Monthly Archives: March 2003

Perfect Society

Defined, a perfect society is one in which every person is perpetually and fully happy. Of course, a perfect society is impossible because humans are inherently not perfect. Because they are not perfect, it is impossible for them to be perpetually or fully happy. They can’t create something perfect because anything they make will have flaws. In addition, no two individuals are exactly the same. They have different needs. It’s impossible to please everyone at the same time.

Then, we should strive to have the greatest amount of people for the most amount of people. Yet, that would indicate that there is a set number. How fair is this to the people who are not happy if we stick to that? There’s another point:

Humans are constantly changing. What pleases them one instant, might not please them the next. Humans get bored easily and need variety. Yet, humans also resist change. It makes them unconfortable because they have to adjust from something familiar. Since they are unhappy either way, they can never be fully happy.

It seems futile that we strive towards this impossible goal always. We want it “better for the next generation” and we keep wanting it to become better until it is perfect. Perfect is impossible. Yet, some people acknowledge this but still try. They’re trying to reach optimum. But then wouldn’t the optimum be perfect in a sense, making that impossible? People change, so optimums can change. We can never reach equilibrium unless we permanently stop changing and deny the essential human nature to be curious and explore.

I guess we’ll keep on trying, until we’re extinct.

Iraq: Some Hypocrisy

There were some who said that going to war with Iraq would cause people to recruited to Al-Qaeda in droves. Some of those same people are still protesting this war on Iraq. I assume if they are opposing what’s happening, they want are troops taken out of there. I wonder how many people will be recruited to Al-Qaeda if we basically lose a war with Iraq. Hm. How weak will they view us? How much confidence will it instill in them that a weak little country like Iraq can defeat us? How many people will think it’s more likely that they can hurt us now? How likely will they believe that that time would be the time for attacking, once we are in retreat, when our morale is low?

According to a news article from Reuters, Mr. Rumsfeld ignored some advice about having more ground troops. Wasn’t shock and awe intended? I’m thinking it would have been more effective if we had twice as many troops, or more. Speaking of shock and awe, whatever happened to it?

Meanwhile, al-Jazeera, the television station, wins an award concerning censorship. I’m sure showing pictures of prisoners of war given to them by Iraq definitely contributes to their “maintenance of professional integrity.” I’m sure showing a picture of a child with its head split open rather than Iraqi atrocities helps “maintain free, independent and balanced reporting.”

Hypocrisy is the ultimate form of stupidity. And yes, yet another topic I will elaborate on in a future article. Most likely, tomorrow.

Oh, update: Minesweeper Intermediate time is now 39 seconds.

Lactating Wine

Today, I’m focusing more on weblogging than philosophical concepts. Basically, some something funny happened recently stories…

This month’s out of context awards:
Runner up: “Naw, I could hella punch you with my foot and eat a burrito at the same time.”
Winner: “All Marilyn Manson needs to do is lactate wine and he’ll become Jesus.”

Runner up context: My friend Ryan brought up how it would be really cool to have hands on his feet. Then, he could do lots of stuff. Feet are useless, really. They can’t do anything except walk. I brought up how it would be ergonomically uncomfortable with a computer desk, but then I considered putting the keyboard near the floor. That way, you could also do other work on top. Humans have a one-track mind, however. I said that it would be hard to do two things at once. For example, say my friend was mad at me, I said that he couldn’t punch me in the face and continue eating his burrito. He said, “Naw, I could hella punch you with my foot and eat a burrito at the same time.”

That’s amusing, but it’s only runner up to the quote and the context of this one (warning: offensive and distasteful): One day after school, my friend Richard and I were discussing Jesus. I wondered how Jesus turned water into wine. From watching an episode of South Park, I knew that Jesus told everyone to turn around and then he switched them. However, where did the wine come from? I came up with the reasonable hypothesis that Jesus lactated wine. It did fit with the wine is my blood thing. Yet, that raised the question: How did he hide his breasts? I said he wore big robes. Richard suggested that he had his ribs removed so he could push them in. Removing the ribs parallels Adam and Eve, also. He also came to the conclusion that Jesus could suck his own dick because he had his ribs removed.

