Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Random Question of the Day:

Could you marry a mentally retarded person?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Penitence / One of My Greatest Faults

"And so whoever hates his faults and confesses them must still confess them in bitterness of spirit, so that this bitterness may punish him for what his tongue, at his mind's bidding, accuses him." - St. Gregory

I am judged religious at a time when there is little in religion which is not hypocrisy, when whoever does not offend the opinions of men receives the highest praise.
It is written: "Turn from evil and do good." Both are vain if not done for the love of God.
At every stage of my life up to now, as God knows, I have feared to offend you rather than God, and tried to please you more than him...I beg you, do not feel so sure of me that you cease to help me by your own prayers. Do not suppose me healthy and so withdraw the grace of your healing. Do not believe I want for nothing and delay helping me in my hour of need. Do not think me strong, lest I fall before you can sustain me. False praise has harmed many and taken from them the support they needed. The Lord cries out through Isaiah: "O my people! Those who call you happy lead you astray and confuse the path you should take."
Cease praising me, I beg you, lest you acquire the base stigma of being a flatterer or the charge of telling lies, or the breath of my vanity blows away any merit you saw in me to praise. No one with medical knowledge diagnoses an internal ailment by examining only outward appearance. What is common to the damned and the elect can win no favor in the eyes of God.
To me your praise is the more dangerous because I welcome it. The more anxious I am to please you in everything, the more I am won over and delighted by it. I beg you, be fearful for me always, instead of feeling confidence in me, so that I may always find help in your solicitude...I do not seek a crown of victory; it is sufficient for me to avoid danger, and this is safer than engaging in war. In whatever corner of heaven God shall place me, I shall be satisfied.
- Heloise, Letter to Abelard

I have never been able to express nor find mutual distress in this trial of mine, but now find beauty in a letter of penitence written by a Medieval woman. May I one day be able to express myself as she.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Matthew 13:23
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

In other words, in order to be good ground, you not only have to hear and understand, you have to act on it and 'bring forth fruit'. If someone gives a talk on Sunday, unless you apply it, it is pointless. Reading thoughts by great philosophers is certainly nice, but not worth it until you apply it. Try doing this, being a low-maintainence, high-yield member of the church.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

(dedicated to Shayne Clarke)

I have had a history of not getting along with English professors, especially in college. Not unlike what you have heard before, I felt parts of English writing are subjective. As my knowledge of grammar grew, I would get frustrated when I felt teachers were giving misinformation or presenting opinions as near-doctrine. The most extreme example is my relationship with my freshman English teacher. I felt this professor spat out false doctrine left and right and I definitely did not agree with his grading method. The professor knew very well of my distaste for his teaching method through the comments I made in class.

One day, in going to my professor to appeal a grade I had received from other students in the class, I waited outside his office while another student (male) was in the appeals process. I could hear enough to tell that the professor and the student were in an argument, obviously over the student’s grade. After quite some time, the professor opened the door, ushered the other student out, looked at me, and said, “Oh, no. Now I get to deal with you?!” Surprised that my comments in class were so transparent to the state of my mind, I made a conscious decision to be kind to my professor. Out the window went my thoughts of entitlement, self-genius, and demanding expectations. After reading my paper and talking with a gentler and open-minded Shaunee, my professor asked me what my major was. This was the second time he had asked, signifying he certainly was interested. I responded that my major was Business Management – Finance. Admitting that this was only his opinion, my professor told me I was in the wrong major. I asked him, “Then what do you think I should major in?...” fully expecting the same biased answer I had gotten from every other teacher to had given me advice on switching to their chosen fields, “…English?” “Actually, no.” he responded, “Philosophy.” Surprised and totally not surprised at the same time, I listened with an open ear to what my professor had to say. He gave me two analogies: “Shaunee, if you stay with Business Management, you are going to hit a ceiling. You are going to want to go higher, but you are going to be stuck.” He also said, “Those people over in the business school – all they ever do is play in the shallow end. What you’re writing here is in the deep-end. You go play in the shallow end and you’re gonna get bored.” I told him I had been struggling with my major for a long time. I would consider what he had said.

A year later, stopping by in Idaho to get my stuff while moving from New York to Utah, I decided to drop by and talk with my ex-English professor. I had changed my major, although I was still in the financial field – financial economics. We talked about what time had done to us, who his new trouble students were, and my decision of major. Knowing both my reasonings and hesitancies, he gave me some more advice. He said that although what I was majoring was not necessarily my highest area of interest, I could incorporate my passions through whatever work I did or whatever I studied. He gave the example of writing a research paper for a business class (oh wow, look at that). Although I would obviously have to follow the criteria, I could choose to incorporate stuff I was passionate about, i.e. theatre, philosophy, etc.

Although I did not find my professor’s advice too helpful with that specific example, I have found it helpful in other ways. When in classes, I will do the bare minimum to get by. When it comes to a subject or project I am interested in, I will thoroughly engage myself. I’ll usually have two pieces of paper out: one for taking notes to get an A, and another for thoughts, any thoughts, whatever comes to my mind. I find that professors will usually spark something in my mind, I’ll be interested, but then I just follow the thought process he walks me through. But I’ve tried to change that. I know this sounds retarded, but for example, the day we were talking about constraints in writing, why people don’t do it, I was also writing down another list of random things I wanted to do, e.g. plant tomatoes, memorize poetry. In my physics and econometrics classes, where my mind is required to focus intensely, I’ll write my notes on regular paper and write down things we are talking about that I would like to investigate further in the left-hand margin, such as ‘theory of relativity’ or ‘cosmic rays and global warming’. I have found that writing these thoughts down is so valuable, because I would forget them otherwise, my mind being demanded to call attention to so many other things. It allows me to get what I want out of school, and not just be an information-processing computer.

