Stress


Ever since I have gotten back to the United States I’ve been noticing things that I didn’t see before, aspects of the American culture that I had always seen as normal and unquestionable until I returned from living in Spain. But one of the things that stood out to me is that here people actively look for stress. Even though it sounds crazy, people do it here, and it makes my life stressful as well.

Now, if you’re living here, and you most likely will not know what I’m talking about, because it’s what you’ve seen all your life. As I said, I never noticed until I came back here from the calmer life there is in Spain. However, I suppose that I should probably set examples.

One of the biggest things is that everyone needs to be in some sort of activity, whether it be yoga, a martial arts class, the gym, or some after-school club or sport. I know kids who have a job during the school year, and are also in school sports (mind you, here they take school sports rather seriously, with a few hours every day for practice, and a few matches every week). People here are stressed to the point that they put their need for stress over their own physical health. To give you an example, I have a friend who works until 10:00 PM and has to be at school at 8:30 AM the following morning, and this friend isn’t working to support himself, this friend is working for his own unnecessary consumption. Yet, he sees this as completely normal, because sadly, it is.

But even ignoring his case, there are many people who (as I said before) join several different groups/clubs/activities, and end up with no time on their hands to do something as simple as cook dinner. I can’t exactly tell you why they do it here, but I often times see that it somehow makes them feel important, the fact that they’re always busy. I, on the other hand, find it extremely unnecessary.

However, where the factor of stress matters most is among the working class, because those are the people that have stress, not because they make it, but because they need to work three jobs and taking night shifts. So what happens is that these people get stress from all the work they’re doing, and they have to go to the doctor/psychiatrist to talk about it. Apart from having to pay the psychiatrist, the psychiatrist will likely also prescribe them with some “happy pills” which they need to pay. Now you end up with a worker who needs to work even more just to pay for his pills and psychiatric treatment. Meanwhile, the big problem isn’t being solved, the fact that s/he’s still in the ghetto, which is causing all this stress.

Now, people will often misunderstand what I mean here and think I believe that psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies are all out to get you. That’s not exactly true. It’s not that they’re out to get you, it’s that that’s their job. People will do one thing normally in life, and another in their job life. A policeman might have sympathies for protesters in his/her daily life, but is obligated to arrest them in their job life.

Finally, one thing that most people don’t understand is the concept of “going with the flow”. The flow doesn’t always mean the majority, it means the path that comes easier, the path that is easier to take. A life without stress is an easy one to take, but most people don’t like it because it’s not the norm (again, I am referring to the U.S.).

All in all, stress in the U.S. is something fairly common, and something that people look for to be within the norm of people that have a job in high school, or who participate in a school sport, or who go to yoga classes or the gym. People will often do anything to be within the norm. But you have the ability to change yourself, regardless of what other people think. I will say, it’s not easy being the weird guy at times, but it’s less stressful than having to worry about every little thing you do to see if you are within the norm.

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Western Culture


I wrote an essay for my Social Studies class on Google Drive, and I thought it would be a good idea to share on my blog. Click here to read the document, and you can ask me questions or reply to it here on my blog.

Thanks!

Free-Time


On my previous post I said “free-time”, and I might have mentioned it before, but I don’t know if what I call “free-time” is the same thing you call “free-time”. The reason why I’m bringing this up is because the concept of “free-time” has been changing over the years, and not in a good way.

Most people today, especially in our modern societies, think of free-time as an organized time where you do stuff you like hanging out with friends, going shopping, playing the guitar, writing a story, scheduled activities, etc. (whatever you like to do). However, this is not exactly “free-time”, note how I said organized, that’s going to be important.

For me, free-time is an unscheduled time where you just happen to have nothing happening. Then, once you get to this free-time, you decide to do something, whether it be writing, playing the guitar, meeting with friends, etc. The main difference between this and what I said before is that what people usually do is that they have an agenda, and when they actually have free-time, they fill it up with something, such as classes, activities, scheduling to hang out with a friend, etc. The thing that does not make this free-time is that it is planned, free-time by definition means that there is nothing planned. Therefore, when you plan to hang out with a friend, it is not free-time. Free-time is when you have time to improvise what you’re  going to do.

