Integrity

Do I work to minimize the gap between my actions and my convictions?

I work to minimize the gap between my convictions and my actions through a variety of ways.  First off I look within my self and at the world around me to establish my convictions, and why I believe this because I think that it is useless to have beliefs if you do not know why they are your convictions or why you believe in them.  Secondly, I look to the world around me for inspiration on how to express my convictions, and then I go from there.  Another thing I do is try not to be to outright with my beliefs because that is bound to backfire spectacularly.  I also try not to force my convictions upon anybody because that is bound to lead to disaster as well because nobody likes being forced to believe anything.  I prefer to express my convictions as another option, but if they don’t agree, then that is fine.  I also try to minimize the gap between my convictions and my actions, by demonstrating some of my convictions in nonspoken ways, such as how I dress, and how I work, and the what not.  There will always be a gap because I have a conviction that getting angry is counterproductive, so I try not to get angry, but sometimes I do. Another example is that I find the words love and hate to be used too often in modern diction to be an accurate representation of the original meanings of primal emotion.  Because of this, I try to use those words as little as possible to at least have some meaning to me.  There will also always be other reasons for a gap because sometimes you have to compromise your own, lesser, convictions just make everything work out.

Self-Assessment 2

I think I am doing well enough in the course at the moment, I’m a bit slow on responding to the reflections and the other Epress assignments though.  I am spending time on this course, and am producing the quality of work that coincides with that amount of time, but then again it depends on your definition of what quality work is.  I don’t really ask questions, but then again I don’t think that I have needed help to that extent.  I am trying to use available resources wisely, but sometimes I just slip up.  Sometimes I review and rewrite my work, but I definitely prioritize other classes over this ESEM sometimes, especially when the work for other classes is worth more to the overall grade than what is assigned in the ESEM.  I would not say that I am proud, but then again I am content that I do the best that I can because you can never to worse or better than your best at the anygiven moment.  I definitely could care a bit more about the ESEM, but I am finding it rather repetitive, and we, at least to me, are really only talking about the same thing, but with a different name and basic information.  I’m still having trouble with the word limit on these blog posts, and I feel that these posts are making it hard for me to be concise because I feel that I need to reach the word limit.  For example, I am at 259 words at the end of this sentence.  At this point, anything after this is could be considered fluff.  I find it rather difficult to focus on some of the assignments that I have to do for this class, especially the online assignments.  I also find the papers to be difficult to focus on as well because I feel that these last two are the same paper just over slightly different topics, but the topics are still related.  I guess this is why I don’t really fully do parts of these discussions topics,  I think that I am just becoming tired, and in need of a change up from the routine, and my guess is this will happen in most of my courses throughout college.  I was also hoping to escape this in college because this was my attitude through my last two years of high school.  I guess in high school I was also getting more and more annoyed at the personalities in my school, and the fact that I felt that I didn’t entirely fit in, I guess I just felt that there was not anything for me in high school, other than a transition to college.  I mean I still had friends, but I did not entirely fit with those groups, and I did not really find any kindred spirits who felt or thought the way I did, but then again I was still happy, for the most part.  I guess I just really do not like modern society and its superficialness, but what can I do about? So, I just going to roll with it, and I’ll just do my best, ’cause its the only thing I can do.

Gattaca

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?

