CategoryArts and Entertainment

Free Inspiration

Supposing you could make whatever you wanted, what would it be? This is one of the most challenging topics for a starting young sculptor. You’re not quite sure yet of your own abilities, what is important, what gives you energy. What creation will provide enough curiosity to keep you going for years to come? In what way will that contribute to your own improvement in the area of shape and composition?

My predominant subject is Being Human. The way people feel, interact, what they do to each other both in a positive and a negative way intrigues me and I have no doubt it always will. We may try to escape Greek tragedies and fierce emotions or look the other way. But they do exist in the same harsh and unpleasant way as centuries ago. When, in ancient times, Greek mythology was born with all its’ love, revenge, blood, cruelty, conspiracy and mystery. That is after all what mythology consists of.

I may well never stop studying shape and composition. It’s an experience I have with every portrait I make. Each portrait is new, each face is different from the one before. I always start with a shapeless chunk of clay that needs to be modelled into the exact shape and expression that will capture the other person’s soul. And I still find that hard repeatedly. Each time anew I have to seek, fight, swear, make mistakes and amend, let go and hold on.

Observing the patterns of nature is also a great way to acquire more insight into shape and composition. Just look at the world around you and detect an indefinite amount of forms, rhythms, arrangements, constructions and composition. Nature is diversified and abundant whereas people tend to construct nothing but boxes and squares. Look at the stem of a horsetail herb. It is round with ridges and as it goes up you can see sprigs, tiny leaves and small brown rims in a regular pattern. Stems come in all shapes, square, triangular, round, with five sides. It is possible for a tree trunk to grow spiralling upwards. Tree bark comes in a profusion of miscellaneous varieties. Cork-oak is simply amazing but even the more modest species will be able to astonish you. Just use your eyes!

Nature also surprises us with the most unpredictable colour combinations. Behold the beak and head of a pelican. You will detect yellow, red and blue in small blotches and stripes, quite remarkable. Observation of your surroundings simply provides you with a source of beauty at an arm’s reach. Obviously not all things are exquisite and fortunately you’re not required to commemorate it all. But do make a note of the extra special things. In your head, in a notebook or in your phone. You may never use it in your work, not straightaway at least. But it will contribute to the improvement of your own sense of beauty, your own awareness of composition, rhythm and skin. It will dig itself into your being and that is nice. A wonderful, never-ending tutor and all you have to do is open your eyes!


Hosting an Event

Many people go to all of the events that are held here at the University of West Florida but they don’t understand the hard work that goes into planning and hosting an event on campus. This requires a great deal of work and you have make sure that your vision is understood, so that your plan can be executed perfectly by your team and the organization that is assisting you. There are many steps that you must follow in order for your event to be successful and this rubric will help you insure this.

Create a team: Make a team of individuals with the same mindset and goal as you, and who are willing to be creative and innovative.

Set a Date: You and your team that you have constructed must come up with a date that is convenient for majority of those involved and the students. This is very important because the students have exams to study for and there are many students that are involved in other organizations and sororities, so you have to insure the date is one that will fit majority of the student’s schedule.

Appointment: First impressions are everything for many people and the idea that you have for an event on a University Campus may be great but you must get the approval of management. In order to reserve a spot on the campus of the University of West Florida you have to present your idea to the building managers of the University commons. The managers will decide whether they will approve your event or not, so you have to prove that your event follows the standards of the University and won’t cause any disturbance.

Location: The location is something that very few people may think about but in many cases this could be the single most important thing because if the location of the event is attractable for those that were invited as well as those that weren’t that’s a bonus. When trying to choose a location, you must consider the amount of people that will be able to view the event and attend.

Promotion: Marketing the event is very imperative you and the team that you have created must decide how you will promote the event. With the emergence of social media makes promotion much easier but the traditional method of passing out flyers is very useful because it gives individuals something physical that may cause them to attend the event because it’s convenient for them at that time. Nobody wants to host an event that doesn’t have anyone show up, so out of all the steps this may take the most work but it will pay off for you in the end.

Music: The music is something that isn’t a necessity but it is another way to attract students and will keep the spirits of the participants up. You must ensure that the music is generic and is suitable for all audiences.

