Category: Literature

History of Tea and Modern Afghan Tea Culture

When the term tea culture comes up, people usually think of places like Japan, China, or England, though perhaps Afghanistan deserves to be in this lineup too. While not as well known as those already mentioned, Afghanistan’s tea culture is a venerable one that dates back centuries. As with many ancient cultural artifacts, tea came to Afghanistan by way of the Silk Road, likely via merchants going to or from China. This tradition continues to this day, as while the country does grow some of its own tea, the majority of Afghanistan’s tea consumption relies on imports from China and Pakistan.

Literary Analysis: An Examination of Free Will Through Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange

Fundamental conversations, on freedom and self-determination, greatly influenced Anthony Burgess’ choice of immoral characterization and dramatic plot development in his 1962 dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, dealing with what it means to be able to make choices in a restrictive society and dabbling in themes of freedom and bondage. 

Modern-day democracies across the globe continue to thrive as world powers as a result of the choices made by its citizens. However, when governments suppress the voice of the people, as seen in A Clockwork Orange’s totalitarian government, growth is stunted and the government remains static. Similarly, philosophers have debated whether individuals have free will and the extent to which this self-sufficiency extends. Alvin Plantinga,  an analytic professor at the University of Notre Dame describes the ability to choose as, “Now, God can create free creatures, but he can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if he does so, then they aren’t significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely.” (Plantinga).  Plantinga’s attention towards the ability to make choices rather than rely on foreordained outcomes reveals the very hypocrisy Burgess aims to reveal through his novel, a hypocrisy centered on the notion that good can’t live without the choice to do otherwise. Alex, who is the antihero of the novel, questions the government which strives to dictate him, wondering, “ What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?” (Burgess). Alex’s internal line of questioning and later entrapment by the restrictive government reveals the evident truth of decision making. Without choice, then there is no moral guideline to follow and, essentially, no discernment from right and wrong. To state that the ability to make a choice through self-autonomy is an act of hypocrisy in and of itself as the individual making such a  claim would be referring to their own volition. For example, Jans Jonas, a German philosopher reveals an anecdote about a group of physiologists such as Ernst Brucke and Emil du Bois-Reymond who promised early in their careers, “Brucke and I pledged a solemn oath to put into effect this truth: ‘that no other forces are at work in the organism except chemical-physical ones’” (Jones). Contrary to their statement, their eventual rise to fame is an indicator of the impact personal actions have on an individual. As Seifert, an Austrian philosopher explains,

The Magic of Music: History, Cognitive Boost, and Music in Medicine

There is some universal beauty in the harmonies and melodies that dance their way to an ear in weaving sound waves. Music has been an integral part of everyday life since the glorious sounds of 500 BCE Ancient Greece and Rome. In the last few decades, the industry has grown to encompass over a thousand different genres and continues to expand and evolve alongside the world. Many recognize music as a reflection of their mood: upbeat to go along with a night out with friends, mellow to accompany the endless waterworks, or maybe rock and roll to fit a certain rebellious phase of life. However, behind the curtain, music can work all forms of magic on the mind. In fact, listening to music can increase cognitive performance, stimulate pain reduction, and promote stress relief.

Mass Media vs Local Journalism: A Pillar of American Democracy

In recent years, the labels of “fake news” and “the enemy of the people” have been prevalent when talking about the media, especially from the White House. The hostile rhetoric from Washington has had a considerable impact on the public: Americans’ trust in mass media is at 41%, a significant 4% drop from the previous year. Additionally, partisanship has dramatically increased as many Americans opt to solely consume news media that perpetuate their beliefs, leading news companies to produce blatantly partisan content, and thus, further promoting partisanship among their readers. This cycle creates an echo chamber that results in a sharply divided and often misinformed population.

Psychology 101: The Stanford Prison Experiment

What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist and a professor at Stanford University posed the same exact question in 1971, thereby leading to what is known as The Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). The experiment was originally created to uncover the truth about human nature, a more in-depth look on what our true ambitions were, what really drove us. Zimbardo began by choosing 24 volunteers, making 12 of them “guards” and the other 12 “prisoners”.  They were taken to a prison simulation, a fabricated illusion to make the volunteers feel as if they were actually in prison. He began by  giving the guards ultimate power and left the prisoners vulnerable. This evidently led to a distinction of power between the two groups. 45 years later, people still ponder the  question that drove the experiment to its end. Was this study ethically right?  The Stanford Prison Experiment was not ethically right, it stripped volunteers of emotion temporarily, forcing them to turn against each other and was physically harmful to the majority of the participants. 

Top 15 Activities to do During Quarantine

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to quarantine themselves in their homes. Although countries are starting to open and people are exiting quarantine, social distancing is still common  and previously planned summer activities such as trips, internships and summer jobs have been postponed or cancelled. With summer having arrived, students will no longer be distracted by their classes. This raises the question, what can we do over a quarantined summer?

