Utopia: Explained

Photo from Unsplash by Andrey Andreyev


Let us start with an exercise: First, you must close your eyes and clear your head of everything (very similar to meditation). Second, I want you to picture the most peaceful setting on the planet, it may be the mountains, a plain, a small town, or even a big city. Third, I want to think of the people in this peaceful place, how are they interacting with each other? How are they grouped? What are they talking about?. Fourth, I want you to think of outside factors, such as entertainment, social media, and political entities; how are they operating in a peaceful setting? Last, take everything that you just pictured and throw it all away.

For those who were not expecting the last part, I wanted you to imagine a perfect world for just a moment but to also realize that it was all in your head. There is nothing wrong with having a strong desire to have a perfect world, but, the truth is that we do not live in a world that can ever be perfect for everybody. There will always be dissatisfaction to some degree whether it be “The sky is too blue”, “These people chew too loud”, or “I want more money but don’t want to put in the work to get it.” It can very much go back to the classic Yin and Yang that is used in various forms of ancient Chinese philosophy. The idea that opposing forces must exist in some form of duality with one another; peace cannot exist without chaos, love cannot exist without hate, and light cannot exist without darkness. To put it simply, everything that exists in our world will always have an opposite even if you narrow it down to the smallest details. So, why did I title this Utopia: Explained?

Truthfully, I believe that anyone can create their ideal world and life if they really put their minds to it. You do not need to make the world perfect for EVERYONE, you need to make YOUR world perfect for yourself. Sounds a bit selfish? Let me ask you this, do you think everyone in this world cares if you disappeared or if something bad happens to you? Unfortunately, the answer is no but, that is perfectly fine. You were not born to please everyone but, you can however; please those who see the value in you as a person. You do not need a million people to love you, just a few. You do not need a fancy car or a mansion, you just need a simple house or apartment where you can bring the people who matter in your life into your world. The people who are there, the space you make for yourself, and the outside world you choose to surround yourself in whether it be a rural area or a big city, that is the utopia that you have been searching for.

Speaking for myself, I can honestly say that I have 2 or 3 friends that I can genuinely trust, I have family in my life that is encouraging and not toxic, and I WILL live in a place where I feel at peace (not there yet since moving is expensive). I stopped talking to people who cause problems in their own life, people who criticize my endeavors, and go places that make me feel at peace instead of in a mist of chaos AKA clubs, music festivals, etc. Not against the concept but, having been there and done that, I have no interest in that atmosphere anymore. Once you realize that the utopia you are so desperate to create is in your hands rather than tossing the ball to another person to get their input, only then can you truly live in that paradise that you dream to be at. 

Food for thought. 

That Future Nostalgia

Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash


The start of the new decade has put everyone’s mental health in an unpredictable tail spin. With the unknowns of normalcy lingering on everyone’s head, we all need some kind of relief. A possible solution? Taking a trip back in time; back to when things were at its most simple. Whether it be those 80s and 90s TV shows, movies, and music that bring us back or going through an old photo album to bring those carefree moments that the world felt like it was in an equilibrium. While this trip down memory lane may seem like a solution, like anything there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Let’s explore.

Take Me Back 

    Nostalgia is capable of giving us that small kick of relief from the good times that we return back to. Sometimes, we think about that time we took that road trip and got into all kinds of trouble, or we think about that time we celebrated a friend’s birthday and ended up in a VIP area, or we think about that time that we were at that family party with our friends just being happy. Nostalgia has been shown to be beneficial whenever we are going through transitional and traumatic periods in our life; right now has been one of the biggest transitions and while it has made it hard to feel that much needed sentimentality, we can always turn to old entertainment that was there to make us feel carefree. Watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Boy Meets World, Sister Sister, Caso Cerrado, or any other show that you watched during your adolescence that gives that warm fuzzy feeling can help you get that emotion going. Your emotional state will become more stabilized with the reassurance of the small things that have helped create the person you are. We are still the kid that won the science fair, that kid who was dancing on their bed to their childhood songs, and the person who gave money to that homeless mother. You can feel how far you have come from the simplest things that have been a part of your growing experience. However, nostalgia can also suck us into the past and make it difficult for us to move forward. 

