Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 23rd, 2016

The Folder: Dumping my FB comments

Try designing more performing wings instead of more horsepower.
All birds have specially designed wings for their purposes.
Wings use finesse more than sheer force.
Wings work with the surrounding environment, not against it.
Wings are elegant, not brutal.
The problem is that mankind wants to design planes for all purposes

There is a village in Iraq, close to the borders with Iran. Touzarkoun is inhabited by Kurdish Chiaa and lived there for many thousands of years. In 2003, after the invasion of the US to Iraq, Abou Abdallah The Soumalian entered the dancing circle in his mobilette and detonated himself, wiping out entire families.

This Abou Abdallah started his journey from Mauritania, crossed Mali, took a boat in Benghazi to Lattaquieh in Syria. He made over 5,500 km by deserts and seas. He entered Lebanon, returned to Syria and back to Lebanon before being shipped by a container to Mossoul in Northern Iraq.

He and 3 other new extremist nousras, total strangers to one another, from different countries (Algeria, Palestine and Lebanon) experienced 3 gruelling days and nights in this suffocating containers. Abou Abdllah was anxious to meet with Allah.

If you had a choice in WWII between

1. 400 B29 carpet bombing a city for several attempts and an atomic bomb? Or
2. Dropping an atomic bomb kills everyone in a few seconds.

The incendiary bombs and bombes a retardement leave exactly the same amount of casualties, mostly burning agonizing people for several months and orphans roaming haphazardly until they die of famine.
I’m Not asking to pick a choice.
I’ am interested in the opinions of those US military when they decide to exterminate entire population

Plan versus commitment:
a 10-year plan is great on paper and a good exercise.
a ten-year commitment is precisely what’s required if you want to be sure to make an impact.

Israel declared that it prefers that Da3esh kinds of terrorists remain in north Syria and Iraq.
What is surprising is that Da3esh has its own rationale: The perfect place for it to survive and prosper and spread its brand of Wahhabi religious ideology is indeed Turkey.
Da3esh is keeping and installing its cells in the Turkish cities along the Syrian border, including Antakya where most remaining Christians are seeking to emigrate.

Savoir et pouvoir: c’est le desire de tout homme, le plus souvent pendant nos reves diurne.
Power is material, but knowledge is mostly a point of view.
Since acquiring knowledge takes long time, by the time we are old, the crazy decisions on the lame folks, of the combination of power with knowledge, having serious consequences, diminish with the slowness of the mind and the taming of strong emotions

Combien d’amours n’ont pas pus prendre racines: quand la premiere fois, on ejacule prematurement

There are individuals destined to do the good, or mostly, the intention to do good.
But to feel the source of our ephemeral happiness that need to be seen.
Sources of truths, our truth, is hermetically hidden, very deep in our consciousness.
Have to be content with small rivers, from a varieties of sources

Le Grand Pasha en Egypt dit au rich entrepreneur Cheikh Azzam: Le poucentage de 25% sur vos profit s’applique a toutes les grandes affairs. En echange, nous te protegerons contre le fisc, les charges sociales, les regles de securite, le controle administrative et les mille bureaux qui peuvent te mener a ta perte. Lit ton dossier preparait par les enquetes de la Securite d’Etat. On sait tout de tes sales activites.

Abu Samir barged into the HQ of the Lebanese Red Cross in west Beirut (Kuntary?) at the start of the civil war in 1975 and whispered in the ear of nurse Nayla Hachem:

“We are about to counter attack the hotels Phoenicia and Holiday Inn and oust the Lebanese Forces. I need Maxiton for my guerrileros that will add their performance. Tous doivent y passer.

Nayla assured him that she will add the Maxiton in the cup of teas because they is observed and it is illegal.

She saw the bottle of valium and added a few drops instead of the “performing” medicine and the fighters left in Indienne file.

