Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Continual Racism

It is practically impossible to avoid the issue of racism in modern America. With incidents such as the Mike Brown shooting and Eric Garner case, media is always overflowing with racial tension.  I heard somewhere that one man referred to it as an infectious disease.  I think that this is a very good point.  No matter where we go, whether it is a bottle of Aunt Jemima pancake syrup, or a meme on twitter, subtle racism assaults us.

 It underlies every advertisement on TV, for example KFC's new commercials, and there is no way that we as americans can avoid it.  Racism may have come a long way since slavery, and since the Civil Rights Movement but it still influences our every day lives.

We live in an area where the property lines of towns divide the extremely affluent River Forest from the  impoverished and crime ridden Maywood.  Of course there is a great juxtaposition in the demographics of the two adjacent towns.  Even the classes in OPRF are somewhat segregated.  I believe it will still require time and handwork in order to overcome the existing racism in the United States.

War Poem

He Wanted to Sleep Inside Her Lungs and Breathe Her Blood and Be Smothered

War is
Storms thundering through the moving sky
That they carry

War is a cracked fable told by The Mother Goose
But in this tale
a tale of dreams
"the dead sometimes smile and sit up and return
to the world.”

War is hell but that's not all
Because it is also a mystery and a terror
War is fair
War is not fair
War is discovery, holiness, and pity,
and despair

War is thinking you will survive
But why strive
To find the drive
if its so easy to relive the pain of the deprived
Because even when the war is over and your still alive
your dead inside
Even with your blood pumping and brain flowing
your dead inside
“I survived, but it's not a happy ending.”
I survived.

War is wanting to explain it
How you've been braver than you ever thought you could be
But how you had not been as brave as you wanted to be
You say "You see"
"I want to explain how those are distinct"
It's important

War is not being able to soak up the bleeding
lines between falsehood and reality
It's like being inside a book that nobodies reading
The lethality

War is a difficult thing to discuss
How do you sing the song of the world's greatest paradox?
As each man sacrifices himself to this enigma
As his mentality adjusts
Its is then both the audience and speaker will see
These stories can save us

Dealing With Tragedy

Throughout the initial chapters of the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close the reader is introduced to Oskar and learns of the tragic loss of his father in 9/11. Oskar uses various methods to aid him in coping with his loss. Oskar "invents", or comes up with new concepts in his mind as a way to stop himself from thinking about certain events or ideas. In additions Oskar clings on to the little he has left of his father. Most importantly the home phone containing messages his father left on the day of his death, which Oskar replaced and remains the only person to even know of the messages. Oskar also uses repletion fairly often and plays his tambourine constantly when going through daily life.

Other members of his family however chose to deal with their loss in different ways. His mother for example, attempts not to dwell on her loss and move on. Oskar seems indignant with this method, confronting her on some occasions. His Grandmother on the other hand clings to Oskar and plays a huge role in his life always looking out for his safety and wellbeing. Oskar in return attempts to console his grandmother in multiple ways, viewing her in a similar light as to that she sees him through. Wether it be through helping others, moving on, or holding on to the past Jonathan Safran Foer expresses the need for a coping mechanism when dealing with tragedy or loss.

Finals Fever

With finals approaching and yet another unpredictable Chicago winter among us everyone seems to be getting sick. In an article published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Professor Mohd. Razali Salleh describes the relationship between stress and illness. He emphasizes the effects of stress on the immune system, which can ultimately manifest an illness. 

Stress raises levels of both catecholamine and suppressor T cells. These suppress the immune system, thus increasing ones susceptibility to viral infections. Stress also effects various other components of ones health, altering stomach acid concentration and can facilitate the path toward multiple diseases, both mental and physical.  

Under these circumstances it seems virtually impossible to refrain from getting sick. However as we briefly mentioned in class in respect to aspects of life that cause on to be sad or angry there are also coping mechanisms that can help when dealing with stress. Healthy sleeping and eating habits can also greatly increase ones chances of getting through finals week without a trace of sickness.  

Hiding Grief

Grief follows extremely mournful situations. Many people have different coping mechanisms for grief. But coping mechanisms may not always be a method of dealing with grief, but also a way of masking it. They're also a way of internalizing a feeling that cannot be outwardly expressed, or suppressed.

Each person may have a different coping mechanism for grief, but we all grieve and we all try to hide it. It should also be noted that grief is not a set amount after every scenario, grief can be over minor occurrences as well as major.

Oskar internalizes his grief by searching for what he has left of his father, and holding on tightly to that which he does have. A specific coping mechanism that he uses is repetition. He repeatedly listens to the messages that his father left on his phone, because it is another thing that he is holding onto. While this may not rid him of grief, it helps him cope with it.

