movie or animation?

April 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

from up on poppy hilli heard about the latest miyazaki movie and having seen almost all of his works, i urged myself to go and watch from up on poppy hill. paddling my bike for twenty minutes under a light freezing rain to the movies, had a hot cider and proceed to the hall.

i saw the movie in japanese with subtitles which created an authentic feeling and at the same time made it more enjoyable, listening to the songs as a continuation of the script instead of an appendix to it.

my first reaction after the movie was finished was, “no magic?! no spirits?! no ghosts?!” and my first impression was “what a cheesy, mélange of bollywood-hollywood, teenage love story movie, it was!” so I was so disappointed, until afterwards, i thought to myself, “wait a minute, hayao was part of the production, it can’t be that shallow! and then i’ve had my uh-huh moment! i realized i lost those subliminal once in a while hints in the movie to the surface story because all the time i was waiting for some magic to happen!

one of the most prominent features that you could see throughout the whole anime was the japanese collectivistic society as well as the inherent giri (burden of obligation) culture, which is in a sense natural to the story; the mother leaving the whole family to go to america to study, the girl’s over-commitment to the household, and so on.

the other part of the animation that deserve some attention, was the part of debasement of philosophy against science — action against over-thinking. it also goes so far to comment that at least science is about action while philosophy is about stagnancy and waste of time. the coolness of science labs and students comparing to the abandoned philosophy shack, holding some old books and underpants, was a bit out of scale.

the nice scenery of the suburban life comparing to tokyo’s depressed and filthy streets. quiet and calm people of the country versus the hectic, tensed metropolitan crowd. and the main plot’s struggle between the modernist demolishers of the clubhouse and romanticist keepers of it that concluded in the victory of the latter, and the glorious and cheerful chanting of the triumph.

all in all, i guess it was an ok animation, maybe goro is better off making movies instead, or he should add some fantasy into his works. i wouldn’t recommend it, if you’re expecting a hayao anime though.

illusion of freedom

November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

the age of reason by jean-paul sartrethe age of reason by jean-paul sartre is what i consider a piece of lierature with all the glamours and nuances of a beautifully written one. it is one of the few books i’ve read that carries you through each character’s thoughts, feelings and lines of reasoning. the plot and story line is not the book’s forte, rather the way sartre developed its simple story into a book, which you don’t want to put down, is its excellence.

the book narrates a scholarly-styled life of a philosophy professor who tries to maintain what he defines freedom in his life, in spite of all the events and people that want to force him towards what sartre calls the age of reason. the age at which apparently you should start to be responsible and to care for your deeds as well as the life of people around you. it somehow sounds like a rite of passage, except that the protagonist never passes over. this book is the start of a trilogy called the roads to freedom, however so far the only freedom depicted was the professor’s perspective of it, or better to say his fear of responsibility and commitment. all the rest of the characters seem to have a tendency to intentionally escape this type of freedom.

it’s very hard to tell if sartre’s perspective is a reflection of his own mind or he is narrating a familiar story, for although he explains all the scenes, feelings, thoughts and actions very well, it doesn’t sound to be a real story.

i know sartre as a philosopher, an existentialist, however i recognize this book as just a well written novel and although it is very tempting to label it as an existentialist book, it doesn’t fit very well. in my opinion the concept of fiction/novel defies the fundamentals of existentialism. based on existentialism the story you are reading is not the same story the author wrote!

to conclude, i enjoyed the book and i look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

a left brainer story for right brainers

August 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

the curious incident of a dog in the night-timethe curious incident of the dog in the night-time by mark haddon was very addictive and very easy to read. it didn’t have much to say in terms of story, plot, character development and morale, however it had the most brilliant writing style, which was the only reason i finished the book and was happy that i read it.

the book is about a boy with extreme case of autism and his stream of thoughts and feelings. reading the book, you realize that mark knows a lot about autistic children and if you don’t know anything about autism, like myself, all the reactions and behaviours seem to be defined and explained properly and based on an autistic-mind line of reasoning, however there are a few, which he forgets to connect to a cause, like the fact that he does not like to be touched, or his carrying around a swiss army knife, etc.

i doubt the book is very popular among the autistic people, as it sounds debasing and insulting at some points, but i’m pretty sure non-autistic people will enjoy it due to the new style and the fact that it opens a new perspective to the world which non-autistic people will never be able to comprehend.

