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*nobody*

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Subject:  Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

01/10/2005 04:46 GMT

I have always believed that ideas and even liberty/democracy can be developed within the realms of culture. With films like 'The Matrix' and television such as 'Doctor Who', Philosophy, Sociology and Politics can be made popularised and brought out  to wider audiences. I think that this is one of the best parts about this 'postmodernism' thingy!

And stuff Brendan Nelson and his lamenting that we've allowed King Lear to be replaced by The Matrix and Buffy the Vampire Slayer!!!!!



I am currently writing a thesis on these ideas and am eager to tap into the collective conscience of this forum.



Here's a synopsis of my ideas (any constructive resposnes are very welcome!!!!):



"The thesis will focus on examining the issues and debates regarding the contentions of implementing an open, accessible and dynamic curriculum (a course of study that is flexible, pedagogical and entertaining) that encourages and induces reflective and critical thinking for secondary students within Australia. The phenomenon of ‘aesthetic reflexivity’ will be examined in this context as a process that contributes toward the formulation of both personal and collective social identities, and so will the phenomenon of cultural democratisation, as both a positive tool for individual student empowerment, and as a means to manufacture corporate, cultural, and political identities. 

Factors that need to be considered when implementing such a program of secondary study:

• Economic viability

• Accessibility/Inclusiveness (considering the needs of ‘Students with High Intellectual Potential’, and the needs of secondary schools/ potential employers of graduating students)

• Curriculum content and cultural sensibilities: religious, moral, ethical and cultural debates

• Political issues (the manufacture of identity and consent, class, gender and cultural inclusivity and sensitivity)



Aesthetic Reflexivity and cultural democratization/fabianism within contemporary secondary school curriculum:

• Empirical data to support this thesis work can be gleaned from the following qualitative source:

The Philosophy curriculum I have designed (and have partially implemented with a Year 10 Society and Environment class) has been approved by Dr. Paul Jewell at Flinders University, and has been a ‘labour of love’ for me to fulfill since I had started working on developing a Philosophy curriculum for Secondary school students in 1999.

The data that proves that ‘aesthetic reflexivity’ is a powerful academic resource for analyzing the political, sociological and philosophical subtexts within the symbolic operation of popular cultural commodities/resources such as film, cartoons and music are evident in the unit plans, photocopied resources and assignments that I had devised for facilitating Philosophy classes in secondary schools. My year 10 Philosophy class have been able to ‘crack the symbolic codes’ that are portrayed in popular media discourses and have been able to relate them to philosophical concepts such as the mind - body problem, free will and determinism and the differentiation between ‘Eastern’ Philosophies and ‘Western’ ideologies.



This Philosophy program has been a part of my studies since 1998 when my academic work seriously focused upon scrutinizing the political, sociological and philosophical phenomenon of ‘aesthetic reflexivity’



Definition: ‘The process of conscious reflection upon one’s own physical and cognitive existence, within a contemporary sociological environment where cultural icons portrayed in the media (TV, cinema, video, DVD, popular/alternative music, the internet, etc) act as ‘mirrors’ from which individuals and collective organisations can fashion their identity and lifestyle, including personal and political agendas.’(Richardson, J., 2004)

An extensive critical analysis of the scholarly research provided by social commentators such as Scott Lash, Anthony Giddens, Manuel Castells, and Krishan Kumar (analyzing their definitions and social research regarding aesthetic reflexivity, reflexive modernization, ‘economies of signs and space’ and ‘postmodern’ cultural eclecticism) is required together with scrutinising the association between political identity, ‘postmodernism’, and media stereotypes.



Examples of the emergence and development of aesthetically reflexive citizens can be gleaned from allegorical subtexts within popular cultural commodities and culturally democratizing products, for example, the subtexts and implicit political comments within the lyrics of Rage Against The Machine, the promotion of cultural diversity throughout SBS TV’s program planning, through to the political subtexts inherent within mainstream alternative cinema in films like Fight Club, The Matrix, Dark Star, A Clockwork Orange or Brazil. Various meanings can be drawn from such contemporary cultural products that can serve as powerful sources of political and social discourse. These cultural products also act as powerful tools for the conditioning of ontological fragmentation and anxiety of identity within both individual and collective levels of contemporary social existence. (Reference: Giddens, 1991, Lash and Urry, 1994, 1992, Castells, 1997 –

There are positive effects of the phenomenon of aestheic reflexivity as a tool for cultural democratization within contemporary education curriculum, eg.

