Monday, September 3, 2007

Middle Ages and Urbanization

JZ argues…

The creation of urban centers during the Medieval Ages was the beginning of the end for Western civilization. Urban centers begun the long sliding slope to the current day problems that we see with cities and largely populated areas. Cities have led to pollution, congestion, social anonymity, political corruption, and a degraded culture.

Most people think that the Medieval Ages were a dark period in Western civilization in which people lived under a cloud of oppression and ignorance. The stereotype of the “Dark Ages” is that people were just waiting to be freed by science, Enlightenment and Democracy. We typically assume that our lives are so much better today because we live longer and have better living conditions for housing, diet and education. We look at all of this proclaim that we have attained “progress” in our civilization. However, aren’t we just taking the positive elements of our civilization and using them to mask the real lack of progress made by urbanization and the growth of congregated populations?

Cities in European population primarily began as a way for merchants and craftsman to operate in congregated markets. They demanded more freedom from the traditional Church and State relationship. Local cities created their own political organizations and laws. Local craftsmen, like tailors, butchers, glass creators, and carpenters, all created businesses that offered hand made goods at prices demanded by the consumers. Laborers were attracted to work as apprentices and then to become their own masters. Labor formed guilds, sort of like unions, to create protections for labor and business. Thus, many people could believe that this was a demonstration of the positive aspects of some sort of primitive capitalist economy.

However, take a closer look at what was created. These towns created their own forms of governance placing them outside of the traditional forms of leadership of the government and church. This led to more extreme individualism and competition. The community lost a sense of identity and coherence that simply got worse as towns increased in size and scope. Business competition led to the growth of wealth amongst certain families. These families used their money to corrupt local politicians. Often these families created their own “turf” for business and would literally kill the competition in a mafiaesque style. Towns created problems for sanitation and trash. People in towns tended to use more and waste more since they were not under the limited conditions of the farmlands where farmers had learned to live with what they had.

One could argue that this was simply a part of the evolutionary process. As time would go by, the towns would become more sophisticated and learn from these errors of development. One could argue that we today have progressed over time far beyond these primitive moments. But have we?

We live in a “democracy”. But how many people really feel that they have a personal contact with their government. We get to vote every two, four, or six years. But, most people feel that the wealthy and powerful still influence those in charge. We may have a formal voice in government. But, isn’t this just a sham to cover up the reality of how little influence we have? Yes, it is true that we have become much better about our sanitation systems. But, don’t we still produce much more waste than was ever produced by farmers? Just look at how much your family will produce in trash in one week. Where does all that go? And, what effect does that have on our overall environment? Is it true that we are freer than the peasant of the Middle Ages? Well, yes, we are free in name. But, we actually work more and experience more stress. The peasants had so many church feast days that they actually worked less than we do. Ah, yes, but we live longer! But, for what? Do people have a sense of purpose and meaning in life today? Or is life simply a game to make more profit?

Still, aren’t we more educated? Well, yes, but for what purpose? The most popular shows on television today are Reality TV shows. And, more people vote for the next star on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars than for President. If this is the effect of an educated populace, then what is the point?

For all of these reasons, I would argue that the creation of cities were at best a new form of living and at worst a prison for western civilization. Now that argument is Zucktastic!!

82 comments:

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London said...

I don't think that the creation of urban centers during the Medieval Ages was "the beginning to the end of for Western Civilization." We may have problems that you pointed out like "pollution, congestion, social anonymity, political corruption, and a degraded culture" but that does not mean our society is at complete doom. There are problems and weak-points in everything; which is something that cannot be avoided. I think are we have improved the overall way of life compared to the people of the Medieval Ages. People can enjoy restaraunts, tv, air conditioning, cars, etc. And I believe people live hapier lives then ever before. These improvements have elimated areas of stress and have made some things much easier. We may have problems in our world today but I think life has been greatly improved from that of the Medieval Ages.

Greg London, Period 3

London said...

No it's Greg London, PERIOD 4

J Daroca said...

Mr. Zucker, I think that you do bring up many truths about our deteriorating society. Greg brought up a good point that we have made genuine improvements on circumstances in the middle ages. But, these don't out weigh the many more mistakes that have been made, the shortcuts taken, and the people taken advantage of. Serfs lived in harsh conditions similar to slaves. But in AMERICA, home of the free, there were actual slaves that were stolen from their homes to lead a life of hardships. The serfs could actually influence their fate. They eventually got rights for themselves as citizens and merchants and traders through the magna carta.

Basically, my point there is that the US has had similar problems to those of midieval europe, but they have made things worse, rather than better.

Jonathan Daroca Period 4

The Mozenator said...

It simply isnt true that the developement of cities was the beginning of the end for western civilization. Throughout your arguement you pose loaded yet clearly rhetorical questions such as "we may have formal voice in government. But, isn't this just a sham to cover up the reality of how little influence we have?" and "What is the point of an educated populace?" What you fail to realize however is that answering these questions exercises that which is ideally american and that which is only possible in a capitalist city-driven society, choice. The right to make decisions affecting our condition is what enriches the lives of ALL humans. It is choice that we all live for, and it is also choice that we in America take for granted. You, even in posing those questions, are making a choice to question the institution. How much choice did the majority of the population have under the basic feudal system? Comparing that to the choice available to merchants and business people in medieval cities, I would argue that only in a society driven by the social and financial competition among the masses, is choice even possible. Choice is absolutely the most important right to every human on earth. Thus, not only the drawbacks of city-life that you mentioned, but also every possible drawback of any situation in which choice is possible to the people is worth enduring. Agreeing with Greg London's point that there are flaws in every social set-up, I would say that cities are absolutely essential to the betterment of the human condition through the right of decision-making. NOW THAT ARGUMENT IS MOZETASTIC!

Ike Moses Dashiell Silver
period 4

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stephen said...

Dear Mr. Zucker,
I don't know exactly how it would be living back in the Medieval Ages but I can't imagine that it would be any better than what we have today. I would rather sleep in my house on my bed than next to my own poo. I would rather have the freedom to go to the beach on the weekends and relax rather than have my lord tell me to go work the fields. I would even rather be educated and watch stupid reality tv shows. (Those are for entertainment. If I wanted to learn from watching tv, I would watch the history channel.) And urbanization isn't such a bad thing. I like living in LA where there is a lot going on. There are certain places that are meant for it. Without urbanization, there wouldn't be any big companies that would come up with cool stuff like iPods, computers, and tvs. I bet the people in the Medieval Ages didn't get to write on BLOGS, listen to sweet music or watch college football on fridays.

Ike brings up a good point about decision making. We do take it for granted sometimes but life would be terrible without it. thats my shbeal. Love,
Stephen Shigematsu
Period 5

RussianDF said...

I believe that the society that we have today is much better then it was in the middle ages. Today in America, although the government is also corrupt and always will be, we are not ruled by one person, and we are all free to work for the American dream. In those days, people were born into their social class and had virtually no options of changing thier lives and moving up. Although you did mention many types of hazards in our society today(pollution, corruption, etc), but I still believe that today's society has had a better productive outcome then the societies of the Middle Ages.
I agree with Ike's point that cities are essential to the betterment of a human condition, and I agree with his opinion on this.

