🥝 Chiwi Journal #19: Where the Crawdads Sing, Pantheon, Caravaggio, DeNites and Ayahuasca
Greeting from Milan! 🇮🇹
I was remote working while touring around Napoli, Capri, Rome, Vatican and Milan (watch my video clips here) this month. My longing for Italy stemmed from the influence of Serie A, where I found a group of fanatical Mediterraneans in the Apennines who were crazy about football. Later on, reading Calvino's literature and the Neapolitan Novels, learning about the history of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, and watching many Italian foods and culture programmes further intrigued me about Italy. So here I am and feel free to check out my travel tips gathered from locals' recommendations :)
Another good news is that I recently joined O'Shaughnessy Ventures LLC (fully debuting on 01/01/2023, stay tuned!)as social media and community manager. I never thought I would one day work with one of my favourite podcast hosts, Jim O'Shaughnessy, but life works perfectly. If you are a creator like me, watch this space and get on with the ride of Great Reshuffle and unleash our creative potential together!
Now, let's get into this month's content.
Book of the Month
Our mother nature has no moral right or wrong, and the only rule that applies in the wild is the survival of the fittest. Sometimes the prey has to kill the predator to survive...
Where the Crawdads Sing is a best-seller novel about a girl abandoned by her family and raised alone in a swampy area in the middle of North Carolina. She is ostracised and isolated by the townspeople for being different and taken care of by a black couple who happened to be outsiders like her. Two small-town boys also showed their affection to her. Just as she is about to open herself to a new life with the launch of her illustration books, a mysterious murder turns her fate around.
What I like most about the book are the description of mother nature and the twisted ending. When we do not get love and understanding in human society, perhaps the coldness of nature can give us solace instead.
There is also the same name film based on this novel featuring one of my favourite young talents Daisy Edgar Jones, who has the perfect temperament for such an isolated, sensitive and lonely role. Her appearance in Normal People and Under the Banner of Heaven is worth watching.
“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”
“She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn't her fault she'd been alone. Most of what she knew, she'd learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.”
Show of the Month
Have you ever thought about uploading your brain to the cloud and abandoning the decayed physical body in the future to live an immoral life? If you are, you do not want to miss this hidden gem show, Pantheon, about Uploaded Intelligence.
It is based on an award-winning sci-fi author Ken Liu's story, The Hidden Girl, which tells a story about a bullied teen girl who begins receiving messages from a mysterious stranger that claims to be her deceased father. While uncovering the truth, she stumbles upon a conspiracy involving Uploaded intelligence.
Besides, a new show from the creators of Westworld called The Peripheral is worth following. I have watched the two released episodes and have already been hooked on this alternate reality setting and well-selected castings.
Super glad to see many sci-fi shows up in the market now, which inspire me to think about the philosophical questions about what is real, what is truth, and how to define who 'I' really am.
Maybe we humans are just something trained by other species (like how we trained AI at this stage), and our conciseness is just an algorithm made by them. If so, are truth, beauty and love the fundamental language written in their system?
The irreplaceable nature of the physical world is reflected in watching the authentic artwork of your favourite artist in person.
Although we can get a digital copy of any famous artwork online, the sensation our brain builds on when we stand in the gallery facing the textures and colours of the master paintings is incomparable.
Artist of the Month
My favourite Italian painter, Caravaggio, excelled in using the interplay of light and shadow (so-called chiaroscuro) to create impactful paintings of biblical storytelling themes. Most of Caravaggio's work was seen as blasphemous at the time, befitting his eccentric character, often embroiled in disputes and strife, living a life of displacement. Nowadays, his reputation increased dramatically despite harsh criticism of his turbulent lifestyle, and he enormously impacted painting throughout Europe.
On a side note, the upcoming movie about Caravaggio will release on November 3rd. The movie poster showcases dramatic, selective illumination of form out of the deep shadow to heighten the emotional tension, significantly representing Caravaggio's style.
Ever since I moved to Lisbon, I started attending DeNites, decentralized events to showcase local web3 projects and startups in the most entertaining way possible. Shout out to local web3 entrepreneurs like Pedro and Filipe who made it happen.
Now it is the #DeNitesWeek in Lisboa (31 Oct - 4 Nov). There will be five full days of work, workshops, talks, and happy hours. Check out the event list and work and party like locals! http://lu.ma/denites.
Experience of the Month
Last year, I had my first psychedelic experience with the Grandfather plant, San Pedro, at The Lighthouse Retreat. 2 trips in 4 days let me 'see' the themes constantly haunted my mind: time, space, reality and dream. This month, I went to an Ayahuasca retreat and went deeper to explore our reality and the secret of the brain.
We know the limitation of language when we can try to describe something magnificent. Here is my attempt to describe those visions and insights from my psychedelic trip:
Eighty-four thousand thoughts and ideas,
Landscape transformation in the whirligig of time,
Everything is evolving and decaying in front of my eyes.
Vivid Colours dancing along with the music of nature,
Infinite fractals emerge and disappear like the Mandelbrot set and Mandala of Sanskrit.
Van Gogh's painting in a tangible form.
We are nameless and formless,
We are a pixel and we are a Buddha,
Was vernünftig ist, das ist wirklich,
We're loved just for being who we are, just for existing.
Accept ourselves and others in full,
We are walking each other home.
Try not to control, try not to force, surrender to the power of the universe.
Time and space are a total illusion.
The reality doesn't seem like what we see.
To see beauty, use our hearts, not our eyes.
Feel, and we shall know.
Seek, and we shall find.
I rise above the earth and travel through abstract concepts and patterns.
A snap of the finger is the moment of eternity.
I could have lived forever in that dazzling and wonderful dream,
But my love's sweet smiles pull me back to this reality we are in.
Life is the eighth wonder.
When we genuinely want something,
The whole universe is always on our side.