4/99: Pay College Students

We had so many problems back in 2012 I decided to compile a list of them, then briefly explain and propose solutions to each issue. I found inspiration in the Occupy Wall St. Movement and Martin Luther’s “95 Theses,” specifically his format and purpose, which led me to my title “99 Problems: Disputations on the Power, Efficacy, and Indulgences of the United States Government, Businesses, and Other Institutions.” The “99” of course being a nod to the “99%” of the OWSM as well as the number of issues examined.

Originally it was intended to run as a long, multi-part essay in my local college paper, but it was too long. Around the same time we changed our editors and modifying the piece was put on hold and eventually I just forgot about it for a while. Then a year, or so ago I decided to track it down in my old files and actually edit and self-publish it. As kept coming back to it on and off again for a while until I finally finished my edits. But something struck me: it was too old, too much had changed, and the tone was all wrong for 2018.

Now, I’m making revisions and updates to each of the 99 theses. I’m also going to be posting some of the longer sections as I go so I can keep writing for the blog while finishing a long overdue project. And unfortunately, while rereading it became clear that almost every problem had gotten worse and the stakes of solving them ever higher.

The following is from “99 Problems: Disputations on the Power, Efficacy, and Indulgences of the United States Government, Businesses, and Other Institutions.”

4 – Pay College Students

The cost of higher education has risen, and is still rising, at a meteoric pace that far outruns inflation making it harder to attain especially for low income families. Historically, education has been something for the elites: the wealthy, the nobility, etc. But this is the United States in the 21st century. Unfortunately, we have already largely regressed to this outdated mode where education increasingly something only for the wealthy. The current generation is already straddled with massive college debt and future generations of prospective students know this. The next generation will likely reject the financial risk of a college education altogether. Looming college debt has already led to problems with the economy and the overall quality of life for tens of millions of Americans with no solutions, or relief in sight.

When only the wealthy are able to attain higher education then only the wealthy will maintain the positions that allow wealth to be created. Already, there exists a large population of surplus labor enabling businesses to keep wages low because somebody’s always poor and desperate enough to work whenever current employees burn out, or quit. As education decreases in its accessibility the undereducated will increasingly flood the bottom of job market with even more surplus labor. And, despite what CEO’s might think, this helps nobody, not even themselves, because if the majority of Americans are struggling to pay for essentials, they will not be spending money on other things like new cars, houses, televisions, computers, or any other non-essential products. The owners of many companies will begin making less because no one can afford to buy what they make. This may lead to even fewer jobs being available which will only compound the problem further.

Living costs have increased. The price of a diploma has increased while its value has decreased as has the average salary accompanying said diploma. And often more advanced (and expensive) schooling is required for students to enter their desired field. Students are often mocked when picking a non-business, or non-STEM, major because our society does not truly value the humanities, arts, or education for their own sakes, but because of this stigma and devaluation other fields are oversaturated making employment competitive and difficult to find.

The solution may be to follow the lead of some European nations which have various means of paying for higher education. Some countries like Germany and Finland have free tuition for all students. Others not only have free tuition, but provide students with money so they can live without being forced to work the entire time they’re in school, thus allowing them to better focus on their studies, and presumably also saving them some sanity and stress. This money could from different sources at state and federal levels. If the US can afford to build multi-million dollar fighter jets and stealth aircraft en masse, it can afford to invest in its own future via higher education for all who want it.

 

~David T.K.~

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And Knowing Is Half The Battle!!!

A New Year is starting with a real me… I have been a horrible social media blogger. I have missed 2 months of updates, for this, I am sorry. It has been one hell of a busy couple of months. I’ll start with the physical changes: lots more hair all over, starting to notice some on the face; voice continues to drop, not a baritone yet, but I am on the way. Mentally, well I am happier of course. I am also A LOT more sensitive and need to work on my temper a bit. I’m not flying off the handle or anything, but normally before hormones I was pretty laid back and chill. Now, things that would not anger me do so easily. So how do I work on this you ask? Counseling. Everyone needs someone to talk to besides their other half, or friends, or family, or whomever you confide in. So working on the temper, putting a workout together for all the energy I have lately and things are on the up and up.

Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this blog.

I will never stop saying this education is important, on both sides. It is important to know what changes you are going to experience and to keep your doctor informed of any issues that may arise. Be open to questions, even if they are way inappropriate. No, I am not saying that you need to provide answers if you are not comfortable. I am saying that you should feel confident enough in saying that you’re not comfortable in answering the question.

I have here a list of questions I put together that someone might ask me, I will do my best to answer them with the knowledge I have. I am not a transitioning guru and by no means should I be your only resource. BUT I will do my best to provide answers and resources.

1. “Should I ask this question?”

The only stupid question you can ask me is none at all. Ignorance is intolerance.

Two questions to ask yourself before you ask your question:

“Would I feel comfortable if someone asked these questions of me?”
“Would I ask this question of a non-transgender person in a similar situation?”

2. “Why do I want this information?”

If it is someone you love that is transitioning, you will want to know what is in store for them as well as yourself. I am not the only person transitioning, my whole world around me is. This includes how my wife, my family, and my friends will see me and treat me. I am always open to questions and if they’re not appropriate, or I am not comfortable in answering them I will say so. If you’re asking out of curiosity, they make Google now, where do you think I find my info 🙂 .
3. “Have you had ‘The Surgery’?” “What surgeries have you had?” “Are you planning on having surgery?”

My only hesitation on this question is my own lack of knowledge for FTM surgeries. What I do know is that surgery is expensive depending on health insurance and whether or not I choose to have any surgery relating to my transition will be decided upon as the need arises. Having surgery, or choosing not to, does not make me any less of a man. Further discussion on my private areas can be discussed on case by case basis and individually. Discussing my hormone therapy is quite different and I am always open to discussing those changes.

4. “What does hormone therapy do?”

Well, hormonal changes are different for everyone. It all depends on the age you start them, your health, your weight, your physical activity. Many transgender people, including myself take hormones to bring our bodies more in line with our gender identity. The hormones have a variety of effects, many of which are similar to the effects teenagers experience during puberty. For example the effects of testosterone therapy can include thicker facial and body hair, a deeper voice, increased muscles, and changes in fat distribution to a more masculine body type. Some of these changes are reversible and some are not.

5. “What is your birth name?” “Can I see photos of you before you transitioned?”

While I am always open to answer this, other transgendered folks may not be. If you have been in my life long enough you know my name before I found my path to myself. My name was Jessica and will be legally changing it to Jason at some point. I don’t expect everyone to get on board immediately and have been referring to myself as Jay to ease their transition into my soon to be legal name. As for photos, well I haven’t taken them off of my Facebook so feel free to have a look; I was a cute kid, why wouldn’t I want to show that off?

6. “What bathroom do you use?”

I will answer this question with a question: What bathroom do you use?

7. “So when did you decide to be transgender?”

Ha…..decide? When did you decide to be cis-gendered? Why did you have coffee this morning? I didn’t just wake up in the morning and DECIDE to be myself. It’s something that has always been there. Discovering who I really am has been building and has finally come to the surface. Some of us discover it sooner than others. I feel that this is the time and I was finally ready to be who I really am, to be truly happy with myself.

While there are so many other questions, there is never enough time to answer all of them. Bottom line: you have a question, ask it. I will either answer it, or direct you to someone or a resource that can answer it. OR I will politely tell you that I cannot answer it because I am not comfortable answering it.

