Memorial Day–Humanities

HW: Read Chapters 16-18 (finished!) in BNW.

What we’re up to:

  • Consciousness: What is it? Why do we have it? How can matter conjure up the ability to recognize oneself?
  • Brave New World

Woody Allen Quote:

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.”

First Question:

It’s Memorial Day! Some questions. Why do we try to remember those who sacrificed themselves for us? What is the meaning behind this impulse, behind this holiday? Do our memories matter? Does the possibility that people will remember you when you die motivate you to greater effort?

Now, let’s talk consciousness. We’ll read an article entitled: “I feel therefore I am.

  1. Say this in your own words: John Locke wondered if ‘the same object should produce in several men’s minds different ideas at the same time; for example, the idea, that a violet produces in one man’s mind by his eyes, were the same that a marigold produced in another man’s, and vice versa.’
  2. What is the “hard problem” of consciousness?
  3. What is physicalism?
  4. What is a Chalmers zombie? How do we know we aren’t one? Or that Mr. Stearns is or isn’t one?
  5. What is the medieval mind/body dualism?
  6. Why did Descartes want to keep dualism around? What do we lose, or so he thought, when our beliefs become purely materialist?
  7. What is the many worlds theory?
  8. What does Max Tegmark hope is true about consciousness? What would that mean?
  9. Your turn. What evolutionary benefit do we get from having self-awareness?
  10. Your turn. Chalmers thinks that the world is made up of something besides physical stuff? What do you think?

Then, we’re moving on to BNW.

Hopefully, we’ll watch a TED talk with Nick Bostrom about transhumanism.

 

Tue/Wed–May 31st/June 1st–AP

What we’re up to:

  • Looking back at the AP Rhetoric Prompt–Jane Addams
  • Questions for the Play
  • Choosing your Scene
  • Learning Lines

We’ll start by talking about the Addams prompt and I’ll return your finals. Anyone who wants to retake the prompt, let’s talk and figure out what we need to work on. Quick reminder. Rewrites for Fascination essay are due tomorrow.

Let me repost the info on the play:

  1. What is the main question this play seeks to answer? What are the offered answers and what seems to be the answer that is landed on by the end?
  2. Describe the world that the play creates. Are events guided by character choice or do the characters seem to be at the whim of some vengeful fate/God? Is this a believable or fanciful world? Explain.
  3. What is the inciting incident which gets the story started? What is the final conflict that is resolved by the end?
  4. How–if at all- do the characters change during the course of the play? Why do they change/fail to change? What does that say about the ideas the play seems to be dealing with?
  5. What are the crucial themes of the play? What abstract ideas–honor, loyalty, family, gender, love, etc.–reverberate through the actions and discussions of the play?
  6. How should this play–ideally–be staged? Should their be an elaborate set or a minimal one? Props? Lighting? Special effects?
  7. How does the medium of the dramatic play differ from other media? What advantages does it have over other media? What are some of the drawbacks? How does this play exploit the advantages? Would this work as a movie or TV show? Why/ why not?

The American Play assignment:

Requirements:

  1. Prepare a scene from your chosen play in which every student has at least 50 lines memorized. You can double parts, move/cut lines, or otherwise make alterations in order to make the workload more or less equal.
  2. Together, write a short plot summary and a statement of the play’s theme. Explain how the playwright uses character, language (dialogue and stage directions), and/or setting to communicate that theme. Each character should write a one paragraph explanation of your character’s motivation (what do they want in this scene and why) and contribution to the theme.
  3. Together, plan blocking (movement) that is visually interesting and conveys important information about character, relationships, conflicts, and themes. Consider how to use levels, stage areas, setting, and proximity to communicate this.
  4. Contribute basic costumes, props, and set elements to make the scene come alive. Keep it simple, but make creative choices. If you have essential elements that you cannot create in class, you can explain this before the beginning of your scene.
  5. Scenes are due the last week of school: June 20th-24th.
  6. Grade are not based on acting ability but rather the completion of the written part (#2), accuracy of memorization, and the skill in which the blocking contributes to the audience’s understanding of plot, character, and theme.

Th, May 26th–Humanities

HW: Read Brave New World Chapters 14-15.

What we’re up to:

  • Free Will
  • Cogito Ergo Sum
  • Brave New World

 

Let’s talk Free Will first. I missed the article discussion, but let’s have it now. Do we have free will and does it matter? If you knew–beyond a doubt–that free will was an illusion would it change how you felt about your own decisions? About your justification in judging others? About your willingness to get out of bed at all?

