A bumper sticker with an equation on its left side and the components of 1 man and 1 woman joined together with a summation sign on its right side might appear to be innocent, but it conveys several covert messages. The explicit argument of this bumper sticker is that a lawful marriage between a man and a woman is called marriage, although the particular form of the stringent equation chosen for this statement suggests that it is the only possible form of marriage, while other forms are not acceptable.
Although the bumper sticker’s definition of marriage corresponds with that in the Defense of Marriage Act, its implied claims regarding the illegality of other types of unions violate ethnic and sexual minorities’ sentiments. It is logically inferred from this simple statement that the union of gay representatives and any number greater than two partners is considered impossible.
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However, given that same-sex marriage has already been legalized in five states, it is apparent that this argument may even not follow current legislation, depending on the specific setting. In other words, while evaluating at least the legal basis for making such a statement in a certain area, the context should be considered.
For a thorough comprehension of this message in its entirety, consider the implied significance of the phrase marriage. As such, along with the definition of marriage as a legal agreement, another sense of this notion as perceived by today’s society is a social connection.
Then, in the context of the word marriage, which has a second meaning as a social connection, the legal limitations that were used to build up the argument would be inappropriate. Furthermore, not only same-sex marriages but also religious or personal convictions appear viable.
However, when considering the complicated mathematical form as the chosen argument expression, it is possible to evaluate the suggested arguments utilizing basic arithmetic concepts. As a result of the equation’s rules, the addition of other elements may produce the same value. It’s conceivable that this bumper sticker displayed merely one of many potential marriage shapes.
However, putting up the sticker in order to convey the driver’s beliefs to a large audience would be pointless. As a result, it may be concluded that regardless of the original mathematical form used to represent an argument, all implied meanings of the argument under consideration are invalid because some of them are produced by the situational context and the driver’s intentions.
The statement’s role should be taken into account when calculating the argument, which involves the driver and his or her intentionality as an ethos component. It is clear that the argument reflects the driver’s personal ideas. The bumper sticker, on the other hand, can be seen as a form of self-expression through its usage in this case.
The driver intends to alter the sentiments of the surrounding by displaying this sticker to a large audience, and he or she even expects certain feelings from them. It can be argued that the chosen form of expression lowers the persuasiveness of the implied arguments based on the driver’s intentions in expressing his or her concern.
When analyzed, a bumper sticker’s content may be interpreted as a set of possible implied arguments and interpretations. The situational context, background knowledge, and ethos element should all be taken into account when examining the argument under study.
Consider how social media has revolutionized interpersonal interactions; like Facebook and Twitter, it has provided a free-expression highway. People may express their ideas freely and confidently without fear of what someone with an opposing view might think, which is why these websites are overloaded with opinions. Sure, there are several advantages to having the ability to freely and openly express one’s beliefs, but this poses a problem when the act of expression closes off the opportunity for discussion.
When people are inundated with their own personal views, as seen on sites like Facebook and Twitter, there is no conversation or even a beneficial dispute. There’s only opinion. This trend isn’t unique, nor did it start with social media. The bumper sticker is another way to use language to convey individuals’ beliefs and identities.
The bumper sticker has evolved into a platform for strong public expression, even if many Americans rely heavily on social media. Except in rare circumstances, no other section of society may express its feelings to such a large audience so simply. Partisan politics may have once been the basis of bumper sticker material, especially during World War II and at the height of the Cold War when propaganda was important. However, today’s glance at parked automobiles reveals that there is a wide range of topics addressed (Newbagen).
Bumper stickers give a person’s political, philosophical, and economic ideas a voice. Bumper stickers themselves are not harmful for society. However, as with social media, bumper stickers don’t encourage debate and instead generate contention, society is becoming more divided.
Expressing views in public has become a minefield of disaster. Because bumper stickers create conflict and contribute to an argumentative climate, society’s aversion to public expression of opinion is increasing. Since the goal of success in this culture is one-upmanship and/or criticism, the road to reconnecting with people starts with valuing oneself as a method of expression rather than advocating for principles.
Bumper stickers are controversial because of the ideas behind them. The first step in understanding why bumper stickers upset people is to figure out why they’re needed. People frequently attempt to express their beliefs and values to others. By projecting his beliefs and values onto the outside world, a person avoids an identity crisis. In order to achieve self-knowledge, an individual must make his beliefs and values known throughout the world.
