Pixelated

Pixelated

Photos by Hervé Mugisha

Cyberpunk is a Euphemism

This image depicts the reality of global warming and humanity’s disconnect from natural rhythms. I do not think there is anything wrong with modern societies and our material pursuits.

Politics have always existed, economics has always existed, as well as other things, including war, injustice, and poverty.

Today we have the means and the potential not only to pollute the earth but also to finally bring a balance to most of these historical issues. This is Too Little Nature.

beauty-and-the-beasts

Beauty and The Beasts

This piece depicts the reality of nature’s perpetuation as an environment of primitivity and invites the viewer to question their existence as an urban dweller on land that was not always so prim and proper.

Exclusive-Schooling

Exclusive Schooling

This piece represents exclusive schooling. ‘Private’, ‘privileged’, ‘elite’, ‘wealthy’, ‘nobles’, ‘lords of the land’, ‘rulers’, ‘enlightened’, ‘the initiated’, ‘secret societies’, ‘aristocracy’. All of these words are synonymous with a position of power. Throughout the millennia, this has taken many forms, but one form in common has always existed: education. This is The Power of Knowledge.

Democratization-of-Schooling

 

Democratization of Schooling

This piece depicts the unprecedented availability of education. Training, of all sorts, is now just a click away. However, obtaining education requires our interest and commitment to the lesson. It all comes down to knowing yourself and being aware of what you want.

About This Project

Hervé is a student in TAV College’s ALC program. This project uses the layer mask tool, of Adobe’s Photoshop, to re-contextualize images.

Tale of Antiquity

Tale of Antiquity

The story so far

Ever look up at the night sky in the countryside and wonder if there was life beyond our solar system?

Once upon a time, there lived a great omnipotent king named Toku. This all-powerful and benevolent king was immortal and had ruled his kingdom since the beginning of creation. His divine kingdom was called Twelfth Heaven. Located just outside our solar system, it was populated by a race of strange and enigmatic beings made of Light.

My name is Sam Urai, the last king of Gandawandaland. I was born about 3520 years before Christ and lived for over 700 years. Are you surprised? Ha! In those days, mankind’s life span topped 900 years on average. You cannot conceive of the world of my time as it has been lost to history. Furthermore, in antiquity, gods from the heavens lived among men on this Earth. 

These gods taught mankind to utilize our free will to reason and they bestowed technology upon us. All benefits and luxuries you enjoy today, without exception, are derived from their knowledge. Everything from agricultural techniques to architecture and civil engineering, from art and music to math and sciences. All of which were holistically contained in a single philosophy or worldview. Practitioners of this religion were committed to developing character and dignity. In turn, they acquired a permanent divine grace and longevity. 

It all started long ago when these strange Light beings faced extinction in their world due to excessive consumption of natural resources. All the warnings to cease their actions had gone unheeded. Until finally, the entire planet’s ecosystems crumbled resulting in massive catastrophic disasters. A massive loss of life ensued as the devastation triggered more and more seemingly unrelated calamities. A dark cloud had descended over the near-perfect, god-like beings. 

In the desperate scramble to save their world, it was discovered that the chemical element of gold had the ideal makeup to patch up massive caverns that had formed over the millennia of unchecked depletion of the minerals, gases, and other resources deep in the interior of the planetary mass. These gigantic empty spaces threatened the structural stability of that entire globe. As it turned out, gold was rare on that planet, and so after a quick scout around our solar system, the gods discovered a humble blue planet and descended upon it to mine for the gold. 

First came the one called Nobu. This being was a feline-faced, slender figure, who stood at a towering height of 12 feet tall. Nobu was Toku’s first born child and the brains of the Earth task-force expedition. She was deep into the STEM subjects and was an avid inventor of all manner of wacky yet useful gadgetry. She had a reputation for being a troublemaker in the alien society but always got away with it because her eccentricity was the source of her genius, which was highly valued and praised by all. 