Too Much of A Good Thing

    While those emotions that are evoked through nostalgia can help us get through our next coming of age chapter, it can prevent us from continuing to write our story. Personal nostalgia and historic nostalgia are two very different things. The personal nostalgia we feel with memories and entertainment is looking back at how far we have come while historic nostalgia can trap us in a completely different chapter in our lives. Historic nostalgia tends to be rereading the same chapter, over and over again. That ideal world that you once lived in, may it be living in another country, college dorm years, or that year you were top in your class; they have passed because you have evolved past that. Our evolution is something to smile about because they consist of a series of memories that we fondly look back on to help motivate us into the future. We need nostalgia at the end of the day to reflect on ourselves but, the temptation of recreating a world that doesn’t exist anymore, it will only hurt you in the end.

Moving Forward   

The best way to describe nostalgia is bittersweet, it is the happy memories that fuel the pleasant emotions and the passing time that makes it so hard to believe the moment has passed. While we need those nostalgic moments in our lives to remind us how wonderful it has been, it helps fuel the greatness we have within ourselves to create more moments of achievements, laughter, and happiness that we can look back and continue to see how we try to be a better version of ourselves everyday. 

Source: The Conversation

IAutism

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Can artificial intelligence be the next leading advancement for those with disabilities?

In the year 2021, the world has progressed to help accommodate those who operate in a nuerodiverse manner in society. In fact, progress still continues to this day to help improve their lives from therapy to advanced technology. Currently, science has started to look at a new method to help improve the social & communication skills of those on the spectrum, artificial intelligence. 

Humans have always been social creatures that feed off each other’s energies. For those with autism who experience higher levels of anxiety when interacting with a new person, it can cause social interactions to be extremely difficult; as well as cause problems for them to operate in the workforce. Without a doubt, everyone is slowly becoming aware that artificial intelligence will be integrated into a number of career and education fields. Therefore, taking some of the anxieties that come with human interaction away and allowing new doors to open for those with autism to interact with the world. 

One of the latest technologies that is utilizing artificial intelligence for children with autism is the QTrobot. QTrobot was designed by LuxAI and has a unique built in operating system that can be programmed to suit every child’s needs. With the stigma that comes with nonverbal communication when having human interactions eliminated, QTrobot is able to vividly and clearly display different emotions that help build social skills that can then be applied to real world human interaction. 

Children on the autism spectrum would work alongside the QTrobot & a trained specialist to help them progress at a quicker pace to help them adjust to school and the workplace. QTrobot can also be programmed to help children with autism desensitize from over stimulating situations. To make a personal connection with the use of AI and autism, my own sister has been more inclined to use her verbal communication skills when she has interacted with Amazon’s Alexa, which does whatever she commands it to do which I think she is fascinated with. With this new technology incorporated into early intervention of children with autism, we could accelerate their progression to adjust to society. 

Along with having the assistance of AI that will be implemented in a number of work areas, we can expect more ASD friendly career choices to emerge to give opportunities that we have never seen before. 

Source: Lexi.com

The Psychology of the Underdog

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They have always had the odds stacked against them but, when push comes to shove, they always keep trying their best; the underdog knows that their chances of victory are small but, for them they just need to know that they have a chance to keep going. We have seen this is a number of tv shows and movies. They have a sense of optimism and positivity knowing that they can only get better given their circumstances. This can sometimes lead to them feeling like they need to live up to an idea of perfectionism, which can make them heavily rely on vices to cope with these feelings. And when they are at their best, they are hardworking, appreciative, and confident in everything they do. This is a brief overview of the modern-day underdog and how we all can relate to them.

