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My Dinner With Andre — Ideas (not a debate)

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Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:31 pm
inkwell says...





What are your thoughts on the above conversation? Are we "desperately curious" to learn about one another, and at the same time deluding ourselves? Are we living habitually, thus not living? And so on...



Are we desensitized? Are we "bored" or dangerously brainwashed?

This isn't really structured or anything, just an improvisational attempt to provoke thought on something other than politics and religion. The thread is obviously inspired by Malle's My Dinner With Andre which I revisited recently and find thought-provoking.
"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible." — Einstein




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Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:21 am
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Kit says...



I disagree that a habitual life is unlived. I love that Bach and Sappho and Picasso made toast, paid bills, had unrequited love, got philosophical while tipsy. To me the mundane rituals, the petty emotions connect us with the rest of humanity, past, and future. Likewise I am hesitant to make broad statements about the decline of society, knowing that for thousands of years people have made these statements about their past and present. As to curiosity, it is certainly a vital part of us. While we are more used to sharing minute details of our lives through Facebook, Twitter and blogs, I wonder if we get used to concealing more by saying more. We experience time differently. I love that story of Bach going to get a lesson from Buxtehude as a 20 year old man, walking 250 miles to get there. He was months late. Compare that with how pissed you get when a video lags for a few seconds. I think boredom is a part of that, but then boredom is not so terrible a thing. To quote Terry Prachett "Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom."
Of course fear of boredom has put pressure on the media and caused all kinds of problems, but boredom it self can be constructive.
None of this is structured or logical, I'm sorry. I got excited by your idea and it just came out in a jumble. Have you seen the RSA Animate lectures?
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Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:02 am
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inkwell says...



I have seen many of the RSA animations, is there one you want to point out? And don't worry, like I said this was an improvisational idea, nothing need be structured or formal.

Now rituals is an interesting perspective. I think they're important. But when your whole life is a ritual, what then? I think we can distinguish ritual and habit here. What, do you think, is too much habit, or rather, how can we keep ourselves from sleep-walking though our days? I think one of the interesting points made in the film is that this sort of boredom and non-living fuels our ever increasing consumerism and political apathy. (I know, I said no politics!)

And on the societal decline point, consider that many great societies in the past have indeed declined into nonexistence.
"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible." — Einstein




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Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:24 am
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Attolia says...



I could go off in so many directions on this. I'm merely gonna attempt to answer your questions on a personal, not universal, level.

Are we "desperately curious" to learn about one another, and at the same time deluding ourselves?

I'm honestly not. I vainly think I understand most people around me, and for that which I don't understand, I'm really not that interested. But I can see how this is a thing. I do find it interesting when I have conversations with people on personal subjects not conventionally discussed; you learn a lot.

Are we living habitually, thus not living?

I don't think living habitually necessarily means one is not living. For me personally, though, I find that it does. When I get too immersed in habit and routine, I just feel like I'm living robotically.

Are we desensitized?

Yes. For sure. Well I don't know if desensitized is the right word for the mentality I'm thinking of. But I definitely think we're desensitized to hearing about deaths and atrocities. Like, when your grandfather dies it's a big deal. The fact that hundreds of Syrians have been massacred in the last week alone - nobody really knows about this, or cares. It's like what Stalin said - one death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic. Also, that nobody cares when brown people die. But that's a different story.


Are we "bored" or dangerously brainwashed?

Bored, yes. For sure. I have this thing about war (total war). As extremely horrible as it is, it brings us back to reality. There's a reason our grandfathers were the "Greatest Generation" while we're far more superficial and petty. When you know that you, or your brother, or father, etc might die tomorrow, you don't give a shit about your tanlines or your GPA or about he said she said. Or even that Boy or Girl doesn't like you anymore. You value what you should value - the people in your life, your freedom, each breath you take - and appreciate everything you have.

I'm extremely bored in life. And that sounds very bad, I know. Very "poor me" and that I take for granted how easy my life is. Which I do. I'm still bored. I don't know how to describe it. I feel like I need some kind of greater goal or mission to give me purpose. That I'll have to contrive one seems to give it less significance. Like, my life is laid out in front of me. It's gonna go on that path with very little effort required on my part*. I believe I am too far removed from survival. It makes me petty, and bored. Another good quote: "Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve and from which he cannot escape."

*(Not that I'm some trust-fund baby or anything. My parents don't make a lot and I have to work 20 hours a week to help afford college. But like, I know that I'll never seriously have to worry about not having a place to live or food to eat, you know.)

Dangerously brainwashed? I don't know. I wasn't really listening to that part and am too lazy to listen again. But it always scares me how easily people trust and follow authority. Like 97% of people. It's unbelievable to me, probably just because my dad raised me to be cynical and to have this paranoid distrust of "the man." But I'm very grateful for it, actually. I'm a history (and political science) major. Trusting the government never works out for the masses in the end. People follow and trust too blindly. That's how genocide occurs, on both ends.
well you'll work harder
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