So many things on my mind, not “in my mind” as I’m not sure where that is. Its place in the cave of my body, or even its existence is proving elusive these days. And not just to me. Philosophers, neuroscientists, bloggers extraordinary seem preoccupied with consciousness, the mind, the brain as never before. A psychologist might conclude that we are living in an age of confusion.
Yet the plethora of stuff that reaches me each day is processed in some way. And what a stimulating mixture there always is.
And for today’s potpourri I will start with the word itself. Probably this is such an arcane metaphor that today’s perfume industry and household aerosol companies no longer deign to use the term. It conjures up to the English a collection of petals to give sweet aromas in ladies bedrooms, and hotel bathrooms. Hmm. What has this to do with my daily admixture of stimuli?
I like the metaphor as it alludes to spice, to bark, to fruits and flowers while implying a fermentation that will last but a few months. And thus for my daily potpourri.
Today’s petals? First an introduction to a book that gives a new mega, macro picture of where the world is heading – not often that you get that! From nation state to market state. A big book by Philip Bobbitt, “The Shield of Achilles”. I have read an intro and leave it to my husband to read the 900 page book and then recommend chapters for me…. Cheat you say? Yes.
I’m all in favour of cheating in this way as my own reading is about to provide a keyhole squint into one of history’s migrations that, at the time, no-one fully appreciated: Isabel Wilkinson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns”, the move north of African Americans. Seems to me that this can give an insight into those migrations that are hidden today amongst the more obvious and shocking war and poverty induced migrations we witness on our screens.
I have just put down the first book that has given me a broad picture of Myanmar’s ethnic peoples, their politics, cultures, religions and geographies. Bertil Lintner’s travels from India through Burma and into China in the mid-80s, “The Land of Jade” is an extraordinary tale that reads like a thriller and yet gives a sophisticated and factual historical account. Current politicians would do well to refrain from simplistic conclusions and interventions in Myanmar through reading this book, highly pertinent for today’s unfolding tragedies.
From the above you would assume I keep my nose buried in a book. But today will include a dhamma discussion in a group with a wonderfully insightful Buddhist nun, some delicious Thai noodles in our market village, a lecture on a Karenni refugee family in the US, and I hope to catch up on the realities of our village changes. The impact of change on the lives of villagers from the global market power is dramatic and scary. More on this perhaps in tomorrow’s potpourri. See you then.