Activities: You and your team have to think of activities that will keep the participants occupied and interested while the event is going on. There are many contest that can occupy the participants but choosing an activity that everyone is familiar with would be the best option which should make the participants enjoy themselves while at the event.

Food: Make sure you have food that most are familiar with. The university is filled with diversity which you must always remember.

Time: Choose a time that is convenient for most students.


Types of Weave

When we are talking about weaves we aren’t talking about those that you can have in your hair, but rather those that make up the clothes that you are wearing, the sheets that you sleep on, and the towels hanging in your bathroom. All textiles are made by weaving threads whether they be cotton, flax, acrylic or a selection of many other types, together in a certain way. The main weaves are plain, twill and satin:

The plain weave is also called the tabby, linen or taffeta and it is one of the strongest you can get. It is achieved when the warp and weft threads are aligned to form a criss-cross pattern like a checkerboard, only on a much smaller scale. The balanced plain weave uses threads of the same weight to achieve an overall pattern that is straight and strong, which is why it is used in so many pieces of clothing today. Percale, organza and taffeta are all examples of fabrics that are made this way.

Twill makes a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs when it is being weaved. It occurs when the weft is passed over one of more of the warp threads then under two or more of the warp threads. Twill drapes well so it is no surprise it too is used in a variety of clothing and home accessory applications. If you look at a twill pattern you will see what looks like a series of steps and this diagonal pattern is also called wale. Twill comes in all sorts of sub categories like herringbone, hounds-tooth, serge, sharkskin and flannel. That favourite pair of jeans in your closet? They are a prime example of this type of textile.

Satin weave is that which shows a glossy front and a dull back. It is made when four or more weft yarns are allowed to float over the warp. We have all seen this type of weaving as it exists in items like evening gowns, satin sheets, lingerie, baseball jackets and the like, it’s that smooth, glossy fabric that is very thin, and very cool against the skin.

As you can see, textile production varies depending on what material they are making, but it all starts with the raw materials and ends up something that we all use on a daily basis. As with most things, textile production isn’t something most of us even think about, though they are with us all the time.


It’s a Secret

I’ve been a reader for a long time. I read with the expectation of entertainment or enlightenment. I’ve been a writer for much less time, but readily acknowledge the monumental burden of these objectives.

Correspondingly, there are two kinds of writers. The first may be called responsible. These writers make primary the needs and desires of their readers. They use an outline and write with an organized plan. The second may be called cathartic. They write to cast off whatever is inside. They do not jockey their words to achieve a more advantageous position, they just run with them. They spit out their thoughts like tobacco out of a ranch hand-sometimes they get lucky and hit the spittoon. They tell their stories as they happened, just as I do now.

Life is filled with pivotal moments, and I can clearly recall one that occurred at the onset of my fourteenth year of life. Inadvertently and innocently, I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see; I witnessed something not meant for me to witness. But no one can un-see the seen. Oh, how many times I wished I could!

It was the middle of summer, my freshman year of high school was bobbing in and out in the water just a short distance away, and I was filled with both anxiety and anticipation. My best friend Cara Hale and I were spending the weekend at her lake house over the 4th of July. Her parents, whom I’d grown to love, were hosting a BBQ bash with music, fireworks, and all things patriotic. It was an adult party, so we were relegated to the upstairs which contained a TV room, small kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. We were armed with movies and nail polish and looked forward to “doing our thing” while the adults partied below. Cara even suggested we sneak downstairs and “share” a smuggled bottle of beer, our first.

It was pretty easy-peasy as all the adults were outside, sprawled across the lakefront, watching the occasional fireworks shooting their rainbow of colors over the water. We placed the abducted bottles in the mini-fridge upstairs and went outside to join the adults for the show and for me to say goodnight and goodbye to my parents and my Uncle Joe, who was Cara’s dad’s friend since college.

As the party dispersed and the noise below subsided with each crunching of the gravel drive, we locked the bedroom door, dimmed the lights, and opened our illegal booty. I realized after the first two sips that I would only continue long enough to appear to be sharing in the experience, and that became easier to do with Cara guzzling down her bottle and then “sharing” most of mine.

