maayano

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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    Bad Movies, Are They Bad for the Soul?

    Movies are an escape from reality or sometimes an unfriendly (but sometimes friendly) reminder of it. They are so good at this because unlike books, unlike songs, unlike paintings, they are about as close as we can get (ignore virtual reality for now) to recreating the experience of life as we know it. There is movement, depth, sound, setting; to be frank, movies just look a lot like life. But with the freedom that comes with the film form to create anything you can imagine, comes the freedom to make films that are horrendous, poorly constructed, overly acted, inauthentic, terrifying, incoherent, you name it. Now, we all know that movies can be good to some and bad to others. Some people like horrors, some people can’t stand them. Some people love sci-fi, some people find them intolerable. But some movies are just bad! When we watch them we want to, or even have to vomit. We have to leave the theater. We have to rave about in on social media. Some films we have to hate until the day we die because they leave such a bad taste in your mouth you can simply never forget it. Some films promote hatred, propaganda, or worst of all a sappy love story that will never happen. But I wonder, is there actually something that should be deemed as unacceptable, or are we, as Sartre puts it regarding life, condemned to be free… to experience any film that gets recorded, distributed, and passed through our corneas?

    • Should also take into consideration video games, which are actually interactive and are probably even closer to the experience of real life than films if you played it just once through. Otherwise, a great article as long as you use plenty of evidence to back up what happens when people watch a movie they think is bad (not just what you think is bad, of course, because otherwise, it would just be an article completely overlooking the subjectivity of good and bad movies). – stephkang 4 years ago
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    • Watching an Ed Wood movie might be good for self-esteem: "I could do better than that." – Tigey 4 years ago
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    • Wow, you really hit on numerous, applicable subjects with this suggested topic. I especially love your last line..that implicitly--well, at least in my eyes (sorry, pun intended)--echoes the idea of the visual images captured and then sent to the brain's occipital lobe for dissemination and understanding. I do love a "feel good" movie, even if some may thing in borders on cheesy. For example, I recently watched the movie "Brooklyn," (2015), and I adored it. I haven't watched a movie in ages that left me feeling light hearted and optimistic. But, to each, his own. Nice topic; I'm interested to see the direction one would go in writing this. – danielle577 4 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    I loved the Road and died upon watching the end of No Country For Old Men, I have put off far too long reading the book (even though the last paragraph, which killed me, is word for word the same). But interesting and inspiring analysis. Rekindled my interest in McCarthy. Thanks.

    Cormac McCarthy: An American Philosophy

    That’s an interesting point you make regarding why asking “why” doesn’t equate to philosophy. Although, while there is clearly some frivolity involved in the idea that kids are our best philosophers, I do think there is some serious truth to it as well. I have a pretty strong reaction to the idea that we should ever tell a child “just because.” I think that promotes a willingness, subconscious or not, to cut our curiosity short. Kids are no different from adults in the fact that they can not understand certain ideas. We are all far from our potential understanding at any given moment. The fact that kids (though not intentionally) realize their limited knowledge and aspire to find out a further more penetrating truth to their inquiry is in fact very much what the philosopher is attempting to do when they ask why. Philosophy, to me, is not problem solving, it’s problem mining. It’s going to unexplored regions of thought and finding problems we didn’t think of yet. The problem solving is mathematics or logic. But I guess we all have our own interpretations of such things!

    Inside Out and St. Thomas Aquinas' Philosophy of the Emotions

    Love the idea behind this article, very funny and thought provoking. I also appreciated the insight that Inside Out totally doesn’t have an “account” for reason inside us in any explicit manner. I have to watch it again now!

    Inside Out and St. Thomas Aquinas' Philosophy of the Emotions

    Interesting analysis and commentary! I think you bring up a lot of salient points and make a notable criticism on Aristotle’s idealistic form of philosophy. I do want to suggest one inconsistency in your attack, which I think is minimal but defends Aristotle’s view. Namely, you begin the article with the important point that “for Aristotle this highest good is happiness or eudaimonia (which translates to living well)”. The key, which you even point to here in your parentheses, is that Aristotle does not intend happiness as we mean it today, he specifically means living well or “human flourishing” is the greatest of all goods. So when you claim that he conflates these two concepts later on, and that this step is illogical, my immediate impression is that we, english speakers, are doing the conflating, not him. But to tag alongside you and bring my own criticism of his philosophy, I find that relativity is the modern discovery that destroys the foundation of his argument. Due to an understanding of Godel’s incompleteness theorem and Einsteins Relativity, I happen to believe that the concept of good and bad are essentially meaningless because of the ability to recontextualize any given framework. Truth is thus a concept that is merely useful, but also something ingrained in us as a survival mechanism which helps make understanding coherent lifestyles possible, which is quite useful for small independent finite beings in a massive expanding universe. Our concept of good v bad is like the evolution of a tail for dolphins, it is advantageous for thinking beings, not particularly necessary for the history of the universe. So, since good and bad are therefore wholly relative, I believe the idea of a ultimate good can be misleading and does not in any objective manner exist. Although, I do think if one is seeking an ultimate good for the totally subjective framework of humans on earth, then Eudaimonia, or living well, is a promising starting point for that philosophy. I generally follow Aristotles ethics in my own life, but knowing that I have the rational freedom to see the world void of value judgments like good and bad.

    Aristotle and the Highest Good