Wednesday, February 17, 2010

SO, in reading more and more about enhancement it seems that people are always on the line about what they want done. take memory enhancement for example, on one side, course you want to remember people's names, important dates, and facts for tests better! that seems like a given, please can you condense coffee into a pill and serve it on a tray ushered by midgets, please? Oh, wait, they already did that minus the midget with a tray thing-Adderol?? Ritolin?? But, I suppose that is not what they are talking about memory enhancement. No, what they are talking about is, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors! Yay, a drug that really does improve the memory overtime, while also serving as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease. SO, what's the problem? Ah, the other side of the fence, why we wouldn't want to improve our memories: because is it not possible that the mind forgets certain things on purpose? Certain traumatizing things, certain embarrassing things? But the question remains, on what grounds should we be enhancing a "normal" persons memory, when as far as the rest of the world is concerned they are perfectly normal, and normal implies forgetting things, it is part of life. I think that when answering this question it comes down to how would each person's life be changed if they had an enhanced memory? And the sad and honest truth to that is that most people's lives would be in utter chaos because most people can't handle the things that their brains are purposefully forgetting, they are the things that we talk about hypothetically, like they happen to people, but never to us. How many times have I woken up with a seriously bad head ache, no memory of anything that happened the night before, and some random cut or bruise that I have no idea how it got there? A few times, I'll admit to that. But what if I could remember what all those cuts and bruises were from and heaven forbid what if they were from some terrible thing that happened to me? In that case is it good that I blacked out and don't remember?
So that is one of the worst examples that I can think of for myself, but in a more serious, realistic example, rape victims seldom remember what happened to them the night that they were raped, sometimes even something happens called Retrograde Amnesia, where they can't remember up to a year or months before the trauma. In these cases should these people be given a drug to make them remember or does that seem like cruel and unusual punishment?
when I try and consider an answer to this dilemma the best that I can do without becoming to attached is to say that overall i think that yes people should use whatever kind of memory enhancement that they can get, even if it brings up those demons in your soul, because one thing that people can not deny is that they learn from their mistakes, and if you just forget your mistakes then you will never learn from them. (Oh and when i say you, i am referring to all of people as a whole, not as individuals independently, because i think that in order for society to improve upon the things that we just keep making mistakes over, we need to learn from them and try and change them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Concluding Thoughts

As far as final thoughts go on the semester, I would just like to say that I really enjoyed the class, and I think finishing up with group presentations was a great way to leave with a smile on your face. Everybody did a great job, I enjoyed all of them and I enjoyed doing one with my group. As you might be able to tell from the rest of my blogs, I loved the mythology aspect of this class, I think that the relationships that the gods have with people and with each other shines a new light on how we interpret things today. It really added a new perspective to the way classical literature was written and how that influenced following literature all the way through to today and into the future. I don't think that I will ever look at a book, a song, a poem, in the same fashion. The other day in American Literature when we were reading early American poetry it was funny how the authors that used references to classical literature were thought of as more educated and not only that but by using those references to gods, or philosophy the poems seemed deeper, like they more of a meaning than what was present at face value. Without this class it would have been harder to really understand the depth of some of those poems. This application with be helpful for the rest of my life as Literature major and hopefully as a writer. Thanks to everybody in the class for a lot of fun and a big thanks to Dr. Sexson for presenting it in a fun and interesting manner.

Considerations on my Final Paper

When I was writing my paper I was trying to think of a clever way to incorporate music into Musea's parentage. I thought about using Hermes, but Hermes background is kind of stuffed up and he was a pretty prominent god, and a trickster which I wasn't sure if I wanted to be associated with Musea. In my eyes, her character was meant to be almost pure, simple, loving, almost to an ignorant level because I recognize that it seems unlikely that one would not know they they were a goddess, but I'm sure about that so I just went with it. I may have to improvise that a little bit, one idea was to make her half god, that way if no one ever told her that she was a goddess she might not know. Another idea that I had was to make her the offspring of an affair that Aphrodite had with possibly...Orpheus. This would make sense because as the son of Apollo, who was given the Lyre by Hermes, he was known as the perfecter of the Lyre and had the ability to put charms on the birds, or the beasts, he could even charm the rivers to make them change their course. Though historically, I don't know if he had the ability to charm other gods and goddesses, I could of had him cast a charm on Aphrodite and have an affair with her. But that all just seemed to complicated, and out of historical context. I needed to have Musea be the daughter of Aphrodite, and I wanted her to have some sort of musical tie, but I needed to make it seem like a possibility. It seems possible, actually probable, that at one point or another goddesses had children that they didn't want and so they just threw them away. The only way that I could make this happen with Aphrodite was to have her throw away a child that was the creation of her and her husband because that doesn't change the historical facts too much. It doesn't add a new love affair, it doesn't change the facts too much; its like historians just forgot to mention this baby girl and how she became the first love song.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

