How to Become Better: Human the Project

 

An incredible project was made public in September 2015. – a project followed with almost no media attention but more enlightening and eye-opening than many we have seen in a long time.
It is called ‘Human‘.

In a series of interviews with people all around the globe, combined with breathtaking aerial shots of our magnificent Mother Earth and with stunning background music, author Yann Arthus-Bertrand tries to answer the question what is it that makes human: a question we all ought to stop and ask ourselves.

He explains his inspiration by saying simply:

“I am one man among seven billion others. For the past 40 years, I have been photographing our planet and its human diversity, and I have the feeling that humanity is not making any progress. We can’t always manage to live together.
Why is that?
I didn’t look for an answer in statistics or analysis, but in man himself.”

Indeed…

What is it that makes us human?
What is it that distinguishes us from other Earthly creatures?
What is it that makes our lives worthwhile?

It might be difficult, if at all possible, to answer these questions, but listening closely to the stories might get us closer to the truth. And some are uncannily breathtaking, to the point they seem unbelievable.

Take Ruth, for example…

“Here’s what happened: a German officer in as SS uniform entered the ghetto one rainy night. My mother told him: “Take my daughter.” She lifted the wire fence and handed him her baby, me, a Jewish girl, two and a half years old. And with a heavy heart, she put me in the hands of a wonderful man in an SS uniform.
I now know that this man, Alois Pleva, served in the German army and lived near the German border. This man put me in his coat. He hid me inside his coat and took me to the border between Germany and Poland to his parents. They passed me off as his daughter. They raised me in the purest Catholic tradition until the end of the war.
What a gesture! What magic, this outstretched hand! Like sparks of light in what we call human folly.

Sometimes a question comes to mind. If I had been in a situation like that, would I have acted in the same way as that German officer? How can I answer such a question? I don’t think I would have had the moral strength to do it, in all honesty. Maybe. Did he know he had the strength? How can you know?
How can you recognize the moment of truth when you can sacrifice yourself, sacrifice the only life you have for someone else?
There’s no answer to that question. Or a question others can answer.
But this question must be asked.

What is amazing is how, through listening to the stories, we reach the point of better understanding other human beings, which leads us to more love in this world.

When we listen to Jean-Pierre, for example.

“Not feeling acknowledged. Not feeling understood. Not feeling loved by your family, quite simply. Loved, but not loved for who you are. You want to share something. A homosexual doesn’t know if it’s wrong or not. If he’s told it’s good, or rather, that’s how it is, he doesn’t think that… It’s more or less like someone who worries  that he has cancer. He’s anxious. He needs to hear he isn’t sick. A homosexual wonders what’s wrong with him. He doesn’t know if it’s serious or not and what will happen to him.
There’s nothing more wonderful than parents who say: “So what? You’re gay, so what? As long as you’re happy.”
It’s so obvious! This “So what?” is so often lacking.

A documentary could not have been created without raising some very actual issues that affect the world, maybe best sublimed in what Mouneer from Jordan said.

“There are two parties. Both are Syrian. I have friends and family in both. They are ready to take up arms and kill their neighbors, in the name of politics.
They forget the essential: humanity.
Politics is just relations between powerful nations and people. We’re little guys. We’ll never change anything.

I’ve seen death with my own eyes. I’ve seen my friends lying there, lifeless. When the explosions started, there was one very close to my house. It wrecked my taxi. I saw blood, people’s legs, heads, and arms on the ground.
When I saw all that, it filled me with fear and sorrow. Man can become a monster.
I don’t trust anyone, anymore, except myself. It’s over.
That is why I cut myself off from relations with souls: with every form of human being. It all means nothing.

And there are some ever-present, never solved issues. We might see them in a whole different light once we are faced with the influence they have on our fellow humans – like Sylver from Rwanda.

“What I’ll never forget is what I saw at the time. The fact that one person killed another with a machete.
The reason I can’t forget is that a large part of my family was killed. Before my eyes. What I can’t forget is that the killers cut up a living person with a machete, right in front of me.
I can’t forget it because it happened.
I experienced it.
But it’s incomprehensible.
And impossible to forget.

