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Public Reviews
Review by R.S. Cooper
Rated: E | (4.5)
An earnest and moving avowal of faith.

Technical Feedback:

I enjoy your writing because it is clear and precise. When I write, I often tend to fall into the bad habit of obscuring my meaning behind a convoluted mess of metaphors and overly-flowery prose, and am left unsatisfied. My best work comes when I keep things simple. You seem to have mastered this skill. You write very concisely while maintaining emotionally effective imagery.

If I were to make any changes, I'd recommend removing the words "I feel like" from the first line. Often, those of us who write about emotional and mental-health related topics have been trained to make "I feel" statements, but in the context of writing expressive poetry, such qualifiers can become redundant. Clearly, this poem already is how you feel, so you should be unapologetic about those feelings and make a bold opening statement with no redundancies or qualifications. In the same vein, you could also get rid of "I know" in the last line.

You could also consider replacing the dashes with colons, but with poetry the rules are obviously a bit more flexible, so your own preferences here are what matters.

Overall, there don't seem to be any major structural or grammatical problems.

Personal Opinions

You write of good and evil as two opposing forces, such that one may hold more weight or be stronger than the other. You write about having confidence in the light over the darkness, and about the power of life over death.

But perhaps light and darkness are not enemies? Maybe good and evil, rather than struggling to triumph over each other, are in reality necessary for each other's existence? Perhaps life is not more meaningful than death. Perhaps death and life are what give each other meaning. How would we ever be able to know and enjoy light and life, without also understanding death and darkness? How could we know what it is to feel great joy, except by contrast with great pain? Maybe these seeming opposites are really all one and the same force, like a magnet with two equal yet opposed poles. Food for thought.

Keep writing, your insight is sharp and your voice is important.

Review of Nightmare  
Review by R.S. Cooper
Rated: E | (4.0)
This piece spoke to me, and resonates with many experiences I've had wherein I've considered the exact nature of the reality we find ourselves trapped in.

The formatting could be cleaned up a bit. Perhaps this piece would do better broken up into several paragraphs, instead of each sentence being a different line?

Keep writing, I'm eager to see where your exploration of the nightmare leads.
Review by R.S. Cooper
Rated: E | (3.5)
Not sure if you're looking for technical feedback or simply opinions on the actual content, so I'll give a little bit of both.

Technical feedback:

I would cut out the first two paragraphs and the last paragraph entirely.

In regards to the first paragraph, I understand your thought process behind introducing yourself and trying to add dramatic effect, but you're aiming to write a provocative essay, not make a social media / blog post. From the basic context and framing, I don't think your readers would mistake this for a peer-reviewed paper or something exceptionally formal, and your opinions and observations throughout the piece are largely coherent and understandable, so I don't see any reason for a disclaimer about your age or level of expertise.

A similar issue with the second paragraph. It essentially serves as an apology and/or justification for the first paragraph. Again, I understand your thought process, but you're posting what's essentially an opinion piece, so be unapologetic of your opinions! I'm in my early 20s myself, and sometimes write while having a drink or two, there's no shame in it or reason to explain it to your readers. If you phrase something weirdly or incorrectly, no problem! That's what the review process is for!

Same thing with the last paragraph, you get the point by now.

The third paragraph would make a much more direct and effective opening paragraph: immediately introducing the topic of your essay, and posing the central thesis, while asking your readers a question to get them in the proper state of mind. Good job here! Similarly, the second-to-last paragraph makes a much better, more poignant, and more assured closer.

I won't nitpick at specific sentence structure, but overall, try to write more directly and succinctly. When you write a piece like this, I think it's best to launch straight into your ideas, rather than preceding your arguments/statements with redundant sentences that inform the reader your about to do so. Assume that your readers are as smart as you are. Even if it's not the case, they'll appreciate being given the benefit of the doubt.

For instance, you could probably get rid of sentences like "in the next paragraph I'll explore the answer of yes." The next sentence (Inherent is the key word when answering yes) does a fine job on its own of establishing that the 'yes' option is the one you're discussing here.

Same thing with the next section. Instead of breaking the flow of your thoughts with "To those who answered no, see below." and then another redundant sentence "Does your life have inherent value? No." you would do better by just starting with "To those who are averse..." and assume that the reader is smart enough to understand that with a new paragraph and shift in address ("to those") signifies you're now discussing the other option.

