I really hate the movie “Avatar” for several reasons. I recognize that it was a landmark in computer generated (CG) movies and that it looked pretty. But I also know that it was a boring story that manipulated emotions to make people root for one side using a combination of white guilt, forced romance, and the seemingly perfect Na’Vis. But, the story-line is something we see in fiction a lot. If you are part of two cultures, where you do you side with?
Dissociative Identity Disorder is formerly known as “Multiple Identity Disorder”. It exists when one person exhibits different tendencies and reactions to the same situations. My question is, “what is the difference between actors/actresses and people with dissociative identity disorder?” Continue reading →
In the movie Total Recall (I’m referring to the original 1990 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, haven’t seen the more recent remake), the main character Douglas Quaid wants to go on a vacation to Mars but he cannot afford to physically transport himself. Instead, he opts to go to a company called Rekall that will allow him to receive a brain implant that makes him believe that he went to Mars.
The rest of this blog will contain unmarked spoilers, so let the reader beware.
During the operation to get the memory transplant, something goes wrong and Doug receives painful shocks. Once he goes home, he sees that what he believed to be his life is all a sham, as his supposed wife is a secret agent working against him. Doug finds a recording from the future that he is a secret agent called Hauser and that he erased his memories in order to protect himself from a conspiracy. Doug goes to Mars to find out more about the conspiracy. Once he arrives, he goes on an adventure that reveals a secret device that can provide breathing air for all the residents, thereby bringing peace among the settlers and the Martian natives. Doug is able to release the device but in the last scene of the movie he asks himself if this was all a dream. Were his efforts to save Mars just a highly sophisticated memory implanted in his brain?
This brings me to the philosophical part of this blog post, where I found a connection between Doug’s memories and Locke’s view of identity. Locke argued that if “consciousness” was maintained by a person, then the identity of the person stays the same. He states the “consciousness can be extended to backwards to any past action or thought”, which means that one is able to recall past memories and actions (335). However, this also exposes one of the holes in Locke’s theory. A famous scenario called the breakfast problem asks that if I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, I was not myself during breakfast time yesterday. In Total Recall, it is not truly known whether Hauser truly existed or if he was a memory implanted into Doug’s brain. If Doug cannot make a distinction between a dream and reality, is he truly himself? I personally believe that Doug’s adventure was a dream and he either woke up or died after the movie ends.
My external source is not related to the movie, but it is a song I have been listening to while writing this blog post. It’s called “Is It Real?” from one of my favorite shows Cowboy Bebop. It ponders on reality and what can be done to prove my existence and whether the world around me is real or just a figment of my imagination.
In many classes I have taken, one topic that is often covered is the cave paintings at Lascaux. I have encountered these in numerous French classes, an anthropology course, and an art history course. They have always been interesting to me because in different classes they are interpreted differently. If you are unfamiliar with the caves and interested in a quick background I found a great page here and it is a pretty short read.
In the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” queue on my Amazon account (where I bought all of the required texts for this class) there was one one modern looking cover among a lot of Locke, Hume and Plato titled The Ego Trick by Julian Baggini. So I googled the book and found a TED Talk by the author addressing the main idea of his book which is basically that our “self” is not afixed permanent essence or object that has experiences but rather our “self” is just a collection of experiences.
This idea seemed to fit perfectly with what we are learning in class about identity, in fact it seemed like a good unifying capstone for our discussions so far, so I watched the TED Talk. The speaker gives a comprehensive view of identity according to different philosophers including Locke, Hume, Buddha, and even modern psychologists and neuroscientists. He synthesizes ideas from these respective philosophies (though he takes from buddhism more than anything else) and optimistically concludes that identity or our “true self” is a process which is fluid and forever changing like a waterfall, except it is different from a waterfall because we have the capacity to direct our flow and shape ourselves. So according to Baggini the ship of Theseus paradox with regards to identity is a total nonissue because our identities or our “self” is not an object, which we can expect to be the same from one moment in time to another. So according to Baggini’s ideas, whether you undergo a heart transplant or belief transplant, you are still you and it is silly to worry whether these things changed you or made you fundamentally different because change is the very nature of your identity.