First off, why do the employers and the insurance companies get access to this kind of information?  Isn’t the main reason that this occurs in Gattaca because employers and insurance companies have access to that information, so if they don’t get ahold of the data then they can’t discriminate against anybody.  If the companies to get this ability then there are no benefits to genetic profiling because it dehumanizes people and while this is common in modern society, especially towards peoples on the fringes, it would become more mainstream if this data was more widespread.  This wider dispersal of knowledge about who is altered and who isn’t is also more available to the public because the insurance companies and employers could be hacked and the information leaked to the public.  This leak of information could lead to a wave of public hysteria and anger, which could lead to an attack on one of the two groups of people.  Also if there were no insurance companies than there is no chance for discrimination, especially if healthcare is paid through low co-pays, when you see a physician for annual checkups or dentists, and by taxes for the more important things such as cancer or a heart attack, then nobody but your doctors have the information, and  then there is no discrimination.  I am confused on why the idea of genetic profiling has to be an issue, and why in the future the current status quo must be followed?  There is the idea that with genetic profiling jobs will become more specialized, and minimalized.  This can be a debilitating development because it means that people can not pursue their dreams if they do not meet the genetic requirements.  This can also lead to children being forced down paths that they do not wish to follow, such as a child who was altered to be an amazing athlete but wants to be an artist instead, is possibly being forced down the path of an athlete against their will.  Genetic profiling could lead to the development of a slave society or a society with distinctive castes because one section of humanity is biologically superior to others within the same society.  This could lead a scenario similar to Khan in Star Trek, where biologically engineered people rise up to create nations full of people similar to them, that leads to massively destructive wars between “super” humans and “regular” humans.  Genetic profiling brings about the discussion of what makes a human a human, and are there requirements that need to be met?  The necessity of requirements would begin a process of large-scale dehumanization that might lead to resentment and eventually violence and repression that could lead to large-scale conflicts.  As stated above there are no benefits to genetic profiling because it will only lead to violence and hatred.  And for examples, we simply need to look to the recent past and to contemporary events to see that profiling is not a positive.  Looking to Gattaca for examples also produces a supply that shows that genetic profiling does not improve society, it simply just limits societal aspects to being acceptable for either the edited or unedited humans.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?

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?

Not every parent would want their child to be perfect because then their child is just like every other child and in no way will develop into their own person.  I personally would not want my child to be perfect because then they can not become themselves and are going to be forced from path to path without any self-determination.  This self-determination is something that makes humans human, and taking this away is a brilliant way to dehumanize people, especially when they are growing up.  I also feel that I would not want my child to be perfect because then where is the challenge of raising a child, where is the joy of watching them become who they want to be?  I personally want to be challenged by my children, and I want to experience joy at seeing them succeed, when they are not perfect, especially if they beat people who are considered perfect while they do it too.  I don’t know I guess I’m just being sentimental, but I think that it is better to succeed without being predestined to succeed than to follow the path set by societal expectations.  The society in the film is portrayed as so devoid because since everyone is the same they all think along the same line and have become fleshy robots that are so focused on work.  The lack of difference among the populace also means that there is little variation in the day to day that would provide a distraction from the daily grind.  Society in the movie is also so devoid because there is no joy at success.  There is no joy because of being wired to be successful the people take no joy in completing difficult tasks because they already believe that they will succeed, and thus they don’t receive joy.  This lack of joy is also dehumanizing as well.

Community

  • Do I foster an atmosphere conducive to open dialogue, listening carefully to others and opening myself to opinions different from my own?

I try to foster an atmosphere that is conducive to open dialogue, but there are times where I simply don’t listen and open myself up to opinions that differ from my own.   I only do this when listening to those opinions could lead to the destruction of community, such as nativistic, nationalistic, racist views, i.e., beliefs that compromise safety and wellbeing.  These are the views that I was referring to in class when I asked if all views deserve to be included in the community, because these beliefs advocate the complete opposite of a community based on Quaker values, and can pose a threat to the safety of the community.  Also in my opinion listening to these views, could be taken as a validation of those views.  This is not to say that I don’t hear these views for I certainly do, but listening and hearing are two different things.  Moving on though, I do try to foster an atmosphere that is conducive to open dialogue and to do that I sometimes find that during some dialogue all of the views are somewhat similar, and the discussion is just running around in a circle, basically giving affirmations.  This leads me to try and play the devil’s advocate by bringing up an aspect of the discussion that has differing opinions or will start a new train of conversation that will result in a deeper discussion as more opinions become defined.  The redirecting of a stagnating discussion, also allows for more opinions to be included, because as dialogue stagnates it, in my view, can stop being open.  This closing of the conversation could be caused by people viewing the dialogue as boring because it is not sparking a will to discuss.  When I open myself to opinions that differ from mine, I constantly try to remain as passive as possible, because this allows me to not feel personally attacked, and I also can try to remove my bias from questions, that I ask.  Though I don’t go looking for open dialogue, because I find that it takes to much time to fit it into a normal schedule, and I do not want to do anything but think afterward, so I just lose all of my productivity.  I also don’t go looking for it because of its possible that the discussion will turn into a yelling match, and that disturbs the community, and just makes people angry at each other, which is never productive.  I  do listen carefully to others because that is the only way to be respectful of their opinions unless I don’t respect their opinion, then I don’t listen, but those situations were covered above.  Listening also helps one to formulate their own opinions better, because even by just thinking of a response they are forced to flush out their opinion by questioning whether or not they agree with what was said.

