We Escape, When We Are Trapped Inside This Octavarium

It’s a long song. I know. It’s a metal song that is about almost half an hour long. I know that as well. However, when you treat it as a short film that tells a story. Every minute you spend with this song makes sense. It almost drag you into the story, technically stories about different people who are experiences similar problems and how they come to a same answer.

The story talks about three person: A man who experience the pain of being “normal” but realized he just want that when he becomes an exceptional person, a man who wakes from 30 years of catatonic sleep only realizing that he will soon back to sleep with no ways to help him out, a man who cannot escape his dream that is haunting him like a roller coaster.

Suddenly, the song leads into a flashback of our experiences in life. A story line that talks about how we conquer problems in life but suddenly dies over someone’s madness and impulsive design. We experience our guilt, self-enclosure, panic while having our friends, family, enemies. However, at the end, we are trapped inside the Octavarium that will eternally enclose us from breaking through because we are parts of someone’s impulsive design.

Until this point, everything sounds depressing and painful. Isn’t it? Well, the song itself admits that sense of pain at the end of the song and talks about how the only thing we can do is bravely walk towards such trap. To me, that moment brings me the catharsis that I have not feel for a long time. It feels like admitting the desperate things in your life suddenly brings you to an understanding that you should bravely admits it and face it.

That is exactly Schiller’s idea. By bringing you into a sonic experience, you gradually understand the pain and sorrow it tells that reflect your life. However, at the end of song, that catharsis brings you to another level that you are able to handle such sense of pain and bravely face your life. That is when you are morally better. That is when you are able to face positively about your life no matter how painful it is.

Intellectuality and Sensuality Coexist in Frank Ocean’s Music

Schiller gives an account of how beauty and advantageous thinking must coexist, and this follows under his belief that rationale and nature are two standards that must persevere in tandem for the well being of society. These things are immutable and equally embedded in the human condition or human nature, so they must be respected in society. Sensuality, or the appeal to the heart according to Schiller, is a necessary companion for intellectuality, or the appeal to the rational mind which is weighing out good and bad. I believe this is seen in one of my favorite songs by Frank Ocean, Provider.

In this song, Frank speaks about how he has been focusing on his career and how this has prevented him from seeing his best friend, which is his way of understating the fact that this is his lover in this song. This person who he loves is getting restless without him, but his intellectual side has caused Frank to prioritize accumulating awards, money, acclaim, and jewelry through these musical ventures; these are all things of value in society and are a rational pursuit. However, Frank, having reached success, longs to be back with his lover and ponders innocently, “said I’ll be your new best friend, or maybe more” at the 1:36 mark. While his intellectual appeals lead him to be goal oriented for the sake of his family’s well being, his friend appeals to his sensual desires, and these coexist as valuable pursuits for frank.

Moreover, his statement of “You had you some birthdays, could you prove it? Show me the wisdom in your movement” is a strong message showing the intellectual standards of Frank that he sets for a potential lover, thus showing that even in love Frank must have a partner who exhibits a balance between sensual and intellectual characteristics.

How Different “Styles” of Art Can Merge The Sensual and Intellectual

Music, in general, has a way of being able to merge the sensual and intellectual because it allows us to communicate our feelings and understand our emotions through artistic expression. Through the sensational experience of hearing, we can experience feelings such as sadness, happiness, anger just from a single chord of music. The sensory experience offers as a foundation to then influence our perception of what we are hearing in the intellectual sense and thus allows the sensual and intellectual to merge together to be able to give rise to creativity, emotion and coming to terms with truths within ourselves.

Music and music videos in our day and age, have a way of being able to show the artist’s creative vision and emotions behind the songs they sing. For example, Harry Styles in his music video for “Falling” visualizes the pain and heartbreak of a break up he went through and how it affected him. This song has lyrics that are extremely personal to him and his experience but even for someone who has never been through heartbreak before, the song has a way of making you feel the sadness and see from his perspective the emotions he’s going through. Most can still relate to the feelings of not being good enough, or relate to the feeling of drowning in your own emotions, as seen in the music video by the water slowly flooding the room. Art, such as music, acts as a method of self-reflection and helps you recognize emotions in yourself, as well as understand the experiences of other people.

The Oath of the Horatii

This is a painting by David called The Oath of the Horatii, and it is an example of a merging between the sensual and intellectual.

When it comes to the sensual, viewers can clearly see the emotion coming from the women in the painting, as they are depicted in an emotional and tear-jerking moment, because they don’t want the men to go to war.

However, the painting combines the sensual with the intellectual, as seen on the left side of the painting. The men’s willingness to go to war for their nation represents the intellectual, as they are willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to do what is best for their own land. They realize the bigger picture, and see that it is more important to serve their nation than to serve themselves.

It helps viewers become better morally, because it pushes them to become more patriotic and promotes that people should do more things to help the nation they live in.

Corona Virus Song

This song was made as a public service announcement in Vietnam to address the safety precautions needed to be taken for the Corona Virus, such as hand washing and coughing in sleeve. The song was based off of a popular song in Vietnam called “Ghen” in which the original singers of that song volunteered to sing the Corona Virus Song. I think that this song merges a sense of sensuality and intellectuality because it addresses a serious worldwide problem and does so in a catchy, humorous way. By using an already popular, catchy song, the Corona Virus Song garnered a lot of attention from the audience, having people react in a supportive, laughter way, however the song remained its message as to how to approach the Corona phenomenon. The song helped us be better (morally) because the song does, although in a humorous manner, does promote Coronna Virus safety so it does in a sense allow us to better our own health.

Throwback to High School

Back in high school, I had a very similar discussion when discussing this photo and the novel The Grapes of Wrath so might as well just talk about it in blog post. This photo depicting a mother and her family in the Great Depression is a great example of a merge between sensual and intellectual because it was a photo that really tugged on the audience’s heartstrings along with prompting the idea that “we need a change.” Everyone who saw this photo have a sense of sympathy for this poor family and immediately could picture the struggles families faced during the Great Depression. It helped everyone morally because it opened up areas of sympathy that some people have never experienced and it prompted us to be wary not to make choices that will create another Great Depression.

The Beauty of The Scream

The Scream by Edvard Munch

The Scream is one of the most famous paintings done by Edvard Munch. When it comes to the sensual, at first glance, I find conflict, distortion, and use of savage contrasting colors in it. The more I look at the painting, the less emotionally settled I am. On the other hand, intellectually, I wonder what story lays behind the screamer, or even Munch himself. Although the painting expresses the feeling of anxiety to some extent, after understanding the reason of conflicts in Munch, I can tell that the reason and feelings of the painting are harmonious within the author himself. In contrast to the chaotic painting, it triggers the question in my mind about how or what can people do to make the world better as a whole, or even a person’s life better a little. The painting can help us morally because it allows us to believe that there will always be something more we can do in life.

Picturing Picasso’s Aesthetic

Woman with a Book Pablo Picasso 1932

When I was visiting Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of seeing a collection of art consisting of the pieces of many renowned artists. I was particularly drawn to the creations of Picasso, and I believe this particular painting, Woman with a Book, represents Schiller’s aesthetic experience especially well. Picasso was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, famous for greatly influencing the art movement known as Cubism. Cubism consisted of analyzing natural forms and reducing them into basic geometric parts. Picasso had an eclectic attitude to style, and while his pieces normally focused on one dominant approach, he often moved interchangeably between different art styles, such as Surrealism, throughout the course of his career. The woman of his focus, depicted in soft, disproportional shapes, and with an unnatural assortment of colors, provokes a feeling of melancholy, with her pensive gaze, open book, and head resting heavily on one hand. The head casts a prominent shadow on the back wall, making one who looks at this painting feel a sense of desolation. The expression on the woman’s face, along with the mostly cool palette, indicate serious and deep reflection. The emotions produced when one looks at this painting additionally inspire an intellectual response. When one looks at the strokes and the thickness of lines Picasso utilizes, one can visualize what his intentions of the painting were, and thus gain greater insight to his work of art. Thus, paintings are a great method of merging the sensual and intellectual in order to create Schiller’s aesthetic experience. Additionally, this painting can help us to be morally better. As an artist, Picasso is an example of committing to an absolute: loving an absolute quality of his subjects and sharing them through different styles of painting. When we view works of art such as this, we can appreciate Picasso’s commitment, and we can apply that commitment into our everyday lives, becoming inspired to follow a set of morals or standards to keep yourself accountable. Thus, Woman with a Book is a perfect example of Schiller’s aesthetic experience, blending the intellectual and sensual and inspiring individuals to become morally better.

A hectic place

This was the final product of r/place, a project run by the social media platform Reddit.com. The premise was simple: let each of users place 1 pixel every 10 minutes and see what happens. after the initial chaos subsided, various communities across the platform rallied their members and got to work creating pieces of art to represent themselves. This giant canvas now features work from so many different groups that an interactive website (https://draemm.li/various/place-atlas/ ) was created to keep track of every individual piece present. I love this picture because I believe that it embodies both the diversity and the passion of the human race. Looking at it reminds me that there are many other people out there living their lives with their own goals and interests, but can still come together collaboratively to create art.

What do you see?

This painting, Liberty Leading the People, was painted by Eugene Delacroix in 1830. It depicts a victorious view of the French Revolution with Lady Liberty holding the French flag. I’ve seen this painting several times and even had the opportunity to view it in person, and I’m always captivated by the symbolism and freedom that it seems to emit. It’s really moving. I think that it represents Schiller’s idea of combining sensual and intellectual aspects of art: it evokes a feeling of liberation while also being intellectually stimulating in capturing key symbols of the French Revolution. At a quick glance, it seems that there’s a woman holding the French flag with various men following her and brandishing firearms. The symbolism can be interpreted in how the leader is a female, in which Delacroix purposefully personifies liberty as a female, rather than a male. Another interesting aspect of the artwork is the representation of different social classes, where you can see how there’s a man in fancier clothing (tophat!) and a boy dressed in more casual attire. From this perspective, you can see that there’s more to the painting than meets the eye.

She is beauty; she is grace

This famous photograph was taken by Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression period. I thought this caption this week’s theme as it appeals to both the sensual and the intellectual. When I first saw this photo, I was both in awe of the photo’s beauty but it also ignited sadness in me because of the look on the woman’s face. It appeals to the sensual due to the emotion it provokes in the viewer. But it also triggers the intellectual because one begins to wonder why the woman is so sad, if the people on her shoulders are her children, or what she is thinking.

This photo shows how we should live morally in that it ignites sympathy in the audience. It motivates us to want to treat others with respect and help other human beings in need.

Vaporwave and Ancient Greece

Here is an video I found on YouTube. It is music in the Vaporwave genre which was highly popular in the 80s. There is no other image in the video except for the picture of the Greek god Helios and a Vaporwave album cover from Japan. Adding context, Helios is the Greek titan of fire or the sun. He is known for his strength and immense determination to finish a task. He is the complete opposite of Vaporwave which promotes laid back behavior and complacency. One interpretation for this is that, since Helios has one weakness is that his fire both metaphorically and literally can burn away everything to his goal. Vaporwave in the 80s was also highly popular, so much so that it died rather quickly and now it is used for evoking feelings of nostalgia for the peaceful times of the past. For us college students, it is important to put our goals in front of us especially for the ones seeking competitive career path. However, it is also important to slow down and check other opportunities rather than burning everything down on our way to our end goals, because at the very end when we reach it, there would be nothing else to fuel our fire.

Black or White or maybe both?

Michael Jackson created this song, ‘Black or White’, that deals with race issues such as discrimination. This piece of art makes us better by raising awareness of racial discrimination and marginalization issues that are still popular around the world. Sensually, because of the nature of the song, it is easy to feel and experience the emotions of tolerance that the art is trying to convey. Intellectually, listeners may feel some type of empathy and realize the true cruelty that can occur.

