shadow of forgotten ancestors

grimpsychoanalyst  asked:

Hi there! I have a friend who is suffering from severe nihilism following a falling out with religion. I was wondering if you could recommend any books that would help provide structure and meaning?

It’s really unfortunate that our society isn’t better equipped to offer people philosophical support and outlets of meaning outside of religion. We are presented with this shitty dichotomy–and it’s heavily reinforced in movies and TV–where you’re either naive and religious or you’re cold and hard and nihilistic. But that’s just, like, so not true. 

I’ve written before on how I personally strive to find meaning and purpose in my life, but I would also recommend checking out some good ol’ fashion existentialism (e.g. de Beauvoir, Sartre, Camus, Merleau-Ponty, etc. I’ve written about the differences between nihilism and existentialism here), or some existential psychology. Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning is a must-read. It vividly and heart-breakingly chronicles his story of surviving the Holocaust and the life-lessons he learned as a result, including the importance of combating nihilism. Here’s a post I did that includes a video of Frankl talking about the emptiness of living one’s life for money. For some accessible contemporary literature, I would recommend The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith and The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt. Both of these books look at ancient philosophical traditions and modern psychological research to explore how we can find meaning. David Foster Wallace’s commencement address ‘This is Water’ is always a heartening nihilist-fighter. And, of course, for some cosmic perspective, you gotta turn to Carl Sagan. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (which he co-wrote with his wife Ann Druyan) and Pale Blue Dot will shoot you through and through with some humble awe for your place in the universe. Hearing his voice always helps drive his points home as well, so watching the Sagan Series might be just what the philosopher ordered. 

The reality is that the universe, on the largest of scales, does not care about us. So there’s a seed of truth to nihilism, which means that its specter will continue to loom large over most of us. But the trick, I think, is to resist the temptation to view nihilism as something that swallows everything. It’s challenging to hold competing views simultaneously in our brains. Acknowledging (let alone embracing) a tangled, contradictory mosaic picture of reality is no easy feat for our monkey brains. But I think it’s much closer to how things actually are. Answers are rarely simple. Our brains fight and fight hard to simplify, to categorize, to dichotimize, to fit things into neat little narratives. Which is why there’s a real temptation to think that either EVERYTHING is inherently meaningful, or NOTHING is inherently meaningful; we have to turn to either RELIGION or NIHILISM. Many of the works I recommended above help us grapple with the messy gray areas that make up the spaces between these extremes. But internalizing their messages is often easier said than done. Much of what I’ve mentioned so far has also been highly theoretical. A lot of the work to find and feel meaning/purpose comes through praxis, which can include therapy and medication and creative outlets and support groups and social justice work and all sorts of other things. Sometimes a practical and engaged focus can help make the theoretical worries feel more tangible and manageable. 

Hope some of these resources help. Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the nihilists bite!

catthatbarks  asked:

Favorite composers? Favorite pieces? Favorite classical musicians? Favorite opera singers? Favorite books? Favorite authors? Favorite movies? Favorite actors? Favorite icons (fashion, film, etc etc)? i love your blog!

Composers: W. A. Mozart, J. S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven, Gustav Mahler, Dmitri Shostakovich, Jean Sibelius, Richard Strauss, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn, P. I. Tchaikovsky, Anton Bruckner, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, Paul Hindemith, G.P. Telemann, G.F. Handel, Arnold Schönberg, Fanny Mendelssohn, Alexander Borodin, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Germaine Tailleferre,Dietrich Buxtehude, Louise Farrenc, William Byrd, Henrich Biber, Johannes Ockeghem, Gilles Binchois, Domenico Scarlatti, Claudio Monteverdi, Guillaume de Machaut, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, Nicola Matteis, Jean-Marie Leclair, Anton Rubinstein, Lili Boulanger, Galina Ustvolskaya, Sergey Taneyev, Vasily Kalinnikov.

Pieces/Works: Strauss’s Metamorphosen, Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler/Kammermusik, Sibelius’s Symphony No.4 & 5/ Violin Concerto in D minor/ The Swan of Tuonela/ Kullervo, Beethoven’s Eroica, 4th & 7th symphonies/Piano Sonata Nos. 12, 19, 24, 31 (1st & 3rd mov.)/ Egmont, Coriolan & Leonore Overtures/ Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin & Cello, Mozart’s Piano Concertos (No. 9, 15, 20, 24)/Symphonies 36, 39, 41/Requiem/Da Ponte Operas/ Adagio and Fugue in C minor, Dvořák’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra/ Serenade in E major, Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues (No. 2, 12, 16, 24.)/ Piano Quintet/Symphony 7 & 8/String Quartets 8, 10 & 15, Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, Mendelssohn’s String Quartets (No. 2, 4, 6)/Piano Quartet No.3/ Cello Sonata No. 2/ Violin Concerto, Ravel’s Piano Concerto/Daphnis et Chloé/Gaspard de la Nuit, Haydn’s London Symphonies, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6/Violin Concerto in D/Suite No.3/ Souvenir de Florence/Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, Scriabin’s Etudes (No. 1, 5, 8, 10), Chopin’s Ballades (1 & 4)/Preludes, Goyescas, Rachmaninoff’s The Isle of the Dead/Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom/The Bells, Schönberg’s Verklarte Nacht/ Pélleas und Melisande, Fauré’s Élégie for cello and orchestra Op. 24/Trois mélodies, Op.7, Debussy’s Images I & II/Estampes, Berg’s String Quartet, Dora Pejačević’s Cello Sonata in E minor, Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel.

