‘I just love making you smile’. My first listen to either and I make a mental note to check this guy out. Now it’s Pat Metheney – celestial!

The Dancer is awake and out of bed and getting her coffee – earlier than is usual for her – must be the departure on her mind. The Sibling must have gone off for her early morning walk, checking out the early morning birds. She was thrilled to see the Banded Crake (Rallina eurizonoides) yesterday – her first sighting of this beautiful little migrant – a far cry from the wild Pheasants she has in her garden in the north of Scotland.

The sun’s out now and flashing through the windowpane slowly warming up the morning from the 13C temperature that registers on the thermometer outside – chilly! The Jungle Fowl (Gallus lafayettii) is calling from the bottom of the garden and more birdsong is apparent. Everything’s waking up now and it’s time to get off this trip and get to the mundane chores in preparation for another departure.

The up-side is that the mates will be getting together tonight for a bit of revelry and meeting up with Rhythmic to try to spice up his imminent departure – also on the cards, so there’s something to look forward to.

Java has just come in and changed the music – another change of vibe, and a good time to let this rest.

I saw a man with the kindest face and although I had no idea of what sort of a person he was, my assessment of his disposition based solely on my conditioned impulse and thought-process was intriguing in a sort-of way. And this got me to thinking about Physiognomy.

Defined as ‘the use of facial features to judge somebody’s character or temperament’, it is also described as ‘face-reading’. Physiognomy or its founding principles were apparently established as long ago as 2,500 years and was well-known during the time of the Greeks with associations to Socrates, Hippocrates and Aristotle. Sustained during the European renaissance, it is said to have waned during the 18th century, to have been overshadowed by ‘Phrenology’ in the 19th century and to have been resurrected by ‘Personologists’ in the twentieth century.

Phrenology has been condemned and shoved aside as a ‘pseudo-science’ and classed with astrology and other ‘inexact’ sciences by the more conventional authorities but, as is common with regard to most other controversial ‘accepted beliefs’, it has its many followers.

The term Personology was coined in the mid-twentieth century by Dr Edward Vincent Jones, a United States Superior Court Judge, who, having dealt with thousands of court cases displaying every conceivable type of personality from genius to criminal, compiled a list of physical traits which he was eventually able to confidently relate to human character and behaviour. He tried to the best of his ability to disprove these correlations, finally accepting only those which seemed infallible. His assessment of the different types led his to believe that characteristics of a face could reveal the following:

Ears – Rounded ears reveals an appreciation of music and often the capability of playing a musical instrument. Ears that have the outer rims lacking in smooth roundness are usually indicative of those with ‘no ear’ for music.

Mouth – Full lips (especially the lower lip) apparently indicate people that like to talk a lot, whilst those with thin lips are said to be more ‘listeners’ than ‘talkers’. Those with a very thin upper lip are known to be ‘abrupt, often to the point of rudeness’.

Eyes – Those with large eyes are said to be caring and sympathetic and to feel things much more deeply than those with small eyes. Where the space between the eyes is wider than the width of the eye (from corner to corner) are apparently those that are easy-going, but who also tend to be gullible and naïve. Where the eyes are close together, intolerance is said to be the key. These are also people who tend to be perfectionists and who find fault with others and with situations. Where there is a vertical crease beginning at the top of the nose and extending to the forehead, the indication is that this person is a worrier, needing everything to be ‘just so’. The longer the crease, the more accentuated is the trait. Where there is a difference in the size of the eyes, it is said that an unconventional individual exists – one who doesn’t quite see things the same way most others do!

Nose – If the base of the nose is large and broad in the area of the nostrils, it is said to indicate  self-reliant persons, confident of what they can achieve. However, if the nose has narrow nostrils, this is said to indicate a lack of confidence and need for support from outside. If the tip of the nose is upturned, the person should be trusting, open and receptive to new ideas and usually have a pleasant and understanding nature. Having a ‘nose for money’ is said to be associated with a person whose nose curves downwards. The closer the tip of the nose to the upper lip, the more mercenary the person is likely to be.

