Science, Fifty Shades of Grey and Morality

Daily Prompt: Morality Play

June 24, 2013

Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/daily-prompt-morality-play/]

morals  plural of mor·al (Noun)

Noun
  1. A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
  2. A person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.
Synonyms
morality – moral – ethics – mores – morale

Growing up, my source of moral values was my family, but that’s a no-brainer, given that obeying and making them proud is ingrained in our minds as our duty from a very young age. As I grew up and met those outside my home, others with conflicting or perhaps different worldviews, I reevaluated the parameters of my personal definition of morality, and I continue to do so even today.

As a student of science, if there’s one thing I have learned, it is to absorb information unbiased, consider all the possible alternatives, and then settle for the most rational one; as the information available keeps increasing, to keep adjusting the parameters of my belief  system.

That’s the attitude I approach morality with. The very definition of moral (definition 2) implies that morality is individual-specific. I base my sense of morality mostly on common sense; if it’s hurting someone, it must be wrong on some level, and conversely, if no one is hurt by it, it couldn’t possibly by entirely evil.

I believe the reason there are so many scuffles taking place over moral outrage is because people tend to be heavily biased. I’m no exception either; the best example I can come up with is the Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey series. Hearing about the plotlines, I developed an immediate dislike to both the series. I said insulting things about the books left and right and felt no regret doing it. I thought people who read the book were fools. Then someone made a comment in passing about a literary preference of mine, and I immediately snapped at them, telling them “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” then immediately felt ashamed of myself.

I took it upon myself to read both the series with as open a mind as I could muster, and, although my opinion of the series remained almost the same, I did find certain things to appreciate along the way. I learnt things I hadn’t known previously, and some of my stances softened.My worldview broadened a bit and I had to concede that if I were someone else, in different surroundings, perhaps my outlook would be different.

That lesson is what I take with me when I consider morality. No matter what my opinion, if I take the trouble to listen without bias, I will undoubtedly take home something important at the end of the day. And as far as tolerance goes, I go by the adage: Your yard ends where mine begins. It’s the perfect ideal to judge by, whether it be a question life, liberty, morality, or even actual yards.

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3 Words:20130622: day 173 &

Daily Prompt: Island of Misfit Posts

June 23, 2013

We all have something we’d like to write about, but that doesn’t really “fit” our blog. Write it anyway.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MISFIT.

[http://threewordsaday.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/20130622-day-173/]

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/daily-prompt-misfit/]

The community bench is

Just another place to park this

Heavy encumbrance

That is my body,

But this is one place where I

Blend in. I don’t have to

Bring anything original

To the metaphorical table

Or pretend I like the taste of

What’s being served.

No one will ask me

Uncomfortable questions

Like

Am I happy

or How am I.

We just smile at each other

So we know we’re not alone.

Paula Deen’s Mistake

Daily Prompt: No, Thank You

June 22, 2013

If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/daily-prompt-no/]

The first thing that popped into my mind on seeing this was that I’d love to ban a few racial slurs. I happened to click on this link [http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/heres-paula-deens-apology-for-using-the-n-word]  today when it came up on my Facebook feed as I was scrolling.

The article and the video only mention that Paula Deen, someone noteworthy in her field, had used a certain racial slur, and was under media fire for it; also  her contract was not going to be renewed. Although I was dismayed by the fact that people still use racial slurs in this day and age, I couldn’t figure out why there had been such a strong reaction to it that it became Upworthy-worthy until I read the copy of the legal papers at the bottom of the page.

The brief talks about the blatant and, frankly, disgusting sexism and racism that was shown to a Ms. Jackson during her tenure as manager at a restaurant under Deen. The description of the verbal, mental and physical assault of Jackson made me shudder and feel dirty; dirty because I am a part of the same human race that both perpetuates such acts and allows them to continue unchecked. I admit that prejudice is sometimes inherited, and that I am lucky to have grown up in surroundings that permit free thinking and encourage equality, but I believe there comes a point beyond which no prejudice can account for our mistreatment of our fellow beings, human or otherwise, on Earth.

I strongly encourage anyone and everyone reading this to please have a look at the copy of the legal complaint I have mentioned above. We may not all be in a position to help out those being harassed, but we can at least attempt to remain aware of their struggles; if knowledge is power, and with great power comes great responsibility, then surely to remain ignorant is to willfully shirk responsibility?

