What is Time?

“…we understand it when we speak of it; we understand it also when we hear another speak of it.” (On Time, from Augustine’s Confessions). 

We all have a universal understanding of what time is, yet when asked to describe this idea, my mind struggles to find the right words. I think the only way to describe what time is would be by describing change. Time is the only always ever changing thing on our planet. It will never stop. The sun will always set and rise, the tide will always fall in and fall out, and the earth will always take 365 days to revolve around the sun. Time is the thing that dictates when we must get things done and when we get to relax. The concept of time can be seen in very different ways. One may simply ask “what time is it?” for reference, while time can also be used as a count down method to an event. We use time to tell stories of the past and to ponder on the future, that then becomes the present. It is probably the most thought about concept in our lives, one way or another. It can be something we look forward to or stress about, there’s nothing like the feeling of running out of time. We only have so much time in our lifetimes, none of us knowing exactly how much, which is where the term “living life to the fullest” most likely comes into play. Sometimes we sense a feeling of wasting time when we believe what we are doing is unproductive or unenjoyable. I honestly believe we learn from all experiences, so there cannot truly be a defined waste of time, as long as you gain something out of what you do. I think time is a concept taken for granted and overlooked in our world today. New opportunities are given to us everyday, only on the basis of having more time. 


In my opinion, disgust is not something that can typically be categorized overall. I believe that every person has their own views and reasoning of what is disgusting to them and this depends on many factors including their culture, surroundings, and upbringing. As discussed in the lecture videos, morality is also a huge part of this debate. We have seen morality come up in discussions of race and ethnicity, and the idea of what is right and what is wrong ties into disgust as well. People all over the world are eating different foods that they believe are “normal” while others might view them to be completely out of the question in their diet. An example of this would be eating sheep heads in Iceland and bat fetuses in Asia which I could never image consuming. On the contrary, other cultures view root beer to be disgusting which is funny to me because I absolutely love this drink. What stood out to me the most in this unit was the 7 foci of Disgust. This portion of the lecture really got me thinking about what we consider to be disgusting aside from the conversations of food. I think one thing that increases our feelings of disgust is fear. We have tied fear into several units so far, but I think it is a crucial component of disgust. If we are feeling iffy about someone’s hygiene, sexual orientation, or atypical appearances, chances are we are simply uneasy about their differences. Disgust becomes more real to me when I have to physically see the act/image or visualize it in my head. For instance, I was not as taken aback by the skeletons being eaten by wild birds as I was by the image of flesh pulling. This is because as I was looking at this picture, I was visualizing a live person feeling the pain of hooks pulling on their skin as they levitate above ground, sending chills through my body. I am not someone who is particularly fascinated by blisters and pimple popping but as Dr. Maguire states in her lecture, there are many people who are. This is yet another example of how small differences in a person define what they believe to be disgusting.

What is Humor?

Learning that humor can arise from joy, sadness, jealousy, and the understanding of differences, I came to feel very intrigued by individuals’ senses of humor. Similar to speaking on general terms, the way we talk can dictate the meaning and mood of our phrases. This idea of HOW we speak and what we understand ties directly into my biggest question throughout this module. What causes individuals to have different senses of humor? After watching Professor Maguire’s video on humor, I was very intrigued by the memes she used as examples because these memes have become such a widespread way of communication in our world today. People look at these memes and can instantly think different thoughts on what is trying to be conveyed, causing us to decide whether or not we believe this to be funny. The show “Friends” kept popping into my mind during this lecture because I was thinking about how the character, Chandler Bing, has a very dark sense of humor compared to the other characters. Similarly, the character, Ross Geller, has a sense of humor that doesn’t coincide with the humor of the other characters, and he is often made fun of for the things he finds to be funny. I personally believe there are boundaries to humor and as soon as it is taken to the level of humiliation and/or discrimination, I do not understand how it can be seen as funny. An example of this would be the meme shown of the man that explains a woman’s instincts will kick in when she is threatened with knives, she will simply make a sandwich instead of dealing with the violence in front of her. While I’m sure some find this to be funny, there are deeper meanings here that could offend any woman. Texting lingo is also an interesting part of language and humor. When we text, it is hard to put emotion into what we say, so words and phrases can often be taken the wrong way from what we intended. As we get closer to the holidays, I spent a lot of time in this module thinking about how when family is together, there is so much laughter and fun that brings you closer to your loved ones which is such a good thing. On the contrary, if something is said that may offend an individual while others think of it to be funny, people can get hurt and this can be damaging. Humor is something that brings people together in so many ways and without humor, our world would be insanely boring. There simply needs to be a fine line between humor and humiliation and more thought behind what we believe to be funny. 

What is Mental Illness?

