Monday, July 23, 2012

Commercialism and Privacy

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Commercialism and Privacy

Summary

Industries gather information about consumers, and advertise to consumers that go greatly beyond what is acceptable. We do not own our own information, and Spam, like calls from telemarketers invade our privacy. However, there are market solutions to these problems that will hopefully allow us to regain what is ours.



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Introduction

Commercialism has intruded into just about every part of our existence, and e-commerce has propelled this intrusion exponentially. Commercialism is not necessarily bad in itself, but because of industries’ insatiable desire to gain the competitive advantage, they gather information about consumers, and advertise to consumers that go greatly beyond what is acceptable. Firms have invaded our privacy, and consumers are fed-up with this invasion. Consumer rebellion will open the doors for “market solutions” to these “market problems”.

Anonymity

Every time we sign up for a free email account, fill out a survey on line, or request “free” information, we give away a little bit of information about ourselves. Simply visiting a web site provides valuable information to industry about ourselves. Each incident in many cases is not significant, but the accumulative effects of the information can become serious intrusions on our privacy. The accumulation of this information provides firms profiles of existing and potential customers. Consumers are becoming very wary of this loss of privacy and anonymity, and feel that these profiles belong to the consumer, not the firm.

One method of gathering information about a consumer is the Internet Service Provider. ISPs knows who you are and knows every web site you visit. Consumers have complained about this, so some ISPs have advertised that they will not to sell your web surfing information. AOL at one time stated that they do not gather information on their customers web activity at all, but they may have changed their mind, because there is no evidence of this claim on line. As people become more concerned about their privacy, demand for ISPs that provide the consumer greater anonymity while web surfing will dramatically increase. ISPs are not the only companies that gather information. Other firms besides ISPs use various means to track consumers activities on the Internet for sell and use. Now, companies like Anoymizer.com and Evidence Washer sell software that protects your Internet privacy. The fact that these and many other companies sell this sort of software shows there is a growing demand for privacy protection. Using ISPs that do not collect information about you, and using software to prevent other companies from collecting information about your web activities are only two possible solutions.

The most powerful market solution to privacy on the Internet will occur when people stop voluntarily giving away information about themselves. Once consumers become wise to getting “free” service or information from a web site, they will stop giving up the information.

Spam

Email used to be one of the most efficient means of communications. One could read and reply to ten emails in the time it took to have one telephone conversation. Email was a great convenience because one could read and send emails at his leisure. Not any more. As more and more people began using email, businesses realized that email was a great advertising medium. It could reach millions of people almost instantly at virtually no cost. Because of commercial Spam, email now invades our privacy and wastes our time. This is a major problem.

Since reading email has become more of a burden than in the past, consumers may simply dramatically reduce or quit using email for communications. This solution will reduce the number of hits or reduce the number of available email addresses for Spam to be as effective. Because Spam email has an extremely low marginal cost, there does not have to be many people for Spam to be profitable. There is not much difference between one hit in one hundred thousand and one hit in two hundred thousand, when the cost remains about the same for both. But this solution may force many Spam advertisers to drop out of the market.

The market has provided other solutions for an attempt to stop Spam. Just about every ISP has an email option to reduce Spam with various filter and options. Also, email programs have filters to reduce Spam. Programs like Spamkiller and MailWasher have become “market solutions” to reduce the intrusion of Spam. Since Spam is still a very important tool that many advertisers want to use, Spam firms will make every effort to bypass Spam software and filters. There will be a constant battle for the anti-Spam software companies to keep up. This will also require users to constantly upgrade their software, which will generate profits for the anti-Spam companies. So, more Spam means more profit for anti-Spam companies. I suspect it would be profitable to be a Spam advertising provider and anti-Spam software provider, because the firm would generate revenue from both markets.

The United States Postal Service will soon start selling guaranteed email for a few cents. This could be yet another solution to the Spam email problem. With people applying software, filters, and exception lists to their email accounts, many legitimate emails may not get through. However, if FedEx, UPS, or USPS provides a guaranteed email service for a fee, users could allow the fee based emails to come through, because advertisers could not afford to send 50 million Spam emails. This would dramatically increase Spam advertiser marginal costs. Even if it only cost two cents to send a guaranteed email, the cost would be prohibitive.

Conclusion

Lack of on-line privacy, and unwanted emails invades our privacy because of excessive commercialism, is a serious problem. With a combination of paid for services, software, and a change in behavior, users can dramatically reduce information gathered on them and slow or eliminate Spam. This will costs firms, and will reduce their profits enough to force many of the them to drop out of the market.



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Friday, July 20, 2012

Dicuss 'when and to what extent should the state intervene in the economy?'

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The world has changed so much rapidly as economic activities have become not just increasingly internationalized but also increasingly globalized since the end of the Second World War. Between nation-states and countries the clear trend of the integration has extended all the key areas of modern life the economic, political, legal, cultural, military and the ecological activities. But over time globalisation has been organized and institutionized in quite different ways, from the global empires of the nineteenth century to the present when world empires have given way to the ‘freedoms’ of the global market, laissez-faire economies, and multinational capital.

For market approach economists who are widely labelled neo-classicalists, contemporary globalization proves a new epoch in human history in which market capitalism, following the collapse of state socialism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union has formed the only viable development path. This concept of globalisation reflects the emergence of a single global market and the principle of free trade, capital mobility, and global competition as the key elements of modernization and development. Pointing to the East Asian economic miracle and the Latin American experience of the 10s, have been cited frequently as the successful development issues from openness to global capital and competitive forces and closer integration within the global economy.

Nevertheless this approach of development has never lacked of arguments. The memory of 17-8 around Far East Asian may be still painfully fresh for many people. A financial disaster which caused millions people lost jobs and their families been destroyed in some extent has raised many doubts about the optimistic view of the neo-classicalists. Some economists believe that the market mechanism can never lead to the real development which widely accepted in academic circle and within the international community of development professionals as something close to the alleviation of poverty than to the mere achievement of aggregate economic growth, and that the latter would not necessary deliver the former. In order to explore a bit further a briefly mention here of the work of Adam Smith who is one of the founders of today’s neo-classical economic theory is needed. In his famous work of the wealth of nation Smith asserts the importance of freely working market which indicates perfect competition and freedom of exchange in order to maximise the interests of all. However in reality these market conditions are never perfect as there are so many forms of market failure one example would be the domination of a few firms always exists in some markets thus will attempt to prevent free competition. Therefore the government which is the primary regulator of its national economic system to create the legal framework must intervene in the market place.

So the question need to be asked here could be to what precise conditions which have to be satisfied for achieving maximum benefits for individual as well as society and how to explain, predict and control outcomes where the conditions are absent? Some economists argue that government should implement such policies as increased expenditure on education and training, subside for investment, direct public investment in the economy and grants or encourages for Research and Development, again very importantly to provide certain protection for domestic infant and potential-winner liking industries. Additionally, governments also hold the key role of balancing the whole economy during different period. In other words when the economy slumps into recession a government needs boost aggregate demand by promote demand-side policies such as increasing public expenditure, cut interest rate, etc. On contrary reverse the policies to tackle the overheated economy. In 10s, it is by the strong government intervention on expenditure that president Roosevelt was able to restore millions of unemployed Americans to a new hopeful life.

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Historically the state has either explicitly or implicitly played an extremely important role in the process of industrialization in all countries. It is impossible to see how those NICs could have achieved the unusual economic and export performance without the crucial input of government policies. Take the example of South Korea, one of the poorest countries on the world in the 150s, now is a member of OECD a ‘Richs’ club’ dominated by those western industrial advanced countries. Its economy had been central directed resources on highly selective industries (mostly heavy and technology intensive ones) for the past 0 years. Indeed, all governments intervene to varying degrees in the operation of the market.

