30DPC Day 30: Why I’m me

30. Why are you you?

I am me because of my parents. Because of the good and bad decisions they made. Because they let me study overseas, because they brought me back home. I am me because of my brother and the friends he made.

I am me because of the teachers I loved and the teachers I hated; I am me because of the teachers that made me hate math and economics and history – and the ones that made me love english and literature and geography and biology. I am me because of the school systems.

I am me because of the toys I played with and the video games I played. I am me because of my imagination from playing with Barbie dolls and soft toys, of creating imaginary scenarios and building forts out of giant books and chairs and tables. I am me because of Pokemon Blue. I am me because of hide and seek and playing chase and building sandcastles. I am me because of the friends I surrounded myself with and the hobbies we had, such as reading and gymnastics and swimming and loving horses. I am me because of the movies I watched when I was young, Balto and The Swan Princess.

I am me because of all the books I read by Dianne Wynn Jones and Tamora Pierce and J.K. Rowling.

I am me because of insecurities, because of growing up, because of being stupid and foolish and ignorant and lost. I am me because I found myself again.

I am me because I stuck to the things I loved, like literature, and kind people and music.

I am me because of all these things.

And that concludes my 30 Day Philosophy Challenge!

Till next time,

cumuloq <3

30DPC Days 23 – 29: Philosophy speed run!

Hi guys!

So I missed out on a lot of the day for the 30 Day Philosophy Challenge and I realise that tomorrow will be the last day of it! I’m not too sure what’s happening on Rhey of Sunshine’s end, but I’ll do my best in this one post to answer questions 23 to 29 for today so that I’ll be up to date.

While these answers may lack quite a bit of quality to them, I hope that they are still straightforward enough answers, and decent enough answers for the following seven days (that’s a week of pondering that I need to catch up on!)

I would have liked to spend more time on them, but unfortunately the schedule I have going for me just won’t permit it. So prepare yourself for a philosophy speed run!

23. You’ve been given access to a time machine. Where and when would you travel to? What would you do?

I would probably travel ten years into the future, only to just see what it is like then. I would probably not do anything to affect the outcome of it, but I’d probably just watch a whole lot of movies, read a whole lot of books (and bring some back for my amusement) and read a bunch of news headlines.

24. What is the absolute hardest thing about staying alive?

Honestly, I had a point of time in my life where it was absolutely difficult to stay alive – and I guess my answer would be because of that experience. The hardest thing about staying alive is having things in your life that you just don’t care about and having to force yourself to pretend to care. Sometimes the hardest things include having to deal with the superficial pretences of society, i.e. I don’t care about earning money, I don’t want to compete with you and your materialistic needs and social statuses, I don’t care about what you think of me and I just want to do what I want to do. Sometimes not being able to do the things you really want to do is the hardest thing of staying alive.

25. How would you live your life if you had a week to live? 

I would quit my job. I would persuade my friends to take off days. We would fly to Universal Studios Florida and spend the entire time exploring the place and going on rides. I know, I’m a generic Make A Wish Foundation kid.

26. Humans are about to colonise a new planet. If you could offer them only one piece of advice, what would it be?

To never forgo love of life, art and family for progress.

27. The world is ending, and you can save one group of five people: who would be the five people that you save?

I’m 100% (and more) sure that I won’t be given this task, ’cause I’ll massively screw up, but my choice would be: Angela Merkel, Bill Gates, Malala Yousafzai – and honestly my last two choices are just to ensure procreation, but I feel bad by naming anyone here because it sounds so weird – but insert your real life OTP here. I’d probably choose Zalfie.

28. As a hyper intelligent pan-dimensional being, what is the ultimate question, the life, the universe and everything?

Why?

29. Are you the same person you were before starting this challenge?

No, I am so much more tired – but not specifically from this challenge.

And that’s all! My answers were honestly rushed. But that’s the best I can do to catch up.

Tomorrow will be the last day of this challenge. In retrospect I felt like I didn’t do a great job of it. But hey, life sometimes gets in the way.

Till tomorrow,

cumuloq <3

30DPC Day 22: My ultimate escape plan …

22. What would be your ultimate escape plan?

This question is kind of ambiguous, but I kind of gather that it means my ultimate escape plan from the world I’m currently living – if it all becomes too much.

Well, one of the first things I’d probably do is to activate my Mastercard to be acceptable overseas. ‘Cause my definite plan would be to take a flight out. I’d probably pack a simple backpack of things. I have the aptitude to pack everything I need within fifteen minutes. One of the things I’d probably do is to camp out at a McDonalds or at the airport if it’s late at night. Then activate my card the next morning and then find flights.

When it comes to flying overseas, there’s probably one location right now that I’d probably aim for, and that would be Fort Worth, Texas where one of my best friends currently stays. I’d probably give her a heads up at one of the free internet access computers at the airport. It would take me ages to get there anyway.

