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Have you ever had moments when a quote empowers you to take control of your life, changing it for the better?

The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.

Benjamin Mays (1894-1984)

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Buddha

Everything is going to be alright. Maybe not today but eventually.

Anonymous

Happiness depends upon ourselves.

Aristotle

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Anonymous

 

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My mind’s been stuck in a ditch for the past month. That doesn’t sound too good, now does it? It feels like I’m being consumed by quicksand, or a swamp, or sewage waste. Ugh, I can feel the repulsive goo collecting at the bottom of my brain. No, make that in the middle of my brain.

As my first year of tertiary education unfolds, I realized how little I knew, how little I remember, and how little I desire to learn. It demotivated me, yet surprisingly, not all too discouraged by the marks I’ve been getting. Oh, how they haunt me in my sleep, but I suppose this may as well be a sign that I still care about my education. Perhaps this is time for me to rethink my ways of dealing with university life as well.

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Ideas That Matter

I was introduced to Michael Austin’s textbook, Reading the World: Ideas That Matter in my English mechanics course. Each week, we discuss a text on a particular issue/concept proposed by inspirational individuals of different professions. The following are several ideas we touched on so far:

1. Seneca – “On Liberal Studies”

Seneca proposes the idea that liberal studies is, in fact, superfluous knowledge and that it does not assist any man to lead a moral and virtuous life. He raises some interesting points regarding the fields of philosophy (existentialism), music, mathematics, etc. He raises the question of “why do we pursue education when it does not contribute to having a moral and virtuous character?”

2. Moses Maimonides – “The Guide for the Perplexed”

Maimonides argues that the Universe is not a consequence of necessity but a result of conscious design. Religion and belief in the Divine are closely related to this argument. In summary, Maimonides believes that whatever that can not be explained is a consequence of God’s design. Although he does support this thesis with exceptional deductive reasoning, I personally believe that the Universe is a consequence of necessity.

3. Matthiew Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan –
“The Universe in a Grain of Sand”

Ricard and Thuan discusses the concept of interdependence and the extensive search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Yet a few questions come to mind: “If interdependence is true in the sense that everything is the cause and the effect of another, then what would be some ethical implications with respect to the way we relate to other forms of life?” “Is searching for evidence of extraterrestrial life worth the expense governmental agencies and private institutions go through?”

4. Garrett Hardin – “Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor”

Hardin uses a lifeboat analogy to support his argument against helping the poor, that being how privileged nations should restrict their surplus/resources for future crisis as opposed to humanitarian conduct. However, if all nations merely support themselves and not others, not only would it present ethical problems for future generations, the nations would fall under egotistical leaders; thereby leaving the world to perish.

5. Aung San Suu Kyi – “In Quest of Democracy”

Through her essay, Aung San Suu Kyi answers one of the ” charges made by non-democratic governments throughout the world: that democracy is a Western form of government and a remnant of imperialism that represents values alien to the non-Western world.” (Austin) She applies Buddhism to the definition of liberal democracy and argues that a democratic government is suitable for the Burmese culture.

This raises a question of whether or not the values of western liberal democracy are always compatible with other cultures and traditions, as Aung San Suu Kyi suggests.

To be honest, I am pretty stuck on this topic. I suppose the values and the concept of having a representative government can be considered to be originated from the Western hemisphere, thus being “Western liberal democracy” but is it possible that the notion of democracy is not tied to a particular culture at all? The values of democracy is liberty, equality, and respect for human rights, so wouldn’t this apply to human beings in general? Having a democratic government does not change culture, let alone tradition; rather, it contributes to the evolution of human morality, perception, and…

Oh goodness, the goo’s coming back. I’m stuck once again.

 

 

I’ve always liked that phrase, “insatiable hunger for knowledge.” I remember seeing it somewhere in some book at some point in my life but I can’t seem to recall. Until then, I’d like to share my books-to-read list:

1. The Tipping Point

Author: Malcolm Gladwell.

“How little things can make a big difference.” After reading Blink and Outliers, I am compelled to read his very first international bestseller. His style is very inspirational and he is definitely a good storyteller.

2.  The Power of Kindness

Author: Piero Ferrucci

A book that teaches us how to be kind and lead a compassionate life. This book is certainly an unexpected find, as I would never imagine myself reading a book on kindness. I thought, as naive and shallow as I was, that since kindness is in our blood, we wouldn’t need to understand the different aspects of it. Turns out we need it after all. The concept of kindness is rather complicated but if we made an effort to learn about it through eighteen aspects of this particular trait, we would have the ability to maximize our success, love, and happiness.

3. Mastering Creative Anxiety

Author: Eric Maisel

Ooooh boy am I excited to read this or what? Being an artist myself, I have a serious problem dealing with procrastination, artist’s block, and much more. …..Yes, definitely excited.

4. How To Talk To Anyone – 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships

Author: Leil Lowndes

So I bought this book awhile ago, during my IB years. Never had the chance to read it due to my never ending workload but since I’m free, why not give it a go? It didn’t get a heap of positive reviews on Goodreads, but I’m sure this will help to an extent.

5. The Essential Jung

Author: C.G. Jung                Editor: Anthony Storr

I was first introduced to Carl Jung and his concepts in my grade 10 psychology/sociology/anthropology class. Now I’m just digging a bit deeper into his writings. :)

6. The Definitive Book of Body Language

Author: Allan & Barbara Pease

I was getting quite a bit ahead of myself when I tried this book out at the mere age of 14. This was a difficult read for someone who was not particularly passionate about reading at the time so it was left on the shelf, collecting dust in humble silence.

7. House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies

Author: Henry Jacoby        Series Editor: William Irwin

Despite it being a popular TV series, I’m not extremely interested in House. BUT this book sounds very amusing because as we all know, Dr. House is quite an uncanny dude.

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Now for some fun reads:

8. The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

As I had lunch with a friend, this trilogy somehow came up in our conversation. Triggered my interest, officially on my list. I love action. :)

9. Don’t Breathe A Word

Author: Jennifer McMahon

Stumbled on it on Goodreads and the summary caught my eye. :D

10. The Ode Less Travelled

Author: Stephen Fry

I’ve always wanted to read a Stephen Fry book but just didn’t know what. Let us start on something fun with poetry.

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To think I will be making a trip to the book fair in a few days…