Another Smiley :]

Yes, I am posting another post on smiley faces. Isn’t this picture simply adorable? I like this because it highlights a paradox. Yes, I’m complicating things even more. Here’s my message: BE HAPPY

Happiness isn’t a state of false brightness. Happiness isn’t equal to excitement or contentment. Happiness isn’t just about smiling. Happiness is a feeling that is indescribable. So when I say be happy, be what you feel is truly and deeply happy. Remember, you can be happy and sad at the same time. Isn’t life full of paradoxes and oxymorons? That’s what makes humans special, no?

A career in philosophy?

My mom’s best friend’s son is here. He’s not that talkative. In fact, the only thing I clearly remember him saying is that he thinks philosophy is really intriguing and that it is high on his list of potential career choices.

Side Note: I don’t know what it is about the word ‘intriguing’ that makes it so awkward to use in context. Do other people feel that way too? Maybe its just me…

You know how the new generation is marked by stubbornness? If I was to be a tad bit nicer I would say perseverance rather than stubbornness. Either way, our heads are thick like rocks. In my mom’s best friend’s son’s case, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that his stance on philosophy was set in stone (though he was clearly being difficult).

Here’s what I think about philosophy( or should I say, what philosophy is). For me, philosophy is just putting into words what everyone already knows about life on some level. The only difference is that ‘philosophers’ are more aware about some ideas and other people aren’t.

Maybe I’m ignorant. Sometimes I wonder what a career in philosophy would be like. What would I do? Think? Write books on my thoughts? What does philosophy contribute to society?

That’s when I think about the French Revolution. Ideas have a big impact. It was the ideas of the Enlightenment that spurred on the prospect of thought that all people are equal; therefore, people do have the power to change a political system that they feel is unjust and/or corrupt. However, where did that get France? Sure, now its a democracy but look at that road it went down. Do the ends really justify the means? Some people described the revolution as ‘devouring’ its own children. Above all, I view the ‘children’ as the original ideals. These radical ideals have been developing for a long time and a great majority of the people supported them. A lot of good that did; only 2 years into the revolution and signs of the Terror were already emerging. Soon enough, the ideals were warped into hyper superstition and well, terror. That’s why yes, ideas have strength but without action or careful process of thought, acting on these ideas will only lead to chaos. France got its democracy but how can we be certain that chaos will always lead to a positive outcome?

Another way I look at philosophy is that it is not a reflection of human nature, but rather an idealized or warped expression of human nature. Or maybe it’s the state of human expression that we desire to have. While philosophers think that they are getting to know more about the human condition, they’re really losing touch with a sense of reality. Before you all argue with me, look at evidence. Just how many philosophers have ended up in the mental asylum or otherwise committed suicide? This just proves that philosophy is creating nothing from nothing, believing that there’s an answer when there really isn’t.

My final point? I agree that philosophy can be a tool (I cringe at using ‘important’ prior to the ‘tool’) in many careers like journalism or law. However, it is not a necessity as understanding philosophy or not, life goes on. Why? Because philosophy is either writing what’s already here or pulling nothing from nothing. I think that if I were to choose a career, I want to do something to help people. I want to do something that contributes to the development of society. I don’t know what that’s going to be yet but right now, I’m open to all suggestions (excluding philosophy).

To Life…

Hubris is dangerous. Life is finicky. People are persnickety. Society is prejudiced. Combined, these form a dangerous combination. Assuming life does not equate to character, nothing alone can do damage. Combined, the results are deadly. Since the latter three are inevitable, let’s try to avoid the first. Easy to do? Really?

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to be arrogant to have hubris. The most common, and the most pathetic form of hubris is hubris in retrospect. I used to think we learn history to prevent us from walking down already trodden dead ends but it turns out, we’ve done little to improve. That’s what history is isn’t it? We fancy ourselves smarter and more capable than the previous generation to handle our futures and the future of our interlinked societies but the blatant truth is, our moral values haven’t changed much. Sure there’s democracy and all that but how do we know what other people think? That test you got perfect on? Do you know your friend is jealous of you? That slight twinge of joy when others fail, do you know when that happens to people. Here’s another question: do you know when that happens to YOU? I know this because it’s what I feel. Before you reprimand me for being a sad and bitter person, I get the privilege of asking (or should I say daring) you to admit that you don’t. Don’t play the cowardice dice with  me; it’s so easy to say anything with the anonymity of the web huh?

What history is, is that we view life in retrospect from what I call a ‘bird’s eye view’. Amidst the chaos, you can’t really see much. Now pretend you’re a bird. Pretend that you’re lifting off the ground. Your view gets clearer and clearer as you rise higher and higher until the sound of shoving and yelling dissipates into fresh air. Now, you can see miles and miles from all directions. All people are equal. An old man falls and nobody helps him to get up. Another man nears him and it seems like he’s going to help. People stare at him. He shudders and leaves. Later, he is reprimanded by his peers and is deemed as a moral coward. Can you honestly say that you won’t do the same thing in his position? I don’t know, I admit that I always underestimate the gravity of peer pressure. On this level, I really admire Chelsea Handler for always stating the blatant truth. She is the polar opposite of those phony politicians with their whitened smiles and faces masked with promise of lies. We think that we are too smart to trek down the same doomed road but after all the extra twists and turns, its where we end up. The difference is that some of us realize it, and some of us don’t. Therefore, history is a circle. It’s a cycle of never-ending generations of people making the same type of mistakes over and over again. Its funny, we ridicule it and then we go back to our own little bubble.

