Hes Normal, I Swear..

There are those who go with the flow, and those who go away from the flow. People who go with the flow are usually considered conformists, and those who don’t show their individuality. We see this everywhere in society. Usually it is evident in the high school scene, where the “odd- ball out” is not the one to fit in. In class, we learned and read about John Stuart Mill. He argues that a person, once introduced to the world and society around them, should express their individuality in a way that is positive for a society. There are times where things can get out of hand but lets look at an example of people who do things “differently” but in the end show Mill’s argument.

Hunter Pence being, Hunter Pence

Lets take Hunter Pence as an example. He is an outfielder for the San Francisco Giants. Dude has absolutely the most unorthodox swing and throwing motion in the MLB and maybe even in MLB history. His style of play got him to where he is today. He plays extremely hard and aggressive and plays with a swagger most people do not have. He also just looks ridiculous. In a way it is awesome to see somebody go out there, looking like that, and playing without a care in the world. This relates to Mill. Pence goes out there, doing him, and does well, plays hard, brings positive energy to the park with him and gives the people hope. Sometimes people get bored of normality. Pence brings his individuality and provides a spark for San Fran. Mill wants this kind of player. He wants somebody who acts like they want, not how society wants them to and makes a positive impact while doing it. Now, lets look at somebody who Mill might have a problem with.

Brian Bosworth, also known as ‘The Boz”. Boz was a stud football player at the University of Oklahoma. He was the calling to bring the Oklahoma team back to its glory days. He did just that. He also had this alter ego, “The Boz”. “The Boz” expressed his individuality with his actions off the field, how he talked to the media, and his crazy hair. So far, Mill would be all for Bosworth, with all of these different things about him. Now Mill would start to argue that he is bad because his actions did not reflect in a positive manner. He was arrogant, cocky, and did steroids. Mill, again, would be ideally looking for someone who can express him/ herself that does not conform to society while giving a positive image.

Brian “The Boz” Bosworth

Mill does make a good point I believe. Expressing individuality is something most people should do. As long as it makes a good impression on who you are and can benefit your community, people should avoid conforming. It would make the community more unique and also, could change the world for the good.

Ill take that…

Believe it or not, contracts have become a huge part of life. We use contracts all the time whether it be to buy a house or a friendly deal. They are good for holding somebody accountable for something but if it is for relationships it might not be the best idea. The place we see them most, s professional sports. All they time we are hearing about contract extensions or huge contract offers. Lets take a look at a few that catch everybody’s eyes.

Mike Stanton just got a contract offer for $325 million for 13 years. This almost is not fair. It has somewhat come down to, in professional sports, that there really is no concept of the team. When the player is through with his/ her contract, they seek more money and do not necessarily care what team they are on. Obviously there are some exceptions but this has been an occurring thing as time is going forward. This relates to Hobbes because in his book “The Leviathan”, he explains that people are self- motivated and selfish. The people will try to better themselves before looking at the whole (team/ group). Speaking of being selfish and not for the team, we can look at Frank Gore.

Mike Stanton 

In 2011, Gore was in the last year of his contract with the 49ers. He decided to skip mini camp (which was mandatory) in order for his deal to be put through, if you will. This is a prime example of what Hobbes was talking about. He did not care about the team or them getting better, he only cared about getting his money and doing what he had to do. Doing things differently, the 49ers made a rule that only when the player reports to camp that they can negotiate their contracts (1). This ultimately helped them, becoming more of a team and becoming a dominant team in the NFL.

Frank Gore

Speaking of this team concept, the Kansas City Royals are a great example. These players were a bunch of “no name” players for a while, all coming together in the minors. They did not have huge contracts, they just played for the love of the game. They struggles for a little but, this past year, they made it to the world series. Everyone of them did not care about how much they were getting paid, but cared about being a team and winning and losing, how sports should be portrayed.

Kansas City being a team

I have a younger brother at 10 years old and you can see this taking a toll on him and his peers. Kids now a days are seeing the selfishness of these athletes and it is rubbing off on them. As I watch my brothers basketball games, I can see the two kids on the court, on the same team, hog the ball and play for themselves. I ask my brother “Why don’t the other kids on your team pass the ball?”. He responds, “In the NBA….” and go off on a rant on how the best players play for themselves. Kids idolize tons of athletes all over the world and in today’s world, there is a huge change that is making professional sports something it never was and something that needs to be changed.

