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14/6/22: Boredom: An Unnecessary Experience

In the Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, de Beauvoir expresses that she was "confus[ing] the joys of contemplation with boredom". Rarely have I found myself bored since I stumbled upon Frankenstein that one fine day and began my journey into being an 'intellectual'. Thinking, contemplation and reflection are such a fundamental part of my life now, I stare at the wall just thinking, talking to myself, having a conversation with the little voice in my head. I am able to entertain myself constantly racking my brain for various ways of interpreting arguments, seeing the world and assessing where ideas come from. Time for contemplation truly is a joy and one of the most brilliant aspects of being human, and I'll never mistake it for boredom again.

I'm standing under the tree in front of the sunset waving my hand up to God. God is my witness, I'll never be bored again!

23/5/22: Vonnegut vs. God: Pre-determination Enters the Ring!

It only occurred to me yesterday that Vonnegut's pre-determined idea of the universe (re: Slaughterhouse Five) bears a huge similarity to the monotheistic idea of "God's plan" and the fact I find comfort in Vonnegut's explanation of the universe began to worry me.

So, it's my duty to justify my continued adoration for universal pre-determination. God's Plan is a very painfully individualistic way of perceiving life. "God's plan for me!" "God's plan for you". As if God paid attention to each and every one of us and said "Yeah! Looks good", as if God views existence on an individual level, as if he has a consciousness and considers every decision he makes as a human would.

The Vonnegutian way of perceiving phenomena is completely alienated from any creator or plan or individual. Existence just is. It is for everyone all the time all at once. Everything is inevitable because it is always happening, not because some guy high in the sky in another nether dimension decided it would be so.

i think the Vonnegutian view doesn't detract from meaningful action in the same way the God's Plan does. We still have agency. Just because everythign is always happening doesn't mean that I can't make my own decisions, it just means I can't take them back, it means that that's how it always was anyway. I can still make meaningful actions, and live a meaningful life, and try to make change in the world. This contrasts the God's Plan idea of "I was meant to be here", because without this God guy telling you what to do, and letting him make your decisions for you, you allow yourself a sense of free will (As free as will can be — that's a debate for another time). (In fact Kurt Vonnegut was trying to argue that free will doesn't exist... because everything happens all the time all at once; but I have to think more about that.).

26/4/22: A Selection of Rosa Luxemburg's Letters

I can't include them all, so here's seven I liked.

The first, is a correspondence with Leo Jogiches, her boyfriend and partner in forming the SDKP in Poland. The two were played only a little role in building movement on the ground during this period, however they set the theoretical tone of the period; one that was largely defined by hostility to the reformist PPS and Polish nationalism.

The second is one of the many letters to contain a recitation of poetry. One of the things I most admire about Luxemburg as a human being is her devotion and love of the arts and the human condition, this quality only made her a better revolutionary. I think that could be debated though.

The next is the frozen bumblebee letter. Need I say more?

The fifth, to Hans, I've included for Luxemburg's amusing rant about the nature of literary criticism and the monstrous amount of it that is just "pure trash". This one is also generally just good.

And the last is simply just a rag on Kautsky, because what else could you possibly want?

Let it be known that I admire Luxemburg as a revolutionary, I believe she put everything she had into being a revolutionary and her work is invaluable to history and the workers' struggle. I want to address the criticism that focusing on Luxemburg's personal life, thoughts and feelings detracts from her legacy as a career woman. To this I want to ask, why is it important she is seen as merely a career woman? Rosa Luxemburg was just as much a human being as any one of us, she should not be bogged down by modern neo-liberal conceptions of what it means to be a strong, powerful woman. Luxemburg deserves recognition for her career, but also her existence as a remarkable person, strong willed, passionate, and driven by a raw lust, admiration and desire for life of all kinds. Luxemburg is a figure to look up to in every aspect (not dogmatically obviously, there are very reasonable critiques to be made of some of her essays and political actions).

15/2/22: Tetris: A Nasty Case of Overzealous Commodification and Marketing

I want to play Tetris, but whenever I download the godforsaken app off the Apple Appstore hoping for a change, I am horrified once again. The Tetris app is a garbage fire of gimmicks, ads, awful design, and confusing UI: The four horsemen of the apocalypse.

