Tuesday, December 16, 2014
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.
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,
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.”
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"
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Saturday, December 13, 2014
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.