Watchmen: Mediums and close-minded people.

What a grand finale. Watchmen is honestly one of the greatest pieces of literature I’ve ever read, and it just gets better and better upon each reading. Each chapter is so diverse and has so many existential ideas and thought provoking themes. What would the apparent presence of a deity do to our society? How much of our actions and beliefs are controlled and instilled by the media and community? Is free-will an illusion? And it’s never dull! The comic appeals to our generation, and is fast-paced and is a consistent page turner. And it really irritates me that anyone could possibly ignore a piece this well crafted, simply based off the stigma of its medium. It’s honestly beautiful. Graphic novels can be art, and so can a variety of other forms!

This is a classic cycle. A new generation comes along and changes aspects of something the past generation loves and the old timers hate it. This idea is addressed in Watchmen, from the generation of Minutemen to the new generation of super heroes like Dr. Manhattan. By the 50s sex appeal was on the rise, and music got a lot louder with musicians like Elvis Presley hitting the scene. So the past generation begrudges and casts their hatred of this new form of music, rather than embrace it. When motion pictures came out many people questioned their artistic value. Today, it’s clear with give the medium of a motion picture incredible value. And along came comics and the same inevitable pattern came along with it. People simply look at it and weigh the entire art form the same and deem it worthless. “It’s only pulp action crap and one-dimensional superhero spiel. And then graphic works like Maus, Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns come out, and the new generation comes to grow and cherish it in the new medium.

Roger Ebert once stated that Video Games are not, and never will be art. Well I can tell you one thing, that fat old film critic has no right to challenge a medium he hasn’t given the time of day or ever embraced. To anyone reading this, I promise that within 30 years people will be calling video games art, believe me I’ve played some that have instilled more resonance than “cherished” works like Foe could ever manage. And our generation loves it, so when we’re old enough to be fat old critics like Ebert, we can have our say. You don’t see Rolling Stone proclaiming Wagner as the greatest musician of all time, they’re going to choose the stuff they grew up with! And while it horrifies me that Dub Step could be this Generations Rock and Roll, it is entirely possible. I just pray there isn’t a magazine 40 years down the road naming the top 100 greatest dub-step artists.

To anyone disliking what I’m saying please go ahead and listen to song song “The Times They Are A-Changin” By Bob Dylan, he’ll probably preach it better than I am at the moment. And that’s relevant because it’s also featured in the Watchmen Movie soundtrack… but that isn’t really the best movie. It’s a fantastic adaptation, but speaking of mediums, Alan Moore’s work was never supposed to be funneled to the big screen. If your changing an artform’s medium some sacrifices will have to be made, or it won’t survive. Some alterations are necessary to make it a legitimate film. Puzzles are great, and Lego blocks are also great, but you can’t finish a puzzle with lego blocks and vice versa…..

Alright, now I’m rambling a bit. But I’d just like to say, Jon I know you don’t appreciate video games so I’d like to leave you with a nice quote.

“admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.”

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Foe: Uncertainty and Terrible Endings

Well, I gave it another shot, and all in all I can whole heartily say I didn’t like this text. This wasn’t my first time reading Foe, and honestly, both readings have given me a great deal of dissapointment. I must admit though, that the first 120 pages sparked my interest and I found far more enjoyable than my first reading, but the last 30 pages completely turned me off and left me unsatisfied. You can’t rob me of my ending and expect me to like it.

What I hated on my first reading was how much the story was an unfair alteration from a personally beloved text. Robinson Crusoe was an adventure with character development, charm and humbleness. This story is a retelling that molests all that I  once loved. Friday and Crusoe’s platonic relationship is reduced to nothing more than a slave and a master. Crusoe’s ambitious endeavours for colonizing his island are hued in a light of stubbornness and futility. And Friday’s nationality, charismatic entity, and worst of all his own voice are literally cut away from this retelling. Coetzee, why’d you have to rape my story?

