I lost my torso while traveling, lol

“Le Grand van Gogh”, one of 10 sculptures part of a series called “Les Voyageurs” by French sculptor Bruno Catalano

It’s been said that traveling is a great way to escape from everyday life and go on an adventure to explore different cultures, meet new people, broaden your perspective, and discover ourselves. Traveling, in general, has a very good reputation and is very much recommended. Why else would universities invest in a study abroad program?

These sculptures seem to suggest otherwise. Here, we see lone travelers, each carrying a small suitcase. The most striking feature is the omitted portion of the bodies. The sculptures, while interesting to look at, display themes of belonging, home, completeness, emptiness, and the like. They seem to convey that traveling, which most would expect to be fulfilling in some sense, takes away fragments of ourselves. What do we leave behind to gain what traveling offers? While exploring the big, wide world, how much of ourselves do we lose in the process and is that always a good thing?

It is also interesting how the sculpture is made to show how the suitcase eventually becomes its means of support. This detail appears to ask, “Is it possible to travel too much to the point that traveling becomes a crutch?” Does traveling become a bad thing only when we choose to prioritize it over investing in a home, which is our main support system?

Regardless of how these sculptures are interpreted, I see these them as a nice reminder that learning new things and expanding one’s perspective does not always mean that we have to give a part of ourselves away. Instead, learning new things should enhance who we already are, and we can incorporate what we learn to how we currently live to be better people. In this way, these sculptures appeal to both the intellect and the sensual as an eye-catching art piece.

calpirg out here reminding me to vote

Shown below is a CALPIRG sticker encouraging students to vote for their cause. Exercising our right to vote has been a hot topic lately with the primary elections coming up. Throughout the course of US history, suffrage has evolved from being limited to white males over the age of 21 to including any US citizen over the age of 18. This right stems from the definition of democracy: a government ruled by the people. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen states that “[l]aw is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation.” In other words, every citizen can be involved in the discussion and creation of laws. This notion is derived from Rousseau’s social contract theory where people enter a social contract by willingly submitting to the general will of society and execute this general will by participating in government matters. Voting is one way to contribute to shaping a government that meets the people’s expectations. However, this begs the question of whether the people are the best judges of the change they want to see in society and how to go about bringing that change. Without considering the amount of time needed to count the votes, would it be better to let the government’s decisions be decided on the direct vote of citizens or the vote of an educated and elected few?

CALPIRG voting sticker on a pole near PC bus stop

A Closer L👀k at L👀kism

In a previous publication, I discussed how the development of human reasoning gave rise to the emergence of inequality. As men gradually acquired more leisure time and came to form primitive societies, “[p]eople become accustomed to consider different objects and to make comparisons. Imperceptibly they acquire the ideas of merit and beauty that produce feelings of preference” (Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men, 73).

In modern societies, we witness varying degrees of lookism, referred to as the discrimination that one receives based on one’s physical appearance, which was, oftentimes, judged based on a certain beauty standard established by society. I have had the opportunity to come across several works that shed light on what may happen in a society with an obsession with appearances, namely the webtoon Lookism. In this world, one’s appearance decided one’s future. If you were handsome enough, you would get more opportunities; if you were pretty enough, you were respected and cherished. Good looks brought popularity and favor with fellow men. Failing to meet the beauty standard could lead to severe bullying and harassment, as is the case for the main character of the webtoon, Daniel Park. When Daniel was suddenly bestowed with a new body with a handsome face and extraordinary physique, he began to experience the benefits that came with having a nice face such as the lack of physical harassment, his voice now held significance, and job opportunities. There was a drastic difference in the way others treated him in his enhanced body versus his original body.

Before I continue, I must clarify that there is nothing inherently wrong with having preferences in terms of appearances. However, when a society places an excessive amount of importance on looks, there arises a perversion in the act of imposing one’s expectations of beauty upon another and acting accordingly based on the judgment of that person’s appearance, as Daniel’s society demonstrates. In the state of nature, the savage man did not concern himself with appearances, seeing as he had no need to. In this state, he did not have to worry about maintaining his appearance to please the fleeting expectations of man by putting on makeup, getting plastic surgery, or buying luxury-brand clothing. I leave with this statement from my discourse on the origins of inequality: “The more one reflects on it, the more one finds that this state was the least subject to upheavals and the best for man…” (74).

Daniel Park, main character of the webtoon Lookism.

Also, apologies for the late post.

Self-Intro ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Hello! My name is Rebecca and I am a second year aiming to major in human biology. I’m from Oakland, CA which is right across from San Francisco. When given the opportunity, I love to solve puzzles, from the jigsaw ones to sudoku to wooden brain teasers (I can’t help myself when I see jigsaw puzzles at Geisel). This is irrelevant, but I prefer lattes over boba (sorry, not sorry to all the bobaholics ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

I like many of the works in the HUM sequence, but my favorite text so far has to be Gorgias by Plato. While some parts of Socrates’ argument may not be sound, he does bring up some interesting points, especially about rhetoric, power, and the distinction between doing something a person should do versus doing something a person wants to do. I found the dialogue to be an interesting read.

Here’s a short by one of the Youtube channels I watch. Fun fact: the creators of the channel are UCSD alumni.