Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Last Blog

As my Humanities 2001 class comes to an end I have one final exam to prepare for, the Interdisciplinary Essay. I just took the Lit. Final in my class and thought I did very well in certain areas like, identifying quotes and answering the reading questions. The two sections of the test that I struggled with the most were both about the period concepts. I knew what most of the concepts meant, however the hard part was remembering which period or culture to label them as.

Last semester the concepts were a lot easier to distinguish between because they were all so different from one another, but this semester the periods and cultures basically create one big period except for Islam of course. Also I felt like last semester the concepts were mentioned and explained a lot more in each portion of the literature, music, and art. This semester I felt like the different subject areas did not complete the whole puzzle for me, but it could be that the periods were a lot similar. The concepts were also hard to distinguish because sometimes concepts would begin to appear at the end of one period, but not fully be present until the next time period. A lot of the periods also had many concepts in common and it was not easy to remember which ones they did not have in common. Another thing a girl in my class mentioned, which I believe also to be true, is that each concept had at least a paragraph of an explanation making it harder to figure out which part to focus in on and then only a portion of the explanation actually made it onto the exam. I know we are not suppose to memorize the material, but actually understand it, however it might be more helpful if there was more guidance what to pull out of the explanations.

The Lit. Final helped me to see that I know my Literature, but that I definitely need to carefully review the different concepts so that I can excel on the essay. This course also helped me to prepare for Humanities 2002 where the whole course is just like the second semester of Humanities 2001.

WORD: 370

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is the Renaissance Self?

During the Renaissance period, individualism and focus on the self began to emerge through the literature and art of this time. The word Renaissance means Rebirth which is a good description of what was happening during this time. There was a rebirth of new prospectives. The people of this time changed their prospective on the human and that it is viewed as a self rather than a soul.
The self during the Renaissance was important to bring into existence. During the time of the Renaissance social status was based on one’s bloodline and how much land they owned rather than on money. In the story of Nastagio and the cruel maiden, Nastagio loves the cruel maiden, however, she does not love him back. She is of greater social status than Nastagio which makes her even more desireable. He goes to the extreme of frightening her with a display of another couple that were once in a similar situation as them. The display is of a knight chasing around a naked woman who he had loved so much that he was driven to kill himself because she would not have him. After the naked woman had gone to hell her duty there was to be chased around everyday by the knight and brutally killed with him ripping out her heart for as long as she was cruel to him. This display got to the cruel maiden and she immediately had a change of heart and agreed to be Nastagio‘s wife. This tale brings out the concept of how one would practically do whatever it took in order to bring themself into existence both socially and to their lover.
This concept of the self is also brought out through the art of the Renaissance. In the piece, Giving of Keys to Saint Peter, there is a new depth present. There is a depth in the lines that are on the courtyard that direct the focus towards the center of what is suppose to be the Sisteenth Chapel. In the chapel are two human figures looking out of the door towards the presenting of the key. The two human figures seem as though they are a reflection of the viewer looking at the painting. The painting makes the viewer feel like they are a part of the painting. Like they are the one’s looking at this scene from inside the chapel. The concept of bringing the self into existence is evident through this including of the viewer, however, it is even more evident when the focus is on one of characters in the scene that is the actual painter himself, Piatro.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church

On my visit to the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, I had expected to see a quaint little church since my previous visits to various other worship centers that were less extravagant than I had imagined. However, this place of worship exceeded my expectations and once I opened the door my eyes could not fixate on just one thing. I saw statues of Jesus on a cross; beautiful stained glass painted windows, and arches that reached high up into the air. This visit helped me connect with the architecture that I had previously learned about and about the meanings of the most detailed parts of the church.
First thing that I immediately remembered learning about was the extremely tall arches that were higher than any one story building I’ve been in. These arches I’ve learned are the connection of those worshipping, to heaven. Hence, the fact that they seem so tall they are reaching heaven. The next thing I noticed was the gold that seemed to be on every detail of the building. Before the shiny gold was just luster, but now it is considered something greater. The stained glass windows were so captivating that I found myself trying to figure out the scenes of each one. In the one I was standing by, was Jesus and many men crowding around him. At the bottom was written “In Memory of Edward Collins”. The speaker had mentioned what it meant, however, although I could hear the speaker but I think it was because of the echoes or maybe where I was sitting that I had trouble understanding what he was saying.
Unfortunately I had to leave during the question and answer portion which would not have mattered much since I could not understand the speaker. However, from the time I walked in and was able to glance at the literally marvelous building I was in I was able to identify with practically everything I learned about the art and architecture of that time period.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Face Behind The Mosque

