Monday, October 15, 2007

Intellectual Masturbation


Intellectual Masturbation Rubs Me The Wrong Way

Intellectual masturbation is a big problem on campus. Every class I go to, there’s one or two people with no shame. They don’t hesitate doing it in front of everybody who is there trying to learn. The time has come to take a long, hard look at intellectual masturbation and examine how it affects our campus.

Intellectual masturbation can be defined as: 1. The act of satisfying one’s ego through statements intended only to show off one’s intelligence. 2. Acting like a know-it-all jerk that no one likes to listen to and everyone wishes would just shut up.

The most common form of intellectual masturbation comes in class discussion. Students will be exchanging ideas on a topic. Most listen and respond to what others say. It seems that real academic dialogue is taking place. Then, without warning, the intellectual masturbator intrudes with a five-minute rant on something remotely related to the topic. He will bring in outside reading that has little to do with the subject area and certainly didn’t appear anywhere on the course syllabus. The other students will sit in pain and watch as the student continues for what seems like hours. When the act of self-satisfaction is finished, the class is incapacitated, and the professor struggles to connect what was said back to the class discussion. Sometimes the professor succeeds in retaining the class’s focus, but more often than not, the class discussion never reaches the same level it had been before someone decided to turn it into an ego-stroking session.

The truly talented intellectual masturbator doesn’t need a class discussion to satisfy his urges. Even in a large lecture class, he will find a way to show everyone else in the class how smart he is. The most common technique is what I like to call the “Trojan Horse.” It works like this:

Professor: “Does anyone have any questions about this, anything they need cleared up? Yes Mr. Jones, you have a question.”

Student: “I’ve always thought that … [five minute dissertation entitled ‘Look at me, I’m smart.] … would you agree?”

I’m sure we’re all familiar with this technique from freshman year. It appears to be very popular with the more experienced practitioners, as it requires a higher level of skill and carries more risk. Yet at the same time, it seems to be much more pleasurable for the student, most likely because he has a much larger audience. Intellectual masturbation is inherently exhibitionist in nature.

This brings us to the third common type of intellectual masturbation. It requires by far the most hubris, presents the greatest danger and clearly provides the optimum level of pleasure for those who do it. It is a close cousin of the “Trojan Horse” technique but occurs on a much grander scale. I speak of the “Prove to the famous person that they’re wrong and you’re smarter than they are” technique. As its name implies, this technique requires the presence of someone famous, and at Georgetown that means it can only be done during the question and answer session that follows a speech by a major figure.

After the speaker is finished, the student will be one of the first in line at the microphone. When his turn comes, he will indeed ask a question. However, the question will approach 10 minutes in length, include every possible counter-argument to the speaker’s position and usually be quite rude and unoriginal. Yet, when the student is finished asking the question, self-satisfaction flows over him as he basks in the warmth of his own genius.

What makes this form of intellectual masturbation the most painful to witness is not so much the audacity or arrogance of it but its inherent futility. Just what does the student expect to accomplish?

Student: “ … [After eight-minute presentation of every imaginable pro-choice argument] … So how can you possibly be pro-life Mr. Keyes?”

Alan Keyes: “My God, you’re right! The fetus is not a human person! And to think I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life working to take away a woman’s right to choose. I should be ashamed. Thank you, sir, for enlightening me.”

It’s like trying to persuade the Dalai Lama that he should start a violent Tibetan resistance movement. Did students really think that Larry Flynt would stop publishing Hustler because they showed him how pornography objectifies women? Did they expect Charlton Heston to hold a press conference the day after speaking at Georgetown to announce the NRA was now backing handgun control?

I don’t mean to be so judgmental about intellectual masturbation. I respect your right to tell yourself how smart you are. I don’t honestly care if you stand in front of your mirror late at night and contrast Plato’s Republic to the liberalism of J.S. Mill. I just don’t want to watch.

Quietly Making Noise appears regularly in The Hoya.

Friday, October 12, 2007

THE TOP 10 SCHOOLS IN THE PHILIPPINES

THE TOP 10 SCHOOLS IN THE PHILIPPINES

This statistics is a result of the study conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), based on the average passing in the BOARD EXAMINATIONS OF ALL COURSES of all universities and colleges in the Philippines.

This study is concluded every 10 years. The following is the result of the first study from
1992 to 2001. Five schools come from Luzon, two from the Visayas and three from Mindanao.

