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Anne Dalke's picture

Post here the scripts for (or accounts of) your final performances.
You are also warmly welcome to come back and visit,
posting relevant items and thoughts as they arise over the years ahead!


Anne and Peter

ebrennanpr's picture

The Dilemma of Survival

Here is Marisa and my class handout along with our own thoughts about what would happen...enjoy!

You are a passenger on a cruise ship travelling from San Francisco to Hawaii.  In the midst of the Pacific Ocean, a disastrous combination of severe storms and engine failure cause the ship to sink.  In the ship’s final moments, you and four others scrambled aboard a sailing safety raft. The others who made it aboard are a pregnant woman and her 5-year old son, a 30-year old male crewmember and a 70-year old woman.  Using the crewmember’s extensive knowledge of calculating speed and the winds, he determines that you will reach land in 40 days.

Information to Consider -- The young boy and the mother are a unified, family alliance and the boy and the unborn baby would normally have the longest to live if they can survive.  The 70-year old woman is a trained nurse who knows how to effectively use the medical kit and could also aid the woman with her pregnancy. The man’s nautical experience can most aid the ship in arriving safely at its destination. As another person onboard, what will your contribution be?

Available Resources:
*The emergency raft includes sufficient food and medical supplies for 4 people for two weeks at sea and enough water for 40 days. (Note that a Person can live 4-6 weeks without any food.)
240 liters/63 gallons of water – Take into account that an active person typically needs ½ gallon or 1.5 liters of water to survive.  However, in a survival situation, both pregnant women and children need more water.
56 Emergency food bars
28 Biscuits
4 blankets
1 medical kit (4 packets of rehydration salts, band-aids, aspirin, gauze dressing, scissors)
1 rope

Food for Thought:
Everyone will ultimately die if the resources are divided up equally.  Therefore, one person must go without food and water in order for the others to survive.  Who goes?  How is this decision made? Should you form alliances, or act individually?  Should anyone get priority over the food and water?

Questions for Class:
1) Based on what we’ve learned from the Donner Party and Ahab’s Wife, what would realistically happen?
2) What would be the fair thing to do? Can you find a win-win solution?

Our possible solutions
1)    The older woman should be the person to die because she has already lived the longest and her skills are not particularly valuable with the limited supplies available in the medical kit. 
2)    Everyone should draw straws to decide who survives so that there is no discrimination against age or ability.  Therefore the decision would be made at random. (The negative consequence could be the death of a person who plays an integral role in the group reaching safety.)
3)    In order to save the others, one person could potentially decide to sacrifice his or herself, so there would be no decision of who to kill.  
4)    Although possibly too optimistic, other boats often travel within shipping lanes.  Another boat might rescue them appear before anyone dies.
1)    Realistically, we think that the family would survive because they would band together.  Also, it would be in the interests of the group to keep the crewmember alive since he possesses the knowledge for the raft to arrive safely ashore.

jpfeiffer's picture


Michelle and I presented on the topic concerning Barry Schwartz's, "The Paradox of Choice".

We discussed the idea of is less really more, and we determined that in many cases, if not all, less options are actually more beneficial than a multitude of options.

In the year 2008, humans are constantly surrounded by choices. Entering a supermarket, there are a least 200 options just for cereal alone-not counting the plethora of other options that are available in life that are much more meaningful. For example, the sheer number of colleges that there were to apply to!

In a sense, we just wanted to reiterate the idea of choice. We spoke about the topic above, and we also highlighted the idea of how we didn't even know how many choices there were that are available to us until after we completed this course.

jpfeiffer's picture


Michelle and I presented on the topic concerning Barry Schwartz's, "The Paradox of Choice".

We discussed the idea of is less really more, and we determined that in many cases, if not all, less options are actually more beneficial than a multitude of options.

In the year 2008, humans are constantly surrounded by choices. Entering a supermarket, there are a least 200 options just for cereal alone-not counting the plethora of other options that are available in life that are much more meaningful. For example, the sheer number of colleges that there were to apply to!

In a sense, we just wanted to reiterate the idea of choice. We spoke about the topic above, and we also highlighted the idea of how we didn't even know how many choices there were that are available to us until after we completed this course.

abhattacha's picture


Modern civilization is based upon the acquiring of the more . Man is everlastingly asking for more and man is everlastingly striving for more . Everlasting struggle and everlasting discontent are his lot in life .
In looking to satisfy his endless wants , man is a menace to this planet ; armed with the means to do so , he spells disaster . What this course has done is to bring home the part that conscience - driven choice must play in this cycle of craving .
" Think : perspective ! " , Anne and Peter would say . The frame of reference cannot just be I , me , myself , mine . It must extend to the giant and intricate wheel of action and reaction in which even an iota of change in one part has ripple effects throughout all parts of the whole . In which to have the power to satisfy the hankering for more must come with the responsibility to use that power conscientiously and compassionately .
The imperative to conserve the environment is a big problem . And big problems need big solutions , like the successor to the Kyoto protocol which must be hammered out by 2012 . But small efforts at the individual level can help quicker , and snowball into larger efforts .
I read about this 27 - year old who adores his Mitsubishi Outlander sports utility vehicle . It looks a beauty , and rides like a dream ; and really goes with the image he'd like to project . It's cool and his friends love it . But it's a monster of a gas guzzler . So he only uses it on weekends . The rest of the week he takes a car pool to work . Turning down the air-conditioner may do more to immediately curb emissions than attempts to reduce business travel or cut emissions per airline passenger . Recent studies have thrown up some shocking revelations . Residential buildings spew out almost ten per cent of greenhouse gases while air travel is responsible for two per cent . The computer industry , in fact , produces as much greenhouse gases as the airline industry . [ MSIG Balance , December 2008 ] The issue is not about denial ; it is about choosing responsibly . To come back to food , which is where it all began , to be a carnivore is not to be a cad . [ After all , even vegetarianism is not devoid of violence . " Living takes life " , to quote Deanna Wolfe in Prodigal Summer . ]  But to cultivate cruelly for profit is .
An old Buddhist word Mottainai sums up what it's all about . Mottainai fundamentally means " what a waste " or " it's too valuable to waste " . Its overtone of respect and reverence for nature is what must imbue the choices we make . Deeply impressed by the notion of Mottainai , the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize activist Wangari Maathai is of the belief that this one word and its connotations summarize the soul of the movement to conserve the environment - reduce , re-use , recycle , and respect the earth's finite resources .
Anne Dalke's picture


...of our finale (including the general murder and mayhem that happened in Dalton 2) on Thursday are now available for general viewing...
Yellow's picture

Final Performance Script: Isa, Anna, Courtney, Malli, Stephanie

MalliGupta, Isa He, Courtney Jewett, Stephanie Kim, Anna Melker

GroupPresentation Script

December11, 2008


Steph-Anchor 1

Anna-Anchor 2

BMCStudent/Report on Sustainability/Nudging-Malli


MichaelPollan/Field Interviewer-Isa

Presentation Script: The Food For Thought Station

News Anchor 1:Good afternoon and welcome to Food for Thought. I am Stephanie Kim.

News Anchor 2:And I am Anna Melker.

News Anchor 1:Thank you for making the difficult decision of choosing our station over allthe many other choices of channels on your TV. We know that wecould spend this time endorsing our news station, but it would make nodifference. We can't really influence your decisions! You chose us because ofyour gut feeling.

News Anchor 2:Our program has prepared a special edition for this evening. We are bringing youright to Bryn Mawr College to interview students aboutsome of the topics and discussion from the past weeks!

News Anchor 1: We have been focusing on choice as the main theme throughout the past fewmonths. Because of our growing desires,people have more choices... but are more choices good or bad? Scientists, for thepast twenty years have been trying to build a toothed vagina. Scientists havediscovered exactly how to construct a toothed vagina, based on the idea thatthe toothed vagina can possibly help manage one's desires.

News Anchor 2: I don't get it! Itdoesn't work for everyone! It doesn't curb my desires!

News Anchor 1: Goodness dear, it's justa metaphor!!!

News Anchor 2: Okay. Moving on with today'sepisode, we have a reporter at Bryn Mawr College today interviewing some of thestudent activists on campus.Hi Isa, what do you have for us today?

FieldInterviewer: Thanks for the introduction. My name is Isa Heand I right now I am reporting from outside Erdman, a dining hall at Bryn Mawr.And my, my, it sure is abusy scene today! I am here with Mallimalika Gupta. Hi Malli, thanks for taking time out ofyour day to speak with us. What do you think about the dining hall's sustainability?

Malli: We waste 99,456.7825 tons offood every week in our dining halls. That's not enough. There are so manypeople in the world that go without a single meal each day. There are peopleout there that need food. We should not be eating so much. I think that itwould make sense for everyone in the college community to become an aware andenlightened citizen of today's world and give up oneating so much food.

FieldInterviewer: Not eat?? Will you be demonstrating some of your acts of protesting?I've heard from other students that they are pretty...let's just say... unique!

