Having reviewed the apparent inevitability and compensating benefits of aggression in the past, Arthur Woolgar suggests some reasons why aggression may play a much reduced role in the future.
How convincing do you find these reasons, and do you consider the gains would outweigh the losses if aggression ceased to be a central feature of human behaviour?

The author states that increased technological and scientific advancements, sports and competitions and the increasing influence of women, would lead to the reduction of the role played by aggression in the future. Though that may be the case, there are also instances when war and conflict is inevitable.

While scientific developments have satisfied the needs of many people today, equipping them with the means to acquire information and a convenient life-style, it cannot be wholly said that science has resolved the sources of conflict, as stated by the author. He says, ‘…aggression is not the only means through which world population can be controlled. … as well as the ability to increase agricultural productivity on which these people depend’ (lines 57-59). It is true that science has enabled us to increase the amount of limited resources that we have, so as to satisfy the needs of a growing population. For example, through the advent of green revolution, rice production around the globe was increased. In this way, science has solved most of the ‘limited resources’ problem and has prevented countries from waging wars for this sole reason. However, it being a double-edged sword, science has also provided the means to fight and invade other countries more dangerously, strongly and rapidly. Sonar detectors used in the navy, fighter jets that can travel in the speed of about 800km/h and AK-47s, are all weapons that technology has created to wage wars even more cunningly and dangerously, victimizing many innocent civilians. The emerging nuclear weapons threat in the Middle East countries and missile launches in Korea are evidence enough to create concern around the world. Therefore, it is conclusive that because of science, it is highly likely that aggression might play a significant role in the future.

The author’s claim that ‘… women may enable the human race to tame and render harmless the aggressive instinct,’ is flawed. It is true that the virtues of women, such as those stated by Woolgar like ‘…cooperation, care and concern for others,’ might bring about peace and calmness into the environment. For example, more and more women have taken an active participation in the government in certain Middle Eastern countries, which has brought about peace and goodness to the societies. However, the author’s argument is flawed because the aggressive and dominant nature that Man possesses, regardless of gender, is instinctual. Women were present in the past, and so are they today. Yet, there were no instances in the past that showed that women can “tame” men. In fact, it was the other way round. Even now, one cannot say for sure that women influence men in such a way that men would abandon their aggressiveness. Women did not prevent the Iraq war, which was driven by the aggression of men. In fact, with more women climbing the corporate ladder and acquiring managerial positions in the workforce, which is dominated by men, competition and aggressiveness in would only increase. Even in the field of education, research has shown that girls perform much better than boys. As a result, men might start to feel more ambitious to defeat their successful female counterparts in the workforce and schools, in the process being more prone towards aggressiveness.

If aggression ceased to be a central feature of human behaviour, I think that there would be larger gains. I do agree that aggression is a primary motive that fuels the ambition to achieve greater things. When the word ‘aggression’ is associated with positive connotations, it can be viewed as a fervent desire to express one’s individuality, to be someone unique, and to make a stand in the world. In this context, ‘aggression’ is expressed by the author, as something that has enabled to create a number of historical personalities and technological developments. However, the argument posited by the author is lacking in logic. When he says that war and conflict have created many historical personalities and had brought about technological developments, he is implying that war and conflict were necessary motives to ensure the development of countries. While this may be partly true, one cannot have frequent wars within a country to bring about further development. This only sounds more ridiculous. There are other stronger motives for the technological developments and so forth. For example, the need to provide employment for the growing number of populations fuels industrialization and this brings about development. Furthermore, if there were fewer conflicts, the business and tourism sectors would function normally. Fewer competitions among countries would encourage a more harmonious diplomatic relations.

The above is an application question that i wrote for the November 2005 General Paper. I got quite good comments for it from the teacher. I added some new points and kind of like completed the answer. It lacked a lot of points and i think now i would have gotten higher marks for it. I got 3.5/8 because there are two parts fort his question and i only answered the first part of the question. I was lazy to write the conclusion though.

