Friday, July 10, 2009

Week Reflection.

Much of this week’s reading and lecturing revolved around one thing: our society. Our generation is very different from the previous generations and in our discussion group, we attributed this to many reasons ranging from peer pressure to advancing technology. I feel like this week was devoted to studying the patterns in the youth today and why we act the way we do.

Our lecture topic on Monday was a study of “The American Life on Pot.” It was interesting because we heard about someone who actually turned their life around from being a real addict. Most people stick with pot because of reasons like peer pressure or because it helps them relax. The reason I thought this was interesting is because people who are addicted to pot usually don’t turn around from it without something as drastic as an intervention party. The change that he made in his life was remarkable. I took away from this that self-reflection is very important. Awareness is something that we must always strive to have. This point also correlates with the reading that we talked about in discussion group that day. In our society today, we seem to lack awareness in our relationships. The “hook-up culture” only seems to be interested in relationships for the purpose of self-gratification or social status. I believe that if we were more aware of ourselves and the people around us, we would be more modest and thoughtful about how we affect each other by doing things like hooking-up. Why do we hook up? Why do we smoke pot? I believe the reasons are correlated. We do these things in our search for attention, acceptance and in our search for ourselves.

On Tuesday, we talked about cognitive science, which is the study of human behavior or human intelligence. We focused mainly on development and memory. It was interesting to listen about this because it reiterated the fact that childhood was important. When we talked about advertising in the discussion group that day, it was easy to see the link between the two and why advertising nowadays may be detrimental to the youth today. I don’t think advertising to young people before they are fully developed is right. The reason I say this is because I feel like it really hinders growth and individuality. What are kids suppose to do when media is telling them left and right what is correct and what is wrong? When will they learn how to develop their own opinions? This is a major difference between today’s society and the society 30 years ago. We are constantly surrounded by advertisement and people who want to change our opinion whereas before, it was really easy to get away from all of that. I don’t want to say that we should separate kids from media altogether but I feel like advertisements can very often be a negative influence. I feel like this may be dangerous to us because we are engulfed and overwhelmed by it all. I’m afraid because we have learned to depend on advertisement for the latest gadgets and the coolest toys. We listen to them and trust them. Is this wise?

I thought Wednesday was the most interesting lecture day out of this whole summer session. We talked about psychotherapy both in the lecture and in discussion. I thought this was all interesting because I got to learn more about myself as a person while listening to this lecture. Listening and learning about transference really struck me personally. I thought about how this also plays a role in our society today. It is no secret that family life is slowly deteriorating in our society. I say this because of divorce rates today and how many kids complain about how many problems their family has. If this is the case, this must make relationships in the future very hard because according to Freud, our future relationships pattern after our first relationships. In a time when family life was stronger, people built stronger relationships and things like hooking-up were not as common. This may not be causation but it does seem like a correlation. Does this mean now that family life is deteriorating, things like hooking-up will be more common? This does seem to be the trend so maybe we aren’t to blame; maybe media doesn’t play as big of a role that I had originally thought; and maybe it really the fault of our parents.

This summer session has been interesting. I found that this week tied together really well and I’ve been giving our lectures, discussions and readings some serious thought. Everything inspires me to think more about our society and the problems with which the youth are faced with today. We are faced with a different set of troubles than what people were faced with years before and therefore, we are forced to deal with them in a different way. I can’t imagine a society where technology wasn’t prevalent because that’s the type of society we live in today. Therefore, we, the younger generation, need to evaluate our surroundings objectively and decide how to handle this. How are we supposed to deal with the “hooking-up culture” and peer pressure? How will we handle advertisement and media? How will we treat future relationships? These are all questions we need to think about for ourselves; I know I have.


Don Gosney said...


It’s interesting that you’re being taught that marijuana is an addictive drug. I knew that for some people their love for the feeling they have while under the influence of marijuana can be difficult to shelve but I was unaware until now that smoking marijuana can be physically addictive and require treatment to quit.

I know that new research has been conducted on the effects of marijuana but some of what you’re relaying to us is all new stuff for me. I’m reminded of the old 1936 movie Reefer Madness which proved without a doubt to the American public that marijuana was not only addictive but that smoking even a single joint would create the addiction, turn the tokers into wanton sex slaves, make them paranoid and even suicidal and would always lead to harder drugs. It was an effective propaganda tool and was used even in some schools for several decades to convince young people to stay away from that whacky tobacky.

You make some very valid points, Cynthia, about the affect of advertising on your young people. I happen to agree with you that many teenagers are young, naive and lacking in the maturity and sophistication to fully grasp that what they’re seeing in these advertisements may not be the whole truth. And just as you pointed out, young people can be adversely affected by advertisements.

On the other hand, there are many that argue—and many of these are teenagers—that because they’re old enough to die for our country, we should lower the drinking and voting age. There have even been bills put before the California State Legislature this year and last to reduce the voting age to 16. You’re closer to that age than I am, Cynthia, do you think that 16 year olds understand the world enough at that age to vote on state propositions or for elected officials? Do you think they would be able to see right through the campaign advertisements that distort the truth so much? A very valid argument cold also be made, Cynthia, that there are plenty of adults who lack the maturity, sophistication and intelligence to make informed decisions when voting but we’ve outlawed any requirements for them to be allowed to vote outside of such things as age, residency, citizenship and the absence of being in the penal system.

Do you have any further thoughts on this, Cynthia?

By the way, can you see that advertising and propaganda are much the same thing except that one comes in the form of business and the other from government or idealogical forums? For instance, in that old Reefer Madness movie I referred to, since it was so widely distributed by the government to scare young people away from marijuana, it can easily be seen as propaganda but isn’t it also an advertisement trying to sell people on an idea? That’s all that propaganda really is, isn’t it: trying to sell people on an idea--whether it’s dishwashing detergent, a brand of cigarettes, a political ideal or even a religion?

Madeline Kronenberg said...


Thanks for the thoughtful post. It is important to "consider the source" when you are presented information -- and then you can develop trust.

I'm glad you enjoyed your last class and that the course was valuable to you.

I think when you analyze it, you may find that the "set of troubles" we are faced with is not "different" -- just the same old troubles (connecting with each other -- and forming successful relationships -- developing trust) jazzed up with a lot of new technology.

Lots to think about. Keep thinking. Happy travels today.