Our Changing Society
December 15, 2008 at 12:56 AM
I was recently required to write a persuasive essay on whether the world is changing for the better or worse. My answer? Well, if you can't tell by reading the essay, than I guess I didn't do a very good job! In the essay itself, I did not include the ways it will affect classical music. But I may in an upcoming blog. I just wanted to share the essay which has already been completed.
Here it is, Our Changing Society:
Our world is a changing place; it is constantly developing new characteristics in culture, visual aspects and history. As it changes, many views are lost and may never be found again. Freedoms and rights are being tested, and sometimes lost. The world as we know it is changing rapidly for the worse because hate and violence are on a social high as people are inflicting attacks on each other fueled by hate, groups of people are being discriminated against and people are being labeled for what they are, not who they are.
Discrimination and hate are spread around like greetings in the world today. Groups of people such as the gay community are having their rights put before America on trial. Something that should never happen has, and continues to unfold before our very eyes. A quote from The Bill of Rights: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of laws." That simple quote may mean many things to some, and yet nothing to others, but wars have been waged, lives have been lost, property and items destroyed over it. "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States", yet it seems that sentence has been ignored. The California ballot proposition, Proposition 8 broke that. The proposition eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry, thus making rights unequal for a growing population of people. This example of discrimination is just one of many.
People are discriminated against because of skin color, country of origin, physical appearance, social standing, and moral beliefs. Racism is a major form of discrimination. Racism has many definitions, some being prejudice, violence, discrimination or oppression. This form of discrimination is extremely hypocritical as everyone is different and there is no "superior race". Often, American groups who will hate, or attack others because of country of origin are hypocritical in the sense that America is a country made of extremely diverse people. The United States of America is one of the most ethnically, culturally diverse places in the world. Groups are indifferent and everyone within, and without its borders should be treated equal.
Hearing about an attack on a group of people or their place of dwelling is a common event, and rarely shocking anymore. Attacks are made simply because of hate or because someone is different. These attacks appear on many levels and in many forms. It can start as someone physically beating someone in an alley, or a teenager starting a fight in school. These can then escalate to large scale attacks, rampages, killing sprees and wars. The United States of America and its allies began the Iraq War on alleged thoughts. Prior to the war, Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction was claimed to pose a threat to the security of the United States. After the invasion, The US- led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its WMD programs in 1991 and had no active programs at the time of the invasion. Some may argue this war has brought change to Iraq; however, the number of casualties on all sides is mind blowing.
The Holocaust was the genocide of approximately six million Jews during World War ll. Other groups were persecuted and killed including the Roma; Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war; ethnic Poles; the disabled; gay men; and political and religious opponents. The total number of victims would be between nine and eleven million people. The fact that people would be killed because of life style or beliefs is disgusting. People should learn from history, so that it will not repeat itself. The world today is a changing place because people aren't learning from the horrible events that have happened and continue to unfold, and they are not trying to stop them.
Labeling is a horrible thing. A person will label another because of the way they look, talk, act, or simply the financial standing of themselves or family. Labeling divides people. Everyone is equal, yet different. Difference is what makes the world exciting, life worth living. If everyone was forced to do the exact same thing; talk the same, dress the same, have the same hair, life would be extremely boring! Labeling can start in small degrees such as children on a playground calling one child fat, weird or stupid. Then it grows to a larger; High School students dividing each other. Labeling who is a geek, "emo", "fake", who is popular etc. Then it can grow into the entire world where one community of people is labeled simply because they do something different than the group who is telling them what they are. People should not be ignored, hated or told to change because they are different. In many cases, they can't change who they are, and shouldn't have to. No one should be told who or what they are. No one should change for anyone but themselves.
