bright lights in the big city

Recently i came home from the business trip to New York City, and i know New York City is a huge tourist destination. there are pictures of the city plastered everywhere, nearly every hollywood blockbuster is based out of central park, and all of the best actors, actresses, singers and dancers come from there. i knew all the cliches and i think i had an image of what the city was going to look like in my head. but what i found when i got to the city was that new york city is not something you can just piece together in your mind with pictures of times square from pinterest, and you can’t really take someone’s opinion on the city. New York City is different to every person. the feel of the bright lights at midnight, the screeching of car tires driving down fifth ave, and the smell of street food is different to every person. i really don’t even think i can describe how i felt walking around the city, and the only word that comes to mind when i try to describe the city is phenomenal. New York City is where people go to try and find their passion, whether it is through exploring central park (i swear, it would take you three days to explore that entire park), driving down fifth ave trying as your wallet starts to cry from your pocket, or strolling down the streets of greenwich village, where all the coolest people seem to be, New York City seems to have a corner for every person looking to fit in. 

We only technically had three days in the city to explore every part of the city, so we did the standard tourist stuff: Times Square, Chinatown, Harlem, Greenwich Village, Ellis Island, Brooklyn, Wallstreet, and Soho. Every single part of the city is different. Some parts have people running in business suits with a phone pressed against their ears, some people are walking their cats into coffee shops in uptown Greenwich, and sometimes you have the odd homeless person dancing around in the streets near New York University. Wherever  I seemed to go, the people, no matter who they were or what they looked like, seemed so comfortable with themselves, they all seemed to fit in. I really wish sometimes that cities like Kitchener or Toronto were like that, where there are just so many varieties of people that all you can really do is be yourself rather than compare yourself to the millions of others out there. Everyone was friendly and didn’t care what you looked like, if you were respectful, they’d hold a conversation with you for hours if they had the time. I’m not sure what it is about the city, but it changes people. I got a little taste of the rest of the world confined into 30 square miles.

mindless thoughts

The fluorescent lights shone brightly on this dreary summer day, a little too brightly, and my cozy corner in Jill’s Jelly Donut Shoppe seemed more like a hospital surgery ward rather than a sweet little coffee cafe shoved in the farthest nook of the city. The harsh lighting shed light on the creamer swirling into my coffee that tasted more like a muddy puddle after a rain storm. Still, it tastes like home. The book in front of me, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens sits pearched atop my many overdue literature assignments, and as I scan the tower of ancient tales, I can feel procrastination dully stinging on the back of my neck. Of course, I know what my father would say to this. “I’m not paying for you to sit in a damn coffee shop and fill your gut with sugar”, he’d say. But as stubborn as it was to please him, the feeling of pissing him off felt like a rush of adrenaline. I always told myself I’d show up his dead beat ass. I take a giant sigh, exhaling the thought from my mind, don’t need those kinds of thoughts rotting my brain. I push my curly brown locks out of the way of my glasses, adjusting them in the process. I finally indulge myself in the work of Charles Dickens, Louise Bogan, and Robert Frost, all the while indulging my body with a classic cinnamon bun, without the frosting, of course. It was a favourite of… oh no, I told myself I’d stop with these stupid flashbacks. And as if on cue, that flashback, a.k.a. Will August, bursted through the door. And by bursted, I mean literally. He pushed through the glass panelled door with a loud screech of wind tailing in behind him. The rain came down so hard and was so opaque that Will’s tanned skin seemed to radiate off a white backdrop. I swear on my life, that boy could make a statement walking into the gates of Heaven. Will shuffled haphazardly across the checkered floors of Jill’s Jelly Donut Shoppe, eyeing every table, shelf and person in the joint suspiciously. The tables packed with people stared at him accusingly, but only I knew what he was looking for. Me.

It probably comes as a shock to most that the little nerdy girl from highschool has managed to get, or rather kidnap in most people’s opinions, a boyfriend who resembles more of a young Mark Wahlburg rather than your average highschool football star. (to be continued) 

Philosophical Movie Review of “Waking Life” (2001)

Waking Life (2001)

What are we really?

