Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

AmbivalentEye

Regulars
  • Content count

    144
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About AmbivalentEye

  • Rank
    Member

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://
  • ICQ
    0

Profile Information

  • Location
    Miami, Florida
  • Interests
    Authors: Ayn Rand, Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, John Perkins.<br /><br />Movies: V for Vendetta, The Fountainhead, What Dreams May Come, Fur, Under the Same Moon<br /><br />Hobbies: Writing, Swimming, Running, Graphic Design<br /><br />Academic Interest: International Relations, Aerospace Engineering, Philosophy, Queer Theory, Neurology<br /><br />Two favorite classes of grade school: AP American History, AP Calculus.<br /><br />Social Activism: Putting an end to genocide, Immigration reform, Student rights, LGBT Rights.

Previous Fields

  • Country
    United States
  • State (US/Canadian)
    Florida
  • Relationship status
    In a relationship
  • Sexual orientation
    No Answer
  • Real Name
    Jason
  • Copyright
    Copyrighted
  • Biography/Intro
    I'm a student with a lifelong passion for human rights. This isn't because I feel some subliminal duty to sacrifice myself or others, but rather out of a profoundly selfish desire to make this world a little better for myself, and at some point I realized that to achieve that, it wouldn't be enough to just fulfill my needs, but to assure and protect the fundamental rights and liberties promised to us by our constitution. I am a strong believer that "injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere" and I am devoted to doing what I can to put an end to the exploitation of individuals who have a burning passion for this life. I was born in Colombia, but do not consider myself a Colombian. I am an American, despite the fact that the society I grew up in has never granted me that title. I am... an Undocumented Citizen, speaking out against injustice and undaunted by tyranny.
  • School or University
    Miami Dade Honors College
  • Occupation
    Student
  1. Your journey to Objectivism

    The first time I came accross Objectivism, it was the summer after 6th grade. I walked into a bookstore at the local mall, disappointed that most books had lost their ability to inspire me and engage me on a truly profound level. When I picked up "Atlas Shrugged", I casually flipped open to the page where Eddie Willers stared at the tree struck by lightning. I remember feeling a resemblance between the way I had long felt about life, and the way Eddie felt when he saw that tree. Something in me had, for so so long, held the belief that life was something that could be so spectacular in every living moment, but humanity had given up on that vision. I read "Atlas Shrugged" that summer, nonstop, in a period of two weeks. I felt like I had discovered a drug, and for the first time, my family saw me reading through meals, reading through the night, reading as I walked between classes. I acknowledge that "Atlas Shrugged" helped to set me free. For the first time in my life, I found the words to describe the convictions I held at the core of my being. I was proud to be alive again. I felt confident. I read "The Fountainhead" in 7th grade and then bought every published book by Ayn Rand until I read her entire collection (except "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal"). I find it amusing that the last book of hers I ever read was "Anthem", which I read shortly before I graduated from High School. I had grown up surrounded by strong religious ideals, but Objectivism helped me to see through all of that to the things I actually valued about humanity. I think it has made me a better person because it compelled me to stand for myself, work for my own progress, and trust in my ambitions. Nothing else has ever done that for me in life. -J
  2. Where have you been?

  3. Importance of Intellectual Freedom

    My, I am definitely shocked! I think this is the first time in years that I have recieved any positive feedback for one of my posts on this site. Its alright though, because I post for the criticism and I appreciate people's brutal honesty. -J.
  4. Importance of Intellectual Freedom

    Importance of Intellectual Freedom Prominent Greek philosopher, Socrates once said, “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” It is essential for one to note the significance of these words, for it was this man that was first historically noted for defending the intellectual freedoms of mankind. This priceless ideal, encompassing not only the rights to knowledge, expression, and individual outlook, ultimately represents the inalienable human privilege to free will. As rational beings, to be deprived of this intrinsic premise is to be robbed of one’s means to both persevere, and to assert one’s existence. The Objectivist Movement, championed by philosophical leader Ayn Rand in the mid-1900’s, presents the human being as a rational, heroic entity “with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” Each of these parts, exclusively made possible by freedom of intellect, incorporate every facet of a human being’s life. First, as rational beings, we essentially function rationally, through the use of our intellect and our tools of cognition –the senses. Secondly, every single pursuit is sought out through intellectual means to fulfil a rational purpose. And finally, the products of all such endeavours are rooted in a rational basis, a logical need, or an intellectual desire. Without this freedom, the human being essentially becomes an automaton –a slave –an animal. When I first came to this country, I came with the hopes and dreams of any immigrant embarking upon a voyage to the “Free World” –an apprehensive, and burning conviction to discover, not the opportunities available to the American people, or the higher standard of living assured by the American dream, but rather the knowledge that its freedoms would effectively alter my life forever. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when faced with the daunting possibility of moving back, that I realized the intrinsic role of intellectual freedoms in my life: the freedom to pursue my own virtues at my own leisure; to express them passionately through varying crafts such as literature; and to always be proud of my achievement. For these reasons, indeed, my life has been altered forever –enriched perpetually by my own intellectual potential. Furthermore, intellectual freedom alone can be separated into varying components and applications –all of which are fundamental to one’s life. Among these are a right to knowledge, its use, and its application; to express, produce, and create; and to assert a personal stance, state of mind, or principle. The first –a right to knowledge, is the essential endowment to intellectual growth. Without it, society is incapable of proceeding in its evolutionary development, the human being cannot advance, nor could one make any use of the boundless information in our surroundings, to apply it. The second –a right to produce, involves the purpose of a rational existence, as well as the basic need that every individual holds from birth to express a thought, feeling, or ideal. Its absence obliterates ingenuity, innovation, but most devastatingly: any and all elements or art –the things that give existence any meaning: music, literature, painting, sculpture, technology, architecture, and any other initiative of the human mind. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is the intellectual freedom of self-assertion, whence emerges an individual’s capacity to declare: “I AM” or “I Believe”. Intellectual freedom is about Life, Living, and the manifestation of one’s perception of that existence. It is our choice –our will, to live; to keep living; to keep struggling and creating against all odds in the universe, and in rebellion to any opposition. I am here because with every second of my existence I make a rational choice to preserve my survival; to apply my knowledge; to uphold my morality and my principles. As rational beings, intellectual freedom is –objectively- a right to Life. It is both the ideal –and the affirmation of that ideal, through every breath, every thought, every action, and every choice. According to the American Library Association, “Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.” This freedom ensures both the availability of information, and a right to the use of it according to one’s rational capacity. With it, one procures the security that regardless of the circumstances; one can attain necessary, factual information for oneself, in order to formulate a personalized perspective or position. Had it not been for the daring initiation of these trends by men like Socrates –as far back as the fourth century B.C.– who died for their pursuit and analysis of knowledge, our lives would still be ruled exclusively by censorship of records and resources. We have to accept today, just as our predecessors did then, that intellectual freedoms are universal, and should be upheld unconditionally. To understand my primary quote by Socrates, we must first identify that the use of intellectual freedom is knowledge, and thus, its deficiency or void, represents the only true, fundamental evil known to mankind. To not think, is to not live, and to not be allowed to think, is to be deprived of one’s right to existence. Saint Augustine once said: “To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.” In the sphere of any application, whether it be religious, philosophical, academic, or speculative, what matters is the freedom of thought itself, because without it we have nothing to live our life by, to base it on, or to strive for. -J.
  5. Treatment of Convicts in Society

