Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Brave New World Response

Chin Tan
Brave New World Response
Brave New World is a novel written by Aldous Huxley that showcases a technologically advanced society. The novel takes place in London where every individual is born using reproductive technologies, such as cloning and genetic modifications. Babies are fertilized in a test tube, not in the uterus, therefore  people have a conceptual sense of motherhood and fatherhood. Everyone is born the same and is assigned in different caste since birth. There are five castes; alpha, beta, gamma, delta and epsilon. At a young age, they were conditioned to like their castes and to enjoy the specific jobs their castes have assigned for them.
This novel is an obvious dystopia. Individuals are created through genetic engineering. Their fate is predetermined, in which individuals are born in different castes and are conditioned to like their castes. Cruel conditioning techniques, such as electric shocks, are used to condition the lower castes to hate books. Most individuals are born infertile, which inhibits intimate relationships between one another. The World State also eliminated parenthood in order to further regulate strong emotions. The protagonist, John Savage, is an outsider who fell in love with Lenina and thus challenged this practice. They obviously show affection towards one another, but the concept of monogamy confuses and frightens Lenina, who is a model citizen. John was furious that the World State, which at first he was fascinated with, had turned against him. This is particularly dystopian due to the fact that it is missing the basic element of humanism, which is love. The individuals are giving a false sense of happiness. The relationships each individual has are not permanent, but rather temporary. How can one be happy in a society where relationships between one another are just temporary? There won’t be anyone to help them during times of need, and eventually they will feel lonely and abandoned.
World State has a lot of unethical practices including early sexual interaction, over reliance of drugs/somas, and treating each individual as products of mass production. Citizens of the World state are exposed to elementary sexual lessons where children are forced to have erotic interactions with one another. This is particularly disturbing. Children should not have sexual interactions with one another, especially when it is not consensual. This is to condition that sex is no longer a taboo; it is a normal thing in World State. Sex became a form of entertainment. Since children are exposed to openness of sex at an early age, and were never taught about commitment to their partners, they can have sex freely.  
The citizens are conditioned to embrace soma. They have a slogan for somas “..Half a gramme for a half-holiday” which is stated when an individual is depressed. It comes to a point where somas are abused whenever one is feeling slightly pressured. It is believed that somas can solve their problems. This over reliance of drugs can be observed in the world we live in now, especially with mental health. One was treated with drugs when diagnosed with depression,  ADHD, or any mental disorders to regulate the patient. This is believed to suppress urges of the patients from potentially harming themselves or others. In this example, the author accurately portrayed what the future can be. Over the years, people being overly reliant on drugs seems to be a recurring issue.
Another disturbing practice was objectifying oneself. Treating each individual as a product of mass production eliminates any sense of individualism. Since each individual is a product, it would make them a better citizen if many desire them.

Brave New World provides us with an insightful prediction of what the advancement of technology can bring. Many unethical practices might no longer be unethical. These practices will be seen as the norm, and strong emotions will be eliminated, which was believed to be the stem of Wars. Although World State seems to be a dystopian society, no citizens are ever hungry, unsheltered, and they are able to live a normal life. Ideally, everyone will love their jobs and will be regulated by one another, but at the same time will enforce each other to stay on track in  society.

Ecotopia Response

Chin Tan
Ecotopia Response
            Ecotopia is a novel composed of a series of diary entries written by a fictional character named William Weston, an American journalist who went to experience life in Ecotopia. In his diary, he describes an ideal society that the author Ernest Callenbach envisioned. The setting takes place in 1999 where Northern California, Oregon, and Washington succeeded in separating themselves from USA and become an independent society, known as Ecotopia. It had its own military and foreign relations.
            Weston starts his diary by describing the difficulty of getting into the border of Ecotopia. Apparently, people feared Ecotopia. It has a strict border and according to some rumors the people who went there never returned. Weston had his suspicion about the truthfulness of this rumor. He met a taxi driver in which he had to pay extra in order to make the driver drive him to his destination. Near the border, there are security guards who gave him a full body inspection and demand him to remove some of the stuff he brought along with him. He finally reached the train station and discovered that Ecotopians are not as scary as people describe. They are very kind, sociable, and they emphasize recycling.
            Ecotopia preaches an eco-friendly and free-spirited lifestyle. Instead of cars, there are high-speed trains that operate using magnetic force, and they use wood and biodegradable plastic to build their own houses. Bicycles are their primary transportation devices. Ectopia also has “cradle to death” healthcare, along with extensive attention in improving medical practices. Scientists spend most of their research in providing a new secondary, more eco-friendly resource for energy. Ecotopia also omits any production of preserved or canned food, emphasizing the importance of natural food.
People in Ecotopia usually live in groups of 5 to 20, some live with family, and some live with strangers but have a “family” like relationship. The elderly in the group provides education and day care. Everyone is very open to many ideas, especially sex. Women are very open to their sexuality and often approach men. Another part of Ectopia’s openness is its tolerance for all people. There’s equality amongst gender and race, which resembles that of feminism. The society also emphasizes several times that citizens strive to be in a “stable–state,” and compare its system to a meadow: Grass dies and degrades to fertilize the land, allowing more grass to grow, likewise their society is self-sustainable.
            Although Ecotopia might seem like an ideal society, it has many contradicting ideas. Women are often treated as sexual objects, or some sort of trophy. It shows that women are powerful in society by taking part in government and being able to overpower men in many fields. But in many instances, they were swept off their feet by men and taken to the bedroom for sex. Also, the author portrays women in society as humans that are running simply on animalistic impulse. Men, on the other hand, are viewed as the more sensitive ones. For some reason, he included the scene where he justified rape by suggesting that since everyone is so free spirited, they barely care what happens to them.
Another conflicting idea is the enforcement of eco-friendly behavior. The majority of citizens smoke marijuana, which can cause air pollution. One thing that is also disturbing is the annual war game, where young men compete aggressively with weapons to prove their manhood. Young men represent different areas of the town and compete with neighboring towns. No matter what, winners and losers gain honor. Ecotopia is supposed to be a violent-free society, but here they allow people to compete aggressively. The argument that was presented by one of the elderly states was that the war game is a way to let the youth experience adrenaline, to make use of the strength, much like football in America but just with lethal weapons. Another contradiction that was discussed was tolerance for race. The author never really discusses any other race that lives there, but he vaguely mentioned the other race; that black people were segregated, and that they formed their own community. He also emphasized that the citizens are obsessed with Indian culture and often use Indian references. It remained unclear whether the author purposely neglected to mention the other race as a way to remove labeling, hence enforcing equality for all.
            This novel not only discusses Ecotopia, but it also focuses a lot on Weston’s romantic interaction with Marissa. Marissa is a manager of the “forest service”, in which citizens are to participate planting back the amount of wood they will need for building their home. Marissa is the perfect example of an ideal citizen. She complies by all the rules and is just as free-spirited as one can be. Marissa was also known to make many relations with men she comes across with, which put Weston in many uncomfortable situations. But despite all that, she was the one who converted Weston into one of the Ecotopians by challenging many of his Western practices, like how political discussions are opened and live for Ecotopian. Ecotopians are allowed to interact with current meetings between political leaders and express their ideas, which Weston found extremely strange.
The emphasis of recycling was also something that was challenged by Marissa many times. Weston has a habit of throwing out papers that were half used, which aggravated Marissa; she would then continue to lecture him about the importance of conserving natural resources. This romantic interaction in the novel stands out because it humanizes the characters, instead of just having a monotonic description of the society while the characters are just there for the propose of the story.

            Overall it is an interesting book to read. The future that Callenbach envisioned has striking similarity with the society we have now such as videophones and research for a secondary energy resource. Although women in Ecotopia take positions that are utterly impossible in the society during that period, (the leader of Ecotopia is a female), and are very open to their sexuality, they seemed like mere accessories at some point. On one hand, they hold a lot of power, being politically involved in the society. On the other hand, they were treated somewhat like a trophy. Women who made love with a lot of men were often called out, but men seemed to be the victims. Perhaps the author is trying to address the double standard that exists in society now, but some practices such as the war game to prove young men’s masculinity remain questionable.  


