Tag Archives: Books

Celui qui pourrait changer le monde

Les écrits d’Aaron Swartz, développeur surdoué, hackeur-activiste et essayiste sont parus en français aux éditions B42:

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http://editions-b42.com/books/celui-qui-pourrait-changer-le-monde/

A noter, une rencontre autour du livre avec Lawrence Lessig à Paris, Le Jeudi 20 Avril à la librairie La Petite Egypte 35 rue des Petits Carreaux, 75002, de 18h30 à 20h30

The Wikileaks Files

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The Wikileaks Files, The World according to US Empire (Verso books) is out !! Julian Assange’s Introduction HERE. 

“The WikiLeaks Files presents expert analysis on the most important cables and outlines their historical importance. In a series of chapters dedicated to the various regions of the world, the book explores the machinations of the United States as it imposes its agenda on other nations: a new form of imperialism founded on varied tactics from torture to military action, to trade deals and “soft power,” in the perpetual pursuit of expanding influence. It illustrates the close relationship between government and big business in promoting US trade.”

The Lifelong Activist guide

The Lifelong Activist is a self-help guide for activists by Hillary Rettig. Topics include Manage your mission, manage your time, your fears, your relationship to yourself and to others. Translations section with Indonesian, Italian, Spanish..

“I believe that progressive activists are the world’s most precious resource. We tackle the most difficult and important problems— including hunger, war, disease, poverty, violence, cruelty and exploitation— and work to further humanity’s evolution in the direction of compassion and kindness. Conservatives may create more wealth, but we create more of the values, including justice, equality and freedom, that make life worth living. As history has repeatedly shown us, and as we are unfortunately witnessing in the United States today, wealth without the tempering of progressive values and mores leads inevitably to corruption and despair.”

 

24/7 : Late capitalism and the end of sleep

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>> 24/7: Late Capitalism and the end of sleep, by Jonathan Crary (a Verso Book)

“24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through every hour of the clock, pushing us into constant activity and eroding forms of community and political expression, damaging the fabric of everyday life.

Jonathan Crary examines how this interminable non-time blurs any separation between an intensified, ubiquitous consumerism and emerging strategies of control and surveillance. He describes the ongoing management of individual attentiveness and the impairment of perception within the compulsory routines of contemporary technological culture. At the same time, he shows that human sleep, as a restorative withdrawal that is intrinsically incompatible with 24/7 capitalism, points to other more formidable and collective refusals of world-destroying patterns of growth and accumulation.”

Drawing lessons

To draw to take the time to look at things, to perceive and to design, to be delicate, to sense beauty, to relate to it, to rejuvenate one’s mind after the ravages of emergency, or boredom, or blackness, to save one’s eyes.

Some thoughts and drawing exercises in the Three Letters for beginners of THE ELEMENTS OF DRAWING, by John Ruskin

“5. Everything that you can see in the world around you, presents itself to your eyes only as an arrangement of patches of different colors variously shaded. Some of these patches of color have an appearance of lines or texture within them, as a piece of cloth or silk has of threads, or an animal’s skin shows texture of hairs: but whether this be the case or not, the first broad aspect of the thing is that of a patch of some definite color; and the first thing to be learned is, how to produce extents of smooth color, without texture.”

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21. You will see that all the boughs of the tree are dark against the sky. Consider them as so many dark rivers, to be laid down in a map with absolute accuracy; and, without the least thought about the roundness of the stems, map them all out in flat shade, scrawling them in with pencil, just as you did the limbs of your letters; then correct and alter them, rubbing out and out again, never minding how much your paper is dirtied (only not destroying its surface), until every bough is exactly, or as near as your utmost power can bring it, right in curvature and in thickness. Look at the white interstices between them with as much scrupulousness as if they were little estates which you had to survey, and draw maps of, for some important lawsuit, involving heavy penalties if you cut the least bit of a corner off any of them, or gave the hedge anywhere too deep a curve; and try continually to fancy the whole tree nothing but a flat ramification on a white ground. Do not take any trouble about the little twigs, which look like a confused network or mist; leave them all out, drawing only the main branches as far as you can see them distinctly, your object at present being not to draw a tree, but to learn how to do so. (…)”

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“22. You cannot do too many studies of this kind: every one will give you some new notion about trees. But when you are tired of tree boughs, take any forms whatever which are drawn in flat color, one upon another; as patterns on any kind of cloth, or flat china (tiles, for instance), executed in two colors only; and practice drawing them of the right shape and size by the eye, and filling them in with shade of the depth required.”

