Musings : Poetry, Music and Life

This blog site had seen pause for a while. As the coming issues will communicate the reasons and details and start a comeback with such fervor that we hope, with the readership we have, will spark continued interest.

On this auspicious of day, with great delight and excitement, this humble blog site which only had the aim to Inspire the drive to continually be different and make a difference–we welcome a new contributor, who will not only, share perspectives unique, new and challenging the status quo, but will bring familiar humor delight to our digital journal.

This entry, which shall also be the name sake for the corner of which the fresh issues published by Dwight, will hopefully, spark this dying interest in today’s society, to challenge the status quo, dream and make a difference.

Things I Learned From The Movie: The Discovery

The Discovery is a 2017 British-American romantic science fiction film, directed by Charlie McDowell from a screenplay by himself and Justin Lader. It stars Rooney MaraJason SegelRobert RedfordJesse PlemonsRiley Keough, and Ron Canada.

The premise of the movie is simple, yet profound. The story was not too intricate, but is potent enough to sink those existential questions, the ones that matter most, deeper if not too deep, to keep many of us from sleeping.

The movie begins with an interviewer questions Thomas Harbor, the man who scientifically proved the existence of an afterlife, a discovery that led to an extremely high suicide rate. The interviewer asks Harbor if he feels responsible, and he says no. Directly after, a film crew member kills himself on air*.

The movie in my humble opinion breaks the commonly accepted fact of what happens to us after death. In a way, in its twisted, depressing and somber way it sheds a ray of hope, that maybe death is not that bad after all. That perhaps, as my dear friend, would normally quote, that the Dead know one thing, that it is better to be alive, is not entirely true and perhaps they truly are in a better place than we are. For all we know, maybe, Jesus really did mean it after all, when he told the dying man beside him, at the moment of death, that he was going to be with him, that day, in Paradise. I can only say #Jesusknewsomadvancedthings

The progression of the story, was slow, yet fast and dynamic in subtle ways that neither makes you anticipate but not bored or left speculating endings and it ends with perhaps the most heartbreaking and promising ways at the same time.

It took me some time to write about this–death and life, are topics that worry friends, family and those close to you. Not to mention, you would probably start receiving invitations to some wellness session from your Human Resource department. This topic, while undeniably true and inescapable, somehow had been pushed to taboo if not to the cognitive horizon. So, after a couple of months, here are a few of those things I had managed to distill as lessons from the movie.

The Beauty Of Life Lies In The Fact That It Ends

The start of the movie was slow, yet paced just right to create a crescendo that overshadowed the outcome of two of the four most interesting, if not focal characters in the movie. Will Harbor (Jason Segel) meets Isla (Rooney Mara) in a ferry ride going to an island. Same destinatioN. Same purpose. Different goal.

Will is the son of the man, who discovers, that death is not the end of all, that is it actually a destination that is perhaps, only in speculation better than this plane of existence. Unwilling to accept that his father’s Eureka moment was inspired by an experience Will had in childhood, he lives his accomplished life trying to run away from it, if not ignore it. Isla, on the other hand, is someone who had everything one wanted to hold on to and lost, who at that point, just wanted to move on to what is next.

Headed towards the same path, different roads and yet crossing to meet each other halfway, only to find themselves separated between planes of existence reminds us of one thing. That love is a germ that grows even in the coldest of hearts (a line from the X Files I shall never forget). That one of the most beautiful things in man’s life, is that it ends, that there is terminality in it. That this moment, right here and now, while it can be recreated can never happen again, that sunset, that smile, that kiss, that hug and all acts of human kindness, are but encapsulated in one moment and can never happen again.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man

Heraclitus

Our Choices Make Our Life And Our Decisions Define Death

Life never came with a manual. My dad who happens to be a pastor, will object, saying that the good book is the manual and yet none in any of the good books, can we ever find a similar manual as we would any furniture assembly instruction; nowhere do we find what we used to on new devices and gadgets and nowhere are things clearly stated enough for us to not be clueless.

Our lives are made of the decisions we make. The decisions we make are formed by our experiences, self-images, perspectives and many other things in the real of psychology and yet at times, we also know that for some reason the soul intervenes in these choices. Like those moments, that neither reason nor logic can explain only our gut.

