Name: Caitie Benoit
Culture Trumps Pain
Sub-Concepts: Culture, Torture, Beauty
Description: In Africa women and some men depending on their tribe participate in the tradition of lip stretching, piercing, and wearing lip plates. This tradition shows signs of beauty and also can represent the social class of the woman or man with the lip plate.
Interpretation: There are hundreds of different cultures in the world today and each culture brings with them new and old traditions that may seem extremely strange or really intriguing to us. But who are we to judge? We do some really strange things that are considered traditions and part of our culture that other cultures find just as weird. In Africa, lip stretching has been a tradition for multiple generations and is not restricted to only one part of Africa. Different tribes use the tradition in different ways, some allowing both genders to partake and some restricting the stretching to women only. Tribes also have different placements for the lip plug. Some pierce the upper lip, some stretch the lower lip, and some do a mixture of both. Lip stretching has been a tradition of the African Cultures for a long period of history.
The lip stretching is done either as a newborn or as the woman grows up. As a child, the mother would first insert a thorn into the child’s lip and insert blades of grass until the hole grew to be around two centimeters in diameter. It is said that babies are less apt to know what pain is, which is why parents decide to pierce their children’s ears when they are babies. But piercing the lip of a children and then proceeding to stretch it to the desired diameter is a painful experience. Stretching the lip beginning when the woman is older is also a painful experience. The process usually includes the removal of at least two teeth in order to make room for the lip plug. The skin and lip tissue are forced to stretch around the plug and eventually conform to the shape of the plug.
Almost everyone knows the pain of over stretching a muscle or the uncomfortable feeling of skin getting pulled in multiple directions. Neither of these feelings are particularly pleasurable and generally cause a lot of discomfort. However, these women and men are subjecting themselves to the discomfort of using up to a 6 inch lip plate in a round or trapezoidal shape to stretch the skin and tissue of the lips. Culture and tradition play important roles in the lives of these people. It is said that the larger the lip plug, the more social status that woman held in society. The lip plugs were also considered to make women beautiful and unique. They were in comparison to the beards of men. The pain was worth the desire to be beautiful and the desire to have high ranking in society. Cultural traditions often cause pain to the follower, but the immense pain is withstood to prove cultural devotion.
Name: Lawson Hung
Region: Southeast Asia
Sub-concepts: Smell, Hunger, Life
Description: After touring southeast Asia, a backpacker returned to Edinburgh to find a 3-inch leech, about as thick as her thumb, living inside her nose and feeding on her blood.
Interpretation: Daniela Liverani’s sense of smell was intruded upon when she found out that there was a 3-inch leech living inside her nose. At first, she thought nothing of the leech. She thought it was just a booger, or a congealed blood vessel that had resulted from a motorcycle incident. It would come out when she was in the shower, a warm and moist place to be. However, whenever she tried to pull it out with her fingers, it would just retreat back into her nose. The leech had been there for about an entire month, curled up in a ball inside her nose. It had been feeding on her blood, sucking on the blood vessels inside Daniela’s nose, which caused her frequent nose bleeds. Daniela thought this too was attributed to the motorcycle crash that she had been in. One day, she finally decided to look in the mirror and found that there were ridges on the leech, which is when she finally found out that it was in fact some sort of animal living inside her nose. The doctors pried it out, but Daniela had to endure half an hour of pain as the doctors pried and pulled the little bugger out with tweezers. The doctors told Daniela that if she had not done anything, the leech would have eventually made its way up to her brain. The leech had been feeding on her blood the entire time, in an attempt to survive. Eventually, if nothing was done, Daniela would have died from the leech’s feeding on her blood, and eventually her brain vessels. The leech was as fat as her thumb, after feeding on her blood for a whole month. The leech had probably made its way up her nose via a swimming pool or drinking water. At points, Daniela reported feeling the leech going up as far as her eyebrows, dangerously close to the brain. It was a situation of life or death, and only one of them, either Daniela or the leech, could live. It is amazing how parasitic relationships work, such as in this instance. Daniela and the leech lived peacefully together for a month, with only minor effects, like Daniela’s nose bleeds. It would not be long, however, before one of them would eventually die.
Name: Ayse Onen
Region: United Kingdom
Sub-concepts: Death, Immortality, Permanence
Description: And Vinyl, a U.K based online service company, creates upon request vinyl records made out of people’s ashes. People who have agreed to use this service are able to record a voice note, either their own voice or a selection of songs with a limit of twenty-four minutes, prior to their death which would then be inserted into their own vinyl record.
It is rare for people to leave a mark on earth after they pass away. Millions of people die every day only to be forgotten soon after their death. We pass away without leaving any trace behind us. However, it is in our dream to be remembered forever. We do not want to cut all of our links with the mortal world, we want to leave behind a trace, something that can be found and remembered.
For years, people have tried many ways, even unusual and strange ones, in order to preserve their bodies after death. These include mummification, cloning, body freezing and many other unconventional techniques. What all these techniques had in common was the desire to save their bodies, with the hope of staying in touch with the earth even after they pass away. And Vinyl, which rhymes with And Finally, offers people the key to physical immortality. After death, people either choose to be buried or to be cremated. Either way, our bodies are bound to disappear under the force of nature. And Vinyl, however, offers people to attain permanence and even to leave a very personal aspect ourselves behind; our voice. Years after our death, we would still be able to pass through a message to others. We would also take the form of an object which people can feel and listen to, which differs it from any other media and audio sources. The idea of becoming a vinyl record after we die, makes the uncertainty of death more predictable and the concept of death becomes more accepted.
Sub Concept: Fear, High, Thrill
Extreme sports are a very dangerous activity only pursued by some of the most thrill seeking adventurists in the world. Ridge biking is a type of mountain biking which only involves biking on the most narrow, rocky, and dangerous paths in the world. The challenge is in being able to stay on the path while moving fast enough to clear the obstacles. It is one of the most dangerous sports in the world, and the bikers that do it know all too well the dangers involved.
In some cases conflicting emotions are perceived by the human body as one in the same. Pleasure in many cases is that second emotion that many others find ways of mimicking. Fear is one of the ones that tricks the human body most easily, and mountain biking on the tallest and most dangerous spots on earth is one of the ways to do it. Extreme sports are all similar in the fact that they evoke a certain type of danger and fear sense on the individual. Relatively speaking, if you are a trained professional with years of experience some of that danger is hedged through both experience and familiarity, but other times the only thing keeping you from death is pure dumb luck. In the unique cases that these types of people do outrageous things and put their lives at risk for a sport, we have come to call them thrill or pleasure seekers. The same actions that would cause most people to panic and stress instead produce heightened senses of pleasure and excitement in these unique types of people.
