Tag Archives: Philosophy

Someone should exist purely to stop me ranting on this blog. It’s for the good of all man kind.

1 Mar

**A little warning that this post does talk about some sensitive issues, primarily abortion. If you’re not comfortable, then I’m afraid this isn’t for you. **

Also, I’m really sorry mum and dad! I know you’ll read this and, yes, I have talked about sex, masturbation and blow jobs…. Don’t hate me. 😦 (It’s in a philosophical context! I’m allowed!)

Okay, so I know I’ve been a bit crap with posting on here lately. I have no excuses really, just way too much on my plate. I’ve been completely over run with essays and, as per, my organisational skills have been absolutely crap. I have one more to go and I’m proud to say that, despite it not being due for over a week, I’m halfway through it. To be fair, if I had finished it the day it was set I still couldn’t have made up for how atrocious the first three were,as far as time management goes. I’m hoping I’ve done all right on them, but I’m going through the traditional ‘Oh my god, that was the worst essay I’ve ever written, I’m going to fail Uni and become a poetry reciting busker’ routine. (I can’t play any instrument very well, by the way, which may help to explain the poetry. Also, I like poems…)

Anyway, Philosophy was a nightmare. But then it always is. I’m pretty sure everyone’s predicted the upcoming rants on this semesters main Philosopher already, but I’ll save you from that for a little bit longer. Anyone fancy having a guess who it is? I’ll give you a clue, he’s an absolute pain in the arse (but to be fair, that would describe every philosopher that ever walked the planet. Ever.) and he wrote a book about Socrates. (Who I actually adore for some reason. Perhaps his ability to troll the life out of every conversation?) Well, the essay was on abortion, which is quite a controversial topic and something I haven’t really given much thought to. I had kind of hoped that after studying it in so much detail I would be able to make my mind up about how I felt about it but I’m still not sure.

I can kind of reason with myself that either pro or anti abortion would be a good stance to take but then I think of all the arguments against that argument and I just can’t find a reasonable reply to them. I think that writing an essay on it has actually just made me more confused as to my own opinion, it’s given me a lot of arguments but hasn’t lead to an answer which I’m comfortable with.

How can you say that it’s right to kill, or ‘let die’ a child that has done no wrong to anyone? But then, can you really define a foetus as a child? At what point does it become a ‘life’? 12 weeks? 10? A lump of cells? The argument that a child has a life from the moment of conception really doesn’t sit right with me. That’s like saying that sperm has a ‘life’ and how would that work?

I mean, I know that for certain people of the Catholic religion they’re often against contraception for this reason, that it’s stopping a child from being born, that it’s essentially killing it. (I know that there are many other reasons why some Catholics, and people of other religions are against contraception, I’m not trying to make that argument sound unreasonable by pointing out only that fact. To be quite honest, the argument itself does more to sound unreasonable than I ever could.)

Another interesting, if a little crude, point that I’ve came across is that if you can reasonably say that sperm is a life, could you say that giving someone a blow job was cannibalism? I mean, I know no reasonably minded person would think that, but where exactly do you draw the line? If you can’t use contraception because it prevents sperm from reaching, or at least having the potential to reach an egg, does that mean that masturbation would mean the same thing? Essentially, you’re ‘wasting’ life the same way you would do if you used contraception.

So no, I don’t agree with the idea that a child has a life from contraception, because I don’t see how turning from a sperm/egg into a blastocyst simply by multiplying out your cells can make the difference between having a life, and therefore a right to life, and not. (Yes, I DID learn, and remember, something in Human Biology!) So, because I don’t know how to define having a life and not, I can’t say it’s ok to have an abortion at an early stage but not after a certain time. It’s not okay at any point if I take that route, because the foetus could ‘develop’ a life at any point.

But then, I’m not comfortable with this either. I don’t like the idea that if a woman has been raped she should be forced to keep the child of her rapist when she is not at fault and not responsible for the baby. Or if the mother’s life is at risk. Or for another reasonable and just explanation. And I am fully in support of the fact that a woman should have the rights to her own body.

But then, shouldn’t the baby have the right to life? And wouldn’t that be more important? And, actually, something that’s not talked about as much as I thought it would be: Don’t the fathers have some sort of right? I mean, say that a woman and man are trying for a baby, conceive, but then she decides she doesn’t want it? Or worse, decides to abort the baby deliberately to hurt the father, something I know has happened on too many occasions? Does the father have no rights to his child? I mean, a father has equal rights when the child’s born, does the fact the mother’s carrying it make them any less relevant?

