Monday, January 31, 2011

Class Assignment: Argument Analysis

Assignment: Find a compelling letter or op-ed piece. Write a brief analysis of the argument: what is the issue? at what stasis does the argument seem to lie? can you determine what position(s) the author is attacking? can he achieve stasis with his opponents given the way he has stated the issue and the ground upon which he has taken his stand?
The article: An Amendment Heedless of History, from the Sunday 1/30/11 edition of the N&O.

In this article the author is discussing a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would "allow the dis-enactment of 'any provision of law or regulation'" passed by Congress "upon the vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures." However, the purpose of the article is less a discussion of the potential consequences of this amendment than an attempt to discover why Representative Rob Bishop of Utah proposed it. As a result, the argument seems to be resting at stasis poiotes, or the stasis of quality, since the author seems to be questioning whether or not this is something serious enough to deserve attention/action. It is rather apparent that he is against the proposed amendment, however, I don't think he has achieved stasis yet. The amendment has already been proposed and therefore needs to be and has already been acted upon, putting it at the level of stasis metalepsis, or the stasis of policy/jurisdiction. The author, instead of merely citing history, needs to have a strong argument as to why, here and now, this amendment should not be added.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A [chief] for war and a [chief] for peace

I learned recently in my anthropology class that the Cherokee Indians had two chiefs per tribe ~ one was a "War Chief" and one a "Peace Chief." Both ruled by persuasion and could be removed from office. Betcha they found that some rhetoric came in handy every once-in-a-while, eh?

Monday, January 24, 2011

My own little world

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population: me

...I turn off the news when I don't like what I see
Yeah, it’s easy to do when it’s
Population: me

What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

~ some of the lyrics from "My Own Little World" by Matthew West

Class Assignment: the Tale

It was a quiet bedtime ritual he had come to look forward to as much as his children: reading a book out loud. Tonight was no different; little Rose and Freddie sat rapt on cushions before him on the floor as they followed Almanzo Wilder of Farmer Boy out to his father's barn and to the forbidden pen where the young colts were kept, then crouched in fear beside him after he lifted the latch and they flooded out the gate, threatening to trample him. His voice galloping along with the 'thundering hooves' of the colts, he had to check himself as he was interrupted by a small voice: “Um, Daddy?” “Yes, honey.” “Thundering hooves?” “Well sweetie, that's the kind of sound their feet made on the ground while they were running.” “Ohhh, thunder--no lightning.” Wow, did this three-year-old just say what he thought she said? He was feeling pretty impressed with himself and the child he had produced, that she had made that kind of connection. What a kid. Having finished his explanation, he settled back into his chair with a smug smile and prepared to continue the story. “Dad?” It was five-year-old Freddie this time—but now he was prepared. Placing the book on his knee, he looked affectionately down at the little boy and asked, “What's up, son?” With a beaming grin on his face, Freddie declared to his expectant father: “I like cake.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Class Assignment: the Fable

Once there was a scruffy dog who was fed his owner's leftovers, had a rug in the corner, and was occasionally forgotten outside at night. He was, however, allowed to roam wherever he pleased, and he believed that he led a happy life. One afternoon, he happened upon a well-fed dog on a leash who told him of a home where they were fed three square meals a day, never forgotten outside, and slept on cushions beside the fireplace. The scruffy dog, curious as always, decided to see this wonderful house for himself. He discovered while watching it that the small yard was surrounded by a high fence, dogs who did not come inside immediately were switched, and very few of the cushions were near enough the fireplace to feel its warmth. He discovered the truth that “those who trade their freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wisdom can come from the strangest places...

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."

"You can't stay in your corner of the forest, waiting for others to come to you; you have to go to them sometimes."

"If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

“A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.”

“Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.”

 ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rational? ha!

For my first philosophy class, our teacher asked us to read a dialogue between Socrates and a friend of his named Euthyphro. It's a little dry and repetitive at first, but when you get down to the basic premises that it's built on, you get to some interesting questions. Here they are:
Is the pious pious because the gods love it? Or do the gods love it because it's pious?
For my sake and the argument's, for the rest of this post I will be replacing 'gods' with 'God' and 'pious' with 'good.' Now let's get to the good stuff.

