Sunday, 13 January 2013
After struggling with this personal statement for a few weeks, I now have a good idea where I want to go with it. However, my thoughts are still a little too jumbled to move into the stage where I start making fancy rhetoric, so I'll need a colloquial dump of narrative first. That's exactly what this is: the statement (roughly) without the fancy words. Let's go!
Education and I have always had a special relationship. I suppose that's the case with most folk, considering that up to this point in our lives, it's all we've done in the professional sense. However, I've always felt education and I were a better match for one another than most. From an early age, my parents bribed me into getting good grades in class by offering me $10 for each A I got on a report card, and $5 for each B. As an elementary schooler, that's prime toy or video game money. Moreover, if I got a C or lower or got in trouble in class (if my "apple fell from the tree", for any Hopewell kids), I wasn't allowed to play any video games until the next report card, which considering that I was already only allowed to play them on the weekends, was quite devastating.
That bit of motivation continued throughout elementary school until the end of sixth grade, when my parents divorced. The divorce ambushed me, launching a blitz when I least expected it; right before exams, if I recall correctly. My sixth grade report card was fine, but I cannot say the same about seventh grade. That school year was riddled with custody and financial battles in which I was engulfed, forced to play diplomat to convince either parent that I was not showing favoritism to the other. At that age, divorce effects a kid in a deep way, no matter how loudly they claim to deny it. My performance--or more specifically, my mental stamina--dropped throughout my classes. Specifically, I got my first C, in math. I'd like to point out that it wasn't even an honorable C; I was set for a D, and was only given a C when I played the pity card and begged the teacher to make an exception. I had my back to a wall at that point, and it remains one of the most shameful moments of my life to admit. I won't forget what she told me that day: "I'll give you the little bit of extra credit you need, but consider this the last time. Next year's math class won't be so forgiving." When I showed my mom and dad the card, they both felt some degree of responsibility for my drop in performance, but I masochistically took all the blame onto myself.
The next year, I realized the consequences of my slip. I was in the school's gifted program, which accelerated the mathematical coursework of deserving students. Particularly, in 8th grade, the gifted students are divided into semesters. For those that excel in math (a B or higher in seventh grade, I believe), they first take an advanced algebra course, followed by an introductory geometry course (in prep, I assume, for ninth grade geometry.) For those gifted students that didn't make the cut, they took a preparation course for advanced algebra, and then proceeded to the advanced algebra course in the second semester (essentially, they missed introductory geometry and lagged the other students by a semester.) Here's the problem: all of my closest (and only) friends in middle school made the cut, and I didn't. It created another degree of separation between my friends and I, and put me in the same class as a lot of the students that spent their leisure time bullying us, and I hated it. It was at that point that I realized I didn't want to simply jam with the rest; I needed to up my game and slam with best.
I devoted the rest of that year to driving my grades up as high as possible, while still pushing through the emotional roadblocks of the divorce. By the end of the year, it was enough to get me into the Appomattox Regional Governor's School of Arts and Technology. Through the instruction of the wonderful teachers there, I quickly became to be something much more respectable than I had imagined I would ever achieve, ending my high school career with a 3.97 unweighted GPA and a wealth of new knowledge and skills.
By the time I reached Virginia Tech, I had once again become perfectly comfortable in an academic setting; things like test-taking had become second-nature to me. My peers recognized this, and frequently complimented me on my intelligence. They offered their praises with such conviction, as if my academic ability was something that I was innately born with. However, having an intimate knowledge of my own past, I knew that this was not the case. Sure, I had done well in academics through elementary school, but I was only a little bit above average; in fact, I got into the gifted program from the waitlist. Back then, i only plowed through academics so that I could be rewarded with what I really enjoyed at that age: video games. It wasn't until I found a compelling enough reason to kick my ass into gear that I discovered a true passion for education.
As I continued onto the end of my freshman year, I realize that many of my friends were not as apt to an academic environment as I was. This was not a question a question of intelligence, as I believe few things are; we're all smart in our own ways, and my friends have talents that far exceed mine in other key areas of life. However, regardless of the interest in their subject (which for some is vast), many of my friends just found the academic environment to be too hostile to excel. Stiff lectures, limited teacher interaction, and--most importantly--test-taking all served as barriers to their success. I'd like to focus on that last one for a spell.
I lived in Pritchard my first year, a standard freshman dorm filled with standard freshman fare. I remember walking through the halls at the end of my first semester, seeing whiteboards filled with messages that scathed their occupants' final exams. I realize that some of these messages likely came from those who had squandered their semester to the allure of college parties, but I knew a good number of them also came from those who had a distinct interest in academic achievement, and were hanging around the borderlands of that goal waiting for the final exam to cast a verdict. It created an atmosphere of tension and stress that could only add further burden the students' mental strain.
During sophomore year, this observation led me to champion an idea that had been brewing in my mind ever since I saw its vacancy in the Student Organizations list: starting a massage club, now known as Exploring Massage. The art of relaxation massage is something that had caught my attention ever since a significant other waltzed into my life, and I knew that in a campus of 30,000 students, I couldn't be the only one with that interest. A massage club would provide an outlet through which we could communicate with a strong community of Blacksburg's fine massage therapists, learn from their expertise, and, most importantly, use that expertise to serve the cornucopia of stressing students. Since then, with the exception of a fluke in our second semester, we've provided free relaxation massages to Virginia Tech students every semester the weekend before final exams. While this may seem like a minor intervention in the grand scheme of the academic year, I am a strong proponent of working to serve one's community in one's own way. Serving Virginia Tech with massage, because it is a personal passion and I have faith in its ability to abate the stress of final exams, means more to me than any other service project I can recall. Despite my academic successes, I still consider the founding of Exploring Massage to be the most defining moment of my undergraduate career.
At the end of my junior year, I stumbled across a term which would serve as a key turning point in my academic focus: gamification. The word refers to the use of good game design elements in areas not commonly associated with games. The basic idea of gamification is that people are motivated by games, and so by using game elements in everyday situation, they can be more motivated to find intrinsic motivation in environments that would normally feel mundane. This can be done either by incorporating common game mechanisms--like leaderboards or leveling up--directly into a real-life environment, or by using a game itself as a means of communication. Being a proponent of responsible video gaming since elementary school, this notion intrigued me. To make it even more alluring, though, one the primary fields of research surrounding gamification deals with its application in educational settings! Now we're talking.
This got me to thinking just how much games have affected my life. And, as it turns out, they have made tremendous impacts--both positive and negative--on me, from my calm and intentional approach to problem-solving and test-taking to my early-age loss of interest in recreational reading. Let's start with the positive. When I was a kid, my parents allowed me to play any game I had on weekends, which is something I always looked forward to. I loved games--I would even say I was obsessed with them--and whenever I wasn't playing with a friend outside in my recreational time, I was in front of a display with a controller or computer mouse in my hand. One would imagine, then, that the weekdays must have been torture, since my privileges did not include access to my beloved games. However, my parents reserved a specific genre for weekday play: educational games. These were games that were specifically aimed to allow players to master key skills at specific grade levels, and as poorly designed as they actually were, I grew up loving them (they were my only weekday option, after all.) By the time I was in third grade, I had already progressed entirely through the fourth-grade level games I had, and about half-way through the fifth-grade games. I was learning the skills I needed to success one or two years before I actually needed them, and I barely noticed--I was just playing a game.
This is not to say, though, that only educational games were helpful in fostering my success. In fact, I would call them the most narrow of all the games I played, since they only bred the skills specified by the standards of learning at a specific grade level. I would consider my weekend games to have provided an even greater benefit to my development. I remember three specific games I played at an early age that influenced my way of thinking: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Illusion of Gaia, and the original Warcraft. I vividly recall a strategy guide that my parents bought me for A Link to the Past, and although the strategies in the guide were not that valuable to me, what set this book apart from the rest of the guides was the wealth of information the book possessed about the fictional world of Legend of Zelda. It was an encyclopedia of this fantastical place, detailing everything from the clothing its denizens donned to the rituals and holidays they celebrated. It fascinated me, as it provided a rich level of immersion into the world I interacted with in game. Through this means, not only was I able to gain valuable problem-solving skills through the brilliant game design of Nintendo's development team, but it was also my first instance of interest in all aspects of a foreign culture.