This imposing figure belongs to the one called Eiya. Eiya was Nobu’s sibling and was tasked by their father to assume the role of Commander-in-chief of the kingdom’s Earth expedition. This gentle giant stood at 16 feet tall, had the head of a bull, a heart of gold, and an indestructible body. Just as wise as he was mighty, Eiya was slow to anger and praised stability above all else. This tendency caused him to be somewhat stubborn and resistant to change. Eiya was Toku’s favorite child because he was dependable and steadfast, unlike his sister whose every whim had her changing course at any moment. He had a track record of hoarding all manner of beautiful and luxurious things, however, that many disapproved of. Though he ruled justly as Commander of the Earth expedition, he was rigid and unimaginative later when situations arose that demanded adjustment and when his people needed to improvise. 

This is the restored capital of the kingdom on the Twelfth Heaven. 

You may be wondering what all of this has to do with our troubles, both the isolation felt during this pandemic and the larger environmental crisis. I mentioned earlier how this is about restoring perspective to our bewildered spirits. You see the Light beings are intimately intertwined with humanity and are linked to some of the most important and spectacular events that have occurred on this planet. From the very genesis of mankind to the Great flood that was to have erased our kind off the face of the Earth! All prophets and all saviors have known this truth. 

These benevolent otherworldly beings fashioned us from clay and breathed life into our nostrils. The reason for this act of divine creation, however, was not altruistic. They intended to use us as laborers to mine gold because their numbers had dwindled after the near destruction of their planet. Toku could not send any more of his subjects for the important work being carried out on Earth. When they first arrived on this planet about 13000 years ago, only the natural things like the primordial elements existed along with the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms. Judging the already existing creatures to be lacking reasoning faculties and unsuited for the kind of tasks they needed doing. The beings sought the permission of their supreme king to allow Nobu to devise a new life form more capable of aiding them in their efforts. 

Food, Diet and You An insightful interview with yogis Harpreet and Sanprem

Food, Diet and You An insightful interview with yogis Harpreet and Sanprem

Introductions

Harpreet is a P.h.D student in biomedical engineering. She is an entrepreneur who has already founded a few companies, including a vegan catering company and an all-natural ingredient cosmetic company that allows skin pores to breathe. Sanprem has been in computer engineering and is currently exploring new dimensions within himself, including 3D animation and graphic design.

Q: Thank you for doing this interview with me. Can you introduce yourselves to our readers?

A: Our names are Sanprem and Harpreet, we are Kundalini yoga teachers. 

(Sanprem): When I discovered Kundalini yoga, I realized how miseducated we are about our bodies. We know so much about the outside world, we know about stars that are billions of light-years away but we don’t know who we are and what we should eat, or how to maintain our health. When I realized Kundalini yoga holds all these answers, I decided to go through with it, that’s why I do what I do. 

(Harpreet): A little of the same for me as well, because in Kundalini yoga you find so many answers to plenty of topics that nobody talks about. First, of course, do it for yourself. Begin to practice. With this practice, you learn how to be present in life, how to use your personality, how to build it and clean it so you can have a beautiful projection of yourself and interact accordingly with people. 

Q: Is yoga a cult?

A: (Sanprem): A “cult” in most languages has a very negative connotation. Anything can be a cult. In practicing Kundalini yoga, you are so sharp and perceptive that it’s hard to be fooled into a cult against your best interest. 

(Harpreet): As he said, a cult can be seen in any activity, for example, someone that goes to the gym every day. When someone goes to the gym, they have a very specific way to dress, specific types of food they would like to eat, etc. In that sense, yeah sure, but really it is a way of life.

Q: What is Kundalini Yoga? 

A:  This branch of yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in India. It is an energetically powerful activity and a lifestyle. If you look at your body like an instrument, i.e: a computer, there are many ways to use a computer. Kundalini Yoga is a broad and deep “program” or technique to achieve certain results. It is fast, effective, demanding, engaging, allows a person to not have to dedicate their entire life to monastic life in order to see results [relating to body, mind, and spirit] in 20 years. If you commit to your practice, you will start to see changes. you will start to see magic, to feel your body differently, breaking through your traumas, past experiences, etc. Everything changes, you will feel like you are being pushed by this energy. Most of the time, when a person does Kundalini yoga for the first time, they can feel that something is way different even when it is a simple sequence. 

Q: What kinds of diets are there again?

A: There are many. There is a carnivorous diet (includes animal flesh), pescatarian (only includes fish), Lacto-vegetarian (includes milk), There is vegetarianism, and the most restrictive, would be vegan diet (no animal products, sometimes even honey), and raw diet. 