 

 

 

On regulating the Spirit [in accordance with] the Qi of the Four [Seasons] : Winter

“The three months of Winter

they denote securing and storing.

The water is frozen and the earth breaks open.

 

Do not disturb the yang [Qi].

Go rest early and rise late.

You must wait for the sun to shine.

 

Let the mind enter a state as if hidden,

{as if shut in}

as if you had secret intentions;

as if you already had made gains.

 

Avoid cold and seek warmth and

do not [allow sweat] to flow away through the skin

This would cause the Qi to be carried away quickly.

 

This is the correspondence with the Qi of Winter and

it is the Way of nourishing storage.

Opposing it harms the kidneys.

In Spring this causes limpness with receding Qi, and

there is little to support generation.

 

“Now,

the yin and yand [Qi] of the four seasons,

they constitute root and basis of the myriad beings.

 

Hence the sages

in spring and summer nourish the yang and

in autumn and winter nourish the yin, and

this way they follow their roots.

 

Hence,

they are in the depth or at the surface with the myriad beings at the gate to life and growth.

To oppose one’s root

is to attack one’s basis

and to spoil one’s true [Qi]”

 

From Comprehensive discourse on regulating the Spirit [in accordance with] the Qi of the four [seasons], chapter 2 of Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, an annotated translation of Huang Di’s inner classic – basic questions, by Paul U. Unschuld and Hermann Tessenow.

 

Les Corps Vils

Ce sont les paralytiques, les orphelins, les bagnards, les prostituées, les esclaves, les colonisés, les fous, les détenus, les internés, les condamnés à mort, les « corps vils » qui ont historiquement servi de matériau expérimental à la science médicale moderne. Ce livre raconte cette histoire occultée par les historiens des sciences. Qui supporte en premier lieu les périls de l’innovation ? Qui en récolte les bénéfices ? À partir de cette question centrale de l’allocation sociale des risques, l’auteur interroge le lien étroit qui s’est établi, dans une logique de sacrifice des plus vulnérables, entre la pratique scientifique moderne, le racisme, le mépris de classe et la dévalorisation de vies qui ne vaudraient pas la peine d’être vécues. Comment, en même temps que se formait la rationalité scientifique, a pu se développer ce qu’il faut bien appeler des « rationalités abominables », chargées de justifier l’injustifiable ?”

Les Corps Vils, expérimenter sur les êtres humains aux XVIIIè et XIXème siècle, de Grégoire Chamayou (également auteur de Théorie du Drone)

Table des matières 

Introduction
1. Les cadavres des suppliciés

L’anatomie des suppliciés
Médicalisation de la mort pénale : l’exécution comme expérience
Expérimentations post mortem
2. Les corps des condamnés
L’expérience souveraine : le corps du condamné comme substitut du corps du roi
Le criminel comme sujet inhumain
Convertir la peine en expérience ?
Des sujets morts-vivants
3. L’inoculation, expérience de masse 
L’introduction d’un nouveau procédé
L’inoculation est-elle moralement permise ?
Le droit de vie et de mort et le pouvoir d’expérimenter
Vers une « peirasmologie » de l’essai ?
4. L’auto-expérimentation
Les raisons de l’auto-expérimentation
« Ma main à couper »
Portrait du médecin en héros et en martyr
Condition restrictive ou blanc-seing pour l’expérimentation sur autrui ?
5. L’expérience clinique et le contrat d’assistance
Le corps des assistés
De l’hôpital à l’expérience clinique : charité et utilité
Le contrat d’assistance
La prudence de la médecine clinique
6. Le droit à l’essai
Déontologie de l’essai thérapeutique
La codification de l’essai
7. Crises et mutations de l’essai thérapeutique
L’historicité de l’essai
Premières définitions de l’essai comparatif
La guerre des médecines et l’arme de l’expérimentation
La crise épistémologique de « l’ancienne médecine »
8. L’expérimentation pathologique
L’introduction de la méthode expérimentale
L’impératif de l’expérimentation pathologique
La microbiologie et les nouveaux réquisits de la pathologie expérimentale
9. Le consentement du cobaye
Une notion introuvable
L’émergence du consentement
10. L’expérimentalisation du monde
Un estomac à ciel ouvert
Le concept d’expérimentalisation
Ce qu’implique un usage
L’expérience professionnelle
11. L’expérimentaion coloniale
Les expériences du maître
La raciologie expérimentale
Le problème de l’acclimatement et l’expérience de la médecine coloniale
Expérimentations pathologiques et maladies tropicales
Conclusion
Bibliographie
Index des noms.

 

 

England Your England, by George Orwell

“As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.”

