Thursday, July 29, 2021

Short Summary: The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois

The Souls of Black Folk (in Castilian The souls of black people ) is a classic of American literature published by WEB Du Bois in 1903 . It is a seminal work in the history of sociology and a basic tenet for the history of African-American literature . 

The Souls of Black Folk contains several essays on the breed , some of which had previously been published in the Atlantic Monthly magazine . Du Bois drew from his own experience to develop this pioneering work on what it was like to be an African American in American society. The Souls of Black Folk , outside of its notable place in African American history , also occupies an important place in the social sciences as one of the earliest sociological works . 


Chapters of The Souls of Black Folk

Each chapter in The Souls of the Black People is headed by an epigraph , usually a quote from a European poet, accompanied by the transcription of the melody (but without the lyrics) of a black spiritual chant about sadness, suffering, hope and the affirmation. Their importance lies in the fact that they are both original and communal - designating a group of people rather than an individual - and that they represent Du Bois' call to the struggle of African Americans. 

Chapter 1 provides an overview of Du Bois's thesis for the book: that blacks in the South have the right to vote, to a good education, and to be treated equally and fairly .

The first chapter also introduces the famous metaphor of the veil . According to Du Bois, this veil is worn by all African Americans, because their worldview and opportunities for economic, political, and social potential are so different from that of whites. The veil is a visual manifestation of racial discrimination , a problem that Du Bois worked his entire life to remedy. Du Bois sublimates the function of the veil when he refers to it as a gift of clairvoyance to African Americans: thus, they simultaneously characterize the veil as a blessing or a curse. 

The second chapter, The Dawn of Freedom , covers the history of the Liberation Agency during reconstruction.

Chapters 3 through 6 focus on education. Du Bois argued against Booker T. Washington , who argued that blacks should focus solely on industrial education, and advocated the incorporation of a classical education to train leaders and educators in the black community.

Chapters 7 through 10 contain sociological studies on the black community. Du Bois investigated the influence segregation and discrimination have had on Black people. He argued that much of the negative stereotypes of blacks as lazy, violent and naive were the results of the treatment of whites.

In Chapter 10, On the Faith of the Fathers , Du Bois argues that the Black Church is deeply linked to black political movements. Instead of seeing this as a positive, you see it as a weakness that you must overcome. He sees the Church as the last remnants of tribal life that must be overthrown in order for black civilization to prosper. He affirms that from the middle of the 18th century the black slave was sunk to the bottom of the economic scale and that for this reason he lost all the charm in the world. Then the Church offered him salvationIn the other world, which he clung to. On the contrary, for Du Bois, the then slave, and the now "black man", must contemplate salvation in this life to build a culture of economic prosperity. However, he said that this was much better than the great Christian Church in which he was never excluded. It offered a future program for the Church to purchase real estate for its members to increase their economic status in society.

The last chapters of the The Souls of Black Folk are dedicated to the stories of people. Chapter 11, On the Death of the Firstborn , tells the story of Du Bois's own son and his untimely death. In the next chapter, the life of Alexander Crummell is a short biography of a black priest in the Episcopal Church. Chapter XIII, On the Coming of John , is the fictional story of a Georgia boy who goes to college and on his return is rejected by his black community and by the white patricians of his city.

The last chapter of The Souls of Black Folk is about black music and refers to the short musical passages transcribed at the beginning of each of the other chapters. Here's what Du Bois had to say about these slave songs: I know that these songs are the articulate message of the slave to the world

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Meaning of Goffman"s Presentation of Self Explained

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is one of the most important works of the Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman . In it, the bases of the dramaturgical approach to everyday life are developed , according to which the best way to understand the social interaction that takes place in everyday life is through the metaphor of a theatrical performance. 

Goffman assumes that when we show ourselves to other people we try to convey - consciously or unconsciously - a certain impression about ourselves. For this we interpret the role we want to convey. Thus all social interaction is a performance created for the audience.

