Runboard.com
Слава Україні!
Cinemaseekers.com Message Board - Cinemaseekers Forum THE TRUTH ABOUT CINEMA

CINEMASEEKERS FORUM

This forum is meant to be an extension of the themes and concerns of our website. Please keep the focus on spirituality, philosophy and cinema. Thank you!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this forum are the sole responsibility of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the owners of this website (except in postings by the owners themselves under "cinemaseekers" or "questers".)

runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)

Page:  1  2 

 
visitor99 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 20
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Chris Kelvin


“What I mean is that art needs a culture to draw from. Spiritual art especially needs this. And we live with a great poverty of culture in America, and I am sure this holds true to a lesser extent in Europe. The new generations are raised on bad tv, video games, recent movies, recent pop music. Spirituality, values and morals are either at rock bottom or in a state of mass flux”. - Matthew Dickinson


I believe humanity is poisoning himself with this rise of consuming and materialistic way of thinking (I will come to that later) and living.
When I studied in filmschool there I think was always the same problem. Here in Europe a lot of people have lost their roots. They are all brainwashed by American films and culture(?) that they begin to live and think like that. In filmschool they all wanted to make commercial and entertaining films: they were all fans of Scorsese, Tarantino,..... If you showed them a film by Carl Theodor Dreyer they ran away: they found it so boring. I don’t know if Europe suffers to a lesser extent from a poverty of culture. I think it’s more or less the same if you compare this with America. I live in Belgium and the little films they make here are so influenced by American films or culture it’s tragic. We need to find our roots again. So in order to find this, and I experienced this myself, is to look into oneself and to listen to your heart and soul. To confront yourself and question life and everything we take for granted.

Off course there is this hunger for spirituality but I think people don’t need to search for it so desperatly. I think it’s more important to find inner peace than to “shop” for some religion and hope to find some satisfaction. The origin of Spiritual Art and Culture lies in the soul of man. So what I’m saying is that humanity has lost this contact with their souls, with their own spiritual life. I see ‘spirituality” as a deeper way of experiencing life. It doesn’t have anything to do with a religion or God. I think it’s impossible to have this collective vision of what spiritual life really is. The solution doesn’t lie in a collective conciousness.


“Without a deep, enriching spiritual well to draw from, new artists will not arise, or will not be properly formed, and the art appreciators - the audiences and the critics - will find little common ground to share their experiences in”. - Matthew Dickinson


I can say with great happiness that there is already a rebirth of Spirtiuality in cinema. Here in Europe (but I notice this is also happening in other part of the world: Russia, Mexico,... I don’t know about America) there is this new generation of artist (they are still few and I don’t know if they are aware of eachother) who make films or other art about spirituality and questions this modern way of living and thinking. It’s the first generation that has grown up with this extreme consumersociety: they question life that hasn’t got a culture of the soul. It comes from spiritual hunger that lies within themselves and this spiritual well and this common ground that you talk about is their soul. I think if people could be awakened through art or by their own strenghts they could find this connection with other people as well. What is the value of life in a society where the only thing that counts is money and profit? Even the production of our daily food. What is the value of a human being that has put himself in this continuous circle of making money and consuming that he forgets to live? Those are the important questions of our time.

“What bothers me is the inability for the whole country to be exposed to great art now.” – Matthew Dickinson


I think this is the biggest problem of all. There is this spiritual need and I believe a lot of people can be awakend through art or artfilm. It’s just so hard to find these films. The reason lies in the fact that great art isn’t profitable!?!. But there’s also a problem with the audience (I’ll come to that later). I think for art cinema to survive, the artist has to take the responsibility to reconnect with the audience. He must do this by using the system. The artist is responsible for the spiritual awakening of the audience.

“Will the need for human thought and spirituality be needed in the future? Can this be programmed (or can a machine program another machine to do this)?” – Matthew Dickinson


