I didn’t get any sleep whatsoever. For some reason, my body didn’t have the urge to fall asleep tonight. So now, as the east coast wakes up little by little to begin the day, I have an urge to sit here in my dark room and write as if this public blog is a mere journal.
I get really pissed off when I can’t fall asleep. This has happened before; it’s become an annual ritual for me to have one night in which I simply can not doze off. I get pissed because I want sleep. I always feel tired during these nights — like right now my eyelids feel like they are lifting weights. But every time I close my laptop to make another attempt at entering a REM cycle I fail. Plus I’d also like sleep for regular reasons: I want to be able to focus for work the next day, I don’t want to fall asleep too late and then sleep in too late and kill the day, etc. Oh, and how could I forget the fact that not falling asleep means I’m forced to lay alone and suddenly become a philosopher, rethinking every decision I’ve ever made in life as well as questioning what I’ll never have answers for.
There are some benefits to these odd nights. On the smaller side of things, I suppose if I had gotten sleep tonight I’d have one less blog post published. On the larger side, watching the world go to sleep and wake up again all while I’m still conscious is a weird but fascinating feeling. It’s like I’m watching other people naturally live from an outside perspective. The normal break we all experience between saying “goodnight” and “good morning” to someone is totally removed and in its place is simply a transitional period of time. The Late Show somehow slowly becomes Good Morning America.
Now it’s 6:56. Fourteen minutes have gone by since I started typing this. Thousands of other people have woken up, some have spilled their first cup of coffee, the sun is a tad higher in the sky, and I’ve grown more tired and irritated. This entire experience is just very intriguing and annoying.
I’ve been meaning to write this up for a few months, but never got around to it. It has to be said though because it seems like very few other people are saying it, and I’ve never been one to blend in with the crowd if I thought the crowd’s views didn’t make any sense.
Let’s talk about arguably the most controversial topic known to man: religion. Specifically, let’s address why the vast majority of people suck at their own beliefs. Trust me, it’s possible.
Religion has been around for a very, very long time. This may come as a shock to people deeply rooted in their own religious beliefs, but there are actually other religions outside of your own. Who would have known?! But yes, it’s true. There’s Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism — just to name a few. Then there’s multiple subdivisions of religions as well; for instance, Roman Catholicism is a branch of Christianity. All Catholics are Christians but not all Christians are Catholics.
Theism is the overall belief that at least one deity exists, which is what almost all religions can categorize themselves under. Atheism is the belief that no deities exist. Then there’s other types of concepts that are somewhat variants of these two like deism, pantheism, polytheism, so on and so forth. Lastly, agnosticism is the belief that the existence or non-existence of a deity or deities is not and will never be knowable. For the sake of this argument, let’s stick mainly to theism and atheism because these are the two groups constantly making the most noise.
Let’s just get straight to the point: there are way too many people either in a religion or identifying as atheist who feel that because of their beliefs, they are better or smarter than everybody else. A lot of people who are deeply religious tend to receive a lot of public hate nowadays because they try to impose their religion on others, often in an ignorant fashion. This does happen quite frequently. There are theists who refuse to associate with or even be around an atheist because they think non-believers are doomed for all eternity. Many theists often take their religion a tad too seriously, as you can see.
I’m going to use Christianity as an example because it’s the most popular religion in the world and probably the one we’re all most familiar with. The most dedicated of Christians get into the annoying habit of thinking they’re smarter than every other religion, based on absolutely no merits. They just think what they believe is the right way and that everyone else should follow. Also, the Bible is treated as fact to them. The Bible is not fact. Neither is any other holy scripture for any other religion. Almost nothing in any religion should be considered fact, including the religions themselves. Religions are based entirely on faith. You are more than welcome to believe every single thing written in the Bible, but don’t try to use the Bible as proof for anything outside of your own religion. Don’t pick and choose what to follow in the Bible, either. The Bible does not prove God exists. If you believe that God exists because of the Bible, again, that’s your belief and you are completely entitled to it. Not everyone follows the Bible like you do. And if you say they should, don’t you think telling billions of people that their beliefs are wrong and yours are right is a pretty ballsy thing to say?