There is a pearl of wisdom shared by Sergey form Russia, the one that got me choked.

“Maybe these atrocities make people more violent, because they want to avenge them. Even though I can understand that, I try to keep my humanity.
Once you have killed a man, it becomes clear to you you can never hope for heavenly peace, for peace within yourself. When you have killed your enemy, he is no longer an enemy.
So why did you kill him?
It’s an endless cycle. That’s simply the way human nature is.
When you kill a man, only afterward do you realize you should avoided going that far.
Because then, you live with that for the rest of your life. It’s not easy. ”

With the tragic stories we come to realization it is fear that awakens and ignites some of the most terrible actions towards our fellow humans. Fear, the only opposite of love, can only be conquered by love.
And sometimes this very love is concealed in child’s innocence and wisdom… Like touching Tatyana‘s story…

“When I was six years old my parents and I went to the supermarket. It was far away. We had to take a bus. At the big store, we walked through the toy department. I stopped short in front of a glass case containing a magnificent doll. Of course, I had no idea how much things cost. So my mother said to me:
“I can’t afford to buy you this doll.”
And I answered her like a wise old woman:
Mama, I’m not asking you to buy her. I just want you to let me admire her a little.
My mother still weeps when she tells this story.”

This all is love, and if we all try to put more love into this world we might create a better, more peaceful place for all… As Daniel from Mexico simply explains….

Love is the beginning and the end. Love is where we come from, where we’re going and what we live between the two.
Love is everything.

Quite.

Immaculate in its entirety, Human, all three extended parts, is maybe the most appropriate watching suggestion this holiday season.

Love Gina Wings

 

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New York City: Love, Life and All That Jazz

 

New York, New York… the city like no other in the whole wide world, has seduced most of us in at least one phase of our life… the city of art, glamour, love, fame, success and failure, a city to chew you up and swallow you whole without you even noticing, but, most important of it all, the Capital of the World.

I remember the line at the baggage claim and a seemingly long shuttle ride from Newark to a small room on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street, which greeted me with an unmade single bed and clean sheets, a writing desk beneath a small window and a view on a city corner. Little I knew then that this tiny studio was a luxury in this city that has a life of its own.

Who was I then?

University student just turned twenty-four, with vivid dreams and a broken heart, I flew over the Atlantic to seek peace in the city that never sleeps, to create dreams fresh and new, to start over again and build the new me. Manhattan was the only place impersonal and great enough to provide me with anonymity which, back then, meant a whole life for me… Manhattan, a place of life more real than anyplace else, the story of invention and survival. I remember walking down the Avenue of the Americas, cutting across Broadway and chilling in Battery Park… long walks only my experienced shoes endured for it was my shoes only I wanted to walk in, despite the previous failure and disappointment. I was beginning anew, I was the new me and noone was either better or worse than I was. That feeling alone was relieving.

Not that I managed to publish my stories too frivolous to attract serious attention, yet what I managed to do was heal and reinvent myself – which was, back then, something I needed most. And, as a poet once said, it is not that we get what we want, but what we need that counts the most.

I did get what I needed. Freedom.

New York City, Urban Jungle, was a temporary home to many… beautifully assembled in a collection of essays on loving and leaving New YorkGoodbye to All That edited by Sari Botton – inspired by a same named story by  Joan Didion. She herself muses…

‘I want to explain to you, and in the process perhaps to myself, why I no longer live in New York. It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city only for the very young.’

The explanation is necessary, especially since Didion, in her own words…

‘It would be a long while because, quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean “love” in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again.’

Not only love, but youth, inexperience, zest for life and endless dreams, are all depicted in a seductive musing…

‘Of course it might have been some other city, had circumstances been different and the time been different and had I been different, might have been Paris or Chicago or even San Francisco, but because I am talking about myself I am talking here about New York. That first night I opened my window on the bus into town and watched for the skyline, but all I could see were the wastes of Queens and big signs that said MIDTOWN TUNNEL THIS LANE and then a flood of summer rain (even that seemed remarkable and exotic, for I had come out of the West where there was no summer rain), and for the next three days I sat wrapped in blankets in a hotel room air conditioned to 35 degrees and tried to get over a cold and a high fever. It did not occur to me to call a doctor, because I knew none, and although it did occur to me to call the desk and ask that the air conditioner be turned off, I never called, because I did not know how much to tip whoever might come—was anyone ever so young? I am here to tell you that someone was. All I could do during those years was talk long-distance to the boy I already knew I would never marry in the spring. I would stay in New York, I told him, just six months, and I could see the Brooklyn Bridge from my window. As it turned out the bridge was the Triborough, and I stayed eight years.’

