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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 35 – Scheduling and Planning

Hey guys! Phew! Life has been so hectic. I’ve got AP tests, meetings, volunteering, SAT’s and loads of hw coming out the wazoo and doesn’t seem like it’s going to let up anytime soon until like mid-May, but until then I will try my best to keep this going during this stressful time. I got about 30-45 minutes free to write up a post so I definitely wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. So far the subscription numbers are up to 230! That is pretty awesome! Hopefully we can keep it increasing. Just tell your friends about us and rate and subscribe to all our podcasts!

Because of my busy schedule I thought I would dedicate a post to it. Schedules are organized plans of how you are going to spend your future. They are completely based upon the human quantification of the concept of time. Our lives are based upon our the way humans structure a day. Within the 24 hours in that day, we have to accomplish what we have planned to do in our agendas. All events and everything we do falls in between these hours. Things like school and jobs are all structured in time in order to provide some organization. This allows us to stick to a plan and know when and where things are going to happen. Trains and planes and other things are all based upon time schedules that keep things supposedly easy to follow and effectively get things done. Now the philosophy “better said than done” usually applies here because schedules are just plans to help you get things done not to actually do it for you. In the case with transportation, there are so many variables that can affect the getting things done part like with traffic and delays.

Because of all these variables involved, flexibility and time management are an important part of creating a schedule. It is inevitable that sometimes through life things happen and there are forces beyond our control that we can’t foresee or prevent. Flexibility means that when these things happen in life, we are in a position where we can easily adjust and adapt into our chaotic lifestyles. While sticking to your schedule is an important thing, there are sometimes when we can’t and moving on with our lives despite these setbacks is one of the most important lessons you can learn. You need to stick to your original plans as much as you can but things come up so you need to the best of the situations you’re given.

Speaking of sticking to your schedules, one of the biggest things that fill up your schedules is commitments. Your commitments are what you plan to do and usually give your word to showing up. They are based upon levels of importance and when making commitments it is important to prioritize. This is usually based upon chronological order (like what you say you are going to do first) but it doesn’t always work like that as like I said, things come up. Your word is one thing that binds you to the commitments we make. Your word isn’t the most reliable form of trust though as plenty of people lie and don’t follow up with what they say they’re going to do. Writing is one of the most reliable forms of binding because it can be brought up and proven. Unless someone records you promising to do something, they can’t later bring it up and use it against you. You might lose some friends for lying but there probably is nothing legal that can be done against you. With writing however, you can be sued for failing to follow up with what you promised to do through your signature. Signing contracts and then not following up on them can get you in a lot of trouble.

Making too many commitments can cause high stress levels in your life. If you miss a commitment or something you planned to do then there can be many consequences. You can get many people mad at you for not following up what you plan to do. You can also be internally conflicted and mad at yourself for missing opportunities. Like with flexibility, it is important to know how to move on with your life and keep looking forward. That is in fact what a schedule is. It is looking forward in time to plan what you’re going to spend your future time on.

With scheduling, another aspect comes into play. When you structure your life so much, things can seem to become routine. When you know exactly what’s around the corner, there can seem to be less and less excitement in your life. This is where spontaneity comes into play. People need excitement in their lives and this is what I like to call improvisation. Much like in theater, improv is just making things up as you go along. With a schedule you know exactly where life is going to take you. By making it up, life may not exactly turn out like you want it. If you don’t try and take things under control, then your dreams will probably become less likely to be achieved than if you’re actively seek out opportunities and do actions that will help your dreams become reality. With that said, spontaneous actions are more exciting and if they end up turning out right they feel extra rewarding.

Another thing with schedules that needs to be addressed is the whole work vs. play aspect of life. These two things will most likely comprise much of your life. It is one of the most difficult things to balance. You need to manage your time correctly in order to have the optimal amount of time to work and also time to enjoy your life. You normally work in order to provide sustenance in your life and get the resources necessary to live like money. Working can usually be said as things you need to do and play is what you want to do. The best situations in life are when they are one in the same. If you enjoy your work then it basically is satisfying both needs for resources and entertainment. Another thing to recognize is the fact that we as humans are social creatures. We need to take into consideration the fact that we usually need human interactions with others. Depriving people of that will cause bad things to happen like depression. The good thing though is that almost all schedules are intertwined at some point or another. We need to collaborate with one another in order to achieve great things and through teamwork we can satisfy our social needs as well as work together to accomplish amazing feats.

