Welcome to A²!

Welcome to A²!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Maternal Filicide

There are a few reasons some mothers commit the unthinkable act of maternal filicide. First of all, maternal filicide is the act of  mothers killing their own children. Mothers would normally not kill their children unless they are seriously disturbed. One reason that a mother may kill her child is that she rationalizes and believes that killing her child is in the child's best interest. This is called "altruistic filicide." Another reason a mother would commit maternal filicide is if she is hearing voices or has some other non-understandable reason. This is called "acutely psychotic filicide." Another reason, called "fatal maltreatment filicide," is where a mother kills her child accidentally, but the child is killed due the sum of abuse. "Unwanted child filicide" is when a mother kills her child because the child is a hindrance in the mother's life. Lastly, "spouse revenge filicide" is when a mother kills her child to hurt the father. Again, these only really occur if the mother is seriously mentally ill. These acts may seem impossible, but they do occur in real life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Taoism and Our Understanding of Chinese History

Taoism ca
n help deepen our understanding of early Chinese history. First of all, Taoism is a little bit religion and a little bit philosophy. "Daojio" is the religion part, and "Daojia" is the philosophical works associated with it. The main idea under Taoism, at least in a western mind, is to go with the flow, get back with nature, and so on. Taoism can tell us a lot about Chinese history. It is believed that Taoism was created in the year 142, in western China. According to "Reconstruction Taoism's Transformation in China", by Ian Johnson, "The early history sheds light on China as a whole. China had never had an alternative political model other than the emperor. That was the model for over 2,000 years. But the early history of Taoism is different. It's a theocracy based around 'tianshi' [celestial masters]." This celestial master was supposed to make a new political structure called the "Great Peace". In this, everyone would be treated fairly. This was very different than the preexisting ideas of Confucianism. Taoism and Confucianism are very different from one another, so these ancient Chinese religions can tell us a lot about the ancient people living within them. In the article, it says "So the Taoist canon can be used as an alternative history, expanding on the official histories. It shows another aspect of Chinese society that you can't get from the zhengshi, or 'official histories.'" So in other words, we have a preexisting idea of Chinese history, but the ideas of Taoism can help expand that understanding, and even create new ideas on how ancient Chinese life was.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Is our world real?

There is a very interesting and controversial hypothesis floating around scientific minds: is our world all a computer simulation? I personally, don't believe we are simulated, but there are some interesting reasons that people think this. The more we learn about the universe, the more mathematical we realize it is. The article "Are We Living In a Computer Simulation?" Discusses the simulation theory. There are many scientists that believe that our world may be real. In fact, they think there's a 50/50 chance that this theory is true. In this article, there is a quote from James Gates, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland. He said "I was driven to error-correcting codes - they're what make browsers work. So why were they in the equations I was studying about quarks and electrons and supersymmetry? This brought me to the stark realization that I could no longer say people like Max are crazy." The Max he is referring to is Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at MIT. He believes in the simulation theory. Basically, as we are finding out more about our world, we are finding out that basically everything could have been coded, because it is so rigid and mathematical. I personally find this theory hard to believe. It could be possible, and I understand why scientists believe it, but I honestly just have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it is possible, because why would a programmer make 7 billion people and try to stay in control of all of them? It seems a little far fetched. I understand that our world is mathematical, but to me, that does not mean it was programmed on a computer. Although people who are way smarter than me believe in this theory, I just can't say that I do.

