Monday, 24 March 2014

thoughts on (ideals of) love

i am watching a movie, ‘Anna Karenina’ (which i highly recommend that you watch, because not only is the storytelling rich and immersive, but the cinematography is unique in a very theatre-esque way that i cannot describe), and it dawns upon me that what you said the other day is entirely true - that love and adoration is subject to a person’s current wants and needs, susceptible to change at the slightest perturbation, and victim of our whims and malleability of being human. and though this is not something new to me - that any emotion be fluctuant with the mood of the day - it disturbs me to think that an ideal so entrenched in society as listed above is so subjective, so precarious, so sensitive, that our own perceptions of that ideal between individuals is nigh incompatible. to others, the idealisation of love is different things - a comprehensive and almost unintelligible letter written in Victorian nuance and delivered in hand, a subtlety of unspoken words like between the protagonists of a Korean drama, an accent alleviated by a favourite language, the first glimpse through a proverbial veil that Egyptian princesses hold as dear as Japanese country-folk, and in the case of Anna Karenina as i am learning to appreciate, the empathic projection of a strong but sorrowful Russian tragedy. please, do not mistake my blatantness and lack of examples as a sign of ignorance or naivety. i have always known that if i were to base my utopian postulations of love on the writings of Austen, or Dostoyevsky, or Rumi, or Marcia, or Poe; i would, but for a sliver of a chance be disappointed time and again in the search for realisation - or at least for reciprocation. and to this, i submit, that the sacrifice of perfection is a necessary (but small) price to pay for the attaining of that which i idealise itself - love. but this is a far cry from acknowledging that it does not exist. if anything, i am a person of compromise, and should any hint of such concession be available, i would embrace it whole-heartedly.

this being said, i do not think i empathise with your feeling that love is not absolute (and you must pardon the use of the term ‘absolute love’, as you have aptly pointed out, there is no such thing, and my use of it bears only from the necessity of distinguishing an absolute form of adoration from a relative one). what you have said that love will change with time and place, is true - and though my lack of personal experience dictates i cannot say with any amount of authority, i find it dreary and distraught to believe that any change in such a strong emotion can warrant disengaging from a love. i feel that it is ironic that relationships are built on a wider base than once before (no longer do we extrapolate from dainty eyes meeting from across a room, or flitting fingers from a series of waltzes through the night, or shied smiles behind a curtain when elders come in stead of a wanting and proposing young man, or curved that writing that letters delivered in person in the shroud of starless nights), the imperative to propagate it is left with so much to desire. is it not designed that the opposite should be? that if there is anything to hold with unyielding devotion, beyond religion and family and friends, it should be the preservation of (a) love? i am not sure i am convinced, but i hope it is not wrong for me to want (and hope). regardless of peoples’ motives and how they go about realising such things (or abandoning, as i would distastefully warrant), i feel that, if only by semantics and definition for my own sake, love should be held at a post higher than something that is so mercurial and fleeting, and that once it is attained, there should be no questioning what it is.

parallel to this train of though, it would be pertinent to point out that i do not pretend to comprehend any of this. wherefore i should continually ask you for opinions and advice is because of this lack of understanding; do not belittle that i should want to understand something complex, far beyond me. if anything, i hope it is admirable that i try, for even in failure, i can only hope to think of myself as having searched, if never having to find. perhaps love really is purely utopian, and any manifestation of it in this world is a meek shadow of what it should be, and not having gazed upon its splendour is only befitting for those who worship it far too much. mayhap it is in vilifying love and bringing it down from a pedestal that we can truly begin to bask in its exaltation - and as such, it is better that any semblance of love that i may have in my mind stay there, lest it be defiled by something more ‘real’ and flawed.

p/s: do watch Anna Karenina if you get the chance. i have yet to complete it myself due to other commitments, but from what i have watched, it reminds me fondly of ‘the brothers Karamazof’, and i think you will like it very much.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

paradise reprieve

little land ‘pon which i stand, is barely ‘nough for one,
yet bountiful and blessed like no place under the sun;
my little isle, of humble stead, whose limits reach beyond my head,
for all i see is governed but by that which i have read.

with golden shores of sun streaked sands upon the white that is this land,
how could lush green not grow like thoughts that wished for by all God’s good men?
hark! come the mores, with ill intent, the pirates, ruffians, thieves;
who knows what have their ill intents, and what they’ve up their sleeves,
but come, too, do the merchants, politicians, priests abound,
for where there’s gold, there’s glory too, and fortune to be found;
but with a sigh, i beg their leave, despite their fore or fun,
this little land, ‘pon which i stand, is made for only one.

