I am currently reading the book “The Kaiser’s Pirates” by Nick Hewitt. I have probably been reading the book for two months. Overall I am enjoying it. It is I have rarely read it outside the allotted reading time in class and i’m not sure why. I think its maybe because I just sometimes forget that I have it with me. It really is a historical display of the sheer courage and ferocity of naval warfare in WW1. I know it may seem strange for me to say this but it seems that people were just more dignified and well read back in the day than they are now. All in all it is a great book and if you enjoy nonfiction I very much recommend it. My take away on the transcendentalism unit is the same way I have developed to take all philosophy. I feel it is the nature of philosophy to merely be talk. Philosophy has never once to my knowledge been ever helpful in any real logical problem solving. Philosophy is way to look at things and not a problem solver. If you have a painting on a wall of a clown no matter how you look at it, even from a million different viewpoints it is still a clown on a wall. Transcendentalism is a hybrid of beliefs and a web of confusion. Not to mention, being a hybrid means that most parts of it are not even original. It is a hybrid of naturalism intertwined with religious elements. A total Frankenstein of a concept. I am a fan of Ocam’s Razor. If it took Walt Whitman 150 pages to explain the meaning of life than it cant be right. In my opinion a monstrosity of a solution to such a simple question. On the plus, I am extremely excited to view “Vertigo”. I was really looking forward to it. The initial research just boosted my interest. The film seems to be one of the most iconic films of the genre and some of Alfred’s best work. The movie will also be a great break way from the dreadfulness of transcendentalism and its waste of time.
Here we go again. First impressions are not good. Its not that it is a bad poem by any means, its the project assigned with it. Personally I found the poem to be interesting. It is always refreshing when different mediums of art an ideas compliment each other. In this case we have poetry and philosophy. Id rather see and read philosophical ideas as poems over essays any day. Poems are usually shorter and can be fun to decipher once in a while. It displays the core ideas of transcendentalism without it being mundane, or having to go through the drudgery of scrolling through page after page of complicated speech. My group was assigned sections three, four, and six. My opinions on these sections are that of the entire poem. They can be interesting if you put your mind to it. Knowing my group they are less than enthusiastic about poetry. Whitman’s clear use of nature description and his description of the cycle of matter show his transcendentalist viewpoint. My sections also highlight his his spiritual belief with life. Whitman goes as far as to describe his spiritual connection to his own organs. “Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean, Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest.” Transcendentalist believe that all matter is connected so this only makes sense in this case. This line is also very spiritual. Whitman again uses this line to highlight that he values all life and understands all life with the same regard. A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is anymore
than he. I really enjoy this line and will incorporate it into the project. The project I am very upset about. I fear my partners will not pull any weight. As worried as I may be though at least I know no matter what happens I will still be alive and happy on way or another.
Transcendentalism emphasis the importance of nature on mans spirituality and purity. It is the belief that man being apart of nature fundamentally suffers from the fact that it has created its own world separate from the very force it needs to stay pure. Thoreau and Emerson both believe this being transcendentalists. Since they also drew inspiration from each other it is easy to see the parallels in their work. The quest for simplicity can be seen as a point of emphasis. For instance when Thoreau states ” An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail.” An obvious explanation. Emerson however more times a bit more cryptic says something similar in “It is life near the bone where it is sweetest.”. The meaning of the two passages is that of it may not be mans inclination to live by the simplest way possible, but that may be the purpose of live. The challenge is to find it and that is also the purpose. To find it is to find self actualization a peace with ones inner self through the spirit of nature. I feel like Thoreau is telling you how to do it and Emerson is telling you why to do it. The benefits from Thoreau’s experiment to the average man I feel would be extremely beneficial. Self reliance is the key to happiness. How can you take care of others if you cant take care of yourself. This sort of brings up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Many psychological theories come out of philosophy. On the topic of if I could do it, I know I could, hell i would enjoy it. Men like Dick Proenneke are inspirations to me. The modern reader should take the ideas of Occam’s razor/simplicity and the ideas of self reliance to heart. They may be nearly impossible to achieve but they will change lives.
Throughout this entire ordeal my opinions on debate have not changed. I still think that arguing is immature. Formal debate is just like trying to dress a pig up as beauty queen. At the end of the day it is still a pig and at the end of the day it is still an immature argument. I used to enjoy debating but then I realized it is childish. It doesn’t ever change the persons mind and only worsens relationships. Instead of debating people should change things with their actions. Words can only go so far. This being said I did learn a couple things from debating. The one who has the most information will usually win. The one who has the least amount of fallacies will usually win. Last but not least but sometimes the most important, the person who speaks with the most conviction will usually win. But again, a victory usually doesn’t matter anyway because it will never change the persons mind regardless of how well the argument goes for your side. When it comes to developing an argument a few things must be considered. You need to first think about your opponent and second you have to think about who you are arguing in front of. For instance if you are debating in an elementary school your word choice will be different than if you were debating in a college auditorium. To motivate yourself in a debate don’t think about trying to convince your opponent to your viewpoint. It will never work. Instead think about convincing the people watching the debate. To be honest that’s what I think that adults do that children and teenagers in debates don’t think about. When you have the majority of people backing tour views it is much easier to win. It is the “high ground” so to say. This is because like I said before people don’t generally change their minds over just a single debate. It takes time of constant education and logical reasoning. When it comes to debating this project really helped me. Problem is debating doesn’t work, ever.
