“Words are a medium that reduces reality to abstraction for transmission to our reason, and in their power to
corrode reality inevitably lurks the danger that the words will be corroded too.” –Yukio Mishima in Sun and Steel
This sentence, this random assembly of arbitrary symbols, is critical in understanding the prism through which I
view the world, and by extension me.
When I entered adolescence, I became more intellectually daring. This was probably triggered by a book called
Sophie’s World. A philosophy novel, it offered my first real insight into the way I thought, which I determined wasn’t very deeply.
I began to view the world as a machine, and my goal was to break it into gears and cranks so that I could
understand it all. There was an urge to explore past the surface and truly understand whatever I encountered.
Instead of avoiding complex ideas I sought them out, wanting to extract and dissect their meanings.
It was also around this time that I became a ferocious reader. I thought books could provide the answer to any
question if I just looked hard enough. In my mind, words were enough to replace experience. For a while, I was
completely satisfied with this way of living. However, as time wore on, I became doubtful of my ability to engage in
life through words.
I was given the chance to challenge my philosophy during junior year. It was then that I studied in Brittany, France.
While it’s cliched to say travel changes one’s life, that was absolutely the case in my experience.
A critical part of my time overseas has to be my time with M. M—. A passionate socialist, he taught a politics
course at the school I attended. With him, it was as though the words of our text lifted off the page.
Of course, it helped that I lived in France during one of the most turbulent years the country has faced in recent
history. For example, one of the biggest riots Rennes had ever seen happened on my birthday. Indeed, having the
public transport system shut down and helicopters swarming in the air added a certain dimension that pages
I was also there during the infamous attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Seeing my host mother burst through the door
sobbing and hearing the chants of “Charlie” outside my classroom window moved me to action. Never in my life
could I have imagined joining a protest, yet one day I found myself in the streets, holding up signs along with
It was then that I realized how I used words as a means of distraction. Instead of completely engaging with reality,
I preferred the sanctuary of a book. While they can provide knowledge, books and by extension words cannot
perfectly replicate experience. In this way they can be corrosive, limiting how much we truly interact with and
understand our world.
This realization has stayed with me. Whatever subject I encounter, I want to utterly learn it, not just staying in abstractions. I yearn to see these thoughts in action. As I enter adulthood, I wish to continue to live with such fervor, words and actions coming together to illuminate life’s terra incognita.
Brief the CEO on Regulatory Requirements
Assume you are an Aircraft Designer at an aircraft manufacturer that makes Transport Category airplanes in the United States. This manufacturer has offered you the task to create a ‘clean-sheet’ design (meaning that this will be an entirely new aircraft design, not based on any current aircraft models in existence). You realize before you receive any of the mission requirements for this new aircraft, there are regulatory constraints that must be met in the design of this new aircraft. You need to discuss some aspects of these regulatory requirements placed on aircraft designed, manufactured, and certificated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) part 25 rules.
Let’s also say this manufacturer has a new CEO who is not familiar with the aircraft design and manufacturing process. You have been tasked to brief this new CEO on the regulatory requirements imposed on aircraft certificated under 14 CFR part 25. Choose your method of communicating this information; it can be either a short essay/memo, a presentation, or a video. Keep in mind that this CEO has a reputation of falling asleep during long briefings, so make your briefing lively and direct.
of Federal Regulations, Part 25, Subpart C – Structure: 25.301-25.351 and 25.571/ECFR.gov (Links to an external site.)