    Here I was under the impression that Objectivists believed in holding life as the utmost ideal and value. Apparently its suddenly OK for us to take away someone's life because of a wrongful action. Whatever your beliefs or principles may be, mine still hold that Life is much too precious to be taken away from any individual, regardless of the fault -it is the only security we can hold to in survival amongst others of our own kind (other human beings). -J.
  6. Treatment of Convicts in Society

    This is one comment I submitted which I believe is really important for you to see in order to understand my position: "It could have been any one of us. They should be deported. Period. Screw them." -Anon1 | Jan 5, 2007 >>>When I first saw the Advocate News Special on the Logo Network, this was one of the first thoughts within my head. I began thinking: "If it has happened to Paul, it can also happen to me, and since I am still a minor(17) I am only in greater risk of being harmed by any random hateful, ignorant person." From thinking this, and from hearing the story about what was done to Paul, I became concerned and I will confess that I did feel rage, just as any human being does, at the fact that these kinds of persecutions exist at all, and rage at the police for initially not having cared to do much about it. I thank Ray Hill for his determination to seek justice for the crime and for his devotion in finding all those participants involved in the attack on Paul. But this was not the end of the Advocate News Special... Immediately after, the report showed how each of the culprits recieved their prison sentences and I listened intently to the position presented by Ray Hill that those that are convicted, even for murder, also have a democratic right to be heard, defended, and a chance to mend their own character. I accept that murder is a one-way street. Once it is done, there is no sugar-coating or evading it. As a rational being, it is one's duty to accept the full severity of the consequences of that action and must duly take responsibility in confronting it respectfully and with integrity to ammend whatever is possible. But the question here is, WHO HAS A RIGHT TO JUDGE? Does the government have a right to say that a drug-induced 18-year-old boy should be put to death or be given a life sentence for murder? If we are so set against people murdering one another, what gives us any right to murder as a form of justice? Now I realize that the longest prison sentence was that given to Jon Buice, of 45 years, but 45 years is also the same action of robbing an individual of their life. I wouldn't have any problem with a person being sent to 45 years in prison, if they refused to accept for what they did, refused to apologize, and swore never to change, but THIS IS NOT THE CASE with the culprits of Paul's murder. Jon Buice himself wrote a profoundly respectful letter to Paul's family apologizing for all the horrendous pain that he caused them. Of course, this letter doesn't fix anything, but AT LEAST JON HAD THE INTEGRITY OF FACING HIS OWN ACTION AND TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT!!! He pays for that action with every single day of his life and he has already been in prison for more than 10 years. Why don't you stop and think what 10 years of your life means to you! Now add the immeasurable guilt of murder to every waking second of your existence and you will only have a slight glimpse of what Jon and the others have been paying for. Though I do not personally know Ray Hill, I respect him and all of his actions profoundly because he has always stood by his judgments and his ideals to do what is RIGHT. All you people say, "Who is Ray Hill to forgive this murderer that took nothing from him?" But the truth is that when a murder is committed, IT AFFECTS ALL OF US. Murder is a crime against mankind and thus, we are all forced to cope with the effects and the after math. My idol, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once said, "We must take sides. Sometimes we must interfere. WHEREVER MEN AND WOMEN ARE BEING PERSECUTED, THAT PLACE MUST, AT THAT INSTANT, BECOME THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE." This whole trial became the center of my universe the instant when I saw the news broadcast by the Logo Network. Upon watrching it, I impulsively ran to my computer and wrote an email to Ray Hill, which I wish all of you had an opportunity of reading. I told Ray many of the same things I have told you here today: I told him that as a 17-year-old homosexual, I understand the fear of having my own life taken away against my will, and that anyone who commits such intolerable cruelties must be forced to face the reality of that action. I said that I know, for my age, my opinion may not mean much to most people, but as a rational being, I find it my duty to speak out and also assert my own beliefs and my ideals. I was raped at the age of seven by a man more than twice my age, and I have spent the past five years wishing I could only speak to him again in person. I, like any other victim of hate, would simply like to be certain that he remembers... and that he never forget how devastatingly he has altered my life. I do not want this man dead, nor do I want him arrested, beaten, or molested. Justice, as has been said many times, is not about "An eye for an eye", it is about realizing that as human beings we are all intrinsically flawed in some manner. Every single one of us is only a single action away from being the most vile and contemptible person on the planet. It only takes a single hand motion to kill, a single act to rob a child of their innocence, A SINGLE WORD to break somebody's heart. By responding with hate, we can only produce even more hate. I understand those of you on here that have been lashing out here ignorantly out of your struggles to try to understand and try to cope with the reality of this destruction we see all around us. You have every right to be angry, and to curse, and to desire revenge, but rationally, as well as morally, we must compell ourselves to be the better person and approach this situation in an objective manner. Paul's life is gone. Many more will be taken away in the future. Our job is, not to kill off or hide those that have made mistakes and that have betrayed us, but rather to make them find a way back to righteousness in order for all of us to coexist within this world, or at least just this nation. I have done my part. I have sent off my own