The controversial and well-known Lolita by Nabokov forces us to address taboo topics and confusing realities in a way that only art can do. How do relationships often represent unrealistic ideals? Despite the novel’s taboo subject matter, can it teach us something about the dynamics of normal relationships? How do different art forms allow us to address immoral behaviors, social faux-pas, or the negative features of our human condition productively?
There’s no question the United States — and the globe — has been experiencing crisis and turmoil. Crisis Theory emerged as a response to assist those who faced unimaginable horrors while serving in WWII — can it help us now? How can we apply Crisis Theory to the U.S.’s political climate, institutions, policies, and laws; personal therapy sessions and individual mental health; and response to the COVID-19 global pandemic in order to enact positive change?
What’s worse — being at the mercy of strong emotions, or feeling nothing at all? Is life better in pain, or jaded to it? How do we deceive ourselves, delude ourselves, into acceptance? Compliance?
All human societies are well acquainted with unnecessary violence — but can we change this? Are the conditions under which humans live such that unnecessary violence is an integral feature of our human nature? At what level (e.g. individual, societal, national) do changes need to take place to rectify our fatal human flaw of pathological violence?
DISCLAIMER: The following artworks feature violence and sexual content.
What does the continued relevance of vampire stories say about humans’ natural inclination to ostracize the ‘other?’ How have modern vampire tales changed this narrative? Could this evolution of thought be representative of an evolved human condition? What do vampire tales say about our fear of the dead, or mass hysteria associated with things we do not understand?
How do we keep our emotionality in check? As a species, what regulatory mechanisms do we employ to balance negative and positive experiences? Does society influence our psychological balancing act, or is this primarily an individual responsibility?
Where do we derive meaning for our existence and how do we find happiness? Can souls be nourished like bodies? If the world is a window, what do we see when we look in as we pass it by?
Does the current government of the United States reflect the founding fathers’ views? As a society, do we value unalienable rights, individual liberty, and self-reliance, or the illusion of morality to control citizens? How can we move away from oligarchic principles and move toward the virtue of Republicanism?
Is the impulse to commit suicide born of anger and aggression or desperation and fear? Can we make a generalizable claim regarding the reasons an individual takes his/her own life? Do we ever really understand the things we do, or are we just rationalizing our actions and the actions of others after the fact?
If ‘good’ is what causes pleasure and ‘evil’ is what causes pain, is death evil? Or, do we live in a universe where what happens to is indifferent and only how we relate to it is good or bad? Is death a transformative experience or the cessation of life and consciousness?