So our lives are then made of choices to be made and our decisions are those that define it. As we make these decisions we progress in life, inching closer to our terminal ends, that beautiful moment, when the summation of who we were, what we are, and how we we lived are all accounted for in our minds, hearts and souls.

A scene from the movie, shows, Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford), pushing forward the fringes of his discovery–an actual video footage of the afterlife. Initialy thinking that it failed, then learning that Will sabotaged it and seeing that it does, Thomas, decides to destroy the whole experiment and keep it hidden. That decision, though, relatively simple, to the scientific and academic mind he had communicated, was totally does not follow. Yet, he made that choice. Yes, those moments when we decide over the choices presented to us, are what defines our lives and who we are at our deaths.

We Look For Reason, But Yearn For Purpose

Just a month ago, as the government of my country of residence had started to feel was just all a scare, well, rather it seemst that way and people got bored to pay the price of safety, I was tasked to communicate a government mandate to have business operations be completed in offices. While the wisdom behind it is hinged on reviving industry, it still did not match as industry was quite alive (now I am digressing).

So there I was communicating what many would think so simple, of course it should be, it was meant to be done for compliance and yet, deep inside I know that sometimes answers are not what people need, at times, more often than we ntoice, our humanity needs some purpose, some greater wisdom that makes our lives have sense and meaning.

 Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved? 

Troy, Movie

We want to know that our lives have meaning, that there is purpose in all this chaos, that somehow, we are part of a greater something, is what primarily moves us at times, if not now, or later, at the twilight of our days.

The movie shows us how people perceive purpose and with some varied complexity. Thomas, impelled with some inspiration from Will’s childhood experience. Will denying his accidental role in the Discovery, had made himself and accomplished fellow of the science, while his younger brother, understanding that he neither has the smarts nor the tenacity as his father and older brother have was all too happy to be the forager, Toby (Jess Plem), to watch over and create structure in the community his father had made for those who can never seem to move to the next plane via the suicide express.

While that small circle knew, the question, only God should now know, the movie shows that it had not changed their nature, that they are playing the same roles they had identified and perceived themselves to take part in. They are part of the inherent play orchestrated by the spirit of the world, the wisdom of the collective and the power of imagination that had continually pushed man to limits that define the horizon.

This should all make us pause, in think deeply, perhaps, deeper than we have. What ripple had we left for eternity, will the next plane be an answer to those questions whose answers are within our grasp and yet unable to take for fear?

What shall be your verse?

John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Ikigai Chronicles | Rix Germino

It is easy to lose sight of the extraordinary in the daily. As kids we viewed the world with wonder an amazement, only to lose it somewhere in our adult lives. We stop gazing at the clouds and make images out of it, we no longer feel the awe at the sight of a rainbow and more importantly, we lose the excitement of the promise of tomorrow.

There are a few of us, however, who continually find the zest in life. Those few ordinary and yet extraordinary individuals who deserve much more than our notice, but our gratitude for never giving up on the search for meaning.

As a high school friend, my fondest memories of Rix was when we would use to sketch. We were not really the artist we probably thought ourselves to be, should we look back, but it brought a sense of commonality which branched out to many other things. I am truly blessed to have gained the friendship of this person, who amidst the many years, differing experiences, varied challenges and many other changes in the transition of life, had continued to be a true friend.

I would like to think, that as many of us, if not most, we leave school with a sense of purpose, a desire to make something of ourselves, to leave a mark. We start out with careers filled with exuberance and energy only to be cheated either by what we were told the world was going to be or by society.

We had infrequent meets, Rix and I, since leaving high school. Though, we had kept in touch and social media had helped us be updated of each other and the crew, we can never really get to know the dept of the metamorphosis that happen as the people we knew, stay the same, yet not entirely. Many times, I had almost thrown the white towel, but still there are some, very few perhaps, like this friend, that continue to brave the cold and unforgiving nature of the world to those wo do allow life to make the most of our existence.

It was late of 2018 when we started to finally get to spend more time with each other and bounce ideas, mature ideas, ideas tempered by the wisdom of experience. I was focusing on my journey to the Masonic craft, while, he shared he was cultivating his own passion project.

