Powerful Force + Defining the West + Proper Calories
Good Morning from Warren Grove, Prince Edward Island,
"Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic." – Laini Taylor.
Television programming is designed to sensationalise and keep us glued to the advertising box. So, this week I decided to back away from the box and read more about Ukraine, The West, and Russia.
I read The Weakness of the Despot by David Remnick. An excellent article in the New Yorker magazine. It gives historical background information I found educational and hopeful.
Russian expert Stephen Kotkin on Stalin discusses Putin, Russia, and the West in the article.
Mr. Kotkin has a distinguished reputation in academic circles. He is a professor of history at Princeton University. And a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He has myriad sources in various realms of contemporary Russia: government, business, culture.
Q: How do you define "the West"?
"The West is a series of institutions and values. The West is not a geographical place. Russia is European, but not Western. Japan is Western but not European. "Western" means the rule of law, democracy, private property, open markets, respect for the individual, diversity, pluralism of opinion, and other freedoms that we enjoy, which we sometimes take for granted.
We sometimes forget where they came from. But that's what the West is. And that West, which we expanded in the nineties, in my view properly, through the expansion of the European Union and Nato, is revived now, and it has stood up to Vladimir Putin in a way that neither he nor Xi Jinping expected. If you assumed that the West was just going to fold, because it was in decline and ran from Afghanistan; if you assumed that the Ukrainian people were not for real, were not a nation; if you assumed that Zelensky was just a TV actor, a comedian, a Russian-speaking Jew from Eastern Ukraine—if you assumed all of that, then maybe you thought you could take Kyiv in two days or four days. But those assumptions were wrong."
In a previous blog, I mentioned my childhood ambition was to be an architect. I love architecture. I especially enjoy buildings that are accessible and functionally designed. Buildings that create a sense of wonder and mystique brings joy.
"Architecture arouses sentiments in humanity. The architect's task, therefore, is to make those sentiments more precise." – Adolf Loos
I love what architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, this year's winner, has accomplished. He was born and raised dirt poor in a small village in Burkinabé, Africa.
"Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronisingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future." – Nelson Mandela.
Every year the Pritzker Architecture Prize honours a living architect or architects. Whose built work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision, and commitment. And has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity. Celebrating the built environment through the art of architecture.
The prize is often referred to as "architecture's Nobel" and "the profession's highest honour."
"Architecture is primarily a service to humanity, to create an environment where a human being can develop itself, can be happy, can have what I call wellbeing," he explained in the video.
Kéré, based in Berlin, is the first African and the first Black architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize since it launched in 1979.
Keep the Dream Alive
"Each one of us has a unique potential and purpose; that means that we’re the only ones who can evaluate and set the terms of our lives. Far too often, we look at other people and make their approval the standard we feel compelled to meet, and as a result, squander our very potential and purpose." ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
Now for something different...
A Battle of the Bands
Billie Jean on Ukulele or the Real Billie Jean by Micheal Jackson.
Now let's dance.
Thank you for spending your time here with me today. And I wish you a wonderful weekend and much peace.
With love from Prince Edward Island, and for Ukraine