Thursday, December 10, 2009

Diversity II

Diversity in any residential community has the same impact on its population. It teaches us how we can all get along and love each other despite our differences. Too much of the same thing can be catastrophic. An area with a population that shares the same racial background, lower economic strata, and oppression can become a breeding ground for crime and violence. Ignorance is perpetuated when you are not exposed to anything different than what you are used to. Exposure to something other than what you are accustomed to has the power to expand your world which causes you to think differently. Once your thoughts change then your actions begin to change for the better.

Surroundings have a dramatic impact on who we are. Due to the fact that external influences inhibit us from being who we truly are, secluding ourselves from our normal environment allows us to explore who we are. Living in an environment where we are surrounded by individuals from different economic and/or cultural backgrounds will cultivate a positive environment by reducing the ignorance which will not be tolerated. This will cause a chain reaction and will lead to a decline in the crime rate and inevitably incarceration rates as well as a rise in college attendance.

Take my neighborhood for example. The population consists of predominantly lower middle class Jamaicans and African Americans. Most of the teens here are trapped in their own little world where they are interfaced with poverty, gang violence, drugs, and teen pregnancy. These young men and women see no bright future because they cannot see beyond their current condition. They do not know any better. They haven't been around people who have gone to college or friends whose' fathers are doctors or lawyers. Since they have not experienced an alternative environment they remain with the same mentality and perpetuate the ignorance. There is a small population of unique kids who will break the vicious cycle of poverty and attend college but for most kids higher education is not tangible.

Diversifying the residential community will allow these kids to think outside of the box and give them a unique opportunity to interact with different people and change their thought process. In a diverse area a kid from the ghetto will be able to meet somebody who grew up down south but migrated to the north and share the same racial background but whose father is a doctor. They will be able to speak to somebody who grew up in India and whose father is a diplomat. Before they thought college wasn't feasible but now they do. Along with the feasibility of higher education the
teenagers are exposed to a new world of possibilities. Now they know that the environment they live in is not normal and that there is a better world out there.

The borough of Queens embodies this concept of diversity enhancing the environment. For the most part Queens is very diverse and has a low crime rate compared to the boroughs that are concentrated with the same social class and racial background (Bronx and Brooklyn). As a resident of the Bronx I can attest to that. Another concrete example is my mentoring program. In this mentoring program we mentor at risk youth from Far Rockaway (an area in which the residents have the same socio-economic and racial background). One of the program's goals is to broaden the kids' scopes of reality and take them outside of their every day environment (i.e. taking a trip to Manhattan or going to a retreat upstate).In the past years after this year long program the greater majority of these teens eventually end up either attending college or gaining stable employment.

I have been a witness to the magical effect diversity can have in numerous environments. Diversity spices up life and creates a progressive atmosphere. I strongly believe that diversity can change the world.

Diversity I

Diversity can change the world. I know what the readers out there are thinking, that is such a big statement. I say this because diversity has a way of enhancing the human experience in any setting whether it it be college, the workplace or a residential community. When I say diversity I mean a population that varies in race, religous background, social class, family upbringing.

The way we grow is by shedding the layers of ignorance and exploring new horizons. The reason why I think diversity can transfrom society is because it allows us to learn from others and get out of our comfort zone. Forming bonds with others who do not share our background allows us to grow. The way we grow is by shedding the layers of ignorance and exploring new horizons.

Diversity is crucial in college. This is especially true if you go away for college. It is the perfect environment for exploration of new horizons. College is where most people discover who they really are! Diversity definitely facilitates this process. When you have people from various socio-economic, residential, and cultural backgrounds in the same location there is potential for incredible things to happen. My college experience was great. Although my college was socially segregated by race, I went out of my way and used my extroversion to mingle in different social circles and it was worth it. Being exposed to people from Poland, China, South America, The Middle East, Down South, and Cali revolutionized my world view. I had never traveled to these places but I got a glimpse of what they were like through interacting with these individuals and attending diffrent culural events. I would go to the Chinese moon festival, korean drumming, and Indian bhangra performances. In addition I would attend Latino and Carribean events. I would also speak to people who were affluent. On the contrary I spoke to others who were homeless at one time in their lives. These experiences made me a new man. I left college with a wealth of experiences that changed the way I thought. Going away for college was the right choice, after coming back home from college I see the world through different lens than I did before.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Critical Thinking

Nowadays I feel as if we take everything we see, hear, and touch for granted. What we lack is critical thinking. Everything we see can deceive us. In order to escape the dubious nature of whatever we subject our vision to, we must call into question. If we do not think about everything in a critical manner something may pass us by without us even knowing. A perfect example is watching the news and seeing how a natural disaster has killed many people in the Caribbean and believing it without doing any further investigation .

Also lets say somebody shares some historical information with you that seems inaccurate but you accept it. Society has taught us to remain ignorant and not to think critically. The ideal situation requires the use of the mental faculties in order to make a rational judgment based on the facts. For some people they may use this time to ponder and dissect any new information they come in contact with.

A critical thinker must think outside of the box and analyze the world from a different perspective. One of my African American Studies teacher in College told me that there are particular things you must get from life: conquer fear, think critically, and etc. I have strived to be a critical thinker because there are many things that are not seen to the plain eye. By believing everything that we hear and see, we put ourselves in a perilous position that can lead to our own mental or physical demise. When you don't accept anything at face value, call it into question, and scrutinize the issue you are critically thinking about it. Critical thinking can enable you to discern between false and veritable pieces of information and can enhance your ability to examine any strand of information. Furthermore critical thinking allows you to grow and bring about new ways of thinking as well as ideas.

Critical thinking is an incredible trait to have. Having a certain world view allows me to critically analyze and deepen my understanding in any activity, concept or area of study. This is a crucial skill that is useful in any situation that life throws at you and any realm whether it be science or politics. Thinking outside the box and reaching conclusions yourself rather than being dictated information is crucial for the development of the mind, thought process, and intelligence. Critical thinking skills can also help solve problems in life which is essential to survival.

Nature vs Nurture

This world-famous everlasting argument ceases to amaze me. I will pose a question. Are your personal attributes, talents, insecurities, flaws, social tendencies, mannerisms, and intellect determined by our surroundings or by genetics? This debate can go on for days if we let it. But I will explore both sides of the equation. The nurture aspect of this topic consists of a trait or a skill being fostered rather than it being nascent. The nature aspect of this topic focuses on the idea that the way we are is innate and is not something that is taught.

I believe that many traits that are cultivated through social observation are attributed to nurture. These are things such as being wise, a keen observer, or being funny. I also believe that nature can be responsible for certain talents but nurture can take this talent to the next level. A prime example is myself. I consider myself a good dancer, I personally think it was a God given gift but I have also honed my skills through practicing. If I didn't practice my skills I would have plateaued and would have not improved. Another example is Michael Jordan. Sure he had some natural ability to play the game but what maximized his potential was countless hours of mastering his game.

There are personal characteristics that I view as genetic. These are humor, openness, curiosity, attractiveness, charm, athleticism and intellect. All of these traits are inherent to certain humans. I believe most talents are also innate. Any traits that are psychologically stimulated are nurtured. These could be shyness, defensiveness, self esteem, and combativeness. In addition discipline, critical thinking, leadership qualities, and other life skills are acquired through your upbringing and life experiences.

The simple answer to why we are the way we are is that different qualities can be attributed to either nature or nurture. Traits that are inherent tend to involve a particular skill, talent, intellect or another unique characteristic such as being humorous. On the other hand traits that are nurtured are a love for a certain activity (such as reading), a psychological trait (defensiveness), a flaw and a social tendency such as being engaging and friendly.

Monday, November 16, 2009


This past Saturday I attended a mentoring event in Far Rock Away. I thoroughly inspected the MTA subway map and discovered that it was at the end of the A line. So essentially I was going to be traveling the world. I transferred from the the 2 to the A train and I began reading my book. As the train ride progressed I heard these shrieking sounds that seemed like some type of animal so I look outside the train window and see seagulls. The train was hovering over what seemed to be a bay. I must admit I was quite surprised when I saw the water and became frantic for about two seconds then realized that the train was supposed to go over the water and I wasn't in a near life-death situation lol. I thought to myself this body of water is rather massive are we crossing the Atlantic to go to England lol? I got off on the last stop of the train and took a shuttle bus from Far Rockaway to 44th Beach Street. I reached my destination and walked form 44th to 51st. So I entered the rehabilitation center where the event was held asked the security guard what room we were supposed to meet in.

I walk to the room and all I hear are boisterous sounds of kids screaming and hollering. Amidst all the pandemonium I see Butch (a mentor) who is standing outside and avoiding going inside the room. So I go inside the room but proceed with caution lol. As so as I walk in I see one of the mentors Reggie wrestling with one of the mentees. Right after they fight another one jumps in and tries to gang up on Reggie. I diffuse the tension by breaking it up. So then the biggest kid in the room CJ challenges me to a fight and I accept the offer so we wrestle and I wipe the floor with him. As I parade in victory I see like six more kids headed towards me. I try to get them off but it didn't work but they eventually were broken up. Ade came in at 11:30 although the event started at 9:00.

