For my Capstone, I wanted to find out what family meant to different people. In order to do that, I sent out an online survey about who people considered to be in their family, and then asked the respondents further questions about their different ideas on family. I then used the answers and put them into a website so that people could view the different responses I got.
25 March 2019
Logos, Pathos, and Decision Making
According to several studies, including one from American Nobel Laureate Dr. Herbert Simon, around 90% of the decisions humans make are based on emotion. Rather than using logic in the decision process, people use it to justify their previous actions. When influencers show up, they often use pathos―which appeals to the emotional side of people―in their speeches in order to turn people to their side. If a leader is charismatic or gives people what they think they want then there’s a higher chance that they’ll climb to the top and be elected for whatever they’re running for, even if they are not the best option for the job. In the novel The Lord of The Flies, William Golding explores how the young boys who were deserted on an island switch from following Ralph’s logic and then to Jack’s tribe when he talks about giving into emotional desires, and how they eventually come to question their decision.
When Jack kills a pig with his hunters and then hosts a bonfire with all the boys on the island, he uses the good mood as an opportunity to start a mutiny and break apart what used to be a unified front by appealing to the boys’ pathos. “‘I gave you food,’” says Jack, “‘and my hunters will protect you from the beast… Who’ll join my tribe and have fun?’” (150). Not only does Jack appeal to the side of the boys that want to have fun, but he also keys in on an important emotion: fear. By using the boys fear of an imaginary beast against them and using it to guide their decisions about the tribe, Jack wins the boys over to his side, even if nothing he says is necessarily logical. Ralph tries to regain control of the situation by bringing up logical points, “‘I’m chief because you chose me. And we were going to keep the fire going-’” (150), but logic is not a strong enough factor to keep the boys from leaving his tribe.
In comparison, Trump is infamous for using pathos in order to sway people over to his side. He mostly appeals to people’s sense of fear, specifically xenophobia, comparing immigrants to animals multiple times, referring to them as “drug dealers, criminals [and] rapists” in a speech about border control, and saying that undocumented immigrants are responsible for “thousands of Americans [brutal deaths]”. Even though statistics from ICE show that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in America, the emotion of fear is strong enough to win him support. By using a common fear of the unknown and twisting it into xenophobia and a fear of people who are “un-american” to reach a wider audience and spread his influence, Trump was able to have almost half of the United States fall to his side when the election rolled around. Just like Jack, Trump also made promises he couldn’t necessarily keep, like promising to “build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.”. He also promises to lower taxes for the middle class and the infamous “Make America Great Again” slogan, which doesn’t even have a definitive meaning because it’s so vague. As the months went on, however, Trump supporters slowly started to realize that he was not delivering on his promises and that whatever appeal he originally had was being overshadowed by logic.
The members of Jack’s tribe begin to realize the same thing, although it happens in fits and starts instead of gradually over time. The first instance in which they realize that joining Jack might not have made logical sense is only a few minutes after they decide to join his tribe when it starts to pour rain. Ralph is quick to point it out, saying “‘Going to be a storm… who’s clever now? Where are your shelters? What are you going to do about that?’” (151). Instead of defending himself, Jack and his new tribe proceed to “look uneasily at the sky, flinching from the stroke of the drops.” (151). The second time they begin to doubt Jack is when they’re skirting around the death of Simon, the boy they brutally murdered just the night before. As some of the boys question whether it was a human or a beast they killed, Jack tries to persuade them back to his side, “‘But didn’t we, didn’t we-?’ ‘No!’ In the silence that followed, each savage flinched away from his individual memory.” (160). The hunters are faced with following Jack’s way of thinking and thinking that they attacked the beast, or with the knowledge that they killed one of their own friends. Jack’s control of his tribe continues to falter with the murder of Piggy, the hunting of Ralph and finally with the ending scene as the naval officers appear to take the boys back to civilization.
Just like Jack’s control of his group is slipping, so is Trump’s hold on Conservative America. One man on a CNN news interview has called voting for Trump “the biggest mistake” and others in the same interview have said they’re “afraid of the dictator in the White House.” Many small towns in the Midwest are now realizing that Trump is not all he promised to be. One Twitter user named Phil from Ohio said to Donald Trump: “Literally just signed up for Twitter to tell you how disappointed I am. Wasted my vote on you.” Trump promised middle class America tax breaks, stronger immigration policies, jobs and a focus on the American workforce. Instead, as the Trump presidency has gone on, he has not only failed to deliver on these promises but has created more chaos, leading to a loss of jobs. After being shown evidence and hard facts, the country is realizing that Trump is about as fit of a leader as Jack is, and they are not happy about it.
Pathos is a very important factor when people make their decisions to follow people, and most people are swayed to another person's side by their emotions. Because so many people are more emotional than rational, an easy way to get people to become followers is by appealing to one of the strongest emotions there is, fear. By making people afraid of something and then promising to protect them from that outside force, it is easy to gain a following. As they come to terms with their leader, though, they begin to realize that logically, they should not follow this person and begin to have doubts. Both Jack from Lord of the Flies and President Trump have used these methods to become leaders and have fallen from grace as their followers become more aware.
Belz, Dan. “Midwestern Voters Gave Trump a Chance. Now, They Hold the Key to His Political Future.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 8 May 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/trump-voters/?utm_term=.de31ce34f7a2.
Camerota, Allyson. “Man Calls Voting for Trump 'Biggest Mistake' - CNN Video.” CNN, Cable News Network, 7 Aug. 2018, www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/08/07/voter-panel-regret-vote-biggest-mistake-trump-idiot-camerota-newday-sot-vpx.cnn.
Camp, Jim. “Decisions Are Largely Emotional, Not Logical: the Neuroscience behind Decision-Making.” Big Think, Big Think, 11 June. 2011, Whitener, Svetlana. https://bigthink.com/experts-corner/decisions-are-emotional-not-logical-the-neuroscience-behind-decision-making
“'Drug Dealers, Criminals, Rapists': What Trump Thinks of Mexicans.” BBC News, BBC, 31 Aug. 2016, www.bbc.com/news/video_and_audio/headlines/37230916/drug-dealers-criminals-rapists-what-trump-thinks-of-mexicans.
Fish, Stanley. “Donald Trump: How He Gets Away With Absurd Arguments.” Time, Time, 5 July 2016, http://time.com/4388379/donald-trump-winning-arguments/
Shoichet, Catherine E. “What 7 Statistics Tell Us about Immigration and Crime.” CNN, Cable News Network, 9 Jan. 2019, www.cnn.com/2018/11/03/us/immigrants-crime-numbers/index.html.
Heugel, Abby. “This Twitter Account Shows All of the Trump Voters Who Are Regretting Their Choice.” 22 Words, Twenty Two Words https://twentytwowords.com/this-twitter-account-is-full-of-trump-voters-who-deeply-regret-their-decision/
“How Your Emotions Influence Your Decisions .” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 9 May 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/05/09/how-your-emotions-influence-your-decisions/#6862a2f63fda.“Rules of Persuasion.” Rules of Persuasion - The Rule of Balance -- Logical Mind vs. Emotional Heart, Westsidetoastmasters, https://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/laws_persuasion/chap14.html
I’m sorry. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, it was supposed to be easy and quick and you weren’t supposed to be in so much pain. You weren’t supposed to look like this, all sad and alone with so many damned tubes coming out of you. You’re family, I didn’t- I don’t want you to suffer. You understand, right? There’s just been so much going on in the family, you know how all our siblings were rushing around, trying to pick and choose which part of the company they wanted, laying down and worshipping Father and trying to get him to name them heir, as if would let anyone run the company except for me. But you probably didn’t notice any of that. Your head is always in the clouds.
It’s funny, right? He’s always been a terrible person and an even worse father but who cares anymore? He was dying and all of us flocked to him before his death just to get more money from him, from his stupid company. I’m supposed to forgive him just because he’s dying “before his time?” After all he’s done to us- he was never around and when he was it was- it was- well, who cares anymore, right? The idiot is dead, no thanks to you. You were never part of this, you know that? You weren’t supposed to be there, it was just going to be him all alone, already dying. It would’ve been easier that way, no one would’ve suspected it anyway. A dying man dying a little quicker? Everything would’ve been wrapped up neatly with a little bow.
But instead you were there and you saw and you- it’s your fault you’re like this! You were always sneaking into places you shouldn’t’ve been in, always finding new passages and exploring the house. I don’t know why I keep talking as if you’re dead. The doctors said you would be fine, that when you woke up there wouldn’t be any brain damage. That’s why I’m here, actually. That and Mom keeps yelling at me for not visiting you in the hospital. But mainly the first reason. Because if you do wake up, when you do wake up, you’ll remember everything. And if you remember everything it could make things very very complicated, and then I couldn’t rule the company anymore and Mom would be sad and I’d be in jail for the next couple decades. So, now I have to do this. For the future of this company. For the future of this family.
