The Cat’s Eye of Egypt

In Ancient Egypt, humans had an intensely intimate relationship with animals. Many animals, including cats, beetles, monkeys, crocodiles, and hippos, held intense cultural and spiritual significance. In a series of blog posts, I’ll be discussing what we can learn from the ways these animals impacted Egyptian culture and religion.

The cat specifically, was cherished deeply by the Ancient Egyptians and played a key role in understanding their history. We’ll be using film and what we know about Ancient Egypt to decode what philosophies we can adopt from cats.

The Cat

The close relationship between cats and Egyptians likely started to blossom when it was discovered that cats could be used to rid of unwanted pests. According to Philosophy Professor Joshua J. Mark, who wrote an article on the World History Encyclopedia, Egypt’s fascination with animals, particularly cats, was influenced by their effectiveness to eliminate mice, rats, and most importantly, venomous snakes. Cats were also aided by dogs to help farmers protect their crops from wild animals.

Cats, although not perfect pets have relatively easy care requirements compared to other pets during Ancient Egypt, such as monkeys, baboons, crocodiles, and even hippos. Cats, unlike dogs, are very independent and can survive in the wild away from their family home for long periods without issue. Cats also have infamous pathfinding abilities, so a family cat would usually have no issue finding its way back home.

To give evidence to their effectiveness as hunters, Patrick Lacey, a biologist, and food scientist from the Tier Zoo YouTube channel, stated that housecats are such oppressive hunters that over the years they’ve managed to hunt some bird species to near extinction.

Mark’s research stated that Egyptians loved their animals so much that modern archeologists have noted seeing cats and other pets being mummified next to their owners in their tombs. Egyptians would even express their grief after the loss of a pet by shaving their hair. To communicate a dog’s passing, a family member would shave everything off of their body. If a cat had passed, the family member would shave only their eyebrows.

As the relationship between cats and Egyptians was evolving, cats would eventually be recognized and represented in Egyptian religion. James MacDonald, a Bachelor of Sciences, stated on an article in JSTOR, that Egyptians started to give their cats more divine characteristics over time as they started to notice the practical value and companionship they offered for their people. As cats were starting to be recognized as sacred creatures, Bastet, the cat goddess, was born.


Bastet, the Goddess, and protector of cats, women, and children, was highly loved in Egyptian culture. Bastet’s popularity was not without reason, as cats were cherished and revered more than any other pet, and thus, lead to their representation in Egyptian Religion. Bastet was represented as a human woman with the head of a lioness, but would later be changed to that of a domesticated cat.

Bastet was an Egyptian goddess that was a lioness warrior and worshipped in the Old Kingdom.

MacDonald would go on to say that Bastet’s explosion of popularity started around the 5th century BCE. During this time, people were already devoting massive cemeteries dedicated purely to cats. In fact, during this time, the penalty for killing a cat was death. This was perhaps one of the most impactful influences from Bastet’s existence, as the Egyptians expressed great love for their cats, thus, Bastet offered them divine and lawful protection.

Mark’s findings on the WHE identified Bubastis as the cult center for Bastet. Their love for the goddess was so great that an annual festival was held at Bubastis to celebrate Bastet’s existence. This festival outshined all others and was highly anticipated by the people of Egypt. Women especially anticipated the event, as they were pardoned of all cultural and social restraints for the duration of the festival.

Mark’s discoveries expressed just how much the Egyptians loved Bastet and her cats. Bastet was so loved by the Egyptians that when Cambyses II of Persia invaded Egypt, he had his soldiers paint the image of Bastet on their shields. The Egyptians were so appalled to harm an image of any animal or Bastet, that they refused to fight against the Persians. Even when faced with mockery from the Persians after the invasion, the Egyptians love of animals and Bastet continued to thrive until the rise of Christianity.

In conclusion, although the popularity of the housecat among Ancient Egypt was certainly influenced by its association with Bastet, I personally believe it was their magnetic independent personality that was favored by Egyptians, as opposed to their other pets, and what was partially responsible for Bastet’s popularity explosion.

Unlike cats, dogs see us as essential members of their pack that they couldn’t live without. Cats, however, see us as more of a trusted friend who they choose to hang out with through a relationship held together by trust. Since dogs are foundationally pack-hunters who piggy-back off of each other’s strengths, independence is not as important to them as it is to a cat.

Cats could just as easily survive in the wild, but they choose to stay in our company rather than be alone, perhaps out of their love for us or their desire for affection. This can be best represented by the film Kedi.


“Istanbul, Turkey – March, 29th, 2011 : cat sitting on old books in a bookstore stand selling second hand books in the streets of Galata.”

Kedi is a film that takes place in Istanbul. Istanbul is a city in Turkey with a stray cat population of around 125,000. This documentary interviews a handful of people who discuss how their daily lives are impacted by the housecats they form relationships with. This wonderful film supports the philosophy that cats are independent creatures who choose to share their lives with us out of their own free will.

Much like how many Egyptians from the Old Kingdom would have treated their cats, the citizens of Istanbul do not feel sorry for these stray felines, rather, they welcome them with open arms as if they were registered, citizens.

The consensus among the people who were interviewed is that most cats in Istanbul are not seen as pets, rather, trusted friends who hang out with them as they please. They seem to enjoy the company of a stray cat much more than if they were a pet. Many people today keep cats as pets, but those cats live with them because somebody decided they wanted a pet.

JoJo was a stray cat who used to live in my neighborhood. He was shy yet very friendly, and I was always looking forward to seeing him again. When I stopped seeing him, I became worried and concerned that something had happened to him, especially after winter had set in and snow started falling. I think we value our relationships with stray cats more than our pets because we never know when we’re going to see them again, and when we do, we enjoy their company because they chose to hang out with us, not the other way around.

Istanbul’s cats are much different than cats from other regions, as they’ve been accustomed to living alongside humans every hour of the day. Cedya Torun, the film’s director, stated in an interview with Vanity Fair, “If you were to visit Istanbul and sit down on a park bench, a cat would soon be likely to come over to you and sit on your lap”.

Cedya would later comment on this behavior by mentioning that cats in Istanbul have been used to forming immediate bonds with strangers. It is this fact that keeps the citizens of Istanbul from adopting any of these cats, as, to them, these cats should not belong to one person. One Interviewee in the film even commented that keeping a cat to yourself in Istanbul “just to be able to pet them”, is seen as selfish. Viewing a cat as a pet rather than a friend is seen as an insult to their magnetic independence.

It’s much more satisfying to win an animal’s affection whom you would expect to be a loner. When you establish a friendship with a cat, it gives you the suggestion that it was something about you that allowed for this unique relationship to blossom. It is easy to establish a relationship with a dog, because they see us as their masters, thus, act out of a mission to please us. If you’re able to establish a relationship with a cat, it really says something about who you are.

If you were to play with a dog and then leave them alone, they would quickly become bored and would soon come back to you for affection and playtime. Cats do not see us as a source of nourishment and playtime, rather, it just so happens that we love to spend time with them. If you played with a cat and then left it alone, they would easily be able to find something to do on their own. Cats see us as friends rather than masters, allowing for a type of relationship that is not often seen between humans and animals.

These cats have taught the citizens of Istanbul to always appreciate what’s in front of you, as you never know when it will be gone. These cats allow themselves to be vulnerable in front of us, and that allows for a loving and blossoming relationship.

Cats and Religion

In one of the film’s stories, a fisherman talked about his relationship with Bengu. The fisherman explained that Istanbul has a saying that states:

It is said that cats know of God’s existence. Dogs see people as God, but cats do not. Cats know that humans are the middlemen who act upon God’s will. It’s not that they aren’t grateful, they just know better.

Perhaps the reasoning behind the cat’s popularity in Ancient Egypt and modern-day Istanbul is what their personality can teach us about valuing who you are. Since they see us as friends, they know better than to totally rely on us, thus, are much less prone to attachment disorders than dogs or humans. Even cats who are pets, do not see us as their masters, rather, they allow us to take care of them since it’s in their best interest.

Independence, up until the 21st century, has had a mixed reputation. In almost all religions, especially Christianity, the teachings provided are all mostly centered around a universal philosophy of goodwill and good karma. Many agnostics and atheists believe that religion was created for this specific purpose so that people would be “forced” to be good out of fear of what will happen to them, or what their God(s) will do to them if they don’t.

This quote from Kedi suggests, cats, although grateful for God’s existence, know better than to follow in our footsteps. Many of us make decisions out of fear of what will happen to us, instead of making decisions out of a need or want for something. Some of us form attachment issues to our partners out of fear of being alone. Some of us devote ourselves to a God(s) out of fear of what our future holds. Some of us buy “limited edition” products out of fear of the product’s permanent retirement.

Cats have taught us that we should make decisions out of free will. If God wants us to be good in His name, I’m sure He’d be much happier knowing our goodwill would merely be a consequence of our dreams, aspirations, and independent free will, rather than seeing us doing good deeds out of fear of what He might do to us. If you were to follow the path of the latter, you would not truly be following the words of God, you would merely be acting out of primal fear, and would become nothing more than a sheep who does not truly understand what the word of God is all about.

The Ancient Egyptians may have developed a deep and sacred love for their cats out of admiration for how they carry themselves. After all, I’d like to think that at some point in time, there was an Egyptian who, for the first time, met a creature who can make decisions without worrying if their Gods and Goddesses would approve of their actions.

In many ways, Kedi is very similar to My Octopus Teacher. Octopus make decisions based upon a desire for a fulfilling life. Cats make decisions based upon their value for pride and self-respect. As such, these two animals might just be the most influential and philosophical in history. Both the cat and the octopus see their independence as a gift, a personality that is rare among humans.

Whisper of the Heart

One of Istanbuls numerous street cats in the Fener Balat district”n

In both Whisper of the Heart and The Cat Returns, the cat’s philosophy is expanded upon further. In Whisper of the Heart, Moon, a street cat, teaches Shizuku, an aspiring writer that relying on oneself as opposed to relying on someone else allows for a much more fun and meaningful life than what is offered from a dependent personality.

In Whisper of the Heart, our main character Shizuku is faced with multiple obstacles in her life. She’s trying her best to graduate from middle school so she can be enrolled in high school, and she’s exploring her growing relationship with Seiji, her soon-to-be-crush, that will soon change how she views the world.

As Shizuku and Seiji continue to interact, Seiji explains that Moon is just one name he has. As a street cat, he has no true owner and is welcomed by many families throughout Tokyo.

As their relationship grows, Shizuku becomes endlessly infatuated with Seiji after she learns about his passion for violin-making. Seiji’s mission is to take a trip to Italy so he may learn from a mentor about becoming a better violin-maker. It’s not that Shizuku wants to know what goes into making violins, rather, she’s inspired by how driven and charismatic he is towards his craft.

The truth is, Shizuku loved Seiji for who he is, not for the desire for a relationship. Much like Moon, Shizuku decided to seek a relationship with Seiji based upon an independent desire, supporting my philosophy on cats from earlier.

When Shizuku learned of Seiji’s mission, she knew that she too had to have a mission out of respect for herself. Even though she knew Seiji would love her anyway, she wanted him to proud of her because she was so proud of him. So, she decided that she wanted to write a story. Even when her mentor and Seiji’s grandfather, Nishi, agreed that her rough draft was far from perfect, she continued to polish her story and expand her passion for writing out of her love for Seiji. Love created an opportunity for Shizuku to better herself and express her independence, something a dependent personality would never allow for.

Whisper of the Heart expands upon what cats can teach us and how they impacted Ancient Egyptian Religion. Love should be an emotion that allows you to grow and express your independence. Relationships born out of a fear of loneliness are not founded upon love, as there is a lack of admiration for the other person. When you take yourself out of your cage, you can truly appreciate your partner for who they are and allow your love for them to turn your dreams into reality.


In conclusion, I think the cat’s popularity among Ancient Egypt was not without reason. Cats are wonderful animals who are much smarter than what we give them credit for. Many of us suffer from a limited potential because of how our fears affect us. Cats suffer from no such weakness, as such, we can learn from them and take by their example. If you make decisions from your free will, you will live a much happier life than if you only live in reaction to fear. If you enjoyed this content, consider subscribing so you can be up to date on the progress of The Octopus Adventure.


