Category Archives: RCL

Alternative to deliberation

Due to mother nature and my completely hectic schedule, I was unable to attend any of the deliberations. I was looking forward to some of them so I am incredibly upset that I couldn’t attend for one reason or another. So to make up for it, I will discuss the main topic of my last blog: philosophy.

Nihilism is one of my favorite philosophical ideas. It has been around for a long time, and like many philosophical ideas, is wonderfully thought out. It is both often applied when philosophers discuss the meaning of life/the question of what humans need to fulfill to live a “successful” life. In many of the online forums that I’ve been apart of, it is one of the most heavily discussed topics.

You’ve probably met a nihilist at some point in your life, you just didn’t know it. That “the world has no meaning,” pessimistic individual that you are familiar with is a nihilist. The nihilistic belief is that accepting nothingness can result in realizing what is of actual value and uphold it, bypassing denial and illusion. Nihilism is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless–or extreme skepticism that anything in this entire world has any real existence. This is different than solipsism (the belief that one’s conscious is the only that actually exist) because this acknowledges other people’s existence. It just doesn’t think it matters.

To make it easier, it rejects belief, faith, wishful thinking, ideology, morality and socialization as being a a form of reality. They believe that these are human projections. They hold the idea that all potential actions are choices we can make. However, nihilists are not relativists. They do not say all choices are equal, because equality is also a human projection. All choices are simply whatever their results are, because intentions that exist only within the human mind are not important

Nihilists have an interesting view on intentions. Some believe this view creates a free reign type society. This, of course, is untrue. They believe that the statement “Nothing matters, so do whatever you want” is broken, because nihilism avoid using the yes/no question of matters, since even having something matter at all is a choice. Nihilism also avoids the “do whatever you want” because to advise that is to give it a value. The only statement nihilism makes is that nothing is real except reality. Human projections are irrelevant because they are unrelated to outcomes.

Nihilists take an interesting opinion on morals. Morality would give some sort of meaning to anything but reality. By that, I mean they don’t have morals. No, I don’t mean that by saying they’re just going to kill this person or steal from that person. Instead of using morals, they consider the consequences of the action that they are about to do. Take stealing for example. Instead of thinking “stealing is bad” they think “If I steal this, the person is going to have to work many more hours to replace it, and I will only be seeing a small amount of the real value. Plus, if I steal this, other people will follow my lead.” While they are technically moral-less, they still consider what will happen before they act on it.

Now it’s time to introduce you to the most famous nihilistic individual in pop culture: The Joker.  In a scene in “The Dark Knight,” he burns money and says “crime is not about money, it’s about sending a message: everything burns”. That right there is a nihilistic point of view. He is taking all value away from money, and signifies and everything, literally or metaphorically, burns. Throughout the movie, he had a mission. He sought to disrupt civilized society’s sense of “illusory superiority” and to humble it by bringing it back down to its savage roots, basically something a clinically insane nihilist would do. In order to do that, he plants bombs on ferries, murders government officials, attempts to corrupt Batman among other things.

It seemed all of it just randomly happened, but there is a method behind his madness. The Joker only gets credit for being “an agent of chaos,” but that’s not true. Corrupting the city (that great symbol of civilization) by bringing it down to a primal state, devoid of any meaning or rules, is what the Joker is after. His perceived non-plan is the work of a mastermind nihilist. It is anything but chaotic or meaningless. It is logical, clear, and has definite purpose. It just so happens to employ an element of randomness. The end result is that the Joker personifies a philosophical argument taken to its extreme, supporting his nihilistic plan with the chaos that results from his actions.

As a philosophy, nihilism recognizes that rejection of all values negates itself because it is in itself a value.   Instead, nihilism views all values as choices. When these values are based on aspects of reality, they are nihilistic, but the creation of values like morality is dangerous because it removes people from thinking about reality. Instead, it has people thinking about the words, symbols and relationships that comprise those values. A nihilist would suggest that the healthiest human system is one where we look at consequences alone.

Rhetorical choices and a public controversy

Rhetoric and rhetorical choices are immensely important whenever speaking or writing.  When the intention of the work, whether it be verbal or written, is meant to sway people to believe in one way composed to another, the significance absolutely sky rockets.  Whenever someone is telling the story of a public controversy, there are a few rhetorical choices that are a part of it.

A choice that is definitely a part of it is what, if any, literary devices are going to be used, and how exactly they are going to be used.  Using a lot of metaphors could be good or bad, depending how they are used and if they make sense in the context that they are used in.  Things like personification, hyperbole, and similes are also something that the author has to decide upon.

