Allan's Philosophy Podcast Headline Animator

Allan's Philosophy Podcast

Monday, January 24, 2011

Philosophy on Facebook # 50 – Giving Up and Acceptance

Hey guys. I thought I’d try and get into the grind of churning these philosophy posts out again and not just the Phun-size kind but one similar to when I first started writing these posts over a year ago on January 4th, 2010. Within that year a lot has gone on through my life and while it has provided me with amazing opportunities, it has also unfortunately had moments of tragedy and heartbreak. I think that these tragedies are in a way a blessing in disguise however, because without them I wouldn’t have realized how important it is to cherish what you have before you regret not appreciating them when they’re gone. It also provides a base comparison on how much joy and happiness the rest of my life has been filled with. Tragedy also plays a vital role in teaching us valuable lessons and here is some philosophy that it has taught me.

I visited my grandparents today and when talking to the nurse of my grandparent’s retirement center, she told me that over all her years of working in the medical field, she had to rethink her beliefs on the difference between giving up and acceptance. As we go on through life and get older, the adults that we've grown up with who helped us develop and improve our collective beings get older too and it is unfortunately the way of nature that we will all inevitably die. As I was being tutored for the Chem SAT’s, I had a pretty interesting conversation with my tutor on the subject of entropy and how the universe always leans toward disorder. The universe naturally wants all solids to be brought to a state of a gas which means that our bodies are by their very nature meant to die. When tragedy and death come, it is amazing to think about the philosophical concepts behind it, not necessarily just for you personally, but about what must be going through the minds of those who are going through the last stages of their lives. As young children we don’t have any real idea of what the future holds. As teenagers we are more likely to look forward to the great opportunities our lives may have in store for us so much to the point that we probably ignore or don’t have an appropriate perspective on death that the older generation is starting to formulate as they near the end of their lives.

When talking to those who are on the verge of death, it is interesting to see their opinions on life and whether they are optimistic about their futures and remaining time left on earth or have they given up their ambitions or motivations to live life because they know there is nothing that can be done to improve their current state of life and prevent their death. I personally believe there is always something that can be done and you should never give up on a positive outlook to life or else there is nothing to live for. Even if you don't have the physical means to live much longer, if you give up what's the point in trying to hold on to what's left at all. I feel like if you try to make the best of your current health conditions, it makes the remainder of what you've got be memorable. It is also important to realize that what happens to your life doesn’t just affect you yourself, but everyone who is involved in your existence as well. In fact, if you give up on life then you are a selfish person because you aren’t thinking about how your attitude will play a role in the lives of those who care about you, who still have hope looking towards the future. Even if you may not be there with them to see a brighter future, it doesn’t mean you should stop trying to provide them with one. In the case of a parent, it is imperative that you never give up, especially in the presence of your children. Isn’t it the ultimate goal of parents to provide their children with a better life than they ever had? If you give up, you no longer are following through with the basic fundamental commitment a parent owes to their child.

Another aspect that is important to talk about when referring to the attitude on life that people can have are the priorities that go along with that attitude. I believe that whenever you realize your life has the realistic potential of ending soon; you have an almost immediate subconscious shift in your priorities. I think it is an automatic response to death that your priorities change. In the eyes of those who will pass away soon, the worries and everyday tasks that we normal healthy humans encounter everyday may seem meaningless or pointless for them to think about. Your true interests and concerns that you have most likely had all your life seem to take center stage and hold a great importance in your life from then on out. I think it is human nature that these priorities almost always incorporate family or loved ones into the equation because you'd like to spend your final moments with them in order to feel a sense of comfort and satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that priorities are solely exclusive to other people as they can also include things such as your favorite hobbies or prized possessions. This is because these memorabilia are what you put your emotions into and hold great sentimental value thus should be integral parts of the remaining time of your life. There is no shame in blowing the dust off that old blanket from your childhood to relish in those great memories you had growing up.

This brings me to my next point on something else that I believe almost always happens when it comes to the end of a life. Reflections on how you've lived your life are integral parts of bringing closure, which almost always needs to happen if you wish to end life with a sense of comfort knowing there still aren’t any unanswered questions or problems unsolved. When you reflect, you will in a sense relive all the memorable moments in your life but when you do this you have to make sure you go into it with the right mindset or else you can potentially bring unnecessary sadness or depression. You want to make sure you don't regret your previous actions and try and make sure you find justifications for what you chose to do. Even if you can’t, just remember that if things didn't turn out exactly the way they did in the past, you wouldn't have had the great opportunities and life you've had so far. You can always put a "what if" spin on to whatever you do but you'll drive yourself crazy thinking about the possibilities and it isn't worth spending what remaining time you've got worrying or regretting what you didn't do. Don’t regret or mourn but rather cherish and take pride in what you accomplished.

Now I can’t say that these are 100% accurate assumptions of what goes on when lives come to a halt as I have never personally been in a situation like this, but I have had plenty of people in my life go through this endeavor and for this reason I think it is safe to say that all of these factor into your mindset you have going into the final days of your life. Now back to the doctor in the beginning who said that when working with patients like my grandmother she had to rethink her philosophies on the difference between giving up and acceptance of death. Giving up is surrendering all of your hopes, admitting defeat, and not focusing on all the good things that remain and will continue to exist even when you’re gone. While fighting with death can seem like an uphill battle that we are all destined to lose, I wonder why it even has to be a battle to begin with. My personal philosophy on life is that we are all put on this Earth for a reason and we shouldn’t ever stop trying to reach it, no matter what. Accepting the natural expiration date in our lives doesn’t mean you just drop everything you’ve held dear and near to your heart. It means that you don’t attempt to protest death but have gotten to a comfortable point in your life where you feel willing to welcome it. The end of you physically doesn’t mean the end of you in other aspects of life. Your memory will last on and you will continue to affect those people who were in your life for many years to come so you want to make sure it’s a good one. Thank you for teaching this to me Grandma.

