The road ahead

I agree most with an intermediate perspective of the Enlightenment and Romanticism. The reason for this is because I can agree with points from both sides. From the Enlightenment. I support its use of reason to encourage scientific progress. From Romanticism, I support its focus on sentiment to encourage introspection. In addition to this, it seems clear to me that taking a moderate approach towards these two ideas is the way to go, as taking an extremist view on any subject tends to lead to disaster, often due to inflexibility.

Learning about the Enlightenment and Romanticism has impacted the way I view our contemporary western culture, as I feel it isn’t as conscious of its past as it should be. The ideas that were developed during the Enlightenment and the Romanticism aren’t as widespread as they should be. I see that many people still commit some of the errors that the Enlightenment and Romanticism warn about. For example, in regards to reason, many people still take “miracles” or outlier incidents to validate their preconceptions. Also, in regards to sentiment, some still take it as a given that we should leave others to wrangle with their emotions on their own.

The most important takeaway I got from this class is that as the lucky few who got the opportunity to experience this class we have an obligation to act on the wisdom we have been provided both in its rational and sentimental aspects. While we shouldn’t impose these ideas on others, we should make others aware of them. Additionally, while we can’t act on every idea brought up by the authors of that time period, we should use our best judgement, to act on those we can.

Image result for road

A Learned Dichotomy of Modern man

It would simply be impossible to argue that I only agree with one way of thinking showcased in this class. Like everyone else, I also favor one form of thinking more than the other, in my case it would be the Enlightenment thinking. I personally believe that despite the many nuances that people differ in their own beliefs, they all stem from universal beliefs, perhaps a better way of phrasing is primal instincts. Throughout the years of scientific advancement that occurred especially in psychology have shown this to be the case. However, these studies have also led me to believe that Romanticism is also an important aspect to the human condition as they move on from their primal needs. For those unfamiliar, this principle comes from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which states that human beings are simple if they lack basic necessities yet evolve to have deeper needs involving more nuanced psychological aspects such as self-actualization.

The process of learning about these separate eras of thinking has resulted in my further understanding of how much of an impact they have on current society, specifically in social movements. Whether it be the environmentalists whose way of thinking can be attributed to both Enlightenment and Romantic thinking. Enlightened as it argues from the perspective of logistics such as the impact of the ecosystem affects humanity as well, while Romantic in that the movement also exists with humanity’s sympathy and aesthetic interest in maintaining the beauty of nature.

The most interesting takeaway from the class as a whole was viewing the different perspectives of these enlightened thinkers as to what they believe is the natural state of mankind. More so how it is that humanity is and should move on from this initial state to a higher form of reasoning that will improve life for all.

Image result for maslow triangle
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Oh no, The Zoomers

Growing up I have always clashed between the two perspectives of romanticism and enlightenment. I have always been independent and the more rational of my siblings as we were growing up. However, the fact that I had many siblings made me value the beauty of a large family and doing anything for them. Without reason, I based many important decisions on my mere emotions and on how it would impact my family as if they were my apart of my universal law. Meaning that my decisions would be morally appealing if any of my siblings would do the same as me.

Honestly, western culture is also a sort of hybrid of the two but it doesn’t work well because there are constant conflicts between the two perspectives. Romanticism is usually used as a source of criticism towards the enlightenment thinkers who neglect the emotional sense in an opinion.

The most interesting part of this course was how linearly it connected with my life and childhood. Especially Candide in his perception of life.

Image result for obey woman propoganda
My favorite photo that exemplifies romanticism in the modern sense.

The end of the journey

With respect to Enlightenment and Romanticism, I think that I would agree with the Enlightenment perspective more than Romanticism, but find both sides to have valid and invalid points. This is because I find the rationalist approach more congruent to the topics that I study and the career path that I am pursuing than the Romantic perspective, but I also find that the personal, immediate experience is very important.

Learning about Enlightenment and Romanticism gave me a new framework to view the different issues that we face in the world, and have given me a greater appreciation of where we are today (in terms of social and technological progress). For example, the new coronavirus thing going on right now reminds me of how we haven’t really improved at all morally, but have gotten much further in medicine.

In my view, the most interesting takeaway of the class is the question of the natural state of mankind. I specifically enjoyed how most of the authors tried, in some way, to answer this question, and gave me a way to structure the viewpoints of the different thinkers presented in this class.

Rational vs moral

Personally, I believe in being rational. There are times when one must make tough decisions that hurt emotionally but are rational and therefore “for the better”. Not to say I am emotionless because I do also have morals, however, when life throws a curveball at you its best to respond with rationality as an enlightened person would.

Today this rational thinking is very relevant with this covid-19 pandemic. Western cultures are putting their morals aside and acting selfishly in hopes of preserving their comfort in times like these. We see people purchasing more food and toiletries than they need and price gouging rather than leaving some for those in need. While, in countries in a worse position than us like Italy, we see people helping others in need or atleast not taking more than they need as shown in the video below.

The most important take away from the class for me would be Kant’s emphasis on public debate. How one should question things in order to aid human progression.

Travel with Your Mind and Heart

Throughout my life, I have discovered that the Enlightenment and Romantic Periods introduced new ideas and perspectives that are applicable today. I believe that life should be approached with a scientific mind but an emotional heart. Only obeying one can lead to disasters. One should question everything about life but also accept that humans aren’t simply machines. We are complex with emotions and feelings that allow us to experience life in new ways. But sometimes emotions can get in the way of communicating with one another which is where the Enlightenment view comes in. On top of allowing us to answer questions about the world around us. It allows us to resolve conflict without bias. Society requires us to use both the Enlightenment and Romantic views to better our society.

History is built on the stones of those before us. While that statement is cliche, it is true. The Enlightenment allowed to answer questions about the world around us in an unbiased manner. The Romantic era has influenced art and writing styles even to this day. While we might not agree with everything that these eras brought, they still impact our world to this day. America is not just a jumble of cultures but also a mix of ideas brought about by our ancestors. As we have distanced ourselves from these ideas it is our job to take what made them great and incorporate them into our lives today.

One of the most important takeaways from this class is that our aesthetic experiences make us human. As most of us are STEM majors, we tend to focus more on the scientific aspects of life, questioning everything. Sometimes, we need to learn to appreciate beauty just for itself. While throwing out statistics about how much oxygen plankton shows people how much we need the ocean, one of the most influential ways to save the ocean is just by sharing its beauty and explain how we are losing it. Not knowing the answers to some questions and appreciating wonder allows us to experience life in a whole new way.

The Museums

I agree with both Romanticism and the Enlightenment. Through a perspective of purely unsentimental and will to live an effective life, the Enlightenment ideals has some really strong points. Sometimes as humans we really do need to think with our heads. Put our emotions aside so that we can do what is best for all people rather than perhaps what is most appealing in the emotionally gratifying sense. We sometimes have to give up what would make us feel good to make a decision that is better in the long run. That is part of life. This kind of thinking and reasoning comes from the Enlightenment. However, I do also agree that if life was pure reason and a mechanical rationale, then life would be dull. The ideas of the Romantics allow us to be more than a “machine”. They allow us to feel and to look at a beautiful picture of a mountain. When staring at that image, we can say to ourselves, “Wow isn’t that beautiful.” Then you feel good and happy even if just for a moment. Maybe, it would make you even want to visit that mountain and you save up and work hard so you can afford to travel and one day you final get to see that mountain in real life. This kind of thinking of the romantics allows us to get in touch with the beauty of the world. But just as travelling is fun, you must also have the reasoning and the drive to say that you are willing to work hard to afford a trip to a beautiful place. That is the Enlightenment, putting aside the unpleasant emotions that you get from having to work so that in the end you can discover something great. I believe that we need both Enlightenment and Romanticism in our lives to have a fulfilled and happy life.

Learning about these two movements impacted the way that I view our contemporary western culture because I see how much of both of these movements impact this culture. As a native San Diegan, I have been going to the museums that are in Balboa Park for my whole life. The Fleet Science Center, in Balboa Park, is a museum that shows the impact of the Enlightenment on our culture. In the Science Center, there are many examples of great discoveries that were found using the scientific method and it even emphasizes how important that method is. However, in the same park is the Museum of Art, which is completely opposite of the Science Center. Everything is focused on how beautiful and aesthetically pleasing art is. There is no explanation on the exact method and reasoning that the artists did to come up with their art. Rather, it shows how perspectives and color and paints and oils all come together to do one thing, make someone feel. Feel happy, feel sad, feel strong or feel weak. We as a culture have both museums, one on discovery and reason and another on feeling and emotions.

The most important take away from this class for me is really what I said above. I realizes that as someone who loves science and reason, I also need emotions and feelings in order to have a happy life. I actually decided to start getting into film photography as a way to get my mind off all the “school” and work stuff I do all the time. This allows me to have an outlet of creativity that makes me happy. (Even if my photos look terrible ha ha) This class really helped me put in perspective how important it is to have that balance.

Haystacks at Chailly by Claude Monet, at the San Diego Museum of Art

El Fin.

I agree with both the Romanticism and Enlightenment perspectives. Romanticism emphasizes one’s emotions and creativity while the Enlightenment emphasizes one’s intellect and reason. As much as I want to agree with just the enlightenment perspective I can’t because humans are not perfect and we need both the heart and the mind to able to make decisions. We, as human beings, cant just live with one type of perspective (romanticism or enlightenment, reason or emotions) since that would be very foolish. One cant just base their ideas on just reason and one can’t just make decisions with just emotions, we need both to be able to make reasonable decisions.

Learning about Romanticism and Enlightenment values made me realize how they impact western society nowadays. For example, college students or students who are considering attending college try to pick a career that makes the best money rather than choosing something that they will enjoy doing for the rest of their lives. This an example of Enlightenment values, these students are basing their decisions on reason and society’s expectations rather than their own happiness.

The most important takeaway from this class would be the idea that one must live with both the Romanticism and Enlightenment values. Having both of these values in our lives will not only better ourselves but it will also lead to ones success.

It’s Over

Because I am a stem major, I am inclined to say that Enlightenment is most agreeable, while Romanticism is a distraction. However, I recognize that I am not a perfect person. I am only human, and as a result, I am not a perfect rational being. So while I would like to only agree with Enlightenment, I do also believe in Romanticism. As a person, I make decisions that are not always perfectly rational (like playing games and sleeping in). However, they help me relax, and as a person, I want to be happy. So I agree with both Romanticism and Enlightenment.

For me, humanity helps me differentiate the different views my traditional immigrant parents gave me, and the ones western culture forced on me. For example, in lecture Professor Watkins stated how having children was completely irrational (as it gave him no profit). However, my parents come from poor farming families. As a result, their parents had them, so that they would take care of them when they get older (my grandma lives with my parents). To my grandparents, my parents were in an investment or a retirement plant. As a result, I am my parents’ retirement plan. The obligations that I have are much different than what western culture sees. Humanities helps me differentiate my obligations and values.

For me, the most important takeaway is that I am not a perfectly rational being. For example, I really enjoyed Goethe’s text as it presented a perfectly different view from Enlightenment and rationalism. Through his text, I realized just how irrational we are, even though we always preach about rationalism. Humanities help me learn more about myself and how irrational humans can be.

This is my favorite romantic era painting

Image result for lady liberty leading the people

Think Deeply About Your Feelings

I think that I agree with a mix of both perspectives. The Enlightenment emphasizes intellect and reasoning rather than tradition while Romanticism is an art movement that emphasizes the emotions and creativity of each individual, as well as placing importance on nature. Although reasoning and learning are important, one cannot live in a world where they do not appreciate the beauty in the world around them. With a combination of both, one can use reasoning to explore more of nature as well as emotions and art.

The Enlightenment and Romanticism have impacted my thinking about western culture due to the fact that each one plays an important part in the everyday life of college students. STEM students are often thought of as using reasoning in their field which is an example of Enlightenment thinking while art majors exemplify Romanticism thinking more. I feel like Enlightenment thinking has more emphasis and respect placed on it due to potentially higher-paying jobs. However, I think both the Enlightenment and Romanticism are important because due to the different values each has and how it shows that life is not all just scientific thinking, but also being more in touch with emotions and nature.

The most interesting takeaway from the class for me was how aesthetic experience can be both sensible and intellectual, and how it can reunite man as a society. I also think that its interesting how Schiller focuses on the Greeks and places them on a high pedestal. This seems to be a recurring theme throughout this time. Not only were their ideas and unity exemplified, but so was their architecture. This could also relate back to aesthetics and how they are important in uniting man, demonstrated by the fact that many of our important government buildings are based on Greek architecture.


I believe a balance in both Enlightenment and Romanticism ideals is vital in living a meaningful life. Enlightenment focuses more on reason and thinking whereas Romanticism utilizes emotions and feelings. When making difficult decisions, there is no clear choice and one must balance and consider both sides of the heart and mind. Purely living by Enlightenment ideas is dangerous as it threatens our humanity and emotions and purely living by Romanticism ideas is foolish as it disregards reason and the bigger picture.

Learning about the Enlightenment and Romanticism movements impacts my view on contemporary wester culture as it allows me to see how these movements have evolved and incorporated itself in everyday life. It also allows us to see where certain ideas and laws today originated which is quite fascinating.

I think the most important takeaway from this course is that one must live with both Enlightenment and Romanticism values in mind as stated above. Professor Watkins has shown in lecture how strictly adhering to one side of these values is dangerous and foolish and how a fine balance in both leads to success.

Improvement for an Improved World

While I initially thought that the Enlightenment perspective had much more weight, I thought the later readings we did about Romanticism also had a lot of truth. I do feel like Enlightenment goals are fundamental and totally worth going for, from the first impression of it to how it is fully embodied in our culture today. To somebody very familiar with the 21st century, to me, many of the ideals represented are 100% correct and pretty much just how it is nowadays. Beyond the process of how it shaped the world to the way it is today, I feel like at this point in time a lot of Enlightenment agendas are completely standard; to try to dispute many of these Enlightenment ideas is wrong and alien to me, if I’m being honest.

