Life, Simply

Water fasting – Day 17

Well, that escalated quickly didn’t it?

Guys, It is day 17 of my water fast, and I can’t believe I made it this far. What I went through up until this point is an amazing process of metamorphosis – a process in which all that is negative was replaced by all that is positive both in the physical and mental sense. The reason I didn’t write anything from days 4 ~ 11 was because my detox symptoms were too agonizing to such a degree that I could not even muster the energy to engage in online activity for more than five minutes. My breath was foul, tongue coated, body aching, eczema flaring like never before, but worst of all I was mentally in a state of primal survival.
Then a shift happened – as if the dense fog of toxic horror was finally lifting. By the 13th day, I regained clarity of mind and physically, while the dermatitis was still at its worst, for some reason I was not mentally daunted by my physical appearance. Rather, I was happy. I finally began to see things from a glass half full perspective, and took my weeping skin as a sign of undeniable detoxification. With that mindset, I slowly but surely survived day-by-day until I finally saw results as of the 16th day, where my dermatitis hasn’t been clearer since I was in elementary school. I am resolved to finish my fast on Tuesday June 12th and resume with raw fruit intake on Wednesday the 13th. This will make my fast a 20 and 1/2 day fast, successfully accomplished on a first attempt and I am very proud of myself for persevering. Something deep down tells me that by the end of this fast, I will be cured of my allergies, and all the auto-immune disorders this chemical-pollutant ridden society has given me. I will finally break free from the shackles that have hindered my life in so many ways since childhood. I will instead have wings, and succeed.

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Life, Simply

7 day water fasting – Day 3

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-  It’s day 3 already! Yesterday, I ended up walking around soho and hit up a friend’s apartment to chat. After, I came home and produced a track!  https://soundcloud.com/yunb/ow-ow    <– if you guys want to hear it. Anyhow, I had a long sleep from about 2 am till 1 pm, and upon waking I went to the metropolitan museum to check out the “punk” exhibition. The picture I included above is the Monkey King, sun wukong who is said to be the only animal to have reached enlightenment according to the chinese legend. I somehow feel connected to this entity, but I will not explain further for now.

-   Physically, I am very tired. The back of my thighs ache a lot, my stomach has been “bubbling” accompanied by moderate expulsion of gas through burping and farting, my tongue is coated with a whitish layer, and my dermatitis seems to have flared up a tad bit today. I also felt nauseous during the cab ride to the Met museum.  All in all, these are all sure signs of detoxification and I hope to recover by tomorrow.

-    As with food, I am still tempted by the smell of them. On my way back, I smelled steak. I also passed by a crepe restaurant and through the window, I saw an old lady gouge on a bananna-nutella-crepe. Torture indeed.

- I am too tired right now to write with my usual standards of eloquence. I shall sleep.

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Life, Simply

7 day water fasting – Day 2.

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My favorite brunch menu: Grilled Salmon with potatoes

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My favorite Korean Menus all combined : 한정식(han-Jung-Sik)

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Oh my… Blueberry Smoothie… How this would taste right now!

-   So this is officially day 2 of my 7-day water fast. One thing I noticed was how hard it was to fall asleep despite utter physical exhaustion. I was in a continuous half-sleep state for about two hours from 1 am to 3 am and fooled around on the computer for another 3 hours before actually falling asleep from 6 am to 9 am. On the bright side however, my atopic dermatitis has improved – at least the itching has! Without any food particles that “leak” into my bloodstream, there was essentially no itch at all! While I did scratch my neck occasionally, I believe it was more of a habitual, psychological scratch where instead of an itch-scratch pattern, a scratch – itch- scratch pattern ensues. In any case, I am fairly happy right now as I just took a 20 minute long hot bath.

-   Having said that, there is the ‘issue’ of hunger. I actually dreamed about breaking my fast by eating exquisite Korean dishes and upon my second phase of falling asleep, I did so thinking about how refreshing and good a freshly made blueberry smoothie would taste. For the final punch,  my sense of smell and taste were both greatly enhanced after the relaxing bath and my neighbors had to grill their atlantic salmon – the scent entered through my window into my nostrils and made me look like a hunger-ridden wolf in front of a sheep – saliva.. Lots of it.

