Monday, August 6, 2012

The Common Man

Why is the common man so oblivious to his own emotions, his own thoughts... His own existence and beliefs? I have always pondered similar questions. I have asked myself how I could not find the value in valuable possessions, how I never saw joy in entertainment, or how I never saw any interest in celebrities or in sports. I found myself to be different from the others all throughout my life. Whether a possible genetic trait or whether it was a simple matter of influence from my father that I developed at a very young age, I'm not sure.

How, my question goes then, am I so different? In such cases I could list many traits about myself that might answer the question without giving me any real insight as to not how but why I am so different. I am not familiar with advanced neurological or psychological analysis or methods, if you could call it that, so in order to gain insight into my unique qualities I looked into the minds of others.

From a very young age (eleven) I began systematically forming experiments and questions to ask random peers. I first formed hypotheses as to why people acted as they did and the more I thought, the quicker I learned. I rediscovered the concept of Socratic Irony without formally reading about it and although I was all too knowledgeable about society I began to distance myself from people, something I would later regret, and engage in Socratic Irony rather than engage in social activities.

I pretended to be completely ignorant about social structure in a successful attempt to motivate people to think about their behavior by asking them questions about society or social behavior and create one of three scenarios. 1) The person asked with the thought provoking question finds an irrationality or contradiction or perhaps a fear hidden in their behavior and yells at me angrily telling me it is an inappropriate question. 2) They find themselves at a crossroad with themselves regarding their beliefs and they themselves figure out things regarding their inner state through these questions as I ask them. Or 3) They provide a superficial answer that although is irrational is the most commonly practiced (and responded) answer.

I began to understand people. I knew how they thought, what they thought, why they thought about it. But it is only now that I ponder a very specific question. Why do people love to consume but hate to think? I see it as a rather big jump to a very different but not unrelated question. I will start to answer that question by defining consuming and accordingly, analysis.

Consuming in this case is the act of one of three: Reading and interacting in near content-deprived memes or trends, if you will. A major instance of such consumption would be Facebook, where most people (this statement is based on first hand experience and empirical evidence) engage in mindless posts and comments if simply to take up the time or perhaps because it is a popular trend like posting pictures of cute 'pups' or what it known as Facebook likes. Another major instance of this might be religion, but that is a controversial and very fragile and touchy subject.

Another form of consumption is physical consumption. This is a mainly feminine aspect of consumerism but applies to men as well in different circumstances. This form of consumption involves buying physical goods such as clothes or perhaps a service like a nail painting at a salon. This aspect of consumerism is often associated with the social necessity of showing off to friends or keeping up with the latest trends or sometimes even with the psychological joy of buying and having possessions.

The third form of consumption is perhaps the most psychologically basic and influencing. Giving in to whatever the media tells you or rather, spoon feeds you in order to not go through through the psychological process of thinking and to a greater extent, introspection. Though it may sound a little straightforward, I do believe that is the case in at least, the U.S. Though this is not a political/sociopolitical essay, I find it a rather explanatory side note that I conducted a survey which showed that people who weren't sociologically involved or rather, at least familiar with the concept of media corruption and mass hypnosis (the phrase I use for the concept that the media companies purposefully try to 'stupidify' people by spamming them with consumer opportunities) were far more oblivious to life in general and often looked upon learning as a chore. Back to the subject at hand, however, the third form of consumption is the most powerful and influencing of the three as it blocks the ability of critical thinking by getting the mind used to mere consumption and prejudice and the view that introspection is a difficult (which indeed it is difficult) and meaningless task.

Critical thinking is what drives the interest to learn and perhaps could be called the basis of intellectualism as a whole. This is the reason why I ask the question: Why do people love to consume but hate to think? I believe that in my analysis of the three (main) types of consumerism I answered part of that question. To complete my answer, I will describe a possible scenario that is likely not the main course of mental and emotional growth in my generation but does fit what I have seen in my peers and friends.

Sapios (a play on words in Latin for wise) has just been born. The year is 1997 and his parents are rushing over something called the Internet. Soon they realize that unlike how they learned in their generation, Sapios is going to be able to learn anything at all right from the PC! Sapios is three now and his parents are very happy and excited. He sees them bring in a big rectangular box with buttons on it. They spend a lot of time on it and they start showing him how to use it too. He's amazed that he can play games on a screen with buttons. This behavior progresses until 2008. He's eleven and loves video games and TV. He's not doing any real thinking outside of school but who can blame him? He's ten and besides, TV is 'more fun than school'! Sapios' parents are very spiritual and tell themselves that they will start to teach him critical thinking and then philosophy and science. But suddenly, this thing called the Iphone comes out. Sapios pleads his parents to buy it for him and eventually, they do. His friends all have Facebook, so he think he should too. Then Sapios learns about all these games and fads on the Internet and he begins to start thinking less and consuming more. Sapios is twelve when his parents start making him introspect. The subject doesn't interest Sapios. It's boring and it's LEARNING. Better to hang out. Sapios decides he will skip the lecture today and go to smoothie place with his friends and his new crush, Elizabeth.

Sapios' parents are distraught. They can't get him to talk to them, to trust them or to do what they say. They see rebellion but are surprised. What did they do wrong? They always gave Sapios what he wanted, trusted and respected him and his space. This is more or less the scenario (albeit most parents are not spiritual but would like you all the same to study) that I see with frequency. It is in this manner (at least that's how the theory goes) that people are brought into the media system and the Buddhist American concept of "the wheel of consumerism". It is a joke, but all the same, it is how my generation's story goes.

To conclude everything, you should always be aware of what it is your studying or posting and perhaps make a change of pace and introspect for a while. It'll clear your mind and help you understand many things.

Your friend and teen philosopher, Alejandro Rocha

Friday, May 4, 2012

--Unlike most of my posts on this blog, this post is a poem I wrote today in a chapel.  I hope you enjoy reading it--


And though we are apart, you and I shall always be together. You in my heart and I in yours. And though Space separates us, Time binds us. We shall meet again, my love, and when we do, we shall rejoice.
           ~ Rosemary, My Eternal Love

And after the years slip away, and my hair grows white and weak, my love endures. And after the bowels of my ship have grown worn and cracked, and the sails lay in tatters, my ship's hope to return remains.

           ~ My Sunshine Flower

And after the skies have lost color and the clouds have gone dark, and hope has been lost, passion remains. And after the flooded decks have dried, and the wet sails ripped, the ship drifts into the harbor, where the old widow waits.

           ~ My Life's Meaning 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Idea

Though I've always thought that religions were viruses of the mind, and things I should avoid, I now see their purpose in the world.  From reading Susan J. Blackmore, I understood the biological advantages of believing, but now, I see mental ones.  What most atheists have known is that most religions provide decent moral standards and good teachings, but what they have failed to understand is that it builds the person in such a way as to actually be very irrelevant to religion. When religion is firmly implanted in the mind of a young one with an unwilling grip, no good can be caused. But in more laid back countries, such as the U.S., the good that comes from religion is shocking. Not only does it give good moral standards and more children but even something more surprising.

The ability to think critically when necessary.  To most philosophers and atheists this will sound very strange at first.  But the true hidden meaning of most modern religions (as well as philosophies) is this: Fit it to be you.  What I have realized is that during the Italian Renaissance and after, religion had to adapt itself to a new world.  Where banning something only meant people should do just that.  In order to survive, the Christian religion had to change its "battlefield strategy" to insist on love for the Lord and rewarding if you converted instead of fear of being sent to Hell.  What this caused without anyone realizing is the most revolutionary thing since the beginning of history.  Since religion is more laid back nowadays in civilized countries, it is much more tolerant.  For instance, more and more churches allow non-believers to enter their churches and get to know their customs instead of not allowing any "infidels" in.  And conversion by force is long gone in the Jewish and Christian religions.

It is because of this tolerance, this belief that people from other religions are equal that I say religions have good mental attributes.  That belief of equality in other religions is what created the negative growth of Christianity in the west.  When believers hear philosophical ideas and scientific ideas nowadays, they accept it much more easily than one would expect, and sometimes, that even results in conversion. By reacting to the Renaissance with more generous morals, Christianity has doomed itself in the west almost seven hundred years later.  It has evolved to be more at peace with science and philosophy, therefore making the jump from Christianity to Atheism much smaller.  Now it is possible to talk freely to religious people about advanced philosophy if you phrase it correctly and make sure it doesn't have anything to do with God.  By committing to it's survival, Christianity has doomed itself but lasted an extra seven hundred years. 

