Monthly Archives: November 2016

Freud/Hoffmann Presentation

My presentation question: “So in ‘The Sandman’, Hoffmann REALLY likes to use heat and fire as a motif. He often links it to the overarching theme of perception/vision/eyes…Why is that? How is that? How does it link? WHAT?”

As you guys know what happened at our last Freud/Hoffmann seminar, my group and I had a huge epiphany. We had our minds blown thanks to Christina for helping us put the last piece of the puzzle together! MIND BLOWN. *makes sound of something exploding* Yeah, I was really happy about that. Still happy about that actually. Maybe too happy.

So, here’s what my group came up with this whole heat and fire relationship with vision and perception:

Nathanael deals a lot with warped perception and reality. He definitely has trouble differentiating what’s real and what isn’t. Hence why Freud sees this whole uncanny business going on. Nathanael can’t tell the difference between things and he often finds similarities and differences in polar opposite or very similar characters e.g. calling Clara an automaton when really Olimpia (who he says has full of life) is an automaton, as well as Coppelius and Coppola possibly inhabiting the same entity.

Whenever Nathanael thinks of Coppelius or whenever Coppelius’ presence is around, fire comes up. The two come hand in hand. This is found in the poem about Clara as well as other recurring thoughts that imply Coppelius’ presence. With Coppola, he is the one who’s got all the gadgets – the telescope, the spectacles… And what is interesting is that despite a spyglass’ use being to help magnify and make distant objects clearer, if anything, it has caused Nathanel to blur reality and imagination together. Hence, warped perception. And this faulty perception usually happens with the use of a spyglass or a spectacle made by Coppola, who also made Olimpia’s eyes.

What connects these two entities into one is how hot burning rains of sand is used to throw into one’s eyes. And guess what? sand is used to make glass(es)!!! What even.

All in all, you can tell that fire and eyes/vision/spectacles/anything related to perception and the ability to see something are motifs/symbols used to trigger the reader and Nathanael’s subconscious into relating the two characters as one being. THAT IS PRETTY SICK.

Blake’s My Pretty Rose Tree, and how jealousy plays a role in our lives

So basically, a man is offered this beautiful flower and he’s like, “Nah, I’m good. I’ve got a pretty rose tree”. And then he returns to his pretty rose tree, and she’s all jealous so she turns away from him and only gives him her thorns, which makes him delighted. What?

This poem brings up huge themes of lost love, possession, jealous, lack of mutual respect, and selfishness. The gardener/speaker gains this satisfaction from turning down the offer of a beautiful, and perhaps more youthful flower because he realizes he is still wanted. He also comes off as an incredibly self-absorbed individual when he gets all happy about how his rose tree gets super jealous and only gives him her thorns. There is a sense that when she gets jealous, it is his way of getting a major ego boost. Ugh. How unattractive. This obviously shows how the relationship is unequal. The rose is not seen as a partner to the speaker, but as a possession instead. This theme of possession is prominent because of the repeated use of the words ‘my’ and ‘I’ve’.

So, this theme of jealousy and possession got me thinking. How does jealousy play a role in our lives and how are there some people who just do not get jealous at all? I did some thinking and this is what I’ve come up with…

What is the root of jealousy? Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s the fear of not being enough, and/or fear of abandonment…? Perhaps it has something to do with self-doubt and even a intense sense of insecurity.

And how does jealousy affect us? Well, first off, it weakens our mental health. We begin thinking of all these unstable thoughts. We begin damaging the trust we have with our partner, and we also begin to break the trust we build within ourselves. Jealousy immediately pulls you into the past. And what I mean by that is how difficult communication can be as one will always look into the past, to what triggered this jealousy and distrust in the first place. There will be that constant doubt of whether or not your partner will do what they did again that brought up this disgusting feeling of jealousy. It restarts arguments. It creates intense insecurity. It makes you mis-perceive common and small situations. It’s just an ugly, unhealthy, and vicious feeling to inhabit.

So, how are there people who can live without jealousy at all?

I suppose people who don’t get jealous are the ones who do not seek approval from others. They are not reaching for something outside of themselves when ultimately, what they are seeking for, is found from within. I think that search for completion, to fill that void we always have open somehow, is a treacherous journey to embark on. Because at first, we feel that this void can be filled by someone or something, but really, as time goes by, we realize our inner demons can only be healed and transformed into something better by growing to learn and love yourself on your own. And that (unfortunately, I guess? I mean it is unfortunate in this day and age when everything is so instant), takes an awful lot of time. Moreover, people who do not get jealous do not compare themselves to others. They have a high sense of self-worth.

You can obviously see why the rose tree is so jealous. The relationship dynamic between her and the speaker is clearly unequal and unhealthy. :/

Galileo, The Bible, and Friedrich Nietzsche

I’m not intending to have this blog post come to a coherent conclusion because what I’m currently typing is really just a stream of consciousness…

After reading Kurt’s essay on Galileo, it got me thinking about how objective is the Bible if it were considered a gateway to understanding the knowledge of truth, as well as how one interpretation of scripture could be considered right and while another interpretation could be labeled as false, and also, what even is the value of truth?? So, for some odd reason, those questions immediately got me thinking about the tiniest bit of stuff I learnt in high school about Friedrich Nietzsche.

The Bible – well, it’s pretty ‘abstruse’ (Galileo used that word a couple of times in his letter to the Grand Duchess). It can be interpreted numerous ways. I remember reading Kurt’s essay about how the Bible doesn’t explicitly translate God’s thoughts word for word so we’re left to interpret and assume as much as we can. And we all know that humans are innately flawed, we come up with metaphors and concepts to adjust to what we currently understand in order to comprehend as much as we can of the world.¬†And yet we consider the Bible as a way to understanding the knowledge of truth. But to understand the Bible, we apply what we know and perceive to understand this piece of truth….Do you see the problem? I hope this makes sense.

In Nietzsche’s essay called “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” which was written in 1873, he states that truth is “A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seen firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins”. Dang, Nietzsche. That’s quite something right there. In Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”, he writes that “The text has disappeared under the interpretation”, which I’ve gotta say, totally does apply with people understanding scripture. One’s version of truth is really subjective. Your truth is different to mine. I suppose it all depends on how you’ve been brought up, what you believe in (spiritually, politically etc), and so much more. With Nietzsche, he doesn’t believe in absolute truth. There can only be a variety of perspectives from which one can see a situation/matter. With truth (in this case, the Bible), it demands a specific point of view in claiming that THAT is the truth. This totally falsifies the bigger picture.

Anyway, I feel like the more I think about it, the more existential it gets… After all, Nietzsche is one of the pioneers of existentialism and is also considered the father of Nihilism.