Noah Veremis

Works Cited

  1. MacDonald, James. “Why Ancient Egyptians Loved Cats So Much.”, ITHAKA, 27 Nov. 2018. Web. 24 Mar. 2021.
  2. Mark, Joshua J. “Bastet.” World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 24 Jul 2016. Web. 24 Mar 2021.
  3. Mark, Joshua J. “Pets in Ancient Egypt.” World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 18 Mar 2016. Web. 24 Mar 2021.

Revenge, Forgiveness, and Judgment

Sometimes we might find it difficult to stop ourselves from spreading hate, even when we have good intentions. Why do good people seek revenge? Why should we forgive someone who has done horrible things to us? These two films, The Mustang, and, The Green Mile, both aim to teach us why forgiveness is always in our best interest, and how it plays a role in the outcome of our judgment day.

The Golden Rule

As long as you treat someone the way you want to be treated, you will receive the same behavior in return. If someone mistreats you despite your kind and respectful demeanor, then you know they’re not worth your attention. You don’t have to judge them for their actions, because God does that for you.

The Green Mile

The plot around The Green Mile revolves around Paul Edgecomb, a prison guard who is assigned to taking care of inmates on Death Row before their executions.

Paul doesn’t seek revenge on the inmates for what they’ve done to get to The Green Mile because most of the inmates he has met have already come to terms with what they’ve done, and just want to do their time before they die. Punishing them further just because they’ve done horrible things won’t take away the horrible atrocities they’ve committed. In reality, it’s a horrible reflection of your character to punish people for the bad deeds they’ve done just to feed your desires to feel righteous.

Paul’s job could be described as just “an electric chair operator”. However, his real duties consist of helping his inmates become the best people they can be before they present themselves to God on Judgement Day.

Paul knows it’s not his place to judge his inmates for their actions, as only God has the wisdom to make that call. The qualifications that make somebody eligible for Heaven or Hell are beyond our comprehension, so acting like you know what’s best for people just so you can feel righteous is selfish and immature.

Even if you are non-religious, we can all agree that one person’s opinion can not be representative of what can be right and wrong. Unless our sentience was removed and we became eusocial, nobody could make that call, as there would be too many conflicting ideas and opinions. That’s why forgiveness is the best way to approach this problem, as it’s the only way we can move on from tragedies conflicted by others. They know not what they do, so we can only forgive them for their actions and hope that God will have mercy on their souls.

All you can do that’s in your comprehension as a human being is treat them the way you would want to be treated. This accomplishes two things:

  1. By treating people with kindness and respect, you’re providing a safe environment for yourself because you’ve proven that you’re not someone people should fear or avoid.
  2. You’re helping that person become a better human being by reminding them of what it’s like to be loved. By extension, this person will learn by your example and will start spreading love and kindness to the world rather than hatred and suffering.

Bottom line, if someone doesn’t treat you with respect when you’ve done nothing but treat them like a human being, then you know that you can’t trust them with your vulnerability. However, this still doesn’t give you the right to punish them and seek revenge.

We’ve learned in films like Life of Pi that you can’t trust everyone with your vulnerability because some people with ulterior motives could take advantage of you. However, even considering this information, there’s no denying that if you treat someone with respect, you build trust. The only thing you can do that benefits both you and the other person is forgive them for their actions and treat them like you would anyone else.

Dale and Mr. Jingles

Mr. Jingles is a mouse who is adopted by Dale, one of the inmates of The Green Mile.

At the beginning of the film, it’s assumed that this mouse is going to be a nuisance if they don’t deal with him. However, once Dale adopts him as a pet and provides a loving home for him, Mr. Jingles doesn’t have to be a nuisance anymore now that his needs are met. Paul and the other guards come to the logical conclusion that they can prevent further damage to the prison if they allow Dale to take care of Mr. Jingles.

Percy, one of The Green Mile’s bad-mannered guards, treats Mr. Jingles like how many people would treat a mouse. He makes consistent attempts to kill him even after settles in his new home. However, this behavior reminds us that if we treat people with hostility just because of what we see on the surface, we will only see more of what we hate. This also conditions us to always see the worst in people despite their attempts to become better individuals.

Mr. Jingles acted like a nuisance before he met Dale, but he only acted that way to survive. Once he met someone who gave him a loving home for him to thrive, he chose to live that life so his needs could be met. After all, if he chose to live on his own he would probably live much of his days starving. A mouse will do horrible things to your house, but, a mouse who is given a loving home doesn’t have to cause destruction anymore. Of course, I’m not saying you should go around adopting stray mice, but what I’m trying to say is if you treat people with love and respect, you’ll receive the same in return.

He could have regressed into his former lifestyle if he wanted to, but he chose to be with Dale. This proves that there’s more to people than what we see on the surface. Just because something is in their nature doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to be good people.

After Dale was executed, Mr. Jingles was adopted by Paul and the other guards so he wouldn’t have to go back to his former lifestyle, benefiting both him and the prison. All that’s expected of you in this world is to treat people with respect and forgive them for what they’ve done. Leave Judgement up to God.

Forgiving Yourself

If you’re picking fights with people just because you’re afraid of opening up to them, you are rejecting their kindness. Opening up to people may feel scary and make you feel vulnerable but it will give you a chance to realize just how amazing it feels to have people around that care about you.

The Mustang

The main plotline of The Mustang is based on a real-life program where prisons will enlist their inmates to train wild mustangs to become suitable for farmers and border patrol officers.

Roman Coleman, an inmate with an especially violent past was assigned to Marcus, a particularly aggressive horse. Roman’s temper is what landed him in prison, and it’s the same thing that prevents him from building relationships with people and his horse.

When Roman was sentenced to 12 years in prison after beating his wife nearly to death, he never wanted to allow anyone to form a close relationship with him because he was too afraid that his temper would hurt someone.

His daughter just wants to reignite their relationship despite everything he’s done as he’s the only father she has. However, Roman’s anxiety about opening up to people and talking about his feelings is so damaging that he’d rather pick fights to push her away.

Many people in prison would give anything to have somebody in their life who loves them like Roman’s daughter. Being heard and being loved is a gift and it’s not something you should take for granted.

After several failed attempts to win Marcus’ affection as a result of his temper, Roman finally exhausts himself and slumps down onto a bench, totally defeated. However, now that he’s shown his vulnerability Marcus can finally feel safe around him and they start bonding together. After feeling how amazing it was to be loved by someone, he felt horrible that he ever tried to push someone away from him just because of a primal fear of anxiety.

After Roman finally developed a strong relationship with Marcus, he was confident that his temper wouldn’t get in the way of his relationship with his daughter. After all, his temper acted as a coping mechanism for his anxiety. Now that he knows what it feels like to allow people to be in his life, he will do everything in his power to control his temper, because he doesn’t want to lose someone who loves him despite his mistakes.


From my personal experience, I’ve found myself actively trying to anger people so that I won’t have to deal with the anxiety of opening up to people. Much like Roman, my temper was a coping mechanism for my anxiety, so that people wouldn’t want to be around me anymore so I could be alone in peace.

Sometimes, I would find myself in conversations where people tell me that I’m disconnected from everyone. To me, it sounded a lot like nagging, but these people just missed me and wanted to see me again. Unfortunately, my anxiety felt more important to me than my relationship with my loved ones, and I reacted to those comments with aggression so I wouldn’t have to talk about the things that bothered me.

However, once Roman had that hard conversation with his daughter in the visiting room, where he finally talked about how horrible he felt that he hurt so many people, it rewarded him with much more progress than if he kept picking fights. Now that his daughter knew that he wanted to move on and build their relationship despite everything that happened, she knew she could trust him with her vulnerability.

It might feel scary to open up to people, but having loved ones in your life is a privilege that not everybody has. It’s selfish to reject people just because of your primal fears of anxiety. Yes, picking fights with people might stop you from feeling anxiety, but it also hurts them that you’d rather be alone than celebrating your relationship with them. When you give people a chance to be close to you, you can start to understand just how amazing it feels to have people in your life who care about you.


I sincerely believe that to rid the world of hate, we have to forgive both ourselves and the people around us for the mistakes we’ve made. The truth behind the human condition is to see mistakes as bad choices. A mistake does not define who you are. Just ask yourself: Why do I value feeling righteous over this person’s redemption? Why do I not want this person to be good? The only person whose righteousness matters is God. Only He can determine who is truly good and who is truly evil. Before you seek revenge on someone based on something they’ve done in the past, ask yourself: Have I made a mistake like this before? How would I feel if someone did this to me after I did something similar? Will this revenge accomplish anything? To answer your question for you, revenge does not accomplish anything. All it does is enable people to spread more hate.

If you enjoyed this piece, consider subscribing to my mailing list so you never miss a future chapter of The Octopus Adventure.


Noah Veremis

Nature’s Big Brother

Since owls have evolved to become expert pathfinders capable of tracking small, stealthy prey, they have become Mother Nature’s version of Big Brother. With an all-seeing eye, owls are perfect fits for displaying themes of possessive relationships and personalities that crave control.


Insecurities enable possessive personalities. If you value your insecurities, you’ll likely put your own needs over everyone else without realizing it because you’re afraid of what people could do to you. It’s okay to be afraid, but it’s not right to control people just because you don’t feel secure.

Batman vs Robin

In Batman vs Robin, the main villain is a masked killer who calls himself, “Talon”, a member of a cult named “The Court of Owls”, an organization that has plans to control the city to eliminate crime.

The Court of Owls wants to control Gotham so they can have closure that everyone is doing their part. Much like a possessive partner, the Court of Owls is so scared of the world around them that they feel like they have to keep eyes on everyone just to feel secure.

If you try to control your partner, you’re only going to encourage them to cheat on you or leave you because they could easily find someone else who could make them feel loved and secure.

If you are overly protective of your child, you’re only going to encourage rebellious behavior because your child is craving the freedom that you’re neglecting to give them.

In short, a possessive relationship is not a relationship. In these relationships, the abusive partner, whether they’re aware of it or not, sees their partner as property rather than a companion.

After all, Talon’s father was explained to be someone who would beat him despite all of Talon’s efforts to make him proud, and would only enable Talon to rat on his dad to the police. Talon was manipulated into joining the Court of Owls because he never knew what it felt like to be loved. The Court promised Talon a future where all criminals like his father would be non-existent. Talon, much like Iggy, didn’t believe that humans were capable of kindness.

Horrible things are going to happen, and you can’t prevent those things from happening by treating people like hostages. Although the Court of Owls promises to keep everyone safe, they rob them of what keeps them human, therefore, they are removed of their privileges to express themselves.

To further prove this, The Court of Owls runs an operation where they turn volunteering followers into soldiers or, for a lack of a better term, “zombies”, who were promised immortality at the cost of their humanity. The chemical process that turns them into zombies removes their higher thinking so they can only focus on the fight. These soldiers are effective warriors, but they only serve allegiance to the Court of Owls because they were removed of their ability to reason.

God gave us free will because he wanted us to be responsible for our own destinies so we could live the lives we want. Trying to revoke that gift because we’re afraid of what someone ‘could’ do, is downright insulting.

Keeping a Goldfish

The Court of Owls could be best exemplified by a pet goldfish. The goldfish is given a small water bowl and some fish pellets. The bowl has no filtration, and the fish is given no decorations to interact with for psychological enrichment. The fish is constantly breathing and swimming in his own waste and has no control over the life that was given to him because he has no voice.

His owner keeps his environment like this because the fish makes them happy. The fish is far from content, but his owner lacks the awareness to consider their animal’s health. In abusive relationships, the victim represents the goldfish, as they are conditioned to obey so their partner doesn’t have to feel lonely. In these situations, the victim can leave, but they are stressed into believing that they aren’t capable of finding anyone better, since they’ve spent so much time as a slave.

If you are so afraid of not being capable of taking care of yourself that you’re willing to strip away someone’s freedom to keep you secure, you are a horrible person. Horrible things are going to happen and people are going to hurt you. Stripping someone else’s freedom so you don’t have to face the horrors of the outside world is a selfish thing to do. It’s okay to be scared. There’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable. After all, you have no control over what the world throws at you.

Toxic Motherhood

As a parent you might think you know what’s best for your child. And, although that may be true, if you truly want that to be reflected in your child, you have to let them make their own mistakes so you can guide them to the lessons they need to learn.

Song of the Sea

Macha, Song of the Sea’s main villain, is an old witch who thinks she knows best for her community. After her son suffered through a terrible tragedy, he cried a whole ocean in his sadness. Using her magic to put an end to his suffering, Macha sent her pet owls to take away his feelings, turning him into stone. Macha couldn’t bear to see her son suffer like that, so she thought if she could take that pain away, he would be in a much better place.

