Thursday, November 10, 2011

Utopia Maybe?

For this week's essay, the prompt is thus: "If you were to create your own city in some uninhabited part of the globe where people could come in search of opportunity, what would be the key institutions (rules of the game) that you would put into place so that economic prosperity would prevail?" Here are some of my ideas.

Rule 1 – Law based off moral code. If you were to go back in history and collect the moral code of all civilizations that have ever existed, you would find remarkable similarities. This proves that morality is inborn, and that basing the law off that moral code is not only logical and reasonable, but entirely natural. Therefore, I would base my law off of that moral code and enforce it with impartial force.

Rule 2 – Creative Commons license, facilitating the free spread of information. Technological suppression is rarely a good thing, and the idea of intellectual property is becoming increasingly conflicted in this high-speed world where information can be spread quick, cheap, and with minimum cost. However, creators have to eat just like everyone else. I would introduce the Creative Commons license, and require all products to be licensed under it. This is a copyrighting process that allows creators to choose whether they want to allow commercial uses and modifications of their work, while crediting the original work back to the original creator. It allows for information to be spread and directs attention back to the creator.

Rule 3 – No artificial price ceilings or price floors. As we learned in class, these things just serve to limit trade. The market will adjust to serve the maximum number of buyers and sellers. The key objection to this would be things like medicine that are necessary for life. I would create non-profit public organizations that, like the LDS church in regards to education, hosted fundraisers and charity events to raise money to subsidize expensive costs. Soup kitchens would also be promoted under similar organizations, thus ensuring that people who were in dire straits would still be able to eat.

Rule 4 – No debt. Debt is a tool that people think they can use, but only ends up hurting them in the end. The people of my city would simply not buy things if they don’t have the money to do so. As mentioned in Rule 3, non-profit organizations would take care of the basic necessities of life, but people would be required to create and maintain a balanced budget. This rule would extend into the government, thus preventing it from falling into the situation the USA is in with its debt.

Rule 5 – Everyone works. This is an isolated city – if you don’t want to follow the rules, you don’t have to come. That said, if you’re here, you’re going to work. It doesn’t matter what you do or why you do it, but everyone must have a job. No freeloaders in my society.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


There's no regular essay for American Foundations, so instead I shall post this reflective essay about my psychotic dreams I wrote for my Psychology class.

Why We Dream

Dreams have always intrigued me, in part because my dreams are so blatantly strange I cannot help but wonder why I dream the things I do. I have always been driven to ask why people dream, and what those dreams mean, if anything. From my observations, I have come to the conclusion that activation synthesis is the most logical reason for why we dream.

To this purpose, I will explain one of my recent dreams. I was in my old bedroom and tiny cane toads – these creatures from Australia, poisonous and nigh impossible to kill – were coming up the stairs and I was trying to keep them from coming in. Then I was in the bathroom and my mom and I were trying to kill these tiny multi-headed blue dinosaurs with dish soap. It wasn’t working, since they just got in the bath and washed it all off, so I tried to escape but I was falling into the midst of the dinosaurs and unable to get out when I woke up. This is very typical of my ordinary dreams. Immediately, Freud’s wish-fulfillment theory doesn’t seem to fit. I know I don’t want tiny blue dinosaurs ganging up with the cane toads to infest my home, and that sentiment isn’t particularly strange or unacceptable. Most people, I have found, don’t want that to happen. Therefore, even if the wish-fulfillment idea works for some people, it clearly does not apply to me.

Information processing makes slightly more sense in my case. The image of blue dinosaurs was taken from an online game I play, and the cane toads from a video, but they’re not events that happened that day, and dreaming of that certainly didn’t make the day any clearer in my mind. It’s clearer, but still not convincing. In much the same way, the idea that dreams reflect our intellectual development doesn’t really seem to apply. I know I learn things throughout the day, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn anything about how to stuff towels underneath the door so the cane toads don’t get in, or what the best method for killing sparkly dinosaurs is.

The most comforting explanation is of the physiological function of dreams, that our neurons and synapses are randomly firing, improving neural pathways and enhancing our brain’s development. As a result, my dreams would have no deeper meaning, merely the result of random pathways being established in my mind. That does not explain, however, why I can trance influences from my dreams back to things I have seen and heard in real life, and is therefore still an unsatisfactory explanation. 

This leaves us with the only explanation that satisfies me, that during REM sleep our sleeping brain weaves random visual memories into stories. With my vivid imagination and love of fantasy, my brain has plenty of visual imagery to feed off of, even if it does combine these images in very peculiar arrangements. It cannot be directly attributed to the secret will of my mind, thus ruling out the disturbing implication that my dreams mean I’m slowly losing my sanity, and settles my dreams into the comfortable niche between reality and conscious fantasies that they were meant to inhabit. Perhaps this solution is only a comfort to me, perhaps I am the anomaly that throws the case study way off-base, but it is the conclusion I have come to that satisfies me and helps to abate the heavy taste of dread I wake with, knowing that something has happened that I don’t want to remember.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

First Posts Are Always Awkward

This post has been moved to the new site. Read it there!


I'm making this blog for a purpose, because my American Foundations teacher says I need to make a blog to post essays on, which is a weird way to post essays but I'm not complaining because printing costs a whole $0.04 a page, which doesn't seem like a lot until you realize how many pages I have to print regularly. Ok, it's not a lot. But I don't like spending money. So I'm a fan of this idea. Also, I've been wanting to have a normal blog, because I have a professional blog and I'm always nervous of posting on it and this is more relaxing because it doesn't have to be perfect.

That's about all I have to say for now.

Check me out! ^_^ (Shiny icons coming soon.)