stigmatizing life

Sara Keen// Editor-in-Chief

 

People always make statements about embracing who you are.  You have heard things such as “be who you are,” or “don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t be.”

But it seems that when one tries to do just that, they are only struck down by the very society that encouraged it.  It is as if you can only be who you are if that matches society perfectly.

Even worse, you can only embrace the positive, “socially-acceptable” life experiences you have had.  While we happily share grades, acceptance letters, and the happy sides of our past, we often hide the negative parts of our lives.

Why is it that society has forced us to feel so negatively about our own complex being, that we have to hide some of the most important events in our lives?

There is no shame in any incident that changed who you are or made you stronger.  Whether it was surviving an illness or struggling with a mental illness, no person should have to feel ashamed that they have that hardship in their life.  There is no shame in feeling at peace with your past because your past made you into who you are now.

It may be difficult to do, to say that you struggled with something awful or that you’re still struggling.  I have struggled, and more than likely so have most of the people you would encounter every day.

Sure, it probably is not the brightest idea to proudly announce or display some hardships, but there is no need for shame.

There seems to be a stigma on fairly common events that impact lives.  Mental illnesses, miscarriages, abuse, racism, and even sexism have been stigmatized as things we should not discuss.  That is not at all the case.

For a society to grow, that society must understand the problems it faces.  People cannot continue their lives hiding the awful things in life.  If a person keeps too much to himself or herself, then that person is likely to crack under the pressure.

We are not immune to pain, disgust, tragedy, or illness.  We are humans, considered the most intelligent species on Earth.

That intelligence allows us to push ourselves further into advancement.  That intelligence also causes us to think more about the world and the events that take place.

We are also compassionate and empathetic.  We can understand the feelings and emotions of others.  There should be no shame in embracing our experiences.

The human experience may be the only one we get, so do not feel ashamed of yours.

Taking Measures to Prevent Suicide

Sara Keen// Editor-in-Chief

 

Last week, Volunteer State Community College lost one of its students to suicide. In the hopes of avoiding another tragedy such as this, The Settler would like to provide some helpful advice to anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide or concerned that a friend may be.

College can be a stressful environment, between exams, essays, and managing time between school, work, and a social life. It may be overwhelming for some students, and it is important to remember that asking for help is okay.

Let someone know if you are experiencing these thoughts or if you are concerned about a friend. It could make a difference on a person’s life. Helping someone could be as simple as showing him or her that you care or that the person is important to you or others.

It can also help to find better ways to cope with feelings, stress or improve mental health. Sometimes it can help to write feelings out, or express what is causing them. You can learn more about yourself through this, and how you can cope with life and the world around you.

Others may choose art, such as painting or drawing. Therapists help their clients express emotions or calm their nerves using art. They are able to create a visual representation of how they feel.

For students who may not be inclined toward art or writing, physical activity can be helpful. Sunlight and exercise can often improve moods and can be helpful for people who want to take their focus away from what is bothering them.

The biggest thing that can help someone who might be considering suicide or even harming himself or herself, is to speak to someone.   It does not help you to isolate yourself from everyone.

Speak to your family, and if that is not possible, go to a close friend.   There are people who care, for everyone, and someone will help you.

Even if you do not feel comfortable going to someone you know for help, there is a multitude of resources now. There are suicide prevention lines, forums and even blogs.

For those who have difficult lives, or maybe have some awful experiences, there are resources for everything from abuse to rape.

We are fortunate enough to live in a time where people care, and do not want others to give up their lives or lose hope. Every person in the world is facing something, handling it differently, and will need to ask for help at some point or another.

Do not be ashamed of getting help for yourself.

 

Quote:
“We all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in us… I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you.”

