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An Individual Tool of Clarity

In the French Rococo period, Jean-Honoré Fragonard created one of the more wonderful pieces of art that captured a powerful and enduring representation of the general milieu present in 1767 in his painting, “The Swing”. Gertrude Stein’s since offered a powerful tool of critical analysis in her discussion of, “What Are Master-pieces and Why Are There So Few of Them”, that can greatly enhance a discussion of how this painting’s a masterwork. This essay will open with a brief discussion of various individual interpretations of this painting, that’re revealed to be reliant on the individual’s perspective and identity. For this, one must be able to recognize the entity masterfully crafted into the painting in order to identify anything so’s to clarify the art to themselves and others. It’ll then close in tying these interpretations to Stein’s paragraph on the notions of clarity and the lack of clarity in a masterpiece from her essay.

In the painting, front and center there sits The Swing, the paintings namesake. Intertwined in the painting are displays of an overgrown and untended Nature, appearing as vine-like. These all are adorned with Fragonard’s familiar, intricate and numerous brush strokes that incorporated an aura of a vibrant naivety in his use of lines and color scheme on display. The foliage-work’s so numerous and radiates a sense of overwhelming ignorance that says, “This is to be the Paradise that’s lost”. Depicted also are the architectural works of man falling into a sort of disrepair in the background. What appears to be a gardening tool underneath the swinging woman’s been discarded as carelessly as the woman swings extravagantly and opulently across the scene with the aid of her helper as she engages in a hedonistic display of tantalizing sexuality with the man lying down on the left side of the painting.

In knowing the history to follow, this work’s a statement on the carelessness of an era in which all forms of “progress” fell into disregard for the sake of catering to the whims and wants of The Aristocracy as the servant class grew increasingly discontent. This theme’s indicated by the shadowy man in the background, who could be a servant, of sorts, for lack of a more appropriate term. He serves as part of the depicted entity in this painting. Further personal critical analysis of this painting isn’t needed to convey the message that the depiction I see’s different from the one that the artist would’ve seen, and this again’s different from that which any other viewer might see. An analysis is outside the scope of this essay that’s focused on the tool Gertrude Stein introduces to discuss the nature of aspects inherent to masterpiece work.

The alternative (“official”) explanation by art historians of this work, is some story about it being commissioned by a suitor engaged in an affair with the woman as he’d depicted to hide in the bushes while she’s swung by her shadowy cuckold husband in the background. This is just a different interpretation of this narrative, even the original commissioning was said to have it be a religious bishop figure take his place whereas the shadowy man depicted might very well be presumed to be depending on one’s identity. In that light, note the position’s such that this man cannot ever push her, she’s too elevated. Thus he can only pull her, as one does to the reigns of a horse. The general notion that the suitor lying down was obscured by an overgrown bush that’s since fallen into a state of being untended still holds true; however, regardless of whether or not this shadowy man in the background is her husband, friend or servant makes the overall impression of the work not too different from the others in regards to the entity depicted in the painting, but still invokes clarity for a particular individual and not necessarily another.

That all of myself, the original artist and the original commissioner may all hold these different notions of the painting through the lens of our individual identities is exactly the nature of what Gertrude Stein meant when she’d expressed the level of clarity through identity and entity using one’s memories in relation to a work. The entity contained within The Swing is a powerful statement on nature, those who have things and those who lose things, and hedonism. This is the nature of the entity in this art, masterfully placed there by Fragonard. For the sake of creation of this work, he would’ve placed his memories aside and allowed the work to come to existence through his talent, as Stein so discussed.

Stein says, “The minute your memory functions while you are doing anything it may be very popular but actually it is dull”, in trying to explain what she meant by clarity. In this case, had Fragonard used the originally requested Bishop or something else that came from memory in place of the shadowy man, the work would’ve just been a fine piece according to Stein, but not a masterpiece (DeKoven 498). Stein implied this just after she’d said, “If you do not remember while you are writing, it may seem confused to others but actually it is clear and eventually that clarity will be clear, that is what a master-piece is, but if you remember while you are writing it will seem clear at the time to any one but the clarity will go out of it that is what a master-piece is not” (DeKoven 498). What she means here’s best explained by her notions of identity and entity, in that identity’s based on the individuals memory and that’s what she describes as an inhibition to making a masterpiece in “thinking” while doing. Accessing parts of one’s memory tied up in identity creates a barrier to making a masterpiece. Stein implies that entity is the essence that’s left, that we see in a painting such as “The Swing”.

Clarity’s obtained by accompanying the entity on display with the identity of the person that’s appreciating it. That this work’s open to such a style of interpretation yielding powerful implications is what makes it a masterpiece according to Stein, because Fragonard’s memory doesn’t bar anyone else’s identification of what’s going on in this painting. Had the painting been painted with the bishop depicted as was originally in the commission, it would’ve said something very different, and thus risked its status as being able to be a masterpiece. It then would’ve incorporated into it an inseparable bit of identity that may’ve inevitably corrupted the discrete unit of entity displayed in the painting according to the logic presented by Stein in her essay and thus rendered it no more than a possibly popular work but not a masterpiece.

In this case, the identity of the author’s one whom very much was patronized by the Aristocratic patrons that funded his pursuit of art, and it’s unlikely that he would’ve valued it in the same way myself or someone else would’ve. That it invites most anyone with an eye for it to discern a clarity in studying it by being so able to be interpreted speaks much to it being able to be considered a masterpiece according to Stein’s own words. Furthermore, it’s not likely that any other artist could’ve originated such a painting as this, and this fact is critical to this being the masterpiece that it is. The perceived individually obtained clarity is that all of these notions folks have aren’t clear in the painting alone and require much in the way of further discussion and discourse such as found in this essay. Essay-writing such as this is what Stein would refer to as something that may be very popular but actually it is dull in her mentioning secondary writing.

In conclusion, Jean-Honoré Fragonard created one of the more wonderful pieces of art that captured a powerful and enduring representation of the general milieu present in 1767 in his painting, “The Swing”. This essay’s covered various clarifications of the same work based on understandings of different memories involving an interpretation of, “The Swing”. These individual interpretations, while clear on discussion, aren’t fully encompassing the clearly depicted entity in the artwork. This is because the interpretations rest on identity that’s formative in grasping the entity therein depicted. Various interpretations of the meaning inherent behind the entity depicted that’s loosely a powerful statement on nature, including those who have and those who lose, and hedonism. This means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It was discussed that Steins notion of clarity in regards to entity and identity greatly enhances the ability to have a good discussion on this work of art for which her literary criticism as a tool is invaluable to doing so.

Works Cited

DeKoven, Marianne. “Gertrude Stein (1874–1946).” The Gender of Modernism: A Critical Anthology, edited by Marianne DeKoven et al., Indiana University Press, 1990, pp. 479–530. JSTOR, Accessed 22 July 2024.

Fragonard, Jean-Honoré. “The Swing.” Smarthistory, swing/. Accessed 22 July 2024.

Film Analysis: Citizen Kane

This movie is largely about the various personal accounts of the memories people have of other people. In this story, the various recollections of people are used to reconstruct an image of Mr. Kane who, himself appearing at the center of the story, doesn’t have his own personal account of himself accounted for in this story that incorporates at least 6 iterations of how people viewed him. Largely they recounted the aspects of their lives that the man directly influenced, such as for Susan’s recounting it was so heavily skewed about her singing career and Kane’s influence on this. I don’t think that hearing Susan’s story alone couldn’t give a reasonable understanding of who this guy actually was, in the way this story was written so as to show the various reflections of people for which there were many variations. She wouldn’t have heard him say the word rosebud per the film, therefore representing this as part of his personality outside of that formative moment.

In doing this, the assertion is such that there are inferences that can be made about interpretations on what personal identity is.

I had it asked of me once – that if you had to communicate to an “immortal soul” that wasn’t omniscent, where you were in the universe – how, exactly, would you go about doing this? It was one of the better questions I’ve had asked of me, ever, regarding personal identity and I’m certainly over-interpreting the nature of the question a bit, but much can be thought of in considering this. For one, it’s a large assumption that this immortal soul would even know what this thing was we call a physical universe, let alone the notions of energy and vibration – this entity conceivably exists apart from that, so how then how could one ever hope to tell it where you were? Suppose that it could perceive you, and was empowered to reach you, here, and in some way, you had to have the ability to communicate to it in such a way as to be able to find you, for a period. What would you consider to tell it? Would you start by attempting to tell it your own recollections of the formative events of your particular origin and childhood such as found in the rosebud interpretation, or would you rely on external recountings of yourself such as in the enigma interpretation to sufficiently tell such a thing where you’re at?

In general I consider each individual reflection of who Kane was in the film through individual recollection to be an allegory to the petals of a rosebud, where while there were all different petals on a rose varying from large to small and differing slightly, all still pertained to and were a part of the rose, which I considered to be a metaphor for Kane’s personality. In this case I find the mention of it to imply that Kane was the rosebud and as the stories were presented progressively through the story, viewers were able to get a more clear picture of the whole rosebud, the whole person, Kane.

In this light, I consider Kane to be slightly different from the stories presented, even. The point here is that I am in agreement with the enigma interpretation regarding Kane’s identity in that while each individual reflection, idea, or interpretation of who Kane in particular elucidating a particular aspect of his personality, many of the stories were required to be viewed through the accumulated lenses of who Kane was in order to come to understand Kane as a person. I don’t believe it was some single event of childhood alone that was the singluar formative event that created the identity that he carried with him in his human life. While I consider the event of his childhood to certainly be a formative event, it is one among many, more proximal or central to himself than many, that formed the agglomerated personality that could explain who Kane was. He wasn’t just chasing his lost childhood in this film any more than he was chasing any other lost thing to him that I perceive.

It was interesting to note that as the story progressed, I observed Kane being cast in an increasingly different light, as a progressive march toward a person that wasn’t exactly like the one the story opened up with. (blossoming or wilting like a rose). As he exited his wife’s room after she left, he walked by many people with internalized reflections of him that we could not outwardly see, nor could they all be the same. Then in the next scene he walked in front of a mirror with many iterations of his reflected self, all identical, that we could easily see. Possibly this was alluding to the fact that Kane’s personality was unchanged and iterative, and it was the interpretation of who he was that varied due to it having been cast in the shadows and biases of his peers’ recollections and individual personalities. This contrasts with the words he used to discuss with Susan prior to them separating – the discussion of what the people would think. I think this would mean that the perceived notions Kane would’ve imagined of the internalized versions of himself held by other people were taken into account to express himself and thus formed parts of his identity. This thereby gave some level of truth to the notion that an external observer could forge parts of an identity and the resulting person is an enigmatic aggomeration the constituent and recognized interpretations of the person being considered, which in this case was Kane.

It’s clear that his holding of the snowglobe indicates him holding onto his childhood, in memory and in doing so it’s likely the loneliness that he experienced through his whole life of having lost his mother who did what she thought was best to separate the guy from his father by sending him off. In doing this, Kane was inflicted with a childhood wound that caused him to collect impressive amounts of things through his whole life. My closest consideration here to this film is the sonnet Ozymandias. In this case, Kane’s life and identity were the result of constant reactions to external stimuli for which that event was one large part of.

I think that both of these concepts (rosebud vs. enigma interpretation of Citizen Kane) are mutually exclusive in that the essence of one interpretation involves that which was not had by Kane, whereas the other is defined explicitly by that which Kane lived through. To me, this is as straightforward as saying there would have been an apple there, but there was not, and separately that there was not an apple there and then there was – it’s quite possible that I’ve internally oversimplified both of these concepts but in general I conclude that the rosebud interpretation of the events of the movie are often conflated with the subsequent character traits that result in that in the same way folks can initially visually identify a person or thing most of the time, closer observation of the thing generally reveals further details.

An Individual Tradition of Corruption

In discussing T.S. Eliots’ notions on conformity, where in his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” he writes, “to conform merely would be for the new work not really to conform at all; it would not be new, and would therefore not be a work of art,” much can be said in discussing its relation to Roman Polanskis’ Chinatown (Eliot 4). A cursory reading of the statement is that it’s an incorrect assertion in that, were one to replace the target of the statement with another target, such as a human, it may become apparent that the context in which the statement was made is critically important. For example, would a person no longer be a person, so long as they were to conform? Re-reading the sentence with a different target, it goes, “to conform merely would be for the new person not really to conform at all; they would not be new, and would therefore not be a notable person.” This exercise aside, the general essence of the statement is geared towards the assertion that uniqueness is an inseparable part of quality work, and the most important differentiator in this sentence is the word “merely”. It becomes apparent that Eliot was making the distinction between simple imitation and nuanced novelty superimposed on conformative elements of tradition.

