LEUNG | This Strange Entity

I spent roughly one hour and 10 minutes twice a week for an entire semester discussing the body. I’ve thought that after the amount of time spent reading about this physical entity — and believe me, even English classes about the body know how to work you — and pondering over its purpose, I thought I would come closer to understanding what this thing I’m living in is. The body to me is such a beautiful thing. The unique aspects of each and every body fascinates me. I think it’s lovely the way skin folds and smooths.

Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

GUEST ROOM | Who Needs Meaning?

When I was a junior in high school, I taught a film and media class at my former elementary school. I gathered a group of 11 year olds around a computer to write a script and asked them, “What message do you want to share to your audience?” They told me they wanted to make a movie about a dog traveling around the world; somehow dynamite and chicken wings were involved but I can’t remember how. “No, I mean what do you want the meaning to be?” I asked again. They didn’t understand what I was trying to say. They suggested dinosaurs instead of the dog.

KANKANHALLI | Virtuous Vices

We’re all sinners to an extent.* Some of us are aware of our cosmic wrongdoings, and some of us have yet to learn, but all of us have to cope with who we are. One day, perhaps we’ll even love who we are (but I don’t want to ask too much). In the meantime, it seems like we’re expected to engage in a process of continuous growth — as does the model-millennial, who improves himself to improve the world he inhabits. Albeit in a leisurely way, I, too, advocate for self-improvement, but not by scorning my flaws. Sometimes, adopting a new perspective serves better than donning a new personality.

HAGOPIAN | Trying on Happiness

I had a conversation with a girl recently. As I write that, I can almost hear my middle school friends sardonically expressing their disbelief. But it’s true. I did. And the conversation still sticks out in my memory.

DUGGAL | On Picking Yourself Up Again and Again

There’s a quote chalked into the wall near Rockefeller that I knew existed, but never really actually saw until about a week ago when I caught a glimpse of it on accident. It’s yellow chalk, carved carefully above a bench built into the concrete wall leading up to the Big Red Barn. “Dear God, be good to me,” it reads. “The sea is so wide, and my boat is so small.” Someone I respect very much brought it up to me my freshman year. “I think about the quote a lot when finals come around,” he said.

Philosophy on the Streets

“The unExamined Life is not worth living.” Such is the quote from Plato that opens Examined Life, directed by Astra Taylor. So where’s the “the”? The documentary’s title describes an unspecified substance, a sort of universal life-stuff. But it is the connotation implied by the quote, and left out of the title, that makes the movie itself worth watching. Examined Life makes charmingly clear the differentiated specificity, the very the-ness of life. In her most substantial line, Taylor says, “I’m thinking about the challenge of making a film about philosophy.” What she gets is a film about philosophers — a less grandiose entity, but no less intriguing.

Student Artist Spotlight: Eva Kestner '09

At just under five feet in height, Eva Kestner ’09 is one diminutive powder keg. A founding member and now music director of Yamatai, the Cornell taiko group, she not only plays the taiko, an instrument that demands immense strength and flexibility, but has also trained on the piano and timpani and is now teaching herself the guitar. Standing in the basement of her favourite haunt, Lincoln Hall, this soon to be professional taiko player (and member of the Japanese taiko group Bonten) talks about her journey as an artist, her influences and inspirations and the future of taiko music.

Sun: How did you get involved in Taiko?

Guest Lecturer Gives Insight Into 10th-Century Baghdad

Seventeen professors and students gathered around a table yesterday to hear Sidney Griffith, professor at Catholic University of America, speak about 10th-century Baghdad. Griffith used the personage of Yahaya ibn Adi, a prominent Christian Intellectual of the time, as a tool to describe Baghdad at the time: a society comprised of Jews, Christians and Muslims willing to correspond and talk with each other.