 

Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network Phone Number:

(615) 297 – 1077

How to Find 100 Trillion Dollars

Dustin Hodges/ Contrinuting Writer 

 

Over the previous few years there has been a growing sentiment about the evils of the “one-percent.”  Yet many have no real concept of whom they are demonizing.  From this growing and often loud group of miss-informed and ill-advised individuals has caused a recent rise in the support for socialism in the United States.   These people have been raised in the safety and comfort of the life capitalism has provided. Yet they desire to turn back the clock and live under the dangerous and unrelenting horror that is socialism.  

Looking back at the past century, many nations and governments have implemented Marxist and socialist ideologies, only to create mass-starvations, extreme poverty, and eventually destruction of the rule of law.  This is the future currently being promised by presidential candidates who are promising government supplied healthcare for everyone, government supplied college for everyone, and government supplied food and housing for everyone.  The promises being made are that these things will be “free,” yet anyone who believes anything is free is highly uninformed.  

Government income comes from taxes, which are paid by every adult American.  Therefore anything the government promises to pay for is actually being paid for by every Americans hard work.  The common theme among people pushing for socialism is to “tax the one percent.”  This plan is highly flawed, as the entire assets, not just income, of even the top 10% would not cover the 100 Trillion dollar price tag that would come with all of Bernie’s promises.   

The so called evil one percent is a much misunderstood group of Americans, as most people believe these are the billionaires, sitting in high rise offices on Wall Street.  There are a few issues with this theory, as the real one percent are not all billionaires, many are working right here in Sumner County. Many of you may know someone who still operates a family farm, with equipment and land amounting to much more value than you may realize.  Trying to increase quality of life of one group by utilizing other groups hard work has never been feasible, as Margaret Thatcher put it best, “The problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

“10 Questions For the Dalai Lama ” Review

Melissa Farmer

Who is the Dalai Lama? The Dalai Lama is a monk who grew up in Tibet. He is known around the world as a great leader and a peacemaker.

In the movie “10 Questions For The Dalai Lama” a man named Rick Ray goes on a journey through India to meet the Dalai Lama. He journeys through the same areas that the Dalai Lama grew up so he can truly try to relate to him once they get to meet.

The Dalai Lama has monks that help him set up meetings and appointments with him. Each appointment is 40 minutes long and the interviewer may ask 10 questions.

Coming up with the questions was a tough decision. When faced with the option to speak to one of the most influential people in the world and you are limited to only 10 questions what is important and what is not?

Do you ask ethical questions or personal? Can the questions be two parts? What if he doesn’t want to answer one, can you pick a different one? Rick Ray spends a lot of time thinking up good questions.

The most popular one was  “Why do the poor seem happier than the rich?” That is often times the case. Now, I won’t tell you the answers because you should watch the movie yourself. Take a break from American Horror Story or The Walking Dead to watch something that is rich in culture and gives you good questions to think on.

As I watched the movie I started thinking to myself about the way I would answer these questions. I also thought of the questions that I would ask.

One of the questions that struck me the most was this one “Should countries be dedicated to preserving their traditions or embrace modern culture?”

I think that there should be some kind of middle ground. While preserving traditions can help to keep a spirit of community and nostalgia, there can also be a stunt in growth if the area doesn’t learn to embrace new things that come along with time.

To hear the Dalai Lama answer this question I would highly suggest looking up the movie and watching it. This is an awesome way to learn about the Dalai Lama’s background, and what a Dalai Lama is historically without reading books or articles for hours.

At the Grand Festival Award it won “Best documentary”. It is a great film and worth the time.

Blake’s Book Bag

Blake Bouza// COntributing Writer 

 

Welcome back to The Settler’s book review. I am going to besorting what you should be reading from what you could be reading – because I care.

 

The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson

 

In early 21st century Thailand, Scott is an ex-patriate slacker. Then, one day, he inadvertently witnesses an impossible event: the violent appearance of a 200-foot stone pillar in the forested interior. And the inscription chiseled into it commemorates a military victory–sixteen years in the future.

Shortly afterward, another, larger pillar arrives in the center of Bangkok-obliterating the city and killing thousands. Over the next several years, human society is transformed by these mysterious arrivals from, seemingly, our own near future. Who is the warlord “Kuin” whose victories they note?