-Daniel Fotinich Period 4

ucla smells as bad as they are at football said...

mr. Zucker,
I totally agree with you on your arguement. Urban centers were the building blocks of our corrupt, polluted cities that we live in today. I think that the Dark Ages was a significant part of our evolution because at that time i think we could have gone one of 2 ways the way we went or we could have declined back into the state of the ancestors before them. I also agree with greg london though on the fact that there are high and weak points of every thing and if you take the weak points of our culture and match them up with the high points, the high points are going to be more significant in living today. Also now a days the position in our society have raised to a point where machines do a lot of the laborious task done in the middle ages which makes our lives a little more civilized.
Love
Dylan Price = ]

ucla smells as bad as they are at football said...

dylan price period 4 i forgot 2 put period 4 GODDD DANG IT!

JFF said...

Not only was the development of the town not a “prison for western civilization,” but it was, in fact, the very opposite. While peasants, especially serfs, were nearly slaves, their status greatly grew if they were able to move to the city. In addition to not being bound to an owner, they also directed their own course; this progression has lead to the modern day, where any person can “choose his/her destiny,” that is, decide on an occupation, become educated, attain a college degree, with the help of scholarships and/or student loans, if needed, and succeed. The individual no longer lives in a predetermined path but, rather, lives in a world where having money is certainly beneficial, but a lack of fiscal resources can be overcome by a combination of effort and natural intellectual prowess.
Certainly, the democracy is not the ideal form of government. A government where rhetoric and propaganda are used to appeal to both the proletarian masses and the privileged bourgeoisie in order to receive power falls short of the ideal government because leaders are not elected as a corollary of their abilities and powers of rational thought and analysis. However, this is far superior to a system dominated by disorganization, inequality, and the advancement of the self. The goal of the lord is to profit, not to help the serfs; likewise, the goal of the king is to get more power and goods through taxation, warfare, and whatever other policies are thought to further these goals.
Of course the town has its disadvantages, but the benefits of having an area where people can come together for trade, work, and interaction outweigh the disadvantages. Today, the city is still plagued by congestion, but the ability to quickly travel from home to work is essential to the modern economy. If we are satisfied with an agrarian economy with little social interaction, then the feudalistic model can suffice, but in order to have the technology that we take for granted, the density of population must support both the product- and service-based economy. True, the amount of trash in cities is high, but cities also enable the use of recycling- and conservation-based programs that are not possible when people are distributed in low concentrations. I agree with Greg London’s argument that technology has improved the quality of life. Such things as the automobile, the computer, and the iPod/MP3 player make it possible to easily work and enjoy life instead of being confined to a small geographic area with very little to do aside from working.
-Jan F-F Period IV (4)

Cameron L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cameron L said...

Mr. Zucker is disagree with you rational because I do not think cities are at best a new way of living, and I also don’t believe that cities are prisons for western civilization. Yes we may cause pollution, congestion, social anonymity, political corruption, and a degraded culture in this day and age but the quality of live is much better. People are, in my opinion, happier today than they were 500 years ago. I agree with Greg London, I believe that creation of urban centers during the Medieval Ages was not "the beginning to the end of for Western Civilization." If cities weren’t urbanized, civilization wouldn’t have reached its full potential and simple diseases could have possibly wiped out thousands of people because medicine wasn't being studied because there would be no place to get formal education without urban cities. The problems in our society today are minuscule compared to the problems we would have if cities weren’t urbanized.

--Cameron Lancey, Period 5

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Sukos said...

The development of cities was definitely not anywhere close to the downfall of western civilization. Quite to the contrary, such a development is what led to a different course in the development of mankind. Mr. Zucker, would we have ever progressed if those hunter and gathering peoples remained solely independent and did not decide to come together and form towns? No, for in this joining of people, agriculture developed and fast forwarding to the middle ages, great complex institutions of society formed. People are interdependent and as such, cities and towns are NATURAL. It seems as though through your entire argument, you are one who fears change. Stating that with cities, governments changed from, "traditional forms of leadership of the government and church." So you are saying that you support the church's direct role in government after fully knowing the vast corruption within the Church at that time. Im sorry but this is not an ideal civilization nor a stable argument to disprove the validity of our own system. Our difference from the peasants is quite astounding. A peasant worked knowing he was considered trash, he ate the most minimal diet possible, he suffered from many sicknesses, lived in disgusting living conditions, and most importantly knew that he could NEVER EVER change that. Unless, something different happened. Unless there was a city which would give opportunity to those whose skills would allow them to thrive and also to those who wished to learn these skills. Well, then this peasant could elevate in society and become comfortable in living. By saying the peasants had church holidays, implying they had a nice carefree life, is being totally ignorant of the extreme hardships they went through. Its as if you said we should have no sympathy for the Jewish people who suffered in the concentration camps because they got to enjoy meals on multiple occasions throughout the day.

Furthermore, with education comes opportunity. This is evident all throughout the history of our world. The smartest man in the world could choose to be a druggie or could choose to be a chef, or a lawyer, or a politician. REGARDLESS of what he chooses, he still was able to choose! Our population does enjoy entertainment, however that is only a small fraction of the whole picture. Our freedoms will allow us to be who we WANT to be and so therefore we are in a completely different ballpark than your Medieval society.

Natural congregations of beings is our most elemental form of protection and development. Why do elephants travel in herds and not alone? Why does it take more than one cell to make a human but rather clusters of billions of cells? From a political standpoint, from a basic evolutionary standpoint, to a belief in the value of opportunity, it is undeniable that cities further the development of society and humanity. Ike is completely right in stressing the importance of our rights of choice, and how it is reflectant upon our great worth as individual beings.

Alex Kutsukos
Period 4

JEDI DAWG said...

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Rude said...

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Rude said...

I could not agree more with your statement on our "personal contact" with our own government. It seems true that the vote of the rich and famous is worth more than that of the average American. I believe that this is because the rich and famous publicly announce their feelings on topics and influence others who don't think for themselves.

But I would still much rather live in this day and age, even if we are very much alike those of the past. I agree with Greg's comment. We have improvements and best of all, we are able to improve even more.

Matt Rude Period 5

Alopez said...

I agree with Matt, on how he says only the rich come into power. But when you think about, only 126 million people voted for the presidential election compared to American Idol which had 500 million votes. It could be that some people are just to lazy to go out and vote or just are not interested in politics. While in American Idol, which has no control if we go to war or not, people would rather turn on their television and watch people sing. But to prevent our government to become corrupt, we have the 3 branches of government. With 3 branches of government, it makes it harder to get menial or stupid ideas though. But I also agree with Greg, as we go on in time we are developing tools that make life easier. Though people worked less in the middle ages, most were performing physical labor. While the majority of the present day people specialize in his/her certain, strong field, we are able to extend the horizon of technology, and developing man kind further.

