A solemn question

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 UTC

23. What motivates you in life?

Aww well, this is sort of a solemn question, so I’ll do my best to answer in kind.

What motivates me in earnest is wanting to be a good person. Wanting to take advantage of everything we’ve been given. If I think about the fact that we’re standing on forty thousand generations of thinking men and women who have carried and expanded our consciousness to where it is now… I like science, so I also think about how we’re standing on fourteen billion years of evolution from the moment the whole universe was as big as speck of dust, and now for the first time in our planet, a living being can study and realize this.

It all really humbles me. I want to do my part to honor this ancestry, and contribute what I can. To me, that’s what being a good person means. I think the best contribution is goodwill, happiness, and peace. I think it would be great if all those billions of years could culminate in a conscious harmony.

But, it’s just so amazing to me that we have a head at all, so I use my mind the best I can, learning new things always. The same with art, and everything else. So that’s what motivates me.

I want success of course – notoriety, wealth, approval – everyone does. But they’re just accessories, the icing for the cake. In high school I could never get myself to actually work to a goal like “get good grades” because it felt empty. It’s not the end that matters, it’s the reason… And the reason should always be love.

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Desde los balcones de la casona se dejaba ver: aquel laberinto de flores y ramas al que la palabra “jardín” le quedaba corta. A los puñados de narcisos y jacintos y lirios de todos colores los entrelazaban curvados caminos de piedra, tibia bajo el sol, y adonde no habían flores había césped verde y suave como las nubes de algodón. Nudos de árboles abrazaban a los leves soplidos de brisa que pasaban, y frutos y arándanos de todo tipo escondían sus dulces sabores entre la música de las hojas.

En las grises mañanas, bajo un cielo de papel blanco, y también en las tardes pintadas de naranja acuarela, bajaba Antonela a merodear por su jardín. A veces se quedaba hasta que le caía encima la noche, con un violeta gouaché. Se paseaba entre las flores y ramas, con la nariz metida en las orquídeas, con lilas trabadas en el pelo, hablándoles y cantándoles a las azaleas.

“Dichosas flores,” pensaba una de esas tardes Bartolomeu, el señor de la casa, mientras tomaba una taza de té negro desde uno de los balcones, y mirando de reojo a su esposa que se paseaba abajo. “Nada más le falta a esta mujer ponerse a leerles cuentos de cuna a los claveles.”

Bartolomeu pasaba ocupado con las numerosas e indistintas ocupaciones que tiene un hombre de importancia, generalmente optando por dejar a Antonela a seguir sus floreados caprichos. Cada día había flores frescas perfumando cada recoveco de la casa, y tanta era la cantidad de flores y ramas que nunca faltaban éstos en los jardines por más que se propagaran, por manos de Antonela, a todo florero, jarrón y vaso que ella pudiera encontrar en la casa. A veces a Bartolomeu le picaba la nariz de tener tanta fragancia flotando por todos lados, pero era un hombre práctico y de pocas palabras, y no le importaba lo suficiente como para confrontar a su esposa. Simplemente fruncía el ceño y se devolvía a sus muy ocupados asuntos.

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The sealed demon

Sunday, December 14th, 2008 UTC

eviscerate Life!
and hold her silv’ry entrails
in tremulous hands.

To thine own mask be true

Thursday, September 25th, 2008 UTC

We’re all one swashing salty sea;
And we’re the but the world, when it ponders itself
And we’re one entity, of a million identities
Because no man will be twice born,
and yet—all who are born, are one.

Viva la Revolución

Friday, June 20th, 2008 UTC

Have you any idea how grave a mistake it is to mar a young mind? And no, I’m not talking about beating children, or subjecting them to brutal work. I speak of an abuse far more subtle, a slow and lethal poison that seeps through the skull and corrodes the mind, threatening to squash the humanity out of the human heart.
I speak, of course, of the educational system.

