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Allan's Philosophy Podcast

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 22 - Appreciation is a Relative Concept

Hey guys so if you haven't check out my first video podcast you should!! I recorded it with my flip video player so the quality isn't as great as I'd like it to be but for a first run through I feel like we did a good job. Hopefully through Skype and oovoo I can get other people involved in this podcast and get a wide variety of perspectives.

As for this note, I wanted to talk about people's expectations and what they appreciate. Maybe appreciation isn't the best word that encompasses this topic but I feel like it does justice. I got the inspiration for this topic when I was sick and was wondering why bad things happen in the world. I was wondering why we just couldn’t be healthy all the time and not have to be miserable during the times our immune system is fighting diseases. After contemplating this I realized that we need these downers to give purpose to our lives. Whenever something bad happens it makes us reflect on times when things were better and realize how great they were. It can also inspire hope that future events will be better than the current ones. Everybody takes things for granted. Whether it is subconscious or not, there is something that we never consider how much importance it holds in our lives and what we would do if we ever lost it or it changed. They can be everyday commodities whose existence can be imperative to how we live our lives. Just think of anything that you regularly use like on a daily basis and just try to imagine how you would live without it. Sometimes its impact is miniscule, but other times they play a major role in your lives that can cause sadness if you were to lose it all of a sudden. Based on society today, if somehow we were to lose our beloved gadgets like cell phones, we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves and realize how important it was to us. With Lent occurring as I write this, one of the benefits of giving up something during this time period is being given the opportunity to know what it is like to not have something that you hold dearly but may not fully appreciate its impact in your life. To the opposite effect, if something never impacted you life then you will not miss what you never had.

Unless some omnipotent being decides to take away your cell phone it is usually hard to take away what is already in place. Humans can be very stubborn and because of things like fear of change, they refuse to give up what brings them comfort, at least not without a fight. They are very reluctant to change because of the instability it could bring unless it promises benefits. Usually the only welcomed changes are those that can cause improvement. However, this improvement has to be noticeable to those being affected or they will never agree to give up something if they believe parting with it will negatively impact their lives. When the government enacted prohibition, the citizens of the United States were in uproar over the fact that they lost their legal rights to drink alcohol. They obviously had an appreciation for alcohol or else they wouldn’t have fought so hard to make it legal again or continued to drink it regardless of the legal implications. Another example is trying to make things previously free now have some monetary value attached to it that you're required to pay to utilize or own it. If something was once free and then all of a sudden cost money, the people who took advantage of the lack of a price would be outraged. This is because they felt entitled to the product once the companies who gave it away put it into the consumers brains that they could have that product for free and that it was their right to have it for free. Once this supposed "right" that the consumers have when the product is free, is taken away by making it cost money, it incites the inner appreciation people had for it and causes them to revolt against this change. In the cases where change promises benefits, it leads people to do very drastic things because they hold an appreciation for the potential that the future can yield happier circumstances. These drastic measures occur because those people aren't satisfied with their current situation. In the case of the pilgrims, their religion wasn’t appreciated by England, therefore causing them to trek the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of a new land where their beliefs would be appreciated and not scrutinized.

Material things aren't the sole things that can be appreciated or taken for granted of like with the religious example above. Concrete things aren't the only things people don't have full appreciation for as abstract concepts like success would be meaningless without their counterparts. If you always accomplish whatever you set your mind to then its impact would be less than if you experienced struggles and failures along the way to its completion. While yes it is good to succeed, it doesn’t hold meaning or real value to you unless you know what failing feels like. Not only does failing provide a learning experience to improve off your mistakes, it also adds value to those things that you do succeed in reaching. If you don't get a job, then the next job you apply for and get feels a lot more fulfilling knowing you had to work for it and knowing the progression you make from a bad situation into a better one. If you are a kid born with a silver spoon in your mouth who is born into a world of luxury and riches you will probably enjoy life but you won't get the same feeling of success as much as a rags to riches situation. If you were born in a bad situation you can relate to others that are in similar circumstances and you can also experience the great feeling inside or knowing you made it. If you never had a bad situation then you can't provide any basis or foundation for what a good time is. This is where the relative concept comes into play. You can get a pretty good idea for what success is by relating yourself to your peers like if you got an A on a test and your friend got an F you can weigh the different factors that played a role in your outcome versus your friend's less than stellar outcome. Perhaps you got lucky, but most likely you worked hard studying and your efforts can be seen through your actions and how well you did on that test. The media also does similar things where they advertize and make apparent the great lives and successes that celebrities have. It can make average people jealous and makes them want more while not appreciating the things the currently have. Just remember the next time you feel the need to buy something new, whatever it may be, just realize that there is always someone out there who is in a worse off situation than you are and perhaps that will make you appreciate the things in your life more.

