well, maybe they don’t try. they just sound like they’re trying to sound smart.
i’m talking, of course, about high school english classes. you know, those places where everyone is supposed to be some kind of intellectual, studying literature and poetry and rhetoric and whatnot. maybe it’s a product of the environment. we all have fun with our little intellectual tea parties.
the problem, though, is that we aren’t intellectually mature. we don’t really know jack shit about philosophy, or the ethical considerations of debate topics, or how to even legitimately argue a point. most of us, anyway. what do most of us even know about the topic we’re arguing? in a synthesis essay, we get a limited number of sources on a topic that we might hardly know anything about, and are asked to write a complete composition with a well-constructed opinion in the most ridiculous frame of time. we’re still learning about the world and forming our opinions about it, and here we are trying to argue for or against one side or another.
so why do we try? it seems like we don’t even have solid opinions half the time. here are some of the words that worm their way into our half-assed discussions: “almost,” “kind of (like),” “in a way,” “in a sense,” “maybe,” etc. everything sounds fake, or detached, or at least void of any real thought/emotion/consideration. does anyone really care? probably not. but we try to sound smart about it anyway. we’re expected to.
we’re expected to sound smart. to act more mature than we are. to grow up, and prepare to enter that stage of life that, once upon a time, was supposed to prepare us for adulthood. it’s a stupid thing. most of the adults don’t talk like high school english students in a superficial discussion. not even high school english teachers.
but what can we do about it?
…if anyone knew, maybe things wouldn’t be this way. who knows.
heroes&villains + mobile suits + inception = the fate of the world
i’m fighting alongside a number of comic book heroes. batman, superman, and the riddler stick out in my memory. the situation is dire. for whatever reason, i have traded suits with the enemy. well, mine was pretty useless anyway.
the riddler is out of commission. the enemy’s weapons have sent him spiraling into the dream world. i go into his dream to bring him out.
the place seems like a prison, except flooded with water. i wade through it and call out to him. seeing a claw-like mechanism hanging from the ceiling, i thrust my arms upward.
the riddler floats over in the most preposterous position, his legs twisted over his head, his arms thrust between them. “you declare surrender? i’ve found a fool!” and, as he lifts me into the air, “friend, or foe?”
i answer, “maybe a little bit of both.” i crack my head to his in full force, waking us both from the dream. outside, chaos has broken loose.
the enemy is on a rampage in my mobile suit. looks like it wasn’t so useless, after all. the thing is equipped with all sorts of dangerous weapons. high-powered lasers and missiles are flying out. i dash forward to engage with him. his lasers punch holes in my armor and cut it to ribbons. i can hear the metal crunching.
i’m on the run from zombies on a bike, holding a baseball bat, trying to get out of town. suddenly, i die. it turns out it was just a game… i start preparing gear to escape in case of an actual zombie invasion. clothes, money, possible weapons. suddenly, i wake up in bed. there’s a knock on the door. transport’s here. rush upstairs to get dressed. and then i wake up again.
Lack of motivation. A talent is irrelevant if a person is not motivated to use it. Motivation may be external (for example, social approval) or internal (satisfaction from a job well-done, for instance). External sources tend to be transient, while internal sources tend to produce more consistent performance.
Lack of impulse control. Habitual impulsiveness gets in the way of optimal performance. Some people do not bring their full intellectual resources to bear on a problem but go with the first solution that pops into their heads.
Lack of perseverance and perseveration. Some people give up too easily, while others are unable to stop even when the quest will clearly be fruitless.
Using the wrong abilities. People may not be using the right abilities for the tasks in which they are engaged.
Inability to translate thought into action. Some people seem buried in thought. They have good ideas but rarely seem able to do anything about them.
Lack of product orientation. Some people seem more concerned about the process than the result of activity.
Inability to complete tasks. For some people nothing ever draws to a close. Perhaps it’s fear of what they would do next or fear of becoming hopelessly enmeshed in detail.
Failure to initiate. Still others are unwilling or unable to initiate a project. It may be indecision or fear of commitment.
Fear of failure. People may not reach peak performance because they avoid the really important challenges in life.
Procrastination. Some people are unable to act without pressure. They may also look for little things to do in order to put off the big ones.
Misattribution of blame. Some people always blame themselves for even the slightest mishap. Some always blame others.
Excessive self-pity. Some people spend more time feeling sorry for themselves than expending the effort necessary to overcome the problem.
Excessive dependency. Some people expect others to do for them what they ought to be doing themselves.
Wallowing in personal difficulties. Some people let their personal difficulties interfere grossly with their work. During the course of life, one can expect some real joys and some real sorrows. Maintaining a proper perspective is often difficult.
Distractibility and lack of concentration. Even some very intelligent people have very short attention spans.
Spreading oneself too think or too thick. Undertaking too many activities may result in none being completed on time. Undertaking too few can also result in missed opportunities and reduced levels of accomplishment.
Inability to delay gratification. Some people reward themselves and are rewarded by others for finishing small tasks, while avoiding bigger tasks that would earn them larger rewards.
Inability to see the forest for the trees. Some people become obsessed with details and are either unwilling or unable to see or deal with the larger picture in the projects they undertake.
Lack of balance between critical, analytical thinking and creative, synthetic thinking. It is important for people to learn what kind of thinking is expected of them in each situation.
Too little or too much self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence can gnaw away at a person’s ability to get things done and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, individuals with too much self-confidence may not know when to admit they are wrong or in need of self-improvement.
Content from Sternberg, R. (1994). In search of the human mind. New York: Harcourt Brace.
I gotta make this a poster on my wall or something. Either that or I could just redefine failure and feel better about myself.
here i will detail a brief list, in no particular order, of the many things you can find yourself doing when you really should be doing other things, such as homework. this is by no means a legitimate attempt to think up a thousand and one ways to waste time. it’s just a way for me to waste time.
1. thinking up a thousand and one ways to waste time.
2. putting together a list of these things in a blog.
3. checking facebook constantly, even when there’s nothing really to check or anyone to talk to.
4. making status updates every couple of minutes.
5. checking the weather constantly, especially when you’re hoping for rain.
6. making status updates about the weather.
7. organizing/correcting information in your itunes library.
for a change of pace, i’ve decided to update this little blog with different kinds of posts/journals. the one you see here is the random memory journal, simply because a random memory happened to cross me today. i was gobbling down gumballs (where from? don’t ask) when i remembered an episode from my childhood.
i remember having a small, plastic shovel when i was very young, maybe three or four years old. it was a colorful little thing, but the most striking thing about it was its clear plastic shaft, which contained three small, plastic balls: red, yellow, and blue. now that i think about it, the colorful design was probably meant to stimulate toddlers. unfortunately, i had somehow come to the conclusion that those colorful balls were, in fact, gumballs, and constantly tried to get them out. well, eventually i did, only to find that they weren’t edible! and that i had broken a very nice toy, although i had never taken much interest in it other than for those “gumballs.”