-   Despite my rambling about food-cravings, do not doubt my motivation dear reader, for my conviction is stronger than even the one- ring forged in the molten depths of mount doom. Remember, I have suffered from atopic dermatitis my twenty-one years of being and I am dead-set on finally getting rid of this debilitating auto-immune disorder – a week of fasting bears no threat against my sheer willpower. Nevertheless, other things I have noticed on day 2 is that time is indeed very slow. Browsing the net for what seems to be around 2 hours, would actually be 40 minutes or so. I am thankful that I live alone in an apartment literally five minutes away from central park, and am so relieved that finals are over. If not, the stress itself would have induced sugar-cravings at shorter intervals.

-   It is 11 am right now, and I am full of vital energy. My plan for today is to read some more articles on consciousness, meditation, and esoteric knowledge simply to kill time. After I get bored, I may take a walk to central park, do the dishes, or maybe even engage in a simple calisthenic workout routine – we’ll see. I will update this entry once more around 9 pm :)

PS. I forgot to mention that I decided to take this opportunity to quit cigarettes as well. Without saying, fasting itself proves challenging enough for me to even provide the occasion to think about smoking. :) I am sure that by the end of this arduous journey, I will emerge victorious from my on and off relationship with tobacco as well- so long !

– Update 2:00 pm
– OK
. Before I update you, this blog has been acting weird and deleted the update which I had written on two consecutive occasions. This is my third time writing the same f*cking update and I found out the problem. Ugh.  One thing I notice is that I am extra-sensitive emotionally. Anger and frustration elevate abruptly to stimuli that normally wouldn’t affect me at all. Thankfully, such emotional outbursts quickly subside.

6122183734_b39588cfb6_z-    Despite my exhaustion, I went on a hike to central park. The presence of trees, the earthly smell of post-rain soil, and the sweet symphony of the birds were enough to put me in a relaxed, in-tune-with-nature type of mood. I proceeded to the swings paying no attention to the stares parents were giving me. I was briefly aggravated by them and thought to myself, ” Jesus. Chill out parents, I’m not going to kidnap your children, I’m just here to relax on the swings. Seriously -_-” This frustration was again, quick to subside as soon as I starting ‘swinging’ for the first time in three years. The repeating sets of descent and ascension filled within me a sense of peace – with every swing I was getting closer to the source of energy, the sun! Could it be that I felt more in-tune with nature due to my fasting? It must’ve been so, because I normally wouldn’t have found so much joy from such a ‘simple’ activity. For those wondering, the unawakened YunB 5 months ago would have engaged in late night drinking, “smoke sessions,” and weekly raves in Brooklyn. How pathetic of a lifestyle that is, always seeking distraction and insignificant outlets of pleasure. This leads me to think that perhaps we, especially fellow new yorkers need to focus on the little things and make it a habit of appreciating them.

-   After swinging for a bit, I stretched and practiced some roundhouse kicks – again, for the first time in two years. I was at one point in my life, a state gold-medalist but that is a story long forgotten. Nevertheless, my body felt efficient, tired but at the same time feather light. I came back home after about an hour or so of practicing kicks, consciously breathing, and stretching. On the way back however, a seductive amalgam of refined sugary sweetness greeted my acute sense of smell – Waffles, churros, gelatos, hotdogs, chicken over rice, and pizza. What more, there were at least 10 cigarette smokers I passed by coming home, two of them looking amiable enough to bum me a cigarette without a fuss – but don’t worry, I resisted.