Face shape – A protruding chin is associated with a tenacious person and a receding chin with a lack of firmness or determination. A forehead that slopes back at an extreme angle is said to denote a fast thinker and if the widest portion of the head is at eye-brow level, the person is supposed to be self-assured and self-confident.

Interesting? Maybe something to it as well, so check it out and see what you can gather from observations of those you know, or meet, or want to do quick assessment of. One never knows!

Java, however, thinks it is a load of bull. But then, what does Java know??!!!

And so it was off to Kandy on Sunday after the previous good evening’s chat and chow-down with Rhythmic and Mala – but more of that later. The Sibling’s plan to return after many years of being Scots has resulted in the possession of a prime piece of real estate perched up on a wooded hill with a super view of the Knuckles range. Proximity to one of the Amaya Group of hotels made things convenient, as a walk up the hill to the site was a mere fifteen minutes up what is more or less a private road.

The Last Queen of Kandy made his appearance later in the evening and The Dancer, The Sibling, The Queen and I wended our way up a hill on the opposite side of the lake from the town and ended up at Helga’s Folly for dinner. Helga’s Folly is the most incredibly surreal hotel one could hope to find anywhere and defies conventional description. What I mean is that any description, however minute, could never do complete justice. Walking through the foyer took me straight back to the living room of the ‘Adams Family’ or, for those that don’t know that classic old TV series (now a mega-movie), it was like walking into the inner-sanctum of a very old and very haunted manor. The diffused lighting added to the surrealism brought about largely by the candle stands that dripped a thousand petrified strands of wax, now congealed into a dreadlocked fantasy suspended in space. There were many of these luminous wonders flickering madly and casting their amber luminescence about the room illuminating the hundreds of paintings, sculptures, collages and other artifacts that defied close inspection, unless one has many hours to spend. The furniture accentuated the ambiance with loads of brightly coloured cushions glistening as the flickering light caught the satiny brocades and other materials that they were wrapped in. The ceiling was a wonder to behold – astrological signs and celestial symbols beautifully executed on the squares above – designed and outlined by Helga herself and executed by many others, including various guests.

So we sat ourselves down in a corner of the main room and the Queen of Kandy (a very old and dear friend of Helga) ordered drinks and sorted out the menu with Weerasinghe, Helga’s trusted butler-type, who informed us that Helga would be joining us momentarily, as soon as she received an overseas call she was waiting on. A few rounds of drinks later, having been thoroughly entertained by The Queen’s unique style of conversation and hilarious anecdotes, we moved upstairs for dinner – another surreal experience where Alice’s Wonderland meets Salvador Dali. More candle stands – graveyards of a million candles, with their trails petrified and suspended in space.  The candles flickering illuminating more artifacts installed in every conceivable space – the ceiling had more astrology and astronomy – all very stylized – all very striking and artistic.

The coconut soup came in coconut shells and the pumpkin soup in pumpkins – both very good. The course was equally appreciated, as was the desert. The only problem we had was that the side plates and desert containers were of silver and brass! Helga made her entrance in the middle of dinner – tall and elegant in a black kimono, her square, heavily-framed glasses adding to the overall effect. Eccentricity personified, her eloquence disturbed by her vocal mannerisms, she was both fascinating and entertaining. The Queen of Kandy, equally strange in his own wonderful way, complemented the surrealism – now come vividly to life with the advent of Helga.

Dinner done, we were escorted downstairs for coffee and night-caps ‘on the house’. More hilarity ensued with the conversation dominated by Helga and the Queen, interspersed with colourful bits of goss about mutual friends and acquaintances – all very humorous with nothing vicious or nasty.

Then all too soon it was time to leave and so we left this bit of ‘Wonderland’, still buzzing from the experience and headed back to the relative boredom of Amaya, where later I dreamed of tripping around magical surroundings in the Theatre of the Absurd.

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better
I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene
And I’m doing the best that I can.
I admit it’s getting better
A little better all the time

The lyrics of this Lennon-McCartney song came to mind when reading a couple of posts on kottu about the relationships experienced by the writers. Thoughts expressed about physical and psychological abuse, the disappointment resulting from being ‘let down’, the doubts about ‘trusting’ folk and about efforts made to re-invigorate relationships. All dealing with the sorrows resulting from failed or failing relationships, the writers apparently seek solace from just putting their thoughts out and hoping for …… well, I’m not quite sure what! Perhaps the very act of getting it ‘off the chest’ by getting it down and then out does something to ease the stress? Maybe they are looking for ‘advice’ or ‘sympathy’ from unknown (or even known) quarters? Who knows? And who really cares(???) in the real sense of the word – other than the protagonists, of course.

Responses to some of these posts have been varied – as is to be expected. Some express sympathy, some extend advice, whilst some pour scorn (check some of the tags on Achcharu). Whether this brings solace to the writers only they will really know. If the exercise resulted in some sort of satisfaction, then I guess the effort would have been worth it, however, there is always the chance that the exposure of the personal problem could actually compound it. Then there is also the matter of this ‘confession’ being viewed by friends of the individual blogger who know his / her identity, perhaps even by the person being referred to, in which case the effect of it could go either in favour of the writer or against. In any event, the act of putting down the thoughts will, more often than not, cause some sort of effect or karmic result.

That thought put down, here’s the Lennon – McCartney song in its entirety – just for the record!

It’s getting better all the time
I used to get mad at my school
The teachers who taught me weren’t cool
You’re holding me down, turning me round
Filling me up with your rules.

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better
A little better all the time
I have to admit it’s getting better
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine.

Me used to be a angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word
I finally heard
I’m doing the best that I can.
I’ve got to admit it’s getting better

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene
And I’m doing the best that I can.

I admit it’s getting better
A little better all the time
Yes I admit it’s getting better
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine
Getting so much better all the time

Here’s to all those ‘seekers for solutions to their disappointing relationships’ – may it all get better real soon!

Reading Rhythmic Diaspora’s post a day or two ago brought about thoughts on the subject of ‘intelligence’ and having been involved in discussing a couple of sticky subjects like ‘religion’, ‘profanity’ and ‘values’ in this space during the past few days, it occurred to me that maybe I could add a few thoughts on this as well. Tricky shit, I know – but what the hell!

Beginning with the conventional definition, Wikipedia reports that: “…at least two major “consensus” definitions of intelligence have been proposed. First, from Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns, a report of a task force convened by the American Psychological Association in 1995:

Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person’s intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of “intelligence” are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen somewhat different definitions.

A second definition of intelligence comes from “Mainstream Science on Intelligence”, which was signed by 52 intelligence researchers in 1994:

A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—”catching on”, “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.”

Okay, that part being out of the way, let’s get to the commonly used measuring device for ‘intelligence’ or IQ tests. In my view, IQ tests do not measure what I would consider to be true ‘intelligence’, as these tests are usually culturally biased and oh so limited in their scope, so I’ll not waste time on that.

Stephen Jay Gould, who I have long admired for his variety of uncomplicated papers on evolution and ethology, was an evolutionary biologist (among other facets to his scientific makeup) and a well known critic of ‘intelligence theory’, made the following claims about ‘intelligence’: Intelligence is not measurable. Intelligence is not innate. Intelligence is only partly heritable, and what is inherited is mutable. Intelligence cannot be captured in a single number.

Other ‘experts’ have posited other theories. Howard Gardener’s ‘Multiple Intelligence’ theory broke ‘intelligence’ down to around eight different components, Robert Sternberg’s ‘Triarchic’ theory proposed three fundamental aspects and suggests the need for balance between the ‘analytic’, the ‘creative’ and the ‘practical’ forms of intelligence. Daniel Golman and others developed the concept of ‘emotional intelligence’.

