Saturday, November 24, 2012

RE: "The Cost of Justice: The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Part 1" (Psychology Today article)

This film is so often associated with women's rights issues, but I think it's so much bigger than that. I have personally been able to identify with the title character more than I do with most movies I see. I can't say I've ever felt sexually victimized (not directly, anyway) ... I also can't say I'm a woman - and yet in the scene they reference here from the film, I was practically cheering along during the scene where Lisbeth avenges the rapist. So why is that?

It must be fundamentally the same experience -- the sense of (near-absolute) powerlessness with which we both have become far too familiar -- that has made her character so profoundly relatable for me.

The Cost of Justice: The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Part 1 | Psychology Today

When we speak of powerlessness, we have to first identify "power." I tend to perceive power in terms of impact (my go-to is quantifiable terms; so maybe that's just me.) Physics equations aside, impact here might be descriptive, a "how" or "what"; or it may in itself be a value measure, a "how much", "how big", "how many", "to what extent", etc.
(The irony of the ostensible parallel between the last sentence, and the notion of a "vector" vs. a "scalar" quantity in physics and other such disciplines, is duly noted.) ;-)

Impact in this context is of a social persuasion. Descriptively, social impact might be seen in its effect on people. Purely quantitatively ("prescriptively"?) it might be a matter of scale of a population. Combining the two, we might find the extent of the effect on people ("how much is it influencing others"/"to what extent were people moved by it?")

This might be because, as I understand "the human condition" and all that fun stuff, our entire species thrives on social prosperity, (inter)connection, and cooperation. (To refute much/most/all of this would require an inordinate and unreasonable deal of refutation, as we would have to explain away things like "friendship", telephones, the internet, why 99.9% of us are weirded out by necrophiliacs...or perhaps just the idea of "necrophilia", because, hate the game, not the player, and all that. ;-) ) For instance, it kind of irritates me that "necrophilia" and "necrophiliac" both are, evidently, "officially" acceptable words in the English language. This is probably because "weirded" (as with much terminology that is deemed "colloquial"), is, evidently, not also an "officially acceptable word in the English language." What is official, it seems, tends to be formal; what is unofficial is usually considered "informal", or "colloquial." And further, what is informal or colloquial, is usually dismissed as unfounded, based on ignorance, perhaps even immature--and subsequently, less "valid."

To say this might present a problem in family dynamics with respect to children/upbringing, would be a vast understatement.

In effect, one must learn to work within a system in order to truly work against or above it.

If you find yourself, however, in a system wherein you recurrently are in situations that have you thinking, "holy shit, society's been fucking me up! TIME TO FUCK SOME SHIT UP!!" --what, then?

Well, fundamentally, you're quite possibly in a last-resort scenario. "Fight-to-the-death", in other words. "Either I stab your back, or you stab mine."

The dark nature of much of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lies in the fact that there is a zero-sum survival component inherent in a last-resort, duel-type battle like this. (That's probably why duels are kind of outlawed now. Although that's a whole other issue of "over-formalizing", given that we are all still intrinsically built to duel in a Final Death Round, if our life could be saved by it.)

Justice is always going to have a "cost", because its nature is one of reciprocity. It may look "costly", certainly, when it becomes a battle to the death--although, it is costly descriptively; that is, only insofar as we (humanity) deem each individual life to be valuable.

The cost-benefit balance here, as far as Lisbeth can see, is quite possibly "rape or get raped." (Or, in more abstract terms, "screw over, or be screwed over.") Seemingly, it would make sense that if one had been screwed over countless times in their (relatively short) lifetime, to such an extent that they've ended up homeless, jobless, penniless, perhaps without food or clothing, declared legally insane, possibly repeatedly abused in any way (physical, sexual, emotional, and so on)--and by extension of all of the above, had to fight to survive in spite of all this--the best decision may very well have been a "two wrongs make a right" one. Because as far as she was concerned, the "wrongs" were many, far more than two-- the "right" though, was her own life and dignity.
(Obviously, anyone can use this premise to justify being a "two wrongs make a right" maniac; I'm not saying this in itself is justified, rather that if your life depends on it...whatever "it" may be, it is justified, by definition.)

Personally, I've never gotten that far to the extreme end of "survivalist" lifestyle and mentality, but I've gotten close enough to have at least many aspects of the latter. The "aspects" here refer to mainly an over(t)ly defensive, vengeful, short-fused, brooding mindset, at least sufficient for me to be secretly "applauding" the life-death, "costly" course of action in question.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Bottom-Up" or "grassroots" Social Darwinism (warning: the cynical content may break your balls, or your wimpy little heart, or something. Reader discretion is advised.)

(Or, "Natural Selection, thou art a heartless bitch, why the hell won't anyone leave you alone?!?")

I realize what I am about to say is probably going to make me sound sociopathic, but, guess what? I don't give two fucks. :D

"Social Darwinism" is usually defined in terms of law, or in terms of public policy that intends to resemble the "laws" of natural selection, in its original, biological conception. The problem I personally have with this, essentially a moral one, is that this is basically the creation and self-imposition of a megalomaniacal God Complex onto all involved policymakers. All it is really, is a replacement for the archaic beliefs of oppressive, persecutory monarchies and their belief of divine right of kings. Except we're replacing religion as justification for such an abuse of power and a totalitarian regime (yes, that is all this is) with a "scientific" one.

I do think that the best way to strive for "perfection" in society is through what can essentially be described as Social Darwinism; however, I am a total hard-ass about it, that is really the only difference here.

At first glance people seem to have this idea that if authority is doing it, it must be good. Or more specifically, that if authority is actively striving for a greater cause, i.e. improving the "human condition", it is morally justifiable, morally right... humane. I don't think I need to get into all the problems we as a species have encountered historically under the rule of authority figures who became a little too passionate about "betterment of the human race."

