The overall message in BNW was that there will always be flaws, difficulties, and people that don’t fit in. Even though Huxley depicted the London society that he created as the ideal society, to others that did not grow up in this society (John) these things seem wrong in a way. Even Helmholtz and Bernard found most of their society to be wrong and to not allow them to express themselves. If people acted differently than they were conditioned to they would be taken away or not treated the same. These people would be looked down upon by others in the same group, even if they were supposed to be a stable community and have identity, but only a similar identity as a whole. Huxley was trying to get the message that no society can ever be “the perfect society.”
2. In what ways has Brave New World made you think about the concept of happiness?
Brave New World has really made me think about the things in our society that bring us happiness compared to the things that bring their society happiness, also compared to the things that bring the reservation’s society happiness. Our society had many things that bring us joy and positive feelings; some of these things don’t impact us too much physically or mentally, for example, a hike or some ice cream or even just hanging out with friends can make us very happy, these are simple things, we also have alcohol and drugs in our society which can make the people that choose to use these things very happy as long as they last, but they also have larger effects on us. The reservation in BNW had things like the first examples, ice cream and friends/family bring them joy. In BNW’s society they mainly use soma which has little to no physical impact on them. They may not notice it but I have seen that it does have a mental and psychological impact on them. Soma allows them to not need to experience hard, emotional things. Not feeling these things affects many things in their society, it gives them more of a flight perspective than a fight perspective.
3. What does John mean by saying nothing in civilization costs enough (page 239)?
When John says that nothing costs enough there he’s not really meaning cost as in currency, so much as value and figurative worth. Almost anyone can get what they want when they want it, they can afford it and don’t have to work hard for it. In John’s savage society he had to work for the little that he had, and he cherished it. No one in the other society appreciates what they have because they don’t see it as a reward for their hard work, because they there was no real work done. When John references this concept when he is talking to Mustapha Mond on page 239 Huxley also says that he had mentioned this to Henry. I don’t think that Mustapha and Henry understood the deeper meaning behind John’s words, partially because they could not relate.
4. How much of our society do you think is focused on comfort and how much do you think is focused on truth and
beauty? Give overall percentages and explain why.
Personally, I think that our society focuses most on comfort, then beauty, and lastly on truth. As an overall society, America, we focus about 48% on comfort, considering all of the products that are mass produced and sent into our country. Not to forget the fact that we have a seemingly endless supply of food, resources, and clean, running water. Secondly, I would say that we focus about 32% on beauty, looks are a very publicized, thing in our society with very high expectations for being on par. not overlooking the well known fact that you will be negatively judged if you do not meet the expectations. The remaining 20% goes towards truth, our society is more the “looks on the outside, not judging the person underneath, on the inside” type. We do still care about morals, just not as much as we used to. I think that these things should be more equal in our society.
REACTION: The one topic of conversation that I remember the most was a part of our discussion after we were asked if happiness can be mastered. We began to discuss the topic and how master isn't quite the right word. I believe it was Nicole, or possibly Izzy, that said something along the lines of, “Happiness cannot be mastered, but it is something that people can obtain.” This concept stuck out to me because it was exactly what I was thinking at the moment. I also would have liked to have gone deeper into this but I didn't quite know how to word what I wanted to say. It also sticks in my mind because it is such a true thing that people need to realize; some people spent most of their lives trying to master happiness, not obtain and appreciate it.
SELF-EVALUATION: I feel like I did very well in this seminar, although I feel like seminars tend to be my strong point in this class especially. But, I do think that I did better in this seminar than the last because I was more prepared this time. I understood the book much better, which I think helped me succeed and understand the target concepts this time more than the last. I also think that I have begun to listen and connect back to the questions and points made during seminar. One thing that I still need to work on is using evidence, this isn't just in seminars but overall. I know that this seminar I didn't relate back to a specific quote or page number once, I am very disappointed in myself in this aspect, but I am glad that it is something I know I can improve and work towards in the future.
KEY TAKE-AWAY: I know that I will definitely remember the way that society can be seen as one thing by one person, but it can be seen a completely different way by another. Huxley stressed this concept in a very indirect sort of way. Another thing that I will not forget is how painfully alike our society today is to the “ideal” society depicted in BNW. The one thing about the similarities that makes me feel that our society has more hope than theirs is that we have freedom, diversity, and individuality, today, they did not. I feel like these things are enough to keep us in an alright place. Besides, if the government tries something like this, all of the people that read “Brave New World” will rebel against them.