letters to Ray Hill and to Jon Buice himself in his cell. I refuse to be ignorant of reality, and refure to be another person who becomes indifferent to what these culprits have or wish to say for themselves. If they will speak, I will listen. It is the only right thing for any of us to do. " "I know Jaime and Javier. They are not homophobic or a danger to anyone." Okay, Ray, perhaps they are not homophobic. But precisely how many people would someone have to kill before you'd consider him/her "a danger"? They murdered a man. Gay or straight is irrelevant. They ARE dangerous and have proven it." Posted by: Damon | Jan 5, 2007 >>>Damon, the fact that these individuals were dangerous on a single night of their lives, when they were drunk and high on drugs, in no way means that they are perpetually "dangerous". Yes, they made stupid choices, and perhaps they weren't raised by the proper ideals, but the fact that they grossly miscalculated what they were capable of doing to an individual, does not suddenly make them serial killers. All of these men have faced their crime and are eternally ashamed of their fault. To tell the truth, THEY seem less dangerous to me now than YOU do as of now. About them, I know that they have spent nearly 14-15 years analyzing and repenting what happened that night, and seeking to renew their way of being. I'm certain that they have learned their lesson about the effect of alcohol and drugs, and have changed many if not all of their hateful perspectives towards minorities. You, on the other hand, I know absolutely nothing about. All I know about you is that you believe if a person screws up once, they must walk around with a Scarlet Letter on for the rest of their lives. You believe that the answer for violence is simply to either eliminate (deport) or hide and silence (lock-up) those responsible to move on ignorantly and be done with it, but if we were to follow that doctrine now only would our country probably lose more than half its population in the first decade, but it would have more prisons than tourist attractions. Now, I am not here to defend the culprits who are also illegal immigrants. My belief is that if you come to this country, whether it be legally or out of some vital urgency, one enters exclusively on the terms of Jean Jacques Rousseau's "Social Contract" which states that one may participate as a component of the collective, or the state, so long as one follows said establishment's regulations and respects its standards. Rightfully, if you legally entered a country and abbetted in the murder of an indivdidual, you fully deserve to be deported, but at least I am glad that this deportation is going to be done years after the individuals faced their full trial under a court of law. "@ Ray: It sounds to me as if you've developed at Capote-esque infatuation with the killers. It's funny (weird) that you know one of them is gay. How would you know something like that? Have you slept with them? Regardless of their peripheral role in the murder they deserve to remain where they are because of what they've done. Who's to say they aren't putting on an act and are preparing to kill you as soon as they get out?" Posted by: Tread | Jan 5, 2007 >>> This is the most IGNORANT and BIASED post (I think) within this entire thread. The fact that you suggested some of these things at all shows only how immature and unintellegent you are. "The Truth is Paul Broussard would still be alive today if our Immigration laws had been properly enforced!" Posted by: mark | Jan 5, 2007 >>>That is only "Butterfly Effect Theory". You might as well say that the Holocaust only occured because Hitler was denied entrance to a Jewish Institute of Fine Arts after high school. "So, Ray, I'm very curious. What do you think is the value of a human life? Or, more precisely, what should be required of someone who takes a life? If I understand your position on this, if a person feels very, very sorry for having committed a murder then he/she should be forgiven. And you think automatic forgiveness will beget more peace?" Posted by: Damon | Jan 6, 2007 9:35:09 PM >>>Damon, Ray can feel free to answer this question himself if he wishes to, but I'd like to give you my own answers to those questions, with which I know Ray generally agrees: "What is the value of a human life and what is required of one who takes life?" -Life is ULTIMATE value; it is the most precious thing that we possess and every facet of our existence revolves around the perseverence of this value through selfish, rational means, as is taught by Objectivist Philosophy. Of the person who takes life, Justice is required, it the manner that I have already mentioned previously: 1.Each individual deserves a trial, 2. A judge/jury, and 3. a DEFENSE. Each individual has every right to present their perspective of the situation and has a right to defend the FACTS of the matter. As for punishment: the punishment rests essentially upon the individual who must claim full responsibility for his action. If the individual refuses to take this responsibility or accept the rightful consequences of his action, then, and ONLY THEN can the State determine the appropriate course of action, whether it be a prison sentence, volunteer service, a fine... etc. Each of us, as rational beings, have a conscience, and the cognitive tools necessary to recognize what is wrong from what is right. If we committed an unjust act, we know the full extent of how we must pay for it, but neither YOU nor ANY OFFICER can tell ME when MY punishment is over. If I punch my sister in the eye, I may choose to lock myself up in my room after apologizing, or I may commit suicide from the guilt of my action. The point is that one alone must pay one's dues, in an honorable fashion, or otherwise submit to the terms and imposed whims of others. Jon Buice has accepted the full severity of his action and thus, must solely seek to vindicate that fault. It isn't about "automatic forgiveness". It is about giving people a chance to speak forthemselves and at least having the personal decency of listening and considering their apologies. It is not our responsibility to forgive. It is our responsibility to always pay attention. I respect Ray Hill for stating: "This case involves 11 families (one of Paul and one each of those charged with the offense)." Posted by: Ray Hill | Jan 7, 2007 ...because at least HE can see the full picture of how this situation has affected society. Sincerely, -J"
  7. Treatment of Convicts in Society