-Allan Nicholas

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Phun-size Philosophy # 75 – Paying Your Dues

If you are reading this right now it is most likely that you live in a very fortunate position compared to a lot of people in the world. We have all been given great gifts and opportunities in life. With such privileges, they usually come with a price that gives back to those that have helped us to get to where we are. Even if they are completely free, we should at least appreciate everything that we have. Something I recently read talking about leadership said that people who have more should give more because they can afford to. It isn’t necessarily that they should be forced to pay more taxes but they should be willing to give more. There’s the saying that you’ve got to eat your vegetables before you can get dessert. This is essentially saying that you have to work your way up the ladder and possibly carry out menial but necessary tasks before you can move on to the more entertaining activities. You have to earn what you are given in my opinion regardless of the situation you are in. If you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth and have been lucky enough to be born to millionaires then you won’t have to earn wealth per say but I still believe you must put effort or return the favor to those less fortunate than you. Giving back is such a vital part of society and with altruism those who follow this ideal are the ones who directly contribute to the success and advancement of society. If you are a person who starts out at the bottom and have to work your way up, your are completing such mundane tasks as a sign of respect to those who have already made their rounds through what you are currently experiencing. You might not always start at the bottom but if you do, you will probably enjoy more success and be more successful over a longer period of time because they have had to learn skills that people who start at the top will probably never recognize. You have to learn a wide variety of talents if you have to work your way up to the position you want to be in life like cooperation. I think almost everyone goes through this process in one shape or form because people will eventually get tired or what they have or want to be or do something different than what they already have but this is a good thing because it shows you are striving for success. It means you are working your way towards a goal. You have to take steps in order to accomplish what you aspire to do because it is a process. Once you do eventually make your way through the process and reached a milestone, you feel a sense of accomplish because you know you have earned whatever you received. It may be nice in life for things to be given to you without much effort and in some cases this is the ideal way to go about doing things but it isn’t always available. The bonafide real ways to improve is by paying your dues for what you have been given so far and strive for success by taking the necessary steps to acquire it.

Phun-size Philosophy # 74 – Dedication

Dedication in my opinion is putting your heart into something that you care a lot about. It is when an individual puts all of their soul and passion into their work. I believe that if you are genuine about such passion you will almost always receive better results in whatever you are attempting to accomplish. You are actively giving you task at hand all of your effort and if you do you will most likely achieve more success because trying harder gives you a greater odd and opportunity for prevailing where you otherwise would have failed. When you do become dedicated to accomplishing a specific goal you’ve set, it is only natural that you will develop an emotional bond and attachment with it. Because you’ve put so much of your own time and resources into that particular thing it means you care for its progression. This can be a good or bad thing depending upon the particular situation. If you care for something it means you are more motivated to see it to completion and will try harder but it also means that such a bond could be potentially exploited as a weakness. Just like how you probably care a lot for your family, people can use that as a way to penetrate your defenses and manipulate you based on the well being of that something they hold hostage. Devastation will most likely occur if your attempts at whatever you goals are fail because of that attachment you naturally form as time progresses. Seeing your pride and joy not achieve the level of excellence you desired it may seem as if you’ve wasted your time trying to reach that point. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a great sense of accomplishment will ensure if the object you put your dedication into succeeds. You get to see the fruits of your labor and all that hard work eventually turns out into a great accomplishment that deserves celebration.

Phun-size Philosophy # 73 – Reality vs. Virtual Reality

The difference between reality and virtual reality is really based upon physical and digital properties. Virtual reality can be used to describe and can cover the sub areas of computer aided realities where it is almost a combination of the two like photoreality and cyberspace. It is important to realize that you can do so much more virtually than you can in real life like computers and technology allow us to shoot zombie Nazis or fight aliens or take over the lives of soccer stars as they attempt to defeat their rivals. I love technology for the simple fact that it extends human capabilities far beyond the normal natural limits that our bodies impose on us. We can instantly zoom through the earth in Google Earth or talk to robots through Technology isn’t just applicable to virtual reality however as it lets us carry out some amazing feats in real life as well. It lets us do things that at one point we never thought possible like flying in jet pack or being able to life hundreds of pounds with an exoskeleton. Technology completely changes the landscapes of our lives and fortunately for us, we live in a time where it is rapidly advancing at an exponential rate. Even 10 years ago we are able to do things that would have never been possible with our restrictive technological abilities. Basically every facet of life has been advanced in some way through technology like entertainment. In recent years, our virtual “lives” have seen enormous growth especially socially through applications like Facebook. If Facebook were a country it would be the third biggest one. With amazing feats like this, it is no surprise that we thousands of hours of video are at our fingertips or that we can instantly chat with people across the world. With all of these great advancements technology can have especially virtually, it is important to realize how vital maintaining a real life is. No I’m not going to tell you that you need to exercise or something like that but there are certain things in real life you can’t do online. Whether it is writing a letter or playing a board game, there are some things that, while they may be replaceable online, I feel like will still be around for a long time. While most of them might seem boring or slow, they are usually more personal because you actually have to take the time to do them. While you can still send an email or play Uno online with friends, it still doesn’t feel the same as sitting down with the family to play games like some may have done during Thanksgiving. I feel that these real world things won’t become obsolete in our generation but I do believe that the future may unfortunately be one in which people never leave their homes because the social norms of today wont have a traditional foundation to follow. Unless we instill the values of today into our kids of tomorrow, they will have no reason to follow in our footsteps, but with new technology being developed at such a high rate is that necessarily a bad thing?