Monday, July 28, 2008
Many claim that love just is and it cannot be questioned or defined. However, I believe that whatever cannot be defined it must, as a result, be inexistent. In this case, if love can be defined into existence, it could potentially be a frantic entity.
Love is, to begin with, a four lettered word that presents itself as a beautiful set. The letters that compose the word simply match each other. It is has roots in old English as well as old German and Latin. The interesting discovery is that is comes from the Latin word lubēre which means to please. This finding immediately makes one ponder the question: to please who? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines love as a strong human affection which proceeding from one’s inadequacy, one necessitates and seeks someone who completes oneself. As well as an attachment, enthusiasm or devotion towards another being/thing; or holding someone dear which in the search for reciprocity in the desire for union, provides fulfillment, happiness, and energy to stay together, communicate and create. It is a feeling of surrendering to someone or something. Chaos not yet mentioned.
Society considers love a complement of various factors. Love functions then in a spectrum that ranges from simply wanting to see someone special to thinking that the presence of that person is necessary.
In love’s space between the ends of that spectrum, there are many different stages. Love is more an obsession or a habit. When one loves, one is expected to think about only one person day and night, to have an irresistible desire to hold that person in one’s arms. Yet, one is at the same time expected to continue a life in such a state. It is impossible. Love dictates that even if one tries to banish any trace of the object of one’s affection, one will not succeed in doing so. In the same way, there is not anyone who can compare to the beauty that the object of one’s affection embodies. That beauty goes beyond any physical boundaries. The moment one is said to have fallen in love with someone that person who has newly acquired our favor becomes unique. That person is supposed to become the center of our world without our knowledge. I repeat, how could one then lead a normal life after such an event? Impossible, I tell you! There is no such thing as this love societies speaks of, how could there be?!
Furthermore, once is supposed to experience a shiver and heartbeat acceleration when the object of one’s affection is present. This strange feeling can be controlled but not for long since the minimal show of affection is said to make it recur. Society claims the existence of a certain feeling of protection involved in the idea of love.
Nevertheless, love is not all personified by happiness. It is also claimed to be filled with despair and concern. One cannot dominate the idea that the person who is the object of one’s affection could not be doing well. Even worse, that said person might not be there the next day whether due to what would be considered a disaster, namely death, or simply to the fact that what one thought was an eternal connection might actually be time constricted.
One renegades of society if such relationship does end without realizing that society was the one who created it to begin with. One does not comprehend that the only eternal items that one possesses are the ones that one has in the present and that it will be thus while they last.
If we all thought that love really exists and that this societal definition of it is what love is, then the world would be far more chaotic than what it is now. We would all focus in these relationships that we hope to make eternal; only thinking about the future which will prevent us from enjoying the present.
At the end, in order for the world to remain afloat love is a luxury that we cannot all enjoy. It is a fight between those who want the boat to stay in the surface and those who want to sink it: which side are you on?
Monday, July 21, 2008
Is it possible for slavery to still be a common practice despite the belief that it was abolished over a hundred years ago?
While many would argue that slavery has been long abolished, it is in fact a torture that many people experience in the present day. Marriage –heterosexual marriage that is- has been a long standing tradition through which women have been reduced to functional slavery.
Historically, marriage is recognized by religion, law and society. Society recognizes two people living together as a marriage because they are sharing responsibility. Law condemns marriage as a contract that springs to life through a civil process. On its part, religion blesses a marriage. A marriage usually takes places in order to provide for legal, social and economic stability, the necessary accommodation for the formation of a family unit with the procreation, nurturing and education of children. It also legitimizes sexual relations. Some people feel the need to make a public declaration of affection and marriage is used as a tool for such declaration, but there are also those who marry to obtain citizenship thus marriage is also a business.
In order for a marriage to be recognized as legitimate it needs to be consummated. The failure to do so would provide for a genuine justification to invalidate the marriage. Also, in most societies the death of one of the partners marks the end of the marriage while in others this only applies when the woman dies; otherwise the woman must be buried with her husband’s body (as is required by the Hindu religion) . In many others, a divorce is also accepted as a way to terminate the marriage.