Fast forward, past the giggling and gossiping, and an hour or so later I found myself next to a snoring Cara while I lay awake wondering what high school boys would be like and how I’d wear my hair on that first day. I was so wide awake, in fact, that I decided to move out to the sitting area and start reading “The Odyssey.” I knew it would be assigned in freshman English, and I wanted to get a jump on it in order to make a good first impression.

After turning on the small table lamp, I saw the beer bottles standing accusingly as evidence of what we had done. We had never thought about how we’d dispose of them without getting caught, we’d only thought about how to acquire them without getting caught. I knew if Ms. H. saw them in the upstairs trash, Cara would be in deep. She had church-going, very strict parents (despite their own tendency to party). My life was a little more flexible.

I decided to take the bottles downstairs right then and there, while the house was asleep, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it the morning, especially since I wasn’t sure when (and in what condition) Cara might awaken. I gently opened the upstairs door and, almost without breathing, I slowly and quietly began my descent, one stair at a time. Halfway down, where the staircase turned towards the living room, I froze. It was the sound that first caught my attention; had it come from me? Then I saw them. The unmistakable face of Mrs. H. on the couch underneath the unmistakable melon colored polo shirt now pushed up to the shoulders of my Uncle Joe. The same broad tan shoulders that carried me on one too many long hikes with my outdoorsy family. Those iconic shoulders that would from now until forever be tainted with the vision of Mrs. H.’s bright red nails digging into them.

Lord, please erase this vision from my memory, I thought, as I remained wide-eyed and standing rigidly just long enough for the reality of what I was watching to settle upon me. Then, with trembling legs and a pounding heart, engulfed in confusion, I quietly back-stepped my way up the staircase, closing the door behind me-two beer bottles still in my grasp. I grabbed my jeans which were strewn on the floor, rolled a bottle into each leg, bunched them up, and shoved them into the bottom of my duffle. I crept into the large bed aside a semi-conscious Cara and attempted not to watch the vision that played mercilessly on the insides of my tightly closed eyelids.

What’s a freshly crowned fourteen-year-old supposed to do with a secret like that? Tell Cara, potentially devastating her family? Tell my father that his brother-in-law (and law partner) cheated on his own sister? Blackmailing the guilty parties wasn’t even a concept, and I knew enough about the school gossip network that if I told any one of my other friends, it would no longer be a secret. I was suddenly carrying around a burden that was thrust upon me, and I believe that to be the moment I began to slump somewhat at the shoulders.

I managed to survive the ordeal, feigning enough fatigue the next morning so as not to arouse suspicion, and made a quick exit. For reasons I cannot explain, instead of placing the empty bottles inside our household trash bag for next day pick up, I surreptitiously placed them into the recycling bin of the Baptist minister who lived across the street. There they sat, right on top of the plastic and cardboard, in plain view of the morning neighborhood dog-walkers. I often wonder what compelled me to do that. Was I attempting to shift any gossip that might ensue onto an innocent victim, or was it a passive-aggressive attempt to flip the bird at righteous adulthood? To this day, I’m still unsure.

Four years later, peering back over the horizon of my high-school years and looking forward to the college experience, I was filled with both anxiety and anticipation. I decided that in order to prepare for the next phase in my life, I needed to stand with my shoulders firm to the challenge. It was time to cast off this burden, to relieve myself of this involuntary and extremely heavy load. But in doing so, would I be putting it to rest or giving it immortality? Is my telling this story now responsible, cathartic, or both? That is my secret, not one I’ve been forced to carry, but one I have created of my own volition.


Use of Colorants in the Plastic Industry

Pigment orange, pigment blue, pigment green; you name it and you have an attractive piece of plastic ware with that colour tint in some store or the other. However, in today’s times the scope of pigments and dyes in plastics are not limited merely to lending hues and shades. They also make an impact on sustainability, processability and compliance.

The question often arises as to which among the two; dyes or pigments are best suited for use in the plastics industry. Dyes are used to shade or tint a resin and as such they have to be transparent, strong and exhibit good heat stability. However, dyes are compatible with only a few resins and therefore their use in quite limited in this industry. Pigments on the other hand provide more options to the manufacturer due to their wider chrome range, pacifying ability and better heat stability for a large number of resins.

