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Absurdism

21 Apr

 In a general sense, absurdism is a philosophical element that addresses the people’s problem in searching for sense of their own life in contrast to the lack of it’s meaning.

In philosophy, “The Absurd” refers to the conflict between people’s inability to seek the real meaning in life. It does not mean “logically impossible”, it’s more “humanly impossible”.

Absurdism is not created by the universe and the human mind separately but rather it arises from the two existing together at the same time.

Therefore, Absurdism is a “philosophical school of thought” that states that the people’s effort of finding the true meaning of life will ultimately fail and therefore be “absurd”. Because such meanings don’t exist at least in relation to the individual.

Absurdism also looks at the nature of the Absurd and how individuals react to it once aware of it. Absurdism has its origins in the 19th century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. It was born of the European existentialist movement that ensued when the French Algerian philosopher and writer Almus Camus rejected certain aspects from that philosophical line of thought and published his manuscript “The Myth of Sisyphus”. Absurdism developed especially in France after World War 1.

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Class and Identity

15 Apr

Our sense of class and identity has developed notably in the past 100 years. Two factors which caused this change are the change in demographics in Europe, and the general discontent of the lower class. Such a scene can be experienced in Azerbaijan because although social class distinctions exist they are certainly loosening.

In every society class distinctions exist, and an extremely large percent of society belongs in the lower class. This is why if there is discontent among the lower class, then such distinctions can be perished. The reason why in the past 100 years there have been a general development in identity is because of revolutions and violence caused mostly by the lower class. Class distinctions also have significantly loosened especially in the west however it still exists. For example as one can observe the social structure in Pygmalion has become awfully loose and even members of the middle class do not respect the boundaries set by it.

Secondly the changing demographics in Europe and around the world led to an increased amount of income. Certain members of the lower class became rich as high class members, but they did not speak, dress, or behave in the way which the higher class behaved. It is obvious that Eliza Doolittle is poor but she is willing to apply for a job and at least become upper lower class or “genteel poor”. In addition Mr. Doolittle Eliza’s father also becomes rich by accident, although he cannot speak or behave like the middle or higher class members. He has the financial status but lacks the other properties. This led to the loosening of class structure and as people realised that the only difference between classes were speech, clothes, and behaviour class distinctions loosened further. Changing demographics also lead to unfair income distribution as well as loosening class distinctions. An example from Pygmalion is how Mr. Higgins can afford to give Mr. Doolittle £5 while on the other hand Mr. Doolittle considers this a large enough amount to sacrifice his morals and sell his daughter.

Azerbaijan is a relatively young state and it was created in 1991, and because of the Soviet occupation for more than 70 consecutive years Azerbaijan was influenced to stray from class distinctions. As Azerbaijan advanced into the late 1990’s class distinctions became more obvious and rigid. In Pygmalion the same situation is experienced because at the time class distinctions were loosening. A strong connection which one can make with Pygamlion is the language distinction. In Azerbaijan the relatively conservative higher class population prefers to maintain the Azerbaijani language while some members mostly nouveau riche prefer to speak Russian.

Perfection: Social Structure

9 Mar
Statue showing the average soviet man and woman wielding a hammer and sickle

The cover of a famous documentary by Michael Moore "Capitalism: A Love Story"

              Socialism mounted to power in Russia after forcing the Tsarist regime into abdication. Russia was lagging behind all industrial powers of Europe in production of goods. Socialism seemed as the perfect discipline which could eradicate the humongous gap between Russia’s potential and actual production. Socialism in theory is a political discipline in which all resources in a society are shared equally and all members of that society are equal and work together to achieve a set goal. The creators of basic ideas of socialism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, had presumed that if this system would be put into practice it would perfect society. If implied without alteration socialism aimed to improve living standards, abolish differences in social status to perfect society in the long run.