Q: What are food groups?

A: The body needs 3 different food groups, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Proteins for building muscle, fats are used for energy, carbs are for structure. The challenge is to recognize these 3 categories in the foods on our plates. Fruits are made of a lot of vitamins and water, they are a burst of energy and help make the body feel alive. The natural sugar in them is good for brain activity. Fruits are strongly recommended when you are a student. Do not eat after a meal because they ferment faster than the other foods in cue to be digested. This produces alcohol in the body, which is not helpful for the liver. Many people say “we are what we eat”, well it is true. It follows that ingesting an animal that was fed the same thing, that grew in some crowded, tight space and that never saw sunlight, we risk being negatively affected. Food production, the meat industry especially, has alienated us from our food so much that we can pet a cow and eat a burger with the other hand! We do not connect these things. In yoga, there are three types of food; sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic. Tamasic meaning dead food (stagnate), rajasic is more active, and sattvic is pure energy or simply, light. 

Q: How do you personally eat? 

A: It is always a process of discovering and readjusting all the time. The transition to vegan happened slowly. I never made a decision to cut off milk, but somehow it happened. The diet can never be forceful. You need to understand or feel some sort of urge to do this. Listen to your body. For some people, it is easy and quick to transition when they receive the information. Other people will take way more time to transition, perhaps due to emotional trauma, etc. 

(Harpreet): My advice to someone interested would be to start the transition by removing dairy. In one week, you will see it in your skin! It is a very fun experience. I lost 20kg in 2 weeks of dropping dairy. After that, I said no more dairy. Many people are actually lactose intolerant. Cow milk is full of hormones intended for veals to grow a lot and do so quickly. If you stop milk for a week, you won’t feel inflated anymore.

(Sanprem): To transition, it was very important for me to have an understanding that we don’t need meat to survive. That’s for sure. It is very powerful, almost like a drug, it is so exciting for the body to eat meat that you are addicted. There is going to be a little withdrawal. But first comes a decision, one backed by good information.  Historically meat was a luxury. It was only eaten on a special occasion. Peasants bred pigs for the lords in castles, whom, having never interacted with the animals when alive, called the meat pork. In this same way, cow became beef and so on. The first time I cut off meat, I did so without replacing it with anything! Just eating salads left me starving. Then I learned some recipes. It is a learning curve. I suggest a very easy hi-tech solution if you are thinking of switching diets, follow hashtags on Instagram like #veganbeautifuldishes, etc. So you know, at least on a visual level, that there are appealing alternatives. Careful not to get overwhelmed. In our minds, we tend to think that vegan is grass from the lawn. But in actuality, it is in the vegan department that I have had some of the tastiest meals.

Q: What are the organs most affected by a long-term, junk-food diet?  

A: Well, the liver a lot since it filters everything, the intestines a lot since they absorb everything. It’s hard for the body to absorb all these high energy meats, it wears out the organism more. The heart because food goes into the blood at some point, and arteries can clog. Cardiovascular diseases are actually the leading cause of death. I think stroke is second. The skin is also very affected by a highly acidic diet. This can often be witnessed on the sensitive skin of the face.

Q: What would you add in conclusion?

A: A general way to replace meat (which is protein+carb) is by a combination of beans or nuts, with cereals. No need to reinvent the wheel, just make the same recipes, but slowly change the ingredients that are not needed anymore. Also, if it is just the taste of meat that you like, nowadays we have many options for fake meat. Burgers, sausages, salami, chicken, and more. Available at any store and online (Maxi, Wal-Mart, Metro, Provigo). People think becoming vegetarian costs a lot. This is not the case. I believe meat costs way more in the quantities that we take it. The first step is what you eat. Then maybe what you see, the music you hear, who you surround yourself with. Everything you consume makes up your building blocks.

Thanks to Sanprem and Harpreet for doing this interview. You can find them on Facebook under Kundalini Nomads. There, you will find videos of full yoga sets for you to follow along to! You can also attend live sessions every week via Zoom. With home confinement, the economy, politics and the winter setting in, now would be a good time to invest in our well being. Kundalini yoga can help us find that inner youthful energy and ease tension build-up in the body, mind, and spirit. Thank you.

