Friday, May 30, 2014

Almost 5 High School Myths

              It's almost the last minute of the last hour of the last day of the last year of emotional belittling and oppression of individuality. That's right..I'm almost done with high school!!!
Three. More. Days.
        Despite my constant negative descriptions, and bad stereotypes, high school isn't that much of a hell hole. Actually what made it so bad was the perception and the paranoia that it's going to be bad. Before I'd even walked in, I had a detailed knowledge of high school cliques and I'd heard about "peer pressure" and all those parent-buzz-words. Movies, and parents; they make being a teenager look soo hard (Trust me, Mean Girls is a gross exaggeration). 
So I've decided to myth-bust some umm...myths I guess.

Main occupation: judging.

Myth or Fact? MYTH.

I think the problem in high school is more of an inferiority complex. You don't get judged unless you judge others. One really curious thing about high school is that no one really wants to start a fight; unless you make a public spectacle of yourself, no one really "picks" on you, or even judges you. Most people who are judged in high school are the ones who judge others themselves, or the ones who think they're being judged. There are a couple people who just imagine that everyone's watching them, and all those whispers about them. But really, no. Unless you are queen bee, no one turns a head for anyone outside their friend circle (a.k.a clique).

Cliques Exist.

Myth or Fact? FACT.

Yes. The age-old story of Popular Girls, Jocks, Nerds, Transfer students etc. etc. is true. Maybe it isn't as obvious as whole cafeteria being divided up (okay maybe it is), but it's a fact of life. Cliques show that friends are made based on mutual tastes and interests. Some look-oriented cliques (like the popular doll-like girls) may look alike, but most cliques are just groups of friends who are interested in the same things. Ever since the great Tumblr Hipster Revolution, each clique has been owning their umm...things ('things' is such a descriptive word). The nerds now have meetings at the library with pride, while the drama geeks conspicuously hang out outside the theater. And you know what? They all seem to be having fun! Let the cliques be.
Everyone in each clique is different; they're only joined by a shared interest. Each individual brings something unique to their group. You don't have to fit in anywhere, you just have to find a place where people most appreciate you...

The Popular Girl has little minions following her.

Myth or Fact? MYTH.

I do believe in the queen bee who's at the head of the high-school food chain (I shouldn't call it that, I really shouldn't). That one girl who's got Hollywood-looks, the perfect outfits, the loudest (but not in the least embarrassing) laugh, and the large group of equally-happy-go-lucky friends. What I don't believe in is the pair of dumb wannabes always following her around. Yes, everyone around her do seem to be incredibly obsequious but their wannabe-ness isn't as obvious as it is in the movies. Actually, the two closest to the queen bee are kinda queen bees themselves; there isn't just one queen bee- there're two, sometimes three. Each girl a different kind of funny, social, beautiful, and kind (yes, kind. One other unmentioned feature of popular people is that they're always nice -sometimes fakely so- that's how they get popular.)

Crazy, drunken parties with drugs and sex!

Myth or Fact? FACT....but myth too.

I don't know about this one. High School parties are a fact, but they aren't as bad as they sound. Really (You can take my word, I hate people; hence, I hate parties). I'm not saying that high schoolers don't have sex, or don't smoke, or don't drink; I'm just saying that not all of them do all of those things. Parties have drugs, and they have stolen (from parents) beer, but that's not everything about them. It's much easier to talk to someone new at a party than on a hallway at school. They're a pretty cool extra feature which do have their crazy people. Overall, movies and everyone else make parties sound absolutely ridiculous. I don't know if it isn't done that way anymore but no one gets stoned and drunk at the same time anymore (source: random 80's rom-com). 

       What I'm trying to say is that high school wasn't as bad as I made it sound. Everytime I'd whine on here about how much I hated high school (yeah, I did that), I'd get encouraging comments about high school being hell, and how everything gets better after. I'm hoping that all those people were right. But I also think they were wrong about high school being hell. It's been...well, it been different; I got a chance to question myself about myself here. I'm going to miss being cynical and condescending; I'm going to miss rolling my eyes and questioning the education system. I'm going to miss being here.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Generation Theory

"That is so's like getting a history major!" (Ouch!)
"Why do we have to learn history? Such a stupid subject.."
"Learning history is outdated. We need to start learning more technologically advanced things"

         The above words are faithful (or nearly faithful) overhearings from some of my classmates (who are teenagers; hence, the italics. For some reason it feels like everyone around me is always talking in italics).