       My teacher, after boiling the argument down to these two basic questions, then introduced us to the two concepts of Voluntarism and Rationalism. Voluntarism, when applied to this situation, would essentially agree with the first question and try to convince you that God sprinkles “goodness dust” on anything that makes him happy, therefore making it good. According to this ideology, he could therefore make anything and everything he wanted to good, including suicide bombing, crusading, and any other horrible/inhumane/irrational thing he jolly well pleases. Obviously, everyone knows how ridiculous something like that would be—there are some things that just aren't good, and never will/should be good, right? that gets thrown out the window almost immediately.
       On to Rationalism. This ideology seems the sensible route to most people, because in a way it flatters our already overblown egos. I'll explain. This one goes the way of the second question, arguing that a 'goodness standard' has already been established, and since God is a rational, logical being like us, obviously he judges by that standard just like us. *snort* I've driven on the highway, folks. Don't try to convince me we're a rational race. Besides, our definitions of 'good' and 'rational' have changed and evolved constantly since man started walking this earth. It's a scary thing to think that all of a sudden we have a fixed standard, know it, and think that the One who's calling all the shots is going by that standard as well. That's a heavy duty responsibility that I don't think we're up for.
       So... where does that leave us? Are these our only two options?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First class assignment - Part 1

Assignment: 1. Make a list of current issues/hot topics. Pick one or two and just write about them for at least 15 minutes. Let the writing sit for a couple hours or days, then come back and read them again. 2. Find your position on the issue(s), where you stand in relation on it/them to those in authority and to your peers, and the stance taken by those who disagree. How would people respond to your opinions? 3. Now pick your favorite topic and write about it for 15 minutes again. 4. Give your writing to someone you trust; discuss it with them, take careful note of their opinions, and revise it if your opinion changes.

Consider what there is to say; before whom, in whose defence, against whom, at what time and place, under what circumstances; what is the popular opinion on the subject; and what the prepossessions of the judges are likely to be; and finally of what we should express our deprecation or desire.
~ Quintilian

gun control
civil rights
the economy
global warming
health care
Internet control bill

For this one, I think I have to go with gun control. After the shooting in Tucson and the most recent one at a high school (in California, I think?), everyone I hear talking about them brings up the issue of gun control, and unfortunately it seems that most people are in favor of it. It sounded good to me at first, but the collected wisdom of several people I respect quickly helped me to see that it's not really the solution. It brings to mind that quote “Those who sacrifice their freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security.” Let's face it, our nation is getting lazier and lazier. Instead of people taking initiative and wanting to deal with their own problems, they blame the government for everything and expect it to take care of whatever they don't want to deal with. Roads? Gov.'s problem. Elderly parents? Let the government take care of 'em. Gosh sakes people, they're YOUR family! Poverty? We can't be the generous ones, it has to be the government. There doesn't seem to be a concept of community anymore, much less family. We can't take responsibility for the things we see our children being taught or the video games they play or the religions they might choose to dabble in; when one happens to go psycho, who do we blame? The gun. Yeah, this spoon is making me fat. Get real. We all know that freedom isn't free; we should be willing to take a little risk, let responsible citizens have guns, and when a loopy guy gets thrown into the mix it won't be just people screaming and running for cover. Someone will take initiative and stand up and defend their fellow citizens, and loopy guy goes the hospital, the insane asylum or the prison. It frustrates me to see that people are so willing to just give up control to a government that hasn't really been able to handle things that well in the first place. I'd say it all boils down to laziness. Freedom isn't free. Be willing to give some security up to know that you've earned your right to be called an American citizen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prescription Eye... lashes?

I know our culture has become overly obsessed with beauty, but this is just ridiculous.

Since when did we need prescriptions with 11 page user manuals (chock full of disclaimers and studies of adverse effects ~ not just directions) to grow more eyelashes?

You are More - Tenth Avenue North

Not safe... but good

"The infinite value of each human soul is not a Christian doctrine. God did not die for man because of some value He perceived in him. The value of each human soul considered in itself, out of relation to God, is zero. As St. Paul writes, to have died for valuable men would have been not divine but merely heroic; but God died for sinners." ~ C.S. Lewis

"Safe? Of course he's not safe! But he's good." 
~ Mr. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe