An Analysis of High School
An analysis of high school from the perspective of a senior.
Page 1 of 61 Preface: The purpose of this analysis is to provide insight about the composition of high school to those who are in it and who were in it. Those in high school would have the most to gain from this, but any and all can find something to take from this essay. After all, if you are a high schooler is it not worth your time to read an analysis of the very institution of which you are a part? Life does not give many guidebooks; this is one of them. This analysis is subdivided into seven sections which all touch on different aspects of high school, society, and the human condition. I am aware that every high school is unique in its own way, as such I attempted to construct what I thought to be the most basic and universal properties of high school. This analysis does not touch on stereotypes or misconceptions that are commonly portrayed by the media. It is written solely from actual experience and reason. Section 1 focuses primarily on the categories of humans and of the general make up of society. Section 2’s focus is on elementary and middle school and how the child develops into an adolescent. Section 3 shifts the emphasis to high school and the various types of students. Section 4’s attention is on the various roles that a teenager can take on in their high school. Section 5 talks about gossip, since gossip is a key feature of the workings of high school. Section 6’s mission is to give insight about love, relationships, friendships, and emotions. Section 7 ends the analysis with some final miscellaneous thoughts. I must say, I have learned a great deal about high school by writing this analysis, and there is truth in this essay. I cannot tell you how to go through high school “correctly,” for there are many right ways of doing it, but many wrong ways as well. This analysis is merely a tool to help you live the good life, and for high schoolers it is an invaluable tool. I dedicate this analysis primarily to the high school that gave me my education, the one and only Santa Monica High School. I wish to thank all of my wonderful acquaintances, friends, teachers, and mentors who have blessed my life with their presence. I would not be the person that I am now if it wasn’t for all of you. Specifically, I wish to thank the magnificent Meredith Louria; if it weren’t for this wonderful woman this analysis would not have turned out the way it has. I also wish to thank Ezrin Escobedo, the young talented graphic designer who created the cover. This chapter of my life is ending and I made it the best I possibly could. My only wish is that others may see this, read it, and understand it so that their chapter of high school becomes the best that it can possibly be. Many people graduate high school and get a gift for graduating; I am graduating and this is the gift that I give to all of you. One final note: upon going through the high school educational system I have come to the realization that all students entering it are not given sufficient knowledge about it other than how it is portrayed by the media or through the tales of others. They are simply tossed Page 2 of 61 into this academic arena, expected to fulfill certain expectations but never actually told as to why. The best way to control a population is by keeping it uneducated, and in my opinion, the first goal of a high school education should be to educate the student about high school itself. Education is meant to help one’s survival, and would not the education about one’s environment aid one far more than knowing some theoretical knowledge? High schoolers must ask themselves the question, “Why am I going to school?” and develop an answer. It is absurd to do something without understanding why you are doing it. Individuals are not told why they must go to high school, or why they must get a job; teenagers are forced to do it for it is the will of society, and the will of a collective is far stronger than the will of an individual. Since the will of a collective is superior to that of an individual, this allows certain behaviors to occur that on the individual level wouldn’t. An individual would not exploit his/her own environment and bring it to the brink of destruction, but a collective would and is doing that. This planet cannot sustain the high level of defilement that we are partaking in every day. We, my fellow high schoolers, are the future rulers of this planet. We, as citizens of the Earth, must redirect the flow of society into a better direction. We, as inhabitants of the cosmos, must strive to actualize the greatest good. Thus, the purpose of this analysis is to provide some insight into high school that the high schooler can read and learn from and hopefully exit the cave of misinformation into the light of knowledge. Once an individual is in the light of knowledge then that individual can begin to actualize the greatest good. I will state this plainly: This analysis is not complete. One individual cannot possibly hope to comment on all parts of high school; thus it is my hope that future generations can take this, add to this, edit and account for the changing educational structure, and basically create a textbook of high school itself; so that any soul which is yearning to understand his/her environment will be able to study the knowledge and wisdom of those that gave it. This is the beginning of a new era, of a new time, of a new epoch; a time where a person on his/her journey of life will no longer be tossed into a system utterly clueless, but with a theoretical knowledge that will give access to the form of the system. By having access to the form of high school, individuals will be able to understand the instantiality of it. This is a tool book, not a fact book; the amount of value you get from this piece of text is solely dependent on you. Shall we begin? Page 3 of 61 The Categories of Humans All categories are equally important, no category is more important than another for the lack of a category in a society will lead to the eventual downfall of that society. All instantialities, however, are of differing importance. Infant Exist Elementary School Physical Intellectual Middle School Physical Intermediary Intellectual High School/College Worker Power Entertainer Intellectual Society Worker Educated Power Entertainer Intellectual Philosopher Uneducated Unemployed Politician Guardian Business Scientist Visual Social Auditorial Advisor Public Servant Military Written Healer Physical Parent Page 4 of 61 Section 1: The Categories and Society Society is a well-functioning machine and it also the best machine, because without this machine we humans would not be able to survive. Society is made up of individuals, thus individuals are cogs to the machine. Individuals must take certain roles in order for society to be that well-functioning machine. There are 5 rungs of this categorical ladder and there are 5 categories in the societal rung of the ladder, 4 categories in the high school/college rung, 3 categories in the middle school rung, 2 categories in the elementary school rung, and 1 category in the infant rung. The world is composed of categories, categorical instantialities and instantialities1. Categories are universal, nominal concepts that are used by reason and reason only to order our experience. Categorical instantialities are further elaborations of categories; they are composed of reason and experience. Instantialities are created by experience. Categories are immaterial. A category encompasses many instantialities and an instantiality can either be the manifestation of a category in the material world or a further elaboration of a category. Categories are always immaterial; categorical instantialities can be immaterial or material, and instantialities are material2. For example, there exists the category of living, which is an abstract concept since it is quite difficult to truly say what it means to live. Of that category, there are many categorical instantialities, such as dogs, humans, cats, etc. Of those categorical instantialities there are instantialities, such as a dog named Rex, or a human named Emily. We only understand a category through the understanding of instantialities. We understand the categorical instantiality of humans only because we experience the instantialities of that category. We are not born understanding the concept of human, we learn it. We are, on the other hand, born experiencing the instantialities of the concept of human. This then eventually leads us to grasping the abstract category of human. When an individual refers to a human the reference is not referring to any human in existence; rather, it refers to the concept of human, the category of human. Categories are useful insofar that they encompass all of the instantialities into one entity. Categories are nominal, meaning that they exist for pragmatic (practical) reasons. Categories do not exist in some alternate realm, they are created by us. 1 An instantiality is a specific instant of some general thing. For example, of the category of human you are an instantiality of it. 2 The reason that instantialities can be both is because often times there are nominal categories that supersede physical instantialities. Transportation is an abstract category, but an instantiality of that category is car. Even though car is an instantiality of that, it is still abstract, for ‘car’ does not exist, but types of cars do. The actual physical instantiality of ‘car’ is the various vehicles that drive on the street. If I ask you to show me a ‘car’ I am requesting you to show me something that embodies the attributes of the nominal category of ‘car,’ but I certainly do not ask you to show me the universal nominal concept itself, for that is impossible. Page 5 of 61 Categories are used by reason in order to complete the series of instantialities. If an individual wishes to make a point about a vast majority of instantialities, that individual does not list all the instantialities and then make his/her point. Although that is possible and will lead to the same results as using a category, it will not be practical. Thus categories are utilized by reason in order to be practical and to create attributes that encompass all instantialities. Categories sit on the immaterial level and as such they serve as a diving point. They aim to guide an individual into the correct interpretation of an instantiality; but a category does not define an instantiality. An instantiality defines itself. Categories eliminate some philosophical problems, specifically metaphysical ones, because many metaphysical problems are problems of language. Take for instance the problem of nothing, something, and everything. The word nothing is an empty word; it has no rational meaning because nothing does not exist. The whole problem of the concept of nothing is that humans are existentialists, meaning we assign meaning to everything even if it is devoid of meaning. Thus we cannot comprehend nothing, for nothing is a thing, and a thing is something. All we know is existence; we do not know what lack of existence is. Thus we cannot know of nothing; therefore we cannot talk about nothing, and ergo we will ignore nothing. Thus, we have the category of nothing; it is an empty category which has no instantiality. It is to be ignored, for it serves no purpose. Next, we have the category of everything. The category of everything is the Grand Category; all other categories fall under this category. Therefore every category, even nothing, is an instantiality of the Grand Category, implying that categories can be both instantialities and categories, but eventually every category ends in an instantiality that cannot give rise to another category; this final instantiality is the fundamental makeup of the universe, the thing that cannot be reduced to smaller terms. Thus the category of everything can be ignored as well since by definition, anything is a part of everything, and it is useless to mention the concept of everything every time we mention anything. Next, we have the practical category of something. Nothing is the absence of any category, everything is all the categories, and something is anything that is neither nothing nor everything. Thus, all the practical categories, like the category of living, human, red, funny, etc. fall under this category of something. This diagram (Page 4) is the category of all human beings; it captures the essence, but the instantiality, ie. the existence, is up to the individual. Existence precedes essence, and it is up to the individual to decide what kind of essence he/she becomes; it is up to the individual to decide what role he/she plays in this game of life. There are some things to be taken into consideration while examining this diagram. It is important to note that individuals often belong to multiple categories, but one category always dominates the other ones and that is the primary category. An individual can have secondary, Page 6 of 61 tertiary, etc. categories. No category is better or worse than another; they are all necessary. These categories are the broadest categories possible; however, it is possible to be even more specific with these categories but that is not necessary to understand the idea. All an infant can do is to simply exist; there is no other role that an infant can play. In elementary school, individuals partake in two activities: physical (art, exercise, building, etc.) and intellectual (reading, studying, writing, etc.). All children do both activities, but all children begin favoring one activity over the other; thus the activity that they favor is what role they are categorized under. In middle school the primary two categories remain the same, with one addition, the intermediary category. The intermediary category arises because of the fact that the individual is more mature, gains more opportunities, and can seek a balance between the two, potentially focusing on such activities as school politics, sports, academia, art, socialization, etc. In high school, we begin to see a specialization of the three categories. The majority of the physical students fall under the worker and entertainer categories. The majority of the intellectual students fall under the power and intellectual categories. The intermediary students can fall into any category, depending on which activity they prefer. An analysis of these categories will be provided later on; this is simply an introduction into the understanding of them. In society, the four categories that originated in high school continue to exist, with the introduction of a fifth, the guardians. The guardians become necessary in society to establish order, for in high school, society provides the students with guardians and thus there is no need for a student to take up the role of one. There are a multitude of reasons as to why individuals fall under one category more than the other, such as: biological, socioeconomic, motivational, circumstance, etc. In addition, it is the byproduct of nature. The notion that humans are born with no foundation, free to choose their destiny, is incorrect. Humans are born with a foundation, free to choose their destiny; the majority of humankind builds on that foundation, and the minority of humanity exercises their autonomy and creates a new one. Also, males and females develop differently and at different times, thus there may be an intermediary in elementary school, but since that is an outlier it is not included in the categories but it is important to note that it is possible. Thus, here are the categories. I do not ask you to accept them; rather, I ask you to think of an instantiality and see if the category of the instantiality is on here. If it is not, then this model is incomplete; if it is, then it serves its point as a tool of organization. If you cannot think of an example, then I will provide one for you. Such an example would be an individual who has been playing tennis since elementary school; let us call him Mr. Robertson. Mr. Robertsonâ€™s focus has been tennis, thus placing him in the physical category. In middle school, he continues to play tennis and partakes in the various things that middle schoolers partake in. In high school, he competes on a high level and has goals of playing tennis in college, thus falling under the entertainer category. In college, he continues to play tennis and studies psychology, but an Page 7 of 61 unfortunate injury ends his professional career. Upon ending college and entering society, he becomes a tennis coach. His primary category is that of Entertainer: Physical. His secondary category that of Intellectual: Advisor, for he advises his students in various matters in life and his students listen to his advice. His third and final category is the most minor of the three but it is a category nonetheless, and it is Entertainer: Social, for when he plays tennis with his students he communicates with them and as a result they have a fun time. Another example is Baruch Spinoza, the â€œprince of philosophers,â€? who lived in the 17 th century. His primary category is that of Intellectual: Philosopher, and his secondary that of Worker: Uneducated, because he was a lens grinder. If one wishes to understand the world, one cannot simply understand the instantialities; one must also understand that which encompasses the instantialities, the categories. I too can trace my path through the categories. In elementary school I was primarily an intellectual, and I played some tennis, demonstrating that I had aspects of the physical category yet was a part of the intellectual. In middle school, I was in between the intermediary and intellectual category, although closer to the intellectual. In high school, I am a part of the intellectual and entertainer category, and I am not sure what my societal category will be, although I know Intellectual: Philosopher will be my primary one. The categories are also seen as continuums, although that is not shown in the diagram. Thus you, the perceiver of the perceived, must mentally understand that they are on a continuum, for example: Elementary School Physical Intellectual A B C D E A person falling everywhere to the left of point C is categorized as Physical; a person falling everywhere to the right of point C is Intellectual. A person can share some similarities, thus falling on points B or D, but they still belong to one category, despite the similarities. No person falls on point A or point E; they are too extreme and it is literally impossible to neglect the other side. A child cannot fall on point C because that level of balance is unattainable at that age, and most likely at any stage in life for everything constantly changes. Due to the constant state of change, it is impossible to stay on one point over a frame of time. The Bible is a book that has much potential wisdom and from it a lot of allegorical associations can be derived. In the Bible it is mentioned that Cain created the first city; thus he Page 8 of 61 created the first society. In the genealogy of Cain, three important men were born: Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-cain. Jabal was “the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.” Jubal was the “father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.” Tubal-cain was the “forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.” I may be wrong, but I highly doubt that these individuals existed; however, they stand for something very concrete. Jabal stands for security, Jubal for entertainment, and Tubal-cain for progress. A well functioning society must have all three. Thus, Jabal stands for the worker and the guardian, for he provides the food, builds the homes, and protects the other categories. Tubal-cain stands for the intellectual and the power categories; for the intellectual creates the tools for the power category, and the power category steers society into the right (or wrong) direction. Finally, Jubal stands for the entertainer category, for what is the point of security and progress if one does not enjoy them? Life is not meant to be taken that seriously; it must be enjoyed! And since we are hedonists (pleasure seekers), it is impossible for this category to not exist3. This is why the entertainer category is the largest one in the sense of diversity, for essentially it is the most important one for the majority of humanity. Most people do not work for the sake of working, nor learn for the sake of learning; they do it to receive some reward, and that reward is pleasure in their lives, provided partially by the entertainers. The five categories of society are the only societal categories that can exist, no more and no less. Meaning, people can either be workers, individuals in power, entertainers, intellectuals, or guardians. There are no other roles to play. These roles naturally arise due to human desires and behaviors. These categories exist in the state of nature. Those being the worker, ie. the hunter gatherer, the power individual, ie. the leader of the group, the entertainer ie. any individual who partakes in fun occasions, the intellectual ie. the wisest man in the group who advises the leader, and the guardian ie. the parents. These categories are a priori, meaning necessary for any society. Say for example that in the society that we live in now the guardian category is eliminated completely. Gone are the parents, the police, the firemen, the doctors, and the army. Who will heal those who are sick? None of the other categories can for that is not their expertise; they are not trained in that nor should they be trained. Take out the entire entertainer category and all of society will experience such a psychosis and psychological trauma that suffering, discontentment, and suicide will be rampant. If the entertainers are gone then the pleasures of life are gone. If the workers are gone then no food will be grown and the necessities of life will not be met. If there are no power categories then there will be nothing to unite and order the masses, resulting in chaos ESV study Bible: English Standard Version, “Genesis.” ESV text ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Bibles, 2008. Print. 