Alex Lopez, Period 4

leaningtower55 said...

Even though I agree with your comment that civilization today goes through someof the same types of problems that society faced in the Middle Ages, I think that western civilization still has progressed. Every civilization has its own problems. These difficulties can be somewhat unaviodable. In a country of over 300 million, not evryone can be satified. Though the United States might have more difficulties to deal with, our problems are a step above from the Peasant's in the middle ages. We have rights these days to take a stand or at least make notice of these problems. I sort of disagree with your statement that says the less wealthy and less powerful have little influence. The common people of our nation have a major influence. We are the majority. The middle class of America is what people in other nations see or think of when they think of America. The westernized culture of our middle class has spread to other countries such as Japan and Australia. Also, I would rather be educated than living such a limited life working only in fields and having church feast days. Though we experience more stress, we experience more opportunities as well. There are different types of problems at every level of success.

Bronson said...

Mr. Zucker,
I would definitely have to agree with you on many of the points you brought up. From this we can see that these struggling "Dark Ages" are really the basis for our social evolution. In 2007 people are still trying to prove their strong individualism and are trying to compete for pride and for wealth. Although our government is sometimes corrupt and unfair, its main role is to serve the people. Whether they do is another topic. But back in the "Dark Ages," kings and lords ruled for themselves, not for the people. When the rulers of the time made decisions, they made them for the advancement of their wealth, land, or overall social status. I do believe that today our government, corrupt or not, is working to achieve the goals of the people. I also would have to agree with some of the previous comments. I agree with the fact that our society has many problems. But with new technology and a stronger centralized government, our society is developing just as the European cities did. In conclusion, I would have to agree with most of your statements, yet I believe that we are living a life of freedom and of new technologic advances that will greatly benefit the development of our society.

Bronson Green
Period 5

mr.bogangels said...

Mr. Zucker,

I must disagree with your notion that the development of cities was the beginning of the end for western civilization. First off, you personally told us that there is no society that has never suffered from such problems as corruption, so you are contradicting yourself from the start. Another flaw I see in your blog would be some of the examples you use to compare modern America with medieval Europe. You say that more people vote for the next American Idol then for the president? I truly do question this as people are allowed to vote up to twenty five times for their choice in American Idol. Yet another would be how peasants had less days of work then we do today. I would have to argue that peasants did much harder work in the field then most people do now days in the office. Though you do have a point with the fact that just because there are scientific improvements over the years, the quality of life doesn’t necessarily improve along with it, I still believe that this does not apply in the United States.

Patrick Foster
Period 4

And here is a picture of Master Chief, lol

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mr.bogangels said...

well it was a picture of master cheif, but it got messed up...

mr.bogangels said...

And though Jonathan Daroca makes a very good point about how america has done some bad things, I would have to disagree with the fact that America has made things worse. Back then, i doubt serfs and lower classes even knew about african people. And in america, African people where not even considered people like serfs, they where considered objects. If africans where slaves in medieval europe, they would be much much lower then surfs on the social scale and be treated even worse to.

No hard feeling, only using you as my required critique on another students opinion.

Patrick Foster
Period 4

kearney asada said...

Mr. Zucker,

I can see why your argument may persuade someone easily convinced, but some of your statements seem a little incedulous. I concur that our society uses the somewhat positive elements to hide the flaws of our growth as a population, but no society is a utopia. life in America gives ample opportunity for success, and while not always easy to achieve, self-determination and inner-strength can and most likely will provide success to anyone. The wealthy may have better chances and an easier road than that of the middle and lower class, but the quest to live an affluent lifestyle comes from the individual him or her self. Even the wealthy had to start somewhere. Someone had to work and make money. While wealth is passed through families, an industrious person had to start it all. The reason we as a nation have a major gap between the minority of wealthy citizens and the majority of lower class complainers is because of work ethic and lack of will. I do not buy into the acting and the whole "poor me" business. Yes, some people are mired by the enviroment in which they thrive, but not everyone can be at the top. Someone has to pick up the garbage or work for Mcdonalds. Everyones piece in society is significant.

As a civilization, I believe we have progressed and learned from our errors, but we have not reached any sort of sophistication in which we should have already achieved. With limited supplies, Science, trigonometry, massive structures, and more were being built. With all the resources we have as a society today, we should be so much more advanced than we are.

I would also have to agree with you on our matter of waste. During the Middle Ages, it was just dumped off to the streets. It did cause much more of a deterrent for anyone to manuever or succeed, despite all the posibilities for one to succumb to an illness. Today, we may have places to dump trash, but it does not evaporate. Our trash is sitting somewhere, building up. Many just pollute the area in which we live already. Swimming in the ocean, i often see a bag or a can floating by. Our population needs to find a better way in which to redirect our allotment of waste. Some is given to the ocean, other trash is given to our beautiful landscape.

You seem to pose a rhetorical question on our liberty, and you compare it to that of the "peon". I believe we are much more free than the peons. We may be born into an era in which it is difficult to change your status, but it is certainly possible. I try not to make myself redundant, but self-determination is all one needs to gain wealth. There are so many opportunities it is almost unfathomable. The peasants had no choice. A peasant would not become the next King. He was not awarded for his labor and toil. The peasant life was an arduous task, and has changed drastically to that of the lower class today.

Today, life has its purpose, and each person living has a key part in society. Every person, despite the gravity of the role they play in society, does a certain job that is key. Our society is best viewed as a centipede. If one leg does not function, the hole body shuts down. This would be the most closely related factor of both modern day society and the Middle Ages. You control your own destiny and life can be hell on Earth, or eternal bliss.

Finally, I would have to strongly agree with Greg London's stand on the flaws of a society. There is no such thing as a perfect society. Perfection is a perception from the eyes of different people. What I view as perfect, Greg may not. Flaws make a society stonger, and keep a learning culture thriving.

JOSEPH KEARNEY (biblical)
Period 5

John Sapunor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Sapunor said...

Mr. Zucker

I think that we have come a long way from cities in the Dark Ages. Although our cities are filled with pollution and poor people, these things will probably always exist. The way poor people live has gotten much better in places such as Canada where healthcare is given to all of its citizens. Also, the United States has many programs that help the poor, but since most of the voters are of higher classes, the poor don't put in a voice to recieve more from the government. I also think it is important to have cities, because problems such as pollution are small sacrafices we make for the clashing of ideas that take place in cities. Technology because more and more advanced, and that which causes the problem could eventually solve, such as hybrid cars and whatever other new eco-friendly things are out there.

Though our lives are much better and our cities are more advanced than in the Dark Ages, those cities must be credited with where we have gotten, so I agree with you on this. We learn from mistakes, and as cities came about, they could prevent problems by looking back at the problems of other cities. As the list grows of what improvements can be made, cities get better in many ways, such as cleanliness and city structure. To finish up, if cities weren't developed because people saw that they didn't work out well, Los Angeles and other cities would not be as advanced as they are.Cities in the Dark Ages are one reason ourlives are much happier and relaxed compared to the lives of peasants, so those cities must be creditied for this reason.

