Architecture and Memory

Yo guys, hopefully last post of all wooohooooo!!

 

I have to say that this book dedicates particularly long passages to architecture and the description of buildings for a book that is seemingly about the holocaust. Evidently, the book’s context and deeper content reveal that Austerlitz is more than a heartfelt post-holocaust story, one of its main themes being the suppresion of memory. Furthermore, one of my questions is how does the role of architecture relate to this theme, and why does Sebald make such a big emphasis on it?

I spent a while thinking about this one, I could understand that Sebald’s character was a an architecture historian and for that reason it was only natural that he talk about architecture and the stories behind buildings. However, I could not relate its connection with the overall book and its themes. After some investigation I came upon this quote:

“From individual memory to collective memory, architecture can impact what and how we remember. An architect’s design might make the most of “suggestible” memories by creating built form that helps to “preserve” a memory— like a memorial, for instance. On the other hand, architecture can bring new meaning into our present as well.”

This quote set me off in a better understanding of Sebald’s use of architecture to characterize Austerlitz. I began thinking exactly how it is that today’s architecture affects the way I reexperience memories that happened in particular spaces. Although at first I had a lot of trouble thinking exactly how I had been affected by modern architecture, especially because Mexico is too chaotic for me to generalize my experiences, I could not think how Vancouver’s architecture had affected me. In order to find the answer to my question I began thinking of experiences where architecture has certainly affected the way I remember experiences.

After backpacking through europe for a month and a half I was visiting the 19th city of my trip, Rome. As any person visiting this city for the first time it was of the utmost importance that I visited the Vatican and saw the insteriors of St Peter’s Basilica. This place stood out because of its architectural mounstrosity but the way I experienced it, now that I think about it, applies to all the memories of all the famous plaza’, buildings and streets that left an impression on me in my trip around europe. Each one had a distinct element to them that makes the memories that much more vivid, making it easy to recall moods and environments. Okay, so St Peter’s Basilica, I was standing there, inside the Basilica, its enormous pillars, enormous dome and its enormous everything. The sun rays were shining through, and everything around me looked magnificent, massive, awe-inspiring and imposing. I really don’t know how much the space I was in affected the way I experienced the following moment, but I just remember that this is one of the moments in my trips that I became very self aware of where I was standing and what I had gone through to get there. It was a rushing sensation very hard to describe and it only lasted a few moments, but I quickly associate with the magnificence of the basilica. It seemed as though my past experiences were gathering at that particular point in time and I was becoming part of the numerous lives that had crossed paths with such a large building and its signifance.  Its hsitory and the stories behind it interconnected with what I had experienced through the 18 cities I had gone through to get there.

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St Peter’s Basilica at Rome

I feel this is the reason Sebald gives importance to architecture to spaces in Austerlitz. Austerlitz is a character that is trying to connect with his past, and for that reason he finds himself drawn to the history and functions of pieces of architecture such as the Antwerp Station in Brussels. Through spaces and how they fulfill a function Austerlitz creates a connection with the past. Each building contains a certain path that draws to different memories, and also adds to the mood of ‘lost memories’ that envelopes the novel. Austerlitz recognizes that all the spaces contain a certain path that is unique to thema and adds to the mood of lost memories that enevelopes the novel.

With this in mind, I came back to the buildings we have in vancouver, and again how it could be that through their function they affect the way I have experienced memories. In today’s arcitecture from what I have observed of my own experiences it seems that we give a lot of priority to the efficiency of spaces at completing a certain function. Years and years of studying old buildings, have given us knowledge of what exactly a space can do and how that space can achieve its function. We find it aesthethically pleasing when a space is efficient, so I cant help but say (again, this is from what I have gathered from my experiences as I am no expernt I might be entirely wrong of what I am saying) that our architecture is very function-driven. We only need look at the Nest in UBC to observe that its beauty can be found in the fact that it is able to perform specific functions very efficiently. Furthermore, if I were to say that today’s architecture has affected the way I recount past experiences can be seen by the high priority we have given as culture to going about our business. Especially moving from Mexico, I can say that coming to Vancouver evereybody is going about their own business and has the priority to complete an objective and sometimes because of this people don’t get to appreciate the beauty of chaos/disorder and the liveliness that comes with it. Maybe this is the reason I have not paid enough attention to the architecture surrounding me, and its because it seems to be only there to complete a function, and it does this so well that it does not seem to bring attention to itself and stand out to the buildings that surround it.