1. University of the Philippines (Diliman Campus /Luzon)

2. Silliman University (Dumaguete City / Visayas)

3. Ateneo de Davao University (Davao / Mindanao)

4. Ateneo de Manila University (Manila / Luzon)

5. University of Sto. Tomas (Manila / Luzon)

6. Mindanao State University (Mindanao)

7. Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (Manila /Luzon)

8. Saint Louis University (Baguio City / Luzon)

9. University of San Carlos (Cebu City / Visayas)

10. Xavier University (Cagayan de Oro /Mindanao)


Wooh! My school is in the list! The only one from Cagayan de Oro too. I don't know the latest list though but I bet XU would still be in the Top 10. I heard that there was a latest statistics where XU ranked top 7. I wonder if this would be because of the well-known 100% passing rate of board examinees from the XU College of Nursing...

But you know what? These statistics are so unreliable... plus people are so biased... to be honest, I am one of those biased people hehehe. Who would say that "I'm enrolled in the worst school ever" right? We would definitely say that "my school is the best".

But what are the criteria for being the best? And why is the school so damn important in our lives? One thing for sure is that if you graduate from a reputable and respectable university you would propbably have a greater edge over those who graduated from other unknown schools. And this is a fact. One company I know of in Cagayan de Oro hand-picks applicants who came from XU or a better school outside Mindanao and then if there are some vacant slots chooses from the other top performers from other schools. My source is very reliable thank you.

But in the end, if you don't perform well as expected you would still fail and be fired and you will definitely bring shame to your school. This is why the best schools just don't allow any student to graduate unless they perceive that that student is already capable.

So conclusion? Just work your way to the top and stop wasting time by trying to defend yourself that your school is the best! I'm not hehehe... I'm not the one saying nah my school is better than that school because they know more about skills and stuff and this school is only based on theories... but if I were a person so concerned with people comparing my school to theirs just to prove that they are better, then my rebuttal would be: how can you apply skills when you don't know the theories or reason behind it... duh?! hehehe...

Peace to all!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Addiction

You try to stop… you swear false vows… you are full of optimism…

But deep inside you, the desire is unquenchable; your yeaning is insatiable…

You know that what you are doing is wrong. You know that it will hurt you, and most of all it will hurt and offend other people around you.

But still deep inside you know that you simply can’t live without it. You tell your self that this is the last or this is only a bit or piece of that and it doesn’t matter… you fool yourself and keep on making excuses to be able to do what you sworn to abstain from…

In the end, your addiction takes over you… you then become guilty and even get depressed from your lack of will power… but days after the horrible cycle of abstaining and breaking loose repeats itself over and over…

And then you ask yourself, why do I have to stop in the first place? Maybe this is who I am and I should just embrace it… what do I care what other people think, that is not my business. My business is to live my life the way I am.

Morality simply means doing things that makes you happy and you do these things because you know that they are right… that in it’s manner makes the act right. If your addiction doesn’t harm the rest of the world why stop right?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

On Morality

"There is no way that we can understand other people's feelings... no matter the feeling... if they're in your mind, they are yours. Therefore... you agree with them, that alone makes them right. What is and isn't right varies from person to person. Happiness also varies from person to person." -excerpt from xxxHolic

I agree. We define our own morality. Only we xan know what is the right thing to do in a totally awkward situation. The society may have it's own preformulated rules that they expect you to follow but in the end, you must follow your own heart because what ever makes you happy is something that is right. But of course this is only valid if you don't step on other people's rights or violate them.

Geez... morality sure is problematic...

Do What You Shouldn't Do

"The desire to do what you know you shouldn't is indeed one of the very desires that define humanity." an excerpt from xxxHolic

Why is it that we get a kick out of doing what's wrong? We think that doing what is illegal is an adrenaline rush, it's exciting, it's hip. Maybe it really is.

Doing something wrong and breaking the rules is like being free and you have a sense of control and it is amazing. You feel that you can do absolutely anything.

Maybe this is why so many people do stuff that society thinks is wrong... like adultery for example. What is wrong is really tempting because just the thrill of the chase, the process of doing what is prohibited is exhilerating.

But of course, one must only be prepared for the proper punishment that comes with it. Again, rule of equivalent trade people.

Running Away From Happiness

Why does someone run away from happiness? This is a weird question from xxxHolic.

Another weird question: If you won one billion pesos worth of lottery would you claim it or not?