Personally, ideas excite me, so I was inclined to ask and from then, what started to be good friendship evolved into an inspiring moment, that to this day I look back to with such fondness.

I did not realize the my friend was making waves in the trekking, climbing and mountaineering community. That dresses as a ninja, referencing Ninjas in the popular anime Naruto, he would participate in trail runs and treks. Then, my admiration just continued to be amped, as I he had shared his experiences, realization, growing philosophy and ability to complete a trail run barefoot.

“People will never care, unless they are aware”

-Rixc (The Lakad Ninja)

I had always believed that inspiration is not something one just captures, that unlike hope, it does not spring eternal from within–that is meant to be shared, understood and felt. So, it was on this perspective that I had gathered some of the inspiring ideas this friend has and hope to share to whoever can resonate, nurture and share.

Who is Rix, what does he believe in, why does he do what it is that he does and how does he keep on amidst a unique set of goals contrary to the trend of the times?

  • Rix had been a blood donor for several years now and has had received acknowledgment for this from Red Cross.
    • I actually would recall of a time when we were out to get some drinks and he had to decline, as he was going to donate blood. While we had never been aligned on the concept of blood donation and transfusion, i had always felt mildly evil as he succeeds to generate growing positive responses from our friends
  • On his way to establishing his reputation as “The Lakad Ninja”, he had participated and finished two 160 kilometers ultramarathons
    • For an individual working in the same corporate environment as I do, it almost legendary how one can accomplish this given the constraints, the wide array of distractions and the easy to succumb temptations of laziness
  • He believes that History and Nature are two of the most important pieces of human life threated with decay as society advances, so he goes on these trail incursions, trekking circuits and mountaineering ventures to secure a piece of history, record the powerful healing effects of nature to the soul and pass it on to posterity

It was December of 2019, perhaps, when he had shared his ultimate goal. Truthfully, as I was digging some of the divine mysteries of life, I was ignorant of what greater cause could be found in mountaineering. It seemed rather a hobby than a crusade. My friend, then, shared a piece of wisdom, that I shall never forget. That sometimes, the greater mysteries strike us without any need for digging, that they are as clear as day, prevalent as the sun and yet we manage to ignore as mundane.

Stay Healthy, know our History, love our Country and protect Mother Nature.

-Rixc (The Lakad Ninja)

To this day, I have yet to be sure, if it was the vision, the belief or his determination to prioritize his goals above anything else that amazes me. He had created a YouTube page Lakad Ninja to document his excursions to the far-flung mountainous areas of Cebu City, Philippines to research its History, its People and its Soul.


He is currently on his way to charting the 80 barangays, these are the smallest units of community in the Philippines, to frolic with locals, dig their history, uncover their myths, understand their fear and live their life.

To me, there can be nothing truly more inspiring than one person, believing that, it does not really take much for a person to find a purpose and be truly consumed by it.

Things I Learned From The Movie : Tenet

Tenet is a 2020 science fiction action thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who produced it with Emma Thomas. A co-production between the United Kingdom and United States, it stars John David WashingtonRobert PattinsonElizabeth DebickiDimple KapadiaMichael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. The film follows a secret agent who learns to manipulate the flow of time to prevent an attack from the future that threatens to annihilate the present world.

Nolan took more than five years to write the screenplay after deliberating about Tenet‘s central ideas for over a decade. Pre-production began in late 2018, casting took place in March 2019, and principal photography lasted six months, from May to November, in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot on 65 mm film and IMAX. Scenes of time manipulation were filmed both backwards and forwards. Over one hundred vessels and thousands of extras were used.

Delayed three times because of the COVID-19 pandemicTenet was released in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2020, and United States on September 3, 2020, in IMAX, 35 mm, and 70 mm. It was the first Hollywood tent-pole to open in theaters after the pandemic shutdown, and grossed $363 million worldwide, making it the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2020. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, and won Best Visual Effects at the 93rd Academy Awards; it was also nominated for Best Production Design. (source :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenet_(film) )

Nolan in this movie, proved to be a visionary. He will have to be so, to present something so spectacularly brain-draining, in such a beautiful combination of chaos, thrill and suspense. Personally, watching it once or twice, may not be enough to truly grasp what the message or event the plot is. Not to mention, the more recent fan theories that have enveloped it. This article, however, is not about that, so lucky break for us.