A peaceful chaos~

Image result for pictures of chaos that look peaceful
By Veil Bariskan

This picture seems like a calm dawn, with the ocean at peace and no one out on the water to disrupt it and the creatures that exist within it. Yet the fog blocks our view from the full picture, not allowing us to fully see all the levels of the sea and what is there with it, making us question what is being masked by the fog.

Therefore, this merges sensual and intellectual aspects by giving us different levels and textures to try to interpret within the environment (such as, what is beyond the fog, or what is the fog sheltering us from and what is existing above and beneath the ocean). The intellectual aspects comes in by forcing us to think further beyond what we initially see and to see what is happening in each level of this picture, and are we fully aware of these answers. Therefore, this can help us morally because pictures like this tend to awaken our curiosity and push our ability to think forward and figure out what is happening beyond our initial thoughts of the world we observe around us.

Looking Within

Fallen Angel by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat painted this abstract image with vibrant colors and strange lines. The graffiti art attracts people’s attention and draws out one’s emotions with its intensity and peculiar style. There are a lot of strokes in this painting, but the main focus remains on the fallen angel. One will notice that the face is rather disturbing and masked. On the other hand, the body is exposed for everyone to see. The contrasts and odd details in this painting make viewers think about what it is Basquiat wants us to see within this fallen angel. He wants us to look within this creature that tries to hide behind a mask. In this manner, Basquiat uses his art to give an experience that prompts the readers to wonder what is within such strange creatures, as well as ourselves. So, Basquiat brings us to questions what devilish things could be within us.


Vincent Van Gogh painting was a story of himself. This picture that he drew is very powerful and it describes it as agony, anxiety as well as suffering from a mental illness that he battled throughout his young years. The story behind “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” was that when his brother Theo, was searching for their forever home, after his release from the asylum. Dr. Gatchet wanted to work with artists like Vincent. At first he didn’t like Dr. Gatchet but then he grew fond of him. He said, “I have found a true friend in Dr. Gachet, something like another brother, so much do we resemble each other physically and also mentally.” Intellectually we feel that this is a nice thing because it shows that there people out there that care. 

Alignment: True Neutral

This is a scene from a web-comic called Fisheye Placebo by Yuumei. It takes the perspective of a photojournalist in a country with high censorship. To be found with the camera means certain death, and thus the photographer must remain in the shadows without interfering even for the morally “right” reasons. This scene blends dull and warm colors together to highlight this clash. We can make out the faces of some of the figures in this scene. Sensually, we can only see what the photographer sees. Intellectually, we feel distraught at the injustice of the situation; we feel sympathy for the family but understand the plight of the photographer: their neutrality.

Art transforms

I took a picture of this painting the last time I went to the museum. This caught my eye because it was so pretty. I was in so much awe with this painting and didn’t realize until now that I have no clue of what the title of this piece is or who made it. Art, although it doesn’t say anything, has the ability to engage its viewers to the point that they get lost in it. Art has the power to merge both sensual and intellectual. What initially attracts a person to art is its appearance and what draws the person closer to a specific piece is the person’s ability to interpret the meaning behind the art. This painting did exactly that for me, its visual appearance is what caught my eye initially, from its colors to the structures of the building and to its life-likeness. Once this painting got my attention, I was able to put myself in this piece and just think, think of all the possible meanings that corresponds with the painting. It’s quite fascinating how art has this ability to guide us morally because it’s our interpretation of the art that really transforms it.

I See it, I Want It, But Should I Keep It?

A Calvin and Hobbes comic that teaches viewers about the morality behind keeping things in captivity.

Calvin and Hobbes comics are usually short and sweet, and either in color or black and white. For works of art that seems so simple at first glance, it’s a wonder how Bill Watterson mangaed to fit in such profound pieces of life advice/philosophical dilemnas within them. This comic in particluar is only four panels with no color. The comic is aesthetically pleasing to those who appreciate the minimalist line art and exaggerated expressions, and is fit with a sense of nostalgia for others who grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes comics.

