Song of Myself

Song of Myself is very interesting and it gives a lot of profound ideas about life. It just takes some thought to interpret everything so I feel like if I ever read the whole thing it would take me like a year. Our sections in particular talk a lot about nature and how he wants to give all of himself to the world and see what comes back in return. He spends a lot of time observing nature and giving examples of how connected we are to it. To me, this shows he is an extremely humble person who honestly does not want much in life more than to feel content with the world around him. He obviously wants to understand better himself and make himself better but it seems to be in a very humble way. There is no aspect of pride in his endeavors with Transcendentalism. I feel like one of the most important lines is “Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns”. He is saying that he will put out all of him in the balance of the world and to whatever in nature will take him and hopes for much in return. He has a lot he wants to learn from the natural world and because of this, he is willing to give much of himself to the world. The importance he puts on himself and his thoughts is what I think is important. It is a very simple yet complex thing that he refers to. Just himself giving to nature but also his mind and his understanding of everything around him. I am having difficulty fully understand how he is actually acting on a lot of the things he says. Like I am assuming he is working to make things better in the world especially environmentally since that is part of Transcendentalism but a lot of what he says is just theoretical and he doesn’t really explain how he plans to apply it to life. For the time he is writing this, his thoughts on nature and equality to all in the world are very different from the norm of his day.

Thoreau CD

I somewhat agree with “that government is best which governs least” because I can see that government does tend to get in the way at times but I don’t really think that America is ready for that. This is a very ideological way of thinking. The United States has very differing ideas among its people of what is best for the country. While the government takes a long time to agree on things or a lot of times just doesn’t end up doing much about whatever issue is going on, we need it to keep order. Having a specific way of dealing with our problems leaves less room for contention over what to do. Until we can all agree to be civilized and use compromise to govern ourselves, we need the buffer which is our government the way it is.

I think a government that listens to everyone and works towards equality and a fair chance for everyone in the country to be successful is one that would command my respect. Not one that holds secrets from its people or does anything for self-gain. No government is perfect (people are not perfect) and because of that, a good government must be able to change and be flexible. It also must be able to kick corrupt people out and not support corruption.

The role of civil disobedience today can be seen in any of the peaceful protests that we have such as the March for or Lives in Washington after the Parkland school shooting. Its role is basically a way for any citizen in America to peacefully protest what they may feel is unfair or unjust about their government. Civil Disobedience’s influence is very important even today because it says that we should express our feelings about government because we are the ones who created the government in the first place and many times we allow it to get in our way even though it is our government and it is there for us. While peaceful protest can take a long time to make a difference it has been very effective and still is today.

15-Thoreau

Thoreau and Emerson both consider nature very important to humankind. They both seem to think that we should be part of nature and not choose to disturb it but rather enjoy it in its state and spend time in it. They also seem to think that we can learn quite a lot from nature if we look at it simplistically and at a level in which we are equal to it. Also, no matter what circumstance you live in you must accept it and live life to the fullest if you want to be successful.

The main idea of the first portion of Thoreau’s attempt is that we should try to live as simply as possible because in reality all of our man-made subjects and technology are just a distraction to a higher level of thinking and understanding of the world around us.

The main idea of the conclusion of Thoreau’s attempt is that if we persevere through our lives with confidence, no matter what circumstances we may be in, we will find success.  Society tends to hold us back but we must learn to accomplish our dreams at our own pace and think for ourselves.

Everything around us that we focus on, social media, technology, our jobs, educations, distract us from being ourselves and becoming one with everything around us. We could progress so much farther in our lives if we could not care what others think and become more connected and on the same plan as the natural world. We should not let society tell us what to think but rather think for ourselves. No matter what walk of life we come from we can find some level of contentment and become successful.

This advice is important to us today because we tend to get very caught up in things that don’t matter in our day to day lives. Especially for high schoolers because it matters very much to many of us that we are excepted by everyone which means conforming to what everyone else is doing. Learning to think for ourselves and excepting our weird side can be hard to do with so much pressure to wear the right clothes and have the perfect social media account. Our phones also constantly distract us from what is truly important in our life. The sooner we can work on changing these things, the better.

14-Argument

My perspective on argument has definitely changed a lot. While I have done debates in the past, this was by far the most formal that I have ever prepared for.