If you had not watched it, please, this is a warning, there may be some spoilers that would make you hate me and we do not want that. If you have not watched it and want to know about it, well, you will not also be getting a lot from this article, so feel free. Trying to do a smooth segue here, but if this is your first time reading an article from this blog site, you may want to read the previous articles which highlights why I am trying my best to find some practical lesson from movies (if you had, thank you for doing so!).

So, here are three things I learned from the movie.

Lesson 1: The Past, Present and Future are intertwined

Time, a concept, an experience or the progression of events from past to present into the future. We have learned how to measure it, but truly, it is hubris to claim that we have gained the mastery of understanding it. Should you like a more explicit detail of time, you may check this link and read more, but this is not about time per se, but how the movie uses the beautiful mystery of time to teach us some lessons about ourselves, others and the orchestra of life.

Tenet, in all its convoluted story lines, intimates that the past, affects the present, and it in turn, ultimately shapes the future, but most certainly, too, the future has implications reaching our past and even the present. (I think I just lost all of you there, I even feel nauseated myself).

The movie begins with a CIA agent. The Protagonist, who was tested and entrusted by an organization called Tenet, with a mission to follow the trail of inverted bullets, bullets that deviate from the physical laws of nature (the second law of thermodynamics), which the organization thinks, together with other similar items, come from the future and are remnants of some future war.

In the course of this investigation our Protagonist, gets to meet his handler, who points him to an arms dealer in Mumbai, who happens to be a member of Tenet and informs them that a Russian arms dealer has the device that can invert items.

Fairly straightforward, until, we start seeing multiple unexpected events that course the movement of the Protagonist and his handler, directly in contact with their future and ultimately, shaping the ending of the movie which is in the past.

If you are about to give up on this article, what I am pointing to, is that it may not be quite literal that the future us can collide with our present selves face to face, but the actions that we do every day in our lives will ripple through time and oblivious to it, we may be,we are not exempt from its consequences.

Yes, that elevator we did not hold for another person, the garbage we did not segregate, is unlikely to haunt our past, but will definitely affect the future, which then, technically, once we get to that future will make us regret the past, for how socially irresponsible we are for the present.

Our perspectives then ought to change and may we always think, that every other man’s life affect another.

That what we do today, even the tiniest, will ripple throughout the ages. So, may we, daily, strive to do what is right, to secure a better future, where we shall not feel ashamed looking back at our past (from that standpoint).

Lesson 2: The Mind perceives, but the Heart Knows

The movie quite distinctly, in its creative intricacy of violating known science did not leave the part of being human. We get introduced to an art curator and wife, who amidst, what most would see, befit a the description of a happy life is trapped in the present, while hoping to have made better choices in the past and fearing the future.

Though, many of us, do not really give it much thought, but such is our daily life, is it not?

We may not always feel a sense of regret at everything and sure we may have trained our minds to be more positive in letting go of things in the past, to make sure it never happens again, but emotions, on the other, the feelings, we leave them at the specific moment and can only truly recover them in nostalgia.

So, we may move on from past experience, feel confident that we have learned from it to take action in the present, but the present nor the future, can never undo the emotional breadcrumb we have left in the past. That feeling, yes, that emotional state, that only nostalgia can bring back, is something that will be left in the time frame for posterity.

This is what makes our short lives on Earth beautiful. To know that we can do the same thing over and over, but we will never feel that same way about it, as the first time, nor the consecutive instances, because each passing of time is an experience that is not imprinted in the sands of time. Such is, we should make the most out of every day, for life being short is not the problem, but time, the human soul and life are battling forces that we should make the most of.

Lesson 3: We experience Time by our Choices

It is amazing, how the movie, makes us accept all accept the fact of time-travel to be as casual as boarding a plane. If you had watched it, I bet you never had the time to even question the science behind it, well, if you did, two thumbs up, you are one of the intellectually gifted, able to keep up.

Yet for those, who had just simply missed to consider how the science works, please do not worry. It may have slipped past us because, no matter how everybody else was just disrespecting time–we all see, that the time has little consequences compared to the choices we make at the time given.