Evolution of blogs

Today’s GP lesson was fruitful and yet wastefull. We had a great discussion about the evolution of blogs and its effects on our Singapore society. I somewhat attempted to answer the question and got a 5 out of 9 marks. I’ve never gotten above a 2 or a 3. I was quite surprised. But i lacked depth in my analysis and was making a lot of generalisations. At first the two comprehension passages on the democratization of blogging was blur to me. As i read it again today, i understood the arguments of the author. I said wasteful, because our tutor wasted a lot of time ranting and advicing us on how we should approach the question. Whatever she said was good, but she kept on repeating her points again and again. And she keeps emphasising on the length of our AQ (Application Question). I clearly don’t understand why. The length doesn’t matter, only the quality does. One might have written a lot of crap in that lengthy AQ for all i care.

The AQ had covered largely in the area of how blogging is good and bad for the country in general. It allows for the exchange of ideas between people on an equal footing, it promotes a mature discussion of taboo/controversial topics, it creates a Singaporean Identity as the different races come together and more importantly, it relieves our apathy for politics. On the other hand, blogging can misguide the public and easily influence people since most of the blogs have no basis for whatever they claim. Any content that is racially discriminating can disrupt the racial harmony in our mutli-racial society. The government would certainly never allow for that. However, the AQ could also have included the benefits and problems of blogging to the individual person.

It could also have included the emergence of increased advertising in blogging. A lot of blogs nowadays contains Adsense or something like that. The blogs feature ads that will earn money for the bloggers in a per-click basis. This is a new avenue for the advertisers, as blogging becomes more and more ubiquitous. However, a lot of blogs today give first-hand consumer advice, on what products to buy and so forth. There are blogs that advice on what laptops are suitable for a college going student, or what computer software to purchase. With such advice more easily available, why would people want to click an adsense ad? Or any kind of ad for that matter. We might just as well go search for blogs that offer such advice, if we have the need to buy a certain product and are desperately in need for an advice.

Of course, blogging and other related programmes like the Youtube, Movable Type, Friendster and so on can never replace the mainstream media. While people might spend a lot of their time sitting in front of their computer and reading other people’s blogs, they have to turn to the local news channel or BBC/CNN to get latest news reports and live reporting of news. Not that kind of selective reporting that we see in blogs. Blogs might do a good job in reporting, but they also add a certain individual perspective to it. And furthermore, most of the news reported on blogs are not always true or have sufficient evidence to support their claims.

I have realised that my concentration/focus is not that effective as it used to be previously. Last time, when i was in secondary school, i used to do yoga. Not everyday. But as frequently as possible. I loved doing it. I can’t do very advanced poses. But just something like the cobra pose, the bridge pose and the chair pose. They might seem to be easy to do. Yes, they are. But they can exhaust you soon enough. Yoga is something that clears your mind and refreshes your body. Mix some meditation with it, and you would feel the difference in just a week.

Look at me. I’m just talking. I’m not doing any of this now. I know that the ‘i have no time’ excuse is a stupid one. I should at least do the 10-minute meditation to keep my mind in focus. Trust me, those who do it know its effects, the 10-minute meditation is really good. The difference might not be noticeable now. But it really helps. You would start sleeping peacefully, and thinking clearly. You would notice that your breathing has improved. And that your concentration has also improved. I should take my own advice now.

I was so DUMB

Yesterday, i published a post, when i was filled with frustration and annoyance. But today, while i feel clear and unconfused, i realise that i had made a lot of mistakes. It was all a misunderstanding between my parents and me. My parents are happy about my results and are just worried whether my results are enough to bring me somewhere worthwhile. They told me that i have all the freedom to choose whatever degree i want to pursue, but to keep an open mind about it. Part of the misunderstanding resulted from me being so dumb. I should have clearly told my parents about everything.

Well, that aside. I’m happy that everything has become normal. I don’t feel pressurized now. Family support is something that is very essential at a time like this when you have an important exam to prepare for. But i don’t want to take back whatever i said about those other parents who pressurize their children.

My grades are not worth anything?

