Lack Of Sleep

Ever wonder what it’s like to wonder what it’s like to wonder? Yep. Another night passes where sleep seems esoteric; a complexed system where I can’t seem to grasp the nuances. Beleaguered by an endless thought-continuum, thinking has become tiresome, literally. This is the fifth night in a row where I’ve gotten less than 4 hours of sleep. Consequently, everything around me seems uncomfortable. My eyes are open but I’m not sure if they should be.

A lack of sleep comes at a heavy cost; you virtually constrict yourself of all your potential. Here’s some things I immediately felt upon waking up this morning: my heart felt to be in slight flutter, my attention span was short and scattered, my decision-making wasn’t as sharp as normal, and my appetite was extremely insatiable. These apparent changes in brain chemistry are hazardous, and can really decrease one’s mood or outlook on things. The old axiom: “sleep on it,” has a positive connotation that can really affect the way we choose to decide things. Essentially, our brains sift out toxins, consolidate important information, and prepare us for upcoming decisions that we may not have enough conscious time for. This brain is dutifully working even when our bodies aren’t. So why am I jumping through hoops?

Maybe I’m just ignorant. Maybe I understand the deleterious effects of sleep deprivation and am willing to live an enervated lifestyle. Maybe, us as a nation, love the thrill of doing things the last minute, so we sleep-procrastinate because we seek thrills and anything mundane will not be tolerated. Maybe the technology era has crushed all dreams of sleeping. Maybe my grammar & punctuation is objectionably bad while I’m typing this from an exhausted brain. Maybe we’ll change the status quo on sleep and continue to stumble through life from the vantage point of a foggy window.

We all know the importance of sleep. We all know that it can lead to many maladies and most frighteningly, death.
When will we regiment ourselves to routinely follow a “perfect night’s sleep” rubric. Maybe soon, but by then, I hope it’s not too late.

Are Humans Getting Dumber or Smarter?

           Here’s the caveat: I am leaning toward the former. You would presumably think that since technology is diffused more so than it was 100 years ago that we’d be tremendously smarter, but it seems as if our intelligence is getting impeded by our ignorance. Albeit, it’s generally difficult to put intelligence under one heading; it’s an ambiguous term that can be quantified in many different ways—the most popular being the IQ test. However, studies indicate that our IQs have been steadily climbing in the past century, but Smartphones seemingly buttress any type of uncertainty we’re fraught with, whereas 200 years ago these things needed to be committed to memory. Cellphones take away from the hands-on working memory we’ve been burdened with for the past 100,000 years, which puts an abridged life span on things we assimilate. So, we may be getting both dumber and smarter, but we are struggling to adhere to basic principles and facts that befall on our civilization, unremittingly. Another thing, which I will primarily focus on is willful ignorance; which isn’t going to provide our planet with prosperity; instead, it takes the route to dystopia where people are constantly muddling misinformation and bickering over pseudosciences. My gripes, that continue to get my blood to boil, are the persisting battle to accept homosexuals and the never-ending rejection of science. I stick with my theory: the smart people, or those who want to be smart, are becoming more intelligent, but unfortunately, the obtuse people remain stagnant and obstinate, leading to less overall intelligence.

          I think intelligence not only corresponds with a comprehension capacity, but also to the cognizance of what’s happening to oneself and the environment. Smart people are aware of malnutrition and thus look toward healthy foods to keep themselves around longer than usual. The rise in technological advancements has led the way to pure laziness, which obviously engenders obesity. Sapient beings should realize this and attack it at its roots, but we don’t—willful ignorance. According to the Health Organization, from 2004 to 2010, obesity increased from 11% in American adults. It’s not hard to adumbrate that this is a bad omen for years to come since many food distributors are selling deleterious processed foods to get more gain on their product.

          Climate change is a dire problem that is nearly irreversible at this point because of the narrow-mindedness coming from the naysayers and deniers. But, the evidence for global warming is incontrovertible: a study revealed 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is anthropogenic (man-made). Now, I’m not sure if the average lay person is more astute than any esteemed scientist (embrace the pun), but if I were a betting man, I’d listen to the scientists who painstakingly and feverishly work at understanding what’s happening to our climate. And, for those unsure about global warming, here’s a short summation: Global warming is the excessive release of greenhouse gases (Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, etc.) into our atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation that traps the sun’s heat in our atmosphere, giving rise to the earth’s average temperature. Furthermore, this opens a Pandora’s box: sea levels rise, storms’ intensity increases, droughts become longer, extinction plagues animals, a scarcity of food and water occurs, and there is a proliferation of fatal diseases.  In order to remedy this bleak situation, we must look toward alternative energy sources, but we remain unchanged and are elongating the resolution process. This, my friends, is willful ignorance: you can try to run on a broken foot, but there comes a time when one must be prudent and get healthy before making things worse.

          In the year 2014, the ubiquity of hatred and ostracism of homosexuals truly baffles me. It’s obvious that genes have something to do with being gay; I mean, if you’re heterosexual, try to choose to be suddenly gay–you can’t. That’s beside the point, though. We’re splitting hairs over the same sort of nonsense that divided us as a nation only a mere 60 years ago, and that’s racism. Now it’s just a different minority. A homophobic person really is masquerading something more sinister deep down. Whether it’s because they aren’t cut from the same cloth as you (narcissism) or because your religion tells you it’s bad (dogma), it’s still morally reprehensible to dislike someone because they’re different than you. It’s not like we all sat in front of a big screen and got to create ourselves, atom by atom; we had no choice in any of our physical make up. Therefore, there should be no problem with homosexuals on any level. Given the multifarious diversity of life on planet Earth, it would be perverse of you not to understand that differences exist.

