Ep 16: Identity and The Other; Are the alienated truly alien?

So Mike All right welcome one and all to Professor puddles I’m great bait and calamitous commentary with the philosophical change again. Today’s episode identity and the other are the alien he is truly alien. I have your host Professor battle. I’m Sean and I’m Bruce. I’m river. There’s going to be an awful lot of Steve’s running around the land. I like the original ones most of which one is original. The weird one won’t the normal one then what are the normal ones. So here I don’t know any of the others who say that we kind of mean the other in the almost ex a central turtle the non-self the one is different. Basically usually this refers to at least in classic existentialism anything that isn’t the self. I would be myself or someone else’s self Look John’s here but more frequently it’s referring to other people. Basically an extension of them is driven by starts working particular. There is this concept of the internal state the seeing thing the perceiver the functionary that is the self that is the subject and object goes on to perceive interact with in some way an object. And essentially otherness in at least Sarge work is the quality of something that is like me but is not me and is treated as an object probably subject on its own right as the most basic level once you define yourself. You also sort of an union way by doing so define everything that is not you that other which you know if you grant some kind of solicits and creates an interesting point when you see other people who are the other but they are also in certain ways like you you would create a weird overlap between not you like you. Well that was a big part of it. I feel such work and some of his contemporaries is reconciling the other and realizing the selfishness of those around you and recognizing that they are themselves this way. So a lot of starch worked out with a more personal point of view but a lot of his contemporaries did this up to talk about other ideas are talked about relationships with women in a lot of cases while I’ve definitely focused on was it a lot but she’d felt any group that was marginalized would be considered another from a societal standpoint not a not a certainly personal standpoint although that does factor into it. That’s something that we see the talents of that in society today in popular use of words like the word objectification comes from that amongst a variety of other things. This is one of the disciplines that expose probably most recently spun off of a loss a fee as a pure abstract and started to collect data on Judy. Ultra postmodernism. There’s also more or less abstract and work around it that it gets into that I think we can touch on the world certainly. This explored a lot this theme in science fiction and horror of a really good recent example what we destruct now and where we see a movie that is ostensibly about the problems with apartheid which the movie was filmed in South Africa and that was a very big problem for them for a very long time and you see a lot of the humans in the loop when District nine was about the apartheid. Yes Oh that certainly makes more sense. It was not actually a documentary we were man I was and that can happen but we see humans treating the aliens that have arrived in Johannesburg as the other they separate the lives not human which biologically they aren’t but they are they’re still shown as being beings of self that think and reason and feel and it definitely sort of leaders some of the historical background of South Africa and that region and you see that in the way the United Nations we’re going they’ll be person of occasion or depersonalization the way that they do that early on. It’s very much the stereotype of the just like today regarding that sort of thing. Interesting that we’ve seen people do one another sort we’ll time. Well when we were presented with a particularly now turning around and that’s alienation right. To make something not a part of to make it not recognizable to separating off all equally a nation is in a lot of the answers without the direction of intention. What we’re talking about these creatures are not like us and they’re treated as worse than us. In this particular way. What was interesting about District nine is that on the D.V.D. version of it there are several subtle signs that one can use in which you can view the movie with the Indian language on or off as a subtitle viewing it with language subtitles turned off. Actually yields a very interesting result of having a sense of these creatures as difficult to understand at the very least if not lesser than the humans which we do understand and which I think drives a very interesting spike into the social commentary and I think that was an intentional move by the producers of the film with other great example what we see is a lot of horror films and just horror of literature Frankenstein’s monster. For more classic representation not necessarily the movies but they were to book the lobster learns and grows and gains intelligence and is shown to be very intelligent talking but will still treat it like a monster. Superhuman thus telling so much that you Lester better than us which is why Willie unable to blend into society is completely whereas others you know that is a huge steaming. Well it certainly seems there are some better qualities that we do and as a matter of fact if I’m remembering Frankenstein one of the monster actually sort of judging us for them at