Peace & Justice

I think about power, for who holds it, and how much affects our day to day lives.  But first let’s discuss my use of power, for I don’t see myself as using much power because it’s not up to me to influence people one way or another, that’s for them to do themselves.  I don’t use my power for anything, but that’s because I find it unnecessary.  I find it unnecessary because to reach the just and constructive ends, influencing and coercing people to help achieve the end doesn’t justify that people could have been participating against their will, and this is no better than what we are fixing.  Now on who should have power, it should be vested in individuals who are incorruptible, but as that is not possible, it should get invested in either a large group or one corrupted person.  In the democratic society everyone needs to have an equal say, and thus the all the various levels and directions of corruption are counteracted.  If all the power gets invested in one single person who is corrupt, then they are easier to control.  This unscrupulous individual can be managed to benefit society if they believe that benefitting society helps them as well.  Power should only get used to benefit the community, as Spock says “the needs of the many out way the needs of the few,” yet this principle is quite the controversial idea because it leaves open to interpretation who are the few and who are many.  Power should also not get granted to anyone with religious views or even personal views that could harm the majority of people, such as restricting access to abortions.  This brings about the idea of who determines this and again the corruptibility of humans gets brought up and how At some piont it might become necessary and possibly even better to place power into the circuits of a massive supercomputer that can process everything that is happening in the world and decide how best to proceed.  The supercomputer theory meets is own issues though, because the computer might follow the path of all of the pop culture supercomputers that have determined that the best way to save humanity is to end it.  But this brings up an interesting idea, what if those computers were partially right, and that humanity has too much power.  Maybe we as a species need to reduce our size or at least stop increasing in population size, and reevalute.  This re-evaluation could be a positive by giving everybody a choice in how power should get distributed, and the U.N. should conduct this, and again Spock’s words echo true.  The needs of the many for a balance of power that suits everybody outweighs various peoples desires to be superior to others, this would also cause some countries to be held responsible for crimes against humanity that came from an abuse of the power given to them to help maintain global peace.  But in the end, the end never justifies the means, so maybe the computers are right.

Respect for Persons

When I express my disagreement I don’t always do it explicitly and respectfully, but more times out of not its respectful, if not explicit.  I generally don’t express my disagreement explicitly, for the simple reason that it is hard to communicate thoughts at times.  The respectful part is generally easy, but it does involve work. This work includes understanding the position of the people, there is also an understanding of the topic being discussed, and an understanding of your own position that you created for yourself. This understanding of the opposing viewpoint(s) is done through investigation and discovery.  This needs to be done through the use of reliable and trustworthy sources, that have been independently verified.  The knowledge of the topic being discussed also needs to be researched in a similar manner, but the knowledge also needs to be from an unbiased source along with the requirements from the research into the opposing viewpoints.  Your own personal views should be wholly your’s, and entirely uninfluenced by anybody else, and this can be done by looking into the issue from unbiased, and reliable resources.  The respectful part gets harder when there is pushback against your opinion, especially if the other person feels as if they themselves are being personally attacked.  This can result in the respect going out of the window because when one person feels attacked, they could begin to attack the other side.  This attack will create a feedback loop that results in a downward spiral, that could result in an irreparable gap between the viewpoints.  Generally, these come rather easy to me in my opinion because I quite like to stay informed on the state of the world, and on new developments in general ( but new developments that I find pertinent to me).  I also find it rather easy to remain visibly calm, for the most part, when my position starts to be attacked because I know that I and my positions are different beings/ entities.  Being explicit is not the easiest because to me it requires having an idea of what you are going to say ahead of the discussion, but most discussions do not happen at prearranged times and places.  Also, the explicit nature of the discussion can be hampered by ones attempts to be eloquent or use rather large and fancy language to make their argument more appealing.  This can hamper the discussion by one side feeling as though they’re not as sophisticated and thus they begin to attack the other side on a more personal level that can again lead to the downward spiral.  I personally am, at times, guilty of using large and fancy language, not necessarily eloquent language though, to express my opinion by I do not do this with the purpose of angering or making the other side feel superior.  I do this because that is the way I talk and express my opinions.  I also don’t speak explicitly, in general, because I don’t generally plan most of what I say in advance, I simply create a general idea, and make sure that what I say won’t piss anybody off, or get me in trouble.

IAT

I took the Age test, the gender in science test, and the Ara-Muslim test.  The results from the age test were not surprising because it went along with the majority of data for an automatic response to choose young over old.  I was a little surprised by the results from the Arab-Muslim test because I was expecting the results to say something along the lines of no difference or that the automatic preference was towards the other people.  Instead, I got moderate automatic preference of Muslims over other people, and this was quite pleasing.  The biggest surprise is the gender in science test, which I don’t entirely agree with the results of a moderate preference for men to be with science and women to be with the liberal arts.  This test only changes one variable which to me seems to not provide a full spectrum especially, if the variables are being switched from left to right fingers.  This would provide, in my opinion, a clearer reason for my results than an implicit bias, that my upbringing demonstrates that I should not have.  I was raised in a household with my mother being in the sciences, my aunt is an engineer, my grandmother taught math, and by this background, the results should have been different.  The only changing of one variable between the fingers allows for fewer correlations to be drawn.  For instance, if women and science were on the left and men and liberal arts on the other, then the areas of study switched then this leaves the switching of genders between fingers left untested, which does not seem like every variable is being controlled for, and thus this would make some answers possibly invalidated.

I’m quite honestly not sure how to unbias myself, especially considering I don’t agree with one of the results.  Also what does unbiasing mean, because if we switch biases then we are still biased, unless we want to reach a state of neutral stance, which is almost impossible, because there is in theory always some societal roadblock to being completely neutral.  The easiest one might be the age test because first and foremost I need to not be afraid of what might happen as I age.  I also will probably have to change my views on dying before I consider it my time to die, but that will take time.  To unbias myself from my views on gender and science, I feel that I need to take a more in-depth test, with more variables accounted for before I truly understand where I stand on this.  I also don’t want to unbias myself from the results I got on the Arab-Muslim test because the results showed I did not prefer other people over Muslims, which to me is absolutely an acceptable bias to have.  To unbias myself from this I would probably have to set myself back in my acceptance of Muslims because I would on a basal level have to start preferring other people over them.