Clueless at Goodbye

Your Daily Theme for June 21
 
Goodbyes
People handle goodbyes differently. Some prefer celebrations. Some prefer sentimental recollection. Some prefer quick “I’ll see you soon”s.
Write a scene in which your character is saying goodbye to someone or something he/she cares about.

 

She walked over to her laptop and opened her email. The email from Figment said that this was to be the last Daily Theme. Cradling her head in her hands, she wondered what she could possibly write about in a hundred words that could possibly do justice to what their prompts had done for her. She promptly shut down the laptop. Clueless. After dinner, she hesitantly reopened the email, and, looking at it, she instantly knew what she would do. She opened up word and typed out her first sentence: She walked over to her laptop and opened her email.

Red and Gold

Your Daily Theme 

for June 20
 
Opening Line
I snatched the mask from his face. “You?! It was you all along?!”
 
Use this line as inspiration for a short story or poem.
He smiled and took my hands in his. “Of course. I wondered how long it would take you to recognize me.”

“But…,” I spluttered. “This doesn’t make sense – we’re from different universes.”

“So?” Still that serene smile, constant as ever.

“How are you here?” I asked softly, looking up at his worn face.

“You needed me.”

I swallowed. “Will you…can you stay?”

“As long as you need me,” he said. “I’ll stay as long as you remember me.”

“That, I will.” I gingerly touched his scar. “Always.”

I woke up to the brilliant red and gold sunrise. Thank you.

Link to my piece on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/659901-Red-and-Gold

 

Learning to Use the Remote

Daily Prompt: Moment of Kindness

June 20, 2013

Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else — loved one or complete stranger.

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/daily-prompt-kindness/]

Almost ten years ago, I embarked on my saddest flight journey ever. I was leaving behind my life and people I loved, and I felt lost and as if everything had been wrenched from me, although I didn’t know how to put it in words at the time. My travelling group had an odd number of people, and, with my luck, I happened to be the one assigned to sit alone. Stewing in the aisle seat, not my seat of preference, anger, hurt and frustration welled up inside me. Abandoned.

The flight had one of those television screens built into the back of the seat in front, so I pulled out the remote and tried to find something to watch. But with my luck, guess what? I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. The frustration increased, and I’m not sure I would have been able to stop myself from breaking down if what happened then hadn’t happened.

“Can I help you?” the passenger beside me asked. Needless to say, I gratefully accepted his help and learned how to navigate the remote and the television. Just then, I got a call from the rest of my travelling group. They’d arranged for a place for me next to them.

From what I remember, my co-passenger was Hispanic and in his late twenties. Probably just another guy on just another flight. But he was more than he will ever know to me that day. I still think of him with gratefulness. It’s amazing how something as simple as helping someone out with a remote lingers in people’s memories. He didn’t have to do it, but he did. It wasn’t a huge favor, nor did it right all the wrongs in my life; indeed, it didn’t better my situation at all. But it made me smile. It eased the sting a little bit and reminded me that there is still good in this world, although (again) I couldn’t have put this into words at the time, nor am I sure I even understood why it made me feel better. But it did.

So, Man Who Helped Me, if you happen to be reading this, know that what you did for me that day I deeply appreciate. I hope I have done/will be able to do, for others, what you did for me.

Love Until Injustice Do Us Part

Daily Prompt: Tagline

June 19, 2013

Often, our blogs have taglines. But what if humans did, too? What would your tagline be?

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/daily-prompt-tagline/]


Like everyone else in the world, I have my moods, and different parts of me surface around different people. Still, there are a few basic traits that I carry with me into every setting and scenario, and I’m guessing that’s a safe way to define the basic parameters of my personality and design a tagline. So here goes: I would like to believe that I am open-minded and give others the benefit of the doubt as far as is reasonable. I also tend to be open – I will tell you “I can’t tell you”, but I will not lie, whence springs my great dislike for hypocrisy and injustice. And, as loath as I am to admit it, I can forgive just about anything, but once my limits of forgiveness have been crossed, I detach myself. I will still care, but not allow myself to depend on the person concerned anymore. So, my tagline?

 

love until injustice do us part

Utter Lack of Ability

Daily Prompt: Might As Well Jump

June 18, 2013

What’s the biggest risk you’d like to take — but haven’t been able to? What would have to happen to make you comfortable taking it?

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/daily-prompt-jump/]

I wrote this in “haibun” form, something I have only recently discovered, thanks to this blogger’s page and competition right here: http://yepirategunn.weebly.com/2/post/2013/06/ligo-haibun-challenge-1406-2106.html.