The next day, we brought up the topic with my other friend Ryan, who agreed with us. He also brought up that Marilyn Manson had his ribs removed so he could suck his dick. Therefore, Manson was closer to God than many other people. I said, “All Marilyn Manson needs to do is lactate wine and he’ll become Jesus.”

Oh yeah, and something else happened that was funny, today. My friend had some napkins on his lunch tray, and one of them was blown away by the wind. It hovered above him, propelled by gusts of wind, for at least 10 seconds before landing back on the tray, almost exactly where it was before. That was pretty insane.

Why There is Stupidity

Humans only do things they think is beneficial to them. Sometimes, this can be wrong due to lack of information, misinformation, or misinterpretation of information. Stupidity occurs when one of these takes place.

Stupidity arises because humans are not perfect. They make mistakes. One of those actions will occur, and a stupid action will take place. So, stupidity is an inherent part of human nature because humans are not perfect.

There are different degrees of stupidity. For me, stupidity is more of when it should be obvious as to what the choice should be, yet mistakes occur. Stupidity also arises from miscalculated risk — a type of misinterpretation of information. Taking unnecessary risks will unnecessarily increase the probability of harm.

Stupidity not due to lack of information will become more rampant of a problem as time goes on. Humans are stopping evolution and so the genes of those with not as much brain capacity are allowed to propagate. The human interference with evolution will be discussed at length sometime this week or next week.

Definition of Stupidity Revisited

Earlier, I gave the definition of stupid as that which goes against logic and reason. In light of what I’ve been saying that humans only do that which is beneficial to them, I’m redefining stupidity for agnoiology. Stupidity consists of choices and conditions that do harm. However, everyone calculates harm vs. benefit differently, especially when different amounts of risks are factored in. I’m going with what I think is stupid and what causes the most amount of happiness in the most amount of people.

The definition isn’t quite a redefinition because I consider that which is illogical to be harmful. It’s almost the same, but I’m putting it in terms that better fit my philosophical stance. It’s good that I have this weblog, so I can put up ideas and change them before posting them on a site. won’t be up until at least late April, or more likely, not until June.

Minesweeper King

One day, I will become Minesweeper King. I will have the best Minesweeper times in the world. Minesweeper is a simple, yet very addictive game. I have become insanely addicted to it at times. So much so, that I start to dream of Minesweeper, and whenever I close my eyes, I think of Minesweeper.

My current times…
Beginner: 7
Intermediate: 43
Expert: 142

Anyone got a better time?

As you can tell, today’s subject was less than philosophical.

EDIT: I’m not so obsessed that I’ll go for best in the world, but I’m obsessed enough just to be better than those who I know personally. Don’t bother telling me your times; I know there are plenty people with better times. Another note: my times have changed since this post.

Humans are Inherently Selfish

I am home sick today. I woke up with a hacking cough. Luckily, it was timed such that I didn’t have to go to school today. I feel fine now — ah, the wonders of today’s medicinal technologies. Unfortunately, I have a band dress rehearsal after school today. Knowing my band teacher, I don’t think missing it would be beneficial to my grade, even with my being absent today. Now, on to today’s topic:

All actions of humans are inherently selfish. Let’s go through indirect reasoning to try to prove my example: Assume that all actions of humans are not inherently selfish. Then, humans would perform actions that are not beneficial to them. It would seem almost all actions that don’t provide benefit would provide harm. If humans harmed themselves, natural selection would act against that and weed out those who harm themselves. Even if actions don’t seem to cause harm, they expend energy. If there is too much energy expended in a wasteful manner, and harm will be caused.

Actions that seem altruistic are really selfish on a subconscious level. Giving promotes reciprocality. I lend you a piece of paper, you’ll lend me one. I give you help, you’ll help me when I need it. Giving also promotes one in social status. Look at what that person gave, he’s a good person. I’m going to go associate with him. Even those who give in private… I’m giving in private, this is what my God wants me to do; I’m going to heaven. Or, I’m giving, I’m getting a good feeling inside. Now, I have the ability to compete because I can call the others hypocrites.

There is one type of action that seems to contradict my ideas: self-sacrifice. By sacrifice, I mean death. Now, this doesn’t seem to produce any evolutionary good. By killing yourself, you wipe out your genes from the gene pool. Protecting children, however, propagates your genes. It’s better to protect their genetic viability than oneself’s genetic viability which is more spent. In the end, it comes down to this, the basic unit of evolution is a population, not an individual. Though it’s not the exact genes of the individual, the genes for those similar are still being passed on.

What about sacrificing for ideals? Well, the person who’s sacrificing wants the ideal to propagate. It also elevates the social status very high. Relatives can benefit from the status.

This supports my idea that there is no absolute moral good and evil. Good is what, in the bottom line, helps you and evil is that which harms you. Evil is what harms the society you live in. Harmed societies are less stable and less safe to live in. Less safety decreases your chance of living. So, in the end good still boils down to what is beneficial to you, even when it seems to be on a societal level.

Back to Back Essays

I have one weekend to write a five paragraph essay for homework. Then, next class, I get to do a timed write. Something is seriously wrong with that. Yes, later I will elaborate on how schools aren’t teaching or assessing correctly, but after I do tomorrow what was planned for today. For now… go visit or something. I got homework that I mentioned earlier.

Is there Good and Evil?

Good and evil are not physically tangible. There is no good and evil. They are constructs of the human mind. We made them up. There is nothing that dictates what is right or wrong. Believing in a god could be one way people make the idea of good and evil have real meaning to them.

There’s no way to prove there’s good and evil, so there is no absolute value of good and evil. They’re made up by societies to keep people in line. The idea of good and evil is there to make people get along with each other more easily. What’s right and wrong are really what can make the most people happy in a group. It’s utilatarian by nature.

Good and evil change for societies. Some view some things as evil when others don’t. Ideas also change between people. There’s no way to prove one view point is right unless you define it as before.

I’ll add something else to the definition: what causes the greatest amount of happiness in the most people. Since the suffering of a few causes discomfort in many, it actually isn’t utilatarian to do something such as genocide.

However, what if something, like killing one innocent person to prevent the deaths of others, was wiped from history, and no one knew about it… would it then be utilitarian? Would it be good or evil? Those who believe in a god can feel confident that it is evil. I say, it may in the long run. If no person knows about it, then people are happy. It is good.

Tomorrow, I’ll connect this to the fact that everything a person does is for selfish reasons.

Pledge of Allegiance

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

There are two words in there that shouldn’t be in there, can you spot them? Answer: under God.

In a pure poetic sense, they don’t fit. They sound completely mashed in there. When people say “one nation under God / indivisible,” they speed through the line as fast as possible and it doesn’t fit the meter. Everything else is said slow and fits rhythmically. It also sounds weird that the one word indivisible is set off separately from that long line. When said the other way “one nation / under God / indivisible” it still sounds tacked in there. It’s an exact syllabic repetition. It sounds extra and uneeded. You might as well tack in 100 three-syllable lines. Say it yourself without the “under God” and see how much better it flows.

More importantly, the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional with those lines in there. It forces one to admit to a faith in order to pledge allegiance to this country. It establishes a fact that there is a god. Any profession of faith in a god is a religious statement. No matter which way you look at it, god equals religion. Therefore, the Pledge of Allegiance specifically violates the establishment clause of the first amendment. It also violates the free exercise clause. I’ve heard that it doesn’t because it’s not specific to one religion. If it wasn’t specific to the Christian God, it would say “under a god” not “under God.” The capital letter makes it a proper noun, or a name, specifically, the name of the Christian God.

