I Didn’t Start Yet……..

We all have procrastinated about something important that we had to do, sometimes disappointing other people and often disappointing ourselves. Why do we procrastinate?

We procrastinate with many different aspects of our lives, homework, chores, waking up, and others. Why do we procrastinate though? We procrastinate to remain comfortable in not doing the tasks at hand. However, wouldn’t we be more comfortable having the task already done, avoiding stress and pressure to get the task at hand done? ‘Out of sight, out of mind’, is a phrase we could use to describe the procrastination. Without the task at hand being done, we may trick ourselves into believing that we are avoiding stress that comes with it to do well. Fear of failure, and fear of disappointment, motivate us to procrastinate as well, if we don’t do it, we don’t have to face the appearing inevitability of failure and disappoint in ourselves and the disappointment of others. This could possibly lead to never getting the project done, but it is called procrastination, not giving up.

It’s Tradition

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One definition of tradition is the ‘transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation’. The traditions in the short stories Millstone for the Sun’s Day, by Rudy Wiebe, and The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, depict traditions that have authority over the communities in these stories. In these stories, they do not depict traditions, such as hanging stockings and baking cookies, but more sinister and cult related, sacrifices put in place to benefit the communities. The characters in the stories do not doubt these values believing in that the values of the past should correlate to the problems of today, but some characters dare to question and defy these traditions so strictly put in place.  

Both short stories have people who are afraid of letting go of the past, and believe the past may be better than the present. This is specifically seen in The Lottery in the character old man Warner. He talks about the future as if there is no progress in the change that is coming, that ‘next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves’. However, isn’t that what he wants? He wishes to stick to old traditions that have been in the town for hundreds of years, this lottery in reality is hindering the progress of the town. The social structure, the gender roles, and the roles of authority figures, have not changed since the town was established, the lottery being what is holding them back the most. The roles of people so often change, but not for the old bearded man in Millstone for the Sun’s Day. He works in the same job for years, the job description changing from rounding the sacrifices, the people, up to Sun Rock, to making sure the ropes and knots are tied to standard. The old man continues to grumble on about how there has to always be new rope. He is referencing to the new ways they are twisting the tradition, using a yacht to go to Sun Rock instead of getting there before the dawn and herding the people up Sun Rock, and now using a block of iron instead of a millstone. This, ‘new and improved’ way of executing the tradition of Sun Rock, is considered soft and weak in his eyes.Has this tradition ever been for the soft and weak though? They pick people to die and they pick a child to kill that person. No one involved, or forced to watch this go down is able to be weak, weak in will, or weak enough to let their morals fog their minds, however they need a little moral fog, as the mother of the main character has.

In Millstone for the Sun’s Day the mother of the main character wishes for change, but she keeps quiet, even though she believes the traditions held in her community are wrong. She subtly defies the traditions however by wearing black instead of white on the yacht ride, as all the other woman do. She dared to defy the tradition of Sun Rock because her son was going to be forced to be involved in murdering, Ms. Grierson, and wanting her son to know she didn’t support this, she defied the Capitular’s and their traditions. She couldn’t fully defy them though. Keeping her son safe was her main objective, she had to conform to the rules of the Capitular’s, the traditions authority or her son could suffer the consequences. The woman, Tessie Hutchinson, from The Lottery, fears that her family, or herself, may win the lottery. Tessie is a grown woman now, she had had a long time to debate whether or not she supported the lottery or not, but once her own family was chosen, it became personal. Even old man Warner says, ‘It’s not the way it used to be, People ain’t the way they used to be’. A young girl in the crowd begins to hope her friend isn’t chosen, just as Mrs. Hutchinson wished her family was not chosen, this is the sign of change, a small change, but even the tiniest bit of wind can knock a house of cards down.

The signs of change affect everyone differently, some will aggressively hold onto the past and the outdated and barbaric traditions that go with it. Others will see the wrongness and long for change, just as the main characters mother from Millstone for the Sun’s Day, and Tessie Hutchinson from The Lottery. Tradition is a longing to hold onto the past and the memories and moments it brings. There is a time though, to let go of those memories and moments, when they no longer hold a logical purpose, and when this tradition begins to devalue the human life to benefit the community.            