At 4 am, Abu Samir was trying to break down the iron fence of the HQ with his truck. He was mad and saying “The more I repeated Attack, the deeper was the sleep of my fighters”

From “Beirut, comme si l’ oubli… “by Nayla Hachem and Hyam Yared

Steve Jobs was ousted 20 years ago from Apple and Gilbert Amelio was the current PDG. Amelio had negotiated with Bill Gates to write an updated exploitation program for the Mac. A few months later, Jobs convinced Amelio to buy NeXT. Jobs was PDG of Pixar at the time, but NeXt was not received well and not selling. Gates and Sun Microsystem had the lion shares of the market.

Amelio called Gates and cancelled the deal. And Gates went berserk: “Steve Jobs n’a rien sous le capot. Je connais la technologie de son system. Ce n’est que Unix avec un joli habillage. Jamais tu ne pourrais le faire tourner sur tes machines. Steve ne connait rien a la technologie. C’est juste un super VRP. C’ est une bille en informatics et 99% de ce qu’il dit est faux. Amelio a paye une blinde ($250 million) pour rien: Le system d’exploitation de NeXT n’a jamais ete utilise.

Sans le savoir, Apple venait d’acheter a prix d’or son future chef, alors que personne de sense n’aurait parie un dollar sur lui. Mais Steve etait un type brilliant, avec un sens de design et le gout des beaux objets. Il parvint a refrener suffisamment sa folie pour etre nommer PDG par interim…

“Quand Amelio a ete bouté dehors, il a dit “Ce n’etait q’une leure, l’une des multiples facettes de la personalite complex de Steve Jobs”

Le mari peut supporter la pauvrete a la fleur de l’age, mais a 60 ans, c’est une tragedie (et vice versa)

One of the plans of the genes is to decide which species you should belong to, including one of the bacteria

The smell is the only sensorial impression that we cannot sense in our dreams:
Smell is Not controlled in any path that lead to our conscious brain.
When I dream of dirty WC I cannot smell anything: I learned that it is urgent to wake up and go piss
Are you itching like crazy?  Probably you have worms (Enterobius vemicularis or oxydure)
Use a few adhesives papers on and around your anus and let the physician observe the kinds of egg of worms you have.
One out of 2 people suffer this ailment at least once in a lifetime

Parasite Toxoplasma gondii is the host of cat intestine.
Pregnant women should worry of young cats inside the house and their garden because foetus might die when the parasite is transferred through cat’s urine and faecal product.
Pregnant women with blood rhesus negative are of high risk.
This parasite prefers specific areas in the brain such as the amygdala, the olfactive brain and the part that decides of choices every second.

Lebanese politicians think that they are poets: They are allowed rights to flaunt election processes that dictators insisted on having even a nominal reaction from the people all over the Arabic world

As long as Palestinian youths in Lebanese refugee camps are forbidden to work in their disciplines or included in the Lebanese army… They’ll always be the best and easiest resource for extremist movements to lure them in

But the lesson from New Zealand decriminalizing sex work, it was written in collaboration with sex workers; namely, the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective. When it came to making sex work safer, they were ready to hear it straight from sex workers themselves.

What a depressed woman would like that happens:
You kick your shoes off (husband) and crawl into bed next to me, holding me if I let you and just being there if I won’t.
After a little while I might pick up my phone or my Kindle, seeking distraction, or I might just sort of stare into space. You browse the Internet on your phone and sit quietly with me. I’m sure you’re hungry, or could be working, or maybe catching a game with the guys, but instead you sit. If I talk, you listen. If I don’t, you don’t force it.
You might ask if I want to watch something on Netflix or offer to get some dinner for us. More likely I will fall asleep with my head nestled against your shoulder, and you will refuse to move because you know I need you there. You will do everything you can to let me sleep because you know there I will find peace. You will be quiet and still, you will pray tomorrow is a better day, and you will be there.

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they have been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
‪#‎Muhamad_Ali‬ ‪#‎Respect

Traditional Lebanese house in the mountainside?

ma7daleh, kabou, mra7, madd, 3elliyyeh, stay7a, 3aricheh, tin, 7uwwara, youk, mawkad, madkhanneh, soubya, jurn, mehbej, barjat, khabieh, 7assireh, tabliyyeh, tazar, namliyyeh, 3erzaal, mantara, jlal, natour, neyeh, ta2a, mandaloun, liwan, al midane, kabis, kechk, borghol, charab el tout, charab al ward, mazaher…

Les cepages (vigne) importes au Liban: Cabernet sauvignon, Grenache, chardonnay, viognier, merlot, cinsault, carignan, syrah… Les cepage locaux sont: merweh, obeideh, mariami

Dalai Lama says ‘Refugees should return [be sent back] to rebuild their country’, a Noble thought if it were not for the fact he himself has not returned to rebiluild anything!
He said that Europe has accepted more refugees that it can handle

The only usage of the brain is to keep control and activate movements: Physical, signal sending and reception, facial expressions, speech, writing, communication of messages…
Otherwise, thinking without creating movement is less effective than a contraption that just absorb plankton

99% of all bacteria (good and bad) in our body are located in the intestine (mostly the large one) and they weight 2 kilos!
95% of serotonine (the happy mood) is produced in the intestine.
80% of the immune cells are located in the intestine.
What we smell (good and bad) is generated by bacteria
Well-being is a consequence of a good composition of bacteria that produce all the B vitamins
“Je ressens, donc je suis”

There are at least 3 different kinds of intestine in predominance of bacteria or enterotypes:

1. Bacteroides that produce plenty of biotine (B7 or B8 or H) which the foetus consume a lot and are dedicated to carnivorous specimen

2. Prevotella that produce vitamin B1 or thiamine that is used mainly by the brain and the lack of it generate beriberi (deficiency in movement)

3. Ruminococcus that manufacture blood through the heme

Each of these families of bacteria have common characteristics for splitting the food, manufacturing substances and neutralizing varieties of toxin.

Syndrome de Crohn (intestine irritable), colite ulcereuse, muqueuse intestinale: pendant une longue phase de stress, l’intestin cesse d’obeir au cerveau pour conserver de l’energy, pour produire moin de mucus et de diminuer son irrigation sanguine

Constipated? Let’s see:

1. You are travelling and you abhor the states of the encountered WC  and refuse to get any comfort until you reach destination

2. You are anguished with your painful haemorrhoid condition

3. You are a globe trotter and forget the habits of your intestines, its second nature

4. You are a procrastinator and save what should be done to much later time

Get the habit to sit when pissing: the frequency of letting go of the big one increases to 2 to 3 times a day.

I can conjecture that females have less problems with constipation than males


1. Osmosis method: 2 mixed liquids (one rich in salt and the other in sugar ) equalizes in concentration

2. PEG (polyethylene glycol) of the large molecule (PEG3350) cover the commission and facilitate the faecal progress

3. Lubrication materials such as paraffin oil: avoid Vaseline

4. Stimulation method (GIGN) of the intestinal nerves: aloe vera, sene, suppositoire

5. Prokinetic effects: new medications

6. Rule of 3 days: a laxative may totally empty the large intestine (the ascending, transverse and descending portions) and you need not worry if you ‘shit for 3 days until the the descending part is filled


3/4 of babies born by sterilized caesarean surgery have high risks for allergies and asthma.

The natural bacteria received from natural birth are lacking, such as lactobacilli’s and womb germs, especially if they don’t sucks their mom’s milk or are severed prematurely. It is like they were Not immersed in the magical potion at birth.

Cholesterol? (khole or bile and sterres or closed)

Our body and its bacteria produces up to 95% of needed cholesterol.

Low level of cholesterol and lipids generate memory trouble, depressive states and aggressive behaviour.

Low level of cholesterol weakens the sexual hormones and the stability of the cells and renders vitamin D irrelevant

Our bacteria produce propionic acid that blocks the fabrication of cholesterol while producing acetate to stimulate the fabrication.