John Muir’s My First Summer In the Sierra Book Analysis and Review

Throughout John Muir’s book, “My First Summer In the Sierra ”, he describes, as the title suggests, the time he spent in the High Sierra in the years prior to his strong conservation efforts. During this time he worked as a supervisor for a sheep dive. This book serves as Muir’s personal journal, detailing everything he saw and did during his time. Recording descriptions of flora and fauna as well as collection data in order to display the importance and beauty of the world around us.

The Egungun Festival

Egungun is a form of ancestor worship where costumed dancers channel their deceased relatives as they parade through the streets. Family-oriented versions of this practice exist too, though the best known style of Egungun has to be the communal festival. The aims of both versions include remembrance, celebration, the earning of blessings, and lineal continuity through tradition.

Alberto Santos-Dumont vs The Wright Brothers: Giants of Aviation

Back in 2016, Rio de Janeiro hosted the Summer Olympics. The opening ceremony featured bossa nova, capoeira, and laser-lit choreography depicting key points in Brazil’s history. Among these theatric renditions was a curious biplane aviator that the Olympic announcer noted Brazilians claim to have beaten the Wright Brothers in their claim to fame. Are there any merits to this assertion? Has history snubbed this Brazilian inventor?

Freddy Mamani’s New Andean Architecture

Most artistic movements are named after the fact, often by critics, to group together the works of artists that share certain characteristics or that are in reaction to specific events and thus coincide thematically. Counter to this academic pattern is la nueva arquitectura andina (or the New Andean Architecture). The term was coined by the style’s creator: Freddy Mamani Silvestre, who goes by Freddy Mamani professionally.

Education in the 1930s Depression Facts and John Dewey “Father of Modern Education”

ntroduction: The Depression was a terrible time for the American economy, and patriotic morale for democracy was low for the people. Thus, education received dwindling funds, and many schools were closed. Nevertheless, “every cloud has a silver lining” was true during the Depression because the lacking education resulted in the social opinions given by education advocate John Dewey, and uniquely enough, higher literacy rates among school children.    

Philosophy 101 – Cynicism Then and Now: Definition and Classical Cynicism vs Modern Cynicism

Nowadays, cynicism is associated with disengagement, apathy, and defeatism. The modern day cynic is seen as the optimist’s opposite. Optimists are generally seen as engaged, happy, and positive people. In many ways, these qualities also describe the Classical Cynic. How is it then that we get from Cynicism to cynicism? As with most explanations, it helps to start from the beginning.

2021 AP English Exam – Literature 101: Literary and Poetry Terms Vocabulary Study Guide – 125 Most Common Literary Terms and Definitions

In this guide, we share 125 most common literary and poetry terms along with their definitions based on the greatest works of Literature and Poems in preparation for the AP English Exam. From dynamic characters and tragedy to comedy and alliteration, we explore the wide range of terminology and their definitions studied in high schools, colleges, and universities.

From Warrior Footwear to High Fashion: The Origin of Heels

The earliest recorded instance of heeled shoes comes from tenth century Persia. Mounted soldiers wore shoes with heels to make it easier to keep their feet in their stirrups, as the heels would catch the back of the stirrup’s tread and stop their feet from sliding in and out. This same use can be seen to this day with cowboys and other jobs that involve riding horses. During this period heels went from being a masculine sign of strength and wealth to a non-gendered court fashion to a feminine fashion statement.

The Top Ten Best Apps for Learning a Language

The Top Ten Best Apps for Learning a Language: What better way to spend some free time during quarantine than by learning a language? Learning a language is scientifically proven to lower your chances of dementia and Alzheimers, increase your intelligence, and improve your concentration. It also opens up your range of outreach and communication to a much wider, more global scale, making the skill very appealing to employers and job-seekers alike. In this article, we will list the top ten best smartphone applications to utilize in your language learning endeavors, as well as list the languages that they offer.

Loanwords and the Evolution of English

For all its complexities, and thanks in part to them, English is a highly versatile language. Several other languages have government affiliated academies that dictate their proper usage, voting on things like the addition of new words. No such body exists for English, making its development less top-down and more of a dialogue between those at the top and the general masses. One area where this can easily be seen is with loanwords.

History 101: Debunking the Middle Ages

One way of looking at history is in terms of progress. Many historians and fans of the subject laud Rome for its advances in military organization, infrastructure, and civics. Similar adulation is often heaped upon the Renaissance for the strides made in philosophy, arts, and sciences during that period, which in turn set the stage for the Age of Enlightenment. But what of the time between shining antiquity and the rekindling that was the Renaissance? lternately called the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, and the Medieval Ages, the time period from roughly the 5th century to the 15th century is usually framed in the West as its own era of history.