More elusive but not less real, as a part of her A Love Letter to New York City, is a musing by Dani Shapiro, when she describes her love affair with the Big Apple…

‘I was trying, flailing, failing, in an attempt to chisel myself into a woman who existed only as a fantasy, airbrushed, photoshopped, as lost as that high school sophomore who wandered in a fugue state past the strip joints of Times Square. I was a girl who hadn’t gotten the memo about not taking candy from strangers—and New York was full of those strangers. A girl who was playing a part she was wrong for, whose own gifts were elusive and strange to her, contraband, brought home from a foreign country and best stored out of reach.’

She further continues, as if trying to show how you can leave the city, but the City never leaves you…

‘It has been ten years since we left the city. A decade—long enough for our friends to stop taking bets on how long it would take us to come to our senses and return to New York. What do you do up there? Whom do you see? What’s it like? They drive up to visit us in their Zip cars or rental SUVs, bearing urban bounty: shopping bags from Citarella filled with pungent Epoisses and chorizo tortellini; boxes of linzer cookies from Sarabeth’s; delicate, pastel Laduree macarons. In turn, we take our houseguests on hikes or to lakeside beaches or to quaint village streets lined with shops selling cashmere and tweed. But we aren’t hearty country folk. I don’t own muck boots or a Barbour coat. We don’t ski or own horses or build bonfires in our backyard. I spend most of my days alone in my writing study, with a midday yoga break in the next room. My husband now writes and directs films, and the closest he gets to an outdoor activity is when he takes his chainsaw out into our woods to clear brush. Our son, like us, is an indoor dreamer. We are urban Jews, descended from the shtetl, pale and neurasthenic. Living in our heads.’

Times change, and so do cities. We have to consider that Didion wrote her essay back in 1967, when New York indeed was unique, still untouched and unburdened by corporations – quite a different picture then it is today. To quote a native New Yorker, Rebecca Wolff, in her essay, ‘So Long, Suckers’,

‘New York City manifests itself now shame-facedly as a chump-factory, a chump-house. It’s Chumptown. Artists who live there are living dangerously, close to extinction, dangerously close to the source of their art’s diminishment, an outerboros of economic exigency.’

According to Wolff, New York holds no magic at all anymore, not even if you’ve just freshly arrived. She continues,

‘There’s this thing that happens, where I speak to a twenty-something or thirty-something sweetheart, a Joan Didion who’s moved to New York recently, and I realize at a certain point that their expectations are very low, compared to my own, because they cannot possibly imagine what it used to be like, the New York of the recent past, of the late 1970s, 1980s, 1990s.’

We might be closest to the truth upon reading cruel statement by Meghan Daum that appeared in The New Yorker in 1999.

‘I have not made a life for myself in New York City. I have purchased a life for myself.’

It might be true that New York City is no longer a city not for the young and ambitious, but for the middle-aged and rich, but this will never stop aspiring youth of coming here to, at least, take a bite off Big Apple. Because, after all, we must admit, there is an uncanny Magic in New York City – Magic no city in this world holds.

Perhaps Love, Life and Leaving of this fabulous city is best depicted in eternal

 

Love Gina Wings

Coco Chanel on Character: Kick-Ass Advice From the Queen of Elegance

Coco Chanel, the fashion icon of modern age and a role model for a contemporary woman did not ignite only fashion revolution, but a switch in role of a woman in society. Fabulous and unique, her path was not always the easiest one, but thanks to her stubborn persistence and dedication, she has greatly contributed to women being glorified, independent and proud.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Coco persisted in her vision to create fashion for women instead of creating fashion women should obey to, as if fashion was her weapon to show the world how women are free to choose and create the life to best suit them. And she did it with style – clearly depicted in her famous quotes:

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”

It was beginning of a century and beginning of a new era: in the uneasy midst of war women got their right to vote and left safety of their homes to work in factories. No longer they were dependent on marriages and support of their men. With this newly established freedom, Coco gave them the right attire, stripping off the rigid corsets and dressing them up in comfortable dresses to follow the natural beauty of a woman clearly defined in her simple saying:

“No one is young after forty, but one can be irresistible at any age.”

