Mentors?

THE VOICE IN MY HEAD AND I

Do I have a mentor? Do I necessarily want a mentor? What would a mentor be like? A mentor in what, exactly – life in general?

No, perhaps, quite nice I think, and yes – I assume this means, a mentor in life and all of its aspects. The basic point is that I don’t agree with anybody in my life about everything, and that’s because we are all unique with different views and opinions. My concern about ‘mentors’ is that they might transform us into propagations of their own identity. George’s mentee might become George 2.0, and so on. Good mentors would try not to steer their mentees in one direction, but to ensure that they walk their path as best as they can.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that having a mentor would be somewhat of a hassle…constantly being hounded by someone who eats your spare time like a fat kid eats butter. But then again…it all depends on the mentor, I suppose. However, I think it would be quite nice to have one whose views I can relate to and agree with – something that shares the same values in life as I do and doesn’t try to impose his differing opinions on me but rather considers and understands my point of view. So far, I have lived just fine without a mentor, using only the voices in my head to guide me – rationally and competitively. But if I am to explore new territory, I would appreciate an other to guide me, if only just a little.

Now, what if I get a board of mentors? One mentor for this…one mentor for that. Yes – that could work. For a specific issue, I could gain the opinions of all and make my own decision. That way, at least I won’t become a copy of any one person. Alas, there aren’t many people in my life who I would accept as a mentor. Not because they’re incapable – but because I believe that the relationships we have thrive off how we know things that the other doesn’t…and how we can learn from each other this way. Symbiotic mentorism. Now that’s an idea I like.

Advertisements

My Google Endeavours

WHAT AM I UP TO IN MY FREE TIME?

The truth is – you probably don’t want to know. In my continuous search for knowledge in that brilliant intellectual landscape that we call the internet, I have come across many things of many varieties, plenty of which I rather wish I hadn’t seen. But – here, I can spare some of the more interesting questions which I have searched up in my free time.

Do Penguins have knees? – They waddle around, so my guess was that they don’t, they simply move their upper leg joints to walk. Hell, I didn’t think they had much of a leg to begin with. But as it turns out, Penguins indeed have knees, although they are positioned in such a way as to render them almost insignificant in my view, tucked in so deep into the body that they might as well have lacked them in the first place. Of course – I’m not an expert on the Anatomy of Penguins, so they may very well serve some higher function than the one which they currently seem to flop at, but if one exists at all, I haven’t heard of it.

What happens when two mind-readers read each other’s mind? – Simultaneously, that is. If A reads B’s mind, and B reads A’s mind, then A and B are both effectively reading their own minds, but their own minds are reflection of each other’s mind, so they would be reading their counterpart’s mind, which is actually their own mind…and so on. It’s a tough question – that is, until one considers the speed of light. Telepathic transmissions can only travel at a finite speed, which happens to be roughly 300,000,000 metres per second in a vacuum, and slightly slower in air. That means that at t=1, A will receive B’s mind and vice versa, but at t=2, A will receive his own mind again, and the same will happen to B. At t=3, the condition of t=1 is present, and so on.

Right…now here’s where the difficulty creeps in. If I receive Mind A twice, will my brain require twice the ‘memory space’ to contain that information, or, due to the overlap, will it require no more memory at all. I’m somewhat tempted to conclude that the only ‘new’ memory space occupied by the second receipt will be the new information gained, and that overlapping information won’t take up any more space at all. For example, no matter how many times I tell you that “apples are red”, that bit of information, “apples are red”, will always occupy a space in your brain, although in that specific scenario, you are receiving new information in the form of , “he has told me once”, “he has told me twice”, “he was told me thrice”…

In that view, it seems as if receiving Mind A an obscene amount of times will not overload my brain. And, as it so happens, this repetitive receipt situation will occur with two mind-readers standing at a respectable distance. Telepathic transmissions are fast…very fast. Ignoring the processing of information in the brain (which is also very significant), two mind-readers standing 50 metres from each other will exchange minds at a rate of 6,000,000 ‘packages’ per second.  With this blistering fast speed, it is almost as if A and B are ‘synching’ minds, each reader sharing the minds of both of them. So, there’s my take on this problem.

Can homosexuals be sexually attracted to themselves? – Now, this question has bugged me for ages, because theoretically, it should be possible, right? However, numerous searches on Google have concluded to me that the answer is “no”. Homosexuals are attracted to other members of their gender, and no more attracted to themselves as straight people are. Indeed – such a sexual attraction to oneself would be called autosexuality, not homosexuality. Interestingly enough, human minds are supposedly designed to avoid attraction to members of similar genetic make-up, such as family members, so this does not seem surprising – seeing as the similarity between your DNA and…your DNA is 100%.