3 Page 9 of 61 and disorganization. If there are no intellectuals then no progress will be made and a society will not be able to adapt to the changing world. All these categories are equally important, which is why I make the claim that, “All categories are equally important, no category is more important than another for the lack of a category in a society will lead to the eventual downfall of that society.” Do you see the chaos that will ensue if a category is taken out? Even if a single instantiality of that category is taken out there will be turmoil, and unchecked turmoil will lead to more turmoil. I do also mention, however, that all instantialities are of differing importance. It can be said that the instantiality of the category of worker, that being ‘Uneducated Worker’ is of more importance than ‘Entertainer Written,’ simply for the fact that the instantiality of the category of ‘Uneducated Worker,’ such as farmer, is of more utility and need than an instantiality of the category of ‘Entertainer Written,’ such as a poet. Likewise, a president is of more value than a farmer simply because presidents require more prerequisite skills than farmers and thus presidents are harder to replace than farmers, making them more valuable and of a differing level of importance. Humans are all equal in value, but jobs are unequal in value. Despite this difference in value they are all still necessary. We are all equal in the sense of existence, but in the sense of essence we are unequal. The criminal category is excluded in this diagram because it is not necessary for society, but all criminals can be categorized. A thief is an uneducated worker, an assassin an educated worker, a mob leader is a power individual, etc. Of course, the criminal class can have a category of its own but that will be done later on in this essay. Since the criminals can be added into the current model they do not countermine the truth of it. If one is able to understand all of the categories and all the definitions of all of the categories, then one has a theoretical understanding of the world, which if applied correctly with wisdom, will lead to practical understanding of the world, which is prudence. Categorize everything I say! Section 2: Elementary and Middle School The term "high school" originated in Scotland, with the world’s oldest being Edinburgh's Royal High School established in 15054. High school has become a necessary part in the American societal machine, a part that is both an end in itself and a means to something greater. College is the term that is meant by the greater part. High school is unique in the fact that it is the only educational structure that is both an end and a means, resulting in the creation of a unique environment that encompasses a varied amount and type of individuals. "High school - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_school> 4 Page 10 of 61 If one is to look at the educational system in the most general yet still specific perspective, one would have to break it apart into four stages. The first stage is known as Elementary School. Elementary School is the time where the tools of thought, social skills, and foundations of knowledge are established. This key stage begins the long process of cultivating our tools of thought that persist till death. Youngsters cultivate their creativity, create critical thinking strategies, amass analytic strategies, etc. At the time, these strategies are simplistic and from our adult perspective, obvious, but for the child these tools are as interesting and new as the toys he/she plays with. They allow the child to view the world from a perspective that was previously unknown to him/her, and these tools are the seeds that will grow into a tree. We must not forget the importance of the beginning, which allowed everything after it to happen. In addition to learning the various thinking and mind-gazing strategies, children also begin to learn the proper social etiquette of this time. The child who enters kindergarten/firstgrade is only beginning to create his/her persona, and what that child creates sticks with that child for the rest of said child’s life. Since humans are gregarious and social creatures, the child quickly learns the importance of social interaction, and thus begins writing the maxims for proper behavior. Since civilization is moving into the city rather than out of it, this analysis of the educational system, specifically high school, will focus on the prototypical educational facilities present in cities, rather than towns. The elementary school of a city is no small household that the child has been used to; it is a buzzing social hub, filled with new dangers and delights. When the child enters elementary school, that child has already begun formulating an ego, thus understanding that there are others who are similar to him/her and that there is himself/herself. In fact, the entrance into the educational system speeds up the formation of the child’s ego, for circumstance requires action; in this case the circumstance is the environment, which is composed of a multitude of individuals. The child must quickly learn to create his/her own persona. Due to the massive amount of personas, the child learns through observation and interaction, noting which characteristics he/she finds admirable and which unworthy. The child learns and solidifies various key social skills, such as those of correct communication (physical and verbal), the principle of sharing, and the conception of friend, foe, and bystander. These social skills and others stay with the child indefinitely and like the tools of thought are cultivated throughout one’s life. The third and final part of the child’s education in elementary school is the setting up of a foundation of knowledge. The child enters elementary school knowing only what he/she knows from his/her parents and his/her own small pool of experience. The child learns the Page 11 of 61 basic principles of mathematics, written language, science, history, and art. This seemingly small and simple foundation is the cornerstone for the significantly larger sphere of the knowledge the child will possess in his/her adolescent and adult life. Ultimately the purpose of elementary school is to prepare the child for middle school. No good building can stand without a good foundation, and elementary school is that foundation. The child graduates elementary school and enters the next stage of the educational ladder: middle school. Middle school arose and grew in popularity from the second half of the 20th century to the present day. Prior to this, elementary school would continue all the way up until high school, but the growing human population, the further understanding of child and adolescent psychology, and a more refined curriculum required the creation of the middle school. The child enters middle school as an old child and leaves it as a young adolescent. Educationally there is little difference in the structure of the learning except for a few changes. This child still learns and acquires tools of thought, social skills, and knowledge but in a more advanced form. The tools of thought become more refined and precise, quicker to solve problems and able to tackle greater ones. The child builds on the foundation of knowledge that he/she entered middle school with, and reaches levels of understanding that would have been utterly incomprehensible to him/her a few years earlier. In addition to theoretical knowledge, the individual acquires practical knowledge, that being the bettering of the physical body, the refinement of the vessel, and skills on how to survive out in the jungle whether it be the concrete jungle or natural one. This is done through physical education, where the individual participates in a large variety of sports, learns workout strategies, and realizes the importance of a vessel equipped to handle the physical obstacles that are present in the world. Social etiquette continues to grow, now with the introduction of new situations that call for greater understanding. There is a new element that enters this field though, that of the opposite sex due to the emerging sexual drive, which will be covered a bit later. It is important to note that some individuals, more often females than males, experience this element in late elementary school for the reason that females experience puberty earlier than males; however, I will be focusing on the majority rather than the minority. In elementary school the child experiences fewer problems and desires than in middle school. The life of a child in elementary school is much simpler compared to that of the middle schooler. The child is still in a state of general awe in regards to the world, thus resulting in a smaller need for external joy because internal joy is so easily produced. By external joy I mean joy derived from material objects. By internal joy I mean joy derived from oneâ€™s perceptions. In regards to schoolwork, the child is hopefully urged on by the parent and the teacher to do it, Page 12 of 61 and when not doing it, punishment is dished out. Oh how the young, innocent child dreads the cold, mean, merciless hands of punishment; yet the hands of punishment are excellent for learning. In addition, the child has no need to establish strong friendships or romantic relationships. Romantic relationships never rise above the friendly level because of the lack of hormonal drive, and strong friendships never rise because a strong friendship can only be that of virtue. Before continuing, I must first shed some light on what is meant by the three types of friendships. This will be accomplished with the aid of Aristotle’s Nichomacean Ethics, for in this document he identified them. In Book 8 Section 3 he writes: “There are three kinds of friendship. Some, especially the old or the ambitious, love from utility, to derive benefit from the friendship. Sometimes such people do not even like each other, as with friendship with foreigners. Those who love on the grounds of pleasure are motivated by their own pleasure. This is commonest among the young and with erotic friendship. Such can rise and fall very quickly. Only the friendship of those who are similarly truly good is perfect, but it is rare, as good men are rare.” What this is essentially saying is that the two most common friendships are the utility and pleasure friendships. The utility one arises due to a desire for some sort of benefit; the pleasure arises due to a desire to fulfill one’s own pleasure. The truest friendship, which is that of virtue, requires two good people, two virtuous ones. The virtuous friendship transcends the utility and pleasure ones for its center is not pleasure or gain, but goodness. Thus it prizes the most important thing, the individual, and a virtuous friendship usually contains aspects of a pleasure and utility one; it’s just that the emphasis is different. In Section 6 he says: “Friendship arises less readily among sour and elderly people. Young men become friends much more quickly and easily than older men, although the latter may still be welldisposed toward others. On the other hand, to have many perfect friends is no more possible than to be in love with many people at once, for love is a kind of excess of friendship.” Interestingly enough young people do in fact make friends rather quickly, but the virtuous friendship is quite rare to find; even when one searches for a while. In life it is important to find virtuous friends. To have a virtuous friendship is one of the purposes of life. If one lives through life without a friendship like this then he/she did not live to their fullest potential and he/she also never experienced the true joy of such a friendship. In Section 13 he also says: Page 13 of 61 “Quarrels occur most of all in friendships based on usefulness because each is only using the other for his own benefit, but in friendships based on virtue, quarrels are rare because the friends are eager to treat each other well5.” Aristotle states one of the identifying factors in determining what kind of friendship one has, that being the amount and type of quarreling. He also states that, essentially, virtue is its own reward. The question that should be derived from Aristotle’s work on identifying friendship is, “Who are my friends and what kind of friends are they?” It is important to identify the types of friendships that one has, for it will bring more awareness into an individual’s life, and the greater the awareness the greater the freedom, the more freedom the more power, which in turn leads to living a better life. The child has no utility friendships for his/her peers can’t provide him/her anything that the parent or he/she can’t; thus the only friendships that remain are that of pleasure. This is not to say that a virtuous friendship can’t arise amongst childhood friends; it can, but only with age where virtue becomes understand and actualized. All childhood friendships are that of pleasure for children merely seek playmates to maximize their own happiness. In addition, the child faces no problems other than proper diet in regards to his/her vessel. The child is not yet capable to gain a significant amount of muscle; thus a majority of children are of the same physical make-up, a child-like one that is, with the exceptions being overly obese and overly skinny children. Middle school and maturity, however, cause all this to change. To begin, the majority of individuals undergo a tragic transformation. Where in childhood they had more internal joy than external, in adolescence they begin to experience less internal joy and more external. This transformation can only be reversed with the study of philosophy, for philosophy cultivates the sweeter internal joy and eliminates the burdensome external type. The great teacher Epicurus said that “It is better to be free of fear lying upon a pallet, than to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble.” The lack of fear is the internal joy, and the trouble amidst riches is the feeling one gets when one relies on externalities for joy, for if one does not achieve that external pleasure one experiences fear and despair. This, especially in a materially capitalistic country, is the unfortunate side effect of maturation, where the individual begins to understand the hedonistic pleasures of wealth and puts a great deal of emphasis on it, due to the structure of the society. Thus, the individual experiences a complication of his/her emotional well-being, and new social, intellectual, physical, and existential worries further complicate the matter. 5 "Squashed Philosophers - Aristotle - Ethics." Squashed Philosophers . N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://sqapo.com/aristotle.htm>. Page 14 of 61 The new social issues that occur in middle school are linked to that of friendship and of romance. The beginning of puberty gives rise to many problems, one of them being that of romance. The individual begins to have sexual desires and needs to be met. This creates a subconscious dilemma in the individual, for when a desire is not met it leads to dissatisfaction. Thus, the individual begins to spend time with other individuals of the opposite sex with a much different purpose and perspective than when he/she was a child; a less innocent one. The goal now is not simply to have a playmate, but to satisfy the developing sexual desire. In addition, the individual relieves some of this desire in the form of masturbation, which in turn may cause feelings of embarrassment and inferiority. Similarly, the individual has little knowledge of the opposite sex, meaning how to communicate and how to pick up on social cues. Thus, this time period has the individual experiencing a great deal of learning due to the amount of new stimulus that is presented. Whence in elementary school children played with one another and did not retreat into groups, the opposite begins to occur in middle school. Individuals begin to come together and form units of individuals, called groups, in an effort to gain that much needed social interaction and to gain a feeling of belonging that was previously not there. Individuals who are not part of a group are sometimes ostracized by the crowd, resulting in being socially forced to join one, even when an individual innately has no desire to do so. This grouping reaches its apex in high school, but after that it goes on the decline. The unease, discomfort, and confusion that accompanies this time period is due to the development of the ego and the requirement of the juggling of the desires of the id (instinctual desires) and the setting of rules of the super-ego (societal expectations). Friendships arise due to utility and pleasure, but unfortunately, the time is not yet for the much greater virtuous friendship. It is important to note that utility and pleasure friendships still require virtue, just not to the extent that a virtuous friendship does. Friendships become important in establishing oneâ€™s social position in the school; sometimes friendships occur simply for social standing and the individual may not even realize that this is occurring. The reason that I do not believe that the virtuous friendship can arise in middle school is because individuals have not had a sufficient amount of time to cultivate their virtues. There are some individuals who walk on the path of virtue and some on the path of vice, but none become virtuous individuals and none become vice-ridden ones in the time of middle school. In elementary school an individual has a few amount of teachers, often times one, sometimes two. In middle school the individual has more teachers, usually in the ranges of four or more. This increase in the amount of teachers greatly affects the individual. The individual now has more opportunities to observe an adult human living life, thus gaining more examples of successful (or unsuccessful) living. In addition, the teacher often plays a type of parent role for the individual; for the teacher gives the individual the same thing the parents give him/her, Page 15 of 61 knowledge. Due to this the teacher becomes an important feature in the individual’s life, and strongly affects one’s emotional health. A snarky comment or a warming complement will indubitably affect the individual, in positive or negative ways. Teachers are symbols of hope, for they give the illusion of possessing knowledge of the truth; even though they are as lost in this world as every single other being. Teachers, however, are excellent beacons of light for those who are alive and stuck wandering this limitless, seemingly meaningless, ever-perplexing sea of life. An individual attending school is truly blessed to have access to such a wide array of mentors. With more mentors the individual begins to acquire new intellectual problems, for the coursework of middle school is not only more challenging than that of elementary school, but more important as well. In elementary school there were only two categories of students, good ones and bad ones. The good ones would do their work and pass their tests; the bad ones would neglect work and fail the tests. In middle school there rises a new category. The bad student remains, and continues to neglect school work. Then there rises the neutral student or the average one; this student does the necessary school work but unlike the good student, does not go above and beyond the necessary coursework. The kind of student that one is in middle school is a strong suggestion as to how that student will behave in high school. Then there arise the problems of the vessel. The individual experiences a social sphere larger than that which he/she had in elementary school, which entails that his/her acquaintances reside in a much larger radius. Thus, the individual must face the problem of distance, and how to cover it. Where the parent cannot transport the individual, the individual must transport himself/herself. This requires a stronger body than that of the elementary school child, for to cover more distance more energy is required. Since energy is limited, it is necessary to maximize it, and the healthier/stronger the vessel the more efficient it is. In addition, the individual is to be ostracized and/or insulted by his/her fellow peers and members of the opposite sex if he/she is not in a decent/good shape, and thus the pressure to look aesthetically appealing arises. The individual also begins to experience some existential dilemmas. Questions about the meaning of one’s existence, the ethics of one’s choices, and various other dilemmas arise due to the increased intelligence of said individual. These existential problems are not as pressing as the other ones and they are not often on the mind of the middle schooler, but regardless, they are still a problem. Finally, the individual begins to experience pressure from older individuals, that of highschoolers and adults. In some instances, an individual in middle school becomes affiliated with the types of individuals who party and do drugs. If the individual decides to do drugs, whether it Page 16 of 61 be alcohol, marijuana, pills, or whatnot, then