The future of humanity doesn’t lie in these calculative machines but in the soul of man. This is very important because I think this is the whole problem with humanity.
Our whole civilisation is based on calculative thinking: that is its illusion. We believe we can calculate everything: time, how fast we can do something, in sport, in science, production, consumption, percentages, how much something costs, counting, how much something weighs, profit, succes, speed, temperature, statistics, worldrecords, the Down Jones, how late we get up in the morning,........ Think about it. It’s all calculated. We even believe that if we put a murderer in jail that the crime is solved. You don’t take away crime by doing this.
What I believe in, is the opposite of calculative thinking. Contemplative thinking: Thinking in images, with our eyes. To experience the world and to understand it. The truth lies in the way we see things. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote a book about it. He believes that the crisis that western man has created for himself is because of his way of thinking.
I believe the future of humanity lies in this contemplative way of thinking. We need to give meaning to the world by what we see. In essence this way of thinking, that is also practised by Tarkovsky or Leonardo da Vinci, is essential to film. So I believe that we can awaken people on a spritual level through films that show the world in images. Off course this is not easy. One has to have a great respect for reality and has to capture it with great serenity. Even great neutrality. “If the camera runs long enough reality as we know it will break and a new reality that lies beneath the surface of things will arise and the camera will capture this. “André Bazin”.
I think that’s were the future of humanity lies if they want to be spiritual awaken: to change the way people think (calculative thinking) and to let them become aware of this realty that lies behind the surface of things, wich I think is in essence a spiritual one. And film is capable of doing this because these images and sounds who are true will go directly to the soul of man. So again I think an artist has this great responsibility to connect with the audience. He has to take the first step by using the system little by little and so changing it. Filling the gap between audience and artfilm. One can’t forget people are still conditioned by this calculative way of thinking and by these easy mainstreamfilms they make today.

Chris - Kelvin
9/28/2003, 8:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to visitor99   Send PM to visitor99
 
visitor99 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 20
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Matthew


"I believe humanity is poisoning himself with this rise of consuming and materialistic way of thinking (I will come to that later) and living.
When I studied in filmschool there I think was always the same problem. Here in Europe a lot of people have lost their roots. They are all brainwashed by American films and culture(?) that they begin to live and think like that. In filmschool they all wanted to make commercial and entertaining films: they were all fans of Scorsese, Tarantino,..... If you showed them a film by Carl Theodor Dreyer they ran away: they found it so boring. I don’t know if Europe suffers to a lesser extent from a poverty of culture. I think it’s more or less the same if you compare this with America. I live in Belgium and the little films they make here are so influenced by American films or culture it’s tragic. We need to find our roots again. So in order to find this, and I experienced this myself, is to look into oneself and to listen to your heart and soul. To confront yourself and question life and everything we take for granted."

I've grown up in a crass, ugly, drab world and I know little different. I do not mean that I grew up in poverty or in city slums, but Georgian suburbs. There have been, of course, many opportunities handed to me to escape this place and I will sometime when I feel a real urge to. But increasingly, I think, those that are naturally inclined towards spirituality and beauty will find these satisfaction from media art, like magazines and tv, and possibly inheritance of beautiful possessions from their family, something which has become rare. What's interesting to me are the millions who obsess over various images, sounds, snatches of music and so forth from their childhood. They're stuck with these childhood and adolescent fixations, unable to move beyond Nirvana, Transformers, Kate Moss, Tim Burton, The Matrix, The Simpsons, Seinfeld, etc. The attachments to such things of little lasting value is difficult to disengage and the standards get lower and lower. I suppose the internet, if it replaces tv and the theater, may revolutionize this developmental pattern in unexpected ways, though.

We're talking about such age-old problems though, money and the like. I certainly have no answers here.

"Off course there is this hunger for spirituality but I think people don’t need to search for it so desperatly. I think it’s more important to find inner peace than to “shop” for some religion and hope to find some satisfaction. The origin of Spiritual Art and Culture lies in the soul of man. So what I’m saying is that humanity has lost this contact with their souls, with their own spiritual life. I see ‘spirituality” as a deeper way of experiencing life. It doesn’t have anything to do with a religion or God. I think it’s impossible to have this collective vision of what spiritual life really is. The solution doesn’t lie in a collective conciousness."

I disagree. I realize in European history there has long been a strong inner striving towards individual spirituality, especially in artistic realms, which I see as much less prevalent in the rest of the world. But the social or collective side of the soul refuses to die and I do not think we could even genetically engineer it out of us. To some degree collective activity is extremely important, and our present popular forms of it - parties, city streets, local businesses, churches, raves, concerts, etc - do not do this sphere of life justice. Things could be better here. They need to be. It's not really hard to imagine more ideal situations here and many have been tried without much success. Americans are difficult for any revolutionary to engage on group levels.

I see us fragmenting further and further into like-meets-like groups, often of very small numbers with few really deeply shared convictions about life and spirituality. Slackers, idiots, delinquents, junkies, eccentrics, would-be artists, would-be poets, know-nothings, and bores. emoticon I suppose I'm thinking mainly of white people, though. I can't speak for the rest. I've never felt able to understand other races or peoples very well, despite what I was raised to believe. Maybe I do not have the imagination.

