My Life Partner

By Damien Knight

I took a long time to realize what defined the perfect love. I picked many wrong people to love in the past. I thought love was defined on looks or who was popular. I thought those who were the right ones for me would be “strong enough” to control me, that I must date the bad guy to be cool. I was wrong.

I learned through trial and error what defined the perfect life partner. In fact, I know now I have that perfect life partner, my loving husband. Aaron is strong in character. He is open-minded and yet firm when defending those against wrongs. He is a good parent and a loving husband.

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Profiles in Courage

By Damien Knight

President John F. Kennedy was elected president in November 8 1960 against the then Vice President, Richard Nixon. Kennedy was the first Catholic and the youngest presidential candidate in history. At the time of his bid for presidency “anti-Catholicism was alive and well”, (Champion, Owen F) and for many Americans there was serious concern over having a Catholic president. He overcame this with his charisma during televised debates and beat Nixon in a landslide and on January 20th 1961. It was during his inaugural address he told Americans those famous words “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” (The 6th Street Museum, Dallas)

President Kennedy was poised to begin his “New Frontier” policies. On March 1 1961 he formed the Peace Corps fulfilling for Americans a way for them to “do for their country,” and the world. He was a cultured president who held art viewings and socialites in the white house. He was also human and prone to err like the rest of us. During April 17 1961 the bay of pig invasion was launched. A thousand exiled Cubans attacked Cuba in a failed bid to overthrow Dictator Fidel Castro. (JFK Assassination Timeline) Kennedy bravely and publicly accepted the failure. In response to this disaster Kennedy created The Situation Room to filter military intelligence he would receive. This showed he was willing to act on his failing. Soon after Kennedy authorizes 400 U.S. Soldiers to go to Vietnam.

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Cyrus The Great: Document Analysis Freeing of the Jews

Written By Damien Knight

When King Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon around 538 BCE, he wrote a decree that is often described as the first decree of human rights. The document describes the release of captives of Babylon and returning of them to their homeland. The second part of the reading is a document written by the Jews on their perspective of gaining freedom and the benevolence of the Persian king.

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Red Foxes- An Essay

By Cera Knapp

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Author Photo

Red foxes are really cute. They live all around the world in many different habitats. In some places humans can adopt these amazing creatures. Foxes eat small creatures and can eat fruit.

A fox uses its tail for balance, but it also has other uses. They can use their tails as coats to keep warm in cold weather. They also use them to communicate with other foxes.

Foxes meet in the winter to mate. The female, called a vixen, gives birth to 2 to 12 pups a litter. At birth red fox pups are brown or grey. Both parents look after the young until they are old enough to go out in the world.

 

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Cera drew a fox.

 

 

Philosophy: What is Real

By:  Damien Knight

How do you know what is real and what is not? Specifically, how do you know that dreams are only dreams and that there are no such things as ghosts? In answering these questions, draw upon and demonstrate some understanding of the views of George Berkeley and Rene’ Descartes

What Is Real?

What is real and how do we know this world is not a dream after all? I shall start with a story much like our book does. When I was a child I feared ghosts I could see things others did not and it frightened me. Unlike the tale in the book instead of my father or siblings saying they were not real they told me that I could tell the ghosts to leave. To this day I believe in the reality of ghosts but that reality is apart from mine.

So if spirits are real and I can tell them to leave me alone what does this mean about reality? Is it fragmented into multiple planes? How can I be certain that where I am is the true reality? To be honest, I have come to the determination that there is no true reality that all of my experiences as a whole are all real. That both the world I dream in and the world I wake in is real. To explain this, I have to tell another story which will explain my view.

When I was a child I lived with my Abuelito. He was a very kind old Mexican man who did not speak English and he use to tell us stories of life. One day Abuelito sat us all down and told us this piece of wisdom:

“When we dream we do not just see visions dancing in our heads, we travel the world with our spirit. Sometimes we even travel to another world a place that is wonderful and filled with magic. You can do anything there. This place is as real as here, you can feel pain and loss and love. Learn to travel in your dreams and you will live fully.”

I have since learned to harness the power of my dreams and have indeed both felt love and loss and pain there just as I do here. So what is reality than if for me it is not just material. If reality is not the matter in front of me as some have claimed than reality must be more. For materialists like Thomas Hobbes reality comprised the items we saw, the physical objects that took up space and had mass. Dreams by themselves do not have mass but when I am dreaming the objects in the dream do take up space in the world of that dream. I can touch and feel the sword I carry. I feel the weight of the armor I wear and the drink I drink appears to have volume and mass. If the dream appears just as real as when I wake up what makes this reality superior?

What if than reality is just in the mind after all? I fall asleep in my dream world and awake in this one and in both worlds they both are real because reality is dependent on my consciousness and I effect it with my thought.

George Berkeley put the idea that reality is perception. Nothing exists unless it is being perceived. So what we experience is reality as we experience it. This is a part of how I view reality. Everything we see, touch, hear, and think is real at that moment whether it is the voice of a spirit speaking to me or the kiss of a lover who is only in the world of my dreams. As I perceive them they are all real.