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Creative Writing

Guilt of a Cheating Bastard

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Artwork : Guim Tió Zarraluki

               “Beep.. Beep.. Beep.” The irritating sound of my alarm forcefully beckons me from what bitter-sweat dream I was having – I was making love to my girlfriend, or should I even call her my girlfriend? My God the dream was marvelous, a definite cloud9 moment as two beings passionately made love – eyes connected, tongues locked, hands groping, my body rhythmically pulsating against her as drops of sweat dribbled down my neck upon her soft breasts. Upon waking, I’m still dazed, thinking for at least a couple of eternal seconds that it is all real, that I was indeed making love to my girlfriend in my scrawny little apartment in Manhattan. Soon however, reality sinks in and at this point, I don’t know if I’m doing justice to our relationship by even using the term girlfriend to refer to my beloved. Do you get it now? After all, it’s been four months since I’ve last seen her. Four months since we’ve last held hands, took walks, bickered, had passionate sex, and all the conventional things a typical male – female relationship should entail. Still don’t get it? It’s a long-f-u-c-k-i-n-g-distance relationship – welcome to my reality.

  Barely awake, my arm swoops with mundane routine perfection as I hit snooze. Finally a moment of “silence” ensues and I lay still, remembering vividly the dream I just had. “Shit.” My five senses still linger as if reluctant to switch to this waking reality. I try to immerse myself once again. “ Concentrate Mike, concentrate,” I whisper to myself. The familiar yet distant recollection of my girlfriend- the narrow, suburban street that led to her apartment, the stench of the flea market of her rural town far from city life, her single studio room adorned with decorations – polaroid pictures, gifts by me, and yes, how can I forget her tall physique, beautiful yet unique facial feature, perfectly shaped breasts and bosom– a true rarity for a Korean girl, and last but not least her always optimistic, forgiving, and bright personality. She truly is a woman any sane man would give anything for. A truly innocent soul different from the spoiled commodity fixated girls of consumerist capital known as Seoul city. And that is exactly why I decided to start this long distance relationship two and a half years ago. Out of all people, I – a lazy, half-assed, womanizing bastard with no specific talent other than pursuing meaningless things of aesthetic nature, and with a case of seasonal rashes. Out of all people, I – liberal as I am, the most un-Korean, Korean-American paired up with a gorgeous Korean native who has never set foot outside of the tiny peninsula, not yet touched by uncle Sam nor the elitist soulless city of “Seoul.” Alas, away from the alluring, hypnotic presence of my beloved, I can objectively see that our circumstances couldn’t be any worse for a decent, sustainable relationship. Or is it?

                 Reluctantly, I drag my heavy body to the dingy sewer I call ‘bathroom.’ The sink is clogged with hair knots that aren’t mine and this too is all but an amalgam of remnants past guests left behind. This too, is all but a tragic analogy of human relationships and encounters that once was the present, but no longer remains. Why do I feel so out of tune? I position myself directly under the shower-hose and slowly turn the handle counter-clockwise hoping that warm water would greet me. “Sprrt. Spprrrrtt.” It takes a while for this ancient pipeline to mobilize still-water to my apartment unit. With abruptness, freezing cold water splashes over my head, trickling down my chest and sending icy chills throughout my back eventually to reach my legs and less sensitive feet. For a split second my vision is blinded by an explosion of blue-ish white light and my skull seems to crack- but this instantaneous pain is temporary and very soon, the coldness is welcoming and refreshing. “Forget warm water” I think to myself as I release my grasp of the handle. In this state, if I close my eyes I can imagine myself as a Buddhist monk meditating under a beautiful waterfall. Although the rusty sounds of city water forcefully ejaculating itself upon me doesn’t compare to the magnificent sound of free-flowing water crashing down its natural course, I relish this moment. Close enough. During this brief, all too short moment of relief, my mind wanders to a beautiful, pure, and sacred place – untainted, innocent, and free. In this place, my beloved awaits. She greets me with a radiant smile – a smile that is timeless.. A smile that assures me that she unconditionally loves me even though we are seas apart. I stand still in a standstill as I watch her. She approaches me slowly at first, but soon starts to run arms open as if to embrace me, just like she does at the airport upon my return. My indifference begins to melt away and an unbearable warmth begins to spread starting from the core of my heart throughout my ice-cold body. I am terribly afraid. “STOP” I scream. “ GET OUT OF MY FACE” I yell as loudly as I can, eyes ablaze. She stops in her tracks confused and I whisper, “I don’t deserve your love.” She doesn’t’ hear it. I quickly open by eyes, turn off the shower, and walk out. My body is numb from the coldness once again. In this state, I feel like a robot void of emotion, lacking the capacity for pain. Not bothering to dry myself, I look at the time – It’s 40 minutes past class. “Oh well, I’ll skip it again…” With that saying, I walk towards my bed and stand simply watching, silently observing. My body remains motionless as I stand and my face is expressionless. Five minutes past and my body thaws- I unknowingly start to grin. Lying on my bed is a girl- naked, fast asleep. Her face is turned towards the window, and traces of sunlight illuminate various parts of her face and body. “Divine.” My eyes probe intimately, as if violating her womanly attributes without physical movement and yes.. she too is timeless. She must however, remain nameless, and merely exist as “number 10.” And then I remember, the dream I had- more specifically the protagonist of the dreamscape was not my beloved. It should never be her. What must be done, must be done right?

