Friday, August 30, 2013

Author's Right

               Here’s a question that I have been thinking about for a while. As much as we think we won’t change our ideas later in life, we do. Or sometimes, we see something that we were perfectly satisfied with before, but now think it could be better. That’s sort of a curse/blessing for authors, designers, artists, and directors. Now the question I have is, over the course of a series, does the creator have the right to make changes as he sees fit?
                I thought about this question as I read through Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind manga (Japanese comic) by Miyazaki. I started reading it after watching the film for the first time. I heard that Miyazaki is a master animator. As I read through the manga, I could see how the story changed over the course of its 12 year publication. I was surprised. However, just with the first two volumes which the movie adaptation was based on, it was different. I wondered if I didn’t know the movie and manga were done by the same person, would I have yelled at the director for not knowing the source material? Would I have hated the movie instead of thinking it as an opportunity to explore a different path?
                The same applies to the Hunger Games movie. While that wasn’t too different from the book, I still felt some peace knowing it was written by the same person. Of course, this does not always fulfill the desires of the audience.
In the Nausicaa example, I found myself disappointed with the ending of manga because it appeared to betray the ideas of the character I held. In the video game world, there was another recent example where the audience felt betrayed by the guy who handled the series for a long time. The case was Metroid: Other M. Metroid is famous for its gameplay but also for the surprise reveal at the end that its protagonist was a woman. In the games, the player rarely hears her voice so they are able to easily create an idea of a strong, silent type. When this other game came out, the audience felt betrayed by her annoying voice (at least for the English version) and her excess of dialogue. She now came across as weak (even while facing a monster she demolished) and whiny. So is the writer allowed to “betray” his audience in that way, even when it’s the same writer as before?
A more famous example that gets people riled up is Star Wars. This is certainly an example where an audience cries out that the “prequels” don’t exist and yells at George Lucas for any changes to the original trilogy. Even as I watched through the original trilogy, I could feel that Return of the Jedi was not the same as planned. After searching through the internet, I could find comments from various actors and producers saying that, such as Harrison Ford not planning to be in it or Leia was not supposed to be Luke’s sister.
However, as annoyed or disappointed I might get from the creator making a change, I just have to accept it. There really shouldn’t be any question of rights here. The story is author’s creation. It’s what the author thinks about again and again, using it to express ideas. Now as time goes on, the ideology of a man changes as well. If the author also discovers he can make the work better or at least closer to his vision, then he should be able to make the changes necessary.

Friday, August 23, 2013

no subject

Sorry. This week, I don't have an essay to post. I've been and still am busy with personal business. Due to that, I haven't thought about any subjects worth sharing yet. Hopefully everything will be good soon. I will try to have a new post ready for next week for you all to read.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Open Minds

                It’s something very appropriate in today’s world. We hear about it a lot with people attacking each other with, “Don’t be closed-minded. Have an Open-Mind.” It’s an ironic situation because most of the people saying that are trying to convince someone of something while refusing to reconsider their own position. What is the good of having an open-mind? What are the foundations for the argument in the first place? What does it mean to be open-minded?
                The benefit relies on the premise that we don’t know everything. It relies on the idea that what we have is imperfect and it can be better. There are some cases where that is true and others where it’s the opposite. It becomes a question of whether what this person is saying is reliable. Is the “new” way actually better than the tried and true approach?
Another building block for the argument is lack of trust. It’s a lack of trust of your ancestors. It’s funny because we can find examples popping up where the old wives tales were totally right, and they knew without the science to prove it. A lot of things that are said to be “healthy” are not. Sometimes, in our desperation to fix a problem, we don’t consider everything and cause even more and worse problems.
One situation would be we have too much carbon dioxide in the air, so we need to use fuels that don’t produce it. Oh! Here’s a fuel that doesn’t produce so much carbon dioxide, let’s market it. Then later we find out that it puts worse stuff in the air that lasts longer because at least with carbon dioxide, the trees clean it, but nothing can take care of the new junk right now.
One horrible example that has gone wrong would be the Killer Bees. Genetically modify bees, but ended up taking out something important and now they are murderous and spreading. It is dangerous to focus on only one thing that we neglect how it connects with everything else.
Now I’m not arguing that we should not have an open-mind. We just need to know what it means. It means that we consider and acknowledge the truth in the other opinion, but then we look for where it goes wrong. Having an open-mind does not mean we have to accept the other opinion. The benefit is that it helps us remember what was true in our own courses of action and help us look for the absolute truth. Just because the opposing opinion is different, that doesn’t mean it is right. Perhaps both sides are wrong and we need to reconcile the truths of both parties. Though it is also important to realize that some “truths” are only so when based off a lie.
It’s amazing how much we fear just being considered “closed-minded.” Imagine if life was a delicate flower (because it is). If we are so closed-minded in our attempt to be open-minded, we might expose ourselves to toxic water, because giving only good water would be closed-minded. Just a drop is fatal, but because we want to be “open-minded” we toss common sense. We need to be careful about what we open ourselves up to and consider the wisdom passed down through the ages. Considering that it has lasted ages, there must be some truth in there.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Appreciating Your Hometown

