What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a path of teaching and practice. Buddhist practices such as
meditation are means of changing oneself in order to develop the qualities of
awareness, kindness, and wisdom. The experience developed within the Buddhist
tradition over thousands of years has created an incomparable resource for all
those who wish to follow the path of spiritual development. Ultimately, the
Buddhist path culminates in Enlightenment or Buddhahood.


Who was the Buddha?
The word Buddha is a title not a name. It means one who is awake’ in
the sense of having woken up to reality’. The title was first given to a man
called Siddharta Guatemala, who lived about 2,500 years ago in Northern India.

When he was 35 he found Enlightenment whist in profound mediation, after
searching for years. In the next 45 years of his life he spent it traveling
through India teaching his way of life. His teaching is known as Buddha-dharma.

Traveling from place to place, the Buddha gained many disciples. They
also taught of the enlightment, and the chain has continued on to this present
day.

The Buddha was not a God, and he made no claim to divinity. There is no
concept of a creator in Buddhism. He was a human being who, thought tremendous
efforts, transformed himself.

The state of Enlightenment which he reached has three main facets. It
is a state of wisdom, of insight into the true nature of things. It is also a
source or boundless compassion, manifesting itself in activity for the benefit
of all beings. and it the total liberation of all the energies of the mind and
the body so they are at the service of the fully conscious mind.


What Happened After the Buddha’s Death?
Buddhism died out in India a thousand years ago, though it has recently
revived. In the last century Buddhism has emphatically arrived in the West and
up to one million westerners have become Buddhists.


What Does Buddhism Teach?
Buddhism sees life as being in process of constant change and its
practices aim to take advantage of this fact. It means that one can change for
the better. The decisive factor in changing ourselves is the mind and Buddhism
has developed many methods for working on the mind. Most importantly, Buddhists
practice meditation which is a way of developing more positive states of mind
which are characterized by calm, concentration, awareness, and emotions such as
friendliness.


How do you become a Buddhist?
To become a Buddhist in the full sense means committing oneself to the
central ideas of Buddhism. The Buddhist path is open to all equally: men and
women, young and old, people of all nationalities, races and backgrounds.


Rebirth
Rebirth in the Six Realms
Buddhism teaches that birth, death and rebirth are part of the
continuing process of change. The is similar to the continuous process of
growth, decay, and replacement of cells in ones’ body. According to medical
experts, after every seven years, all the cells in one’s body are replaced by
new ones.

At the moment of death, and the body can no longer survive, the mind is
separated from the body. At that time, the craving for lives causes one to seek
a new existence, and the karma done previously determine the place of one’s
rebirth.

There are six realms which one may be reborn after death. They are the
realms of gods, the demigods, human beings, animals, hungry ghosts, and the
hells.

In general, wholesome actions like good conduct, charity, a and mental
development, are the cause of rebirth in the happy realms of gods, demigods, and
human beings. On the other hand, unwholesome actions like immoral conduct,
miserliness and cruelty cause rebirth in the unhappy realm of animals, hungry
ghosts and the hells.

Of all the six realms, the realm of human beings is considered the most
desirable. In the realm of human beings, the conditions for attaining Nirvana
are better. In general, in the unhappy realms, the suffering of living beings
is so intense and their ignorance so great that they are unable to recognize the
Truth and follow the path to attain freedom. Alternatively, living beings in the
realms of the gods and demigods experience so much happiness and have so many
distractions that they do not think of rebirth until it is too late. Then they
may be reborn in one of the lower realms of suffering. In the realm of human
beings, however, people experience both happiness and suffering, and are
intelligent enough to recognize the Truth and follow the path to attain freedom
from the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, one is indeed fortunate to be
born as a human being, and should remember that the principal cause of birth in
the realm is Good Conduct.


The Cycle of Birth and Death
The Buddha pointed out that whenever one is reborn, whether as a human
being, as an animal, or as a god, non of these states of exticence is permanent.

The average life span of the living beings in the six realms of existence differ
but none of them lasts forever. Eventually, rebirth will take place. The realm
into which one is reborn and one’s conditions of rebirth are determined by ones’
past and present actions. This is the law of Karma at work.

Because of the force of their karma, people are born are reborn
endlessly, in one realm of existence or in another. The Buddha declared that
there is no permanent rest in the cycle of birth and death. It is only when one
follows the Noble Eightfold path taught by the Buddha and eventually attains
Nirvana, that one finally becomes free from the ceaseless cycle and gains
supreme and permanent happiness.


Karma
Karma is the law of moral causation. It is action and reaction in the
ethical realm. It is natural law that every action produces a certain effect.

So if one performs wholesome actions, one will experience happiness. on the
other hand, if one performs unwholesome actions, one will experience suffering.

The is the law of cause and effect at work. In this way, the effect of one’s
past karma determine that nature of one’s present situation in life.


Category: Religion

In order to be a true tragedy

Honore de Balzacs Pere Goriot although being a story filled with sadness and the downfall of people in power can never be defined as a tragedy.


There is no doubt that Honore de Balzacs Pere Goriot tells a sad tale, almost to the point of being tragic, but it is no tragedy. Too often are stories with sad endings end up being labeled as tragedies because of nescience. The rules that define a tragedy are extremely specific, and Pere Goriot does not fit enough of them.
First of all it is imperative to mention that this book is part of Balzacs Comedie Humaine, or the Human Comedy. The origional intent of this novel was to show the folly of humanity. It is little more than documentation of what people are like. Pere Goriot was never meant to be a tragedy.


