On Saigyo, I

Saigyo seems to have been a master of his own genre, a poet with skills unrivalled by others. I do not really have a wish to write much about him — just wanted to post one of his poems.

When facing crises,
what will be gone completely are
thoughts of their perfect beauty —
that of blossoms known intimately
in the sage emperor’s palace.

Quite nice, in my opinion. Also, seems to fit my general tone at this moment… Exactly that thoughts of perfection are gone… completely…

‘And what are they replaced by?
 — ‘RSVP!

A Poem by Saigyo

[Disclaimer: The original post can be found here with minor edits in this version.]

Saigyo seems to have been a master of his own genre, a poet with skills unrivalled by others. I do not really have a wish to write much about him — just wanted to post one of his poems.

When facing crises,
what will be gone completely are
thoughts of their perfect beauty —
that of blossoms known intimately
in the sage emperor’s palace.

 

Quite nice, in my opinion… Also, it seems to fit the general tone of my being at the present moment. Although those thoughts of perfection are near-completely gone…

‘And what are they replaced by?
— ‘RSVP!

On Willingness

‘Willingness’
1.
Disposed or inclined; prepared.
2. Acting or ready to act gladly; eagerly compliant.
3. Done, given, accepted, or borne voluntarily or ungrudgingly.
4. Of or relating to exercise of the will; volitional.

The four definitions of willingness all relate it to being prepared. I find that the most important part of being willing to do anything is related to the mental aspect – even if one does not have the physical capabilities of achieving something, he (or she) will go a longer way if he (or she) is mentally prepared. If one isn’t, however, then there is nothing to achieve with any sort of physical shape that might be a precondition under other terms.

Therefore, if one objects to something subconsciously it can never be accomplished. Such is the way in which our world is run, and we can do nothing to counter it.

The question here rather lies in whether we can build willingness if it does not exist in the first place. I find that there are several likely answers for this:
 

  •  We cannot build willingness if it is not there in the first place. This results from a mental block towards this one thing (be it whatever, completely irrelevant what for the purposes of this discussion) which cannot be overcome lest the block be completely destroyed. However, if we destroy an aspect of our mind, do we not destroy the mind itself? Can we destroy a part of our own mind, leaving everything else intact? I’m afraid that this can’t be done, as perhaps demonstrated to us by Orwell in ‘1984’s third part (if I remember the location right).
  • It can be overcome, but only through careful application of time. The willingness is there at times, or the willingness is created over time. Yet, it is not there now — therefore, time is needed to build this willingness. To overcome the lack of willingness without time would likely result in a smaller problem than the one mentioned above, but it would still create a problem of some degree. Still, this approach will result in reducing the lack of willingness, and transforming it into willingness itself.
  • The willingness itself is indescribable, and solely depending on some arbitrary criterion which cannot be properly defined. As such, the willingness can’t be created over time, nor is it un-creatable. Willingness, by the approach that this option suggests, creates itself at the right time. This would likely be connected with a specific mood, or some similar option.

Why this question ever became relevant at this moment is connected to the fact that I had this specific mood that ‘I can write, I want to write!’ a few days ago, but I didn’t use it for anything. Now, I need to hand in an essay tomorrow (‘How Tolerance for Diversity Decreases in a Time of Need’), and I have written the introduction in some… three hours? *sigh* How feeble the plans of men… to plan something for tomorrow, and yet never know what will be the providence of tomorrow.

"Will there be fairies, or things to fear?"

Also, for anyone interested, if I have the time I might come up with a TQ-style question on the origins of the seven first letters of the blog address. Might be interesting to see who scores first (and what other options come up).

On Cities

Someone told me I should write on naval matters… can’t connect my thought-line to anything naval as of now though, just can’t. Seems to be an entirely different course to take me to the naval issues, though I would very much like to voice an opinion in favour of global thalassocrasy. 

Now, on to the topic I have chosen to write a few words about… cities. For some reason, it seems to me that cities are taken very light-heartedly. Yet, I cannot imagine myself living in most of the cities that I visit, simply because I cannot find the spirit and emotion that I require in them. 

I mean that a city can be gloomy and it can be happy, it can be green or a jungle of concrete. A city can govern the skies, or spread on scores of square kilometers. The varieties that a city can take are immense; there are basically no limits to where or how a city can go and develop. The only limits here are presented to us by the borders of the human mind (ie, infinity in all directions), the advancements of technology in engineering, and the will to terraform in order to get a more stable ground structure-work. Therefore, in all practical matters when we take that we have the eternity in which to develop, the varieties of cities we will see will also be infinite. This matter is however quite insignificant, and I am unsure why I stopped on it for such a period of time.