(from goodreads.com)

 

The Review:

I wanted to love this book so much. The premise has one of the most interesting science fiction ideas I have ever heard of. An egotistical warlord sending monuments of himself back through time to commemorate his victories? Sign me up.

Unfortunately, the execution of this premise left a lot to be desired.

Seemingly more by random circumstance than by fate, Scott runs into his old college professor, Sue Chopra, after the first Chronolith touches down. Sue Chopra gets put in charge of finding a way to avoid this future fate, and Scott, a coder, gets invited to be on the team. The logic to having a cause-and-effect coder on the team seems reasonable, but Scott never really does anything.

Sue is probably my favorite character in the whole book, a gay scientist who basically believes she is the time period’s savior and may or may not be a megalomaniac because of it.

I wish we had seen the story told from her point-of-view.

What could have been a very interesting military/science novel was instead turned into an unrealistic family drama. Which can be a very effective vessel with which to tell a larger story – but none of it was believable.

Now that is not to say I did not enjoy some elements of the story. It was more the peripheral things about it I enjoyed, the social aspects the Chronoliths bring with it, specifically the generational psychology and the effect the Chronoliths have on the average person.

The book also depicts a believable future despite the speculative premise. Water shortages, new bills that are passed to combat the economic collapse in America after Asia is thrown into turmoil. Little things that are mentioned in passing that lend to the greater story.

So on the grander scale, it is an interesting story if a bit dry. It is not the best character story I have ever read, and it did not need to be – but it left a lot to be desired.

2 out of 5 stars.

Not voting insults those who fought for the right

 Dustin W. Hodges

The ability for Americans to have a voice in our government was created by centuries of men putting their lives on the line, however in modern day America the average citizen has no interest in politics, resulting in an abysmally low fifty percent voting rates, and this is the high percentages during presidential elections.

Having no desire to vote, and exercise the right of consent of the governed is a direct slap in the face to not only our founding fathers, but also all political theorists.

Living in a world of ruling elites, and a vast separation of classes, Plato and Aristotle could not envision a world of true equality, yet still developed the concept that the state and the citizens are not separate.  They set the building blocks for majority consensus, and thus consent of the governed.  

This belief would be expounded upon by Martin Luther King Junior to include all peoples, not just one race, gender or class.

Living under a sovereign ruler, Thomas Hobbes developed the belief that the sovereign is bound by consent, and could be removed if that contract is broken.

Not be left out, Thomas Aquinas believed rulers should be part of the aristocracy, while being chosen by the people; thus continuing the long developed theory eventually put into practice by the Declaration and Constitution of the United States, consent of the governed.

The aforementioned political and religious thinkers all developed slightly different ideas for how their respective countries should operate, yet all had a major concept in common.  It took thousands of years for the concept of consent of the governed to come into practice, and thankfully it was practiced here, in the good ole’ USA.

John Adams and his fellow patriots risked their lives so future generations could have the freedoms and liberties outlined by theorists over time.  In creation of the United States, these men created the ability for everyday citizens, and over time this would evolve into every adult, the ability to have a say in who governs their lives.  

Every adult American should embrace their ability to practice consent of the governed, being ignorant on issues is not an excuse; not voting is like slapping Plato, Aquinas, Adams and Martin Luther King Jr.  in the face and saying, “your efforts were pointless.”

Generational Anchors

Dustin W. Hodges// Contributing Writer 

Thomas Jefferson was one of America’s brightest and most influential founding fathers. It was this intelligence that afforded him the ability to see beyond his years and realize it is wrong to set laws for a future world he knew nothing about.

It was this forethought that led him to the belief in generational sovereignty, the belief that no laws or debts should be passed down beyond the generation to which they apply.  

In current American society, at least part of Jefferson’s belief still exists, no one is saddled with debt from a previous generation, except the debt of the federal government, which is continually kicked down the road.

