The Facebook

26 10 2005

Facebook, which I am blogging about because Mr. Allen blogged about an alumni, Chris B’s blog. In particular, I’m posting to Chris (2)’s post about the Facebook, where he writes “If you do not join The Facebook, you become the town leper and you are socially outcast.” .

Chris comments that some people have too many friends. On facebook this tends to be irritatingly true. Facebook, at Least the Harvard section, has a facebook group, titled, “the Facebook Rule Group”. One of the better groups out there, it states:

Since many people do not know how to use Facebook correctly. Here are some simple rules.

[01] You must have a picture. This is not the question mark book.

[02] This picture should actually look like you. Using a picture in which you appear a lot more attractive than you actually are can be misleading and lead to disappointments.

[03] If you see someone in person that you’ve seen on Facebook, say something. don’t just point, and definitely do not poke them. Chances are they recognize you too, unless you have not followed rules 1 and 2.

[04] Why are you drinking in your picture? It doesn’t make you seem cool. Also, your beverage is probably blocking your face.

[05] Are you actually married? If not don’t put that down under your relationship status. Nobody WANTS TO GET WITH YOU!!

[06] Don’t just join every single group ever. Stay focused.

[07] Obviously you check Facebook every 5 minutes, so please respond to your messages in a timely manner. Chances are you’re making the sender of the message extremely insecure.

[08] Don’t just confirm everyone who asks you to be their friend. Good rules of thumb: Would you say hi to this person if you passed them in the yard? No? Are they hott? Yes.

[09] Don’t edit your own wall, it makes you look like a loser.

[10] Just because there wasn’t a question in a message someone sent you, does not mean that you do not have to respond. Since small talk is virtually eliminated through facebook profiles, when there is no question, a comment is definitely in order.

[11] If you are not on Facebook, that does not mean that people will think you are cool or mysterious. It means no one is thinking about you at all.

[12] Don’t be embarassed to check facebook @ the science center or the library. You have nothing to be ashamed of, the people who really matter don’t care.

#8 works always. Would you say hi if you walked by them? If so, friend them. By the way friend is a verb, meaning “to add as a friend on some list of some kind”. If for some strange reason you receive a friend request from someone you would normally walk past with out making eye contact, in such a way that you show indifference to their existence at or near Earth, you should probably click ‘reject’.

Now for some of my thoughts. First off, the SMES high school facebooking is really not put together. Yes, Chris (2), they have high school facebooks, gross I know. So far only Tommy and a few others and myself have joined the high school facebook.com facebook. From most people I talk to, the notion of facebook being a high school thing hasn’t leaked through. Facebooking began small as a way to have tabs on other kids at school. Now, as Mr Allen writes, it is the 5th most frequented site on the Internet. Facebook has expanded to be this myspace phenomenon in college. What’s great about facebook is the lack of html coding. You cant make red text on bright pink backgrounds, grind heavy metal music into your skull, force downloading videos onto your screen,etc.

Facebooking can be just stupid, arrogant high school myspaces, but they can also be good for getting a cell phone number for someone or a way to, like email, send messages, friendly “pokes”, etc. I agree with Chris, Facebook is generally misused by drunken frat boys who couldn’t pull together a website on their own anyways.

Professor Teuber (prnounced TOY-ber), my Harvard philosophy teacher, was a knowledgabele man. In fact when I spoke with him in his office, though he had a class of 130 or so, he knew my name. At first he said – “It’s in the 2nd half of the alphabet.” I nodded, yes. “Last name is towards the end.” Again, a nod. “After T, after U”. By then I realized that, he did indeed know my name. His secret he told me, “Facebook”.





Rosa

22 10 2005

Rosa

What did that nameless man believe when he asked Parks to step out of the bus? What must have run through his mind that day? Did he even think about the rationale for his actions? Of course not. His response ran through his words before he whispered them. It was instilled within him from society, from his parents, from his friends. Everyone contributed; everyone sustained the deeply held prejudices. To break this cycle, people like Dr. King had to accomplish something extraordinary – remove oneself from the patterns of society.

