Text 1: "One study in Philadelphia showed that the replacement value of the social services provided by congregations in that city was $250 million, and the total investment by the city of Philadelphia in social services was $522 million."
Response 1: I didn't know that congregations provided so much in terms of social services. It's amazing to consider that congregations can actually keep up with the government in terms of social spending.
Text 2: "Jesus forms communities and models generosity, which in turn inspires the crowd to be generous"
Response 2: I think it's important to realize this point. Most people think of Jesus as symbol of peace and love, which is true, but he is also an inspiration. He did not simply do miracles to prove he was God, he did it to inspire others to do the same. Admiring Jesus is not enough, we have to be like him as well.
Write comment now
Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:36 am
Text 1: "While on a retreat after returning home, Geske made a list of the reasons why she should remain on the Supreme Court. The list included money and power. "Those things are not what I want to live my life," she decided. Geske opted for downward mobility, the contemporary translation of the standard of Christ: poverty, contempt, humility."
Response 1: I thought this was an amazing thing, almost and accomplishment, to do because in modern day society everyone is so concerned with making money and having a comfortable lifestyle. Geske was a Supreme Court Justice and making a very good living but she gave it up and I have to give her credit for doing something the majority of people would never think to do. Props to her and her family in supporting her in this. She was one of the few that realized that money wasn't everything and there are better things in life that are not materialistic. I also liked her realization that maybe the simple-life is better over a comfortable life.
Text 2: "The solution to our global social crisis is not that the poor become rich, which is neither feasible nor desirable, but that the rich join with the poor. The only solution is communities of equals, resisting pyramids of inequity (see Luke 22:25-26)."
Response 2: There are far more poor people in the world than rich and the likelihood that the two will ever be in equilibrium or the elimination of poor people is impossible. I think if more people do what Geske did, then a change can be made. Right now, poor people think that the rich care about themselves and don't care about those who do need help, which is completely true. However, if the rich were to stoop to the level of the poor, they can get the message of equality across and that the pyramid doesn't matter. Whoever is at the top of the food chain and whoever is at the bottom are all the same.
Write comment now
Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:14 am
Text #1: To understand the logic of that world, we begin, once again, with insecurity
Response #1: Brackley writes that people are insecure by constitution. People fear pain, failure and death. He claims that today's day and age encourages insecurities in people. We worry about crime, disaster and war. He discusses the insecurities people feel in regards to money. Social status is often determined by socioeconomic class; people worry about their social standings. I agree with Brackley when he suggests that people worry far too much. However, it is a part of human nature to fear pain and death and to desire wealth and prosperity. Although in society today, demands of success may be held to an extreme importance, without this worry people would not be motivated.
Text #2: We have a deep need to belong, to feel that we are valuable and our lives worthwhile.
Response #2: This section of the passage was extremely moving for me. All of what Brackley writes I agree with, I had just never thought of status in such a concise and straightforward way. He says "society tells us who we are and where we fit." This proves true, especially in today's culture where the media is more accessible than ever before. Society assigns us roles, even as basic as honest versus dishonest. People exercise these roles unless they break away and defy their roles significantly. Our personal worth can even be innate, by variables such as gender, race and social class. Since these variables cannot be broken, it is difficult to change the role we are assigned, which leads to our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
Write comment now
Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:21 am
Actual Text 1: “Some people are more important than others… Rather, some are more human than others- more valuable as persons.” (Page 94)
Response 1: This part of Downward Mobility was under The Social Ladder section where the important and unimportant are distinguished. The fact that this quote was even stated is upsetting mainly due to the fact that it’s unfortunately true. One person is obviously not more important than another person of lower class but their importance in regards to how much they consume in a society is “important” to success. This may be taken the wrong way but it is true. A person’s value cannot be decided by their class but the way society values their existence is quite dependent on how much is consumed. The poor, handicapped, lower classes are clearly not unimportant, that is just ridiculous! No one is valued more than anyone and it is bizarre to think that the material someone consumes creates value.
Actual Text 2: “We are insecure by constitution. We fear pain and rejection. We fear the collapse of meaning. Ultimately, we fear death.” (Page 91)
Response 2: Insecurities are personally the cause of my downfall and without speaking for everyone, is the cause of many struggles in life. We are incredibly afraid of being rejected with is connected with our insecurities. We don’t want to feel pain and are afraid that there is a “collapse of meaning” in life. Our way of life now “aggravates” the feelings we have in regards to fear and insecurity. We are so afraid of rejection that it in many situations fear controls our actions. Why are we so afraid of dying when we know it is inevitable? Why do we fear so much rejection? How do we change this about daily life? Is there any hope for happiness?
Write comment now
Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:05 am
Text 1: The first piece of text that really stuck out to me was "we take a long time to figure out who we are and what we believe."