What's particularly interesting about Oskar's case is the way that he hides this grief. Every time that he listens to the messages from his father, he nestles up in his closet, forming a cocoon of sorts. I believe that this makes him feel safe and protected, from anyone that might take away this feeling from him (i.e. his mother).

What is most important to consider, in my opinion, is what grief is worth holding onto for the sake of remembrance, and what grief is necessary to let go.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Order Vs. Freedom in The Crucible

In the Town of Salem in Arthur Miller's Crucible, order and freedom are clearly imbalanced in the favor of order. But not just any ordinary order, a chaotic order is established to find truth in a overblown situation. This chaotic order infringes on the rights of the citizens of Salem, depriving them of personal freedom.

The system that is established is based around victim testimony, as Deputy Danforth bases his decisions solely on the opinions of the victims. This makes it difficult for those who do not plead guilty to worshiping the devil, and allows people to be locked up on base claims. One example of this is a woman whose pigs die, and is arrested under cause of witchery because she is thought to have purposely killed them. Another example of this is when Mr. Jacobs is accused of witchery because he is laughing when a fire is ignited in a nearby pile of wood. These claims stole freedom from the individual because they captured innocent civilians and forced them into confession or death.

This was also true during the time of the red scare. As shown in a film that we watched in class, a man is forced into confessing his friends are communists, and he will not do it because he knows that they are not communists.

This mentality can be seen today with police violence. Because there are some guilty cops who should not have the job that they have, doesn't justify the thinking that all cops are bad. In the Eric Garner case and Trayvon Martin case, it was proved that both persons wielding firearms (officer or community watch member) were not qualified to do so. But this does not mean that all cops who are armed will use their firearms to inflict harm upon innocent civilians.

A Sound of Thunder

Earlier this year in class, we watched a few minutes of a film titled, "Run Lola Run". I found this film interesting because it made use of a concept I was only otherwise familiar with through a small short story from my favorite Science Fiction writer, A Sound Of Thunder, by Ray Bradbury. Bradbury's story describes a safari company which allows it's hunters to travel back in time to hunt prehistoric prey. The film's protagonist, disobeys the protocol, and ultimately kills a small butterfly during the period of the dinosaurs. Returning back to the future, he discovers he has made a subtle but significant change in the state of nature: A different man is President of the United States, letters are slightly different, among several other small changes.

This "butterfly effect" was interestingly illustrated in "Run Lola Run", in which through a series of flashbacks and flash forwards, we see that through small changes in the primary events, the later chain is sparked along a slightly different chain. I found this interesting, primarily because of it's relationship with free will, and our lives altogether.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Order vs. Freedom

Arthur Miller correctly questions the paradox between order and freedom, challenging the human race to achieve a balance between the two forces. In order to achieve such harmony one must first develop a preference for which aspect; freedom or order, they believe should have a more prominent role in their life. However I believe that as individuals, even humanity as a whole, we are incapable of forming such a preference without understanding which sort of society we wish to live in. If we cater more towards the order aspect that Miller speaks of, and let order override our need for freedoms then our society would be built around a structure that requires everyone to uphold their responsibilities to the proverbial “system”. Conversely, if we let our craving for freedoms repudiate adhering to responsibilities, and observing the necessary order, then it is possible that a society would be created that would allow for and ultimately be comprised of lackadaisical individuals who wouldn’t contribute to the well being of the general public. As Miller states “It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions” yet I challenge that and say it is impossible for man to organize his social life without first deciding what sort of society they wish to reside in. What is the optimum balance between order and freedom necessary to achieve such a society? What would we rather give up in our lives? I would prefer a society that respects the necessary order, and adherence to responsibility, because otherwise we couldn’t function as a society. Yet my statement can not stand completely true because there is the innate craving for freedom and the ability to express that is in every human being. This struggle of not being able to assert your belief completely behind one or the other forces is the reason the debate over order versus freedom will continue endlessly, and there will never be an answer for the balance Miller speaks of. 

Community Vs. Individualism

Society has converted people to e exactly like everybody else. There are several movies that portray characters getting negative attention for doing something else that isn't "normal". People tend to care what others think of them, so they want to be acceptable to the social world and blend in. But on the other hand, many people picture a snobby guest speaker who comes in and starts preaching how you should be able to be yourself, or the true you, which is easier said than done. it is difficult ot fully let your walls reak down and actually be comfortable in social situations. It would be best to have a combinnation of community and individualism, because that is how people find common interests.

