Strength, Spirituality, and Masculinity Against Materialism

“Make your nerves strong,” said Swami Vivekananda, “What we want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel. We have wept long enough. No more weeping, but stand on your feet and be men. First of all, our young men must be strong. Religion will come afterwards.” That religion will come after — and in some sense […]

How Some Creatives are Surviving (and Growing) in the Internet Era

We recently looked at how the internet, though a serious tool for promoting the work of artists, musicians, and so on, is, at the same time, undermining the incomes of those and other creatives. Here we’re going to look briefly at some of the things that creatives are doing to get around them problem. Leaving […]

The Four Warrior Practices for Achieving: Anytime, Anywhere

We’re all human. So why can some face down even the most terrifying situations, overcoming overwhelming odds, and achieving what so many others others might believe impossible? Reading the classical commentaries on the martial arts, listening to contemporary masters, and hearing how contemporary elite military units tackle situations, tells us that there are less than […]

Punk, Feminism, and the anarchist Femme Fatale

sexy punk girls

Young women did much to shape the Punk movement of the late 1970s, even if they often overlooked or relegated to the role of girlfriend and groupie (think “Sid and Nancy”). Along with Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood was perhaps the first designer of Punk clothing. Siouxsie Sioux was one of the more famous, and early, Punk […]

Adversity, and its Importance

Ferdinand Hodler, The Day (detail).

Friederich Nietzsche tells us that “whatever does not kill us makes us stronger.” It’s a bold statement. Yet, though today the culture often seems to reward those who wallow in self-pity (not least of all through litigation for emotional upsets and “offense”), adversity has played a crucial part in the spiritual, intellectual, and creative development […]

A “Topless Burka-Clad Model” and Radical Islamic Fashion

“The art of apparel is made all the more important in Islamic countries by the absence of any human image,” wrote Titus Burkhardt (1908-1984), a scholar of, and convert to, Islam. “It is,” he said, “the art of clothing that in a way conveys the Muslim’s ideal image of himself as a Muslim.” Perhaps this […]

Profane Sacredness: Spirituality, Sexuality and Violence in Art

Can sacred art be ugly? Can it seem even to be against the sacred? There are a couple of contemporary manifestation of religion and imagery that might cause us to ask these questions. In India, today, poster images of Hindu goddesses Saraswati, Durga and Lakshmi have begun being displayed in public as part of the “Save […]

Authoritarian Personality: Power and Subversion in Popular Culture

Duran Duran: The Chauffeur.

Moral superiority is the preferred pose of those lacking knowledge and understanding, it seems. And today, in our neo-Victorian era, morality is all the rage. Facts, thin on the ground, are swept under the rug with the suggestion that the speaker — whether pundit, politician, or popular entertainer — is morally offended. Yet, throughout the […]