Seminar Prewrite-Saige M. Rasmussen
What is overall message of BNW?
I believe that the overall message of Brave New World is that if our world continues on this path that we are on(consumerism, 'Henry Ford' factory line, etc.) we will become like the society we see in Brave New World.
In what ways has Brave New World made you think about the concept of happiness?
As I was reading Brave New World it actually made me almost pessimistic towards the world we are living in. I became very angry at how we were dealing with government and money, corporations, and this factory line orientated society. The concept of happiness seemed almost far away, like we were never going to be able to get there, because I thought that we weren't going to be able to get away from this 'Henry Ford' system. Later on as I was reading, I started thinking about my own happiness and I asked myself, why do I have anxiety? Why do I doubt myself? Why do I put so much pressure on myself to be good? As I thought about this, I realized that being good, is an equalism to being happy. If you are good and you "succeed" in life(going to college, getting a well paying job, having a family with two kids, eating well, drinking well, being wealthy, etc.) you will be happy. Then I went into my anxiety which goes hand in hand with my self pressure. I always get those feelings that if I ask a question it will be considered stupid, or I will be laughed at for stumbling over my words in a presentation. This is a very common feeling I get. As I looked at that part of myself, I thought that happiness, was a decision. It is a decision you make, in any part of your life. You can be happy with nothing but a cardboard box and the dirty clothes on your back, and you can also be happy with 5 Lamborghinis and a mansion. In our society we pity the homeless, because we have been conditioned and programmed to think that they are weaker, that they're broken. Even the homeless pity themselves and that's why they ask for money. Our society has programmed us, to think that being poor is bad and being rich is good. That you need more stuff to look good, and you have to have money in your pockets. There's much more I could go into but that is the idea, Happiness...is a decision, not a destination.
What does John mean by saying nothing in civilization costs enough (page 239)?
John means to say that, having things and a lot of expensive things, makes you worth something. So we crank up the cost so that people can feel worth something. This doesn't have to be just money, it's also like Mustapha Mond, where he gave up a lot to be "happy". Everything comes with a cost, even happiness. Is basically what he is speaking about, from my interpretation.
How much of our society do you think is focused on comfort and how much do you think is focused on truth and beauty?
I believe that they all can swing both ways. We as a society value beauty highly, we focus on models, and clothes and things to make ourselves look beautiful. I would call that 'culturally in' beauty. Then there is the beauty that I see in quotes, and that I see in people and protesters. It's the beauty in being. Being who you are without changing a thing, seeing the beauty in a mutt rather than trying to be a purebred. I have been conditioned by the media and society in general to look at the bad parts of me...my mistakes, my 'demons'. That's why I've got this anxiety, this self pressure, and this doubt. It's me, I'm not blaming society for all of it, I perpetuate it as well. I see also the beauty in the self, just being you, with all your flaws and mistakes. All the little chinks in our chain. That is true beauty. Comfort comes with the wealth and the 'culturally in' societal conditioning. Comfort can also comes in just being, you can be comfortable with one another, if we just believed that we were all beautiful equally. Same with truth, truth in our society is very very different than the real truth is. The truth that I am speaking now, seems dreamy, like everything can change, inspiring right? The real truth is that good intentions, such as being happy, can be twisted into a monster, a liar, a cheater, and a torturer. But, then again, all of my opinions are based on what I have been conditioned in. It is all a grey area, with no real answer. We all can observe and see the problems, but most of us don't do anything about it. The ones that try still divide. Comfort, Beauty, and Truth, are nothing but figment feelings, born from our own design and destruction.
Give overall percentages and explain why.
Overall percentages? I say 100% of us, believe in all of them, all at the same time. We only choose based on our programming, and our programming is to go the easiest way, and the easiest way is not to fight back against our conditioning. We all condition each other to swing both ways. So we think that beauty and truth are different from comfort, when really, there is only grey area. That's why some fight against the system, but still want a car and a nice house, while others fight for the system, but want peace on earth. That's why, I believe there is beauty in being, while also still worrying about what clothes I should wear the next day, or worrying what my grades will be, or what my peers think of me. We all believe in everything, some of us just believe in one thing a little bit more than the other.
