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Meaning of quote from Innocence..?
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
He he. But how would that complete the neo clasical allusion? Plus they all were still middle ages Europe which I dont feel I can go with as the height of artifice vs nature.


Ah, but you seemed to be suggesting that behind the artifice/nature dichotomy was related to-- an extension of-- the human/animal division:

Quote:
Western thought has been about denying the physical reality of life, the animal that we all are. Even the conceptual difference we cling to between human vs animal denys this reality. We dressed ourselves in increasing phyical costumes, and mental constructs of our superiourity of the human mind till the height of neo classiscism, then the romantics came along and pointed out the monkey under the crust of the porecilin doll.


Let's digress for a moment, as this particular digression might be of some value to the present discussion.

For there to have been a "height" of artifice, the definition of artifice would've had to remained fixed... and one could argue that our world is far more artificial (in the sense of having artifice) than the period in which the Romantics were living.

Still...

What seems or "is" artificial changes over time. (And the meanings of "natural" and "material" and "human" and "animal" change over time, too.) And that's why the debate goes through so many permutations-- and why we sometimes don't see the similarities between ancient, modern, and contemporary debates. It's not that they're the same debates... but what's at stake, i.e. what's being debated, is remarkably similar, and comparisons often shed light on both the present and the past discussions.

In terms of Western thought, the whole "Emperor has no clothes" thing dates back to well before the Romantics. (And one can think of satirists from Juvenal to Swift in precisely this context... and that's without mentioning folks such as Rochester and Sade.)

The "human versus animal" conflict was central to medieval thought. It was precisely the heretics' views on matter and animal existence that got them into trouble with the Church.

The "human versus animal" division predates the "artifice versus reality" split in Western thinking, but the latter debate is in many important ways merely an extension of the former. And both debates go way back. (The two come and go in cycles, one following on the heels of the other, as I'll mention in a moment.) And there were dissenters within the debate(s) well before Romanticism. (There's a reason why folks such as Shelley enjoyed Neo-Platonic and Hermetic writings... Those writings emerged from debates similar to the ones in which Shelley was active.)

Besides, you seem to be selling the Neo-Classicists short. Even Alexander Pope had a wicked sense of irony when it came to artificiality...

At some point in these discussions, I'm probably going to mention some Renaissance philosophers, as they're sadly overlooked in most academic settings, quite entertaining and insightful in their writings, and their work directly relates to discourses of knowledge and nature that informed-- and influenced-- Enlightenment and Romantic debates (and the kinds of discussions that we have on this forum).

But before the Renaissance writers and thinkers, there were other debates...

...and it's important to remember that the Greeks and Romans had pretty advanced and complex machines and automata; these were forgotten for centuries-- and some of them were rediscovered during the Renaissance (we've recently found others and are figuring out what those machines were and how certain devices worked). The Hellenistic Greeks and Romans had their own debates about artifice versus reality, human versus animal-- and those debates were and are part of Western thought.

Some of the writers the Romantics quoted and to whose work the Romantics alluded took positions in their debates not dissimilar to Shelley's in his.

In fact, the later debates seem like iterations and extensions of the earlier ones...

One could argue that without the Greek and Roman writings on and diagrams of machines and their rediscovery by Renaissance artists and writers, the Enlightenment never would have happened... and Romanticism never would have come about as a reaction to those trends.

You might be surprised at how heated some of the ancient debates got...

But all this will come up in time.

Back to the film...

We might want to think about other pieces on the film's soundtrack... "The Ballade [sic] of Puppets", for example.
_________________
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi


Last edited by AlphonseVanWorden on Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:36 am; edited 7 times in total
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:22 am    Post subject: Some relevant and cool links. Reply with quote

Another comment:

I was going to post this link in another thread, but it seems relevant to this exchange. The article was published originally in an academic journal from the early 1960s. This version has numerous typos and is missing the illustrations, but I think it provides an interesting context for Kim's comments about dolls, dreams, and animals-- and the author includes some fascinating descriptions of technology in the medieval Arab and Byzantine worlds, in the Renaissance, and in the Enlightenment. (Ray Kurzweil fans, take note- this piece is referenced in some of Kurzweil's writings on technology.)

Quote:
Automata had its greatest period of development following the rise of mechanicism with the revival of Greek culture during the Renaissance. In addition to the considerable progress that was made in the philosophy of science as well as in the sciences of astronomy and mathematics during this turbulent period, the stage was being set for major technological developments which came to fruition in a later era. The writings of Ctesibius, Philon, and Heron, which had been preserved in the works of the Arabs and Byzantines, were brought into the popular domain once more in translations by Renaissance humanists and exercised considerable influence on scientific thought.

One of the greatest single works that grew out of this literature was a bilingual volume in French and Italian entitled Le Diverse e Artificiose Macchine (Diverse and Ingenious Machines) by Captain Agostino Ramelli. It enjoyed popularity not only in France and Italy, but in Spain and Germany as well. Ramelli's work was not a translation of Heron [of Alexandria, inventor of the first known steam engine], but it borrowed heavily from the Alexandrine writings [on technology]. He described and illustrated for the first time [in contemporary language] the rotary pump, mechanical details of windmills, and a coffer-dam of interlocking piles, as well as other technological developments [based on Alexandrian designs]. Consistent with other writings of the period, Ramelli did not neglect to include several examples of biological automata in the form of hydraulically operated singing birds [originally designed and constructed by Heron for a temple "omen machine" or fortune-telling device].


Silvio A. Bedini, "The Role of Automata in the History of Technology"
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~DRBR/b_edini.html

You might also want to check out this site on ancient technology:
http://www.tmth.edu.gr/en/aet/5.html
_________________
Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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Tonks_kittygoth



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Location: The dark dark woods where the kitten monsters live....or happy la la land, my summer home.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My reply post to the whole romanticism/ rebelion thingy was super long so I just sent it to Alphonse by PM. If anyone wants me too Ill put it up here, but I figured I would spare you'all of my ramblings unless you actually want to hear them (not that I can promise to be this merciful always Twisted Evil )
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Jeni Nielsen



Joined: 27 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tonks_kittygoth wrote:
My reply post to the whole romanticism/ rebelion thingy was super long so I just sent it to Alphonse by PM. If anyone wants me too Ill put it up here, but I figured I would spare you'all of my ramblings unless you actually want to hear them (not that I can promise to be this merciful always Twisted Evil )


Ramblings are always welcome. It spurs discussion. Very Happy

We're pretty tolerant here of different levels of ability when it comes to philosophy. Everyone's opinions are welcome. Just have facts to back up those opinions y'know. ^__^
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Tonks_kittygoth



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Location: The dark dark woods where the kitten monsters live....or happy la la land, my summer home.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Ok, if you want it. I generally try to back up my stuff, though even as a grad student I do not come close to competing with he what apparently knows all, Mr. VW. Very Happy
I wish I could do that in the brain messaging like on the show with him durring my grad. exam. Shocked Very Happy

Anyways her you are.

You know, I dont think either of us make good elephants
Very Happy
I like walking in forests (maybe you do too) but we both would be trying to figure out what each kind of plant would be, and its history, or uses, or mythological signification, or how to paint it to get the color just right.

I think too that sometimes You and I have an apples and oranges problem.

From our conversations, you seem to be very interested in settings and particualar historical events, where as I am all about meaning and very rarely am asserting that one thing denies the other, or is the only/highest expression of a certian thought/ concept.

