Knowledge Kindling 7/03/09
wingstoart
 
We need men who can dream of things that never were.
 
President John Kennedy
************************
Hail !
---------------------------------
Whenever I experience an original work of art I want to be astonished.  Whether it's a song, a dance, a picture or a story, I want the artist to take me someplace I've never been before, somewhere beyond knowledge, beyond my knowledge. I want to  see even more perceptively than ever a challenge to the so-called authority of realism. I want existence redefined for me.  I want to see a new world, or an old world in a new place.  I want to see the stars rearranged.   I want to see something that has never been become a reality.
 
Is such art possible?  Or is it something beyond art?  A new art perhaps.  Will it be possible some day for an artist to eliminate the technically limited and create purely from imagination, to make the image become reality by the imagining of it?
 
If so it could only be done by someone pure and innocent who can imagine only the beautiful and true.  Such a one would be an ubermensch of an artist.  I believe it is not outside of the realm of possibility.
 
As an artist I know, as every artist knows, there are moments when the creative process seems to be going on by itself, when the artist is merely an observer of it.  Those are the moments when I feel that there is another character, another intelligence at work and it is between imagination and the art, having freed itself from the middle man, me, the artist,  At those times it is interesting to ponder who or what is the real artist. the real creator.
 
Now ponder what that same mysterious process would be like in the realms of nation building, invention, exploration and discovery.  That is a question that has puzzled some inspired philosophers over the years. Do we believe what we see or do we see what we believe?  Is reality what we think it is or does it become what we think it is?  And is it possible to change the reality we see, creating a new reality by how we imagine it.  This all may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but so was going to the moon a few decades ago.
 
DB - Vagabond Journeys
_____________________
TGIF - Thank God I'm Functioning
*****************************

 

SUMMER QUIZ

This is not a contest.

 

A young man out west just took home 88 million dollars from the lottery. 

 

Whether you play the lottery or not, if you suddenly had 88 million dollars, or the equivalent of whatever your currency is, what are the first three things you would do with it?

 

You have all summer to answer if you wish.

7 responses so far.

 

DB



Inimical Inspiration 7/01/09
wingstoart

          

It is dangerous to speak the truth.  It is more dangerous not to.
 
DB - The Vagabond
*****************
Come in, sit you down.
---------------------------
"He who'd make his fellow creatures wise, should always gild the philosophic pill" wrote W. S. Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan).
 
Why is speaking the truth so dangerous?  Because many people don't want to hear the truth and they would rather kill the messenger than listen to the message.
 
Why don't they want to hear the truth?  Fear.  The truth may upset their preconceived notions of the way things are, and their habitual ways of thinking.  Or the truth may go contrary to what they have been told by someone they love and respect.  Or the truth may expose something of which they are ashamed, something that is hiding.  There is even the compassionate need sometimes to avoid speaking the truth so as not to hurt someone else.
 
Then why is it more dangerous to not speak the truth?  Truth has a way of revealing itself one way or another. Sometimes the truth is a warning.  If I don't speak the truth someone or something will, and thus take the blows.
 
I was walking down a street in lower Manhattan one day.  There was a man approaching me from the other direction.  As he got close I noticed another man coming out of the ground floor of a warehouse building with two long, large, sharp metal strips on his shoulder.  The two men could not see each other.  I could see a potential injury about to happen,  I held up my hand to the man on the sidewalk and barked at him to stop. a second later I did the same to the man with the metal strips.  They both looked at me as if I was a mad man.  Then I motioned for the man with the strips to come forward.  He did and when the two men saw each other they realized what I had done and thanked me.
 
Over the past several years intelligent, knowledgeable people have been warning about the follies of bloated mortgages, insecure loans, junk bonds, skyrocketing interest rates and the instability of the market.  Many people treated those warnings as just so much negativity and anti-Americanism, while so-called authorities were preaching the opposite.  But some people heeded the warnings, which were not pleasant to hear, and converted their assets, opting for frugal living and low risk investments, thus averting the dangers.  Others drowned in debt.
 