Bacteria with BSH genes (Bile salt Hydroxylase) make it difficult for the bile to transport cholesterol molecules

Sure, life is complex, and the living is more complex.
And yet, the process is pretty simple:
We go on living with successive binary decision at each moment:
Go/stay put, yes/no, get up/take a snooze, Resume/Stop

Robot Should Not emulate living species behaviors: Robot is Not meant:

1. To procrastinate

2. To say: I quit

3. To say: I feel depressed. Leave me alone

4. To say: I need badly a vacation

5. To start his opinion or any of his activities by pronouncing: “In the name of God… By the will of God, Allah…

6. Your opinion is against the precepts of the Bible: You are an infidel…

7. To throw a tantrum and ruin the space

However, a well designed Robot should be able to say: “I’m hearing new words, new technical terms, new slangs, the kids are disturbing my knowledge… I definitely need a sabbatical

Suppose a Robot was Google-dumped of all the community laws, new and old in the law books of Congress, those laws that have Not be removed or revisited or re-edited or upgraded, in order for the Robot to behave as a “Good Citizen of the Land” and offer judicious recommendations…what could be its reaction?

Total impotency. Maybe burn a few fuses?

We are how our brain and intestine cooperate and coordinate their communication and activities.
Le nerf vague that communicate the intestine signals to the brain is of the most important part of our well being.
This nerve tells the brain of the molecules of the meals, the hormone in the blood, the immune cell concentrations and the types of bacteria…

 Taking the IELTS (English proficiency exam)? Like in any exam: It is the laws that govern the exam. Go back and study how they expect you to answer. For example, Accounting has nothing to do with arithmetic to pass

Dam of Janneh? I mean sadd janneh on this small river of Ibraheem. A tiny dam of only 37 million.
A deputy said that this river is the hotbed of Lebanon history to be preserved.
I trekked on this river twice, and I can testify that I saw no history, even in the deepest trek on it. And the river is a puny one, even at the height of the rainy season.
Another environmentalist critic linked it to Brazil oil Petrobras and other dams the size of all of Lebanon…

Henry Seyrig (1895-1973) was appointed directeur general du service des antiquites de Syrie et du Liban in 1929.
Il confie Byblos a Maurice Dunand et Ougarit (Ras Shamra) a Claude Schaeffer.
Baalbak, Palmyre et le Krak des Chevaliers sont degages et fouilles.
Il cree lÍnstitut Francais d’archeologie de Beyrouth et forma Maurice Chehab
Il a publie 270 articles dans la Revue Syria et reunie dans ses Antiquites Syriennes

Beware of consuming too much fructose (supposedly the sugar in fruits)
Are you eating 8 bananas or 6 apples a day? That is more than 50 g, a high number.
The western nations a the well to do consume about 80 g of fructose, added in ketchup, salad sauces, fruity yogurt…
Fructose overdose generate many ailments in the stomach, terrible gases, allergies, and depressive mood due to blocking the serotonin

Election law mokhtalata? khalteen meen bi meen?
I suggest for a first version, 2/3 nisbiyya kamilat wa 1/3 dawa2er sa5eerat la zo3amaa2 al tawa2ef

Mid-30s, female, single, no children and living in the western world: I’ll tell you what I’m really missing. What I’m really missing is a society that stops telling me what I lack in happiness.”

Any one think that any political party in Lebanon has interest in electing a president? (either Christian or Muslim?)
In the last 2 years, all the mafia leaders have split their shares (mou7assassa) and they have no interest in introducing another party in the deal.
Unless foreign States decide to infuse fresh financial resources for a President and his associates.
Internally, all the resources have been exhausted
7alabo al namleh

Militants in East Ghoutah of Damascus claimed they are Not responsible in targeting the Hezbollah arm depot near the airport, where the Hezbollah military leader was killed by a strong explosion. Israel claims Not to be involved. . From where could any canon shot or a missile  originate? The mystery is still open. A perpetrated in-house assassination?

