Monday, November 12, 2012

Diary of Jean le Rond d'Alembert

February 15th 1781,
                Jacques Necker, the finance minister to the king, published the Compte rendu au roi, an official document presenting the state of France’s finances.  The legitimacy of its proclamation regarding the debt situation is questionable.  It is impossible to conceive that France, a country involved in many wars and heavy fiscal expenditures, is not spending its profits more than its decreasingly productive slaves can create.  The mathematics behind it is astounding, and I should know regardless of the news of my early retirement.  Necker still remains popular, and I guess that is the entire purpose of its production, confidence in the ever weakening government.  This action continues to keep me increasingly skeptical regarding the outcome of rational political maneuvering and the government’s policies.  The justifications for rational political calculations seem to be absent political accountability when irrationally assuming the reliability of a single political body.  However, this problem is not unsolvable; it can be best combated by abolishing the system of unchecked monarchy and embracing a period of separation of powers under a system requiring the delegation of regional and jurisdictional control.  Until such a political system is created, however, we will see the abolishing of respect for church practices, varying interest in the welfare of the people, and death to the very mechanical and law practices I hold dear.  Principles whose expansion and discovery will allow me to be elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year.  Mathematics have propelled me through many other prestigious academies, none of which match the prestige and honor associated with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  My introduction in the Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot should undoubtedly increase my chances, along with Traité de dynamique, my finest decipher of the laws of motion and the complexity of fluid dynamics.  Involvement with Diderot, however, created a confrontation with me and members of the Geneva clergy, who seem to move instinctively towards a more radical position of socinianism.  The Pastors of Geneva answered my claims with a committee; this will lead to much pressure and a review of my findings of which I excused any negative connotation.  However, my Preliminary Discourse did prove inspirational and helpful to Revolutionary Theorists that have read my work and realized its expanding criticism of unchecked, rationalist, policies.  In France Oppression does exist, murder does exist, it is human nature to desire what another has exclusive possession over, and to violate another’s inalienable right to such a possession.  I have expressed the spirit of an intellectual and emotional revolution in France.  I gave power back to the disenfranchised people, who have had their rights, life, and soul stripped from them and devoured.  Its entrance into the encyclopedia aided its popularity as well as its promotion of the impact of the arts and sciences on the healing process.  My writing is the basis, the unique basis for a declaration of principles representing the views of men of letters who knew that their efforts would contribute to the progress of humanity.  Men of principle, men such as Francis Bacon, who once dreamed of the co-existence of scholars driven by common educational value, but could not hope for this revolution to materialize.  Even men I have learned to despise, men such as Descartes, who seeks truth through isolated intelligence in a time of cognitivist thinking embodied in his book Discourse on Method.   Hopefully I am able to influence the divergence in the common erudite and professional activities of closeted savants of today’s scholarly societies.  This is my purpose, this is my goal, this is my reality, the very purpose I joined these freelancing societies and loosely banded organizations.  Encyclopedia will spawn an awareness, an awareness that will realize the power of human intelligence and its impact on the decisions of unaccountable monarchs.  Men of letters, men of principle, men of the revolution are the prime movers of the indefinite progress achievable by this world.  Our social function will bring people from isolation, such as Descartes, and bring them into the affairs of the world, affairs that need solving using the complex intellectual ability of science and analytical mathematics.  Our ever increasing power now demands reform, it demands our recognition in the face of the King with justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as witness, it demands our freedom.  We will push this world into the greatest technological advancement it has ever seen, we are the intellectual backing of society, and we control the outcome, the power.  What do you control?

Works cited
Adcock, M. (2004). Analysing the French Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A. American Academy of Arts and Science

d'Alembert, Jean Le Rond. Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclodpedia of Diderot. Trans. Richard             N. Schwab. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Hankins, T.L. (1990). Jean d'Alembert: Science and the Enlightenment. p. 26

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Analysis of Cats in the Cradle

Harry Chapin provides an adequate representation in his 1974 one hit wonder Cat’s in the Cradle of psychological modeling through the diffusion of values which entrench a large degree of capitalism, particularly its prioritization of income gains over social gains.  The song was inspired by a poem written by his wife Sandy and Harry’s relationship with his son.  Furthermore, the poem was inspired by Sandy’s first husband, James Cashmore, who had an awkward relationship with his father, a New York City politician.  The lyrics of the song are told in first person by a father who is too busy to spend time with his son.  Foreshadowing is used to indicate that the son will grow up to model the behavior of the father with phrases such as “I'm gonna be like you dad you know I'm gonna be like you”.  Since the father is preoccupied with his job, by prioritizing work over parenting, the lyrics indicate that the son will have similar characteristics and wants to model the behavior of his father. 
            The deprivation of developmental parenting has little impact on the successive abilities of the child, as most abilities are genetically passed and are incapable of being diffused from parenting action.  Chapin indicates this by expressing joy towards his son after he graduates college and becomes employed.  However, the behavior and successive motivations of the child have been significantly altered due to modeling and diffusion at a young age.  Chapin represents this through the desires of the child to model the behavior of the father in phrases such as “He learned to walk while I was away and he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew he'd say "I'm gonna be like you dad you know I'm gonna be like you".  The absence of the son’s father gave the son sufficient motivation to work hard, which can only be explained as a desirable state held by the father that was diffused to the son.  The father consents to such an evaluation by stating that “My child arrived just the other day, he came to the world in the usual way, but there were planes to catch and bills to pay”.  Chapin represents these values as the possession of inherent obligations to create economic gain to fulfill government mandated taxations.  The possession of these values is subsequently projected to his son at the end of the song when his son says “I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time.  You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu, but it's sure nice talking to you, Dad it's been sure nice talking to you" in response to his father telling him that he would like to see him. 
            The lyrics are representative of the dual nature of parental obligations and life in general.  The parent-child relationship is a compilation of mutually held obligations that oscillate through time.  Parents hold the primary chronological obligation to take care of and provide adequate living conditions for their child, which can be created through a combination of social, economic, and political pressures that generate income and definitive social experience.  The secondary chronological obligation however, is held by the child after the parent has passed beyond the period of reasonable accountability for themselves.  In other words, when parents cannot take care of themselves, their children have the primary obligation to take care of them. Chapin, however, cannot claim the fulfillment of such a reciprocal obligation because he did not support the initial obligation to provide social fulfillment for his child, which arises as a prerequisite to the existence of a reciprocal obligation.  Chapin expresses emotion in many musical variations throughout the song.  His choice of Blues as a basis for the song represents the sadness in the song through the “heavy” stress placed on lonely notes and sequences.
            Harry Chapin entrenches a large degree of capitalism, particularly its prioritization of income gains over social gains.  This is represented in his prioritization of “planes to catch and bills to pay” over spending time with his son. Economic problems and social problems are expressed as equally desirable; however Chapin prefers to support the resolution of economic problems because of their immediate proximity to all others.  Chapin constructs capitalist values as a prioritization not as a replacement to social interaction through his interpretation of social interaction with his son in phrases such as “My son turned ten just the other day.  He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play can you teach me to throw", I said "Not today I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok" and he walked away but his smile never dimmed”.  This illustrates the difference in prioritization and replacement because the father gives a gift, a socially effective emotional expression, but does not play with his son, which means that any value would appear to have more significance over another as the adoption of both means inherently expresses the sufficient motivational pressure felt by both.  These values explain Chapin’s link to his disapproval of parental neglect, since they have a negative effect on the fulfillment and declarations to reciprocal obligations.  Chapin expresses this through the overall sadness of the song in musical expression and Blues.