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Topics - Ameera

Interzone / What is human?
« on: January 02, 2010, 02:59:59 AM »
What is it that makes a human, well, human- set aside from other creatures that inhabit this planet. The ability to reason? To have and show emotion? To think in terms of multi-step cause and effect analysis?
According to Kenneth Burke, human is:

Being bodies that learn language
thereby becoming wordlings
humans are
the symbol-making, symbol-using, symbol-misusing animal
inventor of the negative
separated from our natural condition
by instruments of our own making
goaded by the spirit of hierarchy
acquiring foreknowledge of death
and rotten with perfection

On Symbols
Burk'se statement of "humans are the symbol-making, symbol-using, symbol-misusing animal." He implies with this that humans are creatures that use symbols as a part of communication, and that other 'animals' do not use symbols in the same way or to the same extent in which humans do.

On Negativity
Humans are the "inventor of the negative." This means that humans, by using morals and ethics to derive a positive and negative aspect to actions, do not have the instinctual actions of animals. Humans have a moral and ethic instinct rather than the "pure" non-negatively or positively induced instinct.

On Separation
Humans are "separated from out natural condition by instruments of our own making." Humans, by creating a language based off of symbols (a word is a symbol for an object) have uniquely distanced themselves from their surroundings. By using "words for words" humans "remove themselves from primary experience."

On the Spirit of Hierarchy
Humans are "goaded by the spirit of hierarchy" in that we seek order and rank, to indulge and to deny, and to find power and superiority and define those who lack such.

On Perfection
Humans are "rotten with perfection." We impulsively seek to understand, to define, and to constantly find our place within life and things related. We find discomfort, even dissonance, when we lack understanding, definition, or self-relevancy in the things we delve upon.

( Thatis my rather quick and poor summary of this website http://www.cla.purdue.edu/dblakesley/burke/human/index.html )

So with that being said I'd like to pose a question of definition. What, to you, is human? And on top of that, is this child human? http://www.emaxhealth.com/1275/87/34842/baby-without-brain-celebrates-first-birthday.html 

This baby cannot:
1. Symbolize. Create, analyze, or understand the symbols in which human language and behavior is bred up from.
2. Analyze, understand, or define morals and ethics, thus not understanding the necessary positive and negative value humans see situations from.
3. Communicate and understand things using the complexities of the "words for words" language humans interact with and think within.
4. Order. To seek to define things in a power-related aspect.
5. Define. Seek adequate understandings of things we lack knowledge in, and to find self-relevancy in our lives.

I think, by Burke's definitions it is adequately agreed upon that this child is NOT human. But, what are your own definitions?
If this child is human to you, why?
If this child is not human to you, why not?

Interzone / Future of Deaf Technology/language?
« on: December 23, 2009, 01:52:30 AM »
I've been thinking of trying to start some sort of organization or something that caters to deaf people seeking psychological services.
The thing is, I'm in school right now, and would rather not waste my time taking anymore sign language classes if it will deem irrelevant in 15 years.
With the popularity of the Cochlear implant rising, I would assume the number of people learning sign language is decreasing. (Though I lack solid information here. I only did a quick Google search and couldn't find any useful information).
I'm wondering if anyone here has any information or opinions themselves or if anyone knows of any reputable websites that could shed some light on the topic.
I've only been poorly public-school educated on deaf culture and community, and do not personally know any deaf people in my area. So any information one could provide on the popularity of the Cochlear implant versus sign language, or the relevancy of sign language in the future would be helpful.
(Also, I'm speaking strictly of American Sign Language and it's use in the US).

Interzone / Education vs. Culture
« on: October 01, 2009, 02:19:32 PM »
"The autobiographical facts pertinent to this essay are simply stated in two sentences, though they exist in somewhat awkward juxtaposition to each other. I am the son of Mexican-American parents, who speak a blend of Spanish and English, but who read neither language easily. I am about to receive a PH.D. in English Renaissance literature. What sort of life--what tensions, feelings, conflicts--connects these two sentences? I look back and remember my life from the time I was seven or eight years old as one of constant movement away from a Spanish-speaking folk culture toward the world of the English-language classroom. As the years passed, I felt myself becoming less like my parents and less comfortable with the assumption of visiting relatives that I was still the Spanish-speaking child they remembered. By the time I began college, visits home became suffused with silent embarrassment: there seemed so little to share, however strong the ties of our affection. My parents would tell me what happened in their lives or in the lives of relatives; I would respond with news of my own. Polite questions would follow. Our conversations came to seem more like interviews." (From "Going Home Again" by Richard Rodriguez)

I was thinking two things from this:

1) Is it necessary to deny one's culture in order to fully immerse oneself in his/her studies?

