Alice’s reflection: Integrity – ESEM150: The Perfect Human

Do I seek ways to be open to others’ opinions without weakening my commitment to critical thinking, intellectual rigor, and truth-seeking?

I believe that everything is in its prime when there is a balance. This idea also applies to integrity. In my opinion, to be able to practice integrity: I must maintain a balance between defending while developing my integrity.
Integrity to me is a commitment to my ethic standards, my moral belief both in thoughts and in actions.
Our interactions in daily life affect how we think, act. These interactions can influence us, but it is up to us to decide in what way do we accept the influences. It is a fact that we are not perfect, we have flaws, there are places for improvement in the realization of life and how to implement them. Thus, I think we should always keep an open mind to learn from others’ ideas. We must not be afraid of how people judge us and let go of our standard, just to satisfy other. Because in the end, this is our life. From my own experience, if you do allow them to dictate you, your sense of purpose will no longer exist, and you will just feel empty, feel like your existence is not important.
If I am asked, I am not afraid to state my opinions, and I won’t be offended if someone doesn’t agree with me. Instead, I would want to know why they think that, what is their reasons. Because inevitably, they are going with what they think is best, therefore, I can learn something from them. It does not mean I will have to change my mind, but it will teach me the lesson of compassion.
This practice will not only develop my integrity, but it will also help me to ensure respect for people, allow me to connect with others. Thus, a sense of community will stem from here. If we both have the same interest but want to proceed with different approaches, and we respect each other opinions, the community will be more diverse.
While being open-minded, there are aspects where I will firmly stand my ground. An example of this is academic integrity. As a student, I see that this is a responsibility that I must uphold. Not only will I hold myself accountable for my actions, but I will also keep others accountable for their too, in this specific region. To be more precise, I am not afraid to approach a friend who cheats on an exam. This thought is because I believe that this action will have a negative influence on themselves and community. Also, if I just think that one individual will not make a difference and then, everyone has the same thought as I do, then the influence will no longer be small.
Though I have only just started thinking about my standards and purpose in life, I see that there needs to be a stabilization between protecting and building my standards. By doing this, my integrity will not only be strong but also get better with time.

Alice’s Self-reflection 2 – ESEM150: The Perfect Human

Since the last self-reflection, I think that there have been changes in my performance and thoughts. In general, this seminar is the class where I learn and spend the most energy. The course is very engaging, so I tend to be more excited to do the prep work and other assignments.
I am finding this class to be less challenging than it was at the beginning of the semester. The readings are easier to comprehend, and I have deeper understandings of the main points. On average, I spend about 1 hour per reading prep; 2 to 3 hours per Principle and Practice reflection. The reflection on Gattaca was especially challenging for me, partly because of the abstract idea I wanted to convey.
I think that because I have been writing a lot in this class that I am gaining confidence as a writer. I do not spend as much time as I did before but I feel more satisfied with my works. I am also not as stress out or clueless as I was previously. Furthermore, I am noticing that my first draft is not as messy in content and words. The most important improvement is that I have successfully conveyed all of my ideas into the reflections and papers. However, it still takes me a lot of time to explicitly map out what I want to say. While I am cautious not to grammar errors, there are still some errors that I am unaware of. To improve upon this, I figure I need to write and revise more. Though the pressure of writing is alleviated, I am having the pressure of continuing to do just as good as I have been, grade wise.
I am more active in searching for errors (as I have more time) and ask questions to help me navigate through the assignments. I have utilized all the resources given to me to make up for my inexperience with editing my writing: Grammarly, the writing center, materials from my first year writing tutorial.
I did make an effort to talk more during class discussion. However, I sometimes can not follow the discussion of the class and thus, I can’t speak. Other time, after speaking well one time, I feel like I lose all of my energy to keep on participating. I am doing better during small group discussion, especially since I switch to new partners, I found myself developing and expressing more idea. My ideas usually take a long time to prepare, so that is why I am meticulous in my prep work. As the semester progress, I notice that my ideas are increasing and well-developed. This improvement might be because of all the practice in class.
I especially like the extra credit as it is very mind opening. In all, though I am in a more difficult stage of the semester, I still feel like when I go to class, I am learning for the sake of knowledge and not for attendance.
In conclusion, I believe I am doing well in the class, but there are still aspects where I can improve upon to get more out of this course.