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Nest at UBC

http://sensingarchitecture.com/1328/what-is-the-role-of-human-memory-in-architecture/

 

Vertigo Blocking

I know its been a while since we talked about Hitchcock, but one of my youtube idols: the nerdwriter, has just uploaded a really insightful video on Vertigo’s blocking. Its one of the scenes that we analysed in class…really interesting.

Something is really bugging me about Berger

I have something to say that is really bugging me about Berger… I am currently writing on his pictorial essays, where he states that he wants to make the act of raising questions one that is absolutely natural. He wants questions being raised without any sort of unnecessary information getting in the way or infleunging our interpretation and judgement –  “sometimes in the pictorial essays no information at all is given about the images reproduced because it seems to us that such information might distract from the points being made”. Ok, that is fair. The thing is John, that we cant actually see them! The way these are printed in black and white! And something about how they are printed makes them lose detail! This obviously makes the act of raising questions not as natural as you seem to want it to beping.

Look Penguin Books, ( or…whomever had the brilliant idea to publish the book like this) at first this was not that big of a problem, I was like: “its kinda weird that they are in black and white, but I can deal with it”.  But as soon as you embark on the journey of writing a 2000 word essay on an extract of a book that is solely pictures, things start to get a tad difficult when you cant see the images properly. Just sayin’.

People might argue: “but Bruno, you can simply google the images, there’s a ‘List of Images Reproduced’ and in the internet you can see them in super-ultra HD if you want to”. To them I would say: “oh gee, thanks, insightful passerby, I was just trying to look at the images as the author actually intended me to. You know, without any sort of “mystifaction” or context influencing my judgement in the questions I am raising from this essay. Guess what looking in the ‘List of Images Reproduced” would do? Give me information that the author did not intend me to see when interpreting these pictorial essays. And that thing about googling them, well, I don’t know if you know this but google has a lot of information. So yeah, thanks a ton for your insightful comments”. ß This is true. Knowing the timeframe when certain paintings were done, and by whom, gives us a lot of information about them. We inevitably stop seeing the painting just for what it is…something that Berger talks about when he comments about Hals’ paintings.

I am really angry at this because I’ve actually had to google the images because when looking at some of them, the details become so incomprehensible that the whole experience of looking is ruined. This is my personal experience, at least.

Ok, look at the bottom picture in page 74, what is that in the left top corner?! Dammit I cant see! Looks like a goat, or is this the person pouring something, but from what? I ask you… Or… Look at the top picture of page 75…WHAT ARE THEY SITTING ON? Is that grass or blankets it sure looks like the big man that is attacking is pushing away some flowers or splashing some water. I don’t know. Inevitably I’ve had to google these images, thankgod I didn’t learn a new piece of information that might ruin my interpretation fo this essay. Or at least I’ve forgot it.  And now I know that painting in page 75 takes place in a garden, near a river, where the man and woman seem to benked sitting on the blankets having a sort of picinic. This detail shows me that the man that is attacking is more connected to nature than what I originally thought, or at least that the sort of vibe it gives me. And this is EXACTLY what we should be able to experience full freedom to let my eyes wander to come up with as many questions and connections I can of these images.

However I cant search for all of these images. I am ESPECIALLY afraid of googling the bottom picture in page 71, which is also clearly losing a lot of detail by being in black and white.  I am afraid because I am not given here the timeframe when these were made for a reason, I do belive this. This is such a big part of the interpretation of this essay, knowing any extra piece of information might prove my feelings of: timelessnesss and no apparent connection of time between each other, ruined. Knowing when the paintings were made might prove my feelings wrong, and I don’t want that. That would certainly affect my writing. I wouldn’t be able to approach these images as closely as a child would approach them, see them as they are, avoid their mystification. And currently I have not googled them, in the fear that any extra piece of information that is given to me might ruin my interpretation.

