The Practice of Discipline Certain challenges in life can be described as being inevitable. Nearly everyone must face such typical events throughout the course of their life where surpassing a particular challenge is a sign of growth and experience, and, having been dealt with, such a trial is not expected to arise again. Most individuals in our society are familiar with such periods in their lives where they were made to begin walking as infants, coached into learning how to ride a bicycle later on, encouraged to start driving a car during the teenage years, earned a high school and / or college degree, etc. Such challenges and ordeals are expected. They are perceived as being completely natural and acceptable.
Society encourages the pursuit of them and rewards their conquering. Many of us, however, face challenges of a different sort in our lives. These challenges stem from decisions made by the individual, not by society or its norms. In fact, the very reason why such a decision quite often sets challenges ahead for the individual who makes it is due to the fact that it goes completely against societal expectations. The initial conscious decision to go against the grain and not fall into line often sets the stage for a slue of hardships and tribulations, and, chances are it will result in a life-long battle to maintain devotion. I made such a decision.
Around the age of 17, I began to notice that my belief system was becoming increasingly opposed to that of my peers, my family, and even some good friends. For the first time, I began thinking about what I truly believed in and about the direction in which I was headed. One would be hard pressed to find an individual who has not experienced distress over such thoughts. At one time or another, pressure from these or similar thoughts will plague just about everyone during their lives, especially throughout the teen years. The differences in the individual will be shown and defined through the kind of choices that are made during such a period. At that point, when the questions concerning my identity first came into play, I was not much different from the average adolescent.
... Juliet Responsibility is a major asset and decision in society. People in this world have choices. ... kill herself. Juliets dad then makes a decision to move the wedding up to Wednesday because ... future and what else could be possible, makes decisions without thinking and after her father tells her ... Juliet’s deaths. Romeo and Juliet made stupid and immature decisions. Friar Laurence for giving a potion ...
However, when I began to ponder precisely how and what I felt about many pressing issues in my life, I noticed my opinions were quite contrary to those expressed by most people around me-people of all ages. The most popular method of seeking fun and entertainment seemed to be through attending substance-based events and parties, but I desired no sort of pursuit in that scene. But why? Drugs and alcohol were touted as being very fun and exciting. Wasn’t I curious in at least experimenting a bit? After all, alcohol, especially, was very common and accepted in most circles.
Although it is illegal for minors to consume or possess it, we all know that the average adult uses it on a seemingly regular, acceptable basis, so why stay away? I watched my own parents consume it and they did not appear to be negatively affected by alcohol use. Why did I not attend local parties and participate in the practice of substance experimentation? You could argue that perhaps I paid attention to the anti-drug messages that were drilled into me throughout school, beginning at the elementary level, or maybe I was just scared to try drugs because I didn’t fully understand what they were or what they did. Personally, though, I believe that I simply developed an early understanding of the consequences that come with the use of drugs and alcohol. During this same time, I began to hear increasing use of a term to describe certain young individuals who were completely free from drugs. These kids were referred to by the title “Straightedge.” The first mention I had ever heard of this label came from my sister during the time I was a sophomore in high school when she asked me if I knew of this growing crop of young kids who listened to violent, angry music, heavily opposed drug use, and were often vegetarian. At that point, I had not heard of the group, and so I bought into the misinformed stereotype that my sister had laid out for me.
... members of substance abusers. That is roughly 20% of Missourians who are affected. Intoxication by the means of drugs and alcohol contribute to ... those who manufacture illegal drugs.These people have no regard for human life. These manufacturers sell the drugs that pollute and corrupt ... place. When a person sees this occurring in their lives or in the lives of someone around them, concern should set in ...
It wasn’t until about two years later, during my last year of highschool that I would come to find out exactly what Straightedge represented. Through interaction with certain people, I began to develop an interest in the genres of rock music known as punk and hardcore. I then became aware that this type of music was the very breeding ground for the Straightedge culture and its members. Although, at first, I hesitated to affiliate myself with such a radical-sounding group, I began to realize that this group’s belief system was virtually identical to that of my own.
I decided I would pledge myself to follow the Straightedge ways. This is not something that is done formally with a sort of ceremony of any kind but rather a major decision that one makes in heart and in mind. It was indeed one of the most important crystallizing moments I had ever experienced when I realized that I would dedicate myself to upholding the Straightedge ideals for the rest of my life and that this would forever be a major part of who I am as an individual. As much as I hesitate to speak on behalf of all who are Straightedge or to lay out specific definitions of what it means to follow its path, I can explain the basics and then express what it means to me, personally. Living by the Edge is essentially, in Layman’s terms, a lifetime commitment to abstain from narcotic drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sexual activity. The belief behind remaining free from these substances and activities, speaking on an individual basis, is that the person who does this will lead a much safer, more fulfilling, and healthier life overall.
The latter of these, good health, was my original aim, and remains one of my main focuses currently. Since I found and began following the Straightedge path I have been dedicated to maintaining a healthy way of life. This goes beyond not taking part in drug use, I feel it also requires me to eat in a healthy manner and attempt to maintain good physical well being overall. I find it only natural to strive to protect and take excellent care of the body one is given.
