Throwback Thursday: Certainty and Doubt Essay

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


Certainty: To be absolute and steadfast in belief, in oneself or the world at large.     Doubt: To be skeptical or waver in belief, in oneself or the world at large. Parallels in definition. When there is absolute certainty, there is no doubt, but if the absence of doubt was not quantified, then to be certain would not exist either. Each cannot stand alone, they exist in relation to one another. A certain fact is only concrete when all doubt has been extinguished; opinions cannot be certain if even minimal doubt exists in one mind. Two sides of the same coin: That is the relationship between certainty and doubt, because neither can exist without the other; existing in the spaces between each other.

Without the concept of doubt, there would be no certainty. Without the ability to be certain, there would be no need to name the concept of doubt. Just as without darkness, the concept of light would not exist. If only darkness were to exist, it would not be darkness, it would simply be the way things were, likewise, light is comparative. If darkness did not exist, light would need not be named either. There are in inverse-relation. Similar is the existence of certainty and doubt; you can have both simultaneously to varying degrees, or one entirely, but you are always aware of the other’s existence, or potential for existence. You can be mostly certain, with lingering doubt, you can be mostly doubtful with faith in some minor degree of certainty, but the capacity for the other to take over is what gives meaning to the quantification of either.

The theory of gravity was held in doubt for a long time; how could we be certain of something we could not see? We need not be certain of the concept of gravity, as whether or not we are, we have no doubt on whether things will fall. The doubt of gravity was tested vigorously, and when the result stayed consistent – an apple falls, everything eventually falls – most of that doubt was replaced by certainty, the certainty that gravity exists because its physical manifestation is consistent, but there is always a minuscule, lingering doubt, as gravity with never be tangible thing; hence the “theory of gravity” because termed a theory. We are able to be certain, because you understand said certainty in relation to past doubt. Certainty and doubt are co-dependent concepts.

Nothing in this world exists in a vacuum. Just as day does not exist without night, certainty and doubt, as opposites – two sides of the same coin – exist in relation to the other. Certainty and doubt are a zero sum equation – you cannot become more certain without becoming less doubtful as well, or vise-versa. They either co-exist, or neither exists, each defined by the absence or potential presence of the other.


 

Throwback Thursday – Argumentative Essay: Distinction Between Disagreement and Dissent

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


Democracy is founded on the view that the majority is “right”. Inherent to this, is the presence of opposing viewpoints – the minority is heard, acknowledged, and compromised with – but the majority wins out. The key to democracy with these opposing views, is allowing for disagreement – which can further progress and change through compromise between differing views – but not allowing disagreement to fester into dissent, where there is an irrevocable separation of views and an unwillingness to compromise on opposing ideals, putting discussion and progress at an impasse; creating a minority unwilling to concede to the majority, a view inherently against democracy. This distinction between disagreement and dissent can be seen throughout American history, and has further implications in modern political discourse.

This distinction can be seen throughout American history; take for example, the discussion of slavery throughout early American history. Originally, slavery incited disagreements between states, on both its legality and on slave representation, but disagreements can still foster an environment of peace and encourage democracy, as compromises can be made. Compromises such as the 3/5ths compromise which brokered peace between the Northern and Southern states concerning slave population representation – in that for every 5 slaves, 3 would be added to the state’s population count, increasing the number of votes in the House of Representatives – and The Missouri Compromise, which certified slavery legal in the south and illegal in the north – by establishing all territory and states south of the 36’ parallel open to slavery, and all territory north closed to slavery. Each of these compromises appeased the citizens and politician for a time, allowing other legislature to be focused on, furthering industry, commerce, and other governmental powers. Compromises such as these allowed for society and the country to progress economically, politically and socially despite disagreement, as progress should as interstate commerce and railroads became possible. Disagreements can foster democracy. However, as the growing tensions of slavery were ignored from the 1820’s to 1840’s, disagreements began to brew into dissent. Fighting broke out, manifesting as both pseudo-war in “Bleeding Kansas” – a skirmish between pro- and anti- slavery groups looking to claim the Kansas territory as a future slave or free state in their favor, leading directly up to the Civil War – and in a public caning in congress, legislature could not be passed, it was too late to make a compromise, Southern states seceded, and The Civil War broke out. By the time the country had split, and southern politicians had defected to form their own government, neither compromise nor peace was possible. Dissent pervaded quickly, nearly tore the nation apart, and for several years, democracy and the entire country were in jeopardy. While disagreement over slavery could build a nation despite it, dissent destroyed said nation.