On the other hand the neo-classicalists would put a statement like this though, no markets are perfect but they will allocate resources more efficiently than alternative mechanisms. These economists share the view that the slow progress made by some developing countries has been mainly accused excessive economic intervention by their own governments. The costs of this intervention have been typically much greater than its benefits in terms of both production and distribution. For instance the governments were not best placed to judge what type of training is needed by companies. Subsiding investment may hurt present consumption that is part of aggregate demand. As for ‘picking winners’, the governments has often through money into vain by picking the unsuccessful ones. Nor has the quality of research in the universities give them a comparative advantage over the neighbouring countries.

Overall it seems difficult to find a satisfied answer to conclude within this limited context here. However whichever approach just presented has been shown its standing point and explicit evidences can be drawn down from historical experiences to support all of them. Therefore I prefer to say it has to be depending on each individual case to decide which one really works as different countries at different period need adopt different policies. Most major economists have agreed that the structure of most developing countries is significant different from those industrialized countries to such an extent those economics outcomes in response to similar policies in each environment will systematically reflect such differences. The market in ‘typical’ developing countries tends to be more imperfect and hence less socially efficient in allocating goods and services than more industrialized countries. The idea that governments will need to intervene in order to help, support, or ‘stand in for’ the market more substantially in developing than more developed societies follows the right direction to real development.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alain, Anderton. (000) Economics, Causeway Press, Lancs.

Adam, Smith. (17) The Wealth of Nation, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Christopher, C. (1) States or Markets? Q Neo-liberalism and the development policy debate, Oxford University Press, New York.

Peter, Dicken. (1) Global Shift, The Cromwell Press, Melksham.

Tim, Allen. and Alan, Thomas. (000) Poverty and Development into the 1st Century, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

elan boats

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The Boat industry is compiled of many variations of styles and purposes, as a global industry a market exists worldwide. In particular there is a large market for recreational boats in North America but as the economy slows so does production. Companies such as Élan, Master Craft and Correct Craft have had to adjust their strategic goals to compensate for the change. Élan, a newer company, has recognized what the market needs for these economic conditions and implemented these goals into their mission statement.

Before Ben Favert and Jay Blossman took over Élan the company was know as American Performance Marine which produced a boat called American Skier. American Skier was a boat that was built specifically for recreational purposes focusing towards the sport of waterskiing. American Performance Marine failed to run there boat company in a manner that would generate sales; they neglected the essential principals that a business needs to follow in order to survive. Consequently American Performance had to sell their business at a bargain in order to pay off outstanding debts. Ben and Jay saw the opportunity and purchased American Performance marine in hope of turning the company around.

The two men knew that to succeed in the industry they were going to have to implement basic business strategies that the rest of the industry seemed to be ignoring. In an uprising economy a boat company can still profit without using business strategies but in an economy that Ben and Jay are facing the limited customers will have to be won. From Ben and Jay’s market analysis it reveled that the competition had been ignoring the customer’s needs. From this they collectively decided that an offensive attack on the major competitors would be satisfactory. Firstly a new name was needed to get ride of the currents tarnished one. The name was to be Élan, meaning vigorous spirit and enthusiasm. Élan’s long term goal is to become the industries leader. To accomplish this Élan intends to do three things that they believe will help in achieving this.

1) Become a service orientated company

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) Bypass retailers and sell directly to the end user

) Manufacture boats for specific needs

Granted these three ideas are going to help Élan become the industry leader but an essential piece of information is missing from this solution. There does not seem to be any sort of time line to achieving these goals. With regards to becoming a service orientated company Élan will need to have service outlets in every major city that it sells to. To be a top competitor in this industry Élan has to sell it’s product nationally as buyers reside throughout the United States and Canada, but to be service orientated company you have to live up to your promises. It would be impossible for Élan to set up service garages in every area in which they intend to sell. They don’t have the capital and even if they did the amount of time it would take to set up would be far too long.

The location of the assembly plant is in Kentwood, Louisiana, this is actually an excellent place to start due geographic benefits. Louisiana is very central in terms wakeboarding, water skiing and leisure boating. The East coast is very close and Florida is one of the boating capitals of the world. If Élan focuses their attentions on this area for the first ten to fifteen years and applies their three principals it is likely they will succeed. In regards to the economic situation of the country Élan shouldn’t have too much of a problem selling their product. They acknowledged that boat enthusiasts are being taken advantage of by the competition with highly overpriced boats. Boating will always be apart of our North American culture, even in times of economic downfall. A certain number of boats will be purchased regardless; it’s just making sure that the one’s that are bought are from you.

Another problem I foresee Élan having is competition from the already established companies. Although the companies like Master Craft over price their boats they build a high quality product. Long time customers generally stay loyal to companies that have produced high quality products, even if that means spending a little more. Additionally I think the Élan Company has underestimated the ability of their opponents. They state a number of times that there competition has not been marketing their product properly nor managing the company in an efficient manner. Although there might be some truth to this Élan has to realize that a company cannot be successful in market without doing something right and there’s no doubt these companies have done something right. It almost sounds as if Élan expects the competition to give up their market share. My second recommendation to Élan is watch the competition very carefully and don’t underestimate them.



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Friday, July 13, 2012

American Airlines

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All firms engaged in activities as a tactical entity will, in some form or another, attempt to get a handle on expected demand for their products within a certain future time period such as a week, month, quarter or year. This is a tactical environment and, aside from any earth shattering new developments or shocks to the existing environment, forecasts for expected demand/maximum-likelihood share of market may be made with a fair degree of accuracy with little variance. There are several key points that are important to this process, such as activities of competitors, market projections for the industry by industry insiders/analysts, and a great deal of historical data.

Competitive intelligence is a parameter which attempts to add subjective background to the environment in which demand forecasting is carried out. Information comes from a variety of sources such as secondary information gathered from written sources, direct observation, and from competitors themselves through press releases, industry gatherings and trade journals. This information provides some indication of what the competition plans to do as far as pricing, new products, promotions and distribution/sales. This data has a dual purpose since it may also be used within model based contingency planning when management scrutinizes competition in an effort to uncover developing threats and opportunities. Experienced tactical managers have the valuable ability to incorporate this type of information, which is not easily quantifiable, as a complement to the numerical aspects of demand forecasting. However, this is not to say that there is no information system requirement for this input into the demand forecasting process simply because it is difficult to assimilate into an objective, quantifiable form. On the contrary, a database should be set up in the context of an expert system to contain information gathered on competitors. It must be readily accessible, updated and accurate in order to aid tactical management in this process.

Another input item for demand forecasting comes from aggregate market projections. These types of analyses are readily accessible, mostly in the form of secondary information found in trade journals and economic publications. Airlines and transportation in general comprise a large industrial group within the economy of the United States and, accordingly, there is a large interest in its economic future. Wall Street brokerage firms and other financial firms are resplendent with analysts, some of which are charged with the task of tracking the airline industry’s past economic performance, as well as anticipated future projections. All of this knowledge is available from many sources and, again, wise tactical managers will take the time to incorporate it. System facilities required for this type of support for demand forecasting are databases which can contain quantifiable economic information. Since this input to demand forecasting is quantifiable, a database with analytical utilities for ranking and analyzing stored economic projections and raw data are used. This facility may also be presented to management in the guise of a dressed up expert system containing decision table constructs which will allow them to adjust many demand forecasting parameters in order to make the most accurate forecast.

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Arguably the most important input into the demand forecasting process is a firm’s actual historical data from its own internal records sources. Historical sales data may be thought of as the most dependable and accurate input into demand forecasting since it is derived by the firm itself rather than arriving in a second hand fashion from sources outside of the organization. Historical sales data is helpful not only in developing a demand forecast, but is also used as a check against post production performance when the time arrives to compare actual demand to the forecast. This information will likely come from another massive record keeping database which records sales transactions from the point of sale. For American Airlines, as well as the rest of the airline industry in general, this requirement is served through a reservation system of some kind. The reservation system must be capable of handling queries, data inflows and other types of processing from thousands of nodes. Dummy terminals, which simply display data, will not be sufficient to satisfy reservation system requirements, and any implementation will involve connections and terminals designed to carry two-way traffic. Additional discussion of reservation systems, including specifically what American Airlines has installed, will follow later in this paper.