Yet, with only one exchange in dialogue and two extra panels of silence, the comic speaks volumes. It gives us a simple message that questions the morality of keeping creatures in capitivity. In most cases, whether it be children or entire ogranizations who are looking for a profit, when humans see something they consider beautiful or interesting, they feel the need to keep it somewhere they can look at it whenever they want to. Children who capture insects or uproot plants from their habitats do so because they don’t know any better. When Hobbes implies to Calvin that keeping his newly captured butterfly is morally wrong, Calvin lets it go. Despite this, there are plenty of older people who keep beautiful things in captivity for their own gain.

Again, the message here is simple. If a child can understand the consequences of keeping beautiful things in captivity, why don’t we all follow Calvin’s lead?

Survival of the Traitorous

Fat Mouse, Pawel Kuczynski, 2013

This painting perfectly communicates the idea Schiller was getting at in On the Aesthetic Education of Man. The cat attacking the mouse appears to be a common occurrence. However, there is also a well-fed and well-dressed mouse sitting on top of the cat, dangling the other mouse in front of the cat’s face. Replacing the animals with people, the real monster appears to be the mouse who sacrificed the other one, not the cat itself, which is expected to attack the prey that’s being dangled in front of it. Without any words, we can see the artist’s communication of the idea that in order to get ahead, people would sacrifice others that they have a lot in common with, because they care only about themselves.

This merges the sensual, how we visually see the cat and the two mice, and the intellectual, how we perceive all of them in relation to one another. The fact that this image makes us feel disgust toward the happy mouse sacrificing the other one molds our conscience: we are more conscious of our own actions and not using others, to their detriment, for our benefit. We realize that cooperation and kindness are most important, not being on the top at the expense of others. The artist intends to make us reflect on our actions and this in itself makes us better morally.

Don’t tag

Photograph-A Scientist

Many people might have seen this iconic picture of Einstein sticking his tongue out. This picture is one of my personal favorites, not only it is ironic since it does not match any other picture of him being serious, so it create a sense of humor; but also how it let me know and take that people are multifaceted, it is never absolute to judge a person, thus, don’t stereotype.

As Schiller believes that art can arise intellectual for people and make them better morally. The idea from this photograph for me is that don’t hold stereotypes. The reason why people find this funny because it create a diverse impression how we usually think Einstein is-serious, genius, and big-brain. However, here he can also be humorous, playful, and maybe…cute. I think that’s is why the caption is called “A Scientist”. A scientist might not be what people believe he or she is, each of them have different characteristics. Scientists are also people, they should not be tagged with a trait of such people often present, and it applies to all of us.

If the idea rises from this photo need to improve us morally, then I guess it tells us that people are complicated, like what Muse said about Odysseus:”Tell me about a complicated man…” .Like Odysseus, and in this picture, Einstein, people can’t be judged or left an impression of a single word, just we can’t merely describe Odysseus as good, or bad. So it is insufficient to judge a person according to stereotype.

(Aside from this but not quite… What I liked about the Champions’ Ballad (DLC2 of Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild) is that it shows an opposite characteristic of all the four champions in their past story, distinct from what they have shown in the main storyline. That gives me a feel that they are REAL characters than a programmed NPC. ) : )

Picking Up The Pieces

Live, and learn, break some things and move on. What sucks is that sometimes it is your heart that breaks and you have to pick up the pieces. I have had to learn this tale quite a few times, and every time I decided to blame myself for something going wrong. Sometimes it was, other times it just was people being incompatible with each other. However, I took the time to let myself heal, try and become a better person for myself and for others. Learn a new hobby. Its just learning how to pick your self back up and move on.

Where is the nest?

In this picture, a fledgling rest on the tree stump. The fledgling still has thick feathers, so it is obvious that it is not able to fly. What’s more, as most kinds of fledglings have the habit to stay in the nest so that they can be fed by their parents and avoid the predator outside, it can be deduced from the picture that the nest of this fledgling is on the tree which has been cut down because this is the only reason why this little creature would leave its nest. Adding the fact that this fledgling cannot fly yet, which indicates it has no ability to live on itself, there is no wonder that it is in extremely dangerous situations.

