Tag: Philosophy

‘Jurassic Park’: Book Vs Film

Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park was first published in the year 1990, and quickly shot up the best seller list, becoming Crichton’s best known book. It was adapted into a blockbuster film in 1993, directed by Steven Spielberg. The film also became a huge hit but was a very different beast to the novel, both in terms of theme and characterization. Readers are often surprised when going back to the original book and finding how different the book was before making the transition to the big screen. While both works are classics of their genres, this piece will showcase the differences between the two, showing how different they are even if they share the same characters, plotline, and principal ideas.

 

The cover of the Jurassic Park novel by Michael Crichton
Image Via MichaelCrichton.com

 

The book’s content is for lack of a better word not family friendly. While the film has several disturbing or scary sequences (such as the Velociraptor scene in the kitchen), it was given a much more whimsical spin thanks to Spielberg’s involvement. The novel, however, features numerous violent, gruesome scenes that are not for the faint of heart. A straight adaptation of the novel would certainly have been an R rating at the very least.

The thematic heart of the novel is also much more of a cold, science fiction thriller, in the vein of Crichton’s earlier works such as The Andromeda Strain. The dinosaurs are utilized to explore the themes of chaos theory and challenges the readers to think about the questions raised. Many pages are devoted to the science behind the story, including numerous sequences where Ian Malcolm (played by the marvelous Jeff Goldblum in the film) waxes philosophical about the dangers of creating dinosaurs. In contrast, the movie is lighter, being a mostly family-friendly adventure film that touches on these themes but does not devote the soul of its work to them.

 

A few of the original Jurassic Park characters: Alan Grant (Sam Neil), Lex Murphy (Ariana Richards), and Joseph Mazzello (Tim Murphy)
Image Via Business Insider

 

The characters in the book also underwent significant changes between the page and screen. The novel’s cast fit the colder vibe Crichton is aiming for, a more intellectual experience than an emotional one. They often speak in science jargon, appraising the situation in these terms, always matter of fact and to the point even in stressful situations (like being hunted down by the Tyrannosaurus when the containment system fails). Some characters only undergo small changes, such as Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler, who remain palaeontologists brought in to consultant on John Hammond’s park.

Hammond himself is a different character altogether. In the film he is a grandfatherly type, misguided but ultimately genuine in his desire to create a dinosaur park, Hammond in the novel is an outright villain. The problems the park suffers are all traced back to him, as Hammond cuts corners to bring his park to life, defrauding investors and blackmailing his own employees. His motivations are inherently selfish, desiring to bring the park to life only to make money, expositing in private he only will allow visitors with the most money he can squeeze from them into Jurassic Park. He even uses his own grandchildren as pawns, bringing them to the park solely as emotional blackmail if his investors try to shut him down.

 

Tim Murphy (Joseph Mazzello) hides from two raptors in the film
Image Via The Washington Post

 

The book also features more elaborate sequences featuring the dinosaurs, such as more species featured, a pterodactyl attack, and more chapters featuring the famed Tyrannosaurus, including several chapters where the T rex pursues the grandkids down a spiralling river. With the complexities bringing dinosaurs to life onscreen, it makes sense that the film could only feature them in a handful of scenes, although they certainly made the most of when the dinosaurs did appear. Still, it shows how powerful the imagination is, no budget required to bring action to life.

In the end, neither work is better than the other, each presenting a different look at the same material. The book is more of an intellectual experience, while the film is an emotional action-adventure. I’d highly recommend reading the book and showing how different a work can be before changes are made in adapting it for the screen.

 

Featured Image Via SyFy Wire 

Kim Kierkegaardashian

What Do You Get When You Cross Kim Kardashian With Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard?

If you’re unfamiliar, there’s an excellent Twitter account out there mashing up Kim Kardashian quotes with quotes from philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).

 

The account, @KimKierkegaard, has achieved what every parody Twitter account dreams of – a book deal. Entitled My Beautiful Despair: The Philosophy of Kim Kierkegaardashianthe book is available for preorder, with a release date set for July 31, 2018. The London Evening Standard has described it as “the ultimate meeting of the sublime with the ridiculous,” while the Barnes and Noble blurb praises the book for “blending the existential philosophy of Kierkegaard with the superficial musings of Kim Kardashian West”.