With all of this scheduling, working, and commitments, it can be easy to fill up your time. Our lives can become so hectic and the ways to prevent it are by allocating time for breaks. Breaks are what give us time to recuperate and regain the energy we lose throughout the day when carrying out our schedules. They provide us with a chance to slow down and really enjoy life. Whether it is through doing one of your favorite activities or just plain old sleeping, there are many things that you can do to rest. This brings me to my next point about living in the moment. Scheduling things in advanced is necessary to keep your life structured but it keeps you looking in the future. Looking towards the future can make you not realize what you’re currently doing and then the next time you look, time is passing you by. The true enemy to getting things done is time. It is the resource that always gets depleted and you’re only given a certain amount. Making schedules can help you live your life the most effectively but it doesn’t always mean you’ll live your life to the fullest. The time you’re given is a limited supply so you need to make the best of it and the ideal way to do so is based upon personal preference.

This leads me to an open ended question. How do you spend your time and in your opinion, what is the most effective way of utilizing the time you’re given? Whether you’re hanging with your friends or working at a job, the answer to the question probably involves a healthy balance of whatever is involved in your life. Regardless of what your answer is, it is always important to remember that nobody knows the best way to live your life except for yourself. Your parents may seem like they know but their real job is to set you up with the opportunities to accomplish and live your life the way you want to. My personal opinion is that at the end of the day I want to be happy with what I’ve accomplish, but I would love to hear what your opinion is on this topic is. Hope you’ve enjoyed this note and be sure to tell all your friends about the blog and podcast!

-Allan Nicholas

Monday, April 26, 2010

Philosophy is Phun Podcast # 11 - Right vs. Privilege

Hey guys! Sorry for the little hiatus. My life's been really busy recently and I haven't really had the opportunity to record an episode but here is another one to keep your thirst for philosophy quenched. This episode I am joined by Tommy Wyderko again where we discuss the sense of entitlement people have. We distinguish the difference between Rights vs. Privileges and their impact on your life. Hope you enjoy and tell your friends about us!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 34 - Home Sweet Home

Wow alright time is flying by so fast! With AP tests coming up and a whole bunch of other stuff in my schedule it's gonna be hard to keep up this blog for the next couple weeks but I'll try to make another post when I have free time!

So this entry comes from a request by La Mealy on my facebook page. If you guys have a good idea for future posts just message me, comment or whatever and I'll do my best to answer it! I have set up an email account at which is specific to the blog but if you want to message me on facebook it might be better depending on the situation. Anyways, he wanted me to talk about how "home is where you make it." I feel like this topic also goes along with how home is also WHAT you make it. You will most likely have a physical home if you are reading this but not everyone has the privilege of a dedicated shelter to house them from the harsh conditions of the outside world. For the rest of us we are very fortunate to have a place where we can claim as our own. This place is like a safe haven for us. We can be pretty confident that when we need it, our house will be there for us to take refuge and recuperate from the harsh realities of the world. We usually wake up every day from it and can call it a day and fall asleep in it spending a good chuck of a day in it.

Besides the obvious parts of a home, the philosophical concept and importance of a home is that is a safe haven that provides comfort for its inhabitants. Regardless of the events that took place during the day, you should be able to fall back to your house and feel safe in it. You can always resort to it usually regardless of what comes up. It represents a place you can turn to especially in your time of need. One point I want to make is that home doesn't necessarily need to be a certain house but it can be a location. Referring to real estate's number one rule, the most important part of a home is "Location, Location, Location." Getting to the La's point about how home is where you make it, a location that you spend a lot of time can also represent your home regardless of if it is your actual home or not. People associate with their hometowns all the time. Whether it is representing your hood or wanting to be associated with a nice area, plenty of people call a certain area home and rightly so because they usually spend a majority of their time there. You might want to represent an area because of all the opportunities it afforded you and you might feel it is necessary to give back to the community who helped raise you. Others might try it to get the notoriety of an already established community. For instance, you would want to show off that you live in a rich neighborhood to be associated with the wealthy. I believe regardless of your current predicament, everybody wants to promote improvement for their area and by showing it in a positive light you can do so. If you have such a great place, many people will want to visit the attractions and therefore put more money in the local economy to further improve that area.