Found Poem

War is 
Thick and numbing
Shot away chunks of meat below the ribs
It wasn't to kill, it was to hurt
Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to.

War is hell
Soldiers begging for the noise to stop
Pieces of skin
Still alive, though just barely, just in the eyes
Seemingly hollow and unattached
Your mind will hate it
Eyes will take it in

War is mystery
The aliveness makes you tremble
You're never more alive than when you're almost dead.
Without morals
Civility blends into savagery
They were afraid of dying but they were even more afraid to show it

Almost everything is true, almost nothing is true
A true war story cannot be believed
The crazy stuff is true
The normal stuff isn't.
You can't tell a true war story,
It's just beyond telling.
It's about discovering who you are

A real life horror movie
War is not true
War cannot be false
You don’t care for the truth.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Original Argument

The main type of music that people used to listen to was classical, then it transformed into jazz, than rock, and now rap. Rap music is commonly pessimistic and negative. However I believe that the artists that are creating this music have to be careful about what they say, because their actions could affect the listeners. When people listen to negative music they are more likely to become a negative person.

Although it isn't the entire audience teenagers make-up a large portion of the people that listen to rap music. The frontal lobe is a portion of your brain that is responsible for making decisions. In the average person the frontal lobe does not become fully developed until your in your mid 20s. During your teenage years while your frontal lobe is still being developed the role models you follow and the people you listen to can make a large impact on your life. If artists become more positive then so will the people that listen to them.

There is a lot of negative artists who are creating music all the time, however there are some who have started creating music that is constructive and prosocial. Chance the Rapper is one of the artists who has been creating music about constructive topics. In one of his songs he raises awareness about violence in Chicago. On memorial day weekend Chance, and some of his family members, campaigned the Save Chicago movement, an anti-violence crusade. The result was a 42 hour gap in which the violent city of Chicago had no shooting. Chance is not the first Rapper to talk about prosocial behavior and he won’t be the last, however there are only benefits to this.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Order vs. Freedom

Arthur Miller eloquently states that, “It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom.” The issue of order vs. freedom in society today is extremely controversial because perfection is unattainable and there will always be dissatisfaction. Due to this dissatisfaction, Arthur Miller is justified in his claims. 

In America today, the balance between these two paradoxical forces continues to be debated. While some argue that freedom is nonexistent, I believe that America exemplifies an appropriate, yet not perfect balance of order and freedom. This is apparent in our Bill of Rights, listing our natural freedoms; right to vote, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.  All over the world, countries experience little to no freedom.  At dinner tonight, my grandparents told me stories about their exposure to extreme order in the Philippines throughout their childhood. They described watching someone being hung by his thumbs in the town plaza in front of everyone because he stole an iron. This is a prime example of when order obliterates freedom and creates an unjust system. 

In conclusion, America allows a balance to exist between the two, in order to have a workable society. In radical proportions of each, order and freedom would eventually lead to chaos either way.

Order Vs. Freedom

In a society where freedom is boasted, we are still trying to find order today. Freedom is much easier to find today than it was 100+ years ago, and while much order has been established, some sectors of order are still developing. Order may still justify and control our society, but it is a system that has not yet been perfected. Many people look at order in America as in the hands of sane people, while others may argue that those with authority in order are the opposite. The truth is, no amount of perfect order can be attained, based on my view of order. But many freedoms are available in a mostly privileged country like America.

When considering order, groups of people are divided regionally to set up justice systems that are created to maintain order. America's example of this is in its government. We have local systems of government, state government, and national government. It is important that we find a balance between them.

In state/local governments, it is important to set up a system that protects the freedoms of those living in that specific region. For example, Idaho might have specific regulations about potato cultivation whereas Illinois has specific regulations regarding farming corn. State government needs to address the needs of the entire state, while local government needs to address the needs of the specific town/city.

In national government, they must have laws that are account for the entire country. Examples of this are laws against murder, robbery, most human faux pas. They laws are designed to protect freedom and keep order. But there are times when national government confronts state government, where some laws don't match certain freedoms, or keep certain order. This is seen in modern society with the question of the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, and countless other freedoms. An example of modern day orders include, the NSA's function (telephone and computer monitoring), the outlaw of recording police in Illinois, and many others.
But what we should really consider, is how much each of these freedoms will affect order, or how much of these orders will affect our freedom. Once this is considering, we must question ourselves to find out when it may be necessary to protect freedom, and when it may be necessary to maintain order.