    Should a man that has committed murder be hated forever? How does one confront this type of situation ethically and objectively? Before you respond to this thread, and if you have the time, I ask that you please watch parts 4 and 5 of an Advocate News Special from the hyperlink below: http://www.logoonline.com/shows/dyn/advoca..._4/videos.jhtml Another good, informative article on the matter is: http://www.towleroad.com/2007/01/mother_fe...omment-27385058 This link, has a discussion board on the bottom on which I have expressed the majority of my views on the fate of Paul Broussard, Jon Buice, the other assailants, and Ray Hill's involvement. For those of you who will ignore the links, I will summarize that this is an issue about a murder which occured in 1991 when 10 young men between the ages of about 16 and 22 where involved in a gay-bashing tragedy that resulted in a fatal wound produced by a young man named Jon Buice, and the death of Paul Broussard. Initially after the incident, the local authorities refused to deal with an investigation involving hate crimes against homosexuals, so they tried to blow it off, but thanks to radio talk show host Ray Hill, the culprits of the incident were forced to be tracked down and face trial. Later on, Ray Hill, who heard about a 45 year prison sentence for Jon Buice, spoke up again about the unjust severity of this punishment and has spent the years since trying to reduce the sentence. 15 years have already gone by and several of the 10 culprits involved are already finishing their sentences and on their way out of prison on parole. Now the matter is about how we, as a society, are supposed to respond to these individuals. I respect Ray Hill for his determination both in LGBT activism as well as in seeking justice for convicts. The morning that I saw the special by the Advocat News Magazine I wrote Ray a letter which goes as follows: "Dear Ray, I am a 17-year-old male homosexual writing from Hollywood, Florida. I saw the special by the Advocate Magazine on the Logo Network and felt compelled to write to you. I understand the complexity of the John Buice trial, and though I may never have the full capacity of imagining all of the ramifications it may entail, I can but only submit my own adolescent perspective on the matter with the hope that with enough propriety an sincerity, my words may be heard by an adult in this world, or heeded by the media. Our world has become so technological that even though I can turn off a the LOGO Network and reach you across the country in an instant, my letter is still no more than a click of a mouse away from total extinction. First, I would like to extend my deepest grief and apologies to the mother of the young man that was murdered, because no human being on earth deserves to have such a thing happen to them. I know that if I lost a loved one, I would be distraught terminally, and perhaps even dead right now from an inability to cope with the matter. It is for this reason that this letter to you seems to me of such controversial importance. When I saw the special done by the Advocate News Magazine on the John Buice Trial, I, like any other viewer, I am sure, could not help but recall all of the hardships endured by the LGBT community over history, but particularly the events that have taken place within my own lifetime: continuous gay-bashings nationwide, legal preventions of marriage, and the execution of Mahmoud and Ayaz in Iran on July 19, 2005. It is a horrid thing when a human being's life is taken in this way. I'm not sure how exactly I could change such a state of our world but I try my best by remaining true to myself, open, proud, and by taking the time to write letters such as this, or speeches on Gay Rights that I compete with in Debate Tournaments all around my county. I do not know if my voice is heard. All I can guarantee is that I will continue speaking. On the topic of the John Buice trial, I do believe that any human being that commits murder has a responsibility to pay for such a crime. There is no way I would ever condone an act of murder, nor will I ever forget what happened. But despite this fact, I do have a rooted belief in the doctrine of forgiveness. I do not believe in "death row". I do not believe any human being, whether on the side of the law or not, ever has a right to take someone's life away, but on the point of long term incarcerations, I do agree with you that a convict, or even a murderer is also an individual, and the best that an individual can do is to function rationally and learn to take responsibility for all their actions. I have always admired the quote: "a real man pays all his dues and always keeps his word." It is important for us to remember that. It is important for us to remember that we do not accomplish anything by keeping a man perpetually behind bars, and that doing so does not vindicate their wrongful actions. I, personally, do not know John Buice or what kind of man he is. I cannot measure the amount of pain he may have inflicted or what should determine the extent of his punishment. But despite that reality, I can state from my own experience being sexually abused at the age of seven, that forgiveness is essential to our lives and essential to the nature of man. Yes, we do hurt, and we mourn, and we seethe from the inability to control every facet of our destinies, but I do accept that we are nothing if we turn our backs entirely on one another and begin to deafen ourselves out of hatred or sorrow. I wanted you to know that I admire what you are doing for John Buice, regardless of the controversial implications. I respect and admire that you do what is RIGHT, regardless of the struggle, and I can only hope to also attribute the same quality to my life from now on. Anne Frank once stood at the peak of a Holocaust and said "Despite all this, I do believe that men are good at heart." Let us all continue believing in that, and fighting for that single premise. Most Sincerely, -High School Senior" Since then, I have also begun to correspond with Jon Buice himself and am awaiting a personal letter from him with his thoughts on this entire matter. I appreciate any objective commentary you might have... -J.
