I suppose there could be an academic treatise or some cultural aesthetic theory on the topic, but like many academic pursuits, would serve only to be another useless PHD thesis from which no one will derive any real world value. Some subjective phenomena are better left to be dealt with in a spontaneous, imaginative way by the individual. The fact that Donen died recently is far more resonant with me, though I don't let that affect the experience of appreciating his work.
― Peter Chung, Thursday, 9 May 2019 14:52 (two years ago) link
The thing about action movies, to me, is that they're kind of like a thrill ride or rock music even. Whether its The Matrix or Transformers 2, if your able to plug in to it, you can be elevated to a kind of ecstatic experience. Or you can find yourself unable to go along with it.
I still resonate deeply with the heroes journey, so that helps me plug in to an extent. Kung fu movies, Ninja Turtles movies.. I still feel the impact of these films from my childhood. They helped send me down a path that I am still very much engaged with. When films come along that manage to speak to me at this level its an awesome thing.
For better or worse it seems lots of people are still very much hopped up on the heroes journey. But that's a whole other discussion I guess.
Blair, my point was more about the problem of judging peoples levels of meaningful engagement with stories when we lack access to their experience.
― Sam G, Saturday, 11 May 2019 18:06 (two years ago) link
Sam, I agree entirely with you on the point of sometimes wanting simply to be swept away by a well done traditional heroes journey. Aquaman worked for me. It reinforces my view that it is not the story that is as important as the sensory experience of a movie. One sometimes finds deeper and unintended resonances in the most escapist films. Also I prefer Speed Racer to The Matrix. They both tell a similar story, but the lack of pretension in Speed Racer makes it feel more pure and sincere.
My favorite movies are often called pretentious by general audiences. But it is wrong to call a work pretentious that has lofty ambitions and succeeds in delivering them. To be pretentious means to make unwarranted claims.
― Peter Chung, Saturday, 11 May 2019 20:42 (two years ago) link
I recently discovered this thread and I've been thinking a lot about it. I've noticed as I watch more anime that a lot of them have the same issue as Ghost In The Shell: they're directed in a confusing way to create an illusion of depth. The recent anime short, Rick and Morty vs. Genocider, does this too. I was surprised to find fans generally like it, even though they've been struggling to figure out the plot. After a few watches, I think I understand what happened, but I had no emotional response to it except confusion.
― Kelpie, Wednesday, 5 August 2020 16:42 (one year ago) link
Also, I agree that the concept of a purely objective morality, independent of the subjective experiences of the human condition, is nonsensical. If we had no subjective experiences like happiness and suffering, we could have no concept of good and evil. Even if we ground morality in God, we still ground them in God's subjective feelings, like love for mankind (we're assuming God's feelings are similar to our own.)
― Kelpie, Wednesday, 5 August 2020 20:57 (one year ago) link
I disagree with that, but how do you see that having any negative implications on a narrative? wouldn't an objective morality be much more interesting to contrast with our subjective one as a narrative conflict if we presume it exists?
― Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 5 August 2020 22:31 (one year ago) link
I'm not sure I follow. I think moral judgements involve both subjective and objective factors. Actually, all judgements do. Even math and science require a subjective human desire to know the truth. It doesn't necessarily make a difference in how moral decisions are handled in narratives, or in everyday life.
― Kelpie, Wednesday, 5 August 2020 23:10 (one year ago) link
if you presume that all morality is subjective, then that eliminates a profound amount of tension in many kinds of stories.
― Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 5 August 2020 23:31 (one year ago) link
I think moral judgements involve both subjective and objective factors. "Objective morality vs. subjective morality" is a false dichotomy to begin with.
― Kelpie, Thursday, 6 August 2020 11:45 (one year ago) link
So, I've been reading about moral philosophy and I've found some people who seem to reject the objective vs. subjective dichotomy. The ones I really like are Iris Murdoch and Philippa Foot. Their view of morality is like this: Morality is our term for the rational pursuit of happiness, in accordance with the particulars of psychology. As a human being, this is what you're constructed to do. You have no choice about your moral nature, only whether you perform it well or poorly. Human opinion does not determine moral principles, but human psychology does.
― Kelpie, Saturday, 5 September 2020 01:06 (one year ago) link
"You have no choice about your moral nature, only whether you perform it well or poorly."The problem with debates about morality is the that the term "morality" is being used to describe a vast range of factors and conflicting interests.Your statement's meaning is ambiguous to the point where it could be saying too many different things. I know that I've changed my moral position on a number of issues during my life. As you become more informed and more wise, your moral compass will shift.One could argue that your moral nature is independent of how much you know, but you could just as well define moral nature as that which emerges in a way entirely dependent on what you know. A child with little life experience is not held to the same standard of morality as an adult.
― Peter Chung, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 20:50 (one year ago) link
Moral philosophy is the project of generalizing approaches to decision making with the purpose of maximizing the chances of optimal outcomes. It is a system of measuring the desirability of actions in the same way that the metric system is a tool for measuring physical properties. It is essentially a practical tool for everyday decision making. The problem arises when these guiding principles (generalizations) start to be viewed as having some innate value, as if they are cosmic rules that exist outside of human opinion. They do not. They exist because they are helpful and practical. That is all morals are.
― Peter Chung, Thursday, 10 September 2020 10:12 (one year ago) link
It's possible to use rhetoric to justify any moral stance. Internal consistency is used as a standard for judging the validity of a moral position. The "rational pursuit of happiness" sounds like a baseline value, but everyone's idea of what makes them happy is so varied that I wonder if it's really useful.
I've come to conclude that moral principles are, in fact, entirely explained as nothing more and nothing less than opinions. We decide what we want to call good and bad. We then use rhetoric to justify these opinions because we are taught to discount personal opinion as a sufficient basis for judgment. It would be better to be honest and own up to the idea that people hold their opinions with high regard. The act of voting in a democratic election is driven by opinion. We accord opinion with the highest value when it comes to politics. Supreme court decisions are opinions.
Opinions can change. Philosophy exists to serve our opinions, not the other way around. Our opinions are primary.
It becomes a complex exercise because it quickly becomes meta. We hold the opinion that we want rational ideas of fairness to guide our moral decisions. But that desire for rationality is itself an opinion.
― Peter Chung, Thursday, 10 September 2020 10:46 (one year ago) link
OK wow, it's been a long time since I posted here.
I agree that morality and the desire for rationality are opinions, but they're darn near inescapable ones. If you ask, "Why be rational?" you've already accepted the validity of rationality. If you ask, "Why should I be moral?" you've already accepted that there exist some good things which you should do and some bad things which you should not do. The questions "Why be rational?" and "Why be moral?" are empty of substance.
I also agree that there aren't "carved in stone" moral principles that apply to every situation without exception. Even Jesus pointed out that obeying the commandment of resting on the Sabbath is stupid if you have to save a life on the Sabbath.
Actually, though, the reason I came here is because of the latest Rick and Morty episode. The one where they fill in Rick's backstory with BirdPerson. I was pretty lukewarm towards it, but the fandom is going nuts about "finally getting some plot." I really think there's a generational divide here. I'm almost 40, and I can't imagine being this much more excited about backstory than about a well-written episode.
― Kelpie, Monday, 16 August 2021 19:32 (one month ago) link
Look at this fan-made graphic. I cannot imagine getting this excited about plot minutiae.
― Kelpie, Monday, 16 August 2021 19:36 (one month ago) link
My pet theory is that over the last few decades the world has gotten so unbelievably ridiculous, and the traditional institutions (religion, nations) that used to provide an anchoring salve of an explanatory coping narrative have gotten so inept at it, that people will look for a comforting lore and tradition wherever they can get it, and if that means Rick & Morty backstories are more comforting and stabilizing than say Catholicism or national politics, why wouldn't the kids latch onto it?
But I disagree that this is a generational divide -- the Trump-aged Q-anon nuts probably have flowcharts, too!
― Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 18 August 2021 02:00 (one month ago) link
I agree that Rick and Morty backstory is more inspiring than Catholicism or American politics. I remember when the sauce craze broke out, someone commented that social aspirations seem meaningless, so people might as well aspire to get Rick and Morty sauce instead.
― Kelpie, Wednesday, 18 August 2021 17:07 (one month ago) link
They're going even more nuts for the finale episodes, even though all of the backstory revealed is stuff the fandom had figured out already. One fan said, "I don't care if there's no jokes, just give me the information!"
― Kelpie, Thursday, 9 September 2021 22:23 (one week ago) link
It occurs to me that you could be very lazy and rake in a ton of money by scrolling fan forums and stealing theories. Fans love it when their theories turn out to be canon. I wonder how many writers are doing exactly that.
― Kelpie, Sunday, 12 September 2021 19:10 (one week ago) link