Humanities: Life, Death, and Philosophy | March 11, 2010

BACKGROUND: This is another one of my essays from this class. And Its untouched, and because its untouched its unfinished… Good thing they don’t give me .5 of a hit for every time someone would read it…)

     Literal death is self-explanatory. It’s when a person physically dies. “Once recognized and accepted, death loses its terrors.”(pg. 508) Death is personified by the “grim reaper”, a skeleton, generally masculine person with a black robe and scythe. Images of death do play a role in media, and in the thrill of things I do. With dangerous sports like football, snowboarding down hills at high speeds, and hurdling over hurdles, is thrilling to seemingly defy death, maybe those sports aren’t exactly life-threatening, but the idea of such a dangerous thing, such as a roller coaster, which I love to ride, is a defiance of death and almost a touching of death. Before reading this section, I never really gave thought to the symbolism and reason it’s such an adrenaline rush to ride a roller coaster, but it does make sense to see that subconsciously as the romancing of death for pleasure. To have a culture so entranced by death, even if it’s not in reality, presently, such as in literature and movies. Even though it’s on screen and in  books, still the thoughts evoked by the productions have a sense of reality to the mind, sometimes if pulled off right, gives a real effect on the viewer, truly scaring them as if it could really happen to them at that moment. I have to admit, personally, I don’t find pleasure in horror movies, but I do however love action movies. Where there is a lot of death in them, but I like action movies more because the hero does death-defying actions, playing with death, tempting death in every encounter with a certain sense of fearlessness, just as I do on a roller coaster or the football field, except I’m not as heroic.

     Symbolic death however is an entirely different thing. Literal death is the death of a physical thing, in this essay, people. But symbolic death is the death of a concept, an intangible object in life, in society, like a friendship, marriage, or almost the ending of any relationship that kills, symbolically, a part of your life. “This is psychological rather than biological, but it’s… more terrible because it can be avoided.”(pg. 512) The form of symbolic death that interested me the most had to be symbolic murder, where it’s such a tragic case. And it’s very common in social cultures, especially in high school it’s very common to see. And from my experience it’s happened over very petty things. And how the statements are usually worded is devious, and subtle, like in the example of the “friend” from the New York theatre. The intentions from the murder are usually devious and the victim is usually unsuspecting and devastated in the end, it’s a sad tragedy, but one that seems common to me, That’s what interested me most in reading about symbolic death.

    “Determinism is the philosophical belief that complete freedom of the will does not exist”.(pg 560) Meaning that our circumstances limit us that we cannot do everything, only what’s in front of us and what is reachable. On a deeper level, we are tied culturally to make certain decisions, our education, in school and in experience, limit us to certain options also. That these so many factors make it so we are almost pre-determined to do certain things, which we have virtually no free will. Rousseau was an advocate against “Institutional Determinism”. That is limited choices by government or any institution that puts limits or restrictions on what you do anytime. Rousseau fought against repressive governments. He wrote a book against and illustrating institutional determinism. He made a fictious story of the origin of society/government. The story was about a man who grabbed a stick in a primitive society and ruled the “stickless” people. That to Rousseau was the birth of government. That is a very creative story and is very plausible. The element of the story, the stick being a symbol of power and the man is a governor governing stickless people, are very relatable to now. Except in today’s culture, the “stick” is votes in America. The “stick” can be anything that gives power to someone in any situation. Theodore Roosevelt understood this concept, and he had a philosophy based off an African proverb, it was “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, in political terms, is a very true philosophy. It is personally relevant to everyone who isn’t completely independent, which is everyone in society. Everyone under the rules of the government is affected by institutional determinism.

     Existentialism is

(For this last part, I finished it the morning of, ending up with around 1500-2000 words, and I did not save it, this essay here is incomplete.)


Posted in In Process...

Leave a Comment »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: