The Sky is the Living

The Sky is the Living

How many of us have considerable time to star gazing? The technology may become the reason for us to ignore what is on top of us (the sky), as we constantly looking down on earth. What is the purpose of the sky for the living life in the earth? Somehow whether we realise it or not, the movement of the sky affects our life and the life on the planet.

Most of the time we lived and worked indoors, we are constantly get attached to the available technology such as phone, television and computer for any means of reasons including entertainment that become a phenomenon in human lives. In contrast, ancient civilization uses the sky as their entertainment, a theater, where the sky is clearer and living at night.

We look up our watch to tell the time, and we look at the weather forecast to tell us what to wear today, we look up calendar to tell the day, date and month. We seem to forget the existence of the nature surrounding us. What is it for then?

Maybe we are not ignoring, maybe simply, we do not aware of any means of reasons in losing contact with the natural world.  Maybe we do not know because nobody have told us and teach us, or we just are too blind to see and too numb to feel that our behavior and emotions relate to the nature around us; which congruent to the movement of the sun and the moon and the universe.

Technology is not the only reasons we lost contact with the natural world. Our change in a basic of thinking about the natural world is also affecting our detachment to the natural world.

“As long as you still experience the stars as something ‘above the head’, you lack the eye of knowledge”. Friedrich Nietzsche

Throughout the times, any Great civilizations retrospect the knowledge of the sky and the universe are substantially relevant to human existence lives and arguably presents’ in people’s lives. There are some patterns, rhythms and hierarchy in the sky, which contribute to compel for medium human connection. Ironically, the studying of natural knowledge and learning of astronomy is part of ancient Greeks’ culture.

According to a Modern Cosmologist, “it is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just a more or less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes, but that we were somehow built in from the beginning”.

The notion microcosm and macrocosm were widely spread from time to time. The notion demonstrates that the human body (microcosm) and the universe as a whole (macrocosm) have a considerable similarity in patterns. Therefore, ancient terms that becomes an essential foundation of both metaphysics and philosophy, which is “all is one and interconnected”.  Thus, in fact the stars are part of us. The Reality is found in one single source as a result of the interconnection one with another. Indeed, this notion often relates to the mystical belief, however, science is now confirmed by modern physics.

Surprisingly, Science has shown that the universe is a cosmic brain, which has an alignment pattern of the human brain. The pattern shows a congruent reality that can contribute to the human brain and cosmic brain contact is reasonable. In other words, there is a universe inside human body. In other words, everyone is an island of them self.

Now, look at the sky and look around you. How much do you realise that the universe has an effect to our psychological cycle? Once we can correctly understand ourselves, we can have a correct understanding of the universe. Undoubtedly, we still share the same curiosity and knowledge profound to our ancestors with human ability in receptive healthy skepticism and in gaining knowledge of wisdom.


The Awe Inspiring of Storytelling

The Awe Inspiring of Storytelling

“It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling.”

-Khalil Gibran

The world we live now is a world of socially texts based. Inevitably, language is the most essential tools of human capacity. Through language, we can convey complex and sophisticated idea to one and another; we can have an imagination about something.

Initially, words are symbolic representations and mental pictures that human invented through the imagination which enabled us to create complex sounds, influenced by the surroundings in everyday life. Our imagination is enabling us to perceive ideas and things, either by oral, writings or signs that contribute to our communication system.

People have been telling stories since the early days; the ancient days. Nobody knows for sure what and when the first story is told. Storytelling is an essential human tradition that lost in the mist of time; it is an intrinsic part of our lives, societies and culture.

So, what happened to human fascination of the stories? What is the effect for us? Where did the story come from? Which story should we believe? And what can we learn from that?

Nowadays, storytelling is a part of a big business, owned by big corporations. Storytelling moves from a campfire to houses and theatres around the world as the result in the invention of the new mediums such as television, radio and internet. Every day, we are bombardier by the stories that present in our media, both good and bad stories. Such politician and religious leaders are spreading their influence by telling their stories, companies spend million dollars for advertisement, the government uses their stories to promote certain kinds of consensus or propaganda. For example, depicting Germany and Japan as the bad guys, then the communists, and now the  Muslim is depicted as the bad guy. Moreover, the present of the state of the art technology enable us to enjoy the story with more realistic effect, which is little needed of our imagination.

