Monday, May 27, 2013

Star Wars (1977)

Guiding Questions
1. Darth Vader is looking for some plans. These plans have been taken away by R2-D2 on a smaller ship.

2. Luke Skywalker wants to get out of there and help Princess Leia. His uncle wants to keep him until the crops grow and are harvested.

3. Ben Kenobi is Obi-Wan, an ex-Jedi master, in reality.

4. Ben describes the Force to Luke as a force that gives power to Jedis and an energy field created by all living things. It binds the galaxy together.

5. He matures by becoming more responsible, wanting to become a Jedi, and by learning the ways of the Force. This is triggered by the death of his family and destruction of his home.

6. It narrates the story of a hero and answers the QUESTions. Luke is protected and then he leaves. Just like Siddhartha, but he wanders off with the help of an ally, just like Gilgamesh.

7. Luke dies and resurrects when his uncle and aunt die and his home is destroyed. He passes from psychological dependency to independency. He is able to understand the force and harness its power, and with its help destroys the Death Star. In the movie, there are two deaths and resurrections. First, is Luke's family death, in which Luke resurrects and matures. The second is when Obi-Wan Kenobi is killed by Vader and a part in Luke dies. Obi-Wan resurrects as a voice in Luke's head, but Luke resurrects as well. 

8. A) According to Star Wars, we form the Force. We contribute to it and take from it.

B) We are ever locked between the constant conflict and contradiction between the Light and Dark sides of the Force.

C) We got here by destiny, because the Force will not take sides, and where there is greater evil, the light side will prevail.

D) We are here to be part of the Force and participate in the constant conflict between the two sides of the Force.

E) Our body disappears, but our spirit, knowledge, and claim to the Force will stay forever.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Power of Myth: Final Exam Preparation

"Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings." - Salvador Dali

I feel entirely connected with this aphorism personally. Since I am regarded by my classmates as one of the most intelligent students in the 9th grade, I feel as if this quote was meant for me. My classmates ask:
"Jack, why are you so smart?"
I answer:
"I am not that smart, but I do try my best and work hard to achieve my ambitions."
After that, they are just like, "stop kidding me" and "are you joking?"

In reality, I do not believe I am the most intelligent student in my grade, but I am one of the most hardworking and committed students. I believe that is what Dali meant: intelligence is driven by desire as a bird's flight is driven by its wings.
Although I possibly have 9th grade's highest GPA, I know at least ten students who are smarter than me, and more than 20 if you believe in Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.
Another example I can think of is Math Olympics. Since Math Olympics is mandatory (at least the first round) for PreAP Math students, many do not take it seriously, but it is an opportunity to ambition; an opportunity to become more intelligent.

Ambition is a trait that does not belong to a child. Ambition cannot be possessed during childhood or infancy. In a way, it is possible to conclude that ambition kills childhood. This is what Campbell talks about: a death and resurrection (2:37). When a child decides to grasp ambition as a trait of its own, (s)he is dying, and then resurrecting as a psychologically "self-dependent" individual. Moving form psychological dependency to psychological self-dependency is the basic motif of the hero journey. In my own personal experience, it was ambition the one that helped me move on to my psychologically independent form of myself.

"I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved." - Soren Kierkegaard

I recently won a chess tournament (actually today, Thursday, May 16) which is why I chose this quote. Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author who happened to play chess. Although he lived in the XIX century, I can closely connect to his quote due to the fact that I love chess. Hence, I can suppose that Kierkegaard is saying that he hates it when his chess piece is pinned and his opponent reminds him of it. I interpret this as people not knowing what to do to be able to please everybody, and when they are about to make their move they realize they are unable to do so. 
Even more devastating is when people are reminding you that you cannot act that way, but you keep thinking of doing that, which makes it even more stressful. 

In my life, the only example I can think of right now is a situation in which a friend is bullying, passive-aggressively, another friend. I do not know how to act. Another friend tells me I should report it to the counselor and the HS Office, but I don't know if they will know about my 'betrayal' (since they will see it this way) and not accept me back into their friendship. This is how I feel, like a chess piece that is not allowed to move, and it is what will probably happen; I will not move.

