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Passions in Poetry

The Ice Age

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Brad
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0 posted 12-21-2002 05:01 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Saw this movie last night. While everyone keeps screaming too much sex and violence, I wonder if the real culprit of 'our problems' is Disney. Do we retain an unconscious belief that animals are somehow more moral than we are, does that explain the vogue for animal 'rights' these days?

Does that explain our own self-contradictory, self-hatred?

Yes, yes, I see it now, the cause of our problems is none other than Bambi.

Ban Bambi now!


fractal007
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1 posted 12-21-2002 06:12 PM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

I should see that movie!  I'm surprised you're levelling criticism against Disney for the reasons you've given, Brad.  For me, it's usually the skimpy ladies in the Disney cartoons that raise my eyebrows.

Bordering on a mini-rant, I find it rather interesting that children't entertainment is filled with so many sexually appealing images.  Or maybe I'm just weird...

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

Brad
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2 posted 12-21-2002 07:31 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't mind the Little Mermaid.

Christopher
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3 posted 12-21-2002 09:49 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

'cause Arial's hot.
Local Rebel
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4 posted 12-21-2002 11:13 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Don't ya spose Disney does that to give the Dad's somthin to look at?  

I remember Falwell complaining about Donald Duck not wearing any pants back in the 70's.
Miah
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5 posted 12-21-2002 11:27 PM       View Profile for Miah   Email Miah   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Miah

I think people read into things way too much.  It's simply a cartoon. I watched cartoons all my life and I turned out just fine.  Even my therapist says so.


(just once though I wish poor Wiley Coyote would finally get the roadrunner)
Essorant
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6 posted 12-22-2002 02:36 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't agree.  Many kids watch these cartoons over and over and over again, and we have to monitor and keep critical about what is being portrayed, especially how its being portrayed.   Just as we should be careful about what we ourselves are watching.  Even though we often imagine that we are untouched, there is none that is untouched--we are all influenced by what we expose ourselves to most frequently, even though it is not always very noticable.  

Miah
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7 posted 12-22-2002 10:39 AM       View Profile for Miah   Email Miah   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Miah

I do agree with you.   Children should be monitored on what they watch.  However, you can't blame everything on TV.  

I also agree that we can be influenced  by what we watch, but it is a choice on how we react to what we see.  
Christopher
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8 posted 12-22-2002 10:58 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

what miah said.
fractal007
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9 posted 12-22-2002 01:00 PM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Brad:

Getting serious, now, what is it you mean by animals being more moral than humans?  How much of our society believes in absolute moral standards?[as in some moral standard to which we all, regardless of our societal/familial upbringings, must conform]

Or supposing the people arguing animals are more moral than humans are in some way moral relativists, how would they manage to judge the existence of a morality in some animals let alone claim it any better than any of our own moralities?

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

Christopher
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10 posted 12-22-2002 01:09 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

The difference between animals and humans is that animals don't pretend thay have a moral standard to adhere to.
Local Parasite
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11 posted 12-22-2002 02:26 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

quote:
The difference between animals and humans is that animals don't pretend thay have a moral standard to adhere to.


Interesting... although I think that could be easily explained by the fact that animals have no forms of language.  If they had a word for "moral standard," they would have a moral standard.

A lot of animals are quite intelligent -- they just don't have language, so they can't think in words like we can.  To them there's no "good actions" or "bad actions," just the way that it is.

Of course, this could explain why they rarely deviate from their established good behavior.  You don't see a healthy wolf attack another one in his pack.  No bear would eat its cubs if it got hungry enough.

The question to this is, is it a result of thought that they act this way, or evolution?  Are animals genetially predisposed to their behavior?  You clearly can be genetically programmed to act in certain ways, for example, children know how to swim immediately after they're born.  

Personally I'd have to say Darwin has the best answer to all of this... and the animals don't act out of a moral good, but out of a common need for survival.

So yeah, if they seem like they're more moral than us, it's just because they have more difficulty surviving otherwise than we do.


[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (12-22-2002 02:27 PM).]

Ron
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12 posted 12-22-2002 03:08 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
You don't see a healthy wolf attack another one in his pack.