It initially seemed like Romanticism was just to be contrarian to many of these common sense truths of our current world. However, a lot of the readings we did had a lot of substance, especially when they weren’t mostly a rejection of progressive ideals. The text that wasn’t just presented as a contrast to Enlightenment ideas (which was most of what we read, contrary to my first impression) had a lot of truth to it as well, and while Enlightenment ideals seem to have a much more central theme, I definitely notice many Romantic ideals in how the system is dispersed throughout as well as in my personal life. I feel like the Enlightenment mentality definitely dominates the decision-making process, but Romantic ideas pervade many different parts of life. That being said, it may not be the best course of action to strictly adhere to Enlightenment standards when it comes to action, even if that is how it is right now – maybe different moves could make the world a better place.

From the course material I can definitely discern many things in how the system is now originated from these philosophies, back when they only existed as theory. It seems like every government in the world is operated based off these classical models. I also notice the heavy Enlightenment influence in how capitalism is – finance definitely seems to operate with empiricism first and foremost as its foundation. However, the biggest takeaway for me was how sound and accurate Romantic theory is. There is definitely a lot of truth that is missing when strictly pushing for an Enlightened world that is only truly and fully understood when considering things from a humanist perspective. To ignore the human heart of society is foolish and it is something that is often perpetuated nowadays. In spite of things being the way they are, I sensed a way for improvement not in Enlightenment texts, but in Romantic ones. Romanticism considers the human as an individual – in a world where it is easy to think of people as statistics, it makes a lot of sense to reevaluate things in a more Romantic way.

See Y’all on Zoom

When examining the ideals of the Enlightenment and Romanticism, I feel that one should not choose one perspective to adhere to, but rather a combination of the two. The Enlightenment perspective places value on thought and reasoning as it examines how other point of views and the role individuals play in the greater scheme of society. On the other hand, Romanticism places its value on the subjectivity of emotions and imagination where the individual’s experiences are explored such as dreams and desires. It also places a great emphasis on the relationship between the individual and nature. I believe a combination of these two perspectives is best because the Enlightenment ideals push the individual to consider reason when conducting themselves and Romanticism makes sure that we do not lose the essence of our natural, true selves.

Learning about both perspectives has impacted the way I view contemporary western culture today. When I examine the culture today, I can see that everyone tries to base their lives and decisions to be acceptable to society. For example, students pick their majors due to the importance of money as a necessity and the drive for human progression. This aligns with the Enlightenment ideals as reason and progression of human beings gears the individual and society to be shaped a certain way. Although this is true, I see some of the Romantic ideals too coming from examples such as YouTube. YouTube is a platform that allows individuals to show the world who they are and share their life experiences with others. This has impacted my view as I see that there is a way to align with the Romantic ideas but the Enlightenment ideal of reason proves a difficult contender for individualism.

The most interesting takeaway from this class for me was seeing how much the perspectives clashed though they both were rebellions against religion. Enlightenment and Romanticism ideals shared a similar opponent but their motivations did not align so well. It shows that preference and motivation plays into how an individual goes about in their life and in making their decisions.

Reflecting on Romanticism + Enlightenment

I agree more overall with romantic thinking, but I also believe that too much individualism can be damaging in certain circumstances and there are times where we should think of our community before our personal desires. Learning about Enlightenment and Romantic values has made me notice more of how they still impact my life in western society everyday. I see a lot of enlightenment values in the importance that’s recently been placed on technology and STEM, and I notice a lot of romantic values in the concept of the “american dream” and the cultural encouragement of entrepreneurship. Something that I found interesting in this class was how much many of the writers we covered would reflect so much on their actions and moral codes. I think that the journey of reflection of their values they all went through was as important to them as all the different conclusions they came to and put into writing at the end.

Reflections Resulting in Reunification

When it comes to philosophies and ideologies, I believe a balance is necessary to create a more understanding person. When asked to choose between the Enlightenment and Romanticism, I believe a balance of both would be the best solution. The two work very well together, such that when using logic and rationality for day to day processes as suggested by the Enlightenment, Romanticism also helps us take a step back and appreciate our ability to use or reasoning to complete such complex tasks.

Learning about these two philosophies helps to greatly explain the structure of our western society today. Many of our ideals and structure stem from these philosophies, especially the way our government is run. It truly is fascinating to see what was proposed in the 1700s is still relevant today. On an overall time scale, however, it makes sense because compared to the billions of years the universe has existed, 200 years is not very much.

I think the most interesting take away from this class is the respect we hold for one another. After listening to Professor Watkins’ lectures, it is truly amazing to see how many of us simply want to be respected. It puts many personality traits and behaviors into a deeper perspective. Another takeaway is that we are one step closer to reunifying ourselves similar to how the Ancient Greeks were unified in their hearts and mind. By continuing to build on the Enlightenment and Romanticism, I believe that one day in the near future, we will have become whole again.

Influences that shaped Western Society

I agree with perspectives of both Romanticism and Enlightenment. I think a romantic perspective doesn’t focus too much on reason and that’s what I like about it. A solely logical perspective is devoid of emotions and imagination, which would make life very dry and boring. Romantic perspective has a certain kind of beauty to it because it focuses so much on vivid imagination. I believe that Romanticism evokes imaginative thinking which leads to creativity. However, too much of anything is not ideal, and I believe Enlightenment definitely balances out Romanticism. Enlightenment focuses on rationality which definitely adds essential and much needed practicality to any perspective.

Romanticism and Enlightenment gave birth to contemporary western culture’s notion on government, literature, philosophy and art. Western way of thinking was born out of these two perspectives. Hence, we can say that these two perspectives have heavily influenced western culture and society.

Kant’s perspective on duty free of self interest was a very interesting topic and I really enjoyed reading his take on morality.

Live fully

Both the enlightenment and romanticism perspectives have some aspects that one can agree with. Making decisions with rationality allows men to have a clear understanding of the consequences that words and actions can have on the everyday life and in a near future, it is important that one uses reason to be able to survive in such a complex and ever evolving society. However, giving the appropriate importance to ones emotions and the nature that surrounds us is also important as it is what ultimately motivates and drives our existence. The enlightenment relies on reason to plan out successful and effective outcomes, while romanticism relies on individuality to ensure peace and happiness which are both important and agreeable perspectives. 

Compared to other humanities classes, the emphasis on enlightenment and romanticism has had an interesting impact in the way I view our contemporary society. The readings were always able to get the audience engaged as one would often correlate the content to current events all around the world or even our personal lives. For instance, one may not be able to understand what the mentality of suicidal individuals are like, Goethe’s story about Werther allows the audience to go in depth and really understand the situational factors and challenges that unfortunately many people face in our society.   

I think the most interesting takeaway from this class is allowing the content to resonate with ourselves and our surroundings and being able to have a self reflection in which we analyze the logic behind our everyday lives. Perhaps you find yourself being too carried away by emotions and not paying much attention to obvious logical explanations around you, or the other way around trying to find evidence for everything when sometimes you have to listen to your heart and not worry about repercussions. 


I agree mostly with Romanticism. While reason is very important and helpful, I believe it sells people short because it ignores emotion. If we live simply off of reason alone, life wouldn’t be very interesting. However, Romanticism is not reliant on reason but emotion.

Learning about romanticism and the enlightenment has made me realize that our culture today is seemingly split. It is not clear to me which way the population lies (rather romanticism or enlightenment) rather we have a strong mix of both.

The most interesting thing that I took away from this class was the debate on morals. I was specifically interested in the idea that doing something good, but in your own self-interest, isn’t moral. I find this very interesting because I am unsure if to agree with it or not. I understand how acting in self interest shouldn’t be credited, however it is still far better than acting against your self-interest in an immoral way.

Enlightened Enlightenment

I believe in Enlightenment because I believe rational thoughts drive the humanity as a whole forward. Imagine living without computers, electricity, and science in general. Life will be reverted to its primal state and humans will be no different than animals. All these inventions are possible because of rationality and a strong emphasis on science for the last couple hundred years. Furthermore, I think rationality is important because it helps us avoid confusion is our life. While some may ask, “What is the meaning of life?” This is certainly a valid question, and I question this myself sometimes, too. Yet, no one can answer this question will full certainty. Therefore, I argue that, although it is interesting to fathom the answer to the question, it is ultimately impractical. Instead, we should focus on definitive questions such as: “How can we make and our life better?”, “How can we make the most of our life?”, etc. However, I also realize that life without Romanticist beliefs can be unbearable. We would be no different than robots that follow a set of predefined rules. A society without Romanticist elements, such as emotions, aesthetics, relationships, etc, has the full potential to become dystopian. In such a society, empathy, warmth, and genuineness are replaced by self-serving desires, coldness, and calculations. In short, it would not be a nice place to live in. Therefore, I believe extremity on both ends of the spectrum can be catastrophic, and it is certainly beneficial to strike for a balance of the two ideologies.

After learning about the Enlightenment and Romanticism, I gained a broader view of how Western politics and government are structured, in particular the US Government. Growing up in a very different culture (although a similar form a government), I was never taught the reason for the particular structure of the government that we used in our country, let along read the foundational writings of the philosophers that influenced and sprouted these thoughts. Therefore, it is certainly thought-provoking for me to read the works of Locke, Rousseau, Kant, etc. Following their reasoning, I saw different viewpoints of state of nature, natural rights, and ideal society. I realized many of these thoughts can be traced to the modern democratic society that most of us live in. For instance, Locke proposed the idea of fundamental human rights, which is practically embedded in most people’s minds these days and Kant develops an ethical system that emphasizes reason and rational agency, which is reflected in the jurisdiction system of contemporary western societies.

In summary, the main takeaway from this class, for me, was that following any principles to the extreme can be dangerous. In the Sorrows of Young Werther, we saw extreme devotion to romanticism can lead to a volatile mental state, like Werther and in Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality, the author showed how reasoning leads to unnecessary social constraints, misery, and injustice. Thus, I believe modesty is the only way to ensure our physical and mental welfare.

Art, Subjectivity, and the Limits of Reason

I personally agreed most with the Romantic movement. Their focus on Beauty and Art, as well their insistence on the primordiality of subjective experience resonated more than the cold and dry Enlightenment principles. Furthermore, I think that Romanticism sprung up precisely because of a distrust of Reason, a distrust with which I am sympathetic. Modern science and analytic philosophy are the progeny of the Enlightenment–fully realized versions of what were new and young principles in the time period we were reading. Contemporary society thus has the pitfalls of the Enlightenment to the extreme as a consequence of this–and Goethe and Schiller’s critiques seem all the more relevant.

Learning about the Enlightenment and Romanticism I feel has given me an even clearer view of today’s society. As I argued above, because I think that today’s society is in many ways approaching the logical extreme of the Enlightenment (and in some ways perhaps not), I think that reading thinkers from both movements helps understand our current situation in a deeper manner–the positives, negatives, problems, solutions, values, etc.

I think that the most important takeaway from this class is the idea that art and science are not mutually exclusive. It is often times an assumption that science walks a path that is both methodologically and analytically distinct from art. I think that Professor Watkins has done a good job at arguing that this is an irrational position (i.e. by citing studies indicating that doctors who look at artwork tend to treat patients more accurately and better). Decreased attention to the Humanities (in particular, philosophy, art, and literature) is to our peril. And while the Enlightenment provides us with many important tools, the importance of recognizing its limitations and its negative consequences were relayed very effectively in this course.

The picture, “A Moonlight with a Lighthouse, Coast of Tuscany” painted by Joseph Wright, is meant to capture the Romantic skepticism of the Enlightenment’s Reason.

Serenity is bliss

The picture is a harmonious blend of intellectual with the sensual. The sky’s dark blue make the rich and bold red roses pop. This beautiful, rich and smooth blend of colors is very aesthetically pleasing and provides the observer with a sensual experience.The film camera effect, the angle of the click, and the techniques used to edit this picture give the picture an intellectual and mysterious quality. Furthermore, these techniques evoke an observer’s curiosity in figuring out a purpose or a meaning behind this picture and hence the picture becomes open to multiple interpretations. The aesthetic attribute of this picture can evoke many emotions, feelings and ideas but most importantly, a sense of peace. Serenity leads to a blissful state because you are devoid of any negative emotions such as anger and frustration. When people experience inner peace on a micro level, individual peace can lead to a ripple effect and improve society on a macro level.

Plane Trees

Image result for plane trees ii ruth asawa
Plane Trees II – Ruth Asawa

This abstract artwork depicts plain old trees. Yet for some reason, these abstract trees are mesmerizing to look at. The first time I saw this piece, I thought I could stare at it for hours. And why? It’s only these weird looking trees!

Each tree is a part of the same plane – hence Asawa’s wordplay in the title of the piece (Plane Trees). The uniformness of all the trees in the plane differs from how trees in forests usually are – on slight hills, small valleys and inlets, etc. Very rarely is a walk in the woods completely flat. Yet the way Asawa puts all her trees in the same plane gives me the feeling of getting lost within them and being one with the trees. The viewer is also in the same plane as the trees. The viewer is one of the trees.

Yet each tree is also lacking leaves. Maybe it’s just winter, or maybe the trees are dying. Either way, it evokes some unexplained sadness from the viewer. This piece is beautiful because it makes the viewer feel something. It shows the sadness that comes with the death of nature. Schiller would argue that the beauty of this piece can make us better humans by showing us the importance of nature: the unity between humans and nature, the need to preserve nature.

Where it all started…

Migrant Farm Workers in Strawberry fields

Both of these images are from the San Joaquin Valley in Central California. I’m from Fresno which is part of the San Joaquin Valley. Images like these have always made me feel proud of where I come from and give me this sense of strength/energy to continue following my dreams. The San Joaquin Valley is known for agriculture and for a large number of hardworking migrant farmworkers who are trying to live the so-called “American Dream”. I have always looked up to these people and looking at pictures like these reminds me of my hard work and motivates me to continue pursuing my goals. I know there will be ups and downs and various obstacles that I will encounter in life but giving up is not an option. Just like these migrant workers, I will work hard to get where I want to be in life.