The characteristics of emotions are therefore not the same for everyone. Fear for some people is a negative emotion, while for others it manifests into pleasure. The question becomes however, if the fear that these people are experiencing while mountain biking is in fact fear at all. For fear to manifest into pleasure, through no real changes to the outside experience, it must be something that is determined by the mind. These select individuals may not be experiencing fear at all, and could instead be perceiving their innate bodily reactions as fear, and mentally contrasting that with their desire to experience that type of sensation. Thrill seekers who gain pleasure from doing dangerous activities may be able to convert their body’s natural reactions into pleasure by removing the fear element itself. Without fear, the only things that are left are dopamine, adrenaline, and increased heart rate – all of which by themselves are positive sensations in the brain. Pleasure is therefore unique because it puts into question the idea that it can be experienced simultaneous to other contrasting emotions. When people find pleasure in pain, if the same principles exist, do they really not feel pain beyond their bodily reactions? Pleasure is one of the only sensations that has the ability to overrule judgment, making it an easy candidate for other fighting subconscious elements of the human emotion and bodily reaction scale to come through. Not that everyone who does these activities is purely fearless, but surely a piece of the human reaction that is supposed to be dedicated to exaggerating that fear goes to the pleasure receptors of the brain, imitating the other emotions and supporting the desire to continue the dangerous activities to reach that heightened state of pleasure.
Name: Emre Kulluk
Sub-Concepts: Excess, Pleasure, Objects
Region: Istanbul, Turkey
Description: Topkapi Palace, which used to be the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for around 400 years, attracts millions of visitors by many different objects it accommodates including the relics of Muhammad.
Interpretation: Topkapi Palace is one of the magical places in the world that impresses the visitors by its magnitude, appearance and significance. The place it is situated, the style it is built and the area it covers reflects what kind and how much power the title ‘Sultan’ is capable of possessing. Nowadays, other than physical power it demonstrates by the excessiveness of courtyards, rooms and fine art landscaping, it takes its power by being one of the most visited museums in Turkey. Examples of Ottoman architecture, miniature, weapons, calligraphic manuscripts and most importantly, Islamic relics create an attraction power for the visitors.
One of the most visited and the most impressive sections in the Topkapi Museum is the Imperial Harem which once was the private compartment of the sultan. Nobody was allowed in this section without the approval of the sultan’s viziers. In the museum set up of the palace, this area serves as the way to learn to daily home routine of the sultans and it fascinates the visitors. Although the Harem extravagantly contains more than 400 rooms, the area that draws most attention is the courtyard of sultan’s consorts and concubines. Ottoman sultans are known to be very greedy about woman and every single of them had tens of mistresses. Other than being the sultan of one of the most influential empires of the time, Ottoman sultans also carried ‘caliph’ and ‘khan’ titles. All these titles sourced them incalculable amount of power and authority. They were able to take any woman they liked into their team of mistresses. The luxurious and fancy lifestyle in the palace appealed most of the young woman they liked and they all agreed to be one of the sultan’s mistress.
Other than the libertinage sections of the Ottoman sultan’s, Topkapi Palace also present artifacts that are highly respected by masses. Prophet Muhammad’s artifacts such as his tooth, his beard, his footprint, his holy mantle, his sacred seal and his blessed sandals brings millions of visitors that are willing to see things that belongs to one of the most powerful and influential people that ever existed. Although Muhammad never wanted himself picturized because he thought having a picture of him would end up in idolatry, relics of him in the Topkapi Museum are his only remainings. It is possible to question whether those objects really belong to him and how did they remained in good condition for thousands of years; however, the holy and religious powers that Muhammad’s artifacts generates makes Muslims from all over the world visit Topkapi Palace as a kind of pilgrimage. The Privy Chamber which houses the Chamber of Sacred Relics is one of the places in this world where spiritual power outweighs the power of rationality.
Prospering by Death
Name: Deniz Ozmen
Sub-Concept: Pain, Death
Description: In 1979, China announced the start of the one child policy, all over the nation. The policy limits couples to a single child. Any couple to have another baby were to pay three times the annual salary or 18,000$ in some cases. Over the last 35 years, families who could not afford such price had to pay the ultimate price. There has been numerous cases where officials took pregnant women away from their homes to force them to have an abortion and in more violent cases women were hunted down.
Today China’s population is around 1.5 billion and still counting despite this policy. One could say if this policy had not been used, China’s population would have been much higher, while mortality rates would have increased as well due to limited supply of food. After Mao Zedong’s unsuccessful attempts to revitalize the agriculture in the country, China went into a deeper crisis in terms of civil unrest due to political ideologies and long term shortage of supplies which lead to the famous era of “Great Leap Forward”. “Great Leap Forward” became “Great Destruction Forward”. Destruction in this case never left China. Mao Zedong destroyed the land and his people so his very own people could survive. Despite his demise, his idea of killing few in sake of the many still continues to haunt pregnant mothers. Many would look at this situation as a concept of death, but in truth the concept of destruction lies within the situation. Countless pregnant woman were forced to destroy a piece of themselves living and growing inside them because they could not afford the monetary price. Just because they did not have money, unborn babies that never saw a glimpse of light lost their lives without even knowing why. Almost five hundred million victims like them exist and not exist in the same time. These victims probably were not and will not be buried in proper manners either. Their existence was always dark for them. In this sense, these victims of the one child policy will never be able to question the authorities but their non-existence has destroyed the lives of many others related to them.
Consequently, in destruction there will always be casualties, but never justification for actions. Today, China has become one of the most powerful nations, and keeps growing every year. Most of the things we use in our houses or everyday lives are made in China. In fact China has come long way from the “Great Leap Forward” over the decades. In order to achieve such success they ultimately had to sacrifice almost five hundred million lives. Five hundred million souls that could have offered endless opportunities and potential that could never be found out. In the end, the purpose of destruction is to open new spaces, but what is the purpose of opening new space if countless live had to sacrificed.
