POWER

Hey guys!

[storytime] So on Monday, I was driving to get lunch and there was this highway patrol car in front of me and it was a red light so I stopped behind this car. The light was taking a while since there was a lot of traffic (it was lunchtime) and the patrol car ran the red light. Now, I know that there are exceptions to traffic laws for police and law enforcement when there’s an emergency; but, there was no visible reason-from what I could see- to run the light other than impatience. There was no one speeding because of the high traffic, no car crash, no fire, etc. So, it was a really mind-boggling experience.

Now, I don’t know if it was legal of the person to run that light. I don’t know traffic laws in regards to law enforcement but, it didn’t seem that legal to me. Does anyone know?

So that story was a precursor to the main topic of this post.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can withstand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

We all know that once given power, people change. Some become arrogant. Some make rash decisions. It’s in our nature. I am a huge bibliophile, I love books, I love stories. I love reading about people. An author is good when they are able to fully capture the vulnerability and rawness of being human. A lot of books I read are in the fantasy/mystery genres and its in those books where I’ve learned half of what I know about people. People who are given any kind of power often misuse it-that’s a fact (misuse is subjective I agree). But, the actions they take, are often not ‘good.’

Power corrupts, but how it corrupts is different for everybody. Someone who is in law enforcement-they are given power to make sure that the law is obeyed. This given power has them believing they are the law-and that’s corruption of their character. But this is a generalized example, obviously there are exceptions. Not everyone realizes their own power, and some who do-they realize the danger and their potential. Fame and influence is a power, some don’t realize the potential of that and those that do, they recognize the potential profit and future success that is possible or they choose to use that influence to help others. Any young person in this day and age will recognize the power of media and technology. It’s all about perspective-how you see the world.

(I had this whole post planned but it all went out of the window as soon as I started typing-I get lost in my own head sometimes.)

OWN IT

I had always fallen victim to the so-called ‘blame game.’ There are times when I found that it was just so much easier to blame someone else for my lack of success when I know logically it really wasn’t anyone else’s fault that they got the opportunity to do something that I wanted to do. This sense of entitlement is something I fell victim to maybe in middle school and I realized when I started high school that things were different. I opened my eyes to the truth.

Gary Vaynerchuk is famous for his speeches and advice for success. One thing that he’s said recently struck a cord with me, he says,

“But when you take control of your at bat. When you put it all on yourself. When it’s your fault. And your wins. When you own it. That’s when it starts happening.”

I thought it was really important to share this because I totally believe its true. I may not have lived for a very long time-but even I know that if you want to be successful you have to take control of your life-not only by owning up to whatever you’ve done with your life so far, but also knowing that despite whatever talent you think you have-it won’t be enough. Yes, hard work and opportunity is important. But, I also feel like you can’t really get anywhere if you don’t know people. The mentality of masses as a whole and how society is going to react. We will always have exceptions to opinions, its understanding the majority that gives insight to general mentality. I think its important to know people. How they think, how they react. How will they react to whatever content you put out? How will you appeal to them if they were your fans? Stuff like that doesn’t seem important but it is.

For example, if I wanted to become a best-selling author one day, then I would not only need to write something that will appeal to a specific demographic but I would also need to gauge possible reactions to the release so that I can be prepared to respond.

If I wanted to be a car saleswoman than I would need to understand people on a more physical level-body reactions, I’d need to be persuasive. I would need to understand people on a fundamental level.

Any job that one might have-will involve dealing with all kinds of people, how is subjective but in principle the message is the same.

I’m only 17, but others… well let’s just say they’ve only got one life and they should be squeezing the hell out of whatever they’ve got left.

FAITH

I think it’s important that we all have some sort of belief system in our lives. A moral guide in times where our judgement isn’t all that clear. Belief system(s) as in religion, superstitions, family + cultural traditions, etc.

I personally have always believed in both good and bad karma as well as believed in fate, so I guess if I had to label myself as something it would be as agnostic-but that doesn’t seem to be too accurate.

And it has an impact on the way I behave. I can’t remember a time in my life where I hadn’t tried to give change to a homeless person when I had the opportunity and the means to do so. I’m plagued with the idea that somehow karma is it’s own deity and I earn good karma when I do good deeds and the reverse with bad deeds.

