Monday, 21 November 2016

How to live a life of hell: become a contrarian.

How to live a life of hell: become a contrarian.

Most people like to live a peaceful idyllic life,  avoiding confrontation and arguments. However, this is not the case for me! Due to me having a critical mind and finding it hard to “bite my tongue” I live the life of a contrarian. A contrarian is someone who rejects popular opinion or practices. It is not that they  disagree with everything but they may have an opinion which seems controversial which they are not afraid to express publicly.

Some people view me as a troublemaker - I just like to cause controversy or play devil's advocate for the sake of it. I can tell you this is not true! But I have never been afraid of questioning figures of authority in any circumstances whether it be school, Irish dancing or family. Figures of authority tend to resent me and wish to “teach me a lesson” .

I have always asked seemingly absurd questions for my parents and teachers to deal with for example at age 3 on a long journey home from a trip from the back of the car I asked my mum: “If God created everything, then why did he create the devil?”  right then my mum knew I was going to be a nightmare. My dad use to constantly tell me “One of the ten commandments is do not argue with your parents”. I then learned the ten commandments aged 7 when making my First Holy Communion and noted to my dad that he was wrong and the  commandments actually stated “thou shalt respect thy mother and father”, and explained that if you respect someone you should argue or debate with someone because you care about their opinion. Fun times lay ahead!  

But why am I like this? Why are contrarians the way they are?

Intelligence + Courage = Contrarian.

One of the main reasons is intelligence.  A basis of intelligence is one's ability to decipher accurate knowledge from other types of information. Scientifically this is called critical rationalism. Critical rationalism put in practice is contrarianism: when a contrarian encounters new information their cognitive reaction is to verify information and test it. So when I am told information no matter who it is, I always do my research to make sure they aren't lying to me. It is also the reason why I am eccentric like other intelligent people, because we feel less compelled to comply with society norms. On the other hand, this makes it very difficult for me to trust people, I alienate people and appear like a paranoid conspiracy nut case. But like Britney, "they say I'm crazy" and I'll do something crazy anyway because "I really don't care!"
 

But how come not everyone who is intelligent is a contrarian? Because it has a cost - it sucks because often the contrarian does not benefit from it often they cause social problems for themselves. They have to have the courage and not be afraid to argue despite what may be a negative outcome; though it may have a positive outcome in the future for the rest of society.  They are highly inventive because they are not afraid of seeing things from a different perspective - for example in Irish dancing if have sometimes done movements which are not normal at the time but yet a few years down the line everyone starts doing them, so other people get the glory and I don’t.  Similar to artists whose artwork is not appreciated until they die.  “Creative ideas usually get a weak reception, at least initially," says psychologist Robert Sternberg, provost of Oklahoma State University. "But contrarians give their lives meaning by attempting to change the way things are to the way they think they should be." According to Sternberg - The more creative an individual the more likely they are to be a contrarian.
Therefore the second reason is courage or bravery. They are brave because due to publically challenging ideas there is often inevitable ostracism and punishment.  Contrarians are more concerned with truths (what is right and what is wrong ethically and scientifically) than popularity. Thus a contrarian is an intelligent critical thinker with a lot of courage.

Why is it that Contrarian ideas can backfire? Why do even intelligent people want to reject logical ideas?
They like to stick to the status quo!
Fred Hoyle explains that humans reject new ideas due to being “victims of dogmatism” and their tendency to argue from pre-set ideas. Even scientists and other intellectuals have a tendency to be biased and wish to stick with the status quo. When someone's life has become very devoted to one idea it is very difficult for them to accept a new idea. An example of this that I have experienced was in festival Irish dancing: the “Mulholland” and other more traditional festival teachers being very resistant to  some schools incorporating feis movements and doing open platform feis; I find when you think about this objectively and logically it is very silly as those movements didn’t exist when Patricia Mulholland was alive and neither did those competitions on top of this Patricia Mulholland made her dancers curl their hair and wear wigs if their hair was too short. 
A second example was when I decided to add some spins into my lead around as I noticed they had come into fashion due to being a keen spectator of other Irish dancers. My teacher  and his assistant made a huge song and dance about this, apparently "I looked like a princess" and doing high kicks in a kilt is far more masculine. Strangely enough, two years after leaving this school he had put plenty of spins in other boys dancing.  Unfortunately, even eight years at university does not guarantee that you are the "sharpest tool in the shed", especially if you are better at going on holiday than attending the feis. Thus the new truth whether be in science or any other field is often rejected to preserve fragile egos and hold their principles whether they are moronic or not.

