Agency is a Useful Concept

Posted: July 25, 2013 in Anthony Shell

Agency is the active operation, effective, powerful action {from the Latin, Agentem}. Agency is also the power and duty of act. The power and duty to act in pursuit of your goals. This means that agency is the self actively operating. Agency is very powerful and it works on different levels.

I’ve been applying for several jobs and I just got hired today for maintenance by using my references, this gave me the chance to navigate forward. If I don’t support myself then who will. Acting or agency allowed this to happen. A few months ago I went to a scholarship workshop for college and this will help me out financially, I can buy books for a very cheap price and I can have a few bucks in my pocket. But I would not have gotten help if I did not go and seek it. Agency helped me pay for college. I also picked up an application for a passport from the Post Office. I will purchase it during the Christmas vacation. The reason why I want to get the passport is because I want to see my family in Belize but I won’t be able to see my family in Belize if I don’t act.

This tool is considered to be marketable for people to fight obstacles. I can defeat what the next person says by accomplishing my goals. Regardless of what the next person says I can still get things done by ignoring them and acting.

In conclusion, agency is useful and is a powerful weapon that protect us from the obstacles we face in life.


Birth of the Unnatural

Posted: July 25, 2013 in Benjamin Mensah

Aristotle believes that character is not natural, and that it is developed through habit. I agree with Aristotle that character is not natural and it is developed through habit. It is through habits that a character is formed. It is an everyday process which makes a person. Either with sports, working, and schooling. One cannot become an athlete, a nurse or a student without a virtue surrounding them. The environment which a person is around also develops their habits and forms their character.

A person is not born to be a champion, a leader or an Olympian. The individual associates themselves with a habit of dedication, hard work, responsibility, accountability, self-respect and service. The individual cannot be a champion, leader, or Olympian unless they train themselves physically and mentally to virtue of becoming a leader, an athlete or an Olympian. It is an everyday process the individual must go through to succeed in what they want .

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. both are known to be great civil right leaders. They weren’t born to be a leader. Malcolm and Dr King went through leadership training. Malcolm who had a thug liker personality in his past; whose life changed after some years in prison. In prison developed strong believes in Islam religion and black philosophy. Engaging in thinking, Political philosophy, building self-confidence, and duty to act later made Malcolm X a great civil right leader. Dr King developed his leadership through his training of leading his peaceful protest, engaging in operations, and community conferences. Neither man was born a leader. Both engaged themselves with in a leadership virtue.

Enduring Thyself

Posted: July 25, 2013 in Benjamin Mensah

What is agency, and how can it be both a useful concept and a weapon?

Agency is the active operation in which a person must go through to achieve and grasp what they wish to become. Agency is the right in acting, pursuing oneself and goals; not by words but with action. It is not looking at the past or future but focusing on the present and making something of it. Agency also deals with believing oneself, thoughts, behavior, interaction, and finding happiness in it. Not happiness of pleasure or pain but a fair happiness of a mean sanctuary.

Agency is very useful and powerful in a person’s everyday life. It is very useful because one is able to build self-confidence by believing his or her thoughts to be just. Not only to them but to everyone. Agency is a very useful because it helps an individual conquer them self. Not others but themselves. It is also a process one must practice every day to obtain it to make it absolute.

Agency is a very powerful weapon to any individual that have obtained it. I believe those who have agency are invisible because they’ve learned to adapt to any environment and anything that stands in their way. Not only are they able to adopt but also bond or bind others. Agency is a powerful weapon because the individual who masters it will exceed success that no ordinary person can even imagine striving for. Individuals that I believe have had agency are Olympians. Olympians are abnormal people to me, in a positive way. They have obtained strength that not many others have. They have obtained confidence. Everybody in this world is capable of becoming an Olympian but not everybody moves or acts out of self-confidence, powerful action, the agency to conquer their own mind. When an Olympian loses they go back and train to get better. When an individual loses they begin to doubt themselves, shows fear, lack of confidence. Olympians are able to bond and bind others. Any ordinary person doesn’t dare compare themselves to an Olympian because they know and understand the level an Olympian is on. When an Olympian says he or she is going to do something, they end up doing it. If an Olympian don’t manage to achieve what they want. They will continue to strive unless they have grasped it.
Agency can be very useful and a powerful weapon in everyone’s life. Those who achieve agency will overcome many things and reach great heights in life.

Aristotle believes that character is not natural. He believes it is developed through habit. I had to really think about this question. Aristotle has a good point if you think about it. When you come into this world you are empty. You have no idea who or what you are. We develop our character from doing things over and over like a baby learning to walk. Each time that baby walks, they keep falling down. But the baby keep’s getting back up until he or she is able to standup and walk.

As we get older we start to get into the habit of doing thing that help develop our character. You have some people that love to learn. This comes from being in the habit of getting up early for school. Aristotle says that wisdom requires virtue of character, in the sense that it cannot develop or operate unless one has been brought up in the correct habits. This is why I feel that character is unnatural.

Writing Assignment #3

Posted: July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


This week students read Judith Butler’s “Grieving, Gender, & Violence” and Plato’s Timaeus. In consideration of these readings, they chose one of the following prompts from their seminar classes.