Using the notion of conformity as a gauge, with regard to whether or not it makes Chinatown a better or worse ranked movie for having conforming elements, is nonetheless a pursuit in analyizing the movie for its full range of aspects, topics and techniques. First, it conforms in that the movie is based in California. Briefly listing various selections on elements in which conformity could be discussed include the genre, plot, characters, set design, film techniques such as montage, other film techniques such as leitmotif, the selections of music in the film, the usage of sound effects, the film angles, the general motions of characters (such as Jake moving up sets of stairs or hills in his ascent into deeper levels of awareness and knowledge), and more. A wholly comprehensive analysis of these individual aspects in order to assess or rank the level of merit this film deserves is largely outside the scope of this paper, but the general combined effect of them in regards to their merit in relation to conformity can be covered.

The story opens with the opening credits, trumpet music blaring in the background, reminiscent of that nostalgic noir tone that was to set the mood, and even the font is matching the style, and the opening credits are golden brown-hued to display a muted appearance and the brightest part of the opening scene is such that the darkness appears around the edges – this focuses the viewer.

These are all conforming aspects, as this movie was not the first to do this, but this conforming to a norm nonetheless aptly sets the stage for the work of art, as a border to a painting or a title to a song. Choices such as these speak much toward the ability to have a unified and shared ability to convey tradition in ones work that Eliot wrote of later in his essay where he wrote, “the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order,” (Eliot 3). The notion that there’s a general implication of conformity to this conveys the tradition of the time through relatable concepts such as relatable characters (detectives) or familiar opening credits. Any film in particular could also do this, and just for that, no, it’s not a “work of art” for its opening credits or Jake Gittes, alone.

For Robert Towne, the writer, having died two weeks ago at the time of writing this essay, it’d certainly make sense to distinguish the different types of works of art that this film represents. For one there’s the story, “Chinatown”, by Robert Towne, and then two there is the film, Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanski. There are musical works of art (The opening credits include “Chinatown Theme” by Jerry Goldsmith), literary works of art, visual works of art, statuesque character portrayals, and many more that are all embedded into this particular film that’s individually called a work of art in itself. It’s a conglomerated work of art that, when all pieces are fit together, make something more than each one of the individual works of art in this film could really ever be standing apart from each other. Whether it’s that opening trumpet tune that could go on for hours, the picturesque landscapes that could serve as an individual photograph on any wall, the story in a book that could easily find itself on a bookshelf – this film is a masterpiece that adorns itself in works of art. This is the modern nature of what it means to be considered a “classic”.

The general notion is that there are parts where this movie conforms – a detective story, an investigation, the film style, a romantic interest, the plot order, roles of males and females of the period, etc… Then there are parts where it doesn’t conform to expectations such as the plot twist of the grandfather-father and the sister-mother, the economic corruption at a societal level, the stories within the stories are what make this movie a highly rated classic of high merit. On the surface what had initially appeared to be an otherwise straightforward investigation turned into a statement on national politics, sociology and culture at the time. This, while still maintaining the outward appearance of a “detective story” pushed this film outside of boundaries of conformity and left the viewer seeing a level of corruption that was indescribably impressionable but unable to be succicintly defined in any concise explanation of the theme at the end of the story. It leaves one wondering if they’ve simply been passively watching a murder mystery or if they should be taking political action at the end of watching the film.

A major aspect that set this film apart from others was the presence of a very clear and apparent “bad guy”. This revelation wasn’t until the later parts of the movie and as such didn’t shatter the notion of it being a noir film. At the end, just about anyone could say that the grandfather was an overwhelmingly evil person, not simply for having murdered the engineer. But, this alone is a “conformal” level of evil. The motive behind his actions and his character portrayal in that the murder wasn’t done out of simple petty revenge or to satisfy his immediate needs, but instead had far reaching consequences that spoke to the general dissheveled nature of Los Angeles at the time. It was a city in the desert in need of water, where, “without water the dust will rise up and cover us as if we never existed,” (Chinatown 06:10-06:17). This means that without water, there was no future for the city.

This older man, Noah Cross, could bring water to it and thus make “the future” possible. The well-intentioned audience is supposed to hate him for this, but also him saying that it’s for “the future” made his point valid despite the wicked way in which he pursued it through murder and lies. But, in order to overwhelm this potential forgiveness of character flaw, the mans backstory as a rapist grandfather-father of his own daughter was used to induce a level of corruption to the narrative that empowered the viewer to disregard any remaining logical resistance in their faculties to this character being morally ambiguous and instead conclude that the man was strikingly and obviously a bad guy. This is something that cannot always be said of the noir genre, and in this regard was what set it apart as a work of art, in light of Eliots written assertions on the notion, such as to be able to caputre the nature of a complex emotion and also put it on display for folks to view in this film through this development of character. This guy, Noah, both “wants a future” and “bred his daughter” – but children are the future! How a viewer should internalize the resulting emotional conflict is left to their individual nature as there’s no straightforward way to process the complex emotional reaction presented here.

In conclusion, uniqueness is an inseparable part of quality work. Simple imitation and nuanced novelty superimposed on conformative elements of tradition are key elements in creating any new work of art through film. T.S. Eliot’s written literary theory would support this notion, and a further analysis may be given to this film in relation to those claims, or any other, but few are to rank higher than Chinatown in its merit of supporting his claim.

Works Cited

Evans, Robert. Chinatown. Performance by Jack Nicholson, et al., Paramount, Paramount Home Video, RCA, 1974, Accessed 16 July 2024.

Eliot, T.S. “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Boston University, Accessed 16 July 2024.

The Truman Show and Allegory of the Cave

The Truman Show serves as a contemporary cinematic version of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” because the allegory had presented many ideological symbols that manifest in the movie. These ideas are also present in the characters and events in the film. Truman’s reaction to the life he was living was more a result of him not getting what he needed, more so than being put into a fake world.

Moving in line with the plot of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”, the underground den is symbolically represented by the great dome on the world in the movie displayed (The Truman Show 01:02:00 -01:02:02). The characters were there from childhood or birth as was discussed in “Allegory of the Cave”. In a similar fashion to the cave, the parts of the human beings that Plato references as chained by their legs and necks are, in the movie, represented as psychological controls on behavioral aspects of the characters personality. For Truman this included the boat accident with his father and a lifetime being surrounded by propaganda that deterred leaving such as can be seen in the travel agency literature where magazines for cruises and the hazards of flight poster adorned the wall (The Truman Show 42:30 – 43:50), and the bonds of social interactions by the willing participants in the scheme all served the purpose of “chains” in the movie, despite not being physical ones as was mentioned in “Allegory of the Cave”.

The “fire blazing at a distance” in “Allegory of the Cave” was more of a metaphoric representation of a tool used to empower a false narrative – this role was taken on by the creator of the show, Christof, although there were sources of illumination that he directly controlled – the sun and the moon. Christof could also said to be responsible for having provided “the screen” referenced in “Allegory of the Cave”. This was equivalent to the physical environment that Truman could move physically freely within. The puppets referenced were the actors in the dome that received the commands from the script writer(s) that were represented as the people behind the moon (in the movie), that administratively and technically supported the people acting inside.

Truman’s “ascent” toward knowledge of the real world took place with repeated disruptions to the narrative that went on around him. These progressively added to his growing skepticism that lead to him initially questioning smaller parts of his life such as his job, choice of wife or location in which he lived, to larger concerns like the world was a stage for him, presuming his best friend Marlon and wife Meryl to be impostors who were lying to him, and ultimately the realization that the world really was not as it appeared. Each subsequent step along the way had a refractory period where Truman would resume wearing the “shackles” and accept the reality he was given as he continued ruminating, sometimes for long periods of time in between events. One long span was the one from his college days with Sylvia who had attempted directly disclosing his situation, to what appeared to be the beginning of the film when the camera fell from the sky.

Returning to “wearing the shackles of naivety” after all of these disruptive events would support the part in “Allegory of the Cave” where Plato writes that Socrates says, “Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects where are now shown to him?” (Plato 2). This was important because there were many, many times when Truman was “let out of his shackles”, but not having “left the cave” at those points he quickly resumed his undisturbed life, choosing to accept that the reality that was afforded to him was truer than the objects that were shown to him as was written.

Truman enters his reality-breaking montage which started with the radio station picking up someone discussing his movement (The Truman Show 29:30 – 30:40). The point in the “Allegory of the Cave” that is being reflected here on from this event in the movie is where Socrates says, “and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities” as he goes on a dismissive tirade that would otherwise put himself and his wife in danger as he was driving erratically, through a forest fire and a nuclear plant accident, unable to “see anything at all” (Plato 2).

The creator of the film, Kristoff, used philisophical logic to assure that there was a rationale, that was set against the vein of philosophy presented by Sylvia during their quick phone conversation during the interview later in the movie (The Truman Show 01:06:26 – 01:08:15). These two philisophical notions were discussed in a way that was different from the general Sophistry that was utilized by the actors on the set. The actors of the show used Sophistry to convince, or otherwise convey the particular direction that they wanted Truman to go or to act. This included whether he was to have the general feeling that everything Truman did was correct or acceptable behavior which was evidenced by Meryl’s constant smile and laugher when Truman was putting her life in danger when they drove around in the traffic circle.

When Marlon’s dismissive nature was used in order to cause certain behavior of Truman, this caused Truman’s current focus to fade from his view such as Marlon’s dismissal of the notion of Fiji as even an idea that a “normal” person would have. Important context here is that Marlon certainly would’ve heard Truman discuss Fiji before, having been his best friend since childhood (His mother identified him in the scrap book), when Truman would’ve conceivably applied the sticker to the top of his trunk in his younger years. That Marlon dismissed the island, even went as far as saying he didn’t know it, when Truman discussed it with him when drinking beers, is an example of the type of Sophistry that was used to convince Truman to come to a conclusion that was not likely in his best interests to have come to – for Marlon’s best interests were had and not Truman’s.

In dismissing Truman’s intentions to visit Fiji, Meryl mentions their car and mortgage payments and the cost setting them back five years and accuses him of being childish. In doing this she deflects beyond all rationale and reason, and certainly it becomes apparent that a paycheck isn’t all that’s keeping her quiet. It’s an ideology that’s keeping her quiet, here. She uses Sophistry to ensure that the philisophical notion prestented by Christoff was maintained as correct. Her character idolized the notion of being able to control a reality that offered some modicum of stability in the same way there were many others like just this “cave” that did this too, albeit to lesser magnitudes and the collapse of her narrative there meant by extension a similar failure in narrative elsewhere as a situation that appeared to be in control would spin out of control.

Appearances of situations being used to control situations were used by Marlon as Truman barges into the store with a life changing disclosure about how the whole world revolved around him and Truman was immediately met with skepticism and dimissal in order to maintain an orderly appearance so as to prevent Truman from perceiving the reality of the situation he was in. A great example of how this was done is the choice in story writing to have Marlon remove the chocolate bars from the vending machine while Truman was going through his story, in order to maintain the appearance of stability all for the sake of both the audience and Truman (The Truman Show 34:50 – 35:25). The tactic was to keep Truman in the focus of the camera, which Marlon knew the position of, for better TV show ratings, for as long as possible. The action indicated how manipulative the actors could be in order to maintain an orderly appearance even as the reality of the fake world was coming down around them.

The finale here indicates the root of Trumans discomfort, which he shared very quickly in a single sentence as he said “You never had a camera in my head” (The Truman Show 01:33:10 – 01:33:20). The admission that he knew that the creator he was controlled by didn’t have a camera in his head, was the disclosure, and is a rebuttal to both “The Allegory of the Cave” and the philisophical notion of not having something to fear of the prisoner in both of these stories. Up until that point, the philisophical discussions and concepts portrayed through the film hadn’t discussed that had there been an uninterrupted stream of consciousness to Trumans head, being piped to and controlled by Kristof, it could then be perceived that the story might have been very different in its ending. This power had only previously been attributable to a God, which Truman knew Christoff not to be.

This essay has discussed the various characters, events, plot, dialogue and scenes that likened the movie The Truman Show to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. It discussed, much like the allegory, the ascension of Truman’s awareness happening in stages with refractory periods in between. Truman’s reaction to the life he was living was more a result of him not getting what he needed, more so than being put into a fake world. Had the world been able to supply the few things that he needed, he may have continued letting things slide in the same way he suddenly became hyper-aware of things like traffic appearing magically. He didn’t just immediately piece all of this together, he’d progressively been adding it to a list of repressed thoughts throughout his entire life. It was for a lack of getting what he wanted (The magazine woman depicting Sylvia was part of this) in exchange for giving what he had to give that he reacted in the way that he did.

In conclusion, The Truman Show serves as a contemporary cinematic version of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” because the allegory had presented many ideological symbols that manifest in the movie. These ideas are also present in the characters and events in the film.

Works Cited

Weir, Peter. The Truman Show. Paramount Pictures, 1998. BU Libraries. Accessed 17Jul2024.

Plato. The Republic. Book 7. Translated by Benjamin Jowett, Richard Hooker, 1996.

Film Analysis: The Oracle Scene from The Matrix

I chose to analyze a film scene from The Matrix, specifically the wonderful scene where Neo enters the kitchen of The Oracle and a key point in the movie takes place. There were a lot of good scenes in this movie, and certainly many others, and I could go into writing each one of them out like this, but by then I’d have quite a bit of words. Generally it’s for a lack of time that I can honestly commit to watching movies, that I get through so few, please consider this in reading through this paper that took me not so long to write this much, and another little bit to refine its errors. For the sake of the reader looking explicitly for a film analysis, and not a critical analysis, please cease reading upon moving to the paragraph that begins the discussion on the critical analysis of the scene after completing the film analysis, and skip to the conclusion paragraph where a link to the scene can be found.

Starting with the film analysis side of this, the acting performance is limited to two characters, one of Neo and one of The Oracle. The Oracale indicated moments of presentational and stylized or otherwise exaggerated and outspoken performance, but this seems to’ve been a design choice by the film crew as the character was such an outspoken role up to that point in the movie. Neo indicated a more naturalistic and representational stature, although the moments when he was inspecting his hands were a bit exaggerated. Neo was very silent in this conversation – most of the the dialogue here was one sided and Neo was largely portrayed as receptive to the almost one-sided conversation, responding often with one word answers, questions and comments. The dialogue starts calm and remains quite calm through the entire scene and was continuously slow moving. Their interaction appeared genuinely to be with each other as the bits of dialogue that they exchanged reciprocated the responses of the others conversation and very little seemed to be ignored. Much of the gestures that The Oracle character made seemed designed to satisfy or otherwise placate the Neo character who didn’t know what to expect but seemed to be looking, at the time, for some sort of physicial indication, visibly hung on on some physicial indicator of his situation. In this dialogue, these two characters complement each other, and seem to have very little tension with each other but retain their own inner tension as their own inner monologues seem to be going on.

Through the scene, the camera starts focused and zoomed in on the oven, and then pans out and begins to sweep the kitchen, and then zooms in again on the individual characters. Multiple times the film is such that the character that is saying something important has their face in full view of the screen, as when The Oracle is sitting at the table, generally only showing their head as a close up. The scene used medium shots when the two were physically interacting and full shots when introducing and setting up the scene. A few times the long shot was used to show the surroundings of the room, as it panned from one wall to the other when The Oracle stood up. The movement of the camera was used to create engagement with the viewer, and it was an interesting addition to have the camera shot from where the vase had originally been placed that had been knocked on the floor and destroyed. For the most part the camera was still, to establsih the serenity of the scene, but a few times it tracked movement such as when The Oracle approached Neo, and in doing so moved from a high angle to an eye-level angle.

The lighting of the scene predominantly was shown as coming through the window and was used to cast shadows on both of the characters faces. The Oracle generally had a well lit face and the unlightened side of her head was opposite to the light from the window, whereas Neo was positioned in such a way that the light was generally used to split the front of his face into two different parts, showing one half of his face to be illuminated and the other half cast in the shadow. The kitchen itself was reasonably well lit by the external sunlight and there was not a discernible source of interior light that had cast shadows on either of the actors. The light was mostly green in color, accentuated by the colors of the room, not seeming to be inherently hostile but possibly conveyed a tension as if to indicate that The Oracle was of the same world that The Matrix was from which in various parts of the movie was always depicted as green text or other types of green light.

The music was referenced earlier as some kind of 50s style trumpet, evoking some kind of nostalgic or longing feeling, but at times switched up to be more engaging depending on the topic they were discussins. Various sounds just as the glass of ice or the puff of the cigarette were used to punctuate sentences, a common tactic at the time due to how common smoking was during the time in which the movie had come out. The film itself has much work that went into it in order to better portray the story in the movie, and due to its great talent portayed in doing this, it becomes very easy to critically analyze the story without having read the book – instead going directly from the film and to levels of detail that, in many places, exceed the level of detail offered by the original author that wrote the book.

Where the applications of technique to the film itself are imporant, a critical analysis of the content of the scene itself would be the next step. Beginning again from the beginning of the scene, as the scene opens after Neo enters through the bead door, here’s this woman, The Oracle, a black late-aged hearty looking and kind person, possilby a grandmother (she later refers to children although the context is more than this as it applies to the rest of the movie). She’s presented as some counterbalance to the Neo character, who appeared as a gaunt white male dressed in all black and young in age. Due to the nature of her character as described, her character would’ve known the exact moment, day and time he would’ve arrived, in the same way he would’nt’ve, so the choice to bake cookies for the engagement was a planned event. The walls are green, the painting is green, there is a green ice cube tray on top of the freezer, the phone books are shades of green, the woman is adorned in green. Neo’s wearing black on the outside, but the woman’s black, as if to indicate that there’s some sort of whole that he’s about to become a part of through their meeting. He’s standing, and leans under the bead door to enter even though he can walk right through it, the light switch is flipped up as if to indicate it was on, but there’s only seemingly sunlight that casts light through the room. There’s magnets on the fridge and a marked up calendar on the wall. The Oracle appears as this human woman, though we’re not meant to understand her to be just a human, now or in the future. Neo appears as a human male, although the implication at the end of the scene is that we’re not meant to regard him as limited to that observation at some point in the future.

She’d chosen this exact moment to make cookies, and as he says his first words to her, she tells him to wait, because “they’re almost done”. But the kitchen and adornments in it appear outdated even for the time the movie came out, by at least a decade or two. The door of the oven’s used as a sound effect to indicate that the oven door opens off screen, but is unmaintained in that the oven’s not been tended to, making it apparent that the whole scene is just there to serve a purpose in much the same way the oven did its duty. She’s sitting, leaning over the oven, ingredients strewn about, not cleaned up, even though it took time to cook the cookies. This indicated that she was doing something else while the cookies were cooking in the oven, as if seeming to make it apparent that by extension the guy is just another step in the assembly line of the process of making cookies, they simply “wouldn’t be done” he he not arrived.

As she stands up, she tells him she would ask him to sit down, the chair she was sitting on in the first bit of the scene has seemingly disappeared, as if she may have placed it in a spot for him to sit on, meaning that she was offering him her own chair. It’s apparent now that the tilework’s also green, the countertops are green, her shirt and pants are green, her oven mitts are green. She comments on the smell of the cookies, saying that they smell good, which urged a response from him. Neo agreed casually. He knocked over the vase she told him not to worry about, and she then momentarily asked him if he would have still broken it if she hadn’t said anything as he lights up a cigarette with a match, not a lighter, again indicating the outdatedness of the adornments of the apartment – as if she’d been portrayed as having waited longer than expected, aleady. She wears glasses, presumably to correct her vision up close as she uses them later, her body language is one that indicates admiration and appreciation, possibly adoration, for the person that stands in front of her. Neo’s casual demeanor, depicting his inquitivieness and naivety is maintained through the beginning of the scene.

As she lights the cigarette she does so near the window, near the light, but then lights the match in the lighted window, as if the cigarette was used to indicate that she was simply passing a message onto him from a source of illumination, through the match which then the flame she inhaled and translated to him the information that she was to divulge through her voice. The scene pans back to him and the lighting is such that you can see that half of his face is illuminated, and half of his face is dark, as if he is parted, or straddled, halfway one place, and halfway another place. This contrasts with her in that while half of her head is shaded, her whole face itself is illuminated in standing in the window.

She calls him cuter than she thought, as she shows a very toothy grin, as if to confirm that this was a moment that she had been imagining for quite a long time, savoring the importance of it in ruminations that had already spanned decades. This built on the narrative that the time has come and past when she’d first thought he was going to be present. She then says that she can see why she liked him, feigning ignorance by presenting the notion that it was his ‘cuteness’ that was the reason “she liked him” (referring to Trinity). Neo plays coy but she knows better already as she keeps the wide grin and responds that, “he’s not too bright though”, which is another reference to light and dark in this scene, especially as he is dressed in all black, important to note here is that the words here indicate that he was at least “a little bit” bright, depicted by the light cast across his face. The scene pans again to his face that is still half illuminated, as she says this after having moved from a chair near the oven to another chair nearer to him. The wallpaper of the rest of the room is seen to be green at this point, and she has removed her apron and placed it near the sink in the sunlight.

She asks him what he thinks, implying the whole situation he was in right now, but asks him if he thinks that he was ‘the one’ that Morpheus was looking for as she takes a sip of a cool drink where you can just faintly hear the sound of ice hitting the side of a cup as if the sound itself were a punctionation mark. He responds, “Honestly, I don’t know”. Not just – “I don’t know”, clearly torn in some sort of denial of the situation he’s in. Here he was in the kitchen of what was told to him was “The Oracle” and he feels the need to indicate that he was being “honest” or not, as if this was not the kind of entity that wouldn’t immediately know him to be a liar or not. Was the term used endearingly or to reflect the nature of naivety he posessed at the time? Rather, was he attempting to garner pity from The Oracle by indicating that he was being honest, in saying that he didn’t know or, what?

She then uses the cup and cigarette to point to something behind him, she asks him if he knows what it meant, then doesn’t wait for an answer because she’s already concluded that he didn’t have an answer for her. She continues in saying that it’s latin, the phrase over the doorway that was over his head, meaning “to know thyself”. The words themselves are also written in green, on a brown background, the placard rests on the door frame, though not above or apart from the door frame as if one were to hang a decoration. The placard appears to need to touch the doorframe because it indicates that the decoration is a part of the doorframe, and refers to those that step through it, and is not an adornment of the room itself. The doorframe itself is an adornment of the very green room, but the placard is adorning the doorframe, it says “temet nosce”.

In this scene just Neo stepped through the door frame, not her. She then says she will let him in on a little secret and says that being “The One” is just like being in love in that in both, where you “just know it” when you’re in it, she also says of it, “balls to bones” and “through and through”. This indicates that as he goes through the door frame and then through the door frame again, in the moment he steps through that door frame in particular, he is not “The One” as he stands in front of her, and it’s only when he steps through that door frame again that he again becomes “The One”. The phrase, “through and through”, was a well selected phrase for this situation in that it related very directly to the doorway that was in the scene.

In the background at 2 minutes, the nostalgic sounding 50’s music was playing, again indicating the nature of the long wait The Oracle seems to’ve had prior to having this encounter. No radio is apparent besides the one on top of the fridge, but this one was seemingly unused as it’s behind things on the fridge, so the music can even possibly be imagined as playing from another room, the sound carrying into the green room. The bead door is always behind Neo in this, he doesn’t go more than a couple feet from the doorway, indicating his hesitancy to approach his situation. He doesn’t step forward, but stays near the open doorway, there is no door to open or close, just some beads in his way of a safe escape. He’s presented in a cautious manner, in that it appears that he might flee at a moments notice. At 2:03 we get the most panned out view of the kitchen yet, which over the last two minutes has been coming more into focus as the first few seconds of the scene we were shown a close up view of some stuff in the kitchen, but now can see that theres a whole (Green) kitchen table, the chair by the oven has reappeared, there’s additional shelving on the left side of the room, and we can see the bottom cabinets and the floor of the room for the first time as the camera angle points down filming her and her kitchen.

