Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On 2011

Two years ago, I made a similar note, although that one was quite full of bullshit. This year I'm sticking mostly to chronology and vagueness, so I did not improve by far. Nonetheless bear with me here.

This year was like any other. There were the major events, graduating high school and entering college, and the small events, like meeting new friends, discovering new places, etc. Just what kind of unique beings are we? Every event of this year, I can relive in my mind, again and again, as if it was happening at this very moment. As time passes, there are fewer and fewer memories, but they are still there. This year I started to really wonder about what kind of a person I am. What will be the definition of my life? Will it be my work, my social standing? Will it be my writing? The answer I have now is likely to stay the same; my life needs to definition. It is what it is, and it will be defined by my memories, and after I’m gone, it won’t need to be defined at all. That aside, this note is about the memories I’ve made in this passing year.
Abandoning writing. I stopped writing in the earlier half of the year. I was still in high school, and things were as terrible as they could get. I cut classes, there was nothing really to do. I remember thinking that going to college will be terrible (this was at a time when everyone else was getting into private schools with scholarships, in juxtaposition with my cuny acceptance). I should have been writing but I stopped. I had a terrible teacher who needs not to be named (if anything, my memory shouldn’t be cluttered with the people I don’t like), and while she approved of my writing abilities, we had our differences that rubbed off terribly on me. I wrote a terrible short story for that class, and called it quits from there. The story was about a woman who was abused by her husband, and the husband killed himself in the end. It was a typical gothic story, written specifically for an assignment, and hastily put together. I haven’t felt that bad about my writing in a while.
Winter was also the start of my personal journal, which I once again stopped writing in. Since then I’ve used it to help me piece together my writing, and even as a scrapbook for some letters and essays. A quick look through it reminds me of some events I conveniently forgot. A rejection, ouch. Some moping about that, more moping about lack of money. Generally I feel down on any given winter, but that one was harsher than most. There were a lot of problems that seemed like a big deal then that I just didn’t realize really weren’t a big deal at all. Thank god for personal growth.
Picking up reading. Ah yes, it was this year’s spring when I took an after school class on stock evaluations. I can’t say it made me a stock broker, but the fault is my own. The man who held it was a bright man, perhaps one of the best I’ve met yet. His name was Charlie Rose. He also gave us several books to read as a side for the class, and two of them, particularly Ayn Rand’s were quite the help in getting me out of my winter blues. Egoism. Such a fascinating topic, isn’t it? I ate those two novels up like they were nothing, and thought they were the best writing I’ve ever read. The truth is harsher, but nonetheless, that is what my memory states. A particular quote from the Fountainhead stands out: “All love is exception-making,” – Gail Wynard. Time and time again, I’ve realized just how true that quote is.
Literature aside, school was already on the steady decline and I increasingly hung out with my friends afterschool, cutting quite regularly (hahaha, Mr. Aghassi), etc. It was worth it. Since then I’ve been quite lenient with any social rules, because I’ve learned that I should abide by my own rules. It’s easy to do things by the book, but it just means nothing to you in the end. I decided to do things my own way.
Ah yes, the last important thing to note; this year’s spring was my last touch with immorality and nihilism for personal gain. Or impersonal gain. It’s harder to explain than it looks. Whenever I felt down, I’d normally think about how small I am, and how the world is big and I’m insignificant. This was also the last of the winter rubbing off on me. I stopped it that spring because it just didn’t matter to me anymore. I’ve decided that in the absence of a greater purpose already bestowed upon me, I’d create one of my own. This topic was explored later on in my English class in college, to my surprise.
I graduated high school. Thank god for that, because I was finally starting to open my eyes and realize just what kind of system I was stuck in. The rules, the mind numbing paperwork, and the fact that we had an extra month of classes (all bullshit, by the way), just sitting there in order to satisfy some legislators that wanted us to get quality education, or something, was so stupid. American Education isn’t worth much, really; the only reason people go through it is the certification. I got my diploma, and that was the end of it. There isn’t much to miss in that shoddy place, and good riddance to it, really.
The remainder of summer I was physically active, hanging out with my friends regularly, until we had a confusing argument that left us all equally confused and then we stopped hanging out completely. Thank god we got over it by fall. It was a little late though, and a lot of hangouts were missed.
And back to writing again. I started working on my “novel”, just like every future writer should, and immediately figured it was the best and easiest work ever, and that I will be a writer for a living. I poured my heart into my characters, all of which were unique and meaningful, and had a double entendre at every twist and turn. And of course, by the end of summer, I stopped working on it because college was about to start and it stopped making sense to me at that point. I still passed the mark for longest work so far (by then), which was 40-something pages.
College started. Officially it started in late August but whatever. It was a lot easier than I expected and I actually had fun with every class, until winter kicked in and the seasonal affective disorder (I found the name for it!) started all over again. It’s a lot easier to study in college, and I found it even easier to ignore the fact that it was technically a continuation of high school. A little more freedom goes a long way indeed. I’ve also met a lot of new friends and got more perspective on others. For an egoist like me, it still is a bit hard to understand that other people have their own lives and aspirations. I sincerely wish all of them well, and hope they do the same for me.
My English professor lent me a book that definitely opened my eyes a bit more. It was Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as the Genealogy of Morals. To put the effect that book had on me in one sentence; if I had another life, I’d spend it doing philology. Nietzsche was a true master of philology and his perspective on the genealogy of morals is the one that I find most authentic. Combined with the readings of Rand, which I did that spring, Nietzsche, who had affected the former author to some degree, proved to be the greater man. The difference in perspective was large for one reason. Rand wanted the world to yield to her view of objectivism; Nietzsche did not. He was a victim of his time, however, for he was still greatly influenced by the dominance of religion in his era and the slow rise of science. At the same time, perhaps if he were alive today, he’d be living the usual day-to-day bullshit life that the rest of us are living, so you’d never know who was dealt the better hand. Nonetheless, he was a fascinating man.
… And Winter Again.
It’s back, although it does not really feel like it. Twenty eight days into the winter, the temperatures are still somewhat like fall. It’s only been frigidly cold on two occasions so far, so global warming (or rather, weirding), is kicking in quite rapidly. Perhaps we won’t even have winters anymore? Then again, it’s not the problem. I don’t mind the cold; it’s the lack of sunshine that gets to me. This winter break, I’m resuming writing and continuing my studies. Spring semester starts soon, and I do not want to start off on the wrong leg.
That being said, 2011 indeed seems like any other given year of my life.

