Final Essay thesis statement T15

Jarille Molina

Group 15


During the attack at the Iran Ahvaz Military Parade, Iran has blamed the US and Saudi Arabia for supporting perpetrators of the attack that lead to extreme numbers of fatalities and wounded individuals.

Hi Jarille,

See email response.


A Ghost in the Shell Analysis

Joseph Rodriguez Q#1

Hector Gutierrez Q#4

Jarille Molina Q#2

Hermes Estevez Q#3

Group – 15


A Ghost in the Shell Analysis

Hi Team #15,

Very nicely written, but I don’t see any images!  If you like to redo this, please do. I can also accept it in my email.  The images are worth points!

Let me know.

Good work on the analysis and understanding of the film.


In its covert activities in dealing with the Puppet Master, the government is willing to manipulate all means possible, whether legal or illegal, to keep the peace. The subjected means of manipulating the memories and thoughts of section 9 agents seem to have crossed the boundary of morality. As seen, the ultimate pursuit for Kusanagi was discovering her existential self and the subtle emotions triggered by her subconscious. An emotion believed to be sacred to all human beings and therefore not manipulated. Similarly, the United States of America has instilled laws that push the boundaries of freedom to maintain safety. One such example being the Patriot Act; passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The precedence “…allows federal officials greater authority in tracking and intercepting communications, both for purposes of law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering (1).”A vague interpretation of such law can be seen to have enormous implications in its usage. Today, all digital data is tracked and correlated with algorithms, set up by private agencies such as the FBI and CIA, to flag any markers of suspicion in individuals web searches, text messaging and even phone calls. Again, it begs the question whether our right to privacy is being infringed on for the “greater good”.

Ensuring the safety of citizens presents many unforeseen variables. The collateral damage that is exposed, infringement on morality, the sacred nature by which laws must be followed and such. However, dependent upon the situation, if the pros of ensuring safety outweigh the cons of breaking such variables, then justification can be upheld. Early in the film, police breech an office building where the Chief of Section 9, and his staff are located. The debate that ensued was about transporting classified programmers out of the country, which compromises national, security and possibly charge the Chief with kidnapping. His rebuttal being that they signed an affidavit waiving such rights which allows the Chief to fall in accordance with international law and offer anyone protection and safe passage. The grey area witnessed in such scene is a revelation to occurrences in modern day society where dependent upon certain situations, laws can be broken to ensure the safety of his or her citizens. Law and order are the primitive foundations of this nation. Its installment is to protect its citizens from anarchy, but with a justifiable situation that ensures the safety of its citizens, the need for recourse seems legitimate.

The government is not justified in keeping its violations of the law a secret. Transparency has always been a key promoter of democracy in this country. Although our nation is seen as a constitutional republic of indirectly elected bureaucrats, our ability to have free and open access to what occurs in government reassures citizens of its power in voting. As citizens, we deserve to know the truth when it comes to every situation, especially our safety. I do believe that the government has a course of action it must follow when dealing with matters of safety, but that such undertakings should be disseminated to the public after all actions have been executed. For example, the covert operation in seeking and killing Osama Bin Laden was not made evident to the public until after the mission was completed. The reasoning being that any transmitted detail of the mission before hand may have jeopardized the safety of the navy seal agents. Although the trajectory and general details of the mission where shared with the public, specific details such as informant names, technological tools or technique were not transmitted as it is a national security threat to share possibly with the enemy our tactics in combat. An idea that I believe is justifiable.

Information technology was used in the world of “Ghost in the Shell” to influence and control behavior and the perception of characters. The Puppet Master is one major influence suspected as the artificial intelligence program who was developed by Section 9. The extremities of the agents were enhanced to super human abilities and the brains are enhanced to calculate the most efficient course of action in certain situations. The cyber brain connected the individuals physically and virtually to other platforms, while also conserving some humanistic qualities in the physical and subconscious form. For example, bionic eyes allowed a communication link through digital telepathy. Digital optic camouflage was another advancement seen throughout the movie, that enabled agents of Section 9 to blend in with the surroundings. Early in the movie, the suspected garbage man used digital optic camouflage when fleeing from Motoko Kusanagi and Batou; a technology perceived only to be in the hands of section 9. The dangers of such interconnected virtual world were discovered when the puppet master had hacked into the brains of such agents and manipulated what he or she saw. Networked brains of section 9 agents were also implanted and manipulated for the purposes of completing the agenda of the section 9 company.  The scene in the interrogation room with the garbage man revealed such implications as he believed he had a wife and daughter, which never existed. Overall, technology played both a positive and negative role in the movie. Such ideas lead to a progressive and efficient way of living; however, the unforeseen repercussions can be drastic and if used incorrectly can also lead to death.

Kusanagi uses solitude for self-exploration and eventually breaking through to the existential self. She realizes that while she has an optimal “shell,” she doesn’t feel exactly human. She understands what limits her as a cyborg (feeling like she is controlled by the government she works for). The solitude served as a check up on questioning whether she is completely synthetic or not.

In the film, it is noted that she likes to dive on her free time—completely alone—because when she lets herself rise to the surface of the water, she feels like she is embodying a rebirth. She then digs deeper to realize she is fighting confinement of being in an augmented body, giving up her mortal “ghost” to be connected to a Cybernet. The fear is what she chases after because it is a valid human emotion that can reassure that she is not fully robotic.

Deresiewicz makes a point with saying that solitude is socially undesirable. Social norms lead the bulk of online communities to engage in superficialities where having the most “friends” is a form of validation in self-worth. However, believing solitude is “impossible” is stretching the argument. If an individual can pursue life, liberty and happiness, who is to say solitude is not also equally achievable? It can be uncommon in this society specifically, so it would take a levelheaded person to achieve this. A pursuit that is feasible.

In the film, social value did not seem to be based on any sort of superficialities. Self-exploration was emphasized though. Information technology was fully integrated into the human body in the setting of this film, so in this case, it can be said that solitude was even harder to achieve for people in the movie. The cybernetic systems of Section 9 did not place identity as a priority, at least when it came to Kusanagi or Batou because they worked for Section 9. Batou did not seem to veer his attention to anything but his profession.

The arrival of mp3 players in the 90s brought about an expansion of portable and efficient music players that could carry and load hundreds of compressed audio files. This newfound efficiency and portability in music resulted in an increasingly accessible musical world, permitting downloads from online sources and boosting the music industry through this new relationship. Its use translates to a more auditory perception of the world, lending itself to a more intimate interaction with the listener as it even becomes a source of mood regulation.

The internet has completely altered the information landscape and the rate of information exchange in its vast capabilities. It has extended to nearly all corners of the globe and been used for social, economic and political incentives since its birth. The internet itself is a plethora of information and interaction, where users can gather in nearly infinite quantities for infinite purposes. Seemingly consuming of the whole individual, it is generally an active medium of access that has bred a series of societal behaviors unseen in other technologies. Its nature can be classified as divisive or unifying through its perpetuation, or lack thereof, of our social norms.

Television introduced a predominantly visual medium of communication, passive in its engagement of the audience but nonetheless, transformative. Its highly illustrative, entertaining nature commandeers many American lives on daily basis, often a source for personal reflection and scrutiny. Television has the inherent quality of outlining, perpetuating or dissolving many prejudices and attitudes about the surrounding world.

The introduction and commercialization of the World-Wide Net serves as a global information center of instantaneous data transmission. The network was developed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee who saw potential in the Internet’s use of “hypertext” (a language format on the web) and its use as a royalty-free and inclusive information technology. The arrival of the web resulted in revolutionary proceedings extending beyond the technological realm, including decentralization, inclusivity and universality. Now, the World-Wide Web serves as the epitome of human knowledge and behavior as society continues to shape and be shaped by the interaction.

Well, the story already includes some idea of a “data net” which appears to include various informational sources in an extremely technologically-savvy world. The World-Wide Web, however, would serve as a limitless and boundless zone for data transmission and interaction.

