SELF IMPORTANCE: WHY WE USE THE WORD INTELLECTUAL SO LOOSELY TODAY

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“I think therefore I am.”


We live in a society today where there is so much self-importance. Everyone feels Image result for galileo galileithat they are unique enough for everyone to get to know. It’s the main reason why social media is such a big medium. You’re taking pictures of yourself, to posting comments, and even sitting around waiting for likes. But too often we hear people refer to themselves as geniuses. The self-importance has gotten so high, we are coining ourselves terms that normally we give to people; not people giving to themselves. A person does something or says something, and we say, “Wow, that persons’ a genius. ” Now we have so many people, especially public figures who consider themselves geniuses. And I am very skeptical of people calling themselves intelligent geniuses.

See, in my opinion, intellectualism is a broad spectrum of knowledge covering Related imagemany topics in which aptitude is higher than most or the majority. Now, on the other hand, being smart to means having a degree of knowledge on a given topic. So yes, you can be smart, yet lack intelligence. For example, we have some smart celebrities, but Stephen Hawking is intelligent. And as the topic pertains to myself, I pride myself on being smart. Even though I have an IQ that is much higher than the average. For those that don’t know, the average IQ is 110, and mine falls between 160-170. But if you ask me, I still feel more smart than intelligent. But what is it about people today that make them think they’re intellectuals? And to me, it has a lot to do with hype.

We give people kudos for so much that we inadvertently contribute to the flatting up of people’s egos. They start to think that they are geniuses instead of contributing their work to luck, talent, and hard work. Now don’t get me wrong, we have had some pretty smart people to have done a lot before their time. But note Related imagethat they did not call themselves intelligent. Then again, intellect is a broad term which can take on so many meanings. Musicians, painters, sculptures, scientist, and writers have all fallen under this umbrella of intellectual. And for the more monumental artist, the term genius applies. And who would I be referring to when speaking of their cognitive abilities?

I am talking about men like Beethoven, Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Galileo Galilei. I am referencing these men because the level at which they were able to perform their craft. The amount of knowledge they possessed at the time in which they worked was astounding. Today, we might look at what have done in context of what we know about science today as insightful. But for the time period, they were a whole other level above just insightful. So in the end, we must not confuse the words smart and intellectual; bright and genius. One is knowing and understanding a certain subject matter, and the other is an all encompassing understanding of multiple genres of study.


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FIVE IN THE STREET: HOW TO PLAY LIFE WITH HAND YOU’RE DEALT

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“Just because you were born at the bottom, doesn’t mean you have to stay at the bottom.”


For myself, as with many like myself, I am starting my life from humble beginnings. And when I say humble beginnings, I mean growing up poor. My mother is what you would call the working poor. Where one missed day of work, one sick day could have placed her, my two sisters, and myself in a homeless shelter, or worse in the street. But does that mean our lives have to stay that way? No, it does not. Because living in America, we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. My two siblings are currently steadfast in their careers, and am actively pursuing my own path in life. So if you’ve been dealt a bad hand, how do you win with that hand?

Well, for starters, it comes by way of education. At a young age, my mother started to invest in our education. And when I say invest, she didn’t have money set aside for us as children. But she did make sure that the schools we went to were good enough and safe enough. She waited in lines to enroll us in school. She didn’t sleep in the bed and not make an effort to get us into a good school. She made it her mission, at times sacrificing her own well-being. Even though we were in public school, with my oldest sister attending private in high school, the schools were decent. The school wasn’t a place where all the kids were focused on being cool kids. You were encouraged to expand your mind past how you were being perceived by your peers. So you were able to focus on your education.

So now that education was taken care of, my mother cultivated a household where our minds could grow. At a young age she would take us to the library where we took part in various activities: reading, writing, and putting together puzzles (which was an activity I loved). We even had times on Friday nights when she would have long conversations with us about life. Little did I know those conversations and those weekend trips to the library were getting us prepared to deal in life. It taught me patients, hard work, persistence, and dedication. In addition, I also have to not forget those trips to the zoo and museums, where we were encouraged to have an open mind to many different cultures and experiences.