•Empowerment for people who usually find high – order thinking and critical reflection difficult can be achieved as popular culture can take Plato, Descartes, Einstein, etc. and make their ideas fun and accessible to understand. People who would shy away from intellectually challenging activities and ideas can find that political philosophy, sociology and the ‘new’ physics can be as interesting and fun as ‘hotting up’ one’s car or watching a ‘cool’ film because the sharing of information is being conducted through a medium that makes the ideas as ‘cool’ and ‘trendy’ as watching a latest release ‘blockbuster’ movie •



There are also negative effects:

• The ‘manufacturing of consent’

• Political and social pressure groups (eg. Underground movements, post – Marxists, feminists and homosexuals) can ustilise cultural democratistion and the process of ‘aesthetic reflexivity’, as defined above, as instruments for manipulating the body politic toward agreement and assimilation of their agendas.

• The emergence of cultural commodification;

‘consumer soverignty’, the manufacturing of identity and free – will through the use of symbolic manipulation

Questions: By whom? How ? Why? Examples and evidence……….

• The creation of ‘new social movements’, conditioned and manufactured through ‘media culture’, eg. ‘the age of the screenager’ (What are their agendas? How do they exist? Why do such groups exist?)

• The ontological need to identify as an individual and as a social being: How much is this manipulated and affected by the conditioning of ‘aesthetic reflexivity’ (as defined above)?"

 
Tareth

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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

01/10/2005 05:43 GMT

Ohhh Kaaaay.



I would have to say that todays culture is not really based on what we want or enjoy, but what producers are willing to supply us.



The movies we watch, clothes we wear and magazines we read are really based on production of what sells.



Have you noticed that the more oblique comics are being made into movies?  That's because people are buying them, researchers discover this and sell the information to a producer who churns out a whole heap of stuff for the mainstream people to purchase, the individual is then swamped with their favourite thing and has to find another oblique/unique thing to fill their life with.



Take the young female teen clothing company 'Emily'.  It produced cute goth style clothes for the young and pre teen girls, it became noticed and now every man and his dog (litterally - you can get dog jumpers with the logo now) has the product.  Because it sold and was noticed, it became mass produced and is no longer for the set market of teen and pre teen.



I don't believe that Shakespeare has been replaced, merely re written, 10 things I hate about you was about the Taming of the Shrew and Shrek is almost about Othello (blur the lines, shut your eyes and think of England).  I believe that the  Bard wrote all the stories we will ever watch on TV/Cinema, just in a different format.  The Matrix has shades of Hamlet,  the Star Wars franchise is as confusing as A Midsummers night dream and Star Trek is Much ado about nothing - literally.



What was I saying?  Nothing coherent I hope.  Well, I'm off to ...ummm....read a...ummmm.....you know.....a book.

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

01/10/2005 05:51 GMT

Aha!



The manufacture of consent! One of the most difficult obstacles in the way of liberty. No sooner do you find a cultural product that has some meaning in it and then you have the t - shirts, the mugs, the toilet paper.........



And as if Doctor Who is immune!!!!!!



Much of what we think is for the purpose of self gain, and this is directly evident in popular culture. A show or film may start out as a device for the critique of society, but soon the market factor comes into play (like the Queen on the chessboard), and then all positions are covered in the name of profit.



I have even been through the process of selling Philosophy to the powers that be. Horrible.



And to get 'kids' to like thinking you have to dress it up. So Socrates becomes Keanu reeves, Plato becomes Luke Skywalker, and Doctor Who becomes Christopher Eccleston!

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

01/10/2005 06:08 GMT

Kids don't like thinking, they like eating sugar, spinning in circles really really fast and hitting their heads on coffee tables - no wait, that's me.



I work in the public service, which means that I have to think all day.  I have to watch what I say, to whom I say it, write it, infer it etc and all this has to match my companys care plan and list of values and code of conduct.  I have to be so politically correct that one person even objected to 'bless you' when she sneezed saying that she's not catholic and finds it offensive.



That means, when I get home, I want mush for my mind, I want to switch off and not care what I think about.  Fast fighty, flashy, blowy uppy movies are great for that.



What I'm trying to say here is that pleasant philosophical discussion with someone playing devils advocate is not looked upon in this society as a good thing.  We might start thinking and consider changing stuff.



This means that while I know 2 or 3 people who have fascinating discussions on philosophy ( I love listening to them talk, I don't understand but I find it fun), the majority of the population have gone with the politically correct environment and removed anything offensive (except foul language and guns) or perceived as offensive from the shool and workplace.



Cinema is the only place where you don't really have to be politically correct yet.  Take the movie Welcome to Jungle.  It has a really strong cultural comment, but everybody missed it.  The actor 'The Rock' big, tough and strong says 'I don't like guns, bad things happen around guns' fair enough.  But  the movie backs it up at the end with the lead protaganist getting shot and the hero saying 'see, bad things happen around guns'.  But how many people watching actually picked up on that social comment?  no one.