After satisfying system requirements for generating and handling inputs into the demand forecasting process, the actual forecast derivation may be viewed as somewhat mechanical. The main management decision at this point is determining which type of probabilistic instrument to use with which analytical utility to yield the most accurate results. Some tactical managers may even require an expert system that does nothing more than aid them in selecting the proper mathematical tool to address the forecasting process. There is an array of probabilistic techniques that can satisfy this management requirement including least squares regression analysis, weighted scenarios, Markov-based stochastic projections and others. Many tactical managers may use a combination of these facilities to arrive at a forecast with which they feel satisfied.

A key point to bear in mind when discussing demand forecasting for a tactical entity is that it is central to two important aspects of the firm. The demand forecast is viewed foremost as the progenitor of the firm’s production for which it is the main, direct input. However, it is also an indicator of the general trend of the firm’s revenues over time. A forecast whose extrapolation to the next period indicates a decline in revenues may be an early warning of something novel in the industry or indicative of a paradigm shift toward a new era. This aspect of troubleshooting will be discussed more at length in a later section concerning requirements for process control.

The demand forecast sets the stage for the next management task -- logistical programming and its accompanying system requirements. Logistical programming is the task charged with accumulating proper amounts of the factors of production in the proper place at the proper time. The four factors of production (material, finance, equipment and manpower) have certain input requirements which determine the amounts of each factor to apply to the production process. Each of these inputs will necessitate the use of some type of information system to aid tactical managers in allocation of these factors to production. One of the first inputs into logistical programming is the supply schedule, which is the main determinant of the amount of products or services offered by a firm. For the airline industry, supply schedules manifest themselves in the form of the magnitude of flights offered to the public.

A demand forecast is the main force behind the supply schedule, but other normative microeconomic factors play an important role in its composition. One of these factors, optimal scale of plant, exerts a direct relationship against the supply schedule and, for American Airlines, consists of the optimal terminal/gate layout at its busiest hub cities. The goal of proper terminal design is to optimize the number and size of the complexes which converge on a hub terminal throughout the day. A complex consists of a group of inbound flights which land within minutes of each other and take-off within minutes of each other. This is the very heart of a hub and spoke system which allows a large number of flights due to the number of possible connections in the hub. Inbound passengers from many cities will all arrive at approximately the same time, disembark, and make connections to many outbound flights which leave within minutes of each other. This occurs many times throughout the day and the system requirement for solving this problem and optimizing the operation is available in the form of CADD design stations.

CAD/CAM design workstations may be used to solve terminal optimization problems and allow engineers to simulate the capability of the terminal to handle certain scenarios. This is, in fact, exactly what American Airlines did when it was searching for the optimum design for its $80 million expansion of its main hub in Dallas/Fort Worth in 18. This simulation model was used by senior management to aid them in their decision on the best design to handle the desired flow of traffic in the narrow operational time constraints necessary for the hub to work. In addition to optimizing the terminal layout, the system was useful in optimizing other related areas. The system/model was used to determine dynamic gate assignments in order to minimize baggage handling costs and passenger delays. Another byproduct of the model was a useful algorithm designed to automatically program and update signs for directing passengers around the terminal. The functional facility was even used to determine the best layout for short-term parking in the face of expected increases in passenger traffic.

Though optimal scale of plant through optimal terminal design is an important aspect of American Airlines’ supply schedule determination, the most important part of the supply schedule lies in determining the number of flights to and from certain destinations. For American Airlines and most of the airline industry, flight scheduling is not a simple matter. Flight scheduling is one of the most important tasks performed by tactical airline managers because it is central to where and how the factors of production are allocated. The technical system requirements are myriad, and they must meet the daunting problem of properly scheduling thousands of flights per day between hundreds of domestic and international destinations using a fleet of over 500 aircraft. One main requirement is for a system capable of analyzing past flight offerings in search of patterns of overbookings and empty flights in order to adjust schedules to better meet forecasted demand.

Technical requirements for an airline scheduling system would include a data base structure to house the body of past and present schedules from which managers could choose when composing a new schedule. The problem is compounded since airline schedules are determined months in advance. In addition to using optimization techniques, the system requires certain expert system facilities such as decision table constructs to aid in schedule development. Diagnostic remedial aids are used in order to spot bottlenecks in the proposed schedules where patterns of frequent overbookings are occurring. In addition, remedial systems capable of offering solutions by reshuffling proposed schedules provides valuable information to flight scheduling managers. Historical data is fed into the scheduling model from the database containing past schedules and data concerning past parameters which influenced those schedules. The system takes this data and combines it with the demand forecast in order to develop a preliminary schedule. The process requires diagnostic and remedial systems to optimize the schedule so that the expected demand will be met in the most efficient manner possible.

Even with an optimal schedule in place, there will always be disruptions due to weather and shortages of planes and crews; thus forcing scheduling managers to constantly rearrange flights. Before 11, this was a complex task for American Airlines since dispatchers had to scan data from many different mainframe databases in order to get a handle on managing daily flights. The schedule was constantly being reconfigured to meet anticipated external obstacles such as delays due to inclement weather. In 11, however, American Airlines invested in a new system known as Smalltalk which made schedule maintenance easier and more efficient. Smalltalk uses of object-oriented programming techniques in order to keep flights running smoothly. The dispatcher simply clicks on an object representing a flight and, when he changes the flight, the system automatically updates other objects (flights) in the system in order to propagate the change throughout the entire system. In fact, it only took three programmers eight months to write the program which contained only two errors.

Once an optimal schedule has been developed through simulation and optimization techniques, the next step is to arrange the factors of production in order to generate enough products and/or services to meet prospective demand. Since manpower costs equal over one-third of all expenditures for American Airlines, it is the first factor to receive consideration. Manpower for an airline takes on many forms; however, almost all of the employees of American Airlines can be classified into one of three different broad categories. The first category represents the aircraft crew whose duty stations are on the aircraft pilots, copilots, navigators and flight engineers, as well as the cabin crew or flight attendants. The second category is referred to as maintenance workers, and they are the people that maintain the aircraft, which includes anything from refuelers to engine mechanics. The final classification includes all of the ramp workers such as baggage handlers, ticketing personnel and office workers. By far the most difficult category to allocate within the manpower group is the aircraft crews.

Manpower requirements for airline crews are derived from the flight schedule. The main goal for crew schedulers is to develop a schedule for the entire following month which will ensure that all of the upcoming flights for the month are properly staffed. Flight crews at most airlines bid by seniority for the flights that they will fly in the next month and crew schedulers develop flight packages for them. The flight packages are known in the industry as bidlines. The bidlines in turn are composed of flight segments called trip pairings, and they customarily cover a one to three day time frame. Compounding the problem for the schedulers are FAA and union work rules designed to minimize the risk of accidents resulting from crew fatigue. Therefore, the main requirement of a generation and optimization system is that it is able to find the optimal set of bidlines (i.e. the set which yields the lowest cost) which maximize the utilization of each crew member, evenly distributes flying time among the bidlines and covers every scheduled flight.

The properties inherent in the crew scheduling dilemma require an expert system design. The first part of the system uses manpower loading algorithms, the current and previous month’s schedules (from various databases) and optimization techniques in order to develop the set of trip pairings, which would adequately cover all scheduled flights for the upcoming month within FAA and union work guidelines. The trip pairing process is made even more onerous because American Airlines operates several fleets of different aircraft and most pilots are trained to fly only one type. The following diagram illustrates the requirements for a crew assignment system.



