O Tempora! O Mores!

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Tonight marks one of those nights where I just wanted to take a break from the reality of today’s busy world. As my mind was telling me to read some how-to book to get some self help, my heart changed the way of the way my mind was thinking by introducing the idea of a better genre of a book, hence Edgar Allan Poe. I read a short story, following that came his poem, O Times! O Customs! I don’t know how long this poem has been around for, or who has ever said anything about it. Therefore, this article will not focus on the literature side of the things, but a relation of this poem to today’s modern way of living.

In translation, it is as the poem indicates, Oh Times! Oh Manners! Since it is a hard read to understand what it fully and accurately is all about, I’d like to mention the feelings that it gives to a reader. If you have never read it, please look it up. It sure is placed in the rusty shelves of our google department of the web library somewhere. Once you read it, don’t you worry, you are not the only one to get puzzled over those words, translations and the unpredictable switches between the first person to third person.

Here is how you can relate to it. As a matter of fact, how I think I did.

1- Oh Times! Oh Manners! Look around! How many people are reading books these days? Even if we do, we mostly are focused on the tyranny of things, assisting ourselves walk into a light full of success, money, far-fetched sci-fictional characters . These are not at all any bad genres to read about, yet different than all that has been before. When I was reading a story earlier today, I remembered how the things were in high school. How we couldn’t understand words by those big names such as Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare. How intimidating it all was to trying to understand something that no one had any idea about. My favorite part was to be forced to write papers about all the things that I could not understand in the first place. How immensely we had to work in groups to solve the hardest short stories and books, poems to finally have that last high grade in a classroom before going home. We used to, in a way dance with the unknown words in the past to receive that final applause by our classmates and teachers. Now we have simplified vocabulary in every book we read, no hidden knowledge, no rewards of coming home, no more dancing with the unknown.

2- In this poem, I believe he mentions how people see us versus who we actually are. How accurate that is if we apply the same thought of his on to our world today. There is Instagram where we display our hunger, fashion taste, business models. Look how many people judge each other based on their insta posts of showing how much of skin to how beautiful of a fact they all show to the world. Read the comments to see how bad we as humanity have given up on our interest and knowledge in grammar, old but gold big, meaningful words. However, at the end of the day when we take the instagram out of your daily profile, who do you end up becoming before you put your head to fall asleep in the end? Are you the one who people see?

3- “I’ve been a thinking, whether it were best

To take things seriously or all in jest…”

From this part, there is a connection to our world that is so apt to perceive life in one or the other. An online business manager might laugh at a book that you read, tell you not to read it, while you on the other hand read a book that you do only to get rich as he is at the time. In the shadows of social media sort of a society, do you fall off of a chair by crying at the stage that everything on social media has reached so far or laugh at it all and enjoy some silly videos a little bit more? If you participate in this world, you are part of the socially accepted norms and take your place in this crowd- no matter if you joke about anything at all or cry until your eyeballs come out- but you are a part of it all. If you choose not to participate in it, then you miss your chances to be part of the latest trends and all. All in all, the world is changing in a way where we give answers as a laughter rather than joy and a sad face instead of a helping hand and support.

This is a writing where I do not criticize today’s technological advancements. I love and adore a world full of technology, novel ideas and revolutionary thinking in the way of doing things for the better in a more efficient and reliable way. This article is only to share what I have observed related to all these advancements and where they had been before. We are getting intelligent exponentially day by day, no doubt. On the way to where we are going, however, we tend to forget where we have all been. The books we have once read in school should be part of our lives to give us a guidance while walking fearlessly into our individuality. Emojis are great inventions, too by the way as long as we never stop learning new vocabulary. What do you think?

Thanks to technology of today’s world, we can read on our phones, tablets, laptops. 🙂

Please share with me what you think about it all.

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I READ MEN WITHOUT WOMEN by Haruki Murakami

I had read two different stories by him by the time I started reading Men Without Women. Haruki’s stories always took me back to my teenage years. It should not be a surprise since he writes about his own teenage years in his books though his are called fiction, my past had actually had happened. Who knows maybe his fiction is not very fictitious after all.

I was very excited to be reading Men Without Women at first. Every story left me with suspicion of what was to come. Since I only have spare time on my way to work and home from work, those were the only times I could read my books. Every time my stopped was announced, it felt like the story I was reading at the time was screaming, “Finish reading me!”

Now, for some stories I felt so deep down in my spine, I actually missed my stops. Rather, I had to take the train back to my missed stop, which in the end gave me more time to read while waiting for the next train. I never complained. However, some stories made me ask more questions. The one with the snakes for example. I had a dream about it the night I started reading it. I had the second dream when I finished it. Nights followed days, days turned to nights. I finished the book with that one story on a day that I broke up with him. Men Without Women… What a meaningful word order he put them in, combined, wrote and kept writing. You would think it ends there but it does not. Your spine gets tingly, your hands sweaty and your tongue dry. Like a drug addict, you want to read more of his books.

After finishing the last story, I turned to Youtube and Google for some answers. All I could watch was the comments that degraded the author. They made him look very unprofessional and careless about his writing. I have to admit seeing good comments made me very happy. Not all were letting him degraded like that. On the other hand, every bad comment about him made me more furious. I agree that he uses a lot of ancient metaphors at times. However, these books are translated from Japanese. Can we set aside all the “professional writing structures and rules” and feel what he is actually trying to do? After all, by using simple rules he is getting his stories across to millions of people-in which same process he shoots at the center of the heart. Does it not matter at all? I guess it depends on those teenage years one had, how open one’s heart is and whether one looks for beauty or ugly.