The base polymer actually decides the kind of colorant that will be most suitable for the application. Pigments work best with polyolefins while dyes give good results with polystyrene, poly carbonate and acrylic. All said and done, the basic determining factor for choice of colorant is its compatibility with the base resin. There are a few other factors that have to be kept in mind as well such as the method of dispersion, processing temperature, heat stability, gloss, weather fastness, application etc. A slight error in making the choice can drastically change the features of the plastic and therefore, a good selection of the colorant assumes great importance.

Today, there is more emphasis placed on using pigments that are less toxic and cause minimum harm to the environment. Millions of dollars are spent on research by several organisations in developing such pigments. Their efforts have not gone in vain and one of them has been successful in replacing lead based materials in pigments. Lead chromate pigments were banned from use in consumer plastics and in its place, organic yellow pigments have been developed which have better tint strengths in PVC and polyethylene. Another new development is with respect to pigment blue. The name of the new pigment is YInMn blue which stands for its chemical content namely yttrium, manganese, indium and oxygen. This pigment is also superior to the traditional cobalt blue pigments and has high reflectivity and high ultraviolet absorbance in the near-infrared area.

Colorants contribute to a number of performance aspects in plastics; however, lending colour will always remain their major contribution. When one sees the attractive world of colourful plastic ware one realises the important contribution made by colorants to this industry. At the same time, every individual connected with using and developing colorants for this industry has to try and make a difference to the colouring technology whereby Mother Earth is not harmed in any way whatsoever!

Our achievements of today are because of the trust from our clients and customers across the globe. We will live upto the customers’ highest expections, striving to produce the best brand in the world, contributing to our nation’s industrial & economical growth and also to create a better tomorrow.

Find Time for a Quick Energy Boost

Finding time for exercise can sometimes feel like trying to squeeze your foot into a shoe that’s too small. That can be especially true at a busy time of year like this. So here are three things to consider, no matter what time of year it is and how busy you are:

  1. Finding time for exercise is important!
  2. Your exercise time doesn’t have to be long.
  3. EVERY time you exercise, you will boost your energy!

Finding time for exercise is important.

If you make exercise a priority, you are more likely to find time for it. The benefits are so great, this is really worth doing!

Your exercise time doesn’t have to be long.

This is very true – and it’s the place where many people get tripped up. Unless you are training for a marathon… and maybe even then, too… it’s more important to do something than to worry about how long you do it. If you only have 5 or 10 minutes, don’t let that stop you. If you don’t have your exercise clothes, don’t let that stop you. You can still do something – and something is much better than nothing!

EVERY time you exercise you boost your energy.

This is something you’ve got to experience to understand. The energy boost comes from a variety of sources, I believe. Here are two examples:

  • One is the purely physical rush, which will leave you feeling better, more focused, and ready to move forward into the rest of your day.
  • Other boosts come from the great feeling of having followed through on a commitment to yourself. When you do that you build self-trust and send yourself wonderful, self-nurturing messages.

Try setting aside some time to exercise. Build it into your routine… in whatever increments make sense for you. It doesn’t have to be a LOT of time… JUST DO IT (as they say). And I’d love to hear how it goes!

Let’s explore time together…

You’ll find expert guidance quickly with our free Finding Time Success Kit,and then sign up for your Kit!


Playing With the Cure Time of Molds and Casts

Every mold making and casting material comes with its own specific range of cure time. This is nothing but the time that the material will take to get completely cured. It can range from just a few minutes to hours or even a few days. The mold or cast has to be left to air dry on its own and there is nothing much that the artist can do in the meanwhile.

Similarly, the pot time or working time is the time on hand to work with the product after it is mixed until it starts to set. After this, the material will not work properly.

For instance, alginate is renowned for its quick setting and curing time, whereas materials like latex rubber require days on end to cure before they are ready for use. Most silicones have a cure time between 18 to 24 hours.

What to do?

Artists use various measures to speed up or prolong the cure time. In fact, delayed-setting and quick curing options are available for alginates, plasters, silicone and other materials. Sometimes, fibers, fillers, talc or magnesium oxide (for plaster) are added to achieve the same effect.

For certain materials like silicone, fast catalysts are also available. These can be added to the silicone rubber to significantly reduce the cure time, sometimes to even just an hour! Care is needed as adding too much catalyst may make the material start curing even before it can be applied.

