A common theme between these two essays was the idea of existence in general and whether or not it is a “right” that should be guaranteed. Though one could make a reasonable argument for the positive side of this debate, there are some obvious holes. How can someone who doesn’t exist have rights? Is it then immoral to make a choice not to have children? If the answer to this question is yes, then we must look even deeper into the implications of the right to existence. Though it would mean that an immediate decision not to have children, what about all of the potential children that a woman could give birth to? If she has two children, is she infringing upon a possible third child’s “right to existence?” Furthermore, does our own opinion on whether or not life = suffering justify our reasons whether or not to reproduce? If one person believes that to bring a child into the world is to guarantee them suffering and another believes that the happiness of life outweighs the suffering, the “right to existence” becomes subjective. Therefore, it is impossible to make a statement on whether or not potential people are guaranteed the “right to existence.”
As one of the “captains” for this exercise, I was forced to examine how I measured the value of life, which is a difficult topic to tackle with my own thinking. As I think about the choices I made, the first thing that becomes apparent is that I value the potential of life, or the youngest. My immediate choices to put on the boat were the three children, one thirteen months old, one eight years old, and one fourteen years old. After picking these three, I chose a parent for each one. I think my reasoning behind this, if I stick to the potential value measurement, is that their “potential for life” might not be recognized to its fullest without a parent in their life. However, this reasoning was toppled after the secrets were revealed. Though all three children remained on board (even though one was a pyromaniac), two of them ended up parentless because one had a murderer for a mother and another had a terminally ill father. They were replaced with people I viewed as “worthy” to live, as I had begun to disregard age and look at character at this point. I don’t know why I stopped thinking about age or what my parameters for a “good” person are. Why did I hesitate to kick an ex-convict off of my ship, but didn’t even think before leaving a seventy-year old woman who had a month to live? What did I use to measure someone’s “goodness?” Though I can come up with various possibilities for my reasoning, I truly believe that part of the reason it is so difficult to say is that a lot of my reasoning was “gut feelings,” or emotional responses I had to individual people.
My sources all look into the life and training of aspiring ballerinas. The first source includes several people’s stories with ballet, including a girl who pursued ballet despite being repeatedly told that she was too short, as well as one that struggled with weight during her training. These accounts of stereotypes in ballet and the specific body type that is generally associated with it can help me to generate questions about whether my subject ever felt like her body type ever didn’t live up to “ballerina standards.” My next source is about eating disorders and their frequency in ballerinas. It builds on the information described in my first source and analyzes the body type considered ideal for ballerinas and the lengths that some girls will go to in order to maintain that weight. The next source is about a ballet institution in the UK that starts training girls for the Royal Ballet from the time they’re 11 years old. The intensity of their training leads many girls to drop out, and, though this is the extreme of ballet training, it still helps to foster questions about how intense Mrs. Chrest’s training was and at what age she started and how competitive the training was. The fourth source was about the average diet and exercise of a ballerina, which also can help me to come up with questions like what she usually ate during her training, if there were extreme exercise requirements, and other questions like that. My final source is an outline of common ballet injuries and how they occur. I imagine any severe injuries would cause a major setback due to the competitive aspect of the training described in my third source. From this, I’ll ask questions about any major injuries, whether short or long-term, that Mrs. Chrest might have suffered from her training. Though many of my sources share bits of information, I believe that they all contribute different aspects to my interview and base knowledge of the subject.
Blank, Christopher, et al. “Too Fat? Too Thin? Too Tall? Too Short?” Pointe Magazine, DanceMedia, pointemagazine.com/inside-pt/issuesaprilmay-2011too-fat-too-thin-too-tall-too-short/. Accessed 20 Oct. 2016.
“Eating Disorders among Ballet Dancers.” CoachUp, http://www.coachup.com/resources/dance/eating-disorders-among-ballet-dancer. Accessed 20 Oct. 2016.
Jennings, Luke. “Will They Make It to the Royal Ballet?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2012/mar/25/will-they-make-royal-ballet. Accessed 20 Oct. 2016.
Lindenmuth, Katy. “The Busy Lives of Ballerinas: 3 Pros Share Their Daily Eating and Exercise Routines.” Glamour Health, http://www.glamour.com/story/ballerina-diet-exercise-eating-plan. Accessed 20 Oct. 2016.
Milan KR. “Common Ballet Dance Injuries.” Injury in Ballet: A Review of Relevant Topics for the Physical Therapist. CBI Health Centre, http://www.myphysio.ca/physiotherapy-education/common-ballet-dance-injuries/.
For my Knowing Project, I settled on the topic of ballet training, and some of the unimaginable ends people go to in order to stay in shape, as well as some of the animosity that the competitive nature of the ballet industry creates amongst ballerinas. For my interview, I plan on either having Mrs. Chrest, the school dance teacher, reference me to someone who has gone through the training I want to write about, or interviewing Mrs. Chrest herself about her experience as a professional dancer and the training she went through to succeed. My questions will revolve around how she got into dance, what the training experience was like, and what she had to do once she had “made it” as a professional dancer. Obviously I could face the problem of my interviewee not having gone through a particularly difficult experience, but as I’ve never trained as a ballerina at all, any ballet training will be a foreign experience to me, and I’m curious about it nonetheless. I’m going to try my best to conduct my interview either this week or this weekend, so that I have ample time to review the content and edit the audio accordingly. I am very excited about the visual part of the project, so I also want to ensure that I have enough time to complete that portion to the best of my ability.
After scrolling through the Flipboard app for probably much longer than I should have, I found that the articles that caught my attention the most were ones that explored the background of artistic works. Among these were articles about the life of a ballerina, the work that went into putting together an upcoming movie, the culture behind a new style of dance, and several other things to that effect. I already knew that I was interested in the arts and activities surrounding them, but generally I have been drawn more towards actual performance than behind-the-scenes stuff. However, this doesn’t surprise me, as my most important value (according to a personality test we took for college counseling) is appreciation for beauty. When I see something that I consider beautiful, I fall in love with it and immediately become curious. After discovering these articles, one of my initial questions was why I hadn’t looked into some of these topics sooner, but, nonetheless, the prospect of researching them excites me.
These two pieces both had a central focus of religion, which is a topic I often find myself fascinated by. The idea that faith is a sound piece of evidence, which Gutting discusses, obviously cannot hold up in an academic argument, because the claim that there is a higher force controlling us has little to no evidence to back it up. However, it is a belief held by the majority of the world’s population, so it must be given some sort of weight in argument, right? By allowing faith(s) to hold weight in important discussions, are we, as humans, simply adopting the tendency of innate sociocentrism? On the other hand, if it is true that there is a God and they are conscious of all that we do, does that mean that disregarding faith in a discussion makes someone a bad member of their religion? For centuries we have been struggling to find the balance between faith and logic, a struggle that, it seems, will continue long into the future.
Critchley’s idea that the pursuit of knowledge is a moral issue brought up a point that I have never really heard discussed in depth. Normally, when we hear about morality versus science, science is cold and distant, yielding hard facts that don’t bend based on what we believe to be right or wrong. When we step back and look at science from a moral standpoint, however, it puts it in a whole new light. According to the author’s principle of tolerance, even science can never give us true facts, yet we still pursue knowledge through these means, because we, as humans, feel obligated to further our understanding of the world around us.
“The Riddle of the Human Species” relates back to this in many ways. If we look at the human anomaly of eusociality, by which Homo Sapiens was able to evolve at a shockingly fast pace, we can see a showcase of the two evolutionary theories presented later in the essay. One of these describes rising through the “ranks” of evolution through competition with other species, while the other describes cooperation in order to evolve. With only two such theories, how is it that eusociality occurs so rarely? Did the human race find some sort of perfect balance between these two methods? Perhaps the answer to this question is driven by the human pursuit of knowledge as a facet of morality.