If you see a crack in the dam and you tell people, most of them will laugh at you and accuse you of being a lying troublemaker.  But someone may listen, investigate and plug up the crack.  If you see the crack in the dam and don't tell people, someday you're going to drown your neighbors.
 
DB
*************
Have warm thoughts, but not too warm.


Hollow Histrionics
wingstoart

 
 America's present need is not heroics, but healing.
 
President Warren Harding
**********************
Come visit.
----------------------------
Are we creating a nation of belligerent fools?  Sometimes I think so.  I wonder if I am the only one appalled at the juvenile behavior of many members of congress, governors and politicians, spokespersons for various political ideologies, talk show hosts, news programs and late night comics. 
 
We have already had too many examples of why we should not trust CEOs of large corporations to act like honest citizens.  Now we watch Congress people, with sibling rivalry, vote against a bill not because it's wrong but because it comes from the other side.  So called responsible government officials caught in some scandal or other.  Talk show hosts who won't shut up and let their guests answer the questions, TV  panels where everybody yells at once, late night comics who put down everyone and everything with vicious humor, a media that thrives on gossip and new's anchors who are simply ignorant.  More and more people are practicing road rage.  Soccer dad's are beating up referees.  Children are in peril.  Fists are flying all over and the fingers of blame point in every direction.
 
Some people are still beating the bushes for Communists, the monster in the closet.  Some people still claim the old style economic patterns are the only ones that work even though they have brought us to our knees financially.  Some people still carry on the cave man mentality that we should not deal with nations who hate us.  But it has been said many times that if you want peace, talk to your enemies. 
 
I don't know about you, friend, but I'm sick unto disgust of it.  What kind of a nation are we leaving for our children and grand children if this sort of stupidity is held up as an example of adult behavior.
 
Some people feel we are a nation in decline and I'm not sure I disagree with that.  How can this nation perpetuate itself as a world leader when we can't put forward grown ups as examples of who we are.
 
I love my country and, as we approach another birthday, I want to feel that we can become a nation of decency, compassion, cooperation, friendship, neighborliness and hope.  We need a re-creation, a revolution, to kick through the doors of hate, rage, scorn and selfishness and let some positive light shine in on us.
 
DB  The Vagabond
*********************
Have a sunny thought today and share it.
____________________________________
 

SUMMER QUIZ

This is not a contest.

 

A young man out west just took home 88 million dollars from the lottery. 

 

Whether you play the lottery or not, if you suddenly had 88 million dollars what are the first three things you would do with it?

 

You have all summer to answer if you wish.

6 responses so far.

 

DB


Gentle Groan 6/29/09
wingstoart

 
If you have love in your life, you have life.
 
Bernard Goetz
****************
'Lo.
---------------------
Most of my life I knew nothing about love.  I still don't, but I'm beginning to get an inkling.  It takes being alone for a long time to teach you how important other people are in your life.  I've been essentially alone now for about 15 years.  For 5 or 6 of those years I was in New York City, so there was plenty of human contact, but no one to come home to.  For the past 9 years I've been living here where if I don't go to the market I see no one at all.  Sometimes I sit downstairs and wait for the mailman just so I can say hello to somebody.
 
I maybe feel capable of loving someone now, but I don't feel capable of doing anything about it.  Living alone also makes one self-centered and habitual in so many ways.  I don't think I could seriously change my behavior to suit anyone, nor do I suppose anyone would put up with me, I have lapsed into eccentricities, ideosyncracies and stasis.  My enthusiasm for life is tempered by having to rest up after every single task.  
 
But I'm slowly beginning to learn about care, compassion, comradeship, sharing, thinking about someone and including them in my life.  That's all theoretical, of course, because there's no one else here.
 
It was suggested that I go down to the senior center and make friends.  I went there and watched the same old women play bingo and listened to the same old men tell the same old stories of what they did in the great war.  I may be a senior citizen, but I'm not an old man.  Oh, alright, I'm an old man.
 
