Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The End

Today is the last day that we can blog and Prof. Sexson asked that we make some final comments. As the semester ends,I find myself having to transition to a new world. I am graduating next week and my life as a college student will be over. There will be new towns to move to, new jobs to work at, and new friends to make. I will know something special as I live my life, though. I now possess that special knowledge about the past possessing the present. I will be able to look and see ideas and events of the past that no one else will see. I will see Cupid and Psyche, the chorus, Antigone, Peresephone, and all the others that we have learned about this semester. My forgotten memory is slowly returning to me. I hope it is returning to you also. Have a good summer.

Beauty and Dying

I've been pondering alot of what prof. Sexson has taught us over the semester and when I was going through my notes, I came across this line: People are not beautiful in spite of dying, they are beautiful because they die. I thought it was very powerful when Sexson said it and I still think that it is powerful. Sure, people can be beautiful on the outside, but that beauty fades in time. At the end, the beauty that one is left with is the beauty that they have on the inside. Man, that sounds really, really sappy, but it is true. You know that there will be an end to that person's life, that they won't be around forever. So, you ahve to cherish all of the moments, and learn all of the wisdom, and gain all the experiences you can have with someone because when they die, there will be nothing more. Everything that you have done or said or seen with that person will all the more beautiful because that is all that you have left. Their death makes things beautiful.


Last night I was flipping through channels and I came across a show called "Cupid." I thought it was so funny that I had written about Cupid and Psyche yesterday and that night I found an entire show about the two. In it Cupid is on earth working as a bartender and helping people fall in love, while at the same time trying to get a psycharist to fall in love with him. That was the best part, I thought, that the show still has Cupid falling in love with Psyche. Oh, how nice. I guess even in today's modern world love and soul are still suppose to be together. Now, I wonder how many other viewers of the show have caught on to that fact or even know about it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Over and over again

It's snowing outside right now and it has been doing so all day long. This is nothing new to those of us who have lived anytime in the north. Winter comes and winter goes and we will live through the same cycle year after year, century afer century. I have to wonder just how often someone jsut like me has looked out their window at the beginning of Spring and sighed, watching the endless white flakes fall to the ground. I did the same thing last spring and the spring before that and the spring before that. My entire memory is a series of repititions. I share these same experiences with the many others who have lived before me and sighed. For most of my life I have thought that I only shared this trait with others who live around me at this precise moment in time, but the truth is that people have been doing the same thing since the very beginning. I have merely forgotten that there are others in the past who have watched the snow and sighed. I suppose than that I have never truly been alone. While I watch the snow and feel melancholy settle upon my shoulders, I am sharing this moment with thousands of others. It makes the world a less scary place to live in. The snow becomes a doorway to the past and to the memories of everyone who has watched the white flakes fall from the sky and felt sad. I now know those memories and thoughts, I have known them my entire life.

Cupid and Psyche

Some of the coincidences that I have experienced this semester are amazing. Such as the fact that not too long ago we had to read the story of Cupid and Psyche for class and last Friday I had to perform an entire presentation about the frescoes by Giulio Romano at the Palazzo del Te, which are about Cupid and Psyche. The entire ceiling of one of the rooms depicts the story of Psyche and the center image is their wedding. The image that I posted below is of their wedding feast. I thought that is shows how fascinating the world is. I had a much deeper understanding of the frescoes when I presented and I could picture the story in my head better when we talked about it in class. What are the chances?

Here are some other images from the presentation. I just really, really liked them and thought I would put them on. They show the giants being crushed by the mountains that they were building in order to take over Mount Olympus.

Term Paper

I ask for forgiveness concerning my the posting of my term paper. My internet and computer have not been working correctly lately and it's been interesting getting my homework done. Anyway, here is my paper.