To me, the movie, required astute attention because of the plot, but it harkened our attention–because, even with the inverter, the capability to move back and forth time, with nonchalant casualty–it was the actions of everyone that dictated the outcomes. It was as if, and perhaps, in reality, very well be, that time is merely the stage we are all in, by which we are tested by the decisions and choices we make.


Then, too, with these decisions, with time as a witness, our mettle is tested, by how we stand by the consequences of them. Life can be many things–beautiful, sad, happy, fulfilled. Time can be defined philosophically, scientifically or spiritually.

But our decisions and our actions, can only be right, wrong or unknown.

100 Best Movies Of All Time Series: Lessons From The Deer Hunter

This is the story of how Farrah and I, as a couple, complete the IMBD list of 100 Best Movies Of All Time.

Farrah’s and my selection of movies are aligned in some yet varied in most. Thankfully, though, we agree on one critical junction. That The Lord Of The Rings is a stupendous movie, (and I am using stupendous to sound less of a nerd), worth watching many times!

Anyway, I made the call to start from anywhere on the list randomly and we got The Deer Hunter.

A 1978 American epic war drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino about a trio of steelworkers whose lives were changed forever after fighting in the Vietnam War. The three soldiers are played by Robert De NiroChristopher Walken, and John Savage, with John Cazale (in his final role), Meryl Streep, and George Dzundza playing supporting roles. The story takes place in ClairtonPennsylvania, a working-class town on the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh, and in Vietnam.–Wikipedia

Here are a few things we learned from the movie.

You Are Who You Decide You Will Be

The movie takes into the lives of three of five close friends, who had lived a careless life working together at a metal works factory and casually wallowing their days away with beer and deer hunting. There was Mike (Robert De Niro) the sensible one, then there was Nick (Christopher Walken) the boy-next door, Steve (John Savage) the adult who had not outgrown his teenage years.

It was truly masterful how the first few scenes that showed nothing but their partying, drinking, deer-hunting and juvenile shennanigans were abruptly given a striking halt by the horrors the three of the faced as they get deployed to Vietnam during the War.

deer hunter2
The friends, before three of these five get to see action in Vietnam

I have been definitively told that the movie was about the horrors of war, specifically, the most controversial at that time—Vietnam. However, I saw something different, like it impacted me on a different way than it did majority of the viewers.

As the scenes progress, it dawned on me that it may not entirely be the war that is being presented here, neither was it the outcomes of it, rather how a person either makes or breaks himself in moments of adversity.

In the film, Mike comes home rather normal. Of course, he was broken, but still able to adjust to move on with his life, compared to two of his other friends.

Maybe the movie is not about showing the horrors of war in the hopes of world peace, perhaps it was about how we can overcome the horrors we see as we close our eyes, the monster we let live inside us and the regrets we allow to fester in our conscience.

There is no telling, but Mike, being able to come home and managing to still be himself made me remember a lesson from late Dr Covey—that we are not a product of our experience/environment, but of our decisions.

deer hunter 3

Yes, we can chose to live our lives every day like we had seen action in Vietnam and justify the injustice of life for our actions, but that truly is no excuse for not having a purpose, a sense of meaning and living our lives to the full.

If Mike did it, perhaps, we, too, can.

We Need To Make The Most Of The Time Given Us

The quote is actually taken from The Lord Of The Rings, or maybe someone important said it, but I just did not know who, then again the awful ending of the movie rang the bells that got me scouring for the quote.
The middle part of the film shows us how while held prisoner by the Vietcong, Mike and Nicky were forced to play Russian Roulette as their captors bet on the outcomes. It was a riveting scene really, I remember watching it as a kid and now as an adult, the amount of trepidation I felt did not diminish.

deer hunter 4

Anyway, while Nicky was crying and being desponded, as anyone probably would. Mike, found hope amidst the hopelessness. He ups the game, by asking for two bullets to be loaded, instead of the occasional one. It added more spice for the game for the captors but increased the chances of either of Mike or Nick’s death in the process.

It was a smart move, however. As they are both dead anyway, having two bullets allows either of them to have one bullet after the other dies enough to shoot one of the five guards and hopefully take down the rest with the military training they had had.

