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Interviews on Free Will: Pastiche of Antigone, The Taming of the Shrew, and Pride and Prejudice

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The modern woman enters the scene. She is a top journalist, sometimes anchor, for CNN, having won several awards, and acquainted with many influential people, such as the president and other world leaders. She arrives in a woman’s business dress, cut at the knees, tinted with rose red. She sits on a wooden chair, across from another empty chair, and beckons for the first interviewee, who is Creon, who enters appearing dejected, but composed enough to sit, then wait for her questions.

Modern Woman: So… Creon, getting straight to the point of this interview: why did you condemn Antigone to death when she disobeyed your law?

Creon: Because I will not be defied, nor overruled by a woman. And my Thebians: they would have questioned my integrity, thus doubted my ability to lead, speaking their defiance in dark corners, then wreaking chaos. As I said: “I will not make myself a liar to my people”.

Modern Woman: But what about the “will of the gods,” the immaterial laws set by Olympus? Do they not overrule your mortal law? As the leader of the chorus said: “Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness, and reverence towards the gods must be inviolate”. And did not Antigone follow these godly rules in burying Polyneices, to prevent their curse?

Creon: Polyneices deserved to be eternally cursed. He would have enslaved me and all of Thebes, degrading us to an animal, or even less! He was wicked, and the gods do not cherish the wicked. Just as I said: “the good desires not a like portion with the evil.”

Modern Woman: True. But could you have exercised some diplomacy? You could have used more reason, and noted that the whole town disagreed with your action of condemning Antigone to slow, but sure death, could you not?

Creon: No! My decree is in the town’s best interest, even if they do not understand it! There must be order! There must be obedience! It was the gods that forced the consequences of my just law!

Modern Woman: Okay, chill. Keep that sword in your hilt. So you are saying you do not have control over your fate?

Creon: Yes. I do not control my fate. I said this upon my family’s destruction, thus my own: “a crushing fate hath leapt upon my head”.

Modern Woman: Why?

Creon: Because the gods sow my life tapestry. Truly, because Antigone’s despicable father, Oedipus, copulated with his mother, to create that female fiend, to damn my life, curse my family with her inflexible pride.

Modern Woman: But you said, after both your son and wife committed suicide: “I, even I, was they slayer, wretched that I am-I own the truth”. You adamantly acted the role of the inflexible lawmaker. You had a choice to prevent your tragedy by listening to the Thebians, and most of all, to your son. You could have given her a lesser sentence, say a year of solitary confinement without any interaction with anybody.

Creon: Fate forced my hand. I already told you that if I submitted I would be perceived as weak, even if the Thebians disagree with your policies. I have to be the man, be the leader, the god of men!

Modern Woman: But, Creon, again, you said yourself, that you forced your own fate, after you realized your family died by your action.

Creon: I was wrong. I realize, from long contemplation, that my oppressive impulses deceived me in that moment of inexplicable devastation.

Modern Woman: Okay. So you are saying you have absolutely no say in your fate, even when other choices, wiser choices, are clearly available? It sounds like rationalization: you are blaming fate to avoid taking responsibility for your own tragedy. To escape suicidal despair, it seems.

Creon: No! My fate is carved and charred into stone by Zeus’s lightning! Son’s are carved into obedience, women charred into subjection of men!

Modern Woman: (thinks: Zeus also must have zipped lightning up his ass!) Oh-kay, well, thank you for this excellent interview.

They both stand up and she extends her hand for a shake. Creon looks at it with resenting disgust, clasps his sword on his right hip, fighting back the impulse to impale her, and abruptly spins. He paces off stage while she smirks with her hand still extended for the shake.

She drops her hand, and calls for the next interviewee.

Petruchio enters donning a scarlet shirt revealed underneath a azure, glossy dress shirt, legs attired in navy blue jeans, and treading on red shoes, a lighter shade than the red undershirt. Modern Woman is taken back, slightly, as she believed it likely that he would wear this attire to abash her.