ESEM Self-Reflection 1

I think I am doing acceptably well in this course.  I don’t feel like I’m working particularly harder, than in any of my other classes.  I think I am putting in enough time to produce quality work, but then again, quality work is quite the subjective term.  The subjectivity instantly induces the possibility of conflict and future tensions between student and teacher, over whether the work that is being presented is quality work or not.  I don’t typically ask questions when I need help, but I haven’t needed to ask questions, as of yet.  I think that I am using the available resources wisely, but I won’t be able to accurately judge that without actually having to use them more than occasionally.  I review my work for errors and use Grammarly, but still, there will be mistakes, mainly passive voice.  Reviewing my work is just something that needs practice, and repetition.  I am proud of my performance and work in this class, but again this one is subject to change as the semester goes on, and the workload increases.  Most to all of these are subject to change as the semester goes on, and as workload increases.  The workload increase applies to both my ESEM and the other classes that I am taking. Some of these various topics are subject to change as papers also get assigned because if I’m honest, I’m going to work harder on writing assignments than standard class work.  This is just a simple matter of priority, based on the order in which things are done, and the amount of time it takes to do them.  Also if I’m on this tangent of being honest, I don’t try that hard on these reflections, and it is quite tricky to get the limits.  It’s not that I’m not trying, but I find some of the topics discussed to be rather hard to make into long reflections since I find that my opinions and thoughts are not truly that complex to require lots of explanation.  I’m still proud of my performance, especially that I can turn ideas into longer thoughts than they are, but I guess this is why I have issues with writing minimum amounts for anything.  I not sure where this is going but, I feel like I have said all I need to say at this point, so now I’m justing going to repeat myself in a new way.  I believe that my use of resources is quite wise because I am repeatedly checking email and moodle, also what counts as a resource (other than those provided) and what doesn’t?  Also asking questions that I can figure out the answer on my own, even if I have to struggle with it, and this also helps me to learn it better.  Also for reviewing my work, how am I supposed to get better if at first, I don’t have trouble.  This would allow me to learn the standard mistakes I make, and how to identify them as I am writing my papers and essays.

X-Men 2 Reflection

The actions of some mutants are used to further prejudice the human population against them. What parallels might we draw to our world today?

The actions of the mutants that furthered prejudice in the human population, can be compared to the current state of the world.  The actions of the mutants that further the prejudice in the society of the second X-Men movie is similar to the modern-day terror movements.  These mutants do not speak for every mutant, just as the terror movements do not speak for everyone in society.  The prejudice is also unfounded as there is little understanding on the side of the greater populace towards the attitudes of the mutants.  For the general populace is not interested in meeting mutants because they fear what they do not understand, and their “understanding” that they have is twisted by the medias portrayal of mutants.  This is similar to the appearance of various religious faiths, and their portrayal in the media due to the fact that a portion of the followers of the faith, have fallen from the path, and have resorted to terrorism, and extremism.  The movie presents a lovely parallel with today’s society and the influence of individuals upon the image of an entire culture or group of people.  This is a negative influence in the movie and is also a negative in modern society, because it creates blinders that prevent the advancement of mutual understanding, and comradeship.  This can also lead to xenophobia and apartheidism, that results in the repression of rights and expression.  These commonalities between the world of X-men and our world today, is quite the scary thought, as this movie was made in 2002-2003, yet the parallels are still extremely frightening.  This movie definitely drew upon the experience of Muslim Americans in the years directly following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and this experience is still evident in society today, as shown by the recent policy decisions taken by the current administration.

Mutants are being persecuted for reasons out of their control. Professor X and Magneto offer two different strategies for dealing with the “non-evolved” humans. Discuss how these strategies may be implemented if humans begin to genetically engineer themselves with “improvements.”