-Allan Nicholas

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook #21 - Norms of Society

Hey guys! I'm hoping to get the first podcast recorded tomorrow and up sometime this weekend. I'm probably going to record it at my friend's house so it isn't necessarily the format that I want the next shows to follow but I think it'll be a good starter and first episode that will pave a path for a fun experience and many insightful conversations.

I got the inspiration to write this post after listening in physics about how Copernicus received hate by society during his time. Most of society is determined by those who have power. Those in power in turn transfer their values and interests into what is normal for societies and their people to follow. If you don't follow the ideals of those ruling, then you will be cast out and looked down upon for not sharing a certain view. This is especially the case when the view is held by a majority of the public as well. As evident from the past, the ruling party doesn’t necessarily have to be a majority to determine what is normal. Copernicus experienced oppression in spreading his ideas that the earth and other planets revolved around the sun. This resistance was upheld by the church who at the time said what was acceptable and wasn’t. Religion is only one of the driving forces in determining right and wrong and it was even more influential in those times than it is today. Since Copernicus's ideas contradicted those of the church, he was cast out as a lunatic and not normal until his ideas actually gained footing with other notable scholars. If you have this perspective on what is right and wrong you can, with some exceptions, say that there is no definitive right or wrong. While there are general concurrences on what is ethically sound, like you don't murder other people, there aren't fundamental right or wrong decisions and viewpoints. For the time being, these right and wrongs are determined by those who administer control over their country and in our case it is our government. We have laws that tell us what is right and wrong but not all civilizations in the past have had these guidelines to determine what to abide by. In the past most of society was based on certain structures that repressed others from gaining control. Women have gained much more power and have had major impacts in determining the norms of society than in the past where they basically had no say on what should be done. Not only have women in the past be wronged of a chance to contribute to the norms of society, but plenty more races, religions, etc have been forced to follow those in power. Those in power were particularly effective in spreading their ideals if they could enforce them.

These norms of society are a big reason of why people are prejudice. As we know most people like a sense of stability that change tries to undo, thus they perceive it as negative. When people meet something that is different of threatens to change the way they live, those people are often reluctant to accept it. This leads to prejudices and negative impressions of others just because they are different or have different views. A reason why those who are different aren't usually accepted into society and assimilate their ideas with the "normal" people's at least at first is because the change that they bring with them. Sometimes things are ahead of their times and while they may be a great improvement for life, it is too early to institute into modern society and people need time in order to accept new ways of thinking. Like with Copernicus, his ideas improved our knowledge of the world around us, but his surrounding unfortunately weren't ready to accept his views until later down the timeline.

Norms aren't only an external issue as they can be internal with a person to person case basis. People have their own values and ethics that govern what is normal to them. While these are greatly affected by their environment as it helps set the foundation for their own ethics, internal norms also have an impact on society as well. Anybody who ever sees something in society that doesn’t follow what they believe, they are fully able in trying to change it. This lead to many changes in our society that would have otherwise remain the same. Martin Luther King and his dream helped lead to racial equality in the U.S. This task wasn’t a walk in the park however as he met a lot of resistance society imposed upon him and his followers. When you are faced with opposition from society there are many ways to respond. One way would to keep your opinions to yourself and keep quiet so society doesn’t outcast you or you can attempt to change the norms by inciting things like revolutions. Both of these have their pros and cons. Keeping quite can cause benefits like not being prosecuted for your beliefs but also lead to feelings of regret and remorse. There are situations where the outcome looks bleak for you and it might be better to keep your views private but if you believe in something enough it might be better to go for it and suffer the punishments society with impose on you than doing nothing. If you decide to completely reform society to fit your views and values then you have the chance to make your dreams the norms of society. Thus you with no longer be looked down upon for your views but look down upon others that don't follow yours. There is always the possibility that you fail trying to incite change. Another possibility is that the replaced views aren't the ones you intended for and it can be hard to establish as the dominant norm compared to the others trying to claim that spot.

