Good

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If goodness is subjective, then goodness is dependent on the person.
There could be no goodness without people.
Saving humanity from destruction is saving goodness from destruction.

There CAN be objective truth without objective goodness, though.
But that doesn’t make objective truth objectively good.
The truth is often unpleasant, and one’s concept of goodness may hinge on what is pleasant.

However, learning the truth is the best strategy for saving humanity from destruction.
Any argument to the contrary would have to be both LEARNED and TRUE in order to be valid.

If your concept of good does not include maintaining the conditions for maintaining goodness, then your goodness is not sustainable and should rightfully die off.

I believe this is the closest one can rationally come to objective good:
To love the world. To give and receive the truth. To save the world. To protect the people.

Your Own Daughter!?

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I’ve been asked before, “Would you want your daughter to grow up to be a prostitute? ”

I think it’s worth answering considering I’ve stated in other channels that I’m in favor of legalization.

Right now, the answer to that question is a resounding “NO.” That may sound hypocritical, but here’s why I say that:

The key word here is “want.”
I wouldn’t want my daughter to be in ANY situation that presents a significant danger to her health, happiness, or well being.
I wouldn’t want to be the one to constantly worry about her well-being.
Assuming she’s not being forced against her will, or drugged…
The working conditions for people in that line of work are atrocious, and society offers very little protection for them. She’s likely to be beaten and taken advantage of physically and financially. Not to mention the emotional toll, most of society looks down on them as either evil or dupes, and will not approve.
And/or imprisoned… for example I’m all for weed legalization too, but I don’t want any kids of mine going to prison for it. That’s a whole new batch of worriment.
Obviously I wouldn’t WANT that for any kid of mine.

Of course I’d feel the same way if my kid grew up to work in a sweatshop, became a political prisoner, got involved in a relationship with someone emotionally unstable, if my son became an altar boy, or if my daughter joined the military. This is the reality right now.

At the same time I’d like to make strides away from this reality, but it will be this way for some time. None of those things HAVE to be the reality for people in these situation, but they are. I think things should be better for people who do these things, but they aren’t. I’d like to be in place where I didn’t have to worry about these things. This is NOT that place…

…but it could be.

Facebook Status on Education

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“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
~ John Lennon
    • Daniel Ballow The K-12 education doesn’t understand life, and doesn’t care if their students understand life.

They can’t as long as theirs no place to explore this statement. A philosophy class.

I think we’ve failed when school becomes about “getting a degree and getting a high paying job.”

17 hours ago · Like

 

  • Daniel Ballow I was apparently smart when I was younger, and people consoled my social isolation with the prospect of them working for me some day.

 

That idea never comforted me, and it still doesn’t.

17 hours ago · Like

 

  • Daniel BallowSchool has become about survival of the individual, rather then the survival of US, as a society, nation, and planet.

    17 hours ago · Like
  • Daniel Ballow Focus on learning and good grades will follow.
    Focus on studying and nigh-perfect grades will follow.

 

The two aren’t the same.
One is about the internalization of knowledge the other is about memorization.
Learning can happen while memorization does not.
Memorization can happen while learning does not.

Ideally, both will be happening.
Not usually the case. It depends on what matters to you.

17 hours ago · Like

 

  • Daniel BallowIf you’re willing to stress yourself with studying for even better grades.

    17 hours ago · Like
  • Daniel BallowI feel I have more important things to worry about.

    17 hours ago · Like
  • Daniel BallowLike the fate of the human race.

    17 hours ago · Like
  • Daniel Ballow All life as we know it.

 

Sexualization

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So let me get this straight:
When men measure their own self-worth by their sexual competence, then women are reduced to sexual capitol… okay, sure.

And when they measure a woman’s worth by her sexual competence, then she’s being reduced to a sex objection… sure, whatever.

if THIS is wrong… then let me ask:
What objective basis do we have for determining the right or wrong way to measure human worth?

What is the RIGHT way, then?

