This blog is about both scientific, societal/political, and yoga-related issues - individually and considered as different aspects of the same problem/solution. A longer description is found in the first blog entry, and all old posts are found in a structured way here. The blog is an extension of my main home pages yoga-link.se and isbgroup.eu. Twitter: @gunnarcedersund
music, dancing, creativityPosted by yoga-link.se Jan 16, 2015 00:48 I have mentioned it before - Jan Johansson is one of my favorite pianists, and I have been dreaming for a long time about finding a detailed transcriptions to his record "Jazz på svenska". Now I have found it. Today is a happy day!
I found the transcription on youtube, where some friendly soul had used his talent do write down what Jan Johansson plays, note by note, and then just published the for free, for anybody to download. This is what internet can do! This is what we can do for each other, what we already do do for each other, when we are free to create whatever we wish.
Even more! I also found a documentary about Jan Johansson! I have just seen the first few minutes, and I am now eagerly looking forward to watching it in full when I find the time.
Now I need to sleep, however, But first a few links so that you too can see what it is I am talking about. Happy dreams!
First a youtube-clip so that you can hear the record Jazz på svenska. It is one of the most beautiful - and one of the most Swedish - things I know!
Here is the documentary I mentioned
And finally a few other, lesser known, songs.
The internet is an amazing place. So much wonderful things are happening all the time. You just need to be in the right vibration, to make sure that you look in all the right places. I wish for this blog to be such a place.
music, dancing, creativityPosted by yoga-link.se Apr 13, 2014 13:19 In these times of an increasingly obvious media dysfunction, their old role is increasingly taken over by the wider alternative media: social media, twitter, youtube, facebook, discussion fora, reddit, wikipedia, crowd-funded independent investigative juournalists, etc etc. Here is a wonderful example of this. Ukraine is now much in the news, and almost exclusively with respect to their relationship with Russia, which has taken a destabilizing, quasi-military turn in the last few months. As I guess virtually all of you know by now. However, Ukraine is so much more than that. It has a social, and cultural, and emotional, and technological, and literature-rich flora of other facets. And it is always so important to keep the big picture of things - to remember all aspects of our beings. Because that puts things into balance. Regarding the cultural aspect of Ukraine, I just witnessed one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen: a wonderfully inspired and talented artist, who creates in sand - live on stage. She does it reflection of the music, but also - more generally - as a reflection of the times she lives in. You mustn't miss it! I just saw it as a youtube-link on facebook, and will post it both here and there :)
karma yoga: life and workPosted by yoga-link.se Apr 12, 2014 21:09 Sometimes you say that if you should ask somebody about how the human psyche works, you shouldn't ask an economist, you shouldn't ask a psychologist, and you shouldn't ask a sociologist. They might know, but quite often they have theories, that are more theories for their own sake, rather than useful and thruthful descriptions of how our minds and emotions actually work. Who then should you ask? The answer is, as so often: follow the money. Who makes money on understanding the human mind, and what makes us tick, and fails to make money if their theories are wrong? Commercial-makers. Indeed, commercials can often be quite trivial, and sometimes down-right annoying, only trying to make you buy something you don't want, by making you feel bad about yourself as you are. But sometimes they are also spot on inspired, and wonderfully inspiring. Below are a few such latter commercials. Who make you want to change, and do the right thing. To grow and dare and think.
Today I got a new music book I have been looking forward to for quite some time now: "10 easy pieces" by a Polish guy called Preisner. Most of you know probably know of him because he has written the music to many of the Kieslowski movies, e.g. the trilogy Colors: the Blue, Red, and White movies. The music I have gotten home now is something that was born out of the end of this collaboration. As he himself said, at the funeral of his long-standing collaboration partner:
"When people like Krzysztof die, the question to be answered is whether those of us who are left have enough strength to take over from them. Whether we have enough strength to say, 'Now it's our time. Now look at us'. Do we have enough talent? Until we try, we don't know. We know that there is a future waiting for us. Some of us are involved in the thing called art - I don't like the word, but I don't know a better one. We were born from the art, and were educated by it. And we have a duty to do something more. Somebody has left us something, and we too must leave something, some testimony of our time."
I thought that that quote was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. I think that it is so true. We don't know if we have the strength to do something as good as the geniuses that have gone before us. But we have a duty to try - to leave our own personal mark on this particular era.