so take the mores, by shiploads of the gleaming gems and stone,
i bid them well, as do farewell, that they leave me alone;
here with my peace, in company of all that i deserve,
to preach, to play, to lie and lay, with fatigue or with verve.

but once upon a crescent moon, that yellow, blue or red,
a special someone comes along in lieu of a mores’ stead;
to envy some who have their isles embanked for something - someone - bold,
indeed, it is for them to choose, to wisp, to wade, to hold;
but can’t i see, beyond the bend, that straight which light should curve?
we all accept the love we think we ought, and do deserve.

from shore to shore, and back again, i’ve lived and loved this land,
even when no envy comes for whom and who could stand;
upon this island, quite contrite, like webs of fiction spun,
oh, little land ‘pon which i stand, ’tis only meant for one.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

it's caturday!

today, as i was walking home from the university, i chanced upon a domestic cat. not an uncommon sight, around the residential areas of nedlands, and definitely unremarkable a cat as ever there could be one. if my recollection does not fail me, she was brown with black stripes; and she had fierce, piercing amber eyes. of what breed she could have been, ask me not - i cannot tell a tabby from a siamese (well, i probably could, but i am not versed even in the slightest of cat breeds). as i normally would, with all cats that i should meet, i becked upon this cat (let us call her latifah, after the queen of sorts).

i think, it is relevant, if not also of some import, that i point out here that i am generally quite amiable with and towards cats. that i should normally be able to approach, if not befriend, and even play with a cat at the first instance of meeting is a fair given, and one that i am severely proud of, too! however, latifah, like all good cats, and all good queens, would not have any of this.

indeed, what happened is a definition of 'cat-and-mouse', which unfortunately, makes me the mouse of sorts (also bringing new meaning to the phrase, 'of mice and men'). i would squat a fair distance from latifah, say approximately 50 meters, and beckon her with mews and by the extension of my hand, only to have her crouch in a most apprehensive stance, and shy away from me. were i to close the gap, she would, for a while remain, only to skitter off to a more comfortable distance after a dozen seconds or so. and so i would feign giving up, and walk my way home, upon which latifah would begin to follow me - eventually meowing as if asking for my attention.

this cycle of pretense, disdain and inquisitiveness would repeat for a spell. maybe lasting half an hour, and having gone through seven revolutions, as i realise that i was running late. not to be outdone, however, i did manage to sneak in a final attempt at courting latifah - with the obvious and expected result of her running away quite swiftly (only to stop when she was safely behind a house's fence [which is uncommon here, as most houses are not fenced]). of course, in this particular case, it is easy to dismiss latifah, and any loss would be on her behalf (think of all the purring that could have been had! the neck scratches and the nose twiddles!). and, of course, it is made easier that there are many cats around the neighbourhood who would happily want for a little scratch-lovin'!

later in the day, it made me think: girls are like cats.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

the longest reprieve

that which we have come to know as sleep.

i have wondered for a long time: why is it that we need to sleep? though neurophysiology has taught me little of an answer, and psychology has addressed the question from many vantages, i cannot say that i truly understand why we need sleep. in fact, i do not think i can even graze at an answer. but, i have also come to realise that it is not nearly as important as to why we sleep, as whenceforth. now, bear with me, and indulge a silly fan of shakesperean nuance - these are not the same. i do not know a reason for sleep, biologically; however, i do know that without it, there is a supefluence of disasters that beck upon my soul without sleep.

when i was a person of content and substance, i did not wander far from complacency. and sleep? it was only a convenience, a gift, a wonder. nothing more than an accessory to a livelihood littered with unnecessary wants.

now that i have become a person of self, that i am of less import than what i gave myself credit for, that i sometimes am in deject and loathe - now i see sleep for what it is. and it is indeed a requirement, a necessity, a craving and a bestowment without which, i could not wake from lethargy and (hopefully) death. which is ironic, because without sleep, how can there be waking? indeed, sometimes we slumber in our wake, more than we realise. at least i know i do.

as yet, i have not answered that pivotal question - whenceforth is this need for sleep? in words, i cannot explain. ineffable and indescribable - a feeling rivalled by desire, by love, by hatred, and even complacency itself. but i know this, that if you have ever felt that after a long day, you cannot wait to dream, or sleep an ennui-less eternity, even as your body does not tire, or especially so. then you know this answer in your heart.