Losing everything to gain something

I don’t know what it feels like to have real power. Someone with big money or big control over a lot of people is what a powerful person often has. The Cubs general manager, pretty much any politician even though they all suck, the great Elon Musk or a restaurant owner, they all have something in common which I’m sure you can guess: power. Something I’ve noticed about power is that it seems to be synonymous with influence. Someone who has money, relationships, connections or some type of leverage can influence people or a situation in their favor, effectively using their power to become more powerful. This brings me to my next point which is power is like money, its exponential. The more you have the easier it becomes to obtain more. All this sounds real nice but having power means you have responsibility, pressure and choices to make in order to stay in power. Again like money, going from $0 to 1 million is damn impressive but keeping your 1 million and going to 10 million is a whole different ball game and one that no one can play until you win the first game.

So to elaborate, Lear already got his 1 million and is now sitting with 10 million (AKA a whole lot of power) and yet decides to divide his kingdom because he is old and doesn’t want to deal with all the responsibilities. Again, he’s delegating the pressure, decisions, responsibilities of his power while hoping to maintain some power and control. What is he thinking? In every situation one must bring value in order to maintain their personal value to the situation. Lear is like a CEO of a company, hoping to maintain control while having someone else deal with all the headaches. You know what would happen to that CEO? The same thing that happened to Lear, he/she gets cut out. It’s the only logical thing to happen, if you are not bringing value why are you needed?

Lear experienced this the hard way but he learned something that in my opinion, can only make the powerful obtain more power. Empathy. Sitting in the rain after losing basically everything he feels for his people and their suffering. This is the sign of a truly great leader and someone who has the characteristics to be truly powerful. If you can feel the pulse or needs of your people and truly bring VALUE and help them, what’s stopping you from harnessing the power of the people? In business when your in touch with the consumer and bringing real value to the consumers needs, you win. The people have the real power and sometimes it takes feeling like an average joe to realize that.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Four words I live by and highly recommend you do too. Artist Bobby McFerrin sings one of the best songs ever in his album Simple Pleasures, the song is called: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The song was released in 1988 and won 2 grammys and if you haven’t heard it then I’m not sure what you’ve been doing all your life. It seems like every human is born knowing the classic whistle and hum from this song.

The overall theme of this song is a simple yet very powerful. The title sums it up by stating Don’t Worry, Be Happy but additional lyrics throughout the song highlight connecting ideas like how trouble in everyone’s life is guaranteed but by worrying it only becomes worse. He also explains multiple unfortunate situations followed by advice to stay positive and happy because having feelings of worry or negativity will only make things worse. An experience this song deepens is life itself because it provides generally applicable advice to peoples problems with a theme many people do not hear. Society frowns upon people who do not appear to care or worry about their lives problems and often deem such people as lazy, detached or foolish. But the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” motto doesn’t mean you don’t care about your life and fail to accomplish anything, it simply means you operate with a positive attitude and don’t worry about dumb stuff. I think we all could take a page out of McFerrin’s book and worry about what truly matters, forget the rest, and be happy.

The first poetic device McFerrin uses to enhance the songs meaning is a motif. Obviously the motif is “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” which accounts for 50% of the lyrics used in this song. His repetition of this phrase enhances the poetic theme of his song by instilling this mantra in every listeners mind. You cannot listen to this song without recalling the most used phrase/the title and in doing this I think McFerrin is trying to teach us that with all problems in life, you must try to block out all possible distractions, excuses or reason to NOT be happy and instead, stop worrying and just be happy.

McFerrin states:

Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style
Ain't got no gal to make you smile
But don't worry, be happy
'Cause when you worry your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down

The imagery here of having no cash, no style, no gal and no smile is not only a catchy and amazing rhyme scheme but its great imagery. I can perfectly picture what type of man is lacking all of those things and in doing this McFerrin establishes fear and sadness in my heart because I worry that one day I may be that man. He quickly readjusts my thought process with the next lines, encouraging the listener to not worry and be happy while also teaching selflessness by stating that if you are sad, you will make everyone else sad. This furthers his theme of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by explaining to listeners that sadness will bring everyone down and thus, if you don’t worry and just be happy not only do you help yourself you help everyone else. He’s teaching listeners peace and love for oneself and society.

Lastly, his lines:

Listen to what I say 
In your life expect some trouble
When you worry you make it double

These lines exhibit simple allegory which alludes that worrying only makes your problems worse. Double trouble. This is a very true theme in that most would agree that worrying about things you cannot control is a waste of energy. On the flipside, worrying about things you CAN control doesn’t change anything either and only makes you feel as though you have more trouble. Execute on what you can control and don’t worry, be happy. This song is poetry because it is “the most condensed and concentrated form of literature, saying the most in the fewest number of words.” This really holds true in this song because although most of the lyrics are “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, as a listener I interpret this simple words to mean so many thinks such as be grateful, be selfless, peace, love, happiness and more.

In other words, every little thing will be alright.