Some things are inevitable; pride is one of them. Every person on Earth is self-centered to an extent. I’m not saying that’s bad or wrong. I’m not saying we should fight it. I’m saying it would be amazing and revolutionary if we did but no matter what, we should always admit our weaknesses. Admitting means acceptance at some level which is a teensy weensy step to improvement. This is why I fully believe in our potential to become morally superior than the previous generation. Actually, my opinion is very paradoxical because I don’t think the character of mankind can change yet, I believe it can. For me, there are some things in life that you have to believe in. It doesn’t matter what the truth is, you have to believe in goodness. Sometimes, believing is the only thing that makes us different from a pessimist. We only have this life. Might as well enjoy it.

Laughing/Smiling/Crying

Today, my friend asked me if I’d rather cry inside a limo or smile on the back of the bicycle. I secretly think she was betting that I wouldn’t understand this statement since she said it in chinese and she knows-as everyone does – how I’m hopeless in that language. I understood (haha got ya!). Ok fine, I admit that I wouldn’t have understood it if my mom hadn’t asked me the very same question years back. Of course, she was kind enough to explain this statement in great detail – you know how moms are.

Literal meanings aside, what this statement means is that would you rather be happy and poor or sad and rich? Basically, this is the classic example of “money can’t buy you happiness”. If you answer that you’d rather smile on the back of the bicycle, it means that you’d rather be happy. People who choose the other option value money above everything.

My friend proceeded to ask my other friend (who is not asian) the same question. My other friend looked bewildered and responded: “Why can’t I smile on a limo?” We laughed because she didn’t get it.

For me, if I say that happiness takes precedence over everything else, I’d be lying. But smiling doesn’t necessarily have to mirror happiness. I smile because I know I will be happy. My dad always tells me if I surrender to the lure of what he calls “happiness” now, I’ll regret it in the long run. I think he alludes the state of happiness to the state of contentment. And I agree. Strangely enough, that is the general accepted meaning of happy. Of course, nobody says it out loud. There are just some things in the world that are true but to maintain a positive moral outlook, hardly anyone admits it.

So later on, I ask my mom the same question. She laughs because she remembers that she asked me the same thing years back. I pressed her for an answer. Then, a serious look crosses her face. She said:

When I was your age, my answer would be that I would smile no matter the mode of transportation I took. But now that I think about, what use is smiling if you’re not happy in the end. I chose to smile on the back of the bicycle and now, I can’t seem to smile. That’s why, if I reevaluate if I predicted that one day I would have you – I would have chosen the limo.

It’s touching that she loves me so much that her first priority would be my happiness and future. But then she told me that I have to smile no matter what. So I will choose the bicycle like she did but she trusts me to make smart decisions and end up happy in the end. I hope I won’t disappoint.

Admiration~Threads of a Dream

Just some old poem I wrote when I was 13 I thought I’d put up. It’s bound to get lost sometime in the future when I throw out this old computer. Maybe I’ll look back to this poem one day and laugh, and I’ll be happy too since I learned something from it.

Dedicated to whom if I, myself am reading this, I should know. If I don’t, then the wings of time have over flown the wings of memory. But to this person who once reigned my imagination: I hope you have found your happiness.

The tap of your foot,

The nod of your head,

The twist of your hand as your eyes gaze ahead,

The wisps of your hair,

Like translucent curtains to your eyes,

Swishing and swirling as your smile caresses air,

The flicker of your gaze,

Which my eyes dutifully followed,

The resonating tones of your voice evaporates in a haze,

The sweep of your hand,

As you bow, then stand,

Intoxicating… Mesmerizing… Captivating…

Your presence encapsulating… Enchanting… Enlightening…

Tell me… Why do the roses look so pale?

Have the threads already strangled them so?

Pull me closer… Allow me to bind our hands together,

So our hearts are free to ebb and flow,

Like the fluttering plumage of a hummingbird’s wing,

Intertwined together, intertwined together,

Higher, higher they’ll soar and sing,

Until I shall soon scorn the wealth of kings.

But alas… My hands are too clumsy and rough,

With the distance of a breath of a feather’s tip,

The threads snapped and crumbled to bits of dust.

Please mend them… Only you can… Smile, even just a bit.

Maybe you didn’t notice how I stood up when you played,

Maybe you didn’t realize the whisper in  your direction I gave,

My mouth was moving but no words came,

So the threads remain untouched… Slightly ruffled, they sway.

