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Name: Lehlogonolo Modise

Student number: 748040
Title: Energy is an eternal delight
The Undergraduate Awards 2016

Energy is an eternal delight

Homo sapiens are the only species known in the animal kingdom, to produce
complex mental abilities that result in the transmission of information through
written or spoken words. In this essay I will be arguing that human beings are all
made up of the same substance, along with symbolic forms and what, J.B
Thompson a cultural theorist calls the field of interaction. I will be using different
schools of thought to build and support my augment. This essay will procced as
follows: firstly I will discuss the two worlds human beings occupy, how
information is transmitted in the social world, how humans are conditioned and
the effects of acculturation. At a later stage I will introduce energy as a fourth
resource. Energy is defined as the ability to do work.
Every human lives in a particular culture, influenced by space and time. If this is
true, what is culture? Culture refers to a set of practises performed by a group of
people (Hall 1997:18; Thompson 1990). By space and time I am referring to the
environmental conditions (natural and social) which are prevalent during a
particular period of time. In this sense human beings exist simultaneously in two
worlds. First, the natural world-a term used to classify all existing matter, not
artificial produced by human beings (Thompson 1990:130). From a physical
science perspective matter is anything that has mass and occupies space: from
macro particles such as galaxies to various life forms found on planet earth to
the smallest micro particles such as atoms and molecules ( McGraw-Hill Dictionary
of Scientific and Technical Terms 2003). The second is the social world- an artificial
product built upon the natural world by human beings, due to complex mental
activities referred to as consciousness (Thompson 1990:131). The social world is
constructed and governed by a set of flexible codes and rules agreed upon by a
group of people to be true. In the production, reading, and interpretation of
symbolic forms (Hall, 1997: 21; Thompson 1990). Symbolic forms refer to the
various forms of languages produced by subjects in a culture to communicate
ideas, emotions and phenomena. To a certain degree symbolic forms are
produced by people in a culture as a way of understanding themselves relative to
each other and also to understand the world in which they exist.(Hall 1997:18;
Thompson 1990:131).

Communication plays a vital role in any culture because is a social construct built
upon the exchange of information between people who share the same
conceptual map (Hall 1997:18; Jackendoff 2007). Symbolic forms refer to all
things created by human beings, for example: buildings, clothing, texts, various
body gestures, written and spoken words, also the various works of art. J.B
Thompson argues that symbolic forms are rooted in the social context and move
in what he calls a field of interaction (Thompson 1990:146). A field of interaction
can be seen as an ideal space that people and the symbolic forms occupy. The
position and movement of people in a culture and symbolic forms produced, is
influenced by the availability of resources (Thompson 1990). Resources are
divided into three categories - economical (refers to the material things one has
such as money and property), cultural (the qualification and skills one attains
due to various educational institutions) and symbolic (which refers to the fame,
prestige and respect one has in a culture) (Thompson 1990:148).
The position people occupy in the field of interaction, influences how they
perceive and understand the world, in turn this influences the actions and
reactions people produce (Hall 1990; Thompson 1990:148). The actions and
reactions that people produce, such as facial expressions, body gestures, written
and spoken words, constitute what is known as social behaviour. From a
psychological perspective the term behaviour: refers to any observable activity
performed by humans (Weiten 2007:7). Human beings are constantly
conditioned as cultural subjects. Conditioning is a process of learning
associations between events within the environment (Weiten 2007:215). There
are three major types of learning: classical conditioning (whereby an innate
reflex, is combined with a neutral stimulus for a certain period of time, the effect
of this process being a conditioned response), Operant conditioning (is when
behaviour is performed due to the consequences that follow) and observational
learning (where a response is influenced by the observation of others, called
models) (Weiten 2007:215). The statement made by an American psychologist
John Watson, who formed the school of Behaviourism Give me a dozen healthy
infants, well-formed and my own special world to bring them up in and Ill
guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of
specialist I might select-doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant chief and yes, even
beggar-man thief cited in (Weiten 2007:8). The social world has to influence the
development of human beings.
The social world that human beings have constructed, houses a diverse number
of cultures spread across the whole world. People from different cultures can be
differentiated through the employment of symbolic forms such as clothing, works
of art, spoken or written words (Thompson 1990:132). During cultural encounters
such as contact, collisions or relationships, a process of acculturation occurs
(Bitterli 1989:20). Whereby, different cultures might fuse together, to form a
new culture or result, in one cultures losing its values and adapting traits from
another culture (Biko 1988:26; Bitterli 1989:39). American anthropologist
Herskovits defines acculturation as follows: Acculturation comprehends those
phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures
come into continuous first-hand contact, with subsequent changes in the original

