Tuesday, December 5, 2017

On “all good” Superman

Opinion time - the reason “all good” Superman sucks without a dark side (whether manifest in positive intent with negative effect, or manifest in conscious evil) is because he becomes a symbol of denial. Batman acknowledges and embraces his dark side, he’s whole, or at least on the path towards it; all good Superman is a walking, flying, building crushing, image and symbol of a complex of denial (which is why he’s dangerous). He’s also a symbol for the U.S, and how the U.S still see themselves (a relic from the 30’s when U.S isolationism was still a thing). 

Superman has three interesting arcs - becoming Superman, sacrifice, and giving up being Superman. BEING (all good) Superman is boring, and has been since the mid 80’s, UNLESS he operates in a geo political story context, and the story explores the ramifications of that (like Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen). This is why DC had to kill him in the 90’s to save the character. And let’s just not mention electric Superman.

Anyway, the whole idea behind Superman is that humanity isn’t exclusively a human quality, it’s contagious, and human beings as individuals and as a whole species are beings of good and evil. If we weren’t, the Yin Yang symbol would be all white.

And by “is” I mean in my speculative opinionated opinion! 

Top Superman stories from a life of consuming the content:

Superman Red Son - Mark Millar
Superman: American Alien - Max Landis
Dark Knight Returns - Frank Miller
Kingdom Come - Mark Waid & Alex Ross
It’s Superman: a novel - Tom DeHaven

Thursday, November 30, 2017

One Walt Disney Corp to rule them all


I speculate -

Basically, any person who grows up on anything within Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, or Fox's IP's will be receiving prime social conditioning, almost exclusively, from whatever ideology (conscious or unconscious) is prevalent amongst the board members on the top end of the Walt Disney Corp, from when the consumer is as young as can be, to grown ups, and beyond - is what this deal means to me. Which is all just a natural cause and effect, unless corporations somehow shift style of corporate governance from totalitarian to something else. Unlikely.

Once DC's IP's are acquired, which it will be if their stock value drops to critical as a result of most of their lackluster tentpoles, population control becomes even more streamlined.

One major element preventing that currently, seems to be China's box office returns.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Atheism/Theism and rationalism are mutually exclusive


Atheism and Theism are two sides of the same coin, both sharing one of the core pillars of true ignorance – absolutism; the desperate need to know, and to convince yourself that you know what you don’t.

Any Atheist would define Atheism with the following sentence – Atheism is a lack of belief in god.

A Theist would define Theism in the reverse – a belief in god.

For either of the above two sentences to be rational, the word “God” must be defined.

A fundamental Theist, and Zealot Atheist, in my experience, tend to have the same definition, falling somewhere within the idea that the character who appears in ancient theological texts if said texts are interpreted as if they were literal history, is “God” and will claim their belief or lack there of off this definition.

Having said that, the word God has so many different definitions, to so many different people, many of which are synonymous in all but the word with theoretical concepts like the sum total of space-time (the ancient Hermetic idea of everything being part of one whole), advanced intelligent life-forms having reached a technological/evolutionary apex where they can seed and nurture intelligent life like we can seed and nurture plant life (most abstract soft Agnostic definitions), or hologram theory, or an infinite substance from which finite material reality emanates (Spinoza, labelled an Atheist during his time), or as unconscious metaphor for the mysteries of the universe (Jung/Campbell).

The point being, that depending on how you choose to define the word God, you very quickly start to fall into ideas that are synonymous with many possible, even plausible theoretical concepts, which we simply don’t name “God”.

These theoretical concept all tend to assume that there exist limits in a human being’s cognitive capacity to conceive beyond a certain point, in the same way that a chimpanzee simply doesn’t have the cognitive capability to conceive of the mathematics behind, say, quantum mechanics, or relativity, those same limits must exist in our own mind, and as such we can't and don’t know what they are - because we can't yet conceive of them.

I.E – In regards to many of these ideas we can only know, that we don’t know what we don’t know.

As such, the sentence I do/don’t believe in God, is equally irrational, especially if the sentence is used to define a core part of one’s philosophical/ideological makeup.

Both ideologies require the ideologue to KNOW, and to KNOW, whether you know that something is, or is not, is equally comforting.  


They think, but I KNOW. 

Both are cowardly ideologies. Both are borne out of a fear, fear of admitting the truth. That we only KNOW, what we personally observe or experience, and even that, can be sketchy, that everything else, we can at best understand. We understand, what others know, with faith that the people who claim to know, and the forces in whom we have faith in (institutions and organizations) that tell us that the persons who claim to know, do in fact know.

I understand that the speed of light has some kind of speed limit. I even believe it. I have faith in the institutions that tell me that Stephen Hawking knows, and his book has helped me understand, what HE knows.

I understand that planet Earth is in fact a planet, and it’s round (ish).

I understand a great many things.


I know, very little.

It’s frightening when you begin to realize how little one does in fact know.


Even more frightening to realize that there are limits to what we can understand, and especially limits to what we can know.

True rationalism forces one to admit that one doesn’t know, and to admit to yourself that you don't know what you don’t know is rational. That is rationalism.

