Cultural Expressions: Photography, Religion, Films Sample College Essay

Introduction

It is important to note that cultural expressions play a major role in my life in order to reflect my beliefs, customs, and way of life. The given assessment of these elements will be centered around photography, religious traditions, and films. The former is reflected in the minimalism photo, which reminds me of my values, whereas religious traditions are mostly about mindfulness and meditation on the basis of Buddhism. I am also a fan of Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU, which is why the studio’s films are cultural expressions of my belongingness to this community. Therefore, the selected cultural expressions reflect my values, which prioritize wellness and mental health, avoidance of excessive consumption, and focus on the joy of experience shared among like-minded individuals.

Who, What, Where, When and Why

The first cultural expression is a photo, which is shown below in Figure 1. It is a minimalist photo, which I use as my computer desktop as well. Its purpose is to remind me of my stance on the consumerism of modern life and how I am opposed to overconsumption, which I believe to be the root cause of all sickness and misery on the planet. It came from the inspiration after reading a book about the given notion, where modern society puts a great deal of emphasis on consumption and purchased goods. I have been using this photo for almost two years because I want to be constantly reminded of the pressures of consumerism due to marketing. Large corporate interests and industries spend billions to convince people to become consumers of their products or services, which are not necessarily healthy or helpful. The photo allows me to be attentive to these forces because I used to be a compulsive shopper.

The second cultural expression can be categorized as a religious tradition from Buddhism. Although I do not consider myself a Buddhist or religious in general, I regularly practice mindfulness meditation due to its proven benefits. The practice became an integral part of my life after reading Sam Harris’s book titled Waking Up last year, which revealed that spirituality and religion are not necessarily the same thing. Meditative practices focus on controlling one’s attention and relation to one’s emotions, thoughts, and inner conversation. The main reason why I adhere to mindfulness meditation as a cultural expression of religious tradition is that it greatly helps with my overthinking problem. I used to regularly overthink and cling to negative emotions, making them a larger problem than they really are, and thus, being aware of my detachment from these arising thoughts and emotions brought a greater degree of mental health and clarity.

The third cultural expression is comprised of all Marvel films created by Marvel Studio. It can be categorized as a cultural expression because it has a massive community of fans around these stories of fiction and fantasy with its own strong sense of cultural element. I have been interested in comics since I was a child and learned how to read. Now, I regularly visit Marvel Comic Cons whenever I can get it since it is a big part of my identity, my interest, and my community of friends. Therefore, it is worth keeping this cultural expression since it is mostly about my values in life.

Who You Are, What You Believe, and How You Act

All three cultural expressions help define who I am by reminding me about my approach to life, where I sincerely believe that only experience and memories make one’s life worth living. In other words, I act in accordance with the fact that life is a limited window of opportunity, where one should focus on enjoying as much as possible by experiencing a variety of positive aspects of being alive. Although I understand that the accumulation of wealth and consumption cannot be fully avoided, it seems that many people spend their lives collecting material possessions at the cost of their limited time on the planet. If someone saw only this list of cultural expressions, one might think that I am spiritual, avoidant of consumerism, and a geek. The incorrect assumption would mostly be made about my interest in MCU because the real reason for my obsession with the brand is a sense of community and belongingness rather than the films themselves. However, the other two cultural expressions would most likely be correct and accurate because they are straightforward in their message.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the selected cultural expressions include photography, religious traditions, and films, which are represented by minimalism, Buddhism, and Marvel. The list is reflective of my value of experience over consumption and chase for material wealth. The first expression is an image or photo of a minimalist interior, which reminds us of the dangers and negative aspects of the modern consumerist lifestyle. The second cultural expression is the religious practice of mindfulness meditation, which is derived from Buddhism, and it allows me to improve my mental health. The third one is comprised of MCU films, which are about my belongingness to a community where I found many friends.

Figure
Figure 1

What Does It Mean To Be A Pacific Islander Today And In The Future?

Introduction

The Pacific Islands or Oceania region is an area with rich cultural heritage and history, representing a plethora of indigenous peoples, each one of which obtains unique cultural traditions. I identify myself and the community of Nauru as a part of the detached group of cultures, nevertheless heading to globalization. Although the future prospects of the Oceanian community seem promising and lead to closer interaction with many countries, there are various issues that must be addressed.

Modern Situation in the Pacific Islands region

Modern Oceania is a culturally and politically divided region that is being influenced by foreign countries. Although the European dominance in the region ended more than a century ago, the influence of Western countries is still present (Chappel, 2013, p.138). Modern Oceania is divided into three detached regions separated from the others and representing their own political interests (Crocombe, 2008, p.1). The island of Nauru is a part Micronesian region, which seeks stronger ties with Western countries and East Asia (Wesley-Smith, 2015, p. 151). Thus, Oceania and Micronesia, in particular, are in the process of active globalization and are highly influenced by foreign powers (Jolly, 2007, p. 537). The transport problem is the major issue in this region. Countries with small economies have to maintain long maritime routes using fossil fuels (Nuttall, 2013, p. 284). Other problems are poverty, lack of freshwater sources, and excessive fishing (Ram-Bidesi, 2013, p.375). Therefore, while being a Pacific Islander, I feel like a member of a developing, although divided community, which needs to solve encountered problems to continue its growth.