My Freedom, My Jail

I feel like this song (and the whole album) really embody what Schiller is trying to explicate in his text. The album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is all about these pulls towards following your sensual self and respecting your intellectual self, away from each other to the point where it could be identified as tearing you apart. However, the backdrop of all of this is something very beautiful, very focused, very harmonious, very intentionally well-designed by a person who is expressing his feelings. The album is 13 songs and 69 minutes long – the themes of opposing intentions coming together as a whole is represented even beyond the lyrics, mood and instrumentals of the content. MBDTF reconciles the opposing head and heart to find something that, while dark, makes people feel good and feel like they’re listening to something great.

Devil in a New Dress in particular describes the inner turmoil that one may feel in chasing something that both your head and your heart are telling you is right. The lyrics describe a love that is unarguably romantic, but the nature of this love is negative. Kanye’s head knows it’s wrong, but it is also very convinced that beyond any moral standard, it is definitely worth it. Meanwhile, the instrumental represents the warmth to the love. In spite of the content of it being morally ambiguous (to say the least), the backdrop to the song is not cold at all. The feeling of this love has a high temperature and our senses indicate that it is very substantive and easy to get lost in. By elucidating the nature of this emotional and intellectual harmonization, Kanye is revealing to his audience how it feels, how one thinks about going through treacherous, romantic love. It is both a cautionary tale and a glorification regarding doing something wrong that you feel and know is right, and what one ultimately takes away from it is entirely dependent on the individual.

Adoring This Song

Most would describe my taste in music to cover a wide range of genres. I’m always open to listening to new songs and exploring new genres to better understand, not only the music, but also the people that listen to the music. As I got more into music, I found myself to be primarily listening to hip hop being that I like the hype of the community, the compilation of the beats and how they make you feel. However, I have an interest to see why it is that different people prefer different genres.

These past couple weeks though I’ve been exploring the pop rock genre through Harry Styles. My coworker has been obsessed with his music and has been playing his songs on our speakers at work. Most of the time, I’m too focused on getting my work done and miss some of the songs, but for some reason this song stuck out to me. Not only did I like the melody, but when I searched the lyrics and watched the music video I saw the message behind the song. Schiller describes that aesthetic experience harmonizes opposites such as our senses and our intellect. I felt like listening to the this song and watching the video not only puts you in a good vibes mood, but also makes you think about the lengths that you will go for someone or something that you love. The video along with the song also hints at the concept of letting things go if you love them even if their release may be of more benefit to them than you. I hope y’all enjoy the song that I have grown to vibe with because it has a beat that puts you in a toe-tapping mood.

Infinitude and the Rose Window

The Rose Window is a commentary on on Infinity. All of the pictures are in multiples of eights: eight sideways is the symbol for infinity and the eighth day is meant to allude to “the day after” the seven days of Creation, which signifies eternity. The Rose Window feels like it is infinitely complex: its colors, shapes, organization. One cannot help but be in awe when one sees the detail and brilliance of the whole window. It is almost too much to take in all at once.

The Rose Window calls us to set our minds on the infinitude of human nature. While bounded by limitation, and so finitude, the human spirit is always has a tension of both finitude and infinitude. Beauty calls us to the latter, beckoning us to walk uprightly before God, and to understand and grapple with the possibilities we are capable of achieving. The moral law is also complex, yet it elicits the same awe that does Beauty, and it is beautiful in a way as well.

Won’t You Please Help Me

Whenever I feel overworked (or just outright lazy), this song comes to mind. Released in 1965, this song became a hit with its beautiful melody and vocals. It’s safe to say this song is pleasurable to most peoples’ ears. However, it also takes a deeper meaning. Behind the lyrics, we hear Lennon crying for help singing “But every now and then I feel so insecure. I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before.” The man is so desperate for help that he hides behind. Additionally, you could argue Ringo (the man in the back) is unhappy as he has to hold in an umbrella, while everyone happily plays (he’s also kind of hidden in the back). Ringo himself is subtly asking for help because he has no real purpose being in this music video. Furthermore, upon watching the music video, it seems as though none of the members (except for John) wants to be there. The real genius is that a band turned their desperate cry for help into a big hit. How many singers turn their pleas into hit songs?

One way to cook food

Food can be an artform

Food is integral to our daily lives. Simply enjoying food itself is an extremely pleasurable experience, yet many would argue that it does not involve much mental stimulation. When we elevate food to the status of art, it merges both the sensual and the intellectual: we look, taste, and smell and it pleases us, yet when we observe high-level cooking, we see the intellectual process involved in its creation. When I get handed some food and I have to say, “It’s a work of art,” I am not only admiring the delicious flavor of the food, I also admire the craft of cooking: the thought that went into the creation of the flavor profile, the techniques used to create the most desirable texture, and the perfect plating that elevates food to an art form. Food is the pinnacle of Schiller’s philosophy. Congruently with Schiller’s philosophy, food also makes us morally better. It brings people together. When we eat together, we become friendly with one another and feel less ill will toward one another. When our friends are sick or stressed, we can cook for them and (hopefully) this will make them more inclined to do so to others as well.

A New Challenger

Image: A camera man films a statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull, as part of a campaign by U.S. fund manager State Street to push companies to put women on their boards, in the financial district in New York

In 2017, a new figure appeared on Wall Street. Known as “Fearless Girl” the statue was created to call attention to the lack of women on company boards as well as the pay gap between men and women’s wages. While “Charging Bull”, modeled after the bull market, is supposed to represent the fast moving American economy, “Fearless Girl” gives the bull a whole new meaning, the masculinity of corporations. The girl’s dominant stance, her eyes staring straight at the oncoming bull, and the bravery flowing off of her silhouette beg us to see the issues within our businesses. The courage of this little girl makes us ask ourselves what we can do to change the world around us. The charging bull’s narrowed eyes are full of concentration and determination towards achieving it’s goal of a growing economy, not caring about the child standing in front of it. On the other hand, the girl’s eyes are not just fearless but determined as well, but not determined to run across anything in her path but instead she has determined that the problems we face now will be changed. The girl’s dress and hair being blown back in the wind shows that she knows the trials approaching but yet she still looks ahead, as if she can feel the bull coming towards her. The stance is reminiscent of Wonder Woman with her hands on her hips, a woman of power and strength with the ability to make change. The emotions behind this statue call us to make changes to our world, causing this piece to make society better morally. Will you stand up or will you back down when troubles come?

Youtube algorithm uniting people unexpectedly

I came across this song randomly one evening. It caught my attention for some reason. Not because it’s a Japanese song in an American 90’s rock-n-roll playlist. It’s the grooves and the way the music feel. It was just pleasantly pleasing. I could close my eyes and just listen to the song. When I went to read the comment I saw that there are hundreds of people who were experiencing the same thing I was experiencing. A random YouTube recommendation of some 1980’s Japanese music. Like other commenters, I had no idea what this song was about. More than half of the song is in Japanese with some occasional English phases like “Im Sorry” “Don’t Hurry”. From the Rhythm of music I felt this sense of urgency. Suddenly the singer began repeatedly sing this English phrase,

“I’m just playing games
I know that’s plastic love
Dance to the plastic beat
Another morning comes”

then the song end. Listening to this song for the second time gave me all kind of mixed emotions. The music is pleasing and relaxing. But at the same time it’s creating this sense of urgency contrasted with a sudden shout of “Don’t Hurry”. The language barrier made me curious of what she is saying. but at the same time I felt like I understood what she was saying. At that point I just gave and said to myself “it doesn’t matter that the song is about, it feel relatable and I enjoy it.”

Schiller’s ideas made me think about this song. A random 1980’s Japanese song uniting people from across the world. It one of those thing that’s just pleasing and we don’t have to know what it’s about to enjoy it.

With Every Moment, I’m Shaking

Something that is aesthetically pleasing is usually considered beautiful. The word aesthetic is usually paired with senses, in specific sight and hearing. This song by The Shakes, in my opinion, represents both of those senses. The video itself is pleasing to the eye and captivates one’s attention. It starts off as an old-time movie in black and white, and this then shifts to the actual music video in color. The use of colors in this video help to give it different vibes that invoke different reactions due to the meanings of different colors. It also helps to give it a nostalgic feel. In addition to this, the sound of the music (starts at about 1:15) is very slow and helps to give it an indie feel. When listening to this song, one can picture themselves in certain scenarios. This will vary from person to person due to our different experiences. This invokes both the sensual and intellectual aspects because, through its use of the senses, one can feel emotional and/or physical pleasure and this can cause one’s mind to think about certain situations and create ideas or emotions that tie into the intellectual part of aesthetics. Through its effect on one’s emotions and thoughts, music becomes aesthetic.

Our Responsibility

With the recent fires in Australia, many of us are aware of the mere existence of forest fires. However, it is hard to grasp the impact of such fires as all we see on the news are just some trees on fire and not the millions of animals affected by forest fires. The image speaks sensually as we feel remorse for the disappearing monkey who is vanishing due to the forest fires that we humans have caused. It speaks to us intellectually as it informs us of the true impact of forest fires and that we need to act in order to see change. These sensual and intellectual feelings merge to create a sense of responsibility as we feel guilt and seek change. This also helps us become morally better people as it tells us to fix the problems we have created since it not only affects us but others as well.

A Rather Touching Song

Touch is typically depicted as one of the five main human senses, yet in a truer sense one could argue that touch is every sense. Sight is light interacting receptors in the eyes, taste is molecules interacting with taste buds, hearing is sound-waves interacting with bones in the ear, smell is the interaction of olfactory receptors with molecules. To put simply, touch is the only true sense that allows us to experience the senses at all. Without touch, we cannot enjoy the true Beauty that surrounds us.

The song begins with a distorted, almost alien culmination of sounds with a voice remembering the sensation of touch of which it has lost, which without it does not know where it belongs, yet recognizes that even with touch it still asks for something more beyond touch. Why is that? With Schiller’s philosophy, I would argue the individual, despite enjoying its memories of touch, they were only memories of sensual experiences. The voice emphasizes the waves of emotions that came with the sense of touch, more specifically a kiss, which brings with it a sudden upbeat liveliness to the song describing, “hunger like a storm”, which touch satisfies this hunger too well as the song mellows from its climax, stating, “You’ve given me too much to feel”, the individual is overwhelmed by sensual experience. Without intellectual thought to which the individual can answer the questions behind what touch has brought to them and its meaning. They are overwhelmed and still unable to convince themselves of their existence. In other words, there is a meaning to life that goes beyond simply experiencing the aesthetics surrounding us rather as human beings, as our given nature is not to only use our senses but also our intellect to appreciate any type of Beauty.

Music Feeds the Soul

My favorite music artist right now is a band called LANY. My friend introduced me to them 3 weeks ago and I haven’t been able to stop listening to their music.

The aesthetic experience that I choose to explore is the song “Malibu Nights.” It is about a breakup and all the good memories that are always on your mind after you have your heart broken. Music is something that is a part of life. Music can put sound to complex emotions like love, heartbreak, revenge, loss or to something as simple as taking a walk in nature. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of music is that it allows a person to delve into the feelings of others. In “Malibu Nights”, the listener can feel the sadness of heartbreak even if they have never had their heart broken before. Or if their heart has been broken before, the song brings them back to that time and everything they felt. The ability to feel these harsh and real emotions through music allow listeners to have a sensory experience.

In addition, the fact that music gives insight into others emotions it allows humans to gain intellectual knowledge about another human’s emotional experience. Though, you may have never felt heartbreak or gone through a breakup, you can feel how devastating it is through music. You can learn about another person’s life and really begin to understand the trails and tribulations that life throws at all people. This would allow us to expand our knowledge of how to treat others and what morals we should have as a society. If through music, we can understand each other, than there is hope that with that understanding comes the ability to treat everyone with respect and kindness all people deserve because we all feel the same emotions.

Music can bring forth your own emotions and also give you a window into another person’s emotions. This can help all people to learn how even at the most basic level, all people are human because of our shared emotions.

Pretty colors created by Natural Science

A simple image of the sun obtruding among clouds is an aesthetically gratifying image distinguishing the contrast between the darkness of the clouds and the intense light focused on the sun. The image pleases the sensual perspective through the retention and expression of colors that nature presents as pure beauty. The analysis of such defining characteristics also stimulates intellectual thinking with the elements of darkness that results from the shade the clouds provide. Now an intellectual will want to pursue an explicit explanation for such events, including the embodiments of the very clouds that cause the results as well as the aesthetically pleasing array of colors. In essence, I believe this photo serves as a metaphor in comparing the vibrant visuals the sun produces as sensual emotions and the crisp clouds as the intellect. The two portions of the image are essential to the overall aesthetic that develops into the idea of a general will and universal law since the cooperation is required between the two entities. The ecumenicity of such reasons is contributed to moral growth in individuals as they will believe in the efforts of the general will.

Are Math and Art Mutually Exclusive?

“Euler’s Identity is the most beautiful math equation!”

– literally every single math professor


Euler’s identity is often regarded as “the most beautiful math equation” because of its foundational role in mathematics. It relates to many aspects of math, such as trigonometry, imaginary numbers, natural logs, etc. In a very simple and concise equation, Euler’s identity ties together many different mathematical concepts. Each one of the symbols and numbers represents a fundamental idea in math. For instance, ‘0’ is a unique and only number that represents Null or None out of all the different mathematical expressions. ‘1’ is precisely the complete opposite of 0, and all numbers is a summation of ones. ‘e’ is a unique constant that often describes many natural phenomenons. ‘i’ is the definition and stem of imaginary/complex numbers, an entirely different system of irrational numbers. ‘pi’ is the constant that is almost guaranteed to appear when dealing with rotations and waves, such as circles, spheres, traveling waves. Euler’s Identity, outside of its theoretical significance, also is a useful tool in many different disciplines; It is useful in electrical engineering, quantum physics, multivariable calculus, physics, etc.