After The Civil War, dissent atrophied back into disagreement. Southern states were brought back to the Union, eliminating the key element of total separation common for dissent, in order to come back to, rather than dissent, a state of disagreement. Things weren’t perfect, but even a state of extreme prejudice and disagreement enabled great changes and progress. Throughout this time, the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were able to be passed – granting rights to African Americans, such as the end of slavery, citizenship with its full protections, and the right to vote. While this may not have been unanimously agreed on, the state of disagreement still functioned in society, evening allowing for reconstruction to take place in the South, building up industry and infrastructure. The overall progress able to be achieved in disagreement is seen cumulatively in the Civil Rights Act. The nation was divided on issues of segregation and civil liberties for people of color, compromises made for the induction of the south back to the union nearly 100 years prior. Had groups allowed themselves to stay separated, had further sequestered themselves politically, not rights would have been accomplished in such dissent, but in disagreement, there is an inherent fight to reach an agreement, and that agreement eventually was The Civil Rights Act of the 1960’s. The key is, that despite continued racial tensions and presence of the same opposing views as before The Civil War, the country was no longer in a state where all communication between viewpoints has broken down into dissention. Disagreements can still allow for a healthy society and progress, but dissention can kill it.

Even today, political discourse is common. Disagreements, especially the heartier ones, may not be enjoyable, but they are preferable to complete dissent. Disagreements, major or minor, are still reconcilable by nature. It is when disagreements are allowed to fester, and views allowed to polarize, to the extent of dissent, that there is an issue, because once a point of dissent is reached, it is very difficult to reign it in, and reach a state of peace once more, as normal methods of problem solving are rendered useless, and compromise inviable. Dissent is a progression of disagreement, left to an untamable extreme. While contention is never favorable, democracy can thrive in disagreement, its “life-blood” (per. Daniel Boorstin), but is choked off in dissent. When disagreements are left unchecked, or ignored, they may segue into dissent, where either side may become so entrenched in their ideal, that any original willingness to compromise may fade, leading to dissent and halting progress, breaking down the avenue by which democracy functions: compromise.

 

Throwback Thursday: 2009 – Inventor Report

I asked what feature people wanted me to bring back and one that came up was Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.

 


 

Ruth Graves Wakefield has earned her place as one of America’s famous women inventors.  She might not be the most famous inventor but she created one of the most popular American snacks.  The chocolate chip cookie was her invention.  The chocolate chip cookie was not her only invention.  This little chocolate chip that was created accidentally then created one of America’s largest cookie companies.

It was June 17, 1903 the day Ruth Graves Wakefield was born. It appears as if her childhood was unremarkable and there are no biographies.  It is known that Ruth went to school at Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924.  She was a dietitian and lectured about foods.  Her husband’s name was Kenneth Wakefield. During her life Ruth lived in an inn named Toll House.  In the 1930’s her husband bought a tourist lodge and named it Toll House in Whitman, Massachusetts.  Toll House was originally built in 1709.  It was named Toll House since historically this is where passengers used to pay their tolls.  Ruth cooked all the meals and became famous for her cooking and especially her desserts.

Ruth created many desserts at the inn.  The delicious and now famous chocolate chip cookie was created completely accidentally.  One day Ruth was making her favorite Butter Drop Do cookies but was out of baker’s chocolate.  Ruth decided to use cut up pieces of semi-sweet chocolate instead from a bar of Nestle chocolate. Later on these pieces of chocolate would be known as chocolate chips.  Ruth expected that the chocolate would melt into the dough in order to make chocolate cookies.  Instead soft chocolate chip cookies came out of the oven.  Later on these cookies were called Toll House Cookies after Ruth’s inn.