I don’t know what is his intention, but trying to obtain information from the pictorial essay like this, is like reading from foggy glasses: I’m not really seeing. In paintings, details are relevant, also is colour; we see in colour, it is a big part of our vision and it is for this reason why I wonder why John Berger would print his book in black and white and so small? He could have printed bigger images and had a bigger book, y’know. If it is because of cost I would be very dissappointed….or is this just the version the university ordered, if so…I would also be very dissapointed. Either way it seems like I would end up disappointed *sight*

Ill do what I can with what I got.

Hypertexts

Sorry for the super extra late blog post on hypertext’s, I’ve been wanting to write on this topic ever since we finished the reading on Strickland’s Ballad. Deconstructing this text and looking at its ambiguous nature as a form of interaction with the reader was very interesting. However, whilst writing my essay on this topic, I felt that justifying the effect the poem created by the absence or ambiguity of another element made me sometimes skeptical of what I was writing. In the end I think that I managed to pull it off alright (lol); however, I still wanted to investigate what other hypertexts had explored in terms of reader involvement and navigation that differentiates them from other pieces of literature in other media.

Furthermore, I went ahead and investigated hypertexts that actually use the technology at their disposal to enhance the interactive aspect of the text, and how sometimes this technology intensifies the theme communicated, just as Strickland’s ambiguity does with its text. This was to see if hypertexts can actually be interactive, interactive as we conventially think of the word in this day and age, where the boundaries between reality and digital are being blurred to the absolute minimal. In terms of experimentation with technology regarding reader involvement, Strickland’s text doesn’t do much, I believe that a hypertext could do way more than having words highlighted that allow you to move from page to page. So I went ahead, and investigated other hypertexts.

I found out that the main source of the interactivity in most of the hypertexts were very similar to the one presented in The Ballad. Most of them truly relied on the reader clicking the highlighted words to construct the text. The very first hypertext, Sunshine ’69 is a hypertext novel with intertwining character stories. In the main page they give you the option of different forms of  navigation, you can choose to navigate chronologically or non-chronologically by choosing the dates of the events in the novel. There’s another option, where you can navigate by choosing the character you want to follow, or geographic naviagtion through a map where the events of the story take place. It is fair to mention that it does not elaborate interactivity further than Strickland’s work, where we navigate by clicking on the highlighted words, but it is interesting to see how the author’s decomposed the different categories and elements the reader can use to navigate the story. However, this form of navigation does enhance the reading of the story, as it is a mystery-thriller, you have to build the events from how you choose to navigate the story. Reading each of the character’s perspective in a particular order will give you a certain bias of one character over the other, this bias will develop, but it will do so differently if you had read the story geographically or “birds-eye view” which is the all-seeing perspective of the text.sun

Another colossal hypertext released around the same time, named the Grammatron, explores different narratives as well. This text is massive, it contains around “2000 hyperlinks” and “40+minutes of original soundtrack”. According to its “about” page it is a story about cyberspace, the evolution of virtual sex and it also explores digital narratives. Although most of it narrative exploration is the same as Sunshine ’69 and The Ballad –  if you choose the “High Bandwidth Version” named “Interfacing” it opens up an interesting introduction to the regular version. The about page does not explain the reasoning behind having the two versions, and the hypertext is massive for me to read all of it to understand such reasoning, but this introduction opens up other possibilities for the interactivity in texts. When you begin with this option a new window pops open and automatically starts playing a sinister recording of a voice slowed down, alongside is a synth playing minor chords. This song is accompanied by a text that plays automatically, accompanied by abstract animated gifs, every 4 seconds or more the text displayed changes. The very fact that the reading ambients itself and obligates the reader to go at a certain speed accentuates the theme of digital evolution and consciousness. It seems the text is playing itself or rather thinking for itself, and this message is presented from the very home page, where one of the hyperlinks displayed says the following:  “you are about to enter The Grammatron, please wait while the machine reads you”. Also, the use of glitchy animated gifs add life to the text and a certain sinister aura to it, almost taking over your computer through automatic, and to a certain extent, unstoppable storytelling. This is a clear example where the coders of this text explored forms of interactive storytelling to emphasize on a certain theme and create a bigger impact on the reader through it.gram