Bumper stickers are one way to express this. Is your child on the honor roll? Fantastic! Put on that bumper sticker and announce it to the world. Are you a fan of sports team X? That’s wonderful! There’s a bumper sticker for every occasion. In the next election, should you vote Democrat? It’s not like you’re missing anything if you don’t. These decals represent an odd contradiction. On the one hand, they are exceptionally personal, being personalized with the owner’s vehicle so that friends may see them. On the other hand, they are nameless.
The majority of people who view the sticker are unfamiliar with the person wearing it. This enables the expression of very personal viewpoints on widely held beliefs to a wide audience without any obligation to engage with them. This combination of personalized statements and anonymity allows for the expression of public emotion that is not generally accessible to ordinary people in their daily lives, which leads to controversy.
Yes, bumper stickers are short, catchy, and appear to be benign in nature, but because of their form, they contribute to an increasing social problem. This can be seen in the term “bumper sticker philosophy,” which refers to the idea that because bumper stickers are so brief messages, it is impossible to encapsulate an entire world view or ideology on the back of your vehicle (Haussmen). The notion behind the bumper sticker philosophy is that since bumper stickers are such little utterances, it’s difficult to include a complete philosophy or belief on the back of your car.
It’s impossible to tell the full tale. Only the surface of the philosophy is shown. This line of thinking leads to the conclusion that bumper stickers oversimplify social problems. People are more likely to notice them in a hurry, and there isn’t time to analyze the argument. Bumper stickers do not encourage debate; instead, they end it with a superficial position on any issue addressed.
The debate over the Confederate flag has created a contentious atmosphere that is further dividing society. Because the message shown on a bumper sticker is superficial, people’s reactions to seeing one are most likely likewise brief. After all, how can someone interpret an entire ideology or philosophy from such a short statement? Reactions are knee-jerk and purely emotional. Consider the example of Denise Grier’s story.
Although the free speech clause of the First Amendment was meant to protect controversial subjects, it has been stretched beyond its limits. The Haynsworth case is an excellent illustration of this point. Grier’s son was threatened with jail time for displaying a bumper sticker that read “Bush sucks.” Clearly, his son was expressing his political views and the police had a different perspective. There is nothing wrong or unethical about expressing diverse viewpoints, especially in politics. Until the bumper sticker caused a knee-jerk reaction, there was no problem.
Because there was only a bumper sticker and a response, and no argumentation, a quarrel was caused. People put bumper stickers on their cars to belong to a community or argue against it, but because there isn’t an entire political system that generates an instinctive defensive violent reaction, the connection can’t be established, and society continues to divide.
There are, however, advantages to a contentious atmosphere; one that encourages debate and conversation. In order for society to advance, it is necessary to have contrary viewpoints. The world was flat until someone challenged it. Furthermore, there’s a link between expression and self-definition. “To live…as a person is to occupy my proper place in the social world which allows us to make each other’s selves,” (159) Hilde Lindemann writes in her book Holding and Letting Go: The Social Practice of Personal Identities.
Helga’s writings about the relation of individual thoughts to morality, as well as Helga’s essay entitled “Speaking My Mind,” by Nestor Bernal (a pseudonym), offer supporting insights into why being an individual with personal beliefs is morally significant, how it deserves greater philosophical investigation, and why it is so reliant on interpersonal practices of empathetic recognition through which people may see each other as their own individuals. Individuality and personhood are not qualities that one can search for and discover in a particular human specimen. Instead, personhood is something that humans materialize through actions, attitudes, and attunements toward others.
People assess and categorize one another socially and morally. Individuals’ identities are preserved through stories about what matters most to them, such as their loves, hatreds, commitments, and so on. The moral personhood of people is distinct from the one conceived by supporters of the idea that personhood is simply a collection of qualities or attributes that add up to more than the sum of its parts; or, as a term that refers to nothing in particular other than a desire for moral, social, and political recognition.
According to Lindemann, one route philosophy has taken a wrong turn is by neglecting the background conditions under which people become persons. In a meaningful sense, what and who people are is not just determined by a set of reasoned opinions or chosen alternatives, but also by moral communities that endeavor to construct themselves and their individual members.
“To comment on a personal identity: ‘His beliefs include the possibility of spiritual existence, but not in heaven; and if there is no heaven, he does not believe in an intermediate state’ (Jung)” (ix). Lindemann describes persons’ personal identities, claiming that we engage in it constantly but haven’t received much attention as moral practice: “it’s the act of bringing human beings into personhood and then keeping them there” (ix). Lindemann is implying that conversing and listening are essentially moral activities with the ability to create their objects; however, perhaps more significantly, it has the potential to destroy them.
However, people still need personal beliefs. Personal beliefs are required to maintain one’s own values and principles intact. The control of society is contingent on the ability to influence ideas, symbols, and meanings in society. “The ideas of a ruling class have always been the ideas of its dominant class,” Charles Case claims in a scientific study.