U.S. society has been based upon many cultures that helped make it the great country it is today so they have been pretty good about accepting almost all views, beliefs, ethics, and opinions. I believe that no one opinion, view, etc is better than others as there are many ways to go about solving problems or many ways to live life. I feel in order to grow as a civilization you have to be accepting of everything that doesn’t endanger your own way of living (i.e. no terrorists). If you do this you have the ability to look at certain issues plaguing society today from many different perspectives and weigh their possible outcomes. Norms can sometimes alienate those that could help make a difference regardless of their views. I feel that you do need norms to offer some structure for daily life but not ones that are so specific that they end up ostracizing or excluding those who can make a positive difference in the world.

-Allan Nicholas

Monday, February 22, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 20 - The Power of the Brain

Hey guys! So this is a pretty exciting time where I'm getting a lot of stuff going up. Soon I'm gonna have podcasts up on my blogs and on iTunes. I still need a name for it but I'm thinking "Philosophy is Phun!" lol It's the best I could come up with. If you have any ideas for the show (like a better name) just message me. I sort of got the premise around just having like 2-4 people at once talking about a certain topic or multiple topics within the duration of about 10 min. I want to keep it kinda short and sweet because everybody's got important stuff to do and I cant dedicate a whole lot of time to it but I'm trying my best. Who knows, if it gets popular enough maybe I'll make it longer.

Ok so this post I wanted to talk about the brain. If you notice some of my notes can relate to each other and have similar aspects that tie them together. If you remember a while ago I wrote a post about the heart vs. the brain and how I feel that you need a healthy balance of the two. I do feel however that the brain is more important in respect to our capabilities. The brain is a very powerful manipulator that is basically the most important aspect of the human anatomy. It is where you are "you" and it dictates basically all of who you are besides your physical features. Your brain can't make you taller but it most certainly can dictate what you do with those extra inches. Your brain is the command center of your body and where your whole mental makeup and personality originate from.

Basically all of what you do is dependent upon your brain. You use your body to interact with the environment but all of that information that you absorb from your surroundings through your senses is processed by your brain. As I said in my last post, information is useless without knowledge and it is in your brain where you combine what you are receiving from your senses and your prior knowledge in order to formulate thoughts, decisions, responses, etc. Your values and opinions are also attributed to your brain and your brain is very mold-able. It is amazing how much the information out there can affect and change our views regardless of their validity. Your brain takes in the different propaganda that is out there like courtesy of the media and has to sort through what you actually are willing to believe and what you're going to do after hearing certain information. Your beliefs are very dependent upon your upbringing. This is attributed to the fact that when you are younger you have less experience so it is easier to refute your previous beliefs because you haven't gotten a firm grasp on much of anything. This is to the same effect of the saying that you cant teach an old dog new tricks. Well it isn't quite true as you can it just requires much more work and effort compared to the persuasion it takes to change the mind of a little kids. A child brain basically takes all the words that their parents say to them as the truth. It is kind of disheartening growing up and finding out that what your parents had told you when you were a kid were false but you were too young or immature enough to comprehend the reality of things. This made it so they were basically forced to lie to you or create fantasies in order to hide the real reasons behind things in order to not create worries or further confusion in an already confusing and complex world. When I read the book "animal farm" originally I had found out that the author, George Orwell, was concerned by the fact that most of the public's perspective can be swayed with relative ease. His concern is evident in his book where the farm animals were easily dissuaded by the pigs that any notions of conspiracy theories were completely false and unverifiable.

While the brain can be easily manipulated, it also possesses this ability internally over your body. One obvious example is hypochondriacs and how their brains can basically make their bodies fall ill to sicknesses caused only by psychological effects. Its amazing how the brain can cause you to get sick not based off viruses or bacteria but because of your own beliefs. It is also cool about how much your brain can affect your habits. When you see a food that looks visually unappealing your brain then sends a signal to your stomach telling it that the food is unappetizing regardless of its actual taste. It is also kind of cool and discouraging simultaneously about how easily it can be tricked and deceived. Illusions and magicians exploit these weaknesses in the brain to help produce cool tricks that appear impossible to your brain. Your brain is what connects you to this world by taking in the stimulus provided by your environment, dissect it through a combination of your prior knowledge and instincts, and compute a logical response carried out by your body. Very cool little organ that helps make everything we do possible.

