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.


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?

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. 

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.)


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?


Botton, Alain de. (2006). On Love. US: Grove Press.
Jowett, Benjamin, and Plato. (1948). The Portable Plato. UK: Penguin Books.