Thursday 29th of February 2024

we're dead forever...


It is essential for "Gus Leonisky" to see democracy through art and sciences…



Art is the expression of human deceptions and extrapolations, deliberate or not, that include politics and religious beliefs, while sciences are the seeking of exacting reality from the infinitesimally small up to the details of the greater universe. 

Democracy is about sharing as equally as possible the reality of ideas, including economic ideals with minimal selfishness, so that everyone (most of us) can have a decent (hopefully cultured) life — young and old. Otherwise we would be in a despotic system, with king, queen or dictator. Democracy a big ask. The oldies like me are on the way out, but still trying to stay relevant, upright and political, despite the weather affecting our joints. We’re a mix of selfish self-made little bourgeois and of dudes struggling to pay the bills because the pension sucks. On average, old women seem to get a bigger rough-end of the pineapple. Meanwhile the young are dippy and sunken into their unsmart-phones, thinking that Kim Kardashian is the summit of Kulture. The middle-aged are too busy working, to survive — and they watch entertainment on the box to relax rather than be interested in being bothered by democracy (yeah yeah)— and a few rich geezers play the derivative market. 

Our democracy too often relies on series of knee-jerks, say through a young man voting for Clive Palmer, because he liked yellow since he was a kid, and some bogans from the burbs being influenced by the Murdoch media that tell them, the workers, blue and white collar, their best chance of improving their pay-packets is to vote for the party of those who flog them and destroy the common good… Yep, makes sense. Privatise...

And we have the grocers: the people who count cents to make a living. They hate the workers because they cost money — and hate the rich who don’t even bother to count thousands to make their billions. 

This is why I have brought up many artistic concepts on this site, through visions such as that of Duchamp, Picasso, Dali and Utrillo — and many more. They don’t do much for democratic equality, except increase the cultural baggage in which Democracy can be enriched by ideas. Each artist has their own motivation and many go at it alone, sometimes with the help of friends (or family) alongside. Some artists need patrons, including government handouts, to survive. By showing the way artists think, democratically speaking, should broaden the horizon of individual's survival without having to end up living like Van Gogh… But, why did a poet like Marinetti write the fascist manifesto of Italy? Is this because we are masochists or sadists at heart? Why do we prefer to be ruled by ruthless psychopath rather than be deciding our own future? Is the lure of cash so aspirational that we give up our ethics? Do we pass the buck to god?

Some artists mix with other artists, though it seems that, at the present time, there is a demand for uniqueness, which does not mean selfishness, but the presentation a personal view of the future (or the past). Such a vision is likely to fail nonetheless, as the mechanics of life on earth have their requirements away from human artistic endeavours. Art is a relative diversified activity.

Democracy can learn to be more diverse from it.

It’s daunting. 

I could paint like Ben Quilty when I was ten. I did. I could paint like Michelangelo when I was ten. I did. Vlaminck, I remember, had no secrets. When I was ten, Vlaminck was the easiest artist to copy or emulate, but to me he was emotionless and unimportant… In many ways, it’s often a question of seeing, visualising the tricks and doing. Back then as a kid, I did not like Van Gogh’s life. Too mad. Too easily twisted. No future. I copied skilled illustrators so well, one could hardly notice the difference. I was impressed by the "pompier” art (a Salvador Dali’s expression) of the tray painters who lacquered Monet’s irises… Through friends doing Uni degrees, I became acquainted with the works of “still contemporary” (them old, us young) of artists such as Juan Miro and Paul Klee. 

In our early advertising days, we could not pass the works of Milton Glazer, Mondrian and Andy Warhol. Jackson Pollock had no secrets. Helvetica became our bread and butter, as well as Caslon and other serifs such as Baskerville. Arnold Böcklin was a quiet god of art nouveau typography. We advertised detergents and car-parts nonetheless.

Böcklin exercised an influence on Giorgio de Chirico, and on Surrealist painters like Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí. When asked who was his favourite painter, Marcel Duchamp controversially named Arnold Böcklin as having a major influence on his art. Whether Duchamp was serious in this assertion is still debated.

I can see why people would be sarcastic about Duchamp views of Böcklin. Influenced by Romanticism, Böcklin used mostly mythology, overlapped with the aesthetic of the Pre-Raphaelites to symbolise the human condition. Many of his paintings explore life and mortality in the context of a fantasy world. Duchamp’s Large Glass does an anti-similar non-symbolism in an abstracted monochrome format where the idea, often meaningless, becomes far more important than the image — though the image is integral to the idea… It’s cunning. It needs the expressed idea to describe the work. Arnold’s pictures do not need a narrative. His Island of the Dead is a masterpiece of restrained peacefully contemplative ending of meaninglessness…

So democracy struggles between the goal posts of the media, the governments and Julian Assange. We owe Julian far more than we have realised so far. We owe him more than big, for the truth. Julian is like a modern artist full of ideas with skills in a different medium: encryption. No Leonardo, no Einstein could match his mind.


Picture at top: the Island of the dead by AB

he deserves ten lifetimes of freedom...

