16 October 2012
The Global Conversation
Let me start by saying that this class has finally given me reassurance and cause to continue striving to live a holistic and healthy life even if many Americans and Mexicans think I am crazy. On some level I have always known that there is something wrong with our government, world, politics etc. because in school they would teach you to be kind, patient, quiet and thoughtful but in the real world that, oddly enough, is certainly not the case. This became especially pronounced when I lived in Orizaba, Veracruz Mexico as well as in Cholula, Puebla Mexico. I was also very influenced by meeting an Iranian-Mexican-American Muslim woman named Zainab. Since becoming Muslim myself I have had to question the very principles of this society or “culture” if you can even call it a culture because, unlike in Mexico, we do not have a specific set of traditions that everyone in the country follows. This class, not surprisingly, has indeed made me very sad so far but it is certainly something that we need to wake up to and realize and act on not just sit on the couch and get depressed. In this essay I hope to make a contextualized sketch of these problems using many of the resources for this course as well as what I know about my faith, Islam.
The first chapter inThe Sociological Imagination by C. Wright Mills uses compelling evidence on how and partially why we and the government make a great distinction about the social sphere of things and the individual. In the government we have seen they focus on the individual and “you” can do within your limited realm without actually questioning the institution itself. However, in this chapter it challengesthis idea of individualization in science, social science more specifically, and attempts to propose some different ways of looking at our modern day problems and/or issues. Similarly in Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff she challenges us to think much more broadly and so I have adapted her approach of contextualization. Also, Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us is a good broad model like the Story of Stuff. Starting with Annie Leonard’s theme of consumerism and that beautiful golden arrow I can then go from there to plastics and toxins in our selves because of the toxic hazardous things that we buy. Next is the movie Manufacturing Landscapes the places and conditions that people have for making these plastics and other things we buy. From there naturally we can go to Earth and human population like from the Horizons movie as well as the human rights movement that I learned about from the Juniata Presents speaker Loretta Ross. A topic that I have seen emerging from these previous sections is this idea of “developing” countries and the view that a capitalist country has on the various “developing” countries that is not really correct. Within each of these sections there are of course many other articles and topics discussed some of which I hope to comment on too from my Islamic, Muslim perspective.
In the book The World Without Us Alan Weisman gives compelling evidence about just what exactly would happen if humans suddenly disappeared from the planet and how the earth would respond. This will make a good beginning because it makes us realize that even if we all disappeared right now there would still be things that the earth could not destroy or get rid of even after millions of years. However, at the same time I think this book shows us how ridiculous our cities and towns with concrete and sky high buildings and street lamps really are because it will not take very long for mother nature to destroy such trivial things. I will talk more about that when I get to my part on “developing” countries, God willing. It is amazing what can happen to land that is untouched by humans like with the forest in Puszcza, Poland or in Varosha, Cyprus. Now, as part of my religion I know from the book I read that it is totally forbidden and...