Archive for the Benedikt K.'s Entries Category

Alice in Puberty

Posted in Benedikt K.'s Entries, Chapter 2, Philosophy / Big Picture on November 1, 2009 by Benedikt K

While Alice’s Adventures in wonderland may be a wonderful tale written simply for the entertainment of the real-world alice, it should be firmly established by now that it can be seen as much more than that. We have talked about whether children are better than adults, or adults are simply mere children, and on why one is superior to another. But the most obvious stage in between child and adult, the one representing both childhood innocence and adult rationale, we have not talked about.

If Carroll makes such strong statements about childhood and adulthood, it would definitely make sense for him to mention the fusion of the two. Thus he makes alice grow and shrink as he pleases. What better than a quick burst of growth to 9 feet to represent the physical changes during puberty? Now “to get through was more hopeless than ever”. Growing up marks the end to Alice’s attempts to get through this door to the wonderland, the place of new ideas and uncounted wonders. By now she can barely set sight under the door, the infernal entrance that blocks all her possibilities of entering wonderland.

But, of course, physical appearances are not all that Carroll is wanting to probe. Yes, the fact that she is to tall, to old if you will, to progress further down the rabbit hole makes a strong statement in itself, but that is not all that is to puberty, to growing up. Along with the physical change come emotional reactions. Alice begins to cry a great deal after she grew. She cries because what was previously possible is now closed to her. While we grow up we want to be done with it. We want to get high-school over with. We try to escape our daily worries, our parents and all of the rest.

While growing, we are unsure of what we are, like Alice who asks for the nature of existence and who she really is. We must identify ourselves with something, else we know neither our place nor what we should do. Alice experiences something similar. She identifies herself with what she knows, or rather what she used to know and has now changed. From the multiplication table perceived in different bases (something I was very disappointed to see mentioned in the notes, if simply for the reason that it was my first idea of writing a blog post after reading chapter two) to her distorted sense of Geography, she, along with what she knows, has changed. With her growing, her perception of the world has changed.

But Alice is also saddened by her growth. Once she has completed growth she, as so many adults, wishes herself back to her smaller size, if only to pass through the door. And here we see Carroll’s primary warning to Alice, and to us. When we begin to age, we must not forget at what price. We adopt adulthood and rationale at the price of our youth and our old beliefs. Instead of wishing to grow up, why do we not enjoy what is current. Similarly he addresses the adult readers by showing that while they may have it worse in many a way, they are intellectually superior to children.  However, it also draws a line in between the one and the other, that distinguishes in between adults and children. While they may have elements of the other within themselves, which must be cherished to achieve a balanced existence, they are distinct beings.

The theme of growing up has too many aspects to ever be covered fully in a blog entry that addresses today’s generation and their short attention spans (my 630 words are already pushing it). As illustrated above, however, Carroll does make statements about both child and adulthood, and especially the transition in between.

Neoalicism

Posted in Benedikt K.'s Entries, Philosophy / Big Picture on October 31, 2009 by Benedikt K

After talking about the parallels from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to The Matrix, and reading this blog post, I literally fell down a rabbit hole, into a room of doors, each with a different place to go. So much to talk about, and so small attention spans to appeal to. So I will restrict myself to a more obvious theme within both stories, the question of existence.

But if I’m not the same, the next
question is, Who in the world am I?
Ah, THAT’S the great puzzle!

So, like so many authors before, Carroll has finally arrived at the age-old question of whether we exist. Interestingly, he is able to package a thought process intriguingly similar to Descartes derivation of “Cogito ergo sum”.
Alice concludes by simple exclusion, a logical principle that even a child can approach, that she must be Alice, and not anyone else. She may not put it this way, but the fact that she is wondering about her existence and her identity proves that and who she is, not her exclusion. Like Descartes she, or rather Carroll, who is really just using Alice to speak to his audience, is wrestling with the principle of existence.
Interestingly we find a similar approach to existence by The Matrix. Because Neo thinks about the world not being real, because something doesn’t feel quite right, he can escape the matrix. Once more, thought sets Neo free from the matrix.
The matrix is, after all, very similar to Alice. Yes, it has big guns in it, people getting shot and killed, and all the usual sexual tensions, but what it boils down to is simple, yet difficult. Both Alice and The Matrix ask very elemental questions about humanity and its existence and purpose. Alice asks it in a seemingly playful manner, yet both she and Neo fight their mental battle in a checkered room. While she eliminates possibilities, he shoots the security. While she struggles with her own existence, Smith asks Morpheus about why humanity should exist.
But both of them leave questions open. If the world is a matrix, why should this “real world” be real? If Alice is down a rabbit hole, which world is real, the one left behind or the one she is in?

