Tuesday, May 14. 2013
For those few of you who haven’t read the first chapter of Outliers yet, here it is.
Now, time for your last “normal” blog. It’s been a good run...
And loved ones that died still survive with no pain
And I’d lose if it all went away
Just how do I begin to explain?...
By the way, your way or my way’s OK,
‘Cause either way, you don’t have a name
It’s the moment that won’t let you down,
The place you go when there’s no one around,
The taste you know when the tears touch your mouth –
Would you think?
Would you seek?
Would you find?
I know you tend to complicate
Every choice you make,
Oh, please don’t lose something so beautiful
It’s very lovely,
But who am I to stay
In this world that I made?
And I knew when you went, went away,
Yeah, I knew ‘cause you whispered my name
And said you loved me –
But how could I ever explain
such a thing?
It’s the moment you open your eyes
While you think that they’re all still alive
‘Til the taste of the tears will remind
What you feel
What you’d feared
What you’d find
It’s the moment that won’t let you down,
It’s your scream when you can’t make a sound,
It’s all you see with the tears rolling down,
It’s what you think
What you fear
But you know
You will find
And know that it’s always around,
Know that it’s always around,
And I know it’s always around…
1. I Know You Tend to Complicate Every Choice You Make
Who am I? How did I come into the world? Why was I not consulted?
There seems to be a simple either-or proposition when it comes to free will: Either we have it, or we don’t. But that either/or leads to a bunch of questions that are difficult to answer: Can our control over our own choices, and the judgment we exercise in determining which choices to make, be trusted? Can that control be superseded by something else – a deity, a human influence, etc. – to a degree that leaves you less than free? If we don’t have control over our actions – if you have a destiny written somewhere in the stars, Romeo and Juliet-style – is it possible for you to “fail”…or are you merely finishing sequences and processes that were always meant to unfold that way? Can you still be “creative”? Can your actions still matter or carry some greater meaning?
Really, all of these questions serve as a means for students to approach a different problem: the degree to which our sense of choice and self-control affects our belief in the significance of the lives we lead.
If I may offer the following presumption, it seems that most of you subscribe to each of the following credos:
Actions must have consequences in order to be meaningful.
Choice must exist in order for life to be meaningful.
I’m sure there are some of you who disagree. Perhaps you think Pinocchio’s dreams of real-boyhood were misguided, and that he still could’ve led a meaningful-enough existence as an animated (in every sense of the word) puppet. Perhaps you think an action that accomplishes nothing – neither success nor failure – still holds significance. Judging from your Baseline assignments, though, I think I’m safe in assuming the majority of my readership nodded at both bold statements.
OK. Then, if I may continue presuming why choice and consequence lead to meaning:
Choices matter insofar as they lead to consequences.
And that leads to the last bit:
In order to lead a meaningful life, human beings need to be able to make choices so they can have the chance to earn or avoid desired/feared outcomes.
Still with me? Good. Because that means:
Human beings will suffer when they cannot make choices, or when their choices have no discernible consequences, because they are being denied the chance to earn or avoid desired/feared outcomes – the chance to shape their lives.
In order to be fully human, must one have the chance to shape one’s life?
If we’re here for a purpose, do we have any say in what that purpose can be?
If we’re not here for a purpose, can we acquire one?
And in either case…can we be more than we were meant to be?
What are we doing here?
In the past, I’ve asked my classes whether they thought it would be worthwhile to keep flossing one’s teeth if a person knew he’d be dead within three weeks. (The general consensus was that people would keep flossing because, regardless of its now-irrelevant long-term benefits, no one wants to die with a mouth full of gross teeth.) But a spin-off question’s still worth asking: if you don’t feel like you’re in control of your ultimate destiny, why would you look both ways before crossing a street?
The flossing question is a way to check how you respond to a change in your consequences. We mainly floss because we’re investing in our teeth for the long term; if you have no future, why continue taking actions you once took to maintain it?
The look-both-ways scenario turns that on its head: if you don’t feel your choices affect your future, why bother trying to make choices, plans, etc. at all?
I’m fascinated by how much meaning we assign to the things we choose, or the things that stem from our ability to make choices. Take the “creative in the face of destiny” question above. Someone who simply paints what they’re assigned is likely to be perceived negatively – as shallow, perhaps, or unoriginal, mercenary, or (at best) merely competent. We respect the creative painter far more because he/she realizes a vision without being controlled or ordered to do so. It’s risky to reveal a part of yourself that way, and riskier still to leave behind the safe confines of the pre-drawn lines for the possibility of greater success or actual failure. When they succeed – wait for it – it feels significant, like it mattered not just that they did what they did on their own, but that it mattered because they did it that way.
This is why it’s a bit tough to view Winston too harshly after he betrays Julia. We understand (at an abstract level) why Winston did what he did: it was the only possibility available. Doing A when B is impossible isn’t a choice. The painter cannot paint outside the lines when the entire canvas lies within their boundaries; we wouldn’t deem him shallow for painting inside them under such circumstances because we’d understand that on a fundamental level, it isn’t up to him. And because he doesn’t choose, he can’t “earn” the consequences that stem from his actions. (It also helps that Winston doesn’t benefit from said actions, at least not beyond having rodents burrow through his face.) We readers, being powerless to save him, sympathize with his powerlessness.
At how many turns is Winston controlled? How thoroughly is the Party manipulating him? How can his quest be meaningful when it’s futile almost by design? Can we really say he failed when success was never possible?
The Party seeks to change the rules of the “chess game,” to remove risk and (in turn) the possibility of its own defeat. In doing so, it seeks to remove the potential source of each – i.e. the citizens’ ability to make choices and think critically. When students in past classes wrote essays about whether the Party was likely to fall, that systematic elimination was one of the main reasons most of them believed it would reign forever: it didn’t seem like the people under its “spread” had a say in the matter anymore.
Without choice, Winston’s search for something more looks even more futile. Not only was he “doomed to fail,” but he was “doomed to start” as well. He fancied himself a bishop, skirting along the edge of danger, when he actually served as more of a knight, directed by fake books and others’ wills. Either way, he lacks that thing people crave – choice, free will, the power to choose the direction that one moves across the world of the chessboard.
The reason some throw up their hands at the end of the book is that the whole situation seems so hopeless. At first blush, the book seems to suggest that it doesn’t matter whether you live virtuously or terribly – that your life will take on the shape that the Party demands for you, particularly provided you possess certain desirable qualities.
That’s why we’re rooting for Winston, especially in Part One: we want the decision to live virtuously to matter. We want the free thinker to beat the insane forces arrayed against him. We want the defender of humanity – of human freedom – to vanquish those who would corrupt such a concept forever.
It’s not a matter of cogito, ergo sum – I think, therefore I am. Winston’s human to us not just because he thinks, but because, for a time, he seems to be choosing. He acknowledges “fate” without surrendering to it, and he’s hollow at the end because of that surrender – because he loses his ability to choose. The fate that forces greater than himself arranged applied itself to him in the end.
And so we ask ourselves, once again: Can we still be human if we can’t make choices?
2. But How Could I Ever Explain Such a Thing?
We are all born originals. Why is it so many of us die copies?
Everything I’ve written to this point would seem either incomprehensible or absurd to a citizen of Huxley’s World State. Significance? Choice? Who on Earth cares? Neither of those things are required to get our endorphins flowing. Bust out the soma and enjoy the holiday.
You recoil from this – that is, Huxley sincerely hopes you do – because you’ve been raised, conditioned, etc. to explicitly link significance and happiness. You aren’t supposed to find your greatest happiness in video games because, well, that’s not real life. (Work with me here.) You’re supposed to find happiness in the moments when you read and you’re pierced, when you explore long enough to find something beautiful that no one else has seen, when you accomplish something of great value to our larger society. In other words, you’re supposed to be happy when you make “good” choices and earn “good” outcomes.
The reason you deserve to be happy in the above scenario, of course, is because everything could’ve gone pear-shaped for you. You could’ve missed the good part of the book. You could’ve fallen off a cliff while exploring. Your invention, potentially so useful to society, could reward all of your toil and effort by promptly combusting during its trial run. Your choices could’ve led to bad outcomes. But they didn’t. You exposed all that was mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dared, and you earned the right outcomes anyway.
This is John’s argument in a nutshell: success needs the possibility of failure in order to matter, just as surely as flight requires gravity’s presence in order to be worthy of wonder and astonishment.
In some ways, this is also The Fountain’s argument, although I’d argue its message (at least as far as I understand it) is a little more complicated. Life matters when death matters. To defeat death, or to do what’s necessary to defeat it, necessitates the loss of everything that would’ve made that longer life worth living. It’s no fun to live a few extra centuries if all you get to do is eat tree bark and miss your dead wife.
We’re subject to these huge forces we don’t even really understand, let alone master well enough to control – love, death, and everything else. Those forces become the background for all the other moments along the way, and that background’s ultimately pretty useful. Chase immortal love when nobody can die, and it doesn’t really matter. Do it in the face of eventual death, however, and you have something beautiful – doomed, sure, but beautiful.
For the way to love anything is to realize that it will be lost.
That said, there’s a difference between realizing something will be lost and leaving yourself unable to recognize what you have in the moment.
This is Tommy Creo’s main problem. He can’t forget his wife is dying long enough to love her while she’s living. Nothing she does to remind him, from writing The Fountain to yanking him into a bathtub, proves to be enough. By the end, she’s just as much a problem to be solved as flesh-and-blood human being; as she wrote, “all he saw was death” when he looked at her.
The things we can control coexist with the things we can’t. We try our best to preserve the things we care about. We try building stable families, healthy relationships, satisfying livelihoods, accurate and far-spanning memories. We search for someone to keep our names somewhere safe, someone who will never let us go.
But when Tommy goes head-to-head with Izzi’s cancer, he’s forced to confront something that’s far stronger than himself, a power that threatens to rip away and tear apart everything he loves.
He loses his wedding ring – the very thing you wear to swear that you will never let someone go.
And Izzi dies.
In the wake of her passing, there’s that horrible, gut-wrenching scene where Tommy starts tattooing a ring in place of his missing one. The blood – well, the puncturing – is usually what freaks everyone out when they see that scene for the first time. I’ve seen the film often enough to know when it’s coming, so I can brace myself enough to handle it. I can give myself enough distance to consider the actual meaning of the scene when I’m not squirming in my seat.
Why is he tattooing himself?
Well, obviously, the ring’s gone. The bond it represented? “‘Til Death Do Us Part?” The female half of that bond has died. He’s been parted with.
But he doesn’t want to let go. He etches something permanent where that surprisingly delicate bond once existed. In doing so, of course, he only replaces his memories of her with pain – replaces the beautiful bond with its dark, poisoned cousin.
As he does this, Jackman just sobs. (In that moment, I think it’s virtually impossible to forget you’re watching someone act.) He drops his hands to his side and weeps, weak and powerless.
He’s lost her.
Later, we flash to him holding the tree, apologizing to it: We almost made it. I tried. I’m sorry.
Izzi reappears. He reaches his epiphany.
And Izzi tells him: Together we will live forever.
Not in the moments that lie ahead: in the moments that lay before.
No matter how obsessively the Party states that the past doesn’t exist, the mere fact that it feels the need to eradicate its signifiers reveals the truth – just as its dismissal of the proles conceals a fear it can’t bring itself to contemplate.
As we move through our lives, our pasts do not disappear. Those moments, having slipped safely into the beyond, cannot be changed. They will always exist.
We can only live in the present.
Tommy tells Izzi: I want you to be with me.
But memories let us tap into the infinite.
Izzi tells Tommy: I am with you. I’ll always be with you.
And he eventually frees himself from his misery, his pain, his grief. Obviously, it’ll always hurt. That’s something he can’t control, something subject to time (another one of those bigger-than-us forces). But he starts to move forward again, and in choosing to do so releases death’s hold on his life for a time.
Tommy ends the movie by saying goodbye. But he only can after he learns the difference between letting go and…well, letting go.
The things we can control matter because they coexist with the things we can’t.
And we find significance in the things we control because we cannot control everything.
But what we forget, all too often, is that we can control more than we recognize. Just not alone.
Choice matters. Free will matters. But connection matters just as much.
In 1984, O’Brien’s fond of this horrid comparison that equates humans and societies to cells and organs. The organ doesn’t fail, he says, if one cell dies. He does this in order to highlight individual man’s disposability; because you are indistinguishable from every other part of the whole, you can be lost without consequence, and no one will mourn your passing.
In Brave New World, Huxley’s characters similarly refer to themselves as parts of a larger social body. There, the idea is that individuality disrupts harmony; the members of the five pre-set classes work in sync to keep society humming along. It’s not so much that you’re indistinct within society as much as you’re indistinct within your group – an Alpha’s an Alpha, etc. But Huxley’s gist is the same as Orwell’s.
It’s easy to reject those messages; they aren’t said by those we’re given to trust as wise. But their essential reprehensibility masks something larger – something worth considering.
Why is the World State so stable? Simply put, all the conditioning in the world can’t lead to the State unless a lot of people are subject to it. Similarly, why can’t the Party bear to conceive of the proles as a legitimate threat? Because, were they roused to anger, there are so many of them that they represent an impossibly strong force.
“There’s strength in numbers” probably doesn’t qualify as one of the ten most profound things you’ve learned this semester. But look at how many ways it’s quietly reinforced. Phiona flies to Sudan, then to Russia, with her teammates and coach, and does so at the behest of a chess federation. Alone, she’s stuck walking for hours just to find water that’s not polluted by the waste the comparatively better-off neighboring settlement dumps into the slum.
None of Harper High’s students died during This American Life’s time on their campus, as difficult as that is to believe…until you recognize the sheer kaleidoscopic scope of the staff struggling to keep those children safe. Look, a football team composed mostly of members from a gang that shot a child twenty-four hours earlier played a game in the heart of a conflict-torn neighborhood without incident. Do you really think that happens without those adults mobilizing in force?
An individual, acting alone, is ultimately limited in what he or she can accomplish, just as an individual cell in your lung cannot serve the function of a lung. Get enough of those cells to act in concert? Watch them turn the very air – something that’s already there but invisible – into the force that sustains your life.
But that’s the key difference between cells and individuals. Cells do not choose. Individuals do.
And sometimes, when individuals make choices, they don’t choose well.
Sometimes they dump their waste and move along, heedless of the consequences their actions sow.
3. ‘Cause Either Way, You Don’t Have a Name
Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.
The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve been told and not told. You’ve been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way. But I’m not. If you’re going to have decent lives, then you’ve got to know and know properly. None of you will go to America, none of you will be film stars. And none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you was created to do. You’re not like the actors you watch on your videos, you’re not even like me. You were brought into this world for a purpose, and your futures, all of them, have been decided. So you’re not to talk that way anymore. You’ll be leaving Hailsham before long, and it’s not so far off, the day you’ll be preparing for your first donations. You need to remember that. If you’re to have decent lives, you have to know who you are and what lies ahead of you, every one of you.
How would you live if you had no future?
Would you still hold out hope?
If you live in Canada and have a child in November, will you let him dream of an athletic future?
How would you live if you were Phiona?
Would you still hold out hope?
When one discovers that the Hailsham students are essentially walking cadavers, beings grown specifically to be carved up in as many sessions as they can handle, one can't help but feel horrified. I hated that I guessed exactly what was going on, and not just because The Island blatantly ripped off this concept a little more than a year after the novel's official publication. I kept hoping I was wrong, that the Hailsham kids were special for another reason, that it wasn’t conceivable that we could do these things. Nope.
But I wasn’t just upset because I realized these characters I had already grown to like – or, in Ruth’s case, at least became interested in – were doomed. Humans die. I get it. I was more affected by the way Miss Lucy just dashes their dreams. You’re left thinking the kids were stupid to have those dreams in the first place, that they were stupid to feel hopeful about an impossible future.
That’s what makes me feel most awful.
It’s not difficult to see ourselves in the Hailsham kids – the way they search for the meaning of their existence in a world that won’t give them answers, the way they struggle with emotions that seem bigger than themselves, the way they fill the spaces between their words with a thousand unsaid messages.
It’s harder to see ourselves in someone like Phiona, whose future’s essentially just as closed off as Kathy’s. Chess prodigy or not, what are the chances that she ever leaves Katwe? How can you read that eerie passage near the end of the article, where Tim Crothers, having mentioned that Phiona’s father succumbed to AIDS, points out that Phiona’s mother is a) constantly sick and b) refuses to be tested for HIV out of fear, and not ask yourself the following: given her family history, what are the chances that Phiona – who also has never been tested – already has contracted HIV?
Phiona plays a game where experts can feel they have complete control. It’s a game of patience and strategy, of constantly looking into the future and making a more advantageous one for yourself.
Is it any wonder, then, that such a game provides such a relief from a life where such maneuvers don’t seem possible, where looking to one’s future means looking at one’s grave?
How can Phiona hope for a better future without being any more delusional than the Hailsham student who wants to go to America?
Usually, the terrible things Baker references – the things Ishiguro reveals a third of the way into his story – aren’t really individual choices. Oh, to be sure, they stem from individual choice. Genocides can’t occur without a lot of people making the individual decision to commit this or that atrocity. But no one person can commit a genocide; such an action takes the complicity of thousands. And usually, that complicity is silent – less chosen than automatic, less considered than ignored.
We know situations like Phiona’s exist, and we recognize that people are the ones who suffer in them. We’ve been told.
Yet we haven’t been.
It’s virtually impossible to live as we do without forgetting about the strife that others face. We’re told, but we’re not told, about the lives of others; we’re told about them in ways that keep us from associating statistics with living, breathing humans.
But that disassociation’s dishonest. People are dying horribly in Katwe. People suffer even in fictional places like Oceania and Hailsham. And people suffer today, in our country, our cities, our schools, sometimes for reasons as artificially arbitrary as school funding formulas or selection criteria that prize birth dates.
4. It’s the Moment You Open Your Eyes While You Think That They’re All Still Alive
All things are possible once enough human beings realize that everything is at stake.
o. __ Hope is worth preserving, even if it requires ignoring the truth, if one needs it in order to endure hardship.
Calluses form on one’s skin in response to repeated trauma. The skin thickens, sacrificing flexibility and sensitivity in the name of survival. Beauty, softness – sacrificed in the name of endurance.
It’s easy to look at these situations – Phiona’s, Sanders’s, Kathy’s – and think, How hopeless.
You start reading about Devonte, thinking that maybe there’s some way Crystal Smith can move Heaven and Earth to save him, and then read that crushingly sad final phone exchange – I love you too, Ma made me cry, all alone in B2, just typing it – and feel overwhelmed by how impossible it feels to change any of this. Smith wonders whether she can make a difference, and you’re wondering what took her so long to ask.
And when we get our hopes up, only to have them dashed, we react the same way I did upon discovering the Hailsham students’ situations: We recoil.
I was stupid to hope.
I was stupid to trust.
I was stupid to believe.
Was 1984’s doomed woman stupid to hold up her arm?
That pull-away – I wish I had never gotten my hopes up – is one of the hardest human impulses to fight. But it’s one of our most toxic responses. Because it leads directly to this:
I should’ve just surrendered.
Game of Her Life and Harper High School aren’t just about people battling against seemingly impossible odds, individuals trying to beat a dealer who’s dealing from a stacked deck.
They’re about people who refuse, stupidly or not, to surrender. Their fights may be impossible. But if they’re going to be defeated, the forces arrayed against them will have to checkmate them first.
God may have been waiting for centuries for somebody ignorant enough of the impossible to do that thing.
Dr. J.A. Holmes
Harper High School will suffer in the face of its budget cuts. Its neighborhood will probably never be free of violence.
But people will continue doing impossible work, in the face of impossible odds, because they must – because people need them.
No, Crystal Smith can’t save Devonte alone. She’s pushing back against a youth culture that reflects its larger parent in its weapon-worship; against a diseased, overwhelmed, and broken family; against a society that, were its members to encounter this child on the street without knowing his story, would likely recoil from him; against laws that cannot, by design, make room for compassion – that will punish the boy for fleeing the courtroom instead of understanding that he’s a lost, terrified child.
She cannot choose to save him. Not alone.
But if that culture changes?
And if that family seeks help instead of brokenly enduring?
And if that society had some way to know that boy’s story – if he had some way of sharing it?
And if those laws, and the people charged with upholding them, could be made flexible enough to deal with his case fairly instead of automatically?
How can I lose him when I’m holding out my hand? Grab back.
You just received Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. One of King’s points, expressed in several different ways, is that humans respond powerfully to incentives, and that at present (well, his present), our incentives were all screwed up. Evil does not necessarily lurk in the heart of man, but it can take up residence when he doesn’t have enough incentives to be good.
And as highly as we prize freedom and choice, the truth is that we really can’t separate our choices from our incentives. What’s more, we don’t always have a great deal of say over our incentives. They’re usually put in place by our larger culture and society.
Society’s an amazing thing. If you’ve ever played in a band, you know how difficult it can be to get a few musicians to play together seamlessly. Our society certainly doesn’t function seamlessly, but it’s got a higher degree of difficulty – over two hundred years’ worth of history and over three hundred million individuals’ dreams, fears, and desires, all combined to drive us lurching forward into the future-becoming-present.
The gears of society move. And the machine’s surprisingly well-oiled. Once it gets going, it’s tough to change it.
Moreover, it’s impossible to change it alone. Even a terrorist needs the fear of the people in order to get what he wants. (Boston endured a horrific attack, and how will it respond? By hosting another marathon next year.)