(1): http://www.csnbayarea.com/49ers/49ers-way-no-contract-negotiations-until-player-reports

You Got a Little Something on Your Hands

I have been thinking about it obviously for a while now and it is still my favorite/ most interesting thing we have gone over to me. Machiavelli is a very interesting person to study so I will start here.

Macbeth dirty hands

There are people in today’s society that believe in “Dirty Hands”. By this I mean that when somebody does something ethically wrong and then does something “right” to completely make up for it. For example, in the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth commits a murder and convinces Macbeth to kill King Duncan. At the time she was not phased by it but towards the end of the play she envisions her hands all bloody and “dirty” because of the murder. It doesn’t merely happen to this extent in the world we are in now but it comes up in all ways.

Lets start with Machiavelli. He talks a lot about Princes and how they should carry themselves. Many talks in discussion brought us to the fact that a “good” prince should be noble/ generous, aware of their surroundings and it is better to be feared than loved. Him saying that it is better to be feared than loved is an interesting point. More people will be kept in line and listen to their leader if they fear him or her. If they love the leader they will easily be able to manipulate that particular person. After doing some reading and research on Machiavelli, I found a quote that he had said about a prince and how they “must learn how not to be good”. He kind of contradicts himself by saying that because shouldn’t a prince be noble and generous? Anyway, by not being good the prince must do something immoral in a way. This could be lying, or doing something against his people. The dirty hands method comes into play now.

Dirty hands has something to do with doing the “right” thing to do but it being morally wrong. This happens in politics all of the time. After reading “Machiavelli Was Right” by Michael Ignatieff, he explains what happened when we (the US) took out osama bin ladin (not capitalized for a reason) . The president was deciding whether to pull the trigger (pun intended) or not on the mission to take out bin ladin. Morally killing a person is not the best thing to do but it was for the good of the country. If he didn’t proceed with it, he would probably be taken from office but since he did go through with it, he was able to keep himself “alive” and gained the trust from his people.

Break room during Osama Bin Ladin Mission

Machiavelli made a point that a prince must learn how not to be good. This includes doing things that may not be the best thing morally but to get the best outcome for yourself or the people it is affecting. As seen with President Obama, he did what was good for the country but was killing a person right? All of this is opinionated and is why “dirty hands” is a controversial topic. Do you believe in the doings of “dirty hands”?

Wash Those Hands!

Politician with dirty hands
Barack Obama carrying out killing of Bin Ladin. Photo by Paul Windle via The Atlantic
Barack Obama carrying out killing of Bin Ladin. Photo by Paul Windle via The Atlantic

There are people in today’s society that believe in “Dirty Hands”. By this I mean that when somebody does something ethically wrong and then does something “right” to completely make up for it. For example, in the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth commits a murder and convinces Macbeth to kill King Duncan. At the time she was not phased by it but towards the end of the play she envisions her hands all bloody and “dirty” because of the murder. It doesn’t merely happen to this extent in the world we are in now but it comes up in all ways.

Lets start with Machiavelli. He talks a lot about Princes and how they should carry themselves. Many talks in discussion brought us to the fact that a “good” prince should be noble/ generous, aware of their surroundings and it is better to be feared than loved. Him saying that it is better to be feared than loved is an interesting point. More people will be kept in line and listen to their leader if they fear him or her. If they love the leader they will easily be able to manipulate that particular person. After doing some reading and research on Machiavelli, I found a quote that he had said about a prince and how they “must learn how not to be good”. He kind of contradicts himself by saying that because shouldn’t a prince be noble and generous? Anyway, by not being good the prince must do something immoral in a way. This could be lying, or doing something against his people. The dirty hands method comes into play now.

Dirty hands has something to do with doing the “right” thing to do but it being morally wrong. This happens in politics all of the time. After reading “Machiavelli Was Right” by Michael Ignatieff, he explains what happened when we (the US) took out osama bin ladin (not capitalized for a reason) . The president was deciding whether to pull the trigger (pun intended) or not on the mission to take out bin ladin. Morally killing a person is not the best thing to do but it was for the good of the country. If he didn’t proceed with it, he would probably be taken from office but since he did go through with it, he was able to keep himself “alive” and gained the trust from his people.