The underdog usually comes from a rough, disadvantaged background such as the result of a teenage pregnancy, an undocumented family, family with little to no financial stability, etc. We see this on tv shows like Shameless with characterLip Gallagher born to two parents who are addicts, raised by his older sister; and characters like Amy from Superstore who is a college dropout turned teen mom. This is also present in biographical movies such as Cinderella Man and Selena They try to make the best of with what they have since they have had to be resourceful most of their life. Selena designed her own outfits for shows due to the lack of funds in her family. Lip would take the SAT’s for fellow classmates if they paid the price to help pay the bills. Their families are often their biggest supporters because they hold the potential of the entire family, everything that individual members could have achieved is placed on them. This makes them the role model or shining star of the family because they are the one who has the chance to change the path for those will come after them.

Most underdogs have huge ambitions; they crave the desire to want more out of life knowing that they have an opportunity to start over. They aren’t just trying to prove something to the masses but, to themselves. This is why their failures are considered catastrophic in their heads, any small mistake can make them feel like they are 10 steps back. Perfectionism can consume them to an unhealthy point. They can often come off as humble, generous, and observant. An excellent example would be the kind and sweet nature that the late Selena Quintanilla was known for to all of her fans and those that encountered her. Always wanting to be “accessible” to those who needed her, even inviting fans on stage to dance with her. They are the friend that will be there for you through hard times and listen to you; sometimes even allowing themselves to be vulnerable to help comfort others. Small acts of kindness are their specialty; attempting to make the world a little more compassionate. They try to be the best at everything whether it be a student, friend, athlete, employee, etc. However, this can cause them to break at a certain point and derail the progress that they have made.

Due to the pressures they put on themselves to succeed because of their background and society, the underdog can dabble in behaviors that can be considered unstable and/or dangerous. This can be heavily due to Roy Baumeister’s Escape Theory; in which an individual engages in behaviors to help them flee the negative perceptions they may have of themselves. They may suffer from mental illness that they often ignore to keep pushing forward and then have difficulty getting out of bed or going to sleep knowing that their main purpose is to solely work hard to become society’s version of successful. Some individuals may turn to alcohol, sex, and drugs as vices in life to alleviate the pressure of perfection they have built into themselves. The high that they start to depend on from sex, drugs, and alcohol can contribute to the digress of their progress and thus dive into more destructive behavior. Take Lip’s spiral in college in season 6 as he begins to drink throughout the day and begin an affair with one of his professors even becoming a cuckolder. Due to the pressures to keep up his grades and maintain a clean record, he ultimately gets himself kicked out of college after his actions catch up to him. A different high that the person relies on is power and control over their life they had been seeking even if it involves turning their backs on the people that supported them from the beginning. This is seen in Superstore’s Amy who begins to jeopardize the staff’s chances of starting a union once she is appointed manager in fear of losing her position. They start to embody the qualities of those who looked down on others like them; sometimes without realizing it. As Will Smith once said, “Don’t let failing go to your heart and don’t let success go to your head.” This can eventually this can lead to them having a lonely life with people who may not genuinely liking them for who they are rather than the ones who cheered them on when they had nothing.

Despite the number of obstacles that they have had, the underdog has goals, confidence, and optimism that we could all use. They are motivated to try to become achieve their full potential. This could be due to motivational psychology theory Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs which states that once we achieve our basic needs of safety, access to food and water, as well as intimate relationships, we desire to reach the peak of our potential through self-actualization. They know that they can only go up from where they started and appreciate each accomplishment they earn as they have had to fight to prove themselves. In a way, they represent the anxieties of the upper class; take for instance Cinderella Man; James was a rising boxing star about to take down the champion of the world, Max Baer. Upon meeting at a dinner party, Baer attempts to intimidate James by insisting he not even bother fighting him because he will kill him in the ring having killed two other men during previous matches. Being knocked down from their high status by someone lower than them ultimately strikes fear in top dog knowing how fragile their rank is. But further proving that anyone can raise above

The underdog has always been seen as the least threatening person in the room but, in recent years they are starting to be seen as the person most likely to succeed. The underdog embraces being the underdog because they wouldn’t be who they are without their background. The general public loves to see a breakout story which is why there have been movies made about these people. They try to have a good head on their shoulders and see things in positive but, realistic way. To a certain extent, the underdog symbolizes our own struggles to be the best versions of ourselves and reach our full potential in society even when we have the odds stacked against us. And their confidence? That just makes them sexy.