To claim to not believe in a thing one cannot even define, is just as valid as claiming to believe in a thing one cannot define; but both are equally irrational ideas, and both are borne out of a fear - not fear of death, but a fear of ignorance, in turn manifesting into seemingly opposite ideologies under the same ignorant foundation block that is absolutism, and both ideologies, I believe, are equally destructive. When you challenge the ideas of people who are sure that they know, these people can get testy.

To be clear, one can believe, or not believe in anything one wants, but one does not get to claim to be rational when defining oneself using sentences with core nouns that they refuse to define in ways that make the concept plausible within what we currently understand about material reality, either empirically or theoretically.

The fundamental Theist will at least often admit to this level of irrationalism, but the zealot Atheist will refuse to, despite hard empirically observed evidence that rationalism excludes Atheism (if Atheism is defined by the sentence “One who does not believe in God”) – this I believe, in many ways, makes the zealot Atheist more ignorant, and perhaps even more dangerous.

Some might argue that Atheism as an ideology is needed to counter destructive Theism. I would argue that all evidence points to ideologies that exist for the sole purpose of antagonizing an opposing ideology, historically tends to nourish and justify it's enemies existence. In essence, if you fall into this camp of Atheist, your real world effect is in direct opposite contrast to your desired effect. You may as well be fighting on the side of your "enemy".
 
Some might argue that I'm splitting hairs and using technical word play to prove a meaningless point because everyone knows "what they mean" - no - everyone does not know what you mean, in fact, you don't even know what you mean, if you did, you'd be able to define the word - God - in a way that encapsulates and rules out all definitions, which you can't without getting more specific, which opens the doors to the aforementioned plausible concepts and ideas that differ in no way other than the word used to describe it.

Perhaps it is time we stopped trying to label our faith or lack there-of, and simply admitted to ourselves that we don’t know everything, or even a lot, but we’re trying to figure things out, and we do a pretty good job of it as long as the vocal fundamentalists on both ends of the spectrum stop antagonizing each other and validating, and feeding, each other’s equally destructive existence, getting in the way of those who are genuine in their pursuit of truth and understanding.

Perhaps we should try to stop being so quick to reason ourselves to conclusion, and instead re-adopt the simple, philosophically literate idea that one should be very wary of reasoning oneself to conclusion - there is very rarely a good reason to do so.
 

Be rational, ask questions, and keep asking questions until you run out, or lose interest, or have to make a decision based on your conclusion and there is simply no time left to contemplate (this last, is, as far as I can tell, the only good reason I can think of to reason oneself to conclusion) - at least using this age old method of thinking things through, you will be aware of the limits of your own understanding, and perhaps we might become less inclined to spread our ignorance in a desperate attempt to placate our insecurities.







 






Monday, May 8, 2017

Unconscious Racism

This post refers to the Australian Labour Party Advert titled "Australians First" currently doing its public relations rounds.

To admit to the mistake doesn't change the fact that he(Shorten), and everyone else involved, looked at this thing and saw nothing wrong until it was pointed out. The ad agency may very well have thought that to highlight cultural diversity would brand them as "ideological" and get them in trouble with the client - which is perfectly reasonable from a business perspective. 

Furthermore, Shorten is a career politician, he understands branding and image as well as any ad exec - the truth is, he saw this ad, he was in the ad, and it simply didn't occur to him when looking at all of those white faces, that there was something missing.

It highlights a very important truth which an apology or admission (even if it's sincere) doesn't correct.

It highlights the unconscious undercurrent of thought in the mind of our politicians with significant influence, it highlights that by default, they don't consider non whites as part of what they consider Australians of value, and it highlights why none of these people (in either party) are fit to lead this great country.


Unconscious ideology trumps conscious belief, and this ad proved the racially discriminatory undercurrent so prevalent in this country, and it did so amongst the party who are supposed to be (slightly) progressive.



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Blitzed

Due to the popularity of this book, even among my friends, I feel compelled to drop my opinion on it. 

Norman Ohler believes that the reason the Nazis didn't destroy the British forces at Dunkirk, was because Goering had a shot of morphine in the morning and in a "morphine high" convinced Hitler to hold back the Panzer division so the Luftwaffe could have the glory. If that sounds absolutely ridiculous (and like it's written by someone with no understanding of what the effects of morphine are) that's because it is. This is one of many absurd speculations of this incredibly irresponsible (but very entertaining and also informative) book.

Make no mistake, this is why history should be tackled by actual historians not novelists desperately seeking to sensationalize a story. This could have been a great work of historical fiction, ruined by trying to pass itself off as bona fide history.

Ultimately, what's disgusting about this book, isn't that it doesn't contain many truths (it does), it's the absurd interpretation of those truths, extrapolated into absurd speculations about personal motive, in many cases flat out ignoring geo political context and incentive, which basically, whether he realizes it or not, practically absolves Hitler and the Nazis of responsibility for the horrors perpetuated, which is deplorable in so many ways. The fact that this seems to be the first book on this period that seems to have mainstream appeal amongst traditional non reader types (recently) makes it even worse.

If you're going to read this book, balance it out with a real book about this period, which touches on this topic much more responsibly by Fritz Redlich, titled - Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Growth


Pain, conflict, personal suffering is ALWAYS what triggers personal growth if it doesn't kill you.