You would if you looked. The alpha male doesn't get or maintain that position by democratic vote.

No, a bear wouldn't eat its cubs, but it would let them starve before it did. We all know the story of the black widow and preying mantis. Most know that sharks will eat sharks at the first sign of blood. The male of many, many species will eat their own young if permitted and virtually any carnivore will eat the young of a different species (including the carnivore we call Man). Ever lived with a male monkey in the house? If so, you already know that human testosterone is a wimp.

The only nobility in the animal world is that which we, as writers, lend it. It is based on exceptions, not rules.
Brad
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13 posted 12-22-2002 08:19 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Yes, yes, the road runner, anti-intellectualism at its finest. Let's get rid of that too.

Actually, there's a hierarchy:

Best: herbivores

Second best: carnivores

Worst: Man (ever noticed that when we talk about humans being a horrible species, no one complains when we use a sexist term?)

LR pointed out that animals don't speak a language. In Ice Age, they reverse this, humans are the one's who don't speak a language. How does one interpret this? It seems pretty simple if you ask me: humans don't speak the real language (all other animals do).

Ironically (or perhaps not), this is an inversion of the simplified view of a materialist outlook -- top of the food chain so to speak.

Stephanos
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14 posted 12-22-2002 08:45 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Christopher,

Then I suppose your conscience is a pretense?

This is the most stubbornly adherent and unshakeable form of child's play I've ever seen!  You'd think we could just grow up, eh?  

Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-22-2002 08:48 PM).]

Christopher
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15 posted 12-22-2002 09:55 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Conscience isn't the pretense. The "standard," however, is.

[This message has been edited by Christopher (12-22-2002 09:55 PM).]

Denise
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16 posted 12-22-2002 10:41 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
Worst: Man (ever noticed that when we talk about humans being a horrible species, no one complains when we use a sexist term?)


Brad, it's not a sexist term because they don't intend to include us women in the unflattering comparison game with the other species.

hush
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17 posted 12-22-2002 10:47 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

I agree with Chris.

I haven't seen the movie, but I think that our self-contradictory self-hatred comes from teachings (mostly religious) that urge us to deny our self-serving natures, by touting terms such as 'self-sacrifice' and 'selflessness.'

Okay, that's oversimplified.

I think that helping others and serving ourselves can (should) go hand in hand. The terms I quoted above, in and of themselves, IMO, negate this idea. Benefits to ourselves are evil or wrong. I mean, uh, don't eastern religions teach that desire is the root of suffering? (Yeah, I know, that's simplified too...) But if you think about it, their desire for non-desire of material things is still desire, just in non-material form.

Motivation, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, still all boils down to the satisfaction of desire. When human philosophy/theology tries to deny this, it leads to an inevitable self-hatred, or at the very least, disillusionment.

Animals don't really have the luxury (or intelligence?) to try to reason away their survival instincts.

That's my take on it.

Now, The Little Mermaid? Has to be one of the most disturbing children's movies/show I have ever seen.

fractal007
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18 posted 12-23-2002 12:07 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

"I think that our self-contradictory self-hatred comes from teachings (mostly religious) that urge us to deny our self-serving natures, by touting terms such as 'self-sacrifice' and 'selflessness.'"

Interesting.  I've never seen the religion card played so as to explain collective self hatred.  What about the claims some Christians make that, since we are God's vice regents over all Creation we may do with it what we like and we are "better" than all other species?

Also, I am not certain that it is wise to confine, for the most part, such terms as selflessness to the world of religion.  After all, are not such things as bravery rewarded quite highly by military services?  Is that not the source from which we get such other touted terms such as "throwing yourself on a grenade."  

Finally, I was under the impression that our self loathing came from our collective looking back on such things as the world wars(particularly the atomic bombs of WW2) and the devastation humanity has apparently wreaked on the rest of its environment through such things as industry.

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

fractal007
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19 posted 12-23-2002 12:18 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

Local Parasite:

"I think that could be easily explained by the fact that animals have no forms of language.  If they had a word for "moral standard," they would have a moral standard."

