Out of window

Spring is coming here in Denmark. I prefer to say ‘coming’ because, although we are ‘officially’ in spring times, I’m not really sure if the weather actually reflects that! Anyway, what strikes me the most is overlooking out of my (tiny) window the pale buildings nearby, with its colorful roofs (red, blue, black…). I’ve just taken a shot, and I’d like sharing it with you.

As you can see, there is an urban-nature ‘fusion’ between the bright blue sky (I love this soothing ‘blue’ – and, obviously, I get excited when the sun comes out here) and the colorful house’s roofs. I don’t know, but I guess there is something different with the brightness here. Everything, when we have a sunny day, seems to reflect this remarkably electric blue.

The blue has a strong impact on my mood, I must say. Somehow, it remembers me the blue of the Ocean. Whenever I go to the beach, this is the same feature that catches my eyes – the “blueness”. The only striking difference is the intensity of the brightness, I reckon. In Brazil, especially in the region where I live (Northeast), the sun is merciless intense. As a result, we normally have a scorching weather. Here in DK, on the contrary, at the same time that we can appreciate the “blueness”, the weather is ‘milder’ when compared to Brazil (actually, maybe I’m making a rough mistake here…call Danish weather ‘mild’).

Well, just in case, here a picture that I found on the internet – it is a beach located in the region where I live there in Brazil (Rio Grande do Norte, south coast). The blue, of course, is also there…but, in this case, there is no city-nature fusion, as here where I’m now, but rather a fusion of three natural elements: the (blue) sky, the blue-green of the ocean (Atlantic, in this case), and the ” beige” of the sand (not to mention the people in the water). This is an ‘artistic’ photo, of course. But I have to admit that, in natura, the place is even more incredible.

Imagem relacionada

I prefer listening to talking (#52)

I prefer listening to talking (#51)

Six nonsensical and extemporaneous assertions

1. Speaking English is a sign of ‘intelligence’? Don’t be an idiot. This is only a question of where you’ve born. “English native speakers” are such a regular person as you.

2. You have a body, right? Of course, you have. Ok, so let’s take a geographic perspective. The ground is the reference point, ok? Then, from bottom-up, we have, (1) shit (your stomach and so forth), and … (2) your brain.

3. Around one “smart guy” (basically, someone that has managed to deal with valuable symbolical resources, because he or she is a professional hoax), there are always a lot of other “small guys” trying to benefit or be as “smart” as their “master.” As Rorty once said: only one or two are really innovative (intellectually speaking). The rest is only trying to copy and find some justification to fill the space between their foot and their brain (I mean: that thick layer of shit).

4. What if the cynism was the best (or the only) way to deal with the nonsensical conditions of modern (and, especially, academic) life?

5. Your life would be completely different if you could listen to music, take wine and, then (and only then), was able to use what is located above the shit-deposit I’ve mentioned before (of course, doing everything at once). The “raw” life is too much tough and meaningless to support.

6. Marx, I bet, is laughing in his grave. Because we think we are free spirits walking around the world. When you come to realize that you only need to render account to those who pays your bills, your feeling of being free (or captive) would much be more realistic.

***Final remark: we speak more than we should. Have you already realized how noisily the world is? I´m doing my part…

Danish divagations II (the smile)

After some time here in Denmark, I came to realize a certain Danish cultural trace (at least this is what I’m able to catch as a foreign). Walking down on the street, it is not uncommon to be surprised by someone smiling at you. Yes, people that are completely unfamiliar to you can look at you and … smile to you! It has happened to me at the supermarket, at the park, and at the street. Typically, it is a glance of a smile, but even so a smile.

First, of course, I thought that it was something addressed to me. Then I started to check out which kind of person used to do that more frequently. The result of this rough “survey” was that older woman used to smile more often that the younger ones. Well, but eventually I was also gifted by some young girl smile.

In a self-centered culture, where the face is a proxy to, obviously, the self, I think my first reaction was entirely understandable. The person somehow only exists to the other when she is seen by the other. More specifically, when their eyes meet. Social encounters – like at public spaces – are ruled out by an impersonal code according to which, if my eyes turn out to meet your eyes, immediately I’m supposed to shift them away – for instance, to the sky or the other’s shoes.

