May 2024

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art,  Until June 1, 2024

“Parable Bodies considers the relationship between “living and non-living entities,” questioning anthropocentric ideals by positioning human and non-human bodies in a reciprocal exchange that emphasizes interconnectedness. Through this body of work, Moses Williams complicates the idea that nonhuman life and matter are lesser than and always the object in relation to the human subject.”

More local events:

May 4 is the National Day of Reason.  Put on your HoU shirt and enjoy an event, help out as a volunteer, or make a donation to your choice of group.

May 17-19 is the Living Traditions Festival at Washington Square.  Enjoy many ethnic food options and learn more about the wonderful diversity of cultures in SLC!

May 16-19 is the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival.  Go and learn about the value and impact of the GSL in the West, as well as about birds.  Do you know that the GSL bird migratory route is of global importance?

June 5 is World Environment Day.  Find out about global events in support of a healthy Earth. You can add an event of your own!

Utah Museum of Fine Art Until June 30:

Pictures of Belonging: Miki Hayakawa, Hisako Hibi, and Miné Okubo

Miki Hayakawa (1899-1953), Hisako Hibi (1907-1991), and Miné Okubo (1912-2001) were three of the most active and visible female artists of Japanese descent of the pre-World War II generations and Hibi and Okubo were unjustly imprisoned at Topaz during WWII.

Everyday local nonprofits like Utah Food Bank, First Step Housethe Inn Between and others, need donations and volunteers to support their work. 

Cats First

by Robert Lane

I want to start this month’s article by talking about cats. That is, the cats in this household. Not long ago our much-loved cat Vera had to be euthanized. We’re not sure just how old she actually was, but as a stray she was fully grown when she wedged her way into our apartment to stay. She had soft living from then on. We think she was close to 20 years old. Anyway, Amy and I decided to wait awhile before getting another cat. But that was not to be, as a couple of tuxedo siblings were in need of a home. They had been left behind when the owners left town and were unable to take them back East.

The person they were left with tried and tried to find a home for two 10-year-old cats, but had no luck. To make a long story short, when they went to an agency and they had no luck either, we decided to adopt them. It’s been a joy to take them in and start to fatten them up as they hadn’t been eating well and were a bit bony. They’ve been quite affectionate and except for the occasional puke, it’s been rewarding to see them in good health and seemingly happy.

Cats are amazing animals and I’ve heard it said that they are the most successful predators on the planet. They range in size from a few pounds to the tigers that weigh over 400 pounds. They live in some of the coldest and hottest environments. I’m glad our little tuxedo friends are only several pounds.

Continuing with the story about being and becoming a humanist, is the chapter of my life after adolescence. As a young teenager, religion did not make much sense to me, but to keep the peace and not argue with my parents I played the role of a good Mormon boy. But I couldn’t stop from asking the kind of questions the LDS Brethren didn’t like you to ask. One that I remember asking was,” If God created everything, then who created God.” They hate that one because it really is the chicken and the egg question applied to God, which has no real answer. I also remember asking about the flood and Noah’s Ark. It was one of the things about the bible that really didn’t make any logical sense and when I asked how the animals got across the oceans to places like Australia, they didn’t care for that question either. Eventually I stopped asking, partly because I knew they had no good answer or answer at all, and because I stopped caring about religious matters and became more and more interested in science. That happened in a big way when I attended my junior year in high school at a military school in Southern California.

I’ll talk about that chapter next month. One more note before I finish. In the next several months leading up to the election, I plan to talk about politics. Mostly I’ll be referring to Republicans and plan to be rather scathing in tone. As a short example, how can you not be scathing to some candidate who states at one of his rallies that “People in nursing homes shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” Really? How would you pull that one off. With some exceptions, when you reach 18 years of age, you’re eligible to vote as long as you are alive. It’s quite amazing how stupid some of them are. More about the craziness of republican politics next month. Until then I hope you have a wonderful May.