Other hypertexts, like the work that is presented in Bram.org, collects dynamic and interactive digital poetry that speak about the human condition of loneliness. Although most of the the texts are fairly simple they present a new way in which we view poetry as they use the automatic digital display significantly to alter the way we read the poetry. The text “All Alone” is a clear example of this: when the text opens a barrage of pop-up windows displaying the words “All. Alone. All One.”  – in that order. Alternating between colours, these windows close as soon as they have displayed these words. Finally leaving the reader with a single word displayed: “you”. The loss of control through the barrage of pop-ups and the intense display of colours, impacts you and gives you a certain impression which finally adds power to the word “you”. An extremely simple form of poetry it is complemented through its use of coding to get emphasize on the word “you” which further adds to the theme of loneliness point that is to supposed to be communicated in this collection.alone

 

Websites:

http://www.sunshine69.com/noflash.html

grammatron.com

http://www.bram.org/beinghuman/alone/allfr.htm

 

Toy Story – Feat. Spider Babies

I know this post is rather late, and I know you guys highly anticipated it as always, so here it is. Ok, so many many years ago I came upon my first horror film, I guess it wasn’t really a horror film, it was more like the first time I remember getting scared by a film. Anybody remember the first Toy Story? Damn that baby toy with a spider as a body, really got to me Babyhead&Woody.

And well, today, I ponder about spiderbabies often and it got me thinking: What was so scary about it? It really could not harm me, so it wasn’t a defensive reaction to protect myself, unless my child-self it actually could…however, we can agree that is not right, there is something aggresively weird about havingI a baby head and a spider body.

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It simply is not something that is not supposed to happen, it is as Freud would say – rather uncanny.

However, I didn’t feel like any of the three films analysed had any of this sort of effect upon me. Weren’t the monsters creepy enough? Was it the exagerated acting? The lack of colour? The lack of dialogue? Me maturing? I think not, I’m still scared of this spider baby to this very day, its something that clearly traumatized me…don’t tell anyone, I kind of hope that all of my readers have stopped reading at this point so I wont have to deal with this in the morning. Yes Grayson, I’m looking at you.

Horror films have certainly evolved, directors have gotten better at grossing us out, better at builidng tension, better at creating the aesthethics of fright. However, there is still an essential factor that makes up the amount of fear that we gather from the films we watch, it isnt just aesthetics and film theory. It is the difference why someone in an other age might not be as scared of toys coming alive and turning against you as children of my time.Babyface

They probably were probably more scared of vampires like Nosferatu…where I’m not scared at all of Nosferatu, I just think of him as an underfed man with seriously long and pointy ears that could probably poke my eyes out, that’s as far as my fear for Nosferatu goes. When indeed, we were told in last week’s lecture that this film was critically acclaimed and financially succesful, then it did indeed manage to scare the hell out of people. Furthermore, what is this essential factor that makes people from different contexts fear a film differently?

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I would argue that it is the relationship that we feel between with what we watch and and the context we live in. And this is a general premise for any genre, it’s ability at succeeding as a film be that a romantic comedy or an action film is how much we relate to its character’s, themes and story. Then what is it that was in my context that scared me from that baby? Frankly, I cant remember, it puzzles me to this day. I wont leave you with the question unanswered – I never liked open endings – so I’m going to go ahead and try to guess why this was. Maybe as kids we really were afraid of our toys getting corrupted, especially because we love our toys so much, they are our creation, so having them turn on us maybe is something that really scared us when we were children…I don’t know, maybe plausible? Therefore, something that might have scared me so much during childhood might not scare another child from another socal context, for maybe this child didn’t get to grow with toys the way we did when we were children – again, I don’t know, this is some serious psychoanalysis going on. But its if for this reason and difference in social context, that when I watch Dr Caligari, Nosferatu and Mabuse I don’t get as scared as I watch films from my social context; yes, Toy Story is really that scary.

