Inspiration is a phenomenon with many variables. It is difficult to tell when it will come, arduous to predict when it will leave, yet it is a soulful feast nonetheless. When in the realm of inspiration, ordinary objects can seem phenomenal and the slightest details can be observed (Cannus 64). Inspiration is a wonderful state, as we are most productive and joyful when inspired. In a way, our whole life is searching for that particular state of inspiration we have come to call ecstasy. In this life-long race for the extraordinary to excite us, though, we sometimes get tired of searching. When life induces too much stress, too much noise, and too much rush, it is wondrous to put your headphones on, click play on your favorite playlist, and close your eyes, giving way to music.
The styles of music can vary greatly. It takes a discerning listener to classify a particular song, as it may have strains of several music trends. Besides trends, each culture produces its specific music. To me, music is more than just a way to relax and take a break. Music is my companion for life, my indicator of mood, my best adviser, and my own little world. I would never call music a hobby, as I cannot imagine my life without my favorite music. There is a playlist for when I am sad, for when I am happy, for when I am thoughtful, excited, angry, adventurous, or sleepy. Music helps me to cope with the emotions that I experience. Sometimes, music is a way to hide from everything and everyone. Other times, music is the best way to share my feelings with people I care about, or even with complete strangers. Music is the most inspirational phenomena I can think of for a multitude of reasons.
Music is a world of emotions and every time I hear a song I like, it shares some of these emotions with me. Music can bring up the most tender and anxious feelings. It can move you in time and space by bringing back special memories of which you were craving to relish. There were many cases when music sent shivers down my spine, so honest and strong were the tunes, so powerful the memories they awakened. I am sure it happened to everyone at least once, that a strong memory is somehow linked to a certain song or tune and whenever you hear it playing, you travel back to that situation in your thoughts, able to experience that it again (Connors 65). We sometimes forget how powerful music is and how inspirational its power can be.
In addition, music is able unite people like nothing else can (Poplars 45). Sports, mutual interests, and similar experiences can unite people in a substantial way. But what about those cases when people have nothing in common and are total strangers, yet they suddenly find themselves holding hands and singing along, dancing, or simply silently listening to captivating beats. Music is able to make complete strangers feel like they have connected to a kindred soul. If you have at least once been to a great live concert, you probably know what kind of inspiration I am talking about. It is difficult to describe this phenomenon with words, but is it not what proves again the power of music to inspire? You do not need to speak a foreign language to connect to somebody from a different background, using music instead of words. Music comes in handy in these cases. It inspired you to make new friends or learn more about a foreign culture.
Music is multi-dimensional—you can never get bored of it. While I have a number of favorite artists and bands, I also never stop exploring the musical amplitude and discovering new performers every day. Music adds flavor to my life and this flavor is different depending on “what dish I am eating.” Music can be so much more than an accompaniment—it is a full-fledged spice that can accentuate, muffle, or supplement any experience. If I were to leave for a deserted island and could only take a few items, my player and a couple of solar-charging batteries would be my choice. That way, I could adjust to the environment around me and find inspiration where others might find devastation and frustration.
Though music is nothing new, the creation of new melodies, rhythms, and symphonics will be created every day. In fact, I believe music has been around us for as long as we have existed (Lung 24). When I say that music is everywhere, I first of all mean that music comes from nature—the sound of crackling straw in the field, rustling trees in a grove, or the murmur of a fast mountain stream. Music in all of its forms is around us and the task is only to notice it and learn to appreciate how it can be shared. Music can be a source of inspiration for almost anyone, since it can be a unique key to suite any lock, even the most complicated and tenacious. Music has the power to make us want to smile at every stranger walking by, simply because we are hearing a transcendent song.
Cannus, Brian. Zen of Music. Brighton: Old Owl Press, 2012. Print.
Connors, Latasha. Musical Memories. Manchester: Random House, 2011. Print.
Poplars, Anna. Unification through Vibrations. New York: Penguin, 2008. Print.
Lung, Nicholas. Origin of Humankind is Music. Dallas: Vibrato Press, 2003. Print.
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Writing a Persuasive Essay
I only heard about "Annihilation" through the recommendation of a friend.
This is due to the film baffling both audiences and studios; it lacked sufficient advertisement, receiving promotion only immediately before release. "Annihilation" is sustaining itself off of word of mouth alone. A friend of mine brought it to my attention, saying something along the lines of, "Ok, dude. It is weird. I liked it. It's weird. I'm gonna be processing it for a long time. Dude. Go see it." This is the sentiment of many who have seen the film and is the best-case scenario for anyone walking out of the theater.