Order vs.Freedom

American society has yet to meet the perfect balance between order and freedom. Right now order has control of America, but it is slowly getting better. Still there are people that can not see how America is being controlled by order. These are the people that don’t feel the effects of order directly. They believe that American society must be based on freedom. This is because America was built on the idea on the idea of freedom. They believe is America is not free than what is. These people can not see how everything is controlled by some form of government. The media, stores, and the thing we eat all some how have interactions with the government.

One of the biggest examples of this recently is the strikes in Ferguson. The strikes are being controlled by the police and military and the media covering the strikes is being limited by the government. They show us only limited videos of the strikes of the police only slightly hurting the citizens but show some of the worst images of citizens going up against the police and the stores. Another example that is not in as extreme riots as Ferguson is the Eric Garner strikes. People are not going around burning down stores and the police are not being called in with riot shields, but what has happened is someone got away with murder. The reason for this is because he is a cop and knows the right people. If he was to strangle this man and not be a cop he would be in jail right now, but the government controls the courts and the courts control the freedom of people. Right now that cop is enjoying freedom thanks to his job of keeping order.

In the end it will take a while for the balance between order and freedom to become perfectly balanced. Until then order will rule America with an iron fist. Where if you know the right people than you are free to do what ever you want, but if you are just a common citizen order controls your life.

Order vs Freedom

Man’s greatest accomplishment is the creation of democratic theory, a premise that allows those being governed the power and voice to administer themselves. This idea is known in America as government by the people, for the people. The creation of this theory rose from the constant struggle peoples faced between individual freedoms and communal order. Democracy gave man a tool to try and achieve that potentially non-existent balance between lawless anarchy and oppressive tyranny. But even america, known as the beacon of democracy, finds this to be easier said then done. The United States is often regarded as the worlds most effectively functioning democracy. America holds this title because by law all the citizens get a voice in electing officials that create the governing laws. But even with such comprehensive representation in the governing body, the question remains has the elusive balance between order and freedom been struck, but furthermore can that balance really ever be attained.

For me, the simple answer is no. To create and maintain such an institution where all peoples freedoms are protected yet community order is still present is nothing short of perfection. For that to be achieved humankind needs a drastic change in what they value. In a system like ours where everything is based on pure competition, for anybody to progress socially or economically it most usually has to be at the expense of someone else. In a world like this peoples freedoms are bound to be trampled on, regardless of how protective the law is. I believe that in order to achieve true freedom under the law we have to step back and realize that in the system we have now success is mostly at the expense of the less fortunate and that for a true just society this cannot be. That being said, most will agree with me that this realization is easier said then done.

Order vs Freedom

There is a fine line between too much order and too much. The United States of America is a perfect symmetry between the two. The only way that people feel unhappy with there freedom and order is when they don't get what they want. An example is the discussion about legalizing marijuana, it has been discussed over and over. People arguing for it seem to have a idea of their freedom is to choose the amount of order. Order is used to first obviously keep everything safe but also to show the people that the order is meant to not change. Thinking that alcohol is legal people are arguing that marijuana should be too. Order and freedom have had a certain give and take, such as that there needs to be something to keep society feeling the freedom part, which is alcohol, but they also need to feel the order part of the world, which is marijuana. This give and take idea of freedom and order can also be seen discussion of gun control. The freedom is that you can have a fire arm but the order is that you have to have many documents and a long processes to obtain one, not just anyone can get a fire arm. Both of these examples fit my description of how greed and when people don't get what they want, they will always want more freedom, this is why order is essential. Author Miller is absolutely right when it comes to having a balance of freedom and order, United States is a great example in general of the symmetry but if you look at a terrible example such as mostly any country in the middle east there order has way overcome the freedom they have allowed. This has become an extreme example of the marijuana discussion, since the United States citizens aren't happy with the freedom they are given with that, as well as middle eastern people are unhappy with the freedom given so instead of arguing for weed they argue to kill and fight back. Not just the normal person in the middle east are unhappy with their freedom, for the women they have no freedom at all, almost like a slave they are treated. On the other hand, having to much freedom would cause complete madness. This is easily seen in the country of Somalia, no central order, which has cause the country to be ran by war lords and pirates. If the balance between freedom and order can be met it would keep that society in the best shape.

Order v. Freedom

Arthur Miller believed that our society, America, was lacking a balance between order and freedom. Today we have become a much more dynamic society: supporting gay marriage, one town making standing up for an injustice to race, and calling attention to any biases, racism or sexism. Each generation we become more and more self aware in the community and as individuals. Freedom and order are not balanced today and Arthur Miller's words “It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions,” and there are repressions that the repressed haven’t yet recognized there are endless amounts of social inequalities. Some may say why to we strive for an unreachable goal, but that is what makes such an ultimate goal.