According to Llaila O. Afrika, African Holistic Health:

“Cooked foods (fried, salty, sugary, slimy, pasty) causes a rise in organ temperature. The constant demand on digestive organs to try to metabolize cooked foods and neutralize the harmful chemicals made by cooked foods causes thermal fatigue. The United Nations World Health Organization data indicates that 97% of primary cancers start at heat exhausted organs such as the prostate.”(pp. 199)

“Flesh eating increases the workload of the kidneys and liver. It is usually cooked, which dehydrates the meat and dehydrates the consumer of meat. Consequently, this decreases immunity and degenerates the body. Aside from this, the animals secrete adrenaline into their bodies as a reaction to the fear caused by the slaughterhouse. This adrenaline poisons the flesh, creates toxins and becomes a chemical stress when eaten.” (pp. 215)


Productivity and Motivation Tips

Productivity and Motivation Tips

from the Friendly TAV College Neighbourhood Cartoonist

Being bored is a normal state that everyone experiences. More so when you are young, as you are more likely to not yet have found your “thing”. So here are a few observations and tips from me, as someone who not only was never bored while stuck at home this past summer but who actually didn’t seem to have enough hours in the day! 

Productive Tip: Drawing 

I am in the Arts, Letters, and Communication program, if you hadn’t yet guessed. But the reason I suggest you draw is in order to be more productive. Many of you already utilize visuals to better understand the problem. This is true in your assignments here at TAV, but in your personal lives too. Visualization becomes a potent tool as you break down a problem into many pieces, then seeing in your mind where each piece fits in the whole, after that is connecting the dots. A mind map or an infographic are great examples of data visualization. Also just doodling symbols of key concepts from your project is great. You will be so concise in your problem solving that your teachers will think you are cheating! 

Productive Tip: Santé! 

College students, on average, do not much consider their health before making choices. Their muscle fibers are still delightfully springy, their skeletal systems have yet to skew from years of bad ergonomics, and their smiles are still a healthy white regardless of what they chose to 

eat. Who can blame them? I am just now awakening to the fact that I won’t always be a teenager myself. Here are a number of key points we stand to gain by maintaining a high

health and fitness standard; more energy and prolonged youthfulness, manage emotions better, attractiveness, feel good, mental sharpness, likely to succeed in long term goals, confidence, and leadership to name but a few. Be warned, however, it is not easy to jog, it is not easy to work out, it is not easy to do yoga or breath exercises. Do these as part of your regular routine if you want to be consistent. The body will love you for caring for it, it will be your ally and grant you a boost instead of being an obstacle in your way. Covid-19 works on our ability to intake air to our lungs, so strengthening our breath would be wise. 

Productive Tip: Take A Break From Everything! 

Simple as that. 

Having the ability to actually do this is a great luxury. Just ask your parents! 

Productive Tip: Read 

With work and schooling from home these days, a lot of us spend an unprecedented number of hours of the day in front of a screen. So in our leisure time, we may wish to unwind by exercising, for one, but also by reading print material. They’re still a thing you know! The medium of books has collected a wealth of knowledge from stories to ideas, and more, for you to enrich yourself with. I don’t know about you, but I retain information better this way than with fast-talking videos on Youtube or snippets of data here and there on social media. Reading is also pleasant and meditative. I notice that within about 10 minutes into a reading session, I start breathing better (longer and deeper and effortlessly). 

Productive Tip: Walk The Dog 

Enjoy the little things! Go to the park, pick up your dog’s poop, look at and enjoy the trees, the grass, the breeze, notice the other people around, their animals, and what everyone is

doing. You’ll find that you’re not so stuck in your problem anymore. New solutions have been inspired into your mind from your little walk to the park or wherever. 

Productive Tip: Reflection 

The amount of time and energy you save by regularly sitting down and reflecting on your own self, events, relationships, is significant. This opens up space in you to process more of what life is throwing at you. Your efficiency becomes outstanding. Reflection also helps us put things in perspective. It nurtures empathy in us for those who may have drawn the short stick in society and in the pandemic, as we become aware that it could have been us or that it could be us one day. 