So now that my sisters and myself are adults we can pursue our own endeavors with the confidence needed up to this point to succeed. So what does all this have to do with winning with a bad hand; well, a lot. Everything that I was taught growing up, in combination with my own cultivated intellect, we have always been able to prosper. Now, everyone did not grow up in a household where their talents were nurtured. Some people have some very tough lives that are far beyond my life. But understand, that your story and my story is not unique. There is always someone that looks like you, and have come from where you have come from to succeed. So in the end, there is always going to be people dealt a bad hand. Some will overcome their struggle and others won’t. Sadly enough, that’s just some of the outcomes of life.


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FAMOUS QUOTES: WHAT ARE MY FAVORITE AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO ME

Abraham Lincolcn Statue

“We hold these truths to be self-evident.” “That all men are created equal.” 

-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE


We all have some favorite quotes and what they mean to each of us. They might be quotes that we just love to hear, or even quotes that motivate us to keep persevering. Some of those quotes could be a bible versus, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Or it can be from a literary, “I would have rather been born blind, than to have been given sight and lack vision” (Helen Keller). And with that said, I would like to present my own quotes that I love, which resonate with me. One comes from Thomas Edison, the other Marianne Williamson, and the third is Martin Luther King Jr.

Now, the first is Thomas Edison, who had many many quotes. But the quote that I recently found that Thomas Edison made was, “Many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” This statement is Image result for edisonalways coming into my mind every time I think about giving up in life on my writing. Writing is such a daunting task of working to succeed. You are going to have success, and you’re going to have failure along the way. But to me, I have yet to see those successes. And then I think about how long I have been writing. 2013 is the year I officially decided to become a writer. I gave myself on a ten year window to break into the industry as a screenwriter and playwright. Meanwhile I am writing my blog everyday and my books as well.

So, what does any of this have to do with Thomas Edison? Well, giving up, and not realizing how close you might have been when you gave up. I have written five full length screenplays, self-published two books, written 400 blog posts in the past two and a half years, and two short film scripts; one script turned into a short film. And still, I have been working to create other projects to keep myself in that creative mode. So if I give in now, it will have been for nothing. Not just my past four to five years, but the time put into my work. Don’t give up when you are so close. So close, if you knew how close, you might even put more time into your work. And that is why Edison’s quote screams so loud to me.

Image result for marianne williamson a return to love
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, 1992

But my second quote is from Marianne Williamson from her book, “A Return to Love.” The famous quote from the book is, “Our Deepest Fears.” “Not that we inadequate; our deepest fear is that we powerful beyond measure.” “It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.” “We look in the mirror and ask ourselves, who am I to be talented, gorgeous, fabulous; who are you not to be.” “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure when they’re around you.” “We were all meant to shine as children do.” “You were made to manifest the glory of God that is within you.” “It’s not in some of us, it’s in everyone.” “And as you let your own light shine, you will unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” “When you are liberated from your own fears.” “Your presence will automatically liberate others.”

I could not pick just one aspect of that quote, but I had to choose the entire passage. Because the first part speaks of being inadequate yet you really are afraid of your own powers. We have this fear because once you succeed, people are going to expect more, and what happens if you can’t give them more. So we fear the attempt because of the expectations that come with it. Then the passage details us questioning why us. But why not us? We as the passage says don’t want people to feel insecure around us. But you should never dumb yourself down for the sake of fitting in, or this notion your brilliance makes others uncomfortable.  You might just have a golden nugget of advice that the people need. And the quote further goes on to let people know we all have the powers to succeed. But once you let that inner you shine, it gives courage to others to step up. Why, because your willingness to not give up and fight makes them exuberate a little less fear as well. Because if you can do it, it makes them feel the same way.