Uhg, that is a pretty vauge differentiation, maybe you can explain it better. Anyways I think we sometimes are talking at right angles to each other. :)


In general I was just interested in your Linji quote, and how it interrelates with western thought. I was riffing on why he would say to kill the Budda, and how the Budda is an old Barbarian etc...

I thought that the western reaction of horror at the comparison that you mentioned may be related to the seperation we created from self and body, and our reaction to issues of the body and entropy expressed in nhilism/absurdity and went off from there.


Im not sure why you have fixated so much on my mention of romanticism which was just part of my whole ramble but ok, Im game...

I wasnt saying they began all rebelous thought, far from it.

(the one of the first punk rockers thing was just a joke to lighten up things, not to say that they were really the first to ever ever see a problem with society. .. hence the "one of the". Lordy if it took till the 19th century for someone to notice how crappy we treat each other, the Human race would be in a sad state, or a good one I suppose if it was that significantly better that it was unnoticable...aaaaaaaaaaa Tangents everywhere!)

However, I think that I may have to argue that due to their timing they were the most important currently. I would have to think harder about it to be sure, but they, I believe, formed much of Western culture as it is today.
(I have heard it argued that we still are in fact living in a period of romanticism, as our basic values still folow the Rousseauian ideal of the individual, and that other thought periods, such as modern/postmodern etc are minor catagories within the curent overreaching state of romanticism.)


I guess the reason I used the period of the late 18th early 19th centuries is because of a few things. You probably know a lot of this, but bear with me...


A. In recent history, neo-clasicism was the last hugely powerful wave of expression of man's truimph over nature. The goals of neo-clasisicm were to up hold mans place at the top of all nature. Descarte's rationality from what I understand, was the ultimate seperation of "animal" from "Human", declaring animals to be soulless machines.

Neo-Classicism was all about control. Control, reason, and rationality, with the exclusion of all else. The excesively trimmed orntate gardens of the Versais is a good example of the control that was idealized over nature. Nature, naturalness, animality, rurality was considered ugly, debasing and wrong. (Of course mainly by the rich, who could be away from rural life, or just play at it, like Marie Antionette playing pastoral shepardess.)

This control over nature was reflected in the overly ornate style of clothes, makeup, archetecture, art and craftmanship.

(to digress~Smile yey digresions Smile You pointed out that we are more artificial now than then, and I agree in some ways, IE this computer I'm typing on.
However Western culture is very concerned with its naturalness. We are body obsessed, wanting to make ourselves very healthy animals. We pay attention to the enviroment and to the animal population not only as exploitable goods but from a Gaiac perspective... so while we have technologially become artificial, our focus is still one that nature/ naturalness is Good, and that it is dangerous to seperate oneself too far from it. This would have I believe been seen as horrifying in the 18th century. )


Directly following this period was the reaction of Romanicism, with its emphasis on the individual, nature, emotion, intuitivity, and passion. Western thought became enamored with nature, where as it fled from it before. The "sublime" which used to be pejoritive became positive. The natural state of humanity became praised. (examples,Wordsworths lyrical ballads, Paines rights of man, Turners paintings of mountains and sea's, Wollenscraft-Shelly's Vindication...)

Of course all prior thought including neo classisism wasnt just chucked out, but it was adapted and rethought, and redirected. I think it is pretty unusual to just toss earlier thought even in a reaction to it, dont most movements use it to build upon, even if it is buildingin oposition?

Anyways.... Social justice became much more important with the rise of the status of the individual, (ala Rousseau) along with the American and French Revelutions. Darwin's theroies of evolution soon brought out the idea of our evolution from a common ancestor of apes. This brought into the mainstream consciousness, whether believed or not, our kinship to all other animals. Soon after this the new study of Psychology brought to front that all humans have deep ties to thier animal nature, that we have not lost, that lie deep in our minds.

Then came the first world war, which through the advance in medical technology was one of the first to have a large population return from, mangled but alive. The horrors these people faced caused them to question well, prettymuch everything... tada modernism along with expresionism, nhilism, absurdism, and on... which brings me to the begining of where I am talking about how those movements remind me of the Linji quote about how the Budda himself is just a natural man, but Budda nature is something else, however they still exist in the same reality.

So the whole kit an kaboodle of my point is that the cool quote you posted brought to mind that Western Thought is just coming upon Eastern Thought in the concept that we are all sort of ghosts in the machine, Bone Machines, but still machines.

I hope this makes sense, and explains myself more. I really need to work on my papers now, with maybe some short replys as a break.

Thanks for the continuing mental work out!


Very Happy
_________________
"Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man.
Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as
one wants to live and not die, so do other
creatures." - His Holiness The Dalai Lama
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Well, Ok, if you want it. I generally try to back up my stuff, though even as a grad student I do not come close to competing with he what apparently knows all, Mr. VW.


Laughing

Thank you for those kind words. Having encountered me, perhaps you should kill your mental image of me, though... Goodness knows, I'd never claimed to know everything, and I hope I don't seem infallible... I'm too enamored with my shortcomings to want to let go of them. Laughing :P

Isn't conversation more interesting than competition? In this context, I mean. (I'd hate to see athletes talking rather than competing...)

Glad that the discourses and discussions give you pleasure.

Quote:
You know, I dont think either of us make good elephants

I like walking in forests (maybe you do too) but we both would be trying to figure out what each kind of plant would be, and its history, or uses, or mythological signification, or how to paint it to get the color just right.

I think too that sometimes You and I have an apples and oranges problem.


Oh, I don't know... I do like forests, but I tend to be mindful of the surroundings, as I worry that some revolutionary or extremist might kidnap me and try ransoming my sorry self-- or some poacher might slaughter me for my tusks. Whichever analogy you prefer. Laughing

Quote:
From our conversations, you seem to be very interested in settings and particualar historical events, where as I am all about meaning and very rarely am asserting that one thing denies the other, or is the only/highest expression of a certian thought/ concept.


I'm not sure there's so much difference between history and meaning. It seems to me that meaning comes about through specific historical events and contexts-- and that our understanding of those those things is part of the process. History is, after all, a kind of narrative. It's when someone inserts something into another context- a quotation, for example- that new or modified meanings are generated, and ironies arise. But that, too, is part of history/meaning...

And I'm as skeptical of "final meanings", i.e. about what something "ultimately meant to history," as I am about narratives involving origins. What was it that Nietzsche wrote? Something about how the true or final value of human existence cannot be ascertained by the living-- who are interested parties-- or by the dead-- for more obvious reasons...

I think I hear that elephant...

Quote:
Anyways I think we sometimes are talking at right angles to each other.


That must make for some pretty bizarre appearances... and I'm not sure it's good for my back. All this bending and twisting whilst communicating...Yipes. Laughing

All kidding aside, I'd say that part of this apparent "talking at angles" undoubtedly has to do with the nature of this medium, some of it probably has to do with language, with the fact that words sometimes mean things other than what we intend, rendering communication a pretty fragile and an unfortunately taken-for-granted thing at times.

That's part of the reason I prefer precision (or attempts at precision) to generalities... So I (and others) can know what someone's saying, and what the intent (or function) of a comment is.

Quote:
Im not sure why you have fixated so much on my mention of romanticism which was just part of my whole ramble but ok, Im game...

I wasnt saying they began all rebelous thought, far from it.


Perhaps because I was alluding to-- and am interested in-- Kim's comments about technology and reality in the film... And since this topic started as a discussion of one quotation, we might want to look at other quotations and allusions from the movie and see how they work together, what meaning(s) they suggest.