Any atheists reading this probably think I’m on their side by now. Nope, sorry. Atheists more than ever I’ve noticed tend to get pretty bold in their claims as well. Many mock people of religion and claim they are too dumb to realize there is simply no proof of a god, therefore there is no god. The atheists who mock religion are just as ignorant as the religious folks who mock atheists and other religions. You’re right, we can’t prove that there’s a god at this moment in time. But tell me, atheists, how exactly you plan on proving that there isn’t one. Blah blah the Bible was just made up, blah blah science can’t explain its existence, blah blah no one in our time has ever witnessed a god. Those are all bullshit excuses, and the fact of the matter remains you can’t prove there is not a god. You’re right that the Bible has plenty of faults in it which science has proven wrong over time, but science never proved that believing in the existence of a deity is wrong. Just because no one in our time has witnessed a deity, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And maybe, just maybe, science can not explain everything. If you say it can, prove it. Ah once again we’ve reached an impasse because you can’t prove science can explain everything.
Atheists are no smarter than theists and theists are no smarter than atheists. The fact remains that as of right now, in 2013, no one can prove or disprove the existence of a deity. I’m not saying it won’t ever be possible, but in this very moment everyone in every religion should be able to acknowledge this. If you’re a deeply religious person and you can say “I understand that other people hold other beliefs and that mine aren’t necessarily proven accurate from a factual standpoint, but this is what I personally choose to and deeply believe.” then I have a lot of respect for you. The exact same respect applies to an atheist who can say the same.
It’s true that many religions have caused a lot of problems over the course of history. Thousands of people have died in the name of their beliefs, wars have broken out, people’s rights (even today) are stripped away from them, the advancement of science has been greatly restricted due to conflicting religious beliefs, etc. These are often cited by atheists as reasons why organized religion sucks, and usually they are very fair points. But many wonderful things have come out of religion: family-oriented and gift-giving holidays, encouragement to serve people in need, promotion of kindness, high intent to instill moral values, and harmless love and devotion to a power greater than we could ever fathom. Far more religious people carry these values than the extremists who question scientific advancements and organize war.
The point is, we desperately just need to let everyone believe what they choose to believe and call it a day. No one is wiser than anyone else for their religious or non-religious beliefs. Stop all the fighting, the name-calling, the boasting, the imposing, and the discrimination. There’s never a winner because when it comes to proof, both sides are lacking any. Let everybody be who they are and individually believe what they want. And shut the hell up about it.
I attended somewhat of a seminar last week called “The Religion of Existentialism” by Professor Noreen Khawaja of Yale University at my own university as part of my Religious Dimension of Human Existence philosophy class. She talked for about an hour on her theory of how religion plays a role in existentialism and then opened up for discussion. I didn’t ask any questions because I honestly had no idea what the hell she was talking about the entire time. She sounded like she knew what she was talking about, that’s all I know. I was clueless partly because all the philosophical terms and references being thrown at me made my brain bounce around in my head. The other part is because I had drifted off thinking about the entire college experience in general, starting with Khawaja’s speech.
In high school, this type of thing was almost unheard of. You never sat in a small meeting room around a table with a guest speaker clearly far beyond your own intelligence level. I was on the second floor of the academic building and there was a stunning view of the lake and parts of the campus to the left. That never happened in high school either.
Then it hit me just how incredible of a place college really is. The amount of resources you have access to on a university campus for nearly any topic you’re interested in is absolutely unparalleled: from guest speakers to intelligent professors to an extensive library to simply a wide range of course offerings. That got me thinking about my other experiences.
One of the other amazing aspects of university life is the amount of diversity in people. I went to private elementary school and private high school so I was never exposed to this, but I love it now. There’s nice people, there’s rude people, there’s annoying people, there’s tolerable people, there’s party people, there’s study people, there’s drinkers, there’s pot smokers, there’s sober people, there’s computer science majors, there’s journalism majors, there’s music majors, there’s nursing majors. No two people have the exact same set of interests.
There’s whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, theists, atheists, gays, straights, males, females, and everything in between. And no one really ever judges anyone for being different in any way. People just get along. If you do openly have something negative to say about someone’s background or beliefs, you’re considered a bigoted asshole by the majority, and chances are you probably won’t say it again.
The first time I had a legitimate older adult in my class I was totally amazed in a weird way. There was always a certain barrier, at least for me, between 18-year-olds and people in their 40s, 50s, or older. They were always the authority figures and should automatically get respect privileges. But when there’s an older man sitting next to you taking the same class you’re taking and doing the same homework you are, you realize it’s now level playing field. That older man is almost like a colleague.