Motivation Tip: Childhood Friends 

What does this have to do with anything? Well, think about it, if you are bored and in need of motivation, looking at what your childhood friends are up to these days ought to light a fire in you. You all started at the same place, so if they are doing good, a need to keep up will overcome you. For those friends who are inevitably as bored as you are or worse, you may indeed be the one to motivate them! During this pandemic, it is a good idea to keep in touch and cherish any bonds you may have. Be informed on what the people close to you are going through. Going outside of yourself like this is a sign of maturity and your loved ones will appreciate you more and see you as a generous person for giving a darn. 

Motivation Tip: Watching TV 

Take a break from your highly targeted online media content diet. Whether it is your Youtube or Instagram feeds, the algorithms and cookies slowly close in around you and narrow your world. Watching general programming on cable TV, for instance, can remind you of things

you have not seen in a bit such as; images from across the globe, different people with wonderful smiles, different walks of life, customs and norms, games, activities, and a host of funky languages. 

Motivation Tip: Watch A Lunar Eclipse or something 

This tip is just to bring to your awareness the fact that; even if mankind (us) were to completely destroy ourselves and the planet we call home, the universe would still keep doing its thing! 

Life and nature do not cease to exist because we stop existing.

My Dad’s Tale of Antiquity II

My Dad’s Tale of Antiquity II

In the March issue of the TAV Times, and before the coronavirus confinement, we read part 1 of Sam’s tale of a godlike being named Toku and his kingdom on the Twelfth Heaven, of the catastrophic events that befell that entire world! Then, we learned that gold was the only remedy to patch up the profound wounds those beings had caused to their environmental systems. Later, it was also revealed that, in the whole solar system, they could only procure it in the necessary quantities here on Earth. Finally, there was an incredibly intense dual between a pair of the biggest most powerful gods that are, as of yet still unnamed. My name is Nin, Sam, last name Urai, was my father and he lived for a very long time. My dad would always tell me stories from the past. Some were beautiful, others were frightening, but all were vivid and never failed to transport me back to a time when gods from the heavens walked the Earth. 

Part II: From Heaven To Earth

Toku first sent out his daughter Nobu, as she possessed a childlike flexible temperament which was in stark contrast to most of her kind who were haughty, rigid, and proud. So much so that they were ashamed to be in need of a foreign, therefore, a ‘lesser’ world. This made Nobu the most adaptable to the ‘alien’ conditions on Earth. She was also largely responsible for discovering this young world and was spearheading the R & D branch of the kingdom’s elite crisis response team. The primary task for Nobu, along with her handpicked special task-force, was to scout for an ideal site for a base camp, a settlement if you will, for the brave astronaut workers who would be following suit in waves of fifty at a time. For this purpose, she thoroughly circumnavigated the Earth in search of a site that would suit their perfect selves. 

When they first arrived on this relatively small blue sphere, it was about thirteen thousand years ago. It is almost impossible for us to imagine now, but our world was completely “naked”. It was pure, natural, and innocent like an infant. It had untouched wilderness stretching the four corners of the globe. Fish swam rhythmically up and down different bodies of water. Grazers gracefully roamed the open plains and exchanged favors with benevolent meat-eaters, in a partnership to complete the circle of life. Critters danced all day in the agreeable weather for there was an abundance of food and natural materials for shelter. It was delightful. The first-contact group was taken aback by the ‘primitive’ yet harmonious world.

Knowing that easy access to Earth’s primary gold vain laid in the southern hemisphere, on a massive continent called Gandawandaland, the team picked a lush zone across the ocean from the future mine sites. It was an incredibly fertile botanical wonder of diverse beauties. Filled with life, there was a range of wild vegetables and herbs, countless fruit trees of all shapes and sizes, and the most exquisite assortment of pungent and colorful flowers anywhere. An ecosystem of bees, small birds, and all manner of plant lovers flourished amid the exotic garden. This land would later serve as what ancient scholars imagined when depicting “Paradise”. Rightfully so, because the sun seemed to never set there. Clear blue skies prevailed with a sweet breeze gently caressing the plants and animals. It was dotted by ponds and lakes, along with green hills and valleys that seemed to stretch for miles on end. This paradise was nestled between two important rivers and capped by a mountain range to the far north. These were none other than the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Indeed, the majestic garden was in Mesopotamia!    