Pain isn't something to escape, or run away from, it's something to be faced and embraced and absorbed to help our amelioration as people. 

This idea that we're meant to be happy and life is meant to be edenic all the time, and content the rest, defies everything we know about life and how it's evolved.

Pain is natural. It's your unconscious self giving you an opportunity for great growth. And it's a great motivator too. Happiness is much more scary. Always makes me complacent and lazy, in comparison to the opposite. The conscious experience of happiness just feels nicer. 

Having said that, one should never wish pain on themselves or others. But if you're faced with it, embrace it. 

At least that's my opinion.

The Tired Bottom Rung On The Ladder Of Truth


Conclusion reached - A literal interpretation of Myth as history is a misinterpretation of what is clearly meant to be metaphorical stories. Like all great fiction. 

Let's move to the next layer of thinking on this topic hey? It's highly doubtful that anyone who adheres to a literal interpretation of theological texts are convinced by reason or logic (or ridicule). Probably just entrenches them further.

As for emphatic militant Atheists, some humility in the face of the vast mystery of the universe, as in knowing that we don't know what we don't know and that the word "god" literally means nothing since nobody can define it, might be useful too. To define yourself, or any part of your self with the basically synonymous statements of "I do, or don't believe in god." Is by definition irrational until you define the word, and your definition will always be a minority definition, whether it's literal, metaphorical, whatever.

So just say what you mean - Do you believe in a literal interpretation of the character named "god" who appears in theological texts? That seems silly to me. But then, what do I know. I'm a product like everyone else.

Or - Do you believe in an advanced life form that exists outside of spacetime, with abilities that to us appear god like, as we probably to do chimpanzees, or maybe to plants (if they were conscious with an intellectual capacity to ask that question). Sounds possible actually, but I call that hypothesizing about the existence of aliens or advanced, highly evolved intelligent life.

Or - do you believe in a higher power? Well, the sun, or a black hole fits that definition.

The point is that most Atheist or Theist definitions of this word are equally non-sensical and irrational, making them two very vocal sides of the same coin. But fucking wrong, simply because they think they know what they don't.

When we begin to try to actually define that word we quickly come to many possible, and (probably) impossible potential answers.

Maybe theists and atheists alike can simply agree that the answer to everything we don't know, exists somewhere within what we know we don't know, making the term "god" an unconscious manifestation of metaphor for the mysteries of the universe.

As for faith. We all need to believe that the institutions that tell us plebs what's what and who to listen to, are telling the truth, but it's worth keeping in mind that they've always have and will continue to operate under some degree of error (which is a vital component for truth to emerge).

Truth is only truth until error comes clear and points the arrow to more truth, raising more questions that highlight more error. Rinse and repeat. At this stage, harping on about why a literal interpretation of this shit is wrong is just starting to feel philosophically immature, and tired. Let's keep thinking, climbing the ladder of truth rather than just sitting on this bottom rung.


Coincidence

 
Coincidence which elicits some form of meaning in its conscious interpretation - a phenomenon which Jung defined as Synchronicity. There's no more evidence for it than there is for dreams. We just know it occurs. At this stage all the evidence available would define it as coincidence.

Supposedly, Jung and Einstein had some dinner meetings discussing potential versions of the idea that might act as a bridge between quantum mechanics and relativity. Which is an idea I love as a storyteller.

We can observe brain waves as evidence of dreams beyond the anecdotal, just like we can observe coincidence, or, say, gravity. We're just at a bit of a loss as to a concrete explanation as to the details of the what, and how, and why. But what we do know, serves every purpose for where we're at, so speculating is fun. It is after all, only through error that truth emerges.

But until we know more, and it's crazy how fast we're learning and how the more we learn, the less we realize we know, but until we do know more, coincidence is just that, coincidence, and dreams are... uh, unconscious manifestations of realities that subjectively feel real, when experienced. If anything dreams prove the immeasurable power of the unconscious mind, and should serve to remind us of how little we actually know about anything at all.

Anyways right now coincidence makes sense based on what we know. But there was a time flat earth made perfect logical sense for the same reason. Still does if we don't take into account what we now know. The horizon is after all flat, from a subjective point of view! The truth, in fact is so far from common sense it's astounding we figured it out at all!

The stuff we know we don't know fills such a massive hole in our knowledge of how the universe works, the only thing we can be sure of is that nobody is absolutely right about anything.
If Einstein could be wrong, so can we, and knowing that feels like the closest to truth anyone can get. There are after all, limits to our ability to conceive beyond a certain point. Even our complex intellect has its limits. This must be accounted for in any hypothesis about what is, and what is not.

I guess this is a long winded way of saying, that if you empathically believe yourself to be right, about anything for which we clearly lack enough data to even begin hypothesizing about, by definition, it makes one at best, not wise. The data we do have serves us for the moment, but any absolute conclusion that assumes what we know is all there is, and ignores the gap between what we know and what we don't know, is by every rational definition incomplete, and an empathic conclusion based on a clearly incomplete definition feels, uh, stupid.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Anything our government does is the population's fault, irrespective of who we voted for.

