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my English Lit paper



 
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pusherX



Joined: 06 Nov 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:24 am    Post subject: my English Lit paper Reply with quote

I'm Not A Hero If I Only Saved Myself




When ever I have noticed a problem, it has always been my nature to investigate further, and if possible, to seek a solution. So, begrudgingly, Iíve dragged myself from my hermit ways to share my point of view. And Iíve never had a claim to mastery, or promised that I was even right, but if one has an idea they believe in and things seem wrong, I think sharing is in order.

Most would agree that you shouldnít believe everything you see on television, but few realize how much what they tune into really affects them, and the choices they make. Itís no secret we live in a nation of consumers that are spoiled and stubborn, but how much are you really willing to sacrifice for entertainment?

I find the blatant use of the word Ďprogrammingí for television broadcast to be not only amusing, but disturbing. Most of the reason it scares me is because it doesnít seem to bother anyone else. In my abstinence from popular media, Iíve been awarded a different and sobering perspective. It wasnít long before I noticed the difference between those who watch a lot of television and those who don't. It was easiest to spot in small children. I personally do not let my children watch television beyond the rare occasion. The human brain is not meant to perceive that many fast changing images and flashing colors, or even sounds all at once, especially at so young of an age. In my observations, I have too commonly seen what I refer to as the zombie face. The transfixed, glazed over stare accompanied by a complete lack of awareness to surroundings has become synonymous with habitual television viewers. And that's not the worst part. Instead of learning naturally through trial in error in your environment, you have substituted it with a synthetic one, training your mind to like certain things, think certain ways, and even change your behavior completely. Now detached and atrophied you are a handicapped when facing reality.

Is this evidence of why we live in a time where disorders such as ADHD are supposedly rampant? Too frequently, a doctor hands a child, or in some cases an adult, that diagnosis, and itís accepted with little question. The popular answer to this new epidemic is to suppress the symptoms with medication, not treat the cause of the problem. Typically nothing is changed as far as environment or habits. I may be alone in my view, but I find it a hard argument to see much of a cure in a doped up or cracked out kid, now awkward and uncomfortable to the point they find it hard to feel at all normal.

Do you really understand cause and effect here? Do you honestly think this is all genetics? I acknowledge that in some cases people have an actual chemical imbalance, and dependent on the severity, it may warrant the term disorder. But how can you be sure what caused or exacerbated this? The nervous system is not only complex, but highly sensitive and receptive. The exact cause of ADHD has not been found, but it has been proven to be affected by neurotransmitters in the brain such as Dopamine. Currently there are studies being done by scientists at the National Institute of Health to better understand the effect of technology on our youth, and if itís actually changing the way their brains function. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that when released gives you that feeling of reward, or pleasure. Itís the same chemical released when eating chocolate or when using certain drugs, like marijuana. It has been shown that things like watching of television and the use of technology such as smart-phones and social networking actually releases dopamine in the brain, therefore making it more addictive.

We live in a time where new and advanced technology is at the hands of more everyday people than ever before. These days you donít have to sit at home to enjoy your favorite entertainment media. Now you can glue yourself to much smaller screens and take them everywhere. As much as technology proves beneficial in expediting lifeís little problems, we sacrifice, I think, more than we understand for the convenience. Even more heartbreaking, is witnessing how the explosive progress of technology has far overshadowed our progress as a species.

Everywhere you look you find people checking their handheld devices obsessively, and never questioning it. I think one of the prices we paid for this enhanced connectivity is being more disconnected than ever. It has become increasingly hard to find people who can relate to each other about anything other than the technology they own and use, and the entertainment media they subscribe to. Frighteningly, it seems these technological crutches have made us overly dependent on them, and awkward in their absence.

This continued problem of over-dependency is unfortunately not just localized to the advance of technology. The average person is so dependent on someone else having the expertise to fix their problems that they remain almost like a child. You need Municipal-Mommy and Daddy-Government to handle it all. Now, not everyone can or should be a doctor, or a Navy SEAL. But does that mean we shouldn't know how to cook beyond a microwave or change our carís oil? Why when you can pay someone twice the amount to do it for you! But now deep in a recession, how can the everyday citizen afford to do that anymore?

And speaking of money, why is it that we need so much of it, and without it everything seems to fall apart? The first problem I notices with this debt crisis, is that all of us are affected, yet none of us are sure what caused it. Turning to our old friend the media, weíre constantly reminded of how catastrophically broke we are, and left even more confused as to why. They speak of global debt as if it were a pandemic plague, or tangible as a world bereft of resources. Money is not a resource in my eyes, but an illusory system keeping few in power and the rest under boot.

