art yeah art.

I chose to talk about topic 3 for the Richardson project.  I feel as though Richardson would say that art is something that should improve society.  He felt that art was something that should improve man through lessons, much like the paintings we looked at by Hogarth where there was a story being told that would possibly scare the pants off of people with the morality ideas they had had. I however do not believe that the goal of art should be to better society in any way, that being said I do not believe that it should go against society either.  I believe that art is something that represents an expression of the self, for example if you were really influenced by the war and you painted something that showed your emotions towards it.  Richardson would tell me probably that this was dumb and tell me I was being stupid probably.

I am a huge fan of Leonardo Davinci’s work, “Mona Lisa”, as well as a billion other people on this earth I am sure.  I am not a gigantic fan of the work which we studied in class “A Harlot’s Progress”, which was something that was just a wretched and sad tale of a girl who lost her life to whoredom.

Richardson would disagree with me probably and have both pieces of art switched around in his mind.  He would probably talk about how the “Mona Lisa” was one that lacked anything that would give worth to the betterment of society as it pertained to the “purpose” of art.  And he would also probably infer that he quite enjoyed the piece by Hogarth, probably would say that it displays correct standing in the idea of morals and how people should look at life.  He would agree with the fact that the horrific display in Hogarth’s piece was one that shoed the “worst case scenario” of what would happen to a woman if she chose the path of sexual pleasure instead of staying conservative which was widely popular of that time.  Like the ways that Hogarth tried to better society with his works, Richardson would go along with him and say that this is correct.  Richardson seemed to believe that there was a right and wrong way to “art”, which is why he would agree with the lessons being taught in the pieces that were done by William Hogarth.


Descartes and such.

Achieving enlightenment is something I find to be very interesting.  Enlightenment, to me, is something that is a cross between a spiritual and philosophical way of looking at life based on the trials you go through mixed with the things you watch everyone else around you go through.  I believe enlightenment to be something personal on a “when you know you know” type of level, achieving enlightenment I believe is a possible thing; I in no way consider myself to have achieved enlightenment because of how young and unexperienced in life I am, however I believe this to be a tangible thing in one’s life. Enlightenment, is the way in which you understand things based on what you know about reason and what you have learned from the world in a philosophical (possibly opinionated) and spiritual sense of understanding.

Mettrie talks about enlightenment in a way that talks about it as something that deals with reason.  She says, “What makes reason excellent is not its being immaterial but its force, its scope or its acuteness”, she talks about reason as something that is what it takes to make up one’s own understanding of everything. I agree with this to an extent because of the way in which enlightenment, or this idea of understanding goes along with just that, you can’t argue with certain types of reason, the pen is blue because there is a definite idea of what blue is and you cannot change that, so reason is important when trying to become enlightened.

Descartes famous for his “I think therefore I am” theory is someone who I can agree with.  In his two meditations he goes through what he understands in both of the senses I am talking about in my idea of enlightenment.  He starts by saying in his first meditation, “Whatever I have accepted until now as most true has come to me through my senses”, which I agree with because it goes back to what Mettrie was talking about with reason but on a more personal level, like saying, “this pan is hot, I know because I touched it and it burned me”.  In his fourth meditation Descartes says, “I previously accepted as perfectly certain and evident many things that I afterwards realized were doubtful”, in reference to thinking about understanding in a spiritual sense, using things like your perception and imagination.  I also agree with this but less than I agree with his senses theory a little bit more because of the tangible evidence senses provide, which is not to say that your perception of a color or thing changes your feeling, it does and can, but the concreteness that goes along with the theory in his first meditation is more appealing to me when thinking of my theory of enlightenment.

Milton deals heavily with reason in his piece which we were assigned (“Aeroepogitica”).  When talking about reason and trying to convince other people he says, “When a man writes to the world, he summons up all his reason and deliberation to assist him”  talking about how reason can allow you to gain a better understanding of arguments for yourself.  We know this because the piece was all about him getting people to think to themselves about the politics that went into publishing laws.  I obviously agree with Milton because of the way he used reason in his argument to make people think about the laws and how the politics should not factor in when thinking about how pieces should be protected from the authors and readers and even publishers standpoint.

Equiano, whom I agree with most tells the story of her life.  The ideas and theories she comes up with about the world are all based around what she was taught by her parents and family mixed with what she learned about the world just through experience.  She says in the middle of her writing “The next day proved a day of greater sorrow than I had yet experienced” which greatly appeals to what I think about when I am forming my theories about enlightenment.  Equiano had all of these experiences that lead her to her understanding of what life was about, through her perception.  A quote comes to mind, “Experience is the mother of knowledge” (Cervantes), which is what enlightenment is all about, the way in which you take in and experience life and create an understanding of knowledge.


La Mettrie:


  • Meditation 1:

  • Meditation 2:



Man from Cambridge.

