Journey to Find Wisdom

Everyone has to take a journey to find and gain wisdom, but the type of journey can differ from person to person. Some people need to go on a physical journey, others need to go on a mental journey, and the rest have to go on a mix of both.

The book Siddhartha is a good example of someone deciding for himself that he needs to go on a physical journey to become enlightened, since meditation to find wisdom and enlightenment wasn’t working for him. “‘I have come to tell you that I wish tomorrow to depart your house and go to the ascetics. It is my wish to become a shramana.’” (pg. 10) Siddhartha goes on a long expedition to enlightenment. At the end of the book, he explains to his long-time friend Govinda that the path to enlightenment isn’t the same for everyone. “‘What is treasure and wisdom to one man always sounds like utter foolishness to another.’” (pg. 114) He says this to recognize that though he went on a physical journey to gain wisdom and enlightenment, his process probably sounds silly to anyone else.

In the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the main character, Junior, takes a mix of both mental and physical journeys to learn a lesson. His physical journey is leaving his Native American reservation to attend school in an all-white community. His mental journey is discovering that even when he felt lonely, he still belonged to many different “tribes”. “I realized that sure, I was a Spokane Indian. I belonged to that tribe. But I also belonged to the tribe of American immigrants… And the tribe of tortilla chips-and-salsa-lovers… And the tribe of boys who really missed their best friends. It was a huge realization.” (pg. 217) And the list goes on. He learned a lot about himself through doing something that no one on his reservation would ever think of attempting, which was going to an all-white school.

The book Out of my Mind is good example of a girl, Melody, who takes a mental journey, for the most part. Though she is taken out of Special Ed and placed in a more challenging class, which could be considered a physical journey, she has a lot of time with her thoughts because she can’t speak- until she is given a machine to speak with. She learns a lot about what people think of her, and how she differs and is similar to her peers. “I believe in me. And my family does. And Mrs. V. It’s the rest of the world I’m not so sure of.” (pg. 174) She also says, “We all have disabilities. What’s yours?” (pg. 168) to her peers in the middle of the book.

Everyone is not the same, so gaining wisdom and enlightenment is different for every single person. As I have shown from the evidence above, there are many different ways to gain wisdom, it just depends on what works for the person. Siddhartha felt he needed to go on a physical journey, Junior accomplished a mix of both, and Melody takes a mental journey. Many people, such as Junior and Melody, don’t decide to gain wisdom, it just happens through major events in their life.


OPTICC First Six Weeks

h2_1984.397Introduction: This sculpture of a watchtower is an important representative of the 206 BCE – 220 CE time period because it shows the type of architecture the Han dynasty used and the type of structures they built. It informs us that the people of the Han dynasty were fairly advanced architecturally because the watchtower shown is multiple stories, which wasn’t very common in other civilizations at the time. This sculpture of a watchtower is relevant today because it gives us further insight into the lives of the ancient Han and we can figure out when complex architecture began.

Overview: The watchtower is a narrow yet tall sculpture, with a rusted green and brown look to it. The viewer’s eyes are drawn to the lattice design on the front of the sculpture, along with the intricate detail at the base of the lattice. There is a support beam diagonally across the entire first floor, and there is a figure of a person on the top of the lattice design. The sculpture has an extra covering over the first floor and what looks to be a balcony towards the top.

Parts: The small person above the lattice design seems to be of some importance. It is small and the viewer may not notice it at first, but it is there, looking out of the watchtower. There is another person sculpted onto the watchtower. They are on the beam that goes across the first floor, and seem to be crouched, perhaps sneaking into or guarding the building. Also, the amount of stories the watchtower has may be of some importance, though it is hard to tell when one story ends and another begins.

Title: The title of this piece is Central Watchtower. The title is telling me that perhaps this is a replica of a real watchtower that existed in ancient times. It is also revealing that this was most likely the main watchtower that everyone in the town, or just the military, used.

Interpretation: The intent of this work was to come up with a product to place in the tomb of an upper class person. These sculptures showed wealth- the more stories one had in their sculpture, the higher up in society they were. Since these watchtowers were placed in tombs, the people in the sculpture were added to watch over the elite after they die and to keep away evil spirits.

Context: The sculpture was created in the Eastern Han dynasty era. At the time, the arts became much more acknowledged, and soon, creating pottery and ceramics was a popular pastime.  Many people of this era spent their whole life preparing for death, so protection from evil spirits was very important. Watchtowers were said to keep away evil spirits, so the sculptures gave people peace of mind. Also, people believed that evil spirits only traveled in straight lines, so if you look closely, you can tell that the creator of this sculpture tried to decrease the number of straight lines.

Conclusion: The sculptures of watchtowers were created to be put inside the tombs of wealthier people to scare away evil spirits. In class, we are learning about different ancient civilizations of the same time period that this sculpture was created in. We even did a brochure project over them, and the Han dynasty was one of the civilizations a brochure was created for. This sculpture helps visualize the beliefs of the mainly Confucian dynasty. It also gives us a glimpse into what architecture looked like at the time, which can show us how advanced a society is.