Oh dear. I’ve just stopped typing to remember what I was doing…. It was definitely not this.

So, I’ve went WAAAAY off track here. Erm, was not meant to go on an abortion rant. Right, well, so Philosophy essay was clearly destined to be rubbish. If I don’t have a clear opinion I can’t argue for or against it. English, I’d like to hope, went slightly better. It was about gender roles in Hamlet and Orlando and, although I was incredibly panicked at first, I managed to settle into it, and almost understand half of what I wrote. By about 4 o’clock the morning it was due in.

My last essay is for theology and I was going to go for either ‘Describe the Caste system in Hinduism.’ or ‘How can Hinduism be understood as the world’s oldest religion?’ but I decided that after not doing so well on my essay as I’d have liked last semester, I thought I’d do something different and go with the outrageously vague question, giving me a bit of scope to put my own spin on it. So, I’m writing now about ‘what it means to be Hindu’.

I’m quite enjoying it actually. I can either go two ways with it. One would be to describe as many of the key concepts as possible without going into too much depth, say a paragraph each, and the other would be taking three or four of the key, key concepts and be really detailed. I’m not sure what would be best. I could do both of them easily enough now that I’ve taken so much notes. (23 pages for a bloody essay!!!! I’m losing my mind) I’m not sure though, that with it being such a vague question I could really link just 3 or 4 and manage to answer it fully enough. But then, I also don’t know if I can put enough detail into the other option to be able to get a better grade. I could try and find a middle ground, but I have no idea where that would be.

Yeah, I get that you probably zoned out after reading that crap about an essay you’re not having to write/read so I’ll quit that rant too. Hmm, what else? I guess it’s been a hard few weeks. A lot has happened to make things unreasonably difficult. I had a pretty bad fall down two flights of stairs. Actually, that’s a lie. I had a pretty bad fall down one set of stairs. Then I tried to stand up, lost my footing and flew down the other one. I’ve ended up black and blue, again. My hip’s still gross and swollen. (’cause obviously you all wanted to know that). And it means I’ve been hobbling all over the place, which has not been fun. I’ve become addicted to facebook games, which is really not healthy. I just can’t stop! Oh yeah, I’m still unreasonably obsessed with vegetables!! I don’t think any of my ‘I will be healthy and eat good things and lose weight and exercise and stop eating beetroot’ have lasted this long!! Hopefully it’s a good sign! Yeah, I’ve also been reading HP fanfiction again. I feel like I’m betraying everything good about literature by doing this. In fact, I feel like I’m betraying myself, cutting out my soul a word at a time. But I’m allowed. It’s been an awful few weeks for numerous reasons and if I’ve succumbed to my weakness of slashy goodness then I’M ALLOWED. DON’T JUDGE ME. (**Edit** I’ve been told this is ‘gibberish’ so for those of you who are obviously not cool enough to know, hp fanfiction is Harry Potter stories written by fans about what happens after Deathly Hallows or a different spin on canon (Rowling’s plot). And slash is between same sex pairings. Some of them are actually quite good. Ok, they’re all right. Well, I mean, they can be good if you like that sort of thing. Look, I like them, STOP LOOKING AT ME WITH YOUR JUDGEMENTAL EYES.)

I actually stopped writing this post earlier to go to a debate at the QMU, which was really good! But now I have no idea or motivation to rant to you all any more! Well, I guess you had a lucky escape! I will post again soon. Yes, I will. I will. I’ll try. Ok, bye! Image

P.S. a friend sent me this photo. It is an incredibly accurate portrayal of my life.

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“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.” O. Wilde

16 Nov

I’m afraid I can’t even start this post apologising for being late as I usually do, as I’ve no idea when I last wrote, and even if I did, I’m not too sure what day it is, so my general self-loathing at my lack of organisational skills will need to suffice you today.

Anyway, (I reread my last post this morning and realised I say ‘anyway’ and ‘so’ way too much, so I’ll try and cut it down(as you will see, I have NOT done this…)) I’ve had a hectic week (?and a bit?) Firstly, yay!! my essays are finished!!! I’m so glad to be rid of them!