John Sapunor
Period 5

<<===tHe JeDi===>>> said...

zuckerman,
I agree with the points you brought up at how society today lives not very different from life in the middle ages. People in America have all these advantages and freedoms that did not exist back then, and yet we take that for granted and live our longer life span looking forward to the next big movie instead of our world's leadership. And what about our technological advances? Shouldn't that be taking care of all this waste problem? Sure, we have made new discoveries and come up with medical cures, but is that really going to matter when we destroy our planet completely? People today are so caught up in their own lives and the present that we forget that we live in a world that is heading downhill and things are only getting worse. I have to disagree with Bronson on the last point he made. He says that our technological advances will ultimately better our society, yet that will never work unless we get a worldwide cooperation for change. Simply put, life is much difficult now with everything we have to worry about.
holla at ya boii.

lucas cielak, period 4

peace out



bye



adios

sora the hedgehog said...

Mr. Zucker, I must say that the beginning of your arguement had me convinced. That is, until I saw what came after. True, there were crowds, political corruption, and poo in the streets. But hey, it's the Dark Ages. As far as the beginning of the end part, I have to agree with it...but only for the Middle Ages. If these towns were never created, we wouldn't have such brilliant cities such as Venice or Florence. Heck, we'd all be living in these small villages, where trade was meager. Oh, and by the way, almost everything else you put as a question I completly disagree with.

Now about those towns. Point 1: Individualism. Hmm, sounds like a lot like us if you ask me. After all, we are not required to go to church like people did before. Point 2: Religion. The fact that people aregoing away from the church isn't necessarily bad. Think of it as a change in lifestyle. After all, what is religion but a guideline on life and how we should live? Point 3: Towns taking their own governance. Does the word "states" scream anything? Yes, there was a lot of competition at the time and there still is today along with the rich corrupting the political. But people need competition in order to make a living. If all the job ideas were taken (for example one blacksmith, one siversmith, one shoemaker, ect.) and the town could only have one person who does each job, then what could you do to make money? Nothing. You'd have to make a living in, oh, I don't know, a place where you had to farm and were practically controled by some upper class person. That does not sound as good as dealing with competition. Besides, the town would not flourish without more than one of the same job being run. As far as corruption, people had to deal with corruption before towns too. Lords would corrupt the minds of bishops and abbots who didn't really care for religion. Mind you, Mr. Zucker, these bishops and abbots were higher on the carts than the nobles were. They also ran the local church. In my opinion, I would rather have rich people gain political power by corrupting politians than rich politicians gaining even more power by corrupting religious authorities.

I really have to agree with Alex Kutsukos on the peasant idea. Trust me, after seeing that handout on the "peons", I have to say the disadvantages make peasant life worse than the advantages that would make them better. Alex is right. If peasants had never left the manors, then what would become of the towns? They'd go kaput, and we'd be living in a little village where are daily lives are controled by some rich glutton. And to think, little Bobby could have been his own man if he went to town along with the other peasants who could have been free. In summary, without peasants moving into the city, we wouldn't have the Rennaisance, we wouldn't be in the U.S.A., and we wouldn't have learned what was out there. At least, not for a very long time.

Have we really learned from errors in development? Yes. Do we act upon what we learned? Maybe. At least we, the people of the 21st century, have learned how previous civilizations have risen and fallen. We would not have discovered this if we had not explored the world (thank you peo- uh-I mean peasants for moving out of your miserable manor days and making towns prosperous.) It's tough to say whether we are actually acting upon what we learned from past experiences. For example, before the last heat wave, we had an ample supply of water and electricity. But after that, we don't have much water and we used up a lot of electricity to keep us cool and alive. It seems as if Los Angeles didn't do anything to prepare. Not to mention it was forecasted on the news. But the point is yes, we have learned, but we might not put what we learned to good use.

On the topic of creating more waste, yes we do create more waste than the average farmer. But back then, that was better than being a puppet in the hands of the lord and use up less. I know we do use up a lot of waste. My only say to that is use less. People may not recycle, but they should. It saves supplies and decreases the damage on society. Also, things with the word "rechargeable" is good too.

This question about only being more free in name really had me saying "NO NO NO NO NO!" Back again on the feast day-peasant topic. Yes, they had pack-mule loads of feast days. But no, they had no freedom, unless they left. At least our boss doesn't have control over when we smoke, when we sleep, when we date, etc. No, peasants worked harder than we did. Whatever time they didn't spend on feasts, they spent it doing hard manual labor. At least we get more done if we work just as long thanks to machinery. Yes, they didn't have to work as much. But they wouldn't have made as much progress compared to us if they worked as long as we did. Yes, they had to deal with less stress. Peasants were nearly outcasts of society due to the fact that they couldn't participate in things that the society did. But they never had to deal with the kind of stress we have such as, "my girlfriend dumped me for a geek" or "I got fired. Now I can't support my family." They really didn't have to deal with the ammount of stress it would take people to day to commit suicide. Still, shame on you Mr. Zucker for saying that we worked more and that we were only free in name.

Do we have a sense of purpose? Oh man, this question had me really sick. Of course we do! Why would God have created us in his image if we didn't. Speaking of religion, I believe that is our purpose in life: to become as close to God as possible. Don't worry, Mr. Zucker. There will never be a God on earth besides Jesus as we could never be God as close as we got. We could never be above all time as hard as we tried (Thank you Mr. Brown.) "We were created in God's image." What's that supposed to mean? Well, people back then didn't have time to worry about that since they had such short life spans. But now that we live longer, we could use our time here on Earth to find out what that means (which we have) and more. Eventually, we'll be like the tower of Bablyon without the tower. In short, I believe our purpose, because we do indeed have one, is to become closer to God while we're here on Earth, except this time, with the fact that we will never be God.

Last but not least, the educated lazy people question. The answer: just like the one on learning from the past and using our noggins. Yes, people are educated, but some just don't care about electing for president or maybe they take the "land of the free" idea too literally. That's the beauty of freedom. You could be the smartest guy on Earth and just do nothing. You could drop out of school and become a millionare who gives tons of cash to charity. You could be almost anyone from astronauts to zoo keepers and do almost anything. Bottom line: yes people are educated. Maybe, people will get up off the couch and do something.

Thank you Mr. Zucker for making blogs our homework. I feel as if this gives people a chance to speak their mind on some of these situations and critique each other. Christopher Tan Period 5

sora the hedgehog said...

Hey Foster, not too shabby, uh, Master Chief...thing. I can see some of the helmet, kind of. But the body needs some more work. But who am I, who is no good at art, to judge you? Anyways, nice work

Matt Ball said...

Mr. Zucker,
Although I do agree with you on many points that you make throughout your argument, I do not believe we are as close to medieval society as you say we are. As Ike Silver said, the fact that we have a choice in our life's direction constantly enriches our own lives. Our "democratic republic" is not perfect, but it definitely is a step in the right direction.

