black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

             

1. “I really don’t have time to talk, these shadows are changing every second.”

2. "I’m 99 years old. Everything from my neck down is shit. But everything from my neck is just as good as everyone else’s. How lucky is that?" 

3. "These two were watching clouds in Washington Square Park, just like this."

4. "This mural was housed on a vacant lot surrounded by a huge chain-link fence. I asked several young men to follow me through a hole in the fence, but nobody was willing to take the risk. After several minutes, I finally found two people with the balls to do it"

Humans of New York featured on the Guardian

A Guide to Eating Very Particular Feelings, Part II
"FEELING: The one where you’re sitting alone in a dark bar with a bitter drink on a rainy day and you suddenly realize that this is your life, the final verdict on who you are at the age you’ve gotten to, and in a pulse beat you’re crowded by the phantoms of everyone you didn’t grow up to be, every delayed breakup and untaken trip and turned-down job now hoisting glasses on the stools around you, pressed knee-to-knee with the children you failed to bear or raise, and you feel that all your breath has gone into them, that somewhere only a shimmering membrane away from reality these others are breathing for you.
HOW TO EAT IT: What kind of snacks do they have at this bar? Goldfish crackers? Perfect. Whole handfuls of goldfish crackers. Tip the extras into your purse.

•••

FEELING: The pinch in your chest and gut the day after a disappointment you’d convinced yourself you didn’t care about; the feeling that something has slit you bloodlessly like a scalpel and you are now clamped open, peeled and pithed as a frog, all your sensitive organs fully on display.
HOW TO EAT IT: Jello shots.


•••

FEELING: The one where you’ve met a new friend or you’re getting to know an old one better and the current running between you is so powerful that talking seems painfully inefficient, you’re always heading to the subway having turned over only a few paltry pebbles from the mountain of conversations you want to have, and you’re trying to stay cool and remember that you have years to chip through that cliff but only if you don’t scare them off right now by being too intense but you feel like running a USB cable from your head into theirs or better yet just clawing your skull open and holding out your brain like a ripe fruit: “Here, take this, know me.”
HOW TO EAT IT: Brie, crackers, tiny pickles, cocktail weenies, party shrimp.

•••

FEELING: The one where you’re downtown on one of the first warm and long days of spring, and the sun is setting at an hour when your winter-atrophied brain thinks it ought to be dark, and great swaths of lavish light are lying across the trees and benches and buildings like brocade, and all of the girls are just so startlingly pretty, and you feel that your chest is a silver bowl that’s been struck and is ringing, high and bright and painful because what right do you have to live among so much beauty?
HOW TO EAT IT: The most ornate thing you can buy from an ice cream truck.

•••

FEELING: The one where someone finally breaks the news you’ve been refusing to admit you already knew, and the bones in your arms turn to aspic and your ribcage is aspic juddering around your heart.
HOW TO EAT IT: At first, it will be too big to eat. When you can eat, seek cake.”

Photo: one in seven billion

A Guide to Eating Very Particular Feelings, Part II

"FEELING: The one where you’re sitting alone in a dark bar with a bitter drink on a rainy day and you suddenly realize that this is your life, the final verdict on who you are at the age you’ve gotten to, and in a pulse beat you’re crowded by the phantoms of everyone you didn’t grow up to be, every delayed breakup and untaken trip and turned-down job now hoisting glasses on the stools around you, pressed knee-to-knee with the children you failed to bear or raise, and you feel that all your breath has gone into them, that somewhere only a shimmering membrane away from reality these others are breathing for you.

HOW TO EAT IT: What kind of snacks do they have at this bar? Goldfish crackers? Perfect. Whole handfuls of goldfish crackers. Tip the extras into your purse.

•••

FEELING: The pinch in your chest and gut the day after a disappointment you’d convinced yourself you didn’t care about; the feeling that something has slit you bloodlessly like a scalpel and you are now clamped open, peeled and pithed as a frog, all your sensitive organs fully on display.

HOW TO EAT IT: Jello shots.

•••

FEELING: The one where you’ve met a new friend or you’re getting to know an old one better and the current running between you is so powerful that talking seems painfully inefficient, you’re always heading to the subway having turned over only a few paltry pebbles from the mountain of conversations you want to have, and you’re trying to stay cool and remember that you have years to chip through that cliff but only if you don’t scare them off right now by being too intense but you feel like running a USB cable from your head into theirs or better yet just clawing your skull open and holding out your brain like a ripe fruit: “Here, take this, know me.”

HOW TO EAT IT: Brie, crackers, tiny pickles, cocktail weenies, party shrimp.

•••

FEELING: The one where you’re downtown on one of the first warm and long days of spring, and the sun is setting at an hour when your winter-atrophied brain thinks it ought to be dark, and great swaths of lavish light are lying across the trees and benches and buildings like brocade, and all of the girls are just so startlingly pretty, and you feel that your chest is a silver bowl that’s been struck and is ringing, high and bright and painful because what right do you have to live among so much beauty?