But what is the big deal about storytelling? And what is the connection to our imagination and our lives importantly?

Through time to time, stories have changed. Mainly, the changes in its form. Evidently, we can find stories in a cave or rock painting to the tablet, then from novels to movies. Stories are always an intrinsic part of the basis of human lives, in any civilization. Cave and  rock painting are of the earliest form of stories of human history ever known.

A series of cave painting have been found in the Pyrenees Mountains in Southern France, the Lascaux Caves, date back between 1500 and 13,000 BC. The painting does tell a story, a story of rituals performed and hunting practices. Therefore, painting is arguably one of the oldest forms of storytelling.


The cave and rock painting represents the cultural imagination and collective consciousness of the tribes which came in varieties. From myth, legend, fairy tales, fables, ghost tales, hero stories and epic adventures to rules, codes and laws that they experienced or imagined. These stories are told, and retold over generations.

cave painting

Do we think we know any of those stories? Think about it a little bit.

For indigenous people, storytelling is not just as a means for entertainment, but it is associated with practices and values which essential to develop one’s identity and used the story to communicate a ritual, storytelling or dialogue. Thus, the community values and norms are learned through storytelling, which help to guide the future generations in forming identity. This is merely because of the collective narrative both individual and cultural is intermingled in the creation of the story.

Furthermore, the story plays role in teaching and educate the community, it can used to calm the fears or doubts of individual or family. Thus, storytelling play role in affecting human emotions towards things and idea that seems abstract in the real world, which story help us to make sense the world we live in.

Surprisingly, before man learns how to write. Man must rely on their memory to learn anything. It shows how powerful the human brain is, which means that we do not have to write a story in order to people understand; we just need to listen and remember it. For this, man has to be a good listener in order to grasp the knowledge in the story. And the great storytellers are the most powerful people in the world. These stories pass down from generation to generations, which reflect the wisdom of knowledge of our ancestors. In fact, human fascination of the stories cannot be separated to the bounding of the common heritage and belief of the first cause of the Supreme Being, which is God. It is the fact that storytelling is one of the things that define and knit humanity together, as most historians and psychologist noted.

“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around”. — Terry Pratchett

The most prominent of storytelling is the oral telling tradition combined with gestures and expressions. During the Greek era, especially, during Socrates and Plato, which both had an important discussion between the superiority of the speech and the writing. During that time, written form is less common than the spoken word. Although the Greek were already had alphabet, which adapted from the Phoenician. Socrates himself never wrote anything but used orally method to teach his students through dialogue and discussion. Even though, writing expression is established in Greek society, but still Plato is uncertainty of writing that can have immediate sensation in the audience as much as oral; performed. During the time, literary oral performance by orator is mainly centered in Greek tradition. Socrates argues that “Speech is superior to writing”. The most prominent techniques of oral storytelling are the widely used of universal theme and the mode of repetition in the syntax and diction (the way the words are structured and position). In doing so, oral storytelling focus on repetition in order to the audience easily remembers the story.

As we know, The Epic of Gilgamesh was arguably the first printed story in 700 BC. The story is about Sumerian Kings’ deeds. It also related to the Bible’s Old Testament that spoke of men and women, provides tales and lessons, which occurred before they were written down. Homer’s The Odyssey and The Iliad are also the great example of great epic stories that how human learn from its lesson and example of the power of human memory. Homer wrote his stories around 1200 BC, long before the Greek developed a credible alphabet. The stories are passed down from people to people, tribes to tribes and places to places for hundreds of years until today. And finally, it is written down around 700 BC, which they had to rely on their memory to the accurate depiction of the stories.

