congratulations! you just won a free ipad!

claim yours now by reading on!

The meaning of life?

Hello world, it bugs me when the religious claim that life is meaningless without a supreme being to govern us. But what annoys me further is when fellow atheists contend to their claims and say “Then so be it, the universe doesn’t owe you a sense of meaning does it?”.

To be fair, what they say isn’t entirely false. The universe doesn’t owe us shit and a meaning in life is just a filigree to living; it isn’t necessary or important. But what they don’t realize is that by contending to those words of the religious, they would, at the same time, be accepting that an objective meaning is superior to a subjective one. If not, why dismiss a subjective meaning as a legit meaning altogether? Are there any good reasons that makes an objective meaning more legit than a subjective one?

Before we get started, we must first reach a common understanding of the word “meaning”. “Meaning” is a word with vast implications. I could dissect the word in 10 different ways reaching 50 different conclusion but to keep things simple, let’s agree to define it as “a reason to live”. Without this reason, why do anything? Why not hang yourself with a noose or ingest a bottle of bleach? Why not be a couch potato for life and declare to only eat cheese nachos till your heart fails? Why not be a serial killer or the next Hitler?

My argument will be in two parts. I will first be explaining the common fallacies involved in belittling a subjective meaning of life. And secondly, why is an objective meaning more meaningless it may seem to be.

I. Albert Camus once said that the only way to live a meaningful life is to not just accept but embrace it’s meaningless-ness(what a graceless word to use, I know). If I remained to be the boy I was a year ago, without hesitation, all my limbs would be erected in agreement with the French philosopher. But thank God for time and experience, my opinion is now different. Life can be either deeply meaningful or entirely meaningless and it all depends on you. Now that’s unthinking truism and probably won’t do much for anyone, but the reason for why it doesn’t sound helpful isn’t that it’s something we already all know but because we are all irrationally adamant that an objective purpose is life is more valuable than a subjective one.

What is responsible for that is the sense of void we all have that’s created by our mental faculty. Our ability to perceive ourselves as conscious being comes with a concomitant cost of wariness about our existence in this world. To fill that void and not think of ourselves as a “freak accident”, we subscribe to a common purpose shared by hundreds of millions. Through these numbers, we find solidarity, and through solidarity, we find unquestioned objectivity. But even if were to give religion the benefit of doubt and accept their proposed meaning to living, why should it be any better than a subjective meaning?

The fault lies in our tendency in appealing to words like “purpose” and “meaning” as a mystical “thing” that cannot be explained through simple rationalization. And this tendency acts like a dead weight to the word making it feel heavy. The heavier it is, the more we feel helpless in deciding it as humans and seek help from a higher authority to decide it. In actual fact, how should we value our purpose in life should be no different from our preference of chocolates. On whether you prefer white chocolate or dark chocolate, peppermint chocolate or caramel chocolate, mustard apple chocolate or honey pumpkin chocolate, it’s a view that should exist subjectively. Thus, by giving a subjective purpose to your life such as wanting to consume as many mustard apple chocolates as possible does not make it senseless or worthless just because it’s subjective. It is subjective because that is what subjective means, not because it’s less worthy.

II. If the biblical God is true, the commandments are laws that his creations can derive a sense of purpose from. And if we were to see how much dough God gives himself in the commandments, the foremost purpose in life of a Christian(or the objective meaning of it) would probably be to worship God, have a relationship with him and eventually be invited to his perpetual house warming in heaven. The atheists can laugh and mock and even jeer at them saying it’s just an egocentric thing to do that does no good but fondle God’s balls. However, as silly as they think it is, from the words of a couple of Christian that I have spoke to, by doing so actually brings them an unparalleled sense of comfort. So if they are enjoying what they are doing, who are we to say it’s stupid and that kind of meaning in life isn’t legit. As a matter of fact, we can’t. But thank God for rhetorics, we can at least discuss if is it logically meaningful.