Achieving mutual recognition with global others

Yes, it is 100% possible for mutual recognition to be achieved with global others. It all starts with empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. One must put themselves in another persons shoes by shifting their perspective and thinking how the other would think. This is hard for a lot of people to do because humans are animals that all have survival instincts and whether we like it or not, those instincts make us selfish protectors of our own lives. 99.9% of humans would save themselves over someone else if such a situation arose. This selfish yet natural concept of self preservation is what I believe inhibits humans from achieving mutual recognition. It’s difficult for humans to empathize and help other people with their problems when everyone has problems of their own. Also, many people ask, “Why should I help someone else if I did nothing to contribute to their problems? It’s not MY responsibility.” This mindset is valid and reflects darwinism but it fails to factor in the uneven playing field of life and the people who were put into an unfortunate situation at no fault of their own. This is why empathy is required because everyone must be able to feel for other people and understand what they are going through in order to mutually recgonize.

Here is why nothing matters yet everything matters

Mr. Heidkamp, sorry but your lecture last class had me pretty confused and I have to say I disagree, somewhat. I remember you saying when you look at the world you see a lot of “pain and suffering” and I agree. But, I also see a whole lot of happiness, positivity and good stuff happening. I mean look at the last century, surely you and I would have been drafted and fought in ATLEAST one war while also living through the worst economic depression ever, a far more deadly disease, and overall lower quality of life. Today, look around, look at life, I can say I’ve got an infinite number of things to be grateful for and I have the most positive perspective on life despite this pain and suffering. Maybe I am not empathetic enough or maybe I have not suffered enough to see this pain that you do. This brings me to my next point and how I am going to connect this blog post to existentialism. Which by the way, we should discuss more since I am also fairly confused on that theory. Based on google, an existentialist believes that individuals have freedom of choice and ultimately are responsible for what happens in their lives. You control your destiny, God is not real and you create your own life your own way. Existence before essence. After learning this term, I would have to say I am an existentialist and the reasons for this lie in my belief regarding the creation of the universe and human life in comparison to the universe itself. The universe is thought to began 13.8 billion years ago and is infinite in size. The universe could be infinite in time as well but who knows. This is why nothing matters. Humans are not only physically irrelevant compared to the cosmic size of the planets, galaxies and the universe itself but we are also irrelevant when comparing our lifespan to the universe. We only live for 100 years, at best, and homo sapiens came along some 200,000 – 300,000 years ago so even in that regard, we are a blip in time. There are 7 billion other people and billions that came before so lets face it, you don’t matter. This sounds negative but I think about it in the most positive and happy way possible. If I don’t matter at all to the universe then the universe is quite literally mine and the same for everyone else. The world is yours and your life is yours so do whatever you want and just have a good time because you’ll be gone one day. So even though we don’t matter at all, I find meaning and matter in that, leaving me with the theory that it’s up to me AND you to ball out, be happy, have a good time and be kind.

Fans failing to mutually recognize

Football is back. Football is back. Football is back. No, Mr. Heidkamp, I am not trying to increase the length of this blog post but I am merely highlighting the importance of the statement “Football is back”. In the midst of a global recession, pandemic, social injustice and climate disasters, we all needed to blow off steam by watching 300 pound men run full speed and tackle each other. Nobody can deny that football is action packed and entertaining especially in the Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes era. But what some fans of the NFL seem to abhor is connecting politics with sports. Since the beginning of 2020, a spotlight has been put on America’s racial injustice and specifically police’s racist and violent actions towards people of color in America. From my perspective, it seems to be a divided issue although it clearly should not be. This division of opinion is due to one side lacking the willingness to view the other with mutual recognition. Particularly white people who fail to mutually recognize people of color and the racism they are facing. NFL players among other professional athletes have been a strong voice supporting the BLM movement while also speaking out against systematic racism and police brutality. For example, at the season opener the Chiefs and Texans teams spread across the field and joined arms for a moment of silence to bring awareness to racial injustice. Sidelined players wear Black Lives Matter shirts, some kneel during the National Anthem while many wear the names of Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake on the back of their helmets. I think professional athletes using their platform, popular voices and celebrity status to bring awareness to racial injustice is a positive message that NEEDS to be spoken on. But what is truly sad is many peoples rejection of the players actions. I continually see comments on NFL posts saying “leave politics out of sports” and “nobody cares about your political opinions, your athletes”. Not to mention the limited fans in attendance that could be heard actually booing the Chiefs and Texans during their moment of silence. Such disrespect is sad and unacceptable. Athletes and players are humans just like fans yet fans fail to mutually recognize them as full human beings leading to fans categorizing racial injustice as a political issue while disregarding the players right to voice their opinions. Racial injustice in America is so much bigger than politics, its about human lives and ALL Americans pursuit of happiness and equal opportunity.

If you are viewer and fan of the NFL but can’t respect the players using their voices to speak out on racial injustice then shut up, stop complaining and stop watching. Also, reconsider what it means to be a human if it’s so difficult for you to hear your fellow humans and Americans fight for their safety and rights. Get over yourself and develop some empathy, compassion and mutual recognition.

Escape to Freedom

Throughout the story it can be seen that Abnesti and Verlaine have control over the main character, Jeff, and have power over his freedoms. One example is on page 68 when Abnesti states “‘Do you want me to say your Fridays are at risk? I can easily say that.’ Which was cheap. My Fridays meant a lot to me, and he knew that. Fridays I got to Skype my mom.” Prior to this moment, Jeff was resisting his reception of a certain chemical which prompts Abnesti’s threat to take away his freedom to Skype his mom. It’s clear that Abnesti dominates this relationship when he details how he can “easily” take Jeffs Skype privilege away. Since Jeff is in some form of a prison, its obvious his freedoms would be taken away but its interesting how he regains his freedoms in a way, through suicide.