the neurochemistry of his/her brain will be altered. Whether it is for good or for bad, I cannot say, but it is a pressure that the young individual is not yet ready to encounter, nor should encounter. Of course there are exceptions; occasionally individuals are extremely adaptive and can handle any situation with wisdom and clarity, but those individuals in the adult population are quite rare, and even rarer in the pubescent population of middle school. Thus the individual experiences a larger amount of problems, but this is not to say that there are not some pleasures as well. Physically, the individual becomes larger and stronger, being able to reach new heights and do new things. With this increased physical prowess comes a new feeling of freedom. Socially, the individual encounters more individuals than in elementary school and can communicate with them better than he/she could previously, resulting in more satisfying conversations and friendships. The sexual desires create problems, but this is because those desires must be satiated. When that does occur, the adolescent experiences a type of pleasure that the child was not privy to. Intellectually, the individual grows in knowledge and understanding, gaining a deeper appreciation for the world and acquiring more perspectives which allow that individual to see and seize more opportunities. Existentially too, the individual begins to answer some questions and find meaning and purpose in oneâ€™s life; a sense of belonging starts to emerge. When individuals experience success emotionally, socially, academically, and physically they enjoy the brief three years of middle school. When they do not, they dislike it. In the beginning of middle school, i.e. 6th grade, the individual is still a child. In the middle of middle school, i.e. 7th grade, the individual undergoes a transformation which is the realization that he/she is leaving childhood behind and that soon middle school will end. In 8th grade, which is the last stage, the middle schooler begins wondering more and more about the soon to be high school experience. There is a noticeable pattern occurring and a deepening of the categories. In elementary school there are only good students and bad ones, younger kids and older kids. In middle school there are good, average, and bad students. Age wise, there are the younger kids, the middleaged ones, and the older ones. This complication of the categories is what I believe gives rise to the increased grouping in middle and high school. In elementary school, everyone associates themselves with the kids in their age group and cares little about how they do in school or who they hang out with. Middle school, on the other hand, has individuals gravitating toward a certain category, due to the fact that an increased urge to be with like-minded people arises. This categorization and grouping becomes even more evident in high school. Page 17 of 61 Section 3: On the types of high school students and the high school life I will be honest in writing this, and quite frankly, I do not know exactly where to start. There are so many entry points into this topic; thus I will start on the one that I believe to be the most important. The point of high school is to educate the students; thus, I will start the analysis by analyzing the types of students. There are three categories of things that an individual can get out of high school. These being: grades, knowledge, and experience. By grades I mean the value (A, B, C, D, or F) assigned to the student’s work in a particular class. By knowledge I mean the information, facts, and wisdom an individual gains in high school. By experience I mean what the individual does in order to make the four years of high school an enjoyable time, ie. hobbies, friends, social gatherings, etc. First, I will use a table to demonstrate the 8 types of students that are possible. A “Yes” means a student pursues that category; a “No” means the student does not. Categories of Student Types Student Student Student Student Student Student Student Student 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Grades No No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Knowledge No No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Experience No Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes Some student types are more common than other types; some are rarer than other types. The number of a particular student type in a specific high school depends on the high school, but I can guarantee that every type of student presented in this table is present in every type of high school. A parallel can be drawn between the three things that a high schooler can live for and the three things an adult can live for. Grades are equivalent to capital, knowledge to wisdom, and experience to experience. Thus, one could say that there are 8 types of adults as well. Page 18 of 61 Secondly, I will use another table to demonstrate how these 8 types of categorical students can be specified into further categories. A student can either be succeeding or failing. Since the ultimate goal of high school is to prepare the student for college, grades are a crucial part in the determination of where the individual will go to college. Thus, success in high school can mean many things, but grades are overwhelmingly the most important thing. By succeeding, I mean passing their classes and excelling in them. By failing, I mean not passing their classes. A student can also be purposeful or aimless. A purposeful student knows what he/she will be doing after he/she graduates from high school. An aimless student has no plans as to what he/she will be doing after he/she graduates from high school. Thus here is another table: Succeeding Failing Purposeful Purposeful and Succeeding Purposeful and Failing Aimless Aimless and Succeeding Aimless and Failing The most favorable category to be in is in the purposeful and succeeding; the least favorable category is to be in the aimless and failing one. In addition to these categories there are 4 types of identity statuses. These are described by the psychologist James Marcia. The four are: “Identity Diffusion – the status in which the adolescent does not have a sense of having choices; he or she has not yet made (nor is attempting/willing to make) a commitment. Identity Foreclosure – The status in which the adolescent seems willing to commit to some relevant roles, values, or goals for the future. Adolescents in this stage have not experienced an identity crisis. They tend to conform to the expectations of others regarding their future (e. g. allowing a parent to determine a career direction) As such, these individuals have not explored a range of options. Identity Moratorium – the status in which the adolescent is currently in a crisis, exploring various commitments and is ready to make choices, but has not made a commitment to these choices yet. Identity Achievement - the status in which adolescent has gone through an identity crisis and has made a commitment to a sense of identity (i.e. certain role or value) that he or she has chosen. 6” "Identity Status Theory (Marcia) | Learning Theories." Learning Theories. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.learning-theories.com/identity-status-theorymarcia.html>. 6 Page 19 of 61 To begin, let us start with Student 1. This kind of student does not get good grades, does not gain knowledge, and does not partake in the high school experience. This is quite literally, the worst kind of student one can be. A student such as this will always be in the failing category, and can either be failing purposefully or aimlessly. To be failing purposefully implies that the student does not care about the high school education and aims to do something else with his/her life. For example, a student such as this may be focused on pursuing a career in the military, forced to work and does not have enough time to focus on high school, or has so much money that he/she simply does not need a job to survive. Students fall under this category often times due to circumstance, for it is quite rare for a student to intentionally pick this category. A student in a tough economic situation and not able to balance his/her life well will neglect the three categories in order to support him/herself and/or family. This is a noble reason, yet still not a good reason. Another type of a student that may fall under this category can be a student that experiences a high school pregnancy, forcing her to either drop out of high school or neglect it. The worst part about this type of student is that there is little success in any category. Since the student does not even pursue the high school experience, this student does not have many friends and most likely does not have any virtuous friends. In addition, he/she does not capitalize on the many opportunities presented in high school, resulting in the wasting of potential. A student such as this often times becomes ostracized by his/her classmates because of the category that he/she picked, due to the fact that he/she is neither sociable nor interesting because of his/her lack of knowledge. Student 1 does not enjoy high school, insofar that he/she takes no pleasure in anything that high school has to offer. The individual may take pleasure if he/she enjoys failing, which is a sign of mental instability. An individual such as this one will most often fall under the Worker: Uneducated category, for he/she rarely pursues any further education after high school. This type of individual is seriously lost at this point in his/her life, and finds no purpose in his/her existence. Unfortunately, some people become stuck in this category; some break free from it but most stay in it forever. Many constantly feel bitter about life and life seems bitter to them in return, due to their lack of trying, throwing them into a cycle of failure and bitterness that is self caused. If a person finds him/herself in this category it is of the utmost importance to figure out why one is in it and then figure out how to leave it. To be in this category is equivalent to being able to sleep on a bed of feathers but choosing to sleep on a bed of nails instead. Student 2, on the other hand, does not care about grades or knowledge but instead focuses on the experience of high school. This kind of student focuses greatly on the social and activity side of high school. Although this student does not have much of an academic future, Page 20 of 61 this student may still focus greatly on sports or art. For some individuals, this category may be beneficial because it frees up a lot of time to pursue that which they actually wish to pursue. That individual must be truly talented in that field to make the sacrifices of grades and knowledge worth it. The types of individuals that I have encountered in this category vary quite greatly. Some of them dedicate their time to some pointless activity, such as video games, whereas others get pulled into the world of drugs. Some become pretty successful athletes and their lack of academic success pales in comparison to their success in athletics. Others become drug dealers and make a living selling narcotics, only to be eventually caught for their illegal activity. Thus, we can see that a student such as this can be any of the four sub-categories: they can be purposeful, aimless, succeeding, and/or failing. Even still, it is not a desirable category. The better version of this type of student is Student 5. Student 5 cares about the experience but also cares about knowledge. This individual may still take pleasure from living life but gains knowledge that will somehow aid him/her in his/her endeavors. An individual such as this one has a much higher potential for success and is usually in a better mental state than Student 1 or 2. The student who pursues knowledge but does not get good grades may still be learning a great deal from high school, which is a very essential thing. Many years after high school is over, the grades that one got will no longer matter, but the knowledge that one learned will stick with him/her forever. Thus, in the long run, knowledge outweighs grades, but in the short run grades outweighs knowledge. Individuals such as this may get decent grades as well, not exceptional grades, but definitely passing ones. This is due to the fact that they do not care about grades, so they will not do some work that is necessary for a grade, but since they are genuinely interested in learning they will still do well enough on tests to pass. Student 5 may do all the things that Student 2 does, but gain much more knowledge than Student 2. Thus, if one wishes to go to high school simply for the experience it is much more logical to be Student 5 rather than Student 2. Student 3 pursues knowledge but no other category. A student such as this one will have all of the academic characteristics of Student 5 but will lack the experience category. This type of student has a lack of drive in both grades and experience. I cannot stress the importance of participating in the experience category, for it is the category that brings excitement into oneâ€™s life. It is, essentially, entertainment and is it not true that human beings need entertainment in their lives? Any student who does not pursue the high school experience is missing out on the most crucial aspect of human existence, the social sphere. By not socializing or partaking in any hobbies individuals are not actualizing their full potential. In addition, do we not learn so that we can apply what we learned in actual life? What good is knowledge if it canâ€™t be used? Knowledge that isnâ€™t used is equivalent to a car that sits in a garage and is never used; it is useless and a waste of space. Why should one have anything if it cannot be shared with friends, family, and others? Page 21 of 61 If a student simply pursues knowledge but not experience, then it is quite foolish for that student to not pursue grades as well. Thus, Student 7 is the better version of Student 3, for he/she does all of the things Student 3 does, but puts in that extra time and effort to get good grades. This type of student is on point to graduate high school and is usually focused on the college experience and feels that he/she cannot put in too much time for the high school experience. In some cases, some students are simply unable to have all three categories, for it requires a lot of balancing. In addition, some students are just innately better at learning and getting good grades, thus freeing their time up to do more things. Student 4 is an interesting type of student, for common sense would say that if a student pursues grades then surely that student must pursue knowledge as well. Unfortunately, some students simply memorize and cram knowledge, rather than learn, synthesize, and understand it. These types of students are also more prone to cheat, for all they care is to pass the class and get a good grade. In the long run, Student 3 will know more than Student 4, even though Student 4 may have gotten better grades than Student 3. In our society, however, it is easier for someone like Student 4 to get into a good college and get a good job due to the fact that more emphasis is put on a grade than on knowledge. This is due to the fact that the grade is supposed to be seen as a reflection of one’s knowledge, but it is quite easy to get a good grade and learn quite little. In some classes, I have seen individuals cheat on every single test and pass with rather high grades, even though they understand very little of what they ace. It is also possible to cram and still get a good grade, only to forget a vast majority of the information. This is because the information was not genuinely learned and applied in the individual’s schemas, in the individual’s thought structure. Student 6 is the type of student who pursues the experience and gets good grades. This type of individual, on the surface, is getting the most out of high school, but is still missing that key category of knowledge. This type of individual is also prone to cheat, and since he/she is pursuing the experience this means that he/she is more social than Student 4, having more social connections. As a result, it makes it easier for that student to cheat because that student knows the people who get good grades in the class. Individuals who pursue grades simply for the grade and not the knowledge rarely fall under the intellectual category, for an intellectual must truly desire to learn. More often than not, they fall under the Educated: Worker category. Occasionally they go into the Power, Entertainer, and Guardian categories depending on what they prefer. To fall under the Intellectual Category it is necessary to acquire a yes in the category of knowledge. Student 7 is the stereotypical “nerdy” student. This kind of student usually puts a great deal of time and effort into grades and knowledge, and as a result has little time for the experience of high school. Usually, this type of student will become an intellectual, but will also Page 22 of 61 usually feel a sense of dissatisfaction with high school life. This type of student is similar to a society that has security and progress, but no entertainment. A student such as this either does not need the experience or needs it but lacks it; the one who does not need the experience of high school progresses faster than the one who lacks it. The one who does not need it is so passionate about learning that he/she finds no need to pursue the experience. The one who lacks it, however, will have this constant gnawing discomfort that will eventually turn into a gaping hole. This may result in suffering mental health and may potentially transition into a Student 2, 5, 6, or 7. Student 8, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of Student 1. Where Student 1 fails everything, Student 8 succeeds in everything. This category is the hardest to achieve, but the most fulfilling, for the student capitalizes on all the categories of high school. A student such as this is highly likely to experience success in his/her life, for he/she will be satisfied intellectually and emotionally. To be a Student 8 takes genius, talent, and/or hard work. Even the most talented student must still work hard to be a part of this category, for it requires careful balance of all of the categories. Similarly to a juggler, it is easy to juggle no balls, still easy to juggle one, harder to juggle two, and much harder to juggle three. The student who has purpose and is succeeding is the most emotionally content of the four students, for this student is on track to that which he/she aims to achieve. To have a purpose gives a student greater motivation to succeed, for in many cases the student hopes to achieve that purpose. By hoping, this creates the fear of failure, and fear can be quite a powerful motivator. The student who has a purpose but is failing is either one of two things. He/she may have a purpose that is not related to that of high school; ergo high school does not matter for this person. Or, the student has a goal but fails to reach it due to lack of trying and/or lack of ability. This creates quite a bit of distress for the student because the student also has hope in reaching that goal, and by not actualizing that goal distress is created. In some cases though, a student becomes delusional and evaluates himself/herself better than that which he/she actually is, resulting in believing that he/she is succeeding when in fact he/she is failing. This delusional over-evaluation is a defense mechanism. It staves off reality but eventually reality will catch up to the student/adult, resulting in the demolition of the delusion and a harsh realization of the fact that he/she is not up to par both to oneâ€™s own actual ideals and the ideals of society. The student who does not have a goal or purpose but is succeeding is also quite emotionally content. This student is still unsure as to what he/she will do after high school, but due to his/her success he/she can do many things afterwards. Usually, this takes the form of applying to a rather good college but not knowing what course of study to pursue. In some cases, this unknowing can persist throughout college, resulting in the student finishing an Page 23 of 61 education in something that he/she does not like, and resulting in a lower emotional state than that of the student who has a goal. What causes a student to have a purpose versus not having one? The answer to that question depends on how much introspection the individual does. By analyzing and pondering one’s behavior and preferences, over time it becomes relatively easy to figure out which societal role one is best suited to play. This does in fact require cognitive energy, and since a portion of the population is lazy it does not think about such matters. Socrates stated that, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He was right, insofar that by not contemplating oneself one does not discover what it is that one likes and dislikes. By not knowing one’s preferences, one does not fully appreciate one’s existence, and by not fully appreciating and valuing it, it is not worth it. Life brings with it a lot of troubles, and it is foolish to not realize what one dislikes and likes, for this is the cause of many troubles. One is wise when one knows what the right thing is and does it, and when one knows what the wrong thing is and avoids it. The Stoic, Seneca the Younger, phrases it much better than me, however. He elegantly expresses his idea by saying: “I shall now show you how you may know that you are not wise. The wise man is joyful, happy and calm, unshaken, he lives on a plane with the gods. Now go, question yourself; if you are never downcast, if your mind is not harassed by my apprehension, through anticipation of what is to come, if day and night your soul keeps on its even and unswerving course, upright and content with itself, then you have attained to the greatest good that mortals can possess. If, however, you seek pleasures of all kinds in all directions, you must know that you are as far short of wisdom as you are short of joy. Joy is the goal which you desire to reach, but you are wandering from the path, if you expect to reach your goal while you are in the midst of riches and official titles, – in other words, if you seek joy in the midst of cares, these objects for which you strive so eagerly, as if they would give you happiness and pleasure, are merely causes of grief. And when you query: ‘What do you mean? Do not the foolish and the wicked also rejoice?’ I reply, no more than lions who have caught their prey. When men have wearied themselves with wine and lust, when night fails them before their debauch is done, when the pleasures which they have heaped upon a body that is too small to hold them begin to fester, at such times they utter in their wretchedness those lines of Vergil: Thou knowest how, amid falseglittering joys. We spent that last of nights7.” Section 4: On the types of roles one can play in high school In the section on categories I stated that there are four categories in high school: worker, power, entertainer, and intellectual. I have not mentioned them yet, but I will now. Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, and Moses Hadas. The stoic philosophy of Seneca; essays and letters of Seneca. Letter 59.. [1st ed. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1958. Print. 7 Page 24 of 61 There is just so much to talk about and not enough words not time to say it all, so please bear with me as I attempt to explain as much as possible. The category of worker is one that aims to simply get by high school. The worker will either succeed or fail, and the success or failure usually is the primary determinant of whether that worker will be an educated or an uneducated one. The students who get good grades will usually become the educated ones, for they will go to college and learn the knowledge necessary to operate the high skilled jobs in society. Jobs such as these are engineers, teachers, programmers, etc. Some who fall under the category of worker also already work, and their emphasis may be on that. Not all students want to nor should pursue a higher education, because it may not be the right thing to do. It is possible to leave high school and begin working straight away, gaining great practical knowledge and rising to great heights in one’s field. The worker does not necessarily have to pursue knowledge, but he/she can. This is due to the fact that most of the knowledge that one learns in high school will not be directly applied in one’s future job, and as a result some students do not care about what they learn. A student instantly falls under the category of worker if he/she wishes to pursue a career that falls under the worker category. This is the same for the other categories as well. A student falls under the category of power if one wishes to pursue a career in that category, actively partakes in school politics, or does business in high school. Although the ultimate power lies in the administration, the students do get a slight say as to how they want the high school to be run (depending on if a high school has a student government that is). Being able to determine the dates of certain events, protest certain actions, and suggest improvements are a microcosm of the actual political game. In addition, students learn how to gain the support of their peers through the use of rhetoric and actions. The part of this category that I find the most interesting, however, is those who do business in high school. Of that part, there are two sub-categories, legal and illegal business (although both are technically illegal on campus; it’s just that one is more illegal than the other). The legal business is one of selling various goods that high schoolers desire, in the form of candy or soda. It is incredibly easy to make money if one wishes to do this, for there is an incredibly high demand for such commodities. In many, if not all high schools candy is not sold on campus. Candy makes the school day more interesting for some students, and it gives them pleasure; as a result they purchase it and since it is cheap the dealer of candy always has customers. Same goes with the soda/energy drinks. It is easy to buy in quantity and to sell at relatively low prices and I have encountered many students that do just this. The motivation for selling is partially due to the drive for money and the excitement of playing a role. It gives a student purpose and meaning by having some of his/her time get eaten up by selling goods. In addition, it builds up the student’s ethos and as a result, his/her reputation as a candy/soda seller gets known, resulting Page 25 of 61 in more customers and more money. Thus, concludes the legal side of this category for it pales in comparison to the illegal side. The illegal side is that of the drug dealing that goes on in high school. From an outside perspective one would not think that there exists such a network of drug distribution and hierarchy, but there is one in fact, and this is the dark side of high school. The motivation to sell drugs is because it brings in much more money than that of selling legal goods. It is also a large market, with a booming customer base. The most popular drug to sell is marijuana. Dealers acquire this marijuana either by purchasing from clubs, from other dealers, or by growing it. Since it is the least harmful of all the possible drugs to sell and use, it is a popular drug amongst high schoolers. The reason that individuals use it varies from self-medication, sheer boredom, curiosity, rebellion, pleasure, and for reputation. Dealers are well known on the campus and off the campus, but only to those who are in the scene. The names are often kept in secrecy and are not given out to all who come to ask, for even though the high school drug dealer is young, he/she still realizes the implications of his/her actions and how best to go about it. Some drug dealers get so into their business that they either get their GED and sell drugs or simply drop out and sell drugs. A GED is a test for adults who do not have a high school diploma. Those who pass the test receive a California High School Equivalency Certificate. In California, persons who are 18 years of age or older may take the GED test. Some 17-year-olds who meet specific criteria for testing may also take the test8. The drug trade does not just stop at marijuana, however. Alcohol is another commodity that high schoolers enjoy. Parties are a key feature of high school and at almost every party there is alcohol. Alcohol alleviates social pressures and leads to individuals doing that which they normally do not do. Teenagers experience the emergence of a sex-drive far more powerful than that of a middle-schooler, and where there is a desire there is a need to fulfill that desire. The desire is often quenched at the party, where high schoolers drink and under the drunken faĂ§ade they proceed or attempt to satisfy their primal needs. In addition, high schoolers observe the older human beings and notice that they actively partake in drinking and since they are mature enough to understand it they get a desire to drink as well. Society is partially to blame for the drug use of the high schooler, for the adult is a user of drugs and this rubs off on the teenager. Students acquire alcohol either by purchasing fake identification cards, stealing, or asking adults to purchase it for them. The high schooler will always find a way to get alcohol; it is now permanently engrained in the high school culture. 8 "General Educational Development Test (GEDÂŽ) - Testing (CA Dept of Education)." California Department of Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2013. <http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/gd/>. Page 26 of 61 High schoolers do not stop there, there are many other drugs that they do as well. There occurs a certain phenomenon where certain types of drugs are more prevalent certain years than others. One year marijuana may be extremely popular and other drugs wane in popularity; the next year cocaine experiences a surge of popularity, and another year ecstasy excites the populations, etc. I am not sure as to what is the cause of this phenomenon, whether it is individual tastes or societal influence, but I am aware of the existence of this phenomenon. The selling of prescription pills is also a big business in high school. Some students buy prescription pills simply for the pleasure of being on them, whereas others buy them for greater academic success. Some students purchase pills containing amphetamine or a close relative of that drug group in order to boost their academic success. These pills are quite popular in college, and they also see some popularity on the high school level, although not as much as in college. Some students use them to study or do well on tests, and some others simply do them for pleasure. The SAT or the ACT, which are two standardized tests necessary for college admission, must be taken by college bound students. Students prepare for this a variety of ways, either by taking special classes, purchasing study books, or by taking stimulants such as amphetamine. It is quite unfortunate that the student feels that much pressure to intentionally use a harmful grade booster to gain that extra edge. Some students begin the smoking of cigarettes and use of tobacco. This habit may be the start of a long line of tobacco use and when starting at such a young age it makes it more difficult to quit later on. Some, who try it, dislike it, resulting in abstaining from it for the remainder of their lives. The problem with tobacco is how simple it is to get it, and the curious and foolish high schooler may become addicted faster than he/she can realize it. Cocaine and ecstasy are also popular drugs in high school. The dealers who sell these drugs are not the casual marijuana dealer; these people mean business. Often times being involved with societal criminal organizations, these dealers make the most amount of money of any high school drug dealer. A successful dealer can make as much money as a teacher, sometimes netting in thousands of dollars a month from the selling of drugs. These types of dealers become quite high profile, and are not able to maintain the position for long because the authorities eventually find out. Students who actively use these drugs rarely experience much academic success, and are usually apathetic towards grades and knowledge and live simply for the experience. This type of behavior is extremely harmful for any individual, especially a high schooler, for the brain is still developing and the impact of these substances impacts the development of said brain. There also exists another category of drug dealers, those who sell hallucinogenics. High schoolers take hallucinogenics either for the pleasurable effects or for the sake of curiosity. Few high schoolers abuse hallucinogenics, although some do and this results in a negative change in Page 27 of 61 their emotional state, some even becoming neurotic and psychotic. Some students, on the other hand, experiment with them and experience a positive change in their emotional state. The final category of drug dealers and users are those who deal with the heavy and dangerous drugs, such as heroin and meth. Some students end up falling prey to these evil substances, and these paths never lead to anything good. Rarely are there high school drug dealers who sell these drugs, simply because there is such a small market for these. Most users obtain these drugs from societal dealers. Some users end up being in a relationship with older individuals who take these drugs, being pushed into this world by their romantic interests. Drug use is a serious problem in high school, specifically that of hard drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and heroine. Drug use is a sign of a diseased society, and this disease is spreading to teenagers. Although the drug dealer is part of the underbelly of high school society, it is important to mention them for they have a strong influence on the high school society. In society, the drug dealer is also a part of the social sphere, thus the high school drug dealer is one of the few classes that impact society; the magnitude of the impact depends of course, on the economic and physical power of the drug dealer. Some high school drug dealers manage to rise to quite impressive heights, despite the fact that they are so young, having subordinates working for them and making large transactions. The most casual of the drug dealers, the one who sells it on a casual basis, does not make much money. The serious, yet strictly independent dealer can dedicate a routine to this part of his/her life, but he/she can also bond together with other dealers. The bonding of dealers creates a partnership, or in some cases a master-slave situation where the master, in this situation, is using the other human to fulfill a purpose and does not treat him/her as an equal. The partnership that is on the basis of equality and of friendships can be successful economically, socially, and may result in the acquisition of a good virtuous friend. Or, it can give a friend of utility, which exists only as long as the partnership exists. Rarely do virtuous friendships arise amongst drug dealers, for can a truly virtuous person be a drug dealer? Usually drug syndicates that are organized with three people or more is always set about in the master-slave way. There is one head dealer, which is either the source or gets it from a source, and then becomes the source for his â€œslaves.â€? This can branch off into many groups, 2,3,4,5, or more; it all depends, but there is always one source. I wonder, is this drug dealer category prevalent in all high school societies of a certain size? I do not know; there would have to be a large statistic gathering assignment to be done. The results of this would be a way of diagnosing our society. It is not good if in every single high school this class has been born, because it would then be a reflection of a drug addicted society. If one part of the machine is broken, then the whole machine is broken, for every part, no matter how small, is important. The same can be said about the societal categories, they are necessary for the Page 28 of 61 working of the societal machine. There is a counter society that exists, that being Criminal Society. This counter society contains the drug dealer class, an instantiality of the dealer class. The dealer class is one class, of many, which is a part of this Criminal Society. The Criminal Society battles Society, and Society battles the Criminal Society; both a part of the human category, both two conflicting things that paradoxically make up one unit, are these two societies. These are the two constituents of the human species; society and criminal society, for these two are the representation of all our instantialities. Here stands the wall of society, which protects those that are soon to become it (the infant, middle schooler, high schooler, and collegiate), both civilian and criminal alike, protecting itself and all the precious seeds of life from the battering ram of chaos which is the Criminal Society. Worker Power Entertainer Intellectual Guardian Society Mob Master(s) Mob Partner(s) Mob Slave (s) Assassins Criminal Society Illegal Dealer Humans contain good and bad characteristics. As such, our collective human presence contains good and bad ones. Society is the good, Criminal Society is the bad. Criminal Society arises due to a Society that does not give the people the sufficient needs to sustain life. To solve the problem of crime the focus must be on Society, and not on Criminal Society. Criminal Society arises only because of Society; it doesnâ€™t inherently exist. A good way of battling this is Page 29 of 61 through political reform. In Society, politicians aim to solve the ills of humanity through that fashion. Similarly, in high school, the political student aims to do the same thing. The political student in high school may be partaking in this category for three reasons: either for college recognition, for altruistic reasons, or for the experience. The individual who will excel most greatly in the political sphere of high school life is the one who does it for altruistic reasons, which in turn will result in getting college recognition and the respect of oneâ€™s peers. To be a part of this political atmosphere is time consuming indeed, and the student who is a part of this helps his/her fellow students in the form of planning large events or changing school policy. Individuals that do things for the sake of college recognition rarely take pleasure from this category, for it is seen as work and not as play. This dilemma is one that many high schoolers face, for the stress of college competition is a considerable one. They sacrifice genuine interest for the interest of the colleges, which is wrong. We humans have created this societal machine, and we are becoming disenchanted by it, believing that the preservation of this machine and the rules of this machine are of the utmost importance. We sacrifice our own interests for the recognition of others, in the aims of rising on the societal ladder. In this society, wealth is prized more than anything else, and what is the result? Crime, drug addiction, and depression over living a not genuine life. The problems are not the individual people; individuals are highly adaptive and prone to suggestion, and thus the problem is the thing doing the suggestion. Society is that Grand Suggester. We humans wish to belong; middle school and high school are perfect examples of this. Individuals in these two groups sometimes do terrible things under the desire of belonging, and in society this is evident as well. Society suggests some seriously sick styles of life, and these paradigms are so engrained that it is nearly impossible for an individual to go against them. Environmental degradation and violation of basic rights have gone on for far too long. A change must occur, and if it doesnâ€™t then society will bear the brute force of disease, poverty, and war sometime in the future. If the values are changed, then the whole system will change. To understand an individual one must figure out what beliefs he/she holds, and then figure out how much value is given to those beliefs. This is the philosophy of the individual. If you know the philosophy then you know what course of action he/she will take. In most instances, the beliefs of an individual are not wrong, but the application of value is faulty. The beliefs of our society are not wrong; the assignment of value is. Anyways, let us continue our focus on high school. The entertainer class is the next category that we will be exploring. This class has many aspects, but the aspect that we will focus on first will be the artist. Some high schools make it mandatory to explore this category, others donâ€™t, but the focus is on those individuals who actively pursue this category by their own wish. If one wishes to be an artist in high school it is not enough to paint; it must be a lifestyle. The artist must actively create art, find inspiration, and contemplate art. It requires the acquisition of a perspective that is quite foreign to many Page 30 of 61 people. The artist class is not as respected as it should be, in my opinion. Few high school students stop and analyze the art that may be posted around their campus; few of them stop and think about the emotions, themes, messages that are present in a piece of canvas that took many hours to fill. The high school artist must maintain a massive pool of motivation, mainly because the high school artist is still a budding flower, not yet ready to blossom. Artists are unique individuals; they contain a certain look in their eye that is not present in those that are artistically gifted. They are the only category that manifests the human condition and emotions onto a simple and understandable medium. Their creations speak a silent prose, a prose that bypasses the rational filter and enters the soul through the emotional gate. The high school artist may simply possess a hobby or talent in art, or he/she may wish to become an Entertainer: Visual person in society. Some artists do not care much for academia, resulting in them doodling and drawing in class, rather than listening or staying on task. Other artists do show great care, maintaining a balanced artistic and academic life. A portion of the artist population wasn’t socially recognized in middle school, and since one’s ethos in middle school affects one’s ethos in high school (due to the fact that a population of the middle school transitions into high school) they find it more difficult to break out of their unnecessarily degrading social label and continue to not be socially recognized. Some artists attempt to achieve some sort of catharsis (the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions), and since they find it more difficult to achieve it through communication they achieve it through their art. Art is a demonstration of one’s internal emotional state, and sometimes the artists produce such art that demonstrates a rather chaotic emotional state, one that is hidden by their physical body. Despite art not having any pragmatic value, it has much value nonetheless. Its value is that it brings pleasure to the creator and the spectator, it provides an insight about the society that is otherwise unattainable, and it decorates the environment. The time of the artist is not high school; it is later, but the artist will always find someone who can appreciate the fineness of their creation. This is why it is a way of life, for to create true art it cannot be done out of desire to impress a college, it must come from some faculty from within. Not only this, but art is a representation of the historical epoch of its time. There have been art movements since the beginning of civilization, starting in 30,000-10,000 BC by the hunter gathers and the Paleolithic art movement. Their art represented their societies and way of life, and it kept on moving forward. The ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Egypt had art movements, the classical civilizations like Greece and Rome did, etc. These organized art movements have ended, and our civilization has reached “The End of Art,” as Arthur Danto puts it. He says “The ‘end of art’ refers to the beginning of our modern era of art in which art no longer adheres to the constraints of imitation theory but serves a new purpose. Art began with an era of Page 31 of 61 imitation, followed by an era of ideology, followed by our post-historical era in which, with qualification, anything goes... In our narrative, at first only mimesis [imitation] was art, then several things were art but each tried to extinguish its competitors, and then, finally, it became apparent that there were no stylistic or philosophical constraints. There is no special way works of art have to be. And that is the present and, I should say, the final moment in the master narrative. It is the end of the story.”9 He is not saying that art is not being created anymore; he is stating that the progression is finished, and that we are here at the end goal. Modern art has no movement; every individual who creates art is a movement in themselves. Since the end of art has been reached, the value of art has reached its maximum potentiality. Due to this, our era is experiencing and will continue to experience the gradual enrichment of the art produced. This is an exciting time, ladies and gentleman, an exciting time indeed. Let us continue to move this spirit of history along its journey to reach its ‘end.’ Once everything else reaches its ‘end,’ then humanity will re-enter the Garden of Eden. The journey to reach the ‘end’ of history is long, but every step along the way produces reward, and once the end goal is reached it is constant reward. High school is on its journey to reach its ‘end’ as well. This Analysis of High School is clear evidence of that. Something like this to be produced requires the necessary prerequisites to actualize it, and these prerequisites became fully met in 2013. This, or anything similar to it, could not have been done a mere 10 years ago; the spirit of history is upon us, it is moving us into the future, into greener pastures. This is one of the actualizations of this progression of history. High school and society will continue moving toward its ‘end’; because once the final wall that is blocking the end is surpassed then the greatest of rewards are to be reaped, and we innately strive for the greatest of rewards. Art is representation. The artist represents the external world and his/internal one. As such, art is a measure of these two things. An analysis of the art of a particular individual will give the necessary information needed to piece together the artist’s perception of his/her living circumstances. If by studying the art left on Greek vases and pottery we can understand their culture; what is stopping us from studying the art created by high school students to figure out their high school culture? All one has to do is analyze the art of a particular school and notice the reoccurring themes amongst many of its students. Violent colors and painful imagery symbolize emotional angst, phallic imagery of sexual escapades, etc. Art is a means and an end; we must not fail to realize this! 9 Danto, Arthur Coleman (1998). After the end of art: contemporary art and the pale of history. Princeton University Press. pp. 47. ISBN 0-691-00299-1. As quoted by Professor David W. Cloweny on his website. Page 32 of 61 In addition to artists, there are also film makers in high school. There exist certain classes in certain schools that allow students to take film and to create and edit movies, but some students decide to take their passion outside of the classroom and into the real world. With the rise of YouTube, the desire for fame can now be satiated even by the high school teenager. The filmmaker can become quite well known, if the said filmmaker has a talent of course. High schoolers crave gossip, similar to how adults do, and the creations of the filmmaker are an easy discussion topic. Short and quick videos can make a lasting impression on an individual, and the videos of a classmate are all the more meaningful, for one knows who it is that made it. Rarely does the filmmaker produce anything that is not mere entertainment. The high school filmmaker rarely decides to create a documentary or anything that is of informational value, specifically for the reason that the majority of the audience wants pure entertainment, and the filmmaker usually enters this area for fame, and not for spreading knowledge. There is also the high school musician. The musician is either instrumental or vocal. The vocal musician belongs to the choir group, or is the singer in a band, although the former is more common than the latter. The musician is more often than not, a student that is at least interested in getting good grades, and quite possibly one that is interested in knowledge as well. The reason that I say this is because the cultivation of musical talent is primarily an activity that is oriented around gaining some sort of knowledge, rather than the acquisition of a grade. Some students do, on the other hand, partake in the musical experience as a supplement to their college resume, but to do something to simply have it be written on a paper and not for the experience is a miserable thing indeed. It is unfortunate that this society has caused students to resort to such life-degrading experiences, to forcefully do something that they dislike because of the need to “stand out from the herd” and to create a false sense of sophistication to the colleges. It is a false sense of sophistication because it is presupposed that a sophisticated person has a cultivated musical talent, but a truly sophisticated person is one who not only partakes in impressive activities, but one who takes genuine pleasure from them. Otherwise, that person is doing said activity simply for the ethos that it entails, and not for the immense benefit that it gives to oneself, and thus living a not genuine life. A life that is not genuine is not a life at all; it is merely existence, and to exist but not live is a waste of time. The musician class is a respected class of the high school society, for the musician attributes a significant amount of one’s time into cultivating his/her ability, and produces results that are pleasing to the ear. This, however, may also cripple one’s high school experience, in the sense that it may require too much dedication resulting in a lack of a social life or a lackluster one. Although, I do believe that any and every individual can effectively balance academia, experience, and knowledge; it merely requires a bit of wisdom, a lack of procrastination, and a desire to do as much as possible. Many individuals lack this drive, Page 33 of 61 specifically because it is 2013 and the age of technology. Countless distractions plague high schoolers, whether it is on their phones, on their computers, on their iPods, or on their television screens. Everyone wishes for opportunities to come to them, rather than to go and look for them. It would be so much easier that way, and this is what technology has to offer. So much power is now at the availability of these young-adults, and many do not have the understanding to correctly exercise utilize it, resulting in a stagnation of their intellect and allowing countless opportunities to slip. The busier a high schoolerâ€™s schedule becomes, the greater the desire to distract oneself. These distractions momentarily alleviate the anxiety of the high schooler, but they are not a practical way of doing that; instead they are an illusion. Many students in my school partake in distractions, and then complain that they do not have enough time, when they simply lack the drive to efficiently make use of their time. In addition, the advent of the smart phone has begun to play a greater and greater role in the life of humans, and it has begun invading high school classrooms. Many a student shifts his/her focus from the teacher to their phone, for the quick pleasure of playing a game is far more enjoyable than listening to a lecture. This is a byproduct of both society and the individual. Society has successfully managed to demote the significance of the classical humane arts; those being conversation, strolls, letter writing, and other methods of self-expression. It has replaced these with attention sucking activities that the high schooler and adult partake in; these activities are accessible via the phone. As a result, when a teacher teaches, the student has the option of partaking in attention sucking activities versus actually paying attention. Since some students value these activities more than what the teacher says they shift their attention to the wasteful activity. Attention sucking activities are not inherently bad, but if too much value is put on them then they turn bad. The problem in many classrooms is that students do in fact put too much value on them, and not enough on the teacher. In addition to the vocal and instrumental musician, there also exists the composing musician. This category of musician frequently manifests itself in the form of a DJ, because being a DJ in a high school leads to many benefits. Not only is the individual creating and playing music, this individual has the potential to make money, expand social connections, and gets knowledge and experience for the price of one. Some become DJs for the ethos and benefits, but in doing that they lose the most important part, the actual music. Some allow it to turn into a job, focusing on the end rather than the means. No activity can be called enjoyable if one does not appreciate both the means and the ends, and if one doesnâ€™t, then either a change of perspective is necessary or the finding of another activity. The DJ who sets out to strictly create and play music often times gets everything else as well. Quite similarly to Solomon, who Page 34 of 61 asked God for wisdom and got everything else in addition to that. 10 The DJ who does it for the passion and gains success becomes a respected member of the high school society. Being frequently invited to the various parties that occur and occupying an esteemed position – the music master – possessing the power to make a good social gathering into a great one, the DJ is an interesting role to play. There also is not as much competition in this sphere in the high school level, and a truly talented individual can reach great heights in high school. Which, in turn, greatly aids in life after high school for his/her DJ talent will already be known, resulting in having an easier time becoming more and more known. The DJ is a mix of an auditorial and social entertainer, for in fact, there aren’t that many social entertainers in high school, making this class to be coveted at social gatherings, insofar as the individual possesses the materials allowing him/her to DJ. When I state this, I am simply referring to the utility of an individual. The DJ possesses great utility, but possessing a utility does not guarantee any virtue. The next class of students to cover is the actors and actresses. These students are visual and social entertainers, and provide a sophisticated form of entertainment to the high schoolers who wish to perceive it. If a high school has an acting program, then these students provide occasional shows. Parents, students, and members of the community gather to watch these individuals play out their personas. In addition, some perform in productions outside of the school and may choose to pursue a career in this field upon leaving the protecting wing of high school. Some high schools have a school newspaper; students belonging to the newspaper staff fall under the role of Entertainer: Social. A school newspaper is an invaluable resource, for it provides information to the happenings in the school and the community, a chance to witness what is going on in the high school community, and a way to exchange news. An individual in this category must dedicate a considerable amount of time to this activity, but in doing so benefits his/her peers quite greatly. Information is an invaluable commodity, and the student in this category is the spreader of this. Of all the entertainers in high school, the most popular class is the athletic entertainer. One of the reasons that this class is quite popular is because the members of this class are more likely to be physically fit, thus making them more aesthetically appealing. How one looks is incredibly important in high school. Some high schoolers, and adults for that matter, judge not by a person’s essence but by his/her appearance. The appearance can be quite deceptive, but it too can be quite pleasing. Athletes tend to be muscular and as a result their appearance becomes more attractive compared to the average student. In addition, there is more to an athlete’s appearance than just aesthetic value. The athletes’ physique is superior to that of 10 Loader, J. A.. Ecclesiastes. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1986. Print. Page 35 of 61 normal people, meaning they are stronger than the average person, which means they wield more power, and gain more respect. The strong and powerful individuals establish a presence, both in the school and outside of it. In the most fundamental sense, all that matters is one’s physical strength and wits. All the experience and wisdom that one has means nothing in a dangerous situation, and although we may not always be thinking about this, we always know this. Thus, the individuals that have strength are either feared or respected. The ones who fear them tend to stay away from them, either due to some illogical fear of their mass or they do not get along socially, thus they do not wish to risk the chance that some physical conflict could arise between them and the stronger person for they know that the stronger person would win the battle. Others respect the strong and create alliances with them, becoming friendly and standing on good grounds with them. There are also others who simply do not care about their physical form and focus more on their personality, but the appearance affects everyone’s judgment, whether they are a pauper or a prince. Occasionally, certain tensions arise between individuals and/or groups, resulting in physical conflict. This is where the physique begins to play an important role, for in conflict one’s power is the most important thing because technique is nothing without the power to execute it. In high school, these conflicts can arise because of the silliest and stupidest of reasons, but due to the underdeveloped pre-frontal cortices of high schoolers these reasons are more than enough to cause violence. Reasons can range from insults, theft, mates, anger, and sheer boredom at times. These conflicts often times play out in the party setting. Upon consuming quantities of alcohol, aggressiveness increases and foresight decreases, resulting in an elevated risk of violence. At social settings where there are only students of the same high school there is the least likely risk of a fight starting. This is due primarily to the fact that there is one uniting principle connecting all the people there: they all go to the same high school. This creates a sense of community and a feeling of ‘us’, rather than ‘them.’ Conflicts can still break out, however, and they do for the same aforementioned reasons. Conflicts break out more often when a social setting features students from a variety of high schools. Inter-school rivalry can stimulate violence. A student may not know anyone from a rival school, yet still dislike individuals that go to that school simply because it creates an “us versus them” situation. Back when human beings lived in the state of nature racism, was far stronger than it is now. Humans stuck together in their own tribes and fought with other tribes and other humanoid species. Since in the state of nature it was much more difficult to get the necessary resources for survival than it is now, it was necessary for early humans to protect their turf and Page 36 of 61 to ward off any foreign individuals/groups; not caring if they are friendly or hostile. Racism, back then, was an evolutionary advantage; however, now it is a disadvantage. More and more we see the decline of racism occurring, due to the growing interconnectedness of the world. In addition, there is a greater degree of interbreeding occurring, resulting in the de-categorization of racial categories. In the high school mind, this racism or group hatred can still be a domineering aspect. It becomes evident in the violence towards other schools. At social gatherings some individuals begin stirring a ruckus simply because they are bored, for they see violence as being an entertaining way to fill up a night. Violence creates a feeling of excitement due to the biological response, but it is not a practical way to pass the time. The immaturity of some high schoolers and the synergistic effect of alcohol results in physical conflict. Possessing physical prowess provides plenty of advantages in high school, specifically in attractiveness. When strong males or females walk the halls of high school, one cannot help but notice them and examine their physique. A powerful body is innately pleasing, due to the fact that a fit individual has a higher change of survival than an unfit one. Some high schoolers that are interested in pursuing sexual and emotional relations capitalize on this by toning their bodies strictly for the reason of pleasing their animalistic desires. There are, however, certain individuals that better their bodies for reasons other than appearance. These individuals may do it for health, which is always a good thing, but others do it for athletics. In many high schools, athletics plays a crucial role in the high school society, similarly as to how sports plays a significant role in adult society. Athletes are recognized in high school because they go above and beyond the call of duty; they go to school not only to achieve an education, but to represent the school on a physical level. In addition, they also serve as a form of entertainment for the high school populace. The teenager cannot do as many things as the adult can, due to age restrictions and monetary limits. As a result, sports games prove to be a favorite past-time of some high schoolers, for it provides cheap entertainment, it serves as a social gathering, and it also serves as a topic of gossip. To belong to an organization is a powerful sensation that we human beings can experience, and in high school this can manifest itself in the form of being in a club, a crew, a student-body organization, a team, or basically any organized gathering of people. No high school organization can be more meaningful or powerful as the sports team one, if done right that it is. The teammates share something more than the clubs or crews share, they share the knowledge that theyâ€™ve sweated, worked, played, lost, and won together; they share a common goal and a common principle and they stand for the spirit of the sport and the spirit of the school. It is an experience similar to that of a military one, although quite obviously paling in comparison. Page 37 of 61 It also leads to a level of interaction that is unlike any other. Classrooms are nowhere near the level of interaction that is at the athletic level, for there is both more time and more opportunities to grow and strengthen bonds, and to exchange knowledge. Since sports teams are social gatherings of people, more so athletic people, there is the higher potential for injury; thus to have a reputation is an important thing for that will decrease likelihood of injury, or vice versa, increase likelihood of injury if one is interested in fighting. To gain a good reputation and to garner the respect of oneâ€™s athletic comrades requires three things. First, one must demonstrate a strong physique, for as previously mentioned those who have the strongest physique are the alphas, and the alphas are the ones who garner the most respect for they are the highest in prowess. Next, that individual must possess a high level of skill in that sport. If the individual is good physically, but quite poor skill wise, that individual will not gain as much respect as the one that is high in skill and has a strong physique. In addition, there is the social aspect as well. If one does not act wisely and virtuously in oneâ€™s behavior then one will not command respect of his/her peers, but he/she will command their admiration if he/she is physically strong and skilled. The social aspect is the difference between a good sports player, and a good sports leader, for a leader must first be a good player. A