First of all, there’s the Euthyphro dilemma that we have to hurdle. Is worshipping God really meaningful or is it meaningful just because God commands upon it? Consequentially, is the act of serving God logically meaningful?

If we were to remove the transcendental notion that we so conveniently apply to God, we would soon realize that he is no more than Kim Jong Un, the communist leader of North Korea. And if a regular citizen of North Korea were to claim that his purpose in life is to serve his great leader simply because he is great and he commands upon it, we would, in a split second, identify that that sort of purpose isn’t logically meaningful because it’s commanded only to serve the interest of Kim Jong Un himself and doesn’t mean much to the practitioners of it however comforting it may be.

Acknowledging such logic, is there anything that sets the biblical commandments apart from what is sanctioned in North Korea? Absolutely nothing, I feel. It is meaningful only because he who commands is perceived to be “divine” and not because the purpose itself truly is. In fact, with that established, it actually makes the purpose arbitrary – which is subjective – because it’s just according to what God’s wishes and not objective in the capital O sense.

Secondly, to give the commandments some credit, let’s ignore the first four obscure and egoistical commandments and jump straight to the fifth one: Honor your father and your mother. On first impression, that does seem like a perfectly moral and worthwhile thing to do given that if it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t be reading any of my garbled complains. But for a purpose to be truly meaningful, on top of considering the message of it, we must too consider what sort of logical premises does it stand on that makes it so.

Call me a new-age-left-wing libertarian, but a purpose in life that is servilely accepted rather than created automatically robs it of its meaning. That is not because I think human intelligence is noble and the purpose of life is through exercising the best of it but of the irreconcilable contrast between the words “meaningful” and “objective”. For something to be objective, what logically follows is that it is concrete and we have no influence upon it. But for a purpose to be “meaningful”, it might first be of an implied significance by an agent none other than yourself.

That is not to say that a meaningful purpose must be distinctively unique and be different from the other 7 billion of our species that share our air but it must be accepted through understanding than compliance. If the entire of humanity were to understand Aristotelian ethics and practice eudaemonia then so be it. Does it then make Aristotelian ethics an objective purpose in life? No. It still remains as a subjective and meaningful because it is practiced through understanding.

There is nothing embarrassing being a creator of your own purpose. It makes absolutely no sense to think that a purpose assigned by a higher order would be more precious and convincing that one you created through your own experience. It is only through experience that we can observe, learn and rationalize and something as personal as to what life “means”, can only be justified when it’s made through cognizance. The meaning of life shouldn’t be ideas that we simply absorb, but experience and decide for ourselves. And for it to be worthwhile, it can only be subjective. After all, there should be nothing more intimate in life than a reason to live for and a sophisticated compass, created none other by yourself, to live by.

To conclude, however counter intuitive it might be, an objective purpose to life and a meaningful one, are actually contradictory ideas. And thus, I implore you, that contrary to what your teachers say, the world DOES revolve around you. Not because you are a fraction as grand as the universe but after all, your experience in this world… is rightfully yours and the same should apply to your purpose here.

What I feel about Dr Richard Teo’s speech

Disclaimer: I am a horrible person that enjoys trampling on the last words of dying people. If your hunch tells you that you are going to hate reading this, then don’t.

If live in Singapore, by now, you should know who Dr Richard Teo is. His story had been told on a thousand social platforms, inspired millions and even made it to the front page of a certain tabloid magazine which I have no idea why do people pay for.

His sob story of a successful person facing a sudden decline in health is something we have all heard of and his take back from it, that money isn’t everything, is a aphorism that we all know. The only difference which separates him and an average joe delivering it is, it just feels so bloody good hearing a millionaire say it. And considering that those aren’t the words your regular millionaire, but someone who went from rags to riches and will die in a matter of months, makes it resonate in us a hundred times harder.

I was like everyone else when I first read it. I felt poignant knowing the circumstances he was facing and was worried for him and more so for his family(I still do actually). But being the horrible person that I am, I also felt something suspicious in his speech. My suspicion lies not in the authenticity of the speech, but just how true his views are about living a fulfilling life? I then decided to re-read his speech and thought hard on what it really meant. Not to my surprise, this time round, I felt it meant absolutely nothing beyond what we already know and even misinforming.