Malli: Well wehave a campaign running on campus right now. Waste more, want less. You see,the more we waste, the more we can give to Philabundance.

FieldInterviewer: That is very interesting. A new outlook on the world's hungerproblem. Do you have anything else to add?

Malli: I thinkother colleges and institutions should also come together and adopt thismethod. We should all collaborate and make this dream a reality.

FieldInterviewer: Splendid! Now to explore the Bryn Mawr campus,we're going to fly over to Brecon on the other side of the campus. Studentsthere feast on the chicken special provided by Erdman. Up in the cold territories of Bryn MawrCollege, we have another student waiting for us! She in fact does not know that I am here today- weplan to give her a surprise visit and see what she's eating for her meal thisafternoon! [Moves closer to subject]  Now out in the cold...she is...chewing on something.....quite large... Hey there Courtney! What are you feasting on today?

Courtney: [straight to the point, don't evenlook at Isa] leg

FieldInterviewer: I'm guessing you got take out from Erdman! Howare you enjoying the chicken?

Courtney: What chicken? This be human.

FieldInterviewer: Wait, what? [Looks/whispers at camera/audience] I think we've found ourselves acannibal here. [back at Courtney] I see, I see. So why the leg?

Courtney:  It's the juicy part.

FieldInterviewer: [Isalooks frightening and taken back a bit]...If you don't mind me asking, why humans?  You can eat other kinds of meat.

Courtney:  [Sudden burst] Doyou know how far away Brecon is from Erdman?!?!?!  I can't alwaysmake it across campus.  Instead I eatBreconites.

FieldInterviewer: Don't you think it might be morally wrong to eat another human?

Courtney: If youlived in Brecon you would understand. When there are no other options for food and it is between dying fromhunger or eating a classmate, I go for eating a classmate.

FieldInterviewer: Oh... well that concludes the two sides of BrynMawr College's eating and sustaining habits. You've seen the interesting outlooks at solving theworld's hunger problem. The social activism on college campuses these days areheartening...youngwomen fighting for a cause. What you see here is real. [Ready to conclude] Back... [to the station, but Courtney interrupts]

Courtney: [Bursts in] Maybenot! I'm not real. Are you? It's all in your mind.

Field Interviewer: Um... [nervously smiles at camera] That's actually the optical illusiontopic we'll be discussing at a later time.


Field Interviewer: [Isa fights to take over the attention of the camera; in a loud voice] SOTHAT CONCLUDES OUR LITTLE TRIP AT BRYN MAWR COLLEGE. BACK TO THE STATION!

News Anchor 1: nudging anchor 2

News Anchor 2: moves

News Anchor 1:Why did you move?

News Anchor 2:Because you nudged me!

News Anchor 1:Oh haha, very funny. This actually brings us to our next topic. How great!Let's hear from our on the field reporter again.

FieldInterviewer: Thanks studio. I've bounced back toErdman and we've got Malli again, So,Malli, tell us about the experiences you've had with nudging.

Malli: I've been nudged to picknon-sustainable non-fair trade coffee because there's more of it in the dining hall.

FieldInterviewer: And how does that make you feel?

Malli: I do notappreciate the authoritarian pressure put on me. I find it hard to accept thatmy choices are not really my choices, but all part of a bigger plan - aconsumerism driven plan. This makes me feel like when I picked a strawberry asmy food of choice in class, among other foods, because apparently my species asa whole is innately drawn to the color red. That makes me feel that none of mychoices are of any consequence. But I was all able to understand why McDonald'schose red and yellow as a part of their logo.

FieldInterviewer: That is very interesting. Thanks Malli.

[Looking at the camera/audience] Now if you don'tmind me, I am nudged to head over to the new Philadelphia Casino since I'veseen so many ads about it! Goodbye!

News Anchor 1: Speaking of the new casinoopening in center city Philadelphia, we've got a recent report that they'veadded the non-zero sum game in addition to their slot machines!

News Anchor 2: Who knew that the phenomenon happening on college campusesaround the country, "collaboration to a better end," would catch on at the newCasino! I look forward to playing the Prisoner's Dilemma there this weekend.It's a win-win situation!

News Anchor 1: phone rings Hello? Hey baby!

News Anchor 2: Turn your phone off... [Steph keepstalking] Who is that?

News Anchor 1:My boyfriend.

News Anchor 2: Oh... Wait, the caller id said your brother...

News Anchor 1:Yeah whatever... same same [Annashakes her head]

On phone So hey about later tonight let's watch the Notebook in my room? Yeah? Omg hehe. Love you!