Alice’s Gattaca reflection – ESEM150: The Perfect Human

  • Vincent states in the movie that “it’s illegal to discriminate – ‘genoism’ it’s called – but no one takes the laws seriously.” This is in fact one of the standard criticisms of genetic profiling: if we have genetic data on people, then employers or insurance companies will use that data to minimize financial risk. Assuming that this will be true, would the benefits of genetic profiling still outweigh the costs?
  • Wouldn’t every parent want to ensure that their child was perfect and had the attributes of physical attractiveness, intelligence and athletic prowess to be able to do whatever he or she wanted in life? If so, why is the society portrayed in this film so devoid of happiness, vitality and fun?

The genetic technology in the movie has given the human society possibilities to give their children “their best chance” by providing them with wanted attributes. However, as the creator intentionally described, the world has an ominous color. I believe that the writers were trying to point out that the perfection that we are all seeking for will not bring happiness or social development.
The question we should ask first is what happiness is? How do we define what happiness means and what will bring happiness? People often associate happiness with success in life, achievements, ranks. From an early age, children are told by parents and adults that you have to succeed in life to be happy. We are often showing the picture of working-class citizens as unhappy. People with jobs like doctors, lawyer, businessman are considered admirable, while people who are janitors, restaurant workers are seen as lesser. We presume that people with this kind of job are inferior and that they are lazy or unskilled. When you look into the matter, we can see that this is only what society portraits. This issue is not a matter of who is inferior in some ways but how we treat each other. There are many examples of people who are considered poor but are far happier than rich people. Their happiness is not measured by the number of their bank accounts nor by the size their houses.
People who have many things, their expectations are high. For people who have little, they hope for little. Therefore, the definition of happiness is variable. In my opinion, happiness is being grateful for what you have, being happy is being at peace, being your true self. In searching for the meaning of happiness, I found myself wondered: If I disappear tomorrow, what will you leave in this world? Do my existence is necessary at all? Can one person change the world? I think that each person, no matter how much society believes they are capable, influences everyone around. The interaction we make each day can shape, influence, harm or save a person. Perhaps, what happiness means is to leave some meaning of your existence in the world. We can achieve this by inspiring, cherish others. Small acts of kindness from each person is a powerful force.
One may argue that one can reach their full potential if they know what they are naturally strong at and this can be done by looking at genetic testing. However, we forget that genetic testing can only give us probabilities and that human is far more complicated than just a set of number. There is more to us than just number; there are passion, love, emotion. How can you measure the potential and the impact of a person, what gives one the rights to decide what other faiths are? Human has always been defying against the odd. There are many real-life examples like Helen Keller, Nick Vujicic, etc. Looking at statistics, they should have lived a life of dependence on others. However, they defied their faiths and had made incredible feats; they inspired other and broke the barriers that we assume. There are millions of other similar stories around the world. They all prove that our will can overcome obstacles. They did not succumb to their given “disadvantage.” If they can’t do things the same ways we do it, they try to find different ways to achieve what we can and follow what they believe to surpass us.
Another point is that we can not accept failure how can we grow. I believe that though sadness, failure is horrible at first, they will build you up into being a better person. A person who will sympathize with others. A person who will not back down in front of unimaginable challenges. Furthermore, how can we appreciate and savor the sweet taste of victory and success without knowing the ache of failure?
Suppose that genetic testing does not bring happiness but it can bring other benefits like decreasing financial risk in business, I still believe that the benefit can not get out weight the cost.

When we have genetic information, we can misuse this information and change our ways in treating each other. In business, it is all about work, about making money; financial risk and possible benefits need to be taken into consideration. Under this logic, we can say that having certain genetic information is a huge benefit that is of top priority. However, a business does not stand alone; it stands in a community, society. Business is ultimately entangled with other aspects of society. Thus, we need to be a human being, before we are businessmen. The two side of the scale is profit and basic human rights. Profit is something we create to make life easier; it is a tool made by the human. There is no comparison it with a human being.
Also, if discrimination is allowed in workplace (where society functions), it will spread to other aspects. Like in the movie, genetic testing is all it takes to get into a prestigious space program. We can see clearly how the detective discriminates against an “invalid” – a parallel is racial profiling in our present. It also spreads to the decision of choosing partners. We can see that these testings allow for discrimination to happen.
These discrimination disguise them self as a way to help people. Though their society may have more scientific breakthroughs, they go back into the past morally. Looking at the present, from the viewpoint of an Asian, we are moving forward: many people were used to be considered as mere objects to be traded, women were seen as a pot of money just waiting to be sold to her husband. It changes now, but there are still discriminations, norms that force people to go through. From reality, we can already understand that laws can not be made to inhibit people from doing certain things but it does not hinder people thoughts, and the actions stem from beliefs. For a better society, we need to get past this hurdle and see that there are faults we currently cant see. There needs to be a drastic change in the mind of every citizen.
To sum up, the technology of genetic testing and designed babies, as shown in the movie, though may brings some benefits to society, ultimately, they do not create long-lasting happiness or social development.

