Author: David Anthony Pittaway (page 1 of 23)

Article: Know thy Systemic Enemies – Mechanisms that Prevent Transformation

Published in the journal Politikon in July 2019.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02589346.2019.1642030

Abstract:

Despite the hopes and political promises of the 1990s that socio-economic transformation would occur in South Africa, the country continues to be plagued by high levels of poverty and inequality. The question of why this transformation deficit exists arises, often with debate surrounding answers where forms of binary logic are foregrounded, for example, coloniality/decoloniality and Eurocentrism/Afrocentrism, among others. I depart from binaries-based approaches and instead focus on analyses revealing mechanisms that prevent transformation. These mechanisms are evident in Mill’s analysis of the development of democracy, Marcuse’s critique of advanced industrial society, Deleuze’s commentary on disciplinary and control societies, and Princen’s descriptions of traffic control measures. Outlines of these analyses are offered in the spirit of ‘knowing the enemy’ that is a mix of structural mechanisms, identifiable without over-reliance on binary relationships, oppositions and tensions. Oppositions and tensions of this binary nature have been prominent in transformation rhetoric in South Africa, but the country’s transformation deficit indicates that a new language (Wallerstein, Princen) might still be helpful in dealing with various conceptual and practical challenges. Adopting a manner of expression less inclined towards emphasis on binaries may be a step in the direction of the new language.

Contact me for a link to a page with a limited number of free copies.

Rocket stove sauna version 2.0

My first rocket stove sauna heater worked well for just over a dozen firings, and then crumbled. Too much water sprayed directly onto bricks. And the thing was badly designed, with an undersized chimney. In fact, I should never have called that unit a rocket stove. It was just a masonry stove, and an inept one at that!

After a few years of research and tinkering, and a few more builds of properly designed and built rocket thermal mass heaters, I arrived at version 2 of the sauna rocket engine. The stove could heat a warehouse. Instead it heats just less than 6 square meters!!!

System size is roughly a 20cm diameter, or an 8 incher. The sauna is up to temp in 25 minutes when the stove is run on full power. Thereafter I let it die down to about half power so that I don’t kill myself and whoever I have managed to lure into the oven with me.

New thermal mass rocket heater for tiny cabin

A Brief Introduction to Yoga and Meditation for Seniors

No, this is not a post about feet! It’s a post about yoga, specifically yoga for senior citizens.

I, David, did not write the post. Someone named Harry Cline did. Harry contacted me and asked if I would post it to my site, and I said yes. If you would like to contact Harry, here is his email address: [email protected]

Here is what Harry produced (.docx attached):

A Brief Introduction to Yoga and Meditation for Seniors

It is easy to dismiss yoga and meditation as just another health craze, but the body of research surrounding both practices has only increased over the past few decades. Science is now more convinced than ever of their potential for physical and mental health, and it has also never been easier to start practicing them at home. This is great news for seniors, who are under a lot of pressure to create healthy routines that sustain and nourish their mind and bodies.

How Yoga and Meditation Work

Yoga in the original Hindu sense is a series of movements designed to prepare the body for meditation. Nowadays, we use the term yoga to define a series of different practices that combine precise body movements with breathing techniques. Some are geared toward meditation and spirituality, while others are similar to a conventional workout.

Similarly, the origin of meditation is ancient and religious, but it is now becoming a practical tool for relaxation and stress relief. While there are many forms of meditation, the most common involve deep breathing combined with visualization or body-scanning techniques.

So, why are these practices beneficial? And what do these benefits mean for seniors? The answer is made up of a combination of elements:

  • Movement – Yoga involves a series of postures that work on flexibility, balance, and full-body strength. Flexibility and balance tend to deteriorate naturally with age, while muscle loss (known as sarcopenia) is strongly linked to lack of exercise. The health benefits are also more complex and wide-reaching; exercises like yoga can boost gut microbiome, leading to improved gut health and a healthier digestive system.
  • Breathing – Both yoga and meditation involve controlled deep breathing. Deep breathing has several health benefits, the most well-known being its potential for stress relief. This is a large part of what makes yoga a mental health practice as well as a physical one, and what makes it so ideal for seniors struggling with mental self-care.
  • Spirituality – Yoga and meditation started out as spiritual and religious practices and, for many, they still are. According to the Conversation, spirituality can be an invaluable tool in dealing with the challenges of growing older. Engaging with the spiritual part of yoga and meditation, not just the practical parts, can greatly boost the benefits.

How To Get Started

Yoga and meditation are easy for seniors to start at home. It is a good idea to start by clearing out a dedicated space in your house, as this can help with motivation. If you don’t have a lot of room, you can move around some furniture or even put some clutter into storage — this in itself can be great for your stress levels. Just be sure to budget for the added monthly expense.

Then, just go online. There are thousands of free yoga videos available, with the gentle style of Yoga with Adriene being a worldwide smash hit. You can also pick up a yoga mat on Amazon for $11.99 (before shipping). For meditation, you need only search the words “guided meditation” to open up a whole world of mindfulness. You can also download a free meditation app. Headspace is a great beginner option, with a 30-day free program that gently introduces you to all the core concepts. After that, monthly subscriptions are $5.74 to $14.95.