GIVE ME YOUR BLOOD AND I WILL GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT
Name: Natalie Reta
Sub-Concepts: Death, Rituals, Cult, and Fulfillment
There is a cult in Mexico where people pray to “La Santa Muerte” or “Our Lady of the Holy Death” in order to receive money, health or a favor. The devotion to “La Santa Muerte” stems from a hardship or after a loss, where the devotee will ask The Lady to accept them and take them under her wing. If she accepts, they will have to provide a substantial offering in order to recover what they have lost. Currently, some devotees have twisted the religion´s or cult´s commandments and have started making human blood offerings in order to make up for their losses –whether they are physical or intangible.
The Mexican tradition states that the celebration of death will occur once a year during “El Dia de los Muertos” or the “Day of the Dead”. This is the Mexican way of celebrating life and loss. Usually, death is not seen as a loss or as a horrible outcome, but seen as something beautiful and as an opportunity to be grateful for the life a loved one had, and the life one is currently living. Since the Mexican culture is profoundly rooted in religion, a new religion emerged to join this celebration of death. It is commonly known as “La Santa”, where people pray to the personification of death. It is believed that one gets to her in time of need –when one is dealing with financial problems, health issues or a loss of some sort. She is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife. These powers are attributed to the Santa Muerte because death is the ultimate destiny of all living things. Death is transitional. It brings transformation, it regenerates and takes us back to an all encompassing whole. You cannot take away life from death; you cannot take anything away from death. Since all things must die, since all things will be lost in the end and since she is the ultimate void, she holds the ultimate power.
If one is to be part of the cult, there are a number of specifications that one has to follow in order to pray to “La Santa”. These rules are usually meticulously followed because people believe that whatever is asked to “La Santa”, she will grant. There are rituals for success, justice, protection from and against enemies, the return of a lost loved one and so on. Her common offerings usually consist of liquor, tequila and cigarettes. However, a new trend has emerged where people have twisted the commandments –because there are ten, just like in Catholic religion, and started spilling other people´s blood in order to make up for people they themselves have lost. This is related to the spike of drug cartels in Mexico –since a lot of her devotees are drug dealers, but it is also based on the idea that blood, like water, will germinate seeds in the decaying soil and will soon bring new life. Death has all the attributes of stagnation, dying, decaying, germination, regeneration, rebirth and ultimately, resurrection.
Name: Gul Sera Gursoy
Concept: Illusion and Reality
Geographic Location: Turkey
Sub-Concepts: Magic, Illusion, Imagination
Description: The photograph is of Turkish author Latife Takin, who writes in the magical realism style, one that blurs the distinction between what is real and what is imagination.
Interpretation: Throughout this course, we have read many works so far that blur reality and illusion. The Woman of the Dunes is just one example of this, as the book can be read both as a “real” narrative or an imaginary one that is heavy on metaphor. But there is actually a whole style dedicated to this illusion/reality difference called “magical realism,” one that is very popular in Turkey. The author I describe is Latife Tekin, who has written one of my favorite books called Dear Shameless Death about a Turkey family in the provinces in the early 20th century; their daughter cannot tell what is reality and what is illusory (as she constantly sees “jin,” which are like demons) and since the story is voiced her, we don’t really know ourselves.
I think the reason why this style is so popular is because it allows us to view reality from a different perspective. I’ve written before how it is tempting sometimes to escape reality – we’ve seen this with artists and poets earlier who use alcohol or drugs to create an illusory reality – but we can also do this in a less destructive manner, through literature. Magical realism allows us to think differently about whether the world we’re living in has some deeper things occurring that we’re not aware of, without the addiction of other “illusion-inducing” sources.
That Gum You Like is Going to Come Back in Style
Name: Cade Miller
Location: Twin Peaks, Washington
Sub-concepts: The Other, The Double, Absurdism
Description: The use of the illusive character known only as BOB in the Twin Peaks series is relatable to the idea of the double, acting in opposition to Freud’s conception of an inner schism by manifesting itself as an external divisor.
The show Twin Peaks (airing from 1990-1991, and recently being renewed for a 9 episode third season in 2016) revolved at the outset as a murder mystery drama. The lynchpin (I had to) of the show was Laura Palmer, a local and beloved high school girl and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her murder and discovery. As the story develops, however, Laura Palmer’s mother Sarah Palmer begins seeing images of a grotesque man who is later referred to as BOB. While it is shown that the killer is Leland Palmer (Laura’s father) it is shown through Leland looking through mirrors and his hair suddenly turning white overnight that he has been taken over in what can only be described as a parasitic relationship by the higher evil force BOB.
BOB is meant to represent the Freudian theory of psychological repression, and more specifically the repressed desires of the citizens of Twin Peaks. He acts as an other in the sense that he is a physical manifestation of this concept, because instead of the normal act of subduing this desire in the unconscious, it is represented as a physical third party in the show. BOB can be said to represent the repression of past memories in people that threatens the peace and balance in the real. From a psychoanalytic perspective, this is the creation of a double that is locked away in the minds of people. BOB is a force of metaphysical evil because he takes over the body in an unwarranted intrusion, causing the split self to actually exist externally. The image and manifestation of this concept is meant to give body to the repression of deeply rooted denial that can lead back to the earliest of men on Earth. BOB also is a force of physical evil, because he forces the possessed to commit acts of concrete violence against their conscious will. BOB is a projection of the inner psyche of people, hiding initially in the dark woods as a spirit and then comes into play in the realm of society through forced doubling.
One of the more confusing aspects of this plot line is the eventually possession of the FBI agent Dale Cooper, who has been sent to the town to investigate Laura Palmer’s death. It would seems that somebody of his archetype would be certainly immune to such overwhelming forces, but this is clearly not the case. The problem with Dale Cooper is that his conception of society, and his role as a slave to his conscious mind. Since this is totally at odds with the description of BOB being a manifestation of a person’s psyche, it is now clear just how susceptible even Special Agent Dale Cooper is to forced doubling.
Name: Mónica Quirós
Event: The Separation is a short stop-motion film by Robert Morgan about two Siamese twins who were separated during their youth. As the grow old, they grow apart, but a part of them know that they belong with each other; even more so, they are a part of each other. This is an uncanny, violent piece that takes the concept of “loss of self” to another level (watch under your own discretion).