Illusion of Gaia provides a bit more of an isolated anecdote. The game is nothing truly outstanding; it is fairly linear and does not require much thinking or exploration. However, one segment of the game poses a series of puzzles to the player. These puzzles are memory games: proceed into one room and notice the exact layout of everything in the room, then be shown another room with a slight difference, and point out what that difference is. Most of the rooms were not too difficult--the color of a vase would change, or perhaps a portrait would be moved to the opposite side of the room. However, the last change is very subtle--instead of changing an aspect of the room itself, there is a different in the sprite of the protagonist: in the modified room, there is a draft that blows through the sprite's hair, producing an animation. To an elementary schooler, this is particularly deceptive; each of the previous rooms trains the user to pay attention to the room, which draws the mind away from the protagonist. I remember staring at that last room for ages looking for the change--and of course, an incorrect choice results in a Game Over screen, of which I must have seen a dozen. I asked my dad if he could help me find the change. He found it on his first try, but wouldn't tell me what it was; I had to figure this one out myself. I grappled with that room over and over, taking blind guesses without thought. I soon reached a state that the game development community calls "fiero", which indicates that the environment produces a level challenging enough to produce frustration in the player, but mind enough that they still want to play; it is considered one of the hallmarks of good game design. If you've ever seen anyone throw their controller to the ground but refuse to stop playing--both of which I did in this scenario--they are in a fiero state. After a while in a fiero state, the player tends to "buckle down" and enter a zen-like trance, putting all their learning and skills to use in to achieve a very satisfying victory. And, true to form, this is what happened to me. The minute I saw the wind blowing through the sprite's hair, I knew immediately what I had done wrong, and it was a wonderfully relieving experience. This was the first instance I remember of having to grapple with something that required a tremendous amount of perseverance, and learning that such devotion is worthwhile.
Finally, before World of Warcraft took to the stage as the world's premier massively multiplayer online game, Warcraft was a real-time strategy (RTS) series. Placing the player in the position of the ubiquitous tactician and general, RTS games can provide a wealth of intellectual stimulation that far exceeds anything available in the classroom. Warcraft was my first experience with an RTS, and I absolutely loved the feeling I got after successfully completing an instance of that game, just know I was smart enough to command my soldiers in the right way. That's really all I have to say on that topic, but I feel RTS games have a tremendous capacity to build problem-solving skills, and, in the multiplayer realm, to build collaboration skills as well.
Of course, gamification can have a dark side as well. Particularly, games add a risk of replacing an intrinsic motivation (doing something because you want to) with an extrinsic one (doing something because you have to.) It can a passion you have for something, and turn it into the need to do that thing for the game's sake, in which case one may lose interest in that passion once the game ends. As an example, I will use an experience from elementary school. I picked up reading as a hobby around the middle of the first grade. This is when I successfully read my first book with my mom; it was an illustrated story of various Bible tales, most notably Noah's Ark. I recognized the excitement that overcame me once I finished my first book; it was the same after-fiero feeling I got from playing a good game. It inspired me to pick up another book, and then another, and another after that. By the time I had entered second grade, I had learned to love reading just as much as I did games, and was particularly enthralled with the Bunnicula series. Then came the Accelerated Reading (AR) program. AR was intended to provide a rudimentary gamification of reading--specific books had AR point values assigned to them, and students had to read a minimum number of points to pass the course. Students who got much (read: much) more points than minimum requirements were rewarded with extra prizes. Of course, points were not awarded on the honor system. Each book had a test the students needed to take that consisted of 10 to 15 multiple choice questions, testing the student's ability to recall specific details of particular scenes. I called this system "rudimentary" because it is poorly designed to foster intrinsic motivation. Firstly, the minimum requirements of AR points is high enough to point an intense demand on students to be constantly reading AR books. Since only specific books are in the AR system, it limits the student to that particular set of literature, not allowing exploration into material the student might otherwise have a passion to read. Secondly, the tests only added more stress while reading, detracting from the joyful experience of reading itself, and causing readers to become more caught up in the minute details that might be tested. Thirdly, since this was our first time using AR, my second grade teacher added a leaderboard to her class, offering public recognition and extra rewards to the student that got the most points.
Luckily, Bunnicula was on the AR list, so I promptly took all the tests of the books I'd already read (two, I believe), not getting full points on each since it had been a little and the details were fuzzy. I then proceeded to read all the rest of the series, taking the test and gaining most of the points. By this time, it was about a quarter of the way through the year, and I had about half the AR point I needed. I knew I was well on-track to pass the course, so I could now proceed to read anything I want. However, I noticed one more thing soon: my name was on the top of the leaderboard; what a nice bonus! I felt like I was on top of the world. Until, if course, another kid's name rose above mine after a week or two of not reading. I still had other books I wanted to read, but I could do that over a break; for now, I wanted to stay on top, so I decided to stick with AR books. I found another few books that captured my attention, but none of them were spectacular. Eventually my interest in the AR program started grinding to a halt, and the points I gathered were decelerating. This gave the other student a perfect opportunity to jump back into the lead, and at the end of the year, he did. In a hairline finish, he won with only a few points above me, I got no more recognition than a pat on the back. That part was not so bad, though, as the deeper wounds of the whole experience. Over that year, reading, which I had once loved, became a burden to me. I was fed up with the AR program, fed up with reading because of it, and unfortunately, that passion never came back. My extrinsic desire to win this "game" they set up had completely decimated the intrinsic desire I had to read, and with that, a great potential was lost.
