July 31, 2006

Rules For Humans

* You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it but it will be yours for this time around.

* You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant of stupid.

* There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error: experimentation. The failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that lands up working.

* A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it you can then go on to the next lesson.

* Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

* There is no where to run, no where to hide. There is no better than here. If you try to escape the lessons by running or hidding, they will follow you everywhere you go.

* Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

* What you make of life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. what you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

* The answers you need lie inside you. Look for them, listen and trust your inner voice.

* You will forget all this!

jpg by kassandra (an amazing ucranian artist)

July 29, 2006

A dog can learn a few things,

but not if you forgive him
everytime he follows his nature

"This is the sad tale of the township of Dogville... up where the road came to its definitive end ; the residents of Dogville were good honest folks...

a beautiful little town in the midst of magnificent mountains. A place where people have hopes and dreams even under the hardest conditions

a man can't really be blamed for being scared,
now can he?

...although, using people is not very charming,
I think you have to agree that this specific illustration has surpassed all expectations. It says so much about being human!
it's been painful, but I think you'll also have to agree it's been edifying,

wouldn't you say?"

Lars von Trier, writer/director of 'Dogville' - a must-see

July 23, 2006

" Sinceritatea poate ameţi mult mai tare, decât falsul mister al minciunii." Marin Preda

Mirela Miada

“Sincerity can be more enchanting than the false mystery of lies and uncertainty.”

There is a false belief that one needs to play the uncertainty game in order to get the affection they desire. Men and women alike play the game of uncertainty, burring true feelings underneath layers of deception and emotional blackmail.

Some misinformed and ignorant journalist (let’s call him/her Stupid) messed up million of years of spiritual evolution and turned 'love' into the 'game of love'.

A 2 cents per dozen scientist (let’s call him/her Idiot) came forward professing the discovery that men don’t have a soul, only balls – so they’re meant to procreate (i.e. fuck as many females they can, in their everlasting heroic attempt of keeping the species alike).

Being too busy asserting themselves, and carrying the fate (politics, economy, culture, religion) of the entire humanity on their shoulders, Men missed the argument, and settled - for the life of sexual freevolity.

If 'sex' per se isn’t the issue, than 'the freedom' of "I do what I want whom I want to" takes over. As a philosophical stance, it is beyond suspicion. Life offers a rich variety of temptations, and after centuries of forced morality, nobody frets anymore about a little bit of moral inconsistency, or how I would like to call it – the emotional swamp everyone seems to be dying to swim in.

Excuses become trivial and unnecessary – we live in a time of individual freedom and self-empowerment. I think excuses – scientific or statistical or which ever they may be – come from the thousand of years of religious hypocrisy, to silence the remains of whatever consciousness speaks up.

It’s ironic to throw away so many years of spiritual progress, just so we can play the game of love, only at a higher level this time - of course.

People get it when they only talk about it, but practice shames us all just as it has for the whole length of our human history. It hurts me to witness love fail; prey to the mind games people play with themselves. In my opinion, people who love each other, should cherish the precious gift life has made them.

When love meets love is the very moment of our redemption from the dirt God made us of.

We shouldn’t throw away the chances life gives us to rise beyond what we are into the best version we can be. Because Love is not a moment in time, or a goal to meet, yet the process of discovering your truest self and shading off layers and layers of make-belief, deception or pretentiousness. There’s probably a good reason we take our cloths off in order to make love. We should do the same, symbolically, when we talk love.

For once, I’m not being selfish. This is not about me. It’s about the two couples I watched during the past few days. I watched them willingly hurting each other, in some strange and twisted attempt to gather some proof of love.

They have used up the power words have to convey meaning. They’ve used them so many time for the wrong cause, that words have become astray; and meaningless. They are like fugitives slaves, carrying the signs of abuse on their bruised bodies and souls.

I honestly don’t know (as a psychologist, a woman or as a human being) where and how the cycle begins. The cycle of abuse, and treachery, ultimately of alienation from yourself. I don’t know if you lie to yourself first, before you lie to your lover, or if – loving them, you internalize your lover's disbelief in you. It doesn’t matter who starts, or who’s to blame.

