The Dangers of Obedience

 

 

One of the topics that interest me the most in psychology has to do with obedience, or otherwise the act of doing what we’re told. As humans, we’re designed to recognize figures of experts or leaders and follow their advice accordingly. It’s a natural instinct; the leader of the pack usually knows where to go for survival, and so we follow. However, like many of our natural instincts, it has now become mostly deprecated due to advancement in society.

 

One of the startling things about obedience is how easy it is construct a false figure of an authority and have people still believe it. Things like the Milgram experiment and the McDonalds strip call case intersect with micro-cases like lecture halls and national governments in the sake of people pretending to be someone they might not be. What I mean here is that much of what we’ve established in our society is based on this fundamental aspect of obedience; obedience to laws, or culture, or politics. And while there are obedience principles put in place that help all of us, there also exists many faults with principles. Some of the greatest tragedies, wars, cults, and scandals have occurred out of obedience, out of blindly following the pack without considering where the pack is going.

 

Always think before you act. It’s something you’ve probably been told since you were a kid, but let me throw an important spin on it; always think before you act on what someone says. Perhaps I’m a bit too individualist for some people’s tastes, but I believe you should always consider your own personal morals and principles before considering to act upon the will of others. I believe that with more active forethought we can avoid the dangers that come with obedience.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. You can subscribe to it here.

The 3 Things You Need To Know To Succeed In A Class

 

 

School is an unfortunate thing we all have to go through. For some reason, a bunch of bureaucrats at some point decided that the best way to get people to learn was to put them all in a room for a few hours every week, regurgitate facts to them, and then test them on these facts based on an arbitrary points system. While we all know now that this isn’t the way learning works, the system has stuck. Fortunately for us, thanks to the system in place, there are some easy ways to game things to make sure you are well optimized to receiving the highest number of “points” for whatever class you take.

 

Generally, there are three categories of classes: vocabulary, practical, and essay/project. Vocabulary is definitely the easiest and most straight-forward, practical is more time consuming but isn’t too difficult, and e/p can tend to be a more complex/vague variant. Typically, people will always find vocabulary to be the easiest, but when it comes to practical vs e/p it tends to depend on the person. Of course, the first challenge of this is determining which category your class fits into. Some classes are pretty straightforward — math classes will almost always be practical, and writing classes will almost always be e/p – but a lot of it will depend on the subject of your class and what school system you are based under. Since this is a topic all on its own, I’ll mostly skip over this step and go into the best practices for each category.

 

Like I had mentioned previously, vocabulary classes are the most straightforward; simply memorize the vocabulary. Some classes are simple and give you a list of terms at the beginning, whereas others attempt to increase artificial difficulty by making the terms a bit harder to find. Still, you should be able to find decent hints to what the vocabulary words are via the textbook, lectures, and any assignments in the class. Worst comes to worst, you’ll have to use the first test as a practice play in order to figure out where to best look for these words. Once you have them, put them through a system like Quizlet or Anki to study them optimally; regular studying time with these apps will allow you to retain knowledge of the terms for an exceptional amount of time.

 

For practicals, the process is much longer but tends to be more rewarding, as constant practice is actually a pretty valid way of learning something. This category consists of concepts that need to be practiced via exercises to be optimally remembered. There are two challenges that come up with this process. The first is that, depending on the class, you may run out of exercises before you actually feel you have a solid grasp on the material. For some classes, you can simply go outside your textbook or homework and find more on the internet; for other more obscure classes, this can be a decent challenge. The second is that depending on the intensity of the course, your professor may end up just utilizing the concepts and chaining multiple ones together to create a much more complex problem than you’ve seen in previous exercises. This obstacle can be mitigated by having a strong understanding of what each question is asking; if you know the concepts well, you can understand what the exercise is no matter what is being asked.

 

The final category, and in my opinion the hardest to master, is essay/project. These classes tend to be a lot more fluid and non-direct compared the others; however, since the “points” need to be established somehow, there are still some ways to get past this. The first is through the rubric, which should (hopefully) be given to you at the beginning of your assignment. Other, more helpful professors may even add a list of requirements for the essay or project in the description of the assignment itself. The problem is that, unlike these previous categories, simply doing what is in the rubric or description won’t be enough. Many of these pieces are left purposely vague, which will further complicate things. The number one thing you need to do in classes like these is read between the lines. Most essays/projects will have a set structure whether or not they’re explicitly mentioned in the guidelines themselves; what you’ll have to do is look at examples, descriptions, and lectures to understand what the structure is.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. You can subscribe to it here.

