A Distraction

4/06/2017 11:22:00 AM
If Mark Twain fell in love with the sight of a woman's painting,
I fell in love with the sound of a voice,
that was lurking in silence but with determination,
wishing there could be a conversation.

If the people who are drowned need a hand,
I am sulked in the dark needing a light
which shines brightly as the silver lining
to see what is behind the dark ceiling.
Poetry

Hit

3/18/2017 12:21:00 AM
I often wonder in fake haven,
what would happen
if one morning when I go to college,
I deliberately crossed the illegal railway,
stopped right in the middle of it
and stayed until the alarm's ringing stunted.

Will I finally find the serenity?
Thought

On How to Date (Nowadays)

3/10/2017 10:57:00 PM
Speaking of loving someone to the stage of dating, each of us have different ways in interpreting its meanings. However, when we interpret how to love someone, we're heavily influenced on how our society interprets it. Like a saying that I have quoted in my previous post by La Rochefoucauld, "There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing." that emphasized on how the people around us' fault is affecting our ways of loving. This post is going to tell you nothing on how to date with another person but just a reflection on how dating nowadays is viewed through the lense of communication theories.

How our society perceived 'loving someone' and then turned into the stage of 'dating' is heavily related to the development of technology. Try to look at Technological Determinism Theory,  an assumption that was initiated by McLuhan that technology can bring a new culture without changing a wider structure (McDougall, 2012). Long time ago, asking a dearest one's news or just saying hello can only be done by correspondence mail. The time it takes to be on the hand of the receiver is also dependent on how far the receiver is from the sender. If their location is nearby, then they can meet in person at a place that's reachable for both parties instead. Talking about life over afternoon tea or coffee everyday. However, along with the rapid development of technology, communication can now be done in real-time, anytime, without delay or hindrance through short messages or chat. That also influenced how the way of dating today where the existence of the dearest one can be replaced by a few words in chat reply. Therefore, it is uncommon if the conflicts in relationships nowadays is circling around someone who's furious because the  dearest one didn't reply to a short message and is often interpreted as "do not love me enough" or "not always been there". When in fact, whether the message is replied or not, the presence of the partner isn't there with her/him. It's just a text, a couple of characters.

However, with the development of technology too, there is a theory which emerged to counter and criticize Technological Determinism Theory called Social Construction of Technology. SCOT believed that technology can change the culture, but the change of technology itself also exist because the demand from the society (Williams, 1974). We can take the example from dating application like Tinder, OkCupid, or else. The existence of technologies that facilitate the meeting of two people who are having the same purpose, to find a partner, is based on the society's demand to encounter new people. With the algorithm in such way as well, many dating apps can even present a psychological test feature or checklist of the ideal partner to make it easier for us to find the ideal one we're looking for. This phenomenon happened also due to the difficulties of finding moment or event to meet new people that can lead for finding a partner.

The debate on which theory is most relevant in this era will never stop if we see it technology and culture as a causal effect. We can see its relevance only by seeing the technological context, for that matter. Perhaps we can see the clear idea if we try to see the technology and culture as chains that link to each other which makes them can be influenced both ways. 

Preference:
McDougall, Julian. 2012. Media Studies: The Basics. New York: Routledge.
Rochefaucould, François de La. 1959. Maxims. England: Penguin Classic Book.
Williams, Raymond. 1974. Television: Technology and Cultural Form. London: Routledge.

(Written for university assignment.)

Thought

The Classroom of Love

1/31/2017 08:50:00 PM

(Who am I to write this article actually, but this is just how I feel about the situation nowadays, so, enjoy, this is going to be a very long post.)

There was a saying that says the Romanticism ruined the definition of love. For once, I agree of this saying; moreover, because my core value agrees with Socrates' speeches in Symposium. 

Our culture have been deeply influenced by Romantic conception of love. Like a quote from François de La Rochefoucauld, "There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing." Then the way we love is dependent on the way our society love, which Alain de Botton said is heavily influenced with the idea from Romanticism. One of the Romanticism characteristics according to Britannica is a general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect. It was a movement led by artists from the West Europe that emphasises on emotion and individualism. When we love someone we will feel special feelings and emotions, as if we have found the soulmate of our life. We also feel happy, giddy and not lonely again; almost all good feelings. That idea leads to the belief of 'to love someone is to love them as they are, without any wish to change or alter them'. Simply, because it may change the emotion and the feeling that we both had. According to the Romanticism philosophy, we have to accept another person in all their good and bad sides, particularly the bad sides. At certain moments, it does feel somehow sweet. When they're not embarrassed by your loud horrible laugh at parties, because it's maybe a sign of openness and friendliness to others. Then the idea of accepting them in every area, which is actually closer to the definition of worship, came. Because any desire for change will arouse horrible emotion and deep resistance that proof there can't be love and that one should break up.

