Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Source of quote: "The Wild Angels" (with Peter Fonda!)

Questions on Locke's Second Treatise on Government

Why did Locke write the Two Treatises?
What is the historical context?
What is the basis for authority, if not in the divine right of kings?
What are humans like in the state of nature?
What is human freedom in the state of nature? How is human freedom dependent upon reason? How is it dependent upon nature?

David J. Introduction

I'm David John. Currently I'm majoring in mathematics and I am also doing a minor in East Asian Studies.

During the winter break I had an interesting intellectual experience. I was reading principle of mathematical analysis by Walter Rudin and I learned that the set of rational numbers is countable and the irrational numbers are uncountable. This is really fascinating because one would think that there would be an equal number of rational and irrational numbers but there isn't.

Fiorentin Nacaj Introduction

Hi, my name is Fiorentin Nacaj. I am a sophomore here at NYU and I am planning on majoring in Economics. I am originally from Albania, but have lived in The Bronx for most of my life.

We have  intellectual experiences every day. A memorable intellectual experience for me was when I read Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club. There is one moment in the novel when the main character, Tyler Durden holds a gun to a convenience store clerk who is waiting for the bus. Raymond K. Hessel (the clerk) is asked how he had wanted to spend his life. Raymond answers Tyler by saying he wanted to be a veterinarian but it was too much school. Tyler gave him two choices: either go back to school and become a veterinarian or get shot at that bus stop. This is an extreme situation but it made me think about times that I avoid certain decisions or situations because either I am too comfortable or because it is a frightening thought. It's amazing how motivated a person can become when there is a gun (or even a metaphorical gun) pointed at their head. Even though this scene did not change my life per say, it did make me think about what I avoid because of the thought that "there's always tomorrow." From time to time, whenever I am struggling with a decision or when I avoid certain things, I imagine myself as Raymond Hessel staring at the barrel of a gun and sure enough, I make the necessary decision that I thought I couldn't make.

Itzel Medina's Introduction

Hi, my name is Itzel Medina, and I live in the Bronx. I am planning to major in Global Public Health/Pre-Health, and I am on the Pre-Dental track.

My intellectual experience that has shaped me the most would probably be the time I learned that there is an extreme shortage of dentists in some parts of the Dominican Republic. I was in a workshop offered by a dentist who specializes in public dental health, and she was going over the countries that had the worst people to dentist ratios. I was shocked to see that the Dominican Republic was on the chart. I am from the Dominican Republic, and I have been there over twenty times. I always knew that the Dominican Republic did not have the best access to health services, but I definitely did not think that it was one of the worst in the world.  Although I only visited the city whenever I went, I did not take into account the fact that the entire country was not in the same shape as the city was. I saw a dental clinic about every two streets, so I assumed that there was no shortage; instead, I assumed that people simply could not afford dental services, and that is bad enough on its own. Ever since I realized that the Dominican Republic is not in the shape it appears to be in certain areas, I have felt a need to express how important dentistry is in the health professions because there is this idea that all health problems can be solved through physicians, but that is not the case. My eyes have been opened from what I choose to see to what actually exists. I felt that I actually understood what everyone was referring to when they spoke about the Dominican Republic having bad health care services. This has also helped me reaffirm my decision to go into dentistry.

Tanya Maithai Intro

Hi, I'm Tanya Maithai. I was in London for freshman year and I'm from Thailand.

When I was in 5th grade my dad had to undergo a triple by-pass surgery. At that age I wasn't able to fully grasp how risky and dangerous the surgery was but I knew that the result could easily sway either way. Although my dad acted as if everything was normal because he didn't want to worry us. The day before the surgery I found him quietly playing with my dogs in the backyard. This was not out of the ordinary, except for the fact that he was taking photos of them as if he wasn't going to see them ever again. He loves photography and has always been the one to carry multiple cameras around his neck during holidays. This used to annoy my siblings and I so much as (I believed at the time) we were wasting a lot of time standing in the exact same spot. However, I felt something different when I saw him that day. I questioned myself why I would frequently get agitated when he made us take photos. Why did I have to waste time getting annoyed over something so little? I began to understand that this was his enjoyment - to capture valuable moments so that we can cherish it. There was nothing that I could do that would change this because that is just the way he is. I realized that I can't wait for another life-threatening event to occur before I changed my way of thinking. Even until this day he would have multiple cameras with him on holiday and still photograph absolutely everything. I occasionally feel a little annoyed but then I think of this moment and the feeling disappears. The least I could do is simply just let him take all the pictures he wants because I know that he won't be here forever. I learnt that you can only expect so much for others to be a certain way but you always have the choice to change your way of viewing things.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Erica Lee Intro

