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pressing matters

pressing matters

Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906–December 4, 1975) examined those peculiar parallel dimensions of loneliness as a profoundly personal anguish and an indispensable currency of our political life in her intellectual debut, the incisive and astonishingly timely 1951 classic The Origins of Totalitarianism (public library).

Arendt paints loneliness as “the common ground for terror” and explores its function as both the chief weapon and the chief damage of oppressive political regimes. Exactly twenty years before her piercing treatise on lying in politics, she writes:

Just as terror, even in its pre-total, merely tyrannical form ruins all relationships between men, so the self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality. The preparation has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men* as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, [they] lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

What perpetuates such tyrannical regimes, Arendt argues, is manipulation by isolation — something most effectively accomplished by the divisiveness of “us vs. them” narratives. She writes:

Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other… Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation may be the beginning of terror; it certainly is its most fertile ground; it always is its result. This isolation is, as it were, pretotalitarian; its hallmark is impotence insofar as power always comes from men acting together…; isolated men are powerless by definition.

Although isolation is not necessarily the same as loneliness, Arendt notes that loneliness can become both the seedbed and the perilous consequence of the isolation effected by tyrannical regimes:

In isolation, man remains in contact with the world as the human artifice; only when the most elementary form of human creativity, which is the capacity to add something of one’s own to the common world, is destroyed, isolation becomes altogether unbearable… Isolation then becomes loneliness.

[…]

While isolation concerns only the political realm of life, loneliness concerns human life as a whole. Totalitarian government, like all tyrannies, certainly could not exist without destroying the public realm of life, that is, without destroying, by isolating men, their political capacities. But totalitarian domination as a form of government is new in that it is not content with this isolation and destroys private life as well. It bases itself on loneliness, on the experience of not belonging to the world at all, which is among the most radical and desperate experiences of man.

This is why our insistence on belonging, community, and human connection is one of the greatest acts of courage and resistance in the face of oppression….”

https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/12/20/hannah-arendt-origins-of-totalitarianism-loneliness-isolation-oppression 

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Vice Joins Trend Of Killing News Comments Because Giving A Damn About Your Site’s Community Is Just Too Hard

from the i-love-you.-here’s-your-new-muzzle. dept

We’ve talked a lot about how the trend du jour in online media is to ditch the news comment section, then condescendingly pretend this is because the website just really values user relationships…. napalming your on-site community because you’re too lazy to weed the garden certainly is a slight against those users. And as we saw with NPR, these users are well aware of this fact, and are more than happy to spend their time on websites that actually value conversation and user interaction, instead of just paying empty lip service to the concept.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20161227/09365436348/vice-joins-trend-killing-news-comments-because-giving-damn-about-your-sites-community-is-just-too-hard.shtml 

via

http://www.blacklistednews.com/

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music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui-cL6YOKHI

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Maternal genealogy is unknown beyond my mother except for the presence of a Scots-Irish (Presbyterian) family in Western Pennsylvania. The paternal genealogy includes DNA that is apparently (but confusedly) of Normal or Saxon origin which moved from the Iberian peninsula after the last Ice Age up into Norman or perhaps Breton turf until, apparently as mercenaries or in followership, the Norman conquest of England. My father’s mother was of Prussian heritage. Ancestral history in my family from before the crossing of the English Channel is very clouded.   

More precise records extend from the summer of 1638 when two brothers caught a ride aboard a ship out of Hull, England to cross the Atlantic to come to England in search of religious freedom. “They were men of respectability, ‘of good estate,’ and could probably have no hopes of improving their worldly condition by emigration. They were lovers of liberty, and men of distinct and well-marked religious views. They were non-conformists. They had too sturdy an independence, as well as too strong a sense of duty, to abandon what they held as truth even in the midst of the bitterest persecution. For this reason they left their homes and sought in the wilds of America a resting place from oppression, a spot where they and their children might enjoy freedom to worship God. They were men of thought and character….”  In 1639, they settled on land north of Ipswich with which to raise and breed sheep and establish the first wool clothier’s trade. The ship’s cargo included “the first printing press, later to be set up in Cambridge, the only printing press in the country until 1685”.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-m9PKdUHpb1o/U5YmEJw1FdI/AAAAAAAAuiM/hFDNCeJD2Yo/s1600/Town+seal+Rowley.gif

That familial reference to the first printing press in colonial New England seems uncertain but is confirmed by other references and sources. 

“… The first printing press came to British North America two years after the founding of Harvard College. The press was brought by Reverend Joseph Glover, who, when deprived of his position in the Church of England, shipped his family, his possessions, and his printing press to the colonies. Glover also paid for the passage of the man in charge of running his press, Stephen Daye, a locksmith by profession. Daye was under financial contract to work in Glover’s home in Cambridge in order to repay the cost of passage for himself, his wife, and his household—a total of around £51. Rev. Glover, however, did not survive the passage to the New World. When Daye and the press arrived, his debt was transferred to Glover’s widow, Elizabeth, now owner of the printing press.

Daye set to work almost immediately along with his son Matthew, an apprentice printer, and perhaps more skilled than his father. Within the first year in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, they printed The Freeman’s Oath, a broadside, which is generally believed to be the first tract printed in British North America. This was completed around the same time as “an almanac made for New England by Mr. William Pierce.” 1 By virtue of exploiting a loophole in colonial legislation, Daye printed the first book in the New World, The Bay Psalm Book, in 1640. This book became extremely popular and influential throughout the colony for the remainder of the 17th century.  It was only three years later that the first Bible published in the New World was also published in Cambridge.

Elizabeth Glover (born Harris), as an unmarried woman, was a rarity in colonial New England. Especially unique was that she was not only an eligible woman of property but also the owner of the only printing press in the British colonies. Her attractiveness as a mate was clear to the President of Harvard, Henry Dunster. On June 21, 1641 they were married, transferring all of her property to his home on the now-named Dunster Street. Elizabeth died in 1643, and her land and property, including the printing press, was passed on to Dunster and subsequently to Harvard College. During the same year Matthew Daye replaced his father as official operator of the press after the elder Daye was briefly jailed for fraud.

As Harvard grew in size and reputation, it became a logical center of printing in the American colonies. Cambridge was the location of not just the first printing press, but also the second when in 1659 a press was sent to the colonies from the British firm “The Company for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen Natives of New England and parts Adjacent in America.” Matthew Daye’s successor Samuel Green was in charge of printing at this point, but the British firm also sent over the America’s first professional printer, Marmaduke Johnson, to assist Green. The new press was set up in Harvard Yard, in a building called the Indian College, to print Reverend John Eliot’s “Indian Bible.”

Marmaduke Johnson acquired his own press in England in 1665, and planned to bring it to Boston in order to establish his own business. However, Harvard wanted a replacement for Glover’s original press, having become fragile over the years, and the Harvard leadership successfully lobbied for a state law stating that no printing could be done outside of Cambridge. Forced into staying in Cambridge, Johnson instead, without any affiliation to Harvard, opened the first independent printing press in the colonies and went on to publish 20 books between 1665 and 1674…..”

http://www.cambridgehistory.org/discover/innovation/American%20Printing.html 

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring03/images/occurrencessm.jpg

Facsimile of the first and only issue of the English-American colonies’ first newspaper, published in Boston 1690.

Early American Newspapering

by James Breig

We are here at the end of the World, and Europe may

bee turned topsy turvy ere wee can hear a word of it.