It's because we are not allowed to think anymore, we are merely walking wallets to the producers - communication is not an option.

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

03/10/2005 06:36 GMT

To quote a good lady, "It's because we are not allowed to think anymore, we are merely walking wallets to the producers - communication is not an option."



Well, what are we doing in this forum?

Who is the puppet master if we are able to communicate these thoughts?

Oh, and as you have said before, this is all pre - ordained, so therefore, you haven't even thought about it, somebody or something else is doing it all for you!!!!!!



BIG   I'm being feceitious!!!!!



Look, Tareth, if my Year 10s, 11s or 12s were to watch "The Matrix" and then start relating the world of Cyberspace to the world of pure thought and then start questioning whether they have actually thought of these things themselves, or have they been living in a dream that has been placed into their minds by some higher force, I'd be marking their papers with glee - and refering them to lots of different sources to further their thinking on these ideas.

This stuff is debated in Universities around the world, internet discssion groups, churches, novels, films, research groups involved in social engineering, and people who explore the concept of artificial intelligence.

I think you have junped the gun a wee bit to say that we are not allowed to think anymore.



That still certainly is the case when it comes to vocational/commercial causes, or those that are caught in the bureaucratic web of political correctness, but those that inhabit the worlds of the knowledege industies thrive on such material - and there's plenty out there.

Some of it is really damn good.



I suggest you watch the program "Vulture" on ABC (I think its Thursdays - check the TV Guide!) and check out this website:

www.matrix-explained.com/



When I get the resources (ie, when I'm contracted next), I'll photocopy the Brain in the Vat thought experiment - its one of the best tools in the philosopher's arsenal.

At our next meeting I'll also pass onto you some material that I use to teach Philosophy to senior Secondary students.

(Just hide it all from the political correctness brigade where you work!!!!!)

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

08/10/2005 09:28 GMT

It's not that we are not allowed to think, it's that the corporations would prefer that we didn't think, so they bombard us with images that they want to sell us and say that this is what we should be eating, wearing, saying, doing.



Scifi fans have always been divided into two groups.



1.  Collecters, organizers, hopefuls and the hopeless.  People who don't think, watch the show for the glorious future it presents, wish for a better life, believe warp cores are real and do cute little tests to work their way up the Starfleet ranks.  They don't want reality, they want fake.  They buy all the dollies, costumes, tapes, plastic weapons and gizmos (toys) and being safe in a group where everyone wears the same costume, thinks the same way and quotes the same technobabble, always attend as the good guy.  Worst case scenario, their whole house is devoted to their collection.  I call these people annoying, no sorry, pretenders, imitaters, dull.



2. Thinkers, philosophers, dystopia believers.  They loathe the toy carriers, laugh at the idea of a bleach clean world where everyone is nice and attend events usually dressed in black and pretending they belong to the Psi Corps, they like to be the bad guy.  But they talk, they compare all the different scifi series and acknowledge that our future is going to be more like Bladerunner (dark, smelly, noisy, nasty) or Dark Star.  Worst case scenario, they make bionic eyes, robots that can walk up stairs and put remote control Tonka trucks on Mars.  I call these guys doers, creators, visionaries etc.



Unfortunately, the first group is the more populated group as less thinking is involved, which is what manufacturers want.



Star Trek is a great example.  Lovers of the Next Generation (TNG) or Voyager (VOY) don't like Deep Space Nine DS9) as it's dark and nasty, too many people die.  TNG and VOY is crisp and clean, the fans dress up as Starfleet, swap plastic thingys and quote screen plays at each other.  These two are also the biggest sellers of merchandise.  Kirks era sells stuff to purists but only the high quality stuff is purchased as the fans are approaching 50 pretty fast.  Fans of Kirks era are also chatters, they talk about their show and give criticism where it is due, they know what the writers were trying to socially comment on and talk about slavery, drug addiction, apartheid and interracial relationships, just to name a few topics.



DS9 is similar, the show focused on war but didn't glorify it.  They had a couple of high profile characters die, get corrupted, get rehabilitated etc.  Its merchandise doesn't sell as well as the fans of the show aren't interested in collecting, it's the story they prefer.  DS9 books actually sold better than the other series.



And Enterprise was just simply hated by all Star Trek fans, don't know why, they told some really good stories.  Actually touched on some social topics that would ignite some synapses, unfortunately, you had to really plough for the message, it wasn't easy to find, unlike Kirks era who practically bludgeoned you with it but were still able to get the message onto TV by calling it scifi.