Alternatively, techniques like hot air dryer, dehumidifier or baking in an oven are used to hasten the cure time. In fact, plaster casts are often baked to reduce the curing time to 12 to 24 hours. However, too much of the hot air can also cause the mold or cast to crack or spall. Also, silicone does not react very well to heating from dryers or lamps; it may just break out in unsightly bubbles all over the mold or cast.

Temperature variation

It should be noted that the pot time and cure time is generally measured at normal room temperature. It will definitely vary depending on the atmospheric and climatic conditions prevailing at the time of working/curing. For instance, cooler temperatures tend to increase the pot time and cure time while warmer weather is sure to reduce both working time and cure time.

This phenomenon can be easily used to vary the pot/cure time to suit your convenience when trying how to make molds. All you have to do is gently warm the material (both base and catalyst for two-part materials) before using them. This will speed up the chemical reaction and the mold or cast will take lesser time to cure. But keep in mind that the working time is also reduced and the material will start setting much more quickly. Do not overheat the materials either.

Similarly, cure time can be easily increased by refrigerating the material (both base and catalyst again) prior to use of how to make molds. This will give more time for working with the material per se.


Costume Play Is A Popular Hobby

Do you like dressing up in costumes for Halloween or a special event? Would you like to be able to attend more functions with costumes? Then Cosplay is for you. This is the “hottest”creative and imaginative hobby being enjoyed by amateurs and professionals.

No, there are no lines to memorize and you do not have to act in a play or any type of theatre performance. Select a character that you would like to be and become that personality for a period of time.

People who participate in this activity can be found at celebrity, sci-fi, and other types of conventions which welcome costumed personalities. They can also be found at promotional events such as books or movies.

Costume ideas:

  1. Space creatures
  2. Robots
  3. Military and other combative characters
  4. Fantasy creatures
  5. Monsters
  6. Mythical characters and creatures
  7. Movie characters
  8. Cartoon characters
  9. Sexual fantasies
  10. Toys
  11. Distorted human appearances
  12. Original creations fabricated by your imagination

The participants of this activity enjoy making their personal creations whether it is original or copying a favorite character of their choice. These people take great pride in their talents and skills which are needed to assemble a costume.

Regardless if the costume is purchased, rented or made by your skillful hands, cosplay is a lot of fun.

In addition to entertainment for self or others this interest may:

  1. Jumpstart a new career
  2. Photos of your costume may win contests, modeling, or a movie invitation
  3. Satisfy your need to portray various characters
  4. Meet celebrities and other famous people at the conventions and costumed promotions
  5. New social life with people who share your interest
  6. Travel
  7. Satisfy your creativity and imagination

Various talents used in arts and crafts are utilized in making these costumes. Copying and duplicating a simple character can be easy or an ordeal depending on your skills.

A monster or a military costume will involve crafts from plastics, foam, wiring, electronics, metal assembly, and more which may be needed for the costume and the props. In this example sewing fabric, fur, feathers, skins, leather, and other garment needs may require a sewing machine or hand stitching may be the solution.

Regardless if the costume is purchased, rented or made by your skillful hands, cosplay is a lot of fun.

This an up and coming “hot” hobby for everyone to enjoy. There is a niche for any interest, talent or skill which you may possess and wish to keep active.


The Often Unappreciated Value of an Enemy

By “enemy” I mean the person or persons other than us who we feel or think are hurting us or, at the least, wishing us ill. Also, an enemy can refer to something bigger than persons, such as a whole nation or group of nations-which I hope to be able to talk about later in this post-but what I have in mind when thinking about how valuable an enemy can be are more or less limited to dynamics that arise from interpersonal relations. If we suspect that the enemy is so driven by hate that he or she wants us physically dead, that can be addressed by another article, but probably not here, or not now. Another word of caution: it is possible that the one we tag as enemy would likely have the same thought about us: we are rubbish to him or her. In other words, emotions of mutual disdain are likely to be shown by persons who imagine themselves to be having enemies.

In that context I wish to proceed to say that one of the most obvious benefits we can have from an enemy is we-defamed and all-get to know (in high definition and on large screens) what our weaknesses and shortcomings are.

For free.

With that contention I wish to elaborate on three things.