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It is true, that we have gotten better and better at making horror films, nailing at times with films such as The Conjuring & The Shining, the perfect mix of the two: social context and our deep seeded fears. Because these films films that I don’t get as nearly as scared as I maybe should have.  of what our inherent in our nature. What I’m basically saying is that it is from this reason that we can analyse a film’s content to get knowledge from the deepest and most personal thoughts of a man within a certain context. Thoughts that are so deeply embedded in their mind, they might not even about. And it is for this reason that I decided to discuss the day of my presentation the clues that might lead us to understand the most intrapersonal fears of the people of the Weimar Republic. Fears that due to historical investigation, told to us in the lecture the past Monday, range from subjects due to americanization to political instability. And I have given the reasosns that I believe that it is not far fetched or pretentious in any manner to try to justify one with evidence coming from the film’s monsters.

Descartes and Gustl…what?

I’m always late for blog posts, sorry guys…heh heh – *nervously looks around for ways to escape*

Ok, so….

The lecturer (I kinda forgot his name BTW) mentioned Ernst Mach and his views on this story, and well I wanted to focus my presentation on that. So he brought up Descartes and his statement on “I think therefore I am”, and I decided to research a little bit of Descartes because it was not left entirely clear to me what the lecturer was trying to get at…or more like I didn’t have notes on it, after all, just dropping a reference to descartes is a big thing.… But umm so yeah I went and did a little research on Descartes and turns out he was a big rationalist right, that solely trusted in nothing more than the human power of logic. He believed in the importance of grounding all of our ideas in individual experience and reason raher than authority and tradition. But then we are presented to this charatcter that seems to be doing exactly the opposite. All his beliefs seem to be grounded on anything but what is logical and is just someone that simply looks like a person who believes in the opposite of “I think therefore I am”… his existence seems to be solely dependent of what others think of him, like how honourable he is. We are presented to a character that really doesn’t follow through values Descartes would admire such as the clarity of thought, and introspection guided by sound arguments, which made me think how much this man was shaped by the society he was enveloped in and how much it had affected him.  He just follows the social conventions  blindly, so why introduce Descartes…THAT IS DA QUESTION

So I was wondering if there were traces of the individual in Lt Gustl and how these have a relationship between those thoughts that can be identified as reflections of his society, like those thoughts that are clearly influenced by his auhority. And well, my question is can we identify the two as separate, is there clues of the man at its core or do all his thoughts have traces of society influenced by austrian conventions? Does he really think and therefore is, or his existence solely dependent on his society? And there is this extra one, could we interpret his walking and introspection like almost as a subconscious Cartesian attempt to reveal the truth of one’s self?

Freud makes me Nauseous

I hate Freud.

Ok, hate is a big word… I need a bigger one. I’m right now looking at Thesaurus.com: loathe, despise, anathematize? Now that just sounds pretentious. These words don’t seem to carry enough weight to appropriately describe my feelings towards Freud, therefore I googled: “other ways you can say I hate you”. And as it usually is when you google something, I got what I wanted.

*Clears throat* Dear Freud “I don’t hate you…I just don’t like that you exist[ed]”, quote credits to  Gena Showalter the author of Seduce the Darkness. Continuing on, Dear Freud – I especially like this one – “I don’t like you. True, I don’t like most people, but I especially dislike you. I could start my own religion based on how much I dislike you.”, a quote from What a Dragon Should Know written by G.A Aiken.

