Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Obscure films, experimental method...

Our friends Jaana and Nicola are the initiators of this new monthly event taking place in a West End Pub.  Jaana and Nicola take turns in choosing the film, so there is a personal recommendation, and a back ground story before the lights get dimmed. Discussion afterwards.

After two successful sessions, the next film will be: Capturing the Friedmans, "an instructive lesson about the elusiveness of facts," as one film critic put it.

All is well in a middle class family till the police knocks on the door, and father and son both are accused of a crime which they either committed, or didn't.  Difficult to tell.   The director had access to home videos shot by one of the sons. They display the family tensions during the trial, and seem to offer proof for both the guilty and the innocent.

Capturing the Friedmans was nominated for an Oscar in documentary category, and won a Grand Jury prize at Sundance.

To see a trailer

By invitation only.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Brain-washing and Human conditioning

Amy writes:

Hannah Arendt, who is a proper philosopher, said it in proper philosophical language: "This is why men, no matter what they do, are always conditioned beings.  Whatever enters the human world of its own accord or is drawn into it by human effort becomes part of the human condition"  (The Human Condition).
One might say that there is not much difference between 'human conditioning' and 'brain-washing'.  Except that 'brain-washing' is a derogative term and therefore attributes a negative moral value to what has no more to do with morality than the law of gravity.
But then we are conditioned by our judeo-christian culture to pass moral judgments whether or not morality is involved.   Do we not make of our all-powerful god an all-loving god?  Which is something of an oxymoron.  The Greeks did not have such problems, their gods being a rather nasty lot.  
Whether or not we approve of our upbringing we have to be brought up.  And let us not forget that our children will judge their upbringing just as we do ours,  i.e. according to the dictates of their generation!  For, if there is a 'conditioning' which may be qualified as 'brain-washing' it is that of the 'isms' of each generation.  I have known a fair number of them during my long life: marxism, freudism, feminism, atheism, multiculturalism, rights of man, climate change, etc. all of which is very honourable as long as it does not ossify into its 'ism'. 
My 'isms' being mainly determinism, relativism and scepticism.  Not very constructive, I confess.  But that's who I am.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Public persona vs Private persona

Yesterday we discussed: Do we have a right to privacy? Is the right to privacy a thing of the past?  Can anybody still manage to keep a personal secret while the internet is capable of detecting every movement of everybody?

Community spirit can sometimes feel like a community prison while everybody is being watched by everybody else.  Martin said it's like living in a insular little village wherever you go you are being spied upon by your neighbours peeping out of windows behind their curtains.

As a Buddhist converted to Christianity, Suk had an extraordinary dream in which she was reincarnated as a "Hebrew" woman but not a Jew.  She related this dream to a friend in a private email.  But soon after her email was sent to one person, she immediately received hundreds of HATE mails accusing her of anti-Semitism.  She found it incomprehensible as she was only telling a innocent dream to her friend.  How does this email spread to so many strangers?