Monday, March 20, 2017

"The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas"

Image result for the ones who walk away from omelas
   The story "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" by Ursula Le Guin starts off illustrating how much of a utopia the city is. People are full of life, they walk around naked and have everything they could desire. But, of course, there is a catch.  A feel-minded child lives in a basement of one the public buildings of Omelas. This child suffers every minute of his life. He sits alone this basement with limited space, only getting fed half of a bowl of corn meal and grease a day. The child screams and whimpers, but its cries are ignored. This boy endures this pain so the city can strive. Without this feeble-minded child, the city would supposedly crumble. I think that in today's society, the child represents the people who struggle constantly. In a way, it was not for poor people or people who are messing up their life, other's would not be able to strive. Our society does not want every one to succeed, or else it could effect the well-being of others. This is just how people in Omelas are taught that this boy must suffer so the city can be happy. I'm sure if the boy was to be saved, the city would continue to strive. But of course, it has been engraved that one must pay reparations for the well being of others.
   Later into the story it is revealed that people are brought to visit the boy. Like any sane being, they pity the child but believe there is nothing they can do for them. In every world, whether perfect or not, there will be outcasts. I am not talking about the young boy. I'm talking about the ones who walk away from Omelas after witnessing the condition of the child. They do not go home, they simply leave. What could this mean? I believe these are the people who cannot live in a perfect city that dwells on the pain of one person.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Social Justice

Image result for social justice   What is social justice? Social justice is defined as ¨justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society." It seems as if everyday the amount of social justice we see is depleting. Everywhere we turn our heads we see social injustice. Our children go to school and from such an early age they witness inequity in the hallways. Not all of us are granted the same privileges as others. Many of us do not receive the same privileges because of features we cannot change about ourselves. For some, it´s the color of their skin. For others, it´s because of what gender they were born. Sometimes, it's not even the way we look. But when applying for a job, a name will sound ¨too foreign.¨ In our society today, we do not have enough social justice. Why does this matter? This matters because lack of social justice generate hatred. From minimal social justice we are bred to hate others different from ourselves because they are privileged. A Caucasian male can walk confidently down his street not having to worry about being stopped by the police or not being able to go home that night. Though, the same confidence cannot be found in others of a different race. An African-American or Latino walk down the streets with fear. A cop glances at them and, without having done any wrong, they instantly feel guilty simply because of they color of their skin. Not only is their skin color an issue, but also where they might be from. Adults have low expectations for kids who have grown up in the ¨ghetto.¨ Racism is not the only problem we face in society. In other countries, women are expected to remain celibate because birth control is illegal. Because of this, countries have high rates of STD's. This is unfair to both women and men who fear to release their natural instinct to have sexual relationships based upon the fact their risking transmitting diseases.
   In his TED talk, Adam Foss discusses the unfairness of our criminal justice system. In court, usually and brown or black man pleads "not guilty." Then, the judge, who is usually white, makes a life altering decision without the offenders input. When hearing the facts, Foss realizes a majority of the time trials can be prevented. He says offenders are not only criminals, but people who are seeking help and receiving none. These people come from distorted backgrounds such as childhood trauma, poverty, victimization, disengagement from school and early contact with the police. Foss questions why our government spends so much money to incarcerate one person for a lifetime when we can reinvest from the start and prevent the whole situation from happening. People who end up in court are in need of help. The criminal justice system in unfair. Foss has already established this. He reasons that prosecutors are ill-equipped to handle offenders. American has the most incarcerated people in the world, with 2.3 million imprisoned and 7 million on probation or parole. According to Foss, society does three things. We complain, tweet, and protest against the police, but never the offenders. When Foss brought this up, it made me realize that it's not the police who decide the convicts' future. Everything is decided in a court room. Maybe instead of worrying about the job someone has, we should worry about whether or not they are doing it right. People are commit crimes are sent to be handled by prosecutors who have not been trained to take care of the situation properly but instead they are trained to put the wrong doer away. This is what Adam Foss says is wrong with the criminal justice system.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

