When I arrived at the Make Your Own Passport workshop I was instructed to pull out a paper slip, like a lottery draw, for my designated passport. I pulled Belarus and proceeded to make the passport. Whilst crafting my new passport, some ‘stateless’ classmates wondered around the tables and told us their stories. I felt a sense of pity towards my classmates for having pulled the unfortunate ‘stateless’ identity as they were not making a passport of their own. In reflection, this makes me think of the ‘lottery’ of your birth place, and how rights are just handed to individuals for being born in a certain geographic location. Furthermore, the complications that arise with the concept of Citizenship, by not being recognised by any state as a member. After feeling sorry for my classmates not knowing what to do in this workshop or where to go, I began to imagine the real stateless people in our world today. I cannot begin to imagine the difficulties they have leading their lives with no official identity. What can they do? Where do they go? I am keen to learn more about these people and what possibly could be done to help them.
I also had not heard of the Global passport power rank before, and it was interesting to do some more research on this in class and discuss the criteria. It seems to me that it is based on the travel freedom of the passport holders, ie number of countries they can visit visa-less, visa on arrival and visa before departure.
Sontag discusses the question Woolf received and the direction she took
regarding ‘we’. She explains that photographs from war can be interpreted in
different ways depending on the reader’s position, specifically gender and
their privilege in society. Furthermore, how pictures can be used during warfare.
They could be a ‘call for peace’ or a ‘cry for revenge’.
War photography can be used and interpreted in many ways, especially dependent
on the viewer’s position in society.
Chapter 6 summary:
Here Sontag raises the question of why we choose to look
at horrifying images, and why we choose not to (changing the channel for example).
She describes the human allure to the repulsive, and references Philosophers such
as Plato and Bataille that have written on this subject. A good example she
gave that illustrated the concept was traffic slowing down past a horrendous
car crash out of ‘curiosity’.
Human’s are attracted to horrifying images out of a ‘love
Chapter 8 summary:
Sontag mostly talks about the power of memory in
chapter 8. Furthermore the effects of reading the news and seeing the horrific
images on the viewers from far away. She claims that somebody who continues to feel
disillusioned at the atrocities that humans commit to one another has not
reached moral or psychological adulthood. A moral defectiveness. This chapter
really is evaluating the morality of turning away from the atrocities we read
on the news because we’re too far away for it to affect us.
Questioning the morality of turning away from
Adolph Eichmann – the Nazi operative responsible for organising the transportation of millions of Jews and others to various concentration camps in support of the Nazi’s Final Solution.
Arendt believed he performed evil deeds without evil intentions. He was neither perverted nor sadistic. ‘Terrifyingly normal’. He lacked a cognitive ability that would let him feel that he was doing wrong.
The banality of evil was the collection of characteristics of Eichmann, not inherently evil but shallow and clueless, ‘a joiner’.
Last Thursday, we discussed the topic of translation and how no two languages can be perfectly translated. I found Quine’s idea interesting; that we should think that the correct translation is impossible. This made me think of the history of translation. When did we start translating the different languages correctly? How long did it take? What if we are still missing the mark with our translations and have yet to make the proper connections with other cultures? Easy access to translation is something society takes for granted. If we did not have such access to it today, would society still be as advanced as we are? How would our lives look different?
In one scene of Arrival, Louise talks to her colleges about the structure and the nature of a question. For example, the question, “What is your purpose on Earth?” can potentially be taken in multiple ways. First, the recipient of the question must be able to understand what a question is. Without the initial understanding and the background of what a question is and how it differs from a regular statement or demand, the purpose will never get fulfilled. The recipient must also be able to conceptualize the meanings of each word asked in the question, basic vocabulary. They must be able to distinguish between the different meanings of who, what, where, why, how, etc. They must also understand the difference between a collective “you” and not an individual “you,” which could change the dynamic of the whole question. Without this background knowledge from both sides, no one will gain any advantages from asking the question. This scene made me think about the way we ask questions today. We take for granted the idea that everyone knows what people are talking about all the time and that everyone at our age knows how to answer basic questions. I wonder what is like to teach this concept to a whole other species.
“… that in every individual the general will is a pure act of understanding that reasons in the silence of the passions about what man can demand of his fellow man and about what his fellow man has the right to demand of him; (3) that this attention to the general will of the species and to shared wants is the rule of conduct to one individual relative to another in the same society, of an individual toward a society in which he is a member, and of the society of which he is a member toward other societies”
I chose Diderot’s “Natural Law” because of the extensive repetition of his words which made the passage difficult to comprehend at first glance. I also chose it because I felt like it related to Locke’s central theme that all humans have the right to have a natural freedom over themselves. By relating this passage to Locke, I started to understand the passage more and realized that both authors are technically implying the same thing, that each human has the right to the freedoms of their own body and how they share that with society. I think that Diderot is trying to further expand on Locke’s definition of “Natural Law,” in which everyone has the right to be their own person, make their own decisions, have equal rights, and help out their fellow man. I feel like this relates back to the topic of identity which we touched on in class. Diderot touches on the topic by addressing how we can use our identity to make the world a better place for ourselves and others, and how each individual has a place in society to make it work as a team. By embodying an identity which makes one’s presence a helpful and respectful one, Diderot’s expectations of “Natural Law” is obtained.