Democracy

In order for democracy to function properly, one of its requirements is that the electorate have sufficient knowledge of all candidates running for any given political office. So what percentage of the modern public goes out of their way to research all competing candidates instead of just passively swallowing the political propaganda in the news and in the universities in small increments over time? Not enough.

It stands to reason that if suffrage is a vital human right, it follows that there should be a mandate that the citizen have a healthy knowledge of each candidate. Not only should the citizen know that, but he should have a solid understanding of economics, history, and the political process. What percentage of the public is defined by these attributes?

 

 

Advertisements

“The Stranger” – A Poem by Rudyard Kipling

The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk–
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock,
They may do ill or well,
But they tell the lies I am wanted to,
They are used to the lies I tell;
And we do not need interpreters
When we go to buy or sell.

The Stranger within my gates,
He may be evil or good,
But I cannot tell what powers control–
What reasons sway his mood;
Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
Shall repossess his blood.

The men of my own stock,
Bitter bad they may be,
But, at least, they hear the things I hear,
And see the things I see;
And whatever I think of them and their likes
They think of the likes of me.

This was my father’s belief
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf–
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children’s teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.

Bates Motel Review – Contains Spoilers

The show Bates Motel has a relatively special significance to me. I identified a lot with the main character, Norman Bates. Aside from bearing a strong physical resemblance to Norman and being almost the same age as the actor who played him, I found myself not only wholly understanding the rationale behind the many murders that Norman committed, but I found myself championing his actions with alarming remorselessness. Not only that, but like Norman, I too deal with mental illness and the timeline of the show coincided with my own struggle and conquest of mental illness.

Furthermore, I wistfully associate this show with nostalgic memories. I remember when the show began in 2013, I met my then girlfriend in person for the first time. We first met in an eighth floor Holiday Inn hotel room that had dark wallpaper. The hotel room was divided into two sections: a large bedroom with a king sized bed and a separate living room with a couch and a TV. We watched TV in between bouts of energetic sexual play. She would curl up next to me on the couch as we watched, discussed and deconstructed not only Bates Motel but other shows as well.

Anyway, the fantastic writing on this show had me glued to the TV. As someone championing Norman along, you could say I was quite disappointed with the ending wherein he was killed. My ideal ending would have been seeing Norman in a cushioned cell in a straight jacket in a mental hospital at least alive and knowing that he would be forever blissfully content in the stupor induced by the medications the hospital staff would force him to take. After Norman killed Sheriff Romero and after imaginary Norma abandoned Norman, I was half hoping in that moment to see Norman entirely overcome his mental illness that plagued him for so long. I was half hoping he would run away and live out as a fugitive somewhere else in the United States, an ending which is not inconceivable given that pretty much all other loose ends on the show had been tied up. It was an opportunity for him to start over but when he drove Norma’s dead body back to his house in his car, I became distressed at the thought of the foreboding outcome. To be honest, my stomach filled with dread every time Norman killed someone or attacked someone knowing the likely horrible consequences for him. However, each time I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the universe had given him another chance afterward. I don’t think it was beyond the ability of the show’s writers to craft such an ending but alas, that was not the case. Nonetheless, I am appreciative that the show did at least culminate and end.

To conclude: as far as TV shows go, I must say that the bar is set unbelievably high.  This was my favourite show on television.

Perception

A topic of discussion that floats around sometimes is religion and the belief in a deity. I thought I would give you my personal take on it. Does god exist? I believe he does. What is the definition of god? Well, according to the American heritage dictionary, it is “a being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe.” I believe there is an entity that has characteristics of what we define as god. If god doesn’t exist, I think there must be a being very similar to God.

