March 25, 2004

Deviant Death

At first, when I read the poem "Death be not proud, though some have called thee" by John Donne, I thought it was very hackneyed because it seemed that Death is the number #1 subject in people's mind. The vernacular that Donne used was also an obstacle. After reading it several times, I got the main idea of it, and I rephrased it on my own terms so I could understand it better (hopefully i did not butcher his work). I also did a little research on his life in the internet, and I found out that he had a strict Catholic 'upbringing' and he was related to Sir Thomas Moore through his mother's side. He grew up in a very anti-catholic environment, and he saw many people he loved died and passed away. The travails he had experienced made him question his faith...

...Maybe his doubt of God's love for him inspired him to write this or maybe it's through his faith in God that helped him cope with death.
I like this poem. I like how he argued against the power of daeth, and how he personified death as a slave to "Chance, kings and desperate men".There is a notion that death means the end of our existence. Donne's poem is actually more optimistic and he stressed the fact that death could never destroy our spirits maybe our body but not our soul "wee wake eternally, and death shall be no more..."
I also like his comparison of Death with sleeping/resting. In sleep, our unconscious mind travels to a far off place were death can't touch us, where death "thou shalt die."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:53 PM | Comments (1)

March 23, 2004

Literary Criticism

I actually liked doing this, I felt like a detective trying to piece the puzzle together to get a good picture. The assignment we had on Literary Criticism was hard to do even if it was only a page per each Literary Criticism, reasons:
-Switching from one mode of criticizising/analyzing to another
-Different sources search

Advantages:
By looking at a literature/text from different angles gives a fuller picture of the work.

Well here's an example from my own Literary Criticism. Read on and comment, I'd like to hear from you...

Psychological
The character of Willie Loman throughout the course of the play dealt with a crisis, in which his identity and role as a man was nebulous. By regressing to monumental events in his life, he tried to figure out and make sense of his life.
One of Erikson’s psychosocial stages, Identity versus Role Confusion showcased the development of a human being from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. In this stage of development, the person tried to make sense of his or her past, of his or her identity and of his or her relationship to the world. This activity functioned as a guide to the persons, helping him or her find a sense of commitment and direction in the world (Notes from Kail).
From the beginning to the end, Willie lived both in the realm of the past and the present. His family witnessed this; Happy told Biff that: “[Willie] talk[ed] to himself (Miller 21)”. Willie’s self-talk (termed by Vygotsky as private speech) demonstrated his incapability to regulate his behavior and thinking. This showed that he was not as rational as a normal adult, but rather, he was as irrational as a child. He was at the point of denial (Falsifying reality, Marcks). Because of the distorted reality he had perceived, the past and present events in his life were hard to distinguish from the other in his mind. Oftentimes his past and present life would intertwined, warping him back to the past, where he conversed with a person in that realm, when in reality, he was really in his kitchen talking to his neighbor. Such conversations took place on page forty-six, between him and Ben (Figure of the past) and him and Charley (Figure of the present).
By reverting to the past, Willie Loman tried to capture the essence of his brother’s success in the hopes of “imbuing [his sons] with the same spirit of triumph” (Miller 52). In achieving this, he aspired to make amends for his failure as a father, set things right for his sons, and to live harmoniously in the world.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2004

What is Art?

"If Art is everything then Art is nothing..."

From the perspective of Arthur Danto:

Longinus, how could you say that a box, such as the one I told you about could not be considered an artwork in the first place? I did not expect you of all people, the forefather of “Sublimity” to be so narrow-minded?
Whatever happened to going beyond the ‘boundary of the corporeality’? In order for one ‘to see something as art, one requires something the eyes cannot scrutinize’. What if there was a world specifically for Art: an Artworld? This world is not as far away as one might think. Rather, this world is in the same planet and universe as ours. One could say that this world is almost a subset of one’s world, but it exists solely on its own with its set of standards. It is possible after all; you personally witnessed me materialized in thin air right before your own eyes.
You must be careful not to mistaken the “daily world” per se from the Artworld. One most likely will mistaken the daily world for the Artworld, thus one renders each inseparable from the other. As a result, one assumes that everything in the daily world is also in the Artworld. This clearly contradicts the whole point of the Artworld. A fellow contemporary of mine, Mr. Monroe Beardsley, has debated the quagmire we are in. He often emphasized that if Art meant everything then it was nothing. Thus the Artworld is different from the daily world.
The Artworld has an individualistic sense of artistry in theory, identity and history. Two of the main theories that are important to consider in the Artworld’s individualistic sense are the Imitation Theory and the Reality Theory. If one were to say that Art is nothing but a mirror image of nature, then one would deprive Art of its very existence. Therefore, one would be asserting that Art is incapable of standing on its own; it is thus cheapened into an empty illusion. If this were so, would you consider a reflection of an image from a mirror, Art? First of all, a new entity is not created, and secondly, this reflection deceives us. It would not uplift us into the Sublime.
These answers from the previous inquiry lead me to the second theory, the Reality Theory. According to this theory, Art is not supposed to deceive people; it is not an imitation. It may have similarities to the object of its origin/inspiration, but it is still not an illusion. It may not be a real copy; nonetheless it is still a new entity in itself.
I remember you once wrote that Art was often reduced into technicalities of the “Rules”. I know that you are also a strong proponent of ‘unrestricted Art’ in a sense that you believe that Art has no limitation. However, rules are necessary, not to inhibit Art in any way, but rather to distinguish an Artwork from an object of the daily world. One can achieve this goal by discovering the intentions of the person who created the object: his or her motive (Why or Why not?). Usually, the creator intends to do/create something per se to fulfill a certain criteria (only serving that which the creator is trying to achieve). You may ask: “Would anything be considered Art, if the creator intended for it to be so?” Of course, through the revelation of the intended actions of the creator, the Artwork becomes real in the realm of the Artworld. In doing so, one creates the Artworld in which the Artwork is not just identified to specific parts, but also identified as a whole (having the ability to stand on its own). Who ever said that Art should be limited to the rules of the daily world? Art should have to follow its own rules: its standards.
A sage once said to me that practice makes perfect. Your own theory correlates to this, you have reasoned that one’s innate inclinations were not enough to achieve the sublime; that time and time again one needs to practice the skills one acquired to go beyond: into the Sublime. In honing these skill one must be able to ‘open one’s eyes’ to different theories of Art. By doing so, one enriches oneself with new theories not seen before, enabling one to see the Artworld: its theories, identity and history.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:23 PM | Comments (2)