-Allan Nicholas

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 19 - The Profound Effect of Information

so today or tomorrow im gonna try and get a test podcast up. im gonna try and use skype first but if you guys have an suggestions or recommendations for what i should talk about next just message me.

So this one i wanted to talk about the effect of information on us. Information is usually synonymous with knowledge but they are far from being the same thing at least in my opinion. Information is the data and other stimuli that people can get from everywhere just by carrying out their everyday lives. Knowledge is the what you do with the information you get like how you interpret or understand it. I got inspired to write this note after in english class we had to write about if statistics give the whole story. Statistics are just a form of information that can be gathered through experimentation and studies. They tell a story themselves but are just facts and have no real meaning. The important part of statistics is the formulation that we do when we receive this information. The way people interpret is based upon that persons bias and personal viewpoints. There are a lot of glass half full or half empty scenarios that occur when looking at data. An individuals personality is also a factor in the way we interpret the information we absorb from our environment. If you are a stubborn person then you are going to take the information how you want it to like if you are a worrier and somebody comes to you with urgent info you automatically assume the worst.

To piggyback off of my last post about communication, if information is presented in a specific format then your own opinion can possibly funneled down the path that the presenters of the information wanted you to look at. If it is presented in a very sloppy method then it allows wider interpretation and possible miscommunication. If you only give one part of the story then you are limiting the information and therefore other possible interpretations. This lack of information leads to biased viewpoints as well as a sense of ignorance. If you have no idea whats going on like behind the scenes then your limited scope allows you to be completely unaware and in a way can lift the heavy load that some information can bear. I do feel that ignorance is bliss because some information can be harmful to your physical and mental well being. If you found out that your dad was having an affair and your mom was oblivious would you want to have that information? What would you in turn do about it? Would you keep it bottled up or tell your mom or confront your dad? All these thoughts take a toll on your brain that requires all your knowledge and previous experience to formulate a decision to how you will respond to the situation at hand. After all is said and done you sometimes wish you hadnt figured out what was going on in the first place.

Context is another factor that is dependent upon the information you receive. The background information is vital in making a rational and complete decision. If your employee hadnt been showing up to work recently, your biased opinion might assume that she has been slacking, but in reality she could have suffered a heart attack preventing her from accomplishing her work. Bet you wish you knew that before you decided to fire her right? It is always better to know the full story in respect to making an all encompassing decision based on the big picture but this total understanding isnt always possible in certain situations. Sometimes you will never know the whole story and there is nothing you can do about it except making the best of what information you have and using you instincts as well as your prior knowledge to make the best decision possible.

Information can be so vital that if you miss just one part it can create drastically different outcomes like how you respond. One of the best examples of sensitive data that i can think of off the top of my head is the code that makes up you and me. Our dna is so fragile that if one piece of information was off, that could mean the difference between life and death. This is how some diseases and disabilities occur, because there is a mishap on the transportation of data causing mutations and other undesirable side effects. This leads me to my next point about how important the transmission and reception of information is and how vulnerable to manipulation it can be at times. Just play a game of telephone with some friends where a person at one end comes up with a statement and how it changes from person to person until the end where the message can be completely different from the original.

I also want to bring up the internet and how we live in the information age. There is so much information out on the internet and weeding through it to find actual worthwhile data can be a constant struggle. Some data can be classified and for certain eyes only like your private data like from your social security to your cell phone number. As technology advances unfortunately our privacy decreases as basically everything put up on the internet is up to be viewed by the public eye. Some people have even gone to the extent to "lifecast" their lives and have their day to day activities be viewable to everyone 24/7. There are times when disclosure of information to the public can be hazardous. One obvious example is the ever rising identity theft and taking on the persona of another when you acquire enough information about that person. We live in a day an age of basically unlimited information so be sure to protect yours.