It is true that there is no one definition of tragedy. The concept has been defined and redefined multiple times over the years by countless literary critics, but there are two descriptions that are held above others.
The first and foremost comes from Aristotle. In the fifth century Aristotle became the father of literary criticism by writing his poetics. In them, he wrote the first complete definition of tragedy. For centuries, Aristotles definition of tragedy had been accepted as unalterable fact. Only in the past hundred years have Aristotles ideas been challenged. Arthur Miller is most famous for his re-writing of the definition of tragedy in various essays and plays. It has long been argued which definition is correct, but for the purposes of this argument both will be analysed.
Any search for the meaning of a word should begin with the dictionary. The Oxford dictionary describes tragedy as merely, drama of elevated theme and diction and with unhappy ending; sad event, serious accident, calamity.” Going through each of these components one by one, we will find that Pere Goriot applies to too few of them to be considered a tradegy.


In Balzacs writing, there can always be found elevated theme and diction, but those two factors do not make a tragedy by themselves. They may be present in any genre.


It is also true that the ending is an unhappy one, but the entire novel is fairly unhappy. Besides, despite Goriots death a the closing of the book being a bit depressing for the reader, Goriot himself is the most delighted hes been throughout the entire novel. In believing that his daughters are with him at his deathbed he is happy, so even though it is not a joyous ending to the story, it is a joyous end for the protagonist.
Also, Eugene de Rastignacs show of strength in the last paragraph changes the feeling of the ending. His challenge to the city, Henceforth there is a war between us, is not one derived from pity or mourning. All emotion at the very end is shifted from sadness to a sense of animosity and revenge, so even though majority of the ending is despondant, the reader is left with an entirely different feeling when finished with the novel.


Yes, the book does contain sad events, but again, that alone does not make it a tragedy. Sad events are present in every story, or at least every story worth telling. However, the novel is devoid of both serious action and calamity, and is fairly calm all of the way through. So, Pere Goriot barely even has the qualities of this meager dictionary definition.
In his poetics, Aristotle explained that in a tragic play the protagonist, or tragic hero, must start off at an elevated status, and through some tragic flaw of his own, must come to a downfall before the end of the story, and most importantly the protagonists fall must arouse pity and fear, where with to accomplish its catharsis. The rising action, climax and denoument are very important in this form of story-telling because the stark contrast of the first half to the second half helps to create the feelings of pity and fear that Aristotle requires. Although the poetics are often thought of as the end-all be-all in defining tragedy, they were written after the last of the great fifth century plays, examples were taken from several plays, but the book was mainly based on Sophocles Oedipus Rex. So, when looking at a piece in another culture and time frame, only the core message can be used to analyse any modern piece.


The novel begins at the Maison Vaquer with Goriot at the lowest point in his life, he is physically, mentally, and socially broken. Although it is revealed later in the novel that he was, in the past, wealthy and contented, Aristotles definition dictates that the piece of literature must begin at a high point, not that a man who deals in pasta would ever qualify as nobility.
It is also lacking the symmetrical structure that Aristotle desires in plays. In using a retrospective technique Balzac throws off the rhythm and balance. With Pere Goriot starting at Maison Vaquer, the book is devoid of the rising action, and climax of Goriots life.
Some have argued that Pere Goriot is indeed tragic because the protagonist possessed the tragic flaw of love. This, however, cannot be true. First of all, the term tragic flaw requires that the thing be a flaw, and love is surely not a flaw. Furthermore, Goriot does not display any signs of pride, avarice, or any other sins that may have lead to his downfall. Without a tragic flaw, he cannot be a tragic hero.
Much of Arthur Millers contribution to tragedy can be found in his essay, Tragedy and the Common Man. He states that, As a general ruletragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing–his sense of personal dignity. From Orestes to Hamlet, Medea to Macbeth, the underlying struggles that of the individual attempting to gain his rightful position in his society. Miller also believed, in stark contrast to the dictionary, that tragedy does not have to be linked to pessimism per se, but to optimism. The story should not reinforce a hatred of humanity, or its foibles, but instead its final result ought to be the reinforcement of the onlooker’s brightest opinions of the human animal.
Miller believes that the tragedy comes from characters ready to lay down their lives. Goriot did give all that he could give to his daughters, but he did not give them his life, and he did not give them everything; he had kept enough for himself to live on. The loss of his luxuries and dignity may have been the cause of his death, but even if it were, he did not give away his wealth knowing that it would be the end of him. In fact, he gave away everything thinking that in the end his daughters would repay him for his generosity.
He goes on further to say that tragic heros sacrifice their lives in order to gain their rightful position in society. Pere Goriots motivation had nothing to do with helping himself. He was quite content with his lot in life before he started giving all of his money away to his daughters. There was no selfish reason for him to do it. He had acted only out of love for his daughters.
The novel does not evoke any feelings of love for humanity, nor does it reinforce any positive opinions of humanity. Miller states that tragedy implies more optimism and if so, Pere Goriot is no tragedy. There is no sense of hope in this book, if there ever was the characters have proven to be beyond all hope. Having been shunned from it too many times, Balzac could not have been optimistic on the subject of french high society.


So, there we have it. A piece of writing cannot be a tragedy unless it applies to the rules of tragedy. Out of the definitions given by the Oxford dictionary, Aristotle and Arthur Miller, Pere Goriot has applied to none, therefore it is not, and can never be a tragedy.

The Deadly Social Cloud (satire)

The Deadly Social Cloud
Our society is tormented everyday with a grave injustice. Americans must tolerate these hayness acts and must bear with them every single day of their lives. In regards to very strong complaints by common citizens all over the United States, laws have tried to stop certain acts that these heathens commit. I have thought out this problem in today’s society and have come up with a solution that can stop this crime throughout the United States.