Someone said I should get a pet.  I signed a no pet lease.  Even so, a dog won't do.  Being on the 3rd floor there's no easy access for taking it out.  It would probably poop on the carpet before I got my clothes on.  A cat could get out but it would no doubt fight with the feral cats that rumble over the roof at night.  I thought of getting a giraffe.  She could chew on the leaves of the trees outside the window.  But she'd probably go and get pregnant and then what would I do.  I thought of a platypus, they're cool.  But I hear they like water and I don't have a bath tub.  I could get an iguana but I really don't care for reptiles all that much.  I'll just have to settle for the fly that whispers in my ear and kisses my face.
 
"To be alone is to be different, to be different is to be alone" wrote Suzanne Gordon.  I might as well face it, I'm a misfit.  I belong with the misfits, wherever you are.  Maybe there I can discover love.
 
DB
___________________
Sing a summer song.
*******************


Famed Formula 6/28/09
wingstoart

 
Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written in the tablets of history.
 
James Forude
******************
Welcome to my world.
-------------------------
So what is the moral law?  It has been stated by many writers, speakers and philosophers over the years in many different ways.  Very simply put it comes down to this:  Humility in the presence of deity.  Respect for others.  Honesty with oneself.
 
If it's so simple why is it so damn difficult to understand and practice?  When I first started to read philosophy, a subject which covers every aspect and experience of human life, it was the study of Ethics that attracted me.  I wanted to reduce ethical thinking to a very simple statement, something I could mentally digest and use as a rule of life, such as "My freedom to punch you in the nose ends at the point where your nose begins."  But the more I read the more I realized how complicated the subject is.  Different circumstances require different actions.  But every action or reaction should be directly related to a basic rule of behavior.
 
Humility in the presence of deity.  One does not have to be a theist to understand that rule.  The mistake we often make is to imagine that somehow we are greater then the sum of the parts.  If we really understood and could utilize the vast intelligence that operates the universe there would be no need for science.  Almost any scientist and thinker will admit to being amazed at the discoveries still to be made in every area of investigation into the workings of the natural world.  With an infinite, unmeasured universe in front of us, how can we not be humble, even given our abilities to discover.  If you are pleased with the idea of relating those discoveries to the process of understanding more about God, then good for you.
 
Respect for others.  This poses an interesting question.  Does everyone deserve our respect?  I have a former friend in California for whom I no longer have any respect.  I initially respected him very much, in fact I looked up to him for many years.  My loss of respect for him is solely related to his treatment of me, but there are many things about him that project a sterling character.  The lesson I learned is that I put my respect where it didn't belong.  I trusted incorrectly,  I needed to learn to respect him for who he is and not tie it to a betrayed trust.
 
The respect for others should also include animals and plants, even down to the lowly weed pushing its way up through the cracks in the sidewalk.  Loving the weed or the skunk is not necessary, but giving it its right to be what it is is essential.
 
Honesty with oneself.  Ah, here's the tricky one.  I am reminded of two famous quotes.  "This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man," wrote the amazingly intelligent Shakespeare.  While Abraham Lincoln said: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."  How often do we fool ourselves?  Some of the time?  Or all of the time?  Why is it so important to stop fooling ourselves and how do we go about it?
 
I think understanding ourselves, which is no small enterprise, is a combination of all three moral codes: humility in the presence of deity, respect for others and honesty with oneself.   Immanuel Kant taught that one of the most important reasons for philosophy is an investigation of what the human being is capable of becoming.  Thomas Hobbes wrote at length about our ethical responsibilities and relationships to other people and the society in which we live.  And Friedrich Nietzsche dismissed doxological thinking for an investigation and realization of the indwelling intuitive and instinctual abilities of humans. 
 
Yesterday I wrote about the supposedly 85% of the brain we don't use, and yesterday's Vagabond Jotting asks if the soul is something living inside the flesh.  If you look at yourself squarely in the face when you approach a mirror and ask "Who am I?" be still, and let the intuitive portion of your mind, the 85%, answer.  When the honest answer comes and is the real revelation of a creature that is part of the infinite universe, with an invisible nature, a soul, outside the flesh, indissolubly linked to light, space and all other creatures, and capable of becoming at one with great goodness, then you are alive. in every way.
 
If you reach that goal, or even approach it, "thou canst not them be false to any man" including yourself.
 
DB - Vagabond Journeys
_____________________
Have a nice sunny Summer Sunday
--------------------------------
Weekend Puzzle

W _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ / J _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / ( _ _ _ _ /
B _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ ) ?