Great quote, giving me an even greater sense of purpose. But there is still one more quote I love. And it was from civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. He didn’t make this a public speech, yet stated this quote among a small group of friends. He said, “I feel as if I am integrating my people into a burning building.” AsImage result for mlk a child I couldn’t understand what that meant. But as an adult, I see old footage of the time period. People wanted him dead, why. Just because he wanted people to vote, have a fair chance at jobs, eliminate Jim Crow laws (which were an extension of slavery), and send children to schools of their choice. But the backlash was often so brutal you think to yourself. “Is this worth it?” “Do I really want my family to integrate.” “Maybe segregation is best.”

Because if you want to vote and someone is willing to kill. Or willing to kill for you drinking from the same water fountain or eating in the same restaurant, should I assimilate. Because when you assimilate, you’re introducing that element into your life, to your children, and your community. It’s not everyone, yet it’s enough to make you think twice. Meaning, you might think you’re shutting me out, but you might actually be doing me a favor. Coming from a man who knew he could die for going against the grain, it was intriguing to hear a statement where even he questioned the movement. In the end, we all live by quotes, or have a love for some type of quote. But whatever the case, famous quotes have and will always be an aspect of our lives.


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BLOODLINE: TRACING OUR ANCESTRY CAN BE OF GREAT INTEREST

Image result for dna test

“Knowing who you are and where you come from.”


I have been contemplating taking the 23 and Me test that aims at tracing your bloodline back to its original origin. The test has collected hundreds of millions of samples from people around the world. It compares your blood to different people around the globe. And based off the samples collected from all these places, shows matches of where you would come from. A lot of African Americans have taken this test due to the fact that our lineage was whipped out during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Now, you have people who aim at trying to reclaim that aspect of themselves once again. Me included; I have always been curious about my lineage.

About two years ago, I went home for my grandmother’s funeral to find out that our family has a bible with birth dates. And one of those is an ancestor from the 1800’s. He was a slave with the last name Sessa. And if you know anything about that time period, Black people were generally given the names of slave plantations where they belonged. But his name was Italian, which is odd because Italians didn’t play a major role in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. So it has been of interest to me for quite some time. But that is not the only reason it has been of interest. It is also a key to unlock secrets of the past. And a way to look further and further back into the past civilizations of man.

I am intrigued with the past civilizations: the Egyptian, Romans, Chinese, and Ottoman Empires. Imagine being to keep going back and keep going back. I think with the improvements in science, we’ll be able to figure out more about not just cultures, but also the human being as a species. I learned that asteroids carry cells that make possible evolution on Earth. The more we learn about the past, and the advancements of the past, we actually learn a lot about our future as well. I think most intriguing to people have been the Egyptians. The building of the pyramids have been so baffling to scientist over the decades. But for some reason, we can’t possibly believe there were people who understood architecture and mathematics better than us.

And going back in time you understand how it was done by opening up yourself to the new possibilities. It gives you a reason to be proud in the accomplishments of a given culture and the ingenuity of man. Yet so many groups of people have this within their past. In the end, we as humans have so much to understand about our past to move forward into the future. And the more we find out, the more we can better understand ourselves as a whole.


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NEWBO: IS THERE TIME FOR A CULTURE SHIFT

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“We carved one out before, why not again?”


In the 1610’s, the African American population was forced to the United States as indentured servants. Later becoming slaves, losing names, religions, birth place of origin, and overall identification. Once freed in 1865, we went from slave labor to still no so full citizens. And with limited citizenship, and no real ethnic identity, we began to carve out a face for our community. And a lot of the culture that has made up the African American community is in the music and food. But what if we decided to take it a little further. Let’s say we made a full conversion from where we are now. I named the title NEWBO, which in today’s society stands for the New Black Overclass.

When you hear the words New Black Overclass, you think of wealth and abundant resources. And how did that manage to take hold? There are many different factors that have influenced that over the years. From young Black children growing up watching the Cosby Show to the electing of America’s first Black president. We have taken what was a bad situation in the past and made the most of it today. Yet there are still so many of us that are still below the poverty level. And not only the poverty level, we make up a disproportionately higher percentage of crime in our community relative to anyone else. So with that said, we are doing better than the past in the area of success, yet lagging behind in other major areas.