I’m a commuter for now so I can’t comment too much on night life at college. I do know that there’s a good amount of get-togethers like hanging out in dorms or having a movie night, there’s a good amount of larger parties with a higher level of drunkenness, there’s a fair amount of frat parties with loud, sweaty people who won’t shut the fuck up, and then there’s a slightly smaller amount of people who sit around in a cramped dorm and for some reason prefer to smoke the night away. Oh yeah, and every once in a while someone living in a dorm will hear loud moaning in the room next to them.
Campus activities and clubs bring everyone together in a fun way as well during the day time. On nice days there’s information booths, occasional performers, or charity events. Then there’s also just people hanging out with friends on the grass or casually playing some sports. You can grab a few people and get some food in the dining hall or in the student center. While you’re in the student center, you could buy a few things from the bookstore or exercise in the gym for a bit.
The whole system of college has this way of giving one a liberating feeling of total independence in many regards, many of which are detailed above. Even when it comes down to classes, you have to design your own schedule (a royal pain in the ass). You can show up to classes 5 or 10 minutes late and most professors don’t care. Why should they? You’re the one missing out on material. It’s not their problem. Hell in some classes, depending on the professor, you can eat food or openly tap away at your smartphone.
What sucks about college is that people you’ve known throughout high school or longer will suddenly change, and it might not always be for the better. They’ll fall weak under peer pressure, hang out with people they once despised, or perhaps they’ll just get too stressed out from intense classes and their overall mood will shift to an unpleasant one. Your closest friend from high school may move away and forget all about you. It’s unfortunate and can even be depressing, but it’s a reality for many people.
The work load isn’t anything to brag about either, but at least it’s mostly within your own field of interest. It sure beats the hell out of high school work forced upon you that you’ll probably never use later on in life. I can tell you where you might as well shove those trigonometric functions.
At the end of my first year, I’ve made a lot of new incredible friends, lost a couple of my old ones, learned more about myself and the people around me, ate a lot of food, and got a lot of work done. I’m not much of a wild child, but I did have plenty of fun just getting together with friends in their dorms or going out on the town. But what I enjoyed most this year was just the whole atmosphere of seeing all these people from all different backgrounds coming together, getting along, and having the time of their lives before entering the next chapter and starting their careers. And there’s still a few more years ahead.
This isn’t quite the way I wanted to kick off the revamping of this blog but there’s too much shit on Facebook and Twitter right now for me to simply dismiss.
As you probably know by now, the second suspect in the Boston bombing is in custody. That’s great. In custody is exactly where he deserves to be, and ultimately he should be locked away for a very long time for the terrible act he committed. We should all be very happy that this asshole has been captured and justice has been served.
Here’s where the problem comes in: we’re already sensationalizing the hell out of this story. I’m seeing all over Facebook and Twitter people posting “USA pride!” “God bless America!” “Don’t mess with America!” Stop. How does pride in a country have any correlation with the capturing of a criminal? I’ll answer that question: it has absolutely no place. It’s stupid.
The only reason why people — and in particular, people my age who are in college — are saying that is because they have this false, undeserved sense of pride in their country for the sole reason that they think America should look awesome, badass, and tough for being the country in which a criminal was captured. It has absolutely nothing to do with the actual morality behind capturing a criminal and it has everything to do with sensationalizing the story for personal gain and excitement.
The people who should be feeling proud right about now are the law enforcement officials involved in capturing the suspect and the families and friends of victims in the bombing. And my guess is that they’re proud of the justice served tonight. Posting images of the American flag with a caption of “American pride!” or “Drinks up!” changes the entire situation from a criminal justice story into an entertainment story. That’s bullshit sensationalism.
Be happy that the suspect is in custody as you should be and convey that happiness in a respectful manner.
I decided to change this blog drastically. I noticed I hadn’t really been posting links as much and instead I would just share them on Twitter. Reblogs were tedious to me and also were often formatted poorly on the old theme. And lastly, the “GT Daily” title felt too cliched and perhaps a bit too formal for a personal blog.
Starting today, gtdaily.net redirects to this blog’s new url: blog.georgetinari.com. It’s now a subdomain to my main portfolio website georgetinari.com. The blog itself also has a new, simple focus on longform articles. I will try my best to exclusively write articles based on my opinions on a variety of topics. Many will be related to technology, but not all. Seeing that this is my personal blog that I choose not to monetize, I felt I should be giving myself more freedom. As always, you can still see my news stories and mobile-centric opinion pieces on IntoMobile as well.
I have no idea how often I’ll write here. More than likely I won’t get into a pattern, I’ll just write pieces whenever inspiration strikes. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.