This is why I say that religion has an overall positive effect on humans: it makes them tolerant of others, have decent morals, more children, and nowadays, it gives people a higher tolerance of conversion.  It is because of its horrible bans and threats that Christianity has become something that allows people to think freely.   As Jesus once said, "there is greater joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents over ninety-nine others who need not repent."  This is similar to what Christianity as a religion has done.  It was a mess of morals and threats back in medieval times, but now it is a decent religion of free spirits.  There is no greater joy on Earth.

Nowadays, you see many religious (non-Buddhist) people delving into philosophy and learning much of it, believing it is irrelevant.  That creates a mental system that understands more, is more interested in, and makes others interested as well in philosophy.  In the process of doing so, they become much more tolerant, more understanding of others, and much more interested in other religions.

Your Friend, Alejandro Rocha 

Note: This article is not intended to encourage any conversion from any religion to atheism or any other religion. This article is not intended to be offensive to religion, atheism, or specifically Christianity in any way.  This article praises religions and does not wish to offend or diminish any religion(s).

Monday, July 4, 2011

On Philosophy, the Revised Edition

Here's a food for thought. How would you live your life... alone? Completely alone? With food, shelter, water, yes, but no other people to interact with? To some of you, it may first seem a blessing, others just not preferable. But in reality, it is an absolute curse for humans.

Is it possible to do philosophy without using science? ANY form of science? Most of you will say no, some of you will say possibly, and few of you will say yes. Here's the answer to my question; you're all wrong. It is absolutely possible, if probable, to explain all philosophy in terms of some science... just not yet. Interesting, isn't it? Let's look back at the philosophers of the past.

Aristotle was a materialist, and focused on the practical and physical. Can that be explained in terms of the science in his day? Mostly, but he had a few correct ideas that were not feasible to understand using that science. What about... today's science? Most of his ideas are basic and could easily be understood by most of the people living on Earth. Let's take it a little further back in time. Aristotle was Plato's shining and preferred student at his academy. Yet, their ideas were completely different. Plato believed that there was an ideal realm that preceded that of the physical and was all the more real than the physical, while Aristotle believed just the opposite. Can Plato's ideas be explained through today's science? For the most part, no. His ideas refer to something more spiritual than what science can currently handle (although isn't everything in science a spiritual goal?). Although it is intuitive that in the future, maybe tens to hundreds of years away, it will be able to be partially explained through some terms of science. Possible, and probable, correct? But let's go back to the stone age. Plato was the pupil of Socrates and Socrates preferred him to all others. Socrates focused little on the creation of the universe, and usually did not listen to much to new theories about it. He concerned himself with more pressing matters. Here's a alteration of what he once said, vulgarized into a more understandable form. You want knowledge? Know yourself first. Then you may dream about the gods. What he meant by his quote, know thyself, is that most knowledge has little value to implementation if the holder of the knowledge has no knowledge of himself. He who cannot rule himself, cannot rule Asia. - Anonymous.

Back to the subject at hand. Was the science of the time a viable tool to decode Socrates's sayings? It was no where near what was needed. He was a complete master of himself and understood himself and humans so well, that people might confuse it with something Buddhist. Is today's science closer to something viable of decoding Socrates's knowledge? No, in fact, it would be even harder today, because we are using (and this may sound strange) a better method. Though we are advancing towards the right science, this science is too much focused on the physical to understand something so complex as that of the human mind, or rather, whatever goes on in there. Is it possible for a perfect science to emerge as a dark horse and create a perfect theory of the mind? Possible, just not probable.

