August 2017

Summary of Hamlet by William Shakespeare

hamlet

Hamlet Spoiler Alert

Hamlet in my option is Shakespeare’s best play. I wrote this summary because it is so amazing and I can’t think of any other stories so tragic.

Hamlet is in love with someone, he tells her so. Next, Hamlet friend’s see a ghost who looks like Hamlet’s father, the king who recently died. Ophelia’s father tells the new king and queen about Hamlet’s shenanigans with his daughter.

The ghost tells Hamlet that his father was murdered by his brother (Hamlet’s uncle). He was murdered so that the uncle could become king and marry his sister-in-law, Hamlet’s mother.

There Is A Play

The king and queen want to send Hamlet away to another city. At first, Hamlet devises a plan to make a play about a man killing his brother to take his place as king. Consequentially, Hamlet wants his mother and uncle to see the play so he can judge their reactions and see if what the ghost said is true.

Hamlet puts on the show, his uncle (the king) reacts in such a way to suggest Hamlet’s suspicions are true. He later visits his mother in her chambers and hears someone in the closet. Without regard, he kills the man, who happens to be Ophelia father. Hamlet apologizes to his mother and drags the man’s body away. Ophelia finds out about her father’s death and kills herself by drowning.

The king guessing what Hamlet is onto his scheme decides to kill Hamlet. Hamlet leaves town and claims he is captured by pirates, but he later returns home. Ophelia’s brother returns from far away and hears about his father death. He confronts the king, the king says he is not responsible.

The Tragedy Begins

The king and Ophelia’s brother come up with a plan to kill Hamlet. The plan is a fight to the death. Hamlet doesn’t want any part of their scheme, but the king calls on him twice so he shows up.

The fight begins, Hamlet is winning but Ophelia’s brother has poison on his sword. The king brings in drinks, one is poison. Next, Hamlet kills Ophelia’s brother, his mother drinks the poison and dies. Finally, Hamlet stabs the king who also dies, Hamlets injuries are worse than they seem, so he dies.

Making Universal Basic Income Work

elections

Representation by Proportional Vote:

5% of the national vote equals 5% party representation in the house (or a number of seats equaling 5%).

Parties will have a prioritized list of candidates. The first person will be the leader, moving down the list are the members who get the next available seat. This list will exist and be public before the election.

Parties are teams working on big issues. Citizens focus on local issues.

Parties and politicians will do their job according to the needs of the populous. The populous will guide the politician’s action.

To be a ‘voter’ citizens must be of a certain age and pass a reading comprehension test. As a voter, you will have a responsibility to do your JOB.

A voters job will entail:
– Parties will prepare documents on issues, the voter will be responsible for reading them.
– Vote on actionable ideas associated with things that need doing.
– Voters must dedicate time every day to understand the issues they are voting on.

Decisions Making:
– Votes on unbiased questions about actionable ideas i.e, building a new highway or add a street sign
– Aggregated results to many different questions determine actions.

Purpose:
– This isn’t supposed to be fun, it is a social contract obligation for being a capable citizen.
– Justifies citizens getting paid for their ‘work’, basically a universal basic income. A living wage or part of one that could supplement a part-time job.

You Want to Know About Potential? Ask a Parent

swan

When I was in grade four and five my mother was an ever-present parent at the school. She was always meeting with the principal and teachers. During one of these meetings, the principal said ‘Your son won’t graduate from high school.’

My mom wasn’t going to accept this, so she kept showing up and making noise. She made sure a tutor and extra help were available for me. After two years the school hadn’t made any improvements, and there weren’t any other options.

Reading Class Sucks

One day during our reading time I skimmed through my book, looking at the pictures that were in it. I couldn’t read nor spell, but the school didn’t seem to care as they kept pushing me through the grades.

Through a connection at work, my mom heard about a school that focused on students like me. They had specialized programs and teachers experienced in dealing with students like me.

Through lots of compromise and lost opportunities, she found the money to pay the tuition. It was a burden, as she drove me to school every morning and picked me up every day.

Different Schools

The classes were small, and for the two years, I was there I never had more than five classmates. The teachers had time to focus on me, with a program built around my needs. This focus made a world of difference.