Hi, I'm Erica Lee from Los Angeles, California. I am majoring in Sports Management and minoring in Media Culture & Communications.

I remember having an intellectual experience last summer. I annually go on missionary trips with my home church, and last summer we were able to travel abroad to Vietnam. My grandma, an avid volunteer and attendee of these missionary trips came along as well. I had become friends with a teenage girl who lived in the village we were staying at, and she was an only child living with her grandma. One night, my grandma and I were invited to eat dinner with them, and it didn't take long for both grandmas' to share their pasts and memories as youths (it was a little difficult trying to decipher their broken English, but we managed). After hours of talking about their individual pasts, it hit me that there was a common theme in my grandma's stories and the Vietnamese girl's grandma. Both experienced and endured life at war. My grandmother shared memories of the Korean War, while she shared recollections of the Vietnamese War. It was amazing to hear these stories from people who actually witnessed events from these dark times. Furthermore, it made me realize that the most different of people can connect and sort of heal each other from the darkest times of their lives. I knew this had a therapeutic effect over both of them, and it was an incredible moment to witness.

Introduction to Clifford Wu

Hi everyone, my name is Clifford Wu. I'm an economics student and planning on minoring in social entrepreneurship. I am from a small but growing city in Southern California called Temecula, and I spent my first year of NYU in Shanghai.

And while some may consider this more of an emotional experience, it has also affected me academically. One of my most profound intellectual experiences occurred when I visited my family's hometown near Handan, Hebei, China. I had been spending all of my time trying to have as much fun as possible; going to as many parties as I could and taking part in such activities that you would expect from a fresh college student (along with many others) in a place where the drinking age is practically nonexistent. However, upon visiting my family's hometown, I noticed that the people that lived there had lives of great substance even though they did not lead lives filled with flashing lights and loud music. They farmed, they sat with their loved ones, and they paid respects to those who had passed. And really what it made me truly understand was that there is a consequence for everything, including wasted time. After an experience in which "heavenly dollars" were burned upon a grave in order to make sure an ancestor had enough to spend in heaven, I resolved to enrich my mind and spirit with activities of greater substance than I had of late, because I did not want to reach the end of my life and only be able to say that I had fun. I want to be able to say that I had had lived a life of substance and richness. And thus there began my humble resolution of simply reading more books.

Belle (Pui Yi) Lau Intro

Hello everyone,

My name is Belle (Pui Yi) Lau. I was born in Hong Kong, but my family moved to Vancouver, Canada when I was 9. I am a sophomore planning to major in Media Culture Communications. I spent my first year in Paris and I loved it!

My most recent intellectual experience was probably before winter break when I had to write a final paper for my Cultural Foundations III class. It was one of the most significant memories of having to come up with a topic of my own interest and write about ten pages on it. To be honest, I don't think I have written too many 10-page papers in the past and when I did, at least I was given a topic. Furthermore, I have always treated CF as one of the core classes I had to take and it didn't have much to do with my interests besides enjoyable reading. The professor asked us to connect to at least four of the ideas we had studied throughout the course. In the end, I wrote an essay with the topic "Modernity is the dichotomy of creation and destruction". During the process of finishing that paper, it was the first time I truly felt that I understood the readings I spent my whole semester on figuring out.

Monique Brown Intro

Hey everyone,

My name is Monique. I’m a New York native. I live in Mount Vernon and commute. (Hour and a half commute every day to school. Oh joy.) I’m a sophomore with a major in Politics. Future lawyer in the house!  I like sleep, babies, and sweets.