Musicians: Glenn Gould, Artur Schnabel, Gregor Piatigorsky, Edwin Fischer, Mstislav Rostropovich, Clara Haskil, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Cortot, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Martha Argerich, Maria Yudina, Ignaz Friedman, Leonid Kogan, Wilhelm Backhaus, David Oistrakh, Yehudi Menuhin, Dinu Lipatti, Emil Gilels, Wilhelm Kempff, Paul Tortelier, Pau Casals, Bronislaw Huberman, Heinrich Neuhaus, Mischa Elman, Daniil Shafran, Sergio Fiorentino, Alicia de Larrocha, Wanda Landowska, Leonid Kogan, Henryk Szeryng, Vladimir Sofronitsky, Nathan Milstein, Annie Fischer, Zino Francescatti, Michael Rabin, Joseph Hassid, Claudio Arrau, Georges Cziffra, Aurèle Nicolet, Alain Marion.

Films: All of Tarkovsky (specially Mirror, Stalker and Nostalghia) and Mizoguchi (specially Sansho the Bailiff, Osaka Elegy and The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums), La Notte di Cabiria, Sans Soleil, The Red Shoes, The Third Man, 8 ½, Late Spring, Floating Weeds, Autumn Sonata, Winter Light, The Virgin Spring, Cries and Whispers, Au Hasard Balthazar, Les Cousins, Le Feu Follet, Yi yi, A Time to Live/A Time to Die, Hiroshima mon Amour, Last Year in Marienbad, Statues also Die, Night and Fog, Diary of a Country Priest, Ordet, Werckmeister Harmonies, Broken Blossoms, Way Down East (Griffith), Ascenceur pour L’Echafaud, The Promised Land, Opening Night, Testament of Orpheus, Letter from an Unknown Woman, Rebecca, La Notte, Jules et Jim, Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks, Journal d'un curé de campagne, Ikiru, The Trial, F for Fake, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Vivre sa Vie, Apur Sansar, In the Mood for Love, Taste of Cherry, Through the Olive Trees, A Star is Born, Viridiana, To be or not to be, Morocco, Laura, The Big Sleep, Floating Clouds, Pandora’s Box, The Color of Pomegranates, Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors, Sunrise, Russian Ark.

Singers: Cesare Siepi, Gottlob Frick, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Josef Greindl, Leontyne Price, Lucia Popp, Christa Ludwig, Franco Corelli, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Boris Christoff, Fritz Wunderlich, Kurt Moll, Jussi Björling, Alfredo Kraus, Nicolai Gedda, Giacomo Aragall, Aureliano Pertile, Gundula Janowitz, Jessye Norman, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Birgit Nilsson, Maureen Forrester, Ludwig Suthaus, Ettore Bastianini, Edda Moser, Maria Callas, Lauritz Melchior, Alexander Kipnis, Wolfgang Windgassen, Feodor Chaliapin, Birgit Nilsson, Kirsten Flagstad, Brigitte Fassbaender, Renata Tebaldi, Ezio Pinza.

Actors: Anatoly Solonitsyn, Chishū Ryū, Jeanne Moreau, Lillian Gish, Liv Ullmann, Giulietta Masina, Anton Walbrook, Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Andersson, Toshiro Mifune, Gena Rowlands, Anna Magnani, Setsuko Hara, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura, Hideko Takamine, Gunnar Björnstrand, Maurice Ronet, Joseph Cotten, Jean-Louis Trintignant, François Périer, Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Gene Tierney, Oleg Yankovsky, Erland Josephson, Greta Garbo, Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastroianni, Dana Andrews, Michel Piccoli, Soumitra Chatterjee, Claude Rains, Tony Leung, Fernando Rey, Francisco Rabal, María Casares, Delphine Seyrig, Hanna Schygulla.

Authors: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Natsume Soseki, Nikolai Gogol, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Anna Akhmatova, Alexander Blok, Alexander Kuprin, José Saramago, Virginia Woolf, André Gide, Fernando Pessoa, Hermann Hesse, Edgar Allan Poe, Christopher Okigbo, Anna Akhmatova,  Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Yulia Zhadovskaya, Marcel Proust, Honoré de Balzac, George Elliot, William Faulkner, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Mikhail Lermontov, Ivan Bunin, Nikolay Nekrasov, Samuel Beckett, Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, Theodor Fontane, Hafiz, Federico Garcia Lorca, Rafael Alberti, José Maria de Eça de Queirós, Goethe, Antonin Artaud, Julio Ramón Riberyro, Alejandra Pizarnik, Jorge Eduardo Eielson, Cesare Pavese, Giacomo Leopardi, Marina Tsvetaeva, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Osip Mandelstam .