For a person who would run away from happiness, that person wouldn't probably claim it. And why on earth would a sane person refuse to claim the prize? Answer?

It's simple, in order to receive happiness, it takes an equal amount of effort; compensation is required. You must also experience the same amount of unhappiness as payment for whatever happiness you incurred. This ladies and gentlemen is the law of equivalent trade.

You alway have to pay your debts even if you are the receiver. This means that you have to also reward your sufferings that you have incurred from your choices. If you win the lottery, claim the prize as that is your compensation. If you owe ten thousand yen, you must pay ten thousand yen. If you deserve 300 million pesos then receive 300 million pesos. Any discount will dusrupt the balance. Disrupting the balance would only reak havoc.

That is why some people refuse to receive happiness. The good parts are the parts that you must pay for. One who refuses happiness is someone who refuses to accept the responsibilities incurred from receving happiness.


If you ask me, that person is quite smart. Every action is well calculated, but one false move could only lead that person in some deep problem... but on the bright side, proper compensation comes: happiness.

So how can someone run away from happiness exactly? Take for example the girl from xxxHolic. In order to risk the reward of getting promoted, she allowed herself to be in an accident so that she would miss that very stressful presentation. She could present very well and even succeed in it but she doesn't want the responsibilities that comes with being promoted. See? Her careful plan had lead to a desired conclusion of neutrality. The balance wasn't even shaken one bit.

Another learning from xxxHolic.

Fate

“Coincidence is but an illusion.
There is only fate.”

I have always believed that things happen for a reason. There are no accidents or mere coincidence. Everything that occurs is a chain reaction and an event is the result of than reaction. Life is like a wheel that continues on rolling and there is a path that we must follow. Life is a sequence of events.

But I also believe in free will. Fate can only bring us too far as to encounter a certain event but it is in our hands and our own choice to choose to have fate work or come into reality. This is just like meeting the girl/boy of your dreams, a person who is perfect. You met that person because of fate. But it’s up to you if you talk to that person or not. Either way your choices will lead you to another chain of events and so forth. We do have a choice, and every choice we make counts.

But one thing is for sure. Our death is inevitable. No choice we make can save us from death, and it is in this manner that fate takes hold of our life.

Things happen for a reason… but the reasons are unclear…

Words are Powerful

I have been watching xxxHolic lately and I want to share some learning that I have derived from it:

“Waves. Things that rise and fall.

Waves. Things that proliferate from a source.

Waves. Things that can’t be fought against.

Living things are restrained by Chains:

The laws of nature

The flow of time

The vessel known as your “body”

And the existence called your mind

The one chain that people can wield: WORDS.”

The waves that are mentioned here are words. As I interpret these statements, I have come up with this. There are many kinds of words. There are words that are positive and words that are negative. And these words come from one source: our own self. Words are powerful and they cannot be stopped. We as humans have many weaknesses and these may even inhibit us from reaching our full potentials. The laws of nature prevents us from doing some things like flying or being invisible for example. The flow of time restricts us from undoing what we have done in the past. Our bodies are fragile and it won’t last forever. And our mind has its own limitations. But words… we can use this for our own advantage. We can say that we can’t do something and we will definitely fail because we don’t have faith in our self. Or better yet we can say I can do this and things will turn out better. Negative words will only restrain your self. How will you know that something will turn out bad when you never tried? Nothing will be accomplished by being pessimistic.

“Words are living things. Chains can be used for more than tying down. They can be used to connect, and tie together. Looking forward and speaking positively makes all the difference.”

Words can bridge people together. Saying positive things will attract people to you and would be more at ease speaking with you and this will form a relationship between you two. How will you know people when you don’t talk to them because you already say that they dislike you?

“Words are amazing. However, words don’t only affect the one using them…”

But words can also come from other people. Other people can say hurtful things that could put you down.

“You are responsible for your own choices. So much pity when you are tied down. If you enjoy living like this, there’s no harm in staying tied down. Your immediate comfort is not telling yourself “everything will turn out great and the joy it brings when you’re right.”

But you can choose to be affected or not. You have the power to break free from the chains of negative words that other people throw at you. If you don’t like the things that people say to you then prove to them that they are wrong and stop yourself from unconsciously fulfilling the things that they say about you.