They were a complete disaster from start to finish. I spent the majority of the last two/three weeks on the edge of a mental breakdown, trying to simultaneously read secondary sources, write a ‘comprehensive’ analysis and convince myself that Descartes is right and that I’d wake up in the morning and realise it was all just a bad dream.

I think, though, that by doing such a horrendous job on these essays, I’ve learned a lot about what not to do next time, which might help. Firstly, do not put it off, at all, start it immediately. Secondly, don’t plan a time schedule, you’ll never stick to it. Thirdly, if you do give in to your tendency to ‘plan the life out of everything’, make sure you give at least four days of overlap incase you screw it all up again and have to spend way too much time on one essay, leaving yourself with the daunting prospect of having only two days to do another one. Fourthly, read lots of secondary sources; they know what they’re saying, you do not. Fifthly, doubly, triple, quadruple check the deadlines: they are out to deceive you!! Sixthly, and most importantly, if you’re writing an essay on a novel, or perhaps an annoying French guy with a big nose’s meditations, read the bloody book. Under No Circumstances attempt to write an essay when you have not read the book or half of the novel. Especially if said novel doesn’t have a decent wiki page!

Anyway, it doesn’t matter now, they’re gone and I’m going to pretend they didn’t happen. Until I get the results and spend days crying myself to sleep…

So, how did I celebrate not being burdened with essays I hear you ask? I slept. ALL WEEKEND! In fact, I only left, my room to get food and use the toilet. And do you know what, even seeing all the status of amazing nights out exam free etc, I don’t regret a thing!

My classes have all been good this last week (ish?) but I’ve been too stressed out and/or exhausted to appreciate them. We’ve been studying poems in English Lit and I’ve surprised not only myself but anyone who has had the misfortune of ever having discussed it with me, by finding a new love for all things poetry.

I’ve always found it very difficult to understand poetry. I haven’t really studied it in detail that much so I don’t really know the different structures, metres etc. Also, I’ve always found poetry really hard to follow. I can’t really ‘get into’ a poem unless it’s something I’m studying and I’ve been told what it means and what it says etc (at least, my teacher’s representation of it). The only poems, actually, that I’ve ever really manage to read, understand and enjoy is Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol and Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee. The first of these is a bit surprising really, for two reasons, firstly, it’s bloody long, much longer than any other poem I had read, and secondly because, at that point I absolutely hated Wilde. It feels like I’m sinning or something to say that now, but at the time my only experience of Wilde was An Ideal Husband which, in comparison to his other works, is quite boring. Now, Wilde is one of my favourite play-writes and A Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite novels.

Now, though I seem to be understanding poetry a lot better. I can easily sit down an read through a poem and not only understand what it means, but be able to appreciate some of the finer details I would never have picked up on before. I still have difficulty with the metre, though, because for some reason I just can’t seem to hear the stresses of the syllables! It’s almost in monotone when I hear poetry, I can’t hear the difference. I’ll keep working on it though, and my flatmates will just need to put up with me repeating the same line over and over out loud with several different inflections at two o’clock in the morning.

So, we’ve moved onto Christianity in Theology now, which is something I’ve really been looking forward to. Despite being raised Christian and being brought up with my morality stemming from that, I’ve actually been very shocked to realise how little I know about what I had claimed to be my religion for so long. I don’t know if I could say it’s quite lived up to my expectations but then, I wasn’t too sure I knew what I wanted it to be.

The lecturer is really good, although out of all three lecturers we’ve had so far, one teaching Islam and one Judaism, she seems to have her work cut out for her most. For the other two, they were lecturing to a class of people very few of whom were actually followers of the faiths they were teaching. However a large proportion of the class is Christian and I can almost feel the tension amongst them at times, as if they’re always waiting for a blow against their religion, or they feel that they must be paying careful attention in order to be able to correct/defend their principles. I can understand this, especially as a large amount of the class live locally and sectarianism is still at play even amongst this generation.

The lecturer, however, is really good at describing and explaining Christianity, while still being respectful but also scrutinising and stating disagreements without causing offence. It’s mostly when someone else in the class speaks up and says something which could be deemed offensive, even though it has never been meant as such, that anyone really begins to stiffen and take sharper notice.

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled for too long now, so I’ll sign off now. There’s still quite a lot I wanted to whinge about, but I’ll save it for next week! (Sooner actually!I feel guilty about how rubbish this post is, so I’m going to start a new one and get it up by the end of the week!) Bye!