Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Resocializing the Imprisoned

Resocializing the Imprisoned: Resocialization is the unique psycho-social process by which prisoners get re-integrated into regular society. The process occurs during incarceration whereby psychologists and sociologists have a set period of time to study the changes which define an inmate's personal outlook. Parole boards, in particular, take into consideration the degree of change in prisoners' attitudes as they prepare to re-enter regular society. But critics of resocialization see it as an oppressive process that undercuts a prisoners' true individuality. Forcing change upon someone is neither natural nor organic. Fundamental change, especially in someone's personal disposition, must be an internal process, and resocialization seems to constitute an externally coercive regime. The idea of eroding an inmate's individuality through mandatory haircuts and uniform clothing only appears to create a perverted system of dependency in prison settings. Yet I suppose that's the price one pays for being convicted of a crime. I wonder how French critical theorist Michel Foucault might react to resocialization. Similarly, how much does resocialization really help former criminals transition into regular society? That is the primary question which parole boards and other prison officials ought to be asking themselves.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nietzsche's 'Ode to Eternity'

Nietzsche's 'Ode to Eternity': At two distinct points in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883), Nietzsche offered an ode to express his love of eternity. It went as follows: "O man, take care! What does the deep midnight declare? I was asleep - From a deep dream I woke and swear: The world is deep, Deeper than day had been aware. Deep is its woe; Joy - deeper yet than agony: Woe implores: Go! But all joy wants eternity- Wants deep, wants deep eternity." For Nietzsche, eternity was the only 'woman' he ever loved. And through Zarathustra's futile attempts to find the Overman (Der Übermensch), Nietzsche conveyed his philosophical doctrine of eternal recurrence. Rooted in the idea that science had already determined time to be cyclical, eternal recurrence was a wholly Romantic doctrine. It longed for simpler times when both lies and truths were obvious to the common man. And likewise, when relativism served no legitimate purpose in the development of national cultures. But as German-American existentialist philosopher Walter Kaufmann discovered, Nietzsche's 'Ode to Eternity' was eerily similar to Friedrich Schiller's "Ode to Joy" (Ode an die Freude), which placed man's earthly sufferings and God's eternal rewards at the center of its poetic thrust.