I spent the last month with my girlfriend’s dog while she was away in China.

We bonded a lot :D

Thoughts on Ma Qiusha’s “From No. Pingyuanli to No.4 Tianqiaobeili”

I recently went to a gallery that hosted an exhibition featuring female Chinese artists…photographs, videos, live performance, the works. One particular piece was a video. It featured this Chinese woman (her name is Ma Qiusha) telling her life story in Mandarin. The video had a VHS quality to it, with poorly translated English subtitles following the tale that was being narrated. The subtitles were good enough to be comprehensible but bad enough to be humorous. So this lady tells the story of her life. She grew up in a poor neighbourhood in China. Life wasn’t easy for her family and because her parents wanted her to climb out of the poverty that had so defined their lives, they put a lot of pressure on her to develop some skill or talent. She picked up drawing at a young age. When her mother noticed this, she sent her to drawing schools on weekends and made her practice for hours everyday. She ended up doing her undergraduate at an art academy in China and graduate school in the US (to pay for the latter, her parents sold off a bunch of their possessions).

One could perceive an underlying bittersweet, love-hate current that flowed through her words as she told her story. On the one hand it was obvious that she loved her parents and deeply appreciated all the sacrifices they had made for her. But on the other hand, she seemed to feel a subtle resentment towards them. She seemed to resent how much pressure they had piled on her feeble back, their obsession with perfection, and how they threatened to turn art from an internally motivated passion to a torturous exercise for her. She addresses this tension through the length of the video. She seems to dance between gratitude and contempt, affection and animosity, love and loathing - never sure where to rest her feet.

But the end of the video is what really got me. It was twisted….but also fascinating. So throughout the clip she had a sort of grimace on her face: a pained expression that seemed to intensify the longer she spoke. Why did she have that look on her face? Was it from the angst and psychological discomfort that her childhood memories evoked? As she finished speaking and the video came to a climax, she stared at the camera, opened her mouth, and removed a blade from inside it. It turns out the blade had been inside her mouth for the entire 7-minute video. The blade and her tongue were stained with blood.

The last bit shocked me out of my seat. I literally gasped in the middle of the gallery. I felt like the blade had cut through my soul. I actually almost shed a tear. Not because it was particularly sad or overwhelmingly beautiful, but because it was so raw. She expressed herself - her pain, her joy, her grief, her everything - with such untamed intensity, with such fervency that I felt moved by it.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience.

A couple of stills from the video:

Anonymous
asks:
hi josiah, what's life been like for you after 'c'est tout'?

aw thanks for asking, anon. You’ve awakened me from my slumber. Life has been…cool. I guess. That’s such a difficult question to answer, you know? haha

Ramblings

Life is absurd. Reality is absurd. Society is absurd. Samuel Beckett could not have been more spot on in ‘Waiting for Godot’…waiting for Godot, waiting for the unattainable, waiting for the unobtainable, waiting for the unreal, waiting for…God.

Ken Ham and Bill Nye “debated” a couple of days ago. Quotation marks because it really was not much of a debate. There wasn’t much to argue about. One side: Evolution is true because there’s a mountain of evidence supporting it. Other side: Creationism is true because it says so in my Holy Book, and my Holy Book is the word of God. Well, how do you know your Holy Book is the written utterance of God? Because it says so in my Holy Book. Circular reason 101. How can educated adults in the developed world believe that the world was created in 7 days? Sigh. Absurdity.

Who is God, I wonder? Where may he be found? Once upon a time I searched for him. Earnestly. I looked in my heart, I looked in the trees, I looked in the sunset, I looked in the scriptures, I looked in philosophy, I looked in science. I looked. I looked. And I looked. Until I realized I was searching for a dream, searching for a mist, for a non-reality, searching for nothingness. God was my Godot: much had been said and promised about him, but his existence was almost certainly mythical. 

As for heaven and hell…those exist, along with Mordor and Wonderland, in the realm of the imagination. Neither fear them nor hope for them. Our world, our earth, our tiny little speck suspended in a vast and indifferent universe, is all that we have. And we can make it a metaphorical heaven or hell depending on how we live our lives and how we treat our fellow human beings.

C’est tout.

Always a sucker for flowers.

Always a sucker for flowers.

Be wary of Prejudice, lest it blind you and strip you of your humanity, till your soul is naked and bare.

paragraphs

I think a person is purest and most innocent when they are asleep. It’s a beautiful thing to watch - eyes closed, breathing constant, huddled under a blanket dreaming psychedelic things. What could be more lovely?
Not to be morbid or anything, but I sometimes wonder what death feels like. I suppose it doesn’t feel like anything, does it? It’s just a deep sleep you never wake up from. So then why do we fear it? 