  8. "La Vita é Bella" -J My sister is the most beautiful woman in the whole world! Now, I know what you’re probably thinking (cough) incest… but don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that she sets a room on fire with tousled hair and luscious curves. I mean to say that she lights it up… unlike any person I have ever known, she is the pure radiance in my surroundings who perpetually fills my life within unwarranted beauty… and hope. Each day she shocks me with realizations of profound meaning that have gradually molded me into what I am, and that, if applied, could possibly help to better us all. But what’s wrong with humanity? I thought we were perfect. In the novel “The Sixth Extinction”, Richard Leakey states that Homo sapiens are the result of many chance events that resulted in the culmination of evolutionary excellence. But if that’s so… then why do so many of us still feel insecure? Why do we hide ourselves beneath social labels and facades? Why… do we feel so alone? Carefully, I recollect the lessons that my sister has taught me and remember that we do have something to value in this world; to live for; to conserve. First, let us analyze the manner in which we have grown to view ourselves, to notice the inherent advantages in our imperfections. Then, let us question how we treat one another and how that affects our lives. And finally, lets muster our self-worth and learn to appreciate the beauty not only nested within ourselves, but imprinted everywhere in our surroundings. Now I know what you’re probably thinking already: “What on earth is this hippie smoking?” But just try to hear me out for another minute… or another 7 minutes and 25 seconds… and I promise I won’t have you waving peace signs or wearing tie-dye. You see growing up, I had a lot of issues with self-esteem. I used to feel that I wasn’t smart enough, thin enough, or normal enough to be accepted by anyone… and according to the American Psychological Association, 9 out of every 10 people in the world have similar self-doubts or insecurities. That adds up to just about… everyone we know –except my sister. I remember in middle school… how kids used to make fun of her because of her big lips, her messy, unbrushed hair, and her trouble speaking. The truth is, it was my who was constantly exploited or discriminated against. Having been born with a mental handicap known as hydrocephalus (the accumulation of toxic cerebrospinal fluid in the brain), my sister was instantaneously fated to lead a life with the perpetual mentality of a child, and with burdens of adjusting to an indifferent world and unacceptant society. So on and again I have had to reanalyze my pessimistic perspectives of myself, to truly appreciate all of the great qualities that identify me and make me fortunate. And in fact, there have been times when I have wished I could be like her –so free, innocent, and fearless. I still remember how I cried nearly every week in middle school when I heard the horrible things that kids called her, and am still baffled by how my sister always remained entirely unaffected by it… always clasping me in the end to help me get better. Because honestly, she didn’t care; she never cared about having the perfect hair, the best smile, or the elaborate mask of make-up. She was real, pure –she was, and is, what Aretha Franklin calls a “natural woman.” And while my sister continues to find her own natural ecstasy from dancing off rhythm, laughing on impulse, and smiling to every single person she meets for the first time, I too have learned to accept my own reality, to realize that for my age, I’m in pretty good shape, I’m healthy, I’m the top of my class, and even though I still get called a “freak” sometimes, I actually started to love being one. Furthermore, I have always loved and admired my sister’s unbiased manner of dealing with everyone: always offering a hug to random strangers, and treating every individual equally with enthusiasm, compassion, and support. I’ve tried to tell her before: “You can’t just talk to those girls over there… They don’t even know you!” To which she responds, “But I know them… They are my friends… my Best Friends.” Now contrary to the obvious dangers that we think these encounters pose, my sister has taught me that in this rapidly overpopulating society where it seems that no one has real talks with anyone any more. She has rebelliously, and single-handedly, shattered the modern communication barrier to become one of the most widely recognized students my high school has ever known. I’m not kidding… students recognize her in every Target, Kmart, and Burger King in the city! She reminds us that we have to learn to stop being afraid of getting to know one another for who we really are; to always treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves, and to once again intent the unspeakable act of literally putting out our hand to another person to say: “Hi… How are you? What is your name?” Only in this manner can we ever notice that we aren’t alone in this world… and that there are always new things we can share with one another that are of great value. So, even though I don’t know you, and you probably don’t know much more about me other than my name, why can’t we, for just one moment, be like my sister, and cross the boundaries to become partners… confidants… friends… best friends. You have to learn to accept that if you feel alone… it isn’t because the world has abandoned you, but rather, because you have lamentably detached yourself from the world. Ok, so now that we’re best friends… would you mind if I told you a little secret? I’ve never told anyone this before… (except for all the people in my previous rounds), but the happiest moment of my life was an afternoon, in seventh grade, when my sister and I were waiting to get picked up from school, and I remember how she walked along the sidewalk, picking up handfuls of leaves the had fallen during autumn, cradling them against her chest, soiling her hands carelessly in the process. And then, in one climactic moment of pure innocence, she laughed out wildly as she threw the leaves up in the air and twirled herself as they all came raining down upon her. The kids at school would sneer at the mess that she had made, but she was happy… I was happy, and I had the realization that happiness really can be that simple, if we only allowed ourselves to reach it and embrace it. If we only let go of all the internal inhibitions, then we too might see the world that my sister sees: a grand world; a world that is worth preserving with everything that we have. I remember when I saw Roberto Benigni’s film “Life is Beautiful” for the first time, I was awed by the way that the Jews struggled relentlessly for survival in the face of all the worldly evils of the Holocaust. In the end, after two hours of practically bawling your eyes out, you learn to smile again, and appreciate that life can always be better and more precious than anyone could ever imagine. So, bottom line… my sister is beautiful. Nope… she is downright gorgeous. As the famous saying goes: “true beauty lies within”, so let us all look within ourselves to truly be proud of who we are. Let us reach out to others… and not be afraid of the innumerable ways they can contribute to our happiness. And finally, take a moment to look around and absorb all the treasures this world has to offer us, because at the end of the day, you are everything that matters; happiness is truly what we have to strive and live for; and remember what the Black Eyed Peas warns us: “We’ve only got one world.” It is our duty to preserve it what we have left of it.
  9. How To Be More Self-assertive