You never got it, never understood. You’re too young to understand what happened, what I did and why I had to do it. I was always meant to be his heir, and our siblings laying down at his feet for table scraps did nothing to change that. But he was taking so long to actually die, and he wasn’t of sound mind and his business partners were taking advantage of that, trying to get him to raise their salaries or invest in bad decisions. If anything, I did him a favor, ending him early. A favor to him and to his company. To my company.
Where was I again? Oh yea, I have to figure out what to do about you. About you maybe getting better. But you can’t get better, because even if you think you can keep a secret, kids always run their mouth off and I don’t see why you’ll be any different. It’s gonna be easy and you’re not gonna hurt that much, I promise. I’ve already bribed some doctor to slip you something, something that’ll make sure you won’t feel any pain. Even though I put you here, I still don’t want you to suffer. You’re my little sister, and you’re barely even 10. I practically raised you, since Mom and Dad were always out of the house. I always did what was right for you, and that’s what I’m trying to do now. For what it’s worth, I’ll miss you, Kelly. Everyone will.
There aren’t a lot of things that were passed down in our house, no engagement rings from Grandma, no fine china in glass cabinets or enchanting silver candlesticks. The few things we did have, a dining room table set or some clay Christmas figures, had to be sold to people who had the space in their house or had to be thrown away cause they broke into dozens of pieces. Instead, we have a single wooden chair that creaks when you sit on it and 23 sets of decorative salt and pepper shakers, none of which we actually use.
Before it came to live in my great-great grandmother's house, this chair was probably used so school children could practice sitting with their back straight because of how stupidly uncomfortable it is. If you slouch even a little bit the chair digs into your back, forcing your body back into awareness no matter how much you want to rest. When my great-great grandmother died, she had six of these chairs and one dining room table to go with it. She also, coincidentally, had 6 children. So instead of giving them her jewelry or her books or even her house, she gave each child a single chair. Who got the table, no one knows. My great grandmother hid it under piles of boxes in the basement, my grandmother put it in a corner and used it as a decorative piece, and now my mom uses it a in her office because she doesn’t know where else to put it.
Downstairs in our living room, we own is 23 sets of decorative salt and pepper shakers. It's 23 more than we need, seeing as we use an entirely separate pair of bland looking salt and pepper shakers from Target in the kitchen. They’re not decorative in the sense that you can’t use them, they just include lots of colors and are prettier than the shakers from Target. I didn’t even know they existed until she decided to put shelves up in our living room. I asked her what she was going to put on them, and she said her moms salt and pepper shakers. When I asked her where she had put them before, she just told me they were in a box for the past dozen or so moves, and left it at that. I never asked why she hand’t put them on display before, and she didn’t tell me.
We don’t really talk to my moms side of the family. Ever since she moved to the city and had me, there’s always been some kind of disconnect between the two of us and the rest of them that gets us uninvited from small reunions or get togethers. I think that’s why the few family heirlooms we had always were stuffed into attics or into dusty boxes, because she’s always wanted to keep her family hidden away. I think we’re both more at peace now that we have our few heirlooms out in the open of our house, now that we’re recognizing the family who has come before us.
In my first post, I wrote about how food waste was an underrated problem and how if we solve it, multiple other problems in the world can be solved, including world hunger and climate change. In my second post, where I did my Original Research, I did an over the phone interview with Imperfect Produce, which is an organization that targeted food waste at its source, farms, by sending people the produce that the farms were unable to sell to name brand supermarkets.
Recently in the U.K., stores like Morrisons have been getting involved in helping to solve food waste by implementing a program called Wonky Veg, where stores sell less aesthetically pleasing fruits and vegetables for a cheaper price. The only reason this program was put in place is because it was recently revealed that 13 billion pounds of edible food is thrown away, with an extra 3 billion of food being wasted by grocery stores and supermarkets. If the Wonky Veg program was enforced in the U.S., then this would greatly diminish the amount of food that goes to waste each year.