-Allan Nicholas

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook #18 - The Progression of Communication

So im starting to work with some friends on trying to basically get a podcast going where we'd talk about just random things that we find profound or feel like we can have intellectual conversations about and i feel like it'll be really interesting. Im still gonna be doing the blog but i feel like it is a little one sided where as if i start up a podcast we can get a conversation flowing and build off each others ideas. If we can pull it off i feel like itll be awesome and if anybody wants to help out just message me.

So this one i got inspired to write about when talking to people about making a podcast and the previous post victor wrote about communication that i recommend reading also. I wanted to talk about communication because I feel that without it humanity would still be in its infancy stage and we wouldnt be able to progress at the rate that we have in the past and continue to in the present. Victor described that humans have an innate ability to communicate to one another and also many other things that animals arent as privileged. While animals do communicate through barks and other sounds it isnt nearly as comprehensive as the many languages humanity has come up with. There are many forms of communications. The obvious form is verbal but the major one is physical and body language communication. What we do with our bodies, in a sense, is the foundation for all communication. Smiles communicate to others that you are probably happy and vice versa with frowns.

The reason i wrote this that i feel separates it from victors is the different forms of communication that go on in the world. The transmission and reception of communicated things isnt only limited to organic things though because as technology advances exponentially, our interactions with them are growing as well. It is amazing the different input methods that allow man and machine to communicate between one another. As I type this i am communicating my thoughts through my fingers on a keyboard to you guys through a who receive it through a screen. A lot of communication with technology is one sided but doesnt always have to be as the user inputs are becoming more advanced. You can communicate something into a device whether its typing words, or nowadays with voice recognition software, that allows us to verbally communicate with devices in order to accomplish something. If you are interested in cool sci fi like user interfaces you should check out the ford sync which allows you to communicate with your car while driving to do things like get directions or play your music. There are other examples like microsoft surface and really cool things a dude named johnny lee is doing with human computer interactions and things like the wii that i really recommend looking up. As with computers-human interaction and human-human interaction, you can cut humans out of the picture completely when talking about computers communicating with each other. Networks are what hook up computers to each other to form the internet and their conversations consist of data that allow them to do things such as bringing up this webpage. I like the whole network metaphor as a way for explaining what communication is because communication really does link everything together. Social networks like facebook are melding this concept with humans and computers together allowing humans to talk to their computers and then their computer talk to your computer and then your computer talks to you. By talking i dont mean literal talking but other forms of communication like typing and text visualization. A cool human networking concept that you should check out is Six Degrees of Separation and the idea that everyone is connected to everyone else through 6 people.

Everything that has ever been done has been made possible through communication. There is a lot of external communication that go on in forms such as conversations that allows teams to achieve great results. You couldnt achieve anything between people if there wasnt some form of communication between them. You cant understand what is going on with a person without communicating. Even mind-reading is a form of communication between your mind and somebody elses. Think of anything that has ever been made as an example and i guarantee you there has been some sort of communication in order to make it come to fruition. Communication doesnt have to be external either as a lot of communication goes on internally within your body. The communication hub is basically your brain who tells your body parts to do things. It also receives data from sensors on you body like when you get pinched a nerve sensor sends that data to your brain in turn making you feel pain. It is pretty amazing the anatomy of the body and the communication that goes through it.

Victor also describe situations when communication goes awry misunderstandings occur. The miscommunication comes about when people cant effectively communicate their points to others leaving others confused and not on the same page. One miscommunication that goes on that is pretty popular socially is mixed signals and situations where one message can be interpreted multiple ways and bend the meaning of the communications original purpose. When a girl says that she had fun on a date, the guy can misconstrued that and take it that the girl likes him when she in reality could have just made that statement in order to be polite when she really had a terrible time. Other examples of miscommunication are when you are showing conflicting emotions or indicators of emotion. For instance you say you are really happy but look like youre about to cry (whether it's happy or sad tears) a majority of the time people are going to ask you if youre alright. One form of miscommunication that i am personally affected by is bad handwriting as what I write down cant be effectively received to others forcing me to find other medians to get my points across like digitizing and typing the text i had originally written down in an illegible form.

There is plenty more about communication especially examples of communication in action that I could communicate to you but I dont know if i could communicate it effectively so Im just going to end it here. Hope you enjoyed and if you choose to communicate back comments would be nice!

