A rose by any other name would be just as terrifying (Brave New World PR)

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is a dystopian book, in which technology has progressed to the point that human beings are manufactured instead of raised, emotion is willingly suppressed with a drug, god is non-existent in culture, scientific progress is blocked by the current powers, and anyone outside of the norm is banished to islands with others like them. This was Huxley’s horrid prediction for the future. Even back in the 1930s Huxley saw unsettling trends towards dependency on things we don’t have an understanding of. These days, most of us couldn’t get by without our cellphones; we use them for everything from communication to schedules to games. However, if you walked up to the average person and asked them to describe how their phone works, they couldn’t tell you. I believe that one of Huxley’s true worries when writing Brave New World was that in the future humankind would lose their inquisitive nature, and submit to the forces above us.

I think that Huxley was right, and that we as a race are losing our sense of curiosity. Often when someone says something online no one fact checks it, and just accept it as fact. We don’t even have the base sense of “hey I wonder where that thing comes from” anymore, we just accept it. Obviously there are outliers to this, there are outliers to all things. So many people on earth just accept whatever they are told, and Brave New World just exasperates that fact. I think that is really sad, and if we continue with the same attitude as we have right now, and don’t keep pushing boundaries we will fall into a similar trap as Brave New World did; living in a homogenous society that has stagnated.

irje #6

In The Breakfast of Champions, (not associated with General Mills, Inc.) by Kurt Vonnegut, it is about two people who are very different. Dwayne Hoover is a cars salesman who is very rich, but also clinically insane. The other person is Kilgore Trout, who is an aspiring writer.  Trout was invited to speak at an art convention in Hoovers city, and is currently hitchhiking across the USA. Hoover on the other hand, is busy alienating everyone who he works with. Vonnegut has stated many times that in the future Trout will become rich, famous, and influential.

As an old, old man, Trout would be asked by Dr. Thor Lembrig, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, if he feared the future. He would give this reply: “Mr. Secretary-General, it is the past which scares the bejesus out of me.”

I chose this quote because it resonates with me, as I can’t count the number of embarrassing memories that have kept me up at night. The past is set in stone, but the future is more of a wet clay, if you know what I mean; continuing that metaphor, you could say that the present is the kiln where the past is forged. (yeah idk how clay works)

Outsmart your brain…

What I’ve learned from Outsmart Your Brain, by Daniel T. Willingham. Mostly, that I’ve been reading articles wrong. Willingham writes, and rewrites, and rewrites, that simply reading something and highlighting it the first time around is not a good plan to avoid taking notes, or to retain the information. Willingham brings up several reading strategies, but the one that I found the most practical was SQ3R. In a way, these two paragraphs are my attempt at the recite and review parts of it. I like to think that I already ask questions to myself questions when I read to learn, and when I read to read. In this case though, when I got to tip 27, I realized I hadn’t been thinking at all while reading the previous pages. My mind hadn’t been wandering, I just wasn’t thinking about the words on the page.

Another thing that I learned while reading the chapter, was that I tend to start skimming pages when I get bored of whatever I am reading. I also tend to not review my notes unless I need to answer a question quickly and without thinking too much about it. Honestly my study habits just kind of suck. I always knew that my study habits were… less than great, but reading this chapter has really put into perspective how bad they are. Working forward, I want to set more goals relating to study habits for myself.

Missed chances

Its new years eve

And I’ve wasted the year

So I’m left to grieve 

While everyone else is left to cheer


I see the future and the past

A junction of all that could be

A record of all I’ve amassed

So I turn to flee


You can’t run from a problem

But I can sure as hell try

Maybe I’ve hit the bottom

But maybe I’ll fly


The writing on the wall

Teaches me how to fall

On unit one feedback

I have learned a lot from term one this year, and Mr. Macmaster’s feedback on the unit final has shown me what I need to work on. I used very far too much, which shows that I might need to work on my vocabulary a little bit (or maybe very much so 🙂 ). I also relied on generalizations way too much. Generalizations are almost never a good idea to use, and I used like 4 of them. As Mr. Macknight’s marking key says “Your assertion should be specific—avoid making assertions that are vague, or assertions that are generalizations.” I also failed to use many quotations in the second paragraph, which didn’t help my case. lastly i stuck my stronger paragraph infront which was a mistake, it should have been in the back. (I guess I should end with my generalizations sentences shouldn’t I)

On all things round

The book I am reading right now is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It is exactly what the name suggests, a book about astrophysics for people without the time to read textbooks or essays. So far Neil has discussed the big bang and the creation of the universe, Newtons laws, the speed of light, dark matter, and dark energy; just to name a few. The chapter that I am currently reading is all about why things are round, the benefits of being round, and things that aren’t round, but help us account for things that are round. Most of all, this chapter has been about how round things are the most efficient, which leads right into the quote.

