Throughout this course, we have discussed modernity and the different aspects of modernity during every class. Modernity has been defined as being current and being up to date with your surroundings. Modernity departs from traditional values and the idea of tradition does not exist before modernity. We have learned about the different aspects of modernity in Rio de Janeiro and Havana. Both cities are modern in their own unique ways. Rio de Janerio’s modernity is portrayed through it’s unique architecture, gardens, food, music, and paved roads. Havana’s modernity is shown through their mass education, food, suburbs, music, and hybridity.
Empathy is defined as “considering multiple perspectives in order to relate to others and strengthen communities”. Thinking empathetically allows you to look at different viewpoints from others. Our discussions of modernity in Rio de Janeiro and Havana have enhanced my capacity to empathize in many different ways. When having discussions about Havana in class about learning about their modern culture I picked some of the things that stood out to most. They have helped me enhance my capacity to empathize. In class, we listened to the music from the Havana culture. The music was very unique and catchy, for example, The Girl from Ipanema. This song definitely stood out to me the most. I empathized with the culture through the lyrics and the beat of the music. The music from the Havana culture makes me realize that I would never voluntarily listen to this type of music before this course, but after doing so I really appreciate it. Their cultural music helps me acknowledge the extreme differences from American music and helps me to understand their emotions. The music in Cuba was a perfect example of hybridity because it was Afro-Cuban. The music maintains a balance between the African culture and the Cuban culture. Hybridity is an essential aspect of modernity. Hybridity is the cross between two separate cultures. Learning about hybridity helped me with being more acceptant of other cultures beliefs, races, religions, or languages. Havana also has unique, modern streets and buildings. The roads are wide and are surrounded by a ton of greenery and benches. The buildings have pillars and have unique shapes in them. This has given me an insight in how these beautifully built buildings differ from the ones I see in Philadelphia on the daily.
In Rio de Janeiro, modernity is a huge topic. When discussing modernity in Rio de Janeiro, the modern gardens intrigued me the most. The pictures of the gardens were excellent and made me want to hop on a plane and go explore them. Roberto Burle Marx’s amazing landscape architecture skills really wowed me and helped me evaluate how perfectly modern his gardens were. The gardens portrayed many modern shapes, colors, paths, and trees. After looking at the pictures of his landscaping in class, his skills help me realize how different these gardens are from our typical gardens in the United States. My favorite work of Roberto Burle Marx was Avenida Atlântica. The pavement is in such a unique pattern that gives it such a modern feel. The buildings in Rio de Janerio are especially modern. The city is filled with buildings that have a modern look to them. The MES building is a perfect example of modernity because it was built in such a unique way and has large pillars holding it up. Le Corbusier added pillars, facades, glazed walls, and more to give the building a modern look. There is also a rooftop garden, which is definitely a huge impact of modernity. Another Looking at the visual material of Rio de Janeiro before modernity really opened my eyes because the city has changed in such a dramatic way. Before modernity, Rio de Janeiro was a plain and boring city with no modern feel. Today, the city is beautifully standing tall with all of the modern buildings, gardens, streets, houses, and many more.
The enhanced capacity of the ability to empathize will help contribute to my professional development in countless ways. When thinking empathetically, it helps me to have a new outlook on things and to build stronger relationships with people. It also helps me to view situations from the point of view of others. The knowledge that I have taken in will most importantly increase my understanding skills because when learning about the different cultures I learned to understand why they believed in certain things, why they listened to certain music, and why their buildings looked so different from the basic ones that I am used to seeing. For example of my understanding skills, when I am in the workplace sometimes my coworkers seem to get extremely upset with my managers or customers. I usually cannot comprehend why they are having these certain feelings towards them. After gaining insight on how to think more empathetically, I have l been able to put myself in my coworker’s shoes and understand what feelings they are experiencing. Another way my ability to think empathetically will contribute to my professional development skills is when discussing real world problems, such as politics. In politics, obviously, everyone has different views and it is often that there are times when disagreements and arguments take place. For example, my cousin is extremely into politics and is very protective and sensitive about her viewpoints. Whenever someone tries to start a conversation about politics she makes it known that she has the right point of view and everyone else’s opinion is completely irrelevant. When I talk to her about politics, she always tries to argue with me and I feed into it but I leave the conversation before it gets too bad. Now after knowing how to think more empathetically, I can acknowledge and deal with her viewpoints without starting any arguments. I understand why she is stubborn about her opinion and I can appreciate the aspects of the situation because I never understood why she only cared for her own opinion.
...(download the rest of the essay above)