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Lecture

overall themes.docx

3 Pages
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Department
English
Course Code
ENGL 1F91
Professor
Jenny Janke

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Godot: waiting is an awareness of being brought on by an absence of doing. Formerly, we believed “essence” or “the soul” preceded existence and it was the purpose of “existence “ to discover the worth of the soul. The events of hiroshima/Nagasaki and the holocaust obliterated this notion of an essential goodness and “essence” was then seen as a retrospective myth of origin set up to bestow a fictional coherency on the otherwise debilitating randomness of experience. Science and technology are the twin myths of origin in our time, and, like all myths of origin, they exert a constant influence on current reality and plans for the future by appearing to be something that sets up a path into the future. In reality, we mortgage our future3 to the myth of origin and keep assuming a continued loyalty to the myth is the only way to solve current problems. Technology is not about gadgets, it is a way of thinking that can only view surroundings as a resource to be utilized or destroyed. Humanity itself becomes just another resource as the holocaust makes terribly clear. The balcony: power is an effect of relationship and of privileged positions made to appear “natural” by discourse that establishes what is “common sense” and thereby forecloses alternatives to the “reality” that is in fact only one possible version of what is “real”. All reality is in dialogue with fantasy. All fantasy is in dialogue with reality. Discourse establishes what is “real” and what is “imaginary” but there is nothing inherent in this. Because power is a position and not an essence it is very unstable and those in power become corrupt, paranoid and delusional if they mistake the benefits of their position for their essential worth. Miguel Street. The word is not the world. language works as a system of deferral. Words only mean something in relation to other words—meaning is mutually constitutive. Language operates by binaries. We know what “hot” is because we know what “cold “ is. If we don’t know what one is, we have no way of understanding the other. Power and privilege use binaries to make their position appear “natural”. Thus “white” is superior to “black”. The desire for lighter skin demonstrates the acceptance of this binary even though it has no reality. Every binary contains an implicit hierarchy while posing as neutral, so “black/white” contains the implicit hierarchy that white is “better” than black. . As a result, eliminating racism is inconceivable. It is built into the patio of language itself. Vague promises to eliminate racism can be detrimental if they make us less vigilant about our primary defense against it: rejecting its effects and refusing to internalize them. Because the hierarchy is a fantasy, we do not have to incorporate it. If we do, our actions will cease to have agency. Agency is taking action in a way that is sustainable. Action without agency cannot sustain whatever gains it achieves. The powerful position of being “white” seems doubley so because “white “ actions accumulate (like capitalism itself) gains are exponential rather than appearing and disappearing in the same moment. The bell jar. Roughly speaking, we can identify five myths of modernity: Perfection, Efficiency, Progress, Satisfaction and Innovation (Or PEPSI). All operate as systems of deferral promising a goal that is always receding further away as we sacrifice ourselves in the pursuit of it. Esther fragments into multiple alter- egos (the other women in the bell jar may have an independent existence, but esther can only see them as manifestations of herself). The new Hannah Montana movie champions the “split” in miley cyrus between performing diva and down home country girl—implying that miley is the “old yellow” and Hannah the “perfect white self”. The movie suggests this “split” can be mainta
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