The diction is a huge part of a public controversy.  The words that are chosen have to be used correctly and powerfully.  The author is trying to sway people into viewing things the same way that he/she does.  In order to successfully be able to convince people. the words/language chosen needs to be powerful.  It needs to drive those that believe to act on their beliefs and it needs to cause those that don’t believe to believe.

Another rhetorical choice that is a part of telling the history of a public controversy is recognizing what the audience is going to be.  If you’re talking about the history of gay marriage, the audience of 65 year olds is going to have a lot different opinions than an audience of 25 year olds.  Recognizing the fundamental difference that the audience is going to have is key in properly giving a history of the public controversy.

Every rhetorical decision is going to effect the way that the work is given.  Making the proper choices is key in a good performance.


What rhetorical choices are part of telling the story of a public controversy?

Are TED Talks an important rhetoric development

TED Talks are absolutely an important rhetoric development.  We live in an age of instant gratification.  Not only are TED Talks easily available on the internet, but the length of them are relatively short.  This forces the speaker to have to best summarize his/her idea in a quick, yet efficient manner.  This also forces the speaker to only say the most important things that are to be said, which may leave unnecessary information out of it.

These are also fair unconventional speeches, in a good way.  Historically, speeches have been formal and it often relies solely on the speaker to make a connection with the audience.  This type of speech opens things up easier.  It makes it easier to form a connection as the speech isn’t so formal. The informality and overall lax nature of these speeches are beneficial in making a connection with a specific member of the audience.

TED Talks also use technology effectively.  In some speeches, the content matter may be thick.  The use of images and different multimedia devices allow the speaker to more easily explain something, or to just farther prove a point.  In some of the TED Talks that I have seen, the speaker used a powerful image to drive home how severe of a topic that is being discussed.

Mostly of all, I get entertained by TED Talks. I find the way that the information is being delivered to be incredibly entertaining.  This entertainment allows me to more easily pay attention to the content that is being spoken about, thus helping me learn more than I would if I had no interest in it.

Overall, TED Talks are an absolute important rhetoric development.  I know that without them, many school projects that I completed wouldn’t have been as good as they were by using them as an aid.  In an age of instant gratification and technology, TED Talks are fitting in perfectly,

Shifts of our generation

Humans change. Human nature changes. The sociology and social aspects of humans change. As a result, the ideology of humans is inevitable to change over the course of time. Whether it be a slow change that takes many decades to happen, or a quick change that takes just a decade or so. Each generation has a different ideology than the generation that came before. Our generation build on the lessons that our parents and grandparents learned to mold our ideology.

I think the biggest sociological change from the prior generations is the acceptance of same-sex marriage. In the 1950s, it would have practically been a death penalty to come out as being gay. Not only would the parents likely reject that person from the family, but he/she would have a difficult time getting a job if the employer knew and making friends would be hard. That ideology stayed pretty constant until 2004. The acceptance of same-sex marriage and of homosexuals has increased by a significant margin. Majority of America supports it, and more states are starting to allow it within their borders. The social acceptance is a lot greater too. Of course there are people that are still anti-gay, but that number is such a minority within our generation. Someone could come out as being gay and there would be a very great reception of that person. If (future) my son or daughter were to tell my (future) wife and I that he/she was gay, I would not look at him/her any differently.

There have been other shifts too. I think atheism and agnosticism are on the rise, both being socially acceptable compared to early generations. There seems to be a more pro-choice view on abortion than there has been in earlier years from the research that I’ve done. The legalization of marijuana, frustration with the schooling system, and equality between men and women are also stances that our generation has generally taken opposed to past generations.

Paradigm shift ideas

Throughout history, there have been many shifts in ideology, which is completely expected. Humans, by nature, are inquisitive and seek change. These two things have lead to the complete change in thought. Some of the changes were hundreds years in the making, relying highly on the fall of a civilization (transition from Greek religions to others), while others happen in a short amount of time (massive shift in acceptance of same-sex marriage). Although there were thousands of shifts throughout the history of mankind, there are a couple in particular that stand out as interesting me the most.

One of the biggest ones I think about doing is the shift of religious belief. In the old religions, the people worshiped multiple gods. The Greeks worshiped Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades among others. The Romans worshiped Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto among others. In Norse mythology, the people worshiped Odin, Borr, and Elli. It would be so fascinating to learn why and how the ideology changed so greatly into the Abrahamic religions. Most of it would be due to the fall of the Greek and Roman empires, but people also played a large role in the widespread belief of other religions.

