He Is Hero

‘In the beginning’, indicates a story that it is cliché and overdone. This will begin as others to tell the trope of Hero.

In the beginning, what inspired the common man- since women where often disregarded-was a Hero. A Hero was often born during mysterious, glorious, alien-like circumstances. It was his birth that predestined his good fortune, good looks and power and strength beyond that of the common man. Or simply put, someone did something so great that the common man thought to honor him- as it is usually a male- with the title of a ‘hero’. A common man witnessed another common man braver than himself, therefore the other more brave became a Hero. Or we can say that common man was much more sophisticated than we may give credit for sometimes, so a Hero was an imagined person. In regards to religion, or to gods, He or them are the imagined person(s). His purpose was to represent a figurative meaning of a few adjectives commonly associated with someone that has taken a risk or has made a (self) sacrifice for the greater good or in selfishness.

War or dangerous adventure is the hero’s normal occupation. He is surrounded by noble peers, and is magnanimous to his followers and ruthless to his enemies. In addition to his prowess in battle, he is resourceful and skillful in many crafts; he can build a house, sail a boat, and, if shipwrecked, is an expert swimmer. He is sometimes, like Odysseus, cunning and wise in counsel, but a hero is not usually given to much subtlety. He is a man of action rather than thought and lives by a personal code of honor that admits of no qualification. His responses are usually instinctive, predictable, and inevitable. He accepts challenge and sometimes even courts disaster. Thus baldly stated, the hero’s ethos seems over simple by the standards of a later age. He is childlike in his boasting and rivalry, in his love of presents and rewards, and in his concern for his reputation. He is sometimes foolhardy and wrong-headed, risking his life—and the lives of others—for trifles. Roland, for instance, dies because he is too proud to sound his horn for help when he is overwhelmed in battle.

Encyclopedia Britannica

The Hero to modern humankind is like the ancient definition- as revealed in super hero comics, movies and television. The Hero may also be one as described in Kung Fu films, anime collection films and television series. The Hero is someone that is strong, a risk taker and willing to sacrifice his life for others or the greater good. Though He or She is a conflicted character and may allow the more human emotions to overwhelm the mind. During this moment, as it is usually brief, self-reflection turns into selfish behavior that may cause greater damage to an individual or to an entire community. However, the Hero will readjust itself as good. And to remain forever timeless.

The most common, least forgotten form of the Hero is ‘God’. What is meant by ‘least forgotten’? No, ‘God’ is most often labeled as the Hero for modern humankind, but the meaning of that term ‘hero’ is often glossed over. A ‘hero’ is defined as a mythical person who is of the divine. This definition could also be applied to a warrior, or a soldier today, or just about anyone that exhibits such qualities like courage and bravery. In the sense of moral philosophy, the discussion here is the ‘God’ as the Hero that determines ethics. The Hero being part of a myth is one of divine creation by the imaginative common man (or men), in order to provide a figurative meaning of ethics for the common people.

In all tropes, either ancient or modern, there is a battle between good and evil. The successor, the one that triumphs over evil, is often regarded as the Hero. In ancient times this Hero overcame a battle either with the self or for a community of people- whether He was related to them or not. In modern times this Hero overcame a great feat often imaginary as it plays in superhero films and television. In the religious sense, every interpretation as ‘God’ or the Hero shows that He is the successor over what is evil- and that being the Devil/Satan in the Christian theology. What is evil? Evil is one that defies; a naysayer or negative thoughts and emotions; in opposition or question to what is good. The Hero then becomes an example to abide by and to follow by common people.

The purpose of these tropes are to exhibit good behavior or to have others obliged, for a common good. This purpose was exhibited in both ancient political and moral philosophy as a constant measure to ensure an ordered society, and well-behaved or well-ordered individuals. As for religious philosophy the same as true, though with an additional granting of immunity.

In the end, the Hero is simply a story of a moral code or something to achieve.

 


 

How to Explain Atheism?

The question posed to an atheist is often along the lines of ‘how could you not believe in God’?

The mindset that follows behind this question, perhaps, are along the lines of ‘you are denying your own existence along with everything else that exist’. Or, perhaps, the person or the believer posing this question may think that to not believe is the most ridiculous concept because of what the belief in ‘God’ offers.

A belief in ‘God’ offers sanity and hope. That is sanity meaning that the question of life existence is troubling to the human mind. In ancient philosophy, the undeclared atheist contemplated about how religion and the concept of the supernatural did not suffice in answering the greater question of life, especially that of human existence. Or in the case of Epicurus and Lucretius that thought if gods existed then they placed no importance on the lives of human beings, as they were absent and invisible. It is troubling to think what caused our existence and what gave us the ability to think and to question this fact. That troubling fact being one of insignificance, as I spelled out in ‘So They Believe’. And in hope meaning that there is an underlying purpose to suffering or to living on Earth. That there is some being out there beyond our sphere, well now beyond our universe, is our guidance and care-giver.

So, here I am to explain atheism. Atheism is the ‘lack of belief in gods’. This is not a ‘denial of god(s)’, as that statement requires a belief in god(s). This is not a belief system as its definition begins and ends in its initial statement. This term is not a religion as there are no doctrines, moral philosophy, and the sort attributed to the statement. There are two types of atheist: one that is gnostic and the other that is agnostic. Gnostic meaning to know something, or to know without doubt, or to know with affirmation. Agnostic meaning to be unsure of something, or to doubt, or to not know without affirmation. A gnostic atheist lacks a belief in god(s) because there is definitive proof of its or their non-existence. While an agnostic atheist are those like Epicurus and Lucretius expressing a lack of belief in gods, though not sure of that statement provability.

Therefore, to an atheist of either persuasion the mindset of a theist bears no weight on their mind. The argument that atheist are in denial of their existence, or in denial of their creator, ignores the point that an atheist thinks that the ‘creator’ was created by imaginative common people.

Then, depending on the particular atheist, the reasons in addition to their lack of belief is determined by how much that one person is convinced.


My Statement

I am asked often how and why I am an atheist. I tell them first that no liberal college poisoned my mind with liberal nonsense of the beginning or declining of everything. Actually, I first began to question the existence of ‘god’ after tattling on a younger sibling that expressed a lack of belief. It was only when I was a child that I questioned the imagery of this being, as well the purpose that this ‘god’ may serve in my life. As well, the lesson about there being different religions in the world proved to be a less convincing case for the religion I was indoctrinated into. So I told myself, though unknowing of the proper words at the time- that I will remain simply agnostic until I have read the holy text about all religions.

Over time I became simply an atheist. As a young atheist I never mocked the theist, only to question what all they stated as the exact meaning and purpose to every question and concern that can be conceived about life. I never got around to reading all of those holy text as they are many and most inaccessible to myself. Not even the Christian bible. I can only count on one hand how many times I have opened and read the Holy Bible. However, I took an interest in philosophy and the concept of religion as learned in the subject of history. As I graduated, moved on to college, I became a gnostic atheist.

How am I able to have a firm knowledge of something I have not read? To study the specific text(s) is meant to only argue the points made within the holy text(s). That was never my purpose since as a child. As a child I questioned the imagery and the purpose, not ‘what did Jacob say?’ Therefore, the confirmation and answers to the many questions I had kept silent existed in the origins of each religion. As I had moved onto college I wished to major in philosophy. Upon searching for the likelihood of making a living with that degree it encouraged me to choose history instead. Specifically, I concentrated on western civilization and that meant learning of the beginning of ancient philosophy and the philosophers, as well as the beginning of the major Western religions present today. In learning about something you learn about how and why it was created. Though the details of this topic is for another extended essay, I may state that my confirmation was found that god(s) and religion are human created.

My confirmation was not told specifically, but through several courses. This affirmation was told by Christian professors that had to explain the point of historical interpretation of religion as not being a denial or criticism of their present religious convictions. Though one could sense the discomfort in the room whenever we discussed the early Christian beliefs, as in comparison to their own as modern Christians. I was told this to be true when discussing the concept of ‘hero’s’ as told in epic poems or the history of a glorious time before the existence of writing by the ancients. This was never specific. There was never a confirmation that ‘yea all of this myth’ by professors or by the students, whom all or most are religious as well. This is simply a person, myself that came to the conclusion of all that I have been taught- and all that had been carefully worded as to not offend.


My Conclusion

What I have come to conclude: ‘He Is Hero’.

A combination of all of the courses, lessons, lectures have concluded to that specific topic. Now I admittedly failed at knowing the mundane, specific details of the epics; the purpose of Homer’s writing; the thoughts of Socrates; to actually read the text about the Jews and Christians under Roman rule; etc. All of which were disinteresting as my mind often went on a tangent about the overall idea, gathered without reading much further. My mind is primarily fascinated by concepts. I am moved by the general idea of something rather than the specifics, though the specifics like an event’s date may prove to be useful. Though not useful in understanding the underlying meaning of everything, or one specific topic and the purpose of it.

I have concluded here that He is in fact a Hero. My quest in knowing this fact was due to my thoughts and views on religion. What does Hero mean and what does Hero provide to others has always been a common topic upon my mind. And then whenever questioned about my inability to believe in a higher, supernatural being I vaguely reference that He Is [A] Hero.

