Friday, November 11, 2011


Ive read things that say that there are two versions of shame; Healthy and Unhealthy. Does it make sense to punish yourself throughout your life for things you have done even though no one is punishing you? 
You would have to ask yourself some questions.  Did I get away with something? Am I punishing myself because I am better than the law? (in this case, you feel that even the law doesn't even recognize the minor things you did as wrong)? Did I do anything wrong?  If God is the only one that forgives me, what good am I to everyone else?

In the aforementioned sequencial order...We sometimes feel as if we do something against who we thought we were, or who we thought we were capable of, we are forced to reevaluate ourselves. Are we not who we thought we were? Am I much worse? Absolutely there is a serious of sub questions to follow each of the principle questions.  Personally, I think most of the time, when it comes to "Are we not who we thought we were?", It's a matter of scenario and circumstance.  To say that you are an evil and unaccepted tramp that does not deserve to roam society because you have commited one sin is to say that one foul step in life is to label you as worthless.  This raises another question; What human universal laws are we dealing with, and what makes something worse than something else?  Generally speaking, stealing someones car and stealing someone's pen is regarded as completely different levels of criminality.  But as it is looked at in a simpler, less complex, and less modern light, stealing is well...stealing...  Are we giving a much heavier regard to the worth of something?  No, we are giving a much heavier regard to the worth of the item as it pertains to the owner.  At this point, you must consider the morality of stealing.  Is the worth of the item the problem? I would say no also.  It is the regard for others, and your thinking that leads you to believe that you deserve the item more than the other person.  If you steal, and get away with it, you are not punished by society, but are you punishing yourself from within? If you are, that is shame.  If you arent, your shamelessness will prove you to be a major downfall to society.  Am I saying you should constantly feel bad everytime you do something you dont feel is who you thought you were?  Not exactly, but surprise (in realizing what your capable of in different temptations and scenarios) is no different than wisdom in this case. You will never know who you are until the last comprehendable and reasonable thought producing days of your life.  Constantly we are saying to ourselves: "wow did I just do that?" or "wow, did I just say that?  It's because we thought we were a different person than what could have produced those actions.  A self assessment is rather useless in the terms of trying to figure out who we are.  It would be more useful and less time-wasting to figure out who we want to be-and not who we are.  If you are trying to figure out who you are, all you really are is just a person constantly ovr analyzing himself.  That would not be a optimum choice of lifestyle.  If you are not who you thought you are or who you want to be, you are given the oppurtunity to see what you can improve on when you "slip up".  It is fates way of saying "temptation claims victim to even good people" or perhaps it's God's way of saying "Remember that you have shame, It is healthy.  If you didn't, you would not repent, or feel remorse."  Remember that you can never be someone as precisely as ideal as you see yourself.  It is unrealistic.  It is like saying we manufactured the body and mind we live with.  We can only hope to control it as best we can.  We dont manufacture the life w were given, we just manage it the best to our idealistic abilities.

Even if there are no laws against commiting an act that one has, he may still feel as if he is a criminal to his own self.  This could be because he is a bread baked upon yeast of his social culture.

"I have done something wrong that is not against the law by any rule of the book, but my peers have a strong opinion on what I have done. This is also something I'd never thought I would be amid"

 I have been in this position. The thought process of this scenario is something like this:  1. I didnt commit a crime of any sort 2. but what kind of man am I? 3. Who am I?  4. Is there a deeper me that I wasn't aware of that is responsible for this? How will Society label me as part of their community? Do they even need to know?

Sounds like shame at it's best attack.  If you have have "obsessive" personality traits like I do, this is a destroyer shame.  Not a good one.  Perhaps it's true that I believe that the initial shame or questioning of my action process in doing something that creates reevaluation is legitimate.  But, to believe that I am forever shunned from society for a minor misstep in life, or maybe what was never a misstep at all(which I can easily defend because when you're obsessive you have the ability to see EVERY perspective there is on the situation- and I have found one that defends me rather than offends me) is an insult to ourselves, an insult to the gift of life we were given.  There is no one on this earth that can judge another. We were all born of a mother and we were all born completely helpless.  We are products of environment, and our environment includes our parents. How is a person of the same race(human) same being to judge that one human was created better than the other human? 