Not a fan. I really wouldn’t mind this idea. I understand what the curriculum is trying to accomplish. The goal is to have students do independent unbiased research and attempt to debate any topic. It will strengthen resolve and improve writing skills by forcing students to defend ideas or points they either don’t care about or have no interest in. I just wish I didn’t get the topic I did. I got the arguably the decisive and long standing conflict that was on offer…Abortion. At least I know I will have no shortage of information. Due to the fact of this being so decisive I had previously declared myself neutral on the subject. I chose not to care. I was finally at peace with myself and others and out of the firing line of a possible debate. I have Mr. McGarry to thank for throwing me into the mix. I was assigned Abortion Con meaning I will have to argue against any form of legalizing abortion. The thing about myself and abortion is that I am against it morally but it makes sense logically. So the two equal each other and I remain neutral. However I have to defend a side that is based on mostly morality instead of logic. This to me seems Impossible because in my experience arguments based on moral appeal are unscientific, illogical and have no place in a debate. Morality is an outline for personal belief and a road map for your life not a weapon of debate. I don’t really have any prior research on Abortion and I am going in blind. I guess I will have to resort to a moral argument abundant with guilt and emotional appeal in order to take down my opponent. Something I never thought I would ever have to do. Shout out to Mr. McGarry. Congrats you wanted us to push the limits of our writing expression and strengthen our resolve and I must say you’ve done it. You’ve got me scared, confused, confronted, and feeling helpless. I don’t know how I am going to bull crap my way through this one.
The White Flag
Perfection is unattainable. Humans by nature it seems are predisposed to failure. Throughout the course of my experiment this is what I kept telling myself. I constantly forgot about the experiment over break resulting in me not striving to correct mistakes. I kept making the same mistakes over and over again as a result. Shamefully recording the results in a notebook because I found logging on to a surface pro to be a waste of time and an annoyance. The challenge was a difficult one. Especially the days leading up to holiday. One whether they notice it or not will give up in an effort to just try to coast through to the holidays. We are all guilty of this. Putting of work thinking about the long break. I believe that this was the reason my virtues became lax as the big day neared. The fact that the experiment was over Christmas break seemed to have only made it harder. Whether or not this was intended I am sure it definitely played with the results of my experiment at least. To my credit I noticed that although I repeatedly made the same mistakes I did not seem to repeat a single one every day of the experiment. Each day presented new conflicts resulting in a strong variation among the record of infractions. Only industry and moderation did I slip up twice in one day. I didn’t see any improvement in myself throughout the experiment. I was consistently bad throughout the entire ordeal. In my personal opinion I also believe the construction of the experiment to be fundamentally flawed. In order to actually see if someone improved shouldn’t we ask the people around them? It doesn’t make any sense to ask the person in question. Whether or not this is good or bad I seem to be motivated by other people. If I saw or knew what other people thought I could improve on for the benefit of myself I would trust them. Not to mention I am very biased towards myself. An outside neutral voice would fix all the problems with the organization and structure of the experiment. For the reasons above I wouldn’t recommend this experiment. The entire time it also left me thinking about what it means to be good person. Just because you don’t do bad doesn’t mean you are good. A good person is a good person because they actually do good things. This experiment neglected that idea. It only focused on the avoidance of bad things and not the pursuit of good things. People don’t judge you on the fact that you avoid bad things. They judge you on the good that you put back in the world. So to recap, the time of the experiment was skewed. The construction of the experiment was skewed. The ethical implications of the experiment were also skewed as well. Sorry Benjamin Franklin but I disagree with you on this one. I know you mean well but i just cant find the logic behind this particular idea.