Now, I would first like to clarify that I am in no sense an expert on any of these topics, but this is just what I have found (in the case of the mind-reader question, I just used logic and physics). I would encourage you to entertain your curiosity and search these things up yourself if you’re interested. Remember, “The important thing is not to stop questioning” – Albert Einstein. “Curiosity has its own reason for existing”. On that note, I wish you the very highest of enjoyment whilst exploring the weird and wonderful world that we call the internet. It is, after all, the signature of humanity itself.

Intensity?

MY PRIORITY DILEMMA

Intensity of emotion, eh? This is hard one…as anyone in my immediate vicinity would know – my emotions aren’t exactly what you’d call ‘intense’. And for sure not melodramatic, if that’s what you’re looking for. However, I guess I could tell you about some occasions where I do indeed feel certain things quite strongly.

But I do have a hard insistence on keeping doors around me closed. It’s more of a privacy thing. Open doors are not good. Not good at all. I usually insist on those who pass by to close the door behind them, and if they don’t, I feel a sharp twinge which compels me to curse quietly and stomp over to the site, slamming the door loudly as to send a clear message: “Close the damn thing next time!”

In addition, I do like the feeling of opening the door handle upon returning home, feeling its slight resistance as I push it down then back up again once I’ve entered. Once, my mother decided to open the door for me as I walked in, rather kindly, I must say, but I couldn’t help but clench my fists and even re-open then close the door again, but the satisfaction wasn’t quite the same.

It’s that same murkiness inside I feel whenever somebody says certain keywords that are to my disliking. You know how when somebody talks to you about something on and on again until you get sick of it? Then next time, when they say that ‘word’ to indicate the unwelcome return of such a topic, you feel dead within and all you can think is “Not this again!”? Yes – that kind of thing.

I even think, now, that I might have developed an allergic reaction to spelling and grammatical errors (e.g. The tour that let’s you see all of Singapore!). They glare out…obvious and ugly. They are like weeds, and on occasion, of the overgrown variety. When posted on official websites or promotion ads in public, they really are quite embarrassing – but, truth be told, everyone makes them, in fact, there might a few that I’ve missed whilst reviewing this post (please do tell).

With this kind of attention to such little aspects of my life, one might expect me to be a constant worrier. But not quite, not really, at least. Let’s run through the list. School exams? I’ve been successful winging them up ‘till now. Death of a relative? People come and go…let’s just be glad they were here to begin with. So yes – perhaps I should re-sort my priorities, or perhaps they’ll be fine as they are for now. Who knows?

The Little Man

JUST ANOTHER TALK

Let’s see…where do I start? First off…this young man isn’t exactly my favourite character in the world – in fact, he’s not even a work of art. But looking through my family albums, he would be hard to miss…that pudgy little gnome waddling across the floor, staring at the world through those pure white eyes.

I would sit and watch, as this familiar fellow skirts through life, carefree as can be, through my window across time. I’d see him sat on the bed, an empty plate before him, that smile of satisfaction strewn across his chubby face. “Stop eating those goddamn sandwiches!” I’d say, “They won’t exactly take kindly upon your waistline.”

I would watch him shy away from an array of open doors, begging and begging, “Don’t waste your time! When you’re older, you’ll wish you had more in your pockets.” Perhaps, once in a while, he would do something useful…something worthwhile, something he would look back to in a few years’ time and say ‘Damn…those were the days’.

I would cringe as he shouted and wailed, bellowed and screamed in blind anger at those around him, a true menace in the flesh and mind. “No! Wait!” I would call, “Trust me, that is something you don’t want to do.” But would he ever listen? After all – he was one to take nobody’s word but his own. Perhaps, he still is.

But despite his flaws, I could see the best of him – there is always that bright light, in anybody, even when your judgement wraps around it in fog. And yes, there are some things I would change in this little man’s life if it were to all start again. Yet the journey I took to get here – is one that I would never change.

The Easiest Cure

A CURE FOR OUR GREATEST ENEMY

This specific disease claims thousands of lives every year, and it has persisted throughout the entirety of mankind’s history. It one served to aid us, believe it or not, but now it drives us to do the most unspeakable of things and abandon the facilities which border us from savagery – namely, those in our heads. Indeed, Aggression is as part of the human experience as anything could be; it writes its name on our DNA and whispers in our ears when we are at our most vulnerable.

Fortunately, there is a cure. It is painless, and free, but it does require you to control yourself. The cure is to think. When you feel that sharp tingling in your hands and they feel the urge to damage whatever or whoever is around you, pause and take a moment to just think. “What am I doing?” you should ask yourself…or perhaps, “Is it really necessary to hurt someone?” If you do act out of aggression, you will regret it. Either resolve the issue peacefully or simply walk away. Running from a fight does not make you a coward, it makes you clever. Dealing unnecessary damage does not make you a bad-ass, it makes you an idiot. So please, ladies and gentlemen, just think.

Resolving Arguments

THE LAYMAN’S GUIDE TO RESOLVING ARGUMENTS

First off – there are generally two kinds of argument, or debate, that can occur:

Positive Debates – Arguments over facts.

