The Glass Bead Game / Musica universalis

“These rules, the sign language and grammar of the Game, constitute a kind of highly developed secret language drawing upon several sciences and arts, but especially mathematics and music (and/or musicology), and capable of expressing and establishing interrelationships between the content and conclusions of nearly all scholarly disciplines. The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture; it plays with them as, say, in the great age of the arts a painter might have played with the colors on his palette. All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual property – on all this immense body of intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ. And this organ has attained an almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number. Theoretically this instrument is capable of reproducing in the Game the entire intellectual content of the universe.” 

-The Glass Bead Game: A General Introduction to its History for the Layman, The Glass Bead Game, Hermann Hesse

Uh oh! The peasants of Lesbos have risen up in protest against their government! They reject the Heteronormative Lesbian Feudal Lord + Handmaiden form of government and demand a truly queer, classless anarcho-syndicalist regime!

[previously on Ancient Rome AU][meme documentation]

Alopecia and I

I’ve got Alopecia. It’s been with me since Pre-k and I expect it will accompany me through the rest of my life.

I’ve been bald

I’ve been patchy

(I painted those dragons in the background)

(That last one was when I got a henna tattoo, but it was very badly done, just take note of the irregular hair pattern)

And I’ve appeared “normal”

(I also painted the dragon on that parasol)

I’ve been asked “Who went at you with a weed-eater?”

I’ve worn wigs.

I’ve been asked if I have cancer.

I’ve been stared at endlessly.

I’ve been devastated that I’ll never be able to dye my hair or style it however I want (which mostly involves long braids and lots of flowers).

I’ve tried all sorts of weird experiments to get my hair back.

And I haven’t had a full head of hair since fourth grade.

But you know what? I never once gave up. Even when I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, I didn’t sit down and cry. I always thought of something good my Alopecia gave me- like that I’ve still never shaved my legs and that I’ve always been allowed to wear hats to school.

When my hair fell, my spirits did not. When my scalp shone, so did my smile. And eventually, I became 100% comfortable with my own skin. I know I’m beautiful and I will never let my hair tell me otherwise.

So, thank you, Alopecia, my oldest friend. I wouldn’t take the cure for you even if they found one. I don’t know what I would do without you.

And too all else out there with painful trials in life- male, female; alopecia or acne; interior or exterior…. I hope this gives you the example you need to keep your head up.

As I have always said…

Stay strong, and smile always.


So, this is me back in 2011.

Completely bald, and even missing half an eyebrow if you look.

This is an intensified case of Alopecia areata (not universalis because I didn’t lose all my body hair).
And here, here is my story:
I was “diagnosed with Alopecia partway through Pre-K. The doctor said it was "child’s Alopecia” and that I would grow out of it.
Well, from Pre-K all the way into 6th grade, I had a single bald patch hiding somewhere on my scalp. My mother made me always wear my hair in a ponytail, and I thought it as the most awful thing ever.
But in 6th grade, all BUT a few patches of my hair fell out.
So my mom and I found a wig, and it came in the mail on Halloween, and I got to wear it with my costume- so I was pretty excited.
A few weeks later, I moved schools, and everyone could immediately tell it was a wig. For months, I lied and tried to convince them otherwise, but not a single person believed it. And one day, on the school playground, I broke, and confessed that it was indeed a wig.
I then found myself surprised when the boy who asked said, “Cool!” then asked if I could take it off.
Well, when I did (behind a tree so all the other kids wouldn’t see), I didn’t anticipate that he would come back with his friends and they would come back with theirs. By the end of recess, I was waving my wig around like a flag, and I crammed it into my locker as soon as I got back inside.
That day built a whole lot of courage and self confidence for me. That sort of bravery may not be something for all out there with Alopecia, but I could never encourage anything more highly.
After that, however, my hair did grow back, but I had a huge bald patch on the back of my head (which was all sorts of fun and games in the world of drawing faces). Later, by freshman year, everything fell out. It did that two more times after that, too.