one point is actually reviewing humans as you know. Why do you think you’re so great you seem to have a lot of problems you get over your petty jealousies you have visual stereotyping that goes on where you’re just someone that’s not beautiful you treat a lot of very interesting commentary. Only problem with Frankenstein monster is that he is other that is worse or better but that he is older. In From his point of view he has few ethical problems with killing people because he’s on the other side of some sort of divide on sequels and we have no problems with trying to kill him. And I think this is this is a huge thing because whenever any group of people that try to kill another particular genocidal situations it always starts with humans ation personalisation trying to get the culture to see those people that were about to do away with as other things to be a precursor to any major ethical crime to post back a little of that to District nine actually. I think there’s a really interesting parallel to that which is at times to me they also clues to flash came on the Web site and the flash came could be played from either point of view of the humans or the equations. If you played from the perspective of the humans you were trying to clean up and capture or shoot as many means you could to get them out of the way. If you played it from the aliens perspective though it suddenly became almost like a survival horror. It was a very stealthy very easy stay out of the way try and DOJ to incoming fire kind of thing and it gave you this real sense of the oppression that was supposed to be felt in this. And that I think relates back to this idea that the producers of the movie wanted to give you a game that is a format we’re very familiar with. Here’s a thing running quickly past you you need to shoot it right and then to ask you to play the same game from the perspective of the prey is to ask you to take the position of the other to to truly try and reconcile those two ideas together. And I think that that’s very interesting in relation to what you’re talking about genocide and the need to make the people who are to be put upon the other. Is this idea that it is a purely mental. There’s are we. Good and you know you mentioned the mode of having the survival horror feel to it. The humans are the other in their case or in particular like really really draws on other news. I mean I’m talking about really good or not just go or something so other and so alien that you can’t comprehend it or predict Usually that’s what the monsters are in these things. And another thing the district named not only gives you that otherness through how weird you know you look and sound options and things like that were there with sound it also goes Kafka. The guy starts turning into water which is you cross the line you become a mother the otherness is internalized which is brings it home as much as any horror can. Well and to talk about her and its relation to the terror of what lies beyond those we can talk about graph theory. You know me from. Lovecraft great strength was in stirring up the notion of that which was so alien you couldn’t understand you couldn’t comprehend and then to never bother trying to put it back into comprehensible terms but to just let us leave that which was terrifying for ourselves because we all have within a year of the thing that is so different from us that we can’t comprehend even to say that the monsters in your story are evil is to say that they have a coherent opinion about us which is fairly limited and well that’s kind of interesting. The moral question involving things what are otherworldly especially when religion older gods or when we see any certain science fiction much much older alien races that their kind of view does evolve with it from it’s very much a what is good and evil to use. If you’re powerful being you do you feel like you are morally reprehensible for slaughtering cattle or for destroying ants. What makes you any better than them. Or why would we feel for you if you do not feel for them. It’s strange to be in this position but I don’t feel like it’s a vision of waiting for me to talk about each other associated with that nature’s power structure of the moral state was to say that evil comes from defining an opposition E.C.V. only God is evil because the only God does is to go about its business doing its thing in the way it wants to get the power to do that in the world. The weaker member of our dichotomy in this case to human race season as evil because it is that which it puts upon us which prevents us from doing so and so evil is defined not by something in the world by opposition to something this is how we always define evil. Does it like us. That’s pretty much always if I was something good or evil in the lunchroom or is it what does I think a good question to ask when you’re asking the good we considered evil. Is it like us and I feel that table of law talks about this a lot is specially in relation to you at least from what I got. Relation to power structures in society. Because they’ve all felt that women and other marginal unscriptural looked down upon because they did not hold the power in the society that they were in and therefore more marginalized or more other right and left effectively the ruling class the norm as it were any power minority stance against the normative assumption the group that considered the norm wrote it well and actually meet. It alludes to a very similar kinds of point of asking morality