Another thing I've noticed is that lovers of the show Firefly (which has practically zero merchandise other than books and a DVD) hate Star Trek, and lovers of Star Trek hate Firefly.  The first group say Star Trek is too fake, rigid and impossible to achieve, while the second group say Firefly is too dirty and no one would want to live like that.  Bladerunner is the first scifi movie that openly had prostitutes (I think), Firefly is a scifi TV series that openly had hookers, it's  realistic part of life.  Both had low ratings, almost no merchandising and a huge selective cult following.  One DS9 book mentioned prostitutes (other than Kirks era) and is really hard to get as it sells out so quick, being quite a popular novel in the fact it had a well written storyline.



Kirks era of Star Trek is probably the best for hard hitting stories that question society as a whole.  Kirk also said a neat thing that I remember quite well.  Rules are there not only for the  community to follow, but for some people to bend and break in order to improve our community.



I'll shut up now.

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

09/10/2005 08:44 GMT

Whoa!!!!

Impressive. Most impressive.



Your brief critique of the two forms of sci fi fans is quite an interesting observation of the 'society of the imagination' which we sci fi freaks seem to inhabit.



I try to encourage the second group that you talk of. That is one of the main purposes of my Philosophy and Social Studies curriculum. And Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov (and especially H.G. Wells) had the same intentions, as Fabians, not cult leaders like L. Ron Hubbard and his 'church'. I think their obsevations of society and their vivid predictions for the future still serve an improtant purpose for critique and reflection of where we are going and where we have been as a specie on this planet.

(And then there's wonderfully brilliant authors like Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Anthony Burgess and Aldous Huxley who add disturbing political elements to their 'fiction') - That's what I focus on, and do all that I can to encourage such thinking in my classes. Though it gets soul destroying when kids give me death threats. play strip poker in class, and every second word is f***!!!!!!



However, I think you're being a bit hard on the first group you mentioned.

At least they are being social, and they're not really hurting anyone.

Ok, they're passive receivers of information and don't really reflect too much on the purpose of entertainment and the media, but think of how many friendships, love and happiness that they have experienced due to their mutual enjoyment of a paricular product. I think that that makes up for a lot of the corporate scheming that has gone on to make their love of the program happen.



Yet I do think that the consumerism of the late 20th/early 21st century is a horrible trap that we all fall into. We want to buy a program to remember the concert or production we've just attended. We want to have a drink when we go to see the film. And so many of us want the bright lights and the shiny objects that have 'Star Wars', 'Star Trek', 'Doctor Who', etc. written on them.

I can still remember how happy I was when I was a child and I'd get my 'Star Wars' toys - and I don't feel ashamed of it.

Yet I know full well that this serves an agenda that makes profits for those businesses that have a share in the trademark of the sci fi program.

Fandom is BIG business, even for those in the second group who are supposed to be intellectual.



The parents who want their child to receive the best education will 'shop' around for the best school that offers an excellent curriculum.

The SFSA has membership fees and Zaphod has to keep this website running!

The social democrat politician, the academic and the research scientist all have to lobby for bigger grants for their budgets, and want the best for their electorate, or research and study tools for their work.



No one can escape the consumer society - even critics have to have an audience. And they want to reach a big audience, so their critique of the consumer society must become a blockbuster itself, with reprints, extra volumes, and television shows and interviews.

The great Michael Moore himself admitted that he earns a large 6 figure income by being a critic of consumerism and corporations - he says it on film in the show "The Corporation" (DVDs of the show are available at all good retailers or through Dymocks)



Consumerism has the ability to grow on its own self - the more we critique and challenge it, the more we become part of this 'machine'. I think it is the perfect reflection of human thought and action - the more we try to understand ourselves, to communicate to society, and reach wider audiences, the more we grow as a society, by consuming the thoughts, ideas and inventions that we each as individuals create. It is inescapable. We cannot be free of our own selves.



Our thoughts are made real by our use of the material resources around us - and these resources create further stimulus for our thoughts. This is all completely absorbed by the market system which actually seems to grow stronger as we do this - raging against the machine, whether it be by the writer's pen, the academic's book, the 'arthouse' film, the 'alternative' music, whatever you use to communicate your thoughts, only makes 'the machine' stronger. I think it is a mirror of our own identity - we are all products of the market.





 

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

09/10/2005 10:43 GMT

The first group of authors you listed are dull, except for Hubbard who should just be shot.  Wells was OK.  The second group of authors (Huxley, Burgess, Orwell and Bradbury) are great because they realised that politics would not leave us, but become stronger and even control our basic thoughts to some extent.  All governments want the perfect community of slack jawed inhabitants who take their pills on time and buy everything produced like good little consumers.  Add in one person who doesn't take his medication and the whole system falls apart like a stack of cards.