My impressions on the “Dodo’s Conundrum” are mixed but mostly positive. Due to the circumstances I do not feel entirely comfortable on giving any negative feedback. So only positive it is. The poem is at times cryptic in nature and at other times very obvious. This forces the reader to slow down at certain points and at the same time enjoy simple stanzas. It was nice to see a blend of both. The poetry we read is usually either all cryptic or all basic to understand. It was the best of both worlds. In regards to the theme I saw it as saying that despite all efforts it is impossible to control the events of ones life. You have two choices live your life or waste away living a made up lie. Every person has the ability to live and cope with the ups and downs of life. You have the choice. I may be way off but as of now that is my best interpretation. The poem has left me with a couple of questions. Since poets usually write about personal experience, what personal experience has the author gone through to write the poem. In other words what is the motivation of the poem. This I am sure would help me and others understand the theme. In comparison to other poems this one was much easier to perform a sound and sense. Poems like Eldorado had the opportunity to be interpreted in many ways. “The Dodo’s Conundrum” from my limited understanding really only has one viable interpretation of meaning.
Reading over my peers blogs, it is easy to see the overwhelming disdain for poetry. It is hated by students but seems to be so revered by educators. I think that this is part of the problem. School isn’t interesting and school is not traditionally associated with fun. In the minds of students whatever goes on in school or what is taught in school is therefore not fun either. Funny thing is that many popular songs could be considered poetry. I think in one way or another everybody has at some point enjoyed some for of poetry. As for me I don’t hate it or like it. It is just another unit for me. I’m not going to give it more attention or focus than I would any other unit in English. I may do a little outside research but not much. By this I mean just googling famous poems and reading them. This is just really to be able talk to people about the basics and be educated enough to maybe pick out an allusion in a show, movie, etc. The poems we have read so far in class in truth aren’t all that bad. Eldorado frustrates me to no end though. After reading it a few times I always come up with a new idea or possible theme it could be. First it was just the typical greed equals bad theme and then I thought it was a metaphor for our modern consumerist society. Now It seems to me like an outline of drug use. Ohh and by the way it could also just be about being old bedridden and being filled with regret for not focusing on what matters. The amount of possibilities i’ve come up with make it impossible to narrow it down. I refuse to look it up online because that would obviously spoil it and be taking the easy way out. I am completely stuck as of now but truth be told it is kind of fun. Its like watching a good movie or successfully putting a puzzle together. I guess only time will tell if i end up enjoying poetry this time around.
My story has gone through so many changes since I first thought of it. It all stemmed from the fact that when I originally pitched the story to my mother and sister they found the concept distasteful. Originally I will be honest i created the concept out of the sheer spite of having to write a short story. It was originally to be about a self centered egocentric jerk of a racing driver. The driver’s name was johnny Clayson and he lived a life of lavish luxury. His whole world and ideals would soon come crashing down when he falls in love with a beluga whale. He would try to marry this whale but the Indiana state court would rule out of his favor causing him to spiral in self loathing and depression. Keep in mind this whole concept was out of spite and meant to mock the idea of writing a short story. After pitching the idea to my family they really thought the idea of a man marrying a whale was both childish and inappropriate. As a result had to come up with new concept. While researching strange and forgotten laws of Indiana I came across one i could not pass up. It turns out in Indiana it is illegal to charge money for a puppet show without paying the state government a fee. To salvage the main conflict of the story I decided to substitute the love of the beluga whale for the love of puppetry. Instead of the state ruling against a marriage license it was going to sue Johnny Clayson for the money he owed them from performing puppet shows. As a result Johnny would still become depressed and i could keep most of my story. “The Devil and Tom Walker” gave me the idea of portraying the entity of the Indiana state government as greed. Instead of greed causing self destruction as in the state destroying itself the states greed would destroy Tom Walker. Either way greed is portrayed as evil. My story I feel sometimes lack clarification and could definitely use more dialogue.
Trying to incorporate certain themes from Lt. Co. William A. Bishops “Winged Warfare” into a short story will be difficult. “Winged Warfare” is an autobiography. In order to provide any sort of imitation I would have incorporate the authors writing style, themes, humor, and even his thinking. Since I am not Lt. Col. William A. Bishop I think this will be next to impossible. Since I cannot directly mimic the characteristics of William A. Bishop I was thinking about basing the protagonist of the story on him and his moods. I believe that this will work out well considering that in the first part of my story the protagonist is a pretty larger than life confident sport celebrity. William A. Bishops demeanor is naturally confident. After all he was one of the top ace fighter pilots of World War one. I can imitate and mirror this behavior into my protagonist. It will give the main character stronger development as well as making him seem more realistic. In previous blogs I have also mentioned Bishop’s extreme drive to pursue victory and a strong competitive nature. I will also imitate these competitive attributes into my main character since he is also an athlete. My main character can have faults just like William Bishop. William Bishop’s over emphasis on winning sometimes blinds him to make mistakes that in some cases ended up endangering those around him. Like Bishop my characters love of competition will also cause him to lose sight of his values and friends. My character will start to become resentful of who he is after he meets somebody that will change his outlook on life much like the book I am reading currently. I am fortunate to be able to base my protagonist of my fictional short story on that of the main character of the book I am reading because of the niche that my character has to occupy in the story.