Saturday, 28 May 2016

This Celebrity Obsessed World

I have been wondering about Celebrity obsession and what it really does to and for us. I have tried to consider what it does for us but I can find nothing else except entertainment: the few chuckles here and there, the occasional rush of excitement when a celebrity couple breaks up, the banter, the cheer, the comedy at the expense of the real lives of other people. There is nothing more as far as I know. But how about what it does to us? Isn’t that much more important?
I have been wondering about anorexia. Anorexia is a mental disorder in which patients starve themselves or use other techniques such as vomiting to induce weight loss. Now the exact causes of anorexia are unknown however there are psychological and social factors that contribute greatly in the development of the disorder. And of course, the biggest culprit is the twenty first century and this obsession. An interesting statistic states that the incidence of anorexia (incidence of a disease means the new cases of that disease) has doubled since 1970 and this rise in new cases is a side-effect of a genuine increase in number of persons affected and not merely an underreporting of cases before 1970. Plus, over 90% of patients diagnosed with the disorder as of the year 2001 are females.
We live in a celebrity obsessed world; this is the reason the Kardashians is a thing, it is the reason Big Brother is a thing, it is probably also the reason a vile Donald Trump may become the next president of the greatest country in the world, United States of America. This obsession of ours is why a 14 or 15 year old child would want to ‘watch her weight’ and watch what she eats because she wants to maintain a figure. A figure she does not even have in the first place. Sixteen year old girls take pills for this same reason; they do not want to get ‘fat’. And here, ‘fat’ means something completely different to them than what fat really means. The celebrity obsession has turned childhood, especially for females into this hustle to be perfect, to be an exact replica of your favourite reality star because to them that is what it means to be happy, that is what contentment looks like. These stars do not show us when they cry and so we think that they do not cry, and that is perfection, isn’t it? A life where you are always smiling, where you are posing for pictures, where everybody wants to take a selfie with you, and the few times you are unhappy, you unhappy for stupid reasons like person A did not show up for your party. Everyone would love that life; but not everyone realizes that that life is false. And that is the problem.
I have been wondering about make-up, too and while I have no problems per se with make-up, I feel that standards and self-esteem are very important things. The big companies that produce these things and their advertisements and billboards showcasing their products, feature these celebrities we are obsessed with and it convinces these little girls (these vulnerable little girls again) that they need make-up to be good looking, that they are not beautiful (definitely not as beautiful) unless they wear Dior eyeliners and Avon shadows and NARS lipsticks. But these things are lowering their self-esteem because even with those expensive products, they will never, ever be beautiful enough to catch up with the standards that have been subconsciously engraved into their consciousness. These standards of beauty, they can never meet.
There is no foreseeable solution to this obsession of ours. The damage has been done already. But the future is always a place we can look to with hope. And hope is one thing we can always have no matter what. So let’s hope that at some point in the future, by some miracle, we shall be cured of this obsession that does way, way, way more to us and our little vulnerable children than it can ever do for us.

Friday, 6 May 2016

The Trolley Problem

The Fat Man

Trolley Problem 

I have had some time on my hands lately and so I have been studying things that I find interesting; among which are Thought Experiments. Thought Experiments are experiments that are carried out in thought only. They tend to give you a moral perspective and tend to allow you see things through a separate point of view from which you would normally see them.  I intend to write some about one particular thought experiment called ‘The Trolley Problem’ I heard about it for the first time while reading John Green’s The Fault in our Stars in 2013, it was touched on a little bit.
The trolley problem is a thought experiment in the field of ethics.  It is basically explained as follows:
There is a runaway trolley speeding down a train track. There are five people tied up and unable to move on the same track and if the trolley is unaltered, it kills the five people; you are standing at some point away from the track, next to a lever which, when you pull, changes the course of the trolley to another lane where you notice that there is only one person at risk.
You have two options: a) Do nothing and watch the trolley kill the five people stuck on the tracks or b) Pull the lever, kill the one person on the other track and by so doing save the life of the other five.
What is the right action to take?
Most people would choose option b which is to pull the lever and kill only one person instead But since there is already wrongness in place as at least someone is bound to die whatever the situation, moving the lever would mean participating in the wrongness and indirectly killing someone instead of the first situation where no one is killing anyone and things are just happening by nature’s cruel hands.
Now, here’s another angle to the same problem: The Fat Man.
Now say the trolley is speeding down a train track just as before and there are still five people unable to move, just as before. In this situation however, you know that the only way to stop the trolley is by creating a wedge with something heavy in front of the trolley before it gets to the five people. You notice a fat man standing just next to you, he is heavy enough. Do you a) Do nothing and watch the five people die or b) Push the fat man unto the track thereby killing him and saving the lives of the other five?
Most people who would pull the lever and kill just the one person in the first example, would shudder at the thought of pushing the fat man unto the tracks, they do not approve of this course of action even though it is very similar to pulling the lever in the first example.
There is a difference though and that difference is your intentions. In the second example, your intention is to harm someone to save five people; however in the first example, you are not intent on killing anyone per se; the death is a kind side effect of you pulling the lever. But the principle still remains the same: by pulling the lever or pushing the fat man, you are directly participating in an event that would lead to the death of someone. By doing nothing, you are not participating; you are just watching a very, very horrific incident take place.
 I do not know what I would do.