Letters to Juliet

“Dear Claire, “What” and “If” are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What if? What if? What if? I don’t know how your story ended but if what you felt then was true love, then it’s never too late. If it was true then, why wouldn’t it be true now? You need only the courage to follow your heart. I don’t know what a love like Juliet’s feels like – love to leave loved ones for, love to cross oceans for but I’d like to believe if I ever were to feel it, that I will have the courage to seize it. And, Claire, if you didn’t, I hope one day that you will. All my love, Juliet”

Following your heart is one of the most courageous acts one can commit – especially if they have been hurt before. There is always a “what if” that plagues us, leaving us feeling unfinished. What if I wrote this letter? Would he respond? One may never know, and it takes a brave heart to put themselves back in the direct line of path to see if the something they so desperately need feels the same. Letters to Juliet is my absolute favorite movie, and I love the message – “If it was true love then, why wouldn’t it be true love now?”

Fearless

“To me, “FEARLESS” is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, FEARLESS is having fears. FEARLESS is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, FEARLESS is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. FEARLESS is falling madly in love again, even though you’ve been hurt before. FEARLESS is walking into your freshmen year of high school at fifteen. FEARLESS is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again… even though every time you’ve tried before, you’ve lost. It’s FEARLESS to have faith that someday things will change. FEARLESS is having the courage to say goodbye to someone who only hurts you, even if you can’t breathe without them. I think it’s FEARLESS to fall for your best friend, even though he’s in love with someone else. And when someone apologizes to you enough times for things they’ll never stop doing, I think it’s FEARLESS to stop believing them. It’s FEARLESS to say “you’re NOT sorry”, and walk away. I think loving someone despite what people think is FEARLESS. I think allowing yourself to cry on the bathroom floor is FEARLESS. Letting go is FEARLESS. Then, moving on and being alright…That’sFEARLESS too. But no matter what love throws at you, you have to believe in it. You have to believe in love stories and prince charmings and happily ever after. That’s why I write these songs. Because I think love is FEARLESS.” – Taylor Swift

While Taylor Swift is famously known about singing songs about heartbreak, our generation owes a lot to her. All of us, at some point in our lives will go through a hard period, whether it be change, a breakup, a death, or a final goodbye. No matter what we go through in our generation, there is always a song that you can relate to and end up feeling better about yourself. In this quote, Taylor Swift notes that it is fearless to have fears – to be afraid isn’t being weak. It is courageous to understand and accept your fears. 

We Must Do That Which We Think We Cannot

We gain strength and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face; we must do that which we think we cannot.

Eleanor Roosevelt

This is by far one of my most favorite quotes. To me, it means that no matter what you are afraid you cannot accomplish, if you stop for a moment and reevaluate, you can actually figure a way out of the impossible. By doing something that we once thought was nearly impossible, gives our character strength and courage and confidence. Every experience we encounter throughout our lives shapes us in some way or some form. For me, personally, I was once very much afraid of the sight of blood. But as I started volunteering at Sharon Hospital and was able to witness various surgical procedures and labors, the sight of blood no longer affected me. No longer am I seeing spots or growing dizzy at the sight, I am now strangely comfortable with working with it in my profession. By overcoming one of my fears, I believe my character grew both in strength and courage and confidence. 

Here Comes the Sun

Solar energy has become a household word lately, more so than it ever had been before this modern era of alternative energy methods.  But, the sun’s energy has been harnessed since ancient times.   Solar energy was first used in the 7th Century, B.C.  In those times, the sun was harnessed using mirrors and glass, and used to start fires.  Now, huge houses are built with solar efficiency, and solar panels can be found in every state throughout the country.

There are two main kinds of solar energy in modern times.  The first one is active solar energy.  This is when tools are used to harness solar energy, and convert it into other forms of energy, like electricity or heat.  Solar panels are active solar energy tools, they store energy from the sun and convert it into other types of energy.