So why do we learn history? (Yes, I talk in italics too) What is the "point"?
       It seems like everyone's been attacking history since the beginning of time. It has always been dubbed the most "boring" and the least useful. 
        I can't argue with boring. If you think history is boring, then that's what you think. There are just some people who just. can't. like it. But I can argue with useless. History is NOT useless. 
         Actually, it is anything but useless. Broadly, history is the only area of study that takes into account human thoughts and behavior, and how these two things can cause societies to rise or fall. Because, in history, we/they ask why. It's all about making connections and trying to find the reason behind rises, public sentiment, reactions, falls, and seemingly stupid actions. 
         It's so incredibly important to know why everyone liked President Eisenhower right? Well...maybe not. But by studying history we see trends and patterns (PATTERNS!) which still work today. There are a whole bunch of people who make "educated guesses" about the future just through their knowledge of the patterns of the past. They basically predict the future just because they know history!

         Now don't get me wrong, no historian could ever have told what time the Al-Qaeda was going to strike the Twin Towers, but they did predict a major crisis induced by the Middle East. Within months of the attack, they knew exactly what President Bush was going to do, and how it was going to end. And they were right! They knew the pattern. They knew how this (this system, this society, this world) works. How could anyone not want to know how the world works?
                Strauss and Howe have an interesting theory. They believe that there are different ages in history which keep going in an infinite circle. First we're in a high, then there is an awakening, then there is an unravelling, and then, there's the crisis. From the crisis, evolves a new happy society: a new high; it's a never-ending cycle! 
      When you think about it, that's pretty much how everyone's life works too. When you're happy(high), you're happy for a while, but then you start questioning things and looking for higher reasoning ("What is the meaning of life?"); that's when you undergo an awakening. You see what made you happy before incredulously, and look to a more noble form of happiness. However, you don't find what you're looking for, and keep asking questions, making surprising discoveries about yourself (unraveling). The more questions you ask yourself, the more confused you become. Until, one day, you're broken. You don't even know who you are anymore(crisis). But you'll survive; any obstacle can be overcome once you put your heart to it. Taking baby steps, and avoiding past mistakes, you recover; Et voilĂ  ! you're happy again!
        Strauss and Howe are certain, and they even have proof. 
THE CRISIS               ->  the Great Depression and World War II (1930s to 1949)

THE HIGH                 ->   the 1950s - American suburban life begins. The whole society joins hands and     becomes a community. Together, with 'Duck and Cover,' they are ready to fight  the USSR. Everybody loves the government! (Eisenhower = president = war hero)

THE AWAKENING ->   the 1960s - Americans break the conformity. Why should we all be like one          another anyway? What's with the government and war? Discontent, and mild rebellions.

THE UNRAVELING ->  the 1980s - 2000s Widespread mistrust of the government. Mild economic crises. A change in way of life as technology comes into play. Interest in literature and history decreases while interest in technological improvement increases.

THE CRISIS             ->  As of yet, unknown. Looming environmental disasters; looming economic bubble   burst. Looming everything seems scary right now haha. 

A period of technological advancement is always followed by a period of questioning and epiphanies, and, therefore, a period of literary advancement (literature thrives on questioning and thinking).
Example, the Enlightenment period (1700-1800) was followed by the the Romantic Period (180-1850ish)
            Considering that we are currently in the age of technology, I think we should be headed gradually towards an age of literature and thought (yay!) The hipsters are already popping up :)

               I kinda strayed off topic, but history is the best way to understand humans and their behavior. It gives you an idea of what a person would do if they lived for centuries. The cycles of history are the cycles of life. History is a study of life in its most relevant form. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Quote of the Day ~ J.D.Salinger

            Yes, I've just The Catcher in The Rye; it would be a sin to not want to talk about that book after having read it- a mortal sin.
          The question to be asked now is Why is the world still the crappy place it is even after half of the world has read this book? after this book has become a must-read classic? (This is the state of our world; we regard technology over literature, and because of this we increase our standards of existing considerably-while degrading our standards of actually living and being human beings. Harsh, I know. But it's true).
           I'm currently wondering why it took me so long to finally get a hold of and read it. Maybe it was the rumors? Maybe it was the fact that nearly every student in the American education system is forced to read it? Maybe it was both.
             I've always thought of The Catcher in the Rye as a harsh novel, with the crudest possible description of teenage rebellion. I've always thought that The Catcher in the Rye would end up locked up in a mental facility for the rest of his life. 
            But, turns out, I've always thought wrong; The Catcher in the Rye isn't merely about teenage rebellion (actually in some senses it isn't about teenage rebellion at all), and its protagonist (the umm... cynical? Holden) isn't even that delusional, he isn't even crazy. He's nothing like he's described in the movies (Yes, he's misunderstood and afraid, but he isn't insane).

