What If We Addressed Problems Holistically

What If…
We treated problems holistically instead of individually?
One of the things I realized early on in my adult education was the relationship between seemingly disparate ideas. My bachelor’s degree focused on the relationship between biological equilibrium, environmental factors, and the mental reaction of individuals. From the beginning, I knew that it was folly to think that any of these categories could be studied in a vacuum. It did not take long for me to realize that it was not only in my own specialty that this was true, but in many other aspects of life. Yet, the compartmentalized view of the world is how the general populace perceives its environment, and social problems in particular.
As an educator, I found myself unable to teach only the subject with which I was tasked. I found the need for students to be able to express themselves in written and verbal form necessary to master the scientific concepts I was mandated to teach. I also knew that a comfort level with basic …

The What If Series Introduction

The What If… Series
What if we focused on how to truly solve problems, instead of putting band-aids on bullet wounds? What if we restarted discourse so that we focused on how to help each other, instead of complaining about how we are not as happy as we could be? What if we spent more time talking about the good we can do, instead of the evils done by others? These and other fundamental questions will drive my new What If… series of blog posts.
The inspiration for the series comes from my experience as a classroom teacher. I am a fan of discourse and questions in the classroom, and encourage them from my students. Often, I will hear a “What if” question from my students, usually presented as a source of distraction. My answer to this is often, “Your guess is as good as mine. Think about it and let me know what you come up with.” While the students often ask for my opinion on the question, I encourage them to look at facts and observations to come up with their own unique answers. It is…

The Roots of All Evil

I recently took a trip down an emotional rabbit hole. Between a book I finished, the next one I started, and a new binge-worthy TV series, I came in contact with the three categories of evil that exist in the world. I was overwhelmed by it. Part of me is still. There is too much of it, and it seems the people fighting it are losing the war over the heart of humanity. However, the first step in solving a problem is understanding what it is.
I finished reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This is a book that is profoundly sad, and a book everyone should read. I had considered myself sympathetic to the plight of Black Americans, but I had no idea how much one racist act, unconscious though it may have been, reverberates throughout the community. This book does an excellent job of illustrating the evil in the world that exists through decades of historic racism and the institutions it created. This evil cannot be combated effectively until the infrastructure that promotes it is torn do…


“To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is as assumption of infallibility.” - John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
The nineteenth century philosopher, quoted above, discussed the nature of freedom of speech and its impact on society, among other things. One idea that I have wrestled with is the polarizing opinions that seem to dominate discussion. This problem manifests itself on the freedom and censorship of speech on the internet. This conundrum has led to the digital powers that be to censor those whose opinions seem detrimental to society. I will admit that I agree with their opinion, but as I learn more about the nature of liberty, I know that this action is not moral.
Even though I believe that everyone should be able to express their opinion, I do not want those opinions that incite violence or hateful actions to be what people are exposed to. How do I sol…

Composite War

A declared war seems more plausible now than in any point in my life, aside from the days after September 11, 2001. You may disagree with me, but you’re reading this, so you get my opinion. In my more negative musings on this fear, I wonder what could spark this war and what would characterize the two sides. After today’s research, mostly accidental, I have a bleak fiction to share with everyone, in the hopes that this doesn’t happen.
The Federalist Papers discuss many predictions about the fate of the nation. One of the fates they discuss is a civil war as the only way to reconcile dissent among the states. In order for a faction to form, a strong state will act as a primary aggressor who will pull neighbors into their fold by philosophical or economic means. In the Civil War, this character was played by South Carolina, and the economically similar southern states formed the Confederacy. This did not end the Union, but it did result in abolishing overt slavery, which the founding fat…

The DIY Rape Kit

This is one of my ideas that will have to be implemented in The Study in order for some of the programs to work.

Melania Trump had a point when she said that women need hard evidence before they accuse a man of sexual assault. Women are not believed as victims, and he said-she said is very hard to prove. We also live in a culture where the woman is often blamed for the incident, including by herself. We live in a culture where “boys will be boys” and we train women on how to avoid an all-too-common scenario, as if they have the power to prevent the situation from occurring. All this means that if women need hard evidence to see their accusers brought to justice, they need a way to gather evidence in a way that is less traumatic for the survivors, so that more will be empowered to come forward.
Talk to someone who was strong enough to withstand the invasive and humiliating process that is getting a rape kit done in a hospital, and you will hear stories of trauma following the initial vio…


I saw Michael Moore on TV promoting his new movie last week, and I was reminded that not only is he from Flint, Michigan, but that community still has to use bottled water. It’s been years (at least 5, I forgot the exact number) since that community was able to trust their taps, and still nothing is being done to fix it. This fact is infuriating as someone who cares about the well-being of the whole country, but there is nothing I can do.

Later, as I was reading about California’s 22nd congressional district, one of the facts that was part of the headline was not mentioned or discussed until 4 paragraphs down; part of the San Joaquin Valley does not have drinkable water, either.
This was a shock. My home state, which I am so proud of, has this problem. There are people in my own state, with one of the top 10 world economies, where people have to use bottled water to do everything. The only way I was able to find out about it is because it is used to talk about something other than the …