It's quite simple. When we do it it's fine, when anyone else does it it's terrorism/military aggression etc. 

The cognitive dissonance the pseudo intellectual US/AU etc people's live with is actually astounding. 

One day we have to admit to ourselves that either we are on board with our empire's game of command and conquer, or we're not, and if we're not, we should stop propping it up and supporting it.

Whatever we tell ourselves to rationalize why we're "good" and not complicit is irrelevant next to the facts that we all validate and pay for the system that causes all this shit. Irrespective of who we voted for.

We are all complicit, and until we take responsibility, we're going to keep moving towards whatever this is.

Personally, I've accepted the fact that I am too comfortable in my privileged life, with my freedoms, security, lifestyle, etc, and I'm just not willing to give that up so I can fight a losing battle. That makes me weak, immoral and unethical. I don't know what to do about that, other than know it. But it's a start. It's a diagnosis of a disease most of us don't even know we have.


But who knows, maybe it's a good thing? Won't be the first time evil events produced good, or on the flip side, won't be the first time good events produced evil.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chelsea Manning and Obama


Obama had no choice. It was either he does it now, or he leaves that card for Trump to play. This is Assange's doing.

Hero.


Having said that - Assange will never go to the states to face trial if he's not sure he won't be acquitted, because that would be stupid. But he probably will since Trump is going to want the traction he'll gain from the progressive vote if he does so.

Obama's basically just trying to limit Trump's ability to swing the anti establishment voters further into his camp. He also will probably claim that this decision had nothing to do with Assange, which his fervent supporters will believe, at the same time labeling Assange a hypocrite for not adhering to his side of the "deal" (Even though they'll claim in the same sentence there was none).

Just like how the U.S of A was always going to go to war with Germany during WW2, but just happened to wait until Germany declared war on them (And they'd war profiteered enough). Just like how everyone who pushed Hillary pre DNC nomination refuse to accept responsibility for fucking shit up for Bernie (And probably the world).

Just like everyone who's just now FINALLY waking up seem to think this Trump thing isn't something that several credible political theorist predicted for decades and were ridiculed and dismissed for even mentioning, and now it's like nobody was warned, as if we didn't know, as if this wasn't utterly predictable.

I don't blame the people who voted Trump. I blame the naive PC bubble pseudo intellectual cognitively dissonant "progressives" who actually serve the conservative agenda wholeheartedly and are utterly blind to their doing so. They had a responsibility to know better and not fall victim to progressively packaged conservative "candidates". But they're stuck in a prison of arrogance and utter lack of self awareness, blocking the realization that they were, are and continue to be manipulated by identity politics - Hopelessly behind the eight ball until the Guardian allows new thoughts and ideas to enter their head.

This is why Chomsky names the institutionalized progressives (Traditional academic types who have been indoctrinated into inside the box thinking, under the belief that there is no box) as a key branch of the propaganda model. They are the ones who validate the owner's bottom line and ideology to the masses and they do so without a fucking clue.

Okay, back to my privileged hypocritical existence for me!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Philosophical Illiteracy and Social Media

People don't like to understand, they like to be right. 

In a philosophically illiterate world, to begin to understand, is to realize you're wrong, and anything even resembling truth sits in the grey. In a world where narcissism rules, to realize you're wrong constitutes an outside attack on the ego. In a world ruled by narcissism, where ego constitutes the self, the perceived attack on the ego is what the "debate" becomes an unconscious defense of, the actual question (Topic of debate or discussion) becomes a consciously rationalized mask to justify it.

Most people debate and discuss with the goal of proving themselves right, whereas to educate yourself is to constantly attempt to prove yourself wrong.

Again, a philosophically illiterate world, with an abundance of facts and information, results in pointless, ego driven, negligible effect, social media "debate", which serves no purpose but to satisfy narcissistic tendencies and desires of our ego - Why? Because we're not taught to look for these things in ourselves, and evolve as thinking and feeling beings, and begin to understand who we are and what drives us at our core. 


The search for the self has been reduced to back-packing culture, our generation's equivalent to hippy culture, who perpetuate the reductive idea that to be happy is to be whole, to follow one's bliss is to seek wholeness.

Happiness, bliss, is only one half of the whole. To not know one's darkness, one's sad, angry, evil, is to not have control over how that half manifests in waking consciousness.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Difficult Movies


Terrence Malick's Tree of life is one of those rare films where the story is secondary to the experience of the thing as a whole, it's a visual symphony. The story's not bad, there's nothing wrong with it, it's just not plot heavy, it's bare. Sure you could turn off for an hour and not be lost in terms of plot, but that's like saying you could not listen to the whole of one of Beethoven's symphonies and still get a sense of it. Sure, that's true, but that's not the point.

To criticize a film like Tree of Life for lack of plot or story is like criticising Baraka for the same thing. Tree of Life is far ahead of its time in that it's a blend of the style of storytelling of something like Baraka or Samsara, with a somewhat more traditional, although bare narrative, all in service of theme.
 

If this is one of those films you just hate, yet you consider yourself a fairly sophisticated viewer, you should consider the possibility that perhaps your expectations of what a film has to be in order to engage you, jarred with what this thing actually was, and that clouded your experience.

