The Analysis of Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Anti-Mainstream Gull


Jonathan_Livingston_Seagull

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a novel written by Richard Bach, an American writer and pilot who has written many novels; Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970), A Gift of Wings (1974), Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (1977). Most of his novels tell about flying. It is because he loves flying since he was seventeen.

This novel tells about a bird named Jonathan who feels bored with his daily life. He wants to find something new and more meaningful things in his life. Even if he faces many obstacles in achieving his dream, he still walks on his way.

Seagull itself is a symbol in this novel. Besides seagull, there are many other symbols used in this novel. Seagulls, eating, flying, and heaven are the significant symbols in the novel.

This novel uses animal, seagull, as its main character. We will see it as a fable at a glance. But there is something deeper inside the novel. Seagull is a symbol which represents the human being.

By using seagull, Bach relates it with human being; how people deal with their life. Sometime people are faced to a dilemmatic problem; whether to follow their conscience or society opinion. Some people may succeed and some are not.

Those who succeed in dealing with their problems will transform into a higher level person. And those who fail in dealing with their problems will be dragged into a zone which is called “comfort zone”, just be ordinary; become a part of the society. It doesn’t mean that become a part of the society is bad. It’s just that they too enjoying the “comfort zone”. They will stay in that position in order to save their position in the society.

That phenomenon is related to “eating” in the novel by Bach. Ordinary seagulls learn to fly to get food and not more as Bach mentioned in his novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight―how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating (p. 14, part 1).

So when they see Jonathan practicing to fly higher, the Flock considers it as betrayal. They see Jonathan is different from the other. Jonathan is not ordinary.

“…for his reckless irresponsibility,” the solemn voice intoned, “violating the dignity and tradition of the Gull Family…” (p. 34, part 1).

Jonathan is a gull which tries to escape from the ordinary. He wants to fly higher―not like other seagulls―and that’s his target; his perfection. Therefore, he has to face the consequences of being different. He has to leave the Flock, practice hard, and be alone. This relates to human being. When people have decided to make a commitment in their life, they have to take all the consequences following whether they like it or not.

Successfully reaching his target―to fly higher―Jonathan finally reaches heaven where he transforms to be a more mature gull. Besides, he also becomes more religious. In there, he (Jonathan) realizes that perfection is only one more step towards our true nature which is in the image of the Great Gull (God).

Here, we can see that we can find heaven anywhere as we had reached our perfection, understood ourselves, and also understood others. It’s like what Chiang said to Jonathan when first time he reaches heaven, “Remember, Jonathan, heaven isn’t a place or a time, because place and time are so very meaningless” (Jonathan Livingston Seagull, p. 58, part 2). He also said:

“You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.” (Jonathan Livingston Seagull, p. 55, part 2)

It is obvious, then, that we can have heaven in our life, our family, or in our job. It is just about how we maintain our problem and see the limitations as a challenge. Use our knowledge and be confident, then we can find the way as Jonathan said to Fletcher.

“Poor Fletch. Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly” (p. 92, part 3).

What about the society? Well, it is a complicated one. If we relate to the novel, society (the Flock) didn’t support Jonathan at all. They sent Jonathan out of the Flock, let him live alone, and consider him as a freak. Nothing’s good did by the society.

However, we cannot be such an egoistic person. Even if the society did something wrong to us, we have to share our knowledge to them, teach them to be better people. It is just like what Chiang said to Jonathan that he had to learn about love. It’s hard to do, but he had to. Jonathan, then, taught that to Fletcher.

“Oh, Fletch, you don’t love that! You don’t love hatred and evil, of course. You have to practice and see the real gull, the good in every one of them, and to help them see it in themselves. That’s what I mean by love. It’s fun, when you get the knack of it” (p. 91, part 3).

From the novel we learn that our (people) biggest obstacle is ourselves; our thought. If we keep thinking that we are ordinary, then we will become ordinary for the rest of our life. But if we always think that we can be extraordinary, so we are. It is all about choice, then, whether or not to be extraordinary.

References:

Bach, Richard. (1972). Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Great Britain: Turnstone Press Ltd.

Hackworth, Allen. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Allenhackworth.com. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://allenhackworth.com/prose/jonathan.htm

Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Livingston_Seagull

Richard Bach. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Bach

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Reading is “Cool”


reading

Reading is a common activity which can be done by everyone. This activity doesn’t need many requirements; even a kindergarten can do it. They just need a book, a magazine, or a newspaper in front of them; sit down and begin to read. In case they don’t have a book to read they can browse on the internet and download ‘e-book’ (electronic book) or articles from the news site. But sometimes it just happen automatically when they’re on the way home or when they’re waiting for a bus in bus stop and see a big fascinating billboard on the side road. It is just that simple! But behind its simplicity, reading has so many advantages. There are at least three advantages of reading it; improve our knowledge, refreshes our mind, and can be done in anywhere and anytime we’d like to.

People read newspaper in order to get information about the latest news. They want to know about the government’s new policy, how the victim of the earthquake continues their life, and about the celebrities’ divorce. High school’s students also read mathematics’ text books in order to solve the mathematics’ quizzes or to master it. Many people do this (reading) whenever they want to know or understand about something they don’t really understand.