In our most recent project, the Happiness Project we began by learning many things about happiness and how it’s created. We learned about happiness first by reading Brave New World; after finishing the book we continued to read articles and watch videos and movies on the subject to get a better understanding of the subject. Once we had gathered a reasonable amount of background information and evidence we proceeded to write essays on the topic. Our last, and my favorite, thing we produced in this project was an art piece. This was where we could really express our personal perspectives and understanding of happiness, in addition to the things we interpreted as happiness.
The following is my happiness essay:
“A Couple of Beers and a Banana Nut Muffin”
Happiness could be something along the lines of winning the lottery or more along the lines of “…a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin,” as it was put by author, Brene Brown. Happiness to me is the simple things, the muffin things. Simple, but they still need to be worked for; it’s not worth it if you just get it handed to you. The things that can be found, not obtained, learned not bought. Happiness is found when one learns to balance it with meaning, constantly working towards and for it, and lastly, not judging possessions by their cost, but by how they impact the person.
Meaning plays a large role in finding happiness no matter what type of person you are. In the video, “The New Era of Positive Psychology”, the speaker brings up that leading a meaningful life is knowing your strengths and using them to your advantage. You must find how to use your strengths for your benefit, and then find how to put that towards the journey of finding happiness. A good example of this would be finding that you’re good at trigonometry, then finding a job that uses this, but one that you also enjoy. The concept that “takers” lead a happy life and “givers” lead a meaningful life is introduced in the article, “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy”. This theory is not saying that it’s wrong to be happy because you’re a “taker”, nor is it stating that one has to give everything just to have a meaningful life. I personally think that this is a very good point, which seems to be true in many circumstances. The thing that makes this so difficult is finding the best balance of give and take. One must get what they need, even what they want, but they should also help others; therefore giving your life both happiness and meaning. It is a personal choice to have both meaning and/or happiness in your life, if you want both, work to find and balance the two.
One cannot simply achieve happiness in their life, it involves constant working to find and keep it. The movie, “I Am”, makes many good points, one being that many people think that “wealth and happiness are synonyms,” they also stated that, “wealth and possessions do not equal contentment.” Many people think that having the most money will make them the happiest. This is actually quite false, it takes more work than just obtaining money and possessions. As a class we watched a video called, “The Paradox of Choice.” I thought that this TED Talk projected some good information. One of the things that stood out most to me was when the presenter brought up some statistics from a study that was performed. People who won the lottery a year before were no happier than people whose legs had been paralyzed a year before. Happiness is something that does not always stay once it is acquired. Happiness does not last forever, but then again, neither does suffering. Focus less on physical possessions, things that you have or want, and more on the things that can make and keep you happy.
The number one thing that we as a society need to do to become happier as a whole would be to not classify and judge things the way we do; we need to let people have and appreciate things for what they are, not where they’re from or how much they cost. In the TED Talk, “The Origins of Pleasure,” the idea that people make things of lesser value just because they are of lesser origin or cost. To most of us, if we buy something we think it’s everything we wanted until we find out a better brand makes it, or we find out that it’s not an original piece. People say, “Name brands are always better,” but do we really know why? Because they are more expensive, so they must last longer? Often times the generic, off brand, or “knockoff” products work just as well, if not better. Yes, there are still quality products and people are entitled to their opinions. We need not to weigh these things so strongly compared to others. What really matters is that we like what we have and that it serves the purpose the owner needs. Paul Bloom mentioned a quote from John Milton in his TED Talk that represents this concept well. “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.” For example: Samsung vs. Apple, both of these companies make similar products, but Apple products cost more, and often times break sooner and easier than Samsung products. Even though Samsung may not be as highly ranked as Apple, people still make it work (making a heaven out of hell); as well as people that have an Apple device that breaks or glitches (making a hell out of heaven). As it was stated by Brene Brown in “The Power of Vulnerability”, happiness can be as simple as “…a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin.” There is no reason for society to judge each other on what they have or don’t have when something as simple as food and alcohol can make us just as happy as getting the newest smart phone. The thing is, people don’t judge so negatively about things like muffins as they do about how expensive your technology was.