These hometowns usually hold a lot of memories for those who are a part of them. Your everyday living experiences almost always take place in these areas unless you are traveling to other locations. Because of technology like the internet, it has allowed us to do more while in the comforts of our own town so travel isn't as crucial as it once was. This allows residents to experience more of what their own place has to offer. The experiences you have has a direct relationship on the amount of memories you have. If you experience more in your environment then you will most likely have more memories of things like the values and morals that they have instilled in you.

This brings me to the next thing that I want to talk about. Despite the actual location part of a home, the people involved in being a part of your home also help display the significance of your home. Your home as a child wouldn’t be as meaningful if your parents weren't a part of it. They teach you and instill values into you that will most likely stick with you for a lifetime. Your parents aren't the only ones involved in your home as people like you neighbors, friends, and even congressmen can help make your home what it is today. Your friends can help make your home more enjoyable by finding things to do and keeping you entertained. Congressmen and other important figures help structure and run our homes so we can continue and hopefully improve the lives we currently live in. The people who are also a part of your home interact with you and provide relationships that essentially connect the community. They share emotions with you and can care for you and provide support just as a home can. After all, home is where the heart is

I have traveled around a good amount through my life and it has led me to deduce that our homes, especially in different regions, can vary so much from one another. Our environment, or location, really defines the needs and corresponding values we may need to know in order to become productive in the future. If you live in the south, you will most likely need to learn the process of farming over those who call the north their home. Through these variations things like accents, traditions, and many other aspects of life can take on their own special twists. If you live on a farm, your family may be held more important over other things because you are in a rural community. On the other end of the spectrum a person in the big city might need to have a higher respect for their connections with those outside their family tree in order to take into consideration things like job networks and references that are sometimes completely unnecessary in the small towns. These variations also can inhibit or allow for more opportunities or quality of life over the others. Depending on where you call your home, your way of life can be completely different from those outside of your hometown.

One final point that I think is important to hit on is about how home is a comfort zone. Like I said before it is a place that can help pick you up when you're down. As you progress through time in your home, you build connections and your roots to that home become stronger. Moving out is a big part of homes because it is basically the action of changing homes. Like Sean Kwon said on my transition note, through these movements adapting is a very important part of changing homes. Moving out of a well-establish home can be one of the most challenging adjustments to make but since I personally have lived in the same house at birth, I can't attest to this. From what I can imagine, leaving behind the familiar faces and location you have grown to know and love must be pretty difficult. As we experience more, the bonds between what we are involved in grow stronger ,so severing those ties becomes even more difficult as the days pass. The good thing is that, if moving out is an unavoidable situation, there is much more out there than just your home to experience. Like I said before, your home represents a comfort zone. In order to improve your life at the end of the day, you must perform actions that force you to push the envelope of this comfort zone. This allows you to experience more and in turn increase the capacity of things I've mentioned in previous notes like your knowledge, skills, and interests as well as a multitude of other facets in life. Moving is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Regardless of switching homes or what home you have, homes help form the base and structure for our lives and allow us to build off of them and expand our lives.

-Allan Nicholas

Monday, April 19, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 33 - Personalization

Wow my schedule has been really busy. Im glad I finally get a chance to make another post though. The thought "what makes us who we are" came through my mind the other day and I have come to the conclusion that it is through personalization that really distinguishes us from the rest of the world and makes us who we are.

Before I get to the human side of personality I would like to make a point about our material things. I think it is almost human nature that we usually enjoy putting a special spin on what we have to make what we own special and unique to us and the rest of the world. It is a way to essentially mark our territory and show ownership over something. If you have something generic then it doesn’t really hold anything personal that shows that it is yours. It could be anything from a special paint job to a bumper sticker on your car and any other possible way of adding or taking away something from the original product or service. It is a way of adding a special touch to something setting it out from the crowd. Dairy Queen personalizes their ice cream by putting that little loop at the top that identifies that cone with Dairy Queen. Like with my previous post about identities, when it comes to our own materials or services that we are proud of, then we will most likely want to show ownership and say ”yea that's mine" or "yea I did that."