Spheres are indeed fertile theoretical tools that help us gain insight into all matter of astrophysical problems. But one should not be a sphere-zealot. I am reminded of the half-serious joke about how to increase milk production on a farm: An expert in animal husbandry might say, “Consider the role of the cow’s diet…” An engineer might say, “Consider the design of the milking machines..” But it’s the astrophysicist who says, “Consider a spherical cow…”  (p. 146)

I chose this quote because its funny, and I found the use of humor at the end of a chapter really helped me to remember what I read in said chapter (but mostly because it was funny). I found it funny because right at the end of this chapter all about spheres, there is just this absurd joke about spherical cows. I think that putting that joke here wasn’t just for a splash of humor, but a calculated move to make people remember what they learned about spheres in this chapter. For me personally, it really did help me to remember all about the Coma cluster and how the milky way is so thin, “[the Milky Way] is flatter than the flattest flapjacks ever made.” (p. 139). (idk if that period should be there) Hopefully you have learned something from this, or at least watched the video that I linked. That video is hilarious, and if this picture of the most efficient cow doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

A utopia for whom?

I think that a true utopia cannot exist simply because everyone has different ideas about what is right. Anyways, I think that the ideal society would have a universal basic income that is completely livable off of. This would ensure that no one starves or loses their home. This would not be the only way to get money though, education should also be free which would allow anyone in the world to get a better paying job if they choose or to simply pursue a hobby that they really enjoy. A utopia would also have no prejudices based on the many things that people are, such as race, gender, sexuality, ect. Another thing that a utopia would have would be logical, unbiased leadership. I do not know how this could be accomplished but if a utopia were to exist then that would be a major part of it. Possibly you could have a council of elected people from around the world. A utopia would have universal healthcare, free education, and free food and water to live off of. This would obviously not be the only sustenance that one could get, but you would have to spend money on food that you prefer. That is the basic outline of what I think a utopia should be.

Broken bones beneath the beauty IRJE #4

In the book Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, Washington is a slave boy born on a plantation, ironically named Faith. Washington’s master has died, and the master’s nephew has come to take over the plantation. The new master, Erasmus Wilde, was accompanied by his brother Christopher Wilde. Christopher was nicknamed Titch because he was sick as a child and was very small. Christopher has asked to be called Titch because “Mister Wilde is my father.”(p. 36) Titch and Washington have climbed a nearby mountain, Corvus Peak and Washington has been asked to draw the landscape.

But as I surveyed the terrain, a slow feeling was growing in me, a feeling I could not account for. I watched Titch at his exertions. And as I began to draw what I saw with a clean accuracy, I realized I was troubled by the enormous beauty of that place, of the jewel-like fields below us, littered as I knew them to be with broken teeth. The hot wind snapped at my papers, and in a kind of ghostly sound beneath this I thought I heard the cry of a baby. For the few women who gave birth here were turned immediately back into the fields, and they would set their tender-skinned newborns down in the furrows to wail against the hot sun. I craned out at the fields; I could see nothing. Far out at sea, a great flock of seagulls rose and turned, the late afternoon light flaring on the undersides of their wings.

I chose this quote because it speaks of the double-sided nature of everything we see. The quote talks about the beautiful landscape, yet the evils contained within are still there. It makes you think about how if you walk far enough from something it becomes more perfect. I sort of think of the quote as unfocusing a camera, it can become beautiful, yet you miss half the details. So what problem have you not looked hard enough at recently?

Like a white rabbit in the snow

In the book, The First To Die At The End Deathcast is a new service that calls you on the day that you will die to tell you that you will die. Since Deathcast has just launched there is a bug in their mysterious system that they use to predict the deaths. The bug is that 12 people who are signed up will not be called and 11 people have died without being called. Valentino was called, but Orion was not and Orion has a rare heart condition where he has heart attacks often. Once the public was told about the bug Orion and Valentino headed back to Orion’s apartment to stay there for a while.

I feel the tension in my chest, like my heart is being choked out. I’m too scared to even breathe because I might breathe too gay. I know that might sound like overkill to someone, but unless they’ve done years in the Bronx, I’m not interested in what they have to say. Body language is everything when you’re trying to stay alive. Think of all the animals in the wild who will bluff and have you thinking they’re tough as fuck when maybe they’ve never fought for their lives before.

Valentino has got muscles, but can he fight? I can fight, but I don’t have the muscles to win, so I try to blend in, camouflage like a white-passing rabbit in the snow. That means not drawing attention to myself by holding the hand of the boy I really like. It’s heartbreaking to even have these thoughts, but that’s where we’re at up here.

I chose this quote because I relate to having to hide in plain sight to be ignored or left alone. I also liked the simile used in the second paragraph “so I try to blend in, camouflage like a white-passing rabbit in the snow.” It’s horrible how people can treat you so differently just because of who you like or how you dress or your colour of skin or anything else.

