Monday, July 15, 2019

Reflection: Are Corporations "Alive"?

"Despite not being individual human beings, corporations, as far as US law is concerned, are legal persons, and have many of the same rights and responsibilities as natural persons do. For example, a corporation can own property, and can sue or be sued." - Wikipedia
It consumes, it grows, it has a mind of its own, and it adapts. Am I enumerating the basic requisites of a living thing, or am I listing down what a corporation can do? When you think about it, a living thing and a corporation are very hard to tell apart. I tried looking online for a blog post or a reddit thread that compares corporations to actual living entities and surprisingly I've found little on that topic. There's this Quora question that asks the same question that I did, but I'm not satisfied with the discussion that played out. That's where I come in to fill a tiny hole in the internet with my thoughts. It's not much, and maybe nobody will actually see this except for my blog's regular stalkers (aka my loved ones) but here it goes anyway.

My comparison of corporations to living things is in a way similar to Plato's comparison of his ideal society to a soul. For those of you who don't know, Plato once wrote a book called Republic, where he delves into what he calls the ideal society, which is comprised of three parts. These three parts can also be found in the human soul. You can think of a society as one giant soul comprised of souls imprisoned in flesh -- that's how Plato sees us people. Namely, the three parts of the soul are the rational part, the spirited part, and the appetitive part. Ideally these three parts must be kept in balance and in that order for a soul to be "just". Not everyone is the same, so different people have different affinities towards which part they are more drawn to. For example, rational people become scholars, spirited people become soldiers, and appetitive people become businessmen and artisans. Society is "ideal" when these people are organized so that the rational lead, the spirited defend, and the appetitive hoard for the future.

Everyone that still remembers their biology classes would know that cells are the building blocks of life. Although we consider them something as primary as that, they're also pretty much alive. They are just as alive as you and me because they consume, grow, reproduce, and die. Arguably the only thing they lack is sentience. Cells devote their entire lives to one function, and that's making us, well, function.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure everyone remembers the hierarchy: A group of cells working together is called a tissue. A group of tissues working together creates an organ. A group of organs working together creates a system. A group of systems working together creates us.

A group of us working together... doesn't that make a corporation? Cells work so that we can move and consume sustenance that in turn keeps them alive. Don't we help corporations stay alive by helping them make money so that we in turn can make money so that we stay alive? A company is an "organization" which comes from the root word "organ". That's not a coincidence. Corporations may not move with limbs like we do, but they're alive just like plants are; they grow slowly, but they can have lifespans that can far exceed ours.

On a more existential note, does that mean that to be productive, meaningful human beings, we must serve and work for corporations 24/7, like our cells do? From this line of thinking, it would seem that sacrificing our lives to corporations would be the right thing to do when aiming to live a life filled with higher purpose. We don't berate our cells for tirelessly working to keep our bodies functioning.

There's just one crucial difference I'd like to point out with this analogy between cells to body and humans to corporations. I've already stated it in one of the paragraphs above: Cells are not sentient, unlike us. They don't have wants, aspirations, goals. They're just cogs in a machine. To treat a human being as something like a cell without any wants and will is -- to put it straightforwardly -- dehumanizing. At least, that's the conclusion that I've come up with.

In summary, a corporation is "alive" in a very loose sense of the word. Obviously I know it doesn't fit the perfect definition used in Biology. This blog post was just a fun thought exercise like the Philosophers of old used to do all the time. People make up corporations like cells do but we aren't cells. We have our own thoughts and sentience that are integral to being considered a higher life form.

Thanks for reading through this short train of thought. As always let me know what you think by leaving a comment. ☺

Monday, June 24, 2019

Technology: My eBook about Apps will Change the Way you View your Finances

It's no secret to my readers that I love to write. That's why I have a blog. Writing lets me organize my thoughts. There's always a lot going on in my mind, admittedly not all of the mess in it is beneficial for me. One day I decided to set my mind's thoughts into something that's actually productive, so -- this may come as a surprise to most readers -- I've actually written my own ebook. As in a true legitimate book with its own adherence to copyright laws, ISBN (International Standard Book Number), and cover page. I'm proud to be able to strike that off the bucket list. 😊



The title of my book is Gen-Z Financial Guide: How to be a Badass in the the Philippine Economy. I'd like to thank the artist behind the appealing cover page of my book, Moody Bread. You can check out her Link Tree and some of her art in the link. Literally the cover wouldn't have existed without her so I'm truly grateful. Obviously I've heard of the saying "You can't judge a book by its cover". I'm taking it literally here instead of applying the expression to people as you can see. Nevertheless I totally agree with it in either of the scenarios, but honestly it's still nice to have a unique, eye-catching cover that everyone can see.