Another reason is to add possible value to the original product or service. There are two main types of values that you can add to something, sentimental and monetary. I am sure there are probably other ways that you can think of but these are the main two ways. Value is one of the main reason why anybody would keep anything besides the fact that it satisfies a necessity that we require such as food. By personalizing something you can change the value by possibly increasing and decreasing it. When playing with a toy you could increase the sentimental value by playing with it and enjoying it but possibly decrease the value of it by taking it out of the box and not maintaining it in pristine and mint condition. As time progresses, sentimental and especially monetary values will change regardless of its personalization but it helps speed up the process. For instance, if you buy a toy and it sits in the closet, its sentimental value will decrease with time because you forget about it but its monetary value could increase if it is a collectible. Your environment plays a major factor in the value of something almost as much as personalization. Another way I can think of off the top of my head that will increase both sentimental and monetary value of one of your possessions is by getting it autographed by someone who is famous because it will become something a lot of people want and provide a memory for when you met a person who you admire.

This leads me into my next point about the memories you have with the personalized objects. Each occurrence of customization or personalization provides you with a reminder of that past event. Putting a new sticker on your calculator will probably bring back memories of when you put it on and what caused you to choose that particular sticker. It doesn’t have to just be a sticker as this applies to almost everything. This is closely related to sentimental value and brings me to talk about one of the negativities that can come with personalizing your stuff. Some people are afflicted by what is known as "pack-ratitus" or the inability to throw away any of your possessions (Note I just made up that word). One of the possible reasons is the sentimental value that comes with things that you’ve personalized and fearing that by throwing away that item you will lose that memory. This doesn’t just apply to personalized things but also things that have meaning in their own right like a ticket to that first date movie or something else that is important to the person who owns it. Because of this many are very reluctant to give up some of their material possessions.

Personalization doesn’t just apply to material things but also with people themselves. People try to make themselves unique and be special from everyone else. Even if you are trying to conform to be like everyone else that is your own way of personalizing yourself in order to fit in. Others don't want to be noticed because they're shy or whatnot but they are still personalizing themselves in a way that better suits their timid personality. Some people like being noticed for who they are and the way to do that is to standout. The most famous celebrities are the ones that are unique from everyone else and it is their brand, image, and identity that they have personalized in order to fit that persona. For instance, Ke$ha looks the way she does because she wanted to look the best she could when she was poor before she got famous and that personalization has stuck with her and in a way propelled her to fame because she was unique from almost everyone else in the music scene. Like Ke$ha did, the best way to personalize yourself is by expressing yourself and your true character and personality. This ties in with your material personalization in a way though because some people express themselves through their clothing. Your physical appearance is one of the biggest determining factors in what people think about you because it is usually the first thing that gives people an impression about you. While for the most part you are stuck with what you got there are becoming more and more ways to change yourself and personalize yourself too. The obvious ways are through tattoos, piercings, and what you wear, but things such as liposuction and facial surgery are more ways that people are personalizing themselves in order to express who they are or what they want to be known as.

Sometimes people try to boast and show off who they are to others. If you are rich then you might show off your wealth by flaunting your new Lambo or other different ways that could show others that one thing that you are is richer than everyone else. One particular situation that reminds me of something similar is the Fairly Odd Parents episode where Timmy is tired of his dentist thinking he was better than everyone else. Don't get me wrong, it is good to be proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished but you can definitely take it to the extremes and that negatively impacts who you are by making others believe you are stuck up. This occurred with Timmy's dentist as he was bragging about his perfect teeth and from the dentists perspective, that justified he was better than everyone else. Timmy's solution to this problem was to make everyone a gray blob so he wouldn’t stand out from the crowd. I was actually astonished that a kid's TV show would be this deep but it showed me that people will always try and find ways that they are different than you, whether it be better than you or not, like at a particular skill. Timmy's dentist, after being turned into a gray blob, decided that he was the grayest of the others so that meant he was better than everyone. I believe that this can be related to real life as well because some people need to prove to themselves and possibly others that they excel in areas that others may fail at. I think this might be a way to justify a person's existence and self-worth like if you are a fantastic writer you probably get joy when there's a writing assignment and you are the only one who does good on it or because you are a model you might feel that because you are more attractive you are automatically better than others. Unfortunately, sometimes this is the way it goes and while some people are more vocal about these facts than others, I still feel like these feelings are necessary for life or else people would start to wonder what makes them worthy to be alive if they don't excel or have skills in a certain area or have an advantage over others.