However, there is another philosophy of love if we trace back to the ancient Greeks. It was written in Plato's Symposium and was said by Socrates. A bit illustration about what Socrates said in Symposium (using his famous method cleverly, by continually asking questions to get us closer to the truth), Socrates started by asking a question to Agathon:

Socrates (S): "And now, said Socrates, I will ask about Love:-Is Love of something or of nothing?"
Agathon (A): "Of something, surely,"
S: "Keep in mind what this is, and tell me what I want to know—whether Love desires that of which love is."
A: "Yes, surely."
S: "And does he possess, or does he not possess, that which he loves and desires?"
A: "Probably not, I should say."

Socrates argued that if it is of something, then it is something that is desired. Therefore something that's desired is something that one doesn't possessed. He then retold Agathon about a conversation that he once had with a priestess called Diotima of Mantinea, from whom he learned the art of love. Diotima told him that the something that love desires but does not possess consists of extremely beautiful or extremely good, particularly wisdom. Diotima asked him to get his thought into the closer reason on why it has to be good:

Diotima (D): “When a man loves the beautiful, what does he desire?” 
Socrates (S): “That the beautiful may be his.”
D: “Still, the answer suggests a further question: What is given by the possession of beauty?” 
S: “To what you have asked, I have no answer ready.” 
D: “Then, let me put the word ‘good’ in the place of the beautiful, and repeat the question once more: If he who loves loves the good, what is it then that he loves?” 
S: “The possession of the good,”
D: “And what does he gain who possesses the good?”
S: “Happiness.”

The Greek philosophy taught us to love is not merely a chemical reaction in our body or butterflies on our stomach that can't be described in words; but an admiration for the perfection of that human being--for the good sides. And what we perceived as perfection is what is lack in us. It also gave the idea of educating each other to be the better person. The Greek noticed that we are all very imperfect so what it means to deepen love is the desire to teach and to be taught in return. A couple should see the relationship as a constant opportunity to improve and be improved. Therefore we shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to change our partners, and we shouldn't resent our partners for simply wanting to change us to be the best version of ourselves. Because the ultimate reason of all of this is what we all seek in life: happiness.

However, under the influence of Romanticism, we end up being terrible teachers and terrible students. Somehow we don't accept that it's legitimate for us to teach and to be taught. In the student role, we might feel attacked or betrayed because our partner criticize us. Then we close our mind and ear to the instruction from the teacher and react with sarcasm. The fact that they, as the teacher, want to change us could ring a bell that they don't actually 'love' us (Romanticism ideology). On the other hand, the teachers role, we are unsure whether we have the rights to teach them. We don't even know if we're going to be heard by our partners; or how big our impact is to them. We're frightened because we noticed that we have committed to the pupil who might not even want to learn. In the process, it will ruin not only their lives, but ours too. And that is very dangerous indeed because when we're frightened, we can be panic or even very angry. We might teach with shouting or insulting and met with the fury of the student. Yes, in this classroom we can be the worst teachers and students we could ever be. Then from this conclusion; to love does not only encompass feeling, but also skill. Skill on how to be a patient and wise teacher and to be an overt and keen-witted student at the same time.

Back to the philosophy itself, we actually shouldn't be ashamed of the need of instructing or the need for instruction from our partner, if it is for the greater good. The only fault is to reject the opportunity for education if it is offered. Love should be an attempt by two people to reach their full potential, not endorsement for all one's existing laxity.

But then there are a couple of question and problem that I raised from this conclusion. What is good that was meant. Because good can be perceived differently from the heads of two lovers. Is it good that was projected by society and norms or is it good that the lovers agreed on?
And also, if the classroom fails, then the fault would be on the teacher being a horrible teacher who can't teach or the student who is obstinate enough not to learn the instruction? Or both?

References:

Botton, Alain de. (2006). On Love. US: Grove Press.
Jowett, Benjamin, and Plato. (1948). The Portable Plato. UK: Penguin Books.
https://www.britannica.com/art/Romanticism
Thought

Problems

12/17/2016 11:41:00 AM
Problem; it's an inevitability.

Everyone in this goddamn world has a problem.
It's a fact that we all knew well by heart but sometimes we tend to forget when it happened to us. It produced the very familiar question regarding "Why it happened to me?"

Why this horrible mixed feeling of anxiety or sadness or angry is happening to us is actually an orthodox question we asked ourselves when we first noticed the problem. The problem shakes us deeply until we don't know what to do and then come all those mixed feelings afterwards. All we can do is to accept those feeling. What we're feeling is real. Even if it doesn't reflect to our facial feature or our gesture, it doesn't make the feeling less real.

"But there are people out there whose problems are way bigger than you." they said or you said to yourself. Still, it doesn't make the feeling less real. There are people whose problems are more complicated than us is a fact too. Humans are diverse, so is the problem. However, for us, this problem that just happened to us is the thing that makes our life harsher now. And that is the thing that create the empathy within us to other people with their own problems.