Over there I’ll probably think through what my options are. One probable goal is to work for a publishing house, which has always been one of my dreams.

Truth is, I know that if I were to escape from my current life I would want something completely different from what I have now – i.e. I wouldn’t want routine, I wouldn’t want formalities, I wouldn’t want fixed structures. And I feel that if I escaped to visit her over there it would be amazing.

That’s my ultimate escape plan – and now I need to rethink it ’cause the people I’m escaping from now know. As for an escape plan from a zombie apocalypse … well that’s another post for another time.

Till next time,

cumuloq <3

30DPC Day 21: What is truly living …

21. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

Well, if you want to make it as simple as possible, being alive means still being able to breathe – so the bare minimum of being alive is possibly lying in a hospital bed in a vegetative state with the heart rate monitor still going. But being truly living means being able to make a physical and emotional impact on others.

Somehow I feel like this question is meant to be a critique on whether humans are really living their lives and making an impact on society rather than just going about their daily routines. But – being the rebel that I am – I refuse to take that approach. ‘Cause I believe that this question will have varying degrees for different people, because different people will have different expectations of their lives or seek different journeys. For some, truly living could be finding someone to love, and having children and having a stable job, and then retiring. That could be enough. That is a life well lived for them. And I think it’s wonderful. Because I watch vloggers like the Michalaks and the Sacconejolys and those are such “#goals”. But, of course, they have just done it on a much more public stage.

I think truly living is setting goals for yourself in your life and reaching some of these goals. And yes, they can be as small yet satisfying as growing a garden in your backyard, and as large and formidable as creating an non-profit organisation for an incredible cause.

Some people feel alive in very different ways, and I feel like we should not judge or force them to subscribe to our definition of “truly living”. It’s all about perspective taking. And – if anything – vegetative states can take different forms. Sometimes, being restrained from doing the things that we truly want to do is our own personal brand of “just being alive”.

You can force someone to go on so many adventures, hoping to change their mindset and they could be bored and miserable and not truly alive. After all, Emerson wrote that a person who constantly travels can never transcend and one should just sit in a room and think. Different people have different ways of understanding and learning about the world, and I believe that once you’ve found your own means of doing so, you’re truly living.

Till next time,

cumuloq <3

30DPC Day 20: What I’d change about the world …

20. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

This is such a formidable question to answer. ‘Cause there are just so many small problems that cumulate to bigger problems and you can’t really just change just one thing and hope that the whole world and the future has been changed for the better for it.

I guess there one thing I would push for, rather than change, is a reform of the education system in Middle East and Arabic countries – one that focuses on total literacy among its citizens and moral education.

One of the stories that really impacted me and made me consider the severity of the situation of many women in ME countries such as Iran was this The Guardian article on a woman called Ameneh Bahrami. She had rejected a man and he had subsequently thrown acid on her, resulting in her blindness. Her court case was several layers of disappointment: women are only half the worth of men in the legal sphere, and even the sort of retribution she could claim was backward and barbarian – an eye for an eye (or in her case, two eyes for one eye).

I could have stated that I would change the legal system in Iran after reading this article, but that is only a small prick in the bigger needle in the haystack issue. The more lasting impression that can be left upon the society is an education that focuses on literacy and moral education.

Why literacy? Because women need to read and understand their rights and become more knowledgeable to fight their way up to political representation. The entire society would also hopefully benefit from a better understanding of how the socio-political climate of their country should navigate alongside the values of neighbouring countries.

Why moral education? And by moral, I mean more alongside developing empathy towards others, I believe that the society can push for a more tolerant mindset, and while they should still honour certain traditions, there should be an understanding that traditions that violate and exploit rights of minority groups should not be tolerated anymore.

It’s not to say I don’t believe that the younger generations of these countries are not pushing forwards. Hundreds of young Egyptians crave to move away from their city when they become of age, rejecting the opinions of their elderlies. But it can only be said that a divide between generations will not result in change either.

Once again, I said this is one problem of many other cumulative problems that are involved in the world. Possibly there will be people who do not see it as a problem and will refute. But that is one thing that I would most like to change. I understand that there are a lot of other problems out there, and you can add yours in in the comments if you’d like too.

Till next time,

cumuloq <3

30DPC Day 19: If television shows were real …

VGHS-2

19. If one TV show could be real, which one would you want it to be? Which one would screw our world over?

I’m probably cheating here, ’cause my choice is more of an online TV show, but if there were one TV show that could be real, I’d probably want it to be Video Game High SchoolHonestly, I do not want a lot of the other television shows I watch to be real. I don’t like the idea of real life Teen Wolf, Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor Doctor Who. Because with all of the heroic and amazing protagonists and gadgets, there comes the terrifying monsters that go with them.