Here is what I have seen in all my years of research and trials. The meaning of life... is but an illusion. It is unique to every person and completely abstract in the minds of others. A few of you wise ones may understand yes, but that is not the complete meaning of life. A fewer number may understand that it is also part of being human that implants us with other parts of the meaning of life, but there is an even more mysterious part to it that at first, may seem irrelevant. What I have understood is that while there are three main mental activities which we form our entire lives around, there is a fourth mental activity 'pulling all the strings'. Something that is not touched by neurology, psychology, or even memetics. It is not a conscious activity (although it seems possible to make it so), it is not a subconscious activity, and not even an emotional activity. It basically is that human drive to live and want things. Now, I know what your thinking. It's a survival skill, its related to genetics and biology, etc. But its not the same thing. It's, in a more detailed way of expressing, it's a combination of drives that let us humans pursue things just for the heck of it. The main three drives are (in descending order): 3) The pursue of knowledge. 2) The pursue of happiness. And 1) The need of being acknowledged by others. Perhaps not in a positive way, although preferable, but simply being acknowledged.

In the 2000 movie Cast Away, directed by Robert Zemeckis, Chuck Noland becomes stranded on a cay with little resources, little fruit, and no people when the tourist airplane he's on crashes into the ocean. While he has a few basic necessitates, flashlight, lighter, etc., he has only one other thing. A volleyball, who he then paints a face on and dubs Mr. Wilson. He talks to him every day and lets himself pretend to believe that Mr. Wilson is a real person. He seems completely eccentric, correct? Alas, not. You would have done the same thing. The human need for interaction, as I listed above, is not only necessary for our physical survival, but our mental one. As we slowly lose all interaction with beings of any sort, our mind starts to deteriorate. We either die, or go insane. It is a sad truth, but one we must understand and accept it in order for us to understand us and the rest of the human race.

While it is possible to create personal proportions of the three drives, it is always best to find a balance. Especially the most dangerous one, which is also the most useful. The drive to interact with humans. If you go too far into this, your life is consumed, by what else? What others do, and what are teenagers doing the most nowadays? Facebook, electronics, etc. That which we consume, is that which consumes us. - Anonymous.

What is philosophy? Is it... a tool? A science? The word comes from Greek, philosophia, meaning love of wisdom. While the categories of philosophy are far too large to judge as a whole, there is one basic principal in philosophy. Namely, do it yourself, for yourself. To one man's ability to that of his needs. Of course, this isn't true in all cases, but most philosophies, including the one I regard to be the most important, follow this principal. To base beliefs on knowledge, and to polish it to fit new evidence. In this way you feel spiritually satisfied, wise, and healthy. Of course, this may sound very strange to you, do it yourself, but what it means is that all of us focus on a different form of philosophy, all of which are potentially true. Different, incomparable most of the time, therefore, all valid theories.  I live for others... not for myself - Anonymous.

The basic point of this essay was to make humans understand our spiritual needs and wants and to help truly, and absolutely, become the ruler of yourself.

- Alejandro Rocha

Friday, July 1, 2011

So, How do Electronics and Babies Mix?

For all of you new parents out there, I have to say but a sole word.  Sorry.  I know that raising and pleasing a new kid may be difficult and at times, not exactly feasible, but it's worth it.  Holding that little child in your arms, knowing that it loves you and that it goes beyond simply being fed, is one of life's greatest pleasures.  It's hard to imagine right now that in only a decade or two, they'll leave as soon as they came.  But not to worry, as you still will have many great experiences with this tiny miracle.  So... What's your plan?  Here's what I mean by that.  Though that with normal parenting the child would grow up just fine and have a happy life, there are some tricks to making it easier to raise a kid.  But first of all, let's focus on the basics of raising children.

One: Do not forbid them from being in contact with electronics.  I know that this may seem a little strange a suggestion, and possibly even a little difficult to take seriously, but I will explain this in more depth in the columns below.  This will cool resentment towards you by letting be involved in their social environment.

Two: Make them understand what electronics are really are.  (So that they do not end up wasting hours of their time daily on Facebook and the like.)  Make them understand that electronics are much more than simply Facebook, texting, and more of society's garbage.

Three:  Make them feel like they are talking to a friend when they speak to you.  It is in this manner that you will be able to make sure that they are not being bullied, offended, etc.  Not by spying on them.