I saw one kid enter late and he seemed sort of pissed off. I observed his personality and he was very quiet, reserved, and solitary. I asked him why he was so quiet and he replied "im tired". I ask him why and he said he was playing a video game. After, I asked him if he knew anybody in the room. He said he knew some of the other boys but he preferred to be by himself. I ask him "why not" and he said he wants to be more independent. I also asked why this is a desirable trait and he said his father let other people take care of his responsibilities and he was dependent. Then the mentee thought to himself where have you been all these years since he has been absent from his life.

After the discussion they did an exercise where the mentees went for a short run and were timed. I stood on a corner cheering them on outside. My mentee came in 1st. I forgot what got you there in the first place? I told him if he puts his mind to it, anything is possible. He nodded his head in affirmation. I was amazed at how sharp all of them were including the mentee. They have advanced vocabulary and have a lot of potential, the only obstacle is unfolding that secret in order to maximize their potential. Supposedly he was in a gang. I am going to try my best for me to persuade him to make the right decision. This is another blog topic I will address in the future. that must be addressed.

So at the end of the day I asked him what he got out of today. He quietly said NEVER GIVE UP! He won two awards today which may be insignificant but to the mentees it means the world to them. This goes to show each one must teach one and we must stick together and share our resources and experiences. The underclass in America is stepped on, called names, and denigrated. We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and keep on playing!I could have changed a the mentee's life by revolutionizing his old mentality or maybe I'm seeing the changes and they may not see it. But I came to the realization that God's mission is to help and heal. I'm willing to spread the wealth of knowledge and educate my people on several topics. I was blessed with many gifts and resources in my lief so I am just trying to keep the cycle going by mentoring somebody else who seeks guidance.

Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol allows us to escape the harsh realities of everyday life as well as alter our reality. While under the effects of drugs we have the capability of eluding our true fate. Any drug has the capability of distracting you from the truth. Take alcohol for example, it reduces your inhibition therefore exposing our genuine characteristics but also tends to exaggerate those features. In addition it depresses your nervous system and causes you to lose your memory if used excessively. This all distracts you from the truth. Drugs give us the unique opportunity to cultivate a fantasy realm where anything is possible. Under the effects of drugs and/or alcohol people aren't fully aware of their surroundings. In real life people behave differently when they are inebriated rather than sober. This also distorts reality.

Drugs and alcohol also enable you to create your own safe space. This protects you from any damage that anybody may inflict upon you. Its a paradox, you may prevent yourself from being hurt but you hurt other people instead. Anything in moderation can't be too bad for you but anything in excess can cause problems in the future! Drugs and alcohol enslave you and inhibit you form breaking free of the negative cycle. It controls your emotions, physical urges and limits your mental capacity and coherence. As a result drugs and alcohol can be quite harmful. Furthermore drugs and alcohol make you do things that you would not do in your normal state. These experiences can be quite embarrassing.

In a sense masking the veracity of your character takes away from your genuine traits. These substances inhibit the manifestation of your true characteristics. In life we nay resort to an alternative approach for relief, but i life so may curve balls are thrown at you and you have to be able to tackle them before they become too out of control.! Drugs and alcohol gives you temporary relief. In the long run I believe it to be detrimental to yourself and others. Hopefully abstain form both!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Introvert vs Extrovert

My definition of an introvert is somebody who is shy while keeping their expression, emotions, and thoughts to themselves as well as somebody who maintains an intimate identity. On the other hand an extrovert is an individual who is outgoing, expresses their emotions outwardly, and makes their identity known. Each type of personality has its advantages and disadvantages.

An extrovert is often considered to be the better personality type. Which can be true or false depending on the scenario or situation. It is only the better personality type in a certain kind of setting like a networking event. One of the advantages of being an extrovert is that you will always have acquaintances as society has a strong affinity towards extroverted people. In addition when you are going through struggles in your own life it will be detected easily which allows you to find emotional support easier. As an extrovert your social skills can take you far in life and ultimately lead to your success. I consider myself to be an extrovert and can say that the down side to being an extrovert is that I have more of a tendency to build weak ties with others. To elaborate on this theory, an extrovert meets so many people it becomes challenging to build strong bonds with another person. Another disadvantage is that we are so preoccupied with expressing who we are that we do not observe the world around us.

An introvert is a very delicate individual who lives a very private and closed life, confined to their own intimate world. These individuals have certain advantages. One advantage is that they are usually very perceptive and intuitive. These unique traits allow them to easily distinguish changes in certain people's personalities. In addition they can use their intuition to read people and what they are about. Since they are quiet most of the time they listen more meticulously than the average person which enables them to have a deeper understanding of people in general. In this very complex society an introvert is also very cognizant of the world surrounding them which is critical for survival. Another benefit for introverts is that they are more prone to build strong relationships with people since they usually have few close friends which tend to be their real ones. On the contrary, one disadvantage is that they may have internal problems that they struggle with but they are reticent to express themselves openly. This can lead to further psychological problems and ultimately lead them not to seek help. This trait of shyness can also hinder personal success as they may be to apprehensive in approaching people for a job or possible internship opportunity. Furthermore their social network may be more limited than other people. There is a certain paradox to introverts, while they generate strong bonds with people they also tend to keep their distance and remain detached.

Who knows why people are born into certain personality types, or maybe nurtured to become certain personality types. However, I do know that each personality type makes a positive contribution to society. Extrovert is the ying to the introvert's yang. This healthy balance makes the world a better place.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Socio-economic segregation vs Racial segregation

For those that may not know me I am fascinated by race, culture, and social class. That being said this weekend I was in Philadelphia this weekend visiting my little brother and on Saturday morning my mom, sister, brother and I and went to IHOP. While at Ihop I saw some white workers and black workers which were from the surrounding area (inner city Philadelphia). Then I compared their working environment to a typical fast food restaurant in New York City. Throughout the city there is a myriad of mcdonalds, Ihops, and kfcs. The only difference is that in New york City the greater majority of the workers are either Black or Latino with the white workers being close to none.

A new part of my consciousness was awakened when I became cognizant of that fact. In Philadelphia there is more of a class distinction rather than an ethnic or racial distinction in the living and working areas. In Philadelphia there is an amalgamation of the black and white community based on socio-economic backgrounds. The lower middle class and lower class lives in the same areas while the upper class and affluent families live in another area regardless of their race. This is why I call Philadelphia economic segregation.

On the other hand in New York City there is a more apparent ethnic distinction in residential areas with varying social classes. In New York City most Dominicans live in a highly concentrated areas such as Washington Heights and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Just like the Russians who dominate Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn and Albanians who are a densely populated in Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. Despite the difference in economic standing, rich and poor people live in the same areas jsut as long as they share the same race or ethnicity.

In addition The major difference that is seen between New York City and other metropolitan areas is that New York is a melting pot that doesn't mix. What I mean by that is that there is limited cross-cultural and cross-ethnic interaction. Everybody stays with their "own kind" and refuses to expand their horizons and get out of their comfort zones. While it would be an anomaly to find a white female who works at McDonald's in Manhattan it is highly likely to find a white female who works at McDonald's in Philadelphia. New york is one of the most integrated cities with segregated populations. Think about the irony here.

Control of our own destinies.

When it comes down to it whether we take control of our own destinies depends on whether we let the world around us define who we are or whether we define the world around us. I was helping my dad rummage the garage for some tools at around 1 am when I saw some adolescents outside late at night just idling. At that point I asked myself why are these kids out late at night engaging in non-productive behaviors? Then I had an epiphany I thought they have no vision and are living for today not worrying for tomorrow. At the same token a young lady who was raised in the South Bronx became a supreme court justice, how can two people from similar backgrounds raised in the same communities turn out so differently.

The single greatest factor that contributes to our own success is our personal drive. The defining factor is not race, social class, area of residence, schools attended, or resources. While these factors can bring about success they are not the reason why people are successful. What distinguishes successful people from unsuccessful people is motivation and vision or lack there of.

Our backgrounds may be tumultuous and our living conditions harsh but if we believe in ourselves, seek that power, and envision a better future there is no mountain we can't climb. These characteristics will help us defeat the odds. Many adolescents from poor urban communities cease to pursue their education and find themselves dead, in jail, or on the streets while people from rich suburbs who are misled often get involved heavily into drugs and may have other issues that prevent them from becoming successful. Two different socio-economic backgrounds have the potential for the same outcomes: no success.

I can speak from an urban youth perspective and say that there are many factors in an urban environment that can discourage you from having goals and achieving them especially academic goals. Drugs, violence, crime, and single mother households are all negative factors that can debilitate one's sense of hope and vision. But the special individual who is capable of looking beyond her/his circumstances to see themselves in a better place can achieve tremendous deeds. If only we could all discover the SECRET POWER within ourselves, we would all be successful.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Power of the Mind

Have you ever wondered what the actual metaphysical capabilities of the mid are? did you ever think about somebody and that person has called you? Did you ever envision yourself accomplishing a goal and it has actually happened? These are all concrete examples of the extraordinary capabilities that our minds possess. Through strong intentions, spiritual energy and positive thinking our thoughts can be manifested in reality.

The mind is an element that has befuddled mankind for ages. The mystery of the mind is elusive. While many people have attempted to unlock the secrets of the mind and failed others continue to try to crack the code. There are some individuals who are oblivious to the mind's capacities while others are aware of the capacities but undermine them. There is another population that has heard of the mind's capabilities but are still doubtful.

The power of the mind is infinite. Our minds may even be able to achieve psychokinetic capabilities. Through shared spirituality we can literally read somebody else's mind. This ability may allow us to discover their inner most thoughts and desires. In the book I am reading "Reinventing Medicine" the author explores the concept of the nonlocal mind. The nonlocal mind is described as the mind functioning beyond the boundaries of the body. It also speaks on the mind serving as liaison for different individuals through spirituality. A concrete example of this is praying for a person who is ill and their recuperation process being quicker than the person with the same illness who was not prayed for.

My firm convictions about the untapped potential of the human mind has convinced me that it has capabilities that man cannot fathom. These capabilities may be as extraordinary as time travel or telekinesis. Our mind can also serve as a foreboding tool by sensing danger. So in essence our mind can predict the future; this is amazing.

One of the most well know facets of the mind is that you can attract positive or negative energy. If you can anticipate that bad things will happen on a regular basis then these things will come true. On the contrary if your mind is saturated with good thoughts then an auspicious future awaits you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fear of letting other people get to close

Why does mankind approach intimacy with such trepidation? Shortening our gaps of unfamiliarity should be conducive to the survival of mankind. Most people have their reservations with becoming to close to a person. The reservations may emanate from their fear of rejection and fear of letting other people see them at their most vulnerable points.

While people view vulnerability as a precarious situation others may view it as an opportunity for growth. I believe that at our times of vulnerability we are the most alive. By alive I mean a state of existence where we permit the world to view us as we truly are with all our flaws and insecurities. In addition most individuals rather not foster intimate relationships because they fear being judged or suffering psychological and emotional damage. The underlying reasons for these anxieties may vary. The intentions for impeding the formation of a strong bond may be to protect your ego and/or preserve your pride.

What this boils down to is one rudimentary concept. The concept is viewing the relationship with only self interest and failing to take the other party into consideration. This may sound counter intuitive but let’s briefly analyze this theory from a third person perspective. Why would you deprive somebody else of your beauty and gifts? Running the risk of being betrayed or others seeing you at your darkest hour is worth it because increases our possibilities for a beautiful union. Taking a risk and allowing people to see inside the windows of your soul reveals your true character and is a sign of sincere bravado.

There are times when we must step outside our comfort zone and venture the world of the unknown. Although we may not feel safe exploring the unwarranted territories as we initiate every new human relationship we give ourselves a chance to reach a deeper level of understanding and a higher state of consciousness. Through our relationships we learn so much about ourselves and the other individual. However our potential for growth is maximized exponentially by eliminating any restrictions we may have regarding the relationship. Having restrictions with relationships not only prohibits the relationship's growth but each individual’s growth as well. Ultimately this may lead to the squandering of a unique opportunity to form an incredible bond with another human being. This person may be your future soul mate or lifelong friend. Shall we eradicate all barriers!

Monday, September 21, 2009


In our paths to self discovery we can become easily polluted by the world's expectations. In addition, there lies a possibility that we can become confined to society's norms while inhibiting our growth. Why must we succumb to others' desires? Our fate shouldn't be determined by others' perceptions. If we let our fate be determined by the world's views our identity may be compromised.

One of the plagues of the human existence is striving to fit in rather than just being ourselves. I wonder why we try so hard to fit in? Is it because we fear rejection, marginalization, and /or judgment if we don't mimic everybody else's actions? Anybody who deviates from the norm is an anomaly, more importantly he/she is a leader. These unique individuals could care less about what other people think or say about them. This is the best way to live because your decisions are entirely autonomous and are not determined by what other people may think.

Falling into the status quo perpetuates the norm. It is easier to follow somebody else's path rather than create your own. I also believe that emulating other people's actions is easier than just acting out of your own volition. Being different and being the odd ball out is quite difficult. It is natural to feel uncomfortable when we deviate from the norm. Social psychology teaches us that when somebody exhibits a certain behavior we are more prone to behave the same way.

It is difficult to find somebody who deviates from the norm whether it be regarding fashion, religion, or social activities. Everybody wants to stay in the comfort zone and please everybody else rather than pleasing their self. As a result the human population becomes increasingly homogeneous. Furthermore we are not able to think for ourselves anymore but rather let other people invade our thought process. How many times a day do we question our actions by thinking "what will they think of me" or "will they call me weird or crazy"?

The solution to falling into the status quo is liberating yourself from external views. Do not let the world define who you are. You define who you are. In your quest to self discovery you must rely on your inner wisdom and flourish from your own understanding. Your insight will allow you to establish your identity and show the world who you truly are! For example the kid who is genetically white but they call him black and discriminate against him will most likely identify as black even if he did not before. Our views about ourselves are deeply imposed upon by the world's perception of us! What the world thinks will eventually determine how we view ourselves!

It feels good to find your soul. Even though you may do whats convenient for you and the right thing to do you may receive opposition. Whoever does anything the right way will receive feelings of jealousy and hate. When you soul search and decide to make changes in your life that will allow you to grow you have to realize that you may lose friends. It is a desecration to the body, mind, and soul (that the creator gave us) if we choose to listen to our peers and ignore our destiny.
May your soul truly be liberated and identity maintained!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Present, past, and the future

I am fascinated by three different chronological stratospheres: The past the present and the future. Although I strive to maximize my potential in the present, I also prepare for the future and learn from the past. Reflection on all three chronological states allows me to analyze my life.

Future: Sometimes I ask God for the power, strength, and the wisdom to help me foresee the problems in the future so that I can avoid them. But even with the wisdom that has been bestowed upon me I fall in the same pitfalls! I see certain problems being foreshadowed but refuse to take heed of the higher power's advice and my own intuition. My fascination with the future emanates from my belief that the future is promising and that a brighter day awaits me. Also the present becomes boring at times so I am preoccupied with the events that will happen rather than the events that are happening. At times I reside in the future and ignore the happenings that take place in the present. In order to view the future I must have faith in things unseen.

Past: I see the past as the experiences that have made me as a person which is why the past is so precious. I also enjoy reflecting on the past because I am able to reminisce on certain events that brought joy to my life, along with every occasion that was fun. In addition the past gives me perspective on the present and how to change my actions to obtain more desirable results. The past has inspired me to revisit the positive events but reminded me of my trials and tribulations. At times I glamorize the past and focus on how much attention I used to receive. It is a significant symbol of the evolution in this journey we call life. Sometimes I may dwell on the past and forget to live my life in the present. The only baggage I withhold from the past are regrets and grudges. This state of time gives me the insight, intuition, wisdom, and hope to make the present better.

Present: The present is enigmatic, I haven't quite figured it out yet. I have the least love for this chronological stratosphere. I don't find it enticing nor attractive. I think "living in the present" is the most overused cliche. I find nothing mystical about the present, however, it is complex. The things that are happening now may be hard to explain but with a deeper understanding of the future and the past we are able to realize the power in the present and its important role in our lives. Furthermore, events in our lives elapse right before our very eyes and the present rapidly changes into the past. The present has its advantages which allow you to make the necessary adjustments you may need in order to grow. I like the present because I can accomplish anything that is being thrown at me! Concludingly the present I do not favor but I do agree that THERE IS NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Exceptional Social Beings

Have you ever wondered how certain individuals have the exceptional ability to interact with anybody at any given moment? These people can be deemed social dynamos and have the extraordinary potential to connect with people from varying backgrounds. These individuals may also be referred to as "mavens" or connectors (a term used in Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point). Is this an innate characteristic or is it learned from our surroundings?

The individuals called connectors can adapt to any social environment and feel comfortable. They possess the unique trait of connecting with people regardless of their race, age, social class, gender and/or sexual orientation. Mavens are extraordinary people who have the tendency of merging social circles.

By merging these social circles, the mavens interlink different cliques. The phenomenon cultivates a fusion of various enclaves. Mavens play a pivotal role in the world; they unite individuals who may never have met each other if it was not for the mavens. By facilitating these connections they create a more diverse world. When I say diverse I don't mean a world of various ethnicities but rather a world that allows the individuals to interact and understand each other. Generating these inter-clique interactions allows people to be more cultured and see the world through a broader perspective.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Envy and jealousy

Are envy and jealousy inherent in human character? Or is it a learned human emotion? Maybe it can be a little bit of both. Where does envy come from? How can we suppress or better yet address these feelings of envy? What is the distinction between jealousy and envy?

My theory is that envy is a nascent human emotion that lies dormant in the human being's psyche. This emotion can be benign but once they surface they can become detrimental to the person with feelings of envy and the one he/she is envious of. Envy causes you to focus on qualities you may lack and drains your emotional and psychological energy. Envy also causes you to focus on others rather than yourself.

There is a clear distinction between envy and jealousy. Envy is exhibited when you admire somebody's trait and desire to possess it. Jealousy is an emotion that is exhibited when somebody feels excessive admiration but does not necessarily covet somebody else's trait.