Finally, with some luck, Mike feels his turn to be loaded and shoots at the enemy paving the way for the three of them to escape. Their reunion was to be cut-short, however, as they managed to get rescued but separated at the same time.

Before I get carried away and start writing an ugly synopsis of the movie, my point is—most of us see the situation for what it is and willfully play victim to it like Nick. Not that this makes any of us a lesser person if we have been so in the past, but if we keep on being so, we will never see the opportunities that present our way.

We should really be more like Mike (again, he is the cool guy in this movie), who regardless if he had lost hope or not, simply refused to let life win and took measures to play life’s game to his advantage.

All of us, do not have long on this earth and if we keep on playing victim to the circumstance, we will never make the most of the time that is given to us.

There are Friends, Then There Are True Friends

The scene that had the most profound effect on me was how Mike, decides to come bac to look for Nick. I mean, we all have friends, but going back to Vietnam as the US Military was pulling out and in chaotic times was hardly an easy decision.

Mike plays Russian Roulette to convince Nick to come home with him. The irony of surviving a game of chance when forced, only to be addicted to it

He was home, he has a chance to live his life, but he chooses to go back and search for his friend. Add to it that the search was not easy. He probably had to pull some strings to get there and he spent an awful lot of money just to have a table with Nick.

And man, the fine acting you see, as Mike grieves the death of Nick on that same night they met, cemented De Niro for me as one of the greatest actors of all time, but this is not my point. I just could not stop but segue.

The point is, if you call yourself a friend to someone, the measure by which you should think you are, is what Mike did for Nick. Anything less and you are just an acquaintance.

Things I Learned From The Movie: Chef

Trying to enjoy a weekend together, which has gotten harder than usual, given the current limitations on how dates were supposed to be, Farrah and I decided to stream movies this weekend.

Her choice, was the movie–Chef.

Written and Directed by Jon Favreau, released in 2014 and hitting the Box Office with $46 Million and scoring 87% on Rotten Tomatoes review, it was a good a mix of drama, comedy and some feel good moments.

The movie takes on the life of a creative and dreamer Chef, who quits after after several creative difference with the restaurant owner to eventually own a food cart, reigniting his passion for cooking and rekindling his relationship with his ex-wife and nearly-ignored son.

Again, as a habit, i found three things that I learned from the movie.

Lesson 1, Work For What Makes You Happy

At the start of the movie,  we see Casper (Jon Favreau), a creative and maverick chef, brimming with excitement to change the old menu in preparation for the visit of a popular blogger and food-critic. The plan, however, goes awry as, as Riva (Dustin Hoffman), the owner, persuades Casper to stick to the old menu which cost them a poor review.

There is a Casper in all of us. We all have that desire to do something out of the ordinary, to do something new. It may not be just entirely because we are bored, but it is human after all to challenge the status quo, experiment and innovate.

chef 1.1

There, too, is a Riva, in all of us and at some point we have to had been a Riva in someone’s life. To me Riva symbolized the adult world. That thing, situation or individuals, often close to us, that attempt to silence our wild imaginations, that make us stick to what we know, stay where we are and situate ourselves to what is certain—because it is safe.

chef 2

Like in the movies, Riva succeeds to persuade Casper, in real life. Ask the next person you meet and see if they had become the people they wanted to be as kids. Should you find three in a row, that says, they have, you are in a much better place, but drawing from experience many had forgone their dreams as children, abandoned what they really wanted to do and settled down for what is safe.

Safe is good and there is nothing wrong with that. We all have responsibilities and safe pays the bills.

But, when we start letting safe take to rule our lives—when we stop chasing our dreams, trying to improve ourselves, neglect the things that make us grow, fulfilled and happy—this is where the Riva in all of us wins.

Sadly, unlike Casper getting the review a few hours after the big visit, we do not get the review of our lives after we check out and it may be too late, by then.

So, find a job, earn, stay safe, but never let go at working for what makes you happy.

Lesson 2, Learning. Mastery. Decay.

Architecture school taught me that.

It did not make too much sense back then, but this movie made me remember it.