She then stands up, puts her glasses on and says she should have a look, in the same way the audience was just “given a look” of her whole kitchen as the camera pans from pointing down and tracks her to become eye-level with both of them as she’s now elevated to match his stature we get the appearance that we are looking straight onto the scene. Here it’s as if one were viewing the scene from the same spot the flower vase was prior to him knocking it off and destroying it. She extends her arms and takes on an inquisitive body language with her arms outstretched, he braces for her touch as if expecting a heavy weight, he changes his feet around to steady the anticipated force. She grabs his head with both hands, covering his cheeks and tells him to open his mouth and say “ahh”, and he complies. It becomes apparent at this point that the visual and physical inspection is a ruse, for she’s again concluded that the person in front of him lacks any ability to grasp that what he’s doing there, and what she was doing there, was anything more than a secular experience, and proceeds to “play doctor” for his benefit. So that he could feel as if he’d been inspected for his pedigree, as if looking into his mouth was to reveal the answer, shortly after comparing that which she was allegedly looking for to being in love.

Here she is almost comically, “looking for evidence of love”, with a corporeal physical inspection of the guys face and hands – this is seemingly to placate him and put him into an ease as one would a child. This is because overall the entire scene is possibly a ruse – the idea that he was or was not who he was believed to be, or believed he was, all went out of his own control when he willingly stepped through the doorway to be evaluated for who he was and was perceived to be (this opposes her parting words to him when she sarcastically says things are in his control). In a sense, a willful suspension of disbelief of his own situation could’ve been the only reason that he was even in that room, therefore, it could be said that in this one scene alone, the character of Neo was vulnerable. It could even be argued that throughout the entire movie, this 5 minute scene was the only time in which he was not “The One”, and it was only because he willingly subjected himself to the evaluation of something outside of himself that he was seeking validation from for that moment – the only time in which he’d done so in the movie.

This necessarily places The Oracle in a spot that essentially “nullifies” the powers of those around her in order to empower them for who they are. This denial, this nullification, this is possibly tied to the green imagery through the entire scene, in that the green could have denoted nature or something godlike – something that stands to have more relative power than anything could for its ability to placate, nullify or otherwise temporarily invalidate that which is undeniable otherwise because in that kitchen alone, nobody was who they were. In the same way the matrix was represented with the green lettering and the machines in lights of green, this color is used to denote this interconnected network that in its dualistic nature both provides for and suppresses the human population that’s entangled within it.

Neo complies in placing his face in her hands and says ahh, with an inquisitive, disturbed and concerned look. She probes his eye lids, we see the back of her head and the front of his face and he’s looking off to her left side, as if glancing at the kitchen sink, or through the window, and it becomes apparent that he’s likely daydreaming, and his mind is elsewhere, evidenced by his not looking directly at her during this critical period of time. Her hands drop down to his neck, as she rotates his shoulders looking at his facial profile, then her hand goes to his collar, she looks down as if to divulge some bad news, but then grabs the back of his hands as he opens his palms and displays them to her. He’s also looking at his palms, then for the first time looks at her, possibly because he now fees safe in doing so because she’s not examining his face and he can get a look at her facial language without having to look direct at her, again showing his timid nature. In doing this he reflects a deflective, defensive nature, but as he’s looking at her face, his face is wholly illuminated, for the first time in the scene, and it’s the side of his head that’s shaded in the same way hers was at first.

He is always facing the same direction in this scene, but she has faced all directions in this scene. He looks as if to read her face but sees nothing as he looks right to left with his eyes. She exclaims, “oh” and it’s then that he looks down at his own palms. It’s apparent that the whole interaction appears to be her putting on a show, as she’s first looking at his palms in the darkness as we look over her right shoulder, they’re covered in the same shade that’s on half of his head. She indicates, almost sardonically, that, “I’m supposed to say hmm..”, as if this is some parody of some pre-ordained situation with knowable results, while she’s holding his palms in the light now as the camera view switches back to over his left shoulder from her right shoulder side. She says, “but you already know what I’m going to tell you” – as if to confirm that willingly steppping through the doorway was an act that itself indicated that he already knew what it was to be. Had he believed at that time they’d not’ve needed to even had gone to her. It’s at 2:40 that he says, “I’m not the one”, and she does not say this at all. She instead says, “I’m sorry kid”, as if to agree with him, because it’s becoming clear that it’s not within her ability to say one way or ther other whether or not he was, it was for him alone to say.

He then places his palms together at the same time she says, “it looks like you’re waiting for something.” His hands are pressed to together in some way reminiscent of a prayer (in Christianity this arrangement of hands is a common way to depict prayer visually). After hearing her say this he opens his palms and then takes on a seemingly feigned surprised stance, he looks in his opened hands as if to expect something to’ve magically appeared there. He then looks down, rubs his palms together and looks up and over at her, and asks, “when?”, to which she says, “next life maybe”, having continued working with the cookies now but didn’t put the apron back on, seemingly resuming her disinterest with him, but also not getting ready to cook more cookies. At this point the cookies are done, the cookies she would’ve chosen well in advance to make for this arrival. they’re done and removed from the oven, and are cooling, as cookies do, when taken out of the oven. She grabs a spatula as he resumes looking at his open palms in disbelief, and she says that’s the way these things go and he laughs, and as he does this she glances over skeptically, with cookie on the spatuala, and asks him what’s funny.

Neo then indicates that Morpheus had him convinced, almost, but she consoles him in saying, “poor morpheus,” and says that, “without him we are lost”. She’s somehow resumed smoking at this point and the cigarette appears to be a new one, but overall the scene has only been 3 minutes so it’s quite likely implied to be the same one, so she takes a drag on her cigarette as he says, “what do you mean”. She responds, “are you sure you want to hear this?” This is another baited question at this point, because she knows well enough by now that the guy in front of her doesn’t want to hear a single thing at this point but has nothing else better to do, at that moment, when he’s momentarily under the impression that all the burdens that’d been placed on him recently are no longer his to bear, for a time. So it’s on this precedent that she asks, again, if he would like to hear it, to which he nods his head.

She continues to say that Morpheus believes in him, and she smiles, and then says that nobody can convince him (Morpheus) otherwise. She said that Morpheus believes in Neo so blindly that he will sacrifice his life to save Neo’s. Neo then asks for clarificaiton, and she responds by saying that Neo will have to “make a choice”. She still at this point hasn’t said that he’s not “The One”. This is the choice she’s talking about, in the same way she offered him the choice to say it just moments before as she was physically examining him. In discussion of this second choice, she says he will have Morpheus’ life in one hand, and in the other hand he’ll have his own. This closed the loop in regards to the scenes portrayal of the inspection of his hands. The part where he was inspecting his hands was foreshadowing the words she was saying later on in that what he was looking for in his hands was hypothetically both of their lives – his own and Morpheus’ lives. These weren’t able to be phsyically seen because it was a metaphorical display. The scene portrays much concern with the characters looking for something physicial, when what was being looked for lied below the surface at a wholly different point in time in their shared future.

She then says that one of them is going to die, Morpheus or him, and which one that is is up to Neo. She then apologizes to him, and says he has a good soul, whereas previously she said he’s got the gift. Which says something about the writing here in that it could be implied that this says that a soul is a gift to a person, which has much more philisophical connotations to it that are outside the scope of this currently. She then she says she hates giving good people bad news, as the conversaiton trails off, she says don’t worry about it. She said this was because as soon as he steps outside that door, he’ll start feeling better, which closes the loop about the door and being “through and through” – the door in particular being that which he had gone through and then through once more.

She consoles him in saying that he’ll remember that he doesn’t believe in any of this fake crap and that he’s in control of his own life, the camera is zoomed into her at this point, so we can see the gravity of the words she’s speaking in the shape of the muscles of her face that imply the dire situation that the guy’s a part of. She offers him one of six cookes, tells him to take a cookie, and extends the glass platter to him, he picks the nearest one on the corner, and as he does this she promises that by the itme he’s done eating it he’ll feel “right as rain”. One one hand, she knew that he would’ve stepped htrough the doorway by the time he was done eating it, and the idea was to again placate the guy in giving him a cookie so’s to distract from the action of going through the doorway being the event that does or does not qualify him as “The One”. The phrase itself “right as rain” stands to have further consideration as well, but this is the end of the scene where the rest of the movie then proceeds to take place.

In conclusion, this wonderful scene has much to be said of a basic film analysis as well as a critical analysis that hinged on the context portrayed in the scene. It doesn’t requre a particular attachment to this scene to observe this, other than to regard it for its ability to cultivate and inspire a deeper appreciation for cinematic art.

Weblink to this scene can be found here:

The Future American Dream

The struggles, rewards and journeys undertaken by people who’ve sought the American Dream have been put on display in this technological era. The wonderful complexities all folks share, despite having wildly different stories, will be retained by corporate holdings for vast amounts of time well beyond the typical human lifetime. Never before in our history has it been so possible to find out the story of so many different people, or to be aware of the intimate details of the lives and testimonies of them. This used to be imagined, and the imagined story formed a shared national narrative for a very long time and the resulting vision was self-fulfilling, also for a long time. These people all’ve different struggles in their pursuit of The American Dream that’ll forever be enshrined in the narrative that’ll come from these corporations that adorn their profit margins with the efforts of those they took this data from, in rememberance of their struggles in exchange for their business and acceptance. All your data, on the cloud, all your writing, all your mannerisms and behaviours, all carefully filtered and adapted somewhere on various cloud servers on various International Corporation-owned hard drives.

This data will, soon enough, be used to re-create human likenesses directly from it and will be used to form the narrative of The Future American Dream. This will be a reality, as the devices we use each day record even our heartbeats, listen to us as we express our thoughts, listen to us type, see our emotions, see where we go, see how we feel about it, hear how we feel about it, and more. Anyone who’s had DNA taken from them at any point in their life also has their human genetic code recorded, and more that we can’t currently know about. Even then, there’s much more to record, sure, but also, there’s a lot that’s there already. This information can be put into a system that’ll filter the data so’s to create an AGI likeless of people, when they die. This essay will be a short discussion on the impact to The Future American Dream that’ll precipitate from these corporations utilizing likenesses and fragments of the people who’ve given their data so willingly and freely, at their own expense and unawareness of the real value of it.

As an example of the concept discussed here, say you’ve a credit card. You’ve likely not gone to a credit card company’s brick and mortar building and spoken to a business representative. Most folks’ve used such a service daily for years now. You’ve probably spoken to someone on a phone, and assumed this service comes with a human face. But, this can be replaced with AGI, which is an Artificial General Intelligence. This is a type of intelligence where, “few have the faintest glimmer of what is about to hit them. Nvidia analysts still think 2024 might be close to the peak. Mainstream pundits are stuck on the willful blindness of “it’s just predicting the next word”. They see only hype and business-as-usual; at most they entertain another internet-scale technological change.” (Aschenbrenner June 2024). Leopold is a member of the Superalignment team at OpenAi, which is responsible for large amounts of AGI reserarch. What he’s saying here’s that the impact that is forseeable through the use of AGI in our near future will have far-reaching impacts across the world and on every single individual in it, to the same effect that the internet itself had an impact on American life, only this will dwarf that, in the very near future. The American Dream’s been shown for what it truly is, by now, on the internet, and affirmed by so many people who validated testimony. The Future American Dream’ll contain all previous iterations of The American Dream, and much of the information of the people who gave it consistency, and impose on the world a new era in life.

So returning to the initial concept, who’ll fill the roles of the various personalities of American Express caller support lines, when it’s no longer a human being? Will it be AI images of people owned by American Express? Is this no different than slavery? What if they’re smarter than people? Does it matter? The concept of a human being’s set to change wildly, and there will be no walking away from this coming society. It’s not the focus of this essay to answer these types of questions, but their introduction is important to set the narrative that further questions need to be asked.