Today and every day I remember all those Iraqis I helped kill. I didn’t serve my neighbors, family or friends,
I served only empire and the oil, arms and infrastructure firms that got rich.
I didn’t protect anyone, least of all Iraqis, and certainly not any U.S. citizens who were never under any threat.
Those we murdered were mostly civilians.
Lose the vet fetish and remember what we actually did and do which is kill people for empire.

Britain voted out of EU. Good riddence. And The City of vampires.
For 3 centuries, Britain’s foreign policies were to distabilize and divide Europe with countless wars and financial blocades.
Europe is now united and pretty light from this grounchy unappetizing partner

Shall we expect an emerging federal nation among Ireland, North Ireland and Scotland?
England will do its best Not to quit EU in the near future, until the EU figure out a way to rescue the Brits, as it did to Greece.

What differentiate the good and less good students in schools?

Same goes for teachers?

The toughest skill you may ever master in life is: Train your mind to focus for 55 minutes to the subject matter in class. Have control over your mind Not to wander away.

This is valid for both students and teachers.

Ideas extracted from “Chagrins d’ecole, by  Daniel Pennac)

When a teacher enters a classroom, he must be totally ready and focus to teach for 55 minutes. He must demonstrate that he is present, physically and mentally, look at the individual students and make sure they notice that the teacher is focused and want them to do the same.

La vitesse d’incarnation d’un sujet a l’autre, la capacite de changer de peau d’une classe a l’autre (un chameleon) et de se concentrer pleinement au sujet enseigné.

Une classe ne se dirige pas comme un regiment en marche et au pas.

Une classe doit etre conduite comme un orchestre: chaque eleve joue son instrument et travaille la meme symphonie.  Ce concentrer pendant 55 minutes au sujet enseigne.

Ce qui compte c’est savoir comment faire les eleves progresser au bon moment et avec harmonie.

Ne jamais parler plus fort que l’eleve.

Ne jamais faire croire aux eleves que les premiers violents dans l’orchestre sont les seules que comptent au monde

Je ne peut me resoudre a negliger les appels (les noms des eleves), surtout le matin. Le son que fait votre nom a des vibrations de diapason.

Better, welcome your students as they enter the classroom (as in Protestant churches?) and imitate their responses, particularly the variations on “Present”.

Other teachers demand that the students wait in ordered line and in silence before the teacher opens the door of the classroom: Acquerir un peu de politesse  n’a jamais fait mal a personne.

In the afternoon, let the exhausted students listen for a couple of minutes to the noise outside and compare it to the noise inside the classroom, and proceed to speak at a lower volume.

Transformative power of classical music?

“I have a definition of success. For me, it’s very simple. It’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.”

Feb. 2008

Probably a lot of you know the story of the two salesmen who went down to Africa in the 1900s. They were sent down to find if there was any opportunity for selling shoes, and they wrote telegrams back to Manchester. And one of them wrote, “Situation hopeless. Stop. They don’t wear shoes.” And the other one wrote, “Glorious opportunity. They don’t have any shoes yet.”

00:35 Now, there’s a similar situation in the classical music world, because there are some people who think that classical music is dying.

And there are some of us who think you ain’t seen nothing yet. And rather than go into statistics and trends, and tell you about all the orchestras that are closing, and the record companies that are folding, I thought we should do an experiment tonight. Actually, it’s not really an experiment, because I know the outcome.  

Before we start, I need to do two things. One is I want to remind you of what a 7-year-old child sounds like when he plays the piano. Maybe you have this child at home. He sounds something like this.

01:23 (Music)

01:41 (Music ends)

I see some of you recognize this child. Now, if he practices for a year and takes lessons, he’s now eight and he sounds like this.

Benjamin Zander. Conductor. A leading interpreter of Mahler and Beethoven. Full bio

Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.|By Benjamin Zander

He practices for another year and takes lessons — he’s nine.

