In “Brave New World” we saw a programmed happiness ultimately being a horrible way to live. We saw the discovery of a lack of truth, and we saw complete control of the state. We saw happiness obtained by strict structuring and no flexibility. So what we actually saw was more of the brainwashing of the population, rather than complete happiness. But what if happiness had been achieved through peace and understanding. What if our “happiness index” did eventually max out? Would this be better than the dystopia of brave new future? No doubt. However, is the achievement of utopia really goal?
Imagine living in a world where there was no conflict; it is a world we strive for. There would be no war, no discrimination and no hate. In this kind of society there would be a strong welfare to ensure that no people were struggling with poverty. There would be accessible travel across the world, and our doors would be open to any visitor. There would be no conflict and no competition. We would have reached what might seem like maximum progress. But would this make people happy? I do not believe it would.
I do not mean to be cynical, nor do I intend to argue that people enjoy hateful things. However, it is human nature to compete and improve. We pick favorite sports teams and stand by them ruthlessly. We enjoy every game or match and cheer at fights and victories alike. It is interesting and provides people with a goal, and sort of purpose. Competition also pushes people towards progress. Look at the space race in the 60’s! Without Russia’s motivation, would the United States have landed on the moon when they did? Or would we be years behind in the technology we have aquired? On a smaller scale, competition in athletics as well as academics pushes young athletes and students to work hard and discover their limits and abilities; a runner rarely runs their fastest time without their competitor on their heels. Competition can be fun, healthy, and incredibly beneficial. Without it–no matter how peaceful–people would not be pushed to their limits, and therefore would not reach their full potential. Collectively this would lead to a peaceful society falling further and further behind.
Additionally, while I am in no means pro-conflict, and truly believe that conflict can and should exist without violence, society would be held back without any sort of disagreement. To specify: To be without conflict, would mean people never argued with each other, never challenged each other, and never pushed for more, or better information and understanding. If people took everything at face value there would never be doubt, nor accusation. There would also never be righting of wrong information or actions. Professor Fleming encourages his students to challenge everything they hear, and ask questions rather than believing everything they hear. This is the only way to ensure the furthering of our understandings of life, and progress our society forwards–scientifically, technologically and even socially.
Although I would never argue in favor of violence, hate, or the disrespect of others, I think inevitably, finding complete peace could be detrimental. Even if this peace was achieved virtuously rather than programmed by government, without challenging each other, and pushing forwards, we will never learn more nor improve. I believe a life like that, no matter how calm, is not a happy one. A clear example is that of the 50’s housewives. No matter how affluent those women were, they were unable to find fulfillment in the consistent lives of cleaning and cooking. There is overwhelming evidence that even the most prosperous needed more than peace; they needed purpose in their lives. The only way to achieve that is to have a meaningful impact towards the progress of society. To learn, and educate in order to push forwards. Peace is not calm, coherency, without conflict and competition. Peace, as an ideal, is an open-mindedness towards the progressive evolution of science, technology and society.
In the movie “Ex Machina” a lot of thought centers around the “killing” of AI. [I will avoid referring to an AI as a robot or machine, because part of the challenge in knowing what is moral surrounding AI, is how we classify them, and how “human” we view and treat them.] Continue reading
How, and to what extent, have new forms of media changed the perceptions of women?
As science and technology have changed, growing in relevance and importance, they have affected the roles and images of women. Whether it be the era of consumerism, bringing leisure time into the lives of housewives with the assistance of washing machines, or the effect of the availability and distribution of birth control, women lives have been being directly impacted by new technologies. In addition, media has been able to influence the way women have been perceived and valued, causing corsets to transform into surgeries, enabling the achievement of properly feminine and attractive bodies.
While the general population has shifted from reading magazines, to watching TV, and now to being greatly influenced by social media, women have become represented more equally. With this increased representation has come shifted perceptions about women in education, the workforce, and their overall sexuality and appearance. But have the perceptions changed enough?
I will use books, archives and propaganda to research past depictions of women in media. I will also use political cartoons, images and actual adds in order to gain an understanding of how women are depicted today. I will use blogs and other articles to gain a better understanding of how people are portraying women in the media, and how it affects the roles and perceptions of women.