An interesting side-note on this piece is that it was written in a tight collaboration between Preisner and the pianist who recorded it: Leszek Mozdzer. Mozdzer is a classically trained jazz musician, who apparently have done something I have been thinking about quite a lot, and even played around with a little bit: covers of classical piano pieces. In other words, he takes onto himself the role of the composer, and considers himself as an equal to the composers who wrote the original score. Therefore, the score I just gotten home, is just as much the production of Mozdzer - Preisner intentionally gave him very sketchy ideas, and the printed music are the notes that Mozdzer himself played based on these sketches (in other words: the kind of transcript I would love to have of Jan Johansson's Jazz på Svenska).
In this perspective, it is perhaps also interesting to end with a little update on Beethoven, since it was Beethoven who really brought the stress on following the sheet music into the classical music tradition (before him improvisation and a cover-mentality to performances was as natural as it is in today's pop and rock culture). As I wrote in my plans for 2014, I started the semester by playing the complete op 111 for the first time (it went well!), and I am now practicing - with great enthusiasm - his op 109, and am also preparing for my first rehearsal concert: where I will again play the first sonata: op 2:1. Both things could very well happen before the Summer. And on the op 109 concert, I will only play the last movement, which is around 12 minutes. So then I will probably end with some other things - perhaps an easy piece by Preisner/Mozdzer :)
"Grateful for what is, and eager for what is coming"
That is, in my mind, the ideal state to be in, and it is a balanced state between ease/relaxedness and inspiration to move forward that I am always striving for, and that I am using all my yoga techniques to navigate to. One important new tool in this balancing has emerged as more and more important to me: to celebrate the shifts in my life. As I have described in earlier blogs, I made this last autumn into the most enjoyable autumn ever, by making its transitions more conscious. By celebrating them.
It is now time for a new transition. I have been on holiday since Dec 21, and have for 2 of these weeks not even opened my email inbox. I have instead been taking it easy, spent in-the-vortex time with myself, doing daily yoga and some major cleansing rituals (such as the shankprakshalana). I have also enjoyed the company of friends and family. Apart from that, I have also been devoting some nice time to dive into my piano practice: virtually every day I have practiced, and sometimes even twice a day. During this relaxed time, both at and away from the piano, I have worked with those feeling places I want to be in, to lay new patterns of thoughts. New pipes in my mind, so to say.
An important part of navigation is of course to have a feedback system, that lets you know where you are, and which direction you are heading off to. The most important of those is the feeling in my gut, but like for most people I can see quite clearly where I am also by using external indicators. In fact, one of my most clear and reliable such indicators is my apartment. If I am in a good mode, in good shape, in the zone, on top of things, my apartment is almost always in a good place as well: it is tidied, and it is nice to walk around in the different rooms. And, then when I am sometimes dipping down into less high-flying places, due to stress or other imbalances, this almost immediately starts to show in my apartment as well: the disk is piling up, things are lying all over the place, and my sense of overwhelment is stopping me from wanting to do anything about it. In principle I could, but when I start it feels like an effort, and I don't continue. Therefore, when many of my friends want to check how I am doing, they only have to check what my apartment looks like, and they know. Lots of piled up disk = bad mood, less disk = better mode, and so on...
...and if they would come home to me now, they would see the above picture: an image of a completely clean sink. Even the dishes I used in my last meal is not only dished but also dried and tidied away. This is not an indication that I have spent lots of time and energy doing the dishes, but simply that I am in a good mode, in good shape. That all the time off during my vacation has made me find one of those high-flying places, and be sufficiently stable there for it to start to show around me: in my body, in my clothes, in my breathing, in my movements, in my food, and in my apartment. All these things indicate that I am grateful for the time that have been - and that I am ready for more. Eager for more. That I am eager to start using this nice feeling-place to go back to work again tomorrow! To celebrate that event I end this blog with some New Year fireworks. And with ABBA! :)
music, dancing, creativityPosted by yoga-link.se Jan 07, 2014 01:36 As I wrote in my previous blog, I love to use the turn of the year for summing up, zooming out, and looking ahead - to create inspiring visions and images that I can use to guide me in the time to come. To find images that generates a feeling that will nourish and sustain me, that will keep making me want to move forward. Images that bring that nice sense of eagerness when I wake up in the morning.