Some may say, I’m not forced to say the pledge, so I shouldn’t complain. It doesn’t matter because it’s the country’s pledge, not just something I recite. Besides, I want to recite the pledge. It’s not fair that I should have to say I believe in a god to profess allegiance to my country when I don’t believe in a god.

I want “under God” specifically removed from the pledge because it wasn’t in there before. It was added in for the purpose of making children profess faith in the Christian God. (Don’t believe me, look up what the president said when signing it in to effect.) Taking out religious references from sources that originally contained religion would be defacing art. Read the Coda from Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451. However, adding religious references to sources that don’t contain them defaces art just as much as the other way around. What if the word God were inserted all over the Constitution?

Adding “under God” to the pledge ruined the poetry, and made it unconstitutional. The meaning of each word in the pledge carries great weight, and I don’t wish for the United States to deface it with proselytization.

[11/06/03 – EDIT: I have responded to the one comment for this entry.]

Iraq: War Begins

I was considering not writing on Iraq at all anymore, since there were so many people writing about it. Then, I thought, there aren’t very many of me’s writing this.

I was wrong about diplomatic options — not all of them were exhausted. However, I do believe that they were completely ineffective. One reason is that the weapons inspectors weren’t getting far enough. They were making some progress, but I hardly considered it to be working. It seemed obvious that Saddam was just buying time. I wonder how many weapons will be found through war that couldn’t be found through peace…. Yet, another reason was that Bush didn’t care what the UN thought. He wanted world legitimacy, but from the start, we knew that the US could attack anyway, without the UN. And now, the UN is really showing how useful it is.

Half of me is for the war, and half of me isn’t. I want Saddam to go down. I want the Iraqi people “liberated.” However, dangerous precedents are being set by this war. In a specific sense, I support it, but when I look at the broader ramifications, it doesn’t seem like such a good idea. I already mentioned pre-emptive war. Another would be the fate of the UN. How can the UN remain relevant when it seems that any country with enough power can go to war if it wants? Then again, was the UN ever so useful in the first place? It seemed like a dog that had no teeth.

What if Saddam uses biological or chemical weapons? That could have far-reaching effects, especially on how war is waged in the future. Could we drop a nuke in retaliation, as we threatened in Gulf War I? What kind of precedent would that set?

I’m betting the war will be mostly over by the end of this month, but it’s not just about the war. We still have to rebuild afterwards. So, even if the war is short-lived, the effects of it will still carry on. Especially in the economic area. We’ll be paying for it years later. The occupying forces will become targets for terrorists. I’m really worried that we won’t be able to rebuild at all. The American public has a short attention span (something I’ll bring up time and time again) and support could be cut off short, leaving it up to warring factions to decide who rules and how. *shudder*

How sickening the news is… the same repeated headlines repeatedly repeated, on every single station. Oh, but don’t forget the special headline with the special music to accompany it. Sometimes I get the feeling that it’s all been planned out from the beginning. The first strikes were to boost ratings for Bush’s speech. Saddam’s speech so many could debate on whether he was really dead or not. The scuds that actually turned out to be frogs — that’s to stimulate debate between conservatives and liberals. I’m glad for the news blackout, though. Intelligence needs to be protected. We don’t want Saddam and his cronies to learn of our troop movements from CNN, like they did last time.

I’m not going to talk about Iraq again until something drastic happens, or an interesting conversation occurs between another person and me. I’ve got other interesting topics lined up, and I don’t won’t Iraq to hog up all my talking space.

My WWI Propaganda Speech

“Fellow Americans! Too long have we maintained neutrality in this war! We must fight now. Why? Listen to this message intercepted by our friends across the seas: [read Zimmerman Note]

What an outrage! The Germans wish to forcibly take our land. These states have been ours for years upon years. Think of the large chunk of land they represent. Mexico has no claim to these vast territories. They have absolutely no right to steal those stars from our flag!

How can there ever be peace when the Germans continue plotting and signing secret treaties that threaten our borders? Our neutrality is constantly threatened by Germany! United States civilian ships are destroyed by German U-boats without warning or provocation in their ruthless campaign of unrestricted submarine warfare. Think of the possible women and children minding their own business on a ship that’s not even in the war. From nowhere, a torpedo takes out the ship in a giant explosion. A blaze quickly overtakes the ship. There’s no chance for survival. Some are annihilated without ever knowing what happened. Some are horrendously burnt and then cast into the sea, left to drown in the cold Atlantic. Could it be your sweetheart, your wife… your children who go on a trip and never come back — because of the Germans! The German U-boats! The German treaties! The German war! Will you stand for this?

That’s why you must back Wilson, to put a quick end to this heartless, inhumane violence caused by the Germans and their war. America will not let herself be continually harassed. Enlist now! Defeat the Germans! And join the many defending our great country!”

This was written last year for a history project. It hasn’t been edited for the display on this website.

I still think it’s rather good. I’m particularly fond of the image of stealing stars off the flag. Painting the war as the German war makes even those opposed to the war see the Germans as the villain. It twists the truth by making the listener (or reader) believe that the German’s attacked civilian ships for no reason. The US was shipping supplies to Britain, and that’s why the Germans attacked them. For a time, they did have to stop ships and tell all persons from neutral countries to leave, but one can imagine how useful this was in a war-time situation for the Germans. The intercepted Zimmerman Note was very persuasive in making the Americans go to war.

Iraq: We’re going to war

Diplomatic options are exhausted. The weapons inspectors did nothing. The UN can’t stop the US anymore. We’re going to war.

Ultimatum: 48 hours. How dramatic! Saddam adamantly, no defiantly says, “No.” We’re going to war.

The media shouts in glee. Countdown! Showdown! Catchy songs and symbols. Headlines in 100pt font. Repeating the same thing over and over. We’re going to war.

Time is running out. People debate? Too late! We’re going to war.

Whee, that was fun and spontaneous. I really do believe that diplomatic options have been exhausted. Saddam led the world on a chase. He kept saying he’d dismantle this, dismantle that, but never really got anything done. He’d just slowly appease the world when his rate of disarmament was slowly than his rate of re-armament.

Look at this comic I made illustrating the situation with the inspectors. At school, for this stoopid day, we got to either write letters to political leaders, etc., or make posters. I chose the letter. So, I made that comic and sent it off to Mr. Bush. That comic is actually a recreation. I don’t know where the original is… probably still at my school somewhere.

Saddam is a dictator/asshole who needs to be taken out for oppressing his people, using chemical weapons, promoting terrorism, and participating in genocide.

Yet… Although I seem to agree with this war thing, something still bugs me. Not that it’ll last forever or promote global warfare — I’ve got my money on over by the end of this month — but the doctrine of pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war seems wrong by all my moral scales. I guess if a murderer is going to commit a murder, but is stopped before he can, he should still be tried as such. However, can this analogy apply to a whole country? I fear that someday, the threat won’t really be a threat, and yet we’ll still go to war. I guess, I’m okay with Iraq now, but I don’t wish for this behavior to continue, because eventually we won’t know where to draw the line.

The media is turning the war into some kind of commercial voyeuristic venture. I stopped watching and reading the news last year because it was too depressing. I see no reason to start again. Occasionally, I’ll read online, but not too often. Plus, if any of you can remember so far to Sept. 11, 2001, all they did was play the same thing over and over and over again. They did the same thing with Challenger. They’ll do the same thing with Iraq. And again, every single news station will carry the exact same news.

Ah, such happy days we live in. We’re going to war!