Alice’s Reflection: Community – ESEM150: The Perfect Human

Do I remain faithful to my own understanding of the truth, even if it means being the sole person to speak for it?  Do I have the wisdom to discern when to stand aside, allowing a consensus to emerge?

Remaining true to one’s beliefs can be challenging. There are many views in the world, and we are all trying to defend our view. Through my experiences, I now understand that there needs to be a balance between supporting and developing my opinions.
The communities I grew up in all have one aspect in common. They all believe that to one question, there is only one correct answer. This correct answer is come up by the leaders, or it is from generalizing situation given by a social norm. Therefore, I often find myself without the option of expressing my ideas or the push to start thinking about the nature of the things. When I was given a chance to make some difference in a small community like my class, I tried my best but because my method was not good enough, the results were non-existent, and this discourages me. Another aspect was that I found that it was easier for me not to have an opinion and only follow what the majority or support what I was told was right. I was a timid kid, and I want to please everybody. This desire is the reason why I was willing to change my point of views so I can be accepted and not to be judged. I stop thinking about how I can improve the community and instead just follow whatever other people are saying. I continued with this attitude for several years. However, gradually, I got tired of pretending to be someone else.
While forming and starting to defend my understanding, I also begin shaping my identity. Therefore, I believe there is a deep connection between personal identity and belief. The changing point for me was not when my community change but when I start to change how I view thing. I used to resent my community for shutting me down every time I tried to be creative. To express this anger, I let go of my voice. Now, looking back, I see this as a silly decision. When I stop focusing my energy on anger and transferring it to look at the issue from the other side, I develop my own opinion and can sympathize with the other side. Now, I have the confidence to say that I do have my own opinion. I can stand firmly on my stance, though I am open up to hearing reasons from another side.
As I believe, belief is relative. Whether a belief is personal or social, it can be right now, but it might not be tomorrow. Also, there is a lot of views in a community. Therefore, I see the community is a place where I can practice my ideas and be challenged to develop a broader perspective. During this process, another Earlham’s principle that I also practice with is “Respect” as we can not have a productive and civilized conversation without respect. The diversity in view can help heighten creativity in finding solutions and develop the community intellectually, emotionally. Also, the variety can be the glue to hold the community together as once we see pass the difference, the bond is stronger.
While I do stand firmly on my ground, I still think that there are times when we should follow the consensus. I am a part of a community, so I do understand that agreement is needed in community decision making. Therefore, if a method different from mine but still able to achieve the same goal, I am willing to step aside and agree with the consensus. I might not be entirely pleased with it, but I understand that it is not bad. I will, however, not step aside if I believe a consensus is brought harm to a part of the community.
The change of heart is because I finally understand that I can not pretend to be someone I am not to please other for the rest of my life. I need to be myself while taking into consideration what others judgment has to offer for my development. There needs to be a balance that only myself can distinguish and adjust.

Alice’s Reflection: Peace and Justice – ESEM150: The Perfect Human

Do I think about power: who has it, and how it should be used? Am I careful to use my own power for just and constructive ends?