However, you are true on some statements when you address the topic of voting or the topic of a citizens influence in government. I do believe that we can't continue to move our society forward unless we address morality issues and try to cure them, instead of avoiding them. People think that we're so advanced because of our technology. I believe the best way to judge a society comes from an old saying, "a chain is as strong as its weakest link." People need to stop focusing on all the celebrities and "upper-class" of our society, and start to focus on the "lower-class" who is sadly the reason for most of our society’s problems.

Matthew Ball, Period 5

jack said...

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jack said...

Mr. Zucker,
I genuinely think that you have made some very strong points supporting your argument. You mention that we live in a democracy. The word democracy means,"government by the people." Although the United States is indeed a government by the people, the idea that every person is able to make a significant difference simply by voting is slightly skewed. And even by voting for your favorite candidate, you still can't be sure that this man or woman will keep campaign promises or lead the way you expected them to. I do think that we have made great strides in the way that we elect our leaders, but do not think there is a way, with such a great population, that everyone's voice will be heard.
On the other hand, i do think it is pathetic that only roughly thirty percent of the population votes (126 million people). The idea mentioned by you, Mr. Zucker, and Alex Lopez, that four times the amount of people who vote for President, vote for American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. It was previously mentioned that over 500 million votes were cast for American Idol, compared to 126 million for the presidential elections. If one pays close attention, 500 million people did not vote for American Idol, 500 million votes were cast. The average number of votes cast per viewer is ten votes, where as people can only vote once in American elections. Only about 50 million people actually vote for American Idol, compared to 126 for presidential elections. When I first heard that more votes were cast for American Idol than the elections, I was amazed yet saddened. I knew that these figures were true, but the story was distorted to make a good article. I do believe that the majority of people in the United States are intelligent. Being able to vote is not only a privilege, but also our responsibility as citizens.
-John Hawley, Period 5

Tostitos said...

Mr. Mother Zucker, I am going to have to disagree with you when you say that the creation of urban centers in the Middle Ages were the beginning of the end of Western Civilization. The creation of cities and towns led to much of what happened in Europe after the Dark Ages. If cities were never created, Western Civilization would still eventually end. However, the creation of urban cities definitely weakened the structure of European Government. The freedom of townspeople made it harder to rule well.

I think the United States really has had a lot of progress over the years (especially from the Dark Ages). We know a lot more than we used to, and have more than we did back in the Dark Ages. Life is so easy, that people tend to not care who rules the country, as long as they can still do what they do. This may be the reason for the low amount of votes in elections. As Jack said, people who vote for shows like American Idol usually vote more than once, and not everyone who votes can vote in a presidential election. I agree that the low amount of votes is disappointing, but your comparison with American Idol (Mr. Zucker) is a little over exaggerated.

Tostitos said...

O sry....Philip Tostado Period 4

Manalo said...

Mr. Zucker

I would have to agree with you that cities led to problems of pollution, congestion, social anonymity, and all that, but all societies will have their problems.

Also, the creation of urban centers during the Middle Ages opened up opportunities to peasants. In the medieval times, you were born into a certain class, and you can't get out of it. But now the urban centers gave peasants a chance to leave behind their life and start off to a new start. And this is all depending on choices, such as what Ike said. And with these choices, people can interpret their meaning and purpose in life. Today, one can decide to be an athlete or a political leader or even a world-class yoga instructor, as long as he/she had the choice. Whereas in the Middle Ages, some didn't have a choice, for example what I said before that people were just born into the peasant class. They couldn't decide to be a political leader or a merchant, but having the urban centers changed that. In summary, the development of cities, or urban centers opened the Middle Ages to a road full of opportunity.

I agree with Greg London's point that the overall life now is much more enjoyable than the life of the ones who lived during the Middle Ages. Although we experience more work and stress than those in the Middle Ages, there are things that relieve that stress and make life more relaxed, such as cinemas, restaurants, and massage chairs. Also modern technology makes work easier and more convenient. So all in all, the medieval period did not reflect to our society today, but our society definitely improved since the Middle Ages.

Patrick Manalo
Period 5

Otaku14 said...

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Otaku14 said...

Mr. Zucker,

I have to disagree with your statememnt that the formation of cities was the "beginning of the end" of western civilization. It has actually helped western civilization develop. You listed many different problems with middle aged society and related them today, but those problems come with society and even the people in the middle ages learned to deal with them so we can too.

If cities hadn't been formed most people wouldn't be educated right now. The reason being that if people had just stayed on farms then there would be no need for education. If no one was educated though we would not have cures for many diseases that we have today or we wouldn't have nearly as many modern conveniences. Without all these things that have come form education life would be much less enjoyable. Also think how dull and boring life would be if cities hadn't been formed. There would not be very much interaction between humans and humans need to interact with other humans, besides their family memebers which they see every day. Humans are social animals we can't stay by ourselves for very long we need new contact. Also because of this lack of contact we would not have friends. Just think where would most people be without their friends today.

I agree with Ike's point about making choices. That is the one thing that God gave us that animals do not have. Animals live on instinct, but as humans we have free will. If we have that basic right that has been with our species for all time then are we no better than animals?

Otaku14 said...

I'm Michael Porterfield Period 5

Leviathan said...

Mr. Zucker,

I agree with the points you presented in your article and would like to take your theories a step further. You address how cities have destroyed modern civilization and how urbanization is bad. However I feel a more pressing issue in the modern world is the dangers of globalization. Urbanization has already occurred, cities have been built and governments established. However, it is technology, trade and our dependence on one another as a global community that will lead to our downfall. Globalization is the process of the world becoming more and more connected. With globalization, economies become overly dependent on one another and if one economy crashes the whole world feels damaging effect. Also in this evolving world, war could lead to a collapse of the economy. If two countries go to war and the loser’s economy crashes, all business dealings previously done with that country will stop, hurting the world. This relates back to your point because you argued that cities lead to our downfall. If cities and centralized governments hadn’t been created we would all live simpler lives free from the threat of globalization.
I disagree with what Ike argued in his comment. He argues that the most important thing a government can do for its people is maintain its autonomy. He comments saying, the vote, however minuscule, is important because giving the people an outlet to voice their say in politics is the foundation to a just government. However, he is wrong, I argue it is our autonomy that hurts us as a society and a government must limit our autonomy to protect us. We chose to make cities and advance; we knowingly accepted the problems with globalization and urbanization. This proves that a successful government can’t give its people absolute autonomy because with autonomy comes chaos. This relates back to what you said about us being better off if we were peasants because if we did live in a feudal society where our autonomy is very limited we would not have the choice to cause globalization or urbanization.


Tim Perille
period 4

TROJAN said...

I disagree with everything Mr. Zucker said about how cities led to prisons of western civilization.

1)cities = pollution/enviromental destruction - Mr. Zucker makes the arguement that today we are polluting more. BUT this arguent should't be attributed to cities it should be attributed to population growth. More people = more waste. ALSO Today enviromenatal destruction is known now as a problem, whereas the concept of enviromental protection didn't exist back then.
Mr. Zucker states "losk at how much trash you produce in a week"
BUT look at how much trash we RECYCLE a week.