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dragonsbane

If you order your custom term paper from our custom writing service you will receive a perfectly written assignment on dragonsbane. What we need from you is to provide us with your detailed paper instructions for our experienced writers to follow all of your specific writing requirements. Specify your order details, state the exact number of pages required and our custom writing professionals will deliver the best quality dragonsbane paper right on time.

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Dragons bane

The setting for Dragonsbane was in about the 1400s in a place called Wyr.

Jenny John and Gareth are the main characters. Jenny is a wizard women who is always trying to advance her skills but still isnt very good. John is Jennys husband and is also a dragons bane, which means that he has slayed a dragon. Gareth is a prince whos hero is John. And final Zyerne, she is also a wizard women whom is the most powerful in the land.

Gareth comes up from the South to ask of Johns assistance in slaying a dragon that is threatening the Kings lands. John decides to go with him and talk to the king.

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When they get there they find out that Zyerne is holding the king under some sort of spell and using him for her bidding.

John talks to the king and gets ready to slay the dragon. He asks Jenny to make the most powerful poisons she can and then dips his harpoons in it. John then rides off to slay the dragon. When the battle his over Jenny goes out to were the battle happened and finds the dragon and John lying in bloody pools and realizes that john is still alive. She takes him back to camp and puts healing spells on him. She then goes back to the dragon and sees that he is still alive to. The dragon told her that if she healed him that he would tell her where the books of healing were in the caves called the deep so she could heal John. She agrees and the dragon through telepathy shows her the way in the maze of tunnels.

It is always said to save a dragon is to slave a dragon for life. So Jenny saved the dragon and John.

Zyerne was waiting for them to kill the dragon so she could take over the deep because of the huge amounts of gold in them. So Zyerne came and tried to kill the dragon and Jenny but failed and she was killed.

The dragon through all of this fell in love with Jenny and asked her to turn into a dragon and return with him to were the dragons lived. She decided that she would turn into a dragon and return with him. On her way back to were the dragons live she realized how much she missed her husband and kids so she changed back into a human and went home.

I thought the book was very interesting and I really enjoyed reading it. I thought it described how each individual in the story felt very good, like when Jenny was trying to decide weather to become a dragon or to stay a human.



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Dead Men Do Tell Tales

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Dead Men Do Tell Tales

Dead Men Do Tell Tales, is a fascinating candid approach to the very morbidly mysterious world of crime scene forensics investigation. “From a skeleton, a skull, a mere fragment of burnt thigh bone, Dr. William Maples can deduce the age, gender, and ethnicity of a murder victim, the manner in which the person was dispatched, and ultimately the identity of the killer.” (Forward)

The title of the first chapter sums up the ensuing pages with the quote, “Every day is Halloween” and quickly makes you a believer of that statement while unveiling your eyes to the underworld of crime. From insurance fraud to the false anthropological findings of the early 10s, back to a young boys infatuation with Bonnie Parker, Dr. Maples introduces you to a side of forensics that is exciting and even sexy in a very strange way. He frames us up with a story that would almost seem like the movie Twister, with young scientists racing around the countryside chasing down crime scenes and evidence, instead of tornados.

If there was a nieve bone in your body, I’m sure that he has collected it by the time you’ve reached the second chapter. Stories of professionals who fall down in front of moving vehicles and such, set to “bring you face to face with some of the most vivid, brilliant, highly plausible fictions ever spun by human ingenuity.” One might almost be compelled to call everyone, as the Swahili phrase goes, “shenzi.”

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Today, Dr. Maples studies the highest profiled cases around the entire nation and operates labs that are tighter than Fort Knox, whiling technologies that might only seem fit for science fiction. I was extremely impressed to read about his archaeological expeditions to Rifft Valley in the foot steps of the late great Leakeys. That gave me a better sense of the authors over all experience, and a greater respect and perspective for the field of Forensic Anthropology. In his description of the working environment, I get a sense that there is a real concern to preserve evidence from tampering which raises questions about a jurisdictions “organized crime” rates where there is fully functional forensic crime labs that access new technologies at their disposal?

I found it interesting that a bears claw is so similar to a humans hand, but even more interestingly he describes the difference between a fracture to a living skull trauma and a break after the fact, such as when a passing animal steps on a dry bone, in that the living bone creates a hinged beveled effect that reveals the direction of motion to the blow where as the other is more of a cracking or shattering of brittled substance. Either way he is more the man than I, to beat a baboon who has its teeth sunken into his arm and not change professions.

As the reader, I almost have an epiphany of my own, as I have never heard a biblical passage quoted in reference to crime as is with the use of Ezekial where God brings a vision to the profit about the re-emergence of a dead people (nation). Only here they are brought to life by pragmatic scientists. In this, I find hope, that no crime is unsolvable, and that every case can be brought back to life through justice as God would have intended and by diligence is succeeded.

Maples puts a few old myths to rest about nails and hair that grow after death, is nothing more than receding skin shifting. I thought it was utterly disgusting when he described the body bag that broke in the trunk of his wifes car, leaking the gooey remains of a find, yet he won’t give a skeleton a humorous name.

In the fourth chapter, the ensuing earth, I found it very enlightening that certain burial conditions can preserve a body so well, such as the ten year old infant in the suit case that was almost perfectly intact, with soft tissue still preserved. There was also a very interesting table of decomposition of open air, to water, to ground burial and I did not know that maggots are used to date a body and are birthed within 4 hours of death on a time clock almost. They do not hatch under ground beyond feet, therefore, in cases where the body id dug up containing maggots they can determine how long the body was dead before burial.

I think the end is summed up quite well, as Dr. Maples ponders all that he has achieved and why, with the biblical quote, “sufficient unto the day is evil thereof.” That it is quite tragic that this field has found such an abundant need, as by supply and demand, that neither he nor his students shall go without work is evident. I think that most of the accounts in this book support my enduring stance for the death penalty and wish that more people could get this picture of the grizzly realities of those select few, that walk among us, who are purely evil and a constant liability.



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Civ. and its discontents

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Civilization and its Discontents

Chapter I Summary

In the introductory paragraphs, Freud takes issue with his colleagues account of a so-called oceanic feeling‹the sense of boundlessness and oneness felt between the ego and the outside world. This feeling is a purely subjective fact, not an article of faith. It does not betoken an allegiance to a specific religion, but instead points to the source of religious sentiment in human beings. Churches and religious institutions are adept at channeling this sentiment into particular belief systems, but they do not themselves create it.

Freud cannot attest to having experienced this oceanic feeling, and yet his lack of identification does not lead him to deny its existence for other human beings. On the contrary, he attempts to understand the phenomenon scientifically if the feeling has no outward physiological signs, there must be a psychoanalytic explanation for it. Freud proceeds to summarize his previous findings. In general, the ego perceives itself as maintaining sharp and clear lines of demarcation with the outside world. Only when it is at the height of love does the ego consciously allow that boundary to become more fluid and permeable without feeling threatened. Otherwise, the tendency of the ego is to detach from the pain and unpleasure associated with the outside world, to throw feelings of suffering arising from external sources outside of itself. This distinction between inside and outside is a crucial part of the process of psychological development, allowing the ego to recognize a reality separate from itself. At an earlier stage of development, the ego had an all-encompassing, almost boundless sense of the world around it; with maturity comes a shrunken sense of reality because the ego has delimited itself from the outside world.

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Is such an inference about the earliest stages of psychological development sound? In other words, can we describe states of mind that we no longer inhabit? Yes, explains Freud, because science makes precisely such claims all the time, for instance, about the evolution of higher species from the lowest forms of life, even though the intermediate links are materially missing. The mind is exceptional because infantile and mature feelings continue to co-exist throughout a persons life once a memory has been recorded, it is never erased, and can be called to the surface under the right circumstances. Freud draws another analogy to the field of archeology by describing the excavation of past ruins under present-day edifices. He takes Rome, the Eternal City, as an example, only to conclude that the analogy is insufficient because the mind cannot ultimately be represented in visual or pictorial terms.