Perhaps my comments took your post as a starting point... and were an attempt at pointing to another line of inquiry.

As I stated:

Quote:
Let's digress for a moment, as this particular digression might be of some value to the present discussion.


The discussion being the one about the film.

Romanticism... 18th Century notions of man-as-machine... Shelley... La Mettrie...

Quote:
A. In recent history, neo-clasicism was the last hugely powerful wave of expression of man's truimph over nature. The goals of neo-clasisicm were to up hold mans place at the top of all nature. Descarte's rationality from what I understand, was the ultimate seperation of "animal" from "Human", declaring animals to be soulless machines.

Neo-Classicism was all about control. Control, reason, and rationality, with the exclusion of all else. The excesively trimmed orntate gardens of the Versais is a good example of the control that was idealized over nature. Nature, naturalness, animality, rurality was considered ugly, debasing and wrong. (Of course mainly by the rich, who could be away from rural life, or just play at it, like Marie Antionette playing pastoral shepardess.)


Well, Descartes initiated-- or, to be more accurate, foregrounded-- certain elements in Western thought. La Mettrie (whose ideas are really, really relevant to Innocence) took some Cartesian concepts and pushed the arguments/reduced them to a certain point. La Mettrie was a lot more secular than most 18th Century thought-- even the aristocracy paid lip-service to Christian belief-- and his work continues to have an impact on our thinking, especially in the neurosciences, etc.

And speaking of the neurosciences, I think that a lot of contemporary scientific thinking calls into question the assertion that Neo-Classicism was "the last hugely powerful wave of expression of man's truimph over nature." If the definitions of "man" and "nature" change over time, I'm not sure we can say that the relationship or conflict between the two (loosely defined) concepts has ever vanished or been lessened... Medical science is in no small part about controlling nature, unless one views disease, cancer, etc. as unnatural. And that's leaving aside the development of psychoactive medication, continued manipulation of images and language to provoke desired responses in voters/citizens/consumers, etc.

And I'd make the case that satellite communications, internet technology, etc. all "rewrite" nature, on a pretty basic level-- if we consider communications and distance and expression to be "natural" to human beings.

And we have exercise equipment, etc. to "help nature along"...

To augment is, in many ways, another type of control or mastery...

"Self-determination"- whatever we mean by that term-- also implies control...

Again, this has to do with concepts changing over time. Without considering what a term meant at a given point, we might well become confused about an allusion or reference or even the way we're using the term-- and about what specific similarities and differences between the present and a given point in the past imply about a certain concept, and about the future of the concept.

And on a more basic level, I think we're using "Neo-Classicism" too loosely. I'm not sure we should confuse Neo-Classicism with the ideology that it expressed or was a function of, or take it as indicative of the 18th Century as a whole. Neo-Classicism, Rococco art and architecture, Enlightenment philosophy, 18th Century developments in physics, and everything else that took place in the 18th Century... All separate but related issues, and all of which fed into each other in complex ways.

I don't know if I'd lump an Alexander Pope poem with Pierre Jaquet-Droz's automata and think of both the same way that I think of Versailles... All these things tell us about 18th Century views about society, nature, etc. But they tell us different things...

Also, I think your account simplifies the relationship between, say, the French aristocracy and "Nature". One could just as easily say that Versailles, the whole dressing as shepherds and shepherdesses thing, etc. represented a certain ideological/philosophical view about controlling "Nature", and that this expression was related both to pleasure and to the "dominion" notion found in Genesis. Kind of a survival of the whole "Divine Right" notion, too... And one could say that certain monarchies were doomed because they didn't see where technologies, sciences, and lines of inquiry were leading-- to questions about kings, etc. Once the Newtonian and Enlightenment models entered the discussion, well, one had to ask if monarchs and aristocrats were necessary-- as folks could ask the question, "Why this way, and not some other way?"

(Let me point out that an aristocrat masquerading as someone from another social class says a lot about the functions of role-playing, fantasy, and sexuality within a given social system... If you read a lot of memoirs and pornographic literature from the 18th Century, you see just how fascinating the idea of acting the part of a peasant-- even an idealized, Virgilian peasant-- was for the French ruling classes. Leaving aside Virgilian social commentary for a moment, I doubt the shepherds of Virgil's time-- and before Virgil, the shepherds of Theocritus-- were any happier than the French lower and working classes of the 18th Century, or their existence any more idyllic or bucolic... and note that Virgil's shepherds are fantastic creatures whose existence is simplified and eroticized. Some argue that the whole Bourbon "libertine" courtly mode can be read as a function produced by social pressures, by a desire to find simple... releases, or to escape into a simpler time, thus offering a sort of commentary on what aristocrats and courtiers saw as the complexities of their day... even though these manifestations and expressions are colored by irony. Hence, I think, the 18th Century aristocratic fascination with the pastoral... and as extension of and in counterpoint to this, the Enlightenment's fascination with the utopian, the encyclopedic, the didactic, and the satiricial makes more sense.)

(EDIT: You might want to compare Versailles and similar locations with Baudelaire's paradis artificiels, the "artificial paradises" experienced in altered states of consciousness... Despite the differences, there are remarkable similarities between the two kinds of artificial and visionary locales-- although a dandy such as Baudelaire believed in something like an aesthetic aristocracy, as opposed to an actual one.)

So I'm not sure some of the manifestations and behaviors we find in the Ancien Régime were simply about control... However "wicked" some of it was, and however much a lot of it relied upon artifice, it was also nostalgic, in many ways.

Control is never really a simple thing. And neither is history-- or art history and cultural history.

And Romanticism is in many ways an extension of elements of Enlightenment social thought, particularly those aspects having to do with Capital-N Nature, social change, etc. (Excluding folks such as Blake, of course.)

Later, we can see the Enlightenment's more radical elements reflected in Leftist thought. The Enlightenment not only generated revolutions and social shifts, but combined with technological change, the ideas gave rise to and offered justifications for new kinds of upper- and middle-class existence, and to a modified and developed type of capitalism. And this influenced the development of the type of workers who were needed by the newer models, too. And new oppositions to this developing system came into being.

(The late 18th/early 19th Century Romantic individualist or visionary poet is separated from the 19th Century captain of industry or middle-class citizen more by aesthetics rather than by actual temperament. Both groups had strong senses of individual identity and worth, and both groups "remade" the world in terms of what they thought possible or true-- the Romantic through poetic expression, the bourgeois or capitalist through other, more material means. One can see the 19th Century bourgeois individualist as a mutation of the Romantic individualist... Although 19th Century capitalists were more concerned with materialism than the Romantics, they believed in something very much like the Romantic notion of "Will.")

Unsurprisingly, some bourgeois folks liked elements of Romanticism... after the Romantics were safely dead, of course. And these changes-- this modification and commodification of counterculture-- generated another countermovement. This is what happened with Marxism and Anarchism... if you read Marx, Engels, Kropotkin, etc., you find that the questions have to do not only with social issues... but with matters of technology and science.

(Let me add that if you follow 20th Century and contemporary Marxist thought-- excluding works that are meant to justify the existence of one state or another-- you find that Marxism actually divides into schools of thought, and that the differences between these schools have a lot to do with changes in capitalism-- and by extension with science and technology, which influence social organization pretty profoundly.)

In other words, as technology, science, and philosophy raise questions about order, the assumption that a way of life or a given hierarchy is necessary gets called into question... Hence my proposing that most problems are iterations of earlier problems.