 

The Twitter account has been praised in The New YorkerThe Washington PostThe New York TimesFinancial TimesThe EconomistNew York, Buzzfeed, amongst others, and currently has slightly over a quarter of a million Twitter followers.

 

In support of this hilarious Twitter and its upcoming book release, here are some of my favorite tweets from the love child of the most famous Kardashian and the famed philosopher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LoL.

 

So there you have it. If you didn’t know about this Twitter account, now you do. If you love existential philosophy and politely making fun of the media mogul, this book is for you.

 

Featured Image Via Amazon.

George Orwell

10 George Orwell Quotes That’ll Make You Question Everything

It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

 

When George Orwell published his iconic novel 1984, also known as Nineteen Eighty-Four, he used that opening line to invite readers to question everything. Question the existence of life. Question the gaze put upon them at any waking moment. Question the normalcy of a potentially fictional reality. Orwell’s dystopian novel blurred the lines between fiction and reality.

 

A cultural phenomenon since its release in 1949, the cultural impact and relevance of 1984 has only grown as time’s gone on. In the wake of recent political upheaval and social turmoil occurring around the globe, particularly in the United States, the novel has become a best-seller once again. These quotes will show you why. Here are 10 Orwell quotes from 1984 that will have you questioning everything.

 

orwell

Image courtesy of ‘Lesley Barnes’

 

1. “Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.”

 

2. “Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”

 

3. “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

 

4. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

 

5. “Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
 

 

orwell

Image Courtesy of ‘Wake Up World’

 

6. “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

 

7. “The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.”

 

8. “Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

 

9. “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”

 

10. “Big Brother is Watching You.”

 

via GIPHY

 

Feature Image Courtesy of ‘Her Campus’.

life perpective

7 Books That Changed My Perspective on Life

Though you may read anywhere between one and 200 books this year, only a few will really stay with you. Very rarely do you read a book that shifts the bedrock of your mind. We start building our outlook on life when we’re very young. It’s not easy for new ideas to come along and be retrofitted into our worldview. It’s sort of like pulling the bottom brick from Jenga. You just don’t mess with it.

 

But, sometimes, you do come across words on a page that change you. When you look at the paper, you’re one person. When you lift your head up, you’re another. It’s scary, but also exhilarating. This should be why we read, after all—to give us something new to carry with us in life. Here are some of the books that did that for me.

 

1. The Tibetan Book of the Dead

 

Tibetan Book of the Dead

Image Via Amazon

 

Okay, I will admit that I wasn’t able to finish the whole thing. Also, I only took it out of the library after reading George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo. While my feeble intellect was not prepared for the enormous amount of discipline it requires to make the most of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, I did glean some new perspectives on perceiving the world. One of my favorite quotes was:

 

If, upon looking outwards towards the external expanse of the sky, there are no projections emanated by the mind, and if, on looking inwards at one’s own mind, there is no projectionist who projects thoughts by thinking them, then, one’s own mind, completely free from conceptual projections, will become luminously clear.

 

2. The Stranger by Albert Camus

 

The Stranger book cover

Image Via Amazon

 

It’s a book that famously opens with the death of the protagonist’s mother. He’s indifferent. He then kills someone and is sentenced to death. The book is about a lot of things, but it’s usually read through the lens of Camus’ absurdist philosophy, which is related to the existentialist philosophies popular when the book was written in the 1940s.

 

In some sense, it’s about the pointlessness of life, which, instead of inciting despair, should elate the reader. It’s liberating. Camus himself subscribed to this philosophy, as he wasn’t the mopey philosopher you might suspect. He was actually an accomplished athlete, and a bit of a womanizer. He also had a great sense of style, and was once asked to pose for Vogue. So even though you might see brooding sixteen-year-olds reading The Stranger (i.e. me), smoking a cigarette in a cafe, know that it’s a book that is, in some sense, cheerful.

 

3. The Peregrine by J. A. Baker

 

The Peregrine cover

Image Via Amazon

 

Watching BBC’s Planet Earth is what people of this generation do when they need to meditate and reconnect with nature from the comfort of their couch. J. A. Baker’s The Peregrine is, I imagine, the closest prose version of Planet Earth as we’ll get.

 

The book follows Baker over the period of one year as he leaves his English home and watches and records the flight of a peregrine falcon. The attentiveness and lyricism of Baker’s prose reads less like nature writing and more like a very long, very good Wordsworth poem. Not only does he capture the changing of the seasons and the falcon’s life, but also his own transformation. There’s something meditative and bare about Baker’s narrative. Everything seems very simple after reading The Peregrine, and that’s sometimes what a book needs to do.

 

4. Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Italo Calvino

 

Six Memos for the Next Millennium

Image Via Amazon

 

Calvino’s memos were originally meant to be lectures given at Harvard. Sadly, Calvino passed away before he was able to deliver them. The lectures were meant to cover six, essentially, literary virtues Calvino wanted the next millennium’s writers to keep in mind. Again, sadly, Calvino only made it to five.

 

The five memos are: Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity. The unfinished sixth memo would have covered consistency. Though these may seem obvious, Calvino’s definitions are heavily based in classical and renaissance literature, particularly from Italy. For example, Calvino’s lightness has several connotations other than what may seem most obvious. He’s speaking of a physical lightness, but also of a more abstract lightness. Though I won’t claim to fully grasp his meaning, he touched upon lightness as a writer’s tool of sorting through life’s excessive heaviness. Which leads to the next book on the list…

 

5. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

 

Unbearable Lightness

Image Via Amazon

 

Kundera’ books are, like Calvino’s, always experimental and fresh. His classic The Unbearable Lightness of Being does not just possess the greatest title, but it also has some of the lightest, most tender prose I’ve ever read. Like the best writers on this list, his perspective cuts through social conventions and displays to the reader the bare truths of human life.

 

For Kundera, we only live once (indeed, YOLO), and that’s one of the biggest jokes on Earth. In one section of the book, Kundera writes:

 

There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, “sketch” is not quite the word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.

 

6. Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein

 

Tender Buttons cover

Image Via Amazon

 

I cannot promise you’ll enjoy Stein’s deconstructed syntax and wordplay (if you can call it that), but once you’ve spent enough time with it, it will change the way you perceive language. It will make you a better speaker, a better writer, and a better listener. Once you’ve given Tender Buttons the time it deserves (and it deserves your time, whether you love it or despise it), it will reward you by making you hear language, for possibly the first time, as the music that it is. Stein’s poetry teaches you that words are nothing but sounds, and sometimes those sounds, once emptied of their arbitrarily-given definitions, can communicate more primitive, more visceral feelings. This book’s a killer.

 

7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

 

The Count of Monte Cristo cover

Image Via Amazon

 

Dumas’ epic revenge story is a masterclass in writing and, basically, in life. Dantes is the original superhero, cutdown by several capable archnemeses. Despite spending years in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit, Dantes reenters society as a mysterious stranger.

 

Thus, Dumas marries two classic plot strategies: a stranger comes to town, and a person goes on a journey. Dantes is both the stranger and the person on a journey. Because Dumas is outstanding at plotting his stories, he makes a 1,000+ page book feel like it moves too quickly. He shifts perspectives when needed, but the reader never loses sight of Dantes’ ultimate goal. And when his elaborate scheme pays off, the feeling it leaves in the reader is unlike any other. It gives the illusion, unlike every other book on this list, that there’s some order to things. Still, careful not to leave his readers with a false sense of order, Dumas ends the novel in the only suitable way: “all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.’”

 

Feature Photo by Rob Mulally Via Unsplash

Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library Hosts All-Night Philosophy Rager

The Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch might not be the first place you’d think of when imaging an all-night rager, but maybe that should change.

 

Via Giphy

Via Giphy

 

At 7pm on Saturday, January 27th, the library is hosting a 12-hour philosophy marathon they’ve named A Night of Philosophy and Ideas. The free event is open to the public and will include food (that you’ll have to pay for), live music, academic talks on a variety of philosophical disciplines, and a keynote lecture from George Yancy, a professor from Emory University and the editor of the The Philosophy of Race series. 

 

Finally, your love of all night partying and your love of nerding out about philosophy can combine for the best night of your freakin life. 

 

Via Giphy

Via Giphy

 

Featured Image Via Brooklyn Public Library.