Freud revises his earlier statement about memory What is past in mental life may be preserved and is not necessarily erased. He returns to the question of oceanic feeling with which the chapter commences, finding it uncompelling as an explanation of the source of religious sentiment in human beings. Instead, according to Freud, it is a longing for paternal protection in childhood that continues into adult life as a sustained fear of the superior power of Fate. Freud reiterates his frustration over the fact that this sense of oneness with the universe is an intangible quantity impervious to traditional scientific analysis, because it has no physiological basis.

Analysis

The most important and intriguing aspect of this introductory chapter consists in Freuds attempt to compare the enterprise of psychoanalysis to‹and simultaneously differentiate it from‹other accepted scientific disciplines.

The analogies to evolution science and archeology, far from being self-indulgent digressions, actually illuminate Freuds conception of the individual and civilization. For one, Freud implicitly subscribes to the precepts of Darwinian theory, and therefore believes fundamentally in the progressive nature of the human species (as opposed to Creationism), even if it is prone to periodic regression and spasms of violence. For Freud, the evolution of human civilization has reached an impasse because it has conquered nature with ever greater technological and mechanical force, which has paradoxically made conditions less, rather than more, livable for the individual. Freud also believes in the necessity of adapting to ones environment‹a concept derived from the broader framework of Darwinian theory and applied to his own theory of psychological development.

Freuds analogy to archeology points up his background in classical literature and history, but also the primacy of Western civilization to his thinking, since Freud considers ancient Rome as the historical origin of culture and society. The super-ego, as Freud will conjecture toward the end of his essay, is both individual and collective. We inherit our notion of authority and standards of greatness from past leaders or figures of imposing personality, such as the Roman emperors Nero, Hadrian, and Agrippa to whom Freud makes reference in his description of Roman architecture. At the same time, Freud makes a nod to the influence of Eastern culture and civilization in discussing the practices of Yoga and the worldly wisdom of the East as a peculiar and unusual method of attaining self-knowledge and control over the impulses of the ego.

Chapter II Summary

In Future of an Illusion, Freud laments the common mans preoccupation with the enormously exalted father embodied by God. The whole idea of placating a supposedly higher being for future recompense seems utterly infantile and absurd. The reality is, however, that masses of men persist in this illusion for the duration of their lives. According to Freud, men exhibit three main coping mechanisms to counter their experience of suffering in the world 1) deflection of pain and disappointment (through planned distractions); ) substitutive satisfactions (mainly through the replacement of reality by art); ) intoxicating substances. Freud concludes that religion cannot be clearly categorized within this schema, and suspends this particular line of inquiry.

What does man wish for and aim to achieve in life? Religious belief hinges on this central question only it can answer what the ultimate purpose of life is. Most immediately, men strive to be happy, and their behavior in the outside world is determined by the pleasure principle. But the possibilities for happiness and pleasure are limited, and more often we experience unhappiness from the following three sources 1) our body; ) the external world; and ) our relations to other men. We employ various strategies to avoid unpleasure by isolating ourselves voluntarily, becoming a member of the human community (i.e. contributing to a common endeavor), or influencing our own organism. Intoxication is a particularly prevalent method of influence. Sometimes we aim to control our instincts through practices of spiritual meditation. Sublimation of instincts is another method of influence, involving the displacement of libido or rechanneling of energies into other activities.

The discipline required to influence our internal psyche makes this strategy accessible to very few; more common is the derivation of satisfaction from illusions, such as the enjoyment provided by works of art, which provides temporary relief from the misery of the outside world. Another strategy, as mentioned previously, is isolation, but reality intrudes far too forcefully for a solitary illusion to persist. Finally, Freud points to love as a potentially intense source of happiness, the downside being the vulnerability and defenselessness of the ego that accompany love for another person.

Freud reflects on the role of beauty in achieving happiness while undoubtedly a source of pleasure, beauty has no discernible nature or origin, even if philosophical studies in aesthetics have succeeded in describing the conditions under which it is experienced. For its part, psychoanalysis would appear to locate beauty in sexual feeling, since beauty is often an attribute of the desired sexual object.

It is impossible to reach a state of full happiness. None of the above strategies will work completely. HappinessŠ is a problem of the economics of the individuals libido, states Freud. Each individual must identify the type of happiness most important to him as well as the capacity of his own mental constitution to experience happiness. Adaptation to the external environment is also key to a maximum yield of pleasure. Religion reduces these variables by dictating a simple path to happiness. It thereby spares the masses of their individual neuroses, but Freud sees few other benefits in religion. If the believer realizes that religion has put such a constraint on the possibilities of his happiness, his only option becomes to find pleasure in unconditional submission to his faith. But Freud remarks that such a self-aware individual could have most likely found other, less arduous paths to happiness.

Analysis

Freud expresses his antagonism to organized religion in forthright and barely diplomatic terms, calling it delusional and infantile. Aggressively secular in its orientation, Freud takes Goethes view that science and art constitute in themselves and provide the benefits of religion. Freud enacts his own belief in the importance of the arts by inserting generous citations of poetry and other insights from literary sources throughout.

According to Freud, the purpose of human life is not redemption in an afterlife, but the achievement of happiness. His theory of the pleasure principle clashes directly with the biblical intention that man should be �happy, which Freud notes with irony is not included in the plan of �Creation.

Most surprising is Freuds emphasis on the compensatory value of beauty‹the idea that aesthetically pleasing human forms and gestures, natural objects and landscapes, artistic and even scientific creations can stave off suffering and provide temporary pleasure. The logical connection between psychoanalysis and beauty is, in the end, quite tenuous and insufficiently explored. Freud never adequately integrates his interest in beauty into the broader scheme of the pleasure principle. In discussing the topic of beauty and aesthetics, he borrows heavily from the theory of Emmanuel Kant, a prominent eighteenth-century German philosopher whose seminal work, Critique of Judgment (170), continues to set the terms of contemporary debate on the definition, value, and function of beauty. Kant believed, as Freud does, that beauty does not inhere in the material qualities of the object but is a function of the viewers receptivity to it.

Chapter III Summary

Freud begins by defending his astonishing contention that civilization is responsible for our misery we organize ourselves into civilized society to escape suffering, only to inflict it back upon ourselves. Freud identifies three key historical events that produced this disillusionment with human civilization 1) the victory of Christendom over pagan religions. (Freud notes the low value placed on earthly life in Christian doctrine); ) the discovery and conquest of primitive tribes and peoples, who appeared to Europeans to be living more happily in a state of nature; ) scientific identification of the mechanism of neuroses, which are caused by the frustrating demands put on the individual by modern society. An antagonism toward civilization developed when people concluded that only a reduction of those demands‹in other words, withdrawal from the society that imposed them‹would lead to greater happiness.

Technology also brings the promise of better lives and greater happiness, but Freud disputes the notion that advances in technology automatically improve our quality of life. On the other hand, it is difficult to gauge the happiness of man at an earlier era because happiness is an essentially subjective sentiment. People in extreme situations of unhappiness might also be desensitized to their own suffering.

Civilization can be defined as the whole sum of human achievements and regulations intended to protect men against nature and adjust their mutual relations. Technological advances have enhanced our power against nature, but also our capacities of sensory perception through such inventions as the telephone and photograph. These inventions have given man a sense of omnipotence and omniscience formerly attributed only to the gods. Freud goes so far as to call man a prosthetic God.

In addition to protection from nature, other expectations of living in a civilized society include beauty (the aesthetic experience of various forms of art and artistic expression), cleanliness (both in terms of personal hygiene and public sanitation), order (a principle introduced by the sciences and learned from our observation of nature). Freud defends his inclusion of beauty within his list of expectations. According to him, civilization is not exclusively focused on what is useful. The cultivation of mans higher mental activities is one of civilizations central aims, and it achieves this aim in part through the production of art.