02:01 (Music)

02:06 (Music ends)

02:07 Then he practices for another year and takes lessons — now he’s 10.

02:10 (Music)

02:15 (Music ends)

At that point, they usually give up.

 if you’d waited for one more year, you would have heard this.

02:26 (Music)

02:33 (Music ends)

 what happened was not maybe what you thought, which is, he suddenly became passionate, engaged, involved, got a new teacher, he hit puberty, or whatever it is. What actually happened was the impulses were reduced. You see, the first time, he was playing with an impulse on every note.

02:52 (Music)

And the second, with an impulse every other note.

02:57 (Music)  

The nine-year-old put an impulse on every four notes.

03:06 (Music)

The 10-year-old, on every eight notes.

03:10 (Music)

And the 11-year-old, one impulse on the whole phrase.

03:16 (Music)

I didn’t say, “I’m going to move my shoulder over, move my body.” No, the music pushed me over, which is why I call it one-buttock playing.

03:30 (Music)

03:32 It can be the other buttock.

03:33 (Music)

You know, a gentleman was once watching a presentation I was doing, when I was working with a young pianist. He was the president of a corporation in Ohio. I was working with this young pianist, and said, “The trouble with you is you’re a two-buttock player. You should be a one-buttock player.”

I moved his body while he was playing. And suddenly, the music took off. It took flight. The audience gasped when they heard the difference. Then I got a letter from this gentleman. He said, “I was so moved. I went back and I transformed my entire company into a one-buttock company.”

04:05 (Laughter)

the other thing I wanted to do is to tell you about you. There are 1,600 people, I believe. My estimation is that probably 45 of you are absolutely passionate about classical music. You adore classical music. Your FM is always on that classical dial. You have CDs in your car, and you go to the symphony, your children are playing instruments.

You can’t imagine your life without classical music. That’s the first group, quite small. Then there’s another bigger group. The people who don’t mind classical music.

you’ve come home from a long day, and you take a glass of wine, and you put your feet up. A little Vivaldi in the background doesn’t do any harm. That’s the second group.

Now comes the third group: people who never listen to classical music. It’s just simply not part of your life. You might hear it like second-hand smoke at the airport … and maybe a little bit of a march from “Aida” when you come into the hall. But otherwise, you never hear it. That’s probably the largest group.

And then there’s a very small group. These are the people who think they’re tone-deaf. Amazing number of people think they’re tone-deaf. Actually, I hear a lot, “My husband is tone-deaf.”

05:14 (Laughter)

Actually, you cannot be tone-deaf. Nobody is tone-deaf. If you were tone-deaf, you couldn’t change the gears on your car, in a stick shift car. You couldn’t tell the difference between somebody from Texas and somebody from Rome. And the telephone. 

If your mother calls on the miserable telephone, she calls and says, “Hello,” you not only know who it is, you know what mood she’s in. You have a fantastic ear. Everybody has a fantastic ear. So nobody is tone-deaf.

 It doesn’t work for me to go on with this thing, with such a wide gulf between those who understand, love and are passionate about classical music, and those who have no relationship to it at all. The tone-deaf people, they’re no longer here.

But even between those three categories, it’s too wide a gulf. So I’m not going to go on until every single person in this room, downstairs and in Aspen, and everybody else looking, will come to love and understand classical music. So that’s what we’re going to do.

you notice that there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that this is going to work, if you look at my face, right? It’s one of the characteristics of a leader that he not doubt for one moment the capacity of the people he’s leading to realize whatever he’s dreaming. Imagine if Martin Luther King had said, “I have a dream. Of course, I’m not sure they’ll be up to it.”

06:42 (Laughter)

So I’m going to take a piece of Chopin. This is a beautiful prelude by Chopin. Some of you will know it.

06:52 (Music)

Do you know what I think probably happened here? When I started, you thought, “How beautiful that sounds.”

