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Big big big topic that almost seems guru in level. It's also been on my mind for a while now just thinking about some of the vernacular I hear on the streets and between classes. I came to this perspective having taken a part cultural but mostly philosophy class called Theory of Knowledge (TOK) where we learn about how we learn. It should be called meta-cognition but of course that doesn't sound any fun, so TOK it is.

People always say "why did she talking so loudly?" or "why isn't he eating his food?" Really, the proper question isn't why so much as how. How have they been taught that led them to behave this way? Thinking in this matter really takes the edge off of communicating in a much less direct way. People are unique, and with that, so is their set of values, traditions, habits and behaviors along a lengthy list of others. We initially have this knee-jerk reaction to ask why because we were raised differently than the person we are observing. And that's okay, they will probably have the same thought we do at some point or another. It's very natural to favor in-group bias and exhibit out-group bias. Understanding that others are raised differently than ourselves is a great step towards gaining a worldly perspective.

People are different. We're all raised differently, and the culture and beliefs we have been raised to uphold are embed within our selves. In that sense, we are all the same because we are all different. When we reach this understanding of "I'm different, you're different, we can relate because we are different," we can really gain insight into new cultures and further our knowledge of understanding where someone is coming from. For example, in my TOK class, we did an exercise where we named off some practices that were strange while visiting different areas. Lots of those were very strange at first, but once there was a very long pattern of odd traditions, they began to see normal. It's okay that they are different; they were not raised in suburb OC, California with the same environment as I was, they didn't have the same parents as I did or relatives or education or anything. Yet, they are still human. And that is okay.

There is no model or strict setting that we must conform to, which makes life such a vivid experience. Capturing all the perspectives out there is impossible, but seeing new ones expands or own horizon. We all have different perspectives and opinions, but so long as we maintain an opinion and rightly declare it as our own, we are on a new level of understanding. Those hollow men as T. S. Elliot describes that have no opinion lack the connection of a just opinion and suffer from a monochromatic life.

Even this rant I'm totally tangenting on isn't set in stone, or a set model, or "right". You will have a different opinion than that of mine, and guess what? That's okay. We have different opinions, but we are both the same because we have an opinion. We're different, but connected.

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Parents have always nagged me about getting involved in school, and usually I do find my way in one club or another. I'm

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Since I've been writing a few of these discussions where I just talk about these topics, I'm just going to tag this series of blogs with the hashtag "ponderables" so if you're feeling like reading some of these you can see what I have to say by clicking on that and bringing all the blog posts I've made with this type of tone.

So on to the topic, there's really something to be said about one's interests. The notion in elementary through middle school and even the first few years of high school is the feeling of conformity and fitting in. That's the name of the game in these crucial years, and really it's silly looking back on it. It's hilarious that one feels they should conform, and it's even more ridiculous that others aren't approving of those who stand out because they are different, when really they should be approving of them for expressing their inner self and staying true to their values.

In my experience, it is so much, much more enjoyable being around others who share your interests. Being around those who you are trying to fit into just puts pressure on yourself to try and like something you may not enjoy. It's like trying to eat vegetables you aren't fond of; you'll do it, but you'll have an ugly face on your mug and a gut reaction on the inside against the action. To provide a real life example, I decided to stick around some of my "nerdy" friends because they were a lot more friendly and I could talk with them about Pokemon, something I really enjoy. Well later in the year when we finished AP testing and had some lull time, we planned a Smash Bros/Mario Kart/Pokemon party in our Chemistry class (which our Chemistry teacher actually supported and brought food for us) and we had a blast. Easily the best time of my life. I wouldn't have had that experience if I had stuck around the jocks, which are totally out of my class.

Additionally, I am a very shy person in real life, so sharing the love for a game series or TV show really helps me get that connection to open myself up. Even further, it does give me confidence now going into meetings and classes because if I wear a symbol or merchandise of my interest such as my Haunter shirt, I have the hope of being a beacon for meeting someone of the same taste and becoming newfound friends. It's also funny because people with these same interests tend to be very much of the same personality. Being strong to these interests gives me the confidence to be true to myself because in the end it is more rewarding.

So in all, my advice for loving what you love is to be around who you love and not who you'd like to love, stay strong to your interests, and always talk to strangers who love what you love (not in that way). You never know what you're going to discover.

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Yes, you read that title right.

This has been on my mind for quite a while now, and not just the stereotypical guy-thought, but the actual concept. There have been several videos explaining what it is in the legal context and I think I'd like to give it a go.

In 2014, sex is a topic that is very similar to politics, religion, money, and the likes. It's very difficult to talk about in the open and with others, and part of that is the cultural norms that have made it that way. As a result, we have to confine it to a classroom we all need to take either separately as "sex ed" or umbrella-style in a typical health and wellness class. While it's great we do take the liberty of educating everyone about it, often times it stops after that. We don't hear much outside of the classroom and when we're all thrust out into the world running (or crawling for some), we are practically clueless about it, and moreover, the cultural barriers that we have set up prevent us from reaching that educated standpoint of clarity and confidence. It's kind of like riding a bike, we learn what it is and how to do it, but once we are out on the road, we just need to let our instincts compensate.

Really, it shouldn't have to be this way. I do wish it wasn't such a topic shunned by society or viewed as a disgusting topic on face value. It's really one of the more beautiful things of nature; a man and a woman sharing so close a bond that they attempt to pro-create. Bringing new life into the world; raising that which is new and infant to eventually become better than us and take us over. That's beautiful, and it's the wonder of life. Back to the initiation, it's also a sharing of trust. Two beings envelope their inner trust to begin this action. It's a trust that is comparable in strength to a mother and her child. That, the same trust that seems one in a billion in possibility is made. That's beautiful.

Further, it is even stronger when the relationship is well developed and unbreakable. When you know your partner inside and out, it is much much more enjoyable in that regard. Even more, it shouldn't matter who your partner is or what gender they are (yes that's an opinion), if you enjoy that person and they enjoy you then you should be able to have morally justifiable sex without anyone shuning or judging you for your choice. All that matters is that one in a billion bond that humans seek out of the world, and that, anyone should recognize, is worth them being "different" than society. That is worth a lifetime.

Speaking of how society tends to twist and torsion things against what should be to adapt to the normal's standard, there is also something to be said about consent. Yep, that was coming. Living near a crime-ridden city, sexual assaults and minors getting wrapped up i these situations come up often, and it is such a tragedy to hear another human like you and me was taken advantage of. Sex is a wonderful thing, but abusing it is just dastardly. This is where consent plays. If your partner does not want to engage in this activity, they should not be pressured to in any way. Continuing so voraciously only seeks the immoral ending that will likely follow. Consent is a sober, conscious, and alert "Yes" and anything else that would even hint at a different answer may be a questionable position. You and you partner should always have this agreement because quite frankly anything less is significantly less enjoyable. Knowing the person and knowing when it is right are things we should all know, and personally we will all know when it is right because you will feel that one in a billion connection.

My lingering thoughts: don't be afraid to breach the subject with those you're close to, be close to the person you are with, and don't be afraid to take it slow. The stronger and closer the relationship, the more enjoyable and stronger the bond will be; because sex is a wonderful thing, and should be treated as something awesome instead of as something awarded.

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