I feel really really irritated and frustrated. There actually seems to be no reason at all for me to feel this way. But that is the case. I got my final prelim results today. I got a C5 for General Paper. 3 distinctions and 1 D grade for Physics. Personally, i’m very happy and proud of myself to have achieved 3 distinctions. But i’m very disappointed about my Physics grade. And i know the full reason why i have gotten a bad grade for Physics. But my parents were not happy at all. I feel pressurized by my parents. They asked whether i could get into engineering or medicine course with the grades i got. Now, why would i want to do engineer or medicine? They clearly know that i no more have any interest in those two courses and i’ve always been focused on some other degree course in Biomedical Sciences. And yet they ask me this question.

When I said that i couldn’t because of my physics grade, they said that the 3 distinctions have no value then. That i shouldn’t even have gotten that grade. Such narrow-mindedness! They could have atleast scolded me a little and then encouraged me a bit. I would not feel so depressed. They are not being of any help to me when in comes to physics. I should have dropped it last year itself. They treat the prelim results as if this is the final grade that i’m going to use for my university entry. I can understand their wishes and unrealistic expectations. But just because they want me to achieve something like that, it doesn’t mean that i should right? I study for myself, for my sake, to satisfy my wishes. Not others’. And i’m sure i’ll do better for my actual A’levels.

Anyway, this is the reason why many students today face problems and stress because of parental pressure. I don’t know why parents should be so rigid. Most have a view that good exam results equal success in life. And they don’t realise that exam results are not important, but it is the way the results are used that gives the students the happiness and satisfaction. A person might get good results, and get into engineering. But it doesn’t guarantee his happiness. His happiness and success depends on how he utilises his time spent in that course and his interest in that course. Parents should realise this. They should not impose their ambitions and beliefs into their children. They should be flexible in allowing their children to pursue their interests. Why should it always be engineering or doctor or some other professional course, i simply don’t understand.

Something Something Review

Hello, i’m back with a movie review of Something Something Unakkum Enakkum (ssue). Just thought of doing so. It’s not going to be a detailed one. And i won’t reveal the plot in case some of you have not seen this movie. The main characters are done by ‘Jeyam’ Ravi, Trisha,’Chinna Thambi’ Prabhu and Bhagyaraj. This movie is worth watching just for the fun of it. The story is good, the songs are fantastic. The movie was a hit in Telugu.

But i had a great disappointment when i was watching the movie half way through. It was a replica of an old hindi movie, ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. It was Salman khan’s first movie and the actress was a new face. Maine pyar kiya was my favourite childhood movie. I used to watch it for so many times until the casette was spoiled! I want to watch the movie now too, but couldn’t find a renting shop which has the movie. Must go to India i guess. The movie in hindi was so super hit, that it was dubbed in English and Spanish. Even now you can find the songs in Spanish. All the songs in the movie are hit songs. No wonder, the tamil version is also good. Except that there are a few differences here and there in the movie.

If i were to tell the story in two short lines, here is how it goes: An american/london hero falls in love with a village girl. He has to win the heart of the girl’s brother to ask her hand in marriage. In the case of the hindi movie it was an american guy, and in the case of the tamil movie it was a london guy. In the hindi movie it was the girl’s father and in the tamil movie it is the girl’s brother. That is all the difference. But the plot is exactly the same.

The story is so sentimental/emotional. There is the sentiment of romance, sentiment of brother/sister love and so on. The villains totally suck! In this movie, i only enjoyed the comedy and the songs. Half way through the movie, i already knew how the story was going to end, so there was no suspense as far as it concerns me. But i think for those who have never heard of the story and have never seen the hindi movie, would like the suspense. The comedy was also not done by people like vivek or vadivel. It was this telugu guy, i think. Don’t know his name. But he was good. The story gets better after the first half. Not like other movies, in which you would not want to sit and watch the other half too because the first half totally sucked. I think one can watch this movie throughout without stopping and forwarding until the end. Of course, i had no choice when watching in the theater. Also, in certain instances in the movie, logic and reasoning failed. I think you will know where and when once you watch the movie.