This was not welcome at the time at all, but Coco stubbornly refused to act as a conformist and has conquered the rules in the end. And she did it like no one else could.

“I wanted to escape, and to become the center of a universe of my own creation, instead of remaining on the margins or even becoming part of other people’s universe.”

 “For a woman betrayal has no sense – one cannot betray one’s passions.”

Coco understand the time, understood women, and knew their power.

“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack. Men hate women who weep.”

It is not by chance that it was her business, maybe the only big business, that survived the Second World War, and continued to flourish further. Coco used style and gave women elements of seduction, and by doing this, she was encouraging them to feel free as they were, aware of their real powers neglected for so long.

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”

By refusing to match the norms she has become the building block of the modern world, for the first time allowing women to be both comfortable and fashionable. Indeed, through her creations she was creating new dreams for women, dreams of freedom and equality, bringing entirely new way of thinking.

“Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!”

Importantly, she pointed out to a crucial direction which makes women’s life easier and utterly exciting…

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

In addition, her perception of beauty and allure is everlasting…

“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”

She was a creator her entire life. We lost her in January 1980. of natural causes, while she was working on a new collection for the upcoming fashion show. By providing encouragement, individualism and hope to women,Coco indeed lived as a queen, and died as a legend.

“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.”

 

Coco… really was one of a kind. She lived up to her saying, created an empire and continues to live in the beauty of her creation.

“You live but once; you might as well be amusing.”

Quite.

 

Love Gina Wings

 

 

Are We Free? The Lie We Live.

A powerful short documentary film created by Spencer Cathcart and published in January this year has almost immediately become viral, spread worldwide and is subtitled to many languages already. It exposes, in a witty and critical way, the truth about our corrupt world, and raises some important questions as well.

“At this moment you could be anywhere doing anything. Instead you sit alone before a screen.

So what’s stopping us from doing what we want, being where we want to be?

Each day we wake up in the same room and follow the same path to live the same day as yesterday. Yet at one time each day was a new adventure. Along the way something changed. Before days were timeless, now our days are scheduled. Is this what it means to be grown up? To be free?

But are we really free?”

In a way, this depends on our definition of freedom, on what freedom means to us. There might be different answers, but in their core one thing is supposed to be present: the ability to become who we truly are, to fully develop our potential and by doing so, better the world we live in.

But, what is the reality we are forced into?

“We discover the world through a textbook. For years we sit and regurgitate what we’re told. Tested and graded like subjects in a lab. Raised not to make a difference in this world. Raised to be no different. Smart enough to do our job but not to question why we do it. So we work and work, left with no time to live the life we work for. Until a day comes when we are too old to do our job. It is here we’re left to die.”

Critical thinking has left our education system some time ago, and while we, as humans, claim to be superior, one has to wonder – how is this superiority manifested?

“They <corporations> gave us money, and in return we gave them the world.

We are like a plague sweeping the Earth. Tearing apart the very environment that allows us to live. We see everything as something to be sold. As an object to be owned. 

But what happens when we have polluted the last river? Poisoned the last breath of air? Have no oil for the trucks that bring us our food? When will we realize money can’t be eaten, that is has no value? 

We aren’t destroying the planet. We’re destroying all life on it. Every year thousands of species go extinct. And time is running out before we’re next.”

… and the consideration goes even further, raising some important questions…

“It’s funny to think humans once thought the Earth was the center of the universe but then again now we see ourselves as
the center of the planet. We point to our technology and say we’re the smartest. But do our computers, cars, and factories really illustrate how intelligent we are? Or do they show how lazy we’ve become?

We put this civilized mask on. 

But when you strip that away, what are we?”

Indeed, what are we?

