Sunday, May 11, 2014

Orencio - Reaction Papers: A Beautiful Mind, The Life of Mammals & Bird Watching

Shannah Rabuco Orencio
Prof. Juned Sonido

A Beautiful Mind  

A story of exceptional intelligence, social struggle, unconditional love and overcoming, the Beautiful Mind showed that no matter how hard and severe John’s condition is, there’s always a solution for it, if not, then around it. John Nash not only solved the most complex mathematical problems I’ve ever seen in any movie and gave numerous contributions to humanity but he had also given a brilliant solution to overcome his frightening delusions and psychological complications caused by his schizophrenia, a mental disorder that almost ruined him, his career and his family.

John Nash is a quiet, secretive, antisocial and arrogant Mathematics student in graduate school at the Princeton University who only kept to himself and prefers to solve mathematical problems relative to every possible occurrence that he could justify using mathematical solutions rather than talking to real people. He started to manifest his own companions such as Charles, his roommate and trusted friend, and William Parcher, a supervisor of the United States Department of Defense. Josh believes that he was given the task to crack codes and look for patterns in magazines and newspapers to defeat the Soviet’s schemes. John developed an obsession and started to become mad, which caused quite a problem with his family, career, mental health and himself. His was forced to treatment and nearly lost his mind trying to overcome his schizophrenia. He eventually learned how to ignore his delusions and won himself the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics.

There is a solution for everything. No matter how John was badly judged by the people around him, no matter how severely his sickness had affected him, and how his life slowly started to crumble in front of him, he still managed to brush them all off and tried his absolute best to overcome his many struggles in life. Never give up and believe the impossible.

Love conquers all. John Nash was never the most pleasant person to begin with, yet Alicia still found the good in him and accepted and loved him for who he is, despite of his many oddities and flaws. No matter how severe John’s sickness was and how hard it was to live with someone she loves who cannot reciprocate it. It was positively dreadful and heart aching yet she stood by her husband ‘til the very end. She was the reason John found the will to cure himself.

Schizophrenia is the mental disorder that John Nash conquered. The symptoms are delusions and paranoia. Clearly, we should try and understand the people who suffer from this mental disorder. John Nash went through a hard time and his delusions were his only companions, friends that make him feel important and needed. People he thinks that value his existence. The film showed the sickness in action and how it badly affects its victim. People who suffer from this must be respected and understood so as not to make them feel any worse about themselves and make their condition much worse.


The Life of Mammals

When I see the word monkeys, different pictures come to mind always involving cute furry animals with huge forward facing eyes and flat noses, either hanging on tree branches with their opposable thumbs or walking on all fours eating a banana; little did I know that there are so much more to monkeys than their stereotypical images on television and children’s books.

Monkeys are exceptionally intelligent and capable primates. Their big brains (literally and figuratively) allow them the capacity to be exceptionally resourceful, sociable, vocal, and emotional than other primates and most animals in general.

From what I’ve learned in the two documentaries, “Social Climbers” and “Food for Thought,” monkeys have developed special “features” and attributes that make them very special. Their excellent color vision enables them to identify the edible fruits from the nonedible ones making them masters of food gathering. Their intelligence has led them to think rationally, thinking differently and more clever than most animals. They find good use to the things that are usually dismissed by most e.g., the use of certain kinds of leaves as antiseptic or painstakingly opening tightly closed clamshells for the meat inside, something that other animals can’t do or wouldn’t think of doing. They even go out of their way by making their own tools to gather more food. Some monkeys are even found to be behaving in such a human-like manner that it seems to me that they’ve learned this through human assistance yet to find out that they do these (bathing with soap, washing tools, doing DIY) on their own initiative.

Monkeys are also capable of displaying expressions and feelings, enabling them to be more vocal, understandable and communicable than most animals that we know of. This astounding way of communication is easier to comprehend and their intelligence enables them to understand us as well.  Their advance social ability had led them to establish close family ties, hierarchy, and complex social structures that closely resemble that of a human being’s social relationships and statuses. These relationships assure them of their safety, protection and way of living, allowing them to live in a secured and fortified environment.

Alliances are formed mostly for protection and personal needs and benefits. Monkeys could easily detect threats, share food and find mates when they belong in a particular unit. It might be all fun and games though it may not be as easy as it seems. The documentary videos show that hierarchy and social statuses are very much prominent in these large groups. This complex social structure surprisingly resembles that of a humans’ and just like humans, one must climb their way to the top in order to be an alpha male or must be born in a higher caste to gain privileges others can’t afford. New members should always start out in the bottom of the social hierarchy status and work your way through by befriending, helping or fighting your way to the top. These human-like behaviors are what make these monkeys so special.

The documentaries have shown the monkeys’ complexity and diversity as well as their innovation. Their fascinating behavior continues to intrigue the many scientists and people that they have captivated. Their social relationships and attitudes are more human-like than any other animal in the wild. Unique is their ability to adapt and learn. These are what made the monkeys climb into the social hierarchy in the animal kingdom.


It has been obvious to me at first that the diversity of birds in the UP Diliman campus is quite abundant. My occasional walks around the campus has always been greeted by many birds, some of which are the typical ones I see everyday, and occasionally, some new and interesting ones I have yet to classify. I always thought there are a lot of birds in UP, little did I know there is a total number of 113 species observed just within the campus itself. 109 are said to be endemic whilst four species are introduced or escapes. Who would knew that UP have that many birds? Apparently, the birding people of UP have been documenting and studying these birds for quite a while now and had been coming up with ways to preserve and protect these campus treasures.

The birding experience was quite interesting. As we set out, I only expected to see a couple of typical Tree Sparrow birds- also incorrectly known as the Philippine maya, but surprisingly, we found loads more of bird species as well. We encountered three tiny birds with yellow bellies playing along the tree branches, which I believe are little Pygmy Flower Peckers (not sure though). We also found three Spotted Wood Kingfishers (the blue birds I often see around UP) flying together near the Math building and two Fantails and three Shrikes (according to my other group mate). We also found five more birds from afar so we couldn’t identify what specie they belonged to. We also saw a chicken running around our building as well (they said to put it on the list).

It’s a shame I didn’t brought my camera with me. It’s hard to capture birds from a long distance using only my iPad.  I’ve never seen that many birds in UP in one day before (for 30 minutes), and it’s a good idea to document it. I found out that when you really observe your surroundings, you’re bound to see more species and even find new ones as well. After the bird watching experience, my friend and I often find ourselves staring up at trees to look for birds. It became a sort of habit for us after the experience. I figured she enjoyed the bird watching (or birding) as well as I did.

The bird population in UP Diliman is amazing. There are more species of birds in here than any other place (or zoo for that matter) that I’ve ever been. The students here should be aware of this, not just for the sake of finding pretty birds around the campus but also to be aware of our campus’s treasures that need preservation and protection. What will happen in the future if we don’t take care of our most conspicuous diverse animal group? Change is inevitable 50 years from now. Will the diversity of birds decline, or rise? Awareness is the first step and the next is up to us.

No comments:

Post a Comment