 

The other type of solar energy that’s widely used today is passive energy.  This  is the practice of building a house with solar energy efficiency in mind.  It uses solar energy in it’s unaltered state.  For example, people build houses in specific directions, so that they will be warmed by the sun every day.  People use special windows that channel sunlight inside to be used as heat.  Passive energy is used in many homes, without people even knowing.

Musical Tolerance

In one of my previous posts, I spoke about how society must have tolerance through artwork and how an artists’ creation is from their own personal thoughts or beliefs. I figured to go along with that, I would blog about the tolerance that is shown through music.

There are many different genres of music within our world today : rap, rock, classical, reggae, and jazz are just a few. Just from being able to listen to many of these throughout my life, I am able to see that the composer or the writer of an individual piece of music holds a different train of thought then another. For example, a rap artist must be thinking in a different world then Mozart who composed some of the greatest classical pieces.  With this, people in society begin to grow an interest to a specific type. Some prefer rap over reggae while others may prefer rock over jazz. It is not uncommon that one may ask ” you like listening to this stuff?” when listening to music that THEY do not like.

Just because you may be with someone and they may be listening to music that you do not like, does not mean that they are wrong. In order to understand this, we must TOLERATE their interests and practice TOLERANCE when being asked to listen to music we do not enjoy. Those whe have created music, have spent hours upon hours bringing together notes and rhythms that they feel may express who they are or simply just a time in their life. No matter what the thought proccess behind it may be, we have to learn to understand that, to that specific person, the creation held meaning.

The music world has seem to decrease in meaning to society these days. What I mean by this is that those listening to the music seem to take granted what the artist may have done. Without their thoughts or images, we would not have the pleasure of music everyday in our lives. We do not show that tolerance is what needs to be shown.

Uncertainty in Sports

Uncertainty is in every aspect of our life. Take sports. Americans love sports- our culture is partly defined by the them. Baseball or the American past time, basketball, football. These are things that Americans hold dear and we consider part of our everyday lives. Yet, there is so much uncertainty in sports that we never consider.

Look at the draft. I must admit that I occasionally will watch some reality TV. Chloe and Lamar sometimes pops up I must admit. But when watching this crazy and Ludacris show, I learned a bit about pro-sports, and how uncertain an athlete must feel in this industry. Lamar Odem used to be a Laker in Basketball. Right before he got traded to the Mavericks, he commented on how about he has known players that have showed up to practice and all of their stuff have been gone. They were then informed that there were traded and within twenty four hour notice, then could move clear across the country within basically having any say. Of course, that is what happened to Lamar. But seeing this made me think about this industry, and how uncertain the players are in their future. They never know if they will stay on the same team, if they will start, or how long they can last in the industry before they hurt themselves. The draft is an unpredictable thing. Lamar had played with the lakers for years and apparently was one of their best players, but he got traded. The entire business is just frankly uncertain and vague and off. But this is just one aspect of uncertainty in sports.

Another is how the teams play. You could have the best players in the world, and for some reason they could play horribly and lose. You could have an ok team without many My favorite example of underdogs that come out in the end would be from Remember the Titans- no one thought that team would last, but they would end up being undefeated in the end. supporters, that somehow managers to rise to the top for one random season. Here is a link with the top 10 underdog sports winners of the last decade. These examples exemplify how unpredictable sports are, and how you can never know what will happen in the end. Sports are unpredictable and impossible to follow- it is thus that they are extremely uncertain, just like life in general.

http://geowiz85.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/top-10-underdog-winners-of-the-decade/

This is a site that predicts the up to do odds at who will win various games in the NFL:

http://sportsdirect.usatoday.com/odds/usatoday/nfl.aspx

But what I find interesting is that these are not always true. There is always the chance that the underdog team will come out and win in the end. No matter what, nothing is for certain. There is a pattern that exists, but patterns are broken, rules are broken. You can never really predict who will win in sports. There are odds and probability, but they are not concrete. This is why you should not bet on sports just as an FYI. There are people who do not understand how uncertain and unstable the sports world really is. Heed my warning: do not try to predict sports. You never know what can happen, who could get, what the circumstances could be. There are just too many variables to account for.