The Life. I don’t think that the city is its people. I’d rather believe that the people add to the tones and colours of the city, and not shape it. The city itself is the structures, the geometrical shapes that are formed by the districts and street networks. Therefore, I’d also say that the spirit of a city remains the same if it has one inhabitant, a million inhabitants, or no inhabitants then the city itself is the same, it just has taken on a different aspect of the same thing. Turn a rock upside down, and you see the same thing. This said I believe that you can understand why I generally do not care how many people a city has since that does not change the city itself. Also, it makes little difference when you see the city — at daytime when it is packed with people, or at night when it has none… it all still adds up to the one single city, which you see whenever you look at it.

What I actually wished to address was however, that you can only see the entirety of a city when you have seen it in all seasons. Then you know it, then you know what to expect and what to not expect from the city. I think I have seen only four cities during all of the four different seasons (might be five, but I can’t remember the specifics on Stockholm). Anyways, the four would be Tallinn, Pärnu, Helsinki and Nõmme. Truth be said, Nõmme isn’t a city anymore, but in the dreams of Freiherr N. von Glehn it was a city, and it held it’s city rights proudly for nearly fourteen years before it was united with Tallinn (*cough*Soviets*cough*). I suppose I should address them all separately, but I don’t really feel like it. To make a long story short, only Nõmme, Pärnu and Helsinki deserve credit. Tallinn itself is nothing worthwhile for me, and the city seems to have forgotten something… perhaps itself, its reasons, its motives. It should find them again, or it will never be as grand as it once was. Anyways, Nõmme, Pärnu and Helsinki… Nõmme and Pärnu are quite the same here, with both being very green and friendly, comfortable places for a comfortable person. Helsinki is more of this metropolian center which has forever been cast into my memory due to its… scope — the statue of Ratsuväenkenraali Mannerheim, the central alleys, tram-routes, centuries’ old houses, and yet it feels friendly: it does not give off the same aura as Tallinn (excluding Nõmme, be it city or district).

So yes, to know a city, you need to see it during all seasons, and embrace it. Then you will know it, and understand what it wants. Moreover, I believe, that a crucial part of the founder lives on in the modern city, in the modern city’s planning and development. And I believe that it can be seen, what fits the dream of the founder, and what does not.

Below, you will find Ted Nasmith’s drawing of Tirion. Beautiful.

Echoes of the Past

I find that it is increasingly easier to draw up new conclusions once the past has been dealt with. The past seems to be a most integral part of the present, and yet, it is already behind us, and cannot be altered.

The past is therefore a dangerous thing. We should not allow it to be created without control.

How can we control the past? That question equals how we can control the future.

It will be difficult…

… but we can do it.

But before we can set on either of the tasks, we need to control the present. To do that, we need to understand ourselves, and what we want. To understand our underlying motives, and what put them there.

The real question is, however… shall we want to control the past, after we have understood ourselves to the utmost?

On Stars

 

Today, in my physics class (where we were studying the properties of the stars and whatnot), I had the distinct feeling that man should do something with the stars. What can man do to the stars? What should man do to the stars? It is important to first realize what nature itself does to stars — stars are born, they grow, and in the end they die. It is all just as tragic (or even more so) as with any human that lives today, or has ever lived. It might even be considered more tragic since there are far more stars than there shall ever be humans, and every star is far more glorious than any human.

I think it was Matthew Stover who wrote something along the lines of ‘…in the end, even stars die: Their inner fire cools down, and they fade away.‘ He also compared the stars to dragons (long dead, cold dragons to dying stars, i.e.). If I had the book, I’d write the exact quote, but I’m afraid that that particular book is in some Turkish hotel’s library right now if no one has taken it for himself.

Anyways, if I thought that humans should do something with the stars, the natural conclusion was that humans should make a star supernovae prematurely (before the timely end of its lifecycle). Sure, compared to my earlier words it would seem as advocating murder, but there is currently no reason to believe (no matter how well A.C. Clarke has written of them) that there is any life on the Sun (or therefore, on any other star). Furthermore, our society (in general) is not yet at a point where we can speak of inanimate objects and ‘hurting’ or ‘murdering’ them, if we ever will.  

Let’s get down to the matter at hand: making stars supernovae. I have no knowledge (yet) how this could be done. Yet, I am an active supporter that this should be done – I do not propose our own Solar System for it, nor any other closer system, and I do think that the entire system should first be carefully explored to lessen the possibilities of destroying life (or its evolution), but these are minor issues compared to the full extent of the matter at hand.