          The Pew Research Center recently released a study that indicated one-third of Americans do not believe in evolution. This finding is exasperating to say the least. The planet screams evolution in thousands of different ways, from the growth of disease to the rise and fall of dinosaurs; it’s clear that the planet is billions of years old. It is old enough to have tiny nuances in each new generation that brought us from single celled organisms and common ancestors millions of years ago. A total of 98.5% of scientists treat biological evolution as a fact—as the process of continual development from successive generations. Once again, willful ignorance is apparent. The numbers don’t lie, and evolution has provided us with a myriad of apposite medicines because diseases themselves evolve.  Most people assert that evolution is just a theory, and indeed it is. But, it is a scientific theory, which, in the hierarchy of credibility, stands higher than a law. Theories come with a preponderance of empirical evidence that is tested thoroughly throughout years of intricate studies. It has yet to be disproven, and it fits perfectly with what we know about the planet.

          The willful ignorance that I touched on is an epidemic that is preventing our consciousness from expanding. All of the information I presented is a couple clicks away; it just takes a spark of curiosity and common sense to discern the malarkey from the truth. I’m no luddite, but I know that the tsunami of information that gets blasted into our brains daily can easily render us susceptible to gullibility and unsureness about what’s true and what isn’t. So, back to my main point: are we getting dumber or smarter? The answer is both; scientists and pundits of enlightened subjects seem to be thriving exponentially while laymen remain static, constantly looking to confirm their bias and turning a blind eye to reality. I try to question everything but am extremely receptive when learning new things. The truth may be discomfiting and somewhat incomprehensible, but for us to become smarter, we first have to accept what’s patently staring right at us. Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Let’s not be the ones who fall victim to those sentiments.

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Photo courtesy of Lee Verdecchia

The Ultimate Duel: Dexter Morgan vs. Walter White

          Having just finished “Dexter,” I think the show is an instant favorite; it runs the gamut of entertainment and suspense. Michael C. Hall, who plays the character Dexter, is tailor made for the enigmatic, sinister role. On the other hand, “Breaking Bad’s” Walter White—played by the brilliant Bryan Cranston—seems to be in the same echelon as Dexter in terms of brilliance and canniness. Both actors are remarkable in their depiction of unpredictable specimens who seem wholly concerned with themselves. This extreme amount of egocentricity and self-aggrandizement is why shows like “Dexter” and “Breaking Bad” have been wildly successful by keeping audiences engrossed through their elaborate plots. These two masterminds have their strengths and weaknesses, but if the two faced off given a fixed circumstance, it would be interesting to see who comes out on top. Here’s the objective: Each assailant has a week to prepare using whatever resources he can marshal, then he must kill the other person. The mental and physical status will be mid-series form (Season 3 for Walt, season 4 for Dexter.) Here’s how I think it plays out…

          Dexter catches wind of Walt’s mischievous behavior and immoral doings by using his department’s resources and understands that Walt perfectly matches Harry’s code. Dexter begins to stealthily hunt behind his chameleon-like guise. Walt, conversely, has a keen intuition that he’s being followed and notices Dexter’s car has been lingering by his house for the past two nights. By becoming cognizant of Dexter’s vigilance, Walt decides to plan a sneak attack by manipulating Skyler into thinking Dexter is actually a henchman working for Gus, who has interest in causing strife to the family. When Skyler approaches Dexter’s vehicle as a diversion, Walt surprises Dexter with a gun at close range, leaving Dexter flabbergasted. Walt gets in the car and tells Dexter to drive, with the roscoe still pointed at his head. Unbeknownst to Walt, Dexter has an M-99 syringe in his cup holder; he uses his supreme hand-to-hand combat skills to knock the gun away, then swiftly injects the Etorphine in the syringe into Walt’s neck.

         Walt—drowsy from the analgesic—comes to, only to realize he is lying on the dishonorable table, wrapped in plastic. But, oddly enough, Walt is extremely poised, as if he’s been through this before. He and Dexter begin to bicker and reprimand each other about how they’re both doing equally bad and unpardonable things. Walt’s persistence and sincerity begins to befuddle Dexter. Walt then begins to launch into a diatribe about Dexter’s sister, Debra. He tells him, “Are you willing to kill the man who holds the key to your sister’s life?” Dexter, taking Walt’s word with only a grain of salt, suddenly pulls out his blade and slowly incisions Walt’s facial epidermal layers as he’s done to all of his previous victims. Dexter profoundly states, “Any scum who poisons little kids (Brock) doesn’t deserve to exist on this planet.”

          Then Dexter, hysterical with laughter, grabs a meat cleaver and says, “It’s time to accelerate your death process” while Walt smiles, then he cocks back and gashes Walt’s neck. But, surprisingly, immediately after Dexter ends Walt’s life, a phone begins ringing beneath Walt’s corpse. Dexter, extremely perturbed, answers and hears Debra shout, “I don’t want to die!”after which Dexter hears a faint ticking sound, which leads to a loud explosion. Dexter screams, “NOOO…” and slowly plays out the scenario in his head, only to glean that Walt had calibrated a bomb to go off when his heart stopped beating. Dexter, overwrought by his sister’s death, is unthinkably shaken up. In the final scene, as the camera pans out from Debra’s grave, Dexter’s voiceover says: “The life not worth taking.”

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