Departures is a truly beautiful film to frame discussions on death, life and love. Here is an example of a reflection that strings the film and Buddhism together. PHILOPE A56 student, Charisse Aquino writes:
A few weeks ago, we watched a Japanese film in PHILOPE class called “Departures.” The 2008 film is about a man called Daigo , who, after a failed career as a cellist, becomes a nōkanshi (a traditional Japanese ritual mortician) in his hometown. Throughout the film, the viewers see him deal with different struggles such as his anger towards his father and even hostility from others because of his job. In this reflection, I will discuss and analyze the film and connect it with themes of Buddhism. For better understanding, the reflection will be divided into two parts, ‘Dying’ and ‘Living.’
Please be informed that for our class in USGENDR on June 27, 2017, we will move to the Faculty Center 4A, which is across the Philosophy Department Office. The new room arrangement will only be for this day.
PHILOPE classes will still be in their original rooms.
My sick leave from work has given me an extraordinary opportunity to sit down to finish some writing projects. It has also afforded me time to reflect on my relationship with own body, which has always been fraught. So while browsing through my old journals from way back, I came across this journal entry that I wrote 11 years ago. Reading it now while I’m recovering from a rather debilitating condition such as endometriosis, it dawns on me that this entry is possibly the nicest note that I’ve written for my own body. It is very intimate, and it captures a state of being that I wish I could return to again:
11 years ago
I was only saying to myself yesterday how particularly buoyed I felt. The feeling continued well into the early part of the day today. I also discovered yesterday that I might have entered my fertile days. In my 32 years of existence, it was only yesterday that I was able to make a connection between my fertile period and the feeling of being at peace and being happy. This is a particular body awareness that has made such an impact on me. Suddenly a lot of things made sense. What we experience here is nature as its most serious best to ensure the propagation of species. The flood of pleasure-inducing hormones opened the water gates of creativity as well as it un-freeze a long, long bout of writer’s block in me.
Even as I sit here and write, I can feel the hum of my clitoris and vagina; really feels as if my entire reproductive system is singing!
All these feelings are so unusual in a surprising and wonderful manner. Surely, this is what it means by body-Praxis, when one gets to be acquainted with one’s bodily processes. The ease with which I can speak, think and articulate sex, desire and want do not come naturally to me. I was taken up into thinking that to own one’s sexual part is to engage in dirty act—the body itself is dirty and shameful. Indeed, it got me a long time to come to terms with my own body.
I am so grateful that I was able to make links between being happy and being fertile.
It speaks of an awakened ability of being aware of my own bodily processes in a positive way and not to always regard them as a nuisance and inconvenience. I wish that the surge would last for a long time, enough for me to bring into a full-term some creative tasks I started. Though I recognize that it may end soon and will in fact bring in its wake depression-inducing hormones, I will always treasure these feelings that I have now, and will look forward to their arrival till the next time.
Wonder Woman is possibly the best superhero movie made in recent memory. Themes of love and never giving up on humanity are over-arching; the film resonates for the world, which seems to be gripped by dominant narratives of hate, exclusion and isolation.
The box office has made its ruling, and the verdict is clear. You can’t keep a wonderful woman down.
“Wonder Woman,” which opened this weekend, is a mammoth hit, meeting the most optimistic expectations and setting up its director, Patty Jenkins, for a place in the record books. It’s on track to earn between $90 and $105 million domestically by Monday morning, according to industry projections. That’s the best debut ever for a movie directed by a woman.
And it’s an enormous relief. Does anyone doubt that if “Wonder Woman” had flopped, Hollywood chieftains would have drawn sweeping and cynical conclusions about the potency of female superheroes, female directors, female everything? Now we’ll see if they read as much into the success of “Wonder Woman.”
In my PHILOPE classes last week, some of the hard questions from students revolved around anxieties about the unknown, and the seemingly bleak future of the world amidst stories of hate, of terror and tasteless rape jokes. This story from the US demonstrates that there are men (really, males!) who are willing to risk their lives to stop hate from spreading:
Three Men Stood Up to Anti-Muslim Attack. Two Paid With Their Lives.
An Army veteran, a recent college graduate and a student who once won a poetry contest by condemning prejudice stirred up by the Sept. 11 attacks intervened as a man screamed anti-Muslim insults at two women in Portland, Ore., on Friday.
In the days that followed, the three men were hailed as heroes.
Two of the men — Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Rick Best, 53 — died in the attack, which occurred on a commuter train. The third, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was treated on Saturday for injuries that the police said were serious but not life-threatening.
Jeremy Christian, 35, of North Portland, Ore., was charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the attack and could face additional charges when he is arraigned on Tuesday. Mr. Christian, who the authorities said had a history of making extremist statements on social media, was ranting at, and talking disparagingly about, the two women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.
One of the women, Destinee Mangum, 16, spoke to a Fox affiliate in Oregon on Saturday. She said she is not a Muslim.
To my students in PHILOPE A56 and A54 and in USAGENR A51,
Welcome to the brand-new term! Unfortunately, I cannot meet you personally on May 16, 18 and 23, 2017 because I will be in the Netherlands from May 15-23 to attend the
International Summer School: “Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion and Gender: Postcolonial, Post-secular and Queer Perspectives”at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
For PHILOPE classes, I have assigned Mr. Ver and Mr. Unson to meet with you on May 16, 2017 for the distribution of syllabus and to give you special instructions, which you can find also on the Philosophy of the Person page of this site.
If you have questions and clarifications, our grade consultation would be on April 19, 2016, from 1030 AM up to 12 NN at the Philosophy Department. The change of sked is to give way to a media appearance at 9 AM.