I’m sitting here in my room, under my study lamp, reading about cross-cultural psychology in preparation for my exam this week. I looked outside and I saw gorgeous flakes of snow falling pirouetting down from the sky so gracefully, covering the concrete with a fluffy white blanket haha. How aesthetically pleasing.

I feel like it’s a precious skill to live life in the nuances. To look beyond the obvious and the ostentatious, and into the barely distinguishable layers of existence. There are so many tiny pleasures to be found in those delicate little spaces.

Doomsday by MF Doom from the album: Operation Doomsday

I’ve been feeling this cat recently. Sick beats, strange lyrics, and overall good vibe.

It’s a word! No, a name! MF - the super-villain!

K-tel “Record Selector”

I walked
through the valley
of the shadow of death
and planted flowers in it.

I am old

Sometimes I get so enthralled by old things. I remember a while ago I found a 200 year old book in my school’s library. I was so thrilled to hold it in my hands, to smell it, to run my fingers through its ancient pages. I made up stories in my head about people who had read the book in the years past. I thought about that era, the culture at the time, the way the buildings looked, and how people dressed and all that jazz.

In the macroevolution course I’m taking this semester, my professor speaks of fossils discovered that are hundreds of thousands, millions, or hundreds of millions of years old. Wow. I want to touch those fossils and feel the dust of a forgotten time. As my professor talks about these things, I begin to imagine what life was like back then. What was the earth like? What kind of living creatures roamed that human-less world? Take me back…

But today I realised something. The earth is about 4.5 billion years old. That means that all the elements that comprise earth as we know it have been around for literally billions of years. But what exactly does that mean? That means that the table on which my computer rests, the laptop keys I am tapping, the fingers which tap those keys, the muscles on my fingers which contract to allow me to tap those keys, the brain which is composing this tumblr post, the air I breathe, the glasses I wear, the shoes on my feet, ALL those things are composed of elements that are billions of years old.

Damn. I am old.

By “I” I don’t mean the human being you know to be Josiah. I don’t mean the conscious being with this personality and these idiosyncrasies and character traits and all that. That “I” was born only 20 years ago. But by “I” I mean the raw materials - the elements - of which the other “I” (Josiah) is composed.

I am billions of years old and it’s amazing to think about that.

Pensées sur l’enfer…

Nothing is permanent. Except hell. Every time I think about hell, my mind gets sucked into this thick raging black hole and I have to exert myself (meta)physically to pull my mind out. Hell is a dark dark place and I’m not really a fan of it. How can the human mind comprehend a time scale as large as Eternity? Infinity is a concept too wide to wrap my very finite mind around. I can’t do it. In my lectures, my feeble brain struggles to grasp the multibillion year time span that Darwinian evolution must have required to transform life on earth from simple single cells to complex, conscious, and clearly confused creatures as human beings. That’s hard enough. But then hell comes into the picture. Hell is a place of torment, punishment, suffering, sadness, misery, and all such nouns in that family of words. But the real killer, the real murderer of my sanity is the fact that this bleakness will last an eternity. Sinful souls swallowed by the darkness of hell shall remain in its belly for an infinite amount of Time. Time in fact becomes useless in a place like hell because the main utility of my wristwatch is to help me mark the beginning and the end. Hell has a beginning, but has no end. You jut suffer endlessly. What a terrible place.
Dear lord of peace, love, and mercy, how could the eternal suffrage of children supposedly created in your image possibly be compatible with any of those aforementioned qualities?

Dear Homeless Man

Dear Homeless man
sitting on the bus
staring into space
beard overgrown
mane wild and unkempt
but with a distinct bald patch
like a desert in the middle of the Amazon,
when we made eye contact
for two precious little seconds
I began to wonder…

I wondered what your name was
and where your mother was born
and what kind of music you liked to listen to.

I wondered if
people treated you like a human being.

I wondered if you had children
and if you believed in an afterlife
and if sky blue was one of your favourite colours
and if you had ever dreamt of becoming a doctor
and if you had friends you hung out with on Saturday evenings
and if you had ever kissed the lips of a girl you were in love with,
as the world around you melted
into sweet nothingness
and if…

Dear Homeless Man
sitting on the bus
staring into space
I often wander
I suppose you and I
aren’t that different.

Kush & Corinthians (Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid) by Kendrick Lamar from the album: Section.80

Live your life, live it right

Be different, do different things

Don’t do it like

He did, cause he aint what you is…