This piece of text stood out because I think society places an emphasis on what we should be doing with our life. In order to achieve the American Dream we must receive a college education in order to get a good job and make money. However, different people have different dreams. Money and power do not equal success to all people and it is unfortunate that society has put this idea in our heads. We have this need to conform, and therefore some people spend 15 years in a job that they hate just because they make a lot of money like Janine Geske (supreme court judge). To find out who we are and what we believe we must step outside of whats society tells us to do and think for ourselves.
Text 2: The second piece of text that really stood out to me was "while we exercise some freedom in this, a society will tolerate only so much dissent. In short, our identity, self-esteem, and values depend decisively on social relations and institutions."
I think that this piece of text is important because in today's society we feel the need to think, act, and look like the image society portrays on us. If a model is considered overweight then she is an outcast. Even people who live in poor neighborhoods and cannot afford to get a college degree are seen as stupid and "a bad person." We have this fear instilled in us that if we do not go to college and have a good job then our life is meaningless, but that is not the case. It is easier said than done, but people need to be comfortable in their own skin because we cannot let society dictate our sense of self. This is hard to do when you see advertisements everyday telling you what kind of car to buy or what beauty product will make you look like celebrities. It is discouraging that we live in the kind of world that makes us feel about about ourselves when really we should be encouraging one another to be the best they can be.
Write comment now
Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:42 am
Text 1: “Upward Mobility gives people the hope that their dreams may someday come true.”
Response #1: I couldn't agree more with this statement. As a business student I have heard the word "incentive" countless times and I think that one word sums up all of Capitalism. Upward mobility is the incentive for people to do anything, if no one has a chance to improve in society there is no purpose and no hope for them. If you look at communist nations this is most certainly true, no upward mobility means no production. The idea of the American dream itself is the just the notion that upward mobility is accessible to everyone.
Text 2: "The richest 1% of Americans owns 40% of the nations wealth, which is more than what is owned by the bottom 95%"
Response #2: I've heard this before many times and I think it's become the battle cry of the 99 Percenters. In truth I think this makes sense and don't see why people are outraged by it. It illustrates the wealth desperity in the nation, but every capitalist nation has wealth desperity, it's inherent in the system. If this statement upsets you than you're upset about a core concept of capitalism. In fact 40% is a low number, it's less than half of the nations wealth. When you consider that the richest 1% include people who run the US and every major industry it's amazing they only own 40% of the wealth, I'm sure in the days before regulation they owned much more (Rockefeller himself is known to have controlled more than 4% of America's wealth in his time).
Write comment now
Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:33 am
Text: “Upward Mobility gives people the hope that their dreams may someday come true.”
Response: The United States was built on the concept of the American Dream. I can strive to work hard and will ultimately climb the ranks to success. Rooted in this concept of the American Dream is also the concept of individualism. Do we climb societal ranks with the ending hope that we can help others? Or, do we climb the ranks in order to be at the top of the social ladder and bask in the social glory that is associated with the people at the top? The irony of upward mobility is that some can never rise high enough on the social ladder because the person below is always viewed as a competitor. Living in fear of defeat can lead people to put off their dreams all together, therefore crushing the concept of upward mobility as an achievable reality.
Text: “Our society mediates meaning and sense of self.”
Response: Upward mobility is rooted in individualistic tendencies. In our society, a person is defined by his or her successes, rather than their character. Social rivalry has also contributed one up our close friends in society, always striving to place ourselves before others. Society tells us who we are and where we fit in, and we place far too much emphasis on the opinions of others when looking at our own selves. Personal worth and value is no longer determined by our own happiness, but others’ perceptions of us. I am definitely guilty of this. I think we all are to some degree. It is nearly impossible to not care at least a little bit about what somebody else has to say regarding your appearance, accomplishments, or personality. We all want to feel important, and affirmation is one essential way that we “gain” importance, at least in our own eyes.
Write comment now
Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:11 am
Text 1: The principle life strategy is "upward mobility" toward the goal of "success."
Response 1: I always found the concept of success interesting. This concept is interesting because success to one person might mean something totally different to another. Here lies the true beauty of humanity - difference of opinion. All children are born into the world and given a perspective lens by their family. As the children grow up, they either maintain the same perspective lens that their family/friends have guided them towards, or they form their own, differing opinions. Upward mobility in America has always been to reach the top of the social/monetary ladder - "The American Dream." I urge people not to conform. I urge people to do what they love, not what they "feel" they should do in order to fit a certain standard. I believe true success is the ability to be honest with yourself concerning what you believe success is and to make this forever the primary step in any situation in life.