You can’t really effect repairs on a car while the engine’s running. You have to slow it down, bring it to a halt, and do your work before sending it off again.
Similarly, King shows that someone who wants to change society’s incentives has to slow it down. And the only way to slow it down is to get a lot of people – a lot of people – fighting for the same change you are.
The problem isn’t that Tommy fights too hard. It’s that he makes his fight too costly. He makes his fight a personal one, one where he needs to be at the lab all the time; his cadre of assistants do some work, but it’s always ultimately he who stays late, he who stands alone.
Tommy makes the mistake of fighting alone.
And in doing so, he loses himself. That scene after Izzi’s funeral, when he returns to work and bloodlessly declares, “I’m all right,” is just so chilling – moreso than his desire to defeat aging and death. He tells everyone to get to work, then the lights go out, and he stands in the darkness, callous and alone.
We lose when people are relegated to the shadows. We lose when people grow callous in the face of repeated traumas. We lose when people accept the terrible as inevitable just because the means of reaching a solution seems overwhelmingly difficult, or because the solution isn’t available in our lifetime.
Well, then seek progress when solutions aren’t immediately possible; focus on process when victory isn’t there to be won.
Martin Luther King, Jr. died long before he could see Barack Obama take the oath of office.
But he worked, and he left people working in his stead when he died, hard enough to change society’s course.
He was never willing to let it go.
So how do you face these profound injustices, these social inequities, that seem unsolvable?
How do you face that which you probably cannot defeat yourself?
Hold up your arm.
If you can, wound the heck out of whatever opposes you.
And if you lived well enough, someone else might be there to help you finish it off.
Phiona Mutesi made it out of the slum.
She made it to America.
+ How much of a say do we have in our own successes? To what degree does excellence depend on the individual? Is success a choice? What does success depend on?
+ How should you react when the things you can control aren't sufficient to shape your destiny?
+ Are we free actors or chess pieces? Does your belief regarding the truth lie somewhere in between? Does your answer here differ if you were a member of Oceanic society instead of ours?
+ Is it even possible to live one’s life under the assumption that all appearance of choice is meaningless, and that nothing is in our own control? (Think about Winston…)
+ Why is it easier to forgive that which you understand? What is forgiveness, and what is redemption? (Is either attainable without choice?) Is a quest for either, or a bid for penance, ultimately a selfish undertaking?
+ Is morality possible without choice?
+ Is free will a necessary component of a human being? Is it possible to be human without control?
+ Do you want a destiny? If you had one…would you want to know? (Should Lucy have been honest with her students?)
+ What would you have given up to make Phiona’s life better?
+ In each of the three stories I told you, people bent the rules in order to benefit people who needed them. Were they correct to do so? Were they justified in doing so? In their place, would you have done the same?
+ When your morals and the rules come into conflict, which should you follow? Should you follow a law you believe is immoral? How can you tell whether a rule deserves subversion, opposition, or bending? Which circumstances cause your behavior to shift and your morals to gain flexibility?
Please try to post insightful, specific, and polished pieces. Your post should be at least three seven-sentence paragraphs long, and punctuation, grammar, and mechanics all count towards your grade. Compose your replies carefully, and always remember to build your credibility - use proof, not hypothetical statements. Write the why for every what!
As always, you are not required to respond to every question.
For this post, written feedback for at least two of your peers is required! Congratulate them, praise them, ask them questions...reach out! There’s no comment limit for this thread, so if you feel like talking to your peers, follow your instincts! Check your work to see if someone left feedback for you, and start conversations with your readers – and classmates!
As you develop as writers, your pieces should demonstrate both knowledge of writing as a craft and an awareness of how to profoundly express yourself. Practice writing not simply as students, but as creators; experiment with writing, in other words, as writers do.
Finally, please remember to nominate two of your peers for their excellent work.
The due dates for the respective components of the assignment are as follows:
+ Your main post is due to both the blog and Turnitin.com by 11:59pm on Thursday, May 16th.
+ Your feedback is due by 11:59pm on Friday, May 17th.
+ Your nominations are due by 11:59pm on Sunday, May 19th.
As always, write well, think well…and good luck.
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Walking down the hallways in Arcadia High School, I can always catch parts of different conversations from random people in the hallway. They would range from serious conversations to light taunting. On the off chance that someone was actually hurt because of what someone was teasing them about, a quick "sorry" would be said and all would be well. It seemed like if I went overboard in teasing my friend, I could just say sorry and the entire incident would be forgotten. To any observer this would seem way to easy, but it was just considered normal. Almost everyone has at least said something that has hurt someone before. Either intentionally or unintentionally, it has happened. They probably have had someone say something to them that has hurt them too. It is because of this cycle that it is easy to forgive someone. You've done it before, and you've experienced it before, so you can relate. Forgiving someone can be easy but when you are trying to redeem yourself, it is much harder.
Not long ago, I got into a big argument with my Mother. The reason behind the entire thing was because I always fought with my younger sister. We would fight over the smallest things. One day, my Mother had enough. She said that if I didn't learn how to act like an older sister, I wasn't going to be able to talk to my sister again. That scared because all matters aside, I do care for the brat. I knew right then that a simple "I'm sorry" wouldn't be enough for my Mother. I had to find a way to redeem myself. What that meant was that I had to prove to my Mother that I could be a great older sister and show her that I've changed. After a few weeks, I finally redeemed myself to my Mother.
Throughout that entire incident I was able to realize one thing, and that was it is necessary for you to want to change and prove yourself, otherwise you wouldn't be able to obtain redemption or even forgiveness. If I didn't make an effort to fix myself, I probably wouldn't be allowed to talk to my little sister. Scary thought, but an even scarier thought was when I realized how selfish I was. Even though I was working to redeem myself and obtain my mother's forgiveness, I realized that I was actually doing it for myself. Yeah, the purpose was to make everything better, but deep down, I knew I was only doing it so my Mom wouldn't be mad at me anymore. I wanted to make sure that I was still loved by her.
In the end, when you are being forgiven or trying to obtain redemption, you are actually doing it for yourself. The true purpose when you are apologizing to someone is to make sure that you are forgiven and still liked by that person. The reality is that when you say "I am sorry," you are just getting rid of the guilt you feel when you know that you have done something wrong.
I really like the deep thoughts you put into this blog, family means a lot and redeeming yourself means a lot too. I also agree the fact that to be forgive is so much easier than redeeming yourself. Thanks for a great read!
You show so much emotion when you wrote this. It shows the personal experience that you hold in it. You take what you know and transform it. I can see that you mean what you wrote. Family is so important without them you practically have nothing...
I could tell this incident has affected you deeply and I could also see the emotion in your writing how hurt yo were when it happened. I am thankful that you had the courage to share this story with us and I just want to let you know that you are not alone.
To anyone and everyone who read my blog,
Than you for all of your kind words and thoughts. This story was a very personal one to me and I was actually tempted to write an entirely different blog. Now that I have posted it and read the comments so far, I'm glad I didn't. To anyone and everyone who read my blog, thank you so much for commenting. It does mean a lot to me.
wow i really liked your wiring. It had so much depth and was really emotionally captivating. I feel like i can relate to a lot of what you said. good job
wow bro, this was really deep, Your a great dude, and im glad you made it right~!
Thank you for sharing your story. You're definitely right about saying the phrase "I'm sorry" to simply get rid of the guilt you have. When people say too much of something, it loses its meaning. Good post!
I read everyone's comments and I had to read what you wrote. Thank you for sharing this story with all of us because not only can I tell that the argument with your mother not only has changed you but taught you a lesson as well. Family is always number one in my life and the thing that constantly runs through my mind is blood is thicker than water. I'm glad that you chose that apologizing was the right move.
This was a great blog with a lot of emotion and a personal twist on it!
Thank you for the great read
That was touchy. Honestly, that was something I was going to write but since you got it down first, nice. Haha. But seriously deep post.
wow, i absolutly loved this. I have read some of the stuff that you have written before but i have to say this one really gives an insight to your thoughts. It was great.
I really understand how it feels to have a sibling, but somehow I never understood why siblings fought so much. My relationship with my older brother is so different that we never fought. Sure he annoys me, but it has never gotten to a point where I got my mom mad. Major props for opening up and sharing this part of your life:). I really enjoyed reading your blog!
"I'm sorry" is such a difficult phrase. It's incredibly difficult for me to even word apologies into coherent and meaningful ideas. I'm really glad you redefined apologies for yourself.
We have to disregard the truth of others suffering sometimes.
It’s a horrible thing to think that we willingly throw away our understanding that this place we live in, this wonderful world, can have so much disgusting and terrible realities. We watch the news everyday, Channel 5 News at 5. We see every car crash, every murder scene with yellow caution tape wrapping around whole blocks, and every rape victim’s court trials. We watch it all, yet all we do is crinkle our nose and say “What a tragedy,” or “What a shame.” We watch and then go back to our lives to worry about homework, jobs, and what dinner is going to be that night. Yes, what a shame. What a tragedy it is that we all have been told, and yet still do not listen.
There must be a reason why we disregard all truth that slaps us in the face everyday, and it is because there is no way we could be happy in our own lives knowing, and I mean really knowing, what torment goes on in this world we live in.
We strive for happy and prosperous futures for ourselves, and no one else. We are selfish, but understandingly so. If in the back of our minds we remembered the starving children in Africa, the shootings in poor American cities, or the rape victims on TV, then we cannot justify our own problems. We cannot possibly tell ourselves that our problems are relevant in regards to those people who suffer so much more. We focus on ourselves because truly looking someone in the eyes who has been through hell and back will fill us with immense guilt. Our lives are fundamentally better than other peoples, and it seems to us like that will never change. We make up in our brains that because we are individuals, we cannot help those who are in need, or whose lives are stuck in poverty and bloodshed.
“I can’t do anything about it.”
I’m sure if the individuals banded together some change could come, but we are stuck in a delusion. We do not want to care for the less fortunate, because it becomes too hard to deal with our own lives. There is such a disconnection between the people. We see suffering through a screen, which somehow makes what we see as unreal in our minds. Reaching through the veil would affect our own lives and the path we are trying to make for ourselves. We are quick to toss away truth because we carry guilt for having a better life that we, ourselves, do not even appreciate.
This whole blog I have been saying ‘we’. When I say ‘we’ this and ‘we’ that, I include myself whole-heartedly. I am apart of the delusion.
I feel selfish. I feel guilty.
What a shame.
I really like the point of view you chose to present. I never would've connected Feraco's questions to the desensitization of society by the media. I think we all suffer from the same problem so don't feel bad!
Really great blog! What I particularly like was the ending when you wrote that you were part of this delusion too. We all are part of it and it won't stop until we do something productive about it. Great job on the blog!
Truth is a necessary evil, it often hurts more than it helps. lies are used to protect the emotions of someone. or for darker means.
Great analysis on the topic, emily. I agree with you as well. By not helping others, I feel like I'm being selfish for trying to sustain my own standard of living! Great post!
I like the way that you included so many things that others don't even really think of. Your post brings up a lot of points that are ignored but that is why I liked it. It was a nice read, good job.
Why is it easier to forgive that which you understand?
(*An Apology to Herself.*)
There is nothing without your half smile brightening up my day.
Nothing that can compare the sunset at bay
Shaking my pain deeply away
Just your smile, passes through my soul at night
Not even a trust can hold this bite.
Love, does that really exist in time or space?
Or is it just a way to say that fear is what can succeed in a moments time.
How can I succeed if the world is full of failure? Nothing compared to a civilians’ trust may break my bond to what I believe is right or uncertain. There is this one nation that fulfills the trust to be crucially correct. A system of trust and love falling apart but frankly it destroys the hearts of main society.
Blood, agony, thirst, and despair are the words that I always hear in my veins. The drip of blood fleshing out of my skin falling way to deep like there was no tomorrow. Nothing humane can give us any intellect through past, present, or future. Bringing us together would not do any justice if we cannot cooperate together. Her thoughts were unbelievably inhumane to begin with…
“You loved me when I was fragile; but got shot in the end because of my desperate needs. I never could live without you. It’s not much of a life that I’m living. There’s not much that I could take that has been given,” Ashley sighed as she stared at the grave stone that had her husband’s name written on it. Blood was splattered on the grave stone because her son was shot on it. She deeply moaned in agony and began to cry…
Ashley circled each carved letter spelling and blurting them out softly as she cried to the wind… (Sobbing… she walked away and went into her car).
As Ashley kept driving, she kept hearing these sirens coming after her but there were none behind her. They were whining and as Ashley grew closer, she swore that she could hear the sirens speaking to her telling her to apologize…
“Apologize for what though?” Ashley spoke loudly…
“Sayyyyy youuurrr soorrrryyyyy. Forrgiivveeennnesss isssss neecceessarrryyyyyyy,” the sirens whispered slowly.
“What?” Ashley spoke again…
“Forgiveeee,” it whispered again.
“Forgive what or who?” Ashley started crying now…
(Ring… Ring… Ring…) her cell phone rang three times; when she saw the caller I.D. Her husband’s name was written across from it and the death of his date was there too. The exact time and everything was also shown on the screen…
Ashley screamed… She picked up the phone and all the voice whispered was “I’m sorry…” Suddenly the phone went dead and she threw the phone against the wall and fell to the ground. Ashley rubbed her finger against her cold hands; scrimmaging through the broken glass she found a pointed one and cut open her heart and held it close as she pulled out it Ashley collapsed…
The last words she murmured as she laughed, “I’m with my family now… I forgive myself.”
(*Softly she moved her lips and silently spoke, "I do not..."*)
Excellent blog this week. When I was reading it, I thought I was watching the conclusion to an interesting movie. Your writing captivated me and I wanted to continue reading more and more. Your post was exciting and just great to read.
Think of success like a drink made up of two parts luck and ninety eight parts hard work. Success is a goal. And a popular one. People line up to take a shot at success all the time, but more often than not they miss. And it’s not because only mighty super humans can be successful, but rather it’s the amount of effort put in to being successful, that determines the outcome.
For any person whose read Malcolm Gladwell’s novel, Outliers, Gladwell has clearly proven the fact that success isn’t solely based on endless hours of work and labor. There is some degree of luck and opportunity involved in being successful. But there’s a misconception that people believe that if they wait long enough and hope hard enough that one day success will just fall into their laps in a golden shower of rainbows and unicorns. But success isn’t a concoction of one’s hopes and dreams. People tend to forget the part where Gladwell mentions the amount of work that each and every outlier committed to that led to their eventual success, the 10,000 hour-rule. It took more than just the opportunity at the University of Michigan for Bill Gates to become the CEO of the world’s largest computer software company. And it took more than just a record label for the Beatles to become a legendary band. Every individual became successful because they actively put themselves in a position where they could continue progressing to the point where they became the successful individuals that people know them for.
It’s not just about how much work one does, but also how badly one wants to work. Whether one wants to lose weight, excel at school, or any else one wishes to succeed in, the reason most people fail is simple:
“[They] don’t want it bad, [they] just kind of want it” – Eric Church
The people who say they want to lose weight, don’t want to lose weight enough to go beyond simply just eating less. The ones who really want to lose weight are the ones who are willing to watch what they eat, to give up chips and soda for fruits and water, and are willing to trade a few hours on the computer for a few miles on the track. It is the actions of a person that determines whether or not success will be achieved because success is a choice, but it’s a choice that is earned.
Something to go a long with my blog that had a great influence on the things that I talked about.
Your definition of successes is exactly how I feel successes is truly earned. Successes can not just fall in to a persons lap, successes needs to be worked toward and earned. I do also feel successes is mostly a persons own fault if he or she doesn't accomplish successes but others could stand in the way of it.
Wow, I never thought of success as being earned. I always thought of a reward if you put in the hard work but after thinking about it, it is the same thing.
But I like golden showers of rainbows and unicorns! Haha, that was very humorific. Definitely admire the ubiquitous confidence in every statement you wrote in this post. Not only do I agree with your ideas, even if I didn't I feel like the way you said forces me to believe you, which is great!!! Success is attainable by everyone. And it is earned through hard work and good dieting. And exercise. Very strong post with very strong voice and opinion! Great job!
Very nice blog. I had to say that I agreed with your definition of success is. People say the amount of work into something will determine how successful you are. However, people work so hard to miss the fact that they even answer the question: Do you want it?
Can relate to what you are saying throughout the blog. Good job!
i loved this blog. i thought you did a great jon and i loved your idea of what success is. good job!
Move Along, Move Along…
We stuck in time.
You stuck at the moment of your cousin’s death.
You stuck at the moment of your grandma’s death.
She stuck at the moment of her brother’s death.
She stuck at the moment of her father’s death.
I stuck at the moment of my own death.
And I have no choice, not at all.
“As much as life can suck, it beats the alternative” (Paper Town, Green)
I remember the day when she told me “You are different from everyone else. You do know that right? Don’t compare me with other parents. And don’t compare yourself with your sisters. You are 100% on your own. I will only save you if you are ‘drowning’.” I felt something inside of me fades away – completely gone. The feeling of independence to be honest doesn’t feel that good. The hope for a change in the most important relationship of my life has just died. You don’t get a choice. You do whatever life tells you to do. You do whatever you want to do. You only have yourself now. If not, in ten years, you will be. Mine is just sooner than yours.
I drown myself in the thought of facing the brave new world. Battling the idea of choice versus identity, I see no choice but to keep walking, working, learning, fighting, living…When your life no longer has a choice, when you have something called “ destiny”, you either find a purpose or you find nothing but forced to do something. Most of the kids in Hailsham stuck in the middle of the road. They knew from early age they are meant for something greater than their own life. Yet, as they grow up, they were not given a choice. They were just told. They do whatever life tells them to do. Theirs is sooner than ours.
The glove compartment is inaccurately named
And everybody knows it.
So I'm proposing a swift orderly change.
Cause behind its door there's nothing to keep my fingers warm
And all I find are souvenirs from better times
Before the gleam of your taillights fading east
To find yourself a better life.
I was searching for some legal document
As the rain beat down on the hood
When I stumbled upon pictures I tried to forget
And that's how this idea was drilled into my head
Cause it's too important
To stay the way it's been
There's no blame for how our love did slowly fade
And now that it's gone it's like it wasn't there at all
And here I rest where disappointment and regret collide
Lying awake at night
- Title and Registration, DCFC
I remember I kept putting away this toy that I had ever since I was a baby. It’s a blue dinosaur and it has two parts. The inside part can glow in the dark. And the outside is its blue cover. I have no memory of it at all. But my mother kept telling me to keep it safe because it was my favorite toy. Sometimes, I wonder if she had a choice, would she choose to stay just for me, would she choose to be my blue cover. And most of the time, I just don’t want to think about it - about what happened 17 years ago. She had no choice just as I had no choice. I am stuck in this life, this long life. I have more than 30 years to complete. But I am going to move along with whatever I have, wherever my heart tells me to go. Living dangerously or die alone. “It’s just another death” as Thomas said in the interview with Anita. It’s just another day. I will see where life takes me with or without a choice.
“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.” (The Fault in Our Stars, Green)
I like the way you talk about the moment we get stuck on stuff, because honestly many things do happen and its out of nowhere yet we get stuck in that moment
I liked your blog this week, and I was happy to see you incorporated some Death Cab for Cutie into the blog as well.
Although, I don't agree with everything. Are you saying the choice we make don't ultimately affect our future? Or what did you mean by your last paragraph?
We don't always have a choice...
We pick the way that life wants us to, the way that you can go for a "7" instead of fall to a "5" because living a sucky life is easy. It's really easy... Trust me. Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do to live a better life. I mean you certainly can "choose" for a worse life but to me that's not an option. It's either fighting for a good life or for a better life.
I mean you could bend the universe into your way. But not everyone is able to do that. So, when there is not much to choose, you just have to deal with whatever you need to deal with..
wow, blog of nice,
i wonder why everyone'e blog are so short, they have poor imaginary to understand mine
Believe it or Not, That is the Question
Why do economies always experience ups just as quickly as downs come crashing in? America’s economy still seems to remain in the contracting stage of the business cycle despite its having displayed significant improvement due to government measures as job creations. In part, this is a byproduct of the choices consumers make. When consumer expectations are embodied by the anticipation that the economy will soon decline, consumers accurately predict the worst economic storms EVERY time. By saving their money prior to the event’s actual occurrence whilst waiting for the ordeal, the consumers show off their awesome fortunetelling skills. In response to the consumers’ actions, companies lower production and raise prices to reach a new equilibrium, forced into existence by the decreased demand. Thus, the economy is banged on the head with stagflation, and its efficiency and productivity does eventually take a nosedive.
The above mentioned real-life scenario supports the Biblical saying, “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). Herd mentality and the amount of willpower the group held determined the fate of the economy. The consumers’ determination in arming themselves against the economic downturn that did not even begin yet allowed them to receive what they believed. Their forecasts became a fact.
Were every single person in Oceania to place unfaltering faith in the collapse of the Party in Orwell’s 1984 just as every consumer believed so fervently in the economy’s downfall, the Party would definitely be conquered. Oceania’s citizens would have taken action based in accordance with their deep-set beliefs in the success of their revolutionary efforts, and with the citizens’ combined strength and right mindset, the Party would be shattered.