Okay, but there were some things that I did like. Robinson Crusoe inspired me. It made me believe that under enough duress, any ordinary nobody could accomplish anything. It made the fate of a castaway seem noble and enchanting. Coetzee slaps me in the face, and spits the harsh reality on me. Being stranded is no adventure. Robinson Crusoe is a fairytale. Foe has a very subtle way of unraveling this truth. The clothes Crusoe creates easily fall apart in time, due to their mediocre construction from the ape skins, and the makeshift clothes he produces smell vile- just as they should. And while Crusoe is able to live in isolation almost peacefully with hardly any inner struggles in Defoe’s version, it’s clear that such a circumstance would drive any real person insane. It wouldn’t make a man work tirelessly to pursuit noble endeavours, it would beat him into a hopeless sense of idleness and submission! It’s a sad truth, I prefer the fairytale to be honest, but everyone needs a harsh slap in the face every now and then to see things how they really are.

Another theme is the idea of isolation. Crusoe survives a life sentence of hardly any companionship and absolutely no women as comfort in the original book. But in telling that his solitude has broken his humanity, making him feel no compassion toward Barton or a will to ever leave his island. But Barton only suffers Crusoe’s fate for a mere year, yet her return to civilization finds herself in no better condition. Coetzee proves that isolation is so much more than the literal separation from humankind. Back in England Barton is more of a castaway than she was on Crusoe’s island. She only has one friend, and ironically he’s a mute. Everywhere she goes she is ignored or shunned. It least she had Crusoe for company; some form of a lover or companion. People see her as a nomad, a whore (she kind of is), and a gypsy. This is the strandedness that every reader can relate. Despite the fact that we live surrounded by human beings and civil enclosures, many social barriers can serve as the same distance as sea spans between islands.

I don’t hate this story, it just confuses and pisses me off. Ugh, I have nothing more to say.

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Primo Levi- Dumb American Publishers and a Jew’s Timeless Purgatory

After reading Survival in Auschwitz for a second time, I have to say this is one of the best texts we’ve read all year. It’s the only true work of non-fiction (Columbus you were lieing through your teeth!)  we’ve read throughout this entire course, and it makes me incredibly disappointed. This retelling made me remember how vivid and encapsulating true stories can be, and how it can makes events that occurred in our real world so physically real. Through Levi, I can it least be given a portion of the experiences of the grottoes of the German concentration camps, and the embodiments of the men running them. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever come to the experience of time travel. Arts 1 needs more non-fiction, and from a first-hand telling!

Enough of that, the first idea that comes to mind is the title: Survival in Auschwitz. This title is far too literal to only the context of the story, not the brilliant telling or insight that Levi gives us. Some of his sentences really make me stop for a moment and think hard. Many of them come passing through my mind days later. The Italian Jew’s life in the Polish ghettos give him an experience and perspective that most men couldn’t gain within a lifetime, and he gives such strong resonance to his readers. Blame this incorrect cover on American publishers for trying to make such a compelling tale’s title another alteration based on commercial appeal. Levi’s real title from its Italian print is “Se questo è un uomo or in english “Is this a Man?”, which resembles and signifies his struggles and consistent emasculation throughout the text to a infinitely greater extent. What have the German people made him, what have they distorted his self-reflection to?

The most interesting aspect of the story is it’s lack of linear format. Within the center bulk of the autobiographical recount, all events lack firm dates, in fact Primo openly states that majority of the events told are in no particular order. The reasoning behind this has to be that Levi cannot recall which events happened in which order. The labors done each day is endless, and lacks difference or significance of the days before. Almost everyday is relentlessly replayed and painfully similar to the ones preceding it. Levi openly reminisces that the following days are nothing to look forward to, he’s trapped in an endless loop of torture! And we the readers are given a false and bias perspective upon reading his account. We know he enters Monowitz in the starting months of 1944, less than a year before the Soviets would invade the heartland of Poland. Thus he only needs to survive eleven months of the death camp to survive, but he certainly doesn’t get this blessing of foresight.  Within those camps who knew how long it would be until the war ended? Remember when George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan in 2001? I do, I remember televised he said they’d be out of there within months. Look where the troops are still stationed eleven years later! It’s only within the final 30 pages that we see any signs of the Red Army’s approach, but even then who says Levi will survive the labor in the Winter’s cold, or that he won’t be chosen for the furnaces? Who says that even days before the Soviets arrive he won’t be forced to walk the infamous death marches? The eleven months he spent there toiling in the dirt, crushing his back and starving day to day without any clear light to the end of his pitch-black tunnel is the worst kind of torture I could ever imagine. This man is our modern Dante, he’s been through the Seven Rings of Hell and back.

