Sunday, February 1, 2009

The connection between life and nature

There have been numerous massive fires these past few months. I would turn on the T.V. and feel like a helpless witness throughout all that destruction. I saw waves of reds and blacks and so much discolorment coming from the burning homes and trees. What a catastrophic element fire is, I thought to myself. What a calamitous sphere of natural activity.
Why do fires exist?
When all it seems to cause is destruction, why should there be any fires at all?
I've stated in another previous blog, that deep thoughts and aphorisms are often like fires. How they are "constantly reiterated, but [result] in the same affect as real wild fires. They burn... They don't light minds or ignite knowledge, or have some kind of a catalytic affect for people to start using their heads. Instead, they literally just [incinerate] the minds of all that they enter; starting off as a flame then growing larger by burning up any trace of its significance." I still stand by this statement. I believe people listen, but they don't really listen. They just keep note of a quote or anything of that sort that they like, without really reflecting upon the deeper meanings that lie within them. You hear trite, cliche-like quotes shared and used left and right. This mindless repetition makes the value of the quote grow smaller and smaller until it no longer has any value at all. This is where the forest fire idea mentioned earlier, comes in.
So why do forest fires exist? Because as reckless and destructive as it is, it's needed. Fires may hold the capability of wiping out an immense amount of a certain area, but in doing so, it is preventing more forest fires from coming in the future. Also, these fires break down and let fall the compounds above ground, that could not germinate due to its altitude. These seeds germinate and they set ground for a new forest to precede there on after. So it can start all over.
As people repeat these quotes and make them lose their meaning, there are philosophers who recognize this destruction and set out to revive it. When something so profound becomes meaningless to so many people, it has become a fire. The fire spreads and wrecks all in its path, however in time it will end. In time, one will stand and revive what has been so unfairly destroyed. New trees, stronger and taller will rise above the old ones. Deeper meanings will be pulled out of its hibernation, enkindling the majesty and discernment of which it once had.
Something so profound is not meant to be so esoteric. However, like fires it is oftentimes looked down upon and therefore the beneficial aspects are ignored. But there will always be a time of renewal when things go too far downhill. Fires will never perish, ignorance is infinite. Time is the solution, and revival the conclusion.

*My short story

"So why don't you have a boyfriend?" He asked.
"I have many friends that are boys" She replied.
"Well you know what I mean... Why don't you have a boyfriend?... A lover?"
"So you're asking why I haven't found love with anyone? Why someone as driven and ambitious as me doesn't have that same attitude towards a man?"
"Well... I didn't mean to get you angry or anything... I just---"
"Oh no no, you didn't get me angry. I'm just answering your question."
"I know but... the way your answering it is just... completely not the way I imagined it to be."
"That's because you don't know a thing about me, but you have a generalization of the majority of people in the world. Ambition and drive. Compassion and understanding. Communication and trust. Love and responsibility. That is why I don't have a boyfriend.
"Okay. Now I'm completely lost. So you're saying... You're too good for a relationship?"
"Too good? No. Not good enough? Maybe. A relationship is difficult. A lot of people aren't good enough for relationships. They may want it enough to have the label, but that's far from genuine. I haven't come across anybody ready for something as deep and powerful as a real relationship; To know how to truly handle being in love, and understanding what difficulties come with it. No one can handle difficulty anymore. Once they face a small hinderance in their "relationship", they become posessed by feelings of trepidation because they don't want to work to understand the perplexity of it. And that's where it ends."
"Wow... I'm speechless. I mean. So you obviously have things figured out. Or... You don't, but... Well I mean, like you are smart enough to say what you just said. I think I get it, but I don't."
"Good, so you're not so lost. No one will ever get it. Nothing makes sense anymore. There's always a statistic or a belief or some kind of myth that tries to relate nothing to everything. But it's thoughts like these that trigger a kind of mental high. So we keep searching. We endeavor and we calculate to find an answer that is not able to be found. It's our stimulant. It's my stimulant."
"Honestly, now I think a boyfriend would just hold you down. Listen to you. Your mind is incredible, not a lot of people are like you!"
"Everyone is like me. They've simply turned away from or haven't learned to find the capabilities of their minds. We can all transcend typical thoughts, we just need to escape."
"Escape what?"
"Escape what's holding you down."
"Well... I don't know what's holding me down... I just can't do it. Or... I don't know how to. I don't know, I'm not that driven I guess."
"There's your answer. Now escape it. Find that world where you can no longer have solid answers. Transcend routine thoughts and rise above what people want you to think about. Find yourself. Well, only if you want to."
"Ha, I do. Well, I don't know. Seems like a lot of work. But you, miss, will never hear me ask you why you don't have a boyfriend ever again. Previous relationships must have really slowed you down in the past, right?"
"Oh not at all. You asked me why I'm single right now. Obviously it was them who couldn't keep up."
She gave one last smile to the dumbfounded barista at the coffee shop. He watched her walk gracefully out the door, her face beaming as she smiled and looked up towards the warmth of the sun. He wondered why her smile did not make him want to smile back. Wasn't a smile supposed to make you happy? He shrugged and walked outside pondering about the event that had just taken place. He paced back and forth, his back heating as the sun shined on him. He then too, looked up at the sun just as she did. But instead he frowned and shielded his eyes.