A utopian society is something that should always be chased after holding America to that standard has pushed us and allowed us to be a great nation. There is only one way our society can reach a perfect balance between order and freedom and that is if everybody used their freedom to follow order. However, our species is of the greatest variety and that is why this Utopia is unreachable everybody must have the same thoughts the same opinions and the same rationale which will never be so.

Balance - or Lady Justice's Lament

Have we achieved that ever elusive balance between order and freedom? Our country was based upn those principals, yet we find ourselves locked in a heightening battle between the two. That is the very purpose of our legal system, spearheaded by the image of the Lady Justice (looking remarkably like Temperance from the tarot) holding a set of scales.

I have heard the argument that torture is equivalent to innovation when speaking of the torture of suspected terrorists in the wake of 9/11. It was a well formed argument, though the person making it was playing devil's advocate more than ACTUALLY serious. He drew a parallel to Lincoln's presidency and his suspension of habeas corpus. If someone could reasonably make that argument, then someone could reasonably make the argument that we have struck the perfect balance between personal liberties and civil order, however, that suture is what makes society.

Taking into account the deaths of multiple unarmed young black men, taking into account Bush's torture of SUSPECTED terrorists, it is clear that proper balance has not been found. A few years ago, Persepolis was banned from Chicago Public Schools. They said it was due to the torture scene, which details a penis urinating on a word and bloody back, however, the subtext was clear. They didn't want to expose children to literature that was sympathetic to Iran.

To take this further, perhaps the struggle is what creates society. Considering that we've fed on conflict since antiquity, perhaps we would simply collapse without it. Consider the State of Nature philosophers,  Hobbes,  Locke,  and Rousseau. All of them, despite their many differences in philosophy,  agree that our rights and personal liberties are signed over to protect ourselves. With perfect balance,  the role of Government disappears, and not long beyond that we would degenerate to where we were at the beginning and a whole new deal would begin.
Perhaps balance is literally impossible to achieve, but we certainly do not have it now. For the moment, any way, Lady Justice's scales will continue to tip back and forth in a frenzy.

Order and Freedom

America has not yet reached the equilibrium between order and freedom despite our complex government, it can not completely control the society-- which it should not, and should not have to. Recently there have been events such 9/11 and other acts of terrorism that violated our sense of security and order. Which resulted in more surveillance, and a decrease in freedom and increase in "order" or false sense of it. As a collected society we crave order but also freedom and a wide scope of civil rights. Which many of us do have but many people don't have the same opportunity for freedoms and their life is overruled by powers of order based on factors sometimes out of their control. 
Techniques like mass incarceration to keep social order are utilized but imprisoning so many people for drugs cannot maintain a healthy order in our world. It gives people and government a false sense of order but mass incarceration is not a long term solution to the problem of crime.
The Crucible describes a town that is overcome with the delusion of order while the opposing outlier(s) are prosecuted and suffer in a plight going against main powers of "control." This template scenario has been played out throughout history. The overwhelming delusion of order distracts from critical thinking in the masses that that same order may not be fit or just.

Freedom v. Order

Arthur Miller, the author of The Crucible, wrote his novel at the height of an era when order had beaten liberty to a bloody pulp under the pretense of public safety. This was not the first time this had occurred, nor would it be the last. In the 1950s, the cause for insecurity was communism. In the 1690s, it was was witches. In the 21st century, its terrorism and racism. At all these points, the society has gathered together and snatched freedom from the outlying individual. However, we recognize that these are all exceptional time periods in which exceptional circumstances led to unprecedented levels of order. For these periods of time to be special, they must be a change from something else, a time when people had more freedom in America than at these select times. These changes in the balance between order and freedom prove Miller's statement, because a society which has found a satisfactory balance would not continue to change. The balance between order and freedom changes to reflect the needs of the society. Needs by their own nature can never remain the same because at some point it is either fulfilled or another, more relevant need becomes apparent. As the needs of the society naturally change, so too does the balance between order an freedom.