Another shift that interests me is societal roles. By this, I mean the role of men and women in society and marriage. The freedoms of women have increased greatly over the past 400 years, and even a lot the past 80 or so years. Women have historically been seen as being an object of the man, thus having no rights, and just someone to look after the kids and take care of the house. Of course this belief has changed so much over the past century. The rise of feminism played a large role in this but there were definitely other things that impacted the shift.

The opinion of immigration has seemed to decrease over the past few decades, although we are a nation of immigrants. Same-sex marriage, legalization of marijuana, and opinion of abortion are a few relevant modern day issues that interested me.

I haven’t decided which one I’m going to do yet, but I think I have a good amount of ideas that I’ll be satisfied no matter what path I decide to take.

My strategies with writing/editing a paper

While I don’t necessarily think I’m that good of a writer, I don’t think I’m bad either. My pre-writing process is a lot longer than that of other people. Because I don’t necessarily trust my pure skill at writing, I need to make up for it by preparing no matter how well I think I know the topic.

How much I prepare varies on the topic and the type of essay that it is. No matter what type of essay it is, I often look up the author of the work that I am to analyze. I do this so I can better recognize the influences that caused the work to turn out the way it did. I just think it’s easier for me, as an analyst, if I understand the background of the author and of the time period. It helps me make connections between themes, symbols, and the meanings of the themes and symbols.

Another technique that I use is discovering different techniques to form the essay. There are different ways a type of essay can be crafted and I try to find the way that suits me and my styles best. Although I end up going off my predetermined plan, it gives me a nice start.

My revising process is often lengthy and intense, since I’m an indecisive person. Correcting the obvious errors in a paper is pretty simple. Whenever there is a spelling error, grammatical error, or formatting error, I simply correct that as it needs to be done. But when I need to revise the structure of my thesis or organization of a paragraph or sentence, then there could be slight difficulties. I often know exactly what I want to say, but am torn between two or more different ways to say it.

My writing has made strides over the years, and by the techniques that I have adopted, I think it will continue to improve.

The best speaker with the worst intentions

If there were a Mt. Rushmore of the most evil men, fictional or nonfictional, in the history of the world, this man would make a strong case to be on it, right along side Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter of course. He almost wiped out an entire group of people and started a devastating war. If there were a Mt. Rushmore of the greatest speakers in human history, he would make a strong case to be on this list. His strong emotions and animated actions mesmerized any crowd that he stood before. Known for being one of the most evil men in world history, Adolf Hitler is also known as being one of the best public speakers.

Yes, he committed absolutely disgusting acts against fellow humans. The fact, however, that he got an entire country to back up and support those horrible actions speaks of his ability to command a crowd. Before he stepped in front of the mic, he knew what the crowd wanted to hear and he knew how they wanted to hear it. Each speech written was relevant to the time and the mentality of the people. He preached to them plans for a united, powerful Germany. The people were tired of living in poverty at the time. Being the ultimate opportunist that he was, he took advantage. He filled every German’s imagination with hope and made them dream. Every word spoken motivated people to chase that dream. Nationalism under Hitler reached untouchable levels. For hours and hours he spoke, each idea presented leaving a mark on the mind of an individual. And that’s why he was so successful. He managed to make someone in the crowd believe he was talking specifically to him/her.

Although he committed crimes against humanity, his speaking is undeniable. I would love to look at one of his speeches and break down how he managed to do what he did. The devices used and the appeals have to be powerful in order to lead a country down the path that he did.

Marriage equality: all about timing.

Twenty-two percent. In a 2004 poll conducted by CBS, that’s the number of people approved of same-sex marriage. Fifty-five percent. In a 2014 poll conducted by Gallop, that’s the number of people that approved of same-sex marriage. In the past decade, the amount of people that supported the “issue” jumped thirty-three percent. Thirty-three percent. Just think about that seismic change in ideology in such a short time period. The imaginary pendulum swung to the complete other side, and it doesn’t seem as if it’s going to swing back. This massive swing in mentality can be credited to the opportune moment, or essentially the people’s readiness for this.

In 2004, our country was just three years removed from the most violent attack on American soil. A vicious war being fought in a foreign nation, leaving millions falling asleep at night not knowing if their significant others would make it to see another a day. Everyone, regardless of race or sexuality, deserves that person to care about, to worry about. Massachusetts, being the first state to realize that, legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, just months after the first poll was released. Before it became official, fifty percent of the state supported gay marriage. The support within the state was absolutely tremendous.