Imagine going to see The Fast and the Furious, and instead getting Drive. You'd hate it. Even if you'd like Drive if that's what you went to the cinema to see, and were psychologically prepared for what you were in for. Or maybe you went to going to see a film like Gravity, and instead got 2001 Space Odyssey. Maybe you went to see a straight narrative docco like the imposter, or the jinx, and instead you got Koyaanisqatsi.


This is why when studies were done on people who had seen the same film, one group with spoilers, one without, the spoiler group enjoyed the films more across the board, the reason being they were less restricted by expectation.

The problem doesn't lie in the quality of the work itself, nor in your ability to accurately assess quality work, it lies in the grey area between, where your expectation of the experience don't sync up with what the experience actually was, and most people then choosing to interpret that by dichotomizing it into a right/wrong scenario, under the guise of opinion, which is really just unconscious outrage at being denied an experience you were hoping would be a positive one. You become determined to passive aggressively attack those who did enjoy said work with the indirect accusation that such and such was actually garbage, and anyone who thinks it wasn't, has a garbage opinion, they're unable to assess quality, and they should bow to your opinion. 


The thought that maybe the end of a work week, when you're counting down the precious hours to Monday morning, may not have been the best time to try to engage in films like these for the same reason you didn't sit down to finally work your way through Ulysses. It's not that the book sucks, you just unconsciously would rather be having a more obvious kind of fun, and that's okay.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Limits of Modern Democracy

The refugee crisis is an international problem and politicians don't actually have the power to properly deal with it since their powers are national.

By now any politically literate person is aware that it's all of our (U.K, U.S, AU mainly) continued military intervention, and support of various rebel factions, in these nations that is directly causing the refugee crisis. Politicians aren't in a position to refuse their support of these activities because their corporate sponsors will ensure they lose the next election through media influences over common citizens like us, and these people are careerists first and foremost.

What we're seeing highlighted with our inability to even begin finding an effective way to solve this refugee crisis in a very real way is highlighting the limits of our form of democracy, which was working pretty well for a while.

Not anymore though.  

I don't know what to do with any of that information, other than being somewhat hopeful that these kind of pressure cooker situations we currently find ourselves in, tend to give way to pretty major historical seismic shifts in the political and ruling landscape.

Unfortunately it doesn't ever tend to happen peacefully, since it feels like we're pretty much beyond the point of being able to legislate our way out of this mess...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A long overdue defense or semi review of the film "Gravity".


"It had no story." - Is something I've heard tons of this film's critics say.

The story, for those who care, is - "A rookie astronaut who's space ship gets destroyed, has to get back to Earth alive."

Simple, but it's still a story, and often the best stories to effectively reach people are the simple ones, well told. Fury Road is another example of a simple story, with a simple plot, well told.

Now, it's all subjective, but in regards to Gravity, the craft: script, direction, tone, technical visual and sonic aesthetic, can pretty much empirically be said to be of a high quality. At worst, it's highly competent.

In regards to the story, well, either you appreciate a simple story, or you don't, but to say it had "no story", is simply incorrect.

In regards to the plot of the story, it was simple, but effective, and in the context of a Science Fiction film, it was extremely effective in eliciting the visceral experience that emphasized the film's core theme rebirth, and successfully managed to cause that intellectual idea to manifest into the sum total emotional reaction audiences (who liked it) had to this film.
 

That's an incredible achievement.

Where this film was flawed was factual accuracy, which wouldn't be an issue if the film had been clearer about the fact that it was a science fiction film. The confusion, I suspect, is a reaction to its naturalistic overall tone.

Most people's criticism of the film seems to be the fact that it wasn't one hundred percent scientifically accurate, which is a direct reaction to the unconscious interpretation that it should be, or is trying to be, which, to be fair, is a kind of ridiculous standard to hold any space movie to. That's basically where most people's criticisms lie - The space stations are further apart in real life, the debree would never hit the station, she's too inexperienced to be an astronaut (her backstory isn't solid enough), the jet packs, they'd never untether, why is Sandra Bullock an astronaut, how does an actor suddenly shift careers li.. Oh.

If the film had been more clear about it being Science Fiction, not science fact, through exposition (Hey, in 2067 we moved the Chinese Space Station closer to our one for blah blah reason) at which point I suspect the same people who nitpick this film for its factual accuracy, would have attacked it for having too much exposition, which is exactly why they hated Inception (probably).


Gravity, as a film, is not actually any more ridiculous than say "The Martian". The Martian just had more exposition, and characters, and plot, but the core of its story was actually basically the same - Astronaut stranded, has to get back to Earth alive somehow. 


Personally, I enjoyed Gravity more, and felt its effect emotionally resonate in a much more powerful way. I also actually found the plot of The Martian, from the second half onwards, much less believable
 
I did love
Matt Damon's performance throughout though, and every time I was back with him, I was back in the film I came to the cinema to see. Over all though the second half of that film felt like a different, less efficiently constructed film to me.
 

Anyway, aside from Gravity's factual inaccuracy, I think the backlash the film got after it became popular (Nobody criticized the thing when it was doing the festival circuit) is pretty unfair.