Just a few months ago, I had a very different view on power from now. I used to though that there are two kinds of power: the power of each and power of someone has authority.
I used to think that individual only has the power to change their own lives and not others. Only people with authority have the power to influence others life. People with authority can be divided into two groups: holding jobs which have legal or economic authority and being high orders in the social hierarchy. In Vietnam, it is the norm that people holds important jobs in the government are people who are born into families with high social positions and many connections. Vietnamese people have the tradition of respecting older people and thus, this tradition gives some people the power over others. The tradition is taken seriously to the point of not encouraging people from lower orders to raise their own opinions. While there are many exceptions to my observations, in general, I believe that these understandings have turned into truth in life. One may argue that helping others is essential; however, I used to think that individual’s power and influence are insignificant.
Now, I see that one person can have an unimaginable power. Reading stories and watching others, I realize that the smallest action such as a smile can influence and potentially change someone life. I once read a story about a man say that he was going to end his life if it wasn’t for a boy he rides the bus smiling at him every day. A small action can change people’s perception, prejudice, and stereotypes. I am taught that blue collar jobs are for lazy people who did not work hard in school. When I look at workers in Vietnam, they always look so tired, unhappy and they always talk in a hostile tone. Also, those people never say or act like they love their job. Thus, I have set a stereotype on blue collar worker. But this change when I start seeing documentaries of Japanese people saying how and what they love about their jobs. Then when I came here to Earlham, I see how all the faculty and staff love their job and seem to have fun doing it. They all change my perceptions.
Now, I see that the thing we do every day has an unintentional effect on people around us. I now understand that we all have power. This power manifests in the shape of our actions, interaction in everyday life. We should use it to improve the life of those around us. Life is difficult, life is hard and fills with conflicts. However, each person has the power to change it.
Now that I notice my own power, I see myself as responsible to speak out against the unjust I see and help others. Though I can see my power helping to construct a better society, there are still questions that I ponder. I am scared of being judged and rejected by society. Also, in Vietnam, having opposing ideas is usually considered a bad thing or something unimportant both socially and legally. Therefore, I just can’t help but think that though I have the power of helping those around me, I am limited when I want to do something bigger, greater. Unjustly is not uncommon in Vietnam. We usually read articles about how people with power or money can get away with most of their demeanor. Most of the time, I see that people will just speak aggressively on social media and not do anything in reality. Those who do stand up and take actions are considered to be disrupting the community. Thus, currently, I do not see how I can help to create a community where justice is present. I believe I need to learn more and develop my ability in order to address such problems.

Alice’s Reflection 5 – Respect for persons – ESEM150

Do I examine myself for evidence of prejudice, and then work to overcome it?

Growing up, I used to always listen to what adults tell me, I used to let them decide for me what is right and what is wrong. I never questioned why they believed such things because a “good” girl always listens and never talks back. However, as I got access to the internet, I started questioning my belief, I started to wonder if what I had been told were right. Then, I began seeing prejudices in my community in forms ranging from small everyday activities to huge decisions in life. That is also when I started to examine myself for prejudice, bias opinion, and belief.

The first prejudice which I had overcome is the sexuality of man. When I was small, I never saw two men married or in love. Thus, when I first knew about men being in love, I felt uncomfortable with this idea. I thought that it is not natural for two men to be together. Then, I read a love story between two men without knowing at first that the two characters are both men. When I realized this, I was shocked because I ultimately found no difference in the love between a man and a woman and two men. I watched videos of people sharing what is like to be gay men in this world. Their words hit me hard as they told about how they are being rejected just because of who they are. I did not understand till then that I had been indirectly hurting other people basing on no rationale, no fact, no truth. I knew then that my past belief was wrong. However, my prejudice did not disappear. Deep inside, I still had a bias as I still saw differences between straight and gay men. Surprisingly, the thing that eliminated my prejudice was a Facebook post. One day, I came across a post with a photo of a college classroom. In this photo, the professor assigned a set of questions as homework for students. The question that broke my prejudice was: Why do you think that it is normal for you to like the opposite sex? After some thinking, it struck me that the “normal” standard that I had held onto was only based on what I saw in the majority. I was so fixated on being like everyone else, scared of the things I didn’t understand that I forgot to look at the true nature of this issue.

From these experiences, I keep on looking back to my belief and ask myself these questions: based on what rationale, do I believe this; what is normal and who set this standard; what do the other side think and why do they think so. This process combines with the power of information pushes me to eliminate other prejudices.

However, I believe that it is complicated to realize our prejudice as we always think that we are right and we tend to get defensive if our beliefs are challenged. Therefore, I need a subjective way to examine my prejudice. An incident has identified for me a way to test and overcome prejudice. Just before coming to the US, my grandmother told me to learn and explore the world, but she ended that conversation by telling me that ultimately, I should find a good man to marry because that is where my happiness will come from. Through this incident, I realize that respect and prejudice are relative and they are based on the wisdom, and experience each person has. Therefore, to be able to erase prejudice I must expand my knowledge and perspective. I need to actively learn more about things that I feel uncomfortable or disagree with to go to the core of the problems and test if it is a prejudice or not.