A simple statement not conveying and justifying all that is known or could be known. However, in its simplicity answers a common question asked of an atheist. Here I gave my own summary of how and why I’m convinced.

A Heart That Is Gold

After writing Hashtag ‘Talk To Someone’ the thought occurred to me that I should share this fact to two people. I told my mom and I told my only associate. I told my mom that I have a strong desire to just simply walk away. I told my associate that I rather not waste time on another person again, expecting them to be honest and truthful about their nature or character. My mom called me to tell me that, of course, I’m not alone. It’s a mental illness that runs throughout our family, from a grand mother that suffered from a more severe mental illness. Depression is a common illness in my family, something I know my mom to have. She told me that she too becomes depressed, to cry at night. I know the source of her problems, one that refuses to just leave on his own accord. A selfish and self-centered human being, just as the individuals I have encountered throughout my life so far. She told me that she too will cry, only to roll over and to fall asleep. To wake up and to pray that everything will be better. She told me of her distractions too, one that I have been aware of and concerned about as I age. The two parts of the conversation that…when my mom told me that she will cry sometimes, I found it difficult to imagine. You see, in my mind and through my observations growing up, I have never once seen my mom, or my dad cry. Though every time the topic of depression surfaces my mom will tell me that yes, they are human too and that they too express a common human physical response to emotions. I still find it difficult to imagine that my mom is just as vulnerable as I am. Even if I have witnessed her sad, I have never witnessed her to cry.

She told me that yes, as I grow older the more my nature will become challenged. She has always known and accepted that her two children are different from other children. She has had to explain and to defend to her own family members why and how her children are different. Per society standards, as young black people, my younger brother and I fail to be loud, eccentric, or to ‘live in the moment’. We are so different because we both value intellectualism, idealism, concept knowledge, abstract thinking, an inclination to reason and to challenge established norms. All that is considered odd because we are black; all that is considered disrespectful in some cases. An important point to make as this a cause for our experience in being bullied and harassed, as well for others to misinterpret who we are. The greater point here is that we are both quiet introverts, something strange to a group of people that only understand ‘voices are to be raised and heard’. This is my nature, to live in a world that is so loud and demanding for myself to speak up and state your position clearly for us all to hear. What else did my mom tell me? She told me that I am sensitive because I care. And she’s right. I have always been sensitive. I have always been the one to care a great deal about how  others are in their nature.

When I care, I care to understand the purpose and point of it all. I am also inclined to apply logic to what is emotional. As I described within my article of confession, the source of my depressed state has always been other people. Not only the fact that people generally make me anxious and uncomfortable, as I am hyper-aware that they have the ability to judge. People, as individuals who are all typically self-centered, unkind, judgmental and rude. I grew up within an environment where the strongest individuals were those that are rude, seemingly uncaring of other’s emotions and careless with emotions. Though they reveal how truly vulnerable they are whenever they feel the need to take revenge on those that may mistake them as weak. That is to return hatred with hate. Or to not concern themselves with the disadvantages of others by forming an attitude whenever asked for a favor, because the thought of being ‘used’ matters more than a person truly in need.  It is along the lines of this fact and those type of behaviors that caused me to be sensitive and to care a great deal into understanding them. To understand why such forms of behavior are expected to be justified.


Love

I am to apply logic to what is emotional. If you do not love a person, yet you tell them so as an obligated response within a relationship, why do you do it? What compels you, a person with emotions, to lie to someone else with emotions as well? This may apply to your current partner, spouse, friend, or even child and parent. Why is it deemed an obligation to face another human being and to lie about how you may feel about that person? In this society, or as I’m referring to the United States poor cultural habits, we are to lie to a person in order to spare their feelings. We are to believe that initial honesty within relationships are to be forgotten and regarded as sensitive matter not worth the trouble to share and to tell. Though we are creatures with the urge to tell. Instead of initial honesty, some people may tell a person their true feelings in a more passive sense. Instead of telling the person ‘I do not love you’, the unloving individual will purposefully purchase an item different from what you asked for exactly. Instead of confessing one’s true feelings, the person may lash out in anger over something petty or insignificant. As there are many ways to tell a person that you love them without those exact words, there are many ways to do the opposite. For whatever reason the exact purpose or point of this behavior is not understood.

The question remains ‘why do you do it?’


Trust

The idea of trust is foreign.  Actually, Pew Research Center has found that U.S. Americans are unable to trust their neighbors more so now than before. This fact is associated to different environments where poverty and [apparent] crime are heavily concentrated and specific. This fact too remains as our society becomes increasingly more diverse and that our economy becomes increasingly dire. On the subject of relationships, we find it difficult to trust  another person. And whenever a person expresses a sense of distrust in others, not considering those that are in abusive situations, the attitude that surfaces proves to be damaging. The idea of a lack of trust in individuals initially is the fear that all others will prove to be damaging to the person. Then a vicious cycle has been created. One person refusing to trust may become agitated, rude and the like towards someone that may be honest with their emotions.  Then the one honest by their emotions may then become distrustful of others, because of their experience with people that are agitated and rude. So on and so forth until a large population of people warn their children, or to give advice to someone that is troubled-that this is simply how people are.

Then there are those whose fears are confirmed as they are left abandoned in their personal issue to trust. In their minds it is then confirmed that people are not only untrustworthy, but they are just as uncaring as expected. A misunderstanding is then formed as every relationship is either sabotaged or put to a test.


Judgement

The fear to be ‘used’ is a fear to be judged by others. It seems that within our culture we must display a hard surface that is not easily penetrated by others. This is to say, if we are ever to find ourselves in a situation that causes for the kindness of heart we are told to never let it bleed. If we are to allow the heart to bleed we may find ourselves stripped of our dignity; of our possessions, time, money and body. If we are to allow ourselves to be ‘used’ we may find ourselves weak and judged. The last association we should want to have to our name is that we are easy and vulnerable. And the last thought we wish to have is someone, either closely associated or a stranger, to judge us.

So in turn a person establish clear boundaries of what requests are okay. One may find a person reluctant to give another person in need a ride to work. The reason given that it is their responsibility to have their own transportation, so if I were to forget then oh well. They will know. Of course a favor that is offered is a favor given in kindness. However, this is deed is concerned by how others may interpret the action as being ‘too much’. And by ‘too much’ meaning too easy, too vulnerable, well then anyone can ask this person anything and they will give. The fear to be judged, as applies to this examples and others not mentioned here, trumps the act of kindness.

 

unsung hero
Unsung Hero Commercial

 


A Heart That is Gold

It is those subjects and others more personal that causes me to feel disheartened. It is those understandings I have formed that leaves me to be questionable and concerned about others. But my mom told me, too in this conversation-that I will certainly lose myself in them. She told me, encouraged me to find my happy.  As she told me about her distractions from reality, or what keeps her going and anticipating for more, I was thinking of my happy. I had written in my confession that walking and writing are my happy. If one ever writes something sad or discouraging it always best to end with something that is hopeful or that it is a remedy. I am truthful in what allows me to escape though. I find my happy in those activities and in exercise. Obesity in the U.S. is another anticipated writing, as it was my personal experience as well. I never knew that exercise, taking a risk to lift something heavy would excite me so.

As I partake in all activities that are my happy, the conclusion then is that I should focus on myself. As my close associate told me, it’s alright to focus on yourself now. Then when you are ready to open up and to allow a person into your life again it will be worth it. If someone cannot accept who you are then it is their loss- to forget someone worth knowing about.

I’m not in the belief that my heart is so pure that I am without flaws too. I understand how my nature can be off-putting; seeming to cause conflict with others. This is true that I am sensitive about the greater sense of human behavior, but as far as individual troubles I seem more bothered by the request to listen and to answer. Well, especially since I assume the person is wanting for an answer to their troubles that is based on logic, rather than to simply listen and to agree. I disregard social cues. I may even belittle a person for simply being human without understanding what all I am saying or doing to that person. I am always willing to add self-criticism in addition to what I understand to be flaws in human behavior. I am human too, of course. And I am guilty of assuming one of those subjects of behaviors listed above. My inability to trust as I deny any chance to have close association with others or to form a relationship of any kind. My attitude then becomes of rudeness and being overcritical of how this too may fail. All because of my depression, pessimism and the like.

My mom told me to find my happy, but to also form happy thoughts. The concept here is that if I accept the negative thoughts that only deepens my depression, then to assume positive thoughts will increase my level of contentment. In that time I may attract the same within my environment and with others to be happy, as my close associate told me. In that case, to find what will work is the ability to find a balance.

 

Hashtag ‘Talk To Someone’

I revealed today that I am in fact depressed. I took to my most frequented social media sites to confess what all I have been feeling. That is, I am depressed and have been this way since for as long as I can remember. I took to Facebook to tell the few high school classmates, college associates, immediate family members and strangers- that like my thought processing- that I suffer with social anxiety and depression. And that I have felt this way since I was 10 years old, maybe younger or slightly older.