When I wrote my book, I wrote initially about my own experiences with personal finance, like how I make a profit at the Philippine stock market, or how do I make money on the side besides the market. But I've also done a lot of research to better specify what I wanted to go in detail about. Thankfully, my girlfriend used to be an economics professor. She's also a veteran stock trader so rest assured most of the information I've written down is augmented by a professional's eye.

The book was months in the making, with a hiatus in the finalization. I had some hesitations about the contents of the book -- it's the first book I've ever written after all. I want the information in my book to be as accurate as possible and I genuinely want the people who read my book to learn something they can use for their personal finances in the Philippines. It isn't a self-help book with generic motivational speeches. It's a helpful pointer to tools and apps that can help you invest and manage your finances, as well as make money on the side really easily.

The book is completely FREE and you can go over the whole thing in less than an hour if you go over it in one sitting. You can get it here and you'd have absolutely nothing to lose :)

Thanks as always for your time in reading my post. Let me know what you think about the book in the comments below!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Fitness: My Top 5 Favorite Boxers

It's no secret on this blog that I love boxing. My entire Fitness category is filled with mostly boxing-related posts. I've wrote a lot about my own boxing journey, but I haven't really written anything about the world of international boxing yet. I don't keep my eyes peeled for the latest and greatest news like some story-hungry paparazzi, but I do love to watch the sport whenever it comes on. I also watch full fights and highlights on Youtube whenever it's a slow day at work. I've seen plenty of professional boxers fight and I've grown to really like the styles of certain fighters.

Below are my top 5 fighters in terms of style.

#5: Guillermo Rigondeaux


This Cuban fighter's nicknamed "El Chacal" which is Spanish for "The Jackal", and it suits him. Rigondeaux's fighting style is slick and smooth. He's a technician with incredible defense. I like his evasive maneuvers more than Mayweather's because Rigondeaux is less frantic and more graceful (but let's be real here, objectively, Mayweather's defense is more foolproof). Unlike every other boxer, Rigondeaux very rarely throws jabs. He just positions himself right in front of you, waiting for you to miss. He's so close his enemies lose their cool and react aggressively. This makes their movements predictable, allowing Rigondeaux to calmly use his sophisticated footwork and head movement to evade the incoming punches.

With all that said, Rigondeaux also has some drawbacks. He's an aging professional but he's only had about a dozen fights. He's also on the short side, so he can't take too much hits. He evades a lot of punches, but if he messes up and one lands on one of his sweet spots, he's down. He was outmatched by Vasyl Lomachenko who I'll talk about later in this list.

#4: Gennady Golovkin



Golovkin is almost the opposite of Rigondeaux. If Rigondeaux just stays in front of you waiting for you to miss, Golovkin aggressively pushes onwards against you until you submit. Golovkin is like an immovable object; many of the fighters he's fought have thrown perfect shots trying to back him off, but Golovkin doesn't stagger much from the pain. He'll just keep throwing bombs to push his opponents into a corner, where he unleashes even more hell on them. The beauty of Golovkin's style is it's both brutal and simple. Incredible punching power, mixed with infallible endurance and unrelenting pressure. Make no mistake, Golovkin might be ranked on the lower side of this list, but he's proven time and time again that he could be the best boxer of this generation.

#3: Manny Pacquiao


I'm a Filipino, so Manny Pacquiao is definitely one of those Pinoy things that I'm totally proud of. He might be a lousy senator but he's a helluva boxer. When I think of Manny's style, I think of a ferocious, aggressive spark of fire. Anything and everything that comes into his radius won't be able to escape without getting hurt. His punches must feel like being hit by a machine gun, because he's a high volume puncher and he punches crazy hard for someone his size. He's always throwing numerous shots with blinding speed, and they're hitting his enemy everywhere! Manny's footwork was also great to see. He's always bouncing around in a way that make his opponents look like newbies.

With that said, I don't think Manny has a lot going for him defense wise. Manny doesn't use a lot of head movement to evade punches. His style usually involves just beating his opponent to the punch, and then using his bouncy footwork to get out of his opponent's line of fire either by pivoting his lead foot or taking a step back.

#2 Vasyl Lomachenko


The current superstar of boxing. He's been known under many nicknames like "Hi-Tech", "The Matrix" and "The Artist". These nicknames come as no surprise when you see him fight in the ring. He's incredibly entertaining to watch. His style makes the violent sport look graceful thanks to his footwork that gets him around the ring and all over his opponent as if he's levitating. His combinations are fast and fluid; he throws nearly as much punches as Pacquiao does. Lomachenko is very comfortable fighting on the inside. As Joe Rogan said, he sticks close to his enemies like glue, but Lomachenko can slip and dodge their punches with ease, while countering with a barrage of his own. It's an understatement to say, but it really is impressive to see a close-range fighter do the job without getting tangled up in clinches. It keeps the action fluid and exciting.