Just looking at the very Masonic eye depicted on the back of the American dollar bill reminds me of what has become the basis of our society. You have the ever-watchful eye peering out from the apex of the pyramid, the architecture of which is Egyptian. Other than being an advanced civilization, what was Egypt known for in the past? They used slaves to build things like the pyramids, which to me almost represent their way of life. The Egyptian pharaohís lived exalted and abundantly comfortable lives in one of the harshest climates thanks to the blood, sweat, and sacrifice of forced servitude. So the many upheld the few, kind of like the structure of a pyramid, right?

Whatís significant about this image to me is that it seems to represent a continued trend in human history. Why does it seem that as far back as we can look, ninety-nine percent of the worldsí wealth has always resided within one percent of the population? That other ninety-nine percent of the population remains at the foundation, living off the scraps that trickle down from the top. We the majority are supporting and upholding a system enforced by the minority that never seems to return the favor. How can we have public figures and leaders that still go on vacation and continue to live lavishly when we have so many who are starving or are sacrificing more and more basic comforts as time goes by?

If you take into account the comparatively large number of our nation's billionaires, you would think they could all just lend a small portion of their vast wealth to each citizen, making America a nation of millionaires. But this would never work. It would collapse the American dream, or at least the dream that replaced the prior and now dead dream. Consider that if all became financially independent and the instantaneous change it would produce. There would be absolutely no blue collar foundation to uphold the American machine.

I can paint all sorts of romantic images of everyone doing their part and working as a team to reach some unified and made-up goal, but the truth is the rich-few are still exploiting the impoverished-many to do the dirty work for them and maintain their level of comfort. Without Billy Broke-Ass and Johnny Empty-Pockets, who would take away your refuse, or fix your car? Who would clean your plates from your table when you eat out? Hell, who would even make the food?

Hopefully you realize where the true value lies. Not in money, but in skills forged through hard work. What distinguishes someone as rich? Is it not important skills, but the amount of currency they possess? Okay, so what makes the currency valuable? A dollar is supposed to be a reserve note. That means it used to represent an amount of some valuable resource, in our case silver. In other words this bill was your claim to so much of whatever precious resource. Those days appear over and we run off of a system of credit. Yes, our country has a credit rating. And all our presumed wealth is based on our economy and what we have to offer globally speaking. So if the U.S. Dollar loses value, guess who just got screwed? Essentially all that paper and coin has little more value than the material it's comprised of if this system fails, and your hard work finds itself fruitless. Am I alone in being thoroughly disturbed by this?

My other question is who really has all the resources, the true valuables? And are we in debt because they are running out? Who do we owe? And seeing that this monetary system is based off of an idea and not a substantial thing, what do we owe and why? I find it hard to picture the Government of a different nation taking a couple truckloads of our currency to their local banks and exchanging it.

So is money some sort of token system with a central banking system? What I mean is, if we, for example, ran out of steel in America, and then we bought more steel from China, what did we exchange or do we now owe for this indisputably valuable resource? If it was money, what made our money valuable to them? Is there some central system in place setting the value of this? Wouldn't it make more sense for China to trade us the steel for some other precious resource? And if we couldn't get the tab we'd be indebted with owing something equally substantial and useful? So what's really occurring here, and who is manipulating these markets?

One thing thatís clear is this all creates more dependency. We all depend on the media and the government to inform us. Yet how many questions have I asked so far that we the people have no clear answer for? Plenty of confusing politics and bureaucratic nonsense may appease the curiosity of the average individual, but not even close for myself. In fact, the closer I look, the more I see we now have a society that is completely unbalanced. The majority are often unskilled, lazy, fixated on sex and violence, and voluntarily ignorant. Not just ignorant, but oblivious. And the worst part about it is that it looks like this is what our government wants! Why else would they perpetrate such lies, and allow and expose us to such mind numbing, manipulative swill? Why are we kept ignorant and oriented towards the wrong priorities?

Each generation seems to produce more confused yet unquestioning people. Most will grow to have jobs involving work that have no practical application in the real world. Just another piece processed through the big money machine. As drones, we keep going down the production line. ďHere you go little worker ant, have an I-pod and some over sexed music videos. Don't worry about anything, just go check your Facebook and play on your cell phone. Better yet go watch your favorite programming and take some drugs!Ē

We live under the cleverly crafted guise of a nation reformed and ascended beyond its past sins of slavery, yet what is your definition of slavery? Images of forced labor, cracking whips, and toiling in the earth create a fixed and narrow point of view. To me slavery is simple; the absence of freedom. Most would say theyíre free and make their own choices. I guess itís true you can choose from the list of options you were given.