Unfortunately, this scene never appeared in the novel because only the Party was aggressive enough to “change the rules of the ‘chess game’”. While one may argue the citizens had no choice but to love Big Brother and act in an orthodox manner as they were controlled by Doublethink, the Thought Police, and the telescreens, the possibility of their escaping from their dystopian world was not eradicated completely. A person, in utilizing Doublethink, could simultaneously believe a Party idea and acknowledge the truth; the truth was still hovering in the air, so the citizens still maintained some extent of consciousness in the midst of their being brainwashed. One actually had the ability to at least resist the Party mentally as demonstrated by Winston’s actions in writing down “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” in his diary despite the oppression. The citizens represented one individual as a whole battling against the Party, a destiny that could have been altered if the citizens were all willing to believe their efforts would reap great rewards.
The proles could have saved Oceania from tyranny since they were exempt from Party principles. Besides, they made up the majority of Oceania’s citizens, meaning the Party had no substantial control over them.
However, Winston had to face manifest destiny on his own; the reality was suppression was inevitable as no one truly believed in a revolt, and no one even attempted rebellion, except for Winston. Even the proles, the biggest hope, failed as they did not even try to rebel against their poor living conditions. They were satisfied with their lives, with being the scums of society, so without even exerting the slightest effort, it was expected the proles would never be able to better their status and living conditions. The Party had victoriously monopolized Oceania as no one else truly believed in themselves as much as the Party believed in its reigning for eternity.
One individual’s choice to fight a full out fight against the Party was enough to destroy the Party. The novel is basically about a fight between the soul of a man and the soul of the Party. As long as one person did not trust in the Party, the Party’s purpose in existence would have gone down the drain. The person, who fended off the Party’s ways, would have won. Even if the person were to be tormented to death, he would still be the victor as his soul was not lost.
Yet, why did Winston’s hard work fail him? The reason laid in his inability to completely believe in himself as he told himself all along that the Thought Police would get him sooner or later. Thereby, Winston did not succeed in the end as he was deprived of his identity, sacrificing his human characteristics in selling out Julia.
We have all the say we can possibly have in our successes. Even if we “fail” to achieve a goal, our working towards reaching it already marks us as successful. Since we have been ambitious in fulfilling our goals, we will not have to look back in regret for not exerting our full efforts into making our goals a reality. Putting out effort and believing in oneself in all that counts. When one does the two, one has already triumphed as one has been brave enough to make a choice, to take the risk, so that one can enjoy a chance of jumping from an average-rated life of five to one of ten. Thus, success depends on how much effort one puts in developing oneself, how much effort one puts into making the fullest of one’s life, and how much effort one puts into believing one can indeed succeed.
When one has absolutely put out all one has got into succeeding, and destiny does not turn out in a satisfactory manner, one can still smile to oneself, noting one has fought the good fight and has not backed away from obstacles. The courageous character one encompasses serve to help one in the long run despite “on the surface” failures in not reaching a desired goal. One will not need to be forever plagued with the words “what if”. The most painful experience one could ever undergo is the fact that one knew one has betrayed oneself by not leaving the options open.
The option that life could be better was never available because one never sought after it.
Even though Kathy and the other clones were never truly able to take joy in living the privileged lives of normal humans, they led hopeful lives in which they valued life’s meaning, thus giving them even more human-like characteristics than the World State citizens, who lived clueless lives in which progress and individuality could never be achieved. The fact that Tommy tries so hard to pursue a possible turn for the good in his life by drawing complex animals in hopes of being recognized as a clone with a soul exhibits the definition of success.
His final attempt to make things right.
His final attempt at a better life.
Despite Tommy’s and Kathy’s disappointment at the end as they discovered they were foredoomed as all other clones were, they did indeed live genuinely happy lives. Were Miss Lucy to disclose the ultimate fate of all the clones, the students would never have developed minds of their own. They would never contemplate over their lives and their futures. In short, the clones would just be clones instead of the humans that Tommy and Kathy reflected.
Thus, it is better to not know of one’s future or destiny even if the card lay ready for one to flip over.
Instead, live knowing you have done all that was necessary to make you you. That you have done everything that was necessary to show you did try. That even if you failed, you would not leave kicking and screaming because you knew you put all effort into making your life meaningful.
And that is all that counts.
Thanks for a great read talking about the other stories we saw or read this semester. and I agree with you on the economy part!
Thank you for the comments.
The reason why I talked about the economy in my intro was because I was studying economics pretty much the whole week (two chapter test tomorrow! I'm still studying...). Wouldn't it be great if there were no cyclical unemployment (just pure full employment).
Funny thing was this blog served as a sort of review for me for both economics and the books (especially good exercise for reflecting on Never Let Me Go since we're going to have a test on it soon). It took a lot of time to write as usual, though.
your writing contintues to amaze me! i really liked the way you incorporated past text into your writing and the structure is awesome as always. good job!
Thank you for the feedback.
I'm still kind of stuck in that mode I was in during the last two blogs (formal essays), so I provided evidence for my answers to the prompts with connections from the books.
Again, I discovered something new.
(It seems like we'll never stop gaining new insights every time we write about the books...So this just serves as proof that we'll always have room for improvement). Hehe, I'm still in my analytical mode
Hey Victoria. I really liked waht you had to say this week. I liked how you said that Winston failed because of his inability to believe in himself. I think that is so true about our society. People fail because they do not realize their full potential. I really liked your final line. Life really is what we make it. My question to you is, "What if you are not happy with the way you lived?" "What if you die with regret? Is that an empty meaningless life?
Thank you for the comments.
"What if you are not happy with the way you lived?" "What if you die with regret? Is that an empty meaningless life?"
If you're not happy with the way you lived because you didn't try your best to live your life as best as you could, and you never even took a last stab at improving your life as Tommy did in Never Let Me Go, you definitely lived an empty meaningless life. You never got rid of the "what if's" in your life because you never even did anything to find out how life may have been different if you did this or that. Thus, you would surely "die with regret", living "an empty meaningless life".
But if you tried your best and still couldn't reach your goal, you have still reached life's meaning as Kathy and Tommy did. Although they still faced the fate of all other clones, their putting all their efforts into justifying themselves as individuals with souls already marked them as successful since they actually did attempt to achieve their goals. They actually had the courage to do so, and it is this courage and determination a person has to face all difficulties in life that give a person's life meaning.
oh, you really stated economy at first
and this is another nice blog that captured lots of people's mind
I remember once watching a video on Youtube called “Oh, the Places You’ll (Actually) Go,” a parody of the classic Dr. Seuss story. It struck me how true its message was, even though it was embedded in sarcastic poetry. Not everyone can be successful. Not everyone has the capability to be successful. Most everyone ends up in the middle, just average.
Some try to argue that hard work is all that’s needed for success. But then I ask, can a mouse be a lion? Even if that mouse tries its best, it is still a mouse. Similarly, there are limits to what each person can do. Even if I practiced every day of my life, I doubt I could ever compete in the Olympics. I just don’t have the potential for that level of athletic ability. I’m small. I’m weak.
But what about the people who conquer the odds? Well, they’re lucky, which the term “conquering the odds” refers to. Success is part luck, part connections. To really climb up the ladder, one needs really good connections. There are some mediocre actors and actresses who got to where they are through the connections they had, familial or not.
So then, you might ask: Why would anyone born with very little potential keep on living, if it’s impossible to reach the hypothetical moon? I can’t answer that, but I can give advice.
Make the best of it.
The problem most people have (including myself) is setting unrealistic goals. Don’t think about what you’d want to accomplish in a perfect world; think about what you can actually accomplish.
Then you can reach your potential and work fate to your advantage.
Hello Joanna! I completely agree that people should base their goals on what they can really accomplish rather than something unrealistic. Also, I really love your writing style!
So translating your argument into my words/interpretation, I'm thinking: Don't waste your time shooting for the stars, just reach for the clouds or something like that.
I suppose you make a point, but I think a really big point this semester/year was that we can still get something by shooting for the stars. I too am quite the cynic sometimes, but at the end of the day, the worst that aiming for the stars can lead to is landing right back down on the ground.
I definitely agree, it is really important to be realistic when it comes to our goals and dreams. In the bucket list blog, it was considered sort of "easy" compared to the other blogs we had done because now we were just making a list of cool things we all wanted to do. But I remember in making that list, I thought about it a loooooooong time. I didn't just want to write a simple list of places I wanted to visit and things to do that would make me look cool. I really thought about what I knew I could actually do. There will be plenty of people that won't fulfill every item on their bucket list because they were just writing stuff down, but knowing what one is ABLE to do and also even what one HOPES to accomplish, impossible as it may seem, is also just as important. You're totally right about that, but I hope you would also shoot for the impossible too; because it may be perfectly realistic for you to achieve that. Thank you for the enlightening post!
I agree that by definition, most people are "average." It helps to address your abilities realistically to open yourself to building on what you can in order to fulfill your potential.
Great post, I hope our project ends up as good as this. However, I don't agree that people have a potential cap, I believe it is possible for a mouse to be a lion, for a person to reach the moon. Our potential is endless, it's just our fears that hold us back. That's my two cents but overall, good post!
I totally agree with you on the realistic goal idea because people have hope. The goal might come true unlike unrealistic goals that give people false hopes. Your post is well composed with very interesting elements to it.
Is forgiveness worth it?
“I’m not a perfect person.
Theres many things I wish I didn’t do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you"
I would be lying if I said that I lived a perfect life. I have had my short comings and moments where I failed those closest to me. I have made plenty of mistakes. I have fallen more than once. With that, the people in my life have fallen at times too. People fail. We are not perfect beings. No one ever said forgiving would be easy.
*“Forgive and forget”*, right? Yet, forgiveness does not entail the loss of the memory. To truly forgive is to acknowledge that the event happened. To me forgiveness is acknowledging what happened and being ready to move forward. But you put aside your pain and you tell them that they are more than their past actions. They do not have to fear because we have let go. They are no longer condemned. Tommy was unable to forgive himself. That is why he held on so tightly to Izzy even though she was gone. John was unable to forgive himself. He was unable to move on and ultimately destroyed himself because it was too hard for him to forgive himself.
What is it about forgiveness that makes it difficult to give or receive?
People hold on to their pain; whether they are the ones who inflicted the pain or received it. Pain is comfortable. It is easy to stay in the mind set of self-pity. Gilgamesh wallows in his pain. Tom refuses to get out of bed for days. It is so easy to hold on to that shortcoming. Having that sense that what we did was unforgettable, that what they did is unforgiveable. However, when we tell these things to ourselves we only have one thought; Me.
“I’m sorry that I hurt you. It’s something I must live with every day.
And all the pain I put you through.
And all the pain I put you through I wish I could take it all away.
And be the ones who catches all your tears”
Yet, it is easier for me to forgive someone if I understand. When I allow myself to look beyond my point of view, I understand more of the problem. I see what they are going through. I see their pain as well as my own. Even though I may be hurt by what they did, at the very least I understand. I see the need why they need to be forgiven. I see their want to forgive me. I see that life moves forward. With this perspective, it is easy to forgive those who do not ask for it or do not want it. This life is too short to hold on to pain.
There is still air to be breathing, food to eating and life to be living.
“I’ve found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you” Hoobastank-The Reason
When I first read this prompt, I thought forgiveness and redemption were the same. However, redemption is different. Redemption is deliverance, salvation. Being freed from a state of fault. This is what John sought to give the World State Citizens. He wanted to free them from their soma ridden, sex driven, empty lives. The Hailsham students dreamed of being redeemed from their predetermined lives. Redemption means there is no going back. You are forever changed.
Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears
We all pursue penance and mercy. They are necessary to truly live life. It is selfish when we hold on to our grudges, refusing to let the other person know peace. Forgiveness brings people together. Redemption changes lives. Relationships are mended, people are brought back together. Life is brighter because of these gifts. Humans fall. We fail. Life is so short. Time is what we will never get back. If we live our lives caught up in the past, our futures are meaningless.
Those who deserve forgiveness least, need it most.
“It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong”
Sanctus Real-Whatever you’re doing
You started your blog out with a very nice quote that I could connect to.
I really liked how you defined forgiveness:
*“Forgive and forget”*, right? Yet, forgiveness does not entail the loss of the memory. To truly forgive is to acknowledge that the event happened. To me forgiveness is acknowledging what happened and being ready to move forward. But you put aside your pain and you tell them that they are more than their past actions. They do not have to fear because we have let go. They are no longer condemned."
Very true. You can never forget, but forgiving is just the first step to letting go. And in forgiving the person, you let the person know he or she is still valuable in character.
Everyone makes mistakes, so it wouldn't be fair to not forgive others as others have forgiven one.
Actually, forgiving is a relief to both the person who inflicted the pain and the person who was wronged. I actually had the experience of forgiving a girl, who had wronged me years before just yesterday, as we managed to work together on an in-class assignment. And it was the most alleviating of feelings one could ever feel.
When you let go of past grudges, you let go off your own suffering which has been accumulated from years before.
Besides, "This life is too short to hold on to pain."
I like that you said, "Forgiveness brings people together. Redemption changes lives. Relationships are mended, people are brought back together. Life is brighter because of these gifts. Humans fall. We fail. Life is so short. Time is what we will never get back."
But what really stood out to me was "If we live our lives caught up in the past, our futures are meaningless."
I found your blog post to be very meaningful.
Thank you for the great read.
You're definitely an expert in coming up with memorable, meaningful lines! I can quote many, most of which are in your final paragraph which was chalk-full of to-the-point statements! But what I also really liked was your response to the forgiveness question, and how it really is selfish. Sometimes. I never really thought about forgiveness being selfish, it's like, too deep for my brains. But beneath it all, everything, every single little thing we do in this life really is selfish. Really. Aside from that, I also liked your take on redemption and its difference with forgiveness.
"Forgiveness brings people together. Redemption changes lives. Humans fall. We fail. Life is so short. Time is what we will never get back. If we live our lives caught up in the past, our futures are meaningless.
Those who deserve forgiveness least, need it most."
Couldn't agree more with that last sentence. Reminds me of another quote from somewheres, "It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick." Sick people need help! No matter how disgusting they are! So even if forgiveness is selfish, I'd say it's quite necessary. Thank you for the wonderful post!!!
i agree with a lot of your points, and i like how you formatted your post
Before the Blog was updated…
When it comes to morality I think about the Harper High School lecture and how money can help with the problems in Harper High School. In the United States we protect our right to bear arms in our Bill of Rights. With this we have a choice to do the right things when it comes to accidental or not so accidental shootings. Morality ALWAYS comes with a choice. In this case, Harper High School had a well equipped group of teachers, counselors, and etcetera to help these troubled students with their problems. However, with their budget being cut, a lot of these teachers and counselors who helped these kids stay out of trouble by keeping them in school, will be let go. With this Harper High School’s number of shootings and dead students will go up.
These inner city kids have choices, but often times than not, they will pick the easiest solution to protect themselves from violence by being violent. The ability to possess guns and pull the trigger is so easy now that the morality choices start to become hazy. In that situation I would probably be like one of the kids who accidently shot his or her sibling. I would feel guilty, but only being a kid I would not know better.
Today in my society, I have been nurtured and encouraged to higher my education, which in the long run will push me to be better and not get into trouble with violence. I have been fortunate enough to be in a high achieving community, so I have choices and can control my future to a certain extent. It is true that I can be all that I want to be if I put my mind to it. Life is all about living and achieving all that we can. We are all meant to be on this planet and are destined to be great.
After the Blog was updated…
A few weeks ago the Boston bombing occurred and security was heightened, my brother could not leave his apartment in San Francisco because there was a bomb threat. Every time he went out he would be searched because both my brother and I look slightly Middle Eastern. We were not destined to be searched or violent people for that matter. It just happened to go along with the choices terrorists like Osama Bin Laden made.
After all these turn of events this year got me thinking why do Americans assume that all people who look Middle Eastern are terrorists? I understand why after 9/11, but since then the Boston bombers were white, not Middle Eastern and they claimed to be Muslim. One cannot assume that Muslims are all terrorists or violent. In fact, it has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with perception and what Americans have been taught to think. Today in our airports whites are not nearly checked as much as any other races. How can we educate our fellow Americans about this ignorance? Why isn’t the freedom to be any race in our Constitution?
This got me thinking back to one of the questions in define yourself assignment. The question was how do I respond to annoyances? My brother, best friend, and I all responded that I would try to ignore it. However, this part of my family’s life really got to me. I guess being the race I am modifies my destiny along with my brother’s destiny. There is no way one person like me can educate millions of Americans around the country, however this is a START.
I really liked how you split up your blog into two parts. It really showed true thought. I really liked your concluding line. As people, the start may be small. But every story has a small beginning and it grows into something extraordinary.
Thank you so much. It really is frustrating when people are ignorant, but without these obstacles we would not become the people we are today.
I totally agree that muslims have been falsely accused of such crimes. The crimes of one individual does not speak for the entire group he or she comes from! Stereotypes and prejudgement should not even be a factor in determining a person's worth! Aweseome post!
I feel that for the past eighteen years of life I have been very restricted. School opens up so many doors for people, allowing them to explore many different fields of work. There are art classes for the creative looking to become artists, and there is orchestra for the musical looking to become great musicians. Yet I must say by the time we reach the end of high school, our paths are fairly narrowed down, leading only to the jobs based on science and law.
Those paths towards the arts and any other deviant are blocked off, by parents who see no other future for their children but to be a doctor or a lawyer and by the idea fed by the media that pursuing the arts leads to starving artists.
I’m lucky. My parents would have accepted anything that I decided to do, but I know other parents would never accept such a thing. Many of my friends who passionately love art stare longingly down its road, blocked off and sealed up, as they are dragged down another.
We have, in a sense, freedom to choose our own futures, but our selection pool is about the size of a fish tank rather than an ocean. Think of it as like one of those carnival games, where you have to try to scoop out a fish with a paper net. After a lot of work, maybe a little luck, you finally scoop out a little goldfish to take home. The ocean though, has so many more kinds of fish, so many more choices. Yet you are given a small tank of goldfish to choose from.
The situation is very similar to what most people have to deal with now. What they are given is a small list of jobs deemed acceptable that they are limited to pursuing. Should you already desire to tackle one of the jobs on the list, you’re lucky, because as is the case with many others, their desired work is not on that list. Yet they really do not have much of a choice but to accept defeat.
Once again, I got lucky. I want to become a nurse, a job accepted both by my parents and society. I have a friend though, who I know wanted to go to art school, yet went elsewhere, because her parents would not accept what she really wanted to do. She had the choice to choose, but she picked something out of the tolerable range.
In this world, we certainly have free choice – so long as we choose something on a small list of acceptable things.
Preach it sister! I totally know what you mean except I don't completely agree. Yeah society (parents,family, etc) tell you what to do but the only one making you listen to them is you. If some one wants something bad enough they'll fight and struggle for it until they get it. The most heartbreaking thing to me is when someone can't fulfill their ambitions because they let their parents talk them out of it.
It's a very interesting way that you describe fate, rather than some mystical idea. The thought of being forced down a path due to realistic obstacle such as parents, or what society deems credible makes it so much more relatable.
Forgiveness. The word stands opposite of sorry. In the right light, one seems to reflect the other. The wielder of forgiveness forgives more ably when they can understand because it reminds themselves of their own weaknesses. A parent lets their child off for raiding the cookie jar because they did the same in their day. It gets harder and harder to picture oneself in another’s shoes as the acts get more alien, all the way to the extreme standards genocide has set for us. Of course, this does not mean we cannot forgive those who commit grievous acts. To redeem is to make others forgive the seemingly unforgiveable. Seeking either redemption or forgiveness is ultimately selfish (it does bring attention to the self), but man was not built selflessly. Even in a community, the ultimate symbol of self-sacrifice and altruism, people do not contribute without knowledge of the return. We remain a tower of cards, leaning in each and every direction to stand. The more cards that lean, the more people that join in this proposition, the more stable the tower becomes.
From what I can see, there are two ways people are judged for success. The first is absolute. This is what we mainly use for our Olympians and our corporations. The second is relative. This is more for our day to day lives, the one we typically use more often. For absolute success, we have almost no input relative to outside influences. Our genes, our family fortunes, our distance from the legendary coaches and inspirational teachers, are set out of our reach. But, in terms of relative success, success is completely dependent on the individual. In our minds, we’ve created the most complex of regression models for almost every facet of life, giving estimations and expectations to anything we see. This guy runs a 4.40 40 and benches 465. He would be a great fullback. She’s gotten straight A’s since middle school to go along with a 2390 SAT and a multitude of extracurriculars. She has a great shot at Harvard. Still, this society is filled with scouts and application readers for a reason. Historical data is still, and will always be, an average that new data points will hit or miss. For every statistic, there are intangibles the regression does not account for. These occupations exist just for that, differentiating who will take responsibility for their own success. Our world has seen you and me in at least the tens of thousands. And yet we are all individuals in our own rights, every one of us.
“Whatever god you believe in/We come from the same one” – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Same Love
Though I am pulling this quote slightly out of context, this song does reflect that what we believe is not exactly significant. Some of us will be right, and the others will be wrong, but it lacks major influence on our daily lives. I find that though we may be the chess pieces of some higher power’s chess board, but we still act like free actors. For example, my genetic composition compounded with my upbringing most likely led me to believe that we are pawns to the universe’s sway, but my thought process gives me gives me an illusion of choice.
It is this illusion of choice that we count on to live, even when the end is waiting at the door. Winston is the king against a full army on the other side. He is bound to be checkmated, but he has the option to walk into the checkmate or drag it on as long as possible, possibly even forcing a stalement. Winston, for the time he is able to, lives. As long as he believes he is the initiator of his own choices, it matters not what others think. Enlightenment, though it indirectly affects others, is really isolated to the self. Siddhartha may have found his forty-two, but he remains insignificant to the Brahmin village, to his son. In face of the unknown, the only thing important is the mentality we carry out in response to what we believe.
Something about this post is really great. I can't really put my finger on why, but I think your diction helped a lot. Also, when you wrote that "a community [is] the ultimate symbol of self-sacrifice ," I smiled because you touched upon the concept of classical republicanism.
It was slightly disjointed though, so maybe work on transitions between the questions you answer. I know I'm guilty of the same thing in my post, but I couldn't find much else to pick on in your post. Good job!
First of all let me say Same Love is the best of all the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis songs just because of the meaning.
Your blog was interesting in the way how you were able to talk about forgiveness, but also barely remark about it. Instead it had a decently smooth transition. However you had very good points about your topics.
Just out of curiosity, since when you listen to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis?
I really like your application of statistics in this post. Good work!
I liked this post for the same reason Joanna did. You touched upon and idea in government which I don't think AP Comp. Gov. discusses which just shows that you have a progressive mind that recognizes huge governmental theories that you never learned about in a formal setting. This was a great post, keep up the good work!
I liked how you were able to incorporate such a deep song with your blog. It made your blog stand out more than the rest of the blogs i have read. Good connection!
Let's see how many people actually have that imagination to understand my metaphor
When a drop of water descend from sky
When we were born, we were merely a drop of water descending from the sky. We were pure and innocent yet light and powerless. We touched and merged ourselves with other drops in the same stream and generally turned into a river. At that time, we didn’t realized that we are having a trip, and we didn’t realized that our shallowness means powerless. Our futures were told yet not be told in the earliest stage of our lives. But we just couldn’t imagining the meaning of it, we just sank that truth deep in our memory hole, enjoying and praising our wonderful lives.
We were told yet not been told about our future; however, we just don’t understand what future means to us. Maybe the future is growth, challenge, success, defeat, or even death, but they just seems too far to be observed correctly. A Child went to me one day in the past, asking what is death? I was not cruel enough to tell her the truth, but I think, maybe, I was not cruel enough to tell myself either. I never wish to see my destiny. Maybe I already knew it, by deriving the consequence and predicting my actions in the future. I think Lucy’s words might not serve as important as what they are expected to be because they do not make anything different. If a person does not understand the truth he is told, then what is the difference between telling the truth and not telling it? Maybe he will suddenly figure out that meaning one day; however, by the time he understands the truth, it might be too late for him to make any correction.
Some of us went to a pond, and stay there for the rest of their lives, but some of them didn’t. Maybe they just didn’t have a chance to go, but I chose to keep going. I didn’t know the reason, maybe I just wanted to keep going and to see what lies in the end of my trip.
Our life are somehow similar to the trip of water. We were born in various places while end up meeting in the same place. We were pure only at the beginning. As we went further, we combine our soul with others, and therefore, become completely different from our original. When we become deeper, we understand things more. Forgiveness is a process when you condense the pollution, and precipitate it down to the ground. When other people did anything bad or even harmful to me, I never forget but only forgive. So I expect people will act the same way as me. We will be polluted even by good things, but once we become deeper mentally, we might turn back, and purify ourselves.
When I was about to accustomed my life, I fell, from a waterfall to a completely new place. The new place was not as gentle as what I expected to be. I wished to go back, but I never had that chance to go back, I was not allowed to, none of us could. For those days when I missed my life in the past, I couldn’t help pushing myself to go faster and faster and colliding with trees, rocks, even the walls of dam. But the things I didn’t notice is that as I go further, we became deeper, stronger, and darker. I have got polluted by things from everywhere such as dust, chemical, and trashes, but now I am deep enough to handle the dark.
“When you are gazing into the abyss, the abyss is also gazing into you.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)
Black is the only color that can’t be contaminated
In this point, there are not necessarily any success. Since success is defined by some people besides that successful person, it is merely a terms of comparison, which means nothing but “you ‘looks’ good”. In some degree, we can say that success is merely a term made of other people’s jealousy. Thus, I ignored success together with other praises and rewards, leaving only gratitude towards those who congratulate me.
As I became darker, I became deeper; as I became deeper, I became darker. By the time you reached the end, you would see an Ocean, where the horizon was vague enough to make you feel that the ocean was part of sky. Here, the Ocean is the lowest place, darkest place, and most powerful place. I merged myself into the Ocean, and would merge with some other drops from the same sky. Now we became peaceful deep inside the Ocean; we reached the different degree of darkness. However, since we precipitated the pollutions the same way other people did, we end up the same degree of purity.
The trace of life would never changes; therefore we couldn’t really go back to the life we have in the pass. Even if you might “restart” doing something you already did in the pass, the life you have is already deviated from what we have been through for sure. There are something you cannot redo. There is no accident in this world, things will certainly happened whether you are prepared or not. If the destiny has already been shaped, like the riverbed or track, it does not make any difference. We can still eat, learn, and move even if we know we will complete our life someday in the future. We would still breath, enjoy, and think whether we have choices about the future or not. Just like chess, I usually leave my opponents few choices to go for, and most of time, none of those choices will lead to a better ending. I control my chess pieces the same way I control my life, but even though, fate has always been a better chess player than me.
Wow, you've got some awesome imagery going on in those detailed metaphors (Again, Simon's artistic side is shown.).
Yes, "We were told yet not been told about our future; however, we just don’t understand what future means to us." It's definitely best if you aren't allowed access to seeing your destiny. Besides, even if you knew your future, you wouldn't be able to change anything.
So the only thing we can do is to pour forth everything we are into giving our lives meaning and to place the rest in God's hands.
We'll never know what tomorrow holds, and for this reason, we must work even harder to strive as individuals in what little time we have here on earth. It is this short lifespan we have that gives life life's meaning.
"I think Lucy’s words might not serve as important as what they are expected to be because they do not make anything different."
Well, if Lucy had told the students that they were foredoomed, wouldn't the students have lost hope and thus lost enjoyment of the essence of life? The students may not fully understand her words, but they do serve as a discouragement (more or less) to the students' making progress, discovering their unique characteristics that set them apart from the others, their souls, and life's meaning.
So Lucy's words are indeed not as important in defining the lives of the students.
Instead, her not disclosing their fate was important in determining how well the students live their lives as the veiling of their glum future served as a source of hope that encouraged them to live on.
When I read the second metaphor, tadpoles popped into my head for some odd reason, and you're a little tadpole swimming towards discovering something new (getting out of your comfort zone to see what better things laid ahead)...
Anyways, I agree "We were pure only at the beginning [...] We will be polluted even by good things, but once we become deeper mentally, we might turn back, and purify ourselves."
As we swim through life, our innocence is slowly diminished as we discover harsh realities and come in contact with painful truths. But "now I am deep enough to handle the dark." We encounter obstacles at different times in our lives, but it is the obstacles that strengthen us. And this is what provides meaning in life. Overcoming obstacles through our own efforts without knowing the future, only knowing we tried our best to save ourselves from the situations. Human blood and sweat are the most precious; even if you find out your fate was favorable, you would have appreciated it more if you knew you actually had to work hard for this reward.
"In this point, there are not necessarily any success. Since success is defined by some people besides that successful person, it is merely a terms of comparison, which means nothing but “you ‘looks’ good”. In some degree, we can say that success is merely a term made of other people’s jealousy. Thus, I ignored success together with other praises and rewards, leaving only gratitude towards those who congratulate me."
For this one, I would have to disagree although I respect your view. Success is not "merely a terms of comparison." You do not try your best just because you want people to recognize you (although we'd like people to). But you work hard for yourself. You work and work and work because you want to discover what more you could do. If you have already reached the limit. If there was no more room for improvement (which is unlikely).
Success is defined by the way you live your life, how you make life meaningful. It's not defined by how others see you. Besides, their definition of "good" may not be your definition of good. So do your best for Simon's own sake.
It took a bit of time reading your post. I had to apply my analytical skills.
Good job on this week's blog!
Breaking the Obstacles
"Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It's our goal in life to find it and keep it lit." -- Mary Lou Retton, gold, silver and bronze medalist in gymnastics in 1984
Medals, trophies or recognition are accomplishments that many people want. These accomplishments however require lots of practice, training and mental capabilities. They take the will to want to be successful. Success is not always based on talent nor does it base on just thinking to be what you want to be. Success is based on the will to be successful and the efforts you put into it no matter what.
I look back at the previous blog talking about living life with risk and dangers. Success takes risk, it does involve being in danger. Wanting to be successful requires for the person to put themselves in that kind of area where they have to work to the point of exhaustion. You can’t live easy if you want to be successful.
"Hard days are the best because that's when champions are made." – Women's gymnastics champ Gabby Douglas, all-around gold medal champion for gymnastics
Arcadia High School is known for their award winning band, percussion and colorguard. Being apart of this award winning activity; it requires many hours of practice, it requires a lot of training, it requires a lot of thinking, most of all its the choice to be successful. The people in the band want to be successful, and the seniors want the last year to be great. It takes the mind of the whole or oneself to be good and successful.
"Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work." -- Andre Agassi, gold medalist in tennis in 1996
This year the award winning Arcadia World Guard (varsity color guard) took home third place(bronze) in nationals at WGI which is the Olympic form of color guard. This is such an accomplishment because the World Guard has not medal or place since 2007 and also it is difficult to place nationally for World Guard. This I say is not an easy task to accomplish. For the colorguard this year, we had rehearsals every Monday, Wednesday, sometimes Fridays, Saturdays and a couple of Sundays, ranging in total of nineteen to twenty-eight hours a week. This is not living easy and the reason we would have long rehearsal is to get better and to be successful in the long run. Even though there are long rehearsals, injuries will occur and sitting out may not be an option. With the problems that happen, you have to persevere through it to be successful and you have to fight through it no matter what happens like they always say “mind over matter”.
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” -Confucius
I had an injury that happened to me right before a competition. I injured my right ankle, the leg that I dance on and turn on. My injuries were very painful, that I should be sitting out but I continued to stay because I wanted my team to be successful , I wanted to bring home a medal. During the week of Ohio, I fought through through the injury I had. I climbed up the ladder of success, and I reached for the Heavens to get what I want even though injury or permanent damage was going to happen. Thats what happened to Shun Fujimoto in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, he broke his knee on the floor exercise but continued to finish the events because he wanted to be successful knowing that his right leg would suffer more injury. In the end, his team (Japan) beat the Soviet Union, who are also good at gymnastics too.
In the end, success depends on the person. A person chooses to be successful. Also, talent doesn’t mean anything, because when people have talent they get cocky and assume it is going to be there for them. The successful people are the people who fight for it and take every option possible to make their moment happen.
It’s you who chooses to be successful, no one controls you, you control whether you want to be successful or not.
"True Heroes are made of hard work and integrity."
– Women's soccer star Hope Solo, who led her teammates to Olympic gold
Your blog was fun to read and I agree with you when you say that it is your own choice to be successful. I also enjoyed the way you tied in your experience to color guard. Great post.
I think that this was one of your best posts yet. I love how you always incorporate something that you're doing into your blogs . It gives it more of a personal touch and makes me want to read even more!
Successes is something that is not just handed down to a person by just sitting on the couch waiting for something to happen. Successes is earned. I believe a person no matter what, has to determine his or her own successes by how much he or she wants it. When a person is determined to accomplish a goal that may seem unreachable, and despite people telling him how hard or that he would never accomplish that goal in a million years, then, that person proves everyone wrong, that right there is my definition of successes. An individual is probably 95% responsible for his or her own successes the other 5% is left up to everyone else. I am not trying to make it sound as if a person doesn’t meet his or her goal that it is the other 5% fault. I am just making an assumption that if a person has done their job by meeting all the requirements needed for them to meet his destiny the rest of that goal is left to the person in charge. Let’s say for example, a person like myself has been rehearsing day in and day out for this role in an upcoming movie that they just have to get the part in. That person has left nothing up to chance. That individual has memorized his or her lines so good that he or she got it down to a science. So the day comes to audition for the part in front of the writer. He or she practically hit it out of the park but there was just something off about that actor that the writer didn’t like, so they cut the actor from the audition. This is how I think Successes is determined. You could practically accomplish anything if you want to but sometimes there will be that brick wall that will stop you from achieving that success and it’s your decision on how you are going to deal with it.
“Morality and your choice”
Having good Morals is what I think everyone has deep down inside of them, whether that person is good or bad. If a person didn’t have to choose to have good morals, I still think everyone would still have some. I do not believe people are naturally bad. I just think people can be influenced by a greater power to do bad things. All our lives we have been taught to do the right things by our parents but that didn’t stop us from doing some questionable things when we were young. That is just because we wanted to figure out things on our own. We did not know the consequences of those things we did but we were just curious. Morality is possible without choice! I do believe it’s true, there are something’s I do that just come naturally to me and I consider them to be good morals. Like doing things around the house without being asked or helping my friends when they seem to have problems with their life situations. People are good at heart, I do believe it is true.
“To Be Free Or Not To Be Free”
If an animal let alone a human being was caged in a small tight room for a very long period of time, I would think they would go crazy. Wouldn’t you? A person needs to be able to have a little freedom once and a while but not too much because rules are the basic foundation of a stable environment. If a person doesn’t get to live their own individual life, then what is the point of living in the first place? If a person had to do the exact same thing as everyone else on the face of the planet there will never be any diversity. Free will is a necessary rule for any person because a person should live life through his or her own eyes and not by the hands of another person. Life is supposed to help people figure out what is right and what is wrong and a person would not be able to do this if there was no freedom. A human has the basic capability of controlling their own self it’s just sometimes they don’t have the strength to do so. I let anger get the best of me sometimes. I know I would be able to control myself if I just took the time out of that day to talk to myself and let me know it’s going to be alright. However, I get so caught up in the moment that I don’t take time to think.
“Controlling your Destiny”
People make choices everyday whether it’s a good one or a bad one, some of the choices have major consequences that can affect the life of a person drastically, while others not so much. Even though a decision you make, that you have the power to control would not matter in let’s say a couple of days, I would still make that choice. No one could ever predict the future, so how would you know the choices that you make would affect you in your destiny. A human being should just do what they know best and not just act on impulse. If a decision you make helps you or doesn’t help you, you would never know if that decision had the power to help someone else in need. Never just think about your own destiny when you have the power to help other along the way as well.
Great blog this week. My favorite section was the "to be or not to be". I agree with what you said about a person has to live their own life or what is the point of living. If an individual isn't allowed to be themselves, they can't be themselves, they are just a shell of what their parents want them to be. Great job.
Good job on your post. well written and organized. I enjoyed reading it.
“A Senioritis-Afflicted Blog Post”
Hi everyone. I’m tired of doing blogs… really tired… so I’m just going to do a Question/Answer type of thing this time and get it over with ASAP! Let’s go!
+ How much of a say do we have in our own successes? To what degree does excellence depend on the individual? Is success a choice? What does success depend on?
-Under most circumstances, success depends solely on the individual. Nobody is going to pull you out of bed each morning and tend to your responsibilities – you have to grow up sometime. However, if one has been born with a silver spoon in hand, then success is practically guaranteed. Those with more privileges endure fewer difficulties in life. In other words, one’s success depends on a number of factors: ability, effort, wealth, connections, etc…
+How should you react when the things you can control aren't sufficient to shape your destiny?
-When something is insufficient, there are two things you could do: give up or do something about it. Unless you want to be a quitter, you work towards changing the situation. I don’t see how else I can answer this…
+Are we free actors or chess pieces? Does your belief regarding the truth lie somewhere in between? Does your answer here differ if you were a member of Oceanic society instead of ours?
-I’m a conscience being, as are you, and everyone else. Everything we do is a choice (even if you’re being forced to do something, that is someone else’s choice – keep that in mind). If I was an Oceanian, however, I might genuinely believe that all my choices should benefit Big Brother. In the end, your opinion simply depends on how you were “conditioned.”
+ Is it even possible to live one’s life under the assumption that all appearance of choice is meaningless, and that nothing is in our own control? (Think about Winston…)
-I want to just say “No,” and go on to the next question, but that won’t work. “Maybe,” “Yes,” I honestly don’t know… What kind of question is this, anyway!?! I don’t even understand it…
+ Why is it easier to forgive that which you understand? What is forgiveness, and what is redemption? (Is either attainable without choice?) Is a quest for either, or a bid for penance, ultimately a selfish undertaking?
-I can’t answer this; not because I’m being lazy, but because it’s regarding forgiveness. I must ask, “What is it that’s being forgiven?” I can’t simply answer with a “Yes” or “No,” it depends on the situation at hand; i.e. I would never forgive a murderer. Regarding the selfishness in seeking forgiveness/redemption, I don’t believe there is any. When you seek forgiveness, you aim to make amends with someone else – this is anything but selfish. When one seeks redemption, their efforts are put towards avenging a beloved one – once again, the opposite of being selfish.
+ Is morality possible without choice?
-If there is no choice involved, than there are no morals. How could one’s moral-reputation be affected if their actions were carried out against their will? Considering this, I would say that without choice, there is no morality. It’s as simple as that.
+ Is free will a necessary component of a human being? Is it possible to be human without control?
-This question is ambiguous; once again, your opinion depends on your upbringing – the way you’ve been “conditioned.” Naturally, we’re inclined to argue that “Yes, free will is THE necessary component to being human.” However, if you were to ask someone from the New World State, they’d answer “I’m human, but what’s free will?” By definition, a citizen of the New World State is indeed a human being with no free will; if this counts, than there’s your answer.
+ Do you want a destiny? If you had one…would you want to know?
-No, I would not want a destiny. If you “have a destiny,” than you’re stuck with what you’ve got – there’s no getting out of it. Naturally, I fear the idea of being “trapped” in a destiny that I’ve had no control over. Consequently, if I did have a destiny, I would prefer not to know it.
+ What would you have given up to make Phiona’s life better?
-I would have to meet Phiona in person before she receives any of my charity. As far as I’m concerned, Phiona probably has HIV just like her father, and possibly her mother. I don’t think I could help her, even if I wanted to – she’s pretty screwed up. I’d just suggest that she leaves the ghetto – that’s the only thing I could do that would help her.
James, not to be offensive but this is a really oddly formatted blog post. I have never seen anyone actually post up questions with a plus and just answer them and end with an actual "the end" Never the less, it is unique.
Hey James, I like how you admitted to senioritis (I think we all are afflicted with senioritis...only 44 people turned in their blog on time) and decided to just Q&A the whole thing. Brave move on your part, but I don't know what Feraco has to say about this.
Joy fills your heart
Seeing a student taking part
In this harsh task
Whiling removing his mask
Is that right? (Sarcasm)
Opps I meant "While removing his mask"
Why did I type whiling?
i don't know if it was such a great idea to do question answer form since it really is feraco's only restriction. but i agreed with most of your points.
Major props on a unique blog, but I'm scared for what score you are going to get on this blog.
The Extra Factor
One can push and push and “smack their head up against a brick wall and hope it crumbles” (Feraco), but when or how will that brick wall collapse? Is it safe to say that if one was to continue to try and work through hard-times, then will they be able to accomplish what they need to, or is there some unspoken power that is secretly helping, luck?
“I’d rather be lucky than good” (Vernon Gomez)
What exactly does that famous baseball quote mean? Baseball is and has always been one of the most negative and disappointing games of inches where getting a base-hit three times out of ten is considered remarkable. It’s a game where a better has 400 milliseconds to decide and to perform a full swing in order to hit a 90 mile an hour round ball square (contact in which the ball is hit directly in the barrel of the bat, not on top or beneath part of the ball) with a round bat; if the batter’s swing is only a mere 7 seconds too early or too late, then the ball will fly out of bounds, and that is considering if the batter has a good swing at the ball and his mechanics are all in check.
So then how come some people like Babe Ruth can be so successful? Of course he had sound mechanics and many people still teach most of what he had done well, but no one can constantly hit homeruns when there’s so much riding against you.
Legends such as The Babe “were something special” (Gomez). Although they had great mechanics, I have no doubt that a lot of their success was just plain luck. You can practice and practice perfecting your swing, but it’s easier for a pitcher to pitch around you and have you get yourself out by hitting a groundball or a fly-out. Hitting is all about being at the right place at the right time, and most batters have to guess what the pitcher is going to throw, yet another disadvantage batters have. Most batters simply swing at where they think the ball will be and time it based on the supposed location, which then leaves it up to chance – a chance that the bat will hit the ball at the right time on the right part of the bat and go in the right direction on the field away from the eight fielders in fair ground and finally then hopefully the batter can reach base safely.
“I’d rather be lucky than good”
Has anyone actually thought about the sheer probably that we are here writing this blog? It's really amazing that we are here, and not somewhere else. We're the lucky ones, I guess. We could have been born in Iran, where Sharia law reigns supreme, or even in the violent filled neighborhoods of Detroit. Knowing that these weekly Feraco blogs, and Senior Projects are our biggest worries tells us that we are luckier than at least 98% of the world. For the majority of us, we never have to worry whether we have enough food to last the week, or if we can walk onto the street without getting out. We landed into a safety bubble, where our most immediate problems is whether she will say yes, or finding the perfect prom dress. So, was it fate or was it something else?
“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.” - G.K. Chesterton
I really hate the idea of fate, and its significant other destiny. I really hope fate is just another myth thought up by the mystics. Knowing that I can't control my own life makes me think that it's not worth living it, because all of my choices are predetermined, and where I end up is already written down. It gives a sense of helplessness. So I pretend there isn't destiny, and I believe every choice I make is because I choose to make it, and the consequences will come along.
