Thu, May 19th–Humanities

HW: Read BNW Chapters 7-9

What we’re up to:

  • Existential Shark Tank
  • Brave New World Chapters 4-6
  • Is there free will?

First question:

What official rituals foes our school offer for students? Does our school have enough of these rituals? Should we have fewer or more? How do rituals encourage positive group behavior? How do rituals encourage less positive behavior? Should there, for instance, be a Homecoming Court? Why/why not?

OK, let’s give you a little time and then you’ll present your products. At the end, the class will vote on their top three products.

Next, I want to talk BNW. What do you think about those Solidarity Services? Do rituals help groups feel connected?

Finally, let’s talk about Free Will. We’re moving to a unit on metaphysics and epistemology and to start, I’d like to see a couple short movies about free will. If we believe that there is no free will, does that undermine our ability to judge others or find motivation to act?

Humanities–Tue, May 17th

HW: Read Chapters 4-6 in Brave New World
What we’re up to:
  • Starting BNW
  • Existentialist Catalog: Products for a World of Absolute Freedom/Absolute Responsibility
First Question:
Brave New World introduces the idea of soma–a drug that introduces a hypnotic, hallucinatory experience which is often taken in small groups of 12 within a ritualistic, semi-spiritual activity which involves chanting and group sex and worshiping of the T symbol (Henry Ford). How should a society deal with drugs? Should they be illegal? Which ones and why? If you had to choose our (the US) method of drug policy and BNW’s, which is the healthier attitude? Do drugs break down our ability to make reasonable choices?
Let’s talk BNW…Here are the questions to start. If you haven’t read, I’ll move you to a table to catch up.
Chapters 1-3
1. Who is the D.H.C.?
2. What is Bokanovsky’s Process?
3. Explain why Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability.
4. What is the point of conditioning?
5. Why are the babies being conditioned to hate books and flowers?
6. How is the conditioning reinforced?
7. What is the name of the deity in this world?
8. Why is “mother” such an obscene word?
9. How is Bernard Marx different from his associates?
10. Why does Lenina want to go out with Bernard?
11. What is soma?
OK, then let’s switch gears. I want to do something clarifying questions about existentialism. First, on QuestionPress…
What are the basic principles of Existentialism as you understand them? What does an Existentialist believe, basically?
What appeals to you about this set of beliefs and what does not appeal to you? Be specific. Note specific philosophers if you can.
Then, in table groups, I’d like you to create 3 products based on existentialist ideas or quotations. The idea is to create these products and pitch them to the rest of the class as possible new products in the long running Existentialist Wasteland™ catalog. The product must:
  • Be related to the ideas and thoughts of at least one existentialist philosopher.
  • Be a product that people might actually want to exchange money for
  • Be able to be reproduced at least in small batches
  • Remind people that all our futures ultimately lead toward death

Create a short Keynote/PP to accompany your sales pitch. Due first thing on Thursday.

Here are some resources to help you:

Sample products:

Comics

The Thinkers

  • Simone deBouvoire
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Albert Camus
  • Søren Kierkegaard
  • Friedrich Nietzsche

Learn more about them by checking out their entries at:

 

 

Thursday, May 12th–Humanities

OK, so first…we have the Handmaid’s test! Let’s go!

Next, we’ll talk about our Final Existentialist: Friedrick Nietzsche.

We’ll see the video (this is the written version) and then read an except from Thus Spoke Zarathusra and see if we can understand where he’s coming from.

What will people be like 200-300 years from now? What would the Super version of humanity be like? What qualities would those people have?

Finally, if we have time, let’s take a look back on all of our existentialist philosophers and what they have to tell us about how to deal with a world in which meaning doesn’t come from society but from the choices we make.

  • Simone deBouvoire
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Albert Camus
  • Søren Kierkegaard
  • Friedrich Nietzsche

 

 

Tue, May 10th–Humanities

HW: Finish Handmaid’s Tale and be ready for the Test. Don’t forget to read the Historical Notes!

What we’re up to:

  • Discussing Handmaid’s
  • Kierkegaard

OK, pencil-distribution time. Try out this self-knowledge questionnaire and we’ll compare answers. If more than one person gets the same answers as I did, then we’ll do a random distribution.

First question:

Are there some things you believe without any evidence to support it? When is that ok and when is it not?

We’ll look at two contrasting ideas on this: Søren Kierkegaard and Bertrand Russell on Faith.