I firmly believe that yes, the "weaker" members of society should be essentially "weeded out", just not using any sort of force or coercion of authority! Tell me -- what is worse, as far as immorality goes? Action, or inaction?

Most people I'm sure, if asked that question independent of any context, would answer that of course action that is immoral is far worse than no action at all. So were we to just "leave" people to "fail" (i.e. die?), it seems impossible that this is immoral, at least in comparison with using coercive force of government who are already sticking their megalomania way too far up society's uninformatively consenting asses....

People seem to think they have a moral obligation to help others in need, even if it's some anonymous, faceless "other" halfway around the world they've never even met, or spoken to (or probably is unable to speak to due to something called language barriers.)

They most certainly do not. Your moral obligations begin and end with the consequences of your own actions on others. Please enlighten me and tell me how I am responsible in any way for, say, starving children in an underdeveloped region of the world?


So what the fuck are you gonna do about it?? Well, it seems like what has been done is to force people --  after deceptively convincing them that they are morally obligated to feed starving children whose source of nourishment they personally never took away from them -- to burden themselves with the rest of the world's problems. Well, you know what? Third-world starvation is not MY fucking problem. I've got my own damn problems to fix. Everyone does. Get your head out your ass and stop trying to be the Good Samaritan all the time, at every damn turn you take in life. There's a point where it becomes masochistic, not to mention turns people into sadists who get off on watching others in pain, with the exception of those they've been morally guilt-tripped by political indoctrination into dedicating all of their souls to....

People seem to be shocked by my lack of "empathy", whatever the hell that is supposed to mean, so I will repeat: Human pain and suffering, poverty, starvation, and on and on.. are not my personal moral obligation to fix, so long as I am not personally responsible for such pain and suffering. If I WANT to be altruistic, I can be, anyone can be, but not without INFORMED CONSENT.

We are so damned obsessed with the idea of "informed consent" as far as things like consenting to sex, or medical treatment (sometimes..), so why the hell do we give authority the right to rape us all of human dignity and mental clarity, of our ability to make our own judgments and moral decisions?

If our ancient human and "pre"-human ancestors ever had exploitative, manipulative, and deceptive rulers usingn thought control to fulfill their own corrupted self-righteous indignations... it would never have been the strongest that survived. It would've been whoever the fuck these damn sick, twisted motherfuckers that cavemen were taking it up the ass for whilst simultaneously putting them on a pedestal.. it would've been whoever THEY deemed "fittest" to survive, whether that be only one of the two biological sexes (along the vein of "kill all female babies" type of mentality, but in prehistoric context), only those of certain skin colours, only couples who were as tall as one another were "fit" to cohabitate in a cave and fuck each other lest we end up with inferior babies whose heights are inappropriate... you name it, who the hell knows what they could've come up with, and perfectly brainwashed everyone into believing to be just and moral at the time for the "betterment" of everyone. And ultimately, that really could've have fucked us all up in some very disturbing ways, as we stand (in all senses of the word) as a species today, if that's how it'd gone down.

Tell me that viscerally, you do not feel that type of thinking is fucked up.

There is nothing morally wrong with letting the "unfit" fail. There's nothing wrong with wanting to help them, either. But using coercive force, deception, social manipulation, and the like, to manipulate people into truly, wholeheartedly believing they are entirely, personally, morally responsible for all the wrongdoing that goes on in the world? That is absolutely fucking morally abhorrent.

Update (11/24/2012): I was not suggesting that it's okay to "leave people to die", or " the dust", or what have you, because they just are somehow disadvantaged severely. Everyone is somehow "disadvantaged"; the problem with our collective mentality ("consciousness"; at least in America, at least this century...) is the idea that we can preemptively cover ours and everyone else's asses, if we have not done so preventatively. 

Preemptive action suggests we know exactly what's happened, to an extent that is sufficient to universally implement it. Slippery slope and I'm not saying this to be all "DARE TO FEAR THE REAPER AND DIE!", but isn't this the same premise, conceptually, that underlies eugenics? ("Social Darwinian Extremism"?) Nobody to this day, in the course of human history, knew enough about an extensive issue to such a degree (i.e., all that is human) that justifies "covering" it in execution.
Otherwise, Jesus would've been a dictator.*

In other words, what is ethically questionable, is implementing (executing) something, some sort of prescriptive/mandate (e.g., a "law"), that applies equally to "everyone", because we supposedly know enough about it that we can say it will exclude no one. This is so profoundly dangerous, as is anything so perfunctory: it tends to follow, practically speaking, that if even an individual case arises in which someone expresses (or attempts to do so) a countering position that "this rule doesn't seem to apply to me-- and here is why..." the case (and the person who dared to raise it) is dismissed, marginalized, ridiculed, condemned, ostracized, socially disposed of, and/or belittled to such an extent that any resulting negative consequences in said individual's own life/lifetime become (mis)attributed as a personal weakness (needless to say, this is counterproductive, and ultimately, socially destructive), or other negative quality ascribed to said individual. To the extent that whatever we implemented and declared "universal", was not universal, this is a self-perpetuated, downward spiral. The preventive action comes in, in our ability to recognize when we are wrong; identify our own margin of error before it actualizes and leads us (usually) to self-righteous delusions.

What stands out about human evolution is our brains look like those of gorillas, but on steroids. If we need to preempt anything, it's that we don't lose our high reasoning ability (and likely, with it, anything else that is exclusive to this species.) For example:

I. Knowledge is power.
II. Power is evil.
Conclusion: Knowledge is the root of all evil.

Only humans know how to do that... for least in theory...


*Not a religious statement; theoretically, when we think of a "Christ-figure", all personal faith(s) aside.... that's all I was getting at.