1.The Mind’s eye
You may choose the second reading from the following: Only choose one!!
2. “The Mega-Marketing of Depression” by Ethan Watters [NHR 512-32] OR “Son,” Andrew Solomon, NHR 369-90. An Elephant Crackup?” Charles Siebert, NHR 351-67; OR “The Power of Context: Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime,” Malcolm Gladwell, NHR 148-164; OR “Homo Religiosus,” Karen Armstrong, NHR 1-23
4 pages long, double spaced. 1 intro and 2 body paragraph and 1 conclusion.
READ BELOW, I LISTED each article’s abstract and choose one you think have connection with The Mind’s eye and discussion these 2 article together.
This semester, we’ve had the opportunity to investigate a range of human behaviors, many of which we evaluated according to whether those behaviors seemed “appropriate,” or “normal.” In our latest article, “The Mega-Marketing of Depression,” Ethan Watters describes how an American pharmaceutical company went about changing cultural attitudes toward depression that were prevalent in Japan at the time (Watters 520). As a result, many Japanese people have now taken a drug prescribed for an illness that only recently Japanese society largely disavowed.
In “Son,” Andrew Solomon argues that there are two kinds of identities that humans possess: a) “vertical” ones, like those that connect us to the members of our families; and b) “horizontal” identities that humans “acquire…from a peer group” (Solomon 370). Though much of our class discussion has focused thus far this semester on aspects of human consciousness, to some extent, issues of identity have present in all of those conversations.
The authors of our first three readings have challenged us to consider just how conscious we really are of the world we inhabit. Charles Siebert, following Gay Bradshaw’s call for the development of a “trans-species psyche,” argued that in order to diminish the severity of the Human-Elephant Conflict, human beings need to make “a commitment to move beyond an anthropocentric frame of reference” (Siebert 362). Malcolm Gladwell asserted that the seemingly mundane features of our surroundings can have profound subliminal effects on our conscious lives. And in “Homo Religiosus,” Karen Armstrong uses the wordekstasis (“standing outside oneself”) to describe the state of consciousness toward which early religion was aimed. She adds that modern humans “who no longer find [ekstasis] in a religious setting resort to other outlets: music, dance, art, sex, drugs, or sport”
Malcolm Gladwell investigates the power that an environment wields over those who inhabit it. He begins with the story of a man named Bernie Goetz, a New York City resident who violently attacked four men who were likely attempting to dispossess him of five dollars. Gladwell advances a thesis that the behaviors displayed by both Goetz and the young men were the likely products of the things they encountered in their daily lives. In support of his argument, Gladwell introduces the “Broken Windows Theory” and describes the efforts of some to put that theory into practice. He fortifies his project by turning to two academic studies done on the effects context has on the choices that human beings make. Charles Siebert, you will remember, also made persuasive points about the importance that environment has in shaping the ways in which animals, including humans, see themselves, others and the choices before them.
Charles Siebert’s “An Elephant Crackup?”, adds its own wrinkle to that theme by investigating how human beings perceive their role in the Human-Elephant Conflict [HEC], as well as the effects that conflict has left on both animals. Siebert emphasizes the impacts of the HEC by giving a place of privilege to the perspective expressed by Eve Abe, a woman whose doctoral research described the effects of the violence of Idi Amin’s regime on both the people and the elephants of Uganda. Abe, a refugee of the violence herself, argues that underlining the human characteristics of elephants is an essential part of her work: “To me it’s something I see so clearly. Most people are scared of showing that kind of anthropomorphism. But coming from me it doesn’t sound like I’m inventing something. It’s there. People know it’s there. Some might think that the way that I describe elephant attacks makes the animals look like people. But people are animals” (Siebert 359).