Blog 1 Andrew Chu

Author: Andrew Chu (IP: 104.162.165.102, cpe-104-162-165-102.nyc.res.rr.com)

Though I feel that Ordine’s elaborate explanations could have been more simplistic, The reading stimulated my curiosity because Ordine addresses an intriguing argument between individualism versus utilitarianism. Where the usefulness of expressing oneself purely for expression without any form of gain is questioned. This argument reminds me of the time of the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time when people experienced changes in art, learning and other things. It was a time when Humanists emerged, which were people who believed that the individual had important contributions to make in the world. As a result, the Renaissance influence society to grow as individuals; the idea behind social classes were being reformed. People were starting to realize that they could move up in society if they individually worked hard and earned more money rather than being stuck forever in the social class they were born in. The idea of the Renaissance supports the argument that there is usefulness for having the mentality of expressing oneself because it is a literal example of how individual expression influenced society to grow as individuals.
Though I feel that Ordine’s elaborate explanations could have been more simplistic, The reading stimulated my curiosity because Ordine addresses an intriguing argument between individualism versus utilitarianism. Where the usefulness of expressing oneself purely for expression without any form of gain is questioned. This argument reminds me of the time of the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time when people experienced changes in art, learning and other things. It was a time when Humanists emerged, which were people who believed that the individual had important contributions to make in the world. As a result, the Renaissance influence society to grow as individuals; the idea behind social classes were being reformed. People were starting to realize that they could move up in society if they individually worked hard and earned more money rather than being stuck forever in the social class they were born in. The idea of the Renaissance supports the argument that there is usefulness for having the mentality of expressing oneself because it is a literal example of how individual expression influenced society to grow as individuals.
Though I feel that Ordine’s elaborate explanations could have been more simplistic, The reading stimulated my curiosity because Ordine addresses an intriguing argument between individualism versus utilitarianism. Where the usefulness of expressing oneself purely for expression without any form of gain is questioned. This argument reminds me of the time of the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time when people experienced changes in art, learning and other things. It was a time when Humanists emerged, which were people who believed that the individual had important contributions to make in the world. As a result, the Renaissance influence society to grow as individuals; the idea behind social classes were being reformed. People were starting to realize that they could move up in society if they individually worked hard and earned more money rather than being stuck forever in the social class they were born in. The idea of the Renaissance supports the argument that there is usefulness for having the mentality of expressing oneself because it is a literal example of how individual expression influenced society to grow as individuals.

Blog 1 Iridian Lopez

Author : Iridian Lopze (IP: 104.162.156.92 , cpe-104-162-156-92.nyc.res.rr.com)
E-mail : iridian.lopez38@qmail.cuny.edu
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Whois  : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=104.162.156.92
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In our society, what is truly useful? How do we weigh whether a skill or talent is useful or not? Ordine explains that our society values skills and career paths that will ultimately lead to wealth because we are solely interested in anything that hold monetary value. I started to wonder where does this implementation of the important of monetary value begin and thought about elementary schools. Ordine states, “Because it is easy to understand the efficacy of a tool while it is even more difficult to understand the utility of music, literature, or art.” (pg. 4) I’ve had the opportunity to work in two elementary school in Queens, in which I noticed that children are no longer pushed to experiment with the Arts. They are no longer given the opportunity to learn about art or learn how to play instruments. Their school days basically consist of subjects like math and science, which are important, but as Ordine explains is killing creativity. I agree that it is very important to learn about these different subjects in school. However, I think is is crucial to foster children’s’ creativity. Schools curriculum continuously cuts funding for art programs and therefore students don’t have the opportunity to learn about music and art. Which I believe is the reason why as adults we are so focused on what careers will make us most money and majors like english, music, drama to name a few are looked down upon.

Blog 1 Maggie Capozzoli-Cavota

Maggie Capozzoli-Cavota

Blog Post #1: Are You Really Sure It’s Useless? A Question On Popular Thought and Perspective.