I believe in fate and the idea of crossroads, that we’re fated to make the decisions that we do and ultimately it is our will and our sense of self that predetermines our decisions and therefore our fate. That fate is an entity that can ultimately see our true self and make accurate predictions of our possible choices and the outcomes of such choices. I think of fate as a gardener of a large collection of trees. Each life is a tree and fate prunes off the branches of “what ifs.” At least, that’s the best way I can explain it, my mind is a mess of tangles and I probably will never be able to fully articulate my thoughts on how fate works, at least in my perception of it.

Dan Brown’s latest book Origins which has probably offended quite a number of people for it’s bashing of Catholicism and Christianity has an interesting lesson near the ending of the novel. Aside from the obvious warning against the creation of AIs with the ability to think for itself, the protagonist after contemplating the discovery that disproved most religions’ origin stories-he realizes that a world ruled by just science is cold and heartless. That sure maybe the origin stories of ‘there was nothing and then there was something’ are not too believable, but religion provides an important role in any culture. It mainly acts as a moral guide for most of us.

And, a lot of us are skeptics, that we need cold hard proof to believe in something-but the problem with that is, once you have proof, it isn’t just believing anymore, its also knowing. You might ask, well why is that a problem? Because to take ideas like religion and to believe in them truly and wholly is something much greater-its faith. Faith is not to be taken lightly-it is a powerful motivator and source of wonder. I’m not trying to bash science-because it is a truly wonderful thing that it has done for humanity, it has made our lives easier, we live longer, we are capable of feats we were once unable to accomplish, we can do so many things with science. But they say that part of being human is not only our physical bodies and intellectual minds, but it is also our ability to express emotions. We are compassionate creatures, capable of empathy, happiness, rage, all these different emotions and all that comes with it. But it is our belief systems that direct these emotions. We experience guilt when our belief systems tell us we have done something wrong. We experience rage when our belief systems tell us that its okay to be angry when we have been ‘wronged.’ There are some who claim to be atheist and will ask how it works to be atheist and still have morals, and I would say that their morals would be a result of their experiences and what they have taken from the culture they live in. And, I would also claim that most cultures have a dominant religion that has been accepted. So take what you will from that.

To this day, I wonder how I could have possibly developed such strong feeling on this topic but I must say that not a lot of people have opinions on why we have belief systems-just that we have them and that not everyone has the same one.

CHOICE

Well, I suppose this counts as me keeping my word when I said I would talk about volatile topics.

Okay so topic of the day: abortion. This will be a collection of random thoughts I have about this topic. And, disclaimer: It will be a jumbled mess.

I am pro-choice. While I personally would never have an abortion for myself, I believe that while life is precious-so is our right to make choices that concern ourselves-our emotional and physical states.

Many argue that abortions take away the fetus’ right to choose and live; but my question to that is: how do fetuses understand such complex issues-such as the right to make decisions? Especially at the stage where abortions are safe to carry out for both the mother and the child.

The arguments surrounding the need for abortion should be carefully scrutinized I think.

Is it our prerogative to make general decisions for others when really it comes down to case-by-case type circumstances?

Are the medications given to female rape victims to prevent pregnancy-offered to people who may have accidentally forgotten contraceptives?

Would the aforementioned medication also be considered to be a type of murder(as most pro-life advocates consider abortions to be)?

This man’s pro-choice question went quite viral a while ago and so I’ll share it again.

So, Patrick S. Tomlinson asks:

“Here it is. You’re in a fertility clinic. Why isn’t important. The fire alarm goes off. You run for the exit. As you run down this hallway, you hear a child screaming from behind a door. You throw open the door and find a five-year-old child crying for help. They’re in one corner of the room. In the other corner, you spot a frozen container labeled “1000 Viable Human Embryos.” The smoke is rising. You start to choke. You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one. Do you A) save the child, or B) save the thousand embryos? There is no “C.” “C” means you all die.”

For me the obvious choice would be to save the child, but others might think differently.

Something to ponder I suppose.

FEM

The definition of a feminist is someone who advocates for political, economic, social, and personal equality of BOTH genders. Or at least that’s the textbook definition for feminism. More recently it would be considered to be someone who believes that all women should be given more rights on the basis of achieving equality. At least, these are the political definitions.

I personally would not consider myself to be a feminist. And you would ask:

Well, Celeste, don’t you believe that everyone should have equal rights and opportunities?

Of course, but I believe that feminism has really evolved from equal everything for all people to just more rights for women while pushing the blame to the male gender.

My definition of a true feminist would be someone who not only advocates for women’s rights but also advocates for men’s rights as well. I think that modern ideas of feminism are rather extreme-that to give rights to women we need to take rights away from men-and while most people don’t believe that (I hope), the more outspoken feminists talk about male privilege and how society, government, whatever it is-has to take away these privileges so that women can gain equal footing.

It can be hypocritical to expect to gain rights based on genders and many actually become disillusioned by what they see feminists are actually advocating for. This exaggerated oppression that women seem to face isn’t as bad as a lot of people make it out to be. Yes, wage inequality exists-that is a something worth fighting. Yes, rape culture exists to some extent-but not all victims are female. And yes, women in general are discriminated against-but isn’t feminism (currently) a pretty name for the sexist treatment of men?

If the cause didn’t seem so self-righteous, I might label myself lightly as a feminist in that broad spectrum, as someone who does believe in equal opportunities for both genders. But the main problem I see, is that there is a deviation from feminism’s original aims-and while the official definition remains the same and the unofficial but popular message has become somewhat hypocritical-I cannot in good conscience bash another gender and promote my own because of what society has decided to do in terms of these genders-all based on circumstances of birth.

So. no I would not consider myself a feminist until such a time its aims return to what it once was.

Hmm.. I feel like I restated a few points a couple times-but oh well, all the better to emphasize it.

STEREOHEARTS

Hey guys!

So, I need a better intro into these posts…

Anyways, stereotyping.

My thoughts: Its convenient for generalized descriptions of others and these stereotypes exist for a reason-much like clichés exist for a reason. Obviously, we shouldn’t be basing all of our judgements on perceived stereotypes but in all honesty, it is done quite a bit-for first impressions on strangers. To withhold judgement on others is difficult, by nature we judge others (are they threats to us-evaluating their worth to us, etc.) and stereotypes make it easier to make quick judgements but the problem with these quick judgements is that not everyone will fit into that mold and there is always going to be exceptions.

I think that all of us promote stereotyping, as a way to conform to society. To fit in, we change the way others see us so that we can fit in to already formed groups of “like-minded” people.

Stereotyping has such a bad reputation because of the few that don’t like to be labeled that are more outspoken and that’s okay. A lot of are recognized as being different because we choose not to conform and that’s a personal choice. But the crux of the matter is this: stereotyping does have a large effect of how people behave. Whether or not people conform or not is what is being affected.

TEACH

HULLO FRIENDS

So, as you know, I am full-time student-the fact that I am going to graduate soon has no bearing on that fact- and so, I’m always looking forward to seeing what teaching styles our future teachers will implement and whether or not these teachers are able to teach each and every student the concepts they need to know. Its really important for teachers to be able to adapt to different types of students’ learning paces in addition to teaching in a way that implements different types of learning (e.g. visual or hands-on learning).

I find that in general, really good teachers will use (in their lesson plans), a mashup of different activities each designed for different types of learning so that the point comes across for students. And, I feel that it is one of the more important traits of a teacher: the ability to adapt and work with students.

I remember being assigned a project for economics and we (my group and I) were assigned to describe what we considered should be the criteria for any staff member working at a 21st century high school. As we were working on this project, I noticed that while qualifications (e.g. education, experience, etc.) was important-what was really being emphasized was that the teachers really needed to be passionate about what they were teaching and be competent at conveying the information to different types of students-which is mostly borne of experience. But some new teachers are naturally charismatic and can keep their students on task, so it would be unfair to say that only experienced teachers are competent because sometimes the opposite is true-where more experienced teachers become lazy or complacent.

You know you have a good teacher when:

-you are able to recall a majority of whatever topic they’re lecturing about

-you are able to participate in discussions

-you are willing to be engaged in whatever activity the teacher assigns

-you actually do the work assigned

-you’re willing to respect the teacher and his/her rules

-you feel confident enough to share opinions and expect no judgement in return

Being a teacher isn’t easy- they have to know their subject but they also have to be able command respect through the way they teach and through their interactions with students. Respect is important, if students don’t respect the teacher in any form-they won’t be learning anything-no fault to the teacher or the student because it can be either one-but mutual respect is something that is necessary for a working classroom environment.

But yeah, I thought we needed a change of pace from relationships to something more mellow.