This was a late night/early morning confession so the response was of only one private message. One of the strangers told me that she wholly empathize with me, then to suggest medication and therapy. Why, then? I had revealed within the confession that people, generally, are the source of my fears and pessimism. That I find discomfort not only in being around people, but people as individuals. People as in judgmental, uncaring, self-centered individuals that I have not understood and will never come close to understanding in time. These people, generally, are the source of my stress, anxiety, social phobia, dating phobia, etc. As I told her, the stranger, I have been medicated for this condition before. All the while taking the pills, feeling the medicine or rather feeling emotions that have been inactive for so long jitter about inside of me. Not once did it cure my response to how others mistreat and misinterpret me. I thanked her for the advice and the shared empathy anyway. In a minute later my mom ‘liked’ my post. She always accuses me of writing excessively, too much for her to read so she ‘likes’ the post, pictures and comments anyway. I then made a rash decision to delete, then to deactivate my profile.

I was a social media user since the age of 14 years old, around 2008 when I wanted to connect with my peers. As a quiet, introverted teenager never afforded the ability or the will to express myself it proved useful. I used social media to express my immature nature; my dumbed down nature to better relate to those around me in school. As well, I used it as a platform to discuss relevant issues that I normally kept quiet and complacent about. After some time I deleted the 13/14 year old ‘me’ to tackle important issues in politics, or about religion and other social issues. Not that I was popular anyway, not that anyone cared, but I posted and shared my opinions that my conservative Christian ‘friends’ disagreed with. As a result I became largely ignored. I continued to post and debate, alone, and to myself, anyway.

Today I deleted pictures, memories, post, and removed tags. The task was simple. Again by no means was I ever popular and I did not share as much compared to others. Today, as well I found a note from 2011 that I did not delete. The note was about my frustration with the homophobic comments my circle of associates, classmates, etc. often expressed delightfully. I expressed how disheartening it is to hear people speak in ignorance to those like myself. People like me who had yet to come out, my first story that I had shared here. I remember how I was feeling the time I had typed the note-a depressed teen, pessimistic and suffering from social anxiety. As I went further back I noticed more of largely ignored political social interest, and then more about my confessions. This has not been the first time, now as I was beginning to remember. This is not the first time I have deleted memories, confessions and the like. And in every time I deleted, only to retype and to reword again, my quality of life remained the same. I am depressed, as I stated this one last time.

The cause of my frustrations, pessimism and fears have been other people. Recently, all three are related to my recent heart break. I had to come to terms that I was using social media to make her understand how much her apathy, and unloving nature tormented me daily. And that her new found love just confirmed all that I have feared and confessed to her. I had told her that I had gone through bouts of depression since I was a teenager. No, I had not fully recovered though in my mind I thought I had done so, compared to her confusion and fears she too confessed to me. I had confessed that I am broken and expected her to break the cycle, to be different from others and to be understanding. It was then that I had failed to realize that she is like all other individuals. She is like all the others-the source of my frustrations and fears. One message after another for a month, all disconnected and all in repetition wanting her to acknowledge, understand then to apologize. My pessimism called for her to block me, to reveal that she is who I know her to be… Though it is difficult to say when you love that person. I had to block her instead, once I found out she blocked me as well, I had to make my last confession.


Celebrities are coming out to confess their thoughts as well. They make a head liner-‘I’m Depressed’. Or, at least, they vaguely mention how they are feeling so the editor comes to that conclusion to write that viral title. The public responds by saying: how can this be that someone rich and famous who is given all that they may ask for in life, only to be discontent? And as we read of another who has died due to suicide, we have the public reacting by stating even money cannot buy happiness. And now we must talk about depression. It is only during these moments that someone beloved and talented confess and/or dies that we must have this discussion. ‘#talktosomeone’ surfaces on popular sharing sites. The long passionate quotes liked and shared by those that agree are about encouraging people to come out and confess. To find someone, anyone to empathize with your suffering. The reason given is that you are not alone.

The reality of depression is that you are alone. You are alone in your thoughts. You are to deal with it alone despite the helpful advice, therapy sessions, or sympathetic individuals that struggle and fumble with their words of circular positive encouragement. Depression affects the individual and by no means will talking to someone help, or always help concerning the severity and specifics of the illness. The depression may last a short while, given the changes in environment or other self-improvement tactics may help. Then there are others that will suffer through it, or probably not that much longer considering the common end of this illness. Something that I too have contemplated from time to time. It is when the negative thoughts, expected behavior of others, the low self-esteem; the conditions for living on this Earth, in this society, etc. becomes too overwhelming for the person to handle mentally. The ill person then release their emotions and thoughts through silent tears, music, writing, drugs, alcohol, anger, or something else to distract them. In whatever way the person may deal with or to solve their illness the person does so alone.


How do I best deal with my illness? I take a walk. Reconnecting with nature has been something recent and fulfilling. It’s the thought of the pavement or the feel of the grass beneath your shoes do I feel grounded. Most certainly I feel something the moment I walk, to feel the world around me slowed down to a normal, walking pace. To feel nature surround my body, pushing and pulling at my hair, clothes and skin. To feel the heat of the sun…It is then that I feel a sense of release, my mind just as chaotic as ever, but simple. My thoughts become slowed as well, but simple.

I may park my car somewhere, lock it of course, and just walk. I walk away from the noise, the commotion of people. Then to walk away from my life-responsibilities, concerns and anxieties about my future. I take so much pleasure from the brief moment to walk away from the noise and to walk away from my present life. So much so that my thoughts, whenever inclined to self-harm and neglect I think instead of simply walking away. And if it weren’t for the demands of society to have a job, car, and house to survive I would do just that. If it did not mean upsetting my mom as I leave, disappear without a trace, I would do just that.

Since I feel shackled by obligations I only dream to be either taken away or to disappear. I have dreamt of an airplane crash, though I have never flown before, where I became stranded and alone. I could imagine how I would feel based on the brief moments of freedom I have now. To feel nature pushing and pulling me. This is not likely to happen, so instead I like National Geographic pictures of indigenous people whose feet have been shaped by the land. In other dreams I thought to quit, to sell, to remove the excess baggage and just walk away. Where would I go? I would go everywhere, in the heat, under the sun with shoes tapping the pavement. I would just go at random.

If I ever feel stressed by what I am unable to do, I will write it down instead. There was a concept essay in my 10th grade class that my close associate and I wrote separately, then shared. We were to write individually about the greatest invention and to explain why it is great compared to others. My associate and I are similar in thought, still, even though we no longer speak. She wrote that ‘paper’ was the best invention in our world, which allows us to read. She’s still a bookworm. I wrote that the ‘pen’ was the greatest invention as it allow for ideas and thoughts to be more easily shared. In that I discussed written language as the beginning of all other great inventions. I remember now, I asked her about her topic then I shared my own. We playfully argued which of our topic was better in answering the writing prompt. I ended with, if it were not for the ‘pen’ what purpose would the ‘paper’ have been in the course of our human history?


Feel as I may and will forever feel as it seems, I’m fortunate enough to live in a time and place where I am able to share my thoughts. Whether I am to share my thoughts on paper or on the screen there is still a sense of release. This is where I tell myself all is fine as long as you have a mind of your own and the will to express it to yourself first.  You may be depressed, you do indeed suffer with social anxiety but so long as you are a confident thinking being you can forget about the approval of others. Then I leave all other thoughts to rest.

I mean I am talking to someone about it. I’m talking to myself

Would You Like To Upsize?

In the time being that I an here, I am aiming for a purpose or something anticipated. I am aiming for a career as a writer, as an author, as an acclaimed thinker. This has always been an underlying desire since childhood, though never brought forth and managed until now. Only until recently have others suggested that ‘with all of your knowledge and quest for more, as well for your need to express such a need to let it all out…’ Why not become a writer? I made a post, inspired by a questioned phrase stated by myself. ‘Why not now?’

This has been a new pursuit, well a rekindled desire with a direct purpose and reasons to back it. It was of my sophomore year as a an undergraduate college student that I found my desire. I wanted to write, I had typed and shared on a previous blog. I wanted to express myself, however I did not know whether fact or fiction would be my strongest. So I had tried fiction first. As imaginative as my words may appear to be, I have found that my challenge to write a fictional character about an emotion or thought I have not expressed or felt myself proved to be more difficult. I can write, well I can express myself poetically but the stories I find myself writing have no beginning or ending. They are at random occurrence, in the middle of a sentence or thought. For example, the boy walking through the woods. It was at random, a young masculine of center appearing person. The time and place was undefined. The nature was not adequately expressed but I was thinking of autumn. Where he was walking from and to was unknown to the reader and myself. In a sense what I aimed to capture was a feeling, or something I have felt and experienced myself. A person walking through the woods. A person that feels and hears the overwhelming presence of nature in the absence of disturbance by humans-except myself. What I was I thinking remained in my mind alone-chaotic. What I was feeling was so profound at that moment that I had wished to share it. The ability to express that moment and feeling in writing remains as a task to master.

I found that writing in fact to something proved to be more rewarding; inclined to my nature and thought process. The way in which I think is called ‘conceptual knowledge’, though not in reference to math functions but to a personality or way of thinking about ideas. I have shown this in one of my lengthy blogs, The ‘Borg’, as I relate a larger sporadic concept to a defined understanding as it relates to our own reality. I anticipate to write further in this way. As well, constructing arguments to widely held ideas is best described as a ‘brain workout’ for me. Again, another anticipated writing.