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Felisberto Hernández- K, What?

Metamorphosis, The Yellow Wallpaper and now Daisy Dolls. What do all these have in common? They are messed up stories that confuse and alienate their readers. As someone very close to me would say, “dafuq?”

Pardon me if my reading of the story may seem blurred, but I finished it a couple weeks back in a hurry and felt bewildered, and confused throughout the entire tale. Just like Daisy Dolls, this story begins with a gradual decline in reason and rationalism, to a quick exponential spiral into disarray. The story doesn’t really make much sense, and it doesn’t feel provocative to me, it seems just flat out absurd.

If my memory serves me correctly our protagonist works for a doll shop where he adjusts and forms doll’s postures that convey sexuality in order advertise clothes for a particular clothing brand. For some reason, the main character feels anxieties that his wife is slipping away from him. He feels as if she may be on the brink of leaving him forever. So to cull his paranoia he seeks consultation by bringing home “Daisy”, a large mannequin that he dresses to carry the physical embodiment of his wife. Yet his wife still remains and it becomes and extremely awkward scenario. But the role of the protagonist, his wife and Daisy evolves. First it is a simple form of comfort for the husband, but eventually his wife comes to embrace Daisy almost as a daughter and the doll becomes a link that brings them closer and rekindles their relationship. But later on, Daisy becomes something more, something much more perverse. Even with each others company Daisy is needed by each alone for their own deeds. The acts they each commit upon the water-warmed doll are never really revealed but it doesn’t take much to realize what they are doing to her. They are using her as an object to fulfill their bizarre sexual fixations. And this is where the novella becomes most puzzling, we have almost no idea what is running through these two peoples minds.

The novella takes a turn and Daisy’s magnetizing powers are reversed into an enlarged gap between the couple. The couple throw a house party and invite guests to entertain, and oddly choose to introduced Daisy as well. This is the one brief moment where our embargo on other spectators perspectives is broken, the guests are obviously baffled by Daisy and their opinion of their hosts is quickly altered. Ironically both husband and wife desire Daisy exclusively to themselves, and both wish to destroy her by attempting to murder her (even though she isn’t alive). Both experience separate lapses of rationality and absurdity at alternating times, witnessing each others madness only to relapse into it. This is a story that really makes the readers scratch their heads in confusion. What is wrong with these people? What does their actions tell me about mine? How am I supposed to relate?

These stories carry over the absurdity of last week’s readings as well as Freud’s unconscious sexuality and repressions, but I need a lot of counsel on this. What the hell happened?

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Eliot’s Poetry: Playing on Ambiguity

I give up. I’ve tried so hard to fight my internalized spite of poetry, but I can’t change how I feel. The Wasteland is not my cup o’ tea. I like some poetry; I’ve read Plath, Tennyson, Joyce and others with modest enjoyment. There are actually a couple in particular I can recite from heart like some of William Blake’s work. But the poetry I most enjoy I are not the ones that hide in between words and demand a hefty cipher to decode what the poet is trying to convey. In fact I think majority of the supposed “great poets” are just plain lazy. It’s a bold statement, but poetry just seems like an art that requires a greater duty from the reader than the writer. In fact I’d say that poetry is really only proclaimed and valued by those who make claims and connections that aren’t really there. I think the ones that are highly acclaimed just happen to be interpreted well.  And it’s unfair of me because I’m throwing away the meter and rhythm that poetry demands, but it means nothing to me. I honestly can’t hear any pattern when I read most of this stuff. If the Wasteland is one of the greatest poems of the 20th century than I might as well just abandon it altogether.

