On intelligence, beauty, ugliness and stupidity

Fascination based on mere intelligence is as shallow as on mere beauty, but the latter is more lasting and justified.

Beauty is powerful and wild while intelligence is boring and domestic.

Beauty is born with claws of a raptor. Beauty speaks to the eyes of the beholder, rushes the blood flow, releases endorphins, lulls the mind and creates painstaking details of motives.

While intelligence, which five of the senses does it tempt? How far does one venture with a tremendous longing to acquire intelligence and beg night and day to be enslaved by it? What does intelligence produce but sheer sensation? Has one ever had trouble sleeping envying his neighbour’s intelligence? Intelligence doesn’t even possess any degree of temptation. Intelligence coupled with ugliness, beauty rests upon stupidity. Those are the perfect pairs, if wealth doesn’t count.

Beauty won’t work effectively without stupidity as intelligence without ugliness, all there is left is mediocre intelligence or mediocre beauty, or in other words unnoticed mediocrity. One can tolerate stupidity when it dresses to kill. Ugliness is visibly invisible like colours in air, air in wind, wind in storm.

Beauty blinds, intelligence awakes, and nobody wants to see and be awake.

Stupidity is genetic, ugliness is mendable like untrimmed filthy nails.

Stupidity is some sort of amusement, ugliness disgusts both gods and infants.

Beauty is the highest of all virtue.

Intelligence fills you with a desire to pursue beauty, while beauty, as the senses are fully concerned, never a second drives you to pursue something other than itself.

On Disfigured Self

A city is a concept, just like you are.

A city is built upon a concept, an abstract idea materialised into something visible, something street-like, people-like, dam-like, park-like, housing-like. The concept lays the foundation, paves the threshold, applies rules and protects its own inhabitants.

You enter a certain city, you begin to introduce yourself to a new concept. You drink its water, you breathe its air, you eat its dust, you smell its trees, you stare at its clouds, you ruin its language through your tongue.

You begin to recognise which part of the city that evokes your concept of boredom, and which part of it that rouses your concept of fascination. You sleep with the foreign concept while masturbating with the image of your old stripped concept.

You think of other cities and you care not to dream of certain others.

Your mind is filled with different concepts, and the homelessness of your soul starts to disrupt the very being of your existence.

Then you start to see yourself as a concept, as a clay reshaped, reformed, and recoloured by the intermingling of those concepts of cities.

You are a vessel that holds constantly spinning disfigured concepts.

You don’t know how it all started, and you wonder at which point it’ll end.

On Spring

How uneventful were sunless days. What a joy of today for being otherwise, a promise of blooming flowers delivered by a humble appearance of green buds on thirsty soils. Awaken from a deep sleep, the entire city animated as the spell met its end and Winter tore its ornaments down. Workers unapologetically hurried home, wearing a glowing smile that misguidedly christened them all as loving. Enlivening force was cascading from above, the day was tailored to be a gift. No death, no sorrow, or at least we thought so. No addition to what there is, no subtraction from what was there. At a glance, sunbeam gently stroked people’s hair, transforming their head into waves of manifold emotions. The blondes fit the scene gorgeously but it took the brunettes to reflect gold on the spectator’s eyes. Shadows no longer stuttered, turned into benevolent boldness: lines through inner walls, trees on buildings, and of a man walking with a stick. For a split second or three, we hesitated in doing whatever we were doing. Then out of a whimsical urge, we tried to make sense of the magic. Frühling, we said, welcome.

On Glow

To him her grief is an unspoken glow. It’s a different kind of sadness, unlike any other girls’ cheap flavorless tears. When she’s out of his sight, he torments his soul with questions. She’s a show, he finds her as a blue ocean splendor, contented grass waving at city trains, a spark in a sailor’s eyes. He wishes to measure the depth of her grief and lifts her up from there. Days are numbered, and he aches. He seeks for lines, treasures steps, ticks like a clock.

To her he’s a restless soul. Shabby charm, nervous knuckles, clear eyes. She’s drawn to him of that she knows. There’s something in him that she needs to rescue, a parachute to a fierce sudden fall. The air is sweet, the grounds grow leaves. When they talk, his shadow leans on her light-maroon dress.