              Unbeknownst to my beloved, I’ve been dreaming the type of dream that satiates and quenches my lust for the physical. Every phase of physical separation, without failure, I have deliberately and meticulously orchestrated such dreams. Ironically I remain indifferent, smugly satisfied at her ignorance and the lack of turbulence that follows thereof. In the end, at least to me, it’s just another dream and I am content at the health of our relationship so long as it remains a dream. Under such circumstance however, can I say that I am truly in love with her? For if I were to truly love her, with respect to the virtue of feeling genuine love, I ought to stay committed – a mutual contract so to speak. Yet, even as I evidently break this moral contract as it would seem to any objective viewer, I am not at the same time because I strictly prohibit the dream from becoming reality. Should these dreams ever become reality as a result of my carelessness, or perhaps fate, with certainty I would feel devastated. No longer would I feel indifferent, but again, utterly devastated. What is the exact nature of this feeling or emotion of devastation then? Is it guilt? Is it shame? And where does this devastation come from? The fact that I acknowledge my moral wrongdoings or rather, because I am forced to acknowledge them? Intuitively, my deliberate orchestration of such dreams and my meticulous methods of ensuring that they remain dreams undeniably indicate that the latter is true – that the feeling of devastation arises not from genuine guilt but simply shame. The crucial difference between them being that I feel shame because of what my beloved would feel towards me upon emerging from ignorance – or in other words, simply because of how my perception by others would be tarnished. I realize now that perhaps it is not true love that I have towards my beloved, but an obligation to prevent any emotional harm done to her as a result of her unconditional love towards me. I now realize that my love for her is a contradiction – a love that I intend to sustain as long as the truth does not hurt her. I apologize. Perhaps I am not the man you should desire to have as a lifelong partner, nor should any woman so long as I persist in maintaining these dreams with numbers.

              As I lay down next to number 10, I put my arms around her soft waist and slowly caress. She slowly wakes from the slumber, and is perhaps at a state between waking and dreaming. This is exactly as I have intended and I progress to arouse her even more with the purpose of engaging in a lovely afternoon love-in – you know, the typical scenario you too probably once had or encountered in some cheesy French melo-drama. There is no stopping now as our hormones kick-in, binding our rational selves in a realm of irresistible fantasy. She finally wakes and engages – but of course, to me it is still a dream and always has been. I’m sorry. Terribly sorry for you both.

Sincerely,

The Cheating Bastard

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Life, Simply

7 day water fasting – Day 1.

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           I haven’t used this blog for over a year now. I originally created it in high-school to write creative stories, jot down interesting thoughts, and philosophize in general. But as you can see, college life has proved too fast, too seductive, and too fun to keep me updating this blog on the regular. However now, the time has come to blow life into this graveyard of forsaken thoughts.

        You see, I have been suffering from chronic atopic dermatitis for my entire life and it was most severe during my middle school ~ high school years. I would never want to re-live those moments of metallic smelling weeping skin that even upon contact with the air would lead to extreme stinging,  the days of”turtle” skin caused by extensive lichenification on my neck that brought forth hurtful comments by classmates such as “rotten skin” etc, and most horrifyng, the dreadful mornings when I would first look into the mirror just to be utterly devastated by what I saw.  Yes fellow AD sufferers, I have been through and clearly know the suffering that is inherent in this chronic auto-immune disorder.