Sub-concepts: Separation, individuality,
Robert Morgan’s The Separation is a perfectly executed representation of how losing part of ourselves can become a violent and unbearable thing. The twins are forcefully separated even though they were happy being a part of each other; when this happens are disoriented and as they grow old they grow apart, because they have been forced to consider themselves different individuals, when in fact they are not. this in many ways is a metaphor for how we are forced to live our lives, suppressing parts of who we are and creating a distinction between the I and the It. This is why, in spite of their distance, the thought of being connect again haunts them. At night, they still ache over the fact that they are not one. The physical pain from the stab wounds is a way of relieving the psychological pain of the loss and reopening the wound is a sign of wanting to reconnect; this only proves how excruciating the separation is.
The process of trying to stitch themselves together is the helpless effort of trying to reconnect to that part that they have lost; the attempt is visceral and violent and ultimately ineffective. Nonetheless, the fact that they were willing to endure the physical pain to alleviate the pain of their loss is significant. Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage (or the double) is very tangible in the film: as soon as you find a way to reconnect with the part of you that you lost, it destroys you.
Regardless of this, there is a need to cling to that part of us that is virtually dead. In the film this part is still taken care of, only in an effort to go back to the primal state of a united being. At the end of the film, the fetus has two head and only one body, which represents that they were truly an indispensable part of each other.
Name: Brooke Morton
Region: 16th Century England
Sub-Concepts: Religion, Fear, Afterlife
In 1586, Margaret Clitherow, a woman who died a martyr in the name of the Catholic Church was pressed to death. There was a large period of Catholic persecution during Queen Elizabeth I’s rule. Regardless of the restrictions placed on her religion, Clitherow decided to build a “priest hole” in her home. The hole was a hideout for clergy to hide in if a raid should occur. She also built a cupboard where she could hide religious emblems like missals, and hired a religious tutor who was giving a lesson to her three children when th house was raided. Clitherow was arrested for treason. Clitherow refused to plead and therefore was sentenced to death by crushing. A large door was placed over Clitherow and rocks were piled on top of the door until her spine was crushed 15 minutes later.
St. Margaret Clitherow was the victim of one of many Catholic executions in the late 1500s. She died a religious martyr because she was so devout to her God and her religion. There are records of her never crying out, but praying while she was being crushed.
People do foolish things for their religion. There is no substantial proof there is Kingdom of Heaven or an afterlife. Yet, people die every day for what they believe in. Some would argue that religion is a basis of fear. Religion manipulates entire groups of people into acting the way the religion wants out of fear of being rejected by God on judgment day. Margaret refused to confess to her crime because she did not want to veer from her path to Christ and did not want her children to have to testify. Although she knew that what she was doing was against the law, she did not believe that she was wrong and therefore refused to say that she was guilty.
It is common for religion and law to conflict. People are constantly choosing between them and the separation is becoming larger and larger. Interestingly enough, both sides can reach a common ground in the way that death is always considered a solution. Keeping faith in religion is supposed to mean that, at death, a person is supposed to receive all of the fruits of heaven, whatever they are believed to be. The “state” or “law” takes pride in ridding the world of people who interrupt the system.
Logically, death commands attention. In the media today, there is rarely any positive stories on the news. Media is constantly flooded with suicide, murder, and bombings. This is proof of the attention given to death. England executing Catholics only brought more attention to the religion. Therefore Catholics were happy to die for the religion because it reinforced their dedication, and inspired other Catholics to continue on in their worship. The logic? Experiencing torture on Earth differs greatly from torture in hell. The difference is that on Earth, torture will end at some point. Everyone dies. Contrary to torture in hell which will go on for always and eternity. The afterlife is a very real experience for devout Catholics. However, their loyalty is directly linked to fear of refusal into heaven.
Alberto Rodriguez Rico
Sub concepts: Space, past, frequency
Description: In April 2013 two brothers set two bombs in the end line of the popular Boston Marathon. The results of these action were 3 deaths and 183 people injured. This event shook the entire city of Boston and merchants still sell merchandise with supporting messages for the city.
The Boston Marathon bombings were an event that struck the whole American population. This specific marathon has a rich history and tradition behind it. However, even though it was detrimental event for humanity; its perception by the world was influenced by the geographic location in which it happened. Several days after the event, we hosted the Babson Latin American Entrepreneurship Forum, in which one of the speakers was the former president of Colombia Alvaro Uribe. He recorded a video and wrote an article in the school about how people all over the world were feeling sorrow for this cause while forgetting even worst violent attacks in their own countries. He recalls a bombing attempt in Bogota in which more than 50 people were killed claiming that no one remembers the event. The bombs were homemade and were not as destructive as a military bomb and therefore the casualties were not as large compared to other attempts in foreign countries. However, the US which is characterized by “security” and stability gave this whole event a larger scope than many other countries did with their own problems. If this happened in another country, it is probable that it would abandon the news and memories of the citizens in less than a week. In contrast Bostonians are still haunted by the memories of this event, even more than a year after. Hence our judgment goes beyond than facts itself, we live blinded by what media shows and wants us to think. We are the puppets of the journalists which attempt to a larger conspiracy than to just honor the fallen ones.
The Power of Language
Name: Kenza Mouaqit
Sub-Concepts: Violence, Death, Ignorance
Description: Throughout World War II, the world witnessed the over increasing power of Hitler as a dictator in Germany, as he ordered the deaths of millions of people in Europe whom he believed were a menace to the Aryan reign.
Interpretation: Hitler was able to persuade a whole nation of the superiority of the Aryan race and that this one’s survival was necessary. He claimed that all the other races were inferior and had to be annihilated. These claims seem to be absurd, however, his skillfulness at manipulating the crowd through language was one of the determining aspects of this War. The power of language is sometimes underestimated, until it leads to the killing of millions and indoctrination of a whole nation. How is it that the human race is able to effortlessly kill millions of people without the slightest display of emotion or fear? How can we blindly accept to follow directions laid out by a power thirsty tyrant? The power of Hitler’s language can be demonstrated through his use of crowd manipulation and persuasion. In addressing the German people as one entity, he appealed more to the crowd. They felt united and powerful. No matter the absurdity of his sayings, it made sense to people when they were part of a group. Hitler persuaded the crowd by demonstrating strength and fear throughout his speeches. He created false dilemmas in the minds of people, and made them believe that War was the only option. He also insisted that if the German people didn’t do anything, they would be one day enslaved by the Jews – thus creating an urgency for the killing of millions of Jews. This “either-or” fallacy made all unethical actions seem worthy of cause, as they were perceived as the only option left. How is it that language can make a whole nation ignorant? Unfortunately the power of language in the indoctrination of people is still perceived today in nations such as North Korea. It may also be argued that this power of language is also used by all governments, and that we are all ignorant people blindly following the rules.
