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The Moral Self-Censorship of Society

            When Raphael Oyelade was a small child living with his family in Nigeria, his parents migrated to the United Kingdom. Oyelade regularly explored Art Museums all across his newly settled home, in the National Heritage Memorial Fund's exhibition of Renaissance Artwork he saw Sir Joshua Reynold's Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney: The Archers (ca. 1769) during a visit to Archbishop Tenison's. "That trip formed my beliefs of the importance to change the perspective of the young before they've had their minds set a certain way," Oyelade recalls, adding that his view of his own community developed and was altered through the interpretation of Sir Joshua Reynold's piece of Art. .
             Although minimal, Raphael Oyelade's view of his community was changed by an illustration of two pre-pubescent characters hunting with miniature wooden bows in an unknown forest painted over 250 years earlier, but the themes and messages represented by this illustration had the influence to dramatically alter this young man's perception of the society around him. In the words of Jacques Derrida, the infamous French philosopher from Algeria: "I always dream of a pen that would be a syringe." Messages have the ability to tinker and change people's beliefs, they have the ability to edit world views and instil change or sprout cultural rebellion. Art can be just as dangerous as physical conquest, the power of the influence and effect of a piece of Art's messages shows an evident danger towards multiple authoritarian bodies in any society.
             The Trail of Socrates, a classical Greek philosopher commonly regarded as one of the founders of Western Philosophy, demonstrates how any society, from the Romans to the Greeks, partakes in the act of Moral Censorship indifferent of geographic location or age. Messages that challenge the strongly held prejudices or beliefs of any society- whether those be political, ideological, religious or otherwise has found value in the interpretation of Art and the same medium of communication.

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