TED Talk: Why We All Need to Practice EmotionalFirst Aid

   Guy Winch believes that we favor our body over our minds. Meaning, we value our physical health more than our physiological health.  When physical harm is inflicted upon ourselves, we tend to the wound so it doesn't become infected. We all know how to take care of ourselves physically. From the age of five we learn how to brush our teeth and protect our cuts with band-aids. What, though, do we teach our kids about emotional hygiene? Nothing. This is because our physical health is much more important to us than our mental health. It as been proven, though, we sustain psychological logical injuries more than we do physical such as failure, rejection, and loneliness.
Image result for guy winch   First, Winch discusses loneliness. Loneliness scrambles our deception, making us believe that people care less about us than they actually do. It can make us afraid to reach out because we don't want to set ourselves for rejection and heartache. Loneliness is defined purely subjectively. It depends solely on whether we feel emotionally or socially disconnected from those around us. Chronic loneliness increases your likely-hood of an early death by 14%. This is because it causes high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Loneliness suppresses the functioning of immune system, making us vulnerable to sickness. This is why we need to prioritize our physiological health. We cannot treat psychological wounds if we don´t know we are injured.
   Next, Winch talks about failure. He says we are perfectly capable of succeeding but we doubt ourselves. We all have default feelings for when we encounter frustration and setbacks. It´s important to be aware of how our mind reacts to failure to prevent feeling helpless or to prevent ourselves from giving up too soon. As a result from experiencing failure we start to feel demoralized. So, Winch says we cannot allow ourselves to become convinced that it´s unlikely for us to succeed. Winch suggests that we fight feelings of helplessness and regain control of our situation. Winch refers this to as stopping emotional bleeding.
   Finally, Winch includes rejection in his talk. When we experience rejection, we begin to think of our faults and our short comings, what we are and what we wish we were not. Winch brings out we would not make a physical injury worse on purpose, but we do with psychological injuries. Recent studies show that when our self-esteem is low, we are more prone to stress, anxiety and take longer to recover from rejection and failures. Therefore, we need to protect our self esteem. We can do this by changing unhealthy psychological habits, such as rumination. Rumination is when we deeply think or consider thoughts about something. We replay upsetting events in our head. By ruminating, we put ourselves at severe risk for developing clinical depression, alcoholism, and even eating disorders. Studies prove that even a two-minute distraction is sufficient enough to break the urge to ruminate in that moment. We need to battle negative thoughts. By taking action when we are lonely, changing our response to failure, by protecting our self-esteem, by battling negative thinking, Winch says we build emotional resilience. Winch believes our quality of life could drastically increase dramatically if we could practice psychological hygiene.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ted Talk: ¨The Surprising Science of Happiness¨


    Dan Gilbert starts off his TED talk by explaining why our brain is bigger than it was in the beginning of mankind. When our brain grows, it gets a new part. Our brain has increased in size because we developed a frontal lobe and a prefrontal lobe. The prefontal lobe is an experienced simulator. It allows us to have experiences in our head before we try them out in real-life. He also discussed a couple of terms. The first term was ¨impact bias.¨ Impact bias is the tendency to overestimate the hedonistic impact of future events, or the tendency to make our simulator work badly. The second term he discussed was synthetic happiness. Synthetic happiness is creating our own happiness by making the situation better than it actually is.Our mind can change our view on the world so we can feel better about the living state of which we find ourselves. Synthetic is supposedly inferior to real happiness. Synthetic happiness occurs when we don't get what we want, or when things don't go our way. So our mind tries to make the situation better than it actually is. Real happiness occurs when we do get what we want. Gilbert says that both happiness's are just as real as the other. Though, our physiological immune system works best when we are trapped. When we cant change our situation, we find a way to be happy with what as happened. Gilbert's last main point is there is noting good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Yes, of course some things are better than others. We should have preferences that lead us into a future over another. But sometimes we overrate the difference and causes our ambition to become unbounded. This, is what causes situations to end up badly.
Image result for dan gilbert ted
   Personally, I really enjoyed this TED talk. When he talked about synthetic happiness, it made me think differently about how happiness is perceived. I thought happiness was supposed to come naturally from things going the way we want. In a way, I was right. Happiness does come naturally, not necessarily when things go right, though. Gilbert said that one person could win the lottery. A different person can develop a disease. But, about a year later, those two people will be at the same state of happiness as each other. It's amazing how our mind naturally tries to be happy. Our mind tries to find the bright side of situations and we then experience true happiness. Gilbert said a man was incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. When he was finally released, the man showed no signs of anger. The man had even described the situation as "glorious". I, personally, don't think I would come out of prison as happy as this man, especially if I was wrongly accused. But this man chose to look at the brighter side of his experience. This goes to show how amazing our mind works. He made it seem like happiness is the easiest thing to achieve. Maybe, with the right kind of thinking, it is.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Happiness