As for the regulation of our mutual relations, a decisive step toward civilization lies in the replacement of the individuals power by that of the community. But this substitution henceforth restricts the possibilities of individual satisfaction in the interests of law, order, and justice. Civilized societies place the rule of law over individual instincts. Here Freud draws an analogy between the evolution of civilization and the libidinal development of the individual, identifying three parallel stages in which each occurs 1) character-formation (acquisition of an identity); ) sublimation (channeling of primal energy into other physical or psychological activities); ) non-satisfaction/renunciation of instincts (burying of aggressive impulses in the individual; imposition of the rule of law in society).

Analysis

A rhetorical maneuver commonly used by Freud is to introduce objections to his line of thinking from unspecific sources through a formulation such as But here the voice of pessimistic criticism makes itself heard... Freuds style of argumentation takes the form of a dialogue, like that of the patient-analyst relationship. In truth, Freud is not responding to an actual critic so much as he is anticipating and accounting for the possible grounds of opposition even before they are articulated. In the same vein, Freud uses passive constructions to conceal references to himself and the use of his own research in the service of his own arguments. It was discovered that a person becomes neurotic because he cannot tolerate the amount of frustration society imposes on him is one such example of Freuds circular and almost tautological thinking. This particular discovery is clearly the product of the present investigation, which Freud recasts as external verification of his claims about civilization.

The fluctuation between the first person pronoun and the collective we is rhetorically noteworthy because it blurs the distinction between personal observation and common knowledge. Freud often makes statements that he feels are intuitive or instinctively recognized as true or accurate, using the plural voice to present as common sense what is in fact a contestable interpretation or questionable assumption. Rather than define terms rigorously, he expects the reader to be guided by linguistic usage or, as it is also called, linguistic feeling, in the conviction that we shall thus be doing justice to inner discernments which still defy expression in abstract terms.

Chapter IV Summary

The communal life of human beings has its roots in the compulsion to work (created by external necessity) and the power of love (or an unwillingness to be deprived of ones sexual object). Freud conjectures that genital erotism spurred the formation of durable human relationships by making the satisfaction of sexual pleasure the prototype of other forms of happiness that could be achieved with and through companionship. Given the risks of love, some people make themselves independent of individual love objects and instead devote themselves to a universal love for all of mankind, typified by the Christian saints. Freud calls this phenomenon love with an inhibited aim.

Even if one of the main purposes of civilization is to bind men libidinally to one another, love and civilization eventually come into conflict with one another. Freud identifies several different reasons for this later antagonism. For one, family units tend to isolate themselves and prevent individuals from detaching and maturing on their own. Women in particular have, according to Freud, a restraining influence on children and enter into opposition with civilization out of resentment over the intimacy and love that the requirements of work necessarily takes away from their marital relationships. Along these lines, civilization saps sexual energy by diverting it into cultural endeavors. It also restricts love object choices and mutilates our erotic lives. Taboos (against incest, first and foremost), laws, and customs impose further restrictions. Fear of sexual revolt leads to precautionary measures beginning in childhood. For Freud, Western European civilization represents a high water-mark in the regulation of sexuality. Even heterosexuality, freely practiced and endorsed by society, is forcibly channeled into monogamy and marriage. Even where society fails to regulate and put an end to behavior it deems transgressive, it still has a severely impairing effect on the sexual life of men.

Analysis

In this short chapter, Freud is the most freewheeling and tentative in his claims, offering little empirical evidence while attempting to lend a scientific veneer to his observations about civilization through the use of biology. His footnotes, more extensive in this chapter than in others, are replete with speculation on the social consequences of homo sapiens assuming an erect posture, of the scent of excrement and anal erotism, of the fundamentally bisexual nature of human sexuality. The bizarre nature of these reflections is justified as a digression which will enable us to fill in a gap which we left in an earlier discussion.

The misogynistic streak of Freuds thinking is in evidence. Despite his disdainful attitude towards them, women play a pivotal and paradoxical role in the development of civilization, at once enabling its foundation and undermining the realization of its full potential. Freuds observations on the primitive family, combined with those on the place of women in modern society, are lacking in historical perspective, and falsely assume a continuity in the gender relations undergirding the structure of the familial unit. On the other hand, Freud also acknowledges the increasingly repressive regulation of human sexuality in Western civilization. The conjoined imperatives of marriage and heterosexuality discussed at the end of the chapter are also viewed as historically recent phenomena.

Chapter V Summary

Civilizations antagonism toward sexuality arises from the necessity to build a communal bond based on relations of friendship. If the activity of the libido were allowed to run rampant, it would likely destroy the monogamous love-relationship of the couple that society has endorsed as the most stable.

Freud objects to the commandment Love thy neighbor because, contrary to Biblical teaching, he takes a pessimistic view of fellow man, whose primal instinct Freud considers to be aggression, not love. The biblical commandment runs counter to the original nature of man, and history is the proof man has proven time and again that he will exploit, abuse, humiliate, cause pain, torture and kill other men, from the invasion of the Huns to the First World War. Civilization is continually threatened with disintegration because of this inclination to aggression. It invests great energy in restraining these instincts. The law has tried to refine itself to the point of regulating most forms of aggression, but it still fails to prevent it.

Communism has claimed to find the path to deliverance through the abolition of private property, which thereby eliminates an economic system that allows certain individuals to accrue disproportionate wealth and abuse his fellow men. For Freud, communism is based on a very faulty assumption, since it in no way alters human nature, only one of the motivations by which it operates (i.e. greed). Aggression predates the ownership of property. It has also served throughout history to bind communities together against those outside them. The Jews in the Middle Ages were, for instance, the victims of intolerance by Christians; in Russia, vilification of the bourgeois has served as a rallying cry for the communist government, etc.

Civilized man has exchanged the possibility of happiness for security. But primitive society is not to be envied, since in that context, only the head of the family enjoyed instinctual freedom at the expense of all others. Some of these limitations of modern society are surmountable, while others are intrinsic to civilization. Freud does not specify which limitations on our instinctual freedom fall into which category. The most dangerous society, according to him, is one in which the leader is exalted and individuals do not acquire an adequate sense of identity. Freud points to American society as an example of this danger, but refrains from pursuing his criticism further.

Analysis

Whereas in Chapter III, Freud was comparing man to a prosthetic God on account of his technological innovations, here he focuses on the opposite phenomenon mans regression into a state of barbarism and animality. With the Latin expression Homo homini lupus (Man is a wolf to man), Freud metaphorically underscores the Darwinian undertone of his argument about human civilization, viewing mans evolution in the context of his descent from lower species.

Freuds critique of communism from an psychoanalytic perspective is a tour de force. Without engaging the usual debate about the economic merits or disadvantages of a state-run government, it pinpoints the faulty assumption behind the abolition of private property, namely, the inability to reform human nature in such a manner to eliminate all motivation for the exploitation associated with capitalism. It is interesting to note the extent to which the language of economics already enters into Freuds conception of the individual. In his discussion of the pleasure principle, Freud regularly refers to the economics of the libido.

Interestingly, Freud suggests that the inclination to aggression otherwise so destructive to civilization has also served to build and reinforce a sense of nationalism among peoples who then define themselves in opposition to other foreign peoples. This insight can be logically connected back to Freuds extended critique of the biblical commandment to Love thy neighbor at the beginning of this chapter, since it points to the role of aggression (as well as mutual love) in the process of communal identity-formation.

Chapter VI Summary

Freud quotes Schiller hunger and love are what moves the world. At first glance, the two appear to be driven by opposing instincts. Hunger can be characterized as an ego-instinct or satisfaction of internal needs, whereas love is directed toward objects external to the ego. Libido is another term for this instinct. Freud finds himself forced to abandon this antithesis when he considers the phenomenon of sadism, which is technically an object-instinct, but also bound up in the ego and a desire for mastery. The concept of narcissism elaborated in earlier writings by Freud also presents a complication to this simple opposition between the ego-instincts and object-instincts, for it turns out that the ego is cathected with libido and in fact the libidos original home. In other words, in Freuds schema, self-love psychologically precedes‹and is a necessary condition of‹the love directed towards others.