master morality is based on whatever got you to be a master in the first place. That which you did or those like you had in the past to gain power is what becomes good and thus the virtues of the master. And so in some sense the same applies to you. So if you’re talking about war that that which brought us to a point of being in someone else’s power is bad. Those things which they do to continue to have power over us are evil but that which we do that does not promote our power. He comes back. I don’t really think that’s an interesting interesting versal of it certainly there are plenty of folks that would disagree with you but I do think it’s certainly an accurate reading of nature I think it’s fairly true to say that those who have gained power have a lot of influence on our definitions of right and wrong. Well I think about that the housing market crash and it was just commonplace for a corporation to for example default on a mortgage but the individual consumers could buy mortgages that were underwater everyone said no you’ve got to pay your debts you’ve got to stick with that. Whereas if you’re a corporation in this number one the folding. Well maybe I’m not coming across clearly enough about what I’m trying to do which is that it’s not those things that we did to give us power are good because they give us power in the past. They’re good because power is the definition of good good is that which ran to power bad is that which takes away for the Masters that system is fairly simple for the slaves. It’s a reversal because it finds first from the bad. It defines those things which the Master sees as good as being evil and then they find their offices as being good. So like if it’s good in the master morality to be rude. Was he going to do you power in the past to not take prisoners during combat. Right and that’s a good for the Master but bad for the Master is ventilation weakness by letting people live afterwards. The evils of a coin for the slaves being ruthless. If that’s what’s good for the masterwork then our good for the slave is the opposite of it. So giving the giving or I would like you just like to have at this point that nature was very much against this thinking and morality he believed in going beyond it and to create one’s own moral system and to try to enforce it and that factors a lot into the whole concept of the agreements and things of that like is beyond X. is good because we like to do it or X. or Y. is bad because they like to do it you know it was it was very much a must rise above as it were and that’s when you hear me choose critical systems morality. He just thought that the master morality was a little more honest than the slave morality was still not appropriate. It should be moving beyond moral systems. But that’s a track giving a little bit back on point. If we’re going to talk about popular media in this context I think we should definitely point out the antithesis the sort of counterexample that we see a lot especially in more modern horror as opposed to more classic gothic horror which is bizarre. The film specifically remember Rose saw the films where you have the monsters and they’re mindless as far as anyone can tell and they’re out for you and it’s very obvious that it’s you versus them and they’re almost everybody versus the world and him. Certainly it’s kind of interesting that there is no potential for reconciliation there there’s just completely give up and give yourself over to the zombies. There’s no getting over it. You survive right. Yeah exactly and I feel that’s kind of an interesting direction words on it’s nothing else considering especially a lot of the way society’s been building itself lately with the beaver mentality is special in certain sectors. Over and there was ninety nine point nine percent of the population it really just those nation that everybody feels from everything. Well what about the hundred meters and such a good frightening counterpart looks like us and you know a lot of ways like us you’re not and you know that seems to be missing some crucial thing that makes us us. And so in a very real and tangible way because on the other and we are presented with our own fear of doubt which is why yes but not us. I haven’t yet seen my sister come into existence at any minute. For example in Memo where you’ve got clans or zombies when they try to do you know some of the tricks like orcs who are on the other two but you know there are people role play works as groups and in it in a fire with some of these are just take a person and track everything about them that would make you the person interesting I read an article a while back that dealt with the who would like bees or vampires more the article itself was talking about the more progressive folks would drive more fear from Ban her movies and more conservative folks will derive more fear from zombie movies because of all the movie it’s the masses the everybody’s out to get you get your stuff and pull your do what it’s supposed to vampire movies or stories where you. These very select few who are very aristocratic and and charming and well off oftentimes because they’ve been around for hundreds of years and I think that’s the tool that to our society that seems very bright frighteningly accurate. Well a small super powerful elite an entire group of the masses are all useless because those together and you don’t rant. Let me just go ahead and throw out here being around for hundreds of years does not necessarily make one very well. So love