I think it's more dialectical than the reading you've proposed suggests.

Quote:
Directly following this period was the reaction of Romanicism, with its emphasis on the individual, nature, emotion, intuitivity, and passion. Western thought became enamored with nature, where as it fled from it before. The "sublime" which used to be pejoritive became positive. The natural state of humanity became praised. (examples,Wordsworths lyrical ballads, Paines rights of man, Turners paintings of mountains and sea's, Wollenscraft-Shelly's Vindication...)


It's interesting that your statements don't look at the long-term repercussions of Romanticism. I tend to agree with Terry Eagleton et. al.--that all the examples of the "sublime" you've mentioned fed into the development/were manifestations of bourgeois individualism, and that those in power use the political thinkers and writings you've mentioned in ways that serve the status quo. The subversion of those thinkers and concepts was contained and implied within the "new world" the thinkers' ideas helped shape. As Kafka once stated, every revolution leaves behind the slime of a new bureaucracy...

(Notice how consumer choice is identified with freedom in a lot of advertising, including advertising targeting women and minorities. Even revolutionary images and ideas become "branded"... Same kind of thing, only more sophisticated. Herbert Marcuse did some wonderful but now dated work on this sort of process...)

On a related note, one could read Rousseau's writings about human freedom as a natural state, his concept of the "noble savage", and his fascinating ideas about education (to say nothing of the man's fond memories of getting caned as a child) against or within each other, and we'd find some interesting and revealing contradictions in the way freedom functions in his writings and novels. "Freedom" remained self-evident to Rousseau, but the term was rather free-floating-- and could only be described in terms of natural law, an idea I suspect many people would be unconfortable with, as it's a pretty loose construct, too. (Rousseau's notion of freedom had a lot to do with his taking whatever he didn't like as freedom's opposite; he did a bad job of describing what true freedom would be like-- so he had to posit a condition that was analogous to humanity's existence before the Fall while criticizing those who believed in the Fall. Hence Rousseau's statements that facts-- and logic-- didn't much matter to him. Not unlike the playgrounds of the Bourbons and their associates or the religious tracts of so many Christians of the 18th Century, Rousseau's texts are filled with nostalgia for a simpler time that may well never have existed...)

We can see how many contradictory readings and traditions his texts engendered (and yes, that last word's a pun)...

And this raises a further question... What is the "natural state" of humanity?

Whenever someone talks about origin-points or natural states, I suspect there's a rather costly truth-claim that's somewhere nearby... Laughing

Quote:
Anyways.... Social justice became much more important with the rise of the status of the individual, (ala Rousseau) along with the American and French Revelutions. Darwin's theroies of evolution soon brought out the idea of our evolution from a common ancestor of apes. This brought into the mainstream consciousness, whether believed or not, our kinship to all other animals. Soon after this the new study of Psychology brought to front that all humans have deep ties to thier animal nature, that we have not lost, that lie deep in our minds.

Then came the first world war, which through the advance in medical technology was one of the first to have a large population return from, mangled but alive. The horrors these people faced caused them to question well, prettymuch everything... tada modernism along with expresionism, nhilism, absurdism, and on... which brings me to the begining of where I am talking about how those movements remind me of the Linji quote about how the Budda himself is just a natural man, but Budda nature is something else, however they still exist in the same reality.


Again, leaving aside some of the generalizations you've made (and of course these generalizations are undoubtedly due to time-constraints, rather than a lack of understanding on your part), we're not in complete disagreement...

Although I remain troubled by and skeptical of the relationship between human rights, "natural states", and "progress." And I think "modernism" (not unlike "postmodernism"-- or most other "-isms") is a looser term than I like to employ. (It doesn't help that Modernism is so easily confused with Modernity-- another category that's broad to the point of being problematic.) Although I suppose that such terms provide useful shorthand, as in the discussions of Neo-Classicism, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and the 18th Century aristocracy...
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi


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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, about those statements of Kim's... Laughing Laughing Laughing

Today was a relatively slow real-world/offline day for me, but the next few days won't be. I eagerly await people's thoughts, questions, and comments about Kim-- even if I won't get to see them immediately.

(You know, I believe-- or maybe hope-- that a lot of what I mentioned in the above post actually has some bearing on Innocence.) Twisted Evil
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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])R@G()N



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tonks_kittygoth wrote:
Why do you all think that Motoko said that to Batou?

To sooth his ache of missing her?
To tell him he himself should become quiet in his soul?
Or to say that she herself was like that now?



I think the first film is about Motoko and the way she isnt at one with herself. she has an inner conflict, one of the things that is important to her is her sense of self and her sense of purpose and she is doubting them. i think Batou is at one with himself, but one of the things that is most important to him is Motoko, and as long as she is not at peace there is a part of him that can't be at peace also. I think the first film is about Motoko finding peace with herself, becoming at one with herself and her part in the grand scheme of things, she gains a true perspective of herself and the world that has no conflicts. In the second film Batou acording to Mr Ayimaki is acting more and more like the major before she disapeared. I think this is because one of the solid corner stones of his lfie, the major, ad gone off the radar and he had no idea what happened to her. When he talks to her at the end I think he finaly finds the closure he needed in his relationship with her, and he could finaly be at peace himself now he knew she was alright.

another person said..
"perhaps like the soundtrack music, she is saying,
"follow me." that he is on the right path...."

totaly, i think that song is meant to reflect that side of the film. Motoko telling Batou to follow her to a place where you can be at peace with yourself, '..rising above thwe fun years of the night, into the light beyond the tears, and all the years we have wasted'. If u listen to the lyrics they reflect that situation perfectly. they also mirror the lyrics of the chants in the first film 'when you dance, a beautifull woman becomes drunken, when u dance the moonlight rings (or something simillar), a god decends for a wedding..'etc, about Motoko coming out of the night into a new perspective on life by 'wedding' with the puppet master. I liked the way the lyrics to the music had significance in the film and helped to explain it in their own way, I think the 2 films together had probably the most impressive soudntrack I've ever heard on a film, and I've watched 1000s im sure.
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
totaly, i think that song is meant to reflect that side of the film. Motoko telling Batou to follow her to a place where you can be at peace with yourself, '..rising above thwe fun years of the night, into the light beyond the tears, and all the years we have wasted'. If u listen to the lyrics they reflect that situation perfectly. they also mirror the lyrics of the chants in the first film 'when you dance, a beautifull woman becomes drunken, when u dance the moonlight rings (or something simillar), a god decends for a wedding..'etc, about Motoko coming out of the night into a new perspective on life by 'wedding' with the puppet master.


])R@G()N, I basically agree, but I think we should consider the first film's chant in relation to the chants from the second film, then consider the way "Follow Me" functions in relation to both.

The chant in the original film is a bit more than a wedding song. It alludes to possession by a kami. Brian Ruh, who's written a fine critical study of Oshii's films, comments: "The joining of the Puppet Master and Kusanagi has religious overtones as well; it can allude to the 'virgin birth' of Christianity as well as a similar belief in Shinto whereby a kami (a god) 'might possess a pure and holy virgin and that she might become aware of this divine power and give birth to a child of the kami'..."

This puts a slightly different spin on the lyrics: "If I were to dance, the beautiful lady would be enchanted/If I were to dance, the shining moon would echo./Upon the wedding, the God shall descend..."

Notice that the lady is enchanted, and the moon echoes. The imagery is suggestive, to say the least.