I argue with people a good amount in my day to day life and honestly most of those arguments end with no definite winner. I have never really put much thought into this until we began talking about arguments in class the way that we did. I have realized that a lot of my arguments include a good amount of throwing insults back and forth. They are usually about who is right about something or why my parents should let me go hang out with my friends. When my parents argue with me they generally like to point out that I should just listen to them because they are my parents and don’t give actual reasons on why they are right. With my peers (and myself) it tends to be a battle of who can outwit the other person or who made the best choice in the situation that we are discussing. In general most of the arguments I am in don’t have much thought put behind them. Since arguments tend to come out of anger they are generally spur of the moment sort of things and both parties don’t have time to prepare good points or a valid argument.

Developing a valid argument takes a lot of research and analysis. I guess with day to day arguments if you wanted to make one formal you would have to take time to think about what happened for it to occur in the first place to decide whether it is even worth arguing about. I think having this unit has made me realize that a good argument takes time and careful thought. Most of the arguments in my life aren’t really worth the energy put into them because neither side is really well equipt for what is being thrown at them.

For me, the research aspect of writing my argument wasn’t very hard. I actually somewhat enjoyed reading the articles and seeing what information was out there about my subject (even though the drinking age in America is not all that riveting of a topic). Creating a persuasive speech was harder. Parts of it were easy but at times I felt like I ran out of things to say other than stressing my points. Making them attractive and interesting to the audience is hard and it probably would have been even harder if I had to actually debate. 

Drinking debate

SO—i literally have no idea who I’m debating against which is stressing me out but anyway…My debate topic is against changing the drinking age to 18. Honestly, I agree with both sides of this debate. Even with the drinking age as high as it is, teenagers still seem to find ways to drink anyway so it seems like it almost backfires on us. Once kids get to college underage drinking is crazy high and people make really terrible decisions because they have no idea what they are doing. For that reason, I would argue that we might as well just lower it. If you look at European countries that do have their drinking age at 18 the amount of accidents caused by young drinkers is actually LOWER. I think this is probably due to the fact that people that age have more experience with alcohol by the time they are driving/drinking in general. On the other hand, the percentage of drinkers between the ages of 13-17 is way higher in those countries. The biggest reason I think lowering the age WOULDN’T work in the US is that drinking in Europe culturally different than in America. Drinking in America is something that is more taboo and so if we lowered the drinking age young people would make really reckless decisions. In Europe, on the other hand, there is a long-standing tradition of drinking being more normalized and a big part of everyday meals. Not saying that people in Europe don’t make reckless decisions with alcohol, it is just less likely.

Logical approach-Their are plenty of statistics about the effects of drinking on drunk driving based on the last time that the age was changed in the US that could be used to argue the age change. There is also scientific evidence about the bad effects of alcohol on the young brain.

Ethical approach- Could argue morals of the no drug and alcohol stance that is preached to us from a young age.

Emotional approach- The deaths caused by drunk driving are very sad and someone close to the audience may have been affected by it. Drinking at a young age can cause eventual alcoholism. This tears families apart and effects many people.

Debate

Should we allow more or fewer refugees into our country?

The argument for fewer:

We do not have enough security to do background checks on every person from Syria coming into our country.

Refugee communities have a history of forming terrorist groups.

It cost the US a lot of money to help refugees settle in America per person.

There have been several cases of terrorism in the US by refugees or legal immigrants.

The argument for more:

Most of the terrorist attacks in the US have been by non-muslims

Refugees have to go through the highest security checks out of anyone going into our country.

13.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance and refuge.

Of all the refugees admitted to the USA, only three have been convicted of terrorist attacks.

In my opinion, we should allow more refugees into the country. Right now our country is at a historical low 0f only 30,000. There is no evidence of increased security risk to our country to take as many as we were and with so many people suffering, we should do our part to help out with the humanitarian effort when our country is as stable as it is.

So far my school year has gone pretty well. I have gotten closer to a lot of people that I wasn’t close to last year which has been awesome. My SATs went pretty well and I made it into district chorus with a super high score so hopefully I can continue that level of achievement in my auditions/tests as the year progresses. Cross country season was amazing but also bittersweet because it is my last year with Mina. My school-work ethic has honestly not been very good, I have been procrastinating a lot and my motivation for school has been at an all-time low. That is something I really hope to change. What worries me the most is that I won’t be able to change my habits by the time I get to college and then I will really be hit hard with work that I put off. Also, professors will definitely not give as many breaks as some of my high school teachers do. But keeping up with school work is my new year’s goal so hopefully, I can get myself to follow through.

