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