 

   

Proven Guilty?

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Humans desire a life where we are guided because they fear the unknown. They want others to guide them, help them choose their paths, but they want independence and choice as well. Easily they fool themselves into thinking they can make the right choice in the face of peril, but deep in the strange structure of the mind, they crave the steady weight of a guiding hand. These guiding hands come, and have came in varying forms; some as religious figures and others as government officials. They choose to idolize these people, or more accurately, the image of these people they have in their mind, people who are certain of the future. These authority figures can kill, maim, ridicule, humiliate, and strip humans of their morals, yet humans still reason with themselves that the figures are just, or even holy, because we trust, or fear, this guiding hand that will lead us to the glory land, and fear what will happen without it. In the short story Millstone for the Sun’s Day, by Rudy Wiebe, and the findings from the Milgram experiment, we can see how people react to an authority figure that demands you lose your morals, and explore why people give into these demands.  

The child Joey, the main character, is stuck in between wanting to obey the authority figures within Millstone for the Sun’s Day and choosing what he feels is morally right. In the beginning he is blissfully unaware what this boat ride is for, but he feels a vague apprehension during the whole ordeal. He is still unaware of what his purpose is on that boat. When the Capitular tells him he was chosen to pull a lever because he won the lottery, he turns to his mother, looking at her, she nods telling him to do as he was told. She is the director of Joey, she knows the rules, the safety procedures, how he ought to conduct himself , and where he fits in society, and at that moment his place in society was that he was to pull that lever. In the beginning of the story the mother argues with Joey’s father saying, “we don’t have to let them!” Let them, the Capitulars, do what however? Let them force her son to murder someone, allow them to murder someone, or let them strip them of their conscience? In the end she does not stand by her opinion and her ideals, and in the end when Joey goes to her for comfort, she tells him to hush, keep his values to himself, to not directly oppose authority, but to sit quietly and discuss his opinions in the safe confines of privacy. Joey’s way of obeying the orders given to him by authority figures can be linked to the findings from the Milgram experiment. Joey in this story is turning to people he trusts for help and guidance. He believes that these people are a smarter, more capable, human than he is. So he trusts in the decisions of these people, his parents, specifically his mother. In an article written by Saul McLeod about the Milgram experiment, it says that “People tend to obey orders from other people if they recognize their authority as morally right and/or legally based. This response to legitimate authority is learned in a variety of situations, for example in the family, school, and workplace”. Joey believes his mother is morally right, and when he looks to her for help, asking if he should do what the Capitular is asking him to, she says yes, failing her son.

Though people follow others who they believe are correct and right, in most situations human beings are motivated by fear, fear of punishment, this fear allows humans to follow leaders without question. All the characters from Millstone for the Sun’s Day could easily be motivated by the fear of punishment. The father of the main character especially, is motivated by fear of punishment when his wife dares to say that she doesn’t want Joey to go on this lottery won yacht ride. Joey’s father, as other citizens of this community would be shocked to hear this. This is a religious tradition where all adults and one child come along for a boat ride. It would be blasphemy to reject this tradition, to boldly stand apart from the rest of the community. The father would think that people would begin to segregate his family, and him being a factory director, people could begin to refuse to do business with him, eventually leaving his family destitute. Religion is a substantial part of daily life in this community,and it would be correct to assume that they could influence, or even be, the government. Therefore, opposing the Capitular could have the same result as not being Catholic during the Spanish Inquisition, making the father’s fear incredibly real. The entire community could be under this fear, not willing to defy the Capitulars, afraid to have that guiding hand push them off a cliff. In the religious cult like ceremony the Capitulars conduct, they sacrifice a young woman, Ms. Grierson, Joeys teacher, into the shadowy water beneath Sun Rock. They do this, no reason supplied as to why they murder this woman. What does the community get from murdering this woman? They don’t know, but whatever it is, they fear it will be taken away if they don’t do so, resulting in a consequence of which is also unknown. This can be in relation to the Milgram experiment. The Milgram experiment in its conclusion says that obedience to authority figures is ingrained, it is also ingrained in humans that disobedience will be punished.          

