Don’t Be A Dog

Prompt: Many people believe that loyalty–whether to an individual, an organization, or a nation–means unconditional and unquestioning support no matter what. To these people, the withdrawal of support is by definition a betrayal of loyalty. But doesn’t true loyalty sometimes require us to be critical of those we are loyal to? If we see that they are doing something that we believe is wrong, doesn’t true loyalty require us to speak up, even if we must be critical?

Topic: Does true loyalty require unconditional support?

Well, I don’t believe that true loyalty is unconditional and unquestioning support. That’s just blind, uneducated faith, in my opinion, and it’s likely to end in catastrophe.

Perhaps the problem doesn’t lie in the loyalty itself, but in one’s ability to judge another’s character. As I’ve said before, someone can really only know what you show them, and even then how you present yourself can be false/misinterpreted/exaggerated/etc. So, someone may never know who you truly and actually are; they can only like/dislike the parts of you that you’re willing to show/present on accident.

Unconditional loyalty, in these circumstances, can be extremely emotionally dangerous. Without complete understanding of a person, how do you know who you’re actually pledging loyalty to? Maybe the risk is worth it for some, but not for me, and I’m sure not for some others.

But, perhaps true loyalty isn’t blindly and unquestioningly supporting another, but consistently and constantly wanting the best for another. If you’re allowing someone else to do something that will hurt others and themself, how can you really say you’re loyal to that person? You’d be allowing them to do something that will undoubtedly end in horrible consequences. Wouldn’t it be your job as a friend/partner to stop them, for their own sake?

In conclusion, the moral answer to this question lies in your own self-definition of loyalty and unconditional loyalty. I don’t think many people understand that it’s okay to question your friends/family/loved ones, if you just want the best for them. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean they’re suddenly incapable of unrighteous acts.

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Give A Man A Mask

Prompt: From a young age, we are taught that we should pursue our own interests and goals in order to be happy. But society today places far too much value on individual success and achievement. In order to be truly happy, we must help others as well as ourselves. In fact, we can never be truly happy, no matter what we may achieve, unless our achievements benefit other people.

Topic: Must our achievements benefit others in order to make us truly happy?

Edit: I realized that this entire post could be misinterpreted, based on the way the question is phrased, so I thought I’d elaborate my own interpretation of the question (which is what produced this answer). I payed extra-special attention to the “must” in the topic sentence; “must our achievements benefit others in order to make us truly happy?” There are 3 possible circumstances for achieving something:

  1. Achieving something that doesn’t benefit others and still being miserable
  2. Achieving something that doesn’t benefit others and be happy
  3. Achieving something that benefits other and be happy

I don’t believe there’s a way someone could achieve something that benefits others and not be happy. If it’s possible, it’s very improbable.

This entire essay-post-thing is debunking the belief that in order to be truly happy with our achievement, it exclusively has to benefit others. That isn’t true.

So, don’t get the wrong opinion of me. True happiness is achievable! I’m just a cynic.


Ha! No!

Oh, how I wish I could entertain the ideology that everyone is inherently good, and that we only can become truly happy when we’re helping others. But it’s simply not so.

Ever heard of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)? It’s a personality disorder characterized by long-term abnormal behavior consisting of the following signs/symptoms (note: a narcissist, in the terminology of someone with NPD, will definitely have some but not necessarily all of these symptoms):

  • Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from others
  • Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
  • Self-perception of being unique, superior and associated with high-status people and institutions
  • Needing constant admiration from others
  • Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
  • Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain
  • Unwillingness to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes or needs
  • Intensely envious of others and the belief that others are equally envious of them
  • Pompous and arrogant demeanor

Now, NPD develops typically in adolescence and early adulthood, and comes from a variety of genetic and environmental factors; it’s nothing something one can help. But it’s a prime example of how one is not inherently good.

Psychopaths are not inherently “good”, either; they’re genetically predisposed to have no regard for other’s feelings, and possess little to no empathy. Symptoms simply start arising in late teenage years to early twenties, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t psychopaths before.