Macha believes that feelings are things we should reject rather than embrace. She uses her owls to find people who are suffering and take that pain away from them. However, because our pain is something that keeps us human, taking that pain away turns her victims into stone.

Macha could be best compared to an overprotective mother. She doesn’t want to see us in pain, so she’d rather take it away than see us in a state of suffering.

From her perspective, she doesn’t want to give the world a chance to hurt you, so by turning you to stone and keeping you in her control, she won’t have to see you in pain.

Even though Macha’s philosophy comes from a kind heart, she’s just as toxic as the Court of Owls. By keeping your child from making friends, making mistakes, and getting hurt, you’re preventing them from learning life lessons that will carry with them into adulthood. This is why fathers are so important because children need a masculine father figure in their lives to teach them the value of their independence so they don’t learn to rely on others. You can learn more about this in my post about Life of Pi.

When Macha turned her son to stone, she removed his suffering, but she removed his ability to think for himself so he could heal on his own.

Of course, Macha didn’t know any better, she just wanted to be there for her son. As a mother, only knows how to nurture, and the only way she thought she could help was to take away the feelings that were hurting him. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she allowed her son to go on in the state he was in.

However, what Macha eventually learned is that all we can do for the ones we love is be there for them while they heal. Although they’re suffering now, eventually, the pain will subside and they will learn how to cope with their suffering.

As a parent, it might be scary to allow your child to experience things on their own, knowing what could happen to them, but without these experiences, they’ll never learn how to take care of themselves. If they have somebody with them to guide them through these experiences and help them learn to value independence, they’ll become successful individuals in adulthood.

You can’t control what will happen to the people you love. All you can do is help guide them through the learning experience so you can ensure that they learn the right lessons. By doing this, they’ll learn how to become independent on their own.


Both Macha and the Court of Owls wanted to achieve peace through control. However, we only have control over our actions. It might be terrifying at first to consider that someone can hurt you at any second of the day, but once you learn that you have no control over the outside world, you’ll learn to see these events as learning opportunities. If you enjoyed this piece of content, consider subscribing to my mailing list so you’ll be notified whenever I make another entry towards The Octopus Adventure.


Noah Veremis

The Curse of The Truth

When we refuse to see the truth and instead revel in our suffering, we lose sight of what’s important. Shen from Kung-Fu Panda 2 is a devious warlord whose psychopathic tendencies arose from a neglectful childhood. John Klein from The Mothman Prophecies became obsessed with a mysterious urban legend after his wife suffered a tragic death. Both of these characters serve as examples of what happens when we refuse to accept the truth.


An overwhelming desire to impress people stems from an inability to recognize your worth. If you believe in yourself, you have no reason to worry about what others believe in you. When you know where you belong, you don’t feel the desire to prove anyone wrong.

Shen’s Childhood

At the beginning of Kung-Fu Panda 2, it’s explained that fireworks were invented by peacocks. Shen however, did not want to be like the other peacocks and started repurposing fireworks as gunpowder so he could be powerful enough to impress his parents and the people around him. With a weapon at his side, he wouldn’t ever have to fear the possibility of losing to anyone. Shen believed that if he couldn’t earn respect from his personality, he’d earn it through the construction of his weapon.

Shen’s parents were terrified of Shen’s invention and hired a fortune-teller to have closure on Shen’s future. She explained that if he did not stop his quest for power, he would eventually be defeated by a warrior of black and white. The only creatures in the Kung-Fu Panda universe who would fit that description are pandas. Unfortunately for his parents, Shen was eavesdropping on this conversation and vowed to slaughter every panda he could find so he could ensure that no one would stand in his way.

When he returned to boast to his parents and receive their praise, they responded with horror and disgust, exiling him from their village. Despite their intentions, this only strengthened Shen’s superiority complex. The thought of feeling like a subordinate was so scary to him that he vowed to use his new weapon to take over China so nobody would ever be able to hurt him ever again.

Shen’s attention-seeking personality developed into a diabolical superiority complex due to a fear of feeling like a failure. Shen only started making this new weapon because he didn’t believe that his uniqueness was strong enough to differentiate himself from his peers. Since he had no faith in himself, he felt that he needed to inflict pain onto others to feel strong.

Superiority Complex

Shen’s superiority complex prevents him from success and fulfillment. If Shen truly believed in himself, then he wouldn’t feel like he would have to be better than everyone else.

One of the things I’ve learned from personal experience is that wanting excessive and inappropriate amounts of attention can make you lose sight of what’s important. When I was going through a phase of attention-seeking, I wanted to be praised because I didn’t believe that I was capable of earning it with my own abilities. In Shen’s example, there were multiple points in the film where we could see how talented he was in the art of Kung-Fu, but his fear of losing made him resort to using his weapon.

When Po was facing off with Shen in the film’s final battle, we could see that Shen was Po’s only opponent in the whole trilogy who scared him in the final battle. That fight was the only one in the film where Shen didn’t resort to using his weapon, and he died via accidental suicide, not by Po’s doing.

Had Shen actually believed in himself, he would never have the desire to look down on someone just to feel accomplished. Shen obtained a violent and diabolical personality out of a thirst for attention. He wants the whole world to look at him and think he’s strong because he never dared to believe in himself.

Is it Wrong to Value Attention?

In the wild, when Peacocks experience rejection, they immediately flee to find another mate. You can see this in human culture all the time, as some people miss out on opportunities because they don’t have faith in their abilities. When I was suffering from dependency issues, I would immediately search for another partner once I suffered through a break-up. My partner took care of a part of myself that I neglected, so when they were gone, I felt lost. After all, the reason why those relationships failed was that I didn’t believe in myself to forge my own uniqueness and identity. When I found myself in a relationship, my partner’s identity would become my own, and I would show them off at any opportunity. Since I valued attention over self-love, I lost sight of what’s important.

If Shen had truly believed in himself then his physical beauty would be reflective of his accomplishments, not an attention-seeking personality.

If you value attention, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, the best way to obtain that attention is to earn it with dedication and hard work. If someone takes an example to your accomplishments, they will listen to whatever you have to say. However, if you try and obtain that attention out of fear of what others will think of you, you will give people the wrong impression of who you are and push them away from you. Juries don’t accuse people of criminals without evidence, and people will not listen to you if you have nothing to speak for your showboating.

Speaking from personal experience, I can say that when you value excessive amounts of attention, you can end up saying things that aren’t reflective of who you are just to attract eyeballs. If you want attention, you have to earn it for people to truly look up to you.


“Carpet Moth” by Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When horrible things happen to us, the only healthy thing we can do is allow ourselves to feel our grief, and be there for others who were also affected. When we fight our emotions we can push other people away from us due to an inability to accept reality. If our behavior worsens then we can become stuck in a loop of delusions and rationalizations.

The Mothman

At the beginning of The Mothman Prophecies, we are introduced to John and Mary Klein, two newlyweds out for a drive after purchasing a new home. Due to a freak accident, Mary crashes the car and suffers a brutal head injury. For days after suffering this injury, she rambled on about an evil entity that was after her. We later find out in her drawings that she was seeing “The Mothman”, an entity that stalks people mysteriously and makes predictions about horrible disasters that always end up to be true. Mary would soon die after making these accusations.

Two years after her death, John is mysteriously transported to Point Pleasant in West Virginia after calling off a date that his friend set up for him. After he arrives, he continues to experience strange events that wither away at his sanity, all of which he believes may be connected to the death of his wife.

The Obsession

After John is “teleported” to Point Pleasant, he acquaints himself with Gordon, a resident, and Connie, a favored police officer in the community. The three of them start investigating strange reports of people who have claimed to experience similar mysterious occurrences.

After a few days, Gordon and John start receiving strange phone calls from a man who goes by the name Indrid Cold, who knows very personal information about the both of them. To make matters worse, he makes predictions over the phone of horrible disaster events that always come true, killing dozens of people.

Gordon becomes so obsessed with the Mothman phenomena, that his wife becomes disturbed by his behavior and files for a divorce. Shortly thereafter, Gordon passes away.

Shortly after Gordon’s death, John follows in his delusional footsteps, so much so that Connie also becomes disgusted. John contacts a man who calls himself Alexander, who claims to be an expert on the paranormal. John, refusing to let himself grieve, believes that if he digs hard enough he can find out how and why his wife died, and stop disaster events predicted by Indrid Cold.

Much like Gordon, John changes into a completely different person after he becomes obsessed with the Mothman. John desperately tries to convince himself that his wife died out of a mysterious circumstance and that the Mothman was somehow responsible. He believes that if he digs hard enough, he can at least have closure on her death, or even bring her back. He just doesn’t want to believe that she’s gone. As a result, he only enables further delusional behavior.

Shattered Reality

The more people in Point Pleasant spread around the legend of the Mothman, the more horrible things happen to them.

In reality, what is likely happening is that these horrible things happen because people expect them to. If you expect someone to be hateful towards you, your tone will become aggressive to accommodate their behavior. In another example in racist individuals, their brains will often only take note of stereotypical behavior and take that as proof of the stereotype, despite all the evidence to prove them otherwise.

This theory can be proven in the film after people stop talking about the Mothman once the Silver Bridge collapses and everybody moves on.

John did not want to believe that his wife died from just a horrible accident. He wanted to believe that there must be some hidden reason behind the cause of her death. John was so naïve that he couldn’t accept that something so horrible could happen to an innocent person for no reason. However, sometimes, bad things happen to good people, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

After all, when someone suffers a severe head injury, it’s not uncommon to witness them suffering from hallucinations and delusions. Mary’s death wasn’t due to some evil entity that wanted to kill her, she just died from an accidental car crash. As horrible as that sounds, that someone we love could just be ripped from us for no real reason, it’s just the reality of the world we live in.

In Batman vs Robin, it’s explained that after Bruce’s parents were killed, Bruce would spend all of his time researching the events leading up to their death, as he believed that they were killed by a cult mentioned in his father’s bedtime stories. Not wanting to believe that this cult was just a story his dad would tell him before bed, he kept the investigation going, as he did not want to believe that his parents were killed by some random homeless man on the street. Bruce believed that if he found out the truth behind this conspiracy, then he would finally have closure. He couldn’t accept that his parents were taken from him for no real reason, that something so random and horrible could ever happen to such innocent people.

After exhausting himself, he returned to Alfred and finally accepted that it was just a story and broke down in tears.

The point is, if we expect something bad to happen, we’re effectively wearing a pair of goggles that only allows us to see darkness. However, sometimes, there isn’t a huge conspiracy behind these disasters. Sometimes horrible things just happen for no reason. The Mothman, much like Candyman, only exists because people believe that he’s causing these events. After all, Indrid Cold was never heard from again after the Silver Bridge collapsed, implying that he only existed because people wanted to believe that there was a reason for the horrible things that happened in his predictions.


Eventually, John was so exhausted with his research and investigation of the Mothman, that he just returned home to New York. Connie knew that she couldn’t in good conscience let him be alone on Christmas, so she bought him a plane ticket and invited him over to her home for the holidays. After some banter back and forth, John finally cut the charade and broke down in tears, finally allowing himself to grieve since Mary’s death.

When he returned to Point Pleasant to find that the Silver Bridge was collapsing, he wasn’t concerned if this had anything to do with the Mothman or Mary, he just worried about saving Connie, who was stuck inside the destruction. John knew that the only thing worth worrying about was what’s happening in the here and now in the believable world. Anything beyond that isn’t worth his attention.

Because John allowed himself to grieve and let himself feel sadness, he was able to move on and help someone else who was in need. After Connie was returned to shore, it’s presumed that John stayed in Point Pleasant and had a pleasant future on the horizon. After he accepted that he needed to move on, he refused to accept any more phone calls from Indrid Cold.

The only thing that’s worth stressing over is what we know exists in the natural world. If we stress ourselves over what could happen, we’ll never be happy. After all, even if the Mothman was responsible for Mary’s demise, knowing that fact would not bring her back to life.


Both Shen and John suffer due to a refusal to accept their truths. Shen didn’t have the courage to believe in himself and chose to thrive in ignorance. John couldn’t accept that her wife died due to an accident and wanted to believe that there was a reason behind her death. If we learn from these two characters, we can realize that the only thing worth believing is what we know to be the truth. Nobody else is going to make that decision for us. If you enjoyed this content, then be sure to subscribe to my mailing list so you’re notified when I make more pieces of content just like this one.