Let’s pretend this was on time…

While both of the texts and the film are about WW1 they all show it in a very different light, each showing the perspective of a German, in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, an American, in Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway, and multiple Brits in They Shall Not Grow Old directed by Peter Jackson. One of the major differences between the works is how each nationality reacts to the end of the war. For the Americans, the end of the war was a cause for celebration, with a “greeting of heroes” and “a great
deal of hysteria” about the fact that the drafted troops were back, one can assume that it was quite similar for the Germans, who were mostly drafted, troops. On the other hand, the English troops were not welcomed back with fanfare and feasts, but rather with a new suit and a silent agreement to not talk about the war, even in the trenches on the 11th of October there was no celebration, just an acceptance of the fact that the Great War was over. While there are large differences between the texts and the film, one thing they all agreed on was that the war was rather useless and just a waste of human life, with Paul Bäumer saying, “A word of command has made these silent figures our enemies; a word of command might transform them into our friends.” Paul does not call war a waste directly in this instance, but if just a few words can change enemies to friends what other way is there to describe it?

… get himself a life, … that would at least keep the element of surprise on his side

In the novel Mostly Harmless” (included in the Ultimate hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy) by Douglas Adams Ford Prefect robbed the chief editor of what is basically his ID to end all IDs, and for the second time broke into his office to return it after using it to hack the accounting computer. Instead of there being a couch where he expected it to be, there was a man with a rocket launcher, who missed his first shot and blew up the window behind Ford after he took the chief editor hostage.

“He was surrounded.
The big guy with the rocket launcher was moving it up into position for another shot.
Ford was completely at a loss for what to do next.
‘Look, he said in a stern voice. But he wasn’t certain how far saying things like ‘Look’ in a stern voice was necessarily going to get him, and time was not on his side. What the hell, he thought, you’re only young once, and threw himself out of the window. That would at least keep the element of surprise on his side


The first thing Arthur Dent had to do, he realized resignedly, was to get himself a life. (p. 637)”

I found this sequence of events to be rather absurd, yet funny at that; it was made only better by the start of the next chapter. “The first thing Arthur Dent had to do, he realized resignedly, was to get himself a life.” this I found hilarious and rather relatable at that.

With or Without, it doesn’t matter

While both “Soldier’s Home” and “All Quiet On The Western Front” are concerned with the tragedy that was WW1 and how it destroyed a generation of young men, their main characters were changed in the most opposite of ways. Paul in “All Quiet On The Western Front”  hated every second of his experiences in the, he hated what lengths the german armies had to go to in order to end more cannon fodder to the front lines “our fresh troops are anemic boys in need of rest, who cannot carry a pack, but merely know how to die. By the thousands.”. Krebs on the other hand enjoyed the war, he enjoyed how he could take advantage of the French and German girls who were desperate “That was the thing about French girls and German girls. There was not all this talking. You couldn’t talk much and you did not need to talk”.

The main difference between Paul and Krebs is that Paul believed he couldn’t live a normal life back home because of the war, while Krebs believed he couldn’t live a normal life back home without a war.

All Echoes on the western front.

The novel All quiet on the western front written by Erich Maria Remarque shows us an intriguing side of World War 1, as instead of emphasizing the “Valour” and “Bravery” shown by the soldiers in running at machine guns to get themselves shot; it shows us the reality of war, how brutal and traumatizing the truth of war is. In chapter three, Remarque writes through Paul “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how people are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.” (pp. 263) this really puts into perspective what Paul has been conditioned to think, about how the French and British are monsters whose only want in life is to kill him. There is some truth in that, that they will kill him given the chance, but that doesn’t make them inherently evil. 

In chapter 8, Paul reflects that “ [the Russian prisoners] have faces that make one think –honest peasant faces …  [the Russian prisoners] look just as kindly as our own peasants in Friesland.” (pp. 190) this passage really shows how dehumanized people on the other side of a conflict are to each other. It is strange to think about nowadays when everyone can access the thoughts of everyone else through the internet, befriend people across the world without ever meeting them, and find millions of facts through a quick google search, but this still happens today. Take for example pretty much any argument between democrats and conservative people in America right now; the democrats have one view on a topic or person, and they share this online, other democrats agree with this person and throw positive reinforcement right back at them, creating an echo chamber where everyone has the same ideas about that person or topic. The problem with echo chambers is eventually, the echo becomes just a little bit distorted, then a bit more, and so on and so forth until the idea becomes more and more radical than what it started at. Once an idea reaches a certain point, it starts being less about whatever that idea was originally about, and more and more about stopping the opposite point of view from existing. If you don’t agree that that can happen to both sides at the same time try replacing democrat with conservative. When this happens in war, however, it becomes that much worse as the other side is the side that is quite literally trying to kill you.


About me

Hello! My name is Milo (or is it…) and I’m from the Greater Victoria area, it’s my first year here at Brookes, and I like to rock climb, play hockey, and other things. My hope for English this year is to figure out what I’m doing when it comes to writing stuff that isn’t poetry, where a comma should be; and what the point of a semicolon is.