In conclusion, I see that it is my duty to keep on examine myself for prejudice, for bias and learn more about these subject to broaden my view and eliminate divisions. Furthermore, I also see that it is necessary for me to speak out about the prejudice that I understand and have overcome. As I see a part of what helps me remove my prejudice is little push from the world, so I want to do the same for other people.

Alice’s Implicit Bias Reflection – ESEM150

I took 3 Implicit Association Tests: Gender-Career, Age, and Race. The results of these tests do not surprise me, but they do evoke a question that makes me think.
Before taking these tests, I have already known that though I try to eliminate all prejudices, I have many implicit biases. Those biases are gradually formed in my younger day by the value that my community, my nation uphold, by the people around me, and by the media references which I was exposed to.
The 1st test I took gives me the result that I associate male with career and female with family. Though I believe that men and women are equal, I know that deep inside I still believe that there are things that are meant to describe women and things meant to describe men. If this order is reversed, it will either make me feel uncomfortable, unnatural. It could also make me judge people in wrong ways. For example, I see men as incapable if they are not employed, but I do not necessarily see that if a woman is unemployed. If I see a businesswoman, though I am in awe at her success, I still feel it is somehow abnormal.
The 2nd test I took say I preference young people over old people. I strongly believe that this preference comes from my personal experience of living with my grandparents. The difference between generation is so large that sometimes it leaves me stunned and confused. The last few decades have brought a significant change unlike ever before in the history of Vietnam(my home country). The globalization has brought information, knowledges that are unprecedented and the young people started having a voice, a control over their life, moral rules started to lessen, and some value disappeared. Though I understand that old people have much wisdom, it is hard to communicate with them when they are holding the view that they are superior. This one small hinder blocks me from making real conversation without the use of complex skill of indication and extreme delicacy.
The 3rd test I took is about race: black vs. white. I am Asian, and I live in a country where black or white people are rare. Since a young age, I have been exposed to the image of foreign countries, foreign people and in my memory, they are all white. The country of white people is often associated with high technology, civilized community. It was later in my education that I learn about Africa and people of different skin color. Though I am not white, white skin is more normal to me. Not only that, in my community, whiter skin is considered desirable as it shows one’s affluence and the media loves to show an image of beauty with white as snow skin. Black skin is considered to associate with hardship in life. It was only till I saw pictures of black models that I realized black is just as beautiful as white.
These biases affect my judgments, actions in everyday life. Sometimes, without realizing, I am discriminating against others. To change my bias, the solution I have tried is to get to know more about the people you do not prefer, get to know them, understand how they think and why; always make an effort to be fair to everyone. I tried this method not to discriminate the LGBT community, and in the end, I see that the differences I once thought there were are just differences I made up since everybody is unique, difference, why should I dwell on that and judge other when I know just one fact about them. I think this is the most straightforward method to eliminate bias.

Alice’s Self-reflection__ESEM 150: The Perfect Human

When signing up for this seminar: The Perfect Human, I was afraid that I would not do well or be able to learn because of the language barrier, and my shyness. However, more than one month after starting this course, I believe I am doing well.

This seminar is my first seminar and the first time I got the opportunity to critically think and express my opinions on a subject that interests me. In the beginning, I did struggle a bit with raising my views and contributing to discussions. I was hard for me to come up with ideas or questions to speak during discussions. Also, I was afraid of saying something stupid. But I decided to try my best and now, I see that I can comfortably participate in discussions. Another improvement I have made during this class is my writing skill. Through the reflections and paper, I am building up my writing skills and confidence.

I am currently spending about 1.5 hours prepping for each class. For reflections, I spend a minimum of 4 hours to write and edit. The most time and effort I have devoted to this course is on the Brave New World paper. I started this paper before it was assigned and it took me more than 14 hours to write drafts. In general, I spend a large distribution of my studying time in this class. All of these time and effort reflects on the results I received: I got higher grades than I do in other classes. Furthermore, the skills and information I absorbed in this class are significant. I learned how to engage in conversation, develop and support my opinions. I also got to hear a variety of ideas on matters that open up my perspective.

I have only asked questions when I don’t understand a scientific concept. I do realize that I should have asked my classmates more questions about their opinions to gain more insight on how different people see things.

