Thinking when it comes to Images versus Text

Being critical is important. Not in the way that you are cynical or distrustful of things, but rather taking the time to think about things and develop your own thoughts on the topic. More often than not, I find that I must distinguish the societal and cultural influences on my thoughts before I’m able to formulate my own. Examining the idea from different facets is also really important. Sometimes I forget to do that, or I rush headlong into an opinion in my excitement. Opinions are important. Opinions are how we define who are and what we stand for in this world. Therefore it is important to practice formulating our own thoughts.

When I’m presented with a thought in the form of a piece of media though, I find myself struggling with different pitfalls when it comes to images versus text. Images for myself tend to stimulate the least amount of critical thought, especially if it is found within the social media context. Perhaps it goes back to Debord’s Theory of the Spectacle; we are bombarded by images on the daily that we become numb, insensitive to what we see. We glaze over, simply reacting to the image, we no longer think. However, if they’re presented in a school context for example, we tend to think more deeply about the denotation and connotations of the images. It’s interesting that we even have to turn our critical thinking on and off. At what point does it become overwhelming? When does thinking critically about everything get in the way of living and enjoyment?

The difficulty I have when it comes to communication in text form is that the cognitive load of understanding and entertaining the author’s thoughts and opinions overwhelms my ability to formulate my own thoughts. Perhaps it’s mastering the art of switching in between those two modes that distinguish the best readers.

Nevertheless, I will continue to sharpen my critical thinking abilities by doing things such as these thought spews and forcing myself to organize my thoughts to better understand them.

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Redesigning Love & Dating

It seems like everyone is jumping onboard with online dating nowadays. From OkCupid, to Tinder, to EHarmony, it’s become more and more socially acceptable to state that you met your significant other on the virtual space (a.k.a. the internet). I definitely think online dating has its virtues. Not only is it easier and more accessible to peruse a large pool of singles, you can also filter them pre-date through a variety of lenses including attractiveness, interests, and values. There are even sources that state that marriages made between couples who met online are more satisfying. Yet, from a business point of view, online dating services benefit the most from designing the planned obsolescence of your next significant other. Because simply put, if you found someone and settled down happily ever after, you wouldn’t be using their services anymore.

This is where the true harm of online dating services emerge. Online dating services encourage the commodification of potential mates through the sheer abundance of people that are flaunted before you. ‘Look who’s checked you out!’, ‘These people liked you!’, ‘Similar to this fellow you’re checking out’, ‘Your top matches of the week’. All of these messages encourage users to check out an abundance of suitors and further emphasizes the expendability of each suitor. If one person doesn’t work out, don’t worry, there’s 5343256326 other people who would be a great match for you. Not only that, but these sites deliberately tempt you with the fear of missing out on the next best match. Like the next hottest deal, the pursuit of love and companionship is transformed into a sale; you can always return what you ‘bought’ for something else if it doesn’t fit.

Love and the pursuit of companionship is of significant value to most people. As such, the negative effects of online dating platforms on the behaviours of its users has significant impacts on culture. By trivializing the pursuit love and the commodification of suitors, we encourage diminishing attention spans and obsession with instant gratification and easy wins within our society.

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What is art?


Recently a 4chan post by an anonymous user decrying the loss of ‘real’ art and a stab at society’s acceptance of anything as art followed by a sarcastic proclamation that the post itself could be art, has been turned into art. Not only has it been turned into an art piece by being printed out and framed, it has been auctioned off of ebay for an alleged $90,000.

The ‘art piece’ in question is the most interesting piece in challenging the authentic and the original. For one, the message communicated through the words is not original, neither is the typeface used to write the message, or the formatting of the post as it’s exactly the same as the way every other post is formatted on 4chan, nor is the action of screenshotting the post in any way original, and the final printing and framing in a completely non-descript black frame any stab at original. All in all, Warhol would be most proud of this mangled reproduction of an art piece. The only thing original about the piece is the fact that it, in spite of all its absurdity and self-mockery, is the price which it sold for.

This debacle highlights the core of defining what art is: the assignment of value by a person to something within an artistic context. Whether that value is economic, cultural, or emotional, it relies heavily on the participation of a beholder. Because when you think about it, art is a cultural construct that only evolved as a result of domestication and civilization. Thus things become art when at least one person assigns value to that object along with the proclamation that it is art.

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Some thoughts on running and depression


The year after I graduated from college, I decided to start jogging. I was living in Waltham, MA at the time, and still working at the school I’d just left; I had two degrees (English Lit, Theater), but not much in the way of job prospects, apart from the moderate library experience I’d built up…