Ideas for New Year’s Resolutions

Mind:

  • Do homework on day it was assigned
  • Read books (one that you aren’t required to read)
  • Try something new
  • Learn a new fact everyday
  • Read the newspaper
  • Look at something from a new perspective
  • Try something that scares you (improv, public speaking)
  • Put a positive spin on the negatives in your life
  • Create more (art, music, dance, writing, etc…)
  • Learn a new skill
  • Practice an old skill

Body:

  • Put exercising into your daily schedule
  • Eat food that helps reduce stress (tomatoes)
  • Laugh more, cry less
  • Eat slower to more fully enjoy the taste
  • Take a daily nap
  • Get to bed at a reasonable hour
  • Choose water over pop or coffee
  • Cut fast food out of your life
  • Learn a new dance (Swing, Zumba, Salsa, etc.)

Spirit:

  • Read a bible passage everyday
  • Improve your relationship with God through prayer
  • Say the rosary once a week
  • Serve others (soup kitchen, help a friend in need, tutor children, collect baby supplies for a pregnancy center)
  • Journal every night before bed
  • Say a prayer for someone who has caused you pain
  • Go on a retreat
  • Go out and spend time in nature
  • Go to church every Sunday
  • Go to Confession (yes it makes everyone uncomfortable but its important!)

Relationships:

  • Make a new friend
  • Ask someone to tell you a story from their childhood
  • Make someone smile everyday
  • Reconnect with an old friend
  • Forgive someone who hurt you in the past
  • Make commitments
  • Don’t gossip
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Dating Apps: The Search for the ONE that will love God and Me

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As a Catholic female in the college environment, it is difficult to find religious men, or frankly even a man that wants to commit to a relationship. Hookups are such a normal occurrence on campuses that people are utterly shocked when I tell them I don’t believe in them. If a guy values me he will ask me on a date. They are more confused when they find out I am a virgin and saving myself till marriage. Therefore fellow readers, you can understand that it is quite a task to find an eligible bachelor to potentially be my future husband. Hence, I found it necessary to try out some dating apps in hopes to find my prince charming. I would like to share my experiences with each app.

(SIDE NOTE: Before I go into details I want to mention that it is disappointing that almost all dating apps are based on looks verses the important things like personality, faith, and morals.)

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Christianmingle was the first one I had the guts to try out. The main issue I found with this app/website was that I couldn’t message anyone with out paying a monthly fee, which is not ideal for a broke college student. I manage to get around paying, by finding some of the men on social media and messaging them that way. (Probably not the safest thing to do)

The other downside to this site was there was a very limited selection, not many people are on it. Many of the men weren’t attractive, which I know sounds shallow, personality of course comes first, but you do have to be attracted to them in your own special way. Many of the men that I was interested in weren’t even in America or too far away to make sense to date.

The positives of this app was all the men that I did talk to were very sweet and never made any sort of sexual or degrading comments. Another plus is that all the men cared about God and their faith. I did end up going on a date with one guy Tony. He was nice but we had nothing in common so it didn’t end up working out. I deleted the app after that because there weren’t enough options in men left.

 

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Honestly I swore I would never try Tinder because it was a hookup app full of “fuck boys”. (Excuse my language) But I was home from break and feeling lonely. I determined to just try it out. The biggest problem I had with this app was how the men would talk to women. Every other guy that messaged me would start the conversation with a sexual or crude pickup line. This would cause me to automatically block them. I also receive many “Hey you are cute, Netflix and chill tonight?” This is super frustrating for someone who is looking for a date or a relationship.

Then this cute guy named Sam messaged me with Don’t Stop Believing lyrics. He seemed nerdy and cute (my type). So I agreed to have coffee with him the next day. We had a ton in common and he was extremely intelligent, scratch that, he was a genius. He was charming and romantic, truly swept me off my feet. (ladies be weary of the charmers)

The date was going so well that we extended coffee into us going to see the newest Star Wars movie. We continued to go on dates for roughly a week. But I was ignoring some big red flags along the way. This is a common happening when you become infatuated with another person.

Anyways I came to find out he believed that one person should be able to marry multiple people, and he needed sex …a lot of it. These were two big nos in my book. So I quickly ended things with him. I am glad I did because it would have definitely ended in an abusive relationship. For example he used sexist language, he viewed other women more as objects than people. He wanted to have all the power in the relationship. He just was not the type of person I was looking for at all. (or any woman) After this experience I decided I would never use this app again. Tinder lives up to its reputation as a hook up app.

 

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Out of all the dating apps, this one is my top pick. The main issue is it only works in big cities. I live in Chicago an even there, there were slim pickings. I received roughly a total of two rude comments out of many guys I chatted with. You can count on a good conversation and invites to go on a date instead of just an offer to watch Netflix and chill. I went on a date with one fellow. He was Catholic and was an actor. The only issue was he was not ready for a relationship and ended up just using me as a rebound. I don’t blame the app but I ended up deleting it anyways.

 

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I took a break from dating apps for a while because I dated a long time friend but it ended on a sour note. I decided to try online dating again. Bumble was a newer one that is considered the feminist dating service. On this app the female is the only one who can message first. The biggest issue is that I will have a good conversation going with a guy and then he will randomly stop messaging me. I haven’t got a single date from this app. I have also received offensive messages, not to the extent of the ones I received on Tinder but still vulgar. Although, there are many people who have an account on this app, almost as many as Tinder.

 

To sum it up, I would not recommend dating apps if you are looking for something serious or someone that values their faith. It is possible to find this on an app but it is much more unlikely. I guess we are going to have to meet men the old fashion way. Please share and comment with your own experiences on dating apps!

The Manipulation of Body Image

Photoshopification (the manipulation of photos) is becoming a normal thing into today’s society. This causes conflicts in the terms of originality. “The ability to digitize information also challenges our intuitive assumptions about a variety of things everything from the ‘reality’ that a picture represents to the external symbol systems that words and images together create” (Patterson/Wilkins 229). This manipulation of images can also cause major deception to the eyes of the viewer.

This idea of deception is most prominently seen in the fashion world. Models are highly edited to appear perfect. All wrinkles are removed, their waists are shrunk down to ridiculous portions, and butts and breasts are increased. This is not only deceiving but it’s causing people to have unrealistic expectations for themselves. This has a huge impact on young girls.

Women and girls feel the need to be unhealthily skinny because of this photoshopification of models. Recently there has been this fad going around the Internet that has appalled me. It is called The Paper Challenge. Girls hold up a standard size sheet of paper (8 ½ by 11) portrait view against their stomach. If the piece of paper covers their whole stomach then they are the “perfect size”. Our view is skewed because of major editing of photos.

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Another phenomenon that women recently become self-conscience about is the thigh gap, aka the space between your legs. Apparently it is seen as unflattering if you thighs touch (which is perfectly normal and healthy). This has gotten so out of hand that an artist found it necessary to make a fake ad for Thigh Gap Jewelry. But, when people go to try and buy it, it sends them to a page that talks about unrealistic beauty standards.

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Much like Aristotle’s Golden Means, the fashion industry needs to seek out a happy medium and find a middle ground between two vices. Perhaps, it could alter the photos a little bit to take out minor flaws but not to the extent of complete untruthfulness. Another way to think about it is in the view of Utilitarianism in that it would be more beneficial to a large population of people if the photos remained unedited. Otherwise, women and girls would feel the need to be unhealthy just to fulfill society’s beauty standards.