People bitch about Sandra Bullock in the lead, but can't actually say much beyond "I didn't believe her in the role." Hey, sometimes certain actors just piss me off too. This is usually a feeling formed through unconscious resentment towards absurdly attractive, intelligent, and talented people I don't personally know yet resent, because I like to imagine them living an undeserved life of ease and leisure, a free ride on the train of success as a bi-product of their good looks unrelated to any real talent, something I refuse to consciously admit, and instead rationalize into an idea that their position in the world is not in fact, at least in part earned and deserved through hard work and ability, and that the core of my dislike is not in fact rooted in petty jealousy.

Where was I?

Oh, yes, Sandra Bullock and why you hated her performance. Maybe it's because you find it unbelievable that you can be a reluctant astronaut (Not an acting issue, but a backstory issue).

Or maybe you genuinely can pick faults in her acting. This would be a real criticism, but it is, in my opinion unfounded. Her acting ticks every box from believable delivery, accurate level and balance of extroverted and introverted emotional display elicited within the context and tone of the film, great lateral choices in regards to the actions she plays in order to achieve her characters objectives, all of which are elicited clearly and performed believably within the dramatic context. You may not like her interpretation of the role, but the actual performance as a sum total of the elements that comprise a competent performance at the very least, are all there, boxes ticked.

Not to say that it wouldn't have been a totally different interpretation with another actor, but it probably wouldn't have been any more or less believable a performance, just different. Put Jessica Chastain in the role and you'd have a totally different experience, but assuming that she'd put in the same amount of time and effort as Sandra Bullock did, the difference wouldn't be in the quality of the actual performance, but in the audience's experience of it.

The simple fact is this, most people who hated this film, cannot with all honesty say that they weren't inundated with hype before they saw it, and if you claim to be unaffected by hype, then you simply don't understand the very basic, primal nature of the human psyche: that it is impossible to not be affected by the world as it interacts with you, especially the opinions of people, and groups, and communities you value or belong to. If we're talking scientific accuracy, well, it's physical fact that despite the space between you and I, we form one organism, and everything we put out there, affects whatever it comes in contact with in some way - whether it's a physical action, or a simple idea.

Ever see a film that you hated when it came out years later, and suddenly liked it? That's why.

I'm not saying an experience you disliked, partly as a result of the effect positive or negative hype had on you is any more or less valid, I'm just saying it's not an accurate representation of what you might actually think of the film if you had seen it in a less biased context.

The below quote from the attached article sums it up well for me.

 
"However, in too many cases, the cry of "It's Popular, Now It Sucks!" is more about snobbery than anything else. The fandom itself becomes what economists call a "positional good." When the artist is a small name or a cult favorite, being one of their fans feels like being in an exclusive little club, but once membership has been opened up to the 'sheep', the original fans may feel a lot less special. Alternatively, some critics seem to enjoy the attention that comes from criticizing something popular, or feeling more intelligent and superior about being the only ones capable of possessing the high standards not to "follow the herd"."

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ItsPopularNowItSucks

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I've paid for the murder of innocent people, and I continue to do so, because I'm a coward..


We all share the blame. This is still technically a democracy. We don't get to free ourselves from the responsibility that entails, unless you live totally off the grid, don't vote, and pay zero tax.

 
We may not have voted for it, but we've paid for it, and we continue to support and validate a political system that allows it to happen. Those are just the facts.

It doesn't matter if you didn't vote for Trump, Bush, Reagan, Blair, Abbott, Howard, etc.

We all choose to sit back and support the political system that continues to exploit, and attack the third world on behalf of the now globalized corporate oligarchy, in the name of Western "Democracy", whilst we comfortably do nothing but vote for one of two parties that continues the exact same foreign policy.

The responsibility sits square on us, the citizens of the western "democracies" who don't hold our leaders accountable, cry "freedom", whilst foregoing responsibility for anything our leaders do we wouldn't directly do ourselves, rationalize our own continued terrorism of the third world, and naively believe that any real change could occur through legislation in a system where politicians are powerless to make a real difference or do anything other than serve a corporate oligarchy; their jobs basically having been reduced to packaging the corporate agenda into rhetoric that sounds like it would benefit the average voter, so we'll remain docile and continue to validate the system come election day.


I admit my part. I'm too much of a coward to actually give up the comfortable life I'm living in order to dedicate my life to trying to fight this system, because I know I'd lose.


As long as we all refuse to accept that it's not "them" doing this, that it's us, the voting, tax paying citizen, which is precisely why terrorists target us, the civilians, it's going to continue, and get worse.

I can live with that, but then, I don't plan to have kids.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dictators to create or restore states, Democracy to preseve them.

Question - Bernie Sanders as a dictator to restore the United States, or Donald Trump as a president to destroy it?

"It is possible, then, to arrive at this conclusion: when the material is not corrupt, tumults and other troubles do no harm, but, when it is corrupt, good legislation is of no avail unless it is to be initiated by someone in so extremely strong a position that he can enforce obedience until such time as the material has become good.

Whether this has ever happened or whether it is possible for it to happen I do not know. For, as I have just said, it is clear that, if in a state which is on the decline owing to the corruption of its material a renaissance is ever to be brought about, it will be by the virtue of some one person who is then living, not by the virtue of the public as a whole, that good institutions are kept up, and, as soon as such a person is dead, they will relapse into former habits...
 

