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Human Consciousness Essay

1786 words - 7 pages

Human Consciousness

Erich Fromm and Shirley Jackson have both written wonderful true-life affecting essays and should be awarded for them. I appreciate both stories and feel they both set tales to learn from and live by. As a combined theme for both I ‘ld say “human consciousness is more then a gift”. And read on to see what I mean.

In Erich Fromm we notice a compassionate concern for the unfolding of life. Fromm claims that "the growing process of the emergence of the individual from his original ties, a process which we may call ‘individuation,’ seems to have reached its peak in modern history in the centuries between the Reformation and the present." Of course, the beginning of change is not the cause of all our problems but it did magnify them because now the existence of humanity itself has become a problem according to the way I am reading into Fromm’s story. Then when you shift you focus towards Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, it depicts an ordinary day with anticipation of yearly appointments. Her description awakens you to a pleasant sunny day, flowers blooming, and everyone united around the town square. All are gathered to cast lots for the right to another year's meeting. From the onset, this story quickly takes you into a dismal, gloomy atmosphere.
The first hint comes in the first paragraph when they indicated that The Lottery will only take two hours and be over with in time for dinner." (78) This was one meeting no one was eager to attend.

These two stories are different from one another in text but are same in form. Fromm later on talks about animals living completely within nature and proclaims that they are guided by instinctive behavior. He continues and says humans have lost such instinctive mechanisms. This is where Jackson’s simplicity of life fall’s in. She brings up Fromm’s ideas of animals in a form of a meeting that took place. This meeting took place every year in the town square where all other happy and significant town occasions were held; it was not your usual gathering of friends, bringing covered dishes, balloons and clowns for the kids. A celebration it was not, but just the opposite. This story reveals the dark side of human nature. It's flaws, lack of compassion, selfishness and "anybody but me" attitude. If you had had the opportunity to talk with my late grandmother she would characterize it as being "set in your way." When a person is set in his or her way, no one can change it. This town was set in it's way, undoubtedly by the first villagers' that had settled there;(79) who had to made killing a tradition, something that would be carried out from generation to generation. Being set in your own way doesn't necessary have to be bad? Just imagine, if the tradition was something more positive that promote life rather than destroy it. Traditions, rituals are made from rules established. The rules could be rules of a home, a city, county, state or nation. Then again imagination can do wonders and...

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