News Anchor 2: That's kind of disgusting you know... (silence)Do you hear that noise?

News Anchor1: No, I hear something too... what'sthis noise?

News Anchor 1and 2: looking around for the source ofthe noise, looking confused.

News Anchor 2: [Listening attentively] You knowwhat? I think its greennoise!

News Anchor 1:Here's a message from our sponsors-

Commercial/Isa:[Schwarzenegger voice] Hi everybody.I'm Michael Pollan, and YOUshould grow your own food, and hunt your own meat. I endorse this gun. Hunt your ownmeat. I work out at my local YMCA! [Drawingon board/put up muscles Isa dances to YMCA]

News Anchor 1: Now, talk aboutambiguous figures!  As you can see by this fascinatingimage, our brains can't tell if this is a girl with her hands in the air, orthe letter Y!

News Anchor 2:  Fascinating. Just fascinating. Well, that's all wehave for today. Keep those brain cells chewing!

News Anchor 1: Next week on Food for Thought we have sexologistIsa Lusa with "Are Moths Sexy? Can they be human-sized? What is moth sex....Whatabout corn sex?"

News Anchor 2:Don't forget to tune in! Continue to make yourgut decision to come back to our station.

News Anchors 1 and 2: And that's a nudge J


mkmerrill's picture

Final performance

 The journey of a maximizer and a satisficerIntroduction:Since the basic premise of this class is choice, and how we make them, we have decided to act out our interpretation of the main theory of this class: The paradox of choice.  The main theory behind the paradox of choice is that more choices don’t lead to freedom but to chaos and dissatisfaction.  The paradox arises from the fact that we want complete control and many options to choose from while also wanting our lives to be simple.  By following the journey of Maxine the Maximizer and Sarah the Satisficer we can see the different approaches to make choices.   Cereal: Maxine- After Maxine wakes up she heads to the kitchen to have her breakfast. Being that she has so many choices, she can’t make up her mind so she finally picks, isn’t happy and regrets her decisionSarah-After Sarah wakes up in the morning she heads to the kitchen to have her breakfast. She only has two types of cereal to choose from and she easily picks what she wants to eat and is happyClothes: Maxine-still upset about cereal, heads to her closet to pick out her outfit for the day. She goes through many outfits until she runs out of time and has to throw something on. She is very upset. Sarah-After eating, Sarah heads to her closet to pick out an outfit to wear to the store and being that she only has a few things to choose from she easily decides what to wear.Car:Maxine is still really upset, talks about how unhappy she is with her outfit and on the way to the store she decides to listen to the radio to make her feel better.  She turns the radio on, and decides she sort of likes the song that comes on but that there is probably a better one on, so she changes the radio a few times, then realizes she missed her turn.Sarah- After deciding what to wear she gets in her car turns on radio and is happy with first song that comes on.Store: Maxine- Once Maxine finally gets to the store se goes down the dessert aisle and looks at all the choices and tries to compare. Finally with too many options to choose from she gives up and doesn’t get anything. Sarah-Sarah gets to the store without missing any turns, goes in and picks up two boxes of cookies. Of the two she decides to get one and leaves the store.  Summary:As you can see from our skit being a maximizer, you are always looking for the absolute best option.  This means that maximizers are always reevaluating their decisions and trying to find the absolute best thing, and are never happy with what they have already chosen, because they think they can do better.  A satisficer can make a decision and be happy with it, even if it isn’t the best decision.   The problem with being a maximizer is that it is impossible to consider every option, it’s not just a choice of what kind of cereal to chose, but there are endless options what you could be doing instead of eating the cereal.  As one philosopher said, “should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee”, the choices are endless, so it is impossible to maximize every situation which just ends up driving a maximizer crazy. A maximzer is overwhelmed by their choices and wants to make sure she chooses the absolute best option.  A satisficer can limit her options and be satisfied with good enough, not the best.   For a maximizer, as the number of options increase, the effort required to make a good decision also increases, because they will refuse to disregard any options, in fear that it might be the choice that will maximize the situation.  This is why more choices make experiences less enjoyable.  

So, now it’s your turn, we will present you with two options, and it’s up to you how you make your choice.

Anne Dalke's picture

Plan for Dalton 2

Over on Anne's side of the hallway,
there will be three performances on Thursday:

Emily, Leigh, Lydia, and Sara
Anna, Courtney, Isa, Malli and Stephanie
Aybala, Holly, Illana, Michelle and Sarah

You can have up to 20 minutes, if you need it;
if not, that's fine--we can use the time for
responding to what you have done.

Very much looking forward to this!