This social crime is that of smokers in every city of every state in the United States. Not only is the act of smoking disgusting, but also kills the person that is smoking and kills the people around that smoker. Smoking in social areas can cause everyone ill health like asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, and ultimately will cause a premature death to people who are exposed to them on an everyday basis. My plan can benefit society and the well being of the smoker and the people that are usually exposed to it. I propose that the smokers be given laws and punishments that will eventually stop them from smoking and help the common citizen to live much healthier and longer lives. These punishments will consist of three parts, fine and jail, beaten and slapped, and finally demoralized and executed. These murderous tyrants must be stopped as soon as possible and my plan will do that.
Since cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, the act of smoking should be seen as the same as homicide. Although it takes longer to kill a person by smoking, it will eventually lead to death just the same. A study from the American Lung Association states that for every six people that die from cigarette related deaths around the world; one of them is an American. In the United States, cigarettes are the cause of one in every five deaths. According to a U.S. Surgeon General’s report, cigarettes contain four thousand chemicals and at least forty distinct cancer-causing chemicals. This should constitute cigarettes as a deadly weapon and the person who is smoking will be convicted for attempted murder if any person is around him or her.
My plan consists of three very efficient punishments to stop cigarette smoking. First time offence by a tyrannous smoker will be arrested and jailed for a minimum of thirty days and a maximum of one year depending of how many people were around that smoker during his or her criminal act, including the officer. This felon will then pay a hefty fine minimum of five thousand dollars and a maximum of twenty thousand dollars depending on jail time. Since nicotine stays in the human body for a minimum of three weeks, a mandatory drug test will be assigned to him or her every two weeks for the rest of their lives. If the test of the felon comes out to be positive, then the felon will be charged with a second offence.
This will help benefit all people, including the smoker in two ways. First, the jail time will be a quitting period and a reminder for the social villain. Second, the fine will help the state to build schools, homes, hospitals, and any other construction that is needed.
Since the criminal only received a very lenient punishment for the first time, if he or she smokes again or is found to be using again, then he or she will be charged with a second offence. This second punishment will be a public beating for five minutes on designated days of the week. Any citizens that choose to do so while being accompanied by a chosen group of police officers will do this beating. Of course the police officers will be chosen from the Los Angeles Police Department. These officers will be tested for stamina, strength and if they have ever been in an investigation for assault. Any officer that had a role in the Rodney King beating will automatically be accepted to teach the other officers how to beat the multiple felon unmercifully.


This second offence will not only make the two time felon think before they act again, but it will also create entertainment for the general public. This public beating will be an hour-long program with announcers to show highlights and play-by-play beatings around the United States. This program will run after the popular sitcom “Friends,” so that there are as many people watching as possible. This show will also warn any first time offenders and people thinking of smoking before they act.


Assuming that the multiple offender has survived the beating they will also have to wear an armband everyday for the rest of there lives that has the words “slap me! I’m a smoker!” This armband will give all citizens of any age around the United States the right to slap the two-time felon in the back of the head anytime that they see him or her. This is just a constant reminder to the social beast.
Now this attempted murderer has a constant reminder, and must also keep taking the drug tests. If he or she is found yet again to smoke then they will be convicted of a third offence. This third offence is punished by death. Before they are put to death they will be sentenced to thirty days in a high security prison, where fellow inmates will repeatedly rape them. Only inmates of lesser social crimes like murder, rape, and violent crimes will be able to do the molestation of the immoral convict.


Only after the thirty-day prison sentence will they be put to death immediately. This villain of the human society will die the way that they chose their victims to die. They will be taken to a sealed room where pictures of clear skies and a television playing video of people taking deep, enjoyable breaths of fresh air. This room will be pumped slowly full of tobacco smoke until the criminal suffocates and dies of this nocuous cloud that they tried to kill others with.


Some people may say to go after the tobacco industry where the cause is. Others may say to stop tobacco growth all together. These are very good ideas, but the tobacco companies have already been attacked and they still keep producing cancer sticks. The owners of these companies will fall under the laws that I have proposed which will put them under criminal charges. In addition to criminal charges, the companies will soon be bankrupt from the new laws. Stopping growth of tobacco plants is not an option unfortunately, due to the fact that other counties such as Cuba and Mexico are the lead producers of tobacco. The United States cannot control production of other countries.
Some others may say that the human rights of the smoker will be violated if my proposal is put into effect. What about the human rights of the victims around them? Are they not aloud to have healthy long lives? I say that the right to survive for the majority of the population is much more important than the rights of a so-called human being that tries to commit suicide and kill everyone else with them. Not only are adults affected, but children are also affected by cigarette smoke. Does the future for our children out way the rights for a smoker? I say it does undoubtedly.


My three-step solution to first fine and jail, second to beat and slap, and thirdly to demoralize and execute will stop all use and production of tobacco if enabled and enforced. I am a nonsmoker who has lost an aunt to this white shroud of death. Due to the effects of second hand smoke over the years my aunt acquired lung cancer at the age of twenty-four, she later died at the age of twenty-eight. Because of this fact I must strongly insist on starting my proposal as soon as possible to save the American population and the future for our children and our grandchildren. My proposal will greatly enhance the living environment for all people, in every city around the United States and ensure the quality of living for the future.

In this cold generation

In this cold generation, called “Generation X,” where young men and women find themselves lost wondering what to do with their life, finding a passion for something, a passion that rules your life, is very important. I found out in my interview with Phil Gervais that unlike many of his generation he has a direction.He looks like any other 18 year old, but he is different because in some way he has what many of us lack: he knows what he wants. He wants to become a firefighter. Phil has found a passion that rules his life.