Nonetheless, it is interesting how one equation can be used to describe many things in nature. Many different theories, disciplines, and reasoning all somehow lead to this one equation. Aesthetics is defined as “a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, especially in art.” Euler’s Identity, despite its somewhat confusing mathematical representation, might be an indication that the creation of our world isn’t entirely based on chance. Perhaps, this is the beauty of math; It connects our fragmented knowledge into a cohesive understanding. Perhaps, math is just another tool for us to realize the beauty and order of nature. On this note, maybe math isn’t so different from art. This sparks a series of questions: What makes math and art different and similar? Does math has its limits? What is the end goal of scientific studies? Is it be possible that there is an unknown principle law, analogous to Euler’s Identity in math, that governs our life?


Music is one of the greatest things that has ever been invented. It is something we all have in common as we listen to it on a daily basis. It is such a major aspect of society that people are able to make a profession out of it. There are many songs that bring pleasure and joy to our hearts, the one above is one of those classics that everybody enjoys. Besides the catchiness of the melody and Mr.Astley’s incredible dance moves, the lyrics of the song itself invoke a sense of illusion and excitement. The story encompasses Rick expressing his feelings for a certain someone whom he has known for a while now. Lyric’s follow as ‘A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of, You wouldn’t get this from any other guy.’ Basically saying what any person wishes to hear from their significant other. Prof. Watkins said that art ‘is an object of impulse, thus effective on our sensibility, and capable of changing people’s orientation.’ Imagine that the person whom this song was directed towards thought they had been friend zoned as time went on and no moves were being made; however after hearing this song and its aesthetic meaning, their heart is filled with pleasure and their orientation is completely changed to a more positive approach. Anyone who has gone through a similar situation can account that the aesthetic experience behind it all allows one to become better and happier individuals.

Music and the Mind

Music is arguably one of the most important languages of all time. It transcends common limitations many languages face and connects us in a way that is only rivaled by mathematics. It is, by definition, aesthetic. Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, is an amazing example of this phenomenon. It is a piece designed to be played by a pianist and has no lyrics, yet it still seems to convey a message. From its composition and harmonious melodies, it tells a story from nothing. It expresses the highs and lows, happy moments and sad moments, and even the fleeting and lasting moments of life. It merges the emotions we gain from listening to this beautiful piece of music to something more tangible. It connects it to something on a more intellectual level. In essence, we derive something (meaning) out of what appears to be nothing. This is something that is truly unique to humans and what sets us apart from every other sentient being that we know exists. It also gives us a duty. A responsibility, even. We must be the moral authority that all creatures look to on this planet. Humans have the amazing ability to see beyond what is in front of us. This already makes us better morally in relation to all other creatures on this world. However, does it make us better than one another? The answer can be both yes and no. I think the answer is irrelevant in the eyes of a secure person. Rather, we should be using our gift to simply help one another. To promote a better future and have a fulfilled life. By doing that, we will have proved Schiller; we will have become morally better. And to think, it was a song with no lyrics that spurred us down this path of righteousness. Music is truly a gateway to a better mind and existence.

What Monet says

This is one of the most famous painting by Monet. It actually belongs to a series of three paintings, called Woman with a Parasol. This is the first one and it depicts his wife Camille and their son. Camille was diagnosed with cancer when Monet drew this painting. Instead of expressing his grief in the painting, he used bright colors and captured this joyful moment of their family.  When I first saw this painting, I can only feel the happiness and pleasure until I was told the story behind it. Besides creating a sense of empathy, I’m also impressed by his great skills and his attitudes towards life. Paintings can be a great example of merging the sensual and intellectual. The contrast between the story the painting appears to tell and the actual story behind it can be really effective in telling people how to live a proper life. It reminds people to be positive and to value every moment we are experiencing. I think it is also saying that every single person is an individual entity, family and friends are important but we have our own lives to live and our own goals and missions.

The world around us

The pictures presented below are of a succulent garden, and a green roof. I think these two examples of landscaping and architecture express Schiller’s aesthetics fairly well. They both produce a picturesque scenery that complements both man made structures, and the surrounding vegetation, all while providing environmental benefits.

Image result for succulent lawn
The succulent garden uses less water than a typical grass lawn, and fairs well against hot weather, resolving the issue of opting for a barren lawn for the sake of water conservation. In addition to this, its easy maintenance provides a way of introducing newcomers to gardening, without the fear of “messing up”
Green roofs provide replace traditional roofs with vegetation growing at the top of the building. In doing this they help cool down the surrounding area via transpiration, instead of heating it, as is the case when dark roofs absorb the sunlight.

While encouraging people to make a positive impact of the environment, these structures also provide a place to be inspired. They allow people to take up new hobbies, such as drawing and gardening. They can also serve as a resting place where people can just take in the sight. In these listed benefits a person becomes moral, since they serve in their duty towards the preservation of the planet, and provide outlets where a person can self-reflect in their actions.

NF’s Real Music

[God] also gave me this as an outlet. This is what music is for me. When I feel something, whether it’s anger, it’s a passion about something, or fustration, like, this is where I go. … This is a therapy for me.

Nathan John Feuerstein, NF

The quote from above is in the last few minutes of the song. He breaks down why music is such a powerful tool – it is more than just sounds and noise, rather it is something that helps heal. Real music to him is the unification of truth and aesthetic.

If you haven’t heard some of NF’s music outside of his hit songs (like Lie and Let You Down), it can get very dark. Motifs of abuse, depression, and struggling with mental health are interwoven into all his music and it can be very intense. However, this kind of music, in my opinion, is a perfect example of the unification of the faculties. Using music as an outlet is freeing in the exact way Schiller believes art to be a tool that gives us freedom from the constraints of society. In this song, NF addresses the negative perspectives towards his music ( Ex. “Hearing these parents, they telling their kids / My music is violent, you gotta be kidding me”). However in saying “I am not here for acceptance”, he unabashedly raps about difficult subjects like domestic violence in his songs. Moreover, he expresses that he creates for himself, which is in itself an act of freedom. It also can make the audience morally better by opening discussions for mental health to be spoken about more openly. I also really love how you can feel his emotions through his style of rapping and overall tone of the song and video.

Lay Me Down

This song by Chris Tomlin helps me significantly in letting go of pride. The lyrics are fairly simple: Lay me down I’m not my own. The song helps me realize what I actually care about in life. With this, it allows me to let go of any worries or fears I have currently. This makes me a better person for several reasons. First off, it causes me to care more about the people around me and value them because I’m less focused on my own pride. Meanwhile, it also gives me energy and motivation to live my best life.

Peace through war
This piece of art was made for BBC world histories magazine talking about the cold war. One of the main headlines was whether nuclear weapons have brought world peace through mutually assured destruction. The immediate reaction to the image is probably negative since it includes the classic shape of the atomic bomb and brings up all the negative associations of world war 2 with it. The contrast of the dove as a symbol of peace makes you overcome your initial reaction and wonder what it means. The people are removed from the place where the bomb went off. It made me think about how the losses of war are usually justified by hope for a better future after the war, and how it’s easier for people to think in this way when they aren’t caught up in the crossfire themselves. 

Tech Giants

As i sit here procrastinating on my coputer science homework this carreer path i am taking forces me to reflect on the power the tech companies, I some day want to work for, have. The declaration of indepence marked the begining of american capitalism and a freedom from a tyranical ruler. This led to the creation of natural rights for man with “universal” equality. Though are we truly equal?. These powerful tech giants and their founders seem to be untouchable, maybe even superior with the way they manipulate the markets and their consumers in order to make a profit. Should these tech giants be heavily regulated?

Privacy in America

Until when do we as citizens of the United States of America wait to consider our nation to be tyrannical? Does this invasion of privacy truly ensure our safety or does it impose on it? The intention of these cameras are good; however, the actual outcome is fallible. The use of surveillance cameras is discriminatory and this kind of outcome is unjust for the people of the United States; it treads on our right to ‘Safety and Happiness’, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, ” That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” So if this is the case, that our government is becoming tyrannical, should we be making the effort to change this? We must, this kind of act from our government is unjust; change must occur for the benefit of the people of the United States of America.

Free Market

One common theme in The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution is freedom, especially freedom against tyranny. In the plaque pictured below, it states how the market is to be kept for the people and shall always be for the people. It isn’t controlled by some big monarch or any one person, but instead is for everyone equally. . It is also the duty of the people to protect the market against those that would try to abuse it or extort it. This is similar to the duties of citizens regarding protecting the new free land. This plaque is like a mini constitution for the market; a declaration that the market will always be free and public

Plaque outside Pike Place Public Market in Seattle


The picture posted below is the Gadsden Flag, a flag designed during Revolutionary America. From its design we see one of the major sentiments prevalent during the American Revolution. The rattlesnake and slogan best represent the idea of the government not encroaching on people’s rights, as before a threat approaches a rattlesnake always gives a warning with its rattle. If the aggressor is to proceed any closer, the snake bites. Coupled with the slogan “Don’t tread on me” it accurately warns the audience that only harm will come from injuring them. This connects with the Declaration of Independence in which it is stated that “Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” In this statement we see that like a rattlesnake who has been given its warning and is ready to strike, the United States has already made fair warnings to Britain about its transgressions, and yet rather than heeding to them Britain has only added insult to injury, which has led America to finally revolt. Do think there are any other ways this sentiment is best expressed? How do you interpret the symbolism of this flag?

Image result for gadsen flag
Gadsden Flag

A Perfect Union

In the United States constitution, it is stated that “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union […] establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” What type of union is more perfect than the union of partitions of disjoint events?

Here I will compare the definition of a partition with the Union of states as discussed in the Constitution. The definition of a partition is as follows: a partition of a set X is a set of non-empty subsets of X such that every element x in X is in exactly one of these subsets (i.e., X is a disjoint union of the subsets). We see this idea that the Union of States (the United States) is a partition, shown in the Constitution in Article IV, section 3 on the discussion of the formation of new states. There it says that new states can be admitted into congress, but it cannot be formed or erected in the jurisdiction of any other state unless through agreement, and in section 4 it states that every state in the Union is guaranteed a republican form of government. As shown here, we can conclude that the United States is indeed a partition of the states it makes up: since each state is disjoint, and that the intersection of the states are the null set (no states share jurisdiction), and the union of all the states makes up the United States, then each state is thus a partition. In relation to the picture below, Ω represents the United States, where each subset Ω B1, B2, …, BN represents each state (a partition of Ω).

It is true however that the states are subordinate to the national government though. Could you disprove the notion that states are partitions of the United States by disproving the statement that the states are disjoint?

Clunky Trainers Bad

Walking around campus during rush hours, you will notice a wide range of people wearing a variety of outfits. Recently, I’ve begun to notice the existence of Clunky Trainers, often by the distinctive thud of the heavy shoe sole hitting the pavement. Being somewhat of a fashion expert myself with a very diverse selection of sweatshirts and sweatpants in my closet, I can’t help but imagine the different styles that I can potentially pair with the Clunky Trainers. To my dismay, I couldn’t find any. In fact, I cannot imagine myself wearing a pair. However, the high-frequency of sightings of these clunky trainers, made me hesitant to speak up. I was afraid of getting prosecuted by the clunky trainer gang being criticized for my radical views. A few days later, I noticed a sign in front of the Dr.Sesus library (shown in picture). I was surprised that someone shared my views, but I was more so amazed by his/her bravery for standing up against the unyielding fashion trend. I questioned maybe I should join their good cause.

*The writing above is a dramatization of certain actual events. Some of the events have been changed for dramatic and comedic purposes.

Thankfully, in modern society, we do not have to live in constant fear of saying something wrong. The First Amendment of the US Consitution protected our freedom of speech/expression.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

–– The US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendment I

The First Amendment implied that Congress should not limit people’s freedom of speech, press, and assembly. This is a fundamental right that we often overlooked. We are lucky we live in a society/country where this is defined as a fundamental right. Putting up a poster and wearing clunky trainers are both forms of expressing themselves. Neither of those actions should be punished if the legal system is just. We can express our dislike or criticism of the different fashion, like the character(s) in the story, yet we should do no harm to opposers. This also connects well with Rousseau’s state of nature or Locke’s fundamental human rights. It is certainly interesting how the majority, including many great philosophers, seem to agree on the fundamental right of the freedom of speech, if not freedom in general. However, debates often arise in what constitutes freedom? To what extent should we have an extent? How can we balance freedom and the general welfare? How should we be defining harm? physical harm is obvious, but what about psychological harm? Are there moral cases where freedom should be limited or even, taken away? Is freedom absolute or situational, if so, how do we come to a consensus on different scenarios?

One of the many brave protests against clunky trainers on Library walk

Free Tuition is the WAY TO GO WOOHOOO!!

The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Hence, the text is implying that every man has the inherent right to a good and fulfilling life. It is widely believed and proven that education increases the quality of life. Therefore, education is a basic human right and every citizen in the country should be able to access it. Then the above statement could also imply that every person has the right to a free college education. However, the college reality in America is far from the supposed truth stated in the Declaration of Independence. College tuition is affordable or free in almost all developed countries except in the United States. Why is college almost unaffordable for the majority of Americans? Why is American college tuition so uniquely expensive compared to college tuitions around the world?

How much freedom?

The idea of freedom and its many sub-categories is expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It can be seen that there are many types of freedom: religion, speech, etc. The attached image shows an example of freedom of speech as expressed in article XI which expresses the significance of the freedom to communicate whether it be written, spoken or printed. The images represents freedom of speech through print as newspapers are a platform to communicate and write freely. However, it also states that abuse of the freedom of communication shall be punishable by law. This begs the question of what should be considered abuse of freedom of communication and how harsh should the punishment be?

Boom, Boom, Revolution

This illustration depicts one of the many grievous acts of violence towards the free people in the 13 united states. Under the Declaration of Independence, the appointed United States congress stated the undeniable imperativeness of protecting the inalienable rights of the people. A direct quote stated ” For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:” The exact murders that were done during the Boston massacre kindled the spark that would be printed on the pages modern Americans now hold dearly as a key foundation, second to the constitution, in developing the laws of the country. In further analysis, you may wonder to what extent will natural rights be protected.