Viewing this fledgling, people will have a better understanding of the importance of environmental protection. Because in the dark quiet night (the universe), humans are just fledglings rest on the only nest, earth. Just like the destiny of this fledgling who is out of its nest, the only destiny for humans when they left the “nest” is death (for now at least). Hence, people will understand that protect the environment is never about protecting the earth. Instead, we protect the environment just because we want to protect ourselves. Understanding this, people would reconsider their actions when they left permanent damage to the environment.

I lost my torso while traveling, lol

“Le Grand van Gogh”, one of 10 sculptures part of a series called “Les Voyageurs” by French sculptor Bruno Catalano

It’s been said that traveling is a great way to escape from everyday life and go on an adventure to explore different cultures, meet new people, broaden your perspective, and discover ourselves. Traveling, in general, has a very good reputation and is very much recommended. Why else would universities invest in a study abroad program?

These sculptures seem to suggest otherwise. Here, we see lone travelers, each carrying a small suitcase. The most striking feature is the omitted portion of the bodies. The sculptures, while interesting to look at, display themes of belonging, home, completeness, emptiness, and the like. They seem to convey that traveling, which most would expect to be fulfilling in some sense, takes away fragments of ourselves. What do we leave behind to gain what traveling offers? While exploring the big, wide world, how much of ourselves do we lose in the process and is that always a good thing?

It is also interesting how the sculpture is made to show how the suitcase eventually becomes its means of support. This detail appears to ask, “Is it possible to travel too much to the point that traveling becomes a crutch?” Does traveling become a bad thing only when we choose to prioritize it over investing in a home, which is our main support system?

Regardless of how these sculptures are interpreted, I see these them as a nice reminder that learning new things and expanding one’s perspective does not always mean that we have to give a part of ourselves away. Instead, learning new things should enhance who we already are, and we can incorporate what we learn to how we currently live to be better people. In this way, these sculptures appeal to both the intellect and the sensual as an eye-catching art piece.

Why CARE-avaggio About Art?

Caravaggio’s Narcissus

Narcissus’ famed tale, as realized through Caravaggio, shows a harmony between the sensual and intellectual due to his masterful artistry. In consideration of its complexity, Caravaggio’s Narcissus will be addressed through two details which which reflect the reconciliation of sense and intellect: the stark, visual difference between Narcissus and his reflection, as well as Narcissus’ posturing over the pond which yields his reflection. In uncovering the significance behind these features, the audience would enjoy the artwork from a perspective marked by a more complex understanding of the warnings the artwork purports. That is, the danger in excessive self-love.

In assessing the difference between Narcissus and his reflection, it is first important to note the similarity between them: the pool does offer a mirror to Narcissus, and thus both figures are inherently similar. However, it is in this similitude through which the contrast between them is enhanced. Narcissus himself is painted with the pederastic, aesthetic standards of Greek mythology: he has a supple build, ivory skin, and feminine features as seen through his hair. In essence, Narcissus fulfills the beauty expectations of his time, and he executes these while maintaining a vibrancy to him. In stark contrast, his reflection is dimmer, with certain features becoming swallowed up by the water’s darkness. In noticing this, there is a contrast that can be extrapolated which exists within the same person: despite Narcissus’ lively, outer appearance, in reality he is a somber, pitiful being due to his self-obsession. Our senses allow us to see the contrast between Narcissus and his reflection: our knowledge of the myth allow us to know that this artwork attempts to visualize the tragic end of excessive self-love. In specific, this ‘end’ is the inevitable demise of becoming too pre-occupied by oneself: Narcissus does indeed die due to his narcissism.

In observing Narcissus’ physical positioning, one will see that his posturing might be abnormal. When enamored by one’s own reflection, one might visualize a narcissist simply laying bellow-down, cradling their head in their hands as they dreamily watch their own reflection. This however, is not the case in Caravaggio’s work: Narcissus is hunched over, kneeling, and with hands, flat on the ground, supporting a frame weighed down by egotism. By using one’s intellect to interpret the art in this way, one might see that Narcissus is in fact not enjoying his pulchritude: he is slaving over it. Narcissus’ act of adoring himself then stops becoming a romantic daydream, but a perilous trap that is equal parts alluring and consuming. This idea of self-love as an exhausting, self-destructive force then becomes a message that rises from the artwork. From this potential conclusion, it becomes easy to understand how art, by merging the sensual and intellectual, can yield insights into how one ought to live, how one ought to behave morally.