Your appearance isn't the only thing that can make you unique as there are many other factors involved in making you who you are. One of the reasons why people like tricking out their cars or customizing their material things is because it provides an identifier with you. By owning or doing something unique, you become associated with those things and it helps build your persona. Who you connect with helps set an identifier for yourself. When you become a part an inside joke, it helps make you feel special that you and only a couple know what it is about and establishes a good amount of who you are as a person. To the same effect, if you hang out with the wrong crowd it can negatively impact your personalized image. Your interests and especially your perspective also play a role in your own personalized unique self. When you see someone who wears a shirt of a particular videogame or movie, it shows others what you like and therefore becomes a part of how they perceive you and who you are. It isn't only what YOU feel about yourself that makes you who you are but your surroundings like other people formulate opinions of you that help determine who you are as well. These things help establish a brand for yourself that sets you apart from your peers and competition. I believe everybody wants and deserves a unique identity for themselves and there are plenty of ways to do it and almost everything you do helps build up that persona. It's just your responsibility to manage it and make sure you are portrayed as something you want to be.

-Allan Nicholas

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 32 - Approval

Hey guys hope you enjoyed the new column I wrote. Hopefully new ones will come with time. For now I got the idea for this post from my friend Kyle Gavan. Yesterday during Spanish we discussed about how people have a need for approval and why they seek it. Approval in this instance is defined as being anything that shows acceptance for who you are or what you've done. It may also be anything from a compliment to a simple acknowledgement of your existence and the consequences can range from a broad spectrum of possibilities.

We speculated that one of the reasons why people need approval is for support. Life can be a very difficult journey for some people and they might feel that they need some help along the way. As you know doing things on your own allows for a lot of freedom but also a lot of responsibility. There will inevitable be times where it appears you can't handle things on your own. Some people feel that when they need help they are inept on their own and have failed. While this might be an exaggerated case I do feel that similar things happen like this every day. This also applies to a kid and their parents. As kids grow up they to learn to become less dependent on their parents and the parents have to in turn ease them out by giving them positive reinforcement whenever they do something reasonably well. It is this support that motivates those kids to continue down the path to independency and success. Giving a good job, a compliment, or a pat on the back can go a long way especially if it's from someone they admire. Role models provide a concrete example for people to live up to expectations and goals. If that role model then provides positive feedback on their performance then that is great boost to that person's morale.

Another reason that could drive a person for approval is based upon social aspects. Social approval and being accepted for who you are is almost a necessity in today's world. If you are being complimented like "I like your new clothes" or something like that then it makes you feel like you made a good choice in style and therefore feel a sense of legitimacy in who you are. Social patterns also are based upon approval like being accepted into a group of friends. It feels great when you meet new people and they accept you for who you are or who you appear to be and then you become good friends with them. Family relationships also play a role in the approval system. If you guys are familiar with the show George Lopez, George always try to get the approval of his mom to no avail. Like with parents saying good job to almost any attempt to accomplish something made by their children, George's mom didn’t fall into that category. She constantly starved George of the attention and approval he desired as a kid and to this day she hasn’t given it to him.

Approval relates a lot to self worth and pride. Your ego is really intertwined with the approval you receive. If you get complimented for every action you take, then you will be more likely to think you are capable of more than you actually are and get a hot head over every future actions you take from that point forward. Your confidence in yourself gets raised substantially higher than it would be without approval and this is because your environment, like with many other topics, plays a role in the approval system. If you are in an area where you are completely innovative and doing never before seen projects, then you will get more approval for your creativity and uniqueness more than some person who is making the next installment in say a spinoff reality TV show. As you can probably tell, self esteem is a dependent variable of the amount of approval you receive. If you get negative feedback or absolutely no feedback at all, then your feeling of self worth decreases a lot. If my philosophy stuff got absolutely no positive feedback then I would start to question the legitimacy of this whole philosophy blog.

