Why I Love Philosophy

One of the main reasons why people are hesitant to study philosophy is because of the idea that it treats the problematical that these people may deem as not practical at all.  There is a seeming vagueness and continuous controversy brewing always in philosophy and because of this nature, sme people are easily disappointed and ends up in fields of study that are more practical and profitable – where these people are most of the time in no position to dispute, question, or contrast primary information about things.

But to those people who truly understands the value of philosophy, the excitement and anticipation to seek fuller explanations to vague key concepts is just the start of pursuit of philosophy.  Philosophy demands so much from people who seek for it – those who study it should free their minds from the prejudices and convictions imposed by society.  But in return, those who truly seek philosophy rewards themselves with a sense of woner, a wider perspective on things, and a chance for philosophical contemplation (the latter gives satisfaction as a result of enlargement of the Self).  Philosophy, according to Bertrand Russell, has only values for people who study it and to those who need it.  It is not studied for the sake of any definite answer, as philosophy in nature is grounded in its uncertainties.  Instead, it enriches intellectual imaginations, gives Man a sense of free intellect will and puts a higher premium on the ability of the mind to be one with the universe.

Once we came across with certainties and definite answers that are usually found in fields of science, we find that the knowledge that we derived from them is momentarily satisfying.  It is the next dispute, the uncertainty, the argument, and the ‘unsure’ that really interest us.  These uncertainties we fid in philosophy, designed in the mastery of a particular subject and the acquisition of intellectual virtues as we study it along the way.  There are no practical considerations, only a keen sense of interest for knowledge and anticipation of the pleasure of such possibilities that will enlarge our thoughts, such that we can view the world impartially.

Advertisements

Looking Into the Future

I saw National Geographic Channel’s feature about Nostradamus in Nostradamus: Is it Real and was utterly surprised to saw the same topic again in Discovery channel in Nostradamus: the Truth at least two days after. It was weird, but maybe that’s how competition goes. Ha-ha!

Well, almost everybody knows about Nostradamus, who was extremely famous for his prophecies. It was said that his book of prophecies was sold in very large numbers, and widely circulated all over the world. In both features, they tried to present if these prophecies were really real, or just purely coincidental. His glimpses to the fate of mankind were mostly depressing views of the world, written in different language of French, in a style that depicted clearly the raw visions of his mind.

To give you a background story about how I got acquainted with Nostradamus, I was told off when I was 10 to get ready for the end of the world. Whoah! I was really scared back then, because in that coming year (that was 1999), there would be complete darkness to hover all over the world and widespread hunger where the King of Terror would descend to the Earth. We all panicked there, (hehe, the kids in the neighborhood and old people) about the coming of what we believed as The Judgment Day. But nothing happened. There was no darkness for the coming years, there was no such thing as end of the world (though there was still widespread hunger in other parts of the world and a few eclipses) but still life went on. Now, its year 2008, and everything is running in its usual course. So what the heck just happened at that time?

Did Nostradamus make a very grave mistake OR did we make a huge mistake in interpreting his prophecies?

***

A famous historical event that we can associate with Nostradamus is about Catherine d’Medici and King Henry II ofFrance. Catherine read the book of prophecies of Nostradamus, and summoned him to look into her king’s fate. And Nostradamus predicted the death of her husband – a one quatrain that troubled the queen that tells about King Henry II’s death. And it did happen. It was said that that was the first time that Nostradamus successfully looked into the future.

But there was more: the predictions about the Great Fire of London in 1666, the rise of Hitler, the atomic bombs dropped inHiroshimaandNagasaki, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Although there were seemingly perfect matches, science does not support it. Although many people believe that Nostradamus might have acquired divine inspiration or paranormal abilities, scientists still believe that it is utterly nonsense.

There were also few misinterpretations of the prophecies, some dates written in the quatrains were recalculated, and we cannot deny the fact that because of manual ‘publishing’ of the prophecies, people involved might constantly and unintentionally change the words which only added errors. Then, the original quatrain might have been misprinted by hand, and this is also because of the mistranslation of Nostradamus’s complicated French. He was so careful in anything that he said in the prophecy because of the height of the Inquisition.

But this is my take: the language that Nostradamus used in his prophecy is ambiguous, generally, and this vagueness, I personally think, is responsible for the increase of probabilities. What I think is that he was not looking into the future, but referring back to historical past events, knowing that the astronomical patterns involved in his passion for astrology, would always follow the same historical pattern.


Where Are We Heading?

After I took an Astronomy subject in high school, I was plagued with terrible questions about the earth, the sun, or any heavenly bodies. I think that’s normal. But I was also preoccupied whether someday in the future all inhabitants in the earth can cruise in the nearby planet (Mars, probably) and stay there for a week or two. I would love that.

I watched an episode in NASA channel entitled Destination Tomorrow. It was interesting because space scientists are working to investigate suitable landing sites in Mars that are scientifically interesting and potential for proofs of interest. NASA developed the MRO, or the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (I dunno if I got the words right but it sounded just like that) to look for potential landing sites in case there would be success of human flights at Mars in the near future.

The MRO has high resolution cameras to produce high profile detailed pictures which will be evaluated to search for potential sites. It has also telescopic cameras to capture the planet’s surface features by photographing the planet. In this way, the scientists can relay and send information by communication platform for robotic missions and about the weather patterns in Mars. In this way the space scientists can also look for water. By its self surface radar, they would know the weather patterns, and any detailed information to expand the knowledge about the planet.

