joi, 30 noiembrie 2017

Only people with money are successful

The word “success” comes from
 the Latin “successus” meaning
 " a good result, happy outcome."

Success, we all want it in some way. But what does it mean to have success? Many associate having success with having money.  But is that truly the case? 
Success can be achieved at many levels from being a successful parent to your only child to being a successful CEO of a billion dollar company. None of them is less successful it only matters the goal they strive for. From a larger perspective it may seem the CEO is being more successful but that those not exclude the other one’s achievement.
In my opinion it’s not the matter of money bringing success in people’s lives but the case of people with success being able to make more money. Being such a successful parent can attract income out of great parenting books.
The most successful people that I know are focusing on achieving their own goals and ambitions, not on making money.
I believe that most of the times success is accompanied by money as a direct result that comes out of their work. For example, for a good parent who is focusing on raising his own child success means the satisfaction of seeing his own child being raised properly. Sometimes it can pay in satisfaction of completing your own goals and ambitions.
Not all rich people are successful, for example we can think of a CEO of a company which is indicted and being under investigation for tax evasion.
Or we can think of another example as of a politician who is investigated for capital embezzlement. Both of them are rich but not successful.
In conclusion success not always pays in money and not all rich people are successful.

Nota Bene!
1.      Make up an essay (300- 400 words) of your choice following these situations:
-Do you agree or disagree: “Only people with money are successful”


The 19th century is called an ‘age of paradox’

“The only true wisdom
 is in knowing
you know nothing.”
- Socrates

In this essay I have discussed and explained the 19th century time frame and what made it called an “age of paradox” in Britain and Europe. Understanding the idea of what a paradox is leads us to a easier and more concrete comprehension of the main subject of this essay.
A paradox is a statement that contains antagonistic ideas. Simpler put it is a concept that contradicts itself.
In all Europe the 19th century (1801-1900)  was a period of great changes and significant developments. New discoveries and technological advances were rapidly transforming the face of the world. During this tremendous times at only eighteen years Alexandrina Victoria of Kent was succeeding her uncle, William IV, becoming Britan’s most commemorated monarch (crowned 28 June 1838) and also the longest-serving British monarch. Victoria became the Queen that navigated her way in an era of countless advances in science, invention, education, exploration, commerce, transports, arts, agriculture and policing but also confronting the difficulties and problems that this fast changes brought with them.
The Victorian era, developed in an age of dramatic changes and shocking divisions between rich and poor. The first railway had been built and open and the Parliament had his first reform. London’s population rapidly grew from 2 million to 6.5 million by the time of Queen Victoria’s death. This rapid population growth led to insufficient space for living and poor accommodation conditions.

One of this remarkable forward was the industrial revolution and the building of factories with coal power-steam engines. The industrialization lead to a growth in trade and capitalism, as a result the quality of life improved. Yet this made the 1830’s and 1840’s a “Time of Trouble” due to economic and social difficulties associated with the fast industrialization.
            The agriculture benefited with machineries and improved mechanized farming techniques led to labourers being unnecessary. Though the cities with factories were prospering, the rural unemployment led to massive migration and created rapidly a vast urban working class. Which leads us to the following paradox: Despite the increase of jobs, due to factories, the number of people needing a place to work grew larger. This made poverty to widespread and made families to compromise for survival and live in slums with poor sanitation. But the compromise did not end there, work was unsafe and badly paid and even children were now forced to work.
Also, with this technological progress the Jevons paradox (or Jevons effect) got known in economics. It is perhaps one of the most widely known paradox of 19th century in environmental economics.
            Jevons William Stanley (1865), tells us that this technological progress that increases the effectiveness of use of a resource, does not reduce the consumption of the resource but it boosts it, because of increased demand. He noticed that the increased performance of coal-use led to a larger consumption of coal in an expanded range of other industries. Claiming that, opposed to common intuition, technological progress will not lead to a reduce fuel consumption.
With this enlarged industrial operations sever air pollution started, especially in London where it got to low visibility and endangered public health.
            On the matter of public health this issue influenced all trough 1800s, philanthropists, writers and religious figures highlighted the plight of the working class. Florence Nightingale, one of the first women nurses accepted, was writing letters and giving advices about the benefits of clean air. She believed in the miasma theory and insisted that bad smell must be eradicated from hospitals trough cleaning. Later on, Nightingale insisted on open balconies and air wards, her designs were preventing any hospital-generated miasma, influencing hospital architecture for decades in Britain. The hospitals were now built beside the Thames, were the air was now clean due to Bazalgette’s drainage system improvements.