#1 Canelo Alvarez


This is where my opinion becomes controversial, because Canelo has a lot of haters. Regardless of that, this is my blog so I can say whatever the hell I want and what I want to say is this: Canelo Alvarez is the closest thing we have to a "Perfect Fighter" if there ever is one. Why do I say this? Because Canelo has shown us time and time again that he's an all-around superb fighter. Power, Technique, or Speed, you name it. He's powerful as an aggressor and he's slick when he's on the defensive. He throws snappy counter punches as if it's second nature to him. Put his power and his defense together along with those deadly counter punches and you have yourself a guy who can dish out brain damages while he avoids getting brain damage himself.

I was sold after he fought Golovkin for the second time. We've seen in this fight that Alvarez is powerful enough to make that beast stagger backwards, which is something we've never seen before.


That's my list of favorite boxers and their fighting styles summed up in a nutshell. I was thinking of including an honorable mentions list but I'll save that for another time because thinking about the styles of other fighters makes me want to write about their fighting styles too.

Who are your favorite boxers, and what do you think makes them unique? Let me know in the comments below :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fitness: Reviewing the sparring sessions that I've fought in

"'Taas mo kamay mo kahit di mo na kaya. Yan ang Fighting Spirit. (Keep your hands up even when you can't do it no more. That's true Fighting Spirit)" - Coach Julius, my first boxing trainer
Sparring is one of the most important parts of martial arts training. There's literally never been a professional fighter out there in the world that never did any sparring. This is very important because you learn to control your adrenaline, strategize while you're under live fire, and you simulate what a real fight is like without exposing yourself to too much risk. You're pitted against a live moving targeted, while wearing protective headgear. You learn to fight the smart way. Expert Boxing is one of the first places online I went to for some boxing wisdom, so you should check it out.

I was inspired to start writing about this because I just got out of a fierce sparring session yesterday. It was only two rounds of sparring, but I threw some heavy blows and I took some heavy blows. The whole sparring session was originally intended to be light i.e. nothing too serious, but things quickly started heating up in the second round.

I ate an uppercut that made spit come out of my mouth, I also took body shots that knocked the wind out of me. I wanted to keep it light because the guy I was sparring with was shorter than me, but those punches he threw made me take him seriously. I got lucky plenty of times in the fight. Since he was shorter I threw a lot of jabs and some lead left hooks. I hit him with plenty of those. I got extra lucky and hit his eye. He was tearing up but he acted like it's no big deal. That's the mark of a fighter.

So from here on out I'm going to list down my most memorable sparring sessions. I'm in a reminiscent mood so I'm doing this for posterity. I'll place a divider between different sparring sessions so they're easier to tell apart.

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This is the only video of me sparring that I have. It's my first sparring session and it happened during the first year I was in a boxing gym. It's just light sparring so there's not a lot of force in our blows. You can clearly see I'm still a beginner in this video clip. As of today I've already been in over a dozen sparring matches and I can confidently say I'm a lot better now. I now have the endurance to keep going in sparring sessions that can take as long as four to five rounds max. I'm also not afraid to take harder hits nowadays.
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One sparring session that I can never forget is the one that happened in the Elorde Gym at Taft. I wanted to go three rounds but I only managed to do two rounds because I couldn't take the hits that were being thrown at me. I admit I was scared for a moment. I took a straight right hand to the left side of my forehead which sucked so bad. I got dizzy when that happened, I saw stars during the spar and I knew that couldn't be good.

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As part of the Muay Thai club in my company, our coach lets us lightly spar if we have extra time to do that. This video shows the exact same meeting room where we normally do our light sparring. I sparred with one of my coworkers one day. I don't want to brag, but I can confidently say that I'm in full control of that sparring session. He's super hesitant to throw any punches at me, and he often positioned himself too close to me so I can hit him with some hooks if I wanted to.

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A couple of weeks ago I had another sparring session. It wasn't as heated as the one I had today, and it was the first real sparring match I had in a long time. He didn't hurt me much, because he was just throwing jabs. He was the evasive kind, so he was more focused on slipping and dodging my punches. I was still able to hit him a lot of times nevertheless. I managed to do that by incorporating some feints and footwork into my long combinations to create angles and openings.

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Last but not least I remember sparring with someone who didn't take the sparring session seriously at all because I was still a newbie. What made this sparring session memorable for me was the Drunken Fist he incorporated into his style. That's when I realized I still have a lot to learn, and up until now I've been striving to be seen as more of a threat. I think it's reasonable to assume that I'm boxing more effectively if I manage to get my sparring partner to up their game.

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There you have it those are the most memorable sparring sessions I've had up until today. Looking forward to making more memories and learning new techniques as I continue to spar. I strive to be good enough at boxing that I can handle myself in a self-defense situation or street fight. I need a lot of technique and experience to take down a bigger guy. I'm hoping I could spar with someone bigger than me soon to be able to study what works and what doesn't work when I get the short end of the stick in a fight.