These new cookies were popular with the guests at Toll House and the recipes were even printed in a Boston newspaper.  This lead to the sales of semi-sweet chocolate bars increasing and it caught the attention of Andrew Nestle.  Once the cookies became famous Ruth and Andrew Nestle (of the Nestle Company) made a deal.  Nestle would print her recipe on their cover of all their semi-sweet chocolate bars.  In return Ruth would receive a lifetime supply of chocolate.  Due to these new partnership sales of the semi-sweet chocolate “went through the roof”.  In 1939 Nestle started making semi-sweet chocolate morsels especially for the chocolate chip cookie.

During this time Ruth wrote a book called Toll House Tried and True Recipes in 1940 at the age of 37. This book held most of her original recipe secrets. The book also went through thirty-nine printings.  Ruth also enjoyed her success until she retired.  Ruth retired in Duxbury, Massachusetts.  Ruth and Kenneth then sold the Toll House in 1966 and new owners turned it into a nightclub for a time.  However, in 1970 another owner turned it back into an inn and back to its original form. Then on New Year’s Eve 1984 seven years after Ruth’s death Toll House burnt down.  Sadly, Toll House burned down in a fire started in the kitchen.  It is now a historical landmark.  In its place there is a Walgreen’s pharmacy and a Wendy’s restaurant.

Ruth Wakefield later died on January 10, 1977 at the age of 73.  There are not many biographies about her early life but the tradition of publishing her recipe on the back of each Nestle Toll House chocolate bar package is still honored today.  Ruth Wakefield was a great cook; an inventor and she created one of American’s favorite cookies, the chocolate chip cookie.  Ruth was also a dietician, innkeeper and businesswoman who entered into business with Nestle.  Even though Ruth died almost 32 years ago her cookie has been “alive” for almost 70 years and will never die.

The chocolate chip cookie is not the first invention you think of when asked about famous inventions.  Most people might not even know who Ruth Wakefield is.  However, almost everyone has tasted the chocolate chip cookie at one time.  Ruth Wakefield and her invention are proof the accidents are not always bad and can taste really good.  They are also proof that anything can be an invention and anyone can be an inventor.

Throwback Thursday – Argumentative Essay: Disobedience

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


Progress comes with time, but only when catalyzed by humans. One catalyst can be disobedience. Disobedience can be anything from small defiances to nation’s rebellions, not on the individual scale, but on the global scale, on the societal one. Society must change society; one individual cannot alone create progress. Progress is by definition a large scale shift, so for disobedience to ring out progress, it must be large scale, and not for the sake of disobedience, but with a purpose.

Humans are social creatures, and social progress can only come with large shifts, not small ones. Disobedience on its own, cannot be a virtue, but can be used for virtuous means; to bring about societal change in the use of large scale disobedience. Take, for example, the American revolution. Today, the revolution is celebrated as the birth of democracy, the birth of America – a nation that prides its self on progress. Though at its inception, the revolution was nothing more than a disobedience of the colonies to its authority, Britain. If only a handful of individuals had lead said disobedience – had participated in the rebellion, it would have been labeled treason, and the only change to come would have been the swift downfall of the colonies. But, as a large scale disobedience, as a rebellion, as a revolution, ideas expressed – of democracy, of freedom – can spread in society, and produce social change, create progress.

Progress is not wrought by single disobediences. A single disobedience is punishable, ignorable. For example, if one person, alone, protests a company or business practice, it is easily ignored. If many people boycott a company, then the company changes its ways or falls to ruins: progress. If one person protests a law or ruling they are imprisoned. If a significant number of people begin to protest a law, then new representatives are elected, and legislature is changed in accordance: progress is made. Disobedience is only virtuous if it incites progress, and progress can only come about when it is wanted, society moves in the direction of the mentality of the majority. So for progress to follow disobedience, disobedience must be, if not on the majority scale, then on a scale large enough to influence the majority, if not, it is a single act of incorrigible behavior, something that, at its core disrupts society, disrupts the current status quo without the introduction of a new path, and thus, not aiding progress at all. Disobedience with a goal can create progress, without a goal, disobedience disrupts society to the point where progress cannot be made, when unity of any scale can no longer be achieved. Society requires some degree of cohesion, while a large scale disobedience can shift society towards progress, small scale disobediences can destroy that societal cohesion, and impede progress when the majority becomes frightened of an unknown status quo.