leader must be recognized and respected by his peers, for the leader is the leviathan of the commonwealth. The leader is the symbol of the masses; he/she is the elected voice, and thus he/she must do well to represent those that who have elected him/her. The masses play not only for themselves but for the leader as well, for the leader unites them. The leader can be a person or a concept; it essentially means a cause greater than oneâ€™s own that one is guided by and aims to please/perfect. A good team must have a good leader, for yes, both skill and physical prowess is necessary, but the social strings connecting all that are as crucially important as well. A team is composed of individuals; individuals are parts of the machine, the machine being the team. A well oiled and well functioning machine works better than a rusty and broken down one. A truly wise and virtuous leader may exert such an influence that he/she motivates the commonwealth and helps them rise in virtue, and as a result, further increases the ability of the team. High school athletics, like all athletics, does not matter, but some high schoolers give immense meaning to it. It is simply a wonderful experience to be part of a team, and to be able to give that immense meaning to it makes high school all the more enjoyable and should not that be the goal of high school, nay the goal of life? To make all experiences enjoyable? Page 38 of 61 High Respect High Admiration Medium Respect High Admiration Low Respect High Admiration High Respect Little Admiration Medium Respect Little Admiration Little Respect Little Admiration Good Personality Neutral Personality Negative Personality Good Personality Neutral Personality Negative Personality Skilled at Sport Unskilled at Sport Physically Fit Physically Unfit The two arrows pointing from ‘Physically Fit’ to ‘Skilled at Sport’ means there is a higher chance than if one arrow is pointing to it. At the Skill level there is a third category, that being medium skill at sport, although it is not represented in this diagram and does not need to be for the mind can fill in that gap. Having medium skill at a sport will always lead to medium admiration and any of the three ranges of respect. Whether a personality is good, neutral, or negative depends on how one views the said person. One person may see person X as having a good personality, whereas another may see person X as having a bad one; when speaking about like and dislike it is all relative; there is no personality that pleases everyone but certain traits are more pleasing than others. Quite obviously, the best category to be in is physically fit, skilled at sport, and good personality. Fitness level is the first cause, skill is the first effect and second cause, personality is an independent cause, and levels of respect and admiration are the effects of all the combined causes. Section 5: On gossip Humans crave social interaction and to have social interaction one must have something to either do or converse about. The most common topics of conversation amongst high schoolers are that of gossip. Gossip is the most primitive and simplest form of conversation, and since gossip touches on the practical and never the theoretical world it is a favorite of high schoolers, who sometimes lack the intellectual capacity to converse about philosophical and Page 39 of 61 theoretical matters. Students often times talk about other students, similar as to how adults talk about other adults. Students talk about things that they have seen other students do, their appearance, and their personality. These conversations, often times, lead nowhere and are conversations that exist for the sole reason of taking up time. This is pointless gossip, but occasionally there is practical gossip. Practical gossip is the discussion of things that are relevant to one’s life, such as emotional and social issues. This too is often times done by high schoolers because the high schooler experiences a great deal of newly emerging problems that he/she has previously never dealt with before. It is necessary to discuss certain aspects of one’s life to live a good life. It is harmful to one’s emotional health if negative energy is not released or transformed in a healthy manner. Those who never learn to deal with those problems of the emotions dedicate a good portion of their social activity to conversing about these matters with their fellow peers. It is good to discuss dilemmas with fellow peers, but it is also important to discuss happenings and ideas. Why is gossip such a popular conversational activity? It is so popular because it is so incredibly easy. It requires very little thought; all it needs is observation. It also acts as a way of exchanging information about the lives of people, resulting in not needing to do the actual investigation of the other person for oneself. In addition, it is seen by some as a symbol of one’s popularity; in the sense that a popular person knows many people, whereas an unpopular person does not know many. It is a foolish way of measuring one’s worth, but the high schooler often talks about a set number of people. Some individuals live unique lives and do some very bizarre things in public events, and as a result people notice this and talk about it. Some do this out of a desire to be recognized for anything; others do it simply because they enjoy it. Even others rise up to considerable levels in their respective social niches, and as a result become ‘famous’ and are topics of conversation as well. Gossip is a very powerful force in high school. It is what generates a lot of a person’s ethos in high school. By ethos, I mean his/her character, how he/she is are viewed by other people, and how well his/her word (logos) is respected. People know of somebody, more than actual people that they know. Meaning, every high schooler and adult knows more theoretical people than practical people. Theoretical people are simply people they have found out about, such as through hearing of them or seeing them thanks to the television, or imagining various personas. A person is a theoretical person if you have never met them before. For example, if you have never had communication with me then I am a theoretical person. Practical people are people one has actually interacted with, and there are less practical people than theoretical ones because practical ones are subject to the laws of reality, whereas theoretical are subject to the laws of the mind, which has far less stricter laws than that of reality, resulting in more types being perceived. Well then, if one is perceived not as a practical person but as a theoretical one, what does it matter? If one has never been in that person’s life then one has no idea that the other Page 40 of 61 person even knows about him/her, so if that person thinks positively of him/her or negatively it does not matter. That being true, it fails to account for a possibility that quite often turns into an actuality. Say person X knows of person Y, but Y to X is a theoretical person, and not a practical one, because X knows of Y through some stories that people A, B, and C told him. X hears some rather nasty stories from A,B, and C, and gets the impression from them that Y likes to steal from poor people, hurt the morally good people, benefit the morally bad people, and do other various atrocious things. The fact of the matter is, this gossip could prove to be false; Y could be the exact opposite, but nevertheless it creates a preconception. X will think negatively of Y, when Y could in actuality be an amazing person, but due to the lies of A, B, and C, Y’s ethos is unjustly attacked. This will inevitably affect X, and once X meets Y, Y goes through a rapid metamorphosis, transforming from a theoretical caterpillar into an infinitely more complex practical butterfly. In actuality, this may cause a delusion in X about Y, due because X believes some lies about Y and lets that affect his judgment of Y, even though judgment should be wholly abstained. Some people, however, do not abstain from judgment, which is wrong. Incorrect judgment leads to problems, but abstaining from judgment leads to a process of figuring out what the right judgment and action are. When the intuitive truth that is posited by the mind comes about from a lack of crucial information, which when posited is followed up on and turned into an action, then a wrong decision is made, due to wrong thinking. If, however, the intuitive truth that is posited by the mind comes about from a valid informational foundation, then it will lead to a right action. In the instance where there is a lack of information then judgment should be wholly abstained. For judgment to be abstained it must be stopped by doubt; thus by abstaining one does the action of doubting. Through this inductive process one starts in doubts and ends in certainties. The reason this inductive process is not quite so popular is because it requires more mental effort. Building up on thoughts is more difficult than acting on the first thing that comes to mind. Since we, as living beings, need energy to live we conserve it. Mental processes require energy, thus thought is an expenditure of energy. Due to this initial energy consuming process, the inductive process is not utilized over the energy conserving deductive process. For any who don’t know, deductive means starting with the facts and building up to the truths, whereas inductive is starting with the truths and building down to the facts. In the long run, however, the extra energy expended for deductive thought in cases which it is necessary will be far less than that of utilizing inductive thought and passing the wrong judgment, which will cause problems. These lies can be figured out, or be affirmed, but the point of the matter is that gossip shares a way to grow one’s database of the ethos of people, and being social creatures a person that is on many people’s database is seen as ‘famous’ or ‘popular.’ In addition, couples are gossiped about more than the individuals that make up the couples. Say there is a couple. The two members of this couple are a female, called X, and a male, called Y. If the amount of gossip Page 41 of 61 in total of person X or person Y would be added up before they were a couple, it would be found less than the total gossip if person X and Y were a couple. The combination of them is more interesting because it generates an element of uniqueness amidst the monotonous crowd. Two entities, X and Y, synthesize and create a new larger entity, couple L, and L is more entertaining than X and Y. In society this is evident as well, especially in the political sphere. When has there been a president elected that is a bachelor? Never; this is because the ethos of X is not enough to be a president, it requires having the ethos of being person X in entity L. A married candidate creates more social buzz than an unmarried one; likewise a student who is in a relationship with another student creates more social buzz than a single one. Gossip creates the ethos of a person, but what is an ethos if not for the pathos and logos that it generates? By pathos, I mean causing an emotional response in people, and by logos I mean generating thought in people. Since me as a theoretical person is larger than me as a practical person, much of my ethos does not have pathos and logos attached to it. By not having these, it is equivalent to having no ethos at all, for it serves no purpose other than useless information. Information is useless if it has no pathos or logos to it. Also, what does it matter how large one’s theoretical ethos is? All that matters is one’s practical ethos for that is all that is perceived. The problem with that, however, is that in most cases, one’s theoretical ethos is necessary to have a good practical ethos. By having a good theoretical, it increases the potentiality of others desiring to hear one’s pathos or logos. If presented with person G, who has a subpar theoretical ethos, but contains excellent pathos and logos, would he be picked over person B, who has an excellent theoretical ethos, but contains subpar pathos and logos? Person B will be picked more often than not, because he will have a higher probability of going from possibility into actuality since he is measured by the explicit ethos and not the implicit pathos and logos. Of course, it is likely that once one starts communicating with B, B’s ethos will decrease because of B’s lack of good pathos and logos, and once one starts communicating with G, G’s ethos will increase because G has good pathos and logos. Although this may be true, the fact of the matter is that G will be ignored, all because of G’s ethos. A child and a college professor can write the same exact essay, but which essay will be more read? That of the college professor because the professor already has that reputation that he/she can build up on, meaning the foundation; whereas the child has no reputation, he/she has no foundation and must build one that took the professor many years to craft. Thus the high schooler, like the societal person, can utilize his/her popularity, to spread his/her logos, ideas and thoughts that are important to the world and benefit those that read it and/or hear it. Jesus did just that; his ethos as being the Son of Man, the Messiah, caused people to listen to his message, his pathos and logos. To have good logos it is necessary to have good pathos, because without feeling, reason is hollow and incomplete. Politicians have a powerful ethos, and as a result their pathos and logos is listened to, even if the pathos is used for bad ends and the logos is faulty. Same Page 42 of 61 with established intellectuals; their opinion is valued just because of who they are; they could even spout nonsense and still be listened to with the utmost of attention. Thus for those people who have a good logos to spread, it is important to build up ethos, for without an ethos it is much harder to get logos heard. The fact of the matter is, however, that to have truly good ethos it is impossible to not have good logos, but it is quite possible to have good logos but bad ethos. Thus I must say, if you have a good logos do not let it go to waste; the world needs good logos! It needs more people with sound reason! All a high schooler really has to do is go to school, assuming said high schooler still resides with a guardian. There are some high schoolers who live by themselves or must provide for their families, resulting in them having to go to school and work. Basically, a high schooler does not have as many responsibilities as an adult, so it is foolish to shirk the little responsibilities that one has; by shirking the little, it becomes harder to hold the many. Section 6: On love, relationships, friendships, emotions, and virtue Love is a very powerful emotion/concept amongst humans, and the high schooler finally begins to realize what love actually is. The infant, child, and middle schooler do not understand what love is. They understand what attraction is, but love is far more powerful than that. Love is composed of lust, attraction, and platonic attraction. To begin, let us examine how lust is evident in high school. Lust is the feeling that one gets when one desires the body of another. Many individuals lust after attractive individuals simply because of their physical assets and not because of any personality traits. This lust actualizes itself usually in social gatherings where alcohol is involved. Similar as to how adults actualize their lust, teenagers actualize their lust; by having one-night stands. Of course, sometimes those one-night stands turn into multiple-night stands, but the fact of the matter is that they never progress from the stage of lust. Some individuals experience a lust-fixation that persists throughout their lives, never progressing from this stage in their sexual relationships. As a result, they fail to start up a family, or if they do, it degrades because of a lack of a respect for the holiness of sex. Lust is quite strong in high school, for some individuals are mature enough to have sex, and as such are very eager to partake in it. There are always individuals in high school who actively partake in such lustful relationships. Lust is the primal side of love. When one lusts after someone it is out of selfishness, seeing the other person only as a way to get pleasure and not appreciating him/her for who he/she is. The opposite to lust is platonic attraction. Platonic attraction is when one becomes attracted to a person because of his/her intelligence, but not in a sexual or physical way. Platonic love can exist amongst friends, and platonic love is evident in friendships of virtue which will be discussed later on, but the love that I will be focusing on is romantic love, a love far different than that of parental or friendly Page 43 of 61 love. Sometimes individuals experience a platonic attraction for each other, but never progress from that stage. As a result, they remain as friends and never partake in any physical relationships. Platonic attraction is necessary for love because love is composed of the body, spirit, intellect, and soul. The body is lust, spirit is emotional attraction, intellect is platonic attraction, and soul is the fourth mystical element that makes love so unexplainable. If two people have bodily and spiritual attraction, but not intellectual, they will not be able to love for they do not understand an aspect of each other. Love is when two people like each other for every aspect of themselves, and not just some of them. Lust and platonic attraction are on two opposite ends of a chasm, and thus they need a bridge to connect them. This bridge is attraction. Attraction is when one likes a person because of personality and/or physical characteristics. Attraction is the bridge that connects lust and platonic love. It is not as extreme as desire for sex, but there is still a desire for physical intimacy. It is not as extreme as a desire purely for the intellect, because there is a desire for the emotions and the personality. As such, it is also the door to either lust or platonic love, or both for that matter. If a relationship begins in either lust or platonic love, then it acts as a bridge. If it begins in attraction, then it acts as a door. Occasionally, this door only opens into one hallway, but for there to be love it has to open into multiple hallways. Attraction has a lot to do with the personality of the person. Personality is partially determined by what kind of major or minor emotions he/she experiences and how he/she acts. Actions are inadvertently determined by emotions and intelligence. What are major and minor emotions? Well to figure out you must read onwards. All properly functioning humans experience emotions. When an individual is conscious, that individual experiences emotions ranging from greatly negative ones to greatly positive ones. The emotional state during the present moment of a human being can be and must be broken down into two categories: the major emotional state and the minor emotional state, which together equate the present emotional state. Since the mind thinks best in ideas and not in words, I will begin the exploration of this concept by painting a mental picture in the form of an allegory. Clear your mind and imagine a scene that contains but three things: a river, a boat, and a captain who is on the boat. The river is uncontrollable, but the river greatly affects the boat and the captain, let us have the river represent the unconscious. The boat, on the other hand, is affected by both the current of the river (unconscious) and the steering of the captain (conscious); thus we will let the boat be a representation of the subconscious mind. The captain decides where the boat goes due to his steering, which in turn determines what path on the river to take. The captain is the conscious will of the individual; he is the decision maker; he is the ego. Thus the boat is affected by both Page 44 of 61 the composition of the river, the decisions of the captain, and to an extent, its own composition. Next, let us say that the river can either be dangerous, calm, or fun. Dangerous represents negative, calm represents neutral, and fun represents positive. Now this boat is not a regular boat; it is a boat that is able to change its form and its form is affected by the externalities (the river and the captain) that are acting upon it. St. Augustine in Book X of his Confessions11 stated that there are â€œfour basic emotions; desire, joy, fear, sadness.â€? The four basic forms that the boat can take on are the four emotions. It is important to note that there are a plethora of emotions, but all emotions are either a synthesis of one or more of these or a component of them. In the previous paragraph I mentioned that the river can either be negative, neutral, or positive. Negative represents depression, neutral indifference, and positive happiness. These three states are the major emotional states. The four emotions (desire, joy, fear, sadness) are the minor emotional states. Now, what is it that I mean by major and minor? Major means that throughout oneâ€™s conscious existence, one experiences a consistent emotional state that remains more or less the same despite the passage of moments and the occurrence of events. An individual is not depressed one minute, happy the next, indifferent in the third, and then depressed once more. Rather, an individual starts off in one of the three; for this example I will utilize the happy state. In the happy state, an individual can experience the four minor emotions but consistently returns to a happy state, that is unless an overwhelming amount of minor emotions occur. For further clarification, the reason I call the four emotions minor is because they are fleeting and non-consistent. The consequences of the actions done by the captain (ego) elicit the feeling of one of the four emotions (or some variation of them) but those consequences are not eternal. Say for example an individual eats some ice cream and experiences joy; this joy persists as long as the ice cream persists, due to the release of pleasurable neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Once the ice cream ends, however, the release of the neurotransmitters continues for a few brief moments but then fades away and the individual returns to his/her major emotional state (depression, indifference, or happiness). For even further clarification, a number line is an excellent diagram for this model. Pusey, E. B., and William Benham. The Confessions of St. Augustine. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909. Print. 11 Page 45 of 61 1 2 3 4 Depression 5 6 7 8 9 10 Indifference 11 12 13 14 15 Happiness If x is less than or equal to 5 then that person is depressed to a certain extent. If x is greater than 5 but less than or equal to 10 then that person is indifferent to a certain extent. If x is greater than 10 but less than or equal to 15 then that person is happy to a certain extent. These numerals represent a major emotional state. There exists an individual by the name of Y and his greater emotional state is represented by the circle which sits on 8. The events leading up to the present situation have caused Y to be at an 8, for past events determine where oneâ€™s major emotional state is. In the morning, Y gets bit by a dog and this causes him sadness and fear, and since Y does not like sadness or fear (I say this because there exists certain categories of people who enjoy these states, but since the majority do not I will utilize an example that is representative of the majority) this causes a negative shift on the line, thus Yâ€™s major emotional state moves down to a 7, closer to depression. In the afternoon, Y eats a delicious lunch and takes part in some physical exercise, resulting in the release of pleasurable neurotransmitters, resulting in the experience of joy, resulting in the movement to an 8.5 of his major emotional state. In the evening, Y partakes in coitus and takes immense pleasure from this, resulting in his major emotional state into moving up to a 10. Despite the fact that Y experienced feelings ranging from sadness to pleasure, at the end of the day Y remains indifferent. If Y continues to partake in activities that are more positive than negative, then after a while his major emotional state will transition into that of happiness. Thus, another way of seeing the major emotional states is that of the number line, and the minor emotional states as things that cause one to move up or down on the number line. If every individual experiences the basic four emotions, why does it matter what the major emotional states are? The major emotional state matters insofar as it determines the Page 46 of 61 magnitude and duration of said minor emotional state. If an individual is depressed, then that individual tends to prolong and intensify emotions of sadness, whereas emotions of joy are stifled and do not last as long. There are certain exceptions that can cause drastic changes in one’s major emotional state and that are far from gradual. Take for example an individual that experiences a traumatic death of a loved one and is not emotionally mature enough to handle it. That individual may have been happy prior to that event, but a single action (the death of the loved one) causes that individual to quickly slide down past indifference into the bottomless pit of depression. Fortunately, these events do not happen often and, with stoicism12, one can cushion the effects of such actions. To sum up this topic, let us return once more to the river and the boat, now with a much better understanding of them. All individuals have an inborn predisposed major emotional state; let us say that individual Z is indifferent. Thus, the journey of captain Z begins on a calm river. The decisions and actions of Z shape and turn the boat a multitude of ways, and at a certain point in Z’s life the calm river turns into a fun one. The pleasing waters make the boat run nicely and smoothly, resulting in pleasurable minor emotions becoming even more pleasurable. The river of life can either be bad, neutral, or good; it all depends on how one steers his/her vessel. Minor Emotions are that of the body; Major Emotions are that of the mind. One’s Past + Minor Emotions ⇒ Major Emotional State Major Emotions + Ego ⇒ Intensity and type of Minor Emotions. Minor Emotion in the Present Determined by: Greater Emotion Ego Thus the greater emotion of a person and the frequency and type of minor emotions are what essentially creates the emotional aspect of a person. Once the rational portion is added in then that is the personality of the person. Once the physical characteristic is added in then that is the totality of the person. Once lust, attraction, and platonic attraction are present in the individual then the potentiality for love arises. Love, however, is much more than the total of these three. Imagine that lust = 1, attraction = 1, and platonic attraction = 1. Logically, that must mean love = 3, but 12 The endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint Page 47 of 61 no, love is illogical and it equals 4. When these three are put together it becomes 1 + 1 + 1 = 4, where 4 is love. During the process of the combination of those three things, something truly mystical and incomprehensible but amazing happens. The two people may start to love the soul of the other person, the personâ€™s essence, the core of the person that they do not understand yet feel. Sometimes, this step does not occur, and as a result true love does not form. Even if it does not occur, however, the very fact that all three elements are present leads to a very strong emotion and feeling, but not a feeling of love in its purest of forms. Thus, relationships in high school can be of the following kind: Types of Relationships Relationship 1 Relationship 2 Relationship 3 Relationship 4 Relationship 5 Relationship 6 Relationship 7 Relationship 8 Relationship 9 Lust Attraction No Yes No No Yes No No Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Platonic Attraction No No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Soulful Attraction No No No No No No Yes No Yes Relationship 1, is no relationship at all, it is either an acquaintanceship out of necessity or no relationship at all. This is the most common of relationships. The rest are self-explanatory except Relationship 6 and 7 differ in the fact that Relationship 7 is a friendship of virtue whereas Relationship 6 is not. In 7, even though there is no sexual attraction, one still experiences love towards the other person because of their personality, whereas in 6 one does not feel that same level of soulful attraction. Relationship 9 is the purest form of love, it is where the form of love is actualized, yet it is one that is quite. Many people go through high school never experiencing relationship 9, some their whole lives. The number of utility and pleasure friendships increases drastically in high school. Pleasure friends arise because a high schooler can partake in more pleasures than a middle or elementary schooler. Utility friends arise as well, and these friends can be sub-divided into two categories. Some friendships begin and center around the academic system, where friends are Page 48 of 61 only friends as long as they are in the same classes and after that the relationship is over; after a while it is possible that even saying ‘hi’ to the person becomes non-existent. Other utility friendships arise due to a person’s capital, specifically if he/she has a car or house. The interesting thing about popularity is that the notion of popular and unpopular exists in nearly all the minds of high schoolers. Interestingly enough, there is rarely a consensus as to who a popular or unpopular kid is. A popular kid for one person can be an unpopular kid for another, and vice versa. I, personally, do not see the merit of attempting to be known by many and to have many acquaintances but no friends. There are, however, certain determinants of popularity. As mentioned earlier, the physically fit have a certain presence in the school. This presence is caused by them being aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, those who have a pretty face and a pretty body are quite susceptible to popularity, and if they have a pleasing personality then even more so! High schoolers, like adults, desire to have sexual relations with beautiful people. The pretty girl will attract boys because of her stunning looks, and she will attract girls because they would like to associate themselves with one as beautiful as she. This popularity is the cause of many mental and health problems in girls and boys. It turns into an obsession to refine one’s physical characteristics in some, even resulting in drastic weight loss and constantly feeling as if one’s looks are unfulfilled. This is brought about mainly due to the adult society as well. Magazines and shows glamorize beautiful people, creating the notion that to be loved one must be beautiful, and to be beautiful one must be like those people represented by the media. Clothes are a determinant of popularity as well. Some students meticulously study websites, magazines, and popular culture to figure out what the next ‘hip’ clothing is, so that they can represent it and gain approval by their peers. It has been shown that teenagers seek the approval of their peers far more than adults, which is a partial explanation for the desire to be popular. By being popular, the teenager perceives that his/her life is meaningful, but rarely does a student who desires to be popular ever truly become popular, for like the desire to be beautiful one is never beautiful enough, nor popular enough. An individual who possesses a car in high school will experience more people socializing with him/her solely for the reason of owning a car. The car is attractive for it gives a high schooler a sense of freedom and it is a rapid form of transportation; thus individuals that posses such a worthy piece of capital are in high demand. This brings its pros and cons. For pros, it means that the person becomes more “popular” and as a result may gain more acquaintances and potential sexual partners. For cons, it means that the person becomes more “popular” and as a result some people only interact with that person for the sole reason that he/she has something that the other desires. Some individuals do not mind the fact that they are being used and enjoy the increased attention; others wise up to it and do not let themselves get exploited. In addition, a house becomes an important commodity for high schoolers. High schoolers enjoy to party, and if an individual has a house that can sustain a party, that individual becomes an important figure. Many a times Page 49 of 61 have I seen certain individuals who threw parties experience a sharp increase in their popularity, and after they abstained from doing that their popularity began to decline, but it was still significantly higher than it was before, due to the reason that the person gained that kind of ethos. It is rather unfortunate why some individuals are valued in high school, and in society for that matter; they are valued not for their virtues, but for their possessions. The friendship of virtue can finally take flight in high school. This is due to the fact that a high schooler is of age to have cultivated a significant number of virtues, and vices for that matter. Some individuals go through high school without attaining a single friend of virtue, primarily for the reason that to have a virtuous friendship it is necessary for both friends to be of virtue. There are some, who do gain virtuous friends who remain friends for the remainder of their lives. THis is such a rare occurrence, however when it does occur it is a matter to be celebrated. Make friends in high school; this is the plain fact of the matter! If one explores enough social groups, examines enough people, one will find a man or woman compatible with one’s own virtues. If such an individual is found the result makes high school a much more pleasurable experience, for a friendship of virtues is one of the greatest of pleasures we can have as humans. Since it is more pleasurable, it results in the better emotional health of an individual. An individual who has a better emotional health is more likely to seize opportunities and to stay motivated. A man who has the belief that he can still finish the race (good emotional health) and not stop until he can’t go any further can still win. A man that has the belief that he cannot finish the race (bad emotional health) and gives up can’t win in any circumstance. If one wishes to have friends of virtue one must possess virtues himself/herself, for two thieves cannot be friends, for they will simply steal from another. Thus, if you believe you to have virtue, seek others who hold virtue in high esteem and continue to better your virtues. If you are lacking in virtues and abounding in vices, then search not for virtuous friends; you will not find them. Instead, make yourself virtuous so that you can reach the platform that allows you to make those virtuous friends! A virtuous friendship lasts a lifetime; once it is made it cannot be unbroken unless the virtues deteriorate into vices. This is, however, unlikely since why would a virtuous person desire to descend down into vice? A true friendship is one in which friends share everything. Meaning, a friend will feed another friend if he is hungry, clothe another friend if he is naked; give his/her friend warmth if he is in need of warmth. This is the law of friendship; if a friendship does not stand up to these requirements then it is not a true friendship, it is an acquaintanceship. I talk of this virtue but what is virtue? I will begin by defining vice. Vice is the negative characteristics a person has. Negative in the sense that they are harmful to others, the environment, or oneself. A characteristic is an aspect that a person has. Every human being has a personality and a personality is made up of characteristics. A personality is a specificity composed of categories of characteristics. A categorical characteristic is one such as one’s work Page 50 of 61 ethic, or oneâ€™s moral behavior, or oneâ€™s outlook on life, etc. All these and more, together, equate a personality. New categorical characteristics may enter and leave, but the personality is still a personality; this is because the personality is fluid. One may change the shape of the water (the water is the personality) but one cannot change the fact that it is the same exact water, just in a different arrangement. If a dish is served with disgusting food, rearranging the food doesnâ€™t change the fact that it is still disgusting; vice cannot be masked. Every categorical characteristic has either a negative or positive value, and/or a neutral value depending on the characteristic. A negative is a vice, a positive a virtue, a neutral a blank slate with the potential of turning to the light and becoming the tough yet rewarding route to virtue, or of taking the slide down the route to vice which ends in punishment. Thus, virtue is a good categorical characteristic, and a virtuous person is one who has many of these. Does school cultivate virtue, or does it inhibit it? On the explicit level, on the superficial one, on the obvious one, yes, it does. But on the implicit level it does not. The truth is hidden by a layer of deceit, but it is not the fault of the school, no, it is a byproduct of the geist, of the spirit of the age, of society! High school in America is built around the idea of competition, for the students are competing against each other in order to gain entrance to the doors of prestigious colleges. Since the elementary school days of education, teachers encourage young ones to share and to play nicely with one another, but all of that is a lie! One either rides the current, or gets swept away by it, and no one wants to get swept away; no one wants to cling to a piece of wood, for dear life, while hundreds around them ride the river comfortably and safely in their life rafts. There are only a limited amount of boats on this river, and many are afraid to give their fellow man a helping hand. How can a system built around getting ahead, at all costs, produce individuals who are true in virtue? It cannot. Socially, academically, and physically, students indulge in unvirtuous behavior. The student who cheats, is he being virtuous? No, he is not, but he is doing the right thing. The goal is to get ahead is it not? To beat all those around him. By cheating, he gets ahead, and he gets in a boat; whereas the virtuous student who does not cheat is left at a disadvantage, and may be tossed into the river with nothing but a life vest. Some students, literally, see their fellow human beings as competition, as impersonal entities that must be vanquished in order to enter the land of milk and honey, the land of college. They treat others differently than the one who sees their fellow man as an equal, as a mass of individuals all taking their own paths of life, for if everyone is taking his/her own path of life how can there be any competition amongst them? Alas, this is not the view of the masses. School explicitly discourages cheating, but implicitly it encourages it. School explicitly encourages education for the sake of learning, but implicitly it encourages getting a good grade no matter the cost. Bribes occur not only on the political level, but on the academic level as Page 51 of 61 well. In China, parents bribe teachers in order to get academic favors13. In the US, students and/or parents pay others to take the SAT for them, resulting in them getting much higher scores than they would have normally14. Two parents bribe a teacher in order to get their son into a selective high school, but get busted because the virtuous teacher does not allow such evil to occur. 15. In Kyrgyzstan teachers ask their students for money, called ‘razvesti,’ which is used to resolve problems. Officials are aware of this, and they supposedly punish teachers, but the practice continues16. A gym teacher in America allows students to sit out of class if they pay him a dollar day, ultimately making thousands of dollars from such a scheme 17. These stories are but a few of the documented ones. How many unfair bribes are done in order to gain that competitive edge? Explicitly this is bad; implicitly this is good. This problem is not just a problem of one country; it is a problem of all of the countries that are a part of the competitive capitalistic market. It is a mark of a diseased society, and it’s only getting sicker by the day. In some classes, grades are given based on a curve. Meaning, the lower the average score, the higher the adjustment will be. Now I ask, does the student wish for all the students to get a high grade, resulting in a small adjustment, or a low grade, resulting in a large adjustment? Is it right for a student to desire the failing of others in order to benefit himself/herself? Is this virtuous behavior? This cheating in order to get ahead is clearly evident in the academic sphere, but it is also clear in the athletic one. Competition in itself is not a bad thing, meaning if it is based on everybody moving forward and starting at the same spot; but competition that exists now is where some people start miles ahead and others don’t even begin at the starting line, and where some get ahead by sabotaging those around them and speeding up their success through the use of immoral behavior. "In China Schools, a Culture of Bribery Spreads - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/world/asia/in-china-schools-a-culture-ofbribery-spreads.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>. 14 "7 students arrested in SAT cheating scheme - US news - Crime & courts | NBC News." Breaking News & Top Stories - World News, US & Local | NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44701102/ns/us_newscrime_and_courts/#.USQl5KUe3wk>. 15 "Parents may face criminal charges for trying to bribe teacher." Sydney Morning Herald - Business & World News Australia | smh.com.au. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.smh.com.au/national/parents-may-face-criminal-charges-for-trying-tobribe-teacher-20090212-85zh.html>. 16 " IRIN | Error ." IRIN • humanitarian news and analysis from Africa, Asia and the Middle East - updated daily. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.irinnews.org/Report/26481/KYRGYZSTAN-Bribing-teachers-for-a-bettergrade-common-parents>. 17 "Gym Teacher Accused Of Taking Bribes - CBS News." Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-1325333.html>. 