I made this connection a while ago when we were talking about The Symposium and it was the weirdest thing. I was sitting there listening to Dr. Sexson talk about Anamnesis and how we used to have wings and we used to know everything and we were divine in intelligence and a really bright light jumped in my head. A while ago I read "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and I loved it, I wrote like three papers on it, all having different interpretations of what the old man with enormous wings could represent, an angel, foreign lands, other planets, but I hadn't heard of Anamnesis. When Dr. Sexson started talking about this concept of life, my heart started beating so fast and my brain was racing with ideas. I started jotting down notes in my notebook left and right. I was so excited. It was kind of silly but I was stoked.
The story is about this old man with enormous wings that washes ashore in this little village and a couple finds him. The people don't know what he is or where he came from but they put him in a cage and start to make money off of him. People from all around the world come to see this old man with enormous wings. Eventually he starts to get sick, and because he cannot speak to any of the people in the town he gets sicker and sicker. Finally the people who found him let him out of the cage and let him walk around their house with them and they feed him and treat him better and he starts to return to health. One day he flies away into the distance and the people are left wondering what he was and their questions are never answered.
Now that I have heard the concept of Anemnesis, I am pretty sure that this very old man with enormous wings was a man that somehow got lost before he was born, and ended up in our world before he forgot everything. Knowing that we are ignorant after birth the old man does not speak a single word and attempts to let the people try to figure out what he is. In the end he flies away to be born again. EPIC. The story is on the link below.

Quotes I gathered over the semester

Here are some of the quotes that I gathered from throughout the semester. Some of them I don't who said them, most of them are probably Dr. Sexson. My favorites are in bold.

"How do you know what you think till you hear what you say?"
"History is the facts, mythology is the truth."
"We have been power pointed."
"Why do Greek men have such small bottoms?"
"Not only do you have to will it to happen, you must do it till you get it right."
"Music should touch the chords of divinity in your heart."
"Everything you need is right where you are."
"Ones life is hardly lived for oneself"
"I was just born yesterday"
"You don't decide anything. It is always decided for you. By the gods."
"Everything is a version of something else."
"All families are disfunctional"
"Who are you?"
"Life is the brief moment of light between the womb and the tomb"
"Every time we raise our glass to a toast we are making an associating with the Symposium"
"Everything you do in life should be in remembrance of something."
"We are falling into a world of ignorance, not sin, and need education not redemption"
"You can't desire what you already have"
"We laugh so as not to cry"
"Everything returns to laughter"
And my very favorite:
"You don't have to understand things, you just have to stand under things."

Mountain God

We've gone over quite a few of the gods and goddesses, god of the oceans, god of love, god of fire, and the list goes on, but one god that we didn't really touch on was the god of the wilderness. I have this immense love for the mountains and have spent much of my short life trying to get to the tops of many of them, from Alaska to Peru I have climbed my fair share of mountains and spent a fair bit of my time in the wilderness. So, naturally I wanted to know what god I should thank for all the splendors of nature. I came across a few names but the one that stuck out in particular was Pan.

Pan's parentage is unclear from what I could gather, some say that he was the son of Zeus and some say that he was the son of Hermes. His mother was most likely a nymph but again which one is unclear. I think that it would make most sense for his father to be Hermes for a couple of reasons, first Hermes was a herder, and therefore spent most of his time in the pastures with his flocks, and the name PAN comes from the Greek word 'paein' which means "to pasture". So that connection just makes sense. Second, some accounts of Pan say that he was sometimes called the god of "rustic music" which would have ties to Hermes because Hermes invented the first Lyre, and according to Dr. Sexton was the real inventor of music. So, for his song to become the god of rustic music makes sense. So that's my theory on Pan's father.

His birth was said to be the birth of irrational terrors or panic, like being afraid of the dark, because when he popped out of his mother all the nurse saw was a little bearded face and a little boy with hooves for feet, so she ran away screaming, when really he was a gentle little boy who just got mixed up with some weird genes.

It is said that Pan spent most of his life simply wandering the hills and the mountain tops slaying beasts that got in his way and staying out of most everybodys way, which is perhaps why not too much is written on him. He wasn't the kind of god that wanted to be in the middle of things, unlike most the other gods. It is said that he was the Creator of beautiful music that he made with his flute. Some accounts say that when the sun started to set he would play his flute and sing sweet songs so the animals would fall asleep.

The story of how Pan came to have his flute of reeds is an interesting one that was actually another poem in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The story goes that Pan fell in love with the nymph Syrinx, but because he was neither fully man nor goat she disdained him, but he pursued her regardless. Finally she came to the rive Ladon and asked it to transform her into something else so she could get away from Pan. The river granted her wish and turned her into reeds. Instead of leaving her there, Pan picked the reeds, dried them out, and held them close to his mouth like he was going to kiss them, but when he blew out air he discovered that noise came from them, so he cut them at different lengths and hence invented the instrument which he named in his loves honor the syrinx.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pyramus and Thisbe by The Beatles

I started thinking more about the ironic love story of Pyramus and Thisbe, and as far as stories go that are related to Ovid's Metamorphoses, I am pretty sure this one has had one of the greatest influences on future literature, and perhaps even life itself. Naturally, the first thing to do is to Wikipedia Pyramus and Thisbe, haha. No but really, actually it had a few good things to say and what I found most interesting was the list of "Adaptations" of the story and just to list a few, Giovanni Boccaccio's "On Famous Woman" and "Decameron", Chaucer's "The Legend of Good Woman" and to state the obvious Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and some aspects of "A Midnight's Summer Dream". Those are just a few of the ones that they mentioned on Wikipedia.
Another sight that I came across was called and oh my god, The Beatles actually dressed up and reenacted the play! Pyramus was played by Paul McCartney and Thisbe was played by John Lennon! How hilarious!! I attached the link below, seriously check it out sooo funny! I'm actually questioning the legitimacy of this site, but at the same time it is tooo awsome to just let go.