Image result for happiness and love  Happiness is not just a state of mind, happiness is also a state of emotion.There are many elements to happiness. Many will argue happiness is found in the things they do or the things that they achieve. Thought these they things may contribute to happiness, I think the major component of happiness is expressing love. Whether we love ourselves, the little lady across the street, or a family member, love is the key to happiness.
   The first type of a love we should infidelity acquire is self love. In other words, self acceptance. It´s very important that we love ourselves because if we don´t, it will result in unhappiness. Insecurity could drastically effect our lives. Fear of being ridiculed for our physical appearance or personality could change how we dress or the way we express ourselves. If we could accept our bodies and who we are, we can go far in life. We´ll have the confidence to do whatever we put our best efforts in. With self acceptance, it makes it easier to dress, say, and do whatever/however we wish.
   Love contributes to happiness because you can not hate with a heart that loves. It's easier to forgive the people we love. I think this is very important because this way, we don´t harbor hate. Human beings cannot be happy and hateful at the same time. With happiness as our intentions, and love in our hearts, we may also bring happiness to other, lighteining up this dark hateful world.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Independent Reading Project - Alternative Ending

Image result for once a king always a king     The book I read was ¨Once a King, Always a King¨, by Reymundo Sanchez. This is the sequel to his first book, ¨My Bloody Life¨. The first book is about him being brought up into the gang life. This sequel is about how even though he quit the gang life, it did not necessarily mean the gang life ¨quit him¨. He talks about how he has to constantly watch his back, while at the same time he spends his time trying to better himself. In the beginning of the story, it starts off with how he was going to college. After being kicked out of his apartment, he had to resort going back to his old friend for a place to live. This association resorted him going back to his old ways of releasing his emotions through sex and drugs. Because of his association with drugs, Reymundo was incarcerated. During his time in prison, he received a wake up call and planned to change his life around as soon as he was done serving his time. After being released, Reymundo got it together and was employed with a stable job. Through his job, he met Marilyn. They fell in love and because of her, Reymundo was able to relocate and get away from his gang-affiliated home town. They started a new life together. But, just like the everything else in his life, things were starting to go down hill. Reymundo ends up physically abusing Marilyn. They break up and Marilyn goes back to Chicago, leaving Reymundo in Dallas, Texas. Later on in the book, Reymundo says that he ends up finding someone else, gets married and has kids. In my alternate ending, instead of finding someone else, Reymundo and Marilyn stay together despite the physical abuse.

     “Where you going?” screams Reymundo.
     “I’m leaving you. I’m not going to take this anymore!” Marilyn replies.

     “No, I can change. I promise. Please give me another chance, we moved out here together and I don’t want to live on my own. Please, I need you with me,” Reymundo pleads. Marilyn says nothing. She thinks it over and gives in. She sets her bags down on the floor.

     “The next time you lay your hands on me, that’s it. I’ll be out of here.”
     “Te amo, mi amor (I love you, my love). I’ll never hurt you again,” he whispers. Reymundo takes marilyn into arms and carries her into their room.
      For the next couple of weeks, the two for them carry on with their normal routines as if nothing ever happened. One night they decide to celebrate their love by going out. Reymundo surprised Marilyn with a dinner date. After a their divine meal and a couple of drinks, they call it a night and return to their home. Reymundo, obviously having too much to drink, stumbles through the doorway. Marilyn changes our of her dress into something more comfortable.
     “Come lie next to me,” Reymundo slurs.
     “Babe, come on. Get some sleep.”

      “Not until you crawl in bed with me.”

      “Alright alright.” Marilyn lifts the covers and snuggles up against Reymundo, his breath reeking of alcohol. Marilyn pulled away. Reymundo grabbed her by her arm as she tried to get up from the bed and yanked her back into bed. Marilyn fell onto her butt and got up to resist him.