What Can You See From Her Eyes?

This photo is a propagandist picture title as “I want to go to school” of the Project Hope of China Youth Development Foundation that is very famous. For the first time I saw this picture, I was struck by the big eyes of this little girl that is so clear and innocent. Her firm eyes looking directly to the camera reveals the great desire for knowledge that is so heart-touching and impressive.  The character in this picture is MingJuan who comes from a low-income family in rural areas and lives a hard life. Her family cannot afford her to go to school to receive better educations. Under the help of the foundation in Project Hope, she went to school for the first time and fulfill her dreams finally. Everyone looking at this picture will be definitely caught by the pretty eyes of this little girl since they are so appealing. When looking at her eyes, I always think of how much happiness and comforts that I have enjoyed during my growth. Since there are so many children in every corner of the world that cannot receive educations or even in the face of starvation and wars that threaten their lives at any time, we who live in a peaceful life should always be grateful for what we have had.

Brighten the darkness, or darken the brightness?

By most, the symbol above is known as “yin and yang.” It has a rather vague meaning. It symbolizes the balance with the dark and bright. It is a portrayal of the good and the bad, tranquility and turmoil, none of which can exist without the presence of the other. Everything we perceive is relative to another experience. One cannot feel happy if they have never been sad. Both sides of the spectrum play a crucial role in keeping each other intact. I think that this should be the guide for one’s life. Everything needs to happen in a balance, in unison, nothing should be pursued to the extreme, if one wants to preserve all they have been given. One gives up the opposite by experiencing the extremes and it’s really hard to receive any good from the chosen extreme when the relativity to the other side is destroyed.

From the perspective of Schiller, I see yin and yang as a symbol of reason and feeling in harmony. The dark side represents feelings. They are usually uncharted, have unknown sources and are uncontrollable by the host. They are the dark forces that we don’t understand and thus cannot reason about or control. Sometimes they are good feelings, sometimes they are bad, but in any case, once they are in control, we are like passengers in a roller-coaster. The bright side is the reason, it is clearly visible to us and it is directly controlled by our thoughts. The brightness sheds light on the darkness to help us see.

Even if darkness might be perceived as bad, it is quite the opposite. It is what brings us joy, helps us feel human. It is what makes us alive and genuine, giving us the ability to empathize, socialize and create memories. It makes us take risks, induces curiosity to explore and encounter new experiences. Darkness is what gives meaning to the brightness. Brightness, on the other hand, is what allows us to understand and contemplate. It helps us develop new skills and helps us make sense of the darkness. It helps us spread good into the world.

Neither one can exist without the other. Without the uncertainty of our feelings, our reasoning would be meaningless. Imagine knowing the exact course of your life to the exact detail. What would be the point of struggling and thinking through it when there is no uncertainty and no feeling? Is it worth living without the excitement of experiencing new stuff with others and the joy of achievement? Would you keep playing a game even if you beat it 100% of the time with no challenge whatsoever, or solve a puzzle that you already know how to? Likewise, feelings cannot exist without reason. If that was the case, we would be blind followers of feelings, completely dark, nothing to see or think about. Feelings are what we use our reason for. We reason to help us feel good. If reason and our enlightened minds weren’t there, we would merely be an animated series of chemical reactions enclosed in a human-shaped body. No choice, no escape, only reactions to stimuli.

Even though I tried to describe the two sides (bright and dark, reason and feeling) separately, they are naturally inseparable and they always overlap. If they could be divorced, how would yin and yang exist anyway? Brightness can be perceived due to the contrast to the darkness and vice versa. Embrace them both. You are both.

So which one shall we choose, brighten the darkness or darken the brightness? The answer is neither. Leave them as they are. Listen to them both. Exile the one and the other will follow.