Hatred is not always a conscious decision. It rarely is. Rarely can we look at someone and say, I hate that person because, though he has done some amount “x” for me, he has done these actions “y” to me, and has therefore transcended my fair and reasoned area of neutrality into dislike and into hate. No. Instead, hatred is slow to build. Hatred is a principle that blinds us to the good in people. Hatred comes unconsciously, building through prior experience, learned prejudices, and distorted reasoning.

“Love is the condition in which the happiness of one person is essential to your own”. Hatred is the absence of love; it is the absence of compassion. Where we slip into hatred evolves from a cycle of distortion, vengeance, cultural unity. When this cycle becomes self-propagating, when the distortion is not your own, but your grandfather’s, the escape becomes more and more difficult. The hatred is so embedded into the fabric of society, that to escape from the patterns is difficult. Beyond that, removing part of the lens with which you see the world is just like extracting and separating part of what constitutes you as an individual.

To love, and not to hate, is a hard calling. Much harder than hatred, love calls us to analyze the whys of every belief we hold. Are the reasons valid for the way I perceive this person? What are the lenses that I use to view the world? How can we escape from looking at someone negatively, when we don’t realize that we are doing it at all? I notice that not solely in Christianity, but in Buddhism and other religions as well, that there exists a rule: treat others in the way you want to be treated. I don’t want to lose my audience here by sounding like I am pumping religious views – no, instead, I ask that the rule be taken in a secular and very real sense.

That day when that nameless man forcedly removed Rosa from the bus with the aid of the police, he did not put himself in her position. Were he to have tried, he would have dismissed it and sat down next to Rosa and her two adjacent unoccupied seats (Because a white man was alotted not just a seat but a whole row, two other black people left the bus).

The call to hatred is one embedded within us, formed in part from our experiences and our culture. The first step is recognizing the probability that we are prejudiced in some way that we do not consciously recognize. The second is to go through and think about the reasons for being judgmental about others. And the third is to reconcile those judgments with the moral rule of doing what you would have done to you.

Love is the absence of hate and is the garden where compassion grows and progress blooms.





Censorship

14 10 2005

The best censorship is the kind you do yourself.

Like I could comment on the fact that, at our honor assembly, Geoff spoke, at one point the importance of respecting everyone. In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy writes that “Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.” Therefore if we are to respect everyone, that is to say give a complacent acceptance of their ideologies and views, we are not loving someone. Christianity teaches that we should “love your neighbor” – that this is not simply to respect them, but to support them. I understand that Geoff entirely meant this, he meant we should love our neighbors, etc, etc. But I just want to emphasize how difficult it is to truly love your neighbors, to love your enemies. To help them, to understand their interests, to be connected to them is love. And if we are merely going to respect them, to simply acknowledge their existence, then we are failing to truly love our neighbors, which is more difficult, but ultimately more enriching goal.

That probably shouldn’t make the cut. That probably was a waste of space. But they’re my thoughts. And I at one point, I thought that my thoughts were what channel16 was all about.

“Words”
How much can I write in fifteen minutes? What are the words’ value? Did you know that this particular arrangement of 26 characters formed into words which are selected from a vocabulary of 120,000 has never been created before? That it is unique? The first time you really realize this, the first time you’re not stuck writing what everyone else is in the class, it strikes you that (1) it’s original, (2) it represents part of who you are and are capable of, and (3) that what you write has an obligation to being good – you hold it to some standard.

So far I’ve hit one hundred words, though by writing this line I’ve certainly added to it. Words by themselves are as meaningless as randomly organized characters. We, as living beings, inscribe onto these 120,000 to 250,000 words certain connotation, certain meanings. In sophomore year we spent three months revising one paper on the definition of ‘honor’. What does it mean? Who decides honor? What must an honorable act be about, what is one like? Why do we believe in the concept of honor? Part of the answers to these questions lie in the word’s etymology, but the central core to this definition – is where does the universal concept which everyone understands as ‘honor’, even in other cultures, other languages, derive its meaning?

Is it nature? Is it nurture? Is it a Jungian universal unconscious? Is it melded into history books and literature? Where is it?

I’ve run out of time, written two hundred fifty words, to which there may or may not be meaning. But it’s there, they are my words, and they are now alive, this belief, these questions, my personal conclusions are all now a part of me. And the strange thing is, I don’t know whether they were alive or not before I wrote them down.