However, instead of letting such an experience dissuade me from the idea of gamification, I feel it strengthens me as a scholar on the subject. I recently wrote a conference paper that provided a systematic review of scholarly literature regarding the use of games in engineering education and problem-solving development. Through this (highly enjoyable) experience, I learned that gamification is a quickly expanding ideology, and its promising empirical results will only cause it to grow even faster. I view it as inevitable that the use of games in our culture will eventually become just as normal as social networking is today, and having been personally metamorphosed by games, seeing both the positive and negative sides of their potential, I want to be there to help guide this movement in the right direction.
Wow. Okay. I've written 3.5 times the amount allowed in the actual personal statement, and I haven't even gotten around to why the universities in question are good choices for my goals. Yeesh. Well, at least every point I'd like to make is now written down and able to be sorted out! That's all for now. Wish me luck!
Thursday, 05 July 2012
I feel compelled to place this on my Xanga tonight. I write this in a very eclectic state, so reading it in a similar way would not be a bad option. In fact, this can be read in any way you see fit. There is no wrong way, and perhaps more importantly, no right way. It is a description of a personal journey, and personal discoveries. My use of the word discovery is critical here. I know that these are discoveries, not theories. A theory has no grounds until it can be proven through some form of discernible evidence. The things I have felt, experienced, and now see myself absorbing have pushed it beyond theoretical pandering. This is truth, and I present it to you in the hopes that perhaps you may finally be bale to understand me more.
I just finished listening to the first two segments of a three-part installment of "The Sweetest Love", a meditative trance written and narrated by Isabella Valentine. The idea is to explore, through one's sensory experiences in a strongly visualized situation, one's personal definition of love. I've criticized Isabella extensively in the past for her erotic works, but her skills and experiences as a hypnotherapist truly shine through in her ability to use trance as a means of exploring oneself. It reminds me why I first started studying hypnosis. It has such incredible potential for self-understanding and healing.
I'll start with my most important discovery. I have an enormous energy void in my heart. I sort of knew that already, but this experience really brought it to light. In the words of the author of Five Love Languages, my emotional love tank is empty. When I think of love, there are very specific images, feelings, and phrases that come to mind, and thinking of all them in tandem with my current relationship causes me to feel a subtle but consuming void directly where my heart chakra should be. It's as if my heart attempts to pull in all the energy around it as it grasps for the energy it needs to refill itself. It's a very desperate feeling. Nonetheless, I am glad I felt it. I understand it more now. I feel hope, knowing it is reparable.
This bring me to another very important point. It's not so much a discovery as it is a flash of ingenuity. I now know how to take the image i have constructed of "Thu" in my mind and make use of it to further my current relationship. How? Well, that image is, in fact, not drawn from a relationship or experience long lost. It is not derived from a longing for someone I know I can't have. These are not feelings for another person about which I should feel guilty. No; that image is an idealization of sorts. It is a paradigm of everything I need to fill my emotional love tank. That image, projected onto the ghost of an individual whose face became little more than a canvas, is the personification of my emotional needs. It is my definition of love. Imagine how when I realized this, all the wheels began turning again. I had been too blinded by feelings of guilt and restriction to notice such a simple notion. I know that I must learn from this. I feel that I truly want to put this to good use. I need to take that image and put it into words, so that when you ask me, "What can I do to show you how much I love you", I can finally answer you. Oh, how I crave to be able to answer you.
I will describe that definition to you. I will let you know every nook and cranny I have uncovered in my short journey this evening. First, though, I need to describe to you the image I see within myself when I visualize the state of my heart. Let me start with the surroundings. I imagine the resting place of my heart as a gorgeous, tiny island drifting in oblivion. The landscape is small and barren, but bathed in a mesmerizing lavender light. It floats in a sea of violet nothingness, and no matter how far you look the only sights are the beautiful shades of purple which line the atmosphere.