Money? Athletic prowess? Contribution to society? Job title? Level of education? Their ability to make you laugh? How well they adhere to your concept of morality?
Whatever you decide you run into a similar and different set of problems.

Wouldn’t we be better off scrapping the concept of esteem altogether?

Letter to Dr. Bennett about Philosophical Education

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Dr. Tony Bennett,

I strongly believe Philosophy should be offered as a required subject for elementary though high school students. Any basis for asserting otherwise needs some kind of philosophical justification. It’s a self-negating premise. Of course, like any other subject, lessons must be taught according to their level of understanding.

We have both lived in America long enough to know rational/logical thought is not guaranteed. Without rational thought and understanding as the centre of all areas of study, we have adults who can’t apply what they’ve learned, and perpetuating this generational hostility to the educational system as a whole.

We ask students over and over again “what do you want to be when you grow up?” This isn’t very easy to answer. When we ask a child this question, we’re asking what adult job, that they know very little about, captures their childhood imagination the most. When students become older, we begin to realize this question as more frightening implications. You’re asking high school students “What do you want to do with your life?” How can we possible expect students to examine this question without a forum to ask the big questions about life itself?

Remember what voting was to the women’s right movement?

It’s the right that, once acquired, would open the door to all the others. That’s what I feel about critical thought given to students. Once they can open their eyes and think, everything else will just be a mater of time. As long as we don’t have these classes readily available, we’re churning out irrational thinkers by the generation.

I’m not asking for an elective, I’m asking for a new centre, a new connecting point for ALL areas of study. I firmly believe that as long you have the power to make this readily available, and squander it, you would then be complicit in the existential degradation of the people we’re raising.

 

Without philosophy, there is no “free will.”

I hope this letter will open your mind to the choice you’re now faced with.

Indiana can set a new standard for education like you’ve always wanted.

 

The only question you’re left with is:

“Will it, or will it not?”

 

Thank you.

 

-Daniel Ballow

(I am a student of Ball State University majoring in English Education minoring in Philosophy.

I Graduated from Key Learning Community class of 2010)

Rape is a Horrible Crime, And…

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Every time I listen to/ read the stories of rape survivors, it’s usually their cultural, sociological, legal, or religious setting that MAKES it more emotionally devastating, and as such, is considered the worst crime in the world.

But upon realizing this… it occurred to me that’s it’s really each of US that makes it into what is is.

Just about every other crime where an attack/violation/exploitation/threat of violence/coercion occurs… doesn’t have this much bullsh*t attached.

Do you SEE what I’m getting at here? It’s OUR faults.

WE turn it into the worst thing in the world, and in doing so, inflict the worst thing in the world to the victims of this crime!

Then in making the perpetrators guilty of the worst crime in the world, nobody can objectively or compassionately examine why it happens, thereby leaving the reasons unexamined by anyone doesn’t think of them as not quite human, or by someone who is not out for blood. And letting it go on, and on, and on… unabated.

Don’t you get it!?

We’re WORSE than rapists!

What Came First?

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What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Neither. The process of laying eggs evolved from cellular division.

 

Anywho… lets apply my conclusion about “The Chicken and the Egg” to the “The Culture and the People.”

 

What came first, the culture or the person?

At once, people behaved in a way that was most advantageous for a certain circumstance, that “method” self-replicated when the group expanded, and remained and developed independently of the external circumstance.

Ideas, concepts, and systems, and processes are platonic, symbiotic life forms that use people to replicate.

When a species of “culture” evolves, it will condition the people within its sphere of influence for its own self-replication and expansion, but a culture can be killed, a culture can die…

 

…And most importantly, a culture can be an evolutionary dead end that will relentlessly drag the people into extinction with it.