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Why should society thank contrarians?

The world owes contrarians a lot of gratitude. If it wasn’t for the contrarians no ideas would be challenged and thus no progress would be made. Where would the human race be without Socrates, Darwin, Freud, Jesus, and Martin Luther King? Contrarians are fundamental to society due to their creative abilities to see beyond the status quo and courageously challenge teachers, the government and religious figures alike. Establishment intellectuals are only required to back and broadcast the status quo, but are unable to challenge these and thus contrarians are needed to evolve ideas and bring about enlightenment.

References


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A modern day liberal: someone who is only liberal to other liberals. My recollection of when I was selected to represent Northern Ireland on an EU funded seminar on Migration.

A modern day liberal: someone who is only liberal to other liberals.

My recollection of when I was selected to represent Northern Ireland on an EU funded seminar on Migration.


It has been just over a year since I was chosen to represent Northern Ireland on an EU sponsored seminar in Germany on Migration.  A friend of mine who had been reading my blog suggested that I apply seeing that I had a great interest in politics.

Migration is in my family's history - my Granda Tan migrated from Malaysia originally to a boarding school in England then to “Friends” in Lisburn and proceeded to  study Medicine at Queens. My Granny a protestant working class girl fell for him. My (still alive) great-granny was not too impressed and she was swiftly sent away to America to live with her dad, however my Grandad sent her engagement ring in the post and she saved enough money to get home. My ganda had a family here until he passed away last year. My mum (Susie Tan) was the first mixed race Miss Northern Ireland.

Until recently Belfast and Northern Ireland were not very culturally diverse. I was called a “cheenky” in school even though I was only ¼ Chinese and out of the 200 pupils in my year in Our Lady and St. Patrick’s College Knock  only 5 of us were not pure caucasian. Although migration is rooted in my family's history,  I am still understanding of where the hostility is coming from.

The seminar occurred over 11 days in Germany, most of it occurred in "The Gustav Stresemann Institut" which is a conference and educational center in Bad-Bevensen a small town in Germany but we also went to Hamburg for a day and spent the last three in Berlin. We arrived in the afternoon of Wednesday 5th August and that evening after dinner we first got to meet the other groups. There were four different groups of 18-25 year olds each with a leader including ourselves (Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Northern Ireland).

In the group I was quickly seen as the controversial one and was often demonized by other members. I was not afraid to challenge  members of  refugee charities as well as EU members, and was praised for doing so by the leaders but not by other group members. Numerous roughs broke out between me and other group members (in particular the Northern-Irish group) as they were mostly left-winged, pro-Eu and immigration. Whilst I am conservative, anti-EU and thinks anyone who can’t see there are problems with immigration in the UK have the IQ of a goldfish. One night following  a heavy drinking session we were arguing until 5am and a member of the Polish group recalled the next day that he thought “someone was going to die”.  The arguments mostly occurred between members of the Northern-Irish group, who labeled me as inhumane, bigoted and  fascist, and that my views were not in line with most people in our country.

But here we are a year later and guess what. Just to rub it in their faces: We are out of the EU.  And with growing Islamic terrorism being targeted at EU members - thank-god for that.  But the point is… people do think what I think. Actually I am in the majority - it is the conservatives who have the largest number of seats in parliament and the majority of people voted to leave the EU.  And logic holds therefore that  liberals and left-wingers aren't in the majority.

If you are right-winged in the slightest liberals and left-wingers will try and label you as evil. You are not, just because you support privatization does not make you inhumane - it means you are somehow economic literate. If you believe that there is a growing problem with Islamic terrorism, it does not mean that you are Islamophobic, it means you have smelt the coffee - the liberals unable to do so because they too busy getting high and making daisy-chains.