And as much as I love Black culture, there is an aspect of our culture that have taken hold in recent history that has cast a dark shadow over the community. And that has to do with the crime in the community. Because of the introduction of Heroine, Cocaine, and Crack Cocaine, from the 1970’s in the 1990’s, the face of the community has changed to much. And it has become so impactful, it is rapidly becoming our culture. Yet when you look at the overall history of Black people in America, this recent violent culture is new to us. So, how about we begin to design a cultural identifier that is us. And when I say identifier I mean clothes we wear, food we eat, music, and behavioral traits.

Having an identifier shows not only togetherness, but it creates a sense of identity outside another group. Our problem as Black people is that we are too concerned and defined by another group. And for the longest, it has been the predominantly White community. So our vision for what success looks like has always been someone in position who is White. Yet when met with resistance by anyone White it boils over quicker than anyone else. Which never happens to any other group because they create their own identity. So what another really has to say becomes irrelevant because they have defined themselves for so long feelings are trivial. But if you have no name, to language, no religion, and you adopt ones culture that’s not yours, yet someone else’s, it could become a problem if not accepted into the culture.

And in the end, that’s a real problem with why there need to be a cultural identifier. Number one, you eliminate the care for what any other group thinks about you; their views are not relevant to who you are in scoiety. Number two, you begin to take pride in something that not only you created, but you’re accepted within. Which brings me to number three, the need to fit into a group. And I think this is why we as Black people cling to Hip Hop music so much. When you create something versus forced to adopt something the sentiment is different. Christianity was never a choice, names given weren’t a choice, and language wasn’t a choice. But the music we create was a pure choice. Though not liked by many, it goes on deaf ears when pushed against because the one major thing we created that we are fully included within. And if we created something impactful and global as Hip Hop, we can create a new identity of acceptance and not tolerance.


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MAKING YOUR OWN LUCK: HOW YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE

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“You might have been dealt a bad hand; use in to your advantage.”


Some great advice for life, is that no matter what your economic, social, academic, ethnic, gender background, you can overcome a bad situation, At times we feel like all hope is lost for the future. But little do we know that we may be in a better position than we realize. Like me for example, I grew up below the poverty level in the United States. But does that mean I have to always be in that position in my life. You can tailor make life to move yourself out of your current situation. Problem is that most people have a hard time moving themselves out of their bad positions.

See, in earlier posts I talked about putting yourself in the know. And most people say, “What is the know?” “The know of what?” I say, “Whatever it is you’re attaining to have in this world.” So many people want something out of life, such as a paycheck. Yet they don’t quite understand what it is they have to do to get there. They’ll say,” I need a good paying job that makes good money.” That sentence has no clear meaning to it. You have to know what career interest, what title, what pay range, and what time it could potentially take to get there. And this requires having a certain level of self-awareness. Lacking an understanding of self will make it hard to navigate the know. Because you don’t know what you’re good at, if anything at all.

So what do you have to do, you have to test out different things in life. For me, I tried multiple things before I realized I wanted to be a writer. I said to myself, “Faheem, you’re going to be a doctor.” Then I realized I don’t have the patience to deal with patients. So next I said, “You’re going to be an attorney.” And envisioned myself in a court room standing before the judge and jury. Then I realized I could never get a guilty person off or send an innocent person to jail. My big break came when I said that I would go into the business field, which is broad. And it wasn’t until I went for my MBA I realized I wanted to be a writer. Initially it was not knowing what I was doing, if ever I would be successful, but I knew I loved it.

The more I wrote, the more I became comfortable with talking about myself. And I don’t mean being into myself. I mean debriefing information, and being more transparent than before in life. So what did I do, I realized I had something, and could make it into a career. So since the year 2013, I have been writing screenplays, blogging, and my books. So what does all this have to do with making my own luck? I am putting myself in the know by researching, and continuing to learn to write. Making those moves to understand the career for you and knowing what you’re good at it. And also knowing when to make appropriate adjustments to the things you write. Because you’re not going to know everything, especially in the initial stage, yet you have to develop a feel for when things are going right or wrong.

