Thursday, April 28, 2005

Dehumanizing Idealism

Dear Internet Diary,

I was recently the victim of Jean-Luc Godard, when I innocently popped in the DVD Alphaville, The Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution.

This kiss-kiss bang-bang Bladerunner world of Alphaville is controlled by a computer and a professor. E=MC^2 is posted everywhere. Hotel bibles are dictionaries. Logic is the religion of the state. Emotions are against the law, and punishable by death. The executions are part of water-ballets performed to the amusement of dignitaries and their families.

I made it about 3 quarters of the way through that nonsense. Sure, it was gorgeous cocktail-culture sets and costumes, but that's all I could stomach about the movie. The beauty of the scenery was extremely out of place, and perhaps unintentional. Beauty is illogical, and everything illogical is outlawed. This illustrates something that has been bothering me a lot lately.

Idealists, religious and non-religious alike, are always projecting their own beliefs upon materialistic realists. They say, "you don't beliieve in anything you can't see. But what about love? You can't see it but it exists all the same." These people see Alphaville in me. But they have it backwards. They believe that love and emotion are illogical, not me. As a materialist, I know that love and other emotions exist, because I perceive them. We know, physically, that emotions exist, as concepts in the brain and neurological reaction to stimuli. Through EEG, we know where they start, and what happens in the body when they do. And I know that love and other emotions sometimes seem illogical, but most of the time they are perfectly logical reactions to events in our lives. For example, the man in Alphaville who was executed for crying after his wife died.

So, the question is, why don't these idealists, why doesn't Jean-Luc Godard, believe in love? It is they who place emotion and humanity away from us in a supernatural realm where they essentially don't exist. That is their belief, not mine. They are the ones who believe that emotions and beauty are illogical, not me. They must not know anything about evolution when they make those kinds of claims about beauty. They cannot know, for instance, how completely necessary and inevitable beauty is in human life. Jean-Luc Godard must have known how beautiful his steel structures, those vinelike spiraling staircases that were so prominant in his movie, looked. I hope he struggled with that, at least, for a little while.

This kind of idealism is ultimately dehumanizing. Idealists attempt to take away earthly value and place it out of reach of humanity, declaring it ethereal and otherworldly and forbidden to touch. I say those values are here and now and ours, in the room with us. Movie directors who have it right in their own hands should know better.

But thanks for listening, diary.

5 comments:

breakerslion said...

Ever is it thus, that gross exaggeration is the weapon of those that fear losing control of the masses.

You have to be taught to hate or fear or revile that which runs counter to their beliefs

Was the premise of this story the lift from the world of IT in "A Wrinkle in Time" that it appears to be?

Hellbound Alleee said...

Well, A Wrinkle in Time was written in '63, and Alphaville was '65. I don't know when the screenplay for it was written. I do know that the detective was in other movies beforehand, with the same actor. But I suspect both of them read 1984. One thing I know about L'Engle, is that she is a Christian, and "Wrinkle" was a christian book. Having never seen "Breathless," I don't know much about Godard.

Mikayla Starstuff said...

Good points! I hate the idea of some of these people that "to err is human and to forgive, divine". Actually both are human--both the good and the bad!

BTW, I've read and enjoyed A Wrinkle In Time, christian references notwithstanding. The bit about "IT" meant more to me about the dangers of trying to make everyone "perfect" (and identical). But hell, I like the Chronicals of Narnia too . . .

I enjoy your blogs on FreeThought Radio. Thanks for sharing!

Hellbound Alleee said...

Thanks a lot.

I used to like "The Chronicals of Narnia," until I had to be involved in a huge expensive giant production of it at my work. The more I watched the play (over and over and over...) the more I saw the Jesus stuff staring me in the face. I haven't looked so closely to the other books, but in LWW, the virtues are all wrong. It's all based on anti-values, with the exception of courage, I guess. It was dualistic, and praised sacrifice and martyrism. When I look back, I see the sacrifice of Aslan and his humiliation by the court of the Snow Queen, and it was nothing but bible, bible, bible. I guess you could say it is teaching, "don't be a bad winner," or something, but I think it goes much deeper than that. Add that to the fact that CS himself said it was marketing christianity to young people, so I just can't get behind that. I prefer "HIs Dark Materials" as a better Oxford fiction anyday. Maybe even Lord of the Rings, with its obvious messages, at least aren't pandering to children.

Otherwise, thanks, and I hope you check out the shows on the hellbound alleee page!

kalanchoe542 said...

Perhaps he is against emotion because he was emotionally wounded at an early age and never got over the stigma. The only difference, sometimes, between the madman and the "genius" is how much money and influence he has to throw at any given circumstance. The mid 60's were a time of cynicism and rebellion, "Don't trust anyone over 30" and rampant distrust of everything for which the morality of the 50's stood. Godard was likely feeding this spirit of rebellion in response to the "Love one another" directive handed out by all the moms and priests, while it was apparent that the moms were drinking the cooking sherry and popping Valium to stay sane, and the Priests....well, we all know what they were up to....