Iggy’s Bizarre Adventure

Since dogs have evolved over thousands of years to live harmoniously with humans, they’ve become the world’s most trustworthy companions. Taking this into consideration, these traits make dogs perfect for displaying themes of loyalty, leadership, and vulnerability. These three examples can all be examined in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, The Grey, and White Dog.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure


Happiness is only worth feeling if it’s shared. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with the people you love, as long as you cherish the time you have with them. Just because there are hateful people in the world, they shouldn’t stop you from being loyal to the people you love.


Iggy is a dog in JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. Iggy is introduced at the beginning of the second half of the season and serves as a “support” character for the main cast.

From his first reveal up to his own episode near the end of the season, Iggy is represented as problematic and defensive. For Iggy, living in poverty lead to a personality that learned to see humans as none other than heartless bystanders. However, two of the series’ main characters, Joseph and Avdol, discovered him and prevented his capture from Animal Control. When Iggy was revealed to the rest of the party, everyone knew that they had to give him the best possible life he could have, despite his stubbornness.

Despite their love and support, Iggy showed no signs of reciprocation, as poverty had trained him to see humans as heartless and unforgiving. While living in poverty, Iggy had to spend many days of his life starving, and would frequently have to fend off other hungry dogs. Even though he lived in a big city, no human would ever show him any affection.

Even when the new members of his party needed his help, he refused to participate, as he believed in the survival of the fittest. Iggy refused to believe that humans would ever be capable of kindness, and this belief turned him into the very thing he despised.

Only when he has a near-death experience with the enemy does he realize just how much he’s wanted to feel loved. His fear turned into hatred, and that hatred served as a coping mechanism so he would never have to be afraid of anyone ever again. Once that hatred was cured, the loyalty in his genes would be able to blossom, and he could be the dog he always wanted to be.

Iggy’s Road to Redemption

After Iggy won a grueling battle against a pet hawk named Pet Shop, the fight lead Iggy into a river, where he feared he would die. While he was sinking to the bottom of the river, his deadly situation gave him the chance to own up to his selfish lifestyle. Despite this sad twist of fate, the river, much like a mother’s womb, would give him a chance for rebirth. A young boy was a bystander to this event and rescued him from a watery grave.

After the river gave Iggy a chance for redemption, he returned to his friends to help them accomplish their mission of defeating DIO (the series’ main antagonist) and vowed to live the rest of his life with a new purpose.

Iggy was a stray before he met the Stardust Crusaders, so he was used to relying on himself. It was only until after he made these new friends when he realized how much he just wanted to love someone, and knew, despite his situation, it wasn’t too late to give them the support they needed.

After Iggy’s rebirth, he spends only a few hours in enlightenment before he is killed by one of DIO’s henchmen, Vanilla Ice. In the end, it was that same stubbornness that leads Iggy to sacrifice himself so Polnareff, his best friend, could live another day. When Polnareff sees the life drip away from Iggy’s body, he says this:

I just realized how much I liked him. It always happens this way, I only understand after they’re gone…But I loved how you acted so stubborn…I realize now that your refusal to show affection for anyone proved just how proud you really were.

Fuminori Komatsu as Jean-Pierre Polnareff – JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (2015)

In the end, Iggy’s experience proves that there will always be people who want to love you. Even in more pessimistic films like The Shallows, once Nancy came to her senses her family welcomed her with open arms. Once you put your fears aside and let the voice of love take you higher, your loyalty will allow your relationships to blossom.

The Grey


God will never spoon-feed your success. Death doesn’t care about how many mistakes you’ve made. Since God gave us free will, it is your responsibility to act on your opportunities so you can live the life you want. If the lack of initiative leads to the continuation of your suffering, nobody can be held responsible but yourself.

The Art of Decisiveness

After surviving a plane crash, John Ottway and his coworkers are tasked with surviving in the brutal winter of the Alaskan wilderness. Although John is still grieving from the loss of his deceased wife, the plane crash exposed him to a horrible situation where he was forced to make a decision

Her absence brought to him so much sadness that it ripped him of his motivation and individuality. This lifestyle guided him to his new job at an oil mill hunting rogue wolves who threatened the lives of his coworkers.

However, once he became victim to a plane crash, he jumped into action because, now, for the first time since his wife’s death, there’s other people’s lives to consider. From this point on in the film, John makes one decision after another to make sure he and everyone else makes it out alive. This behavior is derived from a poem his father wrote when he was young:

Once more into the fray, Into the last good fight I’ll ever know, live and die on this day, live and die on this day.

Liam Neeson as John Ottway – The Grey (2011)

This quote implies that no matter what, you make sure that every decision you make is counted. As in, the only person responsible for your happiness is yourself. This means that you’ll have to optimize every opportunity you find to create your own story. God isn’t going to gift you a fulfilling life. If you want something to be proud of, you have to do it yourself.

It doesn’t matter what John will return to when he finds civilization. After all, despite the horrible conditions of his job, he’ll never be able to start living his old life again if he doesn’t make it out alive. Although he misses his wife, he’ll never be able to be happy again if he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions. It’s okay to be sad over the death of a loved one, but that person wouldn’t want you to let their death stop you from being happy.

Once John was released from his state of shock after the crash, he realized in a split second that he needed to jump into action or else everything his father taught him would be for nothing.

Optimizing Opportunity

Soon after their plane had crashed, John made a startling discovery. Their plane had crashed into wolf territory. After Hernandez became the first victim to the wolves’ slaughter, they knew that this was not going to stop.

John elaborated that sometimes wolves will hunt other predators who invade their territory to eliminate competition, which means that they’ll have to keep moving and hope that they’ll find civilization before they’re all killed by wolves.

The beauty of this is that there is no antagonist in this film. At least not in the traditional sense. Neither John nor the Alpha wolf is in the wrong. Both parties are optimizing their opportunities to ensure their survival. John wants to keep his team alive so that he may one day see civilization again and live a normal life, and the Alpha wants to eliminate his competition so the resources in his territory are preserved.

Both the Alpha and John are phenomenal role models for aspiring leaders. A leader isn’t necessarily someone who “leads”. A leader will take advantage of every opportunity they have so that their life can be as fulfilling and enjoyable as possible. No matter what, you should always be making decisions to aim at success, even when the odds are against you.

At the end of the film, all but John had been killed by wolves. John made a cry to God to have the closure that He really existed. After a few moments of madness, John came to his senses and said to himself: “Fuck it, I’ll do it myself”. God gave us free will so that we can forge our destinies with our own hands. If we want a fulfilling life, we’ll have to find out how to get there on our own.

After he made this revelation, out of all places he could have stumbled into, he found his way into the wolves’ den. Surrounded by wolves and face-to-face with the Alpha, John pulled out his pocket knife and prepared to fight. Despite the odds against him, there was still a small chance that he could survive, so there was no way in Hell he was going to give up.

No matter what happens to you, you should always be making decisions that lead to success. Creating your failures and complaining that the world is against you is easy. Picking yourself up and forging your future when the odds are against you is what makes you a leader.

White Dog


Although some people may say that dogs are vulnerable animals due to their forgiving and loyal nature, the same sentiment could be said about humans. Anybody, anywhere, can raise a child to be any type of person they want because of how impressionable we are. It’s this fact that keeps us from even considering that we will ever live inside a world without hate. The only way to cure hateful behavior is through kindness.

Classical Conditioning

In the film, Dolly, the film’s main character finds a stray dog and takes him into her house until his owner shows up to claim him. Unfortunately, Dolly soon finds out that this dog has been trained by a white racist to be a “White Dog”, as in, conditioned to be attack black people on sight. Keys, a canine behavioral specialist, explained to her that the dog’s owner likely accomplished this by paying black junkies to beat the dog senseless. Over time, the dog learned to fear the color black, and that fear lead to hatred, which conditioned the dog to attack any black person he sees before they can hurt him.

Much like Iggy, who learned to see humans as heartless bystanders, this dog learned to see black people as threats to his safety. Although Iggy was conditioned as a result of a lack of heart in the world, this dog was conditioned by hatred. Anyone, anywhere, can be conditioned to be a horrible person if they grow up in evil hands.

If Adolf Hitler had a child that survived, he would not be destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. Although genetics does play a role in the behavior of an individual, it does not guarantee a hateful personality.

When we’re young, we don’t have the experience or the mental fortitude to forge our destiny. We rely on our parents to take care of us and provide us with the wisdom we need to become independent in adulthood. Since we see adults as authority figures, we can be easily manipulated because we rely on them to teach us and take care of us. If someone is taught that black people are dangerous from a young age, that mindset will carry on with them to adulthood because the lessons we learn from our childhood become our values as adults.

This means that racism, or any other type of hatred, will likely never be fully cured from society because of how easy it is to manipulate someone as a child. An adult might have the common sense to see how racism is illogical and hateful, but a child expects their parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and teachers to provide them with meaningful lessons and will take that information to heart because children look up to adults for guidance.

Anyone, anywhere, can train a dog to be a ruthless killing machine. Since they look up to us, they don’t know any better when they are trained to do horrible things.

While this dog is under the guidance of Keys, there’s the looming threat that if a lawman finds this dog and finds out what he’s been trained to do, he could be euthanized for the damage he’s done to society.


The reason why it’s so hard to change the mind of a racist is that you’re asking them to be vulnerable and change everything they’ve ever known about life.

Iggy was so scared to be vulnerable and question his lifestyle because his experiences in his childhood taught him that humans aren’t capable of loving anyone. When someone finally did show him kindness, he had to change his entire world view and be vulnerable in front of the very thing he feared. Since he was trained to fear humans, his brain learned to hate as a coping mechanism so he would never have to fear anyone again.

However, in both White Dog and JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure, both characters turned over a new leaf once they realized that despite what they were taught, these people were not going to hurt them.

In White Dog, Keys was able to change the dog’s racist behavior because he returned that behavior with kindness, reminding him that there’s nothing to be afraid of. If we’re kind to the people around us, we can help them realize that vulnerability is nothing to be afraid of, as it’s something that only gives us opportunities to move past our shortcomings and become stronger.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.

Frank Oz as Yoda – Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)


Dogs are wonderful animals who might be more similar to us than any primate will ever be. Although dogs might be even more vulnerable than us, they still love us even after we hurt them. Some people might think that’s their own fault, but, it’s that same stubbornness that allows them to be proud and fierce animals. You might be able to train a dog to be a ruthless killer, but you can also train the same dog to be a support animal for a veteran. If you enjoyed this content, consider subscribing so you’ll be notified when I make future content just like this.


Noah Veremis

The Octopus Adventure

The octopus is quite possibly the most self-sufficient creature that has ever been designed on planet Earth. Octopuses have evolved over millions of years to become impossible to find. With all of its unique abilities and problem-solving intelligence, no lifetime of any octopus will ever be uneventful, even in a lifespan of only a year.

The octopus’s magnetic and independent personality can teach us how to value our potential and self-worth. An octopus has no time to spare to doubt itself with such a short lifespan. We are obligated to consider our outstanding ability to learn when we make choices, as it’s a miracle that we have such a long lifespan. As humans it’s our duty to learn as much as possible and become self-fulfilling prophecies to avoid a life of mediocrity. Ultimately, it is your burden to bear if you choose to live an uneventful life.

Finding Dory

Wasting Potential

One of the main factors that keeps us from taking advantage of our potential is the fear of failure. However, we will only be able to take advantage of opportunities if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in the face of the unknown. The hostile and unforgiving nature of the world may be scary, but we will never be able to be successful if we house ourselves in an environment that doesn’t allow room for risk. If you want to learn how to be successful, you’re going to have to learn how to be comfortable with being vulnerable.

Hank’s Bizarre Adventure

Hank is an octopus in Finding Dory who helps Dory on her journey to find her parents, both of which she believes may be living in the marine institute where the film takes place in. The only reason Hank wants to tag along with Dory is that she has a tag that will allow him to be transported to Cleveland, Ohio, where he will live safely inside of an aquarium for the rest of his life. Hank believes that the security of the aquarium is a better alternative than being returned to the ocean.

Hank experienced horrible things when he was living in the ocean, so once he found solace at the marine institute, he figured he could be transported to Cleveland where he’d be safe. These anxieties prevent Hank from living a fulfilling life. Although an aquarium would provide a sense of security and safety, it lacks many of the opportunities that are provided from an adventurous lifestyle.

In many circumstances, our fears prevent us from pursuing exciting lives because our traumatic experiences have conditioned us to settle for mediocrity. Mediocrity prevents any sense of risk from entering our lives. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never be able to enjoy what life has to offer.

Part of the philosophy of being an octopus is understanding that we have very little time on this Earth. Mediocrity will not allow you to have exciting adventures, all it will do is give you a false sense of security. As humans it is our duty to experience as much as we can before we die. A lifetime of mediocrity just for the sake of avoiding anxiety is incredibly wasteful. If you’re not okay with the decisions you’re making, it’s your responsibility to change that.

Unlocking Your Potential

As an octopus, Hank can new methods of problem solving due to his biology. For example, he’s able to use his tentacles to traverse the institute much like a monkey would navigate a jungle. He’s able to use his ink cloud ability to scare off nosey children, and he also uses his shapeshifting and color changing abilities to mimic different objects and animals to stay hidden. Octopuses are quite possibly the second most efficient thing God has ever created, yet Hank’s priorities are on his irrational anxieties.

Your fears and anxieties can only influence you if you give them a home to thrive. You will only unlock your potential once you find out where you belong. The only thing that truly matters in life is your mission. If you spend more time worrying about your anxieties, you’re being irrational.

There is truly nothing to be afraid of if you find something that you’re truly passionate about. The only person who can stop you from accomplishing your goals is yourself. Let the voice of love take you higher, and don’t ever let anyone stop you from enjoying life.

That being said, you need to realize that it’s okay to be scared. We only have control over when and where something will happen. When something horrible does happen to you, find out what you can learn from the experience. Failures are what makes us human, but if you’re letting those failures stop you from pursuing your mission, you need to bonk yourself on the head. The world isn’t going to end if you make a mistake. There may be consequences to that mistake, but those consequences will help you learn how to make better decisions.

Happy Accidents

If you’re truthful and honest with yourself then you should not have any room to make excuses. Your ego should be small enough to understand when you need to improve, yet big enough to allow you to reward yourself when you’re performing well. If you go into a video game tournament to become a better player it won’t matter to you if you experience a few losses, since you need to make mistakes for you to learn how to improve. As long as you love yourself you won’t ever have to worry about anything else. When you love yourself, you know in your heart what you need to do to improve.

Although Hank experienced many horrible things while living in the ocean, he needed to experience those things to learn how to overcome the anxiety from his past.

Although these horrible experiences may haunt us, they don’t define who we are. No creature on Earth is perfect. The world is an environment that harbors an ecosystem that allows conflict and anxiety to thrive. Success doesn’t come without risk, and that’s not a bad thing. Mediocrity doesn’t offer opportunities for success.

Let the Joy of Love Give You Answers

Although octopuses in the wild are completely solitary, we can work together with other people to achieve each other’s goals. Perhaps the one thing that prevents the octopus from being perfect is its inability to utilize teamwork.

In Finding Dory, Dory knows that there are some things she can’t accomplish by herself. There are several different types of characters that help her on her journey due to their special abilities. For example, Destiny, a whale shark, uses her strong voice to guide Dory through the pipe systems so they can communicate together. Bailey, a beluga whale, uses his echolocation to serve as a second pair of eyes so he can work together with Destiny to help Dory find out where she needs to go.

This message could be attributed with Finding Nemo as well, since Marlin had to learn how to trust other people and let them help him instead of traveling his journey alone. Many different types of animals helped him on his journey. A pelican used his large beak to carry him to Nemo, Dory used her ability to read to help him learn where Nemo is located, and turtle used his knowledge of the East Australian Current to guide him in the right direction.

The moral of the story is, it would be very naïve of you to think that you should travel your journey alone, because there are so many people out there who have experienced incredibly different lives. As a result, some of these people can to teach you things you could have never learned on your own. Love is only worth feeling if its shared, and if you can bring people along on your journey, you’ll be able to help each other accomplish your goals and aspirations. The only reason why have opportunities to be successful is because of the accomplishments other people have made to make those opportunities possible.


Love truly is the only thing that matters in this world. When you love yourself, you will find the answers you seek because you have your health in your best interest. If you allow petty anxieties to get in the way of your dreams, you need to wake up! It’s your duty as a human being to experience everything you plan on accomplishing in your lifetime. If an octopus can live an exciting lifetime of only a year, than surely you can live just a fulfilling life. Love yourself, and you’ll be able to experience everything in your dreams. Let the joy of love give you answers!!

If you enjoy this type of content, consider leaving a like and a comment of what you’d like to see next. God bless my friends


Noah Veremis

Paving Your Own Path

Addiction and repetition are both plagues that can’t be faced alone. Many of us amount to living predictable lives because it’s not easy to pave our own paths. The truth is, there are no external sources in the world that are going to make you feel fulfilled in life.

That person you like is not going to fix you. Sex and masturbation will only make you feel lonelier. Drugs and alcohol will only worsen your mental health. Your minimum wage job is not going to get you anywhere.

Paving your own path isn’t easy, but, if we pursue what we want in life despite the obvious danger of doing so, the joys of independence will soon follow.

I’ll be discussing two films to help explain how we can take risks to live more fulfilling lives.

Shape of Water is a film that gives us an inside look into an unusual romantic relationship between a Deep One (lizard-like humanoid creature originating from Lovecraft) and a mute woman named Eliza. This film takes place in a mundane, uneventful, and unromantic world. Shape of Water uses this relationship to show us that love is the only emotion that separates us from everyone else.

The second film, A Street Cat Named Bob, records the life of James, a recovering drug addict trying to survive in a society that abandoned him. He ends up adopting a street cat who follows him on his adventures. After being taken in by an agency that helps drug addicts get back on their feet, his relationship with Bob blossoms as he learns how to trust people and become self-sufficient. James learns about self-sufficiency by prioritizing his resources to become a parent that his cat can rely on.

It’s important to understand the relevancy of building relationships with people you can trust. Part of the human experience is figuring out who you want to accompany you on your adventures. That means calculating who is going to respect your vulnerability, and who is going to take advantage of it.

Shape of Water

In Shape of Water, there is an overwhelming presence of greens in its color pallet. This film takes place during the events of the Cold War, so as a result, we see representations of some of the problems Americans were facing during that time. Racism against African Americans, Homophobia, and the threat proposed by the Soviet Union, were all problems that had become a staple of daily life.

Greens are used to represent a reluctant mindset of advancing into a more progressive society. The people in this film live very unromantic lives because there’s an underlying comfort in settling for something that your community has deemed to be acceptable.

The taboo nature of Eliza’s romantic relationship with the creature compliments this motif, as people aren’t ready to accept new ideas that they don’t understand. Furthermore, it delivers a message that explains that love is the only emotion that will separate you from the rest of the world. This message is demonstrated yet again by its color pallet, using interjections of reds amongst a sea of suffocating greens, to symbolize the beauty and uniqueness of Eliza’s relationship. This relationship emphasizes that if you want to achieve true happiness, you will need to create your own destiny and accept the responsibilities that come from constructing your own future.

For the sake of convenience, from this point forward I’m going to refer to the creature as “Jonathan”, named after Jonathan Joestar from JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure (for his unparalleled politeness, of course).

Green vs Red

The film’s opening introduces us to Eliza’s daily schedule. Every morning, she begins her day with masturbation, makes hard-boiled eggs for lunch, and goes to work.

When she comes home, she goes straight to bed, and the cycle repeats. These activities aren’t necessarily harmful to her health, but since there’s no sense of risk, her life is completely devoid of any excitement. Eliza is equally as guilty of being a slave to social norms as anyone else at this time.

There’s a pie shop called Dixie Dougs, right by Eliza’s apartment that she visits frequently with her neighbor and best friend, Giles, for some key lime pie. Although Eliza finds the taste of the pie to be repulsive, she orders a slice anyway because it’s “tradition” for them to order some every time they get together. We find out later that Giles also found the taste of the pie to be dissatisfactory, and would never make an effort to try another flavor. Being that key lime pie is colored green, it serves as another visual representation of this motif.

It’s not easy for people to transgress against social norms because there’s a sense of security and structure that comes with following the crowd. On the other side of the coin, there’s also a fear that follows this security, in that people are afraid to be burdens on their community and cause chaos. The human brain craves repetition and security, so when we do something that threatens that security, our whole life can turn upside down. There’s also the fear that if what we’re doing is going against social norms, we can start to think that we’re doing something wrong. After all, we’re acclimated to associating the majority with truthfulness.

However, after Eliza met Jonathan for the first time since she had such a powerful experience with someone special, she realized how much uniqueness had been missing in the rest of the world. By definition, she found out where she belonged, and only started to care about what actually mattered to her. When she returns to her apartment, she’s wearing a vibrant red coat, symbolizing her metamorphosis.

The contrast between greens and reds compliments the nature of this taboo and unusual relationship. Jonathan’s abduction from his homeland, and imprisonment in the lab, could be compared to segregation in society, and its discontent towards interracial relationships.

Cancel Culture

I’ve notice that in any culture, new problems and domestic issues will erupt within its communities, despite how much time has progressed since the previous century. These societies will develop empty excuses to justify its unwillingness to progress into a more enlightened society.

For example, during the period of the Jim Crow Laws (19th century to early 20th century), African Americans were often referred to as being more closely related to apes and monkeys, as presented in various scientific journals and philosophy books.

Of course, these claims are no less than ridiculous. Nonetheless, this supports my point that in many circumstances, people will do anything in their power to find any evidence to support their hypocritical and inconsistent ideals, values, and beliefs. We can see examples of this phenomenon today with the rise of cancel culture, an idea that supports the act of ignoring someone’s endeavors to defend themselves from an accusation in an attempt to drive them into obscurity.

The rise of cancel culture has brought about extremely disgusting behavior, as it has normalized the idea that someone should be ostracized from a society based a piece of evidence that is inconclusive.

For example, some radical members of the far left believe that any rape allegations against other individuals should just be considered to be factual, despite any evidence that supports the idea that the allegation may be false. Many individuals have been falsely ostracized because of this behavior, especially if these false allegations come from women.

In Shape of Water, we can see examples of this disapproval from society in other ways, such as Giles’ homosexual feelings being rejected by the world, and doomed to be exiled from his community.

The Rescue

Once the threat from the Soviet Union becomes is apparent, Jonathan is doomed to be killed to prevent the Soviets from sabotaging the project and using Jonathan for their own endeavors (Ironically, we learn that the Soviets make plans to kill him as well, to, “prevent the Americans from learning”).

After Eliza has experienced what true love feels like after living in a world that thrives in mediocrity, she knows that for her own sake, she needs to save Jonathan from his captors.

Giles initially disapproves of Eliza’s arrangements for a rescue plan. However, after his desires to find something special are chewed up and excreted, he empathizes with Eliza and joins her in the rescue mission because he’s tired of giving up on love.

Once you find out where you belong, you won’t have to worry about anything else. I understand that it’s scary to leave the security blanket of mediocrity, but once you find something so important to you that there’s no doubt in the world that you’ll ever want to do anything else, the notion that you’ll have to work hard for what you want won’t matter anymore. Find a way to use your passion as a platform to change the world, and you’ll be remembered for all eternity.

A Street Cat Named Bob

James, the main character in this story, is a recovering drug addict who’s given a second chance by an agency that helps recovering addicts get back on their feet.

After James meets Bob, he starts to learn the value of independence through their relationship. After taking on the responsibilities that come with being a cat owner, he starts to realize how much of his life has been missing. Had he not taken Bob under his wing, his platform to understand the value of self-love would have been absent.

This is one of the perfect representations of true love that you’ll ever find. True love is represented when both parties mutually respect each other and provide for each other’s needs.


In many ways, this film could be compared to Cast Away. In Cast Away, Wilson serves as a representation of Chuck’s past, so it becomes an essential part of Chuck’s retribution to leave him behind to reach enlightenment.

In the case of James, Bob is symbolic of James’ future. Since cats are often used to represent a motif of independence in storytelling, it’s not unreasonable to consider that Bob could be seen as a representation of the person James strives to be.

In the beginning, James resents the notion of taking care of Bob, but over time, he warms up to him. Eventually, there’s a point where Bob has become so integral to James’ journey, that there’s no way in hell that he’d ever consider giving him away.