As most of you know by now, one of those long-term visions that I have had for many years, and launched in a very concrete form in 2011, is to be able to play all of the Beethoven sonatas in an intensive concert series in 2027, at the 200th anniversery of Beethoven's death. One of the reasons why I find this vision so inspiring is that these sonatas really form a corner stone in the literature of music. To quote Daniel Barenboim, "Bach's preludes and fugues form the Old Testament, and Beethoven's piano sonatas form the New Testament of Western music". And it is true: each of the sonatas is a world of its own, and together they form such an important fundament for all the music that has come since. It is therefore an unspeakable pleasure to dive into these worlds one by one, and also to see how they fit together into the life-story that is Beethoven's amazing journey: from the classicistic Mozart-like early sonatas, to the revolutionary famous works like the Moonlight, Sturm, and Waldstein sonatas, and to the transcendental visionary works of his final sonatas, op 106 and op 109-111. Another reason why I find this project so inspiring is that it is a feat that - despite its strong appeal to almost all pianists - quite few pianists actually accomplish. Many of the most famous pianists of the previous century - Horowitz, Rubinstein, Rachmaninoff, etc - never got through (at least recording) all of them, despite coming close in some cases. To my knowledge, there is only one pianist, ever, in Denmark who played all of them, and in Sweden I only know of two: Per Tengstrand and Hans Paulsson. I have always liked major projects, that take many many years to accomplish, and this Beethoven project is thus a little bit also a manhood test. Like running the Iron Man, or the Spartathlon. It would put me in a quite exclusive group of pianists, and thus prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that my choice of having science as my main occupation has in no way hampered my ability to pursue my piano ambitions.
An inspiring video of a father loving his son, and their love of big joint projects. I love such projects, and I love such father-son relationships.
More specifically, regarding this Beethoven project, I am basically on track. Last year was the third year, and since my schedule is to play 2 sonatas per year, I have now played from 6 sonatas in concert: op 2:1,3; op 10:2, op 27:2, op 31:2, and op 111. The only sonata that I haven't played in full yet is op 111, since I only played the second and last movement in the concert in February 2013. The reason for this division was that that movement is so long - 20 min, the second longest of all his movements - and that it therefore alone is longer than many of the other sonatas. I have since then worked with the first movement, and especially after some nice time to practice now during the holidays, I now know it almost by heart as well. To play the complete op 111 is therefore one of the first concerts planned for 2014, and it will mark an important milestone in the overall project. This sonata is one of the most difficult ones, apart from being one of the most remarkable ones, and I will then have played both the first and the last sonata. In other words, after that, I just need to fill in with the ones in the middle :) The two new ones "in the middle" planned for 2014 are op 10:1 (now in the Spring, an easy one), and op 109 (another favourite among the three final amazing ones, and it will require the entire year to learn). 2014 will also mark the year when I will have played 1/4 of the sonatas (8 of 32), and since I thus now am starting to have quite a few sonatas under my belt, I will this year also start with rehersal concerts.
These rehersal concerts will thus be repeats of sonatas that I already have played, but that I keep alive and active. In virtally all cases I will in these concerts also take the opportunity to improve upon things I haven't been completely satisified with yet. This thing of taking up old pieces again is an absolutely necessary part of this project, and it is also very rewarding: you come much deeper into a piece when you already know it, and can go directly to specific difficult details, and to the musical "feeling-aspects" of the piece. These repeat concerts will be held in three ways: as new lunch concerts, as music soirees, and as a new thing for me - as regular concerts.
Such regular concerts is something I have earlier shunned a bit away from, since there have been a few things I haven't liked about them (primarily the distance between the audience and the performer). However, after attending a few fascinating concerts - perhaps most importantly a concert with Sokolov in Stockholm, and my virtual concert feast now during the holidays - I have started to apprieciate some of the special things that only are possible in regular concerts. There are three places close to here that I feel calling to me: St:Lars kyrkan (my original practice place), Wallenbergsalen (with its new grand piano), and Lunnevad (where I started my more formal studies, and to where I have long wanted to come back). We will see which of these will be the first one out. Apart from these places, I also feel like performing when I go travelling; this is a dream I have had for a long time, and I think that these local concerts will bring me one step closer to seeing that happen more and more.
