Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Little Brother's Scholarship Essay

Here is an essay that Joey (my littlest...I mean, youngest-and-tallest sibling) and I wrote together for financial purpose - to get him where he wanted to go. But now he is where he wanted to go, so I reclaim my portion of the essay and get to put it up here for what's worth or not worth. He gave me raw materials. He gave me ideas on the verge of being mothership ideas, and I made them higher-ideas by conceiving them through my loins and constructing them with my words. It was a quick birth. He earned something from the baby that was born. See the baby below:

Over the last decade, I have witnessed the way in which technology has drastically taken on an elastic quality, at times expanding seemingly beyond itself and, then, retracting and maintaining its body of expandability. In its dynamic state, technology has blended every electronic system into one another. In the same way, it has blended virtually every individual body of knowledge and thought into a collective of knowledge and thought. The consequences of its dynamism are twofold: in one regard, its expansiveness is divisive and increases separatism and individualism in society; and in another regard, its inclusivity creates a communal environment, in terms of our virtual connections to each other and every thing.

Today, the device in your pocket can hold all of the intersecting bodies of knowledge and technological applications. An ipod can be a phone as well as a camera, a USB port, a DVD player, and or a GPS. These mutli-functional devices were not part of my early development; however, I know that I was affected by the latest technologies of my time. Whatever devices dominate the technological landscape of one's childhood have the great power to impact not only his social life but also his internal existence. Just as in the past, when we became physically dependent on the technological advances of the day (i.e. when we moved from a washtub to a laundry machine), we are now becoming psychologically dependent on information and social technologies.

Every year that passes, the chance for youth to develop interpersonal skills diminishes. Electronic devices are highly accessible now, and that makes it hard to differentiate individuals as well as difficult to see oneself as a physical entity in a world of physical beings. Psychologically, the consequences of social technologies are profound. We now have three dimensions: physical self (the self that goes out into the world, acting on his own behalf and interacting with others), psychological self (the self that we most identify with, the self that presents itself through our thoughts), and, now, virtual self (the virtual self that we create and present to others).

In a way, people on the Internet lose their tangible significance because they are a virtual commodity: in cyberspace, people, especially teens, seem to be carbon copies of one another-- labeling themselves by the groups they join and walls they write on. Teens who watch "The Jersey Shore," listens to techno / dub step, and join the wave of provocative texting and sexting are a dime a dozen. It become more and more difficult to develop a sense of autonomy and to separate oneself from others, both externally and internally. I do not believe technology has limited our intelligence, by any means; it has just, by virtue of the sameness and the environment of sharing, created a glass ceiling on the most relevant root of intelligence: the root of creativity. It has made it more difficult to develop a sense of autonomy through discovery, because what you discover becomes what everyone around you discovers.

Creativity is one thing that is powerful enough to differentiate individuals. Any one can use garage band to make an artificial tune, but creativity separates the open minds from the closed ones. Especially in today’s music scene, the bands that are rising to the surface are the ones that have something different and unique to offer. Creativity gives one an autonomous voice. In my own experience, I have had, at times, to separate myself from the social technologies in order to create autonomously.

Frank Zappa, a creative artist with an open mind, battled in front of congress to keep art from being tampered by censorship: he believed in the importance of creativity, and in its ability to promote human progress, so he fought to preserve the ability for artists to maintain their creative autonomy. Throughout history, the status of the world’s faults or weak points has been expressed deeply through art. Wars have been protested, rights have been demanded and propositions have been achieved as well as overturned. Today, it seems that our autonomy as creative artists, and as individuals, lies in our ability to separate ourselves from the one-dimensionality of creative expression that lurks in the dark side of easily accessible information and technology.

Autonomy, and true creative strength, lie in our efforts to express our own, new ideas in the midst and despite the element of standardization that abounds. Almost every thought in a conscience person is a variation of an already existing thought. Some people can see the world differently just by trying to refrain from adopting one or a group of popular beliefs. There is a new value in limiting the "creation" of oneself in cyberspace, and that is in maintaining a sense of oneself and, more importantly, a sense of one's adaptability.

If we label ourselves, on the Internet or otherwise, we are hindering our ability to change and evolve. The key of creativity is to be able to openly interpret any idea before deciding whether you agree or not. As ever-evolving artists and creators, we need to maintain the power to change. I believe that artists who hold the gift of creative autonomy will be the ones at the forefront when it comes to solving the world's most complex problems.

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