The man from Cambridge

Came to me.

Sat me down upon his knee.

Told me about life and peril

That if I should want heir’s id best get sterile


Life is crazy man

Life is wack

All these people talking at me

Not with me

Man give me some slack.


He told me Son

With fire in his eyes

It is I, I am him

Who knows all the stars in the sky.

Ive been here long

And I have been here first

I have the knowledge to quench your thirst.


Life is a journey

I gotta take it myself

Put my hands in my pockets

My fears on that shelf.

Telling me what I should do

Gotta do,

Its my life you see,

Get off my back man

Stop talking at me.

Witchcraft, I think.

For this week’s topic of Witchcraft and the enlightenment I chose a case of an elderly woman by the name of Jane Dodson.  She was tried as a witch for what they said to have been using her “divers Hellish arts and Incantations to destroy divers persons” they said that she had “lamed and distorted” a woman named Mary Palmer.  I found this interesting because they had no evidence brought up against this woman, all that they had said was that she was the one who did it.  However one of the diver’s persons showed up at her trial which was evidence and defense for her that she did not kill them and she was acquitted.

What I had found so interesting was the fact that this woman’s life was on the line simply because of someone else’s hysteria that she was a witch.  There was no evidence she killed anyone the person who she was said to have killed could have been just napping or something as mild as that.  In the reading for Ankarloo it was said, “There was of course nothing new about scepticism: witchcraft was inherently implausible, critics had long argued; it depended on cozening and credulity, and had no cast-iron Biblical Warrant” (Ankarloo, 1), which is something we can recognize as to the reasoning people of this time period used to put people on trial.

The reading that we did for this week that made me think of this as something to correlate to was the ghost story reading.  The book was about superstition and how it does crazy things to people if you read it the opening line is, “few things have influenced and controlled the destiny of men so largely as superstition.”  This is one of the truest things to think about when dealing with this case.  The superstitions and fears of this area where the case happened is what caused this woman to almost meet death.  The title of the article I looked up started out “Jane Dodson royal offenses>religious offenses” which says a lot about the article in the first place.  In class especially if we look back we see that religion, some would argue, had nothing to do with the overall witch trials that were so famous in this time period but some kind of way in which to be rid of people who pissed you off in a way.  This hysteria was mob mentality driven in the sense that it scared people in to being part of the greater picture and idea of the witch trials but something that started out possibly as one person being angry with another and getting that group of people all worked up in order to have someone killed by the hysteria itself.



Bailey’s article:|sorcery#highlight



Sexual Orientation as possible Construct

One’s own sexual orientation, in today’s society, is something that greatly defines and changes the way in which they can be viewed.  We talked in class about the different types of sexual orientation as they could or could not relate to an origin found in heterosexuality.  We also spoke about how if one is homosexual then they are immediately introduced as such for example, “my gay friend James” versus, “my straight friend Becky”.

A huge thing that factors into thinking about gender as it differs from ones sexuality is the stereotypes in society which we went over in class.  These stereotypes being something like boy babies should be wrapped in blue blankets and girl babies in pink, but the question is posed as to whether or not our biological sex is something that that factors in as a sort of “origin” of our gender as it pertains to those social stereotypes.  I believe that your sex, in today’s society is something that simply directs what bathroom you use when you go to school; you can break all the stereotypes of today in any way shape or form you’d like, for example in the 1950’s you’d not likely see a young man wearing a rainbow colored t shirt in public, and now with the help of time, we have things like pride parades for what orientation you see yourself as.  I don’t believe however that this originates from your gender, especially in today’s society.  I do not think that homosexuality derives from heterosexuality, I believe that basically one day someone, a man or woman, decided that they wanted something different yet the same and found it in their personal gender, making heterosexuality simply the norm of society rather than an origin of homosexuality.

I do agree with Judith Butler who would say that there is no written “male” or “female” within a relationship especially in that of a gay relationship.  She says, “to claim that there is no performer prior to the performed, that the performance is performative, that the performance constitutes the appearance of a ‘subject’ as its effect is difficult to accept” when talking about an understanding with people who find things hard to wrap their head around the fact that it would be sexually possible to have an exact man or woman in the relationship where two people are of the same biological sex.

In swift’s poem which we read he supports the idea that stereotypes can define people you’d never come to know until they were essentially undressing like in the prose. He uses imagery to help you better understand his argument like, “to pluck her brows in arches round, or hairs that sing the forehead low, or on her chin like bristles grow.”  This alludes to an idea that no one is able to be themselves in society within the sexuality that comforts them unless they are alone.  This is where Butler’s essay helped me to better understand Swift’s piece, because she gives me an understanding of how different sexuality and acceptance of that was (shown in Swift’s piece) long ago versus now.

