Archive for the 'Film' Category
I have thought for a while that the rational actor that is central to many economic theories might be an outgrowth of the psychological model of the individual mind. Adam Curtis of the BBC has a wonderful documentary post about the role of the rational actor model in the development of theories of counterinsurgency, from the Algerian civil war, through Vietnam, to Iraq and Afghanistan. In each case, the attribution of domains of significance to the individual only, and an impoverished individual at that, led to a complete failure to comprehend the webs of social meaning which were the fabric of people’s lives.
The documentary blog entry is here. How to Kill a Rational Peasant.
The idea seems to recur to me that good dynamical modeling needs to not only define its systems with care, and their dynamics, but it also needs to pick its variables with care. They should be as meaningless as possible. This is why we can see something interesting in the blinking of the eye, the twitching of the thumps on the video controller, the synchronization of eye movements in/as film… Being entirely non-specific, they might appear the same to everyone.
Don Norman had the notion of weak general interfaces. The keyboard and the video game controller are good examples. But so are the eyeballs. Are the hands acting as sensory devices as they play GTA? Why yes! Looking at it like this makes it clear that there is no ‘perception’ that is differentiable from action.
Susan Hurley said that the ecological approach was instrumental, and the dynamic approach was constitutive. Perhaps these two approaches see the same relation from different sides, as it were. The ecological approach points out the lawfulness inherent in the P/A relation. Lawfulness is boring. No information, because it behaves as expected. That is one view. Like looking at the single cell from the outside, knowing all about its metabolism, the glucose and the gradient. It looks mechanical. It is too, given some very important presuppositions. One of which is that there is something it is like to be the cell.
Dynamics ought to allow one to keep that in mind, while simultaneously acknowledging the view from the inside. Hence it allows the constitutive to appear.
How might one investigate more specific instances, such as dance, in which there is more feeling, and sensory-motor skill is required? We have meaningless ones of these too, in sport.
Current film editing techniques are more than likely partly responsible for the silly naive realism that seems to underpin so much of our thinking about ourselves. It used be, in early film, and hence also in experimental film, that the camera represented a single point of view, and that was important. But with modern editing, view changes. The distributed logic of film editing does violence to the notion of a single point of view. I bet that’s a modern change brought about by film. Perhaps changing again right now though, with the proliferation of cameras that do stand in rough correspondence to single points of view. The Tsunami, for example.
There is a long-standing discussion among some consciousness philosophers, about the need to distinguish between the content of consciousness and the vehicle that enables that content. You look at a two-dimensional illuminated glass panel, but you see through the TV screen to the content beneath. Bollox. This may surprise, but there are only vehicles to be seen. All we can talk about are media, the surface, the vehicles. The content is subjective experience, and we can not refer to that. Language has limits.