As we observe their relationship blossom, we see James develop better self-help skills as he learns what resources to prioritize so they can have what they need to survive. James’ efforts to give Bob the best possible life are representative of James’ journey of learning how to love himself, so he doesn’t have to take drugs to feel satisfaction.

By the end of the film, he serves as a figure of hope for people suffering through addiction. He now uses the experiences he went through as a blueprint for people looking to learn how to love themselves and become independent. Considering that this film is based on a true story, it’s really just magical that his life played out the way it did.

James and Betty

Betty, James’ neighbor, is a character who plays a heavy role in his journey. They fall in and out of love several times throughout the film. Their rocky relationship serves as a testament to James’ process of mastering self-love.

One of my favorite aspects of this film is that it uses a lack of closure to signify the importance of self-love. As James learns more about the value of his uniqueness, his desperation to be with Betty diminishes. In one of the final scenes, after James has completed his grueling journey, Betty tells James that she’s moving away to Ohio to live with her family. Although James is upset, he knows that they both have different goals in life, and some people just aren’t meant for each other.

Neither James nor Betty know if they will ever truly be right for each other, but that’s the whole point. Bob taught James how to rely on the well of happiness deep inside his heart to complete his goals. In one scene when James is talking to his agent, he says “He showed me what’s out there”. There is so much to experience in life, and those experiences aren’t going to be just gifted to you.

Much like Shape of Water, A Street Cat Named Bob discusses how love can change a life full of mediocrity and unromantic repetition, into a life full of joy and opportunity.


Nobody is ever going to save you from the mediocrity you’re settling for. It’s all up to you to seek those opportunities that will allow you to live a more fulfilling life. Independence is the only way you will ever be able to achieve true happiness. There’s no reason for you to fear an opportunity. If you fail and you make a mistake, realize that making mistakes is how we learn to be independent. Furthermore, our imperfections are ways for us to distinguish ourselves from one another and help us establish our uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to take risks. You’ll be rewarded for your bravery.


Noah Veremis

Let the Voice of Love Take You Higher

This tea is my own special blend. I can’t guarantee the taste every time.

Yoshihiko Hakamada as Baron Humbert von Gikkingen – The Cat Returns (2002)

Sharing your happiness with others is what makes the world a better place. Happiness shouldn’t be viewed as an emotion that’s exclusive to yourself. If you see happiness as an emotion that you only want to keep to yourself, you aren’t optimizing all of what life has to offer. Happiness is only worth feeling if you have the courage to share it with the people you care about. That, by definition, is love.

Take Bob Ross as an example. He wanted to create a platform for new painters to learn how to paint in an environment that was as inviting, so he created the television program, The Joy of Painting. All Bob wanted to do was share his passion for painting with the world because he wanted others to feel the same happiness he was feeling.

That is why God created us, because He loves us, and wanted to give us opportunities to feel happiness for ourselves. He created us because He wanted us to spread His love in the form of happiness to the people we love most.

I don’t know what happiness means for you, but I know that one way to find out the answer to this question, is to share your passion with others so that they can feel empowered by you to accomplish great things. When you do this, you’ll be making the world a better place to live. Not to mention, there’s no better example of true satisfaction than having the opportunity to share your happiness with someone special. To better explain this, I’ll be diving deeper into two films I have discussed with great enthusiasm on this blog, Whisper of the Heart, and The Cat Returns.

Whisper of the Heart

I’ve already made an entire blog post discussing this film. If you’ve been keeping up with my twitter account, you would know that I wasn’t entirely happy with how that post turned out. So I’m going to clear up a few things with the intent of explaining the strongest ideas that this film has to offer.

All Shizuku wanted in the film was to be with Seiji. However, great relationships aren’t formed based on how much you want something. If all you seek is affection, then your relationship likely will not last long. The key to any successful relationship is the willingness to share what little you have with this person, including your happiness. Remember, you don’t have to sacrifice what makes you unique to satisfy the other person.

What Does it Mean to “Share” Happiness?

You might be confused as to what I mean when I talk about “sharing” happiness. Living life as an independent individual is different from living life with a partner. When you’re in a relationship you serve as a moral support role for your partner, and vice versa. In a romantic relationship, you’re able to allow your partner to lessen the weight of your burdens. Your romantic partner is your biggest cheerleader. However, you’re still expected to retain your individuality.

In a healthy relationship where both parties retain their independence, they can each learn how to appreciate something that they wouldn’t otherwise in different circumstances.

For example, I don’t know how to sing, and although I love music, I’m not infatuated with it as other music enthusiasts would be. However, if I met someone special that really had a passion for singing and music, it would bring a totally different meaning to me. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to spontaneously form a passion for music, but I’ve discovered something beautiful that I would have never unearthed had I not introduced myself to this person.

Music means different things to different people. Think of life as a dictionary. For every word there is, there’s an X amount of people assigned to that word, which represents their passion. No matter how many people you talk to, that word is going to have a completely different definition once you move on to the next person. If you form a romantic relationship with someone, you get to experience the beauty of their uniqueness and understand why that passion makes them happy. Therefore, whenever they experience happiness, you can share that joy because you understand why they associate their passion with such blissful emotions. That’s really what love is all about.

Learn to Love Yourself Before You Love Others

Nobody can truly love someone until they learn how to love themselves. If you don’t have anything to give to this person you’re in love with, then the relationship will fall flat because this person is going to be doing all the heavy lifting. If you wanted to learn how to play golf, it wouldn’t be a good idea to come to me for guidance because I don’t know anything about golf. Therefore, if I tried to teach you how to play golf you wouldn’t learn anything. If I don’t have the knowledge that allows me to teach you about the sport, there’s nothing for you to gain out of the exchange.

Relationships work the same way. If you don’t know how to love yourself, what makes you think that you’re qualified to love someone else? If you lack the self-respect to take care of yourself, then that will reflect the quality of your performance in your relationship.

If you wanted to start looking for a new job, would you apply for a career that requires you to have a skill-set that you don’t have? No, because you wouldn’t get the job. Nobody is going to perform well at anything based on what they don’t know.

If you follow Shizuku’s example, then you would learn that by evolving as a person you can bring the best representation of yourself to the relationship. The more you have to give to a person, the more that person will learn from you, and the more that person will have to share and appreciate. You need to keep in mind that if you know how to take care of yourself, you will become more attractive to a potential partner. Nobody wants to be in a relationship with someone who has to rely on someone else to take care of them. When you’re in a relationship, you’re a partner, not someone’s child. You’re expected to bring your best foot forward.

Using Self-Love to Build Sturdy Relationships

I want you to take note that wanting to share your happiness with someone you’ve established a connection with, is completely different than attaching to someone in the hopes that this person takes pity on you, and fixes your problems for you.

Think of relationships as a bridge. You are only in control of what you build on your side of the bridge. You will be placing yourself in a vulnerable position by doing this, since you are trusting your partner that they will deliver a sturdy foundation. Of course, this requires teamwork, as you both need to build a stable connection that can support the weight of both of you. If you build a stable foundation, you won’t have to feel afraid of being vulnerable anymore because you can trust the other person to do their part in the relationship.

If you don’t build a stable foundation using your personalized skill-set, you won’t have anything to offer to the other person, because when the other person finishes their side of the bridge, the bridge will collapse if either of you attempts to cross. If your skill-set isn’t fit for building a relationship, you will be unable to deliver what your partner expects of you. Sometimes, we have to work on ourselves before we can become capable of participating in a relationship, and that’s okay.

If the foundation isn’t stable and the bridge collapses, you can use this failure as a learning experience. The great thing about knowledge is that nobody can take it away from you. After this failure, you can do some self-searching to find out what you could have done better. Therefore, you’ll be better equipped for a future relationship.

If all you do is attach to the other person out of your infatuation for them, you aren’t improving yourself, and you aren’t improving your ability to offer what you can to the world. At this point, you’re just hoping the other person will build the whole bridge for you. But, building a bridge by yourself is hard work that isn’t worth all the frustration and hardship to build, because all you did was build a bridge for someone who doesn’t appreciate your value.

How to Establish a Connection

You might be asking, “How do I establish a connection with someone in the first place? What should I say, what should I do, and what should I buy?”.

You have to think to yourself “What can I offer to this person?”. How can you use your skill-set in a relationship and how can you apply this knowledge?

If you try to aim your efforts at getting this person to like you, you’ll come off as desperate. Think of yourself as a shopkeeper. As a businessman, you can explain why your goods would be useful to them when they inquire, but it’s ultimately up to the customer to determine if your goods will be sold or not. If you’re too aggressive, you’ll make the customer uncomfortable and push them away.

If this person has already approached you, you don’t have to feel scared of not being good enough because if they decided that they didn’t like you, they wouldn’t have given you a chance in the first place. In Whisper of the Heart, all Seiji had done to gain Shizuku’s interest is present what he had to offer. He attempted to gain her affection or change himself to be fit for her liking.

If the person you’re interested in really likes you, all you’ll have to do is present what you have to offer. If you can prove that you have good relationship-building skills, self respect, and take responsibility for your actions, you’ll be seen as more valuable. If the person likes what they see, they’ll purchase your goods. If they don’t, that doesn’t necessarily reflect you. Sometimes it just means that you aren’t what they’re for in a relationship.

Now that we know how this process works we can talk about how to optimize your communication skills, to increase your ability to present your goods.

When you’re asking about their interests, it would be a very bad idea to agree with everything they say and gravitate to all of their interests. Even if it’s with good intentions, you’ll come off as fake and desperate. You want to present a truthful image of yourself. If your partner is questioning if you’re being truthful with your words, they probably won’t see you as a worthy potential partner. Remember, these are things that this person holds close to their heart, so please take them seriously. Don’t make them regret opening up to you.

Only ask questions that you actually care about the answer to. It would be a waste of time to ask a question just for the sake of conversation. That’s okay for small talk at the beginning of a date, but if you want to learn more about this person, you’re going to have to make your questions count. For example, you can ask them questions about the ideas and philosophies that they value most.

If somebody is interested in ocean exploration, you won’t be trying to figure out why ocean exploration would be interesting. Let’s be honest, everyone has at least a moderate amount of interest in what exists in the empty void of the ocean that we haven’t discovered.

You’re trying to figure out what ocean exploration means to them. Maybe they had a childhood experience with a dolphin and they’ve been in love with the ocean ever since. Maybe they were a victim of a shark attack and want to learn more about sharks to prevent further attacks on humans. Maybe they grew up living next to a large body of water and just naturally became fascinated with marine life, and want to learn as much about the ocean as they possibly can.

If you begin to show genuine interest in their passions, they won’t regret opening up to you because they know that you have an honest enthusiasm towards the emotions that drive them. If you offer the best version of yourself then you’ll have nothing to fear. Just remember that nobody is going to be perfect. Imperfections are what make us who we are and are reflections of our uniqueness. Don’t ever be afraid that you’re not good enough. You won’t know if you’re not ready for a relationship until you suffer from a break up that was caused by the consequences of your actions. Traumatic events like these are how we learn to be better, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail.

The Cat Returns

You could also equate relationship-building and self love techniques to Baron’s metaphor for making tea. It’s your special blend that only you know how to make. Sometimes you’re going to meet many people that aren’t going to enjoy the taste of your tea, and that’s okay.

If you can find the right person who will appreciate your blend, even when you make bad batches, you’ve found someone who you can spend the rest of your life with.

Your tea isn’t going to be appreciated by everyone. No matter how much you polish your ability to write, paint, or play basketball, some people just aren’t going to appreciate your blend of tea, and that doesn’t necessarily reflect you, it just means that they have a very particular taste.

Your relationship-building skills and your ability to build a sturdy foundation will only come into play once you find someone who enjoys the taste of your tea. All relationships start with a mutual interest. In the beginning phases of a relationship, both parties are trying to figure out if they are comfortable with living with this blend of tea for a long time. If you knew that you were going to be drinking only one beverage for a long time, you’d pick something that has a taste that won’t grow stale on you.

Sometimes you’re going to find someone who’s going to let you down, and sometimes you’re going to find people that will grow tired of your blend and move on.

I understand that losing someone you love is painful since you were shattered during your vulnerability. The only way you can truly love someone is if you embrace this person despite the unpredictable void of darkness that lies ahead of you. If you don’t feel safe opening up to this person after you’ve started building a sturdy foundation, it may be best for both of you to part ways.

Sometimes when your gut tells you that this person is going to hurt you, it’s an intuition that you have to trust. Our brains are conditioned to notice patterns in human behavior. If your gut tells you that this person is no good, it may be likely that you’ve subconsciously noticed a pattern in their behavior that is suspicious, and it might be worth investigating.

Don’t let any of this deter you from opening up to someone you genuinely like. Remember that you won’t ever learn anything in life until you have a problem that requires you to learn about something to solve it. Making mistakes and being let down is what makes life so amazing. If you open up to someone and you find someone who truly loves your blend of tea for what it is, you won’t have to worry about being vulnerable to this person ever again.


These films hold a special place in my heart, and although I’ve already talked about them extensively, there’s still more and more I learn from them every day. Human relationships give us the opportunities to evolve that don’t exist in traditional practices of self-love. Even if our vulnerability is taken advantage of when we open up to someone, we can always rest easy knowing that we can use this traumatic experience as an opportunity to grow and learn more about our relationship-building skills.

Author’s Note

I understand that I have talked about these films a lot. I also understand that most of you are used to variety when it comes to the content I post. However, I can’t ignore the feelings that are inside of me. I use writing as a form of expression, and I incorporate everything that I’m feeling at the time into my writing. I promise you that I am doing well, and that you can expect much more diverse content in the future. I write about movies to show the world what we can learn from them. If a movie I love has a lot to offer, I’m going to devote more of my time to discuss it. These two films really mean a lot to me, and all I want to do is share that passion with all of you, because that’s where true happiness belongs, in the hearts of the people you love.

God bless my friends!


Noah Veremis

The Cat Returns: Becoming Independent

….That pain that I’m feeling has to work its way into the story, or else what am I doing?

Quinten Tarantino, interviewed by Charlie Rose

The Cat Returns is a “sequel” to Whisper of the Heart, acting as a representation of Shizuku’s story that we never had the opportunity to read. In Whisper of the Heart, Shizuku learned how to hone and polish her talent and walk her own path. We know that Shizuku struggled with this. After all, she thought she had to rush her writing because she just wanted to finish it, otherwise, if it wasn’t finished, it wouldn’t have mattered.

When someone is going through the process of creating anything, especially writing, it’s likely that you’ll see reflections of their struggles and hardships in the final product. Writing is a form of expression, so someone ill-equipped to express themselves with words might write their own book to express their feelings and ideas through a story.

Since The Cat Returns is Shizuku’s book presented as a movie, we can see the struggles she goes through in the events of Whisper of the Heart, through the motifs and conflicts that are presented throughout the story. Taking this into account, we can make an educated consensus on what the film wants its audience to learn from the experience since Shizuku used her book as a platform to express the issues she was living through.

The film’s main character, Haru, suffers from a fear of becoming independent. Through the film’s conflict, she experiences the consequences of settling for only what’s given to you, instead of following what’s in your heart. Baron Humbert von Gikkingen serves as Haru’s mentor and the hero of the story. After they escape the conflict of the story, Haru finds out how to forge her destiny and find out where she belongs.

Being Manipulated

Haru is a young girl who is completely clueless about what she wants and who she wants to be. This vulnerability is taken advantage of by a mysterious cat who calls himself the Cat King, after Haru saves his son, Lune, from being hit by a semi-truck. The Cat King tries to repay her by giving her “gifts”, like turning her entire front yard into cattails and sending her dozens of gift boxes containing live rats.

After the Cat King visits Haru at her house we find out that the Cat Kingdom is a hidden community in the outskirts of the city full of sentient cats.

Haru’s vulnerability comes to bite her when the Cat King tries to persuade (or rather, force) Haru to marry his son Lune, who just happens to be the prince of the Cat Kingdom.

How does the Cat King pull this off? He sends one of his underlings to check up on Haru after she’s received her “gifts”. This underling displays a calm and happy demeanor as he speaks. In addition to this, he reacts with great distress after Haru said that she didn’t appreciate the gifts that were sent to her. This is one method people will use to manipulate you, by taking advantage of your kind heart so you’ll feel pressured to do what they want.

Often when people try to manipulate you to do something or change you into someone else, they’ll remember what you’ve said in the past and use your words against you, and persuade you that what they want you to do is “cool”. In some circumstances, they’ll even try to convince you that you said something that never actually came out of your mouth.

This persuasion finally reaches its desired goal after the underling says to Haru “he’s not just a cat, he’s cool!”. For someone as vulnerable as Haru, this type of persuasion works, because being married to a cat prince means that she won’t ever have to worry about anything, and all her needs will be taken care of. She could settle for something that she’s ultimately not happy with, and by doing so, she would never have to make an independent decision ever again. For somebody as young as Haru, it’s hard to resist that mindset. Are you starting to see the connections to Whisper of the Heart?

For a lot of us, myself included, independence is a scary concept, especially when we’re children. Becoming independent means that we are responsible for making our dreams a reality because nobody is going to do that for us. This why so many of us are stuck in minimum wage jobs and live in an environment where our needs are taken care of, like our parents’ house. For many of us, we’re too scared to take the first step because our sense of structure and security will need to be abandoned.

This is where Baron’s role comes in. Haru finds out who she wants to be all on her own through the challenges she faces, but it’s through Baron’s teachings that point her mindset in the right direction. Baron is merely a guide, not a crutch, much like a life coach or a therapist. After Haru is kidnapped by the Cat King’s underlings, she is sent to the Cat Kingdom, and Baron takes off after her.

Baron Humbert von Gikkingen

After Baron learns of Haru’s predicament, he assures her that once she finds out where she belongs, she won’t have to worry about anything else. According to Baron, once you find what’s most important to you, petty issues and other problems won’t matter to you anymore.

If you find that one piece of you that you love the most, you won’t have to search for external sources of gratification to feel validated. After all, if you know you have the confidence and motivation to take on the responsibilities of walking your own path, nothing will ever stop you from achieving your goals. This confidence will emerge inside once you find something that ignites that special fire within your heart. This fire is going to be represented as different things for everyone. It might be a sport, teaching self-help, motivational speaking, or even becoming a musician or programming video games. This is exactly what Baron is trying to communicate when he talks about finding out where you belong. You can use the word cloud exercise I mentioned in my last post to find out what you’re most passionate about.

Here’s an example of what that might look like. In the movie Cast Away, we saw that Chuck Noland was able to move on after finding out that his wife Kelly married another man after the events that took place on his island since everyone he knew thought he had died in the plane crash.

He knows it hurts, but he also knows that he has the confidence to walk his own path, so he doesn’t need Kelly to feel fulfilled. In the final scene, we see him in an intersection in the countryside, where there are plenty of different roads, or “paths” he can take. Any one of them would be valid, and any one of them would be just as adventurous as the other because nothing is holding him back.

Sometimes all it takes for us to find out how to appreciate life is a terrible experience that reminds us of what life is all about, which leads me to the next section.

The Consequences of Settling

Now, unfortunately, one of the harsh realities of life is that we will never be able to apply any of this information until we go through something traumatic or unsettling, where this information suddenly makes sense to us and holds more value. If you’re reading this, than you might have already experienced an obstacle that was fabricated from the mistakes you’ve made. If that’s the case then you’re in the right place.

For Chuck, it took the separation from his wife and seven years on a deserted island to learn how to appreciate what he has and practice self-love. For Pi Patel in Life of Pi, it took the death of his family and ending up stranded in the middle of the ocean in a lifeboat with the company of a Bengal Tiger, to learn his life’s purpose.

In Haru’s situation, she had to experience the consequences of allowing people to manipulate you and take over your life. Once she made it inside the Cat King’s palace, she started turning into a cat and was given nothing to eat but raw fish. Baron ensures that she stays on the right path by saying “No Haru, this place is not for you”.

For Haru, this whole adventure was all about finding out where she belongs. Generally, people only ever learn about life until after they’ve made a mistake. If our brains have never experienced this type of hardship, it won’t mean anything to us unless we have experienced a problem where we can apply that information to solve it. Losing friends, ending up in horrible predicaments, saying something out of anger that you don’t really mean, and settling for something you don’t want, are all examples of what finding out where you belong is all about. Just remember that it’s okay to make these mistakes. That’s what learning is all about!

You should be noticing a pattern here. Everyone successful in life encountered an obstacle that forced them to take action. Failures and mistakes are a part of life, and we need them for us to grow. Don’t ever forget that.

In the next section, I’ll show you how settling for long periods can lead to the formation of dependency issues. You can use this information as a warning for what happens when you settle for anything less than what you want.

Dependency Issues in Modern Day

For people who are confused about who they are, they might resort attaching to someone they’re infatuated with in the hopes that this person can fix them, or stand behind a huge movement to feel like they’re taking part in something bigger than themselves.

In the first scenario, these people don’t have the confidence to pursue a passion, so they resort to settling for an unhealthy attachment to someone else in the hopes that this person can fix the problems that are deep inside of them.

Alternatively, they could also be susceptible to joining a movement or group to feel like they’re fighting towards a problem that’s affecting their culture or society because they don’t have any personality or uniqueness outside of participating in this group, it can be very hard for them to make friends. Both of these scenarios are symptoms of dependency issues.

In the first scenario, their mind sees the person they’ve formed an attachment to as a band-aid that will solve their problems. Their subconscious knows that they aren’t motivated or confident enough to pursue what they want on their own, so they’re hoping that this person can do it for them. They’ll likely be unable to feel happiness without this person because of this and can immediately feel withdrawals once this person has left them for an extended period of time. This could then lead to stalking behaviors, severe depression, and even thoughts of murdering this person so nobody else can “have them”.

In the second scenario, the person in question sees this movement as a way for them to feel like they’re doing something important. Since they can’t feel this sensation through their actions out of a lack of confidence, they might see this movement as a method of feeling like they’re participating in something bigger than themselves. This type of behavior can lead to discrimination of anyone who doesn’t support the group they associate with, or people who are indifferent to the group. We can see examples of this type of behavior in the LGBT and Feminism communities, where radical members have been known to alienate heterosexual individuals, and men respectively.

This radical behavior can bring the wrong impression to outsiders of what these groups are all about, and will leave a terrible mark on the people trying to make a difference.

In the next section, I’ll show you a method I use to learn from my mistakes by experiencing hardships that were my responsibility. You can use this method yourself to turn painful experiences into learning experiences to help you grow as an individual. After experiencing something painful, you’ll be less likely to settle after you’ve experienced the consequences of remaining passive towards the problem.

How to Learn From Your Mistakes

One tactic I sometimes use to help me make better decisions is to allow myself to be hypocritical. Have you ever been in a situation where people are screaming at you to prevent you from doing something, and no matter how much sense they make, you just can’t listen to them?

Here’s a scenario situation as an example. If I know my relationship with my partner is going downhill and I don’t have the heart or mental fortitude to end it or do something about it, I’ll say something like “I know this is going to bite me later, but I don’t want to deal with this right now. I have accepted the consequences that will come from this decision, and I know I’m going to be hurting, but I don’t have the mental strength to deal with this right now”.

I have found this tactic to be very useful in some situations, because as I said before, the only way we learn how to grow is by making mistakes. In this scenario situation, if I don’t have the heart to do something about the problem, I might be better off experiencing the consequences that will come from this situation with my partner, so that I can grow and learn how to be a better partner, even if it means ending the relationship. If we don’t make mistakes, then there’s nothing to learn from, and that, by definition, is perfection. If everyone was perfect, life would be boring, and everyone would have the same job, the same interests, and the same mannerisms.

If you know you’re going to fail, do it now and get it over with so you can learn from it and move on. Prolonging the inevitable will only shove more trouble and more pain in your direction. Secondly, people respect honesty. If you preemptively accept responsibility for the actions you’re about to make, even if you know it’s going to be at your expense, people will respect you for being mature, and they’ll want to be around you more often. After the conflict is over, people will be more open to help you and talk to you because you accepted the responsibility of your actions. If you radiate honesty from your words and actions, then the last thing they’ll want to do is barrage you with “I told you so” types of comments.


After watching these two films, Baron Humbert von Gikkingen has become one of my favorite characters in fiction, tied with Richard Parker from Life of Pi. He is so relatable and provides so much insight that it feels as if he’s talking to the audience rather than Haru. This becomes even more magical once you consider that this film’s story was created by Shizuku during her struggles to find out where she belongs. That’s really what the magic of storytelling is all about. As Quinten Tarantino says in an interview with Charlie Rose:

…When I set out to do it, whatever is going on with me at the time, has to work its way into the piece. It has to, or the piece isn’t worth making.