Professor X’s strategy is to work together towards peace between the two groups, this strategy would be more pleasant than Magneto’s strategy.  Magneto’s strategy is to kill the non-evolved humans.  This presents quite the predicament as the choice could result in the survival of an entire species, because it could be argued that the augmentation of various individuals within the human race could lead to the creation of a new race of men.  This production of a new race of men could lead to a genocidal war that leads to the extinction of either one race, or both races.  This war could be similar to the war that is alluded to in Star Trek, with Khan.  In Star Trek, there is a story arc, that revolves around the discovery of a colony ship from the 1990s, that carried the leaders of the empires of the genetically modified humans.  These characters also come back in the movies.  This could also lead to the creation of a clone army as in Star Wars Episode 2.  The clone armies of the Republic are used to pursue the ideas of mass warfare, but this warfare is on a planetary scale.  This planetary scale is able to reduce the civilian causalities, but on the scale that warfare would occur on earth, civilian causalities would be enormously high, and wholly inhuman. These could lead to the escalation of warfare into a conflict that results in the deaths of millions of super soldiers.  This escalation in warfare has the chance of involving the deaths of every citizen that is either genetically engineered or non-genetically engineered.  This could also lead to the rise of Aryan societies that implement Magneto’s strategy, and create a biologically superior and seemingly identically.  The implementation of Professor X’s strategy would need to revolve around a grassroots force that rejects the idea that the “improvements” make people different.  This also would require the cooperation on a worldwide scale, and a rewriting of international accords and agreements.  The implementation of Professor X’s plan would also require that the enhancements are not used to create a working class that is subjected to doing the worst jobs in society, the jobs that no one else wants to do.  There will definitely be attempts to implement both plans within the early years of having modified humans interacting with the populous.  This could result in the ostracization and eventually creation of two different societies, that have agreed to coexist, but they are not coexisting in one society together.  This is a definite compromise between the two plans, because no one is dying, but there is no coexistence as one peaceful society.  Also, the simple cost of life would be immense and this would again reflect on the lack of compassion and humanity in today’s society that tends to brush over the number of civilian deaths in war and in the movies.  The lack of compassion if one of the greatest obstacles that would have to be beaten in modern society in order for Professor X’s plan to work. This is because modern society has developed a way to cope with mass loss of life, by saying that since it does not affect me, I do not have to worry that much.  The lack of compassion also needs to be addressed in general but also in the idea that when lots of people of the same race die, there is a massive outcry, from others of that race, but there is little reaction when lots of people of another race die.  Before either of these plans can be introduced humanity as a whole has to decide where it stands on the issue of death, caused by violence, in society, and how it will react when and if genocide starts up against and entire group of humans.  There will also need to be the decision, on whether we learn from our mistakes or not when it comes to preventing genocide.

Principles and Practices-Simplicity

Simplicity is for the most part just a guideline by which to follow our lives, as are the other Principles and Practices, but this one is more malleable and self-reflective than the others, because this one is wholly constituted by self-searching, because nobody can call you out for “not being simple enough” because it is all within the confines of your life, and your personal experiences.  Now for me simplicity is to not be to ambitious, because that will cause you to get over stretched and provide cause for stress to take over.  Yet this can provide itself with its own difficulties because many people these days, myself included, have a large variety of interests that will naturally lead to an over extension of our capacities, to stay organized and calm at the same time.  This happenstance will require some extra work on all of our parts to attempt to do as minimal as possible, while also getting a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.  Now I find this to be quite the predicament especially, as people enter college and lose the structure and time restraints that high school provides.  This presents the predicament, as being solely up to the participant to solve, and this is quite accurate.  Still this is not entirely the whole story because the idea of simplicity could have been propagated in high school.  This would have helped to establish a culture of simplicity that would have definitely  helped me to create my own sense of simplicity.  Now for me simplicity is constituted by an understanding of ones own interests but also ones own limitations.   These understandings help me to begin to understand what is getting in the way of me being happy and stressless.  This also provides a framework to make choices that will affect what I do in life, by shifting the focus from what I want to try to what will make me happy in the long run.  This also forces the choice between things that make me happy, because at some point I will become overwhelmed by all of these activities , that make me happy and I will have to choose between them, and this is where the structure of simplicity truly comes into focus for me.  Simplicity forces the thought process of what makes me happy, but it also makes us think about the world and community as a whole and which activities that make us happy will also help make the world a better place for our selves and our posterity.   This process for selecting the activities that I chose to participate in also has to draw backs, but for the most these ideas define simplicity for me, and provide the basic guidelines for living a simple life.  Now this idea of simple life must also be balanced with ones own dreams and aspirations, and for many that might produce a problem, because the societal expectation of a dreaming of success is lots of money to spend excessively, and that this can be achieved through hard work, but this societal dream is seemingly at odds with the idea of simplicity, but these can in fact be reconciled, by how the money is spent, and the lifestyle that is chosen.  This must also acknowledge that extreme simplicity is not for everyone, and that is perfectly fine, because in the end simplicity is a very self-centered idea.