Machiavelli made a point that a prince must learn how not to be good. This includes doing things that may not be the best thing morally but to get the best outcome for yourself or the people it is affecting. As seen with President Obama, he did what was good for the country but was killing a person right? All of this is opinionated and is why “dirty hands” is a controversial topic. Do you believe in the doings of “dirty hands”?

Keep Calm and Play On

Yankee Stadium

Sports or games are an all time relaxer. Whether one is playing the game or watching they almost equally share the same purpose. Both create a universe in which nothing but the game matters. We will take a look at both views along with works from Bernard Suits and A. Barlett Giamatti.

First off, playing a sport and being engaged in game play is one of the best feelings. Being able to compete while doing something you enjoy is always a plus. Transforming from a student to an athlete is also somewhat of a release. When walking to the field, after classes, I feel somewhat of a transfer of “weight” off of me because I can put all school aside for a while and concentrate on what I love to do. Here I can eliminate any other problems in my life. This helps me because it can keep me sane in a way and teaches me ways of relaxation and stress relief. This can also be found in Giamatti’s reading Take Time For Paradise. People play games for leisure and in doing this take them to a “paradise”. This is referred to as a paradise because the person doing the activity can escape the hardship that he/ she endures during work and can concentrate on the activity. This leads me more into my next point.

Not only do the athletes or game players escape the “real” world but also so do the spectators. The spectators play important roles in attending the events and supporting the players. In doing this, spectators develop special relationships to, usually, a team and, less frequently, a player. Spectators do this to release all of their work problems or whatever is bothering them and enter a new realm. This is the spectator’s way of watching another person compete by preforming acts of physical labor, if you will. People work because it is a necessity in life. Giamatti expresses that “The spectator invests his surrogate out there with all his carefree hopes, his aspirations for freedom, his yearning for transmutation of business into leisure, war into peace, effort into grace.” This is almost saying the same thing I was saying before. While watching the sport, the spectator is leisurely watching other people do physical work while competing. In doing this they become invested into a certain person/ team and wish or hope to be like that person. We have all imagined being someone we aren’t. People watch others and cancel everything out and one wishes to be whom they are watching. For example, me being a baseball player, I would kill to be Derek Jeter. I love watching him play and when watching him, I put away everything and imagine myself in his shoes.

Getting away from work is always a good thing. Most human beings try to find a time where they can relax and do leisure activities. This could be any kind of activity. There are good amounts of people who invest their time in sports or games. If one is playing them, they can be in a total different zone, away from all work and life problems. When one is watching, they can wish and hope to be something they aren’t while watching others do work, which in turn takes them away from normal work/ life.

Relaxation

Games ARE Fun!

Games are an awesome thing. Most everybody plays or has played a game. Things can get very competitive. Not everybody is the same and things wont get to be as serious as others. I know when I play a game or do something that involves winning; I will go all out and make sure I win. That is just the competitive side of me. But, play is the key word that I am saying.

As stated by Johan Huizinga, all play is voluntary. Play can be anything from rock, paper, scissors to a pick up game of basketball. These games are limited by space and time and all of them take you away from the real world in a sense (Huizinga). When one is playing a game, the only thing they’re concentrated on is playing and doing whatever the rules say. Mostly people play games to win. Sometimes there is a prize involved or a wager set. According to Huizinga, when one receives monetary compensation, it is no longer a game. This is where I disagree.

Games are games and are made for fun. Competition and teamwork is a lot of tension but can also bring out the best in people. For example when people play basketball, the satisfaction of getting an assist or receiving a pass and getting points is great because of the cohesiveness between the teammates. When one is very skilled, they usually take their talents to the next level. This could be a professional contract to a college scholarship. In most cases, not all, the talented player plays because he/ she loves the game. I believe getting money to play is an added bonus, whether it is a school paying for education or an organization paying you to be a part of their program. The main points of play, according to Huizinga, are: playing for enjoyment and playing just to play. Most athletes refer to “playing for the love of the game” as playing just to play. When somebody is good at something they usually tend to keep doing the activity. Over time, as they get better and better, they develop almost a tie to the game and can relate all ways of life to the game. This is when the player starts to enjoy the game. When these two things are factored in a player of any game along with skill, material gains could be available to them. So if they except the material gains, does this mean that the game they used to play is not referred to as a game anymore? All they are doing is getting an added bonus for what they do, and I can guarantee nothing will be altered just because the players are getting paid.

So I will end with a question. What do you think of Huizinga’s rules of play and what are some of the flaws in his rules?Block M