-Virginia planter William Byrd, 1690

In seventeenth-century America, colonial governments had rather do without newspapers than brook their annoyance. In 1671, Governor William Berkeley of Virginia wrote: “I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing and I hope we shall not have, these hundred years, for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both.” As the British government once told the governors of Massachusetts, “Great inconvenience may arise by the liberty of printing.”

Not until 1690 did the first English-American news sheet debut—Boston’s Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, published by Benjamin Harris. The authorities, in “high Resentment” that Harris dared to report that English military forces had allied themselves with “miserable” savages, put him out of business four days later.

By the end of the eighteenth century, however, scores of homegrown broadsheets and tabloids satisfied the information appetites of Americans hungry for intelligence of the Old World, for news about the Revolution, and for the political polemics of the infant United States. The history of newspapering in that century digests the beginnings of much of what is served on newsstands in this one.

As the century began, the fledgling colonial press tested its wings. A bolder journalism opened on the eve of the Revolution. And, as the century closed with the birth of the United States, a rancorously partisan and rambunctious press emerged.

The eras can be traced in the history of the family of Benjamin Franklin—the preeminent journalist of his time. But it best begins with another Boston newspaperman, postmaster John Campbell. In 1704, Campbell served up The Boston News-Letter, the nation’s second paper. It was a publication the powers-that-be could stomach. The News-Letter lasted seventy-two years, succeeding in an increasingly competitive industry, supported by the growth of communication and of commerce.

Campbell’s fellow postmasters often became newspaper publishers, too; they had ready access to information to put on their pages. Through their offices came letters, government documents, and newspapers from Europe. Gazettes were also started by printers, who had paper, ink, and presses at hand. Franklin was a postmaster and a printer.

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring03/images/News-Letter_detail.jpg

Eighteenth-century editors filled their columns with items lifted from other newspapers—”the exchanges,” as they are called still—and from letters, said Mitchell Stephens, a New York University journalism professor and the author of A History of News. European news, taken from newspapers that arrived in ports like New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, got good play. The November 8, 1797, issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette, for example, carried this item from New York: “Yesterday arrived here the ship Mary. . . . By this arrival we are furnished with London Papers . . . from which the most important intelligence is extracted.” David Sloan, a University of Alabama journalism professor, lists the sources of stories as “European newspapers, primarily English ones; correspondence sent in by readers; other newspapers in the colonies; and individuals who would drop by the print shop and talk.”

Julie K. Williams, a history instructor at Alabama’s Samford University, said publishers had such altruistic motives as improving communication and educating the public, but profit was their primary purpose. Maurine Beasley, a University of Maryland journalism professor, puts it plainly. The purpose of newspapers was “to make money.”

Williams said, “Newspapers brought in ad revenue and circulation revenue.” That income supplemented receipts from books, government printing jobs, merchant invoices, forms, and other ephemera.

Making money is still what keeps newspapers in business, and that is but one similarity between eighteenth-century papers and the twenty-first’s. As Sloan said, “Newspapers are still printed with ink on paper.” But more than that, newspapers then and now “still have opinions and letters. There was a sense then that newspapers should publish both sides of an issue, even during the Revolution and factional periods.”

Williams ticks off the surface differences in the newspapers of the two centuries—there were no headlines and few illustrations then, for example—as well as cosmetic similarities. “You can look at an eighteenth-century newspaper and recognize the column layout and the general news-ads look of a paper today,” she said. “It is interesting that the ‘look’ is still basically there.

“But the biggest similarity is what news is. We decided in the eighteenth century that newspapers were about ‘occurrences,’ and basically we have stuck to that. I think ‘departments’ are clearly an idea in the eighteenth century. The colonial printer had a standing format that he followed religiously that involved dividing the news by type. These sections were often labeled ‘foreign reports’ and so on.”

To Carol Humphrey, an Oklahoma Baptist University journalism professor and secretary of the American Journalism Historians Association, “The primary legacy of the eighteenth century for modern journalism is the right to comment on political events. The modern-day editorial has its beginnings in that era.”

The DNA of modern newspapers is found in the eighteenth century, Stephens said. “The look is the same,” and “the sense of what news is, is basic to human beings.”

Most colonial newspapers were weeklies, had four pages, and printed most of their advertisements in back. With little space, printers kept many stories brief, encapsulating even significant information into “one short paragraph, even a sentence,” Sloan said.

Newspapers also contained “essays, poems and humorous material, some of which they wrote themselves, like Ben Franklin,” Beasley said. “Sometimes, items that had a sensational or religious aspect appeared, such as a report of a strange creature being sighted or some unusual event occurring attributed to ‘divine providence.’”

Readers wondered about the course of wars in Europe and were curious about happenings in other towns and colonies—especially events that could affect their lives. But they were as interested as readers of today in the ordinary events of the life of their times. When they got their newspaper, subscribers perused such advertisements and news as:

Run away . . . a small yellow Negro wench named Hannah, about 35 years of age, had on when she went away a green plain petticoat and sundry other clothes, but what sort I do not know.—from a 1767 issue of Williamsburg’s Virginia Gazette

For Sale—The spars, anchors, rigging, and hull, of a brig, sixty four feet keel, twenty four and a half feet beam, and ten feet hold.—from a 1782 issue of the Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser

The noted High Bred Horse Old Mark Anthony, now in high perfection, and as vigorous as ever, stands at my stable this season in order to cover mares, at £3. the leap.—also from a 1782 issue of the Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser

Last Friday, the fatal and ever memorable Day of the Martyrdom of King Charles the First, a most extraordinary Misfortune befell this Place, by the Destruction of our fine Capitol. . . . The Cupola was soon burnt, the two Bells that were in it were melted, and, together with the Clock, fell down, and were destroyed.—from a 1747 issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette, but datelined Williamsburg, Feb. 5.

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring03/images/first-gazette_detail.jpg 

When, as the century began, Campbell and his colleagues set up their forms, they entered a risky business. Printers were licensed by the government, and they could be unlicensed swiftly, and imprisoned. That happened to Benjamin Franklin’s older brother James, publisher of the New-England Courant.

James Franklin inspired his sibling’s interest in printing. “In 1717,” the younger Franklin wrote, “James returned from England with a press and letters to set up his business in Boston. . . . My father was impatient to have me bound to my brother.” The boy was at length “persuaded, and signed the indentures when I was yet but twelve years old.” But like the publisher of Publick Occurrences, James Franklin ran afoul of the authorities. “One of the pieces in our newspaper gave offense to the Assembly,” Benjamin Franklin said. His brother “was taken up, censur’d, and imprison’d for a month. . . . During my brother’s confinement . . . I had the management of the paper.”

When the government freed the older Franklin, it forbade him to print the Courant any longer. The brothers circumvented the order by putting Benjamin Franklin’s name on it.

John Peter Zenger, editor of the New-York Weekly Journal, was arrested in 1734 and charged with seditious libel for criticisms of Governor William Cosby. The facts were against Zenger, but a jury more sympathetic to free speech than to authority acquitted him. Franklin, who had moved to Philadelphia, where he founded Poor Richard’s Almanac and the Pennsylvania Gazette, endorsed the verdict in a couplet:

While free from Force the Press remains,

Virtue and Freedom cheer our Plains.

Typical for Franklin and his colleagues, the lines are lifted from a poem by Mathew Green, “The Spleen,” published in 1737.

As happy as editors were to see Zenger vindicated, they noticed that he had spent ten months in jail awaiting trial. His wife had carried on the Journal, but clearly a newspaperman’s livelihood and liberty depended on the forbearance of the government.