As previously stated, the most common reason for a shift towards order is a fear for the safety of the society. This is illustrative of philosopher John Locke's social contract theory, which theorized that while in the solitary state of nature, man has unlimited freedom. He can follow through on any urges he means to, even at the expense of other individuals. These include rape, killing, stealing, and all manner of horrible acts. However, others can do these things to him as well, so he is in a constant state of fear. By coming together with others to form a ordered society, all the individual people secure their safety from unwanted encroachments on their freedom by agreeing not to subject others to similar encroachments. This creates a temporary peace. But it also makes the unruly individual in that society very dangerous. When the society senses danger, it must protect all its members by sacrificing the freedom of the dangerous member by increasing order. For example, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus for those accused of disloyalty to the Union. Habeas corpus is meant to protect individuals' freedom by requiring them to be told what crime they are accused of and to be tried in a timely fashion. By suspending it, Lincoln allowed for a domination of order in the balance because the police could lock people up indefinitely if one person accused them of disloyalty. It seems harsh, but at the time the majority of the population accepted it because the Union had to be protected from further internal strife, even at the cost of locking up some people who didn't deserve it. Eventually the Civil War ended, and as history took its course, the needs of America changed again. No longer was there reason to be extremely fearful of disloyal factions overthrowing the government, and thus freedom could be restored.

This is always the case in America. There is perpetual change, but this is a good thing, despite significant historical cases of excessive order. In a Utopian society, needs would remain constant and could be fulfilled with a similarly constant balance of freedom and order. Unfortunately, as the word utopia means "no place," this is also an impossibility. In the end, it is better to have a changing system that can eventually adapt to new circumstances than a constant one that can only remain effective as long as nothing changes.

Freedom Verses Order

With all the turmoil that is going on in America regarding the police and the lines they cross, talking about the balance of freedom verses order is extremely important. The order people want is security of the things that they hold precious to themselves. People want their houses, friends and families and other personal items to be protected without question. People do not want anything to happen to themselves or their belongings but in order for that to happen, there have to be people that have the authority to apply the law.

In society today, everybody wants the perfect mix of freedom and order but in reality, that cannot be achieved. When Arthur Miller said “It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom”, he relies that the freedom that people want, would cost them the security that they want. People would love to fly a plane without having to go through the hassle of security, but would people be comfortable boarding a plane without security? If an airline offered no security, nobody would fly with them because nobody would feel safe.

There will always be a unbalance between freedom and order because there has to be order above freedom in order to have a safe environment to live in. liberties will be infringed, and rights will be violated because if given the choice between being able say whatever someone wants or have police carry guns, I think most people would want to people who protect them to be properly equipped. Without order, the freedom some people want would create mass chaos and there will not be anybody there to help them.

Order Vs. Freedom

We as Americans are not free and the way situations are very corrupted in America, such as the legal system.  In American Society, there isn’t a balance of order or freedom.  Certain rights should be given to certain people.

As Americans we have the right to have a “fair” trial by jury. Maybe it’s a coincidence that countless black males are being brutalized and killed by some policemen. Yet a lot of them get off with no punishment. Or is a coincidence that women who are raped are accused of it being their own fault. Because they dress to “slutty” or they were asking for it.

As Americans we claim to have the right to express our self’s and feelings. Yet there are still 15 states that have a ban on gay marriage. Also it is our responsibility to respect the rights and beliefs of others. We as Americans have the right to the pursuit of happiness. We are preventing happiness by keeping apart the love of two individuals.

Lastly we as Americans have a responsibility to respect the rights, opinions and beliefs of others. Yet women don’t have the same rights as men.

Statistics show that one black man is killed every 28 hours. That just a little bit under 365 black men a year. And 98% of those police men will be found not guilty in a court of law. In recent cases such as the Mike Brown case, a teenage black boy was shot six times by a white police officer. Despite no witnesses being there to witness the events, the police men were found not guilty. There’s also the Eric Garner case where a black man was choked to death, by a cop. But this act of police violence was caught on video. There was no resistance given to officer, he felt he needed to apprehend Garner. But he still walked away free. We claim to have a “fair” trial by jury, but it seems the murderers are getting off easy.

Women are mistreated every day with sexual assault and they don’t have the same rights men have. The issue of abortion has been a right women have been fighting for. The issue being not if it is morally right to have an abortion. But the issue being if it is the choice of a woman. But it seems the choice is given by a bunch of white men in Washington D.C who feel they have the right to tell women what she can do with her body.  

We are known to be the “land of the free” but we are actually hidden behind walls of corrupt. We as Americans are not free; we are do not have all the rights given to us in our Constitution we are supposed to respect. 

Laws of Order (and Freedom)

To set the context of The Crucible, Arthur Miller writes, “It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom.” In both past and present America, Miller was correct in his assertion of imbalance. Within America, the clash of individuality and community is constant and brings both sides to extremes, but the idea of communal order permeates the most.