The Hunt

Through all of this anticipation, pursuits, and fire where am I? Outside of this screen, outside of my books and journal I am a fast food worker. A recent college graduate who is finding the ‘recentness’ of her expensive, yet to have been paid off, piece of paper- indicating ‘this person is versatile and educated’-is a negative. The moment an employer looks upon my resume they see food- menial task and job regarded for those without a degree. The moment that the employer see a list of my work experience primarily being in food-the assumption goes that I have absolutely no experience worth noting, worth to take a chance on. It is discouraging. Actually quite frustrating knowing that at the beginning of my resume list all of my achievements, education and skills and knowledge acquired that they all claim to so desperately want and need in a qualified candidate. Yet, here I am denied before I make an appearance, denied because they refuse to think outside of the box. As one interviewer rudely, and by ignorance, stated “but you only have fast food experience here”. I would assume that in order for me to not ‘only have something’ I must be given the chance to have something else. However, since I had managed to struggle for years to acquire what I only have now, then what I anticipate to have instead will be years to come. As a fast food manager, I wait and write until that chance is given.

I have played all of the possibilities for myself to become someone to another. I have tried every entry-level job position though without success. They want actual work experience. Since I am unable to lie as it is suggested often to me, I have totally given up. Why? I can rewrite my resume to reflect either the exact details as described in the job advertisement or write all that I am and can potentially be, but still I am worth nothing without experience. To have experience is to be given that chance to acquire experience and not to be judged for not having it. My struggle is in line with all other college graduates underprivileged, yet hopeful.

Though my family would have me to believe that it is my appearance that causes for my denial at every turn. They wish the best for me, though in their taking my interest at heart they ignore their own prejudices loudly projected. In the time I have applied for jobs, similar positions at a time, resume rewritten to reflect their purpose as my own, I have only received 4 interviews in this year thus far. Of those four interviews I have received one position for a temporary job working for the state education system. For every interview I had had, I have followed the correct behaviors and formal dress codes. I came prepared, pen and folder in hand. I came neatly, well dressed and groomed. My tone, manner of speaking always considered professional, proper or well spoken. What is the issue then? I am clearly a masculine of center female destroying heteronormative values and expectations, though not as a stereotype. Those within my community will consider me to be a dapper ‘stud’, or a masculine of center black lesbian female well dressed. According to my family this would all be fine if I were a male, preferably heterosexual, but as a female I should not exemplify that standard. And if I refuse the standard to be feminine then what will come to me is discrimination, but that is not how they phrase it. What will come to me are employers judging me based on my appearance and deciding to not give me a chance because of that fact, and they are right to do so because that is how society works. As I am often told, ‘we have to play the game’. But in their assumption they believe I have had more interviews requiring my presence, or what I look like to be known. No, out of hundreds of applications I have only had four interviews. This means only four out of hundreds know what I look like beyond my name in bold. And what my name bolded and enlarged can tell about my appearance is that I am a black American and that I am female.

What I tell them then, what they are suggesting is the issue now, is that I am to expect discrimination based on my gender expression. However, if I am to walk the line, to appear feminine as society may demand, what if I am denied a chance because I am a black American? The discussion changes, as this is a common issue that they are most passionate about. What if I were denied simply because I am female? To suggest that I must change would also reinforce a common racist and sexist mindset that once denied qualified or candidates with potential that so happen to be not white and not male. And as I recall- throughout my lessons and personal readings-that such forms of discriminations are not to be tolerated any longer. What I tell them then is that they are simply projecting their own prejudice about my appearance. And that they are living in a time where they are unable to give me, anyone else young, advice in how to navigate this struggling economy.

A Crowd

As I tell my mom, as worried as she is about my prospects in life-that I am one among millions of young hopefuls unable to prove their worth in such a tough economy. She will ask me often what I am doing, implying what am I doing with my life so that I can honor my degree. I tell her that I am trying, have given up but trying again. In the process of myself trying I do not mind so much working in the restaurant industry. There I am among several others thinking about obtaining a degree, those in the process of obtaining a degree, and those that have since graduated and searching for a purpose too.

We all discuss our dreams. I wish to be a medical assistant. I wish to be part of a professional sport. I wish to own my restaurant, too. I wish to do something but have not quite figured it out yet. Then I add, I wish to be a writer, but in the meantime I wish to teach. As we discuss everything other than fries and rude customers, it’s like we bond more closely. We are able to laugh. We cut up sometimes and I too try to remind them that this life is only temporary. Why? Those fries, temperature logs and a higher manager yelling about what we didn’t do or could do better again will get to a person. As I tell the others, sit them down, focus on the best that you can do and laugh at everything else. Yes the older customers tend to think of you as ‘lesser than’ or uneducated as they forever remain indecisive and entitled, or unknowing how much of a skill it takes to multitask at an ever increasing speed. I’m referring to restaurants where short staffing means you are the only person taking the order, cashing out the order, filling the drinks, bagging the orders, then ding! next person in line and impatient. I tell them, yes pick up the pace as I am your manager, but relax. Find your rhythm and relax, because you will have something better waiting for you.

Then I think of all others that have given up. The retail managers that laugh about their expensive piece of paper that is still worth everything to them. The same ones that make enough money to afford the essentials and all other leisure time, since they can pay as little as they can to their student loan debt. Not all, but some here are this way. They are those older than I am, a college graduate four years ago or more. And really, what is there to do when one lacks work experience for a position that basically requires what we have been doing and prepared for since the age 9 years old or so? I told this to my coworkers. I was denied a job once for something that I had experienced for years now and that is typing and knowing Microsoft programs. All of this practice, and as I remember began when I was 10 years old to my college freshman year, worth nothing at all. You are among everyone else with the same exact experience and know-how, aiming for the same entry-level positions to get a foot into a door for another.

Here we go, begging for more hours and better pay instead. We ask for a higher position, management, for those exact purposes. Then left limited as the business is limited as well-sent off to other stores to save hours and to gain more. Our best bet is for a second job, another possible yet impossible endeavor. Employers seem to want your time indefinitely no matter if they only schedule you for 15 hours per week. This means that they much rather have people whose hours a free of hassle and careful consideration. Why? They have enough on their plate too, perhaps struggling as we are in home life, work, college classes, etc.

The Purpose of This

I’m not trying to make a statement. Or to make this experience beautiful in writing to captivate an audience that is, too, disinterested. This is simply practice. I am to tell others of my experience, my current thoughts, and what I am about in several post. Then along the way to showcase my true interest in writing, in forms of analytical essays. Or an amateur approach at philosophy. Those are of my greater interest and purpose in writing, and wanting to write and to share more. And I do think this is my true calling here. That is to write in fact to something. This is to share my experience, feelings and knowledge rather than to give a fictional character to represent it all.

Discouragement

After experiencing technical difficulties with this website I felt lost. I had just nearly completed an essay, lengthy as my writing usually can become, only to find it erased. It’s as if I never typed, retyped or researched my topic at all. What was left are notes for this section, careful consideration for the reader. All of it now gone, disappeared.

The feeling was of anger, mostly. I deleted what was saved here as it was not much to revive to its original perfection. I was angry contemplating whether or not I should contact whomever that cannot do the impossible. That is to fix a computer glitch that exist as a technical issue, only on my end. I felt angry, then disappointed. To think of the hard work now left forgotten and unknown to the public.

I felt this emotion but decided to type here instead. I may feel discouraged in my plight to become something I once thought was meant for those brighter than myself. There will be times were I will lose all that I had worked hard. But if I continue, anew, with a different frame or mindset that I can still write, and write well. And here that I may type my heart’s desire of all of the various interest and passions, then I can do so again. The topic and many others will resurface again and I may write and relate to others as best I can again. My mind is endless and so is my time.

Heaviness of Heart

Negative emotions seeps way down into the very pit of her stomach. Friendless and without a companion, she stirs the feeling of loneliness within her mind. When existing with an innate wanting for companionship, you feel the isolation of being without another person. When existing within a society that craves a companion for the sake of having one, for the sake of never ever being alone, it’ll torment your mind. Why? She longs for a connection of a likeminded person. She doesn’t believe in souls or soulmates, or anything else of the imagined spiritual world. She craves for someone real and likable for once. But not to crave a body, but of a person. A body is merely a vessel that carries the character that exist within our minds. Have you ever thought about that exactly? The essence of our existence, what makes us the person that we are, is entirely composed of neurons and tissue that exist as the brain. She wants more than ever to crave that person, and to have and to hold dear of that person for forever long. This is simply not possible. She exist among a popular frame of mind that being with someone, rather, is better than being alone. A culture shock as she flip through the books of ups and downs in relationships that cares more for a person’s body than the actual person. She is sick, now, as she too was used by past lovers to satisfy this insisting need to not be alone.

She is bitter. An emotion that cannot be denied as she questions the predators of her lonely sensitive heart. Do you understand her or do you simply want of what you see? Do you like her or do you like an idea of someone so insightful and inquisitive that you cannot wait to master the experience of someone like her? Like her to place on a pedestal, like her to use as someone to make up the time and space left and forgotten by a past lover-or so it seemed. You do not actually care for the person that she is, really. She is a place holder within the chapter of your life, as you navigate your wants and need in a person through trial and error. Her limbs trembling with…stress, perhaps anxiety of meeting someone like you. Like the ones that left her broken, sunken in self-pity and regret that she may never let go. She may never trust again.

