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A discussion on the meaning of life

2020-06-02 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Report范文


下面为大家整理一篇优秀的essay代写范文 -- A discussion on the meaning of life,文章讲述对于世界上大多数人来说,他们的生活似乎已经以某种方式被定型。在性别,种族和社会方面,在大多数情况下,他们可能会选择以社会限制其角色的方式来面对它。当被问到时,有些人会否认自己已经被定型,他们会认为自己对周围事物的反应方式是本能的,不受周围社会和人们的影响。但是,毋庸置疑,一个人一定会受到其他人的行为方式以及以这种方式或那样的大社会环境的影响。

A discussion on the meaning of life

For most people in the world, their life seems to have been stereotyped in some way. When it comes to gender, race and society, in most of the time they may choose to face it in the way the society limit their role to be. When being asked, some people would deny that they have been stereotyped and they would think the way they react to things around is out of their instinct and is not affected by the society and people around. However, it goes without saying that one would be sure to be affected by the way other people act and by the big social context in this way or that.

Physically and psychologically, people are depending on others for cooperation and survival, for the shaping of their goals and view of the world. This is the major reason why Beatrice feels nervous when he conjectures after the test that he might be factionless. “What if they tell me that I’m not cut out for any faction? I would have to live on the streets, with the factionless. I can’t do that. To live factionless is not just to live in poverty and discomfort; it is to live divorced from society, separated from the most important thing in life: community. My mother told me once that we can’t survive alone, but even if we could, we wouldn’t want to. Without a faction, we have no purpose and no reason to live.” (Divergent, 23). Obviously, this quotation can be divided into two parts. Firstly, we are interrelated to each other, since only by collaboration with others, can we produce wealth, shelters foods, and transportation. Without factions or groups in which we live, we would be subject to poverty and loneliness. Secondly, even assuming people can survive without the existence of others, they don’t think living alone is desirable, since it is the community which defines individuals’ goals, purposes, and meaning of their life. While people are collaborating for the common good and reconciling their conflicts of interests, their value judgments and behavior would tend to be similar and even coincide without their knowledge. That’s to say, while interacting with each other, their view of the world and value of life can be influenced a lot without being noticed. However, from my point of view, to have a better understanding on humanity, it is far from enough for a person to merely study the stereotyped life of the ordinary, it is necessary for people to see through the life on the basis of casting away something like gender and something that is common to most of the people.

Actually, from the moment one comes to this world, he is naturally simple and is just like a white paper without any mark on it. Sometimes, people may say that human beings are naturally different from the very start because of their genes. However, from my perspective, it is the surrounding and “Others” that makes people different from each other gradually. That’s because, “we are, from the start, given over to the other, one in which we are, from the start, even prior to individuation itself, and by virtue of our embodiment, given over to another” (Butler Judith, 23). Therefore, the very existence of other has impacts on us positively or passively, consciously or unconsciously.

For instance, since our infancy, we were enlightened by our parents. They told us how to use tableware and how to deal with peers and adults, which lay foundations for our physical, psychological, and cognitive growth. I still remember that I had no idea of how to deal with others properly completely until the age of 12. Adult’s world seemed to be very confusing for me and I did not know how to get along well with other people. Therefore, I always offended others in this way or that. When my parents noticed this shortcoming of mine, they taught me a lot about how to get along with people around me. For example, my parents told me that different people shall be treated in different way. When I was with those people older than me, I was required by my parents to show respect because that is the rule in Chinese traditional culture--younger people have to show the respect to others even those who are just one day older than yourselves. I followed instructions of my parents and the way others did in dealing with others. Then, till now I think I have already learned how to get along with each other properly and I have a lot of friends now. For Beatrice, in the Divergent, before the test, she is trained by her mother to comply with rules of the Abnegation faction. For instance, while her mother is making up her hair and she sneaks a look at her reflection in the mirror, her mother stops her from looking.