Fill in the letters and voila, you have a song title.

AAAAAAA
EEEEEE
HHHH
II
L
NNNNN
OOOO
PPP
R
SSS
TTT
WWWW
Y

Hint: This song is about two famous French lovers.

C'est l'amour. Bon chance.


Empirical Emergency 6/27/09
wingstoart

 
Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.
 
Emerson
******************
Howdy
=======================
I wonder, with anxiety, what it is that has stupified the human race.  It seems to me that very few things we humans do make any sense.  We have wealthy Congressmen deciding on legislation to affect the poor, and if, by chance, it looks worthwhile, they vote against it.  We have men who couldn't throw a football if their lives were at stake discussing the relative merits of one athlete over another.  We have folks who would be frightened to death to step out on a bare stage in front of an audience critiquing those who do.  We have those who are too old to go into battle sending others off to do it.  We have men and women fighting in a foreign land under the ruse of defending ourselves and then coming home in boxes.  We have children disappearing or being abused at home,  We have pastors preaching honesty and family values who have mistresses on the side.  We have medicines which are dangerous to our health.  We have products that can cause accidents.  We have economic theories that feed the greedy and starve the poor.  We have banks that plunder people and courts that tie them down.  And we are all out to get even with somebody.
 
What has brought us to this point of stupidity?  Social structures, traditions, fear?
 
I don't know where to point the finger of blame except at myself.  I learned a while back that it's no use complaining about a problem unless you are prepared to do something about it.  I wonder what more I can do.  I write in this journal every day and pray that my words have some positive effect somewhere in the world.  Whatever teaspoon of wisdom I have comes from decades of trying to overcome my own ignorance.  But it does seem futile sometimes when faced with the bland, blind nonsense I see and hear around me, nonsense that is gleefully accepted and seriously put into practice by all of us.
 
Where are the thinkers?  Where did they go? They can't all be hiding out in some secret Bohemian Club, or securely tethered to a University post, or masquerading in a blue collar on some tight lipped assembly line somewhere.  Wisdom often comes in strange forms and from unexpected places, but it takes a thinker to recognize it.
 
I like to read books, journals and magazines hoping to become a thinking person.  But I also like to read newspapers because in the haystack of useless ink every now and then someone writes something intelligent.  With the demise of newspapers, the haystacks have grown into wastelands.  I think so.
 
To be a real thinker in this age is to be an odd, eccentric, unorthodox, illfitting, dangerous crack pot who has to face the demonic outrage and lethal attack upon himself by the general population.  Maybe that's why it is so hard to find any.  We need to pray to the great God to let loose a few more thinkers from under His protecting wing.
 
DB - Vagabond Journeys
_________________________
May you have a relaxing weekend.
_______________________
Weekend Puzzle
 
W _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ / J _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / ( _ _ _ _ / 
B _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ ) ?
 
Fill in the letters and voila, you have a song title.
 
AAAAAAA
EEEEEE
HHHH
II
L
NNNNN
OOOO
PPP
R
SSS
TTT
WWWW
Y
 
C'est l'amour.  Bon chance.

Dangerous Diminishment 6/26/09
wingstoart

 
Iron rusts from disuse, even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.
 
Leonardo Da Vinci
***********************
Hello again.
----------------------------
I believe in mental might.  Years ago I read a statistic which claimed that on the average we use about 15% of our brains.  I thought, then what do we do with the rest of it?  Let it rust?
 
I decided to investigate the thinking of those who I was sure were more intelligent than I,  While some of them, it turned out, were actually at the 10 or 11% level of mental use, there are some, such as Da Vinci, who were pushing at the limits of their mental usefulness.  The common quality they all seemed to express was curiosity.  Albert Einstein once humbly remarked that he wasn't all that clever but that he was just very curious.  He also wrote "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."
 
Then I wondered just how much our formal education dumbs us down to our 15% capacity.  I saw that it wasn't education itself, but the way it was presented. So much of how I was taught growing up was about incapacity, not capacity, of mental ability.  I was taught what to think not how to think.  If my thinking did not conform to the rules of the day, I was deemed "wrong,"  Once I got out from underneath the dictatorial dogma of public school education I learned that not only could I think for myself, but that some day I would even learn to think beyond myself.
 
