The latest episodes of Alchemists podcast can be found here. Reyes Espinoza (twitter handle) @themexafil and Michael Oxenrider @MOXenrider co-host it. I hope you are enjoying the past episodes. We look forward to a future with more guests and great philosophy topics!
Written Justication: In this whiteboard art piece, inspired by the concepts found in Chapter 3:Suppressing Atlantic Slavery of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s book The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, I attempted to encapsulate the idea of how slavery was eventually brought to a halt in England. In The Honor Code, on page 124, Appiah states“[Working people] were against [slavery], I think, for the simplest reasons: nothing more firmly expressed the idea that labor was dishonorable than Negro plantation slavery in the New World. And labor was what defined them” (Appiah, 2010). This short quotation, while talking about the specific events that took place in England, applies in a much broader sense to the entire book’s premise. Change can’t happen until those opposed to a practice feel their honor has been compromised. The most interesting part of these issues covered in the book, whether it be the foot-binding in China, the slave trade across seas, or the demeaning treatment of women in Pakistan, was that the issues were heavily debated if not leaning towards the more moral side (which we’ve already discussed, so pretend as if “moral” means modern or polite). Some of the perpetrators on the less “moral” side that would inevitably fall knew the practice was in some ways shameful, however they could not bring themselves to cease their ways until their honor was brought into question.
This idea, in tandem with the specific practice of slavery in England through theearly 19th century, culminated into this piece shown before you that represents ashackled slave picking honor off of a tree, as part of their work as a slave. However,rushing towards him/her is some sort of working class bystander to slavery, a poorlaborer who is for, or at the very least, neutral towards slavery. They try to stop the slavefrom picking honor off of the tree after being convinced that, by treating slaves withsuch poor, indignant standards of humanity, we are merely saying that the people whodo this sort of work, just general laboring or farm working, are worth nothing more thana $0 wage, a lashing every so often, and above all, an absence of freedom. By bringingthese working class laborers’ honor into question, the movement to abolish slaverygained the ground it needed, and furthermore supports the work of Kwame Appiah.
Written Justification: I decided to sketch this picture to represent Honor in the novel The Honor Code:How Moral Revolutions Happen. Specifically, I wanted to capture the chapter in relation to dueling among British gentlemen. A quote that stuck out to me in this chapter was on page 48 when Kwame Anthony Appiah said “A duel was an affair of honor. It depended on the existence of a powerful class whose members could establish their status by getting away with a practice contrary to law that others could not.” I found it interesting that dueling began as away to defend one’s honor as someone who was rich and powerful in the upper class. However, later on we find out that this practice that went on for so long died because of honor.
As dueling became a practice of more middle to lower class citizens in Britain, it lost its value. A gentleman became not someone who defended their honor, but someone who never inflicted pain. This inspired me to sketch this picture. I decided to recreate a basic finish to a duel,however, I labeled the dead body as ‘dueling’ and the sword that killed this man as ‘honor.’ Quite clearly, I wanted to show how the value that started this practice is what ended up killing it in the end.
Through my art, I wanted to display the weight and social pressure of honor
and its counterparts has on individuals and societies. I accomplished this by symbolically placing rocks on the shoulders of people as they walk on a winding and changing path. On page 16, Appiah talks about honor is an entitlement to respect and shames comes when you lose that title. That passage shows a burden to one’s self and to society to keep that honor always and thus the depiction of carrying the “burden” through time. On page 63, Appiah talks about social identity as it relates to conformity and the strive to go beyond the call of duty. This passage inspired the people walking one in front of the other on the winding path, it symbolizes tough measures one needs to take to keep honor and leading one on the track to keep their social identity pure. Finally, on page 129, Appiah talks about how dignity now is different of dignity in the past and the close connection dignity and honor have. This idea is represented in the winding path, I wanted to depict the many curves as the change of honor over time and the continuous need for those to conform to their honor codes. Overall, honor carries a great burden on every individual and society and honor is a key element to human dignity and respect which Appiah so wonderfully shows is valued in almost every culture and society.
Justification of artwork: The picture above shows a $144,395 BMV i8 driving long one of the streets in Lahore, Pakistan.This picture perfectly captures on of the first points brought up by Eric Packer in the Cosmopolis. Pg. 10 talks about the scene when he is walking across First Avenue towards his white limousine. “He liked the fact that the cars were indistinguishable from each other. He wanted such a car because he thought it was a platonic replica, weightless for all its size, less than an object than an idea. But he knew that wasn’t true. This was something he said for affect but he didn’t believe it for an instant…. He wanted the car because it was not only over-sized but aggressively and contemptuously so, metastasizing so, a tremendous mutant thing that stood astride every argument against it.” Whether its driving a limo in New York City or a BMW in Lahore, the point is that both tend to stand out. Eric Packer relished the limelight and in his ‘tremendous mutant’ (the limo) everything else was like the outdated Rickshaw in the background to him.
Justification: My artwork represents a concept that love is bound to labels which aids us in belonging to our societies. While some may find love to be natural and an unconscious pull towards another, there is a need to find the perfect match that adds great benefit to an individual’s life. Eric Packer displays this concept well in the way he chose Elise Shifrin as his wife in order to fit in with the societal norm of relationships for the wealthy. On page 72, Eric’s characterization of how their love came to be depicts the necessary requirements that were met in order for them to be a couple. Eric is rich, self-made, ruthless, strong and brilliant while Elise was rich, heir-apparent, brittle, gifted and beautiful. They very clearly complement one another, even though Elise’s beauty may have been fabricated in Eric’s mind to make the relationship work (121). In my work I depict a physical representation of how one would find their perfect match. It represents the concept that we look for the complements in our own personalities and appearances in others. The multiple cards beneath Elise, represents the notion that some individuals go through multiple relationships and possible suitors before they find “the one.” Love is not always something of a fairy-tale, but it is also a self-serving endeavor to belong in a society of perfection as well.