As psychological beings it is only intuitive to assume that envy is an emotion that emanates from a disrupted psyche. Although human traits vary from person to person one universal human trait is insecurity. Inner feelings of insufficiency or deficiency may drive somebody to be envious. Envy is a strong human emotion that festers in the human soul and can cause you to act irrationally in order to obtain a quality that you may covet.

There is a simple solution to being envious; it is a multi-factored approach. First you have to realize what you are jealous of. Secondly we have to come to terms with the fact that everybody is unique. Most people will differ in certain characteristics and be in accordance with others. Lastly you have to figure out how to ameliorate yourself in that area of your characteristics. The person you envy may possess qualities that you may lack but you may possess certain qualities that the other individual lacks.

Despite the feelings of insufficiency once we learn how to value ourselves we can reduce the envy and maybe even eradicate it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MCAT and Life

I DID IT. I FINALLY CONQUERED THE BEAST! I am in utter disbelief of this accomplishment. While most wouldn't dare take this exam I was valiant enough to take on the task! The exam is definitely not for the faint of heart it is for those who have the desire to embark on this journey. Although many will attempt and prove futile few will attempt and claim victor. Pyschological strength and intellect is necessary in order to face this monster! In addition months of training and devising strategies on how to defeat this beast is required. While training is imperative your fate shall be determined by stamina, perseverance, wisdom, and faith. Many will enter this valley but few will survive. During this trek it takes a certain caliber of human being to undergo this ordeal. The completion of this journey is only possible through a higher power! Your destiny is decided by your creator, only then you shall be set free and your soul be liberated!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Train Ride

A train ride through the epochs of time

As I sit here I observe the scenery of past events

A train ride through the mountains of success and hills of glory

The train ride is smooth at times but can get bumpy and tumultuous.

All in all though it is the conductor's responsibility to hold steady.

It is crucial for him to maintain his focus, pace, diligence, and stability

The conductor must navigate the course beforehand in order to anticipate the challenges that awaits him.

He also needs to leave room for error

As the itinerary progresses they pass through the valley of despair and the oceans of serenity, right by the fields of prosperity and the volcanoes of peril

This same train ride has been down the abyss of debacle and right up the waterfalls of victory.

The conductor became sidetracked by all the scenery and lost focus

The train was derailed but he was able to regain control and keep the engine pushing.

When the destination was in sight he began to celebrate,

In the midst of his euphoria he lost his vision until there was a malfunction on the track and the train stopped. But then he woke up.

He was despondent and found no alternative but to shut down the train.

But they fixed the problem and stayed the course to complete his excursion.

Despite all the challenges and hardships, he sought out his destination.

CHOO CHOOO The train has arrived to its destination.

Urban Paradise

Urban youth cry a distinct cry not one of anguish or grief or not the cry of a five year old throwing a temper tantrum

They cry because they are searching for mentorship, guidance, attention, love, and someone who believes in them.

Although their cry is manifested in an unconventional fashion it is still there screaming at the top of its lungs

HELP ME Please HELP ME if no one lends me a hand I might get devoured by these cold, unapologetic, vociferous streets.

I might vanish either under the ground or in the depths of confinement

For this is something I am too familiar with.

A young guy at at the rehabilitation center where I work told me he used to be a fit guy before he became paralyzed.

I apprehensively asked him how he became paralyzed. When he told me "I got shot" I did not know whether to cry or laugh!

I wanted to laugh because I thought his statement was a joke but I wanted to cry because I also had a feeling it could be true.

Unfortunately he was not joking....a stray hit him one day when he was 16 outside playing with the rest of his friends from the neighborhood

Many are born into this beautiful yet ugly realm but very few make it out!


I wanted to share some of my poetry. I want to thank my forum followers and let them know they are special because I do not share my poetry often. I hope that none of my poems offend anybody as it is just my self expression and what I was feeling at that specific place and time. Also I wanted to say that this poem does not speak to the whole white population just a particular group of people!


Rich white kids with emo hair cuts acting like they down for the cause...sporting the latest urban outfitter outfit, dreads, and rasta hat.

They are not really revolutionaries more like faketionaries( fake meanings to who they truely are)

Go ahead talk about how you fight the power

But when the hour arrives to battle a flawed and discriminatory system do not pause, vehemently engage in combat for dignity and demonstrate you really down for the cause

Manifest to us and prove to us your sociopolitical consciousness

Cuz believe it or not whether you are poor or affluent you remain exempt from the heinous subjugation of racism and discrimination that dwells on the color of your skin and attempts to deteriorate your well being

This evil force with a legion of demons ready to besiege us at any given moment

What you do not realize is that ignorance is vulnerable and just like us your place in this world is borrowed

You are not invincible and life does not last forever

We are all mortals taking this world for granted

The difference between me and you is that I have an inner being...what some may call a soul. This transcends the physical, mental, emotional, aspects of our being!

My soul is my creator's gift to me and it can never be replaced because it forces me to stay true to myself

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Being Unique

I have always been amazed at the fact that very few people in this world are truly unique individuals. Is it some divine authority that decides our fate in regards to our uniqueness or do we become unique out of our own volition and effort? I do not know the answer to that neither can I say that I strive to be unique but I try my best to resist the external forces of peer pressure. I do not know if being a leader and unique are synonymous but for the sake of illustrating my point they will be.

I am the type of person who does not like to follow trends if I am not in agreement with it. I will only follow a trend if it suits my interests and if I find it particularly fascinating! Modern society is constructed in such a way that the ethos of a particular culture causes the majority of that population to follow a certain movement. I am an anarchist at heart; if a group of people are crossing the street going towards the right I will go left. On the other hand, most people have become so complacent with society's norms that a counter culture is obsolete. I have one simple theory that explains this: people are fearful of being different or being branded with the title of "weird". Additionally most people prefer to stay in their comfort zone and refuse to think outside the box!!!!! Since when does having your own style and opinion become weird? The single most important part of being humans is that we are INDIVIDUALS NOT CLONES! The idiosyncrasies that each person possesses makes life interesting. This is what makes the world revolve. Doesn't individuality and personal opinion count anymore? In general people in this world have a hard time challenging peer pressure. Conversely they will take extreme measures in order to fit in and be part of the crowd!

If we lived in a homogeneous population life would be so blaze. You would think that participating in a popular trend that we don't particularly like would unite us as human beings. Paradoxically so, it creates a larger gap between us and the world. By following trends that we aren't in accordance with, we are alienating ourselves from our intrinsic qualities and values. By alienating ourselves from our true inner beings we increase the distance between us and the rest of society. The logic behind this theory is by masking who we are, people don't have the opportunity to get to know the true us, reducing the level of intimacy between humanity. This phenomenon culminates in a large group with weak ties.

Fitting in is high on the level of importance of the human agenda. I ask myself why? Every individual that is different brings something new to the table. A collective group of workers with different talents, strengths, qualities, and opinions makes a more successful company. By abandoning our inherent traits and convictions we are abolishing any effort at the betterment of mankind. Being your own person only contributes to the greater good of society. A mosaic of viewpoints, styles, cultures, and personalities makes the world a beautiful place!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Attention Part 2

I see fame as a major way of seeking attention on the mental, psychological physical, and emotional level. From my personal experience when I performed on stage I watched the world stop and zoom in on me. Although I performed because I loved to dance maybe there was a more subconscious reason which was the search for glory and attention. The fact that everybody was hanging off my every move was breathtaking and enticing. It is quite an addictive feeling that consumes you once you are on that stage!

I want to explore a concept that I mentioned earlier. I think the root for that attention could also be low self esteem or insecurity. Why do we have to be acknowledged for the things we do, is it because we have the need to be valued and told that we are important? There are two possible outcomes that can occur as a result of other people's perceptions of us. One of the outcomes is that you can thrive off other people's positive perceptions. Another outcome is that you can wither off of other people's negative perceptions. Ultimately our self esteem is affected by the comments that other people direct towards us and how people view us. If people give us attention and view us in a positive light we feel good about ourselves. If people view us in a negative light then we do not feel so good about ourselves.

Any attention that we can get is a psychological signal telling us that people like us and that we are significant figures in society. If we receive awards and trophies for athletic and scholastic achievement society perceives us as prominent people. These are all forms of attention. But why do we need it? Ultimately I believe we need it for the sake of superficially building our self esteem, filling some type of void, and covering up any insecurities. Attention temporarily heals any wounds from our past. But attention seeking is ubiquitous and it cannot be escaped. It can only go so far in making ourselves feel better about ourselves. In the end it is who we are inside and how we realistically feel about ourselves despite the negative perceptions, ridicule and name-calling that will help us grow. This genuinely autonomous feeling of being important will carry us to a higher state of inner being and higher plateau of self esteem! I am going to leave you with words from one the greatest artists of the century, Hector Lavoe.

Yo, soy el cantante
muy popular donde quiera;
pero cuando el show se acaba
soy otro humano cualquiera.

Y sigo mi vida
con risas y penas
con ratos amargos
y con cosas buena

Translation: I am the singer, very popular wherever I go
but when the show is over I am just a regular guy.

