TEA AT 3:00 SHARP

Hello everyone,

 

Welcome back! I’ve just sat myself down with a cup of Earl Grey tea to get the spring in my step back that I will need to meet my work schedule for today. Nothing over tiring—just another 5 hours on top of my classes from today—though my roommates all describe me as “always doing something” or “non stop” which surprises me, because I always look at some of my other friends as being more…active in life. I suppose it is because I am on a schedule—in fact, all of us are on a schedule. It is part of how we can efficiently maintain our priorities without losing sleep time and so on. It’s pretty great. Unfortunately, if you are not active with planning your schedule (or worse, keep your schedule in constant free form) you are probably in what many people would describe as a “slump.”

A slump is something that everybody (trust me, everybody) goes through at some point in their life in which they feel excessively unmotivated. People justify this in different ways—to little time in the day, to little energy for the size of tasks required, and so on. It’s all bullshit. Now, it might be very real feeling bullshit, but lets be honest, you can do it. I know I have had many struggles with motivation myself—part of this blog is to help keep me motivated with writing, because I have been rather uninvolved with the world in the last few months. Slumps usually occur when you are doing something taxing to your mental or physical states, or when there is a sudden change in life. For example, my worst slump ever lasted about a year and a half after I went through my first difficult break up. I just sort of…went to school…went to work…ate horribly…and so on. Life was a drag. My current slump occurred because I had a particularly difficult quarter—not in terms of grades, but in terms of workload.

To conquer a slump, you have to make an active schedule and commit yourself to fulfilling it. Often times people who suffer from depression use a similar method to overcome said depression. Which is effectively what you are doing. But it isn’t as easy as write out a schedule and do it—nothing ever is. Get up earlier. Right now I am getting up at 6:30 am every day. It sucks. I have never been a morning person. But I am doing it. And you can too. Really—you can. Sure, you might not make it out of bed the first time, but hold yourself accountable with a punishment. Not a “oh you’re stupid and lazy” kind of punishment—then you will just talk yourself into a self-fulfilling prophecy, and deepen yourself in slump-ville. Really get yourself in their and say “ok, if I don’t get out of bed when my alarm goes off at 6:30 this morning, I am cutting steak out of my diet for the week.” Or if you’re an outspoken vegan, up the ante—“If I don’t get out of bed, I have to try meat at my next dinner with friends.” Food works for me. Do whatever works for you. Maybe it’s reading. Maybe its’ crafting. Maybe it’s working out. Set a goal and achieve it is not where things stop. Set a goal, work your butt off until you succeed once, and then hold yourself to succeeding every time.

I realize this is not totally a natural thing. It’s a logos and ethos thing. The pathos is what keeps you in bed—it’s your body compensating for whatever damage you are dealing with. And you’ll stay in bed until your upper brain function returns. Which is fine. But once you’re back online, you better be up and active, or else your brain functions are going to get lazy too. Which is not the side of life you want to be on. Trust me.

Advertisements

CONNECTING HILLARY’S TWO FACES

Hello everyone,

 

So politics are all the vibe right now, and one of the people that I haven not discussed at all is Hillary Clinton. Now, I have done quite a bit of work to reserve my judgments of Hillary because people have been so critical of her already, despite the fact that she has done quite a bit of work for the country that has resulted in positive gains. I mean, we certainly could do quite a bit worse (see 2001-2008 for more information). What I would like to discus though is that Hillary is most starkly criticized for her “flip-flops” on positions. The fact of the matter is that on numerous occasions, Hillary’s position has changed. First gay marriage was bad, now it’s good. First the Keystone Pipeline is good, now it’s bad. The list is quite long. The reality is that there are positive and negative aspects to switching positions.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the bad (because it’s so much easier to get the juices flowing by scapegoating someone). From a broad perspective, the changes in opinions create an inconsistency in ideals. It makes a person look like they will sell out for personal gains—there’s no moral solidity to their character. This is something that Donald Trump has gotten quite a bit of criticism for at the hands of John Oliver. Nobody knows if he’ll be the moderate Donald or the Donald that hesitates to disavow the KKK. It’s unpredictable, and opens the door to bad situations. At least with someone like Ted Cruz he sticks to what he says pretty strongly—no matter who it may offend. This kind of solidity is what people look for in a leader, which is effectively what the president is. The same goes for Bernie Sanders—his supporters have done a good job emphasizing how he has been on the right side of history at every turning point.

The second aspect of how changing positions is negative is that it makes a person out as manipulative. To manipulate someone, a person has to be able to spin things in a light that makes them look good. For whatever reason, Americans deeply hate the idea of having a manipulative leader (probably somewhat related to how Nixon was the greatest offender in this area in recent history). Ironic, since we then expect our president to manipulate the leaders of other countries in a fashion that favors us. Either way, changing sides at crucial election points, regardless of it was the right side to switch to, makes it look fake. SNL’s skit to display Hillary’s shift toward Bernie Sander’s progressive agenda by slowly morphing her speech and image to how Sander’s speaks pulls this to the forefront, but in a comedic way.

