Thursday, November 19, 2015

Concerning Beauty

To the low in self-esteem,
    It's amazing the things we do in the pursuit of beauty. The funny thing is that "perfect beauty" is never truly obtainable except by accepting yourself as you are. Yes, this sounds cliché, but let me explain it by using a certain well-known anecdote.
    It is certain that you have heard the phrase, "Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder." This is certainly true, but why? The quick answer would be to define Beauty as "The Proper Order of Things." Yes, that may sound weird, but it is the answer. When you look at someone and consider the beautiful, it's because you see the combination of features in the correct order and proportions. Consider this chart I grabbed from LifeHacker:
Find the Best Women's Hairstyle for Your Face Shape
What this chart indicates is that there a certain hairstyles that match and flatter certain shapes of faces. Now will this aesthetic change? Probably. Why? Because what we associate to be the correct order tends to be what we see the most. So if some model with a square face becomes popular with a very short haircut, that will influence our perceptions of beauty. The word "influence" is important because it hints towards how we developed our sense of beauty: through our experiences in childhood.
    When we are children, we are heavily influenced by what we see, whether on television, magazines, or our parents. The style you like the most is probably the one your parents had while you grew up. For example, my mother had long hair for most of my life, but when I encountered a woman with really short hair, it scared me or I felt repulsed. However, the more time I spent with her, the less apprehensive I would become, and when her hairstyle changed, I was confused. So if you want a hint about what sort of people would find you the most attractive, find the people who had parents like you.
    This concept of influence is another reason why I object to makeup on women and airbrushing in magazines. Even as adults, we are influenced by what we see. Hence, if we only see these "perfect models," it corrupts our sense of beauty to something that isn't real. I often tell my lovelier other half that I like seeing her without makeup and that it was important to see it early on in the relationship. Women often have a reasonable objection: "if he cares so much about what I look like, there's a problem." Of course, the counter is, "Since you care so much about how you look by putting on a fake face, there's a problem." I also ponder that if "Women are the fairer sex," why do they need makeup or show cleavage? The answer is they don't need makeup or to show skin.
    I mentioned that it's important to see the face without makeup early in the relationship, and I hinted to the reasoning. The longer you go without showing your true face, the more likely he will be apprehensive when he sees it, especially if you use a lot of makeup. This is because the first impressions have solidified and the proper "order" in his mind for you is what he has seen the most. But when he sees your real face in the beginning of the relationship, he can then say "That is the proper order for her. I like the way she naturally is." Lastly, if you can feel comfortable with your "flaws" around your beloved, then you'll feel more beautiful yourself which leads to a better beauty that others will notice. So yes, "Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder," and the one you want to impress the most is yourself but that is done by accepting yourself as you are.

With Love,
N. D. Moharo

P.S. In this letter, I only covered visual beauty. There are other things that aren't so much visual as they are representative, such as a smile. While a smile is what you see, it's also something you can hear because the voice sounds different with a smile than a straight face or a sad one. While some people can adjust their smiles to be the most flattering, the natural smile evokes joy and when your friends see that, they feel happier as well. This "happiness" is also considered a thing of beauty because we see that as the proper order of things in pleasant circumstances. So if you smile more, you will also feel more beautiful.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Language Theory

To the Communicators,   
    Undoubtedly you have heard over and over that it's harder to learn a new language when you're older than when you are younger. I can say that it makes sense for a number of reasons, and I can even give some analogies as to why that is the case. However, I want to discuss learning a language in general as we did with our primary language.
    When we were toddlers, as we did not have the ability to comprehend, we were allowed to eavesdrop and listen to people speaking all the time. This allowed us to subconsciously learn the different sounds we can make.
    However, when it comes to understanding someone, speed is key. Not only the speed at which the other person speaks, but the speed at which you can translate what was said. It's often not recognized as such, but our brains actually translate from our "primary" language to our imagination. This is why when someone says "pink elephant" you "immediately" think of one. Your brain did a translation of the words and converted it into the image. This might also explain why abstract thinking can be so difficult to teach and learn. Also, the reason why learning a second language is hard, at least by the current methodology, is because we go through an additional translation process. This slows down our comprehension speed.
    Perhaps the biggest thing that aids in our comprehension speed is the phrase "predictive analysis". You may have heard that with computers and artificial intelligence, but it's actually what we practice when we listen. The most famous example is when couples are able to confidently and accurately finish each other's sentences. When we are able to predict what is about to be said, that allows our brains to comprehend much faster. This is also why when we encounter some words we don't know or a pronunciation we are not familiar with, our comprehension drops.
    This is why lectures need to be slightly slower than normal conversation. It's also why if it's too slow that we fall asleep. When we cannot predict what is going to be said next, we need time to comprehend it. However, if we get to the point where we do know what is being said, holding it in our fast memory too long is just exhausting. This is because what happens is our brains are telling us the same predicted word over and over again which breaks the string of words you had already understood. In other words, by speaking too slowly, it actually creates more work for the listener to comprehend.
    To be fair, the mind does offer a few tricks into understanding things we don't know. The one we are familiar with is context. Take the name Nick for example. When there is no context, the mind assumes that someone saying the word "Nick" is calling a person (or a dog) but in the context, "I made in the nick of time," a person named Nick will rarely assume he's being called. This is because the context helps clue in the meaning of the sentence. Likewise, by reading the context, one is able to assume what the meaning of an unknown word is and progress. Context also happens to be the key for "predictive analysis".
    Because the context is the key to understanding something, that is why it is not enough to repeat vocabulary when learning a language. By practicing sentences and grammar, you are able to learn context of the phrases and better predict them when someone is talking to you. I often find myself having to listen to a conversation twice, and I figure out that I knew the words but I couldn't comprehend them fast enough to understand the sentence the first time. The more you practice, the more you are able to sort and grasp the individual words and sentences. By doing this, you speed up the translation process to your brain and develop your predictive analysis and with those taken care of, you are on your way to mastering a language.
    Anyways, that is enough theorizing today. Hopefully you find this useful if you are studying a new language. If you think it is lacking, then feel free to send me a comment.

Happy Communicating,
N. D. Moharo