Given what you know now, if you could write a letter to your fifteen year old self what would you say and why? I want to encourage you to write whatever you think would be important for your younger self to know. But in writing your letter, consider Butler’s point that “vulnerability…becomes highly exacerbated under certain social and political conditions, especially those in which violence is a way of life and the means to secure self-defense are limited.” (29)

“What is that which always is and has no becoming; and what is that which is always becoming and never is?”

This week’s writing assignment was given to us by Professor Shadeeda Mensah. She asked us to write a letter to our younger self (at 15 years old). She asked us what would we say and why? She wanted us to say anything that would be important for our younger self to know. But in writing this letter she wanted us to consider Butler’s point that, “vulnerability………becomes highly exacerbated under certain social and political conditions, especially those in which violence is a way of life and the means to secure self-defense are limited.

At 15, I was arrested for attempted murder; which was reduced to assault in the 1st degree. The mind state of that child then was very aggressive and anti-authority; so in reality, the child then wouldn’t listen to the man now. That child was hard-headed and took pleasure in arguing his truth (a future philosopher). He was closed minded and swore he knew everything about life. So what would I say to him?

Peace Anthony,

I know you at a place where you don’t want to be told anything by anyone, especially something positive, because in your world nothing seems positive. But this is coming from you, your future self. So I am figuring that you’ll have no problems listening to your own words.

The first thing I would like to tell you is the prison sentence you are about to do, will not define you; which I know you can’t believe. But it’s true. It’s your actions after prison that will begin to define you. You will enroll in college, and then drop out. That’s your first mistake, and probably the most vital. You will choose drugs and money over education.

Right now, the projects have you feeling like your walls are caving in around you. You feel nothing in your environment seems to be cultivating anything positive in you. All the centers are closing. You’ve tried playing sports, but it doesn’t interest you. You like art, music, and poetry, but there are no programs like that in your neighborhood. This is where you will begin to write graffiti, the only form of expression that you have besides rhyming. They will give you a voice. Some of the only tools you have to fight that vulnerability.

Right now, you’re feeling you have no control over your life. Your friends are dying because of random violence. They’re going to jail because they are committing crimes; they feel helpless. Gunshots have become normal, you almost feel immune to death by a bullet. This is an example of derealization; which is a feeling of altered reality and ones surroundings appear unreal or unfamiliar. The police are harassing you everywhere you go; which is not outside the four block radius you call home. Drugs are everywhere and everyone is doing them. I guess it’s a form of escape (maybe they’re trying to escape or deal with that vulnerability) you feel like you are at war; like your destiny is to die in this ghetto, whether physically or mentally.

Let me tell you now, you become everything you hate. You engage in this Gomorrah because you think that you cannot rise above it. But you can. These conditions do not have to define you. That vulnerability that you are feeling can perpetuate a great awareness. So what I am giving you is a warning: The only way to truly fight for your life and your conditions is become active in your local politics. Become aware of what’s going on in your neighborhood and neighborhoods like yours. Give yourself a true voice and become part of the political process. Begin to fight for what you believe in, correctly. Become an intern or volunteer, pay attention to the news, and go to school. As Judith Butler said,

“Violence is surely a touch of the worst order, a way a primary human vulnerability to other humans is exposed in its most terrifying way, a way in which we are given over, without control, to the will of another, a way in which life itself can be expunged by the willful action of another. To the extent that we commit violence, we are acting on another, putting the other at risk, causing the other damage, threatening to expunge the other”.

This is only one of the outcomes or effects of vulnerability. It is not the only outcome. Vulnerability can also build a character trait in you called resistance. So I want you to resist!

Evolution And The Absolute

Posted: July 18, 2013 in Benjamin Mensah

Socrates and his friends are discussing the meaning of the following quote, “What is that which is and has no becoming and what is that which is always Becoming but Never Is”, in the dialogue Timaeus. In what follows, I will offer up my own interpretation.

What is that which is always becoming and never is I believe are people. I say people are who they are but at the same time never are. Sometimes we think people are becoming something or someone because of their actions in a present day or past action but we end up being wrong. In Dewey’s “Human nature and Conducts”. Dewey explains how as human beings we are constantly changing. Either it’s with our desires, dreams, conditions, and actions. We are always becoming something and then at the same time we are changing every second of the minute. My little brother told me he wanted to be a fireman, the next month he told me he wanted to be a policeman, the following month he told me he wanted to be a scientist. That’s a good example of something or someone which is always becoming and never is. People are what they are becoming but never is because they are rapidly changing through social conditions or personal feelings. I can also relate this to Sartre “Existentialism is a Humanism”, where he states “Man is not only that which he conceive himself to be, but that which he wills himself to be, and since he conceives of himself only after he exists, just as he wills himself to be after thrown into existence, man is not only other than what he makes of him”. This means that if someone does not exist than it will be impossible for them to make something of themselves.

What is that which is and has no becoming I believe is God. The reason why I say this is because within humanity, we’ve created and have this belief that there is a being in the universe that is beyond ourselves. We consider this being to be God and if anyone tries to change who God is, they will not succeed. This is because of Gods long history in human culture. God is what he is and god is not becoming who he is. God is a divine being most have spoken of throughout the history of mankind. In Sartre’s Existentialism precedes Essence. He talks about existence preceding essence which is related to human beings. Now since God has no existence as in physical form. God is Essence whom precedes existence. God is known throughout history to be a being that helps and saves mankind and no matter what, it will always be like that. God is that which is and is not becoming something else.