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April 4, 2021


Quiet Saturday. Read a bit, watched a couple of videos about Indian politics in The Print, tried to brush up a little on devanagari letters and compounds, went for a walk. Did a couple of hours baby-sitting in the evening while my daughter went to the Mimouna - the Moroccan Jewish post-passover feast that a family in the village puts on each year. Their generosity is amazing, but I avoid such things.

My wife read out to me part of a long article in Ha'Aretz on astrophysics, which speaks about the latest theories that the structure of the universe is a kind of web, in which the galaxies are at the junctions, and that the whole thing resembles the structure of the brain. Well, I think we have always interpreted the cosmos in terms of what we know and, as it were, created god in our own image. From families of gods to Indra's net. The metaphors grow more sophisticated, but they are always limited by our anthropomorphism. At least it is good that we are understanding better that all the dots connect and that nothing can exist or survive independently. I don't know if that will prevent our speciesism or defeat our inherent egoism, but the rationale for caring for each other and the planet can now be induced from what we know about the way the universe is put together, rather than on what priests and imams might tell us, when they are having a good day.


Strange fruit: how feijoas baffled a New Zealand immigrant – and polarise a nation

“The hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders based overseas can only look on with longing. Despite efforts to export them around the world, feijoas are only sparsely available in Australia and virtually unheard of elsewhere ”
If it's native to S. America, how is it “virtually unheard of” outside NZ? Though I don't remember tasting them (and I screw up my nose also at guavas), we certainly have them here in the Middle East. People plant them in their gardens. (We tried once, but it didn't take off.) And Wikipedia mentions many other places around the world where they are grown. People will write anything.

Salman Rushdie on Midnight's Children at 40: 'India is no longer the country of this novel' | Fiction | The Guardian

“Forty years is a long time. I have to say that India is no longer the country of this novel. When I wrote Midnight’s Children I had in mind an arc of history moving from the hope – the bloodied hope, but still the hope – of independence to the betrayal of that hope in the so-called Emergency, followed by the birth of a new hope. India today, to someone of my mind, has entered an even darker phase than the Emergency years. The horrifying escalation of assaults on women, the increasingly authoritarian character of the state, the unjustifiable arrests of people who dare to stand against that authoritarianism, the religious fanaticism, the rewriting of history to fit the narrative of those who want to transform India into a Hindu-nationalist, majoritarian state, and the popularity of the regime in spite of it all, or, worse, perhaps because of it all – these things encourage a kind of despair.

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