Tag Archives: Ability to Think Critically

Reflection for today…Critical Reading -Henry David Thoreau & Tupac Shakur

13 Sep

* Editor’s Note: Today {September 13th, 1996} marks the 23rd anniversary of Tupac’s tragic death at the age of 25.

Rest in Peace Tupac.

We will continue to celebrate your life and your legacy.

{Things are not the same without you…}

https://2paclegacy.net/today-marks-23-years-since-tupac-was-killed/ 

In this reflection, I wanted to explore the intellectual and poetic side of Tupac that is rarely discussed {the same happens with Jim Morrison the lead singer of The Doors}.

I hope to explore other artist’s reading lists in future reflections.

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“Readers are plentiful;  

thinkers are rare.”  
Henry David Thoreau

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Tupac Shakur was always hungry for knowledge.  

He was a voracious reader and student of life. His passion for learning and social justice advocacy was a part of his essence. 

Tupac’s intellectual power came from a vast knowledge of eclectic topics. He loved to explore esoteric, the metaphysical and philosophical topics. This study became the foundation for his song lyrics and life philosophy.

His mother, Afeni Shakur, had already instilled in him a revolutionary education as she was a member of The Black Panthers. She passed on her wisdom and Tupac continued to polish the jewels.

Tupac was truly an autodidact {a self-taught person}. He would educate others through his song lyrics.

Tupac Shakur Smiling

“Before his tragic death at age of 25, Tupac rapped about poverty, violence in the black community, police brutality, black empowerment, political strategy and spirituality.” https://www.blackfaves.com/story/11-books-tupac-shakurs-bookshelf-still-relevant-today/

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In this short video, Tupac’s first manager Leila Steinberg discusses Tupac’s love of literature and critical thinking.

Tupac Shakur and Leila Steinberg

Leila Steinberg is an artist and community organizer who began working with youth twenty years ago in the San Francisco Bay area. As the daughter of a criminal defence attorney, she grew up surrounded by the workings of the justice system and took a front row seat at the personal tragedies and socio-economic pressures that turn so many at-risk youths into hardened felons. Steinberg helps them connect with their hearts and turn anger and pain into creativity.
AIM promotes artistic expression as a way to handle problems as opposed to choosing violence, drugs or other forms of escape. As the program facilitator, Steinberg sees confronting pain as the best way to move past it. She believes self-awareness is a key to making better choices.

Steinberg is committed to helping people who fall through the cracks of society. In 1995 she began a series of specialized programs for youth within the juvenile justice system and those residing in residential treatment facilities. As hip-hop music became the expression of today’s youth, Steinberg began training artists to develop voices powerful enough to reach a generation. While conducting poetry workshops in Northern California, she met Tupac Shakur and he became a regular participant in her class. They shared a vision of developing a space where each artist in attendance is encouraged, inspired and motivated to address social change in their work. Tupac referred to Leila as the “bow” and himself as the “arrow.” –http://www.pinlight.com/leila.htm

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This clip is from the movie Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel.

It is said to be a “documentary examining the politics, music and life of Tupac Shakur.”

This is the description from the Youtube video…

This is a list of books read by Tupac during his lifetime including while he was at the Baltimore School of Arts and in prison. They are presented in no particular order. The topics include Black history, the afterlife, religion including Zen, war, women’s liberation, music, and poetry. Reading these books, it is clear how they moulded Tupac’s thinking and language. This is a handy list of good reading material if you ever find yourself locked up.”

 One Hundred Years of Solitude
Written by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1984
Written by: George Orwell

Ah, This!
Written by: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

All God’s Children:
The Boskett Family and the American Tradition of Violence
Written by: Fox Butterfield

All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Written by: Donald Passman

And Still I Rise
Written by: Maya Angelou

Art of War
Written by: Sun Tzu

Assata: An Autobiography
Written by: Assata Shakur

At the Bottom of the River
Written by: Jamaica Kincaid

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
As told to: Alex Haley

Bhagavad-Gita As It Is
Written by: A.C. Bhaktive-danta Swami Prabhupada

Black Like Me
Written by: John Howard Griffin

Black Sister:
Poetry by Black American Women, 1746 to 1980
Edited by Earlene Stetson

Blues People
Written by: Amiri Baraka

Catcher in the Rye
Written by: J.D. Salinger

The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences
Written by: Walter B. Gibson and Litzka R. Gibson