Words are really amazing. They can bring people together or they can bring us apart and even start disagreements. Words are like wild beasts that are once released cannot be taken back or controlled. Words can spread like wild fire and if it’s negative then be ready for things to get worst. That is why we should always think twice before we speak because it only takes a few seconds to say hurtful things but the impact on your relationship with the other person will last for a lifetime.

I can totally relate with this quotes from xxxHolic. But there are times that you must really speak out what you feel because the longer that you keep your anger and frustrations inside you, the feeling will grow and will end up in an ugly outburst and you will really regret it. This usually happen to the silent and kind type of people. They let people abuse them and they really become really angry when they lose it and may even end up killing the other person.

We can always use words to express ourselves but we must use them with tact so that we won’t offend others. Use words cautiously. We must be affirmative but never offensive…

Hmm… So much wisdom… I really love xxxHolic!

xxxHolic Review

I really have enjoyed watching xxxHolic. I haven't finished watching the series yet but I could say that it is a work of art. The graphics are excellent and the music is perfect. The combination of the two portrays a perfect world of magic and real life. CLAMP, the producer of the said anime, is really amazing. It really makes you think and your imagination can just run wild.

And who ever said animè isn't educational? Well xxxHolic can prove you wrong. It showcases the rich culture of Japan by embedding in the plot the different legends and myths in Japan. The way of life of Japanese people are shown and their different food, dresses, and customs are shown. It really amazes me how Japan can be so high-tech but they still are able to preserve their own identity, culture, and history.

Also xxxHolic is a perfect place to study philosophy and humanity as it exposes some morals and truths of what truly is being a human being. I will share some learning that I have derived in some of my other posts.

Totally amazing! I really love xxxHOLIC and I am quite inspired when I watch each episode that is full of wisdom and zest.

I rate it with a perfect five out of five! Why don’t you guys watch it and see for yourselves what I’m talking about.

Plot

The series' protagonist, Kimihiro Watanuki, is a high school student who is continually plagued by supernatural monsters (youkai) and spirits which are magically attracted to him. The creatures are invisible to all but him, and as a result he feels extremely burdened by them. When he quite literally stumbles into a shop that grants wishes, his life changes drastically.

Within the shop is the seductively beautiful Yūko Ichihara, a witch of many names and esoteric renown. The seemingly all-knowing witch soon gets down to business: she offers to grant Watanuki's wish to be rid of his ability to see spirits. However, a price equal to the power required to grant the wish must be paid. Yūko discovers that Watanuki is very skilled with his hands and a hard worker. As a result, Watanuki soon finds himself forced to perform housework and odd jobs for Yūko until he has done enough work for his wish to be granted.

Shortly afterwards, other characters become involved with Watanuki's position, including his love interest, Himawari Kunogi, and his "rival", Shizuka Dōmeki. The three become increasingly "friendlier", despite the amount of times Watanuki gets annoyed with Dōmeki's unflappable attitude.

Another recurring theme in the manga storyline is that Watanuki's growth and change will be because of his experiences of meeting one person. Yūko, according to a fortune teller in Volume 2, is the one that will change Watanuki. However, it's implied that he will be linked to both Yūko and Dōmeki and that all their connections were foreseen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

High School Musical 2 Phenomenon

Again Disney has made it big time with the big success of their sequel, High School Musical 2. Even it’s album was a great success reportedly “outselling Justin Timberlake and Beyonce and Rascal Flatts and everything else.” If you don't know what High School Musical is then I'm sorry to tell you that you really need serious updating with the happenings of the world.

I really enjoyed the movie and is definitely a show for the whole family because Troy and Gabriela did not even have a single kissing scene. The songs are better and the certain twists in the story are quite good. But I have to say that I liked Sharpay’s version of “You are the Music in Me” better than the one of Troy and Gabriela.

This movie is a great recommend to all of the people out there! A 5 out of 5 stars! Why? Just watch the damn movie to see how this Disney Original became such a phenomenon! If you missed High School Musical 1 & 2 then you should really watch the coming High School Musical 3!


