Evaluation of Academic Integrity Policy in UCSD

ExcelWithIntegrity

(Image from Academic Integrity Office website, UCSD)

Academic integrity is a concept that guides college students through success in their campus life. The academic integrity policy in UC San Diego, upholding this concept, addresses the major concerns of students’ works and their eligibility. The policy lists some major requirements for the students to complete their scholarship programs.

Working with integrity is, in my perspective, essential for all the learners. “Education happens best when it occurs in an environment that is fair to all” (Gocsik, 26). This principle applies perfectly to all the fields of studies around the world, and it is the academic integrity that brings fairness and honesty to university environments. Under the trustworthy atmosphere, we students can study engagingly, and our teachers can give appropriate helps to correct our mistakes. Besides, we should be aware of the policy because disobeying certain rules will result in penalty. Sanction is clearly what we do not expect to receive. Being accustomed to integrity also benefits us a lot: It bestows the confidence that we can do works on our own and ensures others to measure our abilities accurately.

Of course, potential objections to the policy arise when the workload is too heavy so that students have to disregard academic integrity to accomplish some tasks. Indeed, some smart and intelligent people can even act in an unacceptable way if they are under stress. Nevertheless, we should be responsible for our work completion. Instructors, knowing students can grip the study materials, will not normally assign too many missions to the students, or they will be in trouble. Hence, we ought to manage our schedules and get homework done in a timely manner.

I am concerned about working with integrity because it matters to my academic development. Learning new things is never an easy process, so it is impossible to use deceptive tactics. What I can do is to absorb the knowledge, ask questions, and apply all them to solve real-world issues. In that way, I can achieve my goal of being an expert in specific field. In addition, I would like to keep the moral code. Violating the policy is a contaminator, and it is really bad to do it. Many psychologists have emphasized the effect of cheating on individuals: Once people get rewards from cheating, they want to cheat more. It is better not to stir up the negative loop of cheating.

Sophocles, a renowned Greek philosopher, once said, “I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.” This sentence reminds me again of doing any task with my own effort. Every moment before I start doing something, including writing this essay, it is worthwhile to think about academic integrity.

 

Work Cited

Gocsik, Karen Marie. “Chapter Four: Writing with Integrity and Excellence.” The Essential Guide to Analytical Writing, UC San Diego Bookstore, 2017, p. 26.

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The Logic of Causes

Logic is everywhere in our life, and it is very useful in solving some complicated problems. Practising logic is also a good way to enhance our understanding of certain concepts and make groundbreaking discoveries.

I have long been interested in logicology for its pragmatism. When I witness an event, I always attempt to find out its causes. In other words, I want to deduce in what conditions do something happen. There are three types of causes that I regularly consider about.

A precipitating cause is the most direct and subjective description of what makes something happen. We can identify the subject who is acting on the object, and then combine them into one sentence by basic language rules. It is the most understandable (and maybe the most detailed) cause and is generally employed in the field of arts, humanities and social sciences.

A necessary cause is the premise for an event. Only if the result happen can we deduce some conditions are met. Without these conditions, the event cannot take place. However, it is notable that even if the cause exist, there will be possibly no corresponding result. In mathematics and natural sciences, the necessary cause is vital to investigate and analyze many intriguing phenomena.

A sufficient cause is not necessary, but contribute to the event’s occurence. Some conditions can make the incidence of the result, but without them the event may still occur. The sufficient cause can be used to predict what things will happen so that we take actions to alter its impact on the event.

Here are some self-made examples of events and their corresponding causes:

Event: A tsunami in 2004 caused mass fatality in Indonesia.

Precipitating cause: Consecutive huge waves of water striked the ground and hurted many people along the coast.

The cause can be regarded as a witness telling us about how the tsunami takes people’s lives away. The waves of water is the subject that is acting on people, the object, who receive the physical damage.

Necessary cause: There were a lot of visitors and dwellers in the shore of Indonesia.

We can see that when a lot of people are nearby the sea, it is very impossible for something to cause their death. However, should the fatality takes place, there must be visitors and dewellers in the shore to let the tsunami strike.

Sufficient cause: Earthquake in Indian Ocean provided enough energy for water to travel in high speed and immediately attack the ground.

A tsunami can be caused by earthquake. However, other causes, such as volcanic eruption, typhoon or hurricane, and some meteor event, may also lead to its occurence.

Event: Tom got an “F” in General Biology course.

Precipitating cause: During final exam, Tom’s teacher saw him glancing at other students’ answer sheet.

Oops. It’s unfortunate for Tom to fail the exam because he is cheating. This behavior is observed by his teacher, who angrily let him fail the course. (By the way, abide to the academic integrity!)

Necessary cause: Doing something that violates students’ rules.

Assume the school has all smart students. Then, to fail the course, they should violate the policy. The violation may not be observed by teacher, so some students get passed the course without penalty. Well, still, I personally do not encourage that behavior.

Sufficient cause: Cheating on exam.