 

~Jay Barnette~

Original content from: https://thepadiwanjourney.blogspot.com

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1/99: Implement Holistic Education

We had so many problems back in 2012 I decided to compile a list of them, then briefly explain and propose solutions to each issue. I found inspiration in the Occupy Wall St. Movement and Martin Luther’s “95 Theses,” specifically his format and purpose, which led me to my title “99 Problems: Disputations on the Power, Efficacy, and Indulgences of the United States Government, Businesses, and Other Institutions.” The “99” of course being a nod to the “99%” of the OWSM as well as the number of issues examined.

Originally it was intended to run as a long, multi-part essay in my local college paper, but it was too long. Around the same time we changed our editors and modifying the piece was put on hold and eventually I just forgot about it for a while. Then a year, or so ago I decided to track it down in my old files and actually edit and self-publish it. As kept coming back to it on and off again for a while until I finally finished my edits. But something struck me: it was too old, too much had changed, and the tone was all wrong for 2018.

Now, I’m making revisions and updates to each of the 99 theses. I’m also going to be posting some of the longer sections as I go so I can keep writing for the blog while finishing a long overdue project. And unfortunately, while rereading it became clear that almost every problem had gotten worse and the stakes of solving them ever higher.

The following is from “99 Problems: Disputations on the Power, Efficacy, and Indulgences of the United States Government, Businesses, and Other Institutions.”

1 -Implement Holistic Education

The American Education System is rotten. The United States routinely scores near the bottom when compared to other developed nations in all areas of learning. Intelligence is often mocked instead of praised and we have become obsessed with testing over teaching students. In fact the entire design from K-12 schooling is antiquated factory model intended to churn out as many obedient workers just intelligent enough to operate machinery. This design asphyxiates creativity, deprives our country and humanity of talent located outside traditional pedantic standards.

We must move away from the factory model and towards something that gives each individual child the resources to fulfill their potential evolve our methods of teaching students so they align with psychological insights of different learning styles. An emphasis should be placed more on thinking as opposed to regurgitation of facts. Facts alone without context and without a student’s ability to think critically and understand the importance and implications of those facts impedes a student’s ability to gain any real, applicable knowledge as well as leaving the bigger picture of any subject obscured.

At present the US education system uses the transmission model of education which sees education as something that is transmitted from teacher to student. Its methods are typically rote rehearsal and memorization. However, alternative methods and models of education already exist: freedom-based learning, which emphasizes the students’ desires and interests; social constructivist which views education as something requiring social interaction; critical pedagogy sees education as a means to the goal of bettering the world and its communities, and holistic which includes its own set of values while also recognizing the value in the other models. Several others models exist along with numerous methods that can be mixed and matched from each teaching style.

Other factors are important too. For instance, children don’t need to be separated by age and they won’t be separated as such when adults, so why not try separating them by learning style? Or the fact that the inclusion of recess has shown to benefit a student’s health and learning ability so why not lengthen it instead of cutting it?

Perhaps most obviously, instead of allowing various mandated tests to consume so much time and effort from both teachers and students let’s get back to having teachers teaching and students learning. Many teachers will attest to the drawbacks of such testing including the flaws both in design and implementation. While all students in a certain grade must take the same test, students with learning disabilities for example may not be afforded the proper accommodations to perform as well as they potentially could.

And perhaps most importantly, our culture must also change so intelligence is praised and not mocked. It must change also the way students with atypical learning modes are viewed and incorporate them more fully into the curriculum. Without a child’s desire to learn they likely won’t. If they’re going to be bullied for being a “nerd,” or “teacher’s pet,” or subjected to any of the far crueler things children do to one another; if there is no value in knowledge beyond the classroom; if there’s no one willing to teach them in a way they’ll understand why would a child feel safe enough, or a desire to learn?

 

~David T.K.~

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You Are Not Alone

transphobia

First, an update on the physical changes. Voice: a definite drop in it, cracks a lot which is annoying, but won’t be forever. Hair: Hair is everywhere, I found some on my toes!!!! Back, stomach, legs. Basically hair everywhere except my face. Six months on testosterone and changes are definitely noticeable in my overall body shape and face shape. I have a more “masculine shape” but with soft like features.

