Well, this experiment was not incredibly enlightening. I am painfully aware of my own flaws and my inability to fix them. This is typical because I am a procrastinator, and fixing human flaws doesn’t have a due date. The virtue I did the worst on was industry. I am going to be completely honest here and say that I waited until Monday to even start recording my virtues, and even then, the data is lacking. On top of that I am “not finished yet” with my first book, so for every day I didn’t read it, even though I told myself I would, that was another dot. Being a procrastinator is good but bad and bad but good. It is great short term relaxation but immense long term stress. It’s like being trapped in a body of boredom and disconnection while I am screaming at myself in my mind to do something productive. My second worst and most notable failure is order. Like industry, I have short bursts of productivity and organization, but they are short lived. For some reason no matter how hard I try to keep myself organized I just don’t, and it’s all because I am flawed. In other words, I am lazy, and I have no one to blame but myself. My best virtue was chasity, for obvious reasons (you laugh here). My second best virtue was humility. While I am technically breaking humility by stating this, I find it hard to brag about myself without feeling like an *******. So I don’t say anything openly about thinking I am better than others, but there are definitely thoughts, whether they are morally right or wrong. But I am not counting thoughts because they do not affect others or their perception of you, and society is what determines morality. As for other thoings such as temperance and tranquility. These aren’t normally violated by me but lately there have been several back to back tech events. As a result I have been “over indulging” in food, but this is typical. I stress eat all the time. Tranquility is a different story, as when I am under pressure I usually do good, but I can lose my tolerance for any interruption or humor. In other words I can overreact often when it comes to doing things under pressure. While I am disappointed that these are parts of my character, it is human nature. I can try all I want to make these better, but they will never truely cease. Everyone will forever be morally imperfect in the eyes of others because of the very moral imperfection we have within us.
P.S. Another painful 30 minutes of attempting to get my fragile internet to exist in our dimension once again to post this blog.
My first impression of this poem was one of extreme confusion. It was worded so strangely and so abruptly that I had trouble figuring out the theme for a few hours if not a day. When I did figure out the theme though I had already made an assumption of what it was. I was close, saying that the authors little world represented order, but I misinterpreted this as him disliking order, not desiring it. I still have quite a few questions for the poem though. Some may seem obvious but I am obviously not the most knowing when it comes to poetry. First of all, what was the reason behind wording the poem so randomly and strangely. For example, we transition from the author putting his little world together straight into the meat of the poem. The real message of the author that I missed, the desire for order in a chaotic reality. Another question is the police sirens at the end. The message this is sending and the point of it being there is just flying right over my head. The only idea I could have is a representation of chaos in a world meant to be orderly. This is a bit of a stretch though. The sound and sense questions asked for this poem were slightly easier to answer as now I really knew what I was looking for. Unfortunately they are going along the lines of my incorrect assumption of the theme. The only difficulty I had with the questions was finding the poems reason for existing. The way writing poems has affected my analyzing is pretty significant. I immediately looked for stanzaic form and rhythm patterns as well as rhyme patterns. I was breezing through the first few questions but hit a wall as soon as it began asking for my interpretation. So writing poems has increased my ability to analyze poems, not give my perception of them. This is why I am still not a fan of analyzing poetry. And as such, I much prefer writing it. So I am hoping that there is little to no poetry analyzing left, though I feel my hopes are misplaced.
My perception of poetry has changed significantly. When we began it was like looking at dough but not knowing what it was made of. It is pretty nice and it’s good to have. I can also turn it into something better, but I didn’t quite know the makeup of the substance. Now I have made two poems or dough balls if you wish to stick to my analogy. It was pretty nice to write the poems and pretty easy considering I had some pretty good topics to write about. I do still enjoy writing poetry significantly more than analyzing it though. My second poems topic though. It is definitely a pretty sad one. There were several analogies in the poem that would make it crystal clear if you got them. The topic was essentially a cynical outlook of absolutely everything and everyone in life. How a character became just as tough and cold as the others did. This is something I have to build off of for most people. First of all if you are cynical then you believe that people do everything for themselves. You believe that human integrity is untrustworthy at best. I am cynical as nothing I have seen has been out of self interest. Before I give you examples I want to point something out. If someone does something out of self interest it doesn’t mean this is going to always hurt others. In fact, the majority of self interested actions help others. For instance if someone volunteers, they are achieving a higher public opinion of themselves. They are also giving themselves a boost to their confidence because they feel good for helping people. On the other hand whatever they are doing for other people is 90% of the time benefiting others. This is still a self interested decision, whether the person intends it to be or not. But it is still benefiting others, so it isn’t a bad decision. I know this wont change a lot of minds, and I am not saying this position is intelligent or dumb, as that is irrelevant. I am hoping this was an adequate argument for cynicism that has the reader at least consider their position though. Next though, I’m not too sure how adding images to my poem could help. Trees could be used in images to assist with the uncovering of the analogies. It could be used to help set the gloomy tone and mood of the whole poem. I am not entirely sure what else images could be used for. Overall though poetry has become a lot more interesting for me. I am still not great at analyzing poetry itself but I enjoy writing pieces, regardless of how bad or good they may be.