It's a truism to say we are all capable of more than we do.  But wisdom can't stop there.  If so, how do we learn to do more?  How do we increase our capabilities, our capacities for doing more?  Fearlessly and unashamedly admitting our useless 85% is a good start.  It's like owning a 100 acre plot of land and never venturing past the back yard.  It's safe.  It's easy.
 
One day in a life drawing class I was sitting next to a woman who stopped drawing at one point and put her pen down.  I asked her why and she said that she didn't like the pose.  I suggested that she should draw it anyway.  If we only draw the poses we like we won't do much drawing nor will we learn much.
 
Mighty mentality can't be gained by sticking with the safe and easy.  If I come to a thinker whose ideas perplex me I don't want to turn away and say "It's too confusing.  I don't understand it."  Rather I want to stick with it until I do.  Curiosity and expansive thinking are what get me out of my backyard and into the fascinating forest beyond.
 
Vagabond Journeys
___________________
May you see something pretty you haven't seen before.
---------------------------
 

SUMMER QUIZ

This is not a contest.

 

A young man out west just took home 88 million dollars from the lottery. 

 

Whether you play the lottery or not, if you suddenly at 88 million dollars what are the first three things you would do with it?

 

You have all summer to answer if you wish.

4 responses so far.

 

DB


Caustic Care 6/25/09
wingstoart

 
 Fools are more to be feared than the wicked.
 
Queen Christiana
********************************
Don't stand around outside.  Come on in.
-----------------------------------------
There are many sorts of fools  simple ones, old ones and great ones, and all of them are dangerous, in way or another.
 
We all know those who are capable of making some totally daft decision that adversely affects themselves, their families, their town or their country.  The wise are hard to find.  Fools are a dime a dozen.  Foolishness is everywhere.  You don't have to look very far. "What fools these mortal be" wrote Shakespeare. 
 
This morning I was amused at the news item about the 2009 National Conference - Building The New Majority where the subject was making English the official national language.  The large banner over their heads read 2009 National Conferenece, (Conferen[e]c).  If they want English to be the national language in this multi-lingual nation the least they can do is learn to spell it correctly.
 
It reminds me of the time the Senate was trying President Clinton.  The pens they all pompously signed in with read Untied States Senate and not tied together properly it certainly was.
 
Let's face it, we are all capable of foolishness sometimes, some of us most of the time.  If I started listing examples of my own foolery there's no telling how long this entry would be.  So i won't, thank you.
 
Some unknown author wrote "Fools rush in where fools have been before."  One of the purposes of regrets, as nasty as they can be, is to remind us of the stupid things we did so that we will remember and not do them again.  So then why do we keep fooling ourselves, flopping and stacking up regrets?  Maybe it's because we don't trust our own foolishness, don't believe that we were really wrong.  Go ahead and touch the iron to see if it's hot.  It won't burn you this time like it did before.
 
Ah, but what if you have to confront a feel, especially one in authority?  That's a sticky problem.  If you're a loyal worker you go around picking up the pieces that your boss leaves behind and agree to ignore his foolish fiats.  If you're not a loyal worker you might point out his nonsense to him and then visit the unemployment office.  I worked for one of those once, who shall not be named.  I finally quit the job and moved on, just to get away from his idiotic bungling.
 
And what if the fool gets into the position of running the country.  It happens.  It's a potential disaster.  One can only hope there are enough levelheaded people in the government who can say "How clever" and then work their way around and out of the danger.  We have no way of knowing how many anonymous civil servants of many nations have quietly slipped past the brainless barriers imposed by some simple minded monarch.
 
But there's another sort of fool.  I have long believed that one of the things wrong with this dangerous world is the demise of the court jester, the "allowed fool" hired by the king to keep him honest.
 
In olden times if a simple jester stepped over the line he could be whipped or hung.  But an Allowed Fool was free to utter anything that was relevant to the situation, in the court or out of it.  Rulers depended upon them to point out their and other people's foolishness, which they did with wit and comical sarcasm.  The court jester was often smarter than anyone else around.  The court fool was dangerous to pretentiousness, dishonesty, artificiality, and cant.
 