Uncle Sam Loves Taxes

Article 13 of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” states that we are all subject to a common tax, to maintain public force. As a result, the government is allowed to tax me and to take money whenever, and wherever I make a purchase. As it is my given duty to maintain the pockets of the sovereign, I could never imagine avoiding taxes with techniques such as laundering, or offshore bank accounts. Additionally, I could never imagine creating shell companies to hide said money. Article 14 states that every citizen has the right to see where their tax dollars are going. Obviously the tax dollars are going to the government! Considering the government is so large, it’s almost impossible to see where in the government your money is going to. It’s almost as if the government makes it hard for you to know: shocker. Is it going to the environment (probably not)? Is it going to someone’s pocket (who knows)? I ask you; do you know where your tax dollars are going?

Stamping Out the Old Order

Warning about the Stamp Act in the Pennsylvania Journal on October 1765

After the Seven Years War between the European powers, Britain after defending her colonies during the war, including the American colonies, resulted in the empire to go into debt. Understandably, Parliament decided to raise taxes on the colonies it defended as compensation for maintaining their safety. To their surprise the American colonies were enraged by the amount of taxes that were levied on them. Why did these protests occur? To put it simply, despite having been protected by the British during the war, the colonists found it unfair that they had no consent in the making of these tax legislatures, let alone did not have any representation either. As the founding fathers stated in The Declaration of Independence, as they provided evidence of the failure the King was as a Prince for the colonies,”For imposing taxes without our consent”. To the American colonists, failure to allow consent of these tax laws was an infringement to the social contract established between the citizens and the British monarchy. The failure of Parliament to follow their personal will of the island nation instead of the general will of her state AND her colonies is what angered the colonists. This eventually lead to the rise of the Sons of Liberty, whom opposed the taxes levied such as the stamp act, performing multiple actions against the British loyalists, and eventually causing the infamous Boston Tea Party, a major turning point that would remove negotiations off the table and made independence from the empire as the only favorable choice for the founding fathers.

Interestingly enough, despite agreeing with most if not all the arguments that the American colonists, including the founding fathers, yet there seems to be some outliers at play. What reasons do you believe that other British colonies such as those in Canada didn’t have such harsh opinions about the taxes as their American brethren? Were the American colonies simply selfish or are there are reasons?

Time to Make a Change or Not…

As most of us know, the California Primary Election is just around the corner which means we are all preparing to hear from our various relatives why we should vote for their candidate. Despite the annoyance of being told that “[Our] generation is a bunch of nitwits who are going to drive our economy into bankruptcy with [our] liberal stances”, elections such as these help to promote a healthy government with checks and balances.

One of the complaints made in the Declaration of Independence against the contemporary English Government is that King George III, “…has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries”. Because the king could not be kicked out of office nor could he be replaced through a regular process of voting, he was able to bend the justice system to his will with bribery and threats of expulsion. Instead of justice being the standard and measurement of the courts, the main ruling principle was the king’s bias.

With the election system in place, the President is unable to bribe or threaten the judicial system. If the President is caught doing so, he can be removed from office or, in the rare case that this would not happen, be voted out by the American People/Electoral College. The United States Constitution also allows for the judicial system to decide if executive orders are unconstitutional, placing yet another check on the Executive Branch.

Now some might say that the President still has control over the Judicial Branch as he nominates Supreme Court members. However, even if the President does attempt such a scandalous action, his maximum time in office of 8 years ensures that his control does not last forever.

Does the voting process help create a just judicial system or is the President still able to influence their decisions?

A Light from the Dark

This picture is something that I really thought represented the ideas of the Declaration of Independence. The background is dark and represents the shadowy past that the authors of the Declaration were trying to bring the USA out of. The lanterns that are coming towards the observer are softly lit, showing how there is this hope for the future.

To me — the lanterns, the hope for the future — really encase the ideas that are so central to the Declaration of Independence: “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Since, there is this hope that with the Declaration, that people would be able to come out of the darkness and have the right to life and liberty. The variety of colors of the lanterns overarching shows how the future Americans have the freedom to pursue their happiness. All people in America, whether it was 1777 or now in 2020, all have a different definition of what happiness means to them and the Declaration leaved the meaning ambiguous.

In modern times in America, we are still working on making sure all people have access to the right to pursuit of happiness because it is still being hindered because of societal issues with race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and many others. The ability to find happiness is something that I believe the authors of the Declaration wanted to for all people, but as the world changes, do you thing the meaning of “happiness” has changed? Do you think that the definition of happiness the authors used is still applicable now? Does it need to be updated to fit the modern world?

What do you mean by “all men”

The Declaration of independence asserts people’s rights to choose their own government. Under the unfair treatment from the government of Great Britain, the colonies are unified and become independent from Great Britain. People clearly noticed a problem of equality and made this decision of asserting independence. In the Declaration, it says that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” When I first learned about it, I was taught that it simply translates to “people are born equal”. One day, I saw this picture in one of my cogs classes where the professor used a picture of Abraham Lincoln as a demo. It reminded me of the civil war which happened after the publish of the declaration of independence. Clearly “all men” in the declaration of independence doesn’t include those who worked as slaves. It then also made me think that what about women, and learning about the rights of women during that time also refreshes the definition of “all men” for me. Furthermore, Thomas Jefferson actually drafted the declaration with the issue of slavery but it was removed later. Is it maybe that the people wrote Declaration of independence never take in consideration of people from other races? If it is the case, why were women excluded as well?  

picture i found in one of my cogs classes, please ignore the irrelevant information

Broadening Horizons

The Declaration of Independence is more than a declaration of intent – it was written to symbolize the both the extremely real difficulty of attaining freedom and the massive victory that it was envisioned to be (back when the document was written). Unjust rule was not just a “problem” that people had to deal with as peoples lives are totally jeopardized when there is government corruption. However, for a matter of life and death, until the Declaration was put forth, there simply wasn’t a strong action to combat this global problem. Locke’s Second Treatise similarly targets corruption in the ruling class as the problem to be combated, but it stands as merely philosophy (intellectual ideas). The Declaration was the opening move of a rebellion (or what is now definitively considered to be a revolution) against an unfair system of government that was not looking out for its people.

Before this critical action, there was nothing compelling people to try to make justice happen. People were living through constant wars where the victor got to do whatever they so desired until, once again, something bad happened. However, the DOI stands for much more than that. It specifically marks the corruption that drives this vicious cycle as the problem to be addressed. It details in length how this problem pervades lives, both on a governing level and on a human level. In the end, it declares that this is the problem that the American people freely choose to stand together to fight. Just because they are starting this confrontation does not mean they’ll win. However, this problem is the problem they are choosing to engage in conflict, not because they want power, but because they want what is good for the people.

I chose this picture to represent these ideals because I feel like it represents the sentiment of acting for a better future. I took this picture while on vacation, and I feel like the gorgeous backdrop really represents something to look forward to. Similarly, while the DOI isn’t the victory in and of itself, it so confidently represents freedom that attaining it seemed/seems inevitable. It’s description of attaining freedom as something to aspire and work for is like the flight itself, since you’re never going to get there unless you actually try to do it.

My question is: just because we’ve made many advances towards attaining the level of freedom that we currently have, are we there yet? There still seem to be many problems in terms of human liberty, so how do we stack up right now in terms of actually being independent?

What’s More American than Money?

Everyone likes to have money. But have you ever thought to look at the other side of the bills to see what is printed back there? Well, on the back of the two dollar bill is a depiction of the Declaration of Independence which occurred in 1776. This scene is from the convention that was held where representatives from each of the 13 colonies/states came together and discussed declaring their independence from the British monarchy and adopting a new form of government. In this picture, it can be seen that the representatives came together to sign the document for the institution of their new form of government. One of the main reasons that the people of the United States wanted to separate themselves from the British empire and government was the fact that they were being treated unfairly. An example of this was the Tea Act which enforced a British tariff on imported tea, so the Americans retaliated through the Boston Tea Party where they protested this unfairness. They also felt that the king was a tyrant and that the monarchial form of government was not fit for the Americas for they should not have to succumb to a power that was across the ocean. In the Declaration of Independence, the authors and those who signed it made clear that they were declaring themselves to be a separate nation from Great Britain and laid out the injuries the king had made against the colonies. This document is a written expression that the people of the United States had the right and duty to overthrow and abolish a governing body if they see fit as to maintain their natural rights. These ideas aligned with those of Rousseau’s Social Contract. This is a very significant part of American history and is perhaps the reason for being on the back of the two dollar bill. So is that why everyone carries a two dollar bill in their wallets? Is the fact that its depiction on the back of this bill is what makes it more desirable being that it relates to our independence as a nation? What other important scenes in American independence could be on the back of dollars?

Food for Thought

One of my favorite things to do is to explore San Diego in search of the perfect street tacos (especially since yesterday was Taco Tuesday). The most divey street taco stands, run by an old grandma in the back, are almost always the best-tasting tacos! The tacos pictured above were no exception! Incredibly flavorful and cheap 🙂 Unfortunately, many of these kinds of restaurants have been forced to shut down during ICE raids as some have workers who illegally immigrated to America. Sadly, this recently happened to a keystone bakery called Con Pane Rustic Breads and Cafe in Point Loma. (some more info linked below if you want to be sad)

Furthermore, for those who are unaware, street food vendors have recently (early 2019) been legalized in Los Angeles to protect immigrants by giving them the means to earn money. This is actually a hot topic as some may perceive this legislation as taking jobs away from “Americans” whereas others see it as empowering immigrants to pave their own way to a better life in America. Purely from a food perspective, I believe this was a positive move because it allows cuisine to expand to more cultures and taste new perspectives in life (both figuratively and literally). Call me an idealist, but I hope this law enables people to be more open-minded to accepting new cultures through food, especially during times when politics and racism are more polarized then ever. America is, after all, the melting pot – a melange of so many different cultures.

In Declarations of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, it states “law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law”. Preparing food with love and care is probably the least hurtful contribution to society that any person can make, so it seems to me legalizing street vendors is almost a given. Yet, other places still have many strides to make as racism and xenophobia continue to dominate.

What do you think about street vendors? Do you think legalization is good or bad? How should legislators handle the food industry? Do you think immigrants in the food service industry should be penalized for working?

Bonus question: Where can I get good tacos in San Diego?

Graffiti Park

The fifth amendment in the US Constitution declares that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” However, minorities throughout the United States have long faced issues of inequality where their unalienable rights have been violated by society and its authoritative figures. The picture below advocates for the abolish ICE movement. Trump’s administration encourages the implementation of policies such as the zero tolerance and family separation. These go against the fifth amendment as the policies aim to restrict/control the liberty and everyday life of immigrants. Trump has promoted degrading stereotypes particularly towards the Mexican-American community in the country, resulting in the deprivation of life, liberty, and property among society. Even back in the late 1800’s, when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was settled between the United States and Mexico, many of the territories that were owned by Mexican Americans were taken away and never paid according to its worth. Immigrants became deprived of their private property and were to remain silenced. The constitution claims that the people ought to promote the general welfare of its society, but what happens when a president imposes policies that destroy families and disturb their mental health? A recent impeachment trial was unsuccessful in removing the president from office, what can society do now? How can we ensure that our unalienable rights are protected when all the odds are against us? 

Overpowering Taxes

A major reason that the colonies fought for independence was for being treated unfairly financially. Britain charged various taxes on the colonies to pay for wars, despite no say from tho colonists themselves. High taxes caused much retaliation from the colonists, including the Boston Tea Party. In the constitution, we see the desire for protection of property. Amendment 5 protects private property, while Amendment 8 prevents excessive fines. Along with this, by declaring there independence from Britain, Americans were freed from paying taxes to the king.

Alabama, Arkansas I Do Love My Ma and Pa…

This image is a map of the United States which shows the 50 individual states that have their own rights but still make up a whole country. Amendment 10 talks about the power that the individual states or the people are given when the power is not reserved for the United States. This is important because it defines the balance of power between the states and the government, and shows that the states have individual powers so that the federal government does not overstep its bounds and become tyrannical. The 10th amendment gives states rights in order to limit the authority of the federal government. However, states are still subject to federal law, so when does federal law override states rights? Should the federal government be able to take away states’ rights?

Intellectual Diversity in America

The markers here represent diversity–specifically intellectual diversity, but also racial, religious, and ethnic diversity. One of the most powerful points reverberating throughout the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is that of the inherent dignity and equality of each every person regardless of their individual, particular characteristics (one might say our “being made in the image of God”). While it took some time for the US to progress to dispense with, as regards legality, race, sex, etc. for consideration, I nonetheless think the universality is contained within the two founding documents–and many of the Founding Fathers themselves expressed as much in their private writings, contrary to what perhaps they had to show in public. In specific, the idea that this equality is a “self-evident” truth, that we all have “unalienable Rights,” embodied not only in the main articles of the Constitution, but also in the Bill of Rights (the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and so forth)–these are all extremely powerful and fundamentally unique ideas, ones not exemplified in other countries’ constitutions (i.e. no other country has an unequivocal right to free speech). We often take it for granted that we have major liberty with respect to our being the architects of our own lives, and so long as we abide by relatively minimal rules of non-interference and such, we are treated as individuals with rights, rights not to be taken away. To what extent do you think these ideas and actual textual mechanisms have contributed to the intellectual diversity within America? To its being, by far, the world leader in medical innovation, entrepreneurship, technological advancement, and so forth? Also, what about racial, ethnic, and religious diversity? The US, while having a core of central values, is also the biggest amalgamation of different cultures and peoples–how have these eternal values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution contributed to the unparalleled diversity we witness in the US?

One Nation Under God

The first amendment of the constitution talks about freedom of expression and religion, and is based on the fact that many of the first American settlers were fleeing religious persecution in certain parts of Europe. Although “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” there are still many parts of the government that contain Christian sayings and ideology. “In god we trust” is written on American dollar bills, and god is also mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance, which is used in American public schools. What do you think about the constitutionality of these phrases, and where would you personally draw the line on the separation of church and state?