"I can say with great happiness that there is already a rebirth of Spirtiuality in cinema. Here in Europe (but I notice this is also happening in other part of the world: Russia, Mexico,... I don’t know about America) there is this new generation of artist (they are still few and I don’t know if they are aware of eachother) who make films or other art about spirituality and questions this modern way of living and thinking. It’s the first generation that has grown up with this extreme consumersociety: they question life that hasn’t got a culture of the soul. It comes from spiritual hunger that lies within themselves and this spiritual well and this common ground that you talk about is their soul. I think if people could be awakened through art or by their own strenghts they could find this connection with other people as well. What is the value of life in a society where the only thing that counts is money and profit? Even the production of our daily food. What is the value of a human being that has put himself in this continuous circle of making money and consuming that he forgets to live? Those are the important questions of our time."

Yeah. Certainly most people I can think of will publicly agree that the extremes of consumerism, materialism, capitalism... are in direct conflict with a moral or ethically lived life. But it is generally lip-service, and I have always been unimpressed with the underground movements in America of hippies, punk rock, anarchists, zine-ists, modern artists of all types, internet artists and internet revolutionaries and internet counter cultures, all of this stuff. It doesn't impress me. I want to see 90% of the country thinking and acting in what would be now looked as appalling levels of conformity and "selling out." I don't care what fascist or socialist or communist images these words immediately evoke. I instead see images of pre-industrial society, of something much more obviously in sync with the way of life our genes are evolved for. And I do not care about "noble savage" myths either. This transcends such things.

"I think this is the biggest problem of all. There is this spiritual need and I believe a lot of people can be awakend through art or artfilm. It’s just so hard to find these films. The reason lies in the fact that great art isn’t profitable!?!. But there’s also a problem with the audience (I’ll come to that later). I think for art cinema to survive, the artist has to take the responsibility to reconnect with the audience. He must do this by using the system. The artist is responsible for the spiritual awakening of the audience."

I am too "pessimistic" or realistic to put much faith in art alone saving us. I don't know that any work of art has had a significantly direct effect on a culture at large. I do not know what it will take to make things better and I quickly tire at the thought, especially considering the thousands of books and articles written about just this in the past hundred years. We could be doomed to repeat history even if we choose to remember it. A second coming of Christ or an equivalent spiritual revolutionary, a genetic engineering revolution (somewhat likely), an artificially intelligent and robotic revolution (more likely), a natural or political disaster of some sort (plague, bio-terrorism, nuclear warfare), a globalized political revolution, the human or robotic colonization of other worlds... all of these seem like much more likely near-enough realities that will effect much bigger changes, much faster than a revolution in art. Or spirituality.

Of those I'm most hopeful (if that's the word because I am equally frightened by these thoughts) about artificial intelligence and robots. Exploring these realms may not require the destruction of mankind, genetically or culturally. They could be potentially superior to us in many ways if we can imagine it and it eliminates the frightful prospect of eugenics, something which may now never leave us. New Scientist recently reported that a scientist has recently claimed to have successfully cloned a human embryo and that it is ready for insertion in a woman. And my cousin's wife just had triplets very prematurely and they are living at about 2 pounds each on special life-sustaining equipment that simulates the human womb. I remember reading an article about crude experimental technology that allowed an ape to control a game of Pac-Man with his mind/thoughts only. No joystick or gamepad or physical buttons required. Etc.

"The future of humanity doesn’t lie in these calculative machines but in the soul of man."

When we create perfect clones, recreations and virtual simulations of humans there is no known way, as far as I know, to tell the difference. I have a vague hope that someone will eventually prove unequivocably that consciousness cannot exist except in brains of physical substance similar to our own, instead of, say, silicon substance. Sure, though, the illusion that AI is conscious, feeling, having a soul and so forth will no doubt be perfected and there will always be those who take the Turing Test viewpoint and I don't know what to say to those people, because to me such insistent lack of empathy and faith in the human soul and Something Higher than Man that seems inherent in them makes me think of them as "philosophical zombies" or automatons myself.

