Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Dual Payloads

「In philosophy, we instead have a commitment to increasing the depth of perspective of others, particularly those with less philosophical depth. While a partisian attitude would be to accept cheap victories, the philosopher does differently - if they make a small point, its connection to the larger contingent on judgement or other ideas, and their conversation partner mistakes it for a larger, more powerful point and cedes, the philosopher provides sufficient context for their partner to step back from what would be considered defeat in another conversation. While the primary reason behind this is the commitment to increase the philosophical depth of society, there are secondary reasons - the deeper perspective is theoretically more stable, the philosopher desires companions, and unity in deeper reasoning lead others closer to one's broader worldview. From this, philosophers are easily misunderstood as strict - to agree with them broadly and cheaply is a flattery that offends both in its visibility to those with clear vision, and because it does not in fact meet their intent in conversation. Wary of this, a philosopher might have the most spirited disagreements with other philosophers with whom they disagree only slightly, and have an instinctual distrust for those who seem to agree entirely. At some level of detail, two people showing up at a party with the same philosophy are as embarassing as with the same outfit.」

Saw Michael Moore's 「Capitalism: A Love Story」. Two years ago, I saw 「Sicko」, which felt only mostly honest and careful. My BS meter was much quieter for this film. Details and analysis:

The only part of the film that, without further digging, felt a bit dishonest was the Katrina coverage, where he indicated that the destruction of homes and disaster would not have happened in a more just society - the juxtaposition of scenes and implied blame didn't feel spot-on to me, particularly given that wealthy people also suffered from the disaster, contrary to his claims. This is one part of a fairly long, imagery and popular political criticism-dense film. The rest was very well done, with no surface faults - I can understand why the film has appeal to a broad swathe of American politics, particularly as his left-populism is not shying from religious components as much as his earlier films did.

The film does not quite draw all the lines it needs to to be a solid political argument (and part of this explains its broad appeal). The film makes a completely convincing case that our current form of governance is easily manipulated by wall street, that some very rich people have disproportionate political and other power, and that financial laws and institutions are structured and applied in ways that often harm the most vulnerable. I was a little bit surprised to see a deep criticism that is not often made in public - that there is a political faction in both parties (partly captured by industrialists, partly by neocons) which believes in strong markets and weak democracy. However, where the film is unclear is what the alternative is. Moore lightly points in the direction of socialism (most likely the European political form known as Social Democracy - considered centre-left on the political spectrum (as American Democrats are considered centre-right and American Republicans are considered far-right)). However, his film has very little content on that, and with very little adjustment (less than two minutes of cuts), it could very well support the restoration of some kind of petit-bourgeois capitalism that would please people only slightly more moderate of Ron Paul (in fact, I would be fascinated to know what RP thinks of it - as previously mentioned, I do not like RP as a political figure, but he is a rare honest politician who has put at least a bit of thought into his positions). This is why, as previously mentioned, politico reported that the film has very broad appeal in its main message.

I was slightly weirded out that the film ended on a heavily edited version of the Internationale - edited to remove the portions that are either the most radical or possibly offensive to broad audiences (the line that "no god, no caesar, no tribunal will save us", the notion of shooting those "on our own (country's) side (that betray the public good)", etc. I'm not a big fan of Billy Bragg's version of the Internationale either, for the same reason.

Not that this itself says much, but people in the theatre were pretty impressed with the film.

I have also appeared to solved a large physics problem - that of cold fusion. Careful experiments with a Cat (observed not to be purring) and a cabinet have led me to the observation that placing said cat inside said cabinet results in a cabinet emitting purr radiation. If this power can be harnessed, the potential is amazing (although the logistics of having power plants composed of cats and cabinets are difficult). I am sure engineers will figure it out and make it practical.


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