A Cool Job

When I grow up (as the phrase goes), I want to be a propagandist. I can come with all sorts of good and funny reasons, but they’d all be covering up my true intentions. I am power hungry and it’s an alternate way to gain power. I want power over the minds of the impressionable sheople (sheep/people). It all boils down to that point. Propaganda is also an effective form of persuasion. I can get all sorts of people to see things my way. It speaks to the masses.

Can anyone think of anything that noble about propaganda? It’s just a cheap, dirty, quick way to win someone over to an idea. Don’t give them all the facts, just the important ones.

I once did a project for history last year, in which I had to write propaganda for WWI. That was a very fun project. I wrote a speech. If I can find it, I’ll post it some other day. Any other line of work seems boring, or fun, but won’t get me anywhere. Propaganda is both fun and appeals to my need for power.

I bet if I was a propagandist for the USA, we’d already be done with the war with Iraq. That’s how effective I could be, if I really put my mind to it. More about the war on Iraq tomorrow.

I already have an idea for a campaign to fight obesity in this nation; it’s called, “Get off your fat lazy asses.” Sure, the initial shock would wear off quickly, but it doesn’t matter. The American public has a short attention span, so I should cater to it, rather than fight it. I think that’s the problem with propaganda nowadays.

I am cynical, but the only difference between you and me is that you think this on a sub-conscious level, and I think it on a conscious level. The inherent selfish nature of humans will be discussed at length later this week.

Real Retarded Ringu Blog

I’ll reiterate for those who missed it, Ringu is a retarded movie. It’s a Japanese movie. They used the plot to make the American horror movie, “The Ring.” I was going to rent The Ring because I’m planning on making a parody of the movie, but they were all out. So, I found Ringu instead.

Big mistake. I’m normally not one for horror movies; in fact, I have a history of falling asleep during them. However, this one was so stupid that I had constantly scoff at its stupidity. I ended up turning it off and didn’t finish the movie.

In the beginning, this girl is supposed to die. The way they do it is dumb. All of a sudden, there’s a negative of the black and white shot of the girl’s face. That’s supposed to be scary? Later on, they have these photos of kids and all their faces are distorted. In my mind, I’m thinking, “Photoshop, blur.” I guess it might be freaky to some people, but not to me.

There’s this cabin that she visits… in the middle of the daytime! And there are kids playing all around! And there are other cabins next to it! Freaky.

Finally the plot plods along to where it’s suddenly night-time and she watches this video. She somehow magically figures out which one it is on a shelf of a whole bunch of videos. (It’s the only one that’s slanted.) And check this out, it’s unlabeled! Scary! She takes it back and watches it. All these semi-weird symbols, etc. Nothing particularly bloody or scary. Yet, when it’s over, she gasps as if watching the video drained all this energy from her. Oh, puh-leaze. Maybe it’s some sort of Japanese thing. Watching Japanese text move around may be scary to them, but when I think of moving text, I think Power Point.

At this point, I turn it off. What a waste of money. Some people claim that the Japanese version is scarier. I haven’t seen The Ring yet, but I’m 100% sure that it can’t be this dumb. Those people need their heads checked.

Simple Atheism

I am an atheist in the simplest terms. One without a belief in any god(s). The burden of proof lies with those who say there is a god. Since there is no proof, I don’t believe in any god.

In regards to a metaphysical god beyond comprehension, I take what’s known as the strong atheist position, that is, it’s impossible to prove that god exists. If a being is beyond comprehension, then it can never be defined. If it can’t be defined, then you can never prove that it exists, simply because you don’t know what you’re looking for. For argument’s sake, let’s say there is such a god. Any way that god chose to manifest itself, there could be no way to prove that it is attributed to that god. For example, let’s say that such a god decided to show itself by using a voice of some sort. This voice could be attributed to something else. Any apparation could be said to be some other type of supernatural happening. You could always make up these levels of proof, just as theists try to make up levels of disproof.

There is much more I can say about religion, but I’ll save it for later blogs.

Green Wristband

This is a a picture of a green wristband on my left hand. (Ooh, the fist picture ever on my weblog.)
Green wristband

I’ve been wearing this wristband since the Folsom Jazz Festival, which was on January 25. It’s part of a bet. Or in more legal terms, it’s a contest. Everyone has agreed to pitch in five dollars to buy a prize for the winner of the contest, aka the person who keeps the wristband on the longest. The winner can opt to take the cash option. There’s 8 or 9 people in the bet, and only 2 of them have been eliminated.

I don’t really need that money. I’m probably not going to win — one of my friends has an advantage since he doesn’t take showers all too often — but I’m doing it anyway. There’s no real reason. Some people might find this stupid; I find it fun/funny.

This is a round-about way of coming to my true topic of the definition of stupidity. It’s best to go to the root: stupid. give this definition of stupid, or rather, definitions. It looks nice, but are they all relevant to my study? I’m going with my own definition. Stupidity is what goes against logic and reason.

Going back to my example, let’s see if my wristband is stupid. It seems to go against reason, as I stated. However, I say it’s for fun. Since it doesn’t cause harm to me, and is only a minor inconvenience, it isn’t stupid — it isn’t completely irrational, unless you think having fun is stupid. I wouldn’t call having fun stupid, because having fun is important to one’s mental health.

By the way, I’m not left-handed; I’m just posing for the photograph with my shiny new optical mouse.

Fries and Do As Nature Intends

Two subjects for today. Wow! I’m really getting into this weblog thing.


Freedom fries — I had to point out this particular piece of stupidity. I don’t think the concept itself is really stupid; I found it rather amusing at first. Yet, isn’t Congress supposed to be some important part of the American government? It would be better to do something constructive and leave the humor to more appropriate venues.

Do As Nature Intends

I go to a catholic school, despite being an atheist myself. Religion classes are required. Right now, I’m taking Moral Theology, and we’ve got this book, Growing in Christian Morality, which says that doing as nature intends, or natural law, is one of many basic moral principles so widely held that it could be considered universal. I disagree with this wholeheartedly. The principle is completely ambiguous. Granted, other moral principles have some ambiguity, but not to the extent of this principle.

What is considered natural? Are elements that only occur when man-made considered natural? After all, humans are a product of nature, so it can be said that anything a human does can be considered natural.

Genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, naturally occur. Is it natural to let this gene propagate and affect others? Or, is it natural to restrict the freedom of this person?

To me, the definition of nature seems to be what is the norm. The problem is that humanity has no idea what this is. In experiments, one must have a control and test variables against it. We don’t have a control. Then again, one could say that everything a human thinks is natural simply because it is a product of nature.

Recapitulating, I’ve just specified only a little bit on the ambiguities of the so-called “natural law” of philosophy. It doesn’t make sense, so I don’t believe one can follow it.

Homework Load

Teachers make a big mistake in assuming that their class is the only class we are taking. They assign homework as if we have no homework from any other class. My handy-dandy handbook says that students should devote at least 2 hours each day for written and study assignments. My school has an alternating day schedule, so that can mean 30 minutes per day for one class. The homework load is never ever at the minimum. Let’s also think about someone not on an alternating day schedule. I’ll let you do the math. It also says students should spend ample time reviewing and studying.

Here, I’ll chart out a schedule. I don’t get home until at least 3:00pm. Let’s say I go to sleep around 10:00pm. (Hah! I’ll assume it for argument’s sake, since that would allow me a good amount of sleep.) That’s seven hours to do everything. Now, factor in eating. That can be 30-60 minutes, especially if one eats out. That leaves 6 to 6 1/2 hours. It says minimum two hours a day. That leaves 4 to 4 1/2 hours of free time. Then, we have to factor in studying. Let’s say that’s an additional 30 to 60 minutes, and it can be more when tests are scheduled. That’s 3 1/2 to 4 hours of free time. I’m in band, so I’m supposed to practice 60 minutes a day. That leaves me 2 1/2 to 3 hours of free time. This isn’t always free free time. People have extra-curricular activities. I’d be dead if it weren’t for the alternating day schedule. Indeed, I had to quit piano lessons while marching band was going on.