Who are we as people? Where are we in space and time? What are people? What is personhood? What is time defined by? These are all metaphysical questions suggested and brought forth over centuries by many different philosophers, and so far, all we can do is hold an opinion on the theories that metaphysics suggests.

In Waking Life (2001) directed by Richard Linklater, a nameless young man finds himself trapped in a continuous loop of dreams, after returning to Austin, Texas after a class trip, and is subsequently hit by a car. Throughout the first half of the film, the young man, played by Wiley Wiggins, walks and levitates from one dream to the next, all while listening to the theories about human existence, metaphysics, and free will from philosophers and intellectuals as he passes through to each dream. Gradually, the unnamed character begins to realize that he is in a perpetual, never ending dream. He tries to wake himself up, but to no avail he is unable to awaken himself, and presumes himself dead in a way. Eventually, accepting the realization that he must be stuck in his own imagination, he begins to converse with other characters. In the final scene of the film, the unnamed character converses with a character who looks very similarly to him. The last conversation with this character reveals that the unnamed man understands that reality may only be one instant, and that an individual may misinterpret this as time and life, and that dreams offer a glimpse into the infinite nature of reality.

Of course, a movie about dreams is going to suggest philosophical conundrums such as the distinction between appearance and reality. This can all be linked back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the people or characters in the story are chained to a wall, where all they see for most of their lives is the shadows against a dimly-lit rock wall. However, one person managed to break free, and was able to see what was the cause of those shadows. If the person who managed to break free was you, would you perceive this new, bright world as more “real” than what you thought the world was in your dimly-lit cave? Could the people who remained within the cave be able to believe in your story that there is a greater world outside of what they have known for most of their lives? These are the questions that are asked when trying to figure out the difference between reality and appearance. In Waking LIfe, the unnamed man is unable to tell that he is in a perpetual dream for the first portion of the movie, which begs the question, did he even know he was in a dream? Was he able to perceive this dream-like state as his own reality?

The film also suggests the philosophies of Taoism and Buddhism. In the second scene of the movie, where one of the characters, played by Bill Wise, picks up the protagonist in his car and tells him to “go with the flow”. At this stage, the protagonist is in a stage of departure, slipping in and out of consciousness but he still perceives it to be his reality. Taoists see the universe as held together by the Life Energy, balanced by the Tao symbol. The self has no self-identity, and in Buddhism, the universe is constantly changing and flowing. The use of the phrase “go with the flow” suggests that while the protagonist is in his dream like state, to just go with whatever comes at him while he is in this dream loop.

The film Waking Life (2001) directed by Richard Linklater is a fantastic film, presented at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, and nominated for many awards regarding its controversial and in depth topic of the appearance of dreams and reality. But aside from an animated movie, how do humans really perceive their reality? When we are dreaming, is that reality, or is that only a view of another reality separate from this one? Waking Life suggests that when humans dream, we are misinterpreting time, space and life altogether, because our dreams may offer a glimpse into the eternity that is reality.

blinded

I came across a quote the other day and it was one of those quotes that sticks with you no matter where you go.

“I wonder how society would live if we all looked up at the stars every one in a while”. 

Really made me think about how if we all stopped doing what we’re doing for one day, took a look around at where we are in our lives and where we’re going, maybe we’d be able to feel better about what decisions we’re making. I mean, most of us are 17-18 years old, have been accepted to university, are starting full time jobs for the summer, travelling next year, or have absolutely no idea where they’ll be in the next 5 years. Society really pushes you to decide what you’re going to do right here and right now, but sometimes I feel like that’s not enough time. I think I’d like to stare at the stars a little while longer. 

dusk

The sun lowers itself on the plains

Bleeding colours from the remnants of the day

Twilight edges like a razor along the horizon

Threatening the atmosphere with it’s ghoul-ridden fog

 

I sink my body into safety

Exhaling my soul from frustration

I threaten my mind with schemes of destruction

The ghouls begin to seize my attention

 

As the sun hovers

My heart stays afloat

As darkness spreads

My destruction flourishes

 

 I am trapped in the dusk.