2)Education - american idol/ dancing wtih stars, you can vote more than once

3) Peasants = more free,feast days
WOW!!! to say a peasant has it easier than we do is PROPOSTERIOUS.
Now adays we can have a feast day whenever we want. Adults now could take a day off and have a feast at Mcdolnalds or something.

I agree with what jack hawley said about american idol.

I with what sukos said about you as "It seems as though through your entire argument, you are one who fears change."
If you look upon cities as bad, what do you advocate. Do you advocate FARM LIFE as a key to societal progress. Surely not. Cities are the only way in which a society can develop. Cities are key for THOUGHT and INNOVATION. Relying farmers who lack wisdom to advance a society is rubish, absoulte RUBBISH.

For these reasons, cities were key in european advancement and life today is easier.

jeremy molayem, per. 4

Colin said...

I disagree with you, Mr. Zucker, that the development of cities “was the beginning of the end of Western civilization. In your argument you complain that communities lost their sense of identity as towns grew. You blame this one forming governments away from the leadership of the church and kings. I believe that this was the beginning to forming a free society. At that time, the church was full of corruption and hypocrisy: bishops taking bribes from kings, popes trying to influence monarchs, etc. And what was their justification? It was their rite given to them by God. Kings did not care about the peasants; they were only interested in expanding their empire and receiving taxes. Towns were a step forward to the democracy and land of opportunity that we live in today. You also complain about extreme individualism and competition. Competition and capitalism is the foundation of a free society. If one works hard enough and seizes the opportunities available, they do have the chance to move up in society, and aspect that was not present in the Middle Ages.
I agree with what you and Matt Rude said about only the rich being able to hold high positions in our government. Many deserving people are unable to have their voice heard because they are unable to raise the money for an election campaign. I think that this is a major flaw in our society and needs to be dealt with.

Colin McGonigle
Period 5

bernardo waxtein said...

Mr. Zucker, I have to disagree with you that the creation of cities started the decline of Western Civilization. Yes, there are some major problems with cities like polution and political corruption but there are many good things that come from a city as well. People in cities can have more job orpurtunites because they have the support of others in the community to help them in areas there profession does not cover, like getting food. Also people come to cities to trade there goods from other places and ideas and goods are shared and cultures interact.
When the early towns were created they were placed out of the government and church but they were able to act more freely and on their own established their own government and church organizations. This let people think and organize themselves and would help the human race develop more instead of everyone always being told what to do. We also have progressed from learning from our mistakes and have become more advanced and have a stronger society now than in the Middle Ages. Some parts of society are still the same today but most people can think on their own and do as they wish and choose any proffession they like if they work hard for it.
I have to disagree though with Patrick Foster. Yes, peasants do very hard work but other people work just as hard and harder just not with phisical labor. The King, or president now for example had to work everyday and decide laws and make decisions that influence every citizen every day.
Yes, peasants have a tought job but people in cities who work hard also do a good job at their profession
-Bernardo Waxtein Period 5

Clint Rosser said...

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Clint Rosser said...

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connor said...

I am sorry to say that I agree with you, Mr. Zucker. As people in the Middle Ages moved closer together, leaders became corrupt, no one trusted eachother, they couldn't even count on the Pope for religious help because he was too busy fighting for power against the king. When towns became independent, they lost their sense of nationalism, no one cared about what was happening outside of their little boxes. As you said, they polluted the place, with no underground sewage, living conditions were terrible.

Today isn't much better, lower classes complain that they don't have that much influence over the government. When we give them the choice to vote, they don't even use it. If they don't use it, then why have it at all? I think that education is not as good as it could be today in the US because of the No Child Left Behind act. Some people are naturally smarter than others, and when you put everyone in the same school level, yes, you bring the dumb people up, but you also bring the smart people down. Therefore, making everyone equally dumb. The proof is in the pudding with the TV ratings and GPA's. With all of our technology to "make life easier," society has becoms lazy and fat. With new phones that have text messaging, you no longer need to make the effort to have a real conversation, everything is abbreviated - lol, and you can browse the internet while sitting on your BIG butt. Hooray society!

Daniel Fotinich tries to argue using the American dream, but only a few thousand Americans have ever done it before. You could say, "What about Bill Gates, he didn't even go to college!" Yes well, Bill is one out of how many millions in the US?

You just got served sucka' git outta ma house!

- Benedict "Connor Sharpe" Arnold

erhernan said...

Mr. Zucker, although you brought up many points issue in our society, such as pollution and congestion, I do not agree with your idea that the development of the urban center was the beginning of the end of Western civilization. The urban centers that have developed today allow people to pursue their happiness in almost any way they see fit. In the Dark Ages, those few who were not at the top of the hierarchy were mainly focused on accomplishing their tasks and trying to feed themselves and their families. Although you argue that today's improvement of life expectancies, living conditions, diet, and education are only used to mask the lack of progress in the urban center, I think these all factor to show that these urban centers have proved highly effective. They have developed so greatly that people are capable of living longer with greater benefits than those of the Dark Ages. I agree with Jeremy on the point that the problem with waste can be attributed to our population’s exponential growth, not solely the development of urban centers. You bring about the question of "Are we more free than the peasants of the Middle Ages?" I truly doubt that every peasant would not envy the lives that Americans are living today. Sure, people put in hard work and have to go to their jobs, some of which are not rigorous, exhausting manual labor, in order to make their lives and the lives of their family easier in the long run. There is no one form of societal structure that will please and benefit everything involved, but I believe that the modern day urban center is far from a prison, seeing as all (free) Americans have the right to come and go from these urban centers as they please.

Kevin M. Hernandez Period 4

Clint Rosser said...

Mr. Zucker,
I found your argument to be very persuasive, but I am not in full agreement with you. I think that urban centers helped Medieval Europe a great deal. Some of the first cities started by merchants were inside the walls of a castle, which right away provides the people with protection. Without these places people wouldn't have been able to meet with each other regularly without a lot of trouble. This allowed intellectuals to speak with each other and improve their society. The more brains working on the same problem the better. The moving away form traditional rule by the church and government was a good thing. The church and state was corrupted with kings appointing church officials through lay investiture and the church overstepping its legal power.
I also believe that we have come a long way since the cities of Medieval Europe. Like you said yourself our sanitation has improved immensely. We may do more work now than the peasants did, but our work isn’t nearly as demanding physically. Lots or people enjoy their jobs and like striving to learn more about space or the ocean. People nowadays have the choice of how much work they do. Everyone chooses their own job and decides how much leisure they want to enjoy. Reality TV shows may be the most popular, but we don’t get stats on how many people are reading a book, studying, or watching an educational program.
I do agree, however, with the fact that no one besides government officials seriously believe they have a say in the rule of our country. It would be unrealistic to have the millions of people who live in the United States to all have a real say in how our government works. People see this and that is why so many people simply don’t bother to vote.
I agree with what Bernardo Waxtein had to say about cities. People are able to advance, learn more, and have more free time in cities, because they can rely on each other for the things they need, from food to clothing.