In terms of disobedience and progress, the ends justify the means. It is the progress achieved that renders disobedience able to be labeled a “virtue” – only in particular instances. Disobedience is not inheritably virtuous or valuable, nor generally celebrated, but as with most human acts, it has its place, and is imbibed with value by its uses and abuses.

 

Throwback Thursday: Rhetorical Analysis – Mary Ann Shadd Cary / Newspaper

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


Racial prejudice and abolition: two of the most contentious political discussions in American history, and never more so than in the years leading up to the American civil war. Mary Ann Shadd Cary, an abolitionist and African-American herself, at a time when being so made you sub-human, established a newspaper for her people, advocating for the abolitionist cause. Using abolition as a focal point, Cary establishes a need for her newspaper “The Provincial Freeman” with contentious word choice that invokes imagery of the natural body and drawing its connection to natural rights, and by drawing a clear line from the want for abolition to the need for the newspaper by establishes that, if African-Americans wanted to be freed, they must make themselves fit to be so in their own eyes and in the eyes of Americans.

The imagery and double meaning in Cary’s word choice furthers her point both for abolition, and in extension, the necessity for the newspaper. Beginning with “[a] need for an organ” (line 1), Cary conveys a need for her people to speak out for themselves – which the newspaper would provide – with imagery of the natural body, an idea parallel to the natural rights denied to them back home [America]. This language continues throughout the editorial, with phrases such as “mouthpiece” (line 14) and “discharge our duties” (line 21), “discharge” is a word not generally used in such a context, but links the need to act as “freemen” to the natural born right to be free.

Cary also establishes a need for the newspaper by making it clear that “none of the papers… [in the US] answer our purpose” (line 41-42). The purpose being, working towards abolition. If editors in America will “be of little service to [them]” (line 54), then they “must allow our fellow subjects to know what we are and what we want” (line 12-13). She makes it clear to the readers that if they wish to one day be free they must “discharge the duties of freedmen” (line 18), essentially, they must act as if they are equal, and work towards the goal themselves, or forever go unrealized, and a newspaper is a way to work towards their own rights and freedom. Cary summarizes this view neatly in the end, saying “we have a paper because we think we need one” (line 55-56).

America was built as a land of equality, a land of the free, but for much of its history, both equal rights and freedom were denied to significant portion of the population. When this hypocrisy was in the political forefront, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, an abolitionist and African-America herself, established a newspaper to work towards freedom and equality for her people. She established a need for her paper with word choice invoking imagery to the natural body, drawing as a parallel to natural rights, and by maintaining that, if they wish to one day be free, they must both prove they can be so, and work towards it themselves.

 

 

THE VALENTINE’S DAY WRITE TAG!

I wasn’t tagged for this, but I saw it over at Drizzle and Hurricane Books and thought it looked like a lot of fun.

I’ve mentioned it before, but if you don’t know I want to be an author. I have a handful of WIPs in varying stages. The most I’ve done is about 17k of a WIP I’ve titled “Disheartened”.


RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you but also link back to the original post!
  • Provide a short description of your WIP/story!
  • You can check out this post to find out more about Arcadia!
  • Don’t use just one character for all answers if possible!

Short Description

Morgan is a Disheartened, his heart was taken as an infant and as a result he can’t feel emotion, and he can’t find his soulmate. At 18, he’s decided he is done with his father’s life of piracy and sets out to find his heart and his soulmate in a kingdom where magic is outlawed. He meets Kell, a magic dealer who wants revenge for his father’s death – killed by Morgan’s father, and Thea, the princess who runs away after discovering her own magic.


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

If there is a couple in your WIP, what are their plans for Valentine’s Day?

And if there is no couple in your WIP, is there someone your main character would like to spend Valentine’s Day with?

I don’t think my main couple would be super into Valentine’s day. Well would probably be ironically into it to embarrass Morgan though.