I must remind you that I am writing this with all due respect.

To be fair, I have no doubts on the sincerity of Dr Teo’s speech. He is a man that has come a long way earnestly hoping that the future generations of doctors would avoid the regrettable path that he took. Urging them to be genuinely concerned for their patients and not be blinded by monetary possessions. And he is saying this not just for the interest of the sick and old, but because like what the Dalai Lama spams on twitter all day long, he feels that the only way to live a rich life is through compassion. With that in mind, he wants the brightest minds of our country to live the life that he didn’t.

Everything he is saying is well intended but that doesn’t mean it cannot be read with scrutiny and be addressed.

I didn’t watch the video but what from what I read, I could picture was a hall of dental students crying buckets when he delivered his speech. But will that change how medicine is practiced locally? No. Will hordes of A level graduates be opting medicine as their course of choice in view of its prestige or monetary benefits? Yes. Let’s face it, ideas do not shape our lives but experience do. If ideas are enough to alter our tendencies and behaviors, there will be no smokers regretting the first puff that they took while on the last stages of their chemotherapy and none of us will ever hit the snooze button again after reading a book on how to be productive. We can only put ourselves in Dr Teo’s shoes for as long as the speech lasts and it actually isn’t a bad thing at all. Why not? Read on.

Secondly, money isn’t everything sleeping in a casket of it will not guarantee you smiling. But as far as living goes, be it possessions or novel experiences, you need money to get them which makes them irrefutably very important. But Dr Teo seems to frown upon that and implies that our willing participation in the rat race to riches is what society has moulded us to do. You must agree with him because it feels good to. Despite being part of it, for some reason, it has become trendy to hate upon this very evil thing called “society” without really understanding what it really means. I feel that Dr Teo’s is a victim of that and his disdain towards society is just silly and reductionistic.

Fact is, most of us are neither obsessed with money nor power due to the pressuring from society, we just want to be happy and the possessions and experience that money can buy is the clearest path to our goal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. No sane person would lead their life constantly perturbed by how he would expect himself to feel when he is frail and old and ceasing to exist in seconds, if so, he would be highly dysfunctional(which answers my earlier question). Instead, he would live his life by pondering upon the joys of having a new car or to visit Madrid on his next holiday. And once we have visited Madrid he would want to visit Rome and Cairo and Istanbul to constantly fuel the novelty of living and he needs money to achieve them. Other than acknowledging the value of money for all kinds of trades, is society really at fault for such a phenomenon? I don’t think so. With or without society, novelty, which make us happy, will be pursued. Nobody wakes up in the middle of night screaming, “Eureka! I should do some voluntary work tomorrow to make myself happier!”. Even if they do, it doesn’t make them happier but just wanting to be happy like all others.

He claims that true happiness doesn’t come from serving ourselves. In other words, a happy and fulfilling life can only be through compassion and empathy. That is just another specious statement that doesn’t fit the whole bill.

What you do does not always make who you are. That’s the harshest thing anyone can learn in life. There is no general formula to leading a fulfilling life that works for everyone. And by practicing what your self improvement book writes may not work. It’s true. No matter how great your effort is, something that works for someone else might not work for you. The Dalai Lama may feel warm and ecstatic from within every time he feeds a yelping dog but I assure you that Christopher Hitchens won’t. Maybe it’s the way that Hitchens was brought up, maybe it has something to do with his blood and veins, but the question of nurture vs nature is besides the point. Hitchens won’t and he will not no matter how hard he tries to(unless he gets a lobotomy). But does that mean that being less empathetic will make Hitchens a less fulfilled man on his death bed? That’s nonsense. A serial rapist cum murderer can died fulfilled if what he professes in life is the cries and death of young maidens.