Now lets focus on a largely misunderstood way of parenting.  Most do not call it spying, but simply monitoring.  Or perhaps, 'making sure they're ok'.  Though at first this way of parenting may seem very potential, it comes with horrible consequences.  While in the adult's point of view, 'monitoring' their kid may seem acceptable, from the child's point of view, it makes them feel diminished and violated.  And even though this may sound a bit far-fetched, they feel as if they aren't truly being themselves..  Mainly because, they feel as if they have to be fit into their parent's expectations and desires, not their own.  Even if you are not trying to impose something of this sort on the child, the common lack of communication makes it seem so to the child.  Also, the only change in the behavior of the child is that their behavior will worsen and that all real communication with peers will be done through whispering while alone

Another thing that usually comes with this monitoring of the child is lack of communication.  If the child feels that they are talking to someone of authority and someone capable of dealing out punishment, they obviously will not feel comfortable talking to that person.  But if they look at you as a close friend who just happens to have slight authority over them, they will trust you much more and feel more comfortable reporting problems.

How do you do that?  Well generally, the best way is to simply raise them as an equal.  (And make it seem as if the temper-tantrums and problems they arouse are irrelevant to they being equals).  To deal punishment when truly necessary, but otherwise, not.  My parents rarely punished me and that was only when I truly made a fault.  When something severe was happening and without me realizing it.  Such as, arrogance, disrespect, aggression, physical combat, etc.  But nothing like, accidentally breaking the dishes or getting a bad grade, or anything of the sort.  They simply told me that I had committed a mistake and to realize it.  I would always say sorry and hug them, and never try to blame it on someone else because I knew no punishment would be dealt either way.

The best way to raise is a kid to set a few limits, correct him/her when necessary, and to give suggestions, but never to try to force them into things they don't wish to do.  They will bloom in their own ways, and you shouldn't expect them to be like you or to be what you want them to be.  If just follow these rules, the kid should be just fine.  They will feel able to express themselves and be much less prone to vulgar social environments and the like.  They will, however, be more prone to academics and healthier things than Facebook and electronics.

Basically, do not spy on them, force them into things, threaten them in any way, or do anything at all that could make them feel unworthy of themselves or of expressing themselves.  Here is what you do want to do.  Let them be themselves, make few intervenes in their life, but make sure that they trust you.  Let them know that they are your friends, not just their children.  Remember, a good relationship is built on trust, not on control.  I hope you enjoyed this essay.

- Alejandro Rocha

Sunday, June 26, 2011

An Amazing Truth

What I have come to know as Philosophy is an ever-changing, ever-enlightening, ever-flowing, stream of incredible knowledge. It started all out as that of finding out a simple task. That of which I did not understand in the least. People. I was very different from others from the start, but when I began to study Philosophy, they almost regarded me as their inferior.

Yet, I continued to study this wonderful subject of which I now have devoted my life to. I regard it as one of my highest loves, and I will follow it until I am shown I should not. I realized that all that people truly do is test. Not consciously, for the reason they think they do it is to laugh at someone and feel powerful, but the subconscious task that attacked me day after day at my old school was that on insults, teasing, bullying and ridiculing. I felt pain in the process, but it is only now that I realized why I survived it. Because I clung on to the thing that caused this 'problem' in the first place. My human need for knowledge. Philosophy was a stream and I had an unquenchable thirst. If I had given up on the subject and simply gone away with the selfish minds of the masses, I wouldn't be alive. I would be a walking zombie, consuming endlessly, like all the others. But I stuck with my stream and it rewarded me with dozens of fish.

I now realize so many incredible facts of the world that I couldn't even begin to fathom had I not incidentally tripped upon this marvelous, hidden subject. Philosophy is my lifestyle and in that shall it stay, for it could well be the most impressive and fantastic accident I fell upon in my life. I may include many other subjects here, for what people call philosophy is demented. It is the study of the human being while constantly taking into account the physical patterns of the brain, nervous system, and many other works of mother nature. What people don't understand is that in the eyes of History and Philosophy, the physical is nothing. Philosophy is a literally endless supply of knowledge for all and every human being in just that study of himself. To understand who one is, and what one must do, is that feeling of true power.