Text 2: One aspect of the way of Christ/Downward Mobility is indifference to honors. I believe to have indifference to honors is the crux of understanding the true meaning of the meaning of Downward Mobility.
Response 2: Indifference to honors says that "human dignity depends simply on being human, not on social status." This means that before we even begin living our lives, we have already succeeded. Life itself, alongside the talents we are given are true success stories. We become too engulfed in what society will tout us as, and not focused enough on the fact that we are actually here. We are quantified by salary, income, number of cars, GPA...etc. The fundamental aspect of human dignity id that all humans are equal in an unquantifiable phenomenon that is the miracle of life.
Write comment now
Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:50 pm
“We have a deep need to belong, to feel that we are valuable and our lives are worthwhile”
I think that this need is inherent to us, and me being an unreligious person I have to agree. This need is something that is a part of human nature and is part of evolution. Our need to belong is caused by our survival instinct. We have a better chance of survival in a pack. This is similar to us wanting to find the best possible mate so that we can reproduce and pass on our genes that will have the best chance of surviving and passing on their genes. It is because of our survival instinct that we feel this need to belong, not that we feel valuable, though society makes us feel like the two are correlated.
“Our desires are stimulated and shaped by social rivalry.”
This is very similar to the one above, but I really like the point. However, I have some problems with it. What I stated above is that our major NEEDS, the need to belong, the need to reproduce, etc. are evolutionary. These needs are different from our desires, which are more likely to be material things. However, to fine the best possible mate as stated in #1, we must distinguish ourselves from everyone else. We do this by appearing prettier, skinnier, wealthier, cooler, etc. Businesses know this and create a need for specific “status” objects so that we will feel like we need them to prove ourselves and they will make more money. This is true with almost everything we buy, from designer purses to vintage comic books. It fits with every niche and socio-economic background. These become our desires. The material things but also the desire for wealth and self-improvement.
Write comment now
Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:28 am
"The richest 1% of Americans owns 40% of the nations wealth, which is more than what is owned by the bottom 95%"
This is a fact that I first heard in the movie "Wall Street" staring Michael Douglas as a corporate raider, meaning he bought companies and took over and made money when he resold it and kicked out management. He, in one of the movies most famous scenes is explaining to his protege what it what his job really entailed. That scene inspired a generation of investment bankers to go into wall street and become part of that 1%. We heard this 1% again during the movement of Occupy. This was when Americans took to protesting the richest 1% and the perception that they were bailed out by the government. Not many people realize what the 1% owns, but it is truly remarkable what such a small group can control. It also reminds me of the story of stuff and if everyone had what they had the world would need to be X times bigger.
"Human dignity depends simply on being human, not on social status."
This simple line means so much. The point of living as people together is not to see who ranks higher against who but rather to see who is going to be kind to another, be helpful to someone or be a friend to trust. These are human traits and we forget these things when we are surrounded all the time by greed and desire for a social status. It is important to remember that we are dealing with humans, and we should treat others that way as opposed to rungs on a ladder.
Write comment now
Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:28 am
Text 1: "We are insecure by constitution. We fear pain and rejection. We fear the collapse of meaning. Ultimately, we fear death. Contemporary society aggravates our fear and insecurity. We worry about crime, environmental disaster, and nuclear and industrial accident. September 11, 2001, marked the globalization of insecurity: a sensation of physical insecurity has now spread to people who once felt safe."
Response 1: This was a pretty loaded paragraph but it had a lot of thought-provoking and interesting ideas that I agreed with. The one that first caught my attention was "we fear pain and rejection", because this is one that I can best resonate with. As a perfectionist and over-thinker, I can completely agree that one of the things I fear most is rejection. While many people won't want to admit that they are constantly seeking approval from others, it is only in human nature to want to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Actual Text 2: The idea that some are important while others don't count explains how public policy and institutions work. "Unimportant" people are nameless and two-dimensional for "important" people who do not identify with them and feel no obligation to do unto them as they would have others do unto themselves.
Response 2: I think this is one of the truest statements in the article, let alone we have read in the class. There is a small minority of "important" people that make all of the decisions and are considered the elite. It's a frustrating, never-edning vicious cycle because those who have the opportunity and power to make change are a part of the elite and therefore would not do anything to jeopardize their status or money. I feel it is very true that those said elite people have a hard time sympathizing, or even attempting to sympathize, with the "unimportant" vast majority because they have an undeniable sense of entitlement.
Write comment now
Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:55 am
“Upward mobility can be a real good, or a god.”
I feel like this is a most important statement from the article “Upward Mobility.” The idea of trying to ‘move up’ in the world is not necessarily as negative as this article portrays it. Moving up allows people to support their families and be educated. With education, we may be able to solve some of society’s biggest problems; the issues of fair trade, a cure for cancer, or the latest breakthrough in medical technology. There is no shame in wanting a better life to help make yourself more useful to society as a whole. The issue in wanting a better life is when you sacrifice others. You begin to put possessions and money above caring for others and building healthy, loving relationships. This is when upward mobility becomes a god or something with idol; in summary, a major issue.