In addition, our gender identification is also resulted from the influence from others, social norms, and the community to which we belong. At the very beginning of one’s life, without being affected by fellows and relatives, he or she may have no idea what the gender is about. Therefore, he or she would be a innocent person and does everything following the heart. He or she would not do things that would emphasize the gender issue. For instance, in Divergent, as a member of the Abnegation and a female, Beatrice’s mother has to hide her beauty and, is responsible to has her daughter’s hair trimmed. In addition, according to their faction’s convention, Beatrice’s hair should be made up in a particular way, “When she finishes, she pulls my hair away from my face and twists it into a knot” (Divergent, 11). Obviously, it is the combination of the conventions and those who imposes those conventions on the youth, Beatrice’s mother, for instance, which shapes Beatrice’s gender identity. According to the conventions of the Abnegation faction, women are required to lose themselves, so hiding their beauty is one of ways to comply with such a convention. Also, it is the faction’s norms which drive her to make her daughter’s hair up in such a way, which would mode Beatrice’s gender identification. For another example, a lady would do things as corresponding conventions requires her to do when she is thinking how to relax herself. Like, making up herself on the morning and would like to go shopping as a way to relax herself. Then some people may argue that it is the inborn instinct of woman to like making up or going shopping. However, the way she makes her gender different from the members of opposite sex is because that she has been copying others in making the gender to be more outstanding.

 Thus, it is the combination of culture and social conventions given as external constraints or norms, associations and groups appearing in advance, and those who execute those culture and norms which forces us to emulate others. Nonetheless, those external standards would not function well without the one internal element. According to Hegel and Butler, human beings desire to be recognized by their fellows, it is this desire which drives us to comply with the conventions and norms and to emulate others, which would in turn shape our personhood and identity. “Our very sense of personhood is linked to the desire for recognition, and that desire places us outside ourselves, in a realm of social norms that we do not fully choose, but that provides the horizon and the resource for any sense of choice that we have. (Butler Judith, 33)

Still, taking me for example, when I was still a small kid, I knew nothing about the differences of gender. However, I shall learn from my peer male friends on how to choose my clothes and how to play everyday. Then I grow up as a man rather than the opposite gender not only because that I am physiologically different from the female but also because I have been consolidating my male role by emulating other males. Without subjective emulation or comparison, no one would be able to know the differences between the two genders and no one would be thus able to know how to act proper according to prove that there is supposed to be a difference between the two genders.

It has been maintained by people that physiological difference is the major factor which distinguishes people from each other. However, when compared with social norms and the indoctrination from adults, the role of physiological difference played in modelling the youth’s gender is limited. Just being mentioned above, the way people do things is largely affected by social ties we link to and events we went through, which means that people’s gender would not be changed substantially because of physiological factors, either. In the Butler’s words, “It may seem that one is undergoing something temporary, but it could be that in this experience something about who we are is revealed, something that delineates the ties we have to others, that shows us that those ties constitute a sense of self, compose who we are” (Butler Judith,18 ) That is to say, all the features unique to female or male are the result of culture, conventions, norms, and people’s emulation rather than the inborn factors, such as instinct or intuition.

Still, my personal experience also tells me that the way I live now is mostly affected by others. Sometimes, I may regard the female to be weak and I may think it is nature for a man to help a woman in need. However, I do not believe that the reason for me to think it in this way is out of my instinct, it is more about the way I try to follow social conventions and norms delivered by other males. Usually, when I see a man would provide his help to a woman, I would think it is natural for a man to do so and I would also help a woman when I see a woman is in unassisted situation. This is supposed to be the way I follow others to make my gender different from the female.

From my point of view, a human can only be for real when things he did can be felt by others so that his existence can be proved to be for real. And the very factor for a human to be a human lies in the very word “personal influence”. No man living in this world can get immune from being affected by others or affecting others. Whatever a human may do, his behavior can be sensed and noticed by others. Take the slightest thing for example, when someone walks on the road, his existence can be felt by others. This is one of the simplest examples proving a human to be a human for real. For another example, in Divergent, when Beatrice is taking the test, the female tester from the Dauntless faction makes her nervous, because the tattoo on her neck is scaring. “It is only when she turns to close the door that I see a tattoo on the back of her neck, a black-and-white hawk with a red eye. If I didn’t feel like my heart had migrated to my throat, I would ask her what it signifies.” (Divergent, 18) Obviously, every demeanor, facial expression, clothing, and voice from others would have impact on another one.

Some people may argue that for those people who choose to stay in solitude if they can be defined as a human since his life rarely be sensed by others. On this point I would say that if only things he does cannot be sensed by other he would not then be regarded as a human. “One does not always stay intact”, “We’re undone by each other” (Butler Judith, 19) Thus, it is impossible for a human living on this earth without exerting any personal influence on others. So, it is reasonable to argue that how could those people living in a really remote area to be recognized as an existence? How could their personal influence be exerted? Just as what has been mentioned in the beginning of the essay, for any human being, to sustain his life, he has to eat and drink, to find shelters, and to cooperate with others. That’s why Aristotle said that “a human being is by nature political animal”, and that “Anyone who cannot form a community with others, or who does not need to because he is self-sufficient, is no part of a city-state” (Aristotle, 4, 5) While people are interacting and living together, it  goes without saying that they would be notices by others and shaping others’ life.