Consumers of earthly goods? And if so, is this exceeding consumption making us happier and more satisfied? Or is it just widening the gap between who we are, and who we are meant to become?

“One day this sensation we call life will leave us. Our bodies will rot, our valuables recollected. Yesterday’s actions’s all that remain. Death constantly surrounds us. Still it seems so distant from our everyday reality.

If we all look at our innermost desire, we will see our dreams are not so different. We share a common goal. Happiness. 

We tear the world apart looking for joy, without ever looking within ourselves. 

Many of the happiest people are those who own the least. 

But are we really so happy with our iPhones, our big houses, our fancy cars? We’ve become disconnected. Idolizing people we’ve never met. We witness the extraordinary on screens, but ordinary everywhere else. We wait for someone to bring change, without ever thinking of changing ourselves.”

Nothing happens unless we make it happen.

Nothing changes unless we ignite the change.

And if we begin now, with all our efforts, maybe, just maybe, this world will become a better place.

And bear in mind, it is not for the sake of our Mother Earth – she is stronger than we might think. It is for the sake of mankind, more fragile than we dare to think.

“Stop waiting for change and be the change you want to see. 

We didn’t get to this point by sitting on our asses. The human race survived not because we are the fastest or the strongest but because we worked together. We have mastered the act of killing. Now let’s master the joy of living. This isn’t about saving the planet. The planet will be here whether we are or not. Earth has been around for billions of years. Each of us will be lucky to last eighty. We are a flash in time, but our impact is forever.

While we still can we must use our screens to bring us closer together rather than farther apart. For better or worse our generation will determine the future life on this planet.

We can either continue to serve this system of destruction until no memory of our existence remains. 

Or we can wake up. Realize we aren’t evolving upwards but rather falling down.

We just have screens in our faces so we don’t see where we’re heading. This present moment is what every step, every breath and every death has led to. 

We are the faces of all who came before us. And now it is our turn.

You can choose to carve your own path, or follow the road countless others have already taken. Life is not a movie. The script isn’t already written. 

We are the writers.

This is your story.

Their story.

Our story.”

 

Powerful in its entirety, ‘The Lie We Live‘ will open your eyes and inspire you to reconsider yourself, your life and your impact on this world.

Enjoy the full documentary, and remember to share.

 

 

Because Life.

Because Love.

Love Gina Wings

Understanding Life: John Lennon on Art, Love and Peace

At 10:50 PM on Monday, December the 8th 1980, with three shots to the chest, John Lennon was assassinated at the Dakota building in New York.

Desperate attempts of a doctor in the ER, who was holding his heart in attempt to bring life back to it, bore no fruit. That distant December over twenty years ago marked an end to an era.

Painfully simple as that, a man who defined paranoia as a heightened sense of awareness, was shot to death that far night in December outside his New York home, and that triple shot, too easy to be performed for the consequences it made, has marked an end to an era of love, imagination, freedom and mind opening. One of the greatest thinkers of our time was assassinated not for his revolutionary rebellion, but rather for his ideas of peace on Earth. John Lennon was here to show us how beautiful life is, and how love is the ultimate answer. It is rightful, then, to wonder – why would anyone want to kill him. Really, why?

I am afraid we will  never grasp the answer.

It is disturbing, though, that so many peacekeepers suffered violent death: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Benazir Bhutto, Bobby Kennedy, JFK – to name just a few who stood for peace and were either killed by deranged lone gunmen or else died in suspicious circumstances.

Is our society still unprepared for peace?

How come such a simple, natural idea as peace is perceived threatening to that extent that thinkers get killed for proclaiming it?

But, not to get lost, we are here to witness the revolutionary, yet, when considered thoroughly, rather natural ideas John Lennon tried to share. He understands the sixties fully, and has devoted his life to explore and utilize the possibilities recognized.

“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”

The life philosophy he shared was very simple, but efficient at the same time. Life is, after all, simple. Chasing your dreams is simple. One just has to be true to itself and persistent, not giving up.

“Make your own dream.

That’s the Beatles’ story, isn’t it? That’s Yoko’s story, that’s what I’m saying now. Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.

That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be.

