Rabu, 25 Februari 2009

Closer: Love and the Will to Power

Last Wednesday, I watched a movie from my own collections. The title is Closer. The movie, directed by Mike Nichols and released in 2004, starred by Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen. Actually, I bought this VCD last year, January 8, 2008 in Surabaya. But I had just watched it this week.

Closer is a romantic drama about four people trapped in a complicated love story. They are Larry (Clive Owen), Anna (Julia Roberts), Dan (Jude Law), and Alice (Natalie Portman). Plot of this movie is somewhat puzzling, moving quickly between the scenes. But, the bright dialogues and fascinating performances of the actors made me keep watching and follow the stream of this intriguing story.

This love story actually is also about the impact of chance meetings, instant attractions, and betrayals. In the beginning of this movie, two strangers, Dan and Alice, met in an accident, and I knew that the meeting wouldn’t stop right there. Then, Dan and Alice became a couple of lovers.

Another chance meeting was between Larry and Anna. Larry, a dermatologist, unexpectedly met Anna at London Aquarium after he had an appointment with his mysterious friend when he surfed at internet chat room—in fact, the mysterious friend of Larry was Dan, the friend of Anna. This meeting also had subsequent affair de coeur—they married.

A witty, dangerous, and complicated love story began when the two couples met together at Anna’s Photo Exhibition. Love affairs is about to be started, and the affairs devastated the romantic relationship between them. The meaning of love became problematic, not only a romantic. At this point, we can understand that love also has a strong connection with deception, egocentrism, betrayal, and revenge.

For me, this is the most interesting part of this movie. This point reminded me to Sartre and Nietzsche. I remembered my Course of Ethics last week when discussed about the Others. Sartre argued that relations between freedoms are inherently conflictual. The other is a threat. So, Sartre didn’t believe in love. In love, there is self-deception.

And Nietzsche spoke about the Will to Power. Interestingly, he emphasized that the Will to Power is not only about politics, knowledge, and relation with the others. The world is the Will to Power. Nietzsche brings the Will to Power to the ontological perspective.

This movie gave me a good example about the tension between love and the Will to Power. Of course I didn’t believe in Nietzsche and Sartre who tend to annihilate the possibility of sincerity between people. For me, this movie confirmed the ambiguity and strict negotiations in our relations with the others, and the pervasive power of our egocentrism.

I really enjoyed watching this movie. Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Jude Law, and Natalie Portman presented quite good performance in their respective roles. Most importantly, this movie challenged me to think of deeply and gave me fresh perspective and reflection about our relations and about love.

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Sabtu, 07 Februari 2009

When the Alien Comes

“This journey really exhausted me,” I whisper to myself, when I am surrounded by cloudy sky, thundering wave, and an inconvenient absurd twilight. Strong biting wind drives away the ancient spirit of the sea. I stand alone staring at the sun while it has been going down to keep his spirit safe from the darkness.

I wonder where am I going from here. In my solitude, I think that I am leaving for a place that I don’t really know where it is. An unknown country where strangers walking around me. I feel that I am moving away from my initial destination, from the substance of my life, from my primordial home. I am really worried about it, thinking about mystifying path that I will pass alone and I lost my way. The idea about alienation haunts me.

As the wind get to rage, I try not to be knocked over by these terrifying notions. One thing that I am sure: I can’t overlook such acute problem. I am asking myself when these ideas exactly come to me. I am thinking about the weapons and tools that I must prepare. I am thinking about a hundred possibilities that I may deal with. Because I don’t know where the journey will get to the end.

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Minggu, 01 Februari 2009

Of Environmental Education

I have been engaging to environmental education activities since a year ago. My interest to involve in this project became strong after I had participated in Environmental Teachers’ International Convention 2008 last year. In that event, I was awaked by abundant facts of environmental problems caused by man’s exploitation and activities. Actually, I have had such information about environmental problems—not only from the convention. I had written an essay about environmental problems when I was a senior high school student fourteen years ago.

But the convention not only gave me information and knowledge. It gave me enthusiasm, spirit, and the soul of environmental education. Implicitly, it had accentuated the ethical and emancipatory objectives of the environmental actions. It emphasized that environmental problems have strong relation to our moral attitudes, about how human being sees the natural world, wildlife, even the Creator. To some extent, it has a profound connection with spiritual world view.

In epistemological context, environmental problems are often associated with natural sciences, and sometimes with social sciences. Both sciences, according to Jürgen Habermas, actually have no deep concern with emancipatory values. From Habermas explanation we can conclude that both sciences almost sweep away all human interest from knowledge—i.e. divorce praxis from theory. And then such knowledge and sciences married with positivistic paradigm.

With this background, integrative actions of environmental education, as far as my understanding, try to return the emancipatory values (“the interest”) to its place and make scientific activities as a critical self-reflection of human being. And technical-instrumental interest and practical interest of natural and social sciences originate from interest of reason itself, that is emancipation. Term emancipation as a general concept or value can find its synonym from different thinkers, like liberation, etc.

If we put the problem of environment and environmental education in this perspective and sustainably encourage acting in this standpoint, we will have radical and critical actions of environmental education. And I think those who involve in these projects perhaps will find themselves struggling hard on ideological battleground. Determination, patience, consistency, sincerity, persuasive and cooperative actions, etc., maybe will be the best weapons for this battle, because, particularly in this battle, we frequently have to fight against ourselves.

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