Judith Butler:


Race as a Social Construct

Race as it pertains to the time period is a big thing to think about when dealing with something like morality.  I say morality because it is something that is subjective and race is something that one does not choose upon being born (duh).  In the “Equiano” reading the narrator starts out by saying, “I hope the reader will not think I have trespassed on his patience in introducing myself to him with some account of the manners and customs of my country”, which is what I am getting at.  People (Black people) were led to believe that they were lesser because this idea that the color of your skin represents some kind of caste which you can never escape from.  You even go onto read that the main character was very intellectual he states early on, “I was trained up from my earliest years in the art of war”. Clearly race is being used in this story as something that is defining someone regardless of who they are/what they are capable in this life.

Race and Racism is everything, and always, what society and people make it out to be.  Years ago Black people and White people could not share the same water fountain, now obviously this is wrong, but then again that is just my outlook on the matter (It is wrong).  The racial struggle going on in the reading of “Racial Formation” was an outlook that said that people with different skin colors means that their status as a human being was different, in the case of this reading the White race thought of as superior than the Black race.  This reading highlights my point more on page 55 when the author suggests that, “racial formation is the sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed”.

My point with these two readings of course being that the subjectivity of morality is what creates these racial problems we see in the time of enlightenment.  I believe that in the times of these two writings race was definitely something that was a social construct even to the extent, as we can tell from history, of slavery and segregation.  In today’s society you can definitely see race is still something that people make it, we talked in class about the Miley Cyrus performance at the vma’s as something that may have been specifically geared towards a certain race of people in order to gain fan status, where as we also brought up the rapper Eminem who simply does the things he does, not to identify with a certain crowd (like we said Miley may have been) but because the audience that Eminem is popular with is because he is who he is, rather than putting up a front to get a different “demographic” like Miley Cyrus was accused of.

In my life I have noticed race play as a social construct in things as simple as lunch in high school. This was the time where everything about anyone was determined by where they sat at lunch.  People act very differently around different groups of people in this specific type of social situation.  You may have noticed as I have noticed how generally people act a certain way around different demographics as it pertains to their race, for example a spot in the cafeteria where most of the time it is all black people or all white people there is some kind of prior knowledge in all the students heads that this is where who is sitting.  Which is not to say that there is segregation within the cafeteria (that would be an insane notion) this is just to say that one can see thing so simply as this in simple situations like lunch time.


Equiano reading,

“Racial Formation”

“Hat” Teaching Through Example

The book that caught my attention was a book called “Hat” by Paul Hoppe.  The book is about a boy and his mother walking through a park where the boy sees a hat sitting on a park bench.  The boy likes the hat and puts it on imagining all of the wonderful things which he could do if he had this hat for himself.  He planned on keeping the hat for himself when his mother informed him that someone somewhere was probably missing that hat for whatever reason they needed it.  The boy came to the realization that that hat belonged to someone and had meant something special to them.

This book reminded me of the portion of Tuesday’s lecture where we went over this idea of virtue and how that was passed down from parent to child in the time of the enlightenment.  I enjoyed the idea of the book because it portrays the way in which people teach their children how the world works from the time of the enlightenment and now even.  I believe it to be appropriate because of how the child gives his feelings on the hat and what he thought the right thing to do was, then he brought it up to the mother who did what she could to steer the child in the path of honesty and morality as it pertains to the adolescent feelings the child had toward the hat.

Locke I would say agrees with this idea and it shows in his first sentence of “Some thoughts concerning education”, when he states, “Section 67. Manners, as they call it, about which children are so often perplex’d, and have so many goodly exhortations made them by their wise maids and governesses, I think, are rather to be learnt by example than rules…”.  This quote strictly outlines what the book was trying to get across throughout its entirety with the mother (Governess in Locke’s words) was steering the child in the direction of honesty.

Strausberger also described the same things as the book was teaching the readers about morality.  Strausberger, I would say, believed that people (children in this case) learned by example or teaching.  Strausberger actually quotes someone else in his piece which pertains to this, he quoted Aimee Dorr, who said, “As they grow older, they become increasingly like us and therefore intelligible to us, but at each age or stage of development there is something for adults to learn more about, to be amused by, and to adjust to.”  Which would show that she would agree with this idea that Children learn and develop very much from forms of example.  The mother in the story was teaching the boy how things were so that boy is more likely to grow up and teach his children the same life lessons.

Lastly I pull from Blake’s piece which we were assigned to add to my point that children learn by example.  I pull specifically from the poem, “Schoolboy”, this poem, as we had talked about in class, was about a schoolboy longing for the butterflies and lazy happiness that adolescence and life had to offer but was eventually trumped by the ways and rules of adults.  The line that outlines this idea is when he says, “But to go to school in a summer morn,
Oh! it drives all joy away”.  The boy eventually had to come to the realization that he had to go to school and learn just like adults when they were his age.  This idea once again telling about how parents teach their kids, who lead by the example, which the parents learned when they were kids.


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