Before we get too far, let’s talk Handmaid’s Tale. We’ll finish the book and take an essay/MC test on the whole thing Thursday. Expect several questions about plot and 3-4 questions about big themes so…

I’ll assign sections of the book and your job will be to write 5 multiple choice questions about the section on QuestionPress. Remember, good questions are ones that aren’t too obvious What country does Handmaid’s take place in? or too hard What was the nickname for the Richard and Leigh Center? Ask the question and provide 5 possible answers. Only one should be correct.

  • Group 1: Chapters 1-6
  • Group 2: Chapter 7-13
  • Group 3: Chapters 14-19
  • Group 4: Chapters 20-24
  • Group 5: Chapters 25-29
  • Group 6: Chapters 30-34
  • Group 7: Chapters 35-40

 

Example:

What does Offred find out about what happened to Luke?

A. He escaped to Canada

B. He was shot and killed on the border.

C. He was sent to the Colonies.

D. She told him to smuggle their child out of the country.

E. She never finds out.

 

Ok, after this, we’ll have time to talk themes. Here is a simple list of common themes in Handmaid’s Tale. Each group will be assigned a theme and your task will be to find at least 3 examples from the book where this theme plays out. What do these examples suggest about the theme Atwood is working with?

  1. Power
  2. Gender Roles
  3. Religion
  4. Fertility
  5. Rebellion
  6. Love
  7. Storytelling/Memory

Finally, let’s talk Kierkegaard:

Important Concepts:

  • Meaninglessness of Life (Angst)
  • Either/Or
  • Impossibility of Happiness
  • Leap of Faith

 

What do you think of this excerpt from Either/Or?

An Ecstatic Discourse
Marry, and you will regret it. Do not marry, and you will also regret it. Marry or do not marry, you will regret it either way. lIS Whether you marry or you do not marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the stupidities of the world, and you will regret it; weep over them, and you will also regret it. Laugh at the stupidities of the world or weep over them, you will regret it either way. Whether you laugh at the stupidities of the world or you weep over them, you will regret it either way. Trust a girl, and you will regret it. Do not trust her, and you will also regret it. Trust a girl or do not trust her, you will regret it either way. Whether you trust a girl or do not trust her, you will regret it either way. Hang yourself, and you will regret it. Do not hang yourself, and you will also regret it. Hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret it either way. Whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret it either way. This, gentlemen, is the quintessence of all the wisdom of life.

Extra: See this “squashed” version of the philosopher.

OR…The Existential Comic version…or this one

IS there value in leading an “authentic” live over a “distracted” one? What is it? Why not?

 

Humanities–May 5th

HW: Read pages 223-263 in Handmaid’s. We’ll be finishing the book by Thursday next

week.

Here is the self-knowledge questionnaire.

What we’re up to:

  • Turn in your Gender article–
  • Talk Handmaid’s Tale
  • Kierkegaard! Take the leap

Quote Response:

Which view of Faith do you think is closer to your own? Are there some things we should believe without being able to rationally prove?

Ok, first, let’s take a look at your Gender essays! Drop them into turnitin.com.

Next, let’s talk Handmaid’s Tale. We’ll look at Jezebel and answer a few questions about what Ofglen is up to.

I’d like to look at some examples of Jezebel in art.

Finally, let’s continue with existentialism…now with Kierkegaard!

Important Concepts:

  • Meaningless of Life (Angst)
  • Either/Or
  • Impossibility of Happiness
  • Leap of Faith

 

What do you think of this excerpt from Either/Or?

An Ecstatic Discourse
Marry, and you will regret it. Do not marry, and you will also regret it. Marry or do not marry, you will regret it either way. lIS Whether you marry or you do not marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the stupidities of the world, and you will regret it; weep over them, and you will also regret it. Laugh at the stupidities of the world or weep over them, you will regret it either way. Whether you laugh at the stupidities of the world or you weep over them, you will regret it either way. Trust a girl, and you will regret it. Do not trust her, and you will also regret it. Trust a girl or do not trust her, you will regret it either way. Whether you trust a girl or do not trust her, you will regret it either way. Hang yourself, and you will regret it. Do not hang yourself, and you will also regret it. Hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret it either way. Whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret it either way. This, gentlemen, is the quintessence of all the wisdom of life.

Extra: See this “squashed” version of the philosopher.

OR…The Existential Comic version…

Towards what teleological end? Delivering stone cold one-liners of course.

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