A friend recommend me a book by Simak called “Why call them back from Heaven?” where people would sink their last dime into a corporation who would freeze you before the point of your death so you could be revived when they had a cure.  One worker discovered that the company had no intention of doing this as there was not enough room on the planet to house the re-awakened people anyway.  Unfortunately the company had become the government, the bank, the manufacturer. But this book also has an underlying theme of collecting.  People would collect stamps and coins and store them in safety deposit boxes for when they were re-awakened.  The thing is, because everyone was collecting these things, they would not be worth much in the future due to glut of production in the past.



I will also admit to being a collector and in a bid to order my life I collected pretty things.  But I do have great affections for the things I collected and each purchase invokes memories when I look at that item.  I will also admit that in my old age I have become more cynical of consumerism even though I cannot escape it, I, too, am human.



As for mutual enjoyment of a particular product, you haven't seen these guys rip into each other when they get questions wrong on their Starfleet exam.  It couldn't have been more entertaining if they were in a vat of green jelly.

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

12/10/2005 08:01 GMT

I've posed the question to Martin, The lord and all academics that I've studied with 'How can we escape the system of consumerism when it feeds on, and survives on all forms of resistance to its sentiments'. Michael Moore cannot escape, both The Lord and Martin have not answered my question (when I ran these arguments past them), Karl Marx tried to revolutionise it by completely eradicating the concept of property, and all lecturers and students that I have studied with have either said "You worry too much" (which, too many years too late, I must now sadly agree with), or they believe (like I once did) that they may be able to take on the machine.



Have you seen the film "Cube"? The physical prison of the mind that the characters find themselves trapped in is quite eerie...its about a construction that can change itself and has grown beyond the control of its creators. It serves no known purpose, runs on pure mathematical logic, and a bunch of strangers wake up inside it and are forced to try and survive in an infinitely changing cube which systematically destroys them one by one as they try to unravel the purpose of its non - purpose.

(At least that's how I remember the story - well worth a watch again, though)



I think you have been way too harsh on Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov - their fiction was pure escapism, sometimes quite poignant and at other times quite distubing.

"The Bicentennial Man" (Asimov - NOT  Robin Williams!!!!) is a fantastic collection of short stories about the future of A.I. and Clarke's "Chilhood's End" was a poignant story about how 'good' we humans could become if we used our minds to achieve collective consciousness and if we could collectively tap into the world of pure thought. At the end of the novel, we do so, and there is no longer any need for our physical bodies, or even for the Earth - we become one with the universe and become like the energy of the subatomic world. I know this is very Buddhist (and, knowing you, you'd probably say it's very bollocks!), but I happen to dream that we could achieve this, even though I know only too well that  it  is completely impossible. Just trying to keep a job in teaching, living with some one , and walking through any given Westfield Shopping Centre always reminds me that such a reality is just pure fiction.



But I like to read and dream about it - back last century, I really believed it could and will actually happen (I don't mean in a millenial way, I just believed in those philosophies back then). Now I'm a realist.

My 'childhood's end', perhaps?

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

12/10/2005 13:00 GMT

Consumerism cannot be escaped except by buying your own island and becoming self sufficient.  Even then, you must purchase enough basic utensils to survive.  Eradicating the concept of property will not work either.  We want our own sharpened shell, hollowed coconut and bit of rope to hang ourselves with.



The best way to shun consumerism is to stay away from 'name' brands.  Buy the product not for the name/company but for the quality and price.  So it's a Sony, fine, but can you find a cheaper MP3 player?  Sneakers, great, do they have to be Nike's or are Target brand good enough?  Big corporations are what's killing consumerism, and marketing.  Market research gave us the Christian faith, Punch and Judy and Jerry Springer.  All these things are severely violent.  Calvin said “it's because conflict is drama, drama is entertaining and entertainment is marketable.”



The Cube is a brilliant movie, but I saw it differently.  They had to work together to make it to the beginning/end, each had a skill that was necessary.  Each was also a part of the Cube and a piece of it's solution.  And don't take too much pride in your intelligence either, the best player may in fact be very different to you.  Did you know that every character in that movie was named after a maximum security prison in America?  It was a way for the writer to explain that a prison is not only physical, but mental and social as well.  In essence, we build our own prisons and people who are locked up are probably freer than us due to their mental state.  The trick is to get out of your little 'box' and enter a different 'box'.



This leads to something I can't quite explain so late at night.  Buddhist philosophy is not bullocks.  I believe in the circle of life and the continued growth of the essence that people wrongly label a soul.



