What are you taking this semester? said Alex. I’m taking a class called, “Nature or Nurture,” said Blurtso. Of course, said Alex, the debate over the effect of heredity versus environment on personal development. Really? said Blurtso, I thought it was a spelling class.
Final Exam – Art 101
1.) Name three characteristics of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture:
Large noses, round bellies, and foreshortening of the limbs.
2.) Discuss the difference between Medieval and Renaissance art:
During the Renaissance donkeys rose to a new level of importance. There were praying donkeys in the cathedrals, reclining donkeys in the fountains, and braying donkeys in the streets. The greatest example of donkeycentrism is Michelangelo’s “The Blurtso.” Michelangelo also painted the Sistine Corral.
3.) What innovation was shared by both Impressionist and Expressionist
painters, and how was it used differently by the two groups?
Pumpkin pie. The Expressionists painted their canvases before eating pumpkin pie, and the Impressionists painted their canvases after.
4.) What is Cubism?
Cubism was a style of painting developed by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso which portrayed objects as seen from all perspectives at once. Sort of like standing naked in a room of mirrors with half a newspaper and a broken guitar.
The question for today’s class, said Blurtso, is: “What does two plus two equal?”
Two whats, said Morton, plus two whats?
Two cats, said Frank, plus two dogs?
I believe, said Glouster, it means the number two plus the number two, which equals four.
Four whats? said Morton.
Four of the same, said Glouster.
Is it possible to have four of the same? said Emma Lou.
What do you mean? said Morton.
Are any two things, said Emma Lou, exactly alike?
No, said Glouster, they’re not, but the number two plus the number two equals the number four because numbers are a human invention, they only exist in imagination.
So two pumpkin pies, said Morton, are not two pumpkin pies?
The name “pumpkin pie”, said Emma Lou, is an invention that refers to the “idea” of a pumpkin pie—words and numbers are ideas. There are no individual things in the universe.
What? said Chelsea.
There are no individual things, said Emma Lou.
What about me? said Morton. I’m an individual thing.
So am I, said Chelsea.
At the subatomic level, said Emma Lou, there is only the ebb and flow of energy.
E=mc², said Glouster.
Exactly, said Emma Lou.
I’m not good at math, said Chelsea.
Neither am I, said Morton.
E=mc², said Glouster, suggests that a physical system (like the universe) has a property called energy and a corresponding property called mass; the two properties are equivalent in that they are always present in the same proportion to one another. The mass–energy equivalence arose from the theory of special relativity, developed by Albert Einstein, who proposed the idea in a 1905 paper entitled, “Does the inertia of an object depend upon its energy-content?” In the equation E=mc², “E” is the amount of energy, “m” is the amount of mass, and “c” is the speed of light.
The speed of light, said Morton, is 186,000 miles per second.
Very good! said Emma Lou.
Thank you, said Morton, I remembered when Glouster told us last week.
Donkeys, said Chelsea, have very good memories.
Yes, said Morton, we do.
So what’s the point? said Frank.
The point, said Emma Lou, is that you can describe everything in the universe as either energy or mass. And if mass is energy, then everything is in a constant state of flux.
Flux? said Frank.
“Flux,” said Glouster, “is the process of flowing, the process of continual change.”
And that’s why, said Emma Lou, there are no individual things in the universe, because everything is a constant flow of changing energy.
Like a river? said Chelsea.
Yes, said Emma Lou, a river of energy.
And words and numbers, said Glouster, are inventions we use to chop the river into separate parts.
But those parts, said Emma Lou, are not really separate.
If they’re not really separate, said Morton, why do we pretend they are?
Perhaps, said Emma Lou, because we’re uncomfortable with change, and like to believe that individual, unchanging things exist.
Like individual pumpkin pies? said Morton.
Yes, said Emma Lou, and individual donkeys, crows, ducks, porcupines, and mooses.
If everything is a river of energy, said Frank, and we are all just fluctuations of a single stream, does that mean that two plus two equals one?
Yes, said Enma Lou, and it also means that Einstein, the Upanishads, and the Tao Te Ching are talking about the same thing.
The question for today’s class, said Blurtso, is: “What is the difference between sympathy and empathy?”
Sympathy and empathy? said Morton.
“Sympathy,” said Glouster, “is a relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other.”
And empathy? said Chelsea.
“Empathy,” said Glouster, “is the capacity for experiencing as one’s own the feelings of another.”