Quick note

I know what it feels like to feel like nothing in this world. Looking at your surroundings... Knowing you'll never be in that limelight. Not because you don't have what it takes, but because you don't have the drive or courage to take a stand. Don't lose hope. Because usually... Those who believe in themselves the least, tend to have the most to offer to the world.

"A Teacher Affects Eternity. He Can Never Tell Where His Influence Stops." -Henry Adams

The Teacher’s Name is Death
Tuesdays With Morrie
By: Mitch Albom
Reviewed By: Sarah Moon
Have you ever thought of death as an opportunity to live? In Mitch Albom’s nonfiction novel Tuesdays with Morrie protagonist Morrie Schwartz, after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, takes advantage of his forthcoming death. Morrie is diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease: A disease that melts your body from, in Morrie’s case, the legs up. As the disease kills more of Morrie’s body day by day, his wisdom contrarily seems to grow. Formally a professor from Brandeis University, he continues to teach the significance of learning how to love one another and opens your eyes to the beauty in things you may not have noticed before. The film fails to include all of Morrie’s lessons and aphorisms that are displayed in the novel, but does not lack in highlighting the main points while still focusing on the rest of the story. Both the book and the movie will leave you with a completely different outlook on life and death.
The film and the book have many differences, but Morrie’s main idea that if you “learn how to die, you learn how to live” (83) carries strongly throughout both. Mitch Albom was Morrie’s student back in college, however is no longer in touch with him due to his demanding career as a sports writer. Mitch learns about Morrie’s illness while flipping through channels on his TV. Through fate, Mitch happens to come across Morrie’s face on the television. This event already foreshadows a kind of hope for Mitch. The movie focuses on Mitch’s relationships with different people from beginning to end to show the affects Morrie had on Mitch. Mitch changes from a man that is too caught up with society and materialistic desires, to a man who learns how to love and see the true beauty of life. Mitch’s transformation is just as poignant as Morrie’s profundity. Morrie carries with him, a wisdom that is extremely difficult to embody. He sees his death as an opportunity to teach the world about “[accepting] what you are able to do and what you are not able to do” (18). Morrie also stresses the importance of “[learning] to forgive your self and [learning] to forgive others” (18). The film magnifies the withering of Morrie’s body and also his unchanging attitude to show you his strength as a person. It is moving to see Morrie’s consistency and power on his decision to “make the best of [his] time left” (10). The film does not include the relationship Mitch has with his brother. Instead, his relationship with his boss from work is included. Mitch’s boss fires him and out of anger, Mitch does not fight for it back. After a lesson of forgiveness with Morrie, Mitch accepts his boss’s apology and agrees to return to his job. This was a significant scene because it was a clear display of Morrie’s influence on Mitch. The film does not include every relationship and every one of Morrie’s teachings, and instead utilizes the addition of characters such as Mitch’s boss to show the strength of Morrie’s leverage. Morrie’s will to live and his ongoing quest to help others even when he is dying, is truly commendable. It is impossible not to fall in love with Morrie after the book and the movie.
Morrie taught so that his teachings would carry on even after his death. He knew that even though he would pass on that “death [only] [ended] a life [and] not a relationship” (174). You will understand this passage in its entirety after reading and watching the movie. Morrie is an absolutely beautiful character that teaches you by grabbing your hearts’ attention first. This novel teaches you the lessons of life and love as well as the importance of learning how to forgive and the significance of starting immediately. I recommend Tuesdays With Morrie, both the film and the novel, to anyone looking for something unforgettable. This book may be shorter than many novels, but it is definitely nothing short of amazing. “[Morrie’s] teaching goes on” (192).
I realize that I don't have much of an individual voice in this review. It's only because there's so much I wanted to say about the book itself, I lost myself in it. But by seeing the way I praise the book its not hard to miss my love for it. This book is absolutely phenomenal. I'm sure Morrie is looking down on us right now, smiling, watching, as his teachings continue to spread worldwide. Help spread the word.

This is the real Morrie Schwartz. Not the one from the movie, but the real man that suffered through the Lou Gehrig's disease. I encourage you to watch this.