For my Agent of Change, at first I was unsure of what to do in order to truly make an impact on this issue. I had a half baked idea of taking all of the leftover lunch food from the school and donating to different homeless shelters but in the end, I decided not to pursue this because I thought it would take more time in order to set everything up. I eventually chose to do an experiment of sorts where I would calculate how much money we spent and wasted on food in one month and then in the next month would see how much money and food we could save if we just paid attention to our food budget. I choose this option because I felt like if people could see how much money is needlessly spent on food, they would be less inclined to spend it all over the place. After taking in the results, I would present the results to my mom and a couple of her friends in order to try and get them to see the benefits of not wasting food. At first, I was going to make a website, but it was a couple of days before this was due and I realized I had no idea what I was doing, so I made a presentation of my data, which was targeted towards adults.
In March, when we didn’t budget at all, my mom and I spent about $760 dollars on food, while in April, we spent $535, saving $225 just from budgeting and shopping at places like Whole Foods, where they have gradually put uglier produce in order to combat the issue of food waste. We also took up the habit of looking at expiration dates more closely so we could keep an eye on when certain foods went bad so that we weren’t throwing out as much uneaten food. In fact, in April we only threw out 10 dollars in food, while in March we threw out around $50 worth of food. After I showed my mom these results we both decided to be more frugal when it comes to spending money on food and to save the extra money.
This graph shows how much money was spent in the months of March and April
While doing this project and looking at how much money we spent and wasted, I realized how careless we were when buying food, especially fruits and vegetables since those expire the fastest. I also learned how easy it was to ignore the food you had in your fridge and pantry and instead go out to buy more food, which would lead to food being pushed to the back of your fridge until it’s expired. If I did this again, I would have people calculate how much money they spent with me in order to get more reliable data and so that other people could see how much money their family was spending, since writing down how much money you spend seems to make the numbers add up quicker. Although this did raise awareness to a couple of people, in order to solve food waste many things still need to be done in order to properly combat issue.
Here’s the link to my Annotated Bibliography
In my previous post, I talked about food waste and how it is a major world problem that does not get the attention it deserves. The good news is that food waste is an issue that can be solved. Eliminating waste would save all of the resources that go into making, processing and distributing uneaten food. It would also diminish the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. As I continued my research about food waste, I started to focus on where the waste starts: the farms where food is grown.
Since I made my last post, I found out that 20% of all food never even makes it off of the farm. Like I said in my last post, farms don’t give their foods to big brands like Acme or Costco because they know that the food won’t be bought by consumers. They don’t give away the food to shelters because the farms don’t receive tax cuts, which means all food transported to different areas comes out of their own pocket. Because of this, many farmers just throw out any extra or misshapen produce and leave it at that. Many organizations are starting up in response to food waste and have started delivering farm produce straight to people’s doorsteps, but these companies are few and far between.
Most big time companies, like Costco, only buy the best looking produce available from farms, which starts the cycle of food waste
For my Original Research I wanted to interview two companies, one called Move for Hunger that moves produce from families moving out of their homes and gives the food to shelters. The other company I wanted to interview was Whole Foods, just to ask about how they deal with food waste since it is an issue that they are aware of. I ended up interviewing neither of these places, since both did not answer my emails. But thanks to Ms. Giknis, I was able to interview an organization called Imperfect Produce.
Imperfect Produce is a company that imports fresh produce that otherwise would have been wasted from local farms in California and distributes the fruits and veggies to people in the state. People get major discounts if they’re buying it online, getting organic food for half of what it would cost at the supermarket. Although the Imperfect Produce started in California, the company has been spreading to major cities outside of the state such as Portland and Seattle. The person I interviewed, Anneliese, worked in a department called Brand Management where she made the logos for the company. She also organies events to get more publicity about the company. I did record the conversation, but when I saved it to my downloads it saved as text file instead of audio, so I don’t have the transcript or the recording of my interview.
In the interview, I learned how Imperfect Produce ordered the food from farms and the basic workings of the company. The company is slowly growing, and it plans to become national and reduce food waste and the problems it causes. Since its opening in 2015, they haved saved over 15 million pounds of food from being waste and have saved 42 million pounds of Co2 from entering the atmosphere.
For my Agent of Change, I was thinking of looking at how much money my mom and I spend and waste on food in one month and then the next month see how much money we can save by being more aware of how much we spend on food. I’m not sure how I would calculate how much we spent, but I hope I can figure something out. If there is a significant difference in the amount of money we spend, I hope we can contribute less and less to food waste as the year goes on.