While I certainly don't believe one must abandon their heritage and culture to pursue an English education, I see where Rodriguez is coming from. Think of the American stereotypes of his culture; there tends to be the belief that Chicano peoples are lazy, uneducated, simplistic..etc. In order to get a PhD. he probably had to repress the fact that these aren't true to "fit in" to American culture. I don't really think his choice was necessary to the extremes he took it too, but perhaps he does have, at least, a small amount of merit in his reasonings.
Also, the distancing from his family was probably more about education, in general, than about culture. It is easy to feel separated from those that cannot comprehend what you do, or to feel a lack of connection with those that cannot discuss what you discuss. It's an interest thing, I think.

2) Is it fair for Rodriguez, and the others he speaks of, to feel that they would be contaminating a culture by trying to educate the ones who did not get the privilege of attending school? Is "uneducated" a valued cultural trait?

I think maybe education means something different to every culture. In America, it means school, in indigenous types of cultures it means practical things (cooking, making clothes, shelter, etc). So maybe trying to educate those that do not seek the American view of what is to be learned IS contaminating the culture. Why would an African tribesman need to know Renaissance English? Why would an American need to know how to hunt for survival? It depends on what type of education one truly defines as "educating."

What do you all think?

Interzone / Writers? Readers?
« on: September 17, 2009, 11:27:45 AM »
This is off the topic of this website, so my apologies there, but this site has a larger collection of well educated and open minded people than others- which suits my purposes here.
I'm looking for someone decent at writing, specifically narrative writing, but other forms as well.
I would like some help with editing and ideas.
I am well aware of collusion. What it is/ how not to do it. But if you don't care, I don't care.
I can pay a [very] low rate [college student with currently no incoming source of money].

A quick specific: Any tips on how to make a good academic paper a good "narrative" paper? (Meaning more "personal voice" apparently)?

Much appreciated, and many thanks.

Interzone / Religion in Modern America
« on: August 01, 2009, 03:23:03 PM »
Religion no longer matters on any other scale than the individual.
Sure, there are billions of people actively involved in church, temple, etc. And billions more that practice praying or confessing or Good Fridays or whatever.
But who do they do it for?
A society?- Does the collective believe that if they do not follow their religion that God (or whatever holds the power) will punish them as a whole? With droughts or disease or other such things? And if they do follow God's will that they will be 'blessed' with things that help the community? (rain for crops, good health, etc)?
No, no one living in the modern world practices religion for such reasons ANYMORE. These are old ways. Ways that are no longer in practice.

So what do people practice religion for now?
Themselves, simply.
They think if they live the "holier than thou" lifestyle, they will be blessed with their individual desires. They pray for riches, not righteousness. They pray for a few more years of life, not because they want to do something worthwhile for anyone-but because they want to cling to THEIR OWN PERSONAL desires just a bit longer.

To ask if we need a replacement God is to ask if we need a replacement excuse. Our God didn't give us the perfect paradise we prayed for... our God no longer means anything to us.
We live in a society where people are atheists, "passive followers" (yeah I believe in God, but I don't go to church or any of that shit), or the "personally devout," (I believe in God, I go to church, I don't sin/I repent because I want to save my ass from Hell).

So, to those that still cling to the idea that the world needs religion: I say:
Look around, and see how little merit religion has in the world today. It has a very small part of our backbones clenched (Jihad, etc). But when you go to a restaurant, do you see any of the overweight families with too many greedy kids say grace before they stuff their snouts? When you walk by a church do you get the feeling of being mystified by what it (used to) represent? Do you pray for the good of your society? Do you repent your sins? Do you look beyond the individual in your beliefs?

The world no longer cares about being righteous, their priority is being rich.
The world no longer cares if they go to Hell, because the idea that we can be punished so severely for not living devout does not fit the happy little thoughts of theirs.
The world no longer sees their sins as sins- "I only had sex with her ONCE."

The world is full of excuses to justify their shunning of religion.

It doesn't matter though. What's here in front of us is what is at hand. We don't live in a religious mind-set anymore. Those people are long gone. So let us take that into account as we set off to war, as we spend thousands frivolously, as we fuck our neighbors wives...

If the fear of God no longer holds us back, what will?

Interzone / Sheep Shepherd Farmer
« on: May 20, 2009, 04:08:27 PM »
The hierarchy of social interactions in modern society stems from the current hedonist viewpoints people have of life today.

A type of modified caste system can be applied to describe the social-intellect of all.

When creating morals of value sets, one falls into 1 of 3 types of thinkers: a sheep, a shepherd, or a farmer. As with any separation of ideas, comes the lines that separate them; the lines between these social standings are not solid- meaning anyone can fall into one or more category; each “caste” is not exclusive.

A sheep type person creates his personal philosophy by basing decisions and beliefs on only two factors: 1) What is convenient, easy, and most pleasurable 2) What is accepted by the other sheep they consort with.

A sheep’s views rarely reflect future goals. They “live for the moment,” and are thrown into turmoil or depression when their lives seem less than perfect. Negative and positive are concrete perceptions-good and bad rule what the sheep does. Things that invoke any feeling or action less than their defined “happiness” are bad and should be avoided at all costs. Concepts that suggest otherwise (“beauty in destruction” etc) are bullshit. Those that disagree are misanthropes or lacking in understanding of the “real world,” and thus, are not accepting readily into the herd.