So, now that that’s out of the way, time to talk about what really grinds my gears: transphobia. It’s the only way I can logically explain what is going on in the news today. The current administration wants to go as far as take the word transgender out of the dictionary. Like, it will be forbidden to not only be it, but to speak it. So I shall be he who shall not be called that let’s call him she (Harry Potter much?).

What is transphobia? Well, exactly what it sounds like- not liking those that identify as transgender. More specifically from the World Wide Web the agreed upon definition of transphobia “… is a range of negative attitudes, feelings or actions toward transgender or transsexual people, or toward transsexuality. Transphobia can be emotional disgust, fear, violence, anger, or discomfort felt or expressed towards people who do not conform to society’s gender expectation. It is often expressed alongside homophobic views and hence is often considered an aspect of homophobia. Transphobia is a type of prejudice and discrimination similar to racism and sexism, and transgender people of color are often subjected to all three forms of discrimination at once.”

Child victims of transphobia experience harassment, school bullying, and violence in school, foster care, and social programs. Adult victims experience public ridicule, harassment including misgendering, taunts, threats of violence, robbery, and false arrest; many feel unsafe in public. A high percentage of transgender individuals report being victims of sexual violence. Some are refused healthcare, or suffer workplace discrimination including being fired for being transgender, or feel under siege by conservative political, or religious groups who oppose laws to protect them. There is even discrimination from some people within the movement for the rights of gender and sexual minorities.

Besides the increased risk of violence and other threats, the stress created by transphobia can cause negative emotional consequences which may lead to substance abuse, running away from home (in minors), and a higher rate of suicide. (Thank you, Wikipedia, for help on this.)

For more information on this see the link below:

https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/suicide-and-self-harm/transgender-boys-nonbinary-adolescents-face-highest-suicide-risk-by-gender/article/803336/

It has been scientifically proven that transgender adolescents and children report living a happier, healthier life when support is given from family and friends. I’m not saying every one of my family members needs to be on board, or that my friends need to be 100%. But it sure does help. For my friends who know me best, coming out as a transman was not a surprise. Often I am asked a lot of questions about proper pronouns, what name I prefer, and surgery. The first two I have no problem answering, but as for surgery, well I’m not going to ask you about your parts so I expect the same.

I will never stop saying that a good support system is essential in whatever you decide to accomplish.

If you take a look at the suicide attempt rates, they are much higher among transgendered men (female-to-male). Can I say I haven’t had suicidal thoughts, or perhaps attempted in my life? No, I cannot. As taboo as it is to talk about, yes, I once preferred to be dead then to let my family down. I was raised that my family name meant everything and to always do the right thing, even if it meant I was miserable. Obviously I have finally shaken myself of that thought pattern, but it hurts when you see someone who lives a country apart from their family speak to them every day via web chat and text throughout the day about the most random of subjects. They also group web chat once a week with the ENTIRE family so that everyone can play with the 1-year-old nephew. My family is but a car ride away. Being trans is not why I am not close with them, again a whole other blog that I may or may not post. I may have shaken myself of the thought pattern, but the habit of making sure my family is not disappointed is still there.

At the end of the day anyone whether trans, or not, if you feel alone, YOU’RE NOT. There are numerous support groups and hotlines you can call. If you suspect someone is at risk, there are the SAME hotlines you can call for how to help them. Moral of the story: love is love, taking transgender out of the dictionary will not stop me from being who I am, and the more hate you put onto a certain group of people the more we become targets.

 

~Jay Barnette~

Original content from: https://thepadiwanjourney.blogspot.com

 

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The Dark Side

I know how it feels to love the night, but only because we’re all perfect in the dark. It’s comforting to be wrapped in the pitch as though no one could see the emptiness where your soul should be, or the stains on what’s left of it. It feels safe like camouflage, like home. And solitude is preferable for the same, and other, reasons: out of sight, out of mind are the happy people living in the daylight who remind you of things you don’t have and can’t even feel; like being a beggar clad in rags and shoes with holes, peering through the window of a warm home as a family sits down to eat a holiday dinner in their Sunday best, but more than the sensation of peeking into another world there’s the sensation that this is the natural order, the way things belong.

