The Art Of Harmony

Perhaps one of the most influential philosophy books ever written, Laozi’s Tao Te Ching has given rise to many life philosophies. While Tao Te Ching is not a long book, it still can take hours to understand the meaning behind each of the 81 poems. Even for physicists, modern physics manages to show itself within the book, with things that sound like Einstein’s theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, Laozi’s 2500-year-old book still has high relevance to today’s highly technological world.

The name “Tao Te Ching” is translated to mean the ‘classic ways of virtues”. Each line in the book, are like zen koans, which basically are unsolvable enigmas designed to break the brain, or make one think deeply about the world, nature, and reality. I should warn people who are thinking about reading Tao Te Ching because the book can make one become self-aware, in the sense that you will start to make notice of your actions and thoughts more than you normally would. After all, sometimes the most mind-bending thing is being shown yourself. 

However, the Tao Te Ching can sometimes help people discover the meaning of life, or answers to questions like “why are we here?”. To read Tao Te Ching expecting to find answers is perhaps the most common mistake. A lot of the text in Tao Te Ching is not meant to be comprehensible, nor have definite answers to the meaning of the text. The best way to read the book is to read with no end goal or purpose. Each poem can be interpreted in different ways, each interpretation depends on the individual. It really does not matter how you interpret something from this, as long as it has meaning to you. “Art is not about perfect reproduction, it is about interpretation, identity, and ideas. Reality through your eyes… Art is, a part of you.” – N.M.


“Deem ‘heavy’ as the root of ‘light’, 

Deem ‘calm’ as the leader of ‘uproar’.

Using this: sages walk all day

Without ever letting go of their heavy load, 

Even while at sublime overviews, 

Comfortably perched and transcendent.”

Review Of The Week: Extremity

Depending on your familial background, returning to university, or perhaps attending for the first time, can be a period of difficulty. Perhaps you feel that you are someone entirely different on campus, then you are when return home. Or, perhaps you have a gift, talent, or interest that is appreciated but not understood outside of the university space. For me, beginning university is a time when I struggle to reconcile who I am, who I want to be, and who I used to be, but, it also a time when I am able to express myself in a deeply satisfying way. 

In the 12-issue mini-series Extremity, writer and artist Daniel Warren Johnson, along with colourist Mike Spicer perfectly capture, albeit on a grand scale, the anxieties of personal change within the contexts of family, tradition, and belief. Based on the concepts of self-expression, tradition, and personal gifts, the premise for Extremity is simple; what if the one thing that defined you was suddenly taken away?

The story of Extremity follows Thea, a young artist of the traditional Roto Clan, who loses her arm during a violent altercation with the technologically advanced Panzina. During the battle Thea also loses her mother and the resulting conflicts threaten to tear Thea’s world apart. Who is Thea if she cannot create? How will her family mend, when Thea’s father becomes lost in revenge? Who will Thea become if she turns away from the art that defined her and towards the violence that consumes her people?  

Taking place in a world of floating islands and massive flying ships, Extremity brilliantly contrasts the power of technology with the wonder of natural beauty, within a fantasy setting. Johnson’s art, combined with Spicer’s colours, is breathtaking and spans everything from massive aerial battles and giant lumbering beast, to subtle differences between tribal communities and the soft beauty of memory. Easily one of my favourite comics in the last few years, Extremity is a deep, thoughtful, look at how the world moulds us and how the decisions we make shape the world. 



Dear Quintilius, 

How do you think the world will end? Buddy bet $20 on nukes, I think meteorite.

Sincerely, 2012 Survivor


Dear Captain Obvious,

You humans and your mortality, you always manage to amuse me with your trivial questions. Acting like life will ever end is never the proper way to look at the cycle of the world. First of all because as an immortal time traveling Demi-god I don’t have to worry about death and secondly because I have seen the world at the time of both its “creation” and “destruction,” and neither were exactly overly exciting nor substantial events. There is no end, all lines are continuous, all possibilities exist, they have happened, will happen and are happening around us everyday.

The world carries itself in a cyclical path. The only things that will possibly destroy the world include a black hole or the explosion/dying of our Sol, but he’s a pretty solid guy so we got quite a few hundred millennia till that point. Otherwise the world will burn itself down (nukes) or drown itself (global warming) or suffocate itself (meteorite), in order to clear out the old and get on with the new. Really the way it goes doesn't matter. You hairless apes weren’t the first and you won’t be the last. You’re just a rebound, the world just isn’t that into you, it’s time to accept that and move on.

Yep, humans wont last, but you know what will? The eternal glory of Roma. It is not a place but an idea, it is an energy. It will not die like humans nor wither like flowers, instead it’s energy shall live in the animate and inanimate world for eternity. Therefore it cannot end, but shall be reborn through disaster time and time again.

Professor Review

Due to the relatively small class sizes and few lecturers in the Bio Department it is likely that anyone taking courses in said department will get to know each of the professors. However for those new students with their first time being here, this is just a little heads up on what you can expect in the first two courses CGE and BFI. We'll begin with the Cells Genetics and Evolution profs. Dr. Ahmad, this is the prof that will be expecting turkey sandwiches come thanksgiving so make sure you bring a few. If you aren't prepared to answer on the spot question in class be aware that you might have to hide. He loves his multiple choice exams but you won't! In the old CGE dynamic Dr. Rutherford was the relief after a string of intimidating profs, not to say that the others were bad. She's the Chair of the Department, but as a lecturer she tends to not overpower students with information. She likes to get students to write so prepare yourself. First years though won't have to worry about that, at least for a bit. Dr. Melvin is new to BU so make sure to take note of how he does for the edification of future students. 

Onto the profs of the second term course Biodiversity Functions and Interactions. Dr. Untereiner will, as an introduction, likely give a lecture on how to properly formulate an email to your prof. Don't deviate from this, certain profs are less formal than others but you should still always address them properly as a rule. She tends to emphasize technicalities such as spelling and proper formatting of taxonomical names on her tests. Later on you'll find that she uses the white board an awful lot so show up to lectures! Dr. McGonigle is the same in that sense. He very much seems the role of plant person. He is very soft spoken so sit near the front. Closing out the first year profs is Dr. Cassone. He makes lectures quite interesting and likes to test you on the curiosities so pay attention to those. A Rate my Prof review says "I think he is hilarious and easy on the eyes", so there's that. He has a lot going for him not least of which is the best team of student researchers on campus! For the time being those are the profs that you'll be dealing with in your first two semesters.