On Answers

“Will you still love me if I turn ugly and old?”, the question sprang out of nowhere as they sat in the car waiting for the rain to stop. “I will,” she said. “How about if I turn into an evil person? like really really bad.” “How bad?”, she tried to make things precise. “Really bad, like if I murder one of your family members.” She turned silent. “I’ll still love you.” “How could you still love me? I murdered your sister for God’s sake! That is the worst possibility I could even think of right now.” “I will still love you, but it doesn’t mean that I will not turn you into jail or something.” “When I get out of jail, can we still see each other like before?” “I don’t know. I might need a while I don’t know how long, but I will still love you.” There’s something that sickened him but he didn’t know what. He drove her home that night without a word, hoping that she would come up with a different answer but she didn’t. “Do you want me to walk you to the door?” he touched her hand as they arrived. “No no you don’t have to, you’ll catch a cold, it’s still raining.” She kissed him good night. He smiled. It was the 9 of December. She never heard of him again since then.

On Vessel

“How come I don’t have your nose like he does? I want a pointed and sharp nose like yours.” Even the mother couldn’t give her an answer if she wanted. It was a point in her daughter’s life, in which she would still ask many questions and only little of the answers would ever reach the quality of satisfying. “How come I’ve always had problems with my skin ever since I was small? How come he hasn’t? What were you eating those days?” The mother was bombarded with such questions, interrupting all the noises from the television show she was watching. “Why don’t I have your good looks like he does? Why do I always get the ugly sides? I get only these freckles and nothing more thank you very much.” The mother laughed. Those were serious questions she knew for sure, but that’s the thing with honesty. Sometimes it just makes you laugh. “I don’t know honey, I seriously don’t know. What I know is, you have the kindest heart among us all.” The daughter was silent. She made such gestures as if to end the conversation in a natural way, just like she always did when things become awkward. Approaching her napping dog at the corner, she said to herself half murmuring. I would trade it for all those, I know I would.

On Winter

The night is brighter when snow covers the city. How innocent the lamp posts are, how unattractive the cars these days, we look down and our toes don’t appear. It’s minus degree and we take good care of the steps, we just want to get home and not be left inferior to the cold. That beautiful tree we photographed in the spring has turned into a pole of old skin. The wind is harsh, as if the ocean flows by our side, as if we grow thinner like sails, the soul we tell to stay still. Darkness occupies after 4 pm, it races with the moving clouds, oh our hearts are pounding, makes us think of an ending. And of the sun so much. Of the sun too much. Of the sun. That much.

On Fear

He’s endowed with a knowledge of the inner part of him. The knowledge that speaks of a well-being of pain. That even if the pain inside him will be gone, the space is not yet free to be filled with sheer delight. It is going to be invaded soon by something more powerful than pain. The absence of pain is just a presence of something else. Fear of pain. This fear of pain is even more engrossing than the pain itself. It is intimidating, suffocating, it shrinks his lungs, from which his soul asks for light. Nevertheless, the pain still abides. If ever what’s written above is true, then he wishes it would never be gone.

On Places

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
- John Donne

At times people dwell in the past too much, not because they refuse to live in the present, so let’s not rush in our judgments. They are in search of something that only few would perhaps understand as positive, or understand at all. They seek for roots, for identity, spasm of chance, for some were born without one. For those who have no past, they can hardly afford a future.

And the past often times refers to places. Places that we know, a city we grow up in, streets we recognize like the back of our hands. Places some of us even have the courage to call home. We feel the clash between our own hearts and minds, agreeing upon what that place really means, or is. And no matter what we’ve been through, everywhere we’ve stayed, by the end of the day we whisper to ourselves: it’s just a god-damn place. True. A place is just a place. Could be more than just a place, only when we map the geographical being in our mind and relate it to our sense of identity. Whether it’s growing out of sentimentality or the lack of it, one can’t help to – at least once in his life – question his roots of identity and thus identify him/herself with the closest non-human substance, a place.

Let’s go to the road less taken. Shift the focus on Punk subculture, the illegitimate rootless group with no origins who question their own identity, for they are “predicated upon a denial of place” (Cavallaro). Trying to come close to the Blacks, the Punk associate themselves with reggae, contribute to the Rock against Racism campaign, develop hair-styles that approximate the “natty” or dreadlock styles and even wear Ethiopian colors. As their “closest” associates as a marginalized group, the Blacks (those who went on exile before slavery was officially abolished) are even envied by the punk since they (and their generations) are believed to be luckier for being able to situate themselves in relation to historical origins, identities and places such as the West Indies and Africa as the homeland. In this lowest status of being rootless with no relation to any place at all, the punk’s entity in terms of historical origin/place is described as “nameless housing estates, anonymous dole queues, slums-in-the-abstract”. Having no place among the whites, nor anywhere else, the punk subculture knows best what their rage is all about, that they – by conveying no title to any historical origin and place – could hardly afford a future.