Human rights lawyer and barrister for Assange's legal team Jennifer Robinson highlights the dangers that Julian Assange's extradition poses to press freedom worldwide.

"The views expressed in third party content do not necessarily reflect those of The Real News Network or its editors." poltroons!




Yeah, not discounting the dangers that Julian Assange's extradition poses to him...


Free Assange today... He deserves ten lifetimes of freedom!...

workers for assange...

Inspired by the words of Julian Assange, workers around the world are collaborating to stand up for his freedom, writes Davey Heller.

IN A TIME of deepening capitalist crisis, just as in the 1930s, the ruling class is turning to fascism and dictatorship. Fascism requires crushing working class resistance to succeed.

The fascist in the White House, Donald Trump, is leading a global attack on the rights of the working class with his persecution of Julian Assange. The “defend Assange” campaign is correctly characterised as being a free speech campaign, but it must also be seen as part of the class struggle and the working-class fightback against the threat of fascism.

This is why the launch of the Workers for Assange movement is necessary. Today the war on journalism is the spearhead of what is really a class war and Julian Assange is a class war prisoner. Without access to journalism which tells the truth about the crimes of imperial power, without the fundamental right to know the truth, all the rights of the working class won in struggle over a century are existentially threatened.


Read more:



Read from top. See all other articles about Assange on this site. Use Ecosia, Bing or Google. see also our direct link to your smartphone:



paris. where else?

In the latest development in the extradition case of Julian Assange to the US on spying charges, the Wikileaks founder’s European defence team says it will try to seek asylum in France.

After serving almost 12 months in a London prison for breaching his bail conditions and seven years in Ecuador’s London embassy before being evicted in April last year, the 48-year-old will begin his legal challenge next week as he faces charges including 17 counts of spying and one of conspiring to commit computer intrusion.

Those charges relate to Wikileaks’ 2010 release of thousands of classified Pentagon files on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, some of which revealed war crimes and the torture of prisoners, along with US diplomatic cables.

The Australian is facing up to 175 years in prison if convicted in the US.

At a press conference in Paris on Thursday local time, prominent French lawyer Eric Dupont-Moretti said Assange’s situation was “sufficiently serious” that their duty was to talk about with French President Emmanual Macron.

“We consider the situation is sufficiently serious that our duty is to talk about it with French President Emmanuel Macron,” the lawyer said.

Read more:



LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY for Assange... What else is France famous for? Vin rouge? Napoleon?... Was the Bastille stormed in vain? Com'on Macron, do something good for a change... DEMAND THE RELEASE OF ASSANGE AND OFFER HIM ASYLUM IN FRANCE.



My memory is improving. I am getting older. Is this a paradox? According to the laws of statistics I should have 15.7 percent less neurones for ageing and 20.9 per cent less neurones for boozing. 

Though there could be an overlap, say that I have lost more than 30 per cent of my brainpower. I see it as a plus: less confusion. 

And I pay more attention to what I do than when I was young and stupid. Thus I have a better chance of remembering. 

Aged 16, I lost track of what I was doing, if I ever knew anything beyond learned illusions… I had a massive depressive bout that reduced my cognition to a black subconsciousness. All my lovely skills mentioned in the top article — from painting like Michelangelo and Vlaminck — vanished... Overworked, over-cramming facts, figures, systems, physics, chemistry and mathematics — all in order to become a super-engineer, my memory that had been quite wonky since childhood, gave up. I fell on the floor like a rag doll, abandoned by the kid who sees a seesaw in the distance — a mirage. I joke about it, but the recovery was painful...

It took nearly two years. No engineering for me… Paintings became rough black and white smudged angry images. I had to abandon emotions and become a robot... I would have been a pain in the arse for people around me. Lucky, I was given the chance to “relearn” drawing, painting and conceptualisation at a school where I was not registered. I only existed for myself. This was a time to pick up ideas and get a new grip on reality of which I would now be the controller, rather than being told “what to believe”… It was empowering.

I am less of a robot with old age. I am more mellow. Red ned and philosophical errands made sure of this. I think of this dark episode as having had “my mid-life crisis” early… 

In order to remember, I limit the Palette to two or three colours. As a young kid, I would have been splashing rainbows everywhere with a new paint set for Christmas to the despair of mum for finding all of the walls in the house with reds, yellows, blues and greens jarring with the delapidated stained and tired light-forest-pastel-greeno-off-white. On my own statistics, a young girl would be more careful and concentrate with attention to the details, while the young boy would do as much damage as possible… But my clever mum saw that I would become more skilled and PATIENT. Being patient is a skill in itself. Being able to wait for a result is a massive human concept. It seems innate as it exists in the wild, like squirrels collecting nuts for winter, but for humans this is where imagination comes in. Even with a project half-done, one needs to see a final glorious stage without mucking up the process of making, building and altering even if the vision switches to a more refined intelligent and emotional outlook. 