In the film, Motoko often deals with themes of existentialism in her search for individuality and meaning. She performs her duty as a cyborg law enforcement officer with little freedom aside from some allotted free-time in-between missions. When she meets the Puppet master, she begins to consider her free-will as an individual being and joins him in merging minds and “ghosts.” These ghosts would have a similar union through the advent of the web, capable of sharing this “data” or experiences through remote locations, still achieving a degree of connectivity and unity through the virtual medium. The finale of the film features a climactic union between the Puppet master and Motoko as they merge souls. Perhaps both characters could have maintained this degree of individuality and independence had the Internet been around, where they could still communicate distantly and maybe even download themselves onto an external location.








Solitude; Hermes Estevez T15

Hi Hermes,

Elegantly written. Excellent essay.

Isolation has almost become a subject of fear in our day, a pastime of self-reflection and insight finds itself uprooted in the advent of the digital age. Unfortunately, our undying adoration for interconnectedness and visibility seem to hold true in postmodernity as we rarely engage with the self. The assignment called for 48-hours drenched in darkness. For me, this called for a strength of restraint to not open any social media applications, especially Twitter and YouTube.

The boundaries of things I consider “news” or noteworthy are obscure, but for the sake of the assignment, all external news birthed outside of my direct peer circle was kept at bay. My closest friends and family continually had direct access to me via texts or calls. This brought forth one of my first realizations and side-effects of the blackout, the consuming and all-encompassing anxiety. Finding myself fidgeting and pacing often, I regularly resorted to sending off casual texts as bait for conversation, but unsurprisingly, there was rarely an answer. After the two-hour mark, this routine brought with it a tsunami of apprehension and dare I say, boredom.

Impatience and weariness came with their virtues, productivity being the first of them. I sat and worked on an art piece for some time, occasionally changing the song blaring in the background and returning to my newsprint. My train of thought continually went astray to matters I previously didn’t consider relevant, yet I found myself circling around the same handful of life’s qualms, again and again. Perhaps this was the first level of reflection I was to undergo, featuring those qualities of doubt and fear that solitude usually brandishes. Of these problems, none seemed to exert as much influence on my life as I had thought; in a way, they made me feel relieved and trivialized. This revelation had me doubting the sources of my daily entertainment and their purposes in my life, forces which would once again, undoubtedly, consume me. That’s fine with me, the momentary comprehension was rewarding in itself.

After working creatively for a while, I moved on to other, mundane ways of passing the time. However, there was a simplified beauty and lack of urgency to everything. Several times I caught myself completely detached, absorbed by the way light flowed through a leaf, or the sounds of cars skidding past puddles. (very nice) That prior wave of anxiety melted to a general sense of disbelief and curiousity as I looped through my worries and sought their importance. In all honesty, I couldn’t honor the full 48-hours of darkness. I probably lost right before dinner time that day. However, the awareness that came with solitude felt grounding and clarifying in the way it filtered insignificance and self-preservation.

Perhaps the constant influx of news serves a purpose in keeping us binded through its reach and unity, but a sense of independence and identity inherently belongs to us all. The occassional dip in the pool (very nice image!)  of solitude seems just as essential to life as does interactivity.

48-hour news blackout 

Jarille Molina

Group 15

HI Jarille,

Nice work. Please proofread your essays. You make some points but I had a bit of trouble following some of it. Keep writing and try reading your essay aloud. I have found that sometimes that helps identify weak points.

48-hour news blackout

 Being able to dive into your ideas, have your own voice, reproduce creativity  be creative, and live a life where solitude is practiced is an incredible feeling. Unfortunately, in today’s world, it is difficult to live in solitude. As I went into a Twilight Zone of partial solitude for two days, the experience I had was the complete opposite from what I had imagined. After I had disconnected myself from all sorts of news, I saw myself agreeing with William Deresiewicz in “The End of Solitude” article where he argues how solitude has changed throughout the years how people are now afraid of feeling or being alone.