What awesome sparring moments do you remember in your boxing journey? Sharing badass fight stories make you 20% cooler :) Leave your comments below!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Fitness: Teaching Muay Thai and Getting Punched in the Face in the name of Volunteerism

Back in February I wrote a blog post about my volunteering adventures into an abuse survivor home to teach them self-defense. I had so much fun teaching other people how to fight that I wanted to keep doing that. I was lucky enough to get one more chance at another volunteer event hosted by my company. This other session is definitely a lot more intense than the last one.


The first time I worked the mitts back in February, I had to train little girls. It was fun. Some of them punched surprisingly hard for their size, but it was nothing I can't handle. As you can see from this video, I was in for a massive surprise, because I won't be working the mitts with little girls anymore. I was going to work the mitts with grown men. Some of them are bigger than me!

The NGO I was supporting when I did this is called CRIBS. Similar to the Visayan Forum Foundation that I mentioned in my other blog post, CRIBS is all about creating a better environment for the children and empowering people in the process. The participants in this session are the security guards and janitors of the building where we do our work.

Although majority of them were security guards, they didn't really have a lot of combat experience. We asked them if they've ever done any contact sport before and most of them said the only sport they've ever done was basketball. This was evident when we taught them through the proper Muay Thai stance. It isn't second nature for them yet to put their hands-up like the professionals do. Once we got them up to speed on the basic stance and strikes, it was time to wrap their hands, put on the gloves, and hit the pads.
Security guard to his friend while I was wrapping his hands: "Kunin mo 'to ng litrato, minsan lang to mangyari!" (Get a picture of this, it doesn't happen often!)
I have to admit I was intimidated at first, but I quickly saw this as an opportunity to see what I'm really made of. If I can't handle their power when I work the mitts with them, how am I going to take a punch in a real fight? I know I just mentioned they don't have any combat experience, nevertheless their size and weight made their punches hard to take. They learned really quickly too. 4-hit and 5-hit combinations weren't difficult for them to pull off after a couple of rounds at the mitts. Weaving under hooks is still awkward, but they managed to incorporate it into their combos.

I got hit 3 times. That's the highlight of my entire experience. I wish I had pictures or clips of when it happened but we'd just have to settle with my anecdote. It hurts but it's still awesome at the same time. A couple of those were my fault because I underestimated their power.

Burly group of men! They're not on the scrawny side.
The first one came from a security guard about my size. I told him to throw a barrage of hooks from both left and right hands. He lost control a bit and threw way too wildly so he ended up smacking my forearms, instead of the pads. They were real punches so they hurt a bit. Thankfully they didn't hit any of my sweet spots (e.g. my face, or my chin.)

The second punch came from a tall lanky security guard when I told him to throw a left uppercut. I didn't expect him to hit so hard. I didn't slap his fist hard enough so his punch went through and hit my face. Obviously this punch hurt more than the first.

The third punch came from a guy that was much shorter than me. It was also a left uppercut and again I underestimated the power behind the glove. When he threw that punch, the back of my mitt hit my face. Although it's a bit more indirect than the other one, it was much, much stronger than the other guy's. This is surprising because he's not a security guard. He's just a janitor! When I got hit by that, I knew I had to take him seriously. I slapped all of his other incoming punches as if they were no joke.

Besides weaving, their distance, slipping, and their overall defense still had a lot of room for improvement. They didn't keep their hands up, and they were too close. I didn't reprimand them about this because I was more focused on teaching them combinations, and I wanted them to have a good time.

Besides all the punching and kicking, we also had them do some calisthenics like real fighters. The video below encapsulates nicely most of what we've made them do, aside from the light sparring that I showed at the beginning, which is actually one of the last things we made them do as a culmination of everything they've learned in the short time we've been training them.



Fortunately, I have a clip of the sparring session; it's better for you to see the actual sparring, instead of me just writing about it. But I will say this: I learned some valuable things just by watching them go at it. They're big and they swing hard, but they tire easily. I'm thankful my coach pointed that out for me. They don't have the stamina to keep their hands up for the whole duration of a round (FYI, that's 3 mins). I have the stamina to go 3 rounds on average, so if I were to go up against a bigger, inexperienced fighter, I just need to keep my head moving, and my hands up until they tire themselves out. My opponent would be a lot easier to take down once he's burned out like that. That's something you can take into consideration too.

I think that's about everything I can say about the Volunteer Day 2019 event. I hope I can do more things like these in the future. I really enjoy the workout and experience I get, and it feels great to be able to give back to society in my own special way outside from the paycheck I get.

What's your special way of giving back to the community? As always let me know in the comments below :)

Monday, May 27, 2019

Entertainment: Comparing Mob Psycho 100's Psychic Abilities with Real Life Blessings - An Essay

"If everyone is not special, Maybe you can be what you want to be" - Mob Choir
I used to watch a lot of anime, but I grew out of it in my teenage years. I just don't find it appealing anymore and admittedly, a lot of it's made for a younger audience. Most of the mainstream stuff are Shonen or Moe and I really don't like those genres. I'm not going to get into why I dislike them. Anime that I really enjoy nowadays are stuff like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, which makes sense because I fall under the Young Male target demographic now.