Yoga and meditation came come a long way. From their humble beginnings in India several thousands of years ago to their current status as wellness cure-alls, their influence has been long-standing and complex. Nowadays, we are lucky to live in an age where we have science-backed proof of their effectiveness as well as free, easy ways to bring them into our lives. Seniors should start taking advantage of this opportunity and reaping the rewards.

A Brief Introduction to Yoga and Meditation for Seniors (Attachment, .docx of this article)

Podcast: Das and Clara on Shamanism, initiations, conscious living, meditation, and more

In this episode of The Perspective Project Podcast, Das and Clara answer my questions about their respective backgrounds (Das was born in Scotland and moved to Dubai at a young age, while Clara was born in South Africa and lived in Spain as a young woman) and about how they found themselves on their different Shamanistic paths in South Africa.

We cover a lot of thematic territory: initiations (what counts as an initiation), conscious and unconscious lifestyles, lineages, the questioning of everything, questions surrounding whether we self-direct in living consciously or are we tapping into something external to ourselves, personal epiphanies, the bolstering psychic abilities, ways of increasing our connection to all that is, connecting with heart, transformative experiences, starting with meditation and cultivating a practice… and more!

Warning: there is a cell phone buzz near the hour mark that comes back a few more times to haunt the recording. Cell phones are herewith banished from the recording area! 

Check out the work Das does at Instagram HERE and HERE

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Podcast length: 1 hr 15 minutes 

Podcast size: 53.4mb

Download podcast here (opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps top right of page): Download

Article: A philosophical situation: democratic capitalism, the ecological crisis, and the issue of choice

Published in Acta Academica:

http://journals.ufs.ac.za/index.php/aa/article/view/3695

Abstract

Democracy is an open system, while capitalism is a gated one. Yet the dominant global political economy is democratic capitalism. The presence of a gated capitalist core within democracy results in the political prioritisation of capitalist business as usual, thereby resisting substantive changes to the political economy because economic growth is a prerequisite of capitalism. Responses to some of the challenges facing humankind – challenges such as the ecological crisis, which has arisen in part from unrestrained economic growth – cannot occur if economic growth dictates the democratic political agenda. Acknowledging this open- closed problem means acknowledging democratic capitalism’s incapacity to deal with some of humanity’s current challenges, such as the ecological crisis. A pressing question arises: what does one do? Arguably, if ecological decline is to be slowed or averted, choices must be made that result in ways of thinking and ways of living notably different from those systematised under democratic capitalism. The need for choices incommensurable with democratic capitalism is a sign that a philosophical situation has arisen, because, as explained by Alain Badiou, part of the role of philosophy is to confront incommensurability. In positioning democratic capitalism (and its implications for ecology) against incommensurable alternatives, a full philosophical situation arises. Permaculture is an example of an arena offering such alternatives, and an outline of an implementation of permaculture principles is provided in order to illustrate what a potential remedial candidate entails.

Podcast: Mike Raimondo from Green Renaissance (Short Inspirational Films)

Thanks to Mike for a great conversation about the passion project that is Green Renaissance.

“We are a passionate collective of four creatives, on a journey to share positive stories. We make films that excite us – we call these our passion projects. Everywhere we look, we see a world filled with inspiration. Sometimes it’s capturing a conversation with someone who appreciates the true beauty in the world. Other times it’s meeting interesting people who are inspired by nature. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. With your help, we will be sharing at least one new film each week”.

Check out the amazing short films at greenrenaissance.co.za

Support Green Renaissance at Patreon.com  

Podcast length: 1 hr 10 minutes

Podcast size: 51.4 mb

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Download podcast here (opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps top right of page): Download

Podcast: Dan Cornick (Away With The Fairies and Amatola Trails, Hogsback)

Dan Cornick and I met up in Hogsback and had a conversation about his backpackers, aptly named Away With The Fairies, as well as his Amatola Trails business, the beauty of the mountains, and an interesting fairy experience he had at the backpackers…

Visit the backpackers site at Away With The Fairies

Visit the Amatola Trails site at Amatola Trails

Podcast length: 1 hour 3 minutes

Podcast size: 46mb

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Download podcast here (opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps to right of page): Download

Podcast: Angie and Rod – Learning Clan

Angie Curtis and Rod Tritton are the brains behind the Learning Clan event. They kindly agreed to have a short conversation with me at the 2018 gathering.

Learn more about Learning Clan here: Learning Clan

Podcast length: 43 minutes

Podcast size: 37.9mb

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Download podcast here(opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps to right of page): Download

Podcast: Bert Olivier on all things Philosophy

Bert kindly agreed to have another recorded conversation with me in order to elaborate on several topics that arose in our first podcast, which can be found HERE.  We also explored a variety of new topics not covered at all in the first discussion. The quality of the first recording is terrible, so I am relieved for the chance to have another go at recording Bert – the quality of this recording is incomparably better than in the first attempt.

Bert’s Thoughtleader page: Bert at Thoughtleader

Bert’s articles at Researchgate: Bert at ResearchGate

Support the podcast: Patreon.com

Podcast length: 2 hours

Podcast size: 107 mb

Download podcast here(opens in new window, look for google download button, perhaps to right of page): Download

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