Archive for October, 2011

The end of a world phenomenon? (Blog post 3/Weekly Activity 4)

Growing up, every birthday I’ve had, my birthday wishes were always the same- world peace, or to end world hunger, or to stop war in the world. But on my 18th birthday, my life was changed forever. It all started in my room at 8:30AM. I woke up to the routine sound of my screeching alarm clock. -tap- 8:39Am, and I am once again awaken to my snooze alarm. August 6, just another ordinary birthday, right? So  I get up and maneuver through all of the scratchers and lottery tickets on the ground that I got from 711 at 12AM last night in order to go to the bathroom to get ready for my day. “It sucks”, I thought. Graduation was just 2 and half months ago, but I miss all of my friends so much, and everyone’s so busy getting ready for college that I’ll have to be celebrating my birthday without them this time. “Oh well”, I thought. “At least I’ll be getting a lot of birthday wishes on facebook,” I laughed to myself. I finished my morning routine and made my way to my grandpa’s house for my annual birthday barbecue.

Same old party as every year. I greet my family members by bowing to them and rush to see what food was prepared for this year’s party. “Fried rice, shrimp balls, eggrolls, and Korean barbecue. Nothing to go crazy over but it’s better than what I usually eat,” I thought to myself. I ate until my stomach felt like it was going to explode. After about 30 minutes of sitting and digesting, I run into the jump house. Eighteen years old and I still have a jump house? “Oh well, you can never be too old,” I convinced myself. So I jumped with my cousins for hours- ostensibly too long because the sky outside was now a shade of a dusky dark blue. I gesture at my cousins at the dark sky, and we make our way back into the house. “Who wants ice cream cake?” my mom asked my cousins and I as we walked back into the house from wrestling and doing back flips inside of the jump house. “Both a jumper and an ice cream cake?” I thought to myself. I’ve never been one to hold onto my youth. Always work and no play, but I guess today was a good enlightenment.

I sit down in the middle of the table that was surrounded by faces that were too many to count as my grandma carefully walks into the dark room with eighteen lit candles on top of it. All I can see are the dimly illuminated faces of all my family members with glistening eyes staring at the candles that looked to have had what seemed like an eternal blaze to their flame. As the cake is slowly  descended onto the table in front of me, I envision a new possible wish I can make for this years birthday. It is my 18th, afterall. I come up with nothing, but I have little time left before my younger cousins would try to blow out my candles for me, so I quickly make my wish. “I wish that I can end world hunger.” -huff- And all the candles were out. My family starts to applause for there is now another member in the family that is officially an adult. Soon after, I leave to go home. I’ve had a long night.

August 7th, I wake up yet again to the sound of my alarm. No snooze this time, I’m too hungry to sleep. “I really want a breakfast burrito,” I thought to myself, and then I heard a ‘poof’ sound. BAM! On my lap was a freshly made breakfast burrito with two packets of hot sauce right next to it. “This is exactly the image that I just thought up in my mind!” I said anxiously. I look around the room to see if anyone was there, but all I can see is an empty room that is being lit from the sun outside the blinds of my window and a breakfast burrito that is sitting on my lap with two hot sauce packets, just waiting to be eaten. “This is impossible”, I thought. “What’s going on? Where did this come from?” I didn’t know where this burrito came from, but I did know that I wasn’t going to eat it. I mean, who eats food that just comes out of thin air? I wondered where it came from some more, and thought to myself, “What if I was the one who made it appear?” I wanted to test my theory, so I think up foods that I’ve been craving for the past week. “Green tea frozen yogurt, chicken pot pie, barbecue flavored chips,” and I heard three ‘poof’ sounds. I opened my eyes to see green tea frozen yogurt, a chicken pot pie, and some barbecue flavored chips on my lap next to the burrito that was still screaming to me to be eaten.

After eating my free and quickly prepared breakfast, I made my way to the news station with a shirt that says “Just eat it.” I felt like this shirt was the most appropriate thing to wear for this situation. So I walk in, and tell them that I had something I wanted to show them. The receptionist had a nervous facial expression as she asked me what I wanted to show her. I asked her what her to close her eyes and to tell me what he favorite food was. “Macaroni and cheese,” she stated. ‘poof’ As she opened her eyes, she saw a dish of the food that she’s been longing to eat since her shift at the news station had started. Surprised, she said “Where did you get this?” So I repeated my ability- but this time with her eyes open- and she was stunned. She quickly called in an executive of the news station and I showed him my powers. I made an agreement with him. I would give him this story, if he made it possibly that everyone in the world can access my power. I wanted to help starving people everywhere. I mean, what else would I do with this gift, right? He agreed, and almost instantaneously after being featured on his news channel, government agents swarmed the news station, and I was taken into custody.

I was put into a room for examination, and nothing was wrong with me. I tell them the story of what happened that morning, and all their faces were in disbelief. “I was born to save the world from hunger,” I told them.

Years later, I find myself making trips to Asia, Africa, Latin America- everywhere- spreading my powers to the hungry. I have made an unlimited supply of food for the world. I have ended world hunger.

