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Places and forms of power, bac anglais.

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                             Places & forms of power

Introduction :

   I am going to speak about the notion of places & forms of power. First of all I  would like to give a definition of power. It’s the ability or official capacity to exercise control, pressure or authority over others. It can be a person, a group, or a nation having great influence over people. Power can be exerted by justice, the media, high political authorities or by a whole country. Power can exist in different places, at different levels.

Among the whole propositions offered by this notion, I decided to speak about cults, the power of guns in the US and the power of media. We can ask ourselves : What are the limits of power ? How do people react to that power ?  Three documents will help me answer this question.

Document1) :

   My first document is A spaceship to heaven. This is about the suicide of a cult members who believed they were destined to a rendez-vous with a heaven-bound UFO.

Marshall Applewhite was 66 years old and the son of a presbyterian minister. He was a former choirmaster at the University of Alabama in the sixties. After a heart disease in the seventies, he left his wife and his two children and met Bonnie Needles, a nurse he met during his convalescence. They founded the cult called heaven's gate. They thought they were heavenly messengers from outer space. In 1974 they were briefly jailed because they had stolen credit cards from a group of Oregon's people. They remained discrete but continued on their mission. Most of the members were computer programmers and believed in spiritual rewards.The cult members ate applesauce with barbiturate and chased it with vodka. They lay down on cots or bunk bed and put plastic bags over their heads to hasten death. All the members did not die right away. Two remained alive and removed the plastic bags from the other cult members' head and draped the 37 bodies in purple shrouds and tidy up. They finally killed themselves the same way.

Cults generally recruit naive people and use specific mind control techniques :

  • In order to make their members physically weak, cults make them go without eating and deprive them of sleep. They go on diets and have lacks of nutrients.
  • They make them vulnerable, they use abusive language, use confession to destroy their ego, use hypnoses disguised as relaxation or meditation, use love and peer pressure to supress resistance and they isolate members from families, friends and society.
  • They also make them obedient. They make members donate money to increase dependence and remove individuality by enforcing dess-code, they sing repetitive chants for persuasion and removing clocks and watches to supress the sense of time.

Document2) :

   My second document is A gun Cuture. It is an extract from The origins of national gun culture.

In this document we can see two very famous american news magazines which featured cover photographs of a young boy with a gun. His name is Andrew Golden and on these pictures he is dressed in camouflage and holding a pistol. The magazines chronicled the brief life of Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson, who grew up in a culture in which parents think it is a great idea to give their children guns. In 1998 Andrew and Mitchell, aged 11 and 13, killed 5 people including children of their school and a young teacher. They also wonded 10 other people, mostly children.

The author denounce the fact that children have guns and that their parents allow them and even encourage them of having fire arms. Because these young boys instead of receiving cars or normal toys for Christmas, which is supposed to be a peaceful celebretion, they receive shotguns.

The author continues to say that the level of personal violence separates the US to the rest of the world. Indeed, the second amendment of the US constitution, which dates back to 1789, reads : « A well regulated militia being necessaryto the security of a free state, the right og the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed ».


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