To exist alone until someone takes her love seriously.

It Is So…Poetic

I’m anticipating to write an extended essay about the issues most concerning black Americans and their communities. The subjects are typically those concerns of the poor [i.e. poverty, education, crime, police officers, etc.] and I aim to discuss why that primary focus is problematic too. So I’m gathering a collection of books, typically those that are of the popular canon of ‘black thought’ on such subject matters. Or rather the accepted authority on this subject matter in opposition to my own alternative thoughts. As I gather books I read to find the key points and topics that are related to this extended essay.

Yesterday I decided to read the most recommended and awarded text of this date: Between the World and Me authored by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Actually I skimmed through the text, as it is rather short and can easily be done, and found that I was not impressed. Do not become mistaken here, I skim then I read a book first. The initial captivation among the pages are what confirms my need to purchase, to read, then to recommend to others. I can only read of what I have skimmed if it is profound or simply interesting. I’ve found neither adjectives are appropriate for this book. Perhaps, as all others, being poetic with their ‘blackness’ may captivate an audience that are the same and those that are white Americans and liberal-minded. However that is all and nothing else.

Of course it was written in a time where police homicides of black Americans took the nation by storm. People are emotional, calling it the greatest crime against black American males from years past to this date. Though emotional, basically an appeals to emotions, the statistical data proves otherwise. Black American males are more likely a victim of intraracial crime than they are to be a victim of interracial crime or to be killed by a police officer. As well, white Americans, Latino Americans, and Native Americans are largely ignored whenever the discussion of police killings surfaces on mainstream media. The majority killed police officers this year and last year alone have been white Americans. However, it is more profound if we discuss the statistics based on groups or ‘per rate’. Still in doing so we largely ignore that Native Americans are effected more so than black Americans. That is what I mean that it is an emotional appeal and one used tirelessly in the discussion of ‘black thought’-the center of attention ignoring the plights of all others.

There is something about ‘black thought’ that always needs to be poetic and to appeal to emotions. Or to over exaggerate a claim and to assume a collective mindset on all issues, whether all black Americans face them equally or at all. I do not find this common tendency in almost every essay, or every book about issues concerning [some] black Americans, profound or interesting. I too have studied black American history, U.S. history, the history of me and my being here. I enjoy it and continue to read. Though I do not appropriate the pain of my ancestors as that is insulting compared to my far more privileged life and life of freedom. Though I grew up in a rural area I never assume that poverty and the issues that become of those existing in urban areas are similar to my own. Poverty in rural areas is different compared to poverty in urban areas and I cannot falsely assume to relate to those that have an entirely different experience. Or what I am saying here, I refrain from using black Americans as a collective whenever discussing police shootings and killings and all other issues. That would be false to do so, and to give a false impression to others about the experiences of black Americans as individuals. As well it is simply an appeals to emotions to do so. I can discuss my experiences without included the entirety of black Americans who may have or usually have not experienced the same life. And I can do so without the poetic rhyme.

In writing this future extended essay I have to keep an open mind. To include Coates and other like him that all write in a rather similar manner, I must understand their thoughts. Why is it a common way to speak of issues pertaining to some black Americans this way? Why do they always assume a collective experience extending to all black Americans? For instance, his text in referring to the police killing of Eric Garner: “And destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives include friskings, detainings…All of this is common to black people. And all of this is old for black people. No one is held responsible.” A collective experience and notion assumed to be the thoughts and concerns, even the experiences of all. To the last statement, why is it common to make a claim based on limited observation; an assumption without facts? I remember around the time Michael Brown was killed, the tension had continued ’til December where I read that ‘police officers are never held accountable’. I retorted with, well it depends on the circumstances of the event and the evidence found. Since within that same month a local news source reported a police officer sentenced to time in prison for his crime against a black woman. Unfortunately I do not remember the details to that particular news story, but to make a ‘never’ claim on the basis of limited observation is quite common. So I ask ‘why’. To ask is to read, and that requires me to read their thoughts.

So, I’m looking forward to reading those differences in thought processing. In doing so I will provide a proper book review of each book I am thinking to include for my extended essay.

The ‘Borg’

What is the ‘Borg’?

An entity that speaks as one. The uniformity of individuals grouped. Impersonalization of the individual, to ensure that the concerns of all are equal. The notion of equality, or the indivisibility of the group. That is all that defines the ‘Borg’, or the arch enemy of the United Federation of Planets. Or, more philosophically, the arch enemy of humanity.

The war of the Federation with the Borg has proved to be a great discussion about humanity- that is a constant subject presented by several science fiction television and cinema. There have been other films that have discussed this ‘war’ in great length, for example, The Invasion (2007). I will use it in comparison to the concerns presented by the Federation. The actual war as presented in Star Trek: The Next Generation 1987-1994 (TNG) is between the Federation star ship The Enterprise and the Borg, introduced by an omnipotent being called ‘The Q’. On ‘Q’s’ behalf, the purpose of the introduction was for the human [and humanoid kind] to understand that there are bigger, stronger, more influential enemies than the squabbles that they found themselves in within their domain [or sector of the universe(s)]. The lesson then was to be introduced, and to find a way to combat what the Borg stood for exactly. The aimed peaceful agreement, then was to combat the idea of uniformity without losing the particular aspects of individuality. This was also reminded in filler episodes, or where the human, the Klingon, the Cardassian haphazardly came together and heard a message from a representation of the human and humanoid ‘creator’. The ‘creator’ reminded the human and humanoids that they are of one DNA strand and that their differences were not a means for violence, but for character in a sense. Of course, as the captain, Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise stated ‘it was such a shame that the message fell on such deaf ears’. The squabbles continue as the Enterprise found itself in surprising and in intense contact with the Borg. The Borg’s purpose was to colonize and to include all humans and humanoid species as part of its entity. Their key collective mindset being that ‘resistance is futile’. This meant either peacefully or through violent contact all others not part of the entity will be assimilated as the Borg. For the sake of humanity, the humans ultimately refused, thus resistance proved worthy.

In the process of the war, there had been debates of the morally contentious thing to do. There is a moral code of conduct followed by those of the Federation. The codes are summarized as follows:

  • All entities have the right to exist
  • Disturbances or destruction of another life form is prohibited
  • Disturbances or destruction of another life form’s environment is prohibited
  • Solutions to where violence and death, which are preventable, is the preferred course of action
  • Disturbances of newly discovered humanoid species have precautionary terms
  • To engage in diplomacy where disagreements of species by respecting their customs and beliefs

As the Borg proved to be an enemy without the ability or inclination to speak humanely, or to form a peaceful agreement without force and an assumption of power- the one contemplated idea then was for its ultimate destruction. In one instance, a contact with a youthful Borg- or representation of being impressionable, willingness to change, and revolution-led to discussion of either ultimate destruction or a ‘choice’. The first decision was unanimously agreed upon by the Enterprise senior officers. Where they discussed that the entire destruction of humanity was of the greatest threat. Therefore, the ultimate need to destroy that threat is an exception to the moral code. All those that agreed thought to program a ‘virus’ that would then end the entity altogether. All agreed except for one senior officer, Dr. Beverly Crusher. The youthful Borg had come aboard the Enterprise injured. As it is Dr. Crusher’s duty and oath to heal, she took offense to the unanimous decision. She reminded the senior officers of the moral code and of her duty. As well, she reminded the members that despite the youthful Borg’s presentation he was still a being, a child and someone in need of humane treatment.

iborg138_zps2d07c1e7

The Borg are a collective humanoid species existing within a highly technological advanced hive. In their worldview there is no concept of ‘I’ or of the individual. If they are to speak about a desire it is only the desire of the collective. Or they will speak as ‘we’. For example, an individual Borg will speak as “we are alone” rather than “I am alone”. The chief engineer of the Enterprise, and one part of unanimous decision, Geordi LaForge helped Dr. Crusher with the technological aspects of the youthful Borg’s injuries. As well his task was to program the virus to ultimately destroy it and his kind. Though in interacting with the Borg, LaForge began to understand why they insisted on a collective. The youthful Borg felt disconnected as he was no longer part of his hive. In his mindset, or as he was programmed to think and feel, being alone or as an individual would be lonesome. LaForge would offer his rebuttal-that being an individual is not lonely as one can connect with another individual to share likeness. However, in sharing that likeness he would not give up his individuality as that gave him character, or a purpose to his name. In order for the youthful Borg to understand this need and desire, LaForge personalized him or gave him a character by naming him ‘Hugh’ [pictured above]. Hugh then accepted his name.

After this new discovery that the Borg are capable of changing or forming a new understanding about humanity, the senior officers of the Enterprise came together for a new devised plan. It is imperative that they devise the plan as the Borg collective intend to collect their kind. Therefore it was an imminent violent threat approaching, and a need to find a quick solution. In discovering that Hugh could have a character, the second decision then was to give the Borg a ‘choice’. This meant instead of programming Hugh with a virus to ultimately destroy the others, the senior officers thought to program Hugh with a sense of ‘choice’. In that is the desire for individuality, a new revolution of thought.