Here’s the plot:

The summer brings jolly excitement to the East High Wildcats as they go over their plans for their break from school with the song "What Time Is It?". Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) stresses over getting a job with the price of college looming on his mind, as well as trying to make sure he and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) are able to stay together all summer. Sharpay and Ryan Evans (Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel) plan on spending the summer at their family's country club, Lava Springs ("Fabulous"). However, Sharpay's summer plan also includes separating Troy and Gabriella by getting Troy hired at Lava Springs. What Sharpay does not plan on is Troy talking the club's manager, Mr. Fulton (Mark L. Taylor), into hiring the rest of the Wildcats, including Gabriella and her best friend Taylor (Monique Coleman), and Troy's best friend Chad (Corbin Bleu). Fulton is unable to fire the Wildcats at Sharpay's command, since her mother (Jessica Tuck) approved their hiring, so she orders him to make them want to quit. Troy offers to help his friends working in the kitchen and convinces them that they can work their hardships out, in the song, "Work This Out".

Sharpay schemes harder than ever to make the Wildcats miserable, and win Troy, who has to choose between two worlds: his own with the Wildcats and Gabriella, or another where Sharpay's family can offer him a way to college and other luxuries he has only dreamed about. Kelsi writes a duet for Troy and Gabriella, but Sharpay steals the duet from the two of them and forces Troy to sing it with her, holding his future over his head. As Troy grows further away from Gabriella, Ryan is pushed further away from Sharpay. Taylor and Gabriella even invite Ryan to the baseball game, and Chad offers him Troy's place in the game. Troy and Gabriella's relationship is strained to the breaking point, as well as Troy's friendship with Chad.


When Sharpay finally crosses the line by banning the Wildcats from performing in Lava Springs' annual Star Dazzle Talent Show, even though Ryan has been working with the group to put together a performance, Gabriella confronts Sharpay. She makes it clear that she refuses to play Sharpay's "game", and quits her job at Lava Springs. Troy overhears the exchange and tries to convince Gabriella to change her mind. However, all she can think of is how much Troy has changed over the summer, and breaks up with him. She returns the necklace that Troy presented to her at the beginning of their relationship.

Gabriella's quitting causes Troy to see the person he has become and realize everything he has sacrificed. Finally when Gabriella breaks up with him he realises the mistakes he made and the people he hurt, especially Gabriella and Chad. His relationship with Gabriella was just blossoming and he blew it. As he sets out to make everything right again, Ryan gets help from the Wildcats to conspire to get Troy and Gabriella back together. They convince Troy to sing with Sharpay in the talent show - even though he'd quit citing her ban on junior staffers' participation in the show - which he does only under the condition that the Wildcats are allowed to perform as well. Sharpay relents, and the Wildcats put their plan into motion, finally getting Troy and Gabriella back together as they sing a duet together. Troy begins to sing and then he hears Gabriella's voice and looks around, surprised. She finally emerges from the back of the crowd behind the Wildcats. After the talent show, Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Zeke, Jason, Kelsi, Chad, Taylor, Martha, and Ryan all head out onto the golf course to enjoy the fireworks. Troy and Gabriella finally share their first kiss then Gabbriella pulls him closer then they hug, and the summer ends with a staff pool party and the Wildcats' celebration of a great summer together. Gabriella and Troy jump into the pool together. They swim for hours until then.

Realizations

As they say, “Man is an empty shell filled only with endless wants and desires…:

Actually, that’s just my saying. But my point is how do you differentiate the things you need from the things you want? Or better yet, the people you need and the people you desire?

Let us define the terms shall we?

need (nēd)
n.
1. A condition or situation in which something is required or wanted: crops in need of water; a need for affection.
2. Something required or wanted; a requisite: “Those of us who led the charge for these women's issues … shared a common vision in the needs of women” (Olympia Snowe).
3. Necessity; obligation: There is no need for you to go.
4. A condition of poverty or misfortune: The family is in dire need.

want (wŏnt, wônt)
n.
1. The condition or quality of lacking something usual or necessary: stayed home for want of anything better to do.
2. Pressing need; destitution: lives in want.
3. Something desired: a person of few wants and needs.
4. A defect of character; a fault.

Ok I am now more confused. But from my point of you need is something you can’t live without and want is something you can live without, such a simple definition don’t you think but it all fits.

There are things in my life that I want and there are things that I need. The problem is my wants is overpowering and overpowers my needs that I neglect and poorly prioritize things. I am quite aware that there are things and maybe even people perhaps that distract me from reaching my goals.

But again what are my goals? Ayayayay…. This is a complete dilemma.

But again you might ask what the connection is between wants and needs to priorities? Well, I see my needs as my priorities and my wants as complete nuisance.

My gosh… I really have to settle my priorities first before I turn to something I hate the most: a blood-sucking empty-headed dumb couch potato. Poor me…
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