What happened to you this year? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

-13- On Finals

I don't know what stress is exactly, but it's what I should be feeling right now. My psychology final is tomorrow, and it's going to bite a big chunk of out of my gpa. I'd use some imagery right now, but it's not very funny. That aside, I guess not all is lost, I'm replacing my psychology grade with my child psychology next semester (watch me tank that... :<).  Anyway, the point is, some studying needs to be done.

Study strategies for passing finals (or not):

1) Eat vigorously and without restraint. Food helps you cope with the stress of impeding failure (better view the finals as a failure, that way you don't get your hopes up only to be let down). With a full stomach, you'll be less distracted and well padded so you'll feel more comfortable sitting in your chair. (10 points)

2) Think that you're going to fail, even if you're sure you will pass. When studying, with every fact that you see, pretend you'll never remember it and fuck up because of it. Basically you're using reverse psychology to trick your subconscious into thinking its so dumb that it gets insulted and steps its game up. (40 points)

3) Take a break every ten minutes to study again. Because if you think you're actually able of sitting down and studying, you're either really smart or full of it. Either way, refrain from spending too much time on facebook, reddit, and whatever other nonsense you spend time on, during these ten minute study breaks. This way your knowledge will be fresh in your mind, and easy to remember. (20 points)

4) Sabotage your classmates. If they all fail bad enough, then your final will be graded on a curve. Proceed with this by making them study for something that is not on the final, distracting them and making them spend too much time on facebook and etc. Target the smart ones; you can count on the dumbasses to fail on their own. This is a pretty reliable plan, but only do this once, because you'll lose credibility and everyone will hate you. (30 points)

5) Secret tactic. Get a close friend with a laptop to come with you to your class, and let him wait outside. During the final, when you're stuck, write the questions on your hand, go outside, and google all the answers. Come back and profit. Only proceed with this strategy if you sit in the back and your teacher is an idiot. (0-100)

That being said, good luck to everybody and don't rely on number 5 too much

Sunday, December 11, 2011

-12- *sunday special* Let's go nuts!

 I decided that every Sunday special will be a series of somewhat illogical and probably crazy things that come on my mind from time to time. Like suggestions on what to do occasionally for fun, just when sanity gets too mundane (and it often does), and you want to make a big scene and go crazy.

Suggestion the first. On every Olympics, there should be a wild card sport. As in, some unlucky sports team that prepped for four years for one sport, gets picked for a completely different sport, for no reason. That will definitely spice things up, in my perspective. Think about how fun that would  be to watch. After all, the Olympics now are full of one sided individuals; sports athletes that are all great in their regard, but are not multi talented. Having the possibility of being picked for a completely different sport would definitely promote at least some interests in those people on trying new things.

Suggestion the second. Reinstate dueling. None of the yu gi oh, crap, allow people with guns to go and fight people with guns that they don't like. It would solve a lot of problems. Tired of listening to your professor that you hate? Duel him. If you win, you get a new professor. If you lose... well at least you're not listening to him anymore. Overpopulation would stop being a problem. So would low self esteem, although that's a stretch. I do know one thing though, if I win a duel, I suddenly will appreciate my life a lot better. No time for being depressed when things are life or death, right?