I think I am using resources wisely. I not only read but also take note on all the readings and sometimes the discussion we have in class. I write down ideas that spontaneously appear in class discussions for later conversations or essays. The online resources (Learn.Genetics, Purdue OWL, Grammarly) increase my comprehension and improve my writing. The writing center guides me on expressing my idea and fixes my grammar errors. Also, the comment I receive on previous assignment incorporate with another class I am taking ACEN 100 is helping me express my idea better.

I do review my work for possible errors. I also run my writing assignments through Grammarly to catch errors I did not notice. I have fixed some repeating mistakes. I can pay more attention to finding previous mistakes when editing a new assignment. However, I am searching for a better way to not make the same mistake again. After the Brave New World paper, I also learn to space a few days between the revision and editing period not to be overwhelmed by my work.

I am contented and proud of my performance and work in the course so far. But I do think that I can do better than this by doing the above suggestions: actively participating in class, improving simple writing mistakes.

Alice’s Reflection 2 – ESEM 150: The Perfect Human

Though the movie X-Men is based on science fiction, it brings up many interesting issues that are similar to our world today. In the film, some over-aggressive mutants’ actions have made human more scared of them. Similarly, in our world, the act of Islam terrorist has created Islamophobia. The choice of William Stryker is an excellent example of the mind set of discrimination against people who are different.

The discrimination against Muslim does not start after the September 11 attacks, but this event has since inflated the discrimination. There is no arguing that the September 11 attacks and activities of terrorists are inhumane and horrifying. They stir up fear inside the public. The public then gradually transform the fear into hatred. However, the terrorists and Muslim around the world are different. So, we must ask ourselves why. Why do we associate all Muslim in the world with terrorists?

In my opinion, the fear spread by the terrorist has fogged people’s judgment. They are so afraid of these actions that an impression is imprinted on their subconscious. Thus, their minds naturally associate two distinct concepts: Muslim and terrorist. Their fears then hinder them from trying find and understand the difference between the terrorists’ idea and a genuine teaching of Islam. The terrorists have a twisted perspective of true Islam, and they are trying to impose this point of view on other by killing, in contrast to the teaching of Islam, like all other religion, which is to care for other and create peace in the world. People’s fear kept them from seeing this fact.

People are scared that the terrorist will kill them. Thus, as a coping mechanism, people gradually turn fear into hatred. This hatred then turns to prejudice against all Muslim, because it is easier for us to blame other, to hurt other so that we can feel assured.

As mentioned before, discrimination against Muslim is not only caused by the terrorist’s activities but also because how different they are. We are afraid of what we don’t understand. If we can’t understand something, we have the sense that this thing can take control over us and somehow affect the stability of our life. We want the world around us to be as we know it, understand it. If something different comes along, we try to push them away to eliminate the uneasy feelings. We find a simple way is to deny them without knowing more. This desire to control, desire for power is the root of fear.

Similarly, in the movie X-Men, people are discriminating against mutants because they are different, not normal. They are not easy to control as ordinary people. Thus, even if there is a slight chance that they might rise and take power away from non-mutants, non-mutants will do anything to hold on to their stability. I believe this is the core of William Stryker’s view.

Right from early life, Stryker has been anti-mutant. His view that mutants and non-mutants are at war can be traced back to his experience. Stryker is a man who had been through war. The horrifying of war partially built his idea of controlling or killing mutants as their ability is superior to non-mutants. Therefore, because of the difference, he sees them not as human but as a new threatening species that need to be fix or control.

How ironic life is that his son is a mutant and he is the one who passes on the gene to his son. He was so overwhelmed by this fact that he tries to get his son fix. When he started to accept his son as a mutant, it was already too late. His son then seeing his mutant ability as a curse drove his mother crazy and killed hers. This incident is fate’s cruel joke. As the same time, it can also be seen as cause and effect. Stryker had done horrible thing to mutants, and now he is living in a nightmare made by a special mutant – his son. Fate set him up, throw at him the consequence of his action. There is nothing he can do to change this. But what he does to deal with this is what matter.

In the movie, his grief has consumed him and transform into anger as a coping mechanism. His action is his way of showing and relieving the pain he had felt. This incident is a chance for Stryker to change his way. He can exploit this hardship to do better. In my opinion, hardship can be painful and unbearable, but they also have the effect of pushing humanity forward. When you think about it, how can you no true pleasure without knowing pain. One may argue that true happiness can be achieved without pain or sorrow, but that is just superficial pleasure, they are tricking your sense into believing it. Pain allows us to appreciate more; pain can motivate us to act well.