That’s a mostly minimalistic estimate. Teachers have a habit of assigning projects and tests on the same days. I don’t believe there is any way for this to consistently happen if it were mere coincidence. They plan it. What else do they do at their meetings? Anyway, on the weeks with projects and tests assigned, workload will double or triple. It’s tiring because I get burned out after having to do so many.

Then, there’s the issue of weekends. Weekends aren’t there to give students a break, they’re there for teachers to use up more time with homework. Students don’t need social lives. Why do students always get more work over a 3-day weekend? How many teachers honestly believe that most students won’t put off the work until Sunday night (or Monday morning)? It just makes life more stressful.

Okay, I’ve been making some generalizations here about teachers. I’m don’t profess to be an expert on teaching, but I’m just giving a high school student’s perspective, so please read my suggestions in the next paragraph.

Getting things done more quickly in class would decrease the homework workload and help a lot. Not assigning busy-work would be a plus, too. Most of math is just busy-work. If you understand the concept, then you don’t need to do 100 problems. I hate easy work that’s just a waste of time. I guess one problem is that I could be doing something more productive with that time, but most people won’t. They’ll just slip in another TV show. Oh well.

If only there was a world without so much homework. *sigh*

And So It Begins

This weblog has started before the actual site because I’m hoping to get my ideas down for it. Many entries here will probably turn into articles. The design of this weblog is undergoing development. I’m not one for big intros — I personally find them rather boring — so I’m going to delve into a subject right now.

Agnoiology, specifically, is the branch of philosophy which investigates the nature and extent of human ignorance. It’s an archaic, but useful, term. The stupidity can extend into rants, but I’m going to stay away from those because I think there are enough on the internet. The main site will be a philosophical site. At times, this weblog will be… less than philosophical, let’s say.

The inherent question: Why are people stupid? Hm, I’ll have to get back to that later. How about the other part, the extent? I know it’s far-reaching. Stupidity pervades every single aspect of humanity. This is what makes it such an interesting topic. It’s anthropology, but more fun, since I’m looking at all the dumb stuff. So, with this site and weblog, I’m going to delve into the specifics, and also some of the why.

So, I begin the specifics with a light, more humorous topic: Instant Messenger language. “Kids are creating a new slang,” they say. “They’re dumbing themselves down,” I say.

One excuse for this “slang” is that it is faster. Perhaps if they typed quickly and correctly, they wouldn’t need all the acronyms. The argument, however, doesn’t withstand close scrutiny when it is found that some of these abbreviations aren’t actually abbreviations. They’re the same length, if not longer than the actual word. Also, the mIxED caPs probably takes a long time, since you’re wasting a finger with all those motions. The real killer with mixed caps is that it takes longer to read. “l33t” is worse! Some of the acronyms are unknown, so they end up wasting more time than they save. Granted, even I use a couple of acronyms. For example, “brb.” I do find the excuse legitimate in this case, if I have to leave in a hurry. In most cases, there is no real reason to save time. This time is spent waiting for the other person’s response. The saved milliseconds aren’t helping anyone.

It is true that internet speech is dumbing people down. Many have confessed that they have messed up and began using instant messenger-type writing in class. Punctuation and spelling are atrocious for many people. Can part of this be attributed to instant messaging? Hell, yes. Someone should do a study and prove me right. Or better yet, someone help me do the study. It would be interesting.

Imagine how hard it would have been to read this entry in that type of speech. Imagine a novel with run-on sentences. It’ll make you want to put the book down. And it makes me want to quit instant messenging. My own typing was becoming horrible, but I’ve slowly begun cleaning it up. Join me. Don’t dumb yourself down and help make the world an easier place to read, or something like that.