Suggestion the third. Institute a shock punishment for every time a person says that he or she is bored. At birth, everyone should have a small chip installed in their brain that causes severe pain whenever you utter the word bored. I've had enough of all the bored people in this world. If you're bored, it means you should find something better to do, not sit there and do nothing. A lot of people need to get up off their asses and go do stuff. I'm sure a little pain will go a long way to making this world a little better.

Suggestion the fourth. Once a week, every week, a family has to go outside and hunt down and kill an animal. And then eat it. Why? I'm tired of the pretentious people talking about animal rights. There are no such things as animal rights. Animal rights exist for as long as you're not hungry, and these prestigious people who don't realize where their food is coming from need to shut up and take a good look. Vegetarians are off the hook I guess, because I can't get creative enough to think about what to do with them. Then again, being vegetarian is a torture in its own way.

Suggestion the fifth. Pigeon feeding should be a crime. Every person caught feeding pigeons should be promptly escorted to a private facility where he would be attacked by people dressed up as pigeons until he swears he or she will never do it again. Repeated offenses would lead to having the person dressed up as a pigeon (in a suit he or she can't take off), for the rest of their lives.

Suggestion the sixth. One out of every two handguns should look and feel like the real thing but would instead shoot out those little flags that say bang. Why? Imagine an intense shoot out where half the guns don't work. Suddenly people don't want to fight as much, do they? It would cut every gun related crime/risk by half, and combined with the suggestion to do duels, it would also increase the chances of great stories to tell to your grand kids (of course that's a 50-50 chance. 1/4 that your gun messed up and you died, 1-4 that both guns work and you won, 1-4 that the other guy's gun messed up and you won, and 1-4 that both guns didn't work and you partied).

More suggestions on next Sunday

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

-11- On Bullying

Have you ever been bullied? Have you suffered from mean words from someone whom you couldn't hit back, from day to day, and could do nothing about it? That pain and injustice that you felt, it was felt by me as well... So let's all collectively cry out against the bullies of the world. They're just terrible terrible people and should all sit in the corner.

Just kidding. What am I, twelve? I don't understand the whole bullying issue that's so important now. You call someone stupid over the internet - cyber bullying. You get videotaped stealing someone's lunch - regular bullying. You call someone a fag, and god forbid they're gay - that's a hate crime. Now there are problems with hating people because of their sex, stealing someone's food, or calling someone stupid on the internet. But it isn't bullying. It's just being a mean bastard, and that just runs in our blood. It's not bullying that is this prevalent injustice of the world, it's a natural trait we have, that for some reason hasn't died out yet. 

I don't want to analyze bullying for now though. If I did, though, it'd come down to this. "Bullying exists because it was necessary for survival." Obviously if it didn't, there wouldn't be bullying, because as a trait it would put the person at a disadvantage for survival.

The funny thing about bullying is that both the bully, and the bullied, (Or rather person A, person B, because bully is such a kid term), are pretty much the same people. One's bigger than the other, big whoop. Collective bullying is different, but I'll get to that later. One on one bullying is rare, but collective bullying starts from one on one bullying. And I've had this case before, so let me tell you how it works.

This was elementary school, and a fat kid (oh, sorry, " an obese gentleman") named Edwin would constantly pick on me because I was skinny. It was terrible, because he wouldn't stop, and it would always ruin my day somehow. I wasn't quite the cool kid, but in general, this was a very mild case of bullying. I'd raise my hand and he'd call me a nerd or a fag, and I'd feel a little bad, throw a spitball at him. Sometimes he tried to steal my lunch, sometimes I stole his lunch right back. I guess I was a promiscuous little bastard because bullying me wouldn't be an easy challenge. I know it's not the same for everyone, but bear with me. That guy still pissed me off. And when one day, my friend told me I should just jump him, I seriously considered it. Edwin was walking down the street, or rather, rolling (which would mean that as a hater, I would be hating), and my friend and I (my friend being the considerably bigger one of the two), saw him and decided, what the hell, let's kick his ass. But then he saw us coming, and he got scared and ran. That's when I stopped. The whole point was that I was the bullied one, and I was supposed to feel scared. I didn't, because I was stupid, and thus ruined the deal. Furthermore, I made the bully scared, and that just ruined everything for me. I wasn't the bully, you know? And turning the tables isn't my thing, because I just didn't care. The point being, in one on one bullying, what matters to keep in mind is that the other person, bigger, smarter, stupider, meaner, fatter, skinnier, is still a person, and if the tables have turned, everything would be just the same. You either step away, (or run away really fast, or switch to a scooter or something), or you keep playing the game. It doesn't matter either way because you're just two kids.