There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

With uncanny modesty, he shares the feeling of being unrecognized or not understood – something we all have experienced and endured on some level. He is no different, which just adds to his core belief that we are all one.

“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”

He truly understood life, and he understood it very soon.

happy-by-lennon1

But, knowing oneself goes a long way. Combined with persistence of dreaming and sixties’ readiness for such a social phenomenon and – voila!  a genius is born!

“People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine. . . . I always wondered, “Why has nobody discovered me?” In school, didn’t they see that I’m cleverer than anybody in this school? That the teachers are stupid, too? That all they had was information that I didn’t need? I got fuckin’ lost in being at high school. I used to say to me auntie
“You throw my fuckin’ poetry out, and you’ll regret it when I’m famous, ” and she threw the bastard stuff out. I never forgave her for not treating me like a fuckin’ genius or whatever I was, when I was a child. It was obvious to me. Why didn’t they put me in art school? Why didn’t they train me? Why would they keep forcing me to be a fuckin’ cowboy like the rest of them? I was different
I was always different. Why didn’t anybody notice me? A couple of teachers would notice me, encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint – express myself. But most of the time they were trying to beat me into being a fuckin’ dentist or a teacher”

Growing pains are not that painful once you read this. We are all going through similar trials and tribulations, and that is a great and awesome part of being a human.

“I used to think that the world was doing something to me, that the world owed me something. And that either the conservatives or the socialists or the fascists or the communists or the Christians or the Jews or the fascists were doing something to me. And when you’re a teeny-booper, that’s what you think. I’m 40 now, I don’t think that anymore—because I found out it doesn’t fucking work. I am part of them. There’s no separation. Were all one. “Give peace a chance,” not “Shoot people for peace.” “All you need is love.” I believe it. It’s damn hard, but I absolutely believe it.”

And, logically enough, this musing is topped with a simple life mission:

“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

By expressing what we feel,. we create a body that is society, our expression is a landmark of the time we live in and as such it stays recorded and is remembered.

Lennon’s time was turbulent and ever-changing, rebellious and peaceful at the same time. Revolutionary to say the least. In retrospect, it is no wonder youth was finding ways to survive and cope with the contemporary times.

“I think the music reflects the state that the society is in. It doesn’t suggest the state. I think the poets and musicians and artists are of the age – not only do they lead the age on, but they also reflect that age. […] Like The Beatles. We came out of Liverpool and we reflected our background and we reflected our thoughts in what we sang, and that’s all people are doing.”

“The basic thing nobody asks is why do people take drugs of any sort? Why do we have these accessories to normal living to live? I mean, is there something wrong with society that’s making us so pressurized, that we cannot live without guarding ourselves against it?”

And, as we all know it well, to John, Love was the ultimate answer. He loved Yoko, and by loving Yoko he loved the whole wide world. It was painfully simple. And beautiful.

“But I can be alone without Yoko, but I just have no wish to be. There’s no reason on earth why I should be alone without Yoko. There’s nothing more important than our relationship, nothing. And we dig being together all the time. Both of us could survive apart but what for? I’m not going to sacrifice love, real love for any whore or any friend or any business, because in the end you’re alone at night and neither of us want to be. And you can’t fill a bed with groupies. It doesn’t work. I don’t want to be a swinger. I’ve been through it all and nothing works better than to have someone you love hold you.”

Maybe his love is best described with the following saying which leaves nothing to be added.

“I was asked in an interview which was more important: money or love?

I told the interviewer that if he had to ask the question, he wouldn’t understand the answer.”

It was Love that denied his fear of death. love is denial of death itself, Love will always conquer death.

“I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another.”

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

Was there an uncanny prophecy in the seemingly innocent words he shared once?

“Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King are great examples of fantastic nonviolents who died violently. I can never work that out. We’re pacifists, but I’m not sure what it means when you’re such a pacifist that you get shot. I can never understand that.”

‘The Day John Lennon Died’ came in 2010, on the 30th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. The film traces John’s final day from a radio interview, to signing an autograph for his eventual killer, to working in the studio and finally on his way back home to see his son when he was shot and killed.