            Another paradox of the 19th century was that while the European state and also Britain could start war to a new level now, due to the military technological improvements the actual involvement in war decreased. Mostly because industrial progress was less hazardous and represented a more secure source of state funds than warfare. While wars became more violent and destructive, “as societies become more industrialized their proneness to warfare decreases”  (Cohen, 1986; 265). On the other hand Thomas Hippler speaks in “Paradoxes of peace in Nineteen Century Europe” about the “restoring peace” or “keeping peace” concepts being used as a pretext for military intervention.
In conclusion 19th century was named an age of paradox because of numerous studies and observations on economy theories and strategies. Economy historians like Jevons William Stanleyt that talked about subjects that in theory seemed positive but in reality they had a rather negative outcome. Although the building of factories was meant to provide more jobs, the mechanizing of many other industries led to a larger number of unemployment. Better steam-engines led to a larger use of coal and spreading of pollution.


1.      Judy Parkinson , “Remember, Remember”, London, Michael O’Mara Books Limited, 2008
2.      Chris Williams, “A companion to 19th-Century Britain”, John Wiley & Sons, 2006
3.      Thomas Hippler and Milos Vec, “Paradoxes of Peace in Nineteenth Century Europe”, Oxford University Press, 2015
4.      “Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace & Conflict”, Academic Press
5.'s_paradox ,Beyond by Ken, 2017