At mid-century, the press began to alter its stance and became more outspoken. In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published America’s first newspaper cartoon, a picture showing a snake cut into sections, each part representing a colony, with the caption: “Join or Die.”

Franklin became a wealthy publisher and editor. He linked print shops and post offices in a coastal chain, and spread newspapering up and down the seaboard. Newspapers founded under his aegis prospered and, as troubles with Great Britain mounted, became precisely the “great inconvenience” England feared.

Stephens said the purpose of newspapers “changed to the political and polemical after 1765—around the time of the Stamp Act-as tensions snowballed.” Sloan said, “During the Revolution, the main goal was to support the American cause.”

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Spring03/images/coffin_detail.gif

“Prior to the Revolution, newspapers existed primarily to inform people of what was going on in the rest of the world,” Humphrey said. “The Revolution changed the focus to events in the other colonies.”

Daily publication began in the 1780s, just as the new American republic emerged. There were about 100 newspapers by 1790, many of them were spirited, and some were great annoyances to men in high positions. It was a time of enormous press freedom, a freedom exercised frequently in behalf of the Federalist or Republican parties, which subsidized their own publications. Humphrey said, “Many newspapers in the 1790s were intended to accept a particular political party.” Two examples are the Gazette of the United States for the Hamiltonian Federalists; the National Gazette for the Jeffersonian Republicans. “Their editors believed that they should support their particular party in all that they did,” she noted, “so they wrote essays in support of their party and included editorial comments in the news pieces that either supported their party or attacked the opposition.”

This was the era of Philip Freneau, John Fenno, and James Callendar, sharp-penned scribes who used their journalistic skills to laud their friends and denigrate their enemies. This was the era when government officials and political figures—Alexander Hamilton and James Madison among them—adopted pseudonyms to promote their politics in the public prints anonymously.

Many of the founding fathers were enthusiastic about a free press. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787 that “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Samuel Adams said in 1768 that “there is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants . . . as a free press.”

But newspaper partisanship had evolved from the Revolution. “Newspapers that were used to denouncing Tories and the King,” Stephens said, “slid easily into denouncing opposition parties, even the President of the United States.”

George Washington declared a lack of interest in newspapers before he was president, writing in 1786 that “my avocations are so numerous that I very rarely find time to look into Gazettes after they come to me.” But while in office, he sometimes was incensed at what he saw in print. In notes about a 1793 cabinet meeting, Secretary of State Jefferson recorded how the president went on in such “a high tone” about the paper of “that rascal” Freneau that the cabinet officers were momentarily stunned into silence.

Benjamin Franklin’s grandson and namesake, Benjamin Franklin Bache—also known as “Lightning Rod Junior”—edited the Aurora. Bache delighted in harassing President Washington, once labeling him “the source of all the misfortunes of our country” and declaring him “utterly incapable.”

When John Adams wrote “A Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” in 1779, he included a guarantee of liberty of the press. But as president, Adams endorsed the Alien and Sedition Acts, aimed at muzzling the opposition by jailing editors who dared criticize the chief executive.

Sloan said Bache was “a really ardent, zealous partisan. He epitomizes the intensely partisan editor.” Bache was indicted under the Alien and Sedition Acts but died before his case came to trial. Adams’s successor, Jefferson, released imprisoned journalists and allowed the law to lapse.

Stephens said that the free—and free-wheeling—press of the federal period helped to create the United States: “It is hard to imagine the United States arriving when it did without a free press. It was a wild, unruly press, but democracy was a great experiment and an aggressive press was part of it.”

Much has changed in the centuries since Benjamin Harris set up his type. Among other things, the web press, the linotype, and, eventually, offset printing came to the business. The telegraph and news services supplanted the exchanges. The First Amendment, written originally to protect the press only from the federal Congress, was interpreted to apply to the governments of the states. Illustrations and photographs became as important as words. Journalism emerged as a diplomaed, white-collar profession. And the role of the press as a “great inconvenience” to government is a hallmark of democratic government.

“How,” asks Stephens, “can you run a country without a free press?”

Jim Breig, an Albany, New York, writer and weekly newspaper editor, contributed “Out, Damn’d Proverbs: Eighteenth-Century Axioms, Maxims, and Bywords” to the winter 2002-2003 journal.

http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/spring03/journalism.cfm 

 

In 1638, the first printing press arrived in Boston.

By 1700, Boston became the second largest publishing center of the English Empire. The Puritans were the first to write books for children, and to discuss the difficulties in communicating with them. At a time when other Americans were physically blazing trails through the forests, the Puritans efforts in areas of study were advancing the country intellectually.

The Bible stimulated their intellect by promoting discussions of literature. Greek classics, Cicero, Virgil, Terence and Ovid were taught, as well as some poetry and Latin verse. The Puritans also encouraged themselves to create their own poetry, always religious in content.

Anyway, three English diversions were banned in the Puritans’ New England colonies: drama, religious music and erotic poetry. The first and last of these because they led to immorality. Music in worship, instead, created a “dreamy” state which was not conducive in listening to God.

The first newspaper was issued in Boston in 1704.

http://www.timerime.com/es/evento/986843/First+printing+press+in+Boston/ 

[Ed.: Today, of course, there is a growth industry involving audio forms of meditation, the neuro-cognitive research done to examine the concept of spiritual perception, in essence a merger between neuroscience and New Age approaches.]

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In 1754, four newspapers only were printed in New England, these were all published in Boston, and, usually, on a small sheet.; They were published weekly, and the average number of copies did not exceed six hundred from each press. No paper had then been issued in Connecticut, or New Hampshire. Some years before, one was printed for a short time in Rhode Island, but had been discontinued for want of encouragement. Vermont as a state did not exist, and the country which now composes it was then a wilderness. In 1775, a period of only twenty-one years, more copies of a newspaper were issued weekly from the village press at Worcester, Massachusetts, than were printed in all New England, in 1755; and one paper now published contains as much matter as did all the four published in Boston, in the last year mentioned.

At the beginning of 1775, there were five newspapers published in Boston, one at Salem, and one at Newburyport, making seven in Massachusetts. There was, at that time, one published at Portsmouth; and no other in New Hampshire. One was printed at Newport, and one at Providence, making two in Rhode Island. At New London there was one, at New Haven one, one at Hartford and one in Norwich; in all four I Connecticut;and fourteen in New England. In the province of New York, four papers were then published; three in the city and one in Albany. In Pennsylvania there were, on the first of January, 1775, six; three in English and one in German, in Philadelphia, one in German, at Germantown; and one in English and German, at Lancaster. Before the end of January, 1775, three newspapers, in English, were added to the number from the presses I Philadelphia, making nine in Pennsylvania. In Maryland, two; one at Annapolis, and one at Baltimore. In Virginia, there were but two, and both of these at Williamsburg. One was printed at Wilmington, and one in Newbern, in North Carolina; three at Charleston, South Carolina; and one at Savannah, in Georgia. Making thirty-seen newspapers in all the British colonies, which are now comprised in the United States. To these may be added one at Halifax, in Nova Scotia; and one in Canada, at Quebec.

In 1800, there were at least one hundred and fifty publications of this kind printed in the United States of America, and since that time, the number has increased to three hundred and sixty. Those published before 1775 were weekly papers. Soon after the close of the Revolutionary war, daily papers were printed at Philadelphia, New York, &c., and there are now, 1810, more than twenty published, daily, in the United States.

