Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vern's Car is Not A Car at All (And Many Other Dizzying Revelations)

Vern’s Volvo is exactly that- Vern’s. The car he has been driving for twenty years is his, so therefore that is his car. Something like a Volvo does not mean anything until there is someone (some human with the concept of the idea of property) to claim ownership of the object.

The thought is that the physical thing and the idea of it are unrelated to one another. The physical thing is wholly dependent on what the idea is, but it is not vice versa (which is why the heap of parts is not his car). Whatever Vern thought was his car, is his car. This is because it is not important what the thing is but what a person perceives it as. The person puts the importance on the thing, because in the beginning it was us that began cataloguing, labeling, and naming everything.

The reason the heap of parts is not his car is because he does not think it is his car. Even if those things were originally the Volvo it no longer is because as soon as they were taken out of his car, it was no longer part of it. This is because Vern’s car is not actually the physical thing, it is what he thinks his car is.

Perception is reality because these ideas and names and groupings and phylums and grades and levels all came out of the human mind. Idea of ownership never occurred to the single-celled amoebas while they were in the sulfur baths. It came around the time of human development. To us, the idea of something is much more important than the actual thing.

This comes from abstract ideas like love, power, and hate. These things have nothing tangible attached to them. You cannot point to an object and say that it is ‘Love’. Love is not a physical thing. It is an idea that has emotions, actions, and symbols attached to it. This shows, to humans, that the thought is more important than the object.

When Vern first bought the Volvo he had the idea that it was his car. As he drove it off the lot it was his. When he went to the gas station it was his. When the alternator fell out and was replaced the car was still his. Vern isn’t thinking to himself that he is no longer driving his car, and that is his reality.

That is why if Grace makes a new car, it is still not Vern’s. The only thing that would change that is if Vern began driving that car around and calling it his own. But the car is not his until he himself attaches ownership to it. That would be an entirely different car. It could be Grace’s car if she wanted. It is all about the idea.

With this line of thinking Vern’s Volvo had never changed. Even though the physical thing is totally different from its original state, his thoughts toward the car are still the same. Perception is the reality.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Flaws in my System

I’m at my most introspective while talking to my father. On Saturdays before work I’d tentatively knock on the door, waiting for his slumber-ridden answer that would allow me into his room. There I would sit on the arm of his favorite leather chair and prop my feet on the side of the bed.
“How are you, sweetheart?”
Yes; I am a daddy’s girl.
I nod as an answer most of the times. Others I would let out an excited noise that normally formed into a prompt for breakfast. Then there were the times I would shrug and smile weakly. Those were the times he would sit up and clear his throat.
That was when we would talk. For that mere hour I would find out more about myself than I ever would while I was alone.
Most of the times I don’t even know what I’m thinking.
These talks bring out the worst and the best in me. The worst in that I find all those insecurities I had hidden during day to day life, the best that I am a strong enough person to face these insecurities with intention to fix it. Knowing yourself is difficult, but it is the only way you can lead a true fulfilling life
To me, knowing yourself is as important to knowing how to walk. The more you understand what you want; the more you choices and decisions in life will benefit you. Knowing yourself is not like knowing what ice cream you prefer, although it is somewhat similar. Knowing yourself means knowing how you feel about eating the ice cream, or how remorseful you are after some delicious mint chocolate chip. If you have an acute awareness of your feelings, your deepest thoughts, you'd know how you react to scenarios in life. If only it was easier said than done.

A few of my weaknesses that first come to mind would be somewhere along the lines of lazy, slightly irresponsible, na├»ve, and oftentimes I’m unrealistic. All these things to me seem rather superficial to me. They stem from a deeper, broader weakness. All these things derive from, like every insecurity, a small doubt hidden in the folds of my self esteem. Oftentimes I don't put in effort because I can see myself failing. Leave things until the last minute because I can't see the point in doing them, especially if I wouldn't do well on it anyway.
My low self esteem in certain parts of my personality has a lot to do with past issues that I am always working towards getting over. Dealing with the idea of ‘what does it even matter’ is actually rather difficult. Oftentimes when I am thinking this it is hard to also say, ‘but let’s keep trying’. So, I set up in advance. If I’m up to it, which is definitely no that often, I do my homework early and when I am prepared to. I schedule out my day (which doesn’t work) and I try to have a positive attitude (see former). Obviously none of these attacks have been helping my weakness, seeing as I am typing this blog only an hour and a half before it is do. It doesn’t hurt to try though, right?