I really really really don’t agree with much of Dr Teo’s words. Overwhelmed by the grim image of dying, he discounted every moment he spent basking in materialistic joys and focused on what else he could have done. If he spent his life being a caring general practitioner instead of the Ferrari owner, he might just envy the cosmetic surgeon and regret not being one. For most of us, life is an unfulfilling enterprise and it will be no matter what you do.

RIP Dr Teo

PS: I think I will make a brilliant de motivational speaker.

the loves of my life

The angle is boring, the image is overexposed, I should probably filter it with warmer colours on photoshop and avoid my annoying bed sheet as the backdrop but who cares …

Hobbes and why do we hate people similar to us

Thomas Hobbes, the father of Leviathan, was a prominent figure in the 17th century for his contribution in political philosophy. Similar to Machiavelli, who preceded him as an influential thinker during the renaissance, Hobbes had a distinctively skeptical view on humans and was an advocate on what democrats would refer as Absolute Monarchy today. He felt, I quote, that a society without a powerful government would be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’. In other words, if Hobbes, a man that lived till an exceptional age of 91 during his time, were to be alive as I type, both his hands would be erected and high up in support of the ISD and the Burmese police.

For the idealist that thought otherwise, Hobbes had an infamous thought experiment for them. If you honestly believe that people are good by nature, why do you lock your doors when you leave your house? The idealist would argue that it’s merely because of a handful and vile few that would happily enter your house and rob you of your belongings and using that feeble sample size to speak for the entire populace would be unfair.

To which, Hobbes violently disagreed and believed that humans are all congenitally selfish and it is precisely so that makes us capable of understanding the selfishness in others. Hobbes extended his argument by asserting that if society were to break down and if the goods of the idealist are stolen from without regulation it is only a matter of time before they start to steal and be nasty. Although the idealist can refute by saying he is only acting to survive under those harsh conditions, he can never deny that selfishness is truly an in built quality in all of us.

“If there exist another of you, you would definitely hate the person”, quips the bored cheerleader trying to make an intelligent conversation. If it’s true, why do we?

I think the cliche is profoundly related to Hobbes’ cynical belief that it is only through our own selfishness can we see it in others. Syllogistically, it is only through our own demented thoughts can we understand the evilness of others. Analogously, and perhaps falsely – if you would pardon my excessive use of awkward adverbs – the healthy man can never hear what the deaf man does.

As humans, a species more developed and demented than any other, we are containers of agendas. We are more conscious of everything we do, praying not just that it will be written in the good books of others but that it will be written the way we want it to be. It is never through spontaneity that we perform what we do , but for good or bad, consciously or subconsciously, our actions are concomitantly followed with an intent. Eg. I may not be writing this piece of essay just because I enjoy writing it while hoping the internet will find it informative but I am doing so because I am a pseudo intellectual and I am dying to appear to be smart. And the reason why the words you just read is intelligible – if it is – ,is because it’s a heuristic that you often experience as well. In contrast, a toddler will not be able to understand what you just read not because these strings of words are too complex for him to appreciate but it’s a malicious concept completely unknown to him as many areas of him brain have yet to grey.

Returning to the question, if another of you existed, whose actions resembles you uncannily, you wouldn’t be able to help but hate him. Because of your familiarity with his tendencies, you look beyond what he does and pries into what he’s thinking when he does it and his thoughts can never be simple because they are your thoughts which are, in fact, multi layered agendas.

