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Why Should It Be? You and I Should Get Along So Awfully

Question 10, inspired by this article.

Amherst College: “Sartre said, ‘Hell is other people,’ but Streisand sang, ‘People who need people/Are the luckiest people in the world.’ With whom do you agree and why?”

Ah! Well done Amherst College, well done. Use your questions to discover our stance on two of the most outstanding politically left philosophical, as well as artistic minds of the last century and their seemingly contradictory “statements.”

Let’s start with what Sartre said and why: “Hell is other people,” was a line in Sartre’s play “No Exit.” It is a play about three people who have been condemned to Hell. This Hell that they are in is a room, with no exit… forever. These people only see themselves by how others see them. In the case of only being able to understand yourself from how others may see you, is perhaps the Hell that Sartre envisioned. Sartre himself probably did not “hate” people as may be suggested by the question posed, because of what you are trying to contrast, but may have in fact hated the idea that what people see, by our actions or words, is what they judge us to in fact be. There is so much more to us than our actions or words. We are made up by our history, by our thoughts, by the way we interpret the world, its people and it’s culture. We all have come to conclusions about who we are by everything we have observed and decided how we see these things. How shallow, in fact, what a Hell it would be to live and be judged by people who don’t really know all these things you have seen and how that has made who we are now. You cannot understand from these statements that I believe we all have excuses for our behavior, for we should come to the conclusion that we should not act on every impulse, but be able to control ourselves, that is true humanity, true relationship. If it wasn’t, we’d be all going around killing each other, and stealing, and demanding, and destroying; for there are some philosophies that espouse the notion of doing what thou wilt. Anyway, Sartre does not believe that people are the poison that makes our life Hell, it is just Hell when we don’t know each other; a thought I say “cheers” to, and raise my glass high!

Now, on to what Barbara Streisand “said.” The statement here is from the song “People” from the musical “Funny Girl.” The musical is based on the life of a comedienne from the Ziegfeld Follies days and her turbulent romance with a gambler. Now, I haven’t seen the play “No Exit” or the musical “Funny Girl” so I am surmising a bit about what each of these quotes might mean in the context of a small amount of research I did on the two. What I see from the time this song is sung and the lyrics therein, is it is kind of sad song about how as adults we have lost our childlike ease of entering into a relationship, and that we get to a point of either admitting we don’t need anyone or we have an unhealthy co-dependency towards anyone who shows any interest towards us. Consider this lyric: “We’re children, needing other children / And yet letting a grown-up pride / Hide all the need inside / Acting more like children than children”. The song is filled with regret about how we betray each other, how we don’t really understand that we do need each other, and how lucky those people are who have that knowledge. Those people who have a healthy need for others are finding those of the same need. How horrible it is to have an unhealthy need that you go to those who hurt us the most. It is much like a Hell that we have developed around ourselves, because of those we attract.

You ask me who I agree with and why, when each of these statements are, at the core, almost saying the same thing. Superficially though, I would agree with both. Dealing with people sometimes is like Hell, if Hell were a temporary situation, but it is not. We have to have patience and love for those we deal with, because we never know what they have been through. I have a really hard time with people who are going way under the speed limit in front of me, or those who come up way fast behind me and stay there, on my bumper. However, I do not know their situation. Maybe they just lost their husband, or are hurrying to that meeting they have hoped for in the last 5 years. We never truly know each other at the core of our being. What made us do those things that may so drive others insane? Have patience. Have compassion. Have control. We are not an island dealing with self and self alone, but we do have to deal with how we react to situations. Many people choose not to know why others do the things they do, they just want to stay angry. I know there is differences in our beliefs, but do you just believe by tradition or have you worked out things in your own mind? Have you closed your mind on something solid, or are you still open to what others may say?

You people at Amherst College, have you done your best to understand why others believe the way they do, or do you never give the opposing viewpoint an opportunity to voice their experience? I would hope that as a college considering someone whose view is Christian and conservative, would not reject me outright because I’ve come to my conclusions through the experience of the life I have led. I understand your possible progressiveness. I would see to it that I sought out to understand of all my classmates, professors, and faculty by hearing about who you are and how that came to be, and that you would give me and those of similar ideologies equal opportunity. Let us not break down the structure we have built our “Universities” around; the one from many. You have asked a question that revolves around people and our relationship with all, give all the chance to learn, from all.


In Which the Author Gets a Bit Upset With This Tediousness

Question five inspired by this article.

Johns Hopkins University: “Using a piece of wire, a Hopkins car window sticker, an egg carton, and any inexpensive hardware store item, create something that would solve a problem. Tell us about your creation, but don’t worry; we won’t require proof that it works!”

Ah, I see what you did there Johns Hopkins University. You just want us to see what we see as a “problem”. You shouldn’t have put that little bit at the end there. Phhhttt. “…don’t worry; we won’t require proof that it works!” You may have gotten more from your applicants had you not expressed that bit of sentiment there. Oh well. I guess you’ll just find out that most of those that desire to attend your prestigious university will be currying your favor by stating their desire to improve the environment or what not; stroking your egos whilst you measure their necks for the collar that is a precise Pantone 284. Well not me buddy-boy! I won’t play your silly games, cause I just ain’t smart at all enuff to be a college boy there. I can’t wear them skinny jeans. I don’t have any ironic t-shirts. No pierced body parts. I don’t eat my neighbors compost. I have neither consumed any Jack Kerouac nor absorbed tinctures of Alan Ginsburg. I find Jim Jarmusch tedious and eyesoring. I have heard farts that are laugh out loud hilarious, which I’m sure your wives would find offensive, no offense to the single female on the applicant screening process team, but you are bland and humorless also, so you were offended when I actually typed, “Phhhttt.”