The other half of Jefferson’s belief that laws should not be in effect once the generation who levied them is no longer living, does not apply today.  

Beginning with the New Deal in the 30’s, through the Great Society in the 60’s, and continuing today with the Affordable Health Care Act, the American government has continued to enact policies and laws that may, or may not, help the generations they are created under, however over time do not evolve to fit societies evolving needs.

These programs were all designed with the best intentions to help the American people in a time of need, however with any government program they are altered and changed over time and usually in the wrong direction.  

Social Security was designed as a safety net to keep citizens from starving and keep a roof over their heads. In today’s society it is viewed as a complete retirement program that should provide anyone and everyone a beach house in Florida.  This is a key reason social security is not a long term solution for any country, under its current format.

These type of social programs create an unwanted obligation to the next generation to pay for something they did not have any say in enacting.  

In theory, any generation has the power to enact its own laws and policies through government legislation.  However, in practice when policies are enacted creating a welfare society, any legislator viewed as a threat to those programs is met with resistance from a society that has become accustomed to government handouts.  

Thus the government continues to create new legislation for each and every generation that continues to saddle the next with debt.  

Jefferson’s belief in generational sovereignty would have been the second greatest gift our founding fathers could have left for future generations, the first being the greatest country in the world.  Yet instead, generation after generation are tied down by generational anchors.

Editorial on Self-Care

 

Sara Keen//Editor-in-Chief

It is often a necessity that every person takes care of his or herself in order to properly function.  This could be as simple as taking a 30-minute break from your day to read or watch funny videos.

It is not uncommon for people to need to unwind each day or every few days to make it through the next.  Some require alone time to recharge after social activities and others may simply need to de-stress after a long day.

People on and off campus can find a way to recharge and take care of themselves each day.  

Some may need a daily work out, time spent painting or reading; some may even need a cup of coffee or a drive alone to gather their thoughts.  We have our own ways of coping with the day-to-day struggles we face.

The first thing everyone should understand is that it is common to have a routine time and thing to do that helps to recharge after a long day or week.  

For some people, perhaps having some time alone with their own thoughts or their favorite thing to do can help them discharge.  For others, they may need social time or an activity to recharge.  Perhaps one person reads every day to recharge after a long day of classes, while another goes out with friends to watch a movie.

Every person is different, and what helps one may not have that affect on another.

It can also boil down to whether a person is an introvert or an extrovert.

Introverts often use a lot of energy in social situations, and need a quiet setting alone to recharge afterwards.   Extroverts, on the other hand, thrive in social settings and can actually recharge in those settings, while quiet or controlled situations may use more energy for them.

Some people often turn to healthy activities when they recharge.  Exercising is a common form that also allows a person to take care of their physical health as well as mental.

Others may lean towards more academically inclined ways of taking care of themselves.  It actually helps some people to read, take part in the arts, or even to catch up in their homework or get ahead.

Ensuring that you have time to relax, take care of your needs, and to escape your daily struggles can help with stress, mental health, and physical health.  

It can allow you to sleep better at night, feel more energetic each day, and live life with less weight on your shoulders.

Blake’s Books

By Blake Bouza

Welcome back to The Settler’s book review. I am here to sift what you could be reading from what you should be reading, because I care.

If Ocean’s Eleven and Lord of the Rings had a baby, it would be Mistborn: The Final Empire.

A lot of people have read this one over the years, but with the first book in the sequel trilogy coming out in a couple of weeks, I thought it would be nice to revisit the first book of the Mistborn trilogy.

Brandon Sanderson has a wonderful talent to move the story along at a nice clip without making you seem lost in the world he has created for us. He drops info about the world and the intricate magic system as we go, keeping us on a need-to-know basis without being infuriating. It does not overwhelm the reader while managing to keep an air of mystery about the story, but without nagging enough to overpower the other story elements.