that brings up some other interesting stuff. So many movies are very popular right now and there have been very few themed T.V. shows movies popular culture items. We are we are asked to identify with just one of them I can think of roughed up my head is shown of the town and its comical Association. So we’re expected to understand them as other. But at the same time to sort of feel for them as a thing in the world that is not bad but almost certainly especially considering the end of the movie in the sort of the way society deals with zombies after the outbreak and everything’s kind of happened. Society definitely bring back homes as it were and I think the interesting thing about some of the dead and one of the funniest bits in this is the question of how far could you get through the day in a zombie apocalypse before you noticed you were in a zombie apocalypse speaks to how far we’ve already other and become alienated from everything that we might not notice for hours that the people shuffling around in there for your vision to us we went through our day we’re zombies or monsters. From whatever perspective they were almost there already. Sure I am referring to people that I have packed on to the train with or that down next to me at the bus stop but I don’t want to interact with. I mean I may not be this are really afraid in the run for your life can’t wait but there’s certainly an easy looking over my shoulder. Don’t get too close I don’t want to touch you or talk to you. Sense of not wanting to engage that we’re just we’re just in the peripheral vision so we double up into them and that’s what we go through work. So that reason or other that was to get us one step closer to something that’s happened more recently which is as protagonist absolutely Warm Bodies is the first real example I can come up with in modern popular media where trolls around things are as they tired of being caught and sapience again they become aware slowly but surely. So there’s a movie and I’m going to have in the show notes we humans just call Azam bees or something like that. Basically the reverse of the zombie story design these are the people we’re following and they have the opposite experience of all the rest of the people they perceive that and want to suddenly start moving very quickly. They’re very noisy and running around and they’re trying to do things like get two motor engaged to get help. But more recently than that there has just become a new show called Eyes on the end which is on the is actually only fleshed out character who goes around solving crimes and eating breakfast. So the question that this brings up for me anyway is to what extent does personally popular culture of the Zombie and the other to us have the donkey meaning in terms of how we perceive the culture around us I think it is. Might work or narration with Frankenstein in that we’ve got a primary character who you’re given their point of view them and the rest of the world you know it’s outnumbered us versus them but emerging from the classic zombie thing you know what it’s like to be a few downs weirdo normative in a world that’s all but not cool sexy like ours. Another thing I think is worth pointing out that has a lot to do with us as I Am Legend or Omega Man or last minute or earth or the book I Am Legend all of which are ostensibly the same story until a couple of different ways. Where are we find out spoilers by the way that the protagonist of the Dr that’s trying to find rather trying to survive in this post hoc world where these creatures come out at night attack him he’s the bad guy ostensibly but the other in the story actually is the protagonist and that kind of leaves it at that I didn’t realize he was the monster. Exactly he is there a monster they they have they seem to have intelligence and are reasoning beings and he has become the boogeyman over the course of the movie and any of the backstory we see because he is hunting them and holds up at night which is different for them. He’s only of during the day because they’re out at night and all that and it’s very much a sort of I don’t want to say bait and switch but a great reversal of that sort of concept. Who’s the them. I think a lot of these stars I’m talking about is to subvert or break down the us versus them divide and I think that being of other NG I think it’s been a natural religion. I know evolutionary psychology really is very pseudoscience in doesn’t really go beyond conjecture but it seems like we normally do this and we should try to learn to get beyond it. So you know we’ve got one who seems to be the US is actually that them or who seems to be to them is actually the US ones that is District nine where the main character transforms he crosses the boundary from one to the other but to point out those boundaries break them down flip them show that they are ultimately arbitrary I think seems to be the goal of these and I think that is a valuable lesson to learn. It helps us to connect with each other as we tear through the tissue paper of those walls. Well certainly it’s in our nature to define things in some way or other and if you are in a small group situation like travelling nomadic tribes or something like it makes more sense to be able to identify those people who might need a new arm because they are not part of your immediate room that you need to be aware and that makes a certain kind of sense but I think it is part of the modern condition to be shackled with these urges these concepts that we have from