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Living Life

What is the point of life? What is the goal? Even if it is truly meaningless, then to live is of little consequence, so to live becomes a choice, to continue living, a purpose, a point, must be given to life. Some people seem to believe that a successful life is monetary achievement and peer approval, I refuse to adhere to such a shallow and arbitrary meaning. I refuse to believe that life is simply a game with one goal that can be measured so easily. Life is not something you win. Success in life is too relative and too meaningless to be a proper measure of purpose. Games are given meaning by success, assignments are given meaning by learning, which is measured in success. Life is not so obvious. Maybe the rich and admired man does die and happily reflects on his life, maybe he does not. Maybe the poor and forgotten man does die and happily reflects on his life, maybe he does not. These measures of success and meaning are therefore inadequate. So we’ve come back to our central question, What is the point of life? Is there a goal, and if so what is it? I used to think all that mattered was happiness and comfort, a happy man is a successful man, a happy man dies happy, a happy man does not need to doubt, for a happy man is not concerned and has happiness to occupy his thoughts. I then began to feel like just having happiness and comfort was inadequate. Constant happiness is an unattainable goal, as it soon begins to rot the senses and makes a man go numb. All feelings are valid and serve their purpose, all feelings help a man to grow, and develop. A happy man is a satisfied man, a content man, and this man does not grow, he does not develop. This meaning then became insufficient. I then moved on to try to value all feelings as they come, I attempted to learn from each one, and the meaning of life became simple, human experience. My life could be measured in my experience, happy, sad, numb, they are all feelings in which I can characterize my time spent, in which I can measure my life. And whether in the end I look at my life with regret or satisfaction, I refuse to give the last version of me the power to decide whether or not I have succeeded. It is the me that lives in each moment that must decide whether or not my current experience is worth having, is worth living for, and if it is not, then whether or not I have faith that the future experience will improve and continue to make life worth living. This is when the last version of us meets an obstacle, for they have no future experience to look forward to to make a miserable situation worth living for, this fills a person with dread and regret. Yet if the final experience is acceptable this last version may feel at peace. Yet this belittlement of the power of our last versions to rule on the success of our lives may negate my previous argument for monetary success and peer approval being inadequate measures, yet the rich man falls victim to the same vices as the happy man, and becomes numb. And peer approval is only worth one’s respect for his peers, and if a man were to allow his peers to dictate what is and is not acceptable, the status quo may never change, and nothing will improve. A man that allows monetary success and peer approval to measure his meaning forfeits his individuality and his freedom, he is a slave to a system made before his birth and one that will continue after his death, a system that is completely indifferent to his existence. And maybe a man has succeeded in the system he has chosen to accept as life, but systems are not life, life cannot be defined by arbitrary systems. So then once more we consider human experience, and the possibility of experience to be a meaning for life. Unfortunately while we find that experience may be our closest suggestion we find it inadequate as well. Experience is subjective, as experience is malleable based on previous or following experience, some experience is undervalued while others overvalued, the experience that exists to measure life is simply our perception of our experience, and is inherently flawed due to our imperfect perception. What will make a man feel as though he has meaning not just in his final moments but throughout his life? Nothing. Our circle continues, as nothing is truly sufficient to satisfy a man’s need for meaning. The lack of priority for meaning in each moment of our lives supplies evidence for the fact that life has no meaning. But a lack a meaning is still impractical, as life is a choice, and a choice necessitates meaning. This may lead us to several conclusions. Life has no meaning yet can be successful in any way that is satisfactory, which is simply too broad a universal to be acceptable. Life’s meaning lies in the furthering of life and the bettering of ourselves, part of which is objective part of which is subjective, yet is the entire process the circumvents life. Lastly, there is no free will, no choices involved. Life is but a process not central to some greater concept. We live so that we may live, not that we choose to live but it is our nature to live, we are influenced by conformity to live, there is some great force that takes away our choice, and forces us to live. It is uncommon for a person sound of mind to question whether or not they desire to live or not, it is not a choice we as men make, but a foregone conclusion that we must live as it is what we do. The argument continues to circle. Life is but a circumstance, life is inconsequential and insignificant, yet life is sufficient, sufficient enough for man to not question whether they choose life or not.

Tragic Hero

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Re: Social Media: Paving the way to a greater social consciousness, or to mass delusion?

This may be me not totally grasping the concept we’re trying to debate, but I don’t exactly see where the argument is. Will social media lead to a more ideal democracy? Will the social platform lead to an increase of free and open discourse? Higher level of social consciousness? No, of course not. Social media platforms are not the place to decide policy, to create action, or to accomplish much of anything other than access to information.

Is social media creating some sort of mass delusion? Maybe, though if it is I think it’d only be one of many factors deluding the masses. I don’t know whether people truly believe that their public input on the hot political topic of the week matters. Clearly they value their opinions and regard their insight highly enough to post it publicly as a declaration to all online viewers that they, in fact, think. I do wonder whether or not they believe that anyone that reads their posts may change their minds. I wonder whether or not they realize the support they receive is not from people astounded by the depths and originality of their ideas but by people who have already thought the same things. I wonder whether they would have decided not to publicly vent their political frustrations if only they had a friend to speak to in person. If only everyone had a confidant.