Quinten Tarantino, interviewed by Charlie Rose


Noah Veremis

Whisper of the Heart: Scaling Your Passion

When we grow from teenagers into young adults, it can be very difficult to find out what we want to pursue in our lives. I think it’s important for someone to consider what passion they want to pursue, rather than seeking a career choice first. Making money is important, but if you’re not happy, then what’s the point? I think the better question is “what do I want to do in this lifetime?”

Even if you’re working a job that’s not ideal, once you take the first step towards your passion, you will likely find work related to your niche. You may be asking, how do I find these passions? What even is a niche?

There may be no better place to find an answer to that question than the film Whisper of the Heart. There is also a sequel called The Cat Returns, that expanded on the foundations that this film had laid out. Whisper of the Heart’s main character Shizuku learned about her passion for storytelling and writing after hearing an incredible story from a wise old man named Nishi. She also finds a creative drive to write her own story after meeting his grandson Seiji.

Whisper of the Heart teaches us that one of the best ways to find creative fuel for your brainstorming is through inspiration from incredible relationships. However, you have no one to blame but yourself for your failures. You will meet people that can help you accomplish your goals, but it is ultimately your responsibility to take the initiative and make the decisions to reach your destination.

How to Discover your Passions

The most difficult part of any journey is taking the first step. However, it may be difficult to find out which staircase will be the right one for us. If we made it to the top and found out it wasn’t for us, it would be pretty disappointing. So how do we uncover our passions so we can start doing what we love?

Well, there are a variety of ways this can happen. Sometimes fantastic stories can inspire us to create our own narratives in writing, as what happened to Shizuku. However, not everyone is a writer. People can obtain inspiration from many different things.

For example, filmmaker Peter Jackson often discusses that his rise to fame is partly due to his fascination with the movie King Kong (1933) in his childhood. As a child, this movie filled him with so much wonder and imagination that he sought to make his own stop motion projects. Eventually, as he grew older and wiser, he was given the opportunity to remake the movie in 2001. This film ended up becoming a box office hit, became a 3D ride at universal studios, and was responsible for placing him on the radar in the film industry.

In Whisper of the Heart, Shizuku found a drive to write a story of her own after being introduced to one of Nishi’s many antiques, a cat statue named Baron Humbert von Gikkingen. Nishi found Baron at a tinkerer’s shop in Italy paired with a female statue. The tinkerer refused to sell them unless they were sold together. That is, until a friendly woman heard what was going on, and offered to buy the female statue so she could meet with Nishi. The tinkerer gave in and Nishi and the mysterious woman had fallen in love as if it were fate for them to meet. Unfortunately, Nishi was drafted in the war and was separated from his lover and never saw her again, or the other statue.

This fantastic story was partly responsible for inspiring Shizuku to write her own book, with Baron Humbert von Gikkingen as the hero. This is because stories are incredibly complex pieces of information that can covey heavy emotions and messages that can make us feel as if they were made specifically for us.

The first time I watched Whisper of the Heart I felt as if this movie was made for me. I have been confused for a long time and this film has offered some clarity on a lot of issues I have been going through.

Speaking of this, stories can even help us combat the issues we are going through in our lives since they can be very relatable to us. One example of this would be in The Monster Calls, where The Monster helped Connor grieve over the loss of his mother through his stories.

Now, if you’re looking for ways to apply this information to your own life, I would recommend finding a medium of storytelling that can apply to your specific personality and passions. If you like reading, that’s awesome. There’s plenty of great books out there that may be able to spark your creativity. Life of Pi, The Alien Shore, Pellucidar, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, are great examples of books that can spark endless amounts of imagination and philosophy.

If you’re interested in the history of our world, then you may be interested in documentaries. Although documentaries aren’t exactly a traditional form of storytelling, they still document an event, interesting person, or phenomena that have complex histories that can serve as excellent sources for brainstorming. For example, Elephant in the Living room is a documentary about the irresponsible ownership and neglect of exotic animals. After being exposed to such a thing, someone may be inspired to do more research and take up a career that allows them to take action to reduce the number of instances of this terrible phenomenon.

Some of you may be searching for inspiration in movies, but don’t know where to look. If that’s the case, there’s a social media platform called Letterboxd that allows you to easily search for films that you may be interested in and allows you to communicate with other film lovers. You can even search for lists created by other members that may be tailored to your particular taste. It’s also a great way to make friends if you’re open to reaching out.

I sometimes use Letterboxd as a tool to combat writer’s block. There have been some terrible days where I have found myself completely robbed of my creative juices. One remedy I have to get my brain flowing is step away from writing and watch one of the films on my watch-list. Sometimes I’ll see something that’s a total game-changer and could even help me write the project I’m working on at that moment. The truth is, storytelling is a fantastic tool to help you find your inspiration, but you’re going to have to find a medium that works for you.

In the next section, I’ll show you a more cookie-cutter resource I use to help me stay on track. This resource was also partly responsible for helping me find my niche in the world.

Brainstorming Exercise

One resource that I use that has proven to be very useful for me is a website called It is a word cloud generator that allows you to write down anything that you’re into. It enlarges words that are similar to one another. The generator will also enlarge words that are closer to the top of the list, which may reflect what means the most to you, as they were the first to come to your mind. This way you can visualize what’s most important to help you discover your niche.

If you’re stumped on what words to add to your cloud, you can use mine as an example. Don’t worry about your words not being “adequate” enough. Just write what comes to your mind. Please take note that my word cloud is likely going to look very different from yours. You’re going to want at least 40 words on your cloud for the best results.

For a quick exercise to get your brain flowing, I’ll take you through my thought processes after creating my word cloud. Well, after looking at this word cloud, I took a moment to visualize what all of this meant. After all, this word cloud is going to be a reflection of yourself.

After I created this word cloud, I saved it for future reference. I chose three words that were my favorite from this word cloud to serve as a representation of my niche.

Those words are:

  • Animals
  • Film
  • Solitude

I am a very introverted individual, so that may reflect why I chose solitude as one of my choices. I wanted something I could work on that I could put all of my creative energy into, and could double as something that could I could use to express my emotions and ideas from the movies I love. Hence, this blog came into existence. I also love animals, so I decided to use this blog as a platform to write a book discussing the importance of animals in the film industry. Once I reach my word count goal, I’ll collect all of the posts I made towards this book and edit them to fit the format of a book.

I could also use this blog as a platform to express other ideas that I’m passionate about, such as habitat loss, which I have discussed in my post “Can Humans Coexist with Nature?“. In the future, I could use this word-cloud to follow many other endeavors.

How to Polish your Passion

Now that you have found your niche and have taken the first step in your journey, how do you get better at what you do?

In Whisper of the Heart, Nishi owns a rock that contains a shiny crystal inside of it. Nishi says that you could polish the rough, outside of the stone, but what you’ll get would be worthless. The gem inside of the stone is purer, and there could be another crystal inside that gem that we can’t see. Any lapidarist will tell you that polishing stones takes work and effort. Different types of stones are much harder than others, and it can even damage or break your equipment if you’re not careful enough.

The same can be said for our passions in life. Sometimes, it’s not the fact that these things take work and effort that scare us. The scariest part is taking the first step. However, what’s even scarier, is knowing that you’re likely going to experience failures along the way. For many people, it’s an incredibly hard transition from childhood to adulthood. After all, it can be hard to reach for what we want because up until now, most of what we wanted had been handed to us. The truth is, all you have to do right now is take the first step.

Sometimes I get intimidated by the future because I envision how amazing it will be, and how much I have grown. One exercise that helps me mitigate this fear is to focus merely on the next step of my journey. If you polish what you know and make it better, you can take the next step, and so on and so on. Dreaming of the future won’t amount to anything, and it will only make your tasks sound harder than they actually are.

This is a trap that all of us have fallen for. We can be intimidated by the long and grueling road ahead of us, and we settle for what we have accomplished and pretend that this is enough for us to be happy. The truth is, for Shizuku, she has to traverse this journey by herself, and for many people in a similar position, that can be scary and devastating.

To help me explain my thoughts, I’ll use a similar situation from another film. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Buck’s death in the climax was a reflection of Caesar’s transition to becoming a confident leader. At the beginning of the film, Caesar used Buck as a bodyguard of sorts to enforce his rule. However, Caesar strengthened his charisma and leadership skills to the point where he no longer needed Buck as a crutch.

In a similar vein, after Shizuku finished her first draft of her book and showed it to Nishi, she realized that she had just shown him the rough and unpolished outer shell of her crystal, and now she just needed to polish it until it’s just how she envisioned it.

It’s okay to show the unpolished, rough, outer edge of your crystal to the unforgiving world. When I started these movie reviews, it was so difficult for me to research films because I didn’t know what to look for. So, sometimes I would rely on other people’s analyses to help me put the pieces together. Over time, I noticed a pattern in the movies I watched. I noticed that if something is shot in a certain way, it could represent something. Or, if a phrase, theme, or color pallet is repeated multiple times in a film, it’s probably important and pertains to what the film is trying to say.

I could go on and on, but my point is, I got much better at understanding movies, and pretty soon I could form a consensus on a film all on my own. The biggest fear I had that prevented me from making content in the first place was the fear of a schedule. I thought that I had to write as fast as I could or else my content would be worthless.

This phenomenon is represented in the film when Shizuku confessed to Nishi that she felt she had to rush her writing because she just wanted to finish it. However, Nishi comforts her by saying that polishing a stone takes time and effort, and nobody is going to take your work away from you. You can spend as much time as you want on it. In my case, I eventually came to the conclusion that I was writing for myself, and not for anyone else, so I was going to write on my own time.

Even if it takes you ten years to finish what you want to accomplish to get to your finish line, then so be it. Just try your best and make sure you aren’t doing this for anyone but yourself.


There’s one last thing I’d like to talk about. Although you are fully responsible for following your dreams, you might find more success if you accompany yourself with someone who is also hard at work at doing the same thing. This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. If you surround yourself with amazing, hard-working people, you’ll start to adopt their healthy behaviors.

Sometimes when someone is being treated for an addiction, they may be advised to challenge a buddy who is also suffering a similar addiction. You’re more likely to succeed if you work together with someone else who is suffering from the same problem. Not only is there a sense of competition, but you may also find a sense of comfort knowing that someone is watching your back making sure that you are on track. You may also feel accomplished knowing you are helping someone go through the same thing you are.

Comparably you might find solace with a special person who’s watching your back, making sure you’re not beating yourself up. This person likely isn’t doing this for their own benefit. They’re in this position because they’re genuinely interested in you. In Whisper of the Heart, Shizuku obtains this insane drive to write a story because she wants to impress Seiji and share her happiness with him.

She sees his passion for making violins and takes note of his plans to visit Italy to serve as an apprentice to someone who can teach him more about his craft. When she admired his work and inquired about why he wanted to do this, Seiji was a little hesitant at first. If anyone else asked Seiji about his passion for making violins, he would likely be deeply offended that someone would ask such a question without a care of what it means to him. Let’s be honest, why would you care? Why would anyone want to know about the process of making a violin?

Shizuku asked about his passion because of her love for him and wanted to learn more about him, not because of interest for violins. Even when Shizuku expresses her admiration for his great work, Seiji responds with “How can you say that with such a straight face? Anyone can do that”. Shizuku beautifully responds with “Why? It’s what I think”.

After we see Shizuku obtain a drive to share her heart with someone special, we can see how she suddenly achieved a motivation to write a story. She admires Seiji so much that she wants to be at the same level as him. When Seiji comes to see Shizuku for one last time before he goes to the airport, she helps him push his bicycle up a hill instead of being dead weight. Shizuku yearns to feel the same sense of accomplishment from her writing, as Seiji feels with his craft of making violins. Once this equilibrium has been reached, they have become a couple that are empowered by each other’s strengths.


I understand that all this information is a lot to take in. If you haven’t seen the film, I would highly recommend placing it at the top of your watch-list to fully understand the information I communicated to you and form a consensus of your own. Once you take the first step, the rest of your journey is a cakewalk in comparison. It’s still not going to be without its hardships, but if you find something that’s really important to you, that’s likely not going to matter to you. And remember, if you ever feel like you’re isolated or trapped from the outside world, you are never truly alone.


Noah Veremis