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Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat, Weakness Did

As humans, we always seem to instinctively want what is bad for us. From the unhealthiness of our favorite foods, to our viewing of horror movies, we do things that we know are not in our best interests without much resistance. In Curious, Kim Todd discusses this nature as curiousness, but what if it is something else entirely? What if curiosity is really just masking a general lack of self-discipline and will power within human nature. When Adam and Eve at the forbidden fruit, or when Pandora opened the box, it was not naive curiosity, but human weakness and a lack of will power being displayed.

Today, some scientists make the claim that will power is a “limited resource” and that it can be used up and depleted Will Power is a Limited Resource. Other scientists argue, that the procedures in these experiments were not conducted properly or that the data in the experiments is not analyzed properly Is Will Power a Limited Resource?. However, no matter how many studies are done and how many times different scientists re-analyze the data, I can say with the utmost certainty that will-power is something that is built up, not something that is worn down.  Muscles can be fatigued, but in doing this they, trained and strengthened the more they are used. Furthermore, just like muscles, some people have more willpower than others.

If you want to hear more about the ability to increase willpower or just simply be motivated, check out this link where two former Naval Officers are talking about willpower, using the example of getting up early in the morning.

Link

Project Nim

What if I told you that we were not as alone as a species as you once thought? You would be intrigued right? Humans have always been fascinated with the idea of finding another creature like ourselves throughout history. We have looked for them in many places, from foreign lands to the unknowns of outer space. So, naturally, when posed with the idea that a common animal that can be found in any zoo could be so much like humans that it could learn grammar and language we would jump at the possibility. The documentary Project Nim outlines how a group of researchers pursued this possibility and initially ignored the signs of the inherent differences between the nature of the chimp and humans, and the differences between the chips sign language and human language. However, towards the conclusion of the documentary, it is explained that Nim didn’t display the ability to use grammar and “language”.  The purpose of the documentary Project Nim, however, is not simply to inform the audience of the study that took place. Rather, the film makes the argument that humans treat animals, especially chimps, with utter disregard for their will and well-being. Throughout the film, the humans are either depicted as treating Nim too much as a human or treating him like an unintelligent animal. The film relies heavily on pathos and ethos. Nim is portrayed as playful and loving, with a deep personality, and is even described as having “a soul”. This is done to explain to the audience why chimps should not be treated as lab rats like Nim was in LIMSIP. Additionally, Nim is shown as wild and untamed. This is done to argue that Nim should not be treated like a human as is done by Herb and his group of researchers. Ultimately, this films goal is to argue that because chimps are so similar to humans, they should have the right not to be treated as lab rats and tests subjects, but also should not be treated as a human and not be allowed to develop according to their inherent nature.

Side Effects

The term “side effect” usually has a negative connotation. “This medicine will cure a headache, but it could have negative side effects of causing shortness of breath, drowsiness, etc., or even death.” When it comes to medicine and most other things, it is most often an analysis of the positives and the side effects to determine whether it is worth using. In the article “Waiting for Light”, Jake Abrahamson describes how the side effects of providing for those in need, specifically, providing rechargeable, solar powered LED lanterns to the people of Uttar Pradesh are impressively positive. The primary effect of the lanterns is simply to provide light for the people who use them. The side effects, however, are much more extensive and far reaching. Providing light for these people can allow business owners to increase their hours of operation and let students study longer. This will not only improve these individuals lives, but also the overall economy and school system of the nation. Longer hours of study lead to better knowledge of material taught in schools, which in turn leads to more education and smarter individuals entering the work force. Also, extending hours of operation for businesses increases income for businesses and can increase the amount of jobs available. These small lamps provide so much more than just a little light. The “side effects” of these lamps are much different than the side effects of a new medicine. So, next time you consider giving to someone who has less than you, think not only of the immediate need you are filling, but of the positive side effects your action will have.

Waiting for Light

It’s All in Your Head

In Sam Schramski’s Running is Always Blind, the amazing capabilities of the human brain and body are put on display. Schraminski describes how the brain especially is capable of so much more than we know and it often does much more than we can even consciously comprehend. He does this primarily through the analysis and description of the trail-running of Scott Jurek. In the conclusion of the article, Scott Jurek states “Your body can accomplish a lot, but at the end of the day—like those days where I’d be running for hours on the AT—sometimes you just start stumbling and giving in.” This quote, along with Schraminski’s vivid description of the capabilities of the brain, highlight a very apparent gap between what we limit our body to with our consciousness and what our body is capable of. Navy SEALs have something called the “40% rule”. This “rule” states that when you think that you have reached your limit and you can’t do any more, your body is really only 40% of the way to its maximum effort. While the 40% rule is primarily talking about mental toughness and Shraminski’s article is talking more about mobility and balance, both highlight the amazing feats humans are capable of that we may initially believe to be impossible. This is often because we humans don’t want to do things that make us uncomfortable. Due of this habit, we accept failure before we even try to accomplish a task. I have found in my life that my greatest accomplishments and best memories have come from times that I have been most uncomfortable. From things as small as being put in a new position in a soccer game, to pushing myself through a grueling workout, to going on a mission trip to a new country with an immense language barrier, I have been able to do so much more when I have been pushed out of my comfort zone. The point that Shraminiski highlights is a vital one that can be applied to any aspect of your life; so next time you see something you think you can’t do, reconsider and remember you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.

More about the 40% rule here

Schramski, Sam. “Running Is Always Blind.” Nautilus. NautilusThink, 07 July 2016. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

NAVS or  the National Anti-Vivisection Society, claim they are “a respected leader of advocates for animals and better, more humane science,” that “has a proud history of promoting positive solutions to replace cruel, costly and flawed animal experiments with modern, innovative methods of research, safety testing and education”(Mice). What is there suggested positive solution though? In reading their article, Mice and Rats in Research, I find myself agreeing with many of their points about the mistreatment of mice and rats and I respect their standing up for the rights of animals. However, the NAVS article is a perfect example of building a logical argument, but not supporting it with a conclusion or proposed solution. The article ends rather abruptly by presenting data illustrating how the government reports misleading data on animal use (Mice). There is never a proposed solution for the replacement of mice and rats in advancing science and understanding in areas and diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s,and many more.

Alternatively, the Jackson Laboratory  article, Why Mouse Genetics?, does not draw me in as much in the beginning. It paints mice as tools and doesn’t attempt to appeal to the readers emotion (Why). However, as the article continues, a clear and concise explanation for why the mice are used this way is given, as specific examples are illustrated to show how mice can advance research. Furthermore, in the conclusion of the article, all of the main points are summarized in a very clear way that leaves the reader with a lasting impression of the exact arguments the article made (Why).

These two articles are perfect examples of the paramount importance of a conclusion and proposed solution to an argument. Regardless of my opinion on the use of mice and rats for scientific research, because of concise conclusion, I come away from the Jackson Laboratory article with a much better impression of the argument the author was trying to make.

 

Works Cited
“Mice and Rats in Research | National Anti-Vivisection Society.” National AntiVivisection Society. National Anti-Vivisection Society, 2016. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.
“Why Mouse Genetics?” The Jackson Laboratory. The Jackson Laboratory, 2016. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.