PS:  I was not harsh enough on Clarke and Asimov.  Escapism sure, but could we please have a plot, and short stories just annoy me.  You'd think a person lauded as having such a 'talent for writing' could at least string a whole novel together.

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

14/10/2005 16:31 GMT

Right, that's enough!

DO NOT speak of Asimov and Clark like that!!!!!

(Not until at least until you have read "Childhood's End" - which is not a short story, ie, it is more than 100 pages - and I'll loan it to you at the meeting today - it's now 1:40 am, Saturday 15th October!).



Been a long time (about 4 years) since I last watched "Cube", which is strange considering I own it(!), and I think your review does it much better justice. I had no knowledge about the significance of the characters' names in the story - that's clever.



Well, what can I/we say, we are slaves to consumerism, and we are consumers - we have to be in order to survive.

Damn! Damn! Damn!



Like you, I have a lot of time for the circle of life (the wheel) and the philosophies of Zen Buddhism. If you're interested, I have some really cool study guides about Zen, Buddhism and Eastern Philosophies(they explain the philosophies in short summaries and use the cartoon format, which makes them great teaching resources). When I've finished writing the Year 12 Philosophy curriculum, I'll loan them to you.

I want to encourage secondary students to consider the unique differences between 'eastern' mysticism and 'western' consumerism. The Eastern Philosophies study guide clearly summarises the preoccupation that 'Western' societies have with understanding nature and having power over  both nature and other people (bit of the old history of male domination!!!!). 'Eastern' philosophy seeks to understand the beauty of nature and work with it - Taoism is literally 'the way', going with the flow - by doing nothing, one is actually going the way of nature, and is therefore doing a great deal.

Buddhism and Zen are phenomenal ways of looking at reality, but to actually live like that, you have to be able to literally be like a Jedi. Yoda's sentiments when he was explaining the Force to Luke Skywalker are basically quotes from Buddhist and Zen texts - the sentiments are the same. And can any of us live like that?

I wish I could. I am too weak.



Will be great to encourage that kind of reasoning in twenty first century classrooms - none of my teachers ever did it for me last century, I had to go and find out about all this myself.

But now I'm a curriculum writer, and when my job's done, it will be part of the course of study for Philosophy.

And yes, I will be using "The Empire Strikes Back" as a necessary reading/viewing for the course of study! (Just like I use "The Matrix" when teaching the concept of what is real - that which we perceive with our minds, or that which we perceive with the senses (and there is so much more you can also cover with that film aswell!!!!!))



That's one of the great things about sci fi - you can use it to explain so many ideas about the mind, life and 'reality' that 'exist' in boring old textbooks, and you can explain these ideas with films that have interesting stories, sexy actors/actresses, and great special effects.



We can't escape consumerism, but with some lateral thinking, we can work around it. My curriculum, writing and teaching is among many things, an effort to work though this conundrum.

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

21/10/2005 11:21 GMT

I've never been fond of the living like a Jedi thing.  I believe we have so many problems because the Catholic church denied sex to its priests/nuns.  If they were let to live like real people and either get spouses or not then we would probably be better off now.  Denying the desire for physical human contact has resulted in the ruination of a lot of children's lives.



Mind you, the church says that sex is bad but keep spitting out the babies.  I think the church needs a basic lesson in procreation 101.



But should we be denying ourselves basic human drives.  I think that is the cause of all our problems.  Don't eat fat, sugar, salt, candy, chocolate, alcohol, fried foods, processed foods, MSG, carbohydrates, meat, chicken, fish, pasta, potatoes, bread, butter, rice, packaged foods, frozen foods, flour, cheese, milk, jams, citrus fruits, berries, vegetables, fruits – where do I stop?  I don't think it's a sign of weakness, we are just a primitive animal whose lifestyle has progressed far beyond it's own evolution.



We have a Simian brain that just wants peace and nooky, sitting on top of a Mammalian brain that wants to bash a few skulls to vent and look macho in front of the piece of totty that we want nooky from, sitting on top of a Reptilian brain that wants to annihilate everyone, whether through nooky or nukes, in order to gain some peace and quiet.



Essentially, if we bowed to our urges, we would dissolve to a fest of love, peace and chocolate and forget totally about war

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

21/10/2005 17:22 GMT

Sex, sex, its always about sex!!!!!!



Sex sells.



We do most of the arduous things in life so we can attract a sexual partner.

Make up is for sexual reasons.

So are our clothes.

Music makes us want to dance, and dancing is a way of moving the body in a provocative way in order to arouse sexual interest.

Whether these perfectly innnocent acts are sexula or not, psychiatrists who practice from the schools of Freud or Jung would argue that in the 'back' of our minds (deep inside the subconscience) lurks Mr or Ms Hyde, leering and salivating, urging us to rip the clothes off of complete strangers and shag them senseless, and rip the heads off of anyone that has pissed us off.