"This is very important because I think this is the whole problem with humanity.
Our whole civilisation is based on calculative thinking: that is its illusion. We believe we can calculate everything: time, how fast we can do something, in sport, in science, production, consumption, percentages, how much something costs, counting, how much something weighs, profit, succes, speed, temperature, statistics, worldrecords, the Down Jones, how late we get up in the morning,........ Think about it. It’s all calculated. We even believe that if we put a murderer in jail that the crime is solved. You don’t take away crime by doing this.
What I believe in, is the opposite of calculative thinking."

This is certainly true, our mathethical thinking, however crude for most of us, seems to really have pervaded things. The use of complex technologies like computers, telephones, cell phones, and especially computers has surely spurred the over-development of this kind of consciousness. To me it is the very meaning of the title of Bresson's second to last film "The Devil, Probably." As in: "Yes, statistically it's likely the devil (or something unfathomable) is behind this mess this world is now in. The scientists probably know better about this than we do."

"Contemplative thinking: Thinking in images, with our eyes. To experience the world and to understand it. The truth lies in the way we see things. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote a book about it. He believes that the crisis that western man has created for himself is because of his way of thinking."

Probably. emoticon

I do have a certain amount of faith that this kind of thinking or consciousness is an inevitable effect of the rise and exploration of technology, perhaps the only proveable, consistent unit of measurement of "progress" for mankind. In that sense, I honestly hope that we may send a David Bowman ("2001: A Space Odyssey") beyond the outer limits of our physical, intellectual and spiritual knowledge into the realms of the beyond - Beyond the Infinite - and into the territory of something higher than us. Whether or not this brings about a transformation for mankind - a melding of species or minds in the form of a Starchild - may be irrelevent. It's the odyssey that matters, the everlasting achievement for man.

"I believe the future of humanity lies in this contemplative way of thinking. We need to give meaning to the world by what we see. In essence this way of thinking, that is also practised by Tarkovsky or Leonardo da Vinci, is essential to film. So I believe that we can awaken people on a spritual level through films that show the world in images. Off course this is not easy. One has to have a great respect for reality and has to capture it with great serenity. Even great neutrality. “If the camera runs long enough reality as we know it will break and a new reality that lies beneath the surface of things will arise and the camera will capture this. “André Bazin”.
I think that’s were the future of humanity lies if they want to be spiritual awaken: to change the way people think (calculative thinking) and to let them become aware of this realty that lies behind the surface of things, wich I think is in essence a spiritual one. And film is capable of doing this because these images and sounds who are true will go directly to the soul of man. So again I think an artist has this great responsibility to connect with the audience. He has to take the first step by using the system little by little and so changing it. Filling the gap between audience and artfilm. One can’t forget people are still conditioned by this calculative way of thinking and by these easy mainstreamfilms they make today.

Chris - Kelvin"

Perhaps the future lies in a balance of the two realms. Da Vinci epitomizes this to me. Did he not also see us from a very mechanical perspective?

Matthew
9/28/2003, 8:20 pm Link to this post Send Email to visitor99   Send PM to visitor99
 
visitor99 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 20
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Chris Kelvin


For me it's hard to imagine that a spiritual revolution or uprise will be achieved through science.

Chris.
9/28/2003, 8:25 pm Link to this post Send Email to visitor99   Send PM to visitor99
 
visitor99 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 20
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Matthew


Would you say the advance of science and technology strongly correlates with the fall of spirituality? Or are they more like two sides of life that have little to do with each other?

One thing I do not understand: has there ever been a people who were fully successful in their spirituality, who adhered to their beliefs exceptionally? If the answer is no, why hope that anyone could ever reach such heights? Or is it, as I suspect, the striving and seeking itself that is what's important?

I do not understand what constitutes a spiritual life. The ascetic or sainthood route is my first guess.

I'm wary of talks about "spirituality"; it's a word used so loosely now that its meaning is rather vague.

Matthew
9/28/2003, 8:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to visitor99   Send PM to visitor99
 
visitor99 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 20
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Chris Kelvin


“Maturity of the spirit, however, must not be confused with knowledge acquired by learning, but you must always bear in mind that being “spiritual” is the same as having “deep inner feeling”.” ABD-RU-SHIN


I think that science and spirituality have very little to do with eachother. It are two different kinds of thinking or feeling. The need for spirituality is born from the soul of man. It doesn’t lie anywhere else. The key for spiritual life lies in man itself, in his inner being. You can’t search for it on the outside.

Spirituality is a way of living. It has a lot to with with sainthood: Feeling one with nature, forgive people, try to understand them, don’t judge people, do good for others, in essence it is love: love for humanity, for life. This is something that every single person must achieve by himself (see “the spiritual void”). People have to trust their intuition and try to feel what they experience and so give meaning to life. Insight and peace will follow. It is a you said the road we take that is important, not the goal itself.