Now, what problems has this caused. The scheduling of everything in every-day life has caused an extreme amount of stress in peoples lives, because everyone is so concerned about doing things according to the schedule, and they don’t take the time to sit down and relax. This is why children don’t know what to do these days when they’re not on the computer, doing scheduled activities, or at school. It’s because they are used to being told what to do, not being able to decide for themselves, it’s because they have an agenda they have to follow. That’s why the television is such a problem, why it consumes so much of the average person’s daily life. I solved this problem by just not watching television, period.

Now, we may think that people were always so busy as we are (with scheduled “free-time” and such), but our definition of free-time, being a scheduled time to do things we want, is actually fairly recent. Not only that, but we have had less and less free time as we advance in civilization. People 200 years ago had more free-time than we do now, and 200 years before that the same. All the way back to the agricultural revolution, which was when we began to reduce our free-time. Before then, people had a lot of free-time, to the point that they only had to go gathering food for about 3 hours a day. Hunting took longer, but the meat lasts way longer, and it’s what everyone in the tribe loved the most. So they didn’t have to go hunting every day.

All in all, we have been losing our free-time because we schedule everything. Whenever we have free-time we fill it up with something. So the best way to avoid the stress is to have a life with more time where you don’t have anything planned, where you are essentially bored. Then, when you are bored, find something to do that does not involve the television or the computer or anything that is just passive consumption. Learn to play an instrument, start to write a novel, learn to dance, do something that isn’t just sitting and not doing anything. However, don’t schedule what you’ll do in this time, just do it when the time comes.

Software Wars


As you all know, I am a very big fan of the open-source movement, of how software and hardware should be open to the public so anyone can fix things, improve things, or adapt it to their needs. Here is a video I came across that talks about the “war” between open-source software, and proprietary software:

The Deterioration of Education


These days, education has lost much of it’s meaning. As capitalism has been expanding, schools have been focusing more on the entertainment of the students than expanding their knowledge. I will give the example of the U.S. since that is where I am currently studying, but this does not mean that it doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world, and if it’s not there, it will be. Here in the U.S. there are a few new philosophies of teaching that are going around, one of them is that teachers try to make the subject “fun” by adding useless things like videos, raps, or The Simpsons and using them as teaching methods.

The reasons people give for this kind of education is that they say one of two things: “everyone learns differently” or “we want children to love learning”. Now, here are my arguments for these. First of all, people do not learn chemistry through a Simpsons video, that is absurd. I did a little experiment with my brother, I made him watch one of these “Bill Nye The Science Guy” videos and after I asked him questions. He barely remembered things then, and when I asked him the same question a few months later, he couldn’t answer a single one. Meanwhile, try the same experiment with a book, and you’ll see that people will remember much more about the book than the documentary; especially if the documentary was made to entertain the students, not teach them.

The next thing about the “everyone learns differently” is that it gives even more reason to show you other ways to learn. The main method of learning they should teach in schools is by reading and writing, because those are vital parts of out society. For instance, if your a programmer and someone wants you to fix a bug, and they send you a word document on how to fix it; if you say “Could you put it into a rap for me? I can’t understand it if it’s not in a rap”, they will at first think you are joking, and if you aren’t, you will be fired on the spot.

Raps are good for nothing when it comes to education, and videos are only good for more physical things, like chemistry labs. However, this does not mean humor videos either, only serious videos about things like replacing bike parts or computer parts or something like that.

Now, as for the “we want children to love learning”, if you want children to “love learning”, you’re doing it the wrong way. You don’t teach someone how to play a sport by changing the rules of the sport, you make the child learn and adapt to the rules of the sport. Same in education, you don’t change education to make it fun, you make the kids think that education is fun, that learning is fun.

To make children love learning, you need to start early, and they need to be surrounded by an environment where learning is the most important thing. However, what people (especially parents) don’t like about this is that they have to make an effort to raise their child well; and for those who already have children, it means that they haven’t done their job as a parent. I know that if you’re a parent with a kid that doesn’t like learning I have basically insulted you by saying this, however, the best thing you can do in this case is to help your grandchildren.

Teacher’s also don’t like the idea that the learning aspect mostly happens at home, because most teachers like to think that they are a vital part of their students’ lives. Truth is, the teachers are as important as the child’s distant cousin that they barely see. This is not to say that teachers have not influence on the child or that they are not important, but don’t think that teachers are the key to everything in a child’s life.