To have standards within us - saying to ourselves - I know I am better than this - is to say I was created in a marvelous manner that I feel am not living up to, I can do better.  This is a compliment to God, or whoever you think created you and humans as a race. 

"Did I do anything wrong?" is really a matter of realizing "Cultural Relativism" as a definate and rational way of viewing the world.   To ask if you have really committed a wrongdoing is to ask whether it's a wrongdoing in your society, every society, to you only, or to any given other group or person. 
"If this is not frowned upon in this community or country should I feel bad at all?"
...This is commonplace in other parts of the world-including civilized nations) It is possible to feel bad about something you have done that is perfectly acceptable in other parts of the world because the culture around you has lead you to believe that you are living the best possible life there is to live in this world.  Unreasonable.  I have felt like the only thing keeping me sane in a dark place is knowing that 1. there are people doing WAY worse things than I 2. What I have done has never negatively affected anyone longterm 3. Knowledge of other cultures and what is really going on in this world, and what is deemed acceptable in so many cultures.  For Americans, such as myself, we shall never be taught to believe we are the best country in the world.  Pride is one thing, but as a humanity seperated by bodies of water, none of us are better than any of the others.

Finally, If God is the only one that I know (or at least I feel) is accepting me, how can I feel comfortable in society? This is the time to be comfortable saying (hopefully with the knowledge and compassion of others) "I am happy with who I've become and the potential that I have been given despite my mistakes and things I done that have contradicted who I thought I was."  To think that there is no future let alone to think that everyone on this earth has filed you in to a specific category is to think you live in a world amongst errorless non-humans.  This allows me to return to the fact that 'stealing is stealing no matter what your stealing.' Does the crime committed have anything to do with the person associated with it?  Think about it this way: If you steal a crackheads' blanket while he was sleeping in the slums of Philadelphia, you would probably feel less remorse than if you stole a brand new watch from a white collar middle income household.  Are we regarding people as how they value themselves? How they were raised? Do we regard ourselves on how we discipline and reward ourselves? Is this a product of how we were raised?  If Cultural Relativism is real in the sense that no one society has the right idea about the way to live life, are we ever wrong? Are we ever right?

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Draft on the Legal Drinking age

