Unfortunately, the book suggested to me by my English teacher was not available in the library at BHS. Because of this I’ve opted to read another book I found interesting, and save the suggested book for the next independent reading blog. The book I chose for this blog was “1984” by George Orwell. There are three ideas generated by this book that I would like to give my opinion on in particular. The first, which is the theme of the book, is that government can, and will, get too big. The second is that rebellions or attempts to remove the tyranny of the government could result in a tyrannical government. The third and final is a question I would like to ask and look at, “How can we prevent this?” The idea that government can and will get too big is something I would like to first dissect before we delve into it. I believe government can get big, but not that it is inevitable. For instance, if people don’t screw up and allow the government to dominate them, it will never happen. But people tend to enjoy the praise and reward of dealing with the governments crap, so it isn’t guaranteed that a government wont become too big. The thing about government is that once it realizes it has at least some power over people, one of two things will happen. Either the government will try to further its power to feed its ego and bank, or the people will continue to keep the government in check. If it’s people continue to keep the government under their control and not the other way around, it produces free and prosperous (not necessarily politically stable) countries like the USA! But think of what happens if the government tries to further it’s own power. Eventually its population will realize how much it’s screwing them over and rise up. This brings us to our next idea, rebellions against this tyranny could end with another form of tyranny. For instance, we saw the Russians rise up against a government that people believed to be tyrannical near the end of WWI, when the rebellion they created ended up with the Soviet Union (which, if you didn’t know, was one of if not the most tyrannical country ever spawned). This is because of what we discussed in our earlier idea. The only difference is that now its an emotionally or financially driven mob that takes the place of the government. As you can piece together, this is almost certainly going to result in another, even more tyrannical government. This is because humans not trained to at least resist power reaching their heads are unlikely to stop any power from getting to their head, no matter what they think. It is just another one of the painful flaws of this species. The last topic may be a simple question, but it is a fairly complicated answer. One of the biggest things that has prevented the American government from becoming tyrannical is the checks and balances system. Think of it like this, three children are on a playground , Boy A, B, and C, and each has their own toy. If boy A comes over to take boy B’s toy, boy B will refuse to give it up. Not only that, but boy C will step in and help boy B. That is because boy C doesn’t want to only have one toy when boy A has two, it would be unfair and unequal so therefore, not in the best interests of boy C. Since boy A now has two boys going up against him instead of one, he backs off, and plays with his one toy. Another way the government is prevented from gaining too much power is through the use of arms. The government would not want to assault an armed populous, so it steps back whenever it thinks it is getting unlawfully forceful with it’s citizens. That is up to many interpretations but I am not here to debate guns with people. The last major thing that stops government from abusing its power is its own interests. It (most of the time) realizes that it can’t exist without its citizens, and if it puts them at risk of rebellion, then the governments power would be meaningless anyway. Not to mention if the populous wasn’t loyal to it’s own government, it risks looking weak and even being attacked by another government. Overall government is there to exist for the people, not the people for the government. This is why it is unlikely (though still possible) that a government will rebel, meaning we don’t have to worry about the other two ideas anyway.
The first book I read was “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” by Jordan B. Peterson. This book is commonly misinterpreted by people looking to dismantle Professor Peterson’s perception of life and how to thrive in it. It is a common breeding ground for strawmen but that doesn’t mean everyone intentionally attempts to not understand it fully. While I do not fall under the category of the former of the two groups it is possible I fall into the latter. So while my perception of what we will analyze in the book may be convincing to some, always take everything with a grain of salt. The first thing I would like to go over is a bit of the foreword and some of the first rule. So the first idea within the book is that of how society is structured and how the world can be perceived. I agree with Prof. Peterson when he says you can look at life materialistically or spiritually. While I am not a spiritual person I can agree with this so long as I mention that it is more of a psychological way to look at life rather than a spiritual way. I think it is interesting but accurate to look at life through the lens of Taoism. Chaos and order reign supreme in human psychology. I agree with the opinion that humans desire order and underestimate chaos. People always see chaos as bad and order as good. It is actually a case where too much order is bad and too much chaos is bad, but both in balance are perfect. It is my belief that, while America is experiencing some political turmoil, it is one of the most well-balanced countries in the world when it comes to chaos and order. You may disagree and we could argue all day about it but look around you. We have a police force that maintains order within the population but doesn’t create so much order that we turn into a police state. But America has enough freedom to allow for a healthy amount of chaos, which could be seen as disagreements between citizens or our freedoms. It is not perfect, but it is the closest thing we have to a great country. The next part of the book I would like to go over is “Rule 6 – Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.” This is, at its base, saying that you cannot fix problems within the world, or others unless you fix the problems with you. We can see this rule broken, at least in my opinion, in many groups, such as a good portion of BLM. For instance, there are some Black Lives Matter activists that claim that the world is a terrible place for them to be and that other people need to change their ways to make their lives better. Some say the black community is oppressed by other ethnic communities. This could be true and it could be wrong, I won’t argue anything about that, but we see statistics like “90% of murders of blacks were committed by blacks” from politifact.com (https://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2015/may/21/updated-look-statistics-black-black-murders/). Now I encourage you to look more at the article and do more research for yourself because this data is from 2013 at it may be different today, but it serves the purpose of showing that the black community has just as many problems as any other ethnic community. This can be seen because in the same article it was stated that in 2013, 83% of whites were killed by other whites. So no one is excluded from the problem of murder and it is something we all have to come together to solve. You can see how much this rule means to me though because there is nothing I dislike more than hypocrisy. Overall I particularly enjoyed the foreword, rule 1, and rule 6 in the book. I felt they were very relevant to today and I enjoyed talking about how I feel about them in this blog.
Initially, my short story idea was a fairly lofty idea. I had no structure in mind at all and I had planned it as if it were a D&D adventure. It was going to start and end at a set point, and everything in between was made up along the way. Then we did our structuring activities and I have to say it changed the story quite a bit. It made my story’s plot go from a gas (flailing everywhere) to at least a liquid (flexible but guided). My ending changed quite dramatically and so did some major plot points primarily from the advice, “Read things out loud, not in your head. Your head auto corrects.” A lot of major points had no correlation to each other so I took this advice and now my entire story is 21 pages long. I would apologize but you have my group mates to thank for at least some of that. Otherwise not much changed about my story as we went through the activities. The general setting stayed the same throughout all of my planning and I am pretty happy with the way the story turned out. I particularly enjoy its setting because it is one of my favorite universes. I think the story overall is written pretty well but there are definitely some awkward paragraphs that stick out like a sore thumb. I mean I am a high school student writing this so, let’s be honest, it isn’t going to be anywhere near perfect but at least I hope it will be enjoyable. Moving on to independent reading. I have not quite finished Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos as I have annoyingly been fairly busy lately. I am only three and a half-ish rules (chapters) away from completing it though. I must admit, the book has been fascinating. A lot of people read the book and leave a fairly bad review on it because they label it the “ramblings of a genius” and “incomprehensible”. It really is one of those things that you read and don’t get until a day or two later and after some thought on the topic. I feel a lot of people don’t realize this so they just kind of drop out of reading it and disregard it. Next I am going to try to get my hands on the book “I, Strahd” as it was recommended by my English teacher to me and it does seem very intriguing. This choice wasn’t really affected by my first choice as there doesn’t seem to be a great correlation between them. There really are only a select few topics that books discuss that I just wont read. One such topic being sports, as they don’t interest me very much. I would continue on about some ranting on the purpose of human existence that would eventually lead to a completely unrelated topic, but this blog has already gotten long. See you in the next one!