30 September 2008

aristotle:: a pompous jerk?

Aristotle believed that leadership was necessary to run a community, no matter the size. Humans need, according to their human nature, rules or laws and people to implement them. Although this may be true, I took Roselle Chartock's Utopian Visions class, and we studied Utopian communities who went against this social norm. They were able to flourish without leadership, all sharing responsibility. This just may be an exception to the rule, or do humans really need rules? Although those utopian nations ultimately failed, it worked for a while. Despite this fact, I still agree with Aristotle in that regardless of how much faith someone can put into the human nature of humans, laws and leaders are necessary to organize chaos.

Now should these leaders be the elitists? Is it unfair to believe that the labor class or women are unfit to lead? Back in the day, it was absurd to think that a woman could run a nation. ACTUALLY in some ways, in this day and age, it still is an issue, especially with this 08 election. Voters are doubting Palin and they obviously doubted Clinton in favor of Obama. Regardless of the times, Aristotle came off as a pompous sexist with his views. The term Elitist has become associated with a negative connotation and to try to say that human nature only allows a certain class of people to rule was a ridiculous idea to me, and made Aristotle's theory less legit.

24 September 2008

plato's theories on leadership and marraige

On page 50, Pojman explains Plato's beliefs of a Guardian Class, who would be responsible for leadership and law making, etc. This class would live in a communal area, so not to be influenced by money or material objects while making important decisions. In order to create worthy leaders to form a Guardian Class, Plato was a supporter of selective breeding. HOWEVER, in order to achieve selective breeding, marriage would have to be abolished. These views seemed incredibly radical to me, if not even a little crazy. I'm sure back in Plato's time, this may have been feasible and maybe a good concept, but to consider it in this day and age is insane. Plato believed that marriage was too influenced by emotion and chance (go figure). In his eyes, strategic marriage should be planned in order to create the best citizens. My question for the q&a had to do with this concept and if hints at the beginnings of a form of communism. Obviously Hitler was very interested in controlling breeding to create the prettiest and perfect of people. Also, communism was a communal thing, run by the government, with no chance of advancement. This is very similar to what Plato was philosophizing about.

BTW.. I believe that Plato was supposing himself into this 'guardian class' so of course it sounded like a good idea. He seems a little pompous and all knowing.

23 September 2008

the frustration of human nature

I should've written this earlier because now I don't really remember how this came up, but it was quoted about someone saying how much they don't know about human nature, and how this can be frustrating about the course or philosophy in general.
Of course, I think in terms of movie quotes and song lyrics, so this particular quote came to mind. It's from my all time favorite chick flick Say Anything:

A lot of [people] think they have to know, right? But inside they don't really know, so... I don't know, but I do know that I don't know.-- LLOYD DOBLER

In class there are a lot of unknowns, and for someone like me, a fact lover, it does get frustrating. Knowing that there's no end in sight can drive someone up a wall, but however, I do feel as if embracing that we know that we don't know can help during class.

17 September 2008

brand new lyrics that relate!?!

I am a huge fan of the long island band, brand new. Their last album The Devil and God is Raging Inside Me was based strongly on lead singer Jesse Lacey's tumultuous relationship with God and his questioning of the same questions we are discussing in class. A few songs stuck out while listening to this album today, and I thought I'd share a few verses.

I will die all alone
And when I arrive I won’t know anyone

Well, Jesus Christ, I’m alone again
So what did you do those three days you were dead?
Because this problem's gonna last
More than the weekend

Well, Jesus Christ I’m not scared to die
I’m a little bit scared of what comes after
Do I get the gold chariot
Do I float through the ceiling

Do I divide and fall apart
Cause my bright is too slight to hold back all my dark
This ship went down in sight of land
And at the gates does Thomas ask to see my hands?

I know you'll come in the night like a thief
But I’ve had some time alone to hone my lying technique
I know you think that I’m someone you can trust
But I’m scared I’ll get scared and I swear I’ll try to nail you back up
So do you think that we could work out a sign
So I’ll know it's you and that it's over so I won't even try
I know you'll come for the people like me
But we all got wood and nails,
Turned into a hate factory

Untitled 2- BRAND NEW

If there's any justice in heaven,
Than God won't let me in.
He'll lock the gates and take my weekend pass away.
With a sympathetic wave they'll see me off.
Reserve my golden crown while I am cursed to walk the earth for a millenia.
I know I deserve worse but it terrifies me and I can't take it anymore.

And so three cheers for my morose and grieving pals.
And now let's hear it for the tears that I've welled up.
We've come too far to have to give it all up now.
We live lives that are rich and blessed,
And we'll burn for how we transgress.


16 September 2008

another point..

As I re-read my last blog, another point made in class triggered in my mind. My last post seems to read almost like I'm worried I will be judged on these things when judgment day eventually rolls around. Someone stated that Catholicism seems to be about always worrying about the end. You are born, and then shoved into these rules about how to live so you can die and go to heaven. Now, I definitely don't spend everyday pondering and wringing my wrists over if God is gonna accept me into heaven after last weekend's events, or because I told my mom I would go to church if I had time, but I slept in and went to brunch instead. But when I do go to Church, or have some quiet time, these 'worries' or concerns, rather, definitely take precedence in my thoughts. So I guess this does brings us back to the original Q&A question.. Are we able to live up to God's radical rules? Or has everyone, except for maybe a few saintly people, gone to hell because of the World's current morals? What will happen on this judgment day?
**My blogs always seem to end with these wildly unanswerable questions that I wish I knew how to answer. I guess this is what being a philosophy student is all about.

the inevitable judgment by god.