The quote’s premise is that all art styles and movement even civilizations reach these phases. A phase where we are so eager to learn, a phase where we become masters which then takes most artists to  that plateau of producing a work so immensely sublime, it leaves the artist clueless about how to take it further, which then contributes to his skill’s decay.

chef 3

Casper, loosing his cool after seeing Tweets of the critic he challenged and being unable to do the menu he planned, after being sacked

In the scene where Casper reads the review, we hear the first few lines were reminiscent of the critic’s first review of the chef. It pointed out his potential, his revolutionary take and his fresh ideas. While the rest of the review tells an awful denouement, this scene made me think of the lines shared atop.

Learning, Mastery, Decay.

Like Casper, when we are new to our jobs, we get through a phase of learning. This stage gets us pumped up, excited and enthusiastic. Eventually, depending on the effort we put at it, we get to a level where what was so hard at first, is now routine, something we barely even put much attention to.

That report that we worked for an entire day, after a year, or maybe less than that, becomes something we finish in an hour, or less—we have reached Mastery.

This new level puts people at crucial junctions. Once a person reaches mastery, they are offered two choices, to either continually seek room for growth or situate and just stay for the ride.

Those who choose the latter, sooner reach decay. You see that someone who started work like a superstar descend to low depths of productivity, creativity and energy. Like routine they go to work and like robots they go home—it was same thing, different day.

Then, there are those who realize that they see themselves decay, those that, though, clueless about what is next to Mastery never give up to go back to learning to avoid staying at the plateau of mastery only to roll down to decay.

The neat solution we have created around this was to continually push mastery by putting a number to it. So, you are a master if you have reached this salary, this degree or this income. Then, to avoid decay, you just simply have to do more, if you earn this much, you strive to get this much. If you have a PhD, you can always get two.

While this works for most, this is not the way out of the plateau of Mastery and certainly not a way to the phase of re-learning. This is just an escape, a distraction we all to readily accept.

As Casper continually searched for a new menu, that new taste, that perfect food (if there is such, I do not intend to be an expert in the goals of those in the culinary world)—you also see, that he barely spends time with his kid, he is divorced and broke.

How many times did we miss out on family, to chase that next thing? Have we occupied ourselves seeking that next promotion, higher pay, new car, higher degree than what we already have thinking it will give us a sense of fulfilment in the eyes of the critics?

Learning one thing is good. Mastering it is another.  Decay, however, comes for those who fail to nurture the other things in their lives, chasing a next level of Mastery over something they have initially mastered.

Rightfully, we see that Casper, becomes the happiest, when he goes back to Miami, does business on a foodcart, selling food, that was not something he would normally do in a fancy restaurant with his kid and friend.

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This is what we all need in life. Balance.

Lesson 3, Happiness is fleeting, make those moments possible

Amongst, the many scenes I liked, what stood  out the most, was Casper stopping his son from serving a burnt sandwich and telling him about how passionate he is with cooking, how it makes him feel and how for him he touches lives through it.

I bet we all have something we are passionate about. That thing, we always wanted to do. While these things may not always pay, it does not mean they are less important, nor does it mean that we should give up on them.

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Life is always a struggle, but it does not mean we should not leave time to do the things that make us feel happy.

As the world is transformed by this pandemic, it is true that we are left with very few options to do the things we want, we may have been struck by unfortunate times, but it is our decision, at the end of the day, that is the difference between being miserable and being happy.

Celebrity Sightings - Bauer-Griffin - 2013We ought to take ownership of our emotions, understand that there are things outside our control and stressing over them is a waste of energy. Meanwhile, there are things that we can definitely do something about that is a much better way of expending our attention and our best efforts I.

Life is about choices and how you decide can make the difference.

Things I Learned From The Movie: Batman Begins

The Batman franchise has been, if not the most lucrative superhero movie on the cinema since the comics hit the screen to date. Over the years, and after many iterations of the caped crusader, there has never been a loss in appeal for fandom.

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While many of us miss to recognize this, there is something about the life of Bruce and Batman, that connects the story to us, something in a very subtle way resonates with all of us profoundly.

Not entirely sure about everyone, but the fact that Batman has been the most filmed superhero in history, must account for that.

In this article, we will be referencing to the Batman in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. For me, each segment was just a masterful way to teach the deep philosophical queries we encounter every day.Some of which, we have either learned to ignore, left others to answer or are still figuring out.

