When analyzing the perspectives of both the Enlightenment and Romanticism, I have an opinion that encompasses a mixture of both of these counterparts. The Enlightenment allows individuals to prioritize rationality and reasoning in both their decision making and thought process, analyzing the duty of the individuals to themselves and society. Romanticism promotes subjectivity, individuality, and the connection the individual has with nature, emphasizing the importance of passion and desire. Thus, leading life in accord with both the Enlightenment and Romanticism allows the individual to be rational in their decision making, while additionally retaining their passion and humanity. While an excessive amount of subjectivity is damaging in some cases, humanity must be able to balance passion with the Scientific Method so as to analyze cold data and facts with compassion. When viewing our Western culture today, I now see numerous examples of how Enlightenment and Romanticism ideals shapes society and the way we live. For example, I see many ideas of Romanticism when analyzing the artistic expression displayed on campus. When looking at the graffiti art, the decorative posters, or the Stuart art collection, I now view them as forms of completely free individual expression, exercising individuality as a way for society to know the artist’s passions and life experiences. I additionally see ideals of the Enlightenment on campus as well. Many individuals pick their career because it makes the most sense logically, thinking only of the salary and the financial benefits based on the proven scientific data concerning their chosen career path. Therefore, the individual is prioritizing reason and rationality, committing to it as their life’s work. Thus, there are numerous ideals of both the Enlightenment and Romanticism all around us, and my eyes are now open to connecting the choices I make everyday to the principles of both significant movements. For me, the most interesting takeaway from this class was learning about how the ideals of the Enlightenment apply to the origins of government systems. The Enlightenment ideals of equality, and justice helped to create the conditions for the Constitution, along with many other forms of social contracts. This questioning of traditional authority embraces the notion that humanity can be improved through rational thought and reasoning, and it greatly interested me when we covered it during the course.
When I was visiting Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of seeing a collection of art consisting of the pieces of many renowned artists. I was particularly drawn to the creations of Picasso, and I believe this particular painting, Woman with a Book, represents Schiller’s aesthetic experience especially well. Picasso was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, famous for greatly influencing the art movement known as Cubism. Cubism consisted of analyzing natural forms and reducing them into basic geometric parts. Picasso had an eclectic attitude to style, and while his pieces normally focused on one dominant approach, he often moved interchangeably between different art styles, such as Surrealism, throughout the course of his career. The woman of his focus, depicted in soft, disproportional shapes, and with an unnatural assortment of colors, provokes a feeling of melancholy, with her pensive gaze, open book, and head resting heavily on one hand. The head casts a prominent shadow on the back wall, making one who looks at this painting feel a sense of desolation. The expression on the woman’s face, along with the mostly cool palette, indicate serious and deep reflection. The emotions produced when one looks at this painting additionally inspire an intellectual response. When one looks at the strokes and the thickness of lines Picasso utilizes, one can visualize what his intentions of the painting were, and thus gain greater insight to his work of art. Thus, paintings are a great method of merging the sensual and intellectual in order to create Schiller’s aesthetic experience. Additionally, this painting can help us to be morally better. As an artist, Picasso is an example of committing to an absolute: loving an absolute quality of his subjects and sharing them through different styles of painting. When we view works of art such as this, we can appreciate Picasso’s commitment, and we can apply that commitment into our everyday lives, becoming inspired to follow a set of morals or standards to keep yourself accountable. Thus, Woman with a Book is a perfect example of Schiller’s aesthetic experience, blending the intellectual and sensual and inspiring individuals to become morally better.
This picture represents the current issue of Internet privacy: one that has turned into a paradox of conflicting interests and miscommunication. In the Declaration of Independence, the Fifth Amendment protects individuals against self-incrimination, which then protects the privacy of each individual’s personal information. In other words, an individual has the right to determine which information about them is collected, and additionally how that information is used. This is demonstrated when Internet browsers and social media apps allow its users to choose levels of privacy settings, giving options to share publicly to only share minimally with close friends. Despite these options users have, problems are still occurring, and identity theft is still a prevalent issue. Recently, Facebook was forced to call off the launching of its dating service in Europe because they failed to show they had performed legally required tests of privacy risks for their users. These slip-ups allow for identities to be bought and sold like common merchandise across the entirety of the Internet. Breaking into social media platforms or websites, stealing personal information, and using it for personal gain is unfortunately common. Despite the Declaration of Independence dedicating several Amendments to the rights of privacy of citizens, the fourth, fifth, ninth, and fourteenth as some examples, current issues of soliciting personal information are still relevant with the technology of the Internet. Thus, should the government take further steps to prevent the hacking of social network accounts, and thus better ensure our right to privacy as stated in the Declaration of Independence? If so, what should those steps be?
Recently, there have been many debates during and leading up to President Trump’s impeachment: that it is inappropriate for presidents, or any other government officials, to prioritize their own private interests above the interests of the nation. In impeaching Trump, the House emphasizes that while it is understood that a president can have their own private interests, he should not use his office to advance those interests, acting only in the interests of the nation as a whole. The House has decided that in an attempt undermine his political rival while withholding Congressionally approved funds to aid an ally engaged in war, the president has failed to prioritize the national interest. The president’s behavior evokes my distinction between the general and the private wills, most associated with my idea of a social contract. I have found it to be true that every citizen has both a private and a general will: the private will corresponding to our personal interests, and the general will corresponding to our interests as citizens of a society. A citizens’s natural preference typically tends toward the private will, “he may want to enjoy the rights of a citizen without being willing to fulfill the duties of a subject.” (Discourse on Equality, pg 48). In other words, our natural tendency as humans is to prefer ourselves above the interests of the common good of our community and fellow citizens. This is why I believe it to be essential that the government compel its citizens, through laws, to live according to the general interest of society, especially in times when an individual’s private will inclines them to do otherwise. Thus, it is not the job of the president, or the executive branch of government, to subvert citizens in favor of the branch’s own interests. Instead, it is their job to carry out and enact laws that promote only the general good of the nation. Thus, if the executive branch of government, including President Trump, privileges their particular will over the general will of the nation, the state will inevitably collapse.
Hi everyone! My name is Megan Griswold, and I am a second year Human Bio Major in Revelle College. I grew up in San Diego, and I go to the beach pretty frequently, whether it be to kayak, surf, or to just read a book on the sand. I have played piano for ten years and played the flute throughout all of high school. My career goal is to become a Pediatric Doctor.
My favorite book in the Hum series so far is The Odyssey because while reading it, we enter a world infused with imagination and excitement where no dream is made too fantastic for humans to access. However, woven through all of the horrific, non familiar creatures and scenes, there is additionally a theme of traveling home, a feeling we all can recognize. This is why I find The Odyssey to be so entertaining, as well as relatable to all who read it.