" Fericirea nu are istorie, fiindcă nu poate ieşi istorie din veşnica surpriză pe care ţi-o face fiinţa iubită prin însăşi existenţa ei. "
(happiness has no history, cos the very existence of the one you love is an ongoing surprise)

It takes two to love.
But it starts with only one to hurt, or deceive, or misguide.
in turn, it takes only one to make the first step on the way back to sincerity and trust, and it takes one to forgive. Or to let go.

picture @ mirela miada;

P.S. funny how life is sometimes; as it turned out, this was about me, afterall. about the day things could've been perfect: only had he resist the temptation to hurt me again; the day I learned what he really was; the day I let go.

July 18, 2006

Avoid reality at all cost (2): Romanian films

I’ve just spent 2 weeks watching Romanian films and, since nobody else seems to have commented on them, I’ll do the unthinkable.

To begin with, most of them are unbearably long (2 hours+). I know that Gone with the wind is 6 hours+ (I’ve seen it at least 20 times), but that one is beautiful and inspiring even in its gory moments. It beats me why Romanian (and Italian, and French) directors never care about the feelings of their public. Everything is bound to be heavy, gloomy, and harsh – like I imagine a Siberian winter to be (although I hear that the Russian cold actually pumps you up with energy; which never happens with these films: they leave flat like a walked on old carpet).

I feel like I’ve earned the right to piss on their parade, since they took me tru hell and back, they’ve tried and tested every bit of patience and rationalization I am capable of. And Yes! To be honest, I rose in my own eyes quite a bit – I didn’t really think I had it in me. If anything, I bore easily, I’m very demanding and lack the understanding for human flaws like being uninteresting, unreasonable or plain stupid.

Don’t take my word for it. See them yourself: I dare you!

Of what I’ve seen so far, amazingly, I actually liked Morometii (1988), directed by Stere Gulea
Didn’t read the book (don’t tell on me, plz!) for the simple reason that it was forced on me; and the shit they commented about the book convinced me to never ever get close. Years later I loved Delirul (delirium), but my affair with Marin Preda stoped there. It wasn’t love.
Gulea must’ve chosen to keep it black &white – and it helped create authenticity, and depth. If you contrast it to Amintiri din copilarie (Childhood memories; see below), the poverty, the tension, and emotionally bleak atmosphere of the Moromete family really gets to you.
It could be my attention spam shifting for the second hour, but I saw how the composition and the planning of the scenes disintegrate along with the story plot. The first half has an inner consistency, an inner beauty - the carefully prepared composition, the candle light faces or the contre-jour, slightly overexposed and soft look are very impressive. It looks beautiful while it feels gloomy, and that makes you an accomplice. And the camera always looks up to Moromete – he feels like a giant in his made-up world, he looks like one to us. Then it all falls apart – and the focus moves from form to content.
The silent beauty before the storm. Weelll, at least it shows it could’ve been beautiful, despite lack of money or illness.
If you forgotten the story, his idealism keeps him from emotionally connecting to his family – he takes care of business, he cares for them financially, but fails to recognize them as human beings. They’re as real to him as the politicians he comments on – and make no mistake! This is a very smart man. Many fathers make the same mistake, with predictably the same results.
Interestingly enough, as if giving Moromete a chance to redeem himself as a parent, his youngest son resembles him – a dreamer and a thinker, begging for a chance to embrace his true nature. Again, he fails to see what’s important, what is already lost and what can still be saved. The dreamer in me hopes that the second part of the book restores hope – for the first ends in failure.
As far as I can tell (never having read the book) the mistake this man makes is not choosing his own destiny, pretending to be something he’s not. He projects his own flaws onto others, oblivious to the intrinsic imperfection of human nature and reality he demands perfection. He basically refuses to face life while pretending to know everything about it, except his own refusal. And, the worst of all (in my eyes), he doesn’t know when to stop the charade and acknowledge his loses. A blind mule.
While that may be a fine way to live your own life, it’s a heavy burden for children left without the care, love, attention or guidance of a parent, but with the blame of needing them. That’s his “crime”, and he never accepts to suffer for it. His own pain – had he accepted it and expressed it – could’ve set him free.