I actually like meeting people who may have different opinions than I hold, despite the fact that most of those educated people can’t understand that there are those with differing opinions because they have been brainwashed by some institutions into thinking that their views are the only correct way of thinking and they must crush those who hold “peculiar” beliefs, shaming them to hopelessness, arguing them down to the level name calling and illogical stands.

Seems that you got my answer Johns Hopkins University?

(Disclaimer: The viewpoints of the author may indeed be that of an insane man delving into the ridiculousness that is college applications. These viewpoints on Johns Hopkins University, the application process, and hipsters are purely based on hearsay and conjecture, and should be excused because, said author, has made it a full third of the way through this seemingly monotonous exercise of writing. Hopefully his writings may get better from here on out.)


A Bold Prediction

Question three, inspired by this article.

University of Virginia: “Make a bold prediction about something in the year 2020 that no one else has made a bold prediction about.”


I don’t mean that as some sort of cliché here, because I am literally amazed, and I use the term “literally” not in the new sense that is just a new kind of exclamation, but in its literal, original sense: that I really am… amazed. I mean what do you people want from me?

Let’s break down your question here:

“Make a bold…” So you start out by requesting that I start or create something that is fearless. Oh, this is going to be exciting. I can do this. I am just thinking about what college I am going to, you know, starting out my adult life, filling out an application and this next question starts out with, “Make a bold…” What could this all be about? I am sure from such a prestigious university as this one that it is going to challenge me, make me think, be clear in the direction that I should go here when all is said and done. That the evaluators take their job seriously and will consider all applicants by this one single answer, this one request to start out bold. I look forward here, chin jutting out with pride, toward the future with this institution, and see bright things ahead.

“…prediction…” Ah, yes. Here we get to the meat of the issue. Of course this school wants us to look forward. We don’t want to look to the past. The past is for weak minds, for those pusillanimously cowering in the corner of their mind, their job, their relationships. For we are the Creators, we are the Initiators, we are the Fearless. We look to the future knowing full well it is coming at us ceaselessly, and we stand, chest out, steel in our stares, iron in our feet, the heat rushing through our souls to succeed in all endeavors. This brave institution wants to see into the depths of what we see, in ourselves, partnering with you in pride and accomplishment forseen. Let’s move forward!

“…about something…” Okay: “something”. This is getting interesting. We’re going to be looking for a bold prediction about something. We are going broad in scope here. We are still soaring above the earth, looking down, and we see… something. Well, maybe we’ll get a bit more specific here. I mean it’s only two words. Let’s keep reading.

“…in the year 2020…” Hmm… You’re losing me a bit here. But that’s alright! I know you, University of Virginia, wouldn’t steer me wrong. I am a college applicant in the year 2013. We should be able to see what may or may not happen in the year 2020. It’s only eight years away, we’ve got the world at our feet, clamoring for our attention in everything we do, and everywhere we go. We’ve got unboundless information at our fingertips. Sure we have to swim through loads of garbage and distractions on the way to find out who sang back up for that one band back in the seventies that we enjoy now. And, sure we don’t have flying cars regularly soaring through the sky-highways yet, and there are still calories in our food. But gosh darn-it: This is the Future. We should be able to see a mere eight years ahead. I can be bold in my predictions! I have a subscription to Wired magazine. Well, my friend does at least, and I look at it when I’m there. But don’t shortcut me off! I’m a visionary! Just you wait. Let’s finish reading this question off, baby!


“…that no one else has made a bold prediction about.” You’ve deflated me now, University of Virginia. I’m like one of those arm-waving air guys. I was root-a-toot-tooting along, cheering for my front-runner, “One arm up, the next one! And back again! Rah!” Head bobbing to the music you were playing. Then suddenly, a masked man with a knife, jumps out of the bushes, and slashes my left thigh, five inches high and a mile deep. All my energy is draining out of my leg. I want to cheer, want to lift myself to my former ecstatic glory, wave my tentacle like fingers high. But no; I pitch myself forward on my weakened leg only to be washed in the face by unrefreshing, oily smelling air. Despair fills me.

Can I make it up again? Can this hurt be healed? Perhaps. As I said we are living in the future, we are in fact The Future; albeit a future where the questions of mustard and robot aliens fill our college applications. But as I said before: I look always to the future boldly. I look toward a future where post-modern idiosyncratic uniters are abolished from forming college application questions. They’ll want to know where my loyalties lie. They look toward the advancement of logical questions such as “When you become an incredible success, because of the wonderful job our collective has emboldened to you, will you look favorably to giving us a portion of that “success”, for the government has withdrawn funds because of the kooky questions we developed back in the early teens of the modern millennia, and we have had to reduce tuition costs because students who can succeed are finding other avenues besides those of higher institutions that don’t hold to such ridiculousness?”

That, dear readers, is a bold prediction you can hang your hat on!


Mitch Teemley

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