Cheating on a final exam will automatically give Tom a big F. However, other factors, such as not submitting assignments, missing quizzes, being absent from classes, can also make him receive this embarassing grade.

Event: Bright, shiny and hard diamond became black, dark and soft graphite.

Precipitating cause: Heating of the diamond changed it into a black, powdered substance called graphite.

This is a phenomenon that we can directly observe in real world. The color change is very rapid so that we can say the heating process changes the diamond into the graphite.

Necessary cause: The reaction is thermodynamically favored.

Gibbs free energy change, ΔG°, is calculated using Hess’s Law: ΔG° = ΔH° – TΔS°. It determines the direction of the reaction. Because the entropy change, ΔS°, for the conversion of diamond into graphite is positive (the energy in carbon atoms becomes more dispersed), the higher the temperature, the more negative the Gibbs free energy change will be. The reaction goes to the direction in forming graphite.

Sufficient cause: The heat applied made the reactants exceed the activation energy.

Giving heat to the reactants increase their internal energy, possibly breaking the boundary to change them into transition state. The reactants are said to reach their activation energy, and the reaction can proceed. Of course, there are other ways to change diamond into graphite, like using catalysts, putting pressure on it or just let it stay for millions of years, as indicated by some research studies.

From the examples I mentioned, we can see the logic of causes applies to all the aspects of our life, though the lines among the three types of causes may be not clear if the phenomena have a lot of factors to consider about. Overall, the skill of analyzing the causes is essential. It can not only help us to ace an exam, but also propel our creativity to make benefit to the world. I am sure to keep employing and refining this mindset.

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Project of Albert Camus’ The Plague

Above is our masterpiece!

(We received the project assignment at the right beginning of the new semester. This project instructed students to interpret one of the four levels operated in Albert Camus’ The Plague: Literal, political, metaphysical, and existential. We chose metaphysical. Through a week’s work for it, we accomplished an artwork. Here’s our project reflection, and two corresponding quotes that help us create our painting.)

Part 1: Reflection of The Plague Abstraction Project

Literary ideas could be simply expressed using abstract objects, such as the different levels of thoughts made in The Plague. This book operates on four lens: literal, political, metaphysical, and existential, each of which could be interpreted using different viewpoints. We selected metaphysical level to create our abstract work through the project.

This process took us about half a day to accomplish our goals. First, we brainstormed about the structure of this artwork and its corresponding properties, like colors, shapes, and some highlighted objects. Then we bought the required materials: a piece of A3 paper, pigments, water, and a paint brush. While three other students of our group have done the purchasing or explaining the ideas behind our creation, Blake worked for painting and finished it before school.

The artwork we created so far was revolved around the metaphysical lens that generally emphasizes the presence of evilness and people’s reactions toward it. Therefore, through this understanding, we attempted to create a scene that there was a red bloody background – symbolizing the deaths in The Plague – and a bar that represents Oran’s isolation. Within the bar exists a black solid circle, which is the plague itself, accompanied by various things that stretch out of the circle symbolizing different people’s reactions.

In my opinion, our portrait of this lens was successful in capturing the metaphysical lens through the coloring, shaping, and highlighting of this artwork. We could envision many different reactions in respect to the plague simply through the objects themselves. Besides the red background and the bars, the gloomy color tone also makes the audience aware that the plague puts the entire town into distress. However, since most of our objects that are attached to the black circle were based upon the main characters, our work could also be misinterpreted as portraying literal lens of the novel.

Nevertheless, I gained deeper understanding about different ways to view the novel The Plague. Instead of focusing on the written texts, I tried to convert the main ideas expressed in this novel into a simpler, abstract painting. Through the project, therefore, I knew to make what seemed complex into a vivid imagery. Moreover, I got to appreciate other groups’ works, and understood that there were other lens successfully portrayed in their paintings. Their works gave me insights about expressing different levels of meanings through abstraction.

Part 2: Analysis of quotes from The Plague in metaphysical level

Quote: Generally speaking, they did not lack courage, bandied more jokes than lamentations, and made a show of accepting cheerfully unpleasantnesses that obviously could be only passing. In short, they kept up appearances. (Part 2, Chapter 10)

Analysis: While the plague is expected to put the whole town into silence and fear, there are certain citizens who, surprisingly, would express their feelings in an extreme way. Instead of focusing on the plague, they seem to be indifferent toward its existence, pretend to continue normal lifestyles, and even accept the truth. This absurdity of actions makes us aware that different people conceptualize the world in different aspects, and thus behave distinctively to the society they perceive. They surely are the observers of this entire catastrophe, but they have different perspectives about it.

Quote: Rambert said he’d thought it over very carefully, and his views hadn’t changed, but if he went away, he would feel ashamed of himself, and that would embarrass his relations with the woman he loved. Showing more animation, Rieux told him that was sheer nonsense; there was nothing shameful in preferring happiness. (Part 4, Chapter 20)

Analysis: Confronting this plague, people may differ in their reactions throughout the passage of time. Rambert, though occasionally attempts to escape the town to seek his wife, changes his decisions through the impact of Rieux. The dynamism of his changing actions imply the transformation of his original viewpoints about the plague and the isolation of Oran. The interaction between the two characters also illustrates that in the face of evilness, they both decide to fight against the plague, though Rieux regards it as a necessary duty, while Rambert does this job through a moral conflict between rightness and wrongness.