07:27 (Music)

“I don’t think we should go to the same place for our summer holidays next year.”

07:43 (Laughter)

07:46 It’s funny, isn’t it? It’s funny how those thoughts kind of waft into your head. And of course — if the piece is long and you’ve had a long day, you might actually drift off. Then your companion will dig you in the ribs and say, “Wake up! It’s culture!” And then you feel even worse.

08:05 (Laughter)

But has it ever occurred to you that the reason you feel sleepy in classical music is not because of you, but because of us? Did anybody think while I was playing, “Why is he using so many impulses?” If I’d done this with my head you certainly would have thought it.

08:19 (Music)

08:25 (Music ends)

And for the rest of your life, every time you hear classical music, you’ll always be able to know if you hear those impulses.

So let’s see what’s really going on here. We have a B. This is a B. The next note is a C. And the job of the C is to make the B sad. And it does, doesn’t it?

08:44 (Laughter)

Composers know that. If they want sad music, they just play those two notes.

08:50 (Music)

08:54 But basically, it’s just a B, with four sads.

08:56 (Laughter)

Now, it goes down to A. Now to G. And then to F. So we have B, A, G, F. And if we have B, A, G, F, what do we expect next?

09:10 (Music)

09:14 That might have been a fluke. Let’s try it again.

09:16 (Music)

09:20 Oh, the TED choir.

09:21 (Laughter)

And you notice nobody is tone-deaf, right? Nobody is. You know, every village in Bangladesh and every hamlet in China — everybody knows: da, da, da, da — da. Everybody knows, who’s expecting that E.

Chopin didn’t want to reach the E there, because what will have happened? It will be over, like Hamlet. Do you remember? Act One, scene three, he finds out his uncle killed his father.

He keeps on going up to his uncle and almost killing him. And then he backs away, he goes up to him again, almost kills him. The critics sitting in the back row there, they have to have an opinion, so they say, “Hamlet is a procrastinator.” Or they say, “Hamlet has an Oedipus complex.” No, otherwise the play would be over, stupid.

10:06 (Laughter)

That’s why Shakespeare puts all that stuff in Hamlet — Ophelia going mad, the play within the play, and Yorick’s skull, and the gravediggers. That’s in order to delay — until Act Five, he can kill him.

It’s the same with the Chopin. He’s just about to reach the E, and he says, “Oops, better go back up and do it again.” So he does it again. Now, he gets excited.

10:28 (Music)

That’s excitement, don’t worry about it. Now, he gets to F-sharp, and finally he goes down to E, but it’s the wrong chord — because the chord he’s looking for is this one, and instead he does … Now, we call that a deceptive cadence, because it deceives us. I tell my students, “If you have a deceptive cadence, raise your eyebrows, and everybody will know.”

He gets to E, but it’s the wrong chord. Now, he tries E again. That chord doesn’t work. Now, he tries the E again. That chord doesn’t work. Now, he tries E again, and that doesn’t work. And then finally … There was a gentleman in the front row who went, “Mmm.”

11:16 (Laughter)

It’s the same gesture he makes when he comes home after a long day, turns off the key in his car and says, “Aah, I’m home.” Because we all know where home is.

So this is a piece which goes from away to home. I’m going to play it all the way through and you’re going to follow. B, C, B, C, B, C, B — down to A, down to G, down to F. Almost goes to E, but otherwise the play would be over. He goes back up to B, he gets very excited. Goes to F-sharp. Goes to E. It’s the wrong chord. It’s the wrong chord. And finally goes to E, and it’s home. And what you’re going to see is one-buttock playing.

11:50 (Laughter)

Because for me, to join the B to the E, I have to stop thinking about every single note along the way, and start thinking about the long, long line from B to E.

we were just in South Africa, and you can’t go to South Africa without thinking of Mandela in jail for 27 years. What was he thinking about? Lunch? No, he was thinking about the vision for South Africa and for human beings. This is about vision.