In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud first elaborated the concept of the death drive, opposed to Eros (the life instinct), which was widely resisted by the psychoanalytic community. But its existence now seem undeniable. Aggression is an original, self-subsisting instinctual disposition in man that constitutes the greatest impediment to civilization. The purpose of Eros is to bind men libidinally to one another into communities. For Freud, the entire evolution of civilization can be summed up as a struggle between Eros and the death drive.

Analysis

Freud starts with an opposition between ego-instincts and object-instincts. Within the course of his analysis, he puts into question the validity of this opposition by noting that both instincts flow from the ego, or more specifically, that our urges toward external objects are ultimately a function of our own desires (i.e. for mastery, control, pleasure). This type of self-revision common in Freuds writings is a prototypical act of deconstructive thought, which consists in demonstrating how each term of an apparent opposition contains the difference of the other term within it. For example, Freud realizes that the desires directed toward the outside (so-called object-instincts) in fact originate in desires coming from within the subject. Similarly, in the following chapter, he will draw a contrast between the fear of (external) authority and fear of the (internal) super-ego, only to reveal that the latter flows from the former.

Freud is also not averse to admitting the erroneous nature of his own prior clinical assumptions. A typical example occurs in this chapter I remember my own defensive attitude when the idea of an instinct of destruction first emerged in psychoanalytic literatureŠ This is also a type of self-revision, but far from underscoring Freuds apparent open-mindedness to new ideas, it also serves rhetorically to anticipate and overcome in advance the readers resistance to the concept (in this case, of the death drive) that Freud is putting forward. Freuds style of argumentation is, in other words, very similar to the psychoanalytic framework he is elaborating in that it already has the concept of resistance built into it.

In no other chapter is Freuds reliance on literature and poetry as empirical evidence of instincts more striking. Freud appears to integrate seamlessly his clinical experience with allusions to Goethe and Schiller, according the two equal weight in his research. In a footnote, he cites a passage from Faust in which the description of evil coincides with the destructive instinct that Freud labels the death drive in Beyond the Pleasure Principle. It is interesting to observe how Freud treats literature as an authoritative source of knowledge about human nature, without seeing a conflict in its epistemological status as fiction, as something which might accurately describe a psychological feeling or condition, but which is not at all the same as a patients account.

Chapter VII Summary

One of the primary functions of society to restrain our aggressive impulses. It achieves this goal by installing within the individual a sort of watchdog agency, which Freud calls the super-ego, to master our desire for aggression. Freud speculates that the individual, once forbidden from expressing this desire externally, subdues excess aggression by redirecting it towards his own ego. The super-ego regulates the actions of the ego in the form of a conscience and consequently imposes a sense of guilt and need for self-punishment on the individual.

Freud attempts to account for the root cause of guilt, concluding that it arises from doing something or intending to do something bad. Whether or not the action or intention is bad in absolute moral terms is irrelevant; it is sufficient for the ego to deem it as such. Freud goes further, however, in rejecting the existence of a natural capacity to distinguish between good and bad. What is considered bad often feels good or is otherwise desirable to the ego. For Freud, the only thing bad in this sense is the threat of the loss of love. In children, this fear is acute and involves losing parents; in adults, the community takes the place of the parental figure.

With the establishment of the super-ego comes a sense of bad conscience. Because it is internalized, the super-ego omnisciently regulates both our thoughts and deeds, whereas prior to its installation, individuals only had to submit themselves to a higher authority for punishment (such as parents) in the case of fully accomplished acts. Those who have carried saintliness and virtuosity to an extreme are paradoxically the most likely to feel sinful. External frustration also enhances the power of conscience to reproach and impose punishment on the ego. Whole peoples have behaved this way the Jews interpreted their misfortune as the consequence of their own sinfulness and created a set of overly strict commandments in reaction to their fate. There are two sources of guilt 1) fear of authority and ) fear of the super-ego. In the latter case, instinct renunciation no longer liberates the individual from the sense of internal guilt that the super-ego continues to perpetuate. By extension, in order to maintain its own order and stability, civilization reinforces the sense of guilt to regulate and accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of relationships between men. As time goes on, it becomes a more repressive force that individuals find increasingly difficult to tolerate.

Analysis

Freuds religious background permeates his discourse at almost every turn. Scholars are in disagreement about the extent to which Judaism influences Freuds conception of psychoanalysis. Certainly, his interpretations of the religion and its core beliefs have often been at odds with mainstream Jewish tradition. The frequent references to Jewish history and culture throughout the essay paradoxically points up the importance of religion to Freuds thought at the same time that Freud categorically rejects the practice and institution of organized religion as infantile and delusional. The phenomenon of guilt, for example, is integral to Freuds understanding of the formation of the super-ego, and traced back to the historical experience of the Jews, who produced the prophets, who held up their sinfulness before them; and out of their sense of guilt they created the overstrict commandments of their priestly religion. Similarly, Freud cites the persecution of the Jews as a manifestation of the inclination to aggression that sometimes serves as a cohesive force behind identity-formation.

Chapter VIII Summary

Freud apologizes for the d�tours to which his analysis has been prone. He elevates his discussion of the increasing sense of guilt taken up in the last chapter to most important problem in the development of civilization. In his view, it takes an enormous toll on the happiness of individuals. In the case of obsessive neurotics, guilt makes itself heard noisily within the conscience, but often it operates in more surreptitious ways. Freud classifies guilt as a particular form of anxiety. In his clinical view, anxiety is behind every symptom, whether consciously or unconsciously expressed. While the collective level of anxiety within civilization has increased, it remains largely undiagnosed, and manifests itself as a widespread and vague malaise to which people attach other causes. Religions claim to redeem mankind from guilt, through rituals of sacrificial death or martyrdom (i.e. the assumption of collective guilt by an individual).

Freud devotes a few pages to introducing definitional clarity into his seemingly interchangeable use of the following terms the super-ego is an internal agency whose existence has been inferred; conscience is one of the functions ascribed to the super-ego, to keep watch over the intentions and actions of the ego; sense of guilt designates the perception that the ego has of being surveyed and arises from the tension between its own strivings and the (often overly severe) demands of the super-ego. It can be felt prior to the execution of the guilty act, whereas remorse refers exclusively to the reaction after the act of aggression has been carried out.

Earlier, Freud had claimed that thwarted instincts in general lead to a heightened sense of guilt. Here he specifies that only aggressive instincts are transformed into a sense of guilt via the regulating action of the super-ego. Freud applies the same revision to his understanding of symptoms, which are in their essence substitutive satisfactions for unfulfilled sexual wishes. Not all repressed instincts, however, manifest themselves as symptoms. Some translate more specifically into a sense of guilt.

Freuds earlier analogy between the development of civilization and the libidinal maturation of the individual also undergoes revision. The program of the pleasure principle, which consists in finding and achieving happiness, is retained as the central aim of individual psychological development; however, in the context of civilization, personal happiness is dispensed with in favor of unity and social cohesion. In joining a larger community, the individual oscillates between the poles of egoism and altruism, between the urge toward personal happiness and the urge toward union. This struggle is completely internal, a function of the ebb and flow of the libido, not to be confused with the struggle between Eros and the death drive outlined elsewhere in Freuds essay.

Freud extends this analogy to the concept of the super-ego, positing the existence of a cultural super-ego formed by the personalities of great leaders or by martyred figures representing humanity at its most downtrodden, notably that of Jesus Christ. In society, the cultural super-ego operates under the heading of ethics, whose main purpose in Freuds view is to reign in the constitutional impulse of men to act aggressively toward one another. Like the individual super-ego, it makes overbearing demands that cannot be realistically met. Freud remarks that the cultural imperative to restrain aggressive behavior might in the end cause greater psychological unhappiness than aggression that has been fully acted out.