I have here a song from Maine Pyar Kiya. It is my favourite song. I like the Antakshari song very much. But i couldn’t find it in Youtube. In this song, the hero wants the girl to go out with him in the evening. She says, ‘You go, i’ll come’. But whenever she tries to escape up to the room to get ready to go out with Salman, she meets up with an obstacle. At last she never ends up going out with him.

Broken heart…broken friendship

It can sometimes be very depressing when you lose the friendship that you held so dear to your heart. And sometimes people will feel anger, anxiety and sadness all at the same time. I was like that too when a good friend of mine broke up her friendship with us and left. It happened so long time ago and why am i writing about it now? Because only now i feel comfortable in expressing my thoughts about the whole episode that happened. Even now i wonder, whether it could have just been some communication misunderstanding. Or was there a strain in our friendship since the start itself.

The most saddest part of the whole thing that happened was that I didn’t even know what was happening the whole time. Did someone didn’t tell me something deliberately? And why did she accuse me of backstabing her, when i clearly don’t remember doing anything very bad like that? And backstabing her on what? Until now, i’m still in the dark. I myself have told her during some instances that i don’t like backstabing people. Like talking badly behind their backs to other people and so on. I might do those things in my mind but not openly in front of others. It is not in my habit. And even if i did something wrong unknowingly that has hurt her so much, i want to let her know that i’m ashamed of myself of such behaviour and that i’m sorry. Very sorry. I’m a kind of person who tolerates other people’s habits and behaviours and i won’t tell anything bad or offensive to hurt them. Being with me for so long, she didn’t even understand that.

I thought that she was a nice and fun person to be with. But she turned out to be someone else, whom i couldn’t understand. She keeps in contact with my classmates. And i’m glad about that. Anyone could easily get along with her. She is a nice person on the whole. That is what i thought about her and still do so. But i clearly don’t understand what’s her bloody problem now?

I’m done and through with my rantings. The identity of ‘her’ is only known to my close friends and ‘her’self. I thank God for giving me a friendship that ended up in a failure, because the whole episode has taught me a good lesson. I’ll not have such a close friendship with someone, who is entirely in a different wavelength compared to me, in the future. If you know what i mean. Such friendships between two very different people rarely last long, though there are exceptions. It is the friendship between people who are of the same wavelength that lasts quite long. Some out there wouldn’t agree with me. A friendship will last long if we commit to keep in touch as long as we could. Once that commitment is lost, no matter how close that friendship once was, it will never be the same again.

Steve Irwin

I still couldn’t get myself out of the shock from the passing away of Steve Irwin. Today i read two articles in Today newspaper written about him. The first one was a comment written by Joan. She praises Irwin of being a vocal supporter of animal conservation. But she condemns the ways in which these animals are portrayed. She expresses her dislike for the methods used just to bring in good ratings for the show. This is what she says:

Animals are magnificent creations, proud, beautiful and deserving of respect. Man considers himself the superior being but animals do ot kill or attack except for food, to protect their families or as a result of an attack or threat. To force an animal to display these behaviours in front of a camera to thrill those at hoome is criminal, disrespectful and demeaning to these creatures. If the roles were reversed and the animal was in charge, how would we feel if, for example, an animal deliberately tried to separate a human mother and her baby just to see the mother’s reaction as she desperately tries to do what is second nature to her?

I kind of agree with her. In the name of sensationalism, some of them don’t think about the way the animal is being portrayed to the outside audience. But still, such display attracts audience who would normally rather watch an action movie or something else that is adventurous. And when more people see such programs, in which conservationism is promoted, more will get the message that is really crucial.

Another article about Irwin was a debate on whether to telecast the tape that shows Irwin’s last encounter in the Great Barrier Reef. And of course the conclusion reached by the author and the majority of the audience was not to telecast the footage. But the author was concerned about footage being released illegally on the net. I’m sure that in a few days’/weeks’/months’ time the tape might be released online. But still hope that will not happen. I would definitely no want to see Irwin die on tape!! I recently saw his programme on ‘Steve and Terri Irwin’ series. They showed his and his wife’s first screen test. At that time, he was so shy and was actually stammering! He has come a long way from that.