Goffman uses the entire arsenal terminological of the world of the theater: The action takes place on a stage ( stage ), which determines largely the work (are very different behavioral patterns in a church and a nightclub); the work is prepared in the racks ( backstage ) (eg the mirror being tested facial expressions ); the actors use it to make their role, appropriate costumes and props more credible (Goffman uses the example of the symbolic force that the white coat and the stethoscope have in the relationship between doctor and patient).

According to Goffman, when we enter a situation, certain information about ourselves helps us define the scene, allowing the "audience" to decipher what to expect and how to react during said interaction. In short: we "express" ourselves as actors to make an "impression" on our audience. If the situations must be defined, there must be an agreement between the interlocutors, which is carried out through consensus. The moral character of the actor demonstrated during the first impression is crucial for the acceptance and definition of the scene: you must be who you say you are. That is why when an individual presents himself to others, he wants to control the impression they receive. 

Meaning of Imagined Communities Explained

Imagined Communities is a term coined Benedict Anderson in his book by the same name published in 1983 , which discusses the growth of the idea of nationalism and its development as a worldwide phenomenon.

The term "imagined community" is used by Anderson to describe large groups of people, united around a unifying idea that makes them function as a community , although in practice the connection and similarity between the individuals that make them up, and groups of individuals in the content, are minimal or non-existent. The consciousness of the community is so strong in these groups that it has the power to take their men to war on distant battlefields and die for them, as if it were a matter of protecting their private home and family. According to Anderson, a nation and a nation-state are contemporary examples of imaginary communities, which throughout history have replaced other imaginary communities, such as the great believing communities of Christianity , Islam and Buddhism . These ancient communities were made up of millions of people from different cultures , speakersDifferent languages , cohesive solely around a religious idea and a system of scripture (usually written in a language foreign to them).

The nation , according to Anderson, is a political entity that is imagined as a limited and sovereign community . It is imagined as a community , because even the members of the smallest nation will never be able to know or meet all the other members of it, and yet the image of the community they share lives in the consciousness of everyone, even in nations where there is exploitation and inequality . It is imagined to be naturally limited , because every nation has finite borders, beyond which lie other nations, and has no aspirations to become universal, as Christianity and Islam have aspired in the past. It is imagined as sovereign because the national idea was born at a time when the Enlightenment and the revolutions rejected the legitimacy of kingdoms ruled by dynasties"In the name of God," and asked to be freed from them. The sovereignty of the nation is the symbol and instrument of its freedom.

Benedict Anderson's Definition of Nation - summary

According to Benedict Anderson in Imagined Communities, the "nation" has four essential characteristics:

It is " introduced [...] because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of the others [...], but the idea of ​​their community exists in everyone's head." […] In fact, all communities that are larger than the village ones with their face-to-face contacts are imagined communities. " 
It is “ limited [...] because even the largest of them [...] lives within precisely defined, albeit variable, limits beyond which other nations lie. […] Even the most ardent nationalists do not dream of the day when all members of the human race will belong to their nation ” - in contrast to religious communities with a conversion mission such as Christianity.
It is “ sovereign because its concept was born at a time when the Enlightenment and revolution were destroying the legitimacy of the hierarchical-dynastic [sic] empires thought of by God's grace. [...] The yardstick and symbol of this freedom is the sovereign state ”. 
It is a " community [...] because, regardless of real inequality and exploitation, it is understood as a 'comradely' association of equals."

Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson - overview and review

Imagined Communities is an important and influential book by Benedict Anderson, an international relations researcher published in 1983. In the book Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson analyzes the phenomenon of nationalism and national consciousness as it emerged in the 20th century.