In my eyes, our freedom is taken from us continually, and we donít even realize it. We actually hand it over willingly. The best kind of slave is one who doesn't know they are one to begin with. From the time you are born you are molded to not think for yourself, to conform to this preset value of the norm. Taught by the constant media you are bombarded with to accept only certain things as worthwhile and pertinent, and to reject all other notions as silly and uninteresting. And you never really ask yourself why. Is this why we have allowed these problems to persist?

From drugs prescribed as fix-alls, media manipulation, and empty wallets it seems we aren't given much of a chance. Misinformed and penniless we find ourselves unable to maintain something as basic as health. More and more food is genetically altered and coated in pesticide. Plastic containing BPAís hold our food and is used for baby products. Things like cigarettes and alcohol that kill you are available over the counter, but when you need the medicine for the ailments they cause, you need health insurance. A lot of these things contributed to the onset of the obesity and diabetes epidemic. I suppose the poor excuse as to how we can even be legally exposed to any of this is that the low levels are deemed safe enough for consumption or exposure. But what happens when it's in everything you eat, drink, wear, and breathe? The weakest are rooted out first, and then even healthy people. And what would you expect with your body being attacked from all fronts. Between the double-quarter pounder you ate, the liter or more of soda you drank, and three or more hours on the X-box, your body is already hurting before it's subjected to the innumerable variety of chemicals and toxins in everyday life. To me safe living starts to seem a little more like Russian roulette, and if you're poor, make that roulette with a semi-automatic.

Am I the only one who'd like to have just a little more control over what does and doesn't affect my health and freedom? Did I miss signing away my rights in some super-secret ninja contract? How can you trust a government allowing itsí people to be subjected to things like this? Why are we a country that puts our entertainment and material belongings before our health and moral standings? Do we even have moral standings anymore, or just pretense to save face in public?

Honestly, itís become hard to believe in freedom or the guarantee of rights by the constitution after things like the Patriot Act or a host of presidential directives that have passed recently. And if anyone reading this hasnít read the Patriot Act, I highly recommend they do so now. After becoming more informed, hopefully it will seem money and the media is less a benefactor than a handicap to you.

Pessimism being one of my handicaps, I feel the average individual will remain complacent and submissive to our current situation. Not surprising as most thoughts of questioning or protest are met with fear mongering tactics from the authorities. It becomes hard to ignore though, when one day something is taken from you, or your comfort is disturbed. Or maybe you or one of your loved ones wakes up with cancer, or multiple sclerosis, finding yourself dying or excruciatingly crippled. Or maybe the bank comes to take your house, or you canít afford the increasing high cost of food to feed your family. It's only when it directly affects you, or you realize that it already has, that you start to care.

We as a people have become too accepting of things like greed and media manipulation. Too much is taken for granted and too little is questioned. Weíve become impulsive and overly indulgent in a society offering sin and pleasure at your convenience. It is still our own choice that we make to be this way, regardless of exterior factors. So in truth, we are causing our own demise.

Iím urging you, as the reader, to wake up and see we have many serious problems, and to look into things for yourself. I donít know how to fix these problems yet, but what I do know is that the first step is to identify the problems, and then figure out the causes. Ignorance of the issue is not a luxury we can afford anymore, as itís helped create these problems to begin with. Fixing these problems is something we can only achieve together. And seeing that weíre all feeling the effects already, time is all too short.





Any feedback is good feedback. I am trying to get a few opinions before I hand this in


Last edited by pusherX on Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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coolcreep



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 588

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first paragraph is supposed to make the audience interested in the essay, not in killing themselves.
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pusherX



Joined: 06 Nov 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coolcreep wrote:
The first paragraph is supposed to make the audience interested in the essay, not in killing themselves.


Thank you for your criticism, maybe I should change the essay to something that would actually make you do it rather then just stirring your curiosity. Again thank you.
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coolcreep



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 588

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, but seriously, this is terribly written. You're just asserting things, or using rhetorical questions, without actually presenting and fleshing out a strong, robust argument for anything.

Quote:
"Honestly, itís become hard to believe in freedom or the guarantee of rights by the constitution after things like the Patriot Act or a host of presidential directives that have passed recently. And if anyone reading this hasnít read the Patriot Act, I highly recommend they do so now. After becoming more informed, hopefully it will seem money and the media is less a benefactor than a handicap to you."


Seriously? Did you just suggest reading materials in your essay? Good God. Also, why is money a handicap rather than a benefactor? You just said it, but you never justified it. I can find countless other examples of the same thing.