A Taste of Freedom

Tea played a significant role in the foundation of the United States of America. More specifically, the tax on tea helped to spur a revolution. This photo links very closely to the Declaration of Independence and our secession from the King of England. In this separation, the document declares that “All men are created equal” which holds true to enlightenment values, that then helps their cause against the King’s taxes. Thus, we come full circle from tea, to taxes, to grievances, and finally, to independence. But it doesn’t stop there. What other values could this tea bag represent? Is its revolutionary purpose isolated to that of America or does India also find some meaning in this image when they also fought British rule? It seems that even the biggest of actions and consequences can arrive from the smallest of causes.

Kant’s Philosophy vs. North Korea’s Philosophy

Kant’s philosophy of treating people as an ends in themselves instead of as a means to an end resonates powerfully with my idea of how politicians and governments should ideally treat people in a democratic country, or any country for that matter. This is a very important idea because it strongly emphasizes on the value of human life. I find this philosophy very interesting because Kant doesn’t just state the maxim out of a personal whim or opinion; he actually provides a logical explanation to back this categorical imperative. He reasons that since morality is determined by reason, moral law is universal because reason is universal. Hence moral law applies equally to everyone. Therefore, acting morally means to treat every person as a moral agent and therefore as an end in itself, not as a means to an end.

The reality, however, is far from Kant’s ideal. Some governments and politicians around the world regularly abuse human rights. For example, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is one of the most repressive and undemocratic states in the world. Kim Jong-un exercises absolute political power over the country. The authoritarian government restricts all forms of human liberty and freedom in the country, including freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the freedom to form political parties. The government systematically forces citizens (including women, children and prisoners) to provide unpaid labor , who are forced to build the country’s infrastructure and participate in events extolling the Kim family’s ruling and the Workers’ Party of Korea. The government uses arbitrary arrests, punishments, torture and execution to incite fear in people’s minds and gain control over them. The government partners with Chinese authorities to capture North Korean refugees and punishes the refugees for making international contact. The government does not care to protect and promote the rights of marginalized and weaker communities like women, children and crippled people. Kant would be devastated and horrified by the of abuse people, and most importantly valuable human lives, in countries like North Korea.

Selfish or Enlightened

In answering what “enlightenment” is, Kant claims that it is to think for and only for yourself and for no one else. In order to be “enlightened”, one must only consider their own feelings and disregard the feelings of others. For example, if someone were to make a large decision that would impact not only themselves but others around them, they should disregard everyone else and only think about what the impact will be on themself. This is interesting as most would see this as selfish or inconsiderate while Kant finds this to be freeing. This begs the question: Is thinking solely for oneself a selfish act or self-enlightening?

This philosophy can be seen today as birth rates are steadily declining and one of the major reasons for the decline is due to the cost and time of raising a child increasing. This has led to many would-be parents to choose not to have a child as it not only saves them a ton of time, but money and stress as well. The cost of raising a child has increased over the years as the cost of living and health insurance steadily increases while support systems such as parental leave continues to decline. However, many parents desire grandchildren for personal reasons and also to continue the lineage. If one refuses to have a child for financial and freedom reasons, would it be an act of selfishness to their parents or enlightenment to themselves?

Civil vs. Intellectual Freedom

“A lesser degree of civil freedom gives intellectual freedom enough room to expand to its fullest extent.” This statement stood out to me in Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?” Civil freedom, or the absence of strict laws and rules that limit what people can or cannot do in a society, leads to a lack of intellectual thought, according to Kant. When there are restrictions that people must follow, their intellect thrives and grows. On the other hand, if people are able to act however they please, they don’t need to think too hard about much, because there is nothing to think about changing.

This statement reminded me much of the political climate in America right now. Many minorities are being restricted in what they can or cannot do, mostly implicitly. This disparity and unfairness, though clearly awful and unfair, has allowed such people to band together in huge intellectual and social movements, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the Me Too movement, and the Pride movement. If no limitations or restrictions had ever existed, these groups may not have had the opportunity to join together in unity and solidarity with each other. Kant claims that this intellectual enlightening will ultimately lead to civil freedom: “Thus once the germ on which nature has lavished most care – man’s inclination and duty to think freely – has developed within its hard shell, it gradually reacts upon the mentality of the people, who thus gradually become increasingly able to act freely.” This is what we are seeing today; for decades, minorities have been marginalized and discriminated against. Now, as a result of the people’s increasing intellect, we are finally seeing equality and freedom surfacing.

Below is an image of a Black Lives Matter march in Seattle, displaying the enormity of this united movement.

Image result for black lives matter march crowds of people

Duty, Motive, and Social Media

Kant argues that to act rightly is to act from duty. One’s maxim of action ought to be none other than one’s adherence to the “law,” namely the law of morality and what it prescribes, which is good in and of itself. Actions are therefore not analyzed or evaluated with regards to their consequences, but instead with regards to whether or not they are performed out of a sense of duty. Kant’s deontology is strictly concerned with the intentions and motivations for actions, and so it dismisses that the outcomes effectuated by those actions are of any import in moral evaluation. To help better bring out the intuition, consider three cases:

  1. In acting out of a sense of duty, I donate food to charity. One unfortunate homeless man who received my food ended up choking while eating it and he died as a result.
  2. I am walking along a crowded street, and there is a child on the side of the road who is in need of help. With the intention of gaining applause from the crowd, I help the child. Absent the crowd, I may have hesitated helping the child or even not helped her at all.
  3. A rich businessman donates one million dollars to charity, barely noticing the hit in his bank account. A poor man donates one quarter to charity, causing him to take severe precautions in his spending for the rest of the month.

Each one of these cases is meant to bring out the moral sense of actions in deontological terms. In the first case, while my donating food to charity ended up causing the death of the homeless individual who ate that food, I still acted from a sense of duty–out of respect for the moral law–and so performed morally. Even though there ended up being bad consequences, my action was still good. In the second case, it seems as if my action was bad (or at the very least, problematic), even though there were good consequences as a result. Think of whether or not you would feel treated as a proper human being if someone saved you simply because they thought it would afford them fame or money–it seems like one may be justly offended by such a notion, even though the action resulted in good consequences. In the last example, it seems that it would be morally objectionable to say the businessman did something “more morally” simply on account of his having more money–one’s financial standing is trivial with respect to one’s capacity to act morally.

With this in mind, to what extent do you think social media causes actions that are counter to deontological morality? We see people often posting about their “passion” for certain activist causes, celebrity deaths, and so forth, yet, is it reasonable to assume they all do so out of a sense of duty? Furthermore, with a system that has algorithms garnered towards getting more likes, comments, shares, or whatever (depending on the platform), might we be suspicious of not only the maxims of other peoples’ actions (via their posts), but even our own? Given the uncertainty of knowing pure motives when there are all of these confounding and external variables, do you think social media can still be a platform that encourages moral behavior (within a Kantian deontological framework)?

Worst Date Ever!

This past Tuesday, my day ended completely differently than I had planned at the start of the day. I’m deathly afraid of public speaking and my sense of humor is dead-pan at best, so I would have never imagined myself standing in front of a stage of people doing a stand-up comedy set. At 5:30 AM when I went to work, I was scrolling through my socials on the bus and stumbled upon an event at a local restaurant called Herb and Wood. The event was a “Worst Date Ever” themed storytelling competition. Ironically, the prize was dinner for two at said restaurant. Maybe it was the prospect of free food, or perhaps the tiredness of waking up at 4:45 AM for work, but I ended up submitting a set a mere 10 hours before the event.

I really enjoyed the experience so much! I had absolutely no expectation coming into this event, other than to enjoy myself and have a few laughs with my friends. However, I ended up winning $150 of dinner so it was 100% worth the 10-minute stand-up set I threw together in a matter of hours. But, my biggest motivation to sign up was to challenge myself to be out of my comfort zone and maybe learn a new skill. While I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions, at the beginning of the year I always say to myself that I will try something new each month because I never know until I try it if I would be any good. This has led me to discover so many of my current passions and hobbies like cooking, powerlifting, and now maybe even stand-up comedy!

This mindset really reminded me of a lot of Kant’s perspective on untapped talents. He states in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, it is failing to do your duty when “[one] finds himself in comfortable circumstances and prefers to give himself up to pleasure than to trouble himself with enlarging and improving his fortunate natural predispositions” (74). He argues that it is a disservice to yourself to not try and see what talents you have the potential to love. If you go in without any sort of intention of winning (like I did) and do something new purely out of wanting to be happy, even if you fail, it is still morally good to have tried at all. So, I encourage you all to try something out of your comfort zone (maybe even once a month!)

Below, you can see a brief video of me mentioning UCSD as part of a bit 🙂

would you rather fight one 100x chicken or 100 normal size chicken?

Kant began section I by saying that there is nothing in the world that is good except good will, “it is impossible to think of anything at all in the world … that could be considered good without limitation except a good will”

People can be good to others everyday but if their intentions are ill intended then their actions cannot be consider good. Consider the following scenario; you are at your relative house for dinner and they are discussing the Australian Fire. Then one of your cousin had a bright idea and told the family, ‘let’s all pull out our phones and donate money to help’, one by one everybody donate 5-50 dollars. You are sitting there with your phone out feeling pressured to do as others are doing so you donate 10 dollars just to do it, while your little bother donated 5 dollars, his weekly allowance. If Kant were to rate your action vs your little bother’s action he would place your bother’s action above your, because he had good intentions and good intentions goes along way. He donate all the money he have now and next week and the week after, soon at add up more than your single donation. Doing one good deed for the sake of it cannot hold up to multiple smaller deed.

Taking Advantage on the Highest Level

Kant’s ideals, compared to the other philosophers we’ve covered so far, seem to be the most idyllic. While he acknowledges the propensity of humans to err, the other philosophers take it as fact that it is simply a fundamental of reality – Kant philosophizes as if this behavior is a choice, not as if it happens no matter what. He encourages people to “act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means”. To me, this assertion seems unrealistic but also worthwhile.

The idea of using others for your own gain is nothing new. Beyond happening on a small level, this type of behavior is pervasive, even in the highest level of government. While it’s a nice idea to rid the world of political corruption, as of right now the President of the United States is still holding his position exclusively because he’s taken advantage of his “party supporters” by making them his political scapegoats. Many influential republicans have taken the fall for him to secure his position as president, and as president the only thing he’s done is avoid catching fire for being corrupt. Trump hasn’t done anything for the country – he has only used his presidential power to avoid scandal. In spite of this, he was just acquitted by the senate of impeachment. Clearly, Kant’s philosophy does not realistically represent how things go down, even if it is a much better vision for how humans should interact. I think it’s a good idea to put it down on paper as philosophy, but to blindly ascribe to this system of belief because it seems like utopia is extremely naive.

$500 or $5 million: What is the bigger donation?

Kant’s perspective that consequences of an action are not what matters, but rather the “moral worth” of the action is important really resonated with me. Kant argues that if a person is doing something because they have the motivation to do good rather than bad, then how the action actually results is irrelevant. The most significant part of the action was the motivation itself and the attempt to try to do good.

When thinking about an action’s moral worth rather than the action’s consequence, I immediately thought about charities. We always see things on the news where large charities that get donated millions of dollars. You think how much good work they can do with all that money. I am part of an organization where we do fundraising so that we can donate to charities around San Diego. At a recent fundraiser, we only raised $300 and a lot of the members felt upset that we wouldn’t be making a big enough impact. However, once I read Kant’s philosophy on this, I felt better that though my organization couldn’t donate millions of dollars, we still were trying to do our little part to help out the community.

Through this, I realized that not everyone can donate huge amount of money to charity, but, if we all look at doing an action with moral worth, it doesn’t matter how much money you are able to donate, whether it is $1 or $1 million. It is the fact that people are trying, help even in the smallest way, to make the world a better place.

Below is an infographic on charitable donations in the US in 2018. As you can see, 70% of charitable donations was by individuals rather than the 5% by corporations.

One for Me or All for You?

While discussing the proper actions one should take to make one’s life meaningful, Kant states that “To assure one’s own happiness is a duty…” (pg.54). This is to prevent the desire from becoming a “great temptation to transgression of duty“. In the same way, love is another form of duty. Kant is showing that actions following duty and not desire are meaningful and worthwhile but sometimes these duties are our own desires. This becomes even more complicated when one’s happiness infringes on other duties, mostly when they happen to contradict. What duty should one follow when multiple contradict each other? Multiple movies, plays and TV shows revolve around the idea that the best way to love someone is by letting them go, even if it means sacrificing your own happiness. Is this type of self-sacrifice truly worthwhile and morally meaningful? If not, a good portion of the Romance genre can be called into question to determine the rationality behind the decisions made by many of the characters.

One such play, Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, depicts the story of Segismundo, a man who was locked in a tower from birth, and his escapades when he receives his freedom (Spoilers!). When a lost woman, Rosaura, stumbles upon his tower, he finds himself falling in love with her not knowing she is already engaged to be married. At the end of the play, and finding himself king over Poland, he decides to let Rosaura marry the man she loves, the one who she was engaged too, and instead marries Estrella, a princess. Even though Segismundo was deeply in love with Rosaura throughout the play, he ends up letting her go and be happy instead of forcing her to be his bride. He acted according to his duty by truly loving her and by marrying a princess as was expected by him of his subjects. In doing so, he does not assure himself of his own happiness. By acting according to two duties, his actions mathematically were moral and valuable as following the two duties outweighed the opposing duty of his happiness. But should his happiness taken the forefront of his actions?

If I’m asleep, don’t let me wake. If this is real, don’t let me dream. ~Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Titanic saving the world

As you walk down the street and decide to give a dollar to a homeless woman around the curve, you don’t expect this little amount to be able to buy her a new life, but you still decide to help her because you know that any amount will be better than nothing and will make a small contribution to one of her needs in one way or another. It is not about how big or small the outcome will really be, but rather the intention behind the action.

This ideal is emphasized in Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals as it is stated, “an action from duty has its moral worth not in the purpose to be attained by it, but in the maxim in accordance with which it is decided on.”