Phil is pursuing a major in Social Rehabilitation but as soon as he finishes college, he will apply for a job with the Fire Department in his hometown of Ware Massachusetts. How did Phil develop this passion? Phil’s desire to become a firefighter is an inherited trait because for generations many members of his family served as firefighters.This family legacy remarkably influenced Phil’s choices in life. His grandfather Ernie, an emigrant from Canada, became the first one to enroll as a volunteer firefighter. Then his father, his uncle and finally his aunt all became firefighters. Phil used to go with his father when he answered his fire calls. While accompanying his father in 1992, a time when Phil was only 8 years old, he saw a victim of a fire for the first time.His first encounter with a dead person did not discourage him from the idea of becoming a firefighter. How did it happen? One afternoon he went with his father to the scene of a fire and there he suddenly saw in the middle of the floor a dead body of one of the victims of the fire. Partially covered with a blanket, Phil could only see a few burned spots on the hands. Nevertheless, he was not scared. While accompanying his father on many fire calls, Phil heard many terrible noises and he felt the heat of the fire. He saw tragic sights such as the dead body on many occasions. These scenes became commonplace during his childhood.Now eighteen years old, Phil works as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown. Only last week he was able to put his training to practice in a real fire call. Lamentably, due to the bitter cold his first experience in a real fire was not easy. The actual fire took place in a farmhouse in the town of Ware. The fire lasted four hours. A potential danger existed because the electrical wires came down and a propane gas tank could have exploded anytime. Phil, used to the danger, feared nothing but that did not make the job easier.Battling fire in sub-zero temperatures brought new problems. As Phil observed, “everything went wrong and the water freezes . . . the floor became a sheet of slippery ice, wet and tired I was glad the fire was over.”
Phil knows that this career could be life threatening or lead you into a depression but he told me that psychological services are available in case any firefighter needed them. Phil will have to present a test in order to become a formal firefighter. The exam includes a test of his abilities, his knowledge of CPR and his capabilities at first response. Phil does not worry about the test. He says that the test helps minorities or family members of present firefighters become members. Because of his family’s involvement in fire fighting Phil believes that he has a sure spot on the Ware Fire Department.

In the same way that his family’s career choices influenced Phil’s life, we should ask ourselves what type of influences did we receive from our own close relatives? Did their career choices have an impact on our own decisions? We must also ask if we serve as an example to others in our choice of careers. If someone has a passion in life, like Phil Gervais, they can serve as a positive role model for the rest of us. Perhaps Phil Gervais’ passion for fire fighting proves that so called “Generation X” is not as lost as people say.
Bibliography:

Love medicine

Love Medicine
Love Medicine is a novel about relationships. It is about families and lovers. It is about love as the tie that binds. The characters in the novel live throughout their lives experiencing different things with different people, but it all comes back to love as the force that brings them together.


The story is set around a North Dakota Indian reservation over a span of fifty years. It is the story of two families who lives intertwine because of different bonds of both love and hate. You are introduced to the main character of the novel, Marie Lazzare Kashpaw, while she is still in her youth. As a young Indian, she goes to live at the Sacred Heart convent. She is taken under the wing of the twisted Sister Leopolda who beats and abuses Satan out of her soul. Yet, Marie puts up with her abusive treatment. Sister Leopolda explains her harshness to Marie as a difference between herself and the Devil. “He wants you. That’s the difference. I give you love.” Marie both does come to hate and love her. This nun made her as strong as she was. She gave her pride in herself; pride to prove to Leopolda that the Devil was not within her and that she could succeed even as the wife of an Indian.


There are relationships in the novel that contained true love. Many of these relationships were not marriages, but they outlasted everything. Nector Kashpaw is possibly the most significant character in that sense in the novel. His love life ties the lives of the two main characters of the novel, Marie Kashpaw and Lulu Lamartine. In Nector’s youth he had promised to marry Lulu, but then found himself in the arms of Marie. He marries her instead and has children and a life with her. Lulu goes from man to man having children all with different paternal lineage. Yet it is Lulu that Nector really loves, and as much as she hates to admit it, it is Nector that still holds her heart. They have an affair together that continues for years until Nector is forced to choose between them. He loves Lulu, but is rejected by her and returns to Marie. Although he is still with Marie, his heart still belongs to Lulu.


In the course of Nector’s death and a joint business venture with Lyman Lamartine, the two women become close. They form a bond with each other through their mutual connection to Nector that is very surprising for they had been rivals throughout his lifetime. They are able to overcome their hatred for each other because of their love for Nectar. They are able to mourn together, reminisce together, even laugh together. It is love that causes their tie and a combining of the two families.


The friendship and marriage of Gordie Kashpaw and June Kashpaw, who were playmates and cousins, is another relationship that depicts the strength of true love. In their youth the two were inseparable. They told each other everything. When they grew older they ran off to get married. They had a child together, but June was wild. She would go off for months to do as she pleased with whomever she pleased. Their marriage, when together, was not all smooth sailing either. Gordie was abusive. After her death, Gordie thought to himself, “They we knew each other better than most people who were married a lifetime. They we knew the good things, but they we knew how to hurt each other, too.” He claims to have missed her while she was gone, but was also relieved in her absence. Now that she was dead, he could not believe that she was never coming back. He is overcome by grief and love as he goes over their years together in his mind. His love for her is so strong that it drives him to drink to shut the memories out. He thinks that her ghost comes back to him and he thinks that he kills her. June’s death causes him to become delusional with grief and loss. It is in her death that he realizes his true love for her.


There is a strong belief in the fate of the dead. There are few characters in the novel who come back to visit the living, but those who do are the ones who were truly loved by those they visit. Nector returns to visit Marie to show her that he really did love her once and that the love medicine did work. Lulu feels Nector’s presence in the night. Gordie sees June and goes wild thinking that she has finally now come back to him. It is those who are truly loved who are missed the most. When taken from a side interpretation, the spirits who return truly loved who they returned to. They come back to say, “I loved you.”
The novel is freckled with many other relationships involving the characters of the novel. Erdrich uses these meaningless relationships to contrast them with the great relationships of true love. The novel describes June’s one night stands while describing the eternal love of those who were left behind in her death have for her. While Lulu goes through multiple husbands and several partners in between her heart is loyal to Nector. This contrasting works well. The language that Erdrich chooses to describe the other relationships is cold. When describing love the tone is warm. It is this way that the she points out the difference between these two different types of relationships.