Moreover, for hundred years, The Hebrew’s storytellers spread their tales and tradition that passed down verbally through generations. The Christians finally collected and written down in the Bible as the Word of ‘God’. As in the bible, “in the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.  And the last, is the Quran; the last revelation of mankind that sent through Prophet Muhammad. Thus, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad claimed that they get their stories directly from God. Undoubtedly, their story has influenced billions of people since the time of the prophethood until today.

The same pattern can be found in China and India, which stories appeared in oral form before it is written down.  In China, Storytelling was one of the many arts of the Yu, the entertainers at the feudal courts, during the Zhou Dynasty (1122-256BC). Meanwhile, in India, storytelling is becoming part of their education and their way of lives. The story reflects their life and their experience.  Mostly, China and India use music in the narration of their story, combining with dances, humor as well as poetry.

Storytelling reaches vast aspects of human intrinsic and extrinsic lives. For a means of sharing and interpreting experiences to the tools that bridging the cultural, linguistic and age-related divides. Thus stories are universal in that sense. The function of stories is not only to teach the foundation of ethics, values, and cultural norms and difference, but also passes important knowledge in social contexts. The human brain is capable to understand, remember and tell stories. Thus stories can supplement analytical thinking because it requires auditory and visual senses from the listener, which human function can organize the structure of the story by the recognition of language through the expression of his or her thoughts.

In contrast, a story can do tremendous good as well as it can do tremendous evil. Storytelling can be used as a means for influencing, manipulating and even dominations. There are so many examples of evil story, especially in our media nowadays, this spins the good, the bad, and the ugly tales. The promotions of hatred against wrong accusation of other people are examples of evil stories. However, not many people can accept or reject the message, most of the time we bombardier by the same stories over and over again, we cannot resist those message whether we realise it or not it affect our lives. It may lead to the decay of the morality.

Stories can cheer us, give us motivation, inspiration to the endeavour of greatness, and influencing our present and future, at the same time it can upset us, and make us sad. Storytelling determined our emotions, and both are closely linked, and both strongly affects our lives.

If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life. — Siberian Elder

Paintings That Changed The World

Paintings That Changed The World

The history of paintings also means the history of human being relations to images. From cave painting to canvas painting, the human being has been obsessed with drawing pictures to represent someone or something. Today, we have been left to the puzzling of the genius skilful accomplishment and its artistic beauty of our ancestors.

  1. Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci

Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci

The most famous painting of all time. The smile has become a hallmark of Leonardo’s style. Painted around somewhere 1503 and working it for about four years, and keeping it himself for some years. After his death, the painting entered Francois l’s collection and transferred to the Louvre after the France Revolution. The Mona Lisa is veiled with mysteries that still remain unclear until today.

  1. The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci.
The Last SupperJulyandi | Australia Network News

The Last Supper is the fifteenth -century mural painting and covers the back wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. Painted around 1495 and completed around 1598. The painting was part of the project renovations of the Church and its covenant buildings, commissioned by Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. The painting represents the scene of The Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, where he announces that one of the disciples would betray him, and the depicted their startled response of astonishment, dismay and recoil.

  1. The School of Athens, Raphel

The School of Athens

The School of Athens is Raphael’s masterpiece that convey perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance. He revolutionised the contemporary portrait making. The painting represents all the figures of the greatest scholars, philosophers and scientist that lived in different times, gather together, sharing ideas and learn from each others under one roof. It also represents of how knowledge was passed down from generations to generations.

The Renaissance thinkers were able to harmonise mix with an adoration of Ancient Greek and Roman culture as the roots of European civilization. And also paying tribute to the legacy of knowledge passing down by the Islamic age. The painting dedicated to the path of knowledge, to understanding the causes to drive knowledge. All the philosophers show in the fresco traditionally sought knowledge through an understanding of root causes.

4. The Last Judgment, Michaelangelo

The Last JudgmentJulyandi | Australia Network News

The Last Judgment is one of the most renowned artworks of the High Renaissance. Took four years to complete the painting and done between 1536-1541.  It was commissioned by Pope Paul III to paint on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. It tells the tales of Genesis, embellished with prophet and sibyls, saints and sinners, heroic nude of the immortal Adam at the moment of creation.  The Last Judgment is the reminder of heaven and hell, the resurrected summoned by angels, the saved, the damned and the descent into the underworld.