Nota bene!
Information for  English Civilization, 2016

miercuri, 29 noiembrie 2017

The Monarchy vs. the Church in Medieval England

   We know from history that church and religion had always played an important role in uniting Empires or bringing them down. Looking trough out England we see the importance, the struggles and developments of church and different religious believes. Through various periods many conflicts between the state and church raised, but also many benefits on both sides prevailed.
The Middle Ages followed the fall of Western Roman Empire and the Christian Religion was put to an end after the decline of Romans in England.  The Roman occupation was driven out of what we know today as “England” and “Wales” by multiple attacks from Germanic invaders and hordes of Saxons from the east, Irish and Attacotti tribe from the west. By the early 400’s the Western Roman Empire effectively withdrawn from Britain and in it’ s place a new wave of migration came.
In the 440’s under the Anglo-Saxons worshiped multiple pagan gods.
Later on, wanting to eliminate paganism, Gregory I sent 40 monks as missionaries to England. Augustine, leader of the missionaries, after negotiations with King Ethelbert of Kent was granted land at Canterbury and built a monastery there, him becoming the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
Believing that the hierarchical model of the Church would grant them royal authority, the Anglo Saxons encouraged English conversion. The Church gave educated advisers and administrators, through whom the kings benefited on a more efficient control of the kingdoms. The Church and the state established this connection at an early stage in English history.
In the Early Middle Ages the structure of societies was hierarchical. The king was the absolute monarch and under him were the noblemen called “thegns” and the freemen called “churls”. The geburs and the slaves were the lower classes with almost no rights.
In 757 Offa was crowned, he continued Ethelbald’s work conquering Kent, Sussex, Anglia and a part of Wessex, naming himself “King of All England”. In his lifetime England prospered and began to emerge as a European power. However, shortly after his death Mercia collapsed under Anglo-Saxon dynasties and Vikings raids and invasion.
The Vikings attacked monasteries and damaged English learning and Latin fall out of use.
After campaigns against the Vikings Alfred the Great (849- 899 – crowned 871) helped repair the ravages and he himself translated a series of books, one of them being Pope Gregory’s Pastoral Care. His most important act was to unify Roman, Christian and Saxon law in the Doom book (the basis of modern British law). The period of peace under Alfred’s successors ended with a campaign of destructions conducted by the Vikings.
During the Middle Ages the Church provided religious leadership. Slowly but gradually she become one of the most powerful institutions. In this period the Christian Churches suffered a schism and the Orthodox Christian Church appeared in the east and the Roman Catholic in the west. The power on the Roman Catholic Church was granted to the Pope, him being the head of the church. Below the Pope were in this order : the cardinals, archbishops, bishops and priests. The Pope had all the necessary authority of religious as well as political leader.
 At that time peasants had strong religious beliefs and they thought that in order to escape punishment they had to keep sacred spiritual rituals, and be part of sacraments. They believed in God, Heaven and Hell and they were thought that their salvation from Hell was the Church and her way of leading them away from sins.
The Church became a set of politics and dominated all the aspects of life including publications of books and even policy making of the state.
Under William of Normandy (crowned on Christmas Day 1066) the Christian Church also became rich and powerful in England and Wales. Many Churches, Cathedrals and a great stone tower were built. Practices from Normandy were introduced trough new churchmen.
About this time the first Crusade took place. In 1095 the religious war started, and it was a military campaign against Muslims of Middle East. It was aiming to purge the dominant Muslims from the holy lands. They were led by European kings and nobles and used to travel in groups with red crosses stitched to their clothes. The campaign was barbaric and included mass executions of Muslims and Jews.
Back to William the Conqueror, he was succeeded by his sons, William II and Henry I, tough Henry’s only son drowned in “The white Ship” leaving a question over succession.
 Eventually Henry’s nephew, Stephen of Blois was crowned. And on Stephen’s death King Henry II was crowned and he became the most powerful ruler in Europe.
The power of England growing so did the power of the church, after various interferences Henry decided to try to manipulate the situation by making Thomas A Becket, his loyal friend,  the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But the appointment of his friend in this new role did not go as he wanted. Becket began to follow a strict path being now loyal to the Church. He didn’t allowed Henry to control him and he even fled to France in 1164. Reconciliation between this two old friends was irremediable wrecked after six years when Becket punished the bishops who had supported the King. Henry II got so angry that he ordered four knights to take care of the matter. In the end they killed Thomas A Becket in the Canterbury Cathedral. 
After Becket’s death, Pope Alexander III increased Church’s influence, using this opportunity of Henry not being able to resist. Thomas A Becket’s murder changed the relations between Church and State until Reformation.
King John , was crowned in 1199 after conspiring against his father, Henry II, and his brothers. He is remembered as the king that angered the Pope and got the Church services suspended. He lost vast territories in France and increased taxes on his subjects. This led to a rebellion that later obligated him to put his seal on Magna Carta.
The Magna Carta is an important legal document in the beginning history of democracy. Among the 63 most important Magna Carta clauses were those guaranteeing the freedom to the Church to make it’s own appointments.
The Late Middle Ages started with the reign of Edward I and the rise of the Parliament. His successors took steps to restore the royal power, but the Black Death arrived in England.
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. The term of “bubonic plague” refers the most common variant of it. It was so devastating that the churches ran out of land for graves and resorted in burials in “plague pits”.
The deadly sickness triggered different reactions, in face of death some turned their face to the Church, prayed and made rituals for salvations and others looked away and lost confidence in church.
With the number of priests decreasing and the one of deaths increasing rapidly, Pope Clement VI granted remission of sins to all who died of Black Death.  The church charged money for some of their services and as a result it quickly became richer.
Many believed that the plague was God’s punishment for sinful ways. They went as far as to accuse minorities that they engineered the plague.
We can see through history that Christianity became an influential force in society always being in the center of power. It was not only part of the religious culture but also took power in administration, law and government.

Bejan, R. Britain Past and Present ( Iași, Institutul European)
Okland, J. British Civilization – An Introduction
Parkinson, J. Remember, Remember – the fifth of November ( Michael O’Mara Books Limited)

Nota bene!
This is are some notes I made for my homework on English Civilization back in 2016