It is through the character of Lipsha Morrissey that the reader learns the true meaning of the title, Love Medicine. Lipsha is slow intellectually and therefor acts primarily from his heart. It is he who really has the insight into what is meaningful in life. He calls himself a healer and claims to be able to remove the pains of others. This is what makes him special. He sees the heartache of his grandmother, Marie Kashpaw, at the fact that her husband Nector is in love with another woman. He knows of the ancient magical powers of “love medicine” and attempts to rekindle the flame of passion between his two grandparents. He fails in acquiring the necessary ingredients for his potion and substitutes common grocery store items for the ancient recipe. Lipsha comes upon an idea that can be seen as the nature of the novel. He says, “I finally convinced myself that the actual power to the love medicine was not the goose heart itself but the faith in the cure.” This could not possibly be truer. All of the feelings of love in the novel pull those involved together. In the end it is the pure and true love that overcomes all other obstacles and brings the people back to each other.

Robert E Lee

Robert E Lee
Robert Edward Lee was born on January 19th, 1807 in Stratford, Virginia. Robert’s father was thrown in debtors jail many times for not paying on time. He was introduced to war early in his life; his brother Sydney had shown him a cannon ball and told him about the revolution. Mrs. Lee’s stepson was old enough to claim the mansion where they lived that his dead mother had gave to him in his will. The Lee’s left to live in Alexandria. Lee was brought up in a Christian family.


When Lee was 18, he went to West Point. There were only 6,000 other men in the entire army. Later that year, Lee said goodbye to his mother and took a stagecoach from Virginia to New York. At the end of his first year at West Point, he was appointed Staff Sergeant. When he was twenty-two, he took his money that he earned; $103.58 in cash and he started a home.


On July 26, 1829, Lee’s mother died. Robert was at her bed when she died. Then on June 30, 1831 Lee married Mary Curtis. On September 16, 1832, Mary gave birth to George Washington Curtis Lee. Then in 1835 they had their second child, Mary Curtis. Mrs. Lee was put on bed-rest for many months due to illness. They had five more children: William Henry Fitzgerald, Annie, Agnes, Robert and last Mildred. When he was home, they all attended episcopal Church where he was raised.


On May 13, 1846 the United States declared was on their southern neighbor. When Lee was 39, he headed for Mexico. Lee’s will said that he was worth about $38,750 with few depts. He only had few slaves: Nancy and her children. And they were to be freed “soon as it can be done to their advantage and that of others. On Christmas, Lee wrote to his wife that he hoped this woul.d be the last time he would be away from her. While they were at war, even though is was hard, he attended church. He returned on June 29, 1843. On September 1, 1852 he was appointed to superintenent of the military acadamy where he had graduated. In 1853, a distressing message reached Lee: Mrs. Curtis had died unexpectedly. The death made him do something he had never thought of doing. He wanted to be confined to the church.


It was gunners at Charlestown Harbor who forced Robert E. Lee to make the tough decisions in his life. On April 12, the United States, as the union fired upon by Confederate gunners. The civil war began with the first cannon roar at Fort Sumpter.


The north had more of an advantage because they have all of the military supplies and factories. The south was a land of farmers without military supplies and hardly any money to buy them. Then one day when Lee was in hid hotel, he had a visitor. He read a report of the supplies coming into Richmond. 60,00 small arms, and 54,00 flintlocks. I July 21, 1861 they received a telegram that the south had won the first major battle of the Civil War. One evening Lee looked up to see a soldier salute. “Major Rooney Lee was fired upon by Union pickets, Sir, near Cheat Mountain. His companion, Colonel Washington, died instantly. Union pickets put three Minie ball through his body.” Then Lee’s face lost it’s color. “Your son’s mount was shot from under him. Major Lee escaped on Washington’s horse, sir.” Lee sighed in relief. Washington’s death hit Lee. He was a good friend of the family. Lee had been involved in the war for the whole time that it was going on. He had many battles, and he was fighting very bravely and strong until the war ended. He lived a happy life after the war was over.

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson
Gillian Anderson has exceeded the point of recognition, and has become a role model for young and old alike.Her popularity has evolved over the years due in part for her notorious role as Special Agent Dana Scully, on the once cult hit television series The X-Files.With the show now entering its 7th season, presumed to be its last, the concern of the once apprehensive Gillian losing the role of Scully is no longer an aspect.The reputation of the character has brought the actress apperception, which has lead to her being featured on magazine covers, in books, on CDs, at conventions, in movies, and shes one of the most popular candidates for a website to be created about.Nonetheless, Gillian Anderson has gone from virtually unknown to known all over the world, and that itself is reason enough for her to be written, and read, for that matter, about.
Gillian Leigh Anderson began her life in Cook County, Chicago on August 9, 1968.By the time she was only a mere 6 months old, her and her family were residing in Puerto Rico. At the age of 1, she relocated once again, this time in London, England.At this point, it is safe to say that the Anderson family was somewhat nomadic.Now being an inhabitant of England, the family moved several more times.At the age of 5, Gillian was living in Crouch End in north London, where she attended her first school.By this time Gillian had spent most of her life in London but had picked up her parents American accent.Her classmates teased and taunted her, and she was bullied in the schoolyard.She immediately learned how to fight back, and she practiced her north London accent until it became impeccable enough to call her own.By the time Gillian was 11, with a settled home life, lots of friends, and the memories of once being an outsider well behind her, her parents decided to move back to the United States.Gillian and her family relocated for the last time, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Now back in the states, Gillians accent once again alienated her from the other children, but this time it was for obtaining a British, not American, accent.She had left the exciting London behind and by contrast Grand Rapids hardly measured up.Grand Rapids is a sleepy prairie town, and the kids were totally out of it as far as she was concerned.Gillian hid her unhappiness and never complained, but her frustration was evident in other ways.She was always in the principals office for stealing papers, throwing paper airplanes, and once she even put pigs eyes in the desk drawer of a teacher.When Gillian turned a teenager, she entered the punk rocker scene.Getting body piercing, tattoos, vintage clothing, and mohawks.Gillian and her punk friends would walk down the street giving the finger to whom ever stared.All of which lead up to her getting arrested on graduation night for breaking and entering into the high school.So it is safe to say that Gilliansfriends, social position, and the society in which she lived all were influential to her life.Gillian does not regret entering the punk scene, because she perceives it as something that she had to go through to get where she is now in her life.Physically and mentally.