-Allan Nicholas

Monday, February 15, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 17 - Learning experiences

So I just got back from the RYLA Leadership Camp and it was AMAZING!!!! I learned a lot of new things and met a lot of new people and it inspired me to write this next note about learning experiences.

We as humans use our brains every second that we are alive and the brain allows us to function and do amazing things. Learning is defined as the cognitive process of acquiring skill our knowledge. The skill part implies that we use our brains to control the functions of our body allowing us to do new things like when riding a bike you use you brain to help you balance just right and pedal with your feet. Knowledge as you guys know is the information we gain through experiences. You gain both skills and knowledge by using your senses and taking in the different aspects of the environment that surrounds you. If you smell a fresh made cherry pie you use your nose to allow you to gain the knowledge of what it smells like.

Because everybody is different it is only natural that people also have unique ways of learning. There are 3 learning types that people generally agree are the main ways people learn. They are Kinesthetic which involves being physically involved in order to learn, Visual which is using your sight to learn, and auditory which is using you hearing to learn. As with most things, there arent too many extremists that rely solely on one type of learning as basically everybody falls within the grey area between these 3. The learning styles for individuals can be based upon limitations on you. If youre blind then you obviously arent a very heavy visual learner. The way we learn is also based upon pure preference and what the person feels most comfortable doing in order to achieve the maximum level of learning.

There is so much learning involved in a single day that we cant remember it all. But just because you cant remember something doesnt mean it hasnt affected your life and has allowed you to progress into what you are now. The learning experiences are so numerous because the world around us is so complex that there is basically infinite amounts or knowledge or skills that we can gain from it.

Your learning experiences arent only limited to your external factors however, as you yourself are a great place for learning. As you grow you not only learn things about others but you learn about yourself. These internal and external learning sources constantly affect each other everyday like when you are given a challenge you learn how you handle it based upon what you know so far. This could be when you are faced with ethical issues. Say you catch a mother stealing baby formula from the store you work at to appease her crying children. When you come up with a decision for this situation you go through the past experiences that you have learned from like when you were taught that stealing is wrong. Your ethics come into play when you are exposed to the crying children that the mother could be stealing for because she didnt have the financial resources to pay. (I was challenged to think about this situation at RYLA) When you figure out how you would have handled that event, you learned something about yourself that was based upon how the external factors that you grew up with affected you. Self discovery is a very prominent way you can learn.

The learning experiences that happen in your everyday life build upon the previous things that youve learned allowing you to continual grow as a person. In careers and when you progress through life you keep learning more and more about a particular subject, that allows you to become more successful and more proficient at that subject. When you start learning addition in subtraction in elementary school, that basically sets the stage for you future in math and allows you to continue down a path that you couldnt have otherwise. You wouldnt be able to know how to do sigma notation if you couldnt add or subtract or do other basic things. This leads me to my next point about building the foundation for your future learning. Your first experience to something is paramount because it is this initial exposure that allows you to progress and build upon what you already are. This is what I call your collective being because everything you have learned in the past has helped you become the person you are today. Your collective being is made possible from the learning experiences you have in your everyday life.

-Allan Nicholas

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 16 - Interests and Skills

So i was sleeping over at Glenn's house last night and then when we woke up we had a conversation about our dreams and somehow it lead to a really deep conversation about inspiration which inspired me to write this note lol. This note might be a little bit all over the place but i tried to capture the essence of our conversation as it flowed so here it goes...

I first wanna talk about when you are born. Two main things you are born with are your interests and skills. They are pretty self explanatory where your interests are what you like doing and skills are what you're good at doing. Sometimes these overlap and basically turn into a win-win situation where you enjoy what youre good at. This isnt always the case so you must try to find a happy median between these. When you are born, you are in a sense "preprogrammed" with a set of skills and interests. As you grow up you can try to modify these but for the most part they stay the same. For instance, if you aren't very good a baseball to begin with you can try really hard and in some rare occassions you can make it big but most of the times you wont get much better than a person who was naturally born with baseball skills who doesnt have to toil over the training you went through. Another example is with you parents who are the main people responsible to foster your abilities beyond yourself. They have a lot of control over you during your infancy and early childhood allowing them to mold and meld you into what fits their heart's content and their own optimal lifestyle. They place upon you their values and morals, but also their interests that may at some points contradict your preprogrammed skills and interests. This could be if your father wants you to follow in his steps and become a football star but you have no interest in sports, then regardless of your talents you wont be happy with the goals your father sets for you.

