In his play Lysistrata, Greek playwright Aristophanes gives a comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War – a 30 year old war between Athens and Sparta. How did one woman bring an end to such a deadly war?
In the play, Lysistrata (the female protagonist) becomes sick and tired of men treating women like simplistic hedonists incapable of functioning on their own. She believes that the war is a result of irrational men making stupid decisions and the long war is a waste as young, nubile women are aging away. She holds a convening of the women of various city states and proposes that the women must rise up to stop the war. Lysistrata’s plan is simple: withhold sex from the men until they cave (i.e. a sex strike). The women are reluctant at first, but agree to join her. They then take over the acropolis of the city, setting up a safe haven for women, barring any man from entering.
The men initially scoff at this revolution and try repeatedly to lay siege on the acropolis. However, they fail and the women continue to not provide any sexual pleasures to any male. The men constantly make snide comments about how women are hysterical and only seek pleasure, but sooner or later, they become desperate for sex. One by one, desperate men (sporting “burdens”, i.e. erections) come to the acropolis, pleading for relief (funnily, some women desert the acropolis in desperation for sex as well). The women take the men in, but only to tease them and leave them disappointed.
Eventually, the men (of both Athens and Sparta) cave and surrender, agreeing to end the war. There is a hilarious scene during the peace talks where Lysistrata brings out a stunning young girl named Reconciliation in front of the men, quashing any complaints or objections. Even the men who protest against the women’s demands are overcome by their lust and want(/need) for sex. Once peace is declared, the men and women all come together in the acropolis for singing and dancing, celebrating the women’s success in ending the war.
Although the play is only a comic exploration of the battle of the sexes, it clearly shows the power women have over men, and how they can use that power to easily control men.
Faust is a famous German legend telling the tale of a man who sold his soul to the devil in a deal. The legend has been retold in many forms, in both literary and artistic forms, with the most famous versions being Christopher Marlowe’s and Goethe’s. The story goes as follows:
Faust was a very knowledgeable scholar who grew bored and disappointed of earthly knowledge. To seek more knowledge, he summons the devil, Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles proposes a deal to Faust, suggesting that he will serve Faust with his magical powers and with knowledge beyond this world. In exchange, after a certain amount of time has passed he would seize Faust’s soul and send him to damnation for eternity.
After making this pact, Faust proceeds to satisfy his wants by using the devil’s powers. Eventually he seduces a beautiful, innocent girl by the name of Gretchen, but ends up destroying her life instead of living a happy life with her. However, she is saved by her innocence and ascends to heaven.
Faust, with his term now over and about to burn in the eternal inferno of Hell, is saved by God’s grace via his constant striving. It is also said that his salvation is largely brought on by Gretchen, now a symbol of the Eternal Feminine, pleading to God to save Faust.
Although this is the tale that is familiar in modern times, earlier versions of the Faust story end in damnation, with the devil carrying away Faust’s irrevocably corrupt soul. Faust accepts his sins and his punishments, regretting making a pact with the devil and destroying the life of his beloved Gretchen. Faust serves to remind us that although every person has a right to be happy and satisfy their wants, there are boundaries that must be followed. By satisfying one’s needs and wants by destroying someone’s life and causing harm, one is subject to eternal punishment.
It is fascinating to see that one could go to such length to attain more knowledge. Is ultimate knowledge worth your soul being damned to eternity? Or is it wiser to accept that the only way to gain true knowledge is by continuously learning and thinking rather than finding a shortcut?
Stone skipping refers to the act of throwing a flat stone on a calm body of water to make it skim the surface and seemingly bounce. However, this is a technique that is hard to master and usually results in the stone simply sinking. Thus, a paper researched how one can improve their stone skipping skills.
According to the study, a stone that is 5cm in diameter, 2cm thick and about 100g in weight is ideal. But choosing your stone is only the first step. This stone must enter the water at 20 degrees at a speed of over 90km/h to make sure the stone will skim. Furthermore, the stone needs to be lifted up about 20 degrees against the water. Lastly, the stone needs to be spinning with enough force to drive it forwards while keeping it off the surface of the water. This is known as the gyroscope effect (the same reason why a top does not fall when spinning).
However, it is difficult calculating and throwing the perfect angle and speed unless you are a machine. Ergo, the only effective way to master the skill is through practice and effort. A handy advice is to throw the stone as fast as possible from a low position, letting go of the stone just below your knee height-wise.
Once upon a time, there lived an ant and a grasshopper in the forest.
In the hot summer, the ant worked hard under the burning sunlight.
But the grasshopper spent all of his time playing on his instrument and having fun instead of working.
The ant was envious of the grasshopper, but on the other hand he pitied him.
One day, the grasshopper asked the ant: “You should rest a bit. It is important to work hard, but you should also think of your health.”
The ant, in a fit of rage, said: “You have no right to say that. The summer will not last forever and there is a finite supply of food in the forest. If you do not work hard now to gather food, everyone else will take it and you will die in the winter. To be happy in the future you must endure the pain of the present. I worry for your future.”
“If you have to live a hard present for a happy future, what meaning does your life have? Food does not define happiness.”
“That is just wishful thinking of the poor. A day will come when you will pay dearly for your lack of reality.”
And time passed until winter came. The winter brought a merciless cold snap and the forest quickly froze over.
The ant was right. The grasshopper – with no food or shelter – could not fight the cold and soon froze to death. As his body became more and more rigid, he thought to himself: “Well, I enjoyed my youth and had a happy time, so I have no regrets at least.”
The ant had enough food stored up and so he could live in his burrow without starving to death.
In his cold, damp, dark burrow he spent a lonely time, extending his miserable life just a little bit longer.
After a month of enduring it, he could not bear the continuous cold and eventually froze to death.
All is vain in the face of nature. Instead of just worrying about the future, one must also invest in the past and present to lead a complete life of happiness.