 

I remember a friend once told me how music and art is given such passion by its audience because we’re not appreciating the artist’s work, but rather our own interpretation. Once art is released to the public it’s no longer in sole possession of the artist, it’s everyone’s! This is a very basic concept, but no song has ever been heard in the same way. One song may mean dozens of things to me, but incite many different tones and emotions to another. The song “Lovers In a Dangerous Time” was originally written with simple intentions of conveying the desperation and hopelessness of love in youth before parting ways into adulthood. Yet around the 80s the song was interpreted as a response to the large AIDS outbreak occurring in the decade. Bruce Cockburn didn’t create much; the listeners embellished and transformed it into another piece entirely. Poetry as an art is very similar to this idea.

 

The thing I dislike the most about poetry is how ambiguous the authors purposely attempt to be. Poetry has always appeared to me as a very personal and secluded act, nearly that of a diary where one can express themselves freely. Yet poetry is published, and the poem becomes a codex, demanding readers to attempt to decipher it, which also requires a biographical account of its author to understand his or her influences and perspectives. Really it attempts to ploy itself as secluded and personal, but when it becomes published it just demonstrates how the author is screaming for attention and readers to investigate into his or her own life. Artists claim to produce art out of a desire to elicit emotions and provoke ideas to their audience, but I think a larger component is a desire to be heard and known. Sounds selfish, but who really isn’t?  I don’t blame em’. Who doesn’t want to be famous, right?

 

To end my rant on a low note the thing that really pisses me off the most about Eliot’s poetry is his use of other European languages. It just comes off as presumptuous, and he’s not even a citizen of the continent. I’m not impressed you can write a few sentences in other languages, requiring me to translate it.  Good for you Eliot, if anyone pulled that crap in one of our class essays you’d only come off as a total douche. And one of the greatest criticisms of some of my essays is the amount of ambiguity. Common question asked of me is “What is it you mean, what are you trying to say?” Most poets don’t care. Just spit out your vague preachings and let your readers scramble to piece it all together. Whole idea just seems overrated and given too much glorification.

 

That’s just my very unhumble and biased opinion, so if anyone still wants to talk about Eliot a week later and start a discussion or argument against anything I’ve said, feel free! We’ll start a good old flame war if anyone’s game.

 

Enjoy the reading week everyone!

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Kafka, and How He Dented My Wall

After a great seminar with the RealMcNeilley, I was informed that for the second time this week I had read the wrong text. Daisy Dolls and Metamorphosis are still fresh in my mind yet T.S. Eliots’ Wasteland still demands to be read, to which I respond: “No”.  It would be nothing short of a miracle if I could finish another text with the onslaught of work I still have ahead of me. So if you’re reading this thinking “There is no point in him writing this…”, I will counter your argument with the timeless rhetoric of “YOLO”.

Let me start by saying that either this novella or Frankenstein is my favorite text of the year. My reasoning behind it isn’t for love of allegory or symbolism and descriptive language. No, it is simply because both stories elicited a strong emotional response.  Man tears were not shed this time, but I did immediately toss the book from my bed in frustration (Spoilers, I did not dent my wall, that would be childish). Kafka’s absurd tale makes the reader feel tormented and persecuted through narration from Gregor’s mind. As Gregor, we experience his pain, frustration, but worse of all we feel undeserved self-guilt (callback to Freud). In my last essay I argued that Victor Frankenstein was one of the most human, yet most monstrous characters we’ve read, but that title now belongs to The Samsa Family. Let me briefly explain why, and also explain how they beat out a woman who boils a cat.

One of my favorite quotes (I have no idea, nor a desire, to recall who said it to me) goes something like this “If you kick around a dog long enough, it’ll eventually begin to ask itself what it did wrong.” That expression is Gregor Samsa in a nutshell. The young man feels so much love and compassion for a family that demonstrates so little gratitude, and next to no sympathy in return. He is willing to be the breadwinner and sole benefactor for his family (despite his own self-interests), who reciprocate this by turning their backs on him when he needs them most. The ending of the novella completely defies any kind of structure or expectation of a story arc. There is no dignified resolution for Gregor. His family becomes the unworthy inheritor of his due resolve.