Benedict Anderson's main argument in terms of an "imagined community" is that a group of people defined as a nation is in fact an "imagined" political entity that exists only in the minds of people and not in reality. The central idea of ​​"imaginary communities" is that a nation is formed as soon as a group of people unites around common ideas or perceptions that cause them to function as a unified group for a common goal, regardless of their relationship in reality. A good example of "imaginary communities" could be for example the Jewish people who were scattered all over the world and lived very different lifestyles but united around a national consciousnessOne of Zionism as it is expressed in the Land of Israel. The imaginary consciousness of imaginary communities is so strong that it can motivate people to acts like going to war even at the cost of their lives for the same ideal that exists solely in their mind. The contemporary expression of imaginary communities is the nation-states uniting under different groups and different individuals under the “umbrella” of a common consciousness that unites them. Imaginary communities of nations or nations replaced in the twentieth century those more traditional imaginary communities that were expressed in religious consciousness like Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The most fundamental point of Benedict Anderson's book "Imaginary Communities" is that in today's nation states not all members of the community know each other, and these are just "imagined" mental foundations that bind them to each other and form bonds of mutual commitment and joint activity. According to Benedict Anderson, imaginary communities also create imaginary boundaries between those who are members of this community and those who are not members of it, which could explain the treatment of foreigners in contemporary nation-states.

To Benedict Anderson 's analysis in the book "Imaginary Communities" The printing revolution and capitalism which accompanied it play a significant role in the creation of modern nation-states. The pattern allowed for the widespread dissemination of common ideas and it created the unification of language, both verbal and metaphorical, between different people who thus began to form a national consciousness. According to Benedict Anderson, printing led to the distribution of materials written in mass languages ​​and accessible to a growing public of literate people, in contrast to the prevailing texts before the printing revolution that were limited to scriptures in languages ​​that were not accessible to the general public. It is capitalism that has driven this mechanism by the desire of printers to reach as wide an audience as possible and to adapt the printed content to their abilities and tastes. This trend led to the unification of different dialects that served different human groups and led to the creation of “imaginary communities” around a common language and prevailing ideas that were disseminated through the same new form of communication that came into being. That is, the new common language created due to the printing revolution united different groups and strengthened their common consciousness. The formation of novels as well as newspapers strengthened the formation of imaginary communities because it united people around events and in fact information common to all, thus creating a common consciousness of people who in practice had no direct connection with each other. That is, through the printed newspaper, people in different places and different situations could know and share the same information and the same events and thus imagined communities were created.

Another element that constitutes imaginary communities according to Benedict Anderson is shared memory. The rise of nationalism in the 19th century caused many peoples to "invent" for themselves a distant common past that was in fact at the same time an outgrowth and the cause of their consciousness forming as a people that is, of course, an imaginary community.

In conclusion, Benedict Anderson's "Imaginary Communities" states that nationality is in fact a collective imagination of a group of people that unites them through a shared memory and consciousness, and causes them to act out of a commitment to an actual political framework based on imagined foundations.

Summary: Aristotle / Nicomachean Ethics Book 10: Happines

Aristotle - Ethics - Book Ten - Pleasure and the Life of Happiness.

In the tenth book of Nicomachean Ethics    , Aristotle discusses pleasure and happiness. All his life man wonders what he should rejoice in and what he should hate, and these questions carry great weight regarding the good virtue and the happy longevity.

Some argue that pleasure is good, that all animals aspire to it and also that sorrow is not desirable at all. Plus when it connects to another good action then it increases the nature of the action. But therefore pleasure is not good, because the good to know Aristotle should be good for himself, and even from the fact that sorrow is bad one should not conclude that pleasure is good. Pleasure does not apply to everything equally, and in the same way (the more one learns, the pleasure is not necessarily greater) does not fulfill any need, and has sources that are not good. Pleasure according to Aristotle is not the good, and not every pleasure is desirable. But there are some desirable pleasures per se according to their image and origin.

The pleasure of knowing Aristotle belongs to the same things that are whole and whole, because in one moment the whole is revealed. Pleasure completes actions according to its own purpose. Therefore the pleasure is not continuous, since it accompanies the activity and complements it. And thus Aristotle argues that there are also different kinds of pleasure, depending on the activity it complements. The activities that accompany it are different for each person according to his nature, and even contribute to the success of the activity and perseverance in it. The pleasures foreign to the action, but accompanying it, harm the nature of the action and even cancel it out. Because there are actions that are good, bad, and that are not so and not so, so too with pleasures. Good pleasure, like good learning, is at the discretion of the decent man.

