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Archive for December, 2005

Since I had a productive day and did considerable studies, I rewarded myself with a movie that I recently downloaded and have wanted to watch since it’s released, the recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The movie’s nice. Both the actors and the interpretation of the novels are quite good, and there’re many beautiful scenery in it. But I still prefer the 1995 drama series played by Colin Firth more. But the drama’s about three times as long as the movie, so probably it’s unfair to compare them.  Nonetheless, it’s always nice to watched different version of a story I like, especially when it one is well make (I even watched the Indian version of it—Bride and Prejudice—but that’s more an accident than a conscious choice).

So what make me like this story so much? I like Austen’s portrayal of the different characters, their wits and use of words, and the style of the romance. I especially like the main character in her story. Darcy’s one of my favorite characters, so is Knightley, the main character in Emma (another novel by Austen). Her protagonists are men who I can identify with and admire. If I were to live in those times, I’d probably want and strive to become these kinds of men. Even for our time, I think there’re many admirable qualities to be found in those characters.

Lovely novels, I ought to read them again sometime.

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Life is a misery?

To ease a friend’s worry, I decide to continue my analogy on life. If life’s like a game, then it can be fun and enjoyable. There are people who care only about winning and getting ahead and so missed out the pleasures. And a difference between life and a game is that life doesn’t provide us with end goals, so the meaning of success or winning depend on each individual. A friend once told me that life’s a misery. But I don’t agree with him. I think life’s more neutral than miserable. Bad things do happen, and lots of things are beyond our control or understanding, but to me the opposites are equally true with lots of good and wonderful things around.

It’s interesting to learn and ponder about how the world works and what are my parts in it. Although my view of how life’s like and how the world works is more or less neutral, my attitudes toward life are different. I’m generally positive toward life and happy to be alive (even though I may often not satisfy with myself). Here are few reasons why I like life.

1. There’re plenty of things to learn and think about in life (e.g. art, music, others’ thoughts and behaviors, and obviously life itself), so life’s never boring.

2. There’re people who understand me and appreciate what I do or capable of doing, and people who don’t care what I can do but still appreciate me, so I don’t have to face everything in life alone.

3. There’re people who are dedicated at what they do and produce works that move and inspire me (e.g. music, movies, drawing and painting); these people show me the possibilities in life.

4. There’re lots of beauties in nature. My two favorite scenery are 1) lying on my back watching millions of stars and 2) standing in a open space where I can see the blue sky joins the bluer sea below at an infinite horizon (let’s call it all blue). These things, although simple, can be enough to make me feel that life’s wonderful.

5. There’re dreams and possibilities that I look forward to (e.g. the thoughts of being passionate and good at something, having great time with life-long friends, or living my ideal lifestyle).

Hope this blog will convince my friends that I’m ok and heading for somewhere better (My personality and lifestyle are probably too dull to qualify me into a mental hospital ^^).

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My Way

Life’s like a game. Society has rules that reward certain activities and penalize others. Whether I like it or not, my decisions are influenced by these rules. So how do I know whether what I want is really what I want, not what the society imposes on me?  I guess there is no way to distinguish them since I’m in the system. I don’t hate the rules, at least not all of them. Many of them probably exist to serve certain purposes, and perhaps these rules/conventions/social pressure/laws are what make civilization possible.

 

I can’t change the game nor the effects society has on me, but I can choose how I want to play it and to what extent it can influence me. Everyone else is in this game and follows the same system, so the way I choose to play this game will make my life different from others’. It is hard to say to what extent I’m consciously living the way I want, but I’ll strive to be conscious of how I play this game and decide for myself the way I want to play it in order to live a life that I think suit me best.

 

僕は僕の行き方を生きる、自分の道自分で決める。

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Today I was invited to a Christmas lunch in a British family’s house.  The host family was nice and prepared lots of traditional foods. We had wine, turkey, vegetables and potatoes, Christmas pudding, coffee and cake. The long lunch ended with the queen’s speech on TV.  It seems like this is an important tradition for the British family.

Since I was too full to do anything after I came back home, I gave up the thoughts of studying and decided to do something I haven’t done for a long time.  I plugged in my tablet and started drawing with my com while listening to Nagashima’s 雪の華 for the rest of the day. My drawing skill is getting worse since I haven’t practiced for some time; nevertheless, I enjoyed the activity and think it is a good way to spend my Christmas.  This Christmas’s simple and quiet with few people around (the street’s almost empty when I went out today), but instead of feeling lonely, I feel serene and appreciate the quietness.  It’s a good time to reflect on my life, remember my friends and family, and think about what I want to do in the future.

Wish everyone reading this blog a merry christmas.

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Be Genuine

Want to be genuine

Want to be true to myself

Want to continue growing

And surviving in this world

 

That’s why

 

I’m not afraid to be vulnerable,

To say what’s on my mind

To appear stupid

Or lose my mysteriousness

 

 

“Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist….It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I just watched the Japanese film いま、会いにゆきます(Be With You) with some friends. Although this is the second time I watched it, I still like it very much.  The story, the music, and the actors all suit my style (Yuko Takeuchi’s my favorite, and the kid’s cute). The story’s main theme is that people who’re meant for each other (soul mates) will be drawn together and will be able to fall in love all over again even if circumstances change. It’s very similar to another movie that I like—Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—but develop the theme in a different way (it’s more warmth and family oriented with a bit of fantasy elements compare to the more serious and imaginative style of Eternal Sunshine).

