Individuality And Conformity In Andrew Solomon's Essay 'Son'

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Individuality and Conformity In today’s western society, parents raise their children based on their own experiences and identities in an effort to be produce children that they view as successful. Author Andrew Solomon defines the traits that children share with their parents as “vertical identities” (369). However, someone may have an “acquired trait that is foreign to his or her parents,” which Solomon defines as a “horizontal identity” (370). His essay “Son” discusses how horizontal identities are viewed as weaknesses that parents, most often than not, try to fix. Solomon talks about his own sexual orientation being a horizontal identity and then compares it to physical disabilities such as deafness or dwarfism. Neurologist Andrew Sacks’s…show more content…
In regards to blindness, the brain works in a specific way to help people be able to live normal lives. Sacks’s essay discusses how the brain’s plasticity allows for people to be able to have the ability to visualize things with their minds. He argues that “the visual cortex becomes hypersensitive to internal stimuli of all sorts: its own autonomous activity; signals from other brain areas-auditory, tactile, and verbal areas; and thoughts, memories, and emotions” (337). These processes done by the visual cortex in the brain provide an example for how people with disabilities are able to still live normal lives. It is only the stigma of having a disability that makes it socially difficult. Nevertheless, the brain works in other ways to help people interact with their environment and with their peers. Fredrickson also writes about how the brain is able to help people connect with others through neural coupling and “brain synchrony,” where two people’s brains work as one when connecting over positive experiences (113). She goes on to argue that as this occurs more frequently, the resulting feelings of positivity and love, or “positivity resonance[,] produces structural changes in the brain … making it more likely that [people will] have healthy habits and healthy social bonds in the future” (120-21). The brain automatically works to help people live healthier lives. Fredrickson’s positive approach to love and forming relationships with others demonstrates the brain’s natural abilities. Sacks’s psychological viewpoint also points out how capable people are of communicating with the environment. However, the brain is also influenced by outside pressures to conform to what is normal. Because this influence may come from people’s families, it takes over the brain. This creates the illusion that it is necessary for people to be normal in order to live lives that are socially acceptable. The need to

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