As they join the ranks of schools, youths are force-fed an assortment of over-inflated values and priorities which constitute a forlorn and frightening mindset.

Indeed, youths are force-fed, binding them to a chair of eternal conformity. They’re teaching you all you need to know to go to college and get a job and a car and a family, so why would you bother looking for knowledge yourself? School has conveniently prepared a flimsy set of answers to the questions of the world, and bullies us into memorising them all. If we refuse, school sees to it that we are shunned as uncooperative, lazy, and misguided.

As if memorising answers flexed the mind at all. The most anyone could get from witless memorisation is a feeble semblance of self-discipline, which is rendered meaningless anyway as it cannot be applied to anything which has a worthwhile practical use.

—No worthwhile use? But how, if we just said that school will get us a job and a car and a family? Yes, it will. And that’s just fine. But see, the incentive process, for an average school-goer, goes something like this: You’re in school only so you can get good grades and get into college. And you would want to go to college just so you can find a job, and proceed to climb the interminable corporate ladder. And what’s at the end of all this? I dunno. No one really knows. It’s something extremely vague, like, oh, happiness. Or self-realization. Utter bollocks.

Not that I have anything against the white-collar life, or the working class life. What irks me is the neverending toil to a an end that is wholly meaningless. Working relentlessly simply to keep up with a difficult status quo holds no true significance and very little satisfaction. The small, hollow consolations it does offer are obtained at the tolling cost of losing something as dear as the mind’s potential, or the interest to tap it.
Such an existence is glaringly mediocre at best, and I wouldn’t call it worthwhile.

But of course, it is just this existence which our school system so champions, and urges us into. It is, perhaps, like snatching newly-hatched birds from their nests and forcing them to pilot bird-sized hang-gliders to and fro in embarrassingly straight lines, instead of allowing them to learn true flight.—Unnatural, criminal!

And then there’s the teachers, the great and ruthless secret police that holds up this rotten regime. The system is such that it not only allows ignorant people to teach, it calls for them, and they do their job magnificently.
There are some scarce wonders with something good to teach, but those few are, in someone else’s words, like drops of water in the desert. For the most part, entire class hours are reduced to either bravely enduring or dozing off to stupendously incoherent lectures ridden with fallacies and examples that hardly apply. Fascinating subjects are distorted into mechanical and thoughtless penwork. Overbearing counselors coerce you into taking SAT prep and registering on collegeboard.

And as opportunist corporate gluttons make millions by administering rubbish tests and other services, the students must suffer a watered-down parody of education in order to be able to support their businesses.

The system is deteriorated and doddering, severely entangled in faux-bureaucratical rules and regulations. Aptitudes are caricaturised and curiosities are squashed.
The very joys of life are rudely confiscated, one by one, as the system tries to take itself seriously.
And the very epitome and most cherished treasure of mankind—thought, of course—is mercilessly bastardised.

Come now, comrades, the system must be done away with. The time for revolution is nigh.

With that said, congratulations, graduates— you, who have braved classes and still retain a love for knowledge, are heroes; emerging triumphant against the perversity of the system.

Flowers for the aesthete

Monday, May 12th, 2008 UTC

I.
Remembrances are the warmth that soaks the viscera,
while idle speculation ventilates the lungs
and beauty is the scarlet that rolls in the blood.

II.
Addicted to the whimsies and antics of Life, and dying by the day.
Death overtakes all that ventures to live, snatching the softness of flesh and the sweetness of voice, leaving only bones, calcified regrets– vestiges of grace.
But it is because his most favourite flowers will shrivel by tomorrow that they smell so sweet to him today.

III.
The aftertaste of melancholy will always linger over the aesthete, for his paintings are more human than he– who lived the lives of a thousand colorful portraits, but left his own frame unfilled.

Portrait of wry remarks

Thursday, April 17th, 2008 UTC

Cynic is he who
laughs heartily, not with Life
but at her, instead.