The reason we like to think that teachers are the most important thing is because of Hollywood, which constantly makes movies of how a teacher changes a class full of delinquents to a hard studying class. Truth is, this never happens, and even if you ask the people that were actually involved in this event (since a lot of those movies will say “based on a true story”), you will see that they say that it wasn’t like that at all, that the teacher didn’t change the whole class, just the lives of a few people.

The best example would be this: you go to school with a group of other people, you are in the same classes and same teachers with all these people throughout high school. Why is it that you all end up very different, and some more successful than others? The reason is because the teacher isn’t the key.

So, in general, the key to how the child ends up is at home. So to make sure that the child grows up to be an educated woman/man, you would have to make sure that at home he is taught that education is important.

Now, when I say that you have to teach them that education is important, I don’t mean that you have to be persistent about their grades, only 100% on everything. What I mean is that at home, instead of watching CSI: Miami or the latest season of Supernatural, you should watch a serious documentary about science, or math, or something like that. Or instead of playing games on a computer, find a way to teach them how to program one (you could enroll them in a class, which I would be happy to help you find one, because I personally have a hard time finding good computer programming classes).

Now, this is not to say that this is all they should do, I am the first one who would tell you that the most important thing for a child is to have some free-time (which gives me an idea for my next post, because free-time doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere), and socialization with friends and family (by family I mean extended family) every day (I don’t mean you have to see your grandmother every day, I mean you have to socialize every day). All I’m saying is that when it comes to teaching you child, you should show them to learn, instead of passively consuming what others have already done. You must teach your child to be productive, not just a consumer.

In conclusion, I think that schools are going to wrong way trying to educate children, that they are wasting time with things that don’t matter. We can’t do anything about this to help others, all we can do is to help the people we know, and hope for the best.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it,

Gun Control


Recently there has been a shooting in a school in Connecticut, and we are again debating about guns and gun control here in the US. Well, before I get to the part where I tell you my opinion and reasons, let’s go through why people want guns here in the US.

First of all, people will say that we need guns to defend ourselves against whoever else might have a gun. Then, conservatives especially will say, that we need guns to defend ourselves against the government. Well, what I can say here is that we’re fucked either way. If you have a gun, and someone wants to rob you, if you take it out they will be scared and most likely prone to shoot you. If the government decides to create some fascist Fourth Reich, then we’re fucked because there’s not enough community here in the US for people to communicate and create a resistance group. There is no one man revolution, a revolution needs to be carried out by a large mass of people.

Another reason why people say we need guns is to defend ourselves against the “terrorists”. Well, let me just say that the only reason why the “terrorists” want to kill people here in the US is because we go over there with guns and demand cheap oil from them, when it is fully their right to sell their oil at whatever price they want. So I’m sure that they would be happier if there were less guns around.

So my opinion (if you haven’t already guessed) is that of a pacifist, get rid of the guns. It’s simple, get rid of all the guns, even military guns, and there will be no reason for people to die of gunfire. Now, I know that if there are no guns than people will find something else, like knifes. However, knifes aren’t as efficient at killing people as guns are, otherwise we would use knifes as a primary weapon in the military. But if you remove guns it will solve the majority of our problems with killings.

If you think about it, the majority of killing come from wars, and gun killings. To reduce war, you need to get rid of these ideas of patriotism, nationalism, and countries in general, and instead, let people live with what they need and very little more, and let people care for one another. Once that is done, if we remove guns, there will be little to no violence. We will not need to defend ourselves from a government, we will not need to defend ourselves from a robber, we will not need to defend ourselves from other countries because there are none.

But again, the first step is to remove nationalism, patriotism, and countries and to unite as the human race.

John Lennon


It has been 32 years since the death of John Lennon, a former Beatles member who died on this day in front of his hotel in New York City by a fanatic.

John Lennon dreamed of a world without war, hunger, violence, possessions, greed, corruption, or hate. However, so far we have not made any progress to achieving this, and it’s about time we do.

I have spent the day listening to Beatles and John Lennon music, remembering the messages he sent of a better world. He believed we could make it, we shouldn’t let him down.

Here’s his song “Imagine” for us all to enjoy, as we too dream of a better world as he did.