Sunday, May 11, 2014

Maria Lovelyn Joyce S. Quebrar
2013–01000


THE SOCIAL CLIMBERS

Seeing the title of the documentary, the first thing that came into my mind is that I will be watching something related to the society involving humans. However, I realized I have been incredibly wrong because “The Social Climbers” refers to literal climbers – also known as man’s ancestors, the primates.

The first part of the documentary introduced the so-called social climbers in a different point of view. Instead of just narrating basic information about monkeys, as what I have expected, it portrayed the lifestyle of various types of the tree-hanging animals. Different species such as Capuchins, Pygmy Marmosets, Howler Monkeys, Toque Macaques, and Baboons adapt to different types of habitats; their body size, physiology, and ability contribute a great deal to their capacity to survive. There are monkeys that rely only on plants to live on, others on insects and animals. Competition is also massive among these social mammals. The smaller members, mostly herbivorous, compete with each other for available food sources, while the larger members thrive to hunt for the smaller creatures. However, we can still see that unity prevails in time of danger. Whenever a huge predator comes to devour one of their kin, they relay messages to signal the presence of the intruder and call for the evacuation of the probable prey.

The documentary also showed that monkeys, despite possessing smaller brains than humans, display a sense of hierarchy within their society. During courtship, females recognize the males owning the position of alpha, thereby submitting wilfully under them. However, they also recognize the would-be alphas, and sometimes sneak out to mate with them. The lower ranks are obliged to eat the leftovers from the mouth of the highest ranking male. Another wonderful topic that was elaborated is the value of monkeys for children. For an outsider wanting to be a part of a group, it is a wise decision to carry a child monkey with him/her, because it is known that no one would hurt someone who is carrying an infant.

The host of the entire documentary, David Attenborough, an English naturalist, humored me a lot due to the fact that, despite reaching several parts of the world in search for monkeys, he wore the same shirt all throughout. I also liked the assorted methods he did to reach the mammals, such as riding a boat and a sort-of-flying vehicle. He also performed various experiments that allowed the viewers to learn the reactions of the monkeys in certain situations.

“The Social Climbers” enabled me to know that monkeys are, indeed, social climbers. They have a society almost similar to humans, and they possess the brains to have the desire to climb up in the levels of hierarchy. Still, they have a lot of potential locked up inside of them that they are still not aware that they have a capability to do. This mirrors the reality we have in our human society. We have greatly improved, especially in our ways of obtaining food, whereas centuries ago, this potential remained undiscovered. Thus, I believe that everything, living or non-living, has the potential for improvement, but it is our responsibility, as thinking creatures, to utilize that improvement for the betterment of every existing being, humans and monkeys alike.

           
A BEAUTIFUL MIND

The concept of beauty is almost always used to describe tangible things, particularly the face. Who would have thought that it can also be used to characterize something within a human being, particularly the brain? But mind you, you cannot see the brain inside the head of a person, so what you elucidate is how it functions. Therefore, “A Beautiful Mind” is a movie depicting the beautiful functions of the mind of the great mathematician, John Nash.

“The Beautiful Mind” narrates to us the story of John Nash, who, due to his possession of incredible intelligence, was able to get to Princeton University and give out his idea of the Game Theory. While seemingly enjoying the company of his roommate Charles Herman and his niece, Marcee, he finished his studies and became a professor. In one of his classes, he met the brave Alicia Larde, a student who taught him how to love. However, he suddenly engaged company with William Parcher, an authority in the United States Department of Defense, who involved him in quite dangerous situations and witty cases. A huge plot twist made it turn out that Charles Herman, Marcee, and William Parcher are just products of his hallucination, and that he, John Nash, is suffering from a literally mind-boggling illness – schizophrenia.

Under the influence of the disease, he slowly grew apart from his wife, unable to deduce imagination from reality. He was checked by a psychiatrist who made him undergo certain tests in the hospital. After a year, he was released, but it was still a lot of trouble for his wife, Alicia. This proved the great love Alicia harbored for John, because she stayed by his side despite all the hardships they went through. Eventually, John managed to cope up and ignore the hallucinations, though they never left him. When John received the Nobel Prize, he gave a heart-warming speech and held out the handkerchief given to him by his wife years ago during their first date.

The movie struck me in a lot of ways. Being genius certainly has its consequences, and mind over heart is not always the right thing to pursue. It was shown in the film that the hallucinations of John Nash were brought about by his needs and wants at a certain time. During college and he needed a friend, Charles Herman appeared. After graduation and he desired a family, he met Marcee. Finally, when he though that his current job was menial in ratio with his mental capacity, he hallucinated William Parcher and his job offer. Still, love proved to be an effective medication. His wife’s love for him prevailed, and in return, his love for his wife gave him strength to overcome his illness.


In conclusion, I can say that “A Beautiful Mind” covered the beautiful mind of John Nash, whose works contributed greatly to modern studies. Despite his schizophrenia, the beauty of his mind still prevailed almost gloriously, making him a genius that will be remembered by the future generations.

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