However, a marriage does not end there. As slaves were bought and deprived of their freedom and compelled to work, so were women in the ancient days. There is a slight difference with the present state of slavery experienced by women; they are not longer economically bought as objects. However, they are largely still denied their freedom and are constrained to doing a work they do not necessarily enjoy or was part of their desires. In the present day, a diamond ring is usually the device used by a man to ask a woman in marriage. When the “right man” has the “right ring,” a woman agrees to marriage. But this only symbolizes how a slave is only sold to the person willing to pay the “right price.”
In the past, the groom’s family had to pay a “bride price” which paid for the right to marry the women he had chosen. In other cases, a dowry has to be paid by the bride’s family to the groom which further sentences women not only as objects, but as rather invaluable objects if the family of the bride must pay the groom to marry her. The financial transaction that takes place between the groom and the bride’s family does not at any given moment considers the bride as the person that she is. After the marriage, the now wife became known as the property of the husband and was often called “his property.” In this sense marriage was a simple market transaction in which the wife became a slave to her husband since he owned her.
In the same way, a woman was thought to be the property of her parents. Nevertheless, since the man was considered the owner of everything then she was directly a property of her father. Thus, the father would walk her down the aisle (which is still a common practice) as a way to signify his delivering her to her new owner. Through marriage, then, a woman merely changed owners.
Even though this is not as drastic in the present day, women are still bound in most societies to a functional slave state when they marry. Women must give up their professional careers, if any, in order to have children and take care of them. Marriage for women draws a parallel with giving an alcoholic a soup of wine because they are mocked with the need to taste the heaven of which many speak knowing that it is not necessary beneficial to their public and private persona.
Redefine marriage into an equally divided set of responsibilities, obligations and joys, but without the institution behind it; or, is the infamous diamond ring such a necessity as to be worth playing the role of the condemned submissive slave? Nonetheless, the fear of loneliness prevails for many.
Monday, July 14, 2008
As a young child, I grew up going to church, must I clarify: Catholic Church. Yes, I admit that the people attending the church were overflowing with faith, most of the time that is. Yet, at the opposite side of the spectrum Sunday was not only the day to attend holy mass, but the sacred day of soccer matches. Whether on television, radio or at the field, soccer was never to be missed on a Sunday. Everyone had a team for which the will went so far as to betting one’s life for the game. The same way one was immersed into believing that an eternal joy was to follow an earthly existence if one only managed to follow the teachings of church. Old traditions die hard, but some harder than others. I have realized that soccer has a far stronger grip on humanity than Christianity. After all, people do switch religions when they find that another belief system fits them better than the one they previously were devoted to. But soccer, soccer is forever.
The preceding claim is supported by the multiple evidence that can be collected. FIFA’s president can take the role of the Pope while FIFA itself acts as the ruling body for soccer around the world as the Vatican does for Catholicism. The President of the each National Soccer Association functions as the Cardinal of each country serves to the Catholic faith. And one can move down through soccer hierarchy as well as church’s hierarchy, but that would make for a weak argument. In other terms, however, this will be easier to grasp as a possibility.
In a simple scenario, aliens are observing humans from cyber space and they are trying to understand what is that we hold on to as a higher unit. Their answer will be found in a soccer match. Let us take this image step by step. First, there are thousands of people ready to watch a soccer match, a world cup final, close and personal at the Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, commonly called Estádio do Maracanã located in Brazil, which once was the largest stadium in the world. What do aliens see? They observe a group of priests fighting a battle which will lead them to acquire the favor of those watching the game. Plus, the aliens have access to the satellites that send the signal to each house in which everyone who could not be at the stadium is also watching the game. Soccer attracts everyone. The young, the old, women and men whereas religion can only get a hold of those that have lost hope because while young they did not do much to help themselves as well as those young ones who do not yet know any better.