 

Uncertainty in Literature

Uncertainty is a tool that many authors use to keep the reader in suspense. Shakespeare did this in his work Hamlet. In the play, the main character Hamlet aims to avenge his father who was killed by his brother Claudius who then married Hamlet’s father’s wife Gertrude. Hamlet is supposed to kill Claudius because that is what his father’s ghost came and told him to do. And so the reader must wait in suspense for many acts, waiting for Hamlet to finally do the deed. For he had many opportunities, though at first he did nothing more than walk around in a daze and make everyone suspicious. But still, the suspense for the reader, waiting for the big murder scene, is excruciating. At one point, in Act III scene iii, the reader thinks it will happen finally:

“Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I’ll do’t. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann’d:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
‘Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season’d for his passage?
No!”

But alas- Hamlet backs off at the final moment, after going back and forth about killing Claudius. The reader is constantly sent on a roller coaster of emotions with Hamlet. Does he want to live or die? Does he love Ophelia or not? Is he crazy or not? You can never really tell what Hamlet will do next or what the devil the man is thinking. And so when it comes to whether he will kill Claudius in the end- I am uncertain he will do that as well. He keeps putting it off again and again. He keeps thinking about it more and more, and the murder thus becomes more premeditated. But still, as Hamlet pushes the murder off again and again, the reader can’t help but go a little crazy with suspense. Of course, the uncertainty of the murder does exist for the majority of the story and thus keeps reader and or watcher extremely interested. Thus Shakespeare is able to captivate his audience using uncertainty as a tool.

Overall, I believe though that Hamlet is almost a personification of uncertainty, or if uncertainty came to life, it would be Hamlet. He as a character is never certain in his emotions, and it constantly using opposites to contradict each other, which makes his believes and ideas even more vague. His vague tone and speech that can be exemplified by Hamlet’s great “To be or not to be” speech where he discusses whether to love or die (again, great opposites) helps Hamlet become the exemplary of uncertainty.

Sidenote: this is Kenneth Branagh who is basically the all-star in the shakespeare movies. He also was professor lockheart in Harry Potter and directored Thor. He is my new favorite person. But here he is acting as Hamlet.

Warmth of The Sun

The Sun warms our whole planet. It is the hottest star in the galaxy and continues to produce enough warmth and light to keep us alive. Without the sun, we would most likely not survive. The sun grows crops, forests, and nurtures our food into maturity. Plants could not live without the sun because they use photosynthesis to fuel them. Many people escape to beautiful, sunny, warm vacation spots during their time off. Most people tend to seek out the sun in order to stay warm and healthy. The sun gives us Vitamin D which helps build up our immunity to sicknesses and disease due to a fat soluble quality Vitamin D possesses. This alters our gene expression and helps us to maintain a healthy body function.

The sun has many purposes in life. The most important purpose being its ability to keep all living beings warm and healthy. The sun has a quality about it that makes people happy. Laying out on a towel on a beach in the nice, warm sun really makes most humans happy. Those who avoid the sun tend to be diseases and sick most of the time due to their lack of Vitamin D intake.

Energy: The universal healer

So everyone knows that people consume energy, and use energy, but people sometimes ignore the more obvious fact about energy- it is constantly running through us, and it can have quite an impact on our lives.  For centuries, ancient Chinese healers have known about the energy pathways that run through our bodies.  In America, some of these healing techniques are starting to make a huge impact on medicine. 