And if they had a word for sex they would engage in it too.  Or perhaps they also need a word for dreaming in order for it to exist as well?  I am not certain that language is needed in order to facilitate the existence of some supposedly higher brain function.  It certainly would indicate its existence.  However, we humans more likely invented words for moral standards after we started noticing we had them.  But I'm no linguist so I could very well be wrong.

"To them there's no "good actions" or "bad actions," just the way that it is."

Are you saying then that parents of certain animals do not enforce or discourage certain actions in their young?

Finally, with respect to evolution, particularly in human society, are not moral standards needed in order to hold a society together so that it benefits its members?

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

Ron
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20 posted 12-23-2002 01:09 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Nope. Ain't buying it, hush. What you call self-contradictory self-hatred is, indeed, contradictory because it's not really self-hatred. It's ego in disguise. Every person I've ever heard who said, "Ooh, Man is so evil!" is really saying, "Ooh, Man is so evil - except for me." It's the same old story. To elevate their own status, they have to lower that of others. Makes them feel noble.

[typical off topic]

I don't believe there are any teachings, religious or otherwise, that urge us to deny our self-serving nature. Not a single one. You shouldn't confuse the redirection of self-interest with the elimination of self-interest. Everyone is selfish and every choice is fueled by self-interest, but not every choice actually serves self-interest. Sacrifice and selflessness are just words we use to describe a choice between short- and long-term self-interest, a willingness to give up one thing today for what we perceive as something of greater value tomorrow. Those teachings you decry are ways to help us set those values, a recognition that our individual self-interest can't be easily divorced from our collective self-interest.

[/typical off topic]


hush
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21 posted 12-23-2002 12:42 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Ron-

Do you think poeple who say Man is evil (with your added "except for me") think that they are somehow above that lowest common denominator because they transcend what it is about Man that makes Man so evil? I think religion can be a way for people to elevate themselves in that way.

'I don't believe there are any teachings, religious or otherwise, that urge us to deny our self-serving nature.'

Um, doesn't Buddhism teach the ideal of a non-self? This is why i brought up Eastern religions, because to my (admittedly limited) understanding of them, the individual needs and desires are lost in the desire for collective harmony.

I'm not confusing this with the elimination of self-interest. If you look back at my post, I pointed out that the pretense of eliminating self-interest is just that, a pretense. But I really do believe it's there. Some of my friends that are real left-wingers and take to heart the Buddhist ideals fail to see that their intrinsically motivated desires are still self-motivated desires.

I'm fine with the idea that collective self-interest and individual self-interest are inherently interconnected, especially in today's day and age- after all, how many self-sufficient farms has anyone seen lately? What I have a problem with is people claiming that concern with collective well-being negates concern for individual well-being, and furthermore, that this 'selflessness' is a virute.
Ron
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22 posted 12-23-2002 02:24 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I think religion can be a way for people to elevate themselves in that way.

I think ANY divisiveness can be a way for people to elevate themselves over others. Nationality, politics, age, even gender, too often become ways of saying "I'm better than them."

quote:
Um, doesn't Buddhism teach the ideal of a non-self?

There are many different schools of Buddhism, just as there are many denominations of Christianity, which makes it very difficult to speak in generalities. Brad has much more depth of experience with Eastern religion and philosophy, so I hope he'll jump in to correct any missteps I make.

There are four "Truths" generally recognized in Buddhism. (1) Suffering exists. (2) Suffering arises from attachment to desires. (3) Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases. (4) Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path.

It's very easy to see, then, that the promise of Buddhism is an end to suffering. Not human suffering, but individual suffering. That's pure self-interest, no matter how you define it. The Eightfold Path, to my way of thinking, is a way to help us set those values I talked about that we place on short- and long-term self-interest. Buddhism, like every morality system, promises something of great value to the self in return for following certain predefined rules.

quote:
I'm fine with the idea that collective self-interest and individual self-interest are inherently interconnected, especially in today's day and age- after all, how many self-sufficient farms has anyone seen lately?

