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Peikoff's Mullet

What Gives??

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A good amount of films (with some very notable exceptions) popular among people today depict very anti-collectivist views. The animated movie Antz comes to mind, and perhaps Star Wars, despite its mystical themes.  Some movies accomplish this while actually attempting to accomplish the opposite (Wall-E, I, Robot).  The point is, a lot of people seem to like these movies, and connect with the subject matter, but they're still bloody collectivist! What gives?? If people can't be persuaded by art...we're doomed.  DIM in reality!!!!

Edited by Peikoff's Mullet

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2 hours ago, Peikoff's Mullet said:

If people can't be persuaded by art...we're doomed.

Er. ... people ARE persuaded by "art" (I'm including TV....)

How many popular heroes do you know of are NOT heroic because of self-sacrifice?  How many heroes are portrayed as heroic in the act of self-preservation?  How many Heroes have a climatic moment of self-preservation or accomplishment versus one of reckless endangerment for the "good of the many"?

I'm not so sure about your thesis...

 

In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is because of popular art (TV, novels, movies) that people generally ONLY conceive of the hero as one who sacrifices himself to a higher purpose, a greater good, or the greatest number...

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Er. ... people ARE persuaded by "art" (I'm including TV....)

How many popular heroes do you know of are NOT heroic because of self-sacrifice?  How many heroes are portrayed as heroic in the act of self-preservation?  How many Heroes have a climatic moment of self-preservation or accomplishment versus one of reckless endangerment for the "good of the many"?

I'm not so sure about your thesis...

 

In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is because of popular art (TV, novels, movies) that people generally ONLY conceive of the hero as one who sacrifices himself to a higher purpose, a greater good, or the greatest number...

I agree with a lot of this.  However, I think it's important to note that at least some of these heroes don't see their actions as a sacrifice, but rather a necessary deed in order to provide justice.

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2 hours ago, Peikoff's Mullet said:

I agree with a lot of this.  However, I think it's important to note that at least some of these heroes don't see their actions as a sacrifice, but rather a necessary deed in order to provide justice.

Justice by what standard?  Were not the Holy Wars just in the eyes of those who launched them?  Was not Communism just to those who killed for it and imposed it upon others?  Were not all the lynchings and genocides throughout history not perpetrated by those who though they were dispensing justice? 

What significance -really- should be given, in face of WHAT a purported hero is portrayed as doing, to the mere fact that that purported hero is portrayed as doing what he or she does out of a sense of justice? 

Differentiating between a hero sacrificing herself FOR the sake of others' very lives and a hero sacrificing herself FOR the sake of only ensuring others are not denied justice... is a perplexing distinction (in my humble opinion) of little significance.

:)

 

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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51 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Justice by what standard?  Were not the Holy Wars just in the eyes of those who launched them?  Was not Communism just to those who killed for it and imposed it upon others?  Were not all the lynchings and genocides throughout history not perpetrated by those who though they were dispensing justice? 

What significance -really- should be given, in face of WHAT a purported hero is portrayed as doing, to the mere fact that that purported hero is portrayed as doing what he or she does out of a sense of justice? 

Differentiating between a hero sacrificing herself FOR the sake of others' very lives and a hero sacrificing herself FOR the sake of only ensuring others are not denied justice... is a perplexing distinction (in my humble opinion) of little significance.

:)

 

 

 

Would you say that battling against an oppressive enemy in the name of freedom (both for yourself and your fellow man) is an altruistic act?

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40 minutes ago, Peikoff's Mullet said:

Would you say that battling against an oppressive enemy in the name of freedom (both for yourself and your fellow man) is an altruistic act?

It can be, but sometimes not.

Imagine a master and a slave off fighting off an invading horde.  The slave (if he is broken) fights from two motivations, 1) to preserve himself, and 2) to protect his master to whom he is loyal, devoted, obedient and dutiful.

Imagine a man and his wife fighting off an invading horde.  The man fights off the horde to protect his life and to protect his most important value, to his life, his wife.

 

A man fighting off an enemy for himself and his "fellows" could be in either of the above frames of mind... and possibly a mixture... possibly including many other kinds of frames of mind, e.g. does the man fight partly out of a sense of "duty" as such... without any real sense his fellows are really a value to him?

Not clear cut, depends on the person.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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7 hours ago, Peikoff's Mullet said:

A good amount of films (with some very notable exceptions) popular among people today depict very anti-collectivist views. The animated movie Antz comes to mind, and perhaps Star Wars, despite its mystical themes.  Some movies accomplish this while actually attempting to accomplish the opposite (Wall-E, I, Robot).  The point is, a lot of people seem to like these movies, and connect with the subject matter, but they're still bloody collectivist! What gives?? If people can't be persuaded by art...we're doomed.  DIM in reality!!!!

Most of the heroes depicted in pop culture tend to be super-human, or in the case of James Bond, too perfect for reality. Americans are more drawn to anti-heroes, such as Tony Soprano, Walter White, or Don Draper. The examples sighted in this post are fantasy heroes, and while children may be more drawn to fantasies, as they enter maturity they see more of the Al and Peg Bundy, or Homer and Marge Simpson families as closer to reality. As I see it, Americans prefer their heroes somewhat flawed. I think they call this, realism.

 

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2 hours ago, Repairman said:

Most of the heroes depicted in pop culture tend to be super-human, or in the case of James Bond, too perfect for reality. Americans are more drawn to anti-heroes, such as Tony Soprano, Walter White, or Don Draper. The examples sighted in this post are fantasy heroes, and while children may be more drawn to fantasies, as they enter maturity they see more of the Al and Peg Bundy, or Homer and Marge Simpson families as closer to reality. As I see it, Americans prefer their heroes somewhat flawed. I think they call this, realism.

This is excerpted from the lead article in "For The New Intellectual":

In psychology, we are told that man is a helpless automaton, determined by forces beyond his control, motivated by innate depravity. In literature, we are shown a line-up of murderers, dipsomaniacs, drug addicts, neurotics and psychotics as representatives of man's soul—and are invited to identify our own among them—

Whether resonating with a religious notion of "original sin", or Americans that identify with some form of "somewhat flawed".

Or this line, from "Philosophical Detection":

"Nobody is perfect in this world" is a rationalization for the desire to continue indulging in one's imperfections, i.e., the desire to escape morality.

In one of the better episodes of Bones watched thus far, "The Patriot in Purgatory", the hero of this episode turned out to be a complex mixture of the psychotic seasoned in the end with heroic actions which ultimately led to his death. The story left me saddened on one axis while clearing a path for a salute on another.

And finally, from the opening paragraph of "Bootleg Romanticism" in The Romantic Manifesto:

ART (including literature) is the barometer of a culture. It reflects the sum of a society's deepest philosophical values: not its professed notions and slogans, but its actual view of man and of existence. The image of an entire society stretched out on a psychologist's couch, revealing its naked subconscious, is an impossible concept; yet that is what art accomplishes: it presents the equivalent of such a session, a transcript which is more eloquent and easier to diagnose than any other set of symptoms.

She makes it sound so easy here. How she derives her composite picture of man emerging from art a couple of paragraphs later is quickly lost in the graphic description she provided.

When the frog is on the dissection tray and the knife firmly in hand, recollections of how easy the instructor made the task appear is no substitute for making the first cut.

James Bond, previously portrayed as a womanizer and an alcoholic, yet has the clarity of mind and breadth of knowledge to put two or three obscure pieces of a puzzle together and know what the picture would have been, had it been printed on the outside of the plain blank generic box it came packaged in.

Superman, Spiderman, Batman and Robin, all posit savior-like figures. Neo from The Matrix—the one who will save us from what would otherwise be what is  "predestined". Someone else who will ultimately do the dirty work,  the good triumphing over the evil. In the end we don't relate ourselves to the heros. They serve as a fantasy of being the rescuers. Could this be an extension of "other-ism"? Selflessness in the form of don't take the responsibility for yourself, leave the responsibility to others (the superheros.)

So we are left trying to identify ourselves from the characters depicted. When we identify with specific character flaws splashed across the silver screen, we are subconsciously buying into the notion that "nobody is perfect in this world." The opposite of escaping morality by indulging in our imperfections would be to embrace morality by indulging in the pursuit of our perfection.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

It can be, but sometimes not.

In regard to StrictlyLogical's response, I would add from "Philosophy: Who Needs It":

You have chosen to risk your lives for the defense of this country. I will not insult you by saying that you are dedicated to selfless service—it is not a virtue in my morality. In my morality, the defense of one's country means that a man is personally unwilling to live as the conquered slave of any enemy, foreign or domestic. This is an enormous virtue. Some of you may not be consciously aware of it. I want to help you to realize it.

 

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10 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

So we are left trying to identify ourselves from the characters depicted. When we identify with specific character flaws splashed across the silver screen, we are subconsciously buying into the notion that "nobody is perfect in this world." The opposite of escaping morality by indulging in our imperfections would be to embrace morality by indulging in the pursuit of our perfection.

dream_weaver,

This excerpt from your post sums up the explanation for the American preference for anti-heroes. I'm not sure if you are making a critique of my comment, but I don't see anything here that I disagree with. I'm simply pointing out that the imperfect central character is popular, I am glad to see you have expanded on that theme. Personally, I would like to see more romantic-realism on television and films. In literature, I'm sure there is more variety, but television and films have become the most important media of story-telling, as they are the pastime that is most commonly shared by the average person. So, if someone makes a reference to James Bond or Homer Simpson, most people a familiar, even internationally. There have been threads dedicated to listing suggested movies depicting realistic and less flawed heroes. I'd like to raise awareness of the recent film, The Martian. I think it was one of the best examples of romantic-realism as of late.

 

Edited by Repairman
cleaned up the grammar

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Repairman,

I was expanding on your comments, tying them back into passages your post brought to mind. The influence of art in the culture is so ubiquitous. Her usage of art being a philosophic barometer as an analogy, brings to mind what barometric is used for weather wise. A rising barometer is usually indicative of good weather, while the falling barometer is typically associated with inclement weather to come.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a work of art (including literature) is that it serves no practical, material end, but is an end in itself; it serves no purpose other than contemplation—and the pleasure of that contemplation is so intense, so deeply personal that a man experiences it as a self-sufficient, self-justifying primary and, often, resists or resents any suggestion to analyze it: the suggestion, to him, has the quality of an attack on his identity, on his deepest, essential self.

This struck home recently. After re-reading The Romantic Manifesto, I went to Project Gutenberg and downloaded the Kindle version of Victor Hugo's Ninety-Three. I was discussing the Marquis' pursuit of value as it related to the top gunner on the corvette, and the destruction of the enemy encampment after he assumed the role of Commander.

She didn't get why he had to kill everyone there. I think I isolated the right question to ask, and could not tease out a direct answer. The question I asked was: Is there ever a proper situation in human events for the use of war? The response was more of a resistance to explore the question than resentment that it was asked.

 

As to the movie "The Martian", in retrospect, it was a pretty darn good movie in many respects. I added "The Walk" to the movie section, which had some obvious issues with it, but those issues aside, the general tenor of the film was uplifting, and I thought had a rather positive portrayal of actualizing a passion in and for life. It is strange to me that I saw it in "The Walk" and missed it in "The Martian" until you highlighted it here.

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