The longer you remain in the darkness the more it warps your mind. Fear, anger, hatred, jealousy, all become oversized drives until they burn everything else away. When your dreams are dead only your nightmares can be brought to life. So instead of prioritizing properly clothing a beggar the priority becomes everyone else must know the same suffering and hardship. Your focus is on the punitive rather than the reformative. To say nothing of their merit, schools of thought exist as proponents for justifying, reinforcing, and expanding upon every disturbing worldview. Eventually the right philosophy meets the right depressed and anxious mind and suddenly the world makes sense, horrible sense.

Every time there’s another school shooting, or a white nationalist commits an act terror someone inevitably shares a meme declaring that we don’t have a gun problem, “we have a people problem”, or “a heart problem.” Usually they entail a bit about putting God back in school as if terrorists never had religious motivations. But, despite their religious overtones, and despite the fact we have a gun problem too, we do indeed have a “people,” or “heart” problem. We have too many lonely, isolated individuals doing their best to struggle and cope with a cold, indifferent world made worse by unrelenting stress from social standards of perfection, of normal, and bleak financial prospects.

Interestingly, in “Star Wars” it’s said the Dark Side is addictive and whenever you use the Dark Side of the Force it gets the user high which is why Vader was able to defeat the Emperor so easily in the end of “Return of the Jedi.” And in real life the brain itself is wired to release pleasurable chemicals when we witness, or experience, acts of cruelty towards those we perceive as deserving, or as “others.” Depressive thoughts can become familiar, comforting, and addictive in their own right. Meaning not only are we susceptible to dark thoughts, but we have a biological reward system for them. And if we’re not getting pleasure from healthy socializing then unhealthy socializing will have to do.  With the right environmental and biological variables it’s easy to create maladjusted minds.  It reminds me of a scene from “The Walking Dead” when someone is explaining what happened at Woodbury and how the Governor tried to make brothers fight to the death: someone asks “What kind of man would do something like that?” To which Herschel replies “The kind this world creates.” It’s often no less true in this world.

The Dark Side is a part of all of us and try as we might to banish it from our minds entirely it’s likely both impossible and unnatural. While I found my way back, the darkness discovered on that path never really goes away, or at least so far it hasn’t for me. There’s still a rage in my bones, feels like there always has been, and I’ve accepted that as part of who I am. And that’s okay. The trick is to just let it be; don’t put time, or effort towards those thoughts; let it become unnoticed like a static fixture you see every day, but can’t recall any details of.

In the end, there’s nothing in the dark, there’s nothing to sustain, or fulfill you, but it can seem like that’s just the default setting of life. Not everyone who enters The Dark Side and embraces the comforts of the night comes back to the light, but it is possible. The first step is realizing you’ll bear no fruits if you salt and burn all the fields.

~David T.K.~

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But I Really Have To Pee

Five months so far. What a journey so far. Every day is a new day and I couldn’t be more happy, or more at peace with myself. It’s truly amazing to see all the changes, even the subtle ones. There is definitely a change in the voice, deeper and still a ways to go. I actually like talking on the phone now. The other day I heard myself on the phone and geeked out a little ha. Hair growth is very, very, very slow. We bought my first razor and shaving cream for the face to help stimulate more black hair versus the peach fuzz I have so much of. Fat is redistributing to a more “male” shape and muscles are more defined, especially in my arms. Once I lose some more weight, it’s back to the gym for me, need to release all of this energy I seem to have a lot of lately.