Literature: All of Dostoyevsky’s work, Kusamakura, The Book of the Disquiet, The Magic Mountain, Buddenbrooks, A Hero of Our Time, The Government Inspector, The Overcoat, Dead Souls, Eugene Onegin, Kolyma Tales, Aranyak, Lost Illusions, Doktor Faustus, The Castle, A Hunger Artist, A Room of One’s Own, Hell Screen, A Fool’s Life, Yama: The Pit, We, The Glass Bead Game, Narcissus and Goldmund, Middlemarch, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, Conversations with Goethe, Montaigne’s Essays, Illuminations, Le Spleen de Paris, In Search of Lost Time, I Am Cat, Molloy, The Waves, As I Lay Dying, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Auto da Fe, The Other World, Labyrinths, Rosary, Memories of the Future, The Counterfeiters, The Theatre and Its Double, Tristam Shandy.

This is, of course, a very vague (and also overwhelming, forgive me) listing of favorites. There are so many I could not possibly name them all, for an entire universe pours out unrelentingly. But I did what I could…thanks a lot for asking.

cardverse  asked:

Hello there! This is Sil, and for the @aphaskevent I would like to ask: What are some of the traditional stories and/or myths from your country? And which one is your personal favourite? Thank you!

Hello! 

Today I am going to tell you about Ukrainian myths! Thank you for an awesome question! 

I would like to begin with one of the most widespread myths (and my personal favourite) - Мавка (Mavka). Mavka is a forest creature, that looks like a beautiful young lady with long soft hair. They wear beautiful flowing dresses. Mavkas have no shadows and their movements are graceful and smooth. But that is only the outside - they are really cruel on the inside. Mavkas are literally girls that died during the Русальний тиждень (Rusalka week or Mermaid week), which is a week after the Trinity Sunday, when Rusalkas are the most dangerous. Mavkas use their powers to kill young men. They appear in front of them as their loved ones. 

(Source: x )

Beautiful yet terrifying  - Mavkas always attracted writers and poets. Mavka appears in a famous Ukrainian novel Тіні забутих предків (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors) as a negative character. However Lesya Ukrainka had a completely different attitude towards this creature. In her famous play Лісова пісня (The Forest Song) Mavka is a good character. Her story is very sad, but still beautiful. There is going to be an animated film about Mavka made by Animagrad (Ukrainian animation studio). It is called “Mavka: The Forest Song” and it already has a teaser. Check it out, the animation is very good! 

(Source: x )

An opposite of Mavkas and their biggest enemy is Чугайстер. He only appears in Carpathian folklore. He is a hairy old man (like a yeti or something), who often wears white clothing. He likes dancing, singing and just having fun. His main task is to hunt down Mavkas and eat them. He is not harmful to humans though. He even likes sitting in front of a bonfire with them. Sometimes he drags people in a crazy dance (which is dangerous for your shoes, be careful lol). 

(Source: x ) 

My second favorite myth is about witches (відьма). The word відьма is derived from ancient Slavic word “вєдь” - knowledge, witchcraft. It is believed that witches got their talent from the devil. They use it to harm other people. Some of the things that witches do is spoiling milk/cows, making other people feel sick, changing weather, causing crop-failure etc.

(Source: x ) 

There are two kinds of witches in Ukraine: родимі - those were born with abilities to witchcraft and навчені, that had their powers given to them by an old witch who is about to die. They did this to get rid of the evil in their souls.
Witches can turn into the various kinds of animals. They can turn other people into animals too. Their abilities also include flying (using brooms or pokers).

(Source: x ) 

Another popular myth is the one about werewolves (вовкулака). They are also divides into two different groups: вроджені and зачаровані. If a pregnant woman sees a wolf, she will give birth to a werewolf baby. Those werewolves are called вроджені вовкулаки. People who were born werewolves have an easier life, because they only have to deal with this curse during the night.

(Source:


Witches and wizards can turn a person into a werewolf (зачаровані вовкулаки, as they are called in Ukrainian). This kind of witchcraft requires some special rituals and sometimes the victim is unaware of them. Unfortunately they can’t live a normal healthy life, because they can’t turn back into humans for a couple of years.

Русалка (Mermaid, Rusalka) is one of the most interesting creatures of Ukrainian mythology. They live underwater in an amazing rhinestone castle. At night they come out of the water to comb their hair and dance. They drag young boys and girls into the water and drown them by singing wonderful songs.
One can protect themselves from mermaids by using crosses and wormwood. Some people believe that rusalkas can live in fields and forests, where they like to swing on trees. 

(Source:

And to finish the post I will tell you about скарбник - an evil spirit, who guards treasures. He is very loyal, catches thieves and helps his master with everything. But when the master dies, the spirit takes their soul. Іклюз - a magical coin that brings good luck and money is also a pretty common myth. The coin is possessed by a devil and also takes the soul of the master after their death.

So that’s it for today! I hope my answer was helpful and interesting (and also spoopy). Feel free to ask other questions about Ukraine! 

This post is brought to you by @aphaskevent ! Thank you for organizing such an amazing event!