The body is equipped with energy pathways that control metabolism, and also many other important functions of the body.  These pathways run in all directions throughout the body.  Doctors are using these lines of energy to heal people.  For example, acupuncture relies on energy points through the body to be effective. Jay Holder, MD, gives a brief description of how acupuncture works: “Every drug of choice has a receptor site mechanism that is very specific. What we do is meet the needs of that receptor site by supplying and directing the endorphins or enkaphilins through acupuncture.”

The realization that energy is present in the human body has led to many new forms of treatments for illnesses that reduce the number of drugs being put into the body, which can make people a lot healthier.  Energy helps doctors heal the human body by working with it, instead of fighting against it.

Misdiagnosis?

Learning disabilities seem to be on a rise today.  Everything from complex disorders such as autism to simple illnesses such as ADD.  So, why have the diseases become so much more common?

Some people blame our environment, saying things like plastics and hormones result in mental illness even after conception and before birth.  These people have a very common disorder known as “idiocy.”

The truth is, these diseases are not more common at all.  As medical science developed we simply became better at recognizing diseases in individuals.  People who simply seemed to be eccentric or, for lack of a better word, slow were now seen for having real diseases that needed real treatment.  However, it seems today we have gotten a little too good at recognizing mental illness.

They say one of every hundred children has autism, and that great minds like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Spielberg have Asperger’s (a milder class of autism).  Now, these individuals are consider to be “high functioning,” or having no real symptoms of autism side from being asocial.  These people are not diseased, they are simply asocial.  A vast amount of children are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD at the slightest sight of anything somewhat resembling a symptom.  While these two diseases are real, not everybody, far from everybody, diagnosed is an actual patient.  Usually, they are hyper or just plain stupid.

The sad truth is that it is easier to tell a parent their kid has a disorder and provide them with a figurative placebo than simply explain “Your child is what we professionals call… stupid.”  These diseases are real and a serious problem, but we need to recognize the patients from the… others.  It’s not a matter of what one is more like, it is a matter of the presence of illness.

To be, or Not to be… Inasane

From what I have read so far from the Shakespearean play Hamlet, I seem to find the character of Hamlet the most controversial thing about the entire play.  Is he seeking retribution, justice, or revenge?  Is he good, bad, or nihilistic?  Is he SANE?

Hamlet indeed does show many signs of insanity.  He constantly walks about reading books, not paying any mind to his surrounding or to the objections of others.  He often rambles (seemingly) meaningless jabber to his family in colleagues.  He is prone to angry fits around others.  But is Hamlet really insane, or are things truly not as they seem?

Based on how I see the character, not all is as it seems.  Hamlet is far from without intelligence.  He has been attending a prestigious school up until present time, he often muses about the complex nature of humanity and the world around it in a philosophical manner, and even his seemingly insane rants are “pregnant” with seeds of truth, usually pertinent to the situation at hand.

In truth, it would seem as though Hamlet is merely acting insane to help distract from his current task: to kill Claudius for the sake of his father, who (based on how Shakespeare had written it), seems to be in need of redemption to escape Purgatory.  For the sake of justice, as well as the well being of his father’s soul, Hamlet must not be hasty in the committing of his horrid deed.

Insanity is often used as a guise in one of two ways:  to plea innocent by insanity if caught, or, more likely in Hamlet’s case, to make others think he is incapable of any well thought plans, such as homicide.  Either way, Hamlet has found a way to, so it would seem, escape with murder (seemingly).

