Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Mighty and The Law

                I have been reading the Once and Future King by T.H. White. It tells stories about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Throughout the book, it shows how Arthur comes to conceive of the idea of the Round Table, its purpose, and the need to fix its imperfections.
                The Round Table idea does not make its appearance until the second part when Arthur explains Merlin’s purpose in his life. He discusses his idea of going against “Might is Right” by using “Might to serve Right”. The idea was to channel the urges of the Might to do good deeds and fight for justice. Here is basically the ideas of chivalry that we think of today. However, Arthur learns that as noble as his idea was, it wouldn’t last and instead become corrupted, so he needed something else.
                Here are my thoughts on the whole issue. First, we should understand the duties of the two major categories reflected in the philosophizing. The purpose of the strong was to do what the weak could not. But as the strong began to abuse their might, it became a necessary duty for the strong to protect the weak. This leads to the primitive (and first purpose of) government. The duty of the weak, on the other hand, was to take care of strong in matters it could. This could range from the sciences or arts to nursing to philosophy to governing or tactics. While either side is technically capable of doing the other’s duty (especially nowadays thanks to machinery), this is how it was and, especially if a nation wanted to progress, needed to be.
                The problem that King Arthur encountered was peace. The purpose of the Knights was to defeat the wicked tyrants and protect the innocent. However, after all of that had been accomplished, he was left with the Might but no way to channel them. For the Might, it had become a game but now nothing left to play. Sports only work so far, but it does not address the spirit as much as needed. He also concluded that using Might to force Right was not right. This led Arthur to decide that his knights needed to go on a spiritual quest, leading Lancelot to suggest searching for the Holy Grail.
                Again, Arthur’s concept was noble and ideal, but the practice still failed. What ended up happening is that he would lose the best half of his knights. Those who were worthy to find the grail would stay there or die. However there are a few good who return. Lancelot was a far better man thanks to the quest. Unfortunately, the king’s enemy was peacetime still. His people had lost their morals due to peace and progress and had become interested in worldly things like clothes, gossip, and scandal. The remaining knights, with nothing left to fight for, would be fighting each other and breeding feuds, resorting back to murder.
                So how does one govern a people in peacetime? That is a good question that will probably exist until the end of time. Even if the answer was found, putting it into practice would be difficult. Civil law was the next step in Arthur’s story, according to T.H. White (though realize he took quite a few literary liberties and changes, more obvious in the first part entitled The Sword in the Stone).
               I think Arthur’s logic was sound when he suggested spiritual quests. Goals that had people aiming higher in morality. Unfortunately, those are quite impossible nowadays, or are they? I think today’s entertainment, if used rightly, can provide those goals for us. While the industry is filled with bad stuff, there is knowledge of success that it works. That story was called propaganda, used effectively during WWII though has a bad reputation in current times (due to extremists on both sides, like always). Anyways, I think video games are a good tool. Because video games can immerse the player in its world, it can create these noble adventures to inspire the people. That’s just one idea, though whether it will come to full fruition is another thing.
                Now those who have read my other essay on Purposes of Government might ask if the government has a place in such a task. I think it is reasonable to argue that it does have a place, but it needs to stick to that place and cross no boundaries. It should encourage virtues and universal truths. While Separation of Church and State (the purpose of which is commonly misunderstood) is used to not advocate a specific religion, it does not mean that the State can’t acknowledge the truths in the various religions. Virtues such as Honesty, Kindness, and Perseverance are good things that should be encouraged. Good presidents have said so. Teddy Roosevelt said that that simply going to a church was beneficial in various ways that were not related to spiritual lives (found that in the Book of Virtues). When it crosses into controversial subjects, then there might be a problem because governments are fickle nowadays, especially with the changing of the guard every two-eight years. That’s why it needs to stick with the universal truths, the ones that are constant and worth dying for. If the government does not encourage the things that make a nation great, then it will surely fall.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fathers Continued

This is a continuation on the Fathers post, spurred on by what I have been seeing on the internet lately when it comes to media.

         Yesterday, I saw an article about Bill Cosby's reasons for doing the Cosby Show. It was aimed to reinforce good parenting, something that isn't seen on TV these days. The kids are the "smarter" ones even though they still are "lost." There seems to be nothing that shows how adults are to be adults. Instead, they are just big brats. Considering that most of Disney's starlets seem to grow up into scandalous, drug addicted, divas who try to be "mature" but only show that they are in fact immature, I would think it's serious.
         What happened to the old shows where they were fun to watch, but we still got to see good and real parenting dealing with real situations. Those shows were more real than "reality" tv, which people laugh at the title. When the most prominent dad in society is either Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin, then how can we expect kids to grow up to be good dads. Sure, some learn by deciding to be the opposite, but not enough do.
          This leads to the second thing that inspired me to write this. The abundance and focus of incarcerated fathers. That is the only focus the media seems to have if they pay attention to fathers, all the bad ones. I will agree that it is important to talk about that, but in order to complete the conversation and progress, the media needs to show the good fathers too, especially on tv shows. Otherwise, the only image that boys have of what it means to "be a man" is only bad stuff that actually quite the opposite.
          I just read that Sesame Street is going to have a character who's father is in jail. I can see potential here. What I hope is that the character does give support for those children in that situation, but also help express what it means to be a good father when there are practically no models out there (considering that the heroes for boys nowadays are athletes who get into a bunch of trouble, yeah there aren't many).
         There has to be a problem here when I can't think of one tv show nowadays that has a good father-like figure. It took a long time, but the show that popped into my head was NCIS. I think a lot of people like Gibbs, and I don't blame him. He seems to be a good father figure, and that's how the characters on the show treat him (though I haven't watched the last few seasons so I don't know if that has changed).
          The dad on Psych, I guess isn't a bad father. He's a different type and shows effort and gives some sound advice, but I wouldn't call him the best, though far better than a lot of other adult models, though not as neat as Andy Griffith. I have heard some praise for the father in Smallville, but it has been so long since I've watched an episode that I have no idea how he was portrayed.
          For movies, the only examples I can think of for responsible adult males is the latest Captain America. I do hope we can turn this whole thing around and get more responsible adults and parents portrayed in the media, because the lack of leads to more fathers incarcerated, and that leads to other problems.
(Yes, I agree this essay was not well written, but at least it gets the idea out there for you to start thinking about)


