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“Breaking Social Norms – Eating on the floor”by Samuel Ramos

I actually did this right in the beginning of this term. I wasn’t really thinking about breaking any social norms when I realized during lunch time the cougarette food court was actually very crowded, considering it was spring term. I then bought spaghetti with alfredo sauce from the italian fast food restaurant and decided to eat it on the floor. To make it more interesting, I sat on a table where there was two other guys chatting. I asked them if I could join them, but instead of sitting on the chair, I sat on the floor and pulled out a chair to set my food on it. In order to make this more fancy I dumped my spaghetti on a tin foil paper and started eating with my hands. 

I didn’t try to talk to any of the guys. Not that they really would want to do that, since I proved to be a weirdo after that. They were looking at me a lot, and clearly laughing and making comment about me. People around my table also couldn’t hide their smiles (or laughs). No one approached me, or joined our table. For me, I confess I was kind of nervous at first, but after the first five minutes I didn’t really care anymore. I ate happily and slowly. Although I never received so many funny or weird looks with such frequency in my entire life, I found it interesting to notice how people expect the normal and want to be adequate to avoid feeling left out. 

Oh before I forget, at the end of my meal I former mission companion saw me and came over to chat, I could see his confused eyes as he greeted me. At first I didn’t say anything and chatted normally for a couple of minutes, then I told him ” by the way, I usually eat seated on a chair and use a table and plate.”He responded “oh, thats great”. I explained to him the purpose of this but I’m not sure he believed me. Maybe he actually thinks I’m a weirdo. But that’s okay, I guess. After all, wasn’t this the purpose of this experiment anyways (it even rhymed)?

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“Lies become Truth” by Samuel Ramos

I would like to talk about retelling. Basically, this tendency occurs whenever we retell a experience we might have had or a story we heard from someone else differently than the original event. Often times, we exaggerate to make it more believable or dramatic. That way, we get more attention and seem more interesting in the view of other people. Although, this also might happen unintentionally. In several studies, researchers found that people most of the time never accurately describe a past event in the same way after telling these stories over time. 

I fall into this trap sometimes, maybe for lack of confidence or simply to feel socially accepted, I’ve shared past experiences with added drama to get more attention from my friends and also to be seen as a funnier person than I actually am. I catch my wife doing the same thing as I hear her telling her arm injury story to friends. frequently I would I think, “my goodness, she didn’t really suffer that much”. On the other hand, I’ve already noticed that… I do the same thing! 

Finally, I honestly believe that life as it is, doesn’t produce that many fascinating and exciting story telling events to be shared around our social cycle. That’s when we thrown our own twist to it and make it sound nicer than it actually was. Now, although there are experiences that can cause people to like them, we perhaps want to ensure that others will really like the story we are telling them by putting together out own little version of what happened. 

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“Stress Stress” by Samuel Ramos

It is hard to measure the amount of stress we all go through in our day-to-day activities. It is also difficult to notice the outcomes in our behavior stemming from stressful circumstances. However, if I was to define stress in a short sentence I would say that it comprises everyday irritating, distressing, and frustrating demands that define interactions with our environment. It was also studied by Holmes-Rahe social readjustment that 70% of individuals involved in the study began to show signs of physical illness. Whether we react physically or emotionally to different stressors, it is important to note that it does occur differently in every individual.

For me, I don’t think I can point out from the top of my head any specific reaction from stress. I almost believe I avoid stress as much as possible and don’t bother about a lot of things as probably I should’ve. Therefore, not dying over things that didn’t work out in the past has been a great remedy to avoid evident frustration with my current behavior. Since stress is almost attached to our routines, I strongly work towards avoiding regretting unchangeable facts that occurred. If ye can’t change what we experienced previously objectively, why bother hitting the same key over and over again? I rather work towards a solution. I’m sure it is more effective and less stressful than complaining about how our life was or is bad due to past events. Below I also have a good example of what stress can cause.

In the link provided ahead, we can observe a very stressful person extremely raged about his life and especially his job. With all those stressors accumulated in his mind, this is how he choses to deal with it.

Like it was stated initially we all react in different ways to our different stresses, although these are a real phenomenon we can choose to take distinct paths to eliminate these from our lives. It is just a matter of using our agency, meaning we should not establish a mindset that tells us the world is the one acting upon us.

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“Self-Disclosure” by Samuel Ramos

This theory represents what made my marriage stable and successful so far. Right after we began dating I felt very comfortable sharing what could be considered “secrets”. Things about my past, my relationships with my family and inner thoughts that only few people or no one was able to hear about. What I just described is also know as Self disclosure. In more technical terms this trait can be defined as the ability to strengthen our relationship with one another based on the amount of intimate information is shared between each other (boyfriend & girlfriend or spouses). Self-disclosure will enhance trust in a relationship, thus enabling both parties to feel more comfortable with each others presence and ending up with more things and common. This will create a stronger support system in a friendship or love relationship.

