The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Befuddled by reality

I am always interested in varying perspectives. That is, looking at things from different angles. What looks horrific from one perspective seems unimportant, maybe humorous, from another. Take cheesy horror movies. Most are actually funny, especially when you start looking closely at the special effects and makeup. I first became aware of this when I watched the movie Invaders From Mars. It's a classic, by the way, but I noticed the zipper in the back of the suits the Martian mutants (sort of mindless slaves) were wearing. It wasn't supposed to be a suit, it was supposed to be skin. The sense of realism fled and was replaced by the early onset of cynicism. I no longer saw movies as escapes into fantasy but as insults to intelligence. I was all of 7 years old. My childhood sense of wonder was stolen from me.

I suppose it was inevitable. My father was a cynic who enjoyed pointing out such things and I would have eventually succumbed to genetics or conditioning to become one myself. When your ability to believe in the magic fails, it becomes difficult to believe in anything.

I started taking a closer look at those sea battles in war movies (and old swashbucklers) and quickly realized these were small models floating in water. The "waves" weren't quite right, the flames were not right, the splashes from misses had water droplets the size of cars.

I also notice things in novels (like people expecting dial tone from cell phones) and TV shows (on Eureka last season, while a huge magnetic anomaly would have metal things flying about the room, the characters' cell phones would work). It bothers me. I would like to suspend disbelief but cannot.

Having an older brother meant the myths of childhood were denied me anyway. It was surprising that I even thought there might be some realism in the films of the 30's, 40's, and 50's. The 60's did not bring much improvement nor did the next several decades.

I did not just examine movies for flaws, I began to consider alternative views of just about everything. Especially relationships. That can cause huge problems. Because the odds are that the perspective you think may be the right one can be seen as insult. Or it can be correct but the other person(s) may not like it that you realized the truth. Dating becomes an exercise in duplicity and willful ignorance (which it often was anyway). Romance disappears. Or, at least, becomes difficult to accept.

Another thing that's affected is sales pitches. You would think that a healthy (or even an unhealthy) level of cynicism would be a good thing. But that's not quite so. You miss out on deals. For example, a Bernie Madoff offering seems like a bad thing. But not if you were an early investor who got out well before the scam was exposed. So a little cynicism can be either good or bad... depending on perspective.

The other great problem with a willingness to examine varying perspectives occurs during arguments. One would think it would be helpful, that it would reduce the number of arguments. Perhaps. But arguments rise out of emotion. And the willingness to view another perspective, objectivity, comes out of logic. So, the arguments can pop up rapidly while the objectivity lags behind. If one of the parties is highly emotional, there is little chance of a reasonable resolution. The objective party will almost always be the one to compromise. In fact, the objective one will be puzzled that his opponent is not also willing to view an opposing perspective.

Thus, my first marriage was doomed.

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