I’m certainly convinced that kapitalism, materialism and our consumercivilisation are the main causes of this spiritual downfall we experience today. But on the other hand that’s also a good thing because more and more people are getting aware they have this spiritual longing. They only search in the wrong places.

What has art (and film) got to do with this?
I think art has the capability to awaken people, because true art is born from the soul. Art has to get rid of vanity and falsity.


Chris - Kelvin
9/28/2003, 8:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to visitor99   Send PM to visitor99
 
visitor99 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 20
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Matthew


It's quite difficult now to think of these things in non-mechanistic ways. A recent book titled "The End of the Soul" by Jennifer Hecht chronicles, in part, a fascinating chunk of history I wasn't previously aware of:

"On October 19, 1876 a group of leading French citizens, both men and women included, joined together to form an unusual group, The Society of Mutual Autopsy, with the aim of proving that souls do not exist. The idea was that, after death, they would dissect each other and (hopefully) show a direct relationship between brain shapes and sizes and the character, abilities and intelligence of individuals. This strange scientific pact, and indeed what we have come to think of as anthropology, which the group's members helped to develop, had its genesis in aggressive, evangelical atheism."

Such views are still, of course, prevalent today. Quantify the soul or the inner spirit of man, bottle it up, give it a price tag and make millions. I try to be respectful here and not argue too aggressively my mostly skeptical views of these matters, but I assume they shine through without my trying. It is true that every aspect of the human mind (or of "mankind" generically) is found in the brain and that without the brain, this totally physical organ, one cannot experience or know anything, even the "deep inner feeling." So, from that perspective, I've trouble reconciling these cold hard facts with the "ancient spiritual wisdom" of man. That the concept of the soul in some form or another appears to be a universal does suggest that no matter what our knowledge of the physical world (and our brains) we will still fall back on these archaic (or immortal, depending on your view) beliefs in order to make sense of the world, to believe in it, to feel alive.

I agree that capitalism, materialism and the consumer civilization has led to the downfall of spirituality, but obviously technological advances spurred progress in these areas and the two domains are I think inextricably linked. This suggests that more primitive ways of life free the dams of spirituality and religious convictions and feelings. Should we go back? Can we?

As said earlier, I have great hopes for a kind of spiritual rebirth for mankind WITHIN our machines, our articially intelligent creations; beings which could conceivably be an improvement on man, his sinful, damned nature (a concept not unique to Jews and Christians) subtracted. This would require hitherto never before seen levels of humility on humanity's part. Ironically, however, I see this rush towards the crunch period in science and technological exploration as requiring a suppressing (or ignoring) of our religious selves in order to place faith in our cold, non-spiritual machines; the closer we get to recreating ourselves through articial means, the more articial we ourselves have to live. Were we to somehow extract a man from the middle ages and show him our technological wonders, no doubt he'd find them incredible and magical, but he'd surely not enjoy using them to the extent we do - he'd feel a growing void inside him if he did.

Matthew


9/28/2003, 8:31 pm Link to this post Send Email to visitor99   Send PM to visitor99
 
visitor99 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 20
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Chris Kelvin


I agree that all things we feel has also a physical explanation of the body and brain. But I think you shouldn’t see the soul and body (brain) as two different things. The soul and body are one and they serve eachother. A feeling like for example “joy”? Where does it come from? Is it caused in the brain? On a pure physical level yes, but first something must be experienced: there must be input from the outside that is captured through the soul. Some people can capture this better than others. It has to do with their sensitivity toward things.

If a soul doesn’t exist how do you explain spiritual art?

I am not saying I don’t agree with you when you believe in a spiritual rebirth for mankind within machines and artificial intelligent creations. I obviously don’t know. When I see a film like “A.I.” it’s true that the artificial machines in this film are more sensitive than humans. But is it possible for a machine to have a soul? Isn’t everything these machines do programmed (and therefore limited)? Can you program a soul into an artificial machine? Can a machine feel? Can a machine experience things emotionally?

If this is possible I agree with you that mankind may not ignore their spiritual selves in doing this.