Friday, October 7, 2016

God Stood Silently

Mr. Menachem Daum is a survivor of the World War II Holocaust. Unfortunately, his mother does not get the same title as he does, because she did not make it to survive. The story of Job and the story of Fela Nussbaum and Moshe Yosef Daum, Menachem's parents, have similarities and differences. In both of these cases, these people's lives were ruined and they were tortured by god. Also in both stories, they were tortured for no good reason. Job did everything well according to God's commandments, and in fact, that is the reason that he got tortured by god. He was so faithful, that God tortured him. That seems pretty backwards and against what I would believe was right. Also, in the Holocaust, the survivors believed they were doing nothing wrong. Menachem Daum said "I don't think my mother felt the strong need for God's forgiveness. On the contrary, she told me when she's called before God in final judgement, she will turn the tables. She will demand to know why he stood silently during the Holocaust as her large family was being destroyed." In both of these cases, the people don't deserve to be punished. This leads to a difference between the stories. Fela Nussbaum starts to get very angry at God, saying that she will ask god why he stood silent, almost trying to confront him angrily. However, Job doesn't get as angry, he just gets upset and he feels helpless. Another difference between these stories is that Job doesn't die, but Nussbaum doesn't make it past the torture. Lastly, Job is blessed after the torture. After his life is completely ruined, his life becomes great. After, Fela Nussbaum's life is ruined, she dies. The sad thing is that Fela's story is real life, and Job's is just a story, while Fela's story is even worse.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Job vs. Abraham

The book of Job has many similarities and differences to the story of Abraham and Isaac. In both stories, god is testing the human faith. Also in both of these stories, god is testing their faith by having very bad things happen to them. This is where the differences start to come in. In the story of Abraham, god is testing Abraham for seemingly no reason, or possibly just for reassurance. However,  in the book of Job, God is testing Job because Satan did not believe in his blind faith. Another big difference between the two stories is how the bad things happen to them. Abrahams bad action, sacrificing is son, is sort of his choice, and he is doing it to himself. However, Job never did anything wrong, yet god is deciding to make his life a living hell, to prove to Satan himself, that Job was faithful. God made his sheep and servants burn, he made a raid of his camels, and killed his servants. However, a similarity between the characters of Job and Abraham arises from that: they are both unbelievably faithful to god. Abraham is willing to kill his son for him, and Job is willing to stay faithful in God, after knowing god basically ruined his life. They were both suffering extremely from these times because of god, and they still remained faithful. However this also leads to a difference in the way the stories are written. When Job finally complains, the story gets very emotional. The story of Abraham and Isaac is written very blankly and emotionless. However, The story of Job shows a lot of emotion through dialogue, thoughts, and actions. This makes the story much more interesting to read, and although it is not a situation any one of us can relate to, it makes it seem much more real to us.

Friday, September 30, 2016

High School Pros and Cons

High school is very different than middle school. Some of these differences are what make it amazing, but others are scary or annoying. So far for me, high school is pretty great. The best the about high school is the freedom. I can go to a pizza place for lunch, so I can get real pizza, instead of slimy, square, school pizza. Also, we use our iPads and phones freely, where in middle school, you'd get in trouble for just having your phone in your pocket. They were very strict about things like that in the middle school, but they are very lenient in high school. But, one of the worst parts of high school is all of the work. On average in middle school, I spent about a half hour on homework every night. But, in high school, I have over an hour's worth of work every night. Although these things are annoying, so far for me, high school is pretty great.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

God as a Character

Some people think of god as a big part of their life. Other people think of god as something many people believe in, but they believe is fake. But, it is interesting to look at God as a character in a book rather than a possibly real, all-knowing, powerful being. I always thought of God as a sort of nice, caring, person who calmly made things happen. I never really knew if I believed in god but that didn't matter. Looking at God as a character in a novel made me change my view on God a little. I noticed that God is very physically strong and can get very angry. He made an entire flood destroy all life out of pure anger. God as a character is also not perfect, which is very interesting and can be controversial to people. In the beginning of Exodus, god makes mistakes about the humans. They eat the forbidden fruit, which he didn't want them to do. God is also characterized as a forgiving person, which is not contradicting to what I previously believed. This is shown in the orange and yellow branches of the mind map above. The characterization of god is slightly different to what I previously believed. He is not as calm as I believed. Looking at God as a character really helps to understand how he is shown in the bible. Thinking of him as real makes us biased because we want to believe that he is perfect and does everything right, but looking at him as a character we can see the imperfections. This is very interesting because now I realize that I may be biased to real people in my own life. If these were characters in a book, I would view them differently than I do right now. Of course they would be characterized similar to how I feel, but there would be differences, just like the characterization of god.