The poetry I’ve read in class has been pretty bad. I’ll admit I did pick up to booklet of high school poetry so I wasn’t expecting anything Shakespearean. It didn’t affect my idea of or approach to poetry all too much, but our discussions did. I’m not sure about some people, but having a structure for my poem to go by has been fun. It is likely because it is similar to programming in a sense. You work out a line and then the next, then I had to rhyme and still have 8 syllables. I plugged things in and put things together. Most of the time the things didn’t work so I just kept throwing ideas at the line until it had something. Then I modified the words to pertain to the last two lines and overarching theme of the poem and boom, a poem is written. Of course this was the physical process that made the poem, not the mental and emotional one. I chose to write about human personality, specifically how people shape it and cover it up, because I’ve experienced these things in my life a lot. There are a lot of people I am close to where, if they are speaking to me, are a completely different person than when they are talking to someone else. I’ve understandably become able to see pretty clearly through peoples “public faces” to figure out their real intentions. I’m not saying I’m a psychic, but if someone tries to put on a mask for me I immediately look for cracks. Because of the personal experience with this and the way of thinking I attained from other people it was fairly easy to write this poem. It was just the structural limitations that I had to get around. I don’t think my poem is anything special but I hope it gives people insight into the possibility that everyone they see is not who they are. The kid you see who acts like they’re on top of the world is likely to have several flaws they are trying to cover up with outward confidence. This kid is likely to get very defensive or abnormally serious when you bring up their issue. The kid who constantly complains how terrible their family is may just be blaming them for their shortcomings. It’s all a paper mask, one wrong step and the whole thing gets torn to shreds.
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!
So originally my idea for the short story was just a general story about something involving the Warhammer 40k universe, specifically the First War for Armageddon. That transitioned to some guardsmen surviving on a daemon princes planet (spot the flaw). So I took the wartime aspect of Armageddon and the idea of a squad of guardsmen and combined the two. This is how I got the idea of Typhon Primaris. It was a planet that I was familiar with because I had played Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution. So I got to put a squad of guardsmen on a planet that was embroiled in conflict but that they wouldn’t die instantly on. Most importantly though, I got to write a story using the lore of the Warhammer 40k universe. The main change that took place over our discussions and activities about writing this short story was the structure of the short story in my head. You see, I was originally just going to go for it and try to write the story with no clear structure in mind. This obviously would’ve made for a bad story and one that was kind of everywhere. Fortunately I took my idea and put it into a structure so I am hopefully creating at least a somewhat bearable story. Overall the perspective I had about writing a story changed completely because of the addition of structure. I honestly did think I was just going to have to go for it and take the leap of faith but thankfully I didn’t, otherwise you would’ve lost a few minutes of your life you could never get back. Since I’ve answered the suggested questions, I want to go over the Warhammer 40k universe and how I interpret the situation(s) presented in it. First of all I absolutely loved the story of the first war of Armageddon and Commissar Yarrick. I found it amazing that an ordinary man (or so we think) could survive his arm being severed long enough to defeat an ork warboss (who is notably and substantially stronger than a human). Even after he killed the ork warboss he then drove the warboss’ forces away from the hive city Hades. Another of my favorite stories in the Warhammer 40k universe is the progression of man throughout the millennia. The idea that a civilization could become one of the most powerful in the world and then fall due to corruption and rebellion among their leaders own sons is fascinating to me. Overall I am greatly enjoying writing this short story and I hope it will be just as nice to read!
