Why you should engage in discussion, even if you hate the viewpoint.

So, I recently came across a situation that got me thinking.  I genuinely want to be a part of society, and I genuinely want to either change it for the better, or let society change me for the better.  In life, you will have disagreements all the time, We live in a society of people who love to air their opinions and have no shame in letting the world know (even me writing this is a prime example).
We may remember the recent racial gun shooting case, where there were divided opinions.  Homosexuality was a very divided topic between activists vs. Christians.
There are debates about men liking under 18 in America whereas the age of consent is 16 in other countries.

Throughout these issues, it seems one constant remains:  whatever side is the majority, just puts their offenders on the ignore list.  When heated controversy arrives, the method to win is to disengage.  This is neither healthy nor a step in the right direction for your cause.

I shared my opinion about Pride & prejudice with someone, and gave them my reasons.  They promptly said I was insensitive, stereotyping, and insulting women, and then ignored me from then on (which, by the way, only proves my point that looking for a Darcy is unrealistic because the same person who wants a Mr, Darcy, will likely be too offended to give him a chance; not saying that I fit Darcy’s character, but it certainly only reinforced my belief on P&P, which we’ll get to).  I find it totally fine that she shared these opinions, that’s great, but the problem is that she’s not willing to engage on why I’m so insulting, stereotypical, etc.  Believe it or not, I would have at least listened.  I may have countered with arguments with why I disagree, but I also may have considered her view as well.  If all you do is say, “you’re a jerk, you’re a swear word, you have no idea what you’re talking about,” then educate me.  Just putting it off only leads to a viewpoint of confirming what I already suspected, because it comes off as you have no argument, you’re just taking offense.  When that happens, it leads me to a decision of I’m right and you’re wrong, EVEN IF I am wrong and you’re right.

When the homosexuality debate came about in regards to gay marriage, I was a bit taken aback at how it was handled, by both sides.  It seemed like both Christians and homosexuals were expressing the sentiment, “this is why we’re right, oh that’s your view?  Well whatever, goodbye.”  Again, this isn’t healthy.  I would have liked to hear more arguments.  For example, one argument was that animals engage in homosexual behavior, and animals are natural.  It sort of made sense, but after thinking about it, I also thought, well, animals also kill each other, mate with seventeen different partners a week, and some animals practice cannibalism (or whatever the word is for when animals eat each other).  So I thought, that doesn’t mean humans should take the example of animals (understand I’m not trying to take a side on that issue, it is merely for the effect of what I’m trying to explain).  Christians often complain that they were bullied into silence when trying to express their viewpoint.  We don’t want to engage.  Again, educate them, don’t just say they’re idiots.

I recently watched a film entitled “Are All Men Pedophiles?” in which the director analyzes why he believed America is wrong for setting the age of consent to 18 when most societies hold it at 16.He contests that this was a modern change based on education, and not on maturity level, and that it’s normal for men to be attracted to 16 and 17 (referred to as hebephilia).  As you could probably guess, the comments on IMDB shout how much they are offended at his nonsense, but very few of them give a rational, researched answer.  If I were to make the argument, I would contest that girls that age have too many responsibilities as it is, that their education should be important, that there are emotional consequences for being with a girl so young; while they SAY they are emotionally mature, it seems more common that they find themselves heartbroken when rejected by a more “mature” or older man.  Again, all I’m saying is that we need to be honest and not compromise our talk when someone comes off as rude or mean, because honestly, it really just means they are passionate about their view.  Again, educate them.

There is difference between someone who just starts attacking you, saying you’re a swear word or so and so, and someone who just really takes offense to your VIEW.  It’s ok to back off from someone who is just calling you names or whatever, and I also think it’s ok to take a break, and say something like, “ok, look, I’d like to talk about this, but let’s do it later so we can gather some thoughts and cool down.”  Totally ok with that.  Responding to a legitimate viewpoint as “YOURE AN IDIOT” gets you nowhere.

If you want to change the world you live in, you have to teach the world you live in.