            On my visit to the local Mosque, where people of Islamic beliefs gather to worship, I found the appearance of the building to be less extravagant than I had expected. I pictured it to be a more glorious building rather than just one story. While making my way in the Mosque I knew I was going to have to remove my shoes to respect their customs. After placing my shoes in a little cubby I made my way down into what seemed to be a small ‘‘homey“ room. There were book shelves and windows with drapes and a small little stage at which the speakers sat at. Like the Hindu Temple there were different scriptures from the Quran along the walls. As I analyzed the room I noticed three sets of stairs to the right of the entrance. These stairs led to the actual worship center.
             After analyzing the room, the speaker began his presentation. One of the speakers was dressed in an all white outfit with a little white hat to top it off. The other speaker never stood up, but seemed to be dressed normally. During the presentation of the slides they had prepared I noticed one of the most important concepts of Islams is to bring peace among one another. When a slide mentioned a prophet’s name there would be the phrase, ‘‘May there be peace upon him/them“. This was stressed even more when the speaker would actually say the name’s of the prophets and right after say, ‘‘May peace be upon him.“
            Another fact that I found interesting about the Islam religion is that only 18% of actual Muslims practice the Islamic religion. This means that the other percent is non-Muslim and that anyone can be Islamic. It was also interesting to find out that it is not just the females that are instructed to cover up, but also the males typically make sure to cover up any unecessary skin.

WORDS: 324

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Humanities 2001 Lit. Midterm

In my Humanities 2001 class I recently took my Lit. Midterm. I struggled with the very first part of the test which had us match up the different period concepts with the difinition. I have trouble moving on to different sections of the tests when I don’t know an answer to a question so I was on this section for probably 20 minutes of the hour we were given. I realized after reading the different definitions that I had actually memorized and not learn the concepts. Some of the definitions were a little different and close to the other definitions and so I got confused in choosing the right answers.
            The next section was probabl the second toughest, it was labeling the different period concepts with the right time period or culture. Some of the cultures and periods were easy to spot because they are so different from the others like Hinduism and Judaism. However, Archaic Greece, Classical Greece, and Rome were a little difficult to distinguish. I think I did ok on the section and it was a good challenge.
            The 3rd section had me identifying the quotes from the different literature pieces. Even if I only knew the stories I would have been able to identify the quotes. The quotes chosen were a part of the stories so the only way I could have bombed that part was if I didn’t 1) read the story or 2) paid attention in class. I did both and so all I had to know for the test were the different works and the author of those works.
            The last part of the test was multiple choice which always makes things easier. The questions were the same questions from our reading questions when we were instructed to read the different works. After reading the works the questions were sometimes hard to answer, but we had answers available to study from before the midterm making that part of the test a cinch. Except for the last question when I couldn’t figure out which shield I was suppose to be describing, but my awesome professor simply reread the question to me helping me to understand.

What is the good/ the valued?

