My final project was a collaborative one with cr88, in which we created word clouds of the full texts of The Plague and The Origin of Species to look at 1) the differences and commonalities between scientific and literary texts, as embodied by this bizarre representational form, and 2) different forms of literary analysis outside of the ones we are used to and how they can be useful. These were the images we produced:
The Origin of Species
In Anne Dalke’s discussion section, we discussed the role of humor in Adaptation and in evolution as a whole. We started off with the idea that maybe Adaptation is telling us that humor is key in evolution because it makes us more resilient. Charlie Kaufman is depicted as anxiety-ridden, miserable, constantly suffering from an existential crisis, and unsuccessful. He is obsessed with creating the perfect movie and drives himself nuts with it. Donald Kaufman is depicted as a much more carefree, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants guy, and (ironically?) it is his ridiculous screenplay that is successful. Perhaps it is Donald’s humor that helps him be so much happier and more resilient than his brother.
Our in class conversation on Monday with author Michael Chorost's skype was certainly dynamic. Although I enjoyed the topics discussed, I found that at one point I asked the wrong question and didn't get the more appropriate one across. If I could get the chance to speak with Chorost again, I'd ask him the following:
In continuing to explore other folks’ papers for The Story of Evolution and the Evolution of Stories, I stumbled across bee27’s webpaper, which (much like my paper) talks about how Darwin’s model of evolution can apply to education. bee27 writes:
“Freire complements Darwin's ideas of breaking free of the educational mold, suggesting a shifted focus to viewing our children as students, and as participants in their own education, and not merely inactive vessels for other people's knowledge. Through On the Origin of the Species, Darwin's radical and therefore extremely significant ideas are like a call to action for science education.”
Dennett caught my attention when he discussed what we as humans saw as the point of life. A life of exploring, learning new things is not exactly the way Mother Nature sees it. Instead he mentions that, "a life of sleep is as good a life as any other and in many regards better --- certainly cheaper --- than most (p.340). Now that I believe is a great motto to live by considering the lack of attention many of my peers seem to pay to the subject of sleep. Wouldn't be interesting if our bodies worked similarly to bears and other mammals that hibernate all winter? Now that would be an interesting experiment, could we sleep through winter? what kinds of changes would our bodies go through?
I must admit that evolution is no easy task to conquer. I would like to now place Darwin right up on the pedestal with Albert Einstein and other great geniuses. Why wasn't he there before? I am not sure, maybe my gut reactions and morals were holding me back from holding him to such esteem but after attempting to piece together a course syllabus on evolution I found that the subject is not only complex but never ending. It pours into other disciplines and weaves its way into society and popular culture. I can see how some people can find great excitement from such a theory because, I feel like there's so many questions that still need to be answered and so many answers that still need to be understood. I think I might have a crush on evolutionary theory.