“I used to be shy. You made me sing. I used to refuse things at table. Now I shout for more wine.”
I feel this line really encompasses a lot of the students in our class who have been able to take action in their weekly tasks. We began this semester with a class where not many students were even aware of the definition of Fair Trade and now more than half way through there is consistent selling at the cart of a daily basis and students around campus are even beginning to gather some insight on Fair Trade. Just a few weeks ago, I put on a program in my building for Fair Trade Month and provided sample of Fair Trade chocolate. A lot of students commented “oh that’s the cart that’s always in Hughes and those students are in a class.” I have to say that it is a pleasure being part of such a wonderful group of students who have really taken initiative and shown they are truly passionate about fulfilling the Jesuit mission of being men and women for others.
Write comment now
Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:29 am
“The US has 5% of worlds population but we are using 35% of natural resources and creating more than 30% of the worlds waste. If everyone consumed like the US did we would need 3-5 planets."
This statistic did not surprise me, rather it just put a number to a fact I already knew. The US does consume too many resources. As the speaker suggested, I believe we should begin working on new methods of going green and recycling in order to cut down the number of limited resources we use. This seems completely unfair to the rest of the world, but as everyday consumers we hardly notice the amount of resources we use to create products that are disposed of in a few months. We need to become more conscious and aware of what we are doing as consumers. I do not think it is very likely that our consumer-crazed economic style is going to change, but we can change the parts within it.
The video in general
I felt that the speaker was speaking in a cynical tone throughout the video. I understand that she was pointing out the harmful flaws in the American production/consumption system and that this entails a sense of cynicism. However, it seemed to me that she was implying that certain manufacturers purposefully put harmful chemicals in their products. I also had a sense that some of the statistics provided were skewed. For example, she said that 99% of things we buy end up in dump in 6 months, but what percentage of these items are disposable and meant to be thrown away? I enjoyed the topics that the video was trying to bring to the public eye, but I just didn't enjoy the overlying tone of the video.
Write comment now
Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:46 am
Actual Text: I'd like to comment on the video as a whole
Response: I saw this video in high school. The class was about sustainability so there was a different discussion following it, but I think that both discussions are important to have. Leonard's argument brings about an alarming point. As always with our readings, I'm struck with the concern: what do I do about it? I really enjoy it because it is simple to understand and makes anyone see that the system is flawed. My favorite part of the video was the focus on the SYSTEM as a whole that needs to change, rather than the margins which is generally the focus of fair trade. I like that we are starting to look at the bigger picture.
Actual text: Our consumer ways are cyclical.
Response: This is very true in terms of the culture of the United States. I think this was my favorite point. Talking about the culture of the new generation is a favorite past time, but we have to take a look at what we are doing with are lives. I believe that our consumerism is a result of greed and boredom. We don't need to focus on basic necessities, so we focus on making everything easier for ourselves with STUFF. But also with art, and fashion, and food, and music, etc. etc. etc. It's not all bad, but we have the ability to focus on these things because everything else is taken care of for the most part. But we should also be focusing on the people that don't have their basic needs taken care of.
Write comment now
Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:57 am
Actual #1: The US outputs 4 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste every year.
Response #1: The video contained a great deal of facts; however, this fact in particular really stood out to me. Often, when we talk about sustainability in class, we discuss poor wages and working conditions for people. We rarely discuss environmental sustainability. The United States government implements standards for fair wages and working conditions for the people of the workforce in order to sustain the people of the country. The government lacks in its environmental sustainability efforts. Environmental toxins affect the people when people breath in polluted air. These pollutions can have long term effects on the body. One mentioned in the video is that pollution negatively affects breast milk. Although the United States outputs a very large amount of waste, other, more industrial countries such as China or India likely output far more than the United States.
Actual #2: The video portrays a "Whole Paycheck"
Response #2: Whole Foods is a grocery store that sells organic, natural and sustainable groceries. There are few companies, such as this one, that dedicate their mission to providing natural, sustainable, and fairly traded choices to the public. In order to do so, Whole Foods charges high prices. This is largely because purchasing organic and sustainable is more expensive to begin with, and to remain profitable organic sellers must charge higher prices. The video mocks the high prices at Whole Foods by suggesting that it uses one's "whole paycheck" to shop at the store. I think it is really unfortunate that more people cannot live and eat sustainably simply because doing this is out of their budget. As organic farming methods continue to improve, prices of organic and natural goods may decrease.
Write comment now
Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:21 am