• How We Live

    Thinking of Yeats

    By: Stephen Rifkin - Feb 18th, 2015

    Our friend the poet Stephen Rifkin often sends insightful and provocative e mails. It has been an ongoing and absorbing dialogue. I asked if he could expand a recent one into an op ed piece. Looking inward he was inspired by Yeats.

  • Euro English

    Toward Universal Language

    By: Euro - Feb 09th, 2015

    The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

  • Mariffa

    The Country That Embraces Knowledge.

    By: David Zaig - Feb 06th, 2015

    “The currently dominant worldview is in opposition to a gradually emerging new holistic worldview of interconnectedness and oneness.” Thomas Kuhn.

  • Super Bowl Inspired Fast Eddy

    Arts Critic Reveals Passion for Sports

    By: Edward Rubin - Jan 31st, 2015

    As a critic and journalist New York based Edward Rubin, known to friends and colleagues as Fast Eddy, has a finger in many pies. On the eve of the Super Bowl he reveals a deep and abiding love of sports. Much of this passion was inherited from his sporting father. Hey, who knew?

  • The Loop of Misconceptions

    Misconceptions Lead to False Assumptions

    By: David Zaig - Jan 12th, 2015

    I thought I owe you an explanation as to why I think knowledge, like breathing, is vital to life. As we all know knowledge brought us all the advancements in medicine technology, higher standard of living, and so forth. But the knowledge I am talking about is the personal knowledge we identify with daily. When we interact with others we don’t ask ourselves what we mean by saying “I know something,”

  • The Clark and Mass MoCA Stiff Locals

    Negligible Off Season Free Admissions

    By: Charles Giuliano - Dec 18th, 2014

    As of January One the Clark will no longer be free during the off season. It is offering token free days but adult admission is full freight at $20. Add another $10 to see special exhitions. Which is still more generous than Mass MoCA which has a single annual free day. It sends the wrong PR and marketing message to the local community. What price can you put on being a welcoming good neighbor?

  • Gorbachev Tear Down The Veil

    Seeking Knowledge or Understanding

    By: David Zaig - Dec 11th, 2014

    There is no easy short answer: the difference between knowledge and understanding is not so obvious at first, but if you think about it a little, you will find, for instance, that knowing about hieroglyphics does not mean we understand them.

  • Words Matter

    The Value of Education

    By: Stephen Rifkin - Nov 16th, 2014

    People who make money are successful. They are sometimes well educated, and sometimes not, but they are smart. They are smart enough to be successful in the way most of us value success.

  • The Limits of Our Education System

    Functioning in Flatland

    By: David Zaig - Nov 07th, 2014

    We had to teach ourselves and share what we have learned with the rest of the class. Apia, the beautiful brown girl I mentioned earlier, is back in town.

  • Can One Idiot Learn from Another

    What You Don't Know About Quantum Mechanics Does Help You

    By: David Zaig - Sep 21st, 2014

    Knowledge doesn’t limit us or take away the beauty and mystery of the world—it actually enhances our view of the world and should make us stronger and more tolerant.

  • Boston Mayah Walsh on the Arts

    Reply to Larry Stark

    By: Joyce Linehan - Sep 16th, 2014

    Veteran Boston theatre critic Larry Stark wrote an open letter to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. He stated his disappointment that campaign promises to the arts community were soon forgotten. We posted his original letter which is linked in this reply from the Mayor's spokesperson longtime arts advocate Joyce Linehan.

  • Are Humans Becoming Stupider

    IQ Scores Have Declined 14 Points Since the 19th Century

    By: David Zaig - Sep 09th, 2014

    The reason why humans are getting stupider is because we think we are immutable. In the grand scheme of things, we are as primitive as an amoeba trying to build a brain. Some think our brain has reached its peak. Evolution is either too slow or becoming ineffective. Now we are on our own.

  • Unexamined Life Isn't Worth Living

    But Not By IQ Tests

    By: Stephen Rifkin - Sep 09th, 2014

    Schools used to assign children to classes based on their IQ test scores. Then schools decided it was better for children to be in heterogeneous, or mixed IQ, classes. They would get a better feel for life because many people are not so fast. Now experts may be reconsidering. It is one of the truisms of fashion, and there are intellectual fashions, too, that they change. Here Rifkin again rebuts Zaig.

  • Outside The Machine

    Waxing Philosophical

    By: Stephen Rifkin - Sep 03rd, 2014

    There has been a lively response to the provocative series of think pieces by the Berkshire artist David Zaig. Here the Berkshire poet Stephen Rifkin debates Zaig's contentions. They often sit at the same table during weekly Monday night Chinese dinners in North Adams. Rifkin recently gave a poetry reading at the Rudd Art Museum where Zaig is currently exhibiting his work.

  • The Freud Machine

    Taking Responsibility for Opinions We Promulgate

    By: David Zaig - Sep 02nd, 2014

    As an artist, I learned to understand that in this world of ours we humans must take responsibility for the opinions we promulgate: that means, ideally, we ought to search for the data to support what we say. We take notions such as subjectivity, creativity, feelings, or likes and dislikes for granted. Let’s not forget that, first, these notions are words--words we inherited and use automatically, words that can be skewed when translated into action, and as such misrepresent and distort our perception of the world.

  • Vaccination Followup

    Poor Former Dr. Wakefield

    By: Jimmy Midnight - Aug 31st, 2014

    In this sidebar to the Vaccination Divide we discuss the contoversies surrounding the research of Dr. Andrew Wakefield who uncovered links between autism and a particular type of gut inflammation. Eventually his findings were discredieted and his liscense to practice medicine was revoked. But he is correct that aluminum toxicity is capable of doing real damage.

  • Defining an Artist

    Honorific vs. Generic

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 30th, 2014

    Anyone who hangs a few pictures in a coffee shop is a self proclaimed artist or photographer. Is anyone who makes art an artist? Does posting comments to Facebook make one a critic? Does posting snap shots of your cat or kids qualify as art? Despite decades as a successful commercial and fine arts photographer the Berkshire based Benno Friedman, during an extensive interview, explains why he hestitates to call himself an artist.

  • Open Letter to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh

    My Theatrical Response to Disaster in Ferguson

    By: Larry Stark - Aug 29th, 2014

    Back in the day Larry Stark was the theatre critic for Boston After Dark which elided as The Boston Phoenix. He has covered theatre for decades currently with his website Theatre Mirror. Following up on campaign promises Stark in an open letter has questions for Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "To put it bluntly Mayor, I voted for you Only because I thought at the time that your commitment to The Arts was genuine."

  • Exhibit in Grant Park Addresses Ferguson

    Unspeakable Times Are Soothed by Chicago's Statues

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 25th, 2014

    The figures are iron and aluminum, but to me and many others they stood for black and white. People of all colors are walking and seated in the Georg Solti Park in Grant Park, Chicago. These sculptures invite quiet contemplation of the state of race relations in this country this August.

  • The Vaccination Divide

    Exploring the Pros and Cons

    By: Jimmy Midnight - Aug 25th, 2014

    Faith based and other concerned parents have opted not to vaccinate their children. This can result in outbreaks in formerly widely preventable diseases. There are concerns that vaccinations may in fact induce dangerous side effects inluding an inclination for autism. Our science correspondent, a firm advocate of vaccination, explores the issues and risk factors.

  • NY Times Zings Mass MoCA

    Mixed Report on $25.4 Million from Commonwealth

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 22nd, 2014

    Twelve days after breaking news the New York Times has reported on $25.4 million in Commonwealth funding for the $50 million renovation of the final phase of build out for Mass MoCA. While damning the museum with faint praise the Times drags up an eight year old controversy of a botched installation by Christoph Buchel. The reporter probed far and wide for on and off the record smears of the museum and its critical reputation.

  • A Welcome Settlement at the Met

    The Unions and Management Both Give Ground

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 21st, 2014

    From inside the Met: "Both sides gave in. This is heartening. The three big unions took income reductions, even though they are not the massive reductions Gelb wanted. One of the good things is having some oversight on Gelb's spending. A big concern house-wide has been Gelb's tendency to over-spend without thinking things through." It appears that by settling with unions there will not be the anticipated lockout and the Metropolitan Opera will launch its season on schedule. We dig below the surface of this news for an understanding of long term implications for the Met and the struggle to sustain opera as an expesnive and viable cultural resource.

  • Descartes to Yogi Berra

    When You Come to the Fork in the Road Take It

    By: David Zaig - Aug 19th, 2014

    The artist/ playwright/ thinker David Zaig evokes Descartes and Yogi Berra in a lively response to dissent aroused by his recent ruminations in Berkshire Fine Arts. Here he brings more depth and insight to those previous discussions.

  • What's Up at the Metropolitan Opera?

    An Insider's View

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 10th, 2014

    The jury is still out on when the Metropoitan Opera season will actually start. The bulk of the rehearsals for the Marriage of Figaro have already been completed, so it may be possible for the House to be ready for opening night. One rumor circulating is that Gelb will plan his lockout during the scheduled rehearsal time for Death of Klinghoffer, so that he can cancel the production. This would mean that he could extricate himself from that publicity disaster and blame the unions for it. An independent budget analysis is supposed to be completed by August 11th. It will be interesting to see how negotiations go forward after that.

  • Cogito Ergo Sum Ok Now What?

    The Mind Is What the Brain Does

    By: David Zaig - Aug 06th, 2014

    We are supposed to love, feel, and have emotions, but not supposed to know what the mechanisms are that make us behave that way. That is too much to ask. So now, it’s normal to say, “I feel” or “I love” without having to explain how these emotions came about. This is the accepted standard for social and human behavior—it’s very much a fixture of our psyche and the cause for our societal chaos, helplessness, confusion, and mindlessness.

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