After graduating in 1986,Gillian studied acting at the prestigious DePaul Universitys Goodman Theater and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts, which inevitably lead to her wanting to pursue a career in the field.Not only has her education influenced he…..r, but her family has as well.Gillian has two younger siblings, a sister named Zoe and a brother named Aaron.Her brother was 3 when he was diagnosed with the disease Neurofibromatosis.On May 3, 1996, with her new found celebrity, she worked to raise public awareness and funding for research by flying to Washington D.C. to address congress about the disease.

Gillians most memorable speech is the one that she addressed to congress about Neurofibromatosis.The speech was giving to try to make “an effort to raise awareness of a disease that is in dire need of acknowledgment, community education, and extensive research if we are going to find a cure.”It shows how she is a very admirable person who is willing to do almost anything in order to help a loved one, and others that might have the disease as well.To try to put and end to the disease and find a cure.What is even more commendable is that she went to herself, and didnt just send a representative instead.
Gillian Anderson has definitely had her share of achievements and failures, but she has a single greatest for each.Her greatest achievement is when she gave parturition to her daughter named Piper Maru.Gillian has always felt unhappy, in a sense that something was missing in her life.When she had Piper, the emptiness inside of her was filled, and she was truly content for the first time in her life.Piper has kept her in check, and she is blessed to have such a wonderful little girl.Piper is constantly teaching Gillian new things, which seems unlikely to becoming from a 4 year old, but she claims it is true.A daughter is what Gillian needed, a companion to love and go through the journey of life with.Therefore, Gillian is atthat point in her life when she can say that she has a purpose.To be there for her daughter, to guide her through life.
Her greatest failure would have to be losing her virginity at the age of 13.She lost it to a punk guy.She says it was “awkward, stupid, unadulterated crap.Ill think youll find that most peoples first times are less then mind-blowing.”Gillian battled with sex, alcohol, relationships, and family during her teenage years.What she thought was that if someone liked her then she was obligated to sleep with him.What Gillian didnt realize was that she had a choice.”It was another way to get attention.”She also said that “I didnt enjoy itI dont think I enjoyed it back then at all.For a long time I felt like it was something I had to do, and it wasnt really a place where I could be free and experiment and enjoy.”Then when she was 22, she suddenly realized that she liked it for the first time in her life.

What is ironic is how both her greatest failure and achievement are related.In order to give birth it is necessary to engage in sexual intercourse.Something that brought her much shame, also brought her happiness for the first time.What she realized later on is that if you love someone enough sex doesnt have to be because you feel you have to, but instead something as beautiful as your love can be created.Gillian didnt like sleeping with guys, and sleeping with one gave her what she had been looking for her whole life, someone to love and return the gesture.She loves her daughter more then anything in this world, she didnt love the guy she slept with.Nevertheless, even though Gillian Anderson may be a celebrity role model, but she is still human.Human enough to make mistakes like everyone else in this world.

Descartes epistemology

Descartes epistemology is known as foundationalism. In his Meditations, Descartes tries to discover certain, indubitable foundations for knowledge. He is searching for absolute certainty, and does this by subjecting everything to doubt. Through this he reaches the one thing he believes to be certain, his existence.

In Meditation One, Descartes describes his method of doubt. He subjects all of his beliefs to the strongest of doubts. He invokes the notion of an all-powerful, evil demon who could be deceiving him in the realm of sensory perception, in his very understanding of matter and even in the simplest cases of mathematics such as in the equation 2+3=5. The doubts may be obscure, but this is the strength of the method; the weakness of criteria for what makes a doubt reasonable means that almost anything can count as a doubt. Therefore whatever withstands doubt must be something that he considers absolutely certain.
In Meditation Two, Descartes finds the one indubitable principle that he has been seeking. He exists, at least when he thinks he exists. This view holds that Descartes asserts that he is thinking, he believes that ‘whatever thinks must exist’ and therefore that he logically concludes that he exists. Furthermore Descartes is convinced that he exists since there is a God deceiving him about his existence which could only be done if he did exist. “But there is a deceiver of supreme power and cunning who is deliberately and constantly deceiving me. In that case I too undoubtedly exist, if he is deceiving me; and let him deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I think that I am something. So after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind.” (p. 80). This leaves him with a problem. He can know his own existence, that he is a thinking thing and the contents of his consciousness, but how can any of this ever lead to any knowledge of anything outside of himself? The answer is that, by itself, it can’t.
Descartes establishes that the human mind is better known than the human body. He states that no belief based on sense-perception is free from doubt. Thus he cant be certain about the existence of his hands, head or body in general since they are all perceived through his senses. Descartes tries to show that we know bodies through reason and not through senses.
To accomplish this he considers a physical piece of wax even though the evil demon might be deceiving him. At this point the piece of wax has a honey flavor, and it has the sent of flowers. It has a color, and a distinct shape and size. It is hard and cold and if you rap on it will emit a sound. He then put the piece of wax next to a fire which melts the wax and in turn, changes its contingent qualities. The wax no longer tastes of honey or smells of flowers. The original shape disappears and its size increases. It becomes a hot liquid you can hardly touch. And if you rap on it no sound is emitted. It looks, tastes, smells, feels, and sounds completely different from the original piece of wax.
Each of the sensory qualities have changed or been transformed, yet the same piece of wax remains. After you remove everything that does not belong to the wax, it is precisely something extended, flexible, and mutable. If you ignore the senses, the wax is still wax; but if you focus on the accidental qualities, the two pieces of wax have nothing in common. This means that you cannot look to the senses for truth about physical objects. The wax is capable of innumerable changes even though the imagination is not capable of relating them, therefore this insight is not achieved by the faculty of imagination.
Descartes concedes that he does not grasp what this wax is through the imagination, but rather perceives it through the mind alone. His imagination gives him finite pictures whereas the wax has infinite shapes. When he distinguishes the wax from its external forms there might be an error in his judgment, but it is definite that he cannot perceive it without a human mind. If he judges that the wax exists from the fact that he sees it, then from the same fact that he sees the wax, it is much more evident that he himself exists. It is possible that what he sees is not wax at all, but it is impossible that while he sees or thinks he sees, he who thinks is not something. If he thinks or senses or imagines, then he and the nature of his mind necessarily exist.

