A Critique on
The Blank Slate, The Noble Savage and The Ghost in the Machine. There are three doctrines which have attained sacred status in modern intellectual life. The Blank Slate, a loose translation of the medieval Latin term tabula rasa, scraped tablet, commonly attributed to John Locke which delves into the opposing of political status quos and social arrangements, stating mainly that the mind is like a sheet of white paper void of all characters and ideas, furnished with words through experience; it denounced the differences seen among races, including the institution of slavery as slaves could no longer be thought of as innately inferior, ethnic groups, sexes and individuals for the differences come not from the innate …show more content…
Thinking of it gives me shivers as it implies that we are beings far greater than we imagined. And as good as it may sound, I think it appeals to man’s egotistic nature; we as humans who have done things, good and evil, try to look for a sound explanation to ease our consciences. I cannot say that the idea does not appeal to me yet I cannot also say that I do agree with it; on the other hand, of the three doctrines, I agree the most with the doctrine of The Noble Savage. I do believe that in our true nature, we are savages but that does not mean that we did not know how to control ourselves; indeed it would seem that the Native Americans, the specific race of people that the Europeans based the doctrine of The Noble Savage on, had a better society than we did: they were less barbaric, no employment problems and substance abuse, even crime was nearly nonexistent. And even if there were hard times, life was definitely stable and predictable. And yet that in itself was the reason why man chose to come out of his “savage” nature; he wanted adventure, twist and turns in his life; he wanted to feel the thrill of living. There is nothing wrong with that but for every choice there is a price to pay and the price we paid was high even if it remains to be seen
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Theme Statement: All civilized objects, activites, and souls, have inner savage which is held back by forced law, until power brings out the savage in everyone and everything.
While reading The Stranger I noticed that traits that Albert Camus character depicts in the book are closely related to the theories of Sigmund Freud on moral human behavior. Albert Camus portrays his character of Meursault as a numb, emotionless person that seems to mindlessly play out his role in society, acting in a manner that he sees as the way he’s supposed to act, always living in the moment with his instincts driving him, and if the right circumstance presents itself the primal deep seeded animal will come out. I believe that most of the character’s traits fall under Freud’s notion of the Id and Ego mental apparatus, and don’t believe that his idea of the super-ego is represented in this book.
"European opinion ran the gamut from admiration to contempt; for example, some European poets and painters expressed admiration for the Noble Savage, while other Europeans accepted as a rationalization for military aggression the sentiment that “the only good savage is a dead one.”" (Text p. 184) It was very
The Stranger The Stranger exhibits a society that has confined itself with a specific set of social standards that dictate the manner in which people are supposed to act. This ideology determines the level of morality, and how much emphasis should placed on following this certain "ethical" structure. Albert Camus's main character, Meursault, is depicted as a nonconformist that is unwilling to play society's game. Through Meursault's failure to comply with society's values and conform to the norm, he is rejected and also condemned to death by society.
The concept of nature vs nurture is easily one of the oldest and most controversial arguments of modern times. Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker is notably known in the world of psychology and the social sciences for his book “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature.” In his book, Pinker addresses this exact argument and reasons that human behavior is mostly and at its roots is formed by evolutionary psychological adaptations. In 2003, Steven Pinker gave a Ted Talk regarding his book and the idea that human behavior is predisposed, rather than formed by socialization, interactions between people and the exposure to culture. Pinker discusses the reasoning behind his stance on nature over nurture using five key discussion points, these points being, human universals, neurology and DNA, political reasoning, the arts and parenting. During his Ted Talk, Pinker begins by stating that there are human universals, concepts, behaviors and traits that are carried and found, with many similarities, throughout every human civilization, he then explains that a common example of this is with twins separated at birth, and can be proven through neurological studies. Another concept that Pinker address to further solidify his stance is the idea that the argument that humans are ‘blank slates’ and human behavior is developed through nurture rather than nature is the political reasoning behind the benefits of everyone being ‘blank slates’. Two critical points he made however
The frequent depiction of the “Noble Savage” trope has many functions, with its main function being to portray Native Americans as sinless uneducated humans and to make their abusers and torturers seem evil and superior, which in most cases the torturers are indeed evil. Bartolomé de Las Casas and Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca use the “Native Savage” trope for different reasons, which makes their portrayal different, and not because they are writing about different tribes and groups of Native Americans. The “Noble Savage” is a very common adaptation of Native Americans, but the definition isn’t as pretty as the name of the trope may seem to be.