March 10, 2004

Christ's Passion for Us

I saw the movie The Passion...wow...what do you think of the ending?

The Bible Study today, went to see the movie passion (everybody was invited it was not just the Bible Study club). I heard so much about this movie and its concommitant controversies. Naturally I would react in two possible ways: I would get excited and hyped that I would be jumping for joy to watch this or I would totally do the opposite, go against the popular tide, miss the band wagon and watch it on my own and not talk about it.
Well I watched it and it was great. It was not totally anti-semitic (like what the media said). The movie showed that there were some people in the higher echelon of 'high priesthood' that were against 'Caiphus' (not sure of name but supposedly the leader of the high priest), and they were thrown out of the 'deciding circle'. It was not only the Jews who were beating Christ, the Roman soldiers also took part in it. The movie also showed other Jews helping Christ, for example: the women (I don't know if Joseph of 'Aramethia' would be consider, but nonetheless he helped) Sometimes people forget that the historical context of Jesus life took place in the vicinity of the middle east where it was fraught with people of Jewish descent.
I like how the movie portrayed the humanity of Jesus through the use of retrospect and flashback emphasizing the very human nature of thinking, looking back and reflecting on one's own past. It just showed how Jesus comprehended who he was/is/will be and what he was/is/will be doing for us: loving us.
"What do you think about the end-ing?"

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:23 PM | Comments (3)

March 4, 2004

A Setonian Experience

UP in the sky, "it's a bird , it's a plane" no it's a news event!

I'm actually now an official staff member of the Setonian Newspaper. I've written three articles, and I believe that I'm getting used to being objective rather than subjective.
One of the mantras that pushes me to keep writing for the Setonian is "It's a learning process" (Setonian Editor Amy Slade once said to me). I believe in this because often times "people" unrealistically expect that since one is in college then one is supposed to be in one's peak game.
Through my own experience, I am proving that theories could be learned through practice.
I am also a photographer for the Setonian, and I enjoy doing that. Journalism is like an adventure: trying to schedule the pictures, going on location (hopefully establishing my "beat"), talking to sources (locating them, hunting them down) and actually writing the articles.
Journalism is like a paradoxical experience for me. For me being objective, I do not use as much creative/subjective imput (Tantamounting to less headaches) but at the same time, my imputs are lucid and understandable and it makes sense. In a way I am not thinking, too much, but rather I have a narrow focus. Finding a focus makes things so much easier. One could get in the machinal mode of just doing.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:10 PM | Comments (2)

March 2, 2004

Reflecting on the Diamond Age

"But diamonds are a girl's best friend.
A kiss may be grand but it won't pay the rental
On your humble flat, or help you feed your -meow- pussycat.

Men grow cold as girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end.
But square-cut or pear-shaped
These rocks don't lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl's best friend..."
Really???

I read the first hundred pages of The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, and at first I found it a little bit confusing. The plot jumps from one character to another but as I got near the 100th page, the mini stories seem to intertwine together to become more cohesive. I am not that familiar with this style but I found out that it kept me very interested in reading the book. I found it also rewarding to put the pieces of the puzzle together (being a detective is fun). Two questions rose up in my mind while I was reading: What is the significance of the 'ractive' book? and Why is education a privilege for the wealthy in the Diamond Age?
"Square-cut or pear-shaped, these rocks (Diamond) don't lose their shape..."In the Diamond Age, where life is innured, the embodiment of values and vices are contained in each society whether it is in the society of Confucian ideals or adamant 'neo-victorians'; Each on its own right, with its own standards, inside its own "magic circle", living in the confines of its own Truth, blissfully ignorant of others' true nature.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:45 AM | Comments (0)