Another common factor in many other topics also affects approval. This factor is perspective and comes into play because what one person finds acceptable, another might not therefore affecting the possibility of approval in that situation. This is also evident in family relationships because what a parent finds acceptable, the child might not. When your dad wants you to follow in his footsteps and play football but you would much rather be an artist, this is an example of conflicting interests that could limit the approval you receive. Approval doesn’t necessarily need to be an outside force but they definitely affect what your internal approval system might be. If being an artist in your mind legitimizes you but it doesn’t in the eyes of your parents, then you might not get as much satisfaction pursuing a career in the arts. Much like with George's lack of approval from his mom, many kids today strive to get the approval of their parents. Some kids may be willing to give up their dreams of artistry to be a football player just to get the approval of their father. The fear of disappointment and the possibility of losing the approval of a loved one may be enough for one to give up their goals in order to receive acceptance by loved ones. Others are more resilient and will pursue their dreams over the dreams of others because the self approval is far more valuable to them compared to the approval of others. Fortunately, most people don't have to make this ultimatum because I am seeing an increasing number of parents who say something like "we'll be proud of you with whatever you decide to do."
I believe that one of the most applicable circumstances of the approval system is in the working world. In most jobs, one must gain the approval of their boss in order to excel and climb the corporate ladder. The reward of having a high approval rating could be a multitude of things ranging from bonuses to possible promotion. When it comes to bosses though, it becomes tougher to get the approval of others because you are at the top of the corporate ladder. In few circumstances is someone going to pat you on the back but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen. A boss must keep the approval of their investors of risk jeopardizing the future of their company. This can also relate to things like the presidency where if they don't have enough approval with the public then they most likely won't get elected.
As you can see, approval comes in all shapes and sizes and can be present in a wide range of circumstances. Sometimes we become oblivious to us when we gain the approval of others because it might come nonchalantly. Other times we might strive for it so feverously that it becomes our one goal in life to do something to become accepted by those around us. People trying to get famous have to stand out and present and image and style that will get them approved by a massive audience and propel them to stardom because this with get them the approval of the CEO's and big dogs of the industry to hire them. Regardless of the situation where it comes approval is a major part of who we are and limits or opens up opportunities for us to become more.

-Allan Nicholas

Monday, April 12, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered… # 1 - If you would change a person you loved?

Hey guys this is a new column that I am starting that I got the idea for when I was thinking one day. I have a lot of questions that most of the time go unanswered because perhaps no one knows the answer or there is no right or wrong answer. Regardless, I find it would be best to get a wide scope to judge what the possible solutions are kind of like a poll. This is what this new column is for, where I pose a question and give a little background on it and then give my personal anecdote on it, leaving room for you to discover your own. Some of this will be related to moral dilemmas but they can range from a variety of topics. I realize that most of the answers will result in an "it depends" response but it still can't hurt to elaborate on it and perhaps you'll learn more about yourself in the process. Hopefully you guys will have questions of your own and maybe I can put them up here too.

The first question I would like to pose is one that I wonder often, if you disliked something about a person would you want to change them. Now this is a pretty obvious answer for those that you dislike as a whole but it is a much harder decision I believe when it comes to someone who you really care about. If a loved one had a flaw that annoyed you or didn’t fit your likes then would you change them if you had the ability to? What I always find myself conflicted with is that are their flaws part of the whole package and if you slightly alter one thing will they not be the same person that you loved in the first place? Is it true that every little quirk gives a person personality and without it then they wouldn’t be the familiar loved one as before? We all know that nobody is perfect but everybody has their own views of what perfect is going along with their perspective like the podcast I did before. Because everybody has different interests, so do their views upon other people. For this reason you can't appear perfect in the eyes of one person without possibly upsetting another. Would you want a person to be perfect anyways because imperfection gives them a way to relate to them because you yourself aren't perfect?

On a side tangent of perfection I noticed something when I was watching the movie Clash of the Titans. When you try to personify things like gods they begin to have flaws just like humans. You could clearly tell that they were vengeful like when Zeus slept with another one's wife just to get revenge for the man disrespecting him. They commit sins just as much as the humans did. One possible explanation is that they had different codes of conduct back then but it still makes gods seem like just imperfect humans with some incredible powers. Just something interesting to think about.

