Sunday, October 19, 2014


The touchstone I chose to explore was number six, suspend judgement. I have been judged by others all of my life. When I was in the ninth grade, I had terrible acne that prevented me from enjoying a lot of the experiences that high school had just began to offer me. I eventually decided online school was a better fit, as I could not handle the dirty looks that people would give me just because I had skin problems that were not under my control. After sitting at home alone for several weeks, I decided it was time to do something about my skin. I went to a dermatologist and he prescribed me Accutane, a powerful drug that is designed to absorb all the oil in your body and will eventually make it to where you stop breaking out all together. Fortunately for me, after seven months of taking the medication I finally had clear skin. Ever since then I have looked at the world in an entirely different way. It is the nature of the world we live in to criticize the actions of others that we ourselves particularly don't agree with. Because of my own experience, I have a nasty habit of judging others. I would not consider myself intolerant or ignorant, but if something doesn't fit in a certain "box"than I am quick to express my often conflicting opinion. I realize the importance of suspending judgement, it is the only way to expand our minds. Keeping an open mind when listening to others will be greatly beneficial to me. The thoughts and expressions of others ignite thoughts in my own mind that I would never arrived at otherwise. Getting a job and working with strangers has really taught me to become a more accepting person, as I was going to have to work with these people whether I liked it or not. As a result of me suspending judgement, I have come to find that I actually rather enjoy my coworkers and others like them. They are all unique and have different things to offer the world. I guess that is true for everyone on this planet, except for those who murder and rape people. Those two crimes are unforgivable in my eyes. It is okay for me to judge someone who has committed a heinous crime because their actions warranted it. If they were just average aw abiding citizens than I probably wouldn't have much to say about them. But isn't that the nature of judgment itself? Our own views and values is what makes us all different from each other, and what makes us look at each other differently. I am sure that the way I look at someone is much different than the way someone else would look at them. Perhaps that is what we need to stop from happening though. We need to live in a judgement free zone, than maybe the world would be a happier place, especially America. America truly is the most diverse country in the world. We are a nation of many backgrounds, all coming together to create a symphony of culture. Unfortunately, I do not believe our world is ready for its people to start suspending their judgement, which is nothing but sad.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

12 Cognitive Biases

The cognitive bias I chose to explore is neglecting probability. The example given is this: people are more likely to get into a vehicle knowing the risks than going on a plane. Why? For starters. cars have been around longer than airplanes. Maybe people see them as more reliable. Also, although you can die in a car crash, in the event of an plane crash, you are more likely to not survive. I believe that people rely on comfort-ability when choosing risks. Which risk are they more comfortable taking? According to social psychologist Cass Sunstein, this cognitive bias leads us to overstate seemingly harmless activities, and causes us to overate more dangerous ones. This affects public discourse in a number of ways. One side of the argument would be of the argument would be that we live in fear of what we don't know much about, such as being in an elevator accident as opposed to falling down a flight of stairs. The probability that you will fall down a staircase is much higher than getting into an elevator caused accident. But since many of us don't know too much about how elevators operate, we choose what we do know about. The other side of the argument would be that humans should be more educated and by being knowledgeable about many things will have a great impact on how we determine the probability of something. For example, someone that knows a lot about how elevators operate and their safety features would most likely choose to ride an elevator than walk down a flight of stairs, where the risk of falling and potentially breaking your neck is a concern. Also, the experiences we face mold our brains to thinks differently than someone who has not had the same experiences. For example, when I was 17 I wrapped my car around a light pole after sliding across the freeway going 75 miles per hour. This has dramatically changed the way I think about the safety of a vehicle. I am more comfortable on an airplane than I am driving a car. Someone that has not been in a car accident would trust the safety of a vehicle, I know I did. When driving a car, you put all the trust in yourself to not crash, and many people have complete faith in themselves.When riding on an airplane, all the trust goes into another person, the pilot. Because I do not trust my own ability to drive a car without ever crashing again, I would rather put that trust into an extremely capable pilot, because I know he has been professionally trained to operate a plane. I agree with the argument that we should be more knowledgeable about things in a general sense. Education is the key to preventing ignorance. Our world would be much more tolerant than it currently is. In the case of religion, if we can educate ourselves on the different religions of the world, we can learn to accept that everyone's beliefs are different but ultimately still valid. Unfortunately, people will always stick to what they know, and continue to neglect probability.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Battle Ground for America's Narrative

Because of HB2281, many Mexican American studies will be banned. Mexican American history plays a big role when learning about the history of America. For heaven sake, Mexico used to own part of our land. How are we to become knowledgeable about history if a big gap in it has formed? The title I selected from the banned MAS books was Zigzagger, written by M. Munoz. The book is essentially a collection of stories from the lives of Chicano characters. The stories do not reflect traditional myths and narratives of the community, but focus on the individual struggles of the characters. I believe the drama associated with these stories may have or may create a stronger sense of pity within the Chicano community, which is perhaps what led to it being banned.

Tony Diaz, author of "Every Book is Banned Book Week for Chicanos", believes that by teaching MAS, our government is promoting and encouraging Chicano culture in our country. I believe his argument is valid. Although America prides itself on being a country of different cultures, encouraging a single community such as the Mexican Americans, will promote the idea that they are strong, perhaps stronger than the government itself. Diaz says, "We are not afraid of Julius Caesar being called Julio, we are afraid that our next governor will." Powerful words.

Monday, September 22, 2014

In Defense of Slow Reading

In his article "In Defense of Slow Reading" Paul Davis weighs in on the transition occurring from traditional print reading to digital reading. Davis uses the term "slow reading" to distinguish between the act of reading and the actual comprehension of reading. What Davis means by slow reading is the skill of being able to read something, in its full depth. Davis believes that it is nearly impossible to perform slow reading on something in a digital medium, like reading a news article on your cell phone or tablet because of the amount of distractions that technology offers. I do, however, believe it is somewhat possible to engage in slow reading via technology, but as Davis said, it depends on the amount of distraction there is. I personally own an e-Reader, and the only thing that e-Reader can do is display books. However, reading on an iPhone is entirely different. Yes, you are reading it but do you really understand it? How long can you retain that information when the next thing you do is open an application? I believe the importance of slow reading is all about apperception. The information needs to be more than just read, it needs to register in your mind and cause you to think. My daily life would be drastically different without the availability of technology. Anything I want to see is in essence right at my fingertips. I have become so accustomed to the convenience of technology that I can't even remember what I did before my smart phone. Overall, Davis makes an extremely relevant argument.