"There'll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read 'em. but all that will matter is the little dash between them." -Kevin Welch
There are only two predestined events in a life. Birth and Death. With all the attention those two things get, they are probably the least eventful, least meaningful moments in life. Everything else, every moment, every event, represents the life a person who has lived, and the only two things that fate should be responsible for would be the beginning and the end.
We make our own choices, and sometimes they end up being wrong. Sometimes we hurt people. It is as much of a choice to forgive someone as it was for that person to do something which needed forgiving.
"Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace." - Jonathan Lockwood Huie
It's easier to forgive others for things we understand because knowing in their place, we may have done the same thing. It is a human connection which allows us to feel empathy, and we understand that in some situations, these choices are near inevitable. Therefore when we are able to relate to ourselves, we feel differently. A person who has grown up in the ghetto is more likely to give back to it, because they've experienced it, they've lived it, and they understand what it's like.
Forgiveness is not the most crucial act in a cycle of redemption. It is rather the asking of forgiveness. In order to ask forgiveness means an understanding and admittance of wrongdoing. Sometimes it's difficult to forgive someone for what they've done, but imagine if you can't forgive them, how do they feel about themselves.
Other times, it's just not worth it. Let it go.
“You can’t cling to the past because no matter how hard you hold on, it's already gone”
I really like your blog! It was easy to read and I understood everything. Your quotes were also really nice and relevant.
A life without choice isn’t a life. It’s just a silly cycle that is constantly going. People cannot be human without their traits. They would be zombies entitled to doing things the way they are supposed to be done. Well I guess using zombies is too extreme, I should say animals because that’s what humans really are without their traits. We are given choices for a reason; we need control yet we also need free will and choice. It’s a balance, too much of either can be dangerous and vice versa. A world that has conditioned these things to the point where they eliminate one or the other creates a world that cannot work with humanity. God made everything for a reason and if we do too much of anything there are terrible consequences. We need our flaws as well as our qualities to be human.
Humans make mistakes, we hurt those we love, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our enemies. We basically hurt everyone without even trying because we were made with flaws. Our flaws consist of things like selfishness, betrayal, and lying, but we aren’t all bad either. We have our good sides too, our qualities like forgiveness, acceptance, and honesty. Sometimes in life we see all of these traits come out in situations where true humanity shines and usually these situations aren’t good ones. Humans are given one life, but a million choices. The choices we make can lead us through a life of happiness or a life of sadness; its how we choose that brings out humanity’s traits.
Morality and choice go together and are made in sync. We make our choices based on our morals that we have made. Morality is a choice within itself and without choice morality does not exist. We decide what is right and wrong and this is how we come up with the morals that we hold on to and make life choices from. The choices we make sometimes go against our morals and this is when our flaws come out. From our choices we see our bad side, and also our good side when we make choices according to our morals. With choice anything is possible for humanity, and without it humanity just cannot exist. Even if it means going through a life of many problems and wrong decisions, at least we can say we have lived.
I completely agree with you, Michelle. What is humanity when humans only exist as machines with no emotions? That question has been on my head as I read through your post. Having no emotions to express with is not even being a human at all.
I really like your post because I have the same mind set as you do and you put it in such a simple and concise way. It was well written and organized. Nice post!
A child destined to follow his father's footsteps. A woman destined to become a scientist. We often hear stories about people destined to become this or that, but are those really the desires the people want?
Destiny is a powerful word. It is the impending events that will happen in the future, and it is inevitable. With all the things that I have done and have not done, it would be great to have a destiny, only if it is an exciting journey. I haven't been the most decisive person in my family, which is why knowing my destiny will make my life easier.
"Hey, what do you want to eat for lunch today?"
"I don't know. Anything. I'll just share with you."
This conversation always goes back and forth between me and my family members. You can tell I'm not a picky eater, but at the same time, I'm indecisive.
However, on some days, I'm really straightforward and I know what I want.
"I want to eat at that Pho place today."
"Oh okay. Let's go there then."
In the end, I wouldn't want a destiny or know what mine is even if I had one. I want to make my own choices and be who I want to be. I don't want to be constantly thinking about my life in 20 years or what career I would be doing.
However, in Lucy's case, I have to contradict myself. She should have been honest with her students instead of keeping the inevitable truth with the guardians at Hailsham. She shouldn't have told Tommy it was okay not to be creative (even though her advice helped his tantrums) because in the end, much time was wasted. The Gallery was really important, and if Tommy had focused on expanding his creativeness, he would have gotten the chance to be chosen by Madame. If Lucy had been honest in telling her students about their inevitable future, she would not have to suffer everyday listening to her students dreaming of becoming actors or anything but being a donor. Also, if Lucy had told her students about the truth earlier, they could have prepared what they wanted to do with their lives after they moved out of Hailsham and into the Cottages.
Life is what you make of it. It is a path that has its twists and turns, but it is ultimately your choice to fail or succeed in what you do. A destiny is a straight path that you cannot ignore. If given the chance to reveal my destiny, let it go.
I completely agree with you on what you had to say, but maybe not every choice is yours and that others do sometimes have a say as to what will happen to you. What do you think?
People have a 100 percent say in their own success. No one is ever truly controlled by someone else. We are only successful if we ourselves want to be successful. That is what makes someone a human. We have the ability to make our decisions and have a say in every decision we make in our lives. People might be able to tell us what to do to be successful, but how we interpret what they say it ultimately up to our own minds. No other human being can tell us how to think for every detail and moment in our lives.
Excellence depends solely on the individual. Someone can’t be excellent if they truly don’t put their mind in a task or they simply do not want to do something. Someone can keep pushing you to be good at something but in the end, it ultimately depends on the individual. For example, my friend’s mom would always push her to study hard and send her to many different tutoring places so she would have excellent grades. Her mother wanted her to be a straight A student so she would constantly push her daughter. No matter what her mother did, nothing seemed to work in the end because my friend truly didn’t care about getting top notch grades. All she really cared about was passing and graduating high school. No matter how much her mother pushed her, she didn’t want to study or try, and all her mother’s efforts were in vain.
Success depends on the effort and time someone is willing to spend on something. It also depends on how determined and motivated someone is. If someone isn’t motivated they most likely will not do a great job. For example, I am really motivated to create art and become a successful artist because of my dedication to make my vision a reality. No one forces me to work on art or follow the path of an artist and I am willing to spend many hours to improve my abilities so that I will become successful in the future. I know that since I chose this career path without anyone’s direction, I will be a successful artist in the future because I am determined and completely dedicated to art.
I agree with what you're trying to say. Success is really up to the person and his or her motivation in achieving what they want to accomplish. Good blog!
Hey Iris. I love your post and how you basically state how life is what you make of it; how our motivation is directly related to the outcomes we have for ourselves. Great post!
Wonderful blog this week. I agree with you when you said that "people are 100% in control of their own success." It is true because only you are able to decide whether or not you want to succeed in life. Great post!
I believe that my destiny was to be born, it was by a like piece of hope and chance that I was born. I was unexpected but wanted at the same time. After birth I believe if I had a destiny I wouldn’t want it, I would send it back to whoever creates them with a big sign that say “No Thanks” on it. If someone has a destiny and they know it, it would be hard to grow up according to your destiny let alone live by what you are meant to do and be. I wouldn’t want to always have to watch what I’m doing because of a path that the destiny makers put me on.
Right now in my life I feel like I’m just trying to survive high school. I'm not worrying what my children will look like one day, I’m not worrying if I will graduate college in the near future and I'm not picturing what kind of house I will have when I'm wrinkly. I am simple focusing on the path that am on now, and that’s passing English and enjoying my young life before stuff gets real. My destiny doesn’t seem clear to me, because I don’t believe that I have one. I feel like I am supposed to do things like, have a great education then a fancy job, get married, and have kids. I don’t feel like anything is set for me.
Some kids, like me can’t wait to turn 18 because of freedom, the chance to make your own decisions and suffer the consequences. For the first many year of your life one or two people decide what you eat, what you dress like, and how you act; there called parents. They control you, and quite frankly I couldn’t have waited much longer for my so called freedom. I got to a point in my life where I was ready to make my own choices and see what the effects where. I was ready to be my own parent and come and go as I pleased.
If I had a destiny, I wouldn’t want to know because I would be scared to fail and fall from that path. I would be afraid of making a wrong choice. I wouldn’t want to let down everyone that I would be affecting by going through my path. I would never want to know my destiny if it was bad, but knowing me I would say, “Just tell me” and I would have to just hope that it was a great destiny. If I was Lucy, I wouldn’t have told my students that their destinies in life were to inevitably die. Knowing that my life would ultimately end because that is why I was created, would just be absolutely sad and frustrating. I would have saved them the heartache of knowing their fate.
This whole situation is exactly why I wouldn’t want a destiny because you won’t know what hand you’re dealt until you get to the end.
I agree completely with your post, I would not want to know my destiny too, even if I got the choice to know it! I like the way you explain why you wouldn't want to know too!
We often turn a blind eye to the injustices of the world. It’s difficult to understand, but we do. It’s a shame that we overlook atrocities that happen to us so we can take comfort living in our own homes and living day by day with smiles on our faces. After seeing these things happen on the news, we become desensitized to the idea that we live in a world that is pretty messed up. We see these things and the fact we take it so lightly is just a testament to how much we, as people, are numb to realities of the world. Not a tear shed, or a heart broken until it happens to us. It’s hard to see how to world still turns when we are so ignorant to the things happening in it.
At this point, we want to ask ourselves why we even let this happen. Even when I recognize this about myself and about society, why do I not take a second thought of the world I live in?
Well… we seek comfort in the security of the world. Sometimes, it takes a bit of insensitivity to make room for comfort in our lives. We try to push those things to the back of our minds, so we aren’t haunted by the thoughts.
We all just want to be happy with our lives and live them with confidence to see what tomorrow has in store. We don’t want to think about the things that happen in this world. We constantly ignore it, yet they’re resting in the back of our heads. In Freudian psychology, it would be hidden deep within our unconscious mind and can come out at anytime with a slip of the tongue.
We hold these thoughts in because we’re somewhat selfish people. We wouldn’t be able to go to hell and back in our minds and still stay strong. We make the things in life irrelevant to us and we happily move on without any alarm or emergency because that’s what we’re conditioned to do. We can’t relate to the suffering that happens to us, so we just pretend it doesn’t happen. We have no justification of why we do this.
I look into the eyes of other hoping to see a glimpse of their lives. What have they seen? What have they suffered? What stories do those eyes have to tell? Everyone has their own stories of the things they experience as well as the things they hold in. We view the world as a safe haven, because of what our eyes hold in. We want our world to be seen as the place where we feel safe. So if we have to ignore the deaths, rapes, etc we see, then so be it.
We don’t do anything because we want to feel safe.
There are things in our world that try to combat our ignorance. There are organizations and charities that try to raise money for a cause. We feel for those because we let a little bit of our unconscious mind slip through. Where those deep thoughts we hold in our minds can feel a little comfort from being released. We donate to ease the guilt.
The real question here is how do we keep our heads high when there is are so many reasons to let them fall.
I agree with your viewpoint that humans are naturally selfish. This post really made me think about why people are often insensitive to each other. The best explanation for selfishness is probably what you wrote, which is that people want to feel safe. Nice job!
Hey Alex, I thought your blog was great. We were very similar in our opinions on how we as people choose to be selfish, and live in a bubble. We don't like to branch out into a world that seems separate from our own. Overall you post was very well written.
Free will is not a necessary component and humans can be in control even if there is no complete control. I believe that being born; we are all pure and born with innocence. Not to say that we are born being good or bad but we are born neutral.
“What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.” ― Madeleine Albright
Free will is not necessary but everyone is born with the right to live and live by any standard they choose. Human race has developed a system that toys around with human freedom. Because of our free will to freedom some race gathers together to segregate other races. No matter how wrong and unjust it is, they do have the freedom do what they choose. Of course this isn’t humane to segregate race or gender but it is our right to do so if we choose. The government also limits us to most rights to keep us safe so think of it as a trade for protection. We lose some of our rights in order to live a safer life but are we really humane? Can we really live without control? Human kind has been known to fight, kill and dominate.
In the book Lord of the Flies, it’s pretty ironic how children are the ones that like to live without control and yet they create a form of government to keep themselves in check. They try to keep a civilized life. It is natural for the children to hold grudges against each other as they are not taught from wrong or right but it shows that even civilized children can turn into savages. Not everyone can lose control of their temper or temptations to lose control of themselves. The mind is the strongest weapon anyone can have. In the brain it stores memories, knowledge, instincts on survival. Losing control is part of our nature. We can still be human; let’s take perfectionist as a way to compare as a perfect person. Perfectionists are people that lose control easily because when they do, they lose their mind about what is going on around them.
“Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.” –Scott Adams
Controlling our own destiny is already enough even when the things we do are not enough to shape our destiny. Being in complete control is already an advantage we have over our lives. There is no way to react to our own destiny. Before we are able to change our destiny, sometimes the event has already happened. Destiny is not set in stone and nothing is ever permanent so choices can be made to change which ever our destiny would have led us.
The gift of life is great. We are able to control our own will and what we say and do even if it means it’s for the worse. We have the chance to change who we are no matter how many mistakes we make. Life always goes on and things are forgotten; there is always time to change who we are. Nothing is ever labeled permanent. The beauty of life is the limited time we have. Be human, be who you want to become and everything will set in place. We shouldn’t worry about being free or not; we don’t have to worry about our destiny going to the wrong direction if we just live.
The lord of the flies is an excellent choice of literature to use for this blog, because it questions humanity.
Your point of view about how we don't have to worry about being chess pieces or free humans as long as we live is very impressive.
Myth/Sci-Fi – 2
16 May 2013
“A Demon With A Soul”
“Well, I guess I kinda worked it out. If there's no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters... , then all that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is. What we do. Now. Today. I fought for so long, for redemption, for a reward, and finally just to beat the other guy, but I never got it.” - Angel (Angel: The Series)
We are feelings. We are emotions. We are human.
It may take long to realize what in the world that means, but emotional pain is definitely a top contender on that list. We seek out to heal what pains our feelings.
Further ahead on that scale is guilt. The feeling of unending regret for an action.
“Once upon a time, there was a vampire. And he was the meanest vampire in all the land. I mean, other vampires were afraid of him he was such a... [jerk]. Then, one day, he's cursed by gypsies. They restore his human soul. And, all of a sudden, he's mad with guilt. You know, "What have I done! Oh!" He's freaked.” - Allen Doyle (Angel: The Series)
Yeah people's souls are usually plagued with guilt, but when you've done what a man like him has done, “plagued” is putting it nicely. So all throughout the series we see his “road to redemption” and his fights with demons, both internal and external.
The question: Why does he want redemption so badly? He'll never be redeemed. He'll never be saved from the voices of thousands dead. So why? He thinks one day he'll possibly receive his redemption, but until then he keeps fighting, “helping the helpless”, but is it only to help himself? In the end he realizes that he will never be freed. He will live a life filled with drinking pig's blood and helping those in need, and as those last lines, “Let's go to work.”, are uttered, he really resonates the idea that his work is really never over, whether he wants it to be or not.
Angel is the epitome of what the road to redemption actually means, and how much it means no selfish thoughts. Angel has had destiny destroy him time and time again just to bring himself back into the fight. He broods and broods like no other, but his soul is what makes him human, the search for redemption, for something he will only ever understand, is just an extreme example of how most of us are. We search for redemption not because it is necessary to “clear our conscience”, but because it's what we feel it is our moral direction to do, whether it be condition or instinct, we know that we're supposed to differentiate simple forgiveness, something received but not necessarily deserved, or redemption, something worked for.
So we may not all be demons, but we sure all have emotion, and guilt, and a thirst for redemption, for it is simply our nature to do so. It is not selfish, it is not wrong. It's human.
This was a great read. I liked how you used a protaganist as your prime example, but maybe a little more back story on him would help people who aren't familiar with Angel: The Series.
Are you a leader or a follower?
Do you want to inspire change or to blend into the crowd?
Do you want your name to be recorded for the ages or to disappear once you retire from public life?
Do you want to be a 10 or a 5?
If you answered the former of the two options in each question, you need to follow your morals. If you’re a leader, if you want to change, to improve society, you have to stand up against the unjust rules and lead the charge to topple them. We remember the names of those who chose their morals. However, even though they immortalize their names, they put their physical and mental wellbeing on the line in order to achieve what they want. Unfortunately, some of these leaders become martyrs because the movement they start results in their untimely death. This is evident in the famous American figures we have learned about forever such as Abraham Lincoln losing his life for emancipating the slaves or Martin Luther King Jr. losing his life fighting for equal rights that should have been granted to African Americans a century prior. Rosa Parks refused to stand in the back and was sent to jail in exchange for the start of a movement. John the Savage could not stand the World State because all of their rules against freedom and individuality were just so revolting that he could not sit idly by and let the world continue as it was. However, he ended up sacrificing his life in exchange for his failed movement. While it might be a noble cause, fighting for one’s morals can result in death.
These people cannot follow laws that conflict with their morals because they are leaders who need to change their worlds to protect the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness granted to us in the Declaration of Independence. If you want to be remembered and if you are willing to risk it all, you need to choose your morals over rules.
However, if you are fine being a 5, being a Joe Schmoe, then following the rules is the path for you. This path is safe and it is possible to be happy. If you are lucky maybe you’ll advance to a 7 and lead a forgettable yet successful and happy life. Lenina is an Alpha who has always enjoyed life. She never did anything out of the normal. She fit right in. Her life is complete, she is not sad until having to deal with someone destined for a 10. It is possible to enjoy life and not be remembered, but maybe this is something most people want. When we played the penny game first semester, almost everyone said the highest in life they would want to ascend to would be a 7, somewhere high and affluent, but not so high that they could still lead a normal life. If you want this, if you aspire to be a resident of an Arcadia-like town when you grow up and settle down, this is the path for you.
Choosing between morals and rules is something every single human deals with throughout their whole lives. Whether it be something small like seeing a friend cheat on a test and wondering if you should report them or whether it be something huge such as seeing a friend who is a CEO of a company stealing from it and wondering what to do about it, everyone knows what it feels like to have to choose between ethics and laws. It comes down to something very simple: if you want to be remembered you must follow your morals but if you just want to live happily, you must follow the rules.
I really liked the beginning of your blog. I feel like the questions drew me into the rest of your writing - creative idea. It led into a very strong body. Nice job.
I think that you're a really bright guy. You can see it through your previous blogs, and some of the things that you mentioned in this blog.
Even though this was not bad, I wish that you would've done more. I hope to read something well formatted next week.
Nice job, but try to finish your last year of high school with your full effort. That way, when you look back (and you will), you won't regret anything!
Morals and rules are things that everyone should have. The way I interpretted your post was that there is a significant distinction between "morals" and "rules" and that two classes - leaders and followers - of society belonged to one of the two schools of thought. I was slightly disturbed by your implicit assertion that as a follower, I would only need to obey the rules set by my leaders and not consider how my actions may impact others (i.e. polluting the environment in favor of higher profits). Is this an accurate interpretation?
I may have not been clear enough in my blog but I was trying to distinguish the difference between a 10 (the greats that are remembered forever) and a 7 (those who are successful but not remembered). I was trying to imply that those who follow their morals will always be leaders no matter what while those who follow the rules are not always leaders. I hope that explains it better.
To achieve success, people must have enough motivation to work towards their goals. However, just having motivation and determination is not enough to make noteworthy accomplishments. An element of luck is involved. People need to be in the right place, at the right time, to even have a chance of becoming successful. Also, they need to have talent. Humans cannot be good at doing everything. Specialization is often the key to achieving excellence.
Phiona was lucky enough to have the formula for success. Although she grew up in a poor community, she eventually moved on to a better life, thanks to her talent at playing chess. Also, she happened to meet the right people to help her become a chess player. A combination of luck and motivation pushed her to become successful. Her success exemplifies that it is worth the time and effort to work towards our goals, but only if those goals are realistic.
In my freshman English class, I wrote an essay about my belief that determination is more important than talent. My claim was that even if people have the necessary talent to achieve success, they would not be successful if they are unmotivated to work towards excellence. I still hold this belief today. What I didn't really consider in my essay was the opposite scenario. Would highly motivated people become successful, even if they do not have talent? In freshman year, I didn't like to think about this question. High school was filled with so many opportunities that would allow me to reach my full potential. I preferred not to think about the possibility of failing, especially if the failure is caused by my lack of talent. I wanted to think that I will become successful, as long as I put in my best effort.
I had to face reality, eventually. I tried out for multiple academic teams and failed every time. I applied to become a Key Club officer three times and failed every attempt. These are only a few examples of my failures in high school. The areas in which I have the most success are academics and orchestra. However, even in these areas, I still face stiff competition. In my AP classes, I am surrounded by people who are more academically talented than I am. In symphony orchestra, I will never be the best violin player, even though I started playing violin before I learned the times table.
I can no longer ignore the fact that talent plays a role in determining the chance of success. Effort can take us closer to our goals, but only to a certain extent. It is important for people to have a thorough understanding of their own abilities, since this understanding will allow them to set realistic goals for themselves. At the end of last semester, I organized my bucket list by how likely I will reach my aspirations. Inevitably, many of my attempts to achieve those aspirations will fail, even for the seemingly realistic ones. To reach our goals, we need to be lucky enough to encounter the right circumstances. The best we can do is work hard, persevere, and hope that the world around us will support our endeavors.
I really liked how realistic but hopeful your blog is. I agree that that talent does factor in determining our successes, not just our efforts. But, in the end, we just have to work our hardest and give it out best shot to reach our goals. You did a great job on your blog!
