Literary Commentary, Philosophy, Psychology

Human Virtues and the Meaning of Life: Rousseau vs. Frankl

I’ve had “Discourse on the Arts and Sciences” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau on my “currently reading” shelf for the longest time, and just a few weeks ago I had a little reading inspiration so I decided to finish it. Turns out I only had several pages to go anyway. Then, I was recommended “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl to read, and I did, and I loved it. Since I happened to read both these rather philosophical and psychological books (I label them as both because it seems that they have a bit of both in them) back-to-back, I noticed that they both discuss very similar topics: human virtue, the arts and sciences, and the purpose of life. However, interestingly, Rousseau and Frankl contradict on some concepts, which I want to discuss today, while also attempting to organize some of my thoughts about each. [Click to read more]

Book Review, Philosophy, Psychology

Wow: “Nation” by Terry Pratchett

So, to get the basics out of the way: I loved this book. It was absolutely captivating (though it did fall short in some respects, which I'll describe below), and it had so many gems of comedical as well as insightful passages sprinkled throughout. The characters were incredibly dynamic, too. Overall this is a complex piece of art that I regard with the same wondrous and mystified respect one might regard, say, the Egyptian pyramids. (And as you may or may not see, Pratchett's writing style is already rubbing off on me, which is a way of confirming that yes, it was really good.) [Click to read more]

Philosophy, Psychology

The Media and our Mental Health: Solutions to our Consumption Culture

A few weekends ago, I decided to try a social media blackout. Not for any particular reason but to see how it’d feel. Like many others, I too am addicted to my phone, social media, the constant pings that reach out to me from distances away and make me feel less like the single, unconnected human that I am. So I gave this a shot. It was hard. That same weekend, our family friends threw an Easter dinner party. There were two other girls my age and after ten minutes of socializing and catching up, all it took was one single moment of uncomfortable silence and in a flash, like it was our natural human instinct, our thumbs shot to our phones in our pockets. And as I awkwardly and in a state of conscious self-restraint sat there, I was left thinking. [Click to read more]

Book Review

Thoughts on “My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King” by Reymundo Sánchez

This book surprised me so much. It was recommended to me by a friend and although hesitant at first, I decided to pick it up and give it a try because it was unlike anything I'd ever read. And I'm glad I did. It was incredible. Yes, it was packed with crude language, stories of rape, drugs, alcohol, shootings and murder, but I wouldn't have changed it in any way. While I can't say I enjoyed the topic or even the writer's literature style, there were so many things to be learned from My Bloody Life. To begin with, it was remarkable to see a peek at what gang lifestyle is like. Many of us live perfect lives with false problems and endless opportunities, and it was an awakening shock to read about what is really going on in some places of the world, to youth no older than me. [Click to read more]

History

The Question of Government: The Case for Parliament

There is much to be debated when it comes to politics. Although most of the civilized nations in the world today are democratic, not everyone can agree which system of government is best – the congressional system employed by the United States of America, or the Parliamentary system that Britain, Canada and the other Commonwealth nations have adopted. While neither is flawless, the Canadian system is far superior to its counterpart, the American system, because of its better regulations on government operations, more effective allocation of powers to the Prime Minister, and its encouragement of unity within the House of Commons. [Click to read more]

Philosophy, Religion

World Religions: Thoughts on the Course

Studying religion at a Catholic school has been fascinating, albeit rather challenging. Although I am a Christian, and still celebrate Christian holidays with my friends and family, my relationship to God, the universe, the energies and spirits or whatever is out there is my own, and I’ve never felt that any religion has done it justice in describing it. This is why I was very excited to learn World Religions, and get a glimpse at many different religions. Hopefully I’d come out with a few that I really liked, and I definitely did! [Click to read more]

Philosophy, Religion

The Case for Non-Theism: The Strengths of Buddhism

There are two things all religions seem to know for certain: 1. God is Good. 2. We are all a part of God’s masterfully orchestrated plan. Everything that happens is meant to happen. I’ve always puzzled over the idea of destiny. Everything that we are, or will be - has already been predetermined by a supreme being. God is all-knowing. God is good. God has plans for us. Even though this is what all religions teach, I didn’t like the sound of it. By this principle, we have no freedom of choice or free will, because our destiny is fixed. [Click to read more]