Here You Can Meet Yuri Kuchinsky

And find out about what he's been occupying himself with.

You can go and read some of my poems by clicking here.
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MUSINGS ABOUT THE INTERNET

We are floating in the Sea of Internet, the Primordial Soup of ideas, desires, loves and hates - the Great Sea that accepts every effluvium trickling from the dry land. Plenty of chaff and debris, and bits and pieces of everything are floating around and about in the Soup. One will find anything in the Soup that one may wish, and also plenty of stuff one doesn't need and doesn't want.

Bits and pieces of truncated and misformed emotions and desires, emoticons, literate and semi-literate expressions of the heart and of the spleen, _cris du coeur_, thwarted creativity, unfulfilled dreams, the jestings of a thousand jesters, the ranting of a thousand kooks.

The Net is the last refuge of every rejected ranter and forlorn dissident. Every religion and cult, almost without exception, has a home on the Net. The weirder the more likely it is to be present in the Soup. And, also, there inevitably will be an appropriate anti-cult organisation, composed of former cultists, busy exposing the deceits of their former Nirvana, following up the propaganda of their former colleagues with rebuttals full of bitter determination.

The democratic nature of the Net is no myth. In fact, the Net may be becoming even more democratic as the costs of equipment and connection are ever declining. Since the rise of Freenets, the costs of connecting are down to zero. An old computer adequate to the job now costs about as much as a night on the town, a hundred bucks will get you there. So welcome all ye downtrodden, all ye voiceless and the unloved, the rejects, the ranters, the navel-gazing prophets of know-not-what, the unpopular and the marginalized. Welcome to the Soup.

Internet is big. So big that _nobody_ really knows what's going on. Nobody _can_ know everything that is going on. New things emerge daily, other things fade away into distant memory. It can be a distant memory after a few weeks already.

You never know for sure who you are really talking to. All you know is a mask that your interlocutor is wearing at this time. But you also know if they know how to write. It is interesting that you can usually recognise old-timers (relatively speaking, of course) by the way they write. Anybody (or almost) who has been around for a while is likely to write fluently and spell correctly. This is the logic of the medium that thrives on confrontation. If you serious about winnning an argument, you cannot afford to give your opponent any extra edge by misspelling your words and muddling your ideas. Hence a few minutes with a spell-checker becomes a necessity.

The veterans will also format their page so it looks nice and clean. None of these long broken up lines and messed up headers.

Also, the veterans are likely to have names that look like those of old-timers. Usually, the more self-deprecating the name, the longer its possessor has been around. Something like "dork" or "wacko" for a name will speak eloquently of years of staring into the computer screen, of late unending nights, of fast food and faster coffee, of emotional dislocation and troubled relationships.


WHERE AM I FROM?

I wish I knew. I wish anybody knew this about themselves. Where do people come from?

I've been around. In fact, twice around the world. Toronto is my home (in a manner of speaking), but I was born in Russia. I visited about 30 countries. I spent a year or more in Japan, Thailand, Mexico, the Philippines, and China.

I am a University graduate, and yet I learned a hundred times more outside the walls of academe. I've read a lot of books, but only so much can be learned from books.

I am from the planet Earth, but the planet is big and it's getting bigger. It is also getting smaller as less space is available per inhabitant.

How can we make this planet smaller, so that it can be easily seen and understood by all of us what is really going on? So we can understand where we are now as a global culture?

That's the hardest thing, to be able to see the Big Picture, to see what's going on with ourselves and our society. I suppose this is a valid research project, to try to make the planet smaller, to shrink it. To shrink it inside the brain?

This Web Page is setting itself a goal of reducing the size of our mental picture of the Earth. How do we do it? We'll simply try to find connections among things!

Everything in the world is interconnected - this idea is gaining ever wider currency nowadays. The Web of Life - that's how mystical philosophers speak about it. So this Web Page is about the Web of Life. These are two different Webs we are talking about, to be sure, but there's a connection among them, nevertheless.

Bringing things together, connecting things, this seems like something worth doing, something that needs to be done. There's too much compartmentalization in the world. From where I look at things, there's a prevailing tendency nowadays to pigeonhole everything in ever tinier compartments. This tendency is certainly very evident in the academic world. In the old days (whenever that was, oh, maybe a generation ago), an instructor in the anthropology department often didn't know what his neighbour on the next floor, in the sociology department was doing. That was another discipline, another world. Nowadays, an instructor in the anthropology department often wouldn't even know what his/her fellow anthropologist down the hallway is up to.