Name: Angela Price
Sub-Concepts: Loss, Memory, Emotion/Mood
Description: Cassie’s husband died of an asthma attack and was cremated. Cassie cannot let the memory of him go and therefore has an excessive addiction to eating his ashes out of the urn.
Cassie cannot fathom the loss of her husband. She is devastated and therefore always carries the urn close to her wherever she goes. She began licking the ashes off her fingers because she did not want to wipe away her husband. At this emotionally unstable time for her, she wants to feel like her husband is still a part of her. Therefore she eats his ashes. This addiction fulfills her need for her husband because although she has lost him, she can still physically touch his remains. According to this article, human remains that have been cremated contain many chemicals that when eaten cause psychosis (jezebel). If someone is diagnosed with psychosis, their thoughts and emotions are extremely impaired so they do not realize what they are truly doing or feeling. They do not know what is reality and what is in their minds. Cassie absolutely encompasses these symptoms of psychosis because she deals with the loss of her husband by substituting his presence with his ashes and thinks that it is a healthy way of dealing with the loss. His ashes are the only memory of him that makes her feel better and helps her cope. The only thing she fears is that one day she will run out of his ashes and then not be able to connect to him anymore. This will be the day she spirals out of control because she was not able to overcome her loss in a healthy way. Her excessive addiction of eating her husbands ashes to connect with him and keep him ‘alive’ proves that she has lost control and lost her sense of reality and therefore is causing harm to herself in order to not feel the reality and emotions of the loss of her husband.
Don’t Always Blindly Trust the Media!
Name: Kevin Manesh
Region: Maryland, United States
Sub-concepts: Power, Reality/Illusion, Loss
Description: Maryland Blue Crabs are lowering in population sizes over the last couple years. The writer believes crabbing should be banned in order to preserve them from declining to extinction.
Just to clarify in advance, this article is biased and contains inaccurate facts. There are many perspectives and reasons as to why crab numbers are declining but the perspective of this article represents the ignorance of the masses, providing a solution that will not work. This reveals how articles in themselves can be nonsense and illuminates how the media aims to entice individuals rather than inform them.
The solution posed by the article to rekindling crab population was to stop crabbing altogether regardless of the large economy around crabs. The solution is extremely sudden and does not consider the excess of problems it creates. This reflects the mindset of outsiders who do not understand issues but attempt to solve them which is nonsense. They take an all or nothing approach but this is suicidal. The media jumps on this general viewpoint because it is convincing enough to persuade the masses. No matter the nonsense of the situation, the media will advocate for it as long as it retains viewers and makes money.
Credibility was immediately lost when the article stated “no one is quite sure why” crabs went scarce. Being involved in the crab industry, there are in fact multiple reasons for why they went scarce; the main ones being crabbing regulations, weather conditions, and rock fish populations (their main predator). Credibility was also tarnished when the article states “Commercial crabbers, for inscrutable reasons, are allowed to keep females”. There is a perfect and in fact, well known, explanation for why commercial crabbers can keep females. They are allowed to keep females only after they have matured and already laid their eggs. Within this reason also lies the main reason numbers are dwindling as well as the solution. The problem is that although it is illegal for commercial crabbers to harvest immature female crabs, they do it anyway to make a quick buck. The Department of Natural Resources cracks down on retails stores more than the actual crabbers which is counter-intuitive because the retail sellers have nothing to do with what crabs they get from their crabbers. More regulation on this would significantly bring back crab numbers and is a much safer option economically.
Having a wide heard voice (article writer) does not justify the content of what is said as in this article. In actuality, nonsense is used but people cannot see this and accept and follow what is being expressed. This expresses the cunning of nonsense but also the dangers of it. Ultimately, society should not trust the media as its primary focus is to gain listeners and will go to whatever extents to do so. The media feeds people nonsense more than one would think so it is important to be skeptical of what is portrayed.
Kidnapped Victim Joins her Captors
Region/Concept: US/ Seduction
Sub-concepts: Manipulation, Isolation, Gain
Description: Patricia Hearst, an American newspaper heiress and actress, was kidnapped by a violent cult called The Symbionese Liberation Army” in 1974 at 19 years old. For weeks she was blindfolded, confined to an odorous closet, tormented, periodically raped, and subject to Maoist style program of indoctrination and re-education. Patricia depended her life on meeting the demands of her leader, Donald “Cinque” DeFreeze. The leader and captors first propagandized and interrogated Patricia of how the society was racist and evil, and then called her privileged and derogatory names such as “bourgeois bitch” and her father a “pig” of the “corporate fascist state.” The captors would then give her food and tea to let up the intensity of the situation as a reward. Immediately after Patricia would get used to the reward and peace, the captors would continue with more cruelty. After two months of being held captive, Patricia was referred to as “Tina,” joined the cult, and actively robbed banks with the criminals in full compliance against the “fascist” US. Patricia was convicted, and later imprisoned. She was released two years later through a Presidential Pardon.
Interpretation: Patricia Hearst’s victimization was a gradual seduction to join The Symbionese Liberation Army. Evacuated from society, Patricia was kidnapped and thrown into isolation and confinement, a place she never knew before as the daughter of such an elite family. The torment, rape, and re-education were the start of Patricia’s brainwash and seduction, where the cult captors commenced to remove Patricia from her identity completely, and create an identity beneficial to their cult. The cult first stripped Patricia down from control of her own body, where they took away her eyesight, took away her sense of attractive smell, confined her in a tight space, and physically abused her sexually. The seduction methods that took place were specifically executed in such a manner, first taking away the sense of controlling her own body, and next controlling the thoughts in her own mind. The leader and captors propagandized and humiliated Patricia, throwing derogatory slang at her (such as “bourgeois bitch”) and breaking down all self worth. On the Larry King Show, Patricia confessed “Most of the time I was with them, my mind was going through doing exactly what I was supposed to do…I had no free will.” Once the captors extensively torn Patricia apart physically and mentally, they would convert to giving her food, tea, and compliments. The sudden hospitality and temporary kindness is the very twist the cult successfully used in their seduction, where Patricia became increasingly more dependent. After a glimpse of ease, the captors would continue their cycle of isolation, degradation, stripping of physically and mental worth, and a pinch of peace for her compliance. Once the cult succeeded in removing Patricia’s identity from her, they renamed her “Tina,” and re-educated her through Maoist style program of indoctrination. Patricia no longer existed in her own body and mind, but Tina did. By confiscating her identity, the cult’s final seduction method was complete. The cult brainwashed Patricia to become a different person all together, and to sympathize with their efforts as something she believed in herself, eventually seducing her to join their cult and partake as a member. Patricia is also held as an example of Stockholm syndrome, where a hostage is psychologically empathetic and sympathetic towards his/her captors. Such a syndrome was derived from the drilling seduction the cult delivered, enticing her to the point of creating a positive and defensive bond with her captors.