the only message i’ve got from the book, and i doubt it was the message the author wanted to transfer, was that looking from the eyes of anybody and at the same time walking in their shoes, you will sure do what they were going to do at each moment, and understanding this gives you a world of happiness.

story of your own life

July 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

the wind up bird chronicleafter i read kafka on the shore, i fell in love with murakami’s books. i finished one of his earlier and most praised novels, the wind-up bird chronicle, which now becomes my second favourite murakami book after kafka on the shore. you start reading the book delving into an ordinary life of an ordinary man. step by step new events and characters unravels and you are presented with a lot of quirky, out-of-this-world situations, and by the end of the book, you are confused as to which and who was real and what was not.

i love murakami’s style, as his books are very much life-like, at the same time full of supernatural events and characters. this quality rejuvenate and recuperate your sense of believing in fairy tales again, especially if you are too deep into the “real” mundane life’s curriculum. like your own book of life, there are various people and events introduced in this book that at first you do not understand the reason, but as you go forward and dive deeper while pondering upon their sheer existence, you seem to be able to connect the dots and unravel their purpose.

the reality of the book, which i call the superficial plot, contains a lot of sad stories happening in parallel, a family destruction, different detailed obscene plots of war and its side-effects, different gore murder/torture scenes, dysfunctional families, etc. and again like the real world you can see all those people are living their ordinary lives, without the need for your sympathy.

the name chosen for the book makes perfect sense. the wind-up bird is the bird that can be heard by only few characters throughout the book and the moment they heard it, was marked as the turning point of their life, like the epigraph of a new chapter. even the protagonist nickname mr. wind-up bird makes perfect sense as the book is all about his life’s junctures. it is as you are hearing the stories from the point of view of this bird.

this book is what i called an outstanding literature, one that you can easily relate, one that you can live and enjoy, even long after you finished it, and at the same time in my humble opinion is a perspective changer.

you will know it, when real life happens

July 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

living the real life, working the real job, talking the real talk…this is what makes you explore the real valuables in the world

you will know it, when real life happens


 

the past few days i lived in my dreams.

i showered in the lake and dried up on warm flat stones.
i pumped the water from the lake to the house.
i slept watching the starts and listening to the calming sounds of the waves.
i woke up with the morning breeze and the sun shining on my face.
i drew things.
i read my book.
i helped with the sales at the giftshop.
i drank strawberry house wine.
i explored caves.
i got lost in the forest.
i cleaned the compost toilet after visitors left the island.
i stored food in the basement.
i watered the plants using pails from the lake.
i filtered my drinking water.
i danced in the sun and sang by the water.
i washed my clothes in the lake and let them air dry.
i talked to strangers and listened to their stories.

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divine rhyme

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

shen yun

extraordinary dance of colours, elevating orchestral traditional music, full bodied ecstatic content and a total harmonious feast of senses. as if there is no gravity to bound to the ground and there is no bone to limit the movements, the performers were dancing so smooth and gracefully that could mesmerize any living beings. exquisite costumes extended and complemented the flow of bodies.

the name shen yun means divine rhyme and according to ben freed it can be translated as the beauty of divine beings dancing, which relates to what you were witnessing during the show. shen yun dance performances were choreographed based on the 5000 years of chinese civilization, and were carried out chronologically.

founded in 2006 in new york, shen yun is associated with falun gong spiritual practice and throughout the performance there were a lot of hints of falun dafa practitioners being abused by the chinese communist government.

there were also solo music performances by chinese tenors and sopranos.

the show was a complete spectacle and is strongly recommended.

status update

February 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

it’s been such a long time that i haven’t updated this blog, i have a few books open, and i can’t seem to finish any of them. “the plague” by albert camus, “wind, sand and stars” by antoine de saint exupery, “the nag hammadi scriptures”, “the power of now” by eckhart tolle and my favourite which i don’t want to finish it ever “the red book” by carl jung.

i have also seen a few good movies: david fincher’s “the girl with the dragon tattoo“, “garbage warrior” by oliver hodge, “samurai x: trust and betrayal” by kazuhiro furuhashi, and “australia” by baz luhrmann, and of course a few not so great ones.

