Saturday, August 02, 2008

Buddha Is My Personal Trainer



My neighbor Richard and I visited the Ming exhibit at the Asian Art Museum and then wandered through the third floor permanent collection. Richard noted that the Ming Dynasty people pictured on silk screens, scrolls and textiles looked positively Elizabethan in their dress, style and luxury.



This reminded me of the last book by the late Jane Jacobs, "Dark Age Ahead," where she illustrates how North America is sliding into political, economic, and cultural disaster.



The book starts with an example from the Ming Dynasty. In a fine review by Don Webb (click here for the whole thing), he summarizes:
"In the early 15th century, China was foremost in the world in oceangoing trade and exploration. In 1433, the outcome of a political power struggle — the causes of which now seem utterly trivial and only historians know of — caused China’s great fleets to be recalled and its shipyards dismantled. The country turned inward, away from the world. The retreat led to a cascading economic, intellectual and technological stagnation from which China never recovered. China’s many achievements thus became a historical footnote, and the world was left open to the Europeans."



That's one of the most pernicious effects of "outsourcing" so much work from the United States so a few members of the economic elite can get even richer.



Nobody is learning how to do anything anymore except how to be consumers...



...or personal fitness trainers...



...torturing people in the public square.

7 comments:

Matty Boy said...

Yet another example of why I read this blog every day. The pictures are brilliant, the history enlightening, the prose to the point.

Great stuff.

sfmike said...

Dear Matt: Flattery will get you everywhere. Thanks.

Patty said...

Wait. You did this today? After opera? You could move?!

Or maybe you are just posting these now and you did this on another day?

momo said...

Love your transition: "this reminded me.." and the last two photos and lines are a poem.

namastenancy said...

Gorgeous photos, amazing insights but then, listening to Mozart does inspire creativity! How's the back doing?

sfmike said...

Dear Nancy: "Don Giovanni" seems to have cured my back, oddly enough.

Dear Patty: You sounded great today (Sunday matinee). I loved being serenaded by your oboe during the feast scene. And thanks for the sweet comment, momo.

Pura Vida said...

All right! Your creative photos are a balm. Graceful, loving Quan Yin Buddha, relaxing ferry rides and beautiful strangers and friends are all favorites.