So, based on the use of “our” in the topic sentence, the person asking this question is under the assumption that everyone is inherently “good”. That isn’t true.

However, some people are truly good in their actions and beliefs, and may only experience true happiness when others are benefited as well. But, you cannot rely on others to make your own happiness for you. Happiness comes from within, not from external stimulus (although that may contribute).

In conclusion, it is naïve to presume that everyone enjoys helping others. Some people are excessively selfish, some others excessively gratuitous. It’s likely you will meet someone like this, regardless of how they present themselves. In order to achieve “true” happiness, achieve inner peace, and create your own happiness.

 

 

Philosophy

Prompt: In today’s complex society there are many activities and interests competing for our time and attention. We tend to think that the more choices we have in life, the happier we will be. But having too many options–choices about how to spend our time or what interests to pursue–can be overwhelming and can make us feel like we have less freedom and less time. -Adapted from Jeff Davidson, “Six Myths of Time Management”

Is having too many choices a problem?

The actual answer to this question lies not in the choices (or how many) you have, but in your ability to make choices.

Different people make decisions in different ways. One might consider the moral implications of their actions, while another might be guided by logic and not really care about how it may affect someone else. Thus, if there a lot of different choices, but all of them are logical themselves, a logical person might find great difficulty in making a decision, and vice versa; if all the choices are morally right, a compassionate person might be very indecisive.

Objectively, there can never be too many choices. Your own perceptions determine whether there is too much of something. The choices themselves are not inherently problems, nor are they inherently capable of causing problems, but your own views on a certain matter will obviously influence your decisions and how you make them.

There are always good reasons for doing something, but there are also good reasons for not doing something. It’s up to you to determine what your opinion is. No one can objectively tell you that a certain opinion is the right one.

In conclusion, there really is no such thing as having “too many choices”. There is, however, such thing as being indecisive. Any problems that may arise from having “too many choices” are not really a direct result of having “too many choices”, but a direct result of viewing them as problems.

Insert Verbose Title

Prompt: Many people think that the most important life experiences are the complex and difficult ones, such as learning a new skill, finding a solution to a problem, or overcoming a great obstacle. These experiences, which can be unpleasant at times, are worthwhile because of what we learn from them. However, simple joys can be just as valuable. Uncomplicated activities, such as spending time with friends, savoring a meal, or appreciating the beauty of nature can bring us great happiness.

Topic: Are simple joys as valuable as complex experiences?

Yes, because they both [simple joys and complex experiences] have no value until someone applies value to them.

For example, some may believe that marriage is some spiritual adventure and that it changes you in inexplicable ways. Well, it doesn’t. Getting married is getting married. It’s only a “spiritual awakening” if you believe it is/want it to be.

No “feelings” or temporary experiences have intrinsic value until you make them special or not-special yourself. The world is just how it is. For example, an object does not have color by itself. The object reflects certain wavelengths of light that makes you perceive the object with color. So, the world as you know it is just a result of subjective perception and inaugurated ideas that convince you to view something as it is.

That being said, it depends. Some people apply more value to the simpler experiences in life, such as eating a sandwich, in order to not take things for granted as they’re aware of our inevitable death that descends us into emotional numbness. However, some people want excitement, variety. They crave the adrenaline that pumps through their veins as they do insane, dangerous things. They don’t do these things to live, they live to do these things.

So, in conclusion, I’m afraid there is no valid answer. Our entire lives are simply made up of subjective experiences that can only be attributed to idealistic perceptions and/or conscious or subconscious influences. I truly hope I haven’t eradicated any sense of joy in your life.

I’m Not Qualified To Write This

Prompt: When people are very enthusiastic–always willing and eager to meet new challenges or give undivided support to ideas or projects–they are likely to be rewarded. They often work harder and enjoy their work more than do those who are more restrained. But there are limits to how enthusiastic people should be. People should always question and doubt, since too much enthusiasm can prevent people from considering better ideas, goals, or courses of action.

Topic: Can people have too much enthusiasm?

What an odd question, considering the answer is so very simple (like it always is). It depends.