Money & Media

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“Seems like everybody’s got a price” tag. (Jesse J) Art has become less about the beauty of telling a story and more about the profit. Film companies are less likely to take risks on smaller films or cast not so well known actors. “The same mentality is true of music and book publishing as well, where fewer producers meant fewer outlets for artists and a dumbing down of content to please the mainstream audience.” (Patterson and Wilkins, p.168)

They are constantly making sequels and spinoffs of characters because they know audiences will watch these for their beloved, and favorite characters. Also there is whole big phenomenon of splitting up a movie into two or three parts, which seemed to become the fad after the last Harry Potter was released.

The most well known flop that did this was The Hobbit. It split up a three hundred paged book into three movies compared to The Lord of the Rings where the books were four hundred pages long and each only had one movie per book. This caused The Hobbit to go off the storyline and the producers added way more action to interest the audiences. They inserted this action because the thrill of action packed films attracts a bigger crowd; hence bringing in more money.

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This is similarly happening with the X-Men franchise. They keep making unnecessary movies so they can keep the rights to X-Men. If they don’t make an X-Men movie every two years or so they lose the rights, so they keep making dumb movies because of this contract to bring in more cash because this is the era of super heroes.giphy (1).gif

Aristotle’s Concept of the Golden Means talks about how virtue lies in the middle of two extremes or vices. Currently, the film industry is on the excessive side of the scale. These producers and companies are overcome with the vice of greed. According to Aristotle, they should try to find the happy medium of ambition but not so far down the scale that it becomes sloth.

Josiah Royce’s idea of loyalties also play into this. The media or, in this case, the companies in charge of producing films, music and books are being loyal to themselves and whatever brings in money even if they ruin the art in the process.

They care more about the money than the people. For example, the situation Kesha had to go through with where she has not been able to get out of a contract with her producer who raped and used her. Royce says “loyalty as a single ethical guide has problems.” In this case the company is being loyal to an unethical cause. They will not release Kesha from her contract because they do not want to lose money. Once again they are being loyal to themselves and have a lust for money.

Ethics of 24-Hour Surveillance

This is an essay I formed from a prompt for an ethics class about a government agent who finds out that illegal surveillance is occurring. This agent asked for Aristotle’s advised on what to do. Hence I formed this essay based on how I believe this philosopher may have responded. This essay is relevant to the current event which involved Snowden.

 

Ethics of 24-Hour Surveillance

Dear unidentified agent,

Ethically this illegal surveillance that is happening is immoral; the first duty of political establishments is to do the good for the city verses the good of the individuals, or the political figures using this surveillance to their advantage. (I.2, p.2) Every craft or means of employment must seek out the highest good through their service and be held accountable when they are not. They must seek an end that is good and make a habit of seeking good. Through this breach of privacy they are not seeking the highest good; rather, they are reaching a vice for they are micromanaging the nation. They are going way too far. It makes sense to keep track of suspicious characters yet they are violating every person’s privacy.

The government needs to be an example for this nation. Moral is a result of habit. For example if a person abstains from pleasure it helps to make them become temperate. (II.2 p.20) Hence if the politicians are not practicing the morals of implementing justice how can they expect the people to do the same? By revealing this abominable crime it will show the public that wrongdoings will not go unpunished and hopefully prevent future wrongdoing, concerning both the government and the citizens of this nation.

However, this plan of telling the nation of this horrifying news could backfire too, similar to the recent case with Edward Snowden who was forced to go into hiding for the executing moral justice for the nation as whole. “Further each person judges rightly what he knows, and is a good judge about that; hence the good judge in a given area is the person educated in that area and the unqualifiedly good judge is the person educated in every area.” (I.4 p.4) Therefore since you are within this particular government and had much training in this area, I would say you are a good judge for this circumstance.

Since you have come to me wondering what to do, I believe you are already aware of the answer. That you must act because if it were not a problem you would not be concerned and asking for advice. Therefore you are the best judge of this situation, not I, but you. You must deliberate about your beliefs that will hopefully promote a good end. (III.3 p. 35) And then determine what steps to take to enact this justice. Since you have acquired character you are no longer free to think wrongly; your brain is programed to think to the means of a good end. (III.5 p.38) You must establish which action to take “For we are in control of actions from the beginning to the end” (III.5 p. 40). Once you have discovered what you wish for, in the end you must “deliberate and decide about things that promote it” (III.5 p. 37).

By saying nothing, you are not holding these people accountable for their actions, even though they have bad intent. They are using it for their power, own personal gain, and pleasure because “many think it is something obvious and evident for instance, pleasure, wealth or honor” (I.4 p.3) that will bring about happiness. We do bad things because of pleasure, instead of the right thing, because sometimes it is painful to do the ethical/moral thing. Pleasure and “wealth is not the good we are seeking” (I.6 p.5). The good we should be seeking is the good of the soul not the external goods. (I.7 p.10) “[W] hat is just pleases the lover of justice” (I.8 p.11). This is the type of people we need in government agencies such as, lovers of justice not lovers of honor or wealth; people like you who must stand up for justice and be an example for the rest of the nation.

In this case I believe there will be more pain involved for the nation as a whole if nothing is said or done. To act virtuous in this situation you must involve yourself in a choice. Whether or not you wish to live in a lie or serve justice to the people of this country and hold these political figures accountable for their actions, we must seek to stand by our ethics as a result hopefully inspiring others of this country to do the same. For people to reach their fullest good and happiness they must seek out the chivalrous, good end verses just an end that leads to pleasure of earthly things. “Hence virtue is also up to us.” (III.3 p. 37) You can find true happiness through knowledge but not the corrupt knowledge, in which the government are stealing from people’s phone conversations and emails, web traffic, and other things along those lines.

In conclusion, you should hold this government agency accountable for their actions and apply the necessary punishment so the public eye can see that actions such as these are not suitable or acceptable. Help the people form a moral habit by exposing them. Follow the path of your ethical character and serve the justice of the people, not of the pleasure hungry individuals at the head of this government. Seek the good end that consists of the good of the soul and not external material goods that the people of the government are seeking. Furthermore, you are the best for this situation for you are more of an expert in this area. You are in control of your actions; please stand up and make a difference for this nation by holding these wrongdoers accountable for theirs. Be a lover of justice!

 

Sincerely,

Aristotle

Is it a Moral Obligation to be Charitable? (According to John Stuart Mill & Aristotle)

Firstly, we must define what is the meaning of the word charitable. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary the word charitable is defined as “full of love and goodwill towards others; liberal in benefactions to the needy, of or relating to charity; and merciful and kind in judging others.” Referring to these definitions, they cannot only be associated with helping those in need, but also could be related back to justice within law, because of the component about compassionate or merciful judging.

In comparing John Stuart Mill’s and Aristotle’s point of views on the moral obligation to be charitable would be something along these lines after reviewing their works. Ultimately Aristotle doesn’t believe charity is an obligation but it is an individual’s decision; yet he mentions that helping a greater being such as a city, will help achieve a higher good of the soul through virtue of generosity. On the contrary, John Stuart Mill would believe that morality (which could include charity) is only rooted in us when we seek a higher good or pleasure later resulting from the act. It is not an obligation rather option to help one achieve greater happiness. This is almost an act of selfishness, which is called the Theory of Life. The only exception to this could be if the helping of others could benefit the greater population (II.7, p. 7).

However, there is the idea that being charitable also includes justice within judging law. This would be their stance on this matter; Mill believes that a person can break a bad law justly, that the law should not be the standard of justice, nor favoritism show in judgment, and that a person who is charged should receive what they deserve (V). Aristotle’s view on this is that the law helps people to act or behave virtuously, and the just person is then lawful which will make them virtuous (V).