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wind, sand and stars

December 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

wind, sand and stars by antoine de saint-exupéryadventure tale and poem in prose, wind, sand and stars is a celebration of the human spirit. in soaring prose, saint-exupéry recounts his experiences as a main pilot in the late 1920s and early 1930s – the perils and beauty of flying over the peaks of the andes, near the watersprouts of an african typhoon, across the lonely reaches of the sahara desert, through the silent world above the cloud line. this was an era when an airplane motor “was not what it is today. it would drop out, for example, without warning and with a great rattle like the crash of crockery.” frequent crash landings in mountains and desert tested the endurance and courage of saint-exupéry and his companions against their own physical limits and the harsh indifference of the elements.

inspired by the extreme situations in which both nature and human nature reveal themselves, saint-exupéry shares profound meditations on friendship,  technology, war, truth, logic and existence itself – all with the sense of wonder and enthralling imagination that made the little prince one of the best-loved books of all time.

how will you not love a book that the usually-dry and senseless flap text, is this warm and beautiful. i bought the book yesterday from my favorite book store bmv. i am going to sit and enjoy the book the whole day today.

naked names are all that we have

October 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

the name of the rose is a historical novel that takes place in a wealthy franciscan abbey in northern italy mountains. the text is full of different layers and like the library of the abbey it has a lot of secret chambers and hidden corners that correspond to different people with different levels of consciousness and understanding. the-seems-to-be-the-main-plot murder mystery which demonstrates the extreme censorship in the middle ages, surrounded by a course of historical medieval events including the origins of different christian sects and alleged heretical movements, philosophical points here and there, psychological notions, and the most outstanding layer which is the exquisite literature of the book.

the murder mystery plot was a very well orchestrated detective story which is not like a sherlock holmes or agatha christie types of stories that depicts the detective as a superhuman with extraordinary level of semiotics and smartness, it is much closer to the real ones, the ones with a real smart detective who seems to be always very close to finding the murderer and even though he is on ‘a’ right track, he cannot save anything or anybody, and at the end there is no hero. the battle is only between good and evil, or in this case between better and worse, like how the real world is.

one of the reasons the book is very professionally written, well plotted and informative to an inquisitive mind is that eco breathes in the atmosphere of the book, he is the master of the trade. he is an italian philosopher and literary critic who has numerous non-fiction books on medieval culture and history, semiotics, and apocalyptic literature. this makes the book, the plot, the abbey, the monks, their ways of thinking, and even the mystery believable. at some points through the story you feel that everything is real, you are living the story, you are living in the abbey together with monks, fear the same fears, meditate to the chants, take part in the ceremonies, walk in the spaces, and at the same time try to solve the riddle. also numerous latin phrases help build up the medieval abbey atmosphere for the reader, and the fact that neither the author nor the translator translated them in a footnote or an appendix makes it much more interesting. i searched and researched a lot on these passages and texts as well as different sects and ideas. the book guides you to “learn” how a medieval knowledgeable person lives and what sorts of ideas and thoughts he may or may not have.

perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth

at the first glance the title of the book does not relate to the content, but at the end of the book eco gives a hint: “stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus” translated into english as “the ancient rose remains by its name, naked names (are all that) we have”. rose in christian iconography is a symbol for different concepts; god, jesus christ, martyrs, holy mary, love, season of spring, beauty, fleetness of life, death, etc. it is the inspiration of ceremonies and rituals in ancient rome, and all in all, it has a vast amount of meanings that make it an empty-symbol incorporated into christian history and “you can no longer grant it any specific attribute, determined merely to persist, like a rock or the river, it is as literal as a phenomenon of nature whose meaning can be questioned to infinity but whose existence is incontestable” (roland barthes). perhaps eco wanted to imply that the human brain is not able to grasp the essence of god or lost the ability to comprehend it – “gott ist tot” and we are only left with the mere name. perhaps as he narrated in the book, the origins and the path of different sects and whether they are heretic or not is all decided by the politics of pope and the emperors of the time, and this is how the name is being exploited economically and politically to gain benefit. perhaps the concept of good and evil is not defined by any supreme being as there is a fine line between the antagonist and the protagonist of the story, between the love and the hatred of flesh when it comes to michael’s desire for death.

but if love of the flame and of the abyss are the metaphor for love of god, can they be the metaphor for love of death and love of sin?

quintessence

September 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Cosmic Webin the late 70s, the start of the universe was described with the hot big bang theory; starting from a singularity and expanding, being filled by baryonic matter as well as non-baryonic matter. this model has successfully explained the existence of the cosmic microwave background and the amount of light being generated by nucleosynthesis. however, it had fundamental problems that it was unable to answer: the horizon problem (the homogeneity and isotropy of the universe in large-scale), the flatness problem (small curvature of the universe), the monopole problem (missing heavy stable magnetic monopoles), and the structure formation problem (the lack of support for the formation of the structures we can see today in the sky). in early 80s, research showed that the universe inflation could explain the above-mentioned problems even though there was still no concrete proof to support it [1].
among the different inflation theories proposed in the late 70s and early 80s, “old inflation” theory proposed by guth was the most popular, and easiest to understand, and was standardized as a textbook theory of inflation. however, this theory has shortcomings in the sense that it results in an inhomogeneous universe at the end. this led to the invention of the “new inflation” theory and later chaotic inflation scenario [2]. the inflation theory was supported by many practical data. after hubble space telescope was launched in the late 90s, the observation of distant supernovae became possible. it showed that distant supernovae appear to be fainter than expected in a flat matter dominated universe, which means at fixed redshift, they are at large distances than expected in such a context and thus the universe is accelerating [3]. another important proof is based on the observation and studies of the cosmic microwave background, which determines the total energy budget of the universe and proves that there is a shortage of about 70%, which leads to a missing exotic form of energy with negative pressure [4].  dynamics of our universe is defined by einstein’s equations, which shows that the contribution of energy content of universe that is represented by energy momentum tensor is related to the geometry given by the curvature of space-time. there are two ways to expand this equation to take into account the acceleration; either by supplementing an extra energy momentum tensor or by modifying the geometry itself. first method adds an extra momentum tensor, which is sourced by energy with negative pressure. the simplest candidate is the cosmological constant. however, due to its being non-evolving, cosmological constant theory has fine tuning implications. hence, dynamically evolving scalar field models such as phantoms, k-essence, tachyonic scalar fields and quintessence are introduced [5].
“the quintessence models were proposed to circumvent the two fundamental problems of the cosmological constant: a) a value of ΩΛ~0.7 is about 122 orders of magnitude from the naïve theoretical calculation b) it seems somewhat unnatural that we happen to live in a time when  ≈ 2 since this ratio depends on the third power of the redshift. …in “quintessence” models, the “dark energy” density tracks the development of the leading energy term making both comparable” [goobar 53], this modifies the late time evolution of the expansion rate of the universe, and explains the luminosity of supernovae and the angular distance of cosmic microwave background patterns. quintessence theory has its own shortcomings; the main problem lies in the fact that the quintessence field must be weakly coupled to ordinary matter. due to the coupling to ordinary matter, the quintessence potential does not decrease to zero in infinity as theory predicts [3].
looking at the present status of the studies and research on dark energy, it is fair to say that due to its being around for about 30 years, the dark energy could be a viable answer to the acceleration of the universe. however, its nature is still a mystery, and even though theories such as quintessence and tachyons are very successful in approaching it, it is still one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology.

bibliography

  1. riazuelo, alain. “chapter 7, an introductory overview about cosmological inflation.”frontiers of cosmology proceedings of the nato asi on the frontiers of cosmology, cargèse, france from 8 – 20 september 2003. new york: springer, 2005. 101-138. print.
  2. linde, a.. “course 7. inflation and creation of matter in the universe.” the primordial universe l’univers primordial : les houches, session lxxi, 28 june-23 july 1999, ecole de physique des houches, ujf & inpg, grenoble. berlin: springer ;, 2000. 340-396. print.
  3. binétruy, P.. “Course 8. Cosmological Constant vs. Quintessence.” The primordial Universe L’univers primordial : Les Houches, Session LXXI, 28 June-23 July 1999, Ecole de physique des houches, ujf & inpg, grenoble. berlin: springer ;, 2000. 397-422. print.
  4. riazuelo, alain. “chapter 7, an introductory overview about cosmological inflation.” the invisible universe dark matter and dark energy. berlin: springer, 2007. 219-256. print.
  5. sami, m.. “chapter 8, models of dark energy.” the invisible universe dark matter and dark energy. berlin: springer, 2007. 219-256. print.
  6. goobar, ariel. “supernovae and dark energy.” particle physics and the universe proceedings of the 9th adriatic meeting, sept. 2003, dubrovnik. berlin: springer, 2005. 47-57. print.