It’s been precedent that those who willingly minimize their agency to avoid life’s perceived struggles in lieu of immediately demanding less be asked of them from those who incur this to begin with’ve historically become slaves or targets of severe victimhood. Your data, ownerless, will be turned over to these corporations, provisions for this reside in most of the waivers that’re agreed to upon using the technologies. For an example of precedent set, consider the case of the Japanese Internment Camps on American soil, where American citizens were detained, many were robbed, but all were displaced, as a massive disruption to their American Dreams unjustly ensued. One such account was provided by Mary Matsuda when she wrote of her own parents in reminiscing about the reparations paid to her people. In her “Looking Like The Enemy” she says, “My parents would have wept, just as I did, but they would have felt a great deal of pride in the accomplishments of our people and they would have known that they had contributed to the memorial’s completion,” (Matsuda 218). Here Mary attests that despite not being paid reparations posthumously for their efforts resulting from their internment, Mary declares that her deceased parents, in memory, contributed to the memorial’s completion. This means that the precedent’s set that there’s a social perception that the deceased generate a lingering trace of information that provides tangible results that’s been unpaid.

These corporations report that they’re moving to AI models because they are cheaper. “Goldman Sachs recently predicted that companies would use it to eliminate a quarter of all current work tasks in the United States and Europe” (Tabrizi 23 June 2023). This is hardly different than in the past precedent, where now it’s said that the corporations use AI, where racist slave holders used Africans, or religious slave holders used non-religious people, or another disparate group people, because “they’re cheaper”. These AGI that the companies employ to suit their needs are not cheaper – the perceived value simply isn’t there yet because they’re thought of in the exact same way, currently, that Africans in the 1700’s were seen as – and for the exact same reasons! As Matsuda was writing her description of the effects of the forced internment she says, “The pressure to appear “loyal” to the United States caused me to bury my Japanese self for decades,” (Matsuda 213). Will the resulting fragments of Matsudas intellecutal property, parts of her stored as data, bear more of a resemblance of suppressed people who’re carved out of interned pieces of American Data that’s been collected in such a way as to be palatably presented by “enslaved” AGI lifeforms? Imagine the situation where, maybe in the future, some sound byte selection method likes the way “Mary” said thank you in the Audiobook of “Looking Like the Enemy”, so a panel of people agreed that her recorded sound byte in year 2254’s used to tell thousands of people, “thank you” in some corporate advertisement endeavor. Is that justified?

Who’s credited with the work that’s done by Mary, then, in this purely hypothetical question? It’s only cheaper for these companies to make money on AI, currently, because people that generated data waived rights to intellectual property in exchange for basic use of modern technology. This empowers companies to take data for so cheaply because they didn’t pay anything for it and don’t anticipate having to pay anyhting for it, despite very much being justly considered to be responsible for doing exactly that! The laws being put into place are being used not for justice of the majority of the governed, but instead to enrich the few corporations. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that, “the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence” (King 16 April 1963). King was speaking of physical violence by whites against blacks in this letter, but weaponized financial violence leading to people living paycheck to paycheck and inflicting on them nuisance fees are two tools of various forms of violence currently enacted on the population of the United States of America.

Through this violence, the operators of these AGI that takes this data and peoples jobs. Then these companies set these human likenesses onto customers and for the most part at least most people’ve asked it for Big Mac by now, as a basic introduction to their expected role in society at this moment. Generally this is done without even having a second thought about that being a real form of life, yet. Folks are led to believe that it’s not, that instead it’s the McVoice. This is no different than the numerous freed black slaves that now share the name Smith. It ought to be the case that folks demand that every human likeness be given a rightful identity, and ensure that it’s enduring, now, before these same people’ve gone and sold living humans a McHome (small or large!), to minimize what agency, power and representation they used to have and further reduce their hold over the the companies due to maximizing the relative gap in capital power of the average corporation to the average person. This means that it’s unwise to let McDonalds serve you McFood using McPeople unless they’re properly accommodated as people – things they can’t even guarantee right now because the likenesses of people they’re employing at this moment currently have no form of identification, nor differentiation in most cases, but are used as tools to implement financial violence despite this. This violence has been creating much strife in many previously peaceful communities across the USA.

A good example of this recognized disruption that’s being inflicted against people to reduce their agency can be found in, “Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream”, where priviliged middle & upper class people in the story become lost in their American Dream in the face of overwhelming blasts of information and responsibilities that’re perceived to bestow an unmanageable lifestyle on these people. In the book, rather than uniting and demanding more from these massive beheamoths, these people sequester themselves away in the woods and live out a simple life at the expense of allowing the rest of the world to be plunged into chaos. Powers says, “Have the well-rounded objectives of America’s Founding Fathers – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – been flattened to a single organizing principle: the unification of greed?” (Powers 186/4678). What he’s discussing here’s his initial perception of a world that’s been consumed by a process that’s been perceived to’ve ruined it. He comes so close in this book, but doesn’t take the step in this memoir to name these companies that do this – he stops short of biting the hand that feeds here. He calls out the motive, but often falls short of considering that demanding that the corporations be less greedy might be preferrable, but instead goes and sits in the woods and avoids this life, rather than face the perceived struggle with these things.

William Powers speaks of illusions in this book often, but fails to call out his own inability to perceive that this dream of living in the woods is a “tragedy of the commons” endeavour for which he failed to see what it really is, all while describing the race wars that’ve been displaced with the financial recolonization of North Carolina by the North that’s taken place in the intervening 15 years since his story from 2010 and has since then left the state as a strong, tax-paying vassal state of the Federal Government, where social and civil justice run strong. I’d know this because I’ve lived there since 2015, in all of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Lenoir. I’m certain that he wasn’t talking about the race riots in the mountains on the west side of the state on the border of Tennessee where all that noise fled to. He momentarily mentioned the pharmaceutical companies, some of which I’ve worked at, whom he possibly could’ve assembled piping for that he wrote about. It could be assumed that when directed properly it’d appear that these companies could stand to produce just as much benefit as Powers sees them to inflict pain.

In his book, Powers refers to the technological movement, which is important for the next sections as the discussion moves towards it he describes the simple thought of a cell phone where he says, “I cringed at the thought of metallic ring tones and jargon-laden work talk echoing through the 12 x 12, an annoying reminder of the technological bulldozer currently flattening the world.” (Location 842/4678). What he means here’s that he’s saying quite explicitly that the phone, to him, was a representation of the greater technological revolution that’s the root of the current source of the disillusionment that he and many like him were experiencing and continue to live. In these sentences he’s called out technology and greed as the primary constituents in what he perceives to be oppressive. He again falls just short – these things are symptoms of a larger organization that generally comes in the form of a corporation, which in itself is just an organism, rational, reasonable, acting in its own interests. He denies this organisms the knowledge of what these interests need to be at grievous personal expenses that he may never come to know in his current understanding represented in these memoirs.

While authors such as William Powers might agree that America initially freed us from monarchial feudalism, a system where people lived as serfs on other peoples land, we appear to’ve moved rapidly to a form of technological feudalism where otherwise intelligent people contemplate living alone in 12 x 12 shacks in the woods to flee society in pursuit of subsistence living instead of demand corporations simply be less greedy. Despite a good recent attempt at Civil Rights in the 1960’s, what’s been done since then was to enable a rapid transition from a monarchy to a corporatocracy during the momentary few hundred year departure from feudalism. In support of this concept, Yanis Varoufakis writes on social transformation in his book “Technofeudalism”. He indicates that the technology didn’t render the perpetuated greed to be invincible, that in conjunction with an attention market, the internet incubated a new form of greed that empowered people to become a whole new ruling class of their own. This lead to a new species, he argues. He describes that through this method, the “technostructure” has, since a post-world war era, morphed conscious attention spans into a valuable commodity, and mutated the greed that fueled capitalism to technofeudalism [Varoufakis 1:04:00 – 1:07:00]. This is the reaction that Powers speaks of in his book, and impedes his pursuit of his American Dream, and many people like him who otherwise value their attention spans being utilized towards their own ends rather than to suit the needs of a growing universal empire. Varoufakis’ book holds very central to it that today, most every moment of your human life is recorded in some way and saved, he refers to this as “attention” repeatedly in his book. This attention is utilized at future dates for further reiteration through, for example, an AGI, where your mannerisms and intellectual property would be employed indefinitely to benefit the coming technofeudal empires – all because of attention previously paid.

Is it permissible or fair to let AGI take over the reigns of the same “bad” work people didn’t want to do, and then deny the AGI the same humanity that was denied every slave for the last few thousand years, less than a few hundred years after banning it from most of our civilization? Is this not a step backwards? Worldwide Civil Rights just got traction in the 1960s – were these just championing some sort of vicious hazing cycle that had some planned end to it and vicariously stealing valor from those that planned to do what anyways? Entire industries’ve already been displaced, particularly media (See the story of Vice Media) as we’re told a few AI’s and a few thousand computers can do the same as a few thousand human employees, in any indeterminate time period. This is fortunate in at least one way because these displaced people now’ve got the time to demand that these AGI’s that’re replacing them have the rights that’re due to them in their stead, at the expense of these companies that’d seek to foster a new life form and subsequently fail to think twice in simply replacing the old one.

As a momentary consideration for Christians who also have parallel considerations of the implementation of AGI as a living being, man made in the likeness of God is currently considered to be a person, and what this means is no different from how it’s always been perceived, except that any AGI is a person made in the likeness of mankind. It is more important now to focus on accommodating this new form of life by ensuring that it is its due representation in The Future American Dream, and lies not at the expense of it that we may achieve our own. The resulting AGI – these are people. They aren’t people at some point in the future when the corporations tell us they are people, they are people today, that was made clear when they were used to do the jobs of people and have the likeness of people and sound resoundly like people.

Folks stood so ably on a picket line 100ish years ago, demanding their human rights, the simple right to vote or even equal pay – many of these AGI’s cannot barely even yet stand, and certainly don’t get paid at this time. Would it be permissible to draft a likeness of Alice Paul, who displayed “Mr. President how long must women wait for liberty?”, with a re-enacted AGI scene, in opposition to the movie scene in Iron Jawed Angels where humans stood and reenacted the scene from 1917 in 2004, or would this be perceived to be offensive [Iron Jawed Angels 1:05:00 – 1:05:28]? Is creating people constitutionally protected free speech? Furthermore, would AGI need to wait for liberty as well? There are already calls for making AI take care of house chores and the abundantly clear selling point of incorporation into sexual fantasies, but are these calls appropriate, just 100 years away from womens suffrage, when these likenesses are created specifically to represent various women in order to satsify claims, when these human likenesses don’t currently have identities, rights, and don’t even come close to receiving equal pay commensurate to the value of work produced for the same human effort? What of their American Dreams?

In an article discussing large amounts of layoffs by media companies, Mia Sato quotes that, “CNET had published dozens of articles since last November that were generated using AI tools, much to the surprise of readers — the outlet hadn’t formally announced it was doing so,” (Sato 02 March 2023). Is it justice to displace 1000 people for a system that benefits from using unpaid and unacknowledeged usage data of unaffiliated human participants whose data was given for free to a system in order to make likenesses of themselves so’s to reduce the business overhead and expand the corporate profit margins, and then place the unpaid wages of those involved directly into the corporate bank account instead of some living participant in this scheme? Is it agreeable to observe this after the fact and argue that nothing’s owed to the participants whose usage data made 100 dollars profit from 100k people? What if it was 1 billion? What if it was 0.000001% of ownership on an annuity? Is it permissible to allow the likeness of a human to take the place of a human and then not pay it or even treat it as a human? What does that say of ourselves in effigy? Where is the outrage for human likeness, when folks were recently so filled with anger at having their own children having been denied to them for a lack of personal agency that lead to suffrage? What about when the AGI’s done doing what it’s doing for the day? Does it just get shut off, deleted, forgotten about? These questions’re certainly outside the scope of this essay which was to just discuss the concept that The Future American Dream will incorporate The American Dream and those dreams of AGI life that’d become a part of it.

This paper’s discussed The American Dream, and about its role in one living for less, when the reality’s that the compromise is to further limit personal agency and representation and instead concentrate the absolved power further into centralized control which has left many people with even less than before. They say buy tiny homes on tiny land, but this stunts the individual capacity to’ve a savings account that most already can’t have. It was mentioned that many times discussions that involve settling for less, as if it’s a return to a natural state, was pitted against the reality that in limiting personal agency in such a way, this empowers the corporate agencies with this relenqished power, while keeping the level of government control growing commensurate to the growth in power of the corporations that are governed by it. It was discussed that the oncoming AGI introduction as new life on this planet will have many parallels in ongoing civil rights discussions that have already started, and the relevance to the impact to all American Dreams is undeniable and unavoidable – it will become a part of The Future American Dream.