————————————-

I am one of those people who have two left feet. Not the kind that say it out of modesty, mind you – I am absolutely, utterly, horrendously incapable of dancing. To add to that, I’m decidedly overweight as well, making it less cute if I blunder around, tires bulging, than if, say, Cameron Diaz or Enrique Iglesias did.

I associate dancing with passion, sexuality and whirling around in the sheer excitement of living; at least, that’s what it looks like to me when others dance. I would give just about anything to be able to dance, yet unfortunately my sense of pride keeps me from making an absolute fool of myself. Funnily enough, I believe that it’s not so much a general sense of pride holding me back as much as shame: shame for my appearance and my stark lack of ability.

I believe that if I lost weight, or if I (privately) attained a certain minimum level of proficiency in any dance form, I would gain the confidence required to dance in public.

Mistakes and missteps

Make a mockery of me.

Will I ever dance?

 

A Curious Find

Today’s Write Now Prompt by Today’s Author:

The kids must have dragged that thing out of the trunk in the loft.

“Did you hear that?” I mumbled sleepily.

“No,” mumbled Dave, equally sleepily. “Go back to sleep; what is it, six o’clock?”

“Okay,” I acquiesced with a sigh, nuzzling my husband’s shoulder.

~

Around ten, I ambled down in shorts, a sweatshirt and yesterday’s socks to put together some brunch. “Kids?”

I got no reply. I shuffled over blearily to the stove and put some water to boil. I needed tea. “KIDS!” And possibly a holiday.

Somewhere in the house, a door banged, and I heard laughing voices spill out from the upstairs corridor. “Come down for breakfast. Now!” As much as I hated their inability to come down on time, I was grateful beyond words for the extra sleep I got thanks to their disregard for mealtime punctuality.

“Mom, Mom, look at me! Isn’t it pretty?” Emma, all of eight-years old, came barreling into the kitchen, draped from head to toe in a red, flowy….scarf? Tablecloth? What was that? She spilled some pebbles out onto the counter. “These are magic,” she solemnly declared, just as Ethan poked his face around the door. “These trading cards are so cool!” he said exuberantly, holding them up in front of me. Jerking my head back an inch, I blinked. The Fool? The Magician? The Hanged Man? The cards were larger than those of an average deck and had unusual imagery on them, some verging on pornography, others graphic violence. Somehow I doubted this was part of a children’s trading card game. “Ethan, honey, give me the cards for a minute,” I said, taking them from him.

“Ooh a party! Why wasn’t I invited?” came Dave’s voice from the doorway. His grin quickly froze when he saw Emma’s new costume. He seemed lost and, somehow, nervous.

“What’s all this then?” I asked. “Dave, do you have any idea what these are? I don’t think the kids should-”

Snatching the cards from me, he walked across the kitchen, kneeling down near Emma. “Sweetie, why don’t you give that to me? ‘Atta girl!”

Still suspicious, I cleared my throat. “Any idea where they might’ve found this?” I asked Dave, voice tighter than I’d meant it to sound.

“Oh, um,  the kids must have dragged that thing out of the trunk in the loft,” he replied, standing up, still not meeting my gaze. “I’ll just go and make sure they haven’t made a mess up there.” Grabbing the pebbles in one hand, and the cloth and cards in the other, he turned and headed upstairs without looking back. As he climbed the stairs, I noticed him wrap the cards in the red cloth.

Something was definitely up.

“Inferno” – Dan Brown

Daily Prompt: Bookworm

June 16, 2013

Tell us about the last book you read (Why did you choose it? Would you recommend it?). To go further, write a post based on its subject matter.

The last book I read was Inferno, by Dan Brown. Apart from having exhilarating plotlines that hook you in every time, Dan Brown ensures that we take home a lesson of some sort every time, either a history lesson or some moral food-for-thought. So much for why I chose it. As for recommending it, I would always recommend a Dan Brown book, and this one is no different.

Inferno focuses on the dire threat of population. It points out, correctly, that all our other sustainability problems (less food, less water, less land to grow food, less land for housing, disease, global warming, etc.) are NOT problems, but symptoms of something else entirely – the much-too-huge population of human beings, currently on a frighteningly rapid rise.

  • Mystery/Adventure lovers: you will love this.
  • Dan Brown lovers: you will love this.
  • Thinkers/Philosophers: you will especially love debating the subject matter and the new points of view he puts forth.

So basically, if you have just the fifteen minutes required to get yourself to the bookstore, I highly suggest you do it – you’ll have loads of fun and enrich your understanding as well.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/daily-prompt-words/