I ended up conflicted about the existence of my own reality after this reading. I don’t mean that in a cliché way or in a way to put myself at the center of understanding truth, rather I mean that it made me question if I was sitting in front of my computer doing the assignment in front of me. The pencil metaphor is what I ultimately took from the piece and made me change my perception of Plato’s allegory of the cave. Reading this pieces together made me separate the words reality and truth. Something which I had never questioned before. Normally I took Plato’s epistemological belief in which every truth is grounded in an absolute truth founded within the universe. I believed in the forms, especially in the sense that they existed but could never be conceived by mankind, but I didn’t question that my own sense of reality could be contradictory to the forms of the universe. I thought that although I couldn’t conceive them I knew them to be true in the subtext of our own reality. The Borges reading however, made me question the truth within my own reality. I wanted to say that within my own reality I could conceive perfect truths, but when Borges talked about the pencil metaphor I realized that things could but exist/ not exist at the same time if reality was based from the individual perspective. For Example: From my reality I could take the pencil out of existence while someone witnessed, but the person witnessing would be a person in my reality meaning that the pencil does not exist in this reality. But alternatively a person from a different reality (AKA their own) could see that exact same pencil still there because I had never taken it in their reality meaning that if we both exist in a universe the pencil could both simultaneously be there and not there based on the actions in each individual reality. This means that existence, object permanence, time, reality, space are all up to the eyes of the individual meaning that if we all theoretically have our own realities we can all exist in a universe with no laws of physics or conceptual time because it is all up the creatures that inhabit this universe. This made me question my ideas of ultimate truth but ultimately confirmed them because it helped me separate my reality from truth. There could be ultimate laws but by trying to find those ultimate truths you lead yourself in falsity according to the reading. It lead me to question truth in my own reality but that isn’t to say that their couldn’t be a truth outside of my own reality and the realities intertwined with the rest of the living creatures that inhabit our known universe, but confirmed for me that I will never know if my existence is up to another being or if my perceptions of reality are in fact intact
In Fanon’s piece “The fact of blackness” there is an emphasis on the ontology of being, much like Bigger Thomas in the piece Pipeline. Fanon argues that the ontology of the black man cannot be understood in our society because he must be black in relation to the white man. In the emphasized scene in Pipeline Omari is constantly asked to analyze the social limitations of Bigger Thomas, leading him to understand that these social limitations can only be seen as challenges in relation to his private school surroundings. Omari understands that the people asking him to answer these questions are not his teachers but representative of his oppressors. He was chosen, called out because of the color of his skin leading him to say that he “knows why bigger Thomas did what he did”. In our society the oppressors are treated as man, while the oppressed are treated and judged in relation to their oppressors. He appears to comment on the fact that the “civilized” world only looks at the social limitations of the oppressed labeling them as beast instead of looking at the reasons why Bigger Thomas acted the way he did. He knows why bigger Thomas did what he did because Omari understands that black people are looked at through the lens of being social limited. Fanon also talks about what it is liked to be successful as black saying: “when people like me they tell me in spite of my color”, this comparison to the white man is not a social limitation but a system in which black people are trapped by their own appearances. Bigger Thomas was not socially limited; rather he lives in a system where his actions are seen at as inherently irrational and uncivilized just like Omari. Being judged based on outward appearances creates this understanding between Bigger Thomas, Omari and Fanon’s piece that can only be described by saying that the ontology of a black man in this society is in relation to the oppressors. That is why Bigger Thomas did what he did.
Discourse on colonialism- The Venus that I think encompasses the point the Cesare was trying to make is Sarah Baartman because of a small aspect that was brought up in the beginning of the passage that talked about how people only cared when the atrocities were being committed at home. Cesare was talking about wanting to hide the truth of barbarism that had poised the European continent and proceeded to explain how the bourgeoisie “closing their eyes” were responsible for atrocities that were committed elsewhere because they became sympathizers, bystanders, witnesses. The bourgeoisie only cared when human rights violations were happening at home, that’s why the European elite stepped in during Nazi Germany rather than stoping the atrocities committed in the new world by their own and fellow empires. The author argued that the European elite were more embarrassed than ashamed of Hitler because he showed their true atrocities at home, which made me think about Sarah Baartman. In the beginning of her story she talked about doing shows for soldiers down in South Africa do European soldiers, but when she brought her shows To Europe people were appalled and taken back by the slavery that she was seemingly in. There were court cases about her in Europe but in European dominated south Africa this atrocity was essentially ignored. This proves the point that people care more about the atrocities being committed in front of them rather than the ones being committed around the world. People didn’t acre about freeing Sarah Baartman they cared about easing their consciousness from atrocities being committed in front of them. The European elite took Hitler down not out of morality but rather a feeling of obligation because they felt they were superior. baartman gives an example that atrocities only mattered if they were on the European theater.
The fact of Blackness By Fanon- The quote that really stood out in the passage to me was “When people like me in spite of my color” (88), because this quote allowed me to understand the relation between this passage and Josephine Baker. Baker was a star of her time, but people were surprised by her success due to her being a successful black woman. It really made the phrase ” Black people are a slave to their own appearance, and are given no chance to have a guise”. Baker was well liked in both America and France, but it was in spite of her blackness rather than a recognition of her talent. Lots of the critiques of her talent recognized her for her blackness by saying that she was special despite being black. To a degree this dilutes her blackness and is something I don’t think i would have understood without the quote mentioned above. Josephine was an icon don’t get me wrong but the way in which she was looked at by society was from a lens of anomaly and exoticism which is a form of mistreatment to Mrs. Baker. She was looked at from her appearance and then judged by her talent, which is something white performers do’t have to deal with. Fanon was trying to get across the point that black people cannot hide their appearance and are judged by the appearance first rather than their accomplishments which is evident in how Baker was called an anomaly and treated as a media fetish rather than an artist,
This article has nothing to do with war and Violence. This is a story about an upcoming election in Libya but the cover photo is a picture of a destroyed Libya after civil war. Imagine if the cover photo for the American election was the aftermath of the Riots in Charlottesville or pictures of graveyards being overrun with Covid deaths? Although the Libyan elections are in the aftermath of a civil war there is an immense double standard between news stories there and in other countries. Sontag says I’ve been deterred from action, locked into my own chains of passivity
But that can’t be true… Right?
I watch the news, educate myself, avoid that dull felling that nothing can be done, nothing can be adverted
What about the hope that comes from a new era, where have the seeds gone that sprout after a wildfire? When will the rubble begin to rebuild?
Never in our minds, and that is the true atrocity
Especially when we read for the pictures of corpses