    I don't know if this should be a new topic, but I'm wondering how assertive an individual should be when it comes to sexual desires towards people one has just met or hasn't known very long. In The Fountainhead, Dominique and Howard only saw each other a few times before they literally ravaged one another, without ever sharing even a single real conversation. So that doesn't exactly help. In all other aspects of my life, I am an extremely assertive individual, but when it comes to sexual pursuits, suddenly I kind of just give up on myself, not exactly out of insecurity, but rather out of the feeling that I might be perceived as just another average guy who only seeks physical pleasure. Ultimately, I become the "nice guy", when inside, I'm really just frustrated beyond belief. What should I do?
  10. Homosexuality vs. Heterosexuality

    Well, I suppose this matter has nearly been debated to its bitter end, but I guess its just disappointing for me that after all the years I've been aware of my homosexuality, and all the years it has taken me to accept it, it still hurts when my father turns to me and calls me "psychologically flawed" and threatens that I either change my way of life or otherwise be rejected entirely by him. This can pose a problem, considering that I am 17 and will have to remain at home for another year. He's already saying that if I don't change, then I can just forget about any support in paying for my college tuition. Certainly there must be something wrong with this type of exploitation. -J.
  11. 9:57 p.m.

    *A man walks into a restaurant alone. It is late on a Thursday night. The man is young -early twenties. There are three waiters attending the left wing of the restaurant: one male, two females. All three are not far from his own age. W: How many will it be? -Just me, for the time being. W: Follow me, Sir. *They amble slowly through some empty isles, weaving through white upholstered seats to the left wing of the restaurant. A few people are already there: one man sips his coffee as he stares lovingly at his wife who gaily savours a slice of chocolate cake. Another family of four converses at the table to their right. Farther in the back, two women are leafing through their garden salads and laughing at some apparent joke; some mild amusement. An elderly woman, alone by the window places her linen napkin upon her right leg and remains for an extended moment looking down at her hands which seemingly tremble. She is not sad. Her face reveals a particular concern. W: Will this do sir? -Of course! I certainly won't trouble you. W: Your waiter will be with you in just a moment. -Thank you. *He sits, adjusts his chair, unfolds his napkin, and watches as the silverware spills out upon the mantle-top: a spoon, two forks, and a knife. He gently places each to his right: the spoon to the left of the others; the forks in the center. He aligns the bottom ends; refolds the napkin neatly in two and places it accross his lap from left to right; he flattens it upon his leg. He moves the glass of water on the table two inches closer to his torso. He looks momentarily at how the light spakles upon the rim on the right side of the glass. He blinks slowly, then places his fingers at the stem of the cup. He lifts it off the table with three fingers; his arm stationary at a 45 degree angle, as if he were about to make an offering; make a toast. Through the diaphonous liquid he can see the empty seat accross from him; distorted. He takes a deep breath; brings the cup up to his lips and lingers upon the sharp contrast in temperature between his skin and the ice striking the glass. The waiter arrives. He puts his cup down without looking up; pauses; lifts it again to drink; then looks at the waiter. W: Welcome back, Sir. I must say, you are becoming one of my favorite regulars. -How is that? W: I mean, you're always so punctual; always here three minutes before ten. It is such an awkward time, I don't know how you do it. *He nods contentedly. W: What would you like to drink today? -Anything strong, as long as it doesn't have any rum. I can't stand it. W: I've got just the thing. Now, would you like a few minutes, or have you already in mind what you'd like to order? -Its no use. What I want isn't in your menu. W: What is it? Perhaps I could arrange something. -How long will it be? W: It depends... *He looks intently at the waiter. -On what? W: On what you'd like to have. -Oh, right... my meal. W: So what'll it be? -To be honest, I'm not very hungry. W: We have several small dishes if you'd like. -You're too kind. *The waiter smiles. -Must you be? W: Well, I'd like to think a man's only true obligation is to himself. -Yes, but what about love? W: Love? -Yes, do you believe in it? W: Why wouldn't I? -Some people don't. W: Some people don't know what it means. -Exactly. And do you suppose you know what it is? W: It is where passion mingles with necessity. -Why necessity? W: Because no one can bear to go through life alone. Still, we are afraid of the fact that we need each other. -We do. W: Alright, so how about a soup or salad? -Could I have both? W: I suppose. -But not always, right? W: What? -In life, you can't have everything. W: No, you can't. -Not even if you want it bad enough? W: I guess it depends on what you're willing to do to get it. -Sacrifice? W: Never. Determination... *He smiles. W: Which would you like to have first? -Isn't it customary to always have the salad first? W: Its your choice. We're in a free country. -Are we? W: I just mean it might be rather scandalous in a place like Paris or Thailand. -Alright, I'll have my soup. Make it French Onion, since you brought up the French. *Waiter chuckles. W: Of course. I'll be back in no time. -There's no rush. *The waiter walks off. *He looks at the woman sitting alone at the window. Her hand has stopped trembling and she is enjoying a delectable dish of seafood pasta. He can still hear the women laughing on and off a few tables behind him. The man and his wife are still drinking coffee. She has finished her cake. The husband calls one of the waitresses over for his bill. *He turns away from them; sighs; reaches into his jacket to find his pocket watch. He takes it out, but doesn't open it. He cups it in his palm and examines the metal -polishes it against his sleeve. He clicks it open just a crack. -No... *He closes it again without looking. He pushes it back into his jacket with his right hand -hesitantly. *The waiter arrives with the soup. W: Here you go. -Thank you. W: No problem. *He trembles as he lifts his spoon. -Could you tell me the time? *He holds his breath. W: Its about 10:30 -And how long will it be? *Looks solemnly at the waiter. W: Until what? *He exhales; looks away. -Forget it... W: Are you alright? -You're too kind. W: You tip me well. -Its not enough. W: Well, I like being good to my customers. -Yes... W: Ok, I'll be back in a little while with your salad. -Thank you. *Waiter walks off. *He places his spoon upon the soup; moves it gently over the surface, admiring the steam rising off the edge of the small bowl. He takes a few spoonfulls slowly (no more than three). He puts the spoon down again. He reaches into his pocket to get a pen. He removes its top with two fingers, and then pauses. He spends a few moments glancing at the napkin folded on his lap. -It is too white-. He pulls it off his lap and places it on the table. He writes a word on it with his pen as his waiter walks by. W: What are you doing? *Puts the pen away. -I had to... *Looks morosely at the waiter. -The napkin was too white. *The waiter turns the napkin with his right hand to see the word. -SERENITY- W: Why? -Its what I feel whenever I come here. It is the only word that can describe it. W: I understand. Don't worry about it. I'm sure no one will notice after it gets washed. -Thank you. W: (worriedly) You haven't eaten anything. -Yes I have. *Waiter gives him a suspicious look. W: Its going to get cold. -Can I have my bill? W: You haven't even had your salad! -I'm not hungry. W: You can't leave here on an empty stomach. -Alright... *Waiter goes for the bill. *He finishes his soup and pays. His tip is even greater than the bill itself. W: Thank you very much! -Nonsense. You deserve it. W: Same time tomorrow? - (with a smile) Perhaps... W: By the way... what do you think love is? *He smiles again. -Unmatched, unmitigated longing... and Devotion. *He turns away and walks out of the restaurant without stopping; never looking back. *The waiter looks at the tip he just recieved. He grins. W: Punctuality...
  12. Break The Silence