2 Different Worlds on the Same Planet

In general, most people believe that we should explore more outside of this planet to places like Mars, Jupiter, etc. However, the ocean often goes under looked when we realize that we haven’t fully explored all of it and it covers the majority of our own planet. When we take a look at this picture, we can see the two contrasting worlds just separated by the surface of the water. On the top, we have the industrialized, modern world while below the surface, we have the natural, wild and free ecosystem of marine life. Schiller argues that this beauty is it’s own authority in the sense that mankind’s ideals can not affect or corrupt it’s ideal. When we begin to admire what the art displays, it demonstrates its sensual experience of observing the contrast between both worlds. Then we begin combine that beauty with our intellectual sense as mankind and make judgement where we can question and challenge art and man’s ideals. This composes the aesthetic experience when we have a free play between our sensual and intellectual experiences.

Our aesthetic experience of learning about the distinction between the industrialized and natural world integrated with our intellect can “ameliorate” the fractured state between the contrasting ideals that each experience teaches us. We can begin to be morally better when we understand both worlds and respect the differences to preserve the beauties that both worlds exclusively have from the aesthetic experience we undergo when viewing this art piece.

I’m Happy For You Taylor But Beyonce….

This is a picture taken at 2009 VMAs during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for the best music video. Looking at this picture, everyone looks just as shocked as Taylor Swift. During Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech Kanye West ran onto the stage and snatched the microphone from Taylor Swift and started saying that he is happy for Taylor Swift for winning an award but he thinks that Beyonce had the best video of all time. This picture(or the video of the incident) is a demonstration of how aesthetics can be sensual and intellectual but they make humans better morally. When this happened, everyone was shocked, and looking at it now, eleven years later, I’m still shocked. Kanye’s behavior was rude, but what he said was true. The sensual side made you lean against Kanye because of how rude his actions were. But the intellectual side made you lean towards Kanye. What Kanye said in 2009 holds true to this day that Beyonce had the best music video of all time. Beyonce didn’t win the best music award for Single Ladies, instead Taylor won it for a song I don’t even remember. I don’t know a single person that doesn’t know some of the Single Ladies’ classic dance moves. On the other hand, I don’t know a single person who knows of the song Taylor Swift won the music award for. This incident is a great demonstration of how sometimes the way someone says something or does something makes us ignore the meaning behind their actions. Kanye’s actions were rude and that might make you want to not to listen what he said. But if you take the time to listen, then you would understand what he was saying was right. I believe that is an important lesson to learn that this picture demonstrates. The moral of this picture was the way a person communicates a message might be wrong but we have to put majority of our focus on what they are trying to communicate and not how they are trying to communicate it.

I want to be a reclusive shepherd in Iceland

I chose a photo of Norway because it is a very peaceful place. It merges the concepts themselves of peaceful small towns and silence. The aesthetic beauty of the land around and the quiet water puts forth concepts of small friendly towns and simple lives. The quiet life can seem appealing, but our intellectual side drives for more development and to go further in life to seek achievement. It unites our peaceful seeking and our aspirations and drives people to appreciate what is around them in their busy lives.

Image result for norway fj

It reminds people of friendliness and that taking a moment sometimes is better for people. If you take a moment with the people you are with you can feel connected with others and understand them better. This gives people a better sense of perspective if people take a moment in their lives to appreciate what is around them and to focus on others instead of just themselves.

Can You Imagine

This photo I took at the Musée d’Orsay in France. I feel like this photo gave me the aesthetic experience that Schiller describes because when I was looking at this picture I felt as if I was interacting with nature without truly seeing it. I was able to put myself in the setting of this photo and imagine what it would be like. Artists that are able to connect the viewer with their subject matter without ever truly experiencing it is a rare and powerful talent. As a product of their talent one is able to connect the intellectual part of your brain to the emotional. The reason this particular picture gave me this aesthetic experience was because it allowed me to utilize my imagination. If solely based on the art work one is able to imagine themself there and the atmosphere that they would experience, then this could help to create a sense of empathy. This is important to becoming a better human being. This idea of empathy can apply to real life situations that would connect you with other human beings. Thanks to the aesthetic experience induced by this photo I was able to connect an emotional, empathetic experience to a real life skill that takes intellect.