In reading people often find some new words which are unfamiliar for them. It is usually related to technical words. For example the word ‘compound’ and ‘base’ will have different meaning if we found it in a chemist article. In that context the word ‘compound’ means, “a substance consisting of two or more elements in a chemical combination in fixed proportion” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 1995). While the word ‘base’ means, “a substance, e.g. an alkali, that can combine with an acid to form a salt” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 1995). The meaning is really different compared with its common meaning. It sometimes causes a fuse but unconsciously it can enrich their vocabulary.

However, reading is not only a way to get information or knowledge. People sometimes read whenever they feel sad, frustrated, or hopeless. They usually read a novel, comics, or inspiring articles rather than text books in that kind of conditions. They are looking for composure, enlightenment, enjoyment, and happiness in reading. They can laugh or cry during and after reading. It seems like a silly thing, but believe it or not, they feel relieved after it.

Besides those two things above, there are still so many advantages that can be found from reading. People don’t have to go to the library to read. They can borrow it from book rental. In case they cannot find the book there, they can go to the internet cafe. They can browse the internet and download ‘e-book’ (electronic book) or articles from the news site. It’s an easy and cheap way to do because they don’t need much money to spend.

100 years later, people may not read just by holding a book or newspaper in their both hands. Neither have they also downloaded ‘e-book’ nor articles from internet. People will use a more ‘hi-tech’ method to read as the human being’s technological development. But the essence of reading will remain the same. It can be done by anybody, in anywhere and at anytime. Besides, reading also can improve our knowledge, enriches vocabulary, refreshes our mind, and the most important is cheap.

Thesis oh Thesis


buku jadul

Thesis. Satu kata ini sepertinya sangat memperngaruhi mood-ku akhir-akhir ini. Dan sepertinya bukan hanya aku saja, tapi hampir semua mahasisiwa semester akhir pasti akan langsung berubah mood-nya kalau mendengar kata yang satu itu. Takut, gemes, frustasi, bahkan galau sepertinya akan langsung mampir kalau-kalau kata itu diucapkan. Mau bagaimana lagi, masa depan kita sebagai mahasiswa memang bergantung pada thesis kita.

Aku sendiri awalnya tidak mengerti mengapa thesis itu begitu mengerikan. Setelah mengalaminya sendiri, aku baru tahu bagaimana mengerikannya thesis itu. Banyak hal yang perlu ditaklukkan untuk akhirnya bisa berdamai dengan si thesis. Mulai dari dosen pembimbing, referensi, ijin penelitian, dan mungkin pihak-pihak luar yang terkait (contohnya birokrasi). Kalau aku sendiri, bagian yang sulit itu adalah mencari referensi yang tepat. Berhubung hampir tidak ada senior atau teman seangkatan yang mengambil topik yang sama dengan thesis yang sedang kukerjakan saat ini, aku jadi buta referensi; buku mana yang bisa dijadikan referensi. Sore ini aku ke perpus dan mencoba mencari buku referensi. Namun hasilnya tidak seperti yang kuinginkan. Buku yang kucari tidak ada, dan kalaupun ada bukunya sudah tua (terbitan lama). Untung saja dosen tidak protes. Padahal biasanya dosen akan menyarankan untuk mengambil buku terbitan baru sebagai referensi.

 

Namun, musuh terbesar yang harus ditaklukkan sebenarnya adalah diri sendiri. Kalau sudah galau, kadang-kadang kita menjadi terlalu larut ke dalamnya dan lupa akan dunia nyata. Bahayanya lagi kalau kita bukan hanya larut, tapi terhisap alias menglihang. Yah, moga-moga aja aku bukan termasuk jenis yang mudah “terhisap”. Sehingga cita-citaku untuk bisa lulus tahun ini bisa tercapai.

TELEVISION AND SOCIETY: DOES TELEVISION GIVE AN IRREPARABLE HARM TO OUR SOCIETY?


Living in modern era, people are offered with various information from various sources; television, newspaper, magazine, and many other. Those information sources are developing in rapid speed especially for television. Since its mass spread in the 1950s, television has become so ubiquitous that most people don’t realize the changes it’s wrought in our culture. Television in Indonesia, particularly, had been more developing since the reformation on 1998. There are more TV stations build since then; from one state owned national television (TVRI) build in 1962 to twelve commercial national TV stations, that number exclude the local TV’s number (List of television stations in Indonesia, Wikipedia, 2011). TV-monster

Even though television provides a lot of information, some people believe that television also gives bad effects to our society. Based on a survey conducted in America, the average American spends 4.5 hours a day watching TV (1642 hours a year). That fact implies that television makes people lazy. They prefer to watch television than do something which is more important.

Besides, there are many TV programs which contain violence. The more people watch these kind of programs, the bigger possibilities they become violent in behaviour. Freedman conducted a correlational research about “Effect of Television Violence on Aggressiveness” and found out that there is a positive coefficient between violent TV programs with aggressive behaviour. It means that an exposure of violent TV programs has a relation with aggressiveness. Yet, this research cannot describe whether or not violent TV programs trigger aggressive behaviour.

