Bloom Reading Response

  1. If I’m being completely honest I don’t think the author had more than one point which is that empathy is overall not a good thing, and feel like that is summed up perfectly in his conclusion when he states” I worry that I’ve given the impression I’m against empathy. Well, I am”. (Bloom) the only problem with this stance and quote is that based on the text, I don’t believe the author knows what empathy is. He constantly attributes empathy with things that are distinctly not empathy. One spot specifically I see this heavily is when they are talking about the shooting in Newton, to me the actions of people from outside of Newton or more sympathetic than empathetic in most cases. I think this is shown best  with the quote “The town was inundated with so much charity that it added to their burden. Hundreds of volunteers had to be recruited to store the gifts and toys that got sent to the city.”(bloom) This specific example is the first the author uses, and even the later examples are still more sympathetic than empathetic. And this doesn’t inspire confidence in me that this article is completely credible, because to me it feels like the author doesn’t fully know what they are writing about.
  2. I personally don’t agree with the point of empathy being bad as a whole. I believe that empathy when used smartly can be amazing, but I know from experience that empathy abused in certain ways or empathy pushed to its limits can be extremely harmful to a person’s wellbeing. 
  3. Although ultimately i don’t think his view of empathy is all together accurate for a bit he’s article made me think what things could be considered empathy and how different views of empathy would affect their views on the concept 
  4. “In this regard, empathy distorts our moral judgments in pretty much the same way that prejudice does.”  This is a sentence that has a lot of enfaces put on it in the beginning of the article. And I think it sticks out to me  so much because in a lot of ways it’s true, and it’s just  really interesting, and it’s so interesting to think about how empathy is selective and in some ways like the other side of the coin to prejudice. And it’s just an overall really interesting moral question to ponder.

DFW Reading Response

  1. I believe that the main points of the “this is water” speech include themes of how important small acts of empathy are, how important it is to remove yourself from the “inherent world’s view” of you being at the center of the world, and that their experiences have taught them how to think for themselves, instead of just think. For the first point in his example in the grocery store and traffic going on about how stupid and iterating everyone in his way is he says as the crowd cheers him on about something “this is an example of how NOT to think, though”(DFW). This illustrates his point about understanding and empathy in small doses during day to day monotony. I think his second point is most focused on during his speech where he addresses the default view of us being the center of the world, emphasizing words like my, and mine. Really best said with this quote “everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence.” (DFW). In this quote he directly states that as a default the world is filtered through a lens of narcissism, in which we are the absolute center of what’s going on. His last major point to me is the teaching you how to choose what to think for yourselves and in this he goes on about he supposed to be using different clichés for his speech and goes on to show how he would subvert them shown with this quote “the really significant education in thinking that we’re supposed to get in a place like this isn’t really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about.” 
  2. I can agree with two of the points he made, those being the first and third ones I talked about, I just personally can’t get behind the second one that I mentioned. Due to my own personal experiences I have felt unimportant in my own story at times, and using my brain to think of the big picture as sometimes I can feel inconsequential and so I can’t fully agree with his last point.
  3. I personally believe that he was referring to empathy on a small scale, especially in reference to the parts about the grocery store and traffic parts of speech.

 “Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence.” I have already written about this, but as I have described before, I strongly disagree with this quote and that’s probably why it sticks out to me so much. It sounds really sad to talk about but it’s really okay. It’s just there are times where I don’t feel like the world revolves around me, and so I would personally argue that this isn’t a default setting of humans as a whole but more a personal bias of the speaker. I can recognize when more important things are happening and when things that don;t really have anything to do with me have major significance so i feel like the quote above is just plan wrong in that respect.

Naysayer paragraph

Phelps- Roper only came about due to a connection formed between them through Abietol’s kinder approach to Phelps, Now some people may argue that the internet is more of a negative force in the world do to how the Westboro Baptist church abuses the medium, but they are wrong because Social media also has the ability to bring people together and change minds like it did with Phelps showing that it’s not purely good or bad.

