This past Tuesday, we all came together to present our final projects. Many student from various classes came together to converse and learn more about what the other had been working on all semester. It was amazing to see the wide spread diversity among the projects. Especially from the Origins vs. Chaos class, a class where we all came together two hours every Tuesday how all of our ideas varied. The ideas spared from the origins of evil to the origins of ancient medicine practices. It was great to walk around the room and hear the passionate talk among student and the pride that each person had in their project.
One of my favorite projects from the whole class was that of Bernard. Bernard looked at the origins of his tribe in Kenya. I found it fascinating to hear more about his tribe and how the life of his relatives there might vary greatly from the life he lives there. The ability he had to trace his heritage and families background by talking to people still living there and from reading book and other research was fascinating. In addition I think knowing your own origins gives order to some of the chaos which each person may face in their life. It gives one a better understanding to who they are and where they came from which helped to better understand ones self.
Another project which I found very interesting was the origins of evil. The project maybe me question wether or not everyone has the ability to be evil deep down. In addition I was very much unaware of the various different theories which people have developed to explain evil in our society. In addition the Stanford experiment of the simulated jail made me wonder how I would act in such a situation. I think every person would assume that they would take the high road and act in the moral way. However, the idea of power and authority overcomes even the most benevolent person. I think this idea can also be seen in Mligrams experiment. Milligrams experiment requires an actor in one room and a volunteer and a “director” in another room connected by a speaker. The director tells the volunteer to ask the person in the chair a question. If they answer the question falsely, the volunteer is told to press a button which administers a shock to the actor sitting in the chair. The volunteer is able to hear the screams of the actor as the power of the shock that they receive supposedly gets higher. This experiment shows that most people will continue to administer the shocks until they reach the high voltage level due to the fact that the director is telling them to. It shows how a non-evil person can commit a harmful act because they are being told to do so. If anything this is a prime example of how people will listen to any command as long as it is coming from someone whom they believe holds some sort of authority.
Overall, the poster presentation was a great night and it was wonderful to see what all of my classmates had been working so hard on.
In tonights lecture we met with Professor Colangelo who spoke to us about “Voice and Verse: At the origins of contemporary poetry. ” Professor Colangelo started his talk with quotes from poets through out history. One thing that I realized while he was reading these quotes I realized that each poets voice and context carried.
Through all of the lectures we have attended I found this to be the one lecture where it was hard to pinpoint an exact origin of the subject matter. Poetry is a very subjective art form. There are no rules or standards to poetry. The way in which one area which we have learned about that there is no exact date in which an origin can be pinpointed. The reason being that poetry, as an art form can be viewed and interpreted very differently depending on who is reading the poem.
Professor Colangelo’s talk made me think about the idea that each and every person is a poet wether or not they chose to pursue the practice of writing poetry. Any form of expression in its self can be seen as a form of poetry. In some ways this blog post itself could be considered a poem. However, the practice of poetry itself is something that has been perfect and practiced by many great poets. Poetry, however, has no wrong or right approach. Poetry can rhyme, be short, have a rhythm, or can have many hidden meanings.
I think the idea of ones voice is the most important part of poetry. Ones voice is the tone in which they try to express their message or story within their poem. While the text itself could be the same, the tone in which the poem is read can completely change the meaning of the poem. Some poets such as Poe use a very dark voice to convey his message. Poe’s poems all are very complex and somewhat twisted. Poe leaves his readers with a chilling feeling after reading his poems. In contrast to Poe there are poets such as Shell Silverstein whose poems are geared towards a very different audience. Sblverstiens poems are written for children and can be read as almost a song. Silverstein takes very simple daily ideas and converts them into whimsical and light hearted stories. Silverstein’s poems are often memorized and reread by students in a class room setting as a way to introduce them into the practice of poems.
The final thought that stuck with me the most from the lecture is the idea that poetry is timeless. Poet and philosopher Bachelard introduced this idea of poetries timelessness. It stands on the idea that poetry is the coming together of many ideas into one moment. While it is hard to state that anything is timeless considering time is one of the factors in life which mankind has absolute no control over, the timelessness of poetry comes from the fact that the meaning behind certain poems are everlasting. One simple message that a poet wrote hundreds years ago could be read today and interpreted in the same way.
When I knew we would be talking about the origins of superheroes in class I assumed we would be talking about the creation of Superman, Spiderman and such superheroes who have been made popular through movie and tv show franchise. I never truly considered the span of the word superhero and how it originated not only through commercialized practices but in the way in which people view literature and famous figures.
When talking about superheroes most people’s first instincts is to think about those with super powers such as super strength, the ability to fly, invisibly and much more. However, the initially concept of superheroes originated of eugenics and natural selection/fitness. Chris Gaveled spoke more to the class on how the idea of a superhero is not exclusive to the popular modern superheroes. Gaveled touches on Nietzsche’s idea of the super human. Nietzsche’s super human does not have super powers in the typical fashion but instead is thought to posses the qualities of a more advanced human. His idea of the super human follow the idea of eugenics. Eugenics is the idea that certain qualities which an individual possesses makes them more advanced than others. Eugenics have been known in history to be taken to an extreme. Such an instance can be seen in the Holocaust. Hitler had the idea the Germans typically with blond hair and blue eyes should be seen as the advanced race. In addition Hitler felt that all of those who did not reach such specifications, such as people who were Jewish corrupted his vision of a super human race and needed to be eradicated.