Liberal according to the oxford dictionary is defined as  “ Willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas”. But unfortunately the only behavior or opinions that a modern day liberal will respect or accept is that of their own. Us conservatives are not the fascist bigots - that is a title that would suit the modern day liberal more adequately.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

My Review for The Corrs, KT Tunstall and Declan O’Rourke & Culture Hub Issue 8

My Review for The Corrs, KT Tunstall and Declan O’Rourke & Culture Hub Issue 8


Hi everyone! I was lucky enough to get to review the Corrs on Thursday evening along with their support acts. Unfortunately I can’t put my review on my blog but I can provide a link:



I tweeted my review to the artists and Jim Corr replied and re-tweeted it! :)


Also look out for the new edition for Culture Hub which came out last week! In which I have written the comedy article. The magazine has expanded to the whole of Northern Ireland now, thus is no longer “Eclectic Belfast” but Eclectic NI” and is available in most major towns e.g. Derry, Coleraine and Newry.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

“You only live once” : the life motto that causes a vicious cycle of depression and impulsiveness.


“You only live once” : the life motto that causes a vicious cycle of depression and impulsiveness.  


“You only live once” (YOLO) is a phrase that has become ever more popular in recent years, with many celebrities such as Zac Efron (who even has it tattooed on his hand) embracing the motto. It encourages you to live in the moment and engage in dangerous activities, for reason that you might not have the chance to do so in the future. The phrase might seem like an innocuous encouragement for your mate to have that extra tequila shot, or get that Tattoo. On the other hand it could encourage you to unprecausioly take part in hedonistic activities  resulting in a long-term vicious cycle of depression and impulsiveness.



It is well known now that anxiety and depression amongst young people is shockingly high and when people are anxious and depressed they are more likely to act impulsively. It is very difficult to think of the long-term when at that present moment you feel suicidally depressed and are looking for a way to cure or numb  that  feeling.


As a student, I decided to open a second bank account with a larger overdraft thinking to myself “yay free money”; failing to consider the future monthly reducing overdraft limit and how I would enjoy that so much.
I spent both my overdrafts in their entirety and due to this, I can now easily go over my overdraft and incur charges .  I am guilty of having used “YOLO” as an excuse to do so, for example  buying another drink, so that Magners that should've been £4.50 results in a £40 bank charge next month and therefore almost ten times the cost! Then this leads me to feel indignant at my impulsive decisions that are brought on due to depression.


In essence YOLO encourages you to make impulsive decisions, that may cause you to be happy in the present, but have negative long-term consequences. This in turn makes you depressed which then leads you to being impulsive. There is a never ending vicious circle.


There is also a strange paradox occurring as you use “YOLO” as an excuse for engaging in debauchery and hedonism that may result in living a shorter life for reason that you only live once.  Surely if you want to embrace that you only living once, you would want that experience to be as long as possible and not shortened by bad life-choices. For example being capitulated by peers to try heroin because you only live once then ending up in a life incarcerated by addiction and eventually overdosing. Another example would be an LGBT man attending“Chem-Sex” parties where drug taking and unprotected sex occurs leading to drug-addiction and STIs.


In conclusion “YOLO” is one of the most idiotic attitudes to have. All it is, is a guise to encourage your impulsive behaviour. If you are impulsive you need help or else the only life you live may be a short and unhappy one.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Raison D’etre

Raison D’etre


I have two weeks left of my counselling course. That’s right, after I finished the initial 8 weeks, which was extended to 16 things did not go to plan...


I had started to do well in my job. I am a salesman and sell advertising space for a local magazine. When I first starting selling advertising space I increased their sales significantly - by 75% in two issues. Which meant if I had continued at this rate for the next issue I  actually going to be making some money.


However life happened, and my head started going a million miles an hour, which resulted in me drinking rediculously which aided me behaving crazy. Which proceeded with me having to make an emergency appointment with my GP and being referred back to counselling.


This had a grave affect on me personally and financially. I had started to make a bit of money but this resulted in me essentially having no money for the past few months. I really felt like my life was going to end or be miserable for the rest of my life. I had already been miserable for the most of it - surely I should be able to enjoy the rest of it, or was I to become one of those sad stories; an example given about bullying.