More importantly for this essay is I also really like Deconstructions. For those of you who don't know, you can check out its long, elaborate definition in the link I inserted. But to put it shortly and simply, a deconstruction is a type of storytelling that picks apart the commonalities of its peers and what makes it work i.e. it's when you "break apart" and analyze a story. Deconstruction isn't a genre of anime -- you can find deconstructions in any medium. They tend to look like parodies but what differentiates deconstructions from parodies is that they're done with the intent of making the viewer think of other similar works, instead of making the viewer laugh through satire which is what parodies normally do. There are two deconstruction animes I currently love: Mob Psycho 100 and Asobi Asobase. I already wrote about Asobi Asobase so we'll just go straight ahead with Mob Psycho 100.

I'd love to get some of the more official art on this blog
but I have to use the license-free images thanks to copyright issues.

Mob Psycho 100 is a Deconstruction anime that's hilarious and epic as much as it's deep. Lady Geek Girl does a great job explaining how Mob Psycho 100 deconstructs the Shonen genre here. If you're in the mood to philosophically contemplate the media you're consuming, you should definitely check it out! That's not what I want to expound on here.

In a nutshell, Mob Psycho 100 is about Shigeo Kageyama, nicknamed "Mob" by everyone around him. Mob is your average middle-school boy. He's a bit timid, frail, and he's also not the brightest. He has a crush on a girl that everyone says is way out of his league, and he works part-time for a conman. It doesn't sound like a lot of fun being Mob but what makes him unique is he's blessed with the strongest psychic abilities in the world. He's the closest thing to God when he lets his powers fly out of control. He can easily throw cars in the air and destroy buildings with his mind alone (I know I said he isn't the brightest but you don't need to be smart to be psychic!) The catch of the anime is that Mob doesn't want to use his powers. Not at all. Other psychics exist in Mob's universe and unlike Shigeo, they abuse their powers whenever they think it would benefit them. Mob's enemies are psychics who see themselves as special. They believe the world should put them on a pedestal to be worshipped for their specialty. They get a dose of reality after their run-in with Mob and they realize they're not so special after all. Mob beats them because his powers are on a wholly different level. Pitting the other psychic's powers to Mob's is like comparing a bunch of ants to the freakin' Sun.

With that said, Psychic Abilities play an important role in the world of Mob Psycho 100. It's become the general identifier of someone's specialty in the anime. The stronger your Psychic Abilities, the more special you are. Mob doesn't see himself as someone special even though he has God-given powers. This drives the other, weaker psychics mad because they've been completely invalidated. Psychic powers don't exist in real life, though. The theme of the anime is to be as down-to-earth as possible, so it'd be nice to have a reference on what exactly does the show pertain to exactly.

Below I've listed some real life attributes we have in real life. I'll try to compare them to Psychic Abilities in the anime to see which makes the best match.

1) Capacity for Violence

What if they're basically just punching each other with their minds?
This is an obvious one because there's so much destruction and fighting in the anime. It's wrong, but the reality is it's easy to get others to do what you want them to do, and get what you want, by using force. This is exactly what the Scar group (Mob's psychic enemies) do with their powers. Although more or less, an individual's capacity for violence isn't necessarily something someone is born with -- it can be trained -- this fits well given that Shonen anime are also basically about fighting, starring protagonists blessed with inexplicably strong powers.

Mob could be a middle-school boy with unholy bloodlust deep within him that freaks out adults like the Scars. They must think they're so tough just because they have a bit of bloodlust in them too. This situation would be somewhat similar to a bunch of fighters (Scar), who underestimate an up-and-coming street fighter with enormous potential (Mob).

I thought of the equivalence of violence to Psychic Abilities during the scene in one of the last episodes of season 2 where Mob scolded a bunch of weak psychics using their powers to break windows and loot abandoned shops. Mob can do the exact same thing, but he doesn't because he's in control of his bloodlust. He'd rather be a productive member of society.

2) Good Looks

Psychics are just a bunch of Narcissists

Psychic Abilities can be a symbolism for good looks because charisma and attractiveness is just something someone is born with. The reality is some people are born more attractive than others. Sometimes this gets into the heads of the charming people, and they start to think that they're more special than everybody else just because of their good looks.

It's possible that the symbolism here is that all the psychics are much more attractive than the general crowd, so they believe they deserve to be worshipped on a pedestal. Mob can be someone so young and so incredibly handsome who doesn't agree with this worldview, and he prefers to work hard to put some meaning into his life. This upsets the psychics because they know very well that without their charisma they're nothing in life. Mob, who has something going on for him while also being the best looking out of all of them, reminds them of their inferiority.

