As thought-provoking as this book was, I am GLAD to be done reading, discussing, and thinking about it. "When Breath Becomes Air" was written by Paul Kalanithi after he was diagnosed with cancer at 36. He was in his last year of neurosurgery residency (read: he had his whole career ahead of him) at the time. The book is interesting in many ways. First, he's both the doctor and the patient, and he shares that perspective. Second, his writing is unique in that he was a huge literature lover and just all-around a very well-read person! Third, it puts the onus of answering some of the book's big questions on you: the reader. The odds of getting cancer in a lifetime are something around 1 in 3 right now. So it reads like a simple, universal story: this is his story, but it’s just as much your story, my story, everyone’s story. Really heavy stuff. I recommend it, but be mentally ready when you read it!
Would our society be better if most of us were altruistic (did things genuinely for the benefit of others) or egoistic (put our own needs and wants first)? And further, what about our own well-being? What's the best way to live your own life? University has challenged my personal values immensely. I've had to figure… Continue reading writing || altruism or egoism: the merits of selfishness in an idealist’s world
The circumstances of our births are instrumental in determining who we are to become. However, to what degree do they cement our fates and make up who we are as people? The question of whether our innate human nature or the conditions of our nurturing throughout childhood have a greater role to play in our development is a hotly debated one. And the truth is that we have no way of knowing the scientifically-accurate answer. The question is a matter of hypotheticals - if we perform an experiment in which twins are reared separately to see how they differ in personalities when nature is kept the same but nurture is modified, not only are there too many other variables to account for, but we have no way of comparing the results to those had we kept the twins together. However, as humans we feel responsible for what we willingly choose and control, and when it comes to the course of our life, there is a lot we can control. It may be argued, then, that although nature affects our options, it is nurturing and the choices we and others willingly make that are the essence of what makes us uniquely human and individual.
This essay was largely inspired by Jordan Peterson and the many controversies happening recently in Canada. It was written for my politics class, but when I started working on it I realized that I wasn't producing or saying what I wanted to given the format of the rubric and guidelines and such, so I sat… Continue reading writing || The Postmodern Problem: A Critique of Postmodernism in Politics
This was a short essay for my grade 12 politics class. It had to be about a controversial topic, so I chose affirmative action and argued against it. Equality for everyone – regardless of race, sex, appearance, ability, and social status is perhaps the largest social campaign currently influencing the news, social media, and even… Continue reading writing || The Problems with Affirmative Action
Just finished reading “Nation” by Terry Pratchett! It’s a 5-star in my Goodreads! But before I start talking about it, here’s its Goodreads synopsis: Synopsis Alone on a desert island — everything and everyone he knows and loves has been washed away in a storm — Mau is the last surviving member of his nation.… Continue reading writing || Wow: “Nation” by Terry Pratchett
A few weekends ago, I decided to try a social media blackout. Not for any particular reason but to see how it’d feel. Like many others, I too am addicted to my phone, social media, the constant pings that reach out to me from distances away and make me feel less like the single, unconnected… Continue reading writing || The Media and our Mental Health: Solutions to our Consumption Culture
Studying religion at a Catholic school has been fascinating, albeit rather challenging. Although I am a Christian, and still celebrate Christian holidays with my friends and family, my relationship to God, the universe, the energies and spirits or whatever is out there is my own, and I’ve never felt that any religion has done it… Continue reading writing || World Religions: Thoughts on the Course
There are two things all religions seem to know for certain: 1. God is Good. 2. We are all a part of God’s masterfully orchestrated plan. Everything that happens is meant to happen. I’ve always puzzled over the idea of destiny. Everything that we are, or will be - has already been predetermined by a… Continue reading writing || The Case for Non-Theism: The Strengths of Buddhism