The next interesting layer of meaning can be unraveled by recalling Carroll’s comment on how Alice should not be analyzed. If reality is fake, is it really worth escaping from it? To quote Cypher from The Matrix “Ignorance is bliss”. If we never consider the possibility of our own nonexistence, what are we to loose? Isn’t reality just as real as we make it? When the matrix is telling us that our steak is juicy and delicious, is it not as real as anything we could experience in reality, and what is reality after all? Do we not define it ourselves?

So, to put all of these rhetorical questions into one honest one, is the knowledge of whether we exist important, and, if so, how would your actions change if you discovered that none of this is real?

First CoverItLive Chat Session

Posted in Benedikt K.'s Entries, Chapter 1, CoverItLive sessions, Deron M.'s Entries, Gabriella B.'s Entries on October 31, 2009 by Benedikt K

So, our group just held our first CoverItLive chat session.  Feel free to check it out: Alice Project #9 10/30/09

  • We talked about our interpretations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and what Carroll attempted to create with this novel.
  • We also addressed some views we have on blogs and on layout. Feedback is appreciated greatly, be it to the ideas or the layout of the site.
  • Note:  Please notice that Elizabeth could’t be here today since she had field hockey practice.

Other than that, if you skipped to the end because you got bored reading what we wrote, you are definitely missing out.

May the Alice Be with You

Posted in Benedikt K.'s Entries on October 30, 2009 by Benedikt K

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has many different levels of appeals, all of which have been chewed through by thousands of literature critics. Along with what the story says, there is also how it says it, and all the other hundreds of levels of understanding we are used to when reading another one of those literary giants. But what if we take away all that could or should be analyzed?

What if we interpret Alice on its most fundamental level, and then see how this relates to us?

Alice’s adventures in wonderland is, on its most fundamental, first layer, a tale of a girl in a fairy land. She shrinks and grows over time, transforming and changing all along. Alice changes and feels differently along the story. Like us, she is not that often completely sure about what to do. And like us, she imagines herself to be above all else.

Alice’s appeal is much more than what can be analyzed (and yet i’m trying to analyze it… something went wrong somewhere). In the traditional sense of analysis, we use what the writer gives us to work with. But this was never the point of the novel. Alice is much more than a novel. It represents our inner being much more than we want to admit.

We too often live in our own world of reality and existence. Rationale, something invented by humans to control their own nature, is not a naturally occuring element of humans. Alice, the child in the novel, wants to pull our inner child out of this ancient hull of intelligence. For most of our lives, few of us have been allowed to be children. We are expected to behave like adults from very early on, yet are not allowed to speak as one. Thus we create our own worlds in which we are free from the oppression of these adults, these tyrants of our existence.

Once we become adults, our own worlds very often still exist, but they are crippled by our own intelligence. We still perceive things differently from other people, but not in an interesting fashion. We are not creative, but simply different. And just because one is different, one is not necessarily useful.
Alice is similar to a therapeutical instrument. You can use it to improve your imaginery world, and be a happier, more creative person. Alice gives the reader a power to break free from the opressive laws of science. It allows you to see things differently than anyone else can. In short, Alice improves you creaticity, your happiness, your existence. She is already within us, just crying to be released by our reading of the book.

Read Carroll’s work.

And may the Alice be with you.

The Sleeping Beauty

Posted in Benedikt K.'s Entries, Carroll's writing on October 30, 2009 by Benedikt K

This post is a response to Brendon Lynch’s blog post entitled “In Her Dreams” that talks about Carroll’s two distinct writing styles within the novel, and asks us whether Alice is dreaming or is truly awake.

***

Carroll’s styles of writing are representative of his childish, irrational side and the hard mathematician that he is. Alice is awake, she notices physics, and yet she sleeps and is not hurt upon landing.

Carroll uses these styles of writing to further lure us into the world he is creating. By subtly introducing the irrational, he can later go into more unrealistic actions without the reader having a repulsive reaction to the writing.

When we recall his audience, young alice, we should also remember that she is most likely not fully aware of the laws of physics. This then prompts Carroll to sway further into the unreal, the impossible. It will entertain the young Alice, and yet appeal to the adults that read it to her, even if only to make them smile at the utter ridiculousness of the story.

We have already noticed that Alice seems to be getting more and more removed from reality, as if she were slowly drowsing away. The first chapter already tells us that the novel is destined to be unrealistic, to be wonder and beautiful.

In conclusion, my response would be that Alice is currently drowsy, neither asleep yet nor awake, but is destined to sleep very soon.