19/1/22: Reasons I Can't Get Rid of my Phone

I want to switch over to my old Nokia phone with buttons but can't. Here lie the reasons for my present state of misery, disgust, and anger:

Reasons to Get Rid of my Phone:

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I think to accomplish this wee goal of mine, I would need a group of likeminded friends who all worked at the same place and were all happy to become disconnected from not the digital world, but the corporate digital world. THere's a big difference, but that's a rant for another day. That scenario is my Utopia. My Utopia where I own a second hand bookshop cafe and I am my own independant movie director free from the institution and industry of film constantly driven by profits limiting creative freedom.

I want to switch back to an old Nokia because every day I reluctantly take part in the disgustingly greedy cessspit the 'internet' has become. The cesspit where Instagram shuts down its Threads app to promote the irresistable endless scrolling on Instagram Reels, to force you into spending as much time consuming their product as possible. I'd have to put actual thought into writing an elegant piece about this which I'm really not in the mood for RIGHT NOW at 2am so yeah later. :/

**Also, I wrote this in a fit of rage after watching two episodes of the Hype House reality show, so it does come on a little strong.

16/1/22: Beatniks, Buddhism, and de Beauvoir

I come into the new year a Francophile reading the work of the Beats and the Buddhists. Compared with a year ago, arriving into 2021 a Germanophile reading Marxist theory. It's foolish and delusional expecting any change in the world or in myself just because the sun came up on a day we decided to call new, but it is always curious to reflect on how I have changed.

13/1/22: Wild Violets Poem

A poem from Emperor Horikawa's 100 Poems

Where I once called on her,
The garden fence is now in ruins
Flowering there I find
Only wild violets, woven through
With rank spring grasses

Mukashi mishit
Imo ga kakine wa
Arenkeiri
Tsubana major no
Sumiere nomi shite

"Such is the desolate scene that once must have been in the poet's eyes"
"How mutable the flower of the human heart, a fluttering blossom gone before the breezes touch"
- Yoshida Kenkō

17/12/21: Proofreading: The Bane of my Existence

I hate to proofreed. usually Wen I rite a esay and Im no t happie whith it, Ill go and rewrit the whole thing rather thn edit it . It pains me to lok at my ramblings onn hear and notice all my mistayks. It's a big slAp in te phase.

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;

Edit 16/1/22: This is clearly unfinished and will likely remain that way...

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 every 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, for his friends.

Brian grew old and weary, his beard grew cracked and rusted, and his face grew brilliantly affected by that big life giver in the sky, you could see every smile he ever bore. Yet Brian continued to take 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. His final breath escaped him, and joined the tranquil breeze. The oranges fell on top of him, smothering him in what seemed to be a sublime, citrusy ecstacy 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.

a pleasant photo of Brian

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

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.

18/10/21: Should Something Exist?: A Follow Up

I'll be quick; I'm all for questioning the existence of "art" when it's been made by a soulless company (Disney) for some money (Disney) and lacks any creativity and is just a re-hash of an old, succcessful story but with better tech or something (we are talking about Disney). I am all for remakes and retellings of stories, because often times, a director or writer will have an interesting take on it and put their own spin on, or implement their own style into the story to make it their own and something new. It's like how Eliot says you've got'to have an "interesting variation on the old" (he was talking about something else, but the point still applies). Yes I am going to say that the abhorrently shallow Disney remakes shouldn't exist, because it can barely be considered art, and was created on the fundamental basis of making money. How can something be worthy of existence when it's been created out of nothing but money. There is little to no artistic vision in these movies; the perhaps directors wanted to do something fun with it, but were cockblocked by bigshot Disney producers, or maybe not, and they really do lack the creativity.

Yeah so up yours Disney and shallow remakes of old things.

ALSO, I'm not saying you can't criticise art or hate books and movies because it's glorifying rape or something. Far from it, I love to hate art, but questioning a work of art's existence crosses the line.

15/10/21: In Defence of A Clockwork Orange: Examining Modern Day Forms of Censorship

In the past couple days, I have seen at least three posts questioning the existence of Anthony Burgess' and Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange or questioning the story's status as a classic/well-known novel, which is three more times than I've seen in the prior 17 years, and I've got a major bone to pick with this new form of undercover modern day censorship of art in the pursuit of goodness and fairness.

