Okay, the record I got of my SAT essay was an image (since I had to write it out on actual paper with that “pencil” thing), but I’ll transcribe exactly as it is (no editing).
Time limit was 25 minutes.
Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment:
- Most of us tend to find rules, limits, and restraints irritating. We want to be free of anything that limits our choices. But limitations protect us. Without limitations on our behavior, too many of us will act without regard to the consequences for ourselves, for others, and for the future. Limitations contribute to, rather than take away from, our overall happiness.
Do rules and limitations contribute to a person’s happiness? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
On first glance, this question may seem straightforward. But on reflection, and careful thought as to the wording of the question, it suddenly becomes multi-layered, with many intriguing facets and possibilities.
The most obvious would be this: what exactly is a “limitation” as referenced in the question? Is it a tangible outside influence – for instance, a legal system? Is it a social influence like religion, which in this time period has no official power to enforce, but still holds enormous sway on the minds of humans? Or is it what has been know over time as the heart, or soul, or conscience?
If I took the question purely at face value, I would assume it is referring to a system in which laws are created and punishment is meted out to those who violate them – this may take place on a grand scale, such as legal courts, or on the small scale of a classroom.
However, this is far from a perfect or even effective system, for one reason: the more power a person or government has, the more corruption seems to appear.
Why is this? Different thoughts and theories have presented themselves over the years. Douglas Adams mused in his comedy/scifi novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that anyone who wishes to be in power is inherently corrupted.
While an amusing and in some ways illuminating idea, an experiment conducted by Stanford had a more ominous conclusion. In the experiment, a number of ordinary male volunteers were put in a mock-prison setting: half guards, and half “prisoners.” In a matter of mere days, the ordinary subjects had become barbaric and cruel, and the 2-week experiment had to be scrapped in less than a week.
So the question is: if limitations protect us, who should set them?
Perhaps, instead of setting and enforcing hundreds of limits, we should concentrate on developing a moral understanding, so they will not be necessary.
I got an 8/12; both readers gave me a 4 – “demonstrates adequate mastery.” 5 would be “reasonably consistent”; 6 would be “clear and consistent.”
My not-so-humble opinion screams bullshit, but I wouldn’t mind feedback.
Anyone? Anyone? …Bueller?