I dream, I dream of seeing you again,

Until my dreams lead me to my wit’s end,

Do you even know my name? I would ponder before sleep,

Do you know your name reigns my endless dreams…?

Eyes are blind, but true are hearts,

But from the mind imagining starts,

Forming an illusion, a distorted reality; it seems,

In the end, a dream is merely just a dream,

Drawn from invisible threads in the air,

I wish I could imagine, but I can only dream,

With just a scratch of hope, or wild chance that we’ll meet

Just once more, like a lone red flower in a field of green.

A singular red, yes, but with that I still dream,

I dream until my reality becomes a dream,

Wandering aimlessly, but you, I still don’t see…

In your eyes I see a reflection of myself; I foolishly dream,

How can I know when I have yet to look within them?

But give me not a flower, if not a seed,

So it will be precious to me, and I’ll nurture it with my dreams.

For if you want a flower, then peel my heart,

Thin as tissue papers, layer by layer,

Arrange them into a budding bloom, a work of art,

But by a glass pane, our threads are cut apart.

Give me not a picture if not a blank paper,

Pictures lie, but with paper I can imagine rather than dream,

Ah! But even these thoughts are only fragments of my dreams!

My precious, precious dreams, my secret reveries.

My heart felt heavy as you left the room,

Words unspoken bind my lips together,

I can only express them to you in my dreams,

Your hazy presence like a hand to a cheek.

Please… Soar! Over fly the wings of time!

Catch me with your outstretched wings,

Or else let destiny or fate intervene,

Until then, I’ll be hanging by a thread of a dream…

…I don’t want to forget you

…Ever…

~FIN~

It Gets Colder at the Top…

Today, I have hesitantly raised my foot towards the winding spiral path I must take. When I say “hesitantly”, I’m alluding to the uncertainty of whether or not I’ll be able to reach the end; I am definitely not suggesting any weakness within the state of mind I have now set for myself. Today is a mark. Whether or not it is a substantial one is yet to be determined. Therefore, today is day zero. I have not yet taken a step, but all will come in time. Of course, that time is pushed forward by strong will and strength of mind.

Too dramatic? Let’s just say that my mind has now been set to peace. Now, I can see the person I want to be clearly in front of me despite the doubt gnawing away at the back of my head.

The path isn’t straight. It is wild, narrow and rocky. It’s not untrammeled per say but it is the path less travelled by. It will take tremendous amounts of effort to reach the top, or even go up halfway. However, 90% chance that I will reach the top is based on my potential. That prospect disturbs me greatly.

One thing I do not have a clear view of is my ability, or you can call it my potential to succeed in society. I think I see the top, though I don’t know if that crooked tip is a figment of my imagination or the actual substance.

A life rule: There are fewer people at the top. Law of nature: It gets colder at the top. I have yet to take a step and I already feel the chill. Sometimes, I wonder if I am mentally prepared for the isolation. Maybe I am just an ignorant victim that conformity has yet to strike upon. Either way, I’m cold. I want to think it gets better, but I know it doesn’t. It’ll just get colder and colder.

Enjoy the journey…

In response to: In Praise of Sadness

Actually, this is the first time I’ve picked up a copy of Reader’s Digest. I probably should have enjoyed it more than I did. However, that’s not to say I didn’t like it. It just happens that my favourite article is also the article which I think is most misleading. Yes, life is full of little ironies, no?

Anyways, for my own sake, I won’t go into a detailed summary of the article. Just know that the author argues that people should embrace sadness and experience it to the fullest. The first time skimming through the book, I found myself nodding in agreement with the writer. Then, I read it again and found that some points put forward quite unsettling. Yes, we grow by experiencing despair but I don’t think that character grows by experiencing sadness to the fullest. I think we as people grow by learning to cope with change; we grow by learning to deal with the mental stress in a healthy way.

A good quote I found is: “Thinking positively is better than thinking negatively but thinking realistically has even more commend to it. And thinking realistically acknowledges that the richness in life lies in the interplay of light and shade.” However, I think the writer fails to acknowledge that thinking positively isn’t synonymous to imposing a false cheery state. Thinking positively is thinking realistically because being positive means that I will live life to its full potential despite the downsides.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that life is full of contradictions and whatnot. It is constructed entirely out of opposites. We feel because we can, because there are contrasts; therefore, we have points of comparison. Bottom line: sadness exists because happiness exists. We feel happy because we know that we feel better than when we are sad. We shouldn’t concentrate on being happy but we shouldn’t focus on the contrary either. In fact, I don’t think there is need to focus on happiness or sadness. These feelings will come naturally evoked by the little bumps in life that come along. What we should focus on is smoothing out these little bumps. By that, I’m referring to a state of control, not happiness.

Yes, we often regard control as happiness and there is nothing wrong with that because if we don’t have control on our lives, we don’t have control in anything. Happiness isn’t all bland and bleak. Happiness is a beautiful word and it refers to richness and wholeness. So be happy! Smile and make the best out of the materials you are given! Of course, being happy naturally means that you’ve had more than your fair share of downsides in life.