Tag Archives: Iceland

Default Settings: Words of Wisdom from David Foster Wallace

Author David Foster Wallace spoke at the 2005 graduation ceremony for Kenyon College. His message was directed at students who were about to venture into the world as independent, functional humans but his message on thinking is important for everyone to hear even ten years later. In our current global state, perhaps it’s time to relearn how to think.

“Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe. The realest, most vivid and important person in existence.

We rarely talk about this sort of natural basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive but it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you were not at the absolute center of.

The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU. Or behind YOU.
To the left or right of YOU on YOUR tv or YOUR monitor and so on.
Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow but your own are so immediate, urgent, real. Continue reading

Thursday Morning Melody: Pretty Face

A beat is laid out, hesitantly moving along at first, then careering, taking off; soon sepia-toned clouds of piano gather overhead, shimmering, turning darker and richer, and then Sóley raises her voice – a voice that, until five years ago, she didn’t even consider a proper ‘singing voice’.

This is how Icelandic singer/songwriter Sóley Stefánsdóttir describes her work – and the impression given is uncannily accurate. Hailing originally from the seven-piece indie folk group, Seabear, Sóley began as a pure instrumentalist, only coming into her skin as a singer in 2010. And how lucky we are that she did! True to the quote above, her music is more atmospheric than it is melodic, though that shouldn’t keep you from singing along. Instruments, voice, and lyrics come together with gossamer beauty, seemingly ephemeral in their dreaminess. Enjoy the misty tune, “Pretty Face,” off Sóley’s second album, We Sink, and see if you can detect its subtle meaning.

I see my pretty face in his old eyes
I listen to our blood run side by side
I throw my hands to you and run away
It’s so cold, so dangerous that I can’t stay

I ran away from you
into your dream
the one
That I was in when you
told me
That I could never meet
my friend
again

I thought I had touched them but I can’t feel
I’m in your dream
They want to take me but I will hide from them
Tonight I’ll take your life and throw it far away
I’ll use my pretty face to find my way to him

I ran away from you
into your dream
the one
That I was in when you
told me
That I could never meet
my friend
again

“Will you be my friend in my dream?
take that pretty face off show me
will we ever have that baby?
just take your pretty face off, show me”

are you my friend?

 * * *

This post is part of  our Thursday Morning Melody series. Every Thursday we feature the music video and lyrics to a song that touches us deeply. If there’s a melody you wish to share with the Intent community, please share it with us in the comments below! Click here to listen to past Thursday Morning Melodies.

Thursday Morning Melody: Who Is It?

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 4.54.56 PMThe queen of bizarre, brilliant, and eclectic music, Bjork has been the object of much adoration – and much scrutiny – over the years. From her first solo album, Debut, which went platinum in 1993, to her much-discussed swan dress at the 2001 Academy Awards (where, more importantly, she performed her Academy Award-nominated song “I’ve Seen It All” from Dancer in the Dark) Bjork is an unlikely choice for pop star. And yet she does seem to have somehow capitalized on being alternative, and not even in a kitsch, overly commercialized way. She is at once a mega-star and a real artist, embraced in spite, or perhaps because of, her tendency to push boundaries.

This video stands out to us, especially, as indicative of both the risks Bjork takes musically and the attention she pays to all aspects of her craft, including album art and music video direction. “Who Is It?” is a single off her 2004 album Medùlla, which was recorded using almost exclusively human voices. The music video version of this song differs from the album version, in that it features the Bústaðakirkja Bell Choir. Shot against the barren beauty of Bjork’s native Iceland, this video and song combo is whimsical, playful, and so characteristic of this powerful singer we love so well.

his embrace, a fortress
it fuels me
and places
a skeleton of trust
right beneath us
bone by bone
stone by stone
if you ask yourself patiently and carefully:
who is it?
who is it that never lets you down?
who is it that gave you back your crown?
and the ornaments are going around
now they’re handing it over
handing it over

he demands a closeness
we all have earned a lightness
carry my joy on the left
carry my pain on the right

if you ask yourself patiently and carefully:
who is it?
who is it that never lets you down?
who is it that gave you back your crown?
and the ornaments are going around
now they’re handing it over
handing it over

* * *

This post is part of  our Thursday Morning Melody series. Every Thursday we feature the music video and lyrics to a song that touches us deeply. If there’s a melody you wish to share with the Intent community, please share it with us in the comments below! Click here to listen to past Thursday Morning Melodies.