A happier account of the family life in a simple village in the Amintiri din copilarie (1964) (Childhood memories) film, directed by Elisabeta Bostan.
This one is nice, and let’s leave it to that. It follows Ion Creanga’s story thoroughly – plot, casting, scenery. Down to the darn Hoopoe bird, the herbs field, the cherries, the poor house the kids broke to pieces
Again, the film colors are used by the director – soft, cheerful colors for the memories, black & white for the old Creanga himself, writing down his stories and guiding the viewer along the path of memories.
Stefan Ciubotarasu was perfectly chosen for the part and manages quite skillfully to slowly infuse you with the bleakness, the loneliness, the silent suffering in which the writer spent his years. His voice brings you back to his ‘present’ at the end of the film, and the sudden misery overwhelms you. How strange to cry at the end of a beautiful, joyful and fun film – don’t you think? A talented murder – this Elisabeta Bostan: she hits you hard when you least expect it, with a heavy, dark dose of reality.

As for Ion Creanga himself, we’re not finished with him. His untranslatable Childhood Memories aside, another director – Ion Popescu-Gopo and his De-as fi Harap Alb (1965) – alerted me to the fact that the man was pure genius. Even if you think you know it, go back and read the story of Harap Alb – (The White Moor) once more! I promise you you’ll be surprised. The level of significance goes way beyond word meaning and deep beneath the surface of a children’ story.

Marin Preda’s other ecranisation Cel mai iubit dintre pamînteni (1993) (the most beloved among people), dir. Serban Marinescu is as smart, and ironic, and deep as I didn’t expect it to be.
I almost withdrew from the 2 hours race when faced with the unnecessary and unreasonably direct sex scene in the first 5 minutes of the film. I happen to find necessity very important – it helps make fiction plausible and creates inner consistency for character and plot alike. I love porn, but there’s a time and place for everything.
If you’re like a friend of mine, who watched a whole film because someone had promised him a hard-core sex scene between a dinosaur and a human, you’ll be happy to know you won’t be disappointed (like my friend was ;-). Two respectable cinema stars, Stefan Iordache and Mircea Albulescu make a homosexual rape look good on camera, and quite believable.
Of course there’s more. There is human absurdity, and life irony, and silent suffering, and clever dialogue, and politics, and philosophy, and a human being disintegrating right before your eyes. And there is the frustration – of being different, empty handed, naked, powerless.
He is also a dreamer, a philosopher, of course he’s also unable to deal with common reality, but this one adjusts to it, incorporates the lessons he’s given. And in doing so, loses his dreams, his dignity, his values and principles, that whole inner context that defined him and his destiny. Well, he loses just about everything. And you know, watching his reality, that hanging on to anything too tightly would’ve been just as pointless. You learn something too, I guess.
There is some trace of Russian behaviorism (you're welcome to agree with it, but be advised that I don't) – claiming that if you treat a man like a murderer, he will become one. I don’t know what happened cos I didn’t see it to the end. One more hour to go – and I saved it for some other time.

I watched Poseidon (2006) instead
A fast food kind of film. And I enjoyed every bit of the lack of: plot, psychological depth, human connection to the characters or empathy. But tt was fast and it kept me up and alert. Yeah, sure – because I’m terrified of the water and I died several times watching it – I was one of the unknown many floating around in the back, due to their lack of a heroic attitude.
One thing bothers me, however: why the hell did they turn the boat to meet the wave sidewise? Aren’t you better off breaking the wave – diving right into it?

July 17, 2006

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime,

Therefore, we are saved by hope.

Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history,
Therefore, we are saved by faith.

Nothing we do can be accomplished alone,
Therefore, we are saved by love.

Reinhold Niebuhr

human history, by Gopo

July 09, 2006

Love The Hand You Were Dealt

One thing I’d like to accomplish at some point in my life, is to clean up the bullshit we feed our kids though ‘fairytales’ and bed-time stories. They are unrealistic and they support unrealistic expectations and plans for their future.