The Marxist concept of ideology as a tool of domination over the social realm has developed into contemporary hegemony theory. Hegemony theory maintains that the ruling elite dominates all outlets for ideas and values dissemination. Schools, churches, youth groups, the mass media, and others are all utilized to manufacture false consciousness in order to maintain political and economic power by the dominant group. Efforts are frequently made to restrict or eliminate avenues for personal expression.
Jails are also known for offering tattooed individuals the chance to express their ideas and beliefs through tattoos. These attempts are frequently met with inventive ideas and the use of non-conventional means of communication. Inmates who have been stripped of most standard roles, statutes and methods for interaction employ tattoos to manifest allegiances, personal uniqueness, viewpoints, and philosophies in an effective way.
Individuals in today’s urban society interact with and communicate through mass media sources. Within this context, there are few chances for individuals to contribute to the cultural store of ideas, symbols, and views. This viewpoint on symbolic interaction explains how the use of signs and connections contributes to social and self-identity.
Individuals seeking to establish and maintain an esteemed and acceptable self through the acquisition and expression of valued, desirable roles, values, and qualities. Those who are hampered in defining themselves due to a society-imposed definition are referred to as stigmatized. Public personal expression, on the other hand, may serve as a unifying force for those with disabilities.
Both the motivation behind and the act of expression are required for personal convictions to be unified. In today’s era of mass media and city living, methods and means for influencing ideology and symbols have proliferated. Underground publications, prison tattoos, pirate radio stations, and graffiti are just a few examples of ways that common folks can impact their cultural environment.
People have a need or desire to communicate symbolic messages to persons who share the same social environment, according to the perspectives of conflict and symbolic interaction. The history of human cultural evolution is tightly connected to the growth of symbols, meanings, and methods for passing on these meanings across a diversifying range of sources and receivers.
As a result, individuals may utilize these symbols, such as bumper stickers, to move society forward. However, in today’s urban environments, the vast majority of people’s symbolic meanings are derived from commercial mass-mediated sources (Case). This implies that schools and churches, for example, allow little chance for people to contribute their own ideas and experiences face-to-face.
Many people are apathetic about politics because, as we saw in the prior chapter, they seem to be powerless. They simply take what they hear and believe to be true without critically examining it. People aren’t really expressing their own ideas; instead, they’re articulating beliefs sold by a market. After all, bumper stickers are intended to be purchased and sold. Bumper stickers exhibit the impact of marketing jargon, with its colloquial and pseudo-informal style. Public voicing of opinions is part of the altered connection between culture and commerce that places the consumer in a seeming new position.
This is where things may improve. When one purchases his values and beliefs from a marketplace, it’s hard to discover one’s own personhood. The problem is that individuals discover their own identity by expressing their values and beliefs, yet the values and beliefs that people are presently expressing are not coming from themselves. How does this make sense? How can someone truly create their own persona when they get value from an ideology which isn’t theirs? People really do receive value in the wrong place.
People have been molded to represent what society expects of them. This is why society is crumbling down. Society is made up of a collection of people. However, without people, there isn’t much of a society at all. Increasing the number of individuals on the planet is an important step in bringing individuals back together. Individuality can be generated when people discover things that they believe in rather than what something like a bumper sticker instructs them to believe in. As a result, this change must come from the inside out.
This is a question about personal expression and self-definition. It would be pointless to prohibit bumper stickers, as well as impossible to do so. Instead, this shift will begin with individuals seeking something to believe in inside themselves rather than looking outside for approval. When people look outside for approval, they’re really searching for affirmation; the ability to say that they belong.
People, on the other hand, are more likely to be original. However, if society was built by people who recognized their personhood and trusted their own identity, they would have the ability to create their own society, which would eliminate the requirement to conform. This will prevent individuals from selling commercialized ideas and bring people together. The phrase “express yourself” may appear trite, but it should not be dismissed. People just need to be themselves and discover who they authentically are.
Creating a society of more personalized individuals is a good place to begin bringing people back together, but change will not happen until individuals change how they perceive others. People may have the same blood, brains, and feelings, yet be hostile due to their different ideas and beliefs. Being unique means appreciating what sets you apart from the crowd in society’s eyes.
This idea has caused a crack in society, as it suggests that individual freedom is more important than human interaction. Individuality should lead to a path of connecting with others, not winning or losing or validating. Real personhood and individuality go beyond valuing one’s own beliefs. Unless individuals are permitted to express their views without sparking controversy, society will never heal again.