I'm stretching a bit here, but one of my evidences for thinking this is during Mob's fight with Teru, who proclaimed "I am the main character of the story" because he sees himself as so charismatic.

3) High IQ

Einstein may not have been a psychic,
but at least he contributed to society
High IQ works really well as a match for Psychic Abilities because both of these things are mental in nature. Similar to good looks, this is something that people are simply born with. Some people are gifted with high IQs, while others are not so lucky. IQ doesn't change drastically over the course of a person's life.

I thought of the connection between the two because there are so many pseudo-intellectuals online who like to compare IQs as if they're measuring d*ck lengths. Someone would say their IQ is 117, and another would jump out of nowhere to say their IQ is 121. All they do is spend a lot of time comparing IQs and arguing about esoteric topics on the internet instead of doing anything productive. People with high IQs also lack in the EQ department, so oftentimes they act like buttholes.

That goes exactly against one of the core messages of the anime: Just be a Good Person, okay?

I'm also reminded again of the scene where Mob scolds the weak psychics for breaking stuff and asks them a bunch of questions related to being a productive member of society, like if they know how to craft the glass they broke, manufacture the can they stole, or plant the seeds of the tree that creates the ingredients for the soda they didn't pay for. What's the point of having a high IQ if you're just going to spend all of your time arguing?

4) Money/Social Class

Psychics and the Bourgeoisie have one thing in common:
They're entitled
Out of all the items on this list, I think this is the one where I really stretch out. Regardless, I still see plenty of similarities between what the show's trying to say about Psychic Abilities, and our real life "power" of Money/Social Class.

Status is something we're born with. If we're born middle-class we'll probably die as middle-class. Likewise, if we were born as part of the lower class, we'd probably still be lower-class when we die. Moving up or down a status is actually quite difficult. Obviously, moving up is a lot harder than moving down. Our status carries money, and money is power.

I thought about this when I realized Teru was a popular kid in his own school. Normally it's the rich kids who become popular. The privilege associated with rich individuals give them the upper hand when it comes to sports, getting respect, and talking to the opposite sex. I also see a similarity between Psychic Powers and Money in the last episode of Season 2. Toichiro became so strong because he saved up his powers for over 20 years, kind of like how you can save money up.

5) Mental Illness

This looks nearly identical to that one scene in the opening!
This is the last one on the list because I like to save the best for last.

Mental Illness connects with Psychic Abilities because they're both psychological in nature (duh), and they both play a part when it comes to a person's emotions. Nowadays the term "Mental Illness" is used way too much, to the point that the term has lost both its meaning and value, and maybe that's one thing Mob Psycho 100 is trying to show.

There are many self-proclaimed psychics in the show, but a lot of them are fake. These psychics can be seen as "man-children" who just want to be seen as unique by society to get special treatment. The Scars, although they really do have psychic powers i.e. they really do have mental illnesses, think they deserve special treatment for it. Not Mob. Mob might have a really severe mental illness that he can't control, but he doesn't let that get to his head as him being "entitled". He understands that his mental illness isn't something to be celebrated. In fact, he sees it as a curse, so he tries to live his life as if it doesn't exist.

I thought of this connection between mental illnesses and psychic abilities because of the traumatic experience Mob had with his little brother, when they were bullied. Mob unconsciously used his powers to kill the bullies, but he badly injured his little brother in the process. Ever since that incident, his brother Ritsu's been afraid of him whenever he has episodes. Ritsu doesn't want his brother to be stressed out because he might explode again.

As someone who is mentally ill, I can say with certainty my sisters really don't like it when I have one of my episodes. They try to steer clear from it as much as possible.

Conclusion:

I know just last week I said I made a really long blog post, but apparently this one is longer than my blog post about why video games are a good way to waste your time. What have we learned from all that I've written about Mob and the show's Psychic Abilities?

I think it's safe to say that the author, One, did a good job of choosing Psychic Abilities as the "power type" that makes the special characters in the anime, well... special. Since Psychic Abilities have a lot in common with a bunch of other attributes like the ones I listed above, its very easy to relate to the anime. The show clearly wants us to relate it with our own lives, so it let's us see what we want to see since Psychic Abilities actually don't exist in real life. We're allowed to fill in the gap on what would it really be in real life.

What do you think the Psychic Abilities represent in Mob Psycho 100? Is it different from the ones I mentioned in the list? Let me know in the comments below :)

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Entertainment: Why Video Games are a Good Way to Waste your Time

We've all heard it before: Video Games are a waste of time. A few decades ago the narrative against video games was that they instill violent behavior into the players. Recent studies have effectively debunked this. Nowadays in this hyper-paced society, the stigma against the medium has shifted to calling it out as an incredibly distracting way to past the time. Supposedly it's so distracting that it can put any and all productivity in your life to a halt. Gamers are seen as lethargic wastes of time and space with no redeeming qualities.