Jacqueline Garcia
Corc 3117
Professor Weimer
May 14 2016

The Lottery
Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery is about a tradition that takes place on June 27th. On that morning the kids were finally out of school, they all knew what was going to happen later that day. The lottery was conducted by Mr. Summers, who was carrying a black box. The black box was full of paper which he stirred up and then he began calling up men of the household to grab a paper, one by one. Everyone waited to be called up, and once they were called up they opened up the paper and The Hutchinson family was picked. Now The Hutchinson family had to draw again and see who was chosen, sadly is was the wife mother and wife Tessie Hutchinson who had to be stoned to death.
This short story had a surprise ending. Reading it the first time back in High School, I was shocked at the ending. All I could think was why? What is the purpose for this lottery drawing. Before reading the ending I thought that the lottery and the tradition was to have a new mayor or governing body but I was totally wrong. The little village was not affected by itto them it was once a year sort of like a holiday. In the text it states that the lottery goes back to when the oldest man in town was born maybe even further but they do not know the whole story to it, except that now they do it every year. This short story may have once been a utopia or to them it could be a utopia but reading it you realize it most certainly is not utopian but in fact dystopian. What makes this short story dystopian is the bad tradition that causes them to believe in exile, everyone knows what is happening and those who are not chose participate willingly while that one unlucky person no longer wants to take part in it. The children are already accustomed to this bad tradition and they too begin to collect rocks to stone a person to death.
This work is similar to The Invisible Child because Dasani was accustomed to her lifestyle of how she was living in a homeless shelter and it did not really seem to bother her. The same goes to the children and adults in the lottery, they were accustomed to the tradition and it did not bother them until they were forced to be killed. The neighborhood that was a few blocks down from where Dasani lived was different than her neighborhood so that was her escape, except in the lottery it says that all the other villages which were bigger also had their own lottery.

Response to Invisible Child

The article titled “Invisible Child” from the NY Times by Andrea Elliott, allowed us to travel through world and lifestyle of a little girl named Dasani. She lives in the Auburn Family Residence, which is a run-down homeless shelter in Fort Greene. This place holds many different families in order to prevent them from being out on the streets. While one may think it would be better for them to live in this shelter, with the conditions going on in there it may be no different than being out on the streets. Her life within that shelter, is a dystopia on its own. Every corner she turns there is something wrong. She shares a single room amongst her parents as well seven other children. One can only imagine how nearly impossible it is live in that manner. She has to be constantly on guard with her surroundings especially since there are other people living in that shelter, some which are sexual predators. According to the article “It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets…” (NY Times). With so many people living in such a tight place it makes things highly unsanitary and unbearable to even be in.
            Despite the inhumane conditions that Dasani had her parents played an important role in where she is at now. Her parents were drug addicts, already sets them and their entire family up for disaster. Money is really tight for them especially since both parents are out of a job so they have to rely on whatever the government provides for them. This adds even more pressure to Dasani because she has to play the “parent” role to take care of her younger siblings. Could you imagine an 11 year old having to take care and protect herself and her younger siblings? It is devastating being born into such a lifestyle and there is not much Dasani could do especially since she is so little. What makes things even more complex is the gentrification that is occurring within that neighborhood. All the changes, from the buildings, and the type of people living there, it doesn’t make things any easier for those that are evacuated out of their homes due to all these new changes.

            While reading through this article, you would expect this story to come out from a novel or book, but these are things that are occurring in real life. This represents dystopian qualities where the government and staff workers of the Auburn resident are the ones in charge of how things should run, but the people living there just have no choice than to abide by the rules. There are many people that don’t deserve this life but get warped into due to unforeseen predicaments, like being born into a poor family. It is sad that these type of things occur around us and some people aren’t even aware of people suffering in such manner. Even though they are supposedly being taken care of by the government, they are still suffering. 


Jacqueline Garcia
Corc 3117
Professor Weimer
May 21 2016

Living in a world where population control is a big thing seems so unreal, but not for not for Edward K. Wehling Jr. He lived in a world where there was no longer any diseases, no jails, poverty, and no old age. It seemed like the perfect world, not many people and never having to worry about dying, unless you wanted to. For every birth, someone must die to make room. Edward Wehling is waiting for the arrival of his triplets, but the downside is that he is forced to have his grandfather commit suicide so he can keep only one of his three babies. Edward did not want to give up his grandfather and he wanted to keep all of his newborn babies, but he needed to find three people who wanted to die so his triplets can live.
This work is utopian because the world they live in is free of diseases, old age, poverty, jails, wars cripples and so much more. Anyone can think that a world free of problems is the best place to be. But what makes this work Dystopian, is the fact that it included population control. For every birth, someone has to die to make sure they do not exceed the limit of people, and that does not seem like a good idea to Edward. In this world although all is good, people had the option to die, just call 2 B R 0 2 B schedule an appointment with the  Federal Bureau of Termination and you are all set. You can do it yourself a basically commit suicide but then someone has to clean up after you, or you can be comforted while you are preparing to die. This is similar to Ayn Rand’s Anthem because in this story there is a “Palace of Mating” where they are forced to go mate with another individual, have children, never meet their children and then go on with the rest of your day.
I feel like Kurt Vonnegut wrote this short story because he felt that this was how the world would be eventually. The political and economic structure in this short story is that everything is great, everyone is equal and there are no worries, at least not until one is to be born because then you must find someone who is willing to die so that infant can live. Kurt Vonnegut’s belief was that if he could write and sound like a child then he would be able to get his message along straightforward.  
The world they live in is exactly how Kurt felt it should be, free of worries, illness, poverty and much more, but then again nothing can be perfect. I feel that Kurt Vonnegut was fighting his depression at the time this was written, because those who wanted to die were able to go quietly by making an appointment or just take their own life and have others clean up after them. Another work we read in class that was similar to this was Anthem, because like I mentioned earlier there was a Palace of Mating. That Palace of Mating was where people were forced to mate at least once a year. Not only is it similar to Anthem but also to Harrison Bergeron because in that short story they were not able to think for themselves. Although thinking on your own and having to pick how many babies you’ll keep due to population control may not be the same thing, being told what to do or think is just not as appealing as being your own person. In “2BR02B” when waiting for you child to be born, you must take one person who wants to die to the Bureau of Termination and they give you a receipt as proof that one person died for your child, and in “Harrison Bergeron” you are not allowed to use your mind freely or look good because then your brain will be sent waves to erase what you were thinking about.
I felt like the beginning of this short story was explaining how great the world will one day be despite the fact that there is always a flaw, and that flaw here is population control. Some people may see population control as a great thing because they are trying to make sure that we are not overpopulated, and honestly I do not think there is such thing as being overpopulated because sadly there is death everyday. I feel like this short story is based on the saying “when one door closes another one opens” only because when one person dies another is born, but then there is the opposite to it when one is born one must die.
This short story is great because it makes you think of places like China that had the one policy. China was once afraid of overpopulation that they had a policy that families were only allowed to have one child, with the exception of twins or triplets. Not only did China have the one child policy but they also had the one girl law, where the chinese were only allowed to have one daughter. China also believed that they were one of the greatest places to live because they were so accustomed to it, just like in this short story except there is always that one person who no matter what, they do not believe that their home is the greatest. There is always a flaw in anything or anyplace you believe is perfect.


Jacqueline Garcia
Corc 3117
Professor Weimer
May 11th 2016

The movie I chose to do my review on is called Zootopia, a children's movie released February 2016. For children, the movie is a cute story about a bully and a little bunny who overcomes him ; for us adults, we realize that Zootopia is actually about how our society is today, and what we are trying not to let happen with our children. In the movie Zootopia, there is a little bunny named Judy Hopps who happens to be a prey, is told she will never become a police officer because she is a bunny and police officers are bigger animals like predators. Officer Judy Hopps becomes partners with a fox who happens to be a predator, together they solve a mystery about why animals, mainly the predators are suddenly disappearing, little do we come to find out that the mayor’s assistant is behind all of it because she is infecting the predators with a flower called night howlers which makes them turn into their natural way such as being a predator and attacking smaller animals. The movie includes activist, rude cops, hustlers, and people who put down Judy because she is a bunny. It is pretty intense movie, I know!
        This movie is a utopian society which becomes dystopian. Aside from utopia being in the name, the movie has to do with minority groups and how some are seen dangerous in a way. The movie starts off with all the predators being nice but yet they are still feared because of their background so people are cautious when it comes to being around them. The movie is related to some of the works we read in class because although it is not stated it clearly shows that the predators were conditioned and when they were infected with the night howler they were sent to a jail/hospital to be examined of why they were acting the way they were and why they were attacking smaller animals. They were also given many test to see if they can be conditioned back to being nice and caring to the prey. The movie however is unique in that it shows how our society is today, being that a minority is ruler (in the movie a predator is Mayor) and when worse comes to worse everyone blames the minority because of the way their social/racial group is.  Not only does it show how our society is in today’s day and age but also stereotypes because of the fact that, in the movie the preys were scared of ALL predators when one became vicious because they believed all predators were dangerous.
       The movie is to show us how someone's background is not defining who they are, and that no matter how hard you try you cannot have a perfect society, because every utopia eventually becomes a dystopia. It comes to show us parents how we shouldn’t base anyone off their social class or race, and it makes us aware of today’s politics where the government (Trump = Mayor’s Assistant) is trying to get rid of the minority, compared to having a ruler (Obama = Mayor Lionheart) who wants to help us grow and allow us to be part of the society without being shamed for being who we are.
Zootopia relates to the other works we read in class because like I mentioned earlier, it shows that the predators were conditioned and then brought out to be themselves, but unlike in Anthem the predators were forced to be themselves instead of in Anthem, equality decided to be himself because well that's what he wanted to do. Zootopia is in a world where they are trying to make everyone the same and get rid of those who do not fit into their society (those being the animals who have gone predator).
The producers reason to creating this movie is to bring awareness to the parents about what is going on in today’s society, where they claim to be bettering society but yet they are making it worse by keeping secrets and trying to get rid of the minority. Not only that but they also created the movie because they saw how it could exist in the world today. It also helps those little guys realize that you can be whatever you want and it does not matter what others say. However, I could be wrong but this is how I interpreted the movie. I saw it as New York City today and how it is becoming, how there are many people claiming to better the world by getting rid of minorities but yet that would not be helping or bettering the world because well minorities, immigrants especially built this city we call home. While people believe immigrants are dangerous and because we’re spanish we are all the same, but we are not. Unfortunately this is where stereotypes become part in this, because of one person we are all looked at the same.
I feel that with this movie we should care because sadly we are raising a new generation to think that they are better than others. This class has made the movie really opened my eyes and made me realize how something that can be perfect one minute and then the next it just all crumbles, of course in the movie after the mystery is solved they live happily ever after but that would never happen in today’s society unfortunately.

Harrison Bergeron

Jacqueline Garcia
Corc 3117
Professor Weimer
May 21 2016

  Harrison Bergeron
One well-written work of art that caught my attention was Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.” This short story is about George and Hazel watching television, where they happen to see their son get shot but have their memory distracted that then forget what happened. Hazel and George were forced to wear an in ear transmitter that sends out distractions to keep them from thinking for themselves.  Harrison who happened to be George and Hazel’s son escapes prison, and is being searched for, his face all over the news and his parents are watching the television, but because of the thought police they recall who he is and then it gets erased from their memory that instant! Harrison ends up getting shot to death because he tries to overthrow the government. George and Hazel saw their son get shot on the television, but all they could recall was something sad that had happened on the TV, which made Hazel cry.
Harrison Bergeron was confusing to read the first time around, I had to reread it a second time in order to realize what was going on. The thought about your thoughts being controlled is just flat out scary, imagine thinking about what you’re going to do in a few days and then bam! It gets erased from your memory and you completely forget about it. Having to have someone control what you can remember or think about is just ridiculous, but then again the story takes place in the year 2081 and of course the way that society is going just implies that we may be headed down that road either way. Reading Harrison Bergeron the only thing I could think about was what if this was society today? What if we were not allowed to be independent but the amendments forced up to be just like everyone else, equal but unhappy.
This short story is one hundred percent dystopia, maybe once long ago their world was a utopia that became dystopia. The reason I consider this short story a dystopia because of the fact that they cannot think for themselves. In the world that George and Hazel are living in, they have become accustomed to being controlled. The ballerinas they were watching on the television had bags over their head, people like George and Hazel were considered handicapped and that is why they wore the in-ear transmitters to control their train of thought.
Not only is it dystopian because of the fact that they cannot think for themselves but more because they claim everyone to be equal, but like I said they may all be equal but they are not happy they are accustomed. Those who are good looking must wear a bag over their head, those who are smart are dumbed down, no one is allowed to be superior to the government, and that is why Harrison Bergeron was killed—because he thought highly of himself and tried to overthrow the government. At least he was about to think for himself unlike his parents.

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

In the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, he is able to show what dilemmas these characters encountered and how they were able to get out of these situations. It is also clear that technology plays an important role in this novel. It has gotten the best of the human race and it also enhances how ignorance has impacted the society as well. This also influences dystopian like characteristics because since technology takes over their way of life, they are only aware of what who is in control allows them to know. However once curiosity arises, it will bring destruction to their society.

The novel is portrayed in a society where technological advancements has taken over. People overuse these things and don’t realize that it derives them from things that go on in the world as well as the people around them. For example in the novel, Mildred Montag, the wife of the protagonist Guy Montag, has obsession with her parlor walls. In this case these are known as interactive televisions. She is clearly obsessed with them since she wants to “get the fourth wall torn out and a fourth-wall TV put in” (Bradbury 20). She is so focused on what goes on with the television that she doesn’t spend time with her husband. People should not let technology thwart them from spending time with family and those that are close to us. In the United States, you see a numerous amount people talking on cell phones, listening to music and playing games on electronic devices instead of having a conversation with someone or reading a book. People let technology brainwash them but they should find time to do other productive things instead of having their eyes focused on a screen. This novel even connects with the episode 15 Million Merits from the show Black Mirror. People are surrounding by screens that resemble things like televisions and cellphones and live their lives through those screens.

People have a tendency to follow the popular opinions made instead of going with their own impressions. People need to realize that obtaining knowledge is one of the greatest weapons against ignorance. Guy Montag gained an interest in understanding an in-depth purpose of books primarily since they were banned. Majority of the people in the society try to avoid investigating books to prevent problems with the authorities. Captain Beatty, the antagonist of the novel tries to manipulate Guy Montag through his knowledge of books. When a person begins to go against their government or whoever is in control, that shows that some sort of rebellion is about to occur. When you hide information from people it eventually would make them curious to what other things exists. This is especially when they are so adjusted to a certain lifestyle that they are not fond of. It is important that one opens their eyes to what goes on in the world. Sometimes the information we gain may seem as sorrow in our ears but at least you are aware of how it can affect one’s life.

All in all, this novel is able to open our eyes to things that can impact a person’s life. Since this novel is supposed to portray as a futuristic version of America, It also gives insight on what could possibly happen in the years to come. Our societies have gotten so corrupt because we are controlled by what goes on in the society. Things like technology has overtaken the human race and causes them to always rely on it as well. People are sometimes blind to certain aspects of life but it is up to us to take a chance and open the door to fresh knowledge.

Charmed - "Charmageddon"

Charmed was a feminist supernatural show featuring three sisters who were witches fighting any supernatural beings endangering their “innocents” (people who have done nothing wrong). The three sisters, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige are guarded by their Whitelighter Leo. A Whitelighter is a sort of guardian angel. Leo always has a struggle with his superiors, “Elders”, since he is romantically involved with the eldest sister, Piper. It’s typically against the rules but they make an exception for him. Leo appears in various roles throughout the series due to his unstable Whitelighter status. At one point he becomes an Avatar.
In "Charmageddon", the utopian episode of Charmed, the writers boil down all of the aspects of life that threaten utopia to "conflict". By eliminating conflict, the Avatars, who happen to be an ambiguously good/bad force, proclaim that they created utopia on Earth. The only catch, which the Charmed Ones are unaware of, is that anyone who disrupts utopia by causing conflict gets disappeared. In a way, this is a very totalitarian idea. They present it as "being in a better place now" and don't exhibit any of the emotions associated with grieving the loss of a loved one. The Avatars’ undoing comes in the form of children's emotions. In this universe, since the children cannot cognitively rationalize the fact that their dad is in a better place, they are left with the visceral gut emotions: the feeling of loss. They alert their aunts and mother to the fact that they should be missing someone, and that this sort of detachment with loss is unhealthy and inevitably, dystopian. 
Before this episode, Leo becomes an Avatar because they promise him that he and the sisters would live a normal, happy life without magic and without worrying about demons attacking anyone. He decides not to tell his wife, Piper, about this decision to join the Avatars because the Avatars were rumored to be a powerful, threatening force. In reality, it’s unclear if the Avatars were good or bad. It’s unclear if the aggressors were killed but they weren’t a part of this society anymore. Piper and the sisters eventually find out what Leo has been doing and through a great deal of fighting, finally accept his decision. He convinces them that the Avatars are doing something good via Phoebe,  who gets a premonition of her future life which is full of happiness and her future daughter who is safe. All the while, none of them know that the Avatars plan to eliminate anyone who poses a conflict to Utopia.
After battling various demons, inner and outer, the Avatars and sisters finally create Utopia together. All of humanity (or at least San Francisco) is put to sleep and when they wake up, everyone is cheery and devoid of any conflict in their lives. This means that no one fights, no one struggles and everyone is just magically happy, including the sisters. This Utopia has all the basic qualities of what a Utopia means: no crime, everyone is equal, everyone is happy. However, some people still find a way to get angry and stir things up. The first example was of a person who was stopped by a cop for some kind of traffic violation (of course there are still rules) and he starts yelling and arguing with the cop. The Avatars notice this and get rid of him by shimmering him away. People like this are disappeared like a mirage. The Avatars act as a sort of Guardians in Plato’s sense of the word.
Meanwhile, Piper and Phoebe are enjoying their new life by cooking. They seem happy. Leo patrols the area to see how this new life is affecting people. He visits Paige who is cleaning out her dead boyfriend’s place. Before this Utopia happened, Paige was mourning the loss of her love but now she seems completely content with it saying that “at least he is in a better place now.” Leo finds this suspicious and unnatural and meets with the Avatars who appear to be monitoring their Utopia and getting rid of any aggressors. Leo sees this and doesn’t agree with what they are doing. Realizing that he can’t get through to the sister’s in their current mental state, he joins forces with a demon who is trying to take down the Avatars. Their plan is to stage a fight in the sister’s house and kill Leo to make the sisters feel some kind of emotion again.
Before Leo martyrs himself, he tells Phoebe “go to the Book of Shadows, remember the losses.” Phoebe was his last hope because she always remembers her premonitions. After Leo is gone, she goes to the book of shadows (which is a book that every witch must have to know how to defeat their demons) and places her hand on it. This gives her all of the premonitions she has of her past loved ones dying. This helps her wake up from her happy haze. Piper mourns the loss of her husband by just saying “he is in a better place now” and moves on with her life, as do the other sisters. However, Piper and Leo’s children will not stop crying. This alerts the sisters that something is wrong.
They slowly come out of their lack of emotions and begin to fight for their old lives. The sister approach the Avatars and tell them that the world is not ready for what they have to offer and the Avatars reverse everything, including Leo’s death, and go away. Of course, the Avatars could have disappeared the sisters but this would not be conducive to the plotline. This Utopia that was very briefly created encompassed the utopian aspect and dystopian aspect of any classic utopia/dystopia dynamic.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ron Hoffman - The Matrix

The matrix , at least the first one is probably the movie that introduced most people to the very concept of a fake world. At first everything shown to us appears as it would in our own world, relatively normal. Then all of a sudden people are pausing in mid - air, jumping off buildings, flying... It is revealed to us that the world we were shown at first isn't the real one. Turns out most of the earth's population has been captured by machines and put into these pods, connected to these tubes which cause the person to think they are out in the world. They feel, touch, taste and percieve all these things which seem's to be 100% real. The only way out is to take a certain pill which releases the hold the machines have on you. This introduces a very fascinating topic of discussion because, while the world most people are living in isn't real, they think it does so in the end does it really matter?
The real world has been destroyed by years of war against the machines, their is very little if any comfort in the real world. However in this fake world everything is as it was before the world was ruined by war. People go about their lives working, playing, having fun and just living. This fake world is one huge lie, but i can't call it a dystopia because it isn't actively hurting anyone. If anything it is providing them with comfort and a chance of a normal life. However at the same time I can't call it an actively good place to be because it is all a lie.
I can't tell you which one the matrix is. Personally I consider it to be a dystopia because it is an active lie, it is decieving most of the people in it into thinking that they are really living their lives and most importantly aren't giving them any say or choice in the matter. That lack of choice is the most important reason of why I consider the matrix to be a dystopia. If people chose the matrix over the real world then fine, let them enjoy their relatively normal lives, ignorent of the real world. But the fact that this is forced upon them takes away their free will and deprives them of their humanity.
It is later revealed that the matrix was created to help people, and I agree. The matrix did help a lot of people but it took away their freedom. It is impossible to know what people want, sometimes they don't know it themselves. Forcing your will onto other's, even if beneficial is wrong in my opinion. People must decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. Their can never be such a thing as a true utopia when human beings have free will. At the same time however their never be such a thing as a dystopia either. Maybe a dictorship will rise here or there but it won't last, the people will revolt and society will revert back to its normal state. Not a utopia or a dystopia but somewhere in between.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - Ron Hoffman

Ron Hoffman - The Giver

For this assignment I will be showing and explaining how The Giver, is a good example of a utopian/dystopian society. Within the story, the society has gotten rid of all pain, fear, anxiety, war and hatred. Nobody dislikes one another, and they all work for the benefit of the society. They all look and act, pretty much the same and there is no desire for any competition within the community. Their are no real "families" at least in comparison to the way most people use the word, and everybody is assigned a job at the age of 12. This community is only able to function as a "utopia" because it has gotten rid of human beings. People no longer experience things like pain and fear, which is a good thing but because of that they no longer are able to experience things like joy, love and pleasure. There is very little individuality within this society, with very few exceptions. Within the society, one person is selected to hold all the memories of the past. When things like war, pain, joy and love existed for everyone. The only reason this person exists is so that people don't make the same mistakes of the past, if that wasn't a potential issue I am fairly certain that "the receiver of memory" wouldn't be allowed to exist since in the end if that person didn't exist I don't know how this society would be able to break free. Jonas, the main character of the Giver is selected to be the new reciever of memory when he was forced to get an assigned job. Even before he was selected however, Jonas was unusual in so far as his thoughtfulness and individuality. He even looked different, when compared to everybody else and was able to percieve things most others couldn't such as color. The old reciever of memory is known as the giver. He trains Jonas and gives him the memories of old. Through this Jonas gets a better understanding of nearly everything and because of this becomes frustrated that other's can't experience these things. He comes to realize that this way of life isn't ideal and wants to change it. Fortunately enough the giver feels the same way. They devise a plan that would cause emotion, free - will and individuality to come back to the people. The story ends on a kind of cliffhanger, or rather it's open to interpretation. In brief Jonas either dies or he escapes the society, no matter what though he gives individuality back to the people, which is a good thing in my opinion but thats a matter up for debate. I choose to believe that Jonas escapes with his younger brother and lives happily ever after, knowing that he saved his community but thats just because I don't like sad endings, and him freezing to death along with his brother Gabriel isn't really what I consider to be a happy ending. The Giver, is another good example of why a true Utopia can't exist while keeping human beings the way they are. Taking away all pain and fear sounds like a very good thing but without those things people never know what it feels like to experience happiness and love. By the end of the book everything was returned to the people, there is no way the society will remain peaceful, it's future is unknown but in the end individuality and free will was returned.               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ron Hoffman

Ron Hoffman - Lord of the Flies

For this assignment I will review the book, "Lord Of the Flies" by William Golding and attempt to show how free will within human beings will most likely always prevent any utopia from arising. From the very beginning the story is already within the middle of a war, a plane gets shot down and leaves a handful of boys stranded on a deserted island. At first the boys seem to be acting rationally, they form a kind of civilization with an elected leader, assigned roles and so on. However, this peace does not last. One of the boys, Jack, begins to influence more and more of the boys to succumb to their savage nature and soon enough their civilization begins to crumble. Within a very short period of time most of the boys are actively hunting the others, they have become nothing more then savage beasts. Even the most Ideal, rationally thinking character Ralph gives in to his savage nature for a period of time. Ralph participates in murdering one of the boys Simon, along with the others. By the end of the story many boys wind up being killed either by hunting others or just by acting in self defense, the remaining end up getting rescued and brought back to the rest of civilization. At the beginning of the story every single one of the boys were well reasoned individuals, and by the end nearly everyone of them gave in to their savage nature and the only one that didn't was murdered by the rest. I don't think I even have to begin to explain how this entire society is not a utopia but I feel it's a good example of how a utopia is never likely to exist, at least for any substantial period of time, This story shows how most human beings have an innately evil, savage nature that they will act upon and let out if placed in the proper situations. Keep in mind that these are a bunch of young boys, how much worse would this story have been if they were adults? Some may argue that adults would know better but I strongly disagree. As my evidence I point to nearly every war ever. Think about it, why did the boys start to give into their savage nature? Fear, hunger, lack of resources, different beliefs etc... Why do most wars start? Fear, hunger, lack of resources, different beliefs etc... As long as human beings retain free will, which I believe they will always do, a utopia can never come to be (for any substantial period of time) because different people have different idea's and belief's about nearly everything and when those belief's and idea's don't agree with each other conflict usually arises. It doesn't matter how young or old the person is, people will always have their own individual beliefs that they will hold onto and defend. 

                                                                                                                  Ron Hoffman