A recurring theme in modern day society is that most people want to be known and entertained with what is occurring around them. Deresiewicz explained how the contemporary self wants celebrity and connectivity. The self wants to be recognized, whether it is by being on a reality T.V. show or by moving their fingers through social media feeds. For example, in my generation a popular app known as Instagram began as a simple social app where individuals post photos of themselves or things around them and they will get likes and comments from people who follow his or her page. Instagram gained popularity and major corporations began paying individuals to have his or her photos featured. This sense of “importance” not only stigmatizes a feeling of relevance, but it also keeps everyone connected and updates everyone on who is doing what. I agree with Deresiewicz when he mentioned in the article that technology is taking away our privacy, concentration and sense of solitude. During the two day fast of all social apps or television, I did feel felt disconnected from the world and constantly wondered what was going on in my friend’s lives and the state of the world. A sense of frustration ensued onto me, as if participating in the social intervention was a duty of mine and that my absence was in some form felt by those amongst in the community. At first, I felt alone. Over time, (two words, not overtime, that means something different) I established  had a conscious  or realized an unconscious sensation that establishing myself in the electric (electronic) world was not as important as I had initially pondered. The difficultly in solitude comes with the thought of the unknown according to Deresiewicz. Once someone has been raised by watching constant T.V. and having a phone on their hands they probably don’t know that solitude even exists. Being disconnected from the world did allow me to clear my mind and have a sort of inner peace after the first day. Solitude isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everyone, as Deresiewicz mentioned in the article and those who would find solitude must not be afraid to stand alone. Hence, News news is important to a certain extent. Being informed about the public and what is going on around the world is a proactive acknowledgement ( a proactive acknowledgement of what? )as a citizen know, but However, if such involvement becomes an intrusion to one’s solitude is when such then phenomena should be addressed and analyzed. ( I don’t think phenomena is what you meant, but I’m not certain) (maybe, “then this should be addressed and analyzed’ might be sufficient.

McLuhan’s Perspective

Hermes Estevez; Group 15

Hi Hermes,

You write extremely well and show an excellent command of language, word choices, and sentence structure. I am impressed!  Your points are sound and convey meaning.  Well-done!!!

McLuhan’s grasp of the state of media introduces alternative concepts through his critical perspective in describing the linear and systematic influence of modern media and it’s grasp on society in the electronic age. (good!)

Contrary to the belief that certain historical advancements such as the creation of the phonetic alphabet, the printing press or the assembly line were completely beneficial to humanity, McLuhan proposes that literacy introduced an emotional stagnation that carries into modernity. He posits that diversity is now represented through specialization whereas, in a tribal society, diversity is explored through emotional capacity and expression. In his words, the central nervous system appears to institute a self-protective numbing of the affected area” referencing the inherent human instinct to grow numb and ignorant to “the psychic and social effects of his new technology as a fish in the water it swims in.”

In his research of the “global village,” McLuhan offers insight into its current and future state of affairs. The advent of print and literacy brought forth a linear, ubiquitous and uniform way of thought, which is now broadcast globally in the age of electronic literacy and media. McLuhan says this “individuality” almost has a countereffect, calling for a more unified, inclusive space. He destroys the concept of nationalism in his world of post-literacy in permitting the rise of a global society. These observations rise above the norms of acceptance, offering an erratic, objective view of media as an omnipotent grand entity in the ways we process it. His insight of media as an active process differs from commonly passive rituals of intake. He contemplates the quality and state of media as an environmental factor that can either lead to a productive relationship or one that can turn toxic and restraining, like his example of a fish in water. McLuhan’s comparison seems to take on a humanitarian approach as he illustrates an ignorant society’s mistrust of enlightenment, often urging us to rise above preconceptions while nestled in apathy. Especially in the upbringing of a “global village” McLuhan offers our freedom and independence as we stay cautious of the mediums begging for scrutiny. (well-put!)

McLuhan saw enough backlash with his refreshing propositions and seems overly prepared as he delves into all levels and forms of human expression to illustrate his theories. Ultimately, he educated for the sake of establishing a consciousness in modern society, choosing to actively enlighten as opposed to passivity. Employing his critical approach served as an example of methodological thinking that clarifies an ever-obscured “bigger picture.” In the time following his research, he has been presumed one of the greatest minds as this work continues to influence greater thinking. (really good conclusion!)



Marshall lecturing at the Center for Culture and Technology in Toronto

The Quest of Understanding Marshall McLuhan

Joseph Rodriguez

Group: 15

Hi Joseph,

Good work! Your essay is quite good and you made excellent points in analyzing the reading.