Clearly from the title of this blog post, you can see that I disagree with this stance. I don't rebuke it wholeheartedly -- I do think that under certain circumstances, playing video games is a waste of somebody's time -- but video games are a good way to waste your time.

Creating sculptures in Minecraft boosts creativity :)

First, a little bit of background about me: right now I don't play video games as much as I used to, and I'm definitely not young enough anymore to see the appeal in the hottest trending video games like Fortnite and Minecraft, but gaming has been a huge part of my life. I've been playing video games since I was in kindergarten. My dad was a gamer himself in his younger years and he encouraged me to play video games a lot since he wasn't interested in sports at all. So in a nutshell playing video games was something I've learned to do almost since birth.

Nowadays I've grown out of video games a bit. I was able to graduate college and get a job. I go to the gym and practice sports more often than I play video games. And I even participate in volunteer activities for the betterment of my local community.

Other people would be pissed at their younger selves for playing too much video games. Yes, I'm pissed at my younger self for not learning about the outside world sooner, but instead of getting mad at video games for sucking me into an unproductive hellhole for the majority of my childhood, I actually want to thank it for shaping into the person that I am. I don't know who I'd be if you took video games out of my system!

I've thought about this a lot, so below I've listed down some very beneficial things you can get out of playing video games. I wanted to make this list as concrete as possible with original items. As of the writing of this paragraph I haven't taken a look at what others have to say about the benefits of playing video games but I'm 90% sure that "Stress reliever" and "improves hand-eye coordination" are some of those items.

1. You get to appreciate Good Software Design

I want to start off with this benefit because it's something just about everyone takes for granted that I don't see often in these kinds of lists. That's understandable; Good Design is something you don't even notice. When you play video games, the main menu, the controller in your hands, the way the game mechanics are mapped to the said controller, and the layout of the levels are all made by people who graduated with a bachelor's degree in some form of design or another.


Game Maker's Took Kit is a deep dive sort of Youtube channel that delves into the systems that game developers have created for their games. Here's a video of them talking about God of War's fighting system that's nearly 20mins long. It goes to show that there's a lot to be said about the design of the game's combat system. Check out their channel for other videos if you want to learn more nitty gritty technical aspects of your favorite games!

There are constants and variables to the designs of different video games, and the developers in the industry continue to innovate on what's already been built. All of the work is done to provide us gamers with the most seamless and intuitive experience as possible; aren't video games just discs and softwares full of great experiences? I dream of a world where technology's advanced enough that real-life experiences like using our phones and navigating our world is as smooth as playing a video game.

2. Playing a lot of Video Games makes you experience-rich

My first point transitions nicely into my second. Video games aren't materialistic objects. People buy games for the experiences contained in the software design. To the outsider, playing video games look like you're just rotting away on a couch, pushing buttons on a glowing toy. Arguably that really is what's happening but inside the mind of a gamer she's an adventurer, or a fighter, a hunter maybe, or maybe even a hero. It may sound cliche and ironic, but the meme still stands...

"I'm a gamer not because I don't have a life, but because I choose to have many."

Video games let us do what we can't normally do in our lives, risk-free, at an affordable price. Some of us would love to pack their bags and go hiking or exploring, but there are tons of responsibilities and obligations we're tethered to that we simply can't afford to sever for our ultimately short-lived pleasure. Some of us would like to start bar fights without the fear of actually losing any teeth. There are video games that let you skydive, obviously. Video games let us live some of these fantasies of ours.

3. Video Games are immersive, educational toys

I like to call video games "educational toys". These experiences that games gives us, especially the really grand "Triple A" games with millions of dollars in budget, are interwoven together in a way to be as immersive and mind-blowing as possible. Game producers often do this by including an element of learning into the mix.

Everyone knows a little bit of something about Norse Mythology, although I think it's safe to say that only very few of us can discuss it on a deep level. Most people based almost all of their knowledge on that mythos from Marvel's Thor and Loki. That's all well and good but some gamers are able to truly expound their knowledge on this topic if they play God of War for the PS4. The game is gruesome and violent, but at the same time it immerses you into the myths and creatures that Norse mythology has to offer. Personally, I think God of War did such a great job on immersing the player into the mythology that I finished the game with a drive to learn more about the gods and goddesses the characters of the game are based on.

Assassin's Creed II recreates the architecture that perpetuated Renaissance Italy
The entire Assassin's Creed series teaches players a lot about history. The whole game basically has you running around doing parkour and stabbing people in the back, but what makes it educational is the whole setting of where the parkour and stabbing takes place. Unbeknownst  to players who are focused on their primary objective of assassinating the target the game tells them to kill, they learn a little bit more about history, architecture, and culture along the way thanks to the game's backdrop. A specific example of this is Assassin's Creed II which takes place in Italy during the Renaissance. Players are able to appreciate Renaissance architecture around Tuscany, Venice, and the Vatican as they traverse the rooftops. They assassinate real-life political figures like the incestuous Borgia family and the Pope. The player's character, Ezio, is friends with Leonardo Da Vinci, so we even learn a little bit about the personal life of the genius outside of painting, like his desire to learn anatomy, or his sexual preference in a small comment during one of his conversations with Ezio.