The book I am reading, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”, has been extremely thought provoking so far. Some of the ideas discussed in the book thus far have been difficult to understand until days of thought. Even the foreword to the first lesson of the book brought up a thought that I hadn’t comprehended before. This thought would be one involving a perspective on life most people don’t take, which is an idea of Tao. This is a primarily Asian religion based on chaos and order. Jordan Peterson reveals that this base of religion can be applied to life as well. He says that life can be looked at materialistically. For instance, America is a rich country that has some of the best living conditions. On the other hand, Communist North Korea is poor and has some of the worst living conditions. Now watch how this changes when we look at these two countries through the lens of Taoism. America is one of the most chaotic nations, while still remaining an actual country. North Korea on the other hand, has one of the largest amounts of order in the world. “That doesn’t seem right!” you may say. And there is actually a very simple explanation. If there is too much chaos in a country, it is anarchy. If a country has too much order, it is tyranny. So you see, a balance is needed for a country to remain free, while also remaining orderly. It is also actually shown that people like order more than chaos. This is because the human condition makes us afraid of the unknown. This is because if we can predict what will happen, we can plan accordingly. This is a big reason why tyranny is such a looming threat. Humans like order so much, that they can sometimes forget that an amount of chaos is required for them to have basic freedoms. This is primarily because if you were given a choice as to which was better, you would choose chaos.
I mean, if you were asked if you wanted to be a horrible, mutated chaos spawn from Warhammer 40k, or a citizen of the Imperium of Man, you would probably pick the Imperium if you had no further knowledge. This is because the Imperium is a symbol of what happens when you have too much order in a society. It seems like a great place until you realize that it is rotten and corrupt on the inside, much like some of the characters in “The Devil and Tom Walker”. Now I don’t want to create a horrible and terrifying wall of text in this blog, but I am very passionate about the topics in this book. All I want to go over now is the common misconception in the first lesson. A lot of people think that when Jordan Peterson mentions lobsters and compares them to human society, he is saying that human society should be more like lobster society. This is blatantly false, as what he is saying is that human society is already like lobster society. He mentions in this lesson that you have to appear confident in order to act like and be treated as such. He mentions that in lobster society if a male loses a fight to get a mate, a chemical is released in its brain that depresses it, and makes it less confident. This can, and most of the time will, result in a streak of losses from that Lobster which feed back into making more depressed and even less successful. On the other hand, if a lobster wins, it becomes more confident and has a much higher chance of succeeding. This is mirrored almost exactly in human society. The difference is, unlike lobsters, humans can take time to see their losses as learning opportunities, and not depressing self-defects. The more someone learns this, the more attractive and successful they become. Overall I am sorry for the incredibly long post, but even just the first few ideas in Jordan Peterson’s book are extremely though provoking and interesting to me.
My initial reaction to this story was incredibly underwhelming. I just though of it as another reading assignment to complete before the due date (which I did still failed at doing). I regret not giving this assignment more effort than I did because it wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. Usually stories start off with the main character having at least some importance in the world. In this one though, Tom Walker, who is our main character, does not start off with any advantages at all. He is miserable and has a wife that embodies one of the most self-detrimental traits of all time, greed. He doesn’t have anything financially, and if he did his wife would take it all and hide it. The only way Tom decides he can get a foothold in the world is making a deal with the devil. This shows just how desperately a man with nothing left to lose can act. It also ended badly for our main character which is no longer very common among modern stories. That is probably because this is a pretty old story. Overall it doesn’t have the political correctness of modern entertainment either, which makes it a more realistic feeling setting and tone that the author sets. My impression of the society the author creates is a pretty morbid one. I mean, Tom Walker is carried off by the devil at the very end in front of the society and people barely bat an eyelash. Not to mention they were a religious society, and while this is usually associated with peacefulness and fondness in the modern day, it certainly wasn’t centuries ago. The point I believe the author is trying to make is really a trio of points scattered across the story. One is that you cannot cheat the devil. You will always lose whenever you “make a deal with the devil” whether this means crime or, as depicted in the story, literally making a deal with the actual devil. Two is a somewhat subtler but no less controversial point back then, slavery is so repulsive, that even a man who was willing to make deals with the devil and thank the devil for his wife’s death wouldn’t do it. The third and final point seems to be one promoting the idea of karma. Tom Walker spent the rest of his days luring people in and “squeezing them dry” after his deal with the devil. Even when he began to aggressively agree to the ideas of the Puritans and set his horse upside down to try and avoid the consequences of his actions, he still had to face them. This is essentially saying “what goes around comes around.” Some things I would change in the story for a more modern audience would primarily be the diction. Modern audiences are a lot less literate than past audiences though that isn’t saying there aren’t those lucky few. One smaller thing I would change to accommodate more moderns audiences would be the time period. I feel that this story could work with a more modern setting while keeping the same story. Maybe not the religious society part but certainly everything else. It would make it more relatable to modern audiences and therefore allow the authors point to be conveyed to those people more effectively. To end this blog I apologize for the lateness of the story analysis assignment and, as stated above, I did enjoy the story a lot more than I expected to. Have a good week everyone!