I do not just follow popular trend, or absent mindidly make decisions. I make choices after hours of honest studying with genuine resources-and makes decisions based on the morality and ethics I have developed through my studying. I don't see how I could be accused of not making my own decisions or thinking genuinely for myself. Yes, I happen to have a good professor that does not teach to a test…. rather he provides an environment for us to hone skills the skills crucial in dissecting texts and provides us with critiques and classes designed to developing dialogue skills: in order to prepare me to comprehend- he "teaches" to my intellect. I'm never once told what to believe or why I should agree with anything.
The world is a wide place of resources and amazing literature. I, in class and out of class, study philosophy and economics. I am so grateful to have a professor and friends that have inspired me to become intellectually competent. The debate team I am a member of is Lincoln Douglas debate, it is called value debate - debates based on ethics (morality) and philosophy. It takes effort to comprehend texts and the concepts and beliefs that uphold what the writer is speaking of. Many texts take other texts to decipher because they use other concepts to defend their statements. To be able to read Rousseau’s Social Contract and know exactly why I disagree and what philosopher and or reasoning upholds my belief. These things are backed up with reason -and it's rewarding all in itself to me, every AHA I achieve makes breathing my next breath all the more worth it. I am a slave to reason and intellect, I'm happy for that.
During a large part of my life I felt as if things were pointless and held no basis for existing. I held on to living in hope that things would magically get better. I was obviously so stuck in the nonage of my surroundings, and wanted so badly to be lead. I didn't want to have to think for myself- in even further laymen’s terms: I had my own thoughts but I didn’t know what to think of the government or anything beyond what I had encountered in my life and just wanted someone that was “right” to tell me how everything should be, fortunately, for my own sake, no one was ever right enough to latch onto- I admit to that. I was mostly into thinking about the emotional realms of life and death and such. In 8th grade I began to accept myself as a valid human being that deserved to be treated kindly and as a human- healing some damage I had held onto so now my focous was less on the emotional realms. Well, I became SLIGHTLY restless around 9th grade with this way of being- letting others think for me. I really didn't let others think for me, I just didn't really have strong basis for my beliefs and simply didn't do much at all besides busy myself with thoughtless actions. Actually, I was always very strong in believing in my individual rights and the respect of other individual rights I was just plain lazy and didn't purse many things besides companionship and pursuit of hiding from my own loneliness. As I said beforehand, I became restless in not being able to reasonably justify why I though MY means to the ends I wanted achieved things better than, my parents (emotionally I was rebelling in an intellectual way to them rather than with drugs and such). So I would frequently get very upset with society and my family and my schooling- that I didn’t learn anything and that no one would teach me- and blame my feelings on other people- when really it was my lack of letting myself educate (that sentence sounds weird but it is typed correctly to what I am saying there). I began a slow and painfully (made by myself) activity of gnawing off the chains that I had bound myself in by attaching myself to laziness and reliance(dependence on others). Freshman year I tentatively peeked into a few debate classes and felt inspired and still VERY fearful of the possibility that I was responsible for my own education; (I was still coming to this awareness and still very much wanted to “be taught”) so I didn't go to debate much. In sophomore year, I again took steps into the “realms of knowledge” (I now call the cave) and was frightened… this time my understanding of myself, I knowing that I wanted to know more and be able to tell my mom what I thought -without just yelling that I hated the world and that I hated the “stupid government that was ruining my life and forcing me to attend school”, held me there in debate class. Because I knew that I could not ignore that want to change this time, because I had started knowing that I had possibility at my fingertips to change my own resistance and soon I would begin to understand my ignorance- this scared me so much, I felt even more lonely as if I would never understand these things. Well I wouldn't attend a debate tournament and I was still fairly fearful and focused much on what I didn't have and what I didn't like and how fucked up the world is and how I'm hopeless and I "just want to stop existing". The more you learn, the smaller you become to your own self. Well skipping over my many groans all spurred from my fear of responsibility and freedom- we come to Junior year.
This year, I felt ready and excited- having come to terms with my reasons for not wanting to be my ultimate potential- I was ready to over come the stupidity of them all (I’m still working on becoming the best I can be- that’s a daily thing).
First day of Theories of Knowledge Class- we all came in and sat down quietly at the table… waiting for instructions of what to do (!) exciting, my first day of this class I had been waiting and waiting for! Well… Professor Loan didn't say anything- he sat there for about 10 min. we asked him a few times like "hey, what's up?" "What are we doing in class today?" the like. He eventually stood up and going to the white board wrote a quote or some collaboration of a quote (I’ll update this Monday when I find the exact quote) "I am a public school teacher, I teach the lesson of dependency, ...skipping parts because I left my notebook at school...Good people wait for those better educated than themselves."
from this article - although most likely it was from the actual book. (http://www.newciv.org/whole/schoolteacher.txt) I've been reading some of the PROFOUND things that this guy has written and wow!
"Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die."
– John Taylor Gatto
This one is so so so good- http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/john_gatto.html
I'm going to look into the library system and if they don't have any of his books I will order "dumbing us down" because I am genuinely interested.
Any ways back to Junior year and that first day of class, well it really put pressure back on that idea that I am insanely crucial in my role of learning, regardless of what I had previously let myself fall into -of wanting to be taught. The teacher is not good unless the student realizes that teachers aren't there to do the learning for them. As Twain stated, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." and "A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. " Well the next few weeks we worked on reading Mark Twains- Corn-Pone Opinions and Kant's "What is Enlightenment" (not the complete article on Enlightenment). After a few hours spread over about 3 weeks-dialoguing and reading over the articles we had to write a short paper and then revise and make it longer and then make it longer again….and then again finally ending about 1,500 word essay on whether or not Mark Twain and Immanuel Kant agreed or disagreed.
Well to say the least, those first few months of school, have been the best experience of my life and it's only gotten better since then. (I highly recommend those two readings- btw Brittany I need my Twain back please). My passions for the intellect this year have been the pivotal point in almost all of my decisions.
In my sophomore year I decided that I wanted to do film as a college graduate school program and since I did then appreciate to some extent the intellectual realm, I said I wanted to learn about it all and be able to use these amazing concepts in my films. Well this has been becoming more and more evident as the path that I want to choose, if I am not competent as a film producer or something sad like that - I will still most certainly be able and happy in my passion of economics and philosophy. I have read so little, and have so much to read - it's inspiring and exciting: despite the let downs of the fact that many people are unaware of all of these beautiful resources I over come that- and love talking about anything intresting..haha with anyone. So here I am in January 2008, a little over half way through an amazing school chapter in my life.
I love people, I love being challenged and challenging beliefs, that's why I do debate- so coming back to debate (seeing as I never finished that thought here are some things about a passion of mine.) I'd like to proudly announce that this past weekend I made a new leap in becoming who I want to be and attended a debate tournament, I lost all three rounds and I'm so glad that I did- I learned a lot more about how much work and effort I need to start giving myself. But none the less, I did attend and I am happy that I did so. Not only were the rounds important to me but the interactions with the people I met and my perceptions on education- I met a few debaters that didn't know how to use reason in their arguments and would say things like "being gay is just...nasty...well why?...."because it just is...". I am glad my team attended, because we challenged someone beliefs and maybe changed something even if it's just that they have now met people that challenge what they are used to in their groups of friends.
The reason LD debate is named after Lincoln and Douglas is because their debates were centered around slavery and the morals, values, and logic behind it. Unlike policy debate, Lincoln Douglas does not require vast amounts of statistics or other empirical data. LD is a logical debate divided into a central Value that the debater claims his case achieves, a value criterion (way to achieve the Value), and commonly 2-4 logically developed contentions that back the value and criterion.
" I have been debating for a long time. In fact, sometimes I sit back and think about how long I’ve been involved in this activity and I almost faint. The reason I’ve done it so long is because I love it. Although I now debate CEDA, I still really care about L.D. I coach it and judge it and I want to see it develop into a debate form that is respected. The person who taught me L.D. influenced the way that I perceive the event. To me, L.D. isn’t about squeezing a policy round into forty-five minutes. It isn’t about research, it isn’t about speed---it’s about thinking. I have debated policy and I sincerely believe that it is far easier than L.D. The preparation for policy may be intense, but the actual round is not as hard. L.D. requires you to think about the assumptions of what you say and what you believe. It also forces you to analyze both sides of a value claim. In this way, L.D. is incredibly important. There is no question that the way(s in which) people perceive the world is very different. In many cases, people’s refusal to attempt to understand these differences is the cause of much conflict. The kind of questions that I believe L.D. should address are the kinds of questions that everyone should think about because it is these questions that call into mind the fundamental assumptions that make us see the world in the way that we do. By calling into question these assumptions, people are better equipped to understand that there are different ways of viewing the world, none of which is fundamentally more legitimate than another. By placing these issues into the framework of debate, L.D. forces young people to expand their own thought processes."
- Leah Castella
Pi Kappa Delta National Lincoln-Douglas Champion, Fifth Place Winner and Third Speaker at the CEDA National Championship
Humanity, uphold our freedoms (it’s this revolutionary thing called thinking, questioning, and listening that I’ve noticed needs to happen more often-even in myself),
P.s. I attended the Mises talks on many interesting things that I'd love to share with people that are interested in economics.