All well and good, but conflicting views and no consensus, or ‘unified field’ if you will. However, for me, it is Krishnamurthi’s view on ‘intelligence’ that makes the most sense and is how I personally apply the concept with regard to my day to day existence.

In Krishnamurthi’s view, “…Intelligence is not personal, is not the outcome of argument, belief, opinion or reason. Intelligence comes into being when the brain discovers its fallibility, when it discovers what it is capable of, and what it is not…. When (thought) sees that it is incapable of discovering something new, that very perception is the seed of intelligence, isn’t it? That is intelligence …The discovery of that is intelligence. ..Thought is of time, intelligence is not of time. Intelligence is immeasurable… Intelligence comes into being when the mind, the heart and the body are really harmonious… Now what is the relationship of intelligence with this new dimension?…..The different dimension can only operate through intelligence: if there is not that intelligence it cannot operate. So in daily life it can only operate where intelligence is functioning ...”

If you can ‘see’ what Krishnamurthi means in his brief exposition of what he considers ‘intelligence’ and it makes sense to you, I assure you that it will make all sorts of conflicting ideas fade out and make analysis within the inner spaces free of the dross and garbage.

But this is only a personal view and, like everything else in this life, is conditioned and impermanent.

It was a lovely night at the Barefoot Gallery – the opening of the exhibition of Druvinka’s most recent works. The place was pretty packed when The Dancer, The Sibling and I got there, with a cross-section of mostly Colombo society that even included a couple of kottu regulars in the forms of Mala and a groundviews stalwart.

Druvinka, who lives and works in in Manali’s Kulu Valley in India’s Himachal Pradesh, studied art at Santiniketan, the School-Complex devoted to the fine-arts, music and dance and founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1901. She’s from a family of artists – her father Mano Madawela was an artist, as is her brother Shehan, who also studied at Santiniketan and lives and works in India. Druvi has been exhibiting her work in Sri Lanka since 1991 and has exhibited in Malaysia, New York and London and hopes to display more paintings in Delhi come September. This is her fifteenth or sixteenth (she wasn’t quite sure!) exhibition at Barefoot

The sixteen paintings reflected Druvi’s current stage in the evolutionary progression of her art and the subtle variation from her last display was apparent. One of the recurring themes in this collection titled ‘Beneath Beyond’, were the understated images of Elephantus maximus indicus mixed in with her usual hints of the human form and sexual innuendo – lingams, yonis, et al. Druvi hasn’t departed from the use of dull shades of blue-grey-green and white, although this time, five or six of the paintings contrasted vividly due to the autumnal shades within. As Druvi described it, the theme has to do with that which has past and what is possibly achievable in terms of that elusive nothingness in space and time – that higher consciousness. The paintings, if you have not had the pleasure of seeing her previous work, are still massive canvasses and the thought always occurs to me that prospective buyers will surely have to possess the wall-space required in order to accommodate just one of them effectively. And this will not be easy as far as the larger ones are concerned. Be that as it may, a few had already been sold – in spite of the rather steep prices, not really affordable by most.

Java was also there, being the Druvi-fan that he is, and after a quick walkabout the Gallery to absorb the art, retreated to the bar end of the Café to indulge himself in getting his head in the right place and chatting to a whole host of friends and acquaintances that were getting on with the evening.

Dat’s right maan – an know what? Mos of dem folks be rappin bout dat obese scumbutt slitherin his way back to dose ranks of ministers an also how freedom of expresshun be under threat. Som folk tink dat even dem bloggers wit views opposing da Man’s an dose dat be criticisin his ass could be subject to bein hassled or even worse. Dere be dis general de-pressive tone goin roun, in spite of da good time dat mos of us be havin. Know where I be comin from?

I felt it too. The few that I heard bring this subject up were of the same views that Java says he heard – which put a bit of a damper on what was otherwise a lovely evening well spent – ending with one of Kollu’s delectable creations. We left close to midnight and the place was still buzzing!

February 2007
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Ephemeral Ruminations by Java Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
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