After a little bashing of myself, it is nice to think over my strengths; something I don’t tend to focus on. Thinking now, it is quite difficult to pick it out of all of my ‘faults’. I, like many people, am very hard on myself. After mulling over for a while I can definitely come up with something.
My curiosity and love for knowledge is my greatest strength. It sets me apart from others in such a way that I am in disbelief that someone could be interested in only one thing. Learning is a passion of mine and I am constantly finding how much I benefit from my thirst. I can relate to everyone from space nerds to sports fanatics. It gives me a limitless source of creativity in everything I do. It gives me a love for life that I often find unmatched among others.

Writing your thoughts on the subject of you is probably the most difficult thing to try and put into words. It has to do with acknowledging you as a whole, not just some abstract idea that interacts with other people. you don’t consider yourself to be a person the way you view the people around you. You praise and ridicule these people, but I don’t think you view yourself in the same way. Your views on yourself manifest into feelings and issues. When you think you look good one day you feel great. When an important flaw is pointed out in your skill set you feel awful and angry. These feelings are more difficult to find the roots to. Once you find where these feelings come from it is even more difficult to put them into words.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Food for Thought

There I was, sitting across the tacky table at Ihop from my mother, suddenly noticing how much things have changed. She gave me a sneaking glance as she stole my last piece of bacon, and I let out a smile. I don’t remember when we began eating there, or who proposed the idea first. Breakfast was her favorite meal and I guess she just dragged me along. I was always okay with it; she paid.

It was always just me and her, something that did not happen very often. What was even odder was that I relished these Sunday breakfasts before I jetted off to work. I liked the alone time with my mom. With her I didn’t have to talk about school and responsibilities. She didn’t put any pressure on me like my dad often did. I got to tell her was I was actually thinking. It was new, this relationship with her.

I remember rather clearly two years ago in gym telling my friends all about the whole sob story divorce. I do remember- and I’m not ashamed of it- telling them how I thought she was a bad mom.

In retrospect she was a flawed mother. After the divorce it was like a switch flipped off in her and everything before that was just some large charade. She partied, dated men with long beards and no jobs, smoked cigarettes; just things that she had never, ever done before. I grew sick of it, fighting with her and eventually moving out of her house. As the months went by I saw her mere days out of the month, and I grew to hate her. In my mind by sophomore year, she was just someone to be tolerated.

As the waitress lays down the bill my mom smiled at me. “Do you need money for lunch? I could swing by and drop something off?” I shook my head no. She scooted out of the booth, walking toward the cashier. It was then I heard my dad’s voice, hitting me for no reason whatsoever.

“You just have to accept people for who they are. They’re not going to change and if you want them in your life you’re going to have to deal with it.” he said it to me when I was being particularly nasty about my mom sophomore year. I had just told him that I did not think I would ever be able to get past what she had done to the family. I didn't understand it at first, but know i think i have a firm grasp of the concept. It was about understanding people and accepting that they’re not always going to live up to what they’re supposed to. I had expectations for my mom that she had shattered again and again. I just could not understand how she could leave her kids like that. I felt unloved back then. And there was my dad asking me to accept her for who she was.

It sounded like such an odd thing to say at the moment, and it was certainly what I did not want to hear, but as my mom walked back to the booth I was glad I took the advice to heart. By no means is she the best mom. She is selfish and often puts her needs before ours. I’ve come to accept that about her though. I understand that she loves us even if she has a childish way of showing it. I can accept that about her and somehow, I no longer feel I have to hate her. She rarely ever falls short of my expectations anymore. I don’t know if I would have found a new friend in my mom if I had not listened to him.