The concerns of the Federation about the ultimate destruction of humanity is adequately presented. Why would one want to give up their individuality for the sake of all others? What were the benefits of existing as a collective rather than as an individual? Upon the first encounter with the Borg there was total silence. Three of the senior officers of the Enterprise boarded the ship.

the borg cube

The Borg were unbothered and were not threatened by the presence of the few crew members. But what is characterized by the Borg’s hive, or their environment? It was quiet, it was peaceful, it was cold. What seemed like a blank slate was actually a thriving consciousness only present within the mind through connective wires. Now to answer the first two questions one must understand what humanity is like, especially existing as individuals. TNG presents the lives of 24th century Earth beings that had become united over their differences. Therefore, no more wars or acts of violence- though the ‘Q’ forced them to answer to their previous crimes or behavior. A rough summary of the event presented here. However there were still squabbles among the humanoid species and the human, whereby the human attempted to end. Revert to our own time, the 21st century, where countless wars and violence are waged in the name of ‘differences’, ‘lack of resources’ and ‘lack of education’. What is meant to give up being an individual to then become a collective means to give up violence, or the notion that differences are to cause tension. The benefit of existing within a collective, or as the Borg, is ultimately peace. As individuals we have proven that we are bound to allow disagreements to cause chaos and by that what means of peace is only through force. It’s an idea played out in science fiction countless times.

This point was played out well in the movie ‘The Invasion’, previously linked. Within the film the ‘virus’ had turn every individual into a blank slate. The only differences among those infected with the virus were their appearances. A police officer, a black woman, a white man, a Hispanic woman walking together though they are the same. There exist no personality, no strong emotions or emotions at all. There exist no other apparent differences other than physical characteristics. Instead they are all one person, a collective of the same being. The same thought with the Borg’s motive is played out within the movie or that ‘resistance is futile’. The resistance being the main character, or as the Federation, for the sake of humanity individuality must be preserved. The resistance proved to be worthy, however what did that all mean exactly? At the end of the movie, once a cure had been found for the ‘virus’, the main character and her husband were sitting about their living area talking. The last scene was of the news playing over as they count the last of those being cured. The news as well played over the rise of violence, and chaos going about the country and the world as the humankind regained its humanity.

In watching the television series now, and the movie as a child, I have begun to wonder why peace on Earth or among all individuals is so difficult to fathom. So difficult to fathom that the idea of peace is merely a fantasy and one that can only be forced. By being forced it is an alien being, or an alien concept to seem united and to convince others to be united in thought, action and behavior towards the other. As I am hopeful that humanity would come to a peaceful agreement- as there are human beings that are at peace, but I agree peace is alien. I disagree that in order for there to be peace we must strip human beings of their sense of individuality. As the 24th century Earth beings aimed to accomplish- as they proved for themselves that there can be peace without forsaking the individual. However, how did 24th century do away violence and disagreements that is so often associated with individuality? They gave up capitalism-profit, money and materialism, and in return found that minimalism sufficed the needs and wants of the individual. This too is revealed throughout the series. This then did away with greed, inequality and the violence, selfishness and the sort. That very thought or means of acquiring peace is why it is so difficult to fathom.

My love for Star Trek TNG is not the purpose or the point here, though it is proven useful in discussing key concepts and ideas. Instead I am here to discuss how the Borg finds its way into our society, and how it is ultimately resisted at every turn. Here I am to discuss humanity, and what we have accomplished thus far in preserving that idea of individuality. To define exactly what is humanity, what is peace, and by what means we may fix the issues from within.

What is Humanity?

Humanity is defined as by Merriam-Webster dictionary as the quality or state of being humane; the quality or state of being human; and of the humankind. What does it mean to be humane? The adjectives often associated with this term is that of compassion and sympathy. For example, it is humane to treat other animal species with the same dignity and respect that we, humans, require of ourselves. In practice, the ‘humane’ treatment is something that activist must argue for exactly. In this we are discussing organizations like PETA, or organizations calling for the fair treatment of criminals and of poor minorities. The ‘state of being human’ refers to biology [physiology] but in this context it’ll refer to character, personality, and a sense of morality that is kindred to all humans-or the individual. By no means is this a positive reflection of the individual, though there are positive aspects of some individuals. Humankind is simply the collective of human beings.

That is what defines humanity. In practice we, humans, reveal our humanity by showing compassion to those without a voice in their condition or predicament. We often contemplate about the humane treatment of others, especially those marginalized or oppressed. That is humanity when we are discussing the treatment of others or ‘othered’ people. Those discussions evoke feelings of passion and righteousness. All good and well, however, humanity is often associated with its third definition provided here. Humanity is often associated with violence, deception, untrustworthiness, etc. all that is thought of when we discuss individuals as being part of humankind. The religious of the West may refer to mankind as being wicked, untrustworthy, and impulsive or all those adjectives relating to the thoughts and behaviors of individuals within the collective. It is the individual, then, that taints the meaning of and the imagery of what is meant by humanity.

We are, as individuals, a collection of varying degree of personalities and moral judgements, and by that causes disagreements. We disagree in the way to provide proper healthcare for all citizens of the state. And we allow such disagreements to jeopardize the health of our people. On a personal level we may disagree with a persons’ character or how they may conduct their self outside of the established ‘norm’.  This then causes trivial scrimmages that are not too important at first glance, but are of greater concern knowing that humans engage in pettiness. The individual is often corrupted and dissatisfied too. We base our wants and needs on what we want and need more of generally. For instance, the poor not realizing the economic state of their community will be compromised in the their want and need of something from someone else poor. Or when the poor steals from the poor the community has gained nothing more than a greedy individual. In the discussion of violence, the fight for resources is never a collective action, or so at first, it is the individual against another. And we may find examples of this in reality or in fiction whenever a nation of people, yet in disagreement, are faced with greater trouble. In summation we live in a society plagued by the self-interested.

And because there exist the greater self-interested human beings find it difficult to trust another. This is true that people are distrustful of their neighbor, be it closely related or not. As we age and as we become more aware of the troubles that plague our society-the cost of individuality- we find that more people are distrustful of others than before. When the next generation arises, they too become less trustful of the other (USA Today). This is easily divided among skin color, age and their respective environments and communities they may reside in (Pew Research Center). Those communities more so negatively impacted by the negative connotations of the individual, the self-interested, battle with the issue of trust.

To bring it all a back again, and as it relates to TNG: In a way the humans of Earth, perhaps the Federation exemplified, and preached often, all that is defined by humanity. However, in actuality and as the ‘Q’ character pointed out that humans and humanoid species are the exact antonym of the definition. This then helps me to conclude that the enemy of humanity is not that of a virus- or an entity that exist as a hive-that strips away the positive aspect of the term. Instead, the arch enemy of humanity is the individual, the self-interested.

In Our Society

Where do we see the individual most often? In random acts of violence that speaks to inequality and impoverishment- that may be either a generational effect or a failed individual. We see the individual as we discuss income inequality; racial disparities in the criminalization of citizens; inequitable access to educational resources and influences; experience qualifications for entry-level occupations; etc.. We see the individual as a violent reaction to lack of opportunities and resources in urban or rural communities. Or the subject of the individual whenever we discuss access to the same privileges afforded to the affluent. The individual is the arch enemy of humanity in this sense as it does not allow for peace, or for peace for our society.

Peace is what we aim to achieve whenever we discuss humanity of the individual that aims for it. I am discussing the activist that views the individual as self-interested too. It is in activism do we see the positive aspects of the individual. Where they fight for the marginalized, or they fight for the acknowledgement of the commonality of all of humankind. For instance, the fight to recognize people of the LGBTQ+ are in fact valid in their existence as they are with their inner feelings and truth. Or when past activist had to argue that those of non-Caucasian or European descent are in fact human and deserving of humane treatment. The activist are those that remind us that we can have peace within our society, however, only if all other individuals are willing. And we find that they are not willing to change, not willing to come forward in order to set aside differences. The activist struggles to be a greater influence, despite legislative changes that make their initiatives a reality. What do I mean exactly? In the call for peace, we still have a large population of individuals that are still racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, classist, etc.. I could go into great length of each example; however, I’m sure that you can either draw from your own experience or observations how unachievable total peace is exactly in our society.

How Do We Acquire Peace?

According to popular science fiction, we are told that by peace means that we should strip the human being of their individuality. And by no means will humans submit willingly to give up their character. Peace within our society will require that we share no apparent and/or emotional differences. Since we are so incapable of doing so ourselves, the means by which to acquire ultimate peace is a Borg. Here I’ll argue that in line with the argument presented by the humans of the Federation: peace is ultimately achievable without stripping away what qualifies us as human beings. We are able to exist together, yet so very different, if we are to be rid of two concepts. Those concepts are as follows: materialism and that differences are a means to violence.

On Minimalism

The way, in which, to achieve a peaceful society is by be ridding our society of materialism. In doing so we embrace the notion of minimalism. There are different definitions and philosophical understandings of the word ‘materialism’. How I am using the term is in reference to consumerism. By consumerism I am referring to the preoccupation and inclination to buying materials (Merriam-Webster). Though I’m not suggesting a society without means to acquire reasonable material ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ [i.e. clothing or other accessories]. I am suggesting that in a society of excess, and where we are encouraged by either a marketing team our one another to acquire more than what is needed, we then create self-interested individuals. As we call for more, we then have issues with the more affluent assuming rather than sharing more materials. Thus we have on the other extreme the poor taking from those that are poor as well. It’s the assumption we always require more than we need, more than we can afford to posses. In this assumption creates the inequalities and the violence that activist aim to create initiatives for in order to erase. Therefore, the means to peace is by minimalism.

