Archive | June 2015

Flying on Coach or on First

When we choose to travel, we normally prefer to fly. Flying is faster and cheaper in many senses, especially in saving the resource of time. Although some people might see flying as a very sacrificial labor, because they are afraid of heights. Whatever the case, the majority of people rather flying than walking, running, riding a bike, going on bus, going on car, or going on a motorhome to move throughout long distances. However, when we have already set flying as our preference of travel, we still have some difficulties in conforming to our selections within this breakthrough of our corporal capacity of mobility.

Society is marked by economy, that virtually within every thing you want to acquire, the difference of rich class, middle class, and poor class is clearly evident. When you choose to fly, there is the difference of coach class and first class. The prices reflect the bidders or buyers each class is dedicated to. Yet, many of the technological advances in software have made pricing very competitive between the sellers and the reduction of government regulation has made prices more free to move up or down. This obviously gives buyers the opportunity to establish prices through bidding. People nowadays do not care about quality or image when it comes to flying. Instead, it is all about the allocation of resources or commodities; money, time, opportunity, and self interest, in other words.

If I were to travel with my family, obviously the longed option would be flying in first class, synonym of more space, comfort, entertainment, excellent service, and good food. However, we would have to take into account our economic possibilities of taking this decision, that is to say, what would we exchange or rather sacrifice in order to fly in first class. If you’re rich you obviously don’t care what the costs are, but of course, if you get a bargain (seeing it with rich eyes) you would prefer that. However, the average person (at the moment, my family and I) does care about price.

So, we would have to analyze our destination and the activities we have planned and those that we have not. For example, we are going to a nice coastal city, we have to check the quantity of distance between our hometown and the destination, this includes the resource of time (the longer the distance, the longer the time). Also, if there is lots of gastronomic diversity and we want to taste as much of the meals we can, if there is nice malls to shop, and a variety of three to five star hotels. We maybe have planned to visit certain tourist areas in three days, but maybe we desire to stay a fourth day if we did not get enough time to see the other areas. All of this takes energy, money (without a doubt), and again time.

These factors influence the primary decision you take when traveling on plane, and that is the amount of money you want to invest in your flight. Maybe you like to drink lots of water, maybe you want to have three meals in a long flight, maybe you want wi-fi, maybe you want first class but prefer to travel in coach due to the relatively short distance of the flight or maybe you just want to save the money to buy something extra in your vacation or business trip. Whatever the case my family and I would take our decisions based on these exchanges. If my parents need the space and comfort, they could travel in first class and my sister and I could go on coach. Another option would be the four of us on coach or the four of us on first class. In any decision taken I would always prefer first class, and it would be nice to find a good promotion now and then, but flying on coach is still flying.

Changes in Europe During the IX and X Centuries

Ninth- and Tenth-Century Invasions

Europe is virtually the cradle of Western Civilization. The “old continent” has been subject of lots of drastic changes due to some of the terrible and good circumstances it had to undergo. The 9th and 10th Century invasions were part of the terrible ones and they yielded significant political and social changes for the West.

There were three major groups that took care of the invasions. the Norsemen (Vikings), Magyars (some people from Asia), and the well known Muslims. These three groups combined utterly savaged Western and Eastern Europe. The West was more damaged by the Vinkings and the Magyars, leaving the Carolingians with a handful of worries. For example, the city of Tours in France was pillaged in 853, 856, 862, 872, 886, 903, and 919. Also, in over 40 years, the city of Paris was beseiged fout times, pillaged three times, and burned twice. This obviuosly left the western part of what used to be Charlemagnes Empire totally devastated.

The kings of Europe were incapable of protecting their countries. Even with the somewhat good idea of king Charles the Simple in the early 900s of dealing with the Norsemen by “lending” them a great chunk of land (known as Normandy) to settle, the raids prevailed. Even with the reestablishment of the Holy Roman Empire, the insecurity continued. Something had to be done, and as always, a central power proved to be a non-viable solution.

Origins of Feudalism and Manorialism

During the year of 955, in what is now present day Germany, the first Ottonian king, Otto I, defeated the Magyars. In this victory, his troops proclaimed him emperor, but it was not until 962, after defending the Pope from harassment, that king Otto was crowned emperor by pope John XII and the Holy Roman Empire was reestablished for the first time after Charlemagne’s death in the early 9th Century.

However, the Franks were under much pressure by the invasions that when the last of the Carolingian dynasty die by the endings of the tenth century, they chose a successor that had practically no power over the country. King Hugh Capet would be the elect and it seems that his power extended only to the surrounding areas of Paris. Apparently the Franks had lost all hope in the king’s protection as they had proved themselves unable of adequately providing it. Therefore, the people began to look for security in the territories of local strongmen.

People became bound to the lands of these lords and worked in them in exchange for protection. The worker of a lord’s land are known as a serf and the system is called manorialism. Meanwhile, some lords would realize that they had just too much land to protect for themselves, thus they hired warriors to become vassals or knights by giving them portions of their land, or fiefs to keep. The fief is the vassal’s source of income to attain weapons, horses, and leisure time in order to become a skilled warrior with training. Within their fief, vassals exercised absolute authority over the people, like judicial, legal, and etcetera. This system of relationship between lords and vassals is known as feudalism. Sometimes, a vassal would have a huge amount of land to protect for himself that he would hire another vassal and continue the process known as subinfeudation.

With this we learn two things. First, that central authorities, when challenged, are unable to cope with the difficulties and are therefore not viable to seek satisfying solutions. Second, when you give one person or a handful of people the responsibility of an entire country, you will inevitably have chaos, the best is to have small governments with not much power over the people to have a better ordered society.

Islam Selections / Procopius on Justinian

1) What do you learn about Islam from the Koran selections you read? Koran Selection

The Islamic religion praises and follows only one god and that is Allah. Allah is not a trinity, he is self-sufficient. Those who do not believe in this god are unrighteous and live in the ways of folly. Allah will punish them through his followers and whosoever battles against them. The enemies or disbelievers of Allah may be slaughtered and imprisoned by those who believe in this god. Every muslim must follow what has been revealed to one man and that is Muhammad. If one helps to the cause of Allah, he will prosper their works and make those of their enemies vain. Allah destroys unbelievers eternally.” This is what I basically learn about the Koran selection of chapters (Surahs) 1 and 47 of the Koran. Should we follow this religion just because one man, Muhammad, randomly said it was the truth and went on battling against all those who disagreed with him? You judge.

2) What kind of person emerges from the Procopius portrayal of Justinian? Procopius on Justinian

The person that emerges from Procopius potrayal of Justinian is one that deserves nothing more and nothing else than the capital punishment. Justinian was not a politician, governor, emperor, soldier, or even mercenary, he was a criminal that knew how to obtain power and make everyone do as he said. It did not matter if it was through plunder, deceit, homicide, slaughter, threat he knew how to do as he desired, but was also foolish enough to believe anything they told him. That at least to what Procopius says of Justinian.