There are things that we should remember, at this moment we're still alive and life still happens. The condition that we are in right now with the problems, et cetera, is not going to stick through. The feeling that comes by with it is going to change. One day you'll see the problem from the different angle than the first time you heard about it. "It doesn't make any sense, I'm still sad and angry." said your deepest heart. Be patient. It takes time and effort to overcome our problems. The effort may varied due to our variety of problems too. As long as it isn't just a 'quick' escape from the problem and will just harm your health and mind. We can ask for suggestion from friends or family, even just ourselves. Then we know there are always something we can learn from everything that has happened to us, even the horrible problem ones. When we learn from the problem with delicate then we could make the possibility of it isn't going to happen in the future again. It also would make us a stronger and better person than the one we know before. And if you still believe in God, remember, God would never give us the ordeal that we could not go through.

For whoever you are out there, this is just a warm reminder, if you're feeling like life could not stop throwing rocks at you until you fell and stranded below the wheel, just remember there will be a time when you're up at the top of the wheel again. Because the wheel is always spinning. It's not a naive thought because it seemed to you that the wheel doesn't spin an inch. Perhaps, you're just slouching on the couch contemplating all night why the wheel doesn't spin. You simply have to believe and do something about it to spin the wheel. I've been there and I've also seen people go through it.


Alas, like my best friend once told me, when you're feeling sad remember that this shall pass and there will be time when you feel happiness again. When you finally feel that happiness, you'll remember sadness not as what it was, but for the reason behind your knowing of what it feels like to be happy.

Theatre

Dream Role

12/12/2016 12:00:00 AM
A couple of new things has happened this month. Mostly about posing like other people for entertainment purposes, a.k.a. acting. Acting in a dramatic short film made by my broadcasting senior and singing, dancing and acting in a musical number. I joined a workshop held by one of musical theatre communities in Jakarta that you can see the result here.

Performing arts has been on my interest since the first time I was able to sing "Do Re Mi" from The Sound of Music. Remember how I used to beg my mother to put the VCD back on track when I was little because I long to rewatch the musical again and again (I once wrote my love for musicals in 'I'm Addicted' series posts). When I tried acting for the first time and turned out it's enjoyable, somehow I always knew this is something that I want to put my mind and effort to it.

Speaking of acting, there must be roles that we must play. You mustn't relate to the role, but it helps for a beginner like me if I can relate to it. However, in the future I want to play a character that out of my comfort zone or my personality to challenge my skill, it's in the long run. I want to share my six dream roles that I dreamed to play someday (couldn't put it all because this would be a very long post). 

1. Penny Lou Pingleton from Hairspray
Speaking of Hairpspray, have you watched the NBC Live Musical just a couple of days ago? It's a good one, aye? I've watched the original movie, broadway musical, movie musical (with our childhood crush, Zac Efron) and the live television version, somehow I'm interested in playing Penny Lou, the best friend of Tracy Turnblad. A girl who is trapped by her mother to be just a good girl who weren't let to join the talent show. "I'm now a checkboard chick!"

2. Tuptim from The King and I
A tragic slave who was brought from Burma to be one of the King's junior wives. However, there was a Burmese scholar named Lun Tha who is deeply in love with her. What I like about this character is that she doesn't give up that easily on the person she loves. Even if she was forced to live in the castle and married to the King, she still fights for her love of Lun Tha, and likewise. Plus, who doesn't want to sing "I Have Dreamed" number in the moonlight? "I have dreamed every word you whisper."

3. Eponine Thénardier from Les Miserablés
The more tragic character from a famous musical, Èponine is a ragged child in the street of Paris. She fell in love with her childhood friend, Marius who's in love with someone else. She is also someone who would fight for the person she loves even though he doesn't feel the same, until the very end of her life. "You're here, that's all I need to know."

4. Belle from Beauty and the Beast
A role that I relate most from our hobbies of reading books and wanting to live more adventurous (and somehow our name is similar). This is also the very first broadway musical that I watched live and the person in the photo is the one who played Belle there, Hilary Maiberger. "I want much more than this provincial life."

5. Betty Rizzo from Grease
Rizzo is a character that I'm interested due to challenge myself and the peculiar character it is. She is tough and sarcastic leader of the most popular girl gang in school, Pink Ladies. She smokes, drinks, and does not care what others think of her. "I could flirt with all the guys smile at them and bat my eyes."

6. Yitzhak from Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The legendary role of playing reverse the gender, Yitzhak is an illegal immigrant from Croatia. He used to be a drag queen until he fell in love with Hedwig. Due to his popularity that clouded Hedwig's, he was forbidden to be a drag and recruited to be a backing singer of Hedwig instead. The role is played by women for musicality purposes (and perhaps the irony). "The love that had me in your grip was just a long, long grift."

Honorable dream role mentions: Mimi from Rent, Julie Jordan from Carousel, Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, Liesel von Trapp from The Sound of Music, Elphaba from Wicked (duh).