Why Mr. Darcy is quite possibly the villain of Pride & Prejudice (Why Mr. Darcy is bad)

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It is a fairly common agreement that throughout a great length of the beginning of Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen presents Mr. Darcy as proud, shrewd, mean, and in many senses a jerk.  It is this character that convinces Elizabeth Bennett that he is a vile man, one of the worst.  This is fine.  The problem begins when we are led to believe that Mr. Darcy is actually a good person deep down, and that he has changed.  This is a very real flaw of the book that has caused an unrealistic fantasy of women that they will not let go.  The end result has been countless devastations, broken hearts, and failed relationships that were doomed from the start.
So, why is Mr. Darcy not all that great in the end?  Some reasons are personal opinion, while others are analytical holes in the plot.

1. Mr. Darcy is not loyal in the end.  He was friends with Wickham when he chooses to be.  He disregarded Wickham as a child, and only when he saw what he could obtain by helping Wickham, did he return to talking to Wickham.  He pretended to be Wickham’s friend so he could obtain the hand Elizabeth.  His payment for the Wickham wedding is wildly regarded as generous.  I contend that it is deceitful and manipulative.  He spent money he already had to convince Elizabeth of his love.  Not only this, but he did so by sneaking his way into approval of Lizzy’s syster Lydia.  This is an age old trick of men–to convince the family of your interest that they are good by giving them what they want.  Again, this is manipulation.

2. Women contend that the reason Mr. Darcy is so wildly admired is because he listens and changes.  This is a very big misconception.  Mr. Darcy listens when he discovers a way in which to impress Elizabeth.  He realizes he can win Elizabeth’s affection by being something he is not.  This is not a character change of heart, it a man pretending or acting.  Again, this is manipulation, not love.

3. He never changed his condescending speech or tone really.  By the first proposal it is apparent, but in the second, he says he loves Lizzy, but if she does not take him, this would be the last time he would speak to her.  The problem with this is that HE ALREADY SAID THAT BEFORE!!  He does not take no for an answer.

4.  He is a stalker.  How convenient he just always happens to show up where Lizzy is.  The first time is fine–random acquaintances happen often.  But what about the Collins house?  Ok, yes, he had family ties to Lady Catherine, so yes, he had reason to be at the house–but he intentionally went to Lizzie’s bedroom.  How do you not know that is a private room in which a lady does not want to be bothered?  He even says, “I did not wish to disturb your privacy.”  Then what was he doing in her bedroom?

5. He viciously punishes those who do not agree with him, and lets his emotion control his action.  This is evident in his breaking up of Jane & Bingley.

6.  If pride is the flaw of Darcy that needed to be changed, then women can date any man they choose; every man has pride.  Pride is not exclusive to Mr. Darcy.  Besides this, pride can be both a flaw and a virtue.

7. Darcy’s character (supposedly) changed in only a year’s time.  Character improvements takes far more time than one year,  At the Collins house, he shows his effort to change.  Yes, many men have tried to change themselves–but that is not a character improvement.  His attempts were very forced, and quite obvious that while he was trying, he was likely to return to his former self.

8. Mr. Darcy never really changed that much.  Lizzie Bennett says “he is not proud, he is as stubborn as I am!”  These are the same thing with different words–it is not a character improvement, it only shows Darcy does not give up.  Like how he does not take no for an answer.  Stubborn just means he won’t stop until he has what he wants–basically a selfish man–not selfless.  Even so, selfishness is again a trait exhibited by every human being on earth; if selfishness is the jerk factor, then women can date any man.

9. Any man who is as persistent as Mr. Darcy in modern society are met with legal threats of restraining orders, not admiration.

10. The book’s view is that money is a key factor to love and happiness.  I would strongly contest this.  I would imagine that Lydia & Wickham would have been quite the happier couple, so long as they worked together and worked hard to overcome their obstacles.  Lizzie’s goals would always have to be to convince people of how misunderstood Darcy is, tolerate the insults thrown at her by those who despise Darcy, spend her time in constant agony over when Darcy tells her off instead of praise her.  That sounds like a miserable life, not a loving one.

