Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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Lump on the Shoulder

Today I watched both the first episode of the British comedy Spaced (courtesy Youtube), which was quite good, and House of Sand and Fog (which I've had for awhile on DVD but never got around to watching), which was absolutely fantastic - possibly one of my new favourite films.

I've been thinking about Rawls' Reflective Equilibrium (and related conceptions from other philosophers) - I think that the purpose of such efforts under my philosophy is different from his in that his is aimed at consistency between judgements/conclusions within a framework while mine is more aimed at optimisation (preventing the need for careful thought on one's values all the time in everyday life while being maximally faithful to them) - I am unsure if this is practically different though, in that absent an explicit value system or a careful conception of values, people presumably don't actually sit down and do that whenever making a decision where values are involved - the choice/dilemma (at a conscious level, anyhow) between slow decisions and inadequate value advancement has a prerequisite of at least some concept of values - otherwise one just has conflicting urges and the loss is overshadowed by the general loss of an insufficiently self-aware understanding of one's drives.

One strange challenge that I've been thinking about is the meaning of consistency - can we do better than say that it's a particular type of pattern imposed to some degree over a framework of thought? Consistency as a metavalue seems to be fairly common with people I've spoken with about philosophy - I find it interesting to talk to people for whom the value is of moderate strength - for people for whom it's too strong, their philosophy tends to take on a mathlike, self-deluded quality, while for people for whom it's too weak, it feels to me like they're either being slippery or kookish. This is just a generality though...

I'm still thinking about the end of the latter film, and the integrity of the character Behrani. Self-destruction/death does not need to be an ugly thing, depending on the perspectives involved - the perspective of the viewer defines everything of such acts. The wife's joining of her husband in it (amazing acting, all in the eyes) makes a lot of sense, and while Kathy's despair when she stumbles on the completed scene is easy to empathise with (and her curling at their feet after failing to revive them makes a big impact), I think she still really doesn't understand the notions of honour/proper living that were tied to them nor the notion that their death (as a kind of joint suicide) can be a beautiful liberation for them. I realise that Abrahamic faiths place suicide as a high sin (and this is interesting to contrast to Behrani's temporarily religious plea to his god for his son's life), and to a certain extent this has entered popular culture as a common value - this has always struck me as one of the most disgusting parts of shared Abrahamic morality (at least on a practical level - on a higher level, the definition of morality as a "should" external to one's values and the tied-but-not-the-same nature of slave morality are more offensive). (I know that saying I am disgusted by something is just a statement of a strong value-conclusion against it, not a substantive argument in itself.. )

In my looking at the various other mixes the youtube community has made on the Charlie the Unicorn video, I found this gem. One of the things I really like about youtube is how creative people are and how they largely ignore the controlled IP-defined world - this is culture as it should be (imo) - like a playground and other avenues of culture passed from mouth to mouth, person to person, improvising/changing as they like without concerns for ownership. A lot of it is garbage, but that's the price we pay when we move back from being consumers towards being active agents of culture again, and it's well worth it.


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