Personally, I enjoyed Monday’s lecture on: Personal Salvation and the Cult of Self-Improvement, where the idea of the rise or emergence of a society and the role of the individual has become increasingly important. Back in the 17th century, the word individual as a way of describing a human being didn’t even enter the language at the time. People neither prefered themselves as individuals, nor did the Latin meaning have anything to do with human identity. As we began to give meaning to self-improvement for self salvation we lost our sense of touch with the world. The self is a work in progress, and we as humans try to change ourselves as a form of progression. These ideas of personal transformations are different from premodern myths. Media is a place that offers people personal instruction and advice. Rooted from the idea of Protestantism, there were people who came out of a certain tradition. One of the earliest documents is: Doctrine of Predestination (individuals who are elected or rejected by virtue). The emergence of the idea that salvation is personal began to spread; we are either saints or sinners. Protestantism has a very strong tradition of personal anxiety, so people worked hard and read the word of God in hopes that they can be saved… Today, media focuses more on digital self-improvement, selfie improvement, self transformation, and it has changed us drastically. It is identified almost like a religious veneration/ cult, which is even scarier. Everything that was once important to us, or had meaning to us is the past now. Even though social media has made a huge impact in my life; on the other hand it is unfortunate to be a part of this empty, narrow-minded, self-absorbed generation. Professor Ewen’s lecture and the discussion on form versus matter resonated with me, and made me feel even more aware of how much times have changed, and the fact that we will continue to move forward- never backwards.
Salvation & Self-Improvement: MEGHAN NG