In his essay, “The Lowest Animal”, Mark Twain attempts to prove a pessimistic opinion of his. He compares humans to animals, and explains how contrary to widespread belief, humans are a lower animal to other species. While he makes some valid points about greed, selfishness, and violence, he misses the overall picture of human nature. I firmly believe that the human race is made of not only civilized, but caring human beings. If humans were as abominable as Twain attempts to make us out to be, we would not have countries, communities, or any other caring and loving, individual connections. We would also have countless amounts of prisons, prisoners, high mortality rates due to violence, and lower life-spans. Twain writes from a subjective point of view, allowing his opinions of
Regardless of how civilized people are, given certain surrounding environmental circumstances, can produce changes in human nature to the point where they can turn into savages.
The book says how we were put on this earth to conquer it and make it our own paradise, but because of us being imperfect beings, we are bound to ruin it. On the contrary, it is argued that man’s only flaw is that we do not know how we “ought to live.” The answer is provided by the ways of nature, but as takers, we refuse to abide by the laws of nature and live as civilized beings in no need of the gods to tell us how to live. It is argued that the beliefs of man as being inherently flawed is due to our destructive behavior. We do not give ourselves enough credit for being human. Man is perfectly capable of living in harmony with the earth without destroying it if we took responsibility for our treatment of it. This has to do with the inherent goodness of man. Humans, before the time of modern civilization, did live in harmony with the earth and took only what they needed from it, just like the animals now. Mankind taking over the world used to not even be part of the question, but then evolution continued and we somehow started to believe we have a purpose here. To rule the earth. We think we are building up the world, but we are actually destroying
Calvinists also believed that “men were directed to transform the earth according to the divine will of God” (Champagne 1992:15); therefore, men were given complete freedom for environmental domination in order to transform this world that is full of flaws and sins and to appease God. From this perspective, nature is an object to be struggled against and overcome. Furthermore, Christianity, more specifically Calvinist belief, teaches the radical dualism of sacred and profane. From this perspective, this world characterized by sins, flaws, and suffering is profane, drawing comparison a comparison to the sacred afterworld. Native Americans, on the other hand, had less tension in this dichotomous relationship between this-worldliness and otherworldliness. Most Native cultures believed that their institutional and cultural elements, such as ceremonies, kinship, villages, and clans were given as gifts by the “Great Spirit”-- a benevolent and ubiquitous life force of the world. The Great Spirit communicates with humans through intermediaries that reside in nature, which makes Native Americans to live harmoniously with the earth. Everything on earth is considered a spiritual being that needs to be respected to keep the world in balance.
In the “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America” Benjamin Franklin writes about the Native American people and their way of life. In Benjamin Franklin’s essay he shows that the Native American people are far from savages. He explains how they are indeed civilized people. He says “perhaps, if we examine the manners of different nations with the impartiality, we should find no people so rude, as not to have some remains of rudeness.” The reason the Native Americans were called “savages” was because their rules of common civility, religion, laws and culture were different from the American culture and being that we were just socializing we did not understand their way of life.
"But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin." (Page 211, Chapter 17) This is the Savage explaining he would rather have real life, like in the old world, but instead, he is sucked into the World States idea of freedom; well, lack thereof that is.
Albert Camus creates a series of characters in The Stranger whose personality traits and motivations mirror those that are overlooked upon by the average man. Camus develops various characters and scenarios that show true humanity which tends to have been ignored due to the fact of how typical it has become. Camus incorporates abominable personality traits of the characters, variety, consistency, and everyone’s fate.
There 's that look people get told they have, where they look like they 've seen a ghost. I want to know what it means to have that feeling but knowing you 're the ghost. It had been too long since I stepped foot anywhere near these parts of the city. After I turned and changed into who I am now, I never wanted to risk getting seen by any members of the family that runs this part. That is actually a good reason they have never been able to extend their territory any further. It 's kind of easy to hear when a gang war is about to break out for someone to gain new ground. And for me, it 's all too easy to join the defending family and help kill men you were once friends with to make sure you had the room to run fucking wild. I 'm made a few good friends, nah I made a few bad acquaintances by doing that. The men that run other parts of this city know me by who I am now, only one knows me by who I was. Maybe it 's for the best he knows Big Mac is against him, less likely that it 's me behind the mask then. God, in those days, before I grew up and found out doing everything I was getting told to do, without being told to do them was so much better, Claire not counting, she just above another voice in my head. But the freedom I have, may not seem like a good thing for the city and its people, but I love being me and only this me.