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Individualism and Modern Malaise

Please write a paper with the following qualities:
A set of introductory paragraphs that lays out the problem of individualism and modern malaise. Here, you will want to use examples, an illustration from the movie that captures the problem of modern living, or something from JAMES Madison's federalist 48 or federalist 51 or de Alexis de Tocqueville's "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA OR Charles Taylor's Ethics of Authenticity" that does the same. In other words, you should write an interesting introduction that draws the reader into your work. Give me an example, story or something (not a definition out of the dictionary) to make me want to read your paper because the problem it addresses is interesting and your analysis of it worthwhile for addressing some problem that is on our minds.

Individualism and Modern Malaise

A well-developed thesis statement that explains what you will do in each section of the paper and why you will do it! Don't neglect the why part. This is your argument, your central point. Do this exactly as you did in the argument paper road map, summary of your argument in that section, road map, summary of argument in that section.

A carefully crafted example of your work of which you are proud. Try very hard to write something beautiful, graceful, readable, and well-ordered.

This is how the format of the paper should be:

As you know, I am a stickler for formatting. So, follow these instructions to the letter!:

Your paper should be between five [5] and seven [7] pages long, double-spaced. However, this is a very complex topic, and five pages only will more than likely get you a grade of C. I encourage you NOT to be bound by arbitrary page lengths write what is needed to fully and maturely deal with the topic. Do NOT write just so you can finish up at exactly five pages. That makes me grumpy because I think Gee, this person must not really be serious about the topic if he/she can finish discussing it in five pages when people have dedicated their entire professional lives and hundreds of pages to exploring it!â I get an uncontrollable itching to write C-/D at the bottom of the paper. I'm trying to treat it with medication, but so far, I'm sorry to say, I've had no success.

Your paper must have a coversheet with a title, your name and the class (Section 003, Section 004) centered in the middle of the page.

Your paper must be double-spaced. No two and a half, or triple spacing. I can tell, and it makes me really grumpy. So, don't do it.

Your first page of text should start with the title on the first line, skip one line and then start your paper. No multiple skips! Do not skip lines between paragraphs.

All margins should be 1 inch on all sides of each page.

You do not need to research outside material except for the movie Fight Club. Use the readings from class, particularly Madison, Taylor and de Tocqueville, but you can use others. If you quote from them, simply put the name of the author and page number in parentheses after the quotation. You may (and should) quote from the movie. If you do, please place the name of the character followed by the movie name in parentheses after the quotation.

Charles Taylor attempts to define what is wrong with us â how life at the beginning of the 21st century has warped our character. In exploring our disaffection with modern life, Taylor identifies three malaises' (He examines them in The Ethics of Authenticity). These three malaises are individualism, Instrumental Reason and Loss of Freedom. Taylor' s examination explores various facets of life, including relationships (the dialogical nature of them), feelings & opinions, and pressure to conform. However, Taylor is also very concerned about capitalism and economics.

The movie Fight Club explores the same problems, but offers a very different solution. For example, Fight Club also offers a critique of American capitalism. This is a central theme of the movie. In particular, two events (one a speech by Tyler Durden1 and another that takes place in the final moments of the film2) provide a solution to the numbing sameness and shallowness of the modern consumer state. Taylor is also very concerned about this numbing sameness and the meaninglessness of life, but he finds a very different (i.e., less destructive) way out.

In a well-developed essay of at least five [5] pages (five pages for a grade of C), explore the solution offered by Charles Taylor to the violent solution offered in this film. Important Note: You must consider Alexis de Toqueville's Democracy in America since both the film and Taylor's book are (in many respects) responses to themes developed by de Tocqueville.

You may consider addressing the following sets of questions in your paper, and even (perhaps) allowing them to structure your work:

Describe the malaises of modern society: Begin by explaining how de Tocqueville defines individualism as a response to tyranny of the majority. Explain how Taylor relates individualism and instrumental reason â authenticity. He says that they are characteristics of bad individualism and actually destroy authenticity rather than promote it. They cause a crisis of meaning. Describe this crisis. How does Taylor say individualism and instrumental reason actually limit our range of choices? Explain how all this works. Use scenes from the movie to illustrate Taylor's points.

Describe the solutions to the malaises offered by de Tocqueville, Taylor and the film: What similarities exist between them with respect to major themes we have discussed in class (equality, democracy, freedom, tyranny and individualism)? In what ways do the proffered solutions differ? Why do they differ so dramatically?

1 Tyler Durden, during a speech preceding a Fight Club session, offers an explanation of the malaise that characterizes his generation, saying (to paraphrase) we have been told that we must work jobs we hate to buy useless crap we don't need . . . Look carefully at that monologue.

2 The obliteration of the revolving credit debt record when the credit card company buildings are destroyed.

Other Questions to Consider:
Is Tyler Durden's solution a legitimate (i.e., reasonable) one for curing the modern malaises and contradictions of authenticity and consumerism? What does he hope to accomplish by erasing the debt record? Why is that so important? What would Charles Taylor have to say about its long-term viability?
Do you see any contradictions in Durden's solution? For example, what is a space monkey? Aren t the Fight Clubs a contradiction in themselves they are civic associations, but not ones designed to promote social stability.
Is Durden's solution necessary? Must we really resort to this kind of terrorist-style social shock therapy to avoid the problems of modern day American life? Have things gotten this bad? And, are instrumental reason and individualism responsible for the mess?

The Narrator rejects Durden's solution, saying I appreciate everything you've done for me, but it' s too much. It's just too much, Tyler. What has the Narrator learned about living life that makes Durden's violent solution unnecessary for him?

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