Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Open Thread: The Cyclist


16 comments:

Dillon said...

I was thinking about how we talked about how the book ended and then I thought: "why does everything have to have a clear ending?"

Since the book is called the cyclist, that symbol of repetition is the repetition of terror. So maybe the book leaves for the reader to decide: does he die or does he live? Has the issue about where terror comes from, and how it may be prevented, been solved for you?

So then ending of the book opens up more questions. Can terrorism ever be stopped? Is it as incontrollable, as random as accidents? I think from what we said today that since terrorism is a choice, then it can be stopped. The real question is: after terrorism has been used when will it be stopped.

op.3no.2 said...

The quote "one must demolish the human body over and over again until it is fully spent" reminds me of the belief in some faiths that the soul will undergo reincarnation until it reaches nirvana. This leads me to think that the final end to the cycle of accidents and terrorism, ever escalating, will be something comparable to nirvana - something ultimately good. However, this seems in direct conflict with the idea that the circle holds primacy over the line, that curvy is better than straight, that we should not be separated by lines and rather should come together in a circle, etc - ideas the narrator seems to hold in truth. So is the circle/cycle bad or good? Is the goal to break out of the cycle into a straight line to infinity, or is the circle something bonding, something collective and human?

JE said...

I think that the book did have a clear ending based on the theme and the title. Everything in life repeats itself. Death just happens to be the end of the cycle for that individual.

What I was really excited about, what our discussion about terrorism and the cycle that it carries. It is awesome that we all agree collectively that this is a pointless battle. No one listens and there is no one to negotiate with. It really sucks that life has to be this way but as we continue to educate ourselves and others, we will see truth in this life.

I really enjoyed this book. I will probably go over it again in the future and read deeper into it. I feel that there is so much to learn from this text. It can carry ideas that you would never think about and even test your morals.

Now as for terrorism, I dont think that it can be stopped completely. Bibically, I know that it will end based on my faith. But the world continues to turn on selfish deeds. Everyone wants to be heard or really hear themselves. Terrorism is just another way to gain attention. There is no answer, but the choices that these people make can only be change by them. I feel that this is what the book was saying. It was clear that the narrator changed his mind because he realized the ideas of terrorism and that it was a senseless mission.

meaganlaue said...

dillon, I think that you bring up some great questions. I agree that this book WANTS the reader to choose for themselves the fate of the cyclist. I think that one thing that every book we have read thus far in class has an uncanny ability to move us to change and ask questions. I can honestly say that I have questioned myself more in these past few weeks than I have ever before. Why do I have faith in some things? Why do I stereotype others? I think that is the basis for the books is to open your mind to a new perspective on the world.

We touched a bit on this in class and I hope that someone can give me some insight. When we discussed borders and the thought of redrawing them. I did not know if we were talking fairly literally and if so who are we to redraw any sort of border for anyone else. I understand it is something that we have done and continue to do. But i could not help but wonder does this contribute to people disliking us more to the point of committing more terrorits acts?? Maybe I was taking this FAR too literal... I just did not know to what extent we, as Americans, would be crossing the lines?!?!

JE said...

Well Meagan, there was a literall and hypethetical reference to the borders. In class, my understanding was that we would remove the borders of land and country so that all can cross. This was not by the hands of Americans but of all man. Now if I got this wrong, someone should help me out. But also borders, could be the boundaries in which we live. Not the literal wall of stone or lines on the map, but the idea of what is mine and what is yours.

John Collins said...

I know we discussed it in class a little bit, but I'm still having trouble figuring out who were the people who worked for the Academy were, including the Cyclist guy. What confuses me is that the man they were trying to kill, Fareed, almost exemplified the terrorists we think of today. He was anti-imperialism, he was calling for violence and defense of their homeland, and he dropped a couple of American references in his speeches. But if the Academy was fighting against the real terrorist, Fareed, what does that make them?

I'm probably wrong, but I felt that Berberian was just trying to show the senseless cycle of terrorism. The Academy was composed of people from all over the world, yet they lacked a unifying message or cause yet they still wanted to commit a terrorist act. I think the cyclist aborting the attack on the hotel was him coming to the realization of how pointless terrorism is and finally breaking the cycle.

CAH said...

I read your comments and appreciated them. I just finished The Attack. After all the tremendous suffering the "good" man went through, very graphically described, I was hoping he would be able to cotinue his work as a Doctor. The ideology will have to change. There have been many people persecuted down through the anals of time. Many times they migrated to other areas of the world, dying along the way. That would be better than the perpetuation of destroyed joy. There is enough sadness in life without "creating" any. I do not like to know that the simplest joys are taken from people, as in The Cyclist, people don't even have the privilege of having a bicyle and enjoying it. For a homestead to be destroyed. I could not be a part of that. It has happened in Africa, where a Ruler, bulldozed the only homes the people had and left them homeless. Ideology change is imperative and can only come through education, the only hope, it seems, and relocation. CAH

JE said...

Speaking of the ATTACK, class was great today. It is so crazy that we were all focused on how he felt and treated his wife to get to that point. after an hour of discussion, we finally thought about how selfish it was of her to be a suicide bomber. the ending is rather sad. Its amazing how we (humans) treat one another because of selfishness and titles to possessions. This is my favorite book so far. I cant wait for the finish discussion on monday.

Mario said...

When I think of this book and in regards of the Academy I kind of think about the movie munich. In the movies Isreal (sp?) essentially uses terrorists to fight terrorists. so its hard to determine who is the good guy and who is the bad guys in the cyclist and i think that is the author's intention. By blurring the line betwee "good" and "evil" he kind of takes away the borders we use to define these people.

jtjohnson2009 said...

I like the point you make about blurring the line between good and evil. So often things are black or white, but when they are in the gray it really forces me to think differently than I am so used to.

blfreemyer said...

I agree, I think when it is a gray area It forces us to think in a different manner. From the day we are born society tells us what is good and what is bad in black and white scenarios. So when there is a gray area we must decide on our own what is right and wrong.

I think that this goes back to the cyclist when he must decide to drop off the bomb or not. He has been told that what he is doing is right and noble. When he learns he is going to be a father, his situation becomes gray; meaning that he must choose what he belives is right for his situation.

KLamm said...

This is a little off topic, but our class discussions lately have really got me thinking about the cycle of the media.

As a whole, people look to the media for truth about events, and we too often we take those truths without question. We don't consider their bias or their accuracy. Those truths become our truths and lead to our perspectives and opinions of things. They create the stereotypes we have. They create our expectations. The media becomes our educator and our source of knowledge.

For me, I feel like the media is a never-ending cycle. Events happen. We turn to the media for answers. We form our opinions based on what we're told, and we go on with our lives, never thinking twice. The cycle repeats with every new event.

I feel like this class has done an amazing job of opening my eyes to the other truths in the world.. not just the media's truth. But it scares me to think that most Americans do not have this opportunity, and too many of them just don't care. How are we, as a people, ever going to be able to be educated and create change if all we do is listen to what we are told. If we don't question and don't truly understand the facts, will things ever get better? When will we stop allowing the media to think for us and actually start thinking for ourselves?

Hopefully that made a little sense. I'm just so worried about the future of the country/world if we allow ourselves to stay so naive. The cycles that have been mentioned (terrorism, etc) are scary, and I hope one day Americans and the world will be able to break free.

op.3no.2 said...

I'm going to follow my thoughts, regardless if I ramble.
so cycles can be pointless, repetitive. terrorism as a cycle is pointless, repetitive. people like the cyclist who uphold the circle over the line are pointless, repetitive - in that with them, you can't get anywhere, perhaps? but isn't the world built on cycles? for isn't a cycle a pattern, and isn't a pattern essentially truth? With a pattern, whether complex or simple, you can predict what's to come. That's why there are books that are timeless classics - they speak of things that are true throughout human history, as long as human is human. They pick out patterns in human nature. So it follows, the world is inherently pointless, repetitive. so why bother? because it is the ultimate goal of everything with higher thought to be free of this binding cycle, this pattern, these truths - ? because then, we enter the realm of the imagination, the imagination alone. this is the ultimate point of technology - to get us free from the truths that bind and tie us down now.

Sarah Jane said...

At the end of the Cyclist, the author made it seem like there was no hope for breaking the cycle. But from looking through other things in our society...tell me if this ex. if off...for example, alcoholism, in my family we have broken the cycle...so I don't think it is fair to say that everything is a cycle that and life isn't worth living for b/c its pointless...do you think there is some hope to break the cycle of terrorism....One of you said that education was the answer. Do you think because the cyclist was educated by the Academy the novel ended with him no being able to break the cycle, or do you think that is a stretch to say. If he had gotten education from somewhere else as well would he somehow have been able to escape...I hope this makes sense, its too late!

Jiggloz said...

It seems to me that Berberian's approach to his book is one of satire. He takes on a message that is very open-ended and humorous.

When you mean escape, do you mean escape from terrorism and its ideologies?

I think the only way to escape, is to understand. And understanding seems to be a prevailing theme in the book. We see that the cyclist loves food, but its a little more complicated then simple; we dont understand from his view as much as from ours.

DTower said...

Going off what jiggloz said, understanding is a part of our humantiy that we've gotten further away from. this is apparent in the repetative nature of terrorism that feeds off action and reaction raher than intelliegnce and reason.