February 26, 2012

Two Different Kinds of Moral Standards:

I understand that there are two type of moral standards: social and humanistic.
The social moral standards are set up for establishing social stability. This includes laws, religion doctrines and common social customs (based on traditional ideology). The humanistic standard is based on our conscience, which belong to our nature. The former favors more on social needs, latter more on individual rights.
History of ethics seems to involve from strict collective (social) rules that prohibited most individual desires or needs, to be more tolerant on individual rights. Examples such as marriage, patriotism, homosexuality, religious, etc. all demonstrated this route.

February 25, 2012

Insurmountable Beauty On Ice - My Completely "Biased" Account Of Sasha Cohen

Sasha Cohen
Image via Wikipedia
A very casual capturing figure skating competition last night on TV reminded me again my favorite skater Sasha Cohen. She no longer participate any competitions, but for me, she has pressed an immortal shinning marks on figure skating sport.

I was a huge "Sasha fan", and I still am. I always wonder, how could it be possible for those who really "understand" the beauty of her skating really stand to watch other skaters'? I could not! That's why I quit watch figure skating after Sasha retired.

Of course, my remark is subjective, and I meant to be, because for me, Cohen surpassed all those before her, and is unparalleled by any one after her. For me, not only she had reached the highest techniques (except her jumps), but also displayed the most beautiful form (on ice) of humanity. Like most people who care figure skating already know, Sasha Cohen moved with music, slow or fast, spin or jump, amazing footwork or perfect spiral, her performances expressed all the cherished quality of mankind - grace, love, relaxation, passion, even courage and valor.

I had not caught Cohen's golden time (what a pity!) - approximately 2001-2005. I knew her because I incidentally watched 2006 winter Olympic game and saw her performances. She fell during her free skate program (as "promised"), but her short program was simply stunning. This Olympic participation was proved a very late stage of Cohen's ice skating life, as she retired soon after, but the brilliance of this "sunset" made me searching on internet for all her previous performances (big thanks to youtube). And what I found absolutely made me "falling in love".

Her best performances by my opinion, were those programs during 2002-2004 (under her Russian Coach Titiana Tarasova), such as "Swan Lake", "Malaguena", or "Rachmaninoff" (all of them choreographed by Tarosova - this lady is remarkable!).  My personal favorite is Rachmaninoff. She performed this program in 2002 - 2003 season, include 2003 World Championship, which I personally think was her best performance ever, regardless that fact that her fell several time, include one of most impossible fall on ice skating - she fell during flying camel!.

Yes, Sasha Cohen was not perfect - she fell quite often (likely due to her mental barriers), but that doesn't hurt her perfection in my eyes. No doubt she is one of most beautiful female skaters, but she certainly had much more than good looking. She seems to possess a natural talent on positioning, and easily move harmonically with music. Yes, she made figure skating looks easy. And she "visualized" music.

Cohen won a great deal of medals. But unfortunately figure skating is more a sport than art, so she did not won as many as she deserves (of course the judges' biased view was one of reasons too). But this doesn't matter. For me, she elevated this sport onto an artistic level like no one else. As Peggy Flaming said during Cohen's performing "Romeo and Julie": other skaters skate Julie, Sasha is Julie!*

Romeo And Julie
Swan Lake
A tribute to Sasha Cohen

 *Sorry I could not find the original source of this comment.
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February 10, 2012

"If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out"

Cover of "Harold and Maude"
Cover of Harold and Maude
As I was impressed so much by Ruth Gordan's character in "Try and Catch me" (one of "Collumbo" episodes), and two friends of mine (Nothingprofound & Tom) recommended the movie "Harold And Maude", I finally watched it, with a great pleasure!

The movie did surprised me by its story - a young man falling in love with an 79 year-old woman. But my surprise was almost immediately replaced by a feeling of great "satisfaction": a boy falling love with an old lady, and he proposed to her! That's the whole point - we are free to love whoever we love! Needless to mention that Maude is absolutely irresistible.

This unorthodox movie is all about "life". For this purpose, it breaks "rules", smashes "common sense". How did Maude got away from "stealing" cars, violating traffic laws I don't know; how could a young man be so creepily obsessed with death? Is it possible for a man in such a young age (Harold appears to be a boy to me) to love a 79 year-old romantically? All these are not important and the movie didn't even care to explain, because (by my understanding) it only focuses on one thing: free ourselves from "unnecessary" bounds, thus we could feel the true joy of life.

And the joy of life is "love". At the end of movie we see more love continues, like Maude told Harold: "Then go and love some more." I think, all Maude  - an old lady that is about to die - brought to Harold's life - a young life that is so obsessed with death, is just this one simple gift: the joy of life.

"Life" is all Maude cares, as we heard from the conversation between them:
Harold: Maude, do you pray?
Maude: Pray? No, I communicate.
Harold: with God?
Maude: LIFE!

Another great thing of watching this movie is to listen again all those Cat Stevens' songs, with which I was obsessed during my college time. Gosh I did not know that all these songs were in such a wonderful movie! Interesting thing is back then, I hardly understand any lyrics but now, when I was watching movie, words came out almost crystal clearly. Also they are so simply written, just like the movie.

Yes, life is simple. If you want to sing out, sing out.

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
’cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low

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February 5, 2012

"A room without books"

English: A multi-volume Latin dictionary (Egid...
Image via Wikipedia
Just saw a quote from a friend's facebook page: "A room without books is like a body without a soul", by G K Chesterton. I would agree with this quote years ago, but now I don't. Or I don't agree with it completely, not because there is kindle out there, but because I do believe a "soul", even a great soul does exist even in an illiterate mind. Knowledge is great, but not any greater than life itself.
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February 1, 2012


Image by -RejiK via Flickr
Maybe it is a tough lesson for many people to learn how to be kind to others, but for some people, it is even a tougher lesson - perhaps a life time lesson - to learn how to be kind to themselves.
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