Anyways, back to the main topic. I realized that the whole situation of changing flaws is really based upon the one with the problem at hand that is trying to be changed. Some say that people only successfully change for themselves because only you can make you feel a certain way and do certain things. This kind of goes along the lines that people can only make you feel inferior if you let them and you yourself think you're inferior. They also say that if you try to change for someone else they you begin resenting the person who wanted you to change. I think that sometimes you do try to appease others, especially loved ones, with some spectacular results. It is good to have criticism because it opens your eyes to some aspects of yourself that have the potential for improvement. You might not realize something is wrong, and it might not be, but just by having an outside opinion, your personal viewing spectrum can broaden up. As I said in the introduction, the answer to this question will most likely end with an "it depends." It depends upon the flaw at hand to really get an appropriate response. If someone snores and it drives you crazy then that might be an appropriate circumstance to change the person for something little like that. It also may not be depending upon your morals because you should be able to deal with it if you really love the person. The aspect of selfishness comes into play with this discussion because others might want you to change for their own benefit, or it might be a detrimental flaw that is ushering in the downfall of the relationship. We all have pet peeves and things that get under our skin like nails on a chalkboard. If there is no way to get around it then maybe some changes need to occur. Another instance may be where one person smokes and the other has terrible allergies and gets sick because of the smoking. Here I don't believe it is selfish for the one to ask the other to stop smoking because it really is harming their ability to grow together. As with most things, relationships are a healthy balance filled with compromise. Playing the "if you really loved me you would…" card is an unfair way to gain leverage over others that doesn’t foster healthy connections. I also noticed that guilt plays a role in this decision because there is a chance you would feel guilty because you made someone change for your own selfish wants.

Another thing to take into consideration is the possible consequences of the impending change. You expect positive results to ensue after the change but there is always the possibility that negative results can take hold too. If you take away someone's beloved videogame then they could turn to a life of crime and drugs as a revolt against the change. While this isn't necessarily the case, it sure is a possibility. Life is all based upon trying to improve your life from your current situation and sometimes the best way to achieve this is by fitting in with your surroundings. To have a healthy and happy lifestyle you need to manage good relationships and those are partnerships with a lot of giving and taking involved. But who is to say the best way to deal with it? You have to find your own optimal way to deal with this situation yourself based on your morals and values and hopefully this has made you think about them. Hope you enjoyed reading this and send in your own philosophical questions you'd like answered!

-Allan Nicholas

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Philosophy on Facebook # 31 - Transition Times

Hey guys sorry I haven’t really had time to write a note recently but these last couple days have been busy and I am about to leave for Spring Break so I don’t know if I will have anymore interaction with the blog and podcasts but I’ll do my best. To keep you busy in the mean time I’ve uploaded 3 more podcasts, one being the extra special episode I promised you guys so check them out on iTunes, YouTube, facebook, wherever.

Ok so the inspiration for this note came from making plans for my spring break vacation where I will be visiting colleges for me to potentially attend. This made me ponder the different transition periods in life and inspired me to write my elaborations about it. This is pretty biased so don't be offended if I have a different view than you. For some of you who read this you probably are still in high school, possibly in college, and maybe even some people who have graduated from school all together. Whatever period you are within your life you can agree that as time changes so do you and going from one place to another is what we call a transition. It's basically starting in one place and ending up in another. Every day we experience these changes and their magnitude varies and how smoothly their transition occurs also varies from case to case. Changes occur to us on a daily basis and how big of an impact on our lives they have or how easily it is moving from one to another play a big factor in their transition. One of the most obvious transition is moving. Every movement you take is a change on you from the where you were previously. For many of us the major change that is occurring now is transitioning from a kid to an adult by going to college. This is what I call the teenage transition and it can be very difficult depending upon your situation and your outlook. During this time a teenager faces one of their greatest enemies, time. There are some exceptions to this but I believe that for the most part people don't want to become complete adults. They might miss their parents nurturing, be scared to take care of themselves, or for a multitude of other reasons not want to make the transition. Others may be completely happy to continue and transition through their lives unphased by living a new life that they haven't experienced before. I believe that it is a combination of your outlook like if you are naturally excited to complete new activities or if you enjoy stability and get afraid whenever times change to an uncertain future. A couple months ago when the 25 truths was a big thing almost everyone said that they were afraid of what college was going to bring.

Teenage years are a major transition period spanning multiple years where you prepare for being thrown out into the working world of adults. This time period is really a time of self discovery as many transitions are. You figure out what you like and dislike and start funneling down potential paths to lead out your life in your adult years. I believe deep down everyone enjoys at some point or another being nurtured and cared for. Kids don't want to leave their parents most of the time because of their attachment and the relationships they have fostered during their childhoods and they still want to be a kid. When you become an adult, the nurturing isn't as recognizable as it is with a kid and their parents. Sure you can get praise from a job with promotions or with a loved one but I believe that it isn't the same as when you are younger. You are less dependent as an adult thus requiring less nurturing. Some people might say they are completely content without being nurtured possibly because they don't like being treated like a baby or just want to be independent. On the other end of the spectrum, babies don't have the cognitive ability to realize that they want to be older. Herein lies the balance of the teenage transitions. Most kids want to be nurtured by their parents like have them do their laundry or make food for them but don't want the treatment that comes with being a kid. When you a young you are treated in a way that is almost condescending because you are viewed as not being able to do as much as an adult so parents are there to hold your hand and guide you like training wheels. While it might be fun to not have to do anything, eventually you will get tired of being told what to do and helped with everything that you do that you'll want more adult like responsibilities. During the teenage years we gain a lot more responsibility like credit cards, a car, a job and a multitude of other things that adults also have. We are becoming adults during the teenage years and how you handle it is up to your outlook and perspective.

While the teenage years are a major transition, it isn't the only transition in life. Because life is ever changing there will always be more and more transitions. The hope is that through these future transitions, life will only continue to improve because we will keep progressing from where we were before. A good example of this is with technology. As time advances, so does our technological abilities. It is amazing to think 20 years ago we didn’t have the internet, cell phones, and plenty of other things we hold near and dear to our hearts. I sometimes think wow I couldn’t live back then based upon my biased perspective. I also look at the future and am kind of bummed that I won't be able to experience the great tech that the future will bring. Things that are only real in science fiction will most likely come true years down the road and unfortunately it might be after our time. For this reason, one of the major problems of transitions is becoming obsolete if you don't keep up with the times. Because our grandparents probably didn’t transition with the digital era they are now behind when it comes to the internet and computers but the thing of it is that they might be content with it because they never grew up with computers or they just don't care anymore. The way life is now, I believe that most of us are mystified with what the future brings and want to be a part of it in order to prevent becoming obsolete. Maybe when we get older we won't care that people can teleport or work virtual realities because we haven't grown up with it and will be too old to adapt to it. The curiosity that youth brings allows for younger people to quickly adapt through these transitions. It is basically the "can't teach an old dog new tricks" saying because they are so rooted in the past that it will be too difficult to transition to something new. Kids are more open because they haven't experienced much which is one of the reasons why it is easier for kids to do things like learn a new language than it is for adults. As we grow older it will be harder to transition with the time and almost inevitable that we will be behind the times. The best way to prevent this is with practice. You must keep yourself up to date with the latest stuff whether it be the latest gadget or technique. Sometimes though something comes along like computers that entirely shifts the playing field and things like our way of life that it will be almost impossible to adapt. The ever-present transition that nobody is immune to is aging and the body. As we get older our bodies transition through phases. The way people help their bodies transition effectively or prevent it is through working out and practicing keeping their bodies in shape and at peak performance. By going to the gym or playing sports it is actually one way for the body to resist the transition of aging.

Transitions not only change the way we live but also our values and morals. This note is closely related to the podcast I just recorded about perspectives. These transitions leave you with new experiences that therefore impact your views on life because they provide you with never before seen events that then shape your perspective. During these times you are usually put into predicaments that allow you to move on with your life and that’s why these transitions are important. If you didn’t have them you couldn’t improve upon your life because you wouldn’t be experiencing new things to help you grow your collective being. A good metaphor to look at it is like a ladder and moving down or hopefully up from one spot to the next. It is inevitable that you will go both down and up because life is a rollercoaster that has its share of highs and lows. There are also known transitions to help it be easier and basically set paths you can take down life. These would be things like school and careers and getting an education that have been done before in order to provide a guideline for how you transition your own life. It isn't good enough just to follow someone else's path though as the world will only improve if new things are getting done. To do so you want to transition into your own life and spur innovations through these transitions. Remember, it's not just you that is transitioning but the whole world and by you progressing you are helping the world to do it too.

-Allan Nicholas