It’s amazing how much one can learn under the right circumstances. In the two years at the private school, I caught up on more than seven years of public education. At this point, I was ready for high school.

My first year was challenging, it took awhile to get used to the new teaching methods and classmates. Even here, my mom went to the school to make sure my teachers were doing their jobs. She ensured that the school was providing me with the resources I needed.

By the time I was in OAC (grade 13) I was getting straight A’s. Even in English which had been the bane of my education in the past. Like my many of my friends, I applied to University and got letters of acceptance from them all.

Two Opinions

For this story, it might be clear there were two very different ideas about my potential. The principal, who told my mother I wouldn’t graduate high school. The other, my mother who believed, pushed and compromised.

The expert was wrong, and in fact, he was way off. He figured he knew what was possible based on his experience. My mother believed but didn’t have any experience. She resolved to do what was necessary to make me succeed.

Everyone has a different view on their potential and the potential of others. But when it comes down to it, sometimes it’s a matter of definition while other times it is a matter of faith. Don’t let the past define the future and don’t let experience cloud dreams. No matter how things are, they can always change for the better.

Dark Glooming Rainy Night

rain

We crowd around and wait while the frigid wind blows against our faces. Then we pack ourselves into seats or stand leaned against strangers. We breathe the stale air and see an endless stream of unfamiliar faces.

More people pack in, someone complains about someone else taking their space. The bus stops to let people off, someone steps up into the doorway. The driver says “There is no room, wait for the next one!” One man doesn’t move, so we all wait.  “Get off! I won’t close the doors till you leave”. The man begs, the driver sits silent, we wait some more.

At last, the bus arrives at my stop, people crowded around waiting to get on. Out the door and into the cold I push past some slow walkers. A girl and her dog are sitting on the ground beside the station doors, she has a sign, I glance but don’t read it. Around her are paper cups and tea bags, she’s covered with a dirty old blanket.

A few more steps and there is an old man holding the door open, his head is down. In his other hand, he holds a deteriorating Tim Horton’s coffee cup – he shakes it and the coins rattles. Walking through the door and heading down the stairs another man sits on the mucky floor. He is wearing a black jacket covered with band pins, a cane lays across his lap. He is flailing his arms and trying to speak, but no sound comes from his mouth.

The subway reaches my junction. I step out onto the platform, it’s crowded, people walk in every direction. Passing a pillar there is a man slouched over, his old running shoes torn, his soles are falling off. He holds a tattered tin can that trembles as people walk by.

I wait at the bottom of the stairs, there are so many people that no-one is moving. We ascend to the platform above, people rush past trying to catch the subways below. At the top of the stairs I see my train, people are walking, but not fast enough. I rush through the crowd, deking past the slow walkers. The doors start to close and the guy in front of me decides to stop moving. I will not miss this train, so I push through the doors and him, he vanishes into the crowd.

Reaching my stop I enter the mall to pick up a prescription. It is Tuesday so things are quiet, but there are still people everywhere. The pharmacist tells me to come back in half an hour, so I walk around the mall looking at things I don’t want or need.

After wasting some time I’m back in line at the pharmacy. The fidgety guy ahead of me asks for a bunch of syringes, he pays with cash and walks away.

Back into the cold. Crossing the crosswalk a BMW almost runs me over as it tries to catch a light.

Into my building’s elevator, two women talk about a friend who lied about her name to see the same doctor twice. One of them says “The doctor was such a jerk! He wouldn’t do the operations for her.”

Finally, the elevator reaches my floor. Walking down the hall I reach the door and pull out my keys. Inside, my daughter waves and my wife says hello, finally I’ve escaped the city!

You Don’t Choose Your Thoughts, But You Can Be Honest About Them

thinking

The other day I was thinking about how I didn’t choose to be into philosophy, it chose me. There are a lot of other interests that I didn’t choose, they were interesting from the start.

If we see ourselves as a system than this makes sense. Our body at the start (our DNA), those are our initial conditions. The system as we define it is a set of conditions a sort of logic. Something that responds to causes or is in effect cause and effect.

