On reality

Morpheus says, “How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

When we talk about real, we usually talk about the present physical world — the world that our senses can reach. But often, this very exclusive and limited notion on reality is problematic, because we tend to dismiss worlds beyond the physical realm as not real, and merely imaginary. For instance, we consider dreams, thoughts, feelings and emotions as mere fragments of imagination and products of cognition. We often think that just because these are only happening inside our heads, it is therefore not real. But to think about it, are we even sure that this present, physical world is the reality? If so, what makes us so sure? What are the conditions necessary to make something real? What does it mean to be real?

Going back to Morpheus’ question, how do we really define real? Linguistically, real refers to something that is a) actually existing or happening and b) not imaginary. If we refer to these two meanings, should we consider dreams as real? If we refer to definition a, should we agree that dreams as real? They are existing, and happening, but only inside our heads. Our senses cannot reach those, because dreams are things beyond the physical realm. The only problematic term in definition a is actually. Actual refers to things that are real and not merely possible or imagined. If this is the case, then what does it mean to actually exist? If we refer to the definition b, we can easily dismiss dreams as unreal. After all, dreams are only happening inside our heads. They are imaginary. But, what makes something imaginary? Are we sure that this present, physical reality, real? What if it is only imaginary, and our minds are only making things up?

In another scene, Spoon boy tells Neo, “Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.” Then Neo asks, “What truth?” Spoon boy answers that there is no spoon, that it is not the spoon the bends, “it is only yourself.” This scene might be suggesting that we might just be constructing our own version of reality, and that the truth is that we are just making ourselves believe that some things are real and some things are not, to delineate our understanding of the world better. Furthermore, this scene might even be suggesting that we are so far away from the truth, and we often cannot see it, because our senses tend to deceive us, and our conception of reality, is in fact, distorted. This is also suggesting that our senses are unreliable and they do not hold the complete truth, and that often the truth is beyond what our senses can reach. Most essentially, this suggests that the truth is within us, on how we perceive reality. 

Another quotation from Morpheus ties well with these. He asks, “Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you are unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” We cannot, because even if the dream world and the real world seemed to be completely contrasting concepts, in reality, they are so closely related that we might just as well be using the concepts interchangeably. 

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Overheard #8

“Sinisipon ka ata.”

“Ay oo. Sinisipon dahil sa pagod, sa puyat.”

“Ang lawak ng ceiling niyo rito ah. Maraming space para maglagay ng tali, pangbigti.”

“Hay nako. Hindi pwede. Maraming iiyak ‘pag nawala ako.”

“Ay ganun.”

“Oo, maraming iiyak. Iiyak yung mga nangungutang sa ‘kin. ‘Pag nadeds ako, wala na silang uutangan.”

Overheard #7

“Ang lamig ng panahon, girl, ‘no? Parang Baguio lang o Tagaytay yung lamig girl eh. Iba talaga.”

“Sana nga panahon lang yung malamig ee… Eh siya din nakisabay sa lamig ng panahon.”

Kung wala ka

Hinahabol ka nila, ngunit madalas ay kay tulin ng iyong takbo. Ikaw ang ang mailap na hiwaga na kahit anong iwas mo sa amin ay paulit-ulit ka naming hahanap-hanapin. Dahil sino nga ba’ng makatatagal at makakahinga kung wala ka? Kahit sabihin pa nilang malakas sila, sa kailaliman ng kuweba ng puso nila ay paniguradong ikaw rin ang hanap-hanap nila. Swerte na lang kapag nahaplos man lang namin ang iyong mga kamay.

Kung wala ka, pati ang gana sa paggising sa umaga ay wala.

Kung wala ka, hindi sila makagagawa ng obra.

Kung wala ka, hindi sila makakilos.

Kung wala ka, hindi sila pinagpapawisan.

Kung wala ka, hindi sila nakikinig.

Kung wala ka, hindi nila mapakinggan at malurok ang misteryo ng kanilang sarili.

Hahanap-hanapin ka namin upang kulayan ang mapanglaw naming daigdig, bigyan ng musika ang bawat kasiyahan at kasawian. Ano pa ba?

Kung wala ka, pag-ibig, walang buhay.

*HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! 💜💙❤

13 Lovely, Untranslatable Words

I’m loving our Semantics class with Prof. Marquez! 💜💛💙 Initially, I thought that the subject would be dreary (even though I already like semantics) because a) it’s on Saturdays, 2-5 in the afternoon and b) the room’s low temperature makes me even sleepier. But, boy, I was so wrong. Prof. Marquez is a helluva awesome English professor. She makes semantics sound so easy, and I’m so close to believing it. Anyway, we are doing translation practices just earlier, and in connection to that, she gave out a myriad of interesting words that support the weaker version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. According to the weaker version, language does influence to some extent the way we think, and view the world, however, does not fully determine or constraint it.

“Meaning is not fully transferrable from one language to another, because every thought is dependent on any particular language.”

Here are some of the words that she shared with the class:

1. saudade (Portugese) – a strong feeling of missing someone you love

2. mamihlapinatapal (Yaghan) – a look shared by two people who are both waiting for each other to start something

3. tuqburni (Arabic) – a love so deep, you can’t imagine life without your partner

4. retrouvailles (French) – the happiness of reuniting with someone after a long separation

5. zhaghzhagh – the chattering of teeth in the cold

6. ousra (Indian) – to love for the last time

7. koi no yokan (Japanese) – the feeling upon meeting someone that love is in the cards, in time

8. age-otori (Japanese) – to look worse after a haircut

9. tsundoko (Japanese) – to buy a book but not read it

10. verschlimmbessern (German) – make something worse while trying to improve it

11. pochemuchka – a person asking too many questions

12. tartle (Scottish) – to hesitate introducing someone because you forgot his name

13. cafuné (Portugese) – to run fingers through someone’s hair

Kalma.

Uuwi na siya bukas.

Mapapasa mo yung exams mo.

Mahahanap mo siya.

Babalikan ka rin niya.

Hindi ka babagasak.

Tatanggapin ka nila.

Magiging masaya ka rin.

Tutubo rin ‘yan.

Hindi siya nagtatanim ng galit sa’yo.

Magkaibigan pa rin kayo.

Gagaling ka.

Gagaling din siya.

May mapapala ka, pramis.

Magiging OK ka rin ulit.

Hindi ka nag-iisa.

Kalma.

Uy.

031ff58cd9ebb479b98eab81ae3de8aa
Nawawalan ka na naman ng boses.
Hindi mo kasi binigyan ng pagkakataon yung sarili mo na huminga ng malalim
At palayain ang isip sa lahat ng mga katanungang sinusubukan mong lagyan ng konkretong kasagutan.
Mag-hinay hinay ka.
Paisa-isa lang sana.
May bukas pa.
At uy.

‘Wag na ‘wag mong papakawalan ang mga paa mo sa lupa ha.

Art by: JeeHoon Choi