“It is therefore of the deepest importance to try and determine what England is, before guessing what part England can play in the huge events that are happening.”

ENGLAND YOUR ENGLAND, George Orwell, 1941 –

 

Note, a passage on the “Privateness of English life”:

(…) What it does link up with, however, is another English characteristic which is so much a part of us that we barely notice it, and that is the addiction to hobbies and spare-time occupations, the privateness of English life. We are a nation of flower-lovers, but also a nation of stamp-collectors, pigeon-fanciers, amateur carpenters, coupon-snippers, darts-players, crossword-puzzle fans. All the culture that is most truly native centres round things which even when they are communal are not official – the pub, the football match, the back garden, the fireside and the ‘nice cup of tea’. The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century. But this has nothing to do with economic liberty, the right to exploit others for profit. It is the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above. The most hateful of all names in an English ear is Nosey Parker. It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a lost cause. Like all other modern people, the English are in process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated’. But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.”

How the Poor Die, by George Orwell

“In the year 1929 I spent several weeks in the Hôpital X, in the fifteenth arrondissement of Paris. The clerks put me through the usual third-degree at the reception desk, and indeed I was kept answering questions for some twenty minutes before they would let me in. If you have ever had to fill up forms in a Latin country you will know the kind of questions I mean. For some days past I had been unequal to translating Reaumur into Fahrenheit, but I know that my temperature was round about 103, and by the end of the interview I had some difficulty in standing on my feet. At my back a resigned little knot of patients, carrying bundles done up in coloured handkerchiefs, waited their turn to be questioned.”

Continue reading How the Poor Die, by George Orwell (1946)

Littérature ressources intérieures : Antoine Volodine

“C’était une construction intérieure, une base de repli, une secrète terre d’accueil, mais aussi quelque chose d’offensif, qui participait au complot à mains nues de quelques individus contre l’univers capitaliste et contre ses ignominies sans nombre.”

Antoine Volodine, Le post-exostisme en dix leçons, leçon onze. 

Étendues infinies indéterminées, guerres en boucles, déserteurs botanistes, mémés communistes increvables, espaces-temps intermédiaires, poches de résistance mentales, tactiques révolutionnaires chamaniques, animaux en errance karmique, cryptographie surréaliste, amitiés instinctives, poésie de combat, ordres de missions hallucinés… Voici quelques composés de la littérature “complot à mains nues (…) contre l’univers capitaliste” menée en une quarantaine de livres par l’auteur connu sous le pseudonyme Antoine Volodine et sa bande d’hétéronymes (Lutz Bassman, Elli Kronauer, Manuela Draeger…) comme autant de dissidents à l’ordre mondial inhumain, ainsi que des “amies” comme Maria Soudaieva, dont le fantastique Slogans, qu’il a traduit du russe au français, pourrait bien être une mine de pass-phrases imprenables. Coup de coeur aussi pour les livres de Manuela Draeger à destination du jeune public, à l’école des loisirs, et surtout pour Onze Rêves de Suie.

Son dernier roman Terminus Radieux a reçu cette année le prix Médicis de la littérature, ce qui signifie que pour une fois, on peut s’acheter un excellent livre en speed à la gare, et se ressourcer âme, coeur, imaginaire, action, en base de replisecrète terre d’accueil. En littérature amie.

A nice cup of tea, by George Orwell

“If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

  • First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea. 
  • Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad. 
  • Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water. 
  • Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners. 
  • Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly. 
  • Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference. 
  • Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle. 
  • Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it. 
  • Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste. 
  • Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round. 
  • Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tealover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

    Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

These are not the only controversial points to arise in connexion with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one’s ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.”

 

George Orwell, Evening Standard, 12 January 1946.

A Nice Cup Of Tea

 

DONDE NO HAY DOCTOR and other health books free

Easy indispensable basic health guides for people and communities worldwide, accessible for free in many languages HERE on Hesperian Health website – including David Werner classic Donde No Hay Doctor. Covering many topics, for when there is no doctor, no dentist, for people with special needs, women and children, disabled, and because health is a right.

 

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Yoga-to-go

Classic, concise, clear, accessible yoga book ASANA PRANAYAMA MUDRA BANDHA by Swami Satyananda Saraswati is available HERE although not in its latest version.

Imo, this manual is particularly interesting when new to yoga and/or or looking for some easy body routines that you can start practicing alone. The Beginners group is good indeed, with different series of basic exercises to help prevent or help alleviate disorders caused by overexertion and stillness-stasis combined (as in a lot of computer / office work). Check out the Exercises for the eyes !