Some may argue that the world is changing in a good way, however, that change for the better isn't good enough and it is being smothered by the horrible events which take place. Humanitarian efforts are being forged throughout the world to try to change things. Medical aid is delivered to places in poverty like Africa. Before the side of good is seen, the reason for which this aid is required must first be observed. If so much hate and violence wasn't an issue, there would be no need for all of the lives lost and the money and resources required to help an effort like this. Many people will argue that war technologies are important and necessary, are all the lives lost necessary as well? Entire villages and cities have been completely wiped out because of weapon technology. Are all the lives and resources lost, to achieve this "protection" from one group to another worth it? There are people worldwide who live in fear because of weapons and war technology. The parents of children taken away, entire lives lost and the thing that causes it? Simply the click of a button. The amount of power that can be put into the hands of one human being is astonishing and horrifying. One person can have the power and resources to erase an entire race of people forever. These reasons are why the world is changing for the worse, and the arguments pledged by some do not play out.
Change is inevitable. It has always happened, and always will. It will continue to develop, and lose features that will never be seen again. New cultures and ways of living will be seen. New places will be explored while some may be ignored. Unless something unforeseen happens, people will continue to hate and destroy each other; possibly leading to the end of the Human Race. Hate is something that destroys people. If it doesn't stop, the world will continue to spiral downward. Our society and world are changing for the worse and something needs to be done.
The essay is not my best work by any means, but for some reason it got a 6/6 holistic score from the submission website. I am sorry if you don't agree with me on some of the topics I included, or if they offended you in anyway. You don't need to agree with me; I don't need to agree with you. But I hope you got the point of my essay and that it may have changed your views on things or made you a little more educated in some way.
From Larisa Mihaela
Posted on December 15, 2008 at 6:05 AM
Good job, Paul.
A surprisingly analytical mind for your age . I like how you incorporate ideas and arguments into your essay. And you are right....
Sometimes I think...Human is the most selfish being on the surface of the earth...Or ..is he? Aren't we animals with high intelligence and conscience ?Aren't we guided by the ancestral instinct of conservation? Like animals protecting their teritoires , we went to war from the earliest times to settle our boundaries. Like males of so many species ,men have killed each other ( literaly or only relational speaking) for women, and , of course, since human is more complex than most animals , women would kill each other as well for men. Just like in the wildest jungle, the strongest will survive .But what has consciense done to us?
Killing and "jungle law" do exist in animal's world , but that world is a balanced one. Our world is a world that is constantly in contradiction with itself, for one we think , and one we say , and one we wish , but one we do..We are advocates of good and mercy but in the mean time we do so much harm...To ourselves , to each other , to the planet . What animal would kill for pleasure? What animal would destroy its own habitat ?What animals would trade the fundamental need of sex for the fundamenal need for food (which translated in human terms=money )? We admit publicly that violince and hatred are bad , but in the mean time we promote these all over the place in mass media. And , perhaps not surprinsingly , most of the times, the most popular tv programs are the ones that contain this kind of material.we keep denying the animal part in ourselves , but in the mean time we bring it to the surface , and not in just any form, but in the form of the wildest beast.
What has conscience done to us? Or , better said, what have we done with conscience? We are always able to choose , but why so often this right to choose given by thought is manifested in its rather negative aspect , than its positive one?
And if something can be done , than why don't we do something about it?
That's why I like classical music;becaue it is not infested with any of these malicious things . Classical music usually brings to the light the other side of human , the great one , the kind and superior one.The one that is suppose to prove that we evolved from a primitive , wild stage to a more refined one. Like Shinichi Suzuki said , if we would nurture our children with more noble music , than our society would be a different kind of society.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on December 15, 2008 at 6:44 AM
You need never apologize for speaking your heart. More often it's silence that conspires to lead a society in the wrong direction.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on December 15, 2008 at 12:35 PM
I liked your response, but I don't like the question. There's too much polarized either/or thinking and discourse in the media already.
People who survived either of the World Wars in Europe might disagree that today's wars are worse. And as a woman, I can't help but think of the changes that have made my current life possible--I mean, we're not even 100 years out from when I wouldn't have been able to vote, or go to college.
I agree with you, something has to be done. But something has always had to be done.
From Paul G.