them having to subtly long ago in our history and to try and overcome them in the time that we lived and in the way you’re different what is coming for us and I think in a lot of ways that’s why this is such popular themes are because if I look for you know asks questions about what we can become and this seems like something that we have put a lot of energy into thinking about in that way it does mean maybe it’s something that we should be prevalently aware of something we should be spending our time and energy trying to overcome because we are losing so much of our experience. Two this ingrained sense that no longer serves a purpose. Absolutely and I mean a lot of the modern examples of this in society at least that I’ve seen is the us versus them. They disagree with what I have to say therefore they are bad mentality that a lot of people seem to come up with and it holds people part it pulls two groups apart or multiple groups apart and anybody who tries to cross that divide is often shunned from either because if you were doing that you were obviously trying to make peace with the enemy somebody we don’t want to make peace with something that we we don’t want to meet halfway. It’s everything or nothing and anything else just won’t do. And that unfortunately is really occurring a lot in society and in politics and all around in a lot of discussions online groups you start to think that the problem is that both cancer fighting each other this group was a sacrament versus women X. boxes yesterday whatever it may be where anything from either side to actually attack the barrier between them is usually seen by the other as an attack on them and sort of reinforces it. So you have some people in the middle actually get along quite well on those divides but there are people on the outside saying it’s versus them as opposed to it’s all of us versus the thing that’s keeping as a part well into large if you see a parent just trust that I am also calming L.Z. you’re either with us or against us. You’re either one of us or you’re one of them. Your definitely not some third alternative because the world is divided into people who think along lines are getting way to long ones that we find ourselves. And everyone else. If you’re not in category a vineyard and have a great latte as opposed to being angry or C. or D. K. and from now there’s a perspective and the nuance of the many voices that surround us and the notion of you’re either with us or against us is easily logical undercut by saying what I’m against is a definition of us set up. Now the definition that your statement relies on falls apart so that’s kind of the false dichotomy it is you don’t attack the person or the group but I do you know the concept itself of the dichotomy. We’re always attacking ideas never people. I mean in this kind of a basic doing any kind of philosophy or any kind of critical analysis of anything. Very often you have to remind people that it’s not you I’m after is the idea the bad idea strong or philosophical debate is the notion that we disagree without being disagreeable. And to me anyway what that phrase means is it’s my job to disagree with the idea to counter and challenge and fight back against the notions that are put forth by the people present. I’m not to be cruel or to take it as a personal way to attack someone because I don’t like their eyes and that’s to a large extent something that our modern political discourse has lost. Certainly you don’t see a lot of folks at least in the United States crossing the aisle as it were they tend to fit into one camp or the other and the people who do try to do that end up getting pushed out rather quickly as seen as being too moderate and I think that’s a problem in the larger political system personally. The incentive for politicians seems to be towards with more polarization that would give them more hours doing that. So there’s a systemic problem there I’m not sure how to address it I think as an entire other topic starter Psystar believes in ages. I little less serious than some of the examples I’ve been given before but it very much. Attacks and deconstructing others as being just plain silly. Absolutely I mean if you think about the time in which Dr Seuss wrote that it was during a lot of the civil rights movement. The entire point of it was y’all look affectively saying why are you fighting. There are very few things that separate all of us. Why let it bother you. And one thing I think would help us would help quite a bit. Think about is in all of the different ways we can divide each other or that we can divide ourselves into two groups and level one as being normative having the power majority and the other one being non-normative or the minority whether it’s race and international and religion some other beliefs that’s important to you. Gender orientation and business there are so many categories all of which have their own dividing lines that if you think about it there are very very very very few people who actually have cited every single one of them for somebody to be completely normal would be extremely weird if you ever really met a perfectly normal individual perfectly normal person would turn different. Yeah but some agree. We’re all striving for not just the in-group backroom dynamic range is something that is ingrained in us and we’re all looking to be inside the group. If the norm is determined by which to grow. Find it’s down we’re all striving towards. Which is interesting when you consider that we are