In anthropology, there is a definition of culture that describes it as both abstract concepts and the physical tools by which human society adapts to nature and nature to human society (“Culture,” pars. 5-6). Whether these physical tools aid in the gathering of resources or provide a barrier between humans and the elements, these physical tools—these material objects—serve a vital function for civilization. As such, some form of materialism is necessary for human societies to thrive.
Furthermore, materialism as a system of thought can be traced back to the 4th century B.C.E and the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus. This belief system holds that “the nature of the world [is] entirely dependent upon matter, [which is] the fundamental and final reality beyond which nothing need be sought”(“Materialism,” par. 1). This definition, though extreme, coincides with the reality that human society depends upon, and thus defines itself by, material goods to some degree. More currently, however, the word materialism refers to the importance of material goods in society, implying that the concern that materialistic people have for material objects is excessive (Goldsmith, par. 2). This negative connotation is not without basis. Materialism has evolved in modern society into over-consumerism, the consumption of material goods disproportionately in excess of the resources available to the consumer to acquire goods and beyond what is strictly necessary to live (par. 3). So, despite its necessity in society as a whole, in practice materialism has resulted in several negative consequences that plague modern society and not only damage society in the short term but are also not sustainable in the long term.
According to the wisdom of half-hour American sit-coms, most “normal” women are either not interested in sex, or they use it as a control mechanism. The usual scene on these shows plays out something like this: A middle-aged husband and wife are sitting up in bed, reading or watching TV. The man tries to bargain for the sex that his wife—naturally—is withholding. She feigns a “headache,” and hilarity ensues. Ha, ha. At the end of the scene, the woman looks like she is in charge, but she also looks like a giant prude, while the husband looks like a humiliated child who is denied his lollipop after dinner.
Perhaps in the 1980s this was a new kind of trope, but in 2014 it is more than tired. There are too many problems with this scene for me to address here; for example, in real life, it is actually much more likely to be the middle-aged man with the “headache” in this scenario. You would think given the frequency with which Viagra commercials fly through the air that people would pick up on this, but, no, even the men in Viagra commercials are horn dogs—even when they aren’t. The crux of television often getting sex scenes so wrong, especially in scenes involving characters over the age of 40, stems from the writers of these sit-coms and television commercials, who are mostly 20-something men who have no real idea what goes in the bedrooms of people over 40. Still, people watch and laugh. Continue reading
The main basis for the argument against gay-marriage and homosexual relationships in general is the misconception that the current state of marriage, an endeavor of love between one man and one woman, is what marriage has always been for millennia across the world. However, this assumption flies in the face of historical fact, which holds that marriage was a contractual relationship between families, requiring little to no consent from the parties involved. Furthermore, polygamy has, historically, been more common than monogamy. Homosexual relationships, as in sexual intimacy between individuals of the same sex, have also been prominent features of some cultures historically, most notably the Greeks. Both of these examples of relationship types were acceptable, in some form or another, in many cultures in the pre-Christian world, as evidenced by the numerous concubines possessed by Jewish Kings. Homosexuality was accepted even in the Christian dominated Western World until the fourteenth century, when the Catholic Church made the monarchs and princes of Europe capitulate to their demands to make homosexuality, what they termed “sodomy,” a criminal offense. The prejudice and bias against homosexuality that many still face in modern society sprung from this movement. Recently, however, several scientific studies have gone a long way to demystify sexuality as a whole and homosexuality in particular. They point towards hormonal and genetic origins for homosexuality. Given the historical facts and the scientific data, there should be more tolerance for the various types of marriage relationships.
Though proponents of heterosexual monogamy may claim that marriage between one man and one woman is a tradition that is a pillar of civilization, it is a relatively recent interpretation of marriage. Continue reading
Relationships are what we make them. There is no prescription. And every relationship is different. They all consist of different formulas of chemistry. Regardless of age, gender, or class, we will build relationships with people we feel connections with. As the connections get stronger, relationships become more serious, and the ones with the weakest connections may fall away. But there are a select few that grow stronger, and those relationships will last a lifetime.
A while ago, I heard a character in a movie say, “Find someone that makes you happy, and never let them go.” I have incorporated this principle into measuring my relationships. I ask my girlfriend, “Do I make you happy?” While I am on vacation with a couple of buddies, I ask “Are you guys happy?”
For me, happiness can be defined by little things, such as do I make my friends happy? Unfortunately, I think a lot of people mistake the word for something else. I live in Orange County, California, and people here have a reputation for valuing possessions rather than the people who have the possessions. For me, joy is the definition of happiness, and that joy is only derived from taking pleasure in everyday interactions with those in my life. And when another person and I are enjoying each other’s company, I know we have a true and established relationship. We give and receive gifts of memories, bliss, and affection. I must share the experiences and the emotions of those moments in order to bond with that person, because a relationship is constructed from the gift of happiness. Continue reading
A sneak peak at Archive 405 Vol. 3: The Relationships Issue
What happens when you can’t remember a person’s name? The Name Game
I’ve been told that if I want to figure out my stripper name (and who doesn’t?) just use my childhood pet’s name in combination with the name of the street that I grew up on. The result: Kitty Rowland. Not half bad. If I wore the right outfit, some people might buy it if I introduced myself with “Hi! My name is Kitty Rowland.” The truth is, though, that even if my name were Kitty Rowland, it would not be any easier for people to remember than Lisa Montagne.
According to psychologist Jeremy Dean, there is research confirming that remembering names is difficult for everyone. Jill Speigel, author of How to Talk to Anyone About Anything, says that “everyone struggles with remembering names. When we first meet someone we’re taking in so much visually and emotionally. They say their name, but it’s up there floating in our heads.” Speigel adds that many common names, like Chris, Joe, Jill, or Amy, all “tend to blend together.” As a result, while we may recognize a person’s face the next time we see him, his name has taken a low priority in our brain’s information processing system—which is, it turns out, completely normal for just about everyone. Continue reading
After high school, everything changes for most people. Even if a young person stays near home to go to college or to work, daily life no longer takes place entirely in the safe arenas of school, home, friends, and familiar environments. A person may be required to, or choose to, move out of her parent’s home, and many of her friends may leave for college, move or simply fade away. Students who go away from home to college undoubtedly experience the most severe uprooting, but for them, there is often some refuge provided by the college community. But, whether a person stays near home or goes to another city, it is very challenging to replace the built-in community that exists for most Americans throughout the usual school years.
It is easy to become isolated in urban and suburban areas where no built-in and consistent communities exist just outside a person’s door. Continue reading
Suburbiaville by Kyle Cabrera
Every time I think about the events that led up to the last time I saw Martin I become sick. Now that I am an adult I know why it happened, but when I was a child his disappearance left me confused. In history class, the week before he left, our third grade teacher was lecturing about the Second American Civil War. Most of our history books cover the Second American Civil War extensively, but little is said about the first American Civil War, except that it ended in a tie inspiring a brief period of compromise. Our teacher stood in front of the class and asked if anyone knew the names of the two armies that fought each other.
“Us,” a student replied without raising his hand.
“Yes, and who do you mean by us?” The teacher replied.
“The Tea Party,” he said confidently.
The teacher smiled. “Does any one know the name of the army that fought the Tea Party?”
A boy in the front raised his hand. “The blue-bellies.” Continue reading