Not the childish sort of which people must hurt others in order to feel. This power is self-supplying, self-emanating, and self-making. In a way it defies the laws of physics, because it is a (metaphorical)endless supply of completely free energy. Energy, meaning knowledge. That of which drives us to achieve greatness and that of which drives us to help others achieve greatness. What more is but the sole human goal? There doesn't have to be a game for us humans to want to win. We make our own rules, we make our own victory conditions, and therefore that creation creates us. We all are born with a certain amount of rebellion and need to be better. Or so we think. What that truly is, is the need to achieve greatness, not by others, but by oneself. If you are proud of the knowledge and personal achievement you have made then you have achieved the most powerful form of greatness. Infinite power. This infinite power allows you to do something so radically important in your life, that some might say it is the only way to achieve your meaning of life.

Be yourself. In this I credit Nanice Ellis for teaching me this, as it has opened up a world of knowledge to me. If you become so powerful as to be able to break the doors of this social environment and be able to exert yourself firmly in this world of electronics and unchanging individual needs, then you have achieved one of the most important things in life. However so, the only thing that this does is open your eyes to an incredibly new thing. True happiness. Though true happiness has existed ever since the first human thought, it has been deleted from our minds in such a widespread fashion that sometimes I doubt if all of humanity will be able to achieve this blissful state. This 'true happiness' is the most incredible feeling in life. It drives you to live and what it does is that it realizes your life, and makes it worthwhile. There is but one sole thing that rivals this incredible feeling.

Achieving your meaning of life, through work, sweat, and sometimes even blood can mean achieving the absolute highest feeling of self-worth and self-confidence and yes, even true happiness. This is because you completed the sole thing in life that really meant something to you. Most people just continue on living after this, not realizing what had happened. What you do after you achieve this feeling; this feeling that we all have at least once in our lifetimes, is find a new meaning of life. Otherwise what would the point of life be? This is one of the reasons why I now disregard immortality. In an infinite amount of time, all meanings of life will have been completed. And people will want to die. It is a shame, truly, but immortality is not what nature intended. It intended for us to know that life would end, therefore, making it so much more beautiful. Knowing that we will die and that we might achieve an incredible feeling of power before we do so, means the world to us. I hope that you enjoyed this essay.

- Alejandro Rocha

Saturday, June 25, 2011

On Electronics and Our Mental Horizons

Here are the results of my one-month survey. After seeking out 50 people chosen completely at random, some of my conclusions for several questions (one of them being: Do electronics decrease or increase the quality of our lives) are indeed, rather obvious.

The overwhelming majority of people who use electronics for 5 or more hours a day rated their lives lower than those who use electronics much more rationally as to use it only four hours a day. Though I did find a link between the hours spent on electronics and religion, it was not significant in the sense of what religion you had, but how deeply it was implanted in your life. Because the overwhelming majority of my 'volunteers' were Mormon, I may not be able to provide exact information on the link between religion and the amount of time spent on electronics. However so, still studying Catholics and Protestants, I had seen that if the Christian religion, especially the Mormon religion, was a greater part of the volunteer's life, usually, the smaller the number of hours. I do not fully understand the link, but I speculate that this is due to the volunteer's life being more thought out, per se, and therefore being more focused on other things rather than electronics. I also found that most of the people who were more deeply involved in religious activity, played less violent and more educational games and did more constructive things with their time than those who were less deeply involved in religion. Obviously, due to the mindset proposed upon the volunteer's mind.

However, those not as deeply involved in religious activity, were not necessarily less intact of themselves, just usually, more potent to change through the social environment around them. Meaning that their opinions could be more easily swayed by peers, teachers, and parents. Another thing I found is that the results were the same with people of philosophical activity in the place of religious activity.

Now, here are the approximate percentages (I could not forge exact ones due to the complexity and emotional difficulties of the task): A large percentage of about 65-75% of people said that they spent 5 or more hours using electronics and of course, Facebook. The other 25-35% of people said that they did not use electronics for more than 4 hours and most all of them said, more than 3. The average 'rating' of overall life quality for those who used electronics for 5 or more hours a day, was 7.5 in a scale of 1-10. Now, the average rating for those who used electronics for less than 5 hours a day was an incredible 9.5. That's an incredible jump of 27%. I still have other questions I wanted resolved, however. This does not mean that electronics cause a bad life, it only means that the way we use them may change our life.