Society and survival come along to put Mr and Ms Hyde away - to make us wear our social (polite) masks so that we can live harmoniously with others, keeping the shagging down to civilised sexual intercourse, and the killing limited to Howard's shoot to kill policies on suspected terrrorists

(Hope no Liberals look up this site!!!!!!! ).



I don't think that a life of sexual freedom is the key to happiness, and it definitely is NOT the key to world peace. Sex is addictive - you end up wanting more and more - soon you see your partner(s) as an object, and feelings become superfluous. Its just a physical act.



I believe in the art of making love.



Dunno about the church.

Just think how miserable a 'true' Christian must feel. they know that all that is on the earth is imperfect, covered in Sin (original), and is cursed by Satan himself. So how can they enjoy anything? Can a Christian who is aware of original sin and knows that this is the world of Satan's doing (because it has fallen from Paradise) actually make love??????

Such feelings of overwealming joy and contentment would, I think, be alien (or sinful) to them.



S, are all my entries just a way of showing off the 'power' of my mind - a subconscious way of showing my plumage within the animal kingom of cyberspace? Or am I just enjoting the company of like minds and trying to develop  reasoning skills? Is the racing car driver, the best football player, the best guitarist, the martial artist extaordianaire, all just waving their genitals around to show their sexual supremacy to any (and all) potentail mates? Is that true human nature? Feud and Jung's outlook would say "Yes"



But what about making a living? What about enjoying your life and taking pride in yourself and your work? What about love?

(Bleeding heart!!!!!!!!!)

seriously, though, I find it difficult to accept that all actions are motivated by lust and power.



Also, I think that we are material beings and if we were to adopt a laissez faire approach to gluttony, we would soon become bored and start lusting after other pleasures of the flesh. When it comes to things like yummy food and a good shag, too much is never enough. We are curious creatures and we like to know how things work (that's why we try Psychology and Philosophy - so we can understand how we are actually able to understand) - so I think that there is far more to the human species than just carnal pleasures.



Even Hobbes agrees with that - we are capable of self correction, self reflection and self judgement . This consciousness spells out two clear issues that contradict your previous entry - there is more to us than just carnal impulses, and we are capable of thinking "What if?????" - we compare ourselves with other people and other things - and this can lead to conflict. Our self - consciousness is just as much a cause for war as is our carnal desires (perhaps even more so) because it inspires us to create more deadly ways to exterminate, and, more importantly, it makes us look at ourselves (with vanity or disgust), and at others (with lust, envy, prejudices, etc) which encourage us to make conflicts.



Sex is just one layer of the soil of human depravity - and I think there are many more levels still to go.

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

26/10/2005 11:46 GMT

Of course there are many more levels to go, I was just trying to say that humanity has technologically grown beyond the physical evolution.  Biologically speaking, we are the same beastie that we were 12,000 or more years ago, plus or minus some hair.  Physically speaking, we are that same creature who wore animal skins and thought dread locks were cool – see, physically nothing has changed.



However, we can send people to the moon, surf the depths of the Mariana Trench and chat in real time with someone over 12,000 kilometres away.



Sex, though, does govern at least 50% of what we do, wear, say, act.  We are basically still a creature trying to become immortal by furthering our DNA through offspring.



It's our basic drive, and controlling that drive is what makes us different.  Some people mate for life, others have no care for what they mate with (I must know the ugliest woman on the planet, but she gets more dick than a penthouse chick).  It's the ability to create socially acceptable lines and the ability to lie that made us human.



My question is, what is original sin – really?  It can't be sex as without it how could the garden become populated with humans, animals and plants (rhododendrums are nymphos, plants have sex too) or was everything supposed to remain chaste and let God do all the populating, and if it's good enough for God, why isn't it good enough for us?



Was it the gaining of knowledge and the desire to improve ones condition?  It might have been chilly and Adam was getting the wrong signals from Eve when all she wanted was a jacket.



Was it civil disobedience?  Children are supposed to break rules, it's the only way they are going to learn.



Was it the consumption of a food meant only for a God?  And if God didn't want anyone to touch it, why the frick did he put it there in the first place?  He was asking for trouble, a sensible person doesn't keep their wallet on the front lawn, they put it away in a drawer, where people can't be tempted to touch it.  Out of sight out of mind, I mean, the guy is supposed to be all knowing, he's quite stupid on the subject of home security.



Was it the drug taking?  Eve must have been snacking on some magic mushrooms in order to chat with a snake and take its advice.