For we ache for a place, a place has got to be more than just a place. A city more than just a city. May it be less than ideal or perfect. We don’t seem to move on before we fully grab it. Some struggle so hard to adapt to the current place, and once they grow used to it, they begin to assign it as “home”. It’s those 227 days on the lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker in the middle of the vast ocean in the Life of Pi. It’s John Steinbeck’s hometown Salinas Valley, his source of inspiration that he kept mentioning in many of his books as the home setting of his characters. It’s Milton’s vision of Paradise Lost. It’s Woody Allen’s NYC. The Prague of Franz Kafka.  London to Virginia Woolf. It’s Jesus saying, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”. It’s Jane Austen’s sensible protagonist Marianne Dashwood bidding farewell to the family’s house in Norland:

‘Dear, dear Norland!’ said Marianne, as she wandered alone before the house, on the last evening of their being there; ‘when shall I cease to regret you! – when learn to feel a home elsewhere! – Oh! happy house, could you know what I suffer in now viewing you from this spot, from whence perhaps I may view you no more! – And you, ye well-known trees! – but you will continue the same. — No leaf will decay because we are removed, nor any branch become motionless although we can observe you no longer! — No; you will continue the same; unconscious of the pleasure or the regret you occasion, and insensible of any change in those who walk under your shade! — But who will remain to enjoy you?’

It’s not about the “unconscious” place, maybe it’s part of ourselves. Does that explain all the agony, impossibility at times? And while we keep aching for the former “home”, we fail to realize that something is in labor, a new “home” is in the making. We’re guessing that maybe this is it. It shall be home. Maybe this one. It’ll work this time. Maybe a home is the one we’re about to find yet, not the one we leave behind. But then the pain will always be there. Here. The pang of homesick, no matter how far we’ve returned or gone. For we know that we’re rootless, we’re homeless, and this place we’re now in isn’t our own. And maybe the wisdom is found – once again – between the tunes.

Homesick, ’cause I no longer know where home is.

On Memories

First there was a house. It was a house too big for three: the father, the girl, and the dog. Almost everything was made of wood and every furniture was covered by white laces. It boasted no luxury but a front and backyard, three bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, a garage full of shoe-making tools, spider webs, and an empty big fish pond where they bathed their dog every Sunday morning. In the garden there were trees, bee-hives, butterflies, and each morning the leaves and grass was shimmering with fresh dew. Then one day there was excessive amount of water coming through everywhere. It mounted up to knee-high, and the little brown dog was put on the cupboard and it didn’t stop barking nor its tail stopped waving. In the middle of such, the little girl had no fear of anything. She couldn’t remember what her father looked like that day, but the next day they had a new yellowish brown mark on the walls. After the walls were repainted everything was back to normal and the odor of the rotten wood slowly disappeared.

Second there was a storm. Fingers snapped and the house no longer stood there. The whole construction was sadly gone, and it was taking all the trees, the beehives, the butterflies, and the dog away for they belonged altogether. There was only a piece of queer looking object lying on what was once the living room. It was as small as a marble, raw, shapeless, and colorless. The girl took it and put it in her side pocket for it looked harmless and interesting, nothing like the mysterious beehives or the dandy butterflies that she never got to catch. “It must be a part of the house I’d never seen before”, she told herself. The thing grew bigger and split itself til one day it had to be kept in a sealed jar.That night when the red crescent moon hung low, it began to take shapes and show some colors. It was the shapes and colors of a garden, a tree, spider webs, a beehive, butterflies, knee-high water mark, a little brown dog, shoe-making tools, and even her father’s face yet they all had no sounds. Sometimes the spider webs grew on trees and the grass smelled like rotten wood. At some evenings, the dog took shape of rippling water and the knee-high water drowned the house. On some weirder days, she saw her father hiding in the beehive, the bees swarmed the garage while the dog shimmered with dew. At first the girl was amused but then she was dreaded by the distorted figures. She had wished to have never carried the thing in her pocket but it was all too late and the jar, then the bigger jar, then the far bigger jar shattered and the size of its growth never approached a limit.