A Clockwork Orange is a story written by Anthony Burgess about Alex who is by all means evil, and goes around reeking havoc with his buddies until he is caught and brain washed into "goodness" by the state. The main themes of the story involve morality, what constitutes good/bad, and whether man can become good, or if he is born unchangeable SJW types on my Facebook and TikTok have completely missed these themes and decided to question the existence of the entire story because the character is problematic. O kay? Literature and history is spilling over with problematic characters. TS Eliot was a handfull, not to mention his personas who solicited prostitutes, in the Lord of the FLies the children kill eachother, Fight Club is full to the brim of fighting and violence - who'd a thunk it. The artist's purpose when showing violence is not to say "hey look isn't this cool? >:)" the artist uses the violence to communicate a deeper message whether it be critique, philosophical exploration of something bigger, character development, a whole range of things. A display of violence is never "yo this is sick :)" it's typically more along the lines of "yo, this is sick :(". Burgess never implies an endorsement of what his main character Alex is doing. He uses this incredibly fucked up character to more easily communicate ideas of good and bad by creating a huge constrast and having this guy be the epitome of evil. It also adds to the other theme explored; the morality of the state.

When it is revealed that Alex's friends have all become police officers who beat Alex up when he is finished with his punishment/treatment, the audience is forced (if they hadn't already been) to reflect and analyse the supposed good of the state. It pushes the question of how can our state be good and stand for our country when we see Alex's friends who've committed the same atrocities as Alex but simply were not caught are now working for a 'force of good'. This goes further when they beat Alex as if their violent tendencies have remained. SHouldn't they be good now because they're officers of the state? But how can that be when they are doing the same things they were, but all that has changed is the colour of their clothes. These messages and ideas would be lost should the characters' violence be tuned down or entirely removed. Had these characters not been problematic, the entire point of the story would be lost, and a good and fair critique and analysis never shared.

But Ada, the issue is the vivid portrayal of the rape and violence, it can happen off screen, or the reader could just be told it happened. No. That's just bad storytelling. Lesson one of creative writing class is "show, not tell". The gravitas of philosophical exploration and your belief in the story is lost if a character is just said to be a rapist. It's kind of difficult to believe and you're likely to forget about it. You end up reading about some poor guy getting tortured by the government for no reason because apparently he's a bad person. How do I know he's a bad person? Oh? The unreliable narrator said "I'm here because I'm a rapist and a violent man... Oh my bog, this filmdrome is making me bezoomy blub." Yeah that's going to have a lasting effect for sure. The reader has to see to believe, they have to witness the wrong doings to be hooked and understand the plot. In addition to this, the story is being told from Alex's perspective, so his perception of the violence is necessary. If the story was about the people conducting the experimcent on him, the depiction of voilence would be uselss sure. But it's not, and the meaning would be lost if it were. A book/movie never became a classic by saying "yeah look, this guy's mum died, and then he had a falling out with his brother, and then his girlfriend raped him, so now he is here at school getting into a fight, and next we'll be exploring grief". We don't know anything about this guy's experience except "Man that must suck!", we only know how we would react to that, but that's not helpful, because we aren't the main character.

Stories would not be told, ideas not explored, critiques not made if everything with a problematic character should have its existence questioned. All art that is trying to communicate a message or discuss an idea should not have it's mere existence questioned, it's absurd. Even if there is a piece of art I don't exactly agree with I'm not going to say it never should have been made because it communicates a bad message. Not only is that a form of censorship, it also makes people with those opposing views more aggravated and stubborn. The flack A Clockwork Orange has been copping is just one example of a phenomena occurring recently of books/movires being called out for having problematic themes and characters (typically men). This is frustrating, as the movies coming under interrogation are usually "male manipulator" movies like Joker, Taxi Driver, and The Wolf of Wall Street, called ale manipulator movies because they've become synonmous with men who manipulate women who also idolise the main characters. These men get called out for missing the point of the movie by idolising them (which they are, don't get me wrong, they're complete idiots). The men miss the point; the Joker needs help, Taxi Driver needs help, the Wolf is just a terrible human being. In criticising male manipulators for missing the point, Clockwork Orange haters also miss the point. All they see is an evil man who rapes, or shoots gun after shaving his head into a mohawk. There is a lesson to be learnt from stories like A Clockwork Orange and Taxi Driver when you look past the surface "he's not very nice is he?". People believe that if a main character exists, they are a role model and they have to be liked and looked up to. No. They don't, and that's good storytelling.

January 2022 December 2021 November 2021 October 2021 Year 12 Goofy fun stuff

11/10/21: Hello World

Hello, World!