...Princes to create or restore states, but republics to preserve them."

- The Discourses - Machiavelli

Saturday, July 16, 2016

So you've decided religion is the root of all evil!!


So did Hitler, Stalin and Mao, and no, invoking Godwin's law doesn't make you clever, it makes you ignorant of the clear historical similarities between then, and now.  

As a non believer myself, at first I found this fact quite confronting, until I realized that zealot Atheism isn't actually a rational ideology, and it is an ideology, because to say you believe in nothing, is almost always false as I'm about to point out. Since then I came to realize that to define my non belief with the sentence "I don't believe in God", when the key subject of that sentence "God", lacks any kind of definition that anyone, believer or not can agree on, is in fact a completely irrational statement, which contradicts the whole idea that being an atheist is supposed to be about - rationalism.

The (lack of) a clear definition of god

 
What if a person defines god as the sum total of all that ever was, is, can, or will ever be, which is basically Stephen Hawking's definition of the sum total of space-time. What if someone's definition of god is as metaphor for all the things we don't know about the universe? What if someone calls themselves a Christian, but interprets all religious writing as myth, like we do with the old Greek, and Norse gods - All great stories, with valuable lessons and thematic messaging, still found, almost dominant, in most, if not all stories still told today, especially in great epics that apply the hero's journey (As outlined, not invented, by the late, great Joseph Campbell).

Yes, to interpret religious mythology as history, isn't a very productive way to live or move forward, as history clearly warns us. But to attack ideology with such militant fervor as I'm seeing in so many reborn zealot atheists today, will more than likely lead to the opposite of the desired effect, if the desired effect is a decrease in people who interpret religious ideas as history, rather than mythology, the end result eventually being entrenched opinions, and justification for the wrongly interpreted ideology. So in actual effect, Dawkinists, you may believe you're fighting the good fight, but you're actually exasarpating the very issue you think you're fighting.

Anyways, back to Hitler.


He expressed Christian ideology only in words meant to reach the still overwhelmingly Christian German masses, which syncs up with his views on the necessity of public relations (propaganda they called it then), to manipulate the masses in whatever way required, to infuse enough nationalism so they'd all go along and help him build his thousand year Reich.

In his own written words, which he left out of Mein Kampf, though strongly implied if you read the book, and in the later uncovered and published manuscript of his unfinished writings, and in statements made privately to his inner circle (recordings and dictations are available), he expressed a strong sense of Atheism. If we're splitting hairs, at the very least, an extremely anti-religious ideology, believing it to essentially be the root of all evil, and at its head, the "Jewish Problem", as he liked to call it.

You're not Hitler

 
No, imaginary, proud, zealot Atheist who may or may not be reading this, I'm not calling you Hitler, I'm just making the point that the magic bullet solution here isn't an eradication of religious ideology, and an attempt at doing so will only strengthen the attacked ideology, as history proves. That is, unless you replace that ideology with your own, which all zealot Atheists claim not to have. You cannot eliminate one ideology, without replacing it with another.
When Christianity spread across Scandinavia, this is how it managed to "win" against the pagans, even though they lost the physical war, although, as we all have come to realize, the Pagan ideology Christianity "replaced", was more a matter of merging it within itself. This worked well.

Anyways, where was I? Ah, yes, Hitler!

No serious historian or authority on Hitler today who have delved into this field (like Ian Kershaw, John Toland, Laurence Rees, etc) would claim Hitler was a Christian in any other sense than to use it as a manipulative tool, since he's on record stating his lack of willingness to openly attack Christianity until the "Jewish problem" had been dealt with.

Certainly, nobody who's studied the available records would argue against the fact that he made it very clear that he would "deal with", Christianity, Islam, and the rest, after he'd first "cut the head off the snake". This is very clearly implied in Mein Kampf too, just not overtly spelt out. He did that in his unpublished works though.

Having said all of that. Hitler, or Stalin or Mao being Atheist, the crusades being a massive religious war (On the surface, whereas underneath it was about the same as all wars, wanting what the others have), the Dalai Lama being Buddhist (Yes, that's a religion too, imaginary Zealot Atheist, you going to paint him with the same brush you're painting "religion" with? You can you know, there are violent Buddhist terrorists out there, okay off topic, where was I...) oh yes, it doesn't mean anyone under that ideological brush is one way or another simply because it's easier for you to define a broad enemy this way.


People are products of their environment for the most part, who rationalize things to fit whatever world view suit their emotional needs and their dominant desires, as conditioned by their respective societies, for themselves and the people they love.

If History has god damn well tried, and failed hard, at teaching us one thing, it's that usually, religious ideology doesn't get stamped out by hate, or violent oppression, or angry rants on Facebook. That only tends to strengthen it. The Romans learned that lesson, although far too late.

As mentioned before, and as one of the great Mythologists of the Western world, Joseph Campbell liked to point out - With religion it really comes down to interpretation. You either interpret it as myth (which it is), or as history (which is obviously false, it becomes a lie, it's on par with claiming lord of the rings as history). As a side note, the film and book "Life of Pi" deal with this very topic, interpretation of religious mythology, beautifully.