               I used to think my hometown was boring. There was certainly a base to the feeling, nothing caught my interest. The greatest thing me and some friends could come up with cost a bit of money and the thrill lasted for only a little while. It could be argued that this would lead to delinquency, or doing drugs. The thing is, this feeling exists everywhere.
                When I was younger, I remember talking to friends who lived far away and they would say there was plenty to do in their hometown, but when I got there, the excitement didn’t come. When I asked what he was referring to before, he would reply, “Oh, we just walked and talked in the mall.”
                In my travels, I’ve noticed that many people become bored with their home and think they can find excitement somewhere else. They don’t realize that someone coming from there might be thinking the same way. A person from Arizona could go to Washington and be excited beyond belief at the sight of snow. The enjoyment can be so great that he refers to it as “Raining powdered sugar!” while the natives will just think, “cold…” The key is there. The secret is perception.
                A lot of our dissatisfaction is fabricated in our mind. As a kid, my dad would praise me for always finding some way to amuse myself. Personally, I recall complaining that where we went was boring, but I did wander around to find something to do and have fun doing it. Back then, it was a lot easier because there was nothing hindering us to utilize our imaginations. If a grown man started to pretend in public, he’d probably be considered weird (unless he is playing with a little kid). Oh wait, they are. As a result of some of my philosophy, I don’t consider Live Action Role Playing to be a weird activity, but I can overhear other people’s opinions on the matter.
                There is actually generally quite a bit going on, we just need to look and keep an open mind. If we allow ourselves to enjoy something, then it will be great. Another thing would be we have to learn how to “do nothing.”
                In one day, I experienced how trying, and separately, how pleasant “doing nothing” could be. I haven’t thought much about it before, but it is a very important aspect of life.
It’s amazing how “doing nothing” can be the most difficult trial one can face. It can be an excruciating penance to have to sit and wait and wait.
Learning to cope with “doing nothing” is important, especially for marriage. When I think of marriage, I tend to think about a partner who I could do stuff with and talk with. However, it’s also important to be able to simply sit back and enjoy each other’s presence.
It’s a weird thought, but I guess one secret to making the lack of doing something enjoyable is making it meaningful. If I told a holy man to, “sit and wait,” he’d probably pray and be at ease. The other method is to simply enjoy what is around and appreciate it. Yes, it’s weird that we have to practice “doing nothing” before we can fully enjoy it. The practice is simply to rewire your thoughts on the subject and alter your perception to permitting appreciation.
Sometimes, just having the right companion can be enough. If you bring the right kind of company, and let them bring out the appropriate behaviors, you can have a fantastic time and you wouldn’t need to do anything bad.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fighting and Relationships

                Something we hear quite a bit, “Fighting is actually good for relationships.” However, they need to be done right. In order to determine how to handle them properly, we need to understand why they would be good.
                One thing I think about when it comes to that “fighting” phrase is that I cannot recall ever fighting with my best friend. The closest I can remember was an outburst when we were little and that’s it. However, I remember what was said, and it has affected how I treat others. Whenever I had anything to feel angry about, by the time we hang out and I understand what happened, I’m no longer upset over the situation.
                This illustrates two important parts of an argument and that it is possible to get by without fighting. So fighting should actually be one of the last resorts, used when we otherwise won’t listen. This leads to the first key. We need to listen to our friend (or significant other). We then need to be able to understand the problem and work to address it. Of course, in order for this to happen smoothly, we need to have a conversation. The reason why I say “conversation” instead of “talk” is because the former implies “listening”. Both sides need to clearly give their side and feelings.
                The reason why fighting is “good” is because they get the feelings and “observations” out in the open instead of keeping them to ourselves. However, if it turns to be a nonsensical argument (not the reasonable kind), then we must remember that the other side will have at least one or two valid points. We don’t get uptight if we don’t at least have those. Sure, they could be based on misunderstandings, but they are valid.
                If the arguments stem from misunderstandings, then we should probably explain what we really meant and ask how we could have communicated that better. It’s amazing how many disputes come because spouses did not recognize that everything they did was out of love, but failed to tell the other so. The same happens with failing to say a simple, “thank you”. Verbally expressing love and appreciation, along with actions, can go pretty far.
                One piece of advice that is solid for arguments is never use, “never” and “always”. They only irritate the other more because your partner can think of a counter-example.
                Another piece of advice I think is important is to remember you did love the other. If you think you don’t love the other person now, remember you did before. This tells us it is possible to love them still. In another essay, I pointed out that “Love is that self-sacrificing act of will that longs for the good of the other.”
The two parts that make up that statement are “Love is an act of the will influenced by the heart,” and also “Love wills the good of the other”. If you ask what love is, there is your answer. Because when we think of true and real love, anything that goes against these two parts is not love. The reason why “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend” is because it is a concrete example of willingly sacrificing yourself for the good of your friend. It shows how much you value your friend. It also explains why we are extravagant when we are in love; we are trying to communicate that we value the other very much.
                So now if we add the other anecdote, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” the reasons why you loved your friend or spouse doesn’t have to be the same as to love them now. You just will it, and the desires, passions, etc. should come back, as long as you do it right.

Now it’s time for a theory from me. In relation to this topic, one of my teachers told me that she noticed “girls fight to get revenge, boys fight to make a point”. How accurate it is, I don’t know, but there is at least some truth. My concern is on the latter.
Why would that be the case? Does it have to do with upbringing? Is it an issue of stubbornness? It seems a little counter-intuitive that if you want someone to listen, you beat him up. I think part of the thing is that when we get angry, we become irrational and our minds are cloudy. However, if the energy is used up in a scuffle, then we eventually calm down and are able to reason. Now I don’t condone having a wrestling match when you get angry, especially where it could be interpreted as domestic abuse. But if you need to cool off before getting into a highly charged argument, maybe hit the batting cages first (or something you can do together) but remember to actually converse afterwards.