marginalizing ourselves in ways that we may not even be fully aware of the word gain acceptance allegation from verbs. You aren’t even sure we agree. Given that we had to change drastically to be harder. Interesting that you bring up the whole striving for morality in trying to be alike thing there is and I’m going to go a bit left field with this one as an example. But there’s an end of a fairly recent poll that had a group that it was the liberal they define themselves as the normal in those that didn’t follow the herd as they called it the herd mentality were ostracized and were excluded and often attacked because they didn’t want to follow the group and I think that’s that’s very telling in a lot of Western culture and a lot of all cultures honestly there are a lot of people in every culture that’s like you’re not normal so therefore you must be bad and it’s just interesting the way that they actually made it a political entity of sorts in the show. I think there is I mean you can’t really back it up it seems but it does seem to me to be sort of a human nature E. type of thing. I also think that it’s something we think we can and should work or work out for me personally I tend to actually go back to start and the way I apply that is I am the norm in the degree to which anyone in the world differs from me and everyone does at least a little bit. They are normal. In fact one of the we don’t be in the same boat. There are two kinds of people in the world there are those who divide the world into that of people and the rest of us. So as long as we don’t believe there should be again. I think there’s a lot deeper than that I don’t think we can just say well if everybody viewed everyone as different everything would be OK. People would be a lot more distrusting they necessarily are right now I think we have to confront the fact that everybody and I may be saying the same thing and I’m just not getting it the way you’re saying it is we have to address that everybody is unique just like everyone else. Everybody is different in some way. We’re all precious beautiful snow flakes. But if you look at the whole snow bank it’s hard. Again it was Bruce Seidlitz river. I grant you the last word. So the whole thing about other NG and the us vs them mentality is kind of a hard subject to broach because there’s a possible chance that you might be attacked for doing so by either side even if you’re not talking about one group specifically it’s a very touchy subject I think for a lot of folks and can make it seem like you are in the wrong even if you’re not I personally feel that one of the ways we can get a good dialogue going is to bridge the gap to sit down and talk about things no matter what it is if you do support one team or another if you are on one side or another of an issue one of the things we can do as people as individuals is sit down and talk to one another be willing to extend the olive branch as it were and I think that is vitally important. More than ever in our society because we have been seeing this polarization because we have been seeing this. Oh I’m from I think your for your thing and I never shall between me and I think that’s a big problem I think I think it can be overcome by sitting down and just kind of recognizing that we’re all people that we’re all in this together as it were and that we kind of all are in a very similar to what we all know. We will die for our people and I think that’s a really good way to open up communication. I’ve personally traveled a lot and despite a lot of misgivings that seemed to come about when talking about folks from elsewhere in the world I found that most of the people I ran into were not very different than myself or the people I know maybe speak a different language maybe even look a little different but a lot of the people who wanted the same things wanted to kind of get along get through this existence as best as possible and I think that the us versus them mentality really obscures that I think it takes away that sort of understanding and that we need to overcome it. That’s what we need to get beyond it. We need for lack of a better term work together. If going forward if we’re going to do anything to build two if you want to leave something for the next generation for for us to not dissolve into chaos. We need to kind of reconcile the fact that we’re not so different and the same times very much are one thing that can be done to do this is talk to people more Talk to your neighbors talk to people you run into don’t try to go in with any sort of pretense. I think it’s easier for me to say that because I kind of fit in the quote unquote core demographic. I am in my mid twenty’s white guy I’m the group that gets pandered to the most. And it can be hard for some folks especially with as much bitterness that seems to be out there and misgivings about various people. I think this is vitally important that we all kind of put that behind us to try and communicate more. Well that’s all the time we have for today. Join us next time after we have the philosophers out make around Steve’s ninety three thirty three fifty seven back into the steep tax. Don’t forget to subscribe interview on itunes. Follow us on Twitter. So this your questions and if you like what we’re doing here. Support us on Patria I’ve been your host professor but I’m Bruce Shaw were and with your original rowing with only one of the technical you just now figured that out. You know. 

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