According to Baggini, although this easily understood people do not easily make it work in their own consideration of themselves because it is human nature to think of ourselves as a separate, maybe even tangible, being of experience rather than the sum of our experiences. It is human nature to objectify ourselves. Haha. Still, we shouldn’t fret because even if there is no permanent object of self Baggini maintains that we are not completely powerless and that we have the capacity to direct the development of our self.
“The true self, as it were then, is not something that is just there for you to discover. You don’t sort of look into your soul and find your true self. What you are partly doing at least is actually creating your true self” – Julian Baggini
Sometimes, I feel like identity leads to improper knowledge for people who like or dislike a certain thing. What I mean by this is how people tend to go crazy in saying something like a movie or a person is the best or worst thing ever, just because its identity is classified as such in society or popular culture. For example, everyone hates “Twilight,” “Transformers,” and Justin Bieber. But why? What knowledge can you give that will explain your distaste for these subjects?
In an article written about what women like about men, there are surprising qualities that they deem attractive. One of the qualities that stood out to me was the fact that, according to the author, studies have been shown that women like men who “act tough”. The reason? “Most women want bad-boy qualities so they don’t have to act perfect all the time.” I think that the person who thought this had a little flaw in their thinking, or they didn’t know how to articulate what they really wanted to say effectively. I believe that what this person really wanted to say was that women want bad-boy qualities so they don’t have to act tough or seem put together all the time. In other words, they want to identify themselves as the weaker sex, and they want their men to feel protective over them. If you read this article, there is another section about how women are attracted to hair because it means that “there is a caveman lurking inside” of the guy. This made me wonder, why do women like to identify as the weaker sex, and why are they attracted with the idea of their man acting like a possessive, protective caveman?
Women know that the average man is stronger than the average woman; they are taught and demonstrated that fact from a very young age. And, some scientists believe that women like their men to be strong and possessive because of the sentiments from the hunter-gatherer days. Does this explain why women like to portray themselves as the weaker sex? Not to me. I believe that women like their men acting like “cavemen” and like to identify as the weaker sex because they want to have some sort of “proof” that their significant other cares for them, and they believe that the “caveman response” proves that. Why do females associate this behavior to mean that males have an emotional attachment to them? Is it logical for women to assume that males that act like that care for them? What if the males are obsessive and just want to have control over their female? Would it also be logical for a woman to be more attracted to a man who acts like a caveman instead of a man who acts like a real gentleman? It seems like this article believes that the caveman personality wins. What do you guys think?
“Self consciousness exists in and for itself when, and by the fact that, it so exists for another; that is, it exists only in being acknowledged.”(Phenomenology of the Spirit 111).
In his Phenomenology of the Spirit Hegel describes consciousness as an independent thing whose independence is only achieved through the acknowledgment of its own dependence on outside objects and the subsequent struggle to negate this “self externality” in order to achieve true independence (Phenomenology of the Spirit 114). He retells this elaborate genesis as a dramatic “life and death struggle”, in the story of the Lord and the Bondsman where each must engage in this struggle in order to “raise their certainty of being” (Phenomenology of the Spirit 113). In both stories one thing is clear: in order to develop a truly independent consciousness it is essential to first acknowledge and be acknowledged by another consciousnesses. In other words, we need the recognition of other consciousnesses — this is the first step to attaining our own freedom. Continue reading →
In discussions about identity, philosophers often mention the influence of others on a self. In our most recent readings about self-consciousness, Hegel says, “Self-consciousness exists in and for itself when, and by the fact that, it so exists for another; that is, it exists only in being acknowledged.” He then goes into a discussion of the interaction between two beings and how the interaction is what makes them fully self-conscious. So if this reaction never existed, what would be the result?
Besides philosophy, this issue is analyzed from a sociological perspective in the cases of feral children. One of the first cases was in 1800 when a boy who had been living in the woods his whole life was discovered Continue reading →
Hegel’s work on sense-certainty and the self-consciousness of others is a subject he is noted for in the scholarly world. The way he elaborates on his theories is similar to that of Plato, in which an extended metaphor is applied in order to make it easier to understand. In Hegel, the metaphor is placed between the relationships of a Bondsman to his Lord.
After reading the ending paragraphs of the section, it was almost obvious that I formed a relation to the metaphor of the bondsmen in Hegel, to the role of the proletariat in Marxist Theory. In Hegel, the bon Continue reading →