Some of the major issues that our society faces, such as climate change, have many people who contribute towards the manner because they voluntarily want to help and are motivated to help the cause. For example Leonardo Dicaprio has made use of his resources to be involved in and even create his own charity, the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation, in which he seeks after the wellbeing of our planet Earth. Though his team continuously works hard to protect the planet, the repercussions of climate change are too strong to be fully controlled. One could say that there would really be no reason for Dicaprio and everyone else in the world to put an effort into stopping/controlling climate change because at the pace that it’s going, it will not be sufficient. However, Kant would argue that their actions are valued and have moral worth because of the good intentions behind them regardless of the immediate effects.

Is a good will always good?

In Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant makes the claim that a good will is good if it has intrinsic goodness. Specifically, that it is good even when the will is not effective. In his words, “it would, like a jewel, still shine.”

He’s wrong. A good will with no positive outcome is just a lame excuse for saving face when you don’t care about something. Doing something good necessitates positive action on the world. Let’s say, for example, that your friend Bob gets cancer out of nowhere and has no way to pay for it. According to Kant, I could simply tell Bob that I’m “sending my thoughts and prayers” and walk away, still doing a good will. And then Bob will die because Bob lives in the U.S. and Bob is uninsured and broke. Wow, not even God was strong enough to save Bob from a shitty healthcare system. At least you get to watch your childhood friend Bob die knowing you had a good will! I’m sure Bob would like that.

Let’s propose a new definition of a good will: you have to try to bring about a positive change in your environment. In this scenario when Bob gets cancer you decide that thoughts and prayers aren’t going to do jack shit and so you start a GoFundMe to raise money for a plane ticket to Norway. Wow! After raising $1400 you send Bob to Norway where they decide to treat him because the hospitals there are more interested in saving another human’s life than taking the sick Bob’s money as he dies. The end.

Disasterous New Year

This past weekend, what should’ve been a day to celebrate the new year (lunar), turned into something far from a celebration. Hong Kong protestors came out onto the street and displayed their dissatisfaction with the government. It would seem as though some of the citizens are unhappy with the contract to their government. It should be noted that the island has a history of “forced” contracts. From first being taken by the British (1842), to being returned to China (1997). It would seem as though the Island as gone through changes power, without being asked if they consented to the change. For “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains” (pg. 156). The relationship between the Island and the government seems to be less than amicable. It should also be noted that the coronavirus has hit Hong Kong, causing more tension between the people and the government. Although, at times, a government must (or will) go against the general consensus of the people. However, the people of Hong Kong have shown their unhappiness with their votes, by voting in pro-democratic parties (I believe pro-democratic parties have the majority). What an interesting (political) world we live in.

Note: I apologize if I offended anyone in any way. I know this is can be a controversial subject, so I try to keep as neutral as possible. Additionally, I apologize for being late.

Does Society Cause Disease?

With so few sources of illnesses, man in the state of Nature has, then, little need for remedies, and even less for Doctors; in this respect, too, the human species is no worse off than all the others, and one can easily find out from Hunters whether they come across many unhealthy animals in their treks” (Discourse on Inequality)

There’s been a recent viral outbreak in Wuhan that has been all over global news as of late. Society has forced everyone away from the state of nature, where they would naturally spread out. In nature, people are foremost concerned with basic and personal needs and not worried too much about what others are doing. In order for everyone to have adequate resources from the natural world, people wouldn’t tend to be very close together and steal from each other, but would instead move on to different areas that contain more resources. Without society, there would never exist such high population densities that we see in our largest cities, and this allows for rapid expansion of diseases. The fact that the people of Wuhan have been forced to rely on the artificial government for meeting many people’s basic needs as opposed to providing for oneself and living off of nature has led to civil unrest because the government has been unable to deliver supplies to many. People naturally realize the many disadvantages of society and the lack of capability government has in meeting basic needs during states of emergency. People place power in government in return for meeting basic needs of the people, but many times society fails to reciprocate and needs aren’t met. (Also, sorry this is late.)

Super Bowl Not So Super

This Sunday thousands of American’s will sit down to watch the Super Bowl, it’s commercials, and the halftime show, although this far be from our natural state. While it may be called the Super Bowl, it is far inferior to the past. Our desires by nature are meant to be simple, yet this Sunday we will be heaving entertainment on top of entertainment. Are we not satisfied? And after the game, fans of the losing team will be distraught. There was no such worry or concern at our origin, yet with the development of our society, so have our desires developed, but for the worse. Man will go out onto the field with pads and a helmet, attempt to overcome their opponent, but neither team would be able to compete with a savage man. “But if you want to see an even more unequal fight, pit them against each other naked and disarmed, and you will soon realize the advantage of constantly having all of one’s forces at one’s disposal.” (Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau 48). Many observers will view these athletes as superior. This inequality would be far absent in the past, but with the progression of society has come the regression of us.

Are We Thinking or Is Technology Thinking For Us?

For this weeks blog post (which I know is late but I’ll go for it anyways), I’d like to discuss the current phenomenon in the fallacies of using technology for doing things that we would rather not apply ourselves to do.

The mind is a complex tool that is given to us so that we can think about ideas and processes in order to progress. But how is technology hindering this use of our mind as a tool? I understand technology is advancing and has only become more integrated in our everyday lives but isn’t it a bit much sometimes? For example, look at navigational applications and software that is so commonly used today. You hop in the car and put in the address you want to go to and an app like Google Maps tells you the step by step directions to get there. This seems great with everything laid out for you but for some reason your directions tell you to take the next exit and you want to go across four lanes of traffic in hopes that you’ll make it. Why does this occur? There are literally signs telling us how far the exits are from the points of the sign but we ignore these signs because we’d rather rely on our GPS to tell us when/where to exit the freeway. I’m not saying this is the app’s fault but rather our dependency of technology over using our own minds to think about our next move. This is just one example of how technology has hindered the mode of human thinking.

“And our skills deprive us of the force and agility that necessity obliges him to acquire” (Discourse on Inequality, p. 68). If we rely on technology to do the thinking for us, then we lose the ability to think for ourselves.

Discourse On Climate Change

I will discuss about man and its indifference towards the state of nature when he becomes civil. Climate change being a condition of instability imposed by human activity is present in modern cases. The fires in Australia have been more than provoked by the extremities in climate causing the drier summer and colder winters. Let us suppose this to be false and an extreme climate is some sort of natural phenomenon that occurs occasionally. The difficulty that the substituents impose is that of the accumulation of green houses which is actually measured and considered an accurate analysis of the state of nature. The state of nature ultimately opposes the reasoning of right wing politicians, such as, those in Australia who have become civilized in order to enforce and maintain the inequality they benefit from through wealth. Their difficulty to understand may lay an argument for a different language that may allow them to hone in on respecting the state of nature and the basic needs of survival. As I have discoursed in the topic of inequality, we must take in note “that, since the child had all his needs to explain and consequently more things to say to the mother than the mother to the child, it is the child who must make the greatest effort toward inventing a language.” (Discourse on Inequality, pg. 57) Therefore, in order to formulate a proper example of communication for those indifferent to the state of nature, it is natural for those opposed to climate change to have difficulty explaining the importance of the topic as it would conclude to be a foreign language. The amount of individuals attempting to create this language also creates confusion as each language is contrary to another as they are much of the individuals making. Now the reasoning of the right wing party is also inappropriate as it undermines the basic needs of humanity. “And thus dissolute men abandon themselves to excess that cause them fever and death,because the mind perverts the senses and because the will still speaks when nature is silent.” (Discourse on Inequality, pg. 53) Concluding a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom due to greed indulged by the mind.

Parasite in Paradise

Movie “Parasite” shows not only the gap between the rich and the poor, but also the vanity and envy that all humans share in a civil society. The son in the poor family isn’t satisfied with just finding a job (as a tutor for the daughter in the rich family), he wants his entire family infiltrated in the rich household. It then leads to the tragedy in the end. Human needs make people corrupt because what they need is no longer the basics of living, but pleasure, convenience or leisure that they desire. The inequality in the society is caused by corrupt human wants, for”those conveniences having through habit lost almost all their pleasure, and being at the same time degenerated into true needs, being deprived of them became much more cruel than possessing them was sweet; and they were unhappy about losing them without being happy about possessing them”(Discourse on Inequality, p.72). The wants will eventually becomes the needs, which will control humans. In “Parasite”, the characters, especially the poor family, are in some ways enslaved to their desires which ultimately leads to their own tragedy.

A Progressive Split, Grave Echoes of 2016

With the passing of the 7th Democratic debate for the Iowa caucus, certain issues have begun to arise that give me grave reminders from the previous election cycle. The people of interest in this debate, in particular, are senator Warren and senator Sanders. As observed in previous debates the two Progressives seemed to never debate against the other seeming as they had previously agreed to ceasefire both on and off the debate stage. Yet with recent allegations from the media stating that Bernie does not believe that a woman could not win the presidential election, tensions between the two rose. Due to the biased form of the platform, as CNN treated the allegations as the truth when asking the senators about the issue, in which the 7th debate took place the tensions quickly escalated forming a rift between the previously amicable candidates and their respective voter base. With this split between the two leading progressive candidates, the Democratic party finds itself at an impasse as the general will of the people that support the party was split between the establishment democrats such as Biden and the progressives. This new split further divides the will of the party shifting from the general will of the people to a more niche collective will of private individuals. I find it improbable that with this further division in the party that the will of one of these increasingly niche candidates will resonate amongst the general will of the nation.“But the whole less a part is not the whole, and as long as this relationship is the case, there is no longer a whole but rather two unequal parts. Whence it follows that the will of the one is certainly not general in relation to the other.” (On the Social Contract, 179). It seems that the cycle of division that started with the 2016 election is bound to happen once more to the Democratic party as it continues to hold to different pieces of the puzzle which unless united cannot fulfill the general will of the people, and therefore cannot hope to win the presidential election.

Sorry about the disgustingly long URL.

Kobe Bryant: An Inspiration To The Physical And Metaphysical

In the very recent passing of Kobe Bryant, it becomes apparent to us as individuals and as a society how short and how precious life truly is. It causes us to reflect on our own lives and reassess our goals, accomplishments, and lifestyle. Now that Mr. Bryant has moved beyond the contstraints of this Earth and joined our Creator in the land of the
Divine, perhaps his desires will return to the state of nature, such as God intended. After all, it is said that “Man’s first sentiment was that of his own existence,” (Discourse on Inequality, p. 69). In his journey, we hope he finds the peace he so well deserves and that we may one day join Mr. Bryant the Lord Himself in Heaven.

Green with envy…

Society provides us with a certain kind of evil, actively prevalent in present day adolescence.  Putting on the facade of reinforcing human relations by networking individuals, this evil only provides mankind with harm rather than utility. Referred to as social media; it is aptly named for its association with society, as it serves no other purpose than to perpetuate the miseries of society. As I have mentioned earlier “In becoming habituated to the ways of society and a slave, [man] becomes weak, fearful, and servile.” (Discourse on Inequality, 51). The news articles of recent days prove just that. Young people fear that they aren’t making the most out of life, comparing their experiences to exaggerated accounts of fortune in the lives of others. They grow weak, plagued by “stress and anxiety”(1). Attempting to outshine each other, they don’t realize that they work only to perpetually serve futility. If social media fabricates such misery, who then can tell me we are better off now than in the state of nature?


B̷̛̪̘̌͐̂̑͒̓̆̍̈́̚͝͠u̸͍͔͔͕͇̤̇̆̎̋͜t̸̢̙͉͓͙͇̬̣̜̭̰͙͓̥̐͛̀͆̿̚͜͝ ̴͕̖͎̦̘̣͇̫̻̳̐͂͊̈͐̐͌̆͌̚͜͝d̸̢̡̳̫̦̗̲̻̥̠̄̓̈́̇̑́̕͠ḯ̴̛̗̲̥͍͍̤͕̙̳͔̝͖̥̄̌̈́̅̔̌̀̌̾͝d̵̖̻̈́̍̅͊̋͐̎̏͌̅̄͘̕͜͝ ̷͉̱͇̖̖̩̫̺͓͕͋̆͆̍̔̌̉̇̾͌͘ỵ̶̯̣̟͖̬̤̈ǫ̷̼̤̩̤̭̪̟͛̽̈̀̌̔́̀̊̐͊͘͜͜͠͝u̵̬̥̳̪͓̹͖̠̼̜̜̰͓̮͐́͌̓̔̊͑̒̔͌́͘͝͝ͅ ̸͍̼̪̺͇͛͛͗̈́͂͌͆͂͒͒͊̄͜k̵̡̋̈́̀̈́͝n̵̢̺̱̗̳̹̞̱̯̙̪̼̗̫͖͋̀́͛́͗̈́o̵͊̀͆̈̈͗̇̿̾̾͐̽̀̐͜͠ŵ̵̢̪̺̜̙̠͔͆͋͜ ̶̣̳̞̙̱̮͔͇͎̄̏̓̎͛̐͘͜ͅy̵̨̟͈̱̳͕̗̟̝̞̗̩̾̋͆ͅơ̸̛͕̫͕̖̙̦̺̺̒͂͑̉́̆͂̇̿̾̆̃͝ͅu̸̧͇̫̹̦̙̙̣͈̤̦͚̓ ̷̩̰̗͍̖̪͖̳̩͓̊̔͝ͅc̴̛̺̟̗̫̯̜͍̲̍̔͛̋̍́͐̕͜ơ̸̧̡͖͔͓̜͚̖̜̈́̀͛̂̔́̃̒͛̑̉̄̆̽ṳ̶̤̫͍̗͎̯͈̦̉̄̇̎̊̚ͅl̸̘͕̠̬͚̔̃͋͐͘͝d̶͓͉̝̮̦͉̺̲̩̤̖͇̑̏͐̈̂͜͠ ̴̡̗̮̒̂́̾̃̊̏̊̀͜ͅḑ̵̢̧̠̫̘̱̮͉̰̘͚̱̙̐̇̋́̊̎̿̂͆͒͂̾̏͠͝o̸̡̝͉̲͚͓͖̟͓̔ ̸̩̦̱͓̙̻̻̬̔̈́̊̕͜͝ṯ̷̢̛̣̺͉̐͗̑̊́͋̽̐͗͂̆͝͠ḩ̴̨̣͈͎̻͔̩͍͔͇͙͔̤͉̓̂̚̕͝i̷̭̭̞͊͌̏̊͐̍̏̀́̄́͠͝s̶̨͎̝̖͎̱̃̑̆̈́͗͊̇̀̊͘͠ ̵͖̞̰̥̣̙͉͙̔̄ͅt̶̬͔̩͖̺̞͛͝ͅo̴̢͉͖͖͚̙͖͎͕͕͌̒̇o̷̙̘͛͗̅͘

Hi everyone, I’m Justin! I am a second year majoring in Cognitive Science (ML) and Pure Math. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio but mainly raised in San Diego. My favorite book in the HUM sequence is Aristophanes’ Clouds because it was kind of a meme.