Posted on December 15, 2008 at 12:51 PM
Larisa, thank you for sharing your view and comments on this.
Laurie, those are two of the greatest sentences I've heard in a long time.
Karen, thank you for showing me what someone with an interesting view thinks. I was going to include some things about how women are still somewhat treated unfairly but then my essay would have had another few hundred words. And that's what was hard with showing my view, and the opposition. Especially if I would have used a subject like female rights. The arguement in my opinion would be that it's gotten better, but still exists widely. Which does not change into a persuasive essay very well. And I don't think that any war is more horrible than another. If you look at the people who are killed, each death is going to affect some one on such a deep personal level. A death could be a child losing a parent or a parent losing a child. It will always be something different, yet the same.
From Elizabeth Musil
Posted on December 15, 2008 at 3:51 PM
Paul, thanks for putting your essay up here. I enjoyed reading it! You pose a good argument and write much better than I ever could when I was your age.
A suggestion to make your argument stronger: Your central thesis is that the world is changing for the worst, because of hate and discrimination, and how these lead to conflict. In your essay you have supplied good evidence of this and have argued it well, and on its own it stands up as an argument. But, to keep in mind: you haven't shown how this is different from the way things were in the past, and thus not completely supporting that things have changed for the worst. Hate, discrimination, and violence resulting from those two things have been around forever and forever. In fact, one could argue that the world is improving because of the increased awareness of and attempts to eradicate hate and prejudice in comparison to the past (also for example improvement in woman's rights, etc. like Karen suggested). To solidify your argument you would need to show how the hate and violence today is worse than earlier, ie. through comparisons of then/now, showing escalation of conflict, maybe something about today's technology and ease of killing, etc. But all in all, a good essay! If you write any more, will you also post them up here?
From Paul G.
Posted on December 15, 2008 at 5:41 PM
Thank you so much for telling me what I need to fix and ways to do so! It is very helpful. Being able to see the faults in my writing and how to fix it is something that I really need to work on and you've just helped me in that. And yes, if it's ok with Laurie and everyone else, I'll post up more essays in the future if you'd like.
From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on December 16, 2008 at 1:39 AM
I can not be more original than the others in my comments so GOOD JOB!
You should send this to Obama... so that he has an idea of what is doing the young generation that is too often seen as "a buch of lazies with no heart" lol
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on December 17, 2008 at 9:36 AM
I think that is a beautiflly written essay, mirroring a lot of the hatred and discrimination that exist today. However, the topic assigned was whether these things are getting worse. That would be hard to say because hatred, fear, anger, aggressivity, etc. have always been around. Your essay would be stronger if you would explain why you think that things are changing for the worst. Access to weapons and to international news reports, as well as violence shown so widely on TV and video games, may make us more "violence-friendly." I am sure that there are many more reasons.
I agree with Laurie. Silence gives consent. I like one of the slogans used by the Friends (Quakers): War is not the answer. Understanding and compassion can be very powerful at blocking violence.
As you can tell by the discussion about your blog, your thinking is very mature. Thanks for posting your essay.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on December 17, 2008 at 12:17 PM
I started reading Obama's book The Audacity of Hope recently, and the Introduction put me very much in mind of Paul's essay here and some of the responses. I think Obama would be very sympathetic to these ideas.
One of the additional themes of that book, at least in my interpretation, is that in order to move forward, we need to get away from simplistic polarized formulations like "is it better or worse?" I think it is to Paul's credit that he was able to make such an interesting essay out of a not-so-great assignment question.
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Change the world!
It’s not like writing something can change the world.
Or can it?
Uh, it absolutely can!
If you are a fan of writing, then you already know the power it has.
Writing something powerful has the ability to inspire, motivate, change lives, change minds, even change history (the bible, the alchemist).
Even if writing isn’t your “thing”, you probably understand the importance of it. Writing isn’t fun for everyone, but everyone does it.
Those who write as a creative tool, do so to express their creativity, thoughts, ideas, feelings, and help others learn something, do something, or just to plain old write.