A nice refreshing post of reassessment. Just remember that if you have made such a realization now, there are bound to be more down the road. Let's hope that luck of yours replenishes by then.
I remember when I first heard the story of how Mr. Feraco was given this packet and this choice of whether to cheat or not at my first ever Link Crew training session. (A founding person of LinkCrew YEAH!) It was the first time I ever heard of Mr. Feraco and it was the first time I ever heard his voice. I remember getting so caught into his story of whether he should cheat or not and I remember getting so mad because he left the audience hanging there. I never knew what happened and what his choice was until earlier today.
Today I was told of three stories, one about Mr. Feraco’s great grandmother, his amazing teacher, and his student. In these three stories not only did they contain a little luck but it just goes to show the humanity that people have. I believe that how hard you work can only get you so far sometimes. I’ve experienced this and I’m sure many of you who are reading this now have experienced this too. You try hard, so hard, that sometimes it just doesn’t work out for you.
If I were that judge at Ellis Island; If I were Mr. Feraco’s math teacher, if I were Mr. Feraco himself. I would have done exactly the same thing. I would have been that judge who approved the citizenship of the great grandmother. I would have been Mr. Feraco’s math teacher who gave him a C to pass the class. I would have been Mr. Feraco giving a D to the girl in his English class.
I do believe that the judge, the math teacher, and Mr. Feraco were correct in giving each person a chance and that they were justified in doing so because no matter how hard a person tries, you never truly know what’s going on, what other factors play into their daily lives. See, that’s the thing, it’s the act of kindness, it’s because we’re all human.
We all have feelings.
I want to be a teacher when I grow up not only because I want to work with kids but it’s because I feel like I would understand them. I’m not the greatest student by all means. I have things going on in my life as well as other people that some people just wouldn’t get. I’ve gone through many things where I have been blessed with the kindness of someone that put me where I am today.
I guarantee any of you right now if it weren’t for some teachers here at Arcadia High School I would be a bit afraid that I wouldn’t be walking at graduation with any of you. It’s not because I don’t get school but it’s just because there’s so much going on that I just couldn’t manage all the time together all at once.
That’s the thing, people can try as hard as they want, and bang their head against a wall that may never fall or keep going in circles that will never end and sometimes things may not go their way. It’s honestly just on the person who you happened to so be blessed with and their kindness and humanity because I know that sometimes I work so hard and I happen to fall short, but I made it because that person gave me a chance.
If I were any of those three I would have done the exact same thing because I’m just like that, I believe that everyone is going to go somewhere great and strive and excel in what they do. I’m NOT going to be that one person who stood in their way of becoming the absolute best that they could be because they didn’t try hard enough or because they didn’t deserve it. I do believe that everyone deserves a chance somehow and someway because honestly, you never know what their life is like and what’s going on. I believe that everyone deserves a fighting chance that’s why all three of the people in the stories were correct in doing so because..
look at it now.
We have Mr. Feraco’s great grandmother who had a daughter who gave birth to our English teacher who has enlightened us in ways we never imagined.
We have Mr. Feraco’s math teacher that gave Mr. Feraco that chance to go to Occidental (and make Mr. Feraco realize math just wasn’t his thing) and now here he is giving us these long yet interesting lectures..
and his student is now going to be a Vet Tech and now she’s probably going to save some kid from a heartache.
This is exactly why I would bend the rules for each one of them.
Thank you for reminding me where I've heard his story of the take home test. Now, I remember hearing about it during the training session of Link Crew. At that time, I was very surprised. Not many teachers would like to share their personal story, but Mr. Feraco revealed how he had failed his math tests continuously. Good post! I can't agree with you more on how everyone deserves a chance in life.
Success: As Hard as One Makes It
Success is an ambiguous term. What constitutes as successful to one person may differ from another simply because stochastic factors such as socioeconomic status and inherited wealth that are bestowed upon birth create different standards for different people. For instance, success for some families may simply be graduating from high school while for others, success may be defined as high as graduating summa cum laude from professional schools. In spite of the varying ideas of success, the ultimate underlying factor is the achievement of expectations and this criteria is what allows success to be individualized and consequently, solely dependent on effort and determination.
What makes a person successful is his/her ability to accomplish goals and since goals vary amongst people through their choices, success is unique to each and every person; thus, it is impossible for society to define success using a specific, arbitrary factor such as wealth. This is why people who inherit large amounts of wealth from their parents but have done nothing to deserve any of the wealth are only deemed rich—not successful; and conversely, Devonte’s achievement of C’s in his classes are seen by the principal and staff of Harper High School as successful since he has achieved grades that he’s never been able to achieve ever before, despite the common perception that C's are merely mediocre. Although wealth is most popularly conflated with success, success is solely a measure of individual achievement and is thus, independent of any arbitrary factors. If a person is able to set goals, he/she has the ability to succeed, regardless of background, wealth and etcetera. Once the goal is set a person must select a path towards success and that path will inevitably involve effort and, most importantly, choices. This diversity of different paths is what makes success completely dependent on individuality; while people may even have the same goals, the chances are great in that different people take different routes to attain those goals. Many students have the same goal of achieving A’s in their classes, and while some students choose to study for the A, others may choose to cheat for it. Regardless of the path taken, however, individuals are fully responsible for their consequences and it is ultimately up to their discretion to make success as hard or as feasible as they desire. Chances are that the people who cheated for the A will find success to be far harder to achieve than through legitimately completing the coursework for it. Thus, even within the same goal, success varies dramatically depending on an individual’s unique plan to achieve it.
There can be no excuse for failure since success is a choice. If one strives his/her entire life to get admitted into Harvard and comes up short, he or she may feel sorely disappointed from “failure” but this feeling only stems from a self-constructed mentality that Harvard is everything. Have that same person readjust his/her mentality to see that his/her achievements for Harvard has brought open bountiful opportunities elsewhere and he/she will realize how much success he/she truly has. If one decides to set ridiculously lofty goals that are impossible to achieve, then failure will inevitably haunt his/her life; without changing the amount of effort and by simply readjusting the goals to be more realistic, that same person can enjoy a life with much more success since his/her goals will actually become feasible.
Success is all up to the individual. The individual is in charge of setting his/her goals and planning the means to achieve them. Society may construct stereotypic models of success such as through celebrities and entrepreneurs but it is ultimately up to the individual to decide whether his/her success must be dictated by external pressures or be completely based on goals that are unique to him/her. Either way success depends on choice and mentality and so as long as one possesses the mental stamina to persevere and accomplish his/her goals, success can always be achieved.
No person is successful because of who he/she is; a person is successful because of what he/she does.
in a way i really enjoy the process in which you develop your response, i also like how you threw it down, to a personall feedback at the en by saying what you said~! thanx for the read bro.
There may not be a need for an excuse for failure, but there are reasons. Take long grueling endurance races, like the marathon or the iron man. Even with favorites, picking the winner is not very easy because so many factors can make or break the competitors. I argue that the individual heavily contributes to success, but not entirely. The fact that we cannot control everything, however, emphasizes your point that controlling what we can control is of the essence. Sometimes, luck just favors the prepared.
The core ideal that differentiates human individuals from another especially involves the infinitely many decisions they make in their lifetimes. Without choices, humans would all follow the same repetitive steps in life. Think 1984. The Party controls the populace through repressing the citizens' individuality, essentially closing any potential room for decisions that threaten the regime such as revolutionary fervors and ideas for rebellion. To that end, everyone follows the same daily pattern, restricted of all the choices they make.
One can literally live without choice, but there's hardly any reward for doing so. There is no satisfaction gained from following the same steps (many times, unwanted) as everyone else.
The self-gratification really presents itself when people make the right choices - the ones that make them feel rewarded and happy. Decisions give the individual depth in his or her life.
In 1984, the Party strips everyone of this depth to the point where it was nearly impossible to distinguish the denizens from each other. Hardly anyone was able to tap into their individuality save Winston and Julia, in which they felt powerless to be able to rouse their fellow comrades to stir a revolution. This powerlessness strips away Winston's motivation to live; he is forced to act as an automatic outer party member working the same routine until he dies.
He is a tool: used solely for one purpose until worn out and dead.
The ability to make choices gives humanity a lot of power: the energy to be able to commit to something knowing that they have the capability of doing it, the strength to carry out their decisions until they feel rewarded for doing so, and most importantly, purpose. A memorable baseline question referred to how we define ourselves: by what we are or by the choices we make. I believe that "what we are" sets the base for the types of decisions we make and the actual choices we make truly define our characters.
Humans differentiate based on their decisions, and that is what makes us all unique. Our choices dictate our lives, more so than what we were born with.
Choices are pivotal to our lives.
Choices definitely determine who we are as individuals. Having the freedom to make decisions not only leads people to reach their goals, but also to fail. People often define themselves by their successes and failures, in addition to their choices. Your post is well-written. Good job!
I like your contrast on the highs and lows of life and how the choices we are given somewhat define the lives we live. I enjoy the way your weave your ideas into this post. It's great!
Hi Warren, I like how you formatted your blog - the single lines amid paragraphs - it was a smooth read.
A computer program is coded to make decisions based on the circumstances that it comes across. For example, a number guessing game may ask the player if there number is above or below a certain threshold and then formulate a new question based on the answer of the previous until a number is finally decided upon. If, however, the player were to supply the computer with some other parameter, such as his opinion on healthcare, the program would crash out of an inability to respond. Computers can only respond to what they were programmed to do and nothing more. They lack – at least at the time of writing – the ability to adapt their decision making skills to an unpredicted situation.
Decisions, big or small, are made by everyone everyday. Some of these decisions are the same with each passing day such as the daily routines we develop and the habits that we have. Others are a little more varied and depend on our moods on that particular day. Lunch may be steamed dumplings one day and beef tacos the next. While these small decisions appear negligible on a day to day basis, their impacts – particularly ones related to health and time management – add up and affect the rest of one’s life. Larger decisions such as what college to attend or what career to pursue have more immediately noticed impacts.
The majority of the aforementioned decisions, however, mainly affect the individual. Decisions that are ethical in nature are much more complicated as they typically involve entire groups of people. No matter how skilled the programmer, ethics cannot be broken down into code regardless of how advanced the language is. Only creatures with a sense of right and wrong and everything in between – as opposed to the true/false mechanism of a computer – are capable of making ethical and unethical decisions.
When an individual or a party has choices, the burden of morality is automatically placed on their shoulders. There may not be a decision that satisfies every last person, but there always options, emphasis on the plural. Morality cannot exist without choice because a “correct” decision is dependent on the context that it was made in.
For example, the Niger Delta region is the home of some of the poorest people in the world. Their land is what sustains them and allows them to survive from day to day. Foreign oil companies came into to drill out the oil in that region but did so at a minimal expense on their part which subsequently led to the destruction of the Niger Delta’s ecosystem. Their decision to do so is viewed as unethical because of the options they had, they chose the one that negatively affected another group of people who were essentially powerless to stop them. In the case of the oil companies, a small sacrifice in profits could have meant more bearable lives for the indigenous people in the area. The extra money simply made the rich richer and poor poorer.
On the other hand, sometimes when two parties are equal, a decision that hurts the other party can be viewed as less immoral. During World War II, Harry Truman was faced with the decision of whether or not to use the atomic bomb on Japan. He chose to drop it on Hiroshima, instantly killing scores of individuals and bringing Japan to surrender. While his decision was a violation of international warfare law (not one explicitly stated), it is arguably the more ethical one to make as the alternative possibilities would likely have only led to more lives lost. Thus at the end of the day, the morality of a decision varies jointly the people that may be affected and the choices possible.
Hey Timothy, I really loved all the examples in your blog. Its odd to say I related to the computer program example because, once a long time ago, I took AP CompSci. I barely knew what was going on in that class, but this really made me see what you wanted to convey about destiny. I agree that decisions are what make up our daily lives, and that really nothing happens by chance.
During the course of our lives, we often find ourselves faced with countless obstacles. These obstacles take the form of something as infuriating as dyslexia, to something as common as asthma. But these obstacles by no means affect the outcome of our lives. They can, like other hardships in our lives, be overcome. The belief in destiny, in my opinion, is an indicator of the cowardice instincts in human nature. When self-inflicted misfortune happens for example, we scour about trying to find an explanation for why such things happen. We blame in on fate, something that we have no control over, relieving us of any blame as to why such events occur. It serves as a scapegoat that we blame when in actuality; we can alter the course of our own lives.
Choice is what gives man their freedom. Without choice, we would be living predetermined lives. We would be living a life that leads to an end that someone else has planned for us. The very existence of “choice” implies freedom; the freedom to steer your own life in a way that you see fit. Being able to decide how you live your life brings upon issues such as morality, forgiveness, and control. Does one man’s choice to control hinder another’s choice to his own freedom? Does the choice to follow morality give a person the right to persecute others whose choices contradicts your beliefs? These problems occur in our society day after day, which proves that there is no such thing as true freedom in our world.
One man’s freedom can be seen as another man’s constraint. The choices we make affect the lives of the people around us, which in tern affect the people around them. So this brings into question, is there such thing as life without fate? Our lives are constantly shaped and molded, even unknowingly, by the choice people make in our society. We, in a sense, depend on the choices of others, who also depend on the decisions we make as well. It is an endless cycle that contradicts both our belief in freedom, and a predetermined fate.
So in the three stories told to us by Mr. Feraco, I believe the judge, teacher, and Mr. Feraco were all in the right. They deserved to move on. Why delay the inevitable? The great-grandmother would, after enough time, learned English and pass the test, allowing her to enter the United States. Mr. Feraco, if the teacher never passed him, had he chosen to continue his mathematics education, could eventually understand the material and passed the class at a later time. And the disadvantaged student, had she failed in the end, would still go to a community college where she would eventually still pursue her goal of becoming a veterinarian. My point is that choice and persistence can still ultimately help you achieve a desired result. All that the judge, the teacher, and Mr. Feraco did, was accelerate the inevitable future that awaited each individual within these three stories. Fate does not govern us, but ourselves.
Michael L. I really enjoy reading your post, I have am dyslexic myself and I would always blame it on my fate, but after reading your post, it gave me a different viewpoint on it!!
Everyday we make choices. From the smallest decision of choosing what to wear, to the major choices of who to be friends with. Either way, life is full of choices, and we make those choices, sometimes without ever realizing it. However, the decisions we make determine the future we make for ourselves.
Life is full of choices, but the biggest choice we are faced with is either to forgive or not. We ask ourselves, should we forgive the person? Is it worth it?
Forgiveness is gained because we earn that forgiveness. We forgive people because there are reasons why we keep them in our lives. However, in the cost of that, we lose that trust. That trust is jeopardized, and the relationship becomes weakened. It’s easy to lose a trust, but it’s hard to gain it back.
Those reasons are made by the choices we make. I even find myself finding reasons to forgive people because of the actions they made in my life. What did they do to deserve forgiveness? However, many people begin to label me as the “nice guy”. Some even label me as the “scapegoat” because I would always find reason to forgive people. Ultimately, this can lead to selfishness.
When I forgive people, I expect them to learn from their mistake. From learning from their mistake, they would eventually be redeemed. However, there are times when I forgive people and they always rely on that forgiveness to continue using it against me. Even though they gain my forgiveness, doesn’t mean they can be redeemed. Instead, they are forgiven, but can never gain back that trust. It seems stupid to think I would keep someone who does that, but forgiveness is different from redemption. I’ll still talk to the person, but I wouldn’t be able to trust the person. Eventually, the friendship is only based on each others company, rather than deeper meaning.
Usually, people say forgiveness means trusting the person again. However, I don’t think it necessarily means trusting again, but giving chance of redemption. Whether they earn it or not, it’s determined by the person’s choices. In general, a person’s choice reflects the person they are.
Ahh, I definitely understand what you mean by how some people come to rely on my forgiveness instead of fixing themselves. I also like your idea of forgiveness as a chance for redemption, rather than just forking over your trust again. Wonderful blog!
Your blog is an interesting read, but it's kind of disconnected. As I read it the flow of the blog kept on breaking, to transition between paragraphs so readers don't get lost. Other than that nice post.
Growing up in a Christian family, I have been told by my parents that my life has already been planned according to God’s will; every action and thought we process is pre-planned by God. Destiny is within us the moment we become fetuses in our mothers’ wombs. We are not given an option of knowing our destiny. If I had the option to choose whether or not I would like to know my destiny, I would choose the option of not knowing my destiny.
Having prior knowledge of one’s future would either kill the purpose of one’s determination to strive for success or cause one to give up his or her motive to try. They would already know whether they would end up having a successful future or endure a life full of struggle. If my destiny were revealed, I would lose all my motivations to try in life, as I know that I would end up in the position that is already set for me.
If my destiny were to become a cashier at McDonald's, I would not have tried as hard in high school to get accepted to a college that I believe I deserve. In the end, I know the results would just become a disappointment towards all the hard work I have put in.
On the other hand, if I knew that I was destined to be a doctor, I would still slack off, knowing that my future is already set to become a part of the elite, thus, causing me to lose the motive to strive for more than what I would have done to achieve the same ultimate goal.
The more one knows about himself, the easier it is it for him to fall into a hole of tragedy. Knowing the upcoming events that are going to happen would take away the excitement to pursue an adventurous event, which might actually lead to surprises. One’s life would become bland and unimaginative if every forthcoming occurrence was exposed.
Either way, the result of knowing one’s destiny would only cause chaos to one’s life; the negative output is way greater than the positive ones. By not knowing what one’s destiny would be, one can experience the thrill of not knowing what will happen next, whether it be anxiety or joy. Although a person may encounter more obstacles in his or her journey by remaining ignorant of his or her destiny, the hardships and triumphs ultimately shape a person to be who they are today, and the ability for a person to overcome the many obstacles of life gives one the feeling of satisfaction and gratification.
It's so interesting to see your perspective and I like your argument about how we hold the tendency to slack off. It reminds me of having a movie spoiled and then watching it just doesn't seem as great anymore. Your writing has very clear and keep up the good work.
Michaele Francesco Corbisiero
Mythology to Science Fiction
16 May 2013
Moralitas Super Omnes
As soon as kids learn to talk, they naturally begin to ask for things. Kids and teens of this generation are more entitled than ever, and it all starts at a young age. They first ask for food or things to make their life more “fun,” and it sparks from their mentality of being deserving just for being. Now, more than ever, social media, television, movies, and peers send a message to kids saying that, “This is the new thing that every who cool has, so if you don’t have it, you’re not cool.” Parents and guardians love their kids and naturally give into their kids’ demands because they feel bad for them if they don’t have the new cool thing. They would feel at fault if they turned out to be the school outcast.
This sense of entitlement is what people have been using when things don’t turn out the way they wanted it to. When life takes a bad turn, instead of putting their head down and working hard, they play the role of being a victim. “Society did me dirty,” or, “It wasn’t my fault.” My grandmother told me that people will feel bad for you when something bad happens to you. They’ll grieve with you, console you, and try to do their best to help you feel better. Although, once that happens, the world keeps moving forward, everyone else moves on with their life. If you don’t learn to get up after you fall, you’ll be left behind.
We our in direct control of our own success. Working hard will make us successful, but without hard work you will amount to nothing. Finding what is right for you is also very important too because, “I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. ” (Winfrey) It’s important to realize that we will all make mistakes on our road to success, but it’s those who get back up after they fall who will thrive in society.
Growing up in Arcadia may skew our thought of what successful is. Many of us might believe that you’re only successful if you become a doctor, lawyer, or white collared worker, but success is much more than an occupation. Success is much more than salary.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” (Schweitzer)
This quote directly connects to that by Winfrey, when she said that the way to succeed is to discover what you love, and then find a way to apply that service towards others. Success is very much a choice. The decisions you make in your life will correspond to your success. While school might not always reflect intelligence or success, my mom always tells me that, “My grades are directly proportional to the amount of effort I put towards the classes.” I thoroughly believe that this also applies to life. Success is a choice, and your success relies on the decisions that you make in your life.
With my belief that decision influence how successful one will be in life, I would not wish to have a destiny. If I had a destiny, my life would be set out and there would be no room for me to alter my future. As we see in Harry Potter, his destiny (prophecy) is not one he would have chosen, but his prophecy was not for him to choose. Unlike Harry, if I had a destiny, I would not want to find out what that destiny is. Living life with thousands of skeptical doors is much more fascinating, and fulfilling, than living a life where you know where the doors lead to. We can see this through school as well. If a teacher assigns a project and he says that it will not count towards their grade, more than eighty percent of the kids will not do that project with integrity, or motivation. Whereas, if you told the students that it would be half of their final grade, they would come to school with a variety of astonishing projects. Project done with full effort, and the product would be much stronger. I do not think that Lucy should have been honest with her students. By not telling them what the future held, they had the opportunity to imagine and think. The students would have acted differently if they knew what their future held.
In the film, Up, Mr. Carl Fredricksen is dealt with a situation where he has to follow his moral code, or follow that of the law. Carl is sentenced to an old folks home because the law believed that he was not fit to live alone. They give away his land, and send a bus to go pick him up in the morning. While he was legally suppose to abide by the law and go to the old folks home, he follows his moral code and promise to Ellie, his wife. What Carl did broke the law, even though it was widely accepted by the audience, including myself. There are many instances where your morals and the rules come into conflict, you should follow your morals.
This same topic came up last semester when we talked about morals vs. ethics, and I still believe that morals should be chosen over ethics, or law. We spoke about a scenario where teachers are legally not suppose to interfere in a fight because it is against school policy. Following your morality is the right thing to do. By stopping the fight, you protect the students and break up behavior that is barbaric.
