Author: Landon Barreras

The power of Sacrifice

It is so often we take for granted that we have life. All of us have intentions of having the best life possible, and this is different for everyone, but we spend precious time doing pointless things that don’t work towards the things we really want. What we do with our free time is vital to the type of success one might have while reaching a goal.


If you think about people like Bill gates. Steve jobs, Oprah Winfrey, or anyone really who has made it to the very pinnacle of success, when they finally obtain their greatest accolades, in their speeches they often talk about what they were willing to give up to achieve their dreams or how much the people around them had to sacrifice. They all have stories of giving up the things they wanted to do in order to do something they felt they needed to do. Much of this sacrifice has to do with how they spent their time. Sacrifice is centered around time. When one sacrifices for something that can reward them in the future they can put time in their favor.


The great thing about sacrifice is that it is temporary. By sacrificing for your goals you are temporarily giving up one thing, for the long term success of another thing. By doing this, one can actually gain time in their lifetime. Maybe not actual time, but leisure time. Instead of using their free time to make themselves happy with frivolous things that the individual doesn’t actually gain anything from, they use their time to work towards a meaningful and rewarding goal. This way, when they reach the pinnacle of success early in their life, they no longer have to worry about working a nine to five job to make ends meet. They have all the time in the world to do whatever it is they want to do, so they did indeed gain time.


By looking at this relationship between the time we have in our lifetime and the leisure time we have in our lifetime we can see that money drives our world. That this way of thinking is only applicable to a world in which we live in, where a currency drives the individual’s motives. If we had no currency, no money. What would motivate us? Surviving? Could we live in a world that is better for the individual, free of sacrifice? The ancient Andean people lived and thrived without a currency. Economists say that without a currency there is sure to be inefficiencies but the only kind of inefficiencies that the Andean people had were surpluses. They worked in an economic system that was better for the greater good. They found that by working with each other they could be as efficient as possible. Today, in a world where selfish motives are the intentions of many, maybe humanity’s biggest sacrifice is working together. If every nation were to work together we could gain time and be efficient as humanly possible.


What is a revolution?

What does it mean to be revolutionary? To go somewhere no one’s ever gone, to do something no one’s ever done? This might be true on a personal level but what does it take to be revolutionary in a world view with thousands of years of history in between. This is one point Dan Cohen was making in his lecture. To be revolutionary on this scale means you have to be able to affect the world. One reason I feel like some “revolutions” aren’t very powerful is because the events in and around them are too small and affect too little people. Revolutions like the French and American stood against tyranny yet tyranny in our world is ongoing. The technological revolution is amazing. The new ways of communication are wonderful and truly revolutionary to those that have it at their fingertips, but if only a handful of people have phones and computers it in fact isn’t very revolutionary at all. The rest of the world has to be “tied in” to the amazing feats of specific areas. This is so history doesn’t repeat itself and ignorance can be put away for good.


The subject of a revolution can be obscure especially in the beginning stages. This is one point that Cohen stated about the infamous scientific revolution. He pointed out that it actually wasn’t very scientific and a lot of the unprecedented “science” events often happened by mistake and did not involve much science in them. It was only after the fact; with the study of history that we realized the beginnings of science. In fact, the ‘scientists’ of the day were usually thought of as wrong and blasphemous. The evolution of a revolution is common throughout history. Many revolutions start as a step or solution against a small problem that evolves into a massive radical movement supported by many. What fuels this evolution? What propels a movement to grow larger and gain support?


For this answer we have to look at the root of the word revolution, which is to revolt. The forces acting directly against the revolution are what feeds it. The taxes in the American revolution, the bankruptcy of the French government in the French revolution, the church in the scientific revolution. All forces acting as gasoline to a small kindling flame. The more pressure and force they exerted on the revolution, the more it evolved into something bigger than itself. If it weren’t for the forces acting against it a revolution would have nothing to be fueled by.


So what does it mean to be revolutionary? You have to be big of course, as big as the world. And you need an opponent. Something that drives you to the breaking point, something that drives you to a point that you never thought you could get to. And then you need support. You need to make others believe in the same thing you do with the same passion you have. The world needs to be against you, then with you.