 

That’s why the truth, rationality, communication, and education are so important to our survival…

Privilege

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       “The smallest minority on earth is the individual.” –Ayn Rand

 

In the context of the rest of Ayn Rand’s teachings, this was to run parallel to the idea that the individual should be held in consideration above all else. She was of the idea that institutionalized equality necessarily kept the able in chains, stifling their progress. On the contrary, I believe the strength of the enlightened individual can generate tectonic shifts in the world directly around him, for ill or for good, once he realizes the society is a brick house of individuals. I don’t like Ayn Rand’s teachings; I wouldn’t quote her unless it was extremely important.

 

When division is present, privilege will always be subjective. America may be one of the most prosperous nations, but we’re also one of the least happy, unappreciative, close-minded, and insulated nations. If truth is the greatest virtue, then isn’t the one who possesses it privileged regardless of how long he lives, how he makes ends meet, etc. With an optimist’s eyes, there can be an advantage to just about anything.

Now when I say these things, I do not mean to say oppression is non-existent. It’s a real pervasive force within a society and between individuals. However, oppression can never be eradicated if it goes mis-identified. I am not of the belief that societal division necessarily equates oppression. Real oppression, I believe, is precisely the “exaggerated” model initially presented in “The 5 Faces of Oppression.” That model of the conquered having the others will involuntarily imposed upon it. Such a state, or state of being, is the only truly, absolute non-privilege.

 

I am not in such a state, but I’ve felt marginalized my whole life. I am an alien, somehow, someway, though my parents love me, they are relatively socially retarded. The basic hi, bye, please, thank you, excuse me was all gotten to a T. What else was there? I sometimes joke, I’ve FELT alienated, but Clark Kent actually IS an alien. Imagine how he felt.

 

However, in my later years, understanding the mechanisms behind my lifelong frustrations have left me immune to their assigned power. Free to chose or deny that power at will. One of the few things my mother taught me that I hold close to this day, is that a culture can be wrong. Cultural rules reflect underlying assumptions about the nature of reality. Just as I am under no obligation to obey an unjust, written law, same can be said for unwritten ones.

 

It’s also put me in a very unique position to play with the old tropes in creative and exciting ways.

I have been the subject of racism before in my kindergarten years. Fellow student. I didn’t quake in my boots at the prospect of being put down, nor did I boil over in some Pavlovian response. My child’s mind just dismissed the stupidity of the event. Now that I have historical context in my adulthood, I wouldn’t have had myself react any other way.

 

My general deprivation of companionship had nothing to do with my race, class, gender, religion, age, sexuality, location, level of education, language, or marital status. (One could make the argument that my relationship status was a result of the other things.) I have been put in my position because I’m an individual, and for no other reason. Not as a black man, but as a person.

It’s been a privilege.

Superman: A Requiem of Steel

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Introduction

Superman created the precedent and template for the concept of “superhero” in 1938. Over time, he had developed into an American institution, a symbol, and a myth. To many, he is a kind face printed on children’s tightey-whiteys, a symbol of power, an inspirational, benevolent figure hovering in the skies that we are expected to “look up in the sky” toward.

But he is beyond many people’s reach. He is an untouchable, “unrelatable,” perfect demigod that no compelling story can be told with.

“Batman is way cooler.” I held this opinion for a while. He was the basic, pitiful Freudian childhood trauma that many more people can readily identify with, despite his questionable methods, vengefulness, and aristocracy.

As my reading of the DC Universe increased, however, my understanding of the heroes who stood alongside him did as well. I became “acquainted” with other heroes, and then realized Batman was not the world’s greatest superhero. Superman was.

I did not make this decision out of some elitist entitlement he procured from being the first or “most powerful” (he is not the most powerful by long shot), but because of the human being that is often overlooked in favor of the myth, legend, costume, smile, poses, powers, nationality, extraterritoriality, cape, and symbol. He is a super man. I wanted to make this abundantly clear to the reader.

