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Beati Pacifici

"What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire."

“You must learn to get in touch with the innermost essence of your being. This true essence is beyond the go. It is fearless; it is free; it is immune to criticism; it does not fear challenge. It is beneath no one, superior to no one, and full of magic, mystery, and enchantment.”

– Deepak Chopra 

Words

As the year comes to  close, I want to take the time to look back on what taking AP English Language and Composition has taught me. When we were first assigned weekly blog posts, I was hesitant – to say the least- of putting my opinions online for all to see. Now, at the end of the year, I realize how important activities such as blog posts and ten minute writes are, and how they have increased my passion for writing. Before, I used to view writing as something that could only be done in the few moments where I felt an overwhelming need to write. Now, sitting down and just letting myself write out what I need to, has become a favorite pass time of mine.

Frequently writing has also improved my writing ability, and helped me refine my writing voice. The important writing skills that I’ve learned during this class are becoming easier to apply to my writing, and my ability to have serious discussions and present solid arguments has increased – on paper, and off of it.

Most importantly, being around an environment in which people are passionate about writing, and are so supportive of one another has helped me realize that what I have to say is just as important as whatever anyone else has to say. I have learned the importance of vulnerability, and am left more willing to share my feelings and opinions on things.

Reading and writing have always been big parts of my life, and I know they will be significant parts of who I am for years to come. My hope for when after this class is over is to push myself to write more frequently, and eventually be at a point where writing for myself becomes a part of my daily routine.

 

Entertainment

When looking at children of this generation, their play dates and pretend games seem to incorporate more and more gadgets and influence from electronics that they’re exposed to, such as television. This surprises me, as it is such a contrast from when I was a child, and my summers were spent playing make-believe with my cousins on my Grandmothers farm; it seems that most of the children of this generation rely more on their gadgets, and ability for instant entertainment, than with interacting and creating relationships with one another.

At a family reunion I was at a couple of summers ago, I met one of my cousins and her four year old daughter. Her daughter was very shy, as it was her first time meeting her extended family so she sat by herself a while until her mother handed her the iPhone and she began to fiddle with it. After an hour or so, the other kids went up to her to invite her to join us in our games, but as she had her mother’s phone and was playing a Sesame Street game, she ignored them and refused to play until the phone’s battery died. This is one of the biggest problems I have found with the role entertainment has on society, instead of putting ourselves in uncomfortable positions by trying to make relationships with other people, we would much rather hide behind our gadgets and have them keep us company.

Now, I’m not saying that getting together to enjoy a movie or play a game isn’t  a fantastic means of bonding together. Often, having mutual interests when it comes to things such as movies, books, or music are great ways to find common conversation topics with the people around us. The problem occurs when we get so used to being kept busy by our electronics, that we forget to be present in our lives, and in the lives of the people around us.

Entertainment has the capacity to “ruin society” if we let it pull us so far into the screens that we are detached from the world around us.

“Dante writes that God is not merely a blinding vision of glorious light, but that He is, most of all, l’amour che move il sole e l’atre stelle…’ The love that moves the sun and the other stars.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert

To Ink or Not To Ink?

When I was little, one of my mothers friends had a traditional tattoo, in dark green ink, around her neck and chin. Seeing the repetitive patterns and cross on her skin, made me view tattooing as if it were a largely socially acceptable thing. Years later, when I first mentioned wanting to get a tattoo to my cousin, she cried out in shock and did not pause before she told me how getting tattooed was against the bible, and that only people who grew up in the villages wore ink. After hearing this, I began research to try and understand why God would not want me, as a Christian, to get tattooed.

The first person I went to was my mother, who pulled out the verse from Leviticus 19:28, which is a very clear command where God tells the Israelites to not put tattoo marks upon their bodies. Years later, In an Old Testament class, I would later find out from my teacher that the historical context in which the word ‘Tattoo’ was being used, was a very different one to what tattoos mean now. Tattoos  in the context of the Old Testament refer to ritualistic Pagan markings of the skin, as modern tattooing was not around at this time. Also, if one looks around the passage in which this verse is found, one finds that there are other rules the Israelites were given in order to set them apart as God’s people. Knowing this, we can conclude that simply using this verse as evidence to support God’s supposed damnation of tattoos is not possible.

When reading an article written on crosswalk.com , I came across an interesting point that the article was urging tattoo loving Christians to think through before inking. It focused a lot on the importance of thinking over what it is that we want to communicate to the world through our skin, before making a permanent decision. While I personally think that putting artwork on one’s skin, even if it has no significant meaning, is completely okay, their question did make me think about the importance of paying attention to the kind of messages that we will give through tattooing. I  agree that tattoos rooted in spiritual beliefs are a fantastic way of expressing oneself and glorifying God, I also don’t think that in order for a tattoo to be acceptable to God, it must explicitly advertise him.

