We have grown up on this planet, trapped, in a certain sense, on it, not knowing of the existence of anything else beyond our immediate surroundings, having to figure the world out for ourselves. What a courageous and difficult enterprise, building, generation after generation, on what has been learned in the past; questioning the conventional wisdom; being willing, sometimes at great personal risk, to challenge the prevailing wisdom and gradually, slowly emerging from this torment, a well-based, in many senses predictive, quantitative understanding of the nature of the world around us. Not, by any means, understanding every aspect of that world but gradually, through successive approximations, understanding more and more. We face a difficult and uncertain future, and it seems to me it requires all of those talents that have been honed by our evolution and our history, if we are to survive.

763 notes

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate,
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute win reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
… . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in
upon a platter,
I am no prophet-and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along
the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a
screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

-T. S. Eliot

2 notes

The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth

if I suffer at this
typewriter
think how I’d feel
among the lettuce-
pickers of Salinas?
I think of the men
I’ve known in
factories
with no way to
get out-
choking while living
choking while laughing
at Bob Hope or Lucille
Ball while
2 or 3 children beat
tennis balls against
the wall.
some suicides are never
recorded.

-Bukowski

10 notes

Oh Peppa Pig!

"what music are you into?"
"i like this! it’s very grown up…"

(Source: dangervvank)

197,406 notes

25 Sobering Statistics On Global Poverty That Might Upset You by list25:

  • At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 per day.
  • To put things into perspective, the top 20% of the world’s population accounts for three quarters of the world’s income.
  • Half of the world’s population accounts for only 5% of the world’s income (that means that if the world only had $100, 3.5 billion people would have to split 5 of them).
  • According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die every day due to poverty.
  • Nearly one third of children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted.
  • In 2012, about 70 million children of primary school age were not in school.
  • Nearly a billion people celebrated the coming of the 21st century without being able to read a book or sign their name.
  • Preventable diseases like malaria afflict nearly 500 million people every year.
  • Africa alone accounts for roughly 1 million malaria deaths annually. Most of them are children.
  • Speaking of children, there are 2.2 billion children in the world.
  • Half of them live in extreme poverty.
  • Over 1 billion people have inadequate access to water and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Many times this means no separation of drinking water and toilet water.
  • That is why 1.8 million children die every year due to diarrhea.
  • Approximately half of the world’s population now lives in cities and about one third of those in the cities live in slum conditions.
  • In fact, slum growth is outpacing urban growth by a frighteningly large margin.
  • One quarter of humanity lives without electricity.
  • The 7 richest people in the world make more than the 41 poorest countries combined (roughly 567 million people).
  • 0.14% of the world’s population owns over 80% of the world’s private financial wealth. The vast majority of that wealth has managed to avoid all income and estate taxes either by the country where it has been invested or where it comes from.
  • For every $1 in aid that a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment.
  • The poorer the country, the more likely it is that the debt repayments are being extracted directly from the people who neither contracted the loans nor received any money.
  • In 1998, $8 billion were spent on cosmetics in the United States, $11 billion on ice cream in the European Union, $17 billion on pet food in Europe and the U.S., $100 billion on alcohol in Europe, $400 billion on narcotics globally, and $780 billion on militaries around the world.
  • In the same year, $6 billion were spent on achieving basic education for all, $9 billion on basic water and sanitation for all, and $13 billion on basic health and nutrition for all.
  • If you’re reading this list then you are in the top 30% of people when it comes to poverty and wealth.
  • With new technologies we now grow enough food to feed 10 billion people or 1.5 times the world’s population. The problem is that most of the world can’t afford to buy that food.
  • If the world spent less than 1% of what it spends on weapons, all the previously mentioned issues would be fixed.

132 notes

…This is the same narrative we always hear from the authorities. First, we must submit to their control; then they will address our concerns. All the problems we face, they insist, are caused by our refusal to cooperate. This argument sounds most persuasive when it is dressed up in the rhetoric of democracy: those are “our” laws we should shut up and obey—“our” cops who are shooting and gassing us—“our” politicians and leaders begging us to return to business as usual. But to return to business as usual is to step daintily over the bodies of countless Michael Browns, consigning them to the cemetery and oblivion.