Sunday, June 16, 2013


                I know this essay is late, but I could not think of a subject until it was late. I don’t have much on the subject (or at least I thought I didn’t until I started writing), but maybe I should stop being so strict on myself for these little posts.
                What makes a good father? How does one be a good father? How do we judge if one is a good father? What are the unnecessary things we attach to fatherhood? These are all valid questions. Could I address them all in full? Probably not since I’m certainly not a good father (you need to be a male first, then a father before you can be a good one). I can only philosophize here on what some traits are.
                One thing we associate with fathers is strictness, especially when it comes to their daughters dating lives and sometimes beyond that. How strict is good, I don’t know. What I do know is that the source of strictness needs to be love. Love that cares and worries for his children and does what he can to keep them reasonably safe. An ideal father is not selfish, but instead works to build his children into fine men and women. He acts, at his own expense, for the good of his family.
                Something that relates to strictness, though is not the same thing, is discipline. That might be a hot topic. There are certainly some fathers who do not know how to deal discipline properly and take it to a harsh extreme. Sometimes, however, what we view as harsh is actually not so. At first, any punishment that we see as “only restricting” would be seen as cruel and inhumane, but that’s a problem with how we see the situation. There are times when we need to suck up our pride and understand that we did not fully comprehend the situation, unfortunately that is most of our childhood.
                There is a time when the best discipline is not issued by the belt, but instead by the face. When we are young and rebellious, we tend not to give thought to how our actions might hurt others, so we’re made to first fear the pain. Once we have grown up (though sometimes people lose this when they grow up) is what is referred to in old times as filial fear. This fear is the kind where the child fears hurting the father’s feelings. The fathers who can instill this and not need the belt, have one of the traits of a good father. When I think of my grandfather, I can only think of how I wanted to be happy with him and not offend him because he was probably the greatest person I knew.
                I think something that can constitute “greatness” would be inspiration. It’s something a lot of us, who did have good or at least decent fathers, felt while we were kids. Boys would say, “I wanna be like my dad” and that is perhaps the highest praise one could give. Girls would say, “I want to marry someone like daddy,” also perhaps the highest praise. These fathers are role models, and the positive role models are the best.
                Another method of inspiration is the praise a good father gives. Whenever a normal child did something, he would be ecstatic to show it to his parents, especially the father when he came home from work at night. I could remember that having your father say, “I’m proud of you” was fantastic (and it still is). I don’t know how often this happens today, since fathers have been more known to be irresponsible idiots who ditch the mothers (though it is true on the reverse too) and that is sad. I have my ideas on why it might be the case, but that’s for another time. What I can say is that the world needs good fathers. Fathers that love and care for their children and to be around to be a good father.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Sample: Injuries

For this week, I decided to post a sample from the story I was talking about a long time ago. I've pretty much gave up on that project now. It wasn't one of my more important projects, just a quick one that I figured I could do until I gained enough experience for my other ones. Anyways, here's a sample from the female character this time.

Monday, 10/5/09 (Claire)
Dear Diary,
            Today was not a fun day. I haven’t really looked in the mirror. I don’t want to see that little shiner that bitch Alice gave me last night. It probably would have been okay if I had makeup to cover it up, but as I found out this morning, I didn’t. Kayla didn’t either since she uses only a little. She says her skin is allergic to most products. Anyways, I got up despite all desire to just lie in bed and cry.
I went to class hoping that no one would pay any attention to it and then something struck me. That is exactly what happened. I don’t know what is worse, to be asked about how I got the black eye and relive the horrible experience every time or to have no one even seem to care that I got one. It felt like no one cared about me.
The whole thing went on for a while. It wasn’t until Humanities that someone spoke up. I walked in with my head down, but then Adam, the guy who sits behind Kayla and me asked if I was okay. It felt kind of nice to have someone actually ask after worrying that I was going to be pestered about it. The thing is, he never asked about how I got it, he just showed concern over if I was okay. He even said he was going to go to the store later and asked if I needed anything to help the eye. I declined and then Kayla and the teacher came in and asked about the eye as well. It seems weird when the person who shows the most concern isn’t even really a friend, but I think maybe he’d be the type I would like to have as one now that I think about it.