My Casual Reflections While Taking Arts One: Remake/Remodel

Post Seminar Thought

Well actually I had an underdeveloped version of this thought during seminar, but I wasn’t really sure of what I was trying to say. I got it while waiting for the bus though and I thought I’d just post it. In response to Andrew’s question about motifs such as light and dark and the blurriness of the fog, and whether they do anything to enhance the text, I’d have to say yes. I feel like they serve to parallel (at times) but mainly to challenge the perceptions people have of race. Light and dark have common connotations with good and bad and that connection is then made to white and black people. What I feel Conrad does in the story is challenge our perception of white people being purely good and black people being dark, base, etc. and the light and dark motifs are a sort of but not really subtle addition to that.

When we talked of the fog we mentioned the blurriness, the uncertainty, and there was a quote I found that struck me during my reading:

“When the sun rose there was a white fog, very warm and clammy, and more blinding than the night.” 111

Blindness does have a connection to uncertainty. Blindness leaves one in the dark so to speak, but what blinds them here is white. Sort of trying to alter or perception of where darkness exists or comes from? Whether they’re in the dark or the light they’re still blinded. The darkness is inescapable? Unavoidable? Must be acknowledged? I could relate that to some inner darkness? Kurtz, Everyone, Jung and the Shadow!

I could think and write about this text for a long time. It’s great, it’s probably one of my favourite books and would be put in my favourite-book-list, if I had to come up with a list, which I hate doing.

But it’s the weekend and there is stuff that needs doing.

achebe post to come

Fingers Crossed

I feel that these days I don’t personally experience many conscious feelings of being an Other in relation to men. Maybe men and women are becoming more equal in general. Maybe it’s because I’m around progressive people most of the time. I’m lucky I’m sure, as most of us are, to be living where I am and to have been educated about gender inequalities.

I’m probably considered an Other to men I interact with on some level. I probably just don’t notice it, and I might if I overanalyze my interactions. I wonder if men notice any inherent superiority in themselves because of their sex. “He never questioned his rights in this world.” liv
If they don’t notice it could in part be because they are confident in their masculinity and abilities. “Some men dread feminine competition…The most mediocre of males feels himself a demigod as compared with women” liv
“…no one is more arrogant toward women, more agressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility” lv

And then I remember some things.

I’m aware of my Otherness when I’m exposed to my parents and their traditional values and concerns. Suddenly I’m limited by restrictions that have nothing to do with any supposed lack of capabilities and everything to do with my vulnerability as a woman. I love my brother, but honestly he lacks some street smarts and sits around playing video games a lot. However, because he’s a boy he becomes the one who is supposed to protect me when we go out on walks. He gets his bed made and his laundry folded, but it’s my responsibility to attend to my duties as well as some general household chores. My time outside is limited and monitored despite my age, awareness, and knowledge of self-defence. What’s with these attempts to fix me to the private sphere, while my brother is pushed to enter the public sphere (even when he has little desire to do so)? It’s because I’m a girl. I know I can’t expect there to be absolute freedom for me to do whatever I please, at least not now. Because while I interact with people who treat me like a human being, there are people out there who do feel entitled to perceive me as inferior, with my worth being in my body.

“…many men will affirm…that women are the equals of man…at the same time they will say that women can never be the equals of man” (lvi)
It does feel like we are simultaneously winning and losing.

Why is it that women do not dispute male sovereignty? xlvi
Because of the arguments presented from people such as Simone deBeauvoir, many women, and even men, are disputing male sovereignty.We’ve come a long way since this text was written, and there’s still ways to go. It’s important that we all keep the debate going, even when it feels like we’ve arrived at a comfortable place for us, because the inequalities are rampant in other parts of the world and outside of our social circles.




Also, really Aristotle?


I can see where Burke is coming from. Revolution is chaotic, passionate, and perhaps infectious — he didn’t want the English to break away from their customs in a similar manner, but rather, in a cautious way with not too much change to challenge how things usually are.

But sometimes there needs to be radical change to put an end to tyranny, establish new customs, and better accomodate the people. Sometimes moderate, careful changes are slow and insufficient.

Paine talks about a lot but I’d like to pick this out…
Each generation may have different interpretations of laws or notions of what it should be to like to live in their time. I agree with Paine in that there doesn’t have to be such an adherence to “the manuscript assumed authority of the dead” especially if the authority of the dead restricts the rights and freedoms of those who are living (10). Laws should be able to evolve with the people to allow them to work towards what they deem a properly functioning system of government. What stifles them is the oppressive nature of a monarch, who makes changes as he sees fit — rarely benefiting the majority.
“Hereditary government is in its nature tyranny.” I like how Paine describes hereditary government. A heritable crown or throne is passed down as is mankind. “To inherit a government, is to inherit the people, as if they were flocks and herds.” (114) When something is viewed as property you own, you’ll likely feel it is your right to do whatever you please with it. There is a sense of superiority in that you are dominant; you are the owner of this thing. The implications are great here as the “things” inherited by a monarch are the lives of people. From the perspective of the hereditary monarch it’s probably tough to even conceive of why it’s necessary to consult the people at all.