Chris - Kelvin

9/28/2003, 8:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to visitor99   Send PM to visitor99
 
visitor99 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 20
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Matthew


I hesistate using the term "soul" because it is difficult to pin down. The great mystery of "why are we here?" could be put in modern terms as "why are we conscious?" We know of no function for consciousness. There is no survival value and it is unnecessary for our or the universe's physical existence. It is conceivable that humans (or robots) could exist that, from an outside observer (such as another human), looks, sounds, and feels alive and conscious without actually being conscious. His behavior seems perfectly normal but he experiences nothing, no feelings, no thoughts, nothing going on inside subjectively. Yet it is our instinct to believe all human beings (at least those that are accepted as being of the same kind) feel and experience life like we do, and some of our greatest joys occurs in loving others while receiving their love in return. This to me is the best argument the existence of a creator and a purposiveful life of some kind. The universe and its inhabitants could have evolved and behaved exactly as ours have so far without consciousness, and yet we have it, which in itself raises the question of why we have it, as it is the very thing which allows for meaning and understanding.

Thus, a "soul" has something to do with this subjective experiential side of existence, but mechanisically it could be conceived that humans without consciousness (or androids, perhaps) could create spiritual art and live a spiritual life just as well as one with consciousness. This is a disturbing thing. Will we ever discover a way to objectively determine whether other human beings are conscious, or will this always be a matter of faith? This probably would not be an issue if it weren't for the need to determine whether our artificial creations, of which we are already habitually putting our faith in, are conscious. Can anything formed out of silicon, for instance, achieve consciousness, even if its behavior certainly seems to indicate it does? I've never agreed with the Turing Test argument. However, if we were to create a robot who was just as loving as any human yet were unable to determine whether it was conscious, would we still feel it morally neutral to destroy it? The film "A.I." seems to argue that humanity's very best attributes - selfless love for others - could in the end be our downfall. And who's to say whether there is no more than one type of physical structuring of consciousness? What really fascinates me in this movie is the mystery of whether David is conscious (it is never answered, though certainly raised) - he's hardly less mechanical than we are, yet the less advanced robots we see, which are obviously more "mechanical," we intuitively judge to be devoid of consciousness (or "soul," if you prefer). This is disturbing because man has traditionally ascribed souls to animals and inanimate objects far less human-like (and less conscious) than some of the "mechanical" humanoid robots shown in this film. Humans have an unfailing tendency to divide the world into us/them, in-group/out-group, Good/Bad distinctions, which dehumanize the Other through reason alone. We see at the end even more advanced robots, presumably robots designed by previous generations of robots, and they too may be devoid of consciousness or a soul - indeed, their existence seems bent on discovering that missing ingredient of soul found in their extinct human ancestors.

Humans aren't theoretically any less mechanical than robots. Certainly we are still more complex than our most complex machines as of right now. But it seems once a machine has reached a certain level of complexity and fluidity of motion, when it has reached what seems to be a sense of self and free will, they are no longer machine, regardless of their physical composition. Humans will empathize and love all sorts of non-human or soul-less things, and it doesn't take much to assume there's someone else on the other line (such as in this internet message board forum, or instant messages, email, telephone, telegram, pager, etc). Think of our natural caring for fictional characters, to empathizing with characters in video games, children with their action figures and dolls and their Tamagotchies, etc.

i.e. watch this child respond naturally to a autonomous robot called Kismet: http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/sociable/movies/kismet-and-adrian.mov
(root: http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/humanoid-robotics-group/kismet/kismet.html)

Matthew

9/28/2003, 9:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to visitor99   Send PM to visitor99
 
Chris Kelvin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 80
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope) Matthew


Something I still don't understand:
How can a robot help in achieving a spiritual rebirth among humans?

Chris - Kelvin
9/29/2003, 12:00 pm Link to this post Send Email to Chris Kelvin   Send PM to Chris Kelvin
 
matthew dickinson Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 23
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: The Awakening Will Come Soon (I Hope)


By improving upon man through our artificial creations I do not mean just in intellectual or mathematical abilities, but in moral and spiritual ways, as well. It can always be debated whether man can be improved by his own means, but we won't know for sure unless we try. We've conceived of beings higher than us for thousands of years in the forms of gods and angels. We've also advanced from primitive states through evolution over a much longer time span. We may not have achieved our limits already. So it would not be directly a spiritual rebirth among humans. It will be as if we've given our children the ability, or at least the hope, for a spiritual rebirth instead. In that sense, we will have to admit that man has failed on a moral and spiritual level, and I think history supports this view.

Matthew
9/29/2003, 9:26 pm Link to this post  
 


Add a reply

Page:  1  2 





You are not logged in (login)