Bet you’re wondering what the heck is up with the title? Bathroom dysphoria: most transgendered persons suffer from this, especially in the beginning of their journey. Which bathroom do I go in? Am I safe? Using the restroom in public absolutely terrifies me. I’m scared that using the women’s restroom will result in someone harassing me to the point of police involvement. I’m scared of using the men’s restroom for fear they will realize that I lack the equipment to be in there. In some public male restrooms there is not even a stall to use, or the stall is missing the door, or god knows what happened in that stall. So, I look for a family restroom. Either they’re in such an obscure spot you will never find it, or they are being used, or they don’t have one.

A lot of the time, I will either hold it, or take a chance in the female restroom. Pretty soon though I will pass as the gender I am and going into the female restroom will no longer be an option. But I ask myself, why in the hell is it anyone’s business which one I use. If I have to go I go. Are you really in fear for your life if there is a “tranny” using the restroom? Are you yourself going to check what’s going on in all of our pants to make sure we meet the requirements of male or female restroom? Personally I will bite your hand off if you come anywhere near me. I will use whatever bathroom I damn well want to because I will not risk a bladder infection over someone’s comfortability.  Harassment and prejudice are still alive and well in this day and age. Until people can treat each other with respect those of us that fall outside of what society sees as “normal” will continue to be fearful of being ourselves.

 

~Jay Barnette~

Original content from: https://thepadiwanjourney.blogspot.com

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I Fear The Winter And Dream Of Spring

I fear the winter.  I have nightmares where I wake up and the green leaves of Summer have given way to bare trees and snow; conversely, I also dream of Spring and return of life and color. By mid-Fall the declining light begins to take a toll on my mood and psyche.  Then in the depths of true winter it feels like there’s nothing to keep me going except the fact that the days are lengthening and eventually they’ll melt the snow; thaw the ground; the ice on the rivers will break; small buds and sprouts will peak out from the mud and branch tips; the varying hues of grey will be illuminated by what looks similar to Fall foliage at first, but then erupts into vibrant flowers and lush leaves.

IMG_3921

It also helps that I know my seasonal deficit in mood and productivity is just that, seasonal. Recognizing it’s not a personal failure, or indication of backsliding into extreme depression and anxiety is helpful in, and of, itself and allows me take steps to alleviate and better manage this seasonal malady. Before identifying an annual upswing in depressive and anxious thinking it just felt like more chaos, more uncertainty, and less hope of ever finding anchor, or compass. But now I can predict it, plan for it, and actively find things to counter it; it’s just another variable to be accounted for.

Yet, I have days where nothing gets done and still endure protracted periods of apathy and lethargy; things that should be joyful become chores and chores become a no less titanic task than Sisyphus eternally rolling a boulder towards the peak of a mountain and equally in vain.

Winter also makes me think and marvel at the ancient cultures around the world of extreme latitudes and how people to this day still manage to live in places in and around the Arctic Circle. I’ve lived in a few places around New England and just a few hours’ distance increases the longevity of the Winter season by a few months. And through my fear I feel a connection to humans long past who braved blizzards without electricity, or any other modern convenience, for they too must have felt the same fear, perhaps more strongly. For most of human history people lived entirely off the land whether hunting and gathering, or agriculture and domestication. Their lives revolved around the seasons and so did their religions, it makes sense such a powerful natural process would be mythologized. Contemporary stories too, from The Long Night in “Game of Thrones” to historical events like The Year Without A Summer, certainly elicit a sense of apocalyptic anxiety in me.

But it also serves to remind me of my humble place in a much larger environment, surrounded by forces that forge, mold, and break us and we’d all be wise to listen to what these forces, our environment, are trying to tell us. Because if all the signs of the seasons herald the coming of Winter you can prepare, or likely perish.

 

~D.T. Kukulkan~

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Family Is Everything…. Except When It Comes To Being Yourself

It’s been awhile since I posted, been a bit crazy with the new job. I love it. Finally I get to be out in the open and be myself. Everyone there is super supportive and always has a ton of questions. Good, I love questions. The more people are educated about the transgendered community the easier it is to understand us.