(Remember to first read the advice and precautions in the introduction)

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Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

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The Huang Di Nei Jing, a.k.a Yellow Emperor’s inner classic or canon, is considered a fundamental text of chinese medicine, going back approximately 2000 years. It exposes TCM principles and applications in the form of a Q&A between disciple and old master. The canon is divided into two sections both containing 81 chapters (where 8+1=9, 9 being the number for the sky in chinese metaphysics). The first section is Su Wen, or “Basic Questions” deploying the theories at the root of all diagnostics, and the second section is the less known Ling Shu, or Spiritual Pivot, which is more directly about applications and acupuncture.

HERE is an Annotated Translation of Huang Di’s Inner Classic – Basic Questions: 2 volumes, by Paul Unschuld (University of california Press). A complementary history and comparative literature of the Su Wen, also by Paul Unschuld, can be read HEREA chinese manuscript (Wang Bing’s version) can be found HERE on World Digital Library.

 

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Protein synthesis danced

“Only rarely is there an opportunity to participate in a molecular happening. You’re going to have that opportunity, for this film attempts to portray symbolically yet in a dynamic and joyful way one of nature’s fundamental processes: The linking together of amino acids to form a protein”.

This is Protein synthesis: an epic on the cellular level, from Stanford department of chemistry, 1971.

Watch the Ribosomes, “depicted in the film as tumbling, rolling, clusters of bodies, amorphous by themselves but organized and structured when in the act of translating a message”

This little gift was found reading WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS, by Julian Assange.

ONE of the many gems with which his interview with Google’s Eric Schmidt & crew is paved, including the fantastic footnotes. Educational, empowering, curious, challenging, frightening but also invigorating and heart-warming… BRILLIANT, and not only for tech experts.

To paraphrase JA last words in ” The banality of ‘don’t be evil’ : “ WGMW is “essential reading for anyone caught up in the struggle for the future, in view in one simple imperative: KNOW YOUR FRIENDS

Feeling grateful 🙂

Chinese Martial Arts Manuals translated

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Here is a generous selection of 19th century to mid 20th Chinese Martial Arts Manuals (notably Taiji Boxing manuals) all translated to english and made available by Paul Brennan on his site. Original chinese scriptures are still in the copy along with vintage photographies and images. Interesting for practice, the manuals are also windows on chinese metaphysics and the fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine (which the “gymnastics” are part of), and on chinese (war) history…

“The ideal thing to do is unite in association with each other and rouse our spirits to strive, to study intensively in the triple aspects of education [i.e. ethical, intellectual, physical] and let us be common friends against a common foe. Without strength of literature, how will these things be spread far? A single page carried by the wind can delay a culture’s decay.” 

Liu Qian, foreword to the TAIJI MANUAL OF XU YUSHENG

Le “santé-mentalisme”, outil du néolibéralisme – Entretien avec le psychiatre Mathieu Bellahsen

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Entretien vidéo avec le psychiatre Mathieu Bellahsen auteur de “La Santé Mentale – Vers un bonheur sous contrôle” (Ed. La Fabrique), sur Mediapart par Sophie Dufau.

http://www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/210614/mathieu-bellahsen-la-sante-mentale-est-devenue-un-outil-du-neoliberalisme

L’originalité de cet essai réside aussi dans la personnalité de son auteur. Psychiatre des hôpitaux (ex-président des internes en psychiatrie et cofondateur d’Utopsy), il suit au quotidien les malades d’un secteur de la banlieue parisienne. Fort de cette pratique, Mathieu Bellahsen est allé voir aux sources du concept de santé mentale pour comprendre son évolution. Le décryptage de textes essentiels – émanant de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS), de l’Europe ou du Centre d’analyse stratégique (service dépendant du premier ministre) – permet de saisir combien l’intention humaniste du milieu du XIXe siècle s’est muée, au début du XXe siècle et sous un vocabulaire positif, en norme impérative des comportements :

– « La santé mentale et le bien-être mental sont des conditions fondamentales à la qualité de la vie, à la productivité des individus, des familles, des populations et des nations, et confèrent un sens à notre existence tout en nous permettant d’être des citoyens à la fois actifs et créatifs », écrit l’OMS en 2005

– « Une personne en bonne santé mentale est quelqu’un qui se sent suffisamment en confiance pour s’adapter à une situation à laquelle elle ne peut rien changer », estime le Centre d’analyse stratégique en 2010.

– La prise en compte de la santé mentale permet « d’améliorer la disponibilité des ressources économiques », peut-on lire dans le Livre vert de l’Union européenne, publié en 2005.