One, although we know who we are and what we do, we often need confirmation from other people to feel secured or to reach a certain level of comfort. If there is issue about our negative side, we hardly get this confirmation from friends. But with enemies, we get it for free. A basic example of how this process of confirmation works: I know I am arrogant, condescending and hard-headed. With friends, I am likely to get 4-star, instead of 3-star, ratings or reviews. I feel good and continue to live my life being arrogant, condescending and hard-headed, confident in my belief that I am doing great by being what I am. But with enemies, the world get to know that I am not only arrogant but also a bully, a spoiled brat and one who has violent tendencies; not only condescending but one who is more like an idiot; not only hard-headed but one who bristles when challenged.

The painful words we hear from people who speak ill of us are, from our perspective, often libelous. How we react to them can neither be right or wrong, but will probably indicate how we appreciate the value of an enemy. Examples:

  • File a lawsuit, in defense of our honor;
  • We can always reject and return insults (with added venom) to the sender; or
  • Accept the “gift,” no matter how outlandish the content or outsized the wrapping.

That last point brings me to the second argument for why we derive benefits from enemies at no cost. As suggested at the outset, enemies are in pain. When they bring out caricatures of people they hate, they often exaggerate. This means that what people say about us may not necessarily be inaccurate; but their use of figurative speech (either in Latin, Greek, English, Tagalog, etc.) may make them baseless or even repugnant. Otherwise, exaggeration, when used positively, is music to all. Example: “Happy birthday to the best daddy in the world!”

Thus when an enemy calls me names and tells me I made a life-long career out of being a prostitute, he or she is probably stressing the fact that at some point in my life I offered false testimonies in exchange of a high position in government.

That said, I am glad that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, through Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas, its President, has recently called the Catholic Church to critically self-examine itself in view of President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirade against the institution.

And that “self-examination”, said Archbishop Villegas, must begin among the Church leaders.

This represents a slight departure from gestures of recent months where bishops would quickly dismiss Mr. Duterte as a publicly-decorated nuisance, or something that looks like it. This, to me, is a sign of acknowledging that in a dump of cabbages and kings, something good can come out of an arrogant, condescending and hard-headed enemy.

The third point is about subjecting ourselves to a process that can make us better persons. Studies about organizations show that there is value in “criticism and self-criticism.” For example, researchers Dan Lovallo Olivier Sibony have suggested that nominating a “Devil’s Advocate” is one of three elements that constitutes an effective decision-making process.

They explained:

the most effective decision-making processes embraced contrarian critiques. Yet in many executive boardrooms dissension can be viewed as analogous to treason. An effective way to circumvent this very human reaction is to institutionalize the role of Devil’s Advocate. Essentially, someone should be nominated to poke holes in the team’s assumptions and strategies. By re-framing dissent as valuable, the Devil’s Advocate can help the team arrive at better decisions without becoming a pariah. Doing so also has the added benefit of normalizing useful but critical feedback by mitigating the fear of reprisal.

With this further advice:

Clearly, the sort of decision-making process outlined above can be demanding and time-consuming. The recommendation then is to employ it only when faced with those infrequent, non-routine, strategically significant decisions with which executive teams are confronted from time to time – in other words, the decisions that pose a significant opportunity for, and threat to, the organization’s future.

More on the Devil’s Role

Many successful organizations spend good money for the services of an “enemy”, one who says nothing but negative things about them. The idea is obvious: when we know everything that can be said negatively about ourselves, we have the option of addressing any which way we like whatever perceived issues there maybe about us. If we are in commerce, this puts us ahead of the competition.

The idea of creating an enemy in the person of a Devil’s Advocate (Advocatus Diaboli) came from the Catholic Church in its “human” effort to enhance its beautification and canonization process. Although in practice since 1524, the Office of the Promoter of the Faith (Promotor Fidei), the official title of the Devil’s advocate, was formally established only in 1587 by Sixtus V. The Promotor Fidei took a juridical position against the canonization of any given saint, in effect taking the devil’s part in the proceedings, which then gave rise to the monicker Devil’s Advocate.