As the bible has nothing to say about the exact form of tattooing we have today,it is very difficult to decide whether or not it is acceptable to him. The most important thing, is to make sure that, as Christians, whatever we decide to do when it comes to decorating our bodies – our homes – is in some way, shape, or form glorifying God by expressing ourselves, and who he has made us to be.

J’entends ta voix dans tous les bruits du monde”

I hear your voice in all noises of the world

– Paul Éluard 

Trust

Trust is a vital aspect of all healthy relationships. If one does not have reliable people in one’s life, it is very difficult to have a strong, healthy, long lasting relationship with them. But happens when trust is misplaced? What happens if someone that you trust dearly doesn’t care for you, and instead deceives and manipulates you for their own gain? In Othello, one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Othello’s misplaced trust in his “friend” Iago is what brings about his downfall.

The play begins with the villain Iago talking to his “friend” Roderigo of his hatred for Othello, the moor. Shortly after that, we see Iago interact with Othello as if he were his confidant. This, coupled with Iago’s many soliloquys, where he reveals to the audience the next steps of his evil plan, shows us that Iago is a man of many faces, willing to say and do whatever needs be in order to get what he wants. And as we see Othello interact with Iago is if they were the best of friends, the audience is filled with immense pity for Othello and his naivety.

As Iago stirs conflict behind the scenes, we see many characters ask for his help and wisdom in order to fix a problem that they have. Iago uses this to his advantage, as he stages scenarios to look a certain way in order to manipulate the actions of the people around him. Finally, after Iago’s manipulation has driven Othello to murder his wife, Iago’s true colors are revealed by his own wife, Emilia.

As the play concludes, we are left to wonder, Would Desdemona have survived if Othello had gone to talk to her himself? Would Roderigo still be alive and well if he had not been talked into attacking Cassio? Would Iago’s lies have led him to his own destruction, instead of the destruction of the lives of others?

Be Kind

“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”

― Neil Gaiman 

Go Fruit Yourself

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Leanne Ratcliffe, known to most as Freelee the Banana Girl is an internet celebrity known for her YouTube videos advocating the “RawTill4” Vegan lifestyle. She is also known for her informational videos on the meat and dairy industries, and other health and nutrition topics she discusses. Based in Adelaide, Australia, Freelee is often featured on Talk Shows asking her about her “Extreme” lifestyle. As one of Freelee’s subscribers and a Vegan myself, I watch these interviews in order to see how she presents the vegan lifestyle to the world, and the responses she gets from that.

After doing research on logical fallacies that often appear in people’s arguments, I re-watched some of Freelee’s interviews and was astounded at how logical fallacies were a large part of the arguments that both the Interviewers and Freelee were making.

A big reason why Freelee is disliked by many people in both the Vegan, and the non-Vegan community is because of her tendency to make Vegan synonymous with thin. This is by far her greatest logical fallacy, as one can be at varying levels of weight, and still be the epitome of health. In doing this, many of her arguments end up being labelled as extremism, as they are so black-or-white. This logical fallacy is prominent in her videos, interviews, and blog posts. She promotes Veganism as being a diet in which one can “eat whatever they want and never gain weight.” and because of this, she ends up focusing her argument on the fact that eating large quantities of food has not made her fat, and so it won’t make other people fat. Freelee’s true focus is on getting people to work on stopping animal cruelty, crash dieting, and environmental issues brought on by most non-Vegan industries, but because of her emphasis on “Vegan + thin” being the only equation for health, her way of arguing can be seen as an attack on anyone who does not believe the same thing as her, which makes people write her and Veganism off.

On the other hand, the interviewers kept referring to Freelee’s lifestyle as “Extreme” because of the fact that they were not knowledgeable in the health benefits of living a Vegan lifestyle. Not only did the headlines read things like “Extreme Mono Meal Diets” but the talk show hosts would ask questions such as “Audience, do you think you would be able to keep up with such an extreme diet?” and go on to discuss that, because it is not the most common type of lifestyle, it is too restrictive and too obscure to be legitimate. In doing this, the interviewers ended up sounding ignorant for writing off her lifestyle before attempting to understand it.

The problem with debates and argumentative discussions is that it is very difficult to steer clear of logical fallacies while still expressing one’s feelings about a certain subject. Taking the time to look into discussions, and any logical fallacies that are present within those discussions is very important because it can show us if the argument is being made in a logically-sound manner, or if opinions are being labelled as fact.

 

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