    You know I just like sharing all my speeches with you guys: Break The Silence “I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A boy is turning to me. “Tell me,” he asks, “what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?” And I tell him that I have tried. I explain to him how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever, wherever human beings endure suffering. We must take sides. Sometimes, we must interfere. Wherever men and women are persecuted, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” –Elie Wiesel –Nobel Acceptance Speech –December 10, 1986 It baffles me, of course, still retaining many fragments of my perspective as a child, to see the cruelties that exist in this world. And perhaps maybe that’s what makes all the difference between you, and me. The fact that I can hear the stories of these things that have happened in human history for the first time and feel that child in me ask “Daddy, why did they burn people for their religion? Why are there children that are sold like produce in the streets? Why did the government hang a teenage homosexual?” I think of these questions and wonder how I am supposed to react. How is anyone supposed to react? In sorrow? In shock? In anger? What I’ve realized is that so many of us spend such a long time trying to cope with or understand what has happened, that after years of confused contemplation, we wrap ourselves in circles of more and more questions, little answers, and minimal to no action. So then I turn to the accusations of those that call humanity ignorant and indifferent, to question, “What is ignorance? Indifference?” It seems rather clear that in order for us to fix or address the problem, we must first become aware of what we are being accused of. According to the Cambridge International Dictionary: 1. Ignorance is a state of being “unaware” (not knowing). 2. Ignorance is a willful lack of desire to improve the efficiency, merit, effectiveness or usefulness of one's actions. It also defines indifference as: 1. Unbiased, impartial lack of concern. 2. An inactive state that does nothing to create initiative. Thus, by this we can conclude that ignorance represents a person who willfully ignores or rejects knowledge as well as the capacity to take action against a wrong. And indifference represents the person who does nothing and refuses to take sides. But as Elie Wiesel stated in my opening quote, “We must take sides”. My personal hero, Objectivist leader Ayn Rand, always said that as humans we are rational creatures, and to act contrary or in ignorance of that rationality is to betray who we are. We were endowed with a mind to think. We are endowed with free will to be able to make a choice. I believe that the greatest flaw that has gradually developed over decades of psychology is the modern belief that inaction is also taking a choice, when the bare truth is that through inaction we only render ourselves useless to existence itself, and the world around us. Wiesel said, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.” “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” And why is that? Because why is the oppressor going to stop if there is no one who dares to tell him that he is wrong? Why would he care to question his act, if there is no one who is willing to speak against it? So what is it that you know that you never said when you knew you should have spoken, or acted? I will tell you what I know: -In my lifetime there was a genocide in Africa where people of a group labeled Tutsi were macheted on the streets. -In something called the Beslan School Massacre no more than 2 or 3 years ago, an entire elementary school was taken over by terrorists who starved all of their underage hostages, placed explosives upon them, and murdered some of their parents in their sight. -In China, pro-Democratic activists are being arrested and tortured on a daily basis. -And on July 19, 2005 a homosexual couple, ages 16 and 17 by the names of Mahmoud and Ayaz were arrested and publicly executed through hanging for their sexual orientation. I know, that by far, these are not the only things that have happened in my lifetime. Diversity seems to be humanity’s greatest illogical threat. Women are persecuted, as well as blacks, Muslims, Indians, children, gays, Jews, pagans, and the medically disabled just to name a few. But if you honestly think about it, in terms of our species as a whole, every single one of us are part of a minority. There are less whites in the world than the sum of everything else, there are less children; less Catholics, less Christians than the sum of every single other religious group out there. But in order to understand our duty; our calling; our fundamental necessity; we must first view ourselves as Objectivism proclaims: as Individuals –Minorities of One. I am different from every single other person in this room. You are different from every other person in this country. One of the greatest terrors America ever faced was during the Red Scare from the 1920’s to the mid-1950’s, when it turned against its own people. Japanese and Chinese Americans were placed in internment camps. Dissidents and any outspoken controversial person was arrested, often without even trial or proof of their crimes. The US government also began equating homosexuals with communists and arrested hundreds of them as well. That wasn’t even a century ago. It wasn’t more than 5 presidents ago. It involves a generation of people of which many are still walking around today. Over the years, the government has tried to justify it and cover it up, but to this day most of the persecution then still doesn’t make any sense, making it clear to us that it could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any moment. Now, in life I have come upon those people who say: “Oh, when I see it happening, I will definitely go out and fight, scream, rebel.” Those of us who keep dreaming of practicing some of our own Civil Disobedience like MLK, Rosa Parks, or Thoreau. So let me ask you: “Where were you when your country needed your vote for a proper president?” “Where were you this past year when the Hispanic community needed your support in fighting for their own justice and freedom?” “Where were you in October of 1998 when Matthew Shepard was murdered also for his sexual orientation?” Of course, we all have our own views -our own ideals and priorities. You may not be against every injustice in the world and you may choose to remain indifferent towards most of them. But the vital factor is to not hold stubbornly to our ignorance. Read some national news: find out what is happening in the world around you, find out who out there is dying so that you may have all of your luxuries and peace of mind. Objectivism has taught me that a world that accepts the sacrifice of its own people is a world that has doomed itself to self-destruction. I ask that you do your best to not let us self-destruct; to not remain indifferent in so many vital situations that are calling us to action. Remember that to remain silent is to allow evil to have its way; to allow any random person out there to assume that you have consented. Don’t be a bystander. Don’t wait until you become the victim. As Elie Wiesel said at his speech in Oslo in 1986: “One person –one person of integrity can make a difference, a difference of life and death.”
  13. Sexual Orientation Vs. Paraphilia

