On Raising Thinkers

•September 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

syriacafeI was standing in line for my daily mocha, when I started eavesdropping on a father telling his three sons, (of about 7 to 13), about the war in Syria. I prepped my eyes for the inevitable eyeroll that was sure to ensue after hearing yet another American, suburban parent inflict their political beliefs on their children. I was pleasantly surprised to see this was not the case at all. He described the present Syrian situation as clearly, unbiasedly, and thoroughly as a man could in a short matter of time to 3 young boys. Then he asked for their opinions without interjecting. The three had varying comments from “it’s not our business” to “we need to help them NOW!! We need to fight for them!”. Without making any of his sons sound more correct than the other, he drew out their reasoning behind their answers and developed a little mini debate over sandwiches and fizzy drinks.

Parenting done right.

The Innovation of Loneliness

•August 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen

A word on celebrating “real bodies”.

•August 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

WeightBeautyWith the recent ads in magazines, campaigns for “real beauty”, and the emergence of “normal Barbie”…I want to say something on my humble, digital soapbox. I find it irritating when being overweight is celebrated. It’s understood that the celebration has good intentions and a victory over torture and the inability to identify with what society deems a “normal body”. However, going to the complete opposite of the spectrum is not the right approach. It’s no secret that being overweight entails health consequences. I wouldn’t say “get it, girl!” to a smoker refusing to quit. Refusing to applaud to the acceptance and celebration of being overweight should not be treated with horror and frowns. It perpetuates the problem of a host of health issues this country has without addressing the issue it is trying to fix, which is to put an end to the ridicule and the feelings of being ostracized anomalies in (what tries to appear) a world of runway models. I think it’s a good start to build awareness of the different (and unique) flaws we all possess. This however, must be done by celebrating the best each unique individual can be. Yes, it is important to show that being big is NOT abnormal. Stretch marks are NOT abnormal. Cellulite is NOT abnormal. The same way someone shouldn’t be ridiculed about their poverty or broken limbs, an overweight person should not be treated like an anomaly. It’s cruel and ignorant. No one is flawless. And there are a vast number of reasons for weight gain; not just “laziness”. We just need to put an emphasis on individuality and healthy choices. A small boned person will never have thick, killer thighs like Ciara or Beyonce. A big boned person will never have a teensy waist or long thin legs like Miranda Kerr. SO WHAT?! Celebrate whatever shape/size/height you are when you are at your best. Celebrate your freckles. Not your sun damage. Celebrate your body. Not your fat. There is a difference. Celebrate the features that make you YOU; not the features that hide them. Your fat is not a part of what makes you, you. And neither is that unhealthy, waif-like look you got from fasting or drugs. We need to teach our children about healthy choices, individuality, and above all, respect; so we can all stop worrying about what stage of the journey other people are at.

I write.

•June 29, 2013 • Leave a Comment

kafka“I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.”
- Franz Kafka

Thoughts on security, ataraxia, and a homeland shooting.

•June 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

wireIt is in the young hours after the day of the Santa Monica shooting rampage that I find myself unable to sleep. My inability to sleep is for a multitude of reasons, but my thoughts of the day’s events not far do thus contribute.

Six people, not far from what I’ve called home had their lives cut short today. Their memories, potentials, and current endeavors eradicated from existence. A longtime question of psychologists and thoughtful minds alike, is, “what exactly goes on in a murderer’s mind?” I am not a human behaviourist, and I did not end up pursuing my original major of Psych. Therefore, my humble fascination with the mind can not give a scientifically backed answer. I can, however, give my take, and that is that these actions are based on a distorted interpretation of the individual’s background. This is not meant to sound completely nurture-based. The idea is that the given  interpretation is propagated from biological makeup. Adrian Raine, author of “The Anatomy of Violence” (worth a read!), explains that there is alarming evidence that killers possess an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex. Known as the CEO of the brain, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for emotion, temperament, problem solving, and complex thought. In the end, the concept of murder may not be as complex as it is made out to be. It may very well boil down to what that individual perceived to be acceptable.