DISCUSSION

Superman, despite his alien nature, is one of the most normal, emotionally well adjusted, and levelheaded of modern superheroes. His initial creation in 1938 saw him actively dealing with relevant issues of his time, like worker exploitation, domestic abuse, and mob violence (Ayoub, 2010). However, as times and editorial direction changed his battles grew more epic, dangerous, and large scale. His essentially human tale of individual potential, unrequited love, longing for acceptance, and anonymity is often overshadowed in the minds of the general public. (Darowski, 2008)

The Creators

Clark Kent’s love life was very evocative of his creator’s own longings. The Golden Age Clark Kent was depicted as a stuttering, cowardly, and extremely longing in his infatuation with Lois, whereas his behavior as Superman toward the admiring was a few snarls short of being brisk (Darowski). This was without a doubt, a self-indulgent, but very relatable, reversal of the situation. Jerry Siegel Admitted: “I had crushes on several attractive girls who either didn’t know I existed or didn’t care I existed,” he said. “It occurred to me: what if I had something going for me, like jumping over buildings or throwing cars around or something like that?” (Robert, 1996).

The Lois and Clark dynamic as been filtered throughout generations and writers. “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” portrayed two young, sexy, smart people who would melt in each others arms once their defenses fell, and Superman’s modern comic-book canon features a married Lois with full knowledge and access to his secret identity (Darowski).

 

The Death Of Superman

Ironically, Superman’s comic book writing team had to put off Lois and Clark’s wedding for a whole year to coincide with the tv show’s wedding, and the (in)famous “Death of Superman” storyline was to fill that gap (Timm, 2007). “The news that Superman is about to die has provoked anger and surprise, … from people who haven’t read his comic book adventures in decades(New York Times, 1992). Comic shops across the country had lines forming out of the door to buy Superman #75 (Bailey, 2002).

My initial search results almost contained at least one mention of this media sensation. Even completely unrelated news tried to jump on the potential deeper meaning of the event (Frank, 1992). He died defending Metropolis from the rampaging monster known only as Doomsday after a long drawn out fight across the country that ended at Metropolis (Jurgens, 1992). Though the story was emotionally resonant, his actual means of death reflected the increasing demand for dangerous physicality and alien, non-societal threats on the part of Superman (Timm).  The success of the story was also an indicator of how ingrained and valuable the character had become on America’s (and perhaps the world’s) collective consciousness.

Ironically the All-Star Superman was a non-canonical, but critically acclaimed storyline that exaggerated his powers, while killing him the process. The story of Superman’s epic trails his quickly risen to become one the most touching, celebrated Superman stories ever told, despite his newfound invulnerability to kryptonite and being able to lift several quintillion tons (Morrison, 2011). He had reached myth status (Rubin, 2006), and like many myths, would soon be time for him to be raised from the dead (Zinn, 1993).

 

Powers And Abilities

The audience is divided on whether Superman’s powers are inspirational (Kriegel, 2006), or a barrier to compassion on the part of the reader or critic. His powers have proven difficult to elicit a sense of peril from one whose main power is essentially the “lack of danger.” His apparent, Silver Age tendency to “juggle planets” is the most re-occurring criticism. (New York Times)

Keep in mind that Kryptonite of many shapes and colors was available in copious amounts in the Silver Age of comics (Niven, 1971). His powers in the right circumstances may allow Superman to be the ultimate power fantasy on the part of the audience. (Darowski). Grant Morrison suggested that Superman’s powers might serve to simply exaggerate his humanity and trails and triumphs that result from it.

When Superman walks his dog, Krypto, he may do it across the moon, “but he’s still walking the dog.” (2011)

Relevance

The issue of Superman’s relevance comes up from his critics (Frank). His power levels are often cited as a barrier suspense or peril, and his moral uprightness does not allow for as much dilemma as for more morally compromised heroes. Many even assert he does not even risk his life by engaging in super heroics (New York Times).

Superman’s more altruistic motives do not generate as much pity as Batman’s motives (Grossman, 2004). Not only this, but his mythic status and expectations put pressure on his current stories (Jennings, 2009). He is a difficult sell.