They sit across each other.

Modern Woman: Greetings, Petruchio.

Petruchio (donning a plain poker-face): Hello dear lady.

Modern Woman: Yes, such a gentleman (she smirks). To the point: do you believe in fate?

Petruchio: I am captain of my fate. But some people, they are fated to be fooled by fortune.

Modern Woman: What do you mean?

Petruchio: Well dear. I chose to be a man of wealth, but some people, they unconsciously seek happiness through thoughts not their own, but owned by Fate. But you, of course, an angel who decided to be a woman of influence and beauty, a businesswoman version of Venus (he says this with curled chaps, for a few moments, yet flattens them, back to the poker face).

Modern Woman (slightly annoyed, yet composed): So you are saying, basically, that we all choose our fate, our life position, before we enter into this life?

Petruchio: Yes, and no. All of existence is like an onion. Before we arrive into this world, we live in another realm, less dense than this one. Yet, another realm exists beyond that realm, lesser dense, to even less dense realms to infinitely more realms, layers upon layers, call it the Onion Theory.

Further, in the lesser dense realm, before the one we are in now, the finite being may be chained by Fate, as dictated by the choice in the realm less dense before that realm. Overall, I know that I had the choice to choose my life position before arriving in this densest realm. So I control my destiny here. As I said before: “my fortune lives for me”.

Modern Woman (knowing his BS, switches the subject): Okay. To another, though related subject: concerning Katherine’s purpose, you said: “I am he am born to tame you, Kate.” Do you mean, by this, that it is Kate’s fate to be “tamed” by you?

Petruchio: Yes, and as I said before, I chose in the Beforelife, that I am one of those who chose to be king, and she so happened to be one of those who were subject to her own unconscious rule in the Beforelife. I must have done something in the Before-before life to earn such liberty to own Fate.

But, enough of that, what about you super-dainty princess. How does my fellow, dear sapien feel about her fate and…

Modern Woman (pointing her finger, stern, burned expression): I’ll stop you right there. I give you questions, or, you will have to leave.

Petruchio: So it must be your unconscious fate to be the super-burnt princess in this case, right? (he curls the lips again, appearing to be unaffected, cold still).

Modern Woman (shoots up, and tosses her finger to the door): That’s enough. Goodbye.

Petruchio stands, though in a casual, unaffected manner, and smiles gleefully at Modern Woman.

Petruchio: Thank you, it will always be a mystery how you knew I had to go to the potty to excrete.

He grins more devilishly, spins, and brisks out the door holding his rear as if he has to go to the bathroom.

Though irritated, Modern Woman quickly chills her nerves, for she knows she is about to interview another, not as obnoxious, version of Petruchio: Mr. Wickam. She sits down, then calls him in. He briskly enters with lightness of foot, then sits.

Modern Woman (sighing a bit): Okay, Mr. Wickam…

Mr. Wickam: Are you okay?

Modern Woman: Yeah. Anyways, jumping on the purpose, do you believe you weave your life tapestry?

Mr. Wickam: Well, that’s is a clever way of putting it… (she grins) I would say no.

Modern Woman (still grinning): Why?

Mr. Wickam: Because I, from infancy, was born to a father, who died, and then left to the hands of Mr. Darcy, sr. Though he loved me, and gave me a large portion of his fortune, his son, Mr. Darcy, disregarded his wish and cast me away from the inheritance. Hence, I could not have avoided this event due to some one’s else will, that I also can not control.

Modern Woman: So you blame Darcy for your fate?

Mr. Wickam: Yes, but I am not saying that I could have done absolutely nothing. Maybe some of my nature conflicts with his, and I could have been more aware of this nature, to then reconcile with him, but that is highly unlikely, noting my human nature restrict my available actions.

Modern Woman (sassy-tongue in cheek): So you are saying that you could not prevent yourself from disregarding ole Mr. Darcy’s wish, and receiving money anyways, to then gamble it away?

