Showing posts from March, 2010

You Are Not Your Resume

Originally @ Stanford Daily

Doesn’t going to Stanford make me better than other people? Why wouldn’t it? I benefit from an education consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. Given that society places so much value on having a great education, being a student at Stanford should qualify me as more valuable than other people. Shouldn’t it?

In general, we tend to place value on certain categories of possessions or achievements. Expensive goods and luxuries. High profile, well-paying careers. Prestigious educations. Nobody would argue that such things are not valuable. So then why would having nice things not make me a nice person? If I am well-qualified, wealthy and attractive, and I am commendable for my positive attributes, shouldn’t this mean that I am a good person?

In the article “The Disparity Between Intellect and Character,” Harvard psychiatry Prof. Robert Coles describes an encounter with a student working her way through college. She approaches him, distraught, with …

Denying Objectivism

Originally @ Stanford Progressive

Determining one’s political, social, and economic beliefs, if done right, is a difficult affair, and one that many Stanford students undoubtedly grapple with. In my own pursuit for developing the best outlook on life, I came across the peculiar philosophy of an author named Ayn Rand as a sophomore in high school. Her ideas, entitled “Objectivism,” have enjoyed a recent intellectual resurgence on Stanford’s campus. This movement brings to mind my own trajectory as an objectivist, which began with scholarly infatuation but ended with bitterly realistic rejection. Rand’s principles are, like so many doctrines, attractive on paper but inapplicable to the real, modern world.

Objectivism strives to provide a comprehensive answer to questions of metaphysics, politics, morality, and epistemology. This article is not an effort to unravel the rationale behind the philosophy. Instead, it is a comprehensive look at what the objectivist viewpoint means in everyday…

Can Mexican food be better than sex?

Originally @ Stanford Daily

Given that it is now officially Dead Week, and most people reading this newspaper are struggling frantically to reconcile the demands of their classes with their procrastination, some light reading is in order. Discarding the more cerebral topics of moral philosophy and social psychology for some culinary advice is the best way to accomplish this. Specifically: burritos.

The nice part of being a columnist is that I can write exclusively about my personal life and pretend people care or I can make attempts to indoctrinate students to my political beliefs through 750-word snippets, like some columnists. I could depart from the normal litany of cynical armchair reflection to write a poetic ode to the United States of America. Or I could use my writing to pen an incendiary commentary about blowjobs and male domination in an effort to extrapolate my personal experience onto an entire gender. Instead, I’ll use this space to help out other burrito fanatics.

I am f…

I’m going to name my kid Nike

Originally @ Stanford Daily

There are a few lessons taught to all students at Stanford, regardless of major, interests or lectures attended. Apart from the more routine epiphanies that most of us eventually experience (such as “Palo Alto is too damn far to walk” or “last night’s drunken euphoria is equal in magnitude to this morning’s physical agony”), one assured lesson is “searching for a job is miserable.”

The phrase “job market” is a cute euphemism for an experience categorically opposite to that of actually browsing a market. “Job war zone” or “Job game park” would more accurately reflect the brutal nature of marketing oneself repeatedly to different firms. Happily, I ran across an article some time ago with advice for the savvy job seeker looking to differentiate themselves from hordes of qualified candidates. The piece, “5 Ways to Take Control of Your Personal Brand Today” by Dan Schawbel, introduced an interesting concept highly lauded by job market experts: your name is your …