In the center of this small island is a temple with perfectly cylindrical walls and no ceiling. When viewed from above (as in my visualization), there are eight cylindrical walls forming rings around a shrine in the temple. The shrine is nothing too fancy. Four waterfalls flow from the tall cylindrical inner wall to form a gorgeous spring around a circular patch of grass in the middle. Upon that patch of grass rests my heart chakra which, in its current state, is represented by a black hole. However, in this image, that black hole is not the focus. Rather, the eight walls play a much more important role. Each wall has a tall, thick, heavy door at its front. The doors line up such that, if they were all open, you could walk in a straight path directly into the shrine.
However, in this visualization, all the doors are closed and impenetrable. Isabella described any barriers in this scene as being representative of the emotional and energetic barriers we place between ourselves and others to avoid pain. As we grow older and experience more pain, these barriers can thicken and multiply, causing us more difficulty in letting others in. They can cause us to reject positive energies even while still letting negative energies bleed through. I focused on these barriers a lot during the visualization. I wanted to know why I had exactly eight of them, and I figured it out. Eight is a number that is safe to me. I don't necessarily know why, but it is. More importantly, the eight doors from a long hallway to the shrine that can be closed at any point. Therefore, even if I start to open up, there's always the next door that's ready to close if it senses danger. Even if I sense positive energy coming my way, I still have a tendency to reject it if I feel certain connotations behind it. And even then, my doors have trouble keeping out purely negative energy that others send towards me. They infiltrate my heart, and cause my black hole to grow even greater.
Even with all their weaknesses, though, these doors are the result of my experiences, and they are a part of me. They are who I have become. I cannot reject them or regret them. I can only learn to give others the right keys.
So, with that said, what are these keys? What is this definition of love to which I have alluded? What is it that my heart feels it needs so badly, that it feels it has not received? In the simplest terms, it is understanding, in its purest form. There are many ways to react to someone when they tell you about your past experiences. You can reassure them that everything will be okay. You can tell them how much they've grown from their past, or how much of a wonderful person they are. You can encourage them to move past their traumas. However, nothing can topple the infinite affection that comes paired with a warm smile and a simple phrase: "I understand."
The greatest sign of love manifests when you can confidently "I understand who you are." Love is when two people can truly share in each other's experiences, good and bad, and be able to honestly admit that understand what they have been through, and who they have become. It is complete acceptance of that person, which then lends itself to the wonderful feeling of trust that comes with knowing a person to their very core. I remember one short conversation I had with Thu long before you and I were together. I mentioned to her that I was about to do something to try to win someone over. She said in return, "I had a feeling you would do something like that." I retorted, "Why do you say that?" She responded, "Because I know that's who you are."
That simple sentence was one of the greatest compliments I've ever received. You can tell me all day how great and amazing and great and wonderful I am, but those words really don't mean much to me. I know that you think of me with a high degree of love and respect and admiration, and I think any words you can muster will undermine those feelings you have. The greatest encouragement, compliment, or statement you can give to me, is to simply acknowledge that you believe in me because I'm me. That you love me and have chosen me for who I am. That you seek to understand me and deepen that love. That idea, my compassionate friend, is the richest essence of love.
Now, knowing my definition of love, another question then pops into mind: what constitutes the opposite of that love? What causes those doors to shut and lock out all that wonderful energy? Well, to put it simply, that unfortunate trigger is judgment. My entire system locks down when I feel that I am being judged. Judgment is, in my heart, the absence of understanding. It is a means of projecting one's own morals and beliefs onto someone else's story in order to fill in the gaps. It fosters jumping to conclusions instead of asking the right questions to further understand the person and their struggles. It broods division rather than acceptance. It is a way to draw borders and extract convenient motifs, rather than trying to understand and accept the true lessons the person learned; the lessons that helped to shape them into who they are today.
Judgment can manifest in many ways. It can be a feeling of anger that stems from disbelief in the other's action. It can be an expression of sadness that shows you are hurt by what the other person says. It is very commonly the urge to give advice or offer consolation. It can be a small instance of physical pain to the other person when they do something that annoys you. In any case, it is the notion that you prioritize the effects the story has on you, instead of prioritizing the desire to understand and love the other person. It is selfishness. In extreme cases, it one can even belittle the other's experiences by suggesting that what happened was actually no big deal, or just a victim of circumstance. When anyone ever does this to me, they have attacked me, and I no longer feel obliged to play nice. Everyone has their own stories. Everyone has their own traumas. Their own scars. To belittle them for the sake of your own self-righteousness...that, my friend, is the most concentrated essence of hatred.