Now let's consider the lyrics to the chant in Innocence: "Through day and night, the moon not coming/ In grief, Nue will sing/ When I look back, flowers fall away/ The heart of solace having withered... "

Notice that the dancing would cause the moon to echo in the first film's chant, and in the second film's chant, the moon is absent-- and in the film, so is the lady. (It's worth mentioning in passing that both the sun goddess Amaterasu and the moon god Tsuki-Yomi are supposed to manifest themselves by entering sacred mirrors; the goddess's mirror being at her shrine in Ise, the god's at his shrines in Ise and Kadono.) The moon's absence is significant in that the song from the first film can be interpreted, per Ruh, as alluding to Amaterasu's descent to earth. In other words, a divine presence associated with the possibility of generation-- in this case, the Puppet Master-- descends, fuses with a mortal, and gives birth to something radically "other". But in this case, something has been taken from the physical world...

(The sun goddess Amaterasu was sometimes represented as sexless or even male in early times; one might consider the Puppet Master's possession of a female body in the first film in this kind of gender- and sex-blurring context. And we might think of the Major/Puppet Master's absence throughout most of the second film as analogous to what happened after Amaterasu and her brother the wind god created children-- she from her brother's sword, he from his sister's necklace-- and the wildly celebrating wind god inadvertantly caused one of his sister's servants to die. Amterasu retreated into one of heaven's caves, and a general and overwhelming darkness covered the land, ruining crops, laying waste to the physical world. This myth both accounts for eclipses and explains the beginning of winter. Although this mythic story involves the sun goddess, the second film's chants suggest something like a lunar version of the story...)

With the moon (and the lady) gone, part of the world's equation is gone, and Nue-- the mythic creature whose presence was often taken as an ill omen-- weeps. We might well think of Nue as a variation on the bird alluded to in the lyrics of the first film's chant: "The [wedding] night clears and the bird will sing/The distant God has blessed us." Notice that the blessing brought about by the wedding occurs to "us"-- first-person plural. But the (metaphorically conjugal) blessing-- or the situation which permitted the blessing to be given-- now seems like a bad thing. Everything is blighted. By the second film, "the heart of solace" has "withered" (the technology that allowed the Puppet Master to descend has given rise to even more difficult and problematic things), and this has caused, as the lyrics to the chant's later version suggest, "the everlasting darkness of grief." Nue weeps. "The Ghost awaits in the world beyond." This world is no longer what it was. The boundaries between the mechanical and the human, the virtual and the real, have eroded, changing the nature of this world. As Kim says, "Science engendered this nightmare." As the chant states repeatedly, "flowers fall" and, we're told, "pray to the Gods for reincarnation."

In both films, the chants allude to fertility rites and myths... but the specific type of fertility and generation in the films is the sort of reproduction that technology "engenders". The first film deals with Motoko's ascension and transcendence, the second with Batou's crisis in this world, which he seems to value. Hence the dog's presence...

And we're told in the chant's second iteration: "In a new world, Gods will descend/ The dawn will break, and Nue will sing..." Notice that this echoes the line from the original film's soundtrack: "On the wedding night, the God shall descend." But the tone of the lyrics is different. The Gods won't return to this world, they await a new one. The Major returns, but strictly speaking, it's not the same thing as the Puppet Master "descending" to the physical world. She comes to help Batou, but not in the same way the Puppet Master helped her. In the first film, the chant anticipated the God's arrival, it was a hopeful wedding song; in the second film, the tone is mournful, a prayer for release. We could think of this as pre- and postcoital experience-- the day before and the morning after-- as told by the chorus. The difference in perspective is of course due to the viewpoint of each narrative's central character and structure. In the first film, we wanted the Major to be free, to escape from her situation-- and the chant reinforced that idea. In the second film, the chant is one of praying for release, of longing for an end to the world's darkness-- a darkness predicated on a scientific worldview which may well be inescapable, a darkness that Batou has to come to terms-- to deal-- with.

Kusanagi's "wedding" has already taken place, but the world is suffering-- not because of what she and the Puppet Master did, but because of the conditions and technologies that allowed them to do what they did.

All Batou can do is listen to his ghost... but it seems that some people in the second film's world don't have much in the way of a ghost, or don't even want one anymore.

The Kretzmer/Shaper lyrics to "Follow Me" play against the chants from both the first and the second films; I suspect that's why the song was suggested to Oshii by the film's producer, Toshio Suzuki. "Rising above the fun years of the night/And all the light behind the tears/And all the years we wasted..." We think of the wedding night and morning-after bird mentioned in the first film's chant, and the absent after-the-wedding, world-gone-wrong moon in the second. What the song implies would be beyond these things, "above" them. "Follow me to a distant land this mountain high..." We might think of the Major looking down at the city at the end of the original movie and saying, "The Net is vast." "Singing in a silent swerve the heart is free/While the world goes on running and turning/Turning and falling..." Falling, like the flowers.

Batou's ambivalence towards the idea of losing his humanity, towards the ambiguity of his and the world's situations, makes these things all the more poignant, I think. However much he cares for the Major, however good it might be to live without qualms, it's not very comforting to know that following the Major would entail giving up so much... and that this world, Batou's world, is winding down.

(The situation doesn't look so good from the second film's perspective, but technology allowed the Major to escape her situation in the first movie. So we can see Innocence as the other side of the argument...)

The transcendence experienced by the Major is there... but one has to choose to let go of the world. The dog wouldn't be coming with you, and if you're worried about your humanity now... And that's a mighty tall order. So there's some irony to that Buddhist quotation in the film.

It would be interesting to ask the Major what she feels for Batou... I suspect that the answer wouldn't be love, exactly, as she's pretty darned posthuman, so much so that "happiness" seems quaint and old-fashioned. Or maybe it's a deeper kind of love than humans can understand. But the question remains, since you'd have to give up your day-to-day, humdrum humanity to achieve that sort of constant state, would you want to experience it on a permanent basis?

Notice that Kawai's arrangement of the Joaquin Rodrigo composition has a slow, mournful tempo... It's beautiful, but sad for the listener.

I think there's a little irony in Aramaki's comments, too... The situations are similar, but not the same. The Major let go of her humanity, and Batou wants to hold on to his-- whatever "humanity" means.
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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])R@G()N



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

some interesting points. I agree with most of what u said about the first films chants, I was just making an offhand comment about a part of it. I have not seen the lyrics to the second films chants, I am glad you posted some of them that is soemthing that has been interesting me lately what they are saying. Reading through the bits you posted was very interesting.

As for the talk of Gods, you seem to be talking about ones the lyrics are referencing. but in a more general approach, later in the film Kim talks about Gods being of infinate conciousness, or soemthing to this effect, but the point he seems to be making is they have peace with themselves and everything around them, like animals that run on pure instinct.

"Through day and night, the moon not coming/ In grief, Nue will sing/ When I look back, flowers fall away/ The heart of solace having withered... "

Do you think this is now looking for from Batous point of view. If you think about the moon it is the only guiding light in the night, maybe the moon being gone represents Batou falling further into darkness now the major had gone. Oshii talks lot about people feeling more themselves through knowing and being around others. He says he feels more human with his dog. he takes comfort in the dog and it reminds him he is a man and what it is to be just a man. Maybe there is a simillar relationship with Batou and the major, where he takes comfort and in some way partly defines who he is to himself through his friendship with the major. A solace is a comfort in sad times, this being the major for him who has now gone, and he looks back on her memories with sadness and loss.

