Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Does anyone remember the comments of George Lucas (of 'Star Wars' fame) concerning the "new church"?  It's the movie theatre.
I believe his comment is accurate.  In another century, people went to their house of worship and attended as an escape, an answer to problems, a place to gather wisdom and apply it to their lives.  Now people harness the movie theatre for the same reason.  The 'movie theatre' is any place movies are viewed as a sacred space - your home, the theatre itself, online.  As long as it maintains your full attention; you're not cleaning house while watching, say, "American Beauty".  Brad Bird, in his post-Oscar interview for the press, called for a return to the "cathedral of the movie theatre".  In this comment, he excludes home theatre because he wants the movie experience to be within a community of people.  But I'm talking about movie-viewing not as a community experience but strictly as a worship experience.
In many ways, this new form of worship is a comfort.  'Good' Movies (There's a lot of subjectivity here, but suffice it to say that a 'good' movie garners positive meritocratic opinion by people concerned with story construction.  That is, people who look at the plausibility and impact of the story regardless of the content.) allow us to see and experience things despite our level of caution or recklessness.  They help us develop emotional intelligence; a way to see from other points-of-view and extrapolate feelings that aren't ours. But I think this only works when we have a foundational belief template in place.  When this template is absent I think the damage to a person is extensive in proportion to the amount of belief template absent.
In our melting pot and, thankfully, our semi-free govenmental endorsement on religion we have the ability to choose this belief template.  But powerful cultural forces - namely movies - write some of the rules for these choices as well.  Let's just say they curve the belief tendencies towards a certain pattern that I don't think is necessarily healthy.
I probably love raw storytelling as an art more than movies, but I love movies as they encompass the best storytelling culture currently has to offer.  But I think movies, in a word, have become too influential.
I don't know if you've noticed (you haven't, there's no comments, ever) but I'm more of a "blogger-of-convenience" than a blogger outright.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It seems I got into a fight with my boss today over what is rational and what isn't.  I hope this doesn't screw my chances for a raise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I was thinking in this late hour.  Blogging is really a form of narcissism, yes?  I mean, why would I broadcast private thoughts if not to hope that the world notices them?  So, I HATE to get political, but something has been chiseling at my mind.  It's the political climate of our fair land.  I know you know what I'm talking about; the endless circle - left insults right, vice versa.  Republican prosecutes Democrat, vice versa.  Conservatives blame Liberals and vice versa.  But here's what bothers me and I beg of you to hear me out on this.  Who is most vocal in these arenas?  Often, I think you'll find a common denominator amongst these outspoken: they believe strongly in their side whatever that side happens to be.  I would not call them objective thinkers; I think there is a time that they consider their decision and choose, then years after they abandon this decisive capability in favor of political activism.
Here, I turn to the studies of the Gottman Institute.  After nearly 10 years of careful, concise study they've found that when an argument is taking place the blood pressure of all parties involved rises.  When this blood pressure rises above a certain point, the person is unable to think objectively - they will assert and re-assert their point repeatedly and without rationality and stop listening to the other party.  This is called "escalation".
The stronger a person feels about a particular thing, the quicker their blood pressure will climb and the quicker their reasoning capabilities disappear.  Outspoken people are passionate, and sometimes they simply can't be reasoned with.  We need these people, but entire systems of media and government can't be composed of these people.
So here I propose my first "Crazy Talk".  Why not create a party that intelligibly weighs policy, vote, and law not from traditional idealogy, but from wisdom itself?  A party that looks at issues very carefully in context to history and studies their results to see that their mechanisms behave as planned and that these plans insure longevity and sanity rather than the short-sighted victory of a side that is simply louder, more brash, and has more promotional money? These people would be zealots not of Liberalism, or Conservativism, or Democracy, or the Republic - but zealots of Rationalism.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I was just wondering: why have a blog?  Why post your thoughts?  
What if my thoughts were dumb? If I just kept them to myself, I would never know they were dumb - I'd be pretty happy with them, I guess. But now that I'm posting, I'm sure the multitudes will alert me, "Hey, man - your thoughts - I hate to tell you this - but they're dumb."
No post today.