Now, when we have reached this step you might be wondering why or how this is useful to us. This is what I find most compelling personally… I’d say that the act of making a star supernovae will prove to us humans that there are greater forces around (imagine the destruction… swiping out a star system of our own galaxy) as well as making us comprehend. Very likely… possibly not even likely, but certainly, once we supernovae a star, we will realize something new.

And I am of the utmost belief that our realization will be for the better…
 

Stars

Contemplation: A Poem by Nogi Maresuki

Mountain and river, grass and tree, grow more barren;
for ten miles winds smell of blood in the fresh battlefield.
Conquering horses do not advance nor do men talk;
outside Jinzhou Castle, I stand in the setting sun.
— Nogi Maresuke
 
This captivated me, today. Quite unsure why… but I can imagine the scene so very perfectly. 

The poem somehow advances into greatness, achieving it without trouble.

It seems most fitting for a grand Lieutenant General (Rikugun Chūjō) of the Imperial Japanese Army; for a loyal officer; for a careful and considerate commander…

I don’t think there is much more to add — in any case, the poem quite puts forward what I wished to convey. Perhaps, it cannot be formulated in other words except those already present in the poem…

Most interesting, isn’t it? 

 

On Tigers: Stripes and Coats

Today, an interesting problem arose: Do the characteristics of a tiger depend on what color its fur coat is? For example, if we have a white tiger and a casual one (or should I say ‘normal’ one?), then are their personal characteristics different because they have different color coats?

I’ll introduce you to my line of thought on the problem (on which I also consulted a few other persons, though their opinions were not conclusive, nor very well presented either), but firstly, in case you don’t know who I’m talking about:

Casual/Normal TigerWhite Tiger
So, on the left, we’ve got a white tiger, and on the right the other one. They look quite the same, and yet, the question continues to puzzle me. [At least they were Left and Right in the Rich Text Editor. The Preview doesn’t seem to agree with me though so I don’t have an idea how it will turn out.]

So, here we go:

Firstly, when we take a look at the tigers, they are similar. There might be small differences which amount to the length of the whiskers, or something trivial like that, but, in principle, the tigers are similar. So, do the two tigers have differing personalities because one has a white coat, and the other a light brown one? I would assume that they do, for even if they don’t know about it the coat is how the entire world sees the tigers. They might not care that they are white or light brown, but since everyone else has the appearance of a white or light brown tiger so do the two tigers notice how everyone acts differently when either appears.

Secondly, one of the persons who I asked for advice in this matter said that the color of the coat does not matter, since if we use humans as an example, darker-skinned humans don’t have different personalities from lighter-skinned humans because they have a different skin-tone, but because they are different entities. Now, if we project this into the world of tigers, we would say that the two tigers have different personalities because they are different tigers. *But*, if we now negate this single outward difference and remove the color from the tigers (and the humans), would their personalities really remain the same? I seriously doubt it because it is illogical to assume that the loss of color (or change into another color) does nothing to the personalities of tigers (and humans) when they are used to their own colors. But when we assume that tigers (and those two humans as well) object to the forceful changing of their color, and that their personalities would change if we took that color away from them (which seems entirely logical to me), then it would also be correct to stipulate that their personalities are different because they have a color, even if everything else (including the set of mind, and outlook to the world) is the same.

Therefore, I conclude (with perhaps not the best kind of logic and line of thought used, but nevertheless conclude) that tigers have different personalities not only because they are different specimens, but also because their coats are of a different color.

Now, you might be wondering, is this the case with elephants and leopards as well? I’m quite sure I cannot confirm or deny that at this point… for it will require careful consideration to either prove or disprove the same in those instances.

For the final part, perhaps, a short piece by G.R.R. Martin:

And who are you, the proud lord said,
That I must bow so low?
Only a cat of a different coat,
That’s all the truth I know.
In a coat of gold or a coat of red,
A lion still has claws,
And mine are long and sharp, my lord,
As long and sharp as yours.
And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
That lord of Castamere,
But now the rains weep o’er his hall,
With no one there to hear.
Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall,
And not a soul to hear.

Introduction: On My Concepts of Blogging

I have not been a particular fan of blogs, though it might be said that recently I’ve begun to appreciate their worth in both a literary and communicative form more than before. That being said, I found little use for a blog earlier on, but now (in part due to a friend’s urging as well) I’ve decided to try my luck in this innovative (for the previous century, perhaps) genre — but I won’t be posting my own activities and adventures (firstly, because if I ever write an autobiography it will be from a position that has a meaning, and secondly, because it’s simply terrible style to write only about oneself), but rather on the world, from my own perspective.

I sincerely hope that if you’ve taken the time to read this short introduction, you will also be kind enough to return for a read on whatever I will decide to elaborate on in the coming days.

Thanks,