    With the help of counselling I somehow managed to pick myself up again. A voice was telling me I can’t let people control me. If everyone does want to see me fail then I was giving them what they wanted. I was self-destructing, and I  had to rebuild myself again. And a few weeks ago I started to feel calm again.


I find counselling really helps me as I can hear the opinions of someone who doesn’t know anyone involved. With friends and family it’s impossible to be impartial. Another benefit is that I can have a good vent to someone I knew legally could not speak to anyone else.  I can’t do this normally as I have had my back-stabbed too many times in the past and don’t trust people anymore. Besides this I don’t need to tell anyone anything, people seem to know enough about me anyway even things that I didn’t know myself. Like Whitney Houston said “Having no friends means less problems”; people know less about me and therefore can’t talk about me as much.


Aside from this, there was something else bothering me. I had took a year out from it, but it was there in the back of my mind the whole time - Irish Dancing. Purpose is so important in life, and without Irish dancing - I had no purpose. It is my obsession. It is my raison d’etre. How can I exist without my dancing? I can’t. I have no purpose.


There was one problem and that was that I needed a teacher. You need one in Irish dancing - you cannot enter competitions unless you have one.  But a few weeks ago I got a solution and I’m able to dance again I feel stronger and more ready than ever. I’m done with nerves, I had no confidence as an adolescent, bullying had dimmed my shine. I built it up to have it shattered again. But after a year off I am ready to put those pieces together again.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

My reasons for voting “out” in the EU Referendum and a link for a quiz to help you decide.

My reasons for voting “out” in the EU Referendum and a link for a quiz to help you decide.


Hi everyone. I hope you enjoy my first attempt of video blogging.
I explain why I am voting the leave.
Sorry if it isn’t great and stumble a bit - it is my first attempt and I haven't had much free time to make a better one!


Something I explain in the video is that voting to leave the EU due to immigration does not make you a racist or Islamic etc. So do not listen to the pro-EU bullies saying otherwise. I do not have a problem with immigrants - I just think there is too many and we should be able to have more control over who can immigrate to our country. I like having a drink, but if I have too much to drink I get a very bad hangover and this is basically what has happened with immigration in the UK - we have drank too much and need to know our limitations. On top of this many other countries have stricter immigration laws for example Canada and Australia - but yet you don't see all the pro- EUers slandering them.


My advice would be tomorrow as well as voting on what you have read consider personal experiences, what you see around you and what you think will benefit the UK in the long-run. Remember to use your brain as well as your heart!.

Here is the link: https://eudecision.uk/




Thanks

Adam!

My reasons for voting “out” in the EU Referendum and a link for a quiz to help you decide.

My reasons for voting “out” in the EU Referendum and a link for a quiz to help you decide.


Hi everyone. I hope you enjoy my first attempt of video blogging.
I explain why I am voting the leave.
Sorry if it isn’t great and stumble a bit - it is my first attempt and I haven't had much free time to make a better one!


Something I explain in the video is that voting to leave the EU due to immigration does not make you a racist or Islamic etc. So do not listen to the pro-EU bullies saying otherwise. I do not have a problem with immigrants - I just think there is too many and we should be able to have more control over who can immigrate to our country. I like having a drink, but if I have too much to drink I get a very bad hangover and this is basically what has happened with immigration in the UK - we have drank too much and need to know our limitations. On top of this many other countries have stricter immigration laws for example Canada and Australia - but yet you don't see all the pro- EUers slandering them.


My advice would be tomorrow is go on personal experiences, what you see around you and what you think will benefit the UK in the long-run. Remember to consider your brain as well as your heart!.

Here is the link: https://eudecision.uk/




Thanks

Adam!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Could being too liberal be damaging for your child?

Could being too liberal be damaging for your child?




Finding the balance between being your child’s friend and being their parent is a difficult equilibrium to achieve.  Whilst you want to see your child flourish socially and not be a victim of bullying for example Regina George’s mom in “Mean Girls” who claims to be a “cool mom” and is permissive because she want’s Regina to be cool and popular, on the other hand you don’t want to see your child make bad lifestyle choices that may be damaging to their future. What you may not realize is the extent of which the way you parent your child can dictate your child's mental health and future.

