Arhive pe categorii: English version

A Flavour of the Sun

I get warm

with a piece from the muggy sea.

I nourish my skin with

seaweed from the sand.

I am thinking of you

as I peer at the literal horizon.

I love you with a flavour of

the Sun.


I see you hasty through the Sky,

discerned through refrain.

You hearken reasons glancing,

and pray for a twinkling of serenity.

You feel the season in your bosom,

And you seize yourself abreast.

Thank you Andreea Apetrăchioaei for this wonderful translation.


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Between “Friends” and “Friends with Benefits”

I’ve tangled my battle of ideas about the ways in which friendship is perceived nowadays by watching two movie series, totally opposed to each other when it comes to the miracle of durable friendships, and which affect “the good” and “the beautiful”. The two movie series are Friends and “Friends with Benefits”. It has been clear from the very beginning that the latter resembles the former from the point of view of the general idea, the former being the most famous and the best series ever broadcasted in the US.

Since I am a big admirer of Friends, and I subscribe to the types of relationships that the characters (Ross, Phoebe, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Rachel) develop as friends, I’ve immediately noticed the difference concerning the social status when it comes to the other five protagonists of “Friends with Benefits”- Ben, Sara, Fitz, Aaron, and Riley.

I wouldn’t have written this article unless some of my friends from Bucharest and I hadn’t discussed about the concept of friendship nowadays. Things are simple, or perhaps not. From my perspective, the social manifestations regarding the topic of friendship differ from a negative point of view. If at the beginning friendship used to be something natural, involving good faith, and proximity with the others for whom one cares, currently it transforms everything into a dispute for “benefits” in the circle of a presupposed friendship.

Friendship exists as a type of behaviour which facilitates the synchronization with the natural requirements (the social ethics dictates it, it’s fashionable, useful, and it helps one passing the time in a pleasant manner and so on). It would be good if friendship had as a foundation at least the things I mentioned above. On one hand, in “Friends” there are several principles which the director and the characters follow: the individual’s natural predisposition towards the need for friendship, the care of one for the other, love and real falling in love, the irony and sarcasm that are peculiar to committed friendships (they are that form of enchantment triggered by the other’s flaws, and I particularly enjoy them), the familial environment created, the lack of self-interest, or in case this appears, it should be a pursuit for the friend’s appreciation etc.

On the other hand, in”Friends with Benefits”, the things and principles change. The personal interest prevails, despite the group bonding, and despite the adhesion to the ideas that each promotes. The “benefit” appears as a leading actor in the friendship bonding between the five protagonists. Basically, the principles from the first movie series are reversed in the second. “Friends with Benefits” follows the idea of “you do what I please, so that later on I do as you like”. In Friends the principle is the following: “I feel that I should do what you please, something which is especially for you”.

On the former blog I’ve written an article entitled “Unde sunt marile prietenii?”(“Where Are the Great Friendships?”), by approaching the friendships between M. Eminescu and I. Creangă, Titu Maiorescu and P.P. Carp, M. Kogălniceanu, V. Alecsandri and C. Negruzzi, A. Pleşu and G. Liiceanu, Gala Galaction and T. Arghezi, Goethe and Schiller, and others. I may repost this article on the current blog as well. The idea is that we are in the quest for great friendships but we cannot assume several essential principles: trust, the enjoyment of the other’s company, common shared values, different ideas (pay attention not to mistake “ideas” for “principles”), potential shared visions, loyalty, dedication, irony and sarcasm (as they are explained above), carefulness and cooperation. There are other principles as well but the ones enumerated here are fundamental.

When the need to be loved interferes in a potential friendship, as well as the need to be useful only in some circumstances, or the need to look good among others, or to copy a pattern and afterwards to fight one’s way in the spotlight of fame in order to use blackmailing later, or to get closer to someone also appear, then one cannot talk about “Friends” but “Friends with Benefits”.

I will never cease telling that great friendships helped other destinies.