Human Nature’s Connection to Uncertainty

Country

PDI IDV MAS UAI LTO

Greece 60 35 57 112
Portugal 63 27 31 104
Guatemala 95 6 37 101
Uruguay 61 36 38 100
Belgium 65 75 54 94
El Salvador 66 19 40 94
Poland 68 60 64 93
Japan 54 46 95 92 80
Peru 64 16 42 87
Argentina 49 46 56 86
Chile 63 23 28 86
Costa Rica 35 15 21 86
France 68 71 43 86
Panama 95 11 44 86
Spain 57 51 42 86
South Korea 60 18 39 85 75
Turkey 66 37 45 85
Hungary 46 55 88 82
Mexico 81 30 69 82
Israel 13 54 47 81
Colombia 67 13 64 80
Brazil 69 38 49 76 65
Venezuela 81 12 73 76
Italy 50 76 70 75
Czech Republic 57 58 57 74
Austria 11 55 79 70
Pakistan 55 14 50 70
Taiwan 58 17 45 69 87
Egypt 80 38 52 68
Iraq 80 38 52 68
Kuwait 80 38 52 68
Lebanon 80 38 52 68
Libya 80 38 52 68
Saudi Arabia 80 38 52 68
United Arab Emirates 80 38 52 68
Ecuador 78 8 63 67
Germany 35 67 66 65 31
Thailand 64 20 34 64 56
Finland 33 63 26 59
Iran 58 41 43 59
Switzerland 34 68 70 58
Ghana 77 20 46 54 16
Nigeria 77 20 46 54 16
Sierra Leone 77 20 46 54 16
Netherlands 38 80 14 53 44
Ethiopia 64 27 41 52 25
Kenya 64 27 41 52 25
Tanzania 64 27 41 52 25
Zambia 64 27 41 52 25
Australia 36 90 61 51 31
Norway 31 69 8 50 20
New Zealand 22 79 58 49 30
South Africa 49 65 63 49
Indonesia 78 14 46 48
United States 40 91 62 46 29
Philippines 94 32 64 44 19
China 80 20 66 40 118
India 77 48 56 40 61
Malaysia 104 26 50 36
Ireland 28 70 68 35
United Kingdom 35 89 66 35 25
Hong Kong 68 25 57 29 96
Sweden 31 71 5 29 33
Denmark 18 74 16 23
Jamaica 45 39 68 13
Singapore 74 20 48 8 48

Ignore all of the collumns except the bolded column labeled UAI. This stands for Uncertainty Avoidance Index. What does this mean.

This principal is talking about how much tolerance a country or a society has for uncertainty. How does a certain society stand when things are not laid out for them? When there are not that many strict laws or rules? Basically, this is a deep look into how a culture programs the people within it to feel uncomfortable or comfortable in situations that are not strict and instead are unknown and not usual. Societies that like to avoid uncertainty will create many laws, safety rules and security measures to try and make a situation as not uncertain as possible. In accordance to religion, a high UAI country will have a religion that has an absolute truth, meaning that the country believes in one thing that is possible and that there is only one possibility of truth. They have strict religion because they do not like to think about how uncertain the universe is- how there is no proof to any religion. They believe in one possible truth and nothing else. Countries that have a low AVI mean that the culture has a lot of give to it. The people do not mind uncertainty- usually this is because they live in uncertainty every day. Countries that have a low UAI are Singapore and Ireland and Jamaica. Now, there are many reasons why a country might have a high or a low UAI. It all depends on the country’s culture.

This is interesting to consider because it shows how man fears the uncertain- but that people from different cultures have different degrees of this fear. One human nature quality can exist in different ways by where a person lives. This really shows how a person’s environment- where they are born and grow up- affect how they turn out in the end. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but still, there is a general tendency to how people like the feeling of uncertainty. It is overall interesting to think about how human nature qualities do not exist in the same concentration- some people have more fear of the unknown than others. When looking at the US, we have a mediocre fear of the uncertain. It’s just funny because when considering the word uncertain, I never thought of the word fear. But when I look back at my old posts and my experiences with uncertainty, I did realize that fear is involved. I fear many things in my life- one of them not being sure what the future holds. But overall in the US, we do not have a giant fear of the unknown compared to some countries like Germany. This makes sense because of Germany’s past and because we are a democracy. I think that the form of government plays a role in the fear of uncertainty- or perhaps the fear of the uncertain is what ends up dictating the government. Overall, the entire concept is interesting because it shows how human nature qualities are not an exact science- they vary based on a person’s life. But also, an environment a person lives in affects his personality and ways greatly. Where a person is born or lives can dictate their life.