Over the past century there has been much debate on what the proper minimum drinking age should be for U.S. citizens.  Clearly, the prohibition of alcohol has shown to be minimally successful in keeping our country sober regarding teenagers all the way to the elderly.  In 1920, the country outlawed alcoholic beverage sale, transportation, and production completely.  Consequentely, this lead to rebellious behavior towards the government, deaths attributed to faulty formula developments (known as "bath tub gin"), illegal speakeasys, and criminal misconduct.  The act of depriving someone their entitlement to a given right ultimately proves to display a negative effect on the way they will begin to regard it.  In this case, beer, whisky, and wine are the forbidden fruits and the government is playing the role of the devil amid the garden of U.S. soil.  Prohibiting alcohol continutes to cause a problem--contradicting terms of trust in those we refer to as adults, or those who are expected to maintain mature lifestyle.  Soldiers, newlyweds, tax payers and registered voters, to categorize a few, are constantly facing criminal punishment for sipping a drink during ceremonial, recreational, and various other purposes and activites.  This seems ludicrous, and absolutely poposturous to be trusted amongst these responsibilities, yet a glass of wine they are not. Among young adults, it shall be considered that lowering the legel drinking age in the United States would promote more responsible alcohol consumption, an increased level of trust, and would likely lead to a declination of deviant behavior. 
    The first prohibition of alcohol in the United States proved to be unsuccessful with the consequence of rebellion and apathy.  Much like all of the citizens of the '20s, young adults of this day and age are advised to abstain from consuming alcoholic beverages of any variety.  In the article "Teach Drinking", from the Atlantic Monthly, John McCardell, a scholar who believes the law juvenilizes young adults, and founder of "Choose Responsibility", a non profit organization that raises awareness about alcohol, writes ..."state laws mandating a minimum drinking age of 21 haven't eliminated drinking by young adults -- they've simply driven it underground, where life and health are at greater risk."  Students at universities and colleges of all types are finding themselves in uncontrolled, dangerous environments in an attempt to avoid legal ramifications.  For example, recently at a large university fraternity induction, a young man was told to drink, in essence, as much liquor as he possibly could which lead to a loss of consciousness, a nervous system break down, and tragically his untimely death.  The victim's parents stated in a nationally broadcasted interview that they believe had the partiers been of legal age, they would have called an ambulance to help their son assuming that they were too afraid of the trouble they would be in possessing alcohol. Bars and taverns are required by law to refuse service to intoxicated patrons, and also generally try to stay within a "two drink per hour maximum" per customer as well.  In an environment in which heavy drinking is encouraged, perhaps because getting ahold of booze is difficult, those under 21 will binge and binge until their lives are nearly on the line.  This will seldomly happen as often in public settings, as the drunkard will display belligerence and will inevitably be cut off by the more responsible bartender.  Is the drinking age one giant contradiction to the term adulthood?  Age of Majority? What's going on here?  Does adulthood at 18 constitute as being too low? Should the age of majority be 21?  Thats debatable also, but a different issue nonetheless. Lets explore a few avenues.  In the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Batholomew Sullivan writes about Johnnie B. Watson, a college professor and previous superintendent of Memphis City Schools.  Watson has been an advocate of the drinking age being set at 18 since the Vietnam era.  He believes that if you can vote for the president that sends you to war, those military personell are more than justified to have a drink on the right side of the law.  Among voting and fighting and for ones' country, wedding, buying a house, signing off on medical treatment, purchasing tobacco, and interestingly enough, selling alcohol!  Each of these motions require a significant amount of trust whether it be towards ones own health, society, a spouse, or a family member.
    The Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization (MADD), who have also began pushing for a "zero tolerance" policy even off the roads for those under 21, hold strong on their point that they have nothing to discuss regarding the lowering of the drinking age.  In fact, the 1984 Uniform Drinking Age Act which cut highway funds to states that did not bump their drinking age to 21, was extremely supported by MADD.  This sounds like corruption, to John McCardell.  He states:
    Merely adjusting the legal age up or down doesn't work -- we've tried that and     failed.  Federal law has stifled the ability to conceive of more creative solutions in     the only place where the Constitution says such debate should happen -- in the     state house -- because any state that sets its drinking age lower than 21 forfeits 10     percent of its federal highway funds.  This is called 'incentive'.
This raises debate of why the drinking age is what it is.  It appears, that initially it was a bullying tactic used by the Federal Government to withhold money and punish states that did not do what they asked.  William G. Durden, president of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA is quoted in Eric Hoover's For MADD the Legal Drinking Age is Not Up for Debate that "Debate is part of democracy...We should not accept things as immutable or say that 21 is a magic age, and if you challenge it, you will be cursed."  But money talks, MADD's annual budget of $50-million, heavily outweighs any sector of the advocates of lowering the age.  Also quoted in the aforementioned article, was David J. Hanson, a sociology professor at the State University of New York at Potsdam.  He states that "Criticizing MADD...puts you in the category of criticizing motherhood and apple pie."  Although, in the late 1970s and early '80s, the lowered drinking age led to an increase in alcohol related traffic fatalities, it also reduced injuries and deaths in underground and uncontrolled basements and garages.
    What do Mongolia, Palau, and Indonesia have in common with the United States?  They are the only countries to enforce a legal drinking age of 21.  Countries in Europe have adopted many different methods of assessing the issue of alcohol and young folks.  Denmark allows sixteen year olds to purchase beer and wine with an alcoholic content of 16.5% or lower, but have to reach eighteen before buying from bars and restaurants.  France also has an interesting stipulation to the legal age; 18 is the legal age for alcohol of any content, but drinking is permitted to minors -- provided it does not result in intoxication.  Nations such as these two, clearly show that they trust alcohol consumption in their citizens who are even five years younger than 21.  This infantilization among young American adults must feel very insulting, especially while travelling abroad and seeing folks three or four years their junior enjoying beers and cocktails.  Adolescents and young adults are given relativly no education regarding alcohol consumption in moderation; only abstinence is encouraged and demanded.  As this is the case, of course their will be rebellion and careless behavior towards the law.  It is human nature to want what we can't have, and when adding feelings of being treated unfairly as an adult, surely there will be a problem.  This idea of giving adults some rights and withholding some, seems like a larger problem within itself.  But students will do just about anything when it comes to getting their hands on some booze.  Common practices are paying and burdening those over 21 to buy them alcohol, stealing from family members, and counterfeiting identification cards.  These are all legally and morally negative procedures  that could easily be avoided by trusting the young adults of America with some simple education towards being more responsible with age-old medium of recreation. 
    There will continue to be "pro twentyoners" as long as it is in the debate for the appropriate age to drink, but there has yet to be sufficient evidence to show that it is an efficient answer to fatalities and irresponisble behavior among America's young adults.  The support system for lowering the drinking age will have to grow significantly to combat the power of a money hungry and stubborn Congress backed by the worldwide MADD.        