The Confessions of Nat Turner
Written by: William Styron

The Destiny of the Nations
Written by: Alice A. Bailey

The Diary of Anais Nin
Edited and with a Preface by: Gunther Stuhlmann

The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
Written by: E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil

The Grapes of Wrath
Written by: John Steinbeck

Great White Lie:
Slavery, Emancipation and Changing Racial Attitudes
Written by: Jack Gratus

The Harder We Run:
Black Workers Since the Civil War

Written by: William H. Harris

Here and Hereafter
Written by: Ruth Montgomery

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Written by: Maya Angelou

I Shall Not Be Moved
Written by: Maya Angelou

Imitation of Christ
Written by: Thomas a Kempis

In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens
Written by: Alice Walker

Initiation
Written by: Elisabeth Haich

Interesting People:
Black American History Makers

Written by: George L. Lee

James Baldwin: The Legacy
Edited by: Quincy Troupe

Kabbalah
Written by: Gersham Scholem

Life and Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by: Ira Peck

Life as Carola
Written by: Joan Grant

Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs
Written by: Linda Goodman

Makes Me Wanna Holler
Written by: Nathan McCall

The Meaning of Masonry
Written by: W.L. Wilmshurst

Moby Dick
Written by: Herman Melville

Monster:
The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member

Written by: Sanyika Shakur

Music of Black Americans: A History
Written by: Eileen Southern

Mysticism
Written by: Evelyn Underhill

Native Son
Written by: Richard Wright

Nature, Man and Woman
Written by: Alan W. Watts

No Man Is an Island
Written by: Thomas Merton

Nostradamus: The Millennium & Beyond
Written by: Peter Lorie

The Phenomenon of Man
Written by: Teilhard de Chardin

Ponder on This: A Compilation
From the Writings of: Alice A Bailey & the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul

The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing
Written by: Mark Bricklin

The Prince
Written by: Niccolo Machiavelli

The Psychedelic Experience:
A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., Richard Alpert, Ph.D.

The Psychic Realm
Written by: Naomi A. Hintze and J. Gaither Pratt, Ph.D.

A Raisin in the Sun
Written by: Lorraine Hansberry

Roots
Written by: Alex Haley

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools
Written by: Jonathan Kozol

Secret Splendor
Written by: Charles Essert

Serving Humanity
From the writings of: Alice A. Bailey

Sisterhood is Powerful:
Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement
Written by: Robin Morgan

The State of the World Atlas
Written by: Michael Kidron and Ronald Segal

Social Essays
Written by: LeRoi Jones

The Souls of Black Folk
Written by: W.E. Burghardt DuBois

Teachings of the Buddha
Written by: Jack Kornfield

Telepathy
Written by: Alice A Bailey

The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: W.Y. Evans-Wentz

Thoughts and Meditations
Written by: Kahlil Gibran

Tropic of Cancer
Written by: Henry Miller

The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg
Written by: Paul Portuges

Wisdom of Insecurity
Written by: A.N. Watts

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Written by: Robert M. Pirsig

Copied from: https://www.thuglifearmy.com/index.php/tupac-reading-library.html

{Goodreads also has an alternate list of books that Tupac read}.

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For more information…

Henry David Thoreau…http://thoreau.library.ucsb.edu/thoreau_life.html

Tupac Shakur…http://2pac.com/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000637/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/23942.Books_Read_by_Tupac_Shakur_

Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel Movie…http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314806/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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Peace & Poetic Love

-V.

Reflection for today…Deconstructing Happiness -Karl Pilkington

2 Aug

*This post is dedicated to my friend Olly who is the biggest Karl Pilkington fan that I know.

Karl Pilkington is a critical thinker.

Karl Loves To Think Outside The Box…

Part of Karl’s mass appeal is that he stays true to himself. Despite his massive success, Karl seems to still be authentic. He is always honest, curious, humble and so funny. He is best known as comedian Ricky Gervais’ friend and colleague on their very successful podcasts The Ricky Gervais Show. He was the star of an idiot abroad and even wrote a diary about his adventures. His latest creative endeavour is the moaning of life.

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In this short video clip Karl deconstructs happiness in relation to physical beauty/fitness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnoIj624Wf8

Happiness | The Moaning of Life | Karl Pilkington

For the moaning of life, he meets a man who has had 120 procedures and approximately $150,000 worth of plastic surgeries. Karl posed without his shirt next to the man who’s had all the plastic surgeries. The interviewer says to Karl, “I am quite impressed with that you don’t care. You are happy to stand there posing with your top off. And let’s face it, you haven’t the best body known to man.”