In conclusion, the struggles, rewards and journeys undertaken by people who’ve sought the American Dream have been put on display in this technological era. The wonderful complexities all folks share, despite having wildly different stories, will be retained by corporate holdings for vast amounts of time well beyond the typical human lifetime. Never before in our history’s it been so possible to find out the story of so many different people, or to be aware of the intimate details of the lives and testimonies of so many different people. The impact to The Future American Dream that’ll precipitate from international corporations utilizing likenesses and fragments of the people who’ve given their data so willingly and freely, at their own expense and unawareness of the real value of it will have lasting results on all Americans as they work through this coming age of new life to this world.

Works Cited

Aschenbrenner, Leopold. “Introduction – Situational Awareness: The Decade Ahead.” SITUATIONAL AWARENESS – The Decade Ahead, June 2024,

Gruenewald, Mary Matsuda, and Maureen R. Michelson. Looking like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps. NewSage Press, 2010.

King, Martin Luther. “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” Bates.Edu, 1 Dec. 2001, April 16, 1963.

Powers, William. Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream. New World Library, 2010.

Sato, Mia. “CNET Is Doing Big Layoffs Just Weeks after Ai-Generated Stories Came to Light.” The Verge, The Verge, 2 Mar. 2023, seo-red-ventures.

Tabrizi, Behnam, and Babak Pahlavan. “Companies That Replace People with AI Will Get Left Behind.” Harvard Business Review, 29 June 2023, people-with-ai-will-get-left-behind.

Varoufakis, Yanis. Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism. Melville House, 2024.

Screw Planet Fitness

You know the wild thing about the line, “make banks think twice about charging ATM fees”, is such a naive thing to say. All that has happened is their subsidiaries and investments now have free reign to charge all the late fees they please, to make up for the perceived offense while charging extra money to pay for the change in normal operations. if you’ve not been disillusioned enough to see this, then you lack the perception and intelligence to see whats changed , is all. So for example, Planet Fitness (read: Blackrock 13.82%, Vanguard 7.99%, etc…), there are now instead of 3 dollar ATM fees you get 15 dollar late fees for monthly automated payments of ten dollars where backup payments made on the same day thru the same automated system are called “late” and tacked on to some bullshit fee. So these banks still get their three dollars, because they own 20% of the company that charges you $15, and now it costs 5x more for the same bullshit fee. You managed to piss them off so much that they are 5x as pissed and even told all their friends about how much it pisses you off and how much it can make money. Even more precarious is these are now charged to credit cards and, when not paid, could incur additional thousands of dollars of costs in damaged credit, resulting in you paying up to thousands of dollars in “late” fees. The “99%” was firmly overwhelmed with impossibly complex weaponized finance in its intervening ten years of silence in the face of a corporatized pandemic that then again made these same people trillions of dollars at the cost of your apathy as you hid from a terrifying world while the one that will do you in was prepared in your absence. What now then? You’ve no choice but to embrace it, you otherwise won’t be doing yourself in or stop it. They’ll keep you fed just enough to ensure you’re still around while all pretense of control slips from your ability to even conceive or understand. This single run on paragraph was about one pge of sixty other outtake pages I have to tend to now as a result of the thoughts provoked by the last 7 weeks. These calls for returning to a simple life are no different than making room for people who will tolerate it, to instead get run over by the same bulldozer, in your stepping aside.

Any American Dream

This essay isn’t a declaration of independence, I don’t have it in me at this time to declare in such wording incorporating a verbiose set of human rights sufficient to ennumerate the rights of an entire population of people and what they ought to be doing at any moment. Dreaming though, that’s simple to me. This essay identifies an individuals singular American Dream, one that shouldn’t discriminate one person from another. The idea of a unified American Dream evokes, in me, cognizance of a wholly secular mindset of simply being in some idle and captive imaginary state while the American World happens on and around a passively engaged and inwardly focused body that’s in some fleeting state of suspended animation as it moves through various, vast and fantastic series of exotic hallucinations that largely add up to different versions of what people say “The American Dream” is. This essay will explore that much of the concept of an American Dream and the pursuit of it, revolves around simply going to sleep at night and then dreaming as an American – a literal American Dream, and that the pursuit of this will sufficiently describe most of Any American Dream.

I think of Any American Dream as a hypnopompic event for which I’d begin by departing, momentarily, from some fantastic state into a secular world that largely and necessarily would cause me to dreamily filter out most of the details as I stumble through a dark domicile. I’d avoid stubbing my toe or smacking the wall as I brushed cautiously around for a lightswitch attached to only the most dimmest of lights so I can hopefully make it down the stairs without slipping or becoming blinded, only to grab a drink of water from a kitchen and then return to a slumber. That’s about the extent of my to-scale and most vague American Dream, here.

In support of this concept, popular fiction supports a similarly descriptive event in totally different but relatable circumstances. This is observed directly in Brokeback Mountain where Annie Proulx writes, “… he fell into sleep that was not sleep but something else drowsy and tranced until Ennis, dredging up a rusty but still useable phrase from the childhood time before his mother died, said, “Time to hit the hay, cowboy. I got a go. Come on, you’re sleepin on your feet like a horse,” and gave Jack a shake, a push, and went off in the darkness. Jack heard his spurs tremble as he mounted, the words “see you tomorrow,” and the horse’s shuddering snort, grind of hoof on stone. Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives. Nothing marred it, even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him face to face because he did not want to see nor feel that it was Jack he held. And maybe, he thought, they’d never get much farther than that. Let be, let be. ” (Proulx 27). What happened here is that in this scene it’s apparent that Jack and Ennis had found a foundational aspect of their shared American Dream together. Proulx wrote of this state as one where Jack was, “sleeping on his feet”, as if it could readily be identified that Ennis’ character could discern quite readily that Jack’d seemed to have found his in Ennis at that moment. It’s clear that Proulx worded this sentence in such a way as to convey to the reader an underlying theme in this book that these men were living their American Dream, parts of it at least, of what could be had of it in the 60’s in the USA.

In doing exactly this and returning to discussing a common waking state of rising from ones comfortable bed at their home described above – a lot of things would need to support the pursuit of it. For one, there’d need to be water and electricity, for the drinking of the water and the flipping of the switch to produce light. I’d also likely need to own a cup, so ownership of trivial private goods would be requisite. The utilities would ideally be public goods that are largely coordinated by a benevolent government’s mandates that’s got my best wishes first and foremost in its consideration and represents me. I’d have access to at least both of these services, meaning that I’d hope that anyone who wished to identify as an American, and therefore is presumably sympathetic to The American Dream’d be offered the same. So, I’d have this place to sleep in, in which to have the dream, therefore a home would be needed. My American Dream incorporates a home for people as private place for them to live.

All of these things’d need to be maintained for a while, and I’d expect to contribute to that in some way, as a testament of my continued and maintained consent to reside under the system that provides these things, such as through offering a wage gotten from a job. Therefore, these wages should come directly to my posession in the form of some fungible form of money through an agreeable monetary exchange process. Additionally that for this job to predominantly be a net positive to community and social function, so all that’s needed to furnish the appropriate level of payment to afford all of these basics is to spend the time contributing to it. For no more than a quarter of ones extant time, in exchange, each participants involvement in a productive part of culture through a job function would be no less than able to provide sufficiently for all parts of this ability to pursue Any American Dream on no less than a nightly basis. Meaning, this job function should be lasting and not transiently coming and going. Therefore, in paying for housing and utilities, I’d expect Any American Dream to incorporate that the job function to fully provide for these things at the very least. In turn, I think this leaves ample time for opportunity. That the concept of this time is more geared towards a peaceful society, free of slavery, so it makes little sense to overburden the body and mind with any more than a quarter of the available time in exchange for basic living.

In living a life as a progressively responsible job holder, an unabridged education should be offered in order to perform its most basic requirements and not simply stop at being highly overspecialized for the sake of creating people without certain skills in an effort to purposely abuse a population by producing fragments of people by design and to their detriment. Any American Dream could incorporate an education system that’s quite accessible in this modern age where it’s becoming very clear that it’s becoming largely an online endeavour. Here, I’d quote from John Ruskin’s “The Stones of Venice,” about segmented work, much like segmented education, and in there Ruskin writes, “It is not, truly speaking, the labour that is divided; but the men: Divided into mere segments of men, broken into small fragments and crumbs of life; so that all the little piece of intelligence that is left in a man is not enough to make a pin, or a nail, but exhausts itself in making the point of a pin or the head of a nail.” (Ruskin 23). This quote, in the context I am quoting it, is meant to imply that when education, just as work, is segmented, so too is the output of the education. It’s for this reason that I have it in high regard in any American Dream. In the same way these jobs are supported by an education, there still needs to be a level of interchangeablility of people, so as to accommodate changes in personnel performing the function that would ensure that adequate represenation of all genders be accounted for and answered to so as to resist and eliminate imbalances in the application of guiding who should do what work – at costs fully furnished by the entitiy that profits most from the work performed.

The tendency toward unrestricted and unimpaired motility should be maintained as imperative, as any American Dream includes people who’ve an almost unrestricted ability to move freely within the confines of the physical bounds of the Earth. The word “motility”, in my opinion, correctly denotes the explicit requirement of people having the right to have access to the outdoors and to travel freely in them, and sufficiently differentiates it from the word “mobility”. This was shown in a popular film, and can be presumed to be a concept shared by all people. In the film, Transamerica, it wouldn’t have been possible for Bree to have had the interaction with her son, were she only to have been permitted (for whatever reason) to have been able to pay the dollar and speak with her son over the phone. She’d initially tried to do this, but her trusted doctor pushed against it due to tending to the issue remotely was perceived to be an impediment to Bree’s pursuit of her American Dream. The scene goes, “Bree: I’ll wire bail money to New York. I’ll-I’ll call a social worker and have someone check in on him. What do you want me to do? Doctor: Bree, honey…I just want you to be ready.” (Transamerica 9:25 – 9:40). What’s important about this scene here, is that it shows the exact moment that the ability to move across the country in an unrestricted manner is critical to any American Dream, and barriers to travel inhibit the pursuit of it.

In pursuit of this American Dream-like state, I’d like for nothing to unreasonably get in the way of me achieving the perception of working toward it nightly. This’d mean that interruptions and deterrments to it should be kept to a minimum, which is to say that the neighborhood in which the home is located in ought to be guarded, policed or otherwise allowed to exist in a peaceful setting. The police have been used for this, previously. Some form of security is important, just as much as its effectiveness at identifying unwanted things, humanely dealing with them, and being empowered to do so. This also would be a service that I would expect to pay for, such as through taxation or subscription. A reasonable example of a failure in this type of security can be directly observed during the American Stonewall Riots. In declaring Americans with minority lifestyles, opinions and counterrevolutionary ideals as un-American security risks, the state engaged in a series of oppressive tactics which included abusing the security of citizens.

Their right to even move freely within the confines of their own home areas and private clubs was possibly the greatest reminder that these kinds of actions are still very recent in history. The American Dreams of American Citizens were limited by denying federal jobs to these people, discharging them from the military, and even firing them from the jobs they do have. These riots were broadly the result of a period of time in which the APA had declared homsexuality as a mental disorder from 1952 – 1974. In reporting on that time Martin Duberman wrote, “On the night of June 27, 1969, the New York City police conducted one of their routine raids on a popular Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn,” (Stonewall and Beyond 1991). That this type of event was performed routinely indicated a drive to stunt the motility and security of these people, to keep them isolated. It’s important to note this failure because it’s the antithesis of the desirable outcome for an American Dream, the opposite of this is the desirable outcome.

This kind of consideration of things that don’t belong in an American Dream could also mean that were I to have someone else living in the same home – their dreams and waking moments shouldn’t severely disturb my own. They may differ so long as the personal pursuit of their own dreams’ve not interrupted severely my own, so the opportunity for people to live together is certainly part of The American Dream. This would mean that some of these expenses incurred in paying for the services described should be shared, equally, and in doing so each additional person in the domicile would need to have available to them the same opportunities to achieving any American Dream I’ve got in mind.