Future Prospects

Pacific Islands’ future depends on solving severe environmental problems; in addition, this region will likely remain under the influence of Western countries. Unfortunately, mining, which is seen by many as the solution to poverty, causes environmental problems (Banks, 2013, p. 388). For instance, phosphate mining on Nauru destroyed a serious amount of the island’s natural environment. Thus, the choice in favor of green growth must be made (Mohanty, 2015, p. 98). It is highly likely that future Oceania will be populated by a large number of Asian people since the percentage of Asian immigrants keeps growing (Crocombe, 2007, p. 62). In addition, there is a possibility that all influencing countries contribute to the creation of the pan-Oceanian state in order to easily influence and communicate with islanders (Crocombe, 2008, p.562). Alternative power sources may replace fossil fuels

to cut short the fleet maintenance expense (Aswani and Ruddle, 2013, p. 284). Therefore, I may assume that foreign powers will still dominate future Oceania, but it has a possibility to become a prospering region.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, modern Oceania represents a variety of detached developing countries with many environmental problems caused by fossil fuels and excessive mining. However, the region has many promising future prospects if several decisions benefitting the eco-friendly environment are made. Needless to say, the perspective of the pan-Pacific state seems intriguing. In addition, the region encounters a steady growth in the Asian population, which may benefit future tourism.

Reference List

Aswani, S., and Ruddle, K. (2013) ‘Design of Realistic Hybrid Marine Resource Management Programs in Oceania’, Pacific Science, 67(3), pp. 461–476.

Banks, G. (2013) ‘Mining’. Rapaport, M. (ed.) The Pacific Islands: environment and society. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 379-391.

Chappel, D. A. (2013) ‘The postcontact period’. Rapaport, M. (ed.) The Pacific Islands: environment and society. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 138-145.

Crocombe, R. (2007) Asia in the Pacific Islands: replacing the West. Suva: IPS Publications.

Crocombe, R. (2007) The South Pacific. Suva: IPS Publications.

Jolly, M. (2007) ‘Imagining Oceania: indigenous and foreign representations of a sea of islands’, The Contemporary Pacific, 19(2), pp. 508-545.

Mohanty, M. (2015) ‘Green growth as a pathway to sustainable development: implications top Pacific Island countries’. Le Développement durable en Océanie: vers une éthique nouvelle. Aix-en-Provence: Publications of the University of Provence, pp. 97-114.

Nuttall, P. et al. (2013) ‘A review of sustainable sea-transport for Oceania: Providing context for renewable energy shipping for the Pacific’, Marine Policy, 43, pp. 283-287.

Ram-Bidesi, V. (2013) ‘Ocean resources’. Rapaport, M. (ed.) The Pacific Islands: environment and society. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 364-378.

Wesley-Smith, T. (2013) ‘Changing patterns of power’. Rapaport, M. (ed.) The Pacific Islands: environment and society. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 147-156.

Interrelationship And Coproduction Of Science, Technology And Society

Understanding the nuanced connections between science, technology, and society, as well as the role that coproduction as a phenomenon plays in the specified relationships, is crucial for the further technological and social progress. Sheila Jasanoff’s “The Idiom of co-Production” allows encompassing numerous facets of technological progress and connect it to social changes. Examining the idea of knowledge society as a community that encourages the development of science and its integration into every facet of modern society, the article by Jasanoff inspires to contribute to the future scientific progress.

The article makes one wonder which route the future technological developments will take. Specifically, the application of the latest innovations such as AI and VR in day-to-day life, while resembling science fiction, may turn out to be true. Therefore, the article ignites imagination and enthusiasm of its readers. Moreover, the ways of incorporating these innovations into different areas of people’s lives becomes an important issue to resolve. As a result, the article introduces its readers to the idea of interdisciplinary cooperation as a possible solution to the described concern (Jasanoff 5). Although the emotional impact of the scale and size of change that technological innovations are likely to bring has been downplayed in Jasanoff’s article, it still stirs the readers’ imaginations with unfathomable scientific prospects.

Since Jasanoff’s paper reveals new horizons in science and its application to every aspect of people’s lives, including home and work-related routine, it serves as an inspiring reading that entices and encourages to contribute to the future progress. The article shows plainly and convincingly that technological advances should not be perceived as something entirely unrelated to everyday lives of average citizens. Therefore, Jasanoff’s piece sparks imagination and excited for the future technological accomplishments.

Work Cited

Jasanoff, Sheila. The Idiom of Co-Production. Routledge, 2004.

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