This all can be a scary thought, as this would prove that murderous tendencies are expected amongst the vast array of populace. Risk is taken with the act of living. It is common to overlook this and try to identify relevant characteristics in a situation, so that one may learn to avoid them. The Stoics, who dominated the ancient school of thought, preached ataraxia in an unpredictable world. If emotions are governed, anxiety is limited. Nevertheless, even with a peaceful mind, tragedies will happen, especially with technological advancements.

It is a natural assumption that a left-leaning citizen would be absolutely opposed to any form of artillery, much less civilian owned guns. A gun is, in fact, an apparatus for obliterating a living organism. That is putting aside whether the shot was for murder or protection. The full make up of a gun is designed to end a life. Achieving this of course, depends on the shooter and his or her intentions. A gun can not achieve its purpose without a human pulling its trigger. However, it is with guns that an unarmed victim finds his life arbitrarily obliterated without chance of a winning fight. It is the frustration in this last statement that a somewhat-liberal such as I, can not fully deny sane, law-abiding citizens a chance to protect themselves, should they choose to do so.

This brings me to the idea of general security. With a largely populated country, comes larger security. I believe the problem is in the inability to distinguish security from safety and liberty. Safety is an impossible dream for a large country. Government responds to safety breaches by creating greater security through diminished liberty.

A current example is the fuss about phone companies providing the NSA with metadata about the duration of calls and to whom the calls were made. This, coupled with internet surveillance, is an invasion of privacy, especially if one  believes that knowing the duration of a phone call is a stepping stone to more wiretapping. Security is a complicated ground where officials may feel that sacrifices must be made in the name of safety. The history of under-achieving, overly-sanguine surveillance programs is a great one. The most recent being accepted as an erroneously temporary one. It is a sad state, to say the least. However, I’m sure the public will reach the even more elaborate consensus that this is all to stalk their mundane yahoo chat exchanges, their 30 minute conversations with their mothers, or the 90 minute breathing-into-the-phone exchanges with their significant others. It bears mention that corporations collect consensual data that can be sold and used against an individual, long before unwarranted non-egregious data can be used.

An Ostentatious Library

•February 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

bookescape“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote 

And then there were books.

I always saw reading as an activity best done in isolation. It’s not exactly an activity that requires much interaction with others. However, there is much interaction with text. Once thought to be unprecedented feelings and experiences quickly become strange connections to someone you have not met that gives eloquence to the very thought you were sure only you held.

I have enough books to fill up 3 and a half average sized bookshelves. I’ve realized most of my spending over the years has gone to this ever-growing collection and unfortunately my closet has suffered because of this. But the money spent is not the part that bothers me. Rather, it’s the fact that I have this nasty habit of bookmarking. I buy a book, obsess over it, read a few chapters, and insert a card that promises to hold my place for a more convenient time. That time never arrives, because I am quickly reminded of another subject I wish to explore and thus another card that promises to hold my place is created. I’m not sure when this habit was started, but it went on for years. I collected quite an eclectic library. One year I received a comment on this from someone that didn’t think much of my intellect. It drew attention to fact that these half-read books made my shelf seem pretentious, random, and flat out ostentatious. I am an individual who values her eclectic passions and feeling as if my passions were under attack made me vow to never buy another book until I read every single book I possess.

booksIt’s been a journey.  I read feverishly as a child and adolescent and somewhere along the way I got caught up in the simple world, forgetting all I am fascinated by. It’s been 2 years since I have started this project, and I still have a ways to go. (And I do, admit, I cracked and purchased 2 short books.)

But thanks to this project, I found a unifying passion that makes me feel less scattered and more focused. This is a subject I will discuss in more depth when the time comes to make an announcement. Until that time comes, for this alone, I am immensely thankful.

lovebooks

Among the Lessons Learnt, is a Lesson in Selectiveness.

•December 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This year I decided to post my end of the year musings for my close friends on Facebook. You may find my post there. That being said, there are plenty more musings for the coming year.

Goodbye 2012. You were a great teacher.

2013

 
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