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November 2021

3/11/21: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

This book leaves me feeling very neutral, some of it was trippy and way meta; I appreciate that, but I feel like it just wasn't enough to elicit a huge response, which honestly I thought was fairly easy, but I realised, I've really only read very good books til' recently. Maybe some of the meaning and KAZAM moments were lost in translation, because I found it a good book and captivating, but I just wanted a teeeny tiinyyy bit more from it.

I love a book where all the short little stories interconnect and weave into one another, and the part where it got ultra meta with that woman and the stories about the carrot hands did kind of give me a response, but it wasn't enough. I feel as though it should've been a larger part of the theme of the novel, or not included at all. The meta, reality bending just kind of dropped in and out and was hardly supported.

I did really enjoy the book however, it kind of reflects how different people percieve events, and how a butterfly can flap its wings in a forest and a whole chain of events will follow, affecting different people without their knowledge.

I don't feel strongly enough about this novel to really go ham on it. It's just so eh. It's got major potential, and I look forward to reading some more Ogawa, I trust she will leave an impact on me eventually.

6/11/21: The Internet and Stifled Creativity: A Response to Dying on the Internet

The Cinema Cartography's final video is a thought provoking and strong piece on creativity and the impact the internet has had on it, claiming it no longer exists because the internet is a void of consumption and repetition with no room for honest and original expression. The video rang true for many reasons; I do see the internet as often stifling creativity and as an often shallow place for rampant consumption fuelled by lack of individuality and need to fit in. However, there's a flaw in their argument, they blame it on "the internet" as if the issue is the screen, the not-so-physical nature of content, and the departure from the natural world that it signifies. The problem isn't the internet, it's who controls the internet, it's what makes people feel the need to consume and engage in content that doesn't make them have to think, it's the dreaded capitalism, the root of all evil. Reducing the problem to "touch grass" achieves nothing and is beyond reductive.

I personally think the internet could be a brilliant place full of open-source software, privacy, creativity, and a place to share and collaborate on ideas, but it's not. It's controlled and we are controlled by mega conglomerates that have sole interest in profit, and the effect that that has had it catastrophic.

I'd bother to write more, but I feel beyond guilty because I have an exam tomorrow and should probably focus on working on that instead. ;) <3

9/11/21: Brian and the Oranges

Brian lived at the top of a very steep hill. Brian lived alone, detached from all hints of civilisation, he did not receive running water from the water company, nor electricity from a local power station, if he were to injure himself, he was content to die a peaceful death. Brian kept an orchard full of orange trees, he spent his days singing songs and playing his guitar to them, having fruitful conversations with them, and looking after every inch of each tree. He loved these oranges with every fibre of his being, he showered in the orange juice, made his own toothpaste with the oranges, he ate orange for breakfast lunch and dinner, everything Brian needed, the oranges could provide, and everything Brian did, he did for his oranges, his friends.

Brian grew old and weary, his beard grew cracked and rusted, and his face grew beautifully affected by the sun that shone above him, you could see every smile he ever bore. Regardless of his age, every day Brian took care of his oranges, his oranges took care of him. The trees rustled in the breeze atop Brian's steep hill, he sat to rest beneath his oranges and let out his final breath, tranquil and harmonious. The oranges fell on top of him, smothering him in what seemed to be a sublime, citrusy expression of love. The trees grew and wrapped their hard roots around him in a tight embrace, never letting go. The seasons rolled over, the years passed by, but Brian never left his oranges, and his oranges never left him.

16/11/21: Indira Gandhi: A Modern Day Caesar

After studying both Ancient history and Modern history for the last two year, clear comparisons can be made in the course of history, Cicero puts it best saying "We learn nothing from history except that we learn nothing from history", but one place I didn't expect to draw comparison was with the presidency of Indira Gandhi in India and Caesar's rise to prominence and dictatorship; although it's not a play by play of Caesar's actions and life choices; Indira had a similar type of family background and employed similar methods to maintain power. Both figures were even assassinated by the people they work with. How fun!

Caesar and Gandhi both came from very political families, in fact, both families had been involved in the creation and myth of their respective "republics". Caesar's family was highly political, his aunt even married the great general Marius who fought the first civil war - setting the precedent for Caesar's own career. Gandhi on the other hand, had a much shorter political lineage due to the short lifespan of Independant India her father had helped create, despite this, the point remains; Nehru's involvement in the independance movement in India and his prime ministership that followed left Indira in a highly politically involved family.

A main point of difference between the two is found in their respective rises to power. Caesar went through all sorts of rings before ultimately becoming dictator; he formed the First Triumvirate, Conquered Gaul, and fought a Civil War. Indira Gandhi on the other hand, came to power more easily after the death of her father, their was a brief period where power was held by some other guy, but only about a year after her father's death, Indira secured the power of the Natinoal Congress Party fairly trouble free.

During the period of Emergency in Inida, Indira's methods do appear to resemble Caesar's. In declaring a state of emergency, Gandhi was able to maintain absolute control over her state as Caesar did when the Senate made him dictator for a similar reason. Gandhi proposed the civil unrest at the time with all the strikes and whatnot going on made it vital they maintain a stable government. Caesar was inducted as dictator a first time for very similar reasons, unstable government, and unstable people. Both political systems even had one or two single people who could enforce this decree of emergency/dictatorship. Gandhi sought the approval from the President who had power to declare emergency and VETO powers, and Caesar often conspired with the tribunes who had VETO powers too to get what he wanted.

In their style of governence, Caesar and Gandhi are incredibly similar in the way they maintain control and favour from the public. Both figures took a "benevolent dictator" approach. While maintaining absolute power which was basically unchallengable, they were increadibly kind and did lots of nice things for the people they were in charge of. Caesar was a known patrician (party of the people rather than Optimates who worked for the rich) and his reforms as dictator reflected this;

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