     “Let go of me!” she screamed.

     “Bitch! Get over here!”

     “Stop it! You’re hurting me,” she cried.

     “Then quit fighting me and get over here. I paid for your dinner, now it’s my turn to get what I want.” Reymundo grabbed both of her arms and picked her up. He threw her on the bed and got on top of her. Marilyn started to kick and scream, but couldn't get free. Reymundo forced himself upon her, and penetrated her. When he was done, he got up from the bed and went to the bathroom to shower. Marilyn wiped her tears from her face and with no hesitation, she started to pack her stuff. She hurried to her dresser and frantically shoved her clothes in a suitcase she pulled out from her closet. She ran to the phone and called her family in Chicago, begging them to let her stay with them. They agreed after Marilyn briefly explained what happened. When the call ended, the water turned off in the bathroom. Marilyn panicked as she threw the last of her belongings in the suitcase. Reymundo stepped out of the bathroom with his towel wrapped around his waist.

     “Where do you think you’re going, stupid bitch!” Reymundo’s face turned red as he screamed.

     “I already told you that if you hurt me again, I’m leaving you. No more chances. I am not your little rag doll that you can beat up whenever you want!”

     “Well, where you going to go? I know you don’t have enough money to make it on your own.”

     “I’m moving back in with my mom.”

     “I don’t think so! You’re staying with me!”

     “Quit it, I can’t live like this.” Marilyn zipped up her suitcase and picked it up off from the bed. As she looked up at him, Reymundo slapped her across the face. She stumbled to the floor.

     “I told you, you aren’t leaving me!” he exclaimed. Marilyn hurried to the phone and dialed 911. Reymundo struck her again. Marilyn fell back, hitting her head against the corner of their bedstand. The phone dangled from the stand as the operator spoke. She fell to the floor and lay there unconsciously. Blood started to stain the carpet. Reymundo snapped out of his state of mind and fell to his knees and lifted Marilyn into his arms. When he found she wasn’t breathing, Reymundo started crying hysterically.

     “What have I done!?” he yelled to the ceiling. He stayed with her until the police drove up into their driveway. The policemen rushed through the unlocked room and barged into the room to find the two of them.
     “She’s not breathing! It was an accident. I swear,” he told the police. “It was an accident, I didn't mean to hurt her!” They pulled him away from him and cuffed him. The same night, he was incarcerated for the second time in his life. But this time, he was to stay there for the rest of his life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What's Something That Stands Between You and Complete Happiness?

Image result for thought provoking questions     I think the one thing that stops me from being truly happy, is myself. I, as an individual, ponder too much on the past. Also, I hold much anger towards my mom over somethings she had no control over. I know that when I get over these, I can finally be happy.
     I ponder on the past because I think I am too scared to face the future. I know what the past holds, it feels familiar. But, the future, anything can happen. What if I become an abusive mother, like my own? What if I cannot provide for my future kids, if I have any for that matter. I have all these "What if's" that hold me back. I forget that I can change all these things right now. I need to work hard now so I do not have to work hard in the future. Also, I worry too much about what I have done in my past. I become anxious when I think about all my mistakes and how they are affecting me now. It bothers me that there is nothing I can do to change what I've done. People say that past does not define who you are, the present does. Sometimes, I have a hard time grasping this concept. I know I cannot be happy until I forget and move on. I know that I need to look forward, and not behind or else I will miss what's in store for me.
     I know that somethings we just do not have control over. I know it was my dad's choice to leave. I know that it was not our (my siblings and I) or my mom's fault. But for some reason, I can't help but to blame my mom for him leaving us. I think I blame her because I do not want to blame myself. Because of this anger I have towards her, its causes me to act out. I need to remember that she was hurt, too. I need to remember that she cannot control my father's actions. It's not that I'm angry for him leaving, I'm angry for what she did after he left. Regardless, it was five years ago. It is time for me to forgive her. Plus, I'm sure I have done enough for her to hate me, too. This stops me from being completely happy because I am so caught up in trying to "get even" or make her feel the same pain I did. But I know we cannot change what happened. Therefore, there is no one to blame but my father. I know that when I forget the past, and forgive my mother and myself, I can truly be happy.