    "Acceptable" is completely the wrong word, I agree, but as I stated in parentheses, it just makes sense. What makes sense? Well, not zoosexuality of course, because its already been made clear that there isn't any current genetic proof of such a condition or "inclination" in people. Yet as a paraphilia (fetish), if there is such a thing out there as people being aroused by popping balloons, lack of oxygen, and candle-wax burns, why shouldn't there be someone who is aroused by particular animals. The fact that it makes sense that these exceptions should exist in the world doesn't make it right, but at least this way the act can categorized as something less ignorant than just "Sin". That's what I meant! To not be entirely closed-minded, I can at least think about what the act really means or entails, and then just accept that it is another strange fetish out there in the world that people have to deal with in their personal lives. I hope you're not making the generalization that all fetishes are wrong, or some kind of psychological anomaly people should get treatment for, because really, the more we've been discussing this whole topic at the chat room in the site, the more we are starting to notice that everyone, or at least everyone who joined the discussion or that I have spoken to it about via telephone, has admitted to some sort of fetish of their own. There's nothing wrong with a fetish itself, only what that fetish entails and how you carry it out. Why should a person ever be chastized for masturbating, or for enjoying "rougher" sex (sado-masochism), or having a very particular affection to feet, or happening to really enjoy being tickled during copulation. I don't see how any of these examples could be "unhealthy", thus I find no reason to reject their uses or people's personal decision to indulge in them.
  14. Sexual Orientation Vs. Paraphilia

    Exactly! I said that: See, the good thing about this argument is that we try everything we can to not be closed-minded or prejudiced without really understanding the situation. The matter isn't whether it is gross, bizarre, or sick. That always depends on each individual's perception and their upringing. The point is that there are people out there that live under all these conditions and this DISCUSSION is really just to find some sort of way to cope with that knowledge in everyday life. How should those people be seen? Treated? Helped? But most importantly, Why? I agree. Thank you for making it so concrete. Thank you very much for your input as well. I really appreciate it. That's what I ultimately arrived at.
  15. Sexual Orientation Vs. Paraphilia

    I've always come here whenever I have a very important philosophical issue of this magnitude, so I'm hoping I could get your rational intellectual input on the current matter. All of it started on an online forum that my school's literary club put together called the Creative Society. It mostly to post any type of literature and get a detailed critique about it. On the other hand, its become this huge social center with more that a hundred members now, where a bunch of teens (generally) go to express their views on various issues. We have debates and all sorts of arguments on everything that you could possibly imagine. The latest controversy came up in a member's topic called "What I think", in which he described his perspective on the lifestyle of a new friend he has made that declares himself a "Zoosexual" -a person whose sexual orientation is solely focused on animals. It isn't even ALL animals, but the ones he is attracted to; lions, tigers, wolves, and dogs mostly. The person that created the topic is defending his friend's position that zoosexuality IS an orientation and should be accepted in society. Initially, some of the first distinctions we made for the sake of argument were between sexual orientations and paraphilia(fetishes). In which an orientation is biological and a paraphilia is psychological. Within this context, the leader of the discussion declared himself a pedA-phile (foot-fetishist), and we came to the conclusion that because I am convinced I wasn't BORN gay, I must be a homophile. It is extremely difficult for me, as a "homophile" to argue this topic because almost all the things I initially wanted to say in opposition of the "zoosexual", is the exact same rationality that conservative society today uses against homosexuals. In the end, I got to the point where I could accept the "friend's" condition as Zoophilia, but NOT an orientation. I am extremely opposed to it and do not believe it should be sanctioned by society. Ultimately, all those involved in the debate agree that a new ethical code must be created for modern society which could be more aware and understanding of all of these different issues; particularly the growing number of fetishes in the world. Yet, despite all this, we still haven't been able to arrive at any unanimous conclusion on if it is right or wrong. It is a long thread, so I would be pleased with any commentary or suggestion you could offer: Creative Society -Fetishes/Orientations Thank You.
×