Sheep, despite their tendencies of outcasting others, are the most insecure and underdeveloped people with their beliefs. They are the most easily dissuaded into abandoning their own philosophies when something better sounding is presented to them. They move from herd to herd, staying with each one and it’s values only until another more appealing happens by- then they join that one.

Some sheep lack the intellect or willpower to discover their cycles and to change them. This makes them good followers (even those that claim individuality like goths or other cliques).

They may feel completely fulfilled with their lives. If one only seeks to achieve nothing they can never feel failure. They are hedonists because the thought that they are doing whatever they want with the sole purpose of gaining feigned (or in those lacking intelligence-real) happiness. These are the, “let’s stick it to the man!” people. They will yield their pitchforks, not for the overall goal of helping the herd (though that may play a factor) but for some sort of individualized pleasure.

Another type of sheep are those that drift. They do nothing out of routine. They may see things with a tunnel vision like view. They do the same repetitive actions day in and day out without recognition of their day-to-day lifestyles. These people have a sense that they will SOMEDAY have something better for themselves, but never take action to get there. They may have wishes, but they won’t take the initiative to change those wishes and “if only” desires into goals. They focus on the self as the other sheep do.

The next caste is shepherd. The first type of shepherd is heavily influenced by sheep thinking. Perhaps they can be considered sheep on the verge of leaving the herd to pursue less self-focused or less materialistic values. They feel their lives are dissolute and profligate because they have a sense of lacking or emptiness in the “do what feels good” lifestyle. They are prone to depression and self-hatred when others tell them that breaking away from the hedonist thinking is of inferior output. These sheep/shepherds withdraw into their own ways of thinking and will see those that think otherwise to be stupid. They aren’t likely to argue or push their beliefs, but rather use the “let’s agree to disagree: settlement. Unfortunately most of these people become so concentrated on being different that they shove away things that connect them to more than their individual selves.

Other shepherds that arise from sheepdom are often slightly more intelligent than the herd- or at least have the ability to recognize that they are not satisfied with their current ways of life. They seek something more than happiness, or the placation sheep say is happiness.

Shepherds usually have some sort of direction in their lives (i.e. goals) and they strive to achieve them. Like the sheep, their life is focused on things that bring the pleasure feeling- although they get their pleasure from completing and accomplishing goals instead of doing whatever they want to.

Also unlike sheep, shepherds are not easily swayed from their beliefs and values. They will argue their points, trying to discern right and wrong within differing values. If they cannot initially persuade their audience that what they profess is the only correct answer, they will turn to Straw-man type arguing. When this fails they will get frustrated and give up. “Dude, you’re just wrong.” “That’s just your opinion.” Etc.

A third type of shepherd has reached a point where they have completely broken away from the herd. They no longer see values as “right” or “wrong” and do not concern themselves with convincing others that the their way of thinking is better or superior in any way. They live the way they do because they see it as the best way for them.

This shepherd is intelligent and wants to achieve things, but may not have the know-how or quite the amount of true determination they need to get there. They may be confused as to what they want to achieve at all.

They are usually more silent observers than the moral based and straw-man shepherd.

They will lack understanding of his own values because popular opinion (the pitchfork wielders) tell them they are wrong, but their instinct and willpower tells them otherwise. If this kind of shepherd can set himself above the masses (not in a superior/inferior way, but “above” meaning “having direction”) than he can perhaps become a farmer.

Farmers are those that seek more than the sheep’s missing goal lifestyle and have broken through the shepherd’s right/wrong morality struggles.

Farmers know that things of negative view (by general consensus) like war, death, decay, sorrow, hardship, or anger are all a part of the beauty of existence and are necessary to keep society from stagnation.

To the farmer, the world is art. Art may portray the “negative” aspects of living, but it’s aesthetics show the true meaning and inspire the farmer to accept or conquer the art (life) with a feeling of awe and appreciation.

The farmer, when conversing with others, will not likely argue. They choose no sides (including his own) because they find no significance in the opposition’s views of right and wrong. A farmer will state his beliefs, clarify if needed, but finds no need to defend them. They do not judge the sheep or shepherds- as they are necessary to society; they do not aspire to see them fall under their in-concrete ideals. They aspire to achieve their goals and to make more as they live their accomplishments, and failures.

A farmer does, by living a proactive lifestyle. They will seek out those of similar character as associates, friends, and lovers. To a sheep or shepherd a farmer may give off the impression of being pretentious or self-centered because they live their goals with little or no concern of the viewpoints of others.

A farmer, however, is not self-centered. Many of their goals pertain to the growth of community, structure, and healthy living. They want a community where people of action thrive. They want the connectedness and achievements of such a community to grow, not to a material based world or a world where people fear the inevitable (such as death or hardship)- but one that is strong and focused on what is beneficial of the whole.