And I still live my life with cries and laughs
Through the good times and the bad

Clearly Hector Lavoe got the attention he wanted and the one that everybody else craved. As the lyrics depicted, he realized that he was a regular guy but his inner state wasn't stable and he wasn't happy. Attention at the most extreme level does not make you happy. Attention is essentially unnecessary. You have to be in control of your emotions and have an inner sense of value and self esteem in order to know you are special!

Attention Part 1

Pardon my use of vulgarity but for the sake of illustrating my point I will use this word one time. Why are we (by we I mean humans) such attention whores. I mean really, why does everybody from Michael Jackson to the kid everybody picked on in third grade crave attention!?!?!?

Is it due to some innate sense of low self esteem, which can only be elevated by receiving attention. Or is it symbolic of a deeper and larger issue? The issue of wanting to be accepted and understood. Or is that we need to be constantly recognized in a public fashion. Or is it due to the desire to achieve fame and to be extolled. Or it could be as simple as looking for that approval which we lack. These are all individual postulates for what the answer could be. Maybe the answer is multifaceted and all of these factors contribute to reason why we search for attention. From my perspective there could be no right or wrong answer since everybody has their own opinion. But I have my own theory.

We are all attention mongers. Everybody has a different level of what I call the attention seeking syndrome, some more severe than others. I think everybody has an individual subconscious reason for seeking attention that which we may or may not be aware of. Some people I think seek attention for egotistical purposes. This group of attention mongers will do anything in their power to be publicly acknowledged because they love the spotlight. They may seek attention through telling jokes, or showcasing talents that are other forms of entertainment such as dancing or singing. Some people even seek attention by making random comments such as "I'm tired" when they are clearly not or they will speak about an event they attended over the weekend when nobody asked. Or some people will yearn for people to call, text, or I'm them so they can feel special. This is an alternative form of attention seeking. I am guilty of this form of attention mongering! We even seek attention by wearing certain clothes that will make us appear provocative (for females) and dapper(for men. We also like to draw attention by wearing uncanny articles of clothing or jewelry)! Anytime we defy the norm with our fashion we seek attention!

I am intrigued by the possible cause of attention seeking. There must be some nascent quality that humans possess which stimulates the necessity to be recognized. One universal mode of attention seeking is the pursuit of fame. Why are humans so obsessed with being famous and being on television. Honestly Hollywood stars are recognized so much more than the person who cured Polio. Again I was allured by the thought of being rich and famous but with further analysis of the invasive lives that celebrities lead I examined my desire to be famous! I must admit I used to perform with a dance troupe in college and the euphoria that runs through your veins when you are on stage is indescribable. Hundreds, thousands of people come to watch you perform all at the same time never mind cheer you on. Again the key word in the previous sentence was "you", everybody else on stage wasn't even acknowledged which points towards the innate egotism of the human existence!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Talented Tenth

I have always wondered if this concept of the talented tenth really exists. By the talented tenth I mean an elite group of people who are bound for unparalleled success. I ask this philosophical question because I have met people that grow up in the worst socioeconomic conditions however grow up to be very successful. This special group of people have the outstanding ability to overlook the negativity and to overcome insurmountable obstacles. I know somebody who fits this archetype. He is a doctor and his two sisters are lawyers. The image most people have of these three young professionals entailed them coming from a family where being a lawyer or a doctor is the norm and they are just following in everybody else''s footsteps. This is because our preconceived notions which are influenced by society have conditioned us to think that people of a certain social class or racial background are not supposed to or just aren't capable of attaining such status.

Well to no surprise my friend and his two sisters are Latinos from the housing projects in New York City. Him and his two sisters have broken so many barriers by going to college and on top of that they decided to shatter the ceiling by acquiring a graduate degree. This vanguard is not only the exception but an anomaly. To survive a situation in which the surroundings are despondent is incredible to say the least. It takes a special person to have that drive and self motivation. But what I don't understand is why doesn't everybody get up and out of the hood if he was able to do it.

My answer is that there are only a few people who are predestined for greatness while many others will fall into the mediocre category especially coming from an urban environment. The prestigous cohort also known as the talented tenth has has their fair share of trails and tribulations . I also have a theory that people who grow up in impoverished neighborhoods are mentally stagnant and believe they can't achieve what is not tangible. But the talented tenth is an innately brilliant group of people who are overachievers in their own right, and are divinely inspired to be leaders of the world. They view the world through a different lens and see innummerbale possibilities while visualizing their future! These prominent people are born to accomplish great things and already have a path set out for them. But it is up to each person to realize their destiny and fulfill their true potential. I want to let you in on a little secret though. Anybody could be in the talented tenth if you wanted to be. As long as you believe in a higher power, work hard and you utilize the power of the mind then anything is achieveable.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Masks 2

Other modes of fakeness derive from pursuing ephemeral acquisitions that give you temporary highs such as fame and Hollywood. This encourages people to be more superficial and focus on material things rather than focus on the genuine fabric and substance of our inner selves that make us human. However we as people naturally yearn for attention by seeking popularity or other modes of public acknowledgement while trying to attain the material goods in order to fit in. Some people do not have the financial backing to purchase material goods but in order to fit in they succumb to society's norms and buy them anyway. For example some people in and around Hollywood wear strictly name brand clothing. What does the name brand clothing mean? In a sense it is a symbol of artificiality. It is a symbol of “prestige and affluence”. If you wear a Gucci suit it doesn't make you any better of a person than the next person who got their suit at a discount store? The clothes is just covering up who you really are so form this perspective it is fake. Another way somebody can be fake is by saying they are going to do something but never do it. If you tell me you are going to take down my number to call me and then act like we are the best of friends when we really aren't but you never call me then this is unacceptable and fake.

Another more common way that we show our fakeness is by hiding our feelings or not exposing our true feelings. We should be more transparent about our lives and less guarded. I understand that transparency can simultaneously show vulnerability but it is when we are the most vulnerable that we can forge close connections with one another. Being transparent about our lives has the power of making us more intimate as social beings on this planet.

One of my favorite divinely inspired quotes is: you can only perpetuate a facade for so long until your genuine self is revealed. You can put up a front for as long as you want but sooner or later the veracity of your character will surface. Your genuine self will be exposed like it or not. The truth is ugly at times but it must be revealed in order for us to grow. THE TRUTH SHALL PREVAIL IT IS INEVITABLE! People have so many masks that they can't figure out which one to wear anymore. Do you pick the facade or the truth? Being somebody else is easy, now being yourself is an arduous task!


This is something I have thought about intermittently. I thought about how many fake people I have met in my life and I must say that there is an overwhelmingly populous amount of "fake" people that out populate genuine people. Is being genuine "played out" or is it blaze or uninteresting. There is so much fakeness that I find myself stratifying different levels and modes of fakeness. Many people put of a facade that masquerades their true feelings, thoughts and most importantly their true selves. Maybe its because the majority of the world is fake in one way or another so it becomes daunting to be real and remain grounded.

The levels of fakeness I have observed are distinct but carry a similar theme, act one way in a situation and be a total different person in another situation. One of the fakest behaviors I have seen is where you know somebody and they greet you one day but the next day they act like they never met you in the first place. Another very common fake behavior is where a group of people are in a room but as soon as that person leaves they begin speak about them and then another person leaves the room and people start speaking about them behind their backs. The cycle never ends; even best friends when you are not around may bad mouth you. Unfortunately this possibility is part of life and sometimes we have to deal with it because we would like to conserve our friendships. But most of the time we have a choice to voice our opinion and have the golden opportunity of being truthful without being fake. This "fake" behavior is honestly appalling. This is foreshadowing of future betrayal amongst other things. The realest people will be completely honest with you and are not afraid to disclose who they are.

Another mode of fakeness is one where people refuse to be honest with one another. Like when people lie to each other about trivial matters. If somebody asks you: what do you think about their outfit, you should just speak your mind and tell the truth. Instead, most people will say it look goods in order to appease the person although
they disapprove with what the person is wearing. Other ways that people are fake is by personifying or impersonating somebody they are not. For example if you work at the local grocery store but you tell people you that you are a rock artist, releasing an album soon on a major label, and waiting to go on tour. This scenario would lead me to question how genuine you are you. Why is it necessary to emulate an image that is not yours, especially if it is not an image that you would like to portray? This action implies that you do not feel comfortable in your own skin so you try to embody somebody else's life that is not yours. I really do not see the logic in this especially since people are eventually bound to be scrutinized and exposed for who they really are.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I would have never thought it would come a day where I would speak about this word. From a masculine perspective you are defying a societal norm when you speak openly and affectionately about that four letter word. By now all of you folks out there must know that I am speaking

Love is so powerful it can easily transform lives and turn a killer's stone cold heart into play dough while molding it into an instrument of love! LOVE is so strong that it can drive two inseparable individuals to the point of pure insanity. It can cause two people who are madly in love with each other to have animosity towards each other. It can also cause an odious person to dismantle their sinister walls.

For me though love has been elusive. Excluding my relatives and really close friends I cannot say that I have experienced this feeling. The feeling that bonds a boy friend and a girl friend or a happily married couple. The way it is described I imagine it to be a euphoric feeling of compassion that is hard to come by and even harder to dismiss. While I have had relationships with the opposite sex in which my feelings for them were strong, I don’t think it was love. Love for me has been elusive because I have yet to captivate what it is supposed to feel like. I guess it wouldn't be feasible to capture the emotion if I do not know what it is like. Or maybe I have loved somebody who I have had a casual relationship with but wasn't in love with them.