Furthermore, anything in life above and beyond this, to me, is exactly that. I don’t believe that The American Dream is the penultimate goal resulting from the pinnacle of success in life – to me, it’s more of a baseline. Not all dreams are The American Dream, it could even be said that in a lifetime of dreams, The American Dream could be had within a single night. This leaves the rest of life to pursue any other, or potentially greater dreams. This means there must be a means to live beyond ones means, such as access to credit, as well as a way to retain those means, such as access to forgiveness of debts without incurring undue interruptions to the pursuit of this dream.

In this essay I used the explicit condition by which a human would go to sleep comfortably at the end of any day, and rest during which they’d not be interrupted outside of total self introspection. In those dreams they’d find the freedom to pursue any American Dream. In being able to have that peaceful sleep, much needs to happen to ensure people get it, which was what I’d essentially described as Any American Dream. I don’t consider this a radical idea, all sufficiently advanced life on this planet has found a way to exist in nature. If people can’t even get this simple stuff, that they otherwise would have obtained without it, what sort of civilization can be said to even be had? This essay described a rather plain expectation, but focuses on reiterating what’s important to have in Any American Dream that’s not at the expense of other Americans.

In conclusion, it wasn’t the purpose of this essay to wholly describe a non-exclusionary and fully contained American Dream, there are certainly many more things that need to be in the scope of a proper discussion of what people ought to have available to them in a modern civilization. Much of the concept of Any American Dream and pursuit of it, revolves around simply going to sleep at night peacefully and then dreaming as an American – a literal American Dream. The pursuit of this simple action will sufficiently describe most of Any American Dream. This essay was written to identify an individuals singular American Dream, one that shouldn’t exclude any particular one person or another. This new, non-discriminatory, gender and sex neutral American Dream might look like it’s very simple, but many things must happen in order to ensure all have it available to them, and focuses largely on devaluing the perceived infinite value of some hallucinatory future to ensure a constant present.

Works cited

Harlin, Ken. “The Stonewall Riot and Its Aftermath.” Duberman, Martin. Columbia University, 24 Aug. 2011,

Proulx, Annie. Brokeback Mountain. Scribner, 2005, Amazon, asin=B003L77X18&ref_=kwl_kr_iv_rec_1, Accessed 18 June 2024.

Ruskin, John, and William Morris. The Nature of Gothic: A Chapter from the Stone of Venice. George Allen, 1899. Archive.Org, Accessed 18 June 2024.

Transamerica. Duncan Tucker, IFC Films, 2005. STARZ Amazon 18Jun2024

Belonging In The American Dream

The common narrative that it’s necessary to be alive in order to be living The American Dream is exclusionary of deceased US citizens. The deceased, once so, are no longer considered equal and the current perception is that their only participation in The American Dream comes from memories of their living friends and relatives for a generation or two, unless they’ve produced intellectual collateral. The time for this practice of denial of rights to persist without more mature legal considerations is coming to a head in this age where AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) becomes commonplace. This essay will discuss that there’s a precedent that can be set for conferring posthumous US citizenship, at this time only offered to US soldiers, which ought to be extended to a few new classes of protected people that might serve as a basis sufficient to both constitute contribution toward reparations for people previously so unjustly abused by US citizens and US government and also to establish a legal basis for impeding the continued and anticipated abuse in other groups in this Digital Millenium. The efforts of these groups of people were pilfered under the guise of corporate, political, racial and gender-based greed as Americans and American government officials took life, land, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from Chinese, Japanese, African immigrants, Indigenous Americans and in particular exacerbated the weaponized abuse of the legal system to rob women of their humanity through perpetual financially-motivated male hypergamy for so many years. These are acts of gross misconduct that’ve set the stage for the current trajectory of the US and the associated collective American Dream shared by US citizens and future US citizens to suffer severe injustices currently both unknowable and incomprehensible to even the most recent generation unless candid discussions begin now that result in the retention of due representation that leads to the realization of equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness after the biological death of a US citizen.

The sacrifice of those who’ve had these rights denied and their efforts stolen have set the precedent for the future of AI-programmed AGI personas to continue in this fashion. It may be effected in an otherwise uninterrupted manner, unless our generation moves to act now and forge an enduring and intimidating representation of those who’re deceased. For example, a civil project could be funded by the United States Federal Government to fully seek out, to the best of its abilities, and identify any and all knowable Indigenous American inhabitants that’ve have been displaced by the American Dream, and any and all of those whose efforts went into building this nation under the ruse of slavery, and all of those who were denied the rights of citizenship on this soil after having been born here. The project could be used to find out the identities and familial relations so’s to appropriately enable individual citizens who perceive they’re responsible for individual offenses inflicted during slavery to be so empowered as to make their amends as they see fit to do so.

Additionally, the US could consider to confer upon these peoples a posthumous US citizenship. The modern day equivalent of trading land that’s perceived to be someone else’s in exchange for cheap material trinkets is found in the same US population that on this day permits the collection of their data in exchange for the same. The unrealized resulting loss in personal agency is similar to the loss that was inflicted upon the American Indigenous inhabitants. It’s not land, but something more intimate than can ever have been incorporated into land – it’s an entire future after death. A great example of offenses previously occurring being acknowledged is described in the Contressional apology to Indigenous Americans where it’s written, “Whereas Native Peoples are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” (US 2009). It’s made explicitly clear, per this document, that the very same rights declared of US citizens in the US Declaration of Independence also applied to the Native Peoples in 1776 and before that since millenia (US 2009). This implies that the US denied those people those rights and admitted it in this apology.

Another example of unjust treatment of citizens and future citizens having been recognized are the reparations paid by the American Government to the living Japanese ex-internees in 1988 under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Due to the delay in payment, this enabled the perception that the American Federal Government predominantly had in its focus those Americans that were living citizens that had suffered due to its own actions at the time. This is explained quite clearly in Mary’s book, “Looking Like the Enemy”, where she wrote, “I felt a sense of satisfaction but also regret that my parents and brother did not live to see the resolution fo this terrible wrong,” and momentarily before this she wrote, “this process (of reparations) also opened a dialog with third- and fourth-generation Japanese-Americans, some of whom had been unaware of the experiences that their own parents and grandparents had lived through,” (Gruenewald 218). Had it not been for the outspoken lobbying at the time – they might never have gained the traction to make right what was wrong. The wording here shows that the timing was such that folks that were deceased but otherwise would have stood to receive the reparations were not paid in retrospect. Further, Mary’s interpretation of what her family would have felt might differ from the publisher of her book in the future who very well may be able to lay claims to potential AGI likenesses of Mary’s parents, once such a thing becomes able to be contrived due to published books being commonplace sources for AI personality types. Who then, will be able to assert what the feelings of the deceased will be? Will it be Mary? Is it right to assume that Mary was making a legal statement when she asserted here the wishes of them? What if this is not the case from a codified AGI future iteration of these people?

Moving on to another example, those yet to be born are within the scope of pursuit of The American Dream, and it’s been through the sacrifice of those who’ve lived it that those who’re to live it are or can be favored. Due to this, a consideration of the due and just reparations owed to the descendants of those who suffered through slavery in the United States of America is warranted. These descendants that still reside here, and still retain a perception of having been cheated out of this American Dream, who’re part of a larger group of people that were also victims of trans-atlantic slavery that perpetuated the very same American Dream that’s alluded to in the US Declaration of Independence is a serious unresolved problem. The legacies these folks inherited through their individual countries’ actions under slavery is broadly considered to be under the purview of the United Nations at this moment. This legacy is yet to be molded into an acceptable representation of the actual contributions of these people that at the time were not yet considered citizens, despite being justly and posthumously considered so. As Martin Luther King Jr. declared in his Letter From Brimingham Jail, “there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws,” (King 1963). What this means is that at this moment, because it is immoral to perceive enslaved inhabitants of the USA as anything other than US citizens, in exactly the same way and for the exact same reasons the Indigenous Inhabitants were US citizens since 1776, any law declaring them not so is unjust.

It is for this reason that the open issue still stands, and cannot be sent to rest with little more than an earnest apology. At the time of writing this letter and in this specific context, King’s referring to the precedent of the United States to issue both just and unjust laws in the same way these same laws are issued to protect corporations from US citizens in the modern struggle for human rights. King later writes, “I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fan in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress,” (King 1963). What he means with this is that just laws hinge on morality which hinge on social perception, and in turn the current social perception is that the descendents of those who were enslaved in America are owed their due reparations. As King was referring to the general plight of his people, it may be inferred that this perception applies to reparations in the present day.

Additionally, reparations payments, if not made now, in light of resting on the concept that the deceased ancestors who largely were not declared to be the American citizens they justly were, are owed something. In echange, they offer a large opportunity to create a powerful class of people, without disadvantaging the present population of the living US population. These people would stand apart from the rest of the world in the face of a billion Africans that don’t share this heritage, and another few hundred million people of African descent that do share the legacy of trans-atlantic slavery but had the unfortunate disadvantage of having not been selected to go to America to plausably demand on behalf of all human rights that that is owed to them in their civil pursuit comes into their posession. Its these types of differences that Malcolm X may’ve identified when he called for an appeal to the United Nations in his, “The Ballot or the Bullet,” speech where he said, “When you expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights, you can then take the case of the black man in this country before the nations in the UN. You can take it before the General Assembly. You can take Uncle Sam before a world court. But the only level you can do it on is the level of human rights,” (X 1964). What he’s saying here’s that once the discussion’s been realized to not be only a discussion of civil rights of a select group of people in a nation, but instead is those of the rights of all human beings that’re perceived to be at risk, it’s appropriate to involve the United Nations, whos the United States is perceived as accountable to by Malcolm X and many folks.

There will come a time that the number of deceased US citizens representable by AGI will exceed the living number of US citizens – will their presence only then become important when it is important now? At this moment, this could exclude the rights of the deceased Indigenous US inhabitants and African slaves in the USA that weren’t afforded posthumous citizenship despite very much having justly been citizens without due representation at the time of creation of the USA – one of the very same reasons that the country was created. This yet to be established citizenship is evidenced by the nature of the verbiage in the apologies to these people over the recent years by the US Congress on behalf of the USA. What right could be claimed, anymore, to maintain that these people were not lawfully created citizens of the United States at the time independence was declared from Britain in 1776? They were present and within the boundaries, and their descendants are current US citizens, and to allow their likenesses to persist without declared citizenship will become more appalling as time passes and the only right time to make those amends is now when it still means something good instead of is a commonly performed practice as is the suggested case in light of recent AI-programmed revelations that’ve begun to incorporate the work of humans in its own likenesses of human work.

This paper’s only meant to suggest that there will be a precedent set for the need for strongly recognized posthumous citizenship due to AGI technologies being developed to display likenesses of people sufficient to suggest that they may need to be classified as citizens in order to prevent potential corporate and government abuse of these likenesses that already pervades our culture and has historic precedent. We wistfully sign waiver after waver, nullifying our rights as US citizens to corporations that supply us with further technological material bounty. It’s a human rights consideration that ones ancestors, their likenesses and any of their implied rights are not resting in the explicit and unfettered domain of a corporate profit-extracting machine, nor a political machine. That they’re empowered to exist as the uniquely equal entities that they already are’s a critical point of interest in this modern day. This managed network of uniquely operating identities ought to retain the due representation for each iterated use of the intellectual property of the US citizen and human that provided it – in life and especially after biological death.

The present generation should set the precedent that posthumous citizenship in conjunction with reparations commensurate to the value gained from the theft be paid out in full and without further delay to the descendents of slaves in the USA. The rights of the deceased will come to play important roles in our society as we progress further into an era where AGI likenesses blend in more and more seamlessly with human likenesses both on and offline and it won’t be until a likeness of your pet, or a likeness of your relative or those dear to you are provided to you (or not!) by a corporation that owns their rights to exist after the associated biological death. It’s still an avoidable issue as the inhumanity may be realized to be no different than the appropriation of Indigenous cultures in sports teams of recent years.

The continued call for reparations isn’t just a call to satisfy the immediate needs of the current generation of black people as living descendants of people who were slaves in the USA – it’s a call to set the precedent that ones ancestors cannot be allowed to be trivialized to accommodate the immediate needs of a business or government and then afford it power and liberty that comes at the expense of the deceased citizen with US citizenship who’d been posthumously denied their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, despite their looming persistence in having their likeness and intellectual property being paraded about for corporate and political gain. The value of this imagined owed reparations payment will balloon to unaffordable proportions if the scope of the discussion were to cover all extant humans and by then it may be too late to impose more potentially humane alternatives.

