Autopiloted Life

The American society treads lightly on the thin ice of popularity. Seemingly, everyone must do what is considered “cool” to fit in, do what is “right” to be good, and so forth. Why? The answer may be the Panoptic system that has and is continually evolving, this sort of Big Brother Always Watching concept. When standing in line at the grocery store, we don’t eat the candy in line. In school, we don’t cheat off of our neighbor. No one is standing there to tell you not to, no one is there to discipline you (in theory) yet we, for the most part, do what is right. We fear the discipline, avoid confrontation, and fall in line with the masses to repeat the monotonous pattern of good behavior. Constantly watching over your shoulder, similar to the “The Plan of the Panopticon” in Focault’s Panopticism, we behave as if being watched all of the time by the unseen eye of what is commonly referred to as the Enforcer. The Enforcer is the one whom we all fear, hence why we behave all so accordingly. The circular setting, in this case the jail, enables the Enforcer to see all happenings by the inmates.
There is a watch tower in the center of this circle, with hidden entrances and exits to allow for secretive Enforcer changes-or is there really a person in there at all? With no possible means to view this said change, how can the inmates be sure that there is even an Enforcer in the watch tower at all times? How can they be sure that there is ever an Enforcer, that he even exists? It is because of this doubt that we all, not just the inmates, incessantly behave as if being watched.
This never-ending cycle of watch and being watched is part of, I think, this concept of empty conformity. This can be related to religious beliefs, morals, other deeply rooted ideals, and as far-outreaching as simply outlandish societal stereotypes and occurrences. As a society, we often feel the peer-pressure to conform and do as others do. It is when a person does in fact conform to, whatever it may be, it that they do so emptily. It is a simple action of doing, rather than wanting and believing.  This false sense of action turns us all into mindless, what I consider robots. We are quite nearly on autopilot, doing the repeated action of our everyday lives. Automated responses are cold and heartless, just like the jail scenario, bringing the concept of Panopticism full circle.

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‘Round and ‘Round, Here We Go Again

Over the weekend, I returned home to Charlotte, to visit my family. My little brother plays football for a recreational league, called South Charlotte Sports Association, for the Olde Providence Patriots. Our dad is the head coach of the team, and takes his job very seriously-just like any dad would for his son’s football team! My dad, along with his best friend, former Carolina Panther’s player Steve Buerlein, devised a play that, when executed correctly, would nearly guarantee a touchdown. My little brother was chosen to run the ball on this play. They decided to run this play as the very first play of the game. He gave 110%, lowered his head and just sprinted towards the end zone. Doing this, he didn’t see the opposing team diving at him. One of the biggest kids on the other team dove right at him, hitting him straight in the knee. My little brother went down. Five minutes later, he was still down on the field, surrounded by coaches, players, and the “medic” who proved to just be a volunteer with a first aid kit. After helping my brother off the field, the medic made sure he could talk and breathe and left. Soon after that, my brother turned around to look for me in the stands, waving me down. As a student trainer in the Athletic Training program here at UNCW last year, he knew I could help him better than the medic, our dad, or anyone else. I went down to the sidelines and, with a few physical tests and listening to him describe his pain, I ruled out and ACL, MCL, and, with strong certainty, a PCL tear or injury. I surmised that ligament damage was pretty evident, and that a meniscus injury was the probable culprit. After an excessively long wait in the emergency room, the doctor gave her diagnosis, and we were told that my brother most likely injured his meniscus.
How is this even slightly relevant to a composition class? It’s not, really. But it is related to a book I read whilst waiting in the emergency room. It was Sarah Dessen’s Lock and Key. In this book, the character, Ruby, is sent to live with her sister after their mother runs out on her. She is faced with being thrown into a totally new environment. She then is conflicted, for the rest of the novel, with what she wants to do with her future. That is all of us in our first couple years in college. That is me, struggling once again with the choice of my major. I thought that I wanted to be an athletic trainer, so I tried it. It didn’t seem to fit, so after a lot of thought I tried out Communications. I do like it, but after being right about my little brother’s injury, I am once again drawn to anatomy. The puzzle-esque way of the human body as always fascinated me, and the way I can use my hands and the words of an athlete to, without machines, give a nearly definitive diagnosis of an injury. Unfortunately, in Lock and Key, the book ends before you can truly decipher what Ruby decides to do with her life. Guess I just have to read the next book for a clue as to what she does! Sarah Dessen writes her books here in North Carolina, basing the locations and events on things here in state. She is one of my favorite “leisure” writers, and I feel that most adolescent girls can find a way to relate to most of Dessen’s characters.

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Excessive Emotion-Argumentative, or Just Plain Annoying?

In the past week, we have read an excerpt from the text called “The ‘Banking’ Concept Of Education” by Paulo Freire. Freire discusses the manner in which educators are going about teaching their students. Though Freire is discussing a certain group of students outside of the United States, Bartholomae and Petrosky imply, but inclusion in the text, that Freire’s opinions can be considered to apply to all educators in the field. Freire, very much upset by the “dehumanized” way in which students learn, berates his audience into believing that students are oppressed, communication is the only way to survive in the education world, and that educators are in need of education.

Freire uses repetition of certain words, such as reality and liberation, to portray and give the readers to think of certain tones that Freire wants us to achieve-such as frustration, hopelessness, and mockery. However, whilst writing this piece, Freire is very much “educating” his readers. Contradictory to his own methods, he preaches to his audience. He fails to communicate, to take in the opinions and needs of the “students” reading his work, lacks a “humanized” air to his syntactical structure throughout his work in its entirety, and does exactly what Freire considers unacceptable in his world of perfect education. The question remains-while Freire’s work is written to educate, is it possible that it could be considered simply absolute perfect, or is it incredibly ironic? Personally, I find this to be a mixture of both. I find the irony, of both his message and the deliverance of his message, to be perfect. Freire offers, though possibly unintentional, a perfect example of what he considers faulty professionalism. He gives of a pretentious air, further aiding his readers to find condescension in his writing, and the issue that he presents.

It is literary works such as Freire’s, works that are contradictory, that often cause me great strife, to put it politely. Unnecessary or pointless preaching, excessive complaining, or any work in which I feel an author writes simply to get his or her feelings out is a work in which I disagree with. Not to discount the opinions of others, but I feel that if a work falls in one or more of the previously listed categories, it is for either the personal and/or financial benefit of the author. If a society, or at least a small group of people, cannot benefit from reading something that an author took time to publish, then it deserves no spot in a tool of higher education. Freire makes a few good points, but his eleven page story could most definitely be shrunk down to a couple pages, if not only a paragraph.

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