Rhetorical Analysis of Man’s Search for Meaning

During the time around World War II, psychoanalysis had set its reputation in the field of psychology. Nevertheless, new theories of interpreting psychological factors arose and got new attention from the public – logotherapy was one of them. In Man’s Search for Meaning, the author explicated on his experience in concentration camp and the lessons derived from his sufferings. These things obtained him new insights about logotherapy as he explored deeper into the psychology of human beings.

Of course, the first part of this book took a long account telling the experience, but what’s more important is the three phases of the prisoners inside the concentration camp. “When one examines the vast amount of material which has been amassed as the result of many prisoners’ observations and experiences, three phases of the inmate’s mental reactions to camp life become apparent.” (P22) As Frankl observed the prisoners’ behaviors, he generalized them into three discontinuous segments, and took separated paragraphs to illustrate several examples of these phases. Moreover, the story was not written in chronological order, but rather in the form of different episodes that included different characters’ interactions. The full book itself is in first person, but besides the introspection Frankl took about his own experience in the concentration camp, it also encompassed other people’s thoughts about their own life’s meanings, as Frankl concluded from his observations: “It can be readily understood that such a state of strain, coupled with the constant necessity of concentrating on the task of staying alive, forced the prisoner’s inner life down to a primitive level.” (P40) Obviously, the author took his voice to convey the meanings that various factors implemented inside the camp might contribute to the mental disorder of the prisoners. By contrast, therefore, the author, having blocked the negative impacts of these factors, has gained the credibility of explaining what he envisioned about logotherapy.

The second part, being more naturally theoretical, describes his own psychological theory. In this part, Frankl explored on the way his school of psychology came into maturation, including his experiences of being a psychotherapist and his patients’ diagnosis. As he proposed several basic components involved in logotherapy, he also postulated this theory as similar but different from psychoanalysis: “Logotherapy, in comparison with psychoanalysis, is a method less retrospective and less introspective. Logotherapy focuses rather on the future, that is to say, on the meanings to be fulfilled by the patient in his future.” (P104) Through this explanation, Frankl successfully arrived at a new concept for the society to be learned, that is, looking forward to the dreams people have, and the motivation they inherently possess instead of neurosis. Compared to Freud’s relatively emphatic tone in The Interpretation of Dreams, Frankl tries to be communicative with the readers to introduce this seemingly sophisticated topic, thus making them readily capable of understanding his psychological theory’s concepts.

The postscript plunges into the optimism beyond tragic situations. As he mentioned, people suffers in different degrees, they have distinct views about their lives: some people are capable of coping with stressors while others are not. This distinction had given the readers a warning sign about their own attitudes toward living. Traumatic events and daily hassles all implement on the psychological well-being of men, so “the human capacity to turn creatively turn life’s negative aspects into something positive or constructive” (P139) is rather a fundamental part of Frankl’s ideal about tragic optimism. It is easy to observe this pattern during our learning of ideals of human emotion, stress, and health. Therefore, if the previous two parts are said to be describing his own psychological theory, the postscript answers the readers’ confusion of the theory’s application through connecting concepts of logotherapy to the general knowledge in the field of psychology.

Life has a meaning. Throughout this book, this central theme almost surrounds the entire text to testify different people’s fates inside the concentration camp, as they have diverged degree of hopefulness. Frankl often quoted Nietzsche’s maxim, “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” (P5) This sentence emphasizes his belief that men possess the ability to choose what is meaningful in his life. There are also a lot of arguments inside the first part. For instance, love gives life meaning. As the Frankl thought about his wife in the concentration camp, he could be relieved from the hardships he experienced: He did not know about his wife’s status, but was rather empowered by taking the emotional burden he had for thinking of her. In author’s view, religion also gives life meaning, as individuals are aware of the assignments the divinity gives for them a reason to survive. What’s surprising to the readers, still, is Frankl’s idea that suffering gives life meaning. He was not frustrated with the will to meaning though he was in bad conditions. He suffered for his loss to honor something he once owned.

The intended audience, ostensibly, is those who have experienced intense stresses in any way. Just like what the author mentioned about his life in concentration camp and other patients’ accounts, they could, in some way, be connected to the powerful message of this book about dealing with those stressors. It also has certain identification with people who have other sufferings, such as oppression or persecution, though not physically implemented, could also hurt their feelings. They might find some ways to cope with the stresses through the exploration of this book. Nevertheless, even people with relatively easy lives could find ways to connect to this book. They surely have gained adequate success, and possibly possess need for achievement. However, Frankl still prompted them to find deeper levels of their lives’ meanings. We adolescents, who are susceptible to identity and role confusion, can also be enlightened by this book’s reflection on purposes of people’s life circumstances and choices.