The entire plan of the heavenly beings was to mine for the abundant gold found on Earth, send it across the solar system to their own world, melt it down and inject it deep past the layers of the planetary crust and into the viscous mantle near the core. In so doing, avert the permanent distraction of their planet and secure their future! Straight forward right? Wrong! It remains that the events that would follow the arrival of the colossal beings on Earth would forever alter its evolutionary course. 

As you shall find out farther down, the alien astronauts did not account for the Earth’s atmosphere to put such a strain on their perfect godly consciousness or for the very ground they would walk on to challenge their timeless values. Nor did they foresee that as their home planet would eventually show signs of steady improvement, their mission on Earth would decrease in urgency for their compatriots back home. Consequently, a feeling of abandonment would wash over those contracted on Earth. Critically, this would open the door to a broader view of some. This is when things first deviated from the original plan. Such an unprecedented situation would cause differing ideologies to emerge. No one could have imagined a split to form in the workers that had descended on our world. These factions came to adopt dramatically different visions, from how the mining should be carried out and delivered, to the very nature of the world and their role in it! The opposing stances would frequently cause friction and this tension would progressively lead to skirmishes and finally, the skirmishes would eventually erupt in open hostility. And so a full-scale war was not far behind. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. All of this would gradually occur over thousands of years, the equivalent of only a couple of years for the walking nuclear reactors. The friction would progressively cause confusion to set in, accentuated by the neglect of their homeworld’s leadership, bringing further doubts in their flawless beliefs! 

At this juncture, the focus of our tale shall shift to the characters themselves. Starting with our dear Nobu, who would later be called “The Wicked Wizard” by her kind. Why? We will find out. Then came one who would be forever revered as “The Righteous Son”, but we will simply call him by his name, Eiya. And finally, a myriad of supporting characters shall enter the narrative as well, including my dad.

Nobu and Eiya were siblings, of course. Eiya was the favorite child because he was the spitting image of his father, both in appearance and in personality. By contrast, she was nothing like the both of them, Though the firstborn, she had a reputation of being indecisive and unreliable. Eiya thought her to be sentimental and often moody. Nobu, in turn, would simply dismiss him as a daddy’s boy. Back in their world, Nobu had always been something of a troublemaker in the conservative society, often disobeying and rebelling against her father. However, this is what distinguished her mind from her peers and made her the brilliant and creative problem solver she was. Conversely, Eiya was content with the established societal structures in place and worked only to maintain them. Like his father, he was stubborn and slow to admit fault. Also, like his father, he was a towering warrior second to none but stoic and slow to anger. A mighty and wise leader with the charismatic ability to move his people. Though his very presence commanded respect, he was also noted as shortsighted and was infamous for hoarding all things beautiful and luxurious! Sibling rivalry and the fact that it was Eiya who was appointed Commander-In-Chief of his kind’s Earth expedition by their father and not Nobu played a small role in raising tensions.  

Once the Earth Expedition’s logistics, administration, and chain of command were established, gold started arriving on their devastated world. Toku, reaffirmed as the eternal ruler, proceeded alongside his subjects to begin nursing their beloved Twelfth Heaven. The other pressing matters demanded their full attention, like assessing the damage, performing ritualistic rites for those who didn’t make it, and implementing significant climate and industry reforms so nothing like this would ever happen again. They would be so busy that the Earth Expedition was neglected and left to manage its own affairs. Toku and his royal court grossly underestimated the changes that were taking place across the solar system. All they were concerned about now was applying this cure of injecting molten gold deep beneath their feet. It was working fine, but progress was slow. It looked like quite a bit of time and an important quantity more of the strange element would still be required. The immense loss of life was making itself felt, however, as the reports that made it in from Earth were those requesting more workers for mining. But the labor shortage was everywhere and so Toku could not spare any more hands. No one in this divine civilization was ever going to forget the apocalyptic times that had brought them on the brink of extinction. 

I hope this tale was able to take your mind off of our immediate COVID-19 anxieties for a little bit and restore to you a sense of perspective, as there has been a time before the current pandemic and there will be a time after it as well. Before we know it, we will be on the other side of the rainbow. Let us look forward to it together! That’s it for the mother of all stories! Let us know on the TAV Times Instagram if you would like to read more, thanks!

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