Your environment, as in a lot of situations, also plays a factor in your skills and interests because they limit the scope of what you are exposed to. If you deep down inside are interested in basketball but never were experienced to the game and didnt have the necessary equipment to play then your environment severly limited you and your potential. This is why it is best to get introductions to a broad range of things so you can better understand what is best suited for you based upon your interests and skills. This leads me to my next point about self discovery. Much of life is spent trying to figure out what you want to do. The way society is set up today is very limiting to the younger generations in their attempts to fine tune their interests into a career. By the time were are in college, based upon financial resources and practicality, most people are forced down paths that arent really the best for them. Once were out of college we are thrusted into the work force without the necessary time or experience to faciliate and foster our own developing ideals. This is why people like perhaps your parents, who start down a path when their are young and climb the ladder to their respective jobs, come home unhappy at night. They have dedicated so much of their life into something that they arent particularly happy with, but are sometimes beyond the tipping point, meaning that they cant turn back now because of a number of reasons that tie them down like family and monetary stability. Because of this you find that many adults are still "soul searching" trying to figure out what exactly they enjoy doing and what are they trying to get out of life.

My big piece of advice for you guys is something that I have found really helpful in my own search. You should try and put yourself out there as much as possible to gain exposure to a wide variety of topics. This allows you to weed out the things that you couldnt find yourself getting enjoyment out of doing it. Glenn said that you should try to do community service because it allows you to put yourself in the shoes of others giving you a whole new perspective on what might be a reasonable lifestyle for you to pursue. Thats a great idea and you should also do research for yourself because you never know what is out there to further develop potential interests or skills that you currently have. There are plenty of internships, volunteer work and other similar things out there for everybody. Good Luck on your self discovery and may good fortune be upon you on whatever you decide to do with your life.

-Allan Nicholas

P.S. im going to be at a leadership camp for the next couple days so I wont have the time to write another note in the near future so hopefully you'll be able to handle it lol

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 15 - Time Flies Pt. 2

So seeing as we don't have school the rest the week I'd thought I'd get back to writing more of these. This is the second one in the time flies double header thingy lol. So I talked about the human perception of how time flies right before a person's eyes. That one was dealing more with the present and as things were happening but now I wanted to talk about how people deal with time in the future. Planning is a major part of how people conduct their lives. People have routines that they set up or make a schedule so they can for the most part predict how the future will play out. We try to basically guide our lives down a certain path with these plans through a future that is for the most part a mystery and at sometimes out of our control. At school we make a four year plan, to guide us down a path that we think is the most beneficial to us but there are always variables that your cant control. In this case if you planned to take calculus but then realize you want to be a writer and then your plans change and choosing journalism over calculus then seems like a good idea. These changes can take place over a period of time like you gradually lost interest in math or at a moments notice and your have a sudden change of heart. It is always important to base your future on how you are feeling now because you cant predict how you will feel a couple years down the road. That is one reason why people are more short term oriented than long term because we cant really plan out our position in the future so the best we can do is deal with the present and plan accordingly, but I'll get into that more in the next paragraph.

The ways to look at the future and base your future life around is mainly divided up into two categories, short term and long term. While there are definitely gray areas in between, most of what you plan in the future can fall into one of these. Way back in the day when there were cave men and women, survival was a major concern basically 24/7. We didn't have the modern commodities of today like a grocery store or fast food joints to head to whenever we get hungry. Resources for the most part were scarce so by default short term goals became a bigger concern than long term ones. Finding a food source or other necessities was definitely a bigger concern for the average cave person than anything else. In fact I cant really think of any possible long term goals a cave man could have. I'm not really sure though. Who knows, they could in the back of their minds be concerned about settling down with a mate and starting a family with cave children. Regardless however, the most pressing issues dealt with immediate survival, from finding food and shelter to fending off predators. I feel like this trait has been passed down from the generations as humans nowadays are still pretty bad at preparing for the far off future. While we definitely have gotten better at long term planning than our predecessors because we know that we can get food for dinner tonight and aren't worried about being eaten by a lion or something, but we still require time keeping tools like calendars or we would forget a lot of things in our hectic lifestyles.

