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Tron legacy, a sequel to the first Tron movie of 1984, situates inside the data base of a network of computers, similar to the matrix. The inhabitants of this virtual world can not leave the grid, they will not function off of it. Very much like society today, that if we were stranded somewhere without the presence of a system that constraints guides us, the ability to function properly would be all together abandoned. Sam Flynn, son of the creator, observes a history of the grid and must also contemplate decisions which reflect dilemnas of everyday life in modern society.

When Sam meets his father, who was trapped in the grid for many years, he gets updated on everything that has happened in this virtual world. Clu, Mr. Flynn’s other electronic half who was created to help build a utopia, mass murders a race of programs named ISOs much like Hitler did in World War Two. Clu destroyed this new species of programs because he could not contemplate what this new variable would ensue within the equation, and how this equation would be changed. Much like if a major change happened on the earth today, most people would be shell shocked and could not clearly make constructive decisions due to this new experience, so they tend to try to ignore this new substance that has changed the norm. This happened long ago when the Europeans first came to North America to find a new breed of people that they have never seen before. They did not know what to do with these First Nations, so the Europeans decided to try to incorporate them into their own society and destroy this newly found race. Not only does modern literature reflect history, but it also includes predicaments which one must face in the dearest of situations.

Sam Flynn is accompanied by the last ISO remaining, Quorra, who saves Sam on the race track from Clu. He starts growing a tight bond with her, as the story proceeds. From the time Sam enters the grid and leaves it, he oversees the death of many programs, yet when Clu decides to go on his rampage and try to step from the grid into reality, Sam carries Quorra to safety without a second though. The world today does the same, seeing a face is easier to understand than just a number, and especially with media playing such a big role, seeing that face is much easier. A recent viral video, shows a homeless man with a “Golden Voice“. This video got over 13 million views in a short 48 hours. This man is now getting  job offers everywhere. Yet when one hears about “one million killed by malaria each year, mostly in Africa, where 3,000 children alone are dying each day”(Singer, 2007) it is just a number. My grandpas death due to cancer was more of a concern for me than hearing just a number, after all “a single death is a tragedy, ; a million deaths is a statistic” ( Singer, 2007).

The human race is flawed beyond saving, and it is too ignorant  to save itself. We are so paranoid of change that we try to avoid it completely, hey, who knows what lies behind that door. Media is a new medium which takes its inspiration from events in history, and issues that face people everyday, but only a few know of them.

It’s weird, especially when one starts learning about history ,considering one starts to notice a lot of plots  of modern media seem to repeat historic events and mistakes of the present.

Reference List

Singer, Thea. (2007). Why We Don’t Care About Darfur. O, The Oprah Magazine, September[unknown], 236.

Kosinski, J. (Director). (2010). Tron: Legacy [Film]. USA: LivePlanet.

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I sit here on the dining room chair, with some Greek salad, spinach pie, and of course, this mediterranean meal would not be complete with out roasted lamb. Then I thought how great it was that anyone is able to experience any culture and religion one wished to, here in Canada. This would not be the case centuries ago, when Western Europe started accumulating power and wealth, with what we now recognize as the race of imperialism and colonization; however, such attributes will carry on till even this date of the present, and will continue into the future.

Fact0rs including religion and wealth have been the causation of the cultural downfall in many parts of the world. When the European conquistadors came looking  to expand their empire’s power, they would ensure the demise of any culture. The British were especially guilty of this that “the sun never sets on the British Empire” , with all of its colony’s inhabitants becoming Brits and working for their new mother country, many soon lost their normal lifestyles as they experienced this newly forced upon white elephant.  When the British Commonwealth commenced, the British pulled out their troops, yet an undespensable presence of the British culture still loomed over those now regaining their sovereignty; many countries were only left with pieces of what remains of their shattered culture. But the British did do something worth mentioning: they helped create new hybrid cultures between the British lifestyle and that of the new sovereign country, even if they practically streamlined everyone into the way of the British culture. This kind of cultural cleansing has been happening throughout history, and will continue to happen, even in our own country we call home.

