The Rambling Review : Being Wrong, Recycling and Rome

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So first, let me start by saying this blog will be all over the place, from philosophy, to culture, to exercise, and everything in between. I’ve tried to narrow it down, but I don’t think I can focus on one topic without wanting to incorporate something else. But I will try each week to focus on a few ideas of things I’ve found which are interesting. More than anything, this review is about rethinking topics, challenging ourselves to experience new ideas, and better living.

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern

-William Blake

Yesterday night I had an epiphany; I went to MoviePilot.com, where I am a regular contributor. The week before last I posted an article on Movie Pilot and I wanted to see how many views it had received since. I read over some of the comments and I realized I had made a massive grammatical error when copying and moving around the article. Now at the time of writing it, in my haste I posted the article without doing the diligence of reading it a second time on a different day. My epiphany was that it was a good thing I was wrong. When you post something on the Internet, you expect a degree of negativity towards any idea, but sometimes that’s a good thing. By being wrong about my article, I grew far more than others simply repeating my ideas. The thought came into my head, “is this the best I can do?”

Here is a great Ted Talk by Kathryn Schulz, that goes further into the idea about being wrong, and the benefits of it.

My benefit of being wrong was being opened to new ideas, to new thoughts and discoveries. By questioning oneself through the view of a third person (or trying to imagine one as the 3rd person), the crux of growth can occur. This perception gives me the ability to grow outside of my usual experience, and outside my comfort zone.

Further to the idea of challenge your perception, I present to you the next great treasure I have found. In the past few years there has been a growing trend to start using the overabundance of shipping containers for something useful. I have seen them used in buildings in New York,(as they are very cheap to purchase, in New Zealand as a temporary mall in Christchurch, and in Boston as a series of gardens for inner-city food production. Now, to expand on this new paradigm, we have this: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/todd-miller-shipping-container-home. This is a great example of upper-scale living solutions, uniquely made with shipping containers. Here is another great example of reuse: in Shanghai, an architecture union decided to the use the concrete floor of a collapsed warehouse building as the walls and roof of their tea house: http://dornob.com/modern-concrete-tea-house-salvaged-from-a-warehouse-roof/.

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Now, keeping with the theme of recycling, I decided to go through the archives of television to watch something a little bit older: Rome. Fans of the popular series Game of Thrones may find some solstice waiting between Sundays for your next episode with the television series Rome. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch this gem, I highly recommend it. It’s an HBO series in partnership with the BBC and Italian television, loosely based on the historical events of Julius Caesar’s rule of Rome up to the reign of Emperor Augustus. This is a great series, and has been highly recommended by various critics for it’s historical accuracy and well written episodes. The plot themes are reminiscent of Game of Thrones, as the drama unfolds with the characters vying for power. The production value is fantastic, and as time goes by, you become very invested in the series’ short two season run.

If there are any ideas you would like me to investigate for next week, let me know! Thanks for reading! See you next Friday.

The Rambling Review: Ecosystems, Prisons, and Mr. Nobody

It’s another Friday! The weekend is on the way and to make your Friday filled with joy, I have given you several things I have found this week to brighten your day.

Spring is coming here to Holland, but rather than planting Tulips, I have been planting Garlic. Recently, I have used a garlic toe that was sprouting green and an old air freshener bottle, combined the two, and this is the product.

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I think that’s kind of cool, but this is far better.

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The bottle garden was planted 53 years ago and hasn’t been watered since 1972. The only maintenance is an occasional turning of the bottle, every week or so, so the plants grow towards the light. Here is the full link if you want to know the specifics of how it is a sealed ecosystem.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2267504/The-sealed-bottle-garden-thriving-40-years-fresh-air-water.html

Now, speaking about self-contained ecosystems, let me introduce you to the Norwegian prison, Bastoy island.

An inmate sunbathes on the deck of his bungalow on Bastoy.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/feb/25/norwegian-prison-inmates-treated-like-people

As you can see by the picture, it hardly looks like a prison; in fact, there aren’t even prison guards at night, yet at this prison there are criminals of all crimes: rape, murder, etc. The prison also boasts the lowest reoffending rate in Europe, at 17%; in England alone, the reoffending rate is around 1 in 4 prisoners. The approach that Bastoy takes is rehabilitation rather than retribution. The island acts like its own community; everyone lives in huts, there is a market store, everyone has jobs and responsibilities, but they are treated like adults and are given a sense of freedom. It brings us back to the question: what is the purpose of prison? To rehabilitate citizens who have committed a crime? Or seek retribution for crimes? This is an interesting case of changing the paradigm and receiving different results; if the status quo isn’t working, shouldn’t we seek new answers? Moreover to the economics of the argument, even though the prisons have a better lifestyle, if those people are continually running back into the system and repeating their crimes, it still costs the state money to keep them. The island isn’t exactly the same as society; there are no women, no drugs, no alcohol, but the prisoners do have a sense of community. Everyone in the community has a certain job to do, and in doing so, they learn valued trades they can use in the outside world. It’s the long-term approach.

Speaking about the long-term approach, here is one movie you will have to give your full attention to wrap your mind around all the possible realities: it’s Mr. Nobody, and it’s our Netflix flick of the week.

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This movie is a 2009 film starring Jared Leto. It’s a very complex film based on the idea of chance and choice. The drama is beautifully shot, the directing and art style of this film are stunning and moving. The title comes from the main character’s name, Nemo, and makes more sense as the film goes on. Mr. Nobody doesn’t cater to the audience; most of the shots are non-linearly placed throughout the film. You could make diagrams trying to piece it together. However, about halfway through the film, each storyline is made clearer. The complexity and structure make the movie stand out, but the greatest strength is the directing style and cinematic flare, which makes the transitions seamless and powerful. In the mood for a complex mind blender, thought provoking film? Check Mr. Nobody out!

Well, that’s this week in review. Let me know what you thought and if there is something you want me to check out for next week.