However, it should not be an excuse for those who work in television industry to keep showing such violent TV programs. Let’s begin with a program which has high rating, sinetron. Nowadays, there are so many sinetron which are not produced well. The story, plot, characters, and the values of the sinetron in my opinion are “junk”. most of these sinetron will exaggerate the antagonist characters. these antagonist characters will look like really mean. Their mean activities even being more exposed rather than the good one. Somehow, it implies that doing such thing, even bad, is permissible.

In fact, these negative effects of watching television can be avoided or minimized. What people should do is limit the time spent to watch TV. Besides limit the time spent on watching the TV, people have to choose the “right” TV program since not all programs presented in TV are worth to watch.

In conclusion, television does give bad effects to our society. Yet, those effects are not irreparable for the society and can be avoided so far. People have to really choose the programs they will watch in order to minimize the negative effects.

References:

Freedman, Jonathan L. (1984). Effect of television violence on aggressiveness. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 96(2), 227-246. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.96.2.227, from PsycARTICLES database: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/96/2/227/

Langholt, Alice. (2011). Positive effects of television on kids. Retrieved 18th June, 2011, from: http://www.life123.com/parenting/toddlers/toddler-development/positive-effects-of-television-on-kids.shtml

List of television stations in Indonesia. Wikipedia. Retrieved 18th Jue, 2011 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_TV_Stations_in_Indonesia

Television in Indonesia. Wikipedia. Retrieved 18th June, 2011 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_in_Indonesia

The Negative Effects of Television. Raw Food Health. Retrieved 18th June, 2011, from: http://www.raw-food-health.net/NegativeEffectsOfTelevision.html

Games today


I often paly games recently just for spending my leisure time. I cannot remember since when I become addicted on playing games, PC games in particular. Maybe it started when I had my own laptop (I guess skids-playing-video-gameso). I play many types of games but honestly I cannot really play such tactic or fighting games.

Talking about games led me to the fact that nowadays many children do the same as I do. If you asked them what kind of present they would like to receive, most of them – especially boys – will answer PSP or video games.

Children and games are two things which always related. Children need games and so do games. Games are created because the needs of children to play. As the growth of technology, nowadays, there are many kinds of games offered by the games company. Cheap, expensive, conventional, modern, entertainment or educational games are all available in the market.

Generally there are four kinds of games; modern, conventional, education, and entertainment. Modern games are usually games which use high technology, such as video games, PSP, robot, or other electronic toys. While conventional games are the opposite (e.g. conventional Rubik and Lego). As the name, educational games are use for educational purpose. In other words, this kind of games can help children to learn something. While entertainment games are the opposite. It only gives pleasure for the player.

Among those four games, modern and entertainment games are the most popular. It is proved by the number of video games and electronic toys which drowning the market. And based on the “2008 American International Toy Fair” written on Time.com, modern games such as video games are in the top 10 rank.game-console

Since modern and entertainment games are the most popular games among children, then conventional and educational games are less popular. It may because of the difficulty of the games. Many educational games are difficult to solve such as “Sudoku”. And this condition leads the children to get bored easily. Only some of them are succeeded in playing and solving the games. But it does not mean that all educational games are difficult to solve or play. There are many educational games that easy to solve or play; Lego bricks for example. Children can easily build something by using it and whenever they want to construct other construction it can be taken apart easily.

Many people believe that modern games, especially video games are not good for children. They said that it has many bad effects, such as addiction and lack of social interaction. Furthermore, there were about a third of Top 100 video games which contain violence actions on 1999 in America.

Considering that video games are very popular among children, we will consider that thus phenomenon is not good for children. But, is it always so? Do video games always give bad effects to children? According to Patricia Greenfield, a psychology professor at UCLA on Time.com said that there is positive correlation between video games and intelligence. It can increase the nonverbal IQ (spatial skills à the use of icons for problem solving and the ability to understand things from multiple viewpoints). This statement, then, shows that video games also have positive effects for children.children

Above those all explanation, games are needed by children. It is because the nature of children is to play and games are the media. Modern, conventional, entertainment or educational games are all good for children, because there are no best games. But, then, the selection of the games must be controlled by the parents. Parents should choose the appropriate games for their children; the one which has less bad effects. They also should limit the playing time so that there will be a balance between playing and learning for their children. It’s not only merely applied for children, I think, but also for adult like me. Well, having a hobby on playing games is okay but don’t get addicted to it.

References:

Quittner, J., Buechner, M. M. (1999). Are video games really so bad?. Time Inc. (Ed.), Time magazine.com. (Original work published Monday, May 10, 1999). Retrieved March 20, 2010, from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,990921,00.html

Silver, A. (2008). 2008 american international toy fair. Time Inc. (Ed.), Time magazine.com. Retrieved May 1, 2010 from http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1715219,00.html

Lego. Wikipedia. Retrieved January 30, 2010, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego.htm