Regarding the music soirees, I had one of those during 2013, in August. Its topic was "M", and it was described in an earlier blog. During 2014 I plan to have one in the end of the spring, a small one with some 35 guests, with the working title: "4 Beethoven sonatas and a little bit of theatre". 2 of these Sonatas will be solo (probably the first and the last) and the other 2 will be together with guests (probably the cello sonata op 69, and his clarinett trio). 2014 will also be devoted to planning for the thereafter following big soiree, which will be held during 2015, with the title "Ballader och andra berättelser" (eng: "Ballades and other stories"). Frederic Chopin, as depicted by Wodzinka (from Wikipedia).
A Ballade is originally an old song and dance form, one of the oldest ones we know of actually, but it has also been going through many re-interpretations and transformations, and a corner stone in those transformations are Chopin's interperations of them. He wrote 4 Ballades for solo piano, and each of them is a master piece. During 2012 I played the first and the last, and I have now during 2013 been practicing on the third Ballade. Since I have had some nice peace and quiet to practice during the Christmas holidays, also this major piece is now much closer to being ready for prime light, and I plan to play this as well during the first half of the Spring. The rest of 2014 I will spend learning the remaining Ballade, the second one in F major. I think that that Ballade is the easiest one, so I hope and think it will be possible to learn it in about a year. After I have learned that one, I plan to play all of them at the big soiree in 2015, and probably also at a concert in St:Lars kyrkan.
Learning those 4 Ballades by Chopin marks the end of another major project I have been working on the for the last 2 years, and once it is finished, I am ready to embark on another major one. Once I get closer to that point, it will be nice to start dreaming more in detail about what that project will be. Perhaps something by Bach (a long-term dream is to play his Goldberg variations)? Another tempting thing, which I want to do one day but perhaps not immediately afterwards, is to start with a new Chopin project: his etudes. During the holidays, I have read through his op 25, the last 12 etudes, and they actually looked more feasible than I thought.
J.S. Bach, does he have some piece that will end up being my next big project after the Ballades are finished?
Those are the main dreams I have going into 2014 - it will be interesting to see how they play out during the remainder of the year :)
events/courses at yoga-link.sePosted by yoga-link.se Jan 03, 2014 19:42 After some wonderful days of relaxed Christmas recreations, we have now passed New Year, and I am again eager to start doing things. A very stimulating thing for me, which I love to do this time of the year, is to sum up things that have been, get some zoomed-out perspective, and from this perspective lay some new visions, dreams and plans for the year(s) to come. First out in this process is the last TED evening, which was held here at yoga-link on December 3, 2013.
PART 1 - A NEW WORLD IS POSSIBLE
The start out the first session, before the food brake, we listened to a little song I just discovered (and described e.g. here), and which layed the emotional basis: we want to create a new order of things. Or as the lyrics say:
"Let's get the tv and the radio
to play our tune again
its 'bout time we got some airplay of our version of events"
These TED-evenings is in a way part of our attempt to do exactly that: to get some airplay for our version of events. To get some airplay for the most exciting developments of the global human mind downloaded to this part of the world as well. Downloaded to Sweden, to Linköping, to T1. To combine the global phenomenon of the global mind with the old-fashion and partially lost art of spending time with friends, while eating some nice food and having a good time.
The next video was a repeat of an old favorite, one that we have seen at least one earlier TED-evening. However, since there was only some 2-3 of us who were there who had seen it before, we decided to see it anyway - since some of those who hadn't seen it thought the title sounded intriguing, and since our pre-video discussions were very much about personal responsibility, and of how this connects to the global developments. This video basically says that we need to take personal responsibility for ourselves, that we need to create social structures that are not centered around rules and incentives, but around virtue - that old-fashion concept that asks us to do what is right, to do what feels right. This is possible to do in a society where rules are not rigid, where you feel like a person, an individual, interacting with other persons, and where personal responsibiilty acting outside of the standard procedure is celebrated and not punished. Nevertheless, whereas this video argued in very clear terms for the importance of achieving this, it did not have many showcases of how to achieve that. That was were the third video came in.
Also this third video was a rerun of a video we had seen before, in an earlier TED evening, but where again there were hardly anybody present who had attended that earlier event. This video, which is one of my favorite TED-videos so far, shows some very concrete examples of a general and rapidly growing trend: how internet and new technology can be used to connect people to each other, in a way that allows them to trust each other, and thereby help each other, and gradually take over governmental functions. This allows us to enter into politics, not only in the very high-level front image level, which is the thin top layer where elections are held, but in the core actual inner workings of the system, where the government actually functions. My favorite and most startling quote from this video is "we need to make bureaucracy sexy".