We also see this issue in ice hockey. When two players get into a fight, there is a rule called, “third man in,” which prohibits a player from getting in between the fight. The rule was made to prevent other teammates from escalating the problem, but there are many flaws to the rule. When a player steps in between a fight, they are immediately kicked off the ice base on the “third man in” penalty. The player might even have good intentions, but the rules are rules, so they are still expelled from the game. This has happened to me three times before. My teammate gets into a tussle with another player, and I tried to step in between the players and got thrown out of the game for it. I don’t regret doing so because I know that I stopped something imbecilic from happening.
You can tell when rules can be broken in order to preserve your moral code. There are many rules in the United States that are outdated, but are still followed. The rules were written in the colonial times and are still followed based on the law.
“A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressure - and that is the basis of all human morality.” (Winston Churchill)
Making the Right Decision
When there comes a time when it is necessary to do something, do it. Because you never know when that situation might be of advantage to you. Also, if you feel that making this decision is right, or if you feel it in your gut to trust yourself, go for it. When you see someone in life struggle, or is having a hard time, but is putting all of their effort into it, give them the chance to fulfill it. Give them the opportunity to be able to finish at it, don’t just make them do all this work for nothing. If someone was so close to finishing something that they had been working on for so long, id give them the chance to accomplish it. But there are the times when people don’t see the other side of the story, the side that most matters, and not give them any chances, no opportunities to succeed. It's as if all their work paid off for nothing.
If I had to choose to give someone another opportunity, id give it to them, because, you never know how their future might change because of them. If you had chosen differently, always think about it, always think bout how it would have been if you had chosen otherwise. It's never hard to just think. Always think about it for a while. Do they really deserve this? Have they really earned it? Or have they not? You always have to find those important things out. Being me a very generous person, I would most certainly give them an opportunity to redeem themselves, but they have to show it, they have to show that they really want it.
There are going to be hard times in life when you have to make important decisions, that may change the future of someone. It's always important to choose wisely and not make the wrong decision for someone's future.
16 April, 2013
+ How much of a say do we have in our own successes? To what degree does excellence depend on the individual? Is success a choice? What does success depend on?
Once you lose the landscape placed underneath you, is when I believe we appreciate life the most. Stability, Community, Identity, are the three major things Aldous Huxley wants out of life in his own personal preference of writing called “ The Brave New World”. He explains to us through his life long story about the way the government would work under a dystopian government out in through a chemical, fertilizing hatchery.
In the eyes of some this is considered success, but I am here to presume my own personal experience of what success might be like based on governmental issues. First I would like to point out that I really hated this book because of how fake everything was and how it would make me sick the way they controlled the children-adults through out their whole life doping them up on soma. Although, I extremely respect the fact on how Aldous Huxley was able to retract his mental focus out of reality and place himself into another world that is metaphorical identical to the ideal world we live in today. It sure as heck isn’t easy to speak about “ The specific state of the world we live in without being judged or looked at adversely”.
I believe that we all have a saying in almost everything we do. Excellence is purely determined on the ability the person is given to do what needs to be done in the certain amount of time given. This being said, I do believe that success is simply what we make of the small choices that affect us in our everyday lives. As students of Arcadia High School we are more privileged then many of those around us. But it doesn’t matter if your given all the resources you need to strive for excellence, because it is simply form the self devotion that one goes to school eight hours a day for. My grandpa once told me, don’t believe you’re the best of the best but don’t believe that you’re the worst of the worst. People are only next to you when you are successful and will leave as soon as things get sour.
Hello Adrian, viewing things at your perspective really puts me on the spot where I want to know more of your personal experience so I can confirm with your ideals. I also do not like the fact in the book that people are to be taken care by their parents, well in their case the World Controllers, throughout their whole lives. My only problem is that you should have put more depth with your experiences into your post.
Are we living out our destiny?
Is this really the path that we are supposed to lead?
No one really knows. It’s mind-boggling that one little thing that we do can affect our whole lives. Imagine if you never took that class, would you ever have met your best friend? Or if you never had yelled at your brother, would he talk to you today?
If we mess up once, it feels as if our future is dark and uncertain. But, it’s even crazier that we have this mindset that if we screw up during our teenage years, our whole future will be ruined. When, in reality, we have so many chances to change our course of life and our destiny.
When my friend gets a D or an F on a test, she thinks that her whole life is ruined and that her dream of becoming an orthodontist will never come true. But I always say to her, “One test isn’t going to mess up your future and it certainly won’t stop you from achieving your dreams. So don’t worry about it, it’s just one test grade.” She does calm down after that but I can still see the worried expression on her face. Our whole lives we have been trained to never earn a bad grade, never make mistakes and always be the best that we can be. But I realize that we all have made mistakes and it feels as if we are leading our lives to the path that we aren’t destined to lead.
Everything that we do now affects our future. Some of it can be avoidable like drinking or doing drugs. But, others are in our fate, it is bound to happen. Go where life leads you and try not to stress about it too much. Some things are just destined to happen in our lives. Whether it is heartbreak or feeling depressed and lonely, we all have struggles in life that are unavoidable. We can’t take control of it or try to stop it from happening, the only thing we can do is to go where life leads you and live out our destinies.
I enjoyed reading your post. I loved how you started out your post
Senior year has been extremely difficult. I crashed into every obstacle in my path and I dealt with each one quite negatively. I never saw the bright side of things; I was so pessimistic. So I responded accordingly. I told anyone anything simply for the fact I stopped trusting. I pushed people far enough to be my friend, but to know nothing about me. I made sure I stood isolated. Not only did I hurt myself, I also hurt others. Thinking about it, I wish I did something rather than leave it there. I left the problem as it was.
I, as a person, was tested. How do I respond to situations that ultimately affect everyone around me? I did so poorly.
First semester was terrible. The amount of damage I’ve done to the environment was horrific. I hurt quite a lot of people in retaliation to the damage done to me. I think I went out of my way to make things worse too. I still don’t forgive myself for what I’ve done. It was stupid, foolish, childish. I responded like a fool. Why should I talk it about when I do it simpler and burn all the bridges? Yea, I thought like that. Just like that, my closest friends became people I didn’t know. People I erased from my memories. I couldn’t forgive, but I tried my best to forget.
Yet, I couldn’t really forget. I saw them everyday, sitting there laughing and talking while I just sat there alone, silently eating. I thought of myself too highly, and man, that was just stupid. I couldn’t change anything. I didn’t want to change anything. So I was told one thing,
“Just leave things the way they are. Time with change.”
So I did. It’s been at least two months before I started talking to one of them again. I guess I was forgiven? I still don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter anymore either. It’s easy forgiving someone, but it’s difficult forgetting. The memories will always be there whether you want them or not. Sure, even if you recall your memories and you’re changing them, I realized the basis of the memory itself will stay firm and concrete. You can’t exactly forget something that is that important to you.
I didn’t try redeeming myself of a person. What’s done is done. Redemption is an attempt to return to the road that once was. It’s basically going back to the past. And that’s something my friends conditioned me to undone. I was told often to forget the past, to stop living in the past. Sure, whatever you say. My past is what made me the person today. It’s what allows me to forgive someone for what they’ve done, yet also remember what they did. It’s what made me realized redemption is another pathetic attempt for something and was probably meant to happen.
So what is forgiveness? It’s forgiving someone by setting aside the damage done because you value the relationship developed more than your own personal gain, and that was always more important to me. But that’s something that hasn’t hit me yet.
I think that we have total control over our success. Nothing is predetermined in life. In order to have success you have to the mindset to be determined and have the drive to put in the work to have success. Success comes with hard work and is not something that comes predetermined. Success is completely based on the person’s desire to achieve it. If someone wants to have success they must put forward the work that must come with success. We control whether we are successful or not and it is completely up to us to decide if we will have success or not.
We all have the ability to make our own choices. People will always be there to influence our decisions but in the end it is all left up to us to make the final decision. The ability to make these choices is what makes us humans. If all we did was take orders we would be just the same as robots. We would become mindless without thought. Our ability to think freely is what makes us human. It gives us the human element. Our free will is what keeps us from being robots stuck to a set routine. It gives us the power to change and act freely upon our desires as human beings.
I don’t think that I would want a destiny or and predetermined path in life. I would want my life to be based off of all my choices that I make. Life should never be predetermined. It should be based off of all the things that you do in your life with everything being based on the actions you take, not the life that destiny has already predetermined for you. Life should be like a mystery. You should never really know what is going to happen yet you always keep going in search for an answer. In life you are searching for what kind of life you will have. You need to get to the end of your journey in order to look back at what you have done.
“When life gives you lemons, throw them at pedestrians”
Tyler, the Creator - Goblin
There is control in our lives only when it is allowed. When we don’t let others lead our every move, individually you do what you want to. Our natural given rights are a large consideration that the Supreme Court has to mind when making decisions or rulings on laws. In the land of the free, we are not all free but even the government knows we need to have our free will (although restricted) to be human. My idea of free will is to have the power to refuse, in cases people can just make an offering to prevent rejection, but when my mother tells me what classes I should take when I registered my sophomore year I did consider taking French but since I do have free will I chose Spanish.
Selective Service. You know the letter I just got in the mail because I’m turning eighteen on may twenty-second. A position in the military is not what I consider ever doing but if I don’t sign the forms to be enlisted in any draft, well I am severely punished. I’m not bothered enough by this mandatory sign up to do something about it because it is the least I can do for a country where I’m given protection, medical services and a glorious place of opportunity. But if I had no severe punishments for signing the selective service papers then I would treat them like all other unappealing newsletters and trash it. However, my free will is twisted by receiving consequences if not done so.
Sometimes free will needs to be pushed into a corner with the use of fear. However without those duties we have to give, we can still live the life we want which is filled with opportunities to make a decision that changes he future for you, another or many. This is how a person builds character. Breaking up with someone just because you can do it without hurting yourself and pursing a selfish goal comes with no punishments but now you made yourself look hurtful and merciless even to someone that you committed to caring about. Our free will has the power to help so many others. When we can do something another person can’t, we can decide on our own to assist them.
A person who knows best uses their power to make choices to get what they need, not what they want. A patient person finds it easy to get both in one choice.
Hey Michael, I signed up for SS too and I agree with what you said about it.
The scariest thoughts are the ones that you know are wrong but make sense to you rationally. Freedom needing to be curbed by fear is one of those. Your blog reminds me alot of how I felt while reading Brave New World. The idea of creating people on an assembly line horrified me but at the same time I saw the benefit in manufactured happiness. Freedom is the most precious right and yet some times it does need to be cornered.
What makes us different from a robot? Besides from the difference in outer appearance and the obvious, one important difference is individuality. Humans from the World State are portrayed as programmed machines specifically designed to do certain jobs. They are so heavily conditioned and drugged that their sense of self is gone. Everyone is almost the same as everyone else, except the fact that they are separated by different ranks. However, in a way or another, the people are all conditioned to have a set of predetermined values. People never had a chance to develop into unique individuals with their own sets of moral values, hobbies, and beliefs. They are like an army of robots used to build a “perfect” society, just like how the Controllers manipulated the usage of Bokanovsky’s process.
Humans can’t be humans without the free will of expressing themselves. “The right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow”, and the right to suffer are all part of making choices and character development (Huxley 240). Like Siddhartha, if people did not suffer or meet challenges at some point in life, they will never understand how important something really is. Enlightenment does not come easy just as how “happiness is hard to master” (Huxley 227). Nothing comes easy.
Back when I was an immature child, I always abhorred how my mom dictated my life such as making choices for me and restricting me from doing certain things. I was never able to experience much of what the world has in store for me. I felt like I was never able to grow as a person due to all these predetermined beliefs, choices, and values that my mom had set up for me. I felt like a puppet that my mom used to get all the things she wasn’t able to achieve or obtained in her earlier life. However, my judgments have changed over the past few years. I never realized that it was all these things that shaped me into who I am today. All the things my mom had sacrificed for me has indirectly influenced my growth as a person. I have as much free will as the people from World State, because my mom has laid out options for me to choose from. All the things she has done for me has led to this single moment.
I used to thing just like you. I hated the decisions my mom made and I thought she was just preventing me from having fun or doing things. But when you think about it now, just realize your parents do things to prepare you. Well done!
I really liked your post. I agree with you!!!!! You made great points
HEy Mary! Good post! I also feel the same way through out middle school and the middle of high school, half the time I was just stressed out with my parents pressuring me to do this and that. But at the same time our parents are always leading us to the right way. Good Job!
Disappointed. He falls short again.
It ends the same way every year. He goes out giving everything he has. He did so much but it mattered so little. Year after year it's loss after loss - season-ending losses. He's been able to carry his team into the playoffs every year. He did it again in 2010, but he’s never gotten as far as he has this year. He made it to the 2010 Western Conference Finals. But in the end, it was all too familiar – hearing the buzzer sound; walking off the court, head down, disappointed, losing again. Steve Nash couldn’t hold his tears back in the locker room. He knew that the door was closing on him. He knew that this might have been his last chance. He knew this was his best shot at finally winning a championship ring. Unfortunately, he and his Suns faced off against a Lakers team that was also at their peak. He knows he’s losing more and more control as he continues to age. He won’t be able to carry his team anymore. He’d have to rely more on his teammates to score without his help, to win without his help. His chances of fulfilling his dream of winning a ring, of success, were slipping out of his grasp. The future he wished to one day live in was now in the hands of his coach, his teammates, and the franchise.
Success can only be controlled by the individual for so long. Anyone can work as hard as he/she can, yet he’ll/she’ll still fall short. Anyone can know as much as there is to possibly know about achieving success, yet he’ll/she’ll still fall short. It’s not fair. Life’s not fair. Working hard and enlightenment isn’t enough for success. Success needs luck. Success needs timing. Both luck and timing are out of our control. Kobe Bryant is one of the smartest basketball players and is the hardest working player today. His whole career, however, has only succeeded because he’s had what most players haven’t had – luck and timing. He’s had both until the final games of this season. He made a choice to play several consecutive games with no rest in desperation of helping his team make the playoffs. But in his last game, the luck and timing that has been with him his whole career disappeared. He chose to play through a potential knee injury, then play through a cramp, but then he had no choice with his last injury, a torn Achilles. His luck turned. The timing was terrible. His success and dreams of chasing a sixth ring were shattered. All he has left now is hope.
The only control we have of luck, timing, and success is hope - the hope that we will be lucky, that we will have the timing right. Hopes of if the work is put in, and the knowledge is there, the luck and timing will be there also.
What does success mean?
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
― Truman Capote
Success depends on the choices people make. The choices people make depend on what they want. If we want to achieve our goals, we should work hard and put 100 percent effort into what we are doing. On the path to success, we might encounter several people who can possibly become our mentors and guide us. They can help us to get one step closer to our goals, but they cannot help us to get there. In the end, it merely depends on how hard we work and how much time we’re willing to sacrifice to put in the effort to achieve the great success. When we do achieve the success, we need to ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?”
We are not perfect. We make mistakes one time or another in the course of our lifetime. The important thing is not about the number of mistakes we have made but is rather about the willingness to give ourselves another chance. Courage is what keeps us moving forward, whether it is to success or to other ends of the road. The minute we choose to stand up and fight the odds, we realize that there’s more than just success. It’s the process that we need to value because what success doesn’t define who we are. The unseen effort and time that we put in to achieve success shape who are today. Success is simply a reward to all the choices we have made.
Mr. Feraco’s second story proves the quote to be right. The continuous failures on tests did not stop him from trying. The more he tried the closer he was to success. When he looks back, he is proud to say that he followed his morals in doing the right thing. By not cheating, he was able to receive the deal in the end of semester. By not giving up, he was able to get into Occidental College. Yet, Occidental College was not the end but the beginning of another journey in pursuing a new goal.
Did he deserve it?
Yes, no doubt. Everyone deserves a chance in life, a chance to be successful.
I enjoy reading your post. I agree with you that everyone deserves a chance to be successful. None of us is perfect; we learn and improve from making mistakes.
Forgiving a person is the ability to forgive another person for their mistake. Forgiving a person who has done wrong is a hard thing to do. People go through days, weeks, or even months just to forgive a person who has done a wrong thing. The main reason why people choose to forgive is, because both they feel that the person, who has done the wrongdoing, is truly sorry and wishes for forgiveness, or it can be that the person feels pity for the person.
Forgiveness is acceptance for one’s mistakes, issues, or problems they have caused. There are many reasons why people forgive, one of which is that everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable and people know that others will generally will accidentally blurt out something they don't mean or do something they wished never happened. Knowing this many people choose to forgive and use these mistakes as experience to know that we should be wary about what to say.
Redemption is the way we try to redeem ourselves to try and look better after we have done a mistake. After a grave mistake we sometimes face the consequence of breaking our bond of trust, we find it hard to redeem ourselves and make us have a better reputation. It is our quest to redeem ourselves, because as humans we really don’t want people to dislike us, because of something we have done. So we choose to try so hard to accomplish this quest of regaining a person’s trust.
Forgiving others isn’t really selfish this is the way of life. We grow from accepting other’s faults and at the same time we grow from making the same mistakes they make. We slowly mature from our childhood not forgiving others easily and always had a grudge on the other person to a young adult that begins to forgive others and can easily accept faults and mistakes. Similar to responsibility, forgiveness is one of those essential needs in our lives that help us mature. It is like one of the right of passages to learn to forgive.
I like your perspective of forgiveness. We all make mistakes and we need others to forgive us in order to grow and mature. Thank you for the great read.
I believe that there is already a destiny set out for my life; that my life is already planned out for me, and even though I can “make choices”, ultimately, these “choices” are predetermined. That is not to say that we can’t make choices; we do. That is not to say I can’t make choices; I do. But the ultimate outcome and path of our lives have already been determined, and our choices merely lead us down the preset path. I believe that life more like a cassette player stuck on play rather than a constantly unraveling entity or a story that is being written as we move through life. Our destiny is the cassette itself; everything that we do, the choices we make, are all contained in that cassette, and we live our life out by pressing play…never stopping until the tape reaches its end; and we die.
Not surprisingly, I receive a lot of criticism about my “radical” point of view about life, with people claiming that it makes no sense at all or that it is just stupid…but hey, that’s me.
I am just following the set course that my life is heading towards, but I do not want to know my destiny. I don’t want to know what is in that cassette. I rather not know than to know and overthink my life too much. Ignorance is bliss.
I make choices; but those choices were chosen from the start.
I guess that is also why people always wonder why I am so unmotivated. But I am not unmotivated because I think that there is no need to be motived for my life is already planned out. I am just unmotivated because I was predestined to be unmotivated. I would be motivated if I was chosen to be motivated.
Don’t judge me.
But let that not interfere with the incoming.
When your morals and the rules come into conflict, I believe that your morals will always outweigh the rules, even if someone else thinks your set of morals is just a bunch of bologna. Just because it’s the rule, it doesn’t mean it is morally correct. (Incoming cliché) 200 years ago, slavery was legal…but that didn’t mean it was morally correct. Of course, this boils down to how willing you are to get into trouble and the consequences for following your morals. If you are a daredevil, then go right ahead, follow your conscience and bend the rules. If you are a pathetic, cowardly, wimpy, sad excuse for a human like me, then chances are you wouldn’t, even though you want to. The chances are I wouldn’t, even if I wanted to.
I think that I am free, but I am not.
We think that we are free, but we are not.
I think I can make choices, but I really can’t. But yet I can.
Yes, some people are more naturally driven than others. But I still think you could teach yourself to be motivated if you made the decision to try.
It is always felt that we could make our own choices, but I feel like I must agree how even those choices are fixed as a product of fate. I like the contradicting argument of how we are free, but not free. Very good post!
I like reading your post because it's nice to see the points of the opposing view. Yes, I can agree that the future is sort of "planned out" for us in some way. I also like how you said "life [is] more like a cassette player stuck on play rather than a constantly unraveling entity or a story that is being written as we move through life." I never thought of it like that before, and I am considering the points that you have made. This was a good post!
I need a term for the consequences of our lives that does not imply something predetermined and unaffected by our choices. So although “fate” and “destiny” may be interchangeable terms in modern usage, I will use them in accordance with the definitions Wikipedia offers. I realize this may differ from Mr. Feraco’s usage of “destiny” in the prompts.
“‘Fate’ relates to events of the future and present of an individual and in cases in literature unalterable, whereas ‘destiny’ relates to the probable future. Fate implies no choice, but with destiny the entity participates in achieving an outcome that is directly related to itself. Participation happens willfully.” –Wikipedia
Every choice we make, every step we take inevitably brings us closer to our destinies. We shape it regardless of whether we have developed a vision or not, but we can’t always exercise control over all the factors involved in fulfilling a specific destiny.
James Gatz has a very specific vision: to become a wealthy gentleman known as Jay Gatsby, worthy of respect and attention with the love of the beautiful woman, Daisy. He takes many steps to procure this dream, bootlegging to amass enough money to fund his extravagant lifestyle and hopefully win Daisy’s affections. But ultimately, his dream involves people, and people have free will and different dreams that may not align with others’. There are factors beyond Gatsby’s control, but he tries so hard anyways to exert his influence, even begging Daisy and losing his temper.
The way to handle this is to accept the immutable. In Gatsby’s case, this is the past. He should adjust his vision to accommodate what Daisy has already done. Daisy loved Tom at one point, and she still likes certain aspects of Tom. That can’t be changed. So control all the factors you can—the effort you put in, for example—and the rest, let it be.