          Without further ado, here's the quote which best describes Holden Caulfield (and maybe even J.D.Salinger) to me:

             When I first read this quote, I realized that Holden was hitting a point most people wouldn't want to talk about. It's a really common concept actually, lying to make others feel better, or for their own good, or even because it's just the thing to do. We do this everyday...when somebody says "How's it going?" we don't give them an in-depth analysis of our day so far, and why it sucks or why it's amazing, we just say, "oh I'm good. How're you?" (or some ambiguous variation of that) even if we're faar from doing good. Because it's just something you say, just like "Glad to've met you."
           It's okay to lie that way right? It's okay to say yes when an earnest looking kindergarten-er asks you whether Santa is real. It's okay to lie about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, whether you actually like your boss, whether someone looks fat, and how your day is going; it's accepted. 
                A lot of people say that Holden is delusional, that he sees a different world from us. But actually he sees the world as it is. He see's the world with all it's fakeness (or "phoniness" as he calls it) and pretense. He sees that the people of the world are all living behind a curtain of lies and pretense, and that frightens him because he can't actually see anyone. We all pretend to be better people to others around us, whether it's in just sitting up straighter when someone you want to impress enters the room, or desperately acting "mainstream" to be liked by everyone else. The people we meet everyday? they're wayy different inside their comfort zones (where they don't need to impress anyone)...we don't even know what they're really like, and that's scary. Because if it's acceptable to lie to present yourself as a better person, then it's acceptable to put up curtains of pretense, it's okay to be seen but not really seen.
           Who decides what is acceptable anyway? Who even decides what is mainstream ?Who decides what is the appropriate thing to say or the appropriate person to be? Who even has that authority? (Okay I'm done with the rhetorical questions now haha) But seriously, why do we have to follow the norm when we don't even know who set the norm? I mean if everyone believed that 2+2=5, does that make it true? (Hint...NO) I think each person should decide what is acceptable for them, what they think 2+2 equals. They should be able to decide what they want for themselves.
               The Groupthink thing is getting wayyy too old. It's because of Group-think (or Groupthink) that there's even such a thing as fashionable and common courtesy. If suddenly society turns around and says that wearing shoes is a gross thing to do, the person who wears them is considered unacceptable. Acceptable and unacceptable are ultimately relative; let's all just do the right thing, thing that we think is right instead of following what everyone else thinks. Let's not follow society down a cliff...
          So I think that even if the real you is absolutely unacceptable, it's better to present yourself as yourself than to present yourself as a mere shadow, a silhouette, from behind a curtain of flashing smiles, and nice lies. DOWN WITH GROUPTHINK! And down with the acceptable and unacceptable. Let's live to be true and real.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Life as a Monochromatic

                I'm assertive -okay, no that's a euphemism- I'm strident and outspoken, either way I'm opinionated and also very confused...Is it a good thing? to be assertive that is. 
          It may all sound very nice to be heard and taken into consideration, but what if you're heard and taken from consideration. What if your un-thought-out words cost you your credibility? (Okay, maybe when I'm talking about "you", I'm simply referring to myself. Maybe.)
         Strong feelings are helpful when you can channel them into a sensible demeanor and calm (but strong) words; they don't do very much good in a barely thought-out rant. Actually they don't do any good at all.

                 Is it wrong to have strong feeling, or is wrong to be unable to channel them? Definitely the latter; no one could live without strong feelings. I mean, we all have to feel strong about something, anything. Like cars, life can't be run on neutral ("dat car analogy tho"...sorry).      
            So it's wrong to have a sudden burst of strong emotions? From my current state of embarrassment and annoyance, I see that that's what I think (I still can't replay The History Class Feminist Rant Incident -that's what I'm going to call it, and no, I'm not going to explain it-  in my head without knocking something over or feeling my face burn while having a strong urge to explain myself). But clearly, I'm wrong. Because I (atleast the conscious me) don't believe in right and wrong,
                It isn't wrong to have emotional outbursts, it might just be healthy (Psychological Health Rule #1 "DONT bottle your emotions" everyone knows that), but it is kinda wrong to emotionally outburst onto others and expect them to accept it.  So it's not wrong, but it's kinda wrong....see what I mean? complicated
               I don't believe in absolutes at all actually. I'm sure that nothing is ever completely right or completely wrong; there is no black and white in nature, no bright hues, just greys and mellow colors.
People Like Us- Kelly Clarkson has an interesting video :)

         Absolutes are a problem. Everyone is looking for answers to their questions; they're looking for a yes or a no, or maybe a choice between two paths, or maybe even the right or wrong decision. But that's not what it's all about. We see the world in black and white; we see the world, our lives, and our choices as being either correct or incorrect whereas in reality, there's so much more to it. 
         Nothing is ever right or wrong, so we can all stop striving towards being completely correct (a 10/10 is an illusion present only in calculus which we all know doesn't exist in the real world...(just kidding, about the calculus that is :) ).