References

Frankl, V. (1992) Man’s Search for Meaning (Fourth Edition.). Boston, MA: Beacon Press

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Review of my 2016

A new refreshing year is awaiting. With just thousands of seconds to count down, here I would like to casually reflect back my life in 2016.

First, I want to share my personal developments. Through this year, I achieved a lot of skills, like winning a national prize, being able to play electric piano, etc.. These new things I learned were memorable, because they came from my commitment. Moreover, I also made plenty of new friends that had distinct backgrounds. Together, we could share ideas and talk about things we were interested in. I also got to know more deeply about Chinese culture. I visited a lot of great natural sceneries and their corresponding civilization. Those things make me more prepared for introducing my culture to people from other countries.

Second, I would like to discuss about school life. During this year, I gained a lot of declarative knowledge that is practical. And I got to pursue my career interests with more opportunities to broaden my vision. I did a lot of researches about chemistry and biology, which really enhanced scientific skills. What’s more, my environmental protection organization goes well, and successfully survived “the Great War of hundreds of clubs”. I honorably became a peer tutor this November, when I was already stepped into college application period. Certainly, the senior 2 (grade 11) life was so busy that I experienced great GPA downfall this year. No wonder flaws of grading and evaluation rumored around my class, I was more optimistic because I really learned a lot of things. The final exam for this semester is coming, and I am sure to fight back the downfall and save my GPA and make my dream more approachable in this senior 3 (grade 12) moment.

Third, testing. At the beginning of this year, my standardized test score was so low that I even considered quitting the international curriculum, but after months of endeavors, I am very glad to achieve such great scores in TOEFL and ACT. Moreover, I accomplished a great miracle: No mean to brag, I was the first person in Shenzhen Middle School who got a full mark in SAT Biology test. Many special occasions did happen, though. During the AP exam period, one of my dearest relatives passed away, while my parents held this as secret until I completed the last test; all the June ACT tests in Hong Kong were cancelled, compelling me to take another one in October.

Is 2016 a perfect year for me? Seriously not. Chaotic situations frequented around the society, shuffling my view of the world many times. Sadness, joy, leaving and reuniting… too many things to be listed. However, I mentally grew up much more than I expected. Instead of escaping from aversive occasions, I would like to take relatively wise actions to dispel those troubles. Looking back, I saw many twists about certain aspects, but those things generally came out to be good in the end. Of course, I will not easily give up in 2017, because I am going to boost up and catch the goals of getting into my dream university, to get involved into the competitive but enlightening education system. Still, the future is full of uncertainty, but I would live my best in the present.

Oh, there is only about half an hour left. So, with the last sincere wish for everyone, I would like to conclude with the most commonly used sentence: “Happy New Year!”

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Pill of Immortality

(A short story inspired by Don Quixote, the famous work we learned in World Literature.)

Donny, a college student who was obsessed with chemistry, found it interesting to synthesize some new materials for pragmatic functions. However, he had always dreamed of being immortal in order to enjoy the fun from scientific explorations as well as his favorite Chinese literature. To get help, Donny told this idea to one of his friends called Bubbles. “Donny, are you crazy? There is nothing for people to get immortality. Remember what we just learned from the Epic of Gilgamesh?”

“Calm down, Bubbles.” said Donny, “You see, I am just like the wizards, creating a lot of fun stuffs for good use. If you help me with this, you will receive a big prize!”

“Well, what prize?”

“I will get you all the chemistry essays done. You know, those prompts are so easy for me that I just have to take several moments to finish them. By the way, you have to be an enchantress and treat me as a Taoist alchemist.”

Bubbles meditated for a while, “These essays are really distressing and I am even hard to keep up my schedule. Wow, it is kind of supernatural aid! So, deal.”

“All right. Let’s go to the mine for those metals.” said Donny. “Wait, where is the mine?” asked Bubbles. “It’s very close to us, and I will take you there.” They went out of the classrooms and sneaked into another building where the metals were presented.

Bubbles was stumbled. “Wait, you said this is a mine, but it’s just a laboratory of metallurgy.” Donny felt surprised, “Don’t you know that a Taoist is always going anywhere searching for something?” As they approached the reagent storage, Donny saw a material labeled “Hg” and picked up. “Hold on, you should know that mercury is extremely toxic.” Bubbles was shocked by Donny’s stupid action. At the same time, Donny picked up another heavy metal named “Pb” and said “Set a thief to catch a thief, this is what Chinese intellectuals tell us to do when it comes to medicine.”

After the expedition, Donny led Bubbles back to their building and went to the organic laboratory, where he created a lot of materials for his reputed successful research projects. “Now, inside the temple, I am going to grab some herbs and make these things into a pill of immortality.”

Bubbles was still obfuscated, but she began trying to appease Donny. “Yeah, this temple is filled with fairy’s blessing. Let’s get the pill started.” As Donny grabbed some leaves and mixed them with mercury and lead inside the pestle, Bubbles prepared for heating the “forge” – actually a crucible – to eliminate the impurities.

