Sunday, October 3, 2010

Guilt and punishment

Just ganna jump right into it today.

There are lots of philosophers who believe that humans are naturally wicked, so everyone needs rules enforced by a strong authority figure to be good.

Even though lots of other philosophers disagree, we are raised to expect punishment in return for doing something we know to be wrong. We affect something negatively, and some our own lives are affected negatively.

In a way, our parents enforced an external form of guilt. Guilt doesn't just mean the opposite of innocence, being responsible for something, it can also mean feeling bad about being responsible for something.

That's why most people go easy on you if they can tell you have remorse for what you've done. Feely guilty is an internal punishment so you require less external punishment.

As a person with a rather vocal Jiminy Cricket, I really resent authority figures trying to make me feel even worse about it when I screw up.

Bad enough that this is a Western society that won't allow people to bow to make up for whatever it was, but if a formal and heartfelt (and usually very long) apology is coming, (not that that will spare the remorse feeler their internal raging torrent of self loathing) than any other punishment is just overkill. Overkill that they daren't object too. Afterall, don't they deserve it?

Not really.

I mean, okay. There are cases when it's best to turn things over to whatever authority figure is in charge of dishing out external remorse. It can be a problem though, if someones job is making sure people get what they deserve.

Suddenly some poor guilt ridden saps are "made and example of", which is another way of saying "treated unjustly".

All this has been talking about matters of things like writing something mean on someones facebook, or other teenage drama crap. When you get into things that can get you capital punishment, things get really skeevey.

Note: The word "Skeevey" is a regional expression used exclusively in Upstate New York. Apparently it comes from some Italian verb. Did you know that Upstate New York is loaded with Italians? Seriously.

"Skeevey", adjective. Untrustworthy, distasteful, deserving of contempt, gross, immoral.

Anyway, you know you're ganna have problems when you get into capital punishment. Now you're stuck asking yourself why we even have a criminal justice system? Should we take criminal and turn them into honest men, or are we protecting society? How far does the rights to Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness stretch?

Side note: There is some really unnecessary capitalization in the Bill of Rights. Proper nouns and beginning of sentences only, guys.

So, uh, don't kill people, and if they aren't in court and they're sorry, let it go. Kthxbai.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Marxism makes gross cabbage

Marxism: For starters, it's not Communism.

When people try to implement Marxism on a large scale it always fails and Communism is what they end up with.

Marxism includes the idea that there is no leader, government, or organizing body. Everyone is equal. The revolution comes from the people, and after it's over the leaders are supposed to melt back into the people.

Communism happens because they don't. Whether the leaders fear that their new society isn't ready without them, or (more likely) they're ego tripping, the individuals who start the revolutions don't step down.

Maybe that makes sense. You spend seventeen years leading your army to victorious conquest against seemingly unsurpassable odds to the betterment of all man kind...
And then you grow cabbages until you die.

(I bet they aren't even very good cabbages either. Seventeen years of war is bad for the soil.)

With that level of hero status even if you wanted to it'd be hard to live normally.

Then there are the other enemies of Marxism. Even if you manage to overcome to hurdle of autonomy, you then need to face anonymity. Marxism has never been successfully used for a community larger than about fifty.

Now you may be thinking to yourself "Self, I think Marxism can still work large scale."

Well you'd be wrong.

When you know everyone your work is going to, it's cool. The work is hard, but you know that Samantha and Franks' son is sick, and if you don't grow your disgusting cabbages he might not make it.

When everything you do is swallowed up by "The People", sloth takes over.

Incidentally, The People must have a pretty good gag reflex to eat up all your cabbage. It's nasty.

Reliving the monotony without seeing a change, without it earning a better life for your children, knowing on the day your body finally gives out you will be just as much a cabbage farmer as you were when you still thought vegetables were ewwy? (Bearing in mind that you're cabbages really are pretty gross.)

Humans aren't mentally equipped for that. Not with the life spans we have now, especially.

Ultimately Marxist revolutions offer nothing but well meaning oppression, which is maybe better than the cold unfeeling oppression of Capitalism. (But Capitalism has better cabbages.)

Monday, August 30, 2010


As a human being, I think that a certain tolerance for pain is something all people should develop. However, as a cross country runner I know that what we do is fracking nuts, and if you can't find some way to honestly enjoy your own suffering you quit.

Masochism is one of the most helpful ways to be crazy. It may even top paranoia, since chances are everyone around you is too self centered to actually be out to get you in this day and age.

Just to point out, that last bit was much more comforting in my head.

Wait, back on topic. All runners are crazy. It's the only way anyone could run five point six miles before breakfast knowing that there are two more runs that day. Everyone who runs has to be able to say "I'm going to do this even though it hurts so much that everyone else would quit, and most people wouldn't start in the first place."