MRO would took seven months to journey to Mars and 27 months to orbit it.


That Anime Fever

I couldn’t appreciate anime more in any day than during this summer. Since I’m staying home this break I didn’t do anything “cerebral” or some sort. Well, you must understand, I’m trying to take back those sleepless nights last semester, where most of them were spent from pouring myself over stacks of books that rubbed my brain raw. Well anyway, students like us deserved a good, nice vacation after such traumatic experience, and now I found out that watching TV, reading books of my own choice (I think that should be emphasized) and sleeping in between those times really help me during the break. Watching anime is also a great leisure activity. *laughs.

Speaking of anime, out of my boredom, I ranked my favorite ones to ten.

At the tenth spot is my all-time favorite Cardcaptor Sakura. What’s good about it is that it has a very excellent original story, and very nice vivid animation. My favorite character is Shaoran, although he’s an archetype, so to speak, but his character has a high degree of verisimilitude.

At ninth spot is Bokura ga Ita, or We Were There if I’m not mistaken in my English translation. I really like it because even though it’s the same pattern all over again, falling in love, breaking up, unrequited love – there is something in it that is expressed in a very subtle way. And the insert songs are so amazing. Even I, as a viewer, did have my own emotional struggle because of the conflict in Yano-Nana affair. And Yano is probably what some girls really like – after all two-thirds of the class is in love with him. The manga series is also cool, by Yuuki Obata.

At the eight spot is La Corda d’Oro Primo Passo which is currently shown in Animax. With its vivid animation and musical background plus fascinating guys, I couldn’t stand the fact of missing any single episodes. Hino is so captivating, I really like her a lot.

Next, at the seventh rank is Fruits Basket. It’s funny in a cute way, and even though Honda-san may appear so innocent and so naïve, she is really lovable. And see? There is always the usual love triangle affair among Tohru, Yuki and Kyo. The manga series is written by Takaya Natsuki.

At the sixth spot is Midori no Hibi (Midori Days). Midori is so cute. The anime is so funny, and worth my time, but later on when you encounter the drama part, you get carried away (maybe this is because you get used to think that this is a funny one, but when you get to the emotional part you ended up being touched by something you are not used to). Seiji Sawamura’s character as a highschool delinquent is a fascinating one, and the very cute Midori is really something to look forward to every episode.

How would you feel if you possessed a certain mystical stone that would increase your abilities a thousand fold? And if you’re an alchemist, you would have extraordinary power to heal all injuries and to have everlasting life. This is the story of Fullmetal Alchemist, at my fifth spot, a quest to find the ultimate Philosopher’s Stone. Edward Elric as the youngest state alchemist is utterly stunning. As you go on watching this anime you would find that there is an underlying message about the science-religion (or morality, for that matter) in it. After all, the power to possess the stone does not only bring good things, but it has the power to annihilate and destroy every single living life there is. I also like Winry Rockbell’s character, her addiction to rebuilding mechanical devices exemplifies her strong personality.

At the fourth spot is Honey and Clover! It’s a very heartwarming story of college students living their college lives amidst encountering emotional struggles and life’s difficulties until they learn more about themselves. My personal favorite character is Ayumi Yamada, the Iron Girl with her excellence in making pottery, and good looks (not to mention long legs). Her unrequited love for Takumi Mayama is one of the dramatic scenes of the anime.

At the third spot is Inuyasha, with its witty, amazing plot – a girl named Kagome traveling to the feudal environment using the old well and meeting the half-demon Inuyasha. The real story begins as they find the broken pieces of the Shikon no Tama, but along the way, there seems to be a lot of touching romantic episodes between Kagome and Inuyasha, and the conflict is escalated with the presence of another character, Kikyou, Inuyasha’s beloved. This is really a must-seen anime for me. My personal favorite character, aside from the main characters, is Sesshoumaru. Maybe because of his strong atmosphere that exudes in his personality.

At the second spot is Blood+ – an anime produced by Production IG and Aniplex, is a story of Saya Otonashii, as she fights Chiropterans and gets rid of them and finds her own self-identity along the way. This anime is a mixture of horror, action, drama, mystery, supernatural, and romance genres all in one, which makes up the anime’s complex and concentrated plot. Saya embarks on the journey to fight the Chiropteran (vampiric creatures) with her faithful servant Haji, some members of the Red Shield, brothers Kai and Riku and other faithful friends. The plot is so amazing that once you get started watching it, you wouldn’t like missing episodes in the future. Some scenes may contain strong violence and language, which is why it’s hard to let other people see it halfway because they might not understand. This anime is so good, that I love watching it all over again.

But my favorite most of all is Samurai X. The whole story is definitely amazing enough for anyone to like. The fight scenes, the language and the animation are perfectly incorporated. Kenshin Himura’s character as a wanderer and as a bloodthirsty swordsman is unforgettable. Some scenes are funny, terrifying and touching. My favorite character, other than Kenshin himself is Saito. He’s kinda disturbing but his personality is so strong for me. It’s a story of fighting for the better good, living a new life out of a dreadful past, learning to love even through circumstances when the haunting memories from the past seemed to still hang around within and being strong in one’s convictions. I love it.