Prospero Lambertini, who assumed the role of a Devil’s Advocate for 20 years before he became Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758), highlighted the level of scrutiny candidates were put under. He explained that there might be a need to ask whether a candidate for sainthood had any serious character defects, suggesting that inquisitors should see if they might be selfish motives in even their good deeds. Affirmed by Church tradition, he further insisted that every act and motive must be questioned, no matter how slight. While no saint is absolutely perfect, the Promotor Fidei’s job was to insist that those raised to the sacred dignity of sainthood should be as perfect as possible.

John Paul II (1978-2005) abolished the Office of Promoter of the Faith in 1983, but the rigor of the process remains until today.

As aspiritual mortals, we find it hard to understand what Jesus Christ meant when he said “Love your enemies.” And yet, as everyday experiences can tell us, we sometimes realize that enemies can make us stronger and better persons.

Putting this basic teaching into action is even harder. Mahatma Gandhi of India (1869-1948), whose country was being ravaged by Christian British colonizers, said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Former US President Barack Obama, then a Senator, was once reported as having suggested that the Christian faith cannot hold a country together.

Obama referred to the Sermon of the Mount, “a collection of sayings and teachings credited to Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew (chapters 5, 6, and 7). The Sermon is the longest continuous section of Jesus speaking found in the New Testament; it includes some of the best known teachings of Jesus, such as the Beatitudes, and the widely recited Lord’s Prayer.” In Matthew 5:43-28:20, the Lord urges his followers to love their enemies.

If Obama is correct, one wonders why countries can’t be brought down to the level of a community where its members live like friends or, yes, enemies.

Maybe what we need is to erase all ideas related to a country or nation, and replace them with one where all peoples simply consider themselves “citizens of the world.”

Join Inkdrops in its wild chase for that draft rules constituting a new world order. Write your comments below.


5 Health Benefits of Art

The profound effects of art on the mind and body

We often wonder what purpose art serves. Why would anyone want to spend their hard-earned money at a museum or a concern? There must be some reason why we’ve evolved to appreciate art. Multiple studies have shown that actively being creative has a number of health benefits and overall improves people’s quality of life. In fact, evidence suggests that the strongest communities are ones that support their local artists. Engaging in art, whether that be visual art, music, dance, or anything else, is essential to our well-being. Here are five positive impacts art has on our everyday lives:

1. Stress Relief

Every day stress is normal, but it’s important to take a break now and then to prevent a busy schedule from turning into chronic stress which can have a negative impact on your health. A great way to break up your routine is to incorporate some kind of art into your day. Studies have shown that even a short, ten minute break once a day can reduce your overall stress level. Being constantly bombarded with information can wear on your mental and physical health. Instead, dedicate a few minutes to creating something.

2. Improve Cognitive Function/Prevent Alzheimer’s

Brain science has improved exponentially in the last few decades. One fascinating new discovery was the concept of neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to re-shape itself and form new neuron connections as we absorb new information. One of the best ways to increase neuroplasticity is to think creatively, and what better way to do that than practise an instrument, paint a picture, or learn a new dance move. Neuroplasticity has been shown to actively prevent the degeneration of brain cells that lead to Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive diseases. It may also be possible that creative thinking and art therapy can reverse the behaviours of PTSD and bipolar patients.

3. Boost Your Mood

We all feel a sense of pride from creating something that is our own. The act of producing art releases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. Many mental illnesses involve an irregular amount of these essential brain chemicals, resulting in things like depression or anxiety. Art therapy has shown remarkable results in improving mood and behaviour. For example, this study showed that art therapy was effective at decreasing depressive symptoms in prison inmates compared to other types of conventional therapy.

4. Physical Rehabilitation

Many professionals are starting to see the benefits of art in the medical field. Whereas before, art was seen as an alternative medicine, now people are realizing the real, scientific evidence behind it and why it works. Overall, when art is added into rehabilitation programs for injuries, addiction, and physical recovery, doctors report widespread reductions in a broad range of symptoms including pain, anxiety, and discomfort.

5. Enhance Cancer Treatment

A study on mindfulness based art therapy showed significantly reduced distress and better vital signs in cancer patients. Other studies show similar results, with reduced depression and fatigue in cancer patients during chemotherapy. Most of us are familiar with the devastating effects of cancer and the crippling treatments used to fight it. Art therapy, especially in groups, can have a huge impact on a patient’s quality of life, and that can make a big difference in treatment.