Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monkey gone to Heaven

Well i was finally able to finish up Adam Curtis's All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace.  My thoughts on the piece as a whole is it was good but not a solid as his other work.  It also has a problem in not having a solid wrap up, this is an issue I have with Curtis.  He seems to let his point be implied rather than directly getting at it.

Also It seems that he was coming out against the "Selfish gene" theory, he could have supported this better.  The theory generally is that we are not  individually important but are collectively working to pass our common genes.  Selflessness is also an act to help those with similar genes and conflict worked to hurt those with dissimilar genes.  It seems the Tutsi and Hutu group conflict was manufactured and was actually a group of people with the same genes in conflict.  Mr. Curtis also has mentioned a study in south America in a previous show.  Some researcher took apart a video of a violent conflict between tribal groups.  He claimed those with closers relations sided with each other.  In Fact it was proven to just be a conflict between the haves and have nots after several other researchers reviewed the film.

Also while the show tackles altruism it doesn't seem to address another human ideal that challenged the selfish gene theory, that being justice.  Justice seems to be a large driving force in political environments and is often the source or justification of revolutionary forces.  When you boil fairness down to its base elements it in no way helps the genes.  Rather it works against the selfish gene.

I would liked if Curtis would have addressed the social implications of accepting that we are machines.  That was the original thought that excited me about the series.  I think there is much that could be done with philosophy of loss of self in groups.  There could be another episode just in that. Lack of personal accountability and the desire to accept modes of life that have historically been viewed as less evolved.  I could see Kierkegaard and Heidegger being talked about significantly.

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