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Breaking the Chains of Social Isolation! (Major post 1)

In Astra Taylor’s documentary Examined Life, viewers are exposed to eight individuals willing to share their different exhilarating concepts on life.  The different factors varying from physical disability to caste influences each philosoper’s  ideas, and how these concepts and examinations were brought about from  their everyday routines on subjects ranging from cultural theory to moral philosophy.

Despite all of the remarkable philosophers presented in Astra Taylor’s film, the most fascinating concept  to me would have to be Judith Butler’s ideals on our culture’s fixation on individualism. Butler states that having physical accessibility for disabled citizens creates a social accessibility; this being a form of acceptance for those with a disability, allowing them to break away from their isolation and interact with the world.

What interested me about this philosopher was that her concepts were the hardest for me to relate to. Nothing separates me from the other philosophers, but because the fact that Judith Butler has a disability, I will have more difficulty in trying to relate to her dilemma versus relating to the other philosophers’ ideals. Not only does her physical disability create a social barrier for her, but she also feels discomfort in doing things with body parts that they are not normally used for because of the normalizing standards that society has create for those body parts. This idea intertwines with her theory of physical accessibility creating social accessibility by contradicting the idea of the breaking down of social barriers for the disabled. She’s saying that society may be willing to help disabled citizens by giving them more access to their community, but in the process, disabled people are judged for doing handling their problems in an abnormal manner.

She then clarifies the distinction between having a disability versus having an impairment. Butler states that an impairment is its own unique embodiment, while a disability is the social repression of the impaired. This is interesting because I always thought of impaired and disabled as the same thing, but her concept exclaims that the social repressions of the impaired include limited housing options, no career opportunities, social isolation, and even cultural aversion.  This means that an impairment is the prognosis, and a disability is the disabling affects of society from having an impairment. Butler states that she feels an anxiety of being judged even when she orders coffee, an action that many people do daily. She states that in a way, her buying coffee and demanding help is like a political protest because help is something that we all need. This notion surprises me because I too am guilty of only helping a disabled person because of my sympathy, rather than having the mindset that helping a disabled person is a form of social equality. Butler also brings up the idea that the able-bodied person being self-sufficient is false because of the fact that we all live in an interdependent society.

Another hindrance that doesn’t only apply to disabled citizens but to everyone, is what we are allowed to do with our bodies. Butler believes that society’s normalizing standards for the functions of a body part isolates a set of capacities or set of actions for body parts, and we are assemblages of those things. This means that the way our bodies move have to be aligned accordingly to that of what society tells us how our bodies should move. Not only for those with a disability, but even gender: if a person who’s gender presentation doesn’t conform with standard ideas of femininity and masculinity. Society has appointed what we allow our bodies to be used for. Butler challenges individualism by examining what people decide are social issues.

Proclamation to the Wisest Man (Blog post 2)

In Plato’s “The Apology”, he portrays Socrates as a humble person who knows the extent of his own knowledge. I believe he does so in order to show his readers that Socrates has died an unjustified death, since ultimately in the end he did not harm anyone or anything but he was executed because those in his society feared his philosophies. This ties me in with my theory that Plato names his excerpt “The Apology” as a pun, being both a defense mechanism that Socrates used (since the word “apology” meant ‘a speech made in defense’ during his times) to explain himself when he was in trial, and as an actual apology for Socrates since his execution was poorly justified. Plato also describes Socrates as a devoted person; when people did things, he wanted to know the reasons that they did them; he wanted to know their true intentions. This curiosity of his also portrayed him as a pest to his community because no one was able to quench Socrates’ thirst for knowledge with a thorough legitimate answer. Plato probably puts in these additional characterizations for Socrates as naturally curious and devoted in order to emphasize Socrates’ rapturous passion for knowledge. Despite being someone people would turn to for his wisdom, his thirst for knowledge and curious personality did in fact give him some opponents. His top three opponents were Metelus (the primary man responsible for Socrates being accused) and other accusers, Lycon and Anytus. Socrates was being accused of corrupting the youth and not conforming to common beliefs (religious). Socrates highly valued virtue and knowledge. In his quest for knowledge, he is ultimately accused and sentenced to death, but his life virtues allow him to accept his death as shamelessly as possible. He says that “I ought not to do anything common or mean in the hour of danger: nor do I now repent of the manner of my defence, and I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neitherin war nor yet at law ought any man to use every way of escaping death.” Meaning that he would rather die being falsely accused than to live and conform to what his society thinks is okay. This event also characterizes Socrates as a brave man who stands by his words. An oracle describes Socrates as the most “wisest man”, which is ironic because Socrates declared himself as not wise during his search for a wiser man. When he would meet a person that other people during his time period thought of as wise, Socrates would question and analyze that person and realize that they’re not wise at all, but are merely people who take on the title of being wise. I believe that the oracle states that Socrates is the wisest man because Socrates is the only man who is humble and modest enough to believe that there is someone who is more wise than he is, despite him being adequately wise himself. By denying himself as being wise, Socrates emphasizes his thirst for knowledge.