What I do know is that breakfast on Sunday is probably one of the best ways to start off the week.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Importance of a Legacy

The human life span is small, to say the least. They last only about eighty years. In comparison to the long time humans have walked the Earth, it is very small indeed. In life human’s really have no way to be permanent or immortal.

Humans have the capacity to realize their end. It is a unique quality that they have, to realize that they, as a race, barely brush the surface to Earth’s history. With this humans have created a sort of general acceptance of this fleeting existence.

In a smaller sense there is a much simpler thinking to it. People do not often go to lengths to accept the fact that what they do in this life does not matter. In fact, they often have a glorified ideal of their names remembered through the ages. Instead of understanding that sooner or later everything gets washed away, people want to believe that their memory or theiressence will live on.

So what they do instead is look beyond their lifespan and try to create a sort of legacy when they go. Something so they will be remembered. A book, a song, a note to your spouse, something so that they will not be forgotten. That is where human’s immortality lies. That is where their hope lies; in their legacy.

This gives people hope so they can live forever. In a way, Gilgamesh is immortal. He has died but he lives on in his tales. People still recognize him as a person. His quest for immortality did not fail, in fact it did quite the contrary, it let him be remembered forever.

That is why people become presidents, why they strive to be good at anything. They want to be good because they want to live on. They want to be remembered as the founder of the successful company, the builder of the tallest building. All these things, even if they now have social implications thrown in, are done for their legacy.

If this wasn't the case, what would drive humans to outdo each other? For the sake of competition? Then where did this need to be better come from? People would not want to better themselves if they knew it was going to disappear once their eighty years of life. People want to be recognized for their achievements. This makes people feel safe somehow, because humans are always worried about being forgotten.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Heroic Ideal

Wow, that’s quite a lot of questions. I’ll just start with the first one.

All of these creative works have a central meaning. They revolve around the actions of the heroes. They stress the importance of their success. As we spoke about in class the characters all go on a quest, be it accidentally or willingly. Each of the protagonists gain something from these quests, and they are almost always changed for the better.

As for what is a hero, they are the grand ideal of human society (in creative works at least). They have traits that the people value. They are courageous, moral people who rise up against challenges and evil. Heroes are what people hope for when they have nothing, what people hope to be in the face of a difficult choice. These people are held in such high esteem that heroes seem unnaturally perfect.

In real life, heroes do not have all of these traits. Firefighters and policemen are heroes because they give their lives to save people. Revolutionaries can be heroes because they risk everything for what they believe in. Presidents were once thought to be heroes for their incorruptibility and high moral standards.

In writing, it is almost like heroes are an exaggeration of these traits. Most all heroes are willing to risk there live to save people and to stand up against wrongdoing. They are incorruptible and preserver through tremendous obstacles. In Lord of the Rings Frodo, though tempted with the evil of the ring ultimately makes the right choice and overcomes evil.

Of course women can be heroines! The traits of heroes are not gender exclusive. They are, however, more inclined to be described to a male (at least prior to the 20th century). Men are expected to go on journeys, to go out and right the wrongs (and so on and so forth…), but women were not always viewed in the same light as men. This is why men are always pictured as the hero; women are only just starting to shed their bad rap.

The most important attribute to heroes seems to me that they are incorruptible. They do not give into temptation. The reason this trait is so important to becoming a hero has to do with the fact that people in general will never be able to step away from temptation. Since heroes are the ideal, people like to believe that they cannot be corrupted; which in turn shows hope for themselves.

People need to have heroes. They need to have standards to which they can always hope to strive towards. Heroes represent everything a person can hope they could be, and if there were no heroes, there would be no hope to be better.

What Bertolt Brecht meant by saying “Unhappy the land that needs heroes”, was that if people need heroes than that means that they themselves have not reached that level of excellence. It shows that they are weak, and that on some level they know they are not perfect.