What is minimalism? It is defined as extreme spareness and simplicity. This is meant by foregoing the additional pair of shoes when you have two or three in good or fair conditions. This is meant by the decluttering of house space by allowing only the essence in organization, entertainment and comfort. This may include the actual physicality of the home, by reducing its size the equivalence of a bedroom and kitchen area. Of course this is respective to your relationship status and whether you have additional people to fill up space. However, have you ever thought how much space is wasted then, in obligation to fill an empty space, that we fill it with more stuff? It is wasteful, it is clutter, it is the means by which consumerism still thrives. There are those that hate the superficial aspect about a minimalist. I understand, in the age of social media human beings feel the need for additional fame and approval from others. Thus their minimalism is the cause to spend more money in addition for what they were able to save from what they lack. I’m not referring to those that chase the aesthetics and the fame. I’m referring to how minimalism, as defined could help with the idea for peace.

This is an oversimplification of the facts and factors about materialism and how it affects individuals. I am to prove a point here, and without drawn out specific examples. If we are to forgo what we have in excess, the constant vying for resources would reduce. If we are to give up what we simply want in addition over what we need, we would see less envy from the individual. If we can use minimalism to reduce the assumption that one always require more than what is needed, or one that requires more than what they can posses, then perhaps we can be at peace. To be at peace, meaning to live among others without the assumption of excess; without stripping away what all makes us truly unique. Since we are living in a constantly progressing society, in the age of advance technology and of social media all that is fine. As technology is often considered an excess material when it can be a positive reinforcement. How else are we to share our thoughts and ideas, alike or also different to society and so rapidly?

Acknowledgement of Differences

I encounter this issue quite often on my own as an argumentative personality.  Whenever it comes to an expression of differences, people tend to find it as the source of tension and the reason for violence. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however it is difficult to convince others that it is okay if two or more people disagree. We are individuals, after all, and we have our own characters and moral judgements that are influenced by nurture or our own lived experiences. We are individuals with varying beliefs on how to do something or in what way to determine decisions for all. However, such disagreements are not the cause for upset and violence. As the Federation aims at mending the fraction of a species that are all too similar. For instance, the Enterprise constantly engaging in diplomacy of a species engaged in civil war over simple differences of opinions, values and beliefs. The cause of the Federation diplomats or those experts they may call upon are to remind them that they are all too similar. In one example, in United States politics I call upon issues such as gun violence, healthcare, and taxes. Whereby there are similarities in thought but there are differences in execution. And because of those differences, instead of allowing them for finding a common ground we find that it causes tensions. In some cases it may even cause violence. We reveal that we are unable to achieve peace because we are unable to resolve our differences maturely.

I call upon the classic film The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). Where an alien, who appeared human as well, warned the people of Earth that if they are not to resolve their differences then they are doomed to be destroyed.

the-day-the-earth-stood-still

This film is quintessential as it aims to address the current political culture of that time with the ending of World War II and the new emergence of the Cold War (1947-1991). As the point was clear it was about the Cold War as the diplomats of the respective countries to be called for peace were those opponents of that war. I like this film as it addresses a political aspect in the midst of other issues surrounding their time that isn’t addressed but revealed. Or having a predominately white cast, though there were a few non-white Americans present as representing the citizens of Earth and of the United States. There was a Civil Rights Movement rising, as there existed no peace for racial minorities or black Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, Chinese Americans, immigrants, etc.. And the Women’s Liberation (Feminist) Movement rising, as there existed no peace or equality for women. However, in this time and frame of mind, global peace of the political persuasion was a great concern. As they addressed directly, or not all the several disagreements that caused so much tension and violence that the only way to achieve peace is to introduce an alien, perhaps one that appears similar to the majority demographic.

Peace can be achieved in the matter of differences if we as individuals could understand the concept of compromise. Depending only on some issues as not all are about an equal division of opinion. Other issues can exist with a compromise, or understanding that both parts are equally true. I’m discussing the recent light with police homicides and violence as briefly discussed and will expound upon later here. I’m discussing the issues with taxes and healthcare that is a common issue among many societies. We can achieve peace if individuals are so willing to engage in compromise and to understand that it is for the good of all. In this way we can still retain our individuality without compromising the nation.

To conclude with brevity:

There exist no need for a Borg to correct ourselves, it is only ourselves that should be corrected. Though this is difficult to fathom because it seems so impossible. The beginning of its possibility then is to start with sacrifices.

On Dating A Narcissist

I have had unsuccessful immature relationships so far in life, and so far into my adult life. I have yet to experience a relationship whereby the person has not said, towards the end of it all, that we are ‘two different people’. In my mind this is plainly obvious that we are two different people. I do not understand by the key break up line-that concludes every relationship that I have had-that we are too different to be together for an indefinite amount of time. Here, I’m thinking these geniuses are truly and remarkably blind. How did you not know that, in the beginning, I preferred talking insistently about abstract ideas and of society, whereas you preferred the behaviors in the expression of love [i.e. cuddling]? How did you not know that my version of relaxation is to nap and to sustain knowledge on various subjects at once, whereas you wanted to go outside for play? How did you not know that I prefer meaningful and thought-provoking conversations, whereas you assumed I required frequent responses of infatuation and laughter? I was certainly aware of such differences and of others more personal. Why are you only aware towards the end of it all? Or, a better question here, why do you assume that awareness of differences is a sign that we are a mismatch, or too imperfect to remain as a couple?

Some people tend to assume that true companionship is with a person that complements in a way that they are ‘twins’. They are the exact copy of the other. They are the reflection in the mirror that they wake up to and either reluctantly stare or smile. I cannot bear the thought of being with someone that is the reflection of me. Not that I do not love myself. However, if I am to want someone that is the exact version of myself or somewhat similar then I rather be single. Why take on an extra bill for takeout dinner, or to purchase matching outfits for my personality doppelgänger, when I can do so cheaply and alone? What satisfaction is there, for myself, if I am constantly surrounded by my own mindset, beliefs and ideas when my personality craves for different opinions and intellectual arguments? I enjoy the debate between individuals, preferably with someone who is different. Now my character, my personality resembles that of the Carl Jung/Myers-Briggs personality type INTP. I do not give much weight to astrology or personality typing, however I find it very helpful to explain my nature and character-which is considered odd and rare to most people. As I crave intellectual stimulation, I have been accused of wanting someone who is of that exact type. I have been accused of, towards the end of a relationship, of being a narcissist. Why is that? I insisted on doing something that is of my character to do. Howlever they are mistaken. I wish to create meaningful conversations with people regardless if it is of their nature or character to argue. I wish to engage their minds, of their thoughts and opinions on various abstract thought or of society. This person need not to have a preference for doing so, as I find arguments or any sign of disagreement scares people. I crave different experiences from those of different backgrounds, so that I may better understand the greater subject of humanity. If I had some exactly like myself we would write a book together. While that is all fine and anticipated for future collaboration, I have not gained nothing more with someone who simply wish to analyze and to retain as well.

Do opposites attract then? According to the article, ‘The Science of Narcissism: Why We Really Just Want to Date Ourselves’, relationship ‘twining’ or a person wanting a complement is greatly desired. As a side note here, I will reference the article that first presented the idea from my original search. Then I will follow the links provided by the author in order to find the original topic or study published. I have found that Business Insider will have authors linking to a previous Business Insider article- for more views I suppose. The original article cited included a study about how humans, as all animals, tend to have or to seek partners that bear similarities to their parents. The comparison used was the hair color and the eye color of the person’s partner compared to their parents. The study claims that there is a form of genetic imprinting that conditions us to continue a preference for certain genes. This may be the case for basic, instinctive tribal survival. However, in a more modern world I would see that this is more of a cultural familiarity or preference due to some perceived ideological necessity. For example, the black activist that insist that interracial dating is futile to the radical and never-ending upset nature of one. And since this study indicates a bias towards heterosexuals or those that engage in opposite-sex attraction more so than others, I find the study to have little understanding of human attraction.

But can opposites attract then? According to several articles, though one I’ll site here: ‘Attracted to Your Opposite?, people do prefer their ‘twin’. This is a chemical balance that we are unable to detect, but are sure to know when we find someone exactly like ourselves. Essentially, if you like something, then you like what you like and will seek out that likeness in someone else. While others enjoy a reflection of themselves in others, there are those that are truly attracted to opposites. This is to say that everyone loves differently and in regardless of their reason. The point that I agree with is concluded within the article about the subject of love. It is concise-love is ‘the simple ability to overlook everything you cannot stand in someone’. I have experienced that precise point. To be aware of such differences, but to make it work  regardless because that is love.

For the Teacher

The life of being a bright yet shy student from primary school to throughout college had proved quite a challenge for me. I had grew up in a household, and within a culture, where the opinion and thoughts of a child are irrelevant. And if that child dares speak to challenge the parent, or the elders of the family, then they are being a disrespectful child. The inability to express oneself proves to be a detriment to one’s potential success in school. I wish, only that my family understood that about me as I still become flustered whenever they, now, ask for my opinion. That is a minor reason for my shyness in school. The major reason is that I grew up with intense social anxiety that was evident since I was a toddler. My family enjoy joking about me and my ‘hollering’ for no apparent reason. The more they tell and the more I attempt to understand my forgotten behavior, I see now that it was a early sign of stress and anxiety. An early sign that I cried loudly if I was separated from my mom, and even more so if surrounded by strangers. Throughout my childhood I still remember the discomfort, however, then I became self-aware of the unwanted attention I may draw if I speak or address myself in public. I became then one of those shy, withdrawn, aloof child and student in school. What a challenge this has been for me. I was forever reluctant to share my thoughts and opinions, and would shy away from a challenge. Only to retreat back to my safe place that is my mind-to all of the imaginative wonders of a story dream that I was inspired to create to about the age of 18 years old. I have since interpreted it all as an immature coping mechanism for the stresses and anxieties I had had. What was the challenge in school? The struggle to share my thoughts either written or spoken out loud. The trembling fear I had to present my work in front of a class room of different opinions. So I would purposefully sabotage my projects, accurately calculating that I would make a C letter grade for little effort. As for essay writing, I most certainly had the potential to outperform whatever I had presented. Though, still reluctant to share and too embarrassed to reread my own writing, I left many of my final essays as a rough draft.

This behavior to underperform and to be so aware of the differences of opinion reflected in my school work and classroom learning level placement. I have experienced the classroom environment for remedial students; classrooms for the average student; classrooms for the slightly above average students; then the classroom for the truly gifted or privileged. If I were placed in a remedial class, somehow I would ‘snap out’ of my safe place to prove myself otherwise. The classroom materials there were too easy, repetitive and redundant. I’m in need of a challenge. I would then be placed in a classroom for the average, where I would compete with the brightest student. Still, then the lessons were to easy for me. Later on I would be placed with the slightly above average students. I had one experience where it bothered me in a way. In second grade I remember being one of the few black students in an English and literature art class. A classroom full of students regarded as bright, or just simply privileged. There was a time where the teacher would ask a question and, I’ll be honest here, I was too busy daydreaming to pay attention. The teacher would call on one of us, one of the black students to participate because we rarely voiced ourselves. The times she would call on me I would give her an honest answer ‘I don’t know’. I don’t know because I never paid attention to the lesson or instruction, to her, to anyone else other than my mind. Of course this reflected to the letter grade C, which then gave her a thought to set aside time for the students that were struggling. We were the black students. Sitting around a small table we were reading a book, attempting to interpret the subject I suppose. The teacher would, again, ask us questions we could not answer- for very different reasons. What was I doing instead? I was making ‘googly eyes’ at my class friend beside me. The issue that I am addressing here is not that black students felt more insecure compared to their white or privileged peers here. No I was not ever aware of the ‘race’ factor, meaning that my childhood was color-blind. In my mind, and the issue here, is that I was disinterested. I never tried, never attempted, however the assumption being that I needed additional help to understand was a decision made without discussion. I was not in need of help, instead I was need of something interesting. As I needed something interesting, I needed someone to help me with my anxieties, insecurities and the stresses that they caused.

I think now that it was only until I entered high school did teachers silently came together and saw that I was need of a challenge. I assume they had discussed me in some way, since teachers have mentioned to their class that they discuss particular students and their performance. This includes one time I was approached by the principal who had asked me ‘do you find your classes more challenging now?’. I was taking advanced placement courses for the first time by my junior year. Honestly, I was ready and excited to finally be challenged, and to finally be more interested in learning. Of course, I still dealt with insecurities. I was one of the many that raised my hand when the AP English teacher asked ‘do any of you think you’re not smart enough to be here?’ The sun that once glowed had since died once I experienced classroom life with the truly gifted or simply privileged. By my observation they were simply privileged. How so? The AP government teacher thought to set the first day with a bit of ego inflation. He exclaimed that ‘you guys are the cream of the crop, the smartest there is and I believe in you’. Towards the end of the semester he was bitterly disappointed in the AP test scores. He muttered one day ‘I cannot believe it, some of you didn’t even try’. How can you not believe it sir? From what I remember, the majority of the classroom were given grades based on who their parents were exactly, though we all gave the same amount of effort or none at all. The majority of the class have teachers for parents, or parents present on the school  board, or an uncle who is the principal for our high school. And since I had underprivileged parents my letter grades were within the ‘C’ range. Now compare that to the letter ‘B’ grade given to the girl who drew butterflies for answers because she- like everyone else besides three others truly bright and dedicated-didn’t try and did not care. I have no place for dishonesty here, this actually occurred and offended me so. By that point I was dealing with depression-had been diagnosed and medicated. I had stopped trying because I had become more sensitive and emotional about other factors in my life. I didn’t care to try because the environment for which I was to be challenged, was not challenging in the least sense. I was sorely disappointed, so by my senior year I had become one of the ‘above average’ students. At least then I knew that the challenge was fair.

It’s time for college. At 18 years old it was time to make a decision about my life when I had yet to deal with my emotions, and other insecurities. A time where I did not know what I wanted to do and felt somewhat ‘pushed out the door’ to do something with my life. So sudden of a decision, I chose college. I chose history as my major, yet again unsure of what I wanted to do. A ha!, to write and to write well; to research and to research something in particular that I will figure out once I get there. I find myself regretting to make a decision so suddenly. Instead I should have taken a year off to study myself as I had come to find out that old habits die hard. My habit is to sabotage my work and to underperform whenever I feel insecure. To have a professor tell me ‘perhaps you should visit the writing center, since frankly you cannot write’. I would take offense, certainly, ‘snap out’ to prove otherwise. I had asked my mentor if I could take one of his upper level classes as a freshman. Anxiety had overtaken my emotions, my entire body, as I shook like a leaf every day. Five months had passed, yet I have not so much entered the library or the eating venues out of fear of the many strangers that I would have to encounter. The silent judgement that was only a present fear created in my mind, ‘you do not belong here’. I needed to find proof and my proof was found my freshman year taking an upper level course. I was the young black with the afro sitting far back in the corner, always on the right side. I was always the quiet one, not once voiced myself out of shyness. But I was intrigued, in love with the lecturing style of my mentor and professor, in awe with a truly challenging environment. Although I was quiet, I truly enjoyed my time.  The challenge then was to write a semester long research and analytical essay about the technologies of medieval Europe. I will tell you that I had stressed over and re-written that essay in its entirety six times, all thirteen pages. The reward was most deserving, the highest grade I had ever received on a paper, a 98. I do not know why but as time moved forward I continued to fall into bad habits, become overly shy once again, then to ‘snap out’ once I had found a purpose or my confidence. Especially so, when I had found interest in the subject I would try my best and would succeed.

A terrible habit that has caused some questions by others that didn’t quite believe my words to be my writing. I was the quiet one, the one too afraid to speak in front of others with different opinions. Not only different opinions, but of others who were older and far more experienced and knowledgeable than I am in the subject. Since I had begun tackling the upper level courses early on, I did not travel with those of my age group who would have been more understanding of my nature. I didn’t speak, too fearful to speak. As you would assume, hated doing presentations with so much passion. If I had known that presentation was required for my major in excess I wouldn’t have attempted. Perhaps I would not have attempted college altogether considering the constant attacks to my anxiety and unforgiving financial debt thereafter. My writing is my own. I state this as I anticipate including my research analysis writing here for my blog, less tame in length. I have found a compromise. I do not speak often and I am unable to articulate myself well while speaking. However, I am just as bright and inquisitive as I will appear on paper or on screen. I have ideas to share and a much needed alternative viewpoint on all subjects. And I type even this self reflection as I contemplate about my future career decisions.

I reflect back on this time as a student, since I am to become a teacher for the time being. As of August 2017 I will apply to a college, yet again to find a stable career path way. I am to become a teacher but as a teacher I wish to be fair to students, and to be sensitive to the needs of students like myself. The shy student, or the bright and shy student. The introvert, as I am too, but not to be conflated with shyness. There are special talents and great insights a student may be able to give, however always finding discomfort with either their self or discomfort with the demands of group-oriented and opinion sharing environments. The lessons are to prepare students for college and/or for the working world. I understand that too now, however is it necessary? I do agree as I disagree. For now I will provide an article that fits and fights best: I Argued That Class Participation Was Necessary. Then I Heard From Introverts.

Upon reading a short article titled Stories from the Trenches: Why Don’t Students Participate in Class?, I thought to share my experience first. Why students do not participate in class is dependent of that individual student. Some do so politely because they are taught it is inappropriate to speak or to ‘know more than one’s professor’. Others do so because they are shy, or they are bright yet shy like myself. Then those that cannot get a word in with their peers blurting their opinions with or without relevance or substance. The reason could be a disorder, or selective mutism as I am inclined to believe was my issue. The reasons are all varied and intersecting. There are no sure way to help every student adequately as some issues are outside of the teacher’s domain. Like myself in dealing with social anxiety and depression, I was in need of counseling or some sort of therapy. I could not expect my AP high school teacher to understand that that is why I was among the many that refused to try.  In becoming a teacher, again for the time being, I wish to be sensitive to students as I am to require certain expectations. As well, I require that teachers now to be more sensitive.