Sunday, October 24, 2010

Telephone Wires and Relationships

   There are some things in this world that are almost inevitable. Dealing with death and break ups are among those on the list. Whether you initiate the break up or not, it can be one of the most anxiety-filled events in your entire life. This stress is only magnified when you're forced to maintain contact with that person because of school, work, or an array of other reasons. Constantly seeing one's ex hinders the moving-on process that must occur after a break up. If moving forward means moving on, then one must find a way to feel differently then what they naturally do.

   Have you ever wondered why birds don't get shocked while sitting on telephone wires?

   It's an interesting question considering there's an enormous amount of electricity running through the cables. Logically it would make sense that the birds would get fried. The reason for this is that the birds aren't "grounded" while sitting on the wires. In other words, because the birds are in no way connected to the ground, the electrical current ignores them. Birds do not conduct electricity well, so the only way the current will pass through them is if they are in contact with something that electricity wants to move toward, like the ground. That being said, if a bird were to accidentally touch the pole to which the ground is connected then they would be electrocuted to an almost certain death.

   In many ways, the concept of a bird on a telephone wire is similar to that of coping with a break up. The ground is your past; the wire your future. Alone, neither are in any way dangerous. A bird can sit on a telephone wire and be perfectly safe, and the same goes for standing on the ground. It's only when the bird is in contact with both that disaster occurs. You can't sit on a telephone wire and touch the ground, and you can't move on while clinging to your past. There's no in between, no compromise; you have to fully commit to one or the other. Trying to find a median only results in pain. It might seem fine initially, but if you try it, prepare for a shock.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Odysseys and Journeys and Personal Understandings...Oh My!

   Journeys are everywhere. In my English class we are reading The Odyssey by Homer. Normally, I think authors who lack either a first or last name sound somewhat pretentious, but someone of Homer's status can probably pull it off. The book follows many characters on their individual journeys. Among those characters are Telemachus and Odysseus. The book in a way revolves around Odysseus, considering that most of the journeys are somehow related to him. Honestly, I don't enjoy reading the book. I think that it focuses on events that could be explained by a mere paragraph, and quickly breezes through topics that I would enjoy elaboration on. What I do enjoy about the book though, is the idea of  "the hero's cycle" or "the hero's journey." From The Odyssey to Star Wars, this concept of a hero's journey is everywhere. There are an unbelievable amount of movies and books that follow this format. The only place that we as a society often forget this format applies to is our own lives.
   There are many stages in the hero's journey, but there are a few that I consider to be the most important: the Call to Adventure, Obstacles, the Shadow Realm and the Return. Most of these stages are pretty self-explanatory. The Call to Adventure is the realization (whether it's accidental or intentional) that one has a mission they must accomplish, and therefore set out on their journey. In the case of Telemachus, his call to adventure is when the Greek god Athena comes to his house disguised as a mortal. The next stage is when one encounters obstacles. Obstacles are simply people or events that slow one down. The Shadow Realm (sometimes referred to as Hades) is one's weakest moment. It is seemingly the point of no return. It is an all time low. It is rock bottom. It is a feeling that every one of us has encountered. Finally, there is the Return. This is not just the voyage home, but the point where one gives back to the community after having learned what was learned on the entire journey.
   I personally can think of a journey that I went on. It was not like Odysseus's, but more of a mental journey. What I urge you to do though, is think of what journeys you have been on. Who was your Athena calling you to adventure? What were your obstacles? What was your Shadow Realm? Did you ever return?
  Asking yourself these questions is extremely important. The success of your life depends on if you recognize the journeys that you've already experienced. And that, in my opinion, is the really interesting aspect of The Odyssey. It opens a door to a world filled with journeys. Because the truth is, journeys are everywhere, and you can't have a future until you understand your past.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lessons and People and Air-Guitar

   Lessons are everywhere. Corny as it may be, it's true. In my personal opinion, it is more difficult to not learn something from an experience than to benefit from it. I was recently involved in my school's production of Air Guitar High. In case you didn't know, and I would truly be surprised if you did know, Air Guitar High is a show about high school students. It follows a group of misfits who find refuge in entering an air-guitar competition. Our school was the first school to preform it since it's publishing, which was only four weeks prior.
   Initially, I found the show's script rather dull and was not thrilled with our director's choice. I didn't see anything extremely deep or insightful about the play. The play as a whole was a metaphor for the way teenagers express themselves nowadays, but besides that it was fairly straightforward. The problem though, was I was too focused on the script itself that I didn't bother to look up and see what was happening around me.
   The morals that the play was trying to convey were somehow implemented into my life. I honestly cannot explain it, but there was something about that show that was...true. For instance, one of the reocurring themes of the play was that of coming out of one's shell. Personally, I didn't think an activity as juvenile as air-guitar would enable someone to really experience some internal growth. I later realized though, that there isn't that much of a difference between air-guitar and acting. Both require one to fully commit oneself to it, and possibly face the embarrassing consequences.
   So, as I watched my co-actors rehearse, I realized how much we had all grown together. I had become so incredibly close with these other people; there was now truly a bond that united us all. I considered what the cause of the change was, and what I came up with was this: One cannot pretend to be someone else until they fully reveal who they are. Acting is a very complicated concept. Some will say acting is no different then lying, but that is far from the truth. Lying is hiding; acting is opening up.
  Now I must go back to my initial point. Lessons are everywhere. I was in a play about air-guitar and managed to learn more about myself and my friends than I had in a very long time.
  So, I guess life is kind of like air-guitar: It's not about the noise you make, it's about believing that you're holding something.