He had choices. However, he chose to let this tragedy to magnify his hate for mutants.

Though Stryker’s action is inhumane and I don’t agree with them, I can have empathy with him as we can not judge what other people are really going through. We can only decide for ourselves. If I were put in his position, I can not guarantee that I will do differently than him. Maybe I will do something much worse. But in a perfect scenario, I can see that if he can move away from the grieve, take a step back and look at the situation; he can see that if his son has understood to love himself, as other mutants should, this disaster would not have happened. Using this as a motivation, he can help other mutants to be able to be themselves.

In conclusion, we are continuously being hindered by our belief that everything is under our control, that everything different from our knowledge is a threat to happiness. In the case of Islamophobia or William Stryker, this belief has caused discrimination and prejudice; thus, creating pain for others. In our world, discrimination, prejudice is continuously happening and renewing. To remove them, we need to think back to ourselves, learning and renewing our knowledge about the world, about how to accept differences.


What truly brings joy to my life? How can I organize my life to be in touch with that joy?

In my life, there are three major aspects: intellectual, physical, and emotional needs. When these three elements are in balance, I gradually start growing into a person capable of finding and experiencing the true joy of my life.

As a college student and as a part of a learning community, I see learning as a necessity. It is also a privilege to have the opportunity to be able to learn in an environment where a vast array of subjects is presented to me. My time here at Earlham is a time to explore and to develop my interest, my passion by employing the college’s resources. This is the step where I will build the base for my future life. I believe that I can utilize the knowledge I learn here at Earlham College to pursue my passion and to help others. To make the best out of the resources here, I need a healthy body. I have to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly and have enough sleep. By staying fit, I can be more productive at studying.

In my opinion, social relations assist me to thrive and to utilize the best of my ability. The social relationships that I need are family and friends. My family is where I begin my journey as a person, where I first learn what is like to be loved or needed and know how to love and to care for others. Love is the base to build other characteristics. Thus, I see caring and loving my family as a top priority. While my family is important, friends also help to form a person. Every day, I meet new people, sometimes I make new friends. And those interaction is what contributes to my perspective on life. Gradually, they affect my way of acting too. My peers in Vietnam had somewhat pushed me to be the person I am today. When I saw their confidence, creativity, initiative, I thought to myself: I want to be like that too. Therefore, I stepped out of my comfort zone, try to surpass my old self. Then, I learned amazing facts about life, experienced warm feelings which can not be described by words.

In many ways, all aspect connects to each other. They enhance each other. However, recently, I have found religion, something which can further build-up my 3-important needs. I see religion as a way of living, a source for learning, a method to help everyone around you. It helps you balance intellectual, physical, and social needs. The religion that I am starting to practice is Buddhism. Through my mother’s practice, I saw how it could provide you the knowledge to help and interact with people.

While my three aspects are distinct, I believe ultimately those three all push me toward the nature of joy: helping others.

But to reach toward the nature of joy, I acknowledge a clear plan must be made. How to set a plan for a life of simplicity? There are certain things I need to pay attention to. Firstly, life is full of distractions, from technology, social standard, pressure. These distractions from time to time have led me astray from my path, push me into the mold that others accept. But simplicity must also start from within: what you think, what you believe. Others’ opinions should be taken into account when establishing your simplicity guideline, but they should not be the deciding factors. Thus, a balance between outside and inside opinions is needed to bring joy to my life.

Secondly, a life style starts from little habits. I have been trying to create beneficial habits, one at a time. A few habits which I have built: staying focus and committed; asking questions, looking, finding and understanding the core of a problem; eating right, exercising for a healthy body; opening up to people, but still staying true to yourself; taking care of others, helping those in need. These habits gradually become part of who I am. Now, I am trying to come up with new habits to practice.

Life is always changing. There are times when I walk in a new stage of my life. When my life goes into a transition, I will need to contemplate and figure out a new plan to keep my life balanced. At present, an important part of my life become almost detached. As I am studying in the United States, I am thousands of miles away from my family. The everyday family talks I used to take for granted now become much harder. Thus, I put a particular time on my weekly schedule to stay in contact with them.

In conclusion, the thing that truly brings joy to my life is helping people. However, in order to do this, I need to balance my intellectual, physical and emotional needs to develop myself into someone capable of helping others.