On Race; Why We Actually Are All Different and Not the Same

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Credit to Miguel Coimbra

This is a topic that I have a hard time talking about, simply because I am afraid to share all the true details; the ones that haunt my past (and to some degree, current) self.  I, admittedly, have acted in racist manners before, sometimes realizing it, and sometimes not realizing it.  Let me say this:  Watching a movie that encourages racial relations is not enough; hearing a sermon on loving other races is not enough; seeing a YouTube clip is not enough.  The only way to bring racism (or any prejudice) to an end is to engage with those people as you would anyone else that you love.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, it’s not always that easy, as is the case with most endeavors.
What’s the most-used sentiment when it comes to racial equality?  In my opinion, it is the statement, “We are all the same.”  I don’t find this to be true.  In regards to having rights, and being treated equally, we should all be treated with the same respect.  But in regards to personality, we are all different, and this is where most people make a wrong statement.  We are not the same.  Not all Asians like noodles.  Not all blacks like chicken.  Not all those of Hispanic descent like enchiladas.  Not all blacks like basketball.  Not all Asians like Yao Ming.  Not all Latinos like soccer.  Even on writing this, there are people who prefer I use the term “African-American” and then there are those who prefer the term “black.”  I cannot differentiate between all the preferences without first communicating with someone what they prefer.
So, why exactly am I writing about race relations?  Well, the best way to answer that is to bring through my journey.  It seems to me that race relations has been the most prominent theme in my life, in both good and bad ways.
(This article was started on September 9/19/14, and will be continued shortly)

Where Are Your Priorities?

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Credit to Miguel Coimbra

I recently started wondering, where are my priorities?  Are they in a good place?  I think I have some in a good spot, while others could be tweaked a bit.  The first question you have to ask yourself is, what should my priorities be?

If you’ve ever gone to church, almost all of them will tell you something along the lines of put God first.  While there is a whole other debate on religion and Christianity, I’m not going to delve into that today, I’m merely pointing it out to help you understand why my priorities are the way they are.  I do think the Bible has one very important point:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  As I kept reading, I believe the Bible has it right, but Christians have it wrong.  The Bible not only says to love your neighbor as yourself, but also to “not forsake the assembling of yourselves together” (not just in church) (Hebrews), and to be “sincere” in love (1 Peter).

Your time here on earth is short when you look at the big picture.  The last 10 years have flown by in what seems like seconds compared to what it felt like when I was a youth.  To me, there is nothing more meaningful than the relationships you make while you are here.  They are valuable, and precious; and most of them do not last even this entire life.  In my case, one of my relationships happens to be God, so in essence, I do put that at the top of my priority list, as I find inspiration from the Bible on how to live better than any human, but people are my 2nd biggest priority.  This ranges from family to friends to new acquaintances, basically to whoever allows me into their life.  Some view this as clingy or needy, but I would not change a thing.  The people I have met have shaped me into who I am, whether we had good moments or bad.  They have influenced me in ways I cannot imagine differently, and more than anything, I can tell the difference between sincere friendship, and someone who’s just faking it to “be nice,” which generally turns out to come across as the complete opposite.  With the exception of my brother, the majority of my relationships center around comedic effect; I try to make light-hearted jokes about almost everything.  People complain so much about their life sucking, but in a reality check, if you are American, you likely shouldn’t be complaining.  Sure, sometimes life goes down a certain path, the best way I’ve found to deal with it is laugh it off.  There’s no sense in being depressed over something I cannot change (On a side note, depression is a serious issue, I am not insinuating people to just “get over it,” this is simply my means of handling those rough situations).  That actually brings me to my next point:  not everyone handles things through comedy.  This is my big flaw, because I just don’t know how to be that vulnerable without someone getting hurt in the process, or more likely, my nature of wanting to joke will come out at inappropriate times, and thus ruin a friendship.  I genuinely want people to be happy, and this is a mistake.  There are times when it’s appropriate to be sad.  I would not joke around at a funeral, it is a time of grievance.  Mourning with those who mourn creates a sympathetic and empathetic bond that goes beyond friendship; it is shared respect for someone who shared a special bond with both of you (in most cases).  If you haven’t cried at a funeral, I would have you ask one question:  do I take relationships seriously enough?  Am I so invested in a person that I don’t just cry at their funeral, but I cry when they mess up, or when they hurt themselves?  Otherwise, we become robots, incapable of feelings.

So, what causes this lack of feeling?
Well, I suppose it’s different for everyone.  For one, I feel as though sometimes my feelings are zapped up by video games, and (ironically) computers (facebook in particular).  If my time is invested in a game, my emotions tend to come out with the game–frustration due to difficulty, overjoyed at beating a hard part, and I have even at times been a little choked up either by musical background or a great story.  In particular, I remember being teary-eyed thanks to a scene in Final Fantasy III for SNES between Celes & Locke.  Now, if I could view my relationships in the same light, as having to fight through those tough parts, it might make a difference.  Maybe my emotional levels are exhausted by the games, but even if I stop playing them I don’t suddenly begin displaying emotion to all my friends; thus I think it required a more interactive experience with people than what is currently existing.

Moving on to a different priority, what about careers/jobs/finances/money/wealth?  How important should this be?
Well, I will simply leave it at this:  The more money you make, the more likely you are doing something either corrupt, illegal, or at least taking advantage of someone.  I learned this best in banking:  We try to create a need for someone who doesn’t really need something in order to sell them something they don’t really need, and more often than not should not get.  For example, a loan or credit card.  Even if you work in HR, you are still supporting a company that most likely does this.  Here’s where I stand:  I recently saw a friend post on facebook that the world’s messed up because every goes to college and ends up doing a job they hate, so they should just go do the job they love.  The example in this particular video was bungee jumping, indicating that the bungee jumpers should start a shop selling bungee equipment and other outdoor materials.  The problem with this is that it lacks a true understanding of a business model.  To sell a bungee cord, you need a bungee cord.  To have a bungee cord, someone needs to make a bungee cord.  To make a bungee cord, there needs to be factory workers, an authoritative manager who drives the production process and makes sure his employees are working; distributors, shippers, exporters, importers, people who make harnesses and hooks, the list goes on and on and on.
Let’s take this further:  In order to start a business, you need entrepreneurial skills, and a good understanding of business plans (startup, plan of action, mission statement, health code awareness), accounting (ledgers, balance sheets, factory overhead) among many other factors.  It is not that simple to just “do what you love,” because generally you will end up hating what you once loved to do.  So, how should we prioritize jobs?  For me, this again goes back to relationships, all my priorities circle back to relationships.  I need to know that I will like my team, and yet respect them.  I have learned over the years that I need to enjoy my coworkers more than anything else.  The job itself doesn’t have to be overly enjoyable as long as I have coworkers and i can laugh with.  I have also learned that while managers do need to be authoritative at times, there is a fine line between authoritative and disrespectful, or even sometimes abusive.  Thankfully right now I have a great management team that displays the better sentiments of those qualities.  Furthermore, the motivation for your job should be to support yourself, and your family if you are the provider, so the priority really isn’t the job, the priority is again the relationships; the job is only the means to which to handle that priority.

What are your thoughts?

Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last? (Dating Pt. II)

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It’s a question that has been asked since as long as I know.  Why do girls like jerks?  Why do nice guys finish last?  Why don’t girls like me, I’m so nice?  Why do I fall for the bad boys?

As a self-proclaimed nice guy, I discovered something about myself:  I wasn’t as nice as I would have liked to think.  At the same time, there is some truth to the frustration of males who are actually being nice and the gullibility of some girls.  I will do my best to shed some light on this subject.

When I thought I was a nice guy, I was not so frustrated with a girl rejecting me for a date; I was more enraged by the TYPE of guy she immediately dated and the REASON she gave me that she did NOT want to date.  Example:

Me:  Martha, I was wondering if maybe you’d like to go out sometime?
Martha:  I like you as a friend, but I’m just not ready to be in a relationship, I’m just not sure what I want right now.

3 weeks later, Martha is in a relationship with Paulo, the backwards-wearing hat guy who swears in class and talks down to the teacher, and is constantly sent to the principal’s office.

See, the thing is, I would not have been upset with the girl if she dated one of my friends or a guy I deemed was acceptable, because I knew it would be good for her; however, when she goes for the biggest jerk she can find, we begin feeling a sense of nice-guy duty to protect you from the horrid evil of womanizing sex-crazed manipulative abusive waste of space.  I know what you’re thinking; aren’t all guys sex-crazed?  Well, probably, but some of us won’t manipulate and abuse you or demand it immediately.