So my purpose in this class was not to learn the material (it was not to not learn it either); it was to get the most I could out of it, even if I had time constraints, and even if what I learned was at times completely irrelevant. I don’t think that was your purpose either. I can tell that while you are responsible for teaching the content in class, that was not your ultimate goal. Neither did you teach for money. You wanted to inspire, to encourage these robots to break away from a traditional and formulated way of living life and to dream. But you didn’t say so, and from that, making so we didn’t feel we were being compelled, maybe a more effective approach.

I would like to share another story of one conversation having a big impact on me. I had been dating an insanely smart investment banker in New York. I was a near version of Mormon booty call as my schedule always formulated around his, since he worked all the time. He had gotten out of work early (10pm) and said we could hang out for an hour and a half. We never actually made it to his apartment and ended up just having a debate on the stairs outside his apartment. One thing we shared in common was that be both cared a lot about humanitarian work and were both pursuing finance careers in hopes of launching large-scales projects fighting poverty. I had been telling him of my love for philosophy. Due to his love of knowledge, the arts, and vast array of classes he had taken here at BYU, I was sure he’d join me in my ‘philos-sophia’. He agreed that these certainly were interesting to study, but because it is not very applicable, someone is not justified in majoring in it. Pursuing knowledge is not justified in and of itself. Although physics is certainly interesting, it is better to major in mechanical engineering, so that you can be of more use to the world. I shall spare the details of our conversation, but Jeff was a much better debater than I am (not meaning he’s right, but just better at arguing his opinion). I left kind of shaken that night (it was intense), but considered the various points he had made.

Our first day of class, you asked something along the lines of “Why poetry?”. Amongst other comments in class that it really was pointless, I quoted Professor Keaton from The Dead Poets’ Society: “Doctor, engineer… while these are certainly noble pursuits, necessary to sustain life,…poetry, love, these are what we live life for.” I was secretly making fun of the (what I like to call) dry students in our class, accountants, etc. who didn’t really care to hear what you had to say, but just wanted an A. I have not decided whether Jeff was partially right that night, but I feel that even though maximizing your utility for the world is very important, I do not agree with utilitarianism, and I do not feel like our sole purpose is to serve each other. I think appreciating the aesthetics, loving knowledge for knowledge are justified, and that it is finding that perfect balance that is our search in life.

The reason I share these stories is a) to show that what I learned and got out of this class does not necessarily have to do with anything with the material taught, and b) to show the importance of communication. These two (three) conversations were only such a small portion of my life, but played a great role. It is communication that really makes a difference. We cannot progress alone. It is the interactions between humans that allows the transfer of ideas and us as a society and individuals to grow to what we can be. And that is why we must study how to effectively bring what is in our minds to our mouth, or through our fingers to paper.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Haha, I'm so glad I found this: My MSU application essay

In response to “a description of your work ethic and accomplishments that illustrate that ethic”:

How the MSU admission officers knew I had a Work Ethic, I really am not sure. Until now, I thought I had done a pretty good job hiding it. If you had asked my mom about my work ethic, she would tell you I didn’t have one. (That is because I have kept it in the basement all this time with my other pet Diligence. I used to have a pet Organization but it has since died.) I have quite an intimate bond with my work ethic. Once I got kicked out of the house for practicing the piccolo too much in preparation for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was overwhelmed in the fact that my family wasn’t supporting me in my fervent endeavor when my work ethic crawled into my lap, licked my nose, and consequently encouraged me to continue my efforts. Oh what a work ethic can do!
The only person to who has ever known about my work ethic was my best friend, Procrastination, who caught me once trying to feed my work ethic. From then on, Procrastination would not leave me alone (or my work ethic for that matter). It seemed that every time I tried to play with my work ethic, Procrastination interfered. I kicked procrastination out of our house several times, but she always found her way back in through some nook or cranny.
It was at this point that I realized that Procrastination was not a true friend. I have since become friends with a fascinating young girl named Success. Together, my pets Diligence, work ethic, and my friend Success and I have grown to enormous heights. I could not live my life without them.

Note: Due to my overwhelming bond with Diligence, work ethic, and Success, I have requested that the MSU admission officers admit them as well. (No, I refuse to attend MSU without them.)

Sunday, May 31, 2009


So my taste is guys is ALWAYS changing, I think mostly 'cause I can't figure out what I want. So right now, I'm in this phase when I like really nerdy guys (looks-wise). Not as in socially-illiterate, but as in pure dorky-looking. The nerdier, the crazier I am about him. For example, there's this guy in my physics class who has shaggy, dirty blonde hair, shabby shirts, large headphones constantly around his neck, and glasses that he tilts so that instead of lying on his ears, it's like an inch above. And I'm crushing on him. (And he's foreign, haha). Anyways, aside from absolutely loving this song, I think the main singer is WAY cute. Check out the part at 2:42. It just makes my heart patter. Weird, I know.