I love Karl’s humble yet refreshing attitude in response to the interviewer. He replies that his body is “not a bad one…it works. But I understand that any women watching this wouldn’t go…oh, look at him. But that’s the reality isn’t it? That’s what most people look like.” Why is Karl’s physique so unattractive or unacceptable?? I don’t think it is by any means. It’s a manner of perception and what we are being sold {in an ideological sense i.e. perfection}. Most people prefer fantasy and illusion instead of truth. Karl Pilkington is the ultimate realist and he employs his critical thinking skills to deconstruct the situation.

Karl inquisitively asks, “So I don’t know what’s happened where they think that’s normal on the left.” Adverting has sent people on a relentless quest for perfection, beauty/sex appeal and youth. Men are now being attacked with similar psychological warfare that women are attacked with {albeit to a much lesser degree}. Even children are being groomed as consumers.

We are reduced to our exterior appearances- not even amounting to the sum of our parts. In the mainstream media, what we look like has solely defined who we are. Our rich inner life, emotions, intellect, spirituality have been erased from the discourse and divorced from our identities. I wonder what consequences this emotional and spiritual disconnection will bring. We cannot allow society, marketing/advertising to dictate to us who we are. Your self identity needs to be your own creation because only you know who you are inside.

The ridiculous new plastic surgery that Karl mentions is testicle ironing. What has happened to people that they need to invent these new procedures? Are they really that bored or obsessed with unattainable perfection? Why don’t people focus on true problems in humanity: poverty; hunger; war; abuse to children, animals, women, the environment; human trafficking; genital mutilation; acid attacks; rapes; racism, sexism, discrimination of all types; social inequality, etc? I always wonder what great things people could accomplish in their personal lives {and humanity as a whole} if we wouldn’t be seduced by this culture of narcissism and distraction.

Will people wake up to their own power in order to enact change in their lives and in the context of the world? Will most remain asleep? Time will tell but hopefully more will realize this matrix is a prison {if we chose to stay enslaved in it}. It is time to wake up and realize that emancipation from society’s brainwashing is in our hands. We hold the key. This quest for perfection, endless youth and eternal beauty is a social construction and an illusion.

No one will argue against self-care as caring about one’s health and appearance is quite healthy. The danger lies in caring too much because it can distract you from more important things in life that are more deserving of your time, energy and attention. Focusing obsessively on such trivial and vain things such as perfection seems like such a waste of energy, time, money and human potential but that’s just my opinion. As Karl says, “don’t worry about it.”

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Do you agree or disagree with Karl Pilkington?

Why or why not?

{I hope to feature more moaning of life clips and Karl Pilkington in the near future}.

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Please enjoy Clutching at Straws by Andrea Parker {from her Kiss My Arp cd}….

{I was lucky enough to see her in person when she opened up for Radiohead. It was divine and I loved her music}.

I copied this from her biography page…

“”Known as no1darker – Parker has always been uncompromising, passionate about the music and loaded with don’t–give-a-shit resolve. She has a love of art, arps, photography, architecture, graffiti, 808, concrete, glaciers, adidas, Bass, rust and all things white.  She is incredibly hard to pigeon hole : one minute she will be in the studio making dark, menacing, haunting music-  going from Booty shakin’ beats to string drenched ballads. The next she’ll be climbing mountains and reaching new summits; from Kilimanjaro in Africa to the avenue of the volcanoes in Ecuador.  She has worked for many charity’s, including Crisis, the NSPCC, Get kids going and many more, she even dressed up as Pudsey Bear for Children in Need!!  An old school analogue girl at heart, she still remains a die hard B Girl and is defiantly a freaky B*tch! One things for sure: She’d give the men in white coats a run for their money if they even dared think about taking her away…”

-Time Out magazine

“Beats so phat, so dope and so dark, there ain’t a NYC MC alive (cept maybe Rakim) that could handle them”

-New York Times

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40JbtBCjz1U&feature=share

Knowing our self
Who we think that we are
Constantly changing
Constantly changing
So near and so far
Knowing ourself
Who we think that we are
Constantly changing
Constantly changing
So near and so far
Who we think that we are
Who we think that we are
Who we think that we are.”

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For more information…

Karl Pilkington…http://www.karlpilkington.com/ 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1797453/

The Moaning of Life…http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3277670/ 

Andrea Parker…http://www.andreaparker.co.uk/ 

http://www.andreaparker.co.uk/about-andrea

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Peace & Namaste…