Immediately, a counter argument may be found by simply listening to a large, or at least vocal, portion of the American people. It may easily be argued that a large portion of the population is invested in personal rights, occasionally to a point of fanaticism, surrounding topics like gun control, religion, or even the right to buy unhealthy food in school. However, if one examines the views of some of the previously mentioned citizens, they also believe in communal order for topics within the spheres of abortion, religion (doesn't make much sense that it's in both, but trust me), political views, etc. Indeed, often enough the person cares not for individual rights, but for their individual rights specifically, and they desire those in their community to conform to those views. Therefore, even when arguing for individual rights, they seek conformity, and join communities based off of that conformity. To illustrate my point, think about the party associations of everyone in your "community." More often then not, people live in clumps of homogenized political views.

To cast order in another light, the government has also shown signs of security over freedom. With the war on drugs funding police militarization, 9/11 increasing all sorts of security, and the NSA spying for an incredibly long time, there is an underlying message that 'keeping the peace' is more important than preservation of rights. Some may point out the very plausible case that with 9/11 such security boosts are to be anticipated as necessary or at least justified changes. However, said security boosts are not the only restrictions of freedom, as anti-Muslim sentiment grew and threatened violence upon all those who were different. Indeed, this very sentiment is reflected in policy as "random checks" always seem to land on those who look even vaguely middle-eastern. This discrimination against all that is different is dangerous enough, but it was when domestic affairs were considered enough to merit swat teams and tanks that the freedoms of all were jeopardized. Under the justification of a "war on drugs," local police forces may request military grade equipment to fight terrorism within their sector. Tear gas along with tanks do not decrease one's desire to speak against the government, but they do decrease the likelihood. To add icing to the cake, the National Security Agency has taken it upon itself to check the email's of any 'suspicious persons.' The distrust of the people by the government heavily implies imbalance leaning towards excessive order.

Order vs Freedom: Modern Day America

While many other governments are much more repressive than the United States government, fear sways many americans, and the government to favor order and security. The American government was created from the idea that each citizen has a set of universal rights, such as free speech, “the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury”, and the right to vote for those people that are in power. Ideally this idea of equality and justice would be consistently practiced in the the government, particularly with regard to the judicial branch. However history has proven that this has not always been the case.

When Arthur Miller writes, “It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom” he is invoking the question of if our society has truly embraced the idea of individual freedom, or are the American people to obsessed with security to care. While The Crucible takes place in Salem Massachusetts during the witch trials, Miller intended for the audience to make a connection to McCarthyism and the Red Scare of the 1950’s. During both these events rights given to citizens by the government were being mistreated. During the Red Scare anyone to speak anything other than the evils of communism was said to be a communist themselves, this takes away a persons right to free speech. This issue of security can also be seen when all the rights of Japanese citizens were taken away during WWII when Japanese Americans were put into internment camps, due to fear of spies. Trials were also extremely biased and did not fairly represent the views of those charged. Ironically communism was hated because it was seen as the end of democracy, liberty, and freedom, but in trying to fight the spread of communism the american government only suppressed its own people.

The paradox of freedom versus order is one that Americans must still think about on a daily bases. How far are we willing to go in order to protect ourselves? On December 9th, just a few days ago the Huffington Post released an article about the use of torture methods by the CIA on suspected terrorists after 9-11. I believe that torture is something that should not be used under any circumstances, especially do to the fact that in the most recent investigation of the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation program" it was concluded that “In some instances, the study finds, the information acquired proved irrelevant to stopping terror threats. In others, the use of the techniques resulted in detainees providing fabricated or inaccurate information”. This whole situation seems a little too familiar. It is clear that throughout U.S history, although America tries to be moral and promote freedom, in any situation that may be a safety threat, the American government is ready and able to use extreme tactics to create order.

The Unbalanced Balance

I would have to disagree with Arthur Miller’s statement and strongly believe that while freedom and order coexist in our modern day society and has for years, order can’t help but to dominate its weaker counterpart, freedom, however this is not necessarily a negative thing. This idea that is proposed at the introduction to The Crucible, that a balance has yet to be found between order and freedom, is not only too broad of a statement to analyze under 500 words, but also the idea of “freedom” can be somewhat subjective. I think it first must be understood which type of freedom Arthur Miller is referring to. There are two types of freedom, subjective and true. True freedom is anarchy, chaos, the ability to literally do anything and everything one wants. Subjective freedom is the freedom we think we have in society. I assume that Miller is referring to the latter.

I don’t think we as a people know what freedom is. We have this idea but I think it is falsely construed. The freedom that our society or even country allows, is a very controlled type of freedom. I would have to disagree with Arthur Miller regarding our society's inability to find a balance between order and freedom, because I think we have. By balance I don’t mean necessarily, an equal amount of each. I personally believe that in our society, order will always out weigh freedom, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. By there being slightly more order than freedom, that itself is what creates a balance.

Our culture and society has helped us develop over time, what can justified as reasonable freedom that we should have a right to. I mean, if you want get really into it you could even go as far as to say that freedom doesn’t even exist because freedom that is ultimately controlled by the government.
This play a great example of order versus freedom and its effects on the society in which this problem dominates. The tale obviously takes place during the Salem witch trials of the 1690s. At this time the order is is that of the Theocratic state. A theocracy is a form of government in which a state is understood as a governed by immediate divine guidance especially a state ruled by a clergy, or by officials. In this particular society, and most with a theocratic form of government, these “officials” are permitted to convict, jail and hang those that are to be believed as “cursed by the devil”. From the perspective of the theocratic government, "God himself is recognized as the head" of the state.1 The freedom in this book is exemplified by all of the villagers, lead into the towns’ spotlight by accusation from Abigail and her group of girls, putting the main focus on John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth. Proctor is eventually convicted and sentenced to hang, and the most compelling part of the play in my opinion, comes as he wrestles with the choice to confess to the crimes he has not committed. He has maintained his innocence and those of the other townspeople, but the situation has been manipulated against him, and the deputy governor is convinced he is a disciple of Satan. As long as he denies it, he is doomed. But if he confesses it, confesses to being a witch and publicly turns against Satan and back towards God, his life will be spared. And Deputy Governor Danforth very much wants him to do this, as he is one of the leaders of the community, and such an action by him will convince many others to make similar false confessions. And that will help restore order. As the dawn of his hanging day approaches, Proctor ultimately decides that his life is more valuable to him that his principles. Proctor chooses order over freedom and keeps his life. The others choose freedom over order and they lose theirs. It’s a tight little package Miller has tied up for us, and although we’re no longer hanging witches, this same struggle between freedom and order is with us to this day.


In Arthur Miller's introduction to The Crucible, it states, "It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom." I believe that what Miller says is true.  We haven't truly experienced complete order or freedom.  I was never not “free” so how could I know what true freedom is. People who have experienced not being free have the best understanding of the situation because they know both sides of the argument. In the Crucible there are an exceeding amount of faulty storytellings and it creates a society with little to no order.  If a person confirmed that they have seen the devil then they won’t hang, but if they deny it they will be hanged. Why would anyone deny it, even if they are innocent, it’s not worth dying over just to say you’re not a witch. During the time of the Salem Witch Trials I believe that society had no order.

Today, our society had more order to it, but there are still flaws. We are not perfect.  For example, if a man is accused for a crime, he can hire a lawyer with money that will win more often than an average lawyer.  Money can buy freedom in our court system, not directly but the chances of succeeding go straight up if the defendant has the money to protect themselves with a lawyer.  Our society has come a long way from the times of the Salem Witch Trials and hopefully we will continue to strive for success and maybe one day accomplish complete order and freedom.

Freedom v. Order

In the introduction to his play The Crucible, Arthur Miller writes this statement:

"It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom."

The Crucible was written about sixty years ago, and the events described within the play took place around three hundred years ago. This statement, however, remains true for American society today. Many current issues come about from this struggle between the needs of the community and the desires of the individuals inside the community. I am not sure if a balance may ever be achieved between these two forces; certainly it has not yet occurred, and if the plethora of dystopian science fiction novels are to be taken as examples, an attempt to support one side will inevitably lead to the demise of the other, creating an even more unbalanced society.

This topic, though it seems to be a central one in present American society, can also be a very delicate issue. Events such as those in Ferguson and in New York are charged subjects, and people can become very passionate about what they believe. One person's opinion will most likely infuriate someone else nearby. In both locations, the non-indictment of the police officers would seem to indicate that the government places more value on the "needs" of the community than the "desires" of the individual.

The whole experience of airline security, as well, is a primary example of the conflict between these two opposing but similar forces. Security is run to protect the people on the plane; by doing so, the individuals attempting to make their way through security are delayed, and the situation becomes an example of the priority society (or at least the government) places on order instead of freedom.

I believe that instead of moving towards a balance between freedom and order, American society is moving away from it, becoming more focused on order and the safety of the general community than on the personal freedoms of the people. The paranoia in the government as well as in the people, caused by such conflicts as a terrorist attack or the shooting of an unarmed person, results in fear of excessive freedom, and, in an attempt to regulate this perceived threat to the nonexistent balance, society overbalances on the side of order, and the loss of freedom is met by more fear.