2010 Abstracts Stage 2

Depression on the Increase in Britain! Is “Affluenza” a Contributor?

We are truly in a bad way emotionally …Selfish Capitalism is not a good way to run things, if you care about people’s emotional well-being. [Affluenza, 2007]

These are the words spoken by Oliver James in his book Affluenza. In his book James suggests that the virus he names Affluenzais a set of standards which boost our defencelessness against psychological distress: we are now placing a high value on needing money and possessions, we want to look good in front of our fellow man and are coveting fame. James suggests that the studies he has made in his book show not only is the epidemic at pandemic proportions but is also on the increase.

My aim within this project is too show that depression has risen in Britain since the 1970’s. My hypothesis’ will be that because of the “Affluenza”, we are ignoring our natural instincts and desires, we are constantly feeding our ‘Id’ and because we cannot always feed our ‘Id’ we become dissatisfied and depressed.

In 1905 Freud published three essays on the theory of sexuality; these essays were where Freud developed his sexuality theories and also where he put forth his psychosexual development theory. It is important that we understand these theories as we will have a clearer view of how when we are not allowed to develop as Freud said was necessary, that we lose ourpersonal identity and also our social evolution as individuals.If this is correct then the problem is greater than just a rise in depression since the 70’s it also shows us that the future will be very bleak for our future generations as if we now are wrapped up in ‘selfish capitalism’and susceptible to Affluenza, how will we help our future generations to develop?, when we ourselves have been stunted

When James talks of people in his book we notice that these people have many of the above habits which can eventually lead to depression, but the correlation between Freud and Olive’s Affluenzais that by wanting to satisfy our ‘id’constantly because of such things as consumerism we are indeed destroying our personalities and our mental health. We are not meant to constantly satisfy our ‘id’ the ‘id’ works in conjuncture with the ‘ego’ and ‘super id’ according to Freud.

I will Be using Freud, and looking at his psychosexual development theory, to show how when we can become warped as humans if we do not satisfy our needs and are well rounded. I will be using Freud in conjunction with the writer Oliver James and will be referring to the problem named in his book as “Affluenza”. In my Project I will include statistical data to show that depression has risen in Britain. I will also be talking about the impact that “Affluenza” will have on our future generations. We must satisfy our needs and self-reflect, replacing our intrinsic needs with possessions will ultimately lead to our downfall!

2009 Abstracts Stage 3

Are we Naturally Self-Seeking Individuals, or does Society make us that Way?

Territory: My Territory is the Credit Crunch, from which I am looking into whether humans, as a race, are naturally self seeking individuals, or whether society impacts and influences us, making us this way. Concepts: The two concepts that I have chosen to analyse and examine are Thomas Hobbes’s theory of self seeking individuals within the State of Nature, with Charles Taylor and Friedrich Nietzsche’s theories of social philosophy. Our current economic climate created for me many questions about how we were able to get into the financial mess that we have. So I chose to investigate how and why consumers have become obsessed by materialistic possession, to the extreme extent that they are prepared to get into debt because of it. I believe that our recent economic crisis has arisen due to consumer spending and the change in political power. Therefore I began my project by comparing and analyzing the change in governmental power over the last 30 years, whilst researching the causes and effects of the credit crunch – because I feel that these two issues are interrelated – in the hope that I was able to find a correlation between the election of a new political power and the change in societies spending habits that led to the credit crunch. To support this belief I firstly looked at Charles Taylor, who believes that identity is socially constructed and dependent. This combined with Nietzsche, who saw the self as becoming and forever changing, supports my theory that society, trends and governmental power impacts individuals actions, which I have taken to include spending habits. To oppose this argument I analysed Thomas Hobbes who believes that individuals are naturally, selfish and competitive, because each only seeks to preserve and to strengthen themselves. I have advanced this theory to support the idea that humans are still selfish and competitive today, so what someone else has, they want. It is our new survival technique. Conclusion: I have concluded that society is now a combination of the two. Evolving as a species we have brought our selfish and competitive nature with us, which I believe has been propelled by societies, governments and trends to cause buying to become our modern day method of self preservation. Key Philosophical Source: Hobbes, Thomas (1985) Leviathan; Taylor, Charles (1989) Sources of The Self, The Making of the Modern Identity; Nehamas, Alexander (1985) Nietzsche, Life as Literature