On Morality, Mistakes, and Politics

Spend too much time with self discipline? To not acknowledge our mistakes, we must consider whether what we've done are mistakes or if it's just our culture's relativity.  Whose teaching is right?  Is any particular teaching superior? Or shall be the universal? 

Sensitive subjects for Overanalysis. That's not what our maker had intended for. Temptation at the fingertips.  To falter is to fail? To observe one of our God's creations with such lust or affection... Is this negativity? Or appreciation?   Is Christianity more about self control and discipline?
Agoraphobic? What does society think of us?
But also, what do we think of society ourselves?
Have we been crafted to believe that the laws our hypocritical politicians create should define our morality?  Perfection is non existent.  Not even in circles. 
Yet why must our culture continuously push the absolute in to our minds.  We are brainwashed to think we are constantly inferior. We all are inferior, yet when a peer of ours makes us uncomfortable with a choice they have made, they act as if they are perfect or black and white.
Condemnation... Black and whites are more realistically lighter and darker shades of gray in this world.  Definitions and ethical analysis towards self acknowledgement will ultimately break us down as there is no self discovery in a non spiritual environment.  Our happiness lies on our expectations and wisdom of ourselves.  This is obvious when we consider that we may not be the person we thought we were, or the person we think are capable of. 

Are we any closer to finding out who we are "finding ourselves" following a tragic event? A mistake we made? A sin we've committed? A noble act we've achieved? 
Or do we know less about ourselves upon entering and seeing a new and undiscovered territory, and must we question how we perceive ourselves and the earth we reside on?

I believe that anyone who claims to know themselves inside out has not exposed his or herself to a vast variety of unfamiliar situations.  To constantly be in a state of question is to constantly adventure and expose oneself towards new beginnings or lifestyles.  I am nowhere close to the lightest or darkest shade of gray.  I have made choices in life many would probably frown upon.  Do some people know something about right or wrong that I don't?  Probably not...The frowning folk, I believe, are not wise enough to realize that they could make a similar choice or give in to a similar temptation.  This entitlement is contradictory towards an undeniably and inevitably reality that we live a life chock full of human error.

Does everything lie on self control?  Can one small choice you make really define who you are? 
I don't believe so. 
Murder for example..crimes of passion...Is it really about this person killing another person?  Or is the real issue his body's adrenaline and emotional complexity that makes him or her act a certain way in certain situations?  Are we punishing the act of murder or are we punishing emotionally inept individuals? Because one could say that anyone who decides to kill is mentally inferior to someone who doesn't kill.  Are we punishing a lesser fortunate being than say...ourselves?  Let's define legally insane? Wouldn't you consider anyone who can kill "insane"?  A compassionate world may well imprison the felon, but would also treat them as if they made a mistake, lost control for a moment, and would offer them treatment and try to find out how this happened.  We live in a relatively retributive society (The U.S.) where forgiveness towards criminals, and those who have betrayed us is looked down upon.  I live in a culture that encourages pride and being superior .  Think about the culture you live in and the way people are treated in it.  A parent in France who treats his teenager to a glass of wine and says enjoy is regarded as educating his offspring about the responsibilities of alcohol.  If the same is to happen in this country, the parent is labeled as irresponsible and will punished by the court of law.  Question, or Reevaluate your common beliefs and whether they are truly what you believe or whether they were just instilled in you by someone of an influential position.