Mr. Deeds and Emilio Lopez were closer friends after Deeds would share with him his secrets and more intimate thoughts and feelings. He was certainly drawn in to that, which towards the end of the show Emilio ends up inheriting all money from Deed’s uncle and he gives Deeds one billion dollars due to their close relationship over the weeks. Emilio shares with him his love for feet and Deeds talks about his frozen black foot. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCA0Lpy671g)

Throughout my teenage years my best friends were the ones who knew everything about me. They know what to do when I needed help or how to talk to me. Fortunately, this is the same process now that I’ve been married. I know a lot more about my wife than anyone else, and she also knows me incredibly well. This theory is indeed true, not only based on research but my through own experiences I’ve had so far.

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“Living an Altruistic Life” by Samuel Ramos

Altruism, the best gift we can bless someone with. It might be toward someone we love or one we are trying to love. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter who receives it, however what really counts is the act of giving away of our time and efforts to help our neighbor by expecting nothing in return. We all need to maintain this attitude so we can be ready to catch an opportunity as soon as we see it coming.

After being married for 2 years I’ve come to realize that altruism is applicable in almost everyday living with my spouse. Just recently, while my wife was in the application process for the MBA program at BYU, I was the one who had to spend more time cleaning the house and cooking dinners after work. At first it seemed very much a hassle, I didn’t feel like I had the time and thought I was wasting my time till I realized that this is what families are about. I never before had thought of the blessings I was receiving from walking the extra mile and carrying more load on my back than before so Carol could be successful in her study efforts.

In the end although my wife was accepted in the program, I was the one with the greatest reward. I’ve learned a little bit more about the importance of altruism and how it is necessary for social relationships to improve in a much faster pace.

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“Frustration-Agression Theory” by Samuel Ramos

This theory consists of frustration triggering acts of aggression in a person. In other words, after an individual becomes frustrated with someone he/she will be immediately acting aggressively in one way or another. After, being revised by someone theorists, we now learn that is possible to avoid such aggressive behaviors. Frustration is also important to define. According to our textbook, every time you are motivated and excited to accomplish a goal and something comes up blocking the realization of such, frustration is created. 

A good example of this theory is shown on the TV show “The Office” where Michael Scott and Toby Flenderson have a very unusual chemistry in their interactions with each other. This is mainly because Michael completely despises Toby every time he sees or has to deal with him. Just being around Toby, a aggression trigger is automatically activated to insult him in any way possible.

You can view this in the link provided below. 

As we were able to observe, a direct aggression was performed by Michael without any significant precedence of a purpose as to the reason he would treat Toby that way. Michael was simply bothered by his presence, and treated him badly thinking he was a bad person, when actually Michael only perceived the situation that way. 

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“Ethnocentrism” by Samuel Ramos

This is a very simple phenomenon with serious and complex implications to society. To put is even more simple term, Ethnocentrism is a type of prejudice that puts one ethnicity above all the other ones around. Sadly, throughout history it is common to notice these behaviors, and more recently with the nazis and European general perception on their superiority against black people.

After the entire nazi war accounts, the most despicable account I’ve read and really felt bad about it is found in the “Black like Me”book by John H. Griffin. Perhaps this is because in Brazil, where I grew up, we never had such segregation and humiliation recorded against black people in late history. To really know what kinds of circumstances black people at times lived in, the author decided to take anti-vitiligo oral drugs to darken his skin and to live among black people in southern United States in 1959. The report is astonishing. The bathrooms blacks could use were functional at all, not to say filthy and desease-friendly. Repression was of the charts. They could stand up for their rights cause that would cause everyone to be against them. They weren’t able to sit where they wanted in the bus, they could not speak to white people in some circumstances. Griffin, when given a ride by a white man, was severely humiliated by this man, who downgraded his intelligence just for the fact he was black, although the white man was wrong. These are but a few examples of oppression in those days.

In sum, it didn’t matter who you were or how nice you would act. You are black, therefore you are low, bad and stupid. How people get to that point? Environment, social learning, role models and parenting. Tests were already done to see the difference between black and white people, and off course no differences exist. I’m glad this conflict black and white people has improved significantly. Now the next step is for all of us learn to better distinguish arabs, iraqis and people from those areas and learn to separate between their beliefs, affiliations and nationality. I’m not saying we all think that way, but there are several citizens who openly discriminate the population from these countries without knowing much about them.

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