After discussing good virtue , friendship , and pleasure, Aristotle discusses happiness, which is the purpose for human actions. In Aristotle's opinion everything in the world is done for the purpose of happiness . Happiness derives from a lifestyle that is according to the good virtue, and is expressed in activity according to the good in essence, which is the theoretical action. The mind is the finest of powers, and recognition through it is the finest, and the most continuous. Also, the enjoyment of the theoretical activity is the best. Knowledge, philosophy, combine t with the basic needs of life is happiness. Strong on a person who lives a life of studyThey will leave him free time in life - "this activity is a person's perfect happiness". Such a way of life is superior to what is given to a person, so every person should live according to his life, in accordance with the superiority of its foundations, but at the same time take care of the life according to the mind - which is the person himself. The perfect happiness for Aristotle is a theoretical activity, since it is an activity close to the activity of the gods.

A second-rate lifestyle for Aristotle is a lifestyle according to the other good qualities which are of one man towards another. According to Aristotle acts that include character traits, which have a parallel in the virtues of the brain. But such a lifestyle needs greater external resources, in order to achieve greater happiness. Perfect good virtue is not possible without good intention.

For Aristotle the recognition of the good virtue is not enough, there is a need for deeds, to become excellent people. The person should be able to distinguish between what is proper and what is obscene, and since emotion is subject only to power, it is desirable to adapt the character from a young age to the good virtue. In adulthood they were subject to the laws of the state which in punitive threats, would be directed to the right way of life. Yet, Aristotle states, the good man should indulge in a decent life of his own free will and not coercion, and this should be instilled through education and state intervention in the lives of its citizens, a public concern. Those who have the knowledge, knowledge of the rules and experience, should take care of the public and refer it to a normal life.

Summary: Aristotle / Nicomachean Ethics Book 8: Friendship

Aristotle - Ethics Book Eight - Friendship.

Friendship for Aristotle is a good virtue , and it is necessary for our lives. It binds citizens of the state together, as it is similar to unity. In a country where citizens are friends there is no need for justice.

In book 8 of Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle lists three types of friendships:

Beneficial friendship - liking each other because of the benefit they give each other - for what is good for themselves, and not for who they are.
Friendship for pleasure - for what pleases themselves.
According to Aristotle these are types of friendships which are random, temporary, and premature when there is a change in the situation. Friendship for pleasure is better than friendship for good. Because happy people do not need helpful friends, but pleasant ones do.

Perfect friendship - friendship of good and similar people in terms of good virtue. Liking each other in and of themselves. And just want to get on well with each other. This friendship is rare and eternal, which is built over time.
According to Aristotle, perfect friendship is the property of good people. And she's also a good friend. Perfect friendship is true, by choice and it helps to achieve happiness. Friendship for Aristotle is equality because of the desire to do good and show affection. It is impossible to be friends of a large number of people at the same time.

Those in power will choose for themselves friends who are helpful and friends who are pleasant, but not good people who are both, since a good virtue should be in a proper status, and those in power do not have a good virtue. Aristotle argues that equal friendship is not possible between people of different classes, but is based on right.

According to Aristotle the nature of equality in friendship is different from the nature of equality in justice. Rightly according to what a person deserves, and in friendship absolute equality. Love should be given and received according to the middle index, that is, the desire to learn a balance.

In every partnership there is justice and friendship. Aristotle believes that man avoids doing injustice to his friends and wants to do good to them. The political partnership was created out of benefit, with justice at the forefront of legislators' minds. In regimes, friendship involves the degree of justice that exists in the country. In proper regimes there is friendship to a degree that decreases according to the good of the regime. According to Aristotle in deviations from the proper regimes there is almost no friendship in existence, because there is really no justice. In a dictatorial regime there is no friendship between the ruler and his subjects, due to the inequality, and the action for the benefit of the dictator and not of the people, as in slavery and lordship. Relationship between ruler and controlled as body to mind. The degree of friendship in the country increases in relation to the nature of the regime.