After this we had about an hour brake, where we mingled around in two different rooms: the kitchen and the video room. Various groups of discussions formed naturally, and the above described relationship between the above two TED videos was identified: the first one showed the need to make a more personal-responsibility approach to government, and the second one showed how this can be achieved in practice.
PART 2: SCIENCE AND MEDICINE 2.0
The second part started with a video of a physicist, David Deutsch, who spoke about the basic principles of modern science. Basic principles of epistemology, the difference between a testable hypothesis and a myth. These important concepts and perspectives based on previous successes within science formed a nice basis for the final two videos, which delved into the current and future challenges of science: to more fully understand the power and complexity of the human mind, and how we can relate to its healing of problems both within the human mind itself, and within the rest of the human body.
The second video in the second session was about a person who had started to hear voices, voices that over time had gotten more and more vicious and mean, up to the point where she was a complete mess, and were most doctors had more or less completely given up on her. But, the story was also about how she had some doctors who managed to convince her that these voices were a meaningful response to not resolved inner problems, and once she could correctly understand and interpret the message that these voices tried to convey to her, she could start to respond to them properly, and thus start a healing process. Now, these voices are not only completely friendly to her, they are almost like a superpower - she can now remember verbatim what she reads, she can listen to two conversations at once, etc etc.
In the 6th and final video of the evening, the power of the human mind was taken one step further: to the healing of the body. In this remarkable story, Anita Moorjani explains how she was lying on the death bed, and - according to the doctors - was in a coma that she was not expected to wake up from, when something remarkable happened: she had a near-death experience, that allowed her to see many things. She could see not only what was happening around her, and far away from her, but also what emotional basis there was for her attracting her disease, and how she could heal herself again, by simply changing her emotional set-point. This she also did. She chose to wake up again, and to heal herself, by ending her fears. Within a few weeks she went from terminally ill and on the brink of death to completely recovered. The interesting thing with this story, to me, is that she was so clear about how she could do it. She is now talking not only about this story, but also more generally about sound life principles. These can be summed up in the phrase "live life fearlessly", or in the following lyrics, which are taken from the song that opened the whole TED evening:
"Yeah we're all wonderful, wonderful people
so when did we all get so fearful?
Now we're finally finding our voices
so take a chance, come help me sing this"
We plan to have a new TED evening probably around mid-February. If you want to follow discussions concerning this, join the facebook group, or the rizzoma discussion page. Suggested themes so far are: "3D printing and other technologies" and "relationships and sex"! :)
music, dancing, creativityPosted by yoga-link.se Dec 23, 2013 01:08 As some of you might know, I bought myself an early Christmas present a few weeks ago, in the form of a projector. I have had a projector at home before, for the TED evenings, but then it has always been a borrowed one, which I hence have had to return the day after. Now, I have bought one that I can keep also between the TED evenings, one that I "own". Now in the last days, I have been using it to revisit some of the most magical nights in the musical history that I can dig up. Several of them have concerned my 27 year long project of learning and performing all the Beethoven sonatas for his anniversary in 2027, but I have also visited many magical nights given by some of my favourite pianists, many of which now are dead. The last one I looked at was the one in the video above, with Vladimir Horowitz. He gave this recital just 2 years before he died. Horowitz is one of my favourite pianists, perhaps my biggest piano hero of all, and I never got to see him perform before he died. But now, thanks to youtube and my new projector, I can not only see him play: I can see entire concerts just as if I was sitting on the front row, about a meter from his hands.
There are worse ways to await the final hours before Christmas arrives :)
I am a yoga-teacher in the tantric tradition, but also a scientist, and an engaged citizen. Politically, I am engaged in e.g. democracy, internet freedom, human rights, alternative economic theories, and environmental issues. Scientifically, I am working with systems biology, and the study of complex systems on all levels (isbgroup.eu). Yoga-wise, I am teaching and interested in classical yoga, where you take a holistic view, and merge not only physical exercises with breathing exercises and meditation, but also those things with karma yoga (harmonious working), dancing, music, sex, and all the rest of it. See http://yoga-link.se Twitter: @gunnarcedersund