Obedience to an authority figure does not naturally occur in human beings, but is ingrained into them by society, by the people they have been raised by. Children turn to those they trust, and believe are morally right, but when do they stop? Those children who have now grown into young adults still turn to those who they believe are morally right, they consult their friends and their family when they are making tough decisions. They are still being influenced, still obeying people who they view as authority figures. In clubs and sports, they will follow the rules, if the referee calls a phony play, they will not deny that the referee was right, even though they are wrong. The situations in which characters from the Millstone for the Sun’s Day are put in, tests how far they are willing to bury their morals and values, in order to obey an authority figure. In the Milgram experiment it explains why people might give in to an authority figures demands at the expense of going against their morals.

 

  • “There are two kinds of guilt. The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you.” ― Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes     

    

Get Philosophical!

This video talks about how robots get more human like. Turing thought that if computers can blend into a human conversation that measures how intelligent the computer is. During the first chapter in Sophies World, Joanna, Sophies friend, says humans are like computers. Are humans like computers though? The Turing test is on its way to prove that computers are or are not like humans. So far most of the tests have proven that computers are not. Computers seem to lack what I like to call ‘human experience’. They have no back ground, personality, or opinions, simply because they have never experienced humanity.

The Collage Of Who I Am

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Who am I? One of the most confounding questions the human race has asked themselves. What makes us us is a question we all try to tackle now and then. I try to tackle this now as I try to explain what I’m all about. This answer will change and warp over time, but the time is now to start this bedlam of facts about me. Some of these facts include my hopes and dreams, values, interests and hobbies, personal qualities, transferable skills, and my future career choices. My hopes and dreams include having happiness and success coexist, get a job, find out what I want to do after high school qualify for what I want to do for school, find out what school I want to go to, and to travel the world. Some of the things I value are honesty, trust, hard work, dedication, intelligence and learning. Reading, cadets, and the arts such as drawing, singing, writing, and much more are some of my interest and hobbies. My personal qualities are that I am adaptive, cautious, committed, creative, disciplined, and loyal. Transferable skills are skills and habits you can take from one situation to another, for me those skills are identifying problems, deriving concept and Ideas from others ideas, willing to try new things, moderate writing skills, good listener, courteous and respectful, learns from others, meets deadlines, and willing to share credits with others. For career choices I have many, they are criminal sciences, lawyer, psychology, psychiatry, and police force. These little facts about me only make up so little of me, but these are the questions I was posed with to answer for my assignment, that’s all folks.

That One Word

 

The classroom was reasonably quiet, for our class anyways. It seemed it was always the boys who ran their mouth off about some topic, any topic really, but today they had quieted down. Not that I was the perfect student, I was doodling in my scribbler. The drawing was of a penny with splashes of water around it, like the penny fell into a fountain or well.

Then I heard the word, and my heart became like wrathful sea out of the fifth circle of hell. Mavric, an annoying insufferable mongrel, had uttered a profanity toward Daelia. How could he? She was his friend, peer, and close acquaintance, and he demeaned her, cast her down to the dirt, with one word. Just like that penny I drew, Daelia sunk down, down, down, into a murky dark abyss, and yet she gave a laugh. I could see the pain on her face, how it hurt her to even give that small laugh, yet it could be because the boys, the people she called friends, laughed too. That wasn’t the worst of it though, the teacher had heard and left it alone. Wasn’t it their job to make sure we felt safe here, to make sure we never had to feel this way? I was pretty sure it wasn’t just their job, it was everyone’s job to protect each other.

Rage rumbled and groaned inside me, like I was Pandora’s box holding demons at bay that could destroy the world if I let even one out. In that moment I wanted to destroy him, destroy all the people who did nothing. She had just been sitting there doing her work and hadn’t aggravated him to throw that insult at her. I know her well enough to know she hadn’t done what he said she did with that one word. What I don’t understand is if they were her friends why did they do this to her? She was so kind, sweet, and had a certain innocence around her, all she wanted to do was fit in. Mavric deserved the worst kind of pain, the one where the deepest darkest part of the soul is revealed, a part of the soul thought never to be seen because that darkness is hidden so well. His eyes could be drooping with fatigue, and body torn and broken able to move no more, and it would never be enough for me in that moment. I wanted to take him down, shout at him the profanities he had delivered so easily out of his mouth.

