End of year portfolio: EThan

Ethan Reese 6/4/12

Mr. Block is my english and world history teacher he taught us many units over my sophomore year. However, one has sat with me to this day. This unit was learning and discussing the power of language. One quote of mine that really stuck out from my Language autobiography is one that I stated as one of my general understandings. “Language is the most powerful tool in the human’s arsenal.”

This is something I contemplated for hours upon, language is the most powerful tool in the human’s arsenal, I repeated it to myself over and over. Until I finally understood what it meant to me, it meant that language has the most effect on humans and our cultures. It meant that language was the most powerful weapon with the strength to bring the largest army to its knees or, it could heal a culture and reinvigorate its people, had the power to turn men to immortals. Language is not something good or bad, it all has to do with how you use this weapon of mass destruction.

A quote that connects this idea of language holding an all mighty power would be          “Language is the first step into a culture”*. This statement is saying that language has the power to introduce you to a culture and by entering that culture opens your eyes to a whole new world. One of the things we seek in this life is diversity, we want to learn as much as we can and one of the best way to do this is language immersion. People use language to relate with each other and create relationships. Without language we would be babbling mindless bodies wandering through life alone.

A second proof of general understanding is a quote from my language autobiography, “Language is the world’s greatest treasure and its greatest curse”. This quote was something I had strung off of my first quote “Language is the most powerful tool in a human’s arsenal”. What this meant to me was that language has the potential to do great things, I could not imagine life as being an illiterate. All of my friendships I have ever had have come through the connection of a shared language. However it is a curse to the world, people have caused war, famine, and inequality in this life by using language. I do not find language to be something good or bad, I do find it to be an important part of human cultures.

My last proof of general understanding is a quote from my grandfather “Language has the power to start or stop wars, to have one nation silenced or have them all shout out at the same time”. This spoke to me and I knew I had to use it for something I just never knew what, it ties directly in with my general understanding. What this really means is sort of like every quote I have been using that language is a double edged sword that can persecute and destroy or repair and unionize. In this quote he is saying that language can bring peace between nations and end conflicts or one insult spoken through this language can cause an uproar between two nations.

Language is a hard thing to comprehend, some imagine a world without language to be a good thing, they see it as inequality will dissipate and conflict will cease to exist. However they do not see the flip side of that coin, that a world without language would be a world of brutes and barbarians being uncivilized and unorganized. So for as of now I have learned a world of language is a world ten fold better than a world without.

My second general understanding comes from an assignment meant for the book night I changed it around a little to make it a statement more than a thought. GU (power changes everything?)

“Power leads to one of two paths, the first being a path to enlightenment and an age of prosperity in the world. This path is the path of equality and justice, the second path leads you to war and hate. This path is what causes inequality and poverty in the world and sadly is the path most followed”.

This quote I feel has been one of my better pieces of writing, a very similar quote came from the same paper. “Power is a double edged sword, that either is used as a tool for justice or inequality.”. In this quote I use an old proverb of something being a double edged sword, meaning that both ends do something. I translated it into power which in this quote meant that power does one of two things makes the world a better place or on the flipside makes the world a worse place. What this quote really meant to me was that, looking at dictators and rulers from the past people notorious for abusing or rightfully using their power. We can really get insight into what power really is and look at how our different systems work.

A second quote I used came from a game I play, Fable. The game is about being a ruler and making choices that lead you to power, and how you use that power to be good or evil. “Power does not just belong to the powerful, but to all. The powerless just forget just how powerful one child, woman, or man can be. This realization is what causes either peace or violence amongst a civilization.”. This quote is something that I never thought much of until one day when I was playing it and it hit me this has to be in my paper. What this quote really means is that the people in power abuse their power because no one else steps up to oppose or up hold their promises. This ties in with modern day government and about how there are a lot of people in power that are corrupted and make the world an unequal place. Which we discussed amply in Mr.blocks classes.*

Overall this year has taught me many things but the lessons that have stuck with me the most, are discussion of power and language. This is why I chose to use these for my general understanding. I really hope that this shows what my year has been like with my English and World History teacher Mr.Block.

* - Pieces of work I am proud of-  http://scienceleadership.org/users/ereese

You can see all of my work on this page.

http://scienceleadership.org/sections/World_History_-_Block-3 - My history

http://scienceleadership.org/sections/English_2_-_Block-4 - My english