With Berkeley he states that when things are no perceived that it ceases to exist unless we believe that there is a supreme mind conceiving all. Perhaps there is no need for a mind to consistently conceive all. Perhaps because there are so many consciousness’ that all exists because when one mind stops perceiving another starts.

René Descartes tears down existence entirely by realizing that everything he sees could perhaps not be real at all that it all is in his mind. The entire world is perceived by our senses and if perchance our senses are wrong than what have we left but the mind itself. In this way at least we are our reality. To accept that reality is not just what has mass and takes up space we accept that we have both a mind and body. Descartes noticed that we could conceive of ourselves existing without a body and so we are not the body leaving the mind to conceive and perceive all which is real.

Even though I am a scientist who prefers to deal with mass and measurement to answer questions reality cannot be answered in that way. Reality is complex, and the mind is obviously more than the processes of biology. In the end how do we know what is real, the answer is we never will know but for me all that is in my mind is real.

Philosophy: Case 28 Assisted Suicide

Written By: Damien Knight

Case 28

In November 1994, voters in Oregon approved by a margin of 52 to 48 percent a ballot initiative known as the “Death with Dignity Act”. This law, after surviving constitutional challenges and second referendum in which Oregon voters opposed repeal by a margin of 60 to 40 percent, ultimately went into effect in November 1997. The law permits physicians in Oregon to prescribe lethal drugs for terminally ill adult patients who want to end their own lives. In order for a patient to be eligible for such assistance, the attending physician must determine that the patient has a terminal illness and is expected to die within six months, and a consulting physician must confirm the diagnosis and prognosis. The following requirements are also stipulated:

(1)  The patient must make an initial, oral request; reiterate the oral request after 15 days have passed; and also submit a written request, supported by two witnesses.

(2)  Before writing the prescription, the attending physician must wait at least 15 days after the patient’s initial request and at least 48 hours after the written request.

(3)  The attending physician must fully inform the patient with regard to diagnosis and prognosis, as well as feasible alternatives – including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control.

(4)  Both the attending physician and the consulting physician must certify that the patient is “capable” (i.e. has decision making capacity), is acting voluntarily, and has made an informed choice.

* (5)  If either physician believes that the patient’s judgment might be impaired.

(e.g. by depression) the patient must be referred for counseling.*

The Oregon law allows the attending physician and others to be present when the patient takes the lethal dose.
Assisted Suicide

The Oregon law “Death with Dignity Act” allows for assisted suicide in fatal cases. First the basis of this law is that it has to be an adult patient who has only six months to live, and this patient is aware fully of their condition. For many this law might be seen as legalized murder but I think it is justified and support it. Many would question the morality of such a law but if we ask ourselves does this in the long run provide for the greater good we would have to recognize it as our duty to give this option to those who are dying of illness.

Those who often oppose things such as assisted suicide give various reasons why they do. Often these reasons involve religious and moral values. These reasons being that ‘murder is wrong’ and ‘suicide is wrong.’ Also taken into these arguments is how the loss of a loved one as the immediate result being too painful to bear. Often people will say that if they were kept alive just a little longer that the person could have been saved. The Oregon law states that for the assisted suicide to be permissible the patient has to be fully aware of his alternatives. So if the person fully knows they can be saved it would be in their best interest not to commit the assisted suicide.

So when would ‘murder’ and ‘suicide’ be societies moral obligation? If we look at this from a benefiting everyone perspective such as utilitarianism we would find we are obligated to commit to this law when the person’s death is more beneficial than the person’s life. When we ask what circumstances would make this probable, we then have to look at the facts. In the beginning of the book we are given a story of a man who murders his brother at his brother’s request while he is very sick. We can examine this murder and see if like the Oregon law it holds up to being beneficial in the long term.

The story mentions that Mathew Donnelly (CH7 p 460 pg 4 Philosophy: a text with readings) contracted cancer he was in constant pain and had little left of his body due to surgery to remove the tumors. Now they don’t say if he was in a fatal condition but let’s assume he was and his brother comes and relieves him of his misery. Is his brother wrong for the murder? In the long term not only does Mathew no longer suffer, but he is no longer incurring hospital bills that his family may or may not be able to pay. This is good for his family. He also could no longer be a working part of society he would have to had drawn disability draining government money. These points mean that in the long run in spite of immediate loss of life and a funeral bill his murder is justified.

Assisted suicide would have to be assessed in the same way. The doctor after receiving an oral request and after 15 days have ascertained that the patient is both not depressed and is acting of his own will, and then the doctor can write the prescription for the lethal dose. These requirements make it harder for people to choose this method. This way we do not accidentally allow the suicide of a person who might heal and become an able bodied citizen of society.

So what makes assisted suicide moral? It is moral when it does not just benefit the patient, and the family but the entire society. These burdens include: financial, physical, and emotional tolls. If he is spending more money to try and stay alive, then his family can afford. If watching his suffering is more painful than bearing death and he would need an aid if he were to be dismissed. If he could never work again once dismissed meaning others would pay for him. These things he might determine would make him a burden.

If the patient determines he would be a burden upon himself, his family, and his neighbors and the government with his illness then it is best he utilize this law and take his life, he would be morally obligated too. This way not only is he or she no longer in pain they can die knowing they will burden no one else. They can die as the law says with dignity instead of living as a burden and for these reasons I support the law.