Region: San Antonio, Texas
Sub-Concepts: Deception, Loss
Description: Nicholas Barclay was thirteen when he was abducted in 1994, he was last seen playing basketball with his friends. Although it was assumed that he ran away, Nicholas was a misfit in school and frequently got himself into trouble. He even had a criminal record from stealing and threatening his teachers. However, three years after his disappearance, Nicholas was “found” in Spain in a child sex-ring operation. However, after checking his fingerprints years later it was discovered that it was an imposter. Instead it was a 23 year old French citizen who was posing as Nicholas. Nicholas is still missing today.
Interpretation: In this case, the concept of abandonment is emphasized in the disappearance of Nicholas. By leaving his family behind whether it was voluntarily or involuntarily encompasses leaving behind a large part of his life. However, there is a great deal of evidence that points to Nicholas running away. This is due to his mother’s heroin addiction at the time. By running away, Nicholas could have been trying to abandon the possible abuse that he enduring from living at home. Abandonment from his family could be the only way Nicholas could live a successful life. Further, by posing as Nicholas for many years, Nicholas’s imposter Frederic Pierre Bourdin also underwent a complete abandonment of former self. Bourdin decided to pose as the child after seeing the missing child’s information at a local child center. It is still unclear why Bourdin decided to pose as Nicholas. Was Bourdin looking for free American citizenship? Was he looking for an escape from the sex-ring? Or is Bourdin so distributed that he saw this as a completely normal action? Despite the answer to these questions, Bourdin’s abandonment from self almost completely redefined himself. Bourdin did not however change his French accent, hair color, or eye color. These biological factors remained the same which eventually lead to Bourdin’s demise. Overall, this case exemplified abandonment through running away from home and the transition of Nicholas’s imposter to tricking Nicholas’s family.
Region: Jardim Gramacho, Brazil
Sub-Concepts: Composition, Context
Description: Vik Muniz is a Brazilian artist who, in one series of work, creates portraits of Brazilian trash pickers—or “catadores”—using the very garbage in which they live and work. The catadores are located in Jardim Gramacho, the largest garbage dump in the world.
Interpretation: The catadores of Jardim Gramacho search for recyclable materials amongst the gargantuan mounds of garbage; they are tasked with finding infinitesimal value within the infinite waste. When entrenched in the garbage, the recyclables seem miniscule, but when removed from that context and compiled, the true scope of the catadores’ work is revealed. What they gather in small, persistent doses amounts to an impressive return.
Jardim Gramacho is an area which, to those on the outside, may seem like a site of abject poverty: the garbage site is a “wasted space,” in that it is a space which could be used for something else, something “better” than harboring offal. The catadores themselves, though, consider this place home, and often, a site of potential. The catadores are able to utilize materials found in the garbage in ways unimaginable to those who do not have intimate experiences with and understanding of it; they find use and beauty in what others consider irredeemable waste. The garbage is a life force in that it sustains life, and convenes people, stories, and art.
Muniz’s work extracts the human spirit of the catadores not from the rubbish, but rather through the rubbish. That distinction emphasizes that the rubbish is entangled in the catadores’ very being. The range of emotion that exists within the catadores because of the garbage can only truly be portrayed by the garbage. The portraits act as mirrors that reflect the catadores’ individual and collective journeys, dignifying their work and way of life by showcasing what garbage—the unwanted exudation of society—can create.
Muniz recognizes that transformation can occur when one evaluates the composition of one’s life and dares to reclaim the job of contextualizing it. The way in which the garbage is framed directly relates to how it is perceived by those in the outside world, and more importantly, by the catadores. The portraits create a context in which the catadores can reassign value to the garbage, and therefore their lives.
Please Kill Me with Objects
Sub-Concepts: Torture, Waiting, Sadism
Description: Blood and shrieks of agony may suggest that being tortured with an object, especially brutal objects—Judas Cradle, Thumbscrew, Guillotine, etc.—from the past, is terrifying but the absence of objects is actually greater torture.
Objects can reveal the inner nature of the generation. The interrogation methods and punishment practices of the past suggest that our ancestors are sadistic but not as sadistic as those who execute the torture methods of today. One of the torture methods from our past is called the saw torture. In this method “the victim is hung upside down, so that the blood will rush to their heads and keep them conscious during the long torture. The torturer would then saw through the victims’ bodies until they were completely sawed in half. Most were cut up only in their abdomen to prolong their agony” (Pegg 2013). Most, if not all, can agree that this method is gruesome. It is an extremely physically painful process leading to death but it is a guaranteed death. Modern objects of torture however never give a prisoner an answer, and leaves most begging for death. Some are released after undergoing several days of torture to live on with their humiliation and scars. One technique is called the hell confinement which involves a pair of handcuffs and a pair of foot shackles, both of which are linked to a steel rod (Gibson 2013). This object makes it nearly impossible for the victim to walk, sit, sleep or even feed themselves. The one inflicting the pain has the power to choose how long the prisoner has to suffer while they watch the prisoner defecate on their own body and starve.
One would assume that a physical object would inflict more pain on a victim, but actually the disappearance of objects, torture without objects, are the most devastating. One method that reflects this cruel torture is called White Box. It is a cell with no windows and everything is white including the meals served. The prisoner is forbidden to talk to anyone including the guard. The White Box is a form of emotional and physiological torture. Instead of causing the prisoner physical pain or discomfort, they are tormented with sensory deprivation and isolation. Prisoners have said that the “white torture is never being “free” even after being released” (Gibson 2013).