Love isn’t supposed to be easy, or aesthetically appealing; and that's because it involves putting together two different people , 24 hs a day, every day, for a seriously long time.

We know that each person is unique, right? We seem to forget all that when we look at relationships. 2 individuals are brought together by their feelings for each other, but those feelings do not (and they’re not meant to) disintegrate who they are in their own right.

It is only natural that there will not be an instant understanding, that there will be conflict of interests, differences of opinion and desires. Adjustment and some serious compromising should be in order.

The most common mistake people make is to assume that love brings some sort of psychic sensitivity towards the one you love: as in "I don’t have to actually say out loud what I need, if you love me you should know that already"
“if you show me real love....” If it is happening to you, it IS real; and it's yours.

Early life experiences, disparate glimpses of memories of parents holding or screaming at each-other, movie scenes taken out of context, crappy literature and there you are: with your very own definition of what things should be like.

When they do come, you detach yourself, you extricate yourself somehow out of the situation because it doesn’t fit! It’s not right! You find yourself... dissapointed.

It is there for you to have, and to hold, and yet to push it away, or keep yourself from actually getting involved, you ignore it, or simply pass by it, on to the real thing that’s .... coming (;-).

What are you looking for?
Oh, I don’t know. But I will recognize it when I see it.

As long as you want things that don’t fit who you actually are, and what you can actually do, you are running away from your life, instead of towards it. You don’t get to chose what reality looks like. But you do get to live it the way you see fit.

“Fate is whatever happens. Fate is inevitable; nobody controls or escapes fate.
Destiny, on the other hand, is ours to create,
and it develops through our personal responses to fate.

Fate is the cards you're dealt; destiny is how you play them. “
Antero Alli

July 04, 2006

"If you show me real love, baby - I will show you mine…" Paris Hilton

Listen. Real life Love isn’t going to make any birds sing, or the stars shine brighter. It does not glitter in the dark, it doesn’t keep you warm in winter, it doesn’t taste like sugar nor smell like roses, and most of all – it won’t be light entertainment.

You can’t treat it like your favorite TV series. You don’t get 30 minutes of it on a weekly basis, at convenient hours, scheduled for months in advance. You don’t get commercial brakes, and you don’t get to turn it off and go to bed.

You may get to discuss the more controversial parts with your friends, as long as you remember that they are not really part of it. Which also means you do not move on to shag your lover’s best friend when you're feeling lonely.

There are no director’s indications, and you don’t get to rehearse really important scenes. They’re supposed to catch you off guard! It doesn’t matter what you wear as there’ll be no front-page covering.

There’ll be no superstar cast as leading man/woman, burst your bubble. Sometimes the villain looks better than the hero. Be careful with your casting. There’s no box-office, so don’t worry about reviews. It doesn’t have to look good, or please an audience. Actually, it’s not supposed to please you all the time. It’s supposed to be challenging: to bring out the best in you.

There will be no unexpected developments or plot twists, unless you make them happen. Of course, praying will help, but don’t hold your breath for a fairy-godmother to come to the rescue. And you can’t use your superpowers either. You have to put in the effort – just like everybody else. Any blood or tears – will be the real thing.

Don’t try. You don’t get to edit later, you only get one time at everything. Don’t worry about doing your best, either. The only way to fail at it is when you fake it, or when you take it lightly. Be prepared: the good stuff comes right about the time when the credits start scrolling.

The uncut version. Call it ‘love’ if you must; I see it more like
a life long struggle to make a potentially explosive combination of egos embrace the most precious gift life made them: a more complete version of themselves.

"Love ya is just another one of those ambiguous turns of phrase

that help us fulfill our superficial destinies.

It says everything and nothing at the same time.

It is so airily casual, so shamelessly daft,

so nauseatingly sappy…

so extremely (dare I say) Paris Hilton-esque

that it would certainly qualify as a useful nugget

for inspiring lifelong devotion

between you and 350 of your closest “friends”

by Sash