“This isn’t giving up, no, this is letting go.” – This is Letting Go, Rise Against
It’s the difference between succumbing to fate and embracing an alternative destiny. This can be a tricky line to walk. Although overthrowing the Party in 1984 or the donor system of Never Let Me Go may prove to be too difficult to achieve in one’s lifetime, the seeds of change can still be planted and nourished. Even though Winston and Ruth die as foretold, they did not have to be mere chess pieces. Winston could have attempted to enlighten the Proles by leaving the book with a Prole or telling them about the Party’s lies and waste of resources. Kathy and Tommy could try refusing to have operations and run away from the hospitals, maybe finding a sympathetic news reporter to share their story and help gain protection for the other donors. They could fight to make progress and change the dominant culture, writing different stories even if they meet similar endings, but they don’t.
Lucy tries to inform the Hailsham students of the fate society has spelled out for them in an effort to make them aware of people’s selfish intentions. The students need to question to find their own answers if they are to do anything other than merely accept their “fates.” They should realize alternative possibilities and take the appropriate courses of action. On the other hand, those like Madame have some gall to claim that merely treating the donors kindly at places like Hailsham means they were on their side. The students were created for a purpose, and many people did what they could to keep the would-be donors on a very specific path. Hailsham would fail if they let Lucy spread her ideas. Ultimately, Madame still treats Kathy and Tommy like “poor creatures” going to the slaughterhouse (Ishiguro 272). It does not have to be this way.
So do what you can to attain the life you want, but at the end of your life, when you can finally see what has become your destiny, maybe you’ll find that your life went somewhere you did not originally foresee.
I hope you’re okay with it.
The Hero who died young....The Villain who lived to be old.....
The martyr comes the martyr goes
But to them their results are left unknown
They bring to light societies woes
But in the end they're left dead and alone
The old villain and the young hero was first mentioned in our define me project. One of the questions went like "would you rather be a hero who died young or a villain that lived to be old". I don't know if many others saw it or took interest in it but it was very interesting to me and it was the topic of a slightly heated debate in my family. My uncle was visiting my grandmother, my mother and I a few weeks ago and after we had dinner I decided to ask them this question about my self just to see their answers. Of corse everyone wants to believe that the baby of their family is pure and good and would die before ever doing anything mean so they all answered saying that I would prefer to be the hero. They were very shocked when I responded with the opposite.
In the greek myth of Achilles his mother tells him of his future either he would die gloriously and be remembered for ages to come or live to be old and happy but forgotten from history. The reason for my answer is; What is the point in fighting if you can't enjoy the spoils? Why does eternal glory matter when you don't get to reap the benefits? In the case of the hero and the villain. The hero might have died doing what he loved. He might have saved humanity and changed history. He might even be remembered for eternity but he doesn't get to see the good he has done. He will never get to experience or witness the new path society will take. In the end its not worth it because he doesn't get to see his work ripen and grow. The villain how ever hated he is gets to do all these things. The villain gets to see his work done he gets to see the changes his actions produced. He might grow to be old and useless but at least when his time is done he gets to sit back and enjoy the fruit of his labor. He gets to be happy thats something the hero in his short lived quest will never get to experience.
Martyrs and Heroes are necessary we need them in the world to show society when it is wrong. Dr. Martin Luther King jr. was a hero. He made the sacrifice and gave up his life for his dreams. I couldn't do that and I admire him for it. What makes him even more special is that he didn't do it for the glory either he did it to make a difference and despite him knowing that the change he was seeking wouldn't come in his life time he continued his struggle. Thats what makes being the hero so hard and yet so necessary because I believe that most of society is like me. Society would rather become useless and happy than die changing the world.
So how do I face that which i cannot defeat?
I dont put my self in that situation to begin with.
It's interesting how I had similar conversation yesterday. Yes, not everyone can be MLK Jr. He didn't get to see President Obama became the first African American president of the US. He didn't get to see Obama winning the second term. However, I believe he was glad he did what he had done. And yet, not everyone can be MLK Jr. And this makes me think about the reason why Feraco chose to become a teacher, the reason that he teaches the way he teaches, and the reason that he would always be outnumbered and misunderstood. In the next 50 years, I believe, the new generation would realize what moral is, how to behave, how to live and rebuild the society, the world.
And I believe in the next 50 years, there will be more short lived heros than long lived villians.
Thank you for the great read.
Success is freedom to live the way you choose and be the person you want to be. In order to be successful, your desire of success should be stronger than your fear of failure. The desire for success often motivates you to consistently try your best and never give up. Success is a choice because what you choose leads to significant outcomes. If you want to succeed, you must be perseverant and determinant. You must have a clear objective in the beginning that you will do whatever it takes to achieve it.
Someone might argue that luck is an important factor of success; I disagree with it. My friend says that Mr. Feraco was lucky in high school because he met a generous teacher who passed him in Trigonometry although he failed the class. I don't consider this as luck. Mr. Feraco's teacher passed him not because he is nice, but because his teacher knew the amount of effort Mr. Feraco had put into the class and most importantly, his integrity of not cheating on the take home test when he was failing the class. Mr. Feraco passed the class because of his diligence and determination. Sometimes, luck can be discovered.
In the three stories Mr. Feraco told us, people were justified in bending the rules in order to benefit those who needed them. Rules are created; they can be changed at any time. If I were the judge, Mr. Feraco's math teacher, or Mr. Feraco, I would have done the same thing because those people deserve it.
Everyone should be given the chance to be successful. Intelligence is not the crucial factor of success; endeavor determines the outcome. Mr. Feraco's great grandmother's perseverance arouse the judge's feeling to let her become an American citizen. Mr. Feraco's consistent endeavors saved him from failing a class. The girl's nonstop typing earned herself a diploma. Imagine if the first exception was not made, Mr. Feraco's great grandmother stayed in Italy, where would Mr. Feraco be? How could the last two exceptions be made? Would all the influenced seniors students from Mr. Feraco's class act and think differently?
Sometimes, making an exception to the rule indirectly changes so many others' lives.
How would you react when the things you can control aren't sufficient enough to shape your destiny?
We are insignificantly small. A mere droplet of water in an endless ocean, that is what each individual human is. Through hope of banding together and creating a safer environment humanity has created large societies, enormous cities and great works of art that no other animal on our small planet Earth has created. Even with all of humanities efforts, we have not even explored 1 percent of the vast universe. Not a single percent out of thousands of years of history. In the terms of being a civilization, we are a level 0 civilization.
In case you don’t know what I am talking about, there is a model for charting the power of civilizations called the Kardashev scale. In this model a level 1 civilization can control the energy of a planet, level 2 a solar system, level 3 a galaxy. As a level zero, humanity has control over the dead. No humans are not necromancers, I don’t mean we can summon the dead and have them attack each other, nor do I mean that we can have tea time with our dead Aunt Sue. What I do mean is that we control dead matter: oil and fossil fuels, and that is all we’ll ever be if all we can control are oil and fossil fuels. Never reaching level 1. Everyone who has played any type of game knows how easy it is to get past level 1, yet as a society when compared to a universal scale, we are not even cutting it close.
Just as humans, there are many things that we do not control. Even back down to a scale we can easily perceive. Phiona, a prodigy, is only considered prodigy because someone took the time to look at her and discover the hidden talent she held and they only had that chance because Phiona decided to take a risk and follow her brother. Winston only manages to live the moment he decides to fight the society that has mold him into the twisted immoral human he is, but he is still human in the fact that he made his own choice with the limited understand of the functions of the world he had. Everyone else around him are just practicing duckspeak, acting to their impulses and falling because of that.
That is not to say acting on all impulses is terrifying and deadly. It is only by acting on their impulse to save people the staff of Harper high school manage to make homecoming happen. It is only by acting on his impulse to find truth Siddhartha managed to leave so many people behind him and keep moving forward. By acting on his impulse to teach Feraco has given us many assignments, though in some cases I sadly do not think the lesson is being learned, and we in response complete each assignment no matter how sloppy or clumsy we do. We complete it because we desire something greater than what we have now, something to leave behind in the face of destiny.
As a mere droplet of water humanity is easily replaced, the Earth can wait for another civilization to raise and become something greater than humanity, it still has millions of years left before the sun becomes a red giant. Our destiny as humans is to die, like so many other animals. Simply lie down and let other animals to feast upon our remains and decompose.
It is not a question if I want a destiny or if I want to know what it is. I already have one and its name is death. Death is my destiny, so what shall I do with it? Maybe I shall struggle with the small amount of power a droplet of water has, with my insignificant power of zero I just might be able to change the world. After all, zero is where everything starts and where everything ends.
I like the final twist. It's clever. Yes, I agree with you that the lesson is not learned. Sometimes, you think you master all the concepts to lead a greater life. At the same time, life challenges you with obstacles, problems, issues, and etc. And the concepts we learned seem pointless at times. You feel desperate that you need something to fulfill the hollow part of your life. And you can't find it doesn't matter how much you understand about life. ..
thank you for the good read.
I love the ending as well, each time I read it and reread it feels more and more like I didn't really type it, but I know I typed it's a strange feeling.
Life challenges us with many things without us being close to ready for it, but unprepared some people charge forward and a few makes it through. That is why I believe that to live is to experience.
Still it's sad though, "Time waits for no one" -The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), so we must move forward or be left behind by time. There is one good thing life has given us though, it is the fact that there are many roads to take, so it's possible to catch up with those you care about.
Well, thanks for reading KTQ. Glad you enjoyed it.
Between Who You Are And Who You Could Be
http://www.godlimations.com/dare.php or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PyG_Fo31Wg
THIS IS YOUR LIFE,
ARE YOU WHO YOU WANT TO BE?
I DARE YOU TO MOVE
I don’t believe in destiny. I don’t understand how people are willing to submit to something like a predetermined life. A life that some sort of being or some sort of cosmic will has given to every person, dead, alive, or will be alive. It seems to me that people who do believe in destiny use it as an excuse. “It was destiny that you must follow so and so path.” “It was destiny that brought you to where you are now.” “It was destiny that Phiona must be born into the life of a girl in Katwe, Uganda. To be a chess prodigy. To see, know, and experience the benefits of modern life only to return back to the slums.” Is that destiny? Is that the thing people believe as their “God-given purpose”? Her purpose?
“Sometimes, everything in life doesn’t go your way. True or True?”
“But, the real question is, what are you going to do when the going gets tough?”
It’s something I hear time and time again. Maybe because I play it back in my head. Something about that lesson really struck a chord with me, something I won’t forget. “Mistakes happens to everyone” and that’s just a fact of life. And when things hit the fan, where can you run to escape yourself? What are you going to do? What will you do? Dwelling and regretting the about the poor choices in life won’t help. Sitting there, waiting for things to change on their own, is equally wasteful.
You need to get up and move the yourself. When you lose those close to yourself, like when Tommy loses Izzi and Sean losing his mother, you have to find a way to move on. You can only cry for so long, until your tears dry up. Then, you have to find something else to do. Maybe something significant to the world as what Sean does before he dies. Maybe something that will help reach closure, Tommy finishing The Fountain. Whatever it may be, remember that your future, your life is something you shape with your own decisions, no matter how trivial they may be.
Why is it that you don't believe in destiny, may I ask? Maybe in the examples we've seen their "destinies" have sort of sucked, but for many others destiny isn't so bad, and maybe for Phiona her story isn't over yet. We don't know! I totally agree with you, you should make your own decisions -- the right ones -- and perhaps you'll land yourself into fulfilling your greatest goals and THAT could be your destiny. I don't really think destiny has to do with just "submitting" to predestination, but just fulfilling a purpose so that you don't waste your time on this earth and just take up space. Our destinies are for great things, to reach and exceed our human potential, and be amazing at what we do. And make this place better than how we first met it. Whether making the world a better place with whatever we do is considered "predestination" or "God-given purose" or "destiny", I think I'd be okay with that! What about you?
First question, did you, and anyone else who read my blog, bothered to watch the video in my link, because I think it really helps state my point.
I think that you assume that what I'm saying is destiny is something no sane person should follow. What I'm really saying is that destiny isn't something I do not believe in. To be able to answer your question as well as I can. Allow me to break down my reasoning.
First off, I believe the words "good" and "great" are relative terms. Say, a decision of one party can be "good", but maybe for another one, it isn't. For example, a college or university has to increase tuition at a short notice. Now, in the eyes of the majority of the students, that would be a terrible idea, because they have to either dip further into their or their parent's savings or get student loans. Or maybe the students were surprised at the sudden change and may have to drop classes. However, the college/university had to do so as a means to keep upkeep of the campus, keep the staff, and keep the classes students are paying for, because they cannot afford to just solely rely on donations. Backing away from biased thoughts, it's a viable solution and many students would see it as a sacrifice they are willing to take. In short, "good", "great", "better", "worse", "bad", and "terrible" are words only to express bias, which I try to stay away from.
Most likely, something people would try to refute my way of thinking is that something that's "good" is Civil/Human Rights. People have debated with me that fighting for Civil/Human Rights is a "good cause". It's a cause, all right, but is it a cause that has to be fought or something that's expected? The cause that everyone that has been, is, and will be born all have the same rights. The cause that one person cannot, should not, be treated in cruel ways. Yet, isn't an expectation? Do we not expect any kind of government to give Civil/Human Rights? Do we not expect that a government should treat every person like everyone else? We expect it, but sometimes, expectations aren't met. I don't think Civil/Human Rights is a "bad" cause. I think it's a foolish one. We are not fighting to bring new ideas, we are fighting over old ones. We are fighting against a system (I'm strictly talking about the U.S. government here) that decided that slaves were 3/4s of a person. A system that had to write an amendment just to allow women to vote. We are fighting a system that was written hundreds of years ago. We are not fighting for a modern system for the modern world, we are fighting for a change in the old one. Fixing the broken tool, not replacing it.
"Our destinies are for great things, to reach and exceed our human potential, and be amazing at what we do. And make this place better than how we first met it. Whether making the world a better place we do is considered 'predestination' or 'God-given purpose' or 'destiny', I think I'd be okay with that!"
I'm glad you think that, but I don't. When I say "people submitting to predestination", I mean that people use destiny as an excuse. That is something I believe is cowardly and vile. Of course, decisions may prove to be a way to success, but decisions aren't always the "right one". But the thing I notice the most, people often blur the line between destiny and decision.
The World State Controller, Mustapha Mond, had made his decision to give up his own happiness for the sake of the happiness of others. He gave up his undying pursuit of knowledge in physics to meet the needs of the masses. He is sorely left without a sense of fulfillment, but his heavy sacrifice came with giving the Staters a sense of security. Is that the "right decision"? He believes so and do you think can persuade him otherwise? I wouldn't because, in my eyes, he's done the poor, deluded Staters a favor. The favor being that the Staters would never have to feel a pain of being unfulfilled and pain is something we know they cannot handle. And since any form of religion, besides worshiping Ford, is banned. There is no sense of destiny in the World State. It died with religion. I'm not saying religion or a "God" is the culprit of fabricating the illusion of destiny, it's people.
Destiny comes from destinare, which means "to determine". Honestly, I doubt anyone manages to "determine" their choices before hand. I'm more certain, because I do it most of the times myself, that we make choices on the fly and don't quite think of the consequences of our actions, unless we have time to do it beforehand (i.e. chess games). But as for striving (I say striving because we are definitely nowhere near the point of a perfect world and I believe it's a never-ending quest due to the fact circumstance change more dramatically than we expect them to) making the world a better place? I won't call it destiny. Because 19th century American settlers believed that it was their destiny to expand across the continent because of the same human potential to make the world "better", they called it Manifest Destiny. Like I said "better" is a relative term and I'll let you decide whether or not the settlers are right to call their decision as "destiny". Because frankly, it's unthinkable to think that it's "destiny" for people to suffer, Mustapha Mond and the Native Americans and other victims of Manifest Destiny, while it's "destiny" for the World Staters and the American Settlers to enjoy the benefits of their decisions. It's straight out hypocritical to say that it's destiny for people to suffer and for people to benefit at the same time. And I will not acknowledge and doublethink that "destiny" is a term, because to acknowledge it is to say there are those who are lucky and unlucky in being born into the world.
I'm not okay with that. I will never be okay with that. It is a sad, difficult truth about life that people will suffer and will be successful. At the same time and at different times. It would be great to wish that Phiona will get a happy ending, but are you willing to hope and hope it happens? Hope with all that's humanly possible and not be upset that it doesn't come true? Unfortunately, not everyone gets a happy ending, no matter how much we want that for everyone in the world. There is the possibility it won't happen and I will not say it's their destiny. I will say that it's a fact of life and I will say it is not destiny, but duty for people to cheer and support every human being to become successful. The real question in the matter is not "how can you help them", it's "how will you, your friends, your family, the people of the world to come together and support each other". Sadly, not everyone has the time to do so. Not everyone is Sean Quinn. Not everyone can move themselves to move millions. Not everyone at the moment, I hope.
I hope I was able to clarify why I'm believe what I believe and I hope you and others can come to terms with that. Because I do not question your decision to be able to believe in destiny. I can only speak for me and myself when it comes to how I see and interpret the world. Also, I'm grateful if you have managed to take the time and read through my rant.
I agree that there isn't a thing called "destiny." A person can't just dwell with the fact that we have a predetermined life. It means that we already have life planned. But it's not.
There are times when we make mistakes. In fact, we will make mistakes and the actions we take with those mistakes determine the future we will have. Instead of saying that we were destined to do this, it should be that we chose to do this.
Great post, and very interesting points made
Although I do agree with your points, the whole issue about destiny...I'm a little iffy. I don't believe in coincidences, but I wouldn't say that things are "destined to happen." I say, destiny is a chance. In our lives we are given opportunities and chances to do something. One choice leads to set of chances so on and so forth. It isn't destiny that a certain thing happened, but it's destiny that something has to happen. But you get to choose it.
Interesting post my friend, be proud.
On one random day, I was running to my next period class because I was going to be late. I did not want to be late for the test I was going to take at that period, so I sprinted with all my might. Then I tripped, and tumbled to the concrete ground. I felt dazed as I tried to remember what happened in those last ten seconds before I fell. Then I saw a some random person, no make that two people, passing by and did not even mind my inconvenience. They just saw and went, something for them to talk about to their friends for the future. This recent incident I had proves that good-willed people are very rare to find and be friends with.
Once I reached my classroom, I had two hours of taking the first semester final for Chinese. The scrapped arm I had when I tumbled really kept me awake with pain, I suffered for two hours straight without treating it (do not worry, it is not infected). But that incident would not escape my head, I really wondered what I would do if I were in their shoes. I pondered and pondered, and I knew I would have at least asked, “are you okay?” I mean it is a simple question when someone is feeling down or whatnot. I can not really say if they actually cared about me or not. They chose to be unknowing of some stranger who just fell flat to the ground, but I would have chosen to be more of a free actor, regardless of any consequence (I would rather be myself than have some facade). Just from this, I do not think it is even possible for someone to live under their assumption that whatever choice they make has no meaning. Maybe if they felt like committing suicide, then yea. But that is a different story.
Mr. Feraco shared some really amazing stories to all of his students, his life stories that had some relevance to luck that is. All three of them had to cross some “law” to benefit people who needed them. Hah, of course these actions were not correct since they broke the rules, but what they did was good-willed because they helped people in need, I mean those people even tried to work hard to earn what they wanted; therefore, it is just. I can even say that I would have done the same. After all, I view rules to be more like guidelines to follow.
Most of the time, my morals would be parallel with the rules, but I would follow what I believe, even if it is a prejudice, when both get into conflict.
I actually thought Mr. Feraco's stories were very touching and I agree about how morals should parallel with laws, but indeed some laws need to be broken in some instances.
Choices are part of a fixed fate
We all follow a timeline. We don’t know exactly what will happen, but we know something happens. It feels like the choices we make impact our future, because we do not know what happens in the future. A feeling of control is felt, when we do something that seems memorable. We all have the ability to make choices, but those choices are fixed based on our personalities. We always ask ourselves those “what if” questions, but in the end everything is fixed. If we could travel back in time, I believe we would make the exact same decisions because our personalities will determine which path to take.
Slavery was a big issue in the old days. Martin Luther King Jr. Was given plenty of credit for starting the Civil Rights Movement. Slavery was naturally abolished in all the other countries. In fact, America was one of the last nations to abolish it. The abolition of Slavery is inevitable no matter who started the Civil Rights Movement due to morality and human conflict. If Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t take action, someone else would, and the same future would result. If MLK jr didn’t start the movement, Would Slavery still be Alive today? This is a “what if” question. I believe that MLK Jr. was built to do exactly what he did, and his assasination is unexpected to us, but scheduled to happen.
I believe that we are all programmed to do exactly what we were meant to do. I believe that those people who move from rags to riches are programed to do so. I believe that those who fall from billionaires to thousandaires are programmed to do so. Those who win the lottery are programmed to do so, because their fixed personalities give the fixed choices in numbers. I believe that we could even be programed to exeed our programming. Because of this, I believe that we believe that we are free actors when everything is going exactly according to plan.
To live our lives we need to believe that we are free actors and ignore the idea that we are simple chess pieces. Just because I believe that everything follows a timeline does not give me the excuse to give up, because then, I’d be programmed to fail.
Wow, I never thought of life that way. Your analogy to chess pieces verses free actors was perfect in conveying your point. I also agree with you about the issue of slavery because it's true that just because Martin Luther King Jr. didn't exist doesn't mean that the civil rights movement would be erased from history either. Great job overall!
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