Democracy needs to be patient. I must say though, that some old lefties are fretting about the next revolution, preparing a barricade of zimmerframes in order to improve the pension. Seniors Week, a celebration of the valuable decrepits like Gus, by the NSW government could have been a breeding ground for major discontent… In opposition, the old wrinkled capitalists were spewing their false teeth in disgust — as they’d collected their own loot to have a better shelter in retirement — telling the others, the poor old bastards, it’s their fault if they live in the streets… 

If you think the young-and-restless believe the world owes them a living, try the oldies… They are even more rabid about their rights to be looked after by the government. This is often due to having had to work like slaves, being sick in the lungs from galvanising fumes and of women barely surviving domestic violence, rape and divorce, ending up with nothing in their old age. Enough is enough. So said revolutionary Cheryl Kernot apparently… When we’re old, there is less and less time to be patient with governments wasting moneys on stupid submarines, unless our brain has fried into dementia — or that we really enjoy life without regrets. We still don’t like their stupid submarines though...

There's hope nonetheless. Should our memory fall below a critical point, the scientists in the white coats could give us a boost.

There is an interesting article on memory in Science, the magazine:

Memory engrams: Recalling the past and imagining the future
by Sheena A. Josselyn and Susumu Tonegawa

Science  03 Jan 2020:

Vol. 367, Issue 6473

Structured Abstract


The idea that memory is stored as enduring changes in the brain dates back at least to the time of Plato and Aristotle (circa 350 BCE), but its scientific articulation emerged in the 20th century when Richard Semon introduced the term “engram” to describe the neural substrate for storing and recalling memories. 

Essentially, Semon proposed that an experience activates a population of neurons that undergo persistent chemical and/or physical changes to become an engram. Subsequent reactivation of the engram by cues available at the time of the experience induces memory retrieval. After Karl Lashley failed to find the engram in a rat brain, studies attempting to localize an engram were largely abandoned. 

Spurred by Donald O. Hebb’s theory that augmented synaptic strength and neuronal connectivity are critical for memory formation, many researchers showed that enhanced synaptic strength was correlated with memory. Nonetheless, the causal relationship between these enduring changes in synaptic connectivity with a specific, behaviorally identifiable memory at the level of the cell ensemble (an engram) awaited further advances in experimental technologies.


The resurgence in research examining engrams may be linked to two complementary studies that applied intervention strategies to target individual neurons in an engram supporting a specific memory in mice. One study showed that ablating the subset of lateral amygdala neurons allocated to a putative engram disrupted subsequent memory retrieval (loss of function). 

The second study showed that artificially reactivating a subset of hippocampal dentate gyrus neurons that were active during a fearful experience (and, therefore, part of a putative engram) induced memory retrieval in the absence of external retrieval cues (gain of function). Subsequent findings from many labs used similar strategies to identify engrams in other brain regions supporting different types of memory.

There are several recent advances in engram research. First, eligible neurons within a given brain region were shown to compete for allocation to an engram, and relative neuronal excitability determines the outcome of this competition. Excitability-based competition also guides the organization of multiple engrams in the brain and determines how these engrams interact. 

Second, research examining the nature of the off-line, enduring changes in engram cells (neurons that are critical components of an engram) found increased synaptic strength and spine density in these neurons as well as preferential connectivity to other downstream engram cells. Therefore, both increased intrinsic excitability and synaptic plasticity work hand in hand to form engrams, and these mechanisms are also implicated in memory consolidation and retrieval processes. 

Third, it is now possible to artificially manipulate memory encoding and retrieval processes to generate false memories, or even create a memory in mice without any natural sensory experience (implantation of a memory for an experience that did not occur). Fourth, “silent” engrams were discovered in amnesic mice; artificial reactivation of silent engrams induces memory retrieval, whereas natural cues cannot. 

Endogenous engram silencing may contribute to the change in memory over time (e.g., systems memory consolidation) or in different circumstances (e.g., fear memory extinction). These findings suggest that once formed, an engram may exist in different states (from silent to active) on the basis of their retrievability. Although initial engram studies focused on single brain regions, an emerging concept is that a given memory is supported by an engram complex, composed of functionally connected engram cell ensembles dispersed across multiple brain regions, with each ensemble supporting a component of the overall memory.


The ability to identify and manipulate engram cells and brainwide engram complexes has introduced an exciting new era of memory research. The findings from many labs are beginning to define an engram as the basic unit of memory. However, many questions remain. In the short term, it is critical to characterize how information is stored in an engram, including how engram architecture affects memory quality, strength, and precision; how multiple engrams interact; how engrams change over time; and the role of engram silencing in these processes. 

The long-term goal of engram research is to leverage the fundamental findings from rodent engram studies to understand how information is acquired, stored, and used in humans and facilitate the treatment of human memory, or other information-processing, disorders. The development of low- to noninvasive technology may enable new human therapies based on the growing knowledge of engrams in rodents

So we are rodents with more engrams than a common rat… Beaut. I can go back to my painting and imagine the future… as long as the paint doesn’t dry too fast and that I can remember which day it is.


Read from top.