               During the years when the Socialist Party had established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, equality was regarded as perfection. The equality of all members of society men women, as well as different nations within the USSR borders was regarded as an essential factor to Soviet success. Social issues could be resolved this way leading to political stability and economic growth, which was mainly the reason for such advertisement and provision of equality. The Soviet advertisement or propaganda was so powerful that all members of this communist society believed that equality was the perfect social status which had been achieved in the USSR.

               One may consider Socialism and Capitalism as complete opposites. Despite that there have been points in History when these systems have been extremely similar in practice; the theories are opposite. The extreme contrast can be seen in the inequality which the Capitalist system causes. The socialist system can be seen as all socialist men and women of different nations as equal workers with equal rations. On the other hand the capitalist photo shows a man hiding a sack of money and disguising himself as a patriot by waving a small American flag. This shows the corruptibility and inequality which the capitalist system has led to in some cases. This is exactly what most of the general Soviet population believed.

               Thus leading back into the idea of perfection one can see that during the reign of Vladimir Lenin perfection in the Soviet republics, for example Azerbaijan was seen as equality. While today capitalism is considered as the perfect system because of its victory over communism, and the fact that it has adapted through years of tough mending to be the most sophisticated social system. Although one would like to conclude by saying that it is average human behavior to ruin perfect equality, and systems which restrict such behavior lead to failure. Thus a perfect social structure where all members of society are equal is impossible to achieve.

Speech Therapy

8 Mar

               Speech therapy is treatment for pronunciation and language disorders. One can be diagnosed with such a disorder due to an inability of producing certain sounds or inability of constructing sentences of one’s own.  Demand for speech therapy rose sharply in the turn of the century, more specifically 1890 to 1920. This rise was mainly due to four reasons.

                Primarily, what led to a desire for speech therapy was the increased awareness of what communication is, and what problems miscommunication caused. The general populations in Europe were starting to realize that speech was one of the most important factors in their life. After seeing the atrocities of WWI presumably all Europeans had felt the grave problems miscommunication caused. Secondly, changing population demographics in Europe, especially the most industrialized countries such as Britain or France communication became extremely important. Thirdly technological and social advances who almost everyone wanted to know about. Education was developing and to develop with trends and breakthroughs the general population of Europe had to perfect their communication abilities. Another relatively small factor is that many soldiers fighting in WWI had speech disabilities due to the use of poison gas during the war. Soldiers who wanted to recover their pre-war speech abilities appealed to Speech and Language Pathologists. Finally, the mere expansion of speech therapy services led to a desire to perfect speech. Now Speech Language Pathologists did not only give lectures in universities but instead chose to establish clinics aiding those suffering from speech disabilities.

Connection between William Cowper’s life and his poem “Castaway”

4 Mar

                William Cowper had a miserable life in which he attempted suicide three times. Due to his partial insanity William Cowper retired to the countryside where he met John Newton, probably the most detrimental figure in his life. Cowper suffered three breakdowns in the countryside, and in 1796 his patron’s who took care of him died leaving Cowper alone to deal with his insanity. This drove Cowper further insane and his belief in predestination and his damnation by God worsened the situation.

                “Castaway” was a poem written by William Cowper after the death of his patron and after heavy influence from John Newton. The thematic idea of the poem is abandonment, and it is refers to Cowper’s life. Presumably the man who thrown overboard is William Cowper and those who do not change the course of the boat are his patron’s and relatives who took care of him. William Cowper feels betrayed, because no man should be abandoned with his condition. This is expressed when the poet writes, “Deserted, and his friends so nigh.” In addition in many lines of the poem Cowper refers to his damned fate. “When such a destined wretch as I,” is a line which shows that Cowper truly believed if he would part from this world he would certainly part to hell. While taking into account that Cowper was in his mid 60s when writing “Castaway”, one can clearly identify why Cowper has chosen to express his opinions about his abandonment and damnation. At this point in his life Cowper demons had become more real than ever.

                The “Castaway” is a poem mostly dedicated to the later stage of Cowper’s life when he was abandoned by everyone and left alone to deal with his partial insanity. It speaks about the misery caused by his abandonment and damnation.