Marshall McLuhan employs the critical perspective in analyzing the medium is the message and how it shapes culture. Beginning with his visions that the phonetic alphabet modernized the sensory perception of the eye. Then, the movable type catalyzing the rate of such transition and the plateau of the introduced telegraph (Cell-phones of modern day) which he sees to revert man back to his or her tribal self. The argument that advancement in literacy leads to detachment and detribalization of man, insinuates the need for proactive analysis to conserve our basic liberties and propagates varying ideas to how electronic mediums can be manipulated to benefit society.

The artists, as McLuhan refers, are the individuals who create and shape media. These creationists are responsible for foreseeing the way in which the medium of his or her new creation will affect the consumer of such device. The function of such idea can be best described as “subliminally sniffing out environmental change” and identifying change in man due to new medium. An alteration that McLuhan believes can also be identified by the consumer himself, “by standing aside from any phenomenon and taking an overview can you discover its operative principles and lines of force.” In other words, one should be proactive in questioning the true motive behind new forms of medium. This sense of awareness also heightened through the introduction of the era of electronic media. One where non-artists can interpret the visions of the artist and debate whether certain forms of medium are acceptable for his or her own uses. However, with the advancements of electronic medium and technology, a foreseen consequence being that man become induced to “Narcissus narcosis.” With the result of man becoming more pervasive towards an invisible and new environment. The consequence of such a dynamic environment is seen by McLuhan to challenge the consumers pursuit for happiness because a more rapid onset of “near-instantaneous transformation of culture, values and attitudes” is being introduced. Without the integration of self perspective, McLuhan fears the consumer will fall victim to the placebo of a world created by such medium platforms and slaves to the workings of the artist. Of these, the phonetic alphabet having the largest impact. The view that man transcended into a fragmented entanglement of semantically advanced but physically benumbed to the interactions between one another.  McLuhan alludes to the reference of Hitler and the Jews. He determined that regardless of the content of the messages, whether they be of botany or social construct, the effect on the community would have remained.  The ultimate message conveyed that for society to avoid succumbing to the overwhelming plethora of rapid media and mediums of transmissions, all must question the existence, understand its purpose of creation and dispose of the “rearview mirror” that extenuates our limited perception. As McLuhan stated, “…the agony of our age is the labor pain of rebirth”, a time where objectified perspective will lead to a more concerted and well-versed population.





Link to Video:

Link to Website:



















McLuhan critical perspective

Jarille Molina

Group 15

Hi Jarille,

Your essay is a bit shy of the 500 word count. However, you should proofread all your work so that you don’t make simple mistakes.  Conclusion is not capitalized, see last paragraph.

During McLuhan Playboy interview he used the critical perspective in his thinking when he introduced to the world, “The medium is the message.” He says, “The medium is the message because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.” McLuhan means by medium is that “all media are extensions of human faculty, psychic, or physical. For example, the wheel is an extension of the foot, the book is an extension of the eye, and so on. During the interview, he explained how all media are extensions of man that cause deep changes in him and that technology is an extension of our own bodies. (good intro)

According to McLuhan, electric media is an extension of the nervous system, from the lightbulb (light bulb is two words)to the computer. In the interview, he said the electric media are the telegraph, radio, films, telephone, computer and television. He says the television is the main electric media because it’s found in almost every home in the country, and it is the media that is responsible for visual power that described all mechanical technology. The interviewer asked McLuhan to further elaborate on what he means about hot and cold media, he says that a hot medium excludes and a cool medium includes. For example, a photograph is hot and a cartoon is cool because it’s just an outline that doesn’t provide as much visual data that a photograph includes (elaborate perhaps?) He then mentions why again the medium is the message, rather than the content, the TV experience itself is what is important rather than the content of the TV image that is being shown to us.

In Conclusion, during the Playboy interview, McLuhan used critical perspective in his thinking when arguing what is “the median (medium) not median ! is the message.” He expanded the bounds of debate during the interview when he was explaining what the median meant in the message. McLuhan’s message is not as obvious, and throughout his interview, that is where he beings? to explain his message through the critical perspective in his thinking.

link to a video about Marshall McLuhan:

image illustrating McLuhan:

web page about McLuhan: