Archive for the ‘Humanities’ category

Eye 2 Eye

January 29, 2013

Eye 2 Eye by Felicia Lujan
Why does the eye see a thing
more clearly in dreams than
the imagination when awake?”

~~~Leonardo da Vinci

When Leonardo da Vinci contemplated the clarity of his visions he must have wished he was always asleep. Surely the genius of the Italian Renaissance was afforded the luxury of unrestricted creativity in his dreams. There he could perceive alternate realities. There he could understand complexity. Why? I believe that Leonardo was able to open his third eye of knowledge through his dreams. In a spiritual dream state his ideas were clear.

Sometimes we don’t see eye to eye with others. It can be difficult to understand when seeing eye to eye is so desired. In college I took many traditional courses in psychology, philosophy, and religion. Today I was reminded of the three eyes of knowledge, as well as the information that they are able to capture and convey. If we take a look at the eyes of knowledge, each level, each function, we can get a better understanding of why people disconnect or lose eye contact if you will.

In the thirteenth-century there was a religious philosopher named St. Bonaventure. By all accounts, Bonaventure was a great man. He was respected by the church and became one of our greatest philosophers. The Western mystic developed the concept of “three eyes.” The “eyes” were the three methods that men and women utilized to attain knowledge. In his book Breviloquium, St. Bonaventure discusses knowledge and wisdom at length.

The first eye is associated with physical phenomena. The second eye with mental phenomena, and the third eye with spiritual phenomena. Numerous individuals within the humanities believe that we do not only see with our eyes. The larger part of that which we are able to see derives from the mind’s eye. Philosophers, psychologists, and theologists also believe that many may never see with the third eye of knowledge. I myself feel that I see regularly with the Eye of Reason, which is also called the mind’s eye.

1st Eye… Eye of Flesh is the eye we use to see the outside world. Here we actually employ physical sight to see material objects and gain knowledge from those objects.

2nd Eye… Eye of Reason or the mind’s eye is used to attain knowledge associated with the flesh. We also use this eye to analyze abstract thoughts and ideas. This eye includes, but transcends the Eye of Flesh so it is a combination of physical and intellectual knowledge. This has also been referred to as intellectual sight.

3rd Eye… Eye of Contemplation or the Eye of the Spirit is only open when we become fully illuminated with spiritual insight. Most people still have this eye closed. It is said that only true mystics see with this eye.

It is hard to understand why seeing eye to eye in a world of knowledge is difficult. Maybe it is simply that your eye is closed while my eye is open or vice versa? Maybe like Leonardo da Vinci, we should rely on our dreams? Maybe doing so would allow us to open each eye and perceive alternate realities or even reconnect? Why? Because in our dreams, ideas are clear.

In the Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake said “if the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” Apparently Blake also contemplated translucent eye lids.

Laura Cereta: My Renaissance Hero

December 15, 2012

An Italian named Laura Cereta was an intellectual woman ahead of her time. She is my hero because she pushed it to the limit. Cereta insisted on having intellectual conversations with both men and women during a time when women we not supposed to do so.

She was a writer who lived from 1469–1499, and was a well known humanist and feminist of the Renaissance Period. How sad that she died younger than I. I would love to locate the archive where her original writings can be found- if not, I guess a secondary source in the form of a book would do. Most of her writing was in the form of personal letters to scholarly men. There must be a private collection of her original works somewhere?

The subject of her letters, many of which she published on her own in a book included: enlightenment; war; death; fate; and the oppression of married women. Check out this awesome letter I found online. Of course~ an archivist would need to verify the accuracy of this internet source.