I wrote that this yesterday, before the Honors Assembly today. It was what I was thinking, just a free writing, see what it is that will come to my mind, force-myself to-write exercise. I understand that it might come across as arrogant as in, “look what I can do in fifteen minutes”. But its not intended to be. I just set a time limit. Well the school did really, I had to make on time to F block AP Government, you know! But nonetheless, my free thoughts almost didn’t make the cut.

“Trust is belief without reason, knowledge is belief supported by reason, and with love you have both, because as Pascal wrote, ‘the heart has reasons that reason does not know’ “

I wrote that a few weeks ago in an instant messenger conversation with an SMES student. Again, I personally liked what I had said, but I felt that it did not quite make the ‘channel16 cut’. Believe it or not, we are limited in what we can say and do. Believe it or not, one student (not me) has begun a blog to post ‘controversial’ SMES student writing. Believe it or not, I can’t generally write about exactly how I feel on politcal issue for fear that I might alienate you, the audience. I don’t enjoy offending people, I derive no sense of pleasure in doing so. But for this ‘quote’, I felt that it simply was too contrived to make it onto my blog. But again, I’ve realized that, like most teenagers, some of what I say comes out as contrived, and because channel16 is intended to be a virtual extension of me, Kevin, a teenager’s contrived words might come out now and then.

No Regrets
By – The Community

What’s done is done,
But the end has just begun,
For some believe,
That school is a we,
And not just a him and a she,
It’s time we see,
That we cannot be,

You stood your ground,
Took a student down,
But some will see,
Some still believe,
That you’ll end it alone,
You threw the first stone,

No blood was shed,
No man left dead,
Only a life forever changed,
And we saw you lock his chains,
You plunged in the cold knife,
A checkmate move on life.

I wrote that towards the end of last year, feeling upset at what I had felt was the school’s overreaction to the actions of one student in my class. He was subsequently expelled. Now I have distance from the event and slightly more understanding – for example, the College Board could have revoked all AP test scores. However, I still feel a bit bitter that such a student can make one error and have so much collapse. Again, this was edited out because I don’t think that (1) it is all that well written and (2) that it is controversial and may incite some administration at the time. However, I don’t mean to offend any SMES administration, rather a critique furthering what other students have called the dissolution of the community – a separation of faculty, administration, and students. Like Johnny and others, I should probably preface that poem with ‘I don’t mean to offend’, which to me is another form of self-censorship.

This being a compilation of deleted works that have been pushed aside, you probably would have been better off not reading it. But maybe you enjoyed it. Maybe you like seeing the parts of me I don’t frequently let out. I don’t know my audience very well, every once in a while someone who I rarely talk to will speak to me about my blog seemingly out of nowhere. It’s refreshing to know people read this. I don’t mean that in any conceited way, but it’s nice to think that perhaps, just maybe, I’ve spoken to the truths and touched on things that people are interested in.

Censorship is something that we do all the time, not editing, but cautious censorship of oneself. The trick to good writing, perhaps, is speaking to the truth in a way people will enjoy it.





Money

10 10 2005

Things you can do with money:

For under $8000, you can read, more or less, every classic book ever produced. The Complete Penguin Books Classics Over 750 lbs of books shipped right to your door! And you’ll look either like a ridiculously well read person, an strange book aficionado, or a rich person who wants to appear educated.

You can, for a mere $15 to 20 million make national news and fly into space. “A full adventure package, complete with jet flights, luxury hotel, charter zero-g flight, VIP service, etc. retails for $179,000. Purchase the medical check alone for significantly less.” Incredible Advenutres(c) .pdf The total flight cost including more than just the training is about $15-20 million. The brochure tells you that depending on your job, they’ll negotiate a price with the Russian Space Agency.

Money can buy almost everything. There are a few ‘priceless’ things. How important are they to a county, Orange County, who has more money than any other in the US? How important do you think priceless things are to people who can afford anything? I believe in the concept of priceless, but I wonder for those who get almost everything they want, from a 350Z to a big screen tv, how distorted is priceless to us? Are we closer or farther from knowing what can and can’t be bought? I don’t know.

“I want a pony”

Are you sure?