Of course, to some extent, this is a pathos-based reaction in order to demonize a person. Changing positions is a good thing to have the capacity for. Certainly, it is better to have always been on the right side of history. My ideal candidate on racial issues is always going to be the candidate that marched for Civil Rights than the one that opposed them. At the same time, I would take a racist that was willing to set aside their personal squabbles with other races in order to promote civil liberty for all. Even if Hillary has continued to believe that marriage is supposed to be a sacred commitment between a man and a woman in her private life, her willingness to accept gay marriage as something that people should be open to displays an open-mindedness to the ideas of others in political affairs.

Her willingness to change positions also exemplifies the willingness to compromise, something that the GOP seems to hold as a completely unacceptable alternative. Which is obscene. Nobody working in politics should sideline the ideas of others—nothing gets solved if that happens. Certainly, it is completely acceptable to disagree with a person, but to not even give them a hearing is not only disrespectful, it is negligent and elitist. There’s going to be a conflict of interest in politics—it’s Congress’s job to resolve these issues, not hold the government hostage until the opposition gives in—that’s a base form of terrorism. Hillary’s willingness to at least work things out and suspend her personal beliefs for the greater good of both America and the world is blatantly better than someone whose two options are “my way or the highway.” Personally, I think anyone incapable of an objective view in a multi-personal issue needs to hit the road themselves. They have disconnected themselves from the logos pillar entirely. Which is unacceptable for a good leader to do, because to understand and connect several trains of thought requires the ability to logically work out the differences in ideas between each station.

THE GARDEN OF THE MIND

Hello everyone!

 

Did you have a good weekend? I know I did. I mean we’re back on the grind with day 4 of blog posts! I left off last time with an allusion to education and learning in relation to how it is influenced by our sexual activity. I’d like to take this time to delve deeper into ideas about education, which is something that (despite having little interest in being a teacher) is very dear to my heart—and also is something that I have done quite a bit of research into to understand on a deeper level. Specifically, I’d like to discuss the influence of biopower and biopolitics on education.

Biopower is effectively a system that emerged to the forefront in society in history around 1890, with the fall of sovereignty—aka the system of kings. It is, in Layman’s terms, the use of peer pressure and social norms to control people instead of the word of a single ruler. BIopolitics are the application of Biopower to politics, which means making laws as defined by biopolitics. Michel Foucault was the prominent philosopher who popularized this as an archetype for society. Through this lens, a categorization of people occurs—someone is either part of the “normal” group, or someone is an outsider. Of course, we have demonized outsiders, which makes the normal people an exclusive group.

But Cassady! America is an individualistic country! We impress the idea that anyone can be anything if they work hard enough, and that each person is equal, unique and different! Yeah. Sure. Which is why for decades men have had to be dominant while women were submissive, blacks are expected to listen to rap and rob people, and the standard for female beauty is a size 0. Grow up. That’s the beauty of Biopower. A person can do anything they want—nobody will stop someone from doing their own thing. But they will get weird looks, and less people who will support them. So it’s better to stick with the norms.

In terms of education, we have normalized the learning process. Which is not all bad—I mean, education is the bedrock of a well-versed society. But there are problems with it. Most notably is the lack of original thought. Of course, a lot of ideas nowadays are not original—rather building off the idea as others. Take, for example, my attack on high brain and low brain thought. I could not even formulate that offensive without the depths of research into brain structures and the basic aspects of philosophy. At schools, however, there are not just lectures to give background information, but a complete and total focus on getting people through school. The game had changed. It’s not about learning anymore. It’s about, as Paulo Freire put it, filling vessels with information. Every cup that is a students mind gets filled with the same liquid, simply filtered differently through the various teachers.

Every student has to be 2 parts history, 2 parts English, 3 parts mathematics, 3 parts science, and 1 part social. And within those parts, they all have to meet specific standards. In theory, this is great for learning. It pinpoints things that every student should have knowledge about—for example, everyone probably should have a basic understanding of World War II, Algebra, and Grammar. But from there, why do we have to specifically read about Huck Finn? That’s just adding history to English classes? Why not learn about something that matters right now? Why does it take us until we reach college to be assigned a book like A Gate at the Stairs or Clay Walls? How come we aren’t assigning things like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? These are great, real world novels that display modern issues. Sure, they are gritty, and maybe people are afraid of ruining the innocence of their children. I have news for those people: knowledge isn’t innocent. People rape. People murder. People cheat. People are assholes. It takes knowledge to overcome and learn how to deal with these issues, and knowledge only comes out of the exposure. Nobody can learn how to read without picking up a book. It just doesn’t happen. We need to stop being afraid of what could hurt people, and confront it. Figure out the roots for why people are feeling violent, and solve it. Censoring teachers and rigidly defining what people learn for their first 18 years of their lives is not going to cultivate any new seeds of thought.