Laura Cereta’s “Letter to Bibulus Sempronius”

You [Bibulus] brashly and publicly not merely wonder but indeed lament that I am said to possess as fine a mind as nature ever bestowed upon the most learned man. You seem to think so learned a woman has scarcely before been seen in the world. You are wrong …. for you have ceased to be a living man, but become animated stone; having rejected the studies which make men wise, you rot in torpid leisure. The explanation is clear: women have been able by nature to be exceptional, but have chosen lesser goals. For some women are concerned with parting their hair correctly, adorning themselves with lovely dresses, … or standing at mirrors to smear their lovely faces. But those in whom a deeper integrity yearns for virtue, restrain from the start their youthful souls, reflect on higher things, harden the body with sobriety and trials, and curb their tongues, open their ears, compose their thoughts in wakeful hours, their minds in contemplation to letters bonded to righteousness. For knowledge is not given as a gift, but [is gained] with diligence. Nature has generously lavished its gifts upon all people, opening to all the doors of choice through which reason sends envoys to the will …. You pretend that I alone am admirable because of the good fortune of my intellect. But I, compared to other women who have won splendid renown, am but a little mousling.

The Hemingway Archivist: Connection and Disconnection

July 4, 2012

***Gellhorn and Hemingway***
Digital composite by Felicia Lujan.
Includes one historic photo and
a map of the constellations- symbolic
of connection and disconnection.

I absolutely adore anything thought provoking. On July 1, 2012, I had a great comment submitted by “spoonbeams.” This woman is a former archivist who had come across my post Whiskey Dreams: Inside the Mind of Hemingway (May 10, 2012). I have included our comment string into this post because it is worth a read.

Whiskey Dreams was my post about Ernest Hemingway and his vast archive called The Hemingway Papers. In that post, I talk about: reading further into signs than I should; digital initiatives with the Hemingway Papers involving over 6,000 personal letters; the mind of Ernest; his death being a tragic loss to the literary world; his escape and submission to a dark fate; and the fact that I could be madly in love with a dead guy. I had a few interesting comments on the post.

There was one from “Rhonda” on May 10. Rhonda called Hemingway a “tortured, artistic soul.” Then on May 22, “robert87004” mentions James Mitchener, a friend of Hemingway who “paints a somewhat different picture” of the man while they were in Iberia. According to robert87004, Mitchener’s writings divulge Hemingway as a man “trying to live up to his self-image.” But I guess that’s what we are all attempting to do right? Below is the great comment string between “spoonbeams” and I.

I am so amazed that out of millions of pages of digital information, she found me and that she found that particular post. The following thread is all about connection and disconnection. Do I read too much into things? Or does everything happen for a reason? You decide… I know I connected with a wonderful woman about this.

It was fascinating to learn from her that Martha Gellhorn insisted that all of her correspondence with Hemingway be deaccessioned (or removed) from his collection. I had to say something to her about that today. At the end of her last comment, spoonbeams gave me a “thumbs up” on my latest poem titled Canvas of an Artist. It was a poem about forced disconnection.

Following is our string…

spoonbeams Says: July 1, 2012 at 6:41 AM

Hi — My mouse passed over your square on someone’s blog and “archivist” popped up and I had to look further. I organized the EH papers at the JFK library back when. It seems like so long ago, but it still is a highlight in my life. Seems like you enjoy archiving as much as I. Yes, it’s quite possible he wrote that many letters — maybe more.


flujan Says: July 2, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Wow!! You get a gold star for being the first person attracted by the word “archivist!” What is your name? Haha! You actually processed the Hemingway Papers? How cool is that? And in the JFK Library??? Wow!!! I can’t believe it?!! If I didn’t believe in signs- I would think it strange we have crossed paths. JFK and Hemingway— two signs of mine that are now fading— two historical figures I have connected to and now unfortunately I seem forced to disconnect from them. I would have loved to process those papers. I can’t believe you have found me?? It was meant to be. I work in New Mexico (a state repository). I am the Archives Bureau Chief, and have been with the agency for well over a decade. I do adore being an archivist and I am obsessed with history and the arts. It was my calling. You were a lucky woman to get to work in such a great library and on such a great collection. What are your thoughts on Hemingway? Was he insensitive? You- if anyone would have an up close and personal perspective on a great writer through his correspondence. Did he really love Martha G?


spoonbeams Says: July 3, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Yes, processing Hemingway was a blastt — and working at the JFK Library was special. It’s been a long time tho since I’ve been immersed. I left the library in ’83 and moved on to other things. I do think he was very sensitive and easily offended, but I wonder if he ever truly thought about the sensitivities of others. And yes, I do believe he really loved Martha and all his wives and perhaps a few other women, but not necessarily faithfully or for long. I’m so surprised that there is a movie now about Martha and EH. I was on leave of absence from the library when she came and removed all her letters to him from the collection because she did not want to be connected with him in any way. I heard it was quite dramatic. I know lots of others like us who really love being archivists and getting deep into a topic. He was certainly an exciting topic! Thumbs up on today’s Canvas of an Artist.