Since the beginning of time, man has searched and searched for the meaning of life. Though I personally believe that the meaning of life is unique to each person, these results show that there is a 'lower' meaning of life that is permanently implanted in the entire human race. Every single person I interviewed said that their absolute favorite thing to do was, at its essence, having fun. Basically, enjoying life and mostly, making it worthwhile. This means that while we each have our highest loves and regards as personally and absolutely unique, as members of the human race we all share a certain element of similarity regardless of race, gender, religion, or anything else that you can think of. I found no respective link between the time spent on electronics and this.

Another thing I wanted answered was the basic attitude towards school and people in general and if it was changed because of the basic activities done during the day by the person. I interviewed 50 people, and it seems that those who spent a lot of their time on electronics also spent most of the remaining time that they were awake, talking to other people. Now, here is where everything comes into place. The reason that I describe the link between the time spent on electronics and the quality of life is not to find out how much time people spend on electronics, but how they use their time with them. If you spend your time doing constructive things on these 'blessings of God' as I describe them, your life can be dramatically changed for the good. What I saw in virtually all of the people who spent most of their time on electronics was that they were focused much more on the changing society and on electronics than religion, academics, sometimes exercise, and many of the things that truly make us rational human beings. Those people who spent their time on electronics, rather than reading books or doing exercise, were slightly less tolerant to new ideas, change, academics, and all of the good things I mentioned above. What I have seen is that though this is rather a phase in the ages 11-13, because of the exponentially growing use of commercial electronics (basically using electronics to have fun and play games) might mean that these 'cyber teens' may NOT grow out of this phase but instead, dedicate even more time to it.

Another thing I found in my research is that kids/teens who use electronics for more than 5 hours a day usually have more family problems and their lives are less thought out than those kids who do not spend so much time on electronics. The link between electronics and family problems is currently unknown to me. However, I speculate that this is due to the social environment that kids are exposed to while using electronics. Those kids who use electronics frequently usually have more independent personalities and more disregarding of parents' suggestions than those who limit their electronic use. Yet still I found that kids who frequently use electronics are slightly more aggressive, gossip more, and bully others more. These things have existed far longer than Facebook or electronics have, but the environment produced by electronics makes these behaviors flourish much more than before. This is not due to Facebook or the electronics themselves, as I have much respect for both, but the way that kids use them. Vulgar language, inappropriate material and even threats are usually passed around through these devices. I find that if kids appear truly 'obsessed with electronics' they are not obsessed with the devices as such, but the things they do on them. What I realize (and this is in part directed to parents) is that you don't have to limit your kids' use of technology, but raise them in a manner of which they feel comfortable talking to you about anything and everything and of which they feel safe and secure telling you when something is wrong. If you do so, then they will feel more self-confident and be less prone to this 'cyber revolution'. Of course, keeping them away from technology would be a crime, but to make them understand what electronics really are not only keeps them away from this vulgar social environment, but encourages them to act for the future, to save up cash, and to study academics instead of stalking their boyfriend's/girlfriend's Facebook profile. My conclusion for this entire survey and my main question, do electronics decrease or increase the quality of our lives, is basically this. If you don't know how to use electronics, I'm sorry. They are the future, but they will only be a good future if you make it so.

Technology is the future, there is no doubt in that. The question really is, how will you use it?

Notes: This survey interviewed people ages 11-13 with one exception being a fourteen year old. This survey is not intended to replace any scientific research or disregard it, but the interviewed volunteers were approached in a mannerly, polite, way and their beliefs were not threatened. The information in this survey may not be completely accurate, but the survey is not biased. All volunteers were chosen and asked at random. This survey is meant for educational reasons only and personal information shall be kept completely secret from anyone and everyone who asks for it. This survey does not keep computer or written files of any personal information at all, and all information of the volunteers is kept either secret or shown above anonymously. No harm was intended in the making of survey and no harm shall be brought.

- Once again, your fellow friend,
Alejandro Rocha