  1. The Baptism of the Neophytes, Massacio

Baptism of the Neophytes 02

Tommaso di Ser Geovanni di Mone Cassai (Massacio) was the founder of painting in Florence with astonishing realism, the characterisation and communication of form and activity and emotion. Evidently, traces his influence on the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. It depicts the Shievering the Neophystes wait baptism by Peter. ‘

  1. The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli

La nascita di Venere (Botticelli)

The Birth of Venus is a masterpiece of the Renaissance in Florence by Sandro Botticelli and surely one of the most recognisable images in art history, importantly, the first non-religious use since classical antiquity. He painted during 1485 and completed around 1487. The painting depicts the goddess Venus (or Aphrodite a she is known in Greek mythology) emerging the sea upon a shell in accordance with the myth that explains her birth.

  1. Venus of Urbino, Titian

Anonymous Venus of Urbino

Titian has changed the contemporary in the way that he represents its secular subjects, often sexual and mischievously, conveying delight in erotic pleasure. Importantly, move away from patronage ideal which opening a wide range of subjects open to painters. Titian has successfully achieved the depiction of the perfect Renaissance woman, who just like Venus, become the symbol of love, beauty and fertility.

  1. The Calling of St. Matthew, Carravaggio

Caravaggio's The Calling of St Matthew

The Calling of St. Matthew is a masterpiece by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Completed in 1599-1600 for the Contarelli Capel in the church of the French congregation, San Luigi dei Franscesi in Rome, where it remains today. He plays a key role in defining seventeenth-century Italian art. The Calling of St. Matthew was one of the twelve apostles and the author of the first Gospel. The tale of the calling of Saint Matthew is found in the New Testament, Matthew 9.9. In this painting, Caravaggio depicts the very moment when Matthew first realises he is being called.

  1. Las Meninas, Velazquez

Las Meninas 01

Las Meninas has long been recognised as one of the most important paintings in Western art history. It is 1656 paintings. In the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Les Meninas (Spanish for the maids of honour) is a portrait of Infanta Margarita, the daughter of King Philip IV, and his second wife Mariana of Austria. The complex work and enigmatic compositions raise questions about reality and illusion that create an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures depicted.

10. La Liberté guidant le peuple, Eugène Delacroix.

Eugène Delacroix - La liberté guidant le peuple

La Liberté guidant le peuple (English: Liberty Leading the people) portray to honouring the day during 1830 revolution, which widespread revolt to toppled Charles X regime and the people rose and fought for their liberty. depicting by the personification of a goddess of liberty leads the people forward over the bodies of the fallen, holding a flag of the French revolution and a bayonetted. Delacroix painted in the aftermath of Paris ‘Three Glorious Days’ of July, 27-29 July 1830. Liberty becomes the primary example of a painting that can explore both political and social contexts. 

11. Starry Night, Van Gogh

VanGogh-starry night ballance1

Starry night is a perfect example of the Impressionist painting movement. It completed in 1889. In the aftermath of Van Gogh’s 1888 breakdown that resulted in the self-mutilation of his left ear, and suffer from mental illness. He voluntarily admitted himself into an asylum. The scene unfolding before us in Starry Night depicts the view from the east facing the window of Van Gogh’s asylum room at Saint Remy de Provence just before sunrise. The painting is the ultimate combination of direct observations, imaginations, memories and whimsical emotions.

12. The Scream, Edvard Munch

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893 - Nasjonalgalleriet

The Scream is one of the most vivid, haunting and iconic pieces of art ever made. Painted in 1893. Munch is a Norwegian Expressionist, evidently created work from a fragment  his imagination overrun with a very dark subject matter. The central figure is clearly suffering from a private moment of anguish in despair while the people surrounding him appear to be blissfully unaware of his anxieties and demons.