Seminar Reflection-Saige M. Rasmussen
When I was listening to the first seminar group, I heard Mady mention equal opportunity, and the I listened to the comments from Garnet and Nat afterwards, paraphrasing, Nat said that everyone's happiness was different. I immediately made the connection to my prewrite. I wrote it the night before, but I wanted to jump into the hot seat and just say the phrase, Happiness is a decision not a destination. I held back and saved it for my group, but I felt strongly and passionately about this topic, and I guess that moment was when I realized how into this topic I was.
I feel like I did well in making connections, I really pulled in ideas from my own life to the real world and the book all in one statement, I was really passionate about this topic of happiness and I tried to make everyone understand. I also feel that I was good at perspective, I listened to others views, and I was genuinely interested, it felt good to be that engaged and I feel that those are my two strong suits.
I have grown so much since my last seminar, I didn't say word last time, and I was anxious and I became really caged. I completely shut down. Something about this topic made me want to spill my thoughts, I was ready, over prepared some might say, with my prewrite. I was passionate and my mind was full of interest and I was questioning my life a bit in this project. I guess I just flourished and I blossomed into this project. I have really grown and I feel confident and I'm going to be so ready for our exhibition.
Well...I won't forget my connections and perspective, this project made me see the world in so many different ways, I became very aware of who I was, what the world was, who everyone is. The book and the entire project really hit me hard and definitely changed me. I'm constantly aware of my surroundings now, and the willpower of everything around me. Also, the influence on myself from myself. You know, at first I didn't understand what this project really meant by being called the "happiness" project. Through it, I became very pessimistic to the world and the human race. In the end though, I'm changed. I feel better, more aware, this project made me happy. Happiness is a decision I know, but you gotta have something to influence that decision...this project made me content with where I am in life, and finally...happy to be me.
Mexican White Boy Seminar
Reaction and Connection:
Uno's mask I really identified with. I don't have a specific comment, but the whole conversation about Uno's mask and identity intrigued me, and made me feel very close to Uno's character. I didn't talk much at all during the seminar, and I understand why you would give me and F. Just because I didn't talk doesn't mean I didn't have a lot to say and doesn't mean I wasn't paying attention. I was very interested in the topic. Stating how Uno feels out of place because his race and how he acts out when feeling insecure about it, it resonated with me. He had to have this tough mask and under it he just wanted to do the right thing. I may not be from two different ethnicities but I really feel like I AM Uno. I identify with him, and honestly I identify with Danny and Sophia too, just not as strongly.
I didn't speak at all during the seminar. I don't know why, but I always feel very intense and honestly, I get scared during seminars. I hate to admit it but I do, my words aren't going to be very important, and no matter what people will judge me. I have a lot to say and I actually have a really hard time NOT saying something during a seminar, I'm just very insecure about what people will think of my opinions. Most people already said what I was thinking and I was left blank in my mind. Plus, I get defensive during seminars and end up attacking people with my words. Just like when I said I didn't like the book, I actually really liked it. I defend myself like that. I didn't want to hurt anyone so I figured I'd just get a bad grade instead. I feel very put on the spot with seminars and I hate it. My thoughts don't matter anyways, so why speak up? Anyway, I'll just keep my bad grade. But, just because I don't speak doesn't mean I don't care, doesn't mean I'm stupid, and it doesn't mean I don't have anything to say because I'm not paying attention.
Most Beautiful Line:
"You didn't do nothin' wrong." Self blame, the most horrible of pains. I really think that this is a great quote, because I have experienced so much self blame and I hate myself, I always put myself down. I have made some terrible mistakes and I have broken many friendships. My best friend Brandon, has always told me that I worry too much and hate myself for no reason, he has told me many times before that I didn't do anything wrong. I just find this statement very personal and close to me.