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The “Web Pioneers”

What do we know about the generation called the “Web pioneers”? The Internet becomes more and more like a second life for many of us. Today the virtual space accomplishes perhaps more functions than the real life does. In an article from “The Guardian”, entitled “Youth culture: teenage kicks in the digital age – Why this generation are the true web pioneers…, Aleks Krotoski, a renowned researcher in the domain of psychology, who also deals with the study of the relationships in the online communities, pursues a theoretical and critical analysis of the effects of the growing development of the social networks and searching engines (Facebook and Google in particular). This topic had been debated during a seminar at the University of Konstanz, and the pros and cons were very applicable. Also, this topic is always open to new arguments. But who should win in the end?

An interesting question would be “Why do people want to post so many data, activities, and personal photos on the Internet?” Here I refer to Facebook in particular. Well, what I and other students have identified cannot represent the adequate or general answer. In the best case scenario, for many people this is a way to escape from the daily routine. The other reasons are much more diverse. These online activities serve to either make you more competitive, or they help you get noticed by others, or they create a false identity for you (“That’s what I wanna be”, “This is who I am but I’m not like this actually”).  At the same time, they can also represent marketing strategies that substantiate your expertise in a field. There is nothing weird in this type of activity until people start posting photos showing the oddest daily activities (how they feed their children, how they have their hair and nails done, or how they party, how they have shower, what they do at the toilet, and so on and do forth, because their imagination is endless). Everything appears as turmoil of organized posts framed by a virtual and mimetic space.

Why does it happen like this? Maybe because other values have been lost, or they are simply missing from the community to which these people belong (family, friends, theatre, opera, sports clubs, the evenings spent with the pals). These values are missing only if we do not preserve them, or if we consider them no longer important. This is how Mark Zuckerberg became more successful, and this motivated him to come up with other applications to control the lives of the online communities. I used and I still use Facebook for promoting my articles, and for staying in touch with the students from Romania and from abroad but why should one offer more than the basics?

In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes

Andy Warhol used this statement in 1968 to explain the phenomenon that will shape our persona in the future. Apparently, what he said started to come true. Everyone desires to be competitive, to be known, or to toot their horn that they have tons of friends, and it would seem legit for them to become famous for “15 minutes”. If they do better than this, they turn into a Zeus of the virtual world (and probably this is what they are). What would be the continuity of an information, of a project, or of an accomplishment, if another is launched immediately? “You were famous. Good for you! Here comes another one.” And this is how we spend every day to gain fame for several minutes (this time value depends on the individual goals). Is everything positive or negative? Perhaps you will answer this question. Well, the ones who do business within the online world, and have something to gain from this intricacy will be against what I stated. But what should one do when it comes to teenagers and young people? They are the ones mesmerized by the World Wide Web (until the moment when all the mommies will start posting photos of their babies bathing or sitting on the potty).

Is there a chance for a youth culture to be built online? What are the changes in the young people’s perceptions about life, family or friends? Well, everything changes. Personally, I do not see the benefits of the social networks. On the contrary, I perceive them (especially Facebook) as a “diplomatic” way to control the people (hark!) willingly.  The Panopticon, the concept coined by Jeremy Bentham, presupposed a type of institution in which the individuals were seen anytime and anyhow. The Panopticon was designed as a concept for prisons but isn’t Facebook  a type of dungeon too? We can go even further to analyze the articles about the “online Panopticon” which appeared in the specialized magazines, or we can identify in Michel Foucault’s works an explanation that is able to prove a theory of power which the social networks have nowadays. This sounds interesting, right? It is really interesting, and now perhaps we found an answer regarding Facebook (by the way, Mark Zuckerberg works with different worldwide organizations).

In the following edition of the “Iuventa” magazine (March 2012) we shall discuss what are the perspectives of the young people nowadays, with their obstacles and opportunities, and undoubtedly the virtual world will be included in our discussion. By that time, I invite you to read Aleks Krotoski’s article.

P.S.: Does anyone feel that they have a second life in the online world?


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