A little something..., Uncategorized

A little bit of a Christmas story

 

Today the sky is nothing at all. It’s like a child began to draw on it with a pencil and then erased it in a way that smudged and spread the grey. And all the while the rain streaks down, invisible until it hits the sodden ground.

It is an endless canvas that colors are tossed upon. Some days it is a pure, uninterrupted blue that stretches seamlessly across my field of vision. When the sun rises, it is a child’s painting, bright pinks and oranges piled on top of each other, reflecting off low hanging clouds and filling the world with a haze of wonder. When it storms, the harsh glow of lightning illuminates the gathering piles of dull grey clouds that are angrily pushing against each other. At night, the moon glows, giving the speckle of stars a guide light. The sky is alive, growing at each passing moment, a constant changing canvas for the world to see.

I’m lucky enough to see her everyday when I wake up in the morning. I love everything about her. I love how she smiles, the way butterflies seemed to escape from the pit of her stomach and the way the sun had somehow toppled down from the sky and made a home right there in her heart. She had the kind of smile that made you feel happy to be alive and just that little bit more human. I love how in her embrace the world would stop still on its axis. And there would be no time, no wind, no rain. And her eyes are just something else. I can look at her eyes all day. They were the colour of a clear blue sky through a broken prison wall; the colour of a perfect raindrop on a blue aster; the colour of a river hurrying to join the great ocean. “I am lucky,” I thought to myself.

Dec. 23rd: We went Christmas shopping. We lured through the aisles in local department stores. We put on pure Rock and Roll songs since “All I Want for Christmas is You” has never really quite hit our mood around these holiday seasons, or anyday whatsoever. She would hum a Christmas tune to herself, only heard by those that stood close. And we would end up singing so loudly together. She would grab my hands and make my dance with her, no matter where we are whenever a song that she likes comes up. I can just feel her hands tingling. We would always get distracted by the vintage stores in Newtown, so much that we would visit a dozen stores before we actually make up our minds with what we’re going to buy. I love looking at her choosing things. I love looking at her prancing through the shops without a care in the world, with her headphones and the way her feet taps the ground listening to Queen. No one knew someone could be so energetic getting wrapping paper for gifts, yet there she was. Sometimes I even hid behind the fabrics in a ridiculous manner hoping she wouldn’t see me. Of course she could see me, but in the end she only giggled and rolled her eyes. When we were together, it seems like it was just us and our silly little jokes. 

Dec. 24th: We started writing cards to everyone. It was a rainy afternoon when we decided to make our favorite cup of tea and look at the pouring rain outside our window. It would have been any Sunday afternoon if we didn’t realize it was Christmas Eve. And the year is ending. So soon. She has always liked handmade goods. She would spend weeks on a gift for someone, not even someone particularly special, just some lucky guy whose birthday is when she feels like making gifts for someone. She would give me little jars out of nowhere, and every morning she would fill the jar with paper cranes and tiny sparkly handmade hearts.  I managed to check what my card said, despite her telling me not to ruin the surprise. It read: “Create and move forward. Sunny days don’t mean happy days. A flower smiles, even with rainy days.” Next to it was a drawing of a smiling flower. 

Dec. 25th: I was wrapping the gifts when she came home. Her hair soaking wet and her whole body damped with rainwater. “Need an umbrella?” I asked. Probably not a good time for sarcasm. I took her inside and prepared a hot bath for her. I remember her telling me how she loves taking hot baths and how she loves grapevine and oak candles. She came out, eyes glistened when she saw the bows and the wrapping paper. She wrapped each gift slowly always stroking each box like it was a precious possession. She got creative with the bow sometimes putting it on the side or on the bottom of the box. We fell asleep wrapping the gifts, listening to Fuel.

And Christmas is another 365 days away.

This is just a little something I wrote on the plane coming back home. I only finished it today since it is indeed Christmas. Have a nice holiday and I hope you all enjoy the gifts and laughter.

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A little something..., Uncategorized

A little something on ego

It has truly been an extremely busy month and I haven’t got any time at all to sit down and write properly. A little update on my life: school’s ending in a week, I discovered great music and art galleries, weather is distraughtly beautiful and my mood just changes weirdly everyday. It’s great.

Song: Fall In Love by The Babe Rainbow.

Many of you may not know this but I study Philosophy at school as an elective. As haunting and stressful it can become throughout this year, it has actually turned into one of the best choices I’ve ever made and the subject gradually become such an interesting topic for me to investigate further. Last week, or the week before that, we had to give in an assignment on one of the topics mentioned in the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. I just thought I would share mine, since I did a lot of research and put a decent amount of effort into this assignment. Egoism is a very interesting topic yet it’s common for people to have the same opinion on it.

Song: Plans – Birds Of Tokyo.

The narrator’s view towards egotism is reflected specifically through the 17th chapter of the book. Because of his belief that “Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster”, the author thinks Chris’s egotistic attitude with the climb is a problem. The narrator believes that an ego-fulfilling kind of motivation is destructive and an ego-fulfilling victory is hollow. That applies to mountain climbing, since one can be unhappy even when they have already reached the top simply because they missed “a passage of sunlight”, rested at odd times, went to fast or to slow for the conditions, basically not spiritually present. The narrator specifically points out his opinion that living for a future goal (in this case, getting to the mountain top) is shallow, because “it’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top”. He doesn’t like the idea of one being here but not here, but the idea of each footstep being not just a means to the end but an unique event. It’s not until when one gains spiritual strength that one can endure and undertake experiences for themselves, not being haunted by the idea of misconception by other people and the cycle of constant ego-fulfilling actions only to make up a false image of oneself.

 

The story of egoism is rather peculiar. Although it is often discussed, it hasn’t been explicitly held by many major figures in the history of philosophy. However, when it’s bring up, most philosophers explicitly reject the view, largely based on famous arguments from Joseph Butler. Butler’s objection to psychological egoism is that I must desire things other than my own welfare in order to get welfare. Unless I desired, for its own sake, that others do well, I would not derive welfare from helping them. Welfare results from my action, but cannot be the only aim of my action. He believes that conscience is a reliable authority in human nature and we should not disregard our own nature, that benevolence is as much a part of human nature as self-love.

I think a quote from Muhammad Iqbal expresses my point of view on egotism pretty well: “The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something.” Ego, to me, is your conception of yourself. Ego triggers our intentions, drives our motivation and decides our goals because a part of your ego is people’s perceptions on you, although we all know our perceptions of ourselves can be different from other people’s perceptions of us. If you think about it, it really is a way of labeling everything and everyone around you. These days, we can’t really go around, look and listen without naming and labeling and judging. A lot of quests of identity among our people is finding an “acceptable image”. The “system” started when you were still a kid. You were told that you were “free”, “independent”, and that “you can do and say whatever you want”. You are compelled to be free, independent and do and say whatever you want. Can you see the paradox? As you grow up, what you learn in education is to act a social role that is socially acceptable, and oh don’t worry, there are so many roles to choose from. Coming from a heavily tradition-orientated Asian country, there are even more values and customs that people are obliged to do just because that’s what people now and people from other generations have done therefore, a couple of centuries after, you have to do it. But all of that is solely based on volunteerism. You did not do everything that you are doing now because other parents told you to, you did it because you’re the one who wanted to do it, and because that is a socially accepted behavior. In other words, you are required to behave in a way that will only be acceptable if you do it voluntarily.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Pirsig, R.M. (1974). Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Vintage Books; Great Britain

Broad, C. D. (1971), “Egoism as a Theory of Human Motives,” in Broad, Broad’s Critical Essays in Moral Philosophy. Allen & Unwin; Great Britain

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