flujan Says: July 4, 2012 at 12:02 AM

Oh…. I can only imagine! That sounds so very interesting. Technically, you are still practicing a form of immersion through the art of conversing. That is really sad to hear about Hemingway, though I knew that would likely be your response. I’ll bet I could talk to you for hours?! If you are ever in New Mexico, look me up and we can have coffee. Your last comment has me thinking of exploring what it means to be a soul mate. I do wonder? If we change and grow as people, it may explain Hemingway’s continual search for his perfect match. Maybe there is more than one? Maybe a soul mate depends on what someone connects to or does not connect to at a particular time in their life? I think too much obviously! It’s just sometimes things are so very hard to understand? Why would such a great man kill himself? I was amazed to learn what you told me about Martha requesting a deaccession of her letters from the Hemingway Papers. I also find it interesting that you specifically say that “she did not want to be connected with him in any way.” Poor Martha- she was obviously just upset with him and so she made the dramatic scene. The sad part about that is no matter how hard she tried to erase all the physical and paper connections to him, there was still the one connection that she likely took to her grave in 1998— it was the one in her mind. Thank you for your preservation work on letters which will expose the real man behind the public persona. Without a doubt his personal letters shed light on his love affairs, and some very intricate souls. Also thank you for provoking my thoughts. I love that!


Other Hemingway Links:

Humanity and Wars: The New HBO Film
Hemingway & Gellhorn by Felicia Lujan (June 7, 2012)

Analysis of and Symbols in Hemingway
and Gellhorn by Felicia Lujan (June 10, 2012)

Beautiful Woman – Beautiful Mind: A Look at Katherine Massoth

June 28, 2012

Katherine Massoth
Ph.D. Candidate (ABD)- History
October 2008 – Present
University of Iowa

I would like to take some time to honor my friend Katherine Massoth. She is an absolutely amazing woman!!! She and I have had many fruitful and thought provoking conversations over the years. Katherine has an extraordinary personality, and I love her for that. Ms. Massoth recently won the Irene Ledesma Prize from the Coalition for Western Women’s History and the Giles W. and Elise G. Mead Foundation Fellow at the Huntington Library. The Irene Ledesma Prize from the Coalition for Western Women’s History is awarded to scholars who study women, gender, and minorities. She was so very happy to receive the prize and become a Huntington Library fellow. I am proud of her. She is a woman who will change the world with her knowledge, and one smile at a time. Katherine says that these awards are allowing her “to be in-residence at the Huntington Library for four months next spring (2013) to write.” Love it! Good gob Katherine!

Information on Katherine Massoth:

United States Women and Gender History, United States Mexico borderlands, Nineteenth-Century American West

Ph.D. Candidate (ABD): History, October 2008- Present- University of Iowa

Dissertation: “As is the Custom of the Country”: Gender, Cultural Practices, and Ethnic Identity in New Mexico and Arizona, 1846-1930

Primary Field: United States Women’s and Gender History (1776-1920), with a focus on women’s labor, the American West, and borderlands history; with Leslie Schwalm and Omar Valerio-Jiménez. Secondary Field: United States Cultural History (1820-1920); with Douglas Baynton. Tertiary Field: Colonial and Nineteenth Century Latin American History; with Catherine Komisaruk.

To learn more about Katherine Massoth visit:

A Lasso and An Electronic Bull: the Media Rodeo

April 23, 2012

Electronic bull digital composite by Felicia Lujan. Image includes a video still from Ciara's Ride video featuring Ludacris, and a photograph of an electronic circuit. The composite was created in Adobe Photoshop using a darkened layer and a layer screen, as well as an artistic fresco filter.

