01 February 2007


Essay 2
Prompt: Today's mobile society often loses in family and community ties what it agins in individual freedom.

Assignment: Write a unified essay in which you perform the following tasks. Explain what you think the above statement means. Describe a specific situation in which mobility might enhance family or community ties. Discuss what you think determines which is more important to the individual - mobility, or maintaining family and community ties.

The propensity for human and societal improvement creates situations where questions arise about these new found improvements. Mobility is one of them. In the last 20 years, humans have become more mobile as cell phone towers pepper the landscape, air travel is cheaper and thus more accessible to the general public, as well as other methods of transportation through innovations. Does this mobility degrade ties to family and community while equally increasing individual freedom? Many would argue so. With more cell phone carriers such as T-Mobile and Cingular offering tower-sharing agreements, subscribers are free to go farther away from urban destinations and possibly their families and communities. A couple of months ago, a senior editor in CNET news was found dead in a wintry valley in Oregon with his family trapped in the snowy weather after taking a wrong turn. In this case, mobility removed Kim and his family from the urban environment, as he could go farther and deeper into the wilderness with an energy efficient vehicle and instant communication. Kim’s story does indeed stress the gains in individual (in this case, family) freedom while separation from his community. Kim, before his death, was able to enjoy a family outing even in the snowy wilderness due to increased mobility, a feat which was scarcely possible 20 years ago, but his separation from community may have proved ultimately harmful.

However, others would argue that mobile societies make it easier to maintain ties with community and family while providing gains in individual freedom as well. In the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the subsequent American occupation, mobility provided US soldiers with the ability to cover greater ground while still being able to maintain ties with community and family. Mobile relay stations positioned throughout Iraq and a fall-back on satellite communications made possible instant communication with other ground forces and US Central Command. In this respect, military communities and ‘legions’ (families) are brought closer together with the advent of mobility. One might say that US Central Command (or any person/place in the world) was a couple of microseconds away, made possible with instant communication. This would certainly bring communities together and make military coordination easier.

The prevailing arguments implicitly necessitate a qualifier that determines when individual gains in today’s mobile society make up for losses in ties to community and family. With any new technology or advent, it is not the actual advent or technology itself but the end user that determines the effect that the particular advent has. Technology frequently plays countervailing roles in society and this case is no different. The intention of the end user determines whether mobility causes losses in ties to community. James Kim certainly used his mobility to sever ties to his community, while soldiers in the current occupation of Iraq use their mobility and technology to bring them closer to their military communities and families.

"Your paper shows clarity, depth, and complexity of thought. The treatment of the writing assignment is focused and coherent. Major ideas are substantially developed. A facility with language is evident. Good work! In order to score at this level in the future keep an emphasis on the clear writing style and evident proficiency in your response to the prompt."

... really?



Anonymous said...

I thought it sucked.

R said...

I thought this post sucked.