Back on topic - It shouldn't really be a question of eradicating religion, but more about shifting the interpretation of religious ideas from history, to mythology, in the mind of its followers - as stories told for the same reason we tell stories today - to incept moral ideas about how to be.

Everyone Has Faith

 
As far as faith goes, I'm  a non believer, but I still have to live with some faith, we all do.

For example - I have faith that the institutions that peer review scientific publications aren't lying when they say "Stephen Hawking knows what he's on about",(Don't get into semantics about the difference between faith and trust, it's faith if you have to believe it, which you do)I certainly don't understand the exact mathematical science behind relativity, general relativity, quantum physics, black holes, evolution, or any other complicated idea that takes actual scientists a lifetime to properly understand at a mathematical level, and neither do most of you. Sure, there's evidence, supposedly, measured with equipment I don't understand, in labs I've never been to, run by people I've never met, all way smarter than I, which somehow relates to the creation of, like,  a computer chip the size of something I can't see, with the processing power of a supercomputer, in my phone, or something. Do I understand it? Fuck no! Do I believe it's true? Yes!


Most of us, especially most of the vocal zealot atheists I know don't understand any of this stuff beyond the very basic understanding presented in layman's terms in some very dense books published by some great scientists, which most people these days don't even bother to look at beyond some summary opinion piece article. We still have to have faith in the general accuracy of many things which we simply cannot dedicate the time to properly understanding, like the aforementioned revolutionary scientific theories, that is, unless you're an actual scientist (Which let's face it, you're probably not). We have to have faith that we're not being lied to by the institutions that tell me who the experts I should be listening to are. 

I believe that there's a speed limit to the velocity a photon of light can travel, because Einstein said so, and Stephen Hawking too, and all the other ones I like. And I believe the rest too (except the anti climate change guys, because the scientists I've been told to trust, tell me not to trust these other guys) because it's all I can do short of dedicating my life to mathematical theory, I got first world privilege to enjoy!!

I also believe that there are not only limits to what our feeble minds are able to grasp in the same way that a chimpanzee does not yet have the intellectual capacity to grasp advanced mathematical theory. This kind of intellectual limit has to also exist in us, and we'll never know what that limit is because we cannot grasp the scale of it, so we use words like "Infinity" and "God" to define those limits, which is all those words really are, ways for us to explain that we're approaching the limits of our ability to conceive what lies beyond



To know, that you don't know, what you don't know

I know that there are things we don't know about how the universe works, most things about it we don't actually understand, yet, and I choose not to jump to crazy conclusions about what those things may or may not be, what their purpose is, and what the implications are, but what I do know is that the limits of our own understanding, does not mean that what we do understand is the be all end all, nor does it mean that we should be making absolute conclusions about the shit we don't know, as if an idea like absolute truth is a simple one. 

If I understand anything at all about how the world works, it's that perspective is a much more crucial and defining aspect of intellectual, emotional, and physical reality than we ever anticipated, and we've only just begun scratching the surface there. 
We still don't know what the hell dreams are, other than that it proves the existence of a part of the "self" which we cannot readily access consciously, which has forced us to rethink how we even define things like "I", and reconsider the role of conscious thought as a filter, rather than the whole of who we are as individuals. What a can of worms that is!

So please, newly reborn Zealot Atheist, do yourself, and the rest of the world a favour, and don't fuel the next form of extremism because you're too lazy to educate yourself on the similarities between one extremist and another. It all starts the same way, with feelings of total, absolute justification that you're right, and they're wrong, and it leads to the same place.

Oh, and just because Dawkins is a great biologist, doesn't make him a great philosopher. One credential doesn't equal another, irrespective of how popular his ideas may be.


The way forward!
 

If you're serious about becoming a thinker, and this reactionist behaviour is about more than serving your own ego on social media, In future, try to be wary of reasoning yourself to conclusions, because if you're truly a person of science and rational thought, that's what real scientists, and philosophers do.

Start with Kuhn, if you don't know who that is, then you have no real business pretending to understand how scientific theories work, or evolve over time - Hint, it's never total truth, it's just what we currently know - there's what we know, and what we know we don't know, and what we don't know we don't know, which when we finally learn, changes all the things we thought we knew. The only thing that doesn't really change, is whatever it is these theories are trying to explain.

As for my choice to use the term non believer, rather than atheist to define my own ideology, and on behalf of the rest of us non believers who no longer use the word Atheist, it's because you zealots are making the word synonymous with a new form of aforementioned extremism (Which, to remind you, was the driving ideology, held by arguably the three greatest tyrants of the last hundred years, who were driven by the same emotional fervor that you are, right now). 


You're angry that the little bubble we've all been living in is being poked, we all are, but get your shit together, and stop becoming the problem you proclaim to be fighting!

- Maz

P.S

For a summary on all the positive things religion has actually given the world, and how if properly merged with our increasingly prevalent non believer ideology, can actually do great things for the future, and why simply eradicating it may not be the wisest choice, begin with a book written by the great, modern, Atheist Philosopher - Alain De Botton - Religion for Atheists.