Focused summary experience 

Konnikova’s essay “the limits of friendship” mainly focuses on the Dunbar number, the importance of in person interactions, and the unknown of the future since we haven’t seen a generation that has fully grown up with internet access. The most interesting of the points to me being, the unknown of how the internet will affect social interaction long term, in the essay it is left more open and vague on what they think will happen, I personally think it’ll be more positive as we can make connections across countries and keep in touch with friends that move away, and overall just have a positive effect on social interactions going forward.

Chen reading response

  1. Megan’s personal transformation seems to really start in 2009 when she was planning on going to Israel. As seen here, “We were making specific predictions about things without having, in my mind, sufficient scriptural support.”(Chen 78). This quote is highly significant because earlier in the text it talks about how even the smallest amounts of doubt are seen as intolerable sins to the Westboro Baptist Church community. The change in Megan really kicks into high gear with the introduction of C.G of course, and the attitude change is very well demonstrated with the line “Now the contradiction of her mother’s glee and her own sadness made her wonder if something was wrong with the church.” (Chen 83) this would really be the start of her crisis of faith that would lead her to where she is in life today.
  2. During her time with the WBC social media greatly emboldened Megan, because it was a faster, more efficient way to get “ the true message of god” to the people of the world “without the filter of a journalist.” (Chen 75), But on the other hand social media also exposed her to the many resources, and more importantly people who were willing to let go of their initial hostilities and have open conversations about the world.
  3. The most effective forms of communicating that seemed to have an actual impact on Phelps were open minded conversations about the world, and her teachings. Answering questions  she had honestly and openly after dropping their initial hatred. This shows at least in my opinion that the best way to deal with hate is an open mindedness even if their intolerance is insufferable.
  4. I have had to answer the question “what would you ask Megan if you met her” so many times now for a variety of different classes and my answer has remained largely the same which is simply nothing. I wouldn’t ask her anything because anything I could think to ask here surly already has been asked and answered.

Paper on Self Reflection

  1. What was your final thesis statement? Paste, then analyze its strengths & weaknesses

Although social media is not a perfect medium, I believe it has had a positive impact on social interaction as a whole. 

I feel like a strength and a weakness of my statement is that it doesn’t really really pick a side by a whole lot. It does state that I believe it has had a positive impact, but it also says it has a bit of negativity to it, and I feel like that was kind of the point. I wanted my essay to look at the good and the bad while mainly focusing on the validity of online relationships. But it also could be a bit confusing to a reader to see that I don’t have an immediate hard stance on the topic. So in the future I will work on getting my point across more clearly.

  1. In a separate paragraph, describe what you learned or were reminded of about your own writing process, from completing Paper #1. 

I was certainly reminded of just how passionate I can get with certain topics especially when it comes to online, or just anything that I care about. I have a trend of making it very personal. I was also reminded of my tendency to lay out a general skeleton of a piece and then go back to certain parts and workshop them for hours until I’m happy.

3) In another paragraph: Which aspect of revision did you focus on most during your revisions? What changes or adjustments made your essay stronger? Be specific. 

The two main parts of my essay I constantly revised were my introductory paragraph and my points against the limits of friendship. Firstly in my introduction it was advised that I should move my thesis to the end of it and come up with a hook, so I spent a lot of time trying to come up with something that felt right, and that I thought worked well enough with the suggestions I had been given. Secondly I spent a lot of time with the bond touch bracelets part of my essay because as I see it, that is the most important part of the whole writing because it hard counters statements made by Dunbar in “the limits of friendship”. And it really mattered to me so I wanted to make sure it was as perfect as I could fesabible to get it so my point would come across clear and i’m hoping that it did.

4) In another paragraph: How might you approach Paper #2 differently, from pre-reading and annotating, all the way through completion of your final draft?

If i’m completely, honest i don’t know what i’ll try and change with writing essay 2.