That’s all for now,


Sex, Society, Power, etc.

It may well be that we talk about sex more than anything else…It is possible that where sex is concerned, the most long-winded, the most impatient of societies is our own. 33

Yep, we care a whole lot about sex.

When I picked up Foucault’s History of Sexuality, I thought he would be discussing the repression of sexuality. To my surprise he states the opposite, that conversations concerning our sexuality have increased and become a focal point in society, not always because it’s being repressed but because it’s being analyzed.

It is said that no society has been more prudish; never have the agencies of power taken such care to feign ignorance of the thing they prohibited…the opposite has become apparent…never have there existed more centers of power…never more sites where the intensity of pleasures and the persistency of power catch hold, only to spread elsewhere. 49

I think Foucault is linking sexuality to power, but this confused me a bit. I think many people are still quite prudish (perhaps hypocritically) and that agencies of power (politicians and such folk) still feign ignorance to things they prohibit. I suppose along side of those repressive agencies of power exists others that are willing to share information and discuss sexuality.

Interesting how our sexuality could be used to decipher who we are and why we do what we do. “Nothing that went into his total composition was unaffected by his sexuality…it was less as a habitual sin than as a singular nature”. 43 This sentence, addressing homosexuality, made me wonder just how absolute sexuality is as a part of us. Yes we’re animals so I see how our behaviour and personalities are affected and may be in part driven by our sexuality. Just haven’t really thought about it much before.

Ars Erotica vs Scientia Sexualis

The way of ars erotica seems a lot more natural than scientia sexualis. The knowledge of pleasure is passed down, they don’t seem to want to prohibit any pleasures. There is a lot of talk about confessions in relation to scientia sexualis, because unlike ars erotica, the knowledge of sex does not come froma “transmission of secrets” but rather “the slow surfacing of confidential statements.” There’s also a lot about pleasure and how we gain pleasure from learning about what we find pleasurable. I guess there’s truth to that, studies about sex come out all the time and people always seem to be interested. I guess western sexuality is sort of like Dora, we’ve repressed a lot in the past and now we must seek or reveal confessions from ourselves and others in order to be liberated.

There is so much in this book, still trying to sort things out.

Everything, Sexual.

I knew of the Oedipus/Electra complexes before this and they’ve always made me uncomfortable, as well as the castration/penis envy. I don’t have memories of blaming anyone for my “castration” — would kids even think of this to begin with? I guess I wouldn’t remember, but, really? Freud would probably think my discomfort says something about me and what I repress.

I’m glad Christina mentioned that part about Dora’s disgust towards the kiss during lecture today. That part really got to me when I was reading, I mean, what if she really was disgusted? Does it really matter if Herr K had been kind, handsome, if he’d given her gifts? She can still be disgusted by his action even if she was attracted to him. It was a kiss seemingly out of nowhere, she’s fairly young, he’s married; her disgust is warranted I think.

Freud on p. 22:

“I should without question consider a person hysterical in whom an occasion for sexual excitement elicited feelings that were preponderantly or exclusively unpleasurable; and I should do so whether or no the person were capable of producing somatic symptoms.”

Really? What if it isn’t consensual? Why is Freud so certain that this is a definite sign of hysteria? Is it really so ridiculous to think that some women are just not interested? This is so basic but, wouldn’t that be a great excuse for one’s failures? “She was disgusted by me, obviously she was hysterical.”

The dream interpretation is interesting. I’ve always thought most of my dreams don’t really mean anything because they’re almost always utterly ridiculous and I usually end up lucid dreaming so they end up meaning whatever I want them to. I think it’d be impossible for me to actually analyze a dream because with all these different methods of repression couldn’t one dream be interpreted a number of ways to come up with different results? Wait. How do the analysts decide what is a displacement or a projection or condensation, etc.? Could the result of a dream analysis also say something about the analyst?

Yeah, looking forward to hearing about this.

– Kathy

Silencing the Past

In history there are events that occurred and the events that are recorded. I do agree that parts of reality become silenced in the process of documenting history. There are a range of factors : who wrote it, why did they write it, etc. Even if they aren’t obviously biased, most people write through their own lens and have influences that can alter their views of what has happened. Then you add power into the mix, and see how powerful forces can silence some viewpoints in favour of others. I’m aware of these ideas in general, but I like that we’re going to delve into the concept of “the past.” Various accounts of events are recorded today through social media, people with access to technology are able to publicize their views. I wonder if that makes people more aware of the idea that there can be more to an event than what becomes part of the “corpus” that then produces “history.” I suppose power still remains as a factor, the narrative that is agreed upon and becomes widespread comes from those who have more power and influence. Those without technology today will have a harder time publicizing their narrative, in that way they are still silenced. Historians and history teachers do have a hand in what becomes important to people learning of history. I was surprised to find, for example, that many people did not go through extensive education about Aboriginal peoples of Canada and were unaware of what happened in residential schools. I just thought it was common knowledge, and then I come to see that parts of history that aren’t taught are also silenced.