On the other hand, you may believe that "Annihilation" may simply confuse you for the sake of confusing you, and will leave you with nothing to do afterward but debate theories and meanings with other viewers. I belong to the former school of thought. As the credits rolled, the audience remained still, attempting to make sense of what they had been shown. I don't have all the answers, but it is a movie worth discussing with others, perhaps even seeing a second time to unpack further.
Many reviewers and critics have compared "Annihilation" to "Arrival," and I believe that they do this because it makes itself hard to describe without comparing it to something else. It is, more simply, a tense sci-fi thriller that pushes the boundaries of the genre. Both it and "Arrival" offer a view of the extraterrestrial not before conveyed in the film.
The movie opens with a small object soaring through space and colliding with Earth, the point of impact being a lighthouse resting on an expansive, sandy shore. We are then taken to the present day, where former soldier turned biologist Lena (Natalie Portman) sits in a sterile room being observed by about a dozen people in hazmat suits.
They ask her to tell her story, and we are taken through the rest of the film in flashback, occasionally returning to the interrogation room to clarify certain details. At the start of her story, Lena is grieving over the presumed death of her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac), whom she met in the Army and has been missing for twelve months after being sent on a confidential mission. He suddenly shows up at their home, seemingly out of the woodwork, much to the shock and joy of Lena. However, he seems to be confused as to where he has been for a year and even who Lena is.
In a further twist of events, government officials arrive and take both Kane and Lena to a covert facility called the Southern Reach. There, Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) tells Lena about "The Shimmer."
The Shimmer is a wall, of sorts, several miles from the facility at the edge of a forest. It is multicolored and in constant motion, looking much like the exterior of a soap bubble. Dr. Ventress informs Lena that it is slowly expanding outward, and the origin point is the lighthouse from the start of the film.
They've sent many teams of military men into The Shimmer, and not one man has returned save for Lena's husband. Lena, desiring to learn more for her husband's sake, volunteers to go on the next expedition. Armed with automatic weapons, she and Dr. Ventress make up a team of five women.
The other three are the hardy paramedic Anya, (Gina Rodriguez), timid and bookish physicist Josie (Tessa Thompson), and the somewhat melodramatic anthropologist Cass (Tuva Novotny).
It is with their journey into The Shimmer that the movie truly finds it's pace. It's the equivalent of the first fifteen minutes of "Arrival," as our heroine is recruited by the government to explore a never-before-seen phenomenon. That is, however, where the comparison ends.
Rather than show us a creepy, alien entity, as many movies of the genre do, "Annihilation" presents us with a yet unseen alien presence that alters our familiar reality in disturbing ways. Plants exhibit impossible evolutionary behaviors.
Predatory animals are turned into fearsome, mutated monsters. The world that humans have become accustomed to shifts into an alien landscape, containing both familiarity and undiscovered dangers. It is a new world where vibrant plant life and beautiful fauna mask the genetic manipulation of any human who enters it.
I found myself taken by the tone that the movie set for itself, acutely sensitive to every bestial noise and my gaze lingering in the background of otherwise harmless shots, searching for the next threat. The movie thrives in this world, where death can either be tranquil and quiet or grisly and terrifying (a particular bear-mimic hybrid currently governs my nightmares).
All of this leads to a nearly inexplicable climax, which is best described as an acid trip followed by a wordless motion art piece. It successfully makes a classic mirror routine one of the most unsettling things I've seen in recent film.
"Annihilation," by my best analysis, wants the audience to focus on themes of self-destruction as opposed to perfect life. Each team member has nothing to lose, to some degree. There is a discussion of self-destructive behavior being ingrained in each of us, and how the very notion of cells dying on their own is a biological mistake. Meanwhile, the alien world that surrounds our heroes is a beautiful, self-sustaining biome where all genetics are shared.
But it is this lack of clarity in its message that will rifle some viewers. It subverts expectations but to the disappointment of moviegoers who expected a more conventional alien invasion story. In "Independence Day," for example, the alien's motivation is clear: wipe out humanity. In "Arrival," they have knowledge to share. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is ultimately a diplomatic inquiry. "Annihilation" is simply a look at an unexplored facet of the genre. It is uncaring and inexplicable, like the cycle of life and death.
Maybe I'm in the ballpark with my analysis, maybe I'm in the wrong stadium, or maybe I'm playing the wrong sport entirely. See the movie for yourself and discuss it excitedly with your friends.
Only through shared speculation is "Annihilation" going to reach new audiences.