(E.g. Does God exist?)

Normative Debates – Arguments over what ‘ought’ to be.

(E.g. Should Capital Punishment be implemented?)

Tackling these two types follows roughly the same method but require different processes.

FOR NORMATIVE DEBATES

  1. Root out the key point(s) of dispute – for example, in the debate “Should Capital Punishment be implemented?”, two arguers may disagree over the likelihood of capital punishment to act as a deterrent for potential criminals. (In this case, we have effectively reduced a normative argument into a positive argument, as is the case in many occasions. Here, we can simply refer to the methodology of Positive Debates.)
  2. When it is a case, not of facts, but rather values (E.g. equality vs. utility), then it is up to the arguers to convince each other that both of them agree on just one value (namely, theirs), by posing theoretical situations and asking the other as to what outcome they would prefer the most. (E.g. Arguer A believes that the value of life can be used as an argument against Capital Punishment, whereas Arguer B contests that the value of criminals’ lives is degraded once they commit crimes – that they deserve to die).
  3. If each arguer’s response is consistent with their value, then their case stands (honesty withstanding) but if they are inconsistent, then unless the arguer in question can properly outline the difference between this theoretical situation and the situation of the debate, the case is negated. (E.g. Arguer B answers that if he were given the choice to shoot and execute a known murderer, he says “no”).
  4. If each opponent remains consistent and they still disagree as to a question of values, the debate is no longer fit to continue and a draw must be called.

FOR POSITIVE DEBATES

  1. Root out the key point(s) of dispute – for example, two arguers may dispute over motion, “Capital punishment had been successful as a deterrent against crime”.
  2. Choose one to focus on. Although when there are few, all of them have to be addressed.
  3. Once the position of each of the arguers on this key point has been established, gather reasons for why they take those positions. For example – “In the US, states without the death penalty have had consistently lower murder rates, resting at an 18% difference in 2011” or “Dr. Michael Summers of Pepperdine University concluded that ‘each execution carried out is correlated with about 74 fewer murders the following year’”
  4. Afterwards, gather each arguers’ rebuttal against these reasons, for example, “This is because states which have implemented the death penalty have done so because of their naturally higher rate of crime as compared to other states” or “Correlation does not prove a direct relationship between the two – instead, we can resort to reasoning: those who commit murders do not expect to get caught, and so won’t consider their potential punishment. It won’t make a difference”.
  5. Continue this process, with each arguer rebutting each other’s rebuttals using evidence to measure the reliability of these arguments, for example, gathering statistics for the states’ crime rates before the death penalty or interviewing criminals about their respective murders and what they were thinking at the time.

–         If an arguer can’t make a case against a certain rebuttal, then that will be a strike against him, and his argument will only stand if he has a made a point which his opponent could not contest as well, in which case, no conclusion can be reached.

–         If a rebuttal does not contain sufficient evidence, then that point of argumentation will have to be kept on hold until evidence can be gained.

–         If all evidence gained supports Arguer A, then he will win the argument. If some but not all evidence supports Arguer A, then he will have to draw rebuttals to any arguments that Arguer B has drawn which this opposing evidence supports.

–         If all evidence does support Arguer A, then he has effectively won the argument until Arguer B can create a sufficient rebuttal and provide evidence for that as well.

Last Resort

Our Only Choice

Last supper, eh? Simple – I would bring along my family and my closest friends, all packed in the comfort of my home. While my entourage are enjoying their feast, I shall stand atop the table, give my glass a few good whammies with my spoon, and the night’s discourse shall go as follows:

“Greetings, relatives, comrades and friends. As you may know, tomorrow we are all going to die. Poof…gone, kicked out of the loop before we even got to see it grow. Aunts and Uncles, say your last prayers. Those of the skeptical sort…feel free to start praying to every single god imaginable in case one of them might indeed be the right one. In other words, whichever way we look at it, ladies and gentlemen, this is the end.

However, it need not end this way. Who knows how we will die the next day. Fire raining from the skies? An infectious pandemic? Perhaps an all-pervasive flood that will destroy our cities and drown all who inhabit them. Instead…I propose something different, something to liberate us of such horrors that would bite us in our last desperate moments. I propose…premeditated suicide! Let’s face it…we’re never going to escape tomorrow’s onslaught unless we resort to this one last option. Aunts and Uncles…you may not endorse my method but I promise – it will be a quick and painless death.

I’ve already got some chloroform bottled up in my trunk so we can put ourselves to sleep quickly. It’ll only take a few minutes at most…and, just in case, I’ve packed an IED in there as well. I should, and I repeat, should be able to set it so that it explodes while we are all asleep, so that we won’t feel any pain at all.

Sounds like a good idea, right? Well then…let’s get to it.

Oh, and for those who disagree…I may have spiked your wine with some sedative as well. Sleep tight.”