         When I went to college at NYU, my condition got much better to the point I could enjoy a normal life. However, I was over-ambitious by my junior year and started using topical steroids around my mouth and neck to alleviate even the slightest redness that in all honesty, wasn’t severe at all. The consequence of applying over-the counter topical steroids on my face and neck for the past year is now manifesting itself. After I heard about steroid addiction, I stopped using them exactly 4 weeks ago – and as expected have suffered from the rebound effects. I was once again my middle school self, suffering from sleepless nights, oozing skin, and the lack of motivation to even go outside.

        The past week has been exceptionally worse and thank God final exams are over with! I can finally stay in my cozy apartment all day :)  In any case, I forgot to mention that I started the whole probiotic, psylium husk,  zinc, omega – 3, vitamin B, D, and E treatment the same time I quit topical steroids and processed foods. The benefits were more mental than physical, and this morning amidst my half-dream half-awake , but perpetually itchy state, I had a calling for a week long fasting. I just know that now is the time- my body calls for it, my mind calls for it, and my spirit calls for it. 21 years of toxic buildup caused by advanced consumerist society given food needs to be removed asap. Interestingly enough, when I “knew” I had to fast starting today, I realized that I had no money left in my account to buy food anyway until June 01st – excactly 7 days. While I could eat at the NYU dining hall, my withdrawal symptoms peaked today as I experienced for the first time in 7 years, weeping skin.

          Nevertheless, it’s 7 pm now on the first day of my week long fasting. I spent most of my afternoon completely cleaning my room, organizing clothing, vacuuming, taking out trash, and scrubbing the bathtub/sink. The condition my room was in prior to the cleaning resembled a pig stuy – clothing scattered everywhere, dust, beer stains, empty cigarette packs, and papers all over the room. The state of my room prior to cleaning is probably analogous to my internal state with my fucked up immune system and all that :/ I also spent the remaining couple hours playing some games trying to kill time. As I have a voracious appetite, usually eating three BIG meals a day (sometimes 4), my bloated stomach was probably wondering where all the food was. Thankfully, my dermatitis conditions are bad enough to give me extreme will-power to successfully complete this 7 day water fasting – and hey, day 1 is nearing its end already, just got 6 more to go -_-. I guess this concludes the first entry. I will write entry 2 around the same time tomorrow.

- Peace

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Philosophy Papers

Thomas Moore – The Master of Wit ( The deadly rhetoric, Ambiguity)

Utopia

Preface: Having read Utopia and hearing the various interpretations from both critics and friends, I noticed that the majority of people view Thomas Moore’s Utopia to take a pro-socialism approach – that is – they hold Moore’s imaginary society, Utopia synonymous to the “ideal” society. I, however, argue otherwise.

                                   Moore, The Master of Wit

         Utopia is most enigmatic upon questioning Moore’s purpose as the author. This is because an obvious dichotomy is presented in an attempt to interpret this text: whether or not Moore’s motive lies in emphasizing Pro-socialist ideals or Anti-Socialist/democratic ideals. The content itself is fairly explicit in implying pro socialist ideals that align with the common quest of many thinkers to grasp the elusive nature of an ideal society. Any theorist who sides with the former speculate that Utopia is Moore’s response to the turbulant religious and political atmosphere of England to better the english commonwealth by demonstrating the ideal polis. This interpretion is most over-represented where people go as far to deem Moore as the father of Socialism. The latter, however, is an under-represented interpretation and may require observation in rhetoric and literary techniques beyond literal content. I myself am pretty certain that the majority of potential readers and critics will side with the “this-is-a-socialist-text-because-Moore-was-humanist-and-England-was-too-mean-to-peasants” type arguments upon reading Utopia. Quite the contrary, considering both the ambiguos nature of the book and the prevalence of satire/irony, Utopia may very well be a parody of the humanist ideals discussed in the rennaissance era. While he presents the ideal polis in a positive light, they are accompanied by negative externalities. This indicates to an extent that the ideal state represented in the text is a comic parody of the impractical nature of humanist ideals and the untrustable acts of the church.