At the end of the Meditation Two, Descartes comes to the conclusion that nothing can be perceived more easily and more evidently than his own mind. He has discovered that even bodies are not accurately perceived by the senses or the faculty of imagination, and are only accurately being perceived by the intellect. He also realizes that they are not distinguished through being touched, smelled, or tasted, but by being understood alone. It is the ability of reason that gives the knowledge and lets the mind know the truths and essences of objects.

The Traversal of the Infinite

Sam Vaknin’s Psychology, Philosophy, Economics and Foreign Affairs Web Sites
Finiteness has to do with the existence of boundaries. Intuitively, we feel that where there is a separation, a border, a threshold there is bound to be at least one thing finite out of a minimum of two. This, of course, is not true. Two infinite things can share a boundary. Infinity does not imply symmetry, let alone isotropy. An entity can be infinite to its left and bounded on its right. Moreover, finiteness can exist where no boundaries can. Take a sphere: it is finite, yet we can continue to draw a line on its surface infinitely. The boundary, in this case, is conceptual and arbitrary: if a line drawn on the surface of a sphere were to reach its starting point then it is finite. Its starting point is the boundary, arbitrarily determined to be so by us.
This arbitrariness is bound to appear whenever the finiteness of something is determined by us, rather than objectively, by nature. A finite series of numbers is a fine example. WE limit the series, we make it finite by imposing boundaries on it and by instituting rules of membership: A series of all the real numbers up to and including 1000 . Such a series has no continuation (after the number 1000). But, then, the very concept of continuation is arbitrary. Any point can qualify as an end (or as a beginning). Are the statements: There is an end, There is no continuation and There is a beginning equivalent? Is there a beginning where there is an end ? And is there no continuation wherever there is an end? It all depends on the laws that we set. Change the law and an end-point becomes a starting point. Change it once more and a continuation is available. Legal age limits display such flexible properties.
Finiteness is also implied in a series of relationships in the physical world : containment, reduction, stoppage. But, these, of course, are, again, wrong intuitions. They are at least as wrong as the intuitive connection between boundaries and finiteness.
If something is halted (spatially or temporally) it is not necessarily finite. An obstacle is the physical equivalent of a conceptual boundary. An infinite expansion can be checked and yet remain infinite (by expanding in other directions, for instance). If it is reduced it is smaller than before, but not necessarily finite. If it is contained it must be smaller than the container but, again, not necessarily finite.
It would seem, therefore, that the very notion of finiteness has to do with wrong intuitions regarding relationships between entities, real, or conceptual. Geometrical finiteness and numerical finiteness relate to our mundane, very real, experiences. This is why we find it difficult to digest mathematical entities such as a singularity (both finite and infinite, in some respects). We prefer the fiction of finiteness (temporal, spatial, logical) over the reality of the infinite.
Millennia of logical paradoxes conditioned us to adopt Kants view that the infinite is beyond logic and only leads to the creation of unsolvable antinomies. Antinomies made it necessary to reject the principle of the excluded middle (yes or no and nothing in between). One of his antinomies proved that the world was not infinite, nor was it finite. The antinomies were disputed (Kants answers were not the ONLY ways to tackle them). But one contribution stuck : the world is not a perfect whole. Both the sentences that the whole world is finite and that it is infinite are false, simply because there is no such thing as a completed, whole world. This is commensurate with the law that for every proposition, itself or its negation must be true. The negation of: The world as a perfect whole is finite is not The world as a perfect whole is infinite. Rather, it is: Either there is no perfectly whole world, or, if there is, it is not finite. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant discovered four pairs of propositions, each comprised of a thesis and an antithesis, both compellingly plausible. The thesis of the first antinomy is that the world had a temporal beginning and is spatially bounded. The second thesis is that every substance is made up of simpler substances. The two mathematical antinomies relate to the infinite. The answer to the first is: Since the world does not exist in itself (detached from the infinite regression), it exists unto itself neither as a finite whole nor as an infinite whole. Indeed, if we think about the world as an object, it is only logical to study its size and origins. But in doing so, we attribute to it features derived from our thinking, not affixed by any objective reality.
Kant made no serious attempt to distinguish the infinite from the infinite regression series, which led to the antinomies. Paradoxes are the offspring of problems with language. Philosophers used infinite regression to attack both the notions of finiteness (Zeno) and of infinity. Ryle, for instance, suggested the following paradox: voluntary acts are caused by wilful acts. If the latter were voluntary, then other, preceding, wilful acts will have to be postulated to cause them and so on ad infinitum and ad nauseam. Either the definition is wrong (voluntary acts are not caused by wilful acts) or wilful acts are involuntary. Both conclusions are, naturally, unacceptable. Infinity leads to unacceptable conclusions is the not so hidden message.
Zeno used infinite series to attack the notion of finiteness and to demonstrate that finite things are made of infinite quantities of ever-smaller things. Anaxagoras said that there is no smallest quantity of anything. The Atomists, on the other hand, disputed this and also introduced the infinite universe (with an infinite number of worlds) into the picture. Aristotle denied infinity out of existence. The infinite doesn’t actually exist, he said. Rather, it is potential. Both he and the Pythagoreans treated the infinite as imperfect, unfinished. To say that there is an infinite number of numbers is simply to say that it is always possible to conjure up additional numbers (beyond those that we have). But despite all this confusion, the transition from the Aristotelian (finite) to the Newtonian (infinite) worldview was smooth and presented no mathematical problem. The real numbers are, naturally, correlated to the points in an infinite line. By extension, trios of real numbers are easily correlated to points in an infinite three-dimensional space. The infinitely small posed more problems than the infinitely big. The Differential Calculus required the postulation of the infinitesimal, smaller than a finite quantity, yet bigger than zero. Couchy and Weierstrass tackled this problem efficiently and their work paved the way for Cantor.
