Capstone project brainstorm

When considering topics for the project, a lot of thoughts run through my head. Most of those thoughts are not productive, but a few common themes surface. For the most part, these themes surround topics I know a lot about — sports, food, journalism, community action — but the one that comes up subconsciously is freedom. I’ve written about freedom indirectly, but have opined about it far more than anything. Why is freedom sought after? Why is freedom taken away? How does one value freedom, and why do I seem to want it more than most? How is the way we are raised, educated and now treated on college campuses influence our freedom and our view of freedom? How free is too free and how free is not free enough? What do I even mean when I say freedom?

Another component is the scientific development of freedom. We have the most prosperous lives in the history of the world, but happiness is just about consistent with pre-modern society. My theory is that subtle suppression such as working indoors on a beautiful day or having to dress nicely for work chips away at our freedom and goes against the grain of our evolutionary need for freedom.

It’s hard to articulate yet how this could be a project, and I’m still looking for something that gives it an original Zach Shaw spin, but I know the idea of freedom comes up in anything and everything I do. Maybe it’s the way I respond to authority, or the way I indulge myself in life with a deliberate disregard of society’s surrounding judgement, or my push to inspire freedom in some of my writing or community service work. I can’t figure out why I care so darn much about freedom, but I imagine that’s a good place to start.

As far as a deliverable, I like the idea of exploring why I care so much, and then expanding and seeing both the evolutionary and societal causes of a yearning for freedom, then providing some sort of quasi-solution for finding freedom in our lives.

Discipline: Anthropology, Sociology, Writing, Psychology, American Culture

Focal object: Freedom, societal suppression, escaping

Confounding variable: TBD, but probably personal anecdotes and a journalistic spin

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