The Paths of Love and Death

The heart beats faster and faster, while the breath in you lungs gets weaker and weaker. The world around you fades away, yet the focus of your gaze sharpens. You feel shy and giddy, powerful and invincible, all at once. There is no better feeling in the world as your mind shoots itself from one thought to the next. Are you living or are you dead? All that you know is that your entire life has changed in a single moment and from that time on nothing will ever be the same again. Falling in love is beyond compare. Poets and singers have been talking of love for ages and still have not succeeded in describing it in all of its disguises. Love is one of the most abundant emotions on earth and it is also one of the most mysterious for one cannot understand love until one has felt it. It is an experience that changes lives, opens doors, people begin life anew. Oddly enough, love has much in common with something that many would place at the opposite end of the spectrum: death. The ending that many view this as is a lie for death is a beginning. It forces people to walk a new course, one that is entirely unknown. The paths that love and death open to people can only be walked by those that have known love and that have known death. Love and death are intertwined affairs that exist in the past, present and future. Stories told about Hades, Antigone, Pygmalion and others today in the modern world continually link the two together. From obsession to suicide to eternity, this relationship echoes through the centuries.
Hades, the god of the Underworld, death itself, begins this bizarre liaison between love and death, for he was not immune to love. Persephone, the trim-ankled daughter of Demeter, was who he demanded for his bride. He stole her from amongst the flowers and while she rejected his overtures, he would not yield (Homeric Hymns, 3). His love for her was obsessive and controlling, perhaps not the most noble kind of love, yet it was a love all the same. One often feels the most sympathy for Persephone after a telling of this tale, but perhaps it is Hades who should be the object of our pity. He is the one who must live with the dead forever, always shut off from the warm breath of the living. He is the one who had to yield to Demeter and give his wife up for the better part of the year. Hades, who only wanted the girl as his wife, still ends up alone. Death gives love, yet death is not given it back. A sad, twisted beginning to this bond of love and death is what is learned here.
Antigone appears next on the list of events for love and death to make an appearance at. While her strong stance about her beliefs it what is at the center of this story, the suicide of her betrothed is what is really interesting. Creon comes upon his son “tumbled around her, hugging her waist, grieving for his marriage lost, gone under” (Sophocles, 53). The boy is so overcome by the unbearable agony of living without his love that he first tried to kill his father and, when failing at that, “took his blade and leaned on it, drove it half through his lungs” (Sophocles, 53). He kills himself so that, in death, he may be with the lady he loves. Haemon is unable to allow death to separate Anigone and himself, so he uses death to bring them together, forever. This is no silly, puppy dog crush that is quickly gotten over. The love envisioned in this world is strong and vital and will not be conquered by death. Death, in fact, becomes the tool that is used to prove the power of that love. It is a different tie that binds love and death in this story, yet they are still presented together.
Ovid pushes the two apart even more in his story of Pygmalion. Death and love are each shown at one end of the story and the relationship between them may easily be overlooked. The murder of the guests of the Cerastae led to Venus cursing the men and the women, who became ugly and hard and sharp (Ovid, 133-4). The sculptor, Pygmalion, could not bear to look upon these women and placed himself into seclusion (Ovid, 134). Yet, he was haunted by female beauty and when he created a woman out of ivory, he fell instantly in love with her (Ovid, 135). Venus even consented to bring the statue to life and the woman loved Pygmalion as he loved her (Ovid, 138). Strange as it may sound, none of that love would have occurred if the Cerastae had not killed their guests. If death had not stamped its mark on the ground, the woman would not have turned ugly, the sculptor would not have isolated himself from the world, he would not have been compelled to make a statue, he would not have seen the perfection of the woman, he would not have fallen in love with her and Venus would have had no reason to bring a statue to life. Death led to love in this story. Without it, the love that is so essential at the end would not have had a chance to form. Ovid told a tale using Pygmalion, which exhibits how strong the bond can be between love and death. Even when it is not obvious, the two cannot be without each other.
Love and death are as intimately entwined in today’s modern world as they were back when Hades was plucking unsuspecting girls from flower patches. If one were to listen to any traditional marriage vows, the phrase “until death do us part” immediately jumps out. The joining together of two people in love is marked by the mention of death. Entertainment has romanticized the idea that death cannot separate two people in love. Unlike Antigone and Haemon, however, these days the one who has died miraculously manages to come back to life or come back as a ghost or possess someone else’s body, in order for the lovers to be together again. The movie Ghost comes to mind when considering these ideas and many others do as well. The notion of love and death has not vanished from the minds of modern people. The relationship between the two has become idealized and mostly tucked away out of sight, for love is good and death is bad and never the twain shall meet, yet they come together all of the time. This modern world has not completely forgotten about this bond and it will not soon vanish from the world of the future.
Death and love, they are the two things in this world that so many people will experience and yet be unable to fully explain. Love can be joyous, difficult and gut-wrenching. Death can be the exact same way. They are similar in numerous ways. How many of us, though, would be willing to place them side by side, together, working as a team? It seems distasteful and slightly uncomfortable, for what do love and death really have to do with one another? The ancients understood that even Death, himself, needs love. They understood that love should not be separated by death and that it can bring love together again. They understood that death could lead to love and it is a sure thing that love can lead to death. Even modern, free-thinkers have placed love and death with one another. It is inevitable that they should have a strong bond between them. They are each doorways on to mysterious paths of life that only those who have experienced them can move down. One can be unsure what will happen after they fall in love and one can be unsure of what will happen after they die, but what one can be sure of is the fact that their love and their death will, together, change their life forever. There will never be a love without death and a death without love.

Old People

I am going to take this time to complain about old people. I know that we've talked a lot about them over the semester concerning choruses and wisdom and all of that, but the epiphany that I have had this semester is that old people can be the meanest people on the planet. I know we were suppose to go assault an old person at some point and my only problem is that I don't need to stop assaulting old people, the old people need to stop assaulting me. I work JoAnn Fabrics in the mall and we have these old ladies who come and I've been hugged by them, but I've also been yelled at by them. It's like Creon complaining about Antigone and youth and young people knowing their place. I just have them complaining about proper manners and salesmanship. Last week, this lady called complaining about how we had placed some items on hold for her and because she had not shown up to buy them, we had put them away. "I don't think it would be all that hard to hold them a little while longer," she tells me, over the phone because she has still not put the effort to coming in. I'm sorry, but I have rules that I have to follow and if you don't like them, don't complain to me because I can't do anything about it.

Anyways, now whenever I have old people as mean customers, I just tell myself that I'm living one of Steiner's conflicts and that that person is Creon and I'm Antigone and I'm simply standing up for what I believe in! (Even if I don't really believe it)