During the period in which Moore lived, stability was a term unheard of. These chaotic circumstances without a doubt influenced Moore’s writing of Utopia. In these candid times, there was extreme tension in the religious arena between Catholics and Protestants, a muddled validity in the power of the Church due to Henry VIII’s politically driven faith, the Protestant Reformation mainly driven by Luther’s Three Treatsies, and lastly a growing tension between the feudal society and heightening humanist ideals emphasizing rationality. Amidst this chaos, Moore wrote Utopia. The ambiguos nature of his book is likely a result of such unstable atmosphere. Furthermore, considering his occupation and stance, it is feasible that Utopia ridicules the church and the overly ambitious discourse of the then popular humanist ideals.

First and formost Moore was a Lawyer with wit. In the field of law, extensive training in rhetorics is crucial as is the application of unflawed logical reasoning. As an anticipated student in the path of law, I know that criterias for good law requires the law to have no negative externalities. This means that the less consequences a law has, the better it is. In the case of Utopia, lawyers do not exist. Moreover, because there are very few laws to begin with, there is less crime and less punishment. This, in a sense, is a flaw in itself. The lack of laws understates the crimes commited in a state such as Utopia. In other words, numerically, the low crime rates are a guise for the actual rate of crime commited. This problem would be solved if there was a brilliant system of punishment that would encompass most crimes in Utopia. However, punishment for criminals in this state is highly flawed. For example, Hythodaeus mentions Polyteris, a near identical polis as Utopia in order to give better examples of punishment. In Polyteris, punishment does not emphasize eliminating criminals, but eliminating crime. For example, a thief is required to give back the items he/she stole and is treated with respect, provided with food, a shelter under one condition: to provid labor for the remainder of his/her life. Moreover, the thief, now a slave is marked and is freed upon informing of another slave plotting a getaway. The major flaw in this regulation is that the freed slave, will be forever marked. It is considered unlawful to provide shelter, money, and freedom to travel for a slave. The marked slave, despite being freed is unable to proove his/her own freedom. Moreover, since all slaves are marked, there is no basis of truth and for the freed ones, there are no lawyers to appeal to court. I cannot help but think that a person with the intellect of Moore would purposefully include such contradictions.

Upon examining Utopian virtues, a paradox is evident. During the era in which Moore wrote his book, Platonic ideals of virtue was a big part of the humanist discourse. Likewise, Utopia itself extensively alludes to Plato’s idea of a highly structured autonomous state inhabited by virtuos residents who specialize in what they do best. A significant difference between Plato’s polis and Utopia lies in their definition of virtue. While Platonic virtue revolves around a harmonious triparte soul, and an individual commiting to his/her own specialized task, Utopian virtue is held synonymous with pleasure.

“They also argue about such things as virtue and pleasure. But their chief subject of dispute is the nature of human happiness – on what factor or factors does it depend? Here they seem rather too much inclined to take a hedonistic view, for according to them human happiness consists largely or wholly pleasure….Not that they identify pleasure with every type of pleasure- only with higher ones. Nor do they identify it with virtue- unless they belong to a different school of thought. According to the normal view, happiness is the summum bonum towards which we are naturally impelled by virtue which in their definition means following one’s natural impulses.
” (p.71 & p.72 Hythodaeus’s narrative on Utopian Virtues)

The quote above indicates that pleasure in Utopia is derived from following one’s natural impulses where they “regard the enjoyment of life– that is pleasure – as the natural object of all human efforts, and natural, synonymous with virtuos.” So where exactly is the paradox in Utopian virtue? On the surface, one may easily be fooled by Utopia; a society where hedonistic happyness is pursued while having “very few laws.” However, below the surface of Utopian society lies an inconsistency that implies that happyness emphasized in Utopia isn’t really the happyness its ethics states.