See, in the end, you can make your own luck. You just have to be willing to put yourself in a certain mind frame. And with that mind frame, you start to understand and develop a sense of self. Once you know yourself, you can pursue your career endeavor. This way, you’re being not vague about what it is you want. Sadly enough, a lot of people will never find what they’re good at in life.


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AGE OF DEPRESSION: HOW THE MORE WE UNDERSTAND SELF THE MORE UNHAPPY WE BECOME

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“In an era of technology, we are more connected, yet very much detached.”


In a world where we are more connected than anytime before, you would think it would make us happier. Yet it has not only made us happier, but the more we learn and understand ourselves the more depressed we become. And I don’t mean know ourselves like knowing me as an adult. I mean knowing us is it pertains to our existence on Earth. You would think with the advent of technological innovation and scientific breakthroughs, we would have a much higher level of enlightenment that would make us happy. But what that heightened awareness has done is give us the complete opposite effect. But should we digress because of this unintended effect?

View of Tourist Resort Well, let’s first look at what makes us depressed in today’s society. There are many different reasons why people tend to be unhappy. For starters, you are able to see up close your reality. And what I mean by your reality, you can see where you stand financially, socially, academically in the world. For example, you can Google image luxury, and see a world that is beyond your world just by typing it into a search engine. When my mother was young, an opulent life existed, yet you didn’t quite know about it. Clear Wine Glasses in a RowPeople were either born into wealth, or it was something you stumbled upon. Not today, today, you can actually see how little you have relative to someone else. And what’s crazy, you might have a socioeconomic position that is supporting you and your family. Yet you can’t enjoy because you are comparing yourself to someone way above you.

Why do we do it? Why do we look to someone that is far beyond us? Well, at times, that person is our age. No matter your age today, there is someone that age doing something on a more monumental scale than yourself. When I was in college, I was broke coming out, yet guys my age were signing multi-million dollar contracts to play sports. Comparing yourself to them and not appreciating what you have, even when what you have is adequate to live, robs you of gratification Image result for comparison peopleand the ability to live a fulfilling life. Meaning, you might want to make $50,000 in a year, but someone tells you, you should want better. Now you can’t enjoy what life you could have had with what you wanted because you’re chasing something you may not even want just to satisfy other people’s perspective. And with our lives being inundated with so much imagery, we still have another aspect of our lives that make us unhappy: our own existence.

Coping with our existence is tough for so many. And I don’t mean existence in the context of waking and going to work everyday, coming home, and sleeping. I mean the fact that we are here, on Earth, living and breathing. The fact that I was not born a lion, tiger, bird, or a house cat, but a human is hard for many to cope with in life. The simple existence that is me, a carbon based life form that has Related imagetaken forever to evolve into what I am, is hard to accept. And a lot of it comes from increased scientific understanding of ourselves. Here is where religion may have aided us in living on this planet. With the idea that there is something greater once we die, it gives us hope. As time progress in society, more and more people are becoming awoken to our existence. So awake, we are unmotivated to do anything. So now we become depressed with the idea that this is all that is here for us.

You would think that feeling this way would give people a sense of urgency, yet it’s having the inverse effects. The closer we come to figuring out why we are on Earth, the more we become detached from living. Maybe not knowing, is what’s best at times. Because in the end, unlike any other species where nature dictates how they behave, we are given conscious. We are given the ability to say yes or say no. We are endowed with the ability to make sound decisions. And that very conscious that gives us that ability also makes us aware of our situations in life. Some people make the best out of it, and others can never cope. And for those that can’t cope, it leads to further depression; leading to substance abuse or even suicide.

“He who increases knowledge, increases sorrow on the land.”

                          -Ecclesiastes 1:18


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