13 Page 52 of 61 Drug and steroid use is quite popular in the adult world, but just as adult recreational drugs have been seeping into the high schools and entering the bodies of fragile teenagers, so are performance enhancing drugs. USA Today wrote an article about how popular performance enhancing drugs are becoming. They even mention a 2002 study in which an estimated 42,000 Texas students were abusing steroids, some even using veterinary-grade anabolic steroids from Mexico. Adult cartels are supplying teenagers with drugs for animals. Sports Weekly conducted a round table discussion with some athletes and made the following conclusions: â€œUse of performance-enhancing substances takes place openly in the locker rooms, weight rooms and cafeterias of public and private high schools. Coaches, as well as athletes, know what's going on but are often powerless to stop the use of performance enhancers. Some, in fact, are willing to turn a blind eye. The pressure to win is enormous. That pressure extends to athletes, who are also competing for college scholarships, coaches and administrators. Although the vast majority of student-athletes consider steroid use "cheating" and acknowledge some degree of risk, some remain willing to sacrifice long-term health for shortterm benefits18.â€? The way this problem is faced is by educating students about the dangers of such substances, but how will that solve anything? The problem is not a lack of knowledge; many, if not all, are aware of the immense risks associated with such drugs. The problem is the system itself, for it becomes almost a necessity to keep up with such an increasing demand for success. To solve this problem the system must be changed; only then will society be cured of its ailments. School does not cultivate virtues; it merely creates the faĂ§ade that it does. It cultivates an inhumane desire to succeed at all costs. Individuals and teachers may attempt to cultivate virtue, but the system does not. I commend those who are virtuous and spread virtue, and those that do not, shame onto you. Section 7: Miscellaneous The teacher is the dialectical opposition of the student. For teachers to exist students must exist, and for students to exist teachers must exist. These two roles are interdependent. The student is the one who learns and the teacher is the one who teaches. Essentially, all learning is done by the student and the teacher merely aids the student in understanding. The student is a cup with a filter on it and the teacher pours water into the cup. The teacher can pour as much water as he/she wishes, but the student will never let it enter his/her cup if the Livingstone, Seth, and Sports Weekly. "USATODAY.com - Fight against steroids gaining muscle in high school athletics."USA TODAY: Latest World and US News USATODAY.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/preps/2005-06-08-sports-weekly-steroidsreport_x.htm>. 18 Page 53 of 61 filter is not right. The water represents knowledge and the cup represents the storage area of knowledge, the brain. Thus, the job of the teacher is not only to pour the water but to help the student set up a correct filter. The job of the student is to make sure that the filter functions properly and that he/she is filling up the cup with as much water as possible. What many a student does not realize is that the teacher is working for the student. In the public school educational system, the student gets an education pretty much for free, yet many are repulsed by this greatest of gifts of the modern age. One must wonder, why the cause for such repulsion? There are a variety of factors that can cause students to hate school, many of them being illogical. Why are they illogical? Well for the plain fact that an education is one of the most useful tools to have in life and one of the biggest of blessings. It is essentially knowledge, and with knowledge one can talk about more things and become a deeper, wider, and more accented individual. The need for stimulating and interesting conversation is incredibly important in regards to social relationships. One of the strongest sources of the interpretation and understanding of a person is through his/her speech. The concepts one speaks about, the words one uses, and oneâ€™s voice all develop the persona and core of that person. A knowledgeable and wise individual is appreciated amongst people, due to the fact that he/she possess the means required for them to learn; meaning, possessing knowledge to teach and knowing how to teach. A relationship can only go as deep as the deepness of the people involved, and the deeper the individual the deeper the relationship; the deeper it is the greater the meaning and fulfillment that comes from it. A relationship digs a hole, the deeper the relationship the deeper the hole. Then that hole is filled up with a hot pinkish liquid, and that is the satisfaction that is gained from the relationship; the deeper the hole, the more liquid that can be poured. The primary cause for repulsion is blindness to the marvelous benefits, resulting in an ignorance that is harming to the individual. It is harming due to the fact that the individual is repulsed, yet still goes to school. High School is an inevitability that cannot be eliminated, other than removing oneself from the educational scene, which is ten times more foolish than repulsion. Why view inevitabilities as negativities, when nothing can be changed about them? When something is inevitable it means that one has no power over it and it will happen no matter how much one protest, which entails that one has no control over the matter. If one has no control over a situation then it is important to stop attempting to control it, since it is impossible to attain control. By continuing the attempt of controlling an uncontrollable situation, this produces negativity in the form of angst, anguish, despair, or other similar feelings. It is important, however, to realize when a situation is uncontrollable. To believe something is uncontrollable when it in fact is is as great of a mistake as believing it is controllable when it in fact isnâ€™t. Thus the individual is the sole entity that produces the feelings associated with the inevitability, as compared to some instances where the individual produces some of the feelings and receives others due to having the ability of changing something about the situation, thus having responsibility. Ability to control gives responsibility. A lack of control is a lack of responsibility. To make an inevitability seem bad, neutral, or good is all based on the Page 54 of 61 philosophy and perspective of the individual. It is of the utmost of importance to make all inevitabilities be perceived as good, for in that way the most value can be taken out of a situation. The problem arises if we are to believe that we are free and have free will, which is very likely that we do. The fact of the matter is that we have choice, no matter what. As much as one is forced to do something, whether by authoritative figures, peers, values, or the establishment, the final judge is oneself. No amount of force can affect an individual if the individual does not allow it to enter. This notion is why it is impossible for anything to be an inevitability, for we always have choice, but with a few tricks of perspective it is possible to create an inevitability. Every individual has a door and that individual chooses what he/she allows to enter and leave. To always keep an open door is foolish, for it makes one subject to the chaos of the universe. It is important to keep it open when it must be open, and closed when it must be closed. One must know how to let the things that need to leave out the door, and to let the things that need to stay not leave out the door. This skill comes with time, patience, and practice. To get past this dilemma is to make oneself a slave so that the dilemma of freedom does not come in. By viewing high school as being an inevitable component for an end goal, such as wisdom/knowledge/college/career/etc. it allows the shedding of responsibility, and thus all the problems associated with freedom. This is because high school becomes seen as a necessity for that goal with no other way of reaching it, and in doing so it becomes an inevitability. A slave has no say over the inevitable conditions of his life; thus, all he/she can do is affect their perception of it. Assuming an impossibility of escape, that is. If there is even a possibility of escape, then the inevitability stops being inevitable. Of course, then the dilemma of freedom comes in again, for we all have the ability to escape from anything. How can we escape from anything? The only true escape is death. One always has the freedom to escape from life. This freedom should be executed only when an individual is in a situation where he/she experiences a great deal of pain and discomfort and no pleasure or goodness at all can come in the future. These situations are quite rare, and for most people never occur, but it is still possible. An example such as this could be a terminally ill person who is covered in metastatic cancer, or a soldier who has most of his appendages blown off and his insides pouring out onto the ground. Thus, once again, the potentiality of escape eliminates the possibility of anything being an actual inevitability. The only exception to that is, however, the method of escape that we all use eventually, that being death itself. Death is the only true inevitability. But, if we exclude death, that means there are no inevitabilities. To combat that problem is to once again to make oneself a slave and to shed freedom. To become a slave to life once again welcomes the possibility of inevitabilities for it eliminates the problem of the choice to escape. One becomes a slave to life by having a desire to live until one can no longer breathe anymore; simply because in addition to the desire there is the belief that the actual breath will never come. Even when a man is gasping for breath and is on his last one, he may still believe that there will be a breath following the last one, dying with that thought in mind. Life is seen as the greatest of goods by such slaves of life, and they cling to it more fiercely than any baby koala that grips its mother. What makes the thought that there will be another breath manifest itself in the mind? Hope. Page 55 of 61 Thus, to see high school as in inevitability one must be a slave to life, and the only way to be a slave to live is to have hope. Hope is a feeling of expectation or desire for a thing to happen. To be a slave to life is to hope that life will continue no matter what, and under no circumstances to wish for it to end. This eliminates the possibility of escaping from seemingly inescapable conditions; it sheds the responsibility of an individual towards the inevitability, and ultimately ends in having the individual have absolute power over his/her emotional response towards a situation. Every high schooler has the power to fully enjoy and take pleasure in high school; it is just that that power must be realized before it is too late to appreciate it. Hate not the teacher that gives you a free education; rather thank the system that allows it and the teacher that gives it. In Section 5 the topic of gossip was talked about. Gossip is an instantiality of the far broader category of communication. The following will be a philosophical approach to communication. Communication is one of the most important activities in life. It is essential for practically everything, including sensation, perception, and conversation. Communication is the process of thing A interacting with thing B. It is occurring right now, as you are reading these very words. The light bounces off the screen/paper then communicates to your retina the image, which communicates a message to your brain, which then converts the sensation into a perception. A causation chain of such an interaction is presented by the following: A = Light B = Object AB = Light image of object C = Eye AAB = Afferent (Conducted Inward) message of light image of object D = Brain EM = Efferent (Conducted Outward) message of what action to take E = Body Part → = Communicates A → B → AB → C → AAB → D → EM → E → B This causation chain means that light hits an object, which then bounces off the object into the eye, which then sends a message to the brain, which sends a message to a body part, Page 56 of 61 and then the body part interacts with the object. The interaction between body parts to object may not always occur, since sometimes it may be impossible or unnecessary to do that. Nicolaus Copernicus wrote his The Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs, in 1543, where he basically stated that the way celestial phenomena appears to us on earth is affected by both the motions of celestial bodies and the earth19. Kant utilized the form of his idea in his Inaugural Dissertation to explain that human experience depends on both the sensory data that we receive passively through sensibility and the way our mind actively processes this data according to its own a priori rules. He concluded that these rules supply the general framework in which the sensible world and all the objects and phenomena it in appear to us. This means the world of the senses and intellect are not entirely independent but intertwined20. This entails that for there to be an object there must be a subject to perceive that object, and for there to be a subject there must be an object for the subject to differentiate itself from. Similar to how celestial phenomena appear to us on earth, communicatory phenomena appears to us by both the action of oneself and the action of one other. This essay will examine not the broad category of communication itself, but the specificity of that category: the communication between two humans. The communication between two humans is the most concise and clear communication that can occur amongst humans, since all attention is put on the other. One human can only communicate with oneself; three humans communicating take away from the order of a two human communication and make it more chaotic, less intimate, and less concise. The more humans who participate in a conversation, the greater the chaos and the lesser the intimacy and conciseness are present. Thus communication between two humans is a perfect balance of order, chaos, conciseness, and intimacy. What is necessary for communication to occur? The first necessity is a setting. Without a setting to encapsulate the actors and props there can be no play; similarly, without an environment a human cannot live for he/she has nothing to live on. The second necessity is oneself and one other. As mentioned earlier, for communication to occur there must be a thing A and a thing B. Oneself is thing A, one other is thing B. The third and final necessity is an activity. Without an activity there will be no communication. Without an activity people will do their own things in a setting, and their life paths will never cross. The activity can be either physical or verbal. 19 "Squashed Philosophers - Copernicus - The Revolutions." Squashed Philosophers - HOME. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. <http://sqapo.com/copernicus.htm>. 20 Kant, Immanuel, and William Julius Eckoff. Kant's inaugural dissertation of 1770. New York: AMS Press, 1970. Print. Page 57 of 61 Setting One other Interest Oneself Activity Oneself and one other oscillate around the bands created by the setting and the activity. The oscillations produce interest. The faster the oscillations, the more interest is produced; the slower the oscillations the less interest is produced. The more interest, the better the communication. What determines the speed of the oscillations? The setting is the least of the determinants, primarily because it the first necessity. The setting is only there to allow one other and oneself to exist and to provide a staging ground for the activity. Of course, a pleasing entertaining setting is better than a gruesome, depressing one, but the effects of the setting are easily overridden by the activity, oneself, and one other. The second determinant is the activity and it is neither the most nor least important of the three; it is in between. The activity is either physical or verbal, but almost all activities have elements of both. For example, the activity could be coitus, which is physical, yet some verbal communication still occurs. Or the activity could be philosophizing, which is verbal, yet some physical actions are present such as sitting, walking, etc. The impact of the setting and the activity are nothing, however, if oneself and one other are not compatible. If both despise each other, then no setting or activity could produce interest, other than an arena and a fight to the death. Similarly, if both love each other, then any setting and activity can produce a great deal of interest. The size of the circles of oneself and one other change depending on what kind of relationship exists between the participants. When a relationship is of two equals communicating with one another the circles are of equal size. When the circles are of differing size it means that the two are not quite compatible. Some humans are not as adaptive as others and as a result will not increase or decrease their circle depending on the circle of another. To have equal circles the activity must have the two humans be on relatively equal levels and to have accepting and open minds about each other; Page 58 of 61 spite, hate, or any negative emotion towards another will upset the balance of communication and result in less interest being created. Two humans interacting with one another follow this model, speeding up and slowing down in their interest creation depending on what is going on around them and what they themselves are doing. If the humans are very compatible, meaning are of the same intellectual, physical, or skill level, then the interest creation process is significantly magnified. Similarly, if they are of a different level then it is harder to create interest, for what fun is it for a world champion wrestler to wrestle with a scrawny and weak amateur? Here ends this analysis. We have covered the categories of society, categories of students, aspects of elementary, middle, and high school, high school roles, gossip and popularity, and love and relationships. I hope that this analysis provided some insight, into high school and to life, which was previously not there. All in all, much of the knowledge about high school is learned through oneâ€™s own experiences, but I hope that this information will add on to whatever knowledge you have. I end this document with a question that I hope that you will ponder and figure out if you have not. Why do you go to school? I hope all the best for you. Page 59 of 61 The Four Noble Truths of High School 1) High School is suffering. Innately, High School is not a pleasing experience. It has all the characteristics of being displeasing. It requires a person to travel every day to some destination, which is bothersome and tiring. It requires a person to work so that in the future that person is able to work even more. It requires a person to interact with other people, many of whom are displeasing to that person. It is not something that a person would want innately to do, as all of these things are burdens. 2) The origin of this suffering is misunderstanding. The reason that it is suffering is because of misunderstanding. By not understanding the great gift of education that High School gives us, by not appreciating the fact that it is able to bring people together, and by disliking work, suffering arises. This misunderstanding is due to inexperience and lack of guidance. 3) The cessation of this suffering is attainable. It is possible to end this suffering and to turn it into prosperity. It requires some dedication and effort, but the reward is worth the journey. The goal of every student should be to end the suffering that High School brings. By striving to end the suffering many rewards are received along the way, and once the suffering ends it is constant reward. 4) The path to understanding and the cessation of this suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path of High School. All suffering is due to lack of understanding, and understanding leads to prosperity. By following the Noble Eightfold Path of High School one will leave the valley of suffering and enter the field of prosperity. Page 60 of 61 The Noble Eightfold Path of High School 1) Believe not all that teachers tell you and not all that students say. Take everything with a tinge of doubt and figure it out for yourself. To figure it out for yourself you must question, and in addition to that, you must answer. 2) Do not spread falsities via gossip, and do not say that which does not need to be said; speak only that which is necessary and that which is good. 3) Strive to achieve good grades, yearn to gain knowledge, and live the experience of high school; you only have one chance to make it the best you can. 4) The path of imbalance and chaos is the path of procrastination. The path of balance and peace is the path of conscientiousness. One path is better than another, but it is your choice and your choice alone as to which one you will take. 5) Do not worry too much about problems, but do not neglect them either. Identify them, ponder them, and act against them. 6) High School is a boon, and not a bane. Disliking and hating it brings no good, only harm, and not only that but it is self-inflicted harm. High School is a blessing of the 21st century; understand it for that which it is, and not that which it isnâ€™t. 7) Develop your virtues and eliminate your vices. You are what you do, and what you do is determined primarily by your habits, and your habits are your virtues and vices. High School is the time of youthfulness, and the job of youthfulness is to develop good habits; if the job is done well then the time after will be good; if the job is done poorly, then the time after will be bad. 8) Focus on the things that matter, and neglect the things that donâ€™t; this leads to good things. When one focuses on the things that donâ€™t matter, and neglects the things that do, bad things follow. Page 61 of 61