School Shooting Training and 20 Year Prison Cap — Episode 34

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-eysit-a91caa

In this episode, we talk about the school shooting training business, apps for the camera, and limiting all prison sentences to 20 years.

The Topics:

Business of school shooting training [https://twitter.com/gilbertlisak/stat…]

Using the phone camera as a notebook [https://www.ben-evans.com/benedicteva…]

Capping prison sentences to 20 years [https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/20…]

Is leaking layoffs immoral? [https://twitter.com/direGoldfish/stat…]

The Curious Problem of Solving Transphobia

Welcome to another website exclusive! I figured that the last thing Medium and LinkedIn need a more pseudo-philosophical political conversations, so I’ve decided to keep this one (mostly) to myself.

I find the problem surrounding transphobia to be fascinating. In the way of stereotypes, I see three different categories: that of racism/sexism, that of homophobia, and that of transphobia. Racism/sexism is mostly built into specific societies based on significant historical events, i.e. America and the Atlantic Slave Trade. While there is noticeable periods of genders or races recognizing that other sides are “different”, mostly hatred between groups is only built up after significant events. However, once we get into homophobia, things get a little more complex. While there’s no biologically rational reason for rampant racism/sexism, homophobia is likely a biologically driven fear caused by the need for a species to continue to reproduce over time. Of course, this is no issue in modern day humanity, but one would reasonably assume that it would be built up over a very long time. It’s also worthwhile to note that the trend of homophobia waxes and wanes; while bisexuality was much more welcomed in something like Ancient Greece than it was in 1950s America.

But now comes a particularly strange issue. Transphobia is different because transsexuality itself hasn’t really even existed before. While gender dysphoria and simple substitutes such as drag have been a reality for a while, biological sex switching is a completely different ballpark.  This, in turn, can create a significant cognitive dissonance in a person; which is a lot harder of a problem to solve than the previous two.

In my opinion, if we want to mitigate transphobia over time, we need to do so by reducing the amount of cognitive dissonance associated with transsexuality. In all honesty, I don’t have a clear answer of how to do this; but we’ll need to use some way of normalizing the idea of gender not being a simple two way street, but rather a wider scope where people can be dotted around, much like race is considered by most now. I see transsexuality as a major breakthrough in changing the gender discussion, and I believe in the next 20 years or so we’re going to see a long of conflict – and resolution – in the way that it’s headed.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. You can subscribe to it here.

3 Ways To Get Value Out Of Nature

Yes, houses are nice. Air conditioning is definitely good (especially coming from Arizona), alongside all the other amazing benefits of society and technology. That being said, there is massive value to nature that you can still find to this day. In this article, I wanted to talk about the three main positive benefits I think people can get from going out into the natural world just a little bit more.

Finding Calmness

There’s something eternally calming and meditative about being away from the bustle of the modern world. If a standard meditation exercise only takes us out of the world for a few moments, then being alone in nature is the ultimate meditation.

Learning from other species

People watching is fun, but watching the rest of the animal kingdom in its natural habitat is a wonder all of itself. There’s a lot you can learn from the strategies of other species; many technological advancements in subjects such as swarm intelligence and aerodynamics would not be made if not for observing how other animals do what they do. Of course, observing forest denizens isn’t just for finding an idea for your next invention; on a more philosophical level it can allow you to connect with others who call this world home.

Understanding the World

We make a lot of stuff up. Sometimes, it’s hard to realize that. In a world full of music, and deadlines, and business and governments, we take such abstract concepts very seriously; perhaps a bit too seriously sometimes. When you go into the forest (or whatever other natural environment you happen to be in), you’re matched with what the world was in the beginning, before we had constructed all these concepts. The only pieces of the puzzle that are real are the ones that are out there; the way the creek flows, the rustling of the leaves, and the games of survival among the animals who live there. These are the only hard and fast rules in life; the ones that we’ve created are mostly derivations. I can find some solace in this, and I bet some of you could as well.

 

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. You can subscribe to it here.