“The pill was refined, and I will to put it inside the forge. At the same moment when I eat the pill, you are going to incant for the input of supernatural power.” Donny threw the ball-shaped mixture into the crucible. About ten minutes later, he used tongs to pick up the pill, cooled it down, and slowly put the pill inside his mouth. Simultaneously, Melissa started to enchant, reciting the ancient text with gibberish English accent: “Hail to the Emperor of the Sky, I beg you to come down the mundane world for a little giving…”

Donny swallowed the pill, and started to relax: “The god and fairy’s humor began swerving around my body, making me feel like a paper in the air.” Suddenly, Donny fell down and lost his consciousness.

Two days later, Donny opened his eyes and found himself inside the hospital. “Oh, I am so worried about you,” said Bubbles.

Donny, was a little suspected, “Am I supposed to be immortal?”

“You are immortal?” Bubbles was astounded, “Those heavy metals almost killed you.” She paused for a few seconds, “Fortunately for you, I fed some egg whites and specific oxidants to eliminate those toxins inside your body after you fainted.”

“Oh, no. I remember that our chemistry essays are due today!”

Bubbles smiled, “It’s great that you retrieve some of your memories. But you don’t need to worry about essays now, I already have them done. Besides, I reported this case to our professor and he granted you a month off the campus. Maybe I need to rely on myself for these essays.” Her face was strung up again, “I feel sorry for my superstitions that make you a lot of troubles. However, I still want to remind you of those outdated ideologies. Even Chinese people themselves do not believe in the pill of immortality.”

“Don’t worry.” said Donny, “I guess I learned a lesson from you that these ideals are corrupted for us human beings, and I will never touch Chinese literature again.”

“Well, you do not have to be too absolute about this matter.” Bubbles said sincerely. “Some aspects of the culture may be too far from the present generation, but the remainders are still useful for dealing with many life issues. Keep your rational eyes on, and you will eventually extract the beneficial parts of the civilization.”

“Yeah, your saying is reasonable.” Donny accepted Bubbles’ idea with great admiration. “I will still keep loving Chinese literature again. This time, however, I am going to go deeper into the subject with objective eyesight. Farewell, pill of immortality!”

The Interpretation of Dreams Journal 7

In the book “The Interpretation of Dream”, Freud puts forward his theory that the dream is the fulfillment of unconscious wishes, and he elaborately introduces the process of how unconscious wishes are concealed and how they endeavor to break through the consciousness: On its way to consciousness along the path of the thought processes, the unconscious wish is always distorted by the censorship, which transfers it into a recent material, and thus appears unrecognizable to us. Its further progress is then checked by the state of sleep of the preconscious, a system protects the unconscious wish from the diminishing excitations. Therefore, the dream process of regression takes place in the sleeping state and in so doing acquires representability.

While other writers attribute the occurrence of the forgetting of dreams to the mutually alien character of the waking and sleeping states, Freud believes that it’s dream-censorship that makes people forget about some parts of dreams, a way of resistance to the penetration of the dream-thoughts into consciousness. Upon this situation, Freud suggests that we direct our attention to a single element of the dream and find out the involuntary thoughts associated with this element. After we repeatedly do the same process with different component of the dream-content, we will finally come upon the dream-thoughts from which the dream originated. In other words, we should open a new path in our waking state and, along this path, run back from the dream-elements to the dream-thoughts instead of completely focusing on the interpretation-work of nocturnal dreams.

Before the explanation of regression, it’s important to first look at Freud’s interpretation of “psychic apparatus”, which he considers as a compound instrument containing two “systems” – the initial system receives stimulus of perception but retains no memory, while the second system lied behind the initial system transforms the temporary stimulus of the first into lasting traces. According to this structure, because thought-relations are contained in the second system, where they forfeit expression in the regression to the perceptual images, all those thought-relations of the dream-thoughts either lost in the dream-work or have difficulty in achieving expression. Freud conclude this phenomenon of regression as “the structure of the dream-thoughts breaking up into its raw material.”(Chapter 7, P277) At the end of this section, Freud puts forward a much more significant theory upon the regression, saying that we can have insight not only into the phylogenetic childhood but even into the evolution of the human race because dreaming is on the whole an act of regression to the earliest childhood.

Because the nocturnal thought-process stops working during sleeping in order to let preconsciousness have some rest, Freud assumes that the sensory surface of consciousness, which is turned toward the preconscious, is far more difficult to be excited than the sensory surface turning toward the perception in the sleeping state. However, dreams have a waking effect that can stimulate parts of the quiescent energy of the preconscious. Under the influence from this energy, dreams experience “secondary elaboration”, which patches together fragments from materials that seem to be contradictory in order to further disguise the unconscious wishes, just like piecing the cine film together. The absurd dreams, so frequently mentioned by Freud, also experience this secondary elaboration.

Negating the commonly held opinion that consciousness is the general basis in the course of psychic events, Freud considers unconscious as true psychic reality, comparing the unconscious to a larger circle including the smaller circle of consciousness. In addition, although most psychologists think that there are two kinds of unconscious, Freud maintains that one of them is the “unconscious”, which can not turn to the consciousness, and another one is “preconscious”, capable of reaching consciousness after passing through the censorship. Freud also vividly describes preconscious as a screen between the consciousness and the unconscious. Based on the knowledge I learn in class and the analysis in this book, I agree with Freud’s opinion concerning the relationship and the distinction between consciousness and the unconscious. The process such as the regulation of blood pressure works without our awareness, and it must be the unconscious. But sometimes, memory accessible to consciousness only after something calls my attention. For example, I can only remember my experience during childhood until my parents mention the details. According to Freud, those memories that I can only recall with stimulus must be preconscious.

 

References

Freud, S. (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Edition.). New York, NY: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature

The Interpretation of Dreams Journal 6

As to Freud’s thoughts, the dream content has a lot of backstories to tell about: “It would of course be incorrect to attempt to read these symbols in accordance with their values as pictures, instead of in accordance with their meaning as symbols.” (Chapter 6, P121) And there exists dream-work that makes the dreamer’s subconscious latent. Virtually, this work comes into two parts: condensation and displacement. Condensation means that even a single fragment of the dream has more than one thought about the dreamer, and the various thoughts attach to it. On the other hand, displacement transfer the dreamer’s thoughts about certain subject to another one, for the purpose of escaping from censorship. Moreover, symbolism also connects certain objects to other meanings. To address the mechanism of dream-work, Freud proposes some types of dreams, of which there are three major subcategories: arithmetic, speech and absurd dreams.

For the arithmetic dream, Freud says that “What the dream-work consists in, and its unceremonious handling of its material, the dream-thoughts, may be shown in an instructive manner by the numbers and calculations which occur in dreams.” (Chapter 6, P198) He points out that the digits are representative of the dream-work that makes something obvious unexplainable. Still, these numbers are not nonsensical, but possess certain traits the dreamers are await. Freud exemplifies this principle through a typical dream: The dreamer perceives himself as a policeman with a mission, and he sees his supervisor has an armlet with number 22 and 62. In fact, the dream is a high class general, with the same number on the armlet, but he wishes to get higher to be a supervisor. Through further investigation, Freud knows he only serves for 22 years, and two years plus two months are needed to get a satisfactory retirement pay. If he does so, he can get all the payment, just like his colleague, who retires in age 62 recently. Therefore, it is still that the dream subconsciously has the wish to be at a higher position as well as that of getting more money, and Freud’s account of the nature of dream is thought to be feasible.

I also have a dream about arithmetic: When I am traveling in a forest with a zoologist, I sees a lot of squirrels. Suddenly, as the zoologist calls out a signal, the squirrels become obedient to him and even stand in certain locations to make the entire team looks like a number “five” in front of my eyes. If Freud’s argument is true, it should be obvious that there is a wish: I dream of becoming an expert in biology. I do like squirrels, and they never come to be so agile inside this scene. But for more things about number, I guess it conveys me information that I need to study for at least five more years to profess in this field of study.

The second typical dream Freud mentions about is speech. “No matter how many speeches and answers, which may in themselves be sensible or absurd, may occur in dreams, analysis always shows us that the dream has merely taken from the dream-thoughts fragments of speeches which have really been delivered or heard, and has dealt with them in the most arbitrary fashion.” (Chapter 6, P200) This applies to the dream-content measure mentioned in previous chapter, which explains why dreams include fragments of various events happened in the past. Freud furthers his opinion about the speech dream by pointing out another dream. In this dream, the dreamer is posited inside a big yard, where many corpses are burned. As he says, “I want to leave here, this scene is unbearable,” the butcher’s two kids appear and is asked whether the taste is good. One of them says, “No, it’s not good at all.” Supposedly, this meat comes from humans. But, as Freud explores deeper inside the dream, he discovers a context which completely alters the meaning of the dream: When he is visiting an old granny, who is not welcomed by others, with his wife, she just finishes the meal and forces him to taste her dishes. He politely rejects, with saying about his lack of appetite. But due to the granny’s urges, he tries and does feel good about the meal. However, when he is getting alone with his wife, he complains that this neighbor is too stubborn and cooks bad. Therefore, we can see that the dream really plays a magical role in carrying out the true thoughts about dreamers. Like this example, his bad feelings about the granny’s meal is transferred to the seemingly horrible content of the dream, though the words changed a little.

For me, this type of dream is rare, but I still can remember one: I works for a farm with a tool that remove the weeds. Though being tired, I still whisper to myself that working for a farm is far more “fortunate” than studying. As my cousin comes in, he says, “Your work is great, but you would rather study for a while.” This dream interesting because it provides me with confusion about my attitude toward studying. For no reason, I prefer reading books than doing farm works, and this should not be a direct wish fulfillment. However, as I start to think that maybe the word “fortunate” in Chinese is similar to “painstaking”, I recollect back some memories with my cousin that we really have great times in my hometown. But the farm works are actually tedious. But during present time, I also have gotten tired occasionally, so I transfer this feeling to the dream, with a complete change in the meaning of a word.