First National Leader In Same Sex Marriage

Today history was made as the office of Iceland’s Prime Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, announced that Sigurdardottir is the first National Leader to be in a same sex marriage.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has married her long-term partner, her office said on Monday, making her the world’s first national leader with a same-sex spouse.

Sigurdardottir, 67, married writer Jonina Leosdottir on Sunday, the day a new law took effect defining marriage as a union between two consenting adults regardless of sex.

The two had had a civil union for years and changed this into a marriage under the new law, which was approved by parliament earlier this month.

The new law was celebrated at a church service on Sunday, which was also the international day for homosexual rights.

The prime minister’s office said Sigurdardottir had sent a message to the gathering saying the new law was a cause for celebration for all Icelanders and adding: "I have today taken advantage of this new legislation."

The Lutheran State Church has long been split on the issue of same-sex marriage and the church congress in April did not unanimously support the new legislation. The bishop of Iceland has urged parish ministers to comply with the law.

MSNBC/Reuters

It is encouraging that the US Congress has had six openly GLBT members in the house over the years but do you think the US would welcome an openly gay President? 

As sad as it is, in my personal opinion the answer for now, is no. If California, one of the most liberal states in the country, let something like Prop 8 pass, the thought of an open President in the US’s future is far far off. But nothing is impossible. Once upon a time, merely forty years ago, the thought of an African-American President was unimaginable and here we are today, with Obama in office.

Considering this is an issue that keeps the US’ politics divided, it is inspiring to see other parts of the world openly embracing people and their personal preferences. It gives me hope that one day our nation, as well as the planet as a whole, will be tolerant and respectful of everyone’s beliefs and orientations.


Is Eyjafjallajökull In You ?

 

The sky is blue and endlessly quiet here in Sweden right now. But I recall the media image of thick dark smoke erupting from the Icelandic volcano and being carried over Europe.

I find myself wondering: where is this volcano right now ?  Is it out there in Iceland, or is it in me?

A surprising truth about modern science is that it has not been able to prove the existence of a world out there. Even if I were at the foot of the Island Mountain Glacier right now, seeing the eruption, feeling the wind and smelling the smoke, I could not know for sure that what my sensory organs register, the information they send to the brain and the resulting image put together in my mind are actually what is out there. Other species would perceive this same location in completely different ways according to their nervous system. No one can know what is out there; we can only know what is in here.

I am miles away from the volcano right now under a quiet sky, looking at the Eyjafjallajökull in me. I realize that the way I look at this volcano can not be the same as the way anyone else looks at it. I can only see it from the perspective of everything I am- my memories, expectations, hopes, ideas and experiences, insights, goals in life, temperament, values and areas of interest- and this is true for everyone else. In other words, what we all see is what we are.

Some people may see the erupting volcano as a threat, fearing its effects on their lives, business or property. Some may see it as a punishment connected to secret wrongdoings. Still others may see it as a means to make profit, an entertaining novelty, an exciting subject of research, an object of artistic inspiration or a reason for humorous creativity around its name. There are many ways to look, and they all describe the one who is looking.Wisdom traditions tell us that changing ourselves is the only way to change the world. If I want the Iceland volcano to stop threatening my well being- I will have to start by realizing that I am looking from fear, and the best way to change the situation is to heal my fear of the world and realize that I am part of it and belong together with it. If I see this world as my home, then I will feel safe in it, and I will treat every person, every form of life and every aspect of nature with care and respect. I will let go of the tight identity of a separate individual who needs to fight for survival or impose his will over nature. If I remember that I am at home in the world, I will use my energy in a totally different way, to nourish, connect to and serve the wholeness of life.

If I look at the erupting volcano from such a perspective, I will see a friendly and generous opportunity for cooperation, creativity and renewal for the European continent and the whole planet. The world is in me, and by changing my own awareness, I can create the world I wish to live in.

Love,

Aurora

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