Basing on the understanding of what shapes human being’s life, it is time to discuss a “livable world”. A livable world is first of all must be meaningful. Despite the fact that different people may give different definitions in this regard, no one would feel like to lead a life without any purpose. When it comes to a meaningful life, it does not mean that someone has to make an amazing achievement in certain field so as to prove his life is meaningful. Some really small goals in life or in work can help to make one’s life meaningful. The world may be all the same to most of the people, it is different goals of different people that make this world livable.

In addition, a livable world shall be fair in most of the time. It is undeniable that life is naturally not fair enough for all the people since some people are born to be smarter and wealthier than the others. However, in a world that is fair in most of the time, there are still chances for people to make a change to their fate so as to narrow their gap between those who are born to be lucky. Still, all the people are born to have study hard or work hard for the realization of different goals. When their efforts prove to be of completely useless since the world is basically unfair, I believe most people would just give up in pursuing their goals and such as world is not livable.

Furthermore, for some people, they may think that if only their life is satisfying, the world is livable. However, since no one can stay alone in this world without being affected by others, the way they evaluate their life is on the basis of comparison, since without comparison they may have no idea that if their life is satisfying or not.

A livable world shall also be filled with different kinds of emotions. Human beings are emotional animals. When they are faced with something nice they may feel happy and when they are faced with something bad they may express their anger or depression. The transformation of different emotions can provide with people different experience of life. Therefore, in a world where different people can express and experience different emotions is colorful and livable.

From my point of view, a livable world is supposed to be filled with different emotions, which is one of the aspects proving the existence of a life and is also a proof that one’s emotion is mostly subject to others. For instance, in Divergent, just as what has been quoted above, when Beatrice spots the tattoo on the tester’s neck he is scared and nervous, keeping silent. During the test, his emotions can be induced by the appearance of the barking dog, which force him to struggle to run away or the fight against it. Thus, no emotion can be privatizing. Living in this world, on none can stay immune from being affected by others. When being affected, people would thus react to the impact by others in different ways. Therefore, any kind of emotion cannot be privatizing in most of the time.

Therefore, it is impossible for a person to stay away from generating personal influence or being influenced by others, then a livable world from my position is the kind of world where people can enjoy a smooth personal relationship. In a livable world, a person could both be positively influenced by others while could also generate positive influence on others. From some people’s point of view, a livable world is to lead a better life than most of people around. This kind of mentality is supposed to be one of the one of the most convincing examples on the “personal influence” can help to define a human to be a human.

No one could deny there is supposed to be the inevitable personal influence among people. However, when it comes to a livable world, it is sure that different people shall have different opinion on a livable world. For me, according to my own experience, the problem about the very factor making my life or my world livable is the family. Maybe some people think my answer about this question is puzzling. Here I would like to make some explanation on this point. I was brought up in a traditional family where highly emphasizes the notion of family. Whenever something good tales place, all the family members of mine would choose to have a family reunion to celebrate the good thing together. Whenever, something bad happens, our family members would stay together to try to find a way to put an end to the bad thing. Whenever someone of my family is in trouble, all the other family member would not feel reluctant to render help. Despite the fact that there are a lot of people in my family, we can unite together as one person and the power of family, the power of the beloved ones can be infinite. I always feel grateful for my family since they have been affecting me from tip to toe. When I am with other people, the way I deal with them is the manifestation of my family’s influence on me. My family shaped me and my family helped me a lot. Therefore, I think my family makes my world livable.

However, this is not to claim that I would impose my definition of “a livable world” on others. When the diversity of the definitions of “livable world”, we would find that people have different and even conflicting definitions. For instance, gays and lesbians claim that homosexual marriage is livable, while most of the people claims that only heterosexual marriage is acceptable. Thus, when it comes to a livable world, no one is thus in a position to tell me if my answer is right or wrong. Just like Butler pointed out in his article, “What is most important is to cease legislating for all lives what is livable only for some, and similarly, to refrain from proscribing for all lives what is unlivable for some” (Butler, 8). It does not depend on any individual to make decision for others on what makes for a significant life. Accordingly, when I feel puzzling about others’ definition on what is a livable world, I may also choose not to give any comment since I am not in a position to tell others the kind of life they shall live.