However, Gaveled explained how superheroes do not behave irrational or with the purpose of vengeance. However, superheroes are obligated to act in such a role as vigilantes. It is for this reason that through comic books and movies, people have grown up expecting that superheroes would save them through times of hardship. The idea of superheroes gives the average person an sense of home when life seems hopeless. In addition it gives people the idea that even the most impossible events and most evil thoughts can be overcome by some power. Gaveled mentioned that all superheroes originated from a form of a superhero “big bang.” In this idea of the big bang all traits which superheroes possessed first became present. However, for the longest of time the vision of a super hero was that of a strong and handsome man. It was not until more recently that superheroes such as Superwoman and Cat Woman became more apparent. The fact that creators of superheroes have now given power to women through their stories and movies shows how the idea of superheroes has changed, for the better, through time. In addition the idea of the typical superhero as changed from the crime fighting perfect citizen hero to that of Deadpool. Dead pool, recently released by Marvel, shows how superheroes have evolved from their strict mold and there now exists more variation. Dead pool, once a hitman becomes a crime fighting superhero.
In this week’s lecture we sat down with Arnott Van Demeer who discussed the Search of the Origins of National Identity in Southeast Asia. Professor Demeer focused particularly on Indonesia and how their culture has changed over time but also how common themes can be traced through the changes in history. Professor Demeer focused especially on the impact of Soemarson. Demeer’s lecture focused on two theories one of called the lamp lighting theory and the other is called the onion theory.
Demure touched on the influence of the marine trade and the way in way in which the outside trade cultures. However, the culture of Southeast Asia was able to remain in tact given all of the outside influences. Through the rise in marine trade, Southeast Asia became more connected to the Southern and Western Asia, Europe and Africa. While the marine trade had a strong influence, the culture of the Southeast Asian people stayed in tact.
The lamp theory goes to explain each part of the Southeast Asian culture as if it were to be a part of the lap. The wick is hindu-buddist heritage. It is the core of the candle and is a main source of light. The lamp’s oil is describes as Islam and Islamic modernism and the lamp shade is the Dutch culture. Soemarsono explains that while all of the pieces need for the lamp is present, the lamp still needs to be lit. Soemarsono mentioned how Western cultures and colonialism allowed for the Indonesians to be able to actually light the lamp. In addition it shows how the culture does not complete change but instead comes together to build something new. In the case of the analogy what is built is the lamp.
Demeer brought up an analogy which he teaches in another class. It is that if you were to take a 3D map of the world and drop paint in the middle of the map, when moved around the paint would only spread out to reach certain points of the map. In other words no matter how thinly or well-distributed the paint is, not every area on the map would necessarily receive enough paint. If one were to look at this in terms of a countries economic prosperity, the center of the map could be viewed as the most affluent area and as you got further and further away from the center the socio-economic profile begins to change drastically. What this shows is that as people living in a society are further and further away from the view of those who hold power their well-being becomes less important. They are not in the focus of those who yield the power but rather in their periphery.
Deemer’s final theory is that of the onion theory. The onion theory, simply, explains how the history of the Indonesian country has many layers which need to be peeled back to understand. Similar to an onion which has many layers, each layer helps to understand the Indonesian society and how it has become what it is to date.
In this weeks lecture professor Aronova talked with us about the origins of science along with its history. She began her lecture with the topic of Darwin and his theory. She emphasized how his theory is not about progress but rather change. Professor Aronova stated that she uses Darwin’s theory as a roadmap and reminder that evolution is not about progress but rather change.
At one point in her lecture Professor Aronova mentioned that historians and every day people alike use history as a way to understand ones actions. This statement made me think if we use history as an excuse for our actions? Aronova mentioned patterns in history and while people say that history allows us to prevent past mistakes, there are also a lot of patterns in history. This brings into question if history lets us evolve or is rather holding us back. If we as a society were to truly learn from our history and our past mistakes one would assume that there would be no more atrocities among humans. However, this is surely not the case. In some cases people look at history and are able to recognize parallels among current and past figures. If anything this shows that evolution is not as strong of a force as it once was. Rather I think than man kind reached a peak of evolution and now is just in a point of repetition.
Another point which Professor Aronova made that stuck out to me is how political and scientific revolution during the Cold War in Russia was closely linked and interconnected. This statement made me think of the idea of political censorship. The Scientific Revolution as we know it was dictate by the government of the time. Had the government had a varying political standpoint would the scientific revolution be different, probably. This idea of political censorship, however, carries over to the idea of just how much were the people living in Russia exposed to new scientific discoveries. How much did the government of the time control the knowledge that the people of Russia obtained. One way of thinking about this is looking at the issue is to look at what was taught in the schools. Much of the Scientific Revolution was a time controlled by knowledge and knowledge of knowledge. The main way that one obtains knowledge is through schooling systems and their access. The control which the government had on the schooling systems limited the knowledge of the individual and let the government control the perspective through which an individual viewed the world around them. In our afternoon class Professor Aronova spoke about the idea of accessibility. While it might be subtle the information and knowledge of the individual is still controlled to this day. It is not through political censorship but rather through accessibility and the culture of ones uprising. In addition dependent on where ones position is in the world the history that they learn and obtain varies. Political upbringing and religion also plays a critical roll in ones obtainment of history and how it changes their perspective of the world.