Now just imagine what the world would be like if there were such a humorist on the payroll and in the presence of every monarch, premiere, prime minister, president dictator, field marshal, CEO and chairman.  We very well might be laughing instead of bombing.
 
DB - Vagabond Journeys.
___________________________
May there be bubbles of joy in your day.
*******************************

Breakthrough Behavior 6/24/09
wingstoart
The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
 
Walter Bagtehot
***********************
Cheers.
-----------------------------
Dear "Eva Cartwright" readers, the story is continuing on Vagabond Tales.

http://db-vagabondtales.blogspot.com/    See you there.   D

----------------------------------

One sure way to get my dander up, whatever dander is, is to underestimate me.  If someone tried to tell me that I was not old enough, not tall enough, not strong enough or not smart enough to do something, I generally set off to prove them wrong.  And the result, most of the time, was a non comment from the people who down graded me.  At best it was "Huh.  I'm surprised." or "I guess I was wrong."  I even got the gruesome "Well, I can see it wasn't that difficult."

 

Having grown up with out much self-confidence, sometimes I was the nay sayer myself.  Looking at a task that was very difficult I would question my own ability to carry it out.  Under those circumstances I learned not only how strong I was but how to turn the task into an adventure.  So what if I failed, and I rarely did, I wanted to see how far I could go in achieving success.  Someone said you don't know what your limits are until you try to exceed them.

 

I was given a role once by a director who said that I was too young for the part and probably couldn't play it but that I was the only actor around so I had to do it   I did it so well that a famous Broadway actress who was in the audience came backstage to meet me.

 

Every time we accomplish something they tell us we can't do, we get stronger. When I first went into a radio studio the manager was certain I would fail.  I didn't even know how to turn the microphone on.  I didn't know anything about broadcasting.  There was the nasty devil in my ear saying "Give it up DB,  You can't do this.  Tell them to get someone else."  But I tamed the beast and by the end of the first hour I was playing songs and chatting away like an old pro.  Oh, all right, like a young, green, wet-behind-the-ears pro, with a cow lick.  But by the end of the first season I had a fan club (a small one).

 

About these accomplishment I'm not bragging.  What I'm telling you is, if they say you can't do it, do it.

 

DB

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Sip a glass of summer for me.

*********************



Atrophic Anger 6/23/09
wingstoart
Where there is great hatred are the fetters of hell.
 
Anonymous
**************
Join me for a bit.
------------------
This morning I made a vow to myself that for the next 24 hours I was not going to yell obscenities at my computer, no matter what it did to me.
 
I'm convinced one can discipline oneself out of rage and hatred just as out of any other bad habit.
 
I don't understand hatred.  It must come out of reaction, not action.  People don't do right.  So what?  Right is a subjective concept any way.  People may deserve our criticism, disapproval, disappointment, frustration and disagreement.  But hatred is a malignancy which says more about the hater than the hated.
 
People hated Clinton.  Then people hated Bush.  Now people hate Obama.  I am fed up with listening to it on the radio and TV.  I'm disgusted with seeing an adult, intelligent, well educated face screw itself up into a knot of fury over what some other adult, intelligent, well educated face is saying or doing.
 
Anyone who has experienced love to any degree will agree that love is good.  It may have its degrees, but why make exceptions?
 
I don't like snakes.  I fear them, but I don't hate them.  They have a right to their existence and to be what they are.  I give them space.   I will kill the squirmy thing if it threatens me or anyone else around.  But not out of hatred.  The rattler was not sent by God to punish me for my sins.  Nature made it.
 
There are people in this world whose behavior is so opprobrious it disgusts me, but I would not stand by and let them be attacked by the nasty serpent thinking it serves them right.
 
The only thing I can truly say I hate is excessive noise.  But I don't hate the people who make it.  Hatred is weakness, self-indulgence and destructive to the hater's moral and mental strength.  Take it from me.
 
Hatred has no place in the human race.
 
DB
______________
A happy summer's day to you.
*****************

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