The idea of having a soul mate’s beautiful. Perhaps because we live in an imperfect world with lots of artificiality and pretensions around that we long for things that happen naturally; or maybe we feel lost and powerless so we like to believe that some sorts of miracle or force exist that can make life more beautiful. I don’t know whether there’s such a thing as soul mate in this world. Even if it does exist, it would probably be different from those in the movies. And how close we come to it will probably depend on our definition of the term, expectation from our mate, and our personal disposition (our psychology can often make us experience things in ways different from reality). Since the concept itself paints a beautiful picture for me, whether it’s realistic or not doesn’t really matter. The possibility that there’s such a thing and its scarcity if it does exist help make the idea much more precious

Here’s my translation of the lyric from the main soundtrack—花–(Hana) by Orange Range (I took out the repeated part). It’s a nice song with beautiful lyric.

Flower

Just like the leave of the flower
flowing in the air,
Like a dream, the miracle of coming to know you
We loved, we fought
Different walls, Together we climb over
Even if I born again, I’ll become a flower beside you
Will it always be there? The sun above me
Will I always be able to protect you?

Tears, laughter, anger, all your emotions
If sooner or later it’ll be all gone, I’m still grateful for coming to know you
That day, that hour, the miracle of that place
A new track can probably still be born

Love makes me stronger, Believe makes me overcome everything
The things left by you is still in my heart, The brightness will not be lost,
It’s my blessing, to have met you, my smile, you bought back
‘Thank you’

Hugging this overflowing feeling, I continue to move forward
Just like the leave of the flower
flowing in the air,
Continue to move forward, embracing everything in this world
The things left to me, from you
The treasure called ‘Now’
That’s why I will do my best to live, let’s become a flower

How come flowers wither?
How come birds can fly?
How come the wind blows?
How come the moon can shine?

Why I am here?
Why you’re here?
Why I came to meet you?
Meeting you,

That’s destiny

Ascending rain, building rainbow, The light from the blue storm
The important thing that are here
I can feel it, the feeling ‘Love you’
We can still walk right?  Already can see
Overcoming the time of ‘Thinking’,

Forever ringing
Your joy, your pain, your everything
blooming, more, more and more

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I’ve been reading a book called The Great Philosophers in the past few days. I found it insightful and well-written, and would recommend it to people who’re interested in philosophy but don’t have much background (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/019289322X/qid=1135115310/sr=8-2/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i2_xgl/026-4346327-3098835).  Here’re a few ideas I found interesting or want to think more about.

 

One is Schopenhauer’s view on art.  He sees the world as a miserable place that people can’t do anything about, and the only temporary escape from this hostile and horrible world is through art. Since it’s only then we don’t consider our self-interest or desire but see things from the aesthetic point of view. For him, art’s less about expressing emotion but convey insight into universal nature of things, which in turn may move people emotionally. To quote Magee, it’s “the general behind the particular, yet in terms of the uniquely specific.” Although I like artistic activities, but so far I don’t have my own view/philosophy about art, so Schopenhauer’s writing may be a good place to begin developing my thought in the subject.

 

Another interesting idea is Heidegger’s view on nihilism, which if I understand correctly, said that as history progress and people try to explain everything, we reach a stage where there’re no guidelines for actions anymore.  For example, in Greek society, there’re heroes and villains, victory and disgrace, and this cultural paradigm acts as guidelines for leading good lives. Or in medieval society when most people believe in God, they have saints and sinners, salvation and damnation, so people know what to expect or do. He thinks we reach a point where there’re no more guidelines, no more goals. What people concern’s only to become more and more efficient, and strive for efficiency for its own sake.

 

Though I don’t agree with all he said, I think there’re some truths in it. It seems that people are easily lost when there’s no concrete thing to strive for, and it can happen when society doesn’t provide clear values about the meaning of life. That may be a reason why many people enjoy immersing themselves in the fantasy world of video games where values and purpose in life are clearly defined. At many times I also found myself think of things in term of efficiency. For examples, I may think of socializing with others as networking activity and getting potential contacts for future use, or exercise and health as improving my efficiency in doing other things. Everything may be regarded as a mean to something else, but that something (i.e. goals, aims in life) may not be well defined or exist at all. I think life would be better if I learn to appreciate things in life such as friendship, art or other activities more for their own merit than as means.

 

Although there’re ideas from other philosophers I identified with, Hume’s view and attitudes toward life are overall closest to my ideal, and I would like to read more about him if have time. But for now, I guess I spent enough time reading philosophy (probably it’s time to get back to my economics study to avoid failing miserably in the coming midterm). I’ll continue learning about life, and at the same time enjoy my journey and treasure the experience and friends I’ve even though what I perceive may not be real. After reading various comments posted, I feel grateful to have many good friends. I believe life’s more than finding answers to things, if there’re any.

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