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Welcome to the Jungle

In a world fascinated by order and discipline, is it any surprise that there is a continuing battle to modify society to represent these characteristics? However, in doing so, what is the price that we, as participants in this type of order, pay? While reading the excerpts from Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott, these were the questions running through my mind. I was immediately drawn to the claim that “the state has always seemed to be the enemy of people who move around.” The idea that what the state has been trying to accomplish (by redesigning towns and cities to create easier understanding for outsiders and military, imposing an official language, and enforcing official names) goes against the natural organization of human society leaves me questioning how much of our nature has been replaced by order. The Guns N’ Roses song, “Welcome to the Jungle” expresses the feelings people had towards these abrupt changes, because “you can have anything you want, but you better not take it from me.” Cities have been completely redesigned, with people being displaced from their homes and placed into a “formal order.” [Scott, 58] To further the reconfiguration of cities to benefit the organization of the state, permanent surnames were put into place, and if people refused to adopt one, one was given to them. This allowed the state to keep track of citizens, collect taxes, and a number of other state tasks. Finally, an official language was the major shift in making the state the most important, most central part of society. Now the people who were considered the outsiders of society (the people who worked for the state) were the most central part of society. With the effective speed the government made themselves the most important part of society, it leaves me wondering if this “order” will expand to a world order. How much more can the government attempt to continue its organization of society? Finally, is it our natural instinct to be such a cohesive society, or do we need that independence and uniqueness from everyone else?

Payton • September 4, 2016

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