In group bullying, which I've... also had, I guess, things are a little different. It's basically the same case but with two or three Edwins involved (substitute your bully's name here). But it's not just the bullies, you got the people who aren't really bullying but are just tagging along because they have nothing better to do. That's the problem though, because you never know which ones are which. Of course since there are more people involved, you're more likely to get hurt. And that really sucks, because getting hurt is a problem. Even if it's just a black eye, people will make a big deal, and it will look horrible. If it's a big deal, then you've got other problems, like bad injuries that will get more attention, and stuff. Basically group bullying comes with a whole lot of problems, and very few solutions. Mine was just to shrug it off. Fitting in wasn't really important for me (Then again, once everyone confirmed that I was the asshole, I reflexively confirmed everyone else as an asshole, so everything went downhill from there). I know it's different for other people. "I wish I was just like the other kids!" seems to be everyone's motto (which is funny, because nobody's really all that different. Yeah, everyone says that they're unique, but like... in general, not really. My experience was that group bullying gets tiring for the group. It's fun for like a few weeks, maybe they can push it for a month or so, but really, it's exhausting.

Now as for bullying, I've had that too. I was involved in group bullying actually, with my then best friend, and we bullied the retarded kid in seventh grade. It wasn't because he was really retarded (he wasn't), it was because he acted really stupid. We were playing handball, and he'd catch the ball and roof it, or throw it somewhere else. What the hell kind of a behavior was that? I wasn't into violence, but I figured there was an exception. My friend and I walked up to him, asked him politely to come with us, and kicked the shit out of him. Pretty soon after that, the exception became the rule, and whenever he did something stupid, we'd rough him up. I don't mean we hit him pretty hard, (because that's also tiring), we'd just make him feel bad. There was no taunting involved either. Coming up with clever ways to call someone a loser is also tiring (there's the pressure of repeating yourself involved). Anyway, the point is, being the bully doesn't make you the winner. In fact, now that I think back on it, I shouldn't have done it because it was just dumb. I never really apologized, nor do I really care. I did what I did, and that's the end of that. The point is, when I was a bully, i didn't feel like a winner. It just doesn't matter.

So to conclude, there's no solution to the bullying problem, partly because it's insignificant. I know some people have gotten really hurt and that's terrible, but I'm not generalizing here. What I'm saying is simple; if you think of bullying as an insignificant problem, it will become insignificant. You feed stupid people by taking their stupidity seriously, and if you just stop and think about it (and I'm sure few of us indulge in this very often), suddenly it seems different. 

If anything, there's always a last resort - provide the bully with a new target.

Monday, December 5, 2011

-10- On Mondays

Mondays are awful. Nobody likes Mondays, and I bet when mondays go to kindergarten they sit by themselves in the cafeteria. Saturdays would definitely be the cool kids; everyone loves saturdays, although maybe Friday would be more popular. Of course Friday got killed brutally by Rebecca Black, but that's not Friday's fault.

Back to Mondays though, the problem of any Monday is that it will always, always be the first day after the weekend, and thus the one that puts you as far away from the next weekend as possible. On a Monday, the average Friday seems several centuries in the future, courtesy of the horrible bosses (who are really are just venting on you because they're pissed it's a Monday), or professors (who are equally pissed at Mondays). Mondays hit you especially hard because they bring you back to the same place you were on the last Monday. You're with the same people (most of whom are usually pretty horrible), and in the same place (not much to say about that either). Furthermore, last time you saw the people you're seeing on a Monday was likely to be Friday, when they were happy and cheerful. On a Monday, you can see that they're dead inside.

What's a good way to fix Mondays? Every week, switch Monday with some other weekday. Start off the week with a Saturday, and progress onward from there. Switch Monday with Wednesday ('cause fuck Wednesdays), or something like that. Just get Mondays out of the frontlines. Mondays are the source of depressions personal and economic, the worldwide famines, orphans, obesity and diabetes. If Monday was a real person, he would be worse than Hitler.

There. That being said, today was a pretty shitty day. Guess why?

Friday, December 2, 2011

-9- The Societal Scenario

The core question that has to be answered by the founding of any society is simple: "How does one manage men." It is an unquestionable truth that in order to be in power, someone has to concede it. The rulers of any society, therefore, have to find a way to get the other people to concede. This can be done through violence, such as in ancient master slave societies, through diplomatic means, which are usually a "dagger in the cloth" kind of deals, not much differing from violence, but the best way is education.

This is not a repeat of the previous entries; instead the point here is completely different. The natural way to determine who controls whom is done by juxtaposition. Whoever is better fitted wins. Now, however, people are simultaneously taught that they are all the same, then forced to compete with each other until a greater portion is weeded out, and the ones that are left continue to maintain the system that put them at the top. If this was the gist of it, I still wouldn't mind. The problem is rather that the rest of the people who have already lost the race are then baited to work to maintain the system that put them at the bottom, with the unrealistic goal of beating the system. There is no such thing. This is not about class inequality, there never will be, nor should there be a single common class; it is the difference between classes that is the driving force of society. The problem is that people should know better than to be tricked into maintaining a system that exploits them after discarding them, for it's own sustainability.