The last type of dream Freud talks about is of absurdness. To be more precise, it is the category that collects all the supernatural scenes into the dream-content. Even though the absurdity really intrigues a lot of thoughts about the nature of dreams, Freud still maintains his idea: “The dream-thoughts are never absurd and the dream-work produces absurd dreams, and dreams with individually absurd elements, when the dream-thoughts contain criticism, ridicule, and derision, which have to be given expression.” (Chapter 6, P215) Specifically, there is a dream Freud deals with for a patient who has a father died earlier: His father experiences a severe accident. When the train is traveling at night, it suddenly gets off the track and squishes his father’s head because the seats are distorted. Then, the dreamer discovers his father is in a bed with a clear scar. He is surprised by his father being involved inside an accident. In fact, this dream appears because of recollection about memories with his father. He asked for an artist to make a sculpture for his father, and he discovered a bust after several days when he checked the progress. Moreover, the scar inside the dream actually corresponds to his father’s frown of sadness, and as he finds out his picture, he accidentally dropped it, forming a scar piercing through his sister’s eyelids. The background for this dream seems very odd, but it still plays a major role in modulating the dream-content.

 

References

Freud, S. (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Edition.). New York, NY: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature

The Interpretation of Dreams Journal 5

In addition to one of the main points made by Freud which accounts for the distortion in dreams, there is another interesting idea concerning dream content: “It has at its disposal the earliest impressions of our childhood, and brings to light details from this period of life, which, again, seem trivial to us, and which in waking life were believed to have been long since forgotten.” (Chapter 5, P51) This sentence opens to a new discussion about the materials and sources of dreams in this chapter, which, basically, can be attributed to the four typical dreams Freud mentioned about.

The first typical dream is of nakedness. It is the dream common in everyone’s life that such case could lead to embarrassment. However, the dreamer, inside the dream, will not be mocked and blamed by other unfamiliar people. In fact, most of this type of dream has these strangers paying no attention to the dreamer’s embarrassing nakedness. “The substitute for these persons offered by the dream, the `number of strangers’ who take no notice of the spectacle offered them, is precisely the counter-wish to that single intimately-known person for whom the exposure was intended.” (Chapter 5, P100) As Freud said, the counter-wish signifies a kind of secret which prompts the meaning of the dream to become so vague that produces unsatisfying effects for people. Since we are born, the content of human nature is always present in our mind, but to some degree censored and suppressed as we grow up: we feel ashamed of exposing our body parts. Therefore, through this censorship, the vivid dream provides the means for the dreamer to avoid such situation in real life.

The second typical dream generally plots the death of relatives. Some portion of the dream has the dreamer does not feel so sad about this, but most of it still makes the dreamer feel deeply regretful for their relatives’ death even during real sleep. This type of dream seems to contradict the Freud’s claim that the latent content – the unconscious – plays a role in the dream’s content, since people really do not want to have their beloved persons die. But if people think of our childhood memories, they do have some uncomfortable experiences with their relatives that prompt the wish of leaving them away. Freud admits: “Many adults who today are devoted to their brothers and sisters, and support them in adversity, lived with them in almost continuous enmity during their childhood.” (Chapter 5, P103) Children always have egocentric thoughts that they consider everything surrounding them under their control. They do not have much sense about death but rather think it will not disturb other living people.

A more confusing element of the second typical dream is about the death of parents, since people tend to love their parents for their nurture. But for Freud, there is another thing needed to be brought out: “It is as though a sexual preference made itself felt at an early age, as though the boy regarded his father, and the girl her mother, as a rival in love — by whose removal he or she could but profit.” (Chapter 5, P106) Naturally, mother will be sexually attractive to son and father is sexually attractive to daughter. During childhood, for example, a son will be permitted to sleep with his mother when his “rival” – father – leaves, proving that the hostility has been testified by the sheer wish-fulfillment that inadvertently has set father dead in his dream.

Although not systematically categorized into the book, the third typical dream is added into the previous part: the dreamer flies with a feeling of ease or falls in terror. What is interesting is that it generally takes part in grown-up adults. Freud debunks other people’s theory that this type of dream is attributed to the present physical sensations while explains this dream as a kind of wish-fulfillment which is suppressed in real life. Children have been experienced in exciting rapid motion which afterwards ends with unhappiness, and as adults recollect back this memory, they are regretful for their inability to do such things again.

The last typical dream centers on examination: the dreamer fails on a test and has to study a subject again or fails to receive doctor degree. This dream is common for people who are going to take an important task such as final exam. But even for those who have already received doctor degree, they still experience this type of dream. “We dream of our matriculation, or the examination for the doctor’s degree … whenever we feel the burden of responsibility.” (Chapter 5, P116) For Freud, this can be attributed to the dreamers’ anxiety of conducting great things they feared of failure, because they are responsible for them. But as the dreamers realize they have succeeded in such tasks in reality, they feel relaxed about their testing experiences, willingly reducing the stress of doing their jobs in the future.