These are – overthrowing the god-emperor of the Final Empire, the Lord Ruler—a self-professed Sliver of Infinity. He is kind of a jerk.

He is suppressed every other religion that does not celebrate him and he keeps a firm hand on the slaves of his society, the skaa. He is immortal, having lived for over a thousand years since the time he was named the Hero of Ages, and instead of saving the world – he misshaped it and made it his own.

The story picks up from the point of view of a street-urchin girl named Vin, who is rescued by a man named Kelsier. Kelsier is gathering a thieving crew and proposing the ultimate heist: overthrowing the Lord Ruler and stealing his stash of precious metals.

The thing that gives Kelsier the confidence that they can do this? This is where the magic system comes into play.

That’s all I’m going to say of the plot for fear of giving anything away, but let me tell you – it is a wild ride. Sanderson does a few things at once here. He puts a spin on classic fantasy storytelling elements (for example, the hero becoming the dark lord), and weaves in themes about hope, religion, and revolution flawlessly into the fabric of the story. You will find yourself caring about every character as we follow Vin as she gets to know everyone on the thieving crew.

From the outset, Sanderson set a fun tone for the story and he rolls with it. The turns and twists are unforeseen. When I thought I knew where the story was heading, it thumbed its nose at me and dove right into the next twist.

You will have to re-read sentences to be sure you read them right, and there will be a lot of OH MY GOD DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?

And you know, I honestly cannot say enough good things about this novel, so just do yourself a favor and read it – and the rest of the trilogy.

A well-deserved 5/5 Stars

 

Editorial on Staying Grounded in Situations

By Sara Keen//Editer-in-Chief

Society today seems to focus more on the bad in the world than the good.  It has become increasingly difficult to turn on the news without hearing of tragedy, war, violence, or crime.

Even social media is covered with upsetting news stories.  So often do you see posts of people “giving up on humanity” or not wanting “to live on this planet anymore.”

So how is it possible to stay vibrant or optimistic when it seems like everything is gloomy?

One has to remember that the world is complicated.  There is no split difference between good and bad.  The good often has some bad in it just as the bad often has some good.

Tragedies are capable of bringing people together, as well as making individuals stronger.  For example, following Hurricane Katrina, the devastation and destruction brought people together to rebuild the effected areas.

On a smaller scale, families can be brought closer by death or illness.  Individuals can even become stronger mentally, and grow as a person.

There is also bad found in what we conceive as good stories.  For example, society always thinks about how glamorous and great it would be to become famous.  In reality, a lot of people were not able to handle their newfound fame.  Some would succumb to drug abuse; others would unintentionally break away from their families.  

Even outside of the “limelight,” things we often wish would happen, like winning the lottery, have had very negative results on people.  Lottery winners have been known to be murdered for their money while everyone else dreams to be them.

Too much of a good thing can be bad, and some things that seem good actually aren’t that great.  

When an individual is faced with both good or bad news, the best thing to do initially is to stay calm, if at all possible.  This can help the individual to think over and take in what has happened, or even allow the capability of rational thinking.

Sometimes it could help to turn to a friend.  A good friend will welcome anything you have to share, and may help in any way they are capable.  Some individuals require this in order to remain rational.

Overall, do what you must to cope with, understand, or enjoy the news you have received.  Once you have overcome the initial news, it’s best to focus on how this impacts you.

If the news is devastating, it could have a “bright side,” that is not initially seen.  There could be something good that could come from it, so it is best not to focus entirely on the negative aspect of an event.

Good news can have a dark side to it.  Perhaps one’s high hopes are let down shortly after receiving the news, or what seemed like excellent news did not turn out as well as anyone had hoped.

It is perfectly okay to enjoy and celebrate when you hear good news.  It is simply helpful to remember that not all good things end as well as they started.

Everyone should remember to keep their heads on their shoulders, feet on the ground, and hopes held high.  It is not helpful to focus entirely on the bad or the good, but to understand that they intermingle, and exist together in the world.