The Pillow

The cold is sheltered
and the water is tepid,
under the witness of cupid
we had our baths, chorused,
and in exotic robes, we
spoke of the icy treks we walked today
and other itineraries that made us gay.
Weariness paused our stubbles,
and you exited my pupils,
to whisper the candle good night.
As you return to cuddle under my arms,
in euphoria I muttered,
this is the best day I ever had,
but wait,
where is that extra pillow I covet?
In warmth and comfort a man,
or woman(but God forbid),
would weep for, I tossed
and turned and couldn’t sleep.
There you are, hugging my
arm like a baby,
if only I had an extra pillow,
that would make me much more happy.
In heavenly comfort,
my skin is fraught,
breathing becomes a hassle and
my tongue feels absent.
Anything would do!
I screamed to myself.
A pineapple, a boulder, or
even a woman’s shoulder,
just something to keep my left hand smothered!
Like the second hand of a clock,
ticking,
the torment doesn’t stop.
My eyes wide open,
and though your grip on me had softened,
leaving for room service
wouldn’t be permissible,
long as your snoring
remains audible.
Sleep, sleep, SLEEP!
I told myself.
But I can’t
without the pillow,
it’s making my life feel hollow!
The beauty of the moon,
is wrecked
by the evil pillow that looms
beyond my hand.
And I thought to myself,
what a horrible
dazZzZzZzZzZzZzzzzzzzz.

Sartre Argument for Freedom

… and why it’s bullshit.

Sartre Argument for Freedom is one of philosophy’s most influential argument against Determinism; the depressing idea that despite feeling in control about the daily choices we make in life, we do not have free will. But like all ideas, determinism isn’t accepted by everyone and consequentially, the problem of Free Will becomes one of, if not the most perturbing head scratcher in metaphysical philosophy.

As the name would suggest, metaphysical arguments is often unyielding since philosophers are the only ones that can be keenly involved through gedankenexperiment, neither the mathematician nor the scientist can have a profound say by drawing graphs or fiddling with test tubes.

In the relentless war of semantics on free will, philosophers had recognized themselves into two main groups. The Determinist and the Compatibilist. The Determinist believes that free will is nothing more than an illusion, and everything that happens inevitably does(Eg. Harry likes Sally and not Peter because he is biologically determined to do so). The Compatibilist believes that despite it being true that our lives are highly determined by uncontrollable factors, Free Will and Determinism are still compatible ideas.

Although they do it in varying degrees, which dichotomizes them accordingly into the two groups as mentioned, almost all philosophers admit to the influence of determinism – but not Sartre.

Sartre specialized in existentialism philosophy, who popularized the then heretical idea of Existence Precedes Essence, extended his ideas from Existentialism into the problem of Free Will. “Man is Freedom”, claims Sartre, treating freedom to be an essential characteristic of human consciousness as opposed to a property or capacity of consciousness. In simpler words, only existence is true and essence on all objects is interpreted through the consciousness from freedom. According to Sartre, the world has no intrinsic meaning, and whatever meaning it has can only be putative and interpreted from an agent. When it is so, it is up to the agent to interiorize and be bounded by his interpretation and therefore, for determinism to work, it requires a concrete essence in things themselves, and has no real efficacy and can only work around the agent’s interpretation. So between the world and our interpretation of it, our freedom to choose is a definite, allowing us free will.

Sartre’s argument is comforting and sound. But for it to be justified there are two questions that it must first overcome. Firstly, must we recognize X rules for us to be constrained by X? Secondly, how well does freedom, that gives us the platform of consciousness to find meaning in things, associate itself free will?

Is the apple fresh just because I think it is? Will I suffer from a tummy ache by thinking the rotten apple that I just had as a fresh one? This isn’t an epistemic question but a question against Sartre’s idealistic surmise that the essence and properties in things is absolutely dependent on an agent’s interpretation of it. This is true in some circumstances and false in some. On the example above, which I will call B circumstance, it is the latter. Assuming there are no in betweens, an apple can only either be fresh or rotten. Although it is my freedom to interpret it to be either way, if it’s rotten, I will inevitably suffer a tummy ache from eating it.

But if I were an African American aspiring to be a naval diver before the 1950s(a reference from “Men of Honor”), whose odds would pile against me due to the racial discrimination then, my pursuit can only be deterred through the understanding of my bleak circumstances. If I am oblivious to hatred or bigotry, although it does not increase the odds of my success, my pursuit to be a naval diver will remain the same; for determinism to have any efficacy, my consciousness must first develop a relationship with the world; this is what I call A circumstance.