Perhaps this is nobody's fault. We are all aware, sometimes painfully, that there seems to be always more knowledge to go around, more things to learn about, and not enough time to learn them. As the amount of scientific data available to the befuddled earthlings increases steadily, there seems always more information on one's plate to deal with. All sciences, whether it is physics or chemistry, are increasingly fragmented into tiny sub-disciplines. And this means that if, before, nobody could understand what physicists were talking about, nowadays, physicists often don't understand what they are saying to each other. Do the arts that are touching on scientific, such as philosophy, follow the course of the more scientific disciplines more or less blindly?

Whatever is the cause, the reality is that the reassembly of available knowledge into some kind of a general and cognitively accessible framework is becoming an ever more challenging task for anyone who would have the temerity of trying to be a generalist in our dark ages of specialization. For sciences naturally radiate in their research patterns from the general to the particular, so that a physics researcher often doesn't have to think about general theories behind what s/he is doing at any given time. Normally, a "hard science" researcher will be conducting a series of experiments dealing with a very minute set of parameters, so they have no incentive to look at generalities.

It is the job of the _philosopher of science_ to make the trek in the opposite direction, from the particular to the general - to try to see how the laws of physics all fit together. And then, how they interface with chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and onwards.

My main intellectual interests branch in two directions. One is focusing on Nature and ecology. I am an environmental activist, always trying to help the Green cause. And I'm quite interested in the areas that are relevant here: biology and sociobiology, and the evolutionary theory.

There's also a religious-mythological direction in my research. I studied many religious traditions over the years, and in my travels I had the opportunity to observe first hand how religions function in different social and cultural contexts. To me, the history of religions is primarily social history, the historical anthropology. But also, it is the history of ideas. "Religion is anthropology", this is not by me, it was Feuerbach who said it. Other areas that are relevant, certainly, are mythology, literature, art history, and poetry.

All that leads to a central concern: the human condition. The study of human existence - seems like a worthy goal to me.

So I study history in all shapes and forms, but especially the ancient history. Modern history, and the history of the 20th century are things that we all learn over the years. The histories of Russia and of Eastern Europe have been some of my favourite areas, seeing that I have first-hand experience in this area. Having spent about seven years in Asia and the Far East, I tried to learn as much as I could about that wonderful part of the world.


ABOUT MYSELF

I am a writer, poet, and historian, 43 years old. My main interests are the history of religions and cultures, the history of ideas, ecology, the philosophy of nature, art and literature, languages, travel, and a few other things.

Perhaps too many interests, actually. I found it difficult, at times, to stick with one project or idea at a time. And so, there were times, perhaps, when I went off on yet another new exploration when I could have dwelled on some things in greater depth...

Internet is still a relatively new project for me (about a year, although I have dealt with computers longer than this). I enjoy this strange new activity and find much to do on the Net.

Currently, I take part in quite a few activities on the campus of the U of T, and have quite a few academic contacts. I suppose, for a long time I had a love-hate relationship with the academe. I find academic environment attractive in many respects, and yet I can clearly foresee the difficulties that I would encounter if I had to live the life of a full-time academic.

I have a lot of respect for the work of the great generalist mythologists Robert Graves and Joseph Campbell. The first dealt primarily with the history, myths, and religions of the West and the Near East, the second ranged all over the world to analyze these matters.

I wrote an historical novel, CONFESSIONS OF JEHOVA, published in Toronto 3 years ago.

Also, I wrote two plays based on actual, or likely to have happened, historical events. One is about Egyptian Gnostics in the fourth century C.E. The name of the play is UP THE RIVER NILE. It tries to reconstruct the mysterious events around the burial in the desert of the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Library. (For someone who is unfamiliar with this great archaeological discovery, similar in nature to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls: both happened at about the same time, in the late 1940s. One was in Israel/Palestine, and the other in Egypt.

The other play I wrote is called THE MYSTERY OF THE TREE. It takes place in Central/South America about 3000 years ago, when the first great civilizations were born there. It deals with the ideas in the areas of anthropology, ecology, and social history.

I also wrote plenty of poetry over the years. Click here to go to the poetry collection.

Here is a link to some of the articles I posted around the Net in the last few months.

Here to return to Yuri's Welcome Page.