First an update on my progress, next week will be 3 months on testosterone. I’m at 100 mg every 2 weeks and my testosterone levels are at 354. Normal range for a cis-gendered man is approximately 300-1000 so I am on my way. Depending on how I respond will determine if there is an increase. Slow and steady is my motto. There is definitely a drop in the voice, a little cracking too. Hair on legs is darker and peach fuzz on face is increasing. Fat around body is redistributing to a more box like appearance or “more masculine”. Even my nurse says I walk different. I feel different most definitely, but different in a good way. I feel stronger, less depressed. Even my wife has noticed my mood is brighter.

So with that said, what family wouldn’t want to see their child happy? I know I’ve talked about this before, but something’s really been irking me. According to a study done in 2014, the Williams Institute and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported that 46% of trans men and 42% of trans women had attempted suicide. I am among them. Yes, at one point in time I thought suicide was a better option than having to face the fact that my family may not accept me.

When I came out as transgender to my family I was told “I have one son and one daughter, not two sons”. Fair enough, I expected that reaction. It’s not easy to hear something like “I am transitioning” coming from your child, or your sibling. I’m not denying my past as Jessica. I am still that person that shared those memories with them. But, what I hope one day for all parents of trans-kids is that they educate themselves rather than go into denial, ignore the child, or drive them away. There are tons of resources out there for trans youth as well as their families. It’s a transition for everyone not just the person taking the hormones.

I didn’t choose this life, no one chooses to be transgender. Why would anyone want to have an uphill battle to being their true self? I may not be everything my parents wanted me to be. Just because you have a set of plans for your child when they are born, doesn’t mean they are going to end up following that blueprint, as a matter of fact nothing ever goes according to plan. What I do know is that I am a good person and I accept my family the way they are, misguided sure, but accepted nonetheless and I am here whenever they may have a question. I’m going to stand by my convictions and respond when they say she or Jessica. But it’s gonna get really weird when I do walk in the room and I got the beard or 5 o’clock shadow and some bass behind my voice.

 

~Jay Barnette~

Original content from: https://thepadiwanjourney.blogspot.com

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Are Humans Innately Good?

There’s a lot of discussion, debate, and memes surrounding the nature of man and I decided to write out my thoughts on a specific question I find myself pondering sometimes and again: are humans innately good, or evil?

But this phrasing presents a false dichotomy between two extremes whereas the truth is probably somewhere in the middle and more nuanced. Some people are driven to commit heinous acts and compelled beyond reason by their own biology, which essentially makes them inherently evil by nature.

Yet, some twin studies have shown that amoral compulsions may manifest differently depending on their environment: the compulsion to cut, for instance, could lead one twin to become a serial killer and the other a surgeon.

Instead of asking “What is the nature of man?” or “Is human nature inherently good, or evil?” some psychologists believe it may be more productive to ask “What is the nature of power?” The Stanford prison experiment and similar psychological experiments along with the historical hindsight, documentation, and subsequent analysis of events like the Holocaust share the commonality of a top-down progression of evil: those with authority and power can more easily persuade, or command subordinates to commit acts of cruelty.

Interestingly though, more recent studies have revealed that the neurotransmitter oxytocin, which is important in the formation of trust, mother infant bonding, and intimacy during sex, is also released when committing, or watching an act of cruelty against someone from an out-group. This certainly seems to suggest that human beings are biologically coded to enjoy sadism in at least some capacity. But remember, we’re also biologically coded to love.

The evidence indicates we have the innate capacity for both good and evil; our brains are wired to enjoy love and intimacy along with cruelty. But, to what degree? Is the average human being 60% good and 40% evil? Is it 50/50? While it’s difficult to quantify, it may be enlightening to ask if other animals are innately good or evil, since we are just animals after all. Observations have shown creatures ranging from ants to primates are able to perform acts of altruism for fellow group members, but also violence and seemingly actual cruelty towards out-group members. Many animals compete for things like mates and social influence within in their own group, but these actions are usually limited to aggressive displays of dominance, or at the very least the conflict subsides before lethality. It makes sense to occasionally compete with in-group members while limiting the mortality as it allows more favorable traits to be passed onto to future generations without diminishing the genetic diversity of the group as a whole. At the same time it makes sense to lethally compete with out-groups over limited resources needed for survival.

So what does all this mean? Well the answers aren’t as simplistic as the question. We’re animals, we’re innately capable of altruism and cruelty, and we’re easily manipulated and often situationally dependent.  Perhaps one reason it’s difficult to see the good in this world is because the good isn’t often a spectacle; it’s the default setting of civilization where nothing is really going on because most people are good enough to the point where they just want to live and let live. But every time the terrorists inevitably shoot up another school, or church, or whatever, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people willing to aid, comfort, or to help the injured and first responders however they can.

Unfortunately, the situationally dependent and easily manipulated parts of us are being exploited and the regular quiet of the world seems to be eroding. Otherwise good people are following the examples of their respective leaders and advocates who have made it acceptable to openly mock children who were shot. The Parkland Students and those who’ve taken up the same cause have been dehumanized as political enemies: liberals, leftists, snowflakes, libtards, cucks, and the list goes on. When a good chunk of the population and people in charge have not just a lack of empathy, but disdain for kids were who gunned down during school that’s dangerous.

Mankind’s inherent moral flaw isn’t that we’re inherently evil, or even that we have a dualistic nature, it’s that we’re mostly neutral until the winds of fate push us one way or the other.

~David T.K.~

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He Works Hard For the Money… So Hard For The Money

I know it’s been awhile since I posted, but I started a new job and was a little, ok a lot, distracted for the last 2 weeks. I’ve been on testosterone for 2 months now (5 shots so far) still at 80 mg and will probably go up next visit, depending on my bloodwork.  Physical changes: most noticeable is my voice, getting deeper every day… I LOVE IT. Before I hated the sound of my own voice, now I talk just to hear myself :). Peach fuzz on the face increasing and definitely some hair on my belly….. Woo. My waist is starting to appear more “box like,” less hour glass and the acne is still there, UGH. Mentally, well, I feel this giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can live how I always wanted to…. As myself because as someone once told me “I’m beautiful in this way, because God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track baby, I WAS BORN THIS WAY”- Lady Gaga

Speaking of work, coming out at work….. It scares me to death. Although gender identity is protected under equal opportunity RI is an “at will” state meaning that your employer can fire you for any reason, and not tell you. I cannot confirm this happened to me because I don’t have any hard evidence, but then again if they don’t need to give you a reason it would be hard to have any evidence. Coming out to your family and friends is one thing, but coming out at work WHOLE DIFFERENT BREED. Like any other red-blooded adult, the transgender person has bills to pay. Hard to do with no job.

Just to put it into perspective here’s some fancy facts for you:

2017 Workplace Equality Fact Sheet

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Workplace Discrimination at a Glance:

Well, I thought new job, new start. Yes that’s right I came out at work to my boss, who was completely cool with it. I told him he would start to notice changes, since I am already. Most of my coworkers know but not all, and that’s ok, in time they too will notice something is not quite the same anymore and I am fully prepared for those conversations. But I’m still scared to death. “At will,” what a horrible loophole.

Coming out at work, there really is no advice I can give. Other than stay strong, stand by your convictions, and never apologize for who you are. And yes, you will have to come out more than once at work, it’s ok sometimes it takes a second, or a third, or a fourth, time to sink in. I work hard, no matter the industry I am in. Working is what drives my day, and yes, pays my bills. Working is a part of who I am.

There is no right way or wrong way to do it. All I can say is I’m glad I did it.

 

~Jay Barnette~

Original content from: https://thepadiwanjourney.blogspot.com

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