It was common for printers of newspapers to subjoin to their titles ‘Containing the freshest Advices both Foreign and Domestick;’ but gazettes and journals are now chiefly filled with political essays. News do not appear to be always the first object of editors, and, of course, ‘containing the freshest advices,’ &c., is too often out of the question.

For many years after the establishment of newspapers on this continent, very few advertisements appeared in them. This was the case with those that were early printed in Europe. In the first newspapers, advertisements were not separated by lines from the news, &c., and were not even begun with a two line letter; when two line letters were introduced, it was some time before one advertisement was separated from another by a line, or rule as it is termed by printers. After it became usual to separate advertisements, some printers used lines of metal rules; others lines of flowers irregularly placed. I have seen in some New York papers, great primer flowers between advertisements. At length, it became customary to ‘set off advertisements,’ and from using types not larger than those with which the news were printed, types of the size of French canon have often been used for names, especially of those who advertised English goods.

In the troublesome times, occasioned by the stamp act in 1765, some of the more opulent and cautious printers, when the act was to take place, put their papers in mourning, and, for a few weeks, omitted to publish them; others not so timid, but doubtful of the consequence of publishing newspapers without stamps, omitted the titles, or altered them, as an evasion; for instance the Pennsylvania Gazette, and some other papers, were headed ‘Remarkable Occurrences, &c.’ -other printers, particularly those in Boston, continued their papers without any alteration in title or imprint.

From the foregoing it appears that, from the time when the first public journal was published in the country, viz. in April, 1704, to April 1775, comprising a period of seventy-one years, seventy-eight different newspapers were printed in the British American continental colonies; that during this period, thirty-nine, exactly one-half of that number, had been, occasionally, discontinued; and that thirty-nine continued to be issued by the several establishments at the commencement of the revolution. The papers published in the West Indies are not included in this computation.

In the course of thirty-five years, newspaper establishments were, as previously remarked, multiplied in a surprising degree; insomuch, that the number of those printed in the United States in June, 1810, amounted to upwards of three hundred and sixty.

A large proportion of the public papers at that date were established, and supported, by the two great contending political parties, into which the people of these states are usually divided; and whose numbers produce an equipollence; consequently, a great augmentation of vehicles for carrying on the political warfare have been found necessary.

I cannot conclude what I have written on the subject of publike journals, better than by extracting the following pertinent observations on newspapers, from the Rev. Dr. Miller’s Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century.

‘It is worthy of remark that newspapers have almost entirely changed their form and character within the period under review* (*the eighteenth century) For a long time after they were first adopted as a medium of communication to the public, they were confined, in general, to the mere statement of facts. But they have gradually assumed an office more extensive, and risen to a more important station in society. They have become vehicles of discussion, in which the principles of government, the interests of nations, the spirit and tendency of public measures, and the public and private characters of individuals, are all arraigned, tried, and decided. Instead, therefore, of being considered now, as they once were, of small moment in society, they have become immense oral and political engines, closely connected with the welfare of the state, and deeply involving both its peace and prosperity.

‘Newspapers have also become important in a literary view. There are few of them, within the last twenty years, which have not added to their political details some curious and useful information, on the various subjects of literature, science, and art. They have thus become the means of conveying, to every class in society, innumerable scraps of knowledge, which have at once increased the public intelligence, and extended the taste for perusing periodical publications. The advertisements, moreover, which they daily contain, respecting new books, projects, inventions, discoveries and improvements, are well calculated to enlarge and enlighten the public mind, and are worth of being enumerated among the many methods of awakening and maintaining the popular attention, with which more modern times, beyond all preceeding example, abound. . . . “

Index to This Section:

Would there have been an American Revolution Without Newspapers and Mail? The Role of Communications in the American Revolution 

Getting the Word Out: Franklin’s Communications Revolutions

The Dangerous Lives of Printers:

The Evolution of Freedom of the Press

Newspapers in America Before the Era of the Revolution

Newspapers in Revolutionary-Era America and the Problems of Patriot and Loyalist Printers

A Patriot Printer and His “Forge of Sedition”: 

The Story of Isaiah Thomas

The Role of Newspapers in the Revolution:

Isaiah Thomas’s The History of Printing in America

Not Just the News: 

A War of Letters, Pamphlets, Broadsides, and Sermons

http://www1.assumption.edu/ahc/1770s/pprinthisthomas.html 

 

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“But I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years, for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both!” 

Governor Sir William Berkeley, 1671

 

The Germination of a Free Press: A Dissident Print Culture and the Stamp Act in Colonial Virginia

by

Roger P. Mellen

2006

42 pp.

http://web.nmsu.edu/~rpmellen/freepress.pdf

 

 

 

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“The editor objected to the use of Native auxiliaries in the invation of Canada during King William’s War after he heard reports of them torturing and killing captured French troops.”

“… The first newspaper ever printed in this country met the same fate dealt the first gesture towards press censorship and the first attempt to set up a commercial printing shop: “Publick Occurrances both Foreign and Domestick,” appeared on September 26, 1690, and was immediately forbidden from the Colonies. The Governor and council gave expression to “high resentment and disallowance” to this paper printed by Richard Pierce for Benjamin Harris of Boston, and forbade anyone “for the future to set forth anything in print without license first obtained.”

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1928/11/30/harvard-college-sponsored-first-printing-press/ 

 

http://wordwenches.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c84c753ef0133f4e8ff6a970b-150wi

“… The most intriguing objects found in the Harvard Yard excavations were pieces of lead printing type dating back to the 17th century. At first glance, these lead alloy bars may not impress, but they are small pieces of an important story. Each bears the mold of a single letter. When arranged in rows, coated with thick ink, and pressed onto paper, they created the first books printed in North America. The fonts, or particular shapes, of some of these letters have been matched to surviving 17th-century products of Harvard’s early press…..”

https://www.peabody.harvard.edu/node/2014 

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/bf/e0/bb/bfe0bbef4ee437f2e0c0c7f7350459ad.jpg

“… Ezekiel and his followers pooled their money to organise their New England passage. They left Rowley in the summer of 1638 and travelled down into Hull where they joined the ship John of London, lying in the Old Harbour on the River Hull. After sailing out of the Humber, their ship called into London en route and there picked up the Reverend Joseph Glover, a wealthy nonconformist minister, who brought with him Stephen Daye, a printer, and also what is believed to be North America’s first printing press. Glover is thought to have first visited New England earlier in the 1630s and supported the foundation of Harvard College – which eventually became Harvard University, the oldest institute of higher education in the United States.

Unfortunately, on the long and tortuous journey across the Atlantic, the Reverend Glover died before the vessel reached Salem Bay, Massachusetts in the December of 1638. The migrants probably spent a long first winter in Salem but in spring 1639 Ezekiel Rogers and his followers moved on to land some six miles outside of Ipswich, Massachusetts. House lots and properties were laid out along the township’s brook, allowing each family access to fresh water. Here the new arrivals built many houses and, bringing spinning and weaving skills with them from the East Riding of Yorkshire, they were amongst the first to establish a clothing industry in New England. They called their little township, Rowley after their East Riding village….

Elizabeth Glover, continued with her late husband’s mission and supervised Daye in the setting up of the Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In January 1639, the Freeman’s Oath was the first piece printed. The following year, 1640, the press produced The Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in the English colonies. This may also have been the first book to have been written in North America and is an important part of the history of print; it seems that only five original copies still exist.