Back to the point about the gods a bit, follow me talks about going to another world, the transition between the years of the night and going to the mountain high. although the major has physically moved to another world, I don't really feel this is the world they are talking about. I feel they are pointing towards a world of the mind. Where you become like the elephant in the buddest reference, where u learn to accept all things for what they are, and lose ideas of steriotypes from all aspects of your conciousness. I think the major has gone there, she has finally found peace of mind, and in that sense has achived the status of a god, if you look at kims definitions. I think Batou was always at one with himself and the world around him in this respect, but his emotional ties to things like the major and his dog leave posible holes in his perspective on life. I think the new world is full of gods because the new world is that sense of onesness with everything, therefor anyone who achives this achives the god status. I think Batou eventually does follow her there, i think the only thing stopping him is his memory of motoko and the way his world was elft upside down by not knowing what happened to her. I think maybe the sadness in the second films chants comes from his grief for motoko which he finaly resolves.

My thoughts are still very scattered on the issues in the films, I've never really had to bring them together before. If you know where I can see the full lyrics for the second chants I'd be very greatfull. I think I would need time to study them and put them up against my million and one thoughts on the film before I'd draw any solid conclusions.

very interesting.
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

])R@G()N, the lyrics to the second film's choral pieces are available in the booklet that comes with the Innocence soundtrack album, and on the Innocence video anthology.

Quote:
As for the talk of Gods, you seem to be talking about ones the lyrics are referencing.


That seemed advisable, as I was talking about the lyrics. Wink

Quote:
Do you think this is now looking for from Batous point of view. If you think about the moon it is the only guiding light in the night, maybe the moon being gone represents Batou falling further into darkness now the major had gone.


Yes. But Batou's problem is, in many ways, a microcosmic version of the world's problem in the film, so the Major's absence means something beyond simply her being gone. I think I suggested that when I said that the moon is absent in the song, and the lady is absent for a good part of the second film...

Quote:
but in a more general approach, later in the film Kim talks about Gods being of infinate conciousness, or soemthing to this effect, but the point he seems to be making is they have peace with themselves and everything around them, like animals that run on pure instinct.


Before I go any further, let me point out that the elephant in the quotation from the Buddhist text is a metaphor, an analogy, a simile. If you'll look at the quotation from the Dhammapada on the previous page, you'll see that horny elephants, homesick elephants, and angry elephants are used in the text as analogies for different emotional states in humans. Then we get the image of the content elephant wandering the forest, but that's just a metaphor for right thinking and behavior-- in the same way that the rutting elephant represents a certain mode of distracted thinking. Wink

Same thing with the reference to the unknown land in the Dhammapada...It's not really a land; that's an analogy. It's nothing at all like Heaven, as you wouldn't have a Self with which to enjoy it.

It's a Buddhist quotation, and it's alluding to a Buddhist idea about ethics... but in context, the meaning isn't specifically Buddhist.

I agree with you that the film is about seeing things as they truly are, but remember that the elephant in the text is a simile: " With few wishes and few cares, and leaving all sins behind, let a man travel alone, like a great elephant alone in the forest." What's really being discussed is human beings...

I don't think Kim was suggesting that animals have infinite consciousness. On another thread, I wrote:

Quote:
Kim states, "The doubt is whether a creature that certainly appears to be alive really is. Alternatively, the doubt that a lifeless object might actually be alive. That's why dolls haunt us. They're modeled on humans. They are, in fact, nothing but human. They make us face the terror of being reduced to simple mechanisms and matter. In other words, the fear that, fundamentally, all humans belong to the void..."

This is why dolls are, for Kim, perfect: "The definition of a truly beautiful doll is a living, breathing body devoid of a soul... The human is no match for a doll, in its form, its elegance in motion, its very being...Perfection is possible only for those without consciousness, or perhaps endowed with infinite consciousness. In other words, for gods and for dolls." [Emphasis added.]


Notice that these modes of consciousness are distinct and different. According to Kim, gods possess (perhaps) infinite consciousness, while dolls are and should remain without consciousness. Animals enter into the equation a little later in Kim's discussion, and they represent another mode of consciousness.

You wrote:

Quote:
Back to the point about the gods a bit, follow me talks about going to another world, the transition between the years of the night and going to the mountain high. although the major has physically moved to another world, I don't really feel this is the world they are talking about. I feel they are pointing towards a world of the mind. Where you become like the elephant in the buddest reference, where u learn to accept all things for what they are, and lose ideas of steriotypes from all aspects of your conciousness. I think the major has gone there, she has finally found peace of mind, and in that sense has achived the status of a god, if you look at kims definitions.


I don't deny that mental/spiritual connection is alluded to, but the fact of physical absence is sad. If Batou wanted to be with the Major in a less abstract sense of the word, he'd have to give up a lot.

And don't you find the separation between worlds a little bittersweet?

And, as I described, the lyrics bounce nicely off the ideas and imagery from the earlier film, emphasizing that kind of longing and distance...

Also, I don't think we should take every reference to God or gods in the film as being equal, nor do I think we should take them at face value. The film alludes to several different ideas, and to blunt, all of the ideas don't fit with each other, nor are they meant to do so. Oshii doesn't seem to like some of the ideas he's presenting, so opposing views and contrary evidence is offered. (There is a meaning to the film, but the points aren't always expressed directly, and some of the characters articulate viewpoints that are pretty clearly not Oshii's.)

So we need to be on the lookout for irony.

Let's note that what Kim says about gods is vastly different from what Buddhism suggests, as I've noted earlier in this thread:

Quote:
Many Buddhist traditions- or traditions which have fused with or been influenced by Buddhism- have deities who are more than human (or at least different from humans) but haven't achieved Nirvana, or are extensions/projections of the perceiving Self (to conceive of a god is to think of one's own desires or fears)-- or both, as all things are One, and that Oneness only appears to be a manifold existence. Motoko is simply something with more awareness-- or a different kind of awareness-- than humans. She's obviously not One in the sense of having achieved Nirvana-- as she has to enter a gynoid body to perform physical acts, and has a Self that can do such a thing. After achieving Nirvana, she wouldn't be able to "do" anything, really. "She" would just Be/Not Be in the purest possible way(s). Which are the same thing. It's all One.


Quote:
She [the Major] is transcendent, in that she has transcended her humanity. She hasn't achieved Nirvana, as she would cease to be if she had. Once you achieve Nirvana, you can't act, because "you" don't exist. At all. It's not a matter of changing states, it's a matter of ceasing to be. Period.


Quote:
Buddhists don't view the goal as a reward, as the Self would cease to exist once you reached the goal. And you can't reach the goal if you're thinking about it as a reward- as that would tie the Self to the idea or mental image of a reward, and that would prevent you from extinguishing the Self.

(Admittedly, some schools of Buddhism are at odds with this position and claim that we all achieve Nirvana when we die-- after this lifetime, in other words-- or will eventually achieve Nirvana someday, but this hardly makes it a reward- as "you" cease to exist as you- or as anything, really. Anything but Pure Being, which has no Self. And which is Pure Nothingness. It's hard to articulate in words. Basically, Nirvana isn't anything that we can think of as existence-- or conceptualize at all. No dualities, no dichotomies, no differences. No way to measure it, or even describe it. The world is that way, but it acts as if it's a bunch of separate parts, and those parts think they're separate things. So those parts suffer. Extinguish thought and feeling, and you become One. Which is to say, Nothing. And Everything.)


