Venture Grant: Philosophy: Mexico City and Los Angeles
To: Victor Nelson-Cisneros and Dean’s Advisory Committee
January 30, 2003
Venture Grant Proposal
Philosophical Enquiries Into The Lives of The Poor and Wealthy in Mexico City
In order to first establish this enquiry I must first introduce myself properly. I am too strange of a being to even be here, yet I am here. Why? Let me tell you. I come from 5 different ghettos in L.A., have been in 9 foster homes since age 13, been in juvenile hall, been put in mental institutions, been homeless, and probably worst of all have no parents. According to this I shouldn’t be here, yet, again, I am here. It’s amazing how different Colorado College is from the world I come from. In my world there is no college, there is no sense of future, there is no money, and probably most emotionally draining for anyone in this environment, no sense of control. Truly this is still the twilight zone to me. But I’m still here.
I first came to this school with the sense only of the next step for my survival. In this case, in this environment, I thought economics would be my major in order to make sure that I could guarantee myself a job for the future. And although I did enjoy the theories of the discipline, there was no sense of excitement in college. Then I took a philosophy course and meaning and purpose came into place. A whole new world opened up. A whole new way of being came around, one where there was life. Where it was exciting to stay up all night to study for a test or to write an essay or to even try to understand a difficult concept. Something came to life in me and with that gave me new life. No longer was the need for survival my primary concern, my life was dedicated to philosophy.
It was in my Greek History and Philosophy Class that I learned about one of the most important thinkers of the western world, Aristotle. I learned of his grand ideas of happiness, development of virtue, rational development, and self development and how an ethical life depends on a decent political structure. No doubt I was fascinated by his ideas. So much in fact that it then hit me, what would be the case of you took away this adequate political structure? What would be the ethical value for this world? What would a good life be? Would such a thing even exist? Is life, under these circumstances, about being happy and developing virtue? What is virtue now? What happens to grand ideas in communities of desperation?
What is the philosophy of a community in desperation like the one I grew up in? What are the morals? I’ve always lived in this community but never asked this question until now. What is the life in the "barrio" about?
I would like to go to Mexico City and Los Angeles in order to ask people in these communities what life for them is all about. Why these two cities in particular? Los Angeles is my native land one where I have an idea of what is going on. Mexico is a strange land to me. It would be interesting to know how these communities differ. What a great endeavor! One that will benefit the entire Colorado College community. I would like to work with professor John Riker on an Article and discuss my findings with other philosophy majors in the department.
Mexico (Approximate dates: May 15- June 7)
Per Diem: $50 * 15 days/ $750
Los Angeles (Approximate dates: August 12- August 28)
Per Diem: $50 * 15 days/ $750
Grand Total: $2050
(Please note that these costs are only an approximation and that I am looking for other Programs such as: The Faculty-Students Collaborative Research and The Lewis Foundation for funding)