My dad was always there to help: he had his eyes and ears out for little things that he thought might be the cause or the cure. One time, he actually heard it might be a fungus on the skin, and proceeded to cover my head with antifungal foot spray every night for a month. All we got from that was a white, powdery pillow, and a lot of laughs. However, all the little experiments he braved weren’t for nothing; we did discover that tea tree oil is good for the skin and for the hair when it’s there. Massaging/stimulating the scalp is very encouraging for growth. But most useful is Saw Palmetto herbal supplements. Strangely, they’re suggested for men’s prostate health, but at this moment, I’ve got more hair than I have had in five years because I’ve been taking them.
So if you want your hair back, I suggest those three things.

But more than that, I encourage you to embrace yourself. I find my Alopecia to be a blessing (I’ve never had to shave my legs and I can often overcome any struggles in life, and have no problem being far from normal), and I wouldn’t take the cure if they had one.

I am proud to be who I am. Proud to have Alopecia. Proud to stand by all others blessed with it, and give them the courage they’re looking for.
Please, take off your wigs, take off your hats, take off your scarves, and smile. Do something bold like get some eyeliner and draw swirly likes all over your gorgeous scalp, or walk into a hair salon and ask them to “take a little off the sides.” Jump in front of a photographer in the street and captivate their interest.
Break your comfort zone and find a way to love you, for you.
But not matter what you do……
Stay strong, and smile always.

Johannes Kepler - Geometrical Harmonies in the Perfect Solids, “Harmonices Mundi”, 1619.

Kepler was convinced “that the geometrical things have provided the Creator with the model for decorating the whole world”. In Harmony, he attempted to explain the proportions of the natural world - particularly the astronomical and astrological aspects - in terms of music. The central set of “harmonies” was the Musica Universalis or “Music of the Spheres”.

Kepler began by exploring regular polygons and regular solids, including the figures that would come to be known as Kepler’s solids.
Harmony resulted from the tones made by the souls of heavenly bodies - and in the case of astrology, the interaction between those tones and human souls. In the final portion of the work, Kepler dealt with planetary motions, especially relationships between orbital velocity and orbital distance from the Sun. Similar relationships had been used by other astronomers, but Kepler treated them much more precisely and attached new physical significance to them.

Per i diluvi universali dei tuoi pianti,
era per l'altamarea nei nostri sguardi,
per i cieli dipinti con i pennarelli scarichi.
—  Le luci della centrale elettrica.

Troppo cerebrale per capire che si può star bene senza
complicare il pane
ci si spalma sopra un bel giretto di parole vuote ma doppiate
Mangiati le bolle di sapone intorno al mondo e quando dormo
taglia bene l'aquilone,
togli la ragione e lasciami sognare, lasciami
sognare in pace

Liberi com'eravamo ieri, dei centimetri di libri sotto i piedi
per tirare la maniglia della porta e andare fuori come Mastroianni
anni fa,
come la voce guida la pubblicità
ci sono stati dei momenti intensi ma li ho persi già

Troppo cerebrale per capire che si può star bene senza
calpestare il cuore
ci si passa sopra almeno due o tre volte i piedi come sulle aiuole
Leviamo via il tappeto e poi mettiamoci dei pattini
per scivolare meglio sopra l'odio
Torre di controllo, aiuto, sto finendo l'aria dentro al serbatoio

Potrei ma non voglio fidarmi di te
io non ti conosco e in fondo non c'è
in quello che dici qualcosa che pensi
sei solo la copia di mille riassunti
Leggera leggera si bagna la fiamma
rimane la cera e non ci sei più…
Vuoti di memoria, non c'è posto per tenere insieme tutte le
puntate di una storia
piccolissimo particolare, ti ho perduto senza cattiveria
Mangiati le bolle di sapone intorno al mondo e quando dormo
taglia bene l'aquilone
togli la ragione e lasciami sognare, lasciami sognare in pace

Libero com'ero stato ieri ho dei centimetri di cielo sotto ai piedi
adesso tiro la maniglia della porta e vado fuori
come Mastroianni anni fa, sono una nuvola, fra poco pioverà
e non c'è niente che mi sposta o vento che mi sposterà

Potrei ma non voglio fidarmi di te
io non ti conosco e in fondo non c'è
in quello che dici qualcosa che pensi
sei solo la copia di mille riassunti
Leggera leggera si bagna la fiamma
rimane la cera e non ci sei più, non ci sei più, non ci sei…