I not only like him. There are also others like him. Steve Austins, a snake expert and a photographer, is also another of my favourite. His shows are really nice. I first saw his show on a Monday. In that show he went to India, looking for a king cobra, supposed to be the most dangerous snake on earth. His encounter with the snake was superb! I saw another two or three of his shows, but that was all. I couldn’t get the time to see anymore because of stressful school life and so on.

Oh no!! School’s going to start on Monday! We are going to get back our prelim results! And i’m going to fail my Physics! I know it. I flunked the paper damn badly. How am I ever going to revise for it and get at least a B for A’levels? I don’t want to ruin my perfect score by doing badly only in Physics! Arghh! I’ll be glad once A’s are over and i don’t have to look back at Physics anymore! I’ve quite made up my mind about the degree i want to do. Let’s just see…

Scary movie and Irwin!

Oh my God! I did a big mistake and ruined my whole holiday! Well, not my whole holiday, but still… I forgot a little about it now. I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose on Monday. And I couldn’t sleep for three nights peacefully! It’s the scariest movie i’ve ever seen. And i’ve learned my lesson. Such movies are not meant for people like me who are faint-hearted. Phew! I wanted to see that movie because I love courtroom dramas. I love watching or reading such genre. I saw the movie by rewinding the scary parts, but still i couldn’t control my curiosity. I’ve never had an affinity to such scary movies.

When i was younger, i really couldn’t sleep after seeing movies like Alien, Predator, Jurassic park and so on. I would sleep in my parents’ room when i’ve watched those movies. If i slept by myself in my room, the night would be filled with bad dreams. This is such a weak part of me. Horror movies are not at all for me. I should just stick with comedy, action and fantasy, i guess. But Harry Potter didn’t affect me at all eventhough the story is quite horrific from the fifth book onwards. I guess i just loved the story and i knew that they were all fictious. But the exorcism is said to be a true story of a girl. I’m not sure how true it is but really it makes you wonder whether there truely are demons or not.

In the movie, there is the spiritual argument and the rational/medical argument. While the prosecution says that the girl was psychotic and epileptic, the other side proves that the girl was really possessed by demons. And i didn’t know that humans have two vocal chords! Can we really talk in two voices simultaneously? In the movie, the girl is possessed by 6 demons. They all shout out their names with kind of dual voices. It’s so scary. After hearing from me i’m sure some people reading this would want to watch the movie, if you haven’t. Well, you’ve had the warning. I don’t know why they have to tell the story as a flashback! There are a lot of girls out there. Why should the demons only possess her? I just don’t understand this.

Anyway, after watching the movie, i watched others movies so that i’ll forget that movie. I watched Giri, because there was Vadivel comedy in it and another new movie Krrish. The movie is an exact replica of Superman and ET. Gosh, did i mention? i was also very scared of ET! Can you beleive that? Although now i think that ET is kind of cute. I’ve been watching so many movies during this one-week break from school, so as to relax. Then after going back to school, it’ll be hectic, cause i’ll be spending everyday revising for my A’levels. Physics is so problematic nowadays! I have to go through electronics, electromagnetic induction, dynamics, kinematics again! I also have do a lot of filing.

There was another shocking news about Steve Irwin. It was all like a dream. i just couldn’t beleive the newspaper. But i saw the show in Animal Planet, A Tribute To Steve Irwin, or somehting like that. I really enjoyed his crocodile hunting tactics. He was funny, smart, nature-loving! I have also thought him as a show-off guy once. But i continued to enjoy his shows. He found all the reptiles and animals beautiful, eventhough they were poisonous, scaly and look ugly to me. He admired nature and also taught me to admire nature.

Previously i only like a limited number of animals like dogs, cats and parrots. But i’m liking snakes, chimpanzees, orangutans, leopards and lions. So next time when i go to the zoo, i really want to take photos with the chimps, orangutans and a python! I also loved the pink dolphins in Sentosa! I want to take photos with it the next time i go to Sentosa Palawan beach.