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

Fight Club

Fight club a bizarre fantasy about the “repressed self”. The main character, (who throughout the film is not named and in the credits referred only to as narrator) a depressed business man, had a vision. He doesn’t like his work and gets no satisfaction from it so he tries different ways of passing time. He creates the perfect apartment but still he is not fulfilled. He has trouble sleeping and he feels in no way part of the surrounding world, he has become so desperate to fit in and to relate to others that he has started attending therapy sessions for people with terminal diseases and pretends that he is ill to just so he can have someone to talk to. One day on a plane he meets the man that he wishes he was the one who he has envisioned. He envisioned he was the street-wise hard man who loved to fight and who wasn’t afraid of anything and who was respected by all. And then the streetwise tough guy became real, at least he did in the mind of the business man. Hence the creation of Tyler. Tyler holds the materialistic world in contempt and he believes people learn everything they need to know through pain, misfortune and chaos. Tyler challenges the narrator to a fight and our narrator finds his much sought after release in the brawl. The two create a group named fight club and as more men join it one rule becomes apparent. ‘Do not talk about fight club.’ The philosophy I intend to explore is automatism and drifting. The whole thing with Freud where we all have subconscious desires and it is thought that if we continue to talk to non- stop after a while they come out and we actually say what we think deep down. Breton said we should do that with writing stuff down, just write anything and not think about it, free association, that’s automatism. And doing it when you’re walking around was what he called drifting. Also Sartre because he believed that men cannot rely on society to control them. Mankind is radically free and responsible. In every moment we choose ourselves, with no assurance that we have a continuing identity or power. We set up determinisms to ease our minds, but in the face of the finality of death, only through our present consciousness do we establish our own authentic existence.

2004 Abstracts Stage 2

The Place I Want to Know …

This project aims to investigate the current growth in popularity of traditional eastern philosophy and practices in western developed societies. In particular, I aim to investigate how the current popularity of eastern martial arts, which I believe to be indicative of this interest, demonstrates a general trend in our heavily industrialised, materialistic society, to seek answers to epistemological and ethical questions outside of a purely rational or religious framework. Fundamentally, this trend reflects a desire to liberate ourselves from what Max Weber refers to as the ‘iron cage of bureaucracy ’ Part 1 : The condition of modernity. Part 2 : Contrasting West and East. Holism as a remedy for a fragmentary existence. Part 3 : The martial arts as philosophy in action.

2003 Abstracts Stage 3

The Silent Voice

Sources: Newspaper Articles ‘The Economist’ Philosopher’s Books Literature Books and Productions Art Books Visit to the Ecuadorian Prison Visit to the Newcastle Law Courts Project Territory: Michel Foucault’s Theory on Technologies of Power Key Concepts: Technologies of Power Power over the Individual Human Beings made into Docile Bodies Human Rights Vs Homeland Security (Protection) Punishments and Prisons The Big Brother Resistance against Power Materialism Vs Spiritualism Freedom and Search for the Individual Self Objectives: Foucault had predicted the dominance of technology over our lives and the failure of prisons correctly. The connection between knowledge and power is found everywhere and at anytime. The search for individuality and meaning by the modern man The different ways in which power is presented Progression does not necessarily mean success, for example, the prison system The Change: People’s lives depend on the type of power and knowledge present. Materialism through science and technology, overtook the spiritual and meaningful side of a man’s life The centrality of life is no longer on man, but capitalism and progression. The Book of Change: Our lives are dominated by what surrounds us, such as the knowledge and power present. There is no one time more important than the other.