Going back thousands of years and seeing many different peoples and nations around the world worship some form of deity, one might ask: could they all be wrong or are they on to something? What I believe is that gods of all different cultures are simply attempts at defining the same phenomenon, a phenomenon we do not yet fully understand. Our limited understanding, however, doesn’t mean that that entity we are trying to define doesn’t exist. Are billions of people throughout the world and throughout history all worshiping nothing at all? Now an atheist may argue that the majority of religious people are simply blind followers of their respective faiths simply because religion is something that is culturally encouraged in their region and that perhaps only a very small percentage of religious people are believers due to well thought-out reasoning.

I think, however, for billions of people around the world for thousands of years to have some sort of deity in their culture is saying something. It’s saying that humans are observing real phenomenon in the world that leads them to rationally believe that some form of god-like entity exists. Many religions contradict other religions, but that doesn’t mean that one religion is right and another is wrong. They could all be valid. Differences in religion are commensurate with the differences in various ethnic groups from which different religions originate.

Our perception is what makes the world around us real. To other animals like flies or snakes who perceive the world differently, what’s real for them is different than real for us. Is there one correct way to perceive the world way in the way that it naturally exists? I don’t think there is. This leads to the question: what is the true nature of the world?

As an example, when light hits hits an atom, the atom absorbs all of those electromagnetic wavelengths except for those wavelengths which are reflected, some of which we can see with our eyes. What about all of the wavelengths we can’t see? What if we could see them? Would it change our understanding of the world? We don’t see those invisible wavelengths because it has not been something required of humans by the imperative of survival. Survival is the only driving force that gives us our traits. In other words, all the traits we possess, we possess in order to survive. None of them are just luxuries.

My point here with wavelengths is that it’s a microcosm of the way we perceive reality in general: that it seems like human understanding perceives only a small sliver of all true phenomenon. There’s too much we don’t understand. This would point to the existence of a greater force, a greater power.

Fate of the Furious – Movie Review

So overall, this film was great! Seriously. Unfortunately however, because I’m writing a movie review, I’m obliged to say a bit more than that. Thus, this brings me to talk about the things in the movie that I didn’t like. I know. I know. The negative things in a film, or the negative things in anything in general shouldn’t get more attention then the positive things. I hate being a cynic and bringing up the negative side. I totally understand that but I felt the following topics were the things in the film that stood out the most. Caution: the parts I’m about to describe contain spoilers.

I’ll start by saying that the acting in this film was satisfactory and convincing, with the exception of Chris “Ludacris” bridges.

I felt the story itself was rather trite. The female villain in the film, Cipher, seemed more preoccupied with destroying the protagonist, Dom than achieving her main goal of international terrorism. Dom caught up with one of the Cipher’s henchman in an alley in a city. The henchman was pointing a gun directly at Dom’s wife. Dom then pointed his gun at the henchman’s head at which point the henchman lowered his gun and walked away. Dom followed, leaving his wife behind, and the two men finished their heist by escaping with a briefcase containing nuclear codes. Later, on Cipher’s airplane headquarters, Cipher decided to punish Dom for defending his wife by having her henchman shoot his Dom’ son’s mother in the head (a different woman), an act which is although predictable for a stereotypical villain in a movie, made no practical sense. It did not seem to bring Cipher any closer to achieving her ultimate goal.

Her ultimate goal, by the way, was rather vague. Cipher wanted nuclear codes, but she didn’t explain exactly why she wanted them other than for the reason that she wanted to “hold governments accountable” assumingly by devastating national capitals with retaliatory nuclear strikes, a line of logic that is neither immediately clear nor relatable to the audience.  It was your quintessential movie plot where the villain just wants to take over the world for reasons not really imparted to the audience other than she’s evil. This part of the movie surprisingly stood out because in recent years, Hollywood actually has done a very convincing job of conveying the rational of the motives of the antagonist, not only the motives of the protagonist.

I have to admit also: the special effects in this movie are sublime with one small exception which probably only I could notice. I could plainly tell that the high speed car chase scenes in this movie were shot while the cars were going relatively slowly. It stole a sense of reality from the film.

Finally, Fate of the Furious is a totally entertaining film which I give a “yes.” Definitely worth the price of admission. The escape factor in this movie is huge.