Reading to Write
I was never much of a fan of reading. I always thought it was rather boring and would rather flip on the video game console. It wasn’t until a few years ago that it occurred to me why I thought reading was boring. It really wasn’t that reading was boring, it was “what” I would read.
I can’t imagine anyone having fun reading an article online because someone else (like a friend, colleague or professor) thought it would be engaging or useful, if they didn’t care about the topic.
Ever since I could remember, I was only reading because I “had to”, for an assignment or other learning.
Once I discovered the stories and articles that fell in line with my passions, I started to actually enjoy reading. I could look up a topic that inspired me and get lost, reading for hours.
It wasn’t long after that I started to gain new perspectives, ideas and opinions of my own that I wanted to share. So I did what anyone with a head full of creative ideas would do: I started to write.
I wrote about what I thought and felt about the world. I wrote poems, songs and essays that allowed my thoughts to spill out of an ink pen and a keyboard.
The only audience I had was myself and I was OK with that.
Writing led to more reading, which led to more learning about my growing list of concerns. I found myself passionate about inspiring change in the world.
People, books and ideas that gave people a sense of renewal for themselves, others and the world we live in. I wanted to write about my experiences and what I had learned about the world, and share it.
I hoped others would care as much as I did about how the world was, the way society worked, and what humanity was doing to it. I found that others cared, and I wanted to join them.
I decided I would use my passion for writing (no matter how good or bad) to spread my thoughts, ideas, beliefs and learning to those who needed a bit of inspiration. I wanted to help change the world with my writing.
How Writing can Change the World
For me, writing has completely changed my world. It has changed the way I view myself and how I interact with others. Writing has allowed me to find what it is I am most passionate about.
Because of writing, I know I will be able to share with the world my passion for changing the world. I will be able to show others that they are capable of doing anything they want. They do not have to follow the path of what is considered “normal”.
I believe that in itself is a recipe for how writing can change the world, but let’s dig deeper.
I thought about what I could do to show you how writing can change the world. I came up with a list.
A list that is more like a timeline, that represents the path from placing your hands on the keyboard, or picking up a pen, to making a significant change in the world. Remember, there is more than one way to make a change.
I will show you how I went from wanting to make a difference to using writing as a tool for world change.
Here is that list…
- Find out what you are passionate about
- Understand that your passion should be spread
- Find a platform to share your passion
- Write about what you are passionate about
- Connect with others who share your passion
- Learn how to get your writing noticed
- Build a community
- Help your community with what you have learned
- Show your community how to spread their own passions
- Write and Repeat…
Long Story Short
The list above is an accumulation of events and processes that took me about 2 years to get through, once I discovered my passion, which took 10 years to discover in the first place.
Don’t let that scare you off. No two paths are the same, and mine was never a continuous process. Today, there are many more opportunities to help you find your passion.
What the list, or timeline represents, is a process of how writing can be used to change the world.
The End Process is the World Changer
So we come to the end. The truth is there is no end. To make a change is to keep making changes. To change the world will forever be a never-ending process.
By doing what we love and following our passions we are opening a door.
The door we open is a door to unlimited possibilities and showing others that those possibilities exist. If I write about what I am passionate about because of someone else who has been writing about what they are passionate about, that person has changed my world.
By doing what you love and showing others how to do the same, you are starting a chain reaction of people everywhere, changing the way they view the world (for the better), and changing their worlds entirely. Reminds me of Rocky IV after he wins the big fight against Drago: “If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.“(Rocky IV).
See, if I can change my world and you can change your world, then everyone can change their worlds, which will help the entire world to change.
This is how writing can change the world. One word, one message, one voice at a time, we can help each other. Together, anything is possible.
What are you doing to change the world with your writing?
Justin Harmon writes for Unplugged Recreated. He believes everyone deserves fulfillment in life. We can do it by changing our world. Justin also helps people make changes in their own lives which echo into the outside world. Be a part of the journey to Recreate, Restructure, & Redesign Our World.