Classes: A Struggle for Balance

The theme of my Gallery is how there was and still is a struggle for balance between different classes. Classes could mean working classes, genders, or dating way back to the savage man and the civilized man. Many of the pieces I chose are from many decades, if not centuries ago. We have come a long way from the inequality that we once faced back then; however, it is still present today and remains a struggle that we continue to work on. There is a constant need for balance in our society and I hope that it is found sooner than later.

This piece shows the trunk of a tree that has fallen and is balancing on a pile of rocks. However, it is not centered on the rocks, which leads one to question how there can be that balance. This relates to Plato's "The Republic" because the characters are questioning how they can find the balance between desiring justice for both its sake and its reward. They describe this as "the highest class" because it is a combination of virtues that are only sought out for their reputation and virtues that are only sought out for what one can get out of it (Plato, Book II). This ties into my theme of finding a balance between the classes.
This photo of a small sculpture shows what is believed to be an Inuit Bible Class. You can see how the students heads are basically shoved into their books and it seems as if they cannot look up from them. This art piece reminds me of The Cave analogy from the seventh book in Plato's "The Republic." In that story, the prisoners down in the underground den are only allowed to look at what is right in front of them and cannot turn their heads at all. However, when one prisoner is brought up from the den, they start to learn what is real instead of what they thought. The prisoner went through numerous stages: imagination, belief, thought, and finally understanding (Plato, Book VII). I feel that if those in the sculpture would look up and realize what is around them, they may learn more than they would from being forced to just reading what is in front of them.
While it may be somewhat of a stretch for others to notice, when I first saw this piece, I saw two halves of a man. The one half looked plain and simple, while the other half was dressed in a king's riches. How I see this relating back to Rousseau's "Discourse on Inequality" is the comparison, or rather contrast, of the civil man and the savage man. The savage man would be the right side of the bust, the plain and simple side. His wants are limited to only the things he truly needs. However, the left side shows the civil man. He wants money and power and has developed passions for things that are outside of the necessities (Rousseau Part One). I agree with Rousseau that every man starts out as that "savage man," he only wants what he absolutely needs, But as he grows and society shapes him, he becomes the "civil man" who is aware of things that are outside of his necessities and desires them. This bust shows the two sides of that man.
While the caption may seem kind of funny, this piece relates to Rousseau's "Discourse on Inequality" because it shows how the one man is dependent on the other at this time. In Part Two of Rousseau's book, he talks a lot about how man is fine as long as he is independent. If anything he needs he is able to go out and get on his own, he remains independent. But as soon as he has to rely on another man to help him get a necessity, he is dependent on him and, therefore, inequality arises (Rousseau, Part Two). The way this art piece shows inequality is in how the man who is hungover is depending on the other man to take care of him and bring him what he needs. The one who is unequal could be looked at in two different ways here. The lesser could be the hungover man because he will owe this man something for taking care of him. It could also be looked at as the man doing the tasks for the hungover man is lesser because he is almost like a slave to that man.
I feel that this painting is pretty self-explanatory when it comes to "The Communist Manifesto" and the ideas that are expressed surrounding the bourgeois and the proletariat. In this painting, you can see many workers performing very physical labor. Their hard work, long hours, and extreme working conditions provides them with only the bare essentials that they need to support their families, if that. What you cannot see in this picture is the owner of this iron company who is not performing the physical labor, but has enough money to provide for his family for many generations. This relates to Marx's "The Communist Manifesto" because it clearly shows the difference between the bourgeois and the proletariat (Marx, Parts I and II). It shows the kind of workforce that Marx and several other Communists want to eliminate through their movement.
This picture shows a woman binding her garter, clearly focusing on her appearance over anything else. This picture is what living in the time of Wollstonecraft was like, and it is what drove her to right "The Vindication of the Rights of Woman." She believed that society had molded women into worrying only about their physical appeal to men instead of educating them so that they could live a happier life (Wollstonecraft, Ch. 4). However, while there is still a struggle in today's society for women to break from focusing on their appearance over their minds, we have come a long way from Wollstonecraft's time.
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