10 Ways to Live Consciously

How to have a more conscious life in our fast-paced world

1. Live simply and deliberately. By choosing not to get caught up in the details of this fast-paced world, you are doing your part to slow down the rat race and quell consumerism. You will also discover that you have more time to enjoy being alive. You are the driver of your life, that means you get to decide what the comfortable speed limit for you is. Remember, this can change at any time you choose.

2. Stay in touch with yourself. Soul searching, meditation, and journaling are just a few of the many activities you can take part in to stay aware and learn as much as you can about your emotions, reactions, likes, dislikes, dreams, and fears. Having a solid sense of self gives you a firm foundation for living in this world. Self-awareness is the best way to navigate this life. Ask yourself often: does this work for me? Do I believe this? How can I help? What do I need? and other questions like this.

3. Support or teach others as often as you can. This can help you form connections with people while also giving you an opportunity to make the world a better place. The phrase, “when you know better, be better…” is true. In your quest for betterment in your life, lift others and influence them with kindness. A rising tide lifts all ships, you never know who is watching your example.

4. Consciously choose what you will allow into your being. The media bombards us with visions of hate, war, and pain. Be judicious about what you read, watch, and listen to. Question everything and look with an open mind. Our fast-paced world has so much information, but this is also a benefit for us when we are looking. Only you can decide what works for you.

5. Acknowledge the beauty that resides around you. Whether you live in a sprawling metropolis or a stereotypical suburb, there are natural and man-made wonders just waiting to be discovered by you. We live in a gorgeous state. There are many things to explore and see, even from your car.

6. Nurture your ties to your community. If you don’t have one, create one that you can belong to. Modern life can be isolating. When you have a community, you have a circle that you are a part of. Its members – loved ones, friends, or neighbors – can be a source of support, caring, guidance, and companionship. Connection is key and can be positive for you and others.

7. See the larger picture. Remember that the way you choose to live is not the only way to live. Widen your perspective by exploring other modes of being through research, travel, and discussion. Read, attend seminars or classes, grab coffee with friends and look for new ideas and information.

8. Embrace the challenges that life presents to you and challenge yourself often. After a time, even the most exciting jobs or lifestyles can seem routine. Never stop assimilating new knowledge about whatever you are doing, and your life will never seem dull. Be a constant student of life, there is always something to learn.

9. Move your body. In this busy world, it can be easy to live a sedentary life. Movement reacquaints us with our bodies and connects us to the earth in a visceral way. It also restores our vitality. Going for a walk is also a good way to break out of our mindsets and refresh ourselves.

10. Make time for stillness, silence, and solitude. The world can be noisy, and we are subject to all kinds of noises nearly every waking hour. We are also often on the go and unable to relax. Being alone in a peaceful place and making time for quiet can help you stay in touch with yourself. It allows for time to think, reflect, read, ponder, and learn.

Submitted by Melanie White-Curtis, adapted from an online reading list with no author credited.

Advanced Reconductoring

By Wayne Wilson

One issue standing in the way of using solar and wind generated electricity is that current power lines cannot transmit enough electricity due to the limitations of the transmission wires. Building new lines can take many years due to permitting and local opposition to more of the big towers.

   There is a cheaper alternative called “reconductoring” which replaces the wires on existing towers with newer, state of the art materials. These wires can roughly double the capacity of the electric grid. Today, most power lines consist of steel cores surrounded by strands of aluminum, a design that’s been around for a century. In the 2000s, several companies developed cables that used smaller, lighter cores such as carbon fiber and that could hold more aluminum. These advanced cables can carry up to twice as much current as older models.

These technologies are being used in Europe with great success. Roll out here in the USA is problematic because our electrical grid is a patchwork of many grids that are not well integrated; hardware nor political ownership/management. We also need to deal with longer transmission distances than places like Belgium, the Netherlands, etc.

Humanism and Its Aspirations: Humanist Manifesto III

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.

This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:

Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.

Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.

Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.

Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.

Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.

Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.

Humanist Manifesto is a trademark of the American Humanist Association
© 2003 American Humanist Association

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