I think VGHS would be an awesome choice because it would be amazing if all the gamers out there could have an option to join a school that would hone their gaming talents and that would enable them to join pro-circuits or just be incredible in their talents.

VGHS-1

Plus I like the idea of technology being so much further ahead just because such a school exists. It would also possibly reduce the amount of stereotypical games out there as game developers aim to make far more realistic and ambitious games, without all the niche platforms and makers being the ones monopolising the industry.

As for a television show that would probably screw the entire world over, I don’t really watch a lot of those kinds of television shows, but the most traumatic for me to exist in the real world would be Game of Thrones. I mean (spoilers) senseless beheadings, murders and barely any consequences from them? Being able to sell your siblings as barter trade? Having rulers like Joffrey dictating how the world should be run? Nope, just nope.

But that’s just me. I just don’t want to be around when winter comes. I don’t think I’d fair well against white walkers. Honestly, I don’t think I’d really make it past two episodes.

So, which television show would you want to be real? Which one do you think would completely screw the world over? Let me know.

And till next time,

cumuloq <3

30DPC Day 18: Do we bend the truth to create stories …

big-fish-time-stops

18. Are the stories we tell ourselves about our past true, or do we bend the truth so we can create our stories? If the latter is true, than what worth is there in the stories if they aren’t true?

This kind of a question reminds me of the movie Big Fish. If you haven’t watched this movie, it is about a man and his dying father, and how, for his entire childhood, the man’s father has told him dozens of far-fetched stories about his life that he feels that, even as he is dying, he does not know who his father truly is.

I think that we would like to believe that our entire life is built on true stories, or at least we try to tell stories by the (irony here) book. But even autobiographies are half-truths, because our memory can never suffice, unless documented immediately, to tell the truth of what has happened. But, honestly, well at least to me, these kinds of biographies can get a little dull. Have you read the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin? Sure, it’s a solid biography, but it’s also dull at times.

To be honest, I think the stories I have from my childhood are as true as I have made myself to believe they are. There are some that are definitely true, and there are some that I keep as to how I’ve chosen to document them to retain that sense of wonder that I had when I was a child.

For instance, this is a true story. When I was younger, my brother, his two friends and I were playing by our mailbox. We were finding rocks, and seeing who could find the biggest. The younger of my brother’s friends accidentally hit me with a rock. But, being hurt, and feeling angry, I decided to take an even bigger rock and threw it at him, and it hit him on his forehead above his eyebrow and he got a cut and we never played with my brother’s friends again. That is a true story that happened in my childhood. As true as I can remember it to be.

For instance, this is a half-true story. There was a girl when I was in pre-primary who I used to play on a see-saw contraption at the back of the pre-primary building and we would swing back and forth during lunches and we would tell secrets and stories and just talk about what kids generally talk about. One day she didn’t return to school and I told everyone a few years ago that she didn’t return because I think she died. I told this story so many times I believed it was true. But a few years later I found her photo in a photo album and it turned out that she had just moved to New York.

To be honest, if I were to tell stories to my children, I don’t think that I would tell entirely true stories either. Because sometimes the ones that are half-true have a much more fantastical element to them. And it is these fantastical elements that remember more than those that are true.

I rarely recall the reason why my brother and I stopped playing with his friends. But I always recall that friend I had during pre-primary who mysteriously disappeared. And, funnily enough, the former one was when I was much older and I therefore should remember it much better, but I don’t.

I think the person who wrote this question doesn’t truly understand the reason behind stories – i.e. they are never made to be entirely true, because truth is, like almost everything, subjective. And the most fantastical truths are the ones most worth venturing for. Even aural stories by aborigines have their fantastical elements, otherwise how would their children be captured by the tale? And have reason to tell it again?

For me stories never need to be true to be amazing, or to have truths in them. Look at Gulliver’s Travels. Sometimes stretching truths can lead to future realisations. Look at Brave New World, 1984 and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Fiction has so many more worths to it than to tell the absolute truth or to document the past. Heck, even past documents are fabricated, selective, biased. A historical museum is an entire fabrication of how the curator wants you to see the history of a group of people, from start to finish. This is what my ‘Introduction to History’ course has taught me.

If anything, it’s taught me that history is created, and my literature courses have taught me that there is truth in lies and lies in truths – like Swift’s essay A Modest Proposal that satires the state of the Irish in the 18th century, suggesting that parents should eat their children to lessen the burden of poverty.

So bend the truth if you must. Create stories that your kids can boast over to other kids – “my parents were abducted by aliens but they won the age-old war against the xenomorphs!” Sometimes the only magic left in the world are those created by stories.

Till next time,

cumuloq <3

P.S. Yes, Rhey of Sunshine and I are a bit behind on this challenge. I’m currently pausing and waiting for her to catch up a bit before continuing, so please bear with our lack of posts!