Mr. Wickam: Mostly: I was young, still foolish to my own ways. But, it was fated to be so, a force beyond my knowing pulled the strings there.

Modern Woman: Are you sure you are not just abdicating responsibility? Blaming an unknown force to you can feel less guilty for doing unethical things, especially eloping with silly Lydia for the purpose of extract money from her dear ones?

Mr. Wickam: Though I understand how it can be seen negatively, I, nonetheless, followed my interests, and hers, for she did love me; she did willing marry me. As I loved her.

Modern Woman: Sure. So, overall, you are confined to your basest nature?

Mr. Wickam: Mostly, yes.

Modern Woman: Okay, thanks for your time. You may go.

Mr. Wickam stands up, slight bows his head with a charming grin, and leaves.

She calls in Darcy. Darcy enters, wearing a sharp casual attire, not too flashy, nor not too toned own. She senses great difference in this man, and actually shakes his hand, with the typical “Hi, how are you.” and the “Fine, thank you.” They sit.

Modern Woman: Mr. Darcy, this concerns your belief about destiny and free will. Do you believe you have complete control, some control, or absolutely no control over your destiny?

Darcy: Some control.

Modern Woman: Could you explain that.

Darcy: As I said before, we have the “tendency” to fallaciously behave. That is, faults of character that cannot be avoided, a natural propensity to exhibit some blemish without the possibility of eliminating all faults with free will.

Modern Woman: Can you do nothing about these fallacious traits?

Darcy: You can amend them, but only if you carefully examine yourself, daily, and admit any definite, or even possible blunders of behavior, and adjust accordingly.

Modern Woman: But what about the environment you are born into? Has not your inherited environment allowed you to adopt this belief?

Darcy: That is true. Certainly something along my life influenced me to adopt this doctrine of self-examination for self-amendment. However, if one submits to the dogma of being Fate’s pawn, then one will, inevitably, enslave oneself to the whims of environment, and to one’s own unconscious, basest self.

Modern Woman: So, you are saying that, even if everyone does have a destiny, a fixed fate, it is best, nonetheless, to adopt the conviction that one happens to their environment, and not the other way around? If you firmly believe you are a victim, then that belief will become a fact from a self-fulfilling prophecy, when you could actually exercise more control by defying Fate by disbelief?

Darcy: Yes. Only futility arises from devoting oneself to the notion of an absolutely fixed life. However, sometimes you must allow yourself, your fated nature, to guide you, in a few cases, such as finding your romantic partner, as I could not fight the temptation to gradually adore Elizabeth more and more.

Modern Woman: You mean follow your heart?

Darcy: Yes, but one has to have seasoned wisdom to discern the heart’s truth.

Modern Woman: Well, Darcy, this has been a pleasure. You certainly are the most noble person I have interviewed today. Do you mind a hug?

Darcy (reluctant):… Okay.

They stand up. She gently and warmly hugs him while he hesitantly hugs her back. He still needs to practice the art of interaction with strangers.

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Source by A. J. Wolf

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Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?

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Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program

Direct Sales Agents

Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.

Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.

Colleges and Universities

Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.

Freelancers

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.

Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.

Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions

There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.

Advertise!

The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.

Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.

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Source by Lina Stakauskaite

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Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them

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The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.

The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?

Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.

Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.

Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon

First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.

Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:

  • 2006 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
  • 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
  • 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
  • 2020 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2020 to? – Prices Decline

*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.

The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.

Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound

Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.

Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.

Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.

To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.

Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care

If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.

However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.

Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.

This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”

Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price

This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”

However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.

Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.

Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price

Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.

Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.

During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.

The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.

Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission

Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction

Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.

For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.

In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.

By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.

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Source by Robert W. Dudek

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Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer

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Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:

1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers

If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.

2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer

It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.

3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part

Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?

4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer

It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.

5) Brand is important

Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider

If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.

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Source by Damien Oh

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