Clint Rosser Period 5

Tyler said...

Mr. Zucker:

So urbanization is the bane of human evolution, eh? That a rural lifestyle is the way to go and that little to no good has come from cities?

Well, I truly beg to differ. Which means I disagree and think that you are crazy, sir. I mean not to take it personally or anything, but here is why:

Education: Well I say education is one of the defining elements of any civilization. Centers of learning will not develop where there is little to no will to learn; i.e. a rural society where farmers must work all day, every day just to live and survive. Where is the time in that to do anything better with your life? What is the point to living if you aren't advancing or making strides? Think of the great civilizations throughout time. The Egyptians, as a matter of fact, had the largest library of works throughout time, from arguments by Plato to medicine to the date at those times. The Royal Library of Alexandria, however, fell to various sackings of the city and its contents were lost forever by the 3rd century. Rome, with a population of around 1 million, which preceeded the Middle Ages by a fair chunk of time, saw advancements in medicine, philosophy, and literature just through the sheer talent available to the city by the numbers. And thus we arrive in today, the United States, making advancements by quantum leaps almost everyday. We have scientists spending every day striving to make the next best thing that will keep us alive or make our lives easier. You asked what was so good about living longer if our life is so pitiful living in cities. My answer is simple. As technology gets better and better, eventually the PS9 will BE life-like. We will be content with that, and I am pacified and "happy" if I have that. Sure it may be superficial, but as we mature we also grow happier spiritually through making decisions that are defined as right nowadays. If you do charity work, then you just feel better becuase you feel worth, pride in what you have accomplished. Our current society tries to push that on us more and more.

But how would this be different than a rural life? They could give crops to a needy begger and feel worth. They could donate crop to the clergy of the Church and feel self-worth, right? But as our society has grown into this competitive, greedy monster that you have described (which in part I agree with), it makes the simple acts performed maybe daily in the Middle Ages about 100x magnified in the modern day. We strive to revert back to that part of society, but also push forward with the new, that will make life more exciting. That excitement is what you may have referred to as "stress." I have to say, most city-dwellers as myself thrive on that element. The edge, the excitement that comes from doing as much as possible to impress, and doing it all perfecrtly. (Like balancing a busy day and writing a perfect counter argument for a certain history class and finishing just in time!)
-
Ok...lets see who agreed with Mr. Z...hm...oh, Dylan! You AGREE with this madman?!? That society is corrupt? Support that! You just say corrupt, what do you mean? Explain! Is good ole' Dubbya paying off your local mayor to raise your taxes? I think there is corruption, but in limited checked ways (like how Mayor Villarigousa probably won't be voted back in again on account on all the dirt he's gotton over his wasteful water consumption after calling for conservation of it, and also that whole affair scandal) But the high and low points of all societies? Awesome way to put it. I like that.

And on that note I think im out.

Tyler Davenport Period 4

trojans07 said...

Mr. Zucker,

I would have to disagree on the fact that urban centers started the end of Western civilization. You point out that cities caused pollution, political corruption, congestion, degraded culture, and social anonymity. I believe that that has always existed in any place with some type of organization, whether it is the city of Los Angeles or some Seljuk Turk settlement during the Middle Ages.

I don’t understand whether you are trying to say that living now is better than what it was in the past or vice versa. All I have to say, though, is that according to what I have studied up to now, life in the Middle Ages must have sucked compared to life in the 21st century. Life revolved around working, eating, sleeping, and some more working. It was like this for almost everyone; I mean there weren’t a lot of people who got the chance to kick it in their castles all day.

I have to agree with you that people are more educated now than they were in the Middle Ages. I do think it was for the better of humanity because it has allowed us to make better decisions that give us the opportunity to progress in life. Proof that people in the Middle Ages were not educated can be seen during the time of the Crusades. They fought because they believed they would get into heaven just because the pope had said so. If Pope Benedict XVI said the same today we would not fall for it, since we are all well educated and know this is a bunch of bologna.

To touch on the point you brought up about democracy, I feel that even though only thirty percent of the voting population vote, we are all influenced by the media. We don’t always vote for whom we think is right, but for whom the media considers the right choice. It’s sad, but true that we are easily convinced or brainwashed by the media. In the end I feel that citizens don’t vote for the ideal candidate, but for the candidate that has more influence with wealthy people who in turn pay the media for the exposure. They do this as an investment, knowing that they will get in return many favors $$$$$$$.

And finally I would have to agree with Philip Tostado, where he explains that the present US has made a lot of progress in comparison with the Middle Ages. It is pretty self explanatory since we no longer live in castles and kill people with arrows, but we do have a more advanced government that has tried to guide us in the right path.

Salvador Valle, Period 5

wiznewski said...

I agree with the points in your article, but would not say that urban centers were "the beginning of the end for Western Civilization". Although cities do bring about their own share of problems we are most likely better off with them then without them. Cities today are centers of government, commerce, living, and entertainment. With this centralization that primitive Mideival Cities lacked we are able to have greater experiences and a better quality of life. People are free to make their own decisions and follow their own pursuits to wherever they take them in our capitalist society whether they may be bad or good. We do still have some of the political problems that plagued the Medieval people however, despite our educations. People do not vote in elections most often believing that their one vote won't matter, but their vote on a reality t.v. will since they feel a greater "connection" with . However, increasing technology such as "youtube debates" will help people be more connected with candidates, through asking their own questions, and have better sense of how important voting is and the ability to have a say-so in government.

I also agree with Tim Perille's comment on that globalization has caused such a large interdependences between cities/state that when one city/state's economy falls everyone is effected. Cities need to be more self-reliant and better able to take care of themselves since that is what caused many to fall in the past; the inability to adapt to changes in the environment whether it be political or environmental.

Michael Wisniewski Period 5

Alex said...

In truth, Mr. Zucker, the idea of Western civilization is a joke, that’s right, you heard me. A JOKE!!! The entire history of our country involves us bestowing hardships, upon hardships, upon more hardships on other people. Much like Jonathan Daroca said the negative impacts that we have had are much worse than the positives. In Europe the serfs were serfs but were given a decent living and protection. Here in the United States we had slavery and treated those slaves like they were worse than dirt. The Europeans expanded old deserted towns into large cities. We on the other hand came here and killed, captured and all but enslaved the indigenous people of the Americas, just so we could expand our country from border to border. You spoke in there of us evolving from Middle Age society, we have not evolved!!! We have devolved and sunk back into such prehistoric morals even though our knowledge has advanced. However, there are a few things that did evolve from that time. In the fourth paragraph you talked about wealthy families paying off officials and fighting over turf. Say hello to the beginnings of the Mafia and eventually gangs. We took what they were doing and took it up a notch, which in this case is not a good thing. I also very much agree with you, Mr. Zucker when you were talking about how much we waste compared to the people of Medieval times. Nowadays a person has more trash in a week then the other people would in a full month.

In conclusion, I mostly agree with what you said, Mr. Zucker, but I believe that we are much worse than you say. As stated in my comment, I believe we stray so far off the path for a better future I do not know how we will fix it.