According to Peter Zacher in his article titled “Psychiatric disorders: natural kinds made by the world or practical kinds made by us?” children begin to develop assumptions about category membership in preschool. Although this fact is not surprising to me, it is a scary thought, especially when discussing mental illness and the terminology used to describe certain people. In the DSM podcast titled, “Are You Crazy”, we learned the word “nuts” (that we may use to describe a crazy person) originally meant “infatuated” in Britain. This is not the first word that’s meaning has changed but seeing the opposing meaning makes me wonder what is really meant by mental illness? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has changed its meanings and diagnosis multiple times. What humans used to consider strange may no longer mean that today. For instance, alcoholism was once seen to be a mental illness but can we really still say that today? In the middle ages, head shape was used to indicate a person’s moral worth and if they were deemed ill, measures such as trepinning would be taken to “resolve” their issues. Many of the illnesses described in the first few additions of the DSM seem to be things people are afraid of discovering. I think people will always find ways to create something into a problem. Much like Douglas Adams stated “The best way to not be happy is not to have a word for it”. People should receive the help they need regardless of what might be considered a mental illness but many of the so called “disorders” can be justified by facts proving they are common struggles not psychological disorders. 

Race and Ethnicity in Advertisement

Advertisements and propaganda are a huge part of our country’s history. When looking back at the propaganda used against wars, political candidates and certain groups of people, there are numerous ads that seem absurd, cruel and wrong. Most people use advertisements to sell a product and convince their targeted audience by portraying groups a certain way and make a point. In this post I want to focus on the video “Race and Ethnicity in Advertising”. The American Patriot was an advertisement targeting the american citizen. In this paper, rights of humans are discussed as well as who is and who isn’t accepted in America at this time. The so-called “foreigners” are discussed as being a burden to the country and are seen as a cause of “collisions with other nations”. This paper also makes it very clear what American should be in favor of and opposed to. Most of the topics in the “in favor of” section are means of protection to U.S citizens while the opposing column discusses the aggression towards Roman Chatholics, opposition to foreigners holding office, and other discrimination towards those who make america diverse. Looking at this paper really shocked me. Especially in today’s political climate it makes you wonder if our country has really made any progress at all. The obvious goal of this paper was to discriminate against any and all other races, ethnicities and religions other than what the norm was preferred to be at that time. Much like the American Patriot, advertisements were created such as “Chlorinol” and “Elliots White Veneer”. These products were sold in association with whites and the belief that by buying that certain product, you would be keeping America white therefore making a good decision. While these advertisements are vintage and very old, these problems are still prevalent in our society today. We have to get out of the vertical system of hierarchy we live in and accept people for who they are. Race and ethnicity are not factors people can control and by using racial slurs or biased advertisements we are forcing the idea in their head that they are not good enough based on something they are born with. Discrimination comes out of fear and jealousy and it’s sad to see how our country has come to this point. 

Who Are You Really?

For this week’s blog post I want to focus on the readings by Charles Mills. He goes in depth talking about race and categorization of society bringing up the question “But who are you really?” quite often. In a perfect world race would be irrelevant. We would live in a society amongst other people without thinking of hierarchy and standards based on the way someone looked, their intelligence, gender or background. This idea is called Quance. Mills discusses this idea of Quance in great detail from pages 41-43 along with what our world is in contrast to this theory. Today, our world functions in a vertical class system as it has for all previous generations. We as humans, differentiate others based on factors that are out of their control and place them into privileged and subordinate categories. But what defines where they are placed? Our “codes” of separation have changed drastically in the past centuries that it seems stupid for us to still be putting people in separate boxes based on these factors. In 1790 the American Census was based on ‘free’ vs. ‘enslaved’ Americans. After abolition, the census was focused on skin color and today we see a focus on ethnicity, gender and income. While these categories can be useful in taking count of the citizens of our country, who decides what matters? Someone’s skin tone may not be a reflection of their heritage and vise versa. On page 55 and 56 of Mills article, he discusses Case 1 where a person has a white skin tone, is categorized to be a “natural white” but has black history running through his veins. Mills calls this “conscious episodic passing” (Page 56). While I believe everyone should have equal opportunities no matter their skin tone, ethnicity or social standing, this specific person is using their skin tone to hide their history and therefore gaining a different perspective from those around them. If we lived in a world of “Quance”, this would never be an issue people needed to overcome. There would be no judgement or rules to define political power, wealth, or cultural influence. This idea would classify as living in a horizontal system and would disconnect the world from discrimination. While I’m sure it is impossible for everyone to agree on this system of living (there will always be people looking to be superior to another), it opens up many questions to the readers. Is defining race critical to humanity? Why can’t we all agree on the fact that we are all just as human as the person next to us and deserve equal treatment in society? We are all different in so many other ways than just gender, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity and we offer so much more than only these traits. These differences should not be defining factors in the system. Charles Mills states on page 46 that “a racial realist will also believe that the differences between races are not confined to the superficial morphological characteristics of skin color, hair type, and facial features, but extend to significant moral, intellectual, characterological, and spiritual characteristics.” Our world is full of excitement and uniqueness and if we take that away by putting labels on people, our society will become a boring place where no one wants to live. So who are you really? Is who someone else is naturally something you are willing to judge them for?