Today I attended a Media Rodeo here in Santa Fe. This was the title of what I am sure the organizer would call an “unmeeting.” The phrase Media Rodeo is rather catchy, and it likely coincides with an attempt to lasso ideas and information. We discussed all things digital, exploring issues, programs, and trend setters. I found the session rather useful. It is always good to meet with other professionals to purge and regurgitate the bits and bytes in the dark recesses of my mind. Hopefully I will remain on the “invite” list, as I feel that I have much to contribute. Following are a few of the programs featured in a demo, and one site that I found particularly useful.



This program features the use of Google Maps. The maps are basically an underlayer for the web site administrator to pin images/photographs on. This is a very cool program. When pinning images to the map, you can be as specific or general as you would like. In other words, you can post images to a specific address on the map, or maybe to a particular town and/or site. The software also provides a section to control copyright over the images posted by the administrator. The copyright information can include the author of the image, a caption, a link to the repository and/or archive, and the contact information for the repository and/or archive. There is also a “street view option,” which allows the end user to have a digital stroll down selected streets on the virtual maps. In History Pin, the administrator can upload videos, text, audio, and timelines for specific sets of images.

From the web site…..

Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history. Everyone has history to share: whether its sitting in yellowed albums in the attic, collected in piles of crackly tapes, conserved in the 1000s of archives all over the world or passed down in memories and old stories. Each of these pieces of history finds a home on Historypin, where everyone has the chance to see it, add to it, learn from it, debate it and use it to build up a more complete understanding of the world. Historypin has been developed by the not-for-profit company We Are What We Do, in partnership with Google.”

Felicia's Media Rodeo notes with a glowing edge filter in Adobe Photoshop.



We had a look at the dashboard of Tumblr. In Tumblr you can insert text, photos, quotes, link to items, chat, and upload audio and video. The program also offers a “queue” option. The feature is particularly handy for busy people (who isn’t?). This allows the administrator to set automatic posts. The posts can be automated for daily, weekly, or monthly content uploads. It can also be queued for specific dates. The items in the queue can be programmed for a year or more in advance if necessary, and if you are sure which content you would like to go up regularly.

From the web site…..

Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors, to your theme’s HTML. Collect Every Moment Wherever You Go. Browsing through various tumblelogs is like sifting through the Lost and Found Department of the entire Internet. It’s a beautiful mix of everything and anything, from the shocking to the spectacular.”



For me, Pinterest just seemed like a fun way to show people what you are interested in. I know that recent digital trends have shown that this program is on a steady rise with a huge amount of women. These women are actively contributing to the site by “pinning” and “repinning” content. Some of the stuff from this web site (My Voyage Through Time) has already been picked up by Pinterest users, and some of my digital composites and quotes have been repinned. That’s kinda cool!

From the web site…..

A Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite.”

Presentation of Tumblr Dashboard during the Media Rodeo.



We talked a little bit about this web site, which features free manuals available for daily download. There are several kinds of manuals, and it was mentioned that the manual featured today was “Your Guide to Social Media Marketing.” The manuals on this site are said to be well written, free, and useful. I took some time to check out the web site tonight, and it looks like it is sure to be a good tool in the digital arsenal.

From the web site…..

A booming daily blog that features cool websites, computer tips, and downloads that make you more productive. The aim of MakeUseOf is to guide you through the web and tell you about hot websites that you have never heard of, best software programs, and all kinds of “how to” tips for Windows, Mac and Linux computer users.”


What is the Digital Humanities and Where can I get some of it?

April 22, 2012


Peter Kerry Powers

As I’ve started listening in on Digital Humanities conversations over the past 12 to 18 months, and especially in the last three or four months as I’ve gotten more fully onto Twitter and understood its potential for academics, I’ve realized that I am mostly just a bobbing rubber duck in a great wave of ignorant interest in Digital Humanities.  “What is this thing, Digital Humanities, and where can I get some of it?”  seems to be a general hue and cry, and I’ve added my own voice to the mix.  Some of that wave is no doubt driven by the general malaise that seems to be afflicting the humanistic ecosystem, and mid-career academics look back with rose-colored nostalgia to culture wars of the 80s when our classes were full and our conflicts were played out in middle-brow journals so we could feel self-important.  Maybe digital humanities will make us…

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