 

This holiday season, let me remind you of the most unique greeting, delivered long ago and far away… a greeting that will never grow old…

war is over

Love Gina Wings

 

What Dangerous Liaisons Can Teach Us about Connection Between Sex and Power

Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power. – Oscar Wilde

In his only novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses first published in 1782, with English translation first appearing in 1898, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos depicts the seductions and deceit in France high class society circles at the end of eighteenth century. The plot revolves around Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquize de Merteuil who use their powers to turn sensuality into a game, thus creating a tangled web of seduction, affairs and betrayal. A story of infinite games of romance, Les Liaisons Dangereuses is, in its core, a story of power, questioning the connection between ultimate power, personality and sexuality: a question so actual and all-consuming, that the book was made into a great movie, Dangerous Liaisons, released in 1988.

This underlying question in core of the work is best depicted in the movie excerpt exploring independent woman’s survival in a wicked world of eighteenth century France.

 

And the dialogue script, revealing all there is to be known of woman’s position in a society:

– I often wonder how you managed to invent yourself.

Well, I had no choice, did I? I’m a woman. Women are obliged to be far more skillful than men. You can ruin our reputation and our life with a few well-chosen words. So, of course I had to invent not only myself, but ways to escape no one has ever thought of before… and I’ve succeeded because I’ve always known that I was born to dominate your sex and avenge my own.

– Yes, but what I asked was: how?

– When I came out in the society I was fifteen. I already knew that the role I was condemned to – namely to keep quiet and do what I was told – gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe: not to what people told me which, naturally, was of no interest but to whatever it was they were trying to hide. I practiced detachment, I learned how to look cheerful while under the table I stuck a fork into the back of my hand. I became a virtuoso of deceit. It wasn’t pleasure I was after, it was knowledge: I consulted the strictest moralists to learn how to appear, philosophers to find out what they think, novelists to see what I can get away with and in the end, I distilled everything into one wonderfully simple principle: Win or Die.

– So, you are infallible, are you?

If I want a man, I have him. If he wants to tell, he finds that he can’t. That’s the whole story.

– And, was that our story?

– I wanted you before we’d ever met: my self-esteem demanded it. Then, when you began to pursue me, I wanted you so badly. It’s the only time I’ve ever been controlled by my desire: single combat.

 

The whole situation makes one wonder is it all plain romance, or unconquerable yearning for power. Is power the secret, underlying motivator in all our endeavors? And, if so, what is to be gained from it? – the question even more important in lieu of the fact we are willing to put everything at stake just to taste it…

power… try it… own it… master it…

Irresistible in its entirety, Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a revolutionary masterpiece which has launched a whole new era of revealing the most deeply hidden truths, almost exclusively of power and control.

Love Gina Wings

How Mr. Selfridge Reinvented Shopping

What London needs is a good shaking up.” – was Andrew Carnegie‘s observation that distant 1900 as he found himself appalled by the simple fact that the shop people had been considerably better at driving away customers than at attracting them.

Back then, shopping was not necessarily an entertaining activity, but merely a rather difficult and time consuming chore: a woman, since it was prevalently women’s duty, was supposed to go to the store searching for specific, desirably not out of the ordinary, things, carefully order them and wait for the delivery.

Highly likely, if you were upper class, shopping was the main – if not the only – duty you had. Being it in time before the radio, TV, mass media, internet, and the only entertainment available, at least for women, being Sunday church, no wonder the same women, in search of their share of life pleasures, did something about it – with a little help from their male counterparts who understood this quite well.

The nineteenth-century passion for fashion, rise of buying in bulk on credit, and general lack of entertainment had provided the perfect conditions to develop department stores as we know them today.

Harry Gordon Selfridge opened his first department store in then unfashionable London Oxford Street on 15 March 1909. 400,000 Pounds Sterling, equivalent of one billion today’s US dollars, were invested into this grand and revolutionary project.

This border-ludicrous, amazing venue has inspired Lindy Woodhead, more than a century later, to write the words in her ‘Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge‘:

A man light years ahead of his time, a true accelerator of change, he deserves to be remembered as the man who put fun on the shop floor and sex appeal into shopping.

Indulge in this great read, and next time you visit London, make sure to visit Selfridges. It is still there, in the same place.

Love Gina Wings