Alex Flynn Period 5

Christian said...

Mr. Zucker,
To walk through life viewing the same scenery without a thought isn't truly living. The lives of the lower class in the middle ages where akin to a life repeating the same schedule day by day. As humans, we live for joy and fulfillment; that is the reason people hike, go to amusement parks, etc. A good example of the lives we would lead without this change is in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. In a world without knowledge, philosophy, and diversity, a person cannot live their lives to the fullest. In the middle ages, many of these thinkers where killed for heresy(Galileo for example was put under house arrest for his remaining years as an old man for going against church teachings).

As to the problem of corruption of corporations, I agree with you, but there is no solution in the foreseeable future. The alternative to this is to return to the same monotonous and static lives lived by the peasants in the manor society.

The issue of the presidency, on the other hand, is a terrible offence. Though we may not have the power to vote for the president, apathy can destroy the world. Dante Alighieri has apathy as the vestibule of hell. Indifference to a problem is to accept the problem and allow it to continue. Many Americans complain that George Bush should not have been put in office and that he should be removed, but they are the ones who put him there.


As to Trojan’s view on peasant life compared to modern society however, I strongly disagree. A lower class worker can not simply play hooky at work and fool around and eat whenever it’s agreeable to them. The lower class today works 10-16 hours a day to provide enough for their family to have a small home in an ok neighborhood with few luxuries. If they skip work randomly, they will get fired. If they spend a lot of money on useless items, they will not have enough money to pay for bills. The situation you describe is only that of high ranking officials in large companies. And even then they have work that needs to be done in order to survive in a capitalist society.

Holyman, Period 5.





Williams

MC HAIT said...

I agree that the Middle Ages are a time when there wasn't much activity in that time period. Since we do not know anything of what happened during that period. An example of this is in our history books students, when learning about the Middle Ages, learn more about the inactivity of this time period. People could say we are like the people in the Dark Ages, but we, as a culture and civilization have made many great advances that highlight our civilization. Such advance includes the use of the internet, cell phones, and all other technological advances. People do not look into the Middle Ages and see much advancement going on. I agree with Greg London that people are happier today then what we know of people in the Middle Ages. People in the Middle Ages are typically thought of being a bad time where people were in bad situations.
Matt Chait, period 5

Sweet N' Low said...

Mr. Zucker, though I agree with most of what you said, Mr. Daroca's argument is the one the one my feeling relate to. America is the land of the free. A land where are actions are no longer guided by the church, no longer to look up in fear at our leader. I mean, President Bush is often insulted publicly, but unlike in the medieval ages, we no longer have to worry about a knight showing up on our doorstep brandishing his sword because we have openly insulted our king. People in this day in age have a right to think for themselves where thinking and believing something isn't looked down upon by most, of course some will be haters but most will accept you as being different. And in closing I believe that though not many of us are standing up and being active in choosing our leaders and other government officials, it's the fact that we have a choice to, we can choose to get involved,like even a homeless person can get up and decide that he wants to go and vote in this next presidential election, and that is what sets us apart from those in the middle ages, the fact that we have a say and have the choice whether or not to say it, unlike those in the middle ages. Whose choices were made by those in power and only those power.

-Zachary "Sweet N' Low" Wilson
Period 4

K-Fed said...

I think that JZ puts up a good argument, but I disagree with it. The idea that the creation of cities marked the beginning of the end is ludicrous. I agree with Tyler when he said that great civilization created important achievements, and these can be credited to cities. Cities are good for society and the advancement of mankind because they provide people with opportunities of doing great things. Even if the quality of life isn’t good in parts of New York City, isn’t this worth it for the great things the city provides? Children receive education, people can earn jobs, and order is established through law. Since we have all these huge cities in the world today, we are making more progress then ever in every aspect of life. I do agree with Mr. Zucker when he says the rich control government, and that was the reason for democracy. The common people can take control of government, but they choose not to. The rich love democracy because even though they still have control of the government, it isn’t an aristocracy because the people actually have a “voice”.
Anyone who says that life would be better back then is full of bull. Every society has problems, but it is foolish to argue that it was better back then. The Kingdom of God will never be achieved, but we can come close. Today is a better time to live in because of all of the advancements we have made in human history.
Kevin F. Hernandez period 4

andrew a. said...

I don't see how cities could be seen at best as "a new form of living." JZ criticizes how cities have big problems, yet he hardly supports a better solution on how our ever-advancing society could be better. I believe that to say cities had a more negative rather than positive impact is absurd. Throughout the years haven't cities acted as a meeting place for people from all places to share ideas, beliefs (cultural diffussion) and trade! America is not a perfect country, no place is, but America is also a young country compared to England and China. We are dealing and have dealt with our problems and although more are bound to arise who's to say that we can't find a close-to perfect system.

andrew a. said...

andrew aaronian
period 4

B.C. said...

I do not agree with you Mr. Zucker, I believe that the creation of cities was the beginning of Western Civiliztion. Although Cities had many drawbacks, cities were where people focused their crafts-making abilities, increased the population of Europe, and created European Philosophy based on modern and ancient philosophies. The many drawbacks that European society had, were a biproduct of the advancement that took place. What would have happened if there hadn’t been any cities? Feudalism might have existed for another thousand years with little or no advancement in science, theology, farming and warfare. Manifest destiny is what drives mankind’s natural instinct to thrive and advance as a species. Advancement comes at a price, but the positive effects outweigh the negative. We as a modern society have many of the same problems that the Europeans had in the middle ages. We have waste, wars, plagues, famine, poverty etc., but we have decided that advancement (just like the cities in the middle ages) will eventually solve these isssues creating a good society. We are educated which will solve these problems. We become educated in order to make better decisions. Knowledge is power and advancement betters society. No society is perfect, but our system works.

Benjamin Coupe
Period 5

London said...

test

b-rad said...

ummmm, hi

London said...

test

London said...

Second Response for student comments I was the first to comment.

Stephen explains all of the privileges we have today. We live for a lot of the things he explained. He is right, the Pheasants of the Medieval Ages had life a lot worse then us. They had no great things like we do. The Pheasants had to work all day and just try to survive, feed their family, and tend to the requirements of their lord. They were stuck with that life and that was the majority of the people. We have definitely improved.

Greg London, Period 4

mwallace37 said...

I agree with some of the facts previously stated. f there had not ben cities throughout the world then many inventions that have led to futuher development of technologies, and methods of doing thins may never have been developed. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. But i do agree that civilizations do take away form our freedoms and in many ways. I also think that it is an evolutionary instinct to live in and found cities. Once humans have a stable food and water source, on fertile ground, there is no reason to leave.

As for corruption and dishonesty i agree with Daniel Fotinich. That corruption will always exist in some shape or form, but as long as we keep any one individual from becoming all powerful, then the world can run soothly. If we do not monitor the power of one individual catastrophic things can happen (i.e. Hitler).

Malcolm Wallace
period 3

kearney asada said...
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