The small town of Rowley prospered and Ezekiel Rogers bequeathed his library to Harvard when he died in 1660 and other benefactions from him also eventually went to this learned institution. Early settlers in Rowley played an important part in the establishment of this new country. Elizabeth Glover married Henry Dunster, Harvard’s First President, who had taken interest in the Press. Stephen Daye died in 1668. His son Matthew became an accomplished printer and indeed may have actually done much of the printing with that first press. Printing and publishing in the United States has certainly come a long way since Stephen Daye first sailed with the Rowley settlers back in the summer of 1638.”

Robb Robinson, December 2008

http://www.hull.ac.uk/mhsc/FarHorizons/Documents/EzekielRogers.pdf 

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This past Christmas weekend has been an opportunity for long-range thinking, planning, learning, observing and more planning. Numerous things have been poking me in my ribs, tapping me on my collar-bone, and crackling synaptically inside my skull.                               

We are advised that rumination is unhealthy and should be stopped. 

We are told to return to the source of our creative fire. 

First among the various stimuli is a slowly-emerging intent to focus on writing. Winter has driven me indoors into a little gem of a house with my office, bookcases, coffee pot, pellet stove and functional iMac; in the summertime, I can sit on the deck overlooking the man-made pond and waterfall and the women-tended garden working on a MacAir.

A small bookcase filled with little gems about the art and practice of writing awaits my more complete attention. 

A desktop folder filled with writing ideas and my own stash of “prompts” is now popping fresh new green sprigs. 

Awaiting my investment of time is the half-finished two-hour lecture course on DVD on the craft of writing world-class prose by a distinguished scholar of contemporary literature; there is a similar but not yet started six-hour course in creative non-fiction

I bought myself a copy of The Trickster’s Hat. It’s a “mischievous apprenticeship in creativity”.

I just discovered a new resource when I went looking for background on the popular writer Michael Crichton whose book “Timeline” generated some thoughts; his simple method uses 3×5 cards to plot out storyline

(Note that that web site has a number of great resources for writers. See this year-ending compendium of the top posts from the past year at Writers Helping Writers.

My wife bought me a book of prompts for uncovering the gems in my life’s stories, as well as the fourth edition of “The Craft of Research”. It is “a fundamental and accessible text that explains how to build an argument that engages and persuades readers, how to effectively anticipate and respond to the reservations of readers, and how to find and evaluate sources and integrate them into an argument.” It ends with a 30-page appendix crammed with bibliographic resources in 26 topical categories, starting with a significant two-page compendium of online databases. At $15, it’s the gift of the decade. It may take me ten years to harvest it. 

Meanwhile:

Obama has signed legislation enabling criminal charges for exercising freedom of speech. 

And Social Security has been weaponized by the State as a means of punishment and intimidation for those arrested arrested while exercising their right to assemble in protest. 

Recently the Internet has become a war zone and people have begun to discuss and debate, from both technological and other perspectives, how they will maintain and exercise the right to create, express and thrive independent of political control. 

I’m re-reading a book about “timing, tactics and strategy in narrative-driven decision-making” called Tempo which surely has some value in deciding what direction I am going to take in the future. 

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Four from http://www.strike-the-root.com: 

 

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/propaganda-war-exposed-in-aleppo-about-to-die-saying-goodbye-but-available-for-interview_12232016# 

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/12/more-fake-news-photos-from-aleppo-proven-false-poorly-executed-propaganda.html 

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/12/heres-how-the-government-is-working-to-erode-constitutional-privacy-protections.html 

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/12/23/this-is-how-the-u-s-government-destroys-the-lives-of-patriotic-whistleblowers/ 

 

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Alexa: Who dunnit?

SAN FRANCISCO – In what may be a first, police in Arkansas asked Amazon for recordings potentially made by an Echo device in connection with a murder investigation.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/12/27/amazon-alexa-echo-murder-case-bentonville-hot-tub-james-andrew-bates/95879532/ 

 

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https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/styles/node_embed/public/media/images/photographs/2014_Burma_Harn_Lay.jpg?itok=IpRkWIFz

Obama Quietly Signs The “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act” Into Law

December 27th, 2016 by Kevin

Via: ZeroHedge:

Long before the “fake news” meme became a daily topic of extensive conversation on such discredited mainstream portals as CNN and WaPo, H.R. 5181 would task the Secretary of State with coordinating the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to “establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response,” which will pinpoint sources of disinformation, analyze data, and — in true dystopic manner — ‘develop and disseminate’ “fact-based narratives” to counter effrontery propaganda.

In short, long before “fake news” became a major media topic, the US government was already planning its legally-backed crackdown on anything it would eventually label “fake news.”

Posted in Dictatorship, Perception Management |

human interaction

human interaction

In the age of the internet and smartphones, there is no denying that technology continuously shapes our everyday lives….

featured graphic:

https://notalwaysright.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/1743544_857602394269215_1619534653_n.jpg 

music audio:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WH9HET1j_o 

In the age of the internet and smartphones, there is no denying that technology continuously shapes our everyday lives. Ours is an ever-connected society, and social media in particular has transformed human interactions well beyond the confines of our immediate circles. We can now communicate with friends, family, and likeminded communities regardless of physical location, and sharing even the most intimate aspects of our private lives has become the norm.

Whilst global connectivity is no doubt extremely positive, a closer look at social media highlights a more destructive reality for the individual. In a world where everything is seemingly on show, it is crucial to question just how real social media is and to consider its impact on our mental well-being.

Social Media: What’s The Appeal?

To truly understand the relationship between social media and self-image, we need to recognize what draws us to online networks in the first place. Keeping in touch with far-flung friends and relatives may be an obvious advantage to sites like Facebook, but our fascination with social media runs deeper than that: it taps into our desire to be heard. Indeed, the internet has given us all a voice, with affordable packages such as this one making it easier than ever before to create a website or blog using common WordPress themes. Practically anyone can become a published writer or photographer within the online sphere, and the abundance of user-generated media stands testament to our inherent need to share. Social media presents not only another platform through which to express ourselves, but by apparently focusing on the banalities of everyday life, it enables us to construct an identity over which we have total control.

Through status updates, location check-ins, and photo uploads, we appear to give our online friends all-access insight into our lives, but in reality, the majority of us are presenting an edited version. Whilst this is necessary for maintaining some degree of privacy, the danger arises when we become more fixated on portraying the perfect existence than actually living it. Posting only the most flattering selfies or fun-filled weekend snaps may seem completely harmless – and is indeed a natural reflex for many online socialites – but our obsession with airbrushing every aspect of our digital lives can actually have some rather alarming psychological implications.

The Actual Self Vs. The Online Self

The notion of keeping up appearances is not unique to social media; from job interviews to meeting new people for the first time, it’s only natural that we put our best selves forward.

According to Edward Tory Higgins’ self-discrepancy theory (1987), we all identify with three different types of self: the actual self – the person we perceive ourselves to actually be; the ought self based on who we believe we should be; and the ideal self shaped by hopes, wishes, and aspirations – the person we want to be. Higgins believed that the larger the perceived discrepancy between, say, the actual and the ideal self, the more prone the individual is to negative emotions, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and even self-contempt.

Of course, it is not only our own profiles that affect our mental wellbeing. Several studies have identified a correlation between Facebook usage in general and dissatisfaction with one’s own life, with envy cited as the most common emotion induced by the site. Bombarded with constant reminders of other people’s “perfect” lives, it can indeed be incredibly difficult to see through the illusion that everyone else is flying higher, having more fun, and going to better places. Our failure to fully realize our own goals is once again highlighted, and we feel inadequate – and miserable – by comparison.