This video is just a simple explaination of the fear of uncertainty. The person that needs exact times and rules is the person that would have a high UAI and the person who is not specific on times and wants to figure things out later would be a person with a low UAI.

http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/uncertainty-avoidance-index/ => just a good general site with information about this principal.

Warmth in Fire

Fire has been an element that has been around for hundreds of thousands of years amongst living beings. First introduced as early as 500,000 BC. The first introduction of fire was lightening. Sparking fires, humans quickly caught on that they could harness this extremely destructive, yet useful and inventive, element. “Not until about 7000 BC did Neolithic man acquire reliable fire-making techniques.” Creating friction between two wooden objects is the most common understanding of how to light a fire without the help of matches or lighters.

Fire has unlimited uses. 5 most common, and important, uses that come to mind are:

1) Cooking

2) Signal fires

3) Warmth

4) Comfort in the home

5) Destruction

Cooking food is extremely important. Especially when dealing with meats, appropriately cooking a piece of meat may mean the difference between thoroughly enjoying a meal or getting deathly ill. Parasites, diseases, and harmful bacteria tend to reside in meat, especially cow meat. Fire elevates the consumption experience due to its unique ability to not only compliment a food’s natural taste by accelerating it, but can also help your health.

When a plane crashes or a ship goes down in the middle of the ocean and the passengers find their way to a deserted island, their greatest chance of survival is getting noticed by an overhead plane or rescue helicopter. This idea of isolation has been portrayed and depicted in film and literature. People love reading about and watching people in distress and viewing how they deal with that particular situation at hand. An example of this distress would be the popular TV show Lost. This show gives you the full experience of how human beings revert back to their primal instincts. What the characters on the show decide to do is build a signal fire for overhead planes in order to be rescued from their uncertain fate. This idea can also be connected to literature in the Lord of The Flies. The school boys in this book by William Golding crash on a deserted island and must fend for themselves in order to survive. Their instinct to get rescued is to build, of course, a signal fire on the very top of the highest mountain in order to be spotted.

Fire is the quintessential idea of warmth. When I think about fire, I think about warmth. Combining numbers 3 and 4, my understanding of fire in the home can be linked to comfort and heat. In the winter, the difference between being comfortably warm in your home and being freezing cold may just be lighting a fire in your fire place. When a family lights up their fire place, it really opens up a home. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be referenced when dealing with fire and safety. The second level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is “safety”. Safety and shelter are some of the basic needs that a human must obtain to live a healthy, happy life. “Security needs are important for survival, but they are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples of security needs include a desire for steady employment, health insurance, safe neighborhoods, and shelter from the environment.” Shelter from the environment relates to a warm fire inside the home for comfort.

Destruction is the most powerful part of fire that comes to mind. Once fire is no longer contained, it can be extremely damaging. Brush fires in forests have been known to kill hundreds of animals and destroy habitats and environments that have been growing and thriving for thousands of years. Once these forests are destroyed, the rehabilitation process must begin and the forest has to start all over from the beginning. Lightning is the biggest offender of brush fires. As I discussed earlier, lightning was most likely the first discovery of fire by man and how it can be harnessed and controlled. However, once fire becomes uncontrollable, the destruction and chaos it brings is truly incredible.

Tolerance Through The Students

It seems as if my blogs up until this point have focused on tolerance within the demanding and changing society that we live in. I have focused on tolerance from a universal point of view. I thought that it would be interesting to write about tolerance from an average student’s perspective. The tolerance that a high school student must handle can sometimes be much more than one may think.