If travelling freely gives one pleasure, he/she should do so because in Utopia, it is considered virtuos. If wearing a particular type of style of clothing, hats, accessories gives one pleasure, he/ she should do so because in Utopia, it is considered virtuos. If talking about capital issues gives one, or many pleasure(s), they should do so because in Utopia, it is considered virtuos. As long as an indivual’s pleasure is not at the expense of another, the individual has the freedom to do so in Utopia. The paradox of No Place comes into full effect here because in reality Utopian society is structured to inhibit the very virtue the state stands for.

“Now for the system of local government. The population is divided into groups of thirty households, each of which elects an official called a Styward evey year. Styward is the Old Utopian title – the modern one is District Controller. For every ten Stywards and te households they represent there is a Bench-eater, or Senior District Controller. Each town has two hundred Stywards, who are responsible for electing the Mayor. They do a secret ballot. Every three days the Bencheaters have a meeting with the Mayor, at which they discuss public affairs, and promptlly settle any private disputes. They always invite two Stywards, a different pair each day. It’s capital crime to discuss such questions anywhere except in the Council or the Assembly.” ( P54, Hythodaeus’s narration on Utopias gov.)

The system of local government of Utopia has an eerie resemblence to the feudal system Moore disliked. The Mayor is the King, the Bencheaters are the nobles/bishops, the Stywards are the Lords who oversee the residents of Utopia, or the “peasants.” The fact that all residetns of Utopia have an obligatory six-hour working day where the Stywards, whose “business is to see that nobody sits around doing nothing,” indicates a slave like system. Even Moore states “That’s just like slavery” in the point of view of Hythlodaeus. In a sense, Utopia is a gigantic prison where slavery is under the guise of “virtue.” The residents afterall fail to be virtuos as they cannot possibly derive pleasure from “natural impulse” under conditions where work is mandatory, “discussing public affairs considered a capital crime,” and travelling is prohibited.
On a glance, Utopia may seem to be pro-socialism. However, I believe that Moore’s mastery of wit, ambiguity, irony, and satire, produced Utopia that emphasizes a democratic system while critisizing highly idealistic values of humanism. For example, his choice of words such as Bencheaters indicate the loss of freedom where bench symbolizes freedom. Moreover, the name of the narrator, hythlodaeus is derived from latin origins meaning nonsensical. All of these subtle clues are incorporated in Utopia. The reason Moore employed Ambiguity is perhaps to avoid prosecution by the Church, or to prevent the then strong humanists from condeming him. All in all, Moore is a genius.

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Bla Bla Writings

A breakdown of the current uprisings in North Africa

Ethos and The Role of Communication in Uprising

            Michael Myeong,

Islamic Uprise

Upon research, uprising in Africa mainly comprises of three major events: Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. A commonality between the big three is an underlying motive to abolish dictatorship where there is a heightened emphasis on the people as opposed to the executives of the government. According to Plato in his Republic, a monumental text in political theory, a successful polis should be governed by a wise leader who effectively aligns the will of the people with the purpose of the state. Clearly, in the case of the three uprisings, an inconsistentcy is evident between the leader and the people in terms of what the country is representing and what a functioning country ought to signify. As a consequence, the people, as demonstrated, eventually initiates change. Historically, this change, is not easily achieved in the case of  third-world countries due to an under-developed infastructure, likelyhood of a corrupt governance, and the tendency to be ethno-centric that inhibits contact with developed nations. The case with uprisings in Africa, however, indicates quite the contrary despite such conditions where the revolts occurred in a relatively fast and explosive manner. I speculate that this phenomenon is the effect of a communication friendly, ubiquitous era that enables ethos to be established at a faster rate than in a less globalized era.

Before proceeding further, the role of ethos in mass initiated changes must be indentified. The term itself, according to its greek origins literally means character. If interpreted as a jargon of sociology, however, ethos means “the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period.” Hence, applied in the case of governance, ethos represents the purpose of the state as a whole. Alluding to Plato’s Republic once more, the ideal state is formed “when a group of people gather and settle in one place [with a sense of unity] who have different various requirements.” In other words, the main two parts of the state, the governed and the governer, need to share a common ethos. Consequentially, when the governed and the governer no longer share a unified ethos, conflicts arise and problems occur in the long run. The uprisings in Africa, therefore, demonstrate the negative effect of a conflicting, disparate ethos within a state in the long run.