External Validation or True Self-Worth?

According to Statista, 73% of the US population had a social media profile in 2015, a figure that grows significantly year on year. The question remains, then: if social media makes us feel so bad, why do we continue to subscribe and take part? Fear of missing out no doubt plays a major role, as online networks have become so integral to the way we interact with our peers. Another key factor is our inherent need to be regarded positively by others, as explained by psychologist Carl Rogers’ theory of personality. There is no denying that posting a picture online and receiving likes and comments is one of the most instant – and measurable – forms of external validation, and gives us quite the buzz. In that respect, social media has made it all too easy to choose the path of instant, short-term gratification, with the ideal or online self often taking precedence over the actual self. Whilst social media provides a quick-fix, the ever widening gap between the actual and ideal selves can leave us feeling empty and unfulfilled in the long term.

Loving Yourself In The Age of Social Media

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.

Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person (1961)

A significant part of Rogers’ theory is the concept of self-actualization through reaching one’s full potential, ultimately aligning the actual self with the ideal self. Although this is an ongoing journey rather than a fixed destination, the more congruent we perceive the two selves to be, the greater our sense of fulfilment. However, in a world where social media paints a glossy picture of perfect lives, there is a growing tendency to abandon the pursuit of self-actualization and to live vicariously instead through the online self.

Someone who knows only too well just how toxic this can be is teenage model Essena O’Neill. Having previously made a living through her social media posts, she dramatically quit Instagram last year, exposing a deeply flawed reality behind the perfect scenes. No longer able to cope with the discrepancy between her real life and the life she was portraying online, she has shunned social media in order to focus on “real-life projects.” In an emotional video that clearly captures just how miserable it made her feel to be “defined by numbers,” O’Neill strongly urges others to follow suit.

Achieving and maintaining a positive self-image in the social media age is not necessarily about quitting Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Rather, it is about readjusting your perception of the online world and finding a balance between digital and real life. Firstly, learning to see through the smoke and mirrors of other social media profiles will break the habit of comparing yourself unfavorably, so that time spent online is more about connecting with friends than highlighting your own shortcomings.

Secondly, it’s crucial to focus wholly on aligning your actual self with your ideal self, rather than simply projecting these aspirations onto your online profile. Be 100% present in every moment – do things that actually fulfill and satisfy you, regardless of whether it makes an impressive social media post. Nurturing face-to-face connections and placing more value on your real-life state puts a much-needed perspective on social media, ultimately boosting the way we perceive ourselves and paving the way to genuine, long-term happiness.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/03/10/self-worth-in-the-age-of-social-media/  

via

http://www.blacklistednews.com/The_Psychology_Of_Social_Media_or_How_Our_Online_Lives_Are_Harming_Real-Life_Happiness

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http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4TcLyVL8l1w/Ufk2ig7caaI/AAAAAAAAAP4/G-0cGVel20Q/s1600/cartoon.jpg

Source:

http://tmgnorthwest.blogspot.com/2013/08/human-interaction-there-isnt-app-for.html 

 

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Consciousness wants to create new consciousness, and it can. Imagination is how it does it. If there were some ultimate state of consciousness, imagination would always be able to play another card and take it further.

In any arena of life, and especially when it comes to the mind, perception, power, empathy, and so on, there is always a status quo. It’s merely the place where a person says, “Well, that’s enough. I’ll settle for what I have. I’ll stop here.”

Sooner or later, this leads to boredom, frustration, problems, and conflict. It leads to a decline.

Imagination, which knows no bounds, is the source for the most adventurous explorations. It can have great impact on the material world, of course, but one mustn’t therefore conclude it is composed of matter or energy. Imagination is non-material. To think otherwise winds you up in using some version of physics to depict imagination—and then you are imposing limits on it. This is an error. Imagination doesn’t obey any laws of physics.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we’ve flattered reality enough. It doesn’t need any more. Imagination creates new realities.

You can create the same thing over and over, and eventually you’ll be about as alive as a table. Inject imagination into the mix, and everything suddenly changes. You can steer that boat anywhere you want to.

The lowest common denominator of consensus signals an absence of imagination: everyone agrees; everyone is bored; everyone is obedient. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are massive floods of unique individual creation, and then that sought-after thing called abundance is as natural as the sun rising in the morning.

Sitting around in a cosmic bus station waiting for reality is what reality is. Everything else is imagination.

There are those who believe life is a museum. You walk through the rooms, find one painting, stroll into it and take up permanent residence. But the museum is endless. If you were a painter, you’d never decide to live inside one of your canvases forever. You’d keep on painting.

The relentless and obsessive search for all those things on which we can agree is a confession of bankruptcy.

When we re-learn to live through and by imagination, we enter and invent new space and time.

With imagination, one can solve a problem. More importantly, one can skip ahead of the problem and render it null and void.

Imagination isn’t a system. It might invent systems, but it is non-material. It’s a capacity. It feels no compulsion to imitate reality. It makes realities. Its scope is limited only by a person’s imagining of how far imagination can go.

The human race is obsessed by the question: what exists? It appears to be a far easier question than: what do you want to create? This comparison explains why civilizations decline.

Imagination is a path. Walking on that path long enough, you find answers to all the questions you’ve ever asked, as an incidental side effect of the journey. You also find power that most people only dream of.

https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/power-beyond-mind-control-2/ 

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http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-every-human-interaction-offers-you-the-chance-to-make-things-better-or-to-make-things-barbara-brown-taylor-64-12-13.jpg

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https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/004/442/536/426850fa013fea9d930634fa52e2356d_original.jpg?v=1441400319&w=680&fit=max&auto=format&q=92&s=1495993d86bd7b5cb6f41788e8106d2f 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1164329758/the-wonderful-world-of-creatures-and-code/description 

[Ed.: This book arrived last week; I am pleased to have received it for free since I was one of the “kickstarters”. I gave it to my daughter, an elementary school teacher, and just ordered one of the last “leftovers” to read to my grandkids.]

relationships

One of the things that absolutely fascinates me about the value of aikido, the physical practice of which as a practical discipline in martial arts I had to give up when it became apparent that I had some as-yet-undefined-or-unaddressed compromise in aortic function, is in its embodied lessons in understanding and working on relationships with other human beings.

Whether it is the delivery of ukemi across distances of the Internet in the middle of some political discussion with contentious virtual opponents, or the closely interpersonal and psychologically intimate discussions in a dyad, or the multiple grapplings of dinner table randori in a family setting, beginning to understand and embody how we present ourselves, how we perceive, how we move, and how we contend, disarm, charm and take effort not to injure is an important understanding.

This is why I am attracted to and resonate with people like Richard Strozzi-Heckler, this fellow whose blog I subscribe to in Richmond, VA, or the instructional videos of Nick Lowry at windsong dojo in Oklahoma. I am always looking for insight.

My very first sensei, Dave Card, had a piece of calligraphy I grabbed off the Internet and copied (my scanned copy keeps disappearing inside my archives), replicated, and once was made into a painted red/white/black acryclic signpost outside my door at the empty aerie overlooking a river I briefly occupied before my own personal Wacht am Rhein on 12/16/07.

The calligraphy simply was two mirroring curved lines of the circling uke and nage, wary perhaps, co-exsting on the tatami of life and the moment, with a heart in the middle.

The message was simple:

At the heart of the interaction, the discipline, the practice, all those techniques, the ukemi, was love.