I address this idea in an effort to show that no one can make decision for others on their choice of life such as on what they should do or what they should not do since different people have different opinion. There is no uniform answer to this question by different people. As a result, it is better to allow people to pursue their ambitions deliver by themselves. According to John Rawls, everyone has a capacity to set their goals, “This capacity is earlier defined as a capacity to form, to revise and rationally to pursue a determinate conception of the good.” (John Rawls, 312) Thus, it is entirely possible that people have conflicting view of the good and the view of a livable world, and it is also possible that people might revise their conception of the good and the livable world through their lives. As a result, the most livable world is to respect everyone’s capacity of forming and revising their goals. “In order to guarantee the possibility of this conception of the good, the parties, as our representatives, adopt principles which protect liberty of conscience.” (John Rawls, 314) By liberty of conscience, Rawls means that people should have their liberty to pursue their moral ideals, faith and ambitions, and it is people’s persistence to take advantage of this liberty which make people live a desirable life. Here, it is important to notice that livable life and livable world are interrelated, and sometimes I almost think that they overlaps with each other too much. Anyway, I want to use my friend’s case to argue for a liberal and livable world. In my hometown, I have a very good friend, he majored in science when he was still a university student and he performed very well academically. Some teachers and classmates all suggested that he should pursue a job related to his major, however, to others’ great surprise; he chose to be a salesman in a small company. Some people then told him it was a wrong decision for his whereas he paid no attention to the suggestions of others. He insisted that it is the best job for him to serve as a salesman. I still remember his parents wanted to help him with a big sum of money so that he can start a business of his own. He refused the help from his parents. As a good friend of him, I knew him very well and I did nothing to persuade him into changing a job and I believed that he would be a good salesman. Then finally, he proves that his choice was right since he has been doing very well in his position. Therefore, from his experience, I realized that no one has the stance to make decision for others since every individual shall follow his heart to do the things he like the best. I think Butler would agree with John Rawls that

For another example, in the book Divergent, before choosing their factions, Beatrice and Calebs signify different inclinations to different definition of livable world. For Calebs, a livable life seems to him to be selfless. “He knows where he belongs, and as far as I know, he always has. My earliest memory of him is from when we were four years old. He scolded me for not giving my jump rope to a little girl on the playground who didn’t have anything to play with.” (Divergent, 17) Obviously, it is Calebs’ Altruism which drives him to scold Beatrice. In the subsequent plot it is plausible that he would join Beatrice’s mother’s faction—the Abnegation. However, Beatrice shows no “instinct” to be selfless, and sometimes betray the value of Abnegation by curiosity and, subsequently, the test shows that Beatrice has features of Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite! Divergent he is! The problem is that while Calebs knows that Beatrice shows no interests in helping others, Calebs Scolds Beatrice and supposes that the latter should be selfless. As far as I am concerned, I agree with Butler that, we should be tolerant and no violence should be used to impose their definition of livable world on others. To this extent, no one should have influences on others intentionally with violence.

Living in this world with so many people, it is inevitable for a person to cooperate with others and to be influenced by others, and one may be very likely to make the wrong decision in his life. Just like being mentioned above, one may seek to follow others to identify his gender whereas, when it comes to the life-changing decision, no individual shall be affected into making a decision that does not fit his personal development. He has to follow his heart and then he can do things well. Therefore, everyone should make the decision on the kind of life he shall lead instead of listening to others’ suggestion. 

Therefore, it is important for any human in the world to first recognize the fact that on one can stay immune from generating personal influence or being influenced by others since the world on interlinked and the human relationship is supposed to be the very proof for the human existence. Since it is inevitable for the “personal influence” to be eliminated, thus in my opinion, those people who can enjoy a sound personal influence from others or by themselves and can feel free to express their different emotions are supposed to be those people living in a livable world. The standard of judging if a person is living in a livable world is the “personal influence”. To live in a world I would consider to be livable, I would then try my best to make my personal relationship with others to be as smooth and sound as I can.

Then in conclusion, on one hand, without being affected by others, humanity can be for real, and issues related to gender are the very example on how people can be affected by others since no one would be able to know how to act according to his or her gender properly without following the way others do. On the other hand, since no one can stay immune from being affected by others, a livable world is thus the kind of world where people can feel free to express different kinds of feelings and can enjoy the best personal relationship featuring positive personal influence.

References:

Butler, Judith. “Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy.” Undoing Gender, New York: Routledge, 2004. 17-39. Print.

Veronica Roth, Divergent, New York: Katherine Tegen Books. 2011. Print.

John Rawls, Political Liberalism, New York: Columbia University Press 1993, 312, 314

Aristotle, Politics. Hackett Publishing Company, 1998, 4, 5.

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