A change in a nation’s ethos without an efficient system of communication is a gradual process – if it succeeds that is. This is because of the difficulties in spreading awareness: the key element in altering an existing ethos. As a result, uprisings in a nation with frail infastructure display a low success rate.  Take, for example, the pro-democracy revolt taken place in Gwang-Ju, South Korea during the 1980s. Amidst a dictatorship regime that lasted for approximately thirty years, a group of brave students vehemently protested against the Chun-Do-Hwan administration for a period of ten days. These students, like the youth activists who fueled the uprisings in North Africa, were aiming at spreading awareness of the corrupt actions the current administration was committing. These heroes were mercilessly slaughtered by the militia, creating a historically tragic massacre that Koreans pay homage to this day. The lack of an effective communication system, the rural geography of Gwang-Ju, and the total censoring of web activities at the time, however,  prevented a single word of the massacre from reaching other parts of seoul. A full seven years had past for the truth to be revealed through word-of-mouth, fueling the 6.10 movement which was a success. This historical example indicates the inefficiency of mouth-to-mouth tactics, and the limitations of not having an efficient infastructure. Events like these are rarely kept secret today even in countries where censorship is excessive due to the prevalence of public social domains such as facebook and google. The only exception that stands is North Korea, as it is in complete isolation with the rest of the world.

Having established the importance of communication in catalyzing change in ethos, let’s take a closer look at uprisings in North Africa – specifically Egypt. The primary “ignition” in the change of ethos took place on December 17th, 2010, when Mohammad Bouazdhi, a 26-year-old man trying to support his family by selling fruits and vegetables soaked himself in paint thinner and ignited himself infront of the police office. While this took place in Tunisia, a neighboring country, the ripple effect of the act would eventually lead to a succesfull result in Egypt: The resignation of Mubarak on the February 10th of 2011. One man’s tragic protest in a neighboring country fuled the resignation of Mubarak in a mere two months. Compare this with the Gwang-Ju revolt which took seven years to succeed with the cost of hundreds of innocent deaths. What was different in North Africa’s case compared to South Korea’s? Again, communication is the answer. The initial death of Bouazdhi sparked a nationwide uprising within Tunisia that resulted in the fleeing of its president Zine al-Abidine Ben Al to Saudi Arabia. Within this moment, a facebook page was created in honor of Bouazdhi where public awareness of the incident spread rapidly. Moreover, it was through facebook where the first revolts were organized. The convenience of living in a ubiquitous age is that once the “ball is rolling,” theres no stopping. News coverages from all around the world  were broadcasted about the ongoing uprising. Journalists from major publications spread articles that rooted for the protestors. Soon, a nationwide awareness expanded into other countries facing similar difficulties and, as the revolts heated up, the world’s attention was focused. In a matter of two months, two Countries’ ethos changed.

The succesfull and ongoing uprising in Africa is a direct effect of globalization and a communicative system that can access the “world” in an instant. In this age, call for social changes are no longer limited by technology. In the case of Africa, the uprising was a symptom of a dysfunctional state where the ethos of the governed and the governer were conflicting. The world watched and rooted for the former because the ethics of the governer went against a democratic age. In the past, major revolutions and social changes happened very gradually. Without an objective ear to listen, mouths were shut. Without mouths to speak, awareness was limited. Without awareness, there was no change. However, today, things are different. Social changes that are necessary to the ethics of the world will happen quickly. The prevalence of thousands and thousands of NGO’s aimed for a global good whether it be enviornmental or political, the existance of the World Trade Oraganization aimed for fair global trade, and the establishment of the United Nations all indicate that society is moving at a whole. Eventually we will all be one polis, one ethos, and will be living in as Plato would deem it, the ideal society.

Written by: Michael Myeong

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