Where do I belong?

notice me

My lust for him grows deeper with every beat of the drum

And I think, he’d never notice me.

 

Her eyes flicker and bounce like the rhythm of this song

But I think, why would she notice me?

 

My heart flutters, blinding like the spectacle of lights

But oh, doesn’t he know he’s the only light I ever saw.

 

The battle against drugs

As a person who has been severely sick a lot of my life, I know what medicinal drugs can do to you. I’ve been placed percocets, propofol (the drug that killed Michael Jackson), morophine, and as many other drugs as you can think of that may have been used in a hospital setting. I can see how easy it is to become addicted to drugs and to the euphoric feeling it gives you, so I can understand what a drug addict might feel when they get their fix. But shouldn’t we be keeping addictive drugs off the market instead of placing them on the market for anyone to get their hands on? I recently found an article about how the FDA has approved a new drug, called Zohydro, which is a pain pill that can be easily prescribed by a doctor for people with chronic pain. The problem with this drug is that it contains an extremely high dose of opiod. For those of you who didn’t learn what an opiod was in grade eight health class, an opiod closely resembles morophine, it’s just a painkiller drug. It is used in ibuprofen, and in extreme cases, is used on cancer patients. However, when taken in high doses, it messes with the nervous system, and can act as a hallucinatory drug. The drug also contains hydrocodone, an extremely addictive, and one of the most abused opiods. Opiods are highly addictive, and nearly 17,000 died from overdosing on the drug in 2010. Making it available on the market for more people to get their hands on it just does not seem right. Read the full article here:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/26/health/zohydro-approval/index.html

 

Weightless

  1. I wanted to post a portion of the free-verse poem I wrote in class today, the ones we wrote on “things”. I’m not really a great poet, but I’d really enjoy the feedback!

She walks into the light of a new day

With fresh air in her lungs and weight on her back

She spreads her arms and lets the light bore into her skin

As the colours come, bountiful

Flustering, twinkling with every caress

Of a summer’s breeze

And for a few moments, she feels weightless

She flees from her home,

Taking on the skies as if they were her own

Watching the specks of humans from above

As they carry on with their messy, busy, hurried day

And as she watches from aflight, she feels weightless

This is only a portion, I’d love to come back and add/edit more. Any feedback is helpful!

Tagged

We’re all hypocrites

 My biggest pet peeve ever is when someone or something comes off as a blatant hypocrite, and over my last four years in high school, I’ve really noticed how true it is that everyone at some point is a hypocrite.

A hypocrite is someone who preaches one thing, but does something totally different. For example, if I were to tell my friend that I hated them for kissing my ex boyfriend, but I did the same thing to her, that would make me a hypocrite. It just really seems lately that everyone seems to be trying to find “who they are” as a person in their final year of high school, and by doing that, they are subtly critisizing who they used to be by using hypocracy.

I’ll give you a recent example. One of my very best friends used to be so quiet the past three years of school, but she had a darker side to her. Deep down she was very insecure, and really talked badly about people which I think helped her cope. Recently, (I don’t know if it’s just this year that has changed her attitude, but) she was about someone who she used to be close friends with, complimenting them and talking about how much they loved their attitude, etc. Later on in the day, we started talking about it again, and I called her out on what she had said and told her that I thought she didn’t used to like that person.. She directly told me, “I don’t talk about people like that, I don’t really care about people who shit talk”. It really threw me off that she said that, because she was the exact opposite of who she used to be not even two years ago. 

I know sometimes people don’t mean to be hypocritical, sometimes they just forget. But I really think that hypocracy is used a lot like a tool for changing yourself. You know how it takes 21 days to make a habit? The more people tell themselves something that may be the exact opposite of what they think of themselves, the more it sticks to your brain, and the more hypocritical it makes you seem. Deep down, yes, we are all hypocrites inside. We may think sometimes, “oh, I’m a pretty nice person”, or “I don’t think I’ve ever really been rude”, when really at some point in time, we probably were those things. It’s just a major pet peeve that I have when people directly act like hypocrites. I think what part of makes a person a good person is when they are able to admit their faults.