Another thing- never confuse cross country running with Track. Track is for whimps. Running a single mile on a flat surface, and they think that's a big deal? Track is a sport for people who can't hack it in cross country, and people who are using it to help train for cross country. Real runners go for miles not yards, and we do it in forests and mountains away from the cheers of spectators.

Masochists take no comfort in those motivational childrens' stories. Puffing up a hill saying I Think I Can doesn't do a thing. Bursting up an incline eyes wild with a battle cry loose on your lips is what it's all about. Actually, no. But it's a fun image.

Oh, and then there's the tortoise and the hare. Let's get something straight here for all those supporting Team Tortoise- slow and steady doesn't win the race. Fast wins the race.

In fact, the mark of a good runner is that after a meet, they vomit. As the saying goes "If you're puking your guts out, you're running your heart out." Real runners make it across that line then veer off to the left (or right, where ever is out of camera range) to jettison all the carbs that had weighed them down. Is it disgusting? Oh, yes it is. But secretly we all want to do well enough to puke.

Another mark of a apt athlete is running with an injury. All preventative measures aside, when you run thirteen miles in eight hours things get shifty. Especially, in the knees ankles and arches. Generally the only thing to do when you get hurt is take it easy so it doesn't get worse... As if that'll happen. You don't get to the point of throwing up by taking it easy!

As I read over this post, I realize that this sport is fit only for the twisted, but I never want to stop.
- Mind you, I just spent a week training in the mountains and had to take yesterday off running so that my left knee and right arch were fit to stand on. Still though. My sport doesn't play games. We run meets. And what we lack in fun we make up for in masochistic satisfaction.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Sometimes I think that normalcy is an arbitrary scale. That everyone thinks of themselves as unique, when in reality almost everyone is completely ordinary. Sometimes I think that I've deluded myself by assuming I'm strange at all.

... Then I remember that I paint the flags of different countries on my fingernails, put cocktail umbrellas in my caprison, and memorize information on Lithuania, quantum physics, and mental disorders in my free time.

Side note- 16% of all people in Lithuanians are born naturally resistant to HIV and AIDS.

Still though, it's worth thinking about. Recently (well not so recently. Last school year. Recent in comparison to, say, the time humanity has spent on Earth) I had a pair of teachers who assigned us an essay on how we see ourselves in comparison to how other people see us.

To research this people starting circulating anonymous sheets saying "What do you think of Jennifer" and "Describe Anthony", ect. A funny thing happened.

Every sheet called the person smart and unique.

As it happens, no one actually described me. I got a list of adjectives. But "smart" "intelligent" "knowledgeable" "unique" "weird" "strange" "freaky- in a good way!!" were all used multiple times.

A couple people also said "wears hats alot". Come on, really? You have to summarize my entire existence, and you say I wear hats a lot? Besides, a lot is two words! Honestly, people these days.

Right, back on topic. Not everyone can be out of the ordinary, but every individual you look at seems to be. Why? Are we afraid to see monotony? Is the problem that humanity, a species long obsessed with discovering familiar patterns in the world around us, doesn't wish to see the patterns emerging from within our own ranks?

On a brighter note, I'm doing a self improvement stint known as the Drok Plan. Born from individual lack of motivation and a typing error.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quirky thought procceses

Hey, two posts in one day! That's not like me.

Anyway, it bothers me when people who are confessing their love to someone employ the line "I think about you all the time".

Does that include the toilet?

I mean really. I always feel awful if I'm thinking about something on the toilet, like I am dishonouring the thing I'm thinking about.

I feel even worse if I'm thinking about a story and have to use the bathroom.

"Oh no- what if from now on using the bathroom makes me think of my story?

What if I can only come up with ideas on the toilet from now on?

What if I am forced to abuse laxatives to overcome writers block?

What if people find out about the abuse and think I have bulimia nervousa because of this?

What if I actually develop bulimia because of this?

What if this thought pattern is evidence that I'm developing OCD and I won't be able to escape this spiral and for the rest of my life all my thoughts will begin with the words "What If"?

What if thinking I have OCD means I'm actually hypochondriac?

Holy shit, believing I have hypochondria simultaneously proves and disproves that diagnoses."

The curse of intelligence! Left unchecked, the connections I make degrade swiftly into nonsense.

being yourself, and preppy motivation

It's impossible not to. Part of who we are is our ability to completely alter our personality and behavior to fit our situation. "Be yourself" is an impossible task, because it doesn't recognize that we don't have one self.

Think about what would happen if the way you act with you best friend was the way you acted when you were meeting class mates for the first time. Most people wouldn't want to associate with you because acting to idiosyncratically while making a first impression just pushes people away.

Mom: Oh hi sweetie.
You: Hi.
Mom: Criminal Minds comes on later. You interested?
You: No thanks, maybe some other time.