I know that I am guilty of judgment. I think everyone is, to some extent. I know, though, that it is critical to me that judgment be placed secondarily to understanding if a true love is to blossom. I honestly feel as if I'm being judged by everything that I say and do. I even feel like I've already been judged on everything I've written here. I honestly don't feel that I've experienced that true feeling of love in a very long time, and my emotional love tank yearns to be full again. Please, my compassionate and loving friend, can we work to further understand ourselves?
Thank you for reading this. I put my soul into it, and I truly hope it helps.
On one final note, I was surprised to discover the scent that I most closely associate with the feeling of love. It's the scent of a vanilla, which I strongly associate with the image of a white flower.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
There are some things I cannot speak aloud.
Even after a bloated loss cycle which molded the very foundation of who I am, there was a small part of me that resisted its metamorphic pull. An inductor, small enough to bury with a spade, that clung to one simple fabricated truth. "She is the one for me; the only one for me," it cried. Through 2,600 miles of space, it cried. Through seven years of time, it cried. In its lonely, covered ditch, it cried.
And when she finally sent a slight signal back, it elated. Bursting from its grave, it elated. Blatantly disturbing the peace, it elated. Wreaking havoc on all other foundations of my very self, it elated.
And now, unable to find her, it grasps. In the center of a metamorphic pull, it kicks. Falling upon a deaf mind, it screams.
And then, realizing its fate, it stops. It calms. It thinks.
Tell me now, little one,
will you finally
There are some things which I must now speak aloud.
Good bye, my first true friend.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Last week, my statistics class had a conversation that fascinated me. We discussed the idea that all systems in the world--from religion to math, science, and medicine--are modeled based on a specific set of of postulates. A postulate is a belief or defining characteristic that is taken as truth without the need for proof. Take the natural number system, for example. Natural numbers (integers greater than or equal to zero) are the very basis of the math we've learned since elementary school. This system has its roots in five postulates known as Peano's Axioms, which state:
Let a "successor" of a base number be defined at the smallest number greater than the base number (i.e., the successor of 5 is 6.)
1) Zero is a number.
2) The successor of any number is a number.
3) Zero is not the successor of any number.
4) Two numbers are equal if their successors are equal.
5) If S is a set of numbers that contains zero and the successor of of every number in S, then S contains all natural numbers.
These postulates are accepted as undeniable truths of everyone who uses the natural number system, and they form the basis of every law, theorem, and corollary we've ever learned related to natural numbers.
Every model that exists has its own postulates, and if anything disagrees with any one of those postulates, it cannot exist within the system. Science is a great example. One of science's fundamental postulates states that "We can prove something to be true if and only if we can consistently observe it." Therefore, in the system of science, if something cannot be consistently observed, we cannot prove it to be true, which is a limitation of the system (a limitation which many people abuse and falsely assume that something cannot be consistently observed, it cannot be true. But I digress.)
My point is that everything we've ever learned in our lives is based on sets of axioms for which we not require proof. If anyone has ever asked you "why?" and your answer was "because that's the way it is," you're probably talking about one of those axioms. So I propose this: if every other model is based on a set of postulates, then can't someone's personality also be derived from a set of postulates? Can the very core of my character be boiled down to a set of truths, undeniable to me, that form the basis for every one of my decisions?
I think it can. Over the next months, I would like to constantly as myself, "Why am I making this decision?" or, "Why am I behaving in this fashion?" in order to dissect my beliefs and find the postulates which define myself. I thought a bit about it today and I think I've come up with one postulate, and a theorem derived from it. Note that this list will go through many, many revisions, so this is only a very rough first draft:
Postulate (1): The value of the well-being of any person is no lesser or greater than the value of the well-being of any other person.
Theorem(A): In a system with uniform opportunity for success across all individuals, it is unjust to provide benefit to one individual at the direct expense of another individual.
It's not much, but hey, that's only an hour worth of reflection. Ideally, I would like to be able to crank out one postulate or theorem each week. Expect more!
Saturday, 24 December 2011
I found a translation of the final verses of Damien Rice's The Professor & La Fille Danse, written and performed in French. I find this man's abilities incredible; he takes a song that already has profound meanings and hides the most important parts away in a foreign language. And they're such beautiful lyrics. I'm convinced he could write a song about anything and it would hit close to home.
"The girl dances
when she plays with me
and I think I sometimes love her.
Well, silence does not dare
when we are together,
put the words
The girl dances
when she plays with me in the rain.
I miss her.
It's the song, the night, the wind,
the love, the sound of sleep."