My personal opinion on the ideas:

The idea of 'inherent value' makes little sense to me. It seems to me that value itself is a concept that is inherently subjective. Value is a measure used to assign worth to something. Therefore, The idea of value is entirely dependent on the person or group doing the assigning. "Inherent Value" seems to be a contradiction of terms. Value doesn't (and cannot) exist in a vacuum. Of course, this leads into a very deep and complicated discussion about ontology and epistemology which I'm sure more seasoned philosophers than us would have a field day with. You address this at length in your essay, when you talk about people being averse to the word "inherent."

And you're right, a lack of inherent value is not to say that life doesn't have value at all. It's simply subjective value which in my amateur estimation is the only kind of value there is. I think you agree with this when you say "It doesn't matter whether or not you believe in the word 'inherent.' What matters is if you believe in the phrase 'I value myself.'" This is an extremely insightful, and much more interesting question than that of objective meaning or value.

Really it's one of the ultimate questions of existence: why should we value ourselves, or other people? Without some kind of spiritual or moral foundation (and by "foundation" I don't just mean a god or a creator intelligent higher power), it can be a very difficult question to answer.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by R.S. Cooper
Rated: E | (3.0)
This is an interesting exploration of the ever-present conundrum of what separates good from evil, and the implications of our moral philosophies. I expect that if you were a writer in Ancient Greece in the year 300 BC, you might have found a good conversation partner in Epicurus, a philosopher who was also interested in the problem of evil.

A few issues of clarity:

"Majority of us expect others as well as ourselves to act on what we have been taught."

While I understand what you're trying to say here, you could make this sentence a bit more concise and clear. What does "what we have been taught" mean, in the context of just this sentence? Also "as well as ourselves" is a bit redundant. For example, you instead could say something like "As individuals, we are expected to put the morals we are taught into practice." Obviously you don't have to use that exact sentence, but notice how it communicates the essence of what you want to say in fewer words, and makes it clearer exactly what you're talking about.

"To act good is good, while to commit evil is bad. But what can make one bad and the other good? In any case, first for what reason is the fact of good and evil put into existence?"

Same issue here. The reader will understand the point you're driving at, but these sentences sound rather redundant, repetitive, and somewhat unclear. Also, consider using things like italics and quotes for clarity and emphasis! For instance, you might say something like "We understand that to act "good" is to be good, and to act "evil" is to be evil. But what differentiates good from evil in the first place? Why do these principles exist at all?"

Again, you obviously are not obligated to use that exact phrasing, I'm just providing it as an example to show how you might make your ideas clearer to your readers.

I won't take the time to go through every sentence with corrections, but by now you get the idea. Read over your writing several times and try to communicate your ideas in a more concise and clear way. Here's a good resource for how to write concisely:


There are also some shorter phrases or terms that, in my opinion, should be explained better. For instance, you write that "being good is simply to keep a lawful faith in individuals and things." I don't disagree, but you should try and better explain what you mean by this. In this context, what does the word "lawful" mean? Also, elaborate more on what you mean by "things." I don't think you mean things as in "material objects." Perhaps you mean to refer to institutions or systems. Be more specific!

Also, you talk about "spreading nothing but good manship." I haven't heard this term before, and I'm not exactly sure what you means by this. What is manship? Or is it meant to be one word, "goodmanship?" In any case, I'd recommend using a better word, or at least explaining more what you mean by this.

Some of my personal opinions about the content of this piece:

You say that "evil is taking the power and control over one in a wrongful manner without the feeling of guilt or regret after the fact." I would challenge this and say that it is possible to commit an act of evil and still feel guilt and regret after doing this. For instance, someone might murder an innocent person, but then feel guilt or regret after doing so. However, despite this regret, the action itself (murder) is still evil isn't it?

Finally, this piece of writing is largely asking questions. That's definitely okay, especially with topics like this, we will always have more questions than answers. However, humans have been asking questions about good and evil for thousands of years. I would suggest to try and make your writing more meaningful by not just asking these questions, but making an argument for what YOU think the answers are! What's your opinion? Even if you don't know, try and examine what you think. Your opinions on the subject will be of greater interest and generate more discussion than simply asking questions that many others wonder about as well.

Overall, a thought provoking piece. Keep exploring deep topics like this!

Write On!

R.S. Cooper

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