Because public opinion was constantly growing, California and Connecticut legalized it in 2008. Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Washington DC all followed suit by legalizing it in 2009. The legislators of each state believed it to be the best time for it to happen. The election of Obama, the first African-American President, gave the people of this nation new found hope. The direction of the country appeared to be great. If a country could elect an African-American to be President, it could surely back two people of the same-sex becoming married.

Nineteen states currently allow same-sex marriage, with the great state of Pennsylvania being one of them. This change in public perception made it easier for many celebrities to announce their sexuality. Neil Patrick Harris, Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Ellen Page, Anderson Cooper are among many that revealed their sexuality. The reception for these people were miraculous, and it wouldn’t have been that way if not for the swinging of the pendulum.

The search for marriage equality was all about timing. A country devasted by a terrorist attack, and sending or fathers, brothers, and sons away to war needed something to be happy about. True love, regardless the sexuality, race, or religion is exactly what was needed. The marriage equality is in full force, and nothing is stopping it.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. Not only is this the title of a 1966 Western film starring Clint Eastwood (check it out if you haven’t) but it also sums up my speech experience-as both a speaker and listener. Considering the amount of speeches that I have given, and the amount that I’ve heard, it’s only natural for there to be a mix of experiences. Without further ado, it’s time to get to the good, the bad, and the ugly of my speech experiences.

The Good: The number one pro from my personal speaking experience, is well, the experience I gained. The first speech that I ever had to give was in 6th grade. I stood in front of my peers, frighteningly confident, prepared to delve into my first experience speaking in front of a large group of people. After I delivered the speech of why people should vote for me as DA, I realized that this would be the first of many speeches. Since that day, I’ve delivered speeches on everything from how to do a certain magic trick to why the American school system is failing. Watching other’s give speeches has proved to be beneficial as well. Whether the speech was good or bad, I learned lessons. If it was good, I used parts of those in my speeches. If it was bad, I knew what not to do.

The bad: One thing I never picked up on while speaking is my bad habits. I’m sure I do some pretty big no’s while speaking, but I haven’t picked up on them. I have filmed myself giving a speech, but I couldn’t identify and correct the bad things that I do. I’ve always given speeches to friendly, attentive audiences, so if I ever gave a speech to slightly hostile audience, that’d be a new thing for me.

The ugly: The ugliest con of my speaking experience would be the awkwardness that comes with a below average speech. I don’t believe I’ve ever given one, but I have been in rooms in which these speeches were given. The cold, dry air in the room gives me the chills.

Through my speaking and listening experience, I have been through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m sure the same goes for all of you. I just hope the good outweighs the bad and the ugly.

Concerns and Strategies for Public Speaking (from someone that doesn’t have either)

For someone that has such awful luck, I lucked into receiving such a glorious gift.  Last year, I would wake up and thank the gods for giving me this gift once every ten days.  The gift I’m referring to is the ability of being able to speak publicly.

This ability didn’t come naturally, but I also didn’t work very hard to gain it.  During my awkward stages of life (I try to ignore all high school Freshman year memories), I had troubles talking to my close friends.  As I matured and got less awkward, my ability to speak just naturally came.  Due to my role in class office and clubs, I’ve given close to thirty speeches during my four years of high school.  When adding in mandatory speech class, the number rises to fifty or so.  Even during my awkward stage, I had a knack of getting in front of people and being able to deliver a powerful speech.  The ability to publicly speak is the talent that I’m the most proud of (slightly beating out my magic tricks).  For those of you that have great fears in front of people, I have a few tips for you.

Memorize as much as you can- No matter how good or bad you are at speaking, the speech itself is going to be a train wreck if the words aren’t memorized.  Knowing what sentence follows which sentence will be wonderful even if you don’t know the exact sentence.  As long as the point is effectively hit, it’ll be good.

Start confidently- A shaky start could lose the interest of the crowd, and getting that back is difficult.  Opening with a strong sentence/bold language can convey your confidence to the audience.   A strong, confident voice throughout is key.

Connect with the crowd-  Make eye contact with individuals to give them a more personal feel.  Don’t hold the eye contact too long or that would be awkward.  The more you can connect with your audience, the better the messages of your themes will be received.  If someone leaves feeling they can relate to the speaker, then the speech did it’s job.

Remember, you’re human- Getting nervous is okay.  Everyone in the room that you are about to speak to has been in your spot before.  We all get at least a little nervous speaking in front of people.  If you mess up, gather yourself and keep moving.

Public speaking is definitely a large part in our college education.  There’s a massive chance that we’re all going to have to stand in front of people and present something.  Whether that be attempting to sell something, teaching a lesson, or conveying an idea.  Learning to effectively speak in front of people is a necessary part of education.