The text is not the most bizarre novella I’ve read (That award goes to Daisy Dolls), but it is the most emotionally complex and confusing. It defies any form of human compassion, and that’s what really irritated me the most. Where’s the love, or the Eros? Who the hell are these people? No, what are they? Some would argue that art should not be valued by the emotional response it evokes. Many advocates of surrealism would say it is a cheap ploy, but screw em’. Some would also argue an important and vital factor of art is provocation, and this story certainly left a lasting emotional resonance. I thankfully doubt that this resonance will disperse before our Seminar on it (It’s 3 weeks away). Hopefully my title was provocative enough to make you give enough of a damn to read this long rant, and you don’t feel any resentment for my embellishment. If you do, good. I know that feel, bro.

So yeah, if any wants to talk about Kafka Tuesday I’m your guy.

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Freud: Let’s Talk About Sex!

Freud may be a return to our theme of society opposing our instinctive drives, but I rather enjoyed Civilization and It’s Discontents. Freud’s ideas are interesting to consider. Some of them are sexual of course, such as the libido’s unconscious effect on our actions, and the infamous Oedipal complex makes a quick cameo. But some questions are actually pretty enticing and philosophical. What is the origin of beauty? What good is it to us? What conceptualizes and defines it? Why do we obey the “Golden Rule”? Is it realistic or are we fooling our real emotions?

The central idea of Civilization and It’s Discontents is the idea of self-repression and guilt. This is somewhat of a callback to Nietzsche, but Freud is more insightful and clear on the matter. Where does guilt come from? Freud believes that civilization and the literal embodiment of the superego; Religion, are the two definitive culprits. Freud explains this with psychoanalysis, but his rationalizing appears more similar to operate conditioning. Mankind is taught and punished by authority figures within society and religious hierarchy to hate the actions that are most lustful and indulging. Sooner or later, after the dog has been kicked around long enough, it  begins to question and hate himself without actual physical punishment present. Man now feels shame and self-loathing all on its own! But Freud doesn’t object against the punishments placed by society. He rationalizes Law’s foundation and purpose to mankind, despite any natural reasoning behind it. His largest concern is how Law’s side effects of implemented guilt effect the everyday man, ailing his ego. He’s not Rousseau whining about the “crime” of society and law, Freud only wants to remedy the after effects.

Just think about it. You’re walking down the street, you see a pretty girl walk by you and before you know it your mind is wandering. Suddenly an “inappropriate” thought enters your mind, and you abruptly stop yourself.  You may question your thoughts, and feel some shame, or worse, reflect that you already have a girlfriend. Before you know it, you are lamenting and chastising yourself for ultimately a very natural occurring response to the opposite sex. Your mind and body are meant to take notice of attractive women! But churches, synagogues and mosques would tell you differently.  Freud would especially validate this idea since it links back to the idea of marriage and permanent kinship as unnatural, but it is more on a basis of unnecessary guilt. Freud uses the rather confusing Oedipal complex to explain his thoughts, but he acknowledges that no good can come of that form of self-hatred. What’s the point of getting mad at yourself when you’ve done nothing physically wrong! It’s not like you somehow sexually assaulted her with your mind.

Although the book doesn’t present any answers to the dilemma of unnecessary guilt, the text begins a snowballing effect towards a solution. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory was infamous because it defied all cultural taboo of the late 19th Century. Talks about erotic dreams, sex and homosexuality were off the table. By writing about and openly addressing sexuality; bringing it to popular culture, these “evil” thoughts didn’t appear so sinful and unnatural after all. Freud took psychology and his therapy to the human race back to the basic of its purpose. Simply talking openly about the difficult and uncomfortable things. His intervention leaped us forward to the sexually open society we have today. Thanks Freud!

And with that my weekend begins!