            India is a pluralist country which means it has many different religions, however, the dominant one is Hinduism. Hinduism teachings consist of reincarnation, samsara, which is the rebirthing of ones soul in different bodies. One can escape this cycle by doing their dharma which is doing one’s sacred duty and doing good deeds. The liberation of rebirth is called moksha. Moksha is the ultimate goal. Hinduism value is one’s dharma that leads one to moksha and can be found throughout its literature, art, and music.
           In the story of The Bhagavad Gita, a warrior named Arjuna is found on the battlefield. Even though Arjuna is in the middle of a battle, the battle actually exists with himself. The god Krishna approaches Arjuna and tells Arjuna that as a warrior it is his duty to fight in battle. This is an example of dharma. Arjuna must accept that he is suppose to fight and by accepting this he will either be born in a higher status or break the cycle and achieve moksha.
               Moksha is also found in Hinduism art, Lord of the Dance also known as Dancing Shiva. Shiva is the god of destruction; in this portayal of him he is in a dance pose and positioned on top of a dwarf in a ring of seperated fires. The ring represents the endless cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation or samsara. One of Shiva’s leg is propped up representing him being ‘‘freed from the circle“. This portrays the acheivement of moksha, however, he is standing upon a dwarf who is stuck inside the circle. The dwarf’s eyes are closed and he looks up at Shiva and smiles representing one of the major limitations of achieving moksha, ignorance. Ignorance of oneself and one’s dharma causes one to remain in the cycle of rebirth.
             Music in Hinduism is used as a way to help one’s practicing meditation. Meditation is a way for those trying to achieve moksha to become closer to god. The most popular form of music in India is the traditional rhythmical ragas. The Rhaga Bhairavi is a soothing piece making it easy for one to meditate. The raga starts off with one musical instrument, perhaps a citar being strummed in a rhythmical fashion. Later in th epiece a second instrument is added along with the strum sounding like a drumming noise. The drum has a constant rhythm that could possibly represent the continous process of reincarnation. Near the end of the raga the citar strums faster and faster which could represent the closer and closer one gets to reaching moksha. At the very end there is a completely different sound that had not been used before in the raga that may express the finale of finally reaching moksha.
              In the Hinduism religion moksha is the most important thing to achieve. Throughout the pieces of The Bhagavad Gita, Lord of the Dance, and the Rhaga Bhairavi moksha is what is valued. Unlike Hinduism, during the Archaic Greece period honor was highly valued because it was the only afterlife other than Hades that the Greeks had hope of. In order to achieve honor they must act couragously like the Kouros sculpture which depicts a young warrior that died in the front line of battle by a god. Through memory and song a person is remembered and honored. While Greeks during the Archaic period were striving to have their name live on in honor after they died, the value and good of life in Hinduism is through the liberation from the cycle life known as moksha.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Religions of the World: Judaism

In the video Religions of the World: Judaism, the main focus of the video is Judaic traditions. Though Judaism is its own religion it takes on many different forms and even different beliefs on life, however, these different communities, as brought out in the video, are dependent on one another. This video gives a full history lesson on the Jews and their texts, freedom, and central idea of living.

The Jews, as seen in history, were a minority group that had struggled to gain independency from others. People such as the Persians, Greeks, and the Syrians had all taken turns in ruling over the Jews. After the Romans conquered Judah the rebel of 70 CE broke out marking the final end of Jewish dependency. The Jews place of worship, the temple, was there sanctuary until it was destroyed, but later a second temple was built and it too was destroyed. The Jews knew they could not collect together as one so instead of one place of worship, they made several called synagogues. Traditionally Jewish men came to the synagogues to worship three times a day. They would collect in groups of three to create a minion and pray for God to help “us” because the community depends on one another. The Jews not only believed the most sacred center is a synagogue, but also the home.

Family is very important to the Jews, which is probably why the communities find dependency in one another. Children are thought to be the most precious gifts and it was considered a curse if a woman could not provide a child for her husband. In which case, bigamy was then permitted. As a child reaches the age of 13 for boys and 12 for girls, they have ceremonies called bar mitzvahs or bat mitzvahs to show the child has matured into an adult. At these ceremonies the child reads from the Torah which is a well-known text used by the Jews.

The Jews use a bible containing three different parts. First, are the first five books of the bible, the Pentateuch or the Torah, second are the Prophets and third is the Hagiographa. It is through these books and the Torah where the Jews find their holidays. The first mentioned is the Passover which lasts for a week and one must eat is unleavened bread. Fifty days after the Passover is the Feast of Weeks then came the Feast of tabernacles where the people would lay in booths constructed in something like a garden. There is also Porim which celebrates the emancipation of the Jews. The most widely- known of all of the Jewish celebrations is Hanukkah which is the only holiday not based on the Hebrew Scriptures. However, these celebrations all link to one thing that the Jews did not even gain back until 1948, freedom.