THE GLASS OF PREJUDICE

Hello everyone!

 

Back at it again with the blogs! I considered leading with “white blogs” but I get the feeling that may come out more racial than intended. I left of yesterday with a pretty strong critique of ethos, pathos, and logos use within the political spectrum. Obviously, it is a really diverse idea, as I argued that Sanders balanced his use of the pillars while Trump relied on the use of pathos to control people. It very easily can be seen from other angle, but I’m going to stick to my guns (ironic, as I am a pacifist) on this one. Today, I would like to discuss political correctness. Not the “Trump” political correctness, but why exactly we have this idea in place of political correctness, and why we are so prone to ignoring that for comedic effect.

One of my favorite jokes of all time is Louis C.K.’s Forklift joke, in which he discusses racism and interpretation of racism. Here’s a link to a video of it I found on YouTube, please watch it for comprehension:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Nhd3ihoA8

 

If you don’t have access to the video for whatever reason (why are you reading this at work?), I’ll briefly explain the concept of it—though I highly recommend watching it. Basically, his white friend has a racist family that says “the nigger fell asleep at the forklift,” and Louis presents this racial insensitivity, and then juxtaposes that idea with the black interpretation of the situation—disappointment with their fellow African-American falling asleep on the job, and a Greek friend curious how someone falls asleep at a forklift. Now, I’ve taken on a moderately academic tone to my writing, which perhaps is why you flinched a little when you read the word “nigger.” And that’s good—it means you are racially sensitive in your conscious mind. It probably also means that, at least to some extent, you disagree with Trumps divisive rhetoric, even if you are a Republican.

Unfortunately, a large number of people think that the buck stops here when it comes to racism. They think that being angry with Asian drivers when they make a dangerous move in traffic, or when they crack a joke about a women not being in the kitchen, it is totally harmless. Which it isn’t. Despite the fact that you, more than likely, don’t go out of your way and hurt someone, what these passive acts of violence do is script your responses to specific scenarios. It labels people. It categorizes them. As I’ve said before, categorization is the root of all evil. In terms of prejudice and discrimination, it becomes more blatant because we have been raised in an attempt to dismantle the idea of racial prejudice and be colorblind. The problem with this is that we are also told to embrace and promote individual culture heritages. I’m not saying either of these ideas are wrong, but they are ideas that are in opposition with each other.

This creates a weird gray area that nobody really understands and has shifting boundaries. For example, a lot of African-Americans are still called “Boy” in southern states. If I called someone “Boy” where I live, my white friends would look at me bug-eyed at best, and at worst I would probably be jumped by somebody (you thought of a black person attacking me there, didn’t you?). Yet people LOVE Louis CK’s dark humor. And they don’t hold it against him. Is it because he’s on stage? No, Trump is a testament to that. Is it because he is ironic about it? Possibly but no, because he is legitimately telling a story, the irony isn’t about the racism, but rather about juxtaposition about the internal struggles within racial boundaries. Is it because he has been through some systematic amount of racial injustice that has deeply changed his upbringing? No, he’s white—he’s a member of the group that’s been on top for centuries. I think that it is that, because of our mixed cultural ideas, we have come to accept that some amount of racism as acceptable. If I say that I am not going to name my adopted African-American daughter a typical black name like Maya, Leontyne, or Zora because I like a name better than that and it would be racist to name her one of these names, I have still labeled Maya, Leontyne, and Zora as “black female” names. That’s a racist thing to do—even if it isn’t directly racist. Think about it. You have “white names” and “black names,” and even “Hispanic” or “Asian” names in mind.

Again, that’s ok that it happens in your mind. You aren’t a part of the KKK or a neo-Nazi because you picture someone named “Dequan” as a black man. But if you claim that these labels are acceptable to make, then the racial line has been pushed forward. Think about it like a cat. If he pushes a glass too hard, it will simply knock over and break, and his fun is over. That’s what the extremists do. But if the cat knocks the glass lightly, it doesn’t really do anything—it may just move a couple inches. And that’s cool to him. Because he got a reaction out of it. So he keeps pushing it farther and farther, not so much that it knocks over, but to keep getting a reaction. And all is fun and good, until eventually he knocks the glass off the table, and it goes plunging to the floor and shatters across the room. It didn’t matter that the cat pushed the glass lightly, because he pushed it too many times. Be aware of how often you push the glass of prejudice, and how hard you are knocking it.

DI CAPRIO ON ICE

Hello everyone!

 

Or rather, hello random people I have never met before, who are probably small in number because this is my first blog post ever. Ironic. Did you know that to sign up for one of these you have to pick several things, including a theme, a blog “genre,” and a budget plan (I’ve opted for free because I’m uncertain how to consider this, as well as the fact that I don’t exactly know how successful these can be)? I chose “lifestyle” because that seems the most broad subject line for me—and I don’t want to be confined to just writing “How to Lose 30 pounds in 30 Days” or “How to Double Your Sales in Half the Time” articles. I don’t even want to be confined to something like “On Art.” Which is not to say that I will never write something like this, but I really don’t like cliché categorization ideas.

Categorization, in my opinion, is the root of all evil. Anytime someone labels something, even if it is in a positive sense, it has negative associations. Take, for example, the Oscars. “Best Actor” is a category that comes to mind. Let’s take Leo winning this year. He has been claimed “the best actor of movies released in 2015.” What does this imply? Well, obviously there is the positive—that Leo’s performance was far and away above that of the other actors nominated. Which is, in my opinion, completely true. But this division between Leo and other actors inherently creates a comparison between Leo and others, with Leo being the greater of the two.

Now, most people think that this is harmless, and for the most part it is. The problem is, however, that the subconscious does not necessarily have the same filtration system—it is less prone to reason and more prone to innate responses. In Layman’s terms, it thinks like “Leo good, others bad.” Of course, no mature adult is going to wage a war over who the Academy chooses for “Best Actor.” They may, on the other hand, wage a war against the villains that their group of choice deems evil. A modern example is the Democratic and Republican examples.

I’ll start with the Democrats, because the less violent speech seems easier to justify. Bernie Sanders has spearheaded the movement against the income inequality, and he has demonized the entire one percent. This is a scapegoating tactic that is used to appeal to the pathos side of a person’s brain—to incite fear or anger toward a group. He then uses logos (logic) to justify his idea as truth—typical Bernie has used statistics to establish his ideas. Finally, he relies on ethos, his expertize in the field, to make himself the sole reliable candidate for this. Now not all of this is bad—in fact Bernie uses a careful balance between the three pillars of persuasion to not become overly extreme in his rhetoric, despite his ideas being “extreme” for American politics. He doesn’t pressure people to execute the top money makers, but to demand better treatment from them.

Which leads me to the Republican Party. Now I don’t want to attack Cruz or Rubio despite their ideas being an appeal to religious authority. I want to do the popular thing and attack Trump. While the other “more moderate” (less dangerous) candidates are “politically correct,” Trump appeals by being unpredictable. Low-level thought loves this. I’m sorry if you’re a Trump fan, dear reader, but you have been caught with your evolutionary traits showing. You see, my theory is that the three pillars we rely on are ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos, is the conclusion of high brain activity—the reflection on outcome after years of experience. We can see Martin Luther King Jr. was a great person (publically) because he was on the correct side of the racial equality movements on nearly all occasions. Think of it like the Tip of an iceberg. As you move down to where the water level meets the ice, you reach the second level of thinking—logos. Logic. It’s called the bedrock of society for a reason. This is how people start movements like the Civil Rights Movement. Let’s say Rosa Parks was this person. She thought logically “I’m human, this other white guy demeaning me is human, and clearly less fatigued than I am. I’m going to stay sitting here.” That’s pretty basic logic. It’s still respectful and mechanical.

When you dive deeper though, you’ll notice that humans, just like an iceberg, are still heavily comprised of a reliance on pathos. Emotion. It’s what kept us alive for thousands of years before we had guns and knives and fire. Kill or be killed. In a balance, people can suppress the impulse to lash out at others, and use the passion of emotion to fuel their logical arguments. Unfortunately, when too much pathos is involved, people tend to forego civil behavior for primal aggression. Trump has fed on this idea. He harnesses people’s basic instincts to control them. If I told you, in complete seriousness, that unless you did what I said, you and everyone that has meaning to you in your life would die horribly, you’re going to do whatever it is. Even the slightest example of this can take a person’s imagination for a spin. Especially if its your life or someone else’s.

These matters, while pressing, are not imminent enough to need a response by the end of you reading this essay. Any time a person comes out as the savior of sorts, you should consider everything they say as objectively as possible. That may mean stopping and looking at how it effects other people that are not you. Which can be hard—it is hard to fight natural instinct. But that’s part of what being a “good” human being is. Anyone can kill someone to keep themselves safe. It’s much more difficult to trust another person and work with them for mutual safety. But if you can, in the end, you will both be stronger—because it’s a lot easier to take on oppressive regimes when you’re not alone.