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.

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.

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?

 

“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/

Breathtakingly Alive

Daily Prompt: Singin’ in the Rain

June 15, 2013

Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

 

I’m sitting at my dining table,

And I think I forgot to close the window

Because the curtains are flying

And there is water

Everywhere.

Monsoon wind swirls and gusts are life-giving,

Invigorating, in the face of summer heat.

I’m curled up with Harry Potter again –

I’m sorry if it looks like I’m ignoring you

But I’m not really here anymore;

I really didn’t hear you.

My stomach interrupts me though,

So I blast my DVD player all the way

With a mix CD from two years ago

Signed by a friend,

And sing like no one ever has before

Because no one ever has.

And I get my poncho, chocolate,

Sunflower seeds and soup

Because tea is hard to get just right

And sweaters and coffee are too cliché.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/daily-prompt-rain/

What Makes People Deserve Awards?

Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

June 13, 2013

You’re asked to nominate someone for TIME’s Person of the Year. Who would it be, and why?

I don’t know all that much about politics. My general knowledge and awareness barely covers things like the unrest in Turkey and Edward Snowden’s uncovering of the NSA’s spying activity. So no, I don’t think I’m qualified, rather, aware enough, to name anyone as person of the year.

But I am keenly aware of what people I know have been through this past year. Several friends have struggled with their education, my roommate has had on-again, off-again depression because of a guy she’s seeing, and yet another friend questioned humanity itself, saying we don’t deserve to exist. I’ve seen nearly everyone I know, whether I like them or not, fight their own battles. One friend lost a father a year ago, another  has fought her weight and managed to lose some, and so on and so forth.

I looked up today’s Figment Daily Theme a while ago:

Your Daily Theme for June 12, 2013
A writer must learn empathy, that ability to fully understand the emotional life of others. Yes, even those we find depressing, boring, or plain old annoying. It’s that understanding of others that helps us shape compelling, three-dimensional characters.

Take a peek at the News Feed of someone you once hid on Facebook, or unfollowed on Twitter, and select a particularly grating recent post (Maybe: “Off to Zimbabwe then Paris! Pictures to follow! Send me a postcard from wherever you are!”), then write at least 500 words in the voice of that person about that post, in a way that helps you better understand him/her without anger, annoyance, or judgment.

…and was stumped. I trawled through old friends’ walls, searching for something good to use to spur my writing. That’s when I realized how much I’d changed. I was spending time with people I really connected with now, people who cared about me too. I was open to new experiences, and more confident about myself and my abilities. As a result, I was  less constricted, much happier, and a more developed, mature person than I’d been a while ago.
So I dedicate my allocated CyberAward of the Year to all of us. We have all grown this past year, no matter what the cause, what the field and what the reason. We have improved our lives and, whether we realized it or not, also had an impact on the lives of those around us. Just ask a friend and see, I dare you to. And isn’t that what this award is about? To have brought about a change in the world, one that affected others and was appreciated? You are an inspiration to several because of how far you’ve come.
Go ahead, take that badge and pin it on. You deserve it.

The Pebble

Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the other, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

He couldn’t take it anymore; he had gotten through depression because of her and had stopped cutting because of her. He was a new man because of her. And she’d said no. How could she? She’d told him he was an amazing person, and that anyone would die to be with him, and he’d believed her; believed her thinking she was indirectly saying something to him. Well, it turned out all women were the same. Actually, all people were the same. They kept the good ones around, the funny ones around, and the ones that made them smile, but always as a friend. Nothing more. The perfect ones, on the other hand….they didn’t even have to bat an eyelid or say a kind word to be thought perfect romance material. What did she see in him anyway? Neal reached his favorite pond-side spot beneath the willow and kicked a smooth, round pebble into the pond, and stared at the ripples until they faded out.

x

The pebble hit his head with a thonk. Sammy, annoyed, flicked the tail of the tadpole closest him. “Ow, that hurt!”

Doubled over with laughter, Rick yelled back over his shoulder, “Wasn’t me, mate!” He shook his head, grinning, and swam ahead, joining the others in their race to Algae Cave.

Sammy scowled, falling to the back of the race. He jetted down to the bottom of the pond to get a closer look at the culprit.

The pebble was smooth, round, and whiter than any rock he’d ever seen – even whiter than the one Marty had shown them in show-and-tell last week, calling it the whitest rock around. Well, he’d show Marty.

Just them, he thought he heard a faint whisper. He looked around, but didn’t see anyone there. He frowned and checked once more; still no one. Just as Sammy gave up and turned to leave, he heard the same whisper, only louder – it was coming from the direction of the rock. He swam back to the rock and circled it. On the other side, half buried under the rock, was Katy, the cute goldfish from school.

“Katy!” he exclaimed, and ran to tug her out.

“It’s no use Sammy,” she sighed, tears in her eyes. “It won’t budge.”

“Well, I’ll make it,” retorted Sammy, setting his jaw in determination. After a few fruitless tugs, he looked around for something, anything to use.

“Don’t leave me here!” Katy pleaded.

“I’ll be right back,” Sammy promised, and swam back, true to his word, with a bit of bark he’d found buried in the mud. Using it as a lever, he put all his weight on it and, inch by inch, lifted the rock up enough for Katy to struggle her way free. Sammy shrugged. I guess Pond Physics 101 really wasn’t a waste of time.

x

“Oops, sorry Ver,” Mark muttered, as Veronica’s favorite bracelet went flying through the air into the pond they’d been picnicking by.

Veronica’s eyes widened in shock as her favorite bracelet sank to the bottom of the pond. “Mark! How could you?” she cried, running to the edge of the pond and kneeling, desperately trying to peer inside and find the bracelet. “Go get it!”

“C’mon, you know I don’t like water,” Mark said coolly. “It was just a bracelet anyway. Didn’t whatsisname, your friend, give it to you? I’ll buy you another one; now come on.” He turned to leave. “I’m gonna go start the car.”

Veronica’s eyes blurred with tears, remembering the day she’d recieved the bracelet. “…not for anything, really. It’s just….it’s been a year since I met you, and I’m who I am now thanks to you, so….I wanted you to have this,” he’d said, smiling at her with that smile only he had that lighted up his eyes. She turned her eyes to the pool, but held back. She couldn’t swim, never had been able to. She looked back to the pool, it seemed leagues deep and really scary; who knew what lived inside? But her mind conjured up an image of him giving her the bracelet again, and she knew she couldn’t turn away.

Taking a deep breath, she plunged in. Fighting for breath, she searched the muck for her bracelet. Her lungs were constricting now and she prayed for help. Just then, her fingers bumped against something hard. Out of breath, Veronica grabbed the fistful of muck around it and came up, struggling for breath. Breaking the surface, she bobbed with the water and opened her fist. She saw a pebble in her hand and almost cried in frustration. Then she saw the bracelet, somehow twined around the pebble; the pebble had kept the bracelet anchored. Just like Neal always kept me anchored. She climbed out of the water and headed for the car. She had an announcement to make.

In response to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/daily-prompt-weaving/