Thursday, October 22, 2009

Query Sixteen: Human Corruption in Government

Human Corruption in Government

One of the major points that is subconsciously accepted by all people who live under a government is that the people in the government are not perfect. The thing that varies is the extent of their human corruption. While they have an oath of honor and dedication to the people, they also have other human desires that may override their oaths and promises. I'm going to discuss some of the manners in which the political figures in the U.S.A. are mainly corrupted, how it happens, and why it is allowed.

The free market allows for huge profits to be gained and maintained through less than wholesome means. This shadiness can occur in many forms, from outsourcing labor to other countries to minimize expense and maximize profit, rigorous and possibly deceitful advertising campaigns, and buying out local politicians in order to protect their profit margin. The outsourcing and cheap labor is hidden by the extravagant advertising campaigns which try to get the public's mind off of HOW it is made and more focused on how it looks and how your social status may increase if you purchase it. This sort of focus on materialism drives capitalist society and helps it thrive. The advertising campaigns also serve to appeal to the demographic that most purchases the product and to garner new demographics. Therefore they try to appeal more and more to their core demographic while trying not to alienate their other demographics. But all this is meaningless if their profits are hampered by taxes which lowers their already large profit margins. This is where human corruption comes into play.

Congressman and women can easily be bought by companies to vote for bills that would tax or prevent profiteering from less than moral means. While one would expect that some of these officials would have a backup argument in order to cover for their accepting of company money to protect company interests as opposed to their job of protecting the interests of the American people, many times these politicians use hollow vague arguments or just stay silent. Why isn't this sort of thing noticed? The fact is that much of society doesn't focus onto politics. The media focuses the youth more onto indulgence (as stated in previous articles). In a recent example, a woman was raped in her occupation working for a defense contractor, the men who gang-raped her were put in arbitration by the company, but she when returned to the US had no legal right to sue for the rape that she endured. When attempting to sue, the contractors noted that there had been an "anti-rape" clause in her contract. This spurred a piece of legislation to make companies unable to put this sort of clause in their contracts as it prevents justice from being exacted. While one would again assume this would be a unanimous yes, many of these kindhearted politicians have decided that the government should not be involved in private company contracts and disagreed to the clause, referring to the rape as an "incident" in an attempt to downplay it.

Why does this happen? Human greed. Not even the pope could escape the vices that plague mankind. But what can we do to combat human err in our government? Focus on the vices and try to eliminate them. When we notice that politicians are receiving exorbitant amounts of money from corporations, it should be fully printed in the paper of that district, and publicized so that they allegiances of these elected officials are well known. Then it is the responsibility of the informed public to vote out the corrupt and try to elect those who would be unwavered by such offers and have a genuine desire to represent their district. So who to blame who to blame? Corporations for protecting their profit margin and taking advantage of weak minded congressman and the American public. The weak-minded politicians who fall to their vices as opposed to their duty. Maybe the American Public for allowing these people to be elected.

Its a whodunit on the death of Honor in Politics. When it died? Probably when it began, but what should we be doing as a people? Allow it to continue its death throes, or try to revive it in clean manner and perfect our government so it could be the envy of the world. As of now, each corporation can pick and choose their politician by the price-tag dangling from their neck. I'll do my part to wheedle out the corruption by voting for people who I believe to be devoted, but the question is, will others follow suit?


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Query Fifteen: Perception and Actuality

Perception and Actuality

In this article I'm going to discuss my analysis of human perception and how it relates to the actuality of a situation, object, or person. The information will come simply from my observations and I implore readers to put their interpretations of this topic at hand into the comment area. First I will speak about personal views and actuality in relation to events.

If there is anything that I've learned from the massive wave of CSI, and Law and Order type shows is that witnesses, although helpful, are often unreliable. The actual situation could be a white male of average height stabbed a woman in the park while wearing a red coat. In three witness statements the suspect could change from a white man to a spanish man, a red coat to a purple coat, into a tall man or short man. A number of factors could go into the discrepencies in witness testimony such as lighting, the height of the witness in relation to the suspect and their distance. So environmental factors affect human perception of an event, but in addition it can also be mental factors. Maybe the person who saw the suspect as a spanish person learned since they were a child certain racial prejudices and thusly subconsciously brought forth the notion that the suspect was certainly spanish. This combination of environmental and mental discrepencies become far worse if the witnesses are put together to find what happened. Although they might agree on some things, some facts may be lost simply because a majority of the witnesses might convince the minority that their fact should be rethought. So human perception can taint human perception. So how can human perception be reliable? Well, when we evaluate the mentality of the person speaking we can clearly unravel the fact that the man was not spanish, but she assumed he was. In addition we can see that the old female witness is very short, so the man was tall to her but average to everyone else. In events like this, the investigators involved always take statements with a grain of salt and for good reason, because we as humans distort facts subconsciously.

Objects are static things and most would assume all people would have a definitive perception on it in relation to its actuality. In many cases this is true, but abstract art or abstract objects can quickly prove to dispel this. Things such as inkblots are used to see the thought proccess of the interpreter because in actuality its simply an inkblot, but what the interpreter distorts it into is very important to analyzing their mentality. Likewise abstract art is something different to any person who views it, which is why its beautiful. I learned that from my boyfriend, which brings us into the next point. If you can genuinely see what another person sees in the abstract portrait it means you can empathize well or you know how their thought process works (possibly without even consciously knowing how it works, mind trip huh?) In most or all cases, the abstract object or art piece is chaotic in form and in actuality and has no distinct intended form therefore ruling out a realistic view of it and automatically going into ones imagination to draw conclusions about the shapes and forms.