Who has no shame about going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day alone?

I don’t think any of them would have any shame – though they’d probably make it a group thing. Thea would probably roll her eyes on Morgan and Kell a lot.


One of your characters requests a song on the radio for their crush! Which song and for which character would they pick ?

Not romantic really but

Trouble by Sleeping with Sirens would probably remind Kell of Morgan.


Is there a character who would organise an Anti-Valentine’s Day party?

Morgan after the end of the book would probing not be able to deal with Valentine’s day AT ALL and try to rebel against it. Kell and Thea would humor him but turn it into a Valentine’s party.


What romantic gesture would swoon your main character?

Honestly Morgan would try to kill someone if they tried to be all romantic.


Which character would buy a bunch of red roses and hand them out to strangers on the street, just to make their day?

Thea, 1000%.


What are your main character’s favourite Valentine’s movies?

(Note: Valentine’s movies don’t have to be romantic!)

Morgan would like:

Kell would like:

Thea would like:


Who is ready for the February 15th, just to get all the chocolate on sale?

Kell 1000%.


Is there a character who never spends Valentine’s Day alone aka always has some sort of date?

I guess Prince Klaus would fit this the best. He’s kind of smarmy, and he’s the prince that is betrothed to Thea.


Bonus:

Create a Valentine’s Day aesthetic for one or several of your characters!

So, I guess I’ll make an aesthetic for Morgan since he’s my protagonist.


Tag:

Casey @ Adopt-a-Book-AUS

B @ Icebreaker694

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

The Orangutan Librarian

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

Roses Book Nook

Throwback Thursday: Argumentative Essay Value of Public Opinions

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


In America today, information and opinions can reach millions in minutes, the spread of information has never been easier; though for much of history this was not the case – the spread of information was limited to personal interactions and letters – opinions could not be easily shared.  This changes the access to, and role of, opinions in America – it does not change their worth. Opinions, ideas, thoughts, information all have worth – even if not equal in weight or worth – in a democratic nation like America. In fact, the first amendment protects the freedom of speech and expression, every opinion may not be correct or agreeable but every opinion carries worth by fostering democratic values – every voice given a chance to be heard.

Democracy relies on equal consideration to all, and acquiescence to the majority. But the majority cannot truly be found if not all voices can be heard –  this makes all opinions worthwhile in furthering democracy. This is why the very first amendment made to the constitution ensured free speech. When information and opinions spread, more can be learned. The opinion of the majority can shift – as history shows it does – on the grand scale, to progress. Accessibility of information has always been important, even back in world War One with FDR’s Freedom of Information Act – the keeping of information and opinions aids no one. If an opinion is wrong or infactual, by being voiced and listening to other voices, progress is made as people can learn. When wrong or unfavorable opinions are not allowed to be expressed, there can be a bias – progress can standstill when discussion is curtailed. Those with factually wrong opinions never have a chance to be corrected and wrong information continues to fester and influence. Though often, there is no possible objective truth, the truth in democracy is the will of the majority – which cannot be reached if all opinions are not considered worthwhile, even if to varying degrees, no opinion is worthless.

The first amendment shows a central tenant of democracy – if public opinions are stifled, democracy is stifled. But there are always considerations to be made – some statements are not permitted by the freedom of speech, as established by the supreme court with the “clear and present danger” clause – you cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater for example because of a physical safety hazard. With public opinions, there is a greater threat in preventing opinions than in allowing them. Especially in today’s world where opinions are shared on social media – physical safety is not the primary concern. Whether an opinion is personally deemed worthwhile or not, in general, public opinions are worth something because they further the conversation and can influence or add to change the majority – which is how democracy functions. By allowing the spread of ideas, the change of ideals, and the voices of all to determine the majority is how democracy functions.

Public statements of opinion have differing value based upon the value assigned by the person hearing the opinion – but all opinions do have value, have worth – even if not equal worth. They have worth, because every voice must be heard – allowed to speak – for democracy to function – because hearing every voice is how the majority is found and allowing every voice to be heard is one of democracies central tenants.