One of the questions I raised in my Q & A was something to the fact of is there one way to god? As previously blogged about, Hindu's believe they will be reincarnated, while Catholics believe if they are good, they shoot right up to heaven, with maybe a brief layover in purgatory, or if they were bad, they go to hell. I've often wondered, who's right? Will whatever we believe in happen? Obviously there is no way to actually answer this, which as a lover of fact, really bugs me sometimes, especially when I was younger. The only answer I've been given by theologists and my parents is have faith. God will take care of it.
But that brings me to another side of this for Catholics, who believe they will be judged by God in the end. I don't know much about other religions, but I'm sure there's elements of this idea in other belief systems. Now, who is God to judge? Has he loosened his criteria since the World has gotten worse in moral standards? I'm sure that there were a lot more virgins until marriage back in the day, and the number who wait has significantly dropped. Will God still hold me to this?
Raised hardcore Catholic, I went to church every Sunday with my entire family, and once on a weekday with my entire school when I attended a catholic elementary school. Since I've gone to college, I only go when I absolutely have to to please my parents, like Easter and Christmas. Like someone stated in class, I got burned out too. Too much forced church, not enough personal thought into if I really wanted to actually be a practicing Catholic. Is this something God is going to judge me on?

14 September 2008


When I think about reincarnation, crazy stories usually pop into my head. Those people on bad daytime TV that believe they used to be a cow, or they were a rainbow trout and remember being caught. On the surface, it seems a ridiculous concept.
Although I was raised Catholic, and do not believe in reincarnation, I do believe in it as a integral part of Hinduism. I believe that everyone has their own beliefs and when the end comes, whatever they believe will happen to them will happen. Catholics go to heaven or hell for eternal life, and as outlined in the chapter, Hindus are reincarnated.
When you insert karma into the situation, reincarnation is very interesting. The belief is that if you live a life of lust, greed, or hatred and then die, you will be reincarnated into a lower animal. Us westerners (and justin timberlake) put it as 'what goes around, comes around'. On the flip side, if you live a fufilling and just life, you break the wheel of karma and achieve nirvana, the last step.
I think such beliefs is more incentive than heaven and hell. Not to be blasphemous but it almost seems as if it's an easier concept than heaven and hell. If you live badly, you drop down the chain and have to work harder to live a better life until you achieve nirvana. If you behave properly in life from the get-go, you achieve nirvana sooner. This part of Hinduism is very interesting. And there has been cases of people able to describe details of a place they've never been to. Do you chalk it up to psychics or reincarnation?
A Side Note::Karma, outside of the realm of reincarnation, has become a sort of more recognizable Western term. I do believe in it, even if I don't believe in reincarnation. It hearkens back to the golden rule:treat others how you would like to be treated.

12 September 2008

destiny.. a little late.

I know that this is from a few classes back, but as I was flipping through bad cable one night in my townhouse this week, Back to the Future was on some channel, and I was too tired to find something else. What triggered me to randomly think about class was the classic McFly line, “You are my density. I mean, destiny.”

This got me thinking. Do we have destinies at all? And if we do, can someone be our destiny? The first question was easy for me. Yes, I do believe we have a destiny, or purpose. The word purpose is easier to dwell on, easier to grasp, but to me, they mean basically the same thing. I’m the product of very young, very optimistic parents. They play the lottery every day because “Somebody’s gotta win. Why not us?” My dad’s favorite line is “Everything happens for a reason.” And that statement I believe wholeheartedly. Maybe it’s because of the way I was raised, but it just seems to me that eventually everything falls into place. When I got denied sufficient enough financial aid from the upper-echelon colleges I applied to, it felt like my world was crashing around me. However, now, in retrospect, going to MCLA has been a lifesaver. I don’t have loans the size of some mortgages, and I think I’m getting a better experience then those old friends of mine at Emerson and Syracuse. Not to sound corny, but MCLA is evidently part of my life plan, or destiny.

Another question is am I shaping in my head as I write this is, is my own destiny forming in my subconscious, or am I living out one that was chosen for me by a higher being, like God? Being a product of nine years of catholic school, we learned we had plans, and God made our plans. It was our job to live good lives so that we stayed on track. In retrospect, is this ridiculous? I’m not really sure at this point.

Now back to the original idea… can someone be our destiny? Right now, at this stage of my life, some one person is not my destiny. However, my grandparents and my parents have both had long marriages. They’ve experienced the push from their significant others to change their lives for the better. Were my mom and dad destined for each other? Again, not to sound weird, but I believe they were. They help each other everyday to be better people and live more fulfilling lives. They worked well together to raise my brothers and I to be normal kids and to live valued lives. Maybe one day I will have that, but in the meantime I believe my friends could be written in as substantial parts of my destiny. I’ve changed a lot since high school, and evidently for the better. They’ve made me a better person, and oddly, more myself.

Destiny may be a fuzzy concept to most, yet for me, it’s a concrete one, one I believe in, and one I will continue to build upon.

09 September 2008

random beginning thoughts on the questioning of human nature

The intro listed such questions as:
- what we are (origins)
- where we come from (nature)
- where we're going (destiny)

I believe that such questions can be debated, like in class, for an endless amount of time. I also believe thinking about these questions and questioning potential possible answers can make us stronger people and more in tune with human nature concepts.
However, a part of me is reluctant to agree that they can eventually have concrete "correct" answers. I consider these questions opinion questions. Countless variables, such as how you were raised, your stance on religion, your social and economic standings, all contribute to how you believe these questions should be answered. Who's to eventually say "YES! I've figured out human nature!"
HOWEVER, a good point brought up in class was something to the fact that maybe future generations will have a larger brain capacity and the know how to answer these seemingly unanswerable questions. I have to say that that is a possibility because who knows? But for the sake of the now, I stand that these questions are strictly opinion and open to debate based on many variables, which are different for each person.