Here’s what the coronavirus looks like on the cellular level:

Fig. 1. Coronavirus on a cellular level

Here come dat boi!

Hey all, I’m Dat Ta. I’m a computer science major, I like everything computer and technology related. On my spare time I like to play video games, mainly Minecraft and Starcraft. I have a small small small collection of just 50 HotWheels still in their packaging, hung up on the wall. My favorite books in the HUM sequence is between the Aeneid and Njal Saga, reading is not something I enjoy doing. However I very much enjoy reading these 2 titles. I guess it because their journey through life is very different from our; I may even say that it’s basically impossible to have such life, in today’s time, without being considered a maniac. Yet these people are heroic. It’s much easier to appreciate the past than the present.

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them” – Andy Bernard (The Office)

This is my favorite song .

However my all time favorite is
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now and
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’


KONO DIO DA. My name is Michael Lee, and I am a second-year human bio major. I was born and raised up in San Francisco. In my free time, I enjoy lifting and weights and playing video games (Persona 5 is still my favorite game). Additionally, I probably watch too much anime (ZA WARUDO). My favorite HUM book has to be Machiavelli’s “Prince,” as I found his ideas to be very realistic/plausible. Because I’ve been playing too much Metal Gear, here is my song of choice.

Hi friends!

My name is Kristen! I am a second year Biochemistry major. I really really enjoy chemistry and I want to work in drug development after graduation. I was born and raised in south Orange County, California, so San Diego is not far from home for me! I work at a book/stationery store in downtown La Jolla, so it is only natural that some of my hobbies include reading and journaling.

My favorite readings of the HUM series were the Old Testament readings during HUM1. I thought learning about the history of religion and the parallels between Old Testament stories and other ancient stories. I have also enjoyed reading Candide so far as well!

Attached is a pretty picture I took a couple summers ago in Hawaii!


My name is Nikolaos Koltsidas (Niko to make it easier). I am a second year Cognitive Science major specializing in Interaction and Design. I also plan to minor in Business. I was born and raised in San Diego and commute everyday from Chula Vista. You can also find me working as a barista at your local Tapioca Express. I have a healthy obsession over cars and love everything about them, especially modifying them. Some of my hobbies include working on cars, photography, and collecting shoes. I’m also trying to get into vlogging and YouTube so that’s soon to come.

For my favorite book in the HUM sequence, I’d have to go with The Essays by Michel de Montaigne. I found his essays to be interesting to me as he literally writes about and questions everything. Montaigne also seems to rant on and on about a subject while getting sidetracked and then bringing himself back to his main topic. I feel like his essays are in a pure and relatable form of how humans think.


Hi guys, I’m Lauren and I’m a second year chemistry major. Some of my interests are cute bird videos, piano and reading fantasy/fiction novels. I included a bird video I thought was cute for my media attachment. A couple of my favorite books are Their Eyes Were Watching God and the Shades of Magic trilogy, and my favorite book from the HUM 3 curriculum is Paradise Lost. I found a lot of the existential questions he brought up in the book really fascinating and relatable. I was raised Catholic and ended up drifting from the religion too, and I think today a lot of people still struggle reconciling an omnipotent and all benevolent deity with so many of the terrible things that happen in the world.


Hello. My name is Andrew im a third year computer science major from Salinas CA. I spend most of my free time going out with friends or working out. That being said one of my favorite workouts is MMA training which I have done for about 3-4 years.The book I have found most interesting throughout the Hum sequence would be Plato’s “Symposium” due to his interesting theory on love.

˙uoᴉʇdo uɐ sɐʍ sᴉɥʇ ʍouʞ ʇ,upᴉp noʎ ʇǝq I

Hey everyone, I’m Erik. I am a second year Computer Engineering major. I was born in Colorado but raised in San Diego County, or to be more specific, Escondido. I have always had a fascination with electronics, and have even tinkered with simple circuits. Apart from this, my other hobbies include, drawing, painting, and playing video games.

It’s hard to pick a favorite book/reading from the HUM sequence, but I think I would have to say Alexander The False Prophet by Lucian. I found it funny when Lucian describes the methods Alexander employed to trick people into believing his prophecies. The extent to which Alexander is able to gather a cult following just by placing a snake in an egg, hatching it in public and proclaiming that a new god is born, is quite humorous.


Hi ! My name is Amelia Sperry. I am a second year General Biology major and I plan on minoring in Psychology. I was born and raised here in San Diego and I didn’t leave San Diego because I love it so much here 🙂 I work part time as a receptionist and I love it because people bring me their dogs to pet. Some of my favorite things are baby sloths, going to the beach, and trying new food places around school with my friends.

My favorite book from the HUM sequence was Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I really enjoyed the story and the multilayered meaning behind what Shakespeare was saying. I was having trouble reading it in “script” format so I ended up watching a production of the play on YouTube. It really helped me understand the material better and I enjoyed seeing the work “come to life.”

Enjoy the picture of the baby sloth at the San Diego Zoo!

Hello there…

Hello 😀

My name is Tim Hong and I’m an Electrical Engineering major. I was born and raised in Orange County here in SoCal and am in my second year at UCSD. I love playing tennis and guitar, as well as enjoying 3 am walks.

My favorite book from the HUM series so far is Discourse on Method and Meditations by Rene Descartes. In his writings, he questions everything, including his own existence…something I do on a daily basis. Eventually, he accepts his place in this thing called existence, something I hope to one day achieve as well.

Turtle likes Shakespeare

Hey guys, I’m Alejandra (usually go by Ale) and I’m majoring in economics. I was born here in San Diego but grew up down in Tijuana where I went to school for a good amount of years, later my family and I eventually moved back here. I like to stay active and explore new restaurants in downtown. I also have a pet turtle that my grandma gifted me when I was 5 (the picture below is her now c: ).
Shakespeare’s King Lear has been my favorite book in the hum sequence so far because the suspense of the story made it enjoyable to read and it was easy to follow along.

Hello!! :)

Hi guys! My name is Stephanie Mejia and I’m a third-year majoring in Clinical Psychology and minoring in Law and Society. I’m from Fresno, CA a city that many people don’t know about. I usually just say that I’m from Central California near Bakersfield and that I’m like an hour away from Yosemite National Park. I enjoy listening to music, hanging out with friends, trying new foods, and binge-watching shows.

My favorite book throughout the HUM series is Civilization & Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud. I found Freud’s arguments and perspectives on the clash between individuality and society’s expectations very interesting.

I love listening to a variety of artists, they can either be mainstream or underrated. This particular artist has been at the top of my music playlist so I hope you enjoy!

Hey Guys!

Hey guys! My name is Sarah Cebrynski. I’m a second-year Gen Biology major from Phelan, California (which is about 2 hours away in the mountains). I enjoy paddle boarding, listening to music, and going to the beach.

My favorite book throughout the HUM series has been the Lais of Marie de France. I thought that they were so interesting to read, and I loved the fact that she was one of the female authors we were given the opportunity to read and compare to other works during that time.

This has been my favorite song since middle school so I hope you enjoy


My name is Nicholas, I’m a 2nd year EE major. I commute to UCSD from Rancho Bernardo and have lived in San Diego my whole life. Some of my hobbies include volleyball, ultimate frisbee, disc golf, and aquariums. In the Hum sequence, my favorite book was The Aeneid, simply because I found it the most entertaining to read.

Attached below is my current favorite song, Dance Monkey.

Looking for Fortune

Hi! My name is Ben and I am a 4th year Math/Econ major. I am from the SF Bay Area and decided to come to UCSD because I was hoping for a more beach-oriented lifestyle, though to what extent this has actually happened is up for debate. At this point, I’m trying to wrap up my undergraduate studies so I can apply for grad school.

My favorite book that we’ve read in Humanities so far is probably The Prince (or the Bible, even though I am not a Christian). I like the nuanced focus on individual success and even though I might not necessarily agree with every truth presented or personally identify with the specific royalty-centric narrative/character described, I feel like there’s a lot to learn in terms of what it takes to come out of a difficult situation intact.

This is one of my favorite songs right now:

Aeneas, that kills people.

Hello, everyone. My name is Salvador Franco, just call me Sal though, it’ll make easier for all of us. I’m just another STEM major at UCSD if you’re interested, specifically I’m a sophomore, microbiology major whose area of focus in immunology. I come from the local LA county gas stop city known as Azusa, no seriously I have never met anyone in Azusa who isn’t a local and if they aren’t their just here for gas before heading back to the 210. I guess my hobbies would include reading scientific articles on any subject really, playing video games: I enjoy platformers and indie titles the most in recent years. One of my personal favorite series recently that I played was the Nonary games, an escape room based game with pseudo-science thrown in the mix.

Personally, my favorite title that I had to read in the Humanities series is The Aeneid. What made this a personal favorite of mine was the ending. Throughout the epic, Virgil builds Aeneas’ character as the perfect personification of the Roman idealism that Virgil wanted to see within Present-day Rome, well I guess ancient by our standards. Yet at the end despite his lack of emotion throughout the poem Aeneas in a fit of anger for his fallen comrade murders Turnus in a dishonorable manner. This loss of control of his emotions symbolizes Virgil’s critique of the current emperor Augustus to be unfit to lead Rome to prosperity due to allowing his emotions specifically vengeance to get the best of him.

Here’s a song from the soundtrack from the first game in Nonary Game series


Hello everyone!! My name is Fermin. I am a second year Human Bio major from Escondido which is approximately 30-40 minutes north from campus depending on how fast a driver you are. I enjoy soccer (or any friendly competition), reading good books and playing video games with groups of friends. I was always on the quite side growing up despite having 7 siblings that were completely erratic. Although, now I enjoy socializing and competing in friendly sports with anybody.

My favorite book so far would have to be Candide because of how random each adventure/struggle became in every page. I really do appreciate the humor and philosophy that Voltaire discussed with each character and their experiences.

A song that really gets my blood pumping:


Hi! My name is Jinghan Cao and I’d like to go by Jing. I was born in China. I’m a second year Cognitive Science major specialized in machine learning. I like music and movies, and I love to travel.

My favorite book in the Hum sequence so far would have to be Montaigne’s essays. Montaigne’s essay brings up the idea of introspection and it really makes people think. I also like the Odyssey a lot, it was the first book I read in the Hum sequence and the story is really engaging. 

One of my favorite song recently is Khai Dreams’ summer friend. Hope you enjoy it!

Hello Everybody!

Hello! My name is Danielle and I am a biochemistry major. I was born and raised in SD, only about 30 min south of UCSD. I love animals and have chickens, dogs, cats and fish! I practically live on a little farm! I’m also a huge mystery buff. That’s actually kind of what inspired my interest in biochemistry, as forensic science plays a huge role in solving crimes! I hope to one day help solve mysteries like the greats!

My favorite book in the Hum series was definitely The Lais of Marie de France. I liked this book for a myriad of reasons. For one, it was one of the only female authors we got to read the world of. I realize. O realize for the time periods we studied there were a limited number of female authors to select from, but it would have been awesome to include a few more. I loved how these Lais were so engaging. They were funny, sad, romantic, empowering and do much more that made them an easy read. Most Hum books I struggle to get through, but for this one I read more then we even had to! It’s definitely one of the most interesting books I got to read in Hum.

A painting of Baby Yoda I did as a gift for my sister’s birthday!

Shakespeare’s Storms

Hi! My name is Emma Palmer. I’m a second year Ecology, Behavior & Evolution major but I’m also picking up a Marine Bio double major this quarter. My interests include marine parasites, books, video games, and drawing.

My favorite book so far in the HUM sequence would have to be Shakespeare’s Tempest. I’ve grown up reading Shakespeare and the Tempest has always been one of my favorites (second only to The Merchant of Venice). I love the themes in the play and the imagery used through out.

I mostly listen to instrumental music or movie soundtracks. Hope you enjoy it!


Hello everyone! My name is Cheng-Yu Chiang, but please call me Ben. I am a second-year Electrical Engineering major. I enjoy music, fitness, sports, video games, etc. My favorite book in HUM so far is probably Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince or Thomas More’s Utopia because of their political influence and ideas. Link to my personal website

Here’s a great song for you if you want something different to listen to. It reminds me of home 😉

Montaigne all the way

Hi everyone, my name is Rosie. (I’m your TA :))  I am a PhD student in the music department, which is a little misleading because the work I do aligns more with the work done in communications or American Studies departments. My interests include critical theorytechno, and wellness culture. My MA thesis was on this crazy phenomenon Daybreaker! Has anyone heard of it? Comment if so :o)

My favorite author so far was definitely Montaigne. I found his essays relatable and insightful; I think it was the most relatable read for me thus far in the HUM sequence. I particularly liked Montaigne’s essay on death. It was also refreshing to read a critique of European imperialism and oppression of indigenous people, after all of the other non-critical texts we’ve read thus far (the Greek’s obsession with “barbarians” comes to mind).

I mentioned that I like techno. One of my favorite artists is Detroit- based Omar S. Enjoy!