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Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde: Enough with the Civilization vs. Nature!

After a month of philosophical texts, I was incredibly pleased to read a nice streamlined work of fiction, and not be forced to decipher cryptic meanings and struggle with my own moral opinions. I’ve read Stevenson before, and was pleased that I enjoyed the story a second time, but an unfortunate after-effect is how much I’ve grown to resent this topic we’ve been focusing on for the last 5 readings. I used to love to ponder the question of how much our natural drive effects us in our decision and actions in everyday life, or whether or not I’d be the same person or soul if I was raised by different parents in different places. But Nietzsche, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Shelley have completely exhausted my excitement and will to even talk about it anymore. No more Good vs. Evil, Man vs. Primal Man! Bad Air, Bad Air! So instead I will talk about everything in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that doesn’t have to do our primal instincts. Too bad it’s the centre theme of the novel…

What I’ve always liked about novels like this is the choice of narration. The narrator is Utterson; a definition of blandness. He has no wife, no kids, no opinions, simple guiding emotions and little to no back story. He is you or I, anyone’s free to enter his flesh. He follows the similar traits of Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby, or Ishmael from Moby Dick. Their only purpose is to give a restricted perspective of a much greater character central to the plot. Whether it be Jay Gatsby, Captain Ahab or Henry Jekyll, these characters are who all importance is given to, and the narrators are tossed aside as soon as their work or intended purpose is finished. Avoid this part if you want me to spoil an excellent novel, but Utterson’s own story and conflict as a lawyer is completely ignored at the death of Jekyll. The book literally ends the moment Jekyll’s memoir is read. Forget about Poole or Utterson’s legal duties, Stevenson’s job is done! This is much like Ishmael simply being cast away as the sole survivor of the Pequod in Moby Dick with no answer of his fate. Ahab was the real star of the show, who cares if Ishmael dies too?

Another idea to note is that this is our second Mystery genre we’ve read throughout Arts 1. Just like Oedipus, the detective is bound to discover something he didn’t want to find even though his nosy nature bounded him to it.  Jekyll himself pushes his boundaries by attempting to exile his passions, but just like Frankenstein his pushes moral boundaries and defies scientific law.  Similarly to the Frankenstein monster, the creature of Mr. Hyde has been misconstrued and remodeled by popular society. Popular depictions of him symbolize him as monstrous, greenish, gargantuan and incapable of speech, only outbursts of evil chuckles. If anyone like me watched Looney Tunes as a kid, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, your childhood must of really sucked, and I feel sorry for you. Hyde is actually short in stature, he’s hideous, but very much human. Much like the fog that always seems to follow him when he commits his heinous acts, his hideous feature is hazed. There’s no single characteristic that can be distinguished from the rest of him and called revolting. It’s just like that feeling you get when you encounter someone who just strikes you in the the wrong way but can’t determine why. This is much like how we can’t separate our primal drives from our human passions.

But looks like I have to stop here, since I promised I wouldn’t talk about any of this kind of thing. I pray we’ll move past this topic by the next reading. And my rant is done.

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Nietzsche and How He Ruined My Weekend

I feel like Nietzsche has accomplished the difficult task of surpassing Plato as the most complex text we’ve read this semester. I may have made the false assumption that as the books came closer to our era, they would be more contemporary, and thus easier to comprehend. But it appears that once again, I am horribly wrong. For 120 pages required to read, it by far the most dense and most difficult to follow, especially because it is very loosely written and requires a higher-level attention to understand. But anyways here’s my two cents on this “anti-philosophers” ideas.

First thing I really liked was that some of Nietzsche ideas directly go against and contrast Plato (An individual I once praised, but realized was a douche after reading The Republic). Kinda links back to Rousseau Vs. Hobbes Nature vs. Society. Likewise Plato’s realm of “perfect forms” or ideas holds singular truths, while Nietzsche holds that “truths” are far more subjective and malleable to each culture and era, which is far closer to current contemporary belief. Kind of ironic thought, how Nietzsche beliefs would be warped to serve as the ideals of “ethnic purity” German Nationality and superiority. Yet Plato’s Fascist views (which many of us agree, he held) about literal ethnic expulsion and euthanasia are never given credit where it’s due. Oh the irony!