Was it the peer pressure?  Adam could have made his own decision and not taken a bite, no one forced him to chomp on that fruit.

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

29/10/2005 06:39 GMT

I am no theologian - in theory or practice, but I have done some Bible Study throughout my life (intermitantly!). The fruit from the tree (forbidden) is a metaphor.



1) By taking it we have questioned and gone against God's law.

2) It can symbolise the 'fruit of knowledege' - that we were innocent in the Garden of Eden until we chose to question God's authority/knowledge and started to find things out for ourselves.

3) Sex can be implied with food. Perhaps the fruit was a symbol of desire and the 'snake'.....well, Eve was tempted by it. Just use your imagination for the symbolic imagery that that conjures up.



Original sin is scary - according to my Pastor we are all born with it and our entire mortal existence is polluted with it. The whole Eartth has been corrupted by it. When we had Eden (Paradise) there was no imperfection. There was no sex. No disease. No want. Just eternal contentment in paradise. Such things are alien to us because we question (and that's part of being a sinner - God is the answer and in Eden he held all things in harmony and there was no need to think at all), we want things, we have our own ideas about what is good and evil. Our whole existence as we know it is completely alien to Heaven - nad the only waty to access the eternal truth of the afterlife is through accepting Jesus into your life and  understanding that you are a sinful person and that the Earth is being run by Satan.



Yuk!!!!!!

I can't believe I even gave up the time to write all that. Especialluy when I have a Year 12 Philosophy curriculum to compose!!!!!



To be honest, I still get very nervous when it comes to who is right: man, God, Buddha, etc. People say its a leap of faith, that we all should listen to our inner voice when it comes to such matters.

Oh dear.

I used to beieve that we make life for ourselves and that one day we would achieve our ultimate form of existence (much like the Arthur C. Clarke "Childhood's End" concept), but life experiences such as teaching in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, depression and watching some one I loved die from Cancer changed all that.

Zen is still my personal favourie, but my entire family is Christian.



Zen Nuddhism is also the most prferred spirituality for most scientists (but they're heretics, remember - God is the truth, and evolution is an evil fallacy designed to distract us from the truth of the Lord God).



This really worries me, and it always has.

Could you look God in the eye and say he was wrong????



 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

31/10/2005 00:54 GMT


Jimmy date=29/10/2005 16:09 :



Original sin is scary - according to my Pastor we are all born with it and our entire mortal existence is polluted with it. The whole Eartth has been corrupted by it. When we had Eden (Paradise) there was no imperfection. There was no sex. No disease. No want. Just eternal contentment in paradise. Such things are alien to us because we question (and that's part of being a sinner - God is the answer and in Eden he held all things in harmony and there was no need to think at all), we want things, we have our own ideas about what is good and evil. Our whole existence as we know it is completely alien to Heaven - nad the only waty to access the eternal truth of the afterlife is through accepting Jesus into your life and  understanding that you are a sinful person and that the Earth is being run by Satan.





You mentioned that Sex was a no-no in Eden, however this goes against Gods instructions of "Go Forth & Multiply"  Bit hard without a little of the way, he hey, and a bit of rabbit fun......


Never settle with words when a flamethrower is so much more fun ...
 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

04/11/2005 08:20 GMT

I'm stuck.



Can't remember - was there sex in Eden?????

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

04/11/2005 12:42 GMT

This has all got way too cerebral.



To quote Mr. Gumby:

"My brain hurts!"

 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

04/11/2005 22:13 GMT


Jimmy date=04/11/2005 23:12 :



To quote Mr. Gumby:

"My brain hurts!"




It'll have to come out....


Never settle with words when a flamethrower is so much more fun ...
 
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Subject:  Re: Subtexts, education and sci fi - let's communicate!

08/11/2005 09:42 GMT

Yes, I could look God in the eye and say “stuff ya”.



The bible is full of pain, torment, cruelness to animals and children, death and destruction. And from the little I read of the Koran, it's not far from it either.  Buddhist teachings seem to say 'be nice and the rest will happen'.



I'm not promoting Buddhism.  I actually believe wholly in the faith of “keep thy religion to thyself”, makes sense and no one gets their nose put out of joint.



Now, if God wanted us to be mindless followers, then he shouldn't have given us minds with which to think and explore.  So, really, he was just digging his own grave.  If, in Eden, there was no sex, no disease and no want, then also there would only be Adam and Eve and no one else (except Lillith who left pregnant with Adams child and already throws out the “no sex” taboo in Eden).



So, where does life come from in Eden, “no sex” means no baby rabbits, kittens, puppies, flowers (plants have sex too), goslings, lambies, calves etc.



And why bother creating male and female if you don't want them to procreate?

 

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