Australia / Sydney / Bondi
Surrounded by plastic dinosaurs, multiple Italian products and the alluring smells of freshly made Piadinas (classic Northern Italian dish), we were instantly eased into a wacky yet familiar vibe that was perfectly complemented by Talia’s reading of “Still life with woodpecker” by Tom Robbins, which made us all smile after listening to her say: “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood”. In the text, the author talks about maintaining some mystery to keep love from disappearing, after sharing stories and beliefs we came to the realization that the key to this everlasting mystery is to be constantly amazed; seeking something to admire in life, love, others and ourselves will allow us to keep our inner child alive and happy.
Harry R. further developed the thought of long-lasting love being achieved by continuous admiration by reading a fragment of “Every time I find the meaning of life they change it” in which the author, Daniel Martin Klein, disagrees with Aristotle’s idea that love is a single soul in two bodies. Interestingly though, as Klein develops his argument by describing his own idea of love, he winds up agreeing with Aristotle by understanding love as two souls in such perfect sync that they become one, thus exploring the idea that love is the excess of friendship. This was a controversial reflection for our group, which led us to wonder whether different kinds of love exist and the possibility of love being felt differently by everyone. In the end, we realized that love is most strongly felt when one let’s go of the expectations of what love should be, allowing ourselves to be constantly amazed.
Uri tackled us with the definition of “Determinism”: the doctrine that states that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes regarded as external to the will, and shared examples and scientific explanations of our choices being decided before we can be physically conscious of them, making us feel that we don’t have the freedom we think we have. If this is the case, could assassins and other ill-intentioned people be victims of their own minds? Should we create law systems according to the studies of the unconscious? Can we still consider our actions as ours if we know we have not chosen them? And if everything is pre-determined, how come it’s so hard to make decisions? Millions of questions came up giving us the scary feeling that we don’t really know much about our minds, which then transformed into a humbling sensation to the notion that life is not entirely up to us.
It was at this point when we decided (…or did we?) to take a break and enjoy some tiny piadinas filled with Nutella, a.k.a Nutellinos, before Haz started a conversation about perseverance based on “Flow: The psychology of optimal experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. We are often told that what brings us rewards is not easy, but what is it that makes it hard? Do you need to suffer in order to persist? Would you really enjoy it less if what you wanted was just granted to you? After reflecting on these matters, we realized struggle is subjective and something can be hard without you having to suffer, and if you are suffering then it is probably not the right thing for you to do. When you are happy with your intention, things may be hard in the process leading towards your goal, but that shouldn’t make you feel tormented.
Sonia made us think about memories and the part they play in our life with a fragment from “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman. The book describes the strange underground kingdom of London Below which made us wonder about alternate realities, and memories as a reality of their own that leave us to exists in another world as soon as we forget them. In the end, we recognized that memories are created by the emphasis we put in them and that giving them too much importance could prevent us from living a fulfilling life in our present.
Lastly, in the spirit of International Women Day, Galia introduced us to female superhero Luna Moth from “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” by Michael Chabbon. Specifically, we listened to Judy Dark’s transformation into a mighty woman warrior, sent to fly in darkness but always seek the light, possessing the mystic power of ancient Cimmeria that permits her to only have to imagine something to make it so. After her transformation, Luna Moth was given one warning: take care- for there is no force more powerful than that of an unbridled imagination. Which left us wondering, is our imagination our superpower or our curse?