Friend: Oh, hey!
You: Hey what's up?
Friend: There's a Criminal Minds marathon on!
You: Ugh, why do you watch that?
Friend: Because it's amazing!
You: Enjoy your Reid fandom, I'll be on facebook when you rejoin the sane.

By the way, Criminal Minds is the best crime show there's ever been.

More importantly, we do stuff like this every day. Part of "being yourself" is the knowledge of when to be polite and when to be casual.

The most revolting preppy bee hive clone is still in their own way being themselves- Part of being them includes following trends. If they pretended that abercrombie and sillybandz didn't appeal to them, they wouldn't really be being them.

It doesn't matter that the appeal comes from the familiarity of seeing it often, or from attracting the kind of people who they don't find alarming. Part of them being them is the fear of people who look and act different, a fear of unpredictability. They don't know how to handle people who express a desire to behave differently from most people, so they wear things that push them away.

Hell, I do the same thing. I was letting my hair go back to blonde after having it dyed an odd color, usually pink, for over two years. It's been normalish looking for months, but two days ago I made it purple because I was invited to a costume type party and didn't have a costume but since then I've become aware of just how bad looking normal was for my self esteem.

Looking weird I feel better, more confident... It assures me that the people who want to alienate me will stay away, and anyone who is dealing with alienation will get comfort from seeing me, and might even help me if some does try to make my life shit as punishment for my abnormality.

It's sort of a
"If I look normal, people might get the impression I care what they think and judge me
and since I do care about what they think and don't want to be judged
I'll make it seem like I don't and then they won't bother."

I have a friend who wears scripted tee shirts every day, because she's really socially awkward and hopes that people with the same interests as she has on her tee shirt will defend her when people make fun of her.

Part of being her is that she's care free and spontaneous with some people, but tense and frightened with others. Another part of being her is that she deals with this fear by being uncontrollably hyper with people she knows won't accept her, or meekly intellectual with people who might.

She can't "just be herself"- what is that even supposed to mean? Should she scream the Yeah We Like Waffles song, inquire about the nature of the universe, or talk about how she wants to hold a game of "everybody's it" in the local supermarket?

Next time you feel nervous about something and somebody says "just be yourself", remember that despite the useless crap advice you've just been given, it'll turn out alright. You already are yourself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oi, just pick an ideal, Society!

I am currently enrolled in summer school to take Health class early.

Health class, apart from making me Existantial, makes me realize that society is hypocritical. We need to make up our minds.

Either we encourage people to be healthy by praising the flexible, the athletic, and [big breath] the thin, OR

We tell people to be happy with themselves.

In this summer health class, the Eating Disorders unit immediately precedes the Nutrition unit. What I've learned is that as the number of obese and overweight Americans goes up, so does the number of Americans who are anorexic or bulimic.

That's not a coincidence!

I'm sick of renditions of Christina Aguilaras' "We are Beautiful" being used to convince me that I'm okay the way I am, while at the same time getting whacked over the head with messages about Getting Active and Eating Right.

By pushing these at the same time, we essentially make it a choice between obesity and easting disorder.

Why lose weight if you can resent everyone for not thinking the way you are is good enough?

How can you take the time to lose weight the healthy way when being over weight is so shameful?

I'm not even an unhealthy weight! I can't imagine what it's like for people who aren't low quality cross country runners.

Anyway, since it's illegal to advertise cigarettes on T.V why shouldn't food and beverage corporations get the same treatment?

They argue that they are not to blame for America being a bunch of fat asses because we should have personal resposibility, but let's see what happens if they can't spend billions annually to impair our ability to choose?

(Oh, by the way, the Advertisment unit came right after Nutrition.)

Amoung the many other things I was outraged to realize no one else noticed in health class (besides the trends of weight extremity and the hypocracy of Food Corps.) was how susceptiable most people are to commercials.

Appearently putting commercials on T.V, radio, and the Internet really works.

Am I the only one who resents every commercials she sees? Every time I see one I get angry that they think I'm so easy to manipulate. Products that I see Ads for get a special mental note that they can't be very good. If they were worth buying, they could get by on word of mouth.

I even play a game when watching T.V trying to spot the hidden messages.

For instance, the reason Ford commecials so often feature their cars driving through forests or deserts is that it appeals to two mindsets.

Option one: Buy our car. It allows you to go out and do the exciting things you really want to do.

or option two: Buy our car. It will keep you safe no matter where you are.

And the people. Every person in a commercial is actually you. Especially if they are your gender, and attractive. Age doesn't matter as much. "Buy our make up- it makes you mature" sells just as well as "Buy our make up- it makes you young".

Go forth, run eight miles, and egg a billboard! And a skinny person. And a fat person. And then a Lobbyist, just to be safe.

Side note: Oi, how many times did I use the words "commercial" and "advertisment"?