Looking forward to hearing more about this, I hate not being able to make it to lecture :/

Springs, Strings, Wheels, and Government

I find Hobbes’ defence of materialism interesting. He doesn’t allow room for the existence of things that aren’t exclusively physical in nature, such as supernatural beings. So what about God? He’s “incorporeal” because his attributes aren’t something the human mind can comprehend. Okay, but then what about the human mind? He equates humans to biological machines — machines currently don’t have much going on in the “mind” department, even if they possess some artificial intelligence. How does he explain the mind if he views a human as being entirely physical and mechanical? He does talk about the mind, but in terms of activities like having an appetite or moving voluntarily. He’s being very mechanical about the mind and about thought, but people think about things other than the basics. What about abstract thought, and the mind in that respect?

Is democracy the best form of government?

…is the question my history 12 teacher asked us when we were learning about Marxism. When I first opened Hobbes I was expecting the political ideology to come through straight away, but he began by describing mankind. Actually, he had to. Democracy is a great concept, and gives people equal opportunity to voice their opinion as to who leads the country, and etc. But it hasn’t been working well as a system lately, when I think about the increase in voter apathy. A lot of people probably feel like their vote doesn’t matter, and a lot of people just don’t see the point (you all must have seen that Russell Brand interview by now). It does feel like no matter who is leading nothing really changes and the rich keep getting richer. Can people, collectively, see beyond their personal interests and work for the public good? Because that is when a democracy works best. I feel like democracy has been tainted by people who care about maximizing their own wealth and power, forcing other people to care more about their self-preservation or promotion and less about others — warring against each other in a sense. Hobbes would then advocate for the installment of a controlling authority to prevent chaos. Do we need absolutist form of government? No, a dictator or a bunch of dictators aren’t best for the people unless they’re mainly interested in working for the public good, and those in positions of power almost always let it get to their head.

Oh, and the answer he gave us was, “I don’t know.”

Tsk, tsk. Faustus.

How does an intelligent person come to the conclusion that making a deal with the devil is a good idea? It’d be great to have magical powers, I agree, but I would I take up a blood oath with the greatest evil in the world? No. What happened to his sensibilities? Is he so blinded by greed and desire for power? Actually, I’m now seriously doubting his intelligence. He dismisses all that he’s studied and believes magic is the best thing ever because it can bring him power and wealth. How does years of being an academic lead him to desire a dangerous way to cheat life?

So many notes in this book. I’m quite glad that they’re footnoted, so I don’t have to keep my pinky stuck in the back of the book.

I wonder, why does Faustus ignore the rest of the quote from the Geneva bible? His rationale is that everyone sins, if someone says they do not then they are lying, and so everyone will die and be damned. He doesn’t seem to believe that his soul can be saved, but as said in the notes, the rest of the quote is “If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (page 79) So he does have a chance there, even if all humans commit sin.

With work today I couldn’t commute to lecture, will be waiting to watch it.


Forgive me, I took a break to read the Bacchae* and just missed midnight!

Our master was in despair.
We obeyed him and looked inside.
We saw her down at the tomb’s end,
hanged by the neck,
a noose made from her linen robe;
and him, his arms around her waist;
bewept his bride and their lost love,
and his father who has caused this.

I keep revisiting this, imagining the scene as a painting in the style of Caravaggio.
Such an awfully sad and beautiful image.

 The state rides steady once again

I remembered that this ship metaphor was used by Plato to describe the state. Though to him, the navigator would obviously be a philosopher king rather than a regular old king like Kreon.

Nomos vs. Physis

What should one act upon? Laws of the state have their obvious repercussions but how can we face ourselves if we abandon our morals to yield to the state? Antigone chose to transcend the state and buries her brother Polyneices. Her story ends with her death, but she becomes a martyr of sorts, as a person who would not allow laws of the state to force her to go against her conscience, while Kreon is left with a dead wife and son. What is Sophocles’ position here?

More things to consider as I skim through a second time = more ideas generated.

*some nice overlap happening with arts one and my other courses, though, understanding Dionysus is just extra fun — I doubt that knowledge would be handy for the essay

Hello Arts One!


I’m Kathy, and I hope that in my attempts to maneuver my way through the texts, I won’t leave these posts as pure recordings of my stream of consciousness, and that I’ll be able to edit myself — otherwise they’ll be a pain to read.

I took up Arts One sort of on a challenge and a whim, and although I was somewhat apprehensive, there was a large part of me that really liked the idea of the interdisciplinary course and the Remake/Remodel theme in particular. It’s barely been a month, but I’m glad I’m here.

I’m interested in a multitude of things, as I’m sure all of you are, and I look forward to getting to know all of you on some level (: Er, I suppose I’ll let you know about some of these things I’m interested in…I enjoy writing creatively (but also generally creating any type of art), I have a fondness for British culture, musicals make me extremely happy (and I’ve been in a couple), and I longboard to the grocery store to buy baking supplies. My thoughts can sometimes be clumsy when speaking (they’re usually better on paper or after I’ve had time to think) so I won’t be joining improv club anytime soon, and I tend to get nervous when pressured — but let’s hope that changes as I tentatively crawl out of my comfort zone with each new university experience.

Ask me about stuff, I will ask you about stuff.

That’s all for now,

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