Our Brains Are Systems

Things are a back and forth, our brain, a human system must also follow these kinds of rules. It responds to the conditions in the way that it knows. It learns for better or worse, it plays with the world inside and outside. There is a tug of war, we learn from what we experienced and develop a framework for future situations.

As a human system adapts to the world, it finds the spots where it fits and also those that it should avoid. Ideas are like evolutionary forces. We didn’t choose to have an appendix and we don’t choose the way our minds react to the world we find ourselves in.

We Don’t Always Know What We Are Getting

Benefits and consequences can be surprises, but they are present in every thing. We don’t know why we have an appendix like we don’t know why we have our thoughts. Regardless, we should rest assured that they are there for a reason.

This is also why we should be honest with ourselves about who we are. As who we are was sort of set in the beginning, it is something we can try to understand.

With this information, and a desire to dig deeper we can learn more about ourselves. This striving, we discover what it is that drives us and makes us who we are. With deeper knowledge about ourselves, we are close to solving our problems. This awareness leads us to a more authentic self and a better future if we choose to pursue it.

The Loneliness of Long Distance Commuters

commuters

Rushing down the stairs to the platform, bells chime as the doors close. The accelerating subway pulling out of the station forces air up the stairs and against my face. I slow down, there is no longer a need to rush. On the platform, I join the other commuters, we lean against the wall. There is a small gap between me and the yellow line. Faceless strangers walk past trying to find a spot against the wall.

A timer on a screen says 3 minutes till the next train, I wait. Minutes later there is screeching and ringing as the train approaches. Cool air rushes against my face, bells chime and the doors open. The mob of people on the platform cram like sardines into the already packed train. The air inside is stale and warm.

The warm bodies inside push against me from all directions. The smells of perfume, cologne and body odor fill my nostrils. As the train sways with the tracks, we sway with it. Bodies shove in all directions, I push back, we flow together like water.

The train races forward, the doors chime and people fill in, my personal space becomes sparse. I try to take a deep breath, but there isn’t enough air.

We pass the junction, people are pushed against the wall, their desperate faces blend into the crowd.

The doors chime a few more times and people begin to leave. I can finally move and have space to breathe. The bells chime once more, people dump out and there is room for pushups. The train approaches my stop, now only the seats are full.

Off the train, someone yells “use the other stairs.” I follow the crowd up a creaking temporary staircase. People pass on the way down to their commute. Another crowd, but this one comes in all directions, passing through a turnstile I become part of it.

Taking a few quick steps I avoid most of the people trying to pass through the underground path. Opening a door I head up an escalator and into the light. I’m inside an office building, the sun shines through the windows in all directions. Another door and finally into the world. People line up, but I don’t know why. I continue to the bus stop. The air is beyond crisp, my parka is not enough.

A bus passes, then another, then another, finally mine. I walk straight to the door, so does everyone from the line. We pile in and grab seats, rest at last. We bump along, again the sun shines in all directions. People are standing, but there is still room for more. The bells rings and people get off, the bus is emptying out.

More twists and turns, more bells ringing, more people departing, we approach the end of the line. Pulling the rope the bell rings, it’s only me and the bus driver at this point.

The doors open and I step back into the cold, the wind blows against my face, the sun is bright and for a moment I am free.

Internet Communities Close Your Mind

internet

The internet is the greatest invention of all time, but it is making us stupid. It is a place where one can find their niche and stick to it with the strictest precision. The goal of the internet was to create places for open communication and the sharing of ideas. In principle, this is a great idea, but when it comes to practice, it is the opposite of what happened.

Real Life Relationships

People attract people like them. In the real world, we try to befriend people who share our interests. Luckily, we can’t find anyone who is exactly like us. So we tend to intermingle with people who share some of our interests but not all.

In real life, you may be a Toronto Blue Jays fan while your friend is a Yankees fan, but you both like baseball. Friends may share an interest in sports, but not the specifics of other topics. In real life, we are forced to try to find people who share some of our interests, but not all them.

Online-Relationships

Yet, when interests are on the internet, they transcend the typical geographic barriers. This allows people with similar interests from all around the world to connect. The range of people who share interests focuses to an extreme. So, anyone who has the interest can be a part of the conversation. Online groups tend to self-select members out who don’t share all the ideas, as they leave the group for another.