I wanted to avenge the pain that no one should ever feel, I didn’t though. Fear had taken hold, and whispered in my ears, ‘he will turn on you, make fun of you, and bury you in the dirt to suffer more ridicule than Daelia did, only because you are not one of them’. I never thought fear could speak such words so quickly into my head, and so I sat brooding until I calmed down enough to think.

Being born a people watcher, I have studied a countless amount of people, seeing what people do when they think nobody’s watching. For me I like to study the people I dislike the most, wishing I knew what went on in the back of their heads. You can guess that I have studied Mavric, he has that fake bravado and cockiness making him the cool kid, but all that is like the invisibility cloak. He has a sadness about him, and more than less often guilt. Guilt clouds around him now, I can see it so clearly as he talks and laughs with his group.

Mavric has been trying so hard to fit in, as it was his first year to come to our overly peppy school. We have all seen the movies and TV shows that show how the “cool” kids act, they’re all ‘oh no, a person not in my close circle of friends, you must be lower than dirt and therefore beneath me” said in an overly high and annoying, close to mickey mouse voice. It’s not like that though, it’s worse. Whoever is in the cool squad is always on a race for the top, you need to look good, be good at sports, but not to involved or your weird, and you need to be funny, even at someone else’s expense. It’s a kill or be killed world and you need to be cut throat. This is what Mavric is doing, he racing a race he could probably win. This is what happened with Daelia, he needed to come up with some out of proportions joke, to keep his place with his friends, or be replaced.

Guilt now consumed me as I came to my conclusion. I couldn’t stand up for Daelia because it would lead to my prosecution on the social hierarchy, and couldn’t bend these odd laws society has set up for all of us. Mavric also didn’t deserve this anger directed at him, he did what I did, I saved myself from the hungry jaws of ridicule. I would like to say that I stood up for Daelia the next time he called her that profanity, but then I’d be lying and there is no hiding from the truth.

Twitter Essay: Environment and Technology

Most of us born in the twenty-first century have been surrounded by technology for as long as we remember. These technologies have been increasing and improving all our lives, but have we ever thought of how it affects us and others? All of the electronics we have, have been changing our lives for the better and for the worse. What we have never thought of was our future, and the future generation and how the production of technology will affect them.

The negative effects of technologies are that they are becoming distractions for us, no longer a necessary thing to keep us alive, but to keep us from facing reality. Society has started using it as a way to disguise our problems and discomforts. They want to do this simply because we have been raised that way, to go hide. In a way it is a very human way to go do things, since we were little we have hid from the scary monsters of the world, by bringing the blankets way up over our heads, blinding us from what is happening and from the people around us. We have never grown out of our blankets, only exchanged them for more modern metal ones. Like those blankets, electronics have hidden us, and others around us from each other. We hide under our new and improved blankets walking around like there is no problem, but there is. The problem is that we are so unconnected from the world around us we can no longer form a relationship outside the internet. For example, how many people have used online dating? Almost ninety-one million people have tried online dating. This signifies that people believe they cannot find connections outside of the internet. The tweets below show more examples of how technologies affect our lives negatively.

The positives of our interaction with technology are few but beneficial beyond belief. Technology has mostly affected how the medical field proceeds with current practices. One of the practices current technology affects are surgeries. Surgeons now have tiny robots that can go into openings in the flesh and record or film what is happening in the body. The robots can also be used to make make small incisions without human error. These new technologies don’t only save lives, but they are becoming more environmentally convenient too. Technologies have been starting to become more environmentally friendly, helping conserve the our resources and the protect the planet. Every device in our life is always improving, the way we listen and get music, and how we view entertainment, but they connect to the world too. Over the years there have been many new social media sites developed, connecting us to issues in Alberta, Canada, and the world.

What hasn’t been mentioned was how technologies might affect our future. Ray Bradbury the author of The Veldt, Fahrenheit 451 seems to think that it will detrimental to our lives and will create more havoc. In some ways he is right, it will destroy us. Not with laser beams and stuff out of Christine and Maximum Overdrive, but with wrecking our connections with others. For example in The Veldt the children and parents lost connection with each other. Instead of parenting their children they bought a “Happy Life Home”, because they “want the best for their children”. What they don’t realize is that the title they wear as parents is only a title, and they are only a figurehead for what is actually raising them, the house is raising. The house bathes, entertains, and takes care of them in general, taking away the responsibilities of the parents, creating a drift in the relationship with the children. It isn’t that bad today, but imagine what technologies we will have come up with in the future, and how much these technologies will affect us in the future. Not all technologies will be bad though for example in The Host there is advanced medication that saves one character’s life, which means more diseases could probably be cured. Also think about all the scientific discoveries that could be made, as long as there isn’t an attempt to make a Jurassic Park, all discoveries should be for the best.

Technologies can affect us in many different ways. Either in the present or in the future, technology will interact with us in a negative or positive way. Taking away connections with those around us, but keeping us connected to those not near us. Overall technology is in that gray area where it’s not entirely good, but not evil either. Technology is like life, you can either make the choice use it for ill intent, use it to help others, or like my grandparents say, ‘if you don’t know how to do it, get out of the way’.

Used Shirts

There are lots of shirts of many colors, sold in stores all over the world. The shirts in those stores aren’t like me though.

Every person has a shirt, one for school, work, play and going out for supper with your mom. We are manufactured and put in a vehicle and shipped from home, going to some strange land to be sold. Sold for the profit of others, and once we’re all used up, put into another’s hand.

I am a small worn down red shield with the stripes of my scars under my skin. Some say I am worthless, an eyesore, social suicide to wear in public. To others I am priceless for I give them warmth on the chilly nights and cover them from the scorching sun during the day. Once the ones who thought I was the jewels at their feet are now selling me to keep their stomachs full.

I have been worn by many people, people with rich and spicy food being spilt upon my brow, and those with the few bread crumbs that can easily be brushed away before you go back  to work. Bellies have been strained against me, and I have floated around protruding ribs.

I have been to America and now stop in India. Bihar is where I lay in a simple market stand, where I am picked up. I am worn for a couple months, experiencing a birthday with sweet crumbs spilled on me once again, and games involving tugging and grabbing or simply tapping the shirts of others. A day had come though when we were moved once again into New Delhi this time, because the family was offered a deal they could not refuse.

We rode in the hot smelly car for twenty hours, the sights of buildings, waterways and jungle like forests, passing by at the speed of light it seemed. Then we arrived at our destination. The neighborhood was made up of simple industrial buildings, and the native language seemed to be floating around everywhere, yelling in playful fits and in lost tempers reverberated through the air. A man that was there with us had his mighty head high in the sky with thunder in his eyes, and with the force of strong winds forced us into a building and up the stairs. We arrived in a building full of children at tables with their tiny fragile hands working on putting beads on thread, like the weft being drawn through the warp.

A continuing process, over and over, like how grass is cut then grows once again a continuing cycle to keep them controlled. It is one day where we wake in our filth of our life once again and hurry to Khanpur village to where we have worked for the past months. We walk up the stairs and hurry so as not to be late. If we were it would a slap to the head and a verbal beating. So off to work we go, bead after bead, stitch after stitch, creating an empire of fabric. The little light we have makes it so hard to see what is going on in front of them, like a blindfold over there eyes taking away their sight.

Sounds of life and quiet shuffling erupt, but we keep going incase they see us not doing what we are supposed to be doing. So we continue stitching, beading, and more stitching. Then a woman breaks through the door, like lightning that strikes the ground liberating it from its earthly prison. Quickly she gathered us all in the shocked state we were in and brought us out of our worldly manor. Rushed onto the streets full of life, sound, and light, we were once again in a hot stinky car.

The world moved by, until we were far from the reaches of the village. When we arrived we rushed into another building. We were checked and processed, but with much gentler hands than before, asking if we were sick or hurt. Then we walked to the roof top and left to eat. How refreshing to have something spilt on me again, to know that we are living once again. I watched silently while the boy was gorging himself on food, too long wanted. As some in fear snuck food into their hands and creeped away from the home they always wanted, but haven’t known for so long. We then go on and wait again and are asked questions, like ‘what is your name?’, ‘where are you from?’, or ‘how long have you been working?’. I watched on as they all answered. Some told the truth, others with the spare hope their ‘employers’ would pay them kept quiet about what really happened. How they were abused, taken from home, all of them trying to live one step at a time, trying to feed their family, but how they never will. They also take their hand to keep them talking, keep them telling the truth, keep them living a life a child should have. Then, when they are done they take their finger and dip it in an inkpad, because they do not know how write. All they have been taught is to work obediently and without complaint.

