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Rousseau vs. Golding
Transcript of Rousseau vs. Golding
Can Civilization Corrupt The Individual?
Yes, society (civilization) “defines” what is right and wrong. Every thing people do, every decision people make is based on their previous experiences and events in their life. Since people are born, they are exposed what the society and their family shows them - which gives people the idea of what the world is like. The foundation of our knowledge and ways of thinking are influenced solely by society. Civilization not only can corrupt an individual but definitely effects an individual. Society (civilization) also has many different situations. And in those different situation, many people get used to it and live. There were many psychological experiments that prove people change (could corrupt) in different situations (environments, civilizations, societies) such as the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram Experiment.
How Do Some People Try To Protect Themselves And Their Loved Ones From The Evils Of Civilization?
To defense themselves from the evils of civilization, people get education (and educate their loved ones) in order to know what is right and wrong by themselves. It is ironic, though, that it is society (civilization; government) that chooses what people will be taught in school and other places. But people earn knowledge to raise their independent thinking, which leads to independent decisions and acts.
Can An Individual Destroy Civilization?
An individual can destroy civilization. Although society puts limits and makes definitions, it is man himself (an individual) who decides on his actions. Therefore, the source of corruption is human decision.
This is well shown in Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. Young boys, perhaps less affected by society, lands in an uninhabited island. What results is savagery, not nobility. The boys thoughts and decisions lead their ‘society (civilization)’ corruption.
How Does Civilization Try To Protect Itself From The Evils Of Individuals?
Society (civilization) tries to protect itself from the evils of individuals by censorship (media, books, etc.). It is not a good way - too much censorship in a society (civilization) can lead to intellectual deadness - but almost every country uses some or lot of media and book censorship today. Censorship is mainly used for two reasons: the first reason is that censorship could prevent people (especially children) learning and copying things that could harm them, others and the society (being corrupt) and the second reason is that the society (government; civilization) likely wants to control individuals (how they think and act), so the individuals won’t do something ‘evil’. There are many examples in literature such as, the books ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury, ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley, and ‘The Chocolate War’ by Robert Cormier.
Who is right - Rousseau or Golding?
Both Rousseau and Golding are right. There is a correlation between man (individual) and society (civilization). This correlation is in a form of a brutal cycle, society corrupts man and man corrupts society. And this cycle goes on and on.
Individual vs. Civilization
The Stanford Prison Experiment
The Stanford prison experiment (led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo) was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard.
In ‘Fahrenheit 451’, books are burned (censored) because censorship of books encourages intellectual complacency. The less people read, the less they think for themselves. The less they think for themselves, the easier they are to manipulate and control. The easier the individuals are to manipulate and control, the less likely they are to resist the government (civilization), especially when it commits acts of violence and engages in war. Even historical facts are censored. Ben Franklin is known as the first fireman in Fahrenheit 451.
Brave New World
In ‘Brave New World’, the whole society is censored. One of the methods that this society uses is: the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre conditions (brainwashes) babies and children to be one of the five castes (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta or Epsilon). There is also this nursery room that reprograms Delta infants to hate flowers and books. The Director explains that this conditioning helps to make Deltas ‘docile and eager consumers’.
The Chocolate War
In ‘The Chocolate War’, Brother Leon, the assistant headmaster of Trinity High School, censors the fact that the acting headmaster is ill and tells Archie that the school must sell 20,000 boxes in order to make Brother Leon the acting headmaster, which is committing an irregularity (corruption).
The Stanford Prison Experiment demonstrated the powerful role how a certain situation/environment can affect in human behavior. In Lord of the Flies, the boys were put in an island isolated from the society the boys were used to. The island took a powerful role affecting the boys change (fall in to savagery)
The 24 volunteers were randomly assigned one of the groups - the prisoner or guard. Prisoners were to be in the mock prison in the basement of Stanford University the whole day for the duration of the study.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was originally planned to last 14 days, it had to be stopped after six days due to what was happening to the student participants.
The guards became abusive and the prisoners began to have stress and anxiety. Even though the prisoners and guards were allowed to interact in any way they wanted, both followed how the prisoners and guards usually act in reality. The guards behaved in an aggressive and abusive way toward the prisoners, and the prisoners became passive and depressed.
Even Zimbardo began to lose sight of the reality of the situation. He ignored the abusive behavior of the guards until his student Christina Maslach told him about the conditions in the mock prison and the morality of continuing this experiment.
Stanford Prison Experiment. N.d. Photograph. Wordpress. Web. <http://lerevdr.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/stanford_prison_experiment.jpg>.
Book Lord of the Flies. N.d. Photograph. Blogspot. Web. <http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hY-4lomJSGs/S7zQX4qOj_I/AAAAAAAABwQ/GjjTys5PwuI/s1600/Lord+of+the+Flies.jpg>.
Book Fahrenheit 451. N.d. Photograph. Wikipedia. Web. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/75/Farneheit_451.jpg/160px-Farneheit_451.jpg>.
Brave-New-World. N.d. Photograph. LVHS Book Reviews. Web. <http://books.mylakeviewhs.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/7/files/2012/02/brave-new-world1.jpg>.
Chocolate-. N.d. Photograph. Wordpress. Web. <http://javidtheprofessional.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/chocolate.jpg>.