I don't think we should confuse morality with cooperation. The popular reality show, Survival, is an insightful demonstration of human cooperation at work. The winner is inevitably someone who cooperates right up until he stabs everyone in the back. Cooperation, in other words, is situational. I know Brad will jump in and say that everything is situational, and he's probably right, but I think we're really talking about a continuum rather than two ends of a spectrum. Some things, like cooperation for self-interest, are more situational than other things. Morality, I think, is much less so. Indeed, the strength of our moral conviction is measured by our reluctance to let it be dictated by situations.

I believe that morality is so often intermixed with faith and trust for that very reason. From an objective, intellectual standpoint of pure self-interest, it's not difficult to justify helping others. If all of my neighbors are hungry and I have food sitting on the front porch, my sense of security is seriously jeopardized. On a macro scale it's much more complicated, but not greatly different. My own self-interest will always depend on avoiding large disparities between myself and others. That's simple logic, directed at long-term self-interest. The problem with this logic is that it tells me WHAT I should do, only vaguely hinting at WHEN I should do it. How hungry should I let my neighbors become before I start passing out food from the front porch? In trying to maximize my self-interest, I necessarily risk survival.

Morality reaches the same conclusions as logic, but avoids the risky decisions by maintaining it is ALWAYS in my best interest to help others if I'm able. It doesn't try to maximize self-interest so much as it insures that self-interest is preserved. That's where faith and trust come into play. If I try to rely on my own reasoning and judgement, the immense complexity of human intercourse guarantees I will make mistakes. You could sooner predict the weather a month from now than predict human behavior with unerring accuracy. And "unerring accuracy" is the only thing that will work. Instead of doing the impossible, I place my faith in the thousands of years of experience that generated my rules of morality. I play the odds.

Lest I make morality sound entirely cold-blooded, let me add that I think it is much more than simply a safer bet than our own judgement. I very much believe that the consequences of Life are a reflection of individual attitude. If you think you'll fail, you probably will. If you think you are unworthy of love, you will find only people who hate you. What you think becomes who you are. Morality, when coupled with faith and trust, becomes a tool for shaping thought and attitude. When you see yourself as a better person, you become that person. Interestingly, I often think that the tenets of morality are less important to that process than our adherence to the tenets. "Sticking to your guns." regardless of the circumstances, builds character in ways impossible for situational cooperation to do. That kind of unwavering adherence to morality is only possible, I think, with faith and trust in the foundation for your morality. Each success brings greater strength, and doing what is right BECAUSE it is right becomes easier.

Morality isn't just someone telling you what to do. It's someone telling you what works.
hush
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23 posted 12-24-2002 01:27 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Ron-

I didn't mean people who consciously tout religion as a superiority.

I don't think people go into religion, or find faith, with the idea of it making them better than others. Rather, it's the idea of improving upon yourself. While plenty of people play the "my religion is better than yours" card, I don't think most see the endeavor as that kind of a power play.

Now, does a perceived self-improvement then put you above others? I think that only works when "Man" is the faceless "evil" they were seeking to better themselves from. I have met some very zealous believers and evangelists who honestly think that they can make the judgement call as to whether individuals they know are going to go to heaven or hell. Maybe it's just the group of people I suround myself with, but I usually run into a more pluralist view.

On Buddhism-

There are also three central ideas that we learned in my religion class:

Anicca: interrelatedness
Anatta: nonindividuality
Nirvana: enlightenment

'It's very easy to see, then, that the promise of Buddhism is an end to suffering. Not human suffering, but individual suffering. That's pure self-interest, no matter how you define it.'

You're right! Like I've been saying, I agree with you. But, you know what? My buddhist friends wouldn't. They would consider their attempts to connect to and help other people selfless- They would consider their solution the end to all human suffering, other than their own. Their suffering is of secondary importance- but my point has always been that striving to fulfill your moral beliefs is inherently self-interested. And that that's not a bad thing.

Brad
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24 posted 12-24-2002 02:25 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Your Buddhist friends are probably followers of the Mahayana school (the Greater Vehicle), and thus is born the bodhisatva. Some have ascribed the development of this general tenet to precisely the selfishness inherent in the original, hinayana school(the Lesser Vehicle).

 
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