Now we are being taken away to a place where they can start again and go on many adventures maybe to America. Once we arrive at the compound they get a set of matching clothes. I know now as they take me away I will never again be the worn down red shirt, I will start again as soil and biodegradable material and become something new.

Roads of Fort McMurray

From voluntary to mandatory in ten minutes

Rushing to pick up kids

Forced from our home

And one of hundreds

Who need to get out.

Black smoke

Dramatic, Fiery lapses

People fleeing

and we need to move again.

Parts of the city like a warzone

Those fighting fires

Working to control

The wild fire.

 

 

Snakes, Horses, And Dolls

My twin sister was a few minutes older than me, so that made sure we were always together, whether it was at a friends house or at school. That small amount of time between our births was power to her though, so she used me as her doll and play thing. Both of us had one interest though, we both loved horses.
I have to say it was our mother who started this interest as she read us Black Beauty every night. We loved her lulling voice as it carried us to sleep, and the wondrous horses trotting on in our dreams. Once we learned we could never own a horse of our own, we had to compromise to having imaginary horses. My sister though, would have none of it, she wanted a real horse. She than forced on my brother the role of the horse. She loved trying to ‘break the bronco’, riding him, whipping him with the whip my mother had gotten as a ‘statement of small western town chic’, but once she got bored with that, she would go play with her doll. Playing with her doll meant me being quiet as a mouse, and not moving an inch as she brushed or styled my hair, and applied my mother’s make-up on my face. If I didn’t do as she asked, she would scream at me, and hit me, then run and hide in the bathroom like a snake into its nest. I hated when she locked herself in the bathroom, because I constantly thought she would never come out and then I’d have no one to talk to. So when she wanted me to smile, frown, scream, cry, walk to the market to see Petty, not Betty, and even torture my poor brother, I did. I was a clay form, and she would shape me however she wanted.
It was almost three years of suffering before our baby brother was born and she had another horse to train and nurture in the way she saw fit. I could do nothing but play along though, and pretend to be what she wanted as I slipped into being her own Rebecca E. Brown doll, even when she outgrew playing with her doll. The girl my sister trained me to be when I was younger, was like slipping on a second skin, but at times I peeked through that skin of Miss. Brown, and whispered into my sister’s ear to do some good with the power we held. The thing I could always convince her to do was to protect her colts, otherwise known as my brothers. When I could not convince her she would find that dreaded whip and bring it down on me in private when I was not expecting it. I can still remember what it felt like hitting my skin, like angry bees, stinging nettles, and a good slap all combined.
Once we hit a certain age, I can’t exactly remember when, but she stopped using violence to get what she wanted from me, but it might of been that she knew she could get what she wanted from me by then anyway. It went on like that for about four years, until we turned fourteen. My twin had started noticing the boys in our class, and therefore like her mirror I did too. They were funny to watch while me and my sister advanced on them like wild cats, but it just got worse when we moved away together to the big city. We use to think it was funny when people mixed us up, but my sister always getting what she wanted, used me to get to one boy. He was handsome, kind, smart, and made me laugh like no other could, but it was my twin who made me go and talk to him, it was then I should have noticed her devious plan, but now I am to late. It turned out disastrously for my twin that one night, as I saw her under the moonlight with him in our shared apartment. I flew from the scene in a final act to save myself from her trickery, knowing I could no longer save the boy who had become her stallion, her possession.
It is safe to say now, that she has wandered to a different corral, trying to use her snake eyes under horse’s skin to hypnotize some poor stallion into the slaughter. I know she will try again to get what she wants, and will chase the poor stallions to there grave, taking their lively hood with her when she left them to rot in the ground. I return home though, to visit the colts she believed would starve and die without her. Knowing now, they would’ve choked on her venom if she had stayed.

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