I had an intellectual experience not too long ago.  Over winter break, I was with my little 5 year old cousin, Nico, who had just been cured of Chronic Granulomatous Disease.  He hadn’t been able to go to school, or parks, or the beach due to lack of an immune system.  Before having this particular conversation with him, I was all about drastic actions. I’m 19, and was in desperate need to get a tattoo or go to Miami for a weekend.  It didn’t matter to me unless it was crazy and somewhat dangerous.  He said something to me that changed my whole outlook on which moments count the most.  I asked him what he was most exciting about his first field trip.  I expected him to say the planes in the museum, or going to the park.  He replied excitedly saying that the school bus was “really really fun.”  To him, just being able to be in a bus, amongst other little kids was what stuck in his mind.  I don’t know if that’s exactly intellectual, but it certainly insightful.

John Locke Second Treatise of Government: Presentation Points and Questions

What are humans natural freedoms?
The importance of property and inheritance in a person's right.
The difference between a state of nature and a state of government.
The laws of reason dictate humans decision in a natural state.
Humans give up some of the freedoms of a natural state for the protection of the government.
The makings of a good government include a body that can be appealed to, ruled by a majority, has an executive, legislative, and judicial function.

Carolyn Insley Introduction

Hi, my name is Carolyn Insley. I'm a California native (where it's so warm and pleasant right now that we're actually having a drought).  I'm a sophomore planning to major in English––$200,000 English degree, here I come. My favorite dessert of all time is a warm chewy brownie, vanilla ice cream, and hot fudge.

My intellectual experience happened last year in a special education classroom when I was actually trying to teach someone else. I was working on counting to 20 with a boy from the class, and he was doing just fine until he skipped over 16––multiple times. When I asked why he was doing that (because sometimes these kids do just decide they hate certain words or numbers sporadically) he looked confused. He actually had no idea what 16 was, and it occurred to me that I actually had no way of explaining it to him. It just existed because it had to, and because everyone else said it did. Or did it? Coincidentally, just a week later my SFII professor gave us a fairly existential lecture that was centered around the idea of numbers, and how they can both exist and not exist simultaneously––fascinating.

Another Introduction

My name is Kyra Middeleer. I was born and raised in Connecticut. I'm planning to declare East Asian Studies as my major, with a minor in Studio Art. I spent my first year in Shanghai.

When I studied Daoism last year, my SFII professor originally planned for us to write an analytical essay combining what we had learned through the various Daoist texts we read. The texts were no easy feat to wrap around, with such poetic and abstract imagery. When I approached him for advice on how to tackle the essay, he started brainstorming another option and ultimately decided to let the classes reflect what they learned through creative methods. One of the reasons, which we talked about, was the irony of Daoism being written through an instruction format (in the text "The Secret of the Golden Flower") when one of its major themes is "not doing". I felt a little less intimidated at the prospect of reflecting Daoist themes through art then, because it felt more expressive than I could wish to accomplish through text. I figured I could make a drawing or painting that tried to evoked the same essence the Daoist texts attempted to command. While I was brainstorming in front of my paint and paper, I made myself a cup of lichi black tea that I'd bought at a market in Shanghai a couple weeks before. I considered the tea cup, and how much fuller the flavor was in the small cup the shop keeper poured for me as I only had a few sips before it emptied. I impulsively dipped my paint brush in the tea cup and played with it on the paper, and it came to me: paint the tea with tea. Once the inspiration started, everything was easy and I couldn't stop thinking of Daoist analogies and images. For once I didn't doubt I was doing the assignment correctly, no matter how unconventional the project seemed. The exercise glued everything I'd read and discussed in class about Daoism. It's funny how one part of my brain triggered information I had absorbed and exposed through a different teaching method, and to have such an enlightening effect

Jordan Marks Introduction

Hi, my name is Jordan Marks and I am from Los Angeles, CA. I plan on transitioning into Gallatin next fall to study Computer Science and Visual Art. 