But what should I think when in addition to eyes contact, the experience comes with a smile? Both as quick as lightning? When my eyes glance off someone’s eyes as we walk past on the street, a sort of “relationship” is immediately settled. What kind of relationship? Well, you feel like beeing recognized, but not as Pedro, a particular self (even if I’d prefer the opposite), but as a person like the other. Second, you may feel some kind of reciprocity. Levinas, in a book about the Face, said that the face (not necessarily the physical or even psychological one) is a way to “face” the alterity – but, in Levinas’ account, I recognize the other’s suffering face. Here what I’m looking at is a smiling face, something quite different from a suffering face.

Over time, I finally came across with a hypothesis, an explanation for this (I guess) typical Danish behavior. Smiling is as much impersonal as swift eyes away. Here’s my guess: it is the way that the local culture found to regulate the social behavior, the borders between the intimacy/strangeness. In the social encounters, I unconsciously tell you: “Don’t be afraid, I’m a kind person, and I’ll not hurt you.” But, in return, “I hope you do the same to me.”

My question is: what happens when someone wants to demonstrate some particular “interest” in someone else, as when you are trying to get on with someone? There will be a different nuance in the way they smile, or look at one another? Could be the opposite, I mean, if I’m interested in you as a singular person, should I “ignore” you, or maybe could I have any trouble in staring at you?

El roto

Nature

What do you feel by watching the short video below, extracted from the documentary Life, produced by BBC? It features the exact moment when some gosling is struggling to take the first steps toward its survival in a new world.

 

1. I feel baffled

By following which logic, the gosling parents have decided to settle their nest in such a harsh environment? Why at this edge? The speaker gives us a reason quite reasonable: he said that the parents are trying to avoid their broods of being caught by predators on the ground. Yes, I can perfectly understand that. But, while there is now a price to pay, nature seems to show its cards: if by chance, at least one gosling survive, there had been a positive balance. Besides, nature counts on a large number of individuals. Even if this couple hasn’t managed to get through this particular challenge, no problem: another couple could be doing its job at the same moment, or this same couple could be luckier next time it tries to generate offsprings. No having not to eat and getting hungry, they have not choice but get down there.

2. I feel inspired

This one is probably the most human reaction, based on our tendency to romanticize nature, to think that it is ‘doing’ that because only the strongest individual must survive. Considering that there are two full-ground individuals now able to reproduce in this documentary, this could be good evidence that nature ‘is’ right. Drawing on this line of reasoning, many ‘social evolutionists’ believes that, similarly to what occurs in the wild nature, where only the individuals more able to fit the changing conditions of the environment can have a chance of surviving, the same will also happen with humans. As a result, only the ‘best’ individual can ‘survive’ in a high competitive organization, for instance (leaving out culture-driven factors as political maneuvers, although an ‘evolutionist’ certainly will think this ‘political ability’ is a further evidence signaling a best-fitted individual).

3. I feel helpless

However, what this short survival scene demonstrates is: firstly, a strong connection between behavior and previous experiences, probably something enclosed in the gene of these animals (another individual in the past had done the same thing and passed the experience on). Secondly, the action of natural forces. It seems that these little birds have an adapted body – for instance, they need manage to jump in a frontal position – if I have understood the speaker’s explanation correctly. Otherwise, if they fall backward, as it turned to happen with the fourth gosling, who slipped and plummeted down headfirst, then their chances of surviving are smaller. If the collision is belly-first, they should survive the fall – despite the astonishing hits against the rock they must suffer while falling. Even if they succeed in reaching the ground in the proper way, there is still the risk of getting lost in the crevices. Unfortunately, the parents can’t spend time looking for each lost goling. And that is the amazing thing, and the helpless one as well: each of these little animals has no second chance: one simply slip is enough to lead the individual to death. It can’t turn back and jump again. As human beings, we usually learn with your mistakes, but this is not possible to this creatures. Nature seems not care about the question: How worthy is a single life? And life is possible only if they overcome all the odds. Life is accuracy, notably at the species level.

What do you pray for?