In other words, gods are finite, not infinite, in the Buddhist view. To be infinite, they'd have to cease being gods and become purely and perfectly One. That's one of the reasons why Linji (among others) suggests that one shouldn't think of the Buddha as something sacred, as this notion of sacredness prevents one from experiencing transcendence, from extinguishing the Self.

We might say that Kim comes close to suggesting a Buddhist notion when he talks about the Void, but he doesn't seem to consider that a truly infinite consciousness (in the Buddhist sense) would cancel out the experiencing Self-- that to become One with all things, you become the Void, and the Self evaporates. Nor does Kim suggest that gods cease to be themselves at any point... so Kim's "infinite consciousness of the gods" thing doesn't really suggest a Buddhist reading.

But then again, Kim seems to be a tad egocentric, so I suppose his interpretation of things seems true... to him.

Returning to Kim. On another thread, I wrote:

Quote:
Note Kim's claim that "perfection" involves either the extension of consciousness to an infinite degree or the absence of consciousness. Haraway's statements about gynoids and androids presupposed that mechanical beings might have a consciousness and object to being disposed of. Why do these statements seem so at odds?


What I meant by the question was the following: The statements seem to be at odds as Kim is inclined to believe that dolls can't or shouldn't have consciousness, as this would ruin their "perfection", while Haraway allows for the possibility that gynoids have their own form or mode of consciousness. But the nature of such consciousness would be different from that of humans. As the Major says towards the end of the film, if the dolls could speak, they'd probably scream, "I don't want to become human."

Oshii seems to side with the belief that dolls do have something like ghosts. But for Kim, doll-fetishist, materialist, and nihilist that he is, their perfection lies in their lack of consciousness, in the absence of ghosts. So I don't think we're to trust Kim's position completely... The character raises some points that relate to some of Oshii's concerns, but while the director seems uncomfortable with the concepts, Kim seems to revel in them.

Kim seems to be wrong about the dolls. So we should be careful when putting complete faith in anything he says. Although...

Quote:
Kim continues: "Actually there's more than one mode of existence commensurate with dolls and gods... Shelley's skylarks are suffused with a profound, instinctive joy. Joy we humans, driven by self-consciousness, can never know. For those of us who lust after knowledge, it is a condition more elusive than godhead..." [Emphasis added]


So we come to the discussion of animals, Kim is describing a third mode of existence, one different from that of gods or dolls. And we return to Shelley's skylark... :lol:

All this being said, I think you're right about the state of mind thing. But I think it has to do with ethics (and doesn't love fall within the domain of ethics, at a pretty profound level?), and not with transcendence or Oneness per se. And that's why certain other passages from the Dhammapada weren't quoted... They weren't relevant to the film's point. Whereas the reference to the lone and sinless elephant was.
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another way of looking at the problem. To be sinless-- like our metaphorical elephant-- is to be innocent, whereas sin implies guilt. So, what does the film's title mean? And how and why are animals innocent?

Does innocence imply what we think of as "goodness"?

And what does a gynoid have in common with a dog?

And what's up with the skylark?
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])R@G()N



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
That seemed advisable, as I was talking about the lyrics.


Oh I agree totaly, I too believe there are multiple references to multiple sources and ideoligies in the film and i just ment to differenciate the view of god(s) I was gonna bring up from the one u were currently talking about.

Quote:
Yes. But Batou's problem is, in many ways, a microcosmic version of the world's problem in the film, so the Major's absence means something beyond simply her being gone.


Again I agree, like all good philosophical work like this the meanings echo through several layers of abstract interpritation. I am a big David Lynch fan and often the charicters and plots in his filsm makes no sense on its own outside of the larger ideas they metaphorically represent. Something I think seems to be lost on even the most avid of Lynch fans I've read posts from glancing through forums.

Quote:
let me point out that the elephant in the quotation from the Buddhist text is a metaphor.... you'll see that horny elephants, homesick elephants, and angry elephants are used in the text as analogies for different emotional states in humans


I am unfamilliar with the specifics of most buddhist references but I understood the metaphorical value of the elephant. When I said the buddist elephant I simply meant the specific freference to the one in the forest braught up by ayimaki and later the major and batou.

I too didnt mean to imply Kim thought animals had infinate conciousness, but rather that things of infinate conciousness or none are in total peace and harmony with themselves and their enviroment, and that i think the major achieved a peace with everything akin to this state of acceptance of the way of things that something of infinate or zero conciousness would have by default.

Quote:
...gods are finite, not infinite, in the Buddhist view. To be infinite, they'd have to cease being gods and become purely and perfectly One. That's one of the reasons why Linji (among others) suggests that one shouldn't think of the Buddha as something sacred, as this notion of sacredness prevents one from experiencing transcendence, from extinguishing the Self


Again I have not read buddism, but this seems to run along the same lines as some personal views I have. human beings can seem to have the view that they find and solve problems in the world. That the problems of this world are soemthing outside of them, that is real and tangable, and that they somehow through their inteligence discover and solve these problems. However i believe that problems, the ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, comparitive notions that have a preference are just a fabrication of the mind, a consiquence of having and ability to effect your surroundings coupled with material needs enforced on you by your biological state of being, ie needing air and food. So in effect the human mind does not discover problems and create solutions, rather it creates problems by attempting to define certain 'things' as 'other' from other defined 'things', be they physical or conceptual. We worry and eperience confusion, anger, split emotions and purpouse, conflicts in our idioligies etc because we define things into catagories then apply a certain level of steriotyping to them in order to work out where this now defined 'thing'' fits into our ideas of preference. Therefor all our problems are actually created by us, in our minds through this need to artifically decide there is the begining of one 'thing' and there is its end. i am me because i ahve decided the atoms i can move are somehow different from other atoms in the world, I can think and feel speratly from others therefor I decide there is a seperation there and I percive myself and them as 'other'. this becomes our perspective on life. In order to overcome all our problems in life we must not look to change the world around us, as we do not have the power to change everythign to how we would like it, rather we must look to change our perspective on life. " seeing things as they truly are" as you put it goes some way to describing it. I think maybe seeing that there is no real true 'state' of anything, everything just is, and to percieve 'something' is to begin to create artificial definitions that exist only within yourself and at this point u beging to create your own world in your mind, which can make as little or as much sense as u let it.

Quote:
one shouldn't think of the Buddha as something sacred, as this notion of sacredness prevents one from experiencing transcendence, from extinguishing the Self


see to see the buddha as sacred is proof that you are still caught up in delusions of definition and preference, to think anything is sacred in itself is to give it a priority, to express desire, and desire means a wish to change the existing state of things hence you arnt at one with it and accepting of how it is.

I think our bodies give us the need to have preferences, because we have specific needs to stay alive, it is all about accepting that all reality is neither true nor faulse, it is just your perception of the way thigns are around you, and finding a perspective that harmonises with the world, and is accepting of the things it cant control and concious in a broad sense of the things it can. When one does this ones existance becomes problem less, one just acts with regard to all things, and accepts what ones actions cannot control at inevitable, so again nto worth worrying about. I can't help but feel all emtion is comparitive, and maybe to lose sorrow and fear woudl also be to lose joy, i am not sure. but personaly i think it is the only way to overcome problems. It is not becoming of infinate conciousness, or zero conciousness, but rather finding a conciousness without conflictions. When one is dead, obviously you are free of the will that possed you, and your body is finally at one with itself and its surroundings, it is them, and they are it, beyond definition and preference.