I think the social media boom, and the half baked ideas shared on them contribute more to the rapidly increasing narcissism than to the delusion that one’s posts contribute to the world (lol). We live in a world where many people seem to prefer to lash insults at fellow human beings than to consider for a moment their beliefs to be misguided. If people wanted to change minds on the internet they might provide evidence of some sort supporting what they thought. They might consider the fact that the inability to find evidence supporting their claim may weaken their point slightly. Information is aplenty on the internet. A lack of informed citizens is no fault of Google’s. Our society is one of the deliberately ignorant, the overly prideful, and the disingenuous (but at least we’re #1).

Social media is not all bad however, it has it’s virtue. With so many individuals mightily disinterested in the community, social media is a form of highlights for the news. Many people nowadays don’t watch or read the news and get much of their information from the various social media platforms to which they subscribe. Social media gives various topics exposure and various people information. The impact of this is very often negligible, but all publicity is good, or so they say.

We now live in a world where you could theoretically never leave your home and still find all of your various needs met. Social media seems to give people who have forgotten how to be alone, the option to never have to be. Whether it’s impact is good or bad, I cannot say, but I can say I think it’s probably a reflection of who we are as a society. Rather than a force compelling slacktivism, it is a tool used by slacktivists. Whether I have missed the point entirely and have strayed too far off topic, I cannot say, but I can say I think I probably have. Feel free to correct me and tell me where I’ve gotten lost. I promise not to insult your mother if you do.

Insincerely, The Tragic Hero

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Re: Should College Education be Free?

The level of education in this country is not nearly where it should be. In my personal opinion it’s not at an acceptable level. From elementary school through college, many students are not receiving the level of education that is required to turn them into contributing members of society. Why have anyone invest in a poorly run program?

It doesn’t make sense to me to give public colleges and universities any money when they spend millions on new sporting complexes while their students sit next to 300 of their peers trying to hear an overworked and underpaid professor. It doesn’t make sense to me to give public colleges and universities any money when students are arriving there incapable of writing a coherent paper. It doesn’t make sense to me that grad student’s are labeled TAs and then forced to teach an entire course. It doesn’t make sense to me that the country, the people, and the schools themselves, don’t prioritize the education of its citizens.

Should public colleges and universities be free? Absolutely. There is no question in my mind that all public institutions of higher education should be free. It is indeed a travesty that there are people seeking education and being denied that because of their financial circumstance. Furthermore it is not right that students that do attend universities must endure the stress and hardship involved in accepting loans that they may not be prepared to pay off.

What does make sense to me is finally making an effort as a country to show that we care about learning. What does make sense to me is making a concerted effort to better the education system in this country. But if the country expects that free college solves a problem that starts in kindergarten they are incorrect.

Currently the U.S. is ranked below many other first world countries in reading, mathematics, and science. Schools are churning out students barely capable of passing arbitrary standardized tests. Student’s are not taught how to think about things logically and critically. These students are turning into adults that lack these same skills. This country is filled with not just undereducated but poorly educated.

Making public colleges and universities free is a very doable and positive step toward trying to properly educate our country. But to properly take advantage of it, more of an investment needs to be made to prepare students for what awaits them at these higher learning institutions. Free college is but a first step toward reinvesting in our education. Schools on a lower level need more money, teachers, and supplies. We, as a country, need to reevaluate what needs to be learned by kids, and how to most effectively teach it to them.

I personally believe that if you teach a student to think critically, logically, and coherently, they will figure the rest out with greater ease.

The benefits of a nation of educated citizens speaks for itself, and pays for itself as well. Better and more widespread education leads to a higher proportion of innovators, entrepreneurs, and skilled laborers. It means fewer people making uneducated decisions. It means a greater proportion of education people in every field. It means the advancement of civilization as a whole.

Now, though I feel a bit dramatic and off-topic at the moment, I’ll try to veer back to the main question raised and respond to worries about the cost of making free public colleges and universities tuition free.

The fear of higher taxes is an unfounded one. A significant portion of state and federal taxes already go toward funding public colleges and universities. And even then the income that comes from tuition and fees generally makes up less than a quarter of a university’s overall income.

I’d also like to remind everyone that it need not be the common person that pays the tax to make college free. A fraction of a percent tax imposed upon Wall Street speculators would pay for free tuition for all of America. This may sound like I’m quoting Bernie Sanders, and I am, but the idea is not originally his and it has been put in place in several countries with great success.

Free public college is very possible and burden free. The benefit of having an entire nation educated at a higher level is immense. The potential for economic mobility it offers those that would otherwise not have options is incredible. The experience it would offer the country would be priceless.

By The Tragic Hero