Virtues

So as I expected I failed at this virtues project epically. Literally the day I started keeping track a broke industry, order, patience, and resolution. Mostly because I procrastinate and am unorganized literally every day. In my head sincerity was broken a lot. I feel like judging other people is just like an automatic thing everyone does and it’s kinda hard not to. I will say though that when I felt the judgment coming on I tried to compliment that person in another way which helped me think about them in a better light. Also, I had some arguments with my parents and siblings that definitely were not in line with sincerity or humility but I gotta speak my mind sometimes. Over the weekend industry and frugality were both broken. I spent too much money on food I didn’t really need and I just decided to be lazy instead of doing homework on Sunday which lead to me staying up super late Sunday night to get things done. Then the past couple of days I’ve been pretty lazy. I don’t know if it is that Christmas is next week or what but I literally have no motivation to get anything done. Both Monday and Tuesday I just read a book that I literally can’t put down (Heir of Fire)  instead of cleaning my room or working out (therefore failing on the whole healthy body healthy life thing). Patience is just an all-around hard virtue to have when you live in a house with four siblings but I have to say I did better than I thought I would and I think only messed up on this one like twice. Love yourself was hard to follow through with pretty much when I realized how terrible I was doing at this whole virtues project thing but hey I guess I recognize that there are habits that I need to change if I want to be more happy with who I am. I did do dishes Tuesday though so there is that. Also, I found my planner which is good because I can now be somewhat more organized and remind myself of the things I need to do but probably will not end up doing. One good thing I did do was follow through on my goal of practicing piano every day (including the weekend) for a half hour because I have a recital coming up. The rest of the virtues:  cleanliness, justice, chastity, temperance, and moderation were kept. 

Analysis of a Dodo

When I first read “The Dodo’s Conundrum” my eyes hurt. There were literally so many different types of stanza forms and rhymes and everything else and to be honest my brain was not ready to figure all that out again. The theme also felt extremely confusing. Each stanza honestly felt like it could be its own separate poem. I wasn’t really sure if that was on purpose and the eventual process of connecting all of the stanzas into one big theme felt like a daunting task. The theme seemed like it was about how depressing life was but also not. I knew I really had to dig a lot deeper if I actually wanted to understand the poem. My questions: Is the author reflecting on his own life or someone else or everyone in general? Is the author implying that those people in the model town may be living lives of secret desperation or is he saying that comparative to the model train world we in reality live lives of secret desperation? How much significance is the model train world really? What are all the forms of poetry used in this because I am actually not completely sure yet?

The sound and sense questions were definitely harder to answer. Mostly a lot of the figurative language was way less noticeable and there were A LOT of stanza forms to recognize. If we hadn’t been able to work on it as a group I really doubt I would have been able to get through the questions. I’d have to say for this particular poem my writing of poetry didn’t seem to help all that much. I really don’t feel like I am a pro at this even then we wrote two poems. But lets be real two poems is definitely not enough to actually have a good hold on poetry. I mean I am NOT saying we should write more poetry though, I think we filled the high school English quota for the year. Last but not least I am going to be honest, I was really shocked when I found out the you/McGarry wrote the poem. That seemed to make everything about the poem even more confusing.

 

Honestly, I have liked the poems we have read in class. Eldorado had a lot of hidden meanings that I did not really catch on to until we went over it in class. I would have never caught that the pilgrim shadow is actually the knight’s shadow and when he “met a pilgrim shadow” he was falling on to his own shadow from loss of strength. The poem was way more depressing to me when we interpreted it then it was when I read it for the very first time. I really wish that I could catch stuff like that better when I read poetry. I am hoping that we read a couple more poems just so I can practice this level of analysis better on my own. The other kind of analysis with stresses/non-stresses and what kind of poetry it is not really my favorite. I feel like its hard to do that and still enjoy the poetry that you are reading. I mean I understand the point because it definetly helps you understand better whether something really is good poetry or not but its pretty similar to diagramming sentences which I hate.

I was pretty happy that we didn’t do anything more than watch a Simpson interpretation of “The Raven”. I feel like 8th grade year it was sooo over analyzed. And the thing is I learned more in our like two/three days talking about poetry in class then I did in a whole unit of it in 8th grade. We focused a lot more on Edgar Allen Poe and his life than his poetry and we never talked as indepth about analyzing poetry. Freshman year we kinda just read a lot of poetry and I think we may have written our own but I am not sure. It was very laid back but we didn’t really learn a whole lot.

The poem that I am writing is about my dogs. I feel like its a pretty easy topic so it should be fairly easy to write. I just have to figure out how meaningful I want to make it.