Aristotle doesn’t necessarily believe charity is an obligation but that it is the individual’s decision. Although he does mention that we will be the happiest if we reach the highest good, which could include helping a bigger group of people such as a city, and as a result, help us attain a higher happiness than if we were just helping ourselves (I.2, p.2). “For even if the good is the same for a city as for an individual, still the good of the city is apparently a greater and more complete good to acquire and preserve. For while it is satisfactory to acquire and preserve the good even for an individual, it is finer and more divine to acquire and preserve it for people and for cities.” Aristotle is explaining that you should want to achieve the highest good and in this case helping a larger amount of people is indefinitely a higher good.

There are other goods as well such as external goods, goods of the body but Aristotle deems the highest good the goods of the soul (I.7 p. 10-11). The goods of the soul can flourish when you seek out the median or virtue. Also he discusses virtue and one of the virtues he talks about is generosity, which is only good in moderation; too much is a vice but too little is also a vice. Aristotle compares the soul to a sick person. He says if the doctor gives the patient instructions on what to do to improve their health and the patient does not listen the sick person will not improve (II.4, p.22). He is saying that your soul cannot improve and unless you make the decision to improve it, it will not improve. One way that it could be improved would be if one helped others through generosity but you have to make your own decision on it because Aristotle himself highly advises it. According to Aristotle the highest good for humans, cities, or communities is happiness, and happiness is an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue and virtue is a state of the soul that decides whether they do too much, too little or just enough (Book I and II).

In addition Aristotle’s quote talking about the city could also be referring to the justice system and that is one of the reasons justice in the government is so important to preserve the good of both the individual and city (I.2, 2). “Further each person judges rightly what he knows, and is a good judge about that: hence the good judge in a given area is the person educated in that area, and the unqualifiedly good judge is the person educated in every area” (11.2 p.19). Having a judge that is well educated is vital because some are more familiar with a certain kind of case than others. In courts today, most judges have special jurisdiction in one of the following areas: criminal and civil, assigning probation, family law, juvenile cases and so on. He also considers that the law encourages persons to behave virtuously hence making the just person not only lawful but also virtuous. Justice can be restored in a court case when the judge is able to equal out the gains and losses of both persons or parties restoring the equilibrium (V.3, p.72).

As stated above, Mill would believe that morality (which could include charity) is only rooted in those seeking a higher good or pleasure, which later results from the act. It is not an obligation rather option to help one achieve greater happiness. The only exception to this could be if the helping of others could benefit the greater population. Therefore, Mill would think that it would be more beneficial to a larger group of people for happiness to be generous and that would be the ideal choice to help the people in need. “The theory of life on which this theory of morality is only things desirable as ends; and that all desirable things (which are numerous in the utilitarian as in any other scheme) are desirable either for pleasure inherent in themselves or as means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain” (II, p.7). Mill says that people’s actions stem from the “Greatest happiness principle” or men’s (women’s) pursuit of happiness, as well as, the actions they take to achieve that happiness and avoid pain. “Those who desire virtue for its own sake desire it either because the consciousness of its pleasure or because the consciousness of being without it is a pain” (IV p 38). Hence people only do something that is morally right just to benefit them-selves with a more rewarding pleasure in the future (I, p.2). Mill is expressing that virtue is only needed if it helps you achieve happiness or avoid pain otherwise it is not worth your time.

A Close Up Look

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Everyday we walk past things not even giving them a second glance. Unfortunately some people are like this when it comes to God. They don’t bother to take a closier look into his dying love for us. They miss out on his beauty. Much like the photos that i took above. We all think of flowers as a thing of beauty but had anyone ever stopped and looked a rotting fruit or rusty metal and deemed it beautiful? So i brought this task upon myself to go out and find beauty in some likely and unlikely spots. A thorny stem that pricks you at the touch but yet has a lush, vibrant color. The rotting crabapple the wearing away and decaying of this fruit has it’s own special elegance. A cluster of dead flowers reminds me how we die in this life but we go on to live with Christ in the next. Overall my little project was successful. My challenge to you dear readers is to do the same. Don’t be afraid to take a second look at God.