Heroic Ideal

As the heroic ideal changes, so does Superman. In his early days, Superman was very belligerent, threatening, and socially active (Ayoub). However, this changed as new writers came on board after the creators left the title (Darowski). Hegel might attribute this to gradual cohesion of different identities (Darkowski). Though he initially had no such problem, writers have taken extra steps to make sure he’s “humanized” especially after the 1980s (New York Times, 1992).

The Movie

Before his death in 1992, the 1978 Superman The Movie directed by Richard Donner and starring Christopher Reeve became a cherished a collective memory of the Superman myth unfolding that is to this day. In the introduction of Superman: Secret Origin (Johns & Frank, 2010), David S. Goyer admitted he waited several hours when he was 11 to secure tickets to opening night. After the movie, David resolved to one-day make comic book movies.

Goyer grew up to co-write Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. In 2010, Goyer was selected to write the reboot of the Superman film franchise. However, the sequels were less than stellar (Frank).  His likeness has become synonymous with Superman in the minds of many (Kriegel), so much so that artist Gary Frank may oft use his likeness in his artwork (Frank, 2010).

Reeve even played a pivotal role in the series, Smallville up until his death (Kate, 2005).

In 2008, Donner joined forces with his apprentice, the prominent superstar writer, Geoff Johns, on a story arc entitled Last Son. The story served to incorporate several film elements into the modern DC Universe canon, but introduced Superman’s adopted Kryptonian son, aptly named “Christopher Kent.”

Audience

Despite all of this, flaws have been more easily found in praiseworthy figures in recent times, despite their ever-presence (Niebuhr, 1921). In the intro to the Secret Origin (Johns), Goyer said stated, “He’s not someone the reader can readily identify with.” However, the idea of Superman that has taken the most hits, not the character himself (Grossman).

His death put several dents in the notion of the character’s infallibility in our collective consciousness, and even they agreed that he’d be more interesting upon his resurrection (New York Times).

Conclusion

The author of this paper believes Superman to be one of the most human, emotionally well-adjusted superheroes. However, his history belies the critiques, but underscore them with more uncomfortable humanity. The audience’s apparent preference for tragedy and moral degradation of the hero may say something about the reader’s presupposed relationship between himself and a fictional (superhero) character.

This presupposition may yet be satisfied by the Golden Age Superman’s overtly threatening tendencies as well as decreased power levels (his ability to leap tall buildings was the limit to his “flight” powers, initially). Grant Morrison has described the original as an “angry socialist.” But this is not to say the modern Superman lacks the potential for a compelling arc in light of the increased power and level-headedness.

“They were always wrong. Superman‘s greatest vulnerability isn’t from some meteor rock. It is from something far more human…
…his heart.”
–Batman (Loeb, 2005)

Our seemingly collective, American resistance to recognizing shared humanity, especially in its most stellar manifestation, speaks volumes of our readiness to discriminate outsiders.

Kara Zor-El: “You’re their champion. Bigger than life. No wonder the eyeglasses work– nobody would look for you dressed like them!”
Clark Kent: “Kara… There’s no them. It’s just us. (Loeb)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

(1992, October 4). When Superman Gets Boring. New York Times. p. 16. Retrieved from EBSCOhost..

Ayoub, N. C. (2010). Superman’s Staying Power. Chronicle of Higher Education, 56(23), B16. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Darowski, Joseph J. (2008). It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s .. synthesis: superman, clark kent, and hegel’s dialectic. Journal of Comic Art, 10(1), 461-470.

Enger, P. T. (2010). In Pineda R. (Ed.), The mediated hero: Superman in the post 9/11 era. United States — Texas: Communication. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/854508180?accountid=8483

FRANK, R. (1992, November 22). Term Limit for the Man of Steel: Yes, It’s Time for Him to Go. New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost..