... is all about the degree of control a person exerts over their life. A person is free if under identical circumstance they could have ... . Ignoring those norms is a choice. A person freely chooses their actions. Without free will there would be neither moral responsibility nor ... deserve blame for immoral behavior this also flowing into the belief that no one would deserve praise for good work either ...
It allows one to be more able and versatile in virtually any pursuit. I feel thankful that I was born in the condition I was, free from physical handicaps and limitations that would have hindered me from pursuing many activities the average person is able to participate in. Therefore, I refuse to take my body for granted and throw my health away. Also, I see the ability to do without substances and promiscuity as a freedom from ever becoming dependent on such things. I refer to a teaching of Plato, which is discussed in his work The Republic, where he warns against allowing the self to be ruled by one’s passion principle. When we allow ourselves to pursue what “feels good” and is fun over everything else we become ruled by this constant need for such pursuits.
In effect we are then ruled by this passion, which becomes a sort of tyrant by constantly dictating the ways in which we live. Plato suggests that humans should, on the other hand, rule themselves using reason, which he describes as looking at the whole picture and then doing what is best for the self and for the world. I feel confident that I used this method of reasoning and made the best choice for myself, and the people around me, when I became Straightedge. As a result of this decision, I will never be governed by the need for alcohol, narcotics, nicotine, or sexual gratification, unlike a disturbingly large amount of Americans in present society. Although one could have a similar belief system and live in the same way without officially labeling themselves or showing a particular affiliation with a group, I use the specific Straightedge label for two reasons.
First, I see it as a way of disciplining myself and having a constant reminder of what I stand for and why I live my life the way that I do. This is not to say that I would necessarily forget my beliefs if I did not use the label, but it’s more of a reinforcer and a reminder that I am not alone; that there are a number of people in the world who share the same ideals that I do and that we are a potentially powerful force as a group who can affect change. Secondly, I use the label as a way to express myself. I wear depictions of the Straightedge logo in the form of shirts, hats, and patches to let others know what I stand for and what beliefs I carry. If someone is curious about the aspects of a drug-free lifestyle or he / she sees me and wonders exactly what Straightedge is, then I can use such an opportunity to educate that individual and possibly make a positive impact on their life. Although I am proud of myself and indeed very content with my choice to become part of the Straightedge community, there are consequences that come with making this kind of life decision.
... least amount of struggle possible. College life may be simplified having a time plan in which things should be done ... them or deteriorate their outcome in school. Throughout life they will encounter those who are there for a ... conserve energy. Sleeping for the right amount of time always seems to help me stay refreshed and rejuvenated ... tactics will make a student a better person who has general success. ...
Living a life where one is constantly going against the grain and not fitting into the norm of society or doing what is expected of them is an extreme challenge. Being Straightedge means having to deal with the contemptuous attitudes of the majority on a continuous basis. Everything-including the music, the ideas and beliefs, the style, and the attitude-is frowned upon by the upholders of the status quo. Where the average person may admit that they do, in fact, respect those who are substance-free, once that person is exposed to the specifics of the Straightedge lifestyle they generally become turned off by many of its aspects.
The music is especially guilty for creating certain misconceptions. Although many hardcore style bands sound very violent and negative, the messages that they convey in their lyrics and their actions, for the most part, are extremely positive. Through the study of a typical hardcore song’s lyrical content, one will find calls for tolerance-including messages preaching the extinction of many forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism, and homophobia, the consistent mention of unity and brotherhood among people of all affiliations, and, of course, the admonishments against substance use. I have, myself, indeed felt the affects of being and thinking differently from the norm. By being who I am, I sacrifice many things that the average person, especially those in my age bracket, see as being important: popularity, prestige, the respect of many, and, most importantly, the overall sense of belonging. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), a pioneer of the humanist branch of psychology, constructed a “Theory of Human Motivation” where he stated that a sense of belonging ness is a psychological need that all humans must fill in life in order to live a mentally sound life (1970).
... hundred percent equal in being the most important persons in my life there is no doubt about that. Through thick ... is supposed to be person mine happens to come as persons. The most important persons in my life are my Mother ... parents are divorced and it has been that way sense I way about five years old. They are so ... equal with the two every time. They have such a great impact on my life and the way I ...
Though I do not consider myself a complete and utter outcast in society, there are certainly times when there is no one around who shares my ideologies and this sense of belonging ness is not felt. This is an example of yet another unfortunate sacrifice that I, and others like me, make on a daily basis. Chances are, there is not going to be another Straightedge person by my side the majority of the time, but I go it alone because I know where I stand is where others will fall. Unfortunately, standing up for one’s beliefs can, at times, bring about instances of very open physical aggression from those who are in opposition of that individual.
I witnessed this first hand on a night when I was approached by a fellow student while exiting my dorm hall at school. He had noticed the X’s on my hands, a prominent symbol and show of expression in the Straightedge community. The interaction began when the young man-who, ironically enough, was intoxicated at the time-proceeded to pin me against a wall and scream in my face which was quickly followed by some hateful words expressing his contempt for the Straightedge lifestyle and an invitation to engage in a fight. During, and directly following, the event, I was in a total state of shock, for I was not used to opposition quite that extreme. Though seemingly ridiculous and unfair at the time, this experience was indeed a wake up call that helped to reiterate the fact that my decision to go against the norm is not, and never will be, an easy task. The main purpose here is to educate.
By using examples and sharing I hope to help others.