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Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2010 by ryank2013

Hi! Welcome to my blog! Here I will record brief insightful posts about reading either done in class or for pleasure, meaning anything by Vince Flynn, Clive Cussler and sometimes Michael Crichton (Next was awful, I’m sorry if I’ve offended anybody).

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Reflection #22

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2010 by ryank2013

Soldier of Fortune or Repressed Peasant?: The Different Forms of Profit

Last week, I read a novel about the construction of a Gothic Cathedral in 12th century England, entitled The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. In the beginning of this novel a young man is hanged for supposedly stealing a chalice from a nearby monastery. The townspeoples’ reluctance to administer such a harsh punishment is demonstrated in the quotation, “which was not like stealing a ham or a new knife or a good belt,  the loss of which would hurt someone. They could not hate a man for a crime so pointless.” (Follett 13).

Because the supposed thief had done nothing to hurt the townspeople, they were reluctant to exert the effort required to organize and execute a public hanging. The fact that a crime can be viewed as “pointless”, only furthers the point that people are only reluctantly stirred into action if there is no profit to be made. But, whether or not something is profitable is always based on perception

However, profit does not have to have monetary value, simple charity and peace of mind are both valid motivations. 

The profit mentioned above does not necessarily have to be beneficial, however.  Human nature calls for survival over anything else, thus fear and instinct can be a very compelling motive, and the right to live can be a very substantial profit. However, in a court of law, people motivated by such desperation are almost never acquitted. In Medieval Europe, the price of petty theft was always death, with no exceptions.

 Proposition: There is always some sort of ulterior motive behind any action.

Reflection #21

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2010 by ryank2013

Selective Listening: God’s Fatal Flaw

In Genesis, chapter 26, Isaac and Rebekah travel to Gerar, the land of the Philistines. When asked about his wife, Isaac replies, “‘She is my sister’, for…’the men of the place might kill me for the sake of Rebekah, because she is attractive in appearance.'” (Genesis 26:7)

While this small lie may seem necessary to Isaac’s self-preservation, the consequences of any man sleeping with Rebekah would have been catastrophic, invoking god’s wrath. Anyways, history repeated itself, because Abraham told that same lie, twice. Once in Egypt, and again in Gerar, the same land of the Philistines.

Isaac and Abraham were both able to exploit those they lied to and end up even more prosperous than before.  It seems like god is either blind to the actions of his favorite followers, however malicious or exploitative, or he simply finds lies about women to be unimportant.

Because of Gods’s unconditional love for his creations with which he established a covenant, those creations were able to break the laws of god, and avoid punishment.

Because it is human nature to be blind to the actions of a loved one, people can exploit that love and find ways to make some sort of profit. There is nothing wrong with a parent loving their child or a creator loving their creation. But if this unconditional love reaches a level where exploitative lies and trickery is accepted or not even noticed for that matter, then you know the love has gone too far.

 Proposition: Unconditional and undying love can sometimes, but not usually, do more harm than good because of exaggerated trust or blindness to the truth.

 Image Source: http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/usa/images-3/god.jpg

Reflection #20

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2010 by ryank2013

Chivalry: A Moral Facade?

Today, during arts/labs, I was reading  Agincourt, a novel about the British invasion of France in 1415, and found an interesting quote. It said “We speak of chivalry… We are the chivalry of Christendom, but in battle it’s blood and anger and savagery and killing.” (Cornwell 138).

 The rules of chivalry are complex behavioral and moral codes that were essential in 15th century Europe. But even today, it is human nature to formulate similar rigid rules that dictate how we as human beings live our lives. These  sanctimonious moral codes such as chivalry have no real purpose other than to further one’s own image.

Ultimately by following these rules, we attempt to ease our own conscience, because we as humans believe that by following these moral codes, we will be perceived by society as noble and righteous, regardless of our actions.  Humans subconsciously follow these rules to the best if their ability when it is convenient. As soon as one faces an obstacle of any kind, ethics are forgotten and instinct takes over.

Human instinct calls for survival, no matter how, no matter why. No ethical rules will stop an adrenaline filled soldier from killing a defenseless enemy, pillaging a town or fleeing in terror. Anything is acceptable in order to survive.

Proposition: Moral codes such as chivalry are merely facades that are easily forgotten in times of peril.

Image Source: http://www.bernardcornwell.net/images/bookcovers/Agincourt-final_lg.jpg

Reflection #19

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2010 by ryank2013

Petty Condolences: The Uselessness of Good Intentions

God created man with good intentions. He created man to reign over animals and tend to the Gardens of Eden. But in chapter 6 of Genesis, god realizes that man has become a plague on the earth and muses “I will blot out from the  earth the human beings I have created…for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7). God ends up creating a massive flood that almost completely destroys all life on earth, except the family of Noah and the animals he took on his ark.

While man has good intentions most of the time, things do not always end up that way. Because according to the Bible, not even god has control over the ambiguity and uncertainty that is present in life. Ironically, God created the world, but he could not control the circumstances in his own world which corrupted man. No matter how good anyone’s intentions are, there can always be complications or problems that will make any good intentions irrelevant.

Many of today’s problems started off well meaning, but over time, they have evolved into terrible disasters. For example, the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine was meant to provide a cheap source of power for all the USSR. But when the reactor overloaded and exploded, good intentions turned disastrous, causing the death of over 200,000 men, women and children.

Proposition:While many people set off with good intentions, unforseen circumstances can cause them to become misguided along the way and end up causing more harm than good.

Reflection #18

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2010 by ryank2013

Truth: The Consequence of Knowledge

In chapter three of Genesis, Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge even though God strictly forbids them from doings so. But ironically, Eve only took the apple because she believed she could gain God’s wisdom. After eating the apple, Adam and Eve gain the knowledge of good and evil. But with the knowledge came the truth, “The eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, and they left their surreal paradise and were forced into the cruel and unforgiving world.

Knowledge is the driving force behind the success of humanity. Without advances in knowledge, many of the technological marvels that exist today would not be possible, because knowledge opens mans eyes to the world, and also to the truth. But  with any pursuit of knowledge comes the consequential truth. Whenever any knowledge is gained, a form of truth is always unveiled. But like in the case of Adam and Eve, the truth is not always good. In fact many people tend to disregard this newfound reality and replace it with a convenient false truth that suits their needs.

Proposition: It is human nature to replace any truth difficult to grasp or too shocking to understand with a more convenient and comprehensible false reality.

QR#17

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2009 by ryank2013

Acceptance: Human Nature and Required 

When Lyra converses with the seaman named Jerry, Lyra discusses her fears about growing up. She expresses her anxiety over the fact that she may not like the form Pan becomes when Lyra matures. Jerry responds by saying “And till they learn to be satisfied with what they are, they’re going to be fretful about it.”

When Lyra starts to worry about what for Pan will take when they both mature, Jerry reassure her by saying that even though there are downsides, at least on advantage is present. Jerry continues to say that a person’s daemon takes on a form that reflects the human’s personality. This statement follows the novel’s theme of the constant role reversal of the human and the daemon. This theme, which seems to be present in all children who have not yet hit puberty, juxtaposes the child with an almost opposite form of them. The child and the daemon constantly reverse personalities and behavior until puberty, when the human and daemon become one.

The quotation from Jerry demonstrates the quality that is prevalent in human nature of wanting to fit in. Human nature calls for people to want to be as similar to others as possible. This relates back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as the fourth level of this hierarchy states that one needs to be respected and accepted by others before one can move on in life.

Proposition: The  feeling of self-esteem demonstrated by fitting in one of man’s basic needs, and people will do anything to preserve that feeling.