 Assimilation into capitalistic society has been a major , yet misguided, goal for many western countries; such was the case with the Canadian first nations, with the government trying to girdle them into “normal” society with the use of residential schools. “In the 19th century, the Canadian government believed it was responsible for educating and caring for the country’s aboriginal people. It thought their best chance for success was to learn English and adopt Christianity and Canadian customs. Ideally, they would pass their adopted lifestyle on to their children, and native traditions would diminish, or be completely abolished in a few generations.” (CBC News, 2008, para. 1). Canada itself has adopted the ways of its mother country, and let the church abuse its power. How much different is a church from an organisation? They both collect money to raise power, convert other people into their ways, use propaganda to create fear in other’s hearts, and manipulate their followers which ever way they please. Coincidence? It seems that everyone is just using ruthless tactics to do what ever they can to let others experience their cultures. Hey, what do we know, we are just guided by centuries of tradition.

Cultural genocide acted as salt and pepper tossed into the timeline of humanity it seems, just to make it interesting. We like to perceive Canada as a cultural mosaic, and America a melting pot, even with all the atrocities that have happened since the statute of Westminster, when Canada gained its independence. Again comes the issue of how the past should affect the future, but culture will always be present, it can not be destroyed, only changed. Everyone’s culture and lifestyle will always be molding, affected by the others around them.

or maybe, we will end up in space, as fat boneless specimens that have destroyed the earth that we live in. At least we wont have to worry about pitiful things like culture.

Reference list

CBC News. (2008). A history of residential schools in Canada. Stolen Children: Truth and Reconciliation. Retrieved January 2, 2011 from http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/05/16/f-faqs-residential-schools.html

Related articles

http://archives.cbc.ca/society/education/topics/692/ – 22 videos on residential schools in Canada, via CBC News

The moon is always orbiting our tiny blue planet, but only one side of the moon is viewable from Earth; and as we look at the starlit sky, we can only see this pervasive side of the moon, 365 days a year. Most people know of this fact, but very few actually consider what the other side looks like.

Does this attitude seem familiar?

Our western civilization is so stuck in this omnipresent veil of ignorance, that we blindly ignore what is happening in our world. Oh sure, we have our morning coffee and read the newspaper, but it is so restricted to minor current events that happen in our city, and when there actually is something big, we tend to skip to the other easy sections: sports, weather, comics, etc. Maybe it’s our lack of unawareness, or maybe we simply think that it is too far away to care. But this attitude is simply degrading our society so much that we have totally come to a sense of carelessness.

Ignorance is bliss they say. I have to totally agree. I would not have anything to concern myself with if I had the awareness of a brick, wouldn’t that be wonderful. Too bad… School, friends & family, and sports: all the contributors to making me live a troubled life. Yet, without school, I would not be here writing this piece of writing; without friends & family, I would not have the moral support to live my life; without sports, I would not be able to stay actively fit. I have to consistently concern myself with getting good grades, playing the best game I can, and being the best person I can. But I am just another sheep, being unconsciously hurdled into mainstream civilization. They’ve made us so careless about what is happening that we do not have the mentality to question it. But who is “they” you ask? Are they not just people who have received the same treatment as us, and not dared to confront it?

So what makes this generation of people different from all others? Well, the human population is growing exponentially, but we only have one earth. This generation will have to make decisions that will greatly change the outcome of the earth, and we could be the ones who end the world, by consuming all of its resources. We have consumed more resources than we’ve ever consumed in the past, starting controversies over non-renewable resources. Such is the case with Canada and USA. America has gone into Arabian countries to “find weapons of mass destruction and maintain peace”; due to American production of CO2 to be the greatest in the world, by the consumption of fossil fuels. Canada is greatly pressured to let other countries tap its great source of fresh water. Canada and USA just don’t mix, it’s like water and oil. These are only issues that concern North America, but everyone else is being affected. Many people actually do know of this catastrophe, because they are willing to learn what will happen to the world after they are gone. The outlook for raising more awareness is not totally bleak, as our capacity for world knowledge can still grow. That is why we have news on TV, so we can learn what is happening around the world.