I think its pretty clear that I don’t particularly like Freud. This disdain I fostered towards Freud originated because I had to write an essay on the man’s theories. The beginning of his analysis of “the uncanny” isn’t bad, its even at some points somewhat insightful, but then, as it usually is with people that think they are unto something, he goes too far and starts talking about castration and fear. Freud does this everytime, he starts to talk about a dream, and we are all like “Ok, aha, I kind of get what you are saying”, and then all of a sudden, BOOM! You want to sleep with your mother. I don’t even like to argue about this because I would be falling on the same trap Freud does, proving something that really can’t be proven due to the ambiguous nature of the subconscious. But it is this inherent ambiguity that renders any generalizations on the meaning of symbols and undertsanding of dreams useless. Sometimes I have get to control my own dreams, they call it lucid dreams, and I can fly and stuff just because I want to do it, and it’s not my mind trying to tell me a message on some sort of displaced form of illustrated language. I don’t feel – because that is it: a feeling – that there is always a subconscious reason for the things I dream about, let alone that reason be a sexual one.

Furthermore, Why does it always have to do with sex, Freud? Why? I understand you lived in a society where repression was common because of society’s demands, and I also understand that you intended these theories on psychoanalys as an aid to better understand ourselves and thus be able to live a more fulfilling life. I appreciate it, but in the second millenia our understanding of the subconscious has improved a lot, your theories were a good starting point, but I hate being breaking this to you (not really), but your theories nowadays are just seen as wrong. It seems to me, especially after I had to write this essay, that during your analysis you are just simply transferring your perverse machinations to the dreams of people who might just be dreaming weird stuff. Just look at your analysis of the source of “the uncanny” when reading The Sandman. You start to talk about how getting your eyes gouged out seems pretty scary, and then BOOM! Eyes suddenly mean penis and therefore we fear the Sandman because of castration, #yolo. I have to admit that I am rather going too far, Freud’s theories were clearly made to the benefit and improvement of our society. Nevertheless, Freud – I know you can’t hear me, not only because your dead, but even if you werent, I am currently not reading this outloud – not everything has to do with sex. Or maybe it does…but I just repressed it? Oh God. See what you have done! Damnit Freud!

His analysis in the break down of the psychoanalysis of dreams is pretty cool… I guess.

Alexander Supertramp and Rousseau

Imagen1In the film Into The Wild, Christopher McCandles, adopts the name “Alex Supertramp” to fully reject the society he grew up in, as he literally goes “Into the Wild”. For those who haven’t watched the film or read the book, I highly recommend it; based on a true story, we follow Christopher’s journey to the wildest reaches of Alaska as he abandons his previous life to obtain a profound understanding of his life and the world around him.  After reading Rousseau’s “Second Discourse On Inequality”, I can’t help but notice a similarity between the two books. Rousseau, just like Alex (we will call him by that name from now on, as he preferred to go by it throughout his journey) believes that society is heading on the wrong direction. They both dream of simpler times, where humans and nature were one with each other, they dream of a man that likes to help others out of compassion, they dream of a man that is separated from society, and most importantly, knows and is at peace with himself. Not only that, but there seems to be similarities with both of our character’s, they both left their hometown to reflect on life for a long time: Alexander left for two years, and Rousseau left for 20 (based on Crawford’s lecture). Two times ten equals twenty, you see, similar.

The journey of Alexander Supertramp can be seen as an illustration of the consequences and the evolution of a man that is leaving civilization to become a “natural man”. Although the film speaks mostly about the values of being true and free, it speaks too about the deprivation of human nature to society, dedicating whole sequences to the repulsive facets of modern civilization. However, what I believe is one of the most interesting features of this film it’s the way we can approach it almost as an allegorization of Rousseau’s ideas on the development of man, from civilization to the state of nature.

When Alexander Supertramp visits the city after travelling almost a year on his own, Sean Penn (yes, Sean Penn is the director of this film) decides to present us to the city with a montage of low-angle shots Imagen3of the city’s buildings, exagerating the size of what is (according to Rousseau) the source of all evil. Imagen2We can’t help but sympathize with Alex’s character as he tries to assimilate, after being more than a year away from civilization, the sheer size of these iron giants, built through, and by, the inequality amongst men. Alex’s dirty appearance alienaties him from the orderly architecture of the city, the straight lines of the buildings slanting towards the center, encapsulating Alex in a small prison where “amour propre” rules all. He is made to walk alone in this foreign land he is no longer accustomed to. Penn’s use of subject-centered wide shots isolate our subject; his voice over is caught off and replaced with the chaotic sounds of city life; Alex hasn’t been with as many people as he is now, yet he clearly has never felt more alone. Man’s loss for natural compassion seen as Alex asks for the time, and a man dressed in a suit, flinches and reevaluates doing so. Here we see more of an illustration of Hobbe’s natural state ruled by fear, one of the many reasons why Rousseau’s philosophy sound more appealing. When it comes to this scene in relation to Rousseau, I believe, he felt the same way when he was looking at his society, alone, almost paranoid of becoming like one of them, self-isolating himself. He has seen the beauty of man in his natural state, yet he feels extremely conflicted by the fact that  “man was born free, but he is everywhere in chains”.

I’m getting too excited by this post, so I’m gonna cut down on my film analysis and jump straight ahead into the conclusion. ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** You have been warned, there are spoilers ahead, do not read any further, it’s a great film, with a great ending, don’t let me ruin it for you.  I SAID STOP READING, FOR REALZ. PLZ Ok, so if you have seen the film you know that Alex’s journey ends with his death, at the very end he realizes one of the most, if not the most, beautiful messages from the film: “Love is only real when shared”. His death, exemplifies that in the end, society has developed for a reason. One of the things that makes us different to animals, is our capability for self-improvement, our ability to alter the environment to our needs, and Alex needed this aspect from society to survive. One thing lead to another and he dies, reminding us that society is there for a reason and we need it.

The point I think I am making with the film, is that Alex’s happiest moments (those that lasted the longest at least) were not in Alaska, but the journey there. Alex, still had some sort of contact with society, but it was a way of living similar to the one that Rousseau defends and finds as the ideal one: nascent society.Imagen4 In his journey, he had both of the most important factors that make up man in the state of nature: pity and perfectibility. Without the need to take care of property, Alex travels, meets and helps people, fulfilling himself spiritually, furthermore, improving. In conclusion (I am running out of space), “Into the Wild”, provides an illustration of three stages in human development through the journey of one person, accentuating Rousseau’s poetic and romantic approach to the beauty of man in his state of nature.

Honest Bruno (speaks honestly): I could have made an entire essay on the subject, but like…maybe later, this is just a blog post. Sorry for the jumps between argument and argument…heh.

Hobbes Essay Outline

Thesis statement: Oedipus King actually does not illustrate a failed ruler but evaluates the performance of not only a succesful sovereign, but an ideal one , which is none other than the very divine power that envelopes Thebes throughout the play.

Point 1: matching features of Hobbes’ ideal sovereign to characteristics of the divine power acting in Oedipus King

Paragraph 1: The greek gods are instituted by the subjects, instituted through faith. The same way as Hobbes describes in Leviathan: “that to whatsoever man, or assembly of men, shall be given by the major part the right to present the person of them all[…] authorize all the actions and judgements of that man, or assembly of men, […]to the end to live peaceably amongst themselves”. A common agreement from the citizens to be the god subjects, something that can be seen serveral times through prayers in Oedipus king.

Paragraph 2: The plague and the prayers illustrate two fundamental aspects of the sovereign. Greek gods can achieve these aspects because they have omnipotent absolute power unlike Oedipus, thus the citizens of Thebes will always fall back to prayers of the gods, and consider there true ruler the gods and not oedipus.

Paragraph 3: I speak about the methods the greek gods use to keep control of the state. I compare the Leviathan’s method in instilling fear to the god’s use of oracles and prophecies to punish Oedipus. And how there nature allows them to be so powerful that their methods are absolutely effective.

Point 2: On Liverty of Subjects and How it applies to Oedipus King

Paragraph 4: I argue that the greek gods are Hobbes ideal ruler because their power is so massive that they will always be in control of  a state and they will always be able to have it stable.

