Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hope everyone's ready!

i will be presenting my final paper in progress today in class. I am writing about religion in the 16th century and now. I've noticed my paper has kind of veered off into self expression but what I wanted to look at from the beginning was 'have we lost religion or is it changing?' I'll need some input from you philosophy students in regards to some of the information I have picked out for the paper so speak up!!!! 😊

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"As Shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof"

Throughout much of their history, the Jewish people have been forced to live amongst those with different religious and cultural convictions; the children of Israel have proven resilient, however, surviving numerous hardships while maintaining the faith of their fathers. This struggle can be seen at the forefront of the 1964 Tony Award-winning musical, Fiddler on the Roof.

At the musical’s onset, we are greeted by the Russian-Jew Tevye, who bursts into song proclaiming the value of tradition within the context of his Jewish community; he reflects on how the members of his village go about their daily routines, balancing the numerous trials associated with living in early 20th century Russian society as a Jew. The villagers, Tevye says, are akin to a fiddler who composes tunes from the shaky heights of a rooftop who is trying to maintain his footing. What allows for the villagers to remain grounded like a fiddler on the roof? Tradition. Without tradition, the inhabitants of Anatevka would surely succumb to the many problems and influences that are present within an ever-changing world; their lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof. 

(Note: This shakiness is representative of the fragilization experience by those in modern secular society; the Jewish people of Anatevka are cross pressured, though they resist the influences of the outside world by falling back upon tradition)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Journal Entry #5 (Taylor, 171-218)

Within this specific selection from Charles Taylor's magnum opus, A Secular Age, he introduces the idea of a social imaginary. According to Taylor, a social imaginary is "broader and deeper than the intellectual schemes people may entertain when they think about social reality in a disengaged mode [. . .]" A social imaginary is "[. . .] the way ordinary people 'imagine' their social surroundings, and this is often not expressed in theoretical terms, it is carried in images, stories, legends, etc." (Taylor 171-172). As mainstream society has become increasingly secularized over an extended period of time, the human social imaginary has changed in countless ways. As a result of the modernization of civilization, the belief in God has merely become one option among many (in terms of the expression of faith by human beings). As a result, emphasis has been placed on the individual, rather than the community. Therefore, citizens have continued to call morality into question. George Orwell's groundbreaking book, Nineteen Eighty-four, proclaims, "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength" (Orwell 4). Humanity has enslaved itself to fundamental features of the political process, including: equality, freedom and liberty, among others. The evolution of humanity's social imaginary is predicated upon individuality (at the expense of authority). Religion continues to be viewed (by some people) as a strict set of standards to be followed without reservations; however, it is much more than this. I firmly believe that mankind's modern social imaginary hasn't lost a sense of the sacred; however, the focus has shifted from transcendence to human flourishing. This isn't detrimental to Catholicism; in fact, it has helped pave the way for the Catholic faith to become stronger in mainstream society.

Journal Entry #4 (Smith, 122-139 & Taylor, 1-22, 146-171)

In the introduction of his magnum opus, A Secular Age, Charles Taylor explores humanity's innate desire to discover a strong sense of purpose behind life. He emphasizes the differences between human flourishing and the transcendent, stating, "We all see our lives, and/or the space wherein we live our lives, as having a certain moral/spiritual shape. Somewhere, in some activity, or condition, lies a fullness, a richness; that is, in that place (activity or condition), life is fuller, richer, deeper, more worth while, more admirable, more what it should be" (Taylor 5). The multitude of cross pressures faced by every single individual on a consistent basis causes them to attempt to uncover the meaning of life. As a devout member of the Catholic faith, I firmly believe I must use my life to completely commit myself to the sacraments, serve others before myself and to spread the word of God in order to experience salvation. From my personal perspective, the meaning of life comes from loving everyone else without reservation and serving God to the best of my God-given abilities. Countless citizens have gravitated towards a secularized lifestyle because of the "lack" of evidence for the existence of God; however, He is always with us (especially through the numerous miracles He performs). The members of BarlowGirl, an American, Christian and all-female rock band, express their discontent with God's absence (presumably when they needed him the most); however, they continue to have faith in spite of the cross pressures they continue to face. This holds true for many of the 1.2 billion Catholics across the globe. Mankind will continue to strive for a sense of meaning in its existence through religion and spirituality alike.

The Beat Generation

This is the interview we we discussed in class of Jack Kerouac.
A little background on the Beats were that they were commonly referred to as the Beatniks. They consisted of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Lucien Carr, and Neal Cassady. They were a group of authors in the 1950s who wrote about everything mainstream society was against. Mainstream society in the 1950s thrived on family and wholesome values. The Beats however thrived on sex, drugs and travel. They made treks across the US multiple times looking for work and a good story to write about. Taylor talks about this in the Religion Today section  of A Secular Age. You can draw a line between these Beats and the reason the value system of the 50s fell apart and the values system we have now eventually came into play.  I also think it is interesting how they keep asking about the difference between this and the "hippy movement". The truth is, they just fed into one another. From the later Beat generation stemmed Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, who was a VERY prominent member of both the Hippy and Beat movements. This essentially started the shift from the older values to the ones we have now. I agree with Professor Langguth that Jack Kerouac in particular, would be a very interesting person to study in regard to Charles Taylor.

Monday, April 27, 2015


I was reading the immanent frame blog and came across a post about the spread of western secularity of Europe to places such as the United States. It spoke about the nonviolent protests being brought from this part of the world. In light of the Baltimore Riots, i thought it was very relevant and pertinent information. It made me think what has changed since the time of Martin Luther King that we resort immediately to violence instead of coming together and peacefully marching for a cause that we all believe in.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Living in the AA

On page 84 of Smith he talks about the Age of Authenticity (AA). This is post '60's and is defined by the book as "an expression of 'what speaks to me.'" Most people today can relate to this as we are constantly looking for new things to introduce into our lives. We are always looking for new rituals and practices that will fill the void from the Age of Mobilization (AM). Our options have changed as Smith says and it isn't only that but also our everyday lives. We all express ourselves differently and that is what the AA allows us to do. You do not have to conform to the outside model and are able to realize your own humanity for yourself. You can be individualistic and explore the many options that the Nova Effect created. I think that this is a good time to live in. We are able to see so many different expressions of ones self so that we can better understand ourselves. We don't always have to go the same way as everyone else. We are able to try out new things and decide for ourselves if that's what we want to be. But in the end whatever you do decide, there is nothing wrong with it, you are just expressing yourself.