This is about the long line. Like the bird who flies over the field and doesn’t care about the fences underneath, all right? So now, you’re going to follow the line all the way from B to E.

And I’ve one last request before I play this piece all the way through. Would you think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer there? A beloved grandmother, a lover — somebody in your life who you love with all your heart, but that person is no longer with you. Bring that person into your mind, and at the same time, follow the line all the way from B to E, and you’ll hear everything that Chopin had to say.

13:09 (Music)

14:56 (Music ends)  

You may be wondering why I’m clapping. Well, I did this at a school in Boston with about 70 seventh graders, 12-year-olds. I did exactly what I did with you, and I explained the whole thing. At the end, they went crazy, clapping. I was clapping. They were clapping. Finally, I said, “Why am I clapping?” And one of them said, “Because we were listening.”

15:35 (Laughter)

Think of it. 1,600 people, busy people, involved in all sorts of different things, listening, understanding and being moved by a piece by Chopin. Now, that is something. Am I sure that every single person followed that, understood it, was moved by it? Of course, I can’t be sure.

15:57 But I’ll tell you what happened to me in Ireland during the Troubles, 10 years ago, and I was working with some Catholic and Protestant kids on conflict resolution. And I did this with them — a risky thing to do, because they were street kids. And one of them came to me the next morning and he said, “You know, I’ve never listened to classical music in my life, but when you played that shopping piece …”

16:20 (Laughter)

He said, “My brother was shot last year and I didn’t cry for him. But last night, when you played that piece, he was the one I was thinking about. And I felt the tears streaming down my face. And it felt really good to cry for my brother.”

So I made up my mind at that moment that classical music is for everybody. Everybody.

how would you walk — my profession, the music profession doesn’t see it that way. They say three percent of the population likes classical music. If only we could move it to four percent, our problems would be over.

16:59 (Laughter)

How would you walk? How would you talk? How would you be? If you thought, “Three percent of the population likes classical music, if only we could move it to four percent.” How would you walk or talk? How would you be? If you thought, “Everybody loves classical music — they just haven’t found out about it yet.” See, these are totally different worlds.

I had an amazing experience. I was 45 years old, I’d been conducting for 20 years, and I suddenly had a realization. The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. My picture appears on the front of the CD —

17:33 (Laughter)

But the conductor doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.

And that changed everything for me. It was totally life-changing. People in my orchestra said, “Ben, what happened?” That’s what happened. I realized my job was to awaken possibility in other people. And of course, I wanted to know whether I was doing that. How do you find out? You look at their eyes. If their eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it. You could light up a village with this guy’s eyes.

18:09 (Laughter)

So if the eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it. If the eyes are not shining, you get to ask a question. And this is the question: who am I being that my players’ eyes are not shining? We can do that with our children, too. Who am I being, that my children’s eyes are not shining? That’s a totally different world.

we’re all about to end this magical, on-the-mountain week, we’re going back into the world. And I say, it’s appropriate for us to ask the question, who are we being as we go back out into the world?

And you know, I have a definition of success. For me, it’s very simple. It’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.

I have one last thought, which is that it really makes a difference what we say — the words that come out of our mouth. I learned this from a woman who survived Auschwitz, one of the rare survivors.

She went to Auschwitz when she was 15 years old.  And her brother was eight, and the parents were lost. And she told me this, she said, “We were in the train going to Auschwitz, and I looked down and saw my brother’s shoes were missing. I said, ‘Why are you so stupid, can’t you keep your things together for goodness’ sake?'”

The way an elder sister might speak to a younger brother. Unfortunately, it was the last thing she ever said to him, because she never saw him again. He did not survive. And so when she came out of Auschwitz, she made a vow. She told me this. She said, “I walked out of Auschwitz into life and I made a vow. And the vow was, I will never say anything that couldn’t stand as the last thing I ever say.”

Now, can we do that? No. And we’ll make ourselves wrong and others wrong. But it is a possibility to live into.





September 2016

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