Quote:
And don't you find the separation between worlds a little bittersweet?


I do, and I think it is intentional also. again though it mirrors the 'all things change in a dynamic enviroment' note. where some things in life are beyond your ability to control, but this does not mean they are a problem you need to worry about, by changing your mindset the problem disapears, as ur mindset created the problem so it can be used to dispell it. This is always opposed by our romantic, dependent nature, and i think it is something that human beings struggle with, and maybe we always will as long as we have bodies enforcing needs on us, enforcing a given mindset of definition and preference.

I agree with what u said about some of the ideoligies conflicting, a lot of my personal ideas i have conflict, other times I am not sure which is the cause of the other, or if there is a cause and effect relationship. I am sure everyone is the same to some extent, I think he uses, as many do, his charicters to give an onscreen persona for a specific ideoligy or train of thought, then plays the ideoligies off eachother to see where they gel and where they clash.

i see your point about the ethics, my ideas tie in it to some extent, the ethics are a result of our inability to accend while we are still within the bounderies of a human body, so I was thinking along the lines of coming to terms with where your ethics have come from, and maybe molding them to find a level of peace akin to that of accendence like the forest wondering elephant, where your ethics alow you to be ok with your part in things and the way you see things to be.

As for the title, maybe it is to sugest that innocence is to not be aware on the level we are, where your mind creates these problems in the world and then makes you suffer as a consiquence. Maybe once you know, there is no going back till death, or freedom from the body. Maybe it is looking at innocence as an ideal state of a living creature. to have guilt is to concieve something you do as 'good' or 'bad' in a theoretical way, and to feel bad about it as a result, something that is onnocent is not concerned with such things. you can look of it as being unaware of them, and inthat sense there is a tendancy to see it as a lesser form of existance than us, to be in darkness, shadowed from knowledge, soemthing humans seek with pride. however is this not proof of a lfieform still caught up in its own make believe world of preference and hence self punishment along with self pleasure. something which when you look at it, a lot of us wish to trancend. So are we really looking to trancend, or are we looking to regress, back to innocence, back to not knowing, or 'thinking' we 'know'. Maybe innocence is the ultimate goal of a lot of these theories, yet at the same time maybe they try to eliviate one from the trap of innocence by awakening to a higher state of understanding. so maybe innocence is just the state of not being aware of a certain perspective, something a lot of charicters are looking to achive in different ways, and in that sense they are all also already innocent of the state of mind they wish to inherit. I don't know if i am explaining myself coherantly there, but its some of the thoughts i have on the issue.

Maybe the dog accepts batou as he is, and he accepts the dog, and between them they find a harmony of being which provides a home for them in the cold, dark world around them. They can feel ok with themselves while in eachothers presence, as they share a perspective that unconditionally accepts eachother. Maybe in that sense both the dog and batou can find an innocence from the problems of their mindsets with one another, just like Oshii and his dog. Maybe Batou sees the innocence of the dog, and that is what reminds him of the beauty there can still be in the world.
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])R@G()N



Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AlphonseVanWorden wrote:
])R@G()N, the lyrics to the second film's choral pieces are available in the booklet that comes with the Innocence soundtrack album, and on the Innocence video anthology.


Ok, ya i had a look, your right, but sadly mine is in japanese!! i have english lyrics to follow me and river of crystals, it might have been an import the shop I get my stuff from often has imports. lol.
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
i think the major achieved a peace with everything akin to this state of acceptance of the way of things that something of infinate or zero conciousness would have by default.


So... why does she help Batou? And why does she take an active role in things? And why will she always be there for him? I think this goes back to what Lightice and I were saying about the Major being a bodhisattva-type figure, without her actually being a bodhisattva. I think it has simply to do with mindfulness and, dare I say it, with a kind of love that's far more personal than the Buddha's...

In fact, I'd argue that Oshii argues on behalf of the "sacredness" of the particular and the concrete throughout Innocence-- be it the sacredness of dolls, dogs, or children.

Quote:
have not read buddism, but this seems to run along the same lines as some personal views I have...Therefor all our problems are actually created by us, in our minds through this need to artifically decide there is the begining of one 'thing' and there is its end. i am me because i ahve decided the atoms i can move are somehow different from other atoms in the world, I can think and feel speratly from others therefor I decide there is a seperation there and I percive myself and them as 'other'. this becomes our perspective on life. In order to overcome all our problems in life we must not look to change the world around us, as we do not have the power to change everythign to how we would like it, rather we must look to change our perspective on life. " seeing things as they truly are" as you put it goes some way to describing it. I think maybe seeing that there is no real true 'state' of anything, everything just is, and to percieve 'something' is to begin to create artificial definitions that exist only within yourself and at this point u beging to create your own world in your mind, which can make as little or as much sense as u let it.


])R@G()N, If you are interested in Buddhism, I'd be happy to suggest some introductory readings. Just send me a private message. Smile

I think some Buddhists might take issue with the assertion that your viewpoint is similar to theirs, insofar as they believe there is a true and ultimately real) state to things, but there isn't and cannot be a definition or description, actual or otherwise, of that transcendent state, not because it varies from person to person, but because the Self must be eliminated in order to experience it. It can only be suggested to the conscious Self through metaphor.

Even to say that things simply are is an insufficient description of the true state of things, as in most Buddhist schools of thought, is and is not, being and non-being are not contradictory states or modes, and the relationship between the two is more than simply a dialectic. And to say that everyone must find the truth in his or her own way is different from saying that it varies from person to person, or that there is no true state of things. And there can't be a meaningful definition or description, because, well, how would one describe or define it, since the pure experience of the state eliminates the one (or Self) who is experiencing it?

And service in and to the world plays a big part in many Buddhist traditions. I think the idea of changing the world just depends upon how you view the world, and what you think the world is...

But this is really a philosophical/religious question, one which can be discussed under the appropriate section of the Forum.

I'm not sure Oshii would argue that "seeing things as they are" entails extinguishing the Self in the Buddhist sense, although it does entail something like the Buddhist concept of "mindfulness". (I 'd say that Oshii is all for "forgetting" the Self, yes, but not extinguishing it in the Buddhist sense of the term.) Some kinds of thinking about the Self, "Self-centered" thinking, the sort of solipsism present in Kim's thinking about the material world? Sure, Oshii criticizes a lot of that. But Oshii's point doesn't seem to be the same as pure and total elimination of the Self. It's more about realizing that this thing in front of you-- a dog, a gynoid, whatever-- has Selfhood, and surrendering yourself to the experience of that thing's essence, forgetting yourself for a moment and just experiencing. I'm not talking about allowing the thing to control you (a la Kim's brainhacking, which is, after all, about illusion). I'm talking about experiencing something as something, enjoying the moment, however contingent and fragile... and about respecting the thing you're experiencing.

Kim's kind of thinking leads to-- and at the same time, it's probably the result of-- an egocentric desire to control things external to the Self and to justify that control. Kim sees people-- and by extension, the world-- as a soulless machine. "Perfection" seems to imply soullessness to him. In a less sophisticated way, the humans who keep gynoids as "pets" think of the dolls simply in terms of their pleasure. But the connection between Batou and his dog-- and between Batou and the Major, and even between Batou and the gynoids-- implies respect for their souls, concern for their wishes.

Again, this is very much akin to the Buddhist concept of "mindfulness"... but it doesn't require many of the other Buddhist assumptions.

Remember why Batou buys that brand and type of food for his dog...
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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