Campbell mentions a turn from psycological dependency to psychologically independency (2:32). In this situation, where one of my friends bullies another passive-aggressively, I am still acting as if I were psychologically dependent. I am not saying I am completely independent, but, yes, my psychological dependency has been diminishing at a constant rate throughout the previous years. By letting other factors, such as friendship and fear (of being socially excluded), get involved in my decision, I am definitely not being psychologically independent. Campbell and Kierkegaard do have something in common in this aspect, since Kierkegaard would then do something about he being unable to move that piece. He would do something about it; move another piece that would let him move THAT piece in his next turn.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Orpheus and Eurydice

Who are Hades, Fates, Tantalus and Sisyphus?
Hades: the ruler of the Underworld. He is in love with Persephone (page 26 Orpheus speaking first line)
Fates: 3 women who decide people's futures, especially their death. They snip a thread when they want a person to die. (Page 25)
Tantalus: A creature from the underworld that is constantly thirsty.
Sisyphus: A creature from the underworld that sits on a rock constantly. (page 26, Narrator speaking first line)

How can Orpheus get Eurydice back?
Hades will let Eurydice walk (or glide) behind Orpheus, but Orpheus must not look back before he reaches sunlight. 
"If you look at her before you reach the sunlight, she is ours. Forever." (Page 26 Hades speaking)

List the ways we are invited to interpret the story.
1. The first version is mostly literal. This happens and is followed by such. There is no need to further explain several aspects of the play.

2. The second version handles the characters' thoughts and emotions, but the play's clarity (physical expression) is not as good.

Which interpretation do you most agree with?
I agree with the first interpretation because it is much more likely to believe that the god of the Underworld has tricked you than to feel anxious to see someone.

Is this a love story? Why? Why not? If so, what kind of love does this seem to be?
Yes this is a love story because it is mainly focused and revolves around the idea of love. It is focused on Orpheus' love for Eurydice. This type of love seems to be Shakespearan love, a tragic but slightly unreal one.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Erysichton Questions

1) Why does Erysichthon cut down the tree?
Because they need wood and he doesn't care about the gods and their altars. He scorned the gods and was careless about his acts, since he only acted a certain way if it was useful. (Page 19; Narrator 3 first line)

2) Define piety. 
The quality of being: 1. religious 2. dutiful; devoutness.

3) How does this term relate to Erysichthon?
Erysichton is not pious. He is quite the opposite. Eryischton doesn't care a bit about the gods. In fact, he doesn't believe in them. "He just looked for the usefulness of things." (Page 19; Narrator 3 first line).
Nonetheless, at the end of the scene Erysichton becomes pious (or at least the second meaning of it) since he becomes so devout to eating that he eats his own foot and eventually his complete self. (Page 24, bottom)

4) What connections can be made between this scene and this children's story?
We can see that both Erysichton and the Boy take away everything from their surroundings. In The Giving Tree, the Tree gives everything to the Boy, just to make himself happy, and the Boy gives nothing in return; he just continues to take more from it. In Erysichton, Erysichton does everything to be able to eat and asks everyone to give everything so he can get food. He doesn't stop asking people to give him food until he eats himself.(Page 24). He sells his mother (Page 23, second speaker), finishes his city's reserves (page 22) and eats his own foot (page 24).

5) Relate the events in this scene to a specific passage in Siddhartha.
When Siddhartha is in Kamala's town, he begins to feed his desires just to please Kamala. He buys himself shoes and clothes, gets a job, and a fancy house. "He learned how to transact business affairs, to exercise power over other people, to amuse himself with women..." (Page 61). Siddhartha starts to everything just for money and to impress Kamala, no matter the cost. In this case, Siddhartha's enrichment is costly for his path to achieve Nirvana. Just like in Erysichton, the protagonist does everything he can to get food and be able to eat, even if it proves unhealthy. (That is if eating one's foot is considered unhealthy).