What else? The idea of slave morality and noble morality seems to be a lot more simple than it leads itself to be. Basically “good” is whatever serves as a positive for an individuals own interests and evil is whatever harms, disables or leads to his or her own resentment. For example Nietzsche describes that wild beasts really aren’t commonly termed “Evil” because they aren’t self-hating or cognizant of their own actions, they do what they must. So if a Grizzly Bear begins to maul you to death, don’t think or call it evil. He don’t know any better, he’s just trying to satisfy his need of nourishment that your flesh can grant him. I mean a lot of us who are recognized and consider ourselves Atheists would probably know this as common sense, but for Nietzsche time this idea of morality beyond scripture probably turned some heads in a strongly Catholic Germany. He was the first to coin the phrase “God is dead”. I know plenty of people who’d say the same. British Columbia has the largest atheist population in Canada fyi. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you though.

Anyways may as well use this last paragraph to state I’m sorry for writing my blog late, but this text required more patience, time and self contemplation than a weekend could grant me. Annnnnnnd done.

P.S Nietzsche’s feeling of alienation and eventual catatonic state is probably one of the most tragic stories I’ve ever heard.

 

 

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Frankenstein: A Cautionary Tale for the Modern Era

This isn’t the first time I’ve read Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, but it also isn’t the first time I’ve found it enjoyable. Both readings I found the first 70-80 pages as a crawl, but really heated up after the Monster becomes apparent to Victor.

A teacher of mine once mentioned how Frankenstein is arguably the first piece of Science Fiction to which I’d have to agree, although it’s not too significant in my opinion. The novel makes some mention of broad terms such as “Galvanism” and Alchemy as tools for the production of Victor’s man, but never goes into grave detail of how he sparked the lifeless body parts to function and spring to life a conscious being. To be fair, you can’t expect Mary Shelley to make a realistic depiction of the complex task creating life. In fact, majority of science-fiction simply slaps on scientific elements and words like Doctors, laboratory’s, beakers and of course the word “science” itself to give it a false sense of realism. The only thing that differs the fantasy genre and the science fiction genre is that fantasy is modest enough not to attempt to explain any of it’s super naturally occurring elements, while science fiction pretends to. But more importantly, the story of Frankenstein serves as a cautionary tale for mankind’s “forbidden flame” of creation through modern science.

Since the 1960s and the rise of knowledge of Human and Animal genetics, mankind is now in possession of being “Gods”. Cloning and genetic engineering is being attempted and advanced rapidly. Worst of all, there’s a likely possibility that despite firm international legislation, human cloning (Genetics wise, NOT the identical replication kind) is likely taking place all around the world. Every piece of produce we buy at the supermarket can be properly deemed “Frankenfood”, it has undergone selective genetic hybridization and conditioning. We can now control our food and environment surrounding us on a massive scale. The most horrifying revelation is we are on the brink of defying natural law with stem cell-research and our ability to recreate organs than mankind could never naturally reproduce or heal. Is this for the better of mankind or are we walking a fine line of playing God and overstepping our boundaries? How much control can we exert before civilization as a whole resembles nothing as it does today. It would be unfair to lead this slippery slope I’m describing to the ultimate conclusion of a dystopic society identical to Brave New World, but it could potentially lead to an outcome bearing some similarities.

Just reflect how far mankind has come within the last century. The automobile Flight, Space Travel, the Human Genome Encoded, Division of the Uranium Atom and Nuclear intercontinental weapons. Cloning and even synthetic organisms like microscopic nano-machines have been created. It’s evident our knowledge and capabilities is exponentially growing. Just how long will it be before a mother and father will be able to talk to there doctor about whether or not they want their child to be a blue eyed boy and with the body of an athlete? Perhaps I’m too paranoid, but I still pray to God or whatever force lies out there that such a day will never come.

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