Here’s the link to my Annotated Bibliography
Food Waste and Why It’s a Slightly Bigger Problem Than Previously Thought
Source: https://feedbackglobal.org/food-waste-scandal/. This is a visual representation of all the food that is wasted per year.
What would you do if I told you that we have all the means to end hunger worldwide? Every year, approximately one third of all food produced is wasted, which is enough to feed 3 billion people. America contributes a huge number of that waste, as up to 50% of all food in the U.S. is thrown out annually, which is equal to a staggering 160 billion dollars. Every American typically wastes 12-25% of food they buy, which can cost up to $1,500 in expenses per year. Despite all the food being thrown out, an estimated 800 million people live in a state of malnourishment, along with 50 million Americans living in insecure food households, which means they struggle to afford food.
A main culprit of why food waste is so great in America is because of sell by dates. The only foods that are legally required to have a sell by date are baby food, and even the meat and egg products is voluntarily written by the producers. Many people believe in these numbers even though the main reason food companies put expiration dates on their products is so people buy more of their products in a shorter amount of time. Expiration dates are supposed to tell the buyer when the food is at its peak quality, but most people take this to mean that after these dates the food must be discarded, even though most food can last weeks, if not months past the expiration dates. Because of sell by dates, around 90% of food we throw out is not actually expired.
Source: http://www.savethefood.com/. This chart shows the amount of food that is tossed annually by the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
One of the reasons this problem is so important to me is because no one really talks about it. One of the reasons this problem is so important to me is because it is not a widely known topic. People talk about world hunger and how it’s something that needs to be solved, but everyone makes it seem as though the issue is the lack of food and not the distribution of it. Most food waste is created by food that was disposed, not because they were inedible, but because they were not not aesthetically appealing to buyers. Farmers who are growing food purposefully throw out thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetable just because they know it won’t sell. The rational solution would be to donate the “misshapen” fruits and veggies, but because farms don't receive tax cuts when they ship the food out to shelters, it ends up costing themselves more money. Because of this, many farmers choose to throw out their less desirable foods where they go to landfills. Farmers also use 4.5 billion hectares of land to grow food, and because of food waste 1.4 billion hectares of land and 250 trillion litres of water is wasted.
Once the food arrives at the landfill, most people believe that the food will decompose into the ground and turn into compost. However, landfills are not separated by types of trash, which means that the discarded food is mixed with cardboard boxes and plastic bags. When the food is not given a chance to breathe and decompose naturally, the food waste creates a greenhouse gas called methane. Methane is a gas that is 20 times more able to trap heat than CO2 which is one of the main greenhouse gases that contributes to the weakening of our atmosphere. Food waste emits so much methane, that if it was a country it would be the third largest greenhouse gas producer, following China and America, generating 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2. To conclude, food waste is a problem that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, because everything about it hurts the community and the environment.
Source: https://feedbackglobal.org/food-waste-scandal/ . This graph shows the different amounts of CO2 between different countries with Food Waste becoming its own country
For our project, Isabella and I decided to make a diorama of one of the most important scenes in Macbeth: the soldiers from Malcolm’s army marching up to Dunsinane castle using Birnam wood as camouflage. Throughout the play, Macbeth repeatedly makes his decisions based on prophecies that three witches give him. After Macbeth becomes King of Scotland by murdering the King Duncan, he worries that his rule might be taken from him by King Duncan's heir, Malcolm. He confronts the witches and demands they give him the answers he seeks, and the witches tell Macbeth "be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.” (IV.1.103-107) When Malcolm’s army uses the forest for cover, Macbeth sees Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane castle and knows that his time as King is now limited.
We decided to recreate the scenes with the soldiers holding trees marching up the hill with tiny trees and gluing some foliage onto their backs. The hill is made out of styrofoam, play doh and felt. We decided to make the background get darker as it neared to the castle to symbolize that the castle was an evil place.
When I first started creating my slide for this presentation, I couldn’t figure out which idea I wanted to do. I came across this quote a couple months ago, and I loved how relatable the definition of l’esprit l’escalier was. Since I am the type of person who brain works faster than my mouth, whenever I think of a reply in a conversation that’s a fully formed thought the next topic is introduced and I try to think of something to say, and the whole cycle repeats again. I wasn’t sure which picture I would put, if I wanted to put stairs, the infinity stair design or a ladder. The staircase would make the most sense, since l’esprit l’escalier translates to staircase wit, but the infinte staircase would be a nice touch because of the idea that a perfect conversation is infinite and unimaginable.