Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dumb and Dumber

Yesterday I watched the movie The Invasion. Without giving too much away, it does have some similar traits with Demolition Man and Equilibrium. All rather different movies, but all imagining a dumbed-down society where people aren't as emotive.
The idea is to suppress traces of animal instincts from humans for the goodness of the society.
This isn't too far fetched, if one, for example compares an Italian from Sicily and a Japanese from Tokyo (two very extremes). They are, on average, two very different kind of people, yet humans capable of the same tasks. (though I can't say that Japanese are not emotive as they have their own outlets (usually at drinking time) and are a lot more open about crying).

Culture is certainly the principal reason for such different behaviors and approach to society building, but one has to wonder whether there are biological traits that influence all this.
For example, I was born and raised in Italy, but I never found it easy to fit in the Italian lifestyle. Now, I don't think Japanese society as is really suits me, it certainly works better than the Italian one. It's not uncommon to find a better home in a different country, though still fairly rare.

Of course, finding the right balance is the problem. Too mild mannered, too cold and creativity may drop, but when moods heat up, crime, drama and, ultimately, wars can come to place.

Overall, the current situation is not so bad. Geographical distances still work well as insulators: conflicts in middle east will just never end and I don't care as much, because I sit comfortably in Japan while some other very dramatic and scarred societies fight to the end.
Same goes for Italy, I live my life here and almost hope for Italy to reach the bottom. No wars there, but a very polarized society. Polarized by politics, soccer and racial tension more recently (for the past 10-15 years).

So, where exactly is the balance between free-riding animal instincts and total suppression of emotions ? I don't really know. But I think that it's currently safer to err on the mild side and live and act less like an angry reptilian on steroids.
I can only hope for everyone to commit their own mistakes as quickly as possible:
  • Middle east is hopeless, I truly can't see a way out. They need hundreds of years.
  • Political corruption and general broken democracy has some hope with the Internet (as long as Google doesn't start siding with classical media). USA starting to lead forward after touching the bottom with W. Bush and Diebold.
  • Corruption, short sightedness, lack of altruism and racial tension, those are more difficult. Though close to politics, they can't just be enforced (leading to a police state instead), they have to come from everyone's basic understanding (indoctrination ? (^^;)).. as it's too much of a cultural issue.
I've always had a passion for the future. The future is always bright.. if one can see far enough. At the same time I've always hoped to have been born a few hundred (or thousands ?) years into the future. It's just too bad that AI turned out to be such bollocks.. we going to be stuck with ourselves for a while.
Must keep those brain cells going !!


  1. "I've always had a passion for the future. The future is always bright.. if one can see far enough. At the same time I've always hoped to have been born a few hundred (or thousands ?) years into the future"

    Exactly my thoughts. I'm really bothered by human's short lifespan. I think people's commitment to build a better world are extremelly hindered by that fact. You might care about the world while you are young, but what's the point if you'll be gone in a few decades only for others to enjoy.

  2. The Invasion is nothing more than a remake of "Invasion of the body snatchers" the lack of emotions is a side effect of being infected with the "alien" parasite, not really the aspect on which the movie is pivoting around.

    I admit that they let you see a peaceful world because of the sudden lack of emotions, but it is something on the side.

    Anyway the conflict in the middle east will never end, but I think the western society will collapse trying to "integrate"/"respect" the muslims.

    Just look at the hysteria at being politically correct at all costs...

  3. Brian,
    I'm not sure how the standard brain would cope with living so long.. at one point one can only start forgetting a lot of things.. or maybe just have too much to remember 8)
    Also car accidents would be extra dramatic, for example !

    I was sort of trying not to give out too much ;)
    I actually think that the movie ultimately was trying to show about lack of emotion being both a good and bad thing, because the alien question wasn't really developed. In fact, I think it could easily have been a zombie movie.. like "28 days later", only not as violent (^^;)

  4. "I was sort of trying not to give out too much ;)"

    Don't worry, people know it is a shitty movie.
    BTW it went under a heavy rewrite and a change of director...

  5. Freddy,
    It was ok for me.. I guess Nicole Kidman helped ;)
    Though I'm getting tired of the "gotta go inside the lair to find my daughter/darling" plot device. ..just save your ass and get over with it !

    ohhh I have to see that one.. provided that i can rent it with japanese subs (-_-)

  6. I've seen Idiocracy. As a movie itself I think it is not that funny(because I'm not american and I cannot get all the references to their culture).

    As a concept it works very well and after all it shows what is really going on over there.