This means, over time groups online, tend to consist of only the most extreme members. Thus the topics of conversation become stricter, focused and more limited. This means exposure to different ideas and opinions is difficult. As those who disagree leave and new people come for the focus.

Online groups form around specific niches, thus their focus is by necessity narrow. In the real world, as a group spends more time together a greater range of topics may come up in conversation. On the internet, with so many specific groups, one must be a member of many groups to see different ideas.

Specialized group play language games where words gain specific meanings. This leads to a difficulty in understanding the claims of other groups. When the meanings of our words change, we lose the ability to understand other views.

The internet’s greatest offers were to spread information, but our tendency is to stick to people like us. As a result, our ideas become saturated and we lose touch with the information outside our bubble. In time, we become intolerant to alternative ideas and the only views we hear are the ones we already agree with.

It is easy to get caught up in this game. We usually don’t even realize we are playing until we take a step back, but even that is difficult. The internet was supposed to liberate our minds, but it created intellectual traps. Hyperconnectivity made this worse, we lost sight of the groups we aren’t part of and forgot they exist. At the same time, we become more certain of what we already believe.

What We Can Do

If we want to expand our minds we need to step back and realize the echo chambers we have become part of. With this information, we can work towards freeing ourselves.

The worst prisons are the one we don’t realize we are in. Once we become aware we will wonder how we ever got into them in the first place. From there we seek out new groups for their new ideas, and life gets a little bit better.

Despite The News It Is Not The End Of The World

explosion

We live in the greatest times ever, yet we have no idea what will happen next. Yet at the same time, we are sure that we know exactly what will happen next. That is an interesting contradiction, and it leaves us vulnerable to a surprise.

Us humans with our oversized brains and books of ideas seem to think that we know everything. We believe that if we find ourselves in a situation that needs a serious solution we will be able to solve it. Yet, all the time we prove to ourselves that that isn’t the case. We show ourselves that we are always guessing, thinking we are going in the right direction.

The Danger

A great analogy for the times is to consider a car on the highway going way over the speed limited. The driver is stone sober but thinks he is invincible. No wrong will ever come to him, he says, so he doesn’t wear a seatbelt. Humanity is that man, we are sure we know what we are doing, but one serious surprise or mistake could be deadly.

It could be true that things are bad and that they are getting worse. We hear every day about global catastrophes lingering around each corner. We hear that our planet is melting down and will extinguish us some day.

Our antibiotics are becoming useless and there is nothing we can do. There are wars around the world, and we are all responsible for them. There is a spark waiting to burn down the whole thing.

The problem is that this stuff could or could not be true. We walk around looking at the world around us but aren’t quite convinced either way. How can we really know what is happening in the world, we can only see what is happening around us.

What About What We See

We can only look at screens and pieces of paper to see what they have to say. But the screens don’t know anything. They are filled with the ideas of people who have been wrong about many things over the last few years.

So we grow cynical, what is there to do otherwise? It’s not like we can go to all these terrible places and see the destruction that is occurring. It’s not like we can look up at the sky and know what is going on with the environment. It’s almost like we can’t know any of the big things at all.

The screens and their sources, the media want us to believe that it is the end of times. Things will end and the end is right around the corner, that is what sells. At the same time, they are sure that we will have a solution to any problems, yeah capitalism.

The message seems to be from people who don’t believe. The cognitive dissonance is strong. Rather than taking their word for it, we should assume it is a lie or more of an elaborate fiction meant to amuse us. That is the industry, they entertain and create fear.

What Is Happening Around Us

Take a look at the world around you and see that it’s not so bad, in fact, it might actually be amazing. You sort of need to believe it, you need to accept it while at the same time denying what is being told to you.

The end times end when you accept that we have no idea what is going on. We can’t see ten feet in front of us, and we will be surprised at every turn. The end of the world is waiting for us, but it isn’t now, there is no end except the final one.

To be true to yourself and to embrace the world, you need to accept that it isn’t the end of times. What you see on your screens can’t be true, what is true is right in front of you.