On to Descartes! We’ll read from his Discourses on First Philosophy and decide whether or not everything that we know is an illusion created by an evil demon.

Finally, let’s talk BNW. We’ll probably only be able to talk about Chapters 7-9. How close is our own society to this society?

Th/F–May 26th-27th–AP

What we’re up to:

  • Choosing the Play.
  • Readthroughs.
  • Discussion and Questions.
  • Choosing the Scene and beginning memorization.

Ok, if you haven’t already, groups need to choose their play. I’ll help.

Next, you’ll finish your readthrough and answer the following question on paper in a small group discussion:

  1. What is the main question this play seeks to answer? What are the offered answers and what seems to be the answer that is landed on by the end?
  2. Describe the world that the play creates. Are events guided by character choice or do the characters seem to be at the whim of some vengeful fate/God? Is this a believable or fanciful world? Explain.
  3. What is the inciting incident which gets the story started? What is the final conflict that is resolved by the end?
  4. How–if at all- do the characters change during the course of the play? Why do they change/fail to change? What does that say about the ideas the play seems to be dealing with?
  5. What are the crucial themes of the play? What abstract ideas–honor, loyalty, family, gender, love, etc.–reverberate through the actions and discussions of the play?
  6. How should this play–ideally–be staged? Should their be an elaborate set or a minimal one? Props? Lighting? Special effects?
  7. How does the medium of the dramatic play differ from other media? What advantages does it have over other media? What are some of the drawbacks? How does this play exploit the advantages? Would this work as a movie or TV show? Why/ why not?

The American Play assignment:

Requirements:

  1. Prepare a scene from your chosen play in which every student has at least 50 lines memorized. You can double parts, move/cut lines, or otherwise make alterations in order to make the workload more or less equal.
  2. Together, write a short plot summary and a statement of the play’s theme. Explain how the playwright uses character, language (dialogue and stage directions), and/or setting to communicate that theme. Each character should write a one paragraph explanation of your character’s motivation (what do they want in this scene and why) and contribution to the theme.
  3. Together, plan blocking (movement) that is visually interesting and conveys important information about character, relationships, conflicts, and themes. Consider how to use levels, stage areas, setting, and proximity to communicate this.
  4. Contribute basic costumes, props, and set elements to make the scene come alive. Keep it simple, but make creative choices. If you have essential elements that you cannot create in class, you can explain this before the beginning of your scene.
  5. Scenes are due the last week of school: June 20th-24th.
  6. Grade are not based on acting ability but rather the completion of the written part (#2), accuracy of memorization, and the skill in which the blocking contributes to the audience’s understanding of plot, character, and theme.

 

W, May 25th–AP

What we’re up to:

  • Another round of American plays
  • Choosing your play
  • Read-throughs

Ok, so I’ve been sick, but now I’m back…better than ever. Or at least not that much worse…

We’ll start by moving to play groups. You need groups of 2-5 and–for once–you can work with whomever you want.

Each groups should do four rounds of the following:

  1. Choose a play that looks promising. See the number of players. You’ll be able to combine roles if necessary, but check to see what is required.
  2. Do a read through of the first 15 minutes. Note the setting, characters, style, and themes.
  3. Discuss what you think of the play so far. What’s intriguing about it? What speaks to you?
  4. Go on to the next play.

OK! Then, it’s time to choose your play!

Now you’ll do a complete runthrough. It will probably take the entire period to finish the play, but if you do finish, here are the questions I’d like you to answer as a full group.

  1. What is the main question this play seeks to answer? What are the offered answers and what seems to be the answer that is landed on by the end?
  2. Describe the world that the play creates. Are events guided by character choice or do the characters seem to be at the whim of some vengeful fate/God? Is this a believable or fanciful world? Explain.
  3. What is the inciting incident which gets the story started? What is the final conflict that is resolved by the end?
  4. How–if at all- do the characters change during the course of the play? Why do they change/fail to change? What does that say about the ideas the play seems to be dealing with?
  5. What are the crucial themes of the play? What abstract ideas–honor, loyalty, family, gender, love, etc.–reverberate through the actions and discussions of the play?
  6. How should this play–ideally–be staged? Should their be an elaborate set or a minimal one? Props? Lighting? Special effects?
  7. How does the medium of the dramatic play differ from other media? What advantages does it have over other media? What are some of the drawbacks? How does this play exploit the advantages? Would this work as a movie or TV show? Why/ why not?

 

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