The conclusion of Sartre works on false premises. He assumes that we live in a world where only A circumstances happens and ignores all B circumstances. Although the essence or properties we find in things are extrinsic and up to our own interpretation, we don’t have to be aware of them to be affected by it. We do not need to recognize X rules to be constrained by X.

Consciousness, freedom, and free will, these are terms terribly hard to define, and Sartre, being notorious as a man of abstract semantics doesn’t ease the problem. Sartre believes that only through freedom there can be consciousness. Consciousness has no properties at all and only through freedom, we can relate to the world around us, which makes us conscious. In short, freedom is the a priori for consciousness(Eg. It it not because of consciousness that I am conscious of the shoes I am wearing. But the freedom of being able to look at my shoes to realize my consciousness of wearing shoes).

It is understandable why Sartre claims that freedom is a prerequisite for consciousness to function, but I am not sure if he’s expressing his idea most lucidly; it sounds suspicious. It’s true that I am typing what I am on my laptop because I have the freedom of doing so and thus my awareness on my typing but does that say anything about my free will on choosing to type instead of knitting?

The problem lies in the word freedom and how we would directly associate it with free will. But these two words aren’t siblings, not even distant relatives or that eccentric classmate you never once spoke to; they are very different ideas. I may have the freedom of swatting the mosquito that has been buzzing around my ears for the past hour and I will do it but that alone doesn’t give me the free will that most philosophers refer to; an action devoid of constraints. In fact, by swatting the mosquito, I become a victim of social determinism since it is through society that I know mosquitos are carriers of malaria and dengue fever, and therefore, although it’s my freedom to swat it, the act of swatting it does not necessarily make me free.

To avoid the confusion, the word that Sartre could have better used to substitute freedom was volition, the faculty or power or willing to do something. Having the volition to know we are conscious and relate to objects around us, still doesn’t give us free will.

Humans do not have free will and Sartre Argument for Freedom is invalid because of the bolded texts.

Me

I was half way writing an lengthy essay delineating the problems of free will until I lost confidence in the lucidity of my thoughts. Stumped in face of my stupidity, my hands become idle and my thoughts are wild, which compels me even more violently to write. So I will on something smaller and simpler: my life.

My weekdays are the same. Tanks and tools surround me and I occupy myself with them when instructed. Spanners weigh much less now, but pen, paper, and responsibility that I hope I can shed like how a snake molts, feels like an incredible dumbbell. “Out of the workshop and into the office”, the despotic dumbbell implies, and the air conditioning – that’s strangely ordered to be precisely adjusted at 24 celsius – couldn’t spare me from the heat.

I dislike responsibilities. Not just when it’s imposed on me like a dead weight but more so as a concept; it’s against what I think the natural order of life is, but I shall not elaborate on that. Especially so when my passion for what I do is practically naught. But against the turbulence of fate, pessimism is probably the worse weapon anyone could wield. If responsibility is what I can’t shed than pessimism is what I must. I should be satisfied for what I do now is a micro simulation of life which is dissatisfaction.

By higher order, for the better of the organization, the depot is experiencing some reshuffling. Regulars and NSFs alike are being manhandled all around the company. It is not yet official to how manpower will be delegated but being quidnucs – which is what most of us are after being moulded under the pressure of joyless sound and fury – we know where we will end up. “We” includes me and I remain ambivalent about my life in a different platoon.

My weekends are a little more different now. The thrill of outdoor is no longer and I spend most my time obsessed with the glamour of movies – thank you my dearest seeders. Ever since Hong Kong, the addiction of novelty has never been stronger and there’s no better way to saving for my next trip than staying home. It is not bad at all for a socially awkward guy like me.

Speaking of movies, my spilling adoration for Woody Allen had goaded me to ship 3 of his movies – that I can’t find from any local video stores – from Amazon which burned a sizable hole in my wallet. While processing my debit card details, I just couldn’t resist the urge of dropping another vinyl in the basket and my akrasia enlarged the hole by almost a fold. I should be ashamed.

