After viewing the website for Effective Altruism, having discussions in class today, and rereading Southan’s essay, “Is it OK to make art?,” I made some new connections and observations. First, I noticed the specific structure that Southan employs in the essay. Most of his piece is strictly factual with little to no bias. The first part of the essay starts with information about the Effective Altruists and what they do. I did not notice that he barely included his own opinions about art within the essay. Almost the entire essay included all that EAs believe, while Southan inserted some pieces about his personal life.
Secondly, I noticed a claim that Southan, but really the EAs made, that I now disagree with. Michael Bitton states that “nothing is sacred.” After reading through the essay and discussing it in class, I realized that I do not agree with this philosophy. Wouldn’t the “good” that Bitton, as an EA, does in the world and the impact he has on others be considered “sacred?” Initially, I agreed with this statement because I looked at it as the concept of art. Now, looking at this idea, I disagree.
There was not much that I needed to decode in this piece. I seemed to have a pretty good understanding of most of the terms. The only thing that I needed clarification on was the definition of “utilitarianism.” When I first read the article, I did not stop to define this term. After reading it again, I decoded it so that I could have a better idea of the meaning of that section. I used “Dictionary.com” to define this term. I found that with this knowledge in mind, I uncovered a major point within Southan’s essay that I did not really grasp before.
The process of doing an initial read, discussion in class, deeper research, and second read of the text was very beneficial. It allowed me to find new meaning within the text and connect with it more deeply.