Snow’s essay provides a thoughtful insight into the parallels between that of literary intellectuals and a scientist, especially when thinking philosophically. This is done by creating an argument around the idea of scientists versus non-scientists. Also addressed is the stereotypes people have about scientists. Snow states most view scientists as “bold and brash” which is most usually the opposite of the reserved individual. Another important confliction is the false narrative scientists cannot have a religious worldview, however Snow feels the most contempt in life are the religious whether factually correct or not. Another distinction between human and scientist is the vulnerability of obsolescence and dying before making an impact on the world. Scientists are less likely to fall into this trap as they are “very intelligent” and constantly create new concepts from a realm of scientific “culture.” A question I have is where do we find this distinction between scientist and regular human? Is there a defining line or attribute we should be looking for not mentioned in the text, rethinking our educational horizons is a positive, however we should be looked upon as being inherently similar in thinking not distinct due to our common humanity.
Unit 5, Post 1 by Luke Wanden
Whilst difficult and highly intellectual, I found reading the texts by Schneider and Birns to be engaging for me in the way performance is discussed as ritualizing and commemorating historical moments in way not previous accepted or thought of as “correct” memorialization’s. I felt the link to cultural stereotypes and how they have been constructed throughout history was very strong in both texts. This is especially seen in Schneider’s explanation of how Performance has long been rejected as a historical practice, and Birns use of the Duluth, MN lynching to show cultural parallels between racism in the Northern and Southern United States.
Schneider’s article “Perfomance Remains” I felt was trying to convey the idea that the art of performance can more clearly be understood as an archive of cultural expression coming together. Performance itself has long been rejected by historians as a historical practice mainly due to the long-held definition of something which is “continually lost in time” (pg. 101). The fact that performance does not physically present or sediment itself, as described in the text, contributed to this school of thought for thousands of years. Schneider, I believe would view this as an ignorance of understanding the “appearance” of performance in its non-physical omnipresence.
Birns’ article was one I actually found myself surprisingly engaged with, especially in relation to me interest of Southern US History. The description of the work of Ralph Lemon was interesting as I felt the reader was understanding better the process that culture and geography have on one’s reconciliation between the past and the present. The description of Lemon’s travels to both West Africa and the Southern USA were moving, however I felt the strongest part which stuck out to me emotionally was the viewing of the lynching site in his hometown of Duluth, Minnesota. I was immediately relating this to similar readings in my Southern US History class, about the concept of “northern innocence” and “southern guilt.” This idea can be described in one question I believe. Why do Northerners view themselves as morally superior to Southerners, whilst overlooking their own wrongdoings and racial injustices. The lack of a memorial highlights the fact that Northerners turn a blind eye to their past which is just as harsh as the South. “Lemon’s improvisational memorial seems more powerful in emotional terms, even though now any trace of it ever happening is gone from the site.” I understood this to be a key turning point in Lemon’s understanding of the past, and how often the lack of recognition (eg. Memorial) can speak more words than one itself ever could. I believe the work of Lemon can teach us as Americans a lot about how we view and understand history and how to reconcile our cultural differences despite the past. Ignorance is a dangerous concept.
Campus Events Humanities Fall Semester
The John Kasich event was one which I was surprisingly interested in attending as I was curious to understand the perspective of someone who I viewed as a more “traditional” Republican in today’s political climate. Much of this speech was controversial on campus due to the large cost associated with Kasich’s presence. I found his speech to be quite engaging and effective, it is clear he is an established politician with excellent speaking mannerisms, however I felt he lacked originality in his presentation, and it was no different to an autobiography I could have read off a shelf. Most of the talk was centered around the idea that us as students at a private liberal arts college could achieve whatever we wanted and that the world was ours to explore. This led into the idea that politicians aren’t the people who make decisions, it’s the people. This idea was interesting as in many circumstances this is true, however in today’s political climate I associate politicians
Professor Quillen’s speech on “what it means to be human” was quite intriguing to me especially as it closely aligned with our first topic of study surrounding the area of what defines us as humans and makes our humanity unique to us? This was further investigated by making references to great philosophers of our time such as John Locke and Karl Marx and their views of what it means to be free and equal. Furthermore, the idea of how we define liberal thought was discussed and even open to the audience for interpretation. Before attending this talk and the humanities program as a whole, I would have considered the word “liberalism” relatively easy to define, something to do with free open-mindedness and unobstructed thought. Liberal thinking, I found was more than this it involving thinking, interpreting and understanding others through both stories and actions and using this information to understand humanity in a more complex and thorough manner.
The Raymond Santana talk was one which shocked me in many ways, mainly through hearing his story and the immense wrongdoing of the criminal justice system in destroying his life as part of the exonerated five. Despite this Santana was not deterred in making a positive impact on the world, something I feel especially in today’s society is becoming less and less achievable. The part which struck me the most was just hearing the whole trauma and ordeal it is for any person, let alone an innocent one, to face ridicule and public backlash, especially for ones differences whether that be race or social status etc. The positive message and energy I mentioned before was really brought through by the end of the speech where he took the path of showing the importance of life. Especially for Santana, freedom is a gift, not just a given right, and he treasures this more than anything. We all need to change, blaming others for the faults of today’s society will do nothing but worsen the problem.