13. The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn.

The Night Watch - Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Rembrandt is one of the famous Dutch painters. Completed in 1642, at the peak of the Dutch Golden Age. Depicted a city guard moving out, led by Captain Frans Banning Cocq and his lieutenant, Willem van Ruyenburch.

14. Guernica, Pablo Picasso

Mural del Gernika

Guernica is a mural sized oil painting on canvas, completed by June 1937. It is considered to be his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. The painting has become  universal and powerful symbol warning for humanity against the suffering and devastation of war.

15. Campbells Soup, Andy Warhol


Warhol was expertly able to show contemporary artists that they couldn’t ignore the foundational social changes affected by mass media. The Soup cans produced in 1962. It artistically for their role in firmly entrenching Pop art as a notable movement, one that combined image and themes for consumer and commercial media.

16. Lavender Mist, Jackson Pollock

Lavender MistJulyandi | Australia Network News

Lavender Mist is the most recent painting that the artist embodies the artistic revolution. Pollock moved away from figurative representation and challenge the Western tradition (and foundation) of using an easel and brush. This painting is the most expensive painting ever sold (at over $140 million dollars).

17. Alexander Mosaic

The Alexander Mosaic depicting the Battle of Issus between Alexander the Great & Darius III of Persia, from the House of the Faun in Pompeii, Naples Archaeological Museum (15045954695)

Dated back from c. 100 BC is a Roman floor mosaic originally from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. The painting depicts the battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. The mosaic is believed to be a copy of an early 3rd century BC Hellenistic painting, possibly by Philoxenos of Eretria.

18. Lascaux Cave Painting, France

Lascaux painting

Lascaux is the setting of a complex cave in Southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. It contains one of the best -known Upper Paleolithic Art. It is estimated to be around 17,000-20,000 years old. Lascaux is one of the world rich examples of cave art with over 1500 engravings and 600 drawings have been documented.

Picasso is quoted as saying,; “We have invented nothing new”, after seeing the cave paintings at Lascaux France. “After Altamira, all is decadence”, when he exited the infamous caves in his native Spain.

19. Stencil of hands and the Spot of Babirusa, Indonesia Island of Sulawesi

Sulawesi Cave PaintingJulyandi | Australia Network News

It was founded around 50 years ago, but the origin is remaining unknown. However, the style shows similar to other art in other area found to be around 40,000 years old. And making it among the oldest Images in the world. Archaeologist reported in a study that rewrites the history of art.  According to archaeologist Thomas Sutikna of Australia University of Wollongong, “the fact that people in Sulawesi were doing the same things s contemporaries in Europe indicates cave art may be have emerged independently at about the same time around the world, including Southeast Asia”.

A Paralysed Master: Pramoedya Ananta Toer

A Paralysed Master: Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Pramoedya Ananta Toer (6 February 1925-30 April 2006), is an Indonesia author of novels, short stories, and essays which his works spans during colonial period of Indonesian struggle for independence, as well as during the post-colonial authoritarian regimes of Sukarno and a successful military dictatorship of Suharto. The Dutch East Indies government imprisoned him from 1947 to 1949, and Suharto regime from 1965 to 1979.  His works banned during the military regime, including the Buru Tetralogy, which he best known for-“This Earth of Mankind”, “Child of All Nations”, “Footsteps” and “House of Glass”. Translated into more than 20 languages, and was nominated several times for a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Pramoedya was born in the village of Blora, East Java. His father was a figure of some social prominence, an activist and headmaster of the nationalist school, but ruined the family by obsessive gambling. His mother is a prominent figure in his life. Pramoedya said that everything in his books is what he gets from his mother. A strong female character is the evident in his works are based on his mother. When he looks back at the past, he sees “the Indonesian revolution embodied in the form of a woman-(his) mother”. He took ten years to complete ten years a 7 year elementary school course, while his mother encourage him to study abroad afterwards.

He completed his education at Radio Vocation School in Surabaya, although he never received the certificate, due to the Japanese occupation in 1942. Eventually, he received an honorary doctorate from University of Michigan far later in 1999. During the Japanese occupation, he worked as a stenographer for Japanese news agency ‘Domei’ where he developed his writing. Like many Indonesians nationalists, he initially supported the occupation. However, the Japanese brutality and austerity become intensified, causing changing in his attitude, then when he became increasingly a nationalist. After WWII and Indonesian independence in 1945, as the Dutch tried to reiterate control over their former empire, Pramoedya joined the resistance of movement, and later he was detained for the first time in 1947 in various places, for being ‘anti-colonialist’. Here, during two years in a Dutch camp prison, he wrote his first published novel, “Perburuan” (1950, The Fugitive), which depicts the rebellion of anti-Japanese occupation in his home in java. Then, he was released with the Dutch withdrawal in 1949 and spent much of the 1950s travelling abroad, Netherlands, USSR and China.

He continues wrote novels and novellas throughout the 1950s that emphasised on the corrosive effects of colonialism on human relations. He became the editor of the weekly of a leftist newspaper and a teacher at the academy of journalism in Jakarta. He wrote in Bahasa Indonesia (an Indonesian national language adapted from the lingua franca Malay) because he wanted to establish it as a fully-formed modern language.

1966, an alleged abortive coup broke out, where military lead by General Suharto took over the government of Indonesia, backed by the United States who opposed Sukarno alliance to the left-wing. Following United States, Suharto began ordered mass executions, massive repression and created a ‘New Order’ military regime. Two weeks after the coup, Pramoedya was detained for his affiliations to the Communist Party without trial by the military regime. After initially being detained on the island of Nusakambangan off the south Java coast, Pramoedya and thousands inmates moved to the remote, malaria-infested island of Buru, Indonesia’s eastern island, where the political prisoners received laborious chores. He was severely beaten at his arrest, along with other prisoners, many of them died. For the rest of his life, he suffered from hearing and seeing difficulties. His pleas for his extensive library to be saved went unheeded, his books were burned and his house confiscated.

“Is it possible to take from a man his right to speak to himself”. Pramoedya once remarked during his long imprisonment.

He denied pen and paper; so to prove he could be silence. However, he had stories in his mind and recited stories to his fellow inmates over and over again at night to boost their morale. With the help of other prisoners who were many artists and writers to continue and spread the story among prisoners. “We know the story by heart” said one of the ex-political prisoners. In 1973, he received access to a typewriter sent by Jean Paul Sartre, however he never received it, since the officers replace it with a broken typewriters which he had to fix it himself. Here, when he composed his famous manuscript of the Buru Tetralogy was written on scraps of paper, which later he had to smuggle out from Buru through out the help of a German Priest.

Under International eyes, and foreign diplomats lobbying, some political prisoners were released, including Pramoedya in 1979. Pramoedya books was translated for the first time into English by an Australian Diplomat, Max Lane, posted in early 1980s when Suharto at his peak of his power, and led him to withdrawal. Pramoedya’s writing a synthesized from a wide range variety of literary traditions, from the form of Javanese storytelling and the pioneers’ revolution of Indonesian literature (Chairil Anwar), to the historical chronicles from various European and American writers.

“His focus was always on the large landscape, the historical social and political forces that came together to create Indonesia” said John McGlynn, the directors of publications at the Lontar Foundation and a translator of some of his works.

After the regime fall in 1998, a reform resonated throughout the country. Pramoedya said that the country is on the verge of social revolution without a leader. As Nelson Mandela, he has refused to forgive the government who has taken so many things from him. He is afraid that if he easily forgives, history soon will be forgotten. He emphasised the importance of knowing one’s history so that one does not repeat the same mistake over and over again.

“I am half blind and almost totally deaf, but I won’t stop being angry because not many people are outraged enough at the state of Indonesia” he told the AP in 2004

In the last decade of his life, his writing output diminished, however he never lost his touch for his bitter critic of Indonesia’s leadership, even after the fall of the regime. He said, “After Sukarno, there have only been clowns who had no capability to lead the country”. He wants an inclusive government that encourages people from parts of the spreading Indonesian archipelago, outside the main island of Java. Now his books are longer banned, shelves after shelves can be found in bookstore and library in Indonesia.