We need to observe how to achieve happiness so that we can learn to change it. We can learn the right ratio of meaning to happiness, how much work we should be putting towards happiness, and how not to classify people by their possessions, in order to make this a better place for everyone. If we can examine the process of achieving happiness then we can spread this knowledge and learn to balance it between people throughout our society. If we are all happier we can come closer as a community and do more enjoyable things together. We can create more equality around the world, resulting in international joy. Who would want to prevent international joy?
I wanted to put many things into this art piece but I figured that it would look best if I kept it simple rather than too busy and confusing. I decided to make use a record as a base because for many people, including myself, music is a large part, a base my life, it can bring you up when you’re feeling down, it can your mind off of things, as well as it being a great way to bring people together. I chose to include a sunset and mountains to show how glad I am that I grew up in this wonderful place. Not to mention how happy the outdoors makes me. I chose this quote because, first of all its from one of my all-time favorite movies, secondly, I live my life this way. It didn’t take me long at all to learn that things need to be worked for and that the the reward is much better after working for something that it is when just getting something handed to you.
Model United Nations Project
For roughly the last month in Sara Price's 9th grade humanities class we have been learning about the UN. We learned about what the United Nations are, how they work, and what they do. In addition to researching many things about our assigned countries, especially about our country's perspective on the assigned issues. I was assigned the Republic of Egypt as my country and our class researched and debated two issues. The first of which ended in an in class conference were we spoke our views and tried to persuade others towards the resolution we saw best fit, this was whether or not North Korea should have the right to develop and have possession of nuclear weapons. we went through the same procedure as we did with the first with the second issue, whether or not the Palestinians should have the right of return to Israel and under what conditions, the difference was that instead of debating in our class room in front of just ourselves and a few seniors, we debated in the form of a public exhibition at Fort Lewis College. Overall, this project taught me many new skills and made me more aware of things going on in our world that i didn't initially know of.
What would you tell another student if they asked why the MUN project was important?
Think of this project overall- which habit of mind were you most proud of using during the conference?
What was the greatest challenge you faced in the project and how did you work through it?
What was the most interesting speech, resolution, amendment, or comment by one of the delegates?
1. If a student asked me why the MUN project is important, I would definitely have an answer. I would speak from personal experience and tell them that it may not seem important at the beginning, or maybe just a waste of time, maybe even a project they could blow off or get done in two days. At the very beginning of this project I didn’t think this project would have much to offer me, I though “So what, I can argue a point and speak my mind; this project can’t be THAT hard.” But as I went through the very long and draining process that this project entailed I learned that it actually had quite a bit to offer me. It taught me many things about myself (my work ethic, confidence, evidence gathering strategies), in addition ion to things about my peers and how they work. Not to mention all of the skills I have learned and improved that I can keep and use throughout the rest of high school, to college and beyond.
2. In our last conference I was most proud of my use of advocacy. I feel like this habit of heart and mind was very strong throughout the conference, especially in comparison to the amount I brought to the practice one just week before the final exhibition. I spoke my country’s opinion very clearly, strongly, and held my ground for the things most important to my country. I addressed my views on the issue in my speech. In addition to speaking in front of the other general assembly members I also proposed, created, and submitted an amendment in order to have the resolution that I was leaning towards even stronger in my opinion. This amendment that I made passed, I was very proud of myself for this.
3. The greatest challenge for me throughout the course of this project would be gathering strong background or at least understanding and applying that information to what I was doing. At the beginning of this project I was quite confused and did not collect the most helpful nor does the clearest information, quotes, source…etc. to allow myself to succeed in this project. Not having these things made it very difficult to do well on this project. Luckily I drastically improved this on the second issue that we addressed, I think I improved because I had had a bit of experience with it and was sincerely disappointed with myself and the execution of my first issue. Now I know what I need to work to improve and practice in the future.
4. Personally the most interesting comment to me at the conference was at the very end when we asked if we could revote. We decided to revote just so that we could pass a resolution during the conference. I found this interesting because it wasn’t something I would typically think of happening or being allowed. Thankfully Sara allowed our chairs to make the decision on whether or not this should be allowed. The chairs said why not, so we went with it and revoted, resulting in being able to pass a resolution.
The Tragedy Project
In this project my partner and i researched a large social issue, drug abuse (specifically drug addiction and overdose). The main character in our tragedy is a 99 year old man, named Zwang Sumo, unfortunately, he dies the day before his one hundredth birthday because he overdosed on pain killers. His sister was prescribed these meds by her doctor. She then handed them over to Zwang to help him cope with the passing of a close friend. Zwang didn't know the risk of taking prescription drugs that weren't prescribed to him, nor was he aware of the dangers of misusing them. My Partner and I believe that the majority of the time it is ignorance to such risks, rather than the intention of abusing drugs.