Links: http://list25.com/25-most-brutal-torture-techniques-ever-devised/ (Pegg 2013)
Name: Solomon Zheng
Model Victoria Wild underwent plastic surgeries over five years in order to become a real-life sex doll, which she has fancied of becoming since childhood.
Many people now receive plastic surgeries in order to liken themselves to the models in mainstream media, which regard women with plump lips and large bosoms as beautiful. However, what happen if beauty is overdone? The picture depicts Victoria Wild, a French model who has transformed herself into a self-proclaimed sex-doll through a series of plastic surgeries. Before her transformation, she had slim body and blonde hair. Friends and neighbors would endear her by calling her a Barbie. In other words, she was very attractive to many people. However, she resented her size “A” chest. Due to this resentment, compliments from others and the experience of being a model seem to make her even more self-consciousness about her body. Therefore, the excess of compliments only served to breed her absence of self-esteem. Over time, this absence inside her grows larger and soon demands excess in the form of plastic surgeries in order to fill its hollowness. In the end, this demand for excess turns into an unquenchable obsession in the form of this monstrous display of “beauty.”
Name: Dwiarta Alim
Sub-Concepts: Adulthood, Death, Rebirth, Development, Community
The Sateré-Mawé people in the Brazilian Amazon use bullet ants stings as part of their initiation rites to become warriors. The initiation rite involves a boy keeping traditional gloves full of bullet ants on for a full ten minutes. Woven into the gloves are hundreds of bullet ants with their stingers facing inwards. As the stingers of the bullet ants claw into the skin of the boy, venom seeps deep into the flesh. This leaves the boy to shake uncontrollably for days as it paralyzes the hands during the initiation rite. To become a warrior, the boy must go through the same ordeal a total of 20 times over the course of several months or years without shedding a single tear.
With the pain equivalent to being shot, hence the name of the insect, the sting of bullet ants is described as waves of burning, throbbing all-consuming pain that continues unabated for up to 24 hours. Such violent initiation rites can be said to be excessive in our own urban culture. However, initiation rites play a central in the socialization of the Mawé community. It demarks different stages in an individual’s development, as well as that person’s role and relationship to the broader community. This is no more apparent as the initiation rite concludes the transition from child to adult, fully institutionalizing the ethics of the group’s culture to the child. The child is taken away from the women’s world and introduced to that of men.
Pain evoked in the initiation rites serves a double purpose; preserving the ongoing community as a symbol of collective immortality as well as providing a clear and guided means for transition from one life stage and scope of responsibility to another. Similarly, this initiation rite provides the hierarchies of values of the tribe that project an ideal sequence of personal development within the boy. The symbolism of death and resurrection are also central to the initiation process of the Mawé people. It is only after the completion of the initiation rites that the life of the child has ended in order for the adult self to be reborn, thus allowing the child to be reincarnated in the tribe to be prepared for their responsibilities as men with absolutely no confusion.
To watch someone attempt the initiation rite,
Japan’s Celibacy Syndrome
Name: Thu Tran
Sub-Concepts: Loss, Absence, Identity, Excess
Description: Japan’s media calls it sekkusu shinai shokogun which means, “celibacy syndrome.” For a culture that is known for its extravagant and hyper sensationalized lifestyle, it is very unusual to see the country’s younger generation losing interest in sex and relationships. Japan is becoming more and more conservative in terms of human intimacy, but rapidly accelerating in technology and business.
Interpretation: It is absolutely strange to see the country that is supposedly forty years ahead of the rest of the world recluse from natural human intimacy. The government calls it a “national catastrophe”, it being severe as to Japan’s population of 126 million being projected to decrease by one third by 2060. The country already has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. This phenomenon stems from the movement started in the 1990’s, called the hikikomori or the “shut-ins”. It is the extreme end of social withdrawal. The shut-ins lock themselves within their rooms and do not venture out to the bustling bright cities. They disappear from the public eye and are forever lost to their family and friends. These youth lose touch with society and cannot function because of pure and utter confusion with the interaction of others. They do not know what they want or desire and therefore believe that they do not need human intimacy in their daily lives. Besides the extremes of the shut-ins, many youth claim to be too busy with work or are just okay with their friendships. They are not pushing or even asking for what they want.
The basis of desire stems from a strong sense of self-awareness, and this is lost on Japanese youth. Their lack of self-awareness creates a burgeoning gap of how to function in the outside world. Japan’s strict regulation on anything provocative (blurred out pornography, no dancing after midnight rule) largely contributes to the celibacy syndrome. Having such a restriction on something so innately wild and free creates insecurity, particularly in this Asian island. When faced with insecurity, many turn away from the problem at hand. Insecurity also spreads very easily, so what we see now in Japan is a nation of ever-increasing platonic relationships. What can be said about a country without wants and needs?
Pictured above are the various over-the-top styles of Japan. There’s the “Lolita”, “Goth”, “Princess” and overall non-mainstream characters that many try to emulate. This can be analyzed as a cultural repression and loss of self-identity.
Quarantine: Sickness in Solitude
Name: Kevin Dooley
Sub Concepts: Fear, Illness, Time
Region: Denver, Colorado
Description: Andrew Speaker was the first person to be held under federal quarantine in the United States since 1963. Speaker was diagnosed with a dangerous strain Tuberculosis and was sent to a Denver hospital where he was forced to stay alone while receiving treatment for two months.
Interpretation: Usually when someone is sick, they are advised to stay away from people for a few days while the symptoms subside. Imagine having a more serious illness and being forced to stay in an unfamiliar environment for an extended period of time. That was the reality for Andrew Speaker. Speaker was quarantined following his diagnosis of Tuberculosis. He was sent to live in a hospital room for two months, having no contact with other people besides the doctors treating him. Some people view this sort of treatment as inhumane because they feel like the patients are being treated like they did something wrong. Being left alone is scary enough for many people, but the prospect of dying alone is an even worse thought.
Public health officials make the determination whether or not to quarantine someone, which can be viewed as either a positive or negative. While the goal is to prevent the spread of harmful contagious diseases, it can ultimately destroy someone to be taken away and left in solitude. The act of quarantining has been around for hundreds of years with instances of it being used unsuccessfully during the Black Plague which ravaged Europe during the 1300s. The technique is useful when dealing with early onsets of contagions because if you can isolate the first infected person, you may only lose one life as opposed to there being a mass killing of people by the disease. Tuberculosis has been largely eradicated in the United States for decades, so the government made the right call by isolating Andrew Speaker. His solitude may have saved the lives of many others.
This could become a common practice as there is another disease that has made its way into the United States. There is concern over Ebola and the fact that its very contagious and deadly. We could be hearing many more stories like this in the coming months and years.
Name: Ryan Narod
Subconcepts: Madness, Sensation, Loss
Description: SPOILER ALERT: Gone Girl is a novel by Gillian Flynn and this weekend the movie version premiered to stunned audiences as they watched a marriage unfold in a gripping thriller. In the beginning, Nick’s wife Amy disappears and the viewer is led to believe that Nick is involved in her disappearance. The media analyses his every move and his responses at a press conference, smiling next to his missing wife’s portrait, are used as concrete evidence showing his inner malice and obvious remorselessness. However, in a surprising turn of events, Amy is the guilty one, and she has gone to extreme lengths to leave trail of guilt for detectives that will help them convict her husband of murder (and Missouri has the death penalty).
The movie showcases the sensationalist media’s obsession with homicide; especially homicide involving husband and wife pairs. When there’s a big murder case, everyone knows the details: the missing spots in the alibis, the back-story of how they met and fell in love. Each night, we tune in to hear the latest installment. Violence sells. Whole shows are dedicated to wives who murder their husbands, “Snapped”, and countless Law & Order episodes revolve around envious husbands bumping up their wife’s life insurance before committing the unthinkable. When the unbreakable vows of marriage and love, in which two people agree to come together and coexist in harmony, are violently shattered, the public is left stunned. When the promise of those vows is thwarted by the desire to kill, to take another’s life, especially one’s “beloved”… everyone wants to know why and how. When violence as an expression of fear, hatred, anger, disgust, is manifested towards someone you once loved, people want to know how the transformation occurs. How the guilty party moves from one side of human nature to the dark side of our innate desires. The film showcases that people have an innate desire for violence, and the media’s sensationalization of violent acts connects people with the violence without them actually having to perform any violent acts themselves.
Blocking out the violence of extroverts
Name: Jared Silber
Sub-concepts: Thought, leadership, education
Description: In her TED talk, Susan Cain describes why introverts need peace and alone time in order to harness their creative and productive capabilities.
Interpretation: Despite the fact that 1/3 to ½ of Americans are introverts, American social systems (education, employment, etc.) favor extroverts heavily. We certainly see this at Babson, where typically 10-15% of a course’s grade is judged on participation. Further, the beliefs that many of the leaders atop these institutions revolve around the idea that the best students and candidates are extroverts, Cain argues. Most importantly, however, is that research shows that introverts are often better leaders as they respect the space of their employees (as they themselves would want), which allows for the employees to develop their own ideas and innovations without constant interjection from a manager. Extroverts, therefore, often spurn creative thinking (or at least the opportunity for it) through micromanaging; the allowance of introverted leadership would combat the frenzied, violent ‘attentiveness’ that active leading exhibits. At a place like Babson, which tries to teach and leadership skills in every way but a devoted class, one must wonder how many creative introverts were reshaped to fit “acceptable” behavioral guidelines of successful leaders.
Name: Aakash Daryanani
Sub–Concepts: Madness, Cruelty, Objects
Description: The Axeman of New Orleans was a serial killer in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1918 – 1919. The Axeman murdered 12 victims (that have been accounted for) with the victims’ very own axe. The Axeman was never found.
Interpretation: Serial killers are a bizarre bunch of people because they have motivation to kill and murder. Many serial killers do it out of pleasure, excitement, and obsession. This is often seen as madness, as these people enjoy the act of killing and enjoy the power they may receive from it. The Axeman of New Orleans was one of those sadistic killers. Active between 1918 and 1919, The Axeman murdered mostly Italian-Americans in New Orleans with their own axe. While these murders are very chilling, shocking, and disgusting, the Axeman actually enjoyed it, and it could be because of the perverse attitude towards death and how it makes the killer feel. The act of killing someone makes the Axeman content and fills a void in him/her/it. This void could have been caused due to a past event in his life that took a significant toll on him but because the killer was never captured or found, no one will ever know. He has a motivation to kill and addiction to seeing blood smeared on an axe that once belonged to the victim. The Axeman also enjoyed playing games with potential victims as her wrote a very disturbing letter to a community (link is attached) in which he stated that he enjoyed jazz music, and anyone who isn’t playing jazz music when he walks through the city will be axed and murdered by him, and they will never know. In another letter, he stated that he was not a human being and that he is from hell. Just like many people today enjoy watching movies that involve murders, or watch TV shows to “wind down” at the end of the day, the Axeman killed to wind down – he never had a reason except for pure enjoyment of the act. That, is chilling, to me and to many others, but to him, it was the best feeling in the world.
Sub-Concepts: Animality, Loss, Power
Region: Hong Kong
Description: There have been a little over a week’s worth of protest occurring in Hong Kong presently. These protests are of such a great size that it has disrupted the schools’ and jobs’ normal operations in the city. The protestors are upset mainly of the policy that was established that allowed Beijing vetoing power on who is able to run for candidacy for the chief executive for the 2017 elections.
Interpretation: The students of Hong Kong have felt that their rights have been stripped away from them. The people of Hong Kong were given their independence from mainland China and now Beijing has established new legislation allowing mainland China to interfere with the election of Hong Kong. The initial reaction of the people was to protest to fill the streets with demonstrations and movements in order to oppose the legislation that is limiting their independence. However peaceful the protests were, there have been mob fights and policemen walking around with armed weapons. This proves that humanity’s initial reaction to when their rights are taken from them is to fight and protest. This is the animality in people today. Our impulse when something is taken away from us is violence. This is a survival technique that we have adopted and that we continue to use in most conflicts. The armed policemen only prove further that they expect the protestors to act violently, that being violent is our natural instinct. Along with this idea, it proves that humanity prefers to be or expect chaos. This theory can be seen in our movies. Most of our movies are about apocalypse or the world ending, or about a mass amount of violence of some sort. It may be suggested that we as a society actually don’t like to be in a state of rest but in a state of turmoil.