Means of Mediums

The art of communication is one of the most important dynamics concerning the connection between individuals. You could argue that without proper communication civilizations wouldn’t be able to exist. With this in mind, it is crucial for the livelihood of communication to have different forms and means of existence. Whether in the tangible form of words, or in an abstract form that can only be felt or experienced, proper communication has an innate ability to get a point across, evoke emotion, and spark imaginations.


Great people in the history of our world have used literary communication for as long as they have had it at their disposal. Some use speeches, others use letters. The use of communication through a vernacular language is so undervalued in our society because we have had it so long. But even if we did not have this technology we would still be able to get our ideas across effectively simply because communication through words or even sign language isn’t our only means of communication.


So how would we communicate if we couldn’t use words? The answer is communication through expression. Individuals can communicate moods, ideas, and attitude through expression either audibly or visually. When it comes to auditory communication, musicians and composers can play their instrument in one way to convey a sad feeling and in a different way to signify a feeling of triumph. Whole genres of music are created based on the feelings that is associated with the composition of the piece.


When it comes to visual communication the saying is; a picture can say a thousand words. A picture’s ability to literally be translated into words shows just how versatile communication can be. With every stroke in a painter’s brush, every line from an artist’s pencil, the visionary etches a word or two onto the canvas. Whether intentionally or unintentionally they are conveying a message that can be interpreted in an infinite amount of ways. A photographer does the same thing, but instead of using a pencil or a paint brush, they manipulate the lighting, change the angle, develop the image, all to tell the audience something in a beautiful way.


Even more telling than a picture however, is expression through one’s body or facial expressions. A person can tell a lot about what their thinking and how they feel just by their facial expressions. People express different body language that reflect the emotions they are feeling. Perhaps even more expressive than body language, is expression through bodily contact. Whether it’s someone’s touch or someone’s force, bodily contact often expresses things that words cannot.



In the book Tambora, Gillen D’arcy Wood talked about how one single natural occurring event like a volcanic eruption could change the entire world. Famine and hunger swept the whole world because of one remote, natural disaster. The world wide devastation got me thinking about the world I live in. What would happen if there was a major catastrophe that turned our beautiful days of shining sun into days of darkness? A dark morning and afternoon that rivals the pitch black of night. I see two different possible worlds, with outcomes that land on opposite ends of the spectrum.


One world is the epitome of misery. The first thing that would happen would be the failure of all agricultural of the systems in the world. With darkness sweeping the land, world wide famine. In turn, due to scarcity, prices of the remaining food would rise ridiculously. Riots would start to break out all over the world, civil unrest sky rocketing to an all time high. Stores are being ravaged, and the civilized turn into savages. The world is flipped upside down. What used to be seen as insane is now normal, and what was normal is now gone. Our way of life as we know it is destroyed and any source of hope comes from surviving. Our civilizations that we have spent centuries building, are decimated to a point that we no longer see a difference between us and our primitive ancestors.


I’d like to think of a more positive world, where darkness dies not equal the end of the world as we know it. One where the darkness sparks inspiration, innovation, and solitude rather than chaos and distress. Instead of world wide famine, we would store and ration the remaining food until we could discover new innovative way to cultivate food, like hydroponic farming. Instead of misery and unrest from a shortage of food, the masses could find a new world where solitude and calmness is the new trend. Instead of dull minds, blank of any ideas because of the infinite darkness, I see inspiration by great artistic minds drawn to the still of night. I like to think if I were in this time, I would be one of those artists. I often think about spending some time in Alaska where I can actually find a dark day. Because although it is bleak you can see a brightness, even the dimmest light shines bright in infinite darkness.


These two contrasting worlds could likely co-exist. Just like in todays world, when disaster strikes people react and cope differently. But whether they co-exist or not, the actions of humans are still so punitive compared to the utter force of mother nature. The destruction that Tambora brought to the world gave us only a tiny glimpse of the catastrophic potential of natures natural occurrences. One could only imagine what destruction super volcano could do if it erupted in todays world. An eruption like Yellowstone, for example, could bring the end to humanity as we know it.