Without a calendar our civilization would surely crumble under the impending future. If a person didn't mark down on their calendar their next staff meeting was in a month and two days then they will most likely push it to the back of their minds and not be able to recover it in time therefore leading to them being fired. This reminder that got pushed aside was then taken over by more pressing concerns on the individuals mind. As life gets more complicated as technology advances, humans mental capacities just cant keep up with everything. This is why people require the services of a calendar or if you are really important you even can get a personal assistant!!! You know you've made it when somebody's job is to keep tabs on everything dealing with your future and your future engagements. With the use of calendars and setting reminders for our future selves, we are in a way thinking of the long term. Calendars and such keep reminders that are presently long term goals, and help us remember our future short term goals and keep us on top of our lives as time continues to pass us by.

-Allan Nicholas

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 14 - Time Flies: Pt 1

Wow its been about a week since i last posted. Times really flys and thats why I want to talk about it. We have all heard about the expression that time flies when youre having fun. Well im about to tell you guys why its only a half truth. Time does fly when youre having fun but doesnt always and it can also fly when youre having a pretty crappy day too. In fact your disposition and mood have no real effect on the way you perceive time. The reason why time seems to pass us by is because we dont pay attention to the actual concept of time and the time thats passing us by. We are less likely to pay attention to how the time is passing when we are being distracted so the expression was basically correlated to when you have fun because when you have fun you usually arent looking at the clock all the time. Day dreaming is one of the biggest ways i find that time passes because you basically lose all sense of reality and basically delve into your own world where time definitely doesnt function like it doesnt in the real world. Just think of dreaming when you sleep and how you really lose your sense of time because you are completely out of tune with real life.

You dont have to be having fun though to have time fly but you will definitely be more inclined to look at the clock and watch the seconds tick by if you are doing something unenjoyable. when you do something unenjoyable you just want to get out of the current situation youre in so you count down the seconds you have until youre home free. For instance, when you write an essay, especially at home when you arent constrained by the time restrictions at school and when have a multitude of distractions to take your attention away from the task at hand like facebook. You will more likely look at the clock if you are less devoted and motivated to do something like writing a paper. When you get into this state seconds feel like hours and hours feel like days because you just long to be somewhere else.

Procrastinators are very susceptible to this state because they choose something else to do and derail from their main goals. Most of the time these people then get to the last second to do things and are often screwed because of another unfortunate aspect of procrastinators. This is that in addition to waiting to the last second they also have a terrible sense of time. While they choose to get distracted and put their skills elsewhere they also arent good at judging how much time tasks will actually take to complete. This is what I call "time distortion" where you have no sense of the way time actually progresses and also the time that it takes things to get done. Procrastinators usually suffer both of time distortions effects.

I also want to talk about the whole concept of time itself. if you think about it, every single thing in existence is a time traveler. We are all traveling through time second by second into an unknown future. One of the coolest things I have learned is that time is a relative term. Did you know that people who travel faster in time are actually traveling through time slower than everybody else. What I mean by travel faster is by the actual speed you are going at any point in time. An example of this is when you are traveling through space at very high speed much higher than the speed of sound. If you travel through space for like 5 earth years and come back you will actually have aged less than people on earth. So you could be living in space for 50 years and come back and you'll find that some people who were your age could have possibly died of old age.

Another thing i wanted to talk about was why people have the feeling that their memories had occurred very recently compared to the actual time they took place. When people say they feel like something happened yesterday when it actually happened like a year ago it is because of their lack of attention to the time in between. The memories of the time in between isnt completely lost persay. its just at the time period this "yesterday" feeling occurs you cant recall anything that happened previously. The time in between just seems to get cut out and then an event that took place like years ago seemed to have happened the other day. Its just a crazy thing about how our memory works that i feel like nobody has any idea why it happens. That reminds me about that one time that i wrote my first blog post. Feels like yesterday. Oh wow how time does fly.

P.S. this is only part one. the next part about time is coming soon about humans perception of time in regards to the future

-Allan Nicholas