Cantor is the father of the modern concept of the infinite. Through logical paradoxes, he was able to develop the magnificent edifice of Set Theory. It was all based on finite sets and on the realization that infinite sets were NOT bigger finite sets, that the two types of sets were substantially different.
Two finite sets are judged to have the same number of members only if there is an isomorphic relationship between them (in other words, only if there is a rule of mapping, which links every member in one set with members in the other). Cantor applied this principle to infinite sets and introduced infinite cardinal numbers in order to count and number their members. It is a direct consequence of the application of this principle, that an infinite set does not grow by adding to it a finite number of members and does not diminish by subtracting from it a finite number of members. An infinite cardinal is not influenced by any mathematical interaction with a finite cardinal.
The set of infinite cardinal numbers is, in itself, infinite. The set of all finite cardinals has a cardinal number, which is the smallest infinite cardinal (followed by bigger cardinals). Cantors continuum hypothesis is that the smallest infinite cardinal is the number of real numbers. But it remained a hypothesis. It is impossible to prove it or to disprove it, using current axioms of set theory. Cantor also introduced infinite ordinal numbers.
Set theory was immediately recognized as an important contribution and applied to problems in geometry, logic, mathematics, computation and physics. One of the first questions to have been tackled by it was the continuum problem. What is the number of points in a continuous line? Cantor suggested that it is the second smallest infinite cardinal number. Godel and Cohn proved that the problem is insoluble and that Cantors hypothesis and the propositions relate to it are neither true nor false.
Cantor also proved that sets cannot be members of themselves and that there are sets which have more members that the denumerably infinite set of all the real numbers. In other words, that infinite sets are organized in a hierarchy. Russel and Whitehead concluded that mathematics was a branch of the logic of sets and that it is analytical. In other words: the language with which we analyse the world and describe it is closely related to the infinite. Indeed, if we were not blinded by the evolutionary amenities of our senses, we would have noticed that our world is infinite. Our language is composed of infinite elements. Our mathematical and geometrical conventions and units are infinite. The finite is an arbitrary imposition.
During the Medieval Ages an argument called The Traversal of the Infinite was used to show that the world’s past must be finite. An infinite series cannot be completed (=the infinite cannot be traversed). If the world were infinite in the past, then eternity would have elapsed up to the present. Thus an infinite sequence would have been completed. Since this is impossible, the world must have a finite past. Aquinas and Ockham contradicted this argument by reminding the debaters that a traversal requires the existence of two points (termini) a beginning and an end. Yet, every moment in the past, considered a beginning, is bound to have existed a finite time ago and, therefore, only a finite time has been hitherto traversed. In other words, they demonstrated that our very language incorporates finiteness and that it is impossible to discuss the infinite using spatial-temporal terms specifically constructed to lead to finiteness.
The Traversal of the Infinite demonstrates the most serious problem of dealing with the infinite: that our language, our daily experience (=traversal) all, to our minds, are finite. We are told that we had a beginning (which depends on the definition of we. The atoms comprising us are much older, of course). We are assured that we will have an end (an assurance not substantiated by any evidence). We have starting and ending points (arbitrarily determined by us). We count, then we stop (our decision, imposed on an infinite world). We put one thing inside another (and the container is contained by the atmosphere, which is contained by Earth which is contained by the Galaxy and so on, ad infinitum). In all these cases, we arbitrarily define both the parameters of the system and the rules of inclusion or exclusion. Yet, we fail to see that WE are the source of the finiteness around us. The evolutionary pressures to survive produced in us this blessed blindness. No decision can be based on an infinite amount of data. No commerce can take place where numbers are always infinite. We had to limit our view and our world drastically, only so that we will be able to expand it later, gradually and with limited, finite, risk.

Theme for English B

In the poem “Theme for English B”, by Langston Hughes, Hughes talks about the African American struggle for equality. This is a common subject for Hughes. In many of his poems he speaks about blacks and the injustices that they face. Another common subject for Hughes is the town, Harlem, which is also mentioned in “Theme for English B.”The poem starts off with an instructor giving his students a paper to write, the instructor says to the student, “let that page come out of you-Then, it will be true.” The poem is continued as the paper that Hughes is writing. In the paper, he explains everything in his heart, just as his instructor had told him to. His paper illustrates exactly how an African-American man feels, acts and what he does in everyday life. The point that Hughes tries to get across to his teacher is clear, that he, the black man, likes and does the same things as the white man. The difference being how the world views the two races. Hughes wonders if his paper will be graded differently because he is black. In the poem he says, “I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races So will my page be colored that I write?”Hughes was not asking for sympathy, or for an apology, just understanding. He knows that even that will be hard, considering that he and his professor come from two completely different worlds. He explains that a black man will always have an impact on a white man’s life, and vice versa; but Hughes knows that the white man wants no part of the black man’s life. Hughes’ only meager wish is to be accepted-not as a black man, but as an American.