Compare the four types of dream, it is not difficult to find out that they both similar in the subconscious thoughts about fulfilling wishes. While the first and fourth type of dream gives the dreamer a sense of avoiding such cases in real life, the second and third type, though undesired, has its manifestation of the dreamer’s unconscious will to have their beloved persons die or move rapidly, which, as to Freud, are distorted by the strict dream-work. But still, they have common features for the dream content: “the preferential selection of recent and also of infantile material.” (Chapter 5, P82)

I often tend to have the second type of dream, which is about the death of my father. In one such a dream, my parents, after traveling, take airplane to return to Shenzhen, but the plane suddenly crashes when it is landing. As the plane incinerates, my mom successfully escapes through parachute, but my father fails to survive. After several moments, I am notified to participate in the funeral and I cries loudly with my mother. At first I could not understand why I cruelly set him to death during my dream, generally attributing this case as the manifestation of my parents’ personalities: my father being industrious but clumsy, while my mother being intelligent. (Like Homer and Marge) But deliberately, I noticed that it usually happens when my father actually stay at our city for quite long days. He is a good husband who has the will to spend time with his wife to have good experiences, and this really somewhat bothers the relationship between me and my mom. In fact, my mother fulfills my requests more often than my father does, and I am also biased to share some great experiences with her. Moreover, jealousy arises when she talks about my father’s advantages and expect me to act like him. According to Freud’s ideology, these stimuli, which could be regarded as Oedipus complex, prompt me to wish my father to receive a business and leave our city as soon as possible. If that wish comes true, I can take time to hang out with my mother.

 

References

Freud, S. (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Edition.). New York, NY: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature

Analysis of Beowulf: Conflicts between Religious Beliefs and Actions of Characters

Although Beowulf was written after the Anglo-Saxons were slowly converted to Christianity, their old Pagan traditions still had great residual influences and made Beowulf an integration of pagan heroic ideals and Christian beliefs. Despite of gradually accepted Christian beliefs at that time, the opposite pagan Germanic actions emerge throughout Beowulf. Particularly, Christian values of God’s judgment, humility and eternal rewards conflicts with characters’ actions of making judgments by vengeance, proudly boasting and pursuing secular rewards.

The mortal makes judgments due to vengeance violates Christian beliefs of judgment by merciful God. For instance, at the celebration at Heorot after Beowulf defeating Grendel, Beowulf says, Grendel, “like a man outlawed for wickedness, he must await the mighty judgment of God in majesty” (134). But later, after recognizing Grendel’s corpse, “Beowulf cut the corpse’s head off” furiously (148). Beowulf’s own words demonstrate his Christian beliefs that it is God who makes judgments of Grendel, Beowulf’s enemy. However, Beowulf’s ensuing action of decapitating Grendel indicates that it is Beowulf himself who decides the outcome and doom of Grendel. Therefore, the Christian belief that God judges the mortal, including the enemies, contradicts to Beowulf’s action that indicates the right of heroes to take revenge and judge their enemies.

Furthermore, Christian ideals of humility and mighty God contradict to individual boasts. For example, at another celebration at Heorot after Beowult defeats Grendel’s mother, he says, “if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal” (150). But, previously, as Beowulf encounters the Danish watchmen when arriving at the coast, he proudly boasts about his great lineage and former heroic triumphs. And during the first feast at Heorot, Beowulf again formally boasts himself. The quotation here indicates that Beowulf attributes his heroic deed and victory to the mighty Christian God. In the contrary, his frequent actions of boasts show little about Christian typical humility but pagan heroic pride. Therefore, the Christian belief of humility and that all mightiness belongs to God stands in contrast to the action of proudly boasting oneself.

Finally, Christian idea of eternal rewards stands in contrast to worldly pursuits in reality. For instance, at the celebration at Hoerot for Beowulf’s successful fights against Grendel’s mother, Hrothgar speaks to Beowulf, “Choose, dear Beowulf, the better part, eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride. For a brief while your strength is in bloom but it fades quickly” (152). Hoerot’s words demonstrate that life is fleeting and people should pursue eternal rewards instead of worldly ones. Meantime, Hrothgar gives Beowulf significant amount of worldly rewards for his defeats of Grendel’s mother, indicating that it’s right to reward worldly treasure to honor heroic deeds. As a result, the Christian belief of pursuits for eternal rewards contradicts to giving secular rewards as accumulation of honor.

In all, characters’ pagan ideal actions of making judgments by vengeance, frequent boast and pursuit for worldly rewards violates their Christian beliefs of judgment by God, humility and pursuit for eternal rewards, resulting in undeniable conflicts between newly accepted Christian beliefs and traditional pagan actions.

 

Works Cited

Martin Puchner. Beowulf. Translated by Seamus Heaney. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 3nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012