Being a senior in high school, you are at the point in which you have experienced all of the previous years and you know the ins and out of your school. You have met every type of personality and in some sense, have learned to put up with it. Throughout the high school years, you learn to become tolerant of those who seem to only care about being social, those who may always find themselves in the office, or those who always seem to be one uping you. It is very common to find y0urself changing your behavior around specific people. This is totally normal, it is only because it is your own personal way of being TOLERANT of that individual. You may think that tolerance is only for those people who you do not know on a great personal level. But, tolerance is also found everyday between the best of friends. With a relationship that close, you may find that there may be a competitive atmosphere ; a drive to be better than the other. But, with the act of tolerance, you are able to find that balance and support one another. Not only with your friends is tolerance needed, as your role of being a student, you must also be tolerant of the teachers and advisors that are there to teach and guide you. At times, it may seem that you do not want to listen to what they have to say or that you may already have it under control. But, if both tolerant and paitent, you will see that you will be able to learn about the different learning skills that you have.

They say that your high school years are your years of learning ; learning of tolerance. You may not notice it in the moment, but when you look back, you are able to see that you really did learn how to tolerate others and what they have to offer/what they believe is right and wrong.

Without the outlooks of others around you, you would not be able to understand a sense of what the outside world is like.

High school students are not the only students that wish to learn and seek out tolerance. It is clear that in today’s growing society, the younger generations are wishing to learn what tolerance means as well. But, the case is quite different for these younger children. Unlike high school students, they need the assistance of their parents in order for them to understand just exactly what this word means.

In the clip below, you will be able to see that the younger generation of students are attempting to reach out and wonder just exactly what tolerance is and what it entitles

We can see that these kids are beginning to expand their own knowledge of the world around them and are wanting to know what causes society to become one the way that we do.

The Nature of Memory

At one point or another, you’ve probably asked yourself why you remember certain things, and why you don’t. Is there one thing that makes us remember or forget? Why do we remember bad things more than good things? One of life’s great mysteries is why certain experiences get lodged immovably in our memory, while others are forgotten. Recent studies in neuroscience have allowed scientists to only begin to explain the nature of our memory.

In 2008, TIME magazine interviewed Matt Wilson, a professor of neurobiology at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Here, Wilson answers question that only reach the tip of the iceberg.

When askedWhy do we remember unpleasant events better than ordinary ones?’, Wilson replied:

We think of memory as a record of our experience. But the idea is not just to store information; it’s to store relevant information. [The idea is] to use our experience to guide future behavior.

Further into the article, Wilson explained that there has been a lot of really interesting research that points to a connection between our memory of the past and our ability to imagine the future. He mentions one specific example, that, in our studies of animal models of memory, where we’re able to go in and actually watch the pattern of a rat’s brain activity, we can see that the brain activity while the animal is in a behavior-based situation, [such as navigating a maze,] directly corresponds to its future behavior: what it can, may and will do in the future.

 “We can see that the animal does in fact — I hesitate to use the word, but I’ll use it anyway — “think.” In terms of brain activity, anticipating the future and remembering the past seem to be related.

The speculation is that we process memory in order to solve problems. And things we should learn from, things that are particularly important or that have strong emotions tied to them, may be things that are going to be important in the future. If you present stimuli with a strong negative emotional component, the memories do seem to be more easily retrieved than neutral stimuli or even those that are somewhat positive, for example happy faces versus angry faces.

It is for this reason that it will be impossible for us to forget events like 9/11 and the Holocaust. We process these horrific memories in order to try and think of ways to prevent anything like it to ever happen again. We want to disprove the theory that ‘history repeats itself’. So far, memory is helping achieve this.

The most commendable, honorable, respectable moments in our country’s history have been acknowledged with the fact that we cannot forget. We cannot forget the turmoil and brutality, but we also cannot forget the pride and patriotism that follow. In this video, President Ronald Reagan makes a speech at Point-du-Hoc, Normandy. This speech alone illustrates WHY we must remember World War II. In the grand scheme of things, President Reagan eludes to the fact that good or bad, it is our job to remember what makes our country what it is today.