Here is a piece I wrote on ma-ai at that time:

Ma-ai

The distance between us waxes and wanes.  Our sensory receptors sometimes strain to detect changes, movements, new positions, new insights, responses.  Sometimes we are in a frenzied interaction, built on moves and techniques learned elsewhere or from our previous dances.  You hear, I say; I talk too much, you feel; I clarify, you add, you subtract; you change the tune, I introduce a new rhythm.

I look ahead to where we might be in a different corner of the dance floor and how we will get there, and you get lost in the detail of hand on hand, or pressure point, or pulse.

You add, and suggest.  I wonder; you add graphics.

I speak in poetic prose; you speak in urls and umms.

Sometimes we tango, and sometimes we salsa.  Oft times we waltz: we enjoy a slower pace for observation and exploration.

You query; I respond.  I query; you respond.

We speak of parallel universes and perpendicular tangents.

You probe; I withdraw.  I move forward; you turn away.

You think of lips and light brushes of skin; I push and pull with firm pressures.

Our antennae re-cycle the data from each moment, linking to our engines of thought and emotion.  One stumbles; the other answers to re-position, to minimize the effects, to stay in touch.

One leads; the other follows.  One takes a break; the other remains, to pick up again from where leaving was.  Where you were, I was.  Where I will be, you have been.

How and why is this so easy and yet so hard?  We have each been here before, perhaps, and yet the dance of the moment is alive with freshness and newness that is like light dew on gardens in the glow of a rising sun.

We reflect and think; we feel and delight in flesh-on-flesh.  We listen to our hearts’ pulsings and poundings; we taste what might be; we hear echoes of music; poetry arises from time to time, matched only by bursts of exclamation, periods of silence, and renewed contact.  We trade laughter and smiles, grins and grimaces.  We step on each other’s toes, and we keep on moving.  We dance in kitchens, and we dance in offices.  We visualize Arthur Murray moves while driving.  We conduct orchestras in training.  Heaven and earth seem at times to move in connected unity.

When we get out of step, we re-orient with a gaze to the other’s eyes, and a gaze within.  And we listen again.  And we dream of dancing.  And then our heart’s eyes lock again from across the floor, and we advance slowly… our ma-ai changing once again.

The Universe moves slowly in its inexorable and mysterious rotations within rotations, and we within them.

****

Here is a piece taken from the newsletter published by my second sensei, Judy Ringer:

Mitsugi Saotome, in Aikido and the Harmony of Nature (Shambhala, Boston, 1993), tells us that ma-ai is the distance in time and space between people, events, or energies. When we are in touch with ma-ai, the larger pattern, we know when to move, when to pause, and when to blend. There are rhythms of ma-ai throughout our daily lives, and in the differences between society and solitude, between action and contemplation, in pacing and momentum, in knowing when enough is enough.

Terry Dobson, in It’s a Lot Like Dancing (Frog Ltd., Berkeley, CA 1993) says, on page 39: “In the martial experience, you learn that it’s very good to be close to your opponent. When I’m close to him, I know exactly where he is, what’s likely to do. I can control, direct, relax, quiet, and restore this person by being close to him.”  Later, on page 149, “The word ma-ai in Japanese means ‘space-time’. Try to keep at least a distance of the length of two arms when dealing with strangers in the street. You take a step towards me, I take a step backwards to maintain this distance. I’ve spent many hours dancing around at this distance just to learn how far that really was.”

****

Essay as part of the requirement for shoudan.

Requested by Alan Higgs Sensei and Peter Cleydon Sensei.

Maai and Metsuke

Metsuke and Maai are two very important aspects of Aikido.

Metsuke is essentially eye-to-eye contact without focusing on a singe point which permits awareness of the total field of vision.

Metsuke is also the idea of focusing the eyes and the mind so as not to be drawn in by the opponent’s attack. It is a perception of everything that is happening around you and the pre-perception which enable us to sense an attack or aggressiveness in the form of impending danger, before it actually occurs. Metsuke can also mean insight into the human soul, which can inhibit an attack by the expression in the eyes or diffuse it with benevolence or compassion.

Metsuke should result in eye contact on the opponent’s centre. Shifting you eyes from one focal point to another (ie from eyes to hand to feet) constantly changes your perception of distance and angles. To develop perception of these aspects it is essential to focus on one point in the attackers centre line, but still having an awareness of the total field of vision.

Maai is the relation of space and position between uke and tori. It literally means “harmony of space”. It mainly consists of keeping the correct distance and maintaining correct body position and direction. Establishing maai is achieving and maintaining a position that puts you at an advantage and your opponent at a disadvantage. Many factors must be considered for correct maai, such as relative size of the people involved, whether there are multiple uke, the environment and the types of weapons. Maai is constantly changing by the actions created by attacks or defence. The moment tori or uke move maai begins to change. To stop your opponent from attacking you, you must be far enough away so the opponent cannot reach you, but this distance must be balanced with an ability to subdue the opponent’s attack when it does come. Through taisabaki, blending and entering, tori can end up quite close to uke at the execution of the technique. When stationary and unarmed, maai for aikido tends to be a distance of two outstretched arms, but because of the fluid character of Aikido and because distances change depending upon the situation, maai is more a sense that has to be developed and practiced.

The principles of maai and metsuke are practiced in all aspects of Aikido. When practicing, eye contact is kept and a correct distance between tori and uke is maintained.

Two exercises which develop maai and metsuke are tegatana awase and seichusen no bogyo.

Tegatana awase is essentially a practice of keeping eye contact and a correct distance. When at a safe distance of two arm spans away, there is nothing that your opponent can do, unless they enter first. Balance and distance must always be maintained as the two partners move around. The body should also always be aligned so that it is facing your opponent. In this way maai is maintained. This exercise can also be done without the hands in front of you. The same distance should be maintained, and this develops and understanding of maai.

Seichusen no bogyo is a timing exercise which also develops an understanding of maai and metsuke. Metsuke is important in this exercise, as focusing on one aspect, such as the right hand, will result in you being attacked from a different quarter. For this reason focusing on the centre line is important, and maintaining a 360 degree peripheral vision is essential. Seichusen no bogyo is important for maai, as the attacker must enter in order to attack. Fast body movement is essential to place you in an advantageous position that puts your partner at a disadvantage. It is essential that your body is facing your partners body. Eye contact is also important in this exercise, as you might get a clue from which direction the next attack is coming from.

Metsuke and Maai are both extremely important aspects of Aikido, and should be practiced in every exercise.

Ewa Rej

****

“To stop your opponent from attacking you, you must be far enough away so the opponent cannot reach you, but this distance must be balanced with an ability to subdue the opponent’s attack when it does come.”

But in a relationship you want to maintain and enrichen, you’ll want your partner to “attack”, to bring an energy of intensity and improvement, and so you’ll have to allow yourself to be thrown. You have to be vulnerable enough and trusting enough that you won’t be hurt. You’ll have to be competent enough to insure that neither you nor your partner get hurt. But you can’t stop dancing just to avoid getting hurt; you’ll get hurt anyway.

This is what the insights on ukemi will tell you.

****

24/8/07

“.. Ukemi is 50% about being able to deliver that type of quality attack that will challenge the nage and force him to continually raise the level of his technique. It is impossible to reach the highest level of skill without having skilled ukes to train with…..”

http://www.bulunganaikido.com/The_Nature_of_Ukemi.html

So too must we bring the utmost of our selves to personal interaction.  Much of our lives are focused on contentiousness, whether it’s while we’re driving in traffic with frenzied and otherwise-distracted peope in too much of a hurry, or talking with a spouse about handling household decisions, or enlisting the support of co-workers into our ideas, our energies, our contributive talents.