Tragedy Project Reflection:
I am most proud of the way that my partner and I were able to create our own tragedy based off of the criteria for an old Greek tragedy, such as Oedipus Rex by Sophocles or Medea by Euripides. The task was to make a modern tragedy based around a modern social issue. The social issue that we chose was drug abuse. Honestly I’m surprised by how much sense it made and how well the finished project turned out. We had a lot of ideas that we felt like including in our play and I am proud that we could make most of them work together. A good use of our silly ideas and unconventional plot twists in our tragedy was to use them as catharsis. The following is a line from our play right before our main character, Zwang Sumo, finds out that his closest friend had just died: “Lt. Pat Ma’Hiney: Well, this is Lieutenant Pat Ma’Hiney. I’m with the Wyoming State Troopers. I am calling to inform you of an incident concerning your neighbor at The Shade Under the Pine Retirement Home.” We used the officer’s name to lighten the mood of that scene. Overall, I was glad that we could incorporate enough of our personalities to make it unique.
My tips for students doing this project in the future are to begin with having a good plan from the start. Make sure you’re partners with someone that you know you work well with. You and your partner both need to contribute to any project involving partners. My partner and I did this well by collaborating and merging our ideas for the plot of the story and also or our visual. Another thing that I would add that you account for if you are doing this project is extra time. You should plan out a schedule that both you and your partner know of. This should have set deadlines that you plan on meeting to make sure you finish on time. Lastly remember to allow extra time for refinement and fixing anything that goes wrong. My partner and I could have been more prepared for problems by doing this. We had a few issues when making our visual where our scenes had been deleted or it wouldn’t let us move of edit them at all.
I enjoy working with partners for most things and this project was one of them. I think that partners are helpful because you can divide up the work evenly most of the time so there’s less of a work load for you. A partner is also helpful to me because it really helps me to have someone to collaborate and share ideas with.
The most challenging thing for me with this project was our visual component. I especially had a hard time with this because it was a digital graphic novel and I’m not so good with computers. Another thing that I struggled with was the fact that the graphic novel was very time consuming. I work best when I can change things up and don’t have to work on the same thing for a long period of time. This made it very difficult for me to work on the same thing for 2+ hours a day for at least a week straight, it didn’t make things any better when we had issues with it and got frustrated, yet continued working on the graphic novel.
Socialization and Identity Project
Socialisation à Ttravers les Médias et Autres I am very thankful that my parents raised me to be a mature, accepting, understanding, supportive, and respectful individual to all, no matter who they are. I have been taught to see everyone as equals; no matter what they look like, where they come from, what they've been through, how old they are, or how others have treated them. I don’t judge people like society does, separating individuals into groups such as cultures and subcultures. I was socialized this way. Socialization, the process through which we are socialized, is how we are taught or raised, or lack of teaching and raising; to see things, how we have learned to see and treat others. There are two primary groups that we are socialized to see people as, agents and targets. These traits typically include race, age, gender, religion, and economic class. Agents are the “dominant” traits in our society today. They have more power than targets; whereas targets have less power and are the “targeted” traits (it’s not just a clever name). People with these traits are then classified under these same labels. For example, a middle aged white male would definitely be an agent, especially when being compared to a teenaged African girl. The media has influenced us, society’s youth in particular, to think that this is okay and that we should continue to classify like this. For a girl like myself I would say that the image portrayed by the media, gender stereotypes and how people act, are all very influential things that have made me who i am today.