That sounds like the same thing, said Frank.
Both words, said Glouster, come from the Greek word, “pathos,” meaning, “suffering, emotion, passion.” In Greek “sym” means “with” and “em” means “in.” So sympathy is “suffering with” another, while empathy is “suffering in” another.
I still don’t understand, said Morton.
Isn’t that the same as compassion? said Emma Lou.
“Compassion,” said Glouster, is “sorrow or pity aroused by the suffering of another.” It is derived from the Latin words “com” or “with” and “passion” or “suffering.”
So “compassion,” said Emma Lou, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word “sympathy.”
Exactly, said Glouster.
That still doesn’t tell me, said Morton, the difference between sympathy and empathy.
Both words, said Glouster, imply a relationship, or “oneness” between the subject and object, between the “sympathizer” and the other.
Just like in the Upanishads, said Emma Lou, and the Tao Te Ching. Both books talk about the oneness of all things, that separation is just an illusion.
The gospel of Matthew, said Glouster, says “love your enemies.”
Does it say you and your enemies are one? said Emma Lou.
Not exactly, said Glouster, but it goes on to say, “I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
That’s pretty much the same thing, said Chelsea.
The gospel of John, said Glouster, says, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Isn’t that compassion? said Chelsea.
“Compassion,” said Emma Lou, is feeling someone else’s pain as your own. The way to do that is not to see others as separate from you.
One hundred fourteen of the one hundred fifteen verses of the Quran, said Frank, begin with “In the name of Allah the compassionate, the merciful…”
Ommmm, said moose.
What? said Glouster.
I think he said “Ommmm,” said Frank.
Ommmm (phonetically “aum”), said Emma Lou, is from the Upanishads, it is the monosyllable which contains all syllables and all sounds. It represents the oneness underlying multiplicity—the non-duality of “Brahman” beneath the dualism and illusion of “Maya.”
The illusion of Maya? said Morton.
The illusion that we are not all one, said Emma Lou.
So compassion, said Frank, is recognizing—beyond the illusion of separation—that we are all one?
Exactly, said Emma Lou.
I still don’t understand, said Morton, the difference between sympathy and empathy.
Think of it this way, said Glouster. When someone is suffering because of a specific situation, but you have not experienced that situation yourself, you can only sympathize with them, but if you have experienced that same situation, you can empathize.
That’s very confusing, said Chelsea.
Yes, said Morton, I feel exactly the same way.
Hello, said Pablo and Bonny. Hello, said Blurtso. What are you doing? We’re taking veggies to our cabin, said Pablo. How about you? I’m going to class, said Blurtso. Really? said Bonny. Why don’t you come visit when you’re done? Ditto would love to see you. Ditto? said Blurtso. Ditto is Bonny’s stuffed animal, said Pablo. Oh, said Blurtso. But he’s remarkably intelligent, said Bonny. I’m sure he is, said Blurtso. So you’ll come? said Bonny. I don’t think so, said Blurtso, I’ve got an exam tomorrow. That’s too bad, said Pablo, we could go for a swim. With the ducks? said Blurtso. Of course, said Pablo. Hmm, said Blurtso, do you know anything about the underlying causes of World War One? No, said Pablo, but I’m sure we can figure it out. Great! said Blurtso. I’ll see you after class.
No one’s home… except for Bonny’s stuffed animal. He sure is funny-looking. Rabbit-sized ears, boxing-glove nose, two eyes that may as well be one. I wonder what he’s supposed to be? His hooves are wrong for a rabbit… and his nose is wrong for a rhino… maybe he’s a camel or a mouse… or an overstuffed rat… I wonder if he can swim… maybe he’s a sea creature who’s stranded on land… or a land creature who yearns for the sea… Hah! He sure looks funny! But even so… he’s really quite handsome.
I see, said Blurtso. So it was the result of a series of diplomatic clashes over European and colonial issues that stemmed from the changing balance of power after 1867. Exactly, said Pablo.
Curse these clumsy hoofs! said Blurtso. You mean “hooves,” said Pablo. “Hooves?” said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo. Hmmm, said Blurtso, you may be right. Let me give it a try… “Curse these clumsy hooves!” I don’t know, said Blurtso, I think “hoofs” sounds more clumsy than “hooves.” You mean “clumsier,” said Pablo. “Clumsier?” said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo. I don’t know, said Blurtso, I think “more clumsy” sounds more clumsy than “clumsier.”