However, the viewers choose to watch more “dramatic” television opposed to the “boring” news. Could the media be the wall in front of our eyes of the twenty-first century?  I think it is that we choose to watch shows that are entertaining opposed to ones that would make us feel bored, but informed.

‘There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word “happy” would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness’ – Carl Jung

What is extreme happiness without extreme sorrow? Achieving total ignorance has made us emotionless zombies, without the ability to feel what real pain is, and enjoy the lust of joy. What has happened to our society??!?!

My last hypothesis is that we are just simply too lazy to care. We conclude that caring about something so far away would drain us of our livelihood. Look at what the world is doing. We are trying to exploit everything, to raise the efficiency of producing results which are favourable to us. But what does more efficiency equal? Less initial work, this would lead to more time to do other things, like being lazy. In this fast economy, our attention spans are growing shorter, so we can “multi-task” and complete more things in a shorter time period. We’ve been trained to do this our whole lives, and will continue to master this ability. And due to this ability, we simply do not have the skill to worry about such things that have happened for so long on this planet. Now, laziness and ignorance are a common sight in the vessel of our lives, making us take in more water by the minute.

The impossibility of asking everyone to be aware is highly impossible, but we can do our best, because that is how humanity has survived so long. If one cannot get others to listen, then one should at least gain the satisfaction of enlightening themselves. Once others have come to the realization that there is an enormous problem amidst, then they will have to listen, to hear your voice, and follow you to a path of wisdom and enlightenment.

Resources

http://www.eia.doe.gov/iea/carbon.html

We live in a fast changing unforgiving era; one that does not give us the opportunity to develop our self individuality, but rather tries to feed us into mainstream “civilized” society. We’ve all experienced the confusion of trying to find who and what we want to be in the future, in our teenage years, yet there is a brooding presence acting as a veil over our eyes, girdling our every thought and motion.

In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, there are many allusions of “civilized” people being unnoticingly trapped  as Charlie Marlow makes his way deeper and deeper into the Congo. When Marlow reaches the first station, he acutely notices that “[the chief accountant]  was barred from neck to heels with narrow strips of sunlight” (85). And yet again, in part II, when Marlow is travelling up the Congo in search of Kurtz, “At eight or nine, perhaps, [the fog] lifted as a shutter lifts” (113), and the light penetrates the dense cloud covering the steamboat as bars of light would.Yet, it is the natives that seem to be under imprisonment, but they are the ones that are wandering the exterior landscape. Who or what is keeping them in a metaphorical prison?

Conceivably, it could be our own fear of standing out from everyone else which constraints our decisions and the conclusion that it will render to. The ability of making our own decisions without the effect of social and economic pressures is obviously too much for most of the populus to handle. So much that the few who have tried to change to world for the better, were punished harshly for their opinions. Martin Luther- branded as a heretic for going against the greedy enterprise of the Roman Catholic Church, yet translated the holy bible in German for commoners to read; Galileo Galilei- put under house arrest for challenging past knowledge, saying the earth revolved around the sun (his work did not get published untill after his death). But they are now thought as the fathers of modern-day knowledge and are held as saints.

Who controls our thoughts and emotions? Parents, teachers, peers, media, government? The technological boom that lead to the birth of a new century was only initiated by the end of two world wars. The world had to find a new way to keep their economies alive, without scarring the general population. Oh the irony… We are unsuspectingly trapped in a whirlwind of thoughtlessness, created by the media in which we support. We are so clueless about what is really happening, brainwashed by what we hold dearest. Maybe we are so ignorant that we think media can only be used for enlightenment, but hey, it shows us high-class society, and gives us subliminal messages on how we should be like them. Did we lose our individuality like we lost our humanity? No, things will change, everything in history. It’s inevitable.

Who is to say that Joseph Conrad didn’t try to criticize this retarded world we call home through his literature. Who is to judge what is right or wrong? Surely we cannot let others do it for us. Shall we remove those blindfolds over our eyes to reach a blissful nirvana, or shall we continue on blindly as before, in which we fancy as normality? That is the question…

References

Conrad, J. (1997). Heart of Darkness. Toronto, Canada: Signet Classic

Introducing Mr. Rosling with this fresh take of world advancement.