My introduction will introduce general sexism that has been demonstrated and affected through different forms of media. I will use my body paragraphs to break into women in the workforce, education and their general sexuality. I will also discuss the further divide for minority women. To conclude I will be able to note the great progresses that have been made, while addressing the fact that there is still a long way to go in terms of equality. I will tie my conclusion back to my thesis by addressing ways in which media has the potential to drive the continuing push towards true equality.
Modern American Women by Susan Ware
Through Women’s Eyes by Ellen Carol DuBois and Lynn Dumenil
Propaganda analyzation: WWII propaganda (feminine? Pretty? Use Colby’s archives)
Women in Modern America: A Brief History, “The Emergence of the Modern American Woman: The 1890’s” by Banner
Victoria Woodhull, Anthony Comstock, and Conflict over Sex in the United States in the 1870s by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/03/08/portrayal-women-media/ by Leonie Roderick
Political cartoon of Melania Trump and Michelle Obama
College brochures, websites and ads
http://www.statepress.com/article/2017/10/spopinion-age-of-media-misrepresentation by Heather Cumberledge
There are two cultures–that of scientists, and that of literary humanists. These two cultures can be described by the quadrivium and trivium of liberal arts. The trivium, which consists of logic, grammar and rhetoric, is humanities, or soft sciences. The quadrivium, consisting arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and music, is sciences. Throughout history there has been disconnect between these two cultures, and there is too often a lack of understanding for the culture one does not associate with. As the trivium’s importance and relevance to society declined, the quadrivium was on an incline, and the divide between the two increased. While some people question whether the trivium is trivial compared to the quadrivium, I argue that they rely on each other far more than we seem to realize. Recognizing the bridge, and coming to an understanding between hard and soft sciences can ultimately enhance them both. Continue reading
Today we see women in lab coats and safety goggles holding beakers on covers of college pamphlets. We see female surgeons in TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy. And today we even discuss great female scientists, such as Jane Goodall, in biology classes. As a women I feel I speak for many in saying all of that makes me proud. But how far have we truly come? As we celebrate the number of women in STEM2 and commemorate pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, we must be careful to not romanticize, but rather continue building on the progress we have made. Continue reading
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein illustrates the impact of appearance. As the monster tries to show his good-hearted nature and intentions, his horrid face prohibits his actions from being seen as positive. Frankenstein’s monster is unable to escape the predetermined characterization that people give him solely based on how he looks. This is an issue that we see everyday. There is so much focus on aesthetic and outward appearance. From the sleekness of your laptop, to the shape of your nose, people cannot seem to escape initial judging of things based on sight. As Shelley shows Frankenstein’s monster’s fate as being so determined by his appearance, a great comparison forms in alliance with today’s society. Without technology Frankenstein’s monster could not look as realistic as he did, just as without plastic surgery nobody could alter their facial appearances. However, as cosmetology is used to repair damaged skin and enlarge lips, the question arises of how truly beneficial it is. Should we promote the ‘fixing’ of people in order to make everyone more ‘normal,’ or should we promote a culture that looks a little deeper? Continue reading
The Scientific Revolution brought great technological strides, and with it many new experiences. But was all of this progress positive? Or are there underlying setbacks? In The Scientific Revolution Steven Shapin says to “…obtain experience yourself” (Shapin 80). But he follows this advice with a set of questions: “What kind of experience?” How should so spoken experience “be attained?” and how would one “infer from experience to generalizations?” (81). Basically: What counts as experience, and why does it matter? I second his curiosity, and wonder if we are at risk of losing its value.
Melvin Kranzberg’s first law of technology says “Technology is neither good, nor bad; nor is it neutral.” What he means by this is that the degree of goodness of technology depends on its context. As an example, he discusses the employment of DDT. For Western, industrialized civilizations the damage that DDT did to ecological systems outweighed its benefit as an insecticide. Conversely, India, not having the technological means to keep productivity levels high without it, viewed DDT as their best, and therefore a good option. Context in this specific situation seems to refer to developmental status and overall wealth. Other contextual factors that affect the way technology is perceived could include geography, moral views or governmental policy. Each could lead to many varied opinions forming around the same technology. Continue reading