Although I haven't been in love I think I have been in extreme like with another person for lack of a better term. But at which point does like turn into love, is there a magical turning point where "like" instantaneously becomes love or is it a more gradual and steady process. Help me out people!!!??!?!?!? I do have one firm conviction about love and it is that the romanticized idea of love at first sight is a fallacy. I feel like you have to develop these feelings and they don’t just occur overnight.

When I was younger I never really thought about love or was never really in pursuit of it for that matter! I guess it was because I had limited interaction with females. But as I grew up and emerged as an adolescent and I began engaging females more often I started to develop feelings and some of these feelings were hard to describe. As I got older I became more interested in love because some of my peers at school and my loved ones would express their feelings for their significant others through what they called love. They would describe it with great fervor and speak of it so passionately which caused me to become curious. So I have been on a search ever since.

So love, love, love will I ever be able to attain it or experience this wondrous emotion? I sure hope that I will meet you in the future. Nothing is guaranteed though.. I guess if you search for something too hard it is at these times that it will most easily escape us! Maybe it will come in disguise or maybe it will be straightforward and plain. Maybe it will come expected or maybe unexpected. In whatever form it arrives and whenever it arrives I will be waiting for it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Life Part 2

The psyche is very fragile, more specifically; direct observation of negative behavior in the household can be very detrimental to one's self-esteem. For example, children who have witnessed domestic violence are likely to view this heinous act as copacetic and therefore more prone to internalize it. Hence, children growing up in environments where disagreements are resolved with physical assaults will tend to handle their problems in a similar way. Their aggressive reactions are almost instinctive, as this is what was modeled for them from a very early age. These individuals endure grave psychological consequences which they may not be cognizant of how deeply those early years affected them. On the other hand there are situations where the dichotomy of nurture vs nature is not evident. In these scenarios nature and nurture coincide. Somebody could be born angry and also find domestic violence to be socially acceptable by having witnessed it at home. This combination of nurture and nature either increases individuals' likelihood of reenacting the domestic violence or of observing it without intervening.

Once we realize why we are the way we are we will begin to discover the secret of life. Now whether we use it to our advantage or take the gift for granted is up to us. We might be able to change this but some things are impossible to prevent from happening. For instance if you are born a certain way, you can’t completely change these circumstances but you can improve on any flaws that you may have been born with and that may end up hindering your growth. If your environment is affecting you negatively you can either try to physically modify your surroundings by moving out if you have the economic means or socially modifying your surroundings by changing your circle of friends to a group that will be most beneficial to your growth. Both of these tasks can be daunting and arduous but if the change will ultimately benefit you in the long run it will be best that it gets done sooner than later.

Another hindrance to personal growth is the reticence to change. The reason why people don’t want to change is because it takes them out of their comfort zone. Generally speaking we as a society do not want to partake in any action that deviates from the norm or that is different from what they are accustomed to. People that can modify their behavior or instantaneously change certain things that are constant in their life are really extraordinary individuals. As I digress I come back to the major point. Are we the way we are because of nature or nurture? I really do not know but I profess that our personal attributes and character traits are acquired from our physical, spiritual, social, and academic environments. The more we see a certain act reiterated and the more we are exposed to a certain activity the more prone we are to follow suit and mimic these actions. Its just a common law of social psychology. A good personification of this theory is the good musicians that grow up in musical households and as a result are exposed to the arts at an early age. In this scenario the child is subconsciously absorbing all of this. They internalize the richness of sounds and channel this energy into their own creation of music in the future. When you constantly observe or participate in a certain activity you begin to develop a higher level of understanding of this activity: for example if you are watching and playing basketball at the age of three; by the time you are an adult you have a higher likelihood of intuitively making plays or understanding the game better than the rest of your teammates.

The power of the subconscious lies in the fact that I might see it as normal but other people may find my talent amazing, but since it lies in my subconscious and I watched somebody perform this act over and over again the action becomes natural, automatic and part of my muscle memory. I don’t even think about doing the act. For example I am a dancer, and I speak with all humility when I say that some people are like wow how do you do that move and I tell them that I don’t know I just "dance". Another great example is people who play a certain instruments and hit unique notes or have unique styles. People can ask how do you play that note or have that style and they will reply "its hard to describe" or "I just feel it". It is because what is natural for them may not be natural to us in addition it may lie in our subconscious and we may not be fully aware of it. The innate nature of the talent propels greatness and exudes genius. This is why luminaries in any field perform so effortlessly!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life 1

Life is fascinating, the more you I live the more I figure out that everybody has a story to tell. They are the way they are for a reason. Whether everybody's talents, mannerisms, and idiosyncrasies are acquired through genetic circumstances or learned from the environment. Every single person has a life with a wealth of experience that makes them who they are. Some people may not know they do the things they do or why they are a certain way but it requires a certain amount of insight in order to figure that out!

The more introspect you develop as years pass by the more you will get to know who you are. At times other people know us better than ourselves. That to me is mind boggling, that an external source can have a more accurate assessment of our traits and personal psychology. I am going to use me as an example. I say or do certain things because it lies in my subconscious while on the other hand my friend or sister may be able to pinpoint every time I mention something that has a deeper psychological meaning or every time I express a certain emotion that I am not cognizant of.

It is also powerful to meet somebody who shares a lot of our personal story. You may have just met the person and you might feel more of a connection with that person you just met than with somebody you have known for years. Like many things in life it doesn't make much sense but it works out for the better. Sometimes it doesn't even have to be anybody who you met physically. For example you could have seen somebody on a talk show who you felt an intimate connection with. Or it could have been a pen pal that you had. Outside of the real world I have made connections through the work of music artists I listen to. The artists I follow have no veil of privacy in their life they make it an open book, you get to know the artist and become familiarized with their strengths flaws, character, upbringing, and their trials and tribulations. Then you start to have things in common and become even closer to them. Not to say that you can't develop a relationship with some body different but having things in common closes the gap unfamiliarity.

My other question is how people get to be the way they are. This is where the psychological argument of nurture vs nature comes into play. Are people born with certain qualities and gifts or did their environment and personal experiences shape them as a person?

Of course there is no straightforward answer to this. Other things like manners and social interactions are absorbed from social environments (especially at the home) and then they are internalized. For example I am a thinker and I honestly believe that I was born with that gift. But to be honest maybe my environment gave me space to think. In addition my upbringing would have played a pivotal role as well. Although my upbringing could have fostered this attribute, my ambitions and desire to search for knowledge and new pieces of information has guided me to this path of self enlightenment. Several factors played a role in the harnessing of my talent.

Money: a vice and virtue Part 2

As I progressively thought about money I began to think about all the things that I could purchase with money. I bought several possessions! Money consumed my every thought. Materialism is a strong force and it can propagate the domination of your thoughts by money. Once I purchased my first item I purchased another one and another one. I asked my self, why are you buying all these material possessions as if they are ameliorating your well being or making you a better person. Am I buying these things because I want to look good or because I think my possessions will make me feel better about myself? I have succumbed to the hypnosis of money but every time I walk around wearing a new item the euphoric feeling fades away. I went to bars and clubs on weekends with an heir of arrogance as if I was better than everybody because I had money. A couple of weeks later I was able to suppress these feelings. They are still there but they are minimized.

Essentially money for me and a lot of other people is a way of survival. For others it provides a certain level of comfort that allows them to do whatever it is they enjoy doing (ie traveling skiing) or buy whatever it is they desire ( a yacht or a pair of sneakers). For others it gives them a reason to glamorize their lifestyle and live ostentatiously while proving to the world that they are not only worth their money but superior because of it. Materialism at its best is used to fill a personal void!

From my standpoint every item you purchase is accumulating baggage that begins to deteriorate your inner well being. Society has conditioned us to think that money can be used to equate our self worth or to provide us with a sense of pride and elitism in connection to our possessions.
Money is a vice and a virtue. Hopefully the virtue outweighs the vice!

Money: a vice and a virtue

Although I was never fully polluted by materialism I was briefly attached to material goods. I must admit in the past I have been mesmerized by the green and I am not the only one! The green which is also known as money is the leafy substance that determines our material wealth.

Money is a gift and a curse. It is a gift in many ways. It can provide people who are devoid of resources with academic opportunities (scholarships, grants, and construction of good schools). It can also salvage a poor soul who is hanging off an economic cliff and is clutching for dear income (unemployment or bankruptcy). In addition money can liberate a homeless person from their misery. On the contrary money can be a toxin. It has the capacity of polluting every dimension of our human existence. It can emotionally drown us, psychologically choke us, socially demonize us, and mentally incapacitate us. Money can only reach these extreme heights if we allow it to.

Money is like a drug it is very addictive. Once you catch a glimpse of it you want more and more. if you want it bad enough you will do whatever it takes to get it, even kill a person! When I got my first paycheck at my first full time job I was in a trance. Honestly I looked at my first paycheck and became attached to it! After I cashed it I watched it closely. Everywhere I went all I could think about was the money.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stages in Life

Friday May 8th

It is now 5:05pm and I am in my friends house in Syracuse University (my alma amater). I would have never thought that this would arrive so quickly!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just a year ago I was organizing my room, preparing my cap and gown, and getting ready to embark on a weekend journey of commencement.

The experience is surreal. I feel like I am here physically but mentally and psychologically I feel detached like I am in limbo. I know it sounds obscure but I feel like I don't belong here. I mean that in the best way possible..nobody has made me feel uncomfortable its just that I dont feel the same connection to the institution compared to when I was a student here. Is that normal???????? Just a year ago I hit the post grad depression hard and all I could think about were all the social clubs I was involved with along with the friends and faculty I had forged significant connections with. Maybe its because I haven't seen any of my close friends yet or maybe its because thats how you are supposed to feel when you have surpassed a certain stage in your life.

The feeling is sort of indescribable...its a paradox, I feel like I belong but at the same time I feel like dont! Maybe in late June I felt like I belonged because I was a recent graduate but since now I am a year removed from the undergraduate experience I have emotionally distanced myself from the lifestyle and mind state of college. If people ask me would you do it all over again... I would empahatically say yes. Ohhh man what an experience, I cant begin to describe what an enlightening experience my time at Syracuse was. It was well balanced with work and fun and it also fostered my social, intellectual, and spiritual development. They say the people make the the place, that it is no more truer than at Syracuse. I met people that have shaped me as a person and I have learned something from every person I've had interactions with even if they were brief. Everybody I have met and all the experiences I have had (the negative and the positive), have made me a better person. From my freshman year to my senior year I grew so much as a person.

Sunday May 10

As the weekend progressed I began to feel more comfortable and I was able to successfully reassimilate to the college life. I began to feel like a "kid" again with no responsibilities. It was a beautiful escape from reality for three long days! Attending all the ceremonies and graduations was reminiscent of my own commencement ceremonies. Going to different functions and social events over the weekends also reminded me of what the college life was like. I basically relived the experience and pure nostalgia is all I could remember. Every time I would pass a dining hall or a place on Marshall street I would recall an event that occurred in that same exact place. The feeling was utterly indescribable. Again I reiterate, physically I feel like I was there but my mind and my spirit would wander. It was like a outer body experience. I know it sounds pretty outlandish. Well thats it. I saw the people that made a difference in my life and I bumped into people who's lives I had touched during my college career. I also saw one of my close friends graduate. It was a great time and I had a blast. I loved my experience at Syracuse and it made me a better person. I have now moved on but I will NEVER forget where I came from.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


What is intuition and who has it? How can you attain it or seek it if you don't have it? This is a burning question I have had for a while. Is intuition some kind of unforeseen secret that remains to be unraveled. Is it some kind of innate quality that only a chosen few have? Or is it something that everybody possesses but only certain people take the necessary time out to tap into this powerful force. Intuition is a treasure chest that can be unlocked. Of course you need the right combination or code in order to unlock it. But when you do the world as we know it is at your feet.

Intuition can be used in many aspects of your everyday life. I think it would be the most useful in decision making. You can utilize your intuition to guide you in the right direction and bring you closer to your goals in life. Intuition can help you defeat the odds and overcome any challenges that you may encounter in life. It can elevate your well being and broaden your horizons as well.

If you ask me everybody has intuition. Intuition is the voice inside your head that discerns whether something feels right or not. It is like a sixth sense that foresees the outcome of any situation and helps you judge any situation properly. Intuition is a special attribute that can also help you read people really well. You will be able to distinguish the people who have good intentions and those who have bad intentions. It can also serve as your personal advisor if you are having a dilemma in life. I believe that it is the most potent in situations that require split second decision making. It is analagous to a spider sense that provides admonishment and allows you to sense danger when its near. It may also predict when good things will happen.

Again I will reiterate I feel as if EVERYBODY has intuition. For some people it may be stronger than others and certain people may exercise it more often than others. Despite the fact that some people may choose to use it for malicious reasons or exclusively for self gains I think it still belongs to everybody. Intuition is a divine gift that you must firstly believe in before you actually unlock its secrets. Once you discover the immense power that harnessing your intuition can provide for your growth and life journey you will be one special person!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Music harnesses the unique ability of humanizing the human experience. It transcends any socioeconomic, cultural, racial, mental, emotional, physiological, or religious barrier. Music characterizes reality and helps people channel their own emotions, it helps embody any type of experience that any one us may have. It is also easily accessible to most of the public. Especially since mass media has expanded over the last 50 years and also since the advent of the the internet people can listen to all types of music. You can choose to listen to any type of music of your liking depending on your preference of genre. When people have nothing to relate to, and nobody to speak to, the music speaks for them and helps make their experience seem important enough for the masses to listen to. But what most people don't realize is that there are many people who are out there sharing that same experience who we might not get to meet face to face but the music allows us to make that intimate connection. This is the single most luminous aspect that music has to offer. It also helps personalize any intimate events that a person might not feel comfortable sharing with anybody else. Music pluralizes any humanistic dimension that otherwise might be seen as individualistic.

The other aspect of music that makes it so popular is a pseudo reality. It can materialize what otherwise maybe fantasy. For example the song "My life is entertainment" by TI talks about the glitz and the glamor of being a musician and other songs such as "Torre De babel" by Wisin y Yandel that takes you halfway across the globe to explore an unknown land. There are many pop songs that depict this pseudo reality where everything is fun, life is a paradise, and that our journey on this earth is worriless and care free. Kanye's album graduation is an album that perfectly characterizes that feel good pseudo reality type of music.

But is being a famous musician all it is cracked up to be??? Think about it. We've already discussed the facet of the pseudo reality of music but on the flip side lies the realism. Music also portrays the realism of the artists' experience. They show us the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, the pretty and the ugly. The music provides an outlet for artists to speak about their lives and get personal. To get intimate with the listener and expose their deepest insecurities! I believe this type of music evokes the most emotion because we can see how human and fallible a famous artist can be; they show us that they are not at all invincible. These types of artist generate the most diverse and broadest fan bases and also have the most mass appeal because so many people can relate to their message. The stark realism of any situation cultivates a following like no other theme. In the song El cantante Puerto Rican singer Hector Lavoe speaks on his struggles of being a famous salsa singer. In the song he sings about how he is rich and famous and that people pay to hear him sing nevertheless in that dark corner after his show he is an ordinary guy who has trials and tribulations and has happy and sad moments just like each and every one of us. Joe Buddens is one of my favorite artists whose subject material includes anecdotal accounts about how he overcame depression and how he once was borderline suicidal in the midst of battling other demons. He also speaks on his interactions with females and the turmoil in his life. Most people can relate to this type of music and can have respect for it. "Everything that glitters ain't gold". It couldn't be more true in show biz. Many people yearn to be famous and fall into the deceptive trap of wanting to live a glamorized lifestyle. But they have no idea what it takes to keep your sanity and to thwart the criticism and tolerate the press and to be scrutinized each and every moment of your life. You are constantly under supervision, from the time you leave your house to when you enter a bathroom!

Music also provides a safe space. It is nonjudmental, does not criticize you, and makes you feel perfectly normal despite your flaws or idiosyncrasies. What I mean by this is that when artists speak on a certain issue that is important to you or his/her lyrics are related to a secret that only your family and friends may know about or that only you may know about. Lets say an artist has a song about child abuse and somebody has experienced that in the past, this helps the listener overcome that situation and feel understood. When it comes down to it most relationships are built on the concept of being understood. So music's most powerful unifying factor is that most people that listen to a certain genre or artist all understand each other. They gravitate to music that resembles them in some sort of way, usually the similarities are not superficial such as he drives the car that I drive or he is Asian just like me. The semblances tend to be deeper like we share the same strengths and flaws, we have a similar upbringing, or I experienced the same tragedy in my past. This leads people to respect each other and where they came from.

Music can also be very dualistic in the sense that it has two polar opposite facades. It can either be very empowering or very detrimental. It can be used to kill or to procreate. Most people that listen to music use it lift their spirits and have good intentions but there is that small group of people that use music for the darkest of reasons. Music also has different effects on people. Other people use music to channel their different emotions. Some people may use music when they are angry to evacuate all the anger. Some people may use certain types of music to motivate them, other people may utilize music as a form of relaxation or to make them happier. It can destroy or cultivate, inspire or discourage. Music also conceptualizes your successes as well as your failures. Like everything in life music needs to maintain its ying and yang in order to be functional but I strongly believe that it has more positive uses in the world than negative.

Apart from the pseudo realities and realities music is UNIVERSAL. Music is life; a compilation of all the experiences, sounds, visions, and lessons that make us who we are. Music universally humanizes the all too real human experience. Music is the center of our galaxy that revolutionizes all dimensions!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hard Times

At times it gets frustrating, you put sooooooo much in but get little out. Invest your soul and only get a remnant of your flesh back. Yeah it is my life that I speak of and struggles that I experienced. I question myself is my purpose in life as evident and as definitive as I think it is or is it just a fiction of my imagination. Being dedicated day in and day out is an arduous task when you do not reap the results you want. Your expectations are high but the outcome is dismal. Maybe other people do work harder maybe I am the hardest working person, either alternative is a plausible hypothesis. Maybe a self evaluation will do the trick. Who knows even that may not lead to a satisfying answer.

I try my best though, I honestly for me to not perform is an attack on my personal character, it is also an assassination attempt on my work ethic. I invest my sweat, blood, and tears in order to reach that distant goal but nothing comes of it. I devote my time and energy but little if any of the desired outcome is produced. That leads to my next point maybe I am not supposed to do well on a certain test or in a certain field because my Creator has a bigger plan in store for me that I do not know of. The mysteries of life are revealed at times when we least expect it. That is why life itself is an enigmatic journey where we learn to be very cognizant of signs that point us in the right direction. It is by God's providence that I am where I am today and have the blessed opportunity and privilege of giving back to the community that gave me so much.

Life throws these curve balls at us but it is up to us to react in the best way possible. It is a testament to our character if we are resilient in the midst of stark opposition and grueling hardships or if we just languish in the shadows and yield to the opposition. I must remain strong and I must strive to find the positive in every negative or unfavorable situation. It is hard to achieve your goals when anything and everything is not working your way, but we need hope and faith to go the distance. Most of all if we are going to complete our mission in life we need to dig for that inner strength that defines us and also be guided by the divine inspiration inspires us!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Product of your environment

Today I thought about people that I surround myself by and how they share the same goals, aspirations, and qualities as me. I guess the law of attraction is as accurate as they say it is. For some reason people who are like minded gravitate towards each other. I do not know if its because a particular group of people find a comfort zone with each other or if its because that cluster of people are more driven and focused by surrounding themselves with the same type of people. Every group has a stamp of generalization branded upon them. By this I mean a label that is convenient and adheres to the laws of social psychology. A prime example of this is when a group of people who are deeply religious travel together some people might call them the "church folk" or when a group of really smart kids travel in packs they call them the "nerds". These are classifications that distinguish different groups based upon the alignment of common ideologies.

It seems so cliche but its true, the people who you surround yourself with define who you are and vice versa. People's attributes rub off on you. For example if you surround yourself by intelligent people the the likelihood of you becoming intelligent is higher. A paradigm of this is in the IV league schools where the rigorous coursework and the competitive atmosphere breeds stellar students. This is not to say that if you do not go to an IV league school you won’t be a stellar student, but you have a greater chance of becoming a top notch student by attending an IVY League school where everybody competes to get the highest grade! Thus the high graduation rate at prestigious schools. On the other hand for people who do not value their education the same thing applies. A situation that personifies this concept is one where all your friends drop out of high school then you will be more likely to drop out of high school too. A result of this is the high dropout rates in teh inner city public schools. Social psychology theories explain how people are more prone to partake in an activity if everybody else around them is doing the same thing. This can be seen in an activity as simple as an audience clapping. When one person claps another person will stand up to clap and the rest of the audience begins clapping. This is a perfect illustration of how social psychology rules our daily social interactions and our human connection.

This is also seen when you are competing in a sport. For instance if you are a basketball player and you train with Michael Jordan this will make you way better than any other basketball player. Of course you need to have some raw talent the same mentality but training with him will give you an edge on the competition. Or if you train with a wrestler that is better than you, you will have a chance to improve your skills and compete at the highest level possible. Again it comes down to who you choose to be a part of your supporting cast. The same thing goes for negativity and positivity. When you hang out with people that have a negative mindset that attitude will surely permeate your life and influence your thoughts and actions. Positivity works the same way. If you are positive-minded the positivity will work out in your best interest and brighten up your day whenever you are feeling down or gloomy.

This is also seen in everyday things such as people that you associate yourself with repeating your actions or sayings. For example if I frequently use a certain phrase and I spend a lot of time around you, you will naturally start to use that same phrase, it is just human nature and its bound to happen! A scenario where this is seen often is with slang. If I greet my friend with "wassup man" everyday he will most likely start to use the same phrase. The same thing goes for actions and personalities. If I hang out with a person that constantly puts other people down then it is just a matter of time before I will surely repeat this act.

These are my thoughts on how you can become a product of your environment. Some people are able to resist the negative external influences. Some of these are the strongest people mentally; they are able to resist any actions that are not their own and tend to be negative they rather choose to embrace the positive influences! This is Arod signing off until next time!

Rulers and paradoxes.

Yesterday I was watching a special on the Holocaust. They depicted some of that atrocities that occurred during that period in history. Then it was mentioned that there was a rumor that Hitler's grandmother was Jewish and that Hitler was also part Jewish. Whether it is speculation, a rumor, or fact we will never really know. But the thought is bizarre and nebulous. Beyond everything it is extremely paradoxical. This would have depicted how we as humans embody self hatred and try to vehemently reject what we view as flaws. How can you oppress your own people or people that share your blood line? Since Hitler despised and oppressed the Jewish people maybe he didn't want his perceived weakness to be projected by any revelation of his Jewish heritage, so maybe the documents or any remnants of his ethnic history was eradicated before anybody could get their hands on it. He had a tumultuous relationship with his father who was stern and strict himself which could explain his inferiority complex and the voracious desire to be powerful and dominant. But to hypothetically think that he would enslave and kill his own people is self contradictory and shows how much we as humans subconsciously or consciously reject who we are and hate ourselves. It is a true a testament to the phenomenon of paradox that perpetually plagues the human existence.

Moving on to another nefarious dictator who's reign was concurrent with Hitler's is Rafael Trujillo from the Dominican Republic who ironically was born in my parent's hometown of San Cristobal. Trujillo is historically known to have a Haitian grandmother. The stark irony strikes again. He killed an abominable amount of Haitians in his day because he viewed them as inferior and thought they were damaging or polluting the race. Some of his legacy still lingers in DR ( Dominican Republic) as some Dominicans have animosity towards Haitians and vice versa. Here we see that he was trying to reject his Haitian heritage and what better way than to marginalize Haitians and massacre thousands of them. Trujillo was a heartless tyrant who killed anybody who opposed his regime not just Haitians. Before he ordered the killings of Haitians he covered up the fact that he was part Haitian. Trujillo had one of the longest reigns of any dictator and ruled Dominican Republic for 30 years from 1930-1961.

In both these scenarios we can see that both of these men have been afflicted by self hatred and seek out the entity within themselves that they hated the most and persecuted the entity to its fullest extent. But while they were killing the Haitians and Jews they were actually killing themselves. Now that is PARADOX and IRONY in nutshell. This internal conflict is not unique as we see in our everyday lives how people deny their own race or ethnic origin. It is evident in the Black and Latino community where some people hate themselves subconsciously because of the way they are treated! It is also evident in other ethnicities. Is this a plausible theory, you be the judge! This is ARod signing off!

Geographic connection to social class

I was thinking the other day about geographic location of cities and their connection with crime and demographics. I have noticed that the southern areas of most cities are the most poverty stricken areas. The Northern parts are usually the most affluent areas. If the dichotomy is not as polarized the northern and southern areas still tend to be demographically and economically distinct. Maybe it could be a conspiracy where the government or society subconsciously or consciously pigeonholed everybody from the lower economic strata in one area and it always tend to be in the south. Or maybe it just happened to be that way. But this within itself has some powerful symbolism. South represents down. So it can be either interpreted as society regarding these areas as inferior or the people who draw these district lines and set the geographic boundaries trying to keep the population in these "southern areas down".

Lets take the Bronx for example. The Bronx in general but more specifically the southern part of the Bronx in recent history has been the residential area for the black and Latino underclass. It was jaw dropping when I rode the train one day and had an epiphany. I was downtown around 42nd street and as the train's trajectory progressed uptown towards the Bronx more and more Whites and Asians got off the train ad more Blacks and Latinos boarded the train. I was in the awe at how polarized most neighborhoods and boroughs were. New York's segregation has less to do with race and more with social class. I believe the Bronx is the most concentrated borough in terms of the minority population or people of color if you will. This is also the borough with the lowest social class and is home to many blue collar workers. It has been like this since the 60s when the Bronx was in the worse predicament socioeconomically. Plagued by the crack epidemic, low employment rate, high crime rate, and landlords incinerating buildings to collect insurance, it was a city of chaos and turmoil and it was deemed as one of the worst national urban centers crimewise.

If you go to LA the southern part is also the worst part crimewise and it is what would be defined in slang as "the hood". The southern part contains Watts and Compton which are two districts that have highest crime rates in Los Angeles and possibly in the state of California. they also have the lowest income per household which makes sense, since there is a significant trend between crime ad poverty. These two areas are predominantly black and Latino.

Lets go to "Chi-town" Chicago. This city's southern quadrant also has the highest crime rate in the city of Chicago. This area is predominantly Black and also has a low median household income. Atlanta and Philadelphia's southsides are also the most impoverished areas in their respective cities. This is apparent throughout the Unites States not just New York City or Los Angeles. It is a ubiquitous problem.

The property value in these urban centers are also low which explains the poor surrounding schools and lack of resources. Now my question is: was this geographically constructed on purpose to isolate all the poor people in "the southern areas" to signify oppression and avoid the dissemination of the underclass? Or was it just set up like this subconsciously. I will leave that question for you to answer. Until next time this is ARod signing off!