In yesterday's example, I gave my theory on how the decision of who is in power and who is not is made between two individuals. But how does one stay in power? The answer is simple: you tell the people you control that they are free and unrestrained. Tell them that they too, can be in power if they work hard enough, and make it sound good. The people who are truly under control must never know it; very few of them will suffer knowing that their suffering is not the cause of their own mistakes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

-8- The two men scenario

To assess society as a whole, I decided to take a look at the basic interactions between people on a personal level, starting from the bare minimum, the scenario of two men. Any single person cannot have interactions with anyone but himself or his nature (although in a society, isolation is quite common). Nonetheless, what happens when any two people meet?

I apologize in advance, for I do not have enough time to give this subject enough coverage, but nonetheless, I will proceed.

First of all, I'd like to clear up one major misconception that was given to us courtesy of Thomas Jefferson. All men are not created equal. Everyone's different, and what he should have stated in this particular case was that there is no system of evaluating men to declare them different/incapable/capable. This goes hand in hand with the school entry of yesterday; since that system's whole purpose is to differentiate people (contradictory to Jefferson, no?) So with that known, at the level of two people, they will always have to be different. Even identical twins are different people, they are born with different experiences in life (although similar, they are seen through different perspectives, etc.) This will never change. No two people will ever be alike.

So knowing that, upon the initial encounter of any two different people, the result will be an automatic ranking of control. That is because between any two people, there are three possible outcomes, the first being that the first man is stronger than the second (man, in this case, stands for human, not "male"), the second being that the second and first man are equals, and the third being that the first man is weaker than the second. In this case, the definition of how one would be stronger than the other would be decided according to the time period. Without any particular society, it would likely be decided by physical strength, nowadays it is more based on intelligence and charisma. The point being is that in every interaction between people, no matter how basic, people's differences will clash and lead to a power for control, deciding which one is stronger, etc. This effect is multiplied many times over in a larger society.

What I am getting at here is that Nietzsche's will to power does not even have to be a conscious will to power; it is a natural occurrence that happens upon every interaction possible. Furthermore, this is not a primitive trait that people will outgrow; this is more of a natural mechanism that people possess in order to orient their social stature. Instead, to branch back to the previous entry, this mechanism is greatly offset by institutions such as school, by teaching people the mantra that everyone is created equal. This disturbs the orientation that people have. If everyone is created equal, how does one decide who rules, and who is ruled? And here yet again, education comes into play, teaching that there are no rulers, or people who are being ruled. Instead, it tells us, we rule ourselves. Is that truly so? If we cannot determine our social standing, and have no definite way to decide who rules, (and we definitely do not rule ourselves), there is no way to know how to define power, government, and even social classes. You can state that we do have social classes, and that is a true statement. However, that is because not only does education seek to offset the natural orientation of power, it attempts to bring in it's own.

Next entry will have more details

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

-7- Are you against school?

I decided to share an essay I had to do for an assignment. Check the citations if you're interested in John Taylor Gatto, James Bryant Conant, and etc. The latter was a fascinating individual, one praised for creating possible the worst school system ever.

Before you read, ask yourself what school means to you.

               Having graduated from a specialized high school in New York City, I have experienced the best that public schooling had to offer. Was I impressed by the knowledge I gained? Hardly. Did I enjoy the experience? No. Would I recommend this experience to others? Absolutely not. My sentiments are so common that the whole experience of going to school is naturally deemed as unpleasant and everyone agrees on it, students and teachers alike. I have never perceived this as a problem at all; I accepted that this was the way things were and that perhaps school being repulsive was just an unfortunate side effect. In the essay “Against School”, John Taylor Gatto puts forth an unusual thesis: the distaste for school is not an unfortunate side effect but in fact the whole purpose of schooling. Named one of the teachers of the year, John Gatto has experienced teaching firsthand and walked away from the experience in distaste, claiming that he did not want to harm children any further (Nielsen, 2011). How could a star teacher, having just received an award, make such a rash statement?
                One question that stands out in his essay right away is “Do we really need schooling?” It is a question hardly asked. Of course schooling needed, it is mandatory by law, is the reflexive answer. Nonetheless, Gatto presses on, “Why is it mandatory by law?” He goes on to explain, the purpose of schooling, and his research effectively reveals that the purpose of schooling is in fact to “… reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level…” This was stated by H.L. Mecken as far back as 1924. Nonetheless, this same answer is reverberated throughout all of his research. “…to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority… to make children as alike as possible…to determine the student’s proper social role…to select the managers of the system.” This repulsive evaluation is given by Alexander Inglis, who would greatly influence James Bryant Conant, who lead to the current standardized schooling system. The picture painted by Gatto resembles a mugshot of a criminal caught red-handed. It is the fault of public education, which by its industrial model continues to suppress students and make them strive to conform instead of attempting to do their best. The argument is clear.
                One of John Gatto’s most influential sources is James Conant Bryant, the man who practically made the education system what it is today. The credit for creating public high schools in the form that they exist in today goes mainly to this man. This means that I personally should be thankful to this individual for the quality of the education that I received. The overhaul of the American school system by Conant began after serving as an ambassador to West Germany in the 1950’s. This confirms Gatto’s theory that American Education was highly influenced by Germans. The element John Gatto missed, however, was a major historical factor that lead to the acceptance of the current school system. That was the Cold War, and when the American government realized it had to compete, it was willing to try Conant’s method of schooling in order to produce smart, capable youth. It was stated that “He belongs to that long line of valuable Americans who have refused to concede any contradiction between intellectual excellence and education for democracy.” (The Washington Post, 1978)
                Gatto’s argument, however well stated, is still incomplete. While it is clear that public education needs to be reinvented and that the current model is only self sustaining instead of self improving, there is no alternative. Knowing the problem is only the beginning. It is the solution that is important. John Gatto wraps up his essay with fancy rhetoric, “The solution… is simple and glorious. Let them [children] manage themselves.” This statement was interpreted by many parents as a suggestion for homeschooling, and John Gatto indeed had become a major influence for the movement (Kroeger, 1994). But this is not a solution for parents who cannot afford homeschooling. Furthermore, Gatto’s insistence that all children are geniuses and that there are no “average” children is naïve. There is no solid solution to the problem of industrialized schooling, and that is a fact. “Despite evidence that the complexity of the nations education crisis requires an array of solutions including strong curriculum standards and robust consequential accountability, the overhaul of teacher quality, revamp of curriculum and standards, expanding school choice, improving school data systems and giving parents their rightful decision-making roles in education far too many reformers are busy touting and flacking their one grand solution and dismiss others that, in their minds, don’t further their own. (Dropout Nation, 2011). This applies to Gatto, who’s suggestion of a solution is not only naïve, but also narrow minded. There is no one solution that will solve the problems of education, and homeschooling is nothing more than avoiding the problem.
                As someone who had been educated at a high school that was formulated under James Conant Bryant’s suggestions, I agree with John Gatto to an extent. He is right; the educational system will not stand up even to a brief examination. Its purpose is clear: not to educate, but to stall. As students, we weren’t learning to appreciate education; we learned only to dislike it. The only relief came from socializing with one another, and the few teachers that sympathized with us. But the argument against Gatto is just as solid; he only cries foul and has no solid suggestion at hand. The beautiful rhetoric aside, his “silver bullet” to the beast of education is a sham, because there is no such thing. A system can’t be improved in such a simple way, especially one formulated on the wrong premise. It needs to be replaced by a better one, with a completely different framework. There was only instance that stood out to me when I read this essay, “Who… is to blame? We all are.” Indeed, that is the case when it comes to education. I conceded to something I knew was wrong by showing up to school. By accepting the premises that I disagreed with, I became the one at fault. However, I do not feel any desire to change the system of education that we have today. It is not due to a lack of courage, but rather due to the fact that it wouldn’t matter. It is just the same as thinking that school sucks, without knowing why. It was just a small part of a bigger picture; the big picture was the whole educational system, according to Gatto. I don’t think that is where it all ends. If the educational system was the only problem, it would probably have been solved by now. It too, is part of a bigger picture.

[1] "James Bryant Conant." Washington Post 14 feb 1978. n.pag. LexisNexis. Database. 30 Nov 2011.
[2] RiShawn, Biddle. "Three thoughts on Education This Week: The Endless Thoughtless Pursuits of the One Silver Bullet of the ." Dropout Nation 27 Jul 2011. n.pag. LexisNexis. Database. 30 Nov 2011.
[3] Jackie, Kroeger. "Overhauling Is Urged for American Schools ." Dropout Nation 8 aug 1994. 1. LexisNexis. Database. 30 Nov 2011.
[4] Nielsen, Lisa. "I am no longer willing to hurt children - John Taylor Gatto (A Compilation)." The Innovative Educator. blogger, 18 Jan 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. <>.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

-6- On Rain

Despite rain becoming a common feature in my writing, I vehemently dislike rain. The clouds turn dark, the goddamn water is everywhere. It's in the puddles, its above me, it's in my shoes, etc. I hate riding on the subway and seeing the raindrops on every window, distorting the view outside. I dislike the way right after rain lands on me, the cold wind immediately shows up to freeze the skin where the rain landed. Rain sucks.

What I love, however, is going outside when the rain is over. The sun shines and reflects of every single raindrop on the street, making it seem like it's covered in diamonds. I like the way the puddles reflect the blue sky above and seem to be a portal into a different world. I remember passing by such a puddle and seeing a tree branch above it reflected. This was in springtime, and I could see in the clear reflection that the tree was beginning to flower. That made my day, and that is why I will always love what comes after rain.

Reading over this entry, I see that rain is just something unpleasant that I have to go through in order to get what I want. I guess it is worth tolerating, for just a little while.

Rain, I hope you leave soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

-5- Alert! Education prices go up!

My CUNY is raising tuition, and it's quite ridiculous since the quality of the education keeps going down. I understand that cunys are normally full of idiots, and that's fine because they pay for their education (which they take with them to the couch where they'll be spending the next many many years). But those of us actually interested in education are being screwed over backwards. The tuition hike isn't much... yet. 

But increasing it by 300 bucks every year for five years? My financial aid won't cover that. That will mean having to get a job to pay. Which will mean going part time, which will mean more fees, and less financial aid. More fees and less financial aid means more working, which means less education. Basically cuny is telling everyone to leave cuny. That's smart, and that's exactly what we should be doing, but... a little rude isn't it? Might as well just stop the system and call it quits.

'Here's the info in case you're interested:

Friday, November 25, 2011

-4- Let's talk Fun Stuff

The entertainment industry is very big these days. I am always skeptical of entertainment as a rule because it is giving up time that could be better used, for something not essentially valuable. Of course there is a retort that entertainment is needed for a person to stay in a good mood. I'd accept that if it applied to me, but it does not. I am naturally in a good mood; whenever in a foul mood, I sense a problem and look for ways to change it, however I do not turn to entertainment for it. Entertainment is not affordable, it does not have intrinsic value. Of course a lot of things don't have value; for example, arguably the U.S. Dollar has no value behind it (of course, this statement is heavily frowned upon, otherwise, what is it that we work for?)

Nonetheless, the question of whether or not entertainment is needed in the first place requires one to answer a simple question. What is the human being's natural mindset. If one is persistently bleak and he or she requires entertainment to get to a desired mindset, then entertainment would clearly have a purpose of keeping that person functioning. However, what if someone is naturally happy? Then entertainment loses value to that individual and becomes a social chore. Therefore, it is clear that entertainment's importance is based on the needs of the people, and can be completely useless to some. 

However, considering the vast increase in all kinds of entertainment in today's society: court shows, video games, portable apps, mmorpg, pay to play, etc, it is clear that there are very few people with a natural predisposition to happiness. At the same time, it is self explanatory; as an industry, entertainment is like a treatment to the symptoms, but not a cure. Who would want to have a society full of naturally happy people? Entertainment would lose value, and that is why the goal of entertainment is not to make a person happy and change their mindset, but temporary relief. 

That becomes even more apparent considering the recent trends in gaming. While before, one could purchase a game for a determined amount of money and enjoy it for an unlimited amount of time, now one pays for playing time, without the chance to purchase the game permanently. This is, in fact, the future of gaming, and many other industries as well. It is, after all, following the steps taken before it by television. 

So, knowing the bleak reality behind the entertainment industry, what is there that can be done? The result is simple; stop seeking enjoyment from entertainment. It is not the only source there is.

I think I will bring this topic up again in the future, just to clear some things up. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

-3- Thanksgiving Day

The Morality of Gratitude. 

Since today is Thanksgiving Day, I'll do something special. Let's discuss the whole concept of gratitude and whether there truly needs to be a "thanksgiving day". Of course any celebration in general won't stand up to an examination that is anything more than a cursory glance; so I'll focus on the concept of gratitude more. 

Gratitude in its own sense is a feeling that is not present anywhere other than society. Even the words "thank you" themselves already imply the existence of more than one person. Of course it is still possible to feel gratitude for things that don't involve people, for example feeling thankful for the great weather, happiness, etc. Nonetheless, the thesis I want to get across here is that gratitude is a social concept that did not exist in nature.

Gratitude is the concept taught to people since early childhood. "Say thank you for this." "It's the nice thing to do." If this was a concept that naturally existed within people, it would not need to be taught. In contrast, take traits that come naturally to all humans: love, hate, violence, etc. While you can be taught how to express these feelings, one never needs to be taught what they are (Unless of course, he or she pretends to not know for attention). So why would gratitude be taught to people? What's the use? Aside from the purely social perspective of making a person seem "nice", it is actually beneficial for a society to be full of gratitude. In fact; needless gratitude in itself is highly useful in order to control people.

Take for example one of the most common instances of gratitude, the "respect for one's elders". Respect in itself is something that requires to be earned; in this case one cannot earn respect for one's elders if one never encountered them. It is rather a mismatch of words because what is really implied in that statement is a gratitude towards one's elders. To state it simply: "Feel thankful to those that came before you; they're the reason you're enjoying your life today." Of course it's hard to see the problem with this statement. One's elders are the precursors to that person; thus it is only logical to understand that a great part of a person's life depends on the people that came before him or her.

The problem is that it is a part of life. There is no need to feel gratitude for what is naturally present; certainly not in the sense that other people require it. If one should feel thankful for one's elders (who are given to him naturally as a birthright), then shouldn't, by the same logic, everyone be thankful for living on earth in the first place? The planet itself is much larger and more important than a bunch of old people, isn't it? The same applies to the sun, to air, to the universe itself. If people should be thankful for what is naturally given, there are no limits to things we should feel thankful for! By that sense, one thanksgiving wouldn't be enough; every day we would need to be thankful. 

Thus gratitude in itself; at least in the sense that it is taught to others is a rather narrow topic; narrow because the people teaching it had not truly perceived what they were trying to get others to believe. While of course, I would never complain about the hypocrisy of mankind; in this case the hypocrisy of teaching one to be thankful for nonsense and omitting the great whole simply due to lack of insight, I will complain quite a lot about the lack of insight itself. People should be able to see beyond themselves, especially if they despise subjectivity as much as they preach. 

So why is it that gratitude is still being taught to others today, especially if it takes such a minuscule amount of insight to see through it's stupidity and discard that concept as meaningless? That is due to the fact that it is very easy to control people who are grateful for things that don't matter. Go back to the gratitude for one's elders example. It is not true that all of our elders deserve our respect; once again, it is a lack of insight that makes one think so. The reality is that our elders were as foolish as the rest of us, and thus deserve the same amount of respect. But, if one is grateful towards his elders (who are in reality his equals, in a sense), then he is less likely to see past their mistakes. The problem with gratitude in this sense is that it is blind; it makes one thankful for reasons one doesn't know, and thus can even make a person thankful for something that is a detrimental to him or her. 

There are many, many examples of such situations that arise time and time again. Children who are abused but won't stand up against it because they are thankful for the parents who gave them life. Societies where one cannot pursue his or her goals because it is against the values set to him by a society that he or she should appreciate (This, quite largely applies to females, does it not?). Countries that were thankful for leaders who got them out of a recession only to find out that their leader was a maniac dictator (This is quite a famous one). Time and time again, we are given examples why not to be thankful, or rather why not to be thankful foolishly. Think twice before you feel gratitude. 

On that note, I'm rather thankful for my own existence. Nothing more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 2


By far the greatest repression mechanism of society has been a lack of confidence. It is in fact so effective in deterring people, that education goes to great length to foster it greatly. And it works. Every passing day, I see young men and women my age who are not confident of themselves. To them, any form of success only reminds them of their past failures. I do not know what it's like to live with such a mindset, or how one goes about in such a repressed manner. It cannot be an easy life.

What is the mechanism that makes a person say "I will" instead of "I'll try?" What makes a person say "I know" instead of "I guess?" It's confidence, is it not?

Let me define confidence. At it's heart, it is not associated with alpha males, or anything like that. Confidence at its core is a person's ability to trust himself or herself. It has nothing to do with pride; pride comes out of confidence; it is not it's precursor. Another misconception of confidence is that it means knowing that you cannot fail. It is not so. A confident man is aware that he is as capable of failure as anyone else; he simply knows that he can overcome it. Similarly, as I mentioned yesterday, it is knowing and accepting that there is a chance for error.

A confident mindset is crucial when one lives in this world; that is why everyone tries so hard to crush it. How many children are taught to be afraid of making an error? Doesn't society shun those who err out of lack of knowledge? Those who no longer have confidence have a great excuse, they were born into it, shaped that way by their society and their loving parents. However it is only an excuse. Bear with me now, I am quite ruthless; but anyone has the ability to overcome society. A truly confident mind will overcome shame. Mentality cannot be broken; one needs a visit to any particular asylum to confirm that statement is true. It is even more so with confidence. It cannot be broken by others. It is yours to wield, and yours to discard, at any moment.

My condolences for the many people my age who have long since discarded theirs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 1

First aphorism

"Everything I perceive of the world is a reflection of myself. I must always think twice before I declare the world as unjust. Perhaps the fault is my own." 

This is a logical keystone that I come back to time and time again, and thus I felt compelled to state it on my first day. Any and all analysis conducted will never be truly objective because the mind knows what it wants to find, and is rarely pleased at being disproved. Perhaps this only applies to me; nonetheless I will still admit it. 

Before making any judgement, I always, always, have to make sure I know that the judgment is made out of conscious understanding of the difference between what is desired, and what is finalized. It is easy to make an inflammatory statement about the world. But is it easy to know that you can be wrong? It is not so for anyone; it is certainly not the case for me. Nonetheless, there is no compelling argument that can turn the wrong answer right. I have turned away from debate time and time again, because I realized that neither side would be willing to accept itself as wrong. That is not the way a conclusion can be reached. 

"Those who live by the sword, die by the sword." 

Most people don't accept that. I understand why; the concept of death, is as sickening as the concept of error, defeat. The associations have been made long before I had been born; I was raised into them. I will try to unravel as many associations that I believe are made wrongly, state my own arguments, and my convictions. I will, however, accept that I am open to error, and I will be open to new understandings, even if they are against my own convictions. 

To the days ahead, the many statements that must me made, the many discoveries and conclusions, and the many, many errors that will arise as a result. 

Cheers, and welcome to my blog.