My God, everything in this world is relative. There is never one widely accepted view of anything, and there never will be (see my previous post). Having “too” much enthusiasm may be a problem in a certain workplace, while it’s not even possible in another one.

If you’re working with kids, it’s probably good to have a lot of enthusiasm. If you’re working with dying, terminal cancer patients that have no hope in life, I’d think it’d be impossible to have enthusiasm. It all depends.

Perhaps I should address the fallacious assumption in the question.

Who says being enthusiastic makes you close-minded? Wouldn’t it make you even more open-minded, as you’re interested in the topic at hand, and want to learn everything about it? Considering other people’s views and ideas makes for more learning.

And it’s also possible to doubt something while still be enthusiastic. If anything, you’d doubt things more! You want correct, factual, viable information, and if you’re suspicious about the credibility of one of the “facts”, wouldn’t you like to know for sure? Especially when you’re so captivated by the subject?

But, perhaps I’m not even qualified to answer this question, since I’m devoid of all enthusiasm for any particular subject. Sure, I can be immensely interested in something, but not really to the point where I’m enthusiastic.

In conclusion, “it depends” in the only truly appropriate answer in this situation, as it always is.

 

 

 

A Brief History of Hollywood

With the release of “Pixels” last year in 2015, those who are not easily distracted and entertained by explosions and fire can clearly see Hollywood has suffered in quality, but boosted in quantity. However, it hasn’t always been that way.

Because of Thomas Edison’s zealous effort to protect his patents for the first ever successful video recording device and video display device, many aspiring directors and movie makers had to move from the east coast to the west coast. That’s one of the many reasons Hollywood is located in California, on the west coast.

Now safe from the tyrannical hold of Thomas Edison, directors, producers and developers were allowed to make their movies (in Hollywood). The first motion picture filmed was made in 1910, just a few years before Hollywood became a Los Angeles suburb. With the beautiful scenery and, more importantly, the distance from Thomas Edison’s greedy hands, Hollywood was the perfect place to start a studio. By the 1920’s, Hollywood was the fifth largest movie industry in the nation, and still remains important today.

The famous Hollywood sign began as an 18-month advertisement for Hollywoodland, a new neighborhood in the area. It was restored in 1949, and the “land” part was removed in order to reflect the Hollywood district.

The “Walk of Fame” is also a famous landmark in Hollywood. Over 2,500 celebrities’ names are embedded in sidewalk stars, going on for 1.3 miles, as memorials to influential figures in the Hollywood industry.

In conclusion, I’ve debunked the myth that the world was built on love and compassion. The movie industry, especially Hollywood, is still one of the most iconic parts of general culture, and it was based on Thomas Edison’s greedy, patented hands. And, we have no one to blame but ourselves for Hollywood’s recent failures. If it wasn’t for us, and our easily entertained minds, we might still make good movies more often.

Here’s three terrible movies:

  • Jack And Jill: Adam Sandler, you did it again.
  • Pixels: Adam Sandler, you did it… again?
  • The Last Airbender: We don’t speak of this movie.

 

 

 

Confident Individualism

Topic: Does working with others lead to better results than acting as an individual?

Hold on, I’m going to form a committee. We’ll come to a conclusion together.

Here’s one of my favorite George Carlin quotes:

“I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos,” take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant.”

-George Carlin

If you want a perfect example of “teamwork”, look at the government. You can really see how well that turned out.

Not including state and local debt, so-called agency debt (whatever that is), and “unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare” (whatever that is), today’s federal debt is about $19,456,631,843,000. Teamwork has really gotten us so far.

Everyone’s heard it: if you want something done right, do it yourself. More often than not, an idiot in a group screws something up, and your plan for world domination is ruined.

When you’re by yourself, there are no arguments. There are no disagreements over something stupid, and you’re responsible for every good and bad thing you’ve done. When you’re working in a group, you get imbeciles trying to implement their own ideas into a collective group idea. In other words, there is no possible way EVERYONE will get along. In a world of two people, they will both disagree.