Paragraph 5: I connect this paragraph to the previous one, that although such ultimate power may seem unreasonably onmipotent, Hobbes form of liberty can still be transferred to the state in Oedipus King. Those making the similarities between the two stronger and thus proving that one equals the other.

Point 3: Assigning Oedipus a new role under this perspective

Paragraph 6: I continue to make similarities between the two states stronger, and thus showing that by having an ideal sovereign you are also creating Hobbes ideal state. To do this I reattach the missing piece, Oedipus, which seems to be without a role in the state as he no longer is a sovereign. Using Hobbes model for a state we make Oedipus fit in, and thus justify even more the punishment given to him by the gods.

Conclusion

What’s up with that myth, Plato?

Unlike Plato, I believe being honest is important. I decided to bring up the Myth of Er in Friday’s discussion because I was writing an essay on the subject; I got stuck, so instead of doing the thinking myself I just brought my question to the discussion so you guys could do the work for me. You are probably angry at me right now, Plato´s dishonesty seems a little bit more understandable now. However,  my honesty is not the subject of today’s blog post, any complaints you have on this matter can be sent to this e-mail: bruno.complaints@yahoo.com And if I really enfuriated you by what I have just said, you might need some counselling; I would sit down and talk it out with you, but I have a feeling that wouldn’t go well for me.

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, Plato. I have several issues with Plato’s use of a myth to end his book. Plato throughout his book gives the impression that he is arguing in favour of the pursue of the just life, using both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards as evidence to support his arguments, especially focusing on the intrinsic ones. Then he goes on and rants about the cycle of reincarnation of souls (crazy unappealing stuff), this in my opinion seems slightly contradictory, why would you speak about the rewards obtained from the practice of something and then just say: “Hey guys I forgot to tell you, those rewards well, they only last 1000 years…you see that reward you have right there, well, eventually someday, you will have to forget about it and start again.” And all the souls be like: “Oh ok Plato that would have been nice to know before, you know, made us read your 300, and something, page rant, but I guess if we won this reward once we can do it all over again”, and Plato be like “Oh yeah, about that. Its not that simple, you see, I like to tell lies, only noble ones though and…” and the souls be interrupting like “For Zeus sake, Plato! Get to the point, we have stuff to do, you know, in the real world” and Plato would finally move on and say “When you get to choose a new life, we give you a random selection of lots to choose from, and well, its pretty hard to choose the right life. In fact, it is very likely that you will choose wrongly and become a tyrant. Unless, you are a philosopher, like me, of course. Even if you practice justice, and do your duty, only philosophical souls, like mine, are trained to make the right choices. You plebs are eternally doomed to be part of an infinite cycle of interchangeable goods and evils. Unlike me, who will have a super smooth road between the heavens and the earths”. And the souls tired of his B.S would flip him off and leave his cave by saying: “You’re a d*ck Plato (censorhip is important, I’m trying to keep this post PG 13). No wonder Socrates, your only friend, drank that hemlock.”.

Moving on, I also noticed that these rewards only exclusive to philosophers are pretty faulty for philosophers themselves. Plato states that that the situation can get prettty dangerous up there, even for a philosopher. If by mere chance a philosopher gets to be the last one to pick from the lot, he might not always be able to choose the philosophers life but he might have to conform himself with a normal life that practices justice: “through habit but without philosophy”.

Now I will interrupt completely this train of thought, to keep this thing concise. I was about to write a bunch of philosophers cursing at Plato, but I kept deviating and sometimes I just have to finish what I was talking about…this is just a note for all of you people that thought that cutting the train of thought like that was weird. Ok, so uhmmmm, oh yeah, after talking with you guys I realized that the intrinsic reward in justice that seems to be communicated in the myth, is actaully a misplaced interpretation from our part, and Plato actually believes that the intrinsic reward is this choice itself. The ability to make these choices,  even if faced with bad souls to choose from; th true beauty of justice is performing your duty and always choosing best from what you have. To be in order with themselves, by doing that which you were born to do, that is what you do best, despite the dangers you may be faced with the appetites that might be presented to you.