There have been education professionals who've dabbled in software design to find interactive ways to teach others. These kind of works always get hit by criticism that the lessons and knowledge the game wants to share are too forced. These professionals can only wish to do it as well as real video games (with million dollars in budget) can.

4. Video Games can make you more outspoken, decisive, and socially competent

Eloquence in a topic is directly proportional to the amount of knowledge the speaker has in that field. Since video games are enthralling experiences filled with precious nuggets of trivia and facts that stick to the players long after they've finished playing the game, they grow as a person who can handle conversations that might include topics that they've seen before. God of War and Assassin's Creed II can definitely help college students with their recitations in their mythology and history classes.

Recently released video games nowadays tend to include an element of decision-making in social settings. These simulated social situations pit players against all sorts of different archetypes of people as either friend or foe. For introverted people who are too afraid to go outside and talk to people, these make-believe interactions at the very least trains the minds of the players on what they could possibly say to steer real conversation in the way that they want it to go.

A really great example of this is the video game Persona 5. The player's power is directly proportional to the strength of the bonds he has with the people he meets in the game, (he is literally running on the power of friendship if you think about it). The only way to get the true ending of the game is to be consistent with your values, and to uphold the friendship your character has made along the way. You get the bad ending if you decide to backstab your friends. This kind of gameplay design reinforces the player's moral integrity so that they decide to uphold their own values in real life instead of betraying their real friends.

Some people have lots of fun in this kind of environment. Not most gamers.
Although gamers will hardly ever be the life of the party, video games have Multiplayer, which allows players to interact with real humans. Overwatch is my prime example for this, because it's a game that focuses entirely on multiplayer to engage players (I also want to add that Overwatch is the perfect example of a game with intuitive design that gives players the smoothest experience possible). Playing Overwatch teaches the player teamwork and communication. Overwatch lets you select from a huge cast of "Heroes" with different strengths and weaknesses. It's up to the player's team to talk it over regarding what role they should play to ensure victory against the other team. It's not very different from playing a team sport like basketball.

5. Playing video games has more takeaways and less costs than going to nightclubs, or browsing social media.

This is my final point that I want to bring home since the whole topic of this blog post is about whether or not video games are a waste of time. It's important to compare video games with other ways to spend your time to see the relative advantages and disadvantages games have over them.

This meme sums up the kind of discussion I want to spur from this blog post

Going to nightclubs occasionally with friends is super fun, I admit, but making it a weekly thing isn't productive at all when you think about it. Nas Daily sums up the problems with partying in one of his videos. First of all, nightclubs are crazy overpriced, so it sucks to be you if  you're always being peer pressured to join these things. Second, the booze is not only expensive, but it's obviously detrimental to your health. You're going to end up with a beer belly from clubbing unless you dance really really hard on the dance floor. Third, you go home in the morning and wake up in the afternoon with a crappy hangover, so you spend the whole day after clubbing doing absolutely nothing. It's even worse when drugs become involved.

So clubbing is expensive and not good for your financial or physical well-being. On the opposite end of the spectrum is browsing social media, which is something almost everybody does in their spare time nowadays. It's become ubiquitous because everyone's already wired into the internet and the algorithms know each individual inside-and-out to constantly give everyone something that they want to see. On the bright side, this is a very low-cost way to spend your time, but on the downside, browsing social media doesn't improve you as well as video games could. From my perspective, Video games can be seen as an investment while browsing social media can be seen as not making an investment at all. Although you can interact on social media, it's not as interactive as video games.

Unlike clubbing or browsing social media, there's a whole lot of self improvement that can be found in video games. The other items on this list are literally the benefits that I mean so I don't have to repeat any of that here.

Conclusion:
This might be the longest blog post I've written ever, so hopefully we've learned something from all of this.

I do agree that video games are a waste of time. This is definitely true if you're playing video games when you have other things you should be doing. It's also most especially true if you play a game for 4 hours or more when it isn't even your day job. But still, video games are a good way to waste your time because they help you grow as a person, whether you know about it or not. video games imprint something on you and in the long-run, games will become a big part of your character that shaped you up as a person thanks to the experiences you get from them.

Only Twitch Streamers, E-sports gamers, and Let's Players have the right to play video games the whole day without it being a "waste of time" because that's their livelihood. It's literally productive for them to keep playing video games.

What are some video games that you think are really beneficial for a gamer to play? Name me your top 5 list in the comments below. Bonus points if each game has a short explanation :)