And so, I am listing two things that I have learned from its first installment—Batman Begins.

Lesson 1, We All Need and Can Be an Alfred

In the Batman Begins, we see that as a child, teenager and even during his crime fighting years, Alfred had not just been integral, but crucial in the success of Bruce Wayne.

From caring for Bruce as kid, to welcoming him from Princeton even to picking him up when Scarecrow got the best of him—it will be fair to say, that there will have been no Batman without Alfred.

But it is not just in these moments, that we find how essential Alfred was to Bruce and Batman if we could treat those two differently.

alfredAlfred took care of Bruce as a boy, basically raised him up.

He watched over the family business, which must have been daunting, imagining the sharks that attend those board meetings.

Most importantly, as Bruce comes to his crusade, he had been his voice of reason, devil’s advocate, first fan, partner in crime, only friend and father.

Arguably, I will go as far as saying that maybe Alfred had been a better parent to Bruce than Thomas would have been. This by no way, discounts Thomas Wayne being a respectable man, but how many fathers, especially billionaire fathers support their boys’ decision to put on a mask, fight crime come home with broken angles or even worse (as wee in the course of the trilogy). I doubt there will be many.

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Again this is subject for debate or another article. The point is, for all intents and purposes, perhaps without Alfred, there would be no Batman. The ultimate scene the encapsulates Alfred’s role in the mythos of Batman, for me, would be that scene where he takes the drugged Rachel Dawes home, comes back to rescue Bruce from getting killed as Wayne Manor burnt and reminding of why we fall—so we can get back up.

We all need an Alfred.

We need that parent, that we wish we had, that friend that knows how to throw witty sarcastic jokes (we had puns before memes), that person that allows us to experiment on who can be so our potential can come out, but wait patiently on the sides to catch us when we fall and redirect us when we go astray.

We can all be an Alfred.

We can be that friend that supports our friends in their wild imaginations, that friend who never gives on our friends, that friend that is always there to tell the hard truths, but at the same time give all out support.

Lesson 2, We Have to Be Who We Are Not, And Not Be Who We Are

In many scenes of the movie, particularly in the Batman Begins, we see Bruce having to show a personality quite contrary to his true self.

He unduly imposes himself by buying a hotel to let his escorts bathe in a decorative pool, acts like incapable to handle the family business and pushes people out of Wayne Manor on his birthday at his celebration. Rude, seemed an understatement.

Though, many of us think that these scenes were about showing how hard it is to maintain a normal life and truly those may well be specifically to detail that, I found a different context.

One scene that is less for the trailer, but quite captivating was that chance meet Bruce had with Rachel, after he exits the hotel he just purchased, because he can.

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That scene, where Bruce was trying so hard to be explain himself to be contrary to the actions Rachel sees is quite familiar, to me, if not for many of us.

You know, when we so badly want to tell people, that we are really something more, deep inside, and they tell us that our actions define who we are?

Well, I have been told that many times growing up. That for some reason, you cannot be artistic if you do not do art or be a god-fearing person if you skip church and have a tattoo or something. That you cannot be a good person, if you do bad.

While I disagree to that an all levels, I caution at the more popular interpretation of the just-be-yourself-digital-age wisdom.

For example, we cannot attend a funeral and act like we are having fun, be in a church service and sleep, be in class drunk or tardy at work for no reason. No, that is not the point here.

What I really mean, is that we are all forced to wear a mask, for reasons far less than Bruce. Some of them worth doing so, perhaps several that are not. While the mask maybe our real self, or the one we chose to show—like Rachel telling Bruce, that Bruce Wayne is the mask and Batman is the true persona, is subject for many debates, I just settle on the questions of—is it still worth it?

Even Bruce had to hang the cape.

Are you part of the LGBT community, but come home wearing a mask to be the person your family expects you to be? The corporate leader who has to keep the strong façade to secure authority, respect and leadership? Or the

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preacher’s kid who wants to study science over the Bible? Or maybe, that friend who had fallen for your best friend, but cannot tell them because he is not into same-gender relationships?

Whoever you may be, we have all worn masks.

The only thing that may be different from what Bruce does, to ours, it that at least at the end of the day, he takes the mas of knowing it has helped achieve something.

Is your mask helping you do so?