Something I have always enjoyed is taking photographs. Since the early years of my childhood, I remember being fascinated by the concept of photography, the very idea of solidifying time and space in a seemingly effortless process. The photographed image is undoubtedly one of the most ubiquitous forms of communication however it often means much more to people, for photography, most importantly, is a tool of memory retention; taking a photograph is having meaningful foresight, choosing a moment special and unique enough to solidify. Recently, I was recommended a book written by Roland Barthes called Camera Lucida, a collection of his essays on the nature and cultural place of photography. There is a moment in the book when Barthes describes seeing a famous photograph of Napoleon Bonaparte's brother for the first time. He is struck by the simple fact that the eyes in the photograph are the same eyes that once gazed upon the great French leader and it was this simple fact that coincided with my own realization about photography. Each captured image has its own life with its own respective pasts and futures and the sheer immensity of information stored in a single frame of a single worldly moment strikes me, as it struck Barthes, as one of the many mysterious beauties of life. 

Kristen Lewis Introduction

Hi!  My name is Kristen Lewis, and I’m from Lansdale, PA (which is about 35 minutes from Philly).  After finishing LS this year, I plan on majoring in Applied Psychology in Steinhardt with a concentration in child and adolescent mental health studies.

I had an intellectual experience last semester when I had the opportunity to observe a child psychiatric evaluation at the NYU Child Study Center.  It was a unique experience, because I had never witnessed a mental health professional at work before, and I learned a lot about the career I plan on pursuing.  The biggest thing I took away from that experience was not just learning about the effects of a disorder on a child, but also the effects of the disorder on an entire family.  When I learn about psychiatric disorders in school, I do not usually think about the families of the children and adolescents with these disorders.  After seeing this evaluation, I understand now that mental illness does not just affect one child or adolescent, but it also affects the entire family; and, many times, the entire family needs help.

Rebecca Rashid Introduction

Hi! I'm Rebecca Rashid and I'm a Journalism and Politics major originally from San Ramon, California. My parents are both of Bangladeshi origin and I have a younger brother. I'm a huge fan of poetry and love doing yoga in my spare time.

My very recent intellectual experience would have to be when my grandfather asked if I was lonely or always dying to come home while I was at school in New York, 3000 miles away from home. I told him I wasn't even though I have definitely had my moments that proved otherwise. He then shared a story about his experience as a 9 year old living 30 miles away from home to stay with his more wealthy uncle who could fund his attendance at a local school. His family exchanged any crops they could as payment to their relative's family to care for my grandfather and provide him with at least basic elementary education. My grandpa recalled the nights he cried for his family, missing them more than anything in the world, and although in the future he worked his way up to be a head officer in the United Nations for Bangladesh, raising three children and moving to America, he wonders what life would be like if he'd spent his childhood with his parents just being a kid. I spiraled into a reflection of my own life, questioning beyond taking things for granted but trying to understand why I associate harsh challenges with the only path to success. I came to NYU to prove to myself that I could be successful and take on a challenge many young adults may not be able to stomach. But the nights of missing home, freezing in unusual temperatures and disgusting snow made me question my decision almost everyday of my first year. I think these days people are willing to go to extreme lengths for a success that is this intangible entity that no one can really properly describe, including myself. I came to NY in search of a bigger life, a big dream, something spectacular, but I know some of my happiest and most glorious moments are in my small town of San Ramon, California laughing over some stupid TV show with my little brother. I haven't quite figured it all out yet, and what exactly this "bigger" dream is that I'm searching for, but I want to redefine this grand gesture of success as more than just glamorous living or being really good at "networking" to land a better job. Success is also in the little things like having a good relationship with my brother and having the opportunity to get a higher education. I guess my intellectual experience has no conclusion, but I want to ensure I don't have the same regrets my grandfather has not being able to spend enough time with his family in the effort to have a better life. A better life doesn't always mean a "better paid" or "better educated" life, it's ultimately about being happy along the way.

Evan Kupferberg- Into

My name is Evan Kupferberg and I am from Boca Raton, FL.  I (tall kid) play basketball here for the Nyu team and we are actually having a pretty decent season this year.  I really like sports and being in the outdoors even though that is almost impossible because of New York's frigid weather.

Im not sure if this is considered to be an intellectual experience, but ill give it a try.  Last semester I was reading the Autobiography of Ben Franklin which is one of my favorites. As I was reading, it occurred to me that Ben had started an intellectual revolution.  Franklin and fellow contemporaries actually created this new thing called The Enlightenment that was new to America at the time.  These new found ideas would become the basic framework for future politics.