Books occupy the remaining of my weekends. After experiencing several letdowns with some of my favourite japanese novelist, I stopped with fiction and moved on to non fiction. Mainly, if not, entirely on philosophy. Unlike stories, which can be criticized on endless facets, I can never go wrong with philosophy. There is so much to learn, seemingly learn, not learn anything, enjoy, and suffer from philosophy. It might sound semantical but only through semantics can I express my love for the subject.

Nothing else here. I lead a boring life and that is all and I can’t wait to spend time with my family in Penang during next weekend.

Bye.

Urghhh

NS is a terrible period where you can’t watch 20movies per week 😦

Hugo – A badly written review.

In the eye of a crippled falcon, we see a metropolis covered in snow and dripping with vigor. We loom over an old fashioned yet futuristic train station – an alternate reality that I will love to call sentimental steam punk – before the camera weaves between the excitements and ennuis of several key characters. We finally reach our young protagonist that could use some acting classes, hiding behind a clock, his home. The camera zooms to capture a special moment, his countenance, a pitiful one which you will be seeing throughout the movie. Abruptly, the audiences’ empathy was interrupted as he races through the clockwork of the clock that he lives in, not to progress the story, but to boast the stunning vision of the cinematographers and our beloved director. Wearing an invisible leash to his neck that’s tied to the tracking camera, the child labor executes their agenda successfully.

These are the opening scenes of Hugo. Despite what the critics says and having 11 Oscars nominations, I struggled to be occupied with its painful 120 minutes.

For most parts, if not all, the film is alike with its protagonist, astray and helpless. To downplay its offense, it’s just a careless attempt to romanticize the film making industry; it’s well intended. But its good intentions are swept under the rag under the orchestra of Martin Scorcese, who brought to us contrasting and amazing films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. If anything, I can only applaud his 5 seconds of cameo for being cute. And to have Marty, C3P0, and Chaplin to be in same film, you wonder if Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the mercenaries of Hollywood, are once again plotting to de-evolutionize humanity. But no, it’s not a parody, it’s a real and self important film that takes itself seriously all the way to the Oscars.

The bad acting, absurb casting and feeble story are just some of its many vices. From the awkward confrontation between Ben Kingsley and Hugo to the pubescent semantics of Chloe Mortez, its dialogues cripples the film as well. In which, triggered me to search for the screenwriter that crafted this disaster. He is John Logan, who also wrote Gladiator, Aviator and Rango, which all are brilliant films with dialogues that will make one cringe in passion. On one hand we talented director, and on the other, a splendid screenwriter. So what made the imbroglio happen on screen? A conspiracy theorist would declare that this is a collaboration between Marty and Logan to sink their career not knowing how to profess that the flames to their love for films have long been extinguished.

But let’s not be labeled as cynics and pay some attention to many of its beautiful frames. Particularly on the chases between Sacha Cohen Baron, his dog and Hugo. Thrilling and cinematic isn’t it? Not! Well, maybe yes if not for the forced Borat quip in view of the actor, but so what? Movies aren’t montages and conversely. If it is, Woody Allen’s iconic montages would not just open his films but fill it entirely. A movie is a story and Hugo doesn’t have one to tell. It’s an intrinsically inert film praying to have its flaws covered by the production crew.

In a HugoHuge nutshell, imagine an epic tale written by a peanut butter enthusiast on an adventure of a young boy that slays dragon to collect their turd as an ingredient to create the ultimate can of peanut butter in honor of his dead father who was once a dragon slayer too and upon his conquest, he lives happily ever after with his merry friends that aided him to create the ultimate recipe. That is what Hugo is all about except that it’s written and directed by movie enthusiasts.

On The Artist winning the Oscars

Who would have thought that in this era where technology commands the production movies, a silent B&W film could contend for the best film of the year, let alone win it. This isn’t just another Oscars, but a watershed to all film makers and film lovers alike. Living in a time where millions of emails are sent per day, The Artist is a hand written letter to remind the world on the power of passion and what true art and is.