Logical Why

There’s a hierarchy for every type of being on this earth. The problem I see with this is that we are all individuals with our own thoughts and opinions so how can we categorize what is right and what is wrong?  The quote by William James, “The first thing the intellect does with an object is to class it along with something else” describes exactly how we think differently and categorize differently depending on our individuality. Realists and Nominalists cannot possibly agree on the origin and purpose of all things. So will anything in our world ever really make sense to us all? Aristotle’s logic style puts things in perspective when describing one specific animal or thing, like the wombat was used in the lecture. To me, this layout helps make sense of what the topic is, much like a taxology chart, it is straightforward. Things get confusing and complicated when our view cannot be as easily understood. This is how I see typology coming into play. There is no one answer to how we can view the things we base on similarities. One thing might seem similar to me while someone else wouldn’t agree. This idea is also very present to me when discussing “monsters” in the third video. Some of the pictures shown as examples of monsters were very grotesque to me while others I found to be interesting and unique, not something I would consider to be a monster. This idea is hard to comprehend. It’s hard to accept that there will never be unifying views among everyone, assumptions will always be made. 

Order of the World

Everything is created out of order. All living and nonliving things have a category they belong to. What I find extremely interesting about these first three chapters of Genesis are the separations in which everything takes place. I have never dove into the meaning behind these chapters but examining the specific days for each creation is fascinating. Man was created last after the rest of the world, but we were created to rule over everything that came in the days before us. Similar to this, Man was created before Woman but both male and female made decisions that changed their future equally. I don’t really see one being superior to the other. Yes, women were created from man but the woman was the missing piece of the man’s life. I think the serpent is another interesting character here. In church I was always taught that this was the devil, I never thought about how different versions could mean different things for this character or that “the devil” can mean many things other than a physical snake such as emotions or fears. These chapters are the foundation of order of our world and correlate similarly to the way we organize and separate things today.

Defining Religion

Religion can be a sensitive topic for a lot of people. We all have our own definitions of what we see religion to be or what we think it should entail. As reviewed in the video “What is Religion” by ReligionForBreakfast on YouTube, religion is a subjective term. What makes us differentiate between definitions and decide what we think is the truth? I have gone to church my entire life with my family and it seems like finding the right fit in a church has been a harder task than finding a house we all can agree to live in. Every church has their own way of preaching and administering the word and a lot of the churches we have gone to have made me feel uncomfortable and like they are pursuing religion in the wrong way. On the outside, I think churches and religion can all have the same function, but the definitions we give to them evoke different connotations to their meaning. 

Mental Walls

Humans build walls to separate us from people that we feel are different or less than us in some way. Johnny Harris’ Border series discusses the differences between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and what the reason for that separation is. While this separation dates back to the 1700’s and original political systems, it is similar to the racism and discrimination we see all over the world today. There are many ways the Dominican Republic has built up walls against the Haitians such as the example used at the border market, where Hatias are not let in until hours after the Dominican’s are. The Haitians are physically abused and targeted by Dominican officers and singled out due to their darker skin pigmentation. This racism and stereotyping is very similar to what we are seeing in the U.S today. The only difference is that citizens of the United States are working toward equality for all while the Haitians are living in this present time of discrimation, with no end in sight. These two cultures are living so closely to each other but live unequal lives every day. 

Following this, the TedTalk done by Alexandra Auer discusses how “we build walls for everything”. Even if it is not a wall to separate race, we divide things to give us a sense of security. One thing we do not always realize is that this “mental wall” does not ensure the safety we are trying to obtain. Alexandra states in her TedTalk that “We seek walls for solutions to problems they cannot solve” (Auer 10-42). Most of the time we create these walls based on a bias and once we have seen how this bias can be changed, we can work to break these walls down. The mental walls discussed here also relate to last week’s reading and mental quantum leaps. We categorize things in our heads before we understand why we feel the way we do. It’s extremely important for us to break down these walls in a way that will help others understand and without forcing your opinion on someone, much like Alexandra Auer did with the exhibition of children laughing and playing with the kids on the other side of the fense. Globally, we need to work to integrate cultures, race, ethnicities and interests but this cannot be done while we choose to separate and discriminate.

 Haiti / Dominican Republic.

“The Intangible Effects of Walls”