patterns of either or both groups(Bitterli 1989:49). Steve Biko, anti-apartheid

activist who lived in South Africa in, Some African cultural Concepts in
philosophy from Africa, wrote how African people began to lose their cultural
identity, the environment they occupied, due to acculturation between the AngloBoer and the African culture (Biko 1988:26). African people gradually lost their
cultural identity from 1652, when van Riebeeck, Administrator for the Dutch East
India arrived at the southern tip, of Africa to establish a ship refreshment port at
the Cape of Good Hope (Bryden 1904:5). Africa has been undergoing a process of
acculturation, which was extremely one sided (Bitterli 1989). The African culture
was unsophisticated and simple, the Anglo-Boer culture had all the trappings of a
colonialist culture, and therefore it was heavily equipped for conquest. Where
they could, they conquered by persuasion, using a highly exclusive religion that
denounced all other Gods (Biko 1988:26). As a result African people gradually
lost their way of life and entered into an alien system, which reinforced a strict
code of behaviour through-clothing, education, ritual and custom (Biko 1988:26;
Biko 1996).
As a result this lead to African people lost a sense of their identity which is
closely linked with ones culture (Hall 1990), and the system of apartheid
enforced through legislation by the nationalist party from 1948 added more
pressure (Biko 1988:26). People were divided into four racial groups Whites,
Indians, Coloureds and Blacks. The disintegration of people into four racial
groups influenced the distribution of resources (economical, cultural and
symbolic), making White people superior and black people inferior (Hall 1990;
Biko 1988; Biko 1996). The system of representation which categorises people by
their skin pigment shaped how people moved in the field of interaction, their
concept of cultural identity and the rate of development (Biko 1988; Biko 1990;
Bitterli 1989; Hall 1990). Acculturation has been extremely one sided but I
believe there is no use in crying over spilled milk, because acculturation affects
all people within its radius plus South Africa in the present moment is a
democratic country and has been so, for the past 22 years, since the first
national elections took place in 1994. Rather than looking at the past with
negative emotions such as blame, fear, hatred and anger, I believe we should
build a system that develops the power that is inherent in every individual and
destroys this system of representation that classifies people through race.
Thompson from a cultural perspective defines power as the ability to act in
pursuit of ones aims and interests: an individual has the power to intervene in
the sequence of events and alter their course (Thompson 1990:151).
South Africa is a multicultural country housing people with different ideologies.
So how do we create a universal system, which assists every individual to
manifest the power that Thompson talks about regardless of cultural
background? By adding a fourth resource on top of the three Thompson has
already mentioned and creating a school curriculum that revolves around the
fourth resource (Thompson 1990:148). The fourth resources being the energy of
people, Energy in its simplest definition it is the power to do work. In Einsteins
famous equation of E=mc^2 we see that -energy and mass are the same thing
(Halliday, Resnick& Walker 2010:1043). What makes matter to appear different

in the natural world, is the rates of vibration each particle of matter produces,
resulting in the physical world we see through the five senses (Halliday et al.
2010).Consciousness is the smallest building block of any culture, because
symbolic forms are forms of transmutation, from the mental plane of an
individual, to the material plane where people interact on a physical level
through the usage of various languages (Chanson, Christens, Kordon & Pfaff 2008:
The mental activity of every individual is a result of the flow of neuro chemicals
in the brain and the body as a whole, producing body movement, emotions,
thinking and creating (Chanson et al 2008; Thompson 1990: 130; Weiten 2007:
pp. 37-113). Experts believe that there are roughly 100 billion neurons in the
human brain; neurons are cells that receive, integrate and transmit information
from the natural world, through the release of neurotransmitters at the synaptic
cleft (Weiten 2007:76). Neurotransmitters are chemical substances released at
the end of a nerve fibre. Recent experiments performed at Kings College
London, by Sandrine Thuret a neuroscientist, show that the hippocampus, an
area in the brain involved in learning, memory and mood, creates approximately
700 new nerve cells a day and each individual can influence the rate of
production of the nerve cells by: eating healthy, exercising regularly, sexual
intercourse, learning and constructive thinking (Sandrine 2015). The
phenomenon of creating new nerves cells in the hippocampus is known as
neurogenesis. Neurogenesis proves that each individual can influence their
development at a cellular level, transcending cultural barriers (Sandrine 2015). In
this sense the human body can be viewed as a field of energy, having the
potential to convert neurochemical energy to other forms of energy that exist in
the physical world.
Cultural identity it is not something which is set in stone, rather one might say it
is an ever changing process occurring within systems (Hall 1990). Cultural
identity exists as something which is constantly transforming. This means
humans reconstruct systems of representations, which are used on a daily basis
as a source of communication, to accommodate, people from different cultures.
By viewing human beings, symbolic forms and the field of interaction as fields of
energy, we begin to build a system that aligns human beings, symbolic forms
and the natural world as one, vibrating at different rates. By introducing such a
concept that transcends cultural barriers, it will cause a paradigm shift of how we
perceive the world we live in and a psychological shift, giving every individual a
sense of identity which is aligned with the natural world. Stuart Hall has already
mentioned that transmission of information in a culture is not uniform and some
systems of representation are subjective and used to benefit certain people who
are in power (Hall 1997:42).We can never rely on culture to provide a sense of
identity since who speaks, and who is spoken of, are never identical, never in
the same place (Hall 1990:392). Information never flows uniformly in any
system of representation, and most of the concepts created are made to classify
and represent people rather than trying to understand them(Hall 1990:392;
Thompson 1990),for example apartheid which was enforced in South Africa.

By introducing a concept that defines human beings, symbolic forms as fields of

energy, we create a system of representation which allows information to travel
uniformly. Most of the issues that cause any society not to work harmoniously
will be eliminated: things like corruption, racial groups, identity crisis,
procrastination, crime rates, unemployment and diseases. Not only will issues
that cause harm in society be eliminated but we will be introducing a system of
consciously learning outside educational institutions. Learning is more than
acquiring a certain skill or knowledge; it is a change in ones behaviour due to
experience (Weiten 2007:215).
What I am proposing, I believe, will give every individual the assurance that
anything is possible, all that is required from the individual - to act upon the
thought. Just as the sun nurtures the soil to produce life in various forms, such a
system will in the long run create individuals that contribute positively to the
growth of their country and the natural world.


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