The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does, is a quote from Allen Ginsberg, one of the most notable writers and activists of the 20th century. He is also one of the many writers whose works, speeches, and lifestyle went on to shape generations of people after his death. Yet poetry, and English in the broader sense, is still considered one of the “useless” arts along with music, design, drama, and anything else that the word “creative” seems to reach within the radius of a ten-foot pole. 

But why? In our readings, the great minds of Aristotle to Plato, and Shakespeare to Kant, can all make separate and compelling arguments for the purpose, delight, and even sheer beauty of art. It seems society so often deems the arts as things filled with daydreams that can’t possibly effect purpose or change. This is why in most cases we’re told put down the book (or the violin or the paint brush…), and pick up the equations instead. Science is useful, but a subject such as English is something for the unemployment line.

Yet when it really comes down to it, our problem seems to go deeper than this. When told English is useless, why don’t we question it? English is a vital part of our communication. You can’t hold a conversation without it, or even wonder what someone else is thinking. We learn these nuances like literary devices; metaphors, subtext, and imagery are built into the functions of our everyday life. In fact, we learn them so well, and so effortlessly, we take them for granted, the same way we aren’t aware of our breaths or the ticking of a clock.

For example, how can you tell someone about the 1920’s without mentioning The Great Gatsby? Or the 1950s without The Beatles? Or The early 2000s without Harry Potter?

The arts are a pillar stone in our cultural history. These aren’t even the best cases of an example, but they’re certainly a few that can make the agreement for the arts relevancy. And it raises another set of questions: if there’s such a gap between our perspective as a whole and the actual use of such a concept, what’s going to happen because of this unawareness? How does skewing the purpose of these arts damage something that’s intrinsically apart of us? Is following a certain perspective and immediately putting down the humanities going to change human kind itself for the worse?

If so, then it seems David Wallace’s parable not only rings true, but serves as a warning.  Perhaps it’s time we wake up and realize not only is there water around us, but without it we wouldn’t be able to function, and that cold rush of dry air will be too great a shock to survive once it’s eventually gone.

Blog 1 Ashley Joseph

Author: Ashley Joseph (IP: 98.113.196.96, pool-98-113-196-96.nycmny.fios.verizon.net)
Email: Ashley.Joseph22@qmail.cuny.edu
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One thing popped into my mind while I was reading “The Usefulness of the Useless.” That one thing was choosing a college major.

Coming from a Caribbean background the main occupations that are worthy of respect are those who work in the medical, law, engineering, and business fields. These careers are seen as “useful” so parents and other family members urge their children and other young relatives to major in the STEM AND business fields. The reason why they’re seen as useful is because they provide enough income (6 figures) to live a lifestyle one would want to live. However, there are those who aren’t the science or business type and would rather major and pursue a career in the humanities or social sciences.

Those who want to pursue those areas of study will often come across that age-old question, “What are you gonna do with that?” One of the reasons why they say that is because the humanities and social sciences are generally seen as “useless.” Even though one would find fulfillment and joy through pursuing say, English or Sociology, they’d be met with ridicule because in general it’s believed that one cannot make a living out of careers from those majors.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live a comfy lifestyle, wanting six figures, and/or majoring in STEM or Business. However, one must see that majoring in the social sciences and humanities can be useful and have been for many years. And those who are passionate about them are able to turn the skills they’ve learned in their studies into something worthwhile and lucrative.

Blog 1 Mariama Diallo

Author: Mariama Diallo (IP: 100.33.250.170, pool-100-33-250-170.nycmny.fios.verizon.net)
Email: mariama.diallo97@qmail.cuny.edu
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What’s water? an anecdote
from David Foster Wallace

Fishes live in water and the only  place they know is  that water. What could these two young fishes were thinking about when they mentioned  about  ” what the hell is water?” the answer is simple.. They either  innocent or  inexperienced to realize that their life is in water. The fact is that, the two  young fishes are unaware about where they live. They do not have the knowledge as the old fish to understand certain things in life, no of us did when we were young. we all need time to grow and be mentor by people before us.  look at this way, if  i walk on the street and see two six years old kids and tell them  what  a nice atmosphere. They may not understand the term atmosphere, because they may be too young and inexperienced. Insted  when i say what a  nice weather kids ? they may understand that i am talking about the weather.
Knowledge without profit is useless

There is no point to have knowledge if you are not using it, regardless the level of knowledge if you are not sharing with others it become useless. As a french speaker i found it hard to introduce french to people i know. Maybe if i was ask to be pay to teach French, it may be interesting to do so since ill be paid. Certain people view knowledge  as useless when their is no gain like financial gain.