This is when it gets tricky, when we look at human perceptions on other humans. We've already brought the point that we subconsciously inject our views, opinions and distortions into something perceived, and when we do that to people that is what we base our views on them. We base it on ourselves, how they relate to our morals, beliefs, physical attributes and mental attributes. Another tricky part is that unlike the abstract art, we humans are a definite form, but at the same time we aren't as definitive as a stabbing or something that has happened. We are always changing our substance but our species is not abstract in the physical sense. This makes it a very big grey area between what is definitive and what is abstract and makes us as "subjects" extremely difficult to comprehend to other humans. The natural reaction is to simplify, hence generalizations and stereotypes are born. The brain automatically desires to put things into nice neat little groups which is why we are taught via the media and others stereotypes and generalizations, and also why some people accept them as fact. Of course like all things in the mind this can be combated through education and evading ignorance but it can never be fully eliminated seeing as it is a basic human coping mechanism.

The most interesting part of human perception is how it relates to the actuality of ourselves. Seeing something and repeating it with all of our filters can give away a lot about a person without them thinking twice about it. It's a fascinating, beautiful, and sometimes scary phenomena. It can mean life or death in some cases, a political rift, or a disagreement in a relationship, but with a little compassion we humans can overcome it and reach across the gaps in our dividing perceptions.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Query Fourteen: Monster or Man?

Monster or Man?

As I was reading the book "Came a Cavalier" by Frances Parkinson Keyes, it reignited a topic me and my boyfriend had mulled over in the past. The specific topic was whether the Nazi soldiers themselves were Monsters or Men? I will try to explain my point of view on this touchy subject and use context not only from this book, but from scientific evidence as to their mentalities and their context for their actions.

Before I begin with my explanations and conveyances, I would like to state that absolutely nothing these men did were acceptable and I am not sympathizing in any shape or form. This debate doesn't only touch on Nazi's but any person society would view as a "monster". What the armies did was wholly inexcusable and on that my opinion does not change. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way we can break this down. Nazi's were recruited as young men indoctrinated into a corrupt belief system. In most armies, they try to break down recruits so that they are little more than men who follow orders and do not question and in this case this is certainly true. Many can regard them as tyrants, tools of an evil power, or as even inhuman but when we take into account that they were in fact human and that if one human can be driven to do such inhumanities, any human can. Including you.

Evidence for such lies in the Milgram Experiment. The Milgram Experiment, even as unethical as it was, showed that average human beings could be instructed to do inhumane or even violent acts if ordered to by a person in perceived authority. The experiment was done as follows. There were two rolls the "teacher" and the "learner" the one being truly studied was the "teacher" which is the person who administers the painful electric shocks. The "learner" was the perceived victim and was in fact an actor. A series of question is asked to the learner and each time the learner got a question wrong, the teacher would be told to shock the victim. Each time the voltage would be increased and when and if the teacher objected to shocking the learner, the instructor would say "Please continue.", "The experiment requires that you continue", "It is absolutely essential that you continue" "You have no other choice, you must go on". If these had to be said more than four times the experiment would cease. Likewise if the shocks went to 450 volts over three times the experiment would cease. Sixty-five percent of people who did this ended the test via the 450 voltage ending. All the while the "learner" would scream in pain and near the higher voltages stop moving or speaking altogether when "shocked" indicating the person possibly was dead. Even though the person might be dying or dead, 65 percent continued because they were prompted to by an authority figure. The Milgram Experiment although controversial in its ethics proved an important point that half the time a persons personal conscience can be overrode by demands from an authority figure.

How does this fit in with Nazis? Nazis who were brainwashed since birth and although probably knew wrong from right, still did what they did because they were prompted to by a figure in authority. Of course to give all of the Nazis this sort of scape goat would be ridiculous because many of them were genuine believers in the hateful doctrine they swore to but we have to understand when we are speaking of ANY mass of people, whether a whole country, army, or continent, not everyone can be purely evil. In "Came a Cavalier", the Nazi leaders are portrayed as men who are cold and calculating and who are purely in tune with the doctrine. But when the main character Constance Galt refers to the soldiers, she doubts they even know what they are doing and notes that they have a degree of respect and care for her when ordered to protect her homestead. This of course brought my mind into the Milgram Experiment and human nature.

What about the Leaders? The leaders are the orchestrator the ones who "order the person to be shocked". I'm speaking of the countless dictators and leaders of terrorist cells that are so enthralled in their seemingly monstrous missions that they themselves truly believe that the cause they fight for is good and all who oppose are evil. Its scary and sad what harmful ideologies people can drive themselves to adopt. If we look into America, we have a bit of a history of harmful cults which ended in mass suicides. The leaders of these cults at first know its bullshit but it seems that near the middle to the end they truly believe their doctrine.

A big part of understanding human nature is understanding the vast range of human nature, from the saints to the sinners, from the humane to the inhumane, we can't gain any insight by simply blocking people and events from our mind simply because they were horrible in nature. What we should be doing is taking all of these horrid events into account as lessons and prepare ourselves because human nature dictates that we can be both tender and cruel creatures.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mind Break

For the Mind Break this month, I've chosen to exhibit some of my other work, photography mainly.

This was part of my neighborhood themed sets, this was of Ridgewood

The next is newer than that but still old.

The next two were made also on that day but have a separate theme than the area pictures. The theme is nature and duality.

Luz y Oscuridad

Joven y Viejo

The Chinatown and nature shots were done last summer, I haven't had time to really do much since. Everything has been very busy lately so I haven't had time.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Query Thirteen: Order and Chaos in Society

Order and Chaos in Society

In very general terms, governments are a social contract of exalting order to fight chaos. While many cherish the sanctuary that order provides, too much order begins to become caustic. In this article I will examine how the fight of chaos versus order is quite prevalent in society at large. In addition I will examine how a society would be if either order or chaos did not exist. I'm not intending on examining which governmental system strikes the best balance of chaos and order because I believe that all governments are created with the best of intentions, yet human imperfection tends to corrupt all forms of government.

First I'll discuss the overabundance and lack of order and how it would affect a society. We know by studying history how an overabundance of order and control would be oppressive to citizen's lives. We know that with those sort of governmental systems that value an overarching hand, and an omniscient ear, it is only a matter of time for the people to gather and rebel. These sorts of governing bodies tend to be temporary at best due to the fact that most other governments who value human rights, try to not do any business with oppressive tyrannies. A lack of order in society rarely stems from governmental choice, but from a weak government. An example of this would be Somalia where recently the pirate activity has been noticed. If this was a governmental choice, Somalian officials would put a choke hold on the illegal activity immediately, but the world knows that they do not have this option. They don't have the capitol to fund technology that would track pirate ships, nor do they have battleships to attack this. So we know that a lack of order is not exactly the governments choice.

Chaos is the real main factor in this struggle. If we have too much chaos, we delve into lawlessness and savagery, if we have too little chaos, we find our lives tightly surrounded by censors and our bodies lead by those in power. The reason we require chaos is that we like to decide our fate, we like to monitor what we consume, mentally speaking. A basic human instinct is to strive for power and control, and ironically enough, we require chaos to strive for control. This is when I remind my readers of my previous article on Polarity and its importance.

I believe that all of my articles intertwine in their basic logic and I'd like to go back to my point that polarity is necessary to human existence and thus chaos and order are also required. No order? We live savage and ruthless lives. Too much order? We don't even live our lives as much as wade through a predestined path. So all the governing bodies strive to strike a balance of freedom and limitation, all have the same goal at making society as utopic as possible for its citizens. Which is the best form of government to accommodate this struggle? That specifically is subject to individual opinion.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Query Twelve: Indulgence in the Media

Indulgence in the Media

Today I'd like to talk about Indulgence as a theme in today's media. Indulgence is known as a cardinal sin, a hedonism, and a theme that should be used sparingly. By its wayside are the themes of Idleness and Sloth. While actually indulging in the media could be considered indulgence, I will be delving a little more specifically into the sections. I've noticed Indulgence is a heavy theme in today's media, replacing things that could be intellectually stimulating.

The venue I noticed it the most in is Music. While earlier rap music focused on exposing how life really was for the artist, or how corrupt the politics were of the time, today the focus has shifted from the message the artist is trying to convey onto the actual lifestyle the artist exhibits. Indulgence and egocentrism is a main theme. I am not speaking in blanket terms because I know that there are rap artists and artists of other genres that have genuine messages, its simply that I've noticed society around me begins to surround themself with the latest brand of indulgence-centered music. The main theme is "Their life is extremely good", in their terms they sleep with a lot of women, have a lot of money, buy expensive things, and live the lavish life while people adore them. Every now and then the artist will releas a song or a lyric in the song attempting to regain street credibility, and to hardcore fans of the artist it will work. The songs aren't exactly meant to be taken seriously because in reality what straight male really wants to hear another straight male yell into a microphone about their sexual conquests and lavish lifestyle. I realize that it is moreso a fad because "everyone listens to it, it must be good." This however diminishes the amount of payoff an artist with a genuine message may make because the focus is solely on this theme.

On the Television this theme is prevalent as well. All of the shows that center around one person choosing another to "love forever" out of a group of hopeful contestants are wholly centered on the "choosers" full indulgence. It is doubtful that you will find a show like this where the main "chooser" doesn't make out with more than one of the contestants, or where the entire show doesn't fit the formula of the type of show it is. There will always be the bitch, there will always be the good girl. Why? No, not because we humans only have a few subsets of personalities, it is because the show is just that. A television show that relies on ratings and thusly the producers use a set formula that works. A formula that relies on inciting the same drama, seen season after season, with a different coat of paint. A formula that heavily relies on Indulgence. Take this theme from all of the "Reality" shows you can think of and you will have only the credits and possibly the theme song.

The printed media is no exception. With a plethora of tabloids glamorizing the indulgent lives of celebrities, and encouraging its readers to SPEND SPEND SPEND, it feeds on the peoples desire to see more and more about their favorite celebrities and the celebrities fabulous lives, and the only negative mentioned about their lives is their tragically sudden trip to rehab or their lack of undergarments. It would be a heavy loss if indulgence was eradicated as a theme from tabloids. All they would have left is a multitude of exclamation points

In general, I believe if a man from the 1800s popped up in today's world, he would literally think he was in hell due to all of the chaos we dole out in large doses. All of these examples are a poison when medicine could suffice. Intelligent programming blocked by the masses desire for the same formula of drivel year after year. But like all things I know this is cyclic and will pass. And a day will come when you can turn on the tv and an hour later, actually learn something.

Shocking isn't it?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Query Eleven: The Importance of Polarity

The Importance of Polarity

Main Entry: po·lar·i·ty

4 a : diametrical opposition b : an instance of such opposition

I've found polarity to be one of the most important forces in nearly all aspects of life and society. It provides jobs, keeps the world turning (literally), keeps math logical, keeps people happy, and keeps life itself going. Although as the nature of polarity is the instance of opposition it also causes all sorts of grief, tragedy, and trouble.

If I said I enjoyed the horrible moments in life, the tragic accidents, or deaths, you would say I would surely be lying, and would be partially true in that. But when I take a moment and think about what if all the horrible things never existed and all the opposition was not existent I wouldn't have thoughts or opinions on what is right. That is because if all that is negative was gone, there would only be positive, there would only be a universal good, and no perceived bad. There would be little to no free will as we wouldn't question what is bad and what is good because we would very well know the answer. This is why when I say I enjoy life, I can't simply sugarcoat it and say I wish the bad were all gone.

Polarity in society is what keeps society free. If polarity had no existence in society, there would not be parties, or people fighting for rights as there would be no opposition. There would be no argument, or discussion. We would just live with no opinion, because we have nothing to oppose. I believe every argument I make on this blog only lives because it has an opposing arguement. I also believe that it is ignorant and selfish if I were to herald my opinion above all other and claim all of this blog as irrefutable fact. No, what I believe is in logical arguement, if any of my readers have an arguement, I would direly enjoy to see the opposing view. Why? Because it forces me to create a new arguement, a more logical one to counteract and enables me to hone my ideals, morals, and vision of life. Without Polarity in logic, there would be no logic, only a series of facts blandly arrayed for all to consume without thought.

Polarity's ceasement in science would mean the end of all scientific pursuits and studies. Atoms, planets and chemicals rely on polarity for structure, yet all would collapse at its nonexistence. Orbit wouldn't occur, magnetic fields would wholly cease to exist. No polarity would end the north and south poles, and form a chaotic array. Polarity forms an essential ingredient to life on a biological, scientific, and practical level.

A lack of polarity would cause the media to become less striking, less attractive, and more of a recountment of what is good or right in everyones eyes. What is CNN without Fox News? It would be bland but the difference in flavors simply enhances the other. Polarity would make fueds and arguments cease to exist. No opposites and no grey area between the poles, only a similar shade of white or black. Only a lacklustre utopia or bleak dystopia. No change.

This is why I fully believe polarity is some essential part of me and my mind. I wouldn't be able to think, I wouldn't be able to overthink if there wasn't someone on the other side of the river thinking the opposite arguement of me and making it known. This is why life is fun, this is why existence is interesting. This gives life purpose and meaning, it provides life its fragility and the eventuality of death in order for us to make what we can out of our lives, and enjoy them as much as possible.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Query Ten: War and Why?

War and Why?

For as long as civilizations titled themselves into countries, they have had military forces. Be it all the men in the village wielding arrows, or all the young men in a small suburban town destined to wield assault rifles, it stems back to a some form of chaotic, violent urge we must have in humanity as a collective.

In my research, wars have evolved but have a simple frame. It goes something like this: Gain an edge over the enemy. Find what the enemy has over me. Find a weakness in the enemy. Exploit the weakness. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It sounds very bare bones, but in the midst of all of that just imagine the amount of devastation done to the citizens who most likely want no part in political rabble. The reason for this frame can be chalked up to a primal desire to be better and stronger than competition, as well as win the war for whatever reason we may have. An example would be when the french developed Tanks, the German's developed Nerve Gas, which effectively combated them. It took all of the steps infact to complete the Nerve Gas. The Germans "found out what their enemy had over them" via a network of spies, they "developed something over them" or tried to develop a large artillery rifle, and exploited their weakness. In the end, no war is won, its only postponed unit the next hotheaded leader blows the whistle.

The reasons for war can be numerous, but I personally believe it all stems from a primal urge inside of us, similar to a hive mind, where we believe violence is the absolute authority, and in some countries, the sole authority. Of course, its not always from a desire to rain down victory and absolute authority over the percieved enemy, sometimes its more.. monetary. Although it sounds cruel that people may incite wars simply to profit and prosper, I know and I am sure my readers do know that us humans are capable of things that are as cruel and horrible as you can imagine. It would not surprise me, therefore, to deduce that at least some of the major wars were triggered by a human and his desire for money.

The most saddening and interesting part to me is the fact that society accepts massive amounts of trauma done to its military. I'm not talking about actual combat as.. that is quite expected but in training, in the reserves, many people say it breaks you. It breaks you from a person, into a tool, or an animal. The typical archtype of a yelling General at the recruits is multiplied by a thousand and it causes stress on their psyche until it breaks and they disconnect, simply doing what they are told. If this is the way it is here, I shudder to think what worse actions have been dreamed up in other locales.

In the end, we can look back and call the Spartans savages for their warlike ways, and even call the Atzec cruel for their human sacrifices, but can we honestly look around and call ourselves developed simply because we have created bigger, more advanced guns, and different ways to break a person. In my eyes, history repeats itself and if you see it like I do, it has.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Query Nine: A Comparison Of Civil Rights Efforts

A Comparison of Civil Rights Efforts

I have been pondering this topic for the past few weeks and came to some interesting points which I'd like you to think about. Before I deal with the sort of ground level human perception of it all, I'd like to get the facts and the basics out of the way.

What I will be discussing specifically is a comparison between the Black Civil Rights Movement and the modern Gay Civil Rights Movement. I won't be saying which is worse than the other or trying to lighten the view of either movement, simply put, I am showing the similarities between a currently oppressed group and a previously oppressed group. Some major differences are the severity of action taken by the black civil rights activists. The action took the form of boycotting certain establishments that discriminated, sit-ins, and other form of protests. An extremist movement even took off "The Black Panthers" which to the dismay of most of the civil rights activists, took many volatile actions to achieve their goals. Currently, the gay civil rights movement employs marches, protests, petitioning city officials, and other forms of peaceful protest. The difference lies mostly in the fact that the black rights movement had more of a following, as not only did it encapsulate an entire race of people, but many white people from different regions. The magnitude created the massive spectrum that went from peaceful sit-ins, to the extremist violence.

Another difference is the reason the groups were/are oppressed. Slavery and a rabid view of racism among whites was the major theme of the time which also contributed to some of the extremism among the activists. In the current struggle, people's religious beliefs are suppressing the homosexuals legal right to marry (and receive the legal benefits related). Their reasoning for this is summed up as "They are lying and aren't homosexual" as they do not believe the behaviour is natural or scientifically speaking 'existant.' Or "It infringes upon my religious morals". This is a big difference as no white person disputed that the color of african american skin was existant or contradictory to their religious beliefs, save the KKK who used the bible to visciously attack blacks. The magnitude of the Gay Rights Movement is large but significantly lower than the Black Rights movement due to the fact that the oppression is against a group whose 'oppressed trait' is something not outwardly seen, and sometimes supressed by the holder.

I fully believe if homosexuality was scientifically proved to be a genetic/DNA factor(which in many cases it already has) and was anounced by the scientific community to be such, it would be rebuked by the oppressive movement in the same way that african american's were scoffed at when pleading for their human rights. In my blog I try to think about situations as a whole and combat my and societies ignorance with reason and logic. And I hope my readers promote the pursuit of logic and humanity, over oppression due to factors beyond control. I try not to mix my personal life into my queries but as a homosexual myself, I cannot deny the natural presence of homosexuality in my life. My body does not physically react in the same way a heterosexual body would given the stimuli of a naked woman or a naked man. That is how I view it scientifically, logically, and as a human being with compassion.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Mind Break

To give my mind a break for a month, I'll leave you with a book/movie review of an extremely good book and an extremely confusing movie if you hadn't read the book.

by George Orwell

"1984" tells the tale of a man named Winston who was born into the country of Oceania. Oceania is one of the three super-states that control the world and they are all in perpetual war with one another. Oceania and the others East Asia and Eurasia are all absolute forms of a communist government with the elimination of privacy and the instillation of a hive mind mentality into its citizens as a priority. A majority of Oceania's society is made up of the proletarians, or the poor. The second largest social group is the middle class, and the third the upper class. The most scrutinized is the middle class, and and the most liberated from government surveillance are the proletarians.

The story follows Winston, a member of the middle class, who grows continually dissatisfied with the government and its scrutiny. His character is dynamic and filled with inner monologue's which he carefully protects from being expressed outwardly as it would most certainly result in his death. As the book progresses it follows the liberation of his mind from the constraints put upon by the overarching government and his realizations of some of the rebellious thoughts. The book is extremely intimate to Winston's senses, and thus all of the details on the environment and characters are seen through his eyes and his mind. This gives the reader more of an emotional connection to the character and makes him much more dynamic.

Overall the book is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in human nature, politics, and history. The movie is excellent in its representations of the characters and scenes, nearly pinpoint to how its describes them in the book, but falls short for audiences who are not familiar with the book as it skips around a lot of material and leaves out some key connecting events between scenes.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Query Eight: The Cult of Celebrity

The Cult of Celebrity; Part deux.

In my last article I stated the mindset of the average fan of celebrities, and the phenomena of celebrities in general. In this article I'm focusing on the mindset of the actual celebrities and how their lives are affected by fame and fans.

While some celebrities use mental breakdowns, alcoholism, and drug abuse as a way to stir up the Wheel O'Controversy, many may actually break down into such states because of fame and stardom. I'll use the example of Britney Spears again. She is essentially watched 24/7 by paparazzi. When she goes to the store to get some diapers - Paparazzi. When she steps out of any vehicle - Paparazzi. When she comes in contact with sunlight, sure enough - Paparazzi. She can essentially never escape them unless she is alone. She can never go to a restaurant and have a nice date without the tabloids spreading it, she can never just live a simple life, something we take for granted. This sort of forced isolation lead her to a mental breakdown. She stated (I'm paraphrasing) "I just need privacy, its a human need" while crying. In that she is very correct, few of us can imagine stepping outside only to have a swarm of onlookers awaiting any slip, fall, statement, wrong look, violence, trip, or any sort of "newsworthy" event in Entertainment News for it to be spread across the populace. Anyone would have a mental breakdown after years upon years of this sort of fear and overexposure.

All entertainment magazines and TV shows are guilty of stealing celebrities rights to privacy from them but one media source in particular is responsible for, and is proud of, the many times they break down celebrities on Camera. It's said time and time again that TMZ reporters heckle and yell at celebrities in an attempt to garner some sort of reaction. Most of the time these people just ignore them while they make themselves look like asses, but other times the paparazzi say things that get to them a little too much. In the case of Kanye West, at first glance it may seem like he is an ass and hotheaded for hitting the paparazzi but when you take into account the amount of exposure he has all the time, and the things these people yell to celebrities to get a reaction, it makes a little more sense.

But when you think about it, it isn't the paparazzi that are always guilty. Supply and Demand. If people didn't demand so much insight into the lives of their favorite celebrities, there may be more privacy and actual happiness for these people. But instead the public hurts the very people they adore in an attempt to fulfill a somewhat selfish (albeit unknowingly selfish) admiration. I just find it very interesting how the public, including me at times, can commit such acts of pain and not even know it. It truly makes me look at my actions a little more closely.


PS: While I was looking up pictures I found that searching 'Britney Spears crying' constitutes many Entertainment Articles. It brings up the follow up question of "Why do we derive 'Entertainment' from the sadness these people feel?" It just makes me shake my head.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Query Seven: The Cult of Celebrity

The Cult of Celebrity; Part un.

My initial posting was going to be a direct article on how the media and masses effect the psyche of celebrities they adore, but I felt it was more natural to ease into this topic rather than throw my non-existent readers into cold water. What I will be discussing today is "Why do we love Celebrities?"

To understand the craze surrounding Celebrities, we need to know when this craze began. The history of such things would be around the time societies began to form. Celebrities existed in ancient civilizations, such as Socrates, Aristophanes, Plato many gaining fame from controversy (a topic I'll discuss later in this article) and their controversial philosophies. Then there is the celebrity leaders, Caesar most notably and his cadre of 'friends'. The celebrities of Roman times we don't quite hear about are the ones that are equivalent to Heidi Montag, the fading stars. These celebrities were the Gladiatorial Championships. Just to recap so all my nonexistent readers can keep up, the gladiatorial championships were basically the TV to the Roman Populace, two men went into the Colosseum with big weapons, one died, one didn't. The one who survived would have a short boost in fame until the next match. After the next match, if he won again, the fame would increase. This little cycle of short lived fame carried on until his untimely death and the fame transfers to the next brute. Now this doesn't sound anything like Heidi Montag from the onset (sadly) but it represents the sort of celebrity she is. Think about it, Gladiators provided nothing to society but barbaric nonsensical entertainment. Heidi provides nothing to society except "controversy" and drama that people are enamored with temporarily until she can provide it again. But due to Ms. Montag being a 'fading' star, her days are numbered.

Many fading stars of our day rely on controversy to stay in the headlines while the true stars, people who have provided at least something to society that is substantial, such as Britney Spears who, whether you like it or not, dominated the Pop Genre doesn't need to work the wheel of controversy for fear of slipping under the radar. Infact with Ms. Spears its quite the opposite, she can't escape the media. Fading stars normally appear on MTV, see example in parenthesis (Tila Tequilla? What happened to her? Oh yeah, faded.) The true stars are essentially the ones who leave something behind. Elvis Presley in this case is our historical equivilant to Britney Spears. Another awkward example but try to see it in more of a sociological view. They both essentially did the same function for society at large, they effected a lasting form of entertainment that society still cherishes to this day.

Whenever I am forced to see fading stars in some form or another, it makes me lose a little faith in humanity, but when I stop seeing people like Tila Tequilla on the TV, I know it is because their fifteen minutes has burnt out, it raises my faith a little. In my next article I'll discuss the price that comes attached with fame, how celebrity's must cope with the negative effects of their lifestyle and what some possible solutions may be.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Query Six: Language Barriers

Language Barriers

This topic has intrigued me greatly in life. The main reason being is that I'm in an interracial relationship and faced with a language barrier. But in this experience I learned much about human interaction and how we are faced with communicating sans lingual communication. In some ways I've actually found this to be a beautiful thing.

When people have a language barrier between them, there is mostly a sense of tension and awkwardness, but like many other things, this is dependent on the situation. Let's say Flora, a Spanish speaking person, who only speaks Spanish and Donna, an English speaking person who only speaks English are put into a few situations. First situation is a workers strike, and picketing at the workplace where they work. Both people are early and forced to communicate and although awkward, form a bond that follows throughout the entire protest. Although its superficial from an outside perspective, the fact is, these two people, these two strangers formed a common bond without speech. The common bond being their similar feelings towards working conditions and their outrage. Another situation could be Donna meeting her mother in law, Flora for the first time. Although what Donna says might not really effect Flora's first impression, what is impressed is EVERYTHING Donna does. When people cannot rely on what other people say for an opinion, they resort to visual cues such as appearance and body language. An example would be, lets say, Donna walks in with ratty hair, lights a cigarette on Flora's Lady of Guadalupe candle, and eats the food loudly with her mouth open. It doesn't require a knowledge of Donna's words to figure out she's trashy.

While these sort of everyday situations wouldn't normally be considered beautiful, I simply find it amazing how humans have the power to transfer ideas, emotions, similarities, and even things they may not want to communicate to others, while being completely disconnected verbally.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Query Five: Life and Accomplishments

Life and Accomplishments

As I graduate highschool, everyone asks "Are you thinking about the future?" and always I respond "Yes, of course." In reality, I'm always thinking about the future, which is what brought this topic on, Life and Accomplishments. Graduation is the time when students get realistic about their future, they wonder if they will try and be a famous singer, chemist, hair salon owner, or movie star. Some expectations are too low, others can be unrealistic. The overarching fact remains, you can't accomplish everything.

The phrase "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" is relevant here because I realized, I'm not going to accomplish everything there is, I won't experience everything there is to experience. Some overworking multitaskers can accomplish a lot but they can't accomplish everything. Nobody has won every single award in an award show, and no one ever will. To bring the topic back down to earth and out of the lofty clouds where my mind normally is (Daydreaming/Zoning out thinking). The deal is this I'm comfortable with pursueing what I am passionate about, such as Psychology and Literature, but I also know if I try to master both fields, accrediations and all that, I won't be able to say, act on stage, or sing in an opera, or even become a curator. It's not that I want to accomplish all of those things, its just the fact that I myself won't be able to feel that walk of life.

If we break this idea down into sensory experiences, it becomes a whole lot simpler. As humans, we will never feel the way a bird does during flight, or the jolt of energy that springs through a dog as he sees a squirrel. We can feel like a flying bird if we hang glide, but we will never feel the same feeling it feels. The fact of the matter is, we won't ever be able to experience or accomplish everything in life, and the truth is, we don't need to. This article isn't to say, "Lower your expectations." It's just to say, follow what you are truly passionate about, master it, and enjoy it for your life. Someone who is a Jack of All Trades, Master of None, can never enjoy a painting the way Degas did, or enjoy the intricacies of a chemical formula the way a chemist may. Set your sights high, but make sure you follow it to the end or you just may end up regretting it.

Then there comes the people who set their sights too low. If you decide to have a simple farm life, own a farm, manage it, that is fine if its truly what you want out of life. If you decide to own a hair salon, because you don't think college is "for you" or your undecided about the future, you have made a mistake. Years will pass by, and here is where the problem is, you'll get bored of it. You'll feel like your life is going absolutely nowhere and you will become miserable inside, and by then you will feel like it's too late. If you truly have a knack for hair styling, go to become a proffessional hair stylist, open up more than one store if the first one shoots off, take your trade and master it.

Enjoy life, and be passionate.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mind Break

I haven't updated in awhile but.. I have done a bit that may be of interest if you think on it. Some poetry if you will.


When you walk in a crowded metro,
and your eye spies the floor.
It causes ones mind to question,
"How many have stepped where I have,
and what makes my footstep any different?"

When fumbling through the path of life,
and your eye spies the phase unfold.
It causes ones mind to question,
"How many have stepped where I have,
and what makes my footstep any different?"

And as you walk to your train or booth,
you walk a path, a path walked by no other.
For as you step, by law of human nature,
the path you walk is irregular, and like no other.

And as you walk through phases of life,
you walk a path, a path walked by no other.
For as you live, by law of human nature,
the life you lead is unique, and like no other.

Never will the man smoking across from you know,
the sequence of flavors in life you taste.

Nor will anyone, walk the path you walk.

Whispered through chains

I am but the ticking of the clock,
wrists shackled to ever moving hands.
The cyclic nature of my day,
leaves no time for family nor play.
As towers loom in grids of grey,
I'm lead by chains - never astray.

I am but the crying of a child,
wrists shackled to tiny hands outstretched.
The chaotic shrieks, like fires, I douse;
waiting on needles up till they rouse.
Hiding my tears from a distant spouse,
my prison lies inside this house.

We are but a set of needs,
wrists shackled to our mortality.
Why do we compound these chains, I wonder;
They strike within, these pangs of stress,
we lose ourselves in mountains of chains,
succumbing daily to human pains.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Query Four: Rationality and Today's World

Rationality and Today's World; Part Un

Due to the broad nature of this topic, I will split them into parts, most likely covering other queries between this series. The rationality I would like to discuss today is in Relationships.

In many high school relationships, there are many landmines and tripwires waiting to blow the relationship to smithereens. This is due to the relative inexperience, immaturity, or expectations and ideals of both people. The initial question is how does this topic relate to Rationality. Rationality dictates what is logical as in "I am cold. The wind coming through the open window makes me cold. I do not want to be cold. I will close the window." That sort of simplified logic is basically rationality.

Now the question becomes, where do the booby traps start? I say they start from the beginning. In the beginning both partners have different expectations. There are a few different possibilities. For the male there is "I want a long term relationship" or "I want a short term fling" and the same applies for women. But many women and some men, when desiring a long term relationship in high school, they say a few warning phrases "I want to be with you forever" or "Cindy And Bryce 4 eva" and call each other husband and wife in a 'cutsey' way. Although all this is kind of cute in a naive' sort of way, what it does is it has the opportunity to create problems. If the other person in the relationship hears this and doesnt feel the same way, they may begin to fear such a committment at such a young age, likewise if both people feel similarly, one may begin to smother the other, thus causing the other to regret the committment they have made.

High School breakups are equally a mess as the problems within the said relationships. Common reasons for it to occur are namely cheating (from fear of committment or desire to have 'flings'), smothering, and unrealistic expectations (Expecting that a couple should never fight or argue, for example) among other things.

The connection to rationality of course is, its unrational to enter a relationship and expect to be together forever. The expectation when entering should be "Let me learn about this person" it should develop into "Let us learn to love one another" and eventually "Let me live my life with this person." Delving straight into a lifelong committment is a recipe for disaster, easing into it with gradual development and learning about the person is the simplest, most beautiful, and by far most rational way of doing it.

The barebones fact of the matter is, in High School and sometimes college, youths are still experiencing and learning how to do things. They learn what sort of things do and don't work in relationships, friendships or in life. So all of these mistakes they make in high school, it benefits them towards learning a more rational way of seeking dates. While some do get stunted in their maturity level and may live their entire life dating in the most irrational way, many wise up later and learn to love rationally.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Query Three: Reaction to "Truth is Beauty, Beauty is Truth"

Reaction to: "Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty"

Recently in my English class the teacher went through this query. The query was for us to respond to, explain our views on, and dissect the phrase "Beauty is Truth and Truth is Beauty". I found the classroom banter to be very interesting (for once) so I made a mental note of this.

We first dissect the first phrase, "Beauty is Truth". In some ways I believe this phrase is correct. If you see some beautiful woman or man, you know they are beautiful, at least outwardly. That would then be a fact in your mind because "Beauty is in the eye of beholder". We all have a different definition of beauty and if the certain person fits the bill, then it is a fact that they are beautiful to the person who finds them beautiful. All this refers to is physical however, deep down the person could be a murderer of kittens or harbor fetishes towards Sea-Faring ships, which would drastically make them "Not Beautiful" in regards to their personality, habits, or lifestyle. In addition, the obsession with vanity in the world leads to things such as Makeup or Plastic Surgery which can mask former 'Unbeauty' and create 'Beauty'. The reality of their produced beauty can be debated. Some may say the fact that you mask the reality of the person, it would be deceptive. But if we continue to take a very present and literal look once again, the arguement of "If person A finds this look to be beautiful and person B changes their features (via makeup/surgery) they become appealing to Person A and thusly become 'Beautiful' in their eyes" This sort of literal ideal creates a very true, yet obvious statement.

The statement of "Truth is Beauty" also creates some arguements. To say that all of the truth is beautiful could be found wrong in that A woman finding out her daughter died in a car accident would not be considered a Beautiful Truth. And the phrase "The Ugly Truth" could also contradict that statement. Other arguements could be said for the fact that, just the fact that the woman knows, and is possibly at peace with, the finality of her daughters fate could be considered beautiful. But as an overall statement it withstands a bit because if the girl simply went missing, the truth would be beautiful to the mother regardless for the peace of mind it brings.

In conclusion, this is one of those statements that aren't meant to have a definitive true or false answer, but are meant to be dissected, learned from, and observed in daily life. Normally I stray from blanket statements, unless they are the ones that make me think.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Query Two: Motivation of Today's Youth

Motivation of Today's Youth

A common fact is that as a youth, a person has more neurons which means it is easier to accept and store information. In simpler terms, when people refer to "Impressionable Youth" they are quite correct. So when the variety of influences, such as the media, the condition of their quality of life, the state of their loved ones and their lives, factor into the mind of a youth, it creates varying, sometimes intersecting motivations in life.

The first issue is one of the largest forms of influence that affects the most amount of people, the Media. The Media affects not only one social class but all. So the most amount of today (and yesterday)'s youth are affected by what they see on channels like MTV, Comedy Central, or the evening news. The problem lies the TV executives need ratings, and to get ratings they have to give the public what they want but not what would have the best effect on their aspirations. So what you get is Maury finding out if the man is the father or not, as opposed to Maury helping them emotionally to grow and have better dating/sex habits. In addition you get The "Real" World and other sorts of shows with shocking drama that influences the youth. And each season of these types of shows its the same formula of controversy with different names. "What will happen when we pair the flaming homosexual with a strictly christian bodybuilder with anger issues for an activity challenge!? Or will Kendra's love triangle take a dip when she gets shitfaced at a local nightclub with Miguel and Toby!?" Everyone knows the answer, but they still watch it anyway because its action that they don't have in their life or want to see happen to others.

All of this equates to a mass influence of youth that actually fuels itself. By promoting the drinking, the promiscuity, and uninhibited actions, they are fueling their ratings.

The news channels aren't at all an exception, sensationalist journalism is just this. "Violence! Cute puppies in tuxedos! Spring break in Cancun gone awry!! 49 dead!!!" Its not that news promotes negative motivation, but it doesn't do much to report all newsworthy events, because after all it relies on ratings as well.

Other factors that affect motivation in youth are their quality of life, and how they are raised. If a child is raised and told that they will be a failure, they will either be motivated to grow from the label, but many times may in fact grow into it and fully believe they are a failure.

Of course many youths take a different route and as they grow they mature and motivate themselves positively which is based on maturity level, I believe. My prediction is that as people continue to intake all of the sensationalism, MTV "Reality" and the rash of "Reality Shows" they will eventually see the redundancy in 'The Real World: 120th season!", the ratings will dip, and they will be forced to put out new concepts.

Therefore the toxicity invading the motivation of today's youth will most likely be remedied through time. Or it may get worse if the next "Reality" Show sort of concept is worse. Regardless, people will change as they always have, hopefully for the better.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Query One: Who am I?

Who am I?

A question that has become cliche', lost, then cliche' again. Regardless of the cliche' factor, it still remains a question many can't answer simply. Some say "I am a collection of all the actions I have done in the past or experienced until now" I can't quite agree with that because if someone, lets say, forgets to pick up the evening newspaper one day, it doesn't define 'Who they are' two years from then.

Other actions or events such as a womans daughter being put into the hospital after a near death illness would be considered Definitive Actions (or Defining Moments) and thusly would be significant to how the person thinks and reacts to life far past the event itself.

In my opinion a person is exactly who they are now. The definitive actions in their past help shape their thoughts, reactions, ideals, and their entire mentality. You are not who you were two years ago, not even one year ago, maybe not even a month ago. It is all based on how we change as humans. Our thoughts consistantly add new information and get rid of old. This sets up the mentality we have right now. This sort of ever changing answer is exactly why many can't answer the question.

Feel free to post your thoughts, input always stirs good insight.


Cogito, ergo sum

"I think, therefore I am." This is the phrase that truly has been the beginning and end of many of my thoughts. Thoughts ranging from life, to politics, to the phenomena around me. Thoughts of others, thoughts of nature, and thoughts of science.

All these thoughts intermingle and create a myriad of opinions and.. more thoughts. But it also poses questions.

This blog is for me to explain my answer to the questions of life, and to hear others views. And so it begins..