“Hans Rosling: New insights on poverty and life around the world.” YouTube. Web. 1 Nov 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpKbO6O3O3M >.

“Hans Rosling: Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you’ve ever seen.” YouTube. Web. 1 Nov 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUwS1uAdUcI&gt;.

As asked in English class “Have you defined your existence or have you allowed it to be defined by others?”

I think when it comes to certain things, each person has their own way of completing the task. But that will change once one is not alone, and one’s actions are affected by the others around him/her. One’s judgement will especially be clouded by others if he/she is not comfortable with the final outcome of the decision, or the choices they will have to make to achieve that result.

With that in mind, I cannot say that I’ve swayed one way over the other. If I get put into a situation where I have no previous experience or background knowledge in, I cannot be comfortable with what I should or should not do. But I also think that we have little choice in making our own decisions, considering we’ve been suppressed by our parents, educational system, and government from the cradle to the grave. We go to school for six hours a day, then we have to go home and listen to our parents ramble on and on about what we should do in our future. When we do have free time, we explore what ever we like, but an air of restraint is still over our unassuming heads made by the law system in which we support to protect society. So again, it all comes back to awareness, and the flip side, ignorance. Of course, it is totally impossible to be aware of every single action that is happening, but if we knew more, then we could apply that experience to future situations and finally be able to define ourselves the way we want.

What makes a society “civilized”? Does it have to contain such professions as Lawyers (the defenders of justice and law), Accountants (the controllers of money), and Directors (corporate management)? Throughout the long history of Western Civilization, they have always tried to civilize others through inhumane ways. But have the conquerors actually looked to see if they were fine from the start without their influence? Maybe it’s a whole other thing, ignored since the commencing of global “civilization”.

Turmoil has gripped the African continent for many years, due to the greed of western imperialistic values. The history of Africa has been a bloody and irredeemable series of misfortunes; beginning with the Belgium claim to the Congo by King Leopold, to blood diamonds being smuggled out of Sierra Leone to be sold by rich western nations of today. Civilizing the Africans by enslaving any who could work would be arbitrary to today’s moral values, as slavery is a horrifying idea to our newly shaped moral beliefs. Many do not question how our actions will change the outcome our future, and what impact it has on the thresh hold of humanity. We have simply accepted what was told to us by convention and years of old tradition, which of course are ancient, and do not reflect the moral codes which control us today. Western nations especially have been guilty of going where they should not go, using their advancement in armed combat.

Imperialism was a big contributor to how the world turned out today. The belief of getting as much as you can as fast as you can is unavoidably present, in everyday life. Throughout “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, Marlow (protagonist), witnesses what has been done to the natives of Africa for the white man’s lust of ivory. The natives lost their culture, shelter, and livelihood for the blind ambition of imperialism. Relating to the past, corporations today are slowly brainwashing the general populace into believing that buying more will support the growth of their economy. We have basically no idea where our goods are coming from, and we take pride in owning lots of… stuff…? As in the past, western powerhouses invade other countries to take control over their natural goods, exploiting their inhabitants, and make production plants in those countries, where they use the cheap labour to produce goods. Child labour, and cruelty are few of the many tactics corporations try to use to cut back and get more money in their wallets. So have we really changed at all?

The human race has done a lot of deeds which can’t be undone. The colourful past will forever be there and unable to change. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, so we can stay blind from what is truly happening and has been happening for the past thousands of years. Perhaps, it is not. Things must change, and it’s our own responsibility to be aware of what is happening globally because we cannot trust corporate management to do it for us. Civilization is just an excuse for people with power to gain more power, may it be caused by corporations, or imperialism. As a human race, we must must MUST, think for ourselves, and be aware of what is happening to us, and the world in which we live. Sometimes, it just takes one word. No.

References

Conrad, J. (1997). Heart of Darkness. Toronto, Canada: Signet Classic

Leavitt, C. (2006). Blood Diamond.

Pictured rendered by Hantao