Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 22nd, 2011


River Congo to light up Africa: Any investors?

The hydroelectric potentials of the Congo River is estimated to 110 GW, enough power to cover the needs of all Africa.

The Inga Rapid on the Congo can produce 44 GW, double the power generated by the latest super Chinese complex of the Three-Gorges.  Just 44 GW can cover 40% of all Africa needs in electrical power.

So far, only 900 MW is being produced by the obsolete generators on the sites of Inga 1 and Inga 2.

The start of Inga 3 project has been postponed until 2020 for lack of funding.  The modernization of the generators and equipments of Inga 1 and 2 requires $450 million and the IMF phased out the funding till 2016 because it could not “find” the necessary funding!

In Africa of one billion in population, the average individual is allocated enough electricity to turn on a light bulb for three hours a day. The 48 States in the Sub-Sahara generate 68 GW, an amount that Spain generates alone.

In Africa, 500 million own a cellular phone while 700 million lack electricity.

Compared to other developing States, the sub-Sahara States have the highest costs for electricity ($0.45 per kWh compared to less than $o.1); for water ($6.5 per m3 compared to $0.1); and for transport of merchandize ($0.15 per ton/km compared to less than $0.05)

The only investment in Africa are directed to highways, ports, airports, pipelines, and all kinds of infrastructure designed to facilitating the organized transport, export, and flow of raw materials exploited by multinational companies.

For example, BHP Billiton, the number one world group for mining raw materials, was willing to invest $7 billion on generating 2.5 GW on Inga 3, simply because the company needed 2 GW for its aluminum complex in the Lower-Congo province.

The Chinese State companies signed the deal of the century with the Congo State in 2007:  Basically, it is a barter deal of exploiting raw materials in exchange of constructing infrastructure that will support the flow of the raw materials produced and exported to China.

What use is of art? What is the origin of art?

Is art (esthetics) an expression of a world vision and a hierarchy of values? Is an artist different from art?

Let me extend a few quotes, just to set the tone and provide ideas for the discussion.

The young French author, Emile Zola, arrogantly wrote: “My ideals are my loves and my emotions”

Theophile Gautier wrote: “The most useful part in the house is the toilet.  I believe what are most beautiful in the house have no usefulness whatsoever.”

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon wrote: “The artist is called upon to share in the creation of the social world.  He is to shoot for the perfection of mankind, physically, mentally, and morally.  The glory of an artist is an appreciation of the process for perfecting mankind.”

Plato refused poets political positions on the ground that they are more inclined to passionate emotions than rational thinking.

In the same vein, Rousseau agreed with the prohibition of Switzerland on banning theaters because theater pieces encouraged emotional outburst.

Compare the above statements and positions with Conrad‘s description of the artist in his preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus:

The artist appeals to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives, to our sense of pity, and beauty and pain…and to the subtle and invincible conviction of solidarity that knits together the loneliness of innumerable hearts, to the solidarity in dreams, in joy, in sorrow, in aspirations, in illusions, in hope, in fear which binds men to each other, the dead to the living and the living to the unborn...”

Do you think that it is getting pretty tedious to carrying on controversial topics or subjects?

In heated debates, we end up cutting short on discussions by labeling them “useless controversial subjects”; meaning “I am not interested any longer in giving further thought on the topic; I have no inclination to read and study and discuss the topic any further; I refuse to taking a position on the matter since I will not get involved; this is not a pragmatic subject and none of my concerns…”

There is this perception that only ignorant people hoard discussions and prevent level-headed persons to participating rationally in the debate.  Thus, when someone gets passionate about a concept or idea or takes firm positions and stands, we relegate the individual into the category of irrational and not serious type.

As if feeling passionate is the sole monopoly of non rational people.

As if a passionate person is basically an artistic kind, isolated in his own subjective world, caring about his own perception of love, emotions, and what is beautiful and right.

We have this perception that only a professional in particular disciplines (meaning earning a living from the profession), has definite, intransigent positions in their topics of interests, methods, techniques, and world views conceived from his unique perspective point.

As mankind evolved and communicated his idea and cultures, spread and disseminated knowledge and varieties of arts, it is normal to admit that many factors came into play to influencing approaches to arts, perspectives, purpose of art, utility and personalization of artistic works.

Thus, trying to taking definite positions on the driving force in enhancing arts cannot be correct, but the discussion is nonetheless interesting and informative

What is the critical influence, the core or origin of artistic impulses? I tend to conjecture that the main catalyst was this drive for individual discrimination from the masses, the common culture, the predominant social environment, and  customs.

My conjecture is that as man evolved, and realized that he is more endowed than the surrounding animals, he got very frustrated that he also is to die like any other animal.

Worse, certain animals lived far longer than he did.  This discovery was not comforting.  “Since we all have to die then, my death has to be different” was the conclusion of mankind.  How different?  This is where imagination and art come into existence.

Art is an individual signature, no matter how it is influenced by external forces, and no matter how society would like to view artistic productions.

It is unfortunate that education systems are cutting down on artistic programs and courses and depriving students and children opportunities to discovering their talents, passions, and potentials.




February 2011

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