While much of the video you can find on the Internet is about “taking out” some tough guy in a combative encounter, try looking at it (and experiencing it) as an art of power and grace in any non-violent daily encounter.

The principles will also come in handy if you need to suddenly take on a tough guy.

****

Aikido Three Ranges of Interaction (!!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNzmKLDR3K8 

(9:17)

****

Beth Gineris wrotes about verbal aikido.

If you can see that an interaction or dialogue is an exchange of energy and you understand that some dialogue is passive-aggressive, you can use “… core principles to turn and lead, deflect and redirect, another’s critical, negative, manipulative and emotionally aggressive behavior back to the one who is enacting it….”

****

http://izumitherapy.com/blog/2013/10/the_art_of_emotional_aikido_10_skills_to_turn_relationship_conflict_into_connection_ 

****

“A Sincere Attack”

An essay in the marvelous book entitled

“The gift of danger: lessons from aikido”,

Mary Stein, Blue Snake Books, Berkeley California 2009.

I have been brought up to be polite and not hit people, so, when I first tried aikido, my strike would automatically swerve to one side at the last moment to avoid contact with my partner’s body. My partners, more advanced aikido students, had a uniform reaction: they stopped everything and insisted that I aim the side of my hand or my fist directly at their head or belly. “Hit me!”, they said, then stood and walked into my strike connected with their body. The strike didn’t have to be hard, but it did have to connect. When they decided I was getting the idea, they’d step out of the way as the blow approached. If I forgot the lesson and veered off target again, my partner will once again stand in front of me, motioning for me to hit. When I strike with full intention to make a connection, my partner has to be skillful and accurate in responding to my motion.

Gradually I realized why this was important. If my partner moves incorrectly, he or she will be hit. By striking sincerely and precisely, we provide our partners with an essential risk. This demand for sincerity goes to the heart of aikido.

I learned to appreciate this, too, when I was the one being attacked–struck by the side of my partner’s hand, or grabbed by the wrist or shoulder. Because my partner was striking accurately and with determination, I learned to assess the angle of my partners approach, to align myself to that so that I could move skillfully to meet the blow, moving aside perhaps only a fraction of an inch, just enough to allow the meeting, the acceptance of the attack, and a quick redirection that set my partner into a fault or roll. The tiniest miscalculation of the angle and I might be too far away to have any power to move my partner. Too close, and I’d be hit.

… One of our instructors pointed out that this constant assessment of the angle or attack of approach had helped him in dealing with people outside the dojo. Aikido had helped them become much more attuned to body language and tone of voice, to listen to more than just the words people were using. His time on the mat had given him greater sensitivity to another’s intentions or attitude.

When I’m sincere I can see how the slightest tension distorts my movements and throws me off course as an attacker or as a defender. The “mind of contention” seems to be where those tensions originate. As we repeat the movements of aikido, we can become more aware of our own habitual “angles of attack.”

The Japanese word uke doesn’t literally mean “attacker,” though uke plays that role. It actually means “receiver.” Aikido’s sincere and determined attack is absorbed by nage, the “thrower” or defender, redirected, and transformed into an energy that destabilizes at the end of the technique uke, who then “receives” the fall. In a way, all of aikido is ukemi or receiving, for both the attacker and defender must be open to receiving impressions of the situation as it changes from moment to moment. Only in that way will they respond appropriately to each other. They need both to welcome and adopt as to what’s happening to themselves and their partner. They need to welcome the gift of danger that they’re bringing to each other.”

The Gift of Danger is aimed at men and women for whom the question of what is genuine in their lives has taken on fresh urgency.” http://www.aikidojournal.com/bibliography_details?id=332

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Aikido Five Elements for Delivery of Energy (!!!!)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjP3ohV8gQU 

(12:24)

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From the dojo of my second sensei:

Judy Ringer is a conflict and communication skills trainer, black belt in Aikido, and founder of Power & Presence Training and Portsmouth Aikido.

http://www.judyringer.com/resources/articles/fear-of-failure-and-the-art-of-ukemi-3-lessons-from-aikido.php 

http://www.judyringer.com/perch/resources/fear-of-failure-and-art-of-ukemi-2.pdf 

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“… There are many complex and difficult concepts to learn in martial arts, concepts that are introduced to you in a very elementary way when you start out and then progress in their complexity as you advance through training. One example of this is ‘distance’ and ‘timing‘.

Even a white belt sparring with a partner for the first time may be told to ‘keep your distance’ and ‘move in to punch then move straight out again’. A little further up the grades and you get advice like ‘move in to disrupt a kick’ or ‘move off line’. The more advanced practitioner then starts to actually anticipate what there opponent is about to do before they’ve even made a move (sen no sen) and moves in to attack first or disrupt the opponents attempt. This is advanced stuff! We’re still talking about distance and timing here but this ability is many tiers up – now we’re in the realm of maai.

Truly appreciating and utilising maai requires a unity of mind and body. It is as much a mental skill as it is a physical one. The Japanese word maai translates simply to ‘interval’ and is referring to the space between two combatants during a fight. The wikipedia entry on maai describes it as: “a complex concept, incorporating not just the distance between opponents, but also the time it will take to cross the distance, angle and rhythm of attack.” If one controls the space between then one controls the fight.

An analogy that I like that helps to describe maai comes from a friend of mine, Peter Seth, who is a 5th dan in aikido (maai is big in aikido!). He says, “Imagine music without the ‘spaces’ of silence between the sounds, the gaps between the notes. Without the spaces there would be constant noise, which may vary in pitch and intensity but would be chaotic and unbearable. These spaces set the time/timing, rhythm and beat of the music, which in turn affects/controls the whole composition. So influence in this area of the ‘space/s between’, effectively allows the leading of all these energies. You become the ‘conductor of this orchestra of energy’.

Maai is a fluid thing, constantly changing as a fight progresses. Maai has a temporal element as well as a spatial one. It also pertains to the momentary lapses of awareness that are manifested in the opponent’s mind. Capitalising on these mental intervals (or lapses of concentration in your opponent’s mind) is also a way of controlling the maai. Being constantly aware of both your maai and your opponents as they constantly change and then being able to manipulate this to your advantage so that your opponents techniques are constantly disrupted requires an intuitive understanding of movement and timing. I am in awe of people who have mastered this skill because I am very much still operating in the lower tiers of elementary ‘distance’ and ‘ timing’. ….”

http://kickasssuec.blogspot.com/2010/11/maai-maai-how-difficult-this-one-is-to.html 

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The Complete Video Series from WindSong Dojo

https://www.youtube.com/user/kazeutabudokai 

[Look for the two-parter on sensitivity] 

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Here’s one example, shown in slow-motion, of the culmination of the black belt test called the randori in which three people attack simultaneously.  Watch it ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC7g6uFlzx8) and imagine the defender is you and that you are blind, and then think about how mindfulness, awareness and having a sense of who and where you are at any moment can be useful in your life when you can see.

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Finally, read this short entry:

http://www.searchofpeace.com/blog/2015/05/20/tonglen-and-the-energy-of-compassion/#more-574 

By the way, the featured image at the top of this entry was originally POSTED BY MARGUERITE MANTEAU-RAO AT http://minddeep.blogspot.com/2010/06/aikido-of-mindful-communication.html