HOW TO EAT IT: The most ornate thing you can buy from an ice cream truck.

•••

FEELING: The one where someone finally breaks the news you’ve been refusing to admit you already knew, and the bones in your arms turn to aspic and your ribcage is aspic juddering around your heart.

HOW TO EAT IT: At first, it will be too big to eat. When you can eat, seek cake.”

Photo: one in seven billion

When Buddhists Go Bad | TIME

The spectacle of faith makes for luminous photography. Buddhism, in particular, lends itself to the lens: those shaven heads and richly hued monastic robes; the swirls of incense; the pure expressions of devotees to a religion whose first precept is “do not kill.” But as photographer Adam Dean and I discovered when traveling through Burma and Thailand from May to June, Buddhism’s pacifist image is being challenged by a radical strain that marries spirituality with ethnic chauvinism. In Buddhist-majority Burma, where communal clashes have proliferated over the past year, scores of Muslims have been killed by Buddhist mobs, while in Thailand and Sri Lanka the fabric binding temple and state is being stitched ever tighter.

The godfather of radical Buddhism is a monk named Wirathu, a slight presence with an outsized message of hate. Adam followed Wirathu, who has taken the title of “Burmese bin Laden,” around Mandalay in central Burma, as he preached his loathing of the country’s Muslim minority to schoolchildren and housewives alike. In March, tensions detonated in the town of Meikhtila, where communal violence ended dozens of lives, mostly Muslim. Entire Muslim quarters were razed by Buddhists hordes. Even today, anxiety churns. One late afternoon as Adam walked near Wirathu’s monastic compound, a monk hurled a brick at him. Burgundy robes cannot camouflage inborn hostility.”

The word “empathy”—a rendering of the German Einfühlung, “feeling into”—is only a century old, but people have been interested for a long time in the moral implications of feeling our way into the lives of others. In “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” (1759), Adam Smith observed that sensory experience alone could not spur us toward sympathetic engagement with others: “Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers.” For Smith, what made us moral beings was the imaginative capacity to “place ourselves in his situation … and become in some measure the same person with him, and thence form some idea of his sensations, and even feel something which, though weaker in degree, is not altogether unlike them.”

In this sense, empathy is an instinctive mirroring of others’ experience—James Bond gets his testicles mashed in “Casino Royale,” and male moviegoers grimace and cross their legs. Smith talks of how “persons of delicate fibres” who notice a beggar’s sores and ulcers “are apt to feel an itching or uneasy sensation in the correspondent part of their own bodies.” There is now widespread support, in the social sciences, for what the psychologist C. Daniel Batson calls “the empathy-altruism hypothesis.” Batson has found that simply instructing his subjects to take another’s perspective made them more caring and more likely to help.

Empathy research is thriving these days, as cognitive neuroscience undergoes what some call an “affective revolution.” …

This interest isn’t just theoretical. If we can figure out how empathy works, we might be able to produce more of it. Some individuals staunch their empathy through the deliberate endorsement of political or religious ideologies that promote cruelty toward their adversaries, while others are deficient because of bad genes, abusive parenting, brutal experience, or the usual unhappy goulash of all of the above. At an extreme lie the one per cent or so of people who are clinically described as psychopaths. A standard checklist for the condition includes “callousness; lack of empathy”; many other distinguishing psychopathic traits, like lack of guilt and pathological lying, surely stem from this fundamental deficit. Some blame the empathy-deficient for much of the suffering in the world. In “The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty” (Basic), Simon Baron-Cohen goes so far as to equate evil with “empathy erosion.” …

Two other recent books, “The Empathic Civilization” (Penguin), by Jeremy Rifkin, and “Humanity on a Tightrope” (Rowman & Littlefield), by Paul R. Ehrlich and Robert E. Ornstein, make the powerful argument that empathy has been the main driver of human progress, and that we need more of it if our species is to survive. Ehrlich and Ornstein want us “to emotionally join a global family.” Rifkin calls for us to make the leap to “global empathic consciousness.” He sees this as the last best hope for saving the world from environmental destruction, and concludes with the plaintive question “Can we reach biosphere consciousness and global empathy in time to avoid planetary collapse?” These are sophisticated books, which provide extensive and accessible reviews of the scholarly literature on empathy. And, as befits the spirit of the times, they enthusiastically champion an increase in empathy as a cure for humanity’s ills. 

This enthusiasm may be misplaced, however. Empathy has some unfortunate features—it is parochial, narrow-minded, and innumerate. We’re often at our best when we’re smart enough not to rely on it.”

The Case Against Empathy | The New Yorker

I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.”

Patton Oswalt

©2011 Kateoplis