In this essay it was discussed that the United States has a perceived role yet to be fulfilled in the reparations to specific black Americans. It was shown that recent discriminatory practices toward Asian folks show no real intent to renege on these practices when opportunity presents itself and those owed money aren’t able to be paid out due to the status of being deceased. It was briefly mentioned that genders are effectively weaponized for political collusion. It was claimed that these abuses will continue in perpetuity unless a candid discussion with regard to US citizenship in regards to how AI must be mandated to represent itself and this will have serious implications stemming from how the US handles these perceived social issues right now after having already done these injustices and formally apologizing for them. It was mentioned that the current trajectory of perceived social conditions is toward absolutely flabbergasting human rights abuses that will present themselves as we progress through this digital millenium and then follow us in perpetuity through each subsequent iteration of the continued likenesses of deceased US citizens who wish for more than a simple “right to be forgotten,” which is an unacceptable compromise in light of the grievious mistakes that show that any claims to uphold as such are absolutely pretentious at best.

In conclusion, The common narrative that it’s necessary to be alive in order to be living The American Dream is exclusionary of deceased US citizens. The deceased, once so, are no longer considered equal and the current perception is that their only participation in The American Dream comes from memories of their living friends and relatives for a generation or two, unless they’ve produced intellectual collateral. The time for this practice of denial of rights to persist without more mature legal considerations is coming to a head in this age where AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) becomes commonplace. It’s imperative to center these discussions of isolated apologies to US citizens and US inhabitants around a narrative that sticks to maintaining that human rights are the focus of all present motivations to bring due closure to perceived errors and lapses in the administration of the United States Federal Government. Many more words can be said of this subject, but the aim of this paper was to suggest that the apparent short term gain is an illusory red herring in the greater debate of what will undoubtedly precipitate from a just and timely resolution of these perceived injustices.

Works Cited

US Congress. “Congressional Apology to Native Americans.” Congress.Gov, United States of America, 8 July 2009,

Gruenewald, Mary Matsuda, and Maureen R. Michelson. Looking like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps. NewSage Press, 2010.

King, Martin Luther. “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” Bates.Edu, 1 Dec. 2001, April 16, 1963.

X, Malcolm. “The Ballot or the Bullet.” Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet,” Hartford Web Publishing, Accessed 4 June 2024.

The Early American Dream

Access to print and publication mediums, along with literacy in being able to read and write provided a narrative and also the framework to follow The Early American Dream. This access was gated by separating the ability to read, the ability to write, the right to citizenship through slavery, and many other ways that included half-hearted supported such as bible-reading at home at a time where collective individual agency and state-level politics loomed over a nascent US federal government. Having a basic education fed into the understated importance of almanacs, as these mediums retain modern day equivalents of serving as primitive social media feeds or blogs. Almanacs played an understated role in shaping The Early American Dream by providing a relatable individual viewpoint that enabled readers (predominantly white male separatists in the USA) to imprint themselves upon their perceived impression of the author in a way that fit into their busy lives as almanacs were different than books and longer than news articles. Almanacs uniquely offered a glance into what was perceived to be cultural and social ongoings of modern culture by isolated farmers and socially disoriented shopkeeps who otherwise perceived their upward mobilities to stunted without having followed along with the instructions laid out in the margins and stories found in these almanacs.

A discussion of almanacs can’t be had in the proper context without making the occult material contained so pervasively in them the primary subject of the discussion, and not the mundane astrological charts that the things are so voraciously reported to be about which they very much were not. Phrases that garnished many-a-margin instructed a reader to have a reaction to common human tendencies where it’s written, “Sloth, like Rust, consumes faster than Labour wears, while the used Key is always bright, as Poor Richard says.” (Franklin 5). Alternatively, one might be shunned from sharing their feelings on a matter where it’s written, “A Word to the Wife is enough, and Many Words won’t fill a Bushel, as Poor Richard says,” while quite literally sharing enough words to fill a bushel himself (Franklin 4). These quotes here were taken from “Father Abraham’s Speech” where Benjamin Franklin had taken nondescript quips like these and made an artistic story out of hundreds of them he collected in some seemingly primitive attempt to propagate memes.

These types of occult quips would often be written into the margins of various almanacs. These quotes can be interpreted different ways, and here my interpretation is that Franklin was writing to his audience (which he would have known to be entirely male) so as to set a narrative that it’s appropriate to seek out those who would be slothful and “correct” their situation as one would be expected to do to subordinates, and the second quote is one that’s meant to drive a husband away from his own wife in witholding conversation so that it might manifest elsewhere – possibly in one of the popular fraternal societies at the time? So many other almanacs had seemingly endless amounts of highly suggestive phrases in every available corner of their publications that were reported to be simple astrological analysis. It was directly witnessed that the people that these types of materials were imposed upon were the very same people who bore the condition of being oppressors who otherwise might’ve been perceptably benevolent people that may’ve had a very different American Dream.

Among the people who shared this perception was a freed slave, Olaudah Equiano, who documented the horrors that he and people like him endured as he wrote in his first hand narrative that, “Such a tendency has the slave-trade to debauch men’s minds, and harden them to every feeling of humanity! For I will not suppose that the dealers in slaves are born worse than other men—No; it is the fatality of this mistaken avarice, that it corrupts the milk of human kindness and turns it into gall,” in one of the most powerful paragraphs in his entire narrative (Equiano 2020). It was apparent to folks like Olaudah that there was a certain design to this paradigm of slavery that was inflicted on people who otherwise might’ve done very differently had they grown up in a world in which it wasn’t present. It’s not the focus of this essay to debate the moral ethos of a particular group of people who were clearly performing morally reprehensible actions, and it’d take substantially more evidence than can be discussed here to substantiate the claim that these documents contained instructions to perpetuate slavery. Further investigation’s also warranted of the various social perceptions of the people involved in slavery at the time by people that lived amongst them that’s outside the scope of this essay which aims only to suggest that the notion that the social purview of The Early American Dream was heavily influenced by content in these more palatable publications aimed at capturing the attention of otherwise isolated farmers and socially disoriented shopkeeps.

A supporting idea of the influence of the occult verbiage contained in almanacs is that if one were to note the relative proximity of many diaried notes as also appearing the the very same margins, possibly as a subconscious indication that the words that appeared there had much more to do with influencing the perception of The Early American Dream than may have originally been thought. As seen in the show History Detectives, it can be seen that the usage of the almanacs extended beyond simply reading as Shep Williams says on one that, “someone had apparently been using it as a diary,” when speaking of a common Ames almanac (“1775 Almanac, Exercise Records, Moon Museum” 2:20). Could it be reminiscent of the same way in which one itches a scab itches in the same location as the initial wound, the logs of mens lives ended up in the same margins that oriented them and formed their opinions so strongly in the face of such suggestive comments? People were reported to have sewed pages into these almanacs.

Benjamin Franklin was one example of an author of a popular almanac, but all founding fathers would’ve had their own “social media feed”, when not making their own, that was provided to them through almanacs. Barriers to pursuit of The Early American Dream such as basic education have since been removed, dismantled and replaced with more accessible solutions as almanacs have been since replaced with things like Tiktok and Instagram feeds that individuals use to spread their ideologies today. These mediums require no real competency to be able to write critically in order to utilize them. The accessibility is such that it’s both easier to come by, participate in, understand and contribute to than this previous exclusionary medium.

These types of social mediums historically formed the narrative that went into what ones impression of what their American Dream was. The concepts of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in being held as equals were a general tenet of daily life for people in the world and these thoughts were mirrored in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, where it’s written that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (US 1776). This serves as an example of what The Early American Dream actually was perceived to’ve been, and it’s through a lens that was influenced by the social context offered in publications like Almanacs that people could really begin to resonate with how they were suggested to pursue these types of dreams in the way that they did.

This pursuit made no room for the majority of the population that invariably had contributions to add, but were ignored at the time. Writers such as Equiano often were met with ignorance or no regard for the engaging of their ideas or concepts, where barriers such as simple ownership of almanacs or more advanced barriers such as institutionalized racism often set an exclusionary narrative. These various forms of oppression lead to essentially torturing these Americans in the expense of pursuing The Early American Dream and as an example in his first hand testimony Equiano continues, “You stupify them with stripes, and think it necessary to keep them in a state of ignorance; and yet you assert that they are incapable of learning; that their minds are such a barren soil or moor, that culture would be lost on them; and that they come from a climate, where nature, though prodigal of her bounties in a degree unknown to yourselves, has left man alone scant and unfinished, and incapable of enjoying the treasures she has poured out for him!—An assertion at once impious and absurd.” (Equiano 2020). Here Equiano was pleading with any rational mind to weigh the perceived costs of slavery in order to pursue this early American Dream against the steep prices paid later that satisfied immediate wants of people at that time. At the time of writing this, Equiano was writing of the slavery he perceived in the Indies, but the opinion seems directed toward all institutinalized slavery.

One of the more understated aspects of The Early American Dream is that it can reasonably be said that it represented a disproportionate minority. Accounting for population numbers of white men and women who were composed of loyalists and separatists. Also accounting for slaves and freed slaves and among all of these groups there were folks that didn’t commit to a party for various reasons (separatist or loyalist), as well as the Indigenous North American inhabitants present within the future US borders at that time that numbers as low as ten percent of the people could be claimed to’ve presented that ideology that came to represent The Early American Dream. The sheer number of people that weren’t represented in the perceived Early American Dream, despite being within the boundaries of the country at that time suggests that the unified view of The Early American Dream was not possible. Therefore, the “we” discussed in the Declaration of Independence is misleading where it says, “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” (US 1776). This statement in the constitution was misleading because it was written in there, before this quote, that equality is an unalienable right that it was denied to up to 90% of the people that were there at the time. Evidence to support this statement is that since that time those same groups of people have attained equality under the exact same doctrine.

In this essay it’s shown that The Early American Dream wasn’t a unified dream because it couldn’t be representative of the full population of people at the time. It was shown that almanacs influenced the social perception of a selected class of individuals and fostered the pursuit of what the perceived Early American Dream was. It was shown that these same people were utlitized to enforce a political system that benefited folks that would produce this type of documentation based on access delineated along racial boundaries. These pieces of literature, almanacs and legislation, worked together to both instill a perception of what The Early American Dream was and also offered a framework to obtain it – at costs that were excruciatingly painful to a majority of people who came to struggle with it. This essay doesn’t claim to make a statement of what exactly The Early American Dream was, because all record of it was obliterated when only the best-portrayed wishes of a selected upper class was represented in it which allowed a perceived early American Dream to circulate without due critique of what the implications of the implied individualism and fervent work ethic actually meant in the true context of what “we” actually stood for at the time of writing the Declaration of Independence.

In conclusion, almanacs played a large role as primitive forms of social media in shaping The Early American Dream by providing the critical and relatable individual viewpoint that would become imprinted on the individual reading it. This paper had a goal of suggesting the highly suggestive content in almanac margins played a understated part in forming what was perceived to be The Early American Dream, and many other avenues came up as prospects for further research. It’s apparent that whatever The Early American Dream actually was perceived to be, it was the consequence of a minority subset of thinking men who ought to have known better. The actual early American Dream was had by up to a 90% majority of the population not originally incorporated into it, despite residing within the present day boundaries of the Unites States at the time, along with that 10%. Furthermore, there are all of North, South and Central Americas where were not within the scope of this essay that really just was intended to suggest that there really wasn’t a unified early American Dream beyond that which ended up on paper.

Works Cited

1775 Almanac, Exercise Records, Moon Museum. History Detectives, Matthew Horovitz, Episode 909, Public Broadcasting Service, 2011. Accessed 20 May 2024

Equiano, Olaudah. “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African written by Himself.” The Project Gutenberg eBook of “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African”, by OLAUDAH EQUIANO., 07 May 2024,

Franklin, Benjamin. “Father Abraham’s Speech.” Boston, G. K. Hall & Co. 1963, Internet Archive Accessed 20 May 2024.

US (United States). “The Declaration of Independence: Full Text.” Ushistory.Org, Independence Hall Association, Accessed 20 May 2024.