From Bobbi Kristina Houston to Peaches Geldof, there has been several recent young deaths that have occurred as a result of a hedonistic lifestyle. The question prevails whether lachrymose incidents like these could have been prevented if they were parented differently? Do these cases indicate that being too liberal could be damaging for your child?  


The four types of parenting styles - which type of parent are you?
1.     Authoritarian - this type of parent is strict and controlling. They have strict rules which their children have to abide by with none or little consideration. “My way or the highway” is the rule of the thumb.  These parents tend to be high demanding but not very responsive. They have high expectations for their children, and if these are not met they are punished.
2.     Authoritative -  This style is similar to authoritarian in that they do have strict rules for their children, however they explain the reasoning behind them and are much more communicative to their children; in this way they are more democratic. They have high expectations for their children, but this is balanced with nurturing and understanding.  
3.     Permissive - also known as indulgent parenting, these parents are responsive but not demanding. They tend to be loving and caring to their children however tend to be very liberal. They are perceived as more of a friend than a parent, as they avoid confrontation with their children's life choices.
4.     Neglectful/Uninvolved - this parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication.  Usually the parents do fulfill the child's basic needs however in extreme cases it can be neglect.

Five examples were being too liberal i.e. Permissive parenting has gone wrong!

1.     Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina



Although the love between Whitney and her daughter was apparent. It was evident from the reality series “Being Bobby Brown” and other sources that Bobbi Kristina was spoilt and perhaps Whitney was too permissive with Bobbi Kristina as a teenager. There was also questions of neglect from her father (Bobby Brown) as she seemed to become completely estranged from him after her parents divorce. Although after pictures of Bobbi Kristina emerged of her taking a substance supposed to be cocaine Whitney did punish her by cancelling her 18th birthday party and gifts. Unfortunately as we know Whitney died and two years after so did Bobbi Kristina.

2. Lionel and Nicole Richie



After Nicole's adopted parents had a very public breakup. Lionel spoilt Nicole as a way of making it up to her.  Nicole became addicted to cocaine by 18 and later to Heroin which she was arrested for possession of at 23. She also was arrested for a DUI and suffered from Anorexia and Bulimia. Nicole admitted that because she was given everything and saw everything, she created drama in a dangerous way to escape boredom.

3.  Dina and Lindsay Lohan



Dina became known as “Party mom” as she was seen going out clubbing with Lindsay Lohan that seemed permissive of her daughter's drink and drug taking. Lindsay made a panicked call to her dad in 2012 claiming her mom was on cocaine, which later she denied the claim. The pair unsuccessfully attempted to sue Fox News for claiming they took cocaine together.  Lindsay has been arrested and been in Rehab numerous times. Although she seems to gradually be getting her life back on the right track over the past few years.

4. Britney and Lynne Spears



Lynne relieved in her memoir “Through the Storm” how she encouraged Britney to date an 18 year old football player when she was 14 because it would make her more popular who then she allegedly lost her virginity to. She also turned a blind eye to Britney beginning to experiment with drugs at 15 when she was recording her debut record, thinking that it was normal for teenagers. She also permitted Britney drinking as young as 13 but she didn’t mind as long as she was present. Britney later suffered a very public meltdown in 2007 due to stress and drugs in which she was sectioned and infamously shaved off her hair.

5. Bob and Peaches Geldof




Peaches was the second child of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates who died of a heroin overdose. Bob was said to raise Peaches and her sisters very liberally, often being left to their own devices and only stepping in when things got out of hand. Unfortunately he was too late to step in when the 25 year old died last year, he blames himself for her death.


According to the World Health Organization mental health is a state of well being in which a person can recognize their own abilities, is able to deal with normal stressors of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to their community. Good mental health in teenagers is characterized by good adaption in family, society and school environment. Psychologist Dr. Robin L Goldstein explains having responsibilities gives humans a sense of purpose which is beneficial to one's mental health.  Therefore giving your child household chores can add to your child's sense of purpose; although they may argue about doing the dishes at the time it teaches them about pride and responsibility which they will be grateful for in the future.