Pushing the analogy between the individual and civilization still further, Freud wonders whether it would be possible to characterize certain epochs of civilization as neurotic. The problem is that diagnoses of neurosis are based on a relative definition of individual psychological normality, and would be difficult to apply to entire groups, let alone segments of civilization.

Finally, Freud emphasizes the instinct of aggression and self-destruction as the single greatest problem facing civilization, as manifested in the present time. He ends posing the question which force‹eternal Eros or his potent adversary‹will prevail?

Analysis

That Freud should use the term d�tours to describe metaphorically the meanderings of his paper is no coincidence, given his protracted reflection at the beginning of the essay on the inadequacy of pictorial or visual metaphors in describing the complexity of the mind, and more specifically, the simultaneous existence of infantile and mature feelings. It is interesting that Freud should conceive of his own thought patterns through the metaphor of a roadmap, which is an essentially spatial metaphor similar to the one Freud rejected in the first chapter.

The structure of Freuds discussion calls to mind the etymological meaning of essay, which at its origin designated an experiment, a tentative and often speculative proceeding that emphasized process over result, and consequently involved many detours from the stated topic of discussion. In terms of genre, the essay was derived from the scientific principle of an experiment, but its structure was elastic enough to accommodate both empirical and theoretical evidence, both relevant and digressive considerations. Freud, by integrating references to literature and other disciplines (politics and economics, for example), stays true to the interdisciplinary origins of the essay, as well as to the experimental nature of the essay.

It is significant that the last line of the essay, added later in the 11 edition of Civilization and Its Discontents, takes the form of a question. Instead of concluding with a definitive statement about the prevailing force within human civilization, Freud leaves his deliberately inquiry open-ended and amenable to speculation. His interest lies not in casting a judgment or making a prediction (which the course of history would prove or disprove), but in identifying the underlying impulses and trends within the broader culture and civilization. If we examine the rhetorical strategy in this chapter, Freuds point of departure is the analysis of the individual and his symptoms. He proceeds to build a more extended analogy between the development of the individual and the evolution of civilization, until that analogy no longer seems sustainable for two main reasons 1) unlike the clinical manifestations of the individual super-ego that allows Freud to infer its existence (namely, symptoms of anxiety, fear, guilt, etc.), there can be no empirical evidence of a cultural super-ego, even if such a concept can be logically deduced from the value that a culture places on certain leaders or individuals; ) to characterize an entire epoch of civilization as neurotic, as it is possible to diagnose an individual, the existence of a collective pathology would have to be referenced against a normative psychological state of being. Freud warns us that we are only dealing with analogies and that it is dangerous, since they ultimately have only logical, but not necessarily clinical or empirical, validity.



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Antigone Analysis

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“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong,” states Voltaire. According to Voltaire, if the subordinates disagree with the established power, they will be punished for it. The situation described above usually occurs in kingdoms ruled by a king, dictator, or tyrant because the monarchs need to ensure absolute power. Sophocles’ Antigone deals with a ruler who disciplines his subject for disobeying his orders even though her opposition is within reason. His unwillingness to listen to reason will lead to his ultimate downfall while her self-wisdom puts her in favor of the gods.

Antigone, the main character of the play, is a bad subject in the eye of her mortal ruler, but not the gods. She acts against the decree of Creon, king of Thebes, by burying her brother, Polyneices. Creon orders the city against giving Polyneices a proper burial because he is “a returned exile, who sought to burn with fire from top to bottom his native city…. and lead the rest of us to slavery” (17 � 1). But Antigone has other feelings for her brother. Despite his waging war against against his native city, Antigone still loves him and “will not prove false to him” (5). By disobeying Creon, she is a good sister and a good human being. Knowing that “the god of death demands these [burial] rites for both [Polyneices and Eteocles]” (570), she decides that Creon’s orders do not weigh as much as the gods’ do. Thus, she pleases the immortals first, proclaiming to “be a criminal [against Creon] � but a religious one…” in order to not “cast dishonor on what the gods have honored” (84 � 8). After she is caught and put before Creon, she argues her case unsuccessfully by saying, “These are the laws whose penalties I would not incur from the gods, through fear of any man’s temper” (46 � 50). But she does earn favor from the gods for her actions because they punish Creon for sentencing her to death (116 � 117). By being a loyal subject of the more powerful ruler, her death is not in vain.

Creon, acting as both subject and sovereign, succeeds in neither of those positions. Although he rules over the citizens of Thebes, he is subordinate to the gods. Creon forbids any opposition, “the man … in authority must be obeyed in small things…. There is nothing worse than disobedience to authority” (70 � 77). Without order and obedience, there will be cities destroyed and homes demolished (78 � 7). He threatens the death of his guards if they do not find out who buried the body of Polyneices. He also tries to bring in all that are suspected of treason, mainly Ismene, the sister of Antigone. In his mind, Ismene must be involved in Antigone’s opposition too. Therefore, both of them must suffer his punishment of death. When he has the obedience of all the citizens, he will be confident that he is a good ruler. However, in trying to do what he thinks is the best for the city, he forgets the fundamental laws of the gods about respecting the dead. His obstinacy makes him stick to his decision until it is too late and his pride makes him refuse to give in to the young. Even upon the advice of the chorus, he does not listen to his son, Haemon, saying, “should we that are my age learn wisdom from young men such as he is?” (784 � 785). He finally listens to the respected Teiresias, a blind prophet, who prophesies that Creon “will not outlive many cycles more of this swift sun before [he] give in exchange one of [his] own loins bred, a corpse for a corpse” (11 � 115). Teiresias goes on to explain that Creon’s sentence of Antigone are acts of violence and “in requital the avenging Spirits of Death itself and the gods’ Furies shall…lie in ambush for [him], and in their hands [he] shall be taken cruelly” (1144 � 1148). But when he finally decides to abdicate Antigone, it is too late.

Creon is wrong in trying to put down oppositions just to ensure power and order. He makes his decision on the fate of Polyneices’ body without consulting the people. As a result, Antigone is not alone in her disagreement with Creon. According to her, there are others disagree “but keep their mouths shut for the fear of [Creon]” (555-556). But since she is the only one who clearly acts against him, Creon feels threatened. The place that women occupies in society is explicit in Ismene’s speech to Antigone, “we are only women, not meant in nature to fight against men, and that we are ruled, by those who are stronger” (70 � 7). Thus, when a woman acts against her leader when no male dares to, Creon punishes Antigone more severely. The relationship between ruler and the ruled turns to a competition between the female and the male, “I swear I am no man and she the man if she can win this and not pay for it,” says Creon (58 � 5). He goes on to add, “We cannot give victory to a woman; if we must accept defeat, let it be from a man; we must not let people say that a woman beat us” (71 � 74). From his point of view, the worst kind of disobedience comes from a woman. Even when Haemon expresses the voice of the people, “who mourns for this girl; they think she is dying most wrongly and most undeservedly of all womenkind, for the most glorious acts,” Creon does not relent (747 � 74).

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The stubborn Creon represents the typical ruler and Antigone represents public opinion. Creon’s punishment by the gods acts as a warning to all rulers. Sophocles uses the play to explain the disadvantages of a monarchy and promote the ideas of a democracy. Haemon is right in saying that “There is not city possessed by one man only” (78 � 7). In a democracy, the rulers listen to the opinions of the people before making his decisions instead of making the laws and then punishing the people for disobeying them. There are numerous ways to obtain a well-disciplined city, but not in a dictatorial way. Without listening to public opinion, the leader is more likely to make a wrong decision. Therefore, a good government is one that considers the views from all sides and then rules.



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