Angelica P Intro

Hi, I'm Angelica Paquette. I'm from Rhode Island and I'm an International Relations major in CAS. I'm planning to study abroad in Madrid next year. I just visited the UN in NYC and I was really interested when we read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I took my first course for my International Relations major the second semester of my freshman year. The course was International Politics and the professor teaching the class also wrote the book. I had chosen to take the class without any prior knowledge about the subject and was surprised to find out that International Politics was focused on theory instead of history. I was expecting to learn about how leaders of countries negotiated treaties, encouraged diplomacy and flawlessly executed decisions. I had this ideal image of a perfect world system. Throughout the course I realized how unstable and impossible it is to have a perfect international government. I hadn't realized that the United Nations has only existed for less than a century. In addition, whatever global doctrines that have been established by the UN are mostly suggestive instead of enforced. All the political insurgencies that have been arising have made me realized how imperfect and underdeveloped the international system is. Now whenever I hear that the UN is holding a conference, I wonder how effective their resolutions will be and whether or not the international organization is as powerful as I once thought it was. It's disconcerting now to know how unstable international affairs can be.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Gina M. Intro

Hello, I'm Gina Maskell and I was also in London last year (with Sheila and Tanya).

I follow the Humans of New York blog religiously because there is something endearing about connecting with total strangers.  It was mostly for entertainment, like a more interesting New York City newspaper. So I bought the HONY book and I went to Barnes & Nobles for the book signing with the photographer. As I was looking and reading through the book  in the never-ending line wrapping up four floors, there was one caption that really got to me. The photo was a man draped in brown cloth with a prickly pine needle beard and branches poking out as arms and hair-- a tree man. The caption is "Some days I worry that I won't find anyone to photograph. The I turn the corner and see a giant tree man." I was mad at this guy, the guy that I was standing in line to meet. How could he not find anyone to photograph?! There are 8 million people in New York City. And I was frustrated because he didn't realize why his photos are so successful: they tell stories. Each person he photographs has something to say; each person is a human, with their own experience, with a sense of morality, with a personality (if we are talking the Universal Human Right's definition of a human). His caption made light of each person in NYC, like each persons story wasn't worthy of his attention. While I was standing in line mildly fuming, I realized that everyone has a "story" and everyone has lived there own life no matter how young or old. Everyone has learned something in their life worth sharing.

Celine S. Introduction

            Hi, my name is Celine and I am from New Jersey. My parents are originally from Beirut, Lebanon, and I visit every summer. I am currently majoring in both Journalism and Politics and plan on transitioning into CAS. 

An intellectual experience that I had recently includes a research I conducted on the role that art plays in activism. I discovered a world of contemporary artists that are focused on unchaining a new, creative, and even controversial gateway to change in the social, economic, and political spheres. One artist includes Shirin Neshat, whose art is both emotionally moving and moving in regards to political activism. By portraying veiled women holding guns, she yearns to show the world that underneath their veils, Islamic women are defiant spirits that strive to be independent from men. Her central goal of ending oppression and destroying stereotypes does not only focus on Islamic women in the Middle East-- it also brings up questions regarding the dilemmas that revolve around Islamic women living in the United States. As a result of this research, I learned that art is a multi-purposed and versatile activity-- although it requires risks, activism through art will eventually lead to the satisfaction and reward of an enduring, influential statement.  

Sheila Marie O. introduction

Hi I’m Sheila, and I’m originally from Los Angeles, CA. I spent my first year abroad in London, and I’m planning to transition into Gallatin for creative writing and (maybe) something to do with religion. I’m also pursuing a business studies minor.

I had an intellectual experience when I went to the Philippines with my dad over the summer and learned that you can’t fully comprehend a culture unless you are fully immersed in it. Both my parents are Filipino, and even though I was born in the US I grew up with Filipino foods, dances, language, religion, etc. I thought I understood Filipino culture until I visited for the first time since I was three. I faced a huge culture shock and realized I didn’t know the virtues, motivations, and everyday way of life common in the Philippines and therefore was missing a vital part of what it means to be Filipino. I discovered that culture isn’t only conducted by traditions and customs but by the similar ways of thinking and behaving that form out of common living.