Have we lost sight of what is important, as a civilization? Is the world out of alignment with principles that matter? Missing children, an increasing COVID-19 death rate, and constant ethical dilemmas associated with our socially complex world make us wonder: can we, as a species, come to an agreement on anything?
A common human experience is feeling our differences outweigh our similarities, amounting to the formation of groups we feel we can identify with. The formation of socio-political groups based on religion, race, social background, or class (i.e. identity politics) has become a primary feature of the modern culture wars in the United States as a method for rectifying historical wrongs and engaging with social justice — but is this way of thinking helping? “Lafayette #2” grapples with these cultural qualms and what it means to hold a particular identity amidst societal upheaval.
September 11th shook a nation — it still haunts the USA today. This memoir piece marks an emotional journey, and the physical complication of flying a few days after the terrorist attack to a memorial service of someone killed in the second plane. It is a reminder that life is temporary, and to live fully despite this.
What experiences shape our life trajectories and sense of self? What roles do family heritage, state formation, and linguistic and cultural barriers have in creating a person? Are we just byproducts of events and nature, both outside our control? The following personal essay focuses on the author’s background as a refugee from the former Yugoslavia and makes the case for why we should think of the ‘refugee experience’ as a distinct category from the larger ‘immigrant experience.’ The author argues that because refugees are forcibly displaced from their home countries, they have a unique relationship both to the places from which they had to leave as well as the places in which they ultimately end up.
How are the current conditions affecting us? The fear of catching Covid-19, the fear of spreading it. The political turmoil in the United States and what feels like an impasse in communication, in discourse. How are the restrictions and isolation affecting our mental health? Sometimes, we need to look backward in order to move forward. The following photo essay takes us through this time unknown.
Travel can open our eyes to experiences we never could have dreamed of — but, how important is exploration to personal growth? Can experiencing other cultures and societies serve to unite us or alienate us? Travel can make our world feel Infinitesimally small or boundless and immeasurably vast depending on perspective.
As the primary commodity for trade, how has information hindered our societal advancement and created a polarizing nightmare? The advent of the printing press, the internet, social media, and media companies have served as advancements for humanity, making it infinitely easier to communicate and engage with others across the globe, but is this a good thing? Now, society’s obsession with social media has made it easier than ever to be cast as “other” if you hold an unpopular opinion. This new song by Blindboss tackles the challenges of modern society and the hypocrisy of social media.
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?
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?