When time comes around for a world cup, every one wants to know how their national team is doing. Dare I say it, even those who preach that soccer is not worth their time as a sport or those who simply advocate alienation from sports in general. This so strange an event boast an audience twice that of the Summer Olympic games. The world cup carries a power that even the four most powerful religions in the world do not posses as an ability to command billions of their non-followers at their maximal event even if it happens only every four years.
There is a reason to believe that Soccer’s Ten Commandments, which can be derived from the rules of the game –otherwise known as soccer’s bible–, are more widely respected than those of religion. I’ll let you be the judge of them:
Thou shall not love any other sport but soccer.
Thou shall not make wrongful use of the name of soccer.
Thou shall remember the finals of all tournaments and keep them holy.
Thou shall honor your team: national & league.
Thou shall not score against.
Thou shall not switch teams.
Thou shall not prevent another team mate from scoring.
Thou shall not deny the team when it loses.
Thou shall not covet thoughts in favor of other teams.
Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s team.
Remember that to those watching from outer space, soccer is much, much more than a simple sport.
Monday, July 7, 2008
In the past, it was a transaction between the people who kidnapped those who became slaves and those who bought them. In the present day, migration (to the United States) is not longer a sole individually driven enterprise. It has become an economic transaction between the sending and the receiving country as a result of which both countries are benefited at different levels. Since not all companies are able to either off-shore or outsource their production or services, workers, otherwise known as immigrants are imported. In this particular case cheap labor comes to the source of work which is not done by American citizens as opposed to said job been sent overseas. Immigrants are simply another tool to increase profits; and, as long as the drive for those profits exists within any sector of the economy where immigrants can take jobs, immigration will continue to be the alternative to slavery.
There is a famous phrase which claims that the reason immigrants are hired is because there are jobs that Americans simply will not do. However, Americans are willing to take some of the most dangerous jobs in world yet the argument still stands that Americans will not pick fruits and vegetables. The reason why Americans are not willing to take those agriculture jobs is because the wages farmers offer are to low and not because the job is too difficult. Immigrants become the tool to keep prices low and profits high.
Illegal immigrants are the perfect alternative for slavery. Not only are they paid low wages, but since they are undocumented, they do not claim workers’ compensation, or sue the employers for any age, race or sex discrimination. At the same time, immigrants do not claim health insurance nor do they have the support of unions to demand higher wages or vacations. All of this, of course, comes in handy to employers because it facilitates their job and increases their profits. In the same way, immigrants do not know that they still have rights regardless of their legal status; and, since employers also threaten them with calling the INS, immigrants are forced to comply.
Americans will not engage in picking fruits and vegetables if there are immigrants to do the job and keep prices low. Thus, wage differentials play a big role in the demand for immigrants. The demand for labor in the United States has always been high and the supply seems to never be high enough to reach equilibrium. That is a direct result of the fact that the demand for labor in certain industries is a demand for (illegal) immigrants who will do the work for a lower wage and who will cause less problems to the employer.
Immigrants are at the lower level of the labor pyramid. They are a scarce resource that is precious to many employers because they will decrease production costs and increase their profits. Present day immigration is a way for businesses that remain in this country to acquire what those sending their manufacturing abroad obtain at their new location. Immigrants are willing to do jobs that others are not willing to do only because they do not have a better prospect at home; and, those who could do the those jobs here choose not to because there are immigrants to do them.
Equilibrium in the market will not be reached until immigrants are not longer treated as slaves. They need to be accepted, if not appreciated, for what they are: human beings. They pay taxes but are not allowed to receive any benefits from it. Immigrants are law abiding citizens the same way Americans are. Likewise, they also make mistakes, but it does not mean that they should be treated as simple tools that function as robots to increase profits and do not have any needs.
On a little note, slaves were forced to forgo their cultures, and so are immigrants with the theory of the melting pot. Immigrants won’t melt.
When a debate on immigration arises, time should be taken to consider the situation in which immigrants find themselves. It is true that a lot of them do not cross the border through legal means. But such events do not mean they should suffer the consequences forever when after crossing the border, they abide to the rules to the best of their abilities.