Quote:
"Hopefully you realize where the true value lies. Not in money, but in skills forged through hard work. What distinguishes someone as rich? Is it not important skills, but the amount of currency they possess? Okay, so what makes the currency valuable? A dollar is supposed to be a reserve note. That means it used to represent an amount of some valuable resource, in our case silver. In other words this bill was your claim to so much of whatever precious resource. Those days appear over and we run off of a system of credit. Yes, our country has a credit rating. And all our presumed wealth is based on our economy and what we have to offer globally speaking. So if the U.S. Dollar loses value, guess who just got screwed? Essentially all that paper and coin has little more value than the material it's comprised of if this system fails, and your hard work finds itself fruitless. Am I alone in being thoroughly disturbed by this?"


Congratulations, you've explained what fiat currency is. What you have not done, however, is given a single argument against fiat currency. Everyone knows that fiat money has value only by decree, and that if the entity making that decree goes away, that value is lost. You haven't presented a compelling case that the US government is likely to fold in the near future, or that a barter system without money would have benefits that the monetary system cannot provide. All you've done is asked if others are thoroughly disturbed by this, as you claim to be. If you're trying to change people's minds, asking them if they agree with you will do precisely nothing.

Seriously, all you do is speak in platitudes. Rhetorical questions and broad diagnoses of society's ills are not appeals to reason, nor are they good writing. Your writing is pretentious, it lacks focus, and at times it is nearly incoherent. There's no clear thesis other than "shit's fucked, yo", nor do you have clear transitions when moving from one topic to the next, which you do far too often. I mean, you start your essay talking about yourself. Is your essay about you, or is it about society becoming more dependent on mass-media? If its the latter, then why are you talking about yourself and your nature? An essay is supposed to have a clear thesis, with the rest of the essay focused on fleshing out and defending that thesis. This paper is all over the place, and you talk about yourself far too often. The standards in most universities, especially english departments, are really low these days, so this paper probably won't get the failing grade it deserves, but that truth is surely a tragedy.
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Gracco



Joined: 29 Mar 2010
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This paper is true. All too true. I agree 100% with all of it except the last paragraph.

We can not fix any of this. Every man for themself is the way to live in this day and time. The world does want us to be slaves and programmed and controlled. You can not beat the system until you can think like the system while living in it. There are too many people that this system works all too well on.

My recommendation: Life sucks and then you die. Ignorance is bliss. The average person can not handle as much truth as this paper holds. I think you would be better off writing a serious paper that has a bit less magnitude and depth to it for the purpose of turning in to a class.
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cloysterd



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not going to suggest you kill yourself, but this is pretty weak. You're not making an argument, you're just listing problems. I don't know how much time you have and whether you care enough about your grade to do it over, but even if you fixed the glaring stuff you'd still have a dull, rambling paper. Either way you really need to cut down on the "I" and "me" and not ask so many questions.
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Weedmonkey



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 324

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, the main points (as a teacher) I would bring up to improve your mark (and without the scathing beatdowns that coolcreep has offered Razz):

* Your manifesto (your piece isn't an essay as it is primarily based on personal opinion) lacks any general focus. 'The state of the country/world' isn't sufficient in an essay of this length. For any piece like this, you need to first and foremost choose a few main points to base your argument around (2 to 4 is what I would recommend). Make sure that they can either complement or contrast one another.

* There are no references that I can see to reinforce any arguments. Even at high school level (which is what I'm basing my analysis on due to the lack of references), you should be getting into the habit of using at least one referencing system and backing up your arguments with reputable sources (Wikipedia only gets you so far).

* You move between a number of ideas without being able to connect them in writing. Connectives and connecting paragraphs are important to the structure of any arguments you aim to make, as well as making sure your writing flows. If you cannot connect your ideas, your arguments seem disjointed.

* Rhetorical questions are grave taboo. Regardless of what genre of writing you are producing, you are supposed to be demonstrating your knowledge and understanding of a given issue in academic writing. Using rhetorical questions puts the onus on the audience to draw a conclusion or an opinion from your argument.

* Your use of 'I' is excessive. Whilst it isn't expressly forbidden, most teachers will subscribe to the habit of never expressing personal opinion in academic writing. While there are exceptions to all writing rules, you should focus primarily on developing your arguments objectively.

That's about all I can provide thus far. I'm more than happy to look over the revised version too Smile
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maps



Joined: 04 Apr 2010
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

don't feed the trolls Rolling Eyes
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pusherX



Joined: 06 Nov 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your words of wisdom both negative and positive. I have just started this class and will be editing my paper and in a few days will repost.[/quote]
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