(Student’s Full Name)
Personal, Psychological, and Philosophical Perspectives on the Individual
4. Discuss the philosophy of the individual that underlies Thich Nhat Hahn’s “Call Me by My True Names” and compare it to that expressed by Rumi in his poem “Only Breath” or “Where Everything is Music.”
In Thich Nhat Hahn’s “Call Me by My True Name” and Rumi’s “Only Breath” illustrate the interconnectedness of the individual with other individuals outside of his or her personal sphere. For instance, Hahn shows the relationship between the malnourished child in Uganda and the arms merchant “selling deadly weapons” to the people of Uganda (l. 20). This shows that a person’s actions are not independent of another’s, and they have a direct bearing or impact on another person. In Rumi’s “Only Breath,” the poet reveals the interconnectedness by removing the divisions that individuals use to separate themselves, such as religion. The poet states that there is “[n]ot Christian or Jew or /Muslim, not Hindu, / Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen” (ll. 1-3). It can be argued that the poet is indicating that a person should not use a “religion” or “cultural system” to define his or herself since these systems separate and prevent one from seeing the interconnectedness in each other. In Hahn’s poem, the persona reveals that the “rhythm of my heart is the birth and/ death of all that are alive” to illustrate not only interconnectedness of the individual, but also the cyclical nature of life and how the individual participates in this cyclical process. Jelaluddin Rumi’s “Only Breath,” the poet also shows the participation of the individual in the cyclical nature life when he states the following: “Ihave seen the two/ worlds as one and/ that one/ call to and know, // first, last, outer, inner” (ll. 23-27). In the same manner that a circle seemingly has no beginning or end, nor a line that starts first and ends last, the individual has neither any beginning nor end that can be identified. The two ends of a circle interconnect into one; similarly, the end and the beginning of the individual’s soul or spirit interconnects into one.
6. Describe the view of the universe expressed in Bashar’s “The Four Laws of Creation” and compare it either to your own reality or to the mainstream paradigm that most people in the West subscribe to.
The view of the universe expressed in Bashar’s “The Four Laws of Creation” is that there is no such thing as non-existence (as indicated by the first law); the “One is the All and the All is the One” (as indicated by the second law) (Bashar: The Four Laws of Creation par. 23); the third law is what one puts out is what one receives in return; and the final law is “[e]verything changes except the first three laws” (Bashar: The Four Laws of Creation par. 28).
This viewpoint can be compared to my personal perception of reality in the sense that I am able to find some similarities with what I believe in analyzing the meaning of Bashar’s “The Four Laws of Creation.” I believe that I exist as a tripartite being, which means that I have a body, soul, and spirit. I do not subscribe to the tenets of nihilism that is connected with “extreme pessimism” and “radical skepticism” that condemns existence (Pratt par. 1). I believe that everyone and everything exists for a purpose. I also believe in a Supreme Being and that this Being permeates and animates all living things. Furthermore, I believe in the law of reciprocity, which is similar to the third law of creation. Lastly, I also believe that the only thing that is truly constant in life is change. Therefore, it is safe to say that all of my personal believes align themselves with Bashar’s “Four Laws of Creation.”
5. Compare what it means to be a woman in two or more of Margaret Atwood’s works (e.g. The Handmaid’s Tale, some of her poems, her essay “The Female Body,” etc.).
In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and “The Female Body” explore the attempts of the patriarchy to oppress and control the woman. For instance, in her essay, “The Female Body,” Atwood lists all the female clothing items that are restrictive and uncomfortable such as “garter-belt”, “panty-girdle,” and “Lycra stretch one-piece with modesty-panel” (490). The belt, the girdle, and the stretch Lycra all suggest the attempts of the patriarchy to repress and control the female form. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred explains that she used to think of her “body as an instrument” of “pleasure” but instead she has had to see her body as a “cloud, congealed” around a “central object” which is “hard and more real” than she is (83). The “cloud” could be referring to Offred’s womb. In the novel, Gilead control’s the reproduction rate of the women so as to ensure that the town increases its number of inhabitants. Therefore, it can be argued that Offred is indicating that her body is being objectified by the persons who represent the patriarchy in Gilead. The women in Gilead are not treated as individuals but reproduction machines. In Atwood’s essay, “The Female Body,” the objectification of the female body by the patriarchy is illustrated when the writer describes the reason why he does not want a doll to be in the house because it gives a “young girl a false notion of beauty” and not to “mention anatomy” (491). The author uses the doll to show how the patriarchy uses images and symbols to depict how the patriarchy presents an unrealistic notion of what female beauty should be. Clearly, this unrealistic notion of female beauty is impossible to attain for many women. Therefore, this causes many women to struggle with feelings of inadequacy and to become insecure about their bodies.
Atwood, Margaret. “The Female Body.” The Michigan Review (1990): 490-93. Print.
Hahn, Thich. “Call Me by My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh.” Call Me by My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh. Web. 15 July 2015. <http://www.quietspaces.com/poemHanh.html>.
Pratt, Alan. “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 15 July 2015. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/>.
Rumi, Jelaluddin. "Only Breath ~ Rumi." The Mystery of Christ. 27 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 July 2015. <https://themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/only-breath/>.
“Transcribed Interviews.” Bashar: The Four Laws of Creation. Web. 15 July 2015. <http://newrealities.com/index.php/transcribed-interviews/563-bashar-the-four-laws- of-creation>.