Blog 1 Andria Webb

Author: Andria Webb (IP: 173.52.200.167, pool-173-52-200-167.nycmny.fios.verizon.net)
Email: andria.webb21@qmail.cuny.edu
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I enjoy the effect that using science as the premise for distinguishing the two ideas that Ordine focuses on in his text has on my dissection here; strictly because the field of Sciences that opens doors to careers motivated by profit and gain opposes his point entirely.  On the surface, the opening of this argument pits a society driven by financial gain against one soothed by the lull of that which appeals the heart and stimulates the mind, but there is something larger at play. Ordine peers into the anatomy of these almost diametrically opposed groups finding a genetic marker that predisposes individuals to selflessness. Willingness to swim against the current takes being aware of the water – “the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities… the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about.” (pg. 24) – an awareness that doesn’t come from the norms of this world. There must be something on an anatomical level that urges us to look away from the beacons of things fueled by profit and look inwards instead to the things of cultural and educational value. One can however argue, that the focus on one’s own inner desire isn’t selfless at all.

Blog 1 by Emily Vasquez

After reading the introduction multiple times, I finally understood a point that Ordine was making. I could be wrong, but something that I got from the introduction was that there are two kinds of usefulness: what people think are useful due to appearance, and what is seen as useless but is actually useful. At first, I wasn’t understanding this idea. Due to my misunderstanding the idea, I disagreed with it because I didn’t think there was such a thing as something being useless. Everything in life is useful. Now that I have a better understanding, I agree with the idea of finding usefulness in what some see as useless. Also, the word “utilitarian” was unfamiliar to me. I had read it a few times in the book, but didn’t know the definition. It is defined as, “designed to be useful or practical, rather than attractive.” This is why some people find things useless; it is not attractive to them.

 

–Emily Vasquez

 

Blog 1 by Lena Ayala

The goal in life for most people is to live a life of personal fulfillment, whether that involves success defined by academic achievements or success defined by our relationships. Both should be able to coincide, and at times they do. Often in life though, something gives and things start to get in the way of other goals. Academically as well as through personal relationships and personal growth, the ultimate goal for me, is to achieve both. I want to find happiness outside of achievements as well as to find happiness outside of my personal relationships and hobbies. Societal values and opinions often stunt personal growth. Many choices are at times centered around worrying how others might perceive them. The pressure to make my family proud is always present, but so is the need to become an individual. The pain of growing, of becoming a person not led solely on the knowledge and experiences of one’s own family is perhaps harder for our loved ones to accept than it is for us. This pressure goes hand in hand with societal values. By choosing to do what is expected of us rather than what we might want to do, we are choosing to sacrifice our own self worth, dreams and individuality on the basis of pleasing society. Similarly in The Usefulness of the Useless, Ordine discusses how important tangible things are to us: “you run the risk of being considered a lunatic if you dare to prefer Michelangelo over the ‘inventor of white mustard…'” (pg. 55). Personal choices dictate what we want to do with our lives. To be a poet, a musician, an artist, and so on is translated often by many as having no future. I’ve been told as I’m sure many have, to focus on money. To decide my career based on what can financially make me sound rather than what might actually make me happy, and that finding joy in a job is virtually impossible. I’ve been told to settle. Ordine in many different ways, has presented the idea that a life lived having forgotten what it means to find joy and meaning in the arts is a life ruled by society’s expectations. There is a loss in placing value on things that cannot be bought, traded or consumed in the traditional sense. Ordine demands that we focus on being consumed by the feelings that the arts invoke in us, and how they bring insight into our own lives.
 
–Lena Ayala