Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mario Savio on the operation of the Machine

So, like the rest of the latest generation, I first heard a piece of this speech as a sample from the Linkin Park song "Wretches and Kings" off of their latest album "A Thousand Suns". Mario Savio, presented in this video, was the leader of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960's, a campaign of protests in Berkeley, California by the students of Berkeley University against the university administration for free speech and academic freedom on-campus (against which, there was a ban).

I was so moved by it that I was compelled to designate it a blog post of its own. So, here it is (needless to say but being said anyway: Mario Savio is the 2nd speechgiver):

Saturday, December 11, 2010

10 All Souls Questions

So, I came across The Pixies’ blog today and, on his most recent blog post, read answers to 10 random questions that were posed to one of his friends on an All Souls College exam, which he decided to answer himself. I was quite intrigued and stimulated by the questions and wanted to provide answers that were different then what Pixies put. I went to the site where a PDF of the questions were posed, and there were 10 sets of them, tackling all kinds of issues.

So, I wrote down the range of number of questions in each set and asked my mother to pick a random number in each range. Here is what she wrote down.

So here is what I answered:

2) Do we need a written constitution? European or other?
Most certainly, if not for the God-less literalists who ask dumb questions like “There’s nothing saying that killing people is wrong, so why shouldn’t I do it?”, then just for the sake of any given nation’s people being united by the document that declares the basis for what is considered a civilized and law-abiding person in their country.

24) What difference should it make to feminism whether gender differences are natural or socially constructed?
A rational feminist fights for equal opportunity in labor, school, and any other infrastructural or social position, as well as equal weight in their say of the direction of the country or world. If the gender difference is socially constructed, then the fight is against humanity’s stupidity. If the gender difference is natural, then the fight is against their own physical limits.

31) Should we regret the establishment of the green belt?
Most certainly not. If anything, some green belts should re-created.

30) Does archaeology allow us to assess standards of living?
I was under the impression that it did. I don’t see why it wouldn’t.

19) Can happiness be measured?
In very general, socially perceived ways. Not scientifically, unless there is specific biologic actions/reactions that occur when the body believes happiness is present (most of this can be observed during sex). I think a good start is finding out if the individual is happy – generally satisfied, happy – in good spirits, happy – appreciative, etc., and go from there.

17) If the world were run by economists we would not need a World Trade Organization. Discuss.
Economy is not my strong suit, but I suppose this is the same as saying “If America were run by Wall Street, we would not need government regulation.”

15) Should governments support scientific research when there may be no technological benefit?
Why must the only benefit be to technology?

4) Is there anything a historian of literature can learn from soap-operas?
Soap-operas can make just as much of a statement about their current time and social context as literature can. So, the historian can learn from it the same things (s)he learns from a thorough study of literature.

7) Does contemporary aesthetics need a concept of beauty?
Tricky question, much trickier and in-depth than what I'll give here.
By establishing a central concept of it, beauty can be subject to innovation, agreement and union amongst a majority, standards, and can just be something tangible in everyday communication. Of course, the downside of this is that if there is a solid concept of beauty, you, by default, designate a solid concept of ugly.
In response to this, multiple types of beauty concepts can be constructed, but regardless of how many there are and the number continues to grow to, there will always be someone who doesn’t fit any of them.
So, I will lean in the chaotic direction and say no.

29) What does sovereignty mean today?
Today? It means “rich businessman”. Note: this word is also interchangeable with the adjective “corrupt”.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and believe I will pick another random 10 questions to answer in another blog post!