Frisby, E. (1979). Nietzsche’s influence on the superman in science fiction literature. United States — Florida: The Florida State University. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/302900803?accountid=8483

GAUDIOSI, J. (2010). THE COMIC CONNECTION. Computer Graphics World, 33(10), 22-26. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Grossman, L., Lofaro, L., & Ressner, J. (2004). The Problem with SUPERMAN. Time, 163(20), 70-72. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Jennings, J. S. (2009). Understanding superheroes: Scholarship, superman, and the synthesis of an emerging criticism. United States — Arkansas: University of Arkansas. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304845434?accountid=8483

Jessica, S. (n.d). ‘Science of Superman’ breaks down his strengths. USA Today. Retrieved from EBSCOhost..

Johns, G., Donner, R., & Kubert, A. (2008). Superman: Last son. New York: DC Comics.

Johns, G., Frank, G., Sibal, J., Anderson, B., & Wands, S. (2010). Superman: Secret origin. New York, N.Y: DC Comics.

KATE, A. (2005, February 23). The Past Catches Up With a Future Superman. New York Times. p. 3. Retrieved from EBSCOhost..

Kirk, A. J. (2009). In Gray J. (Ed.), “Sometimes you’ll feel like an outcast”: Using superman to interrogate the closet. United States — Illinois: Speech Communication. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304996382?accountid=8483

Kriegel, L. (2006). Superman’s Shoulders: On the Healing Power of Illusion. In , Southwest Review (pp. 258-267). Southern Methodist University. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Liu, S., Page, B., Timm, B., McDuffie, D., LaPaglia, A., Asner, E., Denton, J., … Warner Bros. Entertainment. (2011). All-star Superman. Burbank, Calif.: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Loeb, J., Turner, M., & Steigerwald, P. (2005). Superman, Batman: Supergirl. New York, NY: DC Comics.

Niebuhr, R. R. (1921). Heroes and Hero Worship. Nation, 112(2903), 293-294. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

ROBERT McG. THOMAS, J. r. (1996, January 31). Jerry Siegel, Superman’s Creator, Dies at 81. New York Times. p. 6. Retrieved from EBSCOhost..

Rubin, L., & Livesay, H. (2006). Look, up in the sky! Using superheroes in play therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 15(1), 117-133. doi:10.1037/h0088911

Sternlieb, J. L. (2006). Review of: It’s a Bird… Families, Systems, & Health, 24(3), 353-354. doi:10.1037/1091-7527.24.3.353

Timm, B., Capizzi, D., Montgomery, L., Vietti, B., Baldwin, A., Heche, A., Marsters, J., … Warner Home Video (Firm). (2007). Superman: Doomsday. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video.

Zinn, L. (1993). IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE — IT’S A RESURRECTION. BusinessWeek, (3314), 40. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Thoughts on Philosophy Club Meeting: On Marxism

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Liberalism, as I understand it, is a response to the pervasive status quo.
Obviously, as people develop, or think we’ve advanced, is reflected in how we change over time.

The individual change is a natural condition.
Ideology follows material. Out brains generate concepts are generated to contain or comprehend what we observe.
But we’ve collectively observed that materials are mutable, while some things apparently aren’t, like the laws of physics and whatnot. Human thought is mutable, as a result, so are the actions they generate.
In relation to society (organized human interaction)s, and politics (modes of organization).
As such, various animal behaviors reflect a certain socialogical mold.
The individual can be the pebble in an avalanche.

If classism came about through necessity and practicality, then how or why are they to ever be dissolved?
Personally, I don’t think classism was ever necessary. Just about ANY logically inconsistent idea or notion can be used practically.
What circumstances does he believe made it necessary?

“It’s difficult to pull yourself by your bootstraps when you don’t have any bootstraps.”

Isn’t for art’s sake an end in itself?

I’ll refrain from commenting on Communism until it actually comes about.

Isn’t Capitalism more like a vampire than a parasite? With the head vampire and everything?

I would argue that a greedy or slothful person has existential needs that aren’t being met.

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