Adolescents in our society are being largely impacted by the media about our body image. Most people, especially teenage girls are largely influenced by the media. Things like magazines, beauty competitions, dolls, and television shows seem to have the biggest impact on girls and how they should look and act. The video “Fotoshop by Adobe” shows that no one is “perfect” or the “ideal” female created by the media over time. It shows that the media tweaks and enhances certain things in images to make them look different than they do in real life. “Will leave your face virtually unrecognizable.” “You don't have to rely on a healthy body image or self-respect anymore.” This can be quite true, but many people don't realize this. These altered images don't only affect girls; many guys in our society are affected as well. Males are taught that females should look like the photo shopped models in magazines, on television shows, and many other medias. Unfortunately, not all of these set expectations can be met, thus lowering girls’ self-esteem. But fortunately for me this doesn’t affect me too much and I am proud to be who I am. “A Girl Like Me” is a documentary that focuses on race and gender norms for African girls in particular and how they are taught by society that things like naturally straight hair and light skin is more appealing. One girl states, “My aunt that lives in Honduras, she started using skin bleaching cream when she was about 25. And she started her oldest daughter on it when she was about 11. She has an even younger daughter that was about 6 when she started using the skin bleaching cream on her.” Many black girls want to have lighter skin because they have been socialized to think that light skin is prettier. It especially doesn't help that multiple celebrities have done this also. But just because our role models do it doesn’t mean that we should change who we are. These poor girls have been taught that they are not beautiful and that they should change who they are to be more socially accepted. Everyone should accept each other and themselves as they are. Perfection is impracticable.
As a child I was never pressured into things I should do or how I should look, although I was raised to act and dress how society portrayed females. The video “Gender Rolls” shows that young girls, and boys for that matter, are being taught what the “ideal” girl looks like and does or what a female “should” look like and do compared to a male. A test was conducted on this subject and was shown in this video. 3-4 year olds were asked gender related questions and they all responded with the stereotypical answer. One little boy was asked what would happen if he wore a dress. He responded “All the girls and all the boys would laugh at me.” So what if a boy wants to wear a dress? He shouldn’t be laughed at for being different and going against the social norms that he was taught, should he? I understand that not all influences are forced, but maybe we should ease up on them. Maybe become more open to differences as a whole. They are what make us different than others aren't they? No two snowflakes are alike.
As a kid I thought that it would be cool to grow up and be an adult, have responsibilities and make my own decisions. yet when I was younger I did not realize that I shouldn’t want to grow up so bad because once you do your childhood is gone you can’t get it back. As you get older you definitely get treated differently. The movie “Mean Girls” portrays the stereotypical teenage girl as snobby, stuck up, and together three to five can form an exclusive group. In this movie a there is a group of “popular” girls, called “the plastics”,exclude others from their click if this person is not good enough for them or up to their standards. Eventually they even turn against each other. “You can't sit with us!” This quote shows that they even exclude each other if one breaks their many ridiculous rules, “You can't wear a tank top two days in a row,and you can only wear your hair in a ponytail once a week. So I guess you picked today. Oh, and we only wear jeans or track pants on Fridays. Now, if you break any of these rules,you can't sit with us at lunch.” There are many other subcultures within the high school, groups of students that find others like themselves, others that will accept them. For example, there are the mathletes, the jocks, skater kids, groups of certain races, and many others. The popular girls are at the top of the pyramid, of course, and they rule the school. As you grow up you realize that people can go from being cream and peaches to rotten eggs without you even noticing till it’s too late. There is no reason that you should need to change yourself for someone else. Just do you. Don’t be too ready to change and consider it first, even if it’s a change for yourself and not someone else necessarily.
As you’ve probably heard plenty, to make a change we need to start at the core. It all begins with a individual helping themself. We should be capable of seeing past what someone looks like and what society has taught us to see in people. We should be able to accept them for who they are, they shouldn't have to change for us, as we shouldn't have to change for them, it’s only fair. Age shouldn't matter either; we've all been or are going to be that age sometime. If we don't focus less on how we and others act, image, acceptance of both ourselves and others, then how do we expect to improve our society? If we all try to change for the better of the whole and influence others around us to do the same then it will make a difference in the long run. If we continue to be solemnly influenced by the media and others, if we do not become our own people, the situation, on extreme terms, could quite possibly turn into something along the lines of the Holocaust. Do we not want to make a difference? We simply need to make others aware of the issue. Yes, I realize that this may sound cheesy and redundant, but it’s a place to start. Understanding starts with you!
My mask has many elements, but the meanings are quite literal. The elk represents my passion for the outdoors. I was raised to love my environment and use it to my advantage. I put a 4H clover on my mask because it has been a wonderful experience for me since I started two years ago. Through 4H I have many different types of people, done a few things for the community with my club and I have become much more of a leader than I was before I started. I love my family and others very much; the love sign language hand represents this. The camera shows the part of me that has been influenced by the media, what my image should be and the things that the media tells us. The colored bubbles coming out of the whale are my future. The people I have surrounded myself with have taught me that I can be anything that I put my mind to, within boundaries of course