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Hollywood vs. Science

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posted on Feb, 26 2014 @ 11:15 PM
Who would have thought that the greatest and most insidious dichotomy existing today is not liberals verses conservatives, or republicans verses democrats, but rather, it is the excess individualism of post-modernism - and it's relativistic attitudes - projected into society via hollywood, verses what science i.e the fields of cultural and evolutionary anthropology, developmental psychology, and the social sciences, have to say about healthy human development.

I think the brain is a good metaphor for culture, since the people who make up and affect culture are really just bodies with brains. The Human Brain is made up of two hemispheres. These two hemispheres are so different from one another, that they are really "two brains" within one skull. These two brains frame the world for us in two, asymmetrically (like their structure) ways. These differences aren't one of grade - it isn't merely a difference of function, but rather, a difference of being. The Right hemisphere and left hemisphere mediate a DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE OF RELATING WITH OUR ENVIRONMENTS.

In the last 100 hundred years, we have discovered quite a bit about the differences between the hemispheres, so much so that we can now generally say that both hemispheres perform different aspects of what goes into creating a "complete perception". While all parts of the brain are active in every brain state, certain states are lateralized to one side of the brain moreso than the other. For example, people with lesions on the left side of their temporal lobe will have trouble picking up details - whether in a scene, an environment, a book. They'll see the contextual picture, but they will have trouble noting the subtleties and differences.

Stated plainly, the right brain focused more on context: it is EXPERIENCE ITSELF. Whereas the left brain abstracts from what is experienced and present in the context (the right brain) and re-presents it in a detailed and informative way.

Back to the issue of hollywood verses science. It is a bit of a paradox that science, which uses the left brain to understand the world, is actually thinking more clearly with regard to the complete picture (the whole - the context - the right brain) whereas hollywood, which is all about art and emotion (a right brain approach) essentially ignores context while overvaluating individual expression.

There is a basic dichotomy, an intractable conflict, between what the above sciences are trying to accomplish, and what hollywood is obsessively interested in. Anthropology, for example, by studying human societies, and the human creature in it's evolutionary context, is able to pin-point and make sense for us what conditions are truly best for human flourishing. For example: we can all agree - or should agree - that happiness is good. This is what we mean by "the common good". How can we maximize this common good - which means, how can we overcome the suffering that still exists in this world? Anthropology has identified an answer to that question by studying the various forms of human societies through our evolutionary history. The ideal arrangement is: small-band hunter-gatherer units. In other words, the truly best way of relating is not even found in any of the city-states or kingdoms, nations, etc, that have come into being over the last 6000 years. In fact, with civilization - as the bible accurately points out - came a loss of innocence. We need to go back to an early construct - of course, reconciled with our day and age - to really discover a truly healthy human society.

Developmental psychology and the social sciences work hand in hand. Since what happens in society, in effect, regulate how mothers relate with their infants, both subjects should be discussed together. In any case, attachment theory and relational theories have provided highly persuasive evidences for what goes into creating a secure human being. We learn how to be in this world from how our mothers - or primary caregiver - relates with us. At such an early age, we learn this primarily through right-brain communications: that is, how our mother looks at us, speaks to us, and attunes to us. In short, were programmed early on by the first relationships we establish in life. If this isn't a testament to the power of relationships i.e. the influence of the context, I don't know what is.

Because each of us learn the world this way, and in turn, enter the world, largely with the program our parents built into us, culture in effect becomes a "meta-regulator" of how we relate, how our children are raised, etc. Do you see the feedback loop here? A single individuals influence over the life of a new individual is great (with little variation, although some people are less malleable than others), and the entire process - the entire culture - insidiously holds and reenforces these ways of being with one another.

Hollywood, which I take to be an umbrella term for "media" - whether that be the Video game industry, movie industry, television industry, music industry etc - is grossly ignorant and uncaring about the context human beings find themselves in. It completely fixates on the superficial - on fantasies - any and all fantasies, regardless of the type or quality of the fantasy, indolent about the ethics of the fantasy - it'll let itself fantasize all day - indifferent about HOW IT AFFECTS THE PSYCHOLOGY i.e unconscious emotional dynamics - of the people who are viewing this material.

Hollywood are the quintessential hypocrites of the world. They're all talk, no walk. How many of them are democrats who support "obama care"? Or levelling out the pie? And yet look at their ostentatious life-styles, ornate salaries, and career choices? The problem is, not that they aren't sincere: many of them are. But rather, they don't recognize the intrinsic conflict in their philosophy. There's an antinomianism in hollywood that puts the individual - and what it wants - above that of the good of the community. Everyday we see this in the myriad fantasies in our media. Just the other day, while at the theater, I saw a preview for one movie called "divergent", and another one called "the purge". The first movie is all about "being different" for the sake of being different - no qualifications, of course. The second, even more obscene, is set in a world where one day a year, people get to kill one another - a purge. Again, just deranged, wasteful, and socially destructive entertainment.

Am I against individualism? No! Everyone is unique. However, just as the right brain, our right hemisphere, takes in information hundreds of milliseconds before our left brain even becomes aware; just as our right brain is truly guiding the show - truly the MASTER of what we are aware of, and what we pay attention to: in the same way, community, society, and relationships, should take precedence to the desires of individuals.

It would be pretty retarded and a sign of our still great immaturity to not recognize how an unrestricted individualism is the left brain gone haywire - ignoring the input of the right brain, of the context, of the fact of how humans being function in relationships.

Still, our society is mostly controlled by hollywoods influence. That said, hollywood can do good. Some movies are genuinely great, and it is not art that I'm criticizing, but the over-extension of art into zones which have culturally damaging effects.


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