New Things To Consider

I feel as though I have always been drawn to the subject of English in school. I connected more with my English teachers than any others, even going out of my way to take 3 different classes with one of my favorites in high school. Although I didn’t decide English was what I wanted to major in until relatively late, the interest I’ve had in it has never floundered. However, throughout my academic career, there have been multiple times where I felt that I was only maintaining my interest rather than building it. I see English as a very multidimensional subject, which can be just as overwhelming as it is interesting. This semester will add to the many before that have given me a new dimension of the subject to consider in the future. I took this class because I knew I hadn’t taken a class like it before. Often when I take a new English class I find myself comparing it to my 11th grade AP literature course. It was challenging, but for good reason. I undoubtedly left that class with a completely reformed view on English. I’m not sure whether it was my teacher, the material he taught, or both, but my expectations were definitely set high.

A concept that has added a new dimension to my view of English from this semester in particular is that of recycled ideas. Similarly, I always find myself thinking about how much music is in the world and how so many songs sound alike because they’re all made of the same recycled notes. I never considered that when this concept is applied to English, it doesn’t really make sense. A quote from Mark Twain reads: “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations”. Aren’t the “new” and curious combinations creating something new? If not, would an idea involving a new and never before seen invention or concept be considered new in at least some way? I never even began to consider these things before and they are relevant to English in so many ways. The idea of recycled thoughts closely relates to the second thing that I now think about; the concept of bias being behind possibly everything and every idea. Even though there are no new ideas, who’s to say there aren’t new biases that can be applied to the ideas by every person who holds them. One of the most important things I’ve been taught while studying English is to be aware that everyone is biased and it sometimes will greatly influence what they say. This way of thinking reminds me of other humanities such as sociology. In a way, this class has further enforced the bond between the humanities in my mind.

Although I don’t expect to have an English reawakening like I did in 11th grade AP every time I take a new class, I do attempt to get something out of it that I can bring with me to the next. So far, there have been few English classes I’ve taken that haven’t given me new things to consider when studying English in the future.

Advancing Technology At An Unknown Speed

On page 85 of The Information by James Gleick, a book is spoken of that forever changed mathematics. Being referred to as “an electric flashlight sent to a lightless world. . .” one was left to wonder why nobody thought of the process sooner (Gleick 85). It is intriguing to wonder why technological/mathematical advancements happen at certain times. Is it out of necessity? Most likely not, due to the fact that we would be living perfectly fine without a good amount of the technology that we are lucky enough to have. The advancements sometimes seem to be driven by the human need for our endeavours to be easier or faster. In some cases, these advancements help us to diminish possible errors while attempting to make new advancements. Henry Briggs wondered why once the thought process or technology was discovered it seemed so obvious to us. Why didn’t someone simply think to invent things sooner? Most likely because certain technology needs other technology in order to help it progress, but are we truly advancing as fast as we can? When a man landed on the moon it wasn’t necessarily due to our longing for technological advancement, we did it in order to flaunt our advantages to other countries. In an ideal world, advancement would be made for the sake of advancing, having the ability to help people when they need it whether it be academically, mentally, medically and so on. All in all, it doesn’t matter too much what the purpose of the advancement is, as long as the result is put to good use. 

Thinking about the unrealized potential of our technology is almost frustrating. There is no way to guarantee that we are doing the best with what we have in regards to our society and culture. One of the only ways to promote using our resources to their full potential is by spreading awareness of the technology we have and the good that we can do with it. Classes on using technology are important, but I almost wonder if there needs to be more of an emphasis put on the thought process of what needs to be invented. How long have we been searching for a cure for cancer amongst other horrible illnesses and have come away empty handed? There must be a better way for developing our technology apart from things being accidentally discovered or advancements being made to spite other countries. It is likely that this would involve prioritizing certain sciences and thoughts that are often overlooked. It is even possible that the sciences we need haven’t even fully developed yet.