A study by the University of Ethiopia in 2012 found that students who rated their parents as authoritative had higher academic self-efficacy than their counterparts who perceived their parents as non-authoritative. Having confidence in oneself in turn had a direct positive impact on their child's performance. This is backed by a study by John Hopkins University in 2009 which showed that the more a student believed they were capable in their academic studies the more they were likely to succeed. This may in turn be a continuous cycle of ever-improving confidence and performance.

A study by the Catholic University College of Ghana in 2013 added to this, illustrating that one’s parenting style had a direct affect on a child's social development. The study showed that a parenting style based on reasoning, understanding and trust (authoritative) had a positive effect on a child's social skills whilst a rigid parenting style based on force and threat increased the likelihood of the child developing anti-social behaviour.

Goldstein points out that being too critical over your child can be devastating to your child's mental health. Advocating an authoritarian parenting style and being too critical over a teenagers academic performance can make the child feel hopeless about the future and add to them feeling like a failure. A teenager may feel depressed and therefore unmotivated to study and keep up with demanding academic responsibilities. A parent's anger and criticism can add fuel to the fire.

Alcohol and Drug Use in Teenagers

When it comes to alcohol and drug use it is difficult for a parent to stop completely. Many parents do not want their child to be bullied or isolated for not participating and therefore teach their child to drink responsibly. A study in 2015 by Brown University in indicated that having an authoritarian parenting style makes it more difficult for students to adjust to college life. That in turn increased the chances of alcohol problems, and which in turn predicted higher GPA (Grade Point Average).

Some liberal parents turn a blind eye to cannabis use among teenagers, as they may have used it themselves and do not observe it as harmful. However Goldstein notes that cannabis is not a completely benign drug. One of it’s most known effects is that it can make you apathetic. Becoming apathetic can in turn have wider implications that  they may become lackadaisical over their academic performance.

A study by the British Journal of Development Psychology in 2015 corroborated the notion that  a  parent should be wary of  the crowd their child gets into, as it was found that it could have a significant influence on their academic performance. The study established that higher achieving friends influenced the mathematical reasoning of lower achieving friends, thus giving verisimilitude to the saying “look at your friends, they are your future”. It was hypothesized that the reason may be that lower achieving friends may feel pressurized to keep up with their smarter friends due to embarrassment or they may take more of an interest in studying due to their new friends.

Helicopter Parenting - Overparenting

Although permissive and neglectful parenting styles are not advocated, on the other hand being too involved in your child's life could also be damaging. Research conducted by Michelle Givetz & Chris Sergin who are leading researches in communication studies found that over parenting could also be damaging. “Helicopter parenting” is a term that describes parents who are overly involved in their children's lives in an attempt to protect them.

Parental control was found to be associated with a child's sense of entitlement but simultaneously negatively affected the child's general sense of self efficacy. Studies implied that parents are needy in replacement of the affection missing from their marriage or own social life, showing that the parents are putting their needs in front of their children's.

The parent may control the child by providing them with gifts but only if they achieve certain grades for example, this has become known as “parental conditional regard." This anxiety driven parenting style has negative implications for a child's personal development and relationships with others. Over parenting has been shown to breed narcissism but also negatively affect a child's own self-efficacy which in turn can affect a child's anxiety levels. Parental behaviour that is psychologically controlling prohibits self exploration and self discovery, and as a result the child becomes attached to their parent.

Throughout all the research there does not seem to be a perfect solution. It is apparent that being very liberal i.e permissive parenting can have parlous consequences for their child's future and celebrities who parent their children in this manner are frequently lacerated by the media for doing so. On the contrary being very strict i.e. authoritarian is perceived as dastardly and can also be very damaging to a child's mental health and future. A parent usually does not want to neglect their child per contra being overly involved i.e. helicopter parenting can also be toxic to a child's mental health.  An authoritative style seems to be what research has suggested to be the best solution, however the guidelines of how to exactly achieve an authoritative parenting style are vague.  Raising a child does not come with an instruction booklet and each child is different, however perhaps being aware of what is suggested could be efficacious both the parent and child.