Continuing the story, Martha & Paulo remain in a relationship for 2 years, complaining about all the abuse and cheating to the nice guy, and then finally breaks up.  So, what next?  Nice guy swoops in, right?  Wrong.  Marko, Paulo’s best friend asks Martha out, who is exactly like Paulo, except possibly a bit milder.  As in he only cheats twice per month, whereas Marko cheats 4 times a month.  This relationship only lasts a year, as Martha says she realizes jerks are not for her.
By now, I have moved on, and started seeing Missy, the somewhat less attractive girl who actually said yes.  So, Martha finally comes to me and asks me out.  I say no, because I am in a relationship.  Martha cries and begins to phone me almost every night, text crazily, and do everything in her power to get me to hang out with her.  Eventually, out of guilt, I hang out with her, Again, I tell her I can’t date her, but I want to, right?  But I can’t cheat on the other girl, either.  Martha remains single for a few months, and Missy and I eventually break things off.  I need some time to move on, so after a few months, still talking to Martha, I finally ask her out, but she says no, she’s in a weird place at the moment.  3 weeks later, she begins dating Paulo AGAIN!

And this, girls, is why nice guys claim they are nice guys, and claim you are idiots.  This story is indeed one I have experienced, and one that is told by many men everywhere.
Now, girls, you are right in saying that a nice guy should not expect sex because he is nice.  The problem is if and when you give sex to the guy who does NOT deserve it.   However, guys, if this is the type of girl you are dealing with, is she really a sweet girl?  A girl who gives it up to someone because he has power and status based on his aggressiveness?  A girl who tries to manipulate you, lies to you, and tries to be a homewrecker?  Not so sweet after all, huh?  You see, we often associate “sweet, nice girl” with a certain attractive look, and it is rarely the case.

Now, for the part I think the ladies want to hear.  Admitting my own web of deceit and the shame of my horrible man-ness.  Well, I think I started off as the nice guy, I said.  I constantly went through life being a “nice friend.”  Basically, I was shy and never asked a girl out all throughout high school.  For one, while I never asked a girl out, I was the guy who stared at girls constantly, all the pretty ones at least.  Basically, that was my day, look at a girl until she stops looking, then look at another girl, until she stops looking, then back at the other girl.  Oh, gee, sound familiar?  That would have been a great basis for a relationship, right?  “Why’d you ask me out?”  -“Because you’re pretty!”  Great job.

But let’s move forward a bit.  For one, any guy who’s ever been heartbroken should be able to tell you that when the breakup occurred there some arguing going on, and I’m no exception.  When this happens, all emotions are on the table; while I may have been nice during the relationship, I became a jerk afterwards, maybe to get even or something, I don’t know.  But that’s not what I want to focus on today.  What I want to focus on is how we men make poor decisions without even realizing it, which have the potential to make us jerks.  During my second relationship in college, we were both nice to each other, but I wasn’t really happy in the relationship, and neither was she.  We were ok, but I think we felt like we were settling.  When I went home, some of my friends wanted to hang out, and threw a party.  I went, but I should have realized:  drinking + girls + no other source of entertainment.  So, what happens?  Most of the people there were already in a relationship together, except for one.  She happened to be 17, while I was 22.  Not that big of a difference, but still jailbait.  Of course, she flocked to me and tried to sleep next to me.  To avoid getting arrested, I pushed her off the couch and she slept on the floor.  I did this because I was drunk and that was the only thought I had other than, don’t get arrested.  No matter what I did, I was going to be a jerk to somebody.  If I neglected the party, I was a jerk to my friends.  If I cheated, I’m a jerk to the girlfriend.  If I do what I did, I’m a jerk to the 17 year old girl.

The